Montana at 1:15 p.m.

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TOP STORIES:

HUNTING GRIZZLIES

MISSOULA, Mont. — Wildlife advocates pressed a Montana judge Thursday to restore federal protections for a group of about 700 grizzly bears and block hunting that's set to begin this weekend, but the judge said he would not make an immediate ruling. US District Judge Dana Christensen said at the opening of a packed court hearing in Missoula that he knew many people present expected him to issue a quick ruling from the bench, but told those attending "that's not going to happen." By Matt Volz. SENT: 800 words. AP Photo.

With: HUNTING GRIZZLIES-THE LATEST

ALSO OF MONTANA INTEREST:

COAL PLANT CLOSINGS

COLUMBUS, Ohio — An Ohio-based energy company said Wednesday it is closing its last coal-fired power plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, a move decried by the coal industry and called inevitable by environmentalists. FirstEnergy Solutions said it plans to shut down its remaining four coal plants by 2022. The three Ohio plants are on the Ohio River in Stratton. Its last Pennsylvania coal plant is in Shippingport. The plants employ a combined 550 people. By Julie Carr Smyth. SENT: 560 words, national lines.

IN BRIEF:

— BILLINGS THEATRE-DONATION — Billings' Alberta Bair Theater has received a $1 million gift from two private donors that it will use to renovate its aging facility. The theater's Executive Director Jan Dietrich says the gift from Jim and Chris Scott is the largest private donation in the theater's 31-year history.

— STABBING-BILLINGS — Police in Billings say a 31-year-old man died after being stabbed in the upper body during a disturbance in a restaurant parking lot. Police Lt. Brandon Wooley said in a statement that officers responded to a report of a stabbing in the downtown Hardee's parking lot at 8:45 p.m. Wednesday.

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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.