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

By The Associated Press | Updated - Oct 9th, 2019 @ 9:20pm | Posted - Oct 9th, 2019 @ 3:20am



SUN VALLEY SKI AREA-FOREST PROBLEMS

Forest at famed Idaho ski area facing wildfires, insects

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The forest in and around one of the nation's top ski destinations is in trouble from an ongoing combination of unusually warm temperatures, drought, wildfires, insect invaders and pathogens.

So the U.S. Forest Service is starting an environmental analysis to find ways to improve the forest's health at Sun Valley Resort's Bald Mountain ski area, a huge economic driver for the region heavily dependent on tourism.

The potential Bald Mountain Stewardship Project includes the entire 3,000-acre (1,200-hectare) ski area.

Officials say wildfires in 2007 and 2013 surrounded 9,150-foot (2,789-meter) Bald Mountain with burned forest, increasing bark beetle attacks.

Pine beetles, dwarf mistletoe and white pine blister rust are also killing trees on the ski-run carved mountain that forms a scenic backdrop for the resort towns of Ketchum and Sun Valley.

WINTRY WEATHER

Fall snowstorm blasts Rockies, heading toward Midwest

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — A fall snowstorm is snarling traffic and causing power outages in the Rocky Mountains as it slowly moves across the northern U.S. toward the Great Plains.

Winter storm watches and warnings stretched from eastern Washington state to Minnesota, along with freeze warnings as far south as Colorado and Nebraska on Wednesday.

In Spokane, wet, heavy snow snapped tree branches and took out power lines. Avista Utilities was restoring power to 32,000 customers Wednesday.

Driving conditions are deteriorating across Montana and northern Wyoming as ice and blowing snow covered roadways.

Up to 2 feet (0.61 meters) of snow is expected to fall in the mountains, and up to a foot in lower-elevation towns and cities.

The storm is expected to bring the first snow of the season to Denver by Thursday.

COUGAR SEARCH

Search for livestock-killing cougar begins in north Idaho

(Information from: The Spokesman-Review, http://www.spokesman.com)

SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — Federal and state wildlife officials have started a search in northern Idaho for a cougar that killed multiple livestock.

The Spokesman-Review reported Tuesday that Idaho Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are working to locate the cougar and trap it.

Officials say the cougar was sighted northeast of Sandpoint and recently killed three alpacas, a miniature horse and a deer.

Officials say the cougar was seen dragging the dead horse from a barn Monday before it was scared away by gunshots.

The Bonner County Sheriff's office has asked residents to report sightings of the cougar to authorities.

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FATAL DUI-SENTENCE

Man sentenced to 15 years for fatal drunken driving crash

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho (AP) — A northern Idaho man has been sentenced to 15 years in prison for killing one person and injuring three others in a drunken driving crash in March.

The Coeur d'Alene Press says 36-year-old Cory Allan Kreager was sentenced in 1st District Court on Monday. He must serve at least 10 years before he will be eligible for parole.

Idaho State Police said Kreager, of Priest River, was driving eastbound on U.S. 95 when he failed to heed a stop sign. Police said Kreager's Ford F-350 pickup collided with a Dodge Caravan, killing 38-year-old Ryan Allen of Cocolalla and injuring Vern, Patricia and Troy Allen.

According to court documents Kreager told investigators he was distracted by his mobile phone and didn't see the stop sign. Officials said testing showed his alcohol level was above the legal limit to drive.

Kreager pleaded guilty to the charges in July.

COLLEGE STUDENT-EXTORTING WOMEN

EX-WSU student sentenced for extorting women

(Information from: KHQ-TV, http://msnbc.msn.com/id/3082888/)

PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) — A former student of Washington State University and the University of Idaho has been convicted of extorting women over nude photos.

KHQ-TV reports 24-year-old Kyle Gaumnitz of Richland, Washington, was found guilty in Whitman County Superior Court Friday of one count of second-degree extortion with sexual motivation and four counts of second-degree extortion.

He was sentenced to over two years in prison and three years of supervision after release. Gaumnitz will be required to register as a sex offender.

University police began investigating Gaumnitz in 2017 when they received complaints from two students. Court documents show 27 victims describing their experiences with him.

Documents say Gaumnitz would often obtain, or pretend to have obtained, nude photos of women and would try to get them to send nude photos or perform sex acts online in order to prevent him from releasing the supposed nude photos on social media.

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FATAL CLIMBER FALL

Rock climber dies after falling from Black Cliffs in Boise

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Ada County Sheriff's Office says a man in his 30s has died in a climbing accident at a popular rock climbing spot in Boise.

KTVB-TV reports the Ada County Sheriff's Office received a call just after 4 p.m. Tuesday about an injured rock climber at the Black Cliffs.

Deputy Jeremy Seibert told KTVB that four friends were rock climbing when a man fell about 40 feet (12 meters) down the cliff.

Paramedics and deputies started first aid and administered CPR, but the man died at the scene.

An investigation is underway but Seibert says the fall is believed to have been related to an equipment issue. He added that the climbers had safety harnesses and proper gear with them.

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