Monthly Archives: September 2016

U-Idaho Opens New College of Education Building

The University of Idaho says its newly renovated College of Education building in Moscow will help the state address pressing needs in education. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (:54 )

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Whether the issue is the shortage of teachers, the state’s efforts to get more students to continue their education past high school, or any of the other issues facing education in Idaho, University of Idaho officials say the new College of Education facility in Moscow will help the state meet those challenges in the years ahead.

UI President Chuck Staben spoke Friday at ceremonies marking the official opening of the renovated structure: “The collaborative spaces and technology-focused teaching and learning here will give future educators and Movement Sciences professionals the experience and skills they need to succeed in their professions. The impact of that success will be felt across our state.”


(Farjahan Shawon, a PhD student in Education, in the Doceo Center in the College of Education.)

The College of Education was stripped down to the studs and completely redesigned and re-equipped with modern technology and learning spaces. The $19 million project started in 2014 and was completed this year.

I’m Glenn Mosley.


University of Idaho College of Education building

Copyright 2016 Idaho Public Radio

Posted September 30, 2016



Idaho Auctions First Forest Service Timber Sale


Idaho auctioned a U.S. Forest Service timber sale for the first time this week as part of a state-federal partnership aimed at increasing management activities on federal lands in the state.

The Wapiti Timber Sale on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests is the first project developed under Good Neighbor Authority, a federal law approved as part of the 2014 Farm Bill. State officials say the law enables the Forest Service to partner with the Idaho Department of Lands to achieve restoration and resilient landscape objectives across ownership boundaries in Idaho.

“Good Neighbor Authority makes it possible for the State of Idaho to leverage our support and land management expertise with the Forest Service to augment management activities happening on federal lands in Idaho,” Governor Butch Otter said in a press release. “These projects will reduce fuels on federally managed forests and reduce threats to communities and watersheds from catastrophic wildfires, improving forest health and creating jobs and economic benefits for our citizens.”


(Idaho Governor Butch Otter. File photo)

In a guest opinion released to Idaho media organizations, Governor Otter said the Wapiti Timber Sale is the first of several GNA projects in Idaho, including projects planned for the Payette National Forest in west-central Idaho and the Idaho Panhandle National Forests in north Idaho. “Before Good Neighbor Authority,” Otter wrote, “Idaho could not legally help the Forest Service with the enormous and complex job of restoring our national forests.”

McFarland Cascade submitted the winning bid to purchase the Wapiti Timber Sale, a plan to harvest 4.44 million board feet of timber across 216 acres on the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests. About 110 mature trees per acre will be left in the harvest area after completion of the timber sale. State officials say the net amount of $1,418,675 for the timber was $620,000 over the appraised price.

The Wapiti Timber Sale has been evaluated and approved through the National Environmental Policy Act public process.

Posted September 29, 2016


Governor’s Otter’s guest opinion–


Homecoming: Idaho Hosts Troy

The Vandal football team is hosting Troy University at the Kibbie Dome Saturday. Idaho Public Radio’s Olivia Baggerly has a preview. (:55 )

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Saturday is the Homecoming game for Idaho, and the Vandals are looking for win number three on the season after defeating UNLV last week, 33-30.

Troy University is coming into Moscow with a 3-1 record following a 52-6 win over New Mexico State last week, and Idaho coach Paul Petrino says the Trojans are a good football team:

Paul Petrino: “You know, their quarterback is doing a good job, they’ve got two really good receivers in Douglas and Thompson. Their running back is as good a player as there is in the conference. Coach Vic’s got that defense flying around and playing hard like he always does, wherever he coaches. They’re a good team.”

Troy head coach Neal Brown says it’s his team’s first flight trip of the season:

Neal Brown: “We’ve got Idaho on the road. First flight trip of the year. We’re heading out West. They’re coming off a big win over UNLV. So, they beat us last year here on Homecoming. Be a big challenge for us. Our guys are looking forward to it.”

Kick-off at the Kibbie Dome is set for 2:00 p.m. PT.

I’m Olivia Baggerly.

Posted September 29, 2016

Audio: Via Sun Belt Teleconferences, September 25, 2016


Obama Administration Reaches Settlement with 17 Tribes

The federal government has reached settlement with 17 tribal governments that accused that the Department of the Interior and the Department of the Treasury of mismanaging monetary assets and natural resources held in trust by the United States for the benefit of the tribes.

These latest settlements total about $492 million. Over the past several years, the Obama Administration has settled the majority of long outstanding claims with more than 100 tribes and totaling over $3.3 billion. Some of the claims dated back more than a century.

Oregon’s Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Reservation and the Quinault Nation of Washington are among the 17 tribes.

“Settling these long-standing disputes reflects the Obama Administration’s continued commitment to reconciliation and empowerment for Indian Country,” Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a press release. “As we turn the page on past challenges in our government-to-government relationship with tribes, we’re moving forward with tribal governments to ensure proper management of tribal trust assets. I commend the Department of Justice, our Interior Solicitors, tribal leaders and other key officials for recognizing the importance of communication and mutual respect, opening a new era of trust between the United States Government and tribal governments.”


