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Idaho Legislature
2:40 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

200 Gay Rights Protesters Fill The Idaho Capitol For Third Time In February

This is the third time gay rights protesters have gathered in the Idaho Capitol since Feb. 3.
Credit Courtesy Idaho Statesman

More than 200 gay rights demonstrators descended on the Idaho Capitol, with placard-holding, flag-bearing activists filling multiple rotunda floors as they sought again to convince Republican lawmakers to hold a hearing on a bill to protect gays and lesbians from discrimination.

Monday's showing was the largest this year at the Idaho Legislature.

But the group mixed without incident with other visitors to the Capitol, including representatives of Idaho's livestock industry and children promoting school choice.

There were no arrests or incidents.

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Avalanche
2:20 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Blaine County Identifies Snowmobiler Killed In Idaho Avalanche

This map shows current avalanche conditions in southern Idaho, western Montana and northern Utah.
Credit Gallatin National Forest Avalanche Center

An avalanche in the Sawtooth National Forest killed one man and injured a woman Sunday afternoon at a popular snowmobile site in the Smiley Creek area north of Ketchum. The avalanche west of Galena Summit buried four snowmobilers early in the afternoon.

The Blaine County Sheriff's Office says 64-year-old George Gilbert Martin Jr. of Bellevue, Idaho died on the scene.

Sawtooth Avalanche Center director Simon Trautman says the four snowmobilers were in a meadow which they thought was safe.

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Policy
12:49 pm
Mon February 17, 2014

Idaho Spends Millions To Hire Outside Attorneys

Idaho taxpayers have paid private attorneys more than $30 million in the past three years to do the state's legal work, in part because the Idaho Attorney General's office doesn't have the staff to handle caseloads.

The Associated Press obtained the payment information from the State Controller's Office through a public records request. The private attorneys charge the state anywhere from $125 to well over $300 an hour, compared to the $54 per hour it costs to have a state staff attorney do the job.

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School Safety
9:28 am
Mon February 17, 2014

Most Idaho Schools Are Too Easy To Walk Into, Safety Report Finds

Boise elementary students wait for the bus
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Education Monday released the results of an independent assessment of safety and security at the state’s schools.

This assessment was recommended by a school safety task force assembled in 2012 after the school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut. Matt McCarter oversaw the task force work for the department.

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Idaho Legislature
1:03 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Disputed 'Ag Gag Bill' Advances In Idaho Senate

Credit Mingerspice / Flickr Creative Commons

Dairy farmers enraged by spying animal-rights activists got a boost when senators agreed to intensify punishments for those who film their operations without permission.

Idaho's Senate voted 23-10 Friday to put people caught surreptitiously recording agricultural operations in jail and fine them $5,000.

The bill now goes to the House.

This measure stems from a 2012 incident at an Idaho dairy where activists captured images of workers caning, beating and stomping on cows.

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Reader's Corner
12:26 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Remembering Bethine Church And Her Passion For People And Politics

Bethine Church was widow of Senator Frank Church and would have turned 91 on Feb. 19 2014, she died on Dec. 21, 2013 at her home in Boise. Bethine was one of Idaho’s sweethearts and a political powerhouse in her own right. Her contributions to Idaho and its institutions are numerous and include being the founder and chair of The Frank Church Institute at Boise State University.

Shortly after the launch of this weekly radio show in 2003, Bethine Church was a guest and we spoke about her new memoir, “A Lifelong Affair: My Passion for People and Politics.” 

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Environment
10:16 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Environmentalists Urge Idaho Lawmakers To Scrap Otter's Dam Proposal

An historic view of Idaho's Arrowrock Dam from 1915.
Credit WaterArchives / Flickr Creative Commons

Environmentalists are worried about new and expanded dams on southwestern Idaho rivers after lawmakers voted to inject millions into studying water storage projects pushed by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

Idaho Rivers United Thursday formally opposed what could be $1.3 billion in dams on the Boise and Weiser rivers.

A day earlier, the House voted unanimously to spend $3.5 million to complete initial studies.

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Idaho News
10:07 am
Fri February 14, 2014

Feds End Investigation Of Boise Police

No charges will be filed against Boise police following a 22-month federal investigation into allegations officers stole items from searched homes.

U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson in Idaho in a letter to Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson says there isn't enough evidence to prove officers violated Fourth Amendment rights of individuals.

The Idaho Statesman in a story on Friday reports it obtained the Dec. 18 letter through a public records request.

The investigation included a grand jury probe that ended without indictments.

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Dance
7:08 am
Fri February 14, 2014

McIntyre Proud To Have Built Boise Dance Company Worth Mourning

Trey McIntyre is shifting his focus from ballet to film. He has two documentaries in the works.
Credit Trey McIntyre Project

Trey McIntyre says when word spread last month that he was shifting focus from his Boise-based dance company to filmmaking, people generally met the news with sadness. 

“And that’s a great thing – to actually have something to mourn in this process, that makes me feel really proud that we achieved something great,” says the internationally-known choreographer who brought his dance company to Boise six years ago.

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Protest
11:41 am
Thu February 13, 2014

65 Gay Rights Protesters Return To Idaho Capitol

At least 65 silent protesters lined the halls of the Idaho Capitol Thursday.
Credit Melissa Davlin / Idaho Public Television

At least 65 demonstrators seeking anti-discrimination protections for gays and lesbians law ringed the third floor rotunda of Idaho's Capitol 10 days after dozens of them were arrested at a previous protest.

