Archives for September 2016

Billings adoption agency honored

A Billings adoption agency that finds and supports foster and adoptive families for children in need, was honored as an Angel in Adoption during a ceremony held in Washington, D.C. last Wednesday and sponsored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption.
Montana Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Congressman Ryan Zinke selected Child Bridge for the award.
Tester said he couldn’t think of an organization more deserving of this award than Child Bridge.
Founded in Bigfork in 2011 by Steve and Mary Bryan, Child Bridge has grown into an organization serving families in 21 communities throughout Montana. It has offices in Billings, Missoula and the Flathead Valley. Over the next three years, they plan to add offices in five more cities.
Child Bridge has celebrated 38 adoptions, supported more than 100 foster families and provided monthly foster and adoptive resource groups to serve thousands of adults and children statewide.

Montana Tech cheating rampant, organized

A Montana Tech faculty report reveals evidence of systematic academic dishonesty led to the expulsion of 15 students this summer.
According to the report, a group of “organized,” “belligerent cheaters” overwhelmed several classes.
The academic dishonesty which resulted in the expulsions appears to have been far more widespread than previously reported.
Montana Tech professors and proctors were confronted by dozens of out-of-state Middle Eastern students blatantly cheating through a variety of methods, including smuggled cellphones, earpieces, fake calculators, smart watches, hand signals, mass bathroom breaks and at least one diversionary fake fainting episode, according to the report, authored by Montana Tech professors and proctors.
It details the escalation of cheating, culminating in students intimidating and threatening faculty who were teaching engineering courses up to 10 times their typical class size.
Engineering lab director Matt Egloff said the situation escalated as they became more aggressive throughout the summer.

Thursday AM Billings crime report

An as yet unidentified 35-year-old man is in serious condition after sustaining injuries related to an early morning shooting in a north Billings neighborhood today.
Billings Police Sgt. Harley Cagle said officers received the call at about 12:30 a.m. of a shooting near North 32nd Street and Avenue E, where they found the victim of a gunshot to the abdomen, lying in the street.
Cagle said that he was uncooperative with police, making it difficult to investigate.
He was transported by ambulance to a local hospital with serious injuries. His condition will be updated later today. The investigation is ongoing.

Billings Police are searching for two people who robbed the West End Papa John’s pizza at gunpoint early today.
A little before 2:30 a.m., two people robbed the 24th St. restaurant and ran away with an undisclosed amount of cash. Few other details, including suspect descriptions, were available.

Billings outreach coordinator introduces successor

Billings downtown resource outreach coordinator Joel Simpson is leaving the job he created for a position as social worker at the Crow/Northern Cheyenne Hospital at Crow Agency.
Simpson introduced his successor, Dave Kobold, during a Community Innovations meeting Wednesday.
For three weeks, Kobold has been on the job offering treatment and counseling services– rather than jail time– to serial inebriates downtown. He will begin working with police resource officers on Monday.
Unlike Simpson, he’s not Native American, but Kobold is a counselor. He said he feels a connection with Native American people and minored in Native American studies in college.
Simpson received high marks from downtown leaders who expressed gratitude for his work creating the position and helping to move people out of the Yellowstone County Detention Facility and into treatment.
Kobold said he’s seen gradual acceptance as Simpson has been introducing him around the downtown to his clients.

SUV rollover crash Wednesday morning

A rollover crash near Laurel sent two people to a Billings hospital this morning at about 7:45.
An SUV came to rest on its roof in the median near the East Laurel exit of Interstate 90.
According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the SUV was eastbound in the passing lane as it went on the overpass before the exit. The GMC Yukon attempted to come back into the driving lane, but it was occupied by another vehicle. The driver attempted to correct, but swerved, hitting a steel post and a cable. The Yukon flipped one-and-a-half times. The male passenger reportedly had his arm pinned in the sunroof. Both driver and passenger had to be extricated by first responders.
Traffic on I-90 was limited to one lane in each direction.
The unidentified married couple from Cody, Wyoming were taken to Billings Clinic. The extent of their injuries is unknown.

