The math teacher was trying to teach about solving story problems using variables, but no one was listening to her because Dean was too busy making fun of the problem.

In his first State-of-the-State address, Idaho Governor, Brad Little, offered one or two conservative nuggets, but mostly delivered a big-government buffet. It was disappointing from a freedom, liberty, and Constitution perspective, but it was especially disheartening from a family, faith, a…

State lawmakers and Gov. Brad Little are starting to disclose what we in the policy research world have known for many months: It’s going to be difficult in 2019 to follow through on the promise to eliminate Idaho’s sales tax on groceries. But they should.

On December 11, 2018, with my support, the U.S. Senate passed the final version of the new Farm Bill by an overwhelmingly, bipartisan vote of 87-13. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the legislation the next day also by a broad, bipartisan vote of 369-47 before it went to President Tr…

Even though it had been a few years since I had been a scoutmaster, I always tried to go on campouts with the boys when an extra adult was needed. This mostly fell on the high adventure in the summer, which lasted most of a week. Each year, as we hiked miles into the wilderness or attempted …

When a horde of people descends on a place, your instinct might be to build a wall. Sometimes those instincts are both right (“They’ll hurt our quality of life!”) and impractical (“It’ll cost a ton of money!”).

Idaho has a new report card for its public schools. But don’t call it a report card. Except for those times when it is. And that’s hardly ever, but not exactly never.

It was nearly November, and, as our high school English class was ending for the day, our teacher announced the next writing assignment. “For Veterans Day, each of you will write an interview paper. That means you are to interview someone and write about what you learned. The person you inte…

Bipartisan legislative achievements often get lost in the din of partisan rhetoric. But, the bipartisan accomplishments of the 115th Congress and this Administration are representative of how we can work together in the 116th Congress ahead to make further progress for our country. The follo…

Sam was tired of working his boring job and wanted to strike out and become an entrepreneur. He had a great idea for a business venture. He was going to start a fitness and weight loss center. He loved to work with people on losing weight, and he had trained as a fitness coach. It was the pe…

As we spend time with family and friends this Christmas season—tromping through the snow to get a Christmas tree, skiing, snow shoeing, sledding, ice skating, or just shoveling snow and ice off of our driveways and sidewalks—the snow we recreate in and move around translates into significant…

Congressional action to legalize hemp means the Idaho Legislature and Gov. Brad Little will have good cause to confront the state’s cannabis policy this winter. And it couldn’t have come at a better time: Idaho now finds itself surrounded on all sides by legal marijuana in one form or anothe…

As we look ahead to the new year, a new state government administration, and the 2019 legislative session, I offer the following select thoughts. The elections are over, it’s time for elected officials to dig in to do the hard work. So, let’s begin with chocolate.

Veterans serve on the front lines of our national defense, sacrificing for country, community, family, friends and fellow soldiers. Many people’s thoughts may go directly to how we can honor this service by better supporting our troops in combat or in memory; however, there is another compon…

America’s children represent our nation’s prospect for a bright and strong future. They are smart, hopeful, inquisitive and insightful. It is incumbent upon all of us to do what we can to keep them safe from harm and help them to have opportunities for promising and productive lives. The fac…

Jacob loved music. He sang while he milked the cows, changed sprinkler pipe, or rode his horse. But he lacked confidence in his ability. One of his brothers had heard him singing once and had made fun of him, so Jacob was careful to only sing when he thought no one else was around.

For many years, scientists have debated why some critters that live in caves and at great ocean depths have eyes yet are blind. Is the sightlessness of the cavefish—perhaps the most studied of darkness-bound species—the result of generations left in blackness, negating the need for visual in…

With the end of the 115th Congress, I will wrap up my first term serving on the Senate Judiciary Committee. It has been a memorable, remarkable and historic experience. We have no doubt addressed some very difficult issues that have weighed heavily on the minds of committee members and all A…

For the last several years, I’ve used my pre-Thanksgiving Day column to write about a decades-old dumb Idaho law that cast a cloud on the season. Happily, this is my last column on this topic. Thankfully, Idaho lawmakers repealed that dumb law earlier this year.

We youth leaders in our community had just finished going through the straw maze and were waiting for some of the youth to make multiple forays through when the conversation turned to the jobs the teenagers had been able to find. As we talked about this subject, Susan told us about a unique …

Many of us are familiar with the story of the Pilgrims landing at Plymouth Rock in 1620 and that they celebrated the first Thanksgiving. An important lesson on socialism is often missed in that early settlement. Originally all colonists were to place their production in the common warehouse …

Since 2010, the Idaho Freedom Foundation has been making the case that state legislators shouldn’t be able to cash in their part-time elected jobs for a full-time state job that comes with a lucrative pension. For several years, lawmakers have advanced bills to end the practice of rewarding …

As we sit down to our Thanksgiving meals, there is a good chance the hard work of Idaho farmers went into a majority of our meal. Meals at Thanksgiving are as varied as the people who celebrate it, but there are some iconic dishes with strong Idaho connections.