(The 2015 Tribal Nations Conference, with Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell. DOI official photo)


The Department of the Interior manages almost 56 million acres of trust lands for federally-recognized tribes and more than 100,000 leases on those lands, including housing, timber harvesting, farming, grazing, and oil and gas extraction. Interior also manages about 2,500 tribal trust accounts for more than 250 tribes.

Under the settlements, litigation will end regarding the Department of the Interior’s accounting and management of the tribes’ trust accounts, trust lands and other natural resources.

Posted September 27, 2016


Flotilla Says “Free the Snake”

Boaters staged a rally on the water September 17th calling for removal of four lower Snake Rover dams. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (1:07)

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It was the second year in a row for the “Free the Snake” flotilla event, and boaters took to the river to draw attention to their call for dam removal. This year’s rally started at the Swallows Park boat ramp in Clarkston. That’s where the rally heard from Rebecca Miles, an executive director for the Nez Perce Tribe:

Rebecca Miles: “The Nez Perce, the Nimi’ipuu, in exchange for millions and millions of acres of land, were guaranteed one thing– a simple way of life, and that is to have fish. And that is what we’re trying to do today, is ensure that we’re going to have fish for the next seven generations.”

The debate over the dams has been going on now for years.

Conservation groups have long argued that removing the dams would free up habitat for endangered wild salmon and steelhead.

Proponents of the dam say they help provide safe and efficient navigation, and clean, renewable hydro-power. They’ve argued the dams are equipped with advanced fish passage systems.

Dam opponents believe there’s an additional opportunity at this time, after a federal judge earlier this year rejected the latest federal plan for protecting salmon in the Columbia River Basin.

I’m Glenn Mosley.


Snake River Dams proponents:

Free the Snake:

Copyright 2016 Idaho Public Radio

Posted September 17, 2016


Crapo Finishes 200 Town Hall Meetings

Idaho U.S. Senator Mike Crapo has met his goal of holding 200 town hall style meetings in the state. Idaho Public Radio’s Glenn Mosley reports. (:53)


Since the effort began in October, 2014, Idaho U.S. Senator Mike Crapo has held a town hall style meeting in every incorporated community in the state. The last was in Wardner, in the Silver Valley, just before the Labor Day Weekend.

Crapo was about halfway through the list when he spoke to us at the Kendrick Fire station back on March 31, 2015, saying the visits had reaffirmed his belief in the common sense of the people of Idaho:

Mike Crapo (archive):  “You can go to a small, little community, that may not even have cell service, but when the folks show up, they know what’s going on in this country, they know the kinds of things that we need to do to resolve the issues we’re facing.”

Crapo began each meeting with a presentation about the federal debt, and took questions from those in attendance. His office estimates that close to 4,000 people attended the meetings.

I’m Glenn Mosley.

Copyright 2016 Idaho Public Radio

Posted September 6, 2016.

Researchers: Tasmanian Devils Evolving, Resisting Deadly Cancer

Tasmanian devils are evolving in response to a highly lethal and contagious form of cancer, according to an international team of researchers, which included scientists from Washington State University and the University of Idaho.


(Photo courtesy Washington State University, Storfer lab website)

WSU professor of biology Andrew Storfer and the team discovered that two regions in the genomes of Australia’s iconic marsupials are changing in response to the rapid spread of devil facial tumor disease (DFTD), a nearly 100% fatal and transmissible cancer first detected in 1996.
Over the past 20 years, tens of thousands of the world’s Tasmanian devils have died of the contagious cancer that spreads when the animals bite each other.
Tasmanian devils are the largest carnivorous marsupials in the world and an integral part of Australia’s natural heritage. Devils display significant aggression toward one another, which often involves biting on the face.
By comparison, canine transmissible venereal tumor, a sexually transmitted form of cancer that only affects dogs, has been around for at least 11,000 years and is generally not fatal to domesticated animals.
“Our study suggests hope for the survival of the Tasmanian devil in the face of this devastating disease,” Storfer said in a press release. “Ultimately, it may also help direct future research addressing important questions about the evolution of cancer transmissibility and what causes remission and re-occurrence in cancer and other diseases.”
Paul Hohenlohe, an assistant professor of biological sciences in the UI College of Science, contributed his expertise in searching for signs of evolutionary change across animal genomes, the full set of genes in an organism’s DNA.
“If a disease comes in and knocks out 90 percent of the individuals, you might predict the 10 percent who survive are somehow genetically different,” Hohenlohe said in a press release. “What we were looking for was the parts of the genome that show that difference.”
The researchers mined a vast trove of devil DNA collected and stored before and after the outbreak of DFTD by wildlife ecologist and associate professor Menna Jones, study co-author, and her research team at the University of Tasmania.
Hohenlohe used technologies in UI’s Genomics Resource Core and Computational Resources Core to scan the genomes of nearly 300 individual animals, comparing close to a million snippets of DNA across each animal.
The scan found two pieces of the Tasmanian devil genome that showed signs of evolutionary change in response to the cancer and the force of natural selection it imposed.
“The results are exciting insomuch as they inform biology with regard to the potential for rapid evolutionary change in today’s dramatically changing world,” Storfer said. “Additionally, we are hopeful that our study may help with Tasmanian devil conservation efforts.”
The work was published in the Nature Communications (link below). It suggests some Tasmanian devil populations are evolving genetic resistance to DFTD that could help the species avoid extinction.
Posted September 2, 2016