Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

Idaho is one of the worst states when it comes to convenient health care for rural residents. Long drives to see the doctor. Trouble making appointments that fit your schedule. Limited access to specialists.

That won’t be true much longer for residents of Buhl.

St. Luke’s Magic Valley is building a new 5,700-square-foot clinic on Burley Avenue. Construction will begin this fall.

The new clinic means Buhl residents won’t have to drive 30 minutes to Twin Falls for something as simple as an X-ray. And, certainly worth cheering, St. Luke’s will offer mental health care services from the clinic, too.

Jeer

How many Idaho legislators does it take to screw in a lightbulb?

The better question this week is how many does it take to represent the state in support of an issue the state doesn’t support?

We’re talking about a meeting being held this week in Arizona where delegates are planning how to trigger a constitutional convention and amend the U.S. Constitution to include a balanced-budget amendment. Idaho sent 10 delegates, more than any other state – even though earlier this year the Legislature struck down a bill that would have had Idaho support the effort.

In its history, the Constitution has been amended only by the Congress, even though it allows for amendments through a convention.

So far, 27 states, all controlled by Republicans, have active requests to convene a convention. A bill to add Idaho to the list was crushed earlier this year. It received just 11 votes in the Senate, one more than the number of lawmakers we sent to Arizona.

We’ve no problem sending a delegate or two to learn more about the process and report back, but 10? And all on the taxpayers’ dime?

We’d expect a political party so focused on fiscal responsibility to be a tad more, well, fiscally responsible when crafting the guest list for a four-day meeting on fiscal responsibility.

Cheer

Add us to the list of ranchers, landowners, hikers, campers, outfitters and wildlife advocates who support designating a wide swath of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area as the first International Dark Sky Reserve in the United States.

There are only 11 around the world.

The reserve would encompass about 1,400 square miles near Stanley, where residents have worked with government officials for years on an application for the designation.

About 80 percent of North Americans live in areas where light pollution blocks out stars. Central Idaho is not such a place, and it attracts tourists from around the world to witness the stunning Idaho night skies.

The designation could mean even more visitors. Supporters also say designation could help improve residents’ sleep, benefit nocturnal wildlife and boost home values.

The association expects to make a decision on Idaho’s application this winter.

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