Archives for March 2017

NFL’s Smith at MetraPark

Former Dallas Cowboy’s Superstar and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith– not to mention ABC-TV’s Dancing with the Stars champion– said Thursday at MetraPark that success isn’t possible without teamwork, perseverance and sacrifice. The 47-year-old first-ballot NFL Hall of Famer reminded the crowd of 1,800 about the importance of remaining focused, whether in football or in business.
The Gazette reports many people donned the No. 22 Cowboys jersey Smith made famous. Looking fit in a salt-and-pepper beard and a dark suit, Smith said football was the catalyst that helped him escape poverty and achieve greatness, saying he came from the projects, eating government cheese and drinking powdered milk.
Growing up, he aspired to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. But, Smith’s coach said his gift was running the ball.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Mar. 31, 2017 5:41 AM CST
by rhancock

NFL’s Emmitt Smith at MetraPark

Former Dallas Cowboy’s Superstar and the NFL’s all-time leading rusher Emmitt Smith– not to mention ABC-TV’s Dancing with the Stars champion– said Thursday at MetraPark that success isn’t possible without teamwork, perseverance and sacrifice. The 47-year-old first-ballot NFL Hall of Famer reminded the crowd of 1,800 about the importance of remaining focused, whether in football or in business.
A dozen or so people donned the No. 22 Dallas Cowboys jersey that Smith made famous. Looking fit in a salt-and-pepper beard and a dark suit, Smith said football was the catalyst that helped him escape poverty and achieve greatness, saying he came from the projects, eating government cheese and drinking powdered milk.
Growing up, he aspired to follow in the footsteps of his idol, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Roger Staubach. But, Smith’s coach said his gift was running the ball.

MT Senate Approves Tobacco Tax

The Montana Senate approved a big increase in state tobacco taxes on Thursday, which supporters said would help fund health-care costs, but sparked emotional reaction from opponents of the measure.
KTVQ.com reports the Senate voted 27-22 in favor SB 354, which increases cigarette taxes by $1.50 a pack, and higher smokeless tobacco taxes. The bill also would tax e-cigarettes and vaping products, and now goes to the House for consideration. The higher taxes would reportedly raise an estimated $70 million a year, with almost half of the funds dedicated to state health-care services – including a raise in pay for care givers at nursing homes and group homes, veterans’ nursing homes and more. Ten Republicans joined 17 Senate Democrats in favor of the bill. Opponents assailed it as unnecessary and unfair to tobacco users, many of whom are poor.

Dual Credit Classes Continue, Officer Shooting Justified

A proven incentive to jump-starting a college career, high school students taking dual college credit classes will continue at Montana State University Billings next year at no cost.
The fee waiver, which excused students from over $51 per-credit fees, coincided with a spike in interest in dual credit classes, which are college-level courses taught in high schools by high school teachers with advanced certifications. Credit-hours taken by students overseen by MSUB and City College have more than tripled this year.

A jury ruled Wednesday that a Billings officer David Raschkow was justified in shooting and killing an armed man in 2016. The decision was announced after more than six hours of testimony at a coroner’s inquest. Big Horn County Coroner Terry Bullis presided over the hearing at the Yellowstone County Courthouse. The jury’s ruling means that the homicide was non-criminal.

Tester Sponsors Veterans Care Bill

Montana Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has sponsored a bill for veteran’s treatment of illnesses associated with exposure to biological and chemical weapons. Along with Kansas Republican Sen. Jerry Moran, Tester introduced the “Gary Deloney and John Olsen Toxic Exposure Declassification Act” on Monday.
The bill would give veterans access to military records that could help with disability benefits and Veterans Administration healthcare, and is named for Billings’ own U.S. Navy veteran John Olson, who takes 13 medications every day.
KTVQ.com reports that Olsen was aboard a tugboat off Hawaii when he was exposed to biological and chemical weapons testing in 1964 and ’65. Olsen was part of Project SHAD, the Shipboard Hazard and Defense program, which ran from 1962 to ’74. The declassified information could determine the toxic substance, severity of the exposure and risks of exposure.

