A startup company from North Idaho captivated donors and YouTube viewers worldwide a few years ago with its idea for turning roads and parking lots into solar farms. Now that far-out idea is available for public inspection for the first time.

In Idaho, a wildfire has burned nearly 250 square miles of forest and is growing quickly. About 157,000 acres are currently on fire in Boise National Forest in the western part of the state, northeast of Boise.

The blaze, known as the Pioneer Fire, has been burning for several weeks, but hot, dry weather this week caused the wildfire to get much larger.

Scott Graf of Boise State Public Radio reports for NPR's Newscast Unit:

If an Idaho state trooper stops an Idaho driver just across the Washington state line and a lawsuit ensues—whose case is it? The Washington Supreme Court Thursday said it’s basically a legal coin toss. 

Idaho Press Club Honors Our Regional Reporters

May 2, 2016

A state representative admits he's not one of the cool kids and nobody wants to sit by him on an airplane full of lawmakers.

A rancher tells of a wildfire so out of control, flames jumped and reached across a highway.

Santa and Mrs. Claus are introduced to a room full of refugees in English and Arabic.

These stories and more from our reporters were awarded six honors Saturday from the Idaho Press Club, recognizing the best Idaho journalism in 2015.

An Oregon-based nuclear company presented a detailed timeline Thursday for the deployment of its first small modular nuclear power plant. An executive from NuScale Power presented the roadmap during a keynote address to the International SMR and Advanced Reactor Summit taking place this week in Atlanta.

The share of Oregonians and Washingtonians without health insurance has dropped dramatically under Obamacare. The uninsured rate is now at a historic low in the West Coast states.

Idaho has missed out on that trend, largely because the state until now has refused to expand Medicaid eligibility on the federal dime. Idaho's Republican-controlled legislature was teetering Friday on whether to end its holdout.

Idaho will remain among the 19 states resisting a key provision of Obamacare. The Idaho Legislature adjourned Friday without agreement on whether to explore an expansion of the Medicaid program.

As the Idaho Legislature lurches to a conclusion of its 2016 session, Idaho lawmakers and some school groups are declaring schools a winner.

Idaho has become the 25th state to authorize terminally-ill patients to request unapproved, investigational drugs and treatments. The concept -- also new in Oregon -- has come to be known as the “Right to Try.”

Idaho cities, counties and local voters will not have the option to approve increases in the minimum wage in the absence of action at the state level. A legislative measure to block local minimum wage increases became law Tuesday.

This winter, the Idaho Legislature has considered a range of what are sometimes called "message bills," introduced to convey dissatisfaction with how federal agencies are managing public lands. But the latest proposal from one conservative lawmaker went too far even for the Republican majority in the statehouse. 

Sen. Ted Cruz won the Idaho Republican presidential primary. Cruz pulled in about 45 percent of the GOP vote Tuesday followed by businessman Donald Trump in a distant second place with 28 percent.

Idaho State Treasurer Ron Crane served as Ted Cruz’s honorary state chairman. Crane said Cruz’s values aligned with Idaho’s GOP electorate.

“He connected with Idahoans,” Crane said. “I think his visit to Idaho this last weekend was strategic. His timing was perfect.”

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio speaking with supporters at a campaign rally in Nevada in February. He, along with Ted Cruz, visited Idaho before its primary.
Flickr Photo/Gage Skidmore (CC BY SA 2.0)/

Bill Radke talks with professor Jaclyn Kettler of ​Boise State University about how much attention GOP candidates are giving Idaho in 2016. The state used to vote in May, but for the first time are voting in March. Lawmakers there thought voting earlier would maybe give Idaho more national influence.

Idaho is one of four states with presidential primaries or caucuses Tuesday. Turnout could be high in the Republican primary if it’s like the others this season.

"I will not compromise away your religious liberty."

That was the vow Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made to supporters in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho as he campaigned Saturday at the Kootenai County Fairgrounds.