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Emergency crews respond to truck crash south of Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- Emergency crews responded to a pickup truck crash south of Great Falls on Wednesday night

It happened off of Old US Highway 91 about 15 miles south of Ulm, and was reported to the Montana Highway Patrol just before 9 p.m.

Initial reports indicate that the truck went off the road into a ditch.

We're told that the driver -- the only person in the truck -- went to Benefis hospital in Great Falls before an ambulance arrived at the scene. How the driver got to Benefis is not yet known.

The driver's injuries are not believed to be life-threatening.

The Montana Highway Patrol is investigating to determine what caused the crash, and whether alcohol or speed were factors.

Approximate location:

Emergency crews respond to truck crash south of Great Falls

Emergency crews respond to truck crash south of Great Falls

KRTV 10pm Top Stories-Wed Oct 1

Beheading: The Oklahoma woman beheaded last week is a graduate of Great Falls High School.   Click here to read more.

Public funeral fees: Cascade County Commissioners have approved a resolution to eliminate the costs of funeral arrangements for public servants who die in the line of duty.  Click here to read more.

Minimum wage increase: Starting January 1st, Montana's minimum wage will rise by 15-cents, to $8.05 per hour.   Click here to read more.

Final megaload moving: The final megaload bound for Great Falls is on the road entering Montana through Monida Pass.

Ebola latest: Texas hospital officials are admitting they mishandled the first US Ebola case and school children may have been exposed.

Ebola scientist back in Montana: Since August, crews from the Rocky Mountain Laboratory in Hamilton have been working to contain Ebola. One researcher told MTN how his work might help with future outbreaks.   Click here to read more.


Montana's Hill back at NFR, Erickson sneaks in to top 15

COLORADO SPRINGS -- After a 10-year absence, bull rider Beau Hill is headed back to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as one of a handful of contestants who made the Big Show in Las Vegas during a frantic final week of the regular season.

The West Glacier, Mont., cowboy made his advance a reality by finishing third at the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha on Sept. 26, and also adding a check in Kansas City the next day.

"This is great," Hill, 35, said about returning to the Wrangler NFR for the first time since 2004. "It's the goal at the beginning of the year to get in the Finals and win a world championship. I was, like, $600 out that last weekend and I knew I had to win, and it felt good to have that pressure and get the job done."

Thanks to winning $4,456 in Omaha and $355 for tying for sixth place at the American Royal Pro Rodeo in Kansas City, Hill moved from 16th to 13th, ahead of Aaron Pass, Elliot Jacoby and Brett Stall. Stall finished $1,498 behind Jacoby for the final qualifying spot.

There was also a change at the top end of the bull riding standings, required because four-time and reigning World Champion J.W. Harris failed to compete in the minimum number of PRCA rodeos required (40) to be able to count the money earned on the Xtreme Bulls Tour.

Without the $47,726 he earned as Tour champion, Harris dropped from third to sixth in the world standings with $77,307 - $65,858 behind leader Sage Kimzey.

"That's going to light a fire under me and motivate me more to do good out there (at the WNFR)," Harris said.
While Harris dropped three spots, Hill was just worried about making it into the top 15. His 83-point ride aboard Cervi Championship Rodeo's Beer Gut is what helped punch his ticket to Las Vegas for the Dec. 4-13 Wrangler NFR.

"I had never been on that bull before," Hill said. "I saw him in Fort Madison (Iowa) a few weeks before and Howdy Cloud rode him for 85 points, so I knew he was a really good bull. I knew I was just going to have to do my part. It was a great bull. He jumped out there and turned back into my hand and was just really good. I kind of got to spurring on him at the end and it just felt like I made a great ride."

Although the Justin Boots Championships ended Sept. 26, Hill didn't realize he placed third behind Tim Bingham (85 points) and Trey Benton III (84) until the next day.

"I was in Kansas City and I didn't think I was going to end up finishing that high (at Omaha), but that's just the way it worked out, that I finished third," Hill said. "It was pretty exciting."

This is Hill's third trip to the WNFR, with his other two trips coming in 2002 and 2004 when he finished seventh and fifth, respectively, in the world standings.

"Ten years (since going to the Finals) is a long time, and it feels special to me to make it," Hill said. "That was a goal of mine at the beginning of the year, and I guess I'm running out of years as far as bull riders go, so it feels good to reach a goal like this."

Hill wasn't the only cowboy to qualify for the WNFR with a flurry in the last week, as bareback rider Steven Dent, steer wrestler Seth Brockman, saddle bronc rider Dustin Flundra, and pending an audit, the team roping pair of Tom Richards and Cesar de la Cruz, made it into the WNFR field by each finishing 15th.

Richards and de la Cruz advanced to the coveted Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with huge final weeks.

Richards pocketed $12,120, and de la Cruz earned $10,858.

Pending further review, Richards made his first WNFR with $66,744 - $1,802 more than 16th-place Chad Masters, who won gold buckles in 2007 and 2012. De la Cruz has now qualified for nine WNFRs in a row after edging out No. 16 Kinney Harrell by $2,774.

Dent qualified for his seventh WNFR berth, and fifth in a row, with checks in Omaha, Neb., San Bernardino, Calif., and Stephenville, Texas, to bump injury-plagued R.C. Landingham out of the 15th spot by $3,532.

The highlight for Dent was his win in Stephenville, where his 91-point ride on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo's Dirty Jacket equaled the highest-scored bareback ride of the season; Richmond Champion was also 91 on Dirty Jacket at the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days. Dent started the week 16th.

Brockman, of Wheatland, Wyo., rose from 17th to 14th during the week by tying for second place at the Wrangler Champions Challenge in Omaha, and tying for seventh in the Justin Boots Championships, for total earnings of $5,800.

Ty Erickson dropped to 15th, and the odd man out was Blake Knowles, who fell all the way to 18th in this closest of all the races. Erickson's total earnings of $52,470 was just $64 better than No. 16 Tom Lewis, and Riley Duvall was $445 back in 17th. This will be Brockman's second WNFR qualification; he made the field in 2011 and placed in three rounds.

In saddle bronc riding, Dustin Flundra edged Troy Crowser by a mere $148 to claim the No. 15 spot.

Despite having used up his rodeo count (he won two checks during the week), Spencer Wright held on to the 13th spot in the world standings to earn his first WNFR berth and join brothers Cody, Jesse and Jake in the field. It is the first time four brothers have ever qualified for the WNFR.

Tie-down roper Cody Ohl, who was outside the top 50 in mid-July, moved up one more spot to 14th, and will be going to his 20th WNFR.

Unofficial through Sept. 29, 2014
*These standings are pending both audit and appeals, and are not official

1Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas$253,262
2Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas158,537
3Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, Utah88,683
4Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas86,832
5Rhen Richard, Roosevelt, Utah86,668
6Josh Peek, Pueblo, Colo.80,309
7Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta74,496
8Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb.61,394
9Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, Ore.56,980
10Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif.56,317
11Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla.55,187
12Landon McClaugherty, Tilden, Texas52,422
13Trell Etbauer, Goodwell, Okla.46,935
14Payden Emmett, Ponca, Ark.41,062
15Paul David Tierney, Oral, S.D.39,567
16Kyle Whitaker, Chambers, Neb.37,521
17J.B. Lord, Sturgis, S.D.31,310
18Chant DeForest, Wheatland, Calif.31,048
19Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas31,047
20J.D. Yates, Pueblo, Colo.28,444

Bareback Riding
1Kaycee Feild, Spanish Fork, Utah$172,384
2Steven Peebles, Redmond, Ore.126,929
3Austin Foss, Terrebonne, Ore.122,717
4Tim O'Connell, Zwingle, Iowa102,890
5Will Lowe, Canyon, Texas99,013
6Bobby Mote, Culver, Ore.95,309
7Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas89,935
8Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, Utah84,225
9Winn Ratliff, Leesville, La.73,039
10J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo.70,208
11Jake Vold, Ponoka, Alberta67,786
12Jessy Davis, Power, Mont.67,686
13Tilden Hooper, Carthage, Texas65,779
14Justin McDaniel, Porum, Okla.65,178
15Steven Dent, Mullen, Neb.64,567
16R.C. Landingham, Pendleton, Ore.61,035
17Luke Creasy, Lubbock, Texas52,925
18Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D.52,847
19Orin Larsen, Goodwell, Okla.51,917
20Caine Riddle, Vernon, Texas50,547

Steer Wrestling
1Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore.$91,804
2K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas82,055
3Casey Martin, Sulphur, La.80,278
4Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis.77,754
5Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas76,576
6Bray Armes, Ponder, Texas69,216
7Dru Melvin, Hebron, Neb.67,832
8Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif.65,992
9Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev.63,015
10Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Ala.59,736
11Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta57,449
12Cole Edge, Durant, Okla.57,406
13Wyatt Smith, Rexburg, Idaho57,188
14Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo.52,933
15Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont.52,470
16Tom Lewis, Lehi, Utah52,406
17Riley Duvall, Checotah, Okla.52,025
18Blake Knowles, Heppner, Ore.49,022
19Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif.46,824
20Josh Peek, Pueblo, Colo.46,081

Team Roping (header)
1Clay Tryan, Billings, Mont.$110,181
2Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz.101,421
3Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas101,399
4Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont.90,643
5Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash.82,889
6Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga.81,470
7Brandon Beers, Powell Butte, Ore.79,491
8Nick Sartain, Dover, Okla.76,963
9Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla.75,710
10Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas73,062
11Jake Barnes, Scottsdale, Ariz.72,341
12Charly Crawford, Prineville, Ore.71,559
13Turtle Powell, Stephenville, Texas69,310
14Aaron Tsinigine, Tuba City, Ariz.68,074
15Tom Richards, Humboldt, Ariz.66,744
16Chad Masters, Cedar Hill, Tenn.64,942
17Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas58,533
18Chace Thompson, Munday, Texas50,975
19Brady Tryan, Huntley, Mont.50,775
20Ty Blasingame, Sugar City, Colo.48,858

Team Roping (heeler)
1Jade Corkill, Fallon, Nev.$110,181
2Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz.101,769
3Travis Graves, Jay, Okla.101,399
4Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo.93,735
5Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash.82,889
6Patrick Smith, Lipan, Texas81,470
7Jim Ross Cooper, Monument, N.M.79,491
8Rich Skelton, Llano, Texas76,963
9Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan.76,710
10Shay Carroll, La Junta, Colo.72,618
11Kollin VonAhn, Blanchard, Okla.70,062
12Dakota Kirchenschlager, Morgan Mill, Texas65,950
13Junior Nogueira, Scottsdale, Ariz.62,333
14Clay O'Brien Cooper, Gardnerville, Nev.60,255
15Cesar de la Cruz, Tucson, Ariz.58,515
16Kinney Harrell, Marshall, Texas55,741
17Cole Davison, Stephenville, Texas54,220
18Ryan Motes, Weatherford, Texas53,828
19Jett Hillman, Purcell, Okla.51,344
20Tommy Zuniga, Centerville, Texas50,796

Saddle Bronc Riding
1Taos Muncy, Corona, N.M.$126,879
2Cody Wright, Milford, Utah111,093
3Cort Scheer, Elsmere, Neb.102,429
4Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La.92,574
5Jacobs Crawley, Stephenville, Texas88,729
6Wade Sundell, Boxholm, Iowa83,875
7Tyler Corrington, Hastings, Minn.77,694
8Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah77,495
9Bradley Harter, Loranger, La.74,836
10Chad Ferley, Oelrichs, S.D.73,705
11Cole Elshere, Faith, S.D.71,134
12Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La.66,683
13Spencer Wright, Milford, Utah60,265
14Jake Wright, Milford, Utah59,795
15Dustin Flundra, Pincher Creek, Alberta59,372
16Troy Crowser, Whitewood, S.D.59,224
17Sterling Crawley, Stephenville, Texas55,039
18Sam Spreadborough, Snyder, Texas51,725
19Chet Johnson, Sheridan, Wyo.49,905
20Isaac Diaz, Desdemona, Texas47,338

Tie-down Roping
1Tuf Cooper, Decatur, Texas$153,822
2Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho116,983
3Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas93,849
4Clint Robinson, Spanish Fork, Utah85,893
5Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas83,188
6Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla.81,533
7Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La.79,687
8Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas76,319
9Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas74,285
10Clint Cooper, Decatur, Texas69,596
11Adam Gray, Seymour, Texas69,401
12Ryan Watkins, Bluff Dale, Texas68,197
13Reese Riemer, Stinnett, Texas66,317
14Cody Ohl, Hico, Texas65,282
15Tyson Durfey, Colbert, Wash.64,240
16Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas57,828
17Jake Pratt, Ellensburg, Wash.57,311
18Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla.56,355
19Randall Carlisle, Baton Rouge, La.56,296
20Jesse Clark, Portales, N.M.55,889

Steer Roping
1Trevor Brazile, Decatur, Texas$68,835
2Chet Herren, Pawhuska, Okla.67,910
3Jess Tierney, Hermosa, S.D.53,561
4Cody Lee, Gatesville, Texas45,415
5Vin Fisher Jr., Andrews, Texas43,499
6Chance Kelton, Mayer, Ariz.37,464
7Jason Evans, Huntsville, Texas35,224
8Mike Chase, McAlester, Okla.33,281
9Tony Reina, Wharton, Texas33,165
10J.P. Wickett, Sallisaw, Okla.33,040
11Brady Garten, Claremore, Okla.32,543
12Rocky Patterson, Pratt, Kan.32,329
13Scott Snedecor, Fredericksburg, Texas31,225
14Brodie Poppino, Big Cabin, Okla.30,193
15Troy Tillard, Douglas, Wyo.28,268
16Jarrett Blessing, Paradise, Texas27,707
17J.B. Whatley, Gardendale, Texas26,094
18Bryce Davis, Ovalo, Texas26,009
19Roger Branch, Perkins, Okla.25,855
20J. Tom Fisher, Andrews, Texas24,148

