Archives for July 2016

Dem. AG candidate wants to expand MHP

Larry Jent believes Montana lawsuits should focus on Montana, the Democratic candidate for attorney general said Thursday.
A former Montana state Representative and senator, Jent says he spent his time focused on raising salaries for Montana Highway Patrol troopers, passing stronger drunken driving laws and preventing meth crimes– issues central to what Montanans care about.
Jent said this is contrary to what Attorney General Tim Fox cares about.
The former Bozeman-area legislator said the lawsuit Fox joined with other Republican attorneys general regarding transgender students’ restrooms rights distracts from real state issues.
He said Fox has strayed from issues concerning Montana, pointing to the money Fox spent interfering with Washington state port inspections, Fox’s pledge to stop Obamacare and Fox’s practice of joining lawsuits of other state’s Republican attorneys general.
Jent is calling for expanding the Montana Highway Patrol and cross-deputized troopers for the Native American reservations in Montana.

Billings massage parlor couple convicted

The Billings couple convicted of running an erotic massage parlor will spend 13 months in prison, in spite of what they called their immaculately clean, tax-paying prostitution business, where consenting adults practiced safe sex.
The Chief U.S. District Judge rejected a defense request for probation, ordering 52-year-old Gregory McFarland and his wife, 62-year-old “Suzie” McFarland to prison for pleading guilty in August to interstate promotion of prostitution and money laundering.
The judge said anything less would deter no one from running illegal prostitution businesses.
The couple admitted to offering sexual services at the Far West Sauna and Shangri-La Spa and Sauna in Billings.
The McFarlands agreed to criminal forfeiture of nearly $1.2 million as prostitution proceeds in connection with the money laundering count, and civil forfeiture of nearly one half million dollars more. Payments on the civil forfeiture will be credited toward the criminal judgment.

Native American civil rights discussion in August

A federal civil rights group is holding a discussion on Native Americans in August.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Montana Advisory Committee is planning a meeting to discuss discrimination against Native American Reservations in Montana.
The committee announced last week it will hold a briefing in August to discuss issues of discrimination impacting Native Americans, including the areas of education, employment, public accommodations, law enforcement, services and the legal system.
The committee has invited local, state and federal agencies; law enforcement and tribal officials; community organizations; and advocacy groups. There will be two hours devoted to public comment.
It’s tentatively scheduled for August 29 at the Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium, 1125 Broadwater Ave., it will begin at 10am and is expected to last until 5pm.
At 6 p.m. the public comment session will start and last until about 8 p.m.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Jul. 28, 2016 9:16 AM CST
by rhancock

Native American rights talk at Shrine Auditorium

A federal civil rights group is holding a discussion on Native Americans in August.
The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights’ Montana Advisory Committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is planning a meeting to discuss discrimination against Native American Reservations in Montana.
The committee announced last week it will hold a briefing in August to discuss issues of discrimination impacting Native Americans, including discrimination “in the areas of education, employment, public accommodations, law enforcement, service and the legal system,”
The committee has invited local, state and federal agencies; law enforcement and tribal officials; community organizations; and advocacy groups. There will be two hours devoted to public comment.
It’s tentatively scheduled for August 29 at the Al Bedoo Shrine Auditorium, 1125 Broadwater Ave., it will begin at 10am and is expected to last until 5pm.
At 6 p.m. the public comment session will start and last until about 8 p.m.

Montana SC reverses wrongful death case dismissal

The Montana Supreme Court has reversed a lower court’s decision in a wrongful death case, in an opinion issued Tuesday.
The 22nd District Court in Big Horn County improperly dismissed the case in December 2015 of a man who died from injuries sustained in a crash that happened after a high speed chase, according to the state’s high court.
The District Court must now determine if the county is liable in the death of 21-year-old Kenneth R. Woody IV.
Woody died on Dec. 16, 2011, in a crash near Hardin. He was a passenger in the pickup, driven by 23-year-old Dustin Wegner, who was later convicted of vehicular homicide.
On Sept. 11, 2014, Woody’s estate submitted a claim letter to Big Horn County commissioners, alleging that the county was responsible for the man’s death. The estate requested $750,000 for “wrongful death and survivorship damages,” according to court documents.

