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AP-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

November 17, 2018

Montana at 6 p.m.

The desk can be reached at 406-442-7440. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477. For up-to-the minute information on AP’s coverage, visit Coverage Plan at newsroom.ap.org.

TOP STORIES:

ELECTION SECURITY-MONTANA

HELENA — Montana’s midterm elections saw a record number of absentee ballots overwhelm voting machines, found election officials in a dozen counties hand-counting votes and underscored the need to replace hundreds of aging voting machines for the disabled. But money for equipment is scarce and state law restricts when absentee ballots can be counted, meaning the circumstances that resulted in votes still being counted days after the Nov. 6 election aren’t likely to change anytime soon, according to Associated Press interviews with election officials across the state. By Matt Volz. SENT: 900 words, photos.

DUELING DINOSAURS

HELENA — About 66 million years after two dinosaurs died apparently locked in battle on the plains of modern-day Montana, an unusual fight over who owns the entangled fossils has become a multimillion-dollar issue that hinges on the legal definition of “mineral.” The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled last week that the “Dueling Dinosaurs” located on private land are minerals both scientifically and under mineral rights laws. The fossils belong both to the owners of the property where they were found and two brothers who kept two-thirds of the mineral rights to the land once owned by their father, a three-judge panel said in a split decision. By Amy Beth Hanson. SENT: 650 words, photos.

CONGRESS-WOLVES

WASHINGTON — The Republican-controlled House passed a bill Friday to drop legal protections for gray wolves across the lower 48 states, reopening a lengthy battle over the predator species. Long despised by farmers and ranchers, wolves were shot, trapped and poisoned out of existence in most of the U.S. by the mid-20th century. Since securing protection in the 1970s, wolves have bounced back in the western Great Lakes states of Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as in the Northern Rockies and Pacific Northwest. By Matthew Daly. SENT: 430 words, photo.

IN BRIEF:

— TRAIN KILLS BEAR — State wildlife officials say a male grizzly bear cub was struck and killed by a freight train in northwestern Montana.

— LIBBY STABBING-CHARGE — A 24-year-old Washington state man is charged with stabbing a Montana man nearly a dozen times while the victim was on a walking path near Libby.

— MONTANA DEQ-MCGRATH — Montana’s governor has named a former regional administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency in Denver as the new director of the state Department of Environmental Quality.

— BORDER FENCING-CONTRACT — Officials have awarded a contract to replace 14 miles (22.53 kilometers) of pedestrian fencing along the border near Yuma.

— GEESE KILLED — Wildlife officials are investigating after someone shot and killed dozens of snow geese in northern Montana.

SPORTS IN BRIEF:

— BKC-INCARNATE WORD-MONTANA — Michael Oguine made four 3-pointers and scored 25 points, Ahmaad Rorie added three 3-pointers and 18 points and Montana beat Incarnate Word 93-66 on Friday to open the Islands of the Bahamas Showcase.

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If you have stories of regional or statewide interest, please email them to apdenver@ap.org. If you have photos of regional or statewide interest, please send them to the AP state photo center in New York, 888-273-6867. For access to AP Exchange and other technical issues, contact AP Customer Support at apcustomersupport@ap.org or 877-836-9477.

MARKETPLACE: Calling your attention to the Marketplace in AP Exchange, where you can find member-contributed content from Montana and other states. The Marketplace is accessible on the left navigational pane of the AP Exchange home page, near the bottom. For both national and state, you can click “All” or search for content by topics such as education, politics and business.

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