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This Hour: Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

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COAL TRAIN PROTESTERS

Missoula coal train protesters cited

MISSOULA, Mont. (AP) - Seven people who protested the movement of a coal train through Missoula were cited for disorderly conduct after sitting near the railroad tracks, forcing the Montana Rail Link train to slow down.

More than 20 people from the Blue Skies Campaign and 350-Missoula held the protest at a city railroad crossing Sunday afternoon.

MRL officials called police, who arrived shortly before the train got to the crossing.

Sergeant J.C. Denton told the protesters that officers supported their right to protest, but said those who were near the tracks were a public safety hazard and would be charged if they didn't move away.

As the train arrived at the crossing, Denton told the seven protesters they were being cited for disorderly conduct and he asked them to follow him away from the tracks.

BISON CONSERVATION

Bison meeting cancelled; plan timing uncertain

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - The prospects for a state-wide bison conservation plan in Montana are uncertain after wildlife officials cancelled a public forum on the issue.

Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim said Monday that livestock interests and wildlife advocates had complained about the format of the forum scheduled for April 15 and 16 in Lewistown.

Aasheim says the agency decided the meeting would have been counterproductive. He says it's now uncertain if the conservation plan can be completed by the end of 2015 as earlier anticipated.

Wildlife officials have struggled for years to reconcile bison restoration efforts with worries about disease and bison competing with livestock for grazing space.

Bison, or buffalo, once numbered the tens of millions in North America before overhunting drove them almost to extinction in the 1800s.

INTERSTATE 94 FATAL

Ballantine woman dies in crash east of Billings

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A Ballatine woman died in a weekend rollover crash on Interstate 94 east of Billings.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the woman was westbound between Huntley and Billings at about 1:30 p.m. Sunday when she lost control of her sport utility vehicle. The SUV fishtailed, went off the road and rolled.

The 38-year-old woman was not wearing a seat belt and was thrown from the SUV. She died at the scene.

Her name wasn't immediately released.

HAMILTON FATAL

Man dies in crash near Hamilton

HAMILTON, Mont. (AP) - A Hamilton man died and his passenger was injured in a weekend rollover crash near Hamilton.

The Montana Highway Patrol says the 42-year-old man was driving his pickup on a rural road northwest of Hamilton when he lost control of the truck at about 6:45 p.m. Saturday.

The pickup rolled down an embankment and came to rest on its top. The driver died at the scene.

A 37-year-old man was taken to the hospital in Hamilton.

Neither man was wearing a seat belt.

The victim's name was being withheld while family members were notified.

HOUSE RACE-FUNDRAISING

John Lewis raises $300K for US House campaign

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Democratic U.S. House candidate John Lewis has raised about $300,000 since the beginning of the year.

The former aide to ex-U.S. Sen Max Baucus is making his first run for political office for the open House seat that Republican Rep. Steve Daines is leaving to campaign for Senate.

Lewis released his fundraising totals Monday for the first three months of 2014. He is the first House candidate to do so.

Lewis says he received contributions from individuals in each of Montana's 56 counties. He also received $116,000 from political-action committees.

He has raised nearly $700,000 since announcing his candidacy last year and spent more than $180,500 over that period.

His campaign has more than $511,000 in the bank.

Lewis faces former state Rep. John Driscoll in the Democratic primary.

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