Idaho Sen. Jim Risch today told the U.S. State Department’s Undersecretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman that the United States should cut off all funds to Iran until Idaho Pastor Saeed Abedini and two other Americans who are imprisoned in Iran are released. Abedini, of Boise, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012 on charges related to Christian evangelizing. Risch said he’s sure the move would work. At a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today on the topic “Iran: Status of the P-5+1,” Risch told Sherman, “I have urged that you do something about getting Pastor Abedini and the other two Americans released. As you know, I was incredibly critical of you guys because you cut billions loose without demanding this tiny, tiny little thing as far as Iran is concerned. I wanna ratchet that up again – you did it again”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (Photo of Pastor Saaed Abedini by Be Heard Project)
Question: I'm glad that U.S. Sen. Risch is applying pressure to force the release of Pastor Abedini of Boise, who has been imprisoned in Iran for alleged crimes related to his Christian faith. You?
“I promise we won't have bobbing for Baby Ruth candy bars.”
— Sid Fredrickson, wastewater treatment director re: games planned for department's 75th anniversary.
H/T: Taryn Thompson, Coeur d'Alene Press
Question: Remember the swimming pool scene in “Caddy Shack”?
DFO (RE: 007: Popkey's now a flack): There may be another angle at play here. Popkey is 55 years old — an age in which he's facing an uncertain future as far as newpapering goes. I know several individuals in the 45-55 range who are wondering if it's time to bail for another career because they don't know how long their newspaper will hold out. I'd guess Popkey's salary increased significantly when he signed on the dotted line with Labrador. Also, I'd guess that his benefits and retirement packages improved significantly. This could be a situation where a good reporter saw the writing on the wall and jumped for a signicantly better financial situation.
Question: Is this about money, bottom line?
The Democrat challenger to Republican incumbent Vito Barbieri, District 2A Representative, said the two candidates couldn’t be any more different. Cheryl Stransky (pictured) has lived in northern Idaho for 37 years, raised two children and recently retired from 33 years working as a school counselor. She said she decided to run not because she was interested in politics but because she was interested in helping her community. Ms. Stransky said she is unimpressed with Mr. Barbieri’s representation. “His representation of our district is radically opposed to anything I felt comfortable with,” she said. “My opponent has lived in Coeur d’Alene for less than 10 years, so I feel like my investment in the community is more solid and I have a better understanding of the people’s wants and needs.” She criticizes that Mr. Barbieri fails to follow the wishes of the people that he represents/Mary Orr, St. Maries Gazette-Record. More here.
Question: Do you think House District 2 (northern Kootenai County) is as radical as state Rep. Vito Barbieri?
The need for a local veterans home came across loud and clear Tuesday night. About 200 people packed into American Legion Post 143 for a meeting conducted by the Idaho Division of Veterans Service and a planning team which is developing a feasibility report for veterans care facilities in the state. “It's very apparent that we have support,” Dana Kauffman of Insight Architects told the crowd of veterans, family members and elected officials. Facility proponents, led by former Post Falls Mayor and veteran Clay Larkin, are hoping that an 88-bed home will be constructed in three to five years. The feasibility report is expected to be submitted to the Veterans Administration in Washington, D.C., by April/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo by Jake Parrish: Veterans turned out to support vets home in Post Falls)
New textbooks are arriving at elementary schools in Spokane County’s largest district, launching widespread adoption of the Common Core curriculum. Common Core is a set of national standards in language arts and math education that’s been adopted by most states, including Washington and Idaho. Some teachers at Roosevelt Elementary School on Spokane’s South Hill called the massive book delivery “Christmas in July.” Not only does it comply with new state standards, it’s the first time the district has had all-new teaching tools in 25 years. “They had piecemeal things before, and they had to spend a lot of time making it fit together,” said Karin Thompson, elementary curriculum coordinator. With the new materials, “now they get to focus on the art and science of teaching,” she said/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here. (SR photo by Tyler Tjomsland: Mary Lutton, right, and Sandra Olsen, fifth-grade teachers at Roosevelt Elementary, sort through books for Common Core on Monday)
Question: Do you expect a fierce fight over Common Core in the 2015 Idaho Legislature?
