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In brief: Spokesman-Review reporters win Idaho Press Club awards

Sun., May 4, 2014

The Spokesman-Review won six awards in the Idaho Press Club’s annual journalism competition, including three first places in news reporting. Winners were announced Saturday night in Boise.

Reporter Betsy Z. Russell won first place in watchdog/investigative reporting for coverage of Idaho’s controversial multiyear, multimillion-dollar contract for Wi-Fi networks in high schools.

Russell also took first place in political reporting for a story about the political power of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit charity that some believe abuses its lucrative tax-free status.

Scott Maben, who covers North Idaho issues, won first place in crime/court reporting for an article on a Kootenai County judge who had posted hundreds of message board comments while at work about role-playing fantasy games.

Reporter Becky Kramer won three third-place awards: for environment reporting with her coverage of divided public opinion on the reintroduction of the gray wolf to Yellowstone National Park and central Idaho; for outdoor features with a report on how elk hunters are adjusting to reintroduction of wolves in Idaho; and for light feature reporting with a story about bryozoans, freshwater colonies of microscopic animals thriving in local lakes.

Idaho’s Russian trade trip indefinitely postponed

BOISE – An Idaho Department of Commerce spokeswoman said a trade trip to Russia promoting Idaho agriculture has been put indefinitely on hold.

The Capital Press reported Friday that spokeswoman Megan Ronk said eastern Idaho businesses have made promising inroads with Russian potato farmers. Five delegates representing growers from Russia’s Moscow and Lipetsk regions visited Idaho in March. The Commerce Department had hoped to lead a team of Idaho agriculture leaders to Lipetsk, but the trip had to be postponed because of the conflict in Ukraine.

Nampa-based potato storage manufacturer Industrial Ventilation Inc. had offered to finance the trip. Company President Frank Bushman said more potato acres will be needed in Russia to accommodate the planned expansion of two potato chip plants and a fry processing facility.


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