News

Joe Rubin / Flickr Creative Commons

Two more wells providing drinking water in the southwest Idaho city of Nampa have tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which can cause intestinal illnesses.

Southwest District Health tells the Idaho Press-Tribune in a story on Thursday that six previous wells found to be contaminated with E. coli are still testing positive.

Testing of the private wells is voluntary, and the health district isn't releasing the exact locations. Officials say there have been no reports of illnesses connected to the contamination.

Kate Haake / AP

Anti-Medicaid expansion advocates are warning Idaho lawmakers that expanding the federal health care program designed to cover the poor will end up costing the state millions and do little to drive down medical fees.

Instead, those advocates on Wednesday urged the small legislative group tasked with reviewing Idaho's so-called Medicaid gap to consider supporting more charity care and finding jobs for the unemployed.

More than 30 members of an Idaho militia group say they've resigned after the group's president spent $2,900 in donations on personal items rather than using it to help four Idaho men facing charges from a 2014 armed standoff with government agents in Nevada.

The 36 members in mainly leadership positions of Idaho 3% announced the resignations Tuesday in a letter obtained by the Idaho Statesman.

The former members contend that Brandon Curtiss used the money for unauthorized car accessory purchases and other charges.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

It’s a hot August afternoon and Maria sits in a car in a Kuna parking lot. The air is on a little but the engine’s not running so it doesn’t do much good. Despite the heat Maria wears a pink sweatshirt and a matching baseball cap. Maybe this heat doesn’t seem so bad to her because she just finished several hours working in a corn field.

“Today we were dis-tasseling the corn, taking all the tassels off,” she says. “They say it helps it grow faster.”

Mike McMillan / USFS

Mercury contamination is well documented in the eastern United States. But USGS research ecologist Collin Eagles-Smith wanted to know how big of a problem is it in western states, including Idaho.  He led a comprehensive study that was released earlier this month, showing widespread mercury contamination.

Rachel La Corte / AP Images

Wildlife managers are struggling to find and kill the remaining wolves in a northeast Washington pack. The Profanity Peak wolf pack has been in the crosshairs of the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife since early August. The state began hunting the pack this summer after officials confirmed at least eight cattle were injured or killed by the wolves.

courtesy Caldwell Fine Arts

Eleven Tibetan Monks will be spending this week in Caldwell at the invitation of the College of Idaho and the nonprofit Caldwell Fine Arts. These monks are from a monastery in India that has a satellite campus of sorts in Georgia. The monastery’s founders fled Tibet after the Chinese government took over the area in the 1950s and its monks follow the Dalai Lama.

Deb Newman

An Idaho artist, who spends much of the year in an RV showing his work, is vying for a $200,000 dollar award in a competition in Michigan.

Ken Newman, his wife Debbie and their dog leave the town of Cambridge every year to travel the U.S. showing off Ken’s art. While on the road, they attend art shows and venues, and Ken spends time creating new works in bronze and wood.

For the last 17 years, the Newman’s have been on the road.

insurance exchange, computer, your health idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Though there will be more options for health insurance available on Your Idaho Health's marketplace this year, premiums will be higher than in 2016.

The Idaho Statesman reports that premiums will be about 24 percent higher on average in 2017 than they were in 2016. The price each person pays depends on factors such as age, geographic location and desired levels of insurance coverage, among other factors.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

After an hour-long fundraiser with Trump supporters in Boise, the eldest child of presidential nominee Donald Trump spoke briefly to reporters Thursday. Wearing jeans and cowboy boots, Donald Trump Jr. made his love of western states known.

“I love the West," says the New York businessman, "I love the western states, I’m a big outdoorsman. I was always drawn to this part of the world and I’m just excited to be here."

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Kevin Vierra stands in his living room, admiring the Eagle home he bought in July. It’s full of alder wood floors and cabinets. The counters are granite. Outside, he looks over a small creek.

Vierra and his wife, Vicki, moved here from Manteca, California just three months after visiting a friend who’d already relocated to the area.  Vierra – fresh off a career as a police officer – had grown tired of his native state’s crime and traffic. Now, he uses trips to the airport, both there and here, as an example of how his quality of life has improved.

Monica Gokey

Idaho is pretty well off, water-wise, compared to other arid Western states. But as the Treasure Valley grows, different water users are poised to square off over a finite water supply.

Here's the pickle: The population of the Treasure Valley is expected to more than double in the coming decades. And that has urban planners thinking ahead. But while it seems like the Treasure Valley is flush with potential water sources, a lot of that water is already spoken for by the agricultural sector.

 

Redfish Lake Camera Screengrab

Sawtooth National Recreation Area officials are planning a 4.5-mile bike trail to connect the city of Stanley to Redfish Lake.

The Times-News reports that as soon as 2018 work could begin on the new trail, which would connect Stanley's Pioneer Park to the popular lake.

Planning for the new trail began in 2013 after the recreation area purchased a trail easement through a private ranch in the north third of the proposed trail route.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Attorney General Lawrence Wasden's office announced the resignation of spokesperson Todd Dvorak Wednesday.

Dvorak’s abrupt departure comes after he was cited with two drug-related misdemeanor charges in Nez Perce County. Last Friday Dvorak was charged with marijuana possession and possession of drug paraphernalia by a Lewiston police officer. He pled innocent to both charges.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

There’s a legal fight going on over control of water in the Treasure Valley. The rhetoric in the fight has been intense. One side even has an ad campaign. 

Imagine a movie-theater preview voice comes up over cheery music reminiscent of a babbling brook. 

“Irrigation water, it makes the Treasure Valley a lush green miracle instead of a desert landscape. Imagine a typical 105 degree summer day. Now imagine your irrigation water is completely shut off to your lawn, garden, farm or favorite park.” The music stops.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

As KBSX reported Wednesday, the biggest health risk associated with high levels of nitrates in drinking water is a condition called methemoglobinemia, which can make infants six months and younger sick. Babies who drink formula using nitrate-contaminated water are at risk of developing the condition.

National Weather Service

With rain in the forecast, the National Weather Service in Boise is warning of the possibility of flash flooding and mudslides in the 294 square miles burned by the Pioneer Fire.

A low pressure system could bring up to a half inch of rain Thursday to parts of the Boise National Forest that were burned by the Pioneer Fire. While that could slow the still-burning blaze down, it could also bring flash flooding.

Marcel Pacatte

Pop quiz: What do a pig puppet named Hamlet (Get it?) and about a dozen Boise elementary school students have in common?

You wouldn’t be incorrect if you ventured that all are adorable, but the answer we’re looking for is a little more specific: All performed on Saturday in proximity to a 400-year-old book that you can see in Boise for just one more day, Wednesday.  

Idaho Department of Environmental Quality

"Nitrate" may as well be a four-letter word in the small town of Ashton, Idaho.

The eastern Idaho town of 1,200 people is about 20 miles from the border of Wyoming. Settlers in the area in the 1890s quickly took advantage the fertile volcanic soil beneath their feet, and began diverting water to irrigate the land. Seed potatoes are the big cash crop, though wheat, barley and hay also contribute to the local economy.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Earlier in this series, we told you about the importance of ground water in Idaho. The state relies on underground aquifers and private wells to quench the thirst of 90-95 percent of the population.

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