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Idaho Legislature
3:43 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Gov. Otter Signs Tax Incentive Bill To Lure Businesses To Idaho

Credit State of Idaho

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is backing legislation aimed at creating jobs and bringing business to Idaho.

Otter on Thursday signed the bill into law that refunds up to 30 percent of state corporate income taxes, payroll taxes and sales taxes to businesses that create a certain number of new jobs.

The measure mandates workers must be paid wages that at least match the county average.

The bill hit some speed bumps during the session, drawing the ire of small business owners who said the tax breaks give an unfair edge to their larger competitors.

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Election 2014
2:04 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Idaho Secretary Of State Candidate Gets High Profile Endorsements

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt has endorsed Ada County Chief Deputy Clerk Phil McGrane to be Idaho secretary of state.

The Republican in a statement released Thursday says McGrane is the best person to continue the sound judgment and fiscal responsibility set by current Secretary of State Ben Ysursa and his predecessor, Pete Cenarrusa.

Ysursa endorsed McGrane on Tuesday. Ysursa is retiring at the end of the year.

Recreation
6:45 am
Thu April 3, 2014

Tracking Dog Poop, A Sticky Problem In the Boise Foothills

Sam Roberts and his dog Sunny hike the Foothills several times a week. Roberts says he sees too much dog waste along the trail.
Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

If you've hiked around Boise's foothills, you've likely come across a pile or two of dog poop. In February, there were 104 piles of waste at the Table Rock trailhead. Data show (yes, it's being tracked) those piles fluctuate from year to year, but the problem persists.

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2014 Election
4:38 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Removed From Idaho Education Task Force, One Member Cries Foul

Education Improvement Task Force members at a public meeting last year. Mike Lanza (left) sits next to Rodger Brown, the governor's deputy chief of staff.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A member of Idaho’s 'Task Force for Improving Education' has been kicked out of the group. Mike Lanza says he was told it was because he went to work for Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter’s Democratic challenger.

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Audit
2:01 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

State Auditors: Idaho Misspent $2.5 Million In Welfare Funds

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

State auditors say the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare misspent $2.5 million in federal funding on salaries instead of using it for food stamps and other assistance for Idaho's poorest residents.

The finding by the Office of Performance Evaluation was part of the state's annual audit of how federal cash is used.

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Education
9:53 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Meridian School District Removes Sherman Alexie Novel From Curriculum

Alexie's book won the 2007 National Book Award for Young People's Literature.

Trustees at the Meridian School District in southwest Idaho have voted to remove an award winning novel from the school's curriculum after some parents complained.

The Idaho Statesman reports in a story on Wednesday that trustees voted 2-1 to keep in place a hold on "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie.

The National Book Award winning novel is narrated by a 14-year-old whose transfer makes him the only Native American in an all-white school.

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Arts + Culture
9:47 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Josh Ritter, Michael Franti, Portland Cello Project Included In Sun Valley Concert Lineup

Idaho native Josh Ritter performs in Sun Valley on July 27.
Credit Tim Teeling / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s largest arts organization Tuesday announced its performance schedule for the upcoming season. The Sun Valley Center for the Arts kicks off its annual summer concert series in July and its winter concerts in October. Its lecture series also begins in October and features a noted historian, a rock n roll photographer, and NPR’s social science correspondent Shankar Vedantum will talk about how our brains shape our lives.

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Wages
4:45 pm
Tue April 1, 2014

Idaho's Average Hourly Wage Ticks Up, Doesn't Keep Up With National Growth

Credit 401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's average wage increased by almost 20 cents last year. But wage growth isn't keeping up with the national average. 

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' Occupational Employment Survey finds Idaho's average hourly wage for all jobs was $18.67 last year, that's up 19 cents from 2012. Still, Idaho's average wage was almost 84 percent of the national average, which is $22.33 an hour.  

The survey also found that half of Idaho's hourly employees earned $14.68 or less in 2013. That's a 10 cent increase from 2012. 

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Idaho News
11:24 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Imprisoned Idaho Pastor Recently Transferred To Iranian Hospital

Nagmeh Abedini lives in Boise with the pair's children.
Credit Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

The wife of an American pastor who's been imprisoned for 18 months in Iran says he's doing better since being transferred to a hospital recently.

Naghmeh Abedini told Faith Radio that her husband, the Rev. Saeed Abedini , is now receiving better meals and pain medication. She says he still needs surgery, however, for injuries he suffered in prison.

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Water
11:05 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Boise River Flow Increases Sixfold, Water Managers To Maintain Current Level

Flow in the Boise River has increased significantly in the last several days. Whitewater - absent for much of the winter - can be see in this location in east Boise.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Those managing water flow in the Boise River Basin say they plan to keep the river at its current level for the foreseeable future.

The river is been flowing at roughly 1,800 cubic feet per second at the Glenwood Street bridge in Boise.  The flow last week was around 300 cfs and then increased steadily over the weekend.

Snake River Area Office Water Operations Manager Brian Sauer says the outflow at Lucky Peak reached 1,800 cfs for the first time this season at 8 a.m. Monday.  Flood level is 7,000 cfs.

