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Headlines for Feb. 7, 2017: What to Know?

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BINGO BARNES
  • Bingo Barnes
Happy birthday, Pinocchio. It was on this date 77 years ago that Walt Disney introduced the little wooden boy; and, while more than a few critics continue to call Pinocchio the greatest hand-drawn animated film in history, not many people remember that it was actually a box office bomb in the U.S. Most of its financial and critical success came from Europe, which was then in the throes of World War II. We have it on good authority that the tale of the puppet whose nose grew when he stretched the truth will not be screened at the White House today.
  • Democrats held the floor of the U.S. Senate overnight and into this morning, giving an endless list of reasons not to approve Betsy DeVos as the next secretary of education. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) led the charge, saying it was "difficult to imagine a worse choice to head the Department of Education. Betsy DeVos doesn't believe in public schools." That said, the vote on DeVos will occur at midday, in what is expected to be the narrowest approval of a cabinet nominee in U.S. history. All 48 Democrats and two Republicans in the chamber are expected to vote "nay" on DeVos, leaving it to Vice President Mike Pence to break the tie—a situation that has never occurred in the history of U.S. cabinet nominees.

  • Another showdown is looming on the West Coast, where the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals will hear oral arguments today from President Donald Trump's Justice Department on why his travel ban on Muslim-majority nations should be reinstated. Trump's executive order was listed by a federal judge in Seattle, triggering the White House to move up the judicial ladder to the 9th Circuit. If Trump still doesn't get his way at the 9th Circuit, it almost certainly sets the stage for an historic fight in front of the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • The vote is more than a month away, but the Boise City Council today is expected to offer its full support of a $172.5 million bond that the Boise School District plans to put before voters on Tuesday, March 14. The measure would fund improvements or replacements at all 48 of the district's schools. If approved, the bond would pay for the construction of six replacement schools on their current sites, plus a new school for the city's Harris Ranch neighborhood. The school district insists the bond will not increase the current property tax rate. Truth be told, the bond would replace previously approved bonds that are due to expire. A resolution of support will be put before the City Council when it meets Tuesday evening.

  • The Idaho Transportation Department is promising to resurface the pothole-ravaged stretch of Interstate 84 from Nampa to Caldwell this summer. In its announcement, ITD said the project has to be accelerated because of harsh winter weather. The majority of the work should take place over the course of four weekends this summer.

  • More than a year after the armed militia occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon, two Idahoans who took part in the takeover pleaded guilty Monday to a federal charge of trespassing, a misdemeanor. Sean and Sandy Anderson, of Riggins, made the plea in exchange for the government dropping its other charges—including felonies. They were ordered by pay $1,000 in restitution to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and will serve one year of probation.

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