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  • Canine photographed on Mt. Jumbo determined to be domestic dog

    Published On: Feb 10 2016 03:23:16 PM MST   Updated On: Feb 10 2016 03:31:04 PM MST
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    The following press release was sent out by Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks.

    FWP has determined that the animal seen chasing elk on Mount Jumbo last week was a domestic dog.

    On Feb. 4, Missoula resident, Brian Nostrant, took a photograph of a group of elk and a black canine on Mount Jumbo that looked very much like a wolf.  The photo stirred a lot of public interest and a response from FWP and Missoula Parks and Recreation officials.

    “The photo certainly resembled a wolf, and we know that wolves occur around the Missoula Valley,” said Liz Bradley, FWP’s wildlife biologist in Missoula.   “It wouldn’t be surprising to see a wolf on Mount Jumbo.”

    Bradley spoke with Nostrant in the afternoon of Feb. 9, and was able to guide FWP Wolf Specialist, Tyler Parks, via cell phone, to the spot where Nostrant had witnessed and photographed the possible wolves. Parks and Bradley were able to match-up observations on the mountain with Nostrant’s observations from his house. Then Parks followed the tracks, determined to be from two dogs, to the “L.”

    “There were two dogs, one larger than the other,” Parks reported, in reference to the tracks. 

    “The prints could be distinguished from a wolf by their shape and smaller size.  And then, the fact that they led back down to the L Trail was pretty conclusive.”

    Additionally, an eyewitness report matched with FWP’s track observations and Nostrant’s original observation.

    Mike Johnson, a Missoula outdoorsman who has volunteered with FWP for many years, also watched the elk and canine last week from his vantage point at the Hellgate Conoco station with owner, Ross Grenfell.

    “Ross and I were watching the dog and elk through binoculars, and at first, we thought maybe we were seeing a wolf,” Johnson said.

    Johnson headed to his home, got his binoculars and watched the dog run across Mount Jumbo.

    “Ross and I were communicating by phone, and when it got out of my sight, he said it ran down to a hiker with another dog on the L Trail. He accepted the dog, which joined them for the rest of their journey.”

    Mount Jumbo was acquired by the City of Missoula and FWP in 1996 to protect winter habitat for elk and to minimize disturbance to the elk that spend part of their winter there.

    “Off-leash dogs chasing wildlife in the winter is extremely stressful to elk and other wild animals and is illegal,” said Morgan Valliant, Missoula Parks and Recreation Conservation Lands Manager.  “It also threatens the exception to the Mt. Jumbo winter closure which allows the public to hike to the “L” and along the US West trail when the rest of the mountain is closed.”

    The “South Zone” of Jumbo is closed to the public from December 1 until March 15, and the “North Zone” is closed until May 1.  The L Trail and the U.S. West Trail above Interstate 90 are open to the public year-round.   Dogs are required to be on leash in these areas.

    “Seeing elk in the winter on Jumbo from downtown Missoula is one of the things that makes living here special,” Bradley said.   “And it reminds us that the elk are here in the winter to find food where snow levels are less and to minimize stress during this critical time of year.  The best we can do is give them space and keep pets close. ”

    FWP and the City of Missoula encourage residents to call 911 or 1800-TIP-MONT if they see a person hiking in Jumbo’s seasonally closed areas or with a dog off leash.

  • Judge's ruling keeps top-ranked wrestler from competition

    Published On: Feb 10 2016 05:18:22 AM MST
    KALISPELL, Mont. -

    A Flathead High School wrestler won't compete in an upcoming state tournament after a judge upheld a Montana High School Association ruling that deemed him ineligible for the 138-pound weight class.
    The judge delivered his ruling Tuesday in the case of sophomore Payton Hume, Montana's top-ranked 138-pound Class AA wrestler.
    Payton's father had filed a lawsuit claiming the school wrongly advised his son that he was able to compete in Friday's tournament at 138 pounds, although records showed he had competed in the 145-pound weight class for most of his events.
    Under the state's so-called 50 percent rule, the association found Payton only eligible for the higher weight class.
    Coach Rich Vasquez admitted in court the school failed to properly interpret the eligibility rule.

