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Eye On Boise

Archive for April 8, 2013

Would-be Tamarack buyer’s trial includes testimony about fraud, forgery

Fraud and forgery are being detailed in the federal court trial of a would-be buyer of troubled Tamarack Resort who faces 17 counts of wire fraud, the Associated Press reports; click below for a report on the trial, now four days in, from AP reporter John Miller.

Priest Lake cabin owners face costly choice

For the first time ever, the state of Idaho is opening up every state-owned cabin site on Priest Lake to conflict bidding – meaning others could bid against the current cabin owners when the 354 leases come up Dec. 31; the same is true for the 165 cabins at Payette Lake. At the same time, new state-commissioned appraisals have come in a whopping 84 percent higher for next year for the land values on the Priest Lake state lots, which are used to calculate annual rents; the Payette Lake lots actually declined slightly in value in the news appraisals.  Some Priest Lake cabin owners who were in the midst of negotiating for land exchanges to get ownership of the land under their cabins now are finding out they can’t afford it.

“It will have an effect,” said state Lands Director Tom Schultz. He’s guessing that anywhere from 8 percent to 30 percent of the 354 Priest Lake cabin owners may default on their leases, walking away from cabins that in some cases have been in their families for generations.  “I’m not going to make false promises and say that it’s going to be OK, because for some of those folks, it may not be OK,” said Schultz, who will travel north to the Spokane Valley for a meeting with cabin owners on Wednesday night. “What I’ve found is that people would rather hear the truth and be given options for dealing with the truth.” You can read my full story here at

Idaho Court of Appeals overturns marijuana DUI conviction

Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Court of Appeals has reversed a lower court's decision upholding a Boise man's conviction for driving under the influence of marijuana. The court ruled last week in the case of Geirrod Stark, who was found guilty in 2010 of driving while impaired. In its ruling, Judge Pro Tem Jesse Walters overturned the conviction, arguing Stark's blood test results only prove he'd used marijuana recently — not the day he was stopped. There's no question Stark was impaired that day Walters said, but there's no proof that drugs — and not some other condition — caused his erratic driving. During his original trial, Stark said he was disoriented because he was dehydrated and hungry. He said he also suffers from paranoid schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.

You can read the court's full decision here. Click below for a full report from AP reporter Hannah Furfaro.

Lawmakers offer differing views on accompishments during session…

At the close of the legislative session this year, I asked a slew of North Idaho legislators what they felt like they accomplished this year. The answers varied pretty widely. Rep. Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, said, “I just go and do my work. I don’t know what I accomplished.” Others were in the thick of the session’s biggest debates. Some met defeat with their own proposals; others carved our small but significant victories. You can read my full Sunday story here.

Rep. Frank Henderson, R-Post Falls, who cited an economic development bill and building relationships for future work as his top accomplishments, said, “I’m just totally pleased with the quality of the new legislators. They’re very high-quality people. They brought legitimate business experience and a high level of integrity and understanding that impressed me.” Added Henderson, 90, “I didn’t have to babysit anybody.”

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Betsy Z. Russell covers Idaho news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Boise.

Named best state-based political blog in Idaho for 2013 by The Fix

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