Archives for June 2018

Rims Rock Slide Threat Continues

Billings City officials are cautioning the public that they believe that the rock slide that damaged a home and crushed a truck on Tuesday might not be safe yet. City engineers are monitoring multiple areas for potential instability and believe that more rock could fall in the area. Geotechnical experts from Terracon have completed an initial assessment, the results of which confirmed the belief that there is instability in adjacent areas of the rock face. A deeper investigation is reportedly ongoing and any plan of action will have to wait until that assessment is complete. Q2 reports that Terracon has worked with the city in the past on issues surrounding the rims, including the 2014 slide that closed a portion of Zimmerman Trail. The Billings Fire Department has asked residents of two homes close to the slide area to evacuate.

Trump Coming to Great Falls July 5

Q2 is confirming that President Donald Trump’s Montana visit will be in Great Falls at the Four Seasons arena at 4 p.m. on July 5th. Doors open at 1 p.m. The event is, once again, listed on Trump’s campaign site as a rally. Shortly after the webpage announced the event, it was removed with no explanation. A White House spokeswoman had confirmed earlier on Thursday that Trump was headed for Montana, but didn’t say which city.
Political pundits say Montana is a likely target because of the U.S. Senate race between Republican state auditor Matt Rosendale and Democratic incumbent Sen. Jon Tester. In an email to MTN News, Tester said he was glad to hear that Trump is finally coming to Montana, after the Democrat had invited him several times to discuss issues and policies important to Montanans.

Billings Rock Slide, Montana Child Health Rankings

The Gazette reports that a massive rock slide in Billings this week sent huge boulders from the Rimrocks crashing into a neighborhood below, and officials say more rocks could fall. Billings Parks and Recreation closed portions of Mountain View Boulevard and the top of the Rims, fearing more could break off. Geologists and engineers are attempting to determine the areas at risk and what can be done to secure them.

A new 2018 study released Wednesday, produced by the Annie E. Casey Foundation for data-based public policy, states that high rates of suicide and fatal crashes have led Montana to receive one of the worst child health rankings in the nation, based on 16 indicators of economic well-being, education, health, family and community. The state profiles in the study relied mainly on the most recent statistics from 2016.

Zinke in Billings, Big Horn Man Pleads Not Guilty

U.S. Secretary of the Interior and former Montana Congressman Ryan Zinke was in Billings Wednesday, where he spoke with Q2 News Director Jon Stepanek on a wide variety of topics. Zinke was confirmed to serve as President Donald Trump’s Interior Secretary in March of 2017 and is the nation’s first Montanan to occupy a cabinet position. Zinke directs an agency of 70,000 employees, responsible for one-fifth of the nation’s land mass. Get the whole interview at ktvq.com.

The Big Horn County man accused of killing his 4-year-old adopted daughter has pleaded not guilty in Big Horn County District Court before Judge Blair Jones. 34-year-old Bridger Boyd and his wife Jennifer operated a licensed foster care facility. All of the children have subsequently been removed from their care. Boyd remains in Big Horn County Jail on $1 million bond.

Billings Protest, Rollover Wreck

The Gazette reports that about 60 people gathered on the county courthouse lawn Tuesday in downtown Billings to bring attention to the Trump administration’s proposal to cut off federal funding to health care providers that perform abortions or refer patients to clinics that do. Title Ten funding provides family planning services to 4 million low-income people each year, most of them women. Trump’s Department of Health and Human Services proposal has been praised by anti-abortion groups and condemned by health providers.

Emergency first responders were on the scene late Tuesday where a vehicle overturned near the Billings public library. A red sedan and rolled onto its side on Sixth Avenue North, and an as-yet-unidentified man was transported to a local hospital. He had reportedly been struck in a second vehicle, which appeared to have collided with the overturned vehicle.

Tester, Daines Both Back Farm Bill

Q2 reports on a rare display of bipartisanship on Tuesday in Washington D.C. as Montana’s two U.S. Senators said the Senate version of the 2018 Farm Bill looks– so far– like good news for Montana farmers and ranchers, with funding for crop insurance and ag-research stations, as well as some leeway for hemp farming. Montana Republican Sen. Steve Daines said he expects the measure to pass by next week. Incumbent Democratic Sen. Jon Tester said he hopes the bill will provide a strong safety net for ag producers, especially in the face of retaliatory tariffs that can drive down commodity prices paid to farmers. Senate passage of the bill would send it back to a House-Senate conference committee to hammer out differences before a final version could reach President Trump’s desk. The current farm bill expires September 30th.

School Board Fires Sub, Missoula Gun Found

The Gazette reports Billings’ School board of trustees voted unanimously Monday to fire a tenured permanent substitute teacher after he was accused of a long history of making sexual and other inappropriate comments to students. The teacher, Glenn Kanvick, has denied the allegations. He addressed the board during the more than two-hour hearing, acknowledging some of the incidents detailed in the lengthy report initiated by outgoing superintendent Terry Bouck.

The handgun used in a Sunday shooting has been found on Sentinel High School property, and Missoula authorities say it appears to be consistent with evidence found at the scene of the crime that sent two teens to the hospital. Both shooting victims are out of surgery and expected to survive their injuries. Missoula police are searching for a suspect, described only as a male wearing red sweat pants.

Crow Tribe Budget Shortfall

Q2 reports that the Inspector General of the Interior Department says the Crow Tribe can’t account for nearly $14.5 million in federal transportation grants from 2016, according to a federal audit released Monday. The IG Office report states the tribe failed to track expense reports, provide supporting documents for the contracts or submit a single audit for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2016. The contracts were part of a Tribal Transportation Agreement with the Bureau of Indian Affairs, designed to provide engineering, construction and maintenance for transportation infrastructure. The events described in the audit report took place during the tenure of former Chairman Darrin Old Coyote. Current Chairman A.J. Not Afraid has yet to respond. The problems came to light when the contractor managing the tribe’s finances was let go in July 2017 due to a budget shortfall.

Campus Carry Contemplated, Model Plane Fly-In

The Billings Gazette reports Yellowstone County administrators at Elder Grove and Shepherd schools are considering policies to implement a Montana law that allows trustees to arm anyone, including teachers, administrators, or community members on campus. The action comes in the wake of school shootings in Parkland, Florida, and Santa Fe, Texas. The two rural districts have larger enrollments that other Montana schools that have armed staffers. Both are within 15 minutes of Billings.

Skilled model aircraft pilots and technicians brought their best planes to Billings’ west side this weekend. The Billings Flying Mustangs hosted the fly-in for radio control aircraft at Chamberlain Field on Saturday. The event drew about 40 pilots from Montana and out of state from Washington, Idaho, Colorado, the Dakotas and Wyoming. Some of the designs are reportedly capable of doing more than full-size aircraft.

Missoula School Shooting, DJTJr. in Billings Friday

Q2 reports two teenagers are in the hospital after being shot on Sunday evening on the Sentinel High School campus in Missoula. Police arrived at the scene shortly after 6:30 p.m. Both of the unidentified victims were taken to a local hospital where they were reportedly undergoing surgery late Sunday. Authorities report that the victims were shot by a male who fled the scene. A perimeter was set up so that officers could search the area for the suspect and weapon, asking people to avoid the area. Police don’t believe there to be a threat to the public.

President Donald Trump’s son came to Billings this weekend. Donald Trump Jr. spoke in support of Republican Congressional candidate Greg Gianforte at the Billings Hotel & Convention Center on Friday night. Trump also spoke in support of GOP Senate candidate Matt Rosendale.