Sid Fedrickson, Wastewater Utility Superintendent, examines the filtered water at the Coeur d’Alene Wastewater Treatment Plant. The Wastewater Treatment Plant opened on Aug. 1, 1939, and will celebrate it’s 75th anniversary this Friday. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Tess Freeman)
Coeur d'Alene's Wastewater Utility Department is celebrating its 75th anniversary Friday with a free hot dog and hamburger lunch. Wastewater Superintendent Sid Fredrickson said attendees can decide themselves whether to tour the Wastewater Treatment Plant before or after they eat. An open house is set for 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Friday, with hourly tours for ages 10 and older and a presentation on “What Happens After the Flush.” Fun, games and crafts for kids are also planned. “I promise we won't have bobbing for Baby Ruth candy bars,” Fredrickson said. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. When the city's Wastewater Treatment Plant was built in 1939, Coeur d'Alene had a population of 10,000. Many homes were still on septic then, Fredrickson said/Taryn Thompson, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
If “gettin' me re-elected” were not the primary thought in his head, here's how Idaho Gov. C.L (Butch) Otter might have handled the exodus of Central American children streaming into the country. He'd soberly frame the issue as a humanitarian crisis. These are not illegal immigrants seeking prosperity in the north. These are refugees. For anyone willing to listen, he'd share the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees report, which found 58 percent of the children interviewed left Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to flee violence. Advocates for these children say conditions at home are so bad that anywhere from 40 to 60 percent of them could qualify to remain in the United States/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you agree/disagree that Gov. Otter could have handled children refugee crisis better?
In more of the reaction to yesterday’s court ruling on leadership of the Idaho Republican Party, the two party officials whom Barry Peterson unsuccessfully sued, Mike Mathews and Cindy Siddoway, have issued a statement on the results. “I am happy that the August 2nd meeting called by the grassroots of the party will go forward. I look forward to holding elections to end any confusion in party leadership,” Mathews said. He was the party’s first vice-chairman, but according to the judge’s ruling, there are now no state officers, though the locally chosen central committee members remain in place/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Is an Idaho GOP without a chairman state officers more stable than one that has a chairman and state officers?
On her Facebook page, Cindy issues the following threat: “Will be issuing fines to all who use the 'h' word in a complaint today
Should be able to take a nice vacation with the proceeds.” So you've been warned. Here's today's Wild Card …
Kootenai County sheriff’s detectives have identified the deceased male that was found on the shoreline of Lake Coeur d’Alene on Saturday, July 19. The victim has been identified as Daniel Escallero Moreno, 40, of Coeur d’Alene. At the time of his death, Moreno was a known transient. Autopsy and toxicology results are pending and may take several more weeks to obtain. Though there were no obvious signs of foul play, the case is still being actively investigated as a suspicious death. Anyone that may have had contact with Moreno prior to his death is asked to contact Sheriff’s Detectives at (208)446-1301. Further details are not available at this time/Lt. Stu Miller, KCSD.
James Bond (RE: Fort Boise: Idaho's loss, Raul's gain): There is no question that Popkey was largely considered to be a prototypical liberal journalist by the establishment Republican crowd in Idaho. This turns that on its head. He may well be liberal in his personal views, but he just took a position with a right-wing, Tea Party guy! I bet there's plenty of grumbling going on in the offices of the other congressionals today. In a way, with Popkey's history of taking on the establishment and Labrador's anti-establishment pedigree, this is a poetic, predictable ending to a three-decade career in journalism. You're a flack now, Dan! FLACK!
Question: Has Popkey sold out?
A boat on Lake Pend Oreille burst into flames at a Bayview marina this afternoon, burning a man and boy on board. The victims jumped into the lake at MacDonald’s Hudson Bay Resort and were rescued by bystanders on the dock, while another witness pushed the burning boat away from the marina in Scenic Bay, Timberlake Fire Protection District Chief Kevin Kleinworth said. Richard Wagner, 70, of Idaho Falls, and his 8-year-old grandson both suffered severe burns. The boy was taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. The boat – a 1966 Tollycraft cabin cruiser – had just backed out of a boat house around 2 p.m. when the fire broke out, Kleinworth said. “They were about 20 feet from the boat house when apparently there was some sort of initial explosion, according to the bystanders, and fire,” he said/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Kameron Freiday takes a drink from a hose while battling temperatures in the high 90s as he laid pipe on a construction project in Coeur d'Alene today. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Question: Can you think of a job that you wouldn't want to be doing in this heat?
Don’t look at me to handicap the Miss America Pageant in September. I do a lousy enough job picking winners of sporting events and political elections and I can’t remember the last time I saw a Miss America Pageant. I will make an exception this year and make a point to watch the competition on television on Sept. 14. And I will go out on a limb and say that Miss Idaho, Sierra Anne Sandison of Twin Falls, has a decent shot at winning. No, she does not hail from the South, or Midwest, which produce long lines of past winners. A Miss Idaho has never won. But Sierra has something that few others have – a compelling story. And all she had to do was walk on stage during the swimsuit competition of the Miss Idaho Pageant with an insulin pump attached to her side/Chuck Malloy, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP file photo: Miss Idaho Sierra Sandison during a portrait session near Centennial Waterfront Park in Twin Falls)
Question: Do you plan to watch the 2014 Miss America Pageant to see Miss Idaho perform?