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Idaho Ed News

It didn’t take long for former Gov. Jim Risch to remind me how I was earning a paycheck 10 years ago.

In August 2006, Risch was midway through a seven-month stint as governor, and brokering a deal to slash Idaho property taxes.

I was editorial page editor at the Idaho Statesman at the time — and our editorial board came out against his plan to eliminate $260 million in public school property tax levies, and use a $210 million sales tax increase to make up most of the difference.

Inciweb

It’s not clear yet what started the Cherry Road Fire Sunday afternoon. But what is clear is that dry brush and grass have fueled the flames, making for quickly changing conditions between Sunday and Monday.  

The fire is near the Idaho border, and has blown smoke into the Treasure Valley. A Type 2 firefighting team is now working to get control of the fire, which is threatening the popular Succor Creek State Park. 

DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Following news that the Idaho Republican Party had opened three field offices in traditional Democratic strongholds like Blaine County and that the GOP planned to open more, Democrats pointed out they'd also sent out operatives. Dean Ferguson with Idaho’s Democratic Party says state Democratic leaders started sending out field organizers in February and now have seven assigned in key legislative districts.

Ted Ricardson / AP Photo

 

U.S. Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl is back in court Monday as his lawyers work to get his case dismissed. The Hailey native has been charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy during his deployment to Afghanistan. 

Bergdahl’s lawyers say his case was improperly influenced by Arizona Sen. John McCain last year when he said that if the military doesn’t punish the Army sergeant, he would hold a Senate hearing on the case.

Idaho's unemployment rate in July slightly bumped up from last month to 3.8 percent.

The Idaho Department of Labor in a news release Friday says continued demand for workers and an increase in people looking for work caused the rate to move from the previous 3.7 percent. The last time state's unemployment increased was in April 2015.

However, Idaho has regained its status as number one in the nation for job growth in July with nearly 23,000 more jobs.

Total employment for Idaho grew by more than 1,000 to 781,000.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

A new, bright yellow marketing campaign is taking place on the Boise Greenbelt. Chalk stenciling with the phrase “Buck the Quo” is written on the path in places like Ann Morrison Park.  City officials say it's one of a limited number of nonprofit marketing campaigns approved by the city. 

Any Greenbelt advertising without the City of Boise's permission is illegal. Parks and Recreation Director Doug Holloway says it’s not often that he says yes to a marketing request.

Idaho Statesman

Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill has requested that legislative auditors investigate the travel expenses of two lawmakers facing allegations of having an extramarital affair.

Hill told The Associated Press Thursday that auditors will begin reviewing the past three years of travel vouchers of Republicans Rep. Christy Perry, of Nampa, and Sen. Jim Guthrie, of McCammon.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Think of it as a giant bubble filled with wildfire smoke.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

 

A rare copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio is in Boise for a month-long exhibition at Boise State University. This 400-year-old book is the first collection of William Shakespeare’s plays. It has immense historical significance and is sought-after by collectors. Copies can sell for millions of dollars. Boise State has gone to great lengths to create a memorable experience and ensure the book’s safety.

Molly Messick / Boise State Public Radio/ StateImpact Idaho

Idaho only has a handful of competitive legislative races in the upcoming general election, but party officials on both sides are prepping for heated battles in key legislative districts across the state.

The state's Republican Party recently announced the launch of field offices in Lewiston, Moscow and Blaine County, some of the most strongly Democratic places in this super-majority Republican state. 

Idaho GOP executive director David Johnston says there are parts of Idaho his party will win without much effort. But others, he says, will be a fight.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

In 2014, Idaho ag exports hit a record value of more than $1 billion. Levels like that now seems like a distant memory.

Boise State University

"I came to be inspired. I need inspiration."

Those words were one bookend, spoken by a two-year Boise State University employee as she walked to the Morrison Center auditorium on Wednesday morning. 

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Three-time gold medal Olympian Kristin Armstrong arrived to a heroine's welcome at the Boise airport Monday afternoon. Since then, the Idaho native says she's been going nonstop.

Since she won the cycling event of time trial, she says she’s been constantly stopped by people calling out “congratulations,” and asking to pose for pictures.

Wiki Media Commons

A valuable, rare book is coming to Idaho for a month-long exhibition at Boise State University. The Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington D.C. is doing a national tour of the first collection of William Shakespeare’s plays, known as the First Folio. The university expects thousands of people to come and see this 400-year-old book.

To explain why this book is considered so important, George Prentice talked with reporter and the KBSX newsroom’s resident Shakespeare enthusiast Adam Cotterell.

Wikimedia Commons

License plates honoring the 150th anniversary of the Idaho Territory are at risk of disappearing unless more history buffs step up to the plate.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that only about 220 of the Idaho Territorial Sesquicentennial plates have been sold each year during the initial three-year grace period, but now that the grace period is over state law requires at least 1,000 plates be sold or renewed each year to keep the design in use.

Leaflet / Wikimedia Commons

A hospital trying to raise money for a high-tech piece of equipment to help its patients might be newsworthy. Someone who was once paralyzed and is now climbing Idaho’s tallest mountain certainly would be. Now a Twin Falls doctor who thought he’d never walk again is climbing Borah Peak Wednesday in order to raise money for a machine to help his patients learn to walk again.

Ian Robertson / Boise State University

A small, flowering plant that grows only in southwest Idaho is about to go back on the Endangered Species List. Slickspot Peppergrass has been there before, in 2009, but its status as “threatened” was challenged by Governor Butch Otter.

After years of legal wrangling, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service plans to put it back on the list next month.

Slickspot Peppergrass is a hairy green plant with white flowers, and is found in just a few areas of southwest Idaho.

Erin Fenner, Idaho Statesman

The two deputies involved in a fatal shooting of a rancher say they are weighing their options on moving forward after prosecutors concluded the two men would not face criminal charges.

Adams County sheriff's Deputies Cody Roland and Brian Wood defended their actions in shooting 62-year-old Jack Yantis in an interview with KIVI-TV on Monday. The two are currently on administrative leave, and they have been named in a wrongful death tort claim filed by Yantis' family.

David Erickson / Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho school district will hand out nearly 2,000 laptops as the first phase of a personalized learning initiative.

KTVB-TV reports the Nampa School District will issue the Dell Latitude laptops to Columbia High School students this week. The computers can be used at school and at home.

The laptops are part of a three-year, $3.5 million project to modernize classroom technology and curriculum. It will also feature professional development for teachers.

inciweb.gov

Three U.S. Senators were in Boise Monday to restate their support of legislation that would overhaul the way the nation pays for its biggest wildfires.

Senators Mike Crapo, R-ID, Jim Risch, R-ID, and Ron Wyden, D-OR, visited the National Interagency Fire Center for the third time in support of the proposal. 

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