News

Idaho Racing Commission

The Idaho Racing Commission is scrambling to avoid a funding crisis after its primary revenue source evaporated earlier this year with the closing of the largest horse racing track in the state.

By law, a portion of the money bet on horse racing in Idaho is diverted to the commission, which relies on that money, as well as revenue from license permits and fees, to regulate and oversee the racing industry.

TheJesse / Flickr Creative Commons

A draft management plan for two recently created central Idaho wilderness areas prohibits campfires at high elevations to protect whitebark pine and eliminates horses and other recreational stock in some areas to protect alpine soils.

The U.S. Forest Service and U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Monday the availability of the 67-page document intended to guide management of the 138-square-mile Hemingway-Boulders Wilderness and the 142-square-mile White Clouds Wilderness.

Pappy Ace / Facebook

An obscure yet fascinating museum in Idaho is looking for a new home and, perhaps, a sponsor.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports that Richard Le Francis runs the Pappy Boyington Veterans Museum in Hayden with a couple colleagues. Boyington was a World War II flying ace and Medal of Honor winner who was born in Coeur d'Alene.

Salmon
Aaron Kunz / EarthFix

In May, a federal judge ordered dam operators in the Northwest to put all options back on the table to save endangered salmon. That means giving a close look at four dams on the lower Snake River. Now, Boiseans will have the chance to weigh in on the proposal.

The debate over the best way to protect salmon has been caught in court battles for the last 20 years.

pills, drugs
DestinysAgent / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho health officials plan to ask lawmakers for about $11 million annually to provide mental health and drug abuse services to the state's parole offenders who are at the highest risk of returning to prison.

Tom Shanahan, a spokesman with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, says the state is currently spending around $30,000 annually to serve the estimated 7,300 offenders identified with high mental health needs.

The department will make the request during the 2017 legislative session.

Beau Lebens / Flickr Creative Commons

The Federal Aviation Administration is investigating after air traffic controllers went silent for 20 minutes at the Boise Airport.

The Idaho Statesman reports pilots were unable to make contact with air traffic controllers for 20 minutes Saturday morning. FAA officials would not provide any details into the incident other than saying they are investigating.

No incidents were reported as a result of the inability to contact controllers.

Arts Saginaw Facebook Site

In September, we told you the story of traveling Idaho artist Ken Newman and his wife Debbie, who tour the country each year, showcasing Ken’s art. When last we left them, the Newmans were in Grand Rapids, Michigan at ArtPrize8 with the bronze sculpture titled “The Last Whistle.”

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

A Twin Falls man is asking the community to submit designs as he works to create a flag for Twin Falls County.

The Times-News reports Dan Carter plans to form a committee to work on the project and is working to set up a Facebook page to get the effort started.

Carter, president of the Twin Falls County Gold Buckle Club, is responsible for the openings of the county rodeo, where the Mounted Color Guard carries the U.S. and Idaho flags into the arena. He realized he would like to add a county flag to the ceremony.

Holiday shopping, Downtown Boise, Retail
Downtown Boise Association / Instagram

As Black Friday approaches, cities in Idaho are reminding shoppers to think about local stores too.

American Express has popularized Small Business Saturday over the last few years. But in McCall, the idea of shopping local during the holidays is a tradition that pre-dates the credit card company’s initiative. That’s according to Nicole Musgrove of McCall’s Chamber of Commerce.

“I think most people try to buy anything they can from local businesses,” says Musgrove.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

There were whines, tears and even barks in Boise's Taco Bell Area where as many as 1,500 people gathered to mourn a police dog that was killed in the line of duty.

The Idaho Statesman reports at least 30 police dogs from departments across the state gathered Tuesday at a memorial service for six-year-old K-9 Police Officer Jardo, who was shot Nov. 11 working with officers to apprehend a suspect.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho Democrats filed a complaint in October alleging an official with the Idaho Republican Party violated the state’s campaign laws. Since then, the Secretary of State’s office looked at the issue – and says no wrongdoing occurred.

