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Idaho Briefing – February 5

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 5. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The news web site Politico reported on January 31 that, with the retirement of Representative Rodney Frelinghuysen, R-New Jersey, Idaho Representative Mike Simpson may put in a bid for the chairmanship of the House Appropriations Committee.

Governor C.L. “Butch”Otter signed the first bill sent to him this year by the Idaho Legislature today, immediately reducing unemployment insurance tax rates and saving Idaho employers about $115 million over the next three years.

The Idaho Water Resource Board may set a new record for recharging Snake River flows into the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer (ESPA) in the winter of 2017-18, potentially going as high as 370,000 acre-feet, officials said.

Idaho State Police Forensic Services posted the annual Toxicology Trends Report on the ISPFS website. This report contains statistics related to drug and alcohol impaired driving in Idaho.

Fish and Game will continue managing Priest Lake as primarily a lake trout fishery while also protecting native cutthroat trout and bull trout in Upper Priest Lake.

The Idaho State University College of Business is now accepting applications for the state’s first Master of Healthcare Administration program, scheduled to begin August 2018.

The Federal grazing fee for 2018 will be $1.41 per animal unit month (AUM) for public lands administered by the Bureau of Land Management and $1.41 per head month (HM) for lands managed by the USDA Forest Service. The 2017 public land grazing fee was $1.87.

PHOTO Boise State University President Bob Kustra spoke to all 475 students at Payette High School Thursday, urging them to consider going on for more education after graduation. Idaho has one of the lowest “go on” rates in the nation of students starting college right after high school, but the state, its K-12 system and its public universities are working to improve that pathway — estimates show that as jobs become more technical and Baby Boomers retire, more and more people in Idaho’s workforce will need education beyond high school. (photo/Boise State University)
 

Disconnection

richardson

For many years, it has been a staple of State of the Union speeches for presidents to populate the House gallery with heroic or sympathetic guests to introduce in connection with various policy initiatives. That Donald Trump, who so often ignores political norms and traditions, repeatedly used this technique in his first State of the Union address does not come as a surprise. The device enables a president – particularly one whose presidency is flailing – to bask in reflected glory.

But, as I listened to the president attempt to weave a coherent narrative in which such introductions aligned with his performance, I perceived a yawning gap between the guest’s actions, for which they were being recognized, and the policies of this administration. I’ll illustrate with a couple examples:

Noting that the past year called upon Americans to recover from floods, fires and storms, Trump lauded a Coast Guard petty officer who endured 18 hours of wind and rain, braving live power lines and deep water, to save 40 lives after Hurricane Harvey hit Houston. No doubt the petty officer merited such recognition. But the evidence does not support Trump’s associated comments that the nation has been with all our citizens recovering from natural disasters.

After Hurricane Maria slammed Puerto Rico, Trump made a cameo appearance in San Juan, tossing rolls of paper towels, like boxes of cracker jacks at a baseball game, to people whose lives had been devastated. He suggested that Maria wasn’t “a real catastrophe” like Hurricane Katrina and complained about how much money it cost the federal government to respond to the crisis. His comments reflected a cavalier indifference to a ravaged people. And then he left town.

Alexia Fernandez Campbell, writing for Vox, described the dire situation confronting the more than 3 million US citizens living in Puerto Rico. Observing that the lack of basic services has “fueled a mass exodus from the island,” she wrote that “[g]oing to school, having clean drinking water, and even getting regular trash services remains a daily challenge four months after Hurricane Maria ravaged the island.” And Puerto Rico continues to experience the longest blackout in US history with almost 1 million Puerto Ricans still without power.

So, when President Trump, intoned “[t]o everyone still recovering . . . we are with you, we love you, and we will pull through together,” the people of Puerto Rico have every reason to respond with anger and disbelief. Trump has spectacularly failed Puerto Rico, and his words ring hollow.

Another area in which there was a ginned up connection between Trump’s introduction of gallery guests and his administration’s policies was in the area of immigration reform. Trump began his call for immigration reform by introducing two sets of grieving parents whose teenage daughters were brutally murdered on Long Island. Members of the MS-13 gang have been charged with those murders. Trump claimed that “these gang members took advantage of glaring loopholes in our laws to enter the country as unaccompanied alien minors,” and he attempted to use this terrible tragedy to link those gang members with young immigrants who came to this country illegally at a young age.

