Billings City Council Awards Legal Advertising contract to Yellowstone County News

Billings- The City of Billings awarded Yellowstone County News in Monday night’s City Council meeting the legal advertising contract for the next contract period. In an extensive consent agenda and debate, discussion revolved around long standing tradition of where Billings’ legal advertising has gone for many years, whether the business was located within city limits or whether businesses and individuals will follow the change.

City of Billings staff had recommended that the City Council approve the agreement for legal advertising with Yellowstone County News for one year, with five, one-year options to renew by mutual agreement.

During executive action and debate, Council member Brent Cromley made the motion to award the Billings Times as the legal advertising contract publication of record while Council member Mike Yakawich seconded the motion. Council member Rich McFadden said that he would vote against the motion, as Yellowstone County News actually “had won the bid and came in (more…)


Ed Walker to run for lone Montana US House Seat

Ed Walker, of Billings, has announced his run for Ryan Zinke's replacement in the Montana Special Election.

Ed Walker, of Billings, has announced his run for Ryan Zinke’s replacement in the Montana Special Election.

Originally published in the Yellowstone County News print edition 2/24/17.

BILLINGS — Ed Walker, 46, of Billings, a former Montana state legislator, is throwing his hat in the ring for the election to fill the U.S. House of Representatives seat which will be vacated with the resignation of Republican Ryan Zinke, if and when he is confirmed by the U.S. Senate as Secretary of the Interior.

Walker, who was elected to the state Senate in 2010 in Senate District 29, said that he recently toured the state and visited with Republican delegates who will potentially select their party’s candidate. Those conversations leave him confident that he can win the seat, he said.

“They are looking for someone who believes in the core principles of all Montanans. . . someone who is genuine. . . and for someone who can win,” he said. Walker believes that he has the record of a winner and has the experience to raise the funding necessary to run a successful campaign.

He is also very confident he holds the core values that all of the delegates said they wanted to see in a candidate. There are differences in issues the delegates are concerned about, from (more…)


It’s official: Greg Gianforte runs for governor

Greg Gianforte announces his candidacy for Montana governor on Wednesday at Peterbilt in Lockwood. The Bozeman Republican thanked his wife, Susan, at left, for her support at the beginning of his speech. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

Greg Gianforte announces his candidacy for Montana governor on Wednesday at Peterbilt in Lockwood. The Bozeman Republican thanked his wife, Susan, at left, for her support at the beginning of his speech. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

by Judy Killen-originally published in the Weekly Newspaper, Yellowstone County News. 

LOCKWOOD — Greg Gianforte launched his anticipated campaign for governor on Wednesday, telling 70-plus people gathered for his announcement that he intends to “give Steve Bullock pink slip.”

Speaking to a crowd of local Republicans and reporters, Gianforte, a Bozeman businessman, said he intends to fight federal regulations that he believes strangle Montana businesses and called Bullock, the current governor, a “chicken” who’s failed to stand up for Montanans in the face of lost jobs and a struggling economy.

“I fell in love with Montana 40 years ago,” said the 54-year-old Gianforte. He moved here with his young children and started a business in Bozeman, which paid high wages and stimulated business growth, he said.

He said federal officials use regulations to curtail and threaten Montana jobs and resources, including timber and mining.

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte addresses a crowd of supporters, and reporters, on Wednesday at Peterbilt in Lockwood. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

Republican gubernatorial candidate Greg Gianforte addresses a crowd of supporters, and reporters, on Wednesday at Peterbilt in Lockwood. (Jonathan McNiven photo)

“They think a prairie chicken is more important” than peoples’ jobs, he said, and the current administration in Helena is “too chicken to (more…)

Written by Jonathan McNiven in: Politics | Tags: , ,

State audit reveals major error in accounting ???

“In my fourteen years on Audit this is the first time the financials for Montana shouts of incompetency within the department.”

Montana Senator Dee Brown

Montana Senator Dee Brown

Guest Articleby Senator Dee Brown, Legislative Audit Committee

The financial audit for the State of Montana revealed some disturbing problems today in front of the Legislative Audit Committee in Helena. The audit detailed that the Department of Administration does not have adequate internal controls to ensure accuracy of our finances, nor are they properly reviewed or issued in a timely fashion.

