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Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

It has not been an easy past few months to be a Muslim in America. After the Paris attacks, presidential candidate Donald Trump said there should be a temporary ban on Muslims entering the country. His polls immediately soared. In Boise, the Islamic Center says the Muslim population in the Treasure Valley may well be over ten thousand.  Now, some of Boise's Muslims are sharing how it feels to be a Muslim in the current political climate. 

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

In recent years, funding for higher education has been a secondary focus for Idaho lawmakers. Following the recession, K-12 schools were lawmakers’ top education priority. But now - amid continued revenue growth and changing workforce needs - higher education is being discussed more and more. Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter proposed this week the state’s four-year colleges and universities get a nearly 9 percent increase in state funding next fiscal year.

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Idaho lawmakers Thursday evening are invited to a presentation by an anti-Islamic preacher and an anti-immigration advocate. The speakers will be in the Capitol’s largest public meeting room, the Lincoln Auditorium.

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If you’re waiting for Episode Five of the popular “Serial” podcast to drop today, you’ll have to keep waiting.

The spin-off  podcast from public radio’s “This American Life” has announced it will release the rest of its Season Two episodes on a bi-weekly basis. This is a departure from its original “one story told week-by-week” tagline.

Serial’s Season Two is focusing on the case of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a story that is still developing.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Federal health officials recently updated the nation’s dietary guidelines. The cattle industry was able to relax a bit after learning the recommendations didn’t include specifics on cutting back on red meat. But the guidelines – which are updated every five years – did point a finger at sugar. Hwoever, not everyone agrees with the those new limits.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Tuesday was the second day of the 2016 session of the Idaho legislature but lawmakers did not spend the afternoon crafting policy. Instead they did a five-hour training on civil discourse. Legislative leaders participated in the training a few months ago and decided all lawmakers needed to hear it. It’s presented by the National Institute for Civil Discourse at the University of Arizona which works with Congress, state legislatures and the media to promote civility in political conversation.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

In his State of the State speech Monday, Idaho Governor Butch Otter said education is his top legislative priority this year. The Republican’s budget proposal includes millions of dollars in new funding for K-through-12 schools. 

But based on percentage, the increases Otter is requesting for higher education are even larger.  The governor’s budget hints at some changing priorities in state government.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Boise State University has achieved an academic distinction its leaders say has been more than a decade in the making. The school announced Wednesday its classification as a “Doctoral Research” institution by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.

To achieve the designation, institutions need to award at least 20 research and scholarship doctoral degrees in a given year.

Idaho Transportation Department

Replacing the Broadway Bridge is about to get very noisy. The Idaho Transportation Department says crews will start pile driving Wednesday morning.

Pile driving is when steel beams are mounted on a crane and driven into the ground. Each pile is 65-feet long. A total of 168 piles will be hammered deep into the river bed to support the bridge foundation.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter began outlining his budget and policy priorities for state lawmakers during his "State of the State" address Monday afternoon, naming public education as his primary focus for the year.

The annual speech kicks off the start of the legislative session, with state lawmakers, members of the judiciary and other leaders gathered in the Idaho Statehouse to hear Otter's remarks.

Otter reminded lawmakers of the state's constitutional requirement to provide a general, uniform and free public school system. He proposed a 7.9 percent increase to the state's public education budget. That would bring the total to $1.59 billion. It's the second year in a row that Otter has proposed steep hikes for education spending.

Bryce W. Robinson

What can the world’s largest falcon tell us about climate change? That’s the question one Boise researcher is asking in an article published this month in Audubon Magazine.

Bryce Robinson is a Gyrfalcon field researcher and a graduate student at Boise State University. Working with the Peregrine Fund, he’s been studying Gyrfalcons in western Alaska for two years. Robinson studied the birds for his Master’s thesis.

Leon Panetta’s long service to our country is surely unique in the number of incredibly high level and tough assignments he has held and held to acclaim.  A lawyer, he has directed the U.S.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Three environmental groups have filed a lawsuit challenging a decision by the U.S. Forest Service that allows more than 100 helicopter landings this winter in a central Idaho wilderness area so state wildlife officials can put tracking collars on elk.

Wilderness Watch and two other groups in the lawsuit filed Thursday say the federal agency is violating the Wilderness Act by allowing helicopters into the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

In 2015, nearly 730,000 foreign-born people took the oath to become U.S. citizens. That included 1,449 in Idaho. Thursday more joined them in Idaho’s first naturalization ceremony of the year.

Sometimes these ceremonies are done with a lot of pomp at public events like 4th of July celebrations. This one is in the waiting room of a federal office, the kind of place where most days people take a number and wait to talk to someone through a window.

Addison Mohler / US Fish and Wildlife Service

The occupation of a national wildlife refuge in eastern Oregon has gone on for almost a week. The armed militants there say the refuge is a symbol of government overreach in the West. In Idaho, Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge has been the subject of angst over federal regulations – but with a different outcome.

Idaho Statesman

An Uzbek refugee authorities say had an unwavering commitment to kill personnel at a military base or civilians at crowded Fourth of July celebrations in downtown Boise, Idaho, has been sentenced to 25 years in prison.

Fazliddin Kurbanov received the sentence Thursday and a $250,000 fine.

A federal jury in August convicted Kurbanov of conspiracy, attempting to support a terrorist organization and possession of bomb-making components.

Courtesy of Idaho Fish and Game

File this in your Idaho oddities folder: a hunter killed a mountain lion with a second set of teeth and whiskers growing on top of its head last week. As the Idaho State Journal reports, the year-old animal has Idaho Fish and Game biologists scratching their heads. They have never seen anything like it.

But the scientists do have some theories about what could have caused this abnormal growth.

Dept. of Defense

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, a U.S. soldier who walked off his base in Afghanistan in 2006, didn't like clocks in his room after being rescued from the Taliban in 2014, he said in the fourth episode of "Serial's" second season.

"Serial" is the popular "This American Life" spin-off podcast that delved into a true crime story in its first season and is focusing on Bergdahl in its second season.

Bergdahl told filmmaker Mark Boal in an interview on the episode that he became uncomfortable with clocks during his five years in the Taliban's hands.

"Months and days, weeks or months, don't matter because (the) only thing you can really understand is how long the seconds are lasting," Bergdahl said in the interview. "That's what hits you the hardest: is just the seconds."

Click here to read the entire story from the Idaho Statesman.

carfull / Flickr Creative Commons

Despite the landmark decision not to list the greater sage grouse under the Endangered Species Act (ESA) last year, there are still lingering questions for many people around the west. A big one? Whether the ESA itself should be reformed.

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