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IDAHO EARTHQUAKE

4.9-magnitude earthquake rattles central Idaho

CHALLIS, Idaho (AP) — A 4.9-magnitude earthquake shook central Idaho, flinging items off walls and scaring residents but otherwise producing no reported damage or injuries in the sparsely populated mountain area.

USGS geophysicist Dale Grant says the earthquake was the first one of its strength in the area since 2005. But he says even minor damage is unlikely because of the remote location. It struck 8 miles northwest of Challis, a town of around 1,000 less than 200 miles northeast of Boise.

Custer County sheriff's dispatcher Liz Preston says no one was hurt. She says the area has had some quakes lately, but this one felt "pretty big" compared with the others.

She says the office shook, including the windows and computers.

BALUKOFF-NRA

Idaho governor candidate spurns NRA questionnaire

(Information in the following story is from: Idaho Statesman, http://www.idahostatesman.com)

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff has refused to answer the National Rifle Association survey and has criticized the organization for pushing for concealed-carry guns on Idaho college campuses.

Balukoff says Idaho's governor and Legislature shouldn't be beholden to the NRA.

Rather than complete the 23-question survey, Balukoff wrote a letter to the NRA, saying the questionnaire allows only for polarizing and extreme positions.

Balukoff wrote that he supports gun rights but says he's OK with certain gun restrictions, such as limitations on concealed weapons and firearms possession by the mentally ill and ex-felons.

A NRA spokesman tells the Idaho Statesman that the NRA has tens of thousands of members in Idaho and will endorse a governor candidate in the May 20 GOP primary.

IDAHO SOS RACE-ENDORSEMENT

McGrane adds another Republican endorsement

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Former State Controller Donna Jones has endorsed Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane to be Idaho secretary of state.

In a statement on Friday, Jones says McGrane is a stalwart in Republican politics with the background and experience that makes him the only qualified candidate in the race who can get the job done.

McGrane has also been endorsed by current Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt.

The race for the GOP nomination is already crowded, with Midvale Rep. Lawerence Denney and former state senators Evan Frasure and Mitch Toryanski running. Boise Rep. Holli Woodings is the only Democrat vying for the post.

YELLOWSTONE-LAMAR RANCH

NPS seeks comment on Lamar Ranch proposal

YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) — The National Park Service is seeking public comment on some proposed infrastructure improvements at the historic Lamar Buffalo Ranch in Yellowstone National Park.

The agency is proposing to make improvements to various energy production systems at the ranch to conserve water and energy and reduce waste. For instance, one project involves installing a new micro hydro turbine.

The project seeks to increase the renewable energy available and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions of the current fossil fuel-powered generator currently.

The Park Service wants public comment to help prepare an environmental assessment of the improvements.

JACKSON-GROUND SLIPPING

Shelter to open for Wyoming slide evacuees

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The Red Cross prepared a shelter Saturday for people evacuated from their homes in the northwest Wyoming resort town of Jackson because of a slow-moving landslide.

About 60 people have been forced from their homes since Wednesday as a precaution and because of damage to the only access road.

The unstable hillside is about the size of two football fields and is along a main artery outside the historic downtown area. Officials say it continues to shift, making it unsafe for residents to return home.

The Red Cross has provided 18 displaced residents with hotel rooms until now. But the continuing uncertainty of when they can return home has led the agency to open a shelter, which will be ready Sunday evening.

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

The Associated Press

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