Some of the examples include: transportation expenses overstated by about $220 million, capital grants and contributions for Natural Resources understated by $445 million and transfers of about $47.8 million which were omitted entirely.

The hundreds of millions of dollars not accounted for properly are huge red flags for anyone reading the audit, but the one that made my eyes bulge was the overstatement of approximately $1 billion of accumulated depreciation related to infrastructure. Yes, that’s with a ‘b’ as in billion.

The errors have been (more…)


Utah Man Ordered to Pay Over $97,000 in Restitution to Montana State Fund

Pleads guilty to stealing workers’ compensation benefits for six years

HELENA –  Last week, Utah resident Benjie Leroy Christensen plead guilty in Lewis & Clark County District Court to felony theft for receiving Montana workers’ compensation permanent disability payments for six years while he was actually performing construction work.

In September 2014, Christensen, 52, was accused of defrauding the Montana State Fund for $97,352.71 in wage loss, medical, and prescription benefits he received from 2008 to 2014.  Christensen pleaded  guilty to the felony theft charge in District Court in Helena and was sentenced on May 21 to ten years at the Montana Department of Corrections; all were suspended and Christensen will remain on supervision.  He was also ordered to pay restitution to Montana State Fund in the amount of $97,352.71.

Assistant Attorney General Mary Cochenour alleged Christensen lied about (more…)


Vinegar could be key to Montana fly control

by Judy Killen – originally published in the Yellowstone County News.

HUNTLEY – They say you catch more flies with honey than with vinegar, but these aren’t your usual flies. In fact, the staff at the Yellowstone County Extension Service office at the courthouse in Billings is still trying to determine exactly what type of flies they are. Are they fruit flies? Vinegar flies? Steve Lackman, an agricultural agent for the extension service, said they gathered up a sample of the annoying insects and sent them to the Montana State University lab in Bozeman, hoping for a species confirmation. But the entomologist in Bozeman wasn’t sure what type of flies were in the sample and sent them on to Idaho for further analysis, Lackman said. A positive identification will help extension agents advise people what to do to control them, he said. And people are calling from all over Yellowstone County and other places across Montana.

Lackman said the Bozeman office heard from the extension agent in Hardin that the bugs are there. The Forsyth paper, The Independent Press, ran a front page story about the insect infestation last week and local television news is all over the topic. “They’re widespread, yet they’re spotty,” Lackman said. For now, you can trap more flies with vinegar and a little dish soap in a homemade trap: pour apple cider vinegar in a container, add a couple of drops of dish soap. Lackman said you could try using a funnel on top or cover the bowl with plastic wrap, or just leave it open.

The flies are likely attracted to compost, fruit, manure piles, any “material that is decomposing,” Lackman said. Emptying the trash regularly goes a long ways toward keeping the pesky insects at bay.

Written by Jonathan McNiven in: Enjoy | Tags: , ,

Yellowstone County Deputy involved Shooting Press Release

Today’s Date: 1-9-15

From: Sheriff Mike Linder – Yellowstone County Sherriff

On January 8, 2015, at approximately 4:35 PM, Yellowstone County Sheriff’s Deputies were responding to a reported burglary at a residence on Justice Trail, south of Huntley Mt. At the time of the report, the homeowner did not know if the suspect(s) were still in the residence. While en-route to investigate the burglary, the responding Deputies observed an older model SUV leaving the area that matched the description of a vehicle which was reported stolen out of Billings earlier that day. The Deputies attempted to follow the vehicle on White Buffalo Road but got stuck in the snow. The stolen SUV drove out of sight.

With the help of local citizens, The Deputies were able to free their (more…)

Written by Jonathan McNiven in: Enjoy | Tags: ,

Yellowstone County News Changes Owners

ycnmainbannerHuntley, MT – Jonathan and Tana McNiven of rural Huntley have purchased the weekly Yellowstone County Newspaper from Pete and Rebecca Robison of Huntley effective October 1st. The McNivens plan to keep the paper in the same location and format for the time being. Jonathan, a 1997 graduate of Huntley Project High School, is a current sitting (more…)

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