Idaho

Campaign

The squeaker in the statewide returns from Tuesday’s election in Idaho was the contest for state superintendent of public instruction. The position rarely makes the holder a household name. But as correspondent Jessica Robinson reports, it's an office that's expected to play a key role in Idaho over the next several years.

Republican Sherri Ybarra’s margin of victory was just over 1 percent. She’s currently the curriculum director in the Mountain Home district. Ybarra says her first step will be getting a crash course from outgoing state schools chief, Tom Luna.

Joe Shlabotnik / Flickr

It’s election week. Here in the Northwest, Washington and Oregon voters will cast their ballots by mail – or drop box. In Idaho, most voters still go to the polls.

A.J. Balukoff / http://www.ajforidaho.com/

Balukoff began the hour-and-a-half back-and-forth by introducing himself as a successful businessman and longtime Boise school trustee. Otter touted his administration’s fiscal responsibility, and Bujak attempted to paint himself as an alternative candidate who would change the way Idaho government works.

By the end of the forum, the three had touched on Idaho’s economy, school funding, the state of its roads and bridges, a prison scandal, and more.

Danielle / Flickr

  

Religious conservatives around the country are rallying to the defense of a wedding chapel in north Idaho whose owners don’t want to perform gay marriages. The mayor of Coeur d’Alene and governor of Idaho are being inundated by hundreds of calls and thousands of emails even though neither has taken any action against the wedding chapel.

The quaint Old West style wedding chapel called the Hitching Post is just across the street from the county courthouse in Coeur d’Alene.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Same-sex couples across Idaho headed to county courthouses Wednesday. It was the first official day of legal gay marriage in the state since a court overturned Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage. Gay rights supporters hope the day marks a new direction for Idaho.

In Boise, there was a long line of couples at the Ada County courthouse among them, some of the plaintiffs who took the state to court for refusing to marry them.

Philippa Willitts / flickr

The Idaho attorney general has asked his legal staff to start looking at what implications gay marriage will have for the state. Same-sex marriage is set to start Wednesday morning in Idaho under an order from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. The county clerk’s office isn’t the only place where the ruling is expected to take effect.  

Gay Marriage In Idaho Cleared To Start Wednesday Morning

Oct 13, 2014
Laura Flowers

Same-sex couples in Idaho can start getting married and have those marriages legally recognized by the state starting Wednesday morning, according to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals. Idaho’s attorney general decided not to pursue further delay.

Philippa Willitts / Flickr

Couples gathered at courthouses around the state early Wednesday. They were acting on a decision from the San Francisco-based appeals court the night before that essentially green-lighted the issuance of marriage licenses to gay couples.

In Boise, the Ada County courthouse opened at 8 o’clock. Enthusiastic couples streamed inside. But by the time they’d reached the Clerk of Court’s office, things had changed. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy stepped in and issued a stay on the circuit court’s ruling. Gay couples were turned away.

University of Idaho / http://www.uidaho.edu/

The U.S. Supreme Court issued a surprise decision Monday not to take up several cases on same sex marriage. That effectively makes gay marriage legal in 11 more states for a total of 30. That doesn’t count Idaho. In Idaho earlier this year a district judge ruled the state’s ban on same sex marriage unconstitutional.

Flickr

Federal land managers in Idaho project minimal environmental damage from allowing a predator hunting derby to take place in the north-eastern part of the state. That’s the finding of an environmental assessment released Wednesday. It’s part of a controversy that started last winter when hunters competed to kill wolves and coyotes during a two-day event.

The first predator derby attracted international attention, as well as online petitions, and even an undercover report in Vice magazine. Hunters competed for $1,000 prizes for the biggest wolf or most coyotes.

Bureau of Land Management

Sixty percent of the land in Idaho is controlled by the federal government. And some people would like those national forests and rangelands transferred to state control. But the Idaho attorney general told a crowd of tea party conservatives in north Idaho on Saturday there’s a good chance the state would lose that effort in court.

Census data released by the government this week show individuals and women in Idaho have the lowest median incomes in the country, while household and family median incomes are in the bottom third among states.

The data release is part of the U.S. Census Bureau's 2013 American Community Survey.

Idaho's median household income in 2013 was $46,783, meaning half the residents here earned more and half earned less.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

For years there's been a battle raging between Idaho ranchers and the federal government over whether ranchers should be able to fight wildfires. Get out there, with their trucks and tanks of water and try to put the fires out themselves. Ranchers say they've always done it. The Feds have said, leave it to the pros and don't make yourself a liability. At times it's almost come close to blows. But now a truce has been struck. And as correspondent Jessica Robinson reports, it could change the way fires are fought every summer.

Sebastian Bergmann / Flickr

The fate of Idaho's voter-approved ban on same-sex marriage is in the hands of the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. However, lawyers on both sides predict the case will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court. The opposing attorneys argued elements of the case at a discussion Wednesday organized by the University of Idaho law school.

Audio Pending...

