Idaho

Rebecca White/SPR

As school districts navigate their second year of pandemic-era instruction, school boards of directors are facing escalating hostility.

The increased attention has ranged from more participation at school board meetings, to harassment, to threats and intimidation.

Education leaders are calling for patience and civility.

Debbie Long has served on the Central Valley School Board since 2003. She says in 18 years, she’s presided over contentious issues, but none as divisive as masks and coronavirus vaccinations.

Clark Corbin, Idaho Capital sun

While serving as acting governor on Tuesday, Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin issued a new executive order banning public schools and the State Department of Education from requiring COVID-19 testing or vaccinations.

McGeachin issued the executive order while Gov. Brad Little was out of state traveling to Texas to visit the U.S. border with Mexico along with nine other governors from the West. 

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Faith leaders and environmental groups will meet Sunday to raise awareness of a waste repository in North Idaho and the area’s legacy of pollution.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

Former Idaho State Representative Aaron Von Ehlinger has been arrested on rape charges.

Von Ehlinger was arrested on a warrant in Clayton County, Georgia on Saturday. The warrant was first issued earlier this month after a four-month investigation by the Boise Police Department.

Idaho Department of Health and Welfare

Idaho school districts have resumed in-person instruction, but many are struggling to stay open to due the rampant spread of the Delta variant and labor shortages.

In a briefing to the Idaho Board of Education, Andy Grover, the executive director of the Idaho School Administrators Association, said eight school staff members have died of COVID-19 this year. He said many workers have also left for hiring bonuses and higher wages in fast food.

Idaho Public TV screenshot

Former Idaho state Rep. Aaron von Ehlinger has yet to turn himself in and no arrest has been announced, fifteen days after a warrant was issued on felony rape charges.

Kootenai Health

The entire state of Idaho is now in a crisis standard of care due to a massive increase in COVID-19 cases.

The declaration came after a request from St. Luke’s Healthcare System in Boise. The hospital had surpassed its capacity and delayed most non-life-threatening procedures – including some cancer treatments, says Dr. Jim Souza, the chief physician at St. Luke’s.


Courtesy of Idaho legislature

Former Idaho State Legislator Aaron von Ehlinger, is facing a warrant for his arrest on rape charges.

A warrant for von Ehlinger’s arrest was issued Thursday for Sexual Penetration-Forcible by Use with a Foreign Object, a felony. He is a Republican from Lewiston.

He is accused of raping an Idaho legislative intern last spring and resigned amidst an Idaho State Legislature investigation into his conduct.

Massive Spike In COVID-19 Expected In Idaho This Fall

Aug 17, 2021
Courtesy of State of Idaho

Idaho health officials are bracing for increased Covid cases by fall.

They say the numbers will be as bad, or worse as previous surges.

"The Overall Trend Is Bad": This Is What Covid-19 Is Doing To Idaho Hospitals

Aug 16, 2021
Courtesy of Idaho Capital Sun

(This story was originally published in the Idaho Capital Sun.)

Patients treated in emergency rooms. Small community hospitals calling around for a place to send their critically ill patients. Nurses so burned out that hospitals offer them cash to take extra shifts. And a delta-fueled COVID-19 fire raging out of control from coast to coast.

Washington, Idaho Gain Residents In 2020 Census

Aug 13, 2021
Courtesy of U.S. Census Bureau

New census figures show the population continues to grow in Washington and Idaho and most of their cities and counties. Here's a quick look at the numbers.

Office of the Governor

Idaho Governor Brad Little made an appeal Tuesday to Idaho residents to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

His request comes during a dramatic increase in positive cases.

Pandhandle Health District.

The hot temperatures this summer have promoted algae growth at some area lakes, and Idaho officials are warning people to try to avoid contact with contaminated lake water, which can be a health threat.

The algae appears as discolored water, streaks or globs of scum, or thick green matts along the shore.

Fernan Lake Under Health Advisory After Algal Bloom

Jul 28, 2021
Courtesy of Panhandle Health District

The Pandhandle Health District has detected toxins that are dangerous to human health in Fernan Lake.

According to a press release, toxins have been found across the entire body of water due to algal blooms. The dramatic increase in algae looks like thick green mats or scum in the water.

Health officials are urging people who recreate, or fish on the lake to be cautious and avoid exposure to the water. Toxins can’t be removed by boiling or filtration, and can contaminate fish caught in the lake.

Algal Bloom Puts Hayden Lake Under Health Restrictions

Jul 27, 2021
Panhandle Health District

Panhandle Health officials are urging people to be cautious when swimming, or fishing in the northern portion of Hayden Lake due to a harmful algal bloom.

