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Idaho News
9:49 am
Fri March 7, 2014

Idaho Man Convicted Of Shooting At Crop Dusting Plane

Credit Joe Gratz / Flickr Creative Commons

A south-central Idaho man has been convicted of shooting at a crop duster.

The Twin Falls Times-News reports that a jury on Thursday found 42-year-old Christopher V. Lewis of Filer guilty of felony discharging a firearm at an aircraft.

Prosecutors say the pilot told police he saw someone holding a shotgun below him at about 10:45 a.m. on Aug. 24.

Authorities say that at about the same time, someone called the spraying company saying the pilot was flying too low over home and threatened to "dust the pilot with his 10-gauge shotgun."

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Prison
4:13 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Judge Keeps Idaho Juvenile Corrections Lawsuit Alive

A federal judge says a whistleblower lawsuit against the Idaho Department of Juvenile Corrections can move forward in court, but some of the claims must be dismissed.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill ruled Thursday that a group of current and former Juvenile Corrections employees raised enough questions of facts in their lawsuit to merit bringing it before a jury.

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Business
3:48 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Boise-Based Albertsons To Merge With Safeway Stores

Credit RoadsidePictures / Flickr Creative Commons

Safeway says it has agreed to be acquired by an investment group led by Cerberus Capital Management, the owner of Albertsons and several other supermarket chains.

The acquisition is worth about $7.64 billion in cash, and pending other transactions could top more than $9 billion.

It comes amid ongoing consolidation in the supermarket industry, which is facing growing competition from big-box retailers, specialty chains, drug stores and even dollar stores.

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Idaho Legislature
3:27 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Guns On Campus Bill Passes Idaho Legislature, Headed To The Governor

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho House has voted to back a bill allowing students, faculty and visitors carry guns on college campuses.

The bill passed with a 50-19 vote, with proponents arguing it upholds Second Amendment rights and allows people on campuses to protect themselves.

But lawmakers who voted against it skewered the measure, saying it's being pushed through despite opposition from leaders of all eight public colleges and universities.

Those leaders worry it will disrupt learning environments and put people at risk.

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Business
3:11 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Sun Valley Lodge Closing For 9 Month-Long Remodel

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Sun Valley Resort plans to close Sun Valley Lodge for nine months starting in September for an extensive remodel.

Resort officials tell the Idaho Mountain Express that a three-story, 20,000-square-foot spa will also be added to the northerly wing of the lodge near an outdoor swimming pool. Work on the spa is scheduled to start in April.

The resort in the announcement on Monday says the Lodge Dining Room will be eliminated.

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Water
12:22 pm
Thu March 6, 2014

Latest Snowpack Map Shows Continued Improvement In Idaho's Water Supply

Click on the map to enlarge.
Credit NRCS/USDA

The latest map showing the water content of Idaho’s snowpack reveals the state continues to make up significant deficits seen early this winter.

Idaho has 21 basins where the Natural Resources Conservation Service measures snow accumulation and then assesses how the water content compares to that of a normal year. As of Thursday, all but five are at 80 percent of their average, or greater.

The Boise River basin is at 95 percent. The Payette River basin is 94. Most areas in central, northern and eastern Idaho are now above 100 percent of their normal snowpack levels.

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Idaho Legislature
9:48 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Idaho Schools May Soon Have More Money To Improve Student Safety

School officials may be permitted to use cigarette tax money for safety measures.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

A lawmaker education panel has given their approval to a bill giving Idaho school districts more flexibility in using cigarette tax revenue to improve student safety.

The House Education Committee sent the school safety bill to the House Thursday morning.

The bill allows schools to use cigarette tax revenues for suicide prevention and other student safety efforts, instead of using it solely for substance abuse prevention.

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Idaho Legislature
5:43 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Idaho Sheriffs' Association Backs Guns On Campus Bill

The Idaho Sheriffs' Association is throwing their support behind a bill that would allow people to carry concealed firearms on college campuses.

A "vast majority" of 38 Idaho sheriffs who responded to a poll backed the legislation, according to Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman.

Zollman said at a Wednesday press conference he thinks allowing guns on campus in the hands of law-abiding citizens will allow them to protect themselves.

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Business
2:15 pm
Wed March 5, 2014

Federal Court Approves $311 Million Settlement Involving Micron

Credit Micron Technology

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says Idaho and other states have obtained court approval of a $311 million settlement involving Boise-based Micron Technology and other computer chip makers.

The court approval announced Tuesday means consumers can start filing claims to recoup the money they overpaid as a result of chip makers engaging in unlawful anti-competitive practices to inflate prices.

The approval involves the settlement of a lawsuit Idaho and 34 other states brought against 12 makers of dynamic random-access memory, or DRAM.

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Economy
10:41 am
Wed March 5, 2014

North Idaho Landowner Selling Waterfront Property For Bitcoin

Credit Antanacoins / Flickr Creative Commons

A North Idaho man is selling lake-front property for bitcoin, a digital currency that isn't regulated like the U.S. dollar.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports Hayden resident Alen Golub has joined with neighbors to sell 660 waterfront acres. Golub tells the paper he's selling his 50 acres in exchange for bitcoin.

