News

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise International Market is throwing its grand opening celebration Saturday from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. with live music and dance from around the world. Sixteen individual businesses are now open at the market, and six more are coming soon.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

One Idaho start-up company is making strides in the drone industry, and has begun flying the unmanned aircrafts to help farmers get the best possible yield. The goal is to accurately and quickly assess problem crops early on – ones that could be weather damaged or needing more water – so the farmers can make adjustments.  

Images from drones equipped with high-tech cameras and sensors can show hard-to-access problem areas, potentially saving farmers time and money.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama last week signed a $200 billion Medicare bill that reforms payments to physicians. Tucked inside that massive Medicare bill was a two-year extension of the Secure Rural Schools Act, a federal program that pays rural counties and school districts with a lot of non-taxable forest land.

The Idaho Racing Commission has suspended all future approval of lucrative slot-like machines known as instant horse racing terminals.

The commission unanimously issued its moratorium today. Their decision comes after Gov. "Butch" Otter vetoed legislation that would have banned all instant horse racing machines in Idaho and instructed the commission to enforce the suspension.

Known as instant horse racing, the machines allow bettors to place wages on old horse races with no identifiable information. Idaho lawmakers approved legalizing the machines in 2013.

isvend09 / Flickr Creative Commons

The city of Hailey will soon be added to a growing list of Idaho towns with non-discrimination ordinances that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

Hailey's new law will take effect later this spring, and will ban discrimination based on a person's sexual orientation or gender identity. At that point, more than 450,000 Idahoans will be protected under one of these municipal laws. That's almost 30 percent of the state's population.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has vetoed a bill that would have required Idaho sign language interpreters to get a state license.

The plan aimed to stop unqualified interpreters from causing miscommunications in important situations, like emergency rooms or legal proceedings.

But Otter said Wednesday that the plan would have created a strain on already limited resources. Otter added that he will work with stakeholders to make a policy for certified interpreters in the future.

Lt. Gov. Brad Little had supported the bill, voting yes to break a 17-17 tie in the Senate.

Some of Idaho's conservative Republicans have raised concerns this year about local Muslim populations and the potential influence of Sharia law in the state.

Those fears prompted local GOP events and a special lawmaker luncheon, while culminating in the decision by some lawmakers to kill a child support enforcement bill. That threatened the state's ability to enforce more than 150,000 child support payments.

Historians say this isn't the first time Idaho's government has focused concern on a specific religious group.

Courtesy Becca Sayre

Jack White is performing an acoustic show tonight in Boise as part of his five-city surprise concert tour.

Tim Connor / Flickr Creative Commons

Hailey is set to become the 11th city in Idaho to pass a non-discrimination ordinance. The law – which bans discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity – comes after the Idaho Legislature failed to pass a similar statewide measure earlier this year.

Hailey city attorney Ned Williamson drafted the ordinance, and says he looked to Boise's 2012 law as a model.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho officials have approved a plan to protect habitat for greater sage grouse on state endowment lands as part an effort to avoid a federal listing of the bird under the Endangered Species Act.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and four other statewide elected officials on the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday voted 5-0 to adopt the 82-page Greater Sage-Grouse Conservation Plan that details conservation measures developed by the Idaho Department of Lands.

Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Republican Congressman Raul Labrador involved himself in the fallout of failed Idaho legislation that would have brought the state into compliance with federal child support rules and an international treaty.

Labrador says he doesn't have a position on the issue. However, the tea party-favorite told The Associated Press that he reviewed an April 12 editorial sent out by a key lawmaker after the vote.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Boise rock band Built to Spill has officially released it's latest album, "Untethered Moon." It's the band’s first record in six years, and features two new band members. The group kicked off its current tour last month at Treefort Music Fest.

Sandor Weisz / Flickr

The Idaho Department of Transportation (ITD) is reminding drivers to remove their studded tires this spring. Idaho law says use of studded tires is only legal between October 1 and April 30, and people caught with them beyond that date could be fined $67.

Studded tires have small metal cleats embedded in the rubber to provide traction on snow and ice.

Robin Bjork

An Idaho woman is studying the migration patterns of a rare bird in Central America. The three-wattled bellbird makes bell-like calls, and those sounds can travel half a mile. Some experts believe it’s the loudest bird in the world.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Federal authorities have made public the final management plan for six wilderness areas and 16 wild and scenic river segments in southwestern Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Monday published on the Federal Register the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Management Plan.

Isabelle Selby

Boise writer Anthony Doerr has won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction, the most prestigious award given exclusively to American authors.

Built to Spill / YouTube

If you attended Built to Spill's performance during Treefort Music Fest this year, you probably noticed a weird pirate-looking guy on stage.

He came into view for several minutes during the Boise set (the first show of the band's new tour) and hopped around making bizarre gestures at lead singer Doug Martsch. The two intermittently interacted, seeming to talk with one another during the show while Martsch played. It didn't make much sense at the time.

Idaho State Police

State police will build a new headquarters in southeast Idaho sometime next year.

The Idaho State Journal reports that the state legislature authorized $5.4 million to construct a new 24,000-square-foot facility in Pocatello.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

The largest wolf pack known to exist in the West roams in northwest Wyoming.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service reports 24 wolves in the Lava Mountain Pack.

That is nine more than any other pack surveyed this year in Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington or Oregon.

The Lava Mountain Pack roams a hill country about 30 miles northeast of Jackson.

Fish and Wildlife Service wolf coordinator Mike Jimenez tells the Jackson Hole News & Guide that the pack had two litters of pups in 2014.

job fair
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's unemployment rate fell to 3.8 percent in March with 5,400 workers finding jobs in the largest one-month increase on record.

The Idaho Department of Labor in a news release Friday says total employment in the state also set a record by going above 757,000 for the first time.

The agency says the state's unemployment remained at a seven-year low as businesses expanded payrolls.

The agency also says the percentage of working-age adults with jobs or looking for work rose to 63.5 percent.

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