Great Falls Tribune from Great Falls, Montana on November 27, 2005 · Page 13
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Great Falls Tribune from Great Falls, Montana · Page 13

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Sunday, November 27, 2005
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GREAT FALLS TRIBUNE WWW.GREATFALLSTRIBUNE.COM MONTANA Obituaries 2 Statistics . . .2 State news 3-12 Celebrations 5 Military 11 3CJS v For news tips or corrections: Call City Editor Dan Hollow at 791-1491 or (800) 438-6600; Fax: 791-1431; e-mail: tribcitysofast.net Circulation questions: Call 791-1400 .SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 27, 2005.- OffBeat UNSOLVED MURDERS p to m Driver didn't even know law existed When Robin Johnson of Great Falls got a ticket for an improper lane change, she didn't know such a law even existed. "My daughter insisted it is a law, and I said 'No, it doesn't make any sense for it to be a law,' " Johnson said. Reality struck when Johnson was stuck paying an $85 fine. : So, for drivers like Johnson who don't know it's against the law, consider yourself forewarned. Making a left turn into the farthest traffic lane is against the law. The police will ticket, and indeed have been. "You need to establish yourself in the lane first," Great Falls Police Officer Cory Reeve said. Failing to do so "causes a lot of accidents," he said. Police are more likely to hand out traffic tickets for an improper lane change than they are for expired plates or a "non-moving" violation because of the potential for accidents. Johnson is a self-pro-claimed law abiding citizen. Since her ticket, she has been working at entering the closest lane when making a left-hand turn. "Boy, have I been working on it," she said. "The very first week, I swore I would never drive again." The practice has since gotten easier with time, she said. Chelsi Moy . Best of the West True West magazine has named the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail Interpretive Center as Best Museum 1 for 2005. The magazine honored the center in its recent issue listing various "best or picks. The awards are for places and people who keep the spirit and heritage of the West alive. The Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center is a two-time winner and was recognized for program variety and special trail-side chats. Sonja Lee Off Beat is a compilation of odd and amusing things that make Montana and its people interesting. Send ideas to Off Beat, RO. Box 5468, Great Falls, NIT 59403; or call (406) 791-1460 or (800) 438-6600. Woman dies in accident MISSOULA (AP) A vehicle hit a patch of Ice and lost control on U.S. 93 west of here Friday evening, causing a six-vehicle crash that killed a Washington state woman. The wreck, which occurred at about 5:15 p.m., involved a tanker truck, a car, two pickup trucks, an SUV and one other vehicle. ' The Montana Highway Patrol still was sorting out the details on Saturday, but said it appeared the chain reaction crash started when one of vehicles, which was southbound, hit a patch of ice. The vehicle slid sideways and was T-boned by a second vehicle. The other four vehicles also hit the ice and were unable to stop. "We have not correctly determined the order of the losses of control who was reacting to what," Montana Highway Patrol Officer Mike Bur-man said. "The important thing for people to know is this is a total reminder that in this type of situation, you have to be aware." By KIM SKORNOGOSKI Tribune Staff Writer Delnita Davis was one of a few people not related to Dolana Clark who attended last week's trial of the man convicted of killing the 9-year-old in 1988. Davis has sat and waited for verdicts in three of Great Falls cold-case homicides. But what she's really waiting for is her turn for resolution. On April 5, 1985, her 23-year-old son Morris Davis delivered a pizza to an aban Helena S stHB- -tfiSrSV r'Wh fl trjQLi2i rife?. ABOVE: Work nears completion on the new Missouri River bridge at Craig, adjacent to by crane during the construction of the new bridge. Demolition By SONJA LEE Tribune Staff Writer A Helena family intends to adopt the 102-year-old Craig Bridge, saving it from the scrap pile and preserving a piece of Montana history. Construction of the new 35-foot-wide, two-lane bridge is nearly complete, said Kent Barnes, a bridge engineer with the Montana Department of Transportation. Depending on weather conditions, the modern concrete bridge could open to traffic before the end of the year. Morgen and Oswood Construction of Great Falls has the $3.5 million contract to build the new bridge? The company also has salvage rights for the old one, and plans are in place to demolish the old bridge. But demolition is on hold, Barnes said. Instead, three, 20-ton spans of the bridge will be moved to a piece of state land near Hardy Creek. "We are fairly confident we can adopt that old structure out," he said. More than three years ago, Montana Department of Transportation put the old Yellowstone cutthroat trout numbers declining YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK (AP) The Yellowstone cutthroat trout population in the nation's oldest national park "appears to be in peril," according to a new scientific journal article by National Park Service scientists. The article in Fisheries, the magazine of the American Fisheries Society, cites a population decline of at least 60 percent in Yellowstone Lake, the fish's largest refuge. While Yellowstone National Park's largest lake once held millions of members of the cutthroat trout subspecies, netting, testing and mathematical models suggeii that "only a fraction of that population exists today," says the article written by aquatic specialists in the park. In 1998, anglers caught doned house at 1015 6th Ave. NW and was shot multiple times. He was robbed of a few dollars from his cash purse. The crime is unsolved. "I keep watching everybody else's get solved," Davis said. "I'm happy for them, but then I get upset because I think when'sitgoingtobe our turn? When's it V'f J ' -A D. Davis going to be Morris' turn?" To spur the investigation, Davis sought help from a family to adopt old Craig plans on hold , .....4 ii. . -f j. Cascade A 4 miles ; DearbornJ- Tak6 UdaTnbune one-lane bridge up for adoption. A handful of people and ' organizations explored the opportunity, but there weren't any takers. Scott Nelson and his father Mike, however, recently purchased the State Nursery west of Helena. The family is interested in historic preservation, and the 108-acre site is the perfect spot for the bridge, said