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Magic Valley news in brief: Hailey Public Library, Herrett Center STEAM camp and more.

When brothers Golden and Francis Nephi “Neef” Grigg began renting a frozen foods plant in the tiny Idaho border town of Ontario, Oregon, in 1949, they were hoping to expand their existing frozen corn business to include potatoes. Little did they know they’d taken the first step toward creating Oregon’s prodigal spud: the tater tot. Invented to prevent food waste, perfected as the ultimate pub grub, the humble tot, born out of Oregon ingenuity, served as-is or adapted to numerous tastes, is now embraced nationwide — and celebrated every year on Feb. 2, for National Tater Tot Day.

U.S. wildlife officials have taken the first step to lift federal protections for grizzly bears in the northern Rocky Mountains, which would open the door to future hunting in several states. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service says state officials provided substantial evidence grizzlies have recovered from the threat of extinction in the regions surrounding Yellowstone and Glacier national parks. But federal officials also raised concerns about new state laws that could affect bears. Friday’s move kicks off at least a year of further study before a final decision. Grizzlies were wiped out in most of the U.S. during the last century. There are now more than 2,000 bears in the Lower 48 states and larger populations in Alaska.

Police say a man who allegedly fired gunshots Thursday in a busy area of Hood River and then barricaded himself in his house for hours is in custody. The Hood River Police Department said Simeon Hill was safely taken into custody Thursday night. An initial law enforcement bulletin Thursday warned of an “active shooter” near a Dairy Queen in the small city along the Columbia River Gorge. Police said Friday that multiple gunshots had been fired from the home in the direction of businesses. No one was hurt. Hill was taken to a medical facility and multiple charges were sent to the county district attorney's office for consideration.

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