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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

January 1, 2019

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.

SHUTDOWN-NATIONAL PARKS

WASHINGTON _ Human feces, overflowing garbage, illegal off-roading and other damaging behavior in fragile areas were beginning to overwhelm some of the West’s iconic national parks on Monday, as a partial government shutdown left the areas open to visitors but with little staff on duty. “It’s a free-for-all,” Dakota Snider, 24, who lives and works in Yosemite Valley, said by telephone Monday, as Yosemite National Park officials announced closings of some minimally supervised campgrounds and public areas within the park that are overwhelmed. By Ellen Knickmeyer and Jocelyn Gecker. SENT: 800 words, photo.

STATE LEGISLATURES-2019

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. _ Big-dollar decisions about health care and education will top the agenda in many state capitols as lawmakers convene for their 2019 sessions with a closer balance between Republicans and Democrats. Some states will be considering anew whether to expand government-funded health coverage to more people after Democrats put a sizable dent in Republican statehouse dominance during the November elections. Others will be wrestling with how to boost salaries for teachers and funding for their public schools. By David A. Lieb. SENT: 1500 words, photos.

OF MONTANA INTEREST:

FISH REBOUND

SPOKANE, Wash. _ In the early 2000s, the world’s only freshwater cod was all but gone from the waters of the Kootenai River in North Idaho and British Columbia. Once counted in the thousands, regional populations of burbot - sometimes known as ling cod - had dropped to a mere 50. Today, that number is closer to 50,000. The fish’s spectacular rebound stems from a collaborative restoration effort by fisheries, communities, academics and state officials, along with the Kootenai Tribe of Idaho and the Bonneville Power Administration. As a result, a decade and a half after facing extinction, “The Leopards of the Kootenai” are back on the menu. By Nathanael Massey, The Spokesman-Review. SENT: 610 words.

IN BRIEF:

MONTANA DEMOCRATS-LINDEEN _ Former state Auditor Monica Lindeen has been named the executive director of the Montana Democratic Party.

HUNGRY HORSE-SHOOTING DEATH _ A Montana prosecutor has filed a motion to dismiss a deliberate homicide charge in an April shooting just days after a judge rejected a plea agreement that recommended a suspended sentence.

ROCKIES WINTER STORM _ A winter storm is creating severe driving conditions in southeastern Montana and northeastern Wyoming.

MONTANA RESERVATION-GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN _ Officials say about half of the tribal employees at the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation in northern Montana will be furloughed because of the partial U.S. government shutdown.

SPORTS:

MONTANA ST-N ARIZONA _ Chris Bowling scored 17 points, hitting four 3-pointers, and Northern Arizona held off a late charge to defeat Montana State 74-68.

S UTAH-MONTANA _ Men’s basketball game starts at 6:30 p.m. MT.

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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.

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