• 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 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)


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.


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)


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.


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)


Water rights weekly report for January 9. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on March 7 held that federal implied reserved groundwater rights can be claimed by an Indian Tribe – in this case, the Agua Caliente Band of Cahuilla Indians. In Agua Caliente Band v. Coachella Valley Water District, the court said “the Tribe has a reserved right to groundwater underlying its reservation as a result of the purpose for which the reservation was established.”

The Nebraska Supreme Court on March 10 held that the Republican River Compact is in effect federal law and therefore supersedes state water right law – and thereby denying a water right claim from within the state. In Greg Hill v. Nebraska Department of Natural Resources, the Nebraska high court said “We find that the Compact, as federal law, supersedes the appropriators’ property interests. We further find that the DNR does not have a duty to regulate ground water; thus, a failure by the DNR to regulate ground water pumping that affects the Basin does not give rise to a cause of action for inverse condemnation.”

The Black Hills Energy electric utility on March 7 formally gave the city of Pueblo, Colorado, and its utility Pueblo Water, its local rights on the Arkansas River, and the diversion infrastructure and equipment needed to access it.

A new film airing on the National Geographic channel on March 14, “Water & Power: A California Heist”, reviews groundwater use in the state and, as a public television channel said. “looks at how heedless groundwater tapping and secret deals over water rights put California’s water supply in peril.”



Self-publishing and micro-publishing have grown into a large business, but they haven’t developed all the trappings yet. Yes, there are associations and lots of ancillary businesses, but it’s still a work in progress.

Here’s another sign of that progress: The Society of Southwestern Authors last weekend ran out its inaugural Tucson Self Publishing Expo.

The organization has focused, ordinarily, on writing instruction programs – and held one of those just a few weeks ago – but saw an unmet need for instruction for those looking into self publishing.

Mark Coker, the founder and chief guru at Smashwords, alone held three programs – “An Introduction to EBook Self-Publishing,” “The Secrets of E-Book Publishing Success,” “How to Use EBook Preorders to Hit the Bestseller Lists.”

The program’s website said that “Not only is this an inaugural Self-Publishing Expo for Southern Arizona, but it has quickly become an essential event for established authors and aspiring novelists in Southern Arizona, Phoenix metro, Southern California and Las Vegas.”

The commercial side, a sure indicator of something taking off, is central in this too: ” That’s why we have invited a wide variety of vendors, all of whom have a service directly related to the aforementioned paragraph to assist you in managing the tedious job of assuring your manuscript is free of errors, creating a book cover that reflects the content of your product, and shaping your sales and marketing plan.

“Authors, writers and would-be novelists: to assure your place at the table, register early for just $20 to show your support in bringing this important event to the western part of the country and for the world-class speakers who are making themselves available to you at this Expo. When and where, have you ever had the opportunity to hear, meet, and ask questions of the founder of the largest company in the world of eBooks, the Director of a Publishing House that controls over half the POD market, or an expert in self-publishing marketing?”

There’s some ambition here. And you have to figure that if the southwest is going there, others will be doing it soon as well.

The explosive growth of the last few years probably has slowed a bit, but what’s coming now is increasingly solid and more rooted.


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.

The Idaho Office of Performance Evaluations on Marc 2 released a report on state jurisdictions in Indian country. Five tribes are affected by Idaho state jurisdiction. The report noted at the beginning, “State and local government powers are limited in Indian country by federal law and tribal sovereignty. The US Constitution gives Congress exclusive power over Indian affairs, and states have jurisdiction on reservations only with Congressional consent.”

Senator Mike Crapo and Michigan Senator Debbie Stabenow are leading a bipartisan effort to end the shortfall of veterinarians in rural areas by reintroducing the Veterinary Medicine Loan Repayment Program Enhancement Act.

Idaho’s seasonally-adjusted unemployment rate for December 2016 was revised by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) to 3.6 percent – one-tenth percent lower than the 3.7 percent first reported.

The Department of Environmental Quality is seeking public comment on proposed changes to guidance related to grants and loans for drinking water and clean water (wastewater) infrastructure construction projects in Idaho.

(photo) Fire burned 22,000 acres of winter range on the Tex Creek Wildlife Management Area in eastern Idaho in 2016. To support elk and deer, and prevent private property damage, Idaho Fish and Game set in motion the largest winter feeding operation in Idaho’s history. (photo/Department of Fish & Game)


Water rights weekly report for January 9. For much more news, links and detail, see the National Water Rights Digest.

