CHURCH DEACON-LEWD CONDUCT
Church deacon charged with lewd conduct
NAMPA, Idaho (AP) - A church deacon from southwestern Idaho has been charged with lewd conduct after prosecutors said he abused a young parishioner.
The Idaho Press-Tribune reports Alexander Gonzalez Garcia, a deacon with the Seventh-day Adventist Church in Nampa, was arrested Tuesday. Prosecutors say a girl younger than 16 told investigators in July that Garcia inappropriately touched her in a church storage room during a potluck a few days earlier.
Court records say Garcia was also interviewed by police detectives. The detectives said in court documents that Garcia claimed Satan was also in the storage room and may have taken control of his body.
Garcia is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on Dec. 24.
MALAD TEACHER-LEWD CONDUCT
SE Idaho teacher facing sex abuse charges
POCATELLO, Idaho (AP) - Authorities say a teacher at a middle school in Malad has been charged with four felonies related to inappropriate sexual conduct with minors.
Court records show Sid Arthur Campbell has been charged with three felony counts of lewd conduct with a child under 16 and one other felony count of sexual abuse of a minor. He is being held in the Twin Falls County Jail on $75,000 bond.
The Idaho State Journal reports the charges stem from encounters dating back to February. He was arrested on warrants issued by Twin Falls County.
Campbell has been teaching special education students at Malad Middle School.
Campbell is scheduled to appear in state court for a preliminary hearing Dec. 20.
Heavy freight traffic hampers some Amtrak trains
FARGO, N.D. (AP) - Heavy freight traffic is hampering Amtrak passenger trains between Chicago and the Pacific Northwest.
Spokesman Marc Magliari says Amtrak is canceling or altering many of the Empire Builder trips between Chicago and Portland, Ore., through Sunday as a result of the congestion on the tracks that Amtrak shares with BNSF Railway.
He says hundreds of travelers are affected. Amtrak is offering to rebook trips.
Much of the congestion is due to heavy freight train traffic in the western North Dakota oil fields. BNSF spokeswoman Amy McBeth says the recent cold snap also has been a factor because it has slowed everything down.
DOUBLE FATAL-PASSING SEMITRAILER
2 dead in Nev. crash after driver tries to pass
JACKPOT, Nev. (AP) - Authorities say two people died in a head-on crash after a man tried to pass a semitrailer near the Nevada-Idaho border.
Nevada Highway Patrol officials identified the victims Wednesday as 39-year-old Kenny Laroy Anderson of Spring Creek, Nev. and 49-year-old Craig Steven Hakala of Twin Falls, Idaho.
The crash happened Friday, when troopers say Anderson tried to pass a big rig on U.S. 93 south of Jackpot.
Authorities say he failed to get back into his lane, and slammed head-on into Hakala.
Both men died, while Anderson's passenger was critically injured and taken to a hospital in Twin Falls.
Grizzly panel says Yellowstone bears recovered
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - A panel of wildlife officials says it's time to lift Endangered Species Act protections for grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park.
An Interagency Grizzly Bear Committee spokesman says the panel's members voted unanimously Wednesday in favor of ending the federal protections.
The committee's recommendation will now be considered by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. The agency could propose a rule by mid-2014 to end protections.
Scientists say there are now more than 700 grizzly bears in the Yellowstone region of Montana, Idaho and Wyoming following a decades-long recovery.
Revoking the animal's threatened species status would open the door to limited hunting, but other conservation measures would stay in place.
Environmental groups worried about climate change say it's too early to take the bears off the threatened list.
Mont. wildlife officials seek to expand bison hunt
BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) - Montana wildlife officials want to let state-licensed hunters take more bison that migrate from Yellowstone National Park.
State wildlife commissioners on Thursday will hold an initial vote on a plan to increase future bison quotas and allow hunting in new areas.
The proposal comes after members of Indian tribes acting under treaty rights took the vast majority of the 744 bison shot by hunters over the last decade. Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks spokesman Ron Aasheim says the agency wants comparable opportunities for state-licensed hunters.
The maximum annual quota on Yellowstone bison would increase from 150 to 200 animals. Hunting would be newly allowed in areas south and west of Hebgen Lake.
Aasheim says the plan is contingent on an environmental study now underway.
Yellowstone National Park reopening for winter
YELLOWSTONE NATIONAL PARK, Wyo. (AP) - Yellowstone National Park is reopening for the winter.
Starting Sunday, the north, west and south entrances to the park will be open commercially guided snowmobiles and snowcoaches.
The Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel, dining room and gift shop will open for the season on Dec. 20 and the park's east entrance over Sylvan Pass is set to open Dec. 22.
The only road in the park that is open to wheeled vehicle travel all year is the section from the North Entrance at Gardiner, Mont., through Mammoth Hot Springs, Tower Junction and the Lamar Valley on to the park's Northeast Entrance and the communities of Cooke City and Silver Gate, Mont.
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