Tester Open to Wall Funding

Montana Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester told Q2 News on Wednesday that partial funding for a southern border wall could be part of a compromise on border security. Tester is part of a 17 member, bi-partisan panel that was announced last week after President Donald Trump ended the 35-day partial government shutdown without any funding. There is some concensus on the need for more border technology and staffing, but the controversial nature of a wall– which House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called immoral– still divides lawmakers. Trump tweeted before the legislative panel began its first meeting that lawmakers are wasting their time if they’re not contemplating a wall or some form of physical barrier and has threatened to shut down the federal government once again, or declare a national emergency without one. Get the whole story online at; KTVQ.com.

MSUB Outstanding Alumni, Great Falls Money Laundering

Montana State University-Billings announced its Outstanding Alumni for 2019 on Wednesday. The seven award recipients combine for nine degrees from either MSUB or Eastern Montana College and each of the honorees will be celebrated at a brief ceremony and luncheon on March 22nd. The 2019 honorees are: Jerry Anderson, Carter Mollgaard, Krista Montague, Harold Olson, Judy Povilaitis, Darwin George and Trudy Collins.

MTN News reports a Great Falls man has been sentenced for fraud and money laundering. Jay Nash, who admitted to defrauding four people of more than $800,000 in real estate schemes, was sentenced Tuesday to over three years in prison and three years supervised release. U.S. District Judge Brian Morris also ordered Nash to pay $842,729 in restitution. The 50-year-old Nash pleaded guilty to wire fraud and money laundering in May 2018. Get more online at; KTVQ.com.

Crow Tribal Leadership Dispute

The Billings Gazette reports on a dispute over leadership of the Crow Tribe’s government, where, on Tuesday, supporters of Carlson “Duke” Goes Ahead– the tribe’s most recent vice chairman– drove off in pickup trucks full of tribal financial documents in defiance of defeated Chairman Alvin “A.J” Not Afraid’s administration, ousted from power in a January 19th recall election. Not Afraid called the election invalid, pointing to a restraining order issued on the eve of the election. Voters overwhelmingly opted to remove Not Afraid and the tribe’s secretary, R. Knute Old Crow, from office, saying the restraining order was invalid. Ten days after Not Afraid’s recall, the two camps remain split, with both asserting their leadership of the executive branch. In a swearing-in ceremony in mid-January, the tribe’s Legislative Branch recognized Goes Ahead as the new chairman. Read more at; billingsgazette.com.

Bill Proposed To Ban Doctor-Assisted Suicide in Montana

A proposed bill aimed at making it illegal for physicians in Montana to prescribe drugs that would hasten death will be introduced Tuesday. The Helena Independent Record reports that under the new bill, doctors who give life-ending drugs to patients could be charged with homicide. Under current law they can still withdraw treatment from terminally ill patients who request it.

Legislature Hears Bill That Would Ban Sex Between Educators And Students

Two bills are consideration this week by the Montana legislature that would ban sex between educators and students, even when the student is above the age of consent. Under the bill sponsored by Representative Shane Morigeau and Senator Keith Regier, not only teachers but anyone in a supervisory role would fall under the prohibition. Deborah Silk of the Montana Public Education Center says she supports the intent of the bill, but thinks it doesn’t go far enough.

Former Bullock Staffer Accused in NYC

A former staffer to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio– and a senior staffer to Montana’s Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock while chairman of the Democratic Governors Association in Washington– who was quietly forced out of his job over sexual harassment allegations, was fired previously for similar reasons. The New York Times reports that Kevin O’Brien was fired in December 2015, when Bullock served a one-year term as chairman of the governors association, during which time he sent O’Brien to Washington to be his representative. O’Brien left the governors association in December 2015 after an employee accused him of sexually harassing her and an investigation backed her up. Bullock fully agreed with the decision to terminate O’Brien in 2015 and said that he was “deeply troubled” to learn of the earlier New York accusations. Read more online at; billingsgazette.com.

ZooMontana Prognosticator Picks The Patriots

Q2 reports an unorthodox yet statistically reliable prognosticator for the winner of Super Bowl LIII is ZooMontana’s grizzly bear Ozzy. He confidently sauntered over to a cake bearing the logo of the New England Patriots and made his prediction Tuesday morning. Ozzy has chosen the winner of the big game correctly 5 out of 6 times, missing only once when he mistakenly chose the Denver Broncos to win Super Bowl XLVIII. Last year, the 680-pound grizzly took his time choosing the Philadelphia Eagles, who ended up winning and securing Ozzy as an elite Super Bowl predictor, according to ZooMontana Executive Director Jeff Ewelt. Ozzy’s traditional banana cakes were replaced with whipped cream and grape pies, adorned with the team logos. Frequent Montana resident Tom Brady’s Pats take on the Los Angeles Rams this Sunday. Get more online at; KTVQ.com.

Flu Widespread in Montana

MTN News reports that influenza activity has increased dramatically in the past week and is now considered widespread in Big Sky Country. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services reports 332 new cases in the third week of monitoring flu activity. That’s an increase of 50 percent over the week before. Gallatin County led with the largest number of new cases at 64. Yellowstone County reported 20 new cases in the past week. Influenza is a respiratory illness and symptoms include headaches, fever, body aches, coughing and a sore throat. In Yellowstone County, there have been 67 flu cases with 15 hospitalizations and no deaths. Across the state of Montana, there have been 978 cases of the flu in 44 counties, with 58 hospitalizations and two deaths, including one child. Get the whole story at; KTVQ.com.

Women’s Conference, STEM Billings Weekend

Q2 reports the Institute for Peace Studies held its 17th annual women’s conference focused on women in the work force. Nearly 80 women attended the “We are Women, Watch us Soar” conference, held at the Billings Public Library in the Royal C. Johnson Community Room on Saturday. This is the first year the Women’s Conference has been held at the library, which Rocky Mountain College hosted for the first 16 years.

STEM Billings educators hosted “Adventures in Health and Medicine” at the Billings Career Center on Saturday. STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and about 130 children in the 2nd through 8th grades came to the event. STEM organizers said it’s an opportunity to get away from the books and learn from those working in various related professions. Get the whole story at; KTVQ.com.

GOP Fox and Stapleton Running for Governor, Bullock Mulls 2020

Montana Republican Attorney General Tim Fox has announced that he’s running for governor in 2020, a declaration that Big Sky Country political pundits have expected for years. KULR reports the Hardin politician said in a press release Thursday, “Democrats have occupied the Governor’s Office for the last 14 years and it’s time for that to change.” Secretary of State Cory Stapleton has also announced he’s running for the GOP nomination for governor. Meanwhile, Montana’s incumbent Democratic Gov. Steve Bullock, considers a bid for the presidency in 2020 after he staved off the Donald Trump wave in 2016 and defeated wealthy businessman Greg Gianforte for reelection. He also visited Iowa in October 2018 and is among the Red State moderate Democrats seeking to challenge the more progressives declared candidates, like California Sen. Kamala Harris and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren.