• David Frazier's memoir of Vietnam, "Drafted!", is multilayered - from the days of war in the 60s to return visits as a photography - and as complex as the place itself.
From local to national, to around the world. From inside the home to speculative. From fact to fiction - though we do take care about which is which.

This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 22. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Idaho Falls will be getting a full community college after the election last week, when the voters of Bonneville County decisively approved the proposal.

Lieutenant Governor Brad Little – in his capacity as acting governor – on May 19 signed an executive order today directing a sweeping review of Idaho’s occupational licensing requirements.

Significant drops in the number of unemployed Idahoans and people looking for work pushed the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate down to 3.4 percent in April, narrowing an already tight labor market even further.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on May 18 announced that President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration today for eight northern and north-central Idaho counties, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities recover from flooding that occurred March 6-28.

Snake River flows below Minidoka and Milner dams will be decreasing from today through May 18, to end flow passing Milner Dam. The Idaho Water Resource Board suspended Eastern Snake Plain Aquifer recharge operations on May 18, effective immediately.

Anglers should soon know the fate of the 2017 spring Chinook run, and how much longer the spring fishing season will continue. Fisheries managers plan to re-evaluate the season after seeing how many chinook cross Bonneville Dam on the Columbia River, which is the first dam the fish cross that are bound for Idaho.

PHOTO A group of activists stand at the Grove Convention Center in Boise. (photo/United Vision for Idaho)

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Water rights weekly report for May 22. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

From U.S. Representative Scott Tipton, a perspective piece on water rights: “Too often, issues like forest management and water rights don’t make it into the news, but they have profound impacts on Coloradans. I remain committed to ensuring voices from the West are heard in the policy discussions happening in Washington.”

The Montana Farm Bureau on May 19 released a statement supporting the Water Rights Protection Act, which would eliminate a requirement that certain grazing water rights be released to federal agencies in return for permissions to graze.

At the Oroville Dam in northern California: “The flood control spillway flow is currently at 20,000 cubic feet per second (cfs). Inflow is approximately 12,946 cfs. Current lake elevation is at 829.98 feet. Hyatt Powerplant is currently discharging 5,000 cfs. Total Feather River flow is 19,550 cfs.”

An ambitious Nevada water management bill, Assembly Bill 298, appears to have ground to a halt in the Nevada legislative process for this year.
It did pass the state Assembly on April 26 by a vote of 26-16, but may have run aground in the Senate.

PHOTO Spillway from the Oroville Dam in California (from the California Department of Water Resources)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 15. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

U.S. Representative Raul Labrador on May 9 filed paperwork with the Idaho Secretary of State’s Office to run for governor in 2018. He joins a field of Republicans which already includes Lieutenant Governor Brad Little, former state Senator Russ Fulcher and Boise businessman Tommy Ahlquist.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch on May 8 welcomed the nomination of Idaho District Judge David C. Nye of Pocatello by President Donald Trump to fill the open U.S. District Court judgeship in Idaho.

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry on May 8 and 9 toured the Idaho National Laboratory, visiting a number of facilities at the installation and talking with groups of employees there.

Idaho Power has filed a settlement stipulation with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission related to early retirement of the North Valmy coal-fired power plant and an associated plan for cost recovery.

Acting Governor Brad Little has declared a state of disaster emergency for Custer, Elmore and Gooding Counties as of May 10.

PHOTO Representative Raul Labrador (center, standing) files paperwork at the Idaho secretary of state’s office to run for governor. Here he talks with Secretary of State Lawerence Denney (left), with whom he served in the Idaho House. (photo/Labrador campaign)

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Water rights weekly report for May 15. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

Oklahoma state is facing a budget deficit. Should it sell some of its waster rights to thirsty Texas to help balance the books? The idea is coming up for discussion again partly because of proposals by former Oklahoma Governor David Walters.

