Archives for June 2020

Yellowstone reminding park patrons not to get too close to wild animals

Yellowstone officials are reminding park patrons to keep their distance from wild animals, after two people were injured in separate incidents recently. An elderly California woman was gored several times by a bison June 25 near Bridge Bay Campground when she got too close, according to a park news release. And a Missouri hiker was knocked to the ground by a female grizzly protecting its cub near Old Faithful the same week.

Montana added the most cases of COVID-19 in a single day

The state of Montana set a grim record Monday, adding the most cases of COVID-19 in a single day. Gov. Steve Bullock’s office said Monday that investigations are still ongoing into the new cases, but some are tied to large gatherings such as weddings, workplaces, and households. Also Monday, Malmstrom Air Force Base in Great Falls reported its first confirmed case. A release from the base said the person will isolate on the base.

Overcrowding at Lewis and Clark County Detention Center once again a concern

Overcrowding at Lewis and Clark County Detention Center has once again become a concern. In mid-March, the county took steps to limit who was arrested to help prevent the spread of the virus, with only violent suspects who posed a risk to the community to be jailed under state and county guidelines. Despite measures in place to reduce the number of inmates, officials said the population has climbed back to pre-COVID numbers in recent weeks.

Montana added 56 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours

HELENA – Montana added 56 new cases of COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, setting a new single day record for infections. According to the Montana Response COVID-19 tracking map, that raises the total number of active cases in the treasure state to more than 280, with an overall total of over 900. One-hundred people are currently hospitalized by the virus. Thirteen counties reported new cases. Both Gallatin County and Yellowstone County saw double digit increases, as reported at

Helena students treated to ‘at home camping’ summer fun

HELENA – Helena Parks & Rec along and the Lewis & Clark Library are offering students at home summer fun. Summer kits filled with activities will be handed out to students as a replacement for summer camp. The ‘take home’ camp and arts and crafts kits will be distrubuted at Bryant Elementary every Friday. Call the Helena Parks & Rec. for details.

Man charged in fatal 2019 road rage shooting in Missoula pleaded guilty

A western Montana man charged in a fatal 2019 road rage shooting in Missoula pleaded guilty Friday. Johnathan Albert Bertsch, 28, of Arlee is facing four felony charges in the March 14, 2019 incident, in which he shot three people, one of whom died, and opened fire on a state trooper, who suffered gunshot wounds to the head, face and neck. A sentencing date will be set during a hearing Aug. 31. Bertsch has been jailed since his arrest.

Longtime Missoula district Capt. bids adieu to MHP

MHP Missoula District Capt. Jim Kitchin is bidding adieu to the department. Kitchin retires Thursday, marking 20 years with the state police agency. Kitchin has served as the patrol captain of the MHP Missoula District since 2012. MHP Kalispell Division Capt. Chad Dever is set to be the next captain of the Missoula District, a Wednesday press release confirmed.

Montana oil refinery agrees to record $11 million tax settlement

GREAT FALLS – An oil refinery in Montana has agreed to an $11 million settlement in one of the largest property tax disputes in the state. Industrial property owner Calumet Montana Refining in Great Falls will pay back property taxes owed to the state, local governments and schools, the Great Falls Tribune reported. Officials said the funds will help the city manage its 2021 budget following an economic downturn amid the pandemic.

Fireworks stands in Lewis and Clark County open up today

HELENA — As July 4th fast approaches fireworks stand operators in Lewis and Clark County are opening up today (June 24). Local stand operators are hopeful, after reports in other parts of the country show fireworks sales up, despite a downward economic trend due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Fireworks are not legal to shoot inside Helena city limits, but are legal to shoot in Lewis and Clark County from 8 a.m. to 1 a.m. from July 2 to July 6.

Cops catch culprit after high speed chase through Great Falls

Witnesses said a police chase through Great Falls was like watching an episode of Law & Order, as nearly a dozen police cars were seen speeding along 10th Avenue South, with sirens blaring. A huge police presence in the alley of 15th Ave., South and 10th drew a crowd as cops, guns drawn, apprehend the suspect, KRTV reports. The Great Falls