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Evening Newscast 10-02-17

Montana Public Radio Evening Newscast
Josh Burnham

The Interior Department's office of inspector general says it is investigating Secretary Ryan Zinke's use of charter flights. Zinke disclosed last week that he has taken three charter flights, including a late-night trip from Las Vegas to Montana costing more than twelve thousand dollars.

The Chippewa Cree tribe and the Bureau of Indian Affairs can't fully account for $3.5 million, primarily in federal funds. That includes money for a corruption-plagued water project that's resulted in numerous convictions, according to government audits and federal officials.

The Supreme Court is leaving in place a 70-year prison sentence for Markus Kaarma, the Missoula man convicted of shooting a German exchange student who was trespassing in his garage. The Supreme Court declined Monday to hear the case. 

The scoping period began Monday for an environmental impact statement on the proposed Black Butte Copper Mine, located near a Smith River tributary. The Montana Department of Environmental Quality is taking public comment until November 16.

Yellowstone National Park biologists say bison numbers are down from last year after its largest cull in nearly a decade. 

The cost of fighting wildfires in Montana this year is approaching 400 million dollars. To date, wildfires have burned almost 1900 square miles in the state. That's more than any other year in the past two decades.

A large male grizzly bear captured west of Dupuyer this weekend was euthanized Monday, according to state officials. Specialists from Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks and the  USDA Wildlife Services conducted the capture operation in response to nearby cattle depredations.

If you spend much time in the Helena-Lewis and Clark National Forest, you might find yourself unexpectedly talking to rangers. This week, the national forest started a one-year survey to count how many people use the publicly owned land. 

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