A new study finds that when it comes to allocating water from the Upper Deschutes River for irrigation purposes, less is more. Findings indicate that the current system encourages inefficient use of water by senior water rights holders and very efficient use of water by junior water rights holders, resulting in higher crop yields and economic value on farms that have implemented practices to improve water use efficiency.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the U.S. Army sent a letter to governors today soliciting input from states on a new definition of protected waters that is in-line with a Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s opinion in the 2006 Rapanos v. United States case. Scalia’s definition explains that federal oversight should extend to “relatively permanent” waters and wetlands with a “continuous surface connection” to large rivers and streams.

The governing board of trustees of the College of Southern Idaho at Twin Falls decided May 9 to buy water rights to Pristine Springs, a nearby geothermal aquifer.

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Water rights weekly report for May 1. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

The National Park Service is putting its water shortage action plan into effect, following the state’s call to cease withdrawing water from Annie Creek. Crater Lake National Park staff are asking all visitors and employees to use water wisely during the water supply shortage.

The San Luis Obispo Coastkeepers and Los Padres ForestWatch, two central-coastal California environmental groups, on May 5 sued the Santa Maria Water Conservation District to demand a different schedule on water be released to help with preservaton of the Southern California steelhead trout.

A First Nations geographer, a legal historian and a global expert on water access and sustainability will be asking — and answering — big questions about water at the Calgary Institute for Humanities (CIH) 37th annual community forum, May 12. The forum, Water in the West: Rights to Water/Rights of Water, will explore environmental concerns about water and First Nations’ perspectives on the precious resource. “First Nations are tremendously impacted by water issues, from access to clean water to resource development. And of course there’s also a spiritual dimension to water in almost every culture,” says Jim Ellis, a professor of English and director of the CIH, whose mission is to support and promote the values of humanities-based research.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for May 8. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

On May 5, President Trump signed the Fiscal Year 2017 Consolidated Appropriations Act into law which includes Representative Mike Simpson’s agreement on the Gateway West Transmission Line.

McCain Foods USA will expand its production capacity for frozen french fries in North America. The location of the expansion is McCain’s current plant in Burley, Idaho where it has been doing business for 20 years.

On May 4, the U.S. House passed the American Health Care Act 217-213 with backing from both Idaho representatives.

Idaho consumers are expected to see their wages advance 1% per year faster than inflation through the end of the decade. Coupling those wage increases with strong employment gains of around 15,000 new jobs per year gives total real personal income a boost. By 2020, this value will be $8 billion over the 2016 value. While some of this growth comes from increasing population, the per capita values also shine. Real per capita personal income advances $2,500 across these four years, bringing the value from $35,200 to $37,700.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on May 3 expressed frustration and resolve at news that the Federal Emergency Management Agency once again has denied the state’s request for disaster assistance in five Idaho counties hit hard by severe winter storms.


PHOTO
Dinosaurs may be extinct but they will live again this summer at the Idaho Museum of Natural History at Idaho State University. On May 13th the IMNH will open its newest exhibit “Be the Dinosaur” with all things dino! From 9 a.m. to noon the museum will host fun dinosaur activities, including face painting, dinosaur balloon animals, and temporary tattoos that range from $1-$3 per activity in addition to gallery admission. The museum will also have its tyrannosaur on hand for photo ops! Travel back in time when dinosaurs roamed the earth and see the world they knew and “Be the Dinosaur.” Discover the science of dinosaurs and their ecosystems as you walk in their footsteps, hunt, eat, hide and survive and “Be the Dinosaur: Life in the Cretaceous” by using computer simulation, interactive and traditional exhibits. (photo/Idaho State University)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for April 17. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Closed sections of Boise River Wildlife Management Area, will open to public access on May 1. This includes areas impacted by the Table Rock and Mile Marker 14 Fires.

The City of Boise is embarking on a broad “high touch meets high tech” effort to deepen its customer service and enrich its interactions with Boise residents.

The 366th Medical Group at Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho, will soon begin to make what some may see as drastic changes to the services provided here. The facility will transition from an inpatient hospital to an outpatient clinic by mid-summer.

