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Updated: 33 min 21 sec ago

Slow down already

April 20, 2015 - 10:00am

POST FALLS - Speed limits were reduced on a stretch of Interstate 90 near the Greensferry overpass project one day after a man died in an accident there.

The Idaho Transportation Department issued a press release Friday announcing a new 55 mph speed limit in eastbound lanes of I-90 between the Pleasantview exit and the construction zone.

The Idaho State Police is also expected to step up patrols and cite speeders in the area.

ITD began closing one lane of the freeway this week to install a new weigh-in-motion system just east of the Greensferry project, which is being constructed by the Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency.

"We had signs posted to slow down 2 miles out," said Reed Hollinshead, a public information officer for ITD. "But people just wouldn't slow down. Read more. Jeff Selle, CdA Press

Related: Construction will close lanes overnight.

Idaho mom to travel to D.C. to fight for cannabis oil

April 20, 2015 - 9:48am

That bill was called Alexis's Law. It would have provided a legal defense for the possession of CBD oil to be used as a last-ditch treatment for severe seizures.

Clare Carey, the mother of Alexis (who has untreatable seizures and who the bill was named after), was blindsided when the governor vetoed the bill, "I was completely stunned. I didn't expect that. I didn't expect that at all."

The governor and the Director of the Idaho Office of Drug Control Policy, Elisha Figueroa, empathized with those families. But Figueroa said the bill would've bypassed the FDA and that there's not enough medical evidence showing CBD oil's effectiveness. Read more. KREM.com

Contemplating chaos in Idaho

April 20, 2015 - 9:28am

AP reporter Rebecca Boone talked with the chairman of the Idaho Supreme Court's child support guidelines advisory committee, who said if the state returns to the old system of parents having to pursue non-paying ex-spouses through the courts, they’d need to hire a lawyer, and those with out-of-state exes likely would be out of luck. You can read her full report here.

Thoughts?

Cd’A police chief brings philosophical change

April 20, 2015 - 8:45am

Some crime statistics may be rising in Coeur d’Alene, and that’s a good thing.

A spike in the number of certain types of crimes could be the byproduct of Police Chief Lee White’s ongoing efforts to strengthen his officers’ relationships with the citizens they serve while deploying police department resources to more effectively target crimes.

White, who took command of the department in September, said the agency historically operated from a more reactive standpoint. Officers would wait for someone to call and report a crime, and then they would go deal with it.

“We’ve said all along that random patrols equals random results, so instead what we’re doing is focusing our efforts in the areas where we’re seeing crime spikes, where we’re having problems in specific neighborhoods,” White said. “We’re going to put more resources in those areas to try and combat our crime trends.” Full story. Maureen Dolan, CdA Press

Idaho lawmakers honor Shawn Keough

April 20, 2015 - 8:30am

BOISE – One North Idaho senator got a surprise on the final night of the legislative session – she was honored for becoming the longest-serving female senator in the history of the state.

Sen. Shawn Keough, R-Sandpoint, who has served for 20 years, said she found out she’s also the longest-serving senator from Bonner and Boundary counties, of either gender.

“I’m really honored, very humbled,” she said. Keough is the vice chairwoman of the powerful Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, and is in position to take over as chairwoman if current Senate Finance Chair Dean Cameron, R-Rupert, were to retire. Betsy Russell, SR

Accomplishments, or not, of the Idaho legislature

April 20, 2015 - 8:00am

BOISE – By the end of Idaho’s legislative session, lawmakers had reversed years of bitter dissension over school reform and passed a $125 million, five-year plan to boost teacher pay; increased funding for the state’s hard-hit schools; and raised the gas tax for the first time since 1996.

But the session also ended without any action to provide options for Idahoans who make too much to qualify for Medicaid but not enough to get subsidized insurance on the state’s health insurance exchange, turning away millions in federal funds for that purpose. There was no action on ethics or contracting reform; civil rights protections for gays; or major tax changes – including proposals taxing online sales and the repeal of the sales tax on groceries. More.

Weekend Wild Card 4.18-4.19

April 18, 2015 - 8:00am

Let us know about your weekend adventures here.

See you Monday.

Parting Shot: Poetry in Motion

April 17, 2015 - 5:00pm

Story here.

Unfriended (the movie)

April 17, 2015 - 4:29pm

Not since 1999’s “The Blair Witch Project” has a horror film taken such a creative approach to conjure scares as “Unfriended.” It’s a cautionary tale of a group of friends who become the target of an unseen cyberentity starving for revenge.

What makes this film so different is that it’s shot looking at a computer screen. The actors interact through Skype, with back-story elements handled through online searches. Even the soundtrack is created using the tunes stored on one of the computers. More here.

Balance North Idaho deadline approaching

April 17, 2015 - 4:01pm

Balance North Idaho announces that the response deadline to questionnaires and interviews for May 19th elections is set for Tuesday, April 21st.  Upon review of all interviews and/or questionnaire responses, Balance will share endorsements via news media by Friday, April 24th.