U.S. Senator Kamala Harris of California called out the president’s exploitation of the parents' grief explaining: “MS-13 is an example of some of the worst of criminal gang behavior. To equate that with Dreamers and DACA was completely irresponsible and it was scapegoating and it was fear mongering and it was wrong.” She justifiably observed “We’re not supposed to convince the American public of policy because we make them afraid. And that’s what the president apparently thinks he needs to do . . . .”

I would also submit that, if the president were truly concerned about stopping violence in our country, he might more productively look to closing other loopholes in our laws – namely those that allow private citizens to buy and sell firearms at gun shows without conducting background checks that licensed firearms dealers must perform. This loophole allows felons, minors, and other prohibited individuals unfettered access to firearms. Closing the loophole would be consistent with the Second Amendment and put an end to what the Violence Policy Center has called “Tupperware Parties for Criminals.” Sadly, the president did not give even passing mention to the eleven school shootings that have taken place in our nation since the first of this year.

Elsewhere in his address, Trump introduced an Army staff sergeant who had rescued a fellow soldier severely wounded by an explosion in a booby-trapped building in Raqqa. Trump rightly observed that that “Terrorists who do things like place bombs in civilian hospitals are evil,” and noted that he had decided to keep open the detention facilities at Guantanamo Bay. Here again, though, he might also have considered closing the gun show loophole. Unfortunately, his goal was not to take the broad view on identifying all responsive policies but to take the narrow approach that would appeal to his base. That said, he elicited our sympathy for a courageous soldier but never connected the dots as to why that soldier’s actions should require that Guantanamo Bay should remain open.

According to pundits who count these things, the president’s speech elicited applause 115 times. Most of the applause was not for the president but for people – everyday Americans – who found themselves in tragic circumstances and who rose, often heroically, to the occasion. We can and we must honor these individuals, but we should not attribute by association their courage, tenacity, and sacrifice to Donald Trump nor should we embrace for their benefit his policies which are not substantially related to their actions.
 

Lieutenant jumble

stapiluslogo1

Idaho may be a state where one party is overwhelmingly favored to win, but within that party, there’s a good deal of uncertainty.

Highly competitive races are afoot within the Republican Party for governor and the first district U.S. House seat. Those races, not especially predictable, have gotten the most attention.

The least predictable of the bunch might be the Republican contest for lieutenant governor.

That’s an office that actually gets a significant amount of attention when it does come open, as it was, sort of, in 2002. That year, the office was held by an incumbent (Jack Riggs) who was on the ballot, but he had just been appointed, and had no time to establish himself. A complex, multi-candidate primary, tightly competitive and hard to predict, ensued. (It was won by now-U.S. Senator Jim Risch.)

This year, incumbent Brad Little is trying to move up to governor, opening the post. Five serious contenders are in the field, and none qualifies as an obvious front-runner.

Over the last couple of weeks KIDO radio in Boise has run an online (and self-selecting) poll of the candidates. Here is how the candidates rated when I last checked -- in alphabetical order.

Marv Hagedorn, state senator from Meridian, 18.5%.

Janice McGeachin, former state representative from Idaho Falls, 32%.

Bob Nonini, state senator from Coeur d’Alene, 24.2%.

Kelley Packer, state representative from McCammon, 16.7%.

Steve Yates, of Idaho Falls, former state Republican chair, 8.5%.

I don’t mean to make much out of a self-selecting poll; candidates often encourage their backers to weigh in (and I saw a Facebook post from one of these candidates encouraging just that). My guess is that Yates’ percentage may be a little understated, because his contacts in the state party structure may be a little less visible now and come more into play later. All of the others, all current or former legislators, have built bases of support within the party, have (loosely) similar levels of political experience, and won election more than once in their home districts. If none of these candidates is an obvious front-runner, there are no clear also-rans either.

Their bases of support also would seem to overlap quite a bit. There could be some perception (not necessarily correct) that Yates and Packer hail a little more from the more establishment Republican side, and Hagedorn a little more from the activist-insurgent side, but even if true that’s not a point you could press very far. Listen to any of them, or check out their web sites, and while you might see somewhat varied emphases you won’t see a great deal of difference between the way they describe themselves. They aren’t describing themselves as champion of one wing or another of the party, or even of a specific group. Everybody is a “conservative” of course, but what else is new? (McGeachin’s site says, “Make Idaho conservative again.” The implication being that it’s a liberal place?)

So how will they differentiate - how will any one of these candidates say, in a compelling and gripping way, that you need to vote for me and not one of those other guys?

First one to figure that out might win.
 

