This week on Idaho Reports: Tiny towns, big challenges

Two lock-down situations at the Mackay health center prompted the clinic CEO to threaten to shut down the center, leaving a small Idaho community questioning the balance between public safety, conservative spending and the will of voters.

The incidents, first discovered by Idaho Reports via Mackay City Council meeting minutes, took place between August 2016 and January 2017. Both happened at the Mackay Clinic of the Lost River Medical Center. In February, CEO Brad Huerta approached the city council, saying he may close the clinic if officials didn’t improve law enforcement services.

Though the community criticized the response times, those same residents recently voted down a tax levy increase that could have paid for an additional county deputy to patrol the area, highlighting the challenge of providing emergency services in rural areas with decreasing populations. And that challenge isn’t unique to Custer County.

We’ll have more on this story on this week’s Idaho Reports. Also on tonight’s show: Lobbyists Seth Grigg of the Idaho Association of Counties, Kathy Griesmyer of ACLU-Idaho, and Brian Whitworth of the Idaho Hospital Association give us a preview of their legislative priorities. We distill the highlights from the Associated Press’s legislative preview with Gov. Otter and legislative leadership. Finally, Bill Spence of the Lewiston Tribune, Clark Corbin of Idaho Education News and Betsy Russell of the Spokesman-Review join the pundits.

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