Thursday, 16 November 2017

Boise State President Bob Kustra announces he’s retiring

BOISE – After 15 years at the helm of Idaho’s largest public university, Boise State University President Dr. Robert Kustra announced today that he is retiring on June 30.

“Serving as president of Boise State University has been the privilege of a lifetime," Kustra wrote in a letter addressed to Boise State faculty and staff. "I will be forever grateful for being able to serve during this period of incredible growth and accomplishment for the university."

Since coming to Boise in 2003, Kustra has worked to create a metropolitan research university and fuel Idaho’s growing need for a technology driven economy.

Kustra was a former state lawmaker and lieutenant governor in Illinois before moving to Idaho.

Under Kustra, Boise State has seen a dramatic increase in research funding, new facilities, and graduates.

During his tenure, Kustra was a vocal proponent for the creation of the College of Western Idaho. The community college has seen tremendous growth since its inception 10 years ago, and now serves more than 24,000 students.

Kustra also launched an effort to transform the Boise State campus and the student experience. That effort led to more than $450 million in construction, including academic facilities such as the Environmental Research Building, the Micron Business and Economics Building and the Norco Building, which houses nursing and health sciences. The university expanded the Student Union Building by 60 percent and developed new housing options, most notably the just-opened 650-bed Honors College and Sawtooth Hall.

In the same years, Boise State constructed new football, basketball and softball facilities and the Stueckle Sky Center.

Boise State welcomed it largest first-year class in the school’s history for the past two years, has set enrollment records, and set a record for the number of graduates for nine consecutive years.

Nearly one-third of all students enrolled in college in Idaho attend Boise State University.

Under Kustra, BSU continued to embrace its role as an urban university by moving its entire computer science program into a new building in downtown Boise. That facility is just steps away from many software and high-tech firms that partner with the university.

A university spokesman’s says Kustra is away today on an all-day retreat with other executives and is not available for comment today.

Mayor Dave Bieter praised Kustra’s leadership in a statement released Wednesday.

"Every great city needs a great university and in the 15 years since Dr. Kustra has led Boise State, he has indeed put Boise State on the path to greatness," Bieter said. "When I met Bob in the first few months of his tenure, I knew he was the right person for the job. But since then, Boise State’s trajectory has been astounding – he’s accomplished much more than I could have ever anticipated in 2003. Bob has been president of Boise State since I was first elected, and it is difficult imagining someone else in that role. But, his hard work leaves Boise State’s next president in a great position to take the university even higher. "

The Idaho State Board of Education will now begin searching for Kustra’s replacement. The board is currently searching for two presidents to fill vacancies at Idaho State University and Lewis-Clark State College.

Here is a copy of the letter that Kustra sent out to his Boise State colleagues Wednesday:

November 15, 2017

Dear Colleagues,

Serving as president of Boise State University has been the privilege of a lifetime. After 15 years of service it is time to step down and I will do so effective June 30th of this year.

I will be forever grateful for being able to serve during this period of incredible growth and accomplishment for the university. It could not have happened without a faculty dedicated to teaching and research and as open to new ideas and unafraid of working across disciplines as any faculty in America. It could not have happened without a staff committed to serving our students and in excellence in all we do. And none of these efforts could have come to fruition without the generous support of our donors and alumni.

We also could not have succeeded without the interest and support of the members of the State Board of Education. I thank Board President Linda Clark and the other volunteer board members over the past 15 years for their commitment on behalf of Boise State and higher education in Idaho.

Kathy has been a full partner in this venture and she joins me in expressing our gratitude to all the members of the Boise State family and Boise community for the warmth, friendship and support extended to us. We have made so many friends in this wonderful community and appreciate the many opportunities we have had to serve.

Boise State has indeed become the Metropolitan Research University of Distinction we envisioned, but this is a journey not a destination, with many more exciting opportunities and challenges ahead for Boise State.

Needless to say, Kathy and I will be Broncos for life.

