KRTV News KRTV News en-us Copyright 2014, All Rights Reserved. Feed content is not avaialble for commercial use. () () Thu, 2 Oct 2014 02:10:29 GMT Synapse CMS 10 144 25 Helena man accused of assaulting infant pleads not guilty KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 7:03:01 PM Dennis Carlson - Helena Helena man accused of assaulting infant pleads not guilty

HELENA -- Shane Burson appeared in Lewis & Clark County District court Wednesday in connection with an alleged assault on a 9-week-old baby.

Burson pleaded not guilty to felony assault on a minor, sexual assault, and failure to register as a sexual offender.

At the end of July, an unidentified male child in Burson's care was taken to Saint Peter's Hospital emergency department for a number of injuries, including bruising and abrasions over large portions of his body, as well as damage to his genitalia and fractures to both legs.

While admitting the child was alone in his care, 26-year-old Burson denied injuring the child.

Court documents state that Burson was convicted of child rape in Washington in 2007.

Trial in the case has been set for January 12.

Burson faces a maximum prison term of 120 years on the assault on a minor and the sexual assault charge.

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Winter Weather Advisory issued for Thursday KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 7:01:36 PM Meteorologist Mike Rawlins Winter Weather Advisory issued for Thursday

GREAT FALLS -- Parts of Montana will receive snow on Thursday, which may make traveling difficult in some areas.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the Northern Rocky Mountain Front and Glacier County.

This advisory goes into effect at midnight and expires at noon on Thursday.

Remember, the advisory means snow is expected, which may cause travel difficulties, and drivers are advised to use caution in the advisory area.

The advisory includes Browning, Marias Pass, and Logan Pass.

STORMTracker meteorologist Mike Rawlins says 2-4" of snow is likely in this area on Thursday. He expects roads mainly above 5000 feet to be impacted, with drivers facing slushy and slippery conditions.

In addition, 20-30 mph winds are expected, which will create areas of limited visibility and send wind chill values into the single digits.

Stay with STORMTracker Weather for continuous coverage of this wintry weather.

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Montana Electric Cooperative Association meets in Great Falls KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 5:52:21 PM Margaret DeMarco ( Montana Electric Cooperative Association meets in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- The Montana Electric Cooperative Association is talking about energy issues during its 53rd annual meeting at the Best Western Heritage Inn in Great Falls this week.

The highlight of this year's four-day long meeting was at Wednesday's luncheon, where the keynote speech was presented by Jon Wood, president of the CoalBlue Project.

The project is a relatively new initiative to build support within the Democratic Party for sustainable energy policies.

Wood said, "Ultimately we are here to create bipartisan support for what we believe are practical solutions to break through the gridlock. It really is causing so much dysfunction at the federal level, and to find common solutions that both the left and the right can embrace."

Wood discussed how coal cannot just go away but has to be a part of the solution: "We think there is basically three legs, what we call the 'climate stool.' We need to increase our use of renewables and nuclear. We need to increase energy efficiency. But we also need to really concentrate, and what we are not doing today, is on the development of these technologies that will allow us to capture the carbon in fossil fuels, both coal and natural gas."

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KRTV Evening Top News - Wed Oct 1 KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 5:17:23 PM KRTV Evening Top News - Wed Oct 1

GREAT FALLS -- Top news on KRTV for the evening of Wednesday, October 1, 2014:

- Colleen Hufford, the Great Falls High School graduate who was killed by a co-worker in Moore, Oklahoma, last week, is being remembered as a "great person" by family and friends. Click here to read more.

- Cascade County Commissioners approved a resolution that would authorize the County and specified personnel to provide Montana ExpoPark facilities at no cost for funeral services to those who have fallen in the line of duty. Click here for details.

- Meteorologist Mike Rawlins is tracking a cold front headed for the Treasure State, and this one will bring the opportunity for not only rain, but also snow. Click here for details.

- The third and final "megaload" of refinery equipment bound for Great Falls is set to begin its trip north on I-15.

- The Montana Electric Cooperative Association discussed energy issues during the 53rd annual meeting in Great Falls this week. Click here to read more.

