Writings and observations

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for April 17. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Closed sections of Boise River Wildlife Management Area, will open to public access on May 1. This includes areas impacted by the Table Rock and Mile Marker 14 Fires.

The City of Boise is embarking on a broad “high touch meets high tech” effort to deepen its customer service and enrich its interactions with Boise residents.

The 366th Medical Group at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, will soon begin to make what some may see as drastic changes to the services provided here. The facility will transition from an inpatient hospital to an outpatient clinic by mid-summer.

Blue Lake Rancheria, a century-old Native American reservation in Northern California, has launched its low-carbon community microgrid that is helping power government offices, economic enterprises, and critical Red Cross safety shelter-in-place facilities across 100 acres. In collaboration with Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center, Siemens, Idaho National Laboratory and additional partners, the microgrid uses decentralized energy resources and intelligent software to provide its residents and economic enterprises with reliable power without interruption.

Salmon fishing seasons are tricky because the run size and fishing seasons vary from year to year based on how many fish return to Idaho and how many hatchery fish are available for sport harvest.

Anderson’s buttercup emerges early taking advantage of native bees & is found in Owyhee Mountains & Bennett Hills. (photo/Bureau of Land Management)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for April 17. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration on April 21 for 11 southern Idaho counties, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities repair public infrastructure damaged by severe winter storms and related flooding from February 5 through March 3.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in March, down one tenth of a percent from 3.6 percent in February.

The University of Maryland will continue operating its Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics – or TRIGA – research reactor thanks to lightly irradiated fuel provided by the U.S. Department of Energy site in Idaho.

Soon the Fort Hall Replica, Bannock County Historical Museum, and Pocatello Junction will be under the same umbrella.

On Earth Day, April 22, science enthusiasts joined to show their support for science with a national march in Washington D.C. and satellite events around globe. In Boise, hundreds of supporters will meet at the Idaho State Capitol at 10:30 am for speakers and then march through the streets of downtown Boise. Speakers include professional scientist working in agriculture, medicine, climate, engineering, and education.

PHOTO High revenue levels on the Boise River have damaged parts of the Boise Greenbelt, and parts of its bike path have been closed to public access pending repairs. (photo/Boise Police Department)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for April 17. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on April 11 vetoed legislature which sought to exempt grocery purchases from the state sales tax. He also allowed to become law, without his signature, a measure substantially expanding spending on state highways. The grocery sales tax measure had cleared the Senate on a vote of 25-10 and the House by 51-19.

Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel T. Eismann (pictured) said last week that he plans to retire from the court on August 31.

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Steve Yates said on April 10 that he intends to step down as State Party Chairman effective April 24.

Reservoirs are filling across southern Idaho, and fisheries managers are looking forward to the benefits that big water brings.

Idaho Power Company is asking state regulators to approve an average 1.3 percent increase in an annual rate adjustment mechanism that allows the utility to recover its fixed costs of delivering energy when energy sales decline due to reduced consumption.

Canyon County voters in six precincts will have new polling places beginning with the May 16 election.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for March 20. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

With the legislature over, it’s time for bill signings and vetoes – some of each – and, usually, spring. That last is taking its time, as people in some places wait for flood waters to abate.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter last week plowed through the paperwork following completion of this year’s legislative session, signing dozens of bills and vetoing a few.

In an unusual public statement on April 3, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little asked Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to sign rather than veto a bill which cleared the legislature, repealing the state’s sales tax on groceries.

Boise Mayor David Bieter and Garden City Mayor John Evans on April 6 ordered the closure of most of the Greenbelt bike and pedestrian path due to dangerous flood conditions on the Boise River. The announcement comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of the pathway’s closure in the City of Eagle.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is approving an Idaho Power Company application to slightly reduce the rider customers pay to fund demand-side management (DSM) programs from the current 4 percent of monthly billed amounts to 3.75 percent. The company asked for an effective date of June 1, but the commission made the increase effective April 1.

PHOTO Senator Jim Risch prepares to discuss Syria on camera. (photo/Office of Senator Risch)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for March 20. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The Idaho Legislature adjourned for the year on March 29. It wound up proceedings with action on transportation and tax legislation.

Mayor David Bieter on March 31 declared a state of local emergency in the City of Boise due to nearly unprecedented flows on the Boise River and the unpredictable impacts those flood waters could have on the city over an extended period of time.

Representatives Mike Simpson and Raul Labrador have introduced legislation to address the routing of the Gateway West Transmission Line, through the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.

The Treasure Valley saw more than 80 new jobs in the state’s growing solar industry last year, according to a report released today by The Solar Foundation. The Boise’s metropolitan area is now home to 289 solar jobs, an increase of 43% from 2015 figures.

Idaho Fish and Game on March 30 transported about 4,000 adult sockeye salmon from its Eagle Fish Hatchery to its sockeye hatchery at Springfield to ensure the fish remain protected if there’s flooding at the Eagle hatchery.

Boise State University now offers a fully online bachelor of business administration degree in management. The new management degree, offered through Boise State’s College of Business and Economics, gives working adults an affordable, flexible way to finish their bachelor’s degree and advance their careers.

PHOTO Wind blown precipitation fall streaks at sunset over Pocatello. (photo/Jeff Hedges, National Weather Service, Pocatello)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and legislative leaders agreed on March 6 to settle all financial claims by Education Networks of America and CenturyLink for their development of the Idaho Education Network broadband system for Idaho’s public schools.

