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Lost Idaho Guardsmen in Tamarack Cabin Fire

With a heavy heart Miss Lori and I extended our deepest condolences to the families of the Idaho National Guard members who were killed in a cabin fire near Donnelly on June 30th. LTC James "Jim" Harper III, his son "JJ" Harper IV, 1SG Erin Smith and her daughter Autumn Smith were lost in the tragic blaze. LTC Harper and 1SG Smith were laid to rest last week, but their memory and example of dedication to duty will live on. May God bless and keep them and their loved ones left behind.    
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Health Update

You might have heard that I've been in and out of the hospital lately. I want to thank everyone for their well-wishes and kind thoughts while I'm recuperating from a couple of back surgeries. Miss Lori and my doctors are being cautious, and I appreciate that. I'm following their orders. In the meantime, my thanks to the First Lady and Lieutenant Governor Little for taking on some scheduled events for me. And to all the medical staff and others who have been patient with me while I've been a patient myself, thank you.   
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Year-end State Budget Results

I was very happy to announce last week that Idaho's growing economy and our prudent, conservative fiscal policies produced yet another successful year for our State budget. We closed the books on the budget year that ended June 30th with almost $94 million more in tax revenue than our economists expected. The 8.3-percent increase was well above the forecast 5.4-percent growth rate. That's a credit to all the people who drive our dynamic economy, as well as the Legislature and State agencies who share my commitment to living within the people's means. Read the full General Fund Revenue Report here.  
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Idaho's Personal Income Growth

Here's more good economic news for Idaho: A new U.S. Bureau of Economic Analysis report lists our state as the national leader in personal income growth for the first quarter of 2017. Idaho saw seasonally adjusted personal income increase by 1.6 percent. The BEA analysis found that Idaho's best-in-the-nation growth rate was largely due to strong earnings in the agriculture sector. The Idaho Department of Labor reports that farm earnings accounted for 36 percent of our personal income growth. Let's keep the momentum going! You can read more about it here. 
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Paris Air Show

I joined 11 Idaho-based aerospace companies last month in traveling to France for the International Paris Air Show. Idaho Department of Commerce officials and I helped showcase our Idaho companies' products and innovative concepts at the Idaho Pavilion in Paris. With manufacturers, vendors and buyers from all over the world participating, the Paris Air Show was an invaluable sales and marketing opportunity for our Idaho businesses. New relationships and partnerships developed at the trade show will help boost Idaho's economy and drive our global business relationships into the future. Thank you to the Idaho aerospace industry and the Department of Commerce for making the trip such a success.
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Materne Visit

While I was in France I also visited the Materne plant in Normandy. In 2014 Materne built a facility in Nampa to make its GoGo squeeZ applesauce product.  Since then, Materne has been a steady employer for the Treasure Valley and a valued business partner. The Normandy facility was very impressive, and with that kind of corporate DNA it's easy to see why Materne is such a success back here in Idaho. I look forward to growing our relationship, and I'm glad the company chose Idaho as its American home.
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Western Governors' Association

After returning from the Paris Air Show, I traveled to Whitefish, Montana for the Western Governors' Association's annual meeting.  Our discussions there focused on national forest and rangeland management, workforce development, the Endangered Species Act, agriculture in the West, and state wildlife science, data and analysis. Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke also spoke to the governors, emphasizing the importance of working with the states to ensure that grazing regulations are fair and reasonable, habitat for fish and wildlife species is protected, and that forests are managed properly to prevent and reduce the impact of wildfires. Read more here.
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Tetonia Hosts 93rd Capital for a Day

Back surgery kept me on the sidelines, but Lieutenant Governor Little did a great job hosting the 93rd Capital for a Day on July 7th in the eastern Idaho community of Tetonia. Students from Tetonia Elementary School started the day by performing "The Star Spangled Banner" and "Here We Have Idaho," then the Lieutenant Governor opened the floor to questions from local residents. Topics of discussion throughout the day included health care, education, and the cost of living in Teton County.  I'm grateful to Mayor Gloria Hoopes and the Tetonia community for being such gracious hosts, and my apologies for missing out on one of my favorite activities as Governor.  
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First Lady Focus:

