Montana at 1 p.m.

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TOP STORIES:

WILDERNESS MINES

BILLINGS, Mont.— Federal officials have approved the first phase of a silver and copper mine beneath a northwestern Montana wilderness area, but the proposal's fate remains uncertain due to a legal dispute with state regulators. Kootenai National Forest officials on Tuesday announced their approval of plans by Hecla Mining Co. to begin exploration work for the Rock Creek Mine near Noxon. SENT: 130 words. UPCOMING: 300 words.

FATHER KILLED-SON CHARGED

BILLINGS, Mont. — Defense attorneys asked a judge to dismiss charges against a Montana man accused of killing his disabled father, after a sheriff's deputy who was named as a beneficiary in the victim's will had the crime scene professionally cleaned. Dawson County Chief Deputy Brett Hoagland was a friend and neighbor of Wilbur Fisher, 80, who prosecutors allege was shot through the eye last October by his son, Todd, at their home near Glendive, about 200 miles (320 kilometers) northeast of Billings, Montana. Todd Fisher has pleaded not guilty to charges of deliberate homicide and tampering with evidence. SENT: 375 words.

BLM RELOCATION-UTAH

Utah state leaders and U.S. Rep. Rob Bishop host a high-ranking Department of Interior official to discuss a possible move of the Bureau of Land Management out West and pitch Ogden as a possible site. UPCOMING: 500 words following 1:30 p.m. round table in Ogden, Utah.

IN BRIEF:

OFFICER-INVOLVED SHOOTING — A Montana sheriff's deputy who killed a suicidal man in February has been cleared. The Independent Record reports that a Helena jury unanimously concluded Monday that Lewis and Clark County Deputy Andrew Blythe was justified in shooting Taylor Schnortz in his home.

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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.