Associated Press

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A military judge has rejected efforts to dismiss the desertion case against Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl over comments made by U.S. Sen. John McCain.

Berdahl's lawyers argued that McCain improperly influenced the case by telling a reporter in 2015 that his Senate committee would hold a hearing if Bergdahl weren't punished.

Bergdahl walked off his post in Afghanistan in 2009 and wound up in captivity of the Taliban and its allies for five years.

He is charged with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy. Trial is scheduled for February 2017 at Fort Bragg.

Authorities have arrested two Idaho teenagers they say brought hit lists to school.

The Rathdrum Police Department tells the Spokesman-Review that the junior high school students were arrested Wednesday after they were each discovered with a list of three names. Investigators say these were separate incidents and no other students were involved.

The arrested students are 13 and 14 years old.

Lakeland schools Superintendent Becky Meyer says the first list contained generic first names and did not identify specific students. It was discovered Tuesday.

An attorney for a southern Idaho school district has asked that court documents relating to a sexual misconduct case be sealed.

The Times-News reports that attorneys for the Dietrich School District cited a Tuesday article in the newspaper that detailed the school's investigating into allegations that a black football player was sexually assaulted as evidence as to why the court documents should be sealed.

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Two more wells providing drinking water in the southwest Idaho city of Nampa have tested positive for E. coli bacteria, which can cause intestinal illnesses.

Southwest District Health tells the Idaho Press-Tribune in a story on Thursday that six previous wells found to be contaminated with E. coli are still testing positive.

Testing of the private wells is voluntary, and the health district isn't releasing the exact locations. Officials say there have been no reports of illnesses connected to the contamination.

Kate Haake / AP

Anti-Medicaid expansion advocates are warning Idaho lawmakers that expanding the federal health care program designed to cover the poor will end up costing the state millions and do little to drive down medical fees.

Instead, those advocates on Wednesday urged the small legislative group tasked with reviewing Idaho's so-called Medicaid gap to consider supporting more charity care and finding jobs for the unemployed.

More than 30 members of an Idaho militia group say they've resigned after the group's president spent $2,900 in donations on personal items rather than using it to help four Idaho men facing charges from a 2014 armed standoff with government agents in Nevada.

The 36 members in mainly leadership positions of Idaho 3% announced the resignations Tuesday in a letter obtained by the Idaho Statesman.

The former members contend that Brandon Curtiss used the money for unauthorized car accessory purchases and other charges.

insurance exchange, computer, your health idaho
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Though there will be more options for health insurance available on Your Idaho Health's marketplace this year, premiums will be higher than in 2016.

The Idaho Statesman reports that premiums will be about 24 percent higher on average in 2017 than they were in 2016. The price each person pays depends on factors such as age, geographic location and desired levels of insurance coverage, among other factors.

Redfish Lake Camera Screengrab

Sawtooth National Recreation Area officials are planning a 4.5-mile bike trail to connect the city of Stanley to Redfish Lake.

The Times-News reports that as soon as 2018 work could begin on the new trail, which would connect Stanley's Pioneer Park to the popular lake.

Planning for the new trail began in 2013 after the recreation area purchased a trail easement through a private ranch in the north third of the proposed trail route.

Idaho Statesman

The two Idaho Supreme Court candidates hoping to replace Chief Justice Jim Jones both say they support promoting pro bono work across the state.

Pro bono refers to work done by attorneys on a volunteer basis for free or reduced rates.

However, neither Twin Falls attorney Robyn Brody nor state GOP Sen. Curt McKenzie say they track how many hours of pro bono work they provide. Both candidates say they believe they clock more than the suggested 50 hours of free or reduced-fee legal services each year.

The Idaho Land Board voted Tuesday to put 9 state-owned commercial properties worth about $20 million up for auction, likely in early December.

The unanimous vote by the five-member board is part of the board's new strategic reinvestment plan that calls for using money from the sale of commercial real estate and residential cottage sites to buy timberland and agricultural land.

Otto Kitsinger / AP

Idaho first lady Lori Otter has launched a new program to promote school safety across the state.

The Post Register reports that Otter on Thursday at Shelley High School announced the Idaho Office of School Safety and Security, which will foster better school safety habits in light of recent school shootings.

The initiative was launched July 1 under the Division of Building Safety and will conduct security checks at all Idaho schools every three years.

Federal officials have approved the first geothermal project on Idaho's public land since the 1980s.

The Times-News reports that the Burley Bureau of Land Management has given the go-ahead for Walker Ranch Energy's geothermal project, which will include a plant about 13 miles south of Malta.

The power plant will be built on private property, but up to 22 wells will be drilled on 200 acres managed by the Burley BLM office. The operation is expected to eventually produce 25 megawatts of energy.

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A former Sun Valley treasurer has been accused of stealing almost $130,000 from the city.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that Angela Marlene Orr pleaded not guilty on Monday to three counts of felony misuse of public funds by a public employee.

Orr is accused of stealing nearly $127,000 from the city through unauthorized direct deposits and by using the city's credit card to pay for dinners and hotel costs during city-sponsored trips.

Orr resigned April 7 after working for the city for nearly four years.

Steve Slocum / AP

New federal standards mean that children from low-income families will spend more time in Head Start preschool classes.

The Times-News reports that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced new performance standards last week that are designed to improve the Head Start program. Under the new guidelines, Head Start will provide center-xollbased services four days a week instead of the two it offered before.

Two Idaho firefighters have received the state's highest honor for their exceptional bravery and courage.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, chairman of Idaho's Medal of Honor Commission, announced the award recipients Friday.

Idaho Falls firefighter Sean Allen was honored for entering a submerged vehicle in an irrigation canal, cutting a victim free and pulling him to safety last year.

Meanwhile, Kootenai County Fire and Rescue Lt. John Ward was honored for entering a burning home while off-duty in April, 2015 and rescuing a disabled woman without protective gear.

Idaho is working to reduce suicides in the state with a new $1 million program.

The Spokesman-Review reports that lawmakers this year allocated ongoing funding and changed the law that governs the mission of the state Department of Health and Welfare to specifically include suicide prevention.

To celebrate the ongoing efforts, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter on Thursday declared this week Suicide Prevention Week in the city.

Non-union workers in Idaho could be required to pay some fees to the unions that represent them if a lawsuit pending in federal court succeeds.

The Spokesman-Review reports that the Idaho Attorney General's office has filed a motion asking the federal judge to dismiss the lawsuit.

Residents of a small central Idaho town say they don't want a camp for kids with cancer in their neighborhood.

Camp Rainbow Gold holds summer camps for children and families dealing with cancer at a private campsite in the Sawtooth Mountains. Organizers announced last month they were in the process of buying a larger property in the unincorporated neighborhood of Triumph near the resort town of Ketchum. Camp Rainbow Gold leaders say the move would allow more kids to attend camp.

Jacquelyn Martin / AP

Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo has completed his mission of visiting every incorporated city in Idaho over the past two years.

The Spokesman-Review reports that Crapo, a Republican, checked off his final town last week with a stop in Wardner in North Idaho's Silver Valley.

He had hoped to hold hour-long, town-hall-style meetings in each of the 200 cities, but not all of them had town halls. In those cases, Crapo held meetings in parks -- and, in one case, under a picnic shelter during a rainstorm.

Kimberlee Kruesi / AP

Idaho's top schools chief says she wants a 6.6 percent increase in education spending for 2017, requesting more money for teacher salaries and literacy improvement.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Sherri Ybarra released her plan Thursday. In it, Idaho's public school funding would bump up $104.7 million more than what lawmakers allocated this year.

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