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Idaho park gets shutdown exemption to search for missing hiker

ARCO, Idaho Employees at Craters of the Moon National Monument in south-central Idaho have received an exemption from federal furlough requirements so rangers can continue to search for a Boise woman who has been missing for nearly two weeks.

Sixteen of the monument's 19 employees were to be furloughed during the federal government shutdown that started Tuesday, but the park received permission Wednesday to keep 10 additional workers under "excepted" status during the search for 63-year-old Jo Elliott-Blakeslee.

Elliott-Blakeslee's hiking partner, 69-year-old Amy Linkert, was found dead on Sept. 25. The women were last seen near Arco on Sept. 19.

On Monday, Elliott-Blakeslee's family members asked for experienced hikers to help with the search.

Park spokesman Ted Stout says the 10 rangers working the search are in top physical condition.