Bullock absent from historic convention

Montana Democratic superdelegate and Governor Steve Bullock was nowhere to be found at Tuesday’s historic nomination of Hillary Clinton, the first woman ever nominated by a major political party for the presidency of the United States during the Democratic National Convention.
Bullock is one of only three Democratic governors not attending.
Bullock’s campaign spokesman Jason Pitt said (quote) He’s got an important job making sure we remain the most prudent state in the country and standing up for public lands.(unquote)
Pitt said Bullock’s skipping the convention has nothing to do with not wanting to be associated with Hillary Clinton.
All evidence to the contrary…
Clinton lost the Montana primary to Bernie Sanders. Some public polling suggests that Donald Trump has a sizable advantage over Clinton in Montana.
And, earlier this month, the 538 blog by New York Times pollster Nate Silver gave Trump a 21-point lead over Clinton in Montana.

Laurel officer charged with assault

Laurel Police officer Jim Huertas has been placed on leave after he was arrested and charged with assault for kicking his girlfriend until she lost consciousness.
The 46-year-old Huertas pleaded not guilty in Billings Municipal Court. He was jailed in lieu of a $500 bond and ordered to have no contact with the victim, according to Billings Deputy City Attorney Benjamin Halverson.
Appearing Monday before Municipal Judge Sheila Kolar, Halverson stressed the importance of the no contact order between Huertas and the victim.
Billings Police officers spoke with her at Billings Clinic. The woman said she and Huertas argued over the phone on Sunday afternoon, and when she returned to the apartment which they shared, Huertas had blocked the door with suitcases. When she got inside, Huertas allegedly punched her multiple times before pushing her to the ground and kicking her in the ribs until she was unconscious.

Lightning fires Monday

The Gazette reports that the Fritz fire south of Billings was fully contained late Monday as firefighters focused throughout the day on mop-up and eliminating hot spots in the burn area.
Incident command attached to the wildfire near Fritz and Duck Creek released a number of engine crews Monday morning. The number of people assigned to the fire dropped to about 60 from 130 the previous day, according to Brad Shoemaker, emergency services director for Yellowstone County.

A number of fires ignited around Billings Monday night following the storm that involved dry lightning. Firefighters responded to a 30-acre fire at the Billings Rod and Gun Club at about 10:30 p.m. and lightning is the suspected cause. No injuries were reported.
At about 11 p.m. Billings firefighters responded to a storage shed fire on Ellington Avenue, and at about 12:30 a.m. a fire ignited an older mobile home on Charlene Street.

Third indictment in Rides Horse murder

18-year-old Frank Sanchez is now the third defendant to face first-degree murder charges for the beating and burning of a Crow Agency woman.
18-year-old Dimarzio Sanchez of Busby and 23-year-old Angelica Whiteman of Lame Deer both pleaded not guilty in U.S. District Court on Monday.
Sanchez was not named in the initial charging documents. He also entered a plea of not guilty.
Each defendant faces a charge of first-degree murder, including aiding and abetting in the horrible murder of Roylynn Rides Horse, who died on June 28.
The charges were amended to first-degree murder following the death of Rides Horse.
U.S. Magistrate Judge Carolyn Ostby presided over the hearings, which were held separately Monday.
According to the indictment, Rides Horse left the Kirby Saloon in a car on April 17 with Dimarzio Sanchez, Whiteman and four others. Frank Sanchez had previously been identified in the indictment only by his initials.

PETA concerned over Billings squirrel control

Animal rights advocates are reportedly concerned over Montana’s method of dealing with ground squirrels that have burrowed beneath some of the athletic fields at Billings parks. Authorities say they are endangering athletes and wreaking havoc on turf conditions.
In response, the Billings Parks and Recreation Department bought a machine two years ago that sends a sandy slurry into the rodents’ burrows, preventing them from leaving or entering again. Parks Department officials have touted the results, which have improved the playing fields.
Activists from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals made an inquiry of the city based on a report they received anonymously. Kent Stein, a member of PETA’s emergency response team, wrote to city council members that the control method being used is inhumane. Stein offered a few alternative suggestions, but Billings administrators said the health and safety of citizens took precedence over that of the rodents.