Vietnam in the present day

jones

The Vietnamese are gearing up to celebrate Tet, the lunar new year, with happy new year signs wherever one looks.

It is also the 50-year celebration of the Tet Offensive, which is often cited as the turning point in the Vietnam War. When I returned from my tour of duty in August of 1969, I thought we were on our way to winning the war. It did not turn out that way and that still causes me great pain. However, I think Vietnam is moving on a positive track and has a bright future.

I lived among and worked with South Vietnamese soldiers during most of my tour of duty and got to know many civilians. They were wonderful people and I have fond memories of them. During two weeks in Vietnam these decades later, I have encountered many people just like them from Hanoi to Saigon and points in between. They have been friendly, welcoming and often go out of their way to make a visitor feel at home. When we had to catch an early flight from Dalat to Saigon, the hotel opened breakfast service early to accommodate us.

One of the remarkable things is the courtesy the people show to one another and to foreigners. For instance, the streets of the larger cities are swarming with motor bikes. You would think that a pedestrian would be risking his or her life by trying to cross a crowded street. But, if you can get up the nerve to cross through the traffic, riders will give way so that you feel like Moses must have when the Red Sea parted.

The food is great, the service is friendly and helpful and people are quick to show a genuine smile. My wife are I have enjoyed our interactions with the people of this country. We were in Hanoi when Vietnam beat Iraq in the soccer semi-finals. Young people took to the streets in a lengthy and noisy, flag-waving procession through the city streets to celebrate. When the team won their next game with Qatar during our visit to Hoi An, the same thing happened. They were proud of their country and we were cheering with them.

We watched the soccer final with Uzbekistan at our hotel in Dalat. There we met a bright young man who attributed his almost perfect English to having spent 3 high school years in Boston. He will go far. China is making a play for the affections of Vietnam and people like him. Because of a long history of thorny relations between those countries, Vietnam would like to strengthen its relationship with us. I hope America's recent inward turn does not push them away. We need friends is this region.

The country is not perfect because the people still are unable to exercise some of the freedoms that Americans take for granted. That does not take anything away from the people, who are genuine good folks. We certainly have reason to know that because the Vietnamese who came to the U.S. as refugees after the war have been great additions to the American landscape.

Saigon is a bustling city with lots of development happening. Hoi An is a charming city where my wife, Kelly, and I took Vietnamese cooking classes. Hue is an old imperial city. Hanoi is awakening from a development standpoint and full of friendly people. Our war with the Communists ended badly for us, but I think the outlook for friendship with Vietnam into the future is very positive, if we work to make it happen.
 

Notes . . .

notes

Purely local: Returning home from Portland yesterday, we drove the new Newberg-Dundee bypass in Yambill County. The long-awaited bypass. Compared for the travel available upt to now on Highway 99, it is an improvement. Here's hoping it can become more of one.

The new road - there aren't a lot of "new" roads these days, are there? - was good. It was an easy, pleasant drive of four to five miles, and it showed off some areas off to the side of Newberg and Dundee. Travel speeded up; all of it was traversed at highway speed.

And it will divide the traffic volume heading through the area, which alone will help diminish the periodic parking lot at Dundee.

But . . . the northeast-side entrance, coming in from the Sherwood area, is balky and clumsy; you have to do several lengthy twists and turns, some of them not intuitive, to get to the actual new road. It wouldn't surprise if some people miss the route or just say the hell with it.

And it falls a couple of miles short of connecting directly with the old, existing, Dayton bypass, which would help a great deal.

These may be projects for the future. Hopefully. - rs
 

Fearmongering

carlson

The Idaho Conservation League has a hard-earned and well deserved reputation for being an environmental organization that deals with facts and objectively pursues issues involving the protection of the state’s invaluable assets such as clean water, clean air and wilderness.

When challenged a few years back by the late Governor Cecil Andrus to work constructively for a mining permit with a company willing to adopt virtually all of ICL’s requests to ensure the mine would not harm the environment, Rick Johnson, their executive director, took on the challenge and ICL ended up endorsing the proposed Formation Capital cobalt mine 50 miles northwest of Salmon.

Thus, it was disappointing to see an op-ed by ICL’s Matt Nykiel that was nothing less than an ignorant, fear-mongering hit piece aimed at stopping BNSF’s proposed second bridge parallel to the existing bridge across a corner of Lake Pend Oreille.

As is typical with these kind of hit pieces, they always leave out inconvenient facts that counter their distorted version of the truth.

