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Mom fails to meet deadline to bring missing kids to Idaho

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The mom of two children missing since September failed to meet a court-ordered deadline to bring the kids to authorities in Idaho on Thursday. That clears the way for a judge to potentially hold Lori Vallow in contempt of court, a move that would allow prosecutors to seek her extradition from Hawaii to Idaho. Seven-year-old Joshua “JJ” Vallow and 17-year-old Tylee Ryan haven't been seen since late September, and police in Rexburg, Idaho, have said they “strongly believe that Joshua and Tylee's lives are in danger.” JJ's grandmother says she's disheartened but still hopes to find her grandson.


New Idaho program could boost timber revenue on state lands

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho's state lands manager is asking a legislative committee to approve $500,000 for a pilot program that would allow specific types of timber to be separated and sold when harvested from state land. Currently, all trees cut from a particular parcel are included in auctions. Department of Lands Director Dustin Miller said Friday that breaking the sales into specific types of trees could result in more competition and higher bids. The program would start with about 1% of state timber sales and potentially increase to about 10%. Only areas with a suitable mix of tree species would likely provide benefits from such sales.


Oregon Legislature considers sweeping wildfire plan

Oregon lawmakers are looking at several bills that could change the way the state fights wildfires, and how it tries to prevent them. The Legislature convenes in Salem on Monday. The Oregonian/OregonLive reports that the plans, which stem from a panel appointed by Gov. Kate Brown, include an effort to restore forest health through thinning, removing brush and small trees, and increasing prescribed burns. Critics argue forest thinning projects are expensive and have a low probability of success. The governor’s 20-year forest treatment plan comes with a $4 billion price tag - $200 million a year.


Long-serving Idaho state senator won't seek re-election

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Republican Senate President Pro-Tem Brent Hill says he won't seek re-election. Hill announced his decision Thursday. Hill has served in the Idaho Senate for 19 years, more than half of that as Senate president pro tempore. He served under four governors. The retired accountant from Rexburg says he plans to more fully enjoy spending time with his wife and 20 grandchildren. Hill's term ends in November. He says serving in the Senate has been an incredible experience he will always treasure.


Billionaire touts bill to limit medical debt attorney fees

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho billionaire Frank VanderSloot is asking state lawmakers to back a measure to help people facing medical debt. The founder of wellness shopping club Melaleuca says the legislation is needed to protect families from unethical debt collectors. The measure would require doctors and medical facilities to provide timely and clear payment bills for their clients. It would also limit how much attorneys can get paid in specific circumstances involving medical debt collection. VanderSloot says he got involved after a debt collection company tried to collect thousands of dollars in legal and collection fees for an unpaid $294 medical bill for one of his employees.


$13M fine proposed for podcaster behind racist robocalls

BROOKLYN, Iowa (AP) — Regulators are proposing a nearly $13 million fine against a podcaster accused of hiding the origin of automated phone calls that used the slaying of an Iowa college student to promote white nationalist messages. The Federal Communications Commission says Scott Rhodes violated the Truth in Caller ID Act, which bars the manipulation of caller ID information. The Associated Press was unable to reach Rhodes for comment. Officials say Rhodes used an autodialer to make hundreds of recorded calls to Brooklyn, Iowa, numbers, citing the killing of Mollie Tibbetts. The Mexican man charged in her death is suspected of living in the U.S. illegally.

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