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This $21.7 million ranch for sale in Montana once served as a hideout for a Soviet pilot who defected in a MiG-25. Take a look.

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This .7 million ranch for sale in Montana once served as a hideout for a Soviet pilot who defected in a MiG-25. Take a look.


A working Montana ranch that recently hit the market for $21.7 million has a unique history, once serving as a hiding place for a Soviet Union pilot who defected to the West.

Rocking Chair Ranch, located in Philipsburg, Montana, in the western part of the state, spans more than 7,230 acres and includes a cattle operation, meadows, forest, rangelands, agricultural fields, and a semi-private trout fishery.


Green fields, mountains in background, buildings in foreground

The ranch has been in the same family for over seven decades.

Hall and Hall

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The property, which has a historic five-bedroom home and other buildings, has been in the same family for over 70 years. The Vietor family even unknowingly housed Viktor Belenko, a former Soviet Union fighter pilot.

In 1976, Belenko defected and flew to Hokkaido, Japan, in a MiG-25, a new, powerful Soviet aircraft that was feared by the West. Belenko had been serving in the Soviet Union’s Air Defense Forces but “felt he was being treated like an expendable cog in a creaking war machine,” The New York Times wrote after his death last year.


Cows on the ranch

There is an active cattle operation on the ranch.

Hall and Hall



“I have been longing for freedom in the United States,” Belenko said, according to Japanese police. “Life in the Soviet Union has not changed from that existing in the days of Czarist Russia, where there had been no freedom.”

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After months of planning, Belenko finally defected during a training exercise over the Sea of Japan and was quickly handed over to the US, along with the coveted MiG-25. US officials studied and deconstructed the aircraft before sending the components back to the Soviet Union.


Home on the ranch

Buildings on the property include a five-bedroom home.

Hall and Hall



The MiG-25 turned out not to be as powerful as the West feared, though Belenko also shared important information about the morale among Soviet soldiers that resembles some of the reporting about Russia’s armed forces today: poor living conditions, scarce food, and harsh punishments.

Belenko was praised in the US and received asylum. He spent a couple years in Washington, DC, and eventually ended up at Rocking Chair Ranch, though with an undercover identity assigned by the CIA, Mansion Global reported. The CIA agent who escorted him from Japan to the US knew the Vietor family.

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Horses on the ranch

Rocking Chair Ranch spans meadows, forests, and rangelands.

Hall and Hall



“As a gift, the CIA asked him where he wanted to live, and he said somewhere in the western part of the country on a ranch,” Willy Vietor, patriarch of the Victor family, told Mansion Global. “The CIA agent who knew my parents came up with us.”

Belenko went by Viktor Schmidt when he got to Montana, and was pretending to be a former trade representative from Russia.


Green fields with creek

The property is located an hour and 15 minutes from Missoula.

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Hall and Hall



Vietor told Mansion Global Belenko was put to work on the ranch and first lived in a guest bedroom of the main house.

“After he had been with us about a year, we connected the dots and realized he was one of the most valuable defectors the US had ever had,” Vietor said.


Fields with irrigation

The ranch has irrigated fields.

Hall and Hall

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He also told the outlet that Belenko would occasionally take trips to the East Coast and when asked why he was going, the former pilot would reply, “spooky stuff.”

Vietor told Mansion Global Belenko left the ranch in 1983 but that he stayed in touch with their family.


Person fly fishing

There is a semi-private trout fishery on the ranch.

Hall and Hall



Belenko received US citizenship in 1980 by an act of Congress and lived in several small towns throughout the midwest and worked as an aerospace consultant, according to the Times. He died in September 2023 at a senior living facility in Illinois at age 76.

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Rocking Chair Ranch, located an hour and 15 minutes from Missoula, is next door to The Ranch at Rock Creek, a luxury dude ranch that’s considered one of the most expensive hotels in the US.


Wild deer on ranch

Wildlife frequently pass through the ranch property.

