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BULL ELK FREED

Fish and Game frees bull elk tangled in tarp and rope

MONTEVIEW, Idaho (AP) — A mature bull elk tangled in a haystack tarp and rope in eastern Idaho has been freed. Idaho Department of Fish and Game biologists tranquilized the elk Thursday and removed the material from the elk's antlers. Fish and Game spokesman James Brower says the elk had been visiting haystacks to eat. Brower says it's not clear where the tarp came from, but it got tangled in the elk's antlers. Brower says a rancher spotted the elk and called Fish and Game. Brower says the area has wintering elk that are visiting haystacks, and Fish and Game workers have been hazing them away.

IDAHO ROADS-DANGEROUS

Official: Idaho roads getting more congested, dangerous

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A state official says Idaho's roads are becoming increasingly dangerous with distracted drivers and a growing number of motorists. The director of the Idaho Department of Transportation says technology is to blame for much of the problem. Legislation to impose a statewide ban on handheld cellphone use while driving is pending in the Senate, and distracted driving legislation is pending in the House. Brian Ness was before the committee to present his agency's budget. Republican Gov. Brad Little has proposed a 7.9% increase from last year to $785 million. Much of that is federal money and money from state gas taxes and vehicle registration.

DOG BITES-TRAILS

Dogs biting people, harassing wildlife draws ban in Tetons

JACKSON, Wyo. (AP) — The U.S. Forest Service is cracking down on people letting dogs run off leash along trails in Wyoming and Idaho, following a surge in reports of dogs harassing wildlife and biting people. Officials say it's not acceptable to treat Teton Canyon like a dog park. Teton Basin District Ranger Jay Pence says the forest service will more strictly enforce rules that say dogs must be leashed within 200 feet of trailheads and campgrounds. The move comes after nearby Idaho communities such as the town of Driggs grew dramatically in recent years.

MISSING KIDS-DEADLINE

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.

AP-ID-IDAHO TIMBER

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-WILDFIRES

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.

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The Associated Press

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