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Posts published in “Day: December 27, 2014”

The paths of 2015

idaho RANDY

Over the last month, I’ve been pondering a list of currently influential people in Idaho (about which, more later) and out a way to find them: Start with a list of what are likely to be big stories in Idaho in the coming year.

What follows are a half-dozen that helped put names on the list – or, more important, what may make for a lot of discussion in Idaho next year.

In no particular order . . .

Nuclear waste. In 1995 Governor Phil Batt reached an agreement with federal agencies calling for removal of nuclear waste at the (now) Idaho National Laboratory. There’s been unease since about just how well that’s been going, but toward the end of 2014 holdups in those out-shipments, largely because of issues in other states, have been accelerating. The terms of the agreement may be violated before long, and that will be a very big conflict, probably the biggest IN:L story in 20 years.

Health care consolidation. Health care services in Idaho (and not just Idaho) are becoming consolidated. This trend has its advocates, as at St. Luke’s in Boise, where the argument is that this is the way to get health care costs under control and service rationalized. The counter-argument of course is that this is a matter of power and monopoly. St. Luke’s, based in Boise, is the biggest player, but not the only one; it’s cross-town critic, St. Alphonsus, has been growing at a hefty rate too, both of them not just just in the city but regionally around Idaho. This consolidation began to poke upward in 2014, and it may become more visible in 2015, especially as the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals makes its decision, probably early in the year, on a key St. Luke’s purchase in Nampa.

Boulder-White Clouds. The debate over what should be done in the central Idaho Boulder-White Clouds area goes back a long way (as political historians know, it played a role in Cecil Andrus’ first win as governor). Representative Mike Simpson has been pushing a negotiated compromise proposal for some years, but others argue it’s probably DOA in the coming Congress, and urge President Obama to declare the area, or part of it, as a national monument. This issue may finally be coming to a head, one way or another. (more…)

On the front pages


Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Idaho law enforcement dealing with mental health (IF Post Register)
On industry-environmental collaboration at John Day (Lewiston Tribune, Moscow News)
A lot of snow expected on Palouse (Moscow News)
Middleton schools scrambled to meet heavy growth (Nampa Press Tribune)

Merged park districts may save parks (Eugene Register Guard)
Industry-enviromental cooperation at John Day (Eugene Register Guard)
OSU considers tsunami-safe location for building (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard)
Looking at water storage at Clear Lake (KF Herald & News)
Ashland ski area opens for season (Medford Tribune)
Snow possible this weekend (Medford Tribune)
Proposed constitutional right to hunt, fish (Pendleton E Oregonian)
Democrats will have more clout in legislature (Portland Oregonian)
Ski resorts opening around area (Salem Statesman Journal)

Bremerton warns about cannabis collective (Bremerton Sun)
New judge coming to Mason County (Bremerton Sun)
Good results this holiday for retailers (Longview News)
Psychiatric boarding ends in state, via deadline (Tacoma News Tribune, Olympian)
Health exchange says 101k buying through them (Olympian)
Industry-environmental collaboration at John Day (Spokane Spokesman, Vancouver Columbian, Yakima Herald Republic, Olympian)
New generation of police protesters (Seattle Times)
Ski areas opening (Yakima Herald Republic)