On Monday August 21st, a total of 19 Idaho counties will be in the path of totality of the Total Solar Eclipse. That's where 100-percent "obscuration" will occur, meaning the sun will be completely blocked by the moon for a period of time. This once-in-a-lifetime event will draw hundreds of thousands of visitors to Idaho. I recently recorded a Public Service Announcement (PSA) about the upcoming solar eclipse. The Governor and I want to make sure everyone who travels to our great state has a safe and pleasant experience.  In my PSA, I encourage all Idahoans who plan to travel during the period of the eclipse to be prepared - no matter how far you're going. There may be significant traffic delays.
Please make sure you have:
*         Eclipse viewing glasses
*         Water (one gallon per person)
*         A first-aid kit
*         Nonperishable snacks
*         Cash (ATMs may be limited in some areas)
*         Sunglasses
*         Hat/visor and sunscreen
*         Comfortable walking shoes
The PSA will begin running on July 21st on TV stations across Idaho and also will be available on the Idaho Office of Emergency Management (IOEM) website here. Be prepared. Be informed. Be safe.    
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Agency Spotlight: 
Idaho Public Utilities Commission
The days of Idaho's single "208" area code are coming to an end. Beginning this fall, a second area code - 986 - will be implemented in Idaho. The state's telecommunications companies, along with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, will soon begin a statewide campaign to educate citizens and provide for a smooth transition into the second area code.

The Commission chose an "all-services overlay" for the new area code, rather than a "geographic split." The geographic split would have divided the state into two regions, one with the 208 area code and other half with the 986 code. The geographic split would have required half Idaho's residents and businesses to change their telephone numbers. Under the all-services overlay, the new area code will be assigned only to new numbers coming into service after September 5th, 2017. However, the all-services overlay also will require that all residential and business users dial or program their phones to dial ten digits to place all calls - area code+prefix+number. That includes local calls.

"Neither option is ideal," the Commission said, but the overlay will cause less disruption and expense than a geographic split. Furthermore, the Commission said, developing technology "will eventually drive seven-digit dialing into obsolescence in the future," even for the few remaining states with only one area code. Most landline and cellular phones now can be programmed to dial numbers with the press of just one or two buttons. 

Mandatory ten-digit dialing begins on August 5th. That means callers using only seven-digits will be asked to hang up and dial again. Read more details here.
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Aging Commission
Christiane Magera - Athol

Dormitory Housing Commission - CWI
Gerald hunter - Boise

Economic Advisory Council
Robin Woods - Moscow

Endowment Fund Investment Boar
Irving Littman - Boise
Richelle Sugiyama - Boise

Energy Resources Authority
Michael P. Elliott - Eagle

Engineers and Land Surveyors

George Murgel - Kuna

Forest Products Commission
Jesse Short - Lewiston

Grape Growers & Wine Producers
Gregory Otto Koenig - Boise
Crystal Potter - Garden City

Health Quality Planning Council
Dr. James W. Lederer, Jr. - Boise
Scott Kreiling - Boise
Tim Dunnagan - Boise
Dr. Ted Epperly - Meridian

Heating, Ventilation, & Air Conditioning
Randy Hart - Meridian

Juvenile Justice Commission
Kailamai Hansen - Coeur d'Alene

Magistrates Commission - 3rd District
Penny Lancaster - Weiser

Pardons and Parole Commission
Dr. Karen Neill - Pocatello

Real Estate Appraiser Board
Jane McClaran - Boise


Cody Roell - Nampa

Suicide Prevention Council

Caroline Nilsson Troy - Genesee
Dr. Tobias Gopon - Boise

Wolf Depredation Board

Carl Dean Rey - Meridian 
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