BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A panel of lawmakers is looking at making changes to Idaho's only independent performance evaluations agency, possibly by having staffers focus more on legislative budgets and less on whether state programs are working properly. The Office of Performance Evaluations examines state agencies and programs, looking for ways the state can improve efficiency. The reports have uncovered big issues, like delays in the parole process and rapidly growing caseloads for child welfare workers.
ILLIA, Wash. (AP) — The Nez Perce Tribe and Columbia River Inter-Tribal Fish Commission released 37 wild steelhead into the Snake River below Lower Granite Dam in hopes of boosting the number of spawning steelhead. The fish, known as kelts, were previously captured at the dam as they tried to return to the ocean after spawning in their natal streams. They were held for one or two years at the Dworshak National Fish Hatchery, and they were released Tuesday, ready to spawn once again.
SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) — The governor of Idaho has ordered a third-party data review of Lake Coeur d'Alene as its health continues to deteriorate. The Spokesman-Review reported Thursday that Republican Gov. Brad Little announced the request Wednesday at an annual water quality conference. Coeur d'Alene Tribe and state officials say a decade of collected data has shown the lake contains an increased volume of phosphorus and sediment polluted with lead and other heavy metals caused in part by human development.
BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A judge has ordered a competency evaluation for a homeless man accused of fatally beating someone in a park last month. The Idaho Statesman reported Wednesday that 27-year-old Andrew Garcia was charged on suspicion of murder and other charges. The evaluation is meant to test if a defendant is mentally fit for trial. Garcia remains in custody and is scheduled to appear in court Nov. 27.