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Coming Up:

First Lady Lori Otter and I proclaim February Children's Oral Health Month, 2 p.m., Governor's Ceremonial Office, second floor, Capitol, Boise.

First Lady Lori Otter and I attend the Idaho Association of Counties Midwinter Legislative Conference, 9:45 a.m., Riverside Hotel, Garden City.
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Idaho Chamber Alliance Legislative Conference 

On Monday January 25th I spoke to members of the Idaho Chamber Alliance meeting in Boise for their annual Legislative Conference. It gave me the chance to thank local business leaders from throughout Idaho for their strong support of our economic development initiatives through the Department of Commerce and the Department of Labor. I also spoke about the importance to business of my focus on improving K-through-Career educational opportunities in Idaho, and the great work that our new Commerce Director Megan Ronk is doing for employers and businesses across our state. She's focusing on the Department of Commerce's continuing "Accelerate Idaho" mission of advancing individuals, elevating industry and strengthening communities. Thank you to everyone who joined us for the event!
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Idaho Association of Realtors Kick-Off Breakfast
On Tuesday January 26th I spoke at the Idaho Association of Realtors' Kick-Off Breakfast in Meridian. It was a great event hosted by Association of Realtors President Tracy Kasper of Silverhawk Realty. About 70 Idaho real estate professionals were on hand to hear me talk about Idaho's strong economy, the real estate market and what's happening in our State government that might impact the real estate market in Idaho. Our state had the nation's fourth-highest year-over-year home price increase in November at 8.5 percent, trailing only nearby Colorado, Washington and Oregon. November home prices in the Boise market also rose 9.2 over the prior year! I was excited to share this news with the members of the real estate industry, and to talk with this high-energy group face to face. Thank you to everyone who helped organize the event, and thank you to everyone who came out to join us for breakfast! 
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Boise State University Day at the Capitol
On January 26th I joined Boise State University President Bob Kustra and many Boise State students for their legislative day at the Capitol. I was happy to meet so many Boise State students who are actively involved in the legislative process. In honor of this special occasion I proclaimed January 26th Boise State University Day. I attended BSU back when it was Boise Junior College, and I'm proud to see how it's grown into a respected metropolitan research university that succeeds in educating the future leaders, entrepreneurs and problem solvers that Idaho needs.
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Rockland Capital for a Day
On Wednesday January 27th I traveled to the Power County community of Rockland for our first Capital for a Day of 2016.
While the Legislature is meeting in Boise, my Cabinet and I are pleased to be able to travel to communities like Rockland and meet with the citizens whose lives can be impacted by what we do at the Capitol. It's a great way to help us identify the issues that matter to the people we serve. It was good to meet directly with the people of Rockland and Power County about what they need to make their community an even better place to live, work and raise a family. I appreciate everyone who took the time to join us and I'm eager to see where Capital for a Day will take me next!
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First Lady's Focus: Prescription Drug Education
Many teens are under the false impression that over the counter and prescription drugs are safer than illicit drugs because they are manufactured legally and prescribed by licensed professionals. Consequently, one-third of teens using drugs for the first time start by using prescription drugs for non-medical reasons. The impact of prescription drug abuse in Idaho is troubling. One in five Idaho high school students has taken a prescription drug for non-medical reasons and Idaho now has the fourth highest rate of prescription drug abuse in the nation for ages 12 and older.
First Lady Lori Otter speaks to a crowd of students at Homedale High School about the dangers of non-medical prescription drug use.
According to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), providing education and facilitating proper disposal are the most effective methods of prevention. The Truth208 program's three central components adhere to these recommendations. The first component centers on educating Idaho's teen-age population about the dangers of over-the-counter medicine and prescription drug abuse through formal lessons presented in Idaho secondary schools. The second component focuses on providing adults with the information they need to recognize signs of abuse and the importance of preventing access to these drugs in their homes and communities. The third component further emphasizes the importance of preventing access to these drugs by facilitating proper disposal.
Efforts to equip teens with the right information are happening in schools throughout Idaho and will be supplemented by an educational Web site. Formal lessons taught in the classroom and in assembly presentations take teens through a highly interactive step-by-step process to dispel any misconceptions about these drugs. The Web site will be regularly updated with new content so teens can stay informed and engaged.
Visit to find out more information.
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Spotlight Agency: Idaho State Liquor Division
A four-alarm fire was reported in the Broadway Park Shopping Center in Boise on November 26, 2014 - Thanksgiving eve. Idaho State Liquor Store #107 was one of five area businesses taken by the fire, along with several others that saw flooding and other related damages. Fortunately, no one was hurt in the blaze.
The Idaho State Liquor Division (ISLD) followed its crisis communication plan, and it was extremely effective. The first and foremost concern was making sure our associates were safe and that the products did not get into the hands of minors. ISLD representatives arrived on the scene to support the first responders with any information they needed. They also assisted in the formal investigation during the weeks after the fire. Security was maintained on site until all products were destroyed on January 8, 2015 for a loss of $210,567.
Store operations were relocated one mile down the street to 1225 S. Broadway during the extended cleanup and investigation in order to meet public demand during the busy holiday season. That move later was made permanent. The store now is located in the Albertsons shopping center on the corner of Broadway and Beacon next to Noodles & Company. That location opened on December 18, 2014 - just three weeks after the fire. 
Great appreciation goes to the first responders, the ISLD's store manager Mark Chilson, district manager Gwynna Jensen, deputy director of retail Howard Wasserstein, and the employees of Store #107. The relationship with city officials had be close to help retrieve any salvageable items and make sure the product was destroyed. It also takes a lot of work to open a new location, and to do it in just three weeks was remarkable.  
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Alfalfa & Clover Seed
Larry Meyer - Filer
Beef Council
Jeff Johnson - Parma
Bruce Mulkey - Salmon
Don Taber - Shoshone
Rayelle Anderson - Rathdrum
Brand Board
Jack Davis - Kuna
Economic Advisory Council
Mick Wiskerchen - Meridian
Electronic Recording Comm.
Alan Butcher - Boise
John Holt - Eagle
Hispanic Affairs
Erika Allen - Lewiston
Horse Board
Anna Lucy Keller - Pocatello
Human Rights
Joe B. McNeal - Mountain Home
Kevin Settles - Boise
2nd Dist. Magistrates Comm.
Mayor James Kleeberg - Lewiston
3rd Dist. Magistrates Comm.
Mayor Gordon Petrie - Emmett
Pardons and Parole
Mike Matthews - Declo
Sexual Offender Mgmt. Board
Dr. Michael Johnston     Boise
Travel Council
Shawn Barigar - Twin Falls
Michael Fitzpatrick - Sun Valley
James Manion - Boise
Lara Smith - Kooskia