Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Justice Department Declines Charges In Idaho Prison Scandal

The U.S. Justice Department has declined to press criminal charges in connection with a contract fraud investigation at a private Idaho prison. The FBI began investigating the Idaho Correctional Center last year. The facility had been run by Corrections Corporation of America and was known for being so violent that inmates dubbed it "Gladiator School." U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson said Wednesday that the probe was complete, and the agency didn't find probable cause to file charges. The Idaho...
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Idaho Rivers United

The head of Idaho Rivers United (IRU) is stepping down. Bill Sedivy says after 16 years as executive director of the organization, he wants to spend more time on the rivers and less time in the office.

The non-profit Idaho Rivers United is celebrating 25 years as an advocacy group in the state. It works to protect Idaho’s rivers and fish, and has more than 3,400 members.

Sedivy says it was a love of river rafting that got him involved in protecting rivers in the first place.

Alan Krakauer / Flickr

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management as well as other federal and state agencies are starting a public information campaign intended to reduce human-caused fires in sagebrush steppe areas in Idaho.

The Idaho office of the BLM in a statement Thursday says efforts will include radio and television announcements, social media postings and a billboard on Interstate 84 between the Broadway and Gowen Field off-ramps in Boise.

The agency says fire helps invasive cheatgrass take over sagebrush steppe areas and eventually outcompetes native plants.

An Idaho city may have to redo its school board election after officials found problems with ballots in one district.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the Canyon County Elections Office announced Wednesday that there was a problem with five ballots in Tuesday's election. The incumbent was re-elected by only four votes.

Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto says five ballots for Caldwell School District Zone 2 elections were incorrectly issued to Zone 1 voters, who did not have an election.

Galo Naranjo / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho Latino and immigrant advocacy group has filed a civil rights complaint against all of Idaho’s public charter schools. The Boise based Centro de Comunidad y Justicia (Center for Community and Justice) is asking the Seattle branch of the U.S. Education Department’s Office of Civil Rights to investigate all 48 Idaho charters as well as state agencies that oversee them.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A new rangeland fire management plan is the result of cross-state and federal collaboration that isn't often seen in resource policy. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell visited Idaho earlier this week to present the plan alongside state officials

Former Idaho first lady Lola Evans died Tuesday in her Boise home. She was married to former Democratic Gov. John Evans for nearly 70 years.

The 88-year-old Evans died of natural causes. Her husband, who served as governor from 1977 to 1987, died nearly a year ago.

The two were high school sweethearts and married just before John deployed for World War II. They had five children.

UGA College of Ag & Environmental Sciences / Flickr

Norovirus has been found in samples from an outbreak at a Nampa Middle School two weeks ago. The Southwest District Health Department confirms two stool samples came back positive for the virus.

It started two weeks ago when children at Lone Star Middle School came down with vomiting and diarrhea. By that Thursday, more than 150 kids stayed home sick. The next day, close to 500 students missed class.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has selected former state Sen. Bob Geddes as the new director of the Department of Administration.

Otter announced the appointment on Wednesday.

Geddes is currently a registered lobbyist for Monsanto and the Idaho Farm Bureau Federation. Prior to that, he served one year as chairman of the Idaho State Tax Commission and nine terms as a state Republican senator from eastern Idaho.

JOE JASZEWSKI / Idaho Statesman

Parking officials are planning to buy and install about 800 new smart parking meters in downtown Boise that will allow users to pay with smartphones.

KBOI-TV reports city officials signed off on the $310,000 funding for the machines Tuesday.

The meters accept coins or a credit card, and soon users will be able to pay with a smartphone app.

Salt Lake City resident Katie Flanagan has used similar meters in Utah and says people in Boise will enjoy the app.

Teresa Luna, a key figure in the Idaho Education Network broadband contract mess, has a new job as a state emergency planner.

Luna began the job with the state Bureau of Homeland Security Monday.

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