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Posts tagged: idaho

NYT Finds Middle Of Idaho Nowhere

Here's proof that the New York Times reports on something other than Idaho's Hard Right politics when it comes calling — a travel piece by Rachel Levin:

The “Entering Stanley, Idaho” sign seemed more like a friendly warning than a welcome. “Population 63,” it read, as if to say: Congratulations, you’ve made it to the middle of nowhere. Stanley is the entry point to the Sawtooth Valley, a time warp of a place with four saloons, five mountain ranges and not much else. My husband, Josh, our two children and I had driven three hours from Boise along an empty, winding two-lane scenic byway for a week of summer adventure. Still, as we strolled down deserted, dusty Wall Street looking for a lunch spot, it was hard not to wonder: Where is everyone? More here.

Question: If you described yourself “in the middle of nowhere” within the borders of Idaho, where would you be?

Idaho Seeks Takeover Of Fed Lands

Federal lands belong to every U.S.  citizen, but the Idaho Legislature is attempting, and perhaps wasting a lot of time and money, to take charge of lands managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and other federal agencies. On Friday, Aug. 9, the Idaho Legislature’s Federal Lands Interim Committee will hold its first hearing to consider a process for the controversial proposal to acquire title to all federally administered public lands in Idaho. The Interim Committee was established through House Concurrent Resolution 22, enacted by the Idaho Legislature in April demanding that the federal government “imminently transfer title” to more than 33 million acres of public lands in Idaho/Rich Landers, SR. More here.

Question: Will these grandsons of the Sagebrush Rebels ever learn?

Idaho #1 In Breastfeeding Moms

Health officials say breast-feeding rates continue to inch up: Now more than 3 in 4 mothers try to breast-feed their newborns. Breast-feeding rates remain highest in Idaho and lowest in Mississippi. Experts attribute that to regional differences in culture and workplace policies that support breast-feeding. Wednesday's report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that 77 percent of moms tried breast-feeding in 2010. A decade earlier it was 71 percent. The percent still breast-feeding a year later rose to 27 percent from 16 percent in 2000. The report comes from a national telephone survey of more than 8,000 parents and caretakers of small children/Mike Stobbe, AP Medical Writer. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Why is Idaho first re: number of breastfeeding moms, when it's last or close to last in so many other areas?

Idaho #10 In Imprisoning Citizens

Last year, 1.57 million Americans served prison sentences in state or federal penitentiaries, a slight decrease from nearly 1.6 million in 2011, according to figures released Thursday by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). Despite the decline, the United States still incarcerates people at a higher rate than anywhere else in the world. According to the BJS report “Prisoners in 2012,” for every 100,000 Americans, an estimated 480 people were serving at least a one-year sentence in a state prison during the year. In some states, the rate of incarceration was much higher. Louisiana, the state with the highest rate, sentenced 893 people to a state prison for every 100,000 residents. Based on the BJS release, 24/7 Wall St. identified the states that send the most people to prison/Yahoo! Finance. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Idaho is No. 10?

Idaho sees 1st human case of West Nile Virus

Right on the heels of news this morning that two horses, one near Parma and one near Meridian, have tested positive for West Nile Virus, the state now has its first human case of West Nile for the season.

A Payette County man in his 40s has been hospitalized with a confirmed diagnosis of West Nile encephalitis. “About one in 150 people infected with WNV develop severe illness, such as encephalitis (inflammation of the brain), as in this first positive case, or meningitis (inflammation of the linings of the brain and spinal cord),” said Jennifer Tripp, program manager for Southwest District Health. Betsy Russell, EOB

How many mosquito bites have you endured so far this summer?

Idaho Ban On Gay Marriage Stands

Idaho’s constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage and civil unions of any kind stood after Wednesday’s U.S. Supreme Court rulings. The court’s striking down the federal Defense of Marriage Act on constitutional grounds applies only to federal benefits in the 12 states and District of Columbia that recognize same-sex unions. A companion decision applies only in California, where a lower court ruling overturning the voter-passed ban on gay marriage was let stand. Idaho’s constitutional amendment passed the Legislature in just three weeks in February 2006. The measure moved after a coalition of opponents collapsed having blocked for three years the two-thirds Senate vote necessary to put an amendment on the ballot. Voters approved the amendment with 63.4 percent of the vote in November 2006/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.


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208 Idaho Numbers Coming To End

In less than a decade, Idaho will likely join the ranks of states with more than one area code. That’s right, Idaho’s 208 area code is quickly becoming an endangered species. This isn’t a new story. Back in 2007, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission said the state would run out of 208 phone numbers within five years. That’s when number conservation and consolidation kicked in. The amount of phone numbers available expanded when the state changed the way it assigns them. According to the North American Numbering Plan, Idaho has approximately 820,000 208 telephone numbers available. Today, there are about 3.4 million 208 numbers assigned to Idaho/Emily Ritter Saunders, StateImpact. More here.

Question: Would you be willing to give up your 208 Idaho area code without a fight?

