Associated Press

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Democratic and Republican senators have filed hundreds of amendments to an immigration bill in the U.S. Senate.  Many amendments filed by Republicans aim to boost border security and add employment enforcement provisions. Supporters say in some cases the real intent is to kill the legislation.

Idaho Soldier Killed In Afghanistan

May 6, 2013
Courtesy of Spc. Murach’s family

Military officials say five Fort Bliss soldiers have died in a roadside bomb blast in southern Afghanistan.

An Army statement Monday identified the dead as Spc. Kevin Cardoza of Mercedes, Texas; 1st Lt. Brandon James Landrum of Lawton, Okla.; Spc. Thomas Paige Murach of Meridian, Idaho; Staff Sgt. Francis Gene Phillips IV of Meridian, N.Y.; and 24-year-old Spc. Brandon Joseph Prescott of Bend, Ore.

They served in the 1st Brigade, 1st Armored Division.

A series of small earthquakes sent jolts across a corner of southeast Idaho Sunday night. The U.S. Geological Survey says two smaller earthquakes were also recorded inside the boundary of Yellowstone National Park in recent days.

Temblors of 4.2 and 3.6 magnitude were recorded in the Lava Hot Springs area. Authorities say the jolts generated calls from concerned residents, but so far there is no damage or injuries attributed to the temblors.
Both quakes are considered mild and not strong enough to cause severe damage.

Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Updated at 11:04 a.m.

An Idaho alternative energy company beset by lawsuits faces another one, this time from a bike race that says it hasn't been paid millions in promised sponsorship money.

Exergy Development Group of Boise and its owner, James Carkulis, were sued in Colorado by Classic Bicycle Racing, owner of Colorado's USA Pro Challenge race.

John Moore, Classic's general counsel, said Wednesday company owners were forced to make additional capital contributions when Exergy failed to meet its contractual obligations.

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

Tax-free shopping on the Internet could come to an end under a bill making its way through the U-S Senate.

The bill would allow states to require online retailers to collect state and local sales taxes for purchases made over the Internet. The sales taxes would be sent to the states where a shopper lives.

Idaho public university students can expect a higher price tag on their tuition bills next fall.

The state Board of Education voted Wednesday to hike tuition at all four public universities — though not all university presidents got exactly what they requested.

Trustees approved a 6.9 percent hike at Boise State University and increases between 4 and 5 percent for the University of Idaho, Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

Courtesy of Sen. Mike Crapo's office

The Senate has rejected a bipartisan effort to expand federal background checks to more firearms buyers in a crucial showdown over gun control. 

Idaho's Republican Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo voted against the measure. Just four Republicans voted in favor of the expanded background check amendment.

Gray Wolf
Montana Fish Wildlife and Parks

Aggressive gray wolf hunting took a toll in much of the Northern Rockies last year as the predator's population saw its most significant decline since being reintroduced in the region.

Numbers released by state wildlife agencies show Wyoming's wolf population down 16 percent from 2011, Montana's down 4 percent and Idaho's down 8 percent.

That was partially offset by population gains in eastern portions of Washington and Oregon.

MOSCOW, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho State Board of Education has announced the formation of a 16-member search committee to select a new president for the University of Idaho.

The board announced the selection Wednesday and that University of Idaho Regent Emma Atchley will lead the panel.

The board is tasked with finding a successor to Duane Nellis, who is leaving to become president of Texas Tech University.

TIZIANA FABI/AFP/Getty Images / Flickr

Italy's highest criminal court Tuesday overturned Amanda Knox’s acquittal in the slaying of her British roommate and ordered a new trial.  An appeals court in Florence must re-hear the case against the American student and her Italian ex-boyfriend Raffaelle Sollecito for the murder of Meredith Kercher. 

ell brown / Flickr

Argentine Jorge Bergoglio has been elected pope, the first ever from the Americas and the first from outside Europe in more than a millennium. He chose the name Pope Francis.

After announcing "Habemus Papum" — "We have a pope!" — a cardinal standing on the balcony of St. Peter's Basilica on Wednesday revealed the identity of the new pontiff, using his Latin name.

Bergoglio had reportedly finished second in the 2005 conclave that produced Benedict XVI — who last month became the first pope to resign in 600 years.

State of Idaho

A Republican lawmaker says he will bring forward a bill to expand Idaho's Medicaid program this week. That's after Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter said lawmakers should wait on the issue.

Rep. Tom Loertscher (R-Bone) plans to introduce two bills on Thursday.

One would dissolve Idaho's Catastrophic Health Care Program. That's the program that helps medically indigent Idahoans who don't qualify for state or federal health care aid.

Officials in Ketchum say private supporters of a proposed whitewater park will pay for an environmental assessment on a possible transfer of federal land. That land is needed before the project can move forward. 

Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department Director Jennifer Smith told city councilors last week that the U.S. Bureau of Land Management has listed the city's land transfer request as a low priority. Because of budget restraints, the agency won't complete a review in less than three years.

The Idaho Statesman

Idaho aims to return the hilltop mansion to the Simplot family by June 30 in a tentative agreement over the would-be governor's residence-turned-money pit that remained vacant even as maintenance costs skyrocketed.

That's according to a resolution approved unanimously by Idaho Governor's Housing Committee Friday at a meeting in Boise.

J.R. Simplot, the deceased billionaire who built his agricultural empire, in part, on french fry sales to McDonald's, donated the home in 2004.

But the fund to maintain the mansion has dwindled to $900,000, from $1.5 million in 2005.

Butch Otter
State of Idaho

The White House says automatic spending reductions will be put off until late this evening.  President Obama must issue the order for $85 billion in cuts sometime today.  And White House press secretary Jay Carney says that means midnight, because Obama remains "ever hopeful." 

Idaho Governor Butch Otter weighed in on the cuts known as the sequester yesterday.  He was on the east coast, speaking to a meeting of Farmers Insurance officials.

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