BLM Boise District

Federal officials are proposing one of the largest ever projects to remove juniper trees to protect habitat for imperiled sage grouse.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management announced Monday that it's taking public comments through Jan. 3 on the plan to eliminate trees from 940 square miles in southwest Idaho.

Experts say juniper trees have expanded to displace sage brush needed by the bird in many places in the West due to fire suppression efforts and other human activities.

Idaho Statesman

Nampa's fire chief, who was seriously injured when he crashed his motorcycle into the back of a car in September, has handed in his resignation.

Nampa Mayor Bob Henry said in a prepared statement that he accepted Karl Malott's resignation on Tuesday. Henry's statement did not reference Malott's legal troubles.

Malott's arraignment for the excessive DUI charge is set for Nov. 28. Excessive DUI indicates a blood alcohol of 0.2 percent or higher. The legal limit for drivers in Idaho is 0.08.

Tom Kelly/Flickr

A small group of Idaho lawmakers say the Republican-dominated Legislature must find a way to provide health care to the state's low-income uninsured population in 2017.

However, the legislative panel fell short from backing a specific proposal during its final meeting on Tuesday. Instead, lawmakers agreed on broad recommendations, such as urging a sunset provision if the Idaho Legislature does consider Medicaid expansion and promoting using general funds to help cover any new program costs.

AP

Idaho will continue to pay its governor a housing stipend because it still has no governor's mansion.

The Spokesman-Review reports Idaho is one of only six states without a mansion for its executive. A state committee decided Monday to continue paying a $4,500 monthly stipend to Gov. Butch Otter in lieu of housing.

Otto Kitsinger / AP Images

There’s no way around it – November 8 was a rough day for Idaho Democrats. The red state went even redder, as Republicans picked up four seats in the Legislature, including the one held by House Minority Leader John Rusche.

To Idaho Democratic Party Executive Director Sally Boynton Brown, the election was a turning point for progressives – both on the national and state level.

Oregon State Police / Twitter

Law enforcement officials say an Idaho man was flung 50 feet into the Snake River and forced to swim to a nearby island after being struck by a vehicle on a bridge.

Oregon State Police say that 34-Steven Arrasmith, of Mesa, Idaho, was traveling Monday on Interstate 84 before stopping between the Idaho and Oregon border to offer assistance to a driver who had lost control on black ice and crashed into a bridge.

According to OSP, a third vehicle then lost control on the ice and struck Arrasmith's Jeep. Arrasmith was flung off the bridge when the Jeep lurched forward.

Empire Unmanned / Facebook

The founder of an Idaho company that introduced the use of drones in agriculture is dreaming bigger — literally.

Empire Unmanned founder Steve Edgar is considering using Pocatello Regional Airport as a future hub for possible freight-carrying drones, reported The Capital Press. Edgar spoke about the possibility and the future of aerial shipping at Idaho State University last week.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Secretary of State Denney
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The Secretary of State's office says the Idaho Republican Party did not violate the state's campaign laws while creating a political attack ad against House Minority Leader John Rusche.

The decision refutes a complaint filed by the Idaho Democratic Party in October. Democratic officials alleged that Idaho Republican Party Executive Director David Johnston illegally coordinated with GOP candidate Mike Kingsley's campaign in creating a political attack ad against Rusche using funds from an independent expenditure.

Idaho Department of Agriculture

Officials from across the U.S. Northwest hope it's not too late to contain invasive mussels found for the first time in Montana.

State Fish, Wildlife and Parks officials announced Nov. 8 that larvae were discovered in the Tiber Reservoir, The Spokesman-Review reported.

During a meeting of the Pacific Northwest Economic Region coalition in Boise this week, officials from Idaho, Oregon, Washington, Montana and three Canadian provinces discussed the troubling development.

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