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In Brief 

by Kristina Crawley and Cara Gardner

One Million Down... -- COUER D'ALENE -- North Idaho College and the NIC Foundation announced they have raised more than $1 million towards equipping a new Health and Sciences building and providing scholarships for students in those programs. The minimum goal of the "Providing Opportunities--Fulfilling Dreams" Community Campaign is $2 million.

"It was our hope that we would reach the halfway point -- it kind of gives you some momentum as you open it up to the rest of the world," says Kent Propst, NIC assistant to the president for community relations.

The state of Idaho is providing $11.9 million, but those funds will only cover the cost of construction and basic infrastructure. At least $1 million from the campaign will go toward technology and another $1 million to scholarships.

The new building, which is scheduled to open in September 2005, will increase NIC's classroom capacity by 25 percent, with 10 classrooms, eight labs, two auditoriums and two video broadcast classrooms. It is a vast improvement over the current facilities, such as the science building, constructed in 1974.

"Science moves on. And science has changed pretty dramatically since 1974," notes Propst.

So far, most of the money has come from major donors like Kootenai Medical Center, business owners Ben and Anna Rolphe of Rolphe Industries and J-U-B Engineers. Ace Walden, a founding member of the NIC Foundation who has lived in Coeur d'Alene for more than 90 years, donated $25,000.

Defense in Idaho -- Boise - The $416 billion Defense Appropriations Bill includes more than $8 million of defense-related spending in Idaho, to be given mostly to the University of Idaho, which conducts research on everything from advanced communications for military operations to autonomous military vehicles.

"Idaho should be proud of its role in our nation's defense," said Idaho Sen. Larry Craig in a statement to the press. "These projects underscore the amount of research, development and training Idaho provides and will continue to provide."

Included in Idaho's $8 million defense-spending package is $1.9 million for the Lewis and Clark Bicentennial Commemoration. The funding is listed as "support" for Army National Guard operations and security along the Lewis and Clark Trail during the bicentennial celebration. Other states also received funding for security along the trail.

Other funded projects include $1.2 million to the University of Idaho for more advanced technological security networks; $1.8 million for development of autonomous vehicles capable of navigating land, air and or water; $1 million for lead acid battery developments for military vehicles; and $1.2 million for advanced communication and radar systems.

Craig was part of the controversial closed-doors decision-making sessions for the defense bill. His push for $1 billion for a nuclear reactor at INEEL was not included in the final draft.

"Each of these projects will allow Idaho's institutions, men and women in uniform, and talented researchers to further contribute to our national security," says Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson.

Notification Unconstitutional -- BOISE -- Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden will ask the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals to reconsider their July 16 decision, which made unconstitutional an Idaho statute requiring medical personnel to notify the parents of a minor seeking an abortion. The provision contained an exception to this requirement that allowed for the minor to get a judicial bypass if the abortion were a medical emergency. But the Ninth Circuit panel of three judges said the definition of "medical emergency" is too narrow, making the statute unconstitutional.

"It's the Attorney General's duty to defend legislative enactments," says Bob Cooper, spokesman for the Attorney General's office, echoing a statement written in a letter from Deputy Attorney General Michael McPeek to the leaders of the Idaho House and Senate.

Wasden is asking that an en banc panel (consisting of the chief judge and 10 other judges of the Ninth Circuit) reconsider the decision. In his letter, McPeek wrote that if the panel agrees with the original decision that the definition of "medical emergency" is unconstitutional, the Attorney General's office will ask that the entire statute not be repealed, so that legislators can change the definition.

Publication date: 07/29/04
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