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Posts published in “Briefings”

Idaho Briefing – October 30

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for October 30. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Enrollment seems to be up, a bit, at most of Idaho’s colleges and universities. And several of them are reporting some striking projects - from homeless analysis to avalanche warnings - around the state.

The Idaho State Tax Commission has published the latest tax burden study, which compares Idaho’s state and local taxes with those of other states and the District of Columbia. Alan Dornfest, the Tax Commission’s property tax policy bureau chief, conducted the annual study based on data from fiscal year (FY) 2015, the latest year for which U.S. Census Bureau figures are available.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest, Sawtooth National Forest and the Bureau of Land Management Idaho Falls District are providing another opportunity for the public to review and comment on the refined wilderness management plans and environmental analysis associated with the Hemingway-Boulders, White Clouds and Jim McClure-Jerry Peak wilderness areas.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter significantly restructured the State’s Workforce Development Council on October 26, seeking to close the gap between the training and education that Idaho job seekers have and the skills that Idaho employers need.

Rocky Mountain Power and the city of Idaho Falls have requested approval of an agreement that would help resolve transfers of service among existing customers in areas annexed by the city.

PHOTO Boise State University celebrated the opening of the new Honors College and Sawtooth Hall with a dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony on October 24. Home to 656 students, the new five-story, $40 million building includes Honors-dedicated living and learning spaces, as well as housing for other students, a dining venue, classrooms and spaces designed to boost the student experience on campus. The 236,000-square-foot building is located in the center of campus on University Drive across the street from the Student Union Building. (Boise State University)

Idaho Briefing – October 23

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for October 23. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

A familiar name on the ballot has entered the race against incumbent Republican 2nd District Representative Mike Simpson. Peter Rickards, a Twin Falls podiatrist, a long-time nuclear power critic and candidate for several offices over the years, said he will file for the seat held by Simpson since 1998.

The Salmon-Challis National Forest has spent the past several months documenting the current conditions and trends on the forest and in the surrounding communities. That assessment will soon be available in draft form. A series of public meetings November 6-14 will feature a chance to talk to the Salmon-Challis’ leadership and forest plan revision team about the findings.

Idaho’s September seasonally adjusted unemployment rate decreased for the seventh consecutive month to 2.8 percent — the lowest unemployment rate on record — dating back to January 1976. September’s decrease was due to a robust increase in the number of Idahoans working and a continued drop in the number of unemployed. Total employment grew by 4,154 in September — the largest monthly increase since July 1993 — driving the total number of people with jobs to 800,629.

Boise State University’s official enrollment for the fall 2017 semester is 24,154 — the highest in university history. Boise State served a total of more than 30,000 students over the course of the scholastic year last year, but the fall snapshot is the official enrollment for state and federal reporting purposes.

The city of Nampa has released an updated Snow and Ice Control Plan on its website, bracing for what has been forecasted another brutal winter.

PHOTO Elegant new entrance signs on U.S. 20 at the borders of the INL desert Site serve as an important branding and advertising tool for the thousands of passersby who cross the high desert each year. This sign is on the western border near Arco. (Idaho National Laboratory)

Idaho Briefing – October 16

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for October 16. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Congress was mostly out this week, so despite big news from Washington there was little to connect to Idaho. A number of significant social subjects come up, though.

A former Republican legislator has helped form a new political action committee, Moderates are Taking Hold, aimed at encouraging independent and Democratic voters to participate in the 2018 Idaho Republican primary.

The Department of Homeland Security will continue to allow the use of current Idaho driver’s licenses and identification cards at federal security checkpoints, such as courthouses, military bases and airport TSA screenings.

Senators Michael Bennet (D-CO), Mike Crapo, Jon Tester (D-MT), Jim Risch, and Ron Wyden (D-OR) introduced the Wildfire Mitigation Assistance Act to provide resources to assist communities recovering from damaging wildfires.

A national search has gotten udnerway to find a new president of Lewis Clark State College.

Micron Technology, Inc., on October 10 announced that it intends to offer, subject to market and other considerations, approximately $1 billion of shares of common stock in an underwritten registered public offering.

Harvest season for adipose-clipped hatchery steelhead will open Sunday, Oct. 15 on the Snake, Salmon and Clearwater rivers.

A section of the Boise River Greenbelt in east Boise will be closed by Ada County starting October 25, 2017 through June 22, 2018 in order to install irrigation pipe for the Penitentiary Canal and build a wider, safer, smoother asphalt pathway for Greenbelt users.

Idaho Briefing – October 9

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for October 9. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment today of Deputy Attorney General Jessica Marie Lorello of Meridian to the Idaho Court of Appeals vacancy created by the June 30 retirement of Judge John Melanson.

The Pioneer News Group Co. on October 5 announced that it is selling its media division assets to family-owned Adams Publishing Group, including several major properties in Idaho. The sale will include 22 daily and weekly newspapers in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Utah along with a newspaper and commercial print facility, various shoppers and websites. The sale is expected to be finalized on November 1.

