Minnick's stimulus vote gets praise from Batt

Former Idaho Gov. Phil Batt will help current Gov. Butch Otter figure out what to do with the state's share of economic stimulus dollars, but it's clear Batt is not enamored of the $787 billion law.

So much so that the Republican Batt wrote a letter to the Statesman, praising Democratic Rep. Walt Minnick for voting no.

"I don't yet know if I'll back Mr. Minnick for re-election, but I want him to know that I appreciate him standing up for Idaho," Batt said in a letter in Monday's Statesman.

Snubbed by Bike Magazine

I got my new issue of Bike Magazine on Saturday, which features 33 of the best trails in North America. I immediately wondered which Idaho trail made the list. After all, the magazine staff named one of the Ketchum area trails the best in the country a few years ago.

My anticipation was a mix of pride and anxiety. I like the recognition Idaho trails get because of all the hard work that has gone into building and maintaining them, but I am also a little territorial and don't want the hordes of soul seekers arriving at my favorite trailhead to ride the next great trail.

Week 12 Idaho media boys basketball poll (FINAL)

1. Lewiston (5) 16-3 32
2. tie, Lake City 16-4 23
Eagle (2) 16-5 23
4. tie, Vallivue 15-6 8
Centennial 15-6 8
Others receiving votes: Capital 5, Mountain View 4, Post Falls 2.
My picks: 1. Eagle, 2. Lewiston, 3. Centennial, 4. Lake City, 5. Capital.

There's a difference between 'collaboration' and 'unanimity'

Soon after taking office, new Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, buttonholed Oregon Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, beginning his third term in office.

Risch pitched one of his campaign promises; he sounded out Wyden about the idea of trying to begin regional discussions to settle the salmon debate. Wyden seemed interested, Risch said.

But now Risch isn't. Now that several environmental groups have sued over a compromise roadless plan Risch crafted as governor, Risch says he has no interest in talking about salmon, at least until the lawsuit is settled.

Catch up on 'Idaho Reports' (WITH VIDEO)

A little catchup viewing from the weekend:

On Friday's Idaho Reports, we spent a good deal of time talking about the stimulus and how it will affect the budget-writing process:

Idaho faces growing pressure to force industry to reduce mercury

The battle over mercury regulation didn’t end with industry’s stunning victory earlier this month in killing rules that would have only encouraged voluntary reductions.

I have talked to several Idaho Environmental Quality board members who have said they still see a need for new mercury regulations, at least for new sources. The Idaho Conservation League’s Justin Hayes is trying to decide whether to come back with a new petition or to instead go to federal court.

Low and mid-elevation snowpack looks meager

The ride up Idaho 55 from Horseshoe Bend to Cascade shows a real lack of snow at low and mid-elevations.

I was surprised by the lack of snow just north of Banks along the North Fork of the Payette River on a drive last week.

What does it signal for the upcoming whitewater season? February and March are critical months for snowpack and so far February is looking meager. Will it mean a rocky boating season?

Capital junior Kasen Covington wins triple jump at Simplot Games

Capital High junior and reigning 5A state champion Kasen Covington won the triple jump Saturday at the Simplot Games in Pocatello with a personal best of 49 feet, 3 inches.

Crapo's crisis prescription: Skip the bad bank and subsidize cheap mortgages

From his perch on the Senate Banking Committee, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo gets a closer look at the government’s handling of the credit and housing crises than most lawmakers do. So I sat in and listened with interest when he stopped by the Statesman the other day to talk to our editorial board.

Crapo said the credit crunch is still very much with us in Idaho. “We’re getting a tremendous number of complaints from businesses that can’t get money,” he said.

Girls basketball state championship blog (Saturday)

9:30 p.m. — 5A championship (FINAL): Coeur d'Alene 54, Centennial 50 (OT)

With 1.7 seconds remaining, Whitney Heleker banked in a 23-foot shot and was fouled for a four-point play that sealed the victory and a 25-0 season for the Vikings. Coeur d'Alene has now won seven state championships.

7:20 p.m. — Championship scores

4A: Bonneville 43, Middleton 36
3A: Sugar-Salem 63, Wendell 40
2A: West Jefferson 40, Valley 25
1A Division I: Lapwai 55, Clearwater Valley 44
1A Division II: Richfield 59, Dietrich 37

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