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John Robison / Idaho Conservation League

The accidental release of toxins into the Animas River in Colorado is a reminder of the long-term effects of mining. The decades-old gold mine had been dormant, but the toxins from the operation breached a dam there on the Environmental Protection Agency's watch.

Environmentalists around the West are pointing to the disaster, saying what happened in Colorado could happen in other states — including Idaho.

Marcel Pacatte

A year after announcing major changes in the structure and thinking at the university and nearly seven months to the day of President Barack Obama’s visit to campus to highlight the innovation occurring in classrooms and research labs, what’s left to say?

If you’re Boise State President Bob Kustra, and you’re giving your 13th State of the University address to faculty and staff, plenty.

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Boise-based musician Trevor Powers, better known in the music world by the stage name Youth Lagoon, is gearing up to release his third album, “Savage Hills Ballroom.” The new album is said to address breaking down barriers and acknowledging personal flaws.

U.S. Forest Service

Smoky skies, from dozens of western wildfires, have prompted the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality to issue an air quality advisory for the entire state of Idaho.

Such advisories are typically issued for individual counties or cities.

Ada County Sheriff's Office

A former employee at the Idaho State Correctional Institution has been arrested for sexual contact with an inmate.

The Idaho Statesman reports 22-year-old Shauna Lynn Kelly was arrested Monday and is being held in the Ada County Jail on a $75,000 bond.

Detectives began investigating the allegations in March after being contacted by Idaho Department of Corrections officials.

Boise National Forest

Dozens of large wildfires are burning uncontained this week across several Western states. With so many fires, there are not nearly enough resources to go around.  Now, military personnel are being brought in to help fight fires.

Inciweb

Forest Service researchers are taking a closer look at how wildfire smoke impacts the people most exposed to it. A five-year study will monitor the carbon monoxide levels of firefighters around the country.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

If you're looking for milepost 420, you won't find it in Idaho.

Idaho transportation officials say the mile marker has been replaced with 419.9 signs to curb thieves eager to own a number associated with marijuana enthusiasts.

Turns out, Idaho isn't alone in this problem. States like Washington and Colorado have also replaced 420 signs with 419.9 after consistently having to replace them after thefts by supposed sticky-fingered stoners.

Of the 15 large fires in Idaho, nine are burning in the northern part of the state. They run from the Canadian border south to the Nez-Perce-Clearwater National Forest, and fire officials say it’s unlike any season in the last century.

Crews from all across the country are fighting fires in Idaho. Most of the blazes started from lightning strikes last week. The Idaho Panhandle National Forest’s spokesperson, Jay Kirchner, says this year is record breaking.

Boise National Forest/USFS

The National Interagency Fire Center is calling on 200 active-duty military troops to help fight roughly 95 wildfires burning across the West.

Officials with the Boise-based agency made the announcement Monday. The troops will begin training Wednesday and are expected to be ready for action Sunday. They will be mobilized for a month. NIFC officials say previous call-ups have included more soldiers, but that the smaller force will be ready sooner. 

This is the first time NIFC has mobilized active duty military members for fire suppression efforts since 2006.

s. Hellstrom / InciWeb

The Soda Fire along the Oregon border has burned 440 square miles. The majority of those miles is rangeland in Owyhee County and that’s bad news for ranchers. There could be long-term effects to ranchers in the area.

More than 26 percent of jobs in Owyhee County come from agriculture, two-thirds of which comes from livestock operations. There are 145,000 cows in the county — 36,000 of them are beef cattle.

The University of Idaho's College of Law plans to begin offering first-year law classes in Boise starting in 2017.

The Moscow-based law school began offering classes for third-year law students in Boise in 2008, and expanded to second-year students in 2012.

Dean Mark Adams told the Moscow-Pullman Daily News that he often gets asked if the college will move all operations to Boise, but that's not the case.

U.S. Forest Service

This story was originally published on August 26, 2013.

Soda Fire Containment: More Than Halfway There

Aug 17, 2015
InciWeb

Governor Otter issued Owyhee County a disaster declaration Saturday afternoon to provide assistance to the communities that have been affected by the Soda Fire. 

With favorable weather conditions over the weekend, firefighters made headway to reinforce and secure containment lines and mop up unburned islands. The cooler temperatures and decreased winds bought crews time to look for potential problem areas in preparation for a cold front with wind gusts arriving Monday afternoon.

The Justice Department weighs in on an Idaho case, arguing that homeless people should not be charged with crimes for sleeping outdoors when there is not enough housing in their communities.

Listen to the full version on the All Things Considered website.

InciWeb

The Soda Fire has burned more than 400 square miles of sage brush and rangeland 40 miles west of Boise. It’s just eight miles from Jordan Valley.

Ranchers and farmers are building firebreaks to protect their property. Power poles have burned up, leaving some without power. Despite the danger, the communities throughout the area are coming together to help those in need.

Idaho Education News

Idaho SAT scores dropped slightly in April — and the decrease was most pronounced in math.

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Shannon Guevara stood in a courtroom in front of her peers — a group of people who, like her, had committed felonies but whose severe mental illnesses made them eligible for a special court. She talked about her four kids, her husband, the classes she was mandated to attend after being convicted of a drug crime. And she beamed, because on this June afternoon, she was another step closer to a happy ending.

Nabil Omar / Flickr Creative Commons

A woman who killed a grizzly bear after she believed it posed a threat to her North Idaho family is worried she may be in trouble for killing a federally protected species.

The Spokesman-Review reports Barbara Casey shot the 2-year-old male grizzly Tuesday after it appeared in the backyard of her Moyie Springs home in Boundary County.

Rocky Barker / Idaho Statesman

Firefighters across Idaho braced for tough conditions Friday with strong winds predicted along with temperatures around 100 degrees and dry lightning in the evening.

Fire managers say they've had some success putting in containment lines on the 340-square-mile Soda Fire in the southwest part of the state straddling the Oregon border. But containment is only 11 percent.

More than 400 firefighters are assigned to the blaze that's also drawn about a dozen aircraft.

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