Warm regards,
Bob Kustra

Boise Mayor Dave Bieter released this statement regarding Kustra’s retirement announcement:

Every great city needs a great university and in the 15 years since Dr. Kustra has led Boise State, he has indeed put Boise State on the path to greatness. When I met Bob in the first few months of his tenure, I knew he was the right person for the job. But since then, Boise State’s trajectory has been astounding – he’s accomplished much more than I could have ever anticipated in 2003. Bob has been president of Boise State since I was first elected, and it is difficult imagining someone else in that role. But, his hard work leaves Boise State’s next president in a great position to take the university even higher.

© 2017 KTVB-TV

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Thursday, 9 November 2017

Bowl projections for Boise State, Mountain West: Nov. 9, 2017 | Idaho Statesman

It is a new week, but not a ton has changed in the Mountain West bowl picture.

Still, only two teams are out of contention, and only Hawaii and New Mexico are at risk of losing their seventh games this weekend.

Boise State continues to roll, having notched a fifth straight win, Fresno State escaped BYU and San Diego State absolutely dominated San Jose State. Wyoming’s win over Colorado State lets the Cowboys stay in division contention, but Boise State holds the pole position.

As November winds down, it will be very interesting for a conference like the Mountain West. The Power Five conferences may not fill all of their bowl allotments, opening up the Group of Five possibilities. Without the Poinsettia Bowl, the Mountain West has one less of its own affiliations, so there could be some interesting movement to watch. Underdog Dynasty has a good look at that scenario.

Here are our bowl projections for this week (last week’s are here):

MOUNTAIN WEST

Las Vegas (Dec. 16): Boise State vs. Stanford

The bowl is not beholden to take the conference champ, and with San Diego State playing here last year, the Broncos could wind up in it even if they don’t win the title game. However, there’s no reason to think they won’t at this point. I had Oregon here last week, knowing full well beating Washington would be tough. The Ducks still need a win to get bowl-eligible, and at worst should get it in the finale against Oregon State. But let’s mix it up. Stanford is 6-3 but has remaining games against Washington, Cal and Notre Dame. That could put the Cardinal in the No. 6 spot in the conference, which is Las Vegas.

New Mexico (Dec. 16): Fresno State vs. North Texas

Famous Idaho Potato (Dec. 22): Northern Illinois vs. Wyoming

Hawaii (Dec. 24): San Diego State vs. Western Kentucky

Arizona (Dec. 29): Colorado State vs. Louisiana

Five eligible teams, five Mountain West bowls. But there could be more in the mix. The Foster Farms and Cactus Bowls have Mountain West backups, so those are a possibility, too. Boise State would not go to the Cactus since the Broncos went last year. The Frisco Bowl has an at-large slot to face a team from the American.

NEW YEAR’S SIX

Rose (Jan. 1, CFP semi): Georgia vs. Notre Dame

Sugar (Jan. 1, CFP semi): Alabama vs. Clemson

Peach (Jan. 1): Oklahoma vs. UCF

Orange (Dec. 30): Miami (Fla.) vs. Wisconsin

Fiesta (Dec. 30): Washington vs. Penn State

Cotton (Dec. 29): Ohio State vs. TCU

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Boise duo green-lighted for new HGTV series ‘Restoring Idaho’

BOISE – They’ve been known as the "Boise Boys," but as these locals step into the national spotlight they are also stepping into a new name.

In May Boise’s Timber and Love businessmen Clint Robertson and Luke Caldwell called their style "Idaho-Mod" – Idaho warmth mixed with modern touches – in a pilot episode on HGTV featuring their unique styles in restoring homes.

Turns out that pilot episode was just the start of their adventure as they now are filming the first season of their new show for HGTV called "Restoring Idaho."

With Robertson as the contractor and Caldwell as the designer, the six-episode series is slated to premiere in March 2018.