Santa Barbara (California) Superior Court Judge James Herman ruled against a plan by the Slippery Rock Ranch to pump groundwater for bottling, siting with the Goleta Water District. The judge held in his 30-page ruling that Goleta had a senior and adjudicated water right to groundwater in the area, and the water Slippery Rock proposed to extract “materially contributes” to it. That means, he wrote, the district is “senior appropriator with standing to enforce its claimed rights with respect to sources of water on or underlying SRR’s property that recharge the basin by way of hydrologic connectivity.”

The Bureau of Reclamation will increase flows below Iron Gate Dam to reduce the risk of disease for coho salmon in the Klamath River. Starting Feb. 10 through Feb. 13, flows below Iron Gate Dam will be elevated increasing from approximately 4,000 cubic feet per second to as much as 9,600 cfs. The public is urged to take all necessary precautions on or near the river while flows are high during this period.

The Bureau of Reclamation announced the initial 2017 water supply allocation for Central Valley Project contractors in the Friant Division, Eastside Division and Municipal & Industrial Water Service Contractors in the American River Division. The 2017 water year has been an extreme year thus far, with precipitation throughout the Central Valley on track to be the highest in our historic records,” said Reclamation’s Acting Mid-Pacific Regional Director Pablo Arroyave. “As such, Reclamation is taking an approach to the announcement of CVP water allocations this year that differs from our historic practice.”

Arizona Senator Jeff Flake, who in July won assurances that water stored in Lake Mead would be retained by Arizona, has been named chairman of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water and Power.



Some writers say that what they have to say to their readers is all in the written word – the book, the article, the formal press release. Res ipsa liquitur.

For many readers, though, and many authors too, the author-reader relationship goes deeper, and should. The reader wants to seeking out the writer and find out more about him or her. The advantage, from the self-publisher’s point of view, is that as readers invest time with the author, they’re more likely to connect with him or her and want to buy their next book. It is usually a win-win relationship.

This doesn’t mean completely opening yourself up to the public.

Authors, like everyone else, already have a number of online tools for engaging readers personally and directly, such as Facebook, Twitter and personal web sites (with comments enabled). There are also some big-organization tools that can help expand your reach.

On Facebook, authors can of course set up their own pages. But third-party pages oriented around an author, with the author’s cooperation, can be even better. A group of fans of the author Dana Stabenow, calling themselves the Danamaniacs, offer one example of a lively author page.

Patrick Brown, who worked on author marketing at Goodreads, suggested at this year’s BookExpo America, “Whether you are willing to answer questions for a day, or for a week, please let your readers know your parameters. Maybe you only want to answer questions about your new book; make that clear. You’re not obligated to answer all questions, but you do need to be a good citizen and let your readers know what kind of questions you’ll take.”

He suggested questions focused around the writing process and the specifics of finished works, and that some thought – and personal writing style – be used in crafting answers.

Goodreads has an “Ask the Author” feature on its website. Writers who participate on Goodreads in their author program can enable it, but they need to switch a toggle authorizing the service from “off” to “on.” Goodreads notes that, “This will activate the Ask the Author section on your author profile, allowing readers to ask you questions. It’s a good idea to add a personal message letting fans know when or for how long you will be available.”
A number of other services let authors communicate directly with readers too.

Amazon.com has long had Author Central that authors can use as a sort of mini-website to show off their personal information as well as their bibliography. It allows you to link to, and include feeds from your social and web media. That means you can connect your Facebook and Twitter feeds, plus the feed from your blog (presumably you have one) into your Author Central site. That gives you a series of ways to connect with readers directly.

Smashwords has a similar author marketing tool, which it describes as “author pages with bios and listings of published works, individual book pages for each work, support for embedded YouTube videos so the author can promote the book in their own words, member contributed reviews, author “favoriting,” and integration with social bookmarking and social networking sites.” There are some indications these one-way services (two-way if you can move your traffic toward social media and personal websites) may be expanded, because Smashwords also said, “In the months and years ahead, Smashwords will provide even more tools to help authors reach their readers.”

Communication between author and reader can run in other directions as well. Smashwords is also beginning to offer interactive widgets. At WordPress.org, a Smashwords book widget can be downloaded and plugged into WordPress-based web sites. It “Displays one or more random book covers of a Smashwords author. It can be used by authors to display their work, by fans or by affiliate partners.”

Selling books and engaging readers work together: The more engaging readers you do, the more books you can sell, and the more happy readers you will have, book after book.

(Adapted from an article originally appearing on Bookworks.)

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