Writings and observations

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for July 10. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The 4th of July holiday led to a short week of formal activity, and members of Congress were relatively quiet during their visits back to the state. Things are likely to gear up a little this week.

The Idaho State Board of Education on July 5 made two major decisions to enable the College of Eastern Idaho to offer academic programs starting with the Fall 2017 semester.

The Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification released their annual “Crime In Idaho” report for 2016 today, July 3, 2017. The report is a synopsis of statewide crime statistics gathered from law enforcement agencies across Idaho and includes such things as the Statewide Crime Profile, Crimes against Persons, Property, Society, the Arrest Profile, Hate Crime in Idaho, Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted, crimes categorized by jurisdiction and many other statistics.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointments of Boise resident James Classen, Emmett resident Kevin Dickey, and Moscow resident Dr. Renee Breedlovestrout to the Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on July 5.

Secretary of State Lawerence Denney received a request by email on Friday for specific information pertaining to Idaho state voter registrations from the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity.

The city of Nampa and Nampa Parks & Recreation Department invites the public to join the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Orah Brandt Park on 2 p.m. Thursday, July 13. A short presentation will take place near Franklin Boulevard at the entrance of the Franklin Village subdivision.

PHOTO What was once a wind-blown wheat field near the small Idaho town of Genesee is now an environmental success 12 years after the Idaho Transportation Department created a thriving, marshy wetlands area where one never existed. Genesee is a quiet community in the rolling hills of the Palouse between Moscow and Lewiston. When road construction on U.S. 95 in the spring of 2005 from the top of Lewiston Hill to Genesee required using land designated as wetlands, ITD launched a mitigation project to construct wetlands as compensation. Known as “Cow Creek Wetland,” along a half-mile of Cow Creek in Latah County. (photo/Idaho Department of Transportation)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for July 3. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Lightning fires struck all over southern Idaho last week, but mostly they were quickly extinguished. More may be coming with the 4th of July weekend, especially given all the discussion about aerial fireworks and their legality, or lack thereof.

State Senator (and Senate Majority Leader) Bart Davis was nominated by President Trump as U.S. attorney for Idaho.

Idaho’s population is aging faster than the nation’s according to estimates recently released by the Census Bureau. Idaho seniors – people age 65 and older – increased by 30 percent from mid-2010 to mid-2016 compared with 22 percent for the nation.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted personal income grew 1.6 percent from $66.5 billion in the fourth quarter of 2016 to $67.6 billion in the first quarter of 2017. It was the fastest growth rate in the nation. Four other states – Louisiana, Michigan, Florida and Texas – had the next fastest growth in personal income at 1.3 percent, according to recently released figures by the Bureau of Economic Analysis (BEA). Nationwide, personal income increased by 1.0 percent.

Representative Raúl Labrador will chair the House Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee for the remainder of the 115th Congress. The subcommittee has jurisdiction over immigration and border security issues.

The Board of County Commissioners (BOCC) lifted a mandatory evacuation notice to the homes in Eagle between Hatchery, Artesian and Trout roads.

Idaho Panhandle Forest Supervisor Mary Farnsworth on June 28 said she has signed the decision, selecting alternative 2, for the Deer Creek Project located on the Bonners Ferry Ranger District.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for June 26. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

It’s a quiet period in the early summer stretch leading up to Independence Day, but state politics got a little shakeup with the campaign change of Russ Fulcher, and with ongoing developments out of Washington.

The Idaho Department of Lands auctioned 14 Payette Lake lots for deeded ownership at a public auction in Boise. The land sales generated $7,895,500 for the endowment funds that support State Hospital South and teacher education programs at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Bureau of Reclamation increased flows from Lucky Peak Dam by an additional 500 cubic feet per second on June 23, at 8 am. The Boise River reservoir system continues to be in active flood control operations in this unusually high water year.

The state of Idaho on June 23 auctioned another U.S. Forest Service timber sale as part of a State-federal partnership to increase management activities on federal lands in Idaho. The Woodrat Salvage Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is Idaho’s second project developed under Good Neighbor Authority, a federal law that enables the Forest Service to partner with the Idaho Department of Lands to achieve restoration and resilient landscape objectives across ownership boundaries in Idaho.