MORE: Boise duo gets a chance at HGTV series

In a Facebook post Thursday the Restoring Idaho stars say they are excited and humbled for the chance to take on this new challenge.

Caldwell grew up in Boise and was a musician before trying his hand at buying, renovating and selling houses.

Robertson was born in Texas, but uprooted his family in the real estate crisis of 2008 at the height of his construction business to move to Idaho.

© 2017 KTVB-TV

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

Slideshow: Hawthorne Elementary Opens Native Plants Garden in Boise

School Garden Coordinator Amy Pence-Brown (left) and Principal James Bright (right) of Hawthorne Elementary School celebrate the opening of the new learning garden.

In a lot of elementary schools, the closest kids come to nature on campus is running across clipped green soccer fields or playing hide-and-seek behind the occasional tree. The exception is Hawthorne Elementary School on the Boise Bench, where students have been breaking the mold—and breaking new ground—since they started digging a vegetable garden on Earth Day in 2014, aiming to grow their own Thanksgiving feast. The back-to-nature trend has never slowed, and Hawthorne took another step Oct. 17 this year, when parents, students and staff celebrated the grand opening of an Idaho Native Plants Learning Landscape & Teaching Garden on campus with a ribbon cutting ceremony, garden tours, treats and a performance from a pint-sized orchestra.

The effort was largely spearheaded by parent and School Garden Coordinator Amy Pence-Brown, a Junior Master Gardener group leader who is also a well-known body image activist and writer. Standing at the center of her half-acre creation, surrounded by sage brush, stone-lined gravel paths and low-growing dessert flowers, Pence-Brown was very much in her element.

“I love outdoor education,” she said. “I’m passionate about getting kids outside and getting
their hands in the dirt. [With the Native Plants Garden] we’re teaching them to be stewards of the world—not only their own backyards but also the Idaho landscape as a whole.”

Pence-Brown has led the Garden Advisory Team at Hawthorne—a group that includes Hawthorne School Principal James Bright, five parents, three teachers and a handful of students—for the last three years. Although inspired by the environmental lessons kids were learning in the classroom (students at Hawthorne have studied worm composting and even created a miniature trout hatchery), Pence-Brown said she "didn’t know what [she] was doing” when she first proposed tearing out a swath of grass for the garden projects. It was the right partnerships, nearly a dozen grant and funding sources and hours of education and training that made the transformation possible.

The Fibonacci spiral sculpture, which will soon be planted with dwarf sunflowers.

Holly Beck, a Bureau of Land Management botanist and Idaho landscape expert who Pence-Brown described as her “partner in crime,” was probably the most experienced voice on the team, having helped design desert gardens for Bruneau Elementary School in Bruneau and Roosevelt Elementary in Boise. At Hawthorne, Beck recommended plants for different sections of the garden, including fragrant chocolate-mint flowers for the pollinator garden and dwarf sunflowers with spiral seeds to plant in a Fibonacci spiral sculpture. Throughout the space, the team has merged beauty, function and education, creating four different themed garden sections, an amphitheater and a meeting area for teachers, all dotted with art, signage and furniture made by local artists and craftsmen.

“Amy poured her heart and soul into this vision,” said Principal Bright, speaking to a crowd of roughly 50 parents and students gathered in and around the small sandstone amphitheater that forms the heart of the garden space. “And that blueprint, now we have it in front of our eyes. It has come to life.”

Pence-Brown, however, doesn’t think the project is finished yet.

“I don’t think gardens are ever done,” she said, smiling as she looked around at the slice of foothills she helped to create. “We’ll be working on this forever.”

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Monday, 9 October 2017

Red Lion in downtown Boise is for sale

The Red Lion in downtown is for sale, as are 10 other Red Lions across the Pacific Northwest. Photo by Teya Vitu.

The 182-room Red Lion Hotel Boise Downtowner is for sale, as is the 163-room Red Lion Templin’s Hotel in Post Falls.

