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State Revenue
4:06 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Idaho's Rainy Day Account Could Fund State Government For 15 Days

Idaho state lawmakers return to session Jan. 6.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

If forced to pay its bills using reserves, Idaho could've funded state government for 14.7 days last fiscal year. That data has been collected and analyzed by The Pew Charitable Trusts for all 50 states, going back to fiscal year 2000.

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Medicaid Study
1:52 pm
Thu January 2, 2014

Study Finds Medicaid Expansion Increased ER Visits

Idaho has not expanded Medicaid coverage to more low-income people.
Credit Chealion / Flickr Creative Commons

A new study has found that previously uninsured people who were given health coverage through Medicaid used the emergency room 40 percent more than others who weren't able to join the program.

The findings were published Thursday by the journal Science. They suggest that hospitals and health officials around the nation need to be prepared for an increase in emergency room trips as millions of Americans gain insurance this week under the federal health care law, many of them through Medicaid.

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Wages
9:39 am
Thu January 2, 2014

Idaho State Employee Pay Nearly 20 Percent Below Market Rate

Credit 401(K)2013 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho lawmakers will take a look at state employee pay rates this year as they continue to fall behind market rates.

The Spokesman-Review reported Thursday that pay for Idaho employees is about 19 percent below market rates, and that gap has been growing for the last decade.

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Population
3:05 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

Idaho's Population Grew Slightly In 2013, Now Tops 1.6 Million

Credit Alaskan_Dude / Flickr Creative Commons

For the first time, Idaho’s population has topped 1.6 million. The latest U.S. Census Bureau estimate shows Idaho gained 16,500 people in 2013 for a grand total of 1,612,136.

That’s slightly more than 1 percent growth from 2012. The fastest growing state, at more than 3 percent, was North Dakota. That's thanks to its recent oil and gas boom.

Two states, Maine and West Virginia, saw population declines from 2012 to 2013.

Here’s how Idaho’s neighbors compare in total population for 2013:

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Wildlife
12:34 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

West Nile Virus Kills 2 Dozen Bald Eagles In Utah

Credit PenWaggener / Flickr Creative Commons

State wildlife officials say West Nile Virus appears to the mystery illness that's caused more than two dozen bald eagles to die in Utah this month.

The Utah Division of Wildlife Resources says results of laboratory tests on some of the first birds found indicate they died from West Nile.

Officials say 27 bald eagles have died since Dec. 1, and six others are being treated at a wildlife rehabilitation center.

DWR says in a statement that it believes the eagles ate grebes that were infected with the virus.

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Transmitter Status
12:21 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

KBSU HD Returns To Air

Credit CernIO / Flickr Creative Commons

Updated Jan. 2 10:15 a.m. 

KBSU HD2 returned to air this morning.

Thanks for your patience.

Original Post Dec. 31

Boise State Public Radio's HD Jazz station has been off the air for several days and engineers are working to fix the problem.

The HD Jazz station includes KBSW HD2 91.7 in Twin Falls and KBSS HD2 91.1 in Sun Valley.

We're sorry for any inconvenience. Remember, you can listen live online right here.

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Flu Season
10:43 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Adult Over 60 Becomes Idaho's First Flu Casualty

The deadly side of the flu emerged in Idaho this week, with an adult over 60 becoming the first person to die this season after being infected with the virus.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare made the announcement on Monday.

Every year, influenza contributes to the deaths of 36,000 people in the United States and causes more than 200,000 hospitalizations.

Idaho's share of the tragedy last flu season amounted to 35 people.

The dominant strain of flu being detected is a strain that first began circulating in 2009.

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Legislature
9:57 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Gov. Otter Hopes To Fill Outgoing Idaho Legislator's Seat Quickly

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter hopes to have outgoing Rep. Mark Patterson's Boise seat filled by the 2014 Legislature's second week.

Patterson has been under fire from his own Republican Party after disclosure of his 1974 guilty plea in a rape case and the subsequent revocation of his concealed-weapons permit.

He's submitted his resignation, but made it for midnight Jan. 5, just hours before the 2014 session begins.

That means it will start with his District 15 House seat vacant.

Leaders from District 15 must submit three names to Otter to replace Patterson.

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Minimum Wage
6:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

3 Of Idaho’s Neighbors To Raise Minimum Wage, Idaho Stays The Same

Idaho's minimum wage is $7.25 an hour.
Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

The minimum wage goes up Wednesday in 13 states. Idaho isn’t one of them, but some of its neighbors are.

Washington and Oregon already have the first and second highest minimum wages in the country at $9.19 and $8.95 respectively. And, effective January 1, the lowest paid workers in Washington must get $9.32 an hour, and $9.10 in Oregon.

