Idaho

Deb Love / Trust for Public Lands

An Idaho official is trying to garner support from counties in western states to legally challenge the government's ownership of public lands.

The Lewiston Tribune reports Idaho County Commission Chairman Jim Chmelik is traveling this week with the goal of getting 100 counties to sign on to support the Western Landmark Foundation.

The foundation was formed in March with Chmelik as the registered agent. He says when 50 counties have signed up he'll start asking supporters to contribute between $3,500 and $5,000 each toward a legal fund.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

You’ve probably seen this design on someone’s chest or the back window of cars:  It's the state of Idaho, appearing as a gun, but shooting a pine tree instead of a bullet.  

The design seems to be everywhere, but so are a lot of Idaho-themed designs. In the last few years, the shape of the state of Idaho has found its way into more and more everyday art like t-shirts, hats and decals.

Gay marriage, couples, lawsuit
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Six same-sex couples in northern Idaho who received marriage licenses before state officials say a federal court made such unions legal are being given a unique state-approved opportunity for a do-over.

Northern Idaho officials are offering a marriage license application that has the unusual option of selecting already married.

The application available only to the six same-sex couples in Latah County who married in early October is intended to allow them to get a new application without denying they're already married.

Dan Dzurisin / Flickr Creative Commons

Between 2007-2013, the greater sage grouse population declined by 56 percent across 11 states. That's according to a study paid for by the Pew Charitable Trusts, which looked at the sage brush habitat as a whole.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

One Idaho start-up company is making strides in the drone industry, and has begun flying the unmanned aircrafts to help farmers get the best possible yield. The goal is to accurately and quickly assess problem crops early on – ones that could be weather damaged or needing more water – so the farmers can make adjustments.  

Images from drones equipped with high-tech cameras and sensors can show hard-to-access problem areas, potentially saving farmers time and money.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

Federal authorities have made public the final management plan for six wilderness areas and 16 wild and scenic river segments in southwestern Idaho.

The U.S. Bureau of Land Management on Monday published on the Federal Register the Owyhee Canyonlands Wilderness and Wild & Scenic Rivers Management Plan.

Amanda Peacher / OPB

On Nov. 13, 2014, Tod Halsey noticed something strange about one part of the roof under the cut shop at Woodgrain Millwork. It was sagging between two beams.

“It was literally bowing,” said Halsey, a forklift driver who worked at the mill for 28 years. “It looked like it was smiling.”
 

“I told supervisors,” he said. “They came out and looked at it and said it would be all right.”

The sagging roof troubled Halsey, but he said even he would not have guessed what would come.

Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

The U.S. Agriculture Department has declared two northeast Nevada counties natural disaster areas due to the lingering drought with an emergency order that also makes emergency low-interest loans available to farmers, ranchers and businesses in parts of neighboring Idaho and Utah.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Tuesday declared Nevada's Elko and Eureka counties primary natural disaster areas. The disaster assistance that becomes available there also applies to contiguous counties in Utah — Box Elder and Tooele — and in Idaho's Cassia, Owyhee and Twin Falls counties.

U.S. Department of Defense

A U.S. official says the Army sergeant who abandoned his post in Afghanistan and was held by the Taliban for five years will be court martialed on charges of desertion and avoiding military service.

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl will also be charged with misbehavior before the enemy, said the official, who was not authorized to discuss the announcement publicly on the record and spoke on condition of anonymity.

The U.S. military plans an announcement at Fort Bragg in North Carolina Wednesday afternoon.

Travis Smith / Boise State Public Radio

Instructors at the University of Idaho and Boise State University and colleges around the country are protesting pay and working conditions for part-time faculty. National Adjunct Walk Out Day is meant to highlight the trend in higher education of relying on lower-paid, adjunct instructors who work from semester to semester.

A petition being circulated online and on Boise State’s campus Wednesday reads:

Miguel Vieira / Flickr Creative Commons

A committee of Idaho lawmakers tasked with looking at the possibility of acquiring federal lands - and putting them under state control - has issued a report to the full Legislature. 

The committee of nine  lawmakers and Secretary of State Lawerence Denney was formed as a way to explore sentiments on the issue, and to see if there’s a legitimate way for Idaho to take over control of federal land.

Mormon church, temple square, salt lake city
Doug Kerr / Flickr Creative Commons

Mormon church leaders are making a national appeal for a "balanced approach" in the clash between gay rights and religious freedom.

The church is promising to support some housing and job protections for gays and lesbians in exchange for legal protections for believers who object to the behavior of others.

It's not clear how much common ground the Mormons will find with this new campaign. The church insists it is making no changes in doctrine, and still believes it's against the law of God to have sex outside marriage between a man and a woman.

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. 

Cows were running free in Pocatello, Idaho, Tuesday, following in the hooves of a feisty heifer that escaped from a meat packing plant Friday. The pursuit of that cow made national headlines; five cows have now broken out of the plant in the past four days.

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.

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.

Gay marriage, couples, lawsuit
Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Gay couples were denied marriage licenses at county courthouses around Idaho Wednesday morning after the U.S. Supreme Court issued a temporary stay preventing lower and appellate court rulings from taking effect. 

Nearly 100 people had already gathered outside Ada County's courthouse before doors opened at 8 a.m. Many of those gathered had hoped they'd be getting their marriage licenses.

DBKing / Flickr

The Supreme Court will decide whether private sector health care providers can force a state to raise its Medicaid reimbursement rates to keep up with rising costs.

The justices on Thursday agreed to hear an appeal from Idaho.

The state is trying to overturn a lower court decision that ordered the state to increase payments.

Defense Threat Reduction Agency

Something unusual happened Thursday near Newdale in eastern Idaho. The Department of Defense detonated more than 200 pounds of explosives deep underground near the old Teton Dam site.

The Defense Threat Reduction Agency, an anti-terrorism branch of the government founded in 1998, says it wanted to conduct the test to better understand how the specific rock type found in that area absorbs shock waves.

Scott Graf / Boise State Public Radio

The largest-ever review of water rights claims wrapped up in Idaho this week. A project that started in 1987 ended Monday when a judge signed the final decree of the Snake River Basin Adjudication

Conflicts between Idaho Power, its customers and farmers in southern Idaho in the late 1970s prompted the state to tackle the massive review. The goal was simple: to clearly define water rights in the basin to help resolve future disputes during drought. 

Since the project, Idaho has defined more than 158,000 water rights.

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