News

Matt Guilhem / Boise State Public Radio

To mark the Boise Depot’s 92nd birthday, the Union Pacific Railroad brought in a very special guest from their facility in Cheyenne, Wyoming. As Engine 844 made the trip from Wyoming across Idaho, the unmistakable sound of a steam whistle rang out at stops in Pocatello, Gooding and Nampa as it headed to the Boise Depot.

When it arrived in Nampa Saturday afternoon, an excited a crowd of hundreds turned out to see the massive locomotive up close.

Tim Bartholomaus / University of Idaho

An Idaho scientist is part of a team looking at Greenland’s ice sheet. It’s the Earth’s second-largest ice sheet and it’s melting, contributing to a rise in sea levels around the globe. The team’s goal was to figure out which glaciers to watch to predict how the sea level will respond in the future.

When University of Idaho geography professor Tim Bartholomaus started studying glaciers in Greenland for NASA, he thought they would be boring.

“That they’d all be the same, they just sit there, maybe they move a little bit, they melt, how interesting could this be?” he asked.

Allison Lindley fiddle Shirley Bower
Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Last weekend, the Fiddlers of Idaho State Championship was held in Hailey. Those with the top scores have now advanced to the national championships in Weiser this summer. 

There was competition at all levels, from the “senior senior” division of 70 and above, to the “small fry” division of eight and younger.

Contestants were judged on three fiddle songs: a waltz, a hoe down and a tune of their choice. But who wasn’t there was as important as who was.

When it opened in New York, the play “The Clean House” was championed by The New York Times as a production of “theatrical audacity and emotional richness.” It is the work of celebrated playwright Sara Ruhl; and it opens this weekend at Boise Contemporary Theater and runs through May 6th.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr

Malls across the country have been closing in recent years as consumers prefer the ease of online shopping or go to big box stores that offer practically everything. Nationally, malls may be in jeopardy, but in Idaho, they’re still flourishing.

In the 80s, there was nowhere cooler than the mall. But changing times and a shifting retail landscape have altered that – almost everywhere.

Justin Lynham / Flickr

Idaho’s unemployment rate is now down to 3.5 percent.

The figure has inched south from 3.6 percent in February.

According to the Idaho Department of Labor, this is the 78th straight month with labor force gains. The total labor force participation rate in Idaho – that’s the percentage of people over 16 holding down a job or looking for work – dropped a tenth of a percent to a solid 64 percent.

Of 23,600 jobs posted online last month, 4,200 were classified as “hard to fill.” 14 percent of those hard-to-fill jobs are in the healthcare field.

Idaho Ed News

In 2015-16, legislators earmarked $16.1 million to reward teachers who take on leadership roles.

Lawmakers want these ongoing “leadership premiums” to go to select teachers who take on added responsibilities. Yet 19 districts gave a share of the money to at least 90 percent of their teaching staff.

Lawmakers also wanted eligible teachers to receive a significant bonus — writing an $850 minimum into state statute. Eighteen districts and charter schools awarded smaller premiums anyway. The smallest was $75.

Idaho March for Science Facebook

Thousands plan to attend the national March for Science that takes place Saturday in Washington D.C. In Boise, Austin Hopkins is one of the people planning an Idaho version of the march.

Hopkins -- who is with Idaho Conservation League -- hopes Saturday’s march furthers a dialogue between politics and science in Idaho.

Timelapsed / Flickr

Visitors to National Park Service land in Idaho brought in almost $40 million to the state economy last year.

A new report from National Parks found that almost 629,000 people came to Idaho monuments and historic sites in 2016. They spent $31 million and created 525 jobs. That had a cumulative benefit of almost $40 million to Idaho’s economy.

There are seven facilities in Idaho managed by the National Park Service. That includes the Minidoka National Historical Site and Craters of the Moon National Monument.

Kyle Green
Courtesy Idaho Statesman

The highest paid employee on Idaho's payroll is eligible for bigger bonuses under a newly amended contract.

The Idaho State Board of Education agreed Thursday to up how much Boise State University's head football coach Bryan Harsin can make in bonuses each year.

Harsin will now be eligible for a $50,000 bonus if the Broncos become the champion of its six-team division. Previously, the amount was $15,000. Harsin could also see a $75,000 bonus if the team wins its athletic conference's title game — a bump from the former $50,000.

Roadsidepictures / Flickr

A teen arrested in connection with a threatening message saying a school shooting would take place earlier this week at Skyview High in Nampa says he watched videos about the 1999 Columbine school shooting.

Eighteen-year-old Martin Soto was arraigned Wednesday on a felony count of possessing a stolen weapon. Both he and a 16-year-old student who also was arrested are thought to have played roles in the message saying a shooting would take place at Skyview Tuesday.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

A combative and sometimes angry crowd challenged Republican Rep. Raul Labrador during his town hall Wednesday night.

Labrador answered questions about everything from Planned Parenthood to public lands. At one point, he was asked whether he believes health care is a human right, to which the crowd responded with loud boos.  

“So no I do not believe that health care is a basic right," says Labrador. "When something is a right it’s something that must be provided by the government.”

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

Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney says he's running for re-election in 2018.

Denney announced that he plans on running for another four-year term Wednesday. Currently, no other candidate is running for the seat.

Denney, a Republican, was first elected to the position in 2014 after serving nearly 20 years in the Idaho Legislature — including being a former House Speaker for three terms.

Chris Hunkeler / Flickr

Boise State University surprised coaches, athletes and fans Tuesday when it announced it would be immediately dropping wrestling from its athletic lineup. The school is shifting priorities to another sport: baseball.

BSU hasn't had a varsity baseball team since 1980. Following a 37-year absence, the school said shifting from wrestling to baseball would strengthen the school’s athletic brand and offer more exposure. The great American pastime is the only sport in the Mountain West conference Boise State doesn’t offer.

NPR Music

Josh Ritter is singer-songwriter royalty and one of Idaho's most-gifted musical treasures. Nothing showcases his talent more than a solo acoustic performance.

So around the fifth anniversary of his Tiny Desk gem for NPR, we re-discover this newly remastered set. Ritter's impeccable use of dynamics and pure joy of performing shine through with brilliant results. Do yourself a favor and take the time to soak it all in.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

A group of 30 lawmakers, including some legislative leaders, are urging the Idaho Supreme Court to overturn a nearly 40-year-old ruling on when the governor can veto a bill.

According to the lawsuit filed Wednesday, lawmakers contend that Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter violated the Idaho Constitution earlier this year when he vetoed a proposal that would have repealed the 6 percent sales tax on groceries. In 1978, the state's highest court ruled a governor has 10 days to veto or approve a bill starting when it lands on his desk.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Boise State University professor Jodi Brandt learned quickly after she moved to Boise a little more than a year ago that Treasure Valley residents are concerned about recent shifts in land use, as more farms are sold and turned into housing developments. Along with a team at Boise State, Brandt is building a map to chart and project these changes.

Alberto Garcia / Flickr

As the Boise River continues to run well above flood stage, the heightened water level is making for ideal mosquito breeding conditions in some areas. Officials in Canyon County are identifying regions where exploding mosquito larvae populations are showing up.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

You may see some large patches of blue in the Boise Foothills, starting this week. It’s part of a program stop wildfires in the iconic trail system.

The blue dye is an herbicide that crews will apply to manage non-native grasses and problem weeds. Those are the plants that compete with native species and increase the risk of fire.

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Update, April 20: The Valley County team did not take home one of the top prizes in Denver, despite making it to the finals. 

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