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Idaho Briefs November 7, 2010

| November 7, 2010 8:00 PM

South Idaho couple find buried silver

RUPERT - A south-central Idaho couple working on a home renovation project dug up a plastic tube filled with 18 silver bars worth nearly $47,000, then tracked down the previous home owner now living in Utah and split the treasure.

James and Brytten Sievers said they found the container on Oct. 29, about 4 feet down, and inside were bars of Johnson-Matthey silver worth about $2,600 apiece.

The container had a 1982 date, as did newspapers wrapped around the silver. Some sleuthing found that Clint Nelson had built the home and was living in it in 1982.

James Sievers said Nelson was a businessman and someone paid him in silver. Nelson buried five tubes filled with silver when prices for the metal fell, but one of the containers got left behind when he moved.

Found ballots trigger recount

POCATELLO - An eastern Idaho election official said a countywide recount of votes cast in the Tuesday general election will be done because workers found 25 absentee ballots that hadn't been counted.

Bannock County Clerk Dale Hatch said that the uncounted ballots were found Friday.

Election officials said the recount can't begin until workers canvass the results. It's unclear when that will be finished.

County officials said they will not recount a second ballot voters received devoted to four constitutional amendments.

Hatch said the 25 uncounted ballots aren't enough to change the outcome of any of the races.

Hatch, a Democrat, won by 199 votes over Republican challenger Robert Ballard. Ballard says he will pursue a recount.

Dam mishap kills 1,000 steelhead

AHSAHKA - An unknown number of federally protected wild steelhead have died after becoming trapped when a hydroelectric generator at Dworshak Dam was drained for routine maintenance.

Officials said that most of the estimated 1,000 steelhead lost on Wednesday and Thursday were hatchery fish.

Wild steelhead are listed as a threatened species under the Endangered Species Act.

Workers with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Dworshak National Fish Hatchery and the Clearwater Hatchery operated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game saved some 500 steelhead and returned them to the North Fork of the Clearwater River.

Officials said the dead fish were given to local food banks.

- The Associated Press