Justice Warren E. Jones announced he will be retiring from the Idaho Supreme Court, effective December 31, due to personal and family health circumstances.

Following numerous discussions among Western Senators Mike Crapo, Ron Wyden (D-Oregon), Jim Risch, and Michael Bennet (D-Colorado), and Administration leadership and agency officials, initial federal funding to begin fixing shortages in fire-fighting efforts known as “fire borrowing” are now being included in hurricane disaster budget recommendations.

Jayco®, Inc., a subsidiary of Thor Industries, Inc., said on October 3 that it has decided to expand their manufacturing footprint in Twin Falls.

PHOTO The Idaho Museum of Natural History on the campus of Idaho State University will open its “BISON” exhibit on October 14. “BISON” is a traveling exhibit exploring the past, present and future of this great North American mammal. The exhibit creates an interactive environment that combines history, artifacts and hands-on activities to bring to life the story of this great North American mammal. The exhibit is made possible by National Buffalo Foundation and the Kauffman Museum. “BISON” is available to museums across the United States and Canada to tell the tragic history of this majestic animal, its rescue from near extinction, and the story of people across North America working to preserve the bison as a vibrant part of our future. The museum will also host Spirits & Skeletons, Oct. 13. (Idaho State University)

Idaho Briefing – October 2

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

You’ll see a few alterations beginning with this edition – nothing that’s been here is departing, but a few additions will crop up here and there, and some cosmetic changes. Among the former: Look toward the back of the issue and you’ll see a new feature, a new map of Idaho each week, this first one noting the intensity of broadband supply in various parts of the state. Among the latter: We’ll be shifting the base color on the front page from issue to issue, so yes, this is the next edition of the Briefing.

A bipartisan group of western senators pushing for their legislation to fix “fire borrowing” heard strong evidence from Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue and fire experts at the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the U.S. Forest Service that Congress should pass their bill to end fire borrowing.

The Boise City Council on September 26 heard from Boise Hawks baseball organization advocates proposing a new large ballpark to be located in the downtown area.

House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.) and Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Chairman Raúl Labrador on September 27 met with Department of State Secretary Rex Tillerson and Department of Homeland Security Acting Secretary Elaine Duke regarding the Trump Administration’s refugee ceiling for Fiscal Year 2018.

The Boise City Council on September 26 heard from Boise Hawks baseball organization advocates proposing a new large ballpark to be located in the downtown area.

The State Board of Education on September 29 voted unanimously to adopt a series of higher education reform recommendations issued earlier this month. Back on September 15, Gov. Butch Otter’s 35-member higher education task force issued 12 unanimous recommendations aimed at improving higher education outcomes, making college more accessible and modernizing the state’s college and university system. The State Board adopted all of those recommendations, and voted to prioritize funding for two items within the State Board of Education’s “system-wide needs” budget.

Idaho Briefing – Sept 25

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

Idaho picked up a large-scale wheat deal with China this week, as good economic news generally continued to roll. Atop that, fall appeared to arrive in force (with concerns about coming snow), diminishing wildfires for the season.

Candidates have finished filing for office in Idaho municipal elections, which will be held in November.

The Idaho Water Resource Board provided an update during its meeting in Mountain Home last week on ensuring that Mountain Home Air Force Base has a long-term, sustainable water supply.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould met with representatives of the Taiwan Flour Mills Association and Idaho wheat industry officials today to sign an agreement supporting U.S. wheat exports over the next two years – a deal worth $576 million.

In the wake of historic wildfires in Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington and across the West, Senators Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Mike Crapo, Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Jim Risch, Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced an updated version of their bipartisan wildfire funding solution that would protect desperately needed funding for fire prevention and treat wildfires as the natural disasters they are.

The Idaho Transportation Board approved a resolution and directed staff to investigate property options for relocating the Idaho Transportation Department District 4 administrative office in the vicinity of the Interstate 84/U.S. 93 junction located in Jerome County.

Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo congratulated Ryan Nelson of Idaho after his nomination to become Department of Interior Solicitor passed unanimously out of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee today. His nomination has been sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said on September 22 that Idaho has agreed to join the federal government and other states in settling allegations against Mylan Inc. and its subsidiary, Mylan Specialty L.P.

In a challenging year for salmon and steelhead returns, Idaho's most endangered salmon fared a little better than expected with 157 of them trapped in the Sawtooth Basin this summer.

PHOTO Two Idaho State University geosciences students, master’s student Graham Meese and undergraduate Jeffery Carpenter, are working with geosciences Associate Professor Ben Crosby on a long-term study of Marsh Creek, a major tributary to the Portneuf River. Their research focuses on measuring how restoration in Marsh Creek has impacted the water quality, which in turn affects the water quality of the Portneuf River. To help answer this question, their study uses two historic sources of information, aerial imagery and water quality data. Aerial imagery is used to compare 70 years of change by mapping where the channel used to be and where it is now. The researchers are looking at how the creek behaves naturally as well as how it has been changed by human modification. (Idaho State University)

Idaho Briefing – September 18

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

The nomination of Idaho State Senator Bart Davis to serve as Idaho’s next United States Attorney was confirmed the evening of September 14 by the United States Senate.

