Environment

For Sale Coldwell Banker House Sold
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

As many as 80 residents of a west Boise neighborhood got sick over Memorial Day weekend. Turns out a nasty bacteria got into the drinking water. Boise’s United Water says it did everything in its power to fix the problem, but  some in the neighborhood say the company could have done more.

Idaho State University

Researchers at Idaho State University used fish to discover a possible environmental trigger for autism.  They exposed fish to commonly prescribed drugs at levels typically found in tap water.  After a while, those fish showed changes in a genetic process that mimics patterns found in some people with autism. 

Michael Thomas, Associate Professor of Biology at ISU, led the research team.  He says, "What you’re drinking is a cocktail that represents the net drug dosages of the community upstream from you."

Sea Lions Under the Gun

Jun 6, 2012

Since April, 20 sea lions have washed up dead in Oregon and Washington.  The majority of the animals were shot.

The dead sea lions have been found mainly near the mouth of the Columbia River, a hot spot for salmon.

Many believe the animals are being killed by fishermen who view them as competition for their catch.

Sean Stanley is with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Office of Law Enforcement in Portland.

Japanese Dock Washes Ashore in Newport

Jun 6, 2012

The Japanese consulate has confirmed that the dock that washed ashore Tuesday at Agate Beach near Newport is debris from the March 2011 Tsunami in Japan. It was checked for radiation and results came back negative. 

The dock is 7 feet tall, 19 feet wide and 66 feet long. A plaque attached to the top has Japanese writing on it.

Chris Havel with Oregon Department of Parks and Recreation says a picture of the placard has been sent to the Japanese Consulate in Seattle for translation.

J. Stephen Conn / Flickr

Monday night’s storm blew down trees and power lines, knocking out electricity around southern Idaho.  What was inconvenient for some, turned critical for Twin Falls. The city lost power to the four pumps that supply most of the area’s water and overnight, Twin Falls declared a state of emergency.

Monday afternoon, the power came back on, and the pumps are now working.  Josh Palmer is a public information officer for Twin Falls. He says those pumps pull water from the Blue Lakes Reservoir and that water is low.

Anna King / Northwest News Network

The Northwest cherry harvest is set to begin next week, but farmers are a bit glum. That’s because the National Weather Service says this month’s temperatures will be near or below average across Washington, Oregon and Idaho.

Cool weather and rain can delay ripening and compress the cherry growing season. That means that markets have less time to sell the perishable fruit. Plus, farmers may have a harder time recruiting enough labor in a shortened season.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho’s Department of Fish and Game today launched an advertising push in advance of its August wildlife summit.  Under the slogan “Idaho’s wildlife belongs to you,” the department hopes to bring together as many people as possible to help set the direction for wildlife management. The summit is the first of its kind in Idaho. Fish and Game director Virgil Moore says the discussions generated at the summit will help guide future Fish and Game Commission policy.  People at seven locations around the state will participate the last weekend in August.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The daughter of a north Idaho miner killed in a tunnel collapse last year says federal regulators are failing to hold the company responsible. She says new fines do not do justice to her father’s death. The federal government is proposing $360,000 in penalties related to an accident that killed fifty-three-year-old Larry Marek.

Storify: Severe Storms Move Across Treasure Valley

Jun 4, 2012
Debbie Kettles

Thousands of Idaho Power customers lost power as a major storm ushered in Tuesday's cold front. Wind gusts were, at times, as fast as a car on the highway. Below you'll find some of the tweets and photos as this storm moved across the Treasure Valley. 

[View the story "Severe Thunderstorm Moves Through Treasure Valley" on Storify]

The federal government is fining a north Idaho mining company $360,000 for unsafe practices that killed a miner last year. That’s about a third of the penalties that were expected. 

Last year federal inspectors said the Hecla Mining Company engaged in “aggravated conduct” when it allowed miners to extract silver ore from a mass of unstable rock. It happened about a mile underground at the Lucky Friday Mine near Mullan, Idaho. The practices led to a tunnel collapse that killed 53-year-old Larry Marek, according to a investigation.

Severe Thunderstorms Usher In Cold Weather

Jun 4, 2012
Sadie Babits / Boise State Public Radio

Sure it's been warm and balmy today throughout much of Idaho with highs in the 80s. But tomorrow, you'll be grabbing a jacket as you head out the door for work. 

Gold mining with small dredges is popular in the rural Northwest. Friday, the 9th circuit court ruled that the Forest Service has to strengthen its regulation of this kind of mining in salmon streams.

The Forest Service has been streamlining permitting for small scale dredge mining.  Even on rivers where endangered species like Coho salmon might be harmed.

Two Boise Firemen Die in Utah Air Tanker Crash

Jun 4, 2012
Washington DNR

Two Boise  men died Sunday while fighting a fire in Utah. The deaths come as the Western wildfire season is picking up steam.

Authorities in Iron County, Utah say the men died when the air tanker they were flying crashed. The victims have been identified as 48-year-old Todd Tompkins and 40-year-old Ronnie Chambless, both of Boise. The fire started after a lightning strike Friday night near the Utah-Nevada state line.

Scott Ki / Boise State Public Radio

The Pacific Northwest, including most of Idaho, should have a decent whitewater season this year.   Ample snowpacks in the mountains mean good river flows through the summer.  Kayakers and rafters in Idaho north of the Snake River should benefit.

Zoo Boise

What’s thought to be a wolf puppy, picked up by campers in Ketchum, is resting in Zoo Boise’s animal hospital.  The campers who found the pup took it to a local vet who contacted Idaho Fish and Game. 

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