U.S. Fish & Wildlife

The resort town of Ketchum, Idaho is asking the state to back off on killing wolves. They say it’s bad for business. Last night, the Ketchum City Council passed a resolution urging wildlife managers to use non-lethal tactics to control the wolf population.


Army Medicine / flickr

Public health authorities in Washington and Idaho are now investigating at least 79 cases of a serious respiratory illness that affects children. The widening disease outbreak is suspected - but not confirmed - to be a rare strain of enterovirus. 


Stacey Camp

After the bombing of Pearl Harbor in 1941 government officials rounded up Japanese Americans and sent them to harsh, ill-equipped camps. Now, the National Park Service has announced $3 million in new grants to help preserve that important history. One Northwest archeologist is working to keep a remote Idaho site on the map. 


Northern Lights Might Be Visible In the Northwest

Sep 12, 2014
NASA / http://www.nasa.gov/

The Northwest could get a a rare look at the northern lights tonight and tomorrow.

The Aurora Borealis is expected to expand further south than usual, thanks to two solar flares affecting the magnetic poles. They'll help make the greenish lights visible.

Idaho Gay Marriage Case Heard in Appeals Court

Sep 9, 2014
dfb / flickr

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments yesterday in California on Idaho’s gay marriage lawsuit. A lower federal court has already ruled that Idaho’s ban on same sex marriage is unconstitutional. 


Idaho Is The Most Obese In The West

Sep 5, 2014
The State Of Obesity / http://stateofobesity.org/adult-obesity/

New figures on weight show Idaho stands out among Western states - but not in the way public health officials would like. 

Idaho was the most obese state west of the Dakotas and one of only six states nationwide where adult obesity rose between 2012 and 2013, jumping nine places on the list. It's an annual ranking by the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The report shows nearly 30 percent of adults in Idaho are obese.

Medicaid Payment Woes Plague Idaho Mental-Health Providers

Aug 25, 2014
Darin Oswald / Idaho Statesman

The state’s effort to rein in Medicaid costs has created deep friction between small businesses that deliver behavioral-health services to Medicaid patients and a new contractor hired to manage them.

North Idaho Set To Begin Negotiations Over Water Rights

Aug 20, 2014
Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

The state of Idaho is preparing to establish water rights in the northern part of the state. It's a relatively water-abundant area, not prone to the sort of conflicts that have erupted elsewhere like Oregon's Klamath Basin. But as Jessica Robinson reports, the negotiations could have implications for flows across the border to Washington.

Emilie Ritter-Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

A judge ruled Tuesday that Barry Peterson is not the chairman of Idaho’s Republican Party and that there is no chair. Last month’s contentious state GOP convention ended without finishing any of its business including electing a new chair. Peterson maintained that meant he was still in charge. Now that the court has ruled otherwise Adam Cotterell looks at what comes next.

Chris Gray / Flickr

In north Idaho, a 15-year-old boy sits in an isolated jail cell awaiting trial for murder. Eldon Samuel III is accused of shooting to death his father and younger brother in March. Juveniles accused of crimes like this are automatically charged as adults in Idaho. But now, Samuel’s lawyer and the ACLU are trying to get him moved out of solitary confinement at the adult county jail. They say his isolation amounts to “cruel and unusual” punishment. Correspondent Austin Jenkins reports.

Some Of The Worst Fires In Northwest History

Jul 21, 2014
Library of Congress

The Carlton Complex Fire in Okanogan County is now the worst fire in Washington history. It has burned more than 238,000 acres of land, and is believed to have destroyed between 150 and 200 homes, killing one person. As firefighters work to contain the blaze, we’d like to take a look at some of the other fires that have raged across the Northwest to see how it compares.

Tambako the Jaguar / Flickr

A federal threatened species listing for the wolverine is looking increasingly unlikely. Protected status was put on the table in anticipation of harm due to global warming. At present, the fierce and rare carnivore is making a slow comeback in the Northwest and Northern Rockies. Correspondent Tom Banse reports.

Idaho State Police

Recreational marijuana goes on sale Tuesday in Washington state. But police across the border in Idaho and Oregon say that doesn't mean the pot will stay there. Law enforcement worry people will try to sneak pot products across the border – or worse, the legal market in Washington will seep into the black-market. Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports from Idaho, where the contrast in pot laws is especially stark.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

A day of planned celebration of Bowe Bergdahl in his Idaho hometown turned out to be a pretty uneventful one. Hailey, Idaho, canceled Saturday’s event after the city received threats. Our correspondent Jessica Robinson has attended previous annual events for Bergdahl during his captivity and has more from Hailey.

Wikimedia Commons

New federal population figures out Thursday show the nation’s youngest county is right here in the Northwest. And it’s not in an urban area. It’s in the midst of eastern Idaho's potato country. Madison County, Idaho. Correspondent Jessica Robinson explains.

Idaho Revamps Often-Criticized Worker Training Program

Jun 25, 2014
Emilie Ritter Saunders / Boise State Public Radio

One of Idaho’s only business incentive programs is getting a facelift.

Emilie Ritter Saunders explains the nearly 20-year-old program was meant to lure businesses to the state, now, that focus is changing.

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