- The Great Falls Public School District is starting its budget process early this school year. According to administrators, the district will close the loop on its budget process for last year, and outline next year's process. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Paris Gibson Education Center cafeteria on Thursday, October 2nd, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

- The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation has announced more than $55,000 in Discovery Grants to help fund student and teacher projects.


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CMR's McLaughlin will join Lady Argonauts soccer team KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 5:04:44 PM Tom Wylie ( CMR's McLaughlin will join Lady Argonauts soccer team

GREAT FALLS -- University of Great Falls women's soccer coach Brian Clarke has announced the signing of Eme McLaughlin to the Lady Argonauts soccer program.

McLaughlin is a junior striker at C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls. She was an All-State selection after tallying 19 goals and seven assists as a sophomore in 2013 when CMR reached the Class AA state tournament semifinals.
So far this season McLaughlin has scored nine goals to go with three assists. She has scored 29 goals and 24 assists in her Rustler career.

"We are very excited to sign our first local product in three years," UGF coach Brian Clarke said. "She's a prolific goal-scorer who we think can come in and make an immediate impact. Not only is she a great player - she is also a great person and active in the community."

McLaughlin carries a 3.7 grade point average. The daughter of Jeff and Jennifer McLaughlin, she will major in biology at UGF with the goal of becoming and occupational therapist.

"I thought it was a good fit for me - both athletically and academically," McLaughlin said. ""They brought me up to campus and I got to explore, and I really liked it."

McLaughlin was a member of the Electric City Thunderbolts Soccer Club and the Montana Olympic Development Program. She also runs track for CMR.


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Helena man pleads not guilty to child pornography charges KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 4:48:05 PM Dennis Carlson - Helena Helena man pleads not guilty to child pornography charges

HELENA -- Howard Chilcote pleaded not guilty on Wednesday in Lewis & Clark County District Court to seven counts of downloading child pornography.

The maximum punishment on each count is 100 years in prison and a fine of $10,000.

Over the summer summer, investigators found more than 50 computer files depicting adults having sex with children in Chilcote's possession.

Chilcote's lawyer argued for lower bond in the case, which was originally set at $250,000.

Judge Mike Menahan lowered Chilcote's bond to $150,000, but with several conditions including forbidding him from having contact with children or access to the internet.

Trial in the case has been set for December 15.


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Blog: Another cold front and a little snow KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 4:37:06 PM Meteorologist Mike Rawlins Blog: Another cold front and a little snow

Thanks for checking out the STORMTracker Weather Blog on

As if we haven't seen enough of the dreary, chilly weather in recent days, there's more on the way.

I'm tracking another cold front headed for the Treasure State, and this one will bring the opportunity for not only rain, but also snow.

As of 2 p.m. Wednesday, that front was still draped across Alberta and British Columbia, but was quickly moving south.

Surface Map

I expect the front to cross the U.S./Canadian border around midnight and arrive in Great Falls by 3 a.m.

This system doesn't have a whole lot of moisture to work with, so the rain and snow amounts will be low.

Most locations will receive less than .10" of rain through Thursday morning, but the mountains will pick up some decent snow amounts.

Snowfall Forecast

The Rocky Mountain Front and Glacier National Park area will receive as much as 5" of snow by Thursday afternoon. Of course, the highest snow amounts will be on the mountaintops. But, temperatures will be cold enough for a little snow at lower elevations.

For those living in Browning and Cut Bank, expect to see 1-3" of snow, which could slow the Thursday morning commute.

I'm also expecting a couple inches of snow for the Little Belt Mountains in central Montana. Anyone traveling over Kings Hill Pass should be prepared for winter driving conditions on Thursday.

Great Falls could also see a little snow mixing in with the rain showers, however I'm not anticipating the snow to stick and travel problems are unlikely.

Here's the hour-by-hour timing from our in-house high resolution forecast model:

Tru Vu Forecast

This is a fast-moving storm system, so the front will move through on Thursday morning and skies will begin to clear by the afternoon.

Temperatures will stay cool throughout the day, so layer up with the long sleeves.

Fortunately, it looks like high pressure returns for the weekend and we'll warm back up with plenty of sunshine.


