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  • Walmart fired 2,200 to fix the plumbing

    Published On: Apr 16 2015 04:44:45 PM MDT   Updated On: Apr 16 2015 08:03:12 PM MDT
    Walmart storefront

    Joe Raedle/Getty Images

    NEW YORK (CNNMoney) -

    Walmart surprised everyone and put 2,200 people out of work Monday when it temporarily closed five stores.

    The reason for the shut down: plumbing problems, according to the retailer.

    Two of the stores are in Texas, and the others are in California, Florida and Oklahoma. They will be closed for "extended repairs" for approximately six months, the company said.

    The stores closed at 7 p.m. Monday, after workers were notified just hours before that they were losing their jobs.

    "Everybody just panicked and started crying," said Venanzi Luna, a manager of the deli department at the Pico Rivera, Calif. store.

    The news came as a surprise to the 295 full-time workers and 248 part-time staffers there.

    Both full-time and part-time workers will be put on paid leave for two months, during which time they can try to transfer to a different Walmart location. Full-time employees who don't get another Walmart job by June 19 may be eligible for severance, which part time workers aren't eligible for.

    "This is the first time we're hearing of their sewer problems," city manager Rene Bobadilla said.

    The company has not yet asked for any building permits, which may be required for major work.

    In Livingston, Texas, where 422 people were laid off, city officials met with Walmart representatives on Monday. They were told that the plumbing problems have been "ongoing and pervasive," said Marilyn Sutton, the Livingston City Manager.

    Walmart hasn't applied for any permits there yet because they first need to determine what repairs are needed, Sutton said.

    Walmart intends to reopen the stores as soon as the problems are resolved.

    These five stores had the most plumbing problems over the past two years, but don't have anything else in common, a spokesman said.

    Walmart employs 1.3 million people in the U.S at 4,500 stores.

    Luna said she believes Walmart is closing the Pico Rivera store because its employees have been very active in protesting for higher pay. Workers there led one of the first Black Friday protests back in 2012.

    But a Walmart spokesman said the decision to close the store has nothing to do with anything but the plumbing.

    "We understand this decision has been difficult on our associates and our customers and we aim to reopen these stores as soon as these issues are resolved," he said.

  • Fatal crash south of Lolo, child involved

    Published On: Apr 16 2015 09:01:12 AM MDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2015 12:00:00 AM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    A school district prepares to talk with students Friday morning, after a deadly crash south of Missoula claimed the life of a 13-year-old, a student from Florence Carlton Middle School.   

    The crash happened Thursday morning just before 8 a.m. The scene of the crash is right on the border of Missoula and Ravalli Counties. Four people were involved in the crash. Two others were in the vehicle with the teen who died and they were all minors.

    A passenger car, the one with the teen inside tried to cross Highway 93 south at Chief Looking Glass Road, which is five lanes.   

    Troopers say another car heading south, hit the passenger car. The 13-year-old boy who died was in the front seat.

    There were two other minors in the car, a boy in the front seat and a girl in the back.

    They were injured and so was a passenger in the other vehicle.

    Troopers say it can be a dangerous intersection.

    "I would attribute it more to traffic flow and it's just essentially a failure to yield. Vehicles on the highway have preference, they're on a thru highway, if you pull out in front of them, you've failed," said Montana Highway Patrol Trooper Philip Smart.

    Another trooper tells us that the three involved were transported to St. Patrick Hospital and says he's checked with two of them and they appear to be stable and fine.

    No names are being released at this time.

    Montana Highway Patrol says the crash is still under investigation and they will be releasing more information as soon as it becomes available

  • Man gets 100-year term in murder of teacher in oil boom town

    Published On: Apr 17 2015 02:48:17 PM MDT
    SIDNEY, Mont -

    A Colorado man has been sentenced to 100 years in prison in the murder of a Montana teacher whose death highlighted the downside of an oil boom that's altered the remote Northern Plains.
        
