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New West Daily Roundup for Aug. 26, 2016

Today in New West news: UI researchers link climate change to beetle outbreak in Yellowstone, Arrow Electronics offering $1M to Indiegogo startups, and Big Sky Resort announces $150M improvement plan.

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New West Daily Roundup for Mar. 10, 2016

Today in New West news: North Idaho College to start offering bachelor in computer science, Center for Biological Diversity files protest against BLM auctions, and layoffs possibly imminent in Wyoming coal mines.

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New West Daily Roundup for Feb. 3, 2016

GetOutfitted

Today in New West news: Colorado Springs company GetOutfitted launches ski onesies rental, University of Idaho researchers advise U.S. to prioritize wildfire research and preparation, and Rare Element Resources to delist self from NYSE.

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Global Warming: Tawk Amongst Y’selves

Editor's note: In the interest of balance, we are posting this press release about global warming. We hope you'll take the time to comment. IDAHO VALUES ALLIANCE PRESS RELEASE, January 22, 2007 Contact: Bryan Fischer (208) 841-2546 Executive Director, Idaho Values Alliance IVA: GORE’S ENVIRONMENTALISM BAD SCIENCE, HARD ON THE POOR In anticipation of former Vice President Al Gore’s lecture in Boise on Monday night, the Idaho Values Alliance claims that his radical environmental policies will cause undue hardship for the poor, and should be opposed by all who value the emphasis in the Judeo-Christian tradition on compassion for the neediest among us. Plus, Gore’s point of view is based on what is likely bad science. This week, a distinguished professor emeritus from Oxford, Nigel Weiss, a former president of the Royal Astronomical Society, said that climate science is anything but settled, contrary to Gore’s assertion, and that the most “obvious explanation” for climate change is not human activity but the “variable behavior of the sun.”

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Legislating Wilderness: Align Planets First

Idahoans recently witnessed the demise of the Central Idaho Economic Develoment and Recreation Area (CIEDRA) proposal for the 109th Congress. In spite of last-minute maneuvers by the sponsor, Congressman Mike Simpson, the bill did not pass Congress before adjournment. Essentially, CIEDRA passed just one chamber of the Congress on its legislative journey and fell far short of the President's desk. A few months ago, as we waited for Senate action on CIEDRA and Idaho Senator Crapo's bill protecting the Owyhee Canyonlands, a reporter asked me to comment on prospects for eventual enactment. I stated that CIEDRA must move this year with a Republican Congress and White House. That alignment of planets would be crucial for the goal - a signing ceremony - for it would all become moot if the majority changed hands in the House or Senate in the mid-term elections. One Congress cannot bind another. And it turned out the Democrats now control the House and Senate. The history for Wilderness legislation in the West leads one to believe that planet alignment is critical.

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Running IT by Committee

Idaho's state computer systems are so disjointed that it's reportedly not possible to send a single email message that reaches all state employees. Idaho is also one of only about 10 states and territories that doesn't have someone with the title "Chief Information Officer" or "Chief Technology Officer" running the state's information technology needs. That's according to a list published by the National Association of State CIOs. The staffer listed for Idaho is Pam Ahrens, who announced in December that Governor Butch Otter had asked her to leave. She was the head of the Information Technology Resource Management Council, part of the Department of Administration -- a department that Otter has proposed dissolving.

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Group Charts Idaho’s Technology Future

The Idaho Science & Technology Advisory Council discussed during its quarterly meeting today how best to regroup after having most of its recommendations not included by Governor Butch Otter for the fiscal 2008 budget. It is important for the organization to work with the governor, said chairman John Grossenbacher, from INL. “There are elements that would like to drag us into an adversarial relationship” based on what the organization asked for vs. what the governor did, he said. “We don’t govern. We recommend, he decides.” Still, some members -- disappointed that $50 million in recommendations had been turned down -- were planning more advocacy with legislators, who are the ones who actually decide the budget. "We're an advisory committee, not an agreeable committee," said one.

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New School Super Hints at Agenda

Idaho’s new Superintendent of Public Instruction, Republican Tom Luna, made his official debut in front of the Senate Education Committee Tuesday. Luna explained the new structure of his department, introduced new staff and answered questions from committee members. Luna has reorganized the State Department of Education into five divisions – Student Achievement and Academics, headed by Christine Ivie; School District Support Services, led by Nick Smith; Finance and Information Technology, headed by Tim Hill; Communication and Government Affairs under Luci Willits, and Innovation and School Choice, a job for which Luna is conducting a nationwide search, according to his Director of Government Affairs Senate specialist Garry Lough.

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Lair of the Hunter Bear: “Keep Fighting”

THE HUNTER BEAR CHRONICLES – JACKSON, MISSISSIPPI AND THE FIGHT FOR CIVIL RIGHTS IN THE ‘SIXTIES By Steven Medellin I am an ardent and inveterate surfer on the ‘Net. I enjoy sitting down to a session of Google and going where the current takes me. I recall, back in 2004, settling in and searching for Idaho-based blogs. Being born and raised here in my lovely Gem State, I’m always curious what my fellow Idahoans are thinking and writing. A blog which caught my attention was titled Lair of the Hunter Bear, written by a man named Hunter Gray, who goes by the nickname “Hunter Bear.” Gray’s father, Frank Gray, had been adopted at a young age by a white family in the Northeast and given the new name John Salter. Late in life, he changed his name back to the one he’d originally been given at birth. His son, John R. Salter, Jr., who in 1995 legally changed his name to Hunter Gray, believes he was born into the civil rights movement. Hunter Gray’s father was a full-blooded Indian from the East Coast, while his mother was Scottish-American from an old frontier western family. In that atmosphere, Gray became exposed to a great many civil rights and human rights issues. His parents were extremely active on behalf of Native people, African-Americans, Hispanics, and anyone else who got kicked around. Gray grew up in the Northern Arizona/Western New Mexico region and his ties with the Navajo Nation, both then and now, are extremely close. He is the author of the book (1979, now out-of-print) “Jackson, Mississippi: An American Chronicle of Struggle and Schism,” and is the recipient of the 2005 Elder Recognition Award of Worldcraft Circle of Native Writers and Storytellers. Professor Gray and his wife Eldri have lived in Arizona, Mississippi, North Dakota, and now reside in Pocatello, Idaho.

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Idaho Legislators Tackle Supplementals

The Idaho Legislature's Joint Finance Appropriations Committee (JFAC) started spending money Thursday the 12th. They took to it pretty well, spending on the order of $8 million in about an hour. JFAC starts out with supplementals, which are expenses for the existing tax year (through June 30) that come in after the Legislature adjourns. As JFAC co-chair Maxine Bell said during the morning's hearings, the Legislature is only in session for 60 to 90 days, but the business of the state goes on all year around, and there has to be a mechanism to deal with that. A number of the expenses typically funded through supplementals have to do with health and safety, such as putting out wildfires, destroying agricultural pests, and dealing with hazardous materials spills. These sorts of things are the agencies' jobs, and the Legislature is pretty much obligated to pay them.

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