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Colleen Hufford, killed by co-worker in Oklahoma, was raised in Great Falls KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 4:19:36 PM Margaret DeMarco, David Sherman Colleen Hufford, killed by co-worker in Oklahoma, was raised in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- Colleen Hufford, who died after being attacked by a co-worker at her workplace in Moore, Oklahoma, last week, is being remembered as a "great person" by family and friends.

Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder for the beheading of Hufford, and attempted murder for the stabbing attack on another woman, said Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn.

Hufford was born in Germany in 1960 to Marshall and Gisela Thompson, and her family eventually moved to Montana.

She was raised in Great Falls and graduated from Great Falls High School in 1978.

In 1984, she married KC Hufford and they moved to Moore, Oklahoma.

Family members tell KRTV that she was a great person, and they have released the following statement:

"Losing our mom, wife and grandmother has been one of the most difficult challenges any of us have faced in our lives. For her life to have been taken in such a tragic act of violence adds a depth of grief we are trying to comprehend. We want to thank the wonderful family and friends who have come to our aid during this very difficult time with messages of hope and prayer. We will miss her dearly."

The funeral will be held on Friday, October 3 at 2 p.m. at Southgate Baptist Church in Moore.

A memorial fund has been set up to help the family with funeral and other associated costs; click here to make a donation.

Click here to read Hufford's obituary.

(September 30, 2014 - Michael Martinez/CNN) Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the beheading of a 54-year-old woman last week at his former workplace in Oklahoma and in an stabbing attack on another woman, said Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn.

Nolen was also charged with a third felony, assault with a deadly weapon, the prosecutor said. The attempted murder charge is also called assault and battery with a deadly weapon, Mashburn said.

"It is highly likely I will seek the death penalty in this case," he said, adding that he would first consult with the victim's family before making his decision.

Nolen, a recent convert to Islam, is accused of carrying out the attacks Thursday at a Vaughan Foods processing plant soon after he learned he'd lost his job there.

Nolen was trying "to get revenge on certain people he felt responsible" for his job loss, Mashburn said.

The FBI is also investigating the attack because Nolen "was saying Arabic terms in the attack," Mashburn said.

Nolen's Facebook page uses the name Jah'Keem Yisrael. The cover photo appears to be of fighters holding weapons. The postings include all-caps messages about Islam and quotations from the Quran.

Click here to read more.


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Montana basketball great Elvis Old Bull dies in crash KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 3:23:28 PM Scott Breen - MTN News Montana basketball great Elvis Old Bull dies in crash

BILLINGS -- Elvis Old Bull, one of Montana's greatest basketball players, died late Tuesday morning in a single-vehicle crash near Billings.

Kassie Bulltail, 26, and Winston Pretty On Top, 51, were also killed in the crash, which happened on Interstate 90 near Arrow Creek Road. Bulltail and Pretty On Top were from Lodge Grass. Old Bull was from Pryor.

Initial reports indicate they were traveling east on Interstate 90 in an Oldsmobile Bravada. They were thrown from the vehicle before landing in the west bound lanes.

The crash was reported around 11:20 a.m. Authorities are still investigating the crash to determine the cause, and whether alcohol, speed, and seatbelts were factors, as they do in all fatal crashes.

Authorities said Old Bull was transported via Help Flight to St. Vincent Hospital following the rollover, where he was later pronounced dead.

Old Bull, 42 years old, was inducted into Montana's Indian Athletic Hall of Fame in 2008. He scored 1,948 points in four seasons, averaging almost 20 points a game for Lodge Grass.

Old Bull also led the Indians to three consecutive Class B championships between 1988-90, and was named State Tournament MVP all three years.

In one championship game, Old Bull scored nine points in 36 seconds to rally the Indians in a come-from-behind victory.

Sports Illustrated listed Old Bull as one of the 50 greatest sports figures in Montana during the 20th century. He had 484 career assists, including 22 in single high school game.

Following high school, Old Bull received several college scholarship offers but declined them all.

However, during his induction into the Montana Indian Athletic Hall of Fame, his advice to kids was making education a priority.

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Enterovirus D68 found in 3 patients who have died KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 1:53:11 PM Jacque Wilson - CNN; MTN News Enterovirus D68 found in 3 patients who have died

(CNN) -- Samples collected from three patients who recently died have tested positive for enterovirus D68, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC). It is unclear what role the virus played in their deaths.