Bull Riding
1Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla.$143,165
2Trey Benton III, Rock Island, Texas125,547
3Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas102,589
4Tim Bingham, Honeyville, Utah85,634
5Brennon Eldred, Sulphur, Okla.77,830
6J.W. Harris, Mullin, Texas77,307
7Reid Barker, Comfort, Texas76,227
8Josh Koschel, Nunn, Colo.73,107
9Jordan Spears, Redding, Calif.72,139
10Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo.70,040
11Joe Frost, Randlett, Utah69,558
12Ty Wallace, Collbran, Colo.67,577
13Beau Hill, West Glacier, Mont.67,158
14Aaron Pass, Dallas, Texas66,546
15Elliot Jacoby, Fredericksburg, Texas65,039
16Brett Stall, Detroit Lakes, Minn.63,553
17Cody Campbell, Summerville, Ore.58,936
18Dustin Bowen, Fredericksburg, Pa.58,664
19Jeff Askey, Martin, Tenn.55,122
20Chandler Bownds, Lubbock, Texas53,252

*2014 Barrel Racing (through Sept. 29, 2014)
Barrel racing standings, provided by the Women's Professional Rodeo Association (WPRA), are unofficial, subject to audit and may change. Unofficial WPRA Standings are published by the PRCA as a courtesy. The PRCA is not responsible for the verification or updating of WPRA standings.

1Kaley Bass, Kissimmee, Fla.$155,280
2Fallon Taylor, Whitesboro, Texas131,471
3Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D.121,617
4Nancy Hunter, Neola, Utah104,289
5Britany Diaz, Solen, N.D.102,947
6Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas100,645
7Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas99,712
8Christine Laughlin, Pueblo, Colo.93,135
9Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz.93,048
10Kassidy Dennison, Roosevelt, Utah92,051
11Christy Loflin, Franktown, Colo.91,736
12Carlee Pierce, Stephenville, Texas90,431
13Trula Churchill, Valentine, Neb.74,385
14Samantha Lyne, Cotulla, Texas70,577
15Jana Bean, Ft. Hancock, Texas70,416
16Brenda Mays, Terrebonne, Ore.70,017
17Shelley Morgan, Eustace, Texas69,447
18Ann Scott, Canyon Country, Calif.68,119
19Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga.64,063
20Kimmie Wall, Roosevelt, Utah60,579


Athlete of the Week: Cascade's Amanda Wolfe

CASCADE -- In the fall you are most likely to find girls playing sports on the volleyball court, golf course, or soccer pitch. But you can find Amanda Wolfe of Cascade on the football field.

"I love hitting, I love tackling, I love hanging out with the team, I love everything about it," said Wolfe.

She is one of a handful of girls on a football team in Montana, but Cascade Coach Jesse Allan says her differences make her no different.

"We say we're a brotherhood, she's just a sister a part of the brothers so other than that there's no big changes," said Allan. "She's expected to do the same thing as everybody else."

But Amanda's acceptance among teammates wasn't always that way. A few years ago Amanda lived in Helena, and when she made the move to Cascade, she was understandably nervous.

"I thought I would get made fun of or something because sometimes in Helena that happened, but I came here and they've just been super great and super accepting and it's really incredible."

Amanda radiates passion for football, but she says that if she hadn't have crossed the mountains behind me she's not sure if she would've gotten to play the game, or at least not in the way that she wants to.

"Had I joined the Capital High Team, they probably would have just made me kicker. They wouldn't have let me try out anything else because they would have to let me play but wouldn't want to. That makes me angry considering that's not the aspect of football I like the best."

So what does she have to say to anyone who has an issue with her playing the sport?

"I think that people need to learn to deal with the fact that there are some girls coming into the sport now, and it's not exclusive to boys."

Only Amanda knows what she has been through to play on the field today, but the fight has only made her fight, and her confidence, stronger.

"I'm a middle linebacker and that's my favorite position. I love it so much."


Winter Weather Advisory issued for Thursday

GREAT FALLS -- Parts of Montana will receive snow on Thursday, which may make traveling difficult in some areas.

The National Weather Service has issued a Winter Weather Advisory for the Northern Rocky Mountain Front and Glacier County.

This advisory goes into effect at midnight and expires at noon on Thursday.

Remember, the advisory means snow is expected, which may cause travel difficulties, and drivers are advised to use caution in the advisory area.

The advisory includes Browning, Marias Pass, and Logan Pass.

STORMTracker meteorologist Mike Rawlins says 2-4" of snow is likely in this area on Thursday. He expects roads mainly above 5000 feet to be impacted, with drivers facing slushy and slippery conditions.

