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 Three states again ask for killing of sea lions

Oregon, Washington state and Idaho have formally asked the federal government to resume killing sea lions that eat salmon at the Bonneville Dam.

The application from the fish and wildlife agencies of the three states begins anew the process of considering whether the sea lions should be able to eat their fill of threatened fish in the Columbia River. The federal fisheries agency says it’s considering whether to form a task force.

In 2008, the states won approval for killing the hungriest of the sea lions.

But that ended after a federal appeals court questioned how the agencies would say the sea lions are a threat to the survival of threatened species but don’t take any steps against fishing by humans — which takes many more salmon and steelhead.

The Associated Press

Idaho State University researcher awarded $2 million for radiation research

The Department of Energy has awarded two grants worth about $2 million to Idaho State University’s Eric Burgett to develop advanced radiation detectors and measure fuel inside nuclear reactors.

The Department of Energy announced $39 million in awards to 51 projects at universities for nuclear research and development. ISU received 5 percent of the total, said George Imel, dean of the ISU College of Science and Engineering.

Burgett is an assistant professor in the ISU School of Engineering Department of Nuclear Engineering and Health Physics. He received $1.19 million to measure fuel inside reactors and $800,000 to develop advanced radiation detectors.

“Receiving these grants was only made possible by the fact that we have our new IJRC Research Center,” Burgett said, referring to the Ballard Building in the ISU Research Park that was purchased by ISU this spring. “The space and equipment provided at the new facility helps us move forward in a multi-disciplinary effort, working with a number of different universities. We just couldn’t have done this with our old space.”

IBR Staff

Mogul’s home for sale in northern Idaho

Idaho resort and newspaper mogul Duane Hagadone is unloading one of his homes above Lake Coeur d’Alene, but it could fetch just a quarter of its original listing price at an upcoming Sept. 8 auction.

The J.P. King Auction Co. set the minimum bid at $7.5 million, after the 26,000-square-foot home was originally listed at $27.5 million.

Hagadone’s remodeled pad has three bedrooms, nine baths, a nine-car garage and bowling alley.

He’s also throwing in membership for two at The Coeur d’Alene Golf Course, which he owns.

A successful sale won’t leave the owner of several Northwest newspapers homeless.

Hagadone has another 22,000-square-foot place near Coeur d’Alene and a 45,000-square-foot, $30 million mansion in Palm Desert, Calif.

The Associated Press

Idaho Power claims wind developer is trying to game the system

Idaho Power Co. contends a Boise-based wind power developer is manipulating the system by trying to force the utility to buy electricity for its Oregon customers.

In Idaho, regulators since last year have had a 100-kilowatt cap on the size of wind projects that qualify for an attractive rate for their electricity.

In Oregon, that cap is higher, at 10 megawatts.

The Boise developer wants to force Idaho Power to buy power from its 10- megawatt and 5-megawatt projects in Elmore and Owyhee counties for the utility’s Oregon customers — and qualify for the attractive rate.

Idaho Power calls this blatant manipulation.

The developer’s lawyer, Peter Richardson, argues the Idaho Public Utilities Commission is forbidden from intervening because it would violate U.S. constitutional prohibitions on limiting interstate commerce.

The Associated Press

Idaho lawmakers, Otter agree: Idaho should take federal cash to help set up insurance exchange

Many Idaho lawmakers agree with Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter: Idaho would be shortsighted to pass up federal millions to help set up health insurance exchanges, because spurning the money could mean putting insurance agents out of business.

Sen. Dean Cameron of Rupert says the risk comes in not applying, and then turning the individual and small group market over to the federal government.

The Spokesman-Review reports Cameron’s comments came after Otter told an interim health care committee August 22 that Idaho was at a crossroads.

Otter said Idaho must decide by Sept. 30 whether to apply for a $40 million federal grant to build a new Idaho state insurance exchange — or risk Washington, D.C. imposing one on Idaho.