Scott Nelson. "We're interested because of its historical significance to Montana," he said. "Initially, there were a lot of people See BRIDGE, 2M 66 If they can't make it happen there, maybe they can't make it happen. Normally, the park is a stronghold for a species. Steve Kelly, Bozeman environmentalist : ?? an average of two cutthroats an hour in the lake. Last year, that number fell to 0.8 fish per hour. The Park Service is dedicated to "the preservation and recovery of the fish, the article says, yet "it appears to be in peril." The news could have implications both inside and outside the park. , In the park, a wide variety of species, from otters to pelicans, from bald eagles to grizzly bears, rely on cutthroats as an important food. foundation to raise the reward to find her son's murderer to $12,500. "Money talks sometimes, I m hoping that will help," she said. "There's somebody out there that has said something or someone who knows something. I can't figure for the life of me, why they won't come for ward." Tips rolling in recently re-ignited the police investigation into the 20-year-old . sr m Outside the park, environmental groups have been trying for years to have the Yellowstone cutthroat listed under the Endangered Species Act. If they succeed, it could change how people irrigate, manage cattle and harvest timber in parts of several states around the park. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the agency in charge of endangered species programs, has cited Yellowstone Lake's abundant population as one major reason not to list the case. Police flew to Louisiana to interview someone with information in the case and have since interviewed others based on that tip. But despite the recent flurry in the investigation, Sgt. Larry Brooks, the lead detective in the case, said officers still don't have a lead suspect and are nowhere close to making an arrest. "We're continually investigating this case as time allows," he said. "We're still looking at the case to see the old bridge at left. BELOW: 6 ,r , ST ft", f if i iI !:-V " J 15 H i4 fish. Environmentalists point to loss of habitat and cross breeding with non-native fish outside the park as a reason to list it. "The park's doing everything it can," said Steve Kelly, a Bozeman environmentalist who has pushed for the trout's listing. "If they can't make it happen there, maybe they can't make it happen. Normally, the park is a stronghold for a species." The cutthroats face major threats from non-native lake trout and from whirling disease, a European malady that infests the lake and some of its major spawning tributaries. And lingering drought in recent years has left some tributaries so dry that by the end of summer, when tiny fish that hatch in the what was missed." Detectives are looking for a tip that includes a few key details that have been withheld from the public. Until that happens, the investigation remains on the back burner. Since 1997, the Great Falls Police Department has made a habit of investigating cold cases. Prosecutors won convictions against Donald Dubray in Suzette Pritchard's 1987 murder and last week against Bill Mor-risey in 9-year-old Dolana Clark's murder. bridge TRIBUNE PHOTOS BY STUART 8. WHITE Workers move concrete streams normally swim to the lake, they find themselves trapped in isolated pools and channels. Lake trout were illegally introduced to the lake in the 1980s, the article says. After they were discovered in 1995, the Park Service began an aggressive gill netting program to try to reduce their numbers. Lake trout, which feed voraciously on cutthroats, cannot fill the cutthroats' place in the food chain because they favor deep waters where they are unavailable to predators. The nets have killed more than 100,000 lake trout, and technicians are growing increasingly skilled in their pursuit but "control" of the lake trout cannot yet be claimed, the article says. Two other investigations led to arrests in the 1996 abduction of 10-year-old Zachary Ramsay and the 1964 slaying of Jim and Lois Arrotta. Neither person charged was convicted. Brooks said tips in the Morris Davis case continually come in and perhaps the $12,500 reward will be what triggers the final tip police need. Carole and Juli Sund and Silvina Pelosso vanished while sightseeing. Carole See UNSOLVED, 2M State's ag industry registers great year in 2004 BOZEMAN (AP) - Boosted by record beef prices, Montana's agricultural industry had a great year in 2004, recording the highest profits in at least a decade, according to a yearly report from the Montana Agricultural Statistics Service. Montana farmers and ranchers earned a net income of $722 million, even though government subsidy payments fell by 20 percent. Earnings rose $240 million from 2003 and were four times higher than 2002 earnings of $173 million. "I'd say we were due for a good year," said Jake Cummins, executive director of the Montana Farm Bureau. Montana's two principal commodities, beef and wheat, both saw strong demand. Beef cattle sold for an average of 91 cents a pound, and calves sold for $1.25 a pound. Those are record levels, and prices have climbed steadily for five years. The 2004 average nearly doubled the 1995 prices. Food and feed grains sold for $783 million, and alternative crops like flax, lentils and organic products continue to expand, Montana Agriculture Director Nancy Peterson said in the report. Lentils, flaxseed and sunflower production are all at record levels. However, sales of all "alternative" products amounted to only 4.7 percent of the overall ag sales of $2.2 billion in 2004. In terms of sales, agriculture remains the biggest sector of Montana's economy, and the industry is still dominated by cattle, wheat and barley. Commodities like beef and grain see wide fluctuations in prices, but have been buoyed in recent years by increasing demand, Cummins said. In the Far East, where diets traditionally centered around rice, demand for wheat products, like bread, has grown as personal wealth has grown. "It's a reflection of higher income," Cummins said. "The global economy is improving." High demand for beef also is keeping prices high, and beef cattle prices reached their highest point in history in August 2004. Lamb prices also reached a record high a few months later, the report says. The record income in Montana comes even though federal subsidy payments dropped from $355 million in 2003 to $282 million in 2004. That's largely a result of higher market prices, Cummins said. "When the income goes up, the subsidy payment goes down," he said.

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