New immigration bills could surface in Montana

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Some states are making plans to introduce tough new immigration enforcement measures in the wake of Supreme Court arguments over an Arizona law. In Montana, the fate of such legislation largely hinges on this fall's elections.

The 2011 Republican-led Legislature discussed several crackdowns on immigration. If the GOP holds onto its majority in the statehouse after the November elections, conservatives are very likely to propose laws in the 2013 session that mimic those in Arizona.

The Supreme Court last week heard arguments on portions of the Arizona law seen as a model for cracking down on illegal immigrants.

Laurel Republican Rep. Krayton Kerns says he wants to join with Arizona but he says immigration is the federal government's responsibility. He says perhaps state legislation will force federal action.


Hunter pleads guilty in death on Ft Bragg trail

(Information in the following story is from: The Fayetteville Observer,

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — A hunter has pleaded guilty in a shooting that killed a Fort Bragg soldier from Montana as he jogged on a trail at the North Carolina base last year.

The Fayetteville Observer reports that Allen Thompson pleaded guilty to criminally negligent hunting resulting in death in federal court and faces a maximum of 120 days in prison and a $250,000 fine when he is sentenced next month.

Thompson told the court he was hunting on Jan. 1, 2011 when he thought a deer was nearby. He fired two shots, and heard a squeal.

Authorities say 33-year-old Capt. Jeremiah Sipes, of Belgrade, Mont., was killed by a single gunshot.

Fort Bragg has added bright signs closing the trail during hunting season and installed a buffer to keep hunters a safe distance away.


Judge sets bail for woman facing more charges

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A Helena woman facing a negligent vehicular homicide charge for a drunken driving crash that killed a passenger in December was back in court following a second crash and facing a felony criminal endangerment charge for a rollover on Interstate 15 just north of Helena.

Justice of the Peace Mike Swingley set 30-year-old Brandy Lee Dullum's bail at $50,000 on Friday following the most recent crash on Wednesday that left her and her passenger with non-life threatening injuries.

Prosecutors say Dullum was traveling more than 100 mph when she tried to pass a pickup, but lost control and hit the truck.

The Independent Record reports that Swingley set the bail after noting Dullum didn't appear to be taking the conditions of her release without bail seriously.


Skeletal remains found near Kalispell

(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake,

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — The Flathead County Sheriff's Office says a property owner south of Kalispell expanding a pond dug up skeletal remains while excavating.

Sheriff Chuck Curry tells the Daily Inter Lake that deputies collected the human skull and other bones found Friday. He says the state medical examiner's office has concluded the bones belong to a Native American and that local tribes are being contacted.

Curry says staff with the Sheriff's Office and possibly tribal members will return to the site Monday to see if anything or anyone else is buried in the area.

Property owner Chris Zarcone says tribal members will have access to the site and he wants to do what he can to honor the memory of whoever was buried.


Battin Courthouse declared surplus property

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The U.S. General Services Administration has decided to dispose of the asbestos-laden James F. Battin Federal Courthouse in Billings as surplus property.

The Billings Gazette reports that homeless assistance agencies and local and state governments will have the first chance to get the building.

General Services Administration Project Manager William Morgan says the building will be transferred to new owners as is.

He says that if the GSA fails to reach a deal with any of the eligible nonprofits or government entities, the agency will put the building up for sale in an online auction.

The five-story, 221,000-square-foot building has a history of asbestos problems.

It's being replaced with a new federal courthouse in downtown Billings that is nearing completion.


Tree-cutting machine destroyed after catching fire

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — Fire officials say a $250,000 piece of logging equipment cutting and stacking trees near Helena caught fire and couldn't be extinguished but the crew used a bulldozer to plow a line around the machine to keep the fire from spreading.

Clancy Volunteer Fire Department Assistant Chief Pat McKelvey tells the Independent Record that the operator emptied three or four extinguishers on Friday but couldn't stop the flames being fueled by hydraulic fluids, gas, oil, pine needles and wood chips.

The tracked machine called a feller/buncher was working on private property when it caught fire. The operator wasn't injured.

McKelvey says it was a relatively calm day or the flames could have spread.


Windows broken at Rehberg's Billings office

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

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — The state director for Republican U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg says six windows and the glass door at Rehberg's office in Billings were broken early Saturday.

Randy Vogel tells the Billings Gazette that someone probably used a crowbar or other metal tool to break the windows. An alarm went off at 4:43 a.m. but there is no sign anyone entered the office.

Billings Police Sgt. Matt Brewer says there are no suspects.

Rehberg spokesman Jed Link says the "unfortunate actions of one or two people simply can't change the fact that Montanans of all political stripes and backgrounds universally choose to be civil and respectful to each other."


Bella the bird dog finds Zoey the lost cockatiel

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

HELENA, Mont. (AP) — A nearly 2-year-old German shorthaired pointer named Bella who likes to flush Hungarian partridges during lunchtime walks with her owner and an escaped 6-year-old cockatiel named Zoey ended up nose-to-beak with positive results for all involved.

Zoey flew away from her home with Debbie and Karri Zuidema on April 2 as they headed for work, setting off a frantic search and lost pet notice in the Independent Record.

The newspaper reports that later that day Dave Madden and Bella were out for a walk when Bella pointed, but the bird didn't flush.

Madden took a closer look and carefully picked up Zoey, then got his girlfriend to get a cage and food.

Later he spotted the lost pet notice and two days later Zoey and her owners were reunited.


Cowboys use last pick on LB McSurdy

IRVING, Texas (AP) — The Dallas Cowboys have used their final pick in the draft to get another defensive player.

Dallas selected Montana inside linebacker Caleb McSurdy with the 222nd overall pick in the seventh round Saturday.

The Cowboys used five of their seven draft picks on defensive players. This was the first time since 1982 they used their first four picks on defenders.