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Gazette Staff

News briefs

Stabbing victim in good condition The Billings Police Department have identified the victim of a stabbing Friday afternoon as Michael Fourstar.

Billings Police Sgt. Mark Kirkpatrick said Fourstar remained Saturday in the intensive care unit of Deaconess Billings Clinic. A representative of the hospital listed his condition Saturday as good.

Fourstar, 39, told police he is a transient. Kirkpatrick said there are no suspects in the stabbing. Police were called to the stabbing at 309 Monroe St. about 3:30 p.m. Friday. Fourstar was on a couch in the home with stab sounds to his lower chest, Kirkpatrick said. Fourstar was coherent when police arrived, but he would not say where the stabbing occurred nor would he describe his attacker, Kirkpatrick said.

Firefighters rescue ducklings A mother mallard duck and 11 ducklings had almost made it across South 27th Street Saturday morning when they encountered a storm drain along Third Avenue South.

Residents of the Colonial Apartments on South 27th Street were sitting on the front porch watching the line of ducklings cross the street when the first duckling dropped into the storm sewer. Then, one by one, nine more ducklings fell into the storm drain. The mother duck and one duckling made it safely across the busy street.

The Colonial residents called 911, and a crew from Fire Station 2, headed by Capt. Allan Markuson, arrived on the scene at about 10 a.m. Saturday. Markuson said that during his 30-year career with the Billings Fire Department, he's rescued several cats from trees but he's never pulled ducklings from a storm sewer.

Markuson, engineer Bob Golubski and firefighter Darreck Mitchell pried the grate off the storm sewer and sat down on the side of the street to reach the ducklings swimming around in the 2 to 3 feet of water inside the storm drain. A couple more ducklings would pop out of a 12-inch pipe leading into the storm system but wouldn't come out far enough for the firefighters to grab. Golubski whistled and peeped to get their attention long enough to grab them, Markuson said. It took 20 minutes to pull all 10 ducklings out of the drain and place them in a bucket.

"Mama duck wasn't too happy there sitting by the road wondering what happened to her ducklings," said battalion chief Budge Parker, who also was on the scene.

Another duckling was found several blocks away in front of Granny's Attic, 2804 Minnesota Ave. All 12 ducklings were reunited with their mother and turned over the Billings Animal Control officers so they could be returned to the Yellowstone River, Markuson said.

Police looking into cause of fires Two fires Saturday are under investigation by the Billings Police Department.

The first fire occurred at 12:30 p.m. in front of an apartment at 111 N. 23rd St. Ted Warren, assistant fire marshal for the Billings Fire Department, said someone lit a wad of tissue paper on fire and placed it in front of the door to apartment No. 2. Damage from the fire was minor, and there were no injuries, Warren said.

The second fire was started by some kids in a field of tall grass behind 345 Jefferson St. at about 1:30 p.m. Two other kids put the fire out before it could cause any damage, and there were no injuries.

Warren said parents should keep matches and lighters away from children and talk to their children about the danger of playing with fire. He also said the recent rain has produced a bumper crop of weeds that could pose a fire hazard.

Gazette wins 4 awards in contest Staff members of The Billings Gazette won three awards and the staff won one award in the annual Society of Professional Journalists Region 10 competition, as announced Saturday in Bellevue, Wash., and Clackamas, Oregon. The region covers Washington, Oregon, Montana, Idaho and Alaska.

In The Gazette's circulation category of between 25,000 and 65,000 readers, photographer John Warner won a first-place award in the sports photo category for his photo of a blocked kick. He won over entries from the Idaho Statesman in Boise, the Yakima (Wash.) Herald-Republic, the Missoulian and The Bellingham (Wash.) Herald.

The Gazette staff won a second-place award for its coverage of the first day of the teacher's strike. The first-place award went to the Yakima Herald-Republic. Other awards in the category went to The Sun of Bremerton, Wash.; The Bulletin of Bend, Ore.; and The Olympian of Olympia, Wash.

In the business reporting category, Jan Falstad won second place for her coverage on Touch America. The first -place award went to The Bulletin. Other awards went to the Eastside Journal in Bellevue, Wash., and The Columbian of Vancouver, Wash.

In the general columns category, Ed Kemmick won second place. First place went to a columnist for The Columbian and third place went to a columnist for the Everett (Wash.) Herald.

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