County Health Rankings

You’re more likely to live past the age of 75 in Washington than you are in Idaho. That’s according to a report from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the University of Wisconsin. The report analyzes states – and the counties within them – on a range of measures.

Craig Gehrke / The Wilderness Society

Back on August 7th, President Obama signed a bill that turned 275,000 acres of the Boulder-White Cloud Mountains into wilderness.

The law creates three wilderness areas in Blaine and Custer counties. Conservationists like Craig Gehrke, director of the Idaho office of the Wilderness Society, says the wilderness designation was a long time coming.

Boise Co-Op North End Local Organic
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise Co-op has been in its North End location since 1996. And as of Friday, a second store will open at the Village shopping center in Meridian.

The Treasure Valley’s growth in recent years is one of the reasons the natural food store is expanding. Mo Valko is in charge of marketing for Boise Co-op. She says they’ve heard from members, or co-owners as she calls them, who want to shop at the North End store but don’t want to deal with traffic.

Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

After years of losing money on his east Boise rental property, things are now changing for Kelley Creamer.

Creamer owns a small two-bedroom home that he and his wife bought in 2004. They fixed it up with high-end kitchen appliances, cabinets and granite countertops. They lived in the house until they purchased another home and moved into it. 

It was 2010 and Boise was still suffering from the effects of the housing downturn. Creamer says had the couple sold their first home, they would’ve lost around $20,000.

Land Trust of the Treasure Valley

A group of volunteers will be out in force Saturday to give the Boise Foothills a collective hug. That’s what the YMCA and the Land Trust of the Treasure Valley are calling trail restoration in Harrison Hollow.

“Now and then it just needs some tender loving care, and that’s what we’re doing, we’re lending a hand for the land,” says Rich Jarvis with the YMCA Togetherhood program. He says maintaining trails in the Foothills is no easy task.

Soldier Mountain

Matt McFerran and his wife paid $149,000 for Soldier Mountain. McFerran, who has worked in the industry for years, says the chance to run his own ski facility is a dream come true.

“We’ve been working really hard during our due diligence period to finally execute some ideas and plans on this," says McFerran. "It has been an absolute whirlwind.”

He and his wife currently live in Bend, Ore., but will soon move to Idaho.

“The initial thought process was to split time. But after spending time around Fairfield and Soldier Mountain, we’ve decided to move out fulltime.”  

Data: MSAC and NARPM / / Graph: Lacey Daley

One of the emerging issues in the Treasure Valley over the last few years is the shrinking number of affordable housing units. As the housing market has improved and people continue to move to the area, rents have gone up and the number of available units has also declined. Our Adam Cotterell has been following the issue and he briefed All Things Considered host Samantha Wright on what many who deal with housing issues in the public, nonprofit and business sectors are calling a low-income housing crisis.

Economic development officials in Boise have announced a publicly traded company that offers cloud-based payroll and human capital management software has selected the city for its next expansion. 

Paylocity says it plans to create 500 jobs in the city over the next five years. Areas of employment include client services, implementation, technical services and software development. 

A company official says Paylocity picked Boise because of its “expanding tech presence and a flourishing community and culture.” 

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise’s Glenbrook Apartments made headlines two months ago when its tenants received eviction notices. Owners wanted to renovate and raise rents and they wanted everyone out in order to do that. This was the most dramatic instance, but people all over the Treasure Valley are being forced out of their homes due to rent hikes.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho is more than 82 percent white. Just 12 percent of the state is Hispanic or Latino, and less than one percent of residents are African American.

The U.S. Census numbers also say, when it comes to business, the state lacks diversity. Hispanic-owned businesses make up just 2.6 percent of firms in Idaho. African American-owned businesses are at just .2 percent.

Mayor David Bieter
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

2015’s city elections in Boise will go down as ones lacking drama. Boise’s longtime Mayor, David Bieter, racked up nearly 70 percent of the vote on his way to a fourth term. City council incumbents Elaine Clegg, Scot Ludwig and Lauren McLean  won by large margins as well.

The city’s $10 million open space preservation levy was also an easy winner, gaining the support of nearly 75 percent of those who voted on the issue. The new levy will add open space in areas around the city, as well as fund restoration projects along the Boise River.

In its heyday, the central Idaho town of Clayton boasted a population of a few hundred people, thanks to the mining industry. But according to the 2010 census, the population dropped to a mere seven people. Despite its size, the town today will hold elections for mayor and city council.

Boise State Public Radio

Make some room, 208.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission approved the change Monday. People with the current 208 number, which has been around since 1947, will be able to keep their area code. “986” will get assigned to new phone numbers beginning in 2017.

Once the second area code is added, 10-digit dialing will be required throughout the state.  

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Races for Boise mayor, city council and a conservation initiative headline Tuesday’s ballot in Idaho’s largest city.

Polls across Idaho open at 8 a.m. and will close at 8 p.m.

Enel Green Power

On September 17, the flow in the Boise River dropped from 621 cubic feet per second (cfs) to 335 cfs. The drop occurred at Barber Dam, a hydroelectric plant east of town.

The dam is operated by Enel Green Power, an international hydropower company. The company leases the plant from Ada County. According to Enel operations director Conrad St. Pierre, an electrical failure on the Idaho Power circuit occurred the morning of September 17.

Phil Sedgwick / Courtesy Concordia School of Law

Warning: This is the most "Public Radio" Halloween story possible.

Andrew Kim, a professor at Concordia University School of Law in Boise wrote a paper that will be published in an upcoming edition of the Savannah Law Review. What does that have to do with Halloween? Well, the paper is about law on the TV show The Walking Dead.

The Walking Dead is about survivors of a zombie apocalypse who battle the undead as well as fight other people over scarce resources. It’s both popular and gruesome but Kim thinks it reveals a lot about the rule of law versus the rule of nature.

Les Bois Park Live Horse Racing
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Horses may no longer run at Les Bois Park in Boise. The company that runs the facility – Treasure Valley Racing – says a ban passed earlier this year on gambling machines is jeopardizing its business.

Your Health Idaho

Idahoans who buy their health insurance through the state-based health exchange will have more options but face higher costs while shopping for coverage for 2016.

The third year of sign-ups for coverage through begins Sunday. That means people have until Dec. 15 to sign up for insurance — or switch policies — to ensure coverage will begin on New Year's Day.

Pat Kelly, executive director of Your Health Idaho, says the exchange will offer more than 200 plans.

Boise Parks and Recreation Department

This year, the Boise Train Depot turned 90-years-old. The city has been holding tours to highlight the history of the depot. Two tours are set for this Sunday.

Eriks Garsvo is a walking history of the depot. He’s a Boise history and train buff who works with the Boise Parks and Recreation Department. He leads the Boise Depot tours and dresses in a full conductor’s uniform to get into the spirit of the time period.

Perhaps the biggest decision facing Boise voters in Tuesday’s election is not city council or mayoral candidates, but a two-year, $10 million property tax levy for open space protection and water conservation. Unlike a similar levy Boise voters approved in 2001, the latest would not limit purchases to the foothills.