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IDAHO ELK HUNT-BACKLASH

Idaho wildlife officials criticized for elk hunt

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Officials at the Idaho Department of Fish and Game are being criticized for taking part in a research project that led to the killing of 206 elk across southern Idaho from Pocatello to Nampa. The hunting and fishing group Idaho For Wildlife recently posted photos of butchered elk quarters stacked on pallets online, drawing attention to the hunt that happened between July and October of 2019. Mike McDonald, regional wildlife manager for the agency’s Magic Valley region, told the Idaho Statesman that the elk represent less than 1% of the population in the area. He says the kill was part of a University of Idaho graduate student's research on deterring elk, which are causing significant damage to private landowners who then file claims with the state.

PUBLIC LAND ACCESS

US land agency seeks to ID public parcels that lack access

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — U.S. land managers say they will release by mid-March a priority list of federal lands that need but don’t have public access. U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials want people to nominate lands where the public could legally hunt, fish or pursue other recreational purposes, except the lands have no or limited access. The agency manages 383,000 square miles of land, primarily in western states. A representative of the National Wildlife Federation says the public access initiative is laudable but must be considered in the context of Trump’s broad rollbacks of environmental rules.

BC-ID-BANK ROBBERY PLEA

Coeur d'Alene man pleads guilty to robbing Spokane bank

COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho. (AP) — The Department of Justice says a 24-year-old Coeur d'Alene man has pleaded guilty to robbing a Spokane bank. Officials say that Seth Patrick Getty walked into the Spokane Teachers Credit Union on March 12, 2018, and gave a note to a bank teller telling the person he had a gun and demanding money. Court records show that investigators were able to use state vehicle records, security footage, and tips from the community to identify Getty as the bank robber. Getty faces up to 20 years in federal prison, a fine of up to $250,000, and at least five years of supervised release.

BODY CAMERAS-PENDLETON

Police in Pendleton, Oregon, to start using body cameras

PENDLETON, Ore. (AP) — The Pendleton Police Department in northeastern Oregon now has an extra set of eyes with them. The East Oregonian reported this week that Pendleton’s 24 sworn police officers have been equipped with body cameras. The cameras are located on the officers’ left breast pocket and attached using a magnetic plate. Officers must double tap the camera to activate it when responding to a call. The program joins Pendleton police with departments in Boardman and Hermiston as the only agencies with body cameras in Northeast Oregon.

MEDICAID EXPANSION-IDAHO

Idaho Medicaid expansion signups pass 60,000

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The number of Idaho residents who have signed up for Medicaid under the state's voter-approved expanded coverage has passed 60,000. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare posted updated numbers Thursday. The agency estimates 91,000 residents meet requirements. Coverage started Jan. 1, but enrollment is year-round. Voters authorized Medicaid expansion in 2018 with an initiative that passed with 61% of the vote after years of inaction by state lawmakers. But lawmakers in 2019 added restrictions requiring five waivers from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. None have been approved so far.

PIPELINE LAWSUIT

Lawsuit planned to stop Idaho-Wyoming natural gas pipeline

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Two environmental groups have given notice they plan to file a lawsuit to stop a proposed underground natural gas pipeline from Idaho to Wyoming. The groups say it will harm protected grizzly bears and other wildlife. The Alliance for the Wild Rockies and Yellowstone to Uintas Connection sent a required 60-day notice to sue this week to the U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The groups contend the approval of the pipeline project in November violated the Endangered Species Act. They say an 18-mile portion would cut a corridor through the Caribou-Targhee National Forest and areas designated as roadless.

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The Associated Press

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