News

Antonio R. Villaraigosa / Flickr Creative Commons

Today, April 20th, is a bit of a holiday for marijuana enthusiasts. It's a day when they get together to smoke what has traditionally been an illegal drug. That on its own is not necessarily news. 

But it is the backdrop for this notion: Idaho is seeing a sharp decline in the number of new police recruits, in part, because it's easier than ever to smoke pot legally

Thomas Hart / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials on Tuesday voted to use $280,000 of the state's Constitutional Defense Fund to pay legal fees for the opposing side after losing a federal court decision involving work unions.

The 4-0 vote by the Idaho Board of Examiners follows a court order in December.

Idaho lawmakers in 2011 approved the Fairness in Contracting Act making it illegal for unions to subsidize union contract bids to make them competitive with non-union contractor bids.

Jeff Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal authorities are considering reversing an 80-year-old decision and designating the Salmon River as navigable.

The Lewiston Tribune reports the proposed change would add to the list of regulated activities on the river.

People currently need a Clean Water Act permit to use the river when discharging dredge or fill material.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Brig. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon is expected to make a decision on the change in May.

AP

Anyone who knows 20th century American history knows about Senator Joseph McCarthy and his hunt for Communists in the U.S. And anyone who knows about Idaho history and politics knows about Democratic Senator Frank Church. But what you may not know is that McCarthy's fall contributed to Church's rise.

That’s the theory Marc Johnson is presenting during two lectures Tuesday at Boise State’s Osher Institute. Johnson is a former journalist, adviser to Idaho Governor Cecil Andrus and a long-time behind-the-scenes political player. Now he writes about Idaho and U.S. history.

Angie Smith

Los Angeles-based photographer Angie Smith first became curious about Idaho’s refugee population five years ago during visits with her family in Boise.

“I wondered why are they coming to Idaho," says Smith, "how do they get here, what are their lives like once they have arrived and are in the resettlement process. I just had a lot of questions.”

RTDNA

Boise State Public Radio's KBSX newsroom has won five regional 2016 Edward R. Murrow Awards. The awards, presented annually by the Radio Television Digital News Association, were announced Tuesday.

Boise State Public Radio's entries were judged alongside submissions from Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.

“I’m especially pleased with this year’s list of winners,” News Director Scott Graf says. “Every single member of our news staff was involved in the winning entries. These awards symbolize KBSX’s dedication to telling important and interesting stories.”

Craters of the Moon National Monument / Flickr Creative Commons

The National Parks Service (NPS) is offering free admission to all parks, preserves, monuments and historical sites through April 24. The annual week of freebies has added meaning this spring: the NPS is celebrating its centennial in 2016. 

Dave Thomas / Flickr Creative Commons

After the deadly white-nose syndrome was found in a bat in the state of Washington, Idaho is stepping up protections against the fungus.

Idaho Fish and Game says it’s working to prevent the fungus from coming here, while at the same time, making preparations in case it does show up, like creating an inter-agency response plan for Idaho.

The Department says there are 14 bat species living in the state. At least half hibernate here. White-nose syndrome is known to kill hibernating bats.

Idaho Transportation Department

He’s the record-holder in Idaho for state service; 57 years at the Idaho Transportation Department. And Terry Jacobsen says he’s planning to break that record. He wants to keep going until he hits his Diamond anniversary; 60 years working for the state of Idaho.

“I was a greenhorn when I started,” Jacobsen says. That was April 14, 1959. They didn’t even have calculators then, so he had to use a slide rule, or “slip stick,” as he calls them. He’s watched so many things change and advance over the years.  "It boggles my mind to think about them,” he says.

Sean Maxwell / Flickr Creative Commons

If you're looking for something to do Saturday and have an interest in eco-friendly homes, you should consider checking out the straw bale house being built in East Boise.

Aubrey Wieber / YouTube

A Republican central committeeman covertly filmed the head of Idaho's GOP in an effort to bolster his claims that a secret society had been formed to oust certain members from party positions. The video didn't reveal direct evidence of a secret society, but did show the top GOP official criticizing prominent Republicans.

The Post Register reports that Bonneville GOP Chairman Doyle Beck released footage of party Chairman Steve Yates on Thursday.

Screengrab ted.com

Pocatello has begun the process of redesigning its city flag. But, the reason for that redesign is a bit unusual. It begins with a TED Talk.

The public speaking events known as TED Talks are so popular they even have their own NPR show. (Saturdays at 3:00 on KBSX 91.5.)  And it was a TED talk by a public radio host/podcaster that shamed Pocatello into changing its flag.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

We introduced you to Kutukira Mberwa about a year ago when the Boise International Market was celebrating its grand opening.

dion gillard / Flickr Creative Commons

Twenty-year-old Boise resident Mariah Walton told the Guardian U.S. she wants to see her parents prosecuted.

“They deserve it. And it might stop others,” Walton said.

The news site owned by British Guardian Media posted a story Wednesday about Idaho’s faith healing law and the untold number of child deaths it has contributed to.

m br / Flickr

The Boise Police Department says there were two reports of sexual assault that were recanted in the past few weeks. But officers want to make sure anyone who has been the victim of a crime is not afraid to make a report. The Department also works hard to prevent crimes, like rape and sexual assault, before they happen.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr

Boise Police recently investigated two cases of sexual assault. One was reported near the Boise River and the other in west Boise. But in both cases, the women who said they were assaulted later recanted their stories.

Police issued a statement after the second case, saying they don’t want such incidents to keep other women from reporting sexual assaults.

Angie Munson is a detective in the Special Victims Unit at BPD. She’s been an officer for 27 years and has worked on over 2,000 cases, most of them sex crimes.

Twitter / U.S. Geological Survey Idaho

Despite last year's prediction that El Nino would bring warmer and drier weather to Idaho, the mountain snowpack is filling up reservoirs and swelling rivers around the state. The U.S. Geological Survey in Idaho (USGS) is keeping track of the latter, measuring rivers in different regions of the Gem State. 

In the Treasure Valley, water managers released more water from Lucky Peak Dam last week. As a result, the Boise River jumped to 5,770 cubic feet per second (cfs) Tuesday morning.

Idaho Education News

Idaho continues to languish well behind its lofty college completion goals, according to a newly released national study.

On top of that, Idaho’s numbers rank No. 46 in the nation.

In 2014, 37.7 percent of Idaho’s adults held a postsecondary degree or certificate, the Lumina Foundation wrote in an annual report on college completion rates. The national completion rate was 45.3 percent.

Bea Arcos / Flickr Creative Commons

Getting a driver's license in Idaho now requires a little knowledge of those who are also on the road.

The Idaho Statesman reports that since January, everyone taking the driver's license test has had to answer two questions about bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Tim Lauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Nampa school district will offer full-day, every-day kindergarten classes at some elementary schools in the fall.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that enrollment is open for full-time kindergarten at three Nampa-area schools.

District officials say full-day kindergarten classes will allow teachers to focus on developing social skills and participation as well as the academic lessons shorter schedules focus on.

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