Enteroviruses are very common, especially in the late summer and early fall. The CDC estimates 10 to 15 million infections occur in the United States each year. So even though the samples from these three patients tested positive, the virus could have nothing to do with their deaths.

One of the patients, a child with a staph infection and enterovirus D68, was from Rhode Island, the state's health department announced Wednesday.

The child died last week. Infection by both staph bacteria and an enterovirus is a "rare combination," health officials say, that can cause very severe illnesses in children and adults.

"Only a very small portion of people who contract EV-D68 will experience problems beyond a runny nose and a low grade fever," the Rhode Island Department of Health said in a statement. "Most viruses produce mild illnesses from which people are able to recover."

This year, enterovirus D68 has been sending more children than usual to the hospital with severe respiratory illnesses. It seems to be most affecting children with a history of asthma or breathing problems. As of Wednesday, the CDC had confirmed 472 cases in 41 states.

The virus may also be linked to a small number of cases of a mysterious neurologic illness seen in Colorado, Boston and Michigan. Doctors in Colorado spotted it first -- a group of 10 children hospitalized with limb weakness, cranial nerve dysfunction and abnormalities in their spinal gray matter.

Doctors at Boston Children's Hospital have since identified four patients with the same symptoms. And a child in Washtenaw County, Michigan, also developed partial paralysis in the lower limbs after being hospitalized with the virus, the Michigan Department of Community Health said Wednesday.

Staphylococcus aureus is a type of bacteria that commonly causes skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning. Most staph infections are easily treated with antibiotics, according to the National Institutes of Health, but some strains of the bacteria are resistant to these medications, making them harder to treat.

Antibiotic-resistant infections has been a big public health issue the past few years. In September, President Obama signed an executive order establishing a new interagency task force charged with developing a national strategy to combat these dangerous bacteria strains.

The Rhode Island Department of Health recommends parents and children follow these steps to prevention infection:

-- Wash hands often with soap and warm water five or six times a day for at least 20 seconds.

-- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.

-- Make sure your child is taking asthma medications as prescribed.

-- Disinfect toys, doorknobs, phones, computers and other surfaces often.

-- Avoid close contact and sharing cups or eating utensils with people who are sick.

-- Stay home if you are sick.

-- Seek medical attention right away if your child is having trouble breathing.

In Montana, five cases of Enterovirus D68 have been confirmed. Two have been confirmed in Yellowstone County; Musselshell, Cascade and Jefferson counties each have one confirmed case.

All of the Montana victims have been or are currently being treated at hospitals; they are between the ages 4 and 16.

Jim Murphy of the Montana Department of Public Health & Human Services says that maintaining good hygiene is key to fighting this virus.

"As we move into the winter here - and respiratory season - these same steps of prevention are going to be very important for things like influenza, the colds and flus that float around during this time of the year," Murphy explained. "So we really encourage people to follow those basic prevention steps; wash your hands, stay home if you're sick, take care of yourself and other people, that's probably the message we hope to get out to folks."

-- CNN's Matthew Stucker contributed to this report.

-- The-CNN-Wire™ & ©Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigns KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 1:30:22 PM Rebecca Kaplan - CBS News Secret Service Director Julia Pierson resigns

WASHINGTON D.C. -- Secret Service Director Julia Pierson offered her resignation Wednesday after several security breaches affecting the White House and President Obama became public, Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson announced Wednesday.

"Today Julia Pierson, the Director of the United States Secret Service, offered her resignation, and I accepted it. I salute her 30 years of distinguished service to the Secret Service and the Nation," Johnson said in a statement. "As an interim Acting Director of the Secret Service, I am appointing Joseph Clancy, formerly Special Agent in Charge of the Presidential Protective Division of the Secret Service. Mr. Clancy retired from the Secret Service in 2011. I appreciate his willingness to leave his position in the private sector on very short notice and return to public service for a period."

Pierson's resignation comes after she faced blistering criticism Tuesday at a congressional hearing called after a 42-year-old Texas man, Omar J. Gonzalez, was able to scale the White House fence, enter the unlocked front doors of the building, and run all the way into the East Room before he was apprehended by an off-duty Secret Service agent.

"It is clear that our security plan was not executed properly. I take full responsibility; what happened is unacceptable and it will never happen again," Pierson told lawmakers Tuesday.

