Malheur National Wildlife Refuge Occupation Ends

After 41 days, an armed occupation at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge came to a conclusion Thursday morning. The four remaining militants at the refuge surrendered to federal authorities.Around 9 a.m. Thursday, law enforcement escorted the Rev. Franklin Graham and Nevada state Assemblywoman Michele Fiore from the roadblock outside the refuge to the refuge headquarters. Fiore and Graham then spent about two hours in negotiations with the occupiers.Husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson...
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Idaho Statesman

A reporter who’s been one of Idaho’s most widely-read journalists is stepping down next week.

For 14 years, Chadd Cripe has covered Boise State football for the Idaho Statesman. His articles and Tweets are consistently among the paper’s most popular coverage, sports or otherwise. Next week, he’ll leave the beat and cover recreation and the outdoors.

Update: 8:00 a.m. Friday - A federal judge says she will not release any of the people arrested in the standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge while the occupation continues.

The Oregonian reports U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman made the comments Thursday during an initial court appearance in Portland for three of the 11 people arrested. The FBI said four people remained at the site late Thursday.

FBI Says Standoff Continues, Releases Video Of Finicum Death

Jan 29, 2016
FBI / YouTube

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. Friday - OPB obtained audio of a conversation Friday morning from one of the four remaining occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

The remaining militants inside are David Fry of Blanchester, Ohio, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Wisconsin, and Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada.

During the conversation, Sean Anderson said the group is not going to negotiate with the FBI at this time, and they are prepared to wait until all their supplies are depleted.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Last year, the state says number of fake Idaho income tax returns increased by 64 percent over the previous year. And officials with the state tax commission says they’ve already received fraudulent returns this year.

Some taxpayers may have already received verification letters in the mail. There are two types of letters – and the tax commission asks that people reply as soon as possible. If you don’t prove your identity, your tax refund will not be sent.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A developer broke ground Wednesday on a new upscale apartment building in downtown Boise. If it feels like you’ve seen a lot of these lately, you’re not imagining things. Ada County is in the middle of an unprecedented apartment building boom.

Consider a spot in southwest Boise where workers are putting siding on one of several buildings in a new apartment complex called the Asheville. They’re bundled up because the temperature is hovering right at freezing. But it’s blessedly warm inside one of the units that’s already finished.

A key Idaho Republican lawmaker has announced a surprising change of course for the Idaho Legislature, saying he has scheduled the first-ever hearing on a Medicaid expansion bill.

Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, told the Lewiston Tribune that he will allow a hearing to take place on February 2.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt of Moscow introduced the legislation as a personal bill earlier this session.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Great Seal of Idaho
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers have sent a tax conformity bill back to the drawing board because it would have removed an unenforceable rule banning joint returns from same-sex couples.

A bill that would prohibit powdered alcohol in the state is headed to the Idaho House, but it'll likely face changes before lawmakers get another chance to vote on it.

Idaho State Liquor Division Jeff Anderson told the House State Affairs Committee on Thursday that powdered alcohol is prone to abuse by minors and is easily concealable. He says 27 states have already prohibited the substance.

The legislative panel unanimously sent the bill to the House floor to be amended.

Herald Post / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho schools chief Sherri Ybarra is proposing a 7.5 percent hike in public school funding. The increase would go toward more money for teacher salaries and restoring funding to pre-recession levels for Idaho's 115 school districts to spend on paying insurance, utilities or other operations costs.

Ybarra presented her budget to the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday. She is requesting spending $1.5 billion for fiscal 2017, which is nearly $110 million more than this year's budget.

Amanda Peacher / OPB

Update: 3:00 p.m. -  Law enforcement officers have driven a large convoy of vehicles into the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Four vehicles were seen leaving the refuge toward Burns shortly after entering. 

It’s unclear if the remaining four militants at the refuge have surrendered. But earlier today, two of them said they were willing to end the occupation if they could avoid charges.

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