TGIF Wild Card 4.17.15

April 17, 2015 - 3:46pm

I survived the the Greensferry overpass construction mess yesterday afternoon and I'd like a t-shirt to prove it.
What a mess! We took the Spokane St. exit as Hucksters advised, but the worst bottleneck was right at the Outlet Mall. We could have stayed on I-90 and done okay. Anyone have a completion date for the project? I have a reading at the Well Read Moose next Friday and I'd like to know if I should leave on Thursday to make sure I'm on time  :-)

My sympathies to those of you who make this commute daily!

What's your cat reading?

April 17, 2015 - 3:30pm

So what are you or your cat reading currently?

Eye contact helps dogs, people bond

April 17, 2015 - 3:08pm

And owners can do a similar trick in return, researchers found.
This two-way street evidently began when dogs were domesticated long ago, because it helped the two species connect, the Japanese researchers say.

As canine psychology experts Evan MacLean and Brian Hare of Duke University wrote in a commentary on the work, “When your dog is staring at you, she may not just be after your sandwich.” Full article.

Recall Idaho?

April 17, 2015 - 2:46pm

Sounds like a recall DFO might back. What say you? Can you dream up a slogan for such a recall?

Teen use of e-cigarettes tripled in one year

April 17, 2015 - 2:15pm

The percentage of American high school students who smoked traditional cigarettes on a regular basis dropped from 15.8 percent in 2011 to 9.2 percent in 2014, according to a study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

But that drop has been more than offset by increases in e-cigarette use, which increased from 1.5 percent of high school students in 2011 to 13.4 percent in 2014, the study says. More here.

 My brother-in-law switched from chew to e-cigs recently and my husband enjoys a nice cigar or pipe on occasion, but I never got the allure of tobacco products. How about you?

Meanwhile in Washington...

April 17, 2015 - 1:45pm

The 10-count indictment, handed down by a grand jury in Seattle, calls for Kelley to forfeit more than $1 million he allegedly collected between June 2008 and January 2012 from fraud schemes involving his work for title companies.

Kelley described his actions as “squarely in line with industry practices.” He vowed to fight the charges and said he would not resign but will take a temporary leave of absence beginning May 1 and resume work “after I put these legal matters to rest.”

Plucked from the brink

April 17, 2015 - 1:31pm

LEWISTON, Idaho - Police in Lewiston, Idaho, have identified the 'mystery man' pulled a driver from an SUV dangling over the lip of a canyon, then vanished.

Jason Warnock, 29, of Lewiston helped pull 23-year-old Mathew Sitko out a GMC Yukon while the vehicle's front end hung over the canyon edge after a crash Wednesday. KREM

Lawmakers' Freedom Index Scores

April 17, 2015 - 1:00pm

The dust is settling after an awful 2015 legislative session and we here at the Idaho Freedom Foundation invite you to check out your lawmakers’ Idaho Freedom Index scores.

Keep in mind these are not rankings of the lawmakers themselves, but rather a reflection only on how legislators voted on bills we rated. These rankings are non-partisan.

Idaho Freedom Foundation President Wayne Hoffman cheered some progress by lawmakers moving toward a more conservative, liberty-oriented approach to governance, but suggested there’s more to do.

“More Idaho lawmakers are showing a preference toward free markets and limited government than ever before,” Hoffman said Thursday. “That’s the good news. The bad news conservative lawmakers are still a minority in the state Legislature. That explains why the Idaho lawmakers voted to raise taxes, create new regulatory boards, restrict parental rights and maintain support for Common Core. Maybe next year will be better.” Scores here.

Trujillo pens op-ed that's cut-and-pasted from Rep. Luker's...

April 17, 2015 - 12:44pm

Well, here’s the weirdest one of all. Like a number of other lawmakers on the House Judiciary & Rules Committee, Rep. Janet Trujillo, R-Idaho Falls, sent a guest opinion on the child support enforcement mess to her local newspaper this week; it was published on Wednesday in the Post Register under the heading, “Due process and privacy;” you can read it here. In it, Trujillo wrote, “Holding the bill was about protecting the due process and privacy rights of our citizens, and protecting the integrity of our state’s ability to study and analyze issues independent of the coercive threats of the federal government.”

One problem: That sounds familiar. It’s actually, word-for-word, what Rep. Lynn Luker, R-Boise, wrote in his earlier guest opinion, which was distributed by Cindy Agidius under the auspices of the House Majority Caucus, though she later said it didn’t represent the views of the caucus, just Luker’s views. Read more. Betsy Russell, EOB

Housing activity boosts March hiring in Idaho

April 17, 2015 - 12:25pm

Overall, 5,400 Idaho workers found jobs last month, continuing an expansion in the labor market that has pushed state unemployment rates to seven years lows. Addition hiring was done in the trucking, trade, and the hospitality industry, including restaurants, bars and hotels.

The state’s unemployment rate was 4.9 percent in March 2014. The Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., business think tank, recently estimated that the state is near full employment, with only one unemployed Idaho worker for every online job listing.

Kootenai County, North Idaho’s most populous, also saw employment gains over the past year, with the unemployment rate dropping to 4.7 percent in March, down from 6.2 percent in March 2014.

In other counties, Boundary County had a 5.1 percent unemployment rate; Benewah, 5.6 percent; Bonner, 5.7 percent; and Shoshone, 7.5 percent, which was the state’s highest unemployment rate.