Archives for February 2018

Bullock Declares State of Emergency, Edelman Chosen by MSUB

Gov. Steve Bullock has issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency on the Blackfeet, Fort Belknap, and Northern Cheyenne reservations and in Glacier and Golden Valley Counties. The declaration is in response to extreme cold and blizzard conditions with drifting snow, impacting most of Northwestern and Southeastern Montana. The State Emergency Coordination Center began preparations and assistance for the storm event last week. Bullock also issued an executive order for an extension of hours of operation for fuel delivery statewide.

Dan Edelman has been chosen as chancellor at Montana State University Billings and City College. He will assume the permanent position after a year under the leadership of interim Chancellor Ron Larsen. Edelman was one of four candidates interviewed last week. He was vice president and chief financial officer at the University of North Texas in Dallas.

Redding Gets 100 Years, Billings Students Oppose Walkout

24-year-old Dana Redding of Hardin, who pleaded guilty to beating his 2-year-old daughter Isabella to death in 2017, was sentenced Tuesday in Big Horn County District Court to a century in prison. Redding will serve his 100 year sentence at the Montana State Prison, with a parole restriction on the first 50 years. Redding pleaded guilty to deliberate homicide in the gruesome murder of the toddler.

Students and School District 2 officials are talking about how best to handle a planned walk-out scheduled nationwide for March 14th, but some in Billings are opposed to it. The walkout across the country is set for the one-month anniversary of the shooting at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School that left 17 dead. Billings Senior High School student Dan McGee on Tuesday told Q2 the movement is partisan and [quote] “anti-gun rights.” [end quote]

Students to Walk Out and March, Trump Says NRA On Our Side

Q2 reports that a group of students in Billings are teaming up to talk about gun regulations in Montana following the Parkland, Florida shooting that left 17 dead in high school on February 14th. They’re planning a walkout and march, but they want it to be a conversation, not just a protest. The walk-out is set for March 14th. The March for Our Lives in downtown Billings is scheduled for March 24th. People are encouraged to wear orange.

Meanwhile President Trump told a gathering of the National Governors Association Winter Meeting of a possible ban of bump stocks Monday morning. He said he would [quote] “put them into the machine gun category” [end quote] and ban them himself if Congress is unable to take action. Trump said [quote] “Don’t worry about the NRA, they’re on our side,” [end quote]

Judge Sued for Immigrant Detention

The Billings Gazette reports that a local immigrant rights group claimed on Monday that a Montana judge acted illegally when he asked a deputy to take away from his court a Mexican-born man who was later detained by federal immigration authorities. 40-year-old Miguel Reynaga Hernandez, a construction worker living in Billings, was detained in October after appearing in court with his wife, who was seeking a civil protection order against another person. The Northwest Immigrant Rights Project contends that former Yellowstone County Justice of the Peace Pedro Hernandez had no authority to initiate Reynaga’s arrest. The group filed suit on Friday against the judge– along with Yellowstone County sheriff’s deputy Derrek Skinner– on Reynaga’s behalf in federal court. Local law enforcement agencies have reportedly turned over suspects to federal immigration officials, which President Donald Trump has vocally encouraged.

Dispensaries Still Targeted

The Billings Gazette reports that another medical marijuana dispensary is suing the city over blatant attempts by the municipal government to oust the business. Shawn Palmer says his medical marijuana dispensary business has been licensed annually in Billings since 2011, but when he went to renew near the end of 2017, he says the city denied him. Then the city sent him code violation notices that said the dispensary should cease doing business because he had no license, even though the city granted him business licenses in previous years. Billings has had a de facto ban on medical marijuana businesses on the books since 2012. City code says that all business licensees must follow state and federal law, but Montana passed an expanded medical marijuana initiative in 2016. Palmer’s Grand Avenue business is accessible only to registered medical marijuana patients.

Posted to kctr.vncnews.com
Feb. 26, 2018 12:03 AM CST
by rhancock

Dispensaries Targeted Despite Referendum

The Billings Gazette reports that another medical marijuana dispensary is suing the city over blatant attempts by the municipal government to oust the business. Shawn Palmer says his medical marijuana dispensary business has been licensed annually in Billings since 2011, but when he went to renew near the end of 2017, he says the city denied him. Then the city sent him code violation notices that said the dispensary should cease doing business because he had no license, even though the city granted him business licenses in previous years. Billings has had a de facto ban on medical marijuana businesses on the books since 2012. City code says that all business licensees must follow state and federal law, but Montana passed an expanded medical marijuana initiative last year. Palmer’s Grand Avenue business is accessible only to registered medical marijuana patients.

Taste of Billings Gala Sunday

Q2 reports some of the best food in the Magic City was served under one roof on Sunday night at the annual Taste of Billings Black Tie Gala. The new lights outside will remain a permanent fixture to The Billings Depot. They were installed this week, and shone brightly for the Gala. Funds raised will go toward adding lights to the entirety of Montana Avenue street to help bring life to the downtown community. It marked the final event for outgoing Executive Director Jennifer Mercer. Michelle Williams will now lead the non-profit forward, and Mercer said [quote] “Michelle is my dream replacement… She is amazing, and she’s going to do a fabulous job,” [end quote] Officials estimated about 150 attended the gala to taste dishes from six local chefs. Music was provided by the Magic City Big Band.

MT Lawmakers on Arming Teachers

The Billings Gazette reports on Montana lawmakers’ response to President Donald Trump’s endorsement Wednesday of arming teachers as a solution to school shootings. Neither Republican U.S. Senator Steve Daines nor Democtratic Sen. Jon Teaster considered training and arming teachers as an adequate deterrent or response to school shootings. Neither did lone Montana Congressman Greg Gianforte, but none said that the issue is off the table. Trump discussed the idea at a forum with survivors of school shootings Wednesday and again on Thursday, emphasizing the importance of training. A national poll showed only 26 percent of Democrats support arming teachers, while 69 percent of Republicans approve. It’s a significantly wider gap than differences over banning assault-style weapons. Tester, a former teacher, opposes legislation that would “force teachers to carry guns in school,” but didn’t exclude the possibility of voluntary carry.

Smoking Prohibition, Red Lodge Man Arrested

A new rule prohibiting smoking within 20 feet of public entryways, windows or ventilation systems will take effect in Yellowstone County on March 1. Q2 reports that Rule 7 was voted in by the RiverStone Board of Health in December. The rule will also ban the use of e-cigarettes and other vaping devices indoors, putting them under the same restrictions as traditional cigarettes.

A Red Lodge man was arrested Thursday morning for the murder of a homeless man who was reported missing Monday. Thomas Schifferns was being held at the Yellowstone County jail on a $1 million bond, according to Carbon County Sheriff Josh McQuillan. Schifferns is accused of shooting James McGregor and dragging him down to a ditch off Highway 212 on Monday. According to court documents, Schifferns said he killed McGregor because he was being “disrespectful and homeless.”

Protest May Bring Suspensions

CNN reports that students around the United States are walking out of class to demand tougher gun laws in response to last week’s deadly shooting in Parkland, Florida, but some schools are threatening harsh punishments. The Needville Independent School District in Texas issued a warning Tuesday that anyone who participated in a walkout or other political protest would be suspended for three days. Q2 reports two walkout protests in Montana have already been announced. The first is at Carroll College in Helena, and the second at the Missoula International School. Details can be found on the Women’s March website, as part of a proposed national school walkout on March 14th– one month from the day 17 people were killed at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting. The objective is to urge congress to pass tougher legislation to prevent gun violence.