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University of Idaho law school ranks #118  in U.S. News rankings

Love them or hate them, they’re out again: U.S. News & World Report released its 2015 Best Law Schools rankings March 12, and the University of Idaho is ranked #118, 16 spots higher than last year.

The state’s only public law school had 317 students and in-state, full-time tuition of $15,774, the report said. That tuition is considerably lower than the tuition at most of the other schools on the list.

The top spots overall went to Yale Law School, Harvard Law School and Stanford Law School.

Other nearby law school rankings were the University of Washington at #24, the University of Utah (Quinney) at #49, and Lewis Clark in Portland, Ore. at #72.

Applications increased last year for the U of I law school by almost 12 percent, from 580 applications in 2012 to 658 in 2013. Nationally, law school applications were down 17.9 percent and 20 percent in the Mountain West region.

Dolan Media Newswires

Woodland Empire Ale Craft will take down its sign (far right) that is similar to nearby highway traffic signs. Photo courtesy Woodland Empire Ale Craft.

Woodland Empire Ale Craft will take down its sign (far right). It is similar to nearby highway traffic signs. Photo courtesy Woodland Empire Ale Craft.

New craft brewery to remove highway lookalike sign

Woodland Empire Ale Craft will take down its billboard that looks like a highway traffic sign and encourages drivers on Front Street to make a right turn into its parking lot for a beer. The Idaho Transportation Department sent the brewery a letter March 6 asking the brewery to take the sign down.

Woodland Empire’s sign was close to an ITD sign on Front Street that alerts drivers to the start of the I-184 Connector. ITD spokesman Reed Hollinshead said the sign violates state law.

“It’s a highway safety measure – you can’t mimic an official Idaho traffic sign or attempt to direct the flow of traffic,” Hollinshead said in an email.

Woodland Empire partner Dusty Schmidt said a new sign will be up in April. The sign is on top of the brewery’s building, which was remodeled and opened in January. Schmidt said the brewery hasn’t settled on a new design, and might use crowdsourcing.

The soon-to-disappear sign was designed by Boise marketing firm Oliver Russell. Dave Cook, the firm’s creative director, questioned whether the sign was a true safety hazard given the many other signs and billboards along Front Street.

“All billboards distract drivers,” Cook said in a news release. “Especially the good ones.”

Schmidt said that Woodland Empire consulted with the City of Boise about the sign before putting it up. However, ITD has oversight of Front Street, as well as Myrtle Street, in downtown Boise. Both Schmidt and Hollinshead said the issue was handled amicably.

Brad Iverson-Long

Idaho hockey fans suing arena over beer prices

A handful of Idaho hockey fans are suing a Boise arena, saying they were duped into thinking a $7 beer contains more brew than a $4 beer.

The lawsuit says the home arena of the Idaho Steelheads hockey team defrauded customers by charging $3 more for a tall, narrow cup advertised as a “large” that actually holds the same amount of beer as the shorter, wider cup described as a “small.”

Four fans filed the suit March 11 in Boise’s 4th District Court against Block 22 LLC, which does business as CenturyLink Arena.

Brady Peck, Michele Bonds and William and Brittany Graham are seeking $10,000 in damages.

Arena spokesman Mike Campbell said he hadn’t yet seen the lawsuit and can’t comment.

The Associated Press

House panel subpoenas on wind power, eagle deaths

House Republicans are seeking to compel the Obama administration to turn over uncensored, internal documents related to its enforcement of environmental laws at wind farms where eagles and other protected birds have been killed.

The House Natural Resources Committee issued the subpoena March 11.

Only one wind energy company has been prosecuted for killing eagles and other birds in violation of federal law. Duke Energy pleaded guilty in November to killing eagles and other birds at two Wyoming wind farms and will pay $1 million.

Yet federal scientists said last year that wind turbines have killed at least 67 eagles in recent years.

An Associated Press investigation exposed how the Obama administration was failing to enforce the law for wind power, even as it pursued deaths caused by oil companies.

The Associated Press

North Dakota project uses beets for biofuel

Backers of a proposed project in North Dakota that would turn a variety of sugar beets into ethanol have preached patience for the last five years. Now they’re looking for a commitment from farmers to sweeten the deal.

A North Dakota State University agriculture economics professor who is helping developers with the project is touring the state to talk with farmers about their interest in first growing the so-called energy or industrial beets and then in investing in a plant.

“You have to get new growers in a specific region to commit not just for one year, but enough to support a factory,” said Dave Ripplinger, who specializes in bioenergy and biofuels at NDSU.

For a plant to open in 2016 or 2017, developers would need to know by November if farmers are on board.

The beets that produce biofuels are different from beets grown for human consumption. Industrial beets are genetically bred specifically for the making of renewable fuels and can be grown just about anywhere in the United States.

The refinery process separates sugar from the beets in the form of juice, which is fermented and distilled into alcohol. The waste material from the fermentation process is converted into a powder that’s used as fuel to help power the plant. The leftover ash could be used as fertilizer.

The Associated Press


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