In addition, 20-30 mph winds are expected, which will create areas of limited visibility and send wind chill values into the single digits.

Stay with STORMTracker Weather for continuous coverage of this wintry weather.

Helena man accused of assaulting infant pleads not guilty

HELENA -- Shane Burson appeared in Lewis & Clark County District court Wednesday in connection with an alleged assault on a 9-week-old baby.

Burson pleaded not guilty to felony assault on a minor, sexual assault, and failure to register as a sexual offender.

At the end of July, an unidentified male child in Burson's care was taken to Saint Peter's Hospital emergency department for a number of injuries, including bruising and abrasions over large portions of his body, as well as damage to his genitalia and fractures to both legs.

While admitting the child was alone in his care, 26-year-old Burson denied injuring the child.

Court documents state that Burson was convicted of child rape in Washington in 2007.

Trial in the case has been set for January 12.

Burson faces a maximum prison term of 120 years on the assault on a minor and the sexual assault charge.

CMR's McLaughlin will join Lady Argonauts soccer team

GREAT FALLS -- University of Great Falls women's soccer coach Brian Clarke has announced the signing of Eme McLaughlin to the Lady Argonauts soccer program.

McLaughlin is a junior striker at C.M. Russell High School in Great Falls. She was an All-State selection after tallying 19 goals and seven assists as a sophomore in 2013 when CMR reached the Class AA state tournament semifinals.
So far this season McLaughlin has scored nine goals to go with three assists. She has scored 29 goals and 24 assists in her Rustler career.

"We are very excited to sign our first local product in three years," UGF coach Brian Clarke said. "She's a prolific goal-scorer who we think can come in and make an immediate impact. Not only is she a great player - she is also a great person and active in the community."

McLaughlin carries a 3.7 grade point average. The daughter of Jeff and Jennifer McLaughlin, she will major in biology at UGF with the goal of becoming and occupational therapist.

"I thought it was a good fit for me - both athletically and academically," McLaughlin said. ""They brought me up to campus and I got to explore, and I really liked it."

McLaughlin was a member of the Electric City Thunderbolts Soccer Club and the Montana Olympic Development Program. She also runs track for CMR.


KRTV Evening Top News - Wed Oct 1

GREAT FALLS -- Top news on KRTV for the evening of Wednesday, October 1, 2014:

- Colleen Hufford, the Great Falls High School graduate who was killed by a co-worker in Moore, Oklahoma, last week, is being remembered as a "great person" by family and friends. Click here to read more.

- Cascade County Commissioners approved a resolution that would authorize the County and specified personnel to provide Montana ExpoPark facilities at no cost for funeral services to those who have fallen in the line of duty. Click here for details.

- Meteorologist Mike Rawlins is tracking a cold front headed for the Treasure State, and this one will bring the opportunity for not only rain, but also snow. Click here for details.

- The third and final "megaload" of refinery equipment bound for Great Falls is set to begin its trip north on I-15.

- The Montana Electric Cooperative Association discussed energy issues during the 53rd annual meeting in Great Falls this week. Click here to read more.

- The Great Falls Public School District is starting its budget process early this school year. According to administrators, the district will close the loop on its budget process for last year, and outline next year's process. The meeting is open to the public and will be held at the Paris Gibson Education Center cafeteria on Thursday, October 2nd, beginning at 5:30 p.m.

- The Great Falls Public Schools Foundation has announced more than $55,000 in Discovery Grants to help fund student and teacher projects.


Montana Electric Cooperative Association meets in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- The Montana Electric Cooperative Association is talking about energy issues during its 53rd annual meeting at the Best Western Heritage Inn in Great Falls this week.

The highlight of this year's four-day long meeting was at Wednesday's luncheon, where the keynote speech was presented by Jon Wood, president of the CoalBlue Project.

The project is a relatively new initiative to build support within the Democratic Party for sustainable energy policies.

Wood said, "Ultimately we are here to create bipartisan support for what we believe are practical solutions to break through the gridlock. It really is causing so much dysfunction at the federal level, and to find common solutions that both the left and the right can embrace."

Wood discussed how coal cannot just go away but has to be a part of the solution: "We think there is basically three legs, what we call the 'climate stool.' We need to increase our use of renewables and nuclear. We need to increase energy efficiency. But we also need to really concentrate, and what we are not doing today, is on the development of these technologies that will allow us to capture the carbon in fossil fuels, both coal and natural gas."

Colleen Hufford, killed by co-worker in Oklahoma, was raised in Great Falls

GREAT FALLS -- Colleen Hufford, who died after being attacked by a co-worker at her workplace in Moore, Oklahoma, last week, is being remembered as a "great person" by family and friends.

Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder for the beheading of Hufford, and attempted murder for the stabbing attack on another woman, said Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn.