The two are among the last 18 hotels that Red Lion Hotels Corp. still owns. More than a 1,000 Red Lion hotels have been franchised off in the past three years, according to a Red Lion news release.

The Boise hotel is among 11 Red Lions in the greater Pacific Northwest that have been listed with CBRE, the Los Angeles-based commercial real estate giant. Red Lion will retain the other seven hotels for now.

The Red Lion has been in place at 1800 Fairview since 2001-02. Previously, that property had a DoubleTree Hotel.

The seven-story, 140,715-square-foot structure was built in 1960 and is assessed at $6.1 million, according to the Ada County Assessor.

The Red Lion is the sixth-largest Boise hotel, soon to be seventh-largest pending the opening of the 185-room Residence Inn Boise Downtown City Center.

The Red Lion is larger than all of the 30-plus hotels recently opened or under construction in Idaho, except the Residence Inn. Its size and the fact that the land underneath is leased could be a stumbling block to finding a buyer, said David Wali, executive vice president at Gardner Company, which is building a Hilton Garden Inn in downtown Boise.

“There are a lot of rooms,” said Wali, part of the investor group that owns 40 percent of the Riverside Hotel, the largest in the Treasure Valley. “When your do 200-room renovations, that’s a lot of money.”

Wali said a year ago he did ask if the Red Lion was available but got no response.

“There isn’t a single piece of downtown real estate I don’t find interesting,” said Wali, who has an ownership share in numerous downtown Boise properties. “I will always look.”

He added there could be one buyer for all 11 Red Lions or they could sell individually. The others are in Salt Lake City; Spokane, Olympia, Pasco, Richland, and Port Angeles, Washington; and Bend, Oregon. There are also two in northern California, in Eureka and Redding.

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Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Why Your Next Trip To Boise ID Will Be Memorable

The capital city of the state of Idaho is called Boise. It is a city with 1/4 million people. There are beautiful locations that you can visit such as the Boise Art Museum, a place that has outdoor sculptures and contemporary works of art. Boise is located very close to a couple different national forests, and also Snake River. It is located right off of Interstate 84, and if you have never been north of Twin Falls, this is a place that you should consider visiting. These are a few of the many things that you can do once you get to Boise.

Boise River Greenbelt

This is a Parkway where you can have a lot of fun. If there hasn’t been very much flooding, you will certainly enjoy the view. There is a bike trail that you can go on, and are many beautiful places that are worth taking photographs of. It is a beautiful natural area of this state.

World Center For Birds Of Prey

If you enjoy birds of prey, you will certainly want to visit this location that takes care of many of them. You will be able to see people lecturing and demonstrating what can be done with birds like kestrels, if falcon that has owl like qualities.

There are other locations that you can visit such as the Idaho State Capitol Building, and if you want to go for a walk in the park, the Kathryn Albertson park is a wonderful place to visit. There is also a zoo which your kids will love, and if you enjoy botanical gardens, the Idaho Botanical Garden is a place you will enjoy. Once you arrive, you will realize that the pace in the city is very slow. You will be able to relax. However, you will also be very busy going to the many different attractions and tours that are available in the city of Boise, a place that you will enjoy.

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Sunday, 17 September 2017

Eye on Boise: Silak, Trout and Brody talk women on Idaho’s highest court

From left, Cathy Silak, Linda Copple Trout and Robyn Brody – the only three women ever to serve as justices of the Idaho Supreme Court – speak on a panel in Boise sponsored by the Idaho Legal History Society on Sept. 14, 2017. (Betsy Z. Russell / SR)

In more than 150 years, just three women have served on the Idaho Supreme Court, and the three have some interesting insights into why that is, and what could change it.

Current Justice Robyn Brody, former Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout, and former Justice Cathy Silak spoke on a panel Thursday sponsored by the Idaho Legal History Society. Trout noted that when she first started practicing law in Idaho in the 1970s, there were few women lawyers, let alone judges.

