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Cobell Settlement
1:37 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

Native Americans Getting Final Settlement Payments

Hundreds of thousands of Native Americans across the nation have started receiving the final cash payments this week from one of the largest government settlements in U.S. history.

Checks ranging from $869 to nearly $10 million were sent beginning Monday to more than 493,000 people by the administrators of the $3.4 billion settlement.

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Energy Economy
11:27 am
Wed September 17, 2014

Railroad Wants Second Bridge To Handle Increase In Coal, Oil Trains

Credit side.tracked / Flickr Creative Commons

Burlington Northern Santa Fe railroad wants to build a second bridge in northern Idaho to handle an expected increase in traffic that includes coal and oil trains.

Railway spokesman Gus Melonas tells The Spokesman-Review in a story on Wednesday that the one bridge at Sandpoint restricts train traffic.

The railway wants to build another bridge about 50 feet west of the existing bridge that crosses Lake Pend Oreille where it meets the Pend Oreille River.

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Legislation
5:05 pm
Tue September 16, 2014

Idaho Rep. Labrador Pushes Bipartisan Police Demilitarization Bill

Credit Gage Skidmore / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho GOP congressman Raul Labrador is teaming up with a Democratic lawmaker to move a bill designed to curb police militarization among state and local law enforcement agencies.

Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson and Labrador introduced the bill Tuesday. The legislation follows the shooting of a black teenager by a police officer in Ferguson, Missouri, that sparked a series of riots and increased criticism of police use of military equipment.

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Gun Rights
11:49 am
Tue September 16, 2014

Boise State Agrees To Change Event Policies In Face Of Possible Lawsuit

Boise State University officials say they will change their on-campus event policies after facing a possible lawsuit from private legal organizations.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation and American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho had accused the university of violating the First Amendment after it charged a student organization security fees for a gun-rights event earlier this year.

University officials had already reimbursed the students $465 but they say will now suspend the policies that allow them to charge for enhanced security.

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Teacher Pay
3:45 pm
Mon September 15, 2014

Idaho Task Force Seeks Higher Teacher Salaries

Credit BES Photos / Flickr Creative Commons

A state task force says reforming Idaho's teaching certification must be tied to increasing salaries in order to attract and retain quality teachers in public schools.

The 15-member committee spent most of Monday discussing details of implementing a new teacher pay system commonly known as the career ladder.

However, some members worry that state lawmakers will approve tougher certification requirements without providing funding for higher salaries.

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Wildlife
11:15 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Radar Could Help Idaho Drivers Avoid Wildlife Collisions

The radar system was used in Bonners Ferry for a few months last year.
Credit Grizdave / Flickr Creative Commons

A company that makes radar technology used to protect military convoys says it can be adapted to help central Idaho drivers avoid collisions with deer and elk on State Highway 75.

The Idaho Mountain Express reports that Sloan Security Technologies last week presented its idea to Blaine County officials and the Idaho Transportation Department.

Company co-founder Brian Sloan says the mobile radar animal detection system alerts drivers with flashing lights when animals are present.

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Health
2:50 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Serious Respiratory Virus Reported In Eastern Idaho

Eastern Idaho health officials say four children have been hospitalized due to a respiratory virus.

Officials tell KIFI-TV that the children are being treated at the Eastern Idaho Regional Medical Center.

Hundreds of children in more than 10 states have been sickened by a severe respiratory illness that public health officials say may be caused by an uncommon virus similar to the germ that causes the common cold.

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Education
9:38 am
Wed September 10, 2014

Banned Novel 'Part-Time Indian' Can Return To Southern Idaho Classrooms

The West Ada School District in southwest Idaho has put a National Book Award winning novel back in the curriculum after removing it six months ago amid parent complaints.

Trustees on Tuesday voted unanimously to put "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie on the supplemental reading list that teachers can select from.

The novel is narrated by a 14-year-old whose transfer makes him the only Native American in an all-white school. Objections are based on discussions of sex, abuse, alcoholism, or on racist or profane statements from characters.

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Idaho News
10:13 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Micron CEO Made Wrong Decision Before Fatal Plane Crash

Steve Appleton was the CEO of Micron Technology.
Credit Micron

Federal investigators say the likely causes of an airplane crash that killed Micron CEO Steve Appleton in 2012 are a reduction in engine power during takeoff and Appleton's ill-fated decision to turn around rather than make an emergency landing.

The National Transportation Safety Board in a report released Monday said fire damage made it impossible to know if the engine power reduction was mechanical or a decision by Appleton.

The report says Appleton shouldn't have attempted a second takeoff with a "known problem" after aborting an earlier takeoff minutes earlier.

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Idaho News
3:36 pm
Mon September 8, 2014

Former Idaho First Lady Batt Dies

Former Idaho First Lady Jacque Batt has died. She was married to former Republican Gov. Phil Batt for 66 years.

The Spokesman-Review reports that 88-year-old Batt died Sunday of natural causes in a southwestern Idaho hospital.

She is survived by her husband, who was Idaho's governor for one term starting from 1995-1999. During that time she served as first lady and would later become a leading figure in raising funds for breast cancer research.

Wildlife
9:35 am
Mon September 8, 2014

Idaho Fish And Game Asks Public To Help Track Wolves, Grizzlies

Credit U.S. Fish & Wildlife

With the number of wolves and grizzly bears increasing in Idaho, the state game department is calling on hunters and outdoorsmen to help track them.

The Post Register reports that Fish and Game must document 15 breeding pair of wolves with pups by Dec. 31 each year until 2016.

Gregg Losinski is regional conservation educator for Fish and Game. He says tracking wolf numbers is required to comply with regulations set to ensure maintenance of healthy populations.

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Wolverine
3:55 pm
Fri September 5, 2014

Idaho, Montana, Wyoming Support Wolverine Decision

Credit Roy Anderson / U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

State wildlife agency directors from Idaho, Montana and Wyoming say they support the recent decision to deny endangered species protections to the rare wolverine.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service withdrew proposed protections last month, reversing its prior stance that climate change threatened the snow-loving animals in the Lower 48 states.

In a letter submitted Friday to major newspapers in the region, the three state directors applauded the move and wrote that wolverine populations are on the rebound.

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Aryan Nations
11:41 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Former Idaho Aryan Nations Attorney Has Died

Edgar Steele, who once represented Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler in a lawsuit that bankrupted the white supremacist group, has died in federal prison in California. Steele was 69.

Steele was serving a 50-year sentence at the federal prison in Victorville, California, after he was convicted of plotting to kill his wife.

The prison website listed him as dying on Thursday. No other details were immediately available.

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Energy
8:16 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Idaho Rejects Oil Company Request To Exclude Feds

Idaho officials have rejected a Texas company's request to exclude federal lands and potential royalties from what is believed to be a profitable natural gas field in the southwest part of the state.

The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on Thursday voted 3-2 in a decision that went against Houston-based oil company Alta Mesa's petition to omit 187 acres of federal land from a 615-acre drilling unit.

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Law
3:13 pm
Thu September 4, 2014

Judge Denies Idaho's Request To Toss 'Ag-Gag' Lawsuit

A federal judge in Idaho Thursday refused to toss out a challenge to the state's “ag-gag” law that was passed by Idaho legislators earlier this year at the urging of the state’s $2.5 billion dairy industry. The law spells out stiff punishments for people who secretly tape agricultural operations.

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Election 2014
9:51 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Idaho Governor Latest Target Of Political Attack Website

This is a homepage screengrab from the attack website.

Idaho's third-party gubernatorial candidate is following the lead of the state's largest business lobbyist group and has launched an attack website criticizing incumbent Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's political stances.

Former Canyon County prosecutor and Libertarian candidate John Bujak says he put up the site after seeing the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry use the same tactic to attack Democratic candidate A.J. as a liberal.

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Idaho News
9:38 am
Thu September 4, 2014

Ice Caused Idaho Plane Crash That Killed California Family

Federal investigators have concluded that the crash of a small plane in the mountains of Idaho that killed a San Jose man and four members of his family was caused by icing conditions that led to engine failure.

The San Francisco Chronicle cites a National Transportation Safety Board report that says the single-engine Beechcraft Bonanza piloted by Dale Smith was not suited for the blustery conditions.

Investigators could not determine whether Smith had obtained weather information before the flight.

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Election 2014
12:13 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Otter Commits To 4 Gubernatorial Debates

Gov. Otter at the KBSX studios in spring 2014.
Credit Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter will participate in four debates against his general election opponents.

Otter says he accepted debate invitations that could be viewed via a statewide broadcast.

The first debate will be in Coeur d'Alene on Oct. 3, then in Idaho Falls on Oct. 9. He'll travel to Nampa Oct. 14 to participate in KTVB-TV's debate and finish on Oct. 30 by participating in the Idaho Public Television debate.

Debate moderators and other participants have not yet been released.

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Idaho News
9:40 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Accidental Shooting Injures Idaho State University Instructor

An Idaho State University instructor received a foot wound after his concealed handgun discharged on campus.

Pocatello police say officers responded to a report of a shot fired on campus at about 4 p.m. Tuesday and found the instructor in the Physical Science Complex with a non-life threatening injury.

Lt. Paul Manning says the instructor was treated and released at Portneuf Medical Center.

Police say the instructor has an enhanced concealed carry permit that's needed to carry a concealed weapon on a college campus.

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Education
1:45 pm
Tue September 2, 2014

Idaho's Superintendent Luna Proposes Largest School Budget Increase Yet

Credit Kyle Stokes / StateImpact Indiana

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna is proposing a 6.9 percent budget increase to Idaho's public school funding for 2015. Luna says the budget calls for the largest spending increase he's ever proposed in his nearly eight-year tenure.  

Luna unveiled his budget Tuesday to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and legislative leadership. However, because Luna isn't seeking a third-term, it'll be the winner of the November election who will be tasked with selling the $94 million budget increase to lawmakers during the next legislative session.

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