Transient pleads guilty to trafficking meth

A transient man accused of trafficking methamphetamine in the Billings area pleaded guilty to federal drug charges on Tuesday.
38-year-old Thomas Bailey accepted a plea agreement calling for initial charges of conspiracy and possession to be dismissed at sentencing. They will recommend a 10-year prison sentence.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Brendan McCarthy said that agents with the Eastern Montana High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area task force attempted a controlled drug buy from Bailey on Jan. 29, 2014. Bailey was photographed at the buy site.
Task force agents were contacted weeks later about a suspicious package delivered to a Billings resident.They had been receiving packages delivered to the previous resident, which they would return to the delivery driver, only to have a group of “suspicious people”, including Thomas, reportedly show up asking about the packages.
The resident contacted authorities after finding 155 grams of methamphetamine in one of the packages.

Billings car theives arrested in Cheyenne

A Billings teenager and his adult associate are in Wyoming State Police custody after leading a trooper on a high-speed chase in a stolen Corvette on Monday.
18-year-old Taylor Graves and 25-year-old Justin Fuller were arrested when the pursuit ended in a pasture north of Cheyenne, Wyoming. They were driving a 2013 Chevrolet Corvette reported stolen in Billings on September 20th– reaching speeds of up to 145 mph– according to a Wyoming Highway Patrol news release.
At approximately 1 a.m. Monday, Wyoming Highway Patrol troopers responded to a report of erratic driving on Interstate 25.
A trooper located the red sports car just north of Cheyenne.
Fuller faces charges including possession of stolen property, impaired driving, possession of methamphetamine, possession of marijuana, interference, fleeing and eluding and reckless driving. Graves is charged with possession of stolen property and interference.
They’re being held at the Laramie County Detention Center in Cheyenne.

Billings AM News

The body of an unidentified man was discovered by a hiker on Tuesday morning along a path near Yellowstone Kelly’s grave on the rims.
The Gazette reports that the man walking the path reported finding the body hanging from a tree at about 6:45 a.m. Billings Police responded and after an initial investigation found no evidence of foul play. The man appears to have committed suicide, according to Billings Police Lt. Mark Cady.
Cady said officers secured the scene ahead of the Yellowstone County Coroner’s arrival. The man was described as Hispanic or Native American but his identity has not as yet been determined. His death remains under investigation by the Billings Police Department.

A former Billings accountant who defrauded his clients was ordered to pay $175,000 in restitution.
Michael Leonard Wombolt was sentenced to probation in July for his scheme, which bilked sometimes five- and six-figure sums from clients.

Billings Council to challenge judges police pay ruling

An overwhelming majority of the Billings City Council has voted to appeal a $2.7 million judgment in favor of the city’s police officers for longevity pay.
The 9-1 vote in favor of the challenge included one abstention
and one vote by Councilman Mike Yakawich against the appeal. Councilman Brent Cromley abstained because his employer, the law firm of Moulton Bellingham PC, is involved in the appeal.
The rest of the Council joined Mayor Tom Hanel in voting for the appeal, which may cost taxpayers up to $60,000 for outside lawyers.
Andy Forsythe, the city’s lead outside counsel on the case, gave the city council several reasons to appeal.

Meanwhile, the council voted 10-1 to extend the contract of City Administrator Tina Volek for one year.
Under the agreement, the city council must meet with Volek by Dec. 31 to discuss a raise in her salary of just over$130,000.

Council considers appeal of police pay ruling

Billings City Councilors and Mayor Tom Hanel are expected to decide today whether or not to appeal a judge’s ruling requiring the city to pay over $2.7 to more than 140 police officers. The meeting begins at 6:30 this evening at City Hall.
Park County District Court Judge Brenda Gilbert ruled on September 8th that the city owes wages and benefits related to how they calculated longevity pay. The city is liable for over a million dollars in penalties, plus attorneys’ fees and plaintiffs’ costs.
Billings has already spent almost $300,000 in attorneys’ fees on the lawsuit filed in 2009.
Councilors are split on whether to take the case to the Montana Supreme Court. The city, not their insurer, would be liable for the entire amount of the judgment.
An appeal means additional attorneys’ fees for the city.
City Administrator Tina Volek’s new contract is also up for consideration.

Posted to
Sep. 26, 2016 8:36 AM CST
by rhancock