Archives for November 2017

Billings Administrator Selection

KTVQ reports interviews begin today for Billings administrator, and the selection is set for Friday. The four candidates under consideration include three current city managers: Greg Doyon of Great Falls, Ron Alles of Helena and David Fraser of Boulder City, Nevada. Truckee Airport District general manager Kevin Smith of California will also interview for the position. Fort Collins Colorado Deputy City Manager Jeff Mihelich has withdrawn his application for the post. Interviews will take place at the Northern Hotel in downtown Billings. The public is welcome to attend the selection at 8 a.m. Friday at the Billings Public Library’s Community room. By the end of this week, Billings will have a new city administrator. At least that’s the plan. The new city administrator will replace the outgoing Tina Volek, who is retiring this year. The salary will be around $155,000.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Nov. 30, 2017 9:50 AM CST
by rhancock

Crow Agency Murder Trial Begins Monday

At the upcoming trial of a man accused of beating, strangling and burning a Crow Agency woman last year, prosecutors will present to jurors the dying words of the victim, according to a trial brief filed this week. 19-year-old Dimarzio Sanchez is charged with first-degree murder for the death of Roylynn RidesHorse last year. The trial is set to begin on Monday in U.S. District Court in Billings. Sanchez is one of three people charged in connection with the murder. Frank Sanchez and Angelica Jo Whiteman have already accepted plea agreements, which include for Whiteman the requirement that she testify against Dimarzio Sanchez at his trial. According to court documents, RidesHorse accepted a ride home from Whiteman in April of 2016. She was strangled, stripped naked and set on fire in a remote area of the Crow Reservation.

Billings Administrator Selection

Interviews begin today for Billings chief executive officer, and the selection is scheduled for Friday. The four candidates under consideration include three current city managers: Greg Doyon of Great Falls, Ron Alles of Helena and David Fraser of Boulder City, Nevada. Truckee Airport District general manager Kevin Smith of California will also interview for the position. Fort Collins Colorado Deputy City Manager Jeff Mihelich has withdrawn his application for the post. Interviews will take place at the Northern Hotel in downtown Billings. The public is welcome to attend the selection at 8 a.m. Friday at the Billings Public Library’s Community room. By the end of this week, Billings will have a new city administrator. At least that’s the plan. The new city administrator will replace the outgoing Tina Volek, who is retiring this year. The salary will be around $155,000.

Montana Senators on Tax Bill

Montana’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has said he couldn’t support President Donald Trump’s tax bill, because of the debt it passes on to future generations, saying in an email [quote] “The Senate bill as currently drafted saddles our kids and grandkids with more crushing debt by adding nearly $1.5 trillion to the deficit…And it raises taxes on Montana families, forces cuts to Medicare, and benefits wealthy out-of-staters at the expense of hard-working Montanans.” [end quote] There are other Montana-specific concerns with the tax bill, such as Montana losing its share of federal oil, gas and coal royalty payments. The federal government currently splits those revenues with states where the leases are located. Montana’s Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines is still reportedly uncommitted to his party’s tax bill, saying Republicans aren’t doing enough for “main street” businesses.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Nov. 29, 2017 1:14 AM CST
by rhancock

Montana Senators on Tax Bill

Montana’s Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester has said he couldn’t support President Donald Trump’s tax bill, because of the crushing debt it passes on to future generations, saying in an email [quote] “The Senate bill as currently drafted saddles our kids and grandkids with more crushing debt by adding nearly $1.5 trillion to the deficit…And it raises taxes on Montana families, forces cuts to Medicare, and benefits wealthy out-of-staters at the expense of hard-working Montanans.” [end quote] There are other Montana-specific concerns with the tax bill, such as Montana losing its share of federal oil, gas and coal royalty payments. The federal government currently splits those revenues with states where the leases are located. Montana’s Republican U.S. Sen. Steve Daines is still reportedly uncommitted to his party’s tax bill, saying Republicans aren’t doing enough for “main street” businesses.

