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AP - Oregon-Northwest

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

DAMS-BROWN

Oregon governor calls for breaching 4 Snake River dams

SALEM, Ore. (AP) — Oregon’s governor is in favor of removing four hydroelectric dams on the Snake River in Washington state. Gov. Kate Brown, a Democrat, sent a letter to Washington’s Democratic Gov. Jay Inslee this week, saying she believes it is the best way to increase endangered salmon runs. The Tri-City Herald reported the letter outraged Washington state’s three Republican U.S. House members, who want to keep the dams. The dams generate electricity, provide some irrigation and flood control and allow barges to operate all the way to Lewiston, Idaho. But they are also blamed for killing salmon and steelhead that are migrating to the ocean or back to their spawning grounds.

AP-US-WILDFIRE-FUEL-BREAKS

US agency to pay for 11,000 miles of fuel breaks in 6 states

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The Bureau of Land Management has announced plans to fund 11,000 miles of strategic fuel breaks in Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California, Nevada and Utah in an effort to help control wildfires. Fuel breaks are intended to create breaks in vegetation that slow a blaze’s progress and help protect firefighters, communities and natural resources. The Oregonian reported Saturday that wildfires are becoming bigger and more frequent across the Great Basin states. Between 2009 and 2018, more than 13.5 million acres of BLM land burned in the project area. Some scientists debate the effectiveness of fuel breaks, raising questions about whether these efforts are worth funding.

LIVESTOCK DISEASE-ELK

Livestock disease found in elk in Montana’s Ruby Mountains

BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — State officials say the livestock disease brucellosis has been found in elk in southwestern Montana’s Ruby Mountains for the first time. It’s the latest evidence that the disease that can cause animals to prematurely abort their young continues to slowly spread among wildlife. Two elk tested positive for exposure during recent testing by Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks. The disease can infect cattle, bison, and elk. It’s been essentially eradicated in U.S. livestock herds but persists in wildlife populations in and around Yellowstone National Park.

PIZZUTO-DEATH ROW APPEAL

Death row inmate Gerald Pizzuto’s appeals nearing legal end

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — One of Idaho’s death row inmates is nearing the end of his legal appeals and that could prompt prison officials to prepare for his execution before the end of the year.  Gerald Pizzuto is one of eight people on Idaho’s death row. He was convicted in 1986 of murder for the 1985  beating deaths of Berta and Delbert Herndon, who were prospecting at a remote Idaho County cabin. Pizzuto’s appeals at the federal circuit court level have been exhausted. His attorneys have until March 30 to ask the U.S. Supreme Court to take up his case. 

FAKE ALASKA TRIPS-SETTLEMENT

Idaho business to pay $100K in case of fake Alaska trips

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Business owners in Idaho have reached a settlement agreement after they were accused of selling fake fishing trips in Alaska and leaving people stranded. The Idaho Statesman reported Thursday that Access Life’s Adventures and its owners Craig Fletcher and Crystal Fletcher have agreed to pay more than $100,000 in refunds to 25 customers. They have also agreed not to advertise or sell vacation packages, travel or vacation-related goods or services from within Idaho or to customers in the state for 10 years. The Fletchers say they did not violate any regulations and agreed to the settlement to resolve the complaints.

BIG GAME-RANGE STUDIES

Idaho, other western states to study big game range land

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho has been awarded a grant to study how elk herds move through a northern Idaho migration corridor also used by grizzly bears and wolverines.  The grant was announced by the U.S. Department of the Interior on Friday. It’s part of $3.2 million in funding for big game range land studies in 11 western states.  Idaho’s work will involve tagging 40 elk in the McArthur Lake area and using 119 trail cameras to map their movements.

The Associated Press