House Minority Leader John Rusche called it a “no-brainer.”

The Associated Press

Stimson lumber mill in Gaston explodes again, continues to operate

A Stimson Lumber Co. mill in Gaston caught fire and exploded August 16.

Neither the cause nor damage estimates from the fire have been determined. The mill continued to operate after the explosion, albeit more slowly, according to the Gaston Rural Fire District.

In another explosion in May, a mill worker died and two others were injured in an accident with a hydraulic accumulator machine.

In the August 16 explosion, three firefighters were injured. The explosion occured more than two hours after the initial call of a fire was made, according to the fire district. The firefighters were taken to Oregon Health and Science University Hospital with non-life threatening injuries and have since been released.

Stimson is based in Portland and assets and operations in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington, including timberland on 500,000 acres.

Dolan Media Newswires 

Idaho has high ranking for entrepreneurship

Idaho has some of the highest entrepreneurial activity in the country, according to a study from the Kauffman Foundation.

The Kansas-City, Mo.-based foundation said 450 businesses are started in Idaho each month for each 100,000 adults in the state. The states with the highest rate of entrepreneurship were Oklahoma and Montana, with 470 businesses per 100,000. Arizona had 460 new businesses per month per 100,000. Texas tied with Idaho.

The five states with the lowest rates of entrepreneurial activity were Mississippi, 170 per 100,000 adults, Nebraska, 200 per 100,000 adults, Pennsylvania, 200 per 100,000 adults, Alabama, 210 per 100,000 adults and Minnesota, 220 per 100,000 adults.

The recent upward trend in entrepreneurship rates contrasts with a downward trend in employer business creation, according to the report. From 2007 to 2010, the quarterly employer establishment “birth” rate dropped from 0.13 percent to 0.10 percent. Over this same period, the monthly entrepreneurship activity rate increased from 0.30 percent to 0.34 percent.

The opposing trends may be due to the recession and its high unemployment rates pushing many individuals into business ownership, the report said.

IBR Staff

Nominations for volunteer stars due by Sept. 14

The Idaho Department of Labor wants to recognize businesses and other organizations that have a strong history of volunteer work.

The Governor’s Brightest Star Awards honor students, schools, service clubs, businesses and individuals that have contributed by volunteering in the community. Last year, 105 people and organizations were honored.

An awards ceremony hosted by the Department of Labor’s Serve Idaho program will take place in November; nominations are due by Sept. 14. Gov. CL “Butch” Otter is expected to present Volunteer of the Year awards in each category.

For more information and an online nomination form, go to http://serveidaho.gov/Events/GovernorsBrightestStars.aspx

IBR Staff

Tussock moths make impact on Idaho, Washington forests

Forest experts say tussock moths appear to be at or near a 10-year cyclical peak with caterpillars feeding on Douglas fir and grand fir trees in eastern Washington state and northern Idaho.

Entomologists say the tussock moth outbreaks usually subside within two to three years.

Experts in the two states say that last year the species was active in 140,000 acres in Kootenai County in Idaho and 570 acres in Spokane County in Washington state. Estimates aren’t available for the size of this year’s outbreak.

Tom Eckberg of the Idaho Department of Lands tells The Spokesman-Review that the trees often appear dead but usually recover with new buds appearing in the spring.

The Associated Press

Terry Reilly to Establish New Clinic in Middleton

Terry Reilly Health Services will open a new health clinic in Middleton by December 1.

The community health center, Idaho’s largest, won a $650,000 grant from the Bureau of Primary Health Care, a part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to open the clinic in Middleton.

Terry Reilly was of 67 organizations in the nation, the only one in Idaho, selected for the grant. The health center has until December 1 to open the clinic, which will provide access to primary health care services, including medical and dental care and mental health counseling.

About 8,300 patients are expected to visit the clinic each year. The establishment of the clinic will create about 11 new jobs in Middleton including a full-time physician and dentist.

IBR Staff

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