News

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.

Idaho Department of Agriculture

Idaho officials intercepted a boat Tuesday on U.S. Highway 93 that was carrying a potentially harmful invasive species.

The boat was moored in Lake Mead, Nevada, which is infested with quagga and zebra mussels. When it entered Idaho, the owners were required to stop at one of the state’s 16 inspection stations to ensure none of the invasive species were brought into the state.

But Lloyd Knight, with Idaho’s Department of Agriculture, said that’s not what happened.

Authorities say an Idaho jail is no longer required to have federal oversight now that conditions have been improved.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the Canyon County jail has been under federal court oversight since the American Civil Liberties Union sued over what it called "indecent, cruel and inhumane" conditions there seven years ago.

Dept. of Defense

A military judge is delaying the start of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's military trial until February.

Col. Jeffrey Nance said during a pre-trial hearing Tuesday at Fort Bragg in North Carolina that delaying the court-martial from August should allow enough time to sort through access to classified documents by Bergdahl's defense team.

Nance also ordered military prosecutors to set up online access to court documents for news organizations covering the case of the soldier charged with desertion for leaving his combat outpost in Afghanistan and falling into Taliban hands.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Tuesday is primary day for a number of legislative races in Idaho. There are some important face-offs to watch – ones that could influence the direction of Idaho’s conservative majority. Some incumbent Republicans are being challenged by more conservative politicians, creating division among the GOP.

The one big statewide race is for the supreme court. Four candidates are vying for this position, which is nonpartisan.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Agricultural exports, a major segment of Idaho’s economy, took a 22 percent drop last year. That’s a decline of more than $200 million. Domestic ag sales were down in 2015 as well, as were the state’s non-ag exports, but neither saw as steep a drop as agricultural exports.

Roughly a quarter of Idaho ag products go overseas. And the going over the sea part was some of the problem according to Laura Johnson, market development manager at Idaho’s Department of Agriculture. Issues at west coast ports hurt sales to Asia.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

It's Boise Bike Week, a week when people are encouraged to strap on their helmets and dust off their cruisers. Groups like the Treasure Valley Cycling Alliance have a whole slew of events planned to get things rolling (ahem).

Architect of the Capitol

In the 2.3 million acres that make up the Payette National Forest, there is a single tree with a major holiday destiny to fulfill. 

The Christmas tree that adorns the Capitol lawn in Washington, D.C., this year will come from Idaho. Now that the snow is melting up high, the hunt for the perfect tree is on.

Finding the Capitol Christmas tree is a lot like what most families do each year, just on a much bigger scale.  

Rocky Barker / Idaho Statesman

Federal officials are taking public comments on a plan to build about 400 miles of fire breaks in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon following last year's massive wildfire in the area.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management says some of the fire breaks that follow road corridors have already been built on an emergency basis.

The agency is considering the environmental effects of creating more fuel breaks using mechanical and chemical treatments, plantings and targeted grazing.

Mike Gifford / Flickr Creative Commons

We’ve heard from some southwest Idaho school districts in the last few days about how they’re reacting to new federal guidelines about transgender students. The Obama administration Friday sent a letter to all public schools that take federal money saying the law that bans gender discrimination also applies to transgender students.

Boise State Public Radio has announced the hiring of Tom Michael as its next general manager.

Michael is the founder and general manager of Marfa Public Radio and West Texas Public Radio. Considered to be the preeminent small market public radio station in the country, Marfa Public Radio has won 16 Edward R. Murrow awards the last two years.

Prior to founding the station in 2005, Michael was a freelance writer and editor. He also served as an editor for Encyclopedia Britannica in the 1990s. He’s a 1991 graduate of Loyola University of Chicago.

Wayan Vota / Flickr Creative Commons

The Obama administration Friday issued new guidelines about transgender students in the nation’s schools. A letter sent to schools firms up already existing policies that the Title IX law banning gender discrimination in schools taking federal money also applies to transgender students in K-12 schools.

Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

A group of Boise State University students got glowing reviews after the tool they built for NASA was put through its paces last month.

The tool, known as the Zero Operable Interplanetary Delivery Based Ergonomics Grabber, is called Zoidberg 2.0 for short. Zoidberg is a character on the cartoon Futurama.

Idaho Housing and Finance Association Facebook page

The City of Boise Thursday celebrated the opening of a new apartment complex for low-income seniors. It’s called the Vineyard at Eagle Promenade, though it’s actually in Boise just across the road from Eagle. The City of Boise helped pay for the 30-unit project along with several partners, including the Idaho Housing and Finance association and New Beginnings Housing which has other low-income housing in Nampa, Caldwell and Hailey.

Richard Cassan / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has halted a salvage logging project in northern Idaho at the request of two environmental groups that say it violates the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Candy Dale on Thursday ruled the U.S. Forest Service cannot go ahead with the project near the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater rivers that aims to harvest 34 million board feet of timber scorched by a 2014 wildfire.

The lightning-caused Johnson Bar Fire burned more than 20 square miles, mostly on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests.

Bryant Olsen / Flickr Creative Commons

U.S. Customs and Border Protection wants to reopen a northern Idaho road in designated grizzly bear habitat near the Canadian border the federal agency says is needed for national security.

A 6-mile section of Bog Creek Road in the Idaho Panhandle National Forests would be opened for official use to provide an east-west route in the Selkirk Mountains.

The road cuts through the Selkirk Grizzly Bear Recovery Zone and was closed in the 1980s to protect grizzlies. Officials say it has deteriorated and needs significant repairs.

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