But the apology was not enough for lawmakers, who expressed concern over both the basic competence of the agency charged with protecting the president and the fact that the Secret Service seemed to offer misleading information, or simply withhold it from the public entirely.

The day before Pierson's appearance, CBS News learned that Gonzalez made it much farther inside the White House than just inside the front doors, as the agency previously said - a "false report," as House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa, R-California, called it. On Sunday, a Washington Post report revealed that it took the Secret Service took four days to realize a gunman had fired at and hit the White House in 2011, despite the fact that some agents on duty believed the building had sustained fire.

Just after the hearing, there were more revelations: a security contractor, who had been convicted three times of assault and battery, rode in an elevatorwith Mr. Obama during a Sept. 16 trip to Atlanta while carrying a gun.

Pierson took over as the agency's chief in March 2013 after the retirement of former director Mark Sullivan, who struggled with a prostitution scandal among agents traveling with the president and a pair of gate-crashers at a state dinner. Prior to taking over, Pierson had served as the Secret Service Chief of Staff since 2008.

Members of Congress at first indicated they wanted to hear Pierson out before demanding further action. But her testimony Tuesday ultimately failed to restore their confidence in her ability to lead the agency.

"I want her to go if she cannot restore trust in the agency, and if she cannot get the culture back in order," the House Oversight Committee's top Democrat, Rep. Elijah Cummings, told CNN Wednesday. "I told her that she's got a tall order there."

Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, who has been deeply involved in investigating the Secret Service, told Bloomberg News earlier Wednesday, "The president should fire her or at least she should resign."

Pierson's resignation will not be the end of the scrutiny for the Secret Service, however. House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Michael McCaul, R-Texas, announced Tuesday he was creating a blue ribbon commission of outside experts to conduct an independent and comprehensive review of the Secret Service.

And House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Wednesday that Congress needed answers regardless of whether Pierson remained at the helm of the agency.

"Whether she does [resign] or not I think we need an independent investigation. Her leaving doesn't end the need for us to know a lot more about what is happening," Pelosi said.

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Winter storm will be named "Bozeman" thanks to Bozeman students KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 1:23:16 PM David Sherman ( Winter storm will be named

GREAT FALLS -- Winter Storm Bozeman? Yep - that's what the team at The Weather Channel has decided to name whichever storm comes up second in the rotation of the 2014-2015 winter storm season.

The Weather Channel on Wednesday released its list of winter storm names for the upcoming season; the meteorological organization began naming winter storms a few years ago, in the same way that hurricanes are named.

"It's simply easier to communicate about a complex storm if it has a name, which our naming program has demonstrated," said Bryan Norcross, senior hurricane specialist at The Weather Channel and compiler of the list. "Good communications benefits everyone."

The names will be used in alphabetical order to identify strong winter storms that meet the naming criteria.

Last year's list was developed with the help of a Latin class at Bozeman High School.

During the formal unveiling of the 2014-2015 names on Wednesday, Weather Channel staff participated in a Skype video chat with the Bozeman students.

The list originally included the name Bella for the letter B, but during the video chat, meteorologist Tom Niziol told the students that "Bella" wasn't quite right, and asked them if they had an alternate "B" word.

They suggested "Bryan" in honor of Norcross, but Niziol surprised the students by instead writing the word "Bozeman" in honor of the students' work, much to the delight of the Bozeman teens.

Click here to watch the video; click here to learn about the names for the upcoming season.

The Weather Channel began naming winter storms a few years ago; the National Weather Service does not name winter storms.

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Did Starbucks start a pumpkin boom? KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 12:59:46 PM Patrick Gillespie - CNN Did Starbucks start a pumpkin boom?

NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -- Pumpkins are having their moment in the sun.

Ever since Starbucks introduced its famed pumpkin spice latte about a decade ago, pumpkin sales have skyrocketed. It's led to the increased popularity of pumpkin-spiced everything, including spicy pumpkin beef jerky and pumpkin beer.

In the last five years alone, pumpkin sales have risen 34%, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ask Betsy Stuart. Sales of pumpkins have doubled in the past decade at her family farm in Granite Springs, N.Y., about an hour north of New York City.

