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Election 2014
11:41 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Idaho Democratic Candidate For Governor Balukoff Raises $111,000

Boise Democrat A.J. Balukoff announced his run for governor on December 3.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

New campaign disclosure filings from A.J. Balukoff, the Boise Democrat running for governor of Idaho, show he started the year at a significant fundraising disadvantage compared to his Republican opponents.

Balukoff’s campaign reports raising $110,860 in December. It was the only month the campaign raised money, after Balukoff publicly announced his run December 3.

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Boise
9:29 am
Fri January 31, 2014

Plans Announced To Expand Boise Convention Space

The Greater Boise Auditorium District has announced plans to partner with the Gardner Company to create more convention space by expanding the Boise Centre.

Officials including Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, Gardner Company Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist and the Auditorium District Board made the announcement Thursday.

Plans call for two new buildings with about 43,000 square feet of space for meetings and a kitchen to be built on the parking lot around the U.S. Bank building owned by the Gardner Company.

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Water
2:17 pm
Thu January 30, 2014

South Idaho Farmers Told To Brace For Water Shutdown

A farmer walks his droughted field in eastern Idaho.
Credit Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio

Growers of sugar beets and potatoes in eight counties along southern Idaho's Snake River could be in jeopardy after a fish hatchery's complaint it isn't getting its fair share of water.

Idaho Department of Water Resources' director Gary Spackman signed an order Wednesday telling 2,300 water-right holders they'll have to shut down irrigation if they can't reach a compromise with Rangen Inc, a Hagerman-based fish farm.

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Winter Olympics
11:17 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Idaho Olympians: Meet U.S. Women's Hockey Forward Hilary Knight

Credit NBC/USOC

Sun Valley hockey player Hilary Knight is headed to Sochi, Russia to compete in her second Olympic games. After a heartbreaking defeat in 2010's gold medal game, Knight says she and the rest of the U.S. Women's Hockey Team are ready for a big win.

HILARY KNIGHT

Hometown: Sun Valley, Idaho

Sport: Ice hockey

Position: Forward

Birthday: July 12, 1989

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Education
11:14 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Feds Tardy On Millions To Idaho Education Network Amid Lawsuit

Credit Scott Woods-Fehr / Flickr Creative Commons

The federal government hasn't paid millions to prop up an Idaho public education broadband network and may be withholding the cash because of an unresolved lawsuit, a state official says.

Department of Administration Director Teresa Luna said Tuesday the Federal Communications Commission hasn't made millions in payments to private telecommunication companies running the Idaho Education Network since about March.

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Homelessness
11:05 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Counting Homeless People In Idaho Is An Inexact Science

Many homeless people we spoke with did not want their picture taken but David Powell outside Corpus Christi House didn't mind.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Volunteers are combing Idaho's streets for the next few days asking homeless people where they spent Wednesday night. This annual count is the only source for much of what we know about Idaho's homeless population. Those numbers, which we won’t know for months, help determine how much federal money will come to homeless programs in Idaho.

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Lobbying
6:45 am
Thu January 30, 2014

Why It's Tough To Track What Lobbyists Give To Idaho Lawmakers

Tim Hurst is Idaho's Chief Deputy Secretary of State. Part of his job is to ensure lobbyist disclosure reports are above board.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Late last year, St. Louis Public Radio and NPR launched an interactive data project that lets Missouri voters see just how much money their state representative has accepted from lobbyists. It's an easy-to-navigate visual that gives people a sense of the kinds of relationships that have developed under their Capitol dome. A similar one-stop-shop of lobbying disclosure info wouldn't be possible in Idaho.

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Charity
5:08 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Christmas Album Brings Hope And 23,000 Meals To The Idaho Foodbank

Credit Emily Carlin / Flickr Creative Commons

Local musicians and their lyrical Christmas creations brought more than good cheer to Idaho last year.
In December, we told you about a special musical collection aimed at raising money for The Idaho Foodbank. Now, we know  just how much the album raised.

The fourth IdaHo Ho Ho Christmas CD raised enough cash to pay for 23,465 meals for those in need.

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Congress
11:10 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Labrador, Simpson Vote For Farm Bill; Crapo Still Unsure

Credit CompassioninWorldFarming / Flickr

Idaho’s Republican delegation in the U.S. House voted early Wednesday in favor of the new farm bill. Rep. Raul Labrador and Rep. Mike Simpson cast votes in favor of the legislation, which cuts more than $8 billion in food stamp spending while ending a direct subsidy to crop farmers. It also expands crop insurance programs backed by the federal government.

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Idaho Legislature
9:50 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Idaho Democrat Promised Legislative Hearing On Medicaid Expansion

Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

House Minority Leader John Rusche has been promised a hearing on expanding Medicaid eligibility in Idaho, though Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has thrown cold water on the idea going forward this year.

Rusche says House Health and Welfare Committee Chairman Fred Wood, a Republican from Burley, acquiesced to his request for a bill introduction.

Rusche isn't optimistic about his proposal's chances, but he's happy it will at least get an initial vetting.

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Weather
8:27 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Treasure Valley Wakes Up To Freezing Rain

Ice accumulated on a tree on the Boise State University campus.
Credit Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Police in southwestern Idaho are asking drivers to slow down and buckle up this morning as drivers are headed to work amid freezing rain.

