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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Imagining A Post-Antibiotic Future With Maryn McKenna

Antibiotics are ubiquitous in modern human life. Along with their well-known medical applications, they also are routinely used in agriculture, including our increasingly industrial production of meat.

But as resistant strains of bacteria continue to emerge, health authorities around the world are growing alarmed at the increasing impotence of antibiotics to fight disease. In fact, they worry we are on the verge of a total breakdown in the overall usefulness of these drugs. It’s a scenario of horrifying scope to those who understand the implications for human health.

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Water Policy
12:53 pm
Fri August 29, 2014

Why It Took 27 Years And $94 Million To Complete Idaho Water Rights Adjudication

Idaho Deputy Attorney General Clive Strong helped oversee the 27-year Snake River Basin Adjudication.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The largest-ever review of water rights claims wrapped up in Idaho this week. A project that started in 1987 ended Monday when a judge signed the final decree of the Snake River Basin Adjudication

Conflicts between Idaho Power, its customers and farmers in southern Idaho in the late 1970s prompted the state to tackle the massive review. The goal was simple: to clearly define water rights in the basin to help resolve future disputes during drought. 

Since the project, Idaho has defined more than 158,000 water rights.

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Idaho News
9:50 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Missing Montana Student Died In Car Crash

Robbi was driving to college at the University of Montana in Missoula.
Credit Provided by Boise County Sheriff

A California man who went missing while traveling from his summer job in Idaho to the University of Montana died in a car crash northeast of Boise.

Custer County Coroner Vicki Armbruster says 21-year-old Lucius Robbi of Orleans, California, died on Aug. 19 of blunt force trauma that happened when his car went off Highway 21 and down a 60-foot embankment.

A private helicopter hired to join the widespread search for Robbi spotted the tip of a kayak in the trees near the Stanley Lake turnoff on Thursday.

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Voting
9:44 am
Fri August 29, 2014

Ada County Mistakenly Revokes Voter Registrations

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Ada County officials say they mistakenly revoked 765 voter registrations and are working to get them restored.  

Ada County Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane tells the Idaho Statesman that workers discovered the mistake Thursday.

He says the revocations happened when workers compared Ada County voter registrations with registrations from 27 other states that's part of a process to remove duplicate registrations.

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Idaho News
4:02 pm
Thu August 28, 2014

9 Boys Pulled From Polygamous Home In Idaho

A polygamous man who oversaw an Idaho home where nine boys were sent on repentance missions by Warren Jeffs has pleaded guilty to three counts of child abuse.

The Idaho State Journal reports that Nathan C. Jessop entered his plea Thursday in Pocatello. He was sentenced to 10 days in jail and two years' probation.

The nine boys were pulled out of a Pocatello home last month after the alleged abuse was reported by a boy who escaped.

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Health
11:37 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Boise State Researcher Finds Most Kids Like Healthier School Lunches

Under the new guidelines, students must be offered fruits and vegetables every day.
Credit Lance Cheung / USDA | Flickr Creative Commons

Most Idaho kids went back to school this week, meaning for many, a return to school lunches. Food in public schools has changed significantly since new federal nutrition guidelines were passed in 2010.

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Education
11:30 am
Thu August 28, 2014

After Failed Bond, West Ada School District Will Try Again

A row of portable buildings sit outside Lake Hazel Middle School, the West Ada School District's most crowded middle school.
Credit Idaho Education News

The West Ada School District will run another bond issue in an attempt to ease overcrowding issues.

But first, district officials want to look at the ingredients of a bond proposal — and crunch the precinct-by-precinct numbers from Tuesday’s vote.

“The kids aren’t going away and the need isn’t going to decrease,” West Ada Superintendent Linda Clark said Wednesday.

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Agriculture
10:18 am
Thu August 28, 2014

USDA Launches New Dairy Insurance Program

Credit CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says dairy farmers can begin signing up Sept. 2 for a new program that replaces old subsidies.

The program is a kind of insurance that pays farmers when the difference between milk prices and feed prices shrink to a certain level. It replaces a program that paid farmers when milk prices sank too low.

Dairy farmers have struggled in recent years even with good milk prices. Feed costs have risen because of demand for corn from the ethanol industry and recent droughts.

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Healthcare
5:00 am
Thu August 28, 2014

Feds Investigate Idaho Medicaid Mental-Health Contractor For Privacy Violations

Becky diVittorio is the executive director of Optum Idaho, the company Idaho pays $10.5 million each month to manage the mental-health portion of Medicaid.
Credit Idaho Statesman

A federal agency is investigating whether the company Idaho hired to manage part of its Medicaid program has violated patient-privacy laws.

Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, took over insurance management for Idaho Medicaid's mental-health and substance-abuse patients last fall.

Local health-care providers who treat those patients say Optum has erroneously sent them reports meant for other providers. The reports show patient names and mental-health or substance-abuse services the patients received or were authorized by Optum to receive.

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Higher Education
5:03 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

Concordia Law Dean Confident Boise's School Will Get Accreditation

Before becoming dean of Boise's Concordia School of Law, Cathy Silak worked for a large Boise law firm, served on the Idaho Court of Appeals and was a justice of the Idaho Supreme Court.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

It has been a tense few weeks at Boise's Concordia School of Law. Faculty and students had hoped to hear earlier this month if the American Bar Association (ABA) would grant it provisional accreditation. Instead, the ABA decided it needed more time to consider and would send someone to Boise for a closer look at Concordia.

