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Eye On Boise archive for Jan. 2011

TUESDAY, JAN. 25, 2011

Pharmacy board won't act on complaint 

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Board of Pharmacy says it has no basis to start proceedings against Walgreens in a complaint that alleged one of the drug store's pharmacists in Nampa improperly refused to fill a…

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Business lobbyist Alex LaBeau speaks at a press conference releasing a poll his group says shows public support in Idaho for megaloads on U.S. Highway 12; lawmakers joining him at the press conference and endorsing the megaloads included the House and Senate transportation committee chairs. (Betsy Russell)

Biz group says poll shows megaloads support 

"Drive Our Economy," a business group in Idaho and Montana that backs megaload shipments on U.S. Highway 12 in north-central Idaho, released a poll today that it says shows Idahoans back the megaloads too, including those who live near the route. "A similar poll was…

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Idaho ranks last for doctors

Idaho ranks last in the nation for the number of physicians per capita, Dr. Ted Epperly told JFAC this morning, and is tied for last in the number of primary-care physicians. That's part of the reason the state sponsors programs like the Family Medicine Residency…

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Lawmakers differ on university reserves

Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, told ISU President Arthur Vailas, "I am concerned that the unrestricted, unallocated net assets for the universities are as low as they are," and Vailas said, "I have the same concerns you do." Rep. John Vander Woude, R-Nampa, said he looks…

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Vailas: 'It's been very painful'

ISU President Arthur Vailas said when he arrived at the university, it had hardly any reserves, which lawmakers made clear to him was unacceptable. It now has $7.6 million in net unrestricted assets, he said, though that is only 3.7 percent of its prior year…

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Dr. Arthur Vailas, president of Idaho State University, tells the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee on Tuesday that he understands the state is challenged when it comes to funding; the cuts have been felt at ISU, he said. (Betsy Russell)

Vailas: 'We realize we are challenged as a state'

Dr. Arthur Vailas, president of Idaho State University, told JFAC this morning that ISU has achieved a high honor, achieving "research university-high" status from the Carnegie Foundation. It was one of very few public universities nationally to increase its status this year, he noted. ISU…

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Lawmakers: Turn support into dollars

Sen. Bert Brackett, R-Rogerson, told IPTV general manager Peter Morrill, "This committee got a lot of emails in support of Public TV last year. My question is, if each one of those emails came with a financial contribution you would be in much different financial…

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The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee hears the budget request for Idaho Public Television on Tuesday morning, presented by general manager Peter Morrill. (Betsy Russell)

IPTV winning awards despite funding crunch

Peter Morrill, general manager of Idaho Public Television, told lawmakers this morning that broadcast television actually is drawing more viewership these days: People are watching an average of 35 hours a week of broadcast TV, but just 20 minutes of online video. He also noted…

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MONDAY, JAN. 24, 2011

The proposed "Fly Idaho" specialty plate. Sponsors may move the slogan up to the top, and add at the bottom, "Pilot's Paradise." Legislation for the new specialty plate was introduced Monday; it'd be Idahoans' 75th option for special plates, including some that are just for certain groups, such as Medal of Honor winners or members of the Legislature. (Betsy Russell)

Newest idea for specialty plate: 'Fly Idaho'

Idaho already has more than 75 options for special license plates, from breast cancer awareness to snow skier to historic preservation to "Support Our Troops." Today, legislation was introduced to add another one, to benefit the Idaho Aviation Foundation. Rep. Joe Palmer, R-Meridian, who is…

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State Parks Director Nancy Merrill, addressing the Senate Resources Committee on Monday, defends her agency's decision to send 32,000 letters to registered North Idaho boaters about the possible closure of the Third Street boat launch in Coeur d'Alene. City officials were concerned about the move and complained to local legislators. (Betsy Russell)

Merrill: State took no position 

Idaho state parks Director Nancy Merrill told the Senate Resources Committee today that when her agency sent 32,000 letters out to registered boat owners in North Idaho about the possible closure of the 3rd Street boat launch in Coeur d'Alene, it was following state law,…

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Rep. Maxine Bell, R-Jerome, co-chair of JFAC, tells University of Idaho President Duane Nellis on Monday that the university is in better position with its reserves than the state as a whole. Bell suggested those reserves might have to be tapped further, though Nellis said they've already been "eroded." (Betsy Russell)

University funding and reserves...

Here's a link to our full story at on today's budget discussions about the University of Idaho, and talk among lawmakers about use of reserves at the state's colleges and universities. "Frankly, your money looks better to me than mine does at this point,"…

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Displays in the 4th floor rotunda of the state Capitol on Monday highlight Boise State University programs, in a week when higher education budgets are up for hearings in the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee. (Betsy Russell)

Capitol displays highlight BSU programs

Today is Boise State University day in the 4th floor of the Capitol rotunda, with lots of displays, giveaways, and folks eager to tell lawmakers and others what they do in programs ranging from energy to health. Also this week, University of Idaho Day is…

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Nellis: Short-term cuts 'not sustainable'

The University of Idaho implemented a "strategic hiring freeze" in fiscal year 2009. It's now down 44 regular faculty and 36 staff positions, not including changes in part-timers; the total reduction in full-time equivalent employees from the general education budget is 136. Add in 73…

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UI's budget relies on variety of sources

Of the University of Idaho's total operating budget for the current year of $453 million, only 23 percent - $104 million - comes from the state general fund. That includes general education, agricultural research and extension, medical education and special programs. Grants, contracts and federal…

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