Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

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When we approached the first mail stop, Ray Arnold rolled his Cessna 206 up on its left wing and spiraled down inside the narrow canyon that funnels Big Creek past Taylor Ranch. Bare ground the color of a cougar’s hide filled the front window. The airspeed was slow, the bank was steep, and my senses were on high alert: One bad turn and we could hit the mountain, or fall into the creek. But Arnold’s hand was steady and he rolled out just above the rushing water. Another turn revealed a smaller creek and the twisted grass strip of the University of Idaho’s Taylor Wilderness Research Station.

Arnold touched down and rolled toward the bend in the runway where caretakers Meg and Peter Gag waited for us by their mailbox with their six-year-old daughter Tehya, their dog Bitsy, and a pile of cargo: the recyclables they were sending back; a cooler, for transporting perishables from the grocery store; and a few pieces of luggage for their day trip to Boise, where Tehya had a doctor’s appointment.

Arnold and the Gags off-loaded the bright orange mailbag, a stack of eight-foot lumber, a furnace, a week’s groceries, and other supplies. Gag strapped his daughter’s car seat into the Cessna as she rooted through the mailbag for birthday cards and presents from grandma.

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Getting a fishing or hunting license is a rite of passage for thousands of Idaho boys and girls. While it seems like a small thing (a combined hunting and fishing license in Idaho costs $33.50 according to Fish and Game), those licenses, tags and permits are more than just a piece of paper. Not only do they provide the user with an entrée into Idaho’s unmatched natural beauty, they provide millions of dollars to the state to maintain that beauty for generations to come.

For instance: In 2015, for the first time in nearly 40 years, a chinook salmon fishing harvest season was opened on the Upper Salmon River, opening 184 miles of salmon fishing for Idaho’s anglers.


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The following is a news release from the Seventh District Bar Association.



IDAHO FALLS — The Seventh District Bar Association is pleased to announce and open the application process to accept students for this year’s 2017 Citizens’ Law Academy (CLA).

The CLA is an adult education program offered free to attendees, and is coordinated by the Idaho Law Foundation’s Law Related Education Program in collaboration with our Seventh District Bar Association which includes the following ten (10) counties: Bingham, Bonneville, Butte, Custer, Jefferson, Madison, Clark, Fremont, Lemhi, and Teton Counties.

The purpose of the CLA is to educate others as to their rights under the law, discover what lawyers do and how they serve the public, and understand how the judicial system works.

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Washington, D.C. – In the wake of historic wildfires in Oregon, Idaho, California, Washington and across the West, U.S. Sens. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, Ron Wyden, D-Ore., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., Maria Cantwell, D-Wash., Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., Cory Gardner, R-Colo., and Michael Bennet, D-Colo., introduced an updated version of their bipartisan wildfire funding solution that would protect desperately needed funding for fire prevention and treat wildfires as the natural disasters they are.

The Wildfire Disaster Funding Act of 2017 would end the destructive cycle of borrowing from fire prevention accounts to put out fires and stop the erosion of the Forest Service’s budget by reforming the way the federal government funds wildfires.

“The West is on fire, and it’s burning faster than years prior,” Risch said. “We need every resource available to prevent and combat the devastation caused by wildfires. This legislation would ensure those of us in the West can count on much-needed disaster funding.”

“Oregonians and westerners are battling another record-breaking fire year.

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BOISE: Did you catch Lance Pekus’s run on American Ninja Warrior last night? Well you’ve got a chance to congratulate him for a season well done and give him your best wishes as his wife, Heather, continues her battle with MS.  Lance is scheduled to hangout with the Idaho Beef Council at their booth on Thursday.  He’ll also be part of the Beef Council’s demo of how to cook up some “Super Sloppy Joes” on the expo’s main stage from 6-6:30 p.m. that day.

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BOISE, Idaho — Tourists heading to central Idaho will be in the dark if local officials get their way. The first International Dark Sky Reserve in the United States would fill a chunk of the state’s sparsely populated region that contains night skies so pristine that interstellar dust clouds are visible in the Milky Way. “We know the night sky has inspired people for many thousands of years,” said John Barentine, program manager at the Tucson, Arizona-based International Dark-Sky Association. “When they are in a space where they can see it, it’s often a very profound experience.”

Supporters say excess artificial light causes sleeping problems for people and disrupts nocturnal wildlife and that a dark sky can solve those problems, boost home values and draw tourists. Opposition to dark sky measures elsewhere in the U.S. have come from the outdoor advertising industry and those against additional government regulations. Researchers say 80 percent of North Americans live in areas where light pollution blots out the night sky. Central Idaho contains one of the few places in the contiguous United States large enough and dark enough to attain reserve status, Barentine said. Only 11 such reserves exist in the world.

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To analyze the first year of the state's $11.25 million literacy initiative, Idaho Education News compared spring 2017 test scores against spring 2016 scores — and compared spring 2017 scores against the benchmark goals districts and charters submitted to the State Board of Education.

The purple bars represent the percentage of districts and charters that met or exceeded their spring 2016 scores. The green bars represent the percentage of districts and charters that met or exceeded their benchmark goals.

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SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - The costs of fighting U.S. wildfires topped $2 billion in 2017, breaking records and underscoring the need to address a U.S. Forest Service budget that mostly goes to fires, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday.

“Forest Service spending on fire suppression in recent years has gone from 15 percent of the budget to 55 percent – or maybe even more – which means we have to keep borrowing from funds that are intended for forest management,” Perdue said in a written statement.

The Forest Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, could be spending that money on logging, prescribed burns or insect treatments, measures designed to reduce the fuel load of forests primed to burn, he said.

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