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Web Streams
10:21 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Boise State Public Radio News And Classical Music Web Streams Available

This post was updated April 1 at 6:45 p.m.:

Boise State Public Radio's news and classical music web streams are now fully functional.

This post was updated April 1 at 10:20 a.m.:

The Boise State Public Radio web streams are still unavailable as engineers work to move circuits from our old broadcast facility into our new station.

We'll update this post when the streams are back online.

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Wildlife
9:44 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Got Space? Montana Needs A Home For 135 Bison

Bison weigh between 900-2,000 pounds and are up to 6.5 feet tall at their shoulder.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Montana wildlife officials say they are seeking proposals to take up to 135 disease-free bison being held under an experimental effort to establish new populations of the animals.

The small herd in the U.S. Department of Agriculture program is made up of animals captured from Yellowstone National Park and their descendants.

The bison have been held for the past several years on behalf of Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks at a Bozeman-area ranch owned by philanthropist Ted Turner.

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Idaho News
9:39 am
Tue April 1, 2014

Idaho Sheriff Offers Free Concealed Carry Course

Credit Stephen Velasco / Flickr Creative Commons

The Cassia County Sheriff's Office in south-central Idaho is offering free instruction for enhanced concealed carry gun permits.

Sheriff Jay Heward tells The Times-News that so many residents are interested he decided to offer the eight-hour class for free.

The course taken elsewhere can cost $150. The enhanced permit is honored in Nevada, Washington, New Mexico, Virginia and South Carolina.

The course includes safety instruction and requires each student to shoot 100 rounds on a gun range under the instruction of police.

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Idaho News
3:52 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Idaho Man Who Shot At White House Sentenced To 25 Years

An Idaho man who pleaded guilty to firing an assault rifle at the White House in 2011 has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

A federal judge in Washington sentenced Oscar Ramiro Ortega-Hernandez on Monday.

Prosecutors had asked he spend 27 ½ years in prison for the shooting. No one was injured, but prosecutors say Ortega-Hernandez hit the executive mansion about eight times and did nearly $100,000 in damage.

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Education
12:21 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Idaho Kids Take New High-Tech Test This Week

Idaho has been giving its test the I-SAT on computers for years. Other states that gave their tests on paper have had to make big investments in computers to transition to the Smarter Balanced Assessment.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho school kids in 3rd through 8th, and 11th grades will be taking a new test starting Monday. The Smarter Balanced Assessment replaces the I-SAT which Idaho had been using to measure student achievement for years. Smarter Balanced is based on the Common Core standards Idaho and most other states have adopted. Students in more than 20 states are taking it this week.

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Federal Money
10:59 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Idaho Is More Dependent On Federal Government Than Most States

Federal money makes up 35 percent of Idaho's total revenue.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho ranks in the top half of states with the highest dependence on federal dollars, according to a new study.

The Idaho Statesman reports the Gem State outranks every neighboring state in dependence except for Wyoming, which comes in at a national ranking of 43rd to Idaho's 31st.

In personal finance website WalletHub's study, released last week, a higher ranking meaning more dependency.

That means only 20 states depend more on money from the government than Idaho.

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Transmitter Status
10:23 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Update: Circuit Move Complete, Salmon And Challis Return To Air

This post was updated at 2:00 p.m.

Salmon 91.9 fm and Challis 89.7 fm returned to air at 12:15 Monday after engineers completed the circuit move.

Original Post:

Boise State Public Radio's engineers are working with one of our network providers, Century Link, to move the circuit that feeds the Salmon and Challis stations.

The circuit move means Salmon 91.9 fm and Challis 89.7 fm will be off the air Monday morning.

We anticipate the stations will be back on air by Monday afternoon.

Transmitter Status
10:05 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Understanding The Technical Transition At Boise State Public Radio

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on March 31, 2014

As we've detailed here, Boise State Public Radio is in the midst of moving into our new broadcast facility. The move isn't just a physical one, it's also a transition from analog to digital radio. The moves, both physical and technological, have created intermittent audio dropouts across the Boise State Public Radio network. Our engineers are aware of the disruptions, and we're moving closer to a permanent fix.

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Drought
8:55 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Drought In Idaho's Elmore County Means It's Now A Disaster Area

The latest drought map of Idaho, issued March 27, 2014 by the U.S. Drought Monitor.
Credit U.S. Drought Monitor

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has added a southern Idaho county to its list of Idaho regions considered natural disaster areas because of drought.

The department designated Elmore County a primary natural disaster area, making farmers and ranchers in the county eligible for natural disaster assistance. Other Idaho counties with federal natural disaster declarations include Ada, Boise, Custer, Owyhee, Blaine, Camas, Gooding and Twin Falls.

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Water
5:07 pm
Fri March 28, 2014

Idaho Seeks Preliminary Permit From FERC As Part Of Weiser Dam Study

Flooding on the Weiser River near Cambridge kept state crews busy in early March. Better flood control would be one goal of a new dam on the river.
Credit Idaho Transportation Department

 Idaho water managers this week filed an application for a preliminary permit with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC. The state's Water Resource Board continues to study the feasibility of building a new dam on the Weiser River. 

The Galloway Dam Site would include a 40-60 megawatt hydropower plant.  The project would be located 13.5 miles upstream of the confluence of the Weiser and Snake rivers.

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