Dan Dzurisin / Flickr Creative Commons

Group Accuses Idaho BLM Of Removing Sage Grouse Protection Areas

WildEarth Guardians accuses the Bureau of Land Management in Idaho of removing nearly 4 million acres from a previous plan to protect sage grouse habitat, and not being transparent about it. The environmental and wildlife advocacy group wants to see the threatened bird listed under the Endangered Species Act. But Idaho BLM spokesperson Don Smurthwaite says the accusation isn't true. He says the plan, released in May, included public input. “The numbers are actually very much the same,"...
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The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release updated air quality standards for the Treasure Valley in the next two months.

The Idaho Statesman reports the Treasure Valley includes Boise, and Idaho Department of Environmental Quality regional air quality monitoring coordinator Mike Toole says ground-level ozone pollution in the area typically hits below the current standard of 75 parts per billion.

That standard is expected to decrease, but officials are unsure by how much.

Two women in Idaho have been infected with the mosquito-borne illness West Nile virus, marking the first confirmed human cases within days of each other in Idaho this year.

One woman is in her 60s from Washington County, but did not require hospitalization

However, the second woman —who is in her 40s from Payette County— was hospitalized after reporting symptoms beginning in early July. She is still recovering.

A conservation easement has been signed on an east-central Idaho ranch that's been a top priority for state and federal authorities for years because it contains prime spawning streams for threatened salmon and steelhead.

The agreement between the Bonneville Power Administration and ranch owner Karl Tyler signed last week protects 10 miles of the meandering Lemhi River and half a dozen tributaries.

Lorraine Bodi of Bonneville Power says the agency paid several million dollars for the easement.

Idaho Statesman

The people trying to keep Skinny Dipper Hot Springs open are still fighting despite government setbacks.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management office sent a letter to the advocate group Growing Change, saying it could not accept a document from the group outlining proposals for long-term public use of the springs because they were not specific enough.

BLM Four River Field Office manager Tate Fischer announced that he would close Skinny Dipper in April due to concerns about health and safety.

Last July, a photo changed Sierra Sandison's life. She went onstage in the Miss Idaho pageant with an insulin pump clipped to her bikini bottom. The photo and the #ShowMeYourPump hashtag she created went viral on social media and became NPR's most popular online story of the year.

Idaho Racing Commission

Idaho horse breeders could end up empty-handed due to a dispute about how the money collected from lucrative betting machines should be distributed.

The Idaho Racing Commission discussed the topic Wednesday, but delayed making a decision until October.

There is a disagreement over how much the breeder fund should be split between the thoroughbred and quarter horse accounts. If it's not solved by December, the money automatically goes to public schools.

Macroscopic Solutions / Flickr

Idaho has its first human case of West Nile Virus for 2015. A woman in her 60’s who lives in Washington County got sick in late June.

Raemi Nolevanko is an epidemiologist for Southwest District Health. She says the woman had mild symptoms and did not go to the hospital.

“She was experiencing some pretty decent fatigue and then she mentioned fever, chills and some headache that she was having issues with,” says Nolevanko.

The woman is recovering.

Nolevanko says this first human case is right on schedule, based on last year's timeline.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

When Rick Johnson learned Monday the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill that would designate nearly 300,000 acres in central Idaho as wilderness - he was cautiously optimistic.  

Johnson is the executive director of the Idaho Conservation League. He’s among the Idahoans closely watching the progress of a bill sponsored in the House by Rep. Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.

“It’s not the most functional legislative body the world has ever seen these days, so I think a lot of people retain a certain amount of skepticism,” he says.

Authorities say a south-central Idaho man responding to a Craigslist ad offering a car for sale shot and killed one man and wounded another with an assault weapon before stealing the car.

Police say 20-year-old Jacob Lyn Marshall of Jackson was arrested Saturday evening hours after the shooting when he rammed a police car with the stolen 1991 Mitsubishi 3000 VR4.

Police also arrested 22-year-old Jerry Burton Kimball, who authorities say accompanied Marshall.

Boise GreenBike
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Three months in, riders using Boise's GreenBike program have made almost 5,000 trips on the bikes.

Dave Fotsch is the director of the program. He says almost 2,000 people have used the bikes since the program started in April. GreenBike lets people rent bikes around town, and is meant to improve the environment and users' health.

“Ridership has been good, and we’ve generated about $24,000-$25,000 from membership and ridership," says Fotsch. "But I would like to see higher numbers for both of those categories.”

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