News

Boise GreenBike
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Three months in, riders using Boise's GreenBike program have made almost 5,000 trips on the bikes.

Dave Fotsch is the director of the program. He says almost 2,000 people have used the bikes since the program started in April. GreenBike lets people rent bikes around town, and is meant to improve the environment and users' health.

“Ridership has been good, and we’ve generated about $24,000-$25,000 from membership and ridership," says Fotsch. "But I would like to see higher numbers for both of those categories.”

Boy Scouts of America

The Boy Scouts of America lifted its ban on gay troop leaders and volunteers Monday. The controversial ban was something some conservative groups in Idaho wanted to keep in place. However, many religion-based troops are expected to take advantage of a compromise that's expected to result in few actual changes. 

Former Idaho House Speaker Tom Boyd has died.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Republican lawmaker who served eight terms in the Idaho Legislature from 1977 to 1992 died Monday at a nursing home in Moscow. He was 86.

Boyd represented Latah County for 16 years, the last six as speaker.

Lawmakers described him as a "peacemaker" and "consensus builder."

Boyd farmed wheat and peas in the Genesee area and served on local boards before running for state office.

One of the largest Basque communities in the United States will spend the next five days celebrating the traditional Jaialdi festival in southwestern Idaho.

An estimated 35,000 to 50,000 people are expected to attend the five-day party —which starts Tuesday in Boise— as a showcase of the culture. The festival originally started in 1987, and has been held every five years starting in 1990 ever since.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter has created a task force intended to strengthen the state's protections against computer hackers.

Otter on Monday announced that he signed an executive order creating the Idaho Cybersecurity Cabinet Task Force.

Otter in a statement says the task force will develop policies, programs and strategies to find vulnerabilities and prevent attacks.

He says the state's long-term economic competitiveness is linked to cybersecurity.

Don Barrett / Flickr Creative Commons

Southwest Idaho stands out in bright red on the most recent drought map. The color signifies the area is in extreme drought. Jay Chamberlin of the Owyhee Irrigation District says that's not surprising, given the lack of snowpack last winter.

Jerry McFarland / Flickr

More than a quarter million sockeye salmon returning from the ocean to spawn are either dead or dying in the Columbia River and its tributaries due to warming water temperatures.

Federal and state fisheries biologists say water that is 5 to 6 degrees warmer is wiping out at least half of this year's returning population of the cold-water species.

Ritchie Graves of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration says up to 80 percent of the population could ultimately perish.

Officials are trying to cool flows by releasing cold water from selected reservoirs.

The Idaho Attorney General's Office is now investigating a former custom boat maker who moved to upstate New York to open a new business, leaving behind unfinished boats and multiple lawsuits.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

After two years without one, Boise will soon have its next ombudsman in place.

Mayor David Bieter announced Friday that attorney Natalie Camacho Mendoza will assume the role on August 3, pending city council approval.  Council members are expected to approve the selection at their meeting Tuesday.

Camacho Mendoza is originally from Pocatello.  She’s been in Boise for 20 years and has practiced law for 26.  Her experience includes work as a defense attorney and prosecutor. 

Idaho National Guard

Idaho native and Army Sergeant Bowe Bergdahl was caught up in a raid on a pot farm in California this week.

The Anderson Valley Advertiser reports Bergdahl was on the scene this week when the Mendocino County drug task force raided a property in Redwood Valley.

“He was visiting old friends when the local dope team arrived on a marijuana raid. Bergdahl, who is awaiting military court martial, had an Army pass allowing him to be in Mendocino County.” – Anderson Valley Advertiser

Kelly Magee / Bureau of Land Management

Horses, trainers and potential owners are gathering Friday and Saturday in Nampa to watch wild mustangs show off in the ring.

The Extreme Mustang Makeover is a chance for wild horses to get a new home. Each horse is hooked up with a trainer before the event. The horses are then taken to the makeover to show what they can learn in a short period of time.

The Idaho Transportation Department has agreed to pay a $52,000 fine after demolishing an asbestos-containing building in northern Idaho and potentially exposing the public to the cancer-causing fibers.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the agreement Thursday involving the November demolition of the state-owned building in Priest River.

The federal agency says the state agency failed to do an asbestos survey before the demolition and only learned of the demolition after receiving a public complaint.

BLM

Authorities say a cyclist started a 73-acre wildfire in southwest Idaho by lighting his toilet paper on fire after taking a comfort break.

U.S. Bureau of Land Management officials say the cyclist stopped to defecate in a ravine in the Boise foothills on Wednesday afternoon. The man then lit the toilet paper on fire but lost control of the embers in the dry grass while trying to extinguishing the waste.

Firefighters contained the flames several hours later.

The Annie E. Casey Foundation this week released its annual Kids Count Data Book, which examines children’s well being across the country.

The 2015 numbers show Idaho continues to lag in pre-school offerings.

Nearly 70 percent of children don’t attend school until kindergarten. That’s something that concerns Idaho Kids Count Director Lauren Necochea.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Seven years ago, a beloved lodge in Idaho’s backcountry burned to the ground. The Big Creek Lodge was built in the 1930s in a remote spot in the Payette National Forest. For decades it welcomed people as they headed into the Frank Church Wilderness. A grass airstrip next to the lodge meant many of the guests at Big Creek were pilots.

Now, a group of pilots is rebuilding the lodge.

A city in northern Idaho is joining a hundred others across the country in offering safe meeting places for people selling or buying through online platforms like Craigslist.

Coeur d'Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood says people can now use the department's parking lot during normal business hours to conduct business, a practice similar to one put in place by the Post Falls Police Department.

Melinda Shelton / Flickr

A new study says the switch to a four-day school week isn’t saving Idaho school districts the kind of money they had expected. The Rural Opportunities Consortium of Idaho even found that some districts say their costs went up after the change.

Benjamin Lim / Flickr

A federal appeals court has rejected a request by the Coeur d'Alene Tribe to dismiss a lawsuit by Idaho officials seeking to prevent Texas Hold 'Em poker tournaments at the tribe's casino.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also on Wednesday upheld U.S. District Court Judge B. Lynn Winmill's injunction issued in September preventing the tribe from holding the tournaments while the lawsuit moves forward.

Idaho officials sued the tribe in May 2014 contending all forms of poker are banned under Idaho's Constitution and state law.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

Attorneys representing Idaho inmates in a class action lawsuit over prison health care told a federal judge Wednesday that prison officials intentionally misled a court-appointed examiner and the department should be punished by the court.

But attorneys for the state denied the inmates' claims and countered that the allegations are based on incomplete evidence that has been taken out of context.

Courtesy of American Center for Law and Justice

Iran's deputy foreign minister says Iranian diplomats discussed the case of Americans still held captive by Tehran. That includes Boise pastor Saeed Abedini. The issue was raised on the sidelines of negotiations in Vienna earlier this month that led to the landmark deal on curbing Iran's nuclear program.

Abbas Araghchi told reporters in the Iranian capital on Wednesday that cases of "imprisoned citizens" were discussed with their American counterparts during the nuclear talks.

He says "humanitarian" reasons had motivated the discussion but did not elaborate.

Pages