Local/Regional briefs
Local/Regional briefs

Man drowns after diving into Blackfoot

The Blackfoot River claimed the life of a 21-year-old man Tuesday afternoon after he jumped off the cliffs into the fast-moving water.

The accident happened around 4:30 p.m. about a half mile south of the popular Johnsrud swimming hole 12 miles east of Missoula, said Sgt. Dave Ball of the Missoula County Sheriff's Department.

Witnesses said the victim jumped head-first into the river, and when he popped up appeared to be unconscious, Ball said. An acquaintance attempted to rescue the victim by swimming after the him, but became tired as he tried to haul him ashore. The victim's body slipped away from the would-be rescuer and was swept downstream.

Rescue teams will resume their search for the body Wednesday. The victim has not been identified, but he is believed to be a Bitterroot Valley resident.

Ball warned that the river is running very rapidly.

Betsy Cohen, Missoulian

Police looking for teen in grocery story theft

Local authorities are seeking information on a teen-age woman wanted in connection with a theft and assault at a Lolo grocery store.

Missoula Sheriff's Lt. Rich Maricelli said a young woman was observed stuffing condoms down her pants at the Harvest Foods store in Lolo on Friday about 8 p.m.

When confronted by a female clerk, Maricelli said the young woman allegedly struck the clerk in the mouth before jumping into a red Ford Escort that headed south on U.S. Highway 93.

The suspect is described as being a white female in her mid-teens, very skinny with reddish-blond dyed hair. She was accompanied by a heavyset white female in her late teens with a short, black ponytail and a white male teen who was waiting in the vehicle.

Anyone with information about the incident is asked to call Crimestoppers at 721-4444 or the Missoula Sheriff's Department at 523-4810.

Gary Jahrig, Missoulian

Forest Service will burn area near Yellow Bay

A 50-acre prescribed burn is planned Wednesday in the Glen Creek drainage approximately four miles north of Yellow Bay on the east shore of Flathead Lake, according to officials of the Flathead National Forest.

Smoke from the fire, on a high ridge above the lake, may be visible from many locations in the Flathead Valley, officials said.

The burn is in an area where the trees were recently harvested. The burn is planned to dispose of logging slash and to clear a site in preparation for reforestation operations.

Prescribed burns are also scheduled Wednesday for three areas covering 60 acres in the Middle Fork of the Flathead, near Essex, and possibly four areas covering about 60 acres in the Spotted Bear River drainage near Bent and Flat creeks. All of the burns are planned in areas where trees were recently harvested.

Weather conditions, including conditions that could lead to smoke accumulating in populated areas, could postpone or cancel these planned burns.

Daryl Gadbow, Missoulian

Help celebrate birthday of National Bison Range

The National Bison Range in Moiese invites everyone to come and help celebrate its birthday on Wednesday.

President Theodore Roosevelt established the Bison Range on May 23, 1908, as a "permanent national bison range" for all to enjoy. The range is the first land ever purchased for wildlife by the federal government. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service manages the range as part of the 94 million-acre National Wildlife Refuge System, which includes 535 national wildlife refuges.

To celebrate its birthday, a variety of activities are planned Wednesday. No fees will be charged for visiting the Bison Range on this day. The main gate opens at 7 a.m. and remains open until 9 p.m. Visitors will need to start the longer Red Sleep Mountain Drive by 7 p.m. to finish before dark.

Free posters will be given away at the visitor center, along with coloring pages for children. A variety of historical photos, newspaper clippings and videos will be on display. The visitor center will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Daryl Gadbow, Missoulian

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