Trib: Idaho’s Wage Slaves Need Raise

If ever a group ought to band together and demand a boost in the minimum wage, it is the wage slaves of Idaho. No state has a larger share of its workers earning the minimum wage than Idaho, where the rate of people pulling down $7.25 an hour is 7.7 percent. No state has come close to Idaho's 63.2 percent growth in the number of jobs paying the minimum wage. And even though Idaho has a relatively small population, it has more minimum-wage jobs - 31,000 - than 18 other states, including Washington (29,000), Nevada (23,000), Oregon (11,000), Wyoming (9,000) and Montana (4,000). So, meeting in Coeur d'Alene last weekend, activists kicked off an initiative campaign to replicate what Washington voters did about a decade ago - use the state law to boost the minimum wage. Washington now has the highest minimum wage at $9.19 an hour. If the Idaho plan were passed, the minimum wage would float to $9.80 an hour in four years, beginning with $8.10 an hour in 2015/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Does anyone out there dare say that $7.25 per hour is an appropriate minimum wage?

Vestal: Idaho Biz ♥ Low Wages, But …

Occasionally, we hear from the business community about the wonders of the business climate in Idaho. Usually, though, those praising the Gem State’s business-friendliness don’t point out that one of the reasons is this: Employees are paid less – and in some cases a lot less – than most employees elsewhere. The median hourly wage for an Idaho worker is $14.58 an hour. That’s almost two bucks an hour less than the national median – and five bucks below Washington’s. Closer to home, there’s a gap of $2.47 an hour between the median hourly wages paid in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Which side will raise Idaho's minimum wage sooner — the Idaho Legislature or U.S. Congress?

Beck wants GOP blessing before candidates appear on ballot

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho Republicans aiming to run for governor, the Legislature or even coroner may first have to win approval from GOP leaders. That's according to a proposal slated for consideration Friday and Saturday at the Republican Party Central Committee's meeting in Donnelly.

Idaho's secretary of state would put only candidate names on the GOP primary ballot with their party leaders' blessing. The proposal comes from Region 4 Republican Chairman Rod Beck. More here.


Idaho Wines Coming Of Age

Idaho’s wine industry is finally coming of age — and overcoming a haunting slight by none other than The Muppets. June marks the fourth annual Idaho Wine Month. This year, it is making progress thanks to wineries, restaurants, retailers and wholesalers. That support comes all the way from the Capitol, as Gov. Butch Otter is even making appearances at stores to sign bottles of Idaho wine. “We’ve come a long way,” said Moya Shatz Dolsby, executive director of the Idaho Wine Commission. “In 2002, there were 11 wineries.” Today, the number of producers from Sandpoint to Twin Falls is 50/Andy Perdue & Eric Degerman, Yakima Herald. More here. (AP file photo: Ron Bitner, a grape and wine producer enjoys a glass of Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon at his vineyard near Marsing)

Question: What is your favorite brand/type of wine?

Idaho Inmate Faces Fraud Charges

It’s clear that Mark Brown is a smart guy, maybe even borderline brilliant. But what’s astounding is the way he apparently pulled off a major, years-long financial fraud, taking in big corporations, courts and attorneys across the nation, all from behind bars in an Idaho prison cell. Brown had no access to the Internet and appears to have had no accomplices or outside help. Instead, investigators believe he used a cherished electric typewriter that he was allowed to keep in his small, spare cell, and legal ads found in national newspapers including the Wall Street Journal and USA Today, to make fraudulent claims in big class-action lawsuits and bankruptcies. The story is detailed in my two-part series in The Spokesman-Review’s Sunday and Monday editions; you can read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Can anyone explain why someone this smart wastes his time on con games rather than being a banker or stock broker?

Carlson Pens ‘Medimont Reflections’

Book cover for “Medimont Reflections,” photographed by Chris Carlson's wife, Marcia. The book also includes several photos by my old Lewiston Tribune buddy, Barry Kough.

The people are familiar, many of the stories, however, have not been told before. Chris Carlson drew on 40 years of experience in public life to publish his second book, “Medimont Reflections.” The book comes two years after his first book, “Cecil Andrus, Idaho’s Greatest Governor,” a biography of the former governor hit book stores. “This book is a compilation of 13 essays on issues and notable Idahoans who I have been involved with in 40 years of being in the public arena,” said Mr. Carlson. The Medimont resident taught at Kootenai High School before going to work for Cecil Andrus. He served as press secretary for Governor Andrus and had the same role when the governor served as Secretary of the Interior. In addition to his career in politics, Mr. Carlson served on the Northwest Power Planning Council, was the public affairs director for Kaiser Aluminum in Spokane and founded a regional public affairs business that thrives today/Dan Hammes, St. Maries Gazette Record. More here.

Question: Name the last book that you read about Idaho history?

