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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.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced a new proposal Thursday that he says would help low income Idahoans get health care.

The Primary Care Access Program (PCAP) still needs to be approved by the Idaho Legislature. It is designed to help adults 19-64 who don’t have health insurance.

Otter says Idaho doesn’t want to expand Medicaid and PCAP will help the 78,000 people who fall through the cracks of the current system.

M&R Glasgow / Flickr.com

With an executive order this week, President Obama is seeking to require background checks on most gun sales. Until now, the checks haven't been required for sales by small vendors. This is sometimes referred to as the “gun show loophole.”

Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

The September fire that destroyed the Boise International Market has been deemed an act of arson, according to the Boise Police and Fire departments.  

A four-month joint investigation included the use of private fire investigation experts and forensic analysis. Officials say additional information uncovered during the investigation led investigators to conclude the fire was intentionally set.

idtrucking.org

In Congress’ recent omnibus spending bill there was a small, largely unnoticed provision that applied only to Idaho. But it had nothing to do with spending. The provision allows Idaho to raise weight limits for big trucks.  

Wikimedia Commons

Since Saturday, an armed group has occupied a federal complex at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon. Led by Nevada rancher Ammon Bundy, the members say they are there in large part to protest federal land management policies.

So far no violence has occurred, though some of the militants have said they are willing to die for their cause.

S. Hellstrom / Bureau of Land Management

As tensions mount over the occupation of a federal building in an Oregon wildlife refuge by an armed group, some are asking the question: Could it happen in Idaho? The Gem State has had its own arguments over the use of federal land, including the Legislature considering taking control of all the federal land within Idaho’s borders.

Idaho Fish and Game

With 2016 just around the corner, it's hard not to get excited about what's to come in the New Year. Our collaborative Speaking of Serial podcast with the Idaho Statesman is taking off, NPR Music's Tiny Desk Contest is slated for next month, not to mention the 2016 presidential election.

Screengrab idahopotatodrop.com

For those of you who don’t have plans yet for New Year’s Eve, or for those of you who want advice on avoiding crowds that night, here’s an update on what has become Idaho’s biggest New Year’s Party.

It’s probably safe now to call the Idaho Potato Drop an annual event. This is the third year a car-sized foam potato will be lowered from a crane in downtown Boise as a crowd counts down the end of the year. This time the event is moving a few blocks to the small park in front of the state Capitol building. 

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