News

The national YMCA has put its Twin Falls chapter on probation after finding widespread financial mismanagement at that branch.

The Times-News reports that a February assessment conducted by the national YMCA says the nonprofit organization's local board asked for help when it realized then-CEO Gary Ettenger was providing false financial information.

Ettenger stepped down in March. He could not be reached for comment.

Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

Secretary of Interior Sally Jewell announced $10 million to go toward making landscapes more resilient against wildfires across the country. It’s a continuation of a directive she made last year in Boise. She made the announcement Tuesday at the National Interagency Fire Center.

 

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

A coalition in southern Idaho hopes to turn Craters of the Moon National Monument into Idaho's first national park.

Butte County commissioner Rose Bernal told KIVI-TV that getting the monument national park status could provide a much-needed boost to the struggling local economy and draw tourists already headed to Yellowstone. But opponents fear a switch could lead to land use limitations.

Yellowstone National Park extends slightly into Idaho and Montana, but it's mostly in Wyoming.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho Falls man is suing Idaho State University, claiming that he was discriminated against because of his Mormon faith.

The Post Register reports that Orin Duffin filed the lawsuit Friday. He says he was severely harassed while playing for the men's tennis team because of his membership in The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.

ISU spokesman Stuart Summers says school officials won't comment on the pending litigation.

Jeff Turner / Flickr Creative Commons

Fire trucks with red, white and blue bunting, kids on their parents' shoulders waving little flags: what’s more emblematic of American patriotism than a Fourth of July parade? Now the volunteer group that has organized Boise’s parade for the last 20 years is concerned about paying for it in the future.

Dr. Clinton Shock

Interior Secretary Sally Jewell Tuesday will visit the sagebrush burned in last year’s massive Soda Fire in southwest Idaho and eastern Oregon. The Bureau of Land Management is working to recover the area, but a group of private scientists are concerned about the way the recovery is being handled. Specifically, that the agency is hurrying through the recovery without following its own concepts for adaptive management. The BLM though, says the project is being handled correctly.

IcaWise / Flickr Creative Commons

If you lived in a rural part of the state in 1990, there’s a good chance that you now live in a town or city. That’s according to census data parsed by the Idaho Department of Labor. Researcher Janell Hyer says people are continuing to move where the jobs are – and that means more populated cities like Boise and Meridian.

“People are coming from the rural areas moving into the urban areas," says Hyer. "Even though they may not be growing as fast as they were in previous years, they are still growing and that’s where the growth is taking place.”

Flickr Creative Commons

State officials say Idaho's unemployment rate in April dropped a tenth of a percent to 3.7 percent.

The Idaho Department of Labor in a news release Friday says job gains in construction, professional and business services, and education and health services helped drop the unemployment rate from the previous month.

The state agency says that based on U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Idaho for the sixth consecutive month led the nation in percentage increase of jobs.

Total employment for Idaho grew by more than 1,900 to 777,780.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Boise State University and Concordia Law School have created an arrangement aimed at undergrads who want to go to law school. Students can start at Concordia after three years at Boise State. For students in the “three plus three” program, the first year at Concordia will also count as the fourth year at Boise State. So students could get a bachelor's and a law degree in six years, rather than seven.

Concordia Law dean Cathy Silak says the program will help students minimize debt and get to the workforce quicker. She says it was a natural partnership.

Extreme Medicine / Flickr Creative Commons

A group that helps wounded veterans climb mountains says a 30-year-old Boise native has become the first combat wounded veteran to summit Mount Everest.

The Heroes Project announced Thursday that retired U.S. Marine Corp Staff Sgt. Charlie Linville reached the 29,029-foot summit at 10:22 a.m. Mountain Time.

The group says it was the third attempt to reach the summit by the Boise High School graduate after previous tries in 2014 and 2015.

learning elementary student teacher
Alvin Trusty / Flickr Creative Commons

Experienced teachers in Idaho looking for a bonus will have to show their work just like their students under a new plan recently adopted by the Idaho State Board of Education.