The facts are:

Fact: Idahoans will have a voice and the lead federal and state agencies have a history of soliciting public comment on projects like this. For Nykiel to say Idahoans will not have a voice is simply ridiculous.

Fact: When trains cross the Lake standard operating procedure is to slow down considerably as they cross. For over 100 years trains have been crossing the lake and to the best of my knowledge not once has there been a derailment above the lake.

Fact: BNSF is the industry leader in the installation of Positive Train Control (PTC), a GPS system that automatically slows a train if it starts to exceed the preprogrammed directive.

Fact: BNSF inspects more tracks more often and more thoroughly than any other railroad in the nation. It is a pioneer in the use of drones for inspection. BNSF also accepts responsibility for being accountable to all its neighbors despite Nykiel’s claim to the contrary.

Fact: BNSF works closely with all first responders along its tracks, underwrites special training for dealing with any hazardous waste spill and provides grants for purchase of hazardous waste response items. Note Nykiel does not cite by name those he claims are critical of emergency response preparedness plans.

Fact: At a Lakes Commission meeting Nykiel claimed the response plan was deficient. His view is not shared by those who worked on the plan’s development with BNSF.

Fact: Nykiel’s use of pejorative terms like gamble, roulette and risk is a deliberate prejudging and puts ICL on record as opposing something before there has even been one hearing.

Fact: From an environmental standpoint moving goods and materials by rail is still far easier on the environment and safer than using trucks.

Fact: Nykiel should admit that he has ICL already on record because of the group’s belief that coal and Canadian oil exacerbate the global warming issue. Thus his answer is to stop trains from carrying coal or oil---a clear interference with interstate commerce. But when you’re a true believer the end justifies the means.

Unfortunately¸Nykiel is prematurely dealing away ICL’s ability to be the constructive player they can be when they want to be.

(Editor’s note: Carlson was the founding partner of the public affairs firm, the Gallatin Group. BNSF was a major client for many years. In addition, the piece is entirely the author’s view.)
 

To a canon of stories

trahantlogo1

Indian Country needs a canon of stories. A collection of Memory that every child knows growing up. A reference guide to our shared history -- as well as a reminder about what the fight is all about. I can think of so many stories that belong in our historical catalog: The real-life adventures of Crazy Horse, Chief Joseph, Brant, Chief Seattle, Geronimo, Susan LaFlesche Picotte, Elizabeth Peratrovich, Forrest Gerard, and the decades-long fight for the return of Blue Lake.

There are so many other stories that must be told. Mary Katherine Nagle's new play, "Sovereignty," does that.

(photo/Opening night: Mary Kathryn Nagle author of the play, "Sovereignty." Arena Stage photo.)

Nagle is Cherokee. She's a nationally acclaimed playwright, an attorney and a partner with Pipestem Law. She's also director of the Yale Indigenous Performing Arts Program.

"Sovereignty" is a huge deal. It's now at the Arena Stage in Washington, D.C. Think of it this way: It's a Native narrative on the nation's stage. All too often we get excited when see a movie or a TV show that has one Native American character worth remembering. That's cool. But we should really get excited about a work of art, in this case a play, when the author, the cast, and often the audience is Native. (That is something that Nagle has done often. Her play, "Sliver of a Full Moon," is a good example of that last idea, writing for a Native audience. The inside story.)

Back to the play. "Sovereignty" tells two Cherokee stories, one historical, one modern. The first story is about the Cherokee Nation in the tribe's homelands and the actions of Major Ridge, John Ridge, Elias Boudinot (a nephew of Ridge) and Chief John Ross (as well their fictional descendants). This was a time of war: The state of Georgia was determined to remove the Cherokees one way or another. The state's military, the Georgia Guard, was evil, violent and determined to remove the Cherokee people from their homeland. The Supreme Court had ruled in favor of the Cherokees but the government of Georgia ignored that. The state's primary mission was annihilation.

01Sovereignty_5234
Opening night: Mary Kathryn Nagle author of the play, "Sovereignty." (Arena Stage photo)
Nagle is literally an heir to this story. This is her family. Or, as Nagle recently said, "One hundred and eighty five years ago, the federal government sitting in Washington, D.C., sought to eradicate the sovereignty of the Cherokee Nation ... At a time when many in the United States have been hurt and threatened by polarization and prejudice, I believe we can find healing in understanding how my grandfathers, and all of our Cherokee relations, survived one of the most polarizing episodes in American history."

