Billings medical marijuana operation raided

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Federal and local authorities have raided a medical marijuana business in Billings and seized an undisclosed amount of marijuana and equipment.

The Billings Gazette reports that agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration and members of the City Drug Task Force on Friday executed a federal search warrant at the business on Enterprise Avenue.

Task force member Sgt. Brian Korell says he couldn't provide additional details because it was a federal investigation.

Montana Cannabis Industry Association board member Nicole French says the number of medical marijuana dispensers and patient cardholders has fallen in the last year following a series of raids on dispensers.

Montana's Department of Public Health and Human Services says that in March 12,000 patients were enrolled with the Montana Marijuana Program, down from 30,000 at the peak.


Lawsuit filed to halt Mont. logging project

(Information in the following story is from: Flathead Beacon,

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Two conservation groups have filed a lawsuit seeking to halt a U.S. Forest Service logging project in the South Fork Flathead River corridor in western Montana.

Friends of the Wild Swan and Swan View Coalition filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Missoula to halt the 1,200-acre Soldier Addition II Project in the Spotted Bear Ranger District in the Flathead National Forest.

The Flathead Beacon reports the groups filed a previous lawsuit in February seeking to halt the nearby Spotted Bear River Project.

The groups say logging in the remote areas will harm wildlife.

Forest Service spokesman Joe Krueger says both projects went through public processes and the agency responded to environmental concerns.

Officials say the projects are needed to protect forest health and reduce fire danger.


Capsized boat leads to Missouri River rescue

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Authorities in Helena say two men believed to be in their 60s had to be rescued from the Missouri River when their boat capsized.

Authorities tell the Independent Record that the two men rescued about 3 p.m. Friday between Beaver Creek and the Gates of the Mountains section of the river refused medical treatment.

David Hamilton of the West Valley Volunteer Fire Department says rescue workers from six agencies responded, including the Montana Highway Patrol and the Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks.


No veterans center for Helena

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A top Veterans Administration official in a letter to Montana military officials says existing services in Helena are more than adequate to meet the needs of local veterans and a veterans center isn't needed.

Dr. Robert Petzel is the agency's undersecretary for health. Writing on behalf of VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, Petzel says in a letter received April 5 that services available in Helena remain underutilized.

The Independent Record reports Petzel was responding to a letter from Montana officials about a veterans center to complement the VA Montana Health Care System at Fort Harrison.

Montana Division of Veterans Affairs administrator Joe Foster on Thursday in a teleconference with the Montana Board of Veterans Affairs says a veterans center isn't going to happen in Helena in the foreseeable future.


Fish and Wildlife Service euthanized female wolf

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has euthanized an old female wolf that had settled into a populated area near Jackson.

Wildlife managers trapped and euthanized a large white wolf this past week.

The Fish and Wildlife Service says the wolf had settled with another female wolf in the outskirts of Jackson over the past two months and had been reported by concerned citizens.

Fearing the wolves were starting to form a pack, officials decided to euthanize the older wolf.

The other wolf will be tracked by wildlife managers who hope it will eventually move out of the area on its own.


Yellowstone to install new signs warning of bears

(Information in the following story is from: Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune,

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — Hikers in Yellowstone National Park will see new signs this summer warning them of bears and telling them what to do if they encounter one.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports the signs are simpler than the old ones, which have been used since the 1980s. The new signs provide basic suggestions like be alert, make noise, carry bear spray, avoid hiking alone and do not run. The words "bear attack" are in large font at the top of the signs to catch hikers' attention.

Kerry Gunther, a Yellowstone bear management biologist, says the park recommends hiking in groups, carrying bear spray and not running if you surprise a bear.

Two people were killed in the park in separate bear encounters last summer. Neither hiker carried bear spray. One ran when attacked and one was hiking alone.


More than 100 national parks waive entrance fees

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — Entrance fees are being waived this week at Yellowstone and Grand Teton national parks in northwest Wyoming, as well as at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado.

The National Park Service is offering free visitor admission in honor of National Park Week through April 29. More than 100 parks across the country are participating.

The free entrance also pertains to commercial tour entrance fees and transportation entrance fees.