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Eye On Boise

Crowd had other things on its mind

Sandpoint Police Chief Mark Lockwood had a full house this morning when he briefed the Senate State Affairs Committee on the work of the Statewide Interoperability Executive Council, which he chairs. The committee room was standing-room only, and people spilled out the doorway.

“The events of 9-11 illustrated the lack of interoperable communications around the country,” Lockwood said in his short remarks to the committee. “We want to make sure we are better prepared in Idaho if something happens again.”

The state’s microwave radio backbone that stretches from Bonners Ferry to Pocatello is “one of the largest in the country, and Idaho’s greatest asset for communication,” Lockwood said.

The crowd in the room wasn’t unduly excited about the topic, however. They were there for a big hearing on whether the Ada County Courthouse should be demolished and replaced, or renovated. The state owns the historic structure across the street from the state Capitol, and it’s sat vacant while lawmakers have debated the question for more than a year.

Among those waiting to testify were Boise Mayor Dave Bieter and several experts on Idaho history and architecture. The issue was up next after Lockwood’s talk.

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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