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  • Teen hospitalized in good condition after weekend shooting

    Published On: May 26 2015 03:47:56 AM MDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 11:56:08 AM MDT
    GREAT FALLS, Mont. -

    A northeastern Montana girl who was shot in the head by her father, who then shot and killed himself, is recovering at a Billings hospital.

    A spokeswoman at Billings Clinic says the 16-year-old girl was listed in good condition Tuesday, meaning she is conscious, comfortable and her prognosis for recovery are good to excellent.

    Valley County Sheriff Glenn Meier says 62-year-old Raymond Rahn shot his daughter Rebecca in the head Sunday morning at their home northwest of Frazer. He then fatally shot himself.

    The two were the only ones in the house at the time of the shooting. Meier says Rahn's wife was in Seattle undergoing medical treatment.

  • Missoula police investigate shooting death of dog

    Published On: May 26 2015 03:04:17 AM MDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 04:26:19 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    Missoula police are investigating the shooting death of a dog in Missoula.  

    According to police, a resident shot a pit bull on Victor Court in a Lower Miller Creek neighborhood at about 4:45 Monday afternoon.  

    Police say a 14-year-old boy was walking a pit bull on a leash. Reports indicate the pit bull approached the homeowner's dog in the driveway. The two dogs reportedly began to fight. The officer tells us the young man walking the pit bull was unable to control it and the pitbull's leash broke.

    Police say the boy then ran away.  Investigators say the homeowner fired a single shot at the pit bull.  Police are not sure how long the dogs were fighting.

    Officers confirm the pit bull died after being hit by a bullet, the boxer received neck injuries.

    Police tell us there are unconfirmed reports from neighbors the pit bull has a history of violent behavior.

    The homeowners previously filed a complaint with Missoula Animal Control about the pit bull attacking their bulldog in their yard. Click here to read the complaint.

    No arrests have been made. Authorities have to investigate whether the man who shot the dog will face charges for discharging a firearm in city limits.

    Public Information Officer Travis Welsh, with the Missoula Police Department, says the case is still under investigation.

    "Our concern is that a resident made the decision to discharge a firearm in the city, which is illegal in the city ordinance. However, in this case, there appears to be some mitigation and that's what we're looking into," said Welsh.

    An officer told NBC Montana that animal control officers will handle cases like this one, unless it becomes too complex, at which point the animal control division will hand it back to the police department.

    In the interest of full disclosure, the homeowner involved, who shot the dog, is related to an employee of NBC Montana.

  • Third grade field trip canceled after legal threats

    Published On: May 27 2015 03:37:41 AM MDT   Updated On: May 27 2015 04:32:50 AM MDT
    Tyrannosaurus bataar dinosaur

    CNN Image

    GLENDIVE, Mont. -

    Third-graders in eastern Montana were unable to go on a field trip to a local creationist museum after an advocacy group called the event a violation of the constitutional separation of church and state.
    The Billings Gazette reports (http://bit.ly/1LHN4Fw ) that students were unable to visit the Glendive Dinosaur and Fossil Museum after a Washington, D.C.-based group, Americans United for Separation of Church and State, sent a letter claiming the event was illegal.
    The museum is the second largest dinosaur museum in the state and the only one to assert a literal, biblical view of world history in which humans and dinosaurs coexisted. A reconstruction of Noah's Ark sits alongside full animal skeletons and fossils sit next to signs about God and the biblical flood.
    Lincoln Elementary Principal John Larsen says the trip has been held for the past several years.

  • Mapping beneath Yellowstone shows huge magma system

    Published On: May 25 2015 10:30:14 PM MDT   Updated On: May 25 2015 11:35:30 PM MDT

    Scientists say a mammoth magma reservoir lies under Yellowstone National Park. It's four times the size of the magma pool that fuels the supervolcano.

    It holds enough hot rock to fill the Grand Canyon 11 times, but scientist say you shouldn't worry -- it's not likely to erupt soon.

    The reason Yellowstone has the most and largest geysers, pools and other thermals on earth is because of a mammoth magma system underneath it, which also fueled several huge volcanic eruptions over millions of years.

    "This is the one big continental hot spot of the world," Dr. Robert Smith, a professor at the University of Utah, said.

    Smith is considered the world's foremost expert on the Yellowstone supervolcano system. His publication last year drew attention worldwide, when it declared the magma body under the park was two and a half times larger than previously thought. 

