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Eye On Boise

TUESDAY, JUNE 28, 2005


Scrolling through pent-up email after a week’s vacation, I was surprised to come upon this missive from the Idaho Attorney General’s office: “AGREEMENT REACHED TO ELIMINATE TOBACCO.”Wow – I was only gone a week, and the lawyers found a way to make tobacco disappear? Not…

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FRIDAY, JUNE 17, 2005

Sagebrush and tumbleweeds

En route from Pocatello to Boise, I passed the Garden of Eden – it’s a truck stop in Eden, Idaho, who knew? And then I drove right by the road to Bliss. As the landscape gradually became drier, browner and more dominated by sagebrush near…

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Where's that fund?

Members of the Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee were hearing an update on the state budget today, including the good news that Idaho’s structural deficit is shrinking and now looks likely to be virtually gone by the end of fiscal year 2007, if current trends hold.…

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TUESDAY, JUNE 14, 2005

What a day

Rep. George Sayler, D-Coeur d’Alene, isn’t letting a little rain up north dampen his parade today: Today is his birthday, it’s the last day of school, and he’s now retired after a long teaching career. His summer, he said, “just got off to a great…

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FRIDAY, JUNE 10, 2005

Fireworks ahead: Vasquez joins 1st District race

Controversial Canyon County Commissioner Robert Vasquez announced today that he’ll run for Idaho’s 1st District congressional seat – the seat that represents all of North Idaho, as well as a swath of southern Idaho, including Canyon County. Vasquez is an outspoken opponent of illegal immigration…

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It's a green, fragrant, leafy drought

Things couldn’t be looking more lush in Boise – the hills are uncharacteristically green, flowers are blooming all over the place, nearby Lucky Peak Reservoir is full and sparkling, and frequent spring rains keep causing mini-flash floods in the streets and leaving standing water here…

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MONDAY, JUNE 6, 2005

Caldwell woman latest Guard casualty

Specialist Carrie L. French, 19, of Caldwell, Idaho, died yesterday in Kirkuk, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device hit her convoy vehicle. French was assigned to the Army National Guard’s 145th Support Battalion, based in Boise. The young soldier is survived by her parents, Paula…

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FRIDAY, JUNE 3, 2005

If I had a million dollars, or $10 mil.

There's a lot of "if I won the lottery" talk in Boise these days, what with an unidentified, 30-something Boisean holding a $220.3 million Powerball jackpot ticket. The unnamed winner has to decide whether to take his winnings as a single, $125 million payout (before…

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TUESDAY, MAY 31, 2005

Guv back from trade mission

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, business leaders and state commerce officials couldn’t say enough good things today about their just-concluded two-week trade mission to Asia. The governor led a delegation of 23 Idaho companies and organizations, and made stops in Japan, South Korea, China and Taiwan. At…

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THURSDAY, MAY 26, 2005

Behind the lawyer, another lawyer

Boiseans aren’t much closer to knowing who the dirty tricksters were behind a last-minute smear against Chuck Winder, a candidate for mayor of Boise who lost narrowly in a crowded race in 2003 after an election-eve telephone message went out falsely linking Winder to a…

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One might run, one's resisting

Sen. Joe Stegner, R-Lewiston, might run for the open 1st District congressional seat, but former state senator and congressional candidate Skip Smyser is trying to stay out of the race.Stegner said, “I haven’t made a decision. … I still consider it to be early. I’m…

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TUESDAY, MAY 24, 2005

A novel idea: No legislative session

As they plan for a future state capitol renovation, state officials have always factored in a need to hold one or two years’ legislative sessions outside the building during construction. House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet, D-Ketchum, offered a different plan today: Why not skip a…

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MONDAY, MAY 23, 2005

Bus riding may SEEM like prison, but...

This is just absolutely incredible, unbelievable. According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, federal prison officials have been sending federal inmates on Greyhound buses – unescorted – across the country to transfer them from one prison to another. Surprise, surprise – some got off before their…

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MONDAY, MAY 16, 2005

Friends of the business lobby

The Idaho Association of Commerce & Industry, the state’s most powerful business lobby, is jubilant that when it rated state legislators’ voting records, 21 got perfect scores – they voted exactly how IACI wanted them to vote on the organization’s 20-plus key issues. Among the…

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TUESDAY, MAY 10, 2005

Huff family to get Medal of Honor

At the commemoration of Idaho Peace Officers Memorial Day on Friday, Gov. Dirk Kempthorne will present the state’s first Medal of Honor to the family of Linda Huff, the Idaho State Police trooper who was killed in a shootout at the ISP’s North Idaho office…

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MONDAY, MAY 9, 2005

A perfect tragedy

Boise was rocked over the weekend by a horrific traffic accident that killed a young family and highlighted perhaps the worst possible outcome of irresponsible, reckless driving and “road rage.” It happened early Saturday evening, when a BSU football player in a hurry tried to…

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FRIDAY, MAY 6, 2005

Senator decries partisanship

Congress is way too partisan, according to GOP Sen. Mike Crapo. “When I got to Washington 13 years ago, I was shocked by the partisanship,” he said in a talk to the Boise City Club this week. But it’s gotten worse. “It has changed over…

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April tax receipts 'spectacular'

State officials are breathing a sigh of relief, after April tax receipts – the biggest month of the year – came in $61.5 million above expectations. That puts the state’s cumulative receipts about $88 million over projections for the year – and makes the state…

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Not quite announcing, but getting close

Here’s what state Sen. Skip Brandt, R-Kooskia, had to say about running for the open 1st District congressional seat in 2006: “I’ll be prepared to make an announcement in a couple weeks. I’m pretty serious about it and getting a lot of pressure to jump…

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TUESDAY, MAY 3, 2005

Farm Bureau changes stance

The Idaho Farm Bureau Federation, the leading opponent of the Nez Perce water rights agreement in this year’s legislative session, has dropped its opposition to the deal. “After it’s passed, that’s typically what we always do is support the law – so yeah, there’s been…

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Republican announces Democrat's run?

Got a surprising news release a few minutes ago from Sheila Sorensen’s congressional campaign. Sorensen, a former longtime GOP state senator, is running for the District 1 congressional seat that Butch Otter will vacate in two years to run for governor. The heading on her…

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MONDAY, APRIL 25, 2005

North Idaho student wins national contest

Gov. Dirk Kempthorne was helping 11-year-old Christy Reid of Hayden Lake unveil her award-winning Arbor Day poster this morning when a spindly, wooden easel collapsed, causing the governor, Christy, and Christy’s art teacher, Kim Washko, to make quick grabs for the framed poster. It survived,…

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Three on the line?

Idaho Commerce and Labor Director Roger Madsen said he’s already been in touch with three out-of-state companies interested in Idaho’s new corporate headquarters tax incentives, which Gov. Dirk Kempthorne signed into law Wednesday morning. “I have had personal contacts with three executives from major companies,…

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Not-so-Swift Mining

The Idaho Land Board voted unanimously this morning to affirm its staff’s decision to reject two mineral lease applications from Jonathan Swift Mining Co. to lease two stretches of the bed of the Coeur d’Alene River – in the Bunker Hill Superfund site – to…

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MONDAY, APRIL 11, 2005

'It can be done'

U.S. Rep. Butch Otter joined the Idaho Financial Literacy Coalition for a press conference on the state capitol steps today, kicking off a month of efforts urging Idahoans, young and old, to become more financially literate.Idaho Department of Finance Director Gavin Gee said the consequences…

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Eye On Boise

News, happenings and more from the Idaho Legislature and the state capital.