• 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 February 6. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

The Bureau of Land Management Challis Field Office and U.S. Forest Service Salmon-Challis National Forest are developing a draft plan for the Jim McClure-Jerry Peak Wilderness and are soliciting public comments.

Citing the stress on many rural county budgets, Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined 78 of their colleagues in sending a bipartisan, bicameral letter to the Office of Management and Budget calling on it to provide funding for the Secure Rural Schools program in the President’s upcoming budget request that will be submitted to Congress.

The Sawtooth National Forest is soliciting public comment in response to a proposal by the City of Ketchum, the City of Sun Valley, the City of Stanley, Blaine County, and the Idaho Conservation League to establish the ‘Central Idaho Dark Sky Reserve’ on both public and private lands within an area that includes the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, portions of the Ketchum Ranger District, and the cities of Stanley, Ketchum, and Sun Valley.

The State Oil and Gas Regulatory Exchange, an innovative regulatory improvement program created under the States First Initiative by two state-based organizations, finds Idaho’s oil and gas regulatory structure to be mostly in line with the regulatory practices of other oil and gas producing states, and provides guidance for Idaho as its regulation of oil and gas exploration, drilling and production continues to evolve.

Senator Jim Risch, chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, released the following statement regarding the Senate confirmation of Linda E. McMahon to serve as the Administrator of the U.S. Small Business Administration.

(photo/Homestead Ministries, the Boise Rescue Mission and The Ambrose School in Meridian at their Feed the Need event on February 10. This event incorporates crops grown in the Pacific Northwest and packaged by 500 students in one day. (photo/Governor Otter)

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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.

H20 was the big topic in Idaho last week – first in colder form, as heavy snowfall that in some places threatened to break all-time snowfall records, and later as rain and snow melt that led to widespread flooding, mainly in the southern part of the state.

The House Education Committee voted on February 9 to remove references to climate change and human impact on the environment from a new set of science standards.

The Canyon County Board of County Commissioners announced on February 8 their plan to keep the Canyon County Fair at its current location in Caldwell for the foreseeable future.

The Gateway for Accelerated Innovation in Nuclear said on February 9 the availability of fiscal year 2017 funds for small business vouchers to assist applicants developing advanced nuclear energy technologies who are seeking access to the world class expertise and capabilities available across the U.S. Department of Energy’s national laboratories complex.

Vista Outdoor Inc., a major employer at Lewiston, reported diminished operating results for the third quarter of its Fiscal Year 2017, which ended on January 1.

Citing Idaho law and the State Water Plan, the Idaho Water Resource Board unanimously approved a resolution Monday opposing additional fish-passage requirements on the relicensing of the Hells Canyon Dam complex.

PHOTO Heavy snowfall early in the week turned, in many places, to flooding later on in the week. (photo/Idaho Transportation Department)

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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.

The money race gets well underway for the 2018 Idaho governor’s contest, while incumbent Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter goes internationally viral with his defense of the Trump Administration’s priority for Christian refugees over others.

The GOP primary to succeed retiring Gov. Butch Otter got started a while ago, with both Lt. Gov. Brad Little and ex-state Sen. Russ Fulcher announcing their candidacies last year. Little brought in $340,000 from July to December, and he added $50,000 of his own money. That’s far better than Fulcher, who lost the 2014 primary to Otter 51-44; since he announced in late August, Fulcher hauled in just $50,000.

Senator Jim Risch on February 1 introduced the Greater Sage-Grouse Protection and Recovery Act of 2017, legislation allowing states to implement their own specific conservation and management plans to protect greater sage-grouse populations and their habitats, in lieu of federal management. Original cosponsors of the bill include Senators Mike Crapo, Dean Heller (R-NV), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Steve Daines (R-MT).

Micron Technology, Inc. on February 2 announced the retirement of Chief Executive Officer Mark Durcan.

The Boise City Council on February 1 endorsed a resolution highlighting the city’s long-standing role as a welcoming community and a community of refuge for those fleeing violence and persecution from conflicts around the globe.

A recently completed audit shows logging operations examined on private, state, and federal lands in Idaho overall were 96% compliant in applying laws designed to protect water quality.

The seventh annual ACHD revenue and expense report details more than $1 billion in spending on transportation within each city and Ada County since 2002.

PHOTO Idaho Fish and Game is feeding big game animals at nearly 110 sites this winter and expects to spend about $650,000 on the effort (photo/Department of Fish & Game)

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

A Kansas court has closed permanently two wells operated by the company American Warrior in light of a lawsuit filed by a local senior water right holder, the Garetson family. That extends a temporary injunction that had been in place, ordered by District Court Judge Linda Gilmore, since 2013.