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Celebrations
6:00 am
Tue December 31, 2013

Subaru-Sized Foam Spud Ready For Idaho's New Year's Eve Potato Drop

A potato made from high-density foam, then sculpted and scratched to look real will be lowered New Year's Eve from the U.S. Bank building in Boise.
Credit Courtesy of Sharolyn and Chris Schofield

A year ago, Dylan Cline hosted a dinner party. On the TV was a documentary about New York's famous New Year's Eve ball drop. It gave Cline an idea: What about lowering a giant potato over Boise’s downtown next New Year's? 

His guests laughed at him.

“They were like, 'that’s a fun idea but if it could be done, it would have been done.' So, I took that as a challenge.”

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Megaloads
4:11 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

Megaload Shipment On The Move Again In Idaho

Omega Morgan's megaload parked near Marsing earlier this month.
Credit Rick Strack / Boise State Public Radio

A 450-ton shipment of oil production equipment bound for Alberta, Canada, has covered 40 more miles to Cat Creek Summit on U.S. Highway 20.  

The megaload made the trek from Hammett to Cat Creek Summit early Monday, arriving after 3 a.m.  It is expected to resume travel after 10 p.m. Monday, weather permitting.

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Wolves
12:28 pm
Mon December 30, 2013

No Wolves Killed During Controversial Idaho Hunt

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Organizers of a coyote and wolf hunting contest held over the weekend in Salmon, Idaho say hunters did not kill any wolves as part of the ‘derby.’ Hunters shot 21 coyotes.

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Education
7:30 am
Mon December 30, 2013

Idaho State University Sues Former Professor

Idaho State University has filed a motion in federal court seeking sanctions and $75,000 in legal fees from a former professor who has been embroiled in legal disputes with the school for several years.

The Idaho State Journal reports that attorneys for the school filed the motion against Habib Sadid last week.

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Wolves
7:04 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

No Wolves Shot At Start Of Idaho Hunting Derby

Organizers of a wolf- and coyote-shooting derby in central Idaho say about 200 people signed up but only about 50 or 60 are hunters and the rest are just offering support for the event.  

Steve Alder says no wolves had been reported shot late Saturday, the first day of the event that ended Sunday afternoon.

He says one hunter's vehicle was vandalized with paint and scraping, and that authorities are investigating.

Military
6:50 pm
Sun December 29, 2013

Airman From Idaho Killed In Afghanistan

The Defense Department says an Air Force captain assigned to Peterson Air Force Base has died from an explosion in Afghanistan.

The Pentagon says 28-year-old David I. Lyon of Sandpoint, Idaho died Thursday.

His vehicle was hit by an improvised explosive device in Kabul.

Lyon was assigned to the 21st Logistics Readiness Squadron at Peterson. He was serving a yearlong deployment and was an advisor to Afghan National Army commandos.

Megaloads
3:46 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

Fog Halts Megaload In Idaho

his is a similar over-sized shipment that traveled through Idaho earlier in 2013.
Credit Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

After a week parked in a southwestern Idaho highway pullout, a 380-foot, 450-ton load bound for Canada's disputed tar sands energy development will stay put at least another night.

Transport company Omega Morgan told the Idaho Transportation Department on Friday expected fog will prevent the megaload — a large heat exchanger for water purification equipment manufactured in Portland — from resuming its winding journey.

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Idaho News
8:21 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Update: Boise Man Dies In Fall At Washington Dam

Pinto Dam in Grant County, Wash.
Credit U.S. Bureau of Reclamation

Update 5:41 p.m.:

In a story Dec. 26 about the death of an Idaho man at a dam in Washington state, The Associated Press reported erroneously the agency that will investigate the death. The federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration will investigate, not the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries. The error was caused by incorrect information supplied to the AP.

A corrected version of the story is below:

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Jobs
8:14 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Jobless Benefits Wind Down For 2,500 Idahoans

Idaho's share of the now-expiring extended federal unemployment benefit program is ending at $800 million in payments, with the last 2,500 long-term unemployed workers in the state getting their final cut this week.

Congress didn't renew the extended benefit program that began in 2008, just after the recession began, to ease pain of escalating unemployment amid the housing bubble's burst and deep dip of the stock market.

But the extended program is just a share of money paid out to jobless people since 2008.

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Theater
6:00 am
Fri December 27, 2013

How Boise Contemporary Theater Writes A Play In The Digital Age

Dwayne Blackaller (left) and Matthew Cameron Clark work on The Uncanny Valley in their shared office at BCT.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise Contemporary Theater’s Artistic Director Matthew Cameron Clark and Education Director Dwayne Blackaller sit at separate computer screens in a basement office. A passing eavesdropper would find their conversation impossible to follow because it’s part spoken, part typed and all about a fictional world evolving somewhere between their two brains and two keyboards.

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Gay Marriage
12:54 pm
Thu December 26, 2013

Gay Couples Want To Keep Idaho Out Of Marriage Lawsuit

Amber Beierle is a historian who works for the state of Idaho. She says her lawsuit won't have any impact on her work.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Four couples challenging Idaho's gay marriage ban this week asked a federal judge to block the state from intervening in their lawsuit, arguing such a move would unnecessarily add to their workload and complicate the case.

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