Community Conversation

Join the KBSX newsroom Feb. 11 for a conversation about Idaho police and community relations in the wake of events in Ferguson and New York.

Nearly one year after lawmakers and small business owners cast a critical eye at the contractor managing mental health and substance treatment for Idaho's poor, company officials say approval ratings remain high and problems are few.

Executives from Optum, a unit of UnitedHealth Group, told the House Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday that they had a 95 percent satisfaction rating among providers that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients.

That's according to the most recent sample survey the company sent out to their provider members.

Clark Gilbert
Courtesy BYU-Idaho

Deseret News CEO Clark Gilbert has been named the new president of Brigham Young University-Idaho.

The selection of Gilbert was announced Tuesday during a devotional at BYU-Idaho's campus in Rexburg, Idaho. Gilbert becomes the 16th president of the Mormon-owned school, and will take over for Kim B. Clark in April.

Mormon church, temple square, salt lake city
Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

Mormon church leaders are making a national appeal for a "balanced approach" in the clash between gay rights and religious freedom.

The church is promising to support some housing and job protections for gays and lesbians in exchange for legal protections for believers who object to the behavior of others.

It's not clear how much common ground the Mormons will find with this new campaign. The church insists it is making no changes in doctrine, and still believes it's against the law of God to have sex outside marriage between a man and a woman.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho State University study has found most high school football players are wearing helmets that don't fit and aren't property maintaining the inflatable lining inside their helmets.

The University’s research finds nearly 98 percent of its participants played football in a helmet that required regular inflation of the liner, 43 percent of those respondents said they’ve never re-inflated their helmet liners.

Oregon could leapfrog Washington to have the highest state minimum wage in the country if the Democratically-controlled legislature approves a proposed increase.

Samantha Martin

For three weeks this winter, Samantha Martin spent her days inside a freezing-cold house ripping apart the walls, doors, and windows. She was salvaging whatever she could because the house was set for demolition.

Martin and her group Buffalo Heart Homes have been trying for two years to save a group of historic homes in downtown Boise.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Several hundred people packed an auditorium in the Idaho Capitol Monday for a hearing on a measure known as the Add the Words bill.

It’s the first time the Legislature has considered a bill that would make sexual orientation and gender identity a protected class in Idaho -- like race or religion. Proponents have been trying to get it heard for nine years.

Some of the most emotional testimony came from the parents of gay and transgender children.

University of Idaho

The president of the University of Idaho says the school will freeze undergraduate resident tuition rates next year if lawmakers fully fund a 3 percent salary increase for faculty and staff.

President Chuck Staben made the suggestion Monday to lawmakers on the Legislature's budget committee.

Officials say the cost would be $1.6 million.

Staben says reducing tuition will increase access to education.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Thousands of Idahoans have flocked to the Statehouse to testify in front of lawmakers concerning a bill that would include sexual orientation and gender identity protections to the state's Human Rights Act.

The legislation, commonly called the "Add the Words" bill, had been denied a public hearing for nine consecutive years.

Rick Gerrard / Idaho Public Television

Republican U.S. Sen. Jim Risch derailed a 2010 wilderness bill but says he's working now with U.S. Rep. Mike Simpson on a scaled-down version as others attempt to persuade President Barack Obama to designate a central Idaho area a national monument.

Risch, a Republican, tells the Idaho Statesman in a story on Sunday that he's looking forward to carrying a bill that he says is a collaborative product.

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