New Warden at Billings Prison

New Warden Jennie Hansen started Monday at the Montana Women’s Prison in Billings, 11 days after she was named to the position. KTVQ reports that Hansen is a Billings native who graduated Billings Central High School. She then graduated St. Mary College in Kansas and earned a degree in psychology, with ambitions of working in law enforcement. Hansen has worked for the Montana Department of Corrections since 2009, spending nearly five years at the Montana Women’s Prison before moving over to the Billings Probation and Parole office. There, her specialized caseload included those dealing with mental illness. Hansen was selected as the new warden on November 16th. Most recently, she was the Eastern Region Bureau Chief for the Division of Probation and Parole. She implemented new procedures and policies for community safety to ensure more individualized and effective care.

Baucus-Simpson Forum in Billings Dec. 4

At a forum in Billings next week, soft-spoken former Montana U.S. Senator and Ambassador to China Max Baucus and out-spoken former Sen. Al Simpson of Wyoming will discuss the current dysfunction in the U.S. Senate, the political system and the role civility may play in repairing the political process. Simpson, a GOP deficit hawk, has been critical of the Trump administration’s tax plan, telling FOX Business in October that the measure would dramatically increase the federal deficit. In 2010, Simpson and Democrat Erskine Bowles co-authored the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction plan, which never came into fruition. The public is invited to attend this free community forum on Monday, December 4th, at Cisel Recital Hall on the Montana State University Billings campus. Seating is first-come, first-served. The doors will open at 5:30 p.m. and the forum will run from 6 to 7pm.

Daines May Vote Down Tax Bill

The Senate could vote on President Donald Trump’s proposed tax bill as early as Thursday, and according to a report from Bloomberg Politics, a staffer for Montana Republican Steve Daines said the senator would vote down the bill as is. In a Twitter post on Monday, Daines said he spoke with Trump over the weekend about tax reform, saying [quote] “It was good to speak with (the President) this weekend working through these concerns,” [end quote] The staff member, who asked not to be named because of the matter’s sensitivity, told Bloomberg [quote] “’Daines is concerned on how the tax cuts in the measure would affect ‘Main Street’ as opposed to big companies,” [end quote] Trump tweeted that the tax bill has “great support,” but the Congressional Budget Office scoring says it raises the deficit by over one-point-four-trillion dollars.

Warm Temps Thwart Ski Resort Openings

The Billings Gazette reports that rain and record-breaking high temperatures last week prompted several Montana ski resorts to delay their opening weekends. Meanwhile, the National Weather Service expects a return to more seasonable weather this week. A cold front moving through the region Sunday night is expected to push temperatures closer to the norm in Billings, although highs are set to remain above average over the next week. While Red Lodge Mountain opened as planned the day after Thanksgiving, the abrupt switch from early-season snow dumps to warm, rainy weather forceded Bridger Bowl Ski Area to abandon its announced plans to open the ski area two weeks ahead of schedule. They announced on Friday morning that the anticipated opening would be cancelled until further notice. As of Sunday evening, its website said an update would come later this week.

Soothing Santa, Cyber Monday

Mall shopping can be overwhelming for anyone, especially special needs kids, so the Rimrock Mall hosted a special, quieter chance to get a picture with Santa on Sunday morning. The “Soothing Santa” allows families to get pictures before the stores open. Music is turned off and other distractions eliminated. The national group Autism Speaks has helped with these events around the country since 2011. This is the first year at the Rimrock Mall. Another “Soothing Santa” session is scheduled for next Sunday, Dec. 3rd from 10 to 11am. You can call in advance for an appointment.

After Montanans ventured out seeking early bargains on Thanksgiving day and Black Friday, now comes Cyber Monday– dubbed the Super Bowl of shopping– and retailers are preparing for the biggest online shopping day in American history. Sales are expected to top $6.6 billion.