• 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 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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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.

With the legislature over, it’s time for bill signings and vetoes – some of each – and, usually, spring. That last is taking its time, as people in some places wait for flood waters to abate.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter last week plowed through the paperwork following completion of this year’s legislative session, signing dozens of bills and vetoing a few.

In an unusual public statement on April 3, Lieutenant Governor Brad Little asked Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter to sign rather than veto a bill which cleared the legislature, repealing the state’s sales tax on groceries.

Boise Mayor David Bieter and Garden City Mayor John Evans on April 6 ordered the closure of most of the Greenbelt bike and pedestrian path due to dangerous flood conditions on the Boise River. The announcement comes on the heels of yesterday’s announcement of the pathway’s closure in the City of Eagle.

The Idaho Public Utilities Commission is approving an Idaho Power Company application to slightly reduce the rider customers pay to fund demand-side management (DSM) programs from the current 4 percent of monthly billed amounts to 3.75 percent. The company asked for an effective date of June 1, but the commission made the increase effective April 1.

PHOTO Senator Jim Risch prepares to discuss Syria on camera. (photo/Office of Senator Risch)

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

A group of water users in Idaho’s Wood River Valley want the state to more tightly regulate junior groundwater users in their area, saying their surface water rights may be impacted.

The city of Thiruvananthapuram in India has responded to weakening water leels at the Peppara dam, a key source of supply, by moving to curtail water use in the city.

Alamosa city in Colorado has for years obtained much of its water supply through groundwater, via a series of wells in the Rio Grande Basin. New regulations from state Colorado state engineer, however, may restrict the city’s activities in that area, in the wake of water court decisions indicating that the city and other groundwater users have had an effect on many surface wastger rights holders. In response, Alamosa is in the market for buying water rights from other parries.

Several dozen protesters collected on April 2 near Crestline in southern California to argue against water draws by Nestlé Waters North America of mountain water supplies.

The Bureau of Reclamation’s April 2017 Total Water Supply Available (TWSA) forecast for the Yakima Basin indicates that the water supply will fully satisfy senior and junior water rights this irrigation season.

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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.

Acting Governor Brad Little has declared a State of Emergency for Idaho and Lewis Counties. Idaho stands ready to support and partner with the counties once the county commissioners declare emergencies.

Fish need water, and Idaho’s mountains are full of water in the form of a giant snowpack. According to the Natural Resources Conservation Service, mountain ranges throughout the state in early March had snowpacks ranging from a 90 percent of average in the Couer d’Alene and Priest drainages to 175 percent of average in the Big Wood drainage. Most areas were running between 120 and 160 percent of normal.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate for February held steady at 3.6 percent while the state continued to lead the nation in over-the-year job growth for the sixth consecutive month.

The Bureau of Land Management Pocatello Field Office is seeking public comment on a proposed new phosphate mine near Soda Springs.

Senators Jim Risch and Mike Crapo with David Perdue (R-GA) introduced the Prevent Labor Union Slowdowns Act, legislation that would protect local businesses and ensure they can continue importing and exporting goods during maritime labor union disputes.

PHOTO Up to 60,000 snow geese, white-fronted geese and other waterfowl use the Fort Boise Wildlife Management Area as a stop over on their northern flights. The birds typically leave warmer climes ranging from Baja Mexico to northern California and follow the snow line north. With southwest Idaho sitting at the base of Central Idaho’s snow-packed mountains, the birds rest and wait for about six weeks before continuing north and heading as far as Siberia. (photo/Roger Phillips, Idaho Department of Fish & Game)

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

What would happen if a river was given legal standing, recognized as a ‘person’ before the court? That scenario is being played out now in New Zealand, following a landmark decision in 2012 which gave the Whanganui River the right to be represented in court by legal guardians in a bid to protect its ecosystem’s health.

A group of 13 Marylanders on March 16 protested and were arrested at the State House in Annapolis and were arrested in an act of peaceful civil disobedience while demanding that state Senate leaders support a ban on fracking.

The Oklahoma Water Resources Board voted unanimously on to March 22 name Julie Cunningham as the agency’s next executive director. Cunningham had been serving as the interim executive director since October 2016 following the departure of J.D. Strong to lead the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation.

