Archives for August 2017

Montana S.C. Overturns BPD Compensation Decision

The Montana Supreme Court on Monday reversed a judge’s decision that the city of Billings pay $2.7 million to police officers as part of a lawsuit over their contract with the city. The Billings Gazette reports that, in a 5-2 decision, the state Supreme Court ruled that language in collective bargaining agreements between Billings Police Department officers and the city of Billings were not as clear as a lower court had determined, when awarding a judgement of back payment to officers. Justice Jim Rice wrote the majority opinion, stating that District Judge Brenda Gilbert’s conclusions failed to consider all available evidence when she ordered the city of Billings to pay, and that the contract language could be interpreted more than one way depending on what evidence is considered. Twenty-eight Billings Police officers first filed the lawsuit in 2009.

Former BIA Officer Indicted

A former Bureau of Indian Affairs official is accused of coercing a woman into having sex with him under the threat of arrest and then lying about it to federal investigators. KTVQ.com reports that Dana Michael Bullcoming made his initial appearance in U.S. District Court in Billings Tuesday on charges of deprivation of rights under the color of law and two counts of making a false statement to a federal officer. According to the indictment, Bullcoming was a BIA law enforcement officer in Lame Deer in October 2015 when he allegedly coerced a woman he’d detained and threatened arrest if she refused. Prosecutors allege that the woman experienced bodily injury as a result of the sexual activity. Federal agents questioned Bullcoming in February 2016 about the incident, and reportedly provided false statements. He is not currently in custody.

Montana Couple Welcome Hurricane Baby in Houston

A Montana couple who recently moved to Houston have brought a new Texan into the world, in the midst of Hurricane Harvey. Former Montanans Greg and Andrea Smith moved to Houston not long ago, and Andrea was due to deliver her baby last Saturday. KTVQ.com reports that the original plan was to drive to the hospital on Sunday, but thanks to Harvey, that didn’t happen. Deep waters greeted the couple Sunday morning and while the hospital isn’t far from their apartment in Houston, it wasn’t possible to get there. After calling 911 and the National Guard without success, Greg was making plans to deliver the baby himself. That’s when the community stepped in. A neighbor was able to summon a big truck to get the expectant parents to the hospital, where Andrea successfully gave birth to baby Adrielle.

Air Quality Improving, But Unhealthy

While reports suggest it has been improving, the air quality in Billings and the surrounding area was deemed “unhealthy for sensitive groups” as of yesterday morning. KTVQ.com reports that the classification is an upgrade from Monday, when the Montana Department of Environmental Quality listed air in the Billings area as “unhealthy.” According to the agency, when the air quality is at the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” level, those with respiratory or heart disease as well as the elderly and young children should limit their time outdoors. The western side of the state is being hit hard, with most of the region in the “unhealthy” classification. Seeley Lake residents have been suffering through weeks of unhealthy air. Health officials recommend everyone at risk should avoid outdoor exercise and those with respiratory problems, the elderly, and children should remain indoors.

Man Charged in Assault of Elementary School Girl

45-year-old Chad Meeks has been charged with sexual assault after an elementary school student told school officials he abused her, according to charging documents. Meeks appeared Monday in Yellowstone County Justice Court where Justice of the Peace David Carter set bond at $150,000. The Billings Gazette reports that Meeks inappropriately touched the child multiple times and told her not to tell. However, the child told her school counselor she was afraid of him. Once Meeks learned the child had implicated him in the crime, he quit his job and planned to flee, despite being on parole for a federal offense. The child’s mother reportedly tried to convince investigators that her child was fabricating the stories and had since recanted. The mother has a history of protecting offenders after a reported crime and showed hostility to people helping her daughter.

Billings Bucks State Law, Bans Medical Marijuana

The Billings City Council has prohibited medical marijuana operations within city limits, despite the fact that Montana voted to legalize the drug for medical purposes. KTVQ.com reports that Billings municipal staff don’t known how many medical marijuana providers or dispensaries currently exist in the city, but there are at least two on its radar and it doesn’t want any new locations. After a lengthy session and hearing on the issue, the council voted to pass both recommended portions of the updated ordinance after hearing from the public on the matter. The medical marijuana issue was split into two sections – banning storefronts and current or future dispensaries from operating in city limits, and an amendment to the City Code to insert a definition of “dispensaries.” In 2010, the City Council adopted an interim Zoning ordinance, which has expired.

Billings Monday PM News

A man who was wearing a seat belt walked away from a rollover crash this morning in Billings.The Gazette is reporting that the crash backed up eastbound morning traffic on Interstate 90, although one lane remained open. The only vehicle involved in the crash was a Nissan SUV, which rolled before coming to a rest on its side on the south side of the interstate near Coulson Park. The driver stood with first responders as they righted the vehicle.

64-year-old David Williamson of Powell, Wyoming was arrested and charged with second-degree murder this weekend, after calling 911 to report the death of his wife from an apparent gunshot wound, according to the Park County Sheriff’s Office. When deputies arrived at his residence they found Williamson “calmly sitting on the front porch.” He’s being held at the Park County Detention Center. It’s the second murder in the county this month.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Aug. 28, 2017 2:01 PM CST
by rhancock

Billings PM News

A man who was wearing a seat belt walked away from a rollover crash this morning in Billings.The Gazette is reporting that the crash backed up eastbound morning traffic on Interstate 90, although one lane remained open. The only vehicle involved in the crash was a Nissan SUV, which rolled before coming to a rest on its side on the south side of the interstate near Coulson Park. The driver stood with first responders as they righted the vehicle.

64-year-old David Williamson of Powell, Wyoming was arrested and charged with second-degree murder this weekend, after calling 911 to report the death of his wife from an apparent gunshot wound, according to the Park County Sheriff’s Office. When deputies arrived at his residence they found Williamson “calmly sitting on the front porch.” He’s being held at the Park County Detention Center.

Billings Woman Killed in Red Lodge Crash

KTVQ.com reports that a Billings woman was killed in a fatal crash in Red Lodge on Saturday involving alcohol. According to the Montana Highway Patrol, the crash happened around 10 p.m. Saturday on Highway 212 near the Rock Creek Resort. An MHP spokesperson said today that a 31-year-old Billings man was northbound on Highway 212 in a Chevy pickup truck, when the 81-year-old Billings man driving a Chevrolet Cruze entered the highway, where the posted speed limit is 60 mph. The truck rear-ended the passenger car, causing it and the truck to spin off the shoulder. The passenger in the Chevy Cruze, 78-year-old Verna Ruff of Billings, was transported to the Beartooth Clinic, where she was pronounced dead, according to the Carbon County Sheriff’s Office. The two drivers were transported to the hospital for treatment of unspecified injuries.

Exceptional Women Event Sept. 29

The Billings Gazette reports that Pulitzer Prize winning editor Kathy Best believes now is the perfect time for more women to trust their voices and become active. The current editor of The Missoulian has been a journalist for some of the largest newspapers in the country, including helping her team take two Pulitzer Prizes in her role as the managing editor and then the editor of the Seattle Times. She has made a career out of telling other people’s stories and seeking out voices that need to be heard. Best believes that more women need to trust their stories and draw upon their experience to make a difference in their community, saying [quote] “Stop being quiet about what is exceptional.” Best will speak at The Exceptional Women Event on Friday, Sept. 29 at the Northern Hotel in Billings at 11:30am.