But the ABA didn’t tell school administrators why it wanted closer scrutiny or give a timeline for when things might move forward. But now Concordia dean Cathy Silak says the ABA told her Tuesday it will send a fact-finder in September. 

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Culture
2:58 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

How Do You Say That? 9 (More) Idaho Place Names Only Idahoans Can Pronounce

The Kamiah flower shop can be found in downtown Kamiah, that's kam-ee-eye.
Credit Kara Oehler / Flickr Creative Commons

Idahoans are passionate about how to say the places in which they live. We learned that earlier this month with a post about the 10 places only Idahoans know how to pronounce.

You sent us dozens of suggestions, comments and explanations about Idaho's unique place names. Commentors also disagreed about the correct pronunciation of some words, which is to be expected, says Boise State University Assistant Professor of Linguistics Tim Thornes.

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Agriculture
11:25 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Idaho Ag Group Says It Never Meant To Deny Access To Dairies

Credit MHall209 / Flickr Creative Commons

 This post was updated at 11:20 a.m. Aug. 27, 2014.

The Idaho dairy industry group that sent a letter to its members urging them to deny media tours and on-farm interviews now says it never meant to deny access.

Tuesday, after the Associated Press reported the letter was sent to 500 dairies, a public relations firm followed up with this statement from United Dairymen of Idaho CEO Karianne Fallow:

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Education Funding
11:15 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Voters Reject $104 Million Bond For Idaho's Largest School District

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A $104 million bond that would have helped the West Ada School District address overcrowding failed Tuesday. It needed a two-thirds super majority to pass, but failed with 63 percent of the vote.

The Idaho Statesman reports the school's superintendent says overcrowding won't be going away, and the district will need to attempt the bond measure again.

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Politics
9:47 am
Wed August 27, 2014

Idaho's New GOP Chairman Promises To Leave Personal Politics Out Of His Job

Steve Yates, chairman of Idaho's Republican Party.
Credit Melissa Davlin / Idaho Public Television

The new leader of Idaho's Republican Party says the GOP is beginning to heal after a chaotic state convention in June, and a summer full of fighting that ended in court.

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Environment
4:19 pm
Tue August 26, 2014

Winter Or Wildfires? See When Treasure Valley Air Is Most Polluted

See the interactive chart below.

The Treasure Valley has seen a handful of wildfire-induced hazy days this summer, but it's been nothing like 2012 or 2013 when big wildfires around the region brought smoke into Boise and surrounding communities, settling in the valleys and making it hard to breathe.

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Domestic Violence
9:35 am
Tue August 26, 2014

Special Idaho Court A Model In Fight Against Domestic Violence

Rick and Tess are working together in Ada County's Domestic Violence Court
Credit Michael Martin

Rick and Tess laugh a lot. After 22 years together, they finish each others sentences and tease each other constantly. “I’ve got the one-in-a-million,” says Rick of his wife. “Yeah, me too,” laughs Tess. The pair's marriage hasn't always been easy, three years ago Rick was arrested on domestic violence charges.

Rick and Tess didn’t want to use their real names, but they did want to talk about their experience with Ada County’s domestic violence court. This special court has become a model for judges around the country in the fight against domestic violence.

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Local Government
10:09 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Boise Mayor Appoints 22 Students To City Positions

Credit Dave Bieter's Facebook Page / City of Boise

Nearly two-dozen Boise high school students are getting a little extra civics homework this year.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has appointed 22 students to serve on various city boards, commissions and committees over the course of the school year.

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Public Lands
9:52 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Idaho Lawmakers To Examine Endowment Land Investments

An interim committee of Idaho lawmakers tasked with determining if Idaho endowment lands are being managed properly to generate revenue is scheduled to meet for the first time Thursday.

Republican Rep. John Vander Woude of Nampa is co-chairman of the committee.

He tells the Lewiston Tribune that the entire endowment of land and investments is worth more than $3 billion but only generates about $50 million in annual payouts to public schools, universities and other trust beneficiaries.

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Healthcare
4:30 am
Mon August 25, 2014

Medicaid Payment Woes Plague Idaho Mental Health Service Providers

Taylor Moore, a 30-year-old Boise resident with a mental-health diagnosis, reads questions on a vocational-rehab services application at the library in Downtown Boise, with assistance from Maegan Wagner, his community-based rehabilitation services worker through Idaho Behavioral Health. The agency has experienced a pattern of problems over several months getting paid for a variety of services, sometimes getting pennies back on a $100 claim. Optum Idaho said it has corrected the problem.
Credit Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.

Service providers across Idaho have raised complaints over the last 11 months that the contractor, Optum Idaho, a unit of United Behavioral Health, has created red tape and cut services needed by at-risk patients.

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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Understanding Russia's Modern History With Author Daniel Treisman

Generations of western leaders have puzzled over how to manage their nation’s relationship with Russia – and headlines in recent months, especially from Ukraine, have only deepened this long-standing challenge.

But Daniel Treisman, in his book "The Return: From Gorbachev to Medvedev," argues that western notions about Russia as an antagonistic and autocratic behemoth are, at best, oversimplified.

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