Algal blooms can produce dangerous bacteria in high concentrations.  They can look like an algal mat or murky, or scummy water.

Health officials are asking people who use Hayden Lake for drinking water to be careful, because boiling, or filtering it may not remove the toxins.

They are also urging people who are exposed algae to wash with clean water.  

Governors Inslee, Little Say Idaho And Washington Nearing COVID-19 Goals

Jun 10, 2021
TVW

More than two-thirds of Washington residents 16 and older have had at least their first COVID shots. That puts the state just four percentage points away from 70%, the goal Governor Jay Inslee established to reopen the state before June 30.

IDOC Booking photo

The man convicted of killing a Kootenai County family and abducting their children may never face the death penalty.

Joseph E. Duncan has been on death row for more than a decade, but may not survive to his execution date. Duncan, according to court filings, has been diagnosed with brain cancer.

Courtesy of the State of Idaho

An Idaho Senate committee said yes Friday to a bill that would make it harder for the public to put initiatives up for a statewide vote.

The committee approved a proposal by Kootenai County Republican Senator Steve Vick. His bill would require initiative sponsors to collect signatures from at least six percent of registered voters in all 35 legislative districts. Current law requires six percent from just 18 districts.

Courtesy of the Federal Food and Drug Administration

 

A more infectious variant of the coronavirus has been detected in Southwest Idaho.

 

The variant was identified in an adult man who told health officials he had recently traveled internationally, according to a news release from the Idaho Department of Health. The variant is known as B.1.351 and was first detected in South Africa.

 

Idaho Democratic Caucus

Medical education is undergoing a renaissance in the Inland Northwest.

For years, the University of Washington controlled medical education opportunities in the five-state region consisting of Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana and Idaho. It had the only med school in the region, allowing first-year students from those states to study close to home before recalling them to Seattle.
Now, Washington State University — focused on Washington students — has its own medical school with its second class about to start in August. The privately-funded Idaho College of Osteopathic Medicine in Meridian will welcome its first class in September.

But medical school is only half of the doctor training equation.

Idaho Health Exchange

The State of Idaho is now allowing new health insurance plans to be sold in the state that don’t meet some of the guidelines mandated by the Affordable Care Act.

Proponents say the move will promote more affordable rates in the state.

New Idaho Medical School Breaks Ground

May 19, 2017
Idaho State Journal

The state of Idaho and a private partner have broken ground on what is officially the state of Idaho’s first medical school.

For years the University of Washington has trained medical students at the University of Idaho, part of the UW’s five-state program known as WWAMI, an acronym for Washington Wyoming Alaska Montana Idaho. But the program is administered in Seattle.

For years, leaders in the Gem State have wondered whether Idaho should create its own publicly-funded medical school.

While the inability of the government to approve a new Supreme Court justice has received plenty of press, the State of Idaho is experiencing a similar issue. It’s been waiting for approval of a new Federal District court judge for a year, which has left the state with one, rather than two full time judges.

Idaho is in what is termed a “Judicial Emergency.”

Idaho Anti-Union Law Struck Down

Sep 30, 2015
J. Stephen Conn

An anti-union Idaho law approved by the legislature just four years ago has been nullified even before it took effect.


Flickr - Forest Service Northern Region

In the summer of 1910 - 115 years ago this week - weather and forest conditions were eerily similar to those gripping us now = an early, dry spring, little snow runoff, gaspingly hot temperatures and extreme drought. And hundreds of wildfires suddenly merged into the most voracious fire storm ever.

Creative Fire Name Hard to Come By at 3:00a.m.

Aug 16, 2015
Blue Fire incident command photo
Dave Van Netter

Sometimes, sheer physical exhaustion and weariness overcome even the most creative minds. It happened to one forest official in Idaho responsible for naming a new blaze.

Space Battery Lives Long and Prospers

Jul 13, 2015

Some people in eastern Idaho have built a battery that puts the Energizer Bunny to shame. Most of us think of battery life in terms of hours. But engineers at the Idaho National Lab made one more than nine years ago which is still going strong.

Small "Blue Fire" Poses Huge Problems

Jul 8, 2015
Blue Fire incident command photo
Dave Van Netter

In trackless terrain at the foot of the Frank Church River of No Return wilderness, a small army of firefighters is up against a nightmarish combination - a fire fed by high temperatures and wind, and very low humidity.

Jessica Robinson

A marriage amendment to Idaho's state constitution, adopted only nine years ago, has been rendered useless by a US Supreme Court decision. But wiping it off the books may prove to be difficult, or even impossible.

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