Capitol Touring 

Boise's other hole is becoming less so.

The Idaho Capitol restoration project is clipping along on schedule, albeit a bit rushed. During a recent media tour, the Idaho State Capitol Commission showed off progress, including the two subterranean wings.

Work in the rotunda is moving along as well, with craftsmen re-creating custom plaster embellishments and restoring the unique architectural details. Alas, the former basement pressroom is no more. The site where tired reporters once lurked will be home to an Idaho-centric art gallery. Reporters will be jammed in another room nearby, but BW was assured that while there will be less space, there will be wi-fi across the Capitol, making the entire building one big work space.

Workers are also busy stripping old paint, refurbishing floors, replacing windows, adding modern utilities and installing a new elevator. In the construction process, crews have made several discoveries, including a barrel ceiling that had been covered with a drop ceiling to make room for ventilation.

The project is slated for completion just prior to the start of the 2009 legislative session.

Idle no more

The City of Boise is expected to adopt a new regulation to discourage drivers of city vehicles from leaving cars and trucks idling.

"It's one small step that will help us reduce the amount of gas we use and help improve the quality of our air," said Adam Park, spokesman for Mayor Dave Bieter.

While the Boise Police Department has the largest number of vehicles in the city fleet, workers in Public Works, Fire, and Planning and Development Services all drive as part of their jobs, landing the city a $1.3 million annual fuel bill, Park said.

The anti-idling regulation, which has built-in exceptions for law enforcement, is part of a larger city plan to make the vehicle fleet more efficient and less polluting. The city has incentives for employees who carpool, ride bikes or take the bus to work. A new fleet manager, who started in January, is tasked with greening the city's vehicle pool. New police cruisers use more efficient fuel.

Bieter has his own anti-idling regulation: the 1969 cruiser he often rides to work is said to tip over if it idles too long.

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