Under the new state guidelines, teachers with at least eight years of experience will have to submit a portfolio documenting how they meet the standards required to receive a master teacher premium. These $4,000 bonuses won't go into effect until 2019, but the board wants to give enough time to teachers and school districts for preparation.

1905 photo courtesy of the Idaho State Archives & Library

A group of dedicated historians and preservationists are working to educate people and protect downtown Boise’s historic architecture, one weekend at a time.

The non-profit group Preservation Idaho has started up weekly tours of the city, called WalkAbout Boise.

UGA College of Ag / Flickr

A federal judge has ordered Idaho to pay roughly a quarter million dollars in legal fees to the Animal Legal Defense Fund and other groups who successfully sued the state over what they called the "ag-gag" law.

Idaho lawmakers passed the law making it a crime to surreptitiously videotape agriculture operations in 2014 after the state's $2.5 billion dairy industry complained that videos of cows being abused at a southern Idaho dairy unfairly hurt their businesses.

WaterArchives / Flickr Creative Commons

The Army Corps of Engineers Wednesday told the Idaho Department of Water Resources it could not recommend raising the height of Arrowrock Dam on the Boise River. The announcement was a disappointment to the state and the Corps.

The water resources board thought raising the height of the hundred-year-old dam would be the best way to reduce flood risk and increase water storage in the Treasure Valley. So it commissioned the Army Corps to study it. After a seven-year study costing nearly $3 million, the Corps agreed.

FBI

Federal officials say an arrest warrant has been issued for a northern Idaho doctor found guilty of illegally distributing pain pills.

The FBI says 62-year-old Rafael L. W. Beier of Kingston skipped the verdict of his federal trial Tuesday and is considered armed and dangerous.

A federal jury found Beier guilty of 66 drug distribution and drug conspiracy charges. The verdict came on the second day of deliberations.

Authorities say that between 2012 and May 2014, Beier sold prescriptions for cash, meeting people at bars, parking lots, stores and in his office.

New York Canal
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho water regulators have ordered 160 eastern Idaho groundwater users to cut back their consumption.

The Post Register reports that the Idaho Department of Water Resources on Wednesday announced a curtailment order that will go into effect June 3 and will shift water rights over many upstream users to the Surface Water Coalition, a group of Magic Valley irrigators with senior water rights.

capitol, statehouse, idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Tuesday’s primary election in Idaho saw seven incumbent lawmakers lose their positions in the Legislature. It also whittled down the candidates vying for a seat on Idaho’s Supreme Court.

Many match-ups featured moderate Republicans against candidates from the far right wing of the party.

Reporter Betsy Russell of the Spokane Spokesman-Review writes the “Eye on Boise” blog and was among those watching the election closely.

Thomas Hawk / Flickr Creative Commons

Officials in the central Idaho resort town of Ketchum are moving ahead with possibly installing three or four welcome signs.

The Ketchum City Council on Monday directed City Parks and Recreation Director Jen Smith to work with the Ketchum Arts Commission on potential designs.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that the council also wants to look into starting a fundraising campaign and a process for selecting an artist.

Councilman Baird Gourlay says he wants a sign where visitors can pull over and take photos.

Craig Bennett / Flickr

The U.S. Postal Service is using new technology to try to keep the number of dog bites down on postal routes.

Two new safety measures will help alert postal carriers about dogs. Dan Corral is the Postmaster of Boise. He says when customers sign up to use USPS.com’s package pickup application, they’ll be asked if they have a dog. And starting later this month, the Post Office will use special package scanners to warn of problem dogs at specific residences.

Ada County Statehouse Capitol Building Senate Chambers Keough
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Two Idaho Supreme Court hopefuls are facing a runoff election with vote counting early Wednesday showing none of the top candidates having won more than 50 percent in Tuesday's primary.

Robyn Brody, an attorney from Rupert, and Curt McKenzie, a seven-term Republican state senator, were the top vote getters and are headed for a runoff in the November general election.

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