Hufford was born in Germany in 1960 to Marshall and Gisela Thompson, and her family eventually moved to Montana.

She was raised in Great Falls and graduated from Great Falls High School in 1978.

In 1984, she married KC Hufford and they moved to Moore, Oklahoma.

Family members tell KRTV that she was a great person, and they have released the following statement:

"Losing our mom, wife and grandmother has been one of the most difficult challenges any of us have faced in our lives. For her life to have been taken in such a tragic act of violence adds a depth of grief we are trying to comprehend. We want to thank the wonderful family and friends who have come to our aid during this very difficult time with messages of hope and prayer. We will miss her dearly."

The funeral will be held on Friday, October 3 at 2 p.m. at Southgate Baptist Church in Moore.

A memorial fund has been set up to help the family with funeral and other associated costs; click here to make a donation .

Click here to read Hufford's obituary .

(September 30, 2014 - Michael Martinez/CNN) Alton Alexander Nolen, 30, was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder and attempted murder in the beheading of a 54-year-old woman last week at his former workplace in Oklahoma and in an stabbing attack on another woman, said Cleveland County District Attorney Greg Mashburn.

Nolen was also charged with a third felony, assault with a deadly weapon, the prosecutor said. The attempted murder charge is also called assault and battery with a deadly weapon, Mashburn said.

"It is highly likely I will seek the death penalty in this case," he said, adding that he would first consult with the victim's family before making his decision.

Nolen, a recent convert to Islam, is accused of carrying out the attacks Thursday at a Vaughan Foods processing plant soon after he learned he'd lost his job there.

Nolen was trying "to get revenge on certain people he felt responsible" for his job loss, Mashburn said.

The FBI is also investigating the attack because Nolen "was saying Arabic terms in the attack," Mashburn said.

Nolen's Facebook page uses the name Jah'Keem Yisrael. The cover photo appears to be of fighters holding weapons. The postings include all-caps messages about Islam and quotations from the Quran.

Click here to read more .


2014 Predictions

As promised here are my 2014 mid-term election predictions. Just a reminder, I was 100% in 2012 predicting Obama’s re-election, Tester beating Rehberg, the GOP not gaining U.S. Senate control, Bullock winning the governorship and Daines winning the House seat. So without further adieu or a-don’t:

THE GOP WILL WIN THE U.S. SENATE taking at least 6 seats away from the Dems; Montana, South Dakota, West Virginia, North Carolina, Iowa and Arkansas. The GOP could flip as many as 10 states adding Alaska, Louisiana, Colorado and New Hampshire to the mix. Oregon, Michigan and Minnesota are in play according to some but I doubt those will go red.

STATUS QUO IN THE HOUSE. No significant change in the U.S. House unless the GOP wins 8-12 Senate seats, then it’s a wave similar to 2010 and they’ll pick up an additional 10 or so House seats.

Daines will easily beat Curtis for the open Montana Senate seat by 10-20 percentage points or more. The Zinke-Lewis House race will be much tighter, though I think Zinke pulls it out by 3-5 points due to the big Republican voter enthusiasm advantage. The Dems have the President to thank for that.

The GOP will maintain it’s big majority in the Montana House and a slimmer majority in the state Senate, though it’s hard to predict due to this being the first election with new state legislative districts. The entrance of Amanda Curtis into the Senate race is likely to hurt down-ticket Democratic candidates statewide unless she crafts and communicates a much more middle-of-the-road, positive message. So far she is not inspiring independents and is angering conservatives who will take it out on Dems at the ballot box. The only constituency she is currently energizing is the far, far left who would turn out and vote anyway.

It looks like a very good year for the GOP statewide and nationally but things could change pretty quickly. There’s only about 9 weeks until Election Day and actually in MT folks will begin to vote in about 5 weeks. Not a lot of time to change the positive GOP trajectory but here are a few wild cards that could change things either way:

1.) Obama could take executive action on immigration that would anger and energize a bigger conservative turnout OR energize a bigger Dem turnout. I’m sure the White House is calculating and polling on that as we speak.

2.) When the GOP led House comes back next week they could form the circular firing squad they’re so famous for and decide to “shut down the government” in response to an Obama action like the one mentioned above. If they do that then they will not retake the Senate and will LOSE House seats.

3.) It’s possible that Louisiana will have a run-off election in December to determine which party will control the U.S. Senate. They have a weird set of procedures down there and if a candidate doesn’t get at least 50% in the general then it goes to a run-off. I don’t think this scenario is likely to determine Senate control but you never know…

4.) International problems could get very ugly and much, much worse in the coming days and weeks. If so, it will most likely make things much worse for Dems, but could benefit them if the President shows some exceptional leadership and courage.