  • Missoula school student data breach included alumni records

    Published On: Feb 11 2016 07:28:20 AM MST
    Attorney says Hellgate data leak could be costly
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    Missoula County Public Schools says a data breach that affected more than 1,100 students also included private information on alumni and deceased students.
    The district initially said Hellgate High School students' information had been compromised after an assistant principal included the information in a December email to parents. Superintendent Mark Thane said in a Jan. 18 letter that information on former Hellgate students had also been released.
    Staff charged with informing those affected by the data breach found that about 200 people weren't registered as current students. They also sent letters to at least two former students who have died.
    Thane says the data dated back to the 2012-13 school year.
    The email included an attached document containing students' academic, medical, disciplinary and criminal information.

  • Missing Hamilton woman found safe with non-life-threatening injuries

    Published On: Feb 09 2016 12:33:41 PM MST   Updated On: Feb 09 2016 11:04:05 PM MST
    HAMILTON, Mont. -

    The Ravalli County sheriff issued a missing and endangered person advisory for a 47-year-old woman Tuesday. LEAP Alerts describe the people involved, what they were last seen wearing, a possible vehicle description and who they may have been taken by. That's critical information to find someone who might be in danger.

    "I think it's very important to look at and take into consideration that it can happen to any of us or any of our children," said one Hamilton resident.

    Tuesday’s alert said Sherri Cook Frost was taken against her will. Ravalli County Sheriff Chris Hoffman suspected what happened wasn't good.

    Deputies started looking for her after getting a call she’d been abducted from a friend’s house. Officials said it appeared Kevin Frost kidnapped his estranged wife shortly before 7 a.m. Tuesday.

    Deputies used a helicopter to search for the two east of Hamilton but found nothing.

    Hoffman said Kevin Frost turned himself in Tuesday afternoon.

    "These folks are having marital problems, if not in the midst of a divorce, so certainly domestic violence enters into it," said Hoffman.

    Sherri Frost was taken to the hospital and was treated medically for non-life-threatening injuries.

    Kevin Frost is currently in the Ravalli County jail on charges of aggravated felony kidnapping and domestic violence.

  • Audio stream gives insight into Oregon protest as FBI moves in

    Published On: Feb 10 2016 11:01:51 PM MST   Updated On: Feb 10 2016 11:02:51 PM MST
    Audio stream gives insight into Oregon protest as FBI moves in
    MISSOULA, Mont. -

    Wednesday night the FBI surrounded the last few occupiers at an Oregon wildlife refuge.

    The four holdouts were the last remnants of an armed group that seized the refuge Jan. 2 to oppose federal land policies.

    According to the Associated Press, authorities said they placed agents at barricades both immediately ahead of and behind the area where the occupiers were camping.

    An acquaintance of occupier David Fry was live-streaming on YouTube what he said was an open phone line from the standoff.

    The occupiers said they were surrounded by armored vehicles. They can be heard arguing with someone they said was a negotiator.

    Occupiers spoke on the phone with Michele Fiore, a member of the Nevada Assembly believed to be on her way to the refuge.  They discussed the possibility of turning themselves in to authorities Thursday.

    Greg Bretzing, a special agent in charge of the FBI in Oregon, said in a statement the situation had reached a point where it "became necessary to take action" to ensure the safety of all involved.

    NBC affiliate KGW-TV in Portland reports no shots fired at the scene.

    NBC Montana is not able to independently verify the authenticity of the live feed.


  • Video Forecast: Increasing clouds and showers by the weekend

    Published On: Feb 11 2016 08:27:34 AM MST

    We are tracking a cold front that will bring a chance of showers to the region tonight through the weekend. The best chance will be focused on northwest Montana from north of Missoula into the Kalispell areas.  Increasing clouds with showers and sprinkles developing late this afternoon and last through early Friday morning.  After a break, more showers will develop late Friday and Friday night and last periodically through the weekend.  There will only be a slight chance for showers across southwest Montana around Butte and Bozeman.

    Mild temperatures will continue.  Normal highs for mid February should be in the mid to upper 30s.  Instead, we will see highs in the 40s to around 50.  Lows in the upper 20s to lower 30s.

    The unsettled weather pattern will continue into next week with similar temperatures.

  • Video Forecast: Increasing chance of showers

    Published On: Feb 10 2016 04:40:26 PM MST

    Pacific moisture will bring clouds and eventually showers.