It was polarizing episode because the story is about Indigenous survival. And different ideas about how to make that so.

Nagle does such a great job of working the law into her plays -- and "Sovereignty" is no exception. The concept of tribal sovereignty is a recurring theme. When I saw the play, I overheard a couple remark about how sovereignty as a living, modern concept. Perfect.

But there is another angle for Indian Country and why I think this story must be in our canon; the power of dissent. So much of our history of leadership is about vision and consensus. Most of the great tribal leaders in the 19th and 20th century were successful because they conveyed their ideas to their tribal community and were able to get people to work together. As Vine Deloria Jr. wrote: "In every generation there will arise a Brant, a Pontiac, a Tecumseh, a Chief Joseph, a Joseph Garry, to carry the people yet one more decade further."

But not always. Every once in a while it's the voice of dissent; the leader challenging consensus that carries the people forward. There are two great stories about why dissent is so important to Indian Country: That of the Ridges and Lucy Covington's fight against termination. (She followed around a pro-termination Colville tribal council at public events to counter their narrative and then stirred up support for new leaders.)

I have my own take on the Ridge story, mostly through the framework of Elias Boudinot (who is in the play) the editor of the Cherokee Phoenix. "As the liberty of the press is so essential to the improvement of the mind, we shall consider our paper, a free paper," Boudinot wrote in the first issue. "The columns of this newspaper shall always be open to free and temperate discussions on matters of politics, religion, and so forth."

It's impossible to have a temperate discussion in a time of war. The head of the Georgia Guard, Col. C.H. Nelson, told Boudinot that he could not be prosecuted under Georgia law, but if the reportage about the Guard did not cease, Nelson would tie him to a tree and give him a sound whipping.

Boudinot responded with a series of editorials on the Guard and freedom. Boudinot wrote: "In this free country, where the liberty of the press is solemnly guaranteed, is this the way to obtain satisfaction for an alleged injury committed in a newspaper? I claim nothing but what I have a right to claim as a man— I complain of nothing of which a privileged white editor would not complain."

The Cherokee leadership -- led by Chief John Ross and the National Council -- had its own issues with The Phoenix leading to Boudinot's resignation. Ross was determined to remain in Georgia no matter the cost. One of those provisions would have been absolute Georgia authority over the Cherokee Nation. "Removal, then, is the only remedy—the only practicable remedy," Boudinot wrote in a letter to Chief Ross. "What is the prospect in reference to your plan of relief, if you are understood at all to have any plan? It is dark and gloomy beyond description. Subject the Cherokees to the laws of the States in their present condition?"

This is the sovereignty part of the story. The Ridges and Boudinot argued for a future Cherokee Nation. That meant signing the Treaty of New Echota and setting the stage for what became the Trail of Tears and the Cherokee Nation in Oklahoma. Major Ridge knew the price of this dissent. He said at the time: "I have signed my death warrant."

Nagle's play captures those powerful themes but it also does something that only an artist can do. She brings the Ross and Ridge families back together. She shows through the power of story how we're all in this together. Still.

Sovereignty is at the Arena Stage through Feb. 18.

Mark Trahant is an independent journalist and a member of The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes. On Twitter @TrahantReports
 

Notes . . .

notes

A rainy, quiet afternoon. Time to put on a movie, one that would entertain but also engage.

Time for another view of Citizen Kane. Haven't watched it in, oh, six or seven years. Let's give it another go. (And yes, that's as far as my thought process went.)

No big, thoughtful review of it here; I have no idea what I could say about it that hasn't been said elsewhere. Except, maybe, on this day in January of 2018, this . . .

Kane is a movie about an arrogant, reckless, loud, aggressive, rich, powerful media figure, married more than once and profligate and ultimately dismissive of all but his most sycophantic allies, ostensibly a populist but seldom able to see anyone else for who they are . . . politically ambitious and also snared by scandal, brought low at the end in his palatial Xanadu.

A review of the movie I read maybe a generation ago asked the question: "Try to think of a personage in contemporary life who would be a suitable model for an updated Kane . . . Or don't they make them like Hearst anymore?"

What do you think? - rs
 

Shut the hell up

rainey

A dyed-in-the-wool, real Republican has taken the words right out of my mouth. In doing so, he’s given my old heart a last gasp of hope there may be some life left in the old GOP corpse: that it may rise again.