There you have it friends, and delivered before Labor Day. Have a great holiday weekend!

Bloof Witzer & Walsh in a Sityourbuttdown Room interview

Recently Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People John Walsh, Democrat from Montana, sat down with CNN’s Bloof Witzer on his show “The Sityourbuttdown Room” to discuss revelations that Walsh plagiarized a research paper required for his masters degree.

Bloof: Thank you for coming on the show Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People Walsh.

Walsh: I want to thank you for letting me be myself again.

Bloof: Sure. Tell us a little about yourself.

Walsh: My home’s in Montana I wear a bandana my spurs are of silver my pony is gray While riding the ranges my luck never changes.

Bloof: Well, your luck may have changed a little here recently, but before we get into that please tell our viewers a little about your political beliefs.

Walsh: I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all.

Bloof: Okay. Tell us a little about your philosophy on life and how it is that you have become a successful Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People.

Walsh: Early to bed and early to rise, makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise. Never leave that till to-morrow which you can do to-day. Oh, and he that goes a borrowing goes a sorrowing.

Bloof: A recent New York Times piece has revealed that you apparently plagiarized a large portion of a research paper required to get your masters degree. What do you say to those who criticize you for doing that?

Walsh: To err is human, to forgive divine and God helps them that help themselves. Well, I’m not a crook. I’ve earned everything I’ve got.

Bloof: But some say that plagiarism is a dis-qualifier for a Senate candidate, what say you?

Walsh: It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

Bloof: Okay, let’s talk about a few issues. Ukraine; what are your views concerning the rebel separatists there and their attempt to break from Ukraine.

Walsh: When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Bloof: How about the conflict between the Palestinians and Israel?

Walsh: Moses my servant is dead. Now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, you and all this people, into the land that I am giving to them, to the people of Israel. Every place that the sole of your foot will tread upon I have given to you, just as I promised to Moses.

Bloof: Wait a minute, are you saying that Palestine is actually the ancient homeland of the Jews and is their possession by birthright?

Walsh: It depends what the meaning of ‘is’ is.

Bloof: Hmmm…well, let’s talk about the crisis on our southern border, what would you do to solve the problems down there?

Walsh: You may all go to hell, and I will go to Texas. God bless Texas. Ay carumba and uhm, er…out in the west Texas town of El Paso I fell in love with a Mexican girl.

Bloof: What? Okay, ahhh..what are your own personal thoughts about allegations that the President has overreached and is violating the Constitution through executive fiat?

Walsh: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union,establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. All legislative Powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress of the United States, which shall consist of a Senate and House of Representatives.

Bloof: Seems like I’ve heard that somewhere before. Oh well, wrapping things up now, how do you intend to handle these latest revelations that you plagiarized to earn a degree and what do you say to allegations coming from some that it proves that you’re either too dumb, lazy, dishonest or all three to be a U.S. Senator?

Walsh: Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead! I have not yet begun to fight! Give me liberty or give me death! An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure! If you like pina coladas and gettin’ caught in the rain! Hey macarena!

Bloof: Wow, sounds like you have some real deeply held convictions here, straight from the heart. Care to leave our viewers with a final word?

Walsh: You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time…er oops, I mean NO COMMENT.

Bloof: Thank you for joining us today on “The Sityourbuttdown Room” Senator-By-Political-Crony-Appointment-Not-The-Will-Of-The-People Walsh.

Walsh: I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal….

Bloof: Cut his microphone, cut it…

Fair questions about fairgrounds

Good observations and questions about Expo Park here in Cascade County from a listener to the radio show:

“The financial situation at the Fairgrounds is very concerning. It seems the most fundamental  accounting procedures to ensure employee accountability and prevent theft have not traditionally been in place. Since the Fairgrounds is a public entity, this is very surprising. Along with proper daily procedures of cash handling, an annual audit is the rule.

I applaud whoever “blew the horn” on the situation and brought these unfortunate circumstances to light. I can only hope that as we move forward, the County continues to remain transparent, and inform and reassure the public that the correct procedures are in place.

Will we see an annual audit from a private accounting firm, and will the audit be publicly noticed and available to voters? And has anyone estimated the total amount of loss to taxpayers from this situation?”

Worse than Nixon? Wow!

Obama is the worst President since WWII.
Worse than Bush.
Worse than Nixon.
According to FOX News? No, according to 1446 registered voters in a new Quinnipiac poll. And the numbers get worse and worse as you look further into the poll. It’s devastating for the President and his party.

The President could turn it around though if he would stop behaving like a third grader with the taunting, mocking, “so sue me” cocky attitude and start behaving like the adult in the room.

