MONTANA AVALANCHE SURVIVOR
Boy buried by avalanche tried to bite his way out
NEW YORK (AP) - An 8-year-old western Montana boy who spent about an hour buried in the snow after a deadly avalanche roared into his backyard says he tried to "lick and bite" his way out before becoming tired and falling asleep.
Phoenix Scoles-Coburn, of Missoula, told "Today" show host Matt Lauer on Friday that he doesn't remember the moment the Feb. 28 snow slide hit him.
He says he looked back and saw a tree wobbling, so he ran. The next thing he knew, he was in the snow.
Phoenix's mother, Erin Scoles, says dozens of residents responded quickly with shovels and avalanche probes, but it took an hour to find the boy.
Phoenix suffered a laceration to his spleen and was hospitalized for two days.
The avalanche also buried a husband and wife. They also eventually were rescued, but the woman died in a hospital two days later.
Board of Regents approves plan for new MSU school
GREAT FALLS, Mont. (AP) - The Montana Board of Regents has approved Montana State University spending part of a $50 million donation to plan and design a new College of Engineering building.
The regents voted Friday to allow MSU to spend up to $5 million from the donation by 78-year-old Norm Asbjornson.
Asbjornson is founder and president of heating and air conditioning manufacturer Aaon Inc. He says he donated the money to provide more space for the college and help engineering students collaborate with people in other fields.
The regents' meeting continued Friday in Great Falls. They also are considering $128 million in construction projects and deferred maintenance.
That includes a $10 million donation to build a new Montana Museum of Art and Culture at the University of Montana.
Bohlinger says he's staying in Senate race
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Former Lt. Gov. John Bohlinger says he will continue his campaign for U.S. Senate a month after saying he would probably drop out.
The Helena Democrat said Friday he was convinced after making a speech in Butte Wednesday, when several people approached him and asked him to stay in the race.
Bohlinger said in February he would "probably" drop his campaign after Democrat John Walsh was appointed to serve the remainder of former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus' term.
Walsh, Bohlinger and Dirk Adams of Wilsall are vying for the Democratic nomination for the open seat.
Bohlinger said then he knew he couldn't win a 100-yard dash if his opponent has a 40-yard head start.
He amended the metaphor Friday, saying he could still win if his opponent stumbles.
State releases call made before senator's arrest
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The Montana Department of Justice has released a recording of a call to police made by the boyfriend of state Sen. Jason Priest's estranged wife soon before Priest's arrest.
The 45-year-old Red Lodge Republican has denied charges that he shoved Anna Priest, broke her boyfriend's rib and threw the Priests' 4-year-old daughter in a Feb. 1 encounter outside his home.
The recording of the non-emergency call to Red Lodge police by Jon Trapp was obtained by The Associated Press through a public-records request.
Trapp tells Officer Matthew Grieshop the Priests' daughter called her mother crying and saying her father cursed at her.
Trapp says Priest then cursed at his wife and told her to pick up her daughter.
Trapp says Anna Priest was concerned her husband might shoot them.
Former Democratic lawmaker to run for House
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Former Montana House Speaker John Driscoll is making another bid for the Democratic nomination for the state's U.S. House seat.
Driscoll filed his paperwork Thursday with the Montana Secretary of State's Office.
Driscoll served in the Montana House from 1973-1979. He also was a member of the Montana Public Service Commission and is a retired National Guard colonel.
The 67-year-old Driscoll ran for the U.S. House in 2008, losing to former U.S. Rep. Denny Rehberg.
He also lost as an independent running against former U.S. Sen. Max Baucus in 2002.
COAL LEASING DEFERRED
Wyoming coal sale hiatus takes hold in weak market
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (AP) - Diminished demand for coal to generate electricity effectively has achieved an environmentalist goal of suspending sales of federal coal reserves in Wyoming's Powder River Basin.
No federal reserves in the basin have sold since June 2012 and the U.S. Bureau of Land Management doesn't expect to sell more until at soonest 2015.
The basin's massive mines aren't running short on reserves but coal companies also have had little enthusiasm lately for acquiring more reserves.
Luke Popovich with the National Mining Association says companies want to see a global economic rebound that would boost coal demand worldwide.
The BLM's Wyoming State Office has granted companies' requests to postpone three recent coal lease sales. Meanwhile, environmentalists have asked the BLM to suspend leasing basin coal. The BLM hasn't granted that request.
Man shoots hand trying to ward off intruder
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) - A 74-year-old Bozeman man who was loading a gun while trying to scare off an intruder accidentally shot himself in the hand.
Police tell the Bozeman Daily Chronicle that Carl Craft was awakened just before 2 a.m. Friday by someone banging on the front door.
Craft said he yelled at the man to leave several times and said he was armed.
Court records say that Craft shot himself in the hand while loading his gun and then fired a warning shot through the door.
The intruder broke out the window on a storm door before police arrived.
Officers arrested 23-year-old Orion Audisio Alonso on suspicion of trespassing, criminal mischief and disorderly conduct. Court records say Alonso appeared intoxicated and told investigators he believed he was at his own house.
Craft was taken to the hospital.
Man dies when SUV crashes into Butte sewage pond
BUTTE, Mont. (AP) - A 24-year-old Butte man died after a sport utility vehicle went off the road, down an embankment and landed upside down in a meat packing company's sewage pond on the western edge of the city.
The Montana Standard reports the SUV carrying Ryan Morris and a 22-year-old man drifted off the right side of Santa Claus road at about 2:30 a.m. Friday. The Montana Highway Patrol says the SUV went down an embankment and struck a berm separating two sewage ponds. The SUV overturned and landed in one of the ponds.
The patrol says the 22-year-old was able to swim to shore, was treated at the hospital and released. Morris did not make it out of the vehicle.
Officials say an autopsy will determine if Morris died of his injuries or drowned.
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