Blog Cabin

Montana authorities watching for missing kids

(MISSOULA)- Authorities across Montana are on the lookout this weekend for a Missoula man, and the 3 and 7-year old girls he kidnapped more than a month ago.

Matthew Chapman is believed to be traveling with his two daughters, whom he took from his estranged wife in a custody dispute.

It's known Chapman has contacts in Montana and Wyoming, and the new theory police are working is that the trio may be headed toward Glacier National Park, possible driving a 1990 Dodge Caravan. Law enforcement are warning he should be considered armed and dangerous.

KPAX TV has the latest on the story, including a description of the suspect and the two girls here.


Search for rafters underway near Big Timber

(BIG TIMBER)- What is turning out to be a tragic month for water safety in Montana took another bad turn Thursday when several people disappeared while rafting on the Boulder River near Big Timber.

Montana's News Station is reporting that searchers are combing the river today for two rafters who disappeared in the river after their raft overturned. A woman who was also in the raft made it to show and was able to summon help.



Helena man to answer charges for his son's drowning

(HELENA)- Prosecutors say a 26-year old Helena man was drunk when his son fell into a creek last month and believe he should answer to charges of negligent homicide.

Leo Mathis made his first appearance in a Helena courtroom yesterday since the boy's drowning.

Prosecutors say Mathis was intoxicated and distracted by a phone call while walking along the banks of Prickly Pear Creek, and didn't notice his 3-year old son had gotten into the flooding waters. They say when he did see him standing the in the water, he decided to try and walk across the creek but lost his footing and his hold on the boy.

Mathias will have to be back in court August 4th to answer to the charges.

More details on the story from the Helena Independent.


Montana with $340m in kitty to end fiscal year

(HELENA)- It’s not as much money as during the “boom times” of 2006-2007, but Montana is sitting on a nice pile of cash, driven by a resilient economy.

In fact, Governor Brian Schweitzer says it’s one of the highest ending fund balances in the history of the state.

Schweitzer announced Thursday that the $340-million dollars is the amount of undesignated, unreserved funds remaining at the end of the year, after the state pays its obligations.

“This is another banner year for Montana and our fiscal well being. We have $340 million in the bank, and Montana is the envy of every other state in the nation,” said Governor Brian Schweitzer. “This is a testament to the hard-working people across the state that, despite the national downturn and the endless debt ceiling debacle, have tightened their belts, buckled down and put Montana in a great position for generations to come.”

A recent report by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, States Continue to Feel Recession’s Impact, indicates that 42 states still face a shortfall in fiscal year 2012.

By comparison, Montana ended the fiscal year with $408-million in 2006, and a peak of $549-million in 2007. That number has shrunk somewhat because of the recession. But it’s well above the average of $68-million in years past.

And Montanans are continuing to spend. General revenue fund collections in June were the highest in Montana history with a year over year growth rate at 9.55%.



Schweitzer not sizing up Congress

(HELENA)- It seems like he had no sooner won a second term than people started trying to figure out what Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer was going to do next.

Speculation over the colorful governor's future has ranged from a Cabinet appointment in the Obama Administration to a political position within the Democratic party to leaving politics altogether and striking out in the private sector.

One thing we can apparently cross off the list. Schweitzer says he's not eyeing a run for Congress.

During a budget briefing in the capitol today, Schweitzer once again denied he has any interest in a House or Senate seat, saying the system is "broken", blaming everyone from lobbyists to journalists for creating a structure that can't solve problems like the debt limit.

For more on Schweitzer's views, here's a good wrap up article from the Billings Gazette.