The precipitation began falling overnight.  At 7:30 a.m., radar showed a line of precipitation over Interstate 84 from the Idaho-Oregon state line to an area east of Twin Falls. Slick roads are being blamed for several accidents and slide-offs in the region.

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Homelessness
6:30 am
Wed January 29, 2014

Why Idaho Homeless Shelters Are Full When There Are Fewer Homeless People

Homeless people often spend days outside Interfaith Sanctuary or inside nearby Corpus Christi House day shelter.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Luanne Jensen sits in an alley behind Boise’s Interfaith Sanctuary homeless shelter. She recently had knee surgery, so she's sitting on a bench built into her walker. The surgery, she says, is why she’s staying at Interfaith Sanctuary -- again. Jensen says she stayed here three years ago before landing a job. Now, she can’t work.

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Idaho Legislature
5:35 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Idaho House Speaker Meets With Economist Over Tax Shift Plan

House Speaker Scott Bedke says he's met with Idaho's former chief economist over a proposal to shift $80 million from a grocery tax credit to individual and corporate income tax cuts.

Bedke, a Republican from Oakley, met with Mike Ferguson, the top economist at the state under six governors before retiring four years ago.

Bedke's proposes to redirect money now given to Idaho families to offset sales tax they pay on groceries to income tax cuts, in hopes of making Idaho a more-attractive place for businesses to relocate.

Election 2014
2:54 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

What Idaho’s Superintendent Race Looks Like Now That Tom Luna Is Out

Tom Luna, flanked by his chief of staff Luci Willits, walks away from the podium after announcing he won't seek re-election.
Credit Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s top education job is up for grabs. That's after Superintendent Tom Luna said Monday he won't run for a third term.

Two Republicans planned to run against Luna in the May primary - north Idaho teacher John Eynon and American Falls principle Randy Jensen. But Luna's announcement that he wouldn't seek re-election could now open the door for more candidates.

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Winter Olympics
2:25 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Idaho Olympians: Meet Boise Biathlete Sara Studebaker

Credit Nordic Focus / US Biathlon

Sara Studebaker is a Boise native. She graduated from Boise High School and has been a biathlon competitor since 2003. She represented the U.S. in biathlon during the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Since then, she’s been training hard, ready to take another shot, this time in Sochi, Russia.

SARA STUDEBAKER

Hometown: Boise, ID

Sport: Biathlon

Birthday: Oct. 7, 1984

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Election 2014
1:24 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Wasden Makes It Official, Seeks Fourth Term As Idaho Attorney General

Credit DonkeyHotey / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced Tuesday his candidacy for another term in office. Wasden made the announcement in the State Capitol this afternoon. The Republican will be seeking his fourth term in office. He was first elected in 2002 and took office in 2003.

Wasden says the office of attorney general is where he thinks he can make his greatest contribution to society.

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Idaho Legislature
12:35 pm
Tue January 28, 2014

Idaho Legislator Introduces 'Pre-Emptive' Strike To Protect Religious Freedom

Credit Idaho Legislature

Idaho lawmakers and conservative Christian allies contend their faith is under siege by gays, lesbians and the government, so they're launching a "pre-emptive" strike to bolster rights of licensed professionals to refuse service to somebody they conclude violates their religious beliefs.

On Tuesday, Rep. Lynn Luker introduced a measure to shield religious people from the threat of having their professional licenses revoked for declining service.

Luker, a Boise Republican, knows of no Idaho example where this has arisen.

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Idaho Legislature
11:35 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Proposal Would Let Idaho School Boards' Spouses Get District Jobs

Credit Malate269 / Wikimedia Commons

A legislative proposal could clear the way for Idaho's smallest school districts and charter schools to hire the spouses of their board members.

Rep. Marc Gibbs, a Republican lawmaker from Grace, said Tuesday that smaller schools face problems when the only qualified applicant for a position is married to a board member.

A district or charter school that wants to hire a board member's spouse must have less than 1,200 students to qualify, and must first advertise the position for 60 days, or for 15 days if the vacancy crops up during the school year.

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Politics
6:00 am
Tue January 28, 2014

Idaho Attorney General Wasden Will Continue To Defend State's Gay Marriage Ban

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden.
Credit State of Idaho

Unlike his counterpart in Virginia, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden says his personal views on same-sex marriage are irrelevant when it comes to defending the state's Constitution. It’s safe to say Wasden and Virginia Attorney General Mark Herring look at their jobs very differently. 

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Wildlife
6:18 pm
Mon January 27, 2014

Idaho Fish And Game Pulls Pro Hunter From Wilderness After Killing 9 Wolves

Credit Jim Peaco / Yellowstone National Park

Idaho wildlife managers called off a professional wolf hunter who has been killing predators inside a federal wilderness area.

Department of Fish and Wildlife Monday said it was halting the hunt after nine wolves were killed.

It had planned to keep hunter Gus Thoreson of Salmon in the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness this winter as it sought reduce wolves and bolster low elk populations there.

Wolf advocates initially lost their bid for a court order to force Thoreson to quit hunting wolves from his base on U.S. Forest Service territory.

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