Adam Cotterell

News Reporter

Adam Cotterell returned to his home town of Boise, Idaho in 2007 after three years teaching university English in China. His plan was to teach high school drama and history, but in a move that almost makes him believe in destiny he took a part time job in Boise State Public Radio’s newsroom. He became a full time general assignments reporter in 2010. Adam's main focus is on covering education, but also enjoys doing all types of stories; from interviewing unique people to reporting on Boise's theatre scene.

Adam lives in Boise with his wife, daughter, and dog. He is also considered a pioneer in the art form abstract expressionist origami.

Jim Peaco | Yellowstone National Park / Flickr Creative Commons

A group of pro-wildlife organizations filed a lawsuit Wednesday against two federal agencies over animal control operations in Idaho. The suit names the USDA’s APHIS Wildlife Service and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

The court filing alleges:

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The city of Boise and the Boise School District are teaming up to offer preschool as part of the city's Vista Neighborhood Project pilot program. Over a number of years, the city is putting several million dollars into this one part of town in hopes of transforming the relatively-poor neighborhood.

Diana Lachiondo with Boise’s mayor’s office says research shows preschool is good for communities.

Data: Idaho Human Rights Commission | Chart: Adam Cotterell

It’s been more than a week since Idaho lawmakers killed the “Add the Words” bill that would have outlawed discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. If it had become law, the ban would have expanded the investigation authority of the Idaho Commission on Human Rights.

That got us wondering what the commission does investigate. So we asked for some data using Idaho’s public records laws.

USDA and Iowa State University

The U.S. Department of Agriculture says the avian influenza found in a flock of chickens in Parma last month, came to Idaho from Southeast Asia.

boisestate.edu/planning

Boise State University says it's eliminating its Community and Regional Planning Department, a move that still requires approval by the state Board of Education.

The university says budget constraints made the decision necessary, and the graduate program’s small size made it a logical place to cut. The planning department has about 20 students according to an article on the university’s website.

twitter.com

There’s been another potential bump in the road in the relationship between the City of Boise and app-based car service Uber.

After a row with the city a month ago, Uber agreed not to charge in Boise until the two sides settled on a long term operating agreement.

But some Boiseans took to Twitter over the weekend to complain about being unexpectedly charged for Uber rides.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Another attempt at establishing public preschool in Idaho will likely be introduced this month in the state Legislature. Idaho is one of only a handful of states that doesn’t have statewide public preschool. Many lawmakers object to it on philosophical grounds, despite strong evidence it’s good for student success.

John Milner / Flickr Creative Commons

When it comes to determining America's best ski towns, it's not always about the best powder or accommodations. 

For the second year, real estate information company RealtyTrac has published a list of the best ski towns for investing. Three Idaho spots make this year’s list. 

deq.idaho.gov

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) this week released several reports on important aquifers around the country. Idaho’s Snake River Plain Basin features in two of those reports. About a fifth of Idahoans rely on that aquifer as their only source of drinking water.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Every year in late January volunteers around the country, and across Idaho, take to the streets to ask people experiencing homelessness where they slept on a particular night. It's a difficult task because people who sleep in their cars or in parks -- known as unsheltered homeless -- can be hard to find. But the numbers volunteers come up with are important because they're used for things like setting federal funding for local homeless programs.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

During President Barack Obama's speech at Boise State, he bragged about innovation taking place in Boise and on the BSU campus. At least 5,000 people heard his remarks firsthand. But a lot of people who wanted to be there couldn't. The White House limited the number of tickets available. And, as Adam Cotterell reports, those who watched Mr. Obama on TV, may have actually had a better seat than those in attendance.

Castle Peak, Baker Ranch
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

President Barack Obama’s visit to Boise is a rare chance for Idaho groups to get their messages in front of the nation’s leader. Organizations critical of the President are organizing demonstrations outside the Boise State University sports complex where he'll speak Wednesday afternoon. Others will rally for causes and issues hoping to get attention from Obama.

Pew Charitable Trusts

Here’s a new way to measure Idaho’s fiscal health: tax volatility. Idaho is in the top third of most-volatile state tax revenues. That’s according a report released Thursday from the Pew Charitable Trusts, which Pew calls a first-of-its-kind national comparison.

If you haven’t yet clicked away, but you’re about to because reading the phrase ‘tax volatility’ made you think a trip to the dentist or DMV might be pleasant about now, here’s why it’s important.

Kevin Rank / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho’s annual legislative session starts next week, but some lawmakers are already at work. Each year, just before the session, a group of lawmakers meets to try and get an idea of what Idaho’s economy will be like in the coming year. They use what they hear to inform their budgeting decisions.

Of course, what the state’s economy will do in the future is something that’s important to most everyone in Idaho, not just lawmakers. So here’s a preview of what legislators will hear.

twitter.com/jkaf_foundation

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation has given away about $30 million a year in Idaho since the 1990s. Most of that money has gone to projects involving Idaho’s public schools. But foundation Executive Director Roger Quarles says the board and staff are frustrated with how that's worked out, and are changing the way they give.

“Since 1997 we’ve invested almost $700 million in K-12 and higher ed,” Quarles says. “And to me, it looks the same as it did 17 years ago. School basically looks the same, feels the same as it did a hundred years ago in Idaho.”

Uber
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

The city of Boise has issued a cease-and-desist order to Uber, the app-based car service company. City officials say Uber is violating an agreement not to charge passengers until the city gives it the go ahead.

Uber has been operating in Boise since October under a temporary agreement with the city. Boise and Uber were in negotiations for a permanent contract.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Hydrologists from the Natural Resources Conservation Service  measured snow pack Tuesday in the mountains above the Treasure Valley. At the Mores Creek sight near Idaho City, snow pack was 53 inches. But more importantly, says water supply specialist Ron Abramovich, that snow contains 14 inches of water.

“And normally at this time of year we’d have 12 inches of water in the snow pack” he says. “So we’re a little above average, which is good.”

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.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The school day is over at Boise’s Whitney Elementary but the playground is full of children. About 140 kids each day take part in the afterschool program at the adjacent Whitney Community Center.

It has tutors to help with homework. There’s book clubs, arts and crafts, board games, basketball, outside activities, and pool and computer games for the older kids who walk over from South Junior High. Director Barbara English says some kids stay until the center closes at 7:00, but not because of all the stuff to do.

philanthropy.com

A recent report from the finance website Wallet Hub says Idaho is the third most-generous state (tied with Kansas). Utah and South Dakota topped the list. Wallet Hub looked at volunteer time and money donated using IRS statistics and survey data.

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