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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

Eye On Boise

Idaho declares disaster for windstorm repairs in North Idaho

Acting Idaho Gov. Brad Little this morning declared an emergency for Benewah, Bonner, Boundary and Kootenai counties in the wake of the disastrous Nov. 17 windstorm, paving the way for federal and state funds to help cover part of the cost of restoring damaged utilities. “I know in those four counties and Spokane, it was brutal, it was really brutal,” said Little.

As lieutenant governor, Little has been filling in for Gov. Butch Otter while Otter was attending a Western Governors Association meeting and the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas. Otter returned at mid-day today.

The disaster declaration authorizes FEMA and state emergency funds to be tapped to help offset $2.6 million worth of damages. Winds of up to 100 mph destroyed power lines and left tens of thousands of North Idaho residents without power for days; you can read my full story here at

Little, who served as acting governor from mid-last week through mid-day today, said his duties while Otter was gone included attending various meetings, including having lunch with the French ambassador to the United States, who was in Boise and Nampa last week to tour French-owned businesses and promote investment in France. “That was pretty cool, to have lunch with somebody that had a vote on the Security Council,” Little said. “Both Lactalis and Materne are big employers in Canyon County. As a matter of fact, a lot of the growth in Canyon County is a result of those two French companies.”

As Little spoke, he said Otter was due back shortly. Just before the conversation, he said, “I moved my pickup out of his parking space in anticipation of his showing up.”

Betsy Z. Russell
Betsy Z. Russell joined The Spokesman-Review in 1991. She currently is a reporter in the Boise Bureau covering Idaho state government and politics, and other news from Idaho's state capital.

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