George W. Bush raises money for Christian ministry

(Information in the following story is from: Billings Gazette, http://www.billingsgazette.com)

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — Former President George. W. Bush says tax cuts for those with money to invest in businesses are the best way to grow the economy.

Bush spoke Friday night at a fundraiser in Billings for a nonprofit Christian ministry called Provision International that aids people around the world.

The Billings Gazette reports Bush spoke for about half an hour and then took questions from members of Provision International. Organizers say about 1,200 people attended with most paying $200. Those who donated $1,000 got a private reception and photo with the former president.

Bush says he doesn't plan on becoming involved in the partisan debate leading up to this year's presidential election. He says he's no longer in politics and is trying to get out of what he calls "the swamp."


Glacier employees rescue Flathead River kayaker

(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Flathead County officials say Glacier National Park employees used a boat to rescue a woman who fell out of her kayak on the Flathead River.

Brian Heino of the Flathead County Sheriff's Office says the woman in her 30s was able to get to shore Friday afternoon but not up the bank.

Heino tells the Daily Inter Lake that he's not sure where the boat came from because park employees don't normally have one.

He says the woman was cold but not injured.


Stevensville woman pleads not guilty to arson

(Information in the following story is from: Ravalli Republic, http://www.ravallirepublic.com)

STEVENSVILLE, Mont. (AP) — A 36-year-old Stevensville woman who authorities say set fire to a house with her boyfriend and three children inside has pleaded not guilty to arson and four counts of criminal endangerment.

The Ravalli Republic reports Priscilla Ann Keim entered the plea on Thursday.

Court records say Keim accused her boyfriend, Steven Auker, of having an affair with her oldest daughter. The daughter left.

Auker reported that Keim threatened to burn down the house during the April 17 argument and splashed Coleman fuel.

A 5-year-old told investigators her mother came into the house saying she'd set the garage on fire. Everyone got out of the house, but the house and garage were destroyed.

Kiem says she was holding the fuel can and smoking when a spark hit ignited the fuel.


Cultural items returned to Montana tribes

(Information in the following story is from: Great Falls Tribune, http://www.greatfallstribune.com)

POPLAR, Mont. (AP) — Cultural items seized at a Montana and Canadian border crossing by U.S. officials who uncovered an illegal smuggling operation have been returned to the Fort Peck Assiniboine and Sioux Tribes.

The Great Falls Tribune in a story published Saturday reports the 16 items include ceremonial clothing, war bonnets, a beaded knife sheath and other items dating from the late 19th century and early 20th century.

Terry Thibeault of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Department of Interior says the items were seized in December 1999. The case was never adjudicated because the man accused of smuggling the items died during the investigation.

Thibeault says the 16 items are a portion of some 78 items being returned to several other Montana tribes and one tribe in North Dakota.


N. Idaho woman pleads guilty to embezzlement

(Information in the following story is from: Bonner County (Idaho) Daily Bee, http://www.bonnercountydailybee.com)

SANDPOINT, Idaho (AP) — A 35-year-old northern Idaho woman has pleaded guilty to embezzling money from a Montana-based fuel distributor.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports that Nicole Jody Lynn Love pleaded guilty Thursday in 1st District court and is scheduled to be sentenced July 16.

She faces up to 14 years in prison but the pretrial agreement recommends up to 90 days in jail and a suspended prison sentence of three to five years. She would have to pay back $25,000 under the agreement.

Authorities say Love embezzled money from CityServiceValcon in Oldtown in northern Idaho in 2010 when she was working as an assistant manager.

Police say she pocketed cash receipts instead of depositing them in a bank.


Officials want to continue Swan Lake gill netting

(Information in the following story is from: Daily Inter Lake, http://www.dailyinterlake.com)

KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) — Officials at Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks have released a report on an experimental lake trout gill-netting project on Swan Lake ahead of an environmental assessment that proposes a five-year extension of the project.

Officials say removing the non-native, predatory lake trout will help the population native bull trout.

Swan Lake contains one of the state's healthiest populations of bull trout. Anglers discovered lake trout in Swan Lake in 1998, the same year bull trout were listed under the Endangered Species Act.

Officials say gill netting from 2009 to 2011 removed 21,330 lake trout from 6 to 36 inches long.

State biologist Leo Rosenthal tells the Daily Inter Lake that more gill netting is needed to determine the long-term effectiveness of the project.


Ravalli County receives grants to help elk

(Information in the following story is from: Ravalli Republic, http://www.ravallirepublic.com)

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) — The Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation has given Ravalli County $64,400 for two conservation projects that will pay for research on elk survival and improve habitat.

The Ravalli Republic reports the elk foundation gave grants last week totaling $257,011 to improve elk habitat in 14 counties in the state.

Conservation Director Tom Toman says the group awarded grants for projects that directly benefit elk.

Toman says the elk survival study in Ravalli County is intended to find out if wolves are the only cause for the decline in elk numbers.

The other grant in the county will be used to improve habitat in the East Fork of the Bitterroot River.