This Week’s Missoula News Highlights – Week of July 1


Law Enforcement Officials still searching for escaped Inmate

Montana State Prison inmate, Dean Randolph Jess, was last seen Monday morning. Jess, is believed to have escaped while on a motor vehicle maintenance call. According to investigators, the vehicle he was driving was found on the south end of the prison ranch. Jess is considered dangerous and authorities warn that anyone who sees him should not approach him, but instead call 911 immediately. (read more)

Montana loses one of its in own in Arizona Firefighter Tragedy

The wild-land firefighting community is reeling after the heartbreaking disaster that took the lives of 19 firefighters. Unfortunately Montana was not left untouched by the tragedy, losing Dustin James DeFord of Ekalaka Montana. DeFord, who was living in Prescott Arizona, is originally from the small town of Ekalaka. Summit National Bank in Ekalaka is accepting donation for a memorial fund set up in DeFord’s name. Donations can be sent to: Dustin DeFord Memorial; Summit National Bank; P.O. Box 45; Ekalaka MT 59324. (read more) other links: Memorial Fund, Memorial Service

Missoula Law Enforcement Officials looking for Peeping Tom

Missoula County Sheriff’s Department is seeking information concerning a man who was reportedly looking into windows in the Big Flat area of Missoula. The incident occurred Monday in the 3300 block of Big Flat Road. A man was spotted looking into the window of a homeowner’s bedroom. The family’s daughter was getting ready for bed when she heard noises outside her window. When she looked out the window she saw a man duck down below it. The suspect had left the area by the time family members arrived outside to investigate. Authorities describe the man as short, with dark spiky hair. Anybody with information should contact Crimestoppers at (406) 721-4444. (read more)

Hellgate Dawn ©Mark Mesenko. Prints available at

Hellgate Dawn. By ©Mark Mesenko. Prints available at

Tuesday’s early season heat wave pushed temperatures in to the hundreds, setting several records. Both West Glacier and Phillipsburg saw record highs, recording temperatures of 93 degrees and 94 degrees respectively. While the mercury in Missoula reached 101 degrees, it was still just one degree short of reaching the record high of 102. Missoula wasn’t the only area to experience 100 degree heat, both St. Regis and Stevensville hit a scorching 105 degrees on Tuesday. Temperatures are expected to moderate later this week with highs forecasted to be in the high 70’s to low 80’s. (read more)

Each week, Tom Diddel recaps the week’s most talked-about stories in Missoula. Visit the Make it Missoula News & Opinion section for more talk of the town.


Tom Diddel has lived in Missoula on and off for nearly thirty-eight years. He enjoys skiing, hiking, and many other outdoor activities. He holds a B.A. in English Literature from the University of Montana and is currently working as a Freelance Writer and a Para-Educator.
MIM NewsletterLike this blog? Don’t miss another one. Sign up for our E-Newsletter.  It provides you with a list of all the week’s stories/blogs and is delivered to your inbox every Tuesday morning.