Archives for May 2017

Billings AM News

A school bus was involved in a collision in Billings on Tuesday while students were on board. The Gazette reports that at about 11:30 a.m. the bus hit a truck while turning onto Broadwater Avenue from Eighth Street West, according to Billings Police Sgt. Mitch Hart, who said the woman driving the bus southbound on Eighth told officers she entered the intersection on a yellow light. The man driving the truck said he had a green light when the bus pulled out in front of him.

The Yellowstone County commission on Tuesday approved hiring KLJ engineering to prepare a plan for the Lockwood Targeted Economic Development District. The unanimous vote follows a discussion last week where commissioners supported a staff recommendation to hire KLJ, with conditions that address potential conflicts of interest. The firm has two clients within the district.

Woman Arrested for DUI

A woman was arrested after striking a light pole with her vehicle in south Billings on Tuesday at around 4:30 p.m.
KTVQ.com reports that 40-year-old Tamra Littlelight fled the scene with her 2-year-old toddler in the vehicle at the time of the crash. Billings Police Sgt. Scott Conrad stated in a statement that Littlelight was driving a 2000 Chevy Cavalier westbound on Minnesota Avenue and turned left on South 30th Street when she took a wide turn and struck a light pole. Officers located Littlelight and the badly injured toddler, who suffered a broken leg from the crash. An unidentified male passenger was also injured. Both were transported to the hospital. Littlelight faces felony charges of criminal endangerment, child endangerment, DUI, failure to remain on scene, failure to report an accident, no insurance, and driving with a suspended license.

Two-Car Crash Injures Six Sunday

A two-car, high-speed crash injured six people early Sunday and closed traffic on King Avenue West in Billings’ west end. The Billings Gazette reports that the crash occurred at about 1:30 a.m. when a speeding Honda Civic struck the rear end of a Chevrolet pickup that was also headed westbound, according to Sgt. Matt Lennick of the Billings Police Department. The Honda hit a fence on the north side of King Avenue in front of the South Forty Apartments located on Fallow Lane. Residents were awakened to the crash, and many of them reportedly watched the aftermath from apartment windows and the parking lot. As of 3 a.m., police had gotten drivers and passengers out of the cars and were working to figure out what happened. King Avenue was closed while clean-up crews began to remove debris from the road.

Four Rescued From Yellowstone River

Four people were rescued from the Yellowstone River Monday. According to Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Sgt. Dan Paris, the situation could have turned deadly. KTVQ.com reports that deputies responded to a call of three people– two juveniles and one adult– stranded near the Washington Street bridge on the Yellowstone River on Monday evening at around 6:30. Paris said they found two adults and two juveniles, who had cheap inflatables in the fast moving water, and the four of them washed up into a tree snag. Sgt. Paris said of their inflatables [quote]
“They had nothing they should have been in the river with,” [end quote]
One of the adults was able to swim to shore on her own, but none of them– including the kids– were wearing life jackets. Four deputies in a boat were able to rescue the others.

Memorial Day, Gianforte Apology

Over the last 135 years, Memorial Day weekend visitors to Mountview Cemetery have sometimes needed a little help finding the grave of a loved one. But from 10 a.m. through 2 p.m. Saturday through Monday, a group of volunteers and park staff, equipped with thick lists of graves and walkie-talkies, will be ready to help. The Billings Gazette reports that thousands of names are already in the database, but not everybody who’s buried at Mountview has their data entered. A Memorial Day service will be held at 10 a.m. Monday.

