Montana State University enrollment takes a slight dip

BOZEMAN, Mont. — Montana State University’s spring enrollment at the Bozeman campus is 15,561 students, which is a slight dip compared to last year’s record-setting numbers, school officials said.

The new figures show 132 fewer total students compared to last year, but that is still the second-highest number of students in school history, the Bozeman Daily Chronicle reported.

MSU enrollment has increased 9 percent compared to five years ago.

Meanwhile, enrollment at the University of Montana’s Missoula campus is down 3.7 percent compared to last year.

There has been a nearly 35 percent decline in enrollment at UM since 2011.

The number of law school and graduate school students increased compared to last year, and UM achieved its highest student retention rate in four years.

Idaho, other western states to study big game range land

BOISE — Idaho has been awarded a grant to study how elk herds move through a northern Idaho migration corridor also used by grizzly bears and wolverines.

The grant, announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday, is part of $3.2 million in funding for big game rangeland studies in 11 western states.

Idaho’s research will focus on the McArthur Lake area, which serves as a link between the Selkirk and Cabinet mountains used by grizzly bears, wolverine and elk. Scientists will put GPS collars on 40 elk to monitor their movements over two years, and then combine that data with information from a grid of 119 trail cameras.

The findings will be used to map seasonal ranges, movement routes and stopover areas, according to the Interior Department.

Other states that received grants are Arizona, California, Colorado, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington and Wyoming.

Man found guilty in death of 5-year-old Vancouver girl

VANCOUVER, Wash. — A Clark County Superior Court jury on Thursday convicted Ryan Burge of killing his girlfriend’s 5-year-old daughter while babysitting.

Jurors found Burge guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter, the Columbian reported. The jury also determined that Burge was guilty of factors that made his crime particularly egregious, including that Hartley was vulnerable and he betrayed a position of trust.

Burge showed little reaction to the verdict. His sentencing was set for March 11.

The prosecution argued that the voluminous evidence showed that Burge attacked Hartley for throwing a fit. The defense asserted that the girl had a history of self-harm and caused her own fatal injuries.

Burge, 38, was arrested more than a year ago on suspicion of causing Hartley’s death. She had suffered severe head trauma and died at a Portland hospital.

Vancouver police responded about 5 p.m. Nov. 2, 2018, to the Madison Park Apartments, where emergency responders were treating Hartley’s injuries.

Nataasha Luchau called 911 about her unresponsive daughter.

Portland man found guilty of stabbing father to death

PORTLAND, Ore. — In December 2017, a Portland man knocked at the door of a pub and collapsed, bleeding from a stab wound in his back. In his last few moments, court documents say, Brian Nees told police officers as they arrived that his son had stabbed him.

Tyler Nees was convicted Thursday of murdering his father. A jury unanimously found Nees guilty of murder constituting domestic violence and unlawful use of a weapon.

In closing arguments, Tyler Nees told the judge that his brother killed their father, local news media reported. But documents show that DNA evidence, as well as 911 calls, pointed to Tyler Nees. Nees acted as his own attorney, had previously had several attorneys in the case and threatened to kill one of them.

Nees initially fled the scene after the stabbing and was arrested nearly two weeks later.

Court documents describe the stabbing, and the actions leading up to it, as the culmination of family conflict.

Nees is set to be sentenced in March.

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