"It has helped a lot because it gets the name out there, it gets the spice out there," said Stuart, 62, about pumpkin products. "It has made real pumpkins more popular."

Nationwide, pumpkins are clearly taking off: Acreage dedicated to pumpkin farming increased about a third in the last decade, according to the USDA.

Take a state like Virginia. There were no pumpkin farms 15 years ago in the heavily agriculture southwest of the state. Now there's about 4,000 acres of pumpkins, according to Allen Straw, an agricultural professor at Virginia Tech University and a member of the Virginia Pumpkin Growers Association.

Demand for pumpkins just keeps going up. Sales of all pumpkin-flavored foods and beverages increased 14% in 2013 compared to 2012, according to market research firm Nielsen.

The "season," for pumpkin products is also extending. What used to be only a limited fall treat now starts as early as mid-July.

"Starbucks created a huge craze based on their pumpkin spiced latte," said Danelle Kosmal, vice president of research for alcoholic beverages at Nielsen. "As we continue to see more and more things like the pumpkin-flavored beers and the fall seasonals hit the shelves, there's going to be more and more competition for that shelf space."

Starbucks has sold over 200 million pumpkin spice lattes, the company says. Pumpkin is now mixed with other flavors: Dunkin Donuts and its subsidiary, Baskin Robbins, are jumping in with a pumpkin crème brulee latte and pumpkin cheesecake ice cream this fall.

Jim Koch, founder of Sam Adams Beer, even touted the success of his company's two pumpkin-flavored beers last year while discussing the company's earnings.

"When you walk into a liquor store now, and you see the number of pumpkin beers," said Jamie Jones, co-owner of Jones Family Farms in Shelton, Conn. "It makes your head spin. It seems like every brand has a pumpkin flavor."

Jones estimates that pumpkin sales on his farm are up 25% since the pumpkin spiced latte debuted a decade ago.

-- The-CNN-Wire™ & © Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company. All rights reserved.

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Montana scientist returns from frontline of Ebola outbreak KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 12:00:41 PM Jacqueline Quynh - MTN News Montana scientist returns from frontline of Ebola outbreak

HAMILTON -- The staff at the Rocky Mountain Laboratories in Hamilton have been on the forefront in the fight to contain the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa since August.

"We went to Liberia a couple weeks ago to assist in establishing a field laboratory and we actually supported the largest Ebola treatment center ever constructed," said RML scientist Dave Safronetz.

Safronetz has been researching infectious diseases for more than a decade. In that time he's traveled to many impoverished regions to study, but he says the scene in West Africa was "an unreal situation."

"Quite frequently, there are just large tents that house maybe 40 people per tent, a lot of times there's just mattresses laid on the ground for them to sleep on, they each have a chair," Safronetz said."

The Rocky Mountain Laboratories facility in Hamilton is part of the National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, and since the outbreak in August, a three person crew from the lab has been rotating, making trips to West Africa to help.

"We established a lab within 48 hours of being on the ground and we immediately started testing samples," Safronetz explained.

Safronetz was charged with screening blood. The experience may help with his work back at home in Hamilton, where researchers are studying vaccines.

"We're going to start looking more at therapeutics, at the evolution of the virus, just to see how was it introduced, when was it introduced to the West African population."

Safronetz and his colleagues worked around the clock; he noted, "To be honest I didn't see a whole lot of Monrovia (the Liberian capital), we worked long days, we were at the lab everyday."

To keep from contracting the virus, workers were washed down with bleach multiple times each day - and while his work was potentially dangerous, he's also witnessed hopeful signs.

"One of the samples we tested was actually from a Liberian pediatrician who seemingly contracted the virus while treating sick children, and she managed to survive and clear the virus and it was a really great feeling to be able to see that."

And as long as this outbreak continues, researchers and staff from the Rocky Mountain Laboratory plan to be there to help with the fight.

Visit the RML website to learn more, including this overview:

Some 3,000 feet higher above sea level than the National Institutes of Health (NIH) familiar brick campus in Bethesda, Maryland, and a 5-hour, 2,300-mile plane ride northwest of that point, lies Rocky Mountain Laboratories (RML), NIH's state-of-the-art biomedical research facility in Hamilton, Montana, a small but thriving community nestled between the Bitterroot and Sapphire Mountains.

