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Reader's Corner
6:00 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Why American Kids Aren't The Smartest In The World With Author Amanda Ripley

Preparing students to excel in a fast-changing world is a concern for many nations.  Some countries, including our own, have implemented a variety of education reforms over recent decades, only to see piddling results. Others, including  Finland, South Korea and Poland, have realized major gains.

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Wildlife
1:25 pm
Fri February 7, 2014

Mountain Lion Killed In Garden City

Fish and Game veterinarian Dr. Mark Drew (left) and Fish and Game conservation officer Bill London with the lion killed in the Riverside Subdivision on February 6.
Credit Idaho Department of Fish and Game

Idaho Fish and Game officers and Garden City police tracked down and killed a mountain lion in Garden City Thursday.  The animal was shot along the Boise River Greenbelt in the Riverside subdivision around 5:30 p.m.

An eyewitness says the cougar was under his front porch. It ran from that location and the chase began.  Police, conservation officers and a houndsman tracked the animal through backyards and common areas in the subdivision.  They say they were hoping to tree the animal, tranquilize it and then move it to another location.

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Weather
11:41 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Highway 21, Idaho's 'Avalanche Alley' Closes Due To Slide Danger

Here's a look at Idaho 21 between I-84 and Robie Creek Road Friday morning from the ITD webcam.
Credit Idaho Transportation Department

“Avalanche Alley” will close at 6:00 p.m. Friday as a safety precaution. That’s the 12-mile stretch of Idaho 21 between Grandjean Junction and Banner Summit.  

The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) reports the area received eight inches of snow Friday morning and more snowfall is expected Friday night and Saturday.

The area averages more than 250 inches of snow which brings 45-50 slides each year. About 90 percent of avalanches that affect Idaho highways happen on "Avalanche Alley."

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Politics/Policy
10:02 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Idaho Truckers Want To Increase Gas Tax To Improve Roads

Credit FutureAtlas.com / Flickr Creative Commons

A trucking group says Idaho's 25-cent-per-gallon gas tax should be hiked 6 cents a gallon.

That's according to the Idaho Trucking Association's measure introduced Thursday in the House Transportation Committee, to do it over the next three years. It's considered a longshot to pass.

Truckers pitched the bill on grounds Idaho should get started on tackling an estimated annual $262 million backlog of road and bridge projects.

Still, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has already said highway funding probably won't be an issue in 2014.

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Weather
6:29 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Treasure Valley Wakes Up To New Snow; Boise And Meridian Schools Closed

Credit Jim Bauer / Flickr Creative Commons

Update, 6:41 a.m.: Bishop Kelly High School in Boise says it will close Friday.

Original post: The Treasure Valley is waking up to snow Friday morning. Forecasters say most of the region received one to two inches of new snow. 

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Business
5:15 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Applesauce-Maker GoGo SqueeZ To Open Idaho Facility Creating 230 Jobs

Credit TheImpulsiveBuy / Flickr Creative Commons

Applesauce-maker GoGo squeeZ says it plans to open an $85 million food processing facility in Nampa, Idaho that will employ at least 230 people.

The Idaho Department of Commerce announced the company's Idaho investment in a press release Thursday.

The Idaho Statesman reports the average wage at the new facility will be $16 an hour, more than double Idaho's minimum wage.

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Weather
12:41 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Dust Off That Snow Shovel, Up To 5 Inches Expected In The Treasure Valley

A shot of the Bogus Basin Ski Resort webcam, before the snow event begins.
Credit Bogus Basin

Snow is coming to southern Idaho, lots of it. The National Weather Service says a “significant snowfall event” will start Thursday night and last through Saturday.

The snow comes from a combination of moisture from the Pacific and an upper level low pressure system from Alaska. It will bring prolonged snowfall, which could mean substantial snow totals in the mountains.  NWS has issued a Winter Weather Advisory from the Oregon border East to Twin Falls, Idaho.

Here are the latest projected snow totals from the National Weather Service:

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Medicaid
12:21 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Idaho's 2013 Medicaid Rolls At Highest Level Yet

Credit Data: Idaho Dept. of Health and Welfare | Chart: Emilie Ritter Saunders

The number of low-income Idahoans on Medicaid increased 3.5 percent in 2013, a figure the Idaho Department of  Health and Welfare says marks a slow-down in growth of the program.

On average, 236,352 Idahoans were signed up for Medicaid each month of 2013. That's the highest average monthly enrollment the state has ever recorded.

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Idaho Legislature
12:16 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Idaho Dairies Want To Stop Activists From Filming

Credit Ambersky235 / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho's $2.5 billion dairy industry wants to put people who film their operations surreptitiously in jail for up to a year, a bid to block animal-rights groups from spying on farms in hopes of catching animal cruelty on tape.

Sen. Jim Patrick of Twin Falls Thursday introduced the measure on the heels of videos produced in 2012 by a group at one of Idaho's largest dairies documenting cows being beaten.

If the measure passes, anybody who enters an agricultural production facility without permission and records operations could face a year behind bars and a $5,000 fine.

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Idaho Legislature
12:09 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

Idaho Could Ditch Exemption That Lets Lawmakers Carry Concealed Weapons Without Permit

Credit Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A dispute that erupted last year when former Republican Rep. Mark Patterson was allowed to carry a concealed weapon even after his permit was revoked has lawmakers trying to change Idaho's guns laws.