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Business
10:39 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Twin Falls Approves Chobani Expansion

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Twin Falls officials in south-central Idaho have approved a $3.5 million expansion of a Greek yogurt plant operated by Chobani.

The Times-News reports in a story on Wednesday that the addition to the $450 million plant will add to its packaging and filling rooms on the east side.

Company officials say the plant reached full production in December, producing 1 million cases of yogurt a week.

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Wildlife
10:01 am
Wed March 5, 2014

Idaho Fish And Game Pays $30,000 To Kill 23 Wolves

Credit Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Idaho wildlife officials say it cost $30,000 to kill 23 wolves last month in northern Idaho.

Idaho Fish and Game announced earlier this week the money is coming from licenses the agency sells.

The agency last month said USDA Wildlife Service agents killed the wolves using a helicopter in the Lolo elk zone near the Montana border to improve elk survival in the area.

It's the sixth time the agency has taken action to kill wolves in the Lolo zone in the past four years. Forty-eight wolves have been killed in all.

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Hospital Lawsuit
9:58 am
Wed March 5, 2014

St. Luke's Health System Plans To Fight Judge's Antitrust Ruling

Credit St. Luke's

A Boise-area hospital and Idaho's largest independent physicians' practice are seeking to reverse a federal judge's ruling that their joining forces violated federal antitrust laws.

St. Luke's Health System and Nampa-based Saltzer Medical Group on Tuesday filed a motion in U.S. District Court in Boise to stay the court ruling pending an appeal.

U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill in January ruled in favor of a lawsuit filed by Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center and the Federal Trade Commission.

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Gay Marriage
12:08 pm
Tue March 4, 2014

Group Of GOP Lawmakers Say Legalizing Same-Sex Marriage Is Consistent With Western Values

A group of current and former Republican lawmakers say they support making same-sex marriage legal in Utah and Oklahoma because it's consistent with Western conservative values of freedom and liberty.

A group that includes former Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming and former Sen. Nancy Kassebaum of Kansas plan to file a friend of the court brief Tuesday to a federal appeals court in Denver that is reviewing same-sex marriage bans in Utah and Oklahoma.

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Protest
9:37 am
Tue March 4, 2014

23 Gay Rights Protesters Arrested After Blocking Idaho Governor's Office

Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Twenty-three gay rights activists have been arrested after blocking the entrance to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office inside the Idaho Statehouse, the latest in a string of arrests for members of the Add the Words group.

Police say four were charged with trespass, 18 with unlawful assembly and 1 with resisting arrest.

The arrests started Tuesday morning after protesters refused to leave.

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Idaho Legislature
5:59 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Idaho Budget Writers Approve 5 Percent Boost For Schools

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Budget writers at Idaho’s Capital approved a 5.1 percent increase in education spending for next fiscal year. The budget includes a 1 percent boost for teacher pay and an additional $15.8 million dollars for leadership bonuses.

If approved, the budget will bring state spending on schools to $1.374 billion dollars. That’s slightly higher than 2008’s $1.367 billion, but still below the state’s 2009 peak of $1.418 billion.

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Election 2014
5:12 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Idaho Governor Otter To Seek Third Term

Credit Idaho Statesman

Idaho Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter is officially running for a third term.

Otter filed his declaration of candidacy Monday with the Secretary of State's Office.

In a statement, Otter says he wants to continue to make Idaho the best place in America to live, work and raise a family.

The former congressman has been widely expected to seek re-election.

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Idaho Legislature
3:25 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Plan To Slash Idaho's Income Tax Passes House

Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A plan to snip Idaho income tax by $126 million over the next six years passed the House over objections that the state can't afford to lose that much revenue for the general fund.

The bill seeks to drop rates in all brackets from the current 7.4 percent to 6.8 percent, starting with a .1 percent cut in January.

Republican Rep. Mike Moyle, from Star, says that could make the state more attractive to businesses and put Idaho more in line with neighboring states.

Montana has an income tax rate of 6.9 percent and no sales tax.

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Agriculture
1:07 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Hummus Popularity Has Idaho, Washington Farmers Growing Huge Chickpea Crops

The rising popularity of hummus across the nation has been good for farmers like Aaron Flansburg.

Flansburg, who farms 1,900 acres amid the rolling hills of southeastern Washington, has been increasing the amount of the chickpeas used to make hummus by about one-third each year to take advantage of good prices and demand.

"I hope that consumption keeps increasing," he said.

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Idaho Legislature
12:47 pm
Mon March 3, 2014

Preschool Pilot Program Wins Initial Support From Idaho House Panel

Hy Kloc
Credit Idaho Legislature

A bill to launch a preschool pilot program in Idaho has won the support of the House Education Committee.

The pilot would provide half-day educational programs in five Idaho schools, with potential to expand if data shows it gets kids ready for kindergarten.

It carries a $1.4 million price tag for all three years, but Boise Democrat Rep. Hy Kloc stressed Monday less than half of that will come from the state's coffers.

The rest will likely come from grants.

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