News Minute: Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated - | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

News Minute: Here is the latest Montana news from The Associated Press at 7:40 a.m. MDT

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KALISPELL, Mont. (AP) - A land conservation group says it has nearly raised all the money needed to protect habitat for sandhill cranes and dozens of other bird species in northern Montana. Flathead Land Trust says two recent gifts put the group just $4,000 away from raising the $1.4 million needed to complete the project.

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - A former U.S. senator and ambassador to China is encouraging patient and polite persistence in efforts to free an American university student from jail in China. Max Baucus says he is in touch with diplomats in the U.S. and China to help bring University of Montana student Guthrie McLean back home.

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Two airplanes will be scooping water out of Yellowstone Lake to fight a wildfire east of Yellowstone National Park. Park officials have closed off a large portion of the lake to boats to keep people away from the firefighting aircraft.

ESTES PARK, Colo. (AP) - Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke has announced more than $50 million for maintenance and infrastructure work at national parks. Zinke made the announcement Saturday at Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado. The funding is bound for 42 parks in 29 states.

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