A key component of the Division of Intramural Research, RML is perhaps best known for its research into vector-borne diseases, such as Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Q fever, and Lyme disease-three illnesses caused by microbes whose names pay tribute to the former RML scientists who discovered them.

RML's new Integrated Research Facility is the first NIH facility of its kind to house BSL-2, BSL-3, and BSL-4 laboratory space in one building along with administrative offices and conference rooms. The facility-constructed to the most rigorous of engineering standards-enables researchers to study priority pathogens in the area of biodefense-labeled as Category A, B, or C agents by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-in the safest and most secure environment possible.

Montana scientist returns from frontline of Ebola outbreak

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Montana minimum wage increasing to $8.05 per hour in 2015 KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 11:17:18 AM Sanjay Talwani ( Montana minimum wage increasing to $8.05 per hour in 2015

HELENA -- More than 12,000 Montanans could get a raise on January 1, 2015, when Montana's minimum wage gets a 15-cent-per-hour bump.

The minimum wage in Montana is now $7.90 per hour; effective January 1, that will increase to $8.05.

That comes to $16,100 for a person working 40 hours a week, 50 weeks a year.

The Montana Department of Labor and industry estimates that 12,850 Montana workers, or 2.9% of the workforce, worked for less than than $8.05 an hour this year.

The rise is mandated by a voter initiative passed in 2006 that raised the rate and tied increased to the Consumer Price Index, which showed a 1.7% inflation rate for the 12-month period ending in August.

Montana Labor Commissioner Pam Bucy said in a press release that nearly half of all minimum-wage workers are over the age of 25, and 62% are women.

"People who work full time for a living shouldn't be living in poverty," Governor Steve Bullock (D) said in the press release. "Higher wages ensure that working Montana families aren't falling behind and are able to make ends meet."

The MT DOL says that in 2013, the industry with the largest number of workers earning minimum wage was the accommodations and food services industry, followed by the retail trade industry.

Montana's minimum wage increased by 10 cents per hour in 2011, going from $7.25 to $7.35.

In 2012, it rose from to $7.65 per hour; in 2013 it rose $7.80 per hour; in 2014, it rose to its current rate of $7.90 per hour.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour.



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"Cold case" murder suspect makes first Montana court appearance KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 10:59:25 AM MTN News - Billings

HARDIN -- Brian David Laird, the former Billings attorney accused of murdering his wife in 1999, has pleaded not guilty to the crime.

Laird, 46, appeared before Judge Blair Jones in Big Horn County District Court on Wednesday morning. He faces one count of felony deliberate homicide.

Laird was arrested in Fort Collins, Colorado, on September 11 in connection with the July 31, 1999 murder of his wife Kathryn Laird. He was recently extradited from Colorado on a Montana warrant for deliberate homicide.

He is being held on a $500,000 bond at the Big Horn County jail.

During Wednesday's arraignment Laird appeared with his public defender, Tom Bartelson.

Big Horn County Attorney Chad Parker represented the state and requested the state keep Laird's bond at half a million dollars.

Judge Jones acknowledged the seriousness of the crime and rejected Bartelson's request to reduce the bond to $100,000.

A trial date was set for the week of March 9. Both defense and prosecutors agreed the trial would take all week due to the significant amount of witnesses and evidence.

Click here to read more.

Brian David Laird, the former Billings attorney accused of murdering his wife in 1999, has pleaded not guilty to the crime.

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Weather Rookie: Kacey Christensen KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 10:52:53 AM Meteorologist Zack Green Weather Rookie: Kacey Christensen

GREAT FALLS -- Kacey Christensen, a 4th-grade student at Sacajawea Elementary School in Great Falls, showed off her forecasting skills as our "Weather Rookie" on Wednesday morning.

Kacey took her place in front of the "green screen" and told Montana This Morning viewers about weather conditions across the Treasure State.

She received a gift certificate from Taco John's, the sponsor of the Weather Rookie program.

Click the image above to watch the video of her forecast.

Click here to watch previous Weather Rookie segments.