Nurse Fired in Drug Theft at Billings Clinic

A Billings Clinic nurse was fired after he was caught stealing narcotics intended for patients. KTVQ.com reports that the hospital disclosed the drug diversion late Tuesday afternoon, after contacting 341 patients who may have been affected. Billings Clinic reported the matter to state and federal authorities, who are now investigating for possible criminal prosecution. In yesterday’s statement, Billings Clinic said it learned that the former nurse in its Cardiac Cath Lab had been stealing the synthetic opioid Fentanyl, more than 50 times more powerful than heroin, since October 2016. The identity of the nurse who has been terminated wasn’t released, other than to say the former employee started working at the Clinic in August 2016. Clinic officials described the drug theft, saying for the last five months the nurse exchanged Fentanyl with saline, a sterile salt water solution.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Mar. 29, 2017 9:46 AM CST
by rhancock

Bank Fire, No Local Option Tax

First Interstate Bank on Main Street was evacuated Tuesday morning for a fire in the building’s basement.
Billings Fire Department Assistant Chief Bill Rash said that after the initial call at 11:30 a.m., first responders found smoke and flames in the lower level. The building was evacuated and no one was injured. The Billings Gazette reports the fire was caused by an electrical failure in the wiring.

A Senate committee has tabled a local option tax authority bill as of Tuesday, probably killing it for the current legislative session. Senate Bill 331, or the Local Option Infrastructure Investment and Property Tax Relief Act, was defeated in the Taxation Committee yesterday by a 7-5 vote. The Gazette reports two Billings senators, Republicans Roger Webb and Tom Richmond, voted against the bill. A similar measure in 2015 could not find a sponsor.

Nurse Fired in Drug Theft at Billings Clinic

A Billings Clinic nurse was fired after he was caught stealing narcotics intended for patients. KTVQ.com reports that the hospital disclosed the drug diversion late Tuesday afternoon, after contacting 341 patients who may have been affected. Billings Clinic reported the matter to state and federal authorities, who are now investigating for possible criminal prosecution. In yesterday’s statement, Billings Clinic said it learned that the former nurse in its Cardiac Cath Lab had been stealing the synthetic opioid Fentanyl, more than 50 times more powerfulo than heroin, since October 2016. The identity of the nurse who has been terminated wasn’t released, other than to say the former employee started working at the Clinic in August 2016. Clinic officials described the drug theft, saying for the last five months the nurse exchanged Fentanyl with saline, a sterile salt water solution.

Billings Council Dismisses Ethics Board

The Billings City Council repealed the city’s ethics ordinances and dismissed its Board of Ethics on Monday, opting instead for a system where the Yellowstone County Attorney’s office will evaluate ethics complaints.
The Gazette reports that by a unanimous vote of 8-0 with Councilman Al Swanson abstaining, the city will adopt ethics standards and enforcement procedures already found in Montana statute. Council members Angela Cimmino and Chris Friedel were not in attendance.
The council’s action is similar to measures taken in large cities like Missoula, Kalispell, Helena and Great Falls.
Cathy Grott, the newest member of the now defunct board, asked the council to consider leaving the board in place. Another board member said that if the Billings Ethics panel had received training on how to conduct their hearings, there wouldnt have been as many complaints in 2015.

Laurel Principal Ousted, Students Protest

A group of Laurel high school students planned a protest this morning in defense of their ousted principal. KTVQ.com reports that the Laurel School District Board of Trustee voted against renewal of the contract of High School Principal Edward Norman on Monday. Superintendent Linda Filpula recommended to the board a [quote] “non-renewal of a non-tenured certified principal.” [end quote] It’s unclear why she recommended Norman’s contract not be renewed. Filpula did not respond to a request from KTVQ for comment. The recommendation of the non-renewal was listed as “without cause.” Hundreds of people packed the meeting Monday night. About 70 people spoke out during the meeting with 67 showing support for Norman, including students, staff and parents.
After the meeting, a group of students began work on protest signs. None of them were given a reason for Principal Norman’s non-renewal.