Lawmakers consider fate of Idaho’s Common Core standards
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A panel of Idaho lawmakers has taken testimony involving Idaho’s education standards on English and literacy for the state’s 300,000 students put forward by the Idaho State Board of Education. The House Education Committee on Wednesday opted not to vote on a recommendation to the full House on whether to approve or reject them until also hearing testimony on math and science standards in coming days. The standards are benchmarks adopted by more than 40 states to describe what students should know after completing each grade. Those opposed to keeping them say they are failing Idaho students. Those in favor of keeping them say that are keeping Idaho students competitive.
Idaho lawmaker won’t resign following conviction in Texas
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A member of the Idaho House of Representatives says he won’t resign following his conviction in Texas of conspiracy to defraud the U.S. government. Republican Rep. John Green of Post Falls said Wednesday he plans to be back in the Idaho Statehouse on Monday to represent his northern Idaho constituents. Green says he plans to appeal his conviction on Wednesday and will have time to serve out the rest of his term. He says he’s not planning to defend the seat in this year’s election because he’ll likely be sent to prison. Green’s status in the House isn’t clear.
Report: Idaho avalanche that killed 3 started by skiers
KELLOGG, Idaho (AP) — A preliminary investigation says an avalanche at an Idaho ski resort that killed three people last week was triggered by skiers, despite the efforts of the ski patrol to mitigate the danger. The preliminary report by the Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center says the ski patrol had taken steps on Jan. 7 to prevent avalanches on the ski run at the Silver Mountain Resort near Kellogg, Idaho. Three skiers died and two others were pulled alive from the snow after the avalanche. A few other skiers were partially buried and survived. The avalanche occurred beneath an area of difficult and expert runs.
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Idaho adds suicide prevention help to 211 CareLine
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Idaho residents who are experiencing a mental health crisis can now dial 2-1-1 to reach a suicide prevention hotline. Gov. Brad Little announced the partnership between the 211 Idaho CareLine and the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline on Tuesday. Previously, 211 callers seeking suicide prevention help would be transferred to an operator, who would give them a separate 10-digit phone number to call. Numbers from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare show suicide is the second-leading cause of death for Idahoans aged 15 to 34.
Yellowstone airport sets passenger record; park visits drop
BOZEMAN, Mont. (AP) — Bozeman Yellowstone International Airport saw more passengers than ever before in 2019 even as nearby Yellowstone National Park reported a dip in visitation. The Bozeman Daily Chronicle reports 1.57 million passengers traveled through the airport last year, a more than 17% increase from 2018. That marks the 10th consecutive year the airport has beaten its own record. Meanwhile, Yellowstone National Park announced Wednesday it recorded a little more than 4 million visits last year, the lowest number since 2014. The year-end figure marks an almost 6% drop since the park’s record-breaking 2016 season.
Lawmakers eye plans to boost money for Idaho roads
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — Two methods to bring in millions of dollars to pay for maintaining Idaho’s roads have gained traction with lawmakers. The House Transportation and Defense Committee on Tuesday voted to send to the full House a bill that would use money generated from investing about $275 million sitting in the state’s rainy-day account. Republican Rep. Joe Palmer says the investment account would still serve as an emergency reserve should an economic slowdown occur. The same committee also voted to hold a hearing on another plan to double to 2% the amount of money dedicated to roads coming from the state’s sales tax. That would bring in $36 million annually.