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act to require federal agencies to analyze the full impact of a proposed regulation on small businesses during the rulemaking process. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Jim Risch, who is chairman of the Small Business Committee.

On July 5, American Airlines will begin nonstop service between Boise and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The new service will operate once daily on a Bombardier CRJ700. The jet will have six first class seats, and 64 coach class seats.

The Bureau of Land Management said on March 8 it has issued a Decision Record for the Soda Fire Fuel Breaks Project, located in Owyhee County, Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon.

The recent collaboration between Boise State University and technical staff at Idaho Power Company on Boise State’s newest computing cluster, R2, enhances both partners’ ability to forecast weather and water supply.

Biologists are focusing these types restoration efforts in the East Fork Potlatch River watershed because they determined steelhead production in this basin is limited by a lack of channel complexity. (photo/Department of Fish & Game)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations on Marc 2 released a report on state jurisdictions in Indian country. Five tribes are affected by Idaho state jurisdiction. The report noted at the beginning, “State and local government powers are limited in Indian country by federal law and tribal sovereignty. The US Constitution gives Congress exclusive power over Indian affairs, and states have jurisdiction on reservations only with Congressional consent.”

Senator Mike Crapo and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow are leading a bipartisan effort to end the shortfall of veterinarians in rural areas by reintroducing the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act.

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for December 2016 was revised by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to 3.6 percent – one-tenth percent lower than the 3.7 percent first reported.

The Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on proposed changes to guidance related to grants and loans for drinking water and clean water (wastewater) infrastructure construction projects in Idaho.

(photo) Fire burned 22,000 acres of winter range on the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in eastern Idaho in 2016. To support elk and deer, and prevent private property damage, Idaho Fish and Game set in motion the largest winter feeding operation in Idaho’s history. (photo/Department of Fish & Game)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

H20 was the big topic in Idaho last week – first in colder form, as heavy snowfall that in some places threatened to break all-time snowfall records, and later as rain and snow melt that led to widespread flooding, mainly in the southern part of the state.

The House Education Committee voted on February 9 to remove references to climate change and human impact on the environment from a new set of science standards.

The Canyon County Board of County Commissioners announced on February 8 their plan to keep the Canyon County Fair at its current location in Caldwell for the foreseeable future.

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear said on February 9 the availability of fiscal year 2017 funds for small business vouchers to assist applicants developing advanced nuclear energy technologies who are seeking access to the world class expertise and capabilities available across the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories complex.

Vista Outdoor Inc., a major employer at Lewiston, reported diminished operating results for the third quarter of its Fiscal Year 2017, which ended on January 1.

Citing Idaho law and the State Water Plan, the Idaho Water Resource Board unanimously approved a resolution Monday opposing additional fish-passage requirements on the relicensing of the Hells Canyon Dam complex.

PHOTO Heavy snowfall early in the week turned, in many places, to flooding later on in the week. (photo/Idaho Transportation Department)

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Senator Mike Padden said he went into the 2015 regular session with a goal of increasing the opportunities for public participation in the legislative process. An analysis of the Senate’s remote testimony pilot program shows that Padden and his colleagues in the Senate took significant steps toward achieving that goal in that chamber, and now he plans to push just as hard to encourage the House of Representatives to follow the Senate’s lead. Remote testimony was offered 53 times during the regular-session pilot project – 31 times by invited participants and 22 times on an unsolicited basis from members of the public. (photo/Washington Senate)

Early indications: The Washington legislature will be using up most of the days available to it in special session. Maybe all of them.

The big legislative and budget news in Oregon this week was made not at the Statehouse but nearby – at the Oregon Supreme Court, which rejected (as violating contract terms) most of a grand compromise agreed to in 2013 by Democrats and Republicans. The PERS battle may begin again.

The suspense finally broke, at least on one level, last week: Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said that he would call the legislature back into session this month. Whether it will do what he is asking it to do – pass a child support interstate agreement it rejected during the regular session – remained a little less clear.

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news

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)

Study says Ada County doesn’t recycle much (Boise Statesman)
CWI board leader apologizes for property buy (Boise Statesman)
CWI can bypass land reappraisal (Nampa Press Tribune)
Airstream moves into Caldwell tomorrow (Nampa Press Tribune)

First of 18 cruise ships comes to Astoria (Astorian)
State upholds Clatsop ruling against LNG pieline (Astorian)
Long Beach consider dog ban from ball parks (Astorian)
Court rejects most PERS reforms (Portland Oregonian, Eugene Register Guard, Salem Statesman Journal, Medford Tribune, KF Herald & News)
Discover Klamath seeks to hire two people (KF Herald & News)
Salem looks into bicycle boulevards (Salem Statesman Journal)
Portland Building work may cost $175m (Portland Oregonian)

Sterling Life may shut down (Bellingham Herald)
32 cases of e coli from festical at Lynden (Bellingham Herald)
Permit rejected by Bremerton gun club (Bremerton Sun)
Money missing from Bothell police safe (Everett Herald)
Little electronic evidence on Kelley (Tacoma News Tribune, Kennewick Herald)
Food concerns over oysters and pesticides (Seattle Times)
Spokane finds gap in adult dental care (Spokane Spokesman)
Clark Co okays e-cigarette ban (Vancouver Columbian)
Yakima air quality called poor (Yakima Herald Republic)

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