To the Editor, The Jefferson Star:

I played offensive guard and defensive tackle on my high school football team. On special teams, I was on both receiving and on kickoff. I was almost always on the field. Then one day, my line coach saw me kick the football. The kicker had been challenging and mocking everyone, saying they c…

I had been working as a landscape laborer, digging ditches, laying sod, and all sorts of physical labor. But as school started in the fall, the cold set in, and there was very little of that type of work to be had. I checked the employment board at the university twice each day trying to be …

It’s over. While I always knew this day would come, I was hoping it would end differently. You’re not the man you used to be. Sometimes, I wonder if you ever were the man I thought you were.

Ask any soldier about their time in the military and an overwhelming 90 percent will tell you it was an incredible experience. (1) No matter their background, religion, ethnicity, or gender most would do it all over again. Being in the military or serving one’s country is an honor, a sense o…

This will be the 100th anniversary of Veteran’s Day. Originally designated Armistice Day the name was changed by Congress in 1954 to be called Veteran’s Day. The end of World War I was said to end all wars. Some members of the Snake River Post No. 1004 I remember well; Walk Eschler, Jim Durr…

Whether coming from a military family or not, each American, in one way or another has been effected, molded and shaped by war and the brave soldiers who have fought them.

I was invited and attended the School Board "cottage meeting" in Hamer Tuesday night (Oct 23). There were maybe 30-40 mostly unhappy parents there. And it was obvious that Superintendent Richins and the two school board members present had heard the complaints of the parents many times befor…

Veterans, by putting their lives on the line for their country, communities, fellow service members and fellow Americans, represent the ultimate sacrifice, which is at the core of their service. We honor veterans this Veterans Day by recognizing the foundation of their service and helping to…

Recently I was traveling a long, dusty road when I stopped at a place in the middle of nowhere. The road from our high school in St. Anthony to the one in Salmon where we often competed ran through a long, barren stretch of road. The trip on a school bus was about three hours and seemed to g…

To the Editor, The Jefferson Star:

There is growing concern over the rising cost of prescription drugs. Drug manufacturers argue that the rising prices of these medications are largely due to the cost of research and development; however, it can be challenging for consumers to distinguish whether these claims are authentic. A…

Liza stared at the young man, Mr. Winthrop, who stood at her door. The fear and concern showed in his face. “Please?” he begged. “Please, won’t you come? I’m afraid my wife and baby will die without your help.”

Whatever you do, don’t make a move. Because the slightest decline in Idaho’s economy will collapse the estimate of how much money Medicaid expansion is expected to cost Idaho taxpayers. Milliman’s projections assume that Idaho’s unemployment rate will remain at 2.9 percent for the next 10 years.

One of my daughters is expecting a baby, and as with each new addition to our family, we are really excited. There are only a few weeks left, so I wasn’t surprised when my cell phone started beeping every few seconds. I looked to see that everyone was guessing the day and time of the arrival…

As the November election approaches, we will continue to be bombarded with myths, ads, and calls to expand Medicaid - urging us to vote in support of this massive funding increase and further dependence on government programs.

Each year since 2011, Idaho Hometown Hero Awards have been presented to members of Idaho communities who are extraordinarily dedicated to hard work, self-improvement and community service. This annual spotlight on great work reminds us of the many Idahoans, including those unrecognized, who …

Goren and Lilly had been married for just over a year, and Lilly was growing annoyed with Goren. He had promised that he would put indoor plumbing into the house after they were married, but he hadn’t. Lilly was tired of bathing at the hand pump in the summer and dragging water into the hous…

It’s ironic that Idaho’s big hospitals can’t you tell how much a medical procedure will cost but they have perfect clairvoyance to declare that Obamacare’s Medicaid expansion will save Idaho money. Well, here’s some advice for ya: Don’t trust the cost estimates from an industry that can’t ex…

Congress’s recent passage of S. 97, the Nuclear Energy Innovation Capabilities Act (NEICA) underscores the strong bipartisan agreement in Congress that nuclear energy is a reliable, safe, clean and efficient part of our national energy portfolio and a commitment to maintaining U.S. leadershi…