Micron Technology, Inc., on June 22 announced that the company has appointed Sumit Sadana as executive vice president and chief business officer. His addition to the executive team will accelerate the company’s ability to execute on its strategic goals.

The Idaho Transportation Board on June 23 unanimously approved a resolution Thursday that allows the Idaho Transportation Department to move forward with an agreement to develop a public private partnership to build the Northgate Interchange (Siphon Road) in Bannock County.

PHOTO The State of Idaho on June 23 at Kamiah auctioned another U.S. Forest Service timber sale today as part of a State-federal partnership to increase management activities on federal lands in Idaho.. (photo/Idaho Department of Lands)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

It’s a quiet period in the early summer stretch leading up to Independence Day, but state politics got a little shakeup with the campaign change of Russ Fulcher, and with ongoing developments out of Washington.

Former state senator and 2014 gubernatorial candidate Russ Fulcher on June 14 said that he will not run for governor, as he had indicated, but instead will seek the first district U.S. House seat.

Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, secured passage of the Countering Russian Aggression and Cyberattacks Act of 2017 today, legislation introduced yesterday as an amendment to the underlying Iran sanctions bill. The amendment passed 97-2.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate fell for the third consecutive month in May to 3.2 percent, underscoring the increased pressure among Idaho employers competing for workers.

The Idaho Department of Finance said on June 16 that before the end of June it will be reaching out by email and U.S. Mail to thousands of individuals licensed to provide financial services in Idaho to seek input on the department’s licensing processes.

Avista has asked the Idaho Public Utilities Commission to approve a two-year plan calling for rate increases in 2018 and 2019 for its electric and natural gas customers in Idaho.

Ada County’s Mosquito Abatement District has been added to the Local Disaster Emergency Declaration that was created under Idaho Code §46-1011 on March 27.

PHOTO In May, the Idaho Panhandle National Forests planted approximately 45,500 western white pine, larch and cedar in 126 acres of the Lower Flat Salvage Sale area on the Coeur d’Alene River Ranger District that was burned during the 2015 Grizzly Complex fires. Hemlock needles coat the forest floor masking the ash and burned ground. (photo/Idaho Panhandle National Forest)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

May 2017 Idaho General Fund receipts were $210.2 million, which was a 12.2% increase from the previous May. This month’s collections topped the forecasted $195.1 million by $15.2 million (7.8%). The stronger-than-expected showing raised the fiscal year-to-date receipts to $3,087.3 million, which is $64.7 million (2.1%) above the projected $3,022.6 million and 8.1% higher than in May 2016.

Representative Mike Simpson and Oregon Congressman Kurt Schrader reintroduced the Wildfire Disaster Funding Act, legislation which would fix the current budgeting process for wildfires.

Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, late yesterday, signed a Secretarial Order 3353 to improve sage-grouse conservation and strengthen communication and collaboration between state and federal governments. Together, the Federal government and states will work to conserve and protect sage-grouse and its habitat while also ensuring conservation efforts do not impede local economic opportunities.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter hailed a federal magistrate’s recent decision denying a motion from Friends of the Clearwater to block the U.S. Forest Service’s proposed Orogrande Community Protection Project on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest.

State regulators have approved a settlement calling for the early retirement of a coal plant co-owned by Idaho Power.

PHOTO Kyler Brabec, who recently graduated from wildland fire school, survey’s his first fire. (photo/Bureau of Land Management)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

A visit from the federal secretaries of Interior and Agriculture spotlighted the problem of wildfires, of which Idaho is just now starting to see its first this season. 2017 could be a relatively light fire year, however, given the heavy precipitation and still-large snowpack.

On May 31, the State Board of Education announced a revised process for selecting the inaugural Board of Trustees for the College of Eastern Idaho. Based on community interest and feedback from local leaders, the State Board will expedite the selection of trustees, allowing the new community college to begin operations sooner.

The Idaho Fish and Game commission reopened spring Chinook salmon fishing on portions of the Clearwater River and the Little and Lower Salmon Rivers starting June 3 with several changes to the previous seasons that closed May 24.

Representative Raul Labrador launches his campaign for governor on May 30 at events around Idaho, including at Post Falls Boise, and Idaho Falls.

