5 Things to Know in Montana for July 8
July 7, 2014
Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.
DAM SALE PUBLIC HEARING BEGINS:
Montana regulators are holding a public hearing to help determine whether a $900 million proposal by NorthWestern Energy to purchase 11 hydroelectric dams is in the public interest. The Public Service Commission has scheduled two weeks for the hearing starting Tuesday morning at the state Capitol.
DERAILMENT CLEANUP PROGRESSING SLOWLY:
A Montana Rail Link spokeswoman says specialized machinery is pulling three commercial airplane fuselages from the Clark Fork River at the rate of 20 feet per hour. Spokeswoman Lynda Frost says it took 12 hours to remove the first one on Sunday and the last one is expected to be removed on Tuesday. The Boeing 737 fuselages slid into the river after a Thursday derailment of 19 train cars about 50 miles west of Missoula.
FATAL HIGHWAY CRASH STILL BEING INVESTIGATED:
Investigators have not yet come up with a cause for a highway collision between a fire engine and a pickup truck last month that killed all six people in the vehicles. Montana Highway Patrol Capt. Gary Becker said in a statement today that investigators and crash re-constructionists will be given as much time as necessary to reach an accurate conclusion. The crash happened June 19 on U.S. Highway 12 about 10 miles east of Helena.
CLIMATE CHANGE THREAT TO WOLVERINE QUESTIONED:
A top federal wildlife official says there's too much uncertainty about climate change to prove it threatens the snow-loving wolverine — overruling agency scientists who warned of impending habitat loss. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Regional Director Noreen Walsh said there's no doubt that the wolverine's high-mountain habitat is getting warmer, but any assumptions about how that will change snowfall patterns are based on "speculation."
ATTEMPTED MURDER CHARGES IN BILLINGS:
A 38-year-old man suspected of shooting at a restaurant employee and a Billings police officer is charged with two counts of attempted deliberate homicide. Justin Wesley Delacruz also was charged today with robbery, criminal endangerment and drug possession. Police allege a man tried to follow two employees into a Sonic restaurant Sunday, but they told him he had to wait until it opened. Later, one of the employees was returning from the grocery store when he was confronted by a man with a gun.