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Coming Up: 
 
Monday,
 November 27th:
Governor Otter and First Lady Lori Otter host the State Capitol
 Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony
 
at 5:30 p.m., at the  Capitol Building.

Thursday, November 30th:
Governor Otter and First Lady Lori Otter attend the Western Governors' Association Winter Meeting in Phoenix Arizona through Saturday, December 2nd, 2017
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Capitol Christmas Tree Lighting Set for Monday, November 27th
     
 
On Monday, November 27th, Miss Lori and I will be kicking off the holiday season with the ceremonial lighting of Idaho's Capitol Christmas Tree. We invite everyone to join us for this wonderful tradition that puts Idaho's true holiday spirit on display. There will be complimentary music, hot chocolate, hot cider and cookies available. Once the tree has been lit we invite everyone into the Governor's Ceremonial Office where free books for children will be given out, compliments of the First Lady and Scholastic, Inc. The ceremony will begin at 5:30 p.m. on the south side of the Capitol in Boise, and we look forward to seeing you all there! Read more about the Capitol Christmas Tree lighting here.  
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Idaho National Guard Change-of-Command
 
    
It was a stirring experience to be part of the recent change-of-command ceremony for the Idaho National Guard at Gowen Field in Boise. Brigadier General Michael Garshak took over as Idaho's 25th adjutant general from retiring Major General Gary Sayler. General Garshak was the chief of staff for the Idaho Army National Guard before I promoted him to command of both the Idaho Army and Air Guard operations effective November 1st. The men and women of Idaho's Military Division remain in good hands with General Garshak in command.  
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Idaho Court of Appeals Gets a New Judge
 
    
I recently had the pleasure swearing in former Deputy Attorney General Jessica Marie Lorello to the Idaho Court of Appeals. The Boise native fills the vacancy on Idaho's second-highest court left by the retirement of Judge John Melanson. Lorello had worked for the Criminal Law Division of the Attorney General's Office since 2004. She's now serving out the remainder of Judge Melanson's term, which expires in January 2019. After that she can run for election to a term of her own. Congratulations Jessica
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New Director at the Department of Labor
 
    
Congratulations also are in order for Melinda Smyer of Parma, who's taken over as director of the Idaho Department of Labor. Melinda left her position as the southwestern Idaho regional director for U.S. Senator Jim Risch to take on her new responsibilities at the agency that handles both employment services and unemployment benefits for Idaho workers. Smyser is a former member of the Idaho Senate with a great understanding of how our State government works. The former educator's management skills and passion for building Idaho's workforce will be invaluable assets at the Department of Labor
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Supporting the Children's Miracle Network
There are some truly inspiring organizations that are dedicated to serving our communities, and the Children's Miracle Network Hospital Campaign is one of them. I ask all Idahoans to join Miss Lori and me in supporting this wonderful cause. The Children's Miracle Network is a nonprofit organization that helps raise money and awareness for sick children across North America. It provides treatment, care and hope to children suffering from ailments ranging from broken bones and asthma to cancers or birth defects. St. Luke's Children's Hospital in Boise, Primary Children's Hospitals in Utah and Sacred Heart Children's Hospital in Spokane all are participating in the campaign, and I encourage every Idahoan to do all they can to show their support for this worthy program. Learn how to help here.    
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Agency Spotlight: 
Idaho State Liquor Division
 
 
If your child is aged 8-20, they're curious about and at risk for using alcohol. Almost one-third of Idaho high school students have had a drink in the past 30 days, and almost 15 percent say they've had alcohol (other than a few sips) before age 13. Also, one out of three Idaho kids who have been drunk say their parents have no idea.

The Idaho State Liquor Division (ISLD) understands these alarming statistics. That's why it created a grass-roots program four years ago to help communities tackle the issue of underage drinking. The agency joined with its national trade association, the National Alcohol Beverage Control Association (NABCA), in creating a competitive mini-grant program.
 
Community organizations, law enforcement, schools, colleges, universities, nonprofit agencies, and for-profit organizations all are eligible to apply. Since this NABCA-funded educational alcohol mini-grant program started in 2013, the ISLD has been able to award over $100,000 back to Idaho communities. " Alcohol education and community outreach is a fundamental program for the division," said Kay Bennett, ISLD's manager of alcohol education and outreach. "T his mini-grant program is one of many efforts we participate in to help curb underage drinking in the Gem State."
 
Each year, the application process opens in October. Proposals are submitted and a review committee is selected. The review committee consists of three to four ISLD staff members, two liquor supplier representatives and two to three business volunteers who are familiar with the prevention community. Each reviewer has a different perspective that brings great value to the process. The proposals are reviewed and scored in December and the grants are awarded in February.

The criteria for these grants are:
  1. Any activity must have the intention of taking action to reduce the irresponsible sale and/or use of beverage alcohol.
  2. The requested mini-grant(s) should seek to change the environment that encourages or allows irresponsible consumption of alcohol.
  3. A strong focus of the applications should be on underage and/or dangerous drinking. 
Samples of some of the activities that have been awarded are:  
  • Media Campaigns
  • Mutli-Agency Coordination and Collaboration
  • Community Team/Coalition-Building  
  • Legal and Regulatory Initiatives 
  • Hospitality Resource Panels 
  • Awareness of Laws and Regulations 
  • Youth/Adult Leadership Activities 
  • Assessing Community Services, Needs and Attitudes 
  • Development and Dissemination of Educational Materials
  • Environmental Prevention Strategies 
  • College/High School Conferences 
The following agencies have been awarded mini-grant funds:  
  • Boise County Sheriff's Office 
  • Caldwell Youth Master Plan Committee 
  • Canyon-Owyhee School Service Agency
  • Drug Free Idaho, Inc.
  • Horseshoe Bend High School 
  • Idaho Drug Free Youth 
  • Idaho State University Doctoral Students 
  • Idaho State Police /Alcohol Beverage Control 
  • Kamiah Community Partners
  • Lake Pend Oreille School District #84 
  • Lapwai Community Coalition (LCC
  • MADD PowerTalk 21 
  • Middleton United Substance Abuse Coalition (MUSAC)
  • Nez Perce Tribal Police Department 
  • Sage Valley Middle School 
  • St. Luke's Coalition for Drug Free Youth (SLCDFY)
  • Treasure Valley Alcohol/Drug Coalition
For more information about this program or and other educational and outreach efforts, please visit www.liquor.idaho.gov and http://betheparents.org/ - 2013 Idaho Youth Risk Behavior Survey, Idaho State Department of Education.
 
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Appointments
 
Recent appointments can be found on my website here.
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