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Special for the Missoulian Thursday, April 13, 2000

First wolves, now bear poisoned at complex

BELGRADE (AP) - A black bear was found dead Wednesday at Picture Perfect, a business that provides domesticated wild animals to photographers, and poisoning is suspected.

It's the same place where five captive wolves were apparently poisoned 13 days earlier. Four survived; one was euthanized.

The 1 1/2-year-old female bear was found dead in its cage at 1:30 a.m., said business owner Nikki Morgan.

The 90-pound bear was found dead just five days after the state Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks issued Morgan a permit allowing her to keep the animal.

Before the permit was issued, an environmental assessment was done by the state and during that process five of Morgan's neighbors wrote letters objecting to the bear's presence.

Morgan has operated Picture Perfect in Bozeman for six years. She keeps her animals on land west of Belgrade.

Wildfire near Billings forces residents to flee

BILLINGS (AP) - Hundreds of people were forced from their houses Wednesday afternoon when a wildfire scorched more than 100 acres of dry grass and trees in the Emerald Hills subdivision east of the city.

Officials said no houses were burned, although a shed was singed, and no one was injured.

The fire was reported at 1:15 p.m.

By 3 p.m. Montana Highway Patrol officers and Yellowstone County sheriff' s deputies were evacuating the entire subdivision, roughly 275 houses.

Lockwood Fire Chief Alan Riley said only five or six houses were directly threatened by the fire, but shifting winds made the situation dangerous.

Riley said officials do not know what caused the fire.

Earth Day events sought for schedule

Is your organization planning an event as part of Earth Day 2000 in western Montana?

The Missoulian wants to compile a schedule of Earth Day events for publication in the April 20 Outdoors section.

Send information on your event to Sherry Devlin, Missoulian, P.O. Box 8029, Missoula, MT 59807. Or e-mail her at sdevlin@missoulian.com. Or fax it to her at 406-523-5294. Deadline is Saturday, April 15.

Missoulian

Kalispell man dies after car hits tree

KALISPELL (AP) - A Kalispell man was killed Tuesday night when his car ran off an area road and hit a tree.

A deputy coroner identified the victim as Shaun Collis, 21. He was alone in the vehicle.

The death brought the Montana death toll to 50, compared to 53 on April 11 a year ago.

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