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In brief: Council to defend holding prayer

POCATELLO, Idaho – Elected leaders in the eastern Idaho city of Pocatello say they will defend holding an invocation before City Council meetings even if it means going to court.

Councilman Roger Bray tells the Idaho State Journal that the community is overwhelmingly in favor of officials not abandoning the invocation traditionally said at the start of meetings.

David Stoler says the council’s invocation violates the U.S. Constitution because it favors one denomination’s belief system over another.

He tells the Idaho State Journal that he contacted the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho and recently received a letter from the group saying it plans to contact Pocatello to request the city’s written policy on invocations.

Bighorn sheep numbers drop

GREAT FALLS – A state wildlife biologist says bighorn sheep numbers are down about 35 percent compared to the previous three years along the Rocky Mountain Front in Montana.

Brent Lonner of Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks says the recent count also found a low lamb-to-ewe ratio of five to 100. Recent averages have been 31 lambs to 100 ewes.

Lonner says he saw a 37 percent drop in the numbers of older rams whose horns curl at least three-quarters the way around.

Lonner tells the Great Falls Tribune that the decline in bighorn sheep is likely due to a combination of disease, weather and predators.

He says additional research is planned throughout the winter and spring.