1980s mountain man abductor seeks parole

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A notorious "mountain man" who abducted a world-class biathlete in 1984 to keep as a wife for his son once wrote that blame for the "incident" lies with her and a would-be rescuer he shot and killed.

Don Nichols, now 81, will need to be more contrite later this month in front of the historically stern Montana Parole Board.

Nichols gained international notoriety for the bizarre crime and prolonged manhunt in the wilderness northwest of Yellowstone National Park.

The parole hearing comes as son Dan Nichols — paroled in 1991 for his role in the crime— is in trouble with the law again. Jefferson County officials issued an arrest warrant last month for the younger Nichols after he failed to show up for a pretrial hearing in a drug case.


Helena man shot by police wants pickup back

(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record,

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Helena man shot by a police officer who the officer says was trying to run him over wants his pickup back.

The Independent Record reports in a story published Wednesday that Brian John Temple is requesting the truck be released to him since it's no longer needed as evidence.

Police say Temple was fleeing a probation office where police sought to question him about a theft when Sgt. Peter Callahan fired at the truck.

The bullet went through the passenger side of the windshield and through a lanyard hanging on the mirror before striking Temple in the lung. He drove himself to the hospital.

Temple was charged with assault in the May 4 incident, but a district judge threw out the charge after citing police mishandling of evidence.


Man pleads guilty in religious sect rape case

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — A former leader of a religious sect based in Utah before moving to Idaho and Montana has pleaded guilty to having sex with a 15-year-old girl.

Geody Harman entered the plea Friday to a third-degree felony count of unlawful sexual activity with a minor.

He was former first counselor of the Church of the Firstborn of the General Assembly of Heaven.

Sect president Terrill Dalton was convicted last month of raping the same girl.

Prosecutors say Dalton convinced the girl to have sex with him by telling her he was "the Holy Ghost" and she would receive blessings. They say he told her to have sex with Harman because it was God's will.

The sect was in Magna, Utah, at the time. It moved to Idaho before settling in Montana.


Billings country singer pleads guilty to fraud

(Information in the following story is from: Billings Gazette,

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — A Billings country singer has pleaded guilty to defrauding a Billings-area woman of $120,000 she invested in his music business.

Fifty-year-old Mitchell John Romersa pleaded guilty Thursday in U.S. District Court in Billings to wire fraud and money-laundering charges.

Anne Kero says she gave Romersa money because she trusted him based on a relationship he had with her late husband. Kero also says she knew Romersa's grandparents.

The Billings Gazette reports that Romersa is scheduled to be sentenced July 12. He faces up to 10 years in prison a potential fine of $250,000.

He must also repay Kero.


Work on 214-mile power line to Canada resumes

(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune,

GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) — An official with the developer of a 214-mile power line cutting across part of Montana to Canada says easement agreements have been reached with landowners and construction work has resumed on the Montana-Alberta Tie Line.

Senior legal counsel Harley Harris also tells the Great Falls Tribune in a story published Saturday that two eminent domain court cases have been vacated by judges in Cascade and Teton counties.

Harris says the power line running from the Great Falls area to Lethbridge in Alberta could be finished by year end.

A district judge in January ruled as constitutional a new law specifying that the power line to Canada and others like it have the power of eminent domain, a ruling that allowed condemnation proceedings against private landowners to move forward.


Spokane schools names new superintendent

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Spokane Public Schools has named a new superintendent to lead its district of nearly 30,000 students.

The school board decided at a meeting Saturday that Shelley Redinger was the best person to lead Washington state's second-largest school district. She'll start in July 1, after Nancy Stowell retires.

Redinger and finalist Alex Apostle, a superintendent in Missoula, Mont., were in eastern Washington last week to meet with Spokane community members and staff and to interview with the board.

Redinger is currently the superintendent of Spotsylvania School District in Fredericksburg, Va., which has 24,000 students.


Coke dust cloud sends Laurel students inside

(Information in the following story is from: Billings Gazette,

LAUREL, Mont. (AP) — Authorities in south-central Montana say there are no health concerns after a black cloud of dust made from petroleum coke and coming from the CHS refinery in Laurel forced about 20 kindergartners playing outside at South Elementary School back into the building.

The Billings Gazette reports that a teacher had the children wash their hands and faces, and refinery officials say the children should bathe with soap and water and the clothes they were wearing should be washed.

Yellowstone County Disaster and Emergency Services Director Duane Winslow says the amount of coke dust released at about 2 p.m. Friday wasn't enough to be harmful.

Refinery officials say workers cleaning a coke drum using pressurized cooled water hit a hot mass of coke that vaporized, sending out a cloud.


Helena Regional Airport gets body scanner

(Information in the following story is from: Independent Record,

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Officials at Helena Regional Airport have installed a body scanner as part of a renovation project intended to make the passenger screening process quicker.

Officials tell the Independent Record that the ProVision Automatic Target Detection model installed last week will allow Transportation Security Administration officials to quickly check for concealed weapons.

Assistant Airport Director Jeff Wadekamper says passengers going through the mechanism are displayed as a "Gumbie figure" with a generic person outline. The device highlights objects that might be a weapon.

Officials say the body scanner will allow 200 to 400 passengers to be screened per hour, eliminating early-morning bottlenecks and delays.


Idaho agency determines wolf trapped legally

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials say no laws were broken involving a northern Idaho trapper who posed for a photo in front of a live wolf caught in a leg-hold trap surrounded by blood-splattered snow.

But the report released Thursday says the March 18 photo of trapper Josh Bransford with the wolf standing in the background is contrary to the ethics and humane responsibility the agency teaches.

The agency also says investigators found no evidence the wolf trapped near Elk City was shot by someone else before Bransford killed it after the photo.

Bransford told officials nicks on the wolf's legs indicated someone else shot and injured the wolf before he arrived. But Fish and Game Officer George Fischer says the nicks weren't caused by a bullet.