The Trinity Ridge Fire has burned 144,102 acres as of this morning and is 18 percent contained.
Fire officials said crews are working along the fire's western flank today, preparing the Middle Fork Road for approaching flames. The focus will be on an area near the 1994 Rabbit Creek Fire, southwest of the Sheep Rock drainage. Crews are also beginning fire lines from Forest Road 357 to Rabbit Creek Summit and south to Thorn Creek Butte as they prepare for possible burnout operations.
The National Weather Service says there is a slight chance for thunderstorms across the fire area today. The storms could produce dry lightning and gusty winds. A chance for storms increases on Saturday.
Boise Police locked up a Garden City woman overnight, charging her with felony counts of kidnapping, robbery and aggravated assault.
Victims told police that 30-year-old Marisol Garza threatened a woman with a kitchen knife, ordering her to go to a second apartment at knifepoint. At the second location, victims said Garaz held two more female victims, at one point holding the knife a few inches from the victims' faces.
The victims said when Garza left the location, they locked her out, but Garza tried to get back in using a broom handle. The victims said they ran from their apartment complex and called the police, who found Garza a short time later.
Classes could begin as early as January 2013 at a two-year private community college in McCall.
This morning's McCall Star-News reports that the McCall City Council has given the green light for part of the Park Place Professional Center to be used by McCall College.
Dr. L. Bryan Williams, organizing director of the college, told the Star-News that McCall College plans to start offering professional-technical courses in January 2013, including computer science, creative writing and entrepreneurship. Williams said faculty and administration are currently working as unpaid volunteers, while the college embarks on fundraising and recruiting.
Organizers said in February the economic impact of the college could be more than $3.2 million, coming from fees, room, board and books.
The drama swirling around Sun Valley's City Hall is getting thicker and deeper.
This morning's Idaho Mountain Express Reports that the Blaine County prosecutor has now issued a subpoena for records used in a just-completed forensic audit of the city's finances. According to the subpoena, the documents will be part of a grand jury investigation "involving former and or present employees of the city of Sun Valley."
The documents must be delivered to prosecutors by Tuesday, Sept. 4, or city officials must show up in Blaine County Court to explain why they won't or can't comply.
The City of Sun Valley has been steeped in controversy, including the termination of its city administrator, tort-claim settlements paid to the city clerk and treasurer, and the city's fire chief being placed on administrative leave.
Earlier this month, Sun Valley Mayor Dewayne Briscoe acknowledged that the forensic audit, conducted by an outside firm, will reveal that his city was not in compliance with many federal and state labor laws.
Briscoe told the Mountain Express that the city must "first comply with laws protecting government employees" before the report can be made public.
Owners of the Dickinson Frozen Food plant in Fruitland are expected to be in a Payette County courtroom today to answer to a citation of being an odor nuisance. Neighbors complained to Fruitland Police of odors coming from the plant's wastewater treatment facility.
The Argus Observer reports that Dickson officials are blaming the odors on machinery breakdowns.
A violation of the city's nuisance ordinance is a misdemeanor and could carry a penalty of $1,000, six months in jail, or both.
Dickinson processes frozen potatoes and onions at its Fruitland location.
While Idaho hunters prepare for their first full weekend of the 2012-2013 wolf hunting season, wolves in Wyoming may soon meet the same fate.
Wyoming wildlife officials say they expect the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to make an announcement about the delisting of wolves today. If a delisting plan is filed, the action could take approximately one month to become official, in time for a proposed hunt in Wyoming that would begin Monday, Oct. 1.
Biologists estimate Wyoming has approximately 240 wolves living outside of Yellowstone National Park.
"We appreciate that the Department of Interior remains committed to the goal of turning management over to the state of Wyoming,” Renny MacKay, an assistant to Wyoming Gov. Matt Mead, wrote to the Casper (Wyo.) Star-Tribune. “A lot has gone into Wyoming’s wolf delisting efforts. Secretary (Ken) Salazar and Gov. Mead worked hard to reach an agreement.”
Wolves are already delisted in Idaho, Montana, Oregon and Washington.
Today will be one of those days that is "once in a blue moon." To be more accurate, a so-called "blue moon" occurs when a month includes two full moons.
Skywatchers say this could be one of the last chances to see a blue moon for nearly three years. The moon reaches its full phase today, marking the second full moon of August. Stargazers won't be able to see two full moons in a single month again until July 2015.
The phrase "once in a blue moon" dates back to 1824.
As promised, former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush sent some shout-outs to Idaho's GOP elite from the podium at last night's finale of the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
Bush used the majority of his time talking about education, telling delegates and a national audience that there were many "reasons to worry" about the state of U.S. classrooms.
"There is a moral cost to our failing schools," said Bush. "The sad truth is that equality of opportunity doesn't exist in many of our schools. We give some kids a chance, but not all. That failure is the great moral and economic issue of our time. And it's hurting all of America."
But Bush extolled the efforts of Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter and Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna.
"Idaho's Gov. Otter and Superintendent Luna are raising up the best teachers and separating out the ineffective ones," said Bush. "That earned some enemies. Some of them slashed the superintendent's tires. But he didn't back down."
In February 2011, Luna told police two of his car's tires had been slashed and the word "Luna" was painted on the body of the car with a slash through the letters.
More than three dozen seniors didn't want to wait for the grand opening of the just-completed 12th and River Senior Apartments, south of downtown Boise. They have already moved in.
"We already have residents filling 38 of our 53 units," Nicole Nelson, area director for Mercy Housing Northwest told Citydesk.
Nelson joined dozens of community leaders, federal officials, bankers, builders and architects to witness this morning's ribbon-cutting at the $12 million complex, the first new affordable housing senior citizen development in more than two years in the Boise area.
For income-eligible residents, rents can run as low as $547 per month or 30 percent of adjusted income.
"This is the way these type of projects ought to look like," said Mayor Bieter. "I want to bring developers here and say, 'Take a look at this.' We would love to be a part of many more projects like this."
General contractor Scott Hedrick said since his company broke ground in July 2011, his company had some good days and some tough days."
"It always rained on those days when we didn't want it to rain, but we stayed on schedule," said Hedrick. "Our other major construction project is with Ada County. We're building them a prison. I think you'll have some nicer residents here."
Ruth Russell, 89, who lives at another Mercy Housing development in Eagle, said she and her fellow seniors served as makeshift consultants to architects on what features the 12th and River complex should have, including an exercise room, arts-and-crafts room, salon and library.
"And they have walk-in showers," said Russell, pumping a
fish fist in the air. "Yeah!"
Officials expanded the closure area around the Trinity Ridge Fire today, because of incresed fire activity.
“Fire closure orders are evaluated every couple days to determine whether they should be expanded or detracted,” said M.L. Smith, Boise National Forest deputy supervisor. “We will re-open areas closed to the public when it’s safe to do so.”
A spot fire erupted early this morning to the east of the South Fork of the Boise River and the Pine-Featherville Road. Two crews are being aided by helicopters to control the spot fire.
Meanwhile, fire managers are using helicopters today to slow progression toward the Middle Fork of the Boise River on the fire's western flank. Crews are preparing the road from an old fire scar southwest to Sheep Rock drainage.
The new Zumwalt fire reported Tuesday evening between Grandjean and Highway 21 remains at 15 acres.
All in, the Trinity Ridge Fire has burned 141,826 acres as of this morning and is 17 percent contained.