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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

February 28, 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.

UPCOMING TOMORROW:

WEAPONS SHIPMENT CRASH

HELENA _ U.S. military officials say a shipment of hundreds of Navy munitions was involved in a multi-vehicle crash in rural eastern Montana earlier this month, requiring an ordnance disposal unit to respond and recover 420 projectiles and dispose of 60 damaged projectiles.

TOP STORIES TODAY:

CHILD SEXUAL ABUSE BILL

HELENA _ Montana lawmakers are proposing a bipartisan bill that would end the statute of limitations for prosecuting sex crimes committed against children and extend the window for filing lawsuits against the perpetrator or others. “There shouldn’t be a clock on justice,” said Democratic Rep. Shane Morigeau, who is carrying the bill. “When a victim of childhood sexual abuse comes forward, it is important that the doors of justice are open to them — both criminally and civilly.” By Amy Beth Hanson. SENT: 560 words.

STOLEN POSTAGE-GUILTY PLEA

KENNER, La. _ A former manager of a post office in a New Orleans suburb has admitted to stealing more than $630,000 in stamps and selling them online to support his gambling addiction, prosecutors said. Ryan Cortez, 46, pleaded guilty on Friday to misappropriation of postal funds. According to a criminal complaint, Cortez told special postal agents that he stole “hundreds of thousands” of dollars’ worth of stamps and sold them mostly to two buyers in Montana and New Jersey. SENT: 310 words, national lines.

WESTERN STORMS

GUERNEVILLE, Calif. — Two communities in Northern California’s wine country were accessible only by boat Wednesday after a rain-swollen river overflowed its banks following a relentless downpour across an already waterlogged region. The small city of Guerneville north of San Francisco “is officially an island,” with the overflowing Russian River forecast to hit its highest level in about 25 years, the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. By Haven Daley and Olga R. Rodriguez. SENT: 740 words, photos, video and audio.

With: WESTERN STORMS-THE LATEST

IN BRIEF:

_ YELLOWSTONE ROADS _ Roads in Yellowstone National Park will begin to close to over snow travel on Friday so crews can start to plow in preparation for the coming spring and summer tourist season.

_ MONTANA SCHOOL BUS CRASH _ Transportation safety officials say the use of seatbelts in a school bus that was involved in a 2017 rollover crash in Helena probably prevented more serious injuries to the two children and two adults inside.

_ MEDIA OWNERSHIP BILL _ A Montana legislative committee has tabled a bill that sought to require media outlets owned by out-of-state corporations to prominently identify their owners and headquarters on the front of their publications and on online content.

_ MONTANA WEATHER-THE LATEST _ Search and rescue teams are standing by in case nearly 50 snowed-in residents in rural western Montana need help.

_ SANDBAGS FOR RESIDENTS _ Western Montana homeowners will no longer receive sandbags that were previously supplied by county officials to hold back floodwaters.

_ DIESEL SPILL _ A semi-trailer hauling two gasoline tankers overturned near Grangeville, Idaho on Tuesday, resulting in a hazardous fuel spill.

_ ACCIDENTAL SHOOTING _ A 14-year-old boy accused of shooting a fellow teen at a party in southern Montana has been charged in youth court.

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