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Montana news shortsPosted on May 14

Montana news shortsPosted on May 14


BOZEMAN - Sentencing has been delayed for a former Ennis doctor who pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the death of a patient in his care.

James Bischoff, who was to have been sentenced Monday morning in Ennis, will remain in an Idaho jail until an executive agreement is reached between the governors of Idaho and Montana, Madison County officials said.

Bischoff was sentenced last Monday to five to 20 years in prison for robbing the U.S. Bank in Rexburg on March 16, 2005.

In September 2005, Bischoff pleaded guilty to negligent homicide in the 2000 death of Kathryn Dvarishkis, 85, who was under his care at the Madison Valley Hospital. Prosecutors say Bischoff injected her with a combination of pain killers and sedatives to hasten her death.

The plea agreement calls for Bischoff to serve 2 1/2 years of a recommended 10-year sentence for negligent homicide, with credit for time served. The agreement is subject to the judge's approval.

MISSOULA - The Judicial Nomination Commission has forwarded to Gov. Brian Schweitzer the names of all five people who applied to serve as a district judge here through the end of the year.

Beth Brenneman, secretary of the commission, said the commission interviewed all five of the Missoula lawyers Friday, reviewed their applications and the public's comments before sending all five names to the governor.

The commission had until May 15 to nominate at least three and no more than five candidates to Schweitzer, who then has 30 days to make the appointment to fill the seat District Judge John Henson vacated on March 31.

All five people who applied for the seat are on the June 6 primary ballot. Whoever wins in the general election will be sworn in in January 2007.

The applicants are John Bulger, Henson's law clerk; former Missoula County Attorney Dusty Deschamps; Brenda Desmond, who now works as a standing master for the District Court; Chief Deputy County Attorney Karen Townsend and Cynthia Smith, a sole practitioner in Missoula.

HELENA - Tom Siebel, founder of the Montana Meth Project, is scheduled to deliver the keynote address Monday at a two-day conference "Meth in Montana: What's Working? What's Next?"

The conference, sponsored by the Burton K. Wheeler Center at Montana State University, will be held at the Best Western Great Northern Hotel.

The conference will include speakers and panels with experts on the subject ranging from former methamphetamine addicts, to Mike McGrath, Montana's attorney general.

Siebel is expected to speak about the television, radio and print advertisements that make up the Montana Meth Project. In April, Siebel announced the second phase of the project, unveiling new commercials, and presenting survey results that indicate that the anti-meth message is getting through to Montana youths.

Separately, Siebel is expected to make an announcement about a new, statewide initiative for teenagers to take part in the battle against methamphetamine at a press conference Monday morning at the Great Northern Hotel.

Topics slated for discussion at the Wheeler conference include Montana's efforts to address the methamphetamine epidemic, treatment options and more.

The Wheeler Center is named for the late Burton K. Wheeler, the U.S. senator for Montana from 1923 to 1947. The center promotes the concept that "enlightened discussion of public policy is the cornerstone of our democracy," and attempts to promote that discussion in educational forums.

RUDYARD - Residents here got a sneak peak Saturday at the Depot Museum's new Dinosaur Hall, which will house a 70-million-year-old duckbilled dinosaur unearthed on a ranch north of town.

The museum, which will also house fossils and displays on loan from the Museum of the Rockies in Bozeman, will be open from Memorial Day through Labor Day, except on Sundays.

The hall will hold an official grand opening on June 24. Guests will include paleontologist Jack Horner and Jay Makela, the son of Horner's late partner, Bob Makela.

The hall eventually will house all that remains of the duckbilled dinosaur found on the Redding farm.

"We'll lay him down like he was found," said Lila Redding. "You'll be able to see all 35 feet."

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