The Montana Department of Natural Resources and Conservation on January 14 issued a preliminary water right permit for Montana Artesian Water Company, which would prospectively allow it to withdraw large amounts of water from the Deep Artesian Aquifer through a well.

The city of Calistoga, California, on January 26 prevailed in a challenge to its municipal water supply rights.

The town board of the Colorado city of Windsor voted on January 23 to buy a large batch of water rights – priced at $2.1 million – to maintain nearby Lake Windsor and levels of current water use in the city. Windsor is a community of about 20,000 people.

The documentary film “Water & Power: A California Heist” was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in late January.
Director Marina Zenovich visited communities in the San Joaquin Valley where water disparities abounded. As a review in the Salt Lake Tribune said, “where locals can’t get clean tap water. However, in the corporate agribusinesses near those towns, there’s plenty of water to grow almonds, pistachios and pomegranates.”

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

Jon Steverson, the top administrator in the Florida Department of Environmental Protection, in January resigned after legislative complaints about exploding legal bills in the state’s water war with Georgia. He will depart on February 3. Steverson will go to work for the law firm Foley Gardner, which is one of the four private firms the state hired to prosecute its claims in the water case.

Canamex Resources Corp. said on January 24 that the Nevada Division of Water Resources has granted it an extension through 2017 for a subsurface water right for the Bruner Gold Project located in Nye County, Nevada.

The Idaho Department of Water Resources has ordered a reduction on water use by holders of about 70 rights holders in the eastern part of the state. They were not participants in a groundwater mitigation program.

The documentary film “Water & Power: A California Heist” was shown at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah in late January.
Director Marina Zenovich visited communities in the San Joaquin Valley where water disparities abounded.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for January 23. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

Work settles in at the Idaho Legislature while winter weather rages outside the Statehouse dome. Local agencies start to struggle with the snowfall and the risk of flooding in some places.

Southern Idaho’s historic winter of 2016-2017, with record amounts of snow and cold temperatures, translates into higher electricity use for most Idaho Power customers.

Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch have introduced legislation to establish an additional federal district judgeship in Idaho for the first time in more than sixty years. Idaho is one of only three states (North Dakota and Vermont are the others) with only two authorized judge seats for the entire state. In contrast, the Central District of California and the Southern District of New York each have 28 authorized judgeships. If passed, the Crapo-Risch legislation, S. 209, would add a third judge to the District of Idaho.

Heavy precipitation and cold temperatures in December and January have put the water supply for most of Idaho in a strong position for the coming summer irrigation season. While many river basins are well over 100 percent of normal, northern Idaho is lagging behind with only 69 percent of normal in the Panhandle, officials said at the Idaho Water Resource Board meeting this week.

Bose Mayor David Bieter said on January 27 that the City of Boise has been selected to participate in Bloomberg Philanthropies’ What Works Cities initiative – one of the largest-ever national philanthropic efforts to enhance the use of data and evidence in public sector decision-making.

A bipartisan coalition of western U.S. Senators has introduced two measures to benefit Americans exposed to airborne radiation during nuclear weapons tests in the 1950s and 1960s.

PHOTO Senator Jim Risch chaired the nomination hearing for President-elect Trump’s nominee to lead the Small Business Administration, Linda E. McMahon. In his opening remarks, Risch stated that one of the SBA’s most important duties is to “level the playing field for small businesses” who are being “strangled” by America’s current regulatory structure. (photo/Senator Risch)

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

The 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in New York on January 18 reversed a district judge in effectively reinstating a Bush-era rule which says direct water transfers are not subject to the permitting system set up by the Clean Water Act.

A representative of the New Mexico State Engineer’s office in January described to Lincoln County officials the chances of obtaining a new water right in the area. The upshot was: Somewhere around slim or none.

The Oklahoma city of Ada on January 17 will move forward with purchase of 120 acres of land linked to substantial aquifer rights. And the city of Alamosa, Colorado, has agreed to purchase more than a half-million dollars in water rights, presented held by a ranching corporation.

Nigeria’s government in January released a new national Water Use and License 2016 document.

Exeter Resource Corporation said on January 17 that it has secured a second water source, which will provide a timely development pathway for its 100% owned Caspiche gold oxide/ gold-copper project in Chile.

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This is a summary of a few items in the Idaho Weekly Briefing for January 23. Interested in subscribing? Send us a note at stapilus@ridenbaugh.com.

As a new administration takes power in Washington, the Idaho Legislature kicks into gear and introduces legislation at a somewhat faster rate than its members did a year ago.

