- Associated Press - Friday, July 18, 2014

Your daily look at news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about today.

GAY MARRIAGE-MONTANA

Montana’s attorney general is asking a federal court to uphold Montana’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban in response to a lawsuit that seeks to overturn it. Republican Attorney General Tim Fox said in documents filed Wednesday with the U.S. District Court in Great Falls that the people of Montana spoke when they passed the ban in 2004. Four gay couples filed the lawsuit in May challenging the ban. State marriage bans have been falling around the country since the U.S. Supreme Court last year struck down part of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.

BILLINGS-AREA SHOOTINGS

A 52-year-old parolee who police say was paranoid after having used methamphetamine is charged with two shooting incidents in the Billings area. Kelly Dee Megard made an initial appearance in Justice Court Thursday on one count of attempted deliberate homicide and three counts of felony criminal endangerment. Justice of the Peace Pedro Hernandez set his bail at $500,000. Megard is scheduled to be arraigned on July 25. He is charged with shooting at an SUV carrying a woman and her two children in Billings on Tuesday, and then firing shots into the bushes at Pictograph Cave State Park.

BANK ACQUISITION

Officials with First Interstate BancSystem Inc. plan to close eight of a dozen Mountain West Bank branches in Montana when the companies complete their merger in October. The closures include branches in Helena, Missoula, Great Falls, Bozeman, Whitefish and Kalispell. First Interstate spokeswoman Cynthia Lyle says the closed Mountain West buildings eventually will be sold.

BUS DRIVERS-BACKGROUND CHECKS

The state Board of Public Education is requiring every school bus driver in the state to undergo a criminal background check. The board approved the rule on Thursday after a legislative audit found that 64 of the state’s 1,435 drivers during the 2011-12 school year had a criminal history, including two with drunken driving convictions within the past three years.

MONTANA DROWNING

An 81-year-old Atlanta man drowned after being thrown from a raft into the Stillwater River in south-central Montana. The Stillwater County sheriff’s office says the man had been fishing with at least two other people when he and a woman were thrown into the water Thursday afternoon. The woman swam to safety. The man’s body was recovered about a mile downstream.


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