BC-MT--Montana News Digest, MT

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News,Science and Technology

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WHITEFISH SHOOTING

HELENA — A northwestern Montana man shot and killed the host of the Sportsman Channel show "A Rifleman's Journal" in an apparent jealous rage while the TV personality was visiting the shooter's wife, police said Friday. Wayne Bengston, 41, then beat his wife, took his 2-year-old son to a relative's house and drove to his home about 25 miles away in West Glacier, where he killed himself, Whitefish Police Chief Bill Dial said. By Matt Volz.

AP Photos RPMV102, RPMV101.

DEMOCRATS-DIRECTOR

HELENA — The Montana Democratic Party has turned to a 28-year-old organizer from Missoula to guide its efforts during the 2014 election cycle. Andrea Marcoccio, who currently runs Forward Montana, will become the first woman to be the party's executive director since the 1990s when she formally takes over in April. By Matt Gouras.

AP Photos RPMG102, RPMG101.

LOST WAGES

HELENA — A bill to limit damages awarded to people unlawfully fired from their jobs would make it more difficult for former employees to take legal action against an employer, opponents of the measure said Friday. Senate Bill 148 would further limit the amount of lost wages and benefits wrongfully terminated employees could collect from four years' worth to two. By Kathryn Haake.

SINGAPORE DEATH

HELENA — Months before Shane Todd's girlfriend found his body hanging in his Singapore apartment last June, the engineer told his parents he thought his life was threatened and that he was being asked to do something that might hurt U.S. national security. They were skeptical from the start when a Singapore detective said their son killed himself by setting up an elaborate rope-and-pulley system in his bathroom, then jumping from a chair with a cord around his neck. It was only later they came to believe he had been murdered over his research in New Jersey into material used to make heat-resistant semiconductors, a technology with both civilian and military applications. By Matt Volz.

AP Photo LA105.

CAMPAIGN FINANCE-MONTANA

HELENA — A federal judge said Friday that the state properly gave a federal grand jury documents dealing with a secretive conservative group. The ruling comes in a case surrounding the disputed files connected to American Tradition Partnership.

MILK RIVER RANCH

HELENA — Montana's university system has reversed its decision to pay $2 million for the archaeological and paleontological rights to a ranch that two state agencies purchased late last year. The system didn't have the money to make the purchase and it was difficult to determine how much the rights are worth at the site in north-central Montana, Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian told the Board of Regents on Thursday.

Also:

— REGENTS-TUITION FREEZE — Regents agree to college tuition freeze.

— INSURANCE COMPLAINTS — Agency helps recover $5.2M in denied benefits.

— MILK RIVER RANCH — Regents won't pay $2M for paleontological rights.

— YELLOWSTONE ELK-DECLINE — Major Yellowstone elk herd continues decline. AP Photo WYPO201.

SPORTS:

— MONTANA WESTERN-X COUNTRY — Montana Western adding cross-country.

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