Scott Graf

News Director

Scott comes to BSPR from WFAE in Charlotte, N.C., where he served as local host of NPR’s “Morning Edition” for the past eight years. He began his new position as Morning Edition Host/Senior Editor for BSPR in 2012.

Scott is a multi-award winning host and reporter who was named the North Carolina Journalist of the Year in 2007. He has produced several feature stories for NPR news magazines and he contributes to WBUR's “Only a Game” sports program.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho's Rep. Raul Labrador is one of nine U.S. House Republicans this week who announced the formation of the House Freedom Caucus. The group includes some of the most conservative members of Congress.

Labrador says the formation of the new caucus is a way for the its members to better represent their constituents. 

Labrador has been part of a similar, but larger group in the Republican Study Committee. He says having his voice – and that of his constituents in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District – heard will be easier as part of the new Freedom Caucus.

The White House / Flickr Creative Commons

President Barack Obama is scheduled to deliver a 2:45 p.m. speech today at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex on the Boise State University campus after delivering his State of the Union address last night.

During his stop at Boise State University Wednesday, President Barack Obama will visit a lab that helps local entrepreneurs and industries build prototypes of their products to help get them into the marketplace.

Obama will visit the College of Engineering’s New Product Development Lab. It’s managed and run by the College of Business and Economics. 

JOE JASZEWSKI / Idaho Statesman

Boise State University will distribute a limited number of tickets to see President Barack Obama speak Wednesday on campus.

Obama will speak at the Caven-Williams Sports Complex, located next to Albertsons Stadium. Tickets for the event will be distributed Monday through the BSU ticket office at the football stadium, from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. 

Boise State University

The White House has announced President Barack Obama will speak Jan 21 in Boise.

The President will deliver his State of the Union address Tuesday, then be in Boise Wednesday. He’s expected to discuss themes of his address on the Boise State University campus.

“We are honored and excited to host President Obama here at Boise State,” Boise State President Bob Kustra said. “We know he will be impressed with our students and faculty and the innovative work and world-class research they are doing.”

Boise State Public Radio

A leading Idaho Democrat says he’s seen a change in recent years in the way members of the Republican-controlled Legislature look at spending money.

Growth in Idaho’s economy has led to increased state revenue. As a result, Rep. John Rusche, D-Lewiston, says lawmakers who approved large cuts to state programs during the recession, have now changed their tact. Rusche is the House Minority Leader.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Secretary of State office changes hands this week after 12 years under the same elected leader. Lawerence Denney takes over for the retiring Ben Ysursa, who has been Idaho’s secretary of state for three terms.

Ysursa leaves as one of Idaho’s most respected political figures. Denney – a former Speaker of the Idaho House - raised eyebrows when he filed to run for the office. Some saw the Republican from Midvale as too partisan to run the state office that oversees elections, campaign finance, lobbying, and business filings.

Ysursa says he has heard the whispers regarding what Denney’s plan for the office – and policies on voter access – might be.

Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

Rep. Raul Labrador, R-ID, is optimistic the changing makeup of the U.S. Congress will lead to the passage of an immigration reform bill in 2015. But the lawmaker isn't as optimistic about that legislation actually becoming law.

"I think we're gonna have legislation that passes the House and the Senate that the American people will like," Labrador says. "The question is whether this President will be willing to actually sign that legislation."

tdlucas5000 / Flickr Creative Commons

Farmers in Idaho say hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of beef, potatoes, apples, cheese and other products are languishing in storage because of problems at West Coast ports. The state’s agriculture officials are trying to pressure dock workers and their bosses to resolve a labor dispute and resume normal operations.

Idaho potato farmers say the port delays have prompted some overseas customers to cancel their orders altogether.

Jim Mertz of the Symms Fruit Company in Caldwell says only about 20 percent of their shipments this fall made it out of port on schedule.

Bogus Basin

Bogus Basin will open Friday despite anemic snow accumulation on the mountain north of Boise.

The ski resort plans to open limited terrain to skiers and snowboarders. Bogus reports 13 inches of snow at its base.

"We’re ready and very excited to welcome the community up the mountain to have fun enjoying early-season skiing and boarding,” says Bogus General Manager Alan Moore.

State of Idaho

A pilot project that could change the way Idahoans get treated during a mental health crisis has opened its doors in eastern Idaho. Officials held a ribbon cutting ceremony in Idaho Falls Monday morning.

ITD

The agency that oversees Idaho's highways spent part of Tuesday taking a trip down Memory Lane.

The Idaho Transportation Department opened a time capsule buried in Boise in 1989. The 3-foot piece of conduit had been glued shut and buried near the department's East Annex. The burial was part of a dedication of a grove of trees given to the state by the University of Idaho.

The contents included newspapers of the era, license plates, advertisements and more.

Alexander Baxevanis / Flickr Creative Commons

The internationally-known author Salman Rushdie will speak in Boise Thursday evening during a free event at Boise State University. 

Rushdie’s 1988 book “The Satanic Verses” led to the leader of Iran putting a bounty on the author’s head. Iranian hardliners continue to vow to kill Rushdie.     

In April, the threat prompted police in Ohio to check for bombs in a venue where Rushdie was scheduled to speak.

Jay Breidenbach / National Weather Service

Treasure Valley residents still dealing with the aftermath of last week's record-setting snowfall now have an inversion on their hands, too.

The National Weather Service in Boise says the inversion set up Sunday. Meteorologist Bill Wojcik says it's likely to last through Saturday when winds from a new system disrupt the layering of warm air over cold. He says the inversion - the first of the season - reaches 10,000 feet into the atmosphere.

Bogus Basin, ski
Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated at 3:15 p.m. Nov. 14:

Those who operate Bogus Basin ski area say they're now "in wait-and-see" mode. Snow totals have been on the low side of forecasters' predictions for the mountain.

General Manager Alan Moore says the ski hill needs three or four more inches of packable snow in order to open a limited number of runs this weekend.

"At this point, without more snow, we're not opening," Moore said Friday afternoon. "And as of right now it's not snowing."

Add The Words
Frankie Barnhill / For Boise State Public Radio

Four Idaho cities have made the latest rankings of a national group that advocates for the rights of lesbian, bisexual, gay and transgender people. 

The Washington D.C.-based Human Rights Campaign released its third annual Municipal Equality Index Wednesday. Boise, Idaho Falls, Meridian and Nampa are among the 353 cities ranked. The organization assigns cities a score based on "LGBT inclusion in municipal law and policy." It examines 47 different criteria in six categories.

Idaho National Guard

This story was updated Nov. 7 at 12:00 p.m.

The Idaho National Guard has identified the two soldiers who were killed Thursday near Gowen Field when their Apache helicopter crashed.

Chief Warrant Officer 4 Stien P. Gearheart, 50, and Chief Warrant Officer 4 Jon L. Hartway, 43, were killed when the helicopter they were piloting crashed during night training. Gearheart was from Meridian, Hartway was from Kuna. 

The Guard says both men were part of the 1-183rd Attack Reconnaissance Battalion based in Boise.

A.J. Balukoff, 2014 Election, Democrats
Kyle Green / Idaho Statesman

Tuesday’s elections revealed two political parties headed in different directions in Idaho.

For the GOP, the sweep of statewide races was a step in healing wounds opened during a contentious summer. But Democrats’ optimism gave way to the stark reality that they continue to struggle for competitiveness in one of the reddest states in the country.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

This post was updated on Nov. 5 at 7:50 a.m.

Idaho Republicans have swept the state's top elected offices and seats in Congress. In addition to Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter being elected to a rare consecutive three-year term, every down-ticket race also went to Otter's Republican colleagues.

Secretary of State

Idaho Public Television

In their last meeting before Tuesday's election, three men running to be Idaho's governor wasted no time in taking shots at each other's policies and ideas. The debate, hosted by Idaho Public Television, featured incumbent Republican Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter, Democrat A.J. Balukoff and Libertarian John Bujak.

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