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Cities and counties in Idaho would need state approval to enforce plastic bag bans under a new proposal currently making its way through the Idaho Statehouse.

The Idaho House voted 52-17 on Wednesday to make it illegal for cities to impose bag bans, restrictions on Styrofoam containers and other disposable products. If approved, local officials would need permission from the Idaho Legislature to enact the restrictions.

Currently, no cities enforce plastic bag bans in Idaho, but such efforts have been made in the past.

USGS

Just ten miles from downtown Boise, scientists are studying golden eagle migration in southwest Idaho. And they’re using roadkill to do it.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, Boise State University and Idaho Fish and Game created a series of motion-sensitive camera traps. They drag a 250-pound road-killed elk through the snow to the trap and leave. The cameras do the work, snapping pictures of whatever scavenger comes by for a snack.

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A central Idaho homeowners association is taking steps to eliminate a poisonous plant that has been killing elk in the area.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that the Valley Club Owners Association in Hailey has prohibited the planting of yews. The exotic shrubs are commonly used in landscaping, but they are toxic to many animals and to humans.

The Idaho Legislature's first-ever hearing on expanding Medicaid eligibility attracted hundreds of supporters Tuesday, but lawmakers declined to vote on whether to send the measure forward after listening to an hour of testimony.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee held an information hearing on a proposal that would expand Medicaid eligibility to cover everyone who earns less than 138 percent of the federal poverty level.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt of Moscow introduced the legislation as a personal bill earlier this session.

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In the note posted on social media Monday, Trevor Powers told fans “youth lagoon is complete.” The Boise musician, who attained wide national acclaim for his debut album entitled "The Year Of Hibernation" and subsequent two albums, says his upcoming tour is his last one as Youth Lagoon. The band starts their European tour later this week.

Officials with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation say they've used approximately $70,000 in private sponsorships to partially offset their depleted budget.

Director David Langhorst told a state budget writing committee that private businesses like Airstream and Cabela's have funded various programs in the department's first year of using cooperate sponsorships. Private sponsorships raised another $30,000 in in-kind donations in 2015.

Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management says it’s close to releasing its Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement, or EIS, on the last two segments of the Gateway West Project. That means the creation of the 990 mile long power line across Idaho and Wyoming is one step closer to construction.

NPR

All eyes are on Iowa. Voters in the Hawkeye State will choose between 12 GOP presidential candidates and three Democrats. Be sure to tune in for NPR's live coverage on KBSX 91.5 FM Monday evening, or stream it online.

But should Iowa really be the first state to select a presidential nominee?

Wildlife Conservation Society

The future of grizzly bears could change this year, if the animals who frequent Yellowstone National Park are taken off the Endangered Species List. As more animals move outside the park, groups like the Wildlife Conservation Society, or WCS, are looking at where the bears go.

A new study looks at how black and grizzly bears are expanding into habitat in Idaho outside of Yellowstone National Park and how they may interact with humans.

Radio, transmitter status
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Update, 1:00 p.m.: KBSS service to the Wood River Valley has been restored. The issue was resolved with the repair of the third party data line that feeds the KBSS transmitter with programming.

BSPR engineers continue to monitor the signal for quality and reliability. 

We apologize for the interruption and thank listeners for their patience. 

Original post: Work continued Monday morning to resolve the outage that’s interrupted Boise State Public Radio service to the Wood River Valley since last week.

Malheur Refuge Occupiers Go Silent

Feb 1, 2016
Bradley Parks / OPB

Update: 9:44 a.m. Monday - Lawyers for the leader of the armed standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge have appealed a judge's decision to keep him in jail pending trial.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie Beckerman said Ammon Bundy presents a danger to the community and the Idaho resident might fail to return for future court proceedings.

Bundy's lawyers said in documents filed Sunday that their client should be released with a GPS monitoring device and orders he not leave Idaho except for court appearances.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho legislature is considering a new bill that would cut income tax rates for top-earners and corporations. The bill is the first of its kind in this year’s session. 
 

Twitter

Ammon Bundy and his armed followers made ample use of social media while occupying an Oregon wildlife refuge, and federal officials are using those posts, videos and photos to build the case against them.

Two criminal complaints show that federal authorities have carefully scrutinized the group's social media postings and video interviews.

A day after the Jan. 2 occupation began, Bundy posted a video saying the group planned to stay for several years and calling on "people to come out here and stand" and "we need you to bring your arms."

Idaho Statesman

A reporter who’s been one of Idaho’s most widely-read journalists is stepping down next week.

For 14 years, Chadd Cripe has covered Boise State football for the Idaho Statesman. His articles and Tweets are consistently among the paper’s most popular coverage, sports or otherwise. Next week, he’ll leave the beat and cover recreation and the outdoors.

Update: 8:00 a.m. Friday - A federal judge says she will not release any of the people arrested in the standoff at an Oregon wildlife refuge while the occupation continues.

The Oregonian reports U.S. Magistrate Judge Stacie F. Beckerman made the comments Thursday during an initial court appearance in Portland for three of the 11 people arrested. The FBI said four people remained at the site late Thursday.

FBI Says Standoff Continues, Releases Video Of Finicum Death

Jan 29, 2016
FBI / YouTube

UPDATE: 11:30 a.m. Friday - OPB obtained audio of a conversation Friday morning from one of the four remaining occupiers of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. 

The remaining militants inside are David Fry of Blanchester, Ohio, husband and wife Sean and Sandy Anderson of Wisconsin, and Jeff Banta of Elko, Nevada.

During the conversation, Sean Anderson said the group is not going to negotiate with the FBI at this time, and they are prepared to wait until all their supplies are depleted.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Last year, the state says number of fake Idaho income tax returns increased by 64 percent over the previous year. And officials with the state tax commission says they’ve already received fraudulent returns this year.

Some taxpayers may have already received verification letters in the mail. There are two types of letters – and the tax commission asks that people reply as soon as possible. If you don’t prove your identity, your tax refund will not be sent.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A developer broke ground Wednesday on a new upscale apartment building in downtown Boise. If it feels like you’ve seen a lot of these lately, you’re not imagining things. Ada County is in the middle of an unprecedented apartment building boom.

Consider a spot in southwest Boise where workers are putting siding on one of several buildings in a new apartment complex called the Asheville. They’re bundled up because the temperature is hovering right at freezing. But it’s blessedly warm inside one of the units that’s already finished.

A key Idaho Republican lawmaker has announced a surprising change of course for the Idaho Legislature, saying he has scheduled the first-ever hearing on a Medicaid expansion bill.

Senate Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Lee Heider, R-Twin Falls, told the Lewiston Tribune that he will allow a hearing to take place on February 2.

Democratic Sen. Dan Schmidt of Moscow introduced the legislation as a personal bill earlier this session.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Great Seal of Idaho
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho lawmakers have sent a tax conformity bill back to the drawing board because it would have removed an unenforceable rule banning joint returns from same-sex couples.

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