Idaho News

phone, office
Frankie Barnhill / Boise State Public Radio

Idaho officials have announced workshops throughout the state to help telephone customers transition to a second area code and the resulting need for 10-digit dialing.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission in a statement Wednesday says voluntary 10-digit dialing begins in November and mandatory 10-digit dialing starts in August 2017.

Idaho has been assigned a 208 code since 1947, and will get a new three-digit code next year.

Officials say the new code of 986 to be issued to new telephone numbers will overlay existing 208 users rather than split the state.

Attempts by 900 firefighters backed by aircraft to halt the spread of a wildfire burning in rugged terrain in southwest Idaho have been unsuccessful with the blaze doubling to 14 square miles in size on Wednesday.

Officials say they've expanded a closure in the Boise National Forest and also started contingency plans to use State Highway 21 as a firebreak.

About 23 miles of the highway are closed from north of Idaho City to south of Lowman as firefighters remove trees and brush to reduce the potential for the fire to cross the road.

Flickr Creative Commons

An Idaho environmental group is accusing a nationwide plastic bag producer of violating federal laws on toxic waste reporting.

The Idaho Conservation League announced Monday that it has notified Novolex — which has a plant in south-central Idaho — that it must begin filing information to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's toxic release inventory database.

A representative for the plastic bag company did not immediately return request for comment.

Twin Falls County's insurance premiums have gone up due to lawsuit settlements paid by Idaho Counties Risk Management Program.

The Times-News reports that the county's insurance payments have increased 58 percent over the past five years from $350,639 for the 2012 fiscal year to $553,114 for the fiscal year beginning Oct. 1.

Montana authorities say an Idaho man was electrocuted when his fishing rod touched a low-hanging power line.

Cascade County sheriff's officials said in a statement Thursday that 64-year-old Leonard Henry Kolbet died at top of the bank of Dry Fork Creek southeast of Great Falls on Sunday.

Sheriff's Capt. Raymond Hitchcock says Kolbet and another person were camping and flyfishing in the area.

He says Kolbet was walking up the creek's bank, carrying the rod slightly above his head, when it touched the power line.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Idaho National Guard said goodbye to the last of its Apache helicopters during a ceremony at Gowen Field Thursday morning. The change is due to a national initiative to transfer a portion of the fleet to the Army.

Four hundred Idaho personnel work with Apaches. According to Major Chris Borders, a Guard spokesman, about 385 of those Guard members will be trained to work on Black Hawk helicopters. He says the remaining 15 worked on aspects of the Apache that don't transfer to the Black Hawks, but those personnel will be given other opportunities to transfer.

A northern Idaho county prosecutor says a deputy prosecutor won't be punished for posting a comment on social media that suggested genocide would occur if police officers stopped patrolling black neighborhoods.

Kootenai County Prosecutor Barry McHugh tells the Coeur d'Alene Press that education on appropriate communication with the community is needed so that the community has confidence in their work.

Deputy Prosecutor Bryant Bushling made the post Sunday on Kootenai County Bailiff Todd Hartman's Facebook page.

Return to Snake River Facebook Page Screenshot

A jump across the Snake River Canyon is back on, this time with Hollywood stuntman Eddie Braun.

The Twin Falls Times News says Braun will ride a rocket across the canyon in September.

The last attempt to jump the canyon came in 1974 when Evel Knievel tried and failed to make it across.

Braun will launch from private property in Jerome County and land on private property in Twin Falls County.

Idaho Power is looking to build the state's first utility-owned solar power project.

The company recently filed an application with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission seeking approval for its Community Solar Pilot Program.

The proposed 500-kilowatt solar array would be built southeast of Boise and power about 1,000 homes and 500 businesses.

The company in an announcement last week says it plans to offer subscriptions costing $740 for individual solar panels. Buyers would receive credit for their portion of the solar array's output on their monthly bill.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

Proponents of laws that bar transgender people from using public bathrooms and dressing rooms that conform to their gender identity are already seizing on an incident in eastern Idaho this week. A transgender woman is accused of taking pictures of a woman changing clothes in a Target dressing room in Ammon.

