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This Hour: Latest Montana news, sports, business and entertainment

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COAL MINE

Montana coal mine deal aims to boost Asian exports

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Coal companies have finalized a deal that consolidates ownership of a Montana mine and gives a Wyoming company an option to export coal through Washington state.

Ambre Energy and Cloud Peak Energy announced in a joint statement Monday that the deal involving the 120-worker Decker mine closed Sept. 12.

Australia-based Ambre took over Cloud Peak's 50 percent stake in the Decker mine and liability for $67 million in reclamation and lease bonds for the facility.

Cloud Peak, based in Gillette, Wyoming, gained the option to move almost 8 million tons of coal annually through a port that Ambre has proposed in Longview, Washington.

Ambre, Cloud Peak and other companies want to increase coal shipments to markets in Asia as domestic demand falters.

WOLF HUNT

Montana wolf hunt begins; activists shadow hunters

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana's six-month general hunting season for gray wolves is underway after just one of the predators was reported taken during an early-season archery hunt.

It's the fourth annual hunt since Congress revoked the animals' endangered species protections in 2011. Yet it continues to stir debate.

Activists opposed to killing wolves outside Yellowstone National Park said Monday they were shadowing outfitters in a wilderness area next to the park.

Rod Coronado with the recently-formed Yellowstone Wolf Patrol says the group's members will use a video camera to document any wolves killed to raise public awareness.

Coronado says there is no intention to directly interfere, which would be illegal.

Hunting units north of Yellowstone are subject to a six-wolf quota. Montana does not limit how many wolves can be killed statewide.

GLACIER PARK DEATH

Missoula man dies in Glacier National Park

WEST GLACIER, Mont. (AP) - A 22-year-old Missoula man has died, possibly after attempting an illegal base jump in Glacier National Park.

The National Park Service was notified at 8 p.m. Saturday that Beau Weiher was overdue from a solo day hike in the Many Glacier Area. Family and friends said he likely planned a hike in the Piegan (PEE'-gun) Pass and Mount Siyeh (sy-EE') areas and may have planned a base jump.

Searchers began looking for Weiher on Sunday morning and eventually found tracks in the snow that indicated he may have been in an area below the summit of Mount Siyeh.

At about 6 p.m. searchers on a helicopter spotted what they believed to be a parachute. Weiher's body was found at the base of Mount Siyeh at about 7 p.m. Sunday.

EX-TEACHER ARRESTED

Ex-teacher indicted in molestation case

GULFPORT, Miss. (AP) - A grand jury has indicted a former south Mississippi teacher in connection with the alleged molestation of students over a period of four decades.

WLOX-TV reports that William Richard Pryor was in U.S. District Court in Gulfport Monday. A judge detailed the four-count federal indictment against Pryor.

The 68-year-old Pryor is charged with transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity and travel with intent to engage in illicit sexual conduct.

If convicted on all counts he could face decades in prison.

Pryor entered not-guilty pleas Monday on all charges.

Prosecutors alleged that most of the abuse happened during out-of-state trips Pryor took with the students. An FBI affidavit includes allegations of abuse in California, Montana, Colorado, Oregon, Georgia, Louisiana and Texas.

GOVERNMENT SHUTDOWN MONTANA

Montana lawmakers aim to avoid government shutdown

HELENA, Mont. (AP) - Montana lawmakers say they plan to work this week on preventing a federal government shutdown at the end of the fiscal year, Sept. 30.

Democratic U.S. Sen. Jon Tester on Monday said avoiding a shutdown is the most important issue lawmakers have to deal with this week.

A short-term funding bill has been introduced in the U.S. House and it's likely to be voted on this week. The legislation would continue funding for government services and programs at the current level until Dec. 11.

Tester says the bill was written without contentious provisions and as long as none are added, he believes the bill should pass.

U.S. Rep. Steve Daines said Monday that Americans expect and deserve their elected officials to work together to find solutions on the issue.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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