dcJohn / Flickr

About 30 high school freshmen and sophomores who attended a charter school in eastern Idaho may have to repeat classes, or even an entire grade, next year. A state commission found their fledgling school failed to measure up.

Idaho's Unemployment Rate Continues To Fall

Jun 20, 2014
Andreas Klinke Johannsen / Flickr

From April to May, the state says Idaho's unemployment rate fell from 5 percent to 4.9 percent. It marks the first time in nearly six years the jobless rate has been that low. It's the ninth straight month total employment set a record.

Idaho Republican Party

Members of Idaho’s Democratic Party gather this weekend in Moscow. It’s expected to be a much calmer event than the Republican convention the week before. That convention left Idaho Republicans still debating who the party chair is after their convention devolved in chaos. And they still don’t have a new platform.

Adam Cotterell / Northwest News Network

Unlike Washington and Oregon, Idaho doesn’t have any form of legal marijuana. In fact in 2013 Idaho lawmakers passed a resolution saying they would never support legalizing marijuana for any reason. But one year later, during the 2014 legislative session many of those same lawmakers held closed door discussions about creating an exception to the state’s strict anti-pot laws. As Adam Cotterell reports it was because of a Boise girl and her mom.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Adoptions are usually private affairs, sealed forever in court documents and known only to the families involved. But recently, one decision by Idaho's child welfare service exploded into the public sphere. A foster mom in Rathdrum in north Idaho says the state made a terrible mistake when it took her foster daughter away after four years in her home. Correspondent Jessica Robinson brings us this glimpse into the life-changing decisions the state has to make about children – where often there are no easy answers.

Bergdahl family photo

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl arrived at a military hospital in Texas Friday to continue his recovery process. There has been no shortage of strong opinions about the release of the former POW … except, that is, among Idaho's Congressional delegation. The two senators and two congressmen from Bergdahl's home state have largely avoided the national fray. Correspondent Jessica Robinson reports on what the four Republicans are saying about the controversial return of Idaho’s native son.

FlickrLickr / Wikimedia Commons

Northwesterners love their diesel pickups. A new report by a diesel industry group shows Oregon and Idaho are in the top ten when it comes to highest rates of diesel vehicle ownership in the nation. But the overall rate pales in comparison to other parts of the world. Salem Correspondent Chris Lehman reports.

Citing Safety Concerns, Hailey, Idaho Cancels Bergdahl Celebration

Jun 5, 2014

An annual rally turned homecoming celebration for released POW Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has been canceled in his hometown of Hailey, Idaho. Boise State Public Radio’s Emilie Ritter Saunders explains the event is off because of safety concerns.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Almost immediately after the jubilant response to Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s release from the Taliban on Saturday, the story took a very different turn. First, there was criticism of the Obama administration exchanging five Taliban detainees for Bergdahl. Then, some soldiers from his former unit started speaking out against the freed POW. Josh Korder told CNN earlier this week that he believes men lost their lives searching for him.

Sgt. Bergdahl's Hometown Rejoices At His Long-Awaited Release

Jun 2, 2014

The town of Hailey, Idaho, has waited five years to hear news of Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl's return. In 2009, Bergdahl was captured and held by the Taliban — first in Afghanistan and later, it's believed, in Pakistan.

On Saturday, he was released in a swap for five Guantanamo Bay detainees. Now Hailey, Bergdahl's hometown, is preparing for the next chapter.

Tea Party Candidates Claim Victories In North Idaho

May 22, 2014

Republican incumbents in Idaho are celebrating major victories over Tea Party candidates this week. Gov. Butch Otter and Congressman Mike Simpson both prevailed against challenges to their conservative credentials. But it was a very different story in one part of the state. Jessica Robinson reports from Kootenai County in north Idaho.

Mary Souza had reason to celebrate on her Wednesday online talk show.

Radio show opener: “Jump aboard the Common Sense Express”

GOP Incumbents Fend Off Far-Right Challengers In Idaho

May 21, 2014
Photo courtesy Russ Fulcher

Idaho's top Republican incumbents survived challenges from their more-conservative opponents last night. Governor Butch Otter won his party's gubernatorial nomination by a little over 50 percent of the vote. Correspondent Jessica Robinson has more.

An effort to overturn one Idaho city's gay rights ordinance appears to have failed – but narrowly. The anti-discrimination law in Pocatello was upheld Tuesday night by a projected margin of 90 votes.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

Voters in Pocatello in southeast Idaho are deciding the fate of the city’s non-discrimination ordinance Tuesday. Pocatello one of seven cities in Idaho that have passed laws aimed at protecting gay, lesbian, bi and trans people. This is the first time one of these measures has been put to a popular vote.

Same sex marriages will not take place in Idaho Friday morning. Earlier this week a federal judge ruled that Idaho’s ban on gay marriage is unconstitutional and set the ruling to go into effect at 9:00 Friday. But Thursday a higher court surprised many by placing a temporary stay on that. The state had asked the 9th Circuit Court to grant a stay that would last throughout the appeals process.

