Apr 11, 2013 The Associated Press

Enzi part of White House dinner

WASHINGTON -- Over a steak dinner, President Barack Obama dined with a dozen Republican senators at the White House on Wednesday evening in search of common ground on a range of issues, most notably the budget, entitlements and tax reform.

"Our dinner with President Obama tonight was very productive," Sen. Johnny Isakson, who compiled the invitations, said in a statement. "We discussed the debt, deficits and fiscal challenges facing our country. Sitting down to talk about how to get our arms around our debt is a good first step to what I hope will be an ongoing discussion and a path forward to solving our nation's problems."

Isakson put together the GOP list for the dinner in the White House's Old Family Dining Room at Obama's request.

Attending were Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Arkansas' John Boozman, Maine's Susan Collins, Idaho's Mike Crapo, Wyoming's Michael Enzi, Utah's Orrin Hatch, Kansas's Pat Roberts, South Dakota's John Thune and Mississippi's Roger Wicker.

Hatch spokeswoman Antonia Ferrier said the group and the president had a "a wide-ranging, and open discussion on a whole range of issues from entitlements to tax reform."

Intercultural center on the way

POWELL -- Plans for a new intercultural center for Northwest College in Powell are closer to becoming reality.

The Northwest College Foundation has raised $239,000 for the project, with an additional $131,000 coming from a grant from the National Endowment of the Humanities.

Foundation Executive Director Shelby Wetzel tells the Powell Tribune that another $65,000 is needed to reach the $435,000 total.

The proposed Intercultural Center would host seminars, cultural presentations, speakers, book discussions, exhibits, displays and other intercultural-related events.

This year, 75 students from other countries are attending Northwest College. They come from South America, North America, Asia, Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Mexico and Australia.

All counties get drought designation

DENVER -- Every Wyoming county has received a designation as a primary or contiguous county eligible for federal drought aid.

The six Montana counties on Wyoming's northern border also were approved Wednesday as contiguous counties eligible for help.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has approved new designations allowing farmers and ranchers around the West, including nine Colorado counties, to seek federal aid to get through the drought.

All but a handful of Colorado's 64 counties have been designated this crop year as either primary natural disaster areas due to drought or as contiguous to those counties.

The USDA on Wednesday approved contiguous county designations for Jackson, Larimer, Logan, Moffat, Phillips, Routt, Sedgwick, Weld and Yuma counties, making producers there eligible to be considered for emergency loans from the Farm Service Agency.

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