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Coming Up:
 
Monday
August 24

I will participates in the Grand Opening of the new SkyWest Hangar and Maintenance Facility, 1:00 p.m. Boise Airport - 1600 W Gowen Road, Boise

 
Friday
August 28

First Lady Lori Otter will participate in the "Givin Meth the Boot" benefit event with the Idaho Meth Project, 6:00 p.m. Snake River Landing - 901 Pier View Drive #104, Idaho Falls, ID 83402 Idaho Falls.

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Assessing Idaho's Wildfires  

Governor Otter speaking to General Richy in Homedale about the Soda Fire. 
Throughout most our great state, August has proven to be a very difficult month. Unfortunately in this month fire season gathered some ferocious momentum. Coupled with a perfect mix of difficult weather conditions, we have had to respond to multiple wildfires all over the state. The Soda Fire and Clearwater Complex Fire have hit our state with significant property damage and a lingering threat to our citizens. There have been as many as 16 "large" fires burning in Idaho at the same time according to the National Interagency Fire Center. But the truth is there are so many medium and small sized fires burning in Idaho that it is virtually impossible to keep track of all of them. For instance, just on one day last week we experienced over 100 fire starts caused by dry lightning. Last week on August 13 th my office issued a disaster declaration for the biggest fires to help the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security (BHS) utilize every possible resource at their disposal to respond and combat these fires quickly, reducing the threat to life and property. On Saturday August 15 th, Lt. Governor Brad Little and I were able to tour the Soda Fire to see the extent of the damage for ourselves and speak to the men and women on the ground that were fighting this disaster and learn about all of the hard work they have done to bring it under control. The First Lady and I wish to thank these brave men and women helping us respond to these multiple wildfires across our state. Please join us as we keep those Idahoans whose lives have been impacted by these fires in our collective thoughts and prayers.
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Caldwell Night Rodeo 
Governor Otter at the 2014 Caldwell Night Rodeo. 
Due to the ongoing nature of the threat we have been experiencing this year from fire, I was forced to cancel my participation in an event near and dear to my heart. The Caldwell Night Rodeo (CNR) is celebrating its 81 st year as one of our state's great "end of summer" celebrations. I was looking forward to watching the rodeo and also competing in the "Century Roping" event as was the First Lady. In lieu of that, I wanted to extend a tip of the hat for their ongoing success and encourage everyone to go out and support the rodeo and all of the competitors at the CNR that continues through Saturday.
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Back to School
Governor Otter visiting an elementary school. 
It is that time of year again! This coming weekend, Idaho's students will be saying 'goodbye' to summer vacation and 'hello' to a brand new school year full of new friends, new teachers, and exciting new challenges and opportunities. As our students return to class I hope they get a chance to reflect on what their career goals and dreams are and how our state schools can help them best reach for those opportunities. If you have kids heading back to school, the First Lady and I encourage you to spend some time before classes resume talking to them about their goals and dreams and how best to attain them. Our future begins with our students and their futures begin in Idaho schools. We want all of our students and teachers to have a safe and productive start to this new school year. I have penned a few thoughts that I am sharing with newspapers across the state. If you would like to read it, please click on the link below.

Link 
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First Lady's Focus: Wood River Women's Foundation and Select Health Awards
 
This month I had the opportunity to welcome the participants of the 10th Wood River Women's Foundation's annual meeting with a welcome video. The Wood River Women's foundation was founded in 2005 by Barbara Thrasher & Jo Murray, with a mission to engage women in the power of collective giving. These women based their foundation on the model of the Washington Women's Foundation. By pooling talents and funds, they support Blaine County non-profit organizations as they work to make their community stronger. There are now 44 women's pooled giving groups across the United States.  9,000 women are involved and collectively they are responsible for raising and then giving more than $70 million to U.S. nonprofits.  These women's pooled giving groups share ideas for strengthening their individual groups through the Women's Collective Giving Network. I appreciate all of the hard work that the WRWF does for communities and thank them for continuing to give back to our state.
    
This month I was also awarded an honorary grant from Select Health during their Select 25 Awards event at Boise State University. Select Health is a Utah based health insurance company that has been doing business in Idaho for the past three years. This is the first time that they have had a Select 25 Awards program in Idaho. The Select 25 program supports small non-profit organizations that encourage healthy behaviors or serve populations with special needs.  Each year 25 winners are awarded $2,500. These donations will help individuals and organizations make a healthy difference in their communities. This year I was recognized for my work in Literacy and Learning with an honorary $2,500 grant. I chose to award this grant to the Andrus Ambassadors Honor Choir. This choir is made up of more than one hundred 4th and 5th grade students from Cecil D. Andrus Elementary School. The choir performs under the leadership of their director, Steve Jones.  Steve holds his students to high standards, teaching them at a young age the importance of professionalism, while also sharing their musical gifts with the rest of our great state. The honor choir has performed for us at the Capitol, providing outstanding performances at our annual Tree Lighting Ceremonies and Inaugural celebrations. Thank you to Select 25 for such a great honor and for allowing me to give a little extra help to one of our states great music programs. Congratulations to Steve, the students, parents, and accompanists who make up the honor choir and congratulations to this year's Select 25 award recipients for all of your great work as well.