“For many years, there just weren’t many of us,” she told a Boise audience of close to 100 that was heavy on female lawyers and law students. Now, there are more female lawyers, but there’s still a lack of female applicants for many of Idaho’s judicial posts.

Trout said that when she was chief justice, the court did a survey and found that the biggest reason female lawyers cited in not applying for judicial positions in Idaho was the prospect of having to run in an election. “Don’t be afraid of elections,” she told the crowd. “You can do it. Justice Brody demonstrated in a big way that you can.”

Brody, who was elected to the Idaho Supreme Court in a hotly contested race last year, said there have often been no female applicants for Idaho judgeships when vacancies have occurred in the past decade – particularly in parts of the state outside the Boise area. “If you’re looking at the judiciary, I would encourage you to look at other communities,” she said. “The rural counties are a great place to practice. … You may find opportunities you never dreamed of.”

She added, “If you want to be on the Supreme Court, you’ve got to tell people. … You have to tell people that that’s what’s in your heart.”

Silak noted that she was the last woman appointed to the Idaho Supreme Court – and that was 25 years ago. Recalling her Idaho Judicial Council interview for the appointment, she said, “It was the most nerve-wracking experience – I shouldn’t say that.” To laughter, she said, “You all should apply.”

Idaho justices can join the court in two ways: through appointment, when there’s a midterm vacancy, which requires screening by the Idaho Judicial Council and appointment by the governor; or through election, when a justice leaves office at the end of his or her term.

Silak also urged women not to be afraid of elections – though she was ousted from the Supreme Court in a contested election in 2000, losing to Justice Dan Eismann, who retired last month. However, she said, “I am the only person since 1936, I think, to be defeated as a Supreme Court justice, so it’s not that big of a risk, and my election was extremely unusual … so don’t let that stop you.”

She noted that was the third time she ran in a judicial election, including a contested election for her second term on the Supreme Court, and she won the first two. “I am two for three,” she said with a smile.

Silak echoed a recent call from retired Chief Justice Jim Jones for a change in Idaho’s judicial elections, to move them from the May primary to the November general election. She noted that she was appointed by then-Gov. Cecil Andrus, a Democrat. But when she stood for re-election for the nonpartisan post, it was in a primary election – in which 86 percent of those voting were Republicans. “That’s when all the real partisans show up,” she said. “This can be fixed by our Idaho state Legislature – it does not require a change to our constitution.”

Currently, if no candidate gets a majority in the primary, the top two proceed to the November general election. That happened last year; Brody won both.

Brody said she preferred the electoral process to applying through the Judicial Council and seeking appointment. “I’m taking my chances with the people every single time,” the former Rupert attorney said. “I ran my practice that way, and I’ll run my campaigns that way, too.”

Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin, who served as the moderator for the panel discussion, asked the three when they thought there would be “enough” women on the Idaho Supreme Court, citing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous comment that enough women on the U.S. high court would be nine – every seat, just as men had held every seat for so much of the nation’s history.

Brody said, “When it’s normal – when this isn’t a historic event.” Her comment drew applause. Both Trout and Silak agreed. “I don’t think it’s the numerical number that makes a difference,” Trout said. “It’s the fact that it’s routine.”

Baskin commented to applause, “I would say we need at least three, and I’d take all three of you at the same time.”

The Idaho Supreme Court has five justices.

Silak said when she first applied for the high court, Gov. Andrus had made it known that he wanted to appoint women to the court. “I advocate for our political leaders to take a page out of Gov. Andrus’ book and prioritize opportunity for women and minorities,” she said. “It’s important for judges to reflect society.”

On driving a Ford Pinto …

One of the biggest laughs of the evening came when Baskin teased Brody about having owned not just one, but two Ford Pintos. Brody said, “My father always told me that if we all drove Ford Pintos, the world would be a much humbler place.”

Disturbing "War Prize" Covered Up For 70 Years Is Finally Revealed!

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