Speaking at his victory party in Bozeman, Congressman-elect Greg Gianforte admitted he was in the wrong and offered an apology to the journalist he assaulted, saying he [quote] “…made a mistake… should not have treated that reporter that way, and for that I’m sorry Mr. Ben Jacobs.” [end quote]

Gianforte Wins MT House Seat

Businessman Greg Gianforte will represent Montana in the U.S. House of Representatives, a day after he was seen assaulting a journalist, for which he was charged. Returns in Yellowstone County showed Gianforte with a 19 point win over Democrat Rob Quist and Libertarian Mark Wicks. Final results show 53,336 votes were cast in the special House election in Yellowstone. Gianforte led with nearly 56 percent to 37 percent for Quist, while Wicks had less than 7 percent of the vote. Another 257 voters, or less than half of one percent, wrote in other candidates. KTVQ.com reports that, as expected, this election brought out fewer voters than the nearly 72,000 in the November presidential election. Many of the absentee ballots came in before Thursday in Yellowstone County. Still about 150 came into the elections office to register on election day.

Gazzette, Missoulian Rescind Gianforte Endorsements

In the immediate aftermath of congressional candidate Greg Gianforte’s alleged assault on a journalist, two of Montana’s largest newspapers are rescinding their endorsement of the Republican businessman. The Billings Gazette and the Missoulian, both owned by Lee Enterprises, pulled their endorsements following the altercation Wednesday between the candidate and a reporter for Britain’s Guardian newspaper. Gianforte has been cited for misdemeanor assault. The Gazette editorial board stated last night, [quote] “While there are still questions left unanswered about GOP House hopeful Greg Gianforte’s altercation with Guardian reporter Ben Jacobs, eyewitness accounts, law enforcement investigations and records are all shocking, disturbing and without precedent. That’s why The Billings Gazette editorial board is also doing something without precedent: We’re rescinding our editorial endorsement of Greg Gianforte.” [end quote] Check with the Yellowstone County Election office for registration or your polling place.

Gianforte Attacks Reporter in Bozeman

In a political bombshell making international news, on the eve of Montana’s special congressional election, Republican candidate Greg Gianforte allegedly body-slammed reporter Ben Jacobs of Britain’s Guardian newspaper for trying to ask a question at a campaign event in Bozeman last night. Gallatin County Sheriff Brian Gootkin announced that Gianforte had been cited for assault and ordered to appear in Justice Court on June 7.
Jacobs said Gianforte slammed him to the floor and broke his glasses when he asked the candidate about developments on the health-care bill passed by House Republicans this month. A reporter with Denver’s Fox News television crew reportedly saw Gianforte grabbed Jacobs by the neck, slammed him to the ground and then began punching him. Almost 260,000 Montanans had already voted by mail as of Wednesday, potentially 70 percent of the total vote.

Helicopter Finds Billings Burglar

A helicopter helped a homeowner find a failed burglar on Monday evening. The Billings Flying Services helped track down 36-year-old Amir Mallak following the botched home invasion. A neighbor went to help the homeowner and began looking for the intruder. Commissioner John Ostlund, who was also a neighbor, contacted Gary Blaine’s Billings Flying Service to provide air support to locate the suspect. Mallak was spotted in a ravine in south Billings near Hillcrest Road by the helicopter pilot. The homeowner checked the rest of the house and found a shotgun sitting on top of a recliner, moved from a closet prior to the burglary. Inside a pillowcase was the homeowner’s laptop, shotgun shells, and other items. The suspect allegedly had methamphetamine in his possession when apprehended. He was charged with possession of dangerous drugs, not the botched burglary.

May 25 Election Preview

Thursday is election day, and Democratic congressional candidate Rob Quist made his final appeal to Billings voters on Tuesday at The Garage at Yellowstone Valley Brewing Company. Republican Greg Gianforte won Yellowstone County by less than one percent in his run against Gov. Steve Bullock last fall. The Quist campaign claims more than 13,000 people attended rallies in Billings, Bozeman, Butte, and Missoula while campaigning across the state alongside Vermont U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders Saturday and Sunday. KTVQ.com reports that Gov. Bullock and Sen. Jon Tester also stumped for Quist in Helena and Great Falls over the weekend. Gianforte’s campaign secured the endorsement of Crow tribal officials, while Quist landed Northern Cheyenne tribal officials’ endorsement. Late registration can be completed at the Yellowstone County Elections Office. Polls at the Montana Pavilion at MetraPark will be open tomorrow until 8 p.m.