‘Gladiator’ School Shuts Out Public

Corrections Corporation of America doesn't want you knowing too much about the “Gladiator School” it's operating out of the Idaho Correctional Center near Boise. Even though it's taking more than $29 million of your tax dollars every year, the company went to court last week to keep you in the dark about a lawsuit inmates in the violence-ridden ICC have filed. Were ICC managed by Idaho's Department of Correction, the institution's management would be accountable to the public. But as a private company, CCA answers to no one but its shareholders. As such, it has no problem shutting the public out/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Did Idaho make a bad decision by privatizing this prison?

Idaho: 1 Bar Per 4,726 Residents

Dunno exactly where Idaho falls on the grand scale of bars/resident. But it couldn't be too far outside of the Top 10. The Cap Times reports that North Dakota (1 per 1,580 residents) and Montana (1 per 1,633) run one-two in the number of most watering holes per residents. Alaska is 10th with 1 per 4,171. (Notice how all these states are in cold climates?) Idaho probably falls in the next 5 to 10 places with 1 per 4,726 residents (total population: 1,549,987). Of Idaho's bars, 175 have one to 4 employees; 102 have 5 to 9 employees; 37 have 10 to 19 employees; 13 have 20 to 49 employees; and one has 50 to 99 employees. You can see a map re: Top 10 information and relevant info for all states re: presence of bars here.

Question: Do you think Coeur d'Alene has too many/too few bars?

Boisean Faces Terrorism Charges

A Boise man from Uzbekistan has been arrested on terrorism charges; he's been indicted in both Idaho and Utah on federal charges including possessing an unregistered destructive device, providing material support to terrorists, and distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction. Click below for the full new release from the U.S. Attorney's office. Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested this morning in Boise and will make his initial appearance in court tomorrow in Boise/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.

Question: Getting a bit close to home?

Washington Most Bike Friendly State

For the sixth year in a row, Washington has been named the nation's most bicycle friendly state. Colorado and Oregon came in second and third on the yearly list that gives national bragging rights and is closely followed by the cycling community. The rankings are bestowed by the League of American Bicyclists. Begun in 2008, they are based on funding for biking legislation, bike programs and policies, infrastructure, education and planning. Washington Governor Jay Inslee attributes his state's standing to embracing biking as a “form of transportation that enhances our quality of life and honors our environment”/Elizabeth Wiese, USA Today. More here. (SR file photo: Bicyclist on West Hauser Lake Road)

  • Also: Oregon is No. 3, Wyoming No. 33, Idaho No. 36 and Wyoming No. 39. All states here.

Question: Do you ride your bike more today than you did five years ago? And/or: Are you surprised that Idaho is rated so low?

Idaho: Cool Destination At Cool Price

A travel writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is touting Idaho as “one cool destination at a cool price.” Writing for the Georgia paper, Clara Bosonetto mentions Coeur d'Alene in her article:

A 7-hour drive north of Boise is Lake Coeur d’Alene, created by glaciers and today an international resort destination with the town of Coeur d’Alene on its north shore and resorts nestled along 135 miles of shoreline. An ideal region for avid birdwatchers - Lake Coeur d’Alene has the largest nesting population of osprey in the western United States. More here.

Question: How do you describe Coeur d'Alene/North Idaho to people you meet elsewhere?

Freedom! Most Improved Idaho #6

According to the Mercatus Center of George Mason University, Idaho ranks 6th in terms of “Freedom in the 50 States” — and is considered the most improved state from 2009-11. Here's what the report says re: Idaho:

As an extremely conservative state, Idaho scores very well on economic freedom but poorly on personal freedom. Idaho wins the title for “most improved state” between the years 2009 and 2011. All that improvement came from enhanced economic freedom, especially regarding fiscal policy. After Wyoming, Idaho has the lowest government debt ratio in the United States. Its tax burden of 8.2 percent is also among the lowest, and it has fallen from 9.6 percent since 2001. However, state government is overly dependent on federal grants, and as a result government consumption plus subsidies and government employment are both above average (11.7 percent of personal income and 14.1 percent of private employment, respectively). More here.

  • Top 5 states: 1. North Dakota, 2. South Dakota, 3. Tennessee, 4. New Hampshire, and 5. Oklahoma.

Question: Do you agree that Idaho cherishes freedom?

Women Leaving Idaho For Abortions

The number of abortions among Idaho women rose 36 percent between 2001 and 2011, according to a report from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare. The figure for Idaho residents peaked at 2,348 in 2009 and fell to 2,005 in 2011. There was, in recent years, a slow uptick in repeat abortion seekers and a fast uptick in women using nonsurgical means to end their pregnancies. But a couple of things haven't changed: Idaho has about two-fifths the national average of abortions per live births. And a large share - about 40 percent, on average - occur in other states. Every Idaho county had women traveling to another county or state to end their pregnancies in 2011. For the Panhandle, at least, that was likely because the nearest Planned Parenthood clinics are just across the state line in Spokane and Pullman. Washington made up about 72 percent of the out-of-state abortions between 2001 and 2011/Audrey Dutton, Idaho Statesman. More here.


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D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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