Hall and Hall







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Montana

Hurricane Force Winds, Thunderstorms Slam West Central Montana

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Hurricane Force Winds, Thunderstorms Slam West Central Montana


The Missoula area, the Bitterroot Valley, and other areas of West Central Montana were slammed by severe thunderstorms Wednesday evening, downing lines and trees and starting fires.

The National Weather Service had been tracking the storm for several hours as the cells began moving across Idaho.

Around 8:30 pm NWS issued a warning of severe thunderstorms moving into the Northern Bitterroot and Missoula Valley, and when the weather came it hit hard, with pounding winds, lots of lightning, and heavy rain.

One of the strongest windstorms in several years

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Forecasters are still analyzing data, but winds appeared to be gusting 50 to 60 miles per hour. At one point, NWS reported a gust hitting 81 miles per hour at the forecast center at the Missoula Montana Airport.

Additionally, forecasters tell us they reported a gusting hitting 120 miles per hour at the top of Mount Sentinel.

The winds ripped through Lolo and Miller Creek, knocking down trees and power lines. Then the storm blasted across Missoula and moved into East Missoula, kicking up a major dust storm and debris.

Lightning strikes were expected to total several hundred in the Missoula area.

Damage everywhere

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Missoula area fire and police crews were kept busy responding to a rapid-fire succession of reports of downed power lines and trees, with multiple wildfire starts. At one point, firefighters were called out to stop a structure fire in East Missoula that was threatening other homes.

Missoula Electric Coop was reporting several hundred people without power from Lolo to Missoula to Superior and in Seeley Lake.

Northwestern Energy was also reporting several thousand customers without power in the Missoula and Bitterroot service areas.

Storm moved NE

The storm was continuing to move northeast toward the Upper Blackfoot, the Front, and Great Falls area before 10 pm.

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7 Unsuspecting Items That May Spark Wildfires

With extremely dry conditions across the state, the Michigan DNR is reminding residents of the following everyday items that may accidentally spark a fire.

Gallery Credit: Lauren Gordon





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Every Montana County Has At Least One Weather Alert Today

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Every Montana County Has At Least One Weather Alert Today


An AIR QUALITY ALERT continues for the Hi-Line and eastern Montana.

A HEAT ADVISORY continues for north-central Montana and the Helena Valley through 9 PM Thursday.

A HEAT ADVISORY continues for the Flathead/Mission Valleys, West Glacier, Missoula/Bitterroot Valleys and the Potomac/Seeley Lake region through 12 AM tonight.

A HEAT ADVISORY continues for the Lower Clark Fork and Kootenai/Cabinet Regions of Western Montana through 12 AM tonight.

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An EXCESSIVE HEAT WARNING continues for eastern and south-central Montana from 9 PM Thursday.

A RED FLAG WARNING continues for the East Glacier region through 9 PM Thursday.

A RED FLAG WARNING continues for southwest Montana through 9 PM tonight.

A FIRE WEATHER WATCH continues for central Montana through midnight Thursday.

——————————————————————————————————————————

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Heat, fire, and air quality alerts are in effect for just about every Montana county this morning ahead of what should be a record breaking heatwave. Temperatures will start to decrease tomorrow and into the weekend.

High temperatures, low relative humidity, and strong west winds once again increase the fire danger in the mountains of Montana today. There is also a chance of seeing dry thunderstorms pop over the Idaho/Montana border and move northeastward throughout the afternoon. Lighting strikes from this type of storm can spark wildfires. Not all the storms will be dry.

MTN

There is a risk of dry thunderstorms today that can cause new wildfire startups.

Record daily high temperatures are possible today, especially in eastern Montana where 110 degree heat is expected. Helena and Great Falls will be at or above the triple digits today as well.

The Last Chance Stampede starts today. It will be very hot today and tomorrow during afternoon events. Be sure to drink plenty of water and take advantage of shaded areas.

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Relief from extreme conditions is on the way. A cold front will advance through the state on Thursday and Friday. Behind it will be cooler air dropping temperatures back down to near average for the start of the weekend.

Day2.png

MTN

More comfortable temperatures return behind the cold front on Thursday.

The beginning of next week will be about the same has the weekend, with highs in the upper 80s to low 90s. Extreme heat will return by the end of next workweek.

Helena Temperature Records Today:
High: 100 (1929)
Low: 40 (1918)
AVG: 89/57

Great Falls Temperature Records Today:
High: 102 (1929)
Low: 36 (1918)
AVG: 87/53

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Stay safe in the heat!
Joey Biancone
Meteorologist

Facebook: Meteorologist Joey Biancone
Instagram: joeybianconewx
Email: joey.biancone@ktvh.com





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Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBMT) Plans Dividend Increase – $0.14 Per Share

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Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBMT) Plans Dividend Increase – alt=



Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc. (NASDAQ:EBMT – Get Free Report) announced a quarterly dividend on Tuesday, July 23rd, Zacks reports. Investors of record on Friday, August 16th will be paid a dividend of 0.142 per share by the bank on Friday, September 6th. This represents a $0.57 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 4.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Friday, August 16th. This is a boost from Eagle Bancorp Montana’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.14.

Eagle Bancorp Montana has raised its dividend by an average of 13.0% annually over the last three years and has increased its dividend annually for the last 13 consecutive years. Eagle Bancorp Montana has a payout ratio of 33.5% meaning its dividend is sufficiently covered by earnings. Equities research analysts expect Eagle Bancorp Montana to earn $1.64 per share next year, which means the company should continue to be able to cover its $0.56 annual dividend with an expected future payout ratio of 34.1%.

Eagle Bancorp Montana Stock Down 1.3 %

Shares of NASDAQ EBMT opened at $14.15 on Wednesday. Eagle Bancorp Montana has a 52-week low of $11.26 and a 52-week high of $17.65. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.40, a quick ratio of 0.91 and a current ratio of 0.91. The stock has a market cap of $113.48 million, a P/E ratio of 12.63 and a beta of 0.54. The firm has a 50 day moving average price of $13.24 and a 200 day moving average price of $13.29.

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Eagle Bancorp Montana (NASDAQ:EBMT – Get Free Report) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, April 23rd. The bank reported $0.24 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $0.29 by ($0.05). The firm had revenue of $19.17 million during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $22.50 million. Eagle Bancorp Montana had a net margin of 7.39% and a return on equity of 5.29%. Analysts expect that Eagle Bancorp Montana will post 1.27 EPS for the current year.

Wall Street Analyst Weigh In

A number of research analysts have issued reports on EBMT shares. Hovde Group started coverage on Eagle Bancorp Montana in a research note on Friday, July 5th. They issued a “market perform” rating and a $13.50 target price for the company. StockNews.com initiated coverage on shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana in a report on Sunday. They set a “hold” rating on the stock.

View Our Latest Report on EBMT

Insider Transactions at Eagle Bancorp Montana

In other Eagle Bancorp Montana news, Director Peter Joseph Johnson sold 2,954 shares of Eagle Bancorp Montana stock in a transaction on Friday, May 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $13.21, for a total transaction of $39,022.34. Following the completion of the transaction, the director now directly owns 71,139 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $939,746.19. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. In other Eagle Bancorp Montana news, Director Kenneth M. Walsh sold 10,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, May 20th. The stock was sold at an average price of $12.98, for a total value of $129,800.00. Following the transaction, the director now directly owns 156,039 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $2,025,386.22. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this link. Also, Director Peter Joseph Johnson sold 2,954 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, May 24th. The shares were sold at an average price of $13.21, for a total transaction of $39,022.34. Following the completion of the sale, the director now directly owns 71,139 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $939,746.19. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders have sold a total of 14,405 shares of company stock worth $187,859 in the last 90 days. Corporate insiders own 6.70% of the company’s stock.

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Eagle Bancorp Montana Company Profile

(Get Free Report)

Eagle Bancorp Montana, Inc operates as the bank holding company for Opportunity Bank of Montana that provides various retail banking products and services to small businesses and individuals in Montana. It accepts various deposit products, such as checking, savings, money market, and individual retirement accounts, as well as certificates of deposit accounts.

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Dividend History for Eagle Bancorp Montana (NASDAQ:EBMT)



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