The Bureau of Land Management has signed a Record of Decision to authorize routes for the final two segments of the Gateway West transmission line project, which connects the Hemingway substation in southwest Idaho with power generation facilities in central Wyoming. The project will address congestion problems within the Western electrical grid, facilitate the renewable energy market, especially wind energy in Idaho and Wyoming, and aid in delivering that energy to the region.

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate dropped to 3.7 percent in December – after five straight months at 3.8 percent.

Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter said on January 20 that the State of Idaho’s official website, idaho.gov, has a new design and significantly improved functionality.

Senator Jim Risch, chairman of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship, provided opening remarks at the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee hearing, Improving Small Business Input on Federal Regulations: Ideas for Congress and a New Administration.

A regional cold snap drove loads, or power demand, in the Bonneville Power Administration’s balancing authority area to high levels – topping out on Friday, January 6 at 10,943 megawatts. The balancing authority area is the electrically-defined “geographic” unit within which BPA’s Transmission Services Operations team balances the supply and demand of electricity on an ongoing real-time basis.

PHOTO The Idaho National Laboratory has had five supercomputers recognized on the TOP500 list, which originated in the early ’90s. The new Falcon supercomputer initially made the list in November 2014, and has maintained a position on subsequent lists. The supercomputer advanced in the current rankings as recent processor upgrades improved the operating capabilities of Falcon. Operating with more than 25,000 cores and 122 terabytes of memory, Falcon supports the needs of over 400 users – spanning the lab, national universities, other DOE labs and industry partners. (photo/Idaho National Laboratory)

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Governmental and political activity kicked into high gear last week in Boise and in Washington. The Idaho Legislature started its annual session, and members of Congress got busy on several fronts.

On January 9 the Idaho Legislature convened for its 2017 session and began work on budget and revenue matters and on review of state regulations. The session was started, for the 11th time, by a state of the state address by Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter.

Representative Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, was removed by action of the House from the three committees to which she had been assigned, after word spread of comments she had made to another legislator.

In a joint letter led by Senator Jim Risch, the Idaho congressional delegation thanked the Department of Energy for diligently reopening the Waste Isolation Pilot Project in New Mexico, which was closed for nearly three years following a radiation incident in 2014. The delegation urged Secretary Moniz to prioritize waste coming from Idaho’s Advanced Mixed Waste Treatment Plant as DOE establishes a shipment schedule for waste going to WIPP.

The Bureau of Land Management Pocatello Field Office and U.S. Forest Service Caribou-Targhee National Forest on January 13 issued their separate records of decision for the Rasmussen Valley Mine Project to approve an open pit phosphate mine in Caribou County, Idaho. The selected alternative will preserve 1,700 jobs supported by the project and generate approximately $85 million per year for the local economy in Caribou County.

Representative Raúl Labrador on January 12 moved to relieve Idaho’s overloaded federal courts by introducing a bill authorizing a third U.S. District judge. Since 2015, Idaho has had just one full-time district court judge and the Judicial Conference of the United States has declared a judicial emergency. To fill the gap, 17 judges from other states have presided over Idaho cases in the last four years.

Idaho National Laboratory released the “INL Fiscal Year 2016 Economic Impact Summary,” which evaluates the total economic impact that INL operations have on Idaho’s economy. The report demonstrates that INL contributes a positive value of $1.9 billion to Idaho’s total economic output – an increase of 20.4 percent or nearly $324 million between 2015 and 2016.

PHOTO Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter delivers his 2017 state of the state address. Here, e recognizes Barbara Morgan, Idaho’s first medal of achievement recipient. (photo/Governor Otter)

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Transition week is over, as people settle back to work after the holidays – and just before the Idaho Legislature kicks into action. Which it will, on Monday.

The State Board of Education on January 4 announced the process for reviewing teacher evaluations conducted by public school district and public charter school administrators during the 2015-2016 school year.
In 2016, the Idaho legislature directed the State Board to review teacher evaluations.

State Treasurer Ron Crane, who has held that office since 1998, said last week that he would not run for a sixth term in 2018. He had been easily re-elected in recent elections, though he was pressed in his most recent amid changes about spending and fund management.

Senator Jim Risch was named chair of the Senate Committee on Small Business and Entrepreneurship. The committee oversees the Small Business Administration, small business trade and exporting, veterans and reservist employees, women and minority entrepreneurship, among others.

Clearwater Paper Corporation has announced it has acquired Manchester Industries of Richmond, Virginia, a leading, independently-owned paperboard sales, sheeting and distribution supplier to the packaging and commercial print industries.

PHOTO The scene at Boise State University after snow fell on Boise last week. (photo/Boise State University)

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