Idaho’s first same sex marriages could take place this week. Tuesday a federal judge in Boise ruled that Idaho’s 2006 gay marriage ban is unconstitutional and scheduled the ruling to go into effect Friday. Wednesday the same judge denied a request from Governor Butch Otter’s lawyers to stay the order. They are now asking the 9th Circuit Court to issue a stay while appeals are made. University of Idaho law professor Shaakirrah Sanders says it’s unclear if that will happen. She says when Utah was in this same situation a few months ago the appeals court denied a stay but the Supreme Court granted it. Sanders says that Supreme Court decision could be very persuasive to the 9th circuit judges.

Judge Overturns Idaho Same-Sex Marriage Ban

May 14, 2014

A federal judge in Boise has ruled Idaho's law banning same-sex marriage is unconstitutional. The ruling Tuesday by Judge Candy Dale is set to take effect at 9 a.m. on Friday. But, as Jessica Robinson reports, shortly after the ruling the governor vowed to appeal.

At Superfund Site, Pavement Used To Help The Environment

May 13, 2014

The nice weather we've been having means work on the ground is resuming at one of the largest Superfund sites in the nation. The EPA is trying to clear decades of mine pollution from Idaho's Coeur d'Alene River Basin. This summer managers are using an environmental remedy you might not expect: pavement.

Jessica Robbinson

A new Gallup poll reveals how many people prefer to be in a different state, given the chance. Overall, the Northwest has a pretty loyal crowd. Oregonians, in particular, are quite happy where they are. But the poll finds a high rate of Idahoans planning their goodbyes.

This June, Cat Wiechmann is finishing up her Master's in wetland ecology at the University of Idaho in Moscow. But instead of staying put, she’s heading to Pueblo, Colorado, for a university position there.

Tough Choices Ahead For Coldwater Creek Workers

Apr 29, 2014
Anna King / Northwest News Network

The Idaho Department of Labor is holding a session this week to help hundreds of people in north Idaho who will lose their jobs when Coldwater Creek goes out of business. The Sandpoint-based retailer is going bankrupt after years of declining sales. It will be hard for workers to find new jobs in the region.

Thou Shalt Not...

Mar 21, 2014
City of Sandpoint

A little-known display of the 10 Commandments in North Idaho has attracted the attention of a couple of national legal organizations.  The issue involves a stone monument in a city park in Sandpoint.  It has similarities to a controversy over a war memorial in Coos Bay, Oregon.

Jessica Robinson

This winter, protests hit the Idaho Capitol at a level rarely seen in Boise. Gay rights activists blocked entrances and were marched away in handcuffs. They want Idaho's Republican-controlled legislature to pass an anti-discrimination law similar to those in Oregon and Washington. It would make it illegal for employers, landlords and most businesses to discriminate based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Lawmakers plan to wrap up the session this Friday without ever printing the bill.

Proposal Would End Idaho Sales Tax on Groceries

Feb 28, 2014
Michael Pendergrass / Wikimedia Commons

An Idaho state senator and gubernatorial candidate has introduced a bill that would repeal the sales tax on groceries.

Republican State Senator Russ Fulcher says it’s time Idahoans were able to take advantage of the same savings that neighboring states like Washington, Oregon, and Montana have, by not having to pay sales tax on most grocery items.

Jessica Robinson / Northwest News Network

State colleges and universities across Idaho are appealing to state lawmakers' fiscally conservative side in an attempt to sideline a proposal to allow guns on campuses. A House committee is scheduled to consider the bill Friday morning. But schools say it could cost hundreds of thousands – even millions – of dollars a year.

Quagmar / Flickr

More than 200 people protested in the rain outside Idaho’s statehouse Thursday. They want lawmakers to reject a bill that would allow concealed weapons on college and university campuses. 

Idaho Schools Chief Is Not Running For Re-election

Jan 27, 2014

Idaho Schools superintendent Tom Luna announced Monday he won’t run for reelection this year. Luna says running for a third term would get in the way of implementing the recommendations of the Governor’s education task force. That group was created after voters overturned Luna’s signature legislation known as Students Come First in November 2012. Luna’s popularity took a hit during the fight over those laws but Luna says he decision to not run for re-election didn't come out of fear that he'd lose.

Idaho Boy Dies In School Bus Crash

Dec 6, 2013
Alex Starr/Flickr

An 11-year-old boy was killed this Thursday and four other children were injured when a school bus was hit by a dump truck. The bus was on its way to an elementary school in the town of Kuna near Boise.

Anna King

This holiday shopping season, women's clothing retailer Coldwater Creek is trying to make it back into the black. The Sandpoint, Idaho-based company known for its distinctively Northwest style has had years of declining sales. The company's new strategy comes straight from the pages of the catalogs that made it famous.

Idaho E-Cigarettes Need Regulation

Oct 23, 2013
Lindsay Fox /

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden and 39 of his colleagues want tougher regulations for electronic cigarettes. The group hopes the federal government will act by Halloween.

The Oregon Trail passed through Idaho for hundreds of miles a century and a half ago. In some places you can still see the ruts from the wagons that brought people west. Now vandals have damaged a section of the trail in Idaho.