Boise transgender activist Emilie Jackson-Edney says it’s wrong to judge all transgender people by one person’s actions. But she says that will probably happen anyway in this case.

Tom Michael / Boise State Public Radio

Dozens of protestors marched on the Idaho Capitol in Boise on Saturday afternoon, in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement. They chanted down the center of Capitol Boulevard, carrying signs that read “Black Lives Matter” and “He Complied But He Still Died,” referring to the police-related shootings of Philando Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana. Virginia Farr, who is white, attended with her three black daughters.

Brigitte Woosley / AP

An Army judge says prosecutors must give attorneys for Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl more information about why his enlistment contract was extended while he was a captive of the Taliban and its allies.

Army Lt. Col. Frank Rosenblatt, a defense attorney, said it's not clear why the government has chosen to keep Bergdahl on active duty until 2022. He said Bergdahl was eligible for a discharge in 2011 and should have been allowed to re-enlist or leave the military upon his return from captivity.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Boise Fire Department says it will only respond to life-threatening emergencies in the Foothills where houses are sliding down a hillside.

Officials say the creeping landslide at Alto Via Court has created dangerous conditions. BFD wants Foothills users and curious onlookers to stay away from the site.

Adam Cotterell / Boise State Public Radio

The Table Rock Fire started late Wednesday night and continued into Thursday. By mid-morning officials said it had burned 2,500 acres but was mostly contained. The fire destroyed two structures including a home. Investigators say it was caused by fireworks. 

Major Chris Borders / Idaho National Guard

A soldier from the Idaho Army National Guard is the nation’s first female enlisted soldier to graduate from M1 tanker school.

Sergeant First Class Erin Smith enlisted in Idaho’s Guard in 2001 as a combat medic. She's been deployed to Bosnia and Iraq. She had wanted to try being an Army tanker and last year, when the military opened up all positions to women, she got the chance.

A prosecutor in south-central Idaho is refuting a widespread rumor that three young Syrian refugees raped a girl at knifepoint.

Twin Falls County Prosecutor Grant Loebs says that no gang rape involving Syrian refugees or a knife took place despite allegations currently circulating on social media and conspiracy-oriented websites.

Kyle Green, Idaho Statesman

Organizers say after a gunman killed 49 people at a gay bar in Orlando last week, Boise's annual LGBT celebration known as Pridefest could go a couple of different ways. Fewer people might show up this weekend for Pridefest because of fear of anti-gay violence. Or, more people might turn out to show solidarity with the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.

Daniel / Flickr Creative Commons

The Idaho State Board of Education says ticketed fans will no longer be allowed to purchase alcohol at college football games.

Board members rejected requests on Thursday to continue allowing alcohol sales at Boise State University and University of Idaho football games for the upcoming playing season.

Alcohol sales at football games were tentatively permitted by the board last year. Before, alcohol service was only approved for corporate sponsors and their guests.

Kevin Rank / Flickr Creative Commons

Idaho officials say they can't display rainbow lights on the Capitol building for upcoming LGBT pride observances in Boise.

The Idaho Statesman reports that officials say the technical limitations of the lighting system prevent them from fulfilling the request from Boise Pridefest organizers.

But leaders of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender event suspect political concerns are also involved.

Boise Police Department Cop Car
Lacey Daley / Boise State Public Radio

Update - Wednesday, June 15 at 9:16 a.m.: Authorities say a southwest Idaho man shot and killed by police spent decades in prison before being released in February.

Fifty-year-old Noel Rodriguez of Caldwell died Tuesday when a Boise police officer opened fire after authorities say Rodriguez rammed police vehicles with his vehicle.

Rodriguez was sentenced in 1992 to life in prison following the beating death of a 29-year-old woman in Wilder.

Pages