April 4, 2006 in Idaho

Playground piece would honor Dylan

The Spokesman-Review
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Background and the latest updates

Dylan Groene may be memorialized with a piece of playground equipment at Fernan Elementary School.

The school’s principal has been contacted by a North Carolina man who wants to raise money for a Wall Ball – a wall children can bounce balls off – as a memorial to Dylan, who attended the school, Coeur d’Alene Superintendent Harry Amend said Monday.

Dylan – along with his older brother, mother and mother’s boyfriend – was killed last year. Joseph Edward Duncan III is suspected of killing Dylan and the others and is scheduled for trial later this year.

The school board Monday also discussed where a proposed plaque for Dylan might go. The North Carolina donor suggested the playground. Amend also checked with the Human Rights Education Institute, which said it would welcome the plaque at its location. Board members Christie Wood, Sid Fredrickson and Vern Newby spoke in favor of the institute.

Newby said that as long as Dylan’s sister, Shasta Groene, attends Fernan, a plaque at the playground might serve as a painful reminder.

Amend didn’t identify the donor Monday, saying he isn’t sure the man wishes to be known. The man heard about the Groene case and wanted to “honor his fallen hero,” he said.

The wall would cost about $12,000, Amend said, and the interested donor said he has a “posse” to help raise the money.

Rasha Madkour


Smoking motor empties Capitol

Idaho’s state Capitol was evacuated for nearly an hour Monday morning because of smoke from a motor in the basement – just as the House and Senate were preparing to begin their sessions.

Legislators, lobbyists, staffers and others milled around on the lawn across from the Capitol as firetrucks rolled up and streets were blocked.

Brent Ho, special operations division chief for the Boise City Fire Department, said the acrid smoke came from a motor in the building’s heating and cooling system, which sent the smoke into several floors of the Statehouse. No damage was reported. The building reopened just before 11 a.m.

Some lawmakers gathered to plot strategy, while others made jokes. Members of leadership from the House and Senate huddled on a sidewalk. “We’re just trying to have a meeting of the minds,” said House Speaker Bruce Newcomb, adding with a chuckle as reporters, legislators and others wandered by, “It’s an open meeting.”

Weary with a session that stretched into its 85th day Monday, some lawmakers observed that something was finally lighting a fire under the Legislature.

Betsy Z. Russell


Government Way open house today

Hayden will hold an open house today for residents to review and comment on the proposed final design for the Government Way Streetscape Project.

The open house will be from 4 to 7 p.m. at City Hall. Afterward, the design will go to the City Council for adoption.

The Government Way project includes road improvements from Honeysuckle Avenue to Miles Avenue, including widening pavement to three lanes; building curbs, swales and sidewalks; lighting improvements; and lighