Boise

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The school day is over at Boise’s Whitney Elementary but the playground is full of children. About 140 kids each day take part in the afterschool program at the adjacent Whitney Community Center.

It has tutors to help with homework. There’s book clubs, arts and crafts, board games, basketball, outside activities, and pool and computer games for the older kids who walk over from South Junior High. Director Barbara English says some kids stay until the center closes at 7:00, but not because of all the stuff to do.

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.

Christina Birkinbine / Treefort Music Fest

Organizers of Treefort Music Fest have had a big week.

Just two days after the indie music festival was named the City of Boise's cultural ambassador for 2015 -- a title that comes with a $25,000 grant -- the first list of bands to play the March 25-29 festival has arrived.

mor gnar / Flickr

An Idaho charity is giving a million-dollar makeover to a skate park in downtown Boise.

The J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation is donating $1.25 million for the renovation of the Rhodes Skateboard Park. The park is underneath the connector that joins I-84 to downtown Boise.

Over the summer, a group of homeless people began camping out across the street from the concrete skating area. Boise has tried repeatedly to move the campers out of the makeshift camp.

City spokesman Mike Journee says the camp had no bearing on the gift from the foundation.

weather, roads, snow, ice
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

The Ada County Highway District (ACHD) is defending itself from criticisms over how it cleared -- or didn't clear -- the roads after last week's snow dump. A record-setting 7.6 inches of snow fell at the Boise Airport on Thursday and Friday.

Police departments tweeted warnings to drivers to mind the conditions after helping hundreds of vehicles involved in fender-benders and spins off the road.

Now, almost a week later, many major roads in Boise, Eagle, and Meridian still have snow and ice in patches and many drivers are complaining about why it's taken so long to clear.

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.

firetruck, boise, firefighters
Nicholas D. / Flickr Creative Commons

The City of Boise and the Firefighters Union are negotiating a new labor contract. At issue is how much firefighters should be paid.

Last year, the average department employee made $85,000, plus another $50,000 for insurance and retirement, according to the Idaho Statesman. That’s up 24 percent from a decade ago. However, two years ago, firefighters refused a contractual raise.

Toni Tabora-Roberts / Flickr Creative Commons

The five-member board of the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) will soon have two new voices on the commission. Kent Goldthorpe gained incumbent Mitch Jaurena's seat in District Four, and Paul Woods beat out five other candidates to win the open seat in District Three.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Boise residents Tuesday approved by a wide margin a bond to build new fire stations. Seventy-six percent of voters said yes to borrowing $17 million over 10 years. The city plans to upgrade or replace four Boise fire stations and build a new training facility.

“That facility is very needed,” says Boise Fire Chief Dennis Doan. “We haven’t had a training facility in Boise that’s useable in over 20 years, at least. That’ll be a great safety feature for our fire fighters.”

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Some neighborhoods see a lot more trick-or-treaters than others Halloween night. One of the busiest Halloween hotspots is Boise’s Harrison Boulevard.

We caught up with Harrison homeowner Scott Petersen as he was painting the walkway to his front door with a rectangular sponge attached to a handle.

“At the moment we’re actually creating our yellow brick road," Petersen says. "I found this little tool at Home Depot and my girlfriend found the paint, which is washable, which is critical.”

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Jerry Panko vacuums up leaves around the candidate signs in his north Boise front yard. Panko is a retired teacher, he refers to himself a liberal, he’s a big fan of unions and he’s a long-time Democrat.

With Election Day a week away we’re profiling some Idaho voters. We talked with Panko about the experience of being a hardcore Democrat in Idaho.

Panko says the affiliation came in handy nearly three decades ago when he first asked out the woman who would become his wife. She had some requirements for him.

Uber is coming to Boise, at least temporarily. The ride-sharing app, which connects passengers with drivers, starts a temporary free trail in the city Thursday.

Uber has been around since 2009 and operates in more than 200 cities worldwide.

It works like this: riders download an app on their phone, plug in a destination, and choose a driver to pick them up. Drivers use their own cars.

Parkinson's Disease, dance class
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

Elizabeth Keller has trained her body to be completely stable even while standing on her tip toes. She's performed with Boise's best dancers as part of the Trey McIntyre Project and now with Ballet Idaho. But her passion these days is for helping people who shake because of Parkinson's disease find fluidity through dance.  

Katherine Jones / Idaho Statesman

Naghmeh Abedini says she misses her husband and fears for his safety. It’s been two years since Boise pastor Saeed Abedini was sentenced to an Iranian prison, accused of undermining state security by trying to establish a network of Christian churches in private homes.

His supporters will hold a prayer vigil for Saeed Friday.

IRC, refugees
Jodie Martinson / Boise State Public Radio

If you've wondered what life is like for Boise refugees, a local organization has put together a unique event offering a rare chance to walk in the shoes of a new Idaho refugee.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Do you ever wonder where your poop goes when you flush the toilet? If you live in Boise, it ends up somewhere a little out of the ordinary. It goes to a place called 20 Mile South Farm, so named because it's 20 miles south of Boise.

“Everybody who flushes the toilet contributes to this fertilizer right here,” Says Ben Nydegger, Boise's biosolids program manager.

Biosolids is the industry term for the stuff he’s standing next to. It’s a dark-brown pile about three-feet-tall and roughly twice the area of an Olympic swimming pool.

drpavloff / Flickr Creative Commons

A new initiative to make daycare centers healthier for Boise children will be the subject of a public hearing Tuesday at Boise City Hall. 

City councilman T.J. Thomson wants the city to adopt his “Healthy Child Care Initiative.”

SkyWest, airplane, airport
Aero Icarus / Flickr Creative Commons

SkyWest Airlines has chosen Boise for the site of its new $20 million maintenance facility, a project state leaders tout was made possible by a newly-created tax incentive program.

In June, Boise Mayor David Bieter announced SkyWest would open a maintenance facility at the Boise Airport, using an existing hangar at the Jackson Jet Center. He said then that SkyWest was considering expanding that facility in Boise.

Kamiah, rural, small town
Kara Oehler / Flickr Creative Commons

Idahoans are passionate about how to say the places in which they live. We learned that earlier this month with a post about the 10 places only Idahoans know how to pronounce.

You sent us dozens of suggestions, comments and explanations about Idaho's unique place names. Commentors also disagreed about the correct pronunciation of some words, which is to be expected, says Boise State University Assistant Professor of Linguistics Tim Thornes.

Dave Bieter
Dave Bieter's Facebook Page / City of Boise

Nearly two-dozen Boise high school students are getting a little extra civics homework this year.

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter has appointed 22 students to serve on various city boards, commissions and committees over the course of the school year.

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