The Bureau of Reclamation is increasing flows in the upper Snake River below Jackson Lake and Palisades dams because of continued warmer than normal temperatures that have resulted in increased spring runoff from snowmelt.

Mosquitoes infected with West Nile virus were detected in Bannock County on June 1, 2017, prompting health officials to remind people to take precautions to fight the bite. he positive mosquitoes, which are the first detected in the state this year, were collected by the Bannock County Mosquito Abatement District.

State regulators have determined that nearly $10 million spent by Avista Utilities on energy-efficiency programs in Idaho in 2014 and 2015 was prudently incurred.

The city of Nampa invites members of the community to give their opinions about local transportation needs at an afternoon workshop on Thursday, June 8.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

With Memorial Day coming up, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter announced on May 23 that the Idaho Division of Veterans Services has launched an effort to identify all Idaho monuments and memorials honoring the military and veterans.

The Idaho Water Resource Board has approved spending $109,273 with Ralston Hydraulic Services Inc. of Moscow for the second phase of the Lewiston Regional Deep Aquifer Study.

On May 24 the House Judiciary Committee approved a robust immigration enforcement bill introduced by Immigration and Border Security Subcommittee Vice-Chairman Raúl Labrador (R-ID) and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-VA). Their legislation, the Michael Davis, Jr. and Danny Oliver in Honor of State and Local Law Enforcement Act (H.R. 2431) was approved by a vote of 19-13.

Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced a $33 million multi-state settlement with Johnson & Johnson Consumer Inc. and Johnson & Johnson concerning the way they represented certain over-the-counter drugs between 2009 and 2011. Idaho’s portion of the settlement is just over $430,000.

Migration conditions in the lower Columbia River and a late run have challenged Fish and Game’s normal process for setting Chinook salmon seasons. Fisheries managers closed the spring/summer Chinook season as a precaution on May 24 on all rivers, except Hells Canyon, due to low numbers of Chinook counted at Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River.

Representative Mike Simpson discussed important Idaho issues with Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and U.S. Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell during a hearing held by the House Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee.

PHOTO Idaho State University’s Holt Arena will undergo a $536,000 lighting upgrade this summer, replacing two older lighting systems with 85 LED lighting fixtures. (photo/Idaho State University)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Idaho Falls will be getting a full community college after the election last week, when the voters of Bonneville County decisively approved the proposal.

Lieutenant Governor Brad Little – in his capacity as acting governor – on May 19 signed an executive order today directing a sweeping review of Idaho’s occupational licensing requirements.

Significant drops in the number of unemployed Idahoans and people looking for work pushed the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down to 3.4 percent in April, narrowing an already tight labor market even further.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on May 18 announced that President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration today for eight northern and north-central Idaho counties, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities recover from flooding that occurred March 6-28.

Snake River flows below Minidoka and Milner dams will be decreasing from today through May 18, to end flow passing Milner Dam. The Idaho Water Resource Board suspended Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer recharge operations on May 18, effective immediately.

Anglers should soon know the fate of the 2017 spring Chinook run, and how much longer the spring fishing season will continue. Fisheries managers plan to re-evaluate the season after seeing how many chinook cross Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which is the first dam the fish cross that are bound for Idaho.

PHOTO A group of activists stand at the Grove Convention Center in Boise. (photo/United Vision for Idaho)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 15. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

U.S. Representative Raul Labrador on May 9 filed paperwork with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office to run for governor in 2018. He joins a field of Republicans which already includes Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, former state Senator Russ Fulcher and Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch on May 8 welcomed the nomination of Idaho District Judge David C. Nye of Pocatello by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on May 8 and 9 toured the Idaho National Laboratory, visiting a number of facilities at the installation and talking with groups of employees there.

Idaho Power has filed a settlement stipulation with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission related to early retirement of the North Valmy coal-fired power plant and an associated plan for cost recovery.

Acting Governor Brad Little has declared a state of disaster emergency for Custer, Elmore and Gooding Counties as of May 10.

PHOTO Representative Raul Labrador (center, standing) files paperwork at the Idaho secretary of state’s office to run for governor. Here he talks with Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (left), with whom he served in the Idaho House. (photo/Labrador campaign)

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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.

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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