MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Self-described "mountain man" Don Nichols has been released on parole after serving 32 years for kidnapping a world class athlete on a training run in the mountains of southwestern Montana in July 1984 and killing her would-be rescuer. The Missoulian reports the 86-year-old was released from prison Wednesday. He was sentenced to 85 years for kidnapping Kari Swenson near Big Sky and killing Alan Goldstein as he tried to rescue Swenson. Swenson was shot in the chest by Nichols' son, Dan Nichols.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A judge has ruled that grizzly bears in Montana and Idaho near the Canadian border can be considered endangered even if they are not on the brink of extinction. The order issued Tuesday reversed the 2014 re-classification by U.S. wildlife officials for the 40-50 bears of the Cabinet-Yaak bear population under the federal Endangered Species Act. The officials said the bear population had stabilized and that its status should be "threatened." The judge sided with a conservation group that sued.
BISMARCK, N.D. (AP) - Farmers around the country are donating tons of hay ranchers whose livestock are suffering from the drought in the Northern Plains, but getting the feed to the region isn't proving easy. North Dakota's Agriculture Department has issued a plea for truckers to help haul donated hay from other states for a three-state hay lottery program, while an effort in the eastern U.S. started by a tractor pulling team is seeking thousands of dollars to pay for fuel.
HELENA, Mont. (AP) - The U.S. Department of Education has awarded a second round of funding for programs that help low-income students who aspire to attend college. The Upward Bound awards are going to programs with applications that were initially rejected because of formatting errors. Members of Congress on Wednesday confirmed five-year grants to several universities, including Wittenberg in Ohio, the University of Maine at Presque Isle, Columbia University in New York, and the University of Montana
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