Archives for October 2018

Q2 Suspect Identified, Mueller Smear Uncovered

The man suspected of leaving suspicious packages in front of the Q2 studio in downtown Billings Monday has been taken to Billings Clinic for mental health evaluation. Billings Police said Tuesday the as-yet-unidentified 40-year-old man was cooperative. He told police he was a Star Wars fan and the packages were homemade “light sabers”, which he left at the television station because surveillance cameras were present and he felt the items would be safe.

CBS News reports a plot to hire women to fabricate sexual assault claims against special counsel Robert Mueller has been referred to the FBI. Newsmax host and right-wing lobbyist Jack Burkman claimed in a Facebook video post Tuesday that Mueller would be implicated, but The Atlantic reported Tuesday that a woman was offered $20,000 to accuse Mueller of misconduct, by a man claiming to work for Burkman.

Justice Department Investigating Zinke

CNN reports that the U.S. Department of Justice is investigating Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. The full extent of the inquiry is unclear, but suggests Zinke is under investigation for possibly using his office for personal gain. According to the report, the Interior Department’s inspector general has conducted numerous public inquiries into the former Navy Seal and Montana congressman, including the department’s handling of a Connecticut casino project, whether the boundaries for Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument were redrawn to benefit a state lawmaker and the propriety of conversations between Zinke and Halliburton Chairman David Lesar about a Montana land development project in his hometown of Whitefish. Zinke has faced multiple ethics questions during his brief time at Interior, with the inspector general concluding earlier this month that Zinke violated the department’s travel policies. Get the whole story online at

Bomb Scare at Billings TV Station

Another in a series of attacks on the Constitutionally-protected free press has occurred, and this time, it happened in Billings. Police detonated a suspicious box and a second device that looked like an explosive, found outside the studios of KTVQ in downtown Billings. Both items were found by an as-yet-unidentified man at a side entrance of the television station’s main office on Third Avenue North early Monday afternoon. A secure radius was established as a BPD bomb squad robot detonated the plastic tote at around 8:30 p.m. It did not contain an incendiary device. The second device was wrapped in electrical tape, wires and what looked to be batteries and a timer, according to Q2 news director Jon Stepanek, who said it appeared to be a “scare tactic” designed to “disrupt news operations.” Get the whole story online at;

Self-Inflicted Gunshot Tuesday

Q2 reports an unidentified, 47-year-old Billings man suffered a self-in flicted gunshot wound to the leg early Tuesday, but that’s not how it was initially reported to police. BPD Sgt. Bret Becker said a woman reported that her boyfriend had been shot around 2am this morning and she was driving him to a hospital. She was described by authorities as “evasive with her report and gave few details.” Officers met the couple at the hospital, where he was uncooperative with officers, and wouldn’t say what happened other than he was “jumped.” After inspecting the vehicle and questioning the woman she admitted he had accidentally shot himself while in the driver’s seat of the vehicle. The gun had reportedly been tossed out the window in the area of Wicks Lane and St. Andrews Drive and was subsequently recovered by officers.

Crash in Global Recycling Market Hits Billings

The Gazette reports a crash in the global recycling market has left Billings businesses scrambling to survive. Scott Berens is the owner of Earth First Aid Recycling in Billings, who says a move by China last year to no longer import U.S. recyclables flooded the market with materials which once sold at $160 per ton. It started to pile up at processing centers and earlier this summer it was selling for $71 per ton. Berens’s company, which collects recyclables from drop boxes and residential customers in Billings and sells it to regional processing centers, couldn’t turn a profit. Berens was forced to lay off employees, raise rates on his customers and take out a loan from the bank to keep Earth First Aid afloat. Billings’ relatively remote location for transport of recyclables exacerbates the problem. Read more at;

Trump Media Buy and MAGA Rally Schedule

CBS News reported today that the re-election campaign of President Donald Trump has launched a $6 million broadcast and digital ad buy in battlegroud states– including Montana– to urge voters to back Republicans in next week’s midterm elections. However, the ad don’t even mention the president’s name. The ad comes as Trump accelerates his campaign schedule in the final stretch of the midterms, with stops planned in Florida, Missouri, West Virginia, Georgia, Tennessee, Ohio and, once again, in Montana. The president’s re-election campaign has spent over $20 million on this year’s elections, in which GOP control of Congress is at stake. Last week, they transferred $3 million to the Republican National Committee to benefit campaigns across the country. According to his campaign, Trump will have hosted 30 “Make America Great Again” rallies by Election Day on Tuesday, November 6th.

Rescued Hunter Trapped Under ATV

MTN News reports that an unidentified 69-year-old hunter was rescued Monday after reportedly being trapped under his ATV for about 44 hours in the Clark Canyon area in Beaverhead County. He’s now in a Missoula hospital. On Sunday, at approximately 1 p.m., the Beaverhead County Sheriff’s Office was notified of an overdue Bitterroot man who was hunting and camping in the area. The search was expanded Monday and the Montana Army National Guard deployed a UH-60M Blackhawk helicopter from Helena with five soldiers. A ground team located the man and notified the helicopter crew. He was found in a ravine pinned under his ATV in critical condition. A flight medic stabilized the man as he was flown to Barrett Memorial Hospital in Dillon, where he was treated and transferred to St. Patrick’s Hospital in Missoula. No further details were available.

MTN/MSU Poll Shows Trump, Bullock Most Popular

Political season is polling season and an odd couple top the popularity charts in Big Sky Country– Republican President Donald Trump and Democratic Governor Steve Bullock. Q2 reports that Trump has an approval rating of 54.5 percent in Montana – more than any politician in the state– but just barely edges out Bullock, who scored a 54.2 percent approval rating in the MTN-Montana State University poll. Two members of Congress up for re-election representing different political parties– Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester and Republican Congressman Greg Gianforte – had the lowest approval ratings with slightly less than 50 percent. The mail-in ballot polling data also demonstrated that independent voters, who represent a sizable voting bloc in Montana, approve of the job that Tester and Bullock are doing by strong margins, but are more disapproving of both Trump and Gianforte.

MFWC Buys 5000 Acres

The Montana Fish and Wildlife Commission has approved pursing the purchase of nearly 5,000 acres of the Big Belt Mountains southeast of Helena for the state’s newest wildlife management area. Under state ownership, the area north of Townsend would be managed for elk and deer winter range and open up new public hunting opportunities.

STD’s On The Rise

Health officials say cases of sexually transmitted diseases have increased in Montana. The Missoulian reports Dr. Chris Baumert, a family physician at RiverStone Health in Billings, says “It’s really shot up in terms of syphilis and gonorrhea cases in Montana, as well as chlamydia.” The state projects Montana will have more than 1,000 gonorrhea cases this year, compared to 867 in 2017.

Posted to
Oct. 25, 2018 4:07 PM CST
by lrodman