News

Aspen Skiing Company, artist rendering

Aspen Skiing Co. plans to build a hotel in Ketchum, Idaho, modeled on its Limelight Hotel in Aspen.

The company said Tuesday the hotel will be near Sun Valley's River Run base at Bald Mountain. It will also be called the Limelight.

Aspen Skiing bought the property from Bald Mountain LLC. No cost figures were released.

The company says the site has approval for 119 rooms and suites and 11 residential units. The company says it will ask Ketchum city officials for minor modifications in the plans, including a reconfiguration of the main floor.

Five of Idaho's neighboring states will ring in the New Year with an increase in their minimum wage. Idaho, meanwhile, hasn't seen an increase in its minimum wage since 2009.

Idaho's wage is the federal minimum, $7.25 per hour.

Not only is Idaho nearly surrounded by states with a minimum wage above the federal baseline, but it's nearly surrounded by states with the highest minimum wages in the country.

Sun Valley Resort

Ski season is now in full swing, but the lodge at one of the region’s most famous destinations is closed for the season.

The owners of Idaho's Sun Valley Resort are hoping a major renovation will keep them competitive among wealthy travelers. Sun Valley’s reputation as a destination among the jet-setting class goes back decades. But the iconic 1936 lodge hasn’t kept pace with the area’s star-studded image.

The Idaho Court of Appeals has vacated a black man's sex crime convictions against two white female teenagers because the prosecutor interjected race in closing arguments by quoting lyrics from the Confederate anthem "Dixie."

All three judges agreed that Canyon County Deputy Prosecutor Erica Kallin erred in citing a song praising what the judges called pernicious racism, and that it might have influenced the jury.

Laura Taylor / Flickr Creative Commons

Imagine you’re a parent and your teenager says ‘I want to have a party and I want to serve alcohol.’ Many parents would answer, not just 'no,' but 'hell no.'

But Blaine County’s sheriff says his officers are called to parent-supervised teen keggers a couple times a year. If the adults supplied booze the officers can write a ticket. Sheriff Gene Ramsey wants to be able to cite parents just for knowing about the drinking.

Daniel Go / Flickr

An agreement has been reached to build a new $2 million fertilizer plant in American Falls.

The Idaho Statesman reports ConAgra Foods and Magnida also announced an agreement on groundwater Tuesday.

The two companies say arrangements for financing the new fertilizer plant have been in the works for more than six years. Construction on the new plant could begin in 2015.

Amy / Flickr Creative Commons

Snoqualmie Gourmet Ice Cream says it is voluntarily recalling nearly a year's worth of ice cream and related products because of possible listeria contamination. 

The recall announced Tuesday covers products made from Jan. 1 until Dec. 15. Products include all flavors and sizes of ice cream, gelato, custard and sorbet, as well as Emerald & Spruce Ice Cream and Top Pot Hand Forged Ice Cream.

earthquakes
Domesticat / Flickr Creative Commons

The latest earthquake swarm in central Idaho could help scientists better understand quake belts extending from Yellowstone National Park.

The most recent swarm in the Challis area started this week and so far 20 quakes have been recorded, the largest a 3.7 magnitude on Monday.

No damage has been reported.

Scientist Mike Stickney of the Montana Bureau of Mines and Geology based in Butte, Montana, says a portable seismograph left in place after a swarm last summer has helped pinpoint the earthquakes.

Jeremy Conant / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho is among the top 10 states for estimated population growth between 2013 and 2014, recording the strongest population gain since the recession, according to the Idaho Department of Labor.

Data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows Idaho’s 2014 population is up 1.3 percent from 2013. That’s higher than the national average population growth of 0.7 percent.

Census puts Idaho’s estimated population at 1,634,464 million. That’s an increase of 21,000 people.

