Feb. 2 Regional News Briefs


Montana woman dies in 

snowmobile crash near Helena

HELENA (AP) — A 33-year-old Montana woman died in a weekend snowmobile crash near Marysville, northwest of Helena.

Lewis and Clark County Coroner Bryan Backeberg tells the Independent Record that Laura D. Park was snowmobiling with her boyfriend when she lost control of her sled and struck a tree just after 4 p.m. Saturday. Backeberg says Park had been living in Helena but still has Idaho identification.

Park’s was the third outdoor recreation death in the area this month.

A 40-year-old man, Lee Schuler of Great Falls, died after crashing a snowmobile into a tree near Lincoln on Feb. 2 and two days later 74-year-old Dr. Elton J. Adams of Great Falls died in a fall while ice climbing west of Augusta.


Bison hunters experience slow season outside Yellowstone

BOZEMAN (AP) — Hunters and bison managers are seeing a slow season as the Yellowstone National Park herds are largely not leaving the park.

The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports hunters have killed less than 200 bison as of Friday, and none of the animals have been shipped to slaughter.

Managers last year set a goal of removing between 600 and 900 bison from the herd populations through hunting and slaughter. They planned for at least 372 bison to be removed by the end of January.

A set number of Bison that leave the park each year can be killed under the management plan. The plan calls for a bison population of about 3,000. The population was estimated to be about 4,800.

Officials have attributed the slow hunting season to the mild winter.


Group: Wyoming sage grouse farm received special treatment

CASPER, Wyo. (AP) — An environmental group contends an oilman’s desire to breed sage grouse at his northern Wyoming bird farm found preferential treatment with the U.S. Interior Department.

But oilman Diemer True counters that there was nothing inappropriate about his request for support from the Interior Department for his captive breeding experiment.

The Casper Star-Tribune reports that Western Values Project obtained a series of emails between federal officials and True regarding his proposal.

True’s correspondence with the Interior in July coincided with a review of the federal sage grouse management program. The following month, the Interior Department published a report mentioning support for captive breeding.

The True family runs various companies involved in pipelines, exploration and production.


Sheridan affordable housing concerns raised

SHERIDAN, Wyo. (AP) — Some people are concerned whether Sheridan County in northern Wyoming will have enough affordable housing as it attracts new businesses.

Firearms manufacturer Weatherby recently decided to move its operations to Sheridan, and other businesses are looking at moving to the county.

Sheridan real estate agent Marie Lowe says as housing prices in the city begin to climb again, meeting the coming affordable housing demand will be crucial to the city’s future.

The Sheridan Press reports that city and county officials acknowledge that affordable housing demand could become an issue.

Sheridan community development director Brian Craig says the city is planning on conducting an affordable housing study in the spring and will start speaking to residents and businesses to get a full picture of the affordable housing landscape.


Lockwood, East Helena estimate costs for new high schools

HELENA (AP) — The school boards in Lockwood and East Helena have estimates for the costs of new high schools they want to build after legislation passed last year that allows elementary school districts with more than 1,000 students to ask voters if they want to expand to a high school district.

Lockwood’s estimated cost is $49 million while East Helena’s is $29.5 million.

The East Helena school board is meeting Monday evening and is expected to consider a resolution to ask voters for $29.5 million in its May 8 bond election. Lockwood is expected to finalize its bond request during a meeting on Feb. 26.

If voters reject the bonds, the districts can’t ask again for five years.