Thursday's demonstration didn't include blocking entrances to lawmakers' chambers, the event that precipitated arrests March 3.

Idaho State Police troopers who guard the Capitol observed the silent protest — the demonstrators covered their mouths with their hands — but didn't intervene.

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Weather
10:04 am
Thu February 13, 2014

Flooding, Mudslides Possible Across Southern Idaho

A map of precipitation totals forecast for southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. After a relatively dry day Thursday, more rain is expected Thursday night and Friday.
Credit National Weather Service

What a difference a week makes.

Last week, concern was mounting over how little precipitation had fallen in southern Idaho this winter. Now, forecasters say areas in southwestern Idaho and southeastern Oregon could see several days of flooding.

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Treefort Fest
8:30 am
Thu February 13, 2014

352 Bands Set To Play Boise's Treefort Music Fest

Credit Treefort Music Fest

If you're looking for a way to beat the mid-winter cabin-fever blues, the folks at Treefort Music Fest have just the thing. The three-year-old festival has released the final list of musical acts set to play in Boise March 20-23. It's a doozy: in total, 352 groups will show off their talents to music fans at venues around downtown Boise.

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Health Insurance
6:38 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Idaho Has The Second-Highest Share Of Health Insurance Exchange Enrollees In The Country

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Sign-ups in Idaho's insurance exchange accelerated in January, rising to 32,899 as more people sought health care coverage as the March 31 enrollment deadline approaches.

The federal government reported Wednesday Your Health Idaho enrollment amounted to the second-highest per capita in the country, with only Vermont's numbers topping those of the Gem State.

Exchange spokeswoman Jody Olson said the figures are positive, but urged residents currently without insurance to seek coverage required under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care overhaul.

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Election 2014
4:25 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Third Idaho Republican Enters Race For Schools Chief

Credit Courtesy Sherri Ybarra

The race to lead Idaho's public schools is growing more-crowded — and potentially more raucous — with the addition of yet another Republican candidate to the field.

Mountain Home educator and administrator Sherri Ybarra threw her hat into ring, announcing Wednesday she'll vie for the Republican nomination in the May 20 primary election.

Ybarra joins Republicans already in the race, Grangeville teacher John Eynon and American Falls principal Randy Jensen.

The lone Democratic candidate, so far, is Jana Jones, who was defeated in 2006.

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Idaho Legislature
4:18 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Boise Police Chief Says He Was Blocked From Speaking Against Guns On Campus Bill

Boise's top police officer said democracy failed at a Senate State Affairs hearing in which he and other law enforcement leaders were blocked from speaking about a bill allowing concealed-carry on college campuses.

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson signed up to talk about his opposition to the bill, which passed 7-2 Wednesday morning. The chief was set to argue concealed carry permit holders lack the training and qualifications needed to react correctly during a mass shooting.

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Winter Olympics
1:16 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Sun Valley Giddy In 'Disbelief' After Kaitlyn Farrington Wins Gold In Sochi

Farrington, 24, hails from Bellevue, Idaho.
Credit NBC/USOC

Snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington of Bellevue, Idaho triumphed in the women's halfpipe Wednesday while supporters in her home-state were watching. Farrington delivered two daredevil runs to beat a field of better known and more experienced competitors.

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Winter Olympics
12:11 pm
Wed February 12, 2014

Idaho Snowboarder Kaitlyn Farrington Wins Olympic Gold

Farrington, 24, now lives in Salt Lake City but was raised in Bellevue, Idaho.
Credit NBC/USOC

Idaho native Kaitlyn Farrington captured gold in the women's Olympic snowboarding halfpipe final Wednesday, edging out defending champion Torah Bright and American teammate Kelly Clark for the title.

Farrington, who grew up in Bellevue, Idaho posted a score of 91.75 during her second run, just good enough to beat Bright's 91.50. Clark, who smacked the wall during her first run in the finals, recovered to earn bronze and win her third Olympic medal.

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Idaho Legislature
11:30 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Budget Panel Votes To Hike Idaho State Workers' Pay

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

About 17,000 Idaho government employees are a step closer to getting a 2 percent raise in fiscal year 2015.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee voted Wednesday to build $11 million more into state worker pay starting next July.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter didn't recommend the raises.

But Republican Sen. Dean Cameron of Rupert said the timing was right to direct more money to government salaries for the first time since 2012.

Cameron says the budget panel is simply following recommendations of an employee pay committee.

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Idaho Legislature
11:25 am
Wed February 12, 2014

Guns On Campus Bill Makes It Out Of Committee, Idaho Senate To Vote

Colleges and universities are one step closer to permitting students, staff and visitors to bring concealed firearms to campus after the Senate State Affairs Committee voted to move it forward Wednesday.

The 7-2 decision comes as proponents argue that the bill is necessary to uphold second amendment rights and allow students and staff to protect themselves.

A BSU psychology professor was among those who testified in favor of the bill, describing her terror when a former student threatened to kill her last month.

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Medicaid
2:04 pm
Tue February 11, 2014

Bill To Restore Medicaid Dental Coverage Clears Idaho House

Lawmakers voted 62-6 to restore adult Medicaid dental benefits, arguing cuts three years ago that left 27,000 people without coverage cost Idaho more in dental-related emergency room services than it saved.

The House vote over the $1.4 million measure Tuesday pitted arguments for good preventative dentistry against fiscal hawks who say federal deficits trump good oral hygiene for low-income, elderly and disabled people.

Minority Leader John Rusche of Lewiston argued it not only made sense from a health perspective, but also from a fiscal perspective.

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