We’ll get to him in a minute. First, some background. And a warning. If you’re a straight-up Evangelical believer who thinks our nation is being led to Hell by the guy in the White House, you reject his foul mouth, chronic lying, his total absence of qualifications to hold that office AND you accept the rest of us are entitled to our differing beliefs, please - PLEASE - don’t take offense at what you’re about to read. While I deeply and honestly mean the words, they are not directed at you. They ARE directed at some of your totally dangerous brethren.

Let’s start with Franklin Graham who must, by now, be an embarrassment to well-grounded Christian believers everywhere. His recent rhetoric about our president is anything but Christian.

Case in point: On CNN last week, Graham said Trump “is a changed man.” Meaning for the better, I’d guess. He said Trump’s affair with a porn star was “11,12,13,14 years ago,” Trump is “a businessman, not a politician...talks a certain way to get his point across” and while “he has offended people, God put him in the White House for a reason.”

“I believe Donald Trump is a good man,” Graham said. “I think God put him there.” End quote.

Given the depth of public knowledge about Trump and his activities the past year, this so-called “Christian leader” can’t possibly be representing thinking Christians, much less the entire Evangelical branch. A mass of evidence puts the lie to his words.

Then, there’s Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council. The Council’s website says it “..champions marriage and family as the foundation of civilization, the seedbed of virtue and the wellspring of society...families are formed only by ties of blood, marriage or adoption” and “marriage is the union of one man and one woman.”

So, here’s Perkins on Trump on CNN. “Evangelicals, conservatives, they gave him a mulligan - a do-over...a second chance.” Perkins said Trump had built a “relationship with Evangelicals” (with) “his constitutional conservative policies including appointing judges who oppose abortion (which) garners the support.”

Perkins is happy Trump will appoint judges with a fixed point of view rather than an open mind. Put another way, he wants judges appointed who will betray their oaths of office to support his closed mind.

While we’re all entitled to our opinions on this-that-and-the-other, we are seeing more and more cases of someone’s - or some group’s - social or moral beliefs framing issues. Perkins and Graham are exhibits A and B. That entitlement of expression extends to all Christians, non-Christians, unbelievers and, yes, “Evangelicals,” too. Our Constitution says so.

But, these two “leaders” want to eviscerate the Constitution, create a legal system with only their beliefs and dictate to all of society what their distinct minority supposedly adheres to.

Now, back to the Republican who has fostered some small hope in my heart that the old GOP may - like Lazarus - rise from the dead.

That one guy - former GOP Chairman Michael Steele - responded to the Perkins garbage this way on MSNBC. “I have a very simple admonition at this point,” he said. “Just shut the Hell up and don’t ever preach to me about anything ever again. I don’t want to hear it!”

Further, he said, “After telling me how to live my life, what to believe, what not to believe, what to do and what not to do and now you sit back and the prostitutes don’t matter? The grabbing the you-know-what doesn’t matter? The outright behavior and lies don’t matter? Just shut up!”

Michael, sez I, you took the words right out of my mouth!”
 

Idaho Briefing – January 29

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for January 29. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Budget hearings are well underway at the Idaho Legislature, and much of the relatively substantive debate is about to get underway. Outside the capitol dome, winter continues apace.

Schools chief Sherri Ybarra asked budget-writers to keep Idaho’s public school students in mind while weighing her request to increase state spending on K-12 by more than $113 million next year.

Idaho Fish and Game Commission on January 17 voted to continue the current general hunts in the popular Sawtooth Elk Zone A and B tags sold on a first-come, first-served basis in 2018, but commissioners signaled a plan to change elk hunts in the zone to controlled hunts in 2019.

As required by Idaho Code, Idaho State Police Forensic Services provided the annual Idaho Sexual Assault Kit report to the Idaho Legislature on Friday.

Boise State University and its alumni drove nearly $1.9 billion in Idaho in fiscal year 2015, according to a report commissioned by the university and conducted by Tripp Umbach, a national economic analysis group.

Idahoans who receive natural gas service from Avista Utilities will pay less this winter after regulators approved a decrease to the Purchased Gas Cost Adjustment set in November 2017 through the company’s annual PGA filing.

The Bureau of Land Management recently took quick action to close off a collapsed mine shaft that opened suddenly in the historic mining town of Silver City, 50 miles southwest of Boise. The resulting sinkhole was adjacent to the community park and near a campground frequented by recreationists, posing an immediate safety risk.

PHOTO The Idaho State police respond to a snow slideoff in eastern Idaho, where many roads were impacted by snowfall last week. (photo/Idaho State Police)