National Weather Service

Update, 9:15 a.m.: The National Weather Service has issued a winter weather advisory for much of southern Idaho and southeastern Oregon. The advisory will take effect late Wednesday afternoon as a cold front blows through.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

An Idaho high school senior made waves earlier this month for a pointed editorial taking aim at Superintendent of Public Instruction-elect Sherri Ybarra.

Harmony Soto, 17, decided to plagiarize Boise Weekly writer George Prentice after Ybarra narrowly won November's election -- even after Ybarra was accused of plagiarizing her opponent's campaign website.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID, is optimistic the changing makeup of the U.S. Congress will lead to the passage of an immigration reform bill in 2015. But the lawmaker isn't as optimistic about that legislation actually becoming law.

"I think we're gonna have legislation that passes the House and the Senate that the American people will like," Labrador says. "The question is whether this President will be willing to actually sign that legislation."

The College of Idaho has received a $2.45 million grant spread over five years for biomedical research.

The school in southwest Idaho in a statement Monday says that about a third of the money will be used to investigate the medical properties of sagebrush.

A similar amount will be used to research small molecule inhibitors that could be used to fight pathogenic microorganisms.

The school says the rest of the money will be used for other research projects.

The money comes from the National Institutes of Health's IDeA Network of Biomedical Research Excellence.

Tony Morris / Flickr Creative Commons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is asking Indian tribes, government agencies and others to submit information about conservation efforts for the greater sage grouse.

The service said Monday it needs the best data possible to make a decision on whether the bird warrants protection under the Endangered Species Act.

Congress has barred the federal government from spending money on rules to protect the bird, but the Fish and Wildlife Service says it is still bound by a court order to reach a decision by September on whether a listing is warranted.

tdlucas5000 / Flickr Creative Commons

Farmers in Idaho say hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beef, potatoes, apples, cheese and other products are languishing in storage because of problems at West Coast ports. The state’s agriculture officials are trying to pressure dock workers and their bosses to resolve a labor dispute and resume normal operations.

Idaho potato farmers say the port delays have prompted some overseas customers to cancel their orders altogether.

Jim Mertz of the Symms Fruit Company in Caldwell says only about 20 percent of their shipments this fall made it out of port on schedule.

Custer County officials in central Idaho say there's no damage from an earthquake that shook the area Monday morning.

The U.S. Geological Survey says the 3.7-magnitude temblor occurred about 10:20 a.m. and was located about a mile east of Challis and about a mile deep.

Linda Lumpkin of the Custer County Sheriff's Office says the quake was widely felt among residents in the sparsely populated area.

But she says residents are used to the ground shaking after a swarm of quakes up to 4.9 in magnitude last spring that peaked in mid-April.

Deborah Ferguson, gay marriage, lawyer
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

A federal judge has ruled that Idaho must pay more than $400,000 to the lawyers who successfully fought to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale on Friday awarded an amount that is about 10 percent less than what the lawyers requested.

Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and attorney Christopher Rich argued for an award of little more than $200,000. They said that the six lawyers working on the case took too much time and charged too much in hourly fees.

The lead attorney billed $400 an hour and recorded more than 600 hours.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

By various measures, Idaho is a generous state. Wallet Hub finds Idaho is the third-most generous state when it comes to charitable giving. The Chronicle of Philanthropy finds Idahoans give more than residents of every surrounding state except Utah. Idahoans are also eager to give their time.

Gene Han / Flickr

Idaho’s unemployment rate dropped in November to its lowest rate in nearly seven years, in part because the labor force is shrinking.

Idaho Department of Labor spokesman Bob Fick says November's 3.9 percent jobless rate was down two-tenths of a point from October.

“There’s usually a decline in jobs from October to November and that decline was less than in the past and there continue to be people who left the labor force,” says Fick. “So the combination of steady jobs and lower labor force was responsible for driving down the unemployment rate under four percent.”

Dept. of Defense

U.S. officials have finished an investigation into how and why Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl disappeared from his base in Afghanistan. Bergdahl was held captive for five years by the Taliban.

The Pentagon says Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel is expected to be briefed on the report as early as today.

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