Rep. Rick Youngblood, R-Nampa, told House State Affairs Committee members Thursday getting rid of the exemption letting all elected officials carry concealed weapons without a permit would hold officials to the same standard as voters.

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Winter Olympics
12:02 pm
Thu February 6, 2014

See Which Idaho Athletes Have The Best Shot At An Olympic Medal

Hilary Knight plays forward on the U.S. Women's Ice Hockey Team.
Credit Sara Melikian / Flickr Creative Commons

The Winter Olympics officially kick off Friday in Sochi, Russia. But competition for Idaho’s group of Olympians started early Thursday. Jessika Jensen, a native of eastern Idaho, finished seventh in her qualifying heat in the event of slopestyle snowboarding.

Nine people with Idaho ties will compete in the Olympics. Reporter Tom Banse of the Northwest News Network has been previewing the games. He says that figure is on par with the state's recent delegations.

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Idaho Legislature
5:03 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Idaho Rep. Luker's Professional Licensing Bill Likely Illegal

Credit Idaho Legislature

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says Boise Republican Rep. Lynn Luker's proposal to shield religious people's professional licenses from revocation is vulnerable to constitutional challenge.

On Wednesday, another Luker bill to expand legal protections for religious people who won't serve gays cleared the House State Affairs Committee, to the dismay of activists.

But his separate license measure hasn't gotten a hearing.

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Idaho Legislature
2:31 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Idaho Lawmakers Again Reject Medicaid Expansion, Likely Won't Happen In 2014

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The House Health and Welfare Committee rejected a proposal to increase health care coverage for low-income Idahoans, putting the final nail in the coffin of Medicaid expansion hopes.

Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, had promoted the bill as a way to help the state's poor, who are particularly vulnerable without coverage, as well as save hospitals and businesses millions.

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Utah Legislature
1:55 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Utah Republican Senator Fights For Anti-Discrimination Law

A Utah Republican Senator pushing for a statewide anti-discrimination law says his bill appears to be dead as party leaders in the state Senate have decided to avoid legislation that may impact the state's gay marriage case.

Sen. Steve Urquhart, a St. George Republican, has pushed for GOP leaders to allow the bill to have a hearing and has even called for supporters to leave notes on the Utah Senate doors.

Supporters left about 450 notes, but Urquhart's fellow Senate Republicans are holding firm.

Business
12:51 pm
Wed February 5, 2014

Russia Blocks Delivery Of Chobani Yogurt To U.S. Olympic Athletes In Sochi

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer of New York is calling on the Russian government to allow Chobani Greek yogurt to be delivered to Sochi for U.S. Olympic athletes and NBC Studios employees.

Schumer said Tuesday that a shipment of Chobani yogurt is being held up at Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey because of "unattainable" Russian Customs certifications. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has requested that Russia approve a USDA safety certificate for the yogurt, but Schumer said Russia still won't allow the shipment.

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Idaho Legislature
10:59 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Idaho House Panel Keeps Religious Freedom Bill Alive Despite Public Opposition

The main hearing room was so full, this is the overflow room for people who wanted to participate in the testimony.
Credit Frankie Barnhill / For Boise State Public Radio

Updated Feb. 5 at 12:54 p.m.: 

A House panel kept alive a measure to protect religious people sued for refusing to serve customers they believe violate their faith.

The State Affairs Committee voted 11-5 Wednesday to send the bill to the House floor, where it could get amendments.

All supporters were Republicans.

Two Republicans joined three Democrats against the bill.

The hearing focused on Republican Rep. Lynn Luker's measure updating a 14-year-old law focusing on religious rights.

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Homelessness
9:58 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Two Renovated Homeless Shelters Opening In Nampa

A small camp has formed outside Corpus Christi House in Boise.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise Rescue Mission plans to open two shelters in Nampa in the next two weeks.

The Idaho Statesman reports that a men's shelter called Lighthouse Rescue Mission and a women's shelter called the Valley Women and Children's Shelter are scheduled to open.

Officials say the women's shelter has 60 beds and will welcome women and children who are homeless as well as those displaced by domestic violence. A grand opening is planned for Thursday.

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Idaho News
8:53 am
Wed February 5, 2014

Autopsy Finds Heart Defect Killed Young Idaho Skier

Torin Tucker.
Credit Dartmouth College Athletics

An autopsy has determined that a rare heart defect killed a 20-year-old Dartmouth College cross country skier last weekend.

Torin Tucker, a junior from Sun Valley, Idaho, died while competing at a cross country skiing marathon in Craftsbury, Vt., on Saturday.

His death certificate says he suffered sudden cardiac arrest as a result of a problem in the left coronary artery. Medical research says the condition is rare and is frequently associated with sudden death during intense physical activity.

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Prison
6:17 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

CCA To Pay Idaho $1 Million For Understaffing

Corrections Corporation of America will pay Idaho $1 million for understaffing the state's largest prison in violation of its contract.

The agreement between the private prison company and the Idaho Board of Correction was announced Tuesday.

Nashville, Tenn.-based CCA acknowledged last year that its employees falsified staffing records given to the state, making it look as though thousands of hours of mandatory guard posts were filled when they were actually left vacant for months.

CCA says the payment makes Idaho taxpayers whole.

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Farm Bill
5:04 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Idaho Senators Help Pass Farm Bill Despite Objections From Ranchers

Sugar beet growing near Caldwell
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s senators Tuesday sided with a majority of their colleges to pass the revamped farm bill. It now goes to President Obama for a signature. Both Idaho senators had said they were undecided in the days leading up to the vote.

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