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Wednesday, May 28, 2003

Violations may close business GREAT FALLS — The Cascade County attorney's office is trying to close the Yellowstone Truck Stop, where raw sewage often has been pumped from a lagoon onto the ground.

Nearly two years of missed deadlines and broken promises has prompted county attorney Brant Light to notify owner Brad Hall of Idaho Falls, Idaho, that the county would begin the process to force Yellowstone's closure. Light asked Hall to voluntarily close by May 12 to avoid penalties of up to $200 a day, accruing from April 18.

On May 13, Hall told Light's office that if he could have two or three days to "secure his inventory," he would close voluntarily.

"As of May 19, the respondent still was conducting regular business with a noncompliant sewage-treatment system," the county said in its request for an injunction.

The truck stop was still operating on Tuesday. Hall declined comment.

2 Montanans hurt in avalanche HELENA— Two Montana snowmobilers who were injured in a British Columbia avalanche on Sunday were identified Tuesday as James and Melissa Phelan of Helena.

The Independent Record said Melisse Phelan was the most seriously hurt, with a broken leg, while James Phelan, 33, a Helena optometrist, suffered a seriously strained knee.

They were taken to Kootenay Lake Regional Hospital in Nelson, B.C.

The avalanche reportedly buried five people from a group of snowmobilers. It occurred in the Meadow Mountain area, about 90 miles north of the U.S. border.

The 14-member group included six people from Montana, six from Washington state and two from Idaho. They had been riding 10 snowmobiles in the backcountry area when the slide occurred.

Members of the group estimated the avalanche was three-fourths of a mile long and up to 50 feet high.

The Helena newspaper identified another of the Montanans as Craig Walsh of West Yellowstone.

Philipsburg man dies in shooting PHILIPSBURG — The shotgun death of a Philipsburg man at the Trout Creek Trap Club on Memorial Day appears to have been an accident, Granite County Sheriff Steve Immenschuh said.

A Kalispell man's 12-gauge shotgun discharged accidentally, and the shot struck Bret R. Chaussee, 49, in the back from close range, the sheriff said.

Immenschuh said Chaussee was preparing to shoot the clay disc targets at the trap club and the Kalispell man was loading a round when his shotgun fired. He didn't identify the shooter.

Chaussee and the Kalispell man did not come to the club together, Immenschuh said. Several other shooters were present.

An ambulance took Chaussee to Granite County Memorial Hospital, where he was pronounced dead nearly an hour later.

A preliminary investigation suggests the shooting was "an out and out accident," but Immenschuh said he was continuing to investigate.

A coroner's inquest will probably be called by County Attorney Blaine Bradshaw, and the gun will be sent to the state Crime Lab in Missoula to determine if the weapon malfunctioned, the sheriff said.

2 missing after separate boating accidents CHALLIS, Idaho — Two men were missing after separate boating accidents on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River over the Memorial Day weekend.

Matthew Bartley, 47, of Hamilton, was thrown from the back of a raft Sunday morning, the Custer County sheriff's office said.

Von Jones, 27, fell overboard Sunday afternoon when the boat hit a rock near Marsh Creek. A sheriff's spokeswoman said Jones has an Arizona driver's license but has several family members in Idaho.

Search and rescue teams were looking for the men, along with sheriff's deputies and personnel from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service, and the Idaho Army National Guard.

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