Democrats will start jumping ship pretty quickly now because the Presidents antics and woeful lack of anything remotely resembling leadership will not yield the intended results of sufficiently firing up the base for November. Captain Obama is steering the Titanic directly at the iceberg and will sink his party and this country if not checked. Apparently he’s too arrogant and confident in his golden lifeboat waiting in 2016 to give a rip.

Wednesday radio show featuring former GOP state senator Jerry Black

This Wednesday, June 25th live in the studio will be former GOP state senator and longtime north central Montana broadcaster Jerry Black. Topics will include state and local politics and issues, political polarization and the state of the Montana Republican Party.
As always the show features listener call-ins and emails. The call-in number is 452-1073 and the email is

Two good reasons for war no more

We should all hope and pray that our great country is not sucked into another foreign war for two reasons:

First, we should have all learned the lesson that nation building and trying to solve ancient feuds when the people directly involved don’t want us to is impossible and not worth even one drop of American blood or one penny of American treasure. Thanks to the blindness and ignorance of neo-cons like Cheney and the inept prosecution of the war by the then CINC G.W. Bush that lesson was learned at the expense of our brave young soldiers and an economic debt we may never pay off.

Second, the notion of engaging in another war under the “leadership” of Obama should frighten the crap out of all of us. The weakness, indecision and incompetence of the current CINC would make W look like a military genius by comparison. Just imagine a war-time president like Obama who thinks global warming or climate change or whatever they’re calling it this week is the greatest threat facing us and who can’t even manage a web site…or his own State Department. Imagine a CINC who has no idea whats going on in the world, or his own administration for that matter, until he learns about it from the newspaper after it’s too late.


Let’s bake a bigger pie

It’s distressing to see this community being divided once again over a school levy vote. Political vendettas, personal attacks, name calling and disrespect on all sides. Folks who oppose the levy have legitimate reasons and aren’t trying to hurt the community and those who support the levy do so for noble reasons as well and aren’t trying to rip off taxpayers.

Instead of squabbling over how to divide up the crumbs and thin slices of a shrinking pie we should be WORKING TOGETHER TO GROW THE PIE. I want to hear the sound of hammer and saw building new homes, businesses and infrastructure. I want to see a thriving economy where lot’s of people have good full time jobs, where shops and restaurants are so busy they can barely keep up.

We can have a growing community where we don’t even think twice about paying a little more for public schools because we’re prosperous and student enrollment is expanding because people want to move here and live here and raise their kids here.

We CAN be that. Why not here? Let’s get to work!

GFPS levy issue: BOTH sides need to compromise

When it comes to funding our schools at the local district level we need to find common ground and make arguments based on facts rather than casting aspersions on those we disagree with. We have to come to some kind of a consensus on funding education so we can build and maintain a prosperous economy and attract and keep good jobs here. It’s not rocket science; unless we show we are able to agree and make a commitment to excellence in public education we have little chance of growing and developing a thriving economy in Cascade County. Unfortunately many levy proponents always make the same silly mistake: they just can’t seem to stop themselves from referring to levy opponents as “haters” and “gripers” etc. This kind of name-calling really hurts the pro-levy cause. I’m not sure why those who favor a levy don’t seem to understand that most of those who oppose a levy have good reasons for doing so and are not “against kids” or “cheapskates” or “selfish” or “vandals” or “naysayers” – all terms I’ve heard and read recently referring to the “anti-levy crowd” which recently has been the majority “crowd”. Instead of characterizing opponents negatively try understanding their point of view. Instead of putting all of the responsibility on local taxpayers to buck up and just “hand over the money because it’s for the kids”, why not suggest, no DEMAND, that administrators and teachers also make some sacrifices. Most levy opponents I’ve spoken with are FOR more transparency, FOR more accountability, FOR more frugality, FOR more shared responsibility between taxpayers and district employees.

The district is asking for about $500,000 of this levy request to pay for the increase in health insurance premiums for district employees which is largely due to ObamaCare mandates. A 2% raise was just approved for teachers. The GFPS Athletic Director makes $96,569 per year. Where are the sacrifices being made by district employees? Where is the compromise and attempt to find common ground? We’re still waiting for information on how much of our property and money was stolen from OUR school district by a district employee. How can we be expected to give more money to an administration that doesn’t do everything possible to account for the money we have already given?

I want to make sure we provide a world class education to our kids, my own daughters got that education here and I am proud of our community and school system. That’s why I am urging the pro-levy voices, along with their advocacy for good public education, to ask for some accountability, responsibility and shared sacrifice by the GFPS and employees. I believe this is the key. If we want to see the levy pass there has to be a GENUINE attempt by the school board, the administration and the teachers union to compromise, find solutions and work together, otherwise everyone will suffer the consequences. I stand ready to help in the effort in any way I can.


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