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Sen. Mike Crapo's office

When he was a kid, Trevor Schaefer was diagnosed with brain cancer. His family was living in McCall, but after he got sick he and his mom moved to Boise for his cancer treatment. Doctors removed a golf-ball sized tumor from the base of his brain, and radiation and chemotherapy followed. Now 26-years-old, Schaefer won his battle against cancer. This week he won another battle. After years of lobbying congress, a provision with his name on it is the law of the land.

Idaho Ed News

Slightly more than 25,000 Idaho elementary school students were reading below grade level, according to statewide test scores from this spring.

As sobering as those numbers sound, they also represent a snapshot. In the fall of 2015, more than 36,000 students were not reading at grade level. At the end of the school year, two-thirds of these students remained below grade level. But over the course of the school year, teachers and schools helped 11,000 students pull their reading skills to grade level.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs says it’s his ethical duty to not sensationalize an active criminal case, and that information on juvenile cases is even more sensitive. But after anti-Muslim conspiracy websites accused officials of covering up the sexual assault of a five-year-old girl, Loebs is publicly disputing these accusations.

screengrab aecf.org

The Annie E. Casey Foundation this week released its annual Kids Count report on child well-being. Idaho ranked 22nd out of the 50 states. But Idaho is not really in the middle of the pack when you break that ranking down into its individual components. In some measures, the state’s children have it much better than their peers in other states, and in some they have it much worse.

Idaho Ed News

Three Idaho charter schools run the risk of a midyear financial collapse, and are on notice with the state.

Idaho’s Public Charter School Commission has issued notices of fiscal concern to Blackfoot Charter Community Learning Center in Blackfoot; Syringa Mountain School in Hailey; and The Village Charter School in Boise.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

State and federal officials say Idaho faces an increased potential for rangeland wildfires in the south, but forested areas in the north are in better shape at this point than last year.

Wildland fire analyst Jeremy Sullens of the National Interagency Fire Center told the Idaho Land Board on Tuesday that a good snowpack has put more moisture in northern Idaho forests to delay the fire season.

But he says additional moisture in the southern part of the state has led to an increase in grasses that could fuel rangeland fires.

tribalclimatecamp.org

Representatives from Native American tribes are in McCall this week to talk about how they can adapt to climate change. Donald Sampson says Native Americans are and will continue to be more impacted by climate change than the rest of the country. That’s because climate changes are affecting their traditional food sources.

Ben Amstutz / Flickr Creative Commons

Bureau of Land Management (BLM) officials have decided to reaffirm their previous decision to close a popular hot spring near Boise. The decision to close the hot spring for five years comes after failed attempts over the last year from citizen groups to keep Skinny Dipper Hot Spring open.

A prosecutor in south-central Idaho is refuting a widespread rumor that three young Syrian refugees raped a girl at knifepoint.

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs says that no gang rape involving Syrian refugees or a knife took place despite allegations currently circulating on social media and conspiracy-oriented websites.

Tom Jefferson

An Idaho filmmaker is part of a desperate battle to help save the world’s smallest cetacean.

Last June, we first told you about Matthew Podolsky and his documentary on an Idaho man who's spent 35 years helping the state's bluebirds. But lately, Podolsky has been filming a short documentary in Mexico, trying to save what’s often called “the Panda of the Sea.”

Ian Jacobs / Flickr Creative Commons

Slender insects known as thrips have arrived in eastern Oregon and parts of Idaho much earlier than usual and they bring with them the possibility of spreading a virus that can devastate onion fields.

The Capital Press reports that thrips can transmit the iris yellow spot virus, which can wipe out onion fields. The virus was detected in onion plants in late May and officials say they were likely infected earlier in the month.

Idaho Democratic Party / Facebook

The March Democratic presidential caucus saw a record-breaking turnout. About 24,000 people made their voices heard around the state – including an overwhelming 9,000 in Boise. But long lines and confusion about the process caused some people to leave the caucus before they had a chance to vote.

screengrab / Refinery29

This year's Treefort Music Fest may seem like a distant memory already, but luckily you can relive some of the magic with a new video from New York-based fashion and culture website Refinery29. The online zine interviewed Spanish rockers Hinds during their visit to Boise this March.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's legislative leaders have assigned their summer homework by finalizing a list of hot button topics for Idaho lawmakers to review over the next few months.

Top legislative officials approved the interim committees on Friday. The panels will meet over the summer and provide recommendations to lawmakers during next year's legislative session.

Kyle Green, Idaho Statesman

Organizers say after a gunman killed 49 people at a gay bar in Orlando last week, Boise's annual LGBT celebration known as Pridefest could go a couple of different ways. Fewer people might show up this weekend for Pridefest because of fear of anti-gay violence. Or, more people might turn out to show solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

National Weather Service Boise/Bogus Basin

Spring in Boise means all types of weather, from sunny and hot - it was 101-degrees last Wednesday - to snow. Winter made a brief comeback Thursday at Bogus Basin Mountain Recreation Area with clouds, fog, and some light snow.

The National Weather Service in Boise posted a time-lapse video of the winter weather on its Twitter account. 

NWS also posted photos from Brundage Mountain Resort, which got snow all day on Thursday. 

As the price of mustard rises, growers in Idaho have expanded the average devoted to the crop by 250 percent.

The Capital Press reports that at 33.1 cents per pound delivered, mustard prices are up about 2.5 per pound from last year, making it one of the few crops to have increased in value in 2016. Idaho growers have seized on the opportunity to turn a profit.

DieselDemon / Flickr Creative Commons

The mayor of the central Idaho town of Hailey says the county's commissioners are obstructing efforts to move the local airport out of the community by refusing to rezone potential replacement sites.

Mayor Fritz Haemmerle says business interests want a close-by airport and are influencing Blaine County commissioners into keeping the current airport and potentially expanding it.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal authorities have rejected a request by an irrigation company in southeastern Idaho to build a dam on the Bear River.

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission on Thursday voted to deny Twin Lakes Canal Company's license application for a 109-foot-high dam with a 10-megawatt powerhouse.

Commissioners say the project would inundate the Bureau of Land Management's Oneida Narrows Research Natural Area with resulting loss of recreation, wildlife and fishing resources that could not be replaced.

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Idaho Democrats kick off their 2016 state party convention Thursday. It runs through Saturday. Party leaders expect nearly 400 delegates at the Riverside Hotel in Garden City.

The itinerary includes training sessions for candidates and activists and updating the party platform. Idaho Democratic Party spokesman Dean Ferguson says there are a lot of platform changes being proposed but most are tweaks to language in existing planks. Ferguson says one significant change that may be made is calling for a specific increase to the state’s minimum wage.

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