    "It's 90 kilometers long,” Smith said. “It begins southwest of Old Faithful. Goes way beyond the caldera."

    His newest publication shows a much, much larger magma reservoir below the one previously mapped.

    "This lower crustal body we just imaged is four times bigger than the shallow one right at the surface,” he said.

    Yellowstone geologist Dr. Henry Hessler says Smith's research confirms what geologists suspected for more than 100 years.

    "In the 1870s it was known by geologists that basalt existed in this park.  In the 1960s and ‘70s they realized that there must be a molten pot of basalt under the park," Hessler said.

    Smith says the team of geologists at the University of Utah now has a complete picture of Yellowstone's plumbing system, top to bottom, which is more than 40 miles below the earth's surface.

    It took decades of monitoring earthquakes around the world for the team to map something so large and so deep.

    "It took the data from the local earthquake and the data from the global earthquake and put them together and when you put them together, then the crossing paths of the seismic rays went through this area that didn't have an image before. There it was," Smith said.

    But does the discovery of all the hot rocks signal another volcanic eruption?  Smith says absolutely not.

    The study also shows that most of the magma is not molten, or liquid.  Instead, scientists say it is mostly solid and spongelike.

  • Bitterroot Forest, commissioners in dispute over draft travel plan

    Published On: May 26 2015 08:48:34 PM MDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 09:58:59 PM MDT
    Bitterroot Forest, commissioners, in conflict over draft travel plan
    HAMILTON, Mont. -

    The Bitterroot National Forest and Ravalli County commissioners are in conflict over a draft decision on a travel plan for the Forest Service.

    The Forest Service said a past board did not meet the deadline for comment.

    The draft has been in the making for years. Most of the focus is on restrictions that would be placed on two wilderness study areas -- the Sapphire, in the extreme eastern portion of the Bitterroot, and the Blue Joint, which lies to the south -- plus several recommended wilderness area scattered in forest land to the west.

    It comes to light as the public took one more turn to have its say on how and where we travel in the forest.

    The draft decision is a six-year effort by the Forest Service to update the travel plan.

    More than 13,000 comments were taken.

    Current commissioners submitted a natural resource policy to the Forest Service. It's a vision that includes logging, mining and water rights issues for the forest. That policy was submitted in 2012. The Forest Service said the deadline for comment ended in 2009.

    "You are John Q. Public, that was the exact quote from the forest supervisor," said Commissioner Jeff Burrows.

    Bitterroot Forest supervisor Julie King said, "The process treats the county like the public. It expects the county to participate in our process."

    King said federal regulations prevent her from making the call to include the commissioners' request, but the board will draft a letter asking that the policy be included in the record.

    "We want a seat at the table," said Commissioner Greg Chilcott.

    At a public hearing, one man carried a sign that said no commissioners made comments to meet the deadline.

    The draft decision plan calls for eliminating motorized and mechanized travel in the two wilderness study areas, Sapphire and Blue Joint, plus several areas recommended for wilderness in the Bitterroot. That's close to 180,000 acres.

    Both sides weighed in.

    "I've seen the increased amount of pressure put on by motorized industry and bikes, too," said Clint Carlson of Florence.

    Dan Thompson, from the Ravalli County Off-Road Association, said, "Specific groups of people are being targeted for reduction in opportunity."

    "From a cyclist's point of view," said bicyclist Jeff Kern, "it certainly fails."

    Michael Chandler, from Backcountry Horsemen, said, "The Bitterroot Forest has done an almost magnificent job."

    The debate can certainly be connected to a growing population that values time in the woods, but having different interests in how they want to see that wild land.

    In the 1970s there were 18,000 people in Ravalli County. Today there are about 45,000. More and more of them are recreating in the Bitterroot National Forest.

  • Utah dad creates all-girl tackle football league

    Published On: May 26 2015 06:31:16 AM MDT   Updated On: May 26 2015 06:40:41 AM MDT

    Utah girls took one big step toward athletic equality on the football field.

  • Brooke's First Alert Video Forecast

    Published On: May 26 2015 08:29:27 AM MDT

    Partly to mostly cloudy Tuesday with highs warming in to the 60s and 70s. Butte and Bozeman will have a better chance of thunderstorms this afternoon with only a slight chance in Missoula and Kalispell. Any thunderstorm that develops will be capable of producing lightning, gusty winds, and small hail. While storms will likely be more isolated on Tuesday, there is a chance for them to become a bit stronger as a result.