Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Why Charitable Giving Is A Priority In Generous Idaho

By various measures, Idaho is a generous state. Wallet Hub finds Idaho is the third-most generous state when it comes to charitable giving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy finds Idahoans give more than residents of every surrounding state except Utah. Idahoans are also eager to give their time. The Corporation for National and Community Service and the National Conference on Citizenship ranks Idaho second behind Utah for time spent volunteering. It’s no surprise to United Way of the Treasure...
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Farmers in Idaho say hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beef, potatoes, apples, cheese and other products are languishing in storage because of problems at West Coast ports. The state’s agriculture officials are trying to pressure dock workers and their bosses to resolve a labor dispute and resume normal operations.

Idaho potato farmers say the port delays have prompted some overseas customers to cancel their orders altogether.

Jim Mertz of the Symms Fruit Company in Caldwell says only about 20 percent of their shipments this fall made it out of port on schedule.

Custer County officials in central Idaho say there's no damage from an earthquake that shook the area Monday morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.7-magnitude temblor occurred about 10:20 a.m. and was located about a mile east of Challis and about a mile deep.

Linda Lumpkin of the Custer County Sheriff's Office says the quake was widely felt among residents in the sparsely populated area.

But she says residents are used to the ground shaking after a swarm of quakes up to 4.9 in magnitude last spring that peaked in mid-April.

For the ninth year in a row, Utah residents are number one, in terms of volunteering their time.

Utah ranks number one on the annual, “Volunteering and Civic Life in America Report,” put out by the federal government. Close to 45 percent of Utahns volunteer, and they contribute about 155 million hours of service.

A coalition in Oregon and the Democratic governor of Washington want to juice sales of electric cars by providing more state incentives.

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Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped in November to its lowest rate in nearly seven years, in part because the labor force is shrinking.

Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says November's 3.9 percent jobless rate was down two-tenths of a point from October.

“There’s usually a decline in jobs from October to November and that decline was less than in the past and there continue to be people who left the labor force,” says Fick. “So the combination of steady jobs and lower labor force was responsible for driving down the unemployment rate under four percent.”

Dept. of Defense

U.S. officials have finished an investigation into how and why Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan. Bergdahl was held captive for five years by the Taliban.

The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to be briefed on the report as early as today.

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Idaho is doing a poor job of preparing educators to teach to Common Core standards, according to a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit.

Last week, the National Council on Teacher Quality gave Idaho a D+ grade for teacher preparedness. The average state grade was a C; only 10 states graded out lower than Idaho.

The State Board of Education has endorsed legislation that would set Idaho teacher pay based on performance standards and experience.

Board member Richard Westerberg says the state needs higher teacher salaries, and the plan would allow district to reward their best teachers.

Beginning teachers would see salaries increase from about $31,000 a year to about $40,000 a year over the next five years, and top-level teachers would see their base salaries rise from $47,000 to $58,000.

A closely watched court case dealing with whether religious business-owners must provide services to gay couples is headed to oral arguments Friday in Kennewick, Washington.

For the Northwest wine industry this is crunch time. A massive rail and trucking facility in southeast Washington is pushing its final shipments out to arrive on store shelves before the New Year.

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