Associated Press

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Residents of a southeast Boise neighborhood say at least 25 cats have disappeared from the area in the last few months and are concerned missing cats could be a problem throughout the city.

Cat owners tell KBOI-TV that felines started disappearing last July and then again in the last few weeks.

Erin Liedtke says five stray cats living in her garage for eight years all vanished in the last nine months.

Humane Society spokeswoman Allison Maier says predators are a big concern and a reason cats go missing.

Penn State / Flickr Creative Commons

A recent audit found significant problems with the federally-managed nuclear waste treatment plant west of Idaho Falls.

The Post Register reports the audit outlined cost overruns, a lack of rigorous testing and other management issues at the Department of Energy facility known as the Integrated Waste Treatment Unit.

The DOE Office of the Inspector General's report says the project's construction costs have exceeded the $571 million cap set in 2010 and will likely continue to accrue.

Chobani, Greek Yogurt
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Chobani says it is giving its employees an ownership stake in the privately held company.

The Greek yogurt maker says the shares being distributed would amount to 10 percent of the company's future value in the event of a sale or initial public offering. It says each of its approximately 2,000 full-time employees will receive shares based on their role and time spent with the company.

 

Chobani says CEO and founder Hamdi Ulukaya is meeting with employees this week to talk about the plan in person.

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The Idaho Potato Commission says its traveling advertisement, the Great Big Idaho Potato Truck, could roll on indefinitely.

The Capital Press reports that IPC considered retiring the truck after its current tour, but recent celebrity comments may have saved it. President and CEO Frank Muir says IPC is now leaning toward keeping the giant potato on the road as long as the public is eager to see it.

internet, computer, broadband,
Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials originally agreed to pay $7.2 million in a settlement over an illegal statewide contract that provided broadband in public schools.

However, a March ruling from the Idaho Supreme Court halted settlement talks after justices upheld a lower court's ruling deeming the $60 million contract was illegal. The surprise ruling came down in the final days of the settlement being finalized.

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Sun Valley Co. officials say the number of skier visits to the company's ski area on central Idaho's Bald Mountain last winter is the most in a decade.

Spokesman Jack Sibbach tells the Idaho Mountain Express that the company had 419,000 skier days last winter.

The company says that's the most since the 2005-2006 season with 421,000 skier days.

Sibbach attributes last winter's high number to good early season snowfall, a strong national economy, expanded air service and advertising.

Thomas Hart / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials on Tuesday voted to use $280,000 of the state's Constitutional Defense Fund to pay legal fees for the opposing side after losing a federal court decision involving work unions.

The 4-0 vote by the Idaho Board of Examiners follows a court order in December.

Idaho lawmakers in 2011 approved the Fairness in Contracting Act making it illegal for unions to subsidize union contract bids to make them competitive with non-union contractor bids.

Jeff Smith / Flickr Creative Commons

Federal authorities are considering reversing an 80-year-old decision and designating the Salmon River as navigable.

The Lewiston Tribune reports the proposed change would add to the list of regulated activities on the river.

People currently need a Clean Water Act permit to use the river when discharging dredge or fill material.

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Brig. Gen. Scott A. Spellmon is expected to make a decision on the change in May.

Aubrey Wieber / YouTube

A Republican central committeeman covertly filmed the head of Idaho's GOP in an effort to bolster his claims that a secret society had been formed to oust certain members from party positions. The video didn't reveal direct evidence of a secret society, but did show the top GOP official criticizing prominent Republicans.

The Post Register reports that Bonneville GOP Chairman Doyle Beck released footage of party Chairman Steve Yates on Thursday.

Bea Arcos / Flickr Creative Commons

Getting a driver's license in Idaho now requires a little knowledge of those who are also on the road.

The Idaho Statesman reports that since January, everyone taking the driver's license test has had to answer two questions about bicycle and pedestrian safety.

Tim Lauer / Flickr Creative Commons

The Nampa school district will offer full-day, every-day kindergarten classes at some elementary schools in the fall.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that enrollment is open for full-time kindergarten at three Nampa-area schools.

District officials say full-day kindergarten classes will allow teachers to focus on developing social skills and participation as well as the academic lessons shorter schedules focus on.

Raja Sambasivan / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho State Board of Education is considering linking funding for higher education to student success.

The Idaho Statesman reports that the board is drafting a proposal for next year's Legislature that would weight college's needs based on educational outcomes instead of growth in enrollment or credit hours taught.

Idaho Republican Party / Facebook

Members of Idaho's Republican Party central committee say a secret society has been formed to oust them from their leadership positions.

The men have filed a petition in state district court in eastern Idaho to force Republican officials to give depositions so that members of the alleged secret society can be revealed.

Bryan Smith, a former Idaho congressional candidate, and Doyle Beck, an Idaho Falls businessman, say they cannot file a lawsuit because they do not know enough information about the so-called "clandestine core group."

Lawrence Wasden
Idaho Public Television

The Idaho Attorney General says two Tennessee-based cancer charities labeled "shams" by the Federal Trade Commission have settled a fraud case.

The joint action by the FTC and all 50 states says James Reynolds, Sr. and others spent donations meant for cancer patients on six-figure salaries and luxury vacations.

The settlement with Reynolds, Cancer Fund of America and Cancer Support Services was filed Wednesday in federal court in Arizona. It must be signed by the judge before it takes effect.

The Federal Aviation Administration will do an aeronautic study after a south-central Idaho company increased the size of exhaust stacks. Pilots from a nearby airport cited safety concerns.

Steve Engebrecht of the FAA tells The Times-News in a story on Wednesday that the study will take about 45 days to complete.

Burley Airport Users Association President Jack Hunsaker says the new stacks put in by Gem State Processing could interfere with some approaches and departures.

Butch Otter
Idaho Statesman

Idaho residents 21 and older will soon be able to carry concealed guns without permits or training under legislation approved by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter.

The Idaho State Journal reports that Otter signed the bill on Friday, but not without expressing concerns about the new law lacking a training requirement for those who exercise the right to concealed carry.

In a letter to Idaho Senate president and Lt. Gov. Brad Little, he encouraged the Legislature to monitor the implementation of the law to determine if the lack of a training requirement undermines public safety.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr Creative Commons

A federal judge has denied a request by the U.S. Department of Agriculture to dismiss a lawsuit by eastern Idaho potato growers seeking to end a quarantine after the discovery of a microscopic pest that caused some countries to ban Idaho spuds.

But the U.S. District Court ruling earlier this month did dismiss Idaho officials from the lawsuit, noting state court was the proper venue concerning potential violations of state law.

internet, computer, broadband,
Sean MacEntee / Flickr Creative Commons

State budget writers have signed off on a surprise $8 million request from top legislative leaders to pay for a possible settlement in Idaho's losing legal battle over an illegal statewide contract for broadband in public schools.

The Joint Finance Appropriations Committee voted 19-1 on Tuesday to approve the request of House Speaker Scott Bedke and Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill.

Earlier this month, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld a lower court's ruling voiding the $60 million statewide contract in a drawn-out legal process.

Les Bois Park Instant Horse Racing (3)
Samantha Wright / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's largest horse racing operation is closing after 40 years in business.

Les Bois Park closed its doors permanently on Sunday. Treasure Valley Racing officials say the park can't afford to stay open without horse racing terminals.

Known as instant horse racing, the machines allow bettors to place wages on prior horse races with no identifiable information. The machines have spinning wheels, sounds and animations that mimic slot machines, which are illegal in Idaho. The state ruled the terminals illegal last year.

Ted Richardson / AP

Well before Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl walked away from his Army post in Afghanistan, he washed out of the Coast Guard during boot camp when he suffered a panic attack.

Two years later, though, he joined the Army, obtaining a waiver from rules that bar the enlistment of those with psychological problems.

The details about his mental health — including the Army's later diagnosis of Bergdahl as suffering from "schizotypal personality disorder" — are contained in newly released documents that offer a glimpse of the legal strategy his lawyers may use in the desertion case against him.

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