The State Water Resources Control Board, in consultation with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife, is required to adopt principles and guidelines for the diversion and use of water for cannabis cultivation.

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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.

The Idaho Legislature is considering a concurrent resolution authorizing the State to negotiate the purchase of the local campus of HP Inc. as a new home for the Idaho State Tax Commission and several other State agencies.

Senator Mike Crapo, Chairman of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, today delivered the following opening remarks during a full committee hearing on “Assessing U.S. Sanctions on Russia: Next Steps.”

The American Bar Association approved the opening of a first-year law program in Boise for the University of Idaho College of Law. The Idaho State Board of Education approved the first-year law program in February. A first-year law program will now be available in both the Moscow and Boise locations beginning this fall semester.

Representative Mike Simpson this week supported legislation to improve hiring practices at the Department of Veterans Affairs and to protect the Second Amendment Rights of veterans.

From a $172.5 million bond issue in Boise to a $90,000 supplemental levy in West Side, Tuesday was almost a clean sweep for Idaho schools. Nearly every bond issue or school levy on the ballot received a thumbs-up from voters. Many passed with landslide support of 70 percent or more — the Boise bond issue, for example, sailed through with 86 percent backing. (from IdahoEdNews)

PHOTO Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and Lieutenant Governor Brad Little visited the Idaho National Laboratory on March 3 to celebrate the completion of radioactive waste removal from the INL’s Advance Mixed Waste Treatment site. The 20-year project included excavating seven acres at the INL that had been used decades ago as a temporary storage site for contaminated containers and other materials. As the U.S. Department of Energy’s environmental management contractor at the INL, Fluor Idaho oversaw the removal under the terms of the 1995 Idaho Settlement Agreement for cleanup of radioactive waste at the site. (photo/Governor Otter)

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

Water rights legislation has been pouring through the Nevada legislature this year. On March 17, the Senate Natural Resources Committee alone passed two measures and agreed to consider revisions to a third. The measure to be reconsidered was Senate Bill 47, which was introduced in the Senate in November. It is a relatively complex measure. An Assembly bill on water rights forfeiture also was considered.

The Utah State Records Committee unanimously said on March 16 that records concerning water use by a city ought to be public, agreeing with a request from the Utah Rivers Council.

A Wisconsin bill that would reduce state oversight of high-capacity water wells, prospectively affecting state water flow, drew strong turnout at a March 15 legislative hearing.

Nevada Assembly member Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, has offered Assembly Bill 138 to allow use of rainfall, within limits. It only allows collection from single-family homes. While described as de minimus use, that could amount to hundreds of gallons from a strong rainfall, if the collection were especially efficient.

The city council at Buffalo, Wyoming, on March 15 said it would let a property owner use groundwater there though the property had been slated for city annexation.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and legislative leaders agreed on March 6 to settle all financial claims by Education Networks of America and CenturyLink for their development of the Idaho Education Network broadband system for Idaho’s public schools.

Senator James Lankford (R-OK) today introduced the Small Business Regulatory Flexibility Improvements Act to require federal agencies to analyze the full impact of a proposed regulation on small businesses during the rulemaking process. The bill is co-sponsored by Senators Chuck Grassley, who is chairman of the Judiciary Committee, and Jim Risch, who is chairman of the Small Business Committee.

On July 5, American Airlines will begin nonstop service between Boise and Chicago O’Hare International Airport. The new service will operate once daily on a Bombardier CRJ700. The jet will have six first class seats, and 64 coach class seats.

The Bureau of Land Management said on March 8 it has issued a Decision Record for the Soda Fire Fuel Breaks Project, located in Owyhee County, Idaho and Malheur County, Oregon.

The recent collaboration between Boise State University and technical staff at Idaho Power Company on Boise State’s newest computing cluster, R2, enhances both partners’ ability to forecast weather and water supply.

Biologists are focusing these types restoration efforts in the East Fork Potlatch River watershed because they determined steelhead production in this basin is limited by a lack of channel complexity. (photo/Department of Fish & Game)

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