Blue Lake Rancheria, a century-old Native American reservation in Northern California, has launched its low-carbon community microgrid that is helping power government offices, economic enterprises, and critical Red Cross safety shelter-in-place facilities across 100 acres. In collaboration with Humboldt State University’s Schatz Energy Research Center, Siemens, Idaho National Laboratory and additional partners, the microgrid uses decentralized energy resources and intelligent software to provide its residents and economic enterprises with reliable power without interruption.

Salmon fishing seasons are tricky because the run size and fishing seasons vary from year to year based on how many fish return to Idaho and how many hatchery fish are available for sport harvest.

Anderson’s buttercup emerges early taking advantage of native bees & is found in Owyhee Mountains & Bennett Hills. (photo/Bureau of Land Management)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for April 17. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

President Donald J. Trump signed a Presidential Disaster Declaration on April 21 for 11 southern Idaho counties, triggering the release of federal funds to help communities repair public infrastructure damaged by severe winter storms and related flooding from February 5 through March 3.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.5 percent in March, down one tenth of a percent from 3.6 percent in February.

The University of Maryland will continue operating its Training, Research, Isotopes, General Atomics – or TRIGA – research reactor thanks to lightly irradiated fuel provided by the U.S. Department of Energy site in Idaho.

Soon the Fort Hall Replica, Bannock County Historical Museum, and Pocatello Junction will be under the same umbrella.

On Earth Day, April 22, science enthusiasts joined to show their support for science with a national march in Washington D.C. and satellite events around globe. In Boise, hundreds of supporters will meet at the Idaho State Capitol at 10:30 am for speakers and then march through the streets of downtown Boise. Speakers include professional scientist working in agriculture, medicine, climate, engineering, and education.

PHOTO High revenue levels on the Boise River have damaged parts of the Boise Greenbelt, and parts of its bike path have been closed to public access pending repairs. (photo/Boise Police Department)

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for March 20. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter on April 11 vetoed legislature which sought to exempt grocery purchases from the state sales tax. He also allowed to become law, without his signature, a measure substantially expanding spending on state highways. The grocery sales tax measure had cleared the Senate on a vote of 25-10 and the House by 51-19.

Idaho Supreme Court Justice Daniel T. Eismann (pictured) said last week that he plans to retire from the court on August 31.

Idaho Republican Party Chairman Steve Yates said on April 10 that he intends to step down as State Party Chairman effective April 24.

Reservoirs are filling across southern Idaho, and fisheries managers are looking forward to the benefits that big water brings.

Idaho Power Company is asking state regulators to approve an average 1.3 percent increase in an annual rate adjustment mechanism that allows the utility to recover its fixed costs of delivering energy when energy sales decline due to reduced consumption.

Canyon County voters in six precincts will have new polling places beginning with the May 16 election.

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Water rights weekly report for March 20. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

In the final days of the 2017 Idaho legislative session, lawmakers approved a change in state law to allow people or entities to apply for the temporary use of surplus water to prevent flood damage, recharge ground water, or work on ground or surface water-quality remediation. Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter signed the amendments to Idaho Code § 42-202A into law on March 30. An emergency provision makes the new law effective immediately.

Colorado legislators are struggling over legislation intended to require that the Bureau of Reclamation allow farmers to use their allotment of water stored by Bureau projects, even if that use is to grow plants in the cannabis family. The farmer whose case was on point, a grower in the Rocky Ford area near Montrose, was seeking only to grow hemp, which has no significant psychotropic qualities and is used for a wide range of other purposes. The Bureau of Reclamation denied him the water.

A high-end development of new residences near Bellingham, Washington, is slated to use existing wells for a water supply, with the water coming from the Governors Point Water Association. The development involves a half-dozen tracts on Governors Point, on a lake front south of Bellingham.

The commissioners of Washington’s Spokane County said last week they plan to set up a water bank for the county, and agreed to spend $1.2 million to get it started.

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