Steve Jones and the Andrus Ambassador Honor Choir at the Gubernatorial Inauguration.

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Spotlight Agency:
The Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho
 
In 2015, The Public Employee Retirement System of Idaho (PERSI) is celebrating 50 years of operation. The Idaho Legislature first created PERSI in 1963, with initial funding, officially opening in 1965. Over those fifty years, PERSI has experienced extraordinary growth - in the amount of assets it manages, and in its membership. Today, PERSI administers nearly $15 billion in assets, and serves more than 135,000 members and more than 750 employers throughout the State of Idaho.
We enter 2015 on the heels of a banner 2014 fiscal year, wherein PERSI reached a number of important milestones. The number of living retirees eclipsed 40,000 for the first time ever, and benefits paid out for the year exceeded $700 million for the first time. Asset levels hit all-time highs, just shy of $15 billion, and we ended up the fiscal year with a whopping 17.2% investment return, prompting the PERSI Retirement Board to recommend a cost of living adjustment of up to 4% for eligible retirees, while also recommending the elimination of two future contribution rate increases for active members and employers. In a letter to members, Board Chairman, Jody Olson stated, "Now is the first time we have been in a position to affect this much positive change since 2001, when the system exceeded 113% funded and we were able to return nearly $155 million back to members -- both active and retired -- in a historic one-time gain sharing event."
 
PERSI would like to thank Governor Otter and the Idaho Legislature for their continued support and guidance as we look ahead to the next 50 years and beyond.
 
PERSI is proud of its Mission: To provide a sound retirement system and high quality service and education to help Idaho public employees build a secure retirement.
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Appointments

Apple Commission    
William J. Ford - Payette
Ryan Henggeler - Fruitland

Arts Commission       
Vice Chair -- Susan Jacklin - Post Falls
Diana Livingston Friedley - Pocatello
David Miles, Sr. - Lapwai
Mary Cerise - Salmon
  
Basin Environmental Improvement Project          
John Tippets - Montpelier
  
Behavioral Health Planning Council
James Meers - Meridian
  
Blind & Visually Impaired Commission       
Sue Payne - Boise
Allan Schneider - Garden City
  
Building Code Board
Mike Tracy - Meridian
  
Cherry Commission
 Kelly Henggeler - Fruitland
 
Credit Rating Enhancement Committee    
Len Crosby - Post Falls
John Sager - Eagle
Lt. Gov. Brad Little - Emmett
Wayne Meuleman - Boise
  
Development Disabilities Council   
Jennifer Halladay - Kuna
Stephanie Ann Perry - Boise
  
Early Childhood Coordination Council
Ami Owen - Boise
Sherry Dee Iverson - Boise
Bill Foxcroft - Boise
  
Educational Services for the Deaf & Blind 
Steven Stubbs - Boise
Kathleen Crowley - McCall
  
Environmental Quality Board         
Nick Purdy - Picabo
  
Forest Products Commission           
Keith Lannom - McCall
  
Fourth Dist. Magistrates Commission         
Peggy Moyer - Meridian
  
Hazardous Waste Facility Siting Panel       
Jay Kunze - Pocatello
  
Historical Records Advisory Commission   
David Matte - Boise
  
Idaho Rural Partnership      
Pat Barclay - Boise
  
Lava Hot Springs Foundation          
Shawnae H. Somsen - Wayan
  
Massage Therapy Board      
Ione Springer - Caldwell
  
Medal of Honor Commission           
Bart May - Dubois
  
Medicine Board        
Erwin Sonnenberg - Boise
  
Medical Licensure, Interstate Compact
Ann K. Lawler - Boise
  
Morticians     
Debbie Mikesell - Silverton
  
Optometry Board     
Dr. Raymond Goodman - Gooding
  
Pacific States Marine Fisheries Compact    
Mark Doerr - Kimberly
Virgil Moore - Boise
  
Parks and Recreation Board
Pete Black - Pocatello
  
Peace Officer Standards & Training Council          
Sheriff Shaun Gough - Gooding
  
Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council          
Marv Hagedorn - Meridian
Dee Jameson - Hayden
  
Pharmacy Board
Holly Henggeler - Fruitland
  
Physical Therapy Licensure Board
Brian White - Meridian
  
Podiatry Board         
Dr. Douglas Williams - Blackfoot
  
Public Safety/Security Info System (ILETS)
Sheriff Eric Snarr - Rupert
  
Public Utilities Commission 
Marsha Smith - Boise
  
Real Estate Commission
Kathleen Ann Weber - Moscow
  
Residential Care Facility Admin. Board      
Heidi Brough Nye - Nampa
  
Second Dist. Magistrates Commission        
Mayor James Kleeburg - Lewiston
  
Shorthand Reporters Board
Byrl Cinnamon - Coeur d'Alene
  
Soil & Water Conservation Comm.
Glen Gier - Twin Falls
  
Speech & Hearing Services Licensure Board          
Kevin Woodall - Boise
  
Workforce Development Council                                                       
Matt Freeman - Boise