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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Betsy Z. Russell

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News >  Nation/World

Batt Heralds Tax-Relief Legislation Property Tax Bills See Lowest Increase In 14 Years

(From For the Record, Wednesday, November 8, 1995): A story in Saturday's edition misstated the 1995 property tax revenue increases for Shoshone and Boundary county governments. Shoshone's revenue is up 9.3 percent, and Boundary's is up 7 percent. The Boundary County figure includes a voter-approved hospital bond levy. Without the bond levy, the increase would be 3.7 percent.

News >  Idaho

How To Stop A Squirrel’s Power Lunch

Marauding rodents with a taste for power cables? A single squirrel with the power to shut down all the area's TV stations and most of the radio stations for eight hours? Such are the headaches at Idaho Power, the major power company that serves southern Idaho.
News >  Idaho

Commission Backs Dog-Race Rules Racing Panel Acts On Recommendations By Batt For Coeur D’Alene Greyhound Park

Idaho's three-member Racing Commission voted Friday to adopt some of Gov. Phil Batt's suggestions for reforming the Coeur d'Alene Greyhound Park, and agreed to hold a public hearing in Coeur d'Alene to consider the others. About two dozen greyhound advocates told the commission the track has serious problems, ranging from mistreatment of animals to retaliation against those who speak out against it.
News >  Idaho

Naval Center To Construct Acoustics Facility Over Lake

Bayview's naval research center will build a two-story, 25,600-square-foot building over Lake Pend Oreille for its submarine research work, thanks to Gov. Phil Batt's agreement with the federal government on nuclear waste. Among the millions in federal dollars promised to Idaho as part of the agreement was $7 million in 1997 for the new facility at Bayview. Lt. Commander Rick Schulz said the project "significantly improves our ability to conduct our underwater acoustics mission."
News >  Idaho

Water Bill Has Wide Support Kempthorne Leads Revision Of Safe Drinking Water Act

Sen. Dirk Kempthorne, R-Idaho, has won bipartisan support for his new version of the Safe Drinking Water Act. Kempthorne, chairman of the Senate subcommittee on Drinking Water, Fisheries and Wildlife, has spent nine months rewriting the bill, which is up for reauthorization. His changes include exceptions for small water systems that cannot afford to meet large-system standards; $1 billion in federal grants for states, which can pass them on to local water systems as grants or loans; and a new process for setting drinking water standards that includes weighing the costs against the benefits.
News >  Spokane

Lake Renters Could Get Chance To Buy Idaho Sites

More than 300 people who rent their Priest Lake cabin sites from the state of Idaho could get a chance at owning the land they lease. Idaho's Land Board on Tuesday gave approval to the idea of a three-way land swap that would allow a few Payette Lake cabin owners to buy their sites.
News >  Idaho

Engineering Confusion

Take a poorly worded federal regulation. Add citizens already distrustful of the federal government. Top it off with quick-draw elected officials, and what do you get?
News >  Spokane

U.S. House Rejects Lifting Of Ban On Cheap Land Sales To Mine Firms

The U.S. House rejected Sen. Larry Craig's efforts to lift a moratorium on low-cost sales of public lands to mining companies. On a 277-147 vote Friday, the House refused to go along with the appropriations bill for the U.S. Department of Interior, which includes an amendment Craig added to lift the moratorium. It sent the bill back to a House-Senate conference committee with specific instructions to reinstate the moratorium. More than 200 so-called "patent" applications are on hold because of the moratorium. Craig, R-Idaho, wants to let the patents through. Then, new claims would fall under new rules. Among other changes, the companies would be required to pay fair-market value for the surface land, and the land would revert back to public ownership when mining ended. The patent process allows mining companies basically to buy land they've claimed at a cost of $5 per acre or less. The process was established as part of a mining law enacted in 1872. Craig was still optimistic Friday. "These things aren't over until they're over," said Craig spokesman George Clarke. "This has happened before. But Sen. Craig's bill received strong support on the Senate side. We'll just have to wait and pursue it in conference." Craig wants the moratorium lifted because he believes his new rules resolve the system's problems. Plus, his staffers said, Craig believes the government is violating the property rights of companies whose claims are on hold. Jim Lyon of the Mineral Policy Center, a non-profit group that pushes for mining law reform, said the House has voted three times against lifting the moratorium. "You just don't get that clear a message three times in this business," he said. "The House is speaking very boldly and very clearly about the fact that they want these mining give-aways to end." Lyon noted that Congress is cutting many programs in an effort to balance the budget, and termed the mining patent program "corporate welfare."

Vintage Passenger Train Offering Rides

The huge black steam engine is hissing and chuffing as it waits on the tracks overlooking Boise's skyline. Then a metal bell on the front starts clanging, its heavy clapper swinging back and forth.