    Twenty-five-year-old Michael Keith Spell was sentenced Friday by state District Judge Richard Simonton in Sidney, Montana.
        
    Spell pleaded guilty in October to killing 43-year-old Sherry Arnold after attempting to abduct the popular math teacher as she was jogging near her home in 2012. Arnold's body was found months later in near Williston, North Dakota.
        
    Defense attorneys wanted Spell sentenced to an institution for the mentally disabled.
        
    Co-defendant Lester Van Waters Jr. received 80 years in prison in December.
        
    The two men came to the region looking for work in the Bakken oil patch.

  • MCPS issues alert about suspicious male

    Published On: Apr 17 2015 01:35:48 PM MDT   Updated On: Apr 17 2015 05:38:58 PM MDT
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    We're learning new information tonight about an incident at Willard School in Missoula. Police tell us a boy was standing outside the school when he was approached by a suspicious man.

    Missoula police tell us a boy was standing outside the school waiting for a ride home around 6 pm Tuesday night.

    Willard's on a busy Missoula Street. The student reported a man with stringy, gray hair pulled up in an old beat up red car and asked the boy if he wanted to warm up in the car or get a ride home. The boy reportedly turned and ran back to the school. Missoula schools issued an email and a phone alert to parents this afternoon. Police say they didn't issue an immediate alert because they weren't sure of the person's intent and didn't want to cause alarm.

    "The school district is alerting parents and we felt that it would be a good idea to put out this description just in case anybody else happens to see this man or has a similar experience or can help us identify who it is," said Welsh.

    Officials say the boy described the man as older and having stringy grey hair. Police say a school resource officer is making extra patrols around the school.

    If you have any information about the incident please contact officer Mark Puddy at 406-552-6300 extension 3356.

    The following message was sent out by MISSOULA COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS:

    Parents: The following information was circulated by the Missoula Police Department on their Facebook page.  

    An incident  involving a suspicious male was reported on Tuesday, April 14. 

    This incident took place after school hours at the edge of the Willard School property.

    Even though this did not happen at school, we want to keep you informed in the event that this individual is still in the community.

  • House OKs 80 mph highway speed limits

    Published On: Apr 16 2015 03:47:48 PM MDT
    Montana legislatures to discuss speed limit bill, others after break
    HELENA, Mont. -

    Montana representatives have endorsed a proposal to increase interstate highway speed limits from 75 to 80 mph.

    Senate Bill 375 by Republican Sen. Scott Sales of Bozeman passed second reading on a 54-46 vote in the House Thursday.

    The proposal would increase highway speed limits by 5 mph at certain areas where the Montana Department of Transportation deems the speeds safe. It would also increase maximum speeding fines from $100 to $200.

    Montana Highway Patrol Chief Tom Butler says the fine increases would liken Montana's speeding punishments to seven surrounding states.

    The patrol has supported SB 375 and opposed three other bills to increase highway speed limits that died this session. The other proposals included no changes to speeding fines.

    Increasing the fines would accrue nearly $100,000 in additional state revenue every year.

  • Mark Heyka's First Alert Video Forecast

    Published On: Apr 17 2015 03:53:19 PM MDT

    The weekend weather will not be quite as nice as it was Friday.  However, it will still be fairly mild and most the time dry.

  • Video of cop in bike lane for pizza goes viral

    Published On: Apr 17 2015 02:45:47 AM MDT

    Cyclists in Buffalo, New York, want answers after video of a police officer double-parked in a bike lane has gone viral online. The YouTube video shows the officer appearing to be double parked in a bike lane while holding a pizza box.

  • Mark Heyka's First Alert Video Forecast

    Published On: Apr 16 2015 04:29:50 PM MDT

    Beautiful weather is expected Friday with only minor changes this weekend.

  • Matt Gray's First Alert Forecast

    Published On: Apr 17 2015 07:43:29 AM MDT

    A warm and sunny Friday followed by scattered rain on Saturday