Idaho

U.S. Army

Negotiations to release an Idaho soldier in Taliban captivity will be a long and slow process. That’s according to Middle East experts following peace talks about Afghanistan. News reports over the weekend suggested negotiations over a ceasefire had broken down. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has more.

Bowe Bergdahl of Hailey, Idaho, has been held by the Taliban since July of 2009. Videos released by his captors show the 25-year-old Army sergeant ragged and pleading to come home. And that's a feat negotiators are reportedly trying to accomplish through a prisoner swap.

Most days, Nowela Virginie and her two young daughters are here, in her small apartment just off a busy thoroughfare on the outskirts of Boise.

Virginie is 23, and she arrived in Boise three years ago. She was born in Rwanda, but spent 16 years of her life in a refugee camp in Tanzania. She remembers the shock of finding herself in a new city, a place that looked nothing like anywhere she’d ever been. "When I coming USA, nobody can explain to me how USA is to look like, nobody can explain to me," she says.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

WALLACE, Idaho - Residents of Idaho's Silver Valley are outraged over a federal order that will put 250 local miners out of work for a year. They expressed their frustration to Idaho Governor Butch Otter Monday at a town hall meeting in Wallace. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has more.

The Lucky Friday Mine in north Idaho is one of the deepest and most productive silver mines in the country. And in 2011, it had a string of accidents -– including two fatalities.

Jobless people in Idaho will start to see a major transition in its unemployment system. Idaho is phasing out paper unemployment checks and phasing in a system that puts benefits on debit cards. It becomes the second Northwest state to do so.

About one-third of Idaho's 44,000 unemployed people already have their weekly benefits put into some sort of electronic account. Now, Labor Department spokesman Bob Fick says Idaho's moving the other two-thirds that still receive paper checks to the state-issued debit cards.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Idaho and Oregon are out. Washington is likely in. We're talking about the competition for the next round of federal Race to the Top education grants. Monday is the deadline for school districts in Washington to say whether they're on board.

Idaho's unemployment rate made its largest one month fall in more than a quarter century. The three-tenths of one percent decline in April puts the jobless rate at 9.1 [nine-point-one] percent. That's the lowest in the Northwest…and it's Idaho's second monthly decrease in a row. Bob Fick from the state Labor Department says employers aren't hiring in large numbers. But he says temporary agencies are getting busier.He says employment growth this spring almost looks normal.

BOISE - Religions frequently struggle to find a balance between the spiritual and material world. To some people Heaven and Earth often seem at odds. Today, though, many faith-based organizations are finding that balance...in the garden. In this installment of Edible Idaho, correspondent Guy Hand looks at Northwest churches that believe good soil can nurture the human soul. 

Tom Banse

A new nuclear power plant proposed near the Idaho-Oregon border cleared its first hurdle Monday. But, groundbreaking is still years away because many more local and federal approvals are needed.

The Idaho legislature adjourned for the year last night. Lawmakers spent much of the final day on a last-minute attempt to ban texting while driving. But in a surprise, the bill failed.

Supporters of a texting ban thought they had a compromise that would satisfy members of the House and the Senate. Each chamber had easily approved a bill that would have set fines at 50-dollars for the first texting ticket and 100-dollars for each subsequent one.

OLYMPIA, Wash. – Starting June 10th, police officers in Washington will be able to pull over drivers who've got a cell phone pressed to their ear. Same goes for people who text while behind the wheel. Governor Chris Gregoire [today] Friday signed legislation making it a primary offense.

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