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Cascade County leaders waive funeral costs for first responders who die in the line of duty KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 10:46:54 AM DaVonté McKenith Cascade County leaders waive funeral costs for first responders who die in the line of duty

GREAT FALLS -- On Tuesday, the Board of County Commissioners of Cascade County approved a resolution that would authorize the County and specified personnel to provide Montana ExpoPark facilities at no cost for funeral services to those who have fallen in the line of duty.

The resolution also states there will be no costs for receptions and other funeral-related events for the family of those officials.

According to Cascade County commissioner Joe Briggs, the resolution was triggered by the recent deaths of Casacde County Sheriff's Deputy Joseph Dunn and Fort Shaw Fire Chief Dave Anderson - who both died in the line of duty while protecting the citizens of Cascade County.

"Neither of these tragic deaths were anticipated and no policy existed to guide our decisions. The resolution we passed yesterday is intended to give our successors some guidance should the citizens of Cascade County be faced with these types of tragedies in the future," stated Briggs.

Before the death of Deputy Dunn, the county did not have any policies or procedures in place to deal with the death of an on-duty officer.

When the time came to plan funeral arrangements for Deputy Dunn, the county, according to Briggs, recognized that the community in general, and Sheriff's deputies in particular, "needed an opportunity to come together and mourn as an extended family for their own peace of mind."

Briggs also said that they understood significant costs would arise for holding such a large public funeral, and that it would not be approrpiate to expect the family to bear the costs.

"The only viable solution was to utilize county facilities to control costs and have the county absorb the costs of the public portions of the funeral," shared Briggs.

Accordingly, the County absorbed the cost of the ExpoPark facility and the reception after the funeral - with commissioners agreeing that the costs needed to be picked up by county residents and taxpayers, if a public funeral is to be held.

Briggs further stated that county budget reserves is where the funding is taken from, which is funding for events for "things no one can plan for."

The same thoughts and conversations were also had when Anderson was killed in the line of duty. 

"A death in the line of duty transforms the funeral from a private family affair to a public outpouring of support and emotion. In many ways, the public funeral is more for the benefit of the community than the family as it provides a needed show of support for our law enforcement and first responders," said Briggs.

However, Briggs mentions that costs to the county are often at times reduced due to the "number of local businesses and individuals (who donate) their services to the public funerals."

Cascade County Sheriff Bob Edwards told KRTV that he is "happy to see the commission implement this resolution," adding "what a great gesture of compassion."

Edwards said, "When Deputy Dunn was killed, one of our biggest questions regarding a funeral was, where can we house several thousand people and accommodate their needs? Our public safety team puts their lives on the line daily and we never know what will happen. If that day should ever rear its ugly head again, we now have one less stressor to deal with. I just pray that we never have to utilize this resolution."

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Obituary: Timothy John Boule KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 10:40:15 AM Schnider Funeral Home Obituary: Timothy John Boule

Timothy John Boule, 47, of Great Falls, passed away on Saturday, September 27, 2014.

Tim was born June 16, 1967 in Great Falls to Bob and Gayle Boule.

He moved out of state with friends after high school, but returned to Montana and went to business school in Billings.

He moved back to Great Falls and worked at the OP as a bartender.

After a serious injury to his foot at work, he went to driving school and got a CDL. He drove over the road, for the City of Great Falls, and a construction company.

He was returning home after working out of town when his life ended in a vehicle accident similar to the accident he survived 30 years ago, on Oct 21, 1984 which ended his dad's life.

Funeral services will be held on Saturday, October 4, 2014 at 10:00 a.m. at Hillcrest Lawn Memorial Chapel.

Click here to read the complete obituary and share condolences.

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German Dinner & Bake Sale will be held in Fairfield KRTV News Wed, 1 Oct 2014 8:27:37 AM DaVonté McKenith German Dinner & Bake Sale will be held in Fairfield

The St. Paul Lutheran Church in Fairfield will be hosting its annual German dinner & bake sale on Sunday, October 5th from 12:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.

An authentic German Dinner serving Sauerbraten, Hot German Potato Salad, Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage, and Peach Kuchen for dessert.

The dinner is served family-style in the St. Paul Lutheran Church Basement. There is also a Bake Sale table where a wide variety of homemade foods will be sold. 

Adults are $8, children 6-12 are $5, children 5 and under are free, and an immediate family may purchase a $20 ticket to feed all.

For more information, call Ross at 788-1443.

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