Idaho’s August seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell to its lowest level in 10 years, matching the state’s record low of 2.9 percent in June 2007. August’s one tenth-of-a-percent decline was the sixth consecutive monthly decrease in the unemployment rate and is a result of the first substantial increase to Idaho’s labor force since February. An additional 1,802 new entrants joined the labor force in August, and employment increased by 2,979 for a total of 796,430, absorbing 1,177 unemployed workers.

A team of Boise State graduate students from the School of Public Service teamed up with the Idaho Conservation League to create and submit an application to establish the first dark sky reserve in the United States.

Senator Mike Crapo last week introduced the Freedom of Commerce Act, S. 1779, which would allow consumers to purchase an automatic knife legal in their state, regardless of where it was manufactured in the U.S.

Canyon County Parks, Cultural & Natural Resources will offer winter field trips for the first time as part of a pilot program with the BLM’s Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.

Idaho Briefing – Sept 11

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

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said on September 6 that the State of Idaho and 63 Idaho schools districts and education providers have agreed to settle all financial claims with the Federal Communications Commission regarding the Idaho Education Network (IEN).

Smoke from several wildfires in Idaho and surrounding states is affecting the air quality for residents in nearly every Idaho community and is expected to continue to do so for the next several days. Public health officials are advising people in the affected areas to limit their time outside as much as possible to reduce their exposure to smoke.

The nomination of Idaho State Senator Bart Davis to serve as Idaho’s next United States Attorney has been sent to the full Senate for consideration.

Although there has been a swarm of earthquakes in Southeast Idaho the likelihood of a strong 7.0 earthquake, although possible, is remote, noted professors in the Idaho State University Department of Geosciences.

The University of Idaho saw its most successful fundraising year in its 128-year history for fiscal year 2017, receiving more than $38.7 million in gifts and commitments.

Idaho Briefing – September 4

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

Much of Idaho’s attention last week went to a passing, of former Governor Cecil Andrus. Services were held last week in Boise.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter appointed Fifth District Judge G. Richard Bevan of Twin Falls on August 29 to succeed retiring Justice Daniel Eismann on the five-member Idaho Supreme Court.

Ada County re-opened a section of the Boise River Greenbelt that has been closed since March because of high river flows, pathway damage and flood recovery efforts.

State regulators have denied a request to reverse their decision regarding the contract terms for several proposed PURPA battery storage projects in southern Idaho.

Idaho big game hunters have been on a roll in recent years with a top-10, all-time deer harvest in 2016, an all-time record whitetail harvest in 2015, and a top-five, all-time elk harvest in 2015.

Idaho National Laboratory has released multiple new open-source software projects that are freely available to the public and open to collaboration directly with researchers and engineers outside of the laboratory. Fostering widespread distribution of this software will accelerate the adoption of these technologies within industry, and fuel innovation in other research organizations that may build on them.

PHOTO Senator Crapo delivers remarks before presenting the Specific Manufacturing Capability (SMC) project with the Spirit of Idaho Award. (photo/Senator Crapo)

Idaho Briefing – August 28

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

Cecil Andrus, governor of Idaho for longer than anyone else (from 1971-77 and again from 1987-95) and secretary of the Interior in the Carter Administration, died on August 24 in Boise, of complications from lung cancer.

The Idaho Department of Lands auctioned 59 state-owned lakefront lots on Priest Lake for deeded ownership during public, oral auctions Friday and Saturday in Coeur d’Alene. The land sales generated $29,066,040 for the endowment funds that support public schools.

In an Idaho Falls laboratory, interns Matthew Yim and Michael Crain-Zamora tinker with complicated glass and metal vessels used to grow Gluconobacter oxydans, a bacterium that causes fruit to rot.

Idaho State University researchers are seeking input from farmers, water managers and policy makers about their experiences with efforts to replenish the Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer that began in 2016.

Faced with declining revenue as Idahoans increasingly abandon land line phone service, state regulators have raised a monthly surcharge on land lines and questioned the sustainability of the Idaho Universal Service Fund (IUSF).

A public hearing will be held August 31 to take comment on applications allowing trucks weighing up to 129,000 pounds on sections of U.S. 26, the I-86 Business Loop, Idaho 37, Idaho 38, U.S. 91, Idaho 34, U.S. 89, Idaho 61 and U.S. 30.

PHOTO In a photo from 1974, then- Governor Cecil Andrus and Senator Frank Church converse at a political event. Andrus is wearing a tag for lieutenant governor candidate John Evans, who would win that year and succeed Andrus as governor. Andrus died last week.