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Shea Andersen

The Statehouse Goes Quiet

After 93 days, the state's third-longest session of the Idaho Legislature came to a close last night. As lawmakers scuttled for the doors, a positively giddy Gov. Dirk Kempthorne told reporters it was "one of the most progressive sessions" in recent history. As you might imagine, other analyses have begun to emerge. Armchair quarterbacking, backseat-driving and other helpful material after the jump.

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How to Manage Legislators

"Love them, hold them close, nurture them, talk to them." -Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, on his advice for future governors on how to handle relationships with the Idaho Legislature. To his credit, his advice was offered very much tongue-in-cheek.

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Idaho’s History Could End Up Mocking Its Future, Or Not

The Associated Press's top dog in the Statehouse, John Miller, took a peek at the Legislature's upcoming temporary home, and was surprised at what he found: a bit of the West's checkered past. The Idaho Legislature is set to move, temporarily, into an abandoned part of the Boise courthouse next year, while the current Capital undergoes a major overhaul. While they're there, lawmakers will get to feast their eyes on a certain mural that depicts the hanging of an Indian by two settlers. Miller drops that bomb into the laps of Idaho lawmakers, and lets them duke it out. The Idaho Statesman ran the story today.

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Immigrant Rally Takes Over Boise

Protests and rallies over immigration have been all over many parts of the West in recent weeks, but mainly in larger cities. So what does it mean when Boise features a rally of about 5,000 people this weekend? Protesters were, of course, acting to bring attention to attempts in Washington, D.C. to limit, restrict, or otherwise change the flow of illegal immigrants into the United States. You can find the news blips here at KBTV Channel 7 or The Idaho Statesman.

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Nice Guys Sometimes Opt Not to Finish

When a candidate drops out of a primary challenge, you hear things about how the decision came down: cold political calculus, hard looks at their financial situation, and bitter folding of their cards. But in the case of Idaho Congressional hopefuls Craig Cooper and Jim Hansen, both Democrats, it turns out the departure was less about hard-core politics and more about friendly support. Cooper and Hansen have been a bit of a political odd couple -- instead of barnstorming around their Eastern Idaho district separately, they actually carpooled to events together. Along the way, they said, they would talk about the issues and the campaign. Now, that familiarity has bred not contempt, but rapport, and a new, single candidate.

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Republican Infighting Never Pretty

The waning days of any long legislative session tend to wear on the nerves. So you could consider the dust-up between two Idaho Republicans, House Speaker Bruce Newcomb and Rep. Bill Sali, as little more than frazzled tempers. Yesterday Newcomb briefly booted Sali, a combative religious conservative, from two committees, after Sali challenged a floor decision by Newcomb. You can read about the brickbatting (and its denouement here) at the Spokesman Review blog Eye on Boise, ably managed by Betsy Russell and Meghan Cuniff. So: worn nerves? Apparently it goes a little further than that.

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Rearing Their Ugly Heads

It's like a cruel joke. Last summer, I was shocked and dismayed to find that Boise, too, had infestations of goatheads. The misery-inducing plant, a native of lower Hell, wreaks havoc on bike tires and dog feet. I resolved to destroy them wherever they appeared. So imagine my horror when, among other springtime re-appearances around the house -- of lovely apple blossoms and bulbs -- of goatheads. In my very driveway! Evil never dies, it just takes nasty little wintry catnaps.

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Mr. Kempthorne Goes to Washington (Again)

Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne, also known as the Bush Administration's Interior Secretary nominee, now has a date: May 4. That's the date most news reports cite as the one on which he'll get his vetting before the U.S. Senate, a body he used to be a member of. His job now? Meet, greet, and deflect any and all questions about his future job. But politics are already getting in the way.

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Rest In Peace, Doug Coombs – Updated

The news hit like a freight train to the backcountry skiing community: legendary skier Doug Coombs reportedly died in an accident in his adopted home in France. The news accounts are pouring in. For those who live to see and experience steep skiing in the high and wild mountains of the world, Coombs was an inspiration. He also happened to be a goofy, friendly and warm personality that made you want to follow him into those crazy places. Whether it was in ski films like "Harvest" or any number of other films he's been a part of, or at his famous steep-skiing camps, he made it look so easy, but more to the point, he made it look so fun. With Updates after the jump.

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Where the Jobs Are

Boise hit the Milken Institute's list of "top-performing" cities for its ability to create new jobs. Funny thing; they ranked Boise together with Nampa to create one city of more than 500,000 souls. In a listing of 200 of the country's largest metropolitan areas, Boise came in 32nd. Florida cities topped the list. Here's how the Milken Institute found its cities: "The 2005 winners have similar characteristics: strong and growing service sectors, a robust recovery in tourism, growing populations and an increase in the number of retirees. " But where Idaho really shined was in the "Small Cities" index; we got spots 10 and 11 for Coeur d'Alene and Idaho Falls, respectively. Bend, Ore. topped that list of 179 smaller cities. Lewiston came in 119th.

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