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BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

March 26, 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.

TOP STORIES:

MONTANA FLOODING

BILLINGS — Flooding shut down a long stretch of Interstate 90 and covered other roadways across Montana on Monday with the still-frozen ground unable to absorb the rapidly melting snow and ice jams causing water to spill over river banks. The Crow Tribe set up a command center and the Red Cross opened a shelter after the Little Bighorn River flooded land and roads on the southeastern Montana reservation over the weekend. In Central Montana, a home near Vaughn was surrounded by water, but the family inside declined assistance. SENT: 360 words, photos.

SERVICE ANIMALS

HELENA — The Montana House on Monday endorsed a bill that would set fines for people who misrepresent their pets as service animals in order to bring them into public places such as grocery stores or restaurants. The House voted 85-15 in favor of the bill. It faces a final vote before moving to the Senate. By Amy Beth Hanson. SENT: 470 words.

MONTANA COLD CASE

BILLINGS _ Investigators solved a double slaying that occurred more than 45 years ago by using a genealogy database to match DNA from the crime scene with the genetic profile of the now-deceased suspect, a Montana sheriff said Monday. Linda and Clifford Bernhardt, both 24, were strangled in their Billings-area home in November 1973 in a case that would stymie investigators for more than four decades. By Matthew Brown. SENT: 430 words, photo.

DUNCAN-DEATH SENTENCE

BOISE, Idaho — A federal judge has upheld two of three death penalties for a man convicted in a gruesome child kidnapping and murder case, and put a third death sentence on hold for now. Joseph Edward Duncan III was sentenced to death after an incredibly violent spate of crimes in which he stalked two small children, broken into their Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, home and killed three people there before abducting the 8- and 9-year-old. SENT: 530 words, photo.

PHOTOS:

_ MONTANA FLOODING

IN BRIEF:

_ OBIT-PRICE _ Four-term Montana Rep. Jean Price has died at age 75.

_ INMATE DEATH _ A Montana inmate convicted of wounding a man over 20 years ago has died in an apparent suicide.

_ MSU ROOF COLLAPSE-DEMOLITION _ Crews have started demolishing part of a Montana State University gym complex where two roofs collapsed following heavy snowfall earlier this month.

_ RIVER TEMPERATURES-ALGAE _ State officials say increased temperatures in a scenic Montana river have likely contributed to the growth of algae blooms considered a nuisance to recreation.

_ MONTANA PEDESTRIAN FATAL _ Authorities say a man waving a realistic-looking toy rifle on a road in northwestern Montana died after being struck by a vehicle.

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