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Update: Valley County Idaho Makes America’s Best Communities' Top Eight

Update on April 27, 2016: Valley County officials learned Wednesday that they will advance to the top eight in the America’s Best Communities competition. They’ll bring home $100,000 to begin implementing an economic development plan. In 11 months the contest sponsors Frontier Communications, DISH Network and the Weather Channel will assess how well the eight communities are implementing their plans. They’ll then choose three winners who will receive $1 million, $2 million and $3 million....
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If you think money has too great a role in Idaho politics, or worry that it could be headed that way, you have until tomorrow to give Idaho voters a chance to decide on some restrictions.

An effort by the political advocacy group Keep Idaho Elections Accountable to reform Idaho’s campaign finance laws needs 48,000 signatures by Saturday to get proposed changes on the ballot in November.

City of Boise

On Sunday evening, hot water poured on to the intersection of Grove and 3rd streets in downtown Boise. Steam filled the air as a leak from the city's underground geothermal line brought attention to a system not many people know much about.

Peter Morrill / Boise State Public Radio

In southeast Boise, Boise State University's Ron and Linda Yanke Family Research Park sits between the Boise River and Parkcenter Boulevard. Because of its lush green campus and proximity to the water, the building is home to many geese who choose to nest and settle in along the facility. The building is also home to Boise State Public Radio. (You may have even heard on-air geese making noise directly above our studios.)

Though goose and gosling sightings are common at the station, a particular family of geese has captured our attention.

Flickr Creative Commons

Residents of a southeast Boise neighborhood say at least 25 cats have disappeared from the area in the last few months and are concerned missing cats could be a problem throughout the city.

Cat owners tell KBOI-TV that felines started disappearing last July and then again in the last few weeks.

Erin Liedtke says five stray cats living in her garage for eight years all vanished in the last nine months.

Humane Society spokeswoman Allison Maier says predators are a big concern and a reason cats go missing.

screengrab / National Geographic Channel

Mud baths aren't just for spa-loving humans.

A National Geographic video captured both grizzlies and black bears submerging in what's referred to as a "bear bathtub" in Yellowstone National Park. The natural swimming hole serves as a place for the bears to cool off, take a drink and get squeaky clean.

Cameras placed around the hole recorded the action, giving insight into the iconic predators' behavior.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent audit found significant problems with the federally-managed nuclear waste treatment plant west of Idaho Falls.

The Post Register reports the audit outlined cost overruns, a lack of rigorous testing and other management issues at the Department of Energy facility known as the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit.

The DOE Office of the Inspector General's report says the project's construction costs have exceeded the $571 million cap set in 2010 and will likely continue to accrue.

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Chobani says it is giving its employees an ownership stake in the privately held company.

The Greek yogurt maker says the shares being distributed would amount to 10 percent of the company's future value in the event of a sale or initial public offering. It says each of its approximately 2,000 full-time employees will receive shares based on their role and time spent with the company.

 

Chobani says CEO and founder Hamdi Ulukaya is meeting with employees this week to talk about the plan in person.

Glen Hush / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Raptor biologist Janie Veltkamp met Beauty in 2007. Beauty is a 14-year-old bald eagle, and back then the bird was struggling to survive. She had been illegally shot in the wild, and lost her upper beak from the trauma. Without her upper beak – which is vital to eating – she wasn’t expected to live very long.

phone, office
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A new phone scam has hit the area, according to the Boise Police Department.

Scammers are able to manipulate the caller ID so the phone call appears to be from a BPD phone number. They claim Boise Police have a warrant out for their arrest on an unpaid payday type loan. The scammers say officers will arrest them unless the money is paid over the phone.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A group of Boise State students has built a tool for NASA that one day might go into space. The Microgravity team is in NASA in Houston this week, where it will be tested by experts. If it does well, NASA may use the design on a mission to study asteroids.

“It’s kind of heavy. This is last year’s tool, if it wants to cooperate,” Boise State University student Chris Ruby is holding what looks like a weird, oversized pistol with boxes on one end. Everyone on the Microgravity team calls it “The Tool.”

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