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AP - Oregon-Northwest

Latest Idaho news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. MST

NUCLEAR WASTE-IDAHO

Idaho, Energy Department ink deal on reactor’s nuclear waste

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The future is clearer for a test reactor in Idaho that develops fuel for the nation’s fleet of nuclear-powered warships. Republican Gov. Brad Little and Republican Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced a deal Tuesday with the U.S. Department of Energy and its Advanced Test Reactor at the Idaho National Laboratory. The agreement makes clear that spent fuel from the reactor can be kept in a cooling canal past 2023, but must eventually go into dry storage and shipped out of state. Idaho and the Energy Department disagreed that a 2023 deadline existed. The new agreement clears up that matter without litigation. 

MISSING KIDS-GRANDPARENTS

Grandparents of missing boy seek temporary guardianship

REXBURG, Idaho (AP) — The grandparents of a 7-year-old boy who has been missing for months  have asked a judge to grant them temporary guardianship of the child. Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old older sister, Tylee Ryan, were last seen in September. Police say their mother Lori Vallow and her new husband Chad Daybell have lied about the childrens’ whereabouts. JJ’s grandmother told the Rexburg Standard Journal that she and her husband want to make sure they’re first in line for custody when JJ is found. Vallow has failed to comply with a court order directing her to bring the kids to Idaho. 

EMERGENCY WATER RIGHT

Emergency water rights bill heads to Idaho governor’s desk

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Legislation granting an emergency water right when crews are trying to clean up spills in Idaho waterways is headed to the governor’s desk. The House voted 70-0 Tuesday to approve the measure the state Department of Environmental Quality says is needed to prevent someone from contending their water right is being violated due to an emergency cleanup. The Senate unanimously approved the measure last month. Emergency crews pulling contaminated water from rivers after such things as tanker trunk crashes is standard cleanup practice. But removing that water could be violating the state’s strict water-rights laws where water distribution is closely monitored.

REOPENED ROAD-BORDER SECURITY

Road bisecting bear habitat to reopen amid national security

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Federal agencies have announced a long-closed road built through grizzly bear habitat in northern Idaho will reopen following national security concerns. The Spokesman-Review reported Monday that the U.S. Forest Service and the Department of Homeland Security announced the plan to reopen more than 5 miles of Bog Creek Road after years of discussion. Officials say the road was closed in the late 1980s to protect endangered grizzly bears roaming the area between Upper Priest Lake in Idaho and the Canadian border. Forest Service officials say the U.S. Border Patrol started to ask in 2013 to reopen the road because of threats to border security. 

MISSING UTAH HUNTERS-FOUND

2 missing Utah hunters found safe near Nevada-Idaho line

ELKO, Nev. (AP) — A pair of hunters from Utah who had been missing in the back country of northeast Nevada since Saturday have been found safe near the Idaho line. The Elko Daily Free Press reports a search and rescue team found 38-year-old Chad Strain and 44-year-old Lee Peters in their stranded vehicle Monday after hearing them yelling and shooting a gun to draw attention about 13 miles (21 kilometers)  southeast of Jackpot. They were not dressed for cold weather because it was relatively warm before a snowstorm moved in over the weekend. They were found where they got stuck in the mud near Granite Creek Reservoir.

TEACHER STANDARDS

Idaho panel rejects initial teacher certification rules

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A panel of lawmakers has removed standards for initial teacher certification. The House Education Committee on Tuesday voted to cut out the rules put forward by the Idaho State Board of Education. Republican Rep. Gary Marshall says cutting the overly burdensome rules would lead to more creativity and result in more teachers for Idaho classrooms. Democratic Rep. Steve Berch says removing the standards lowers the bar and could put unqualified teachers in the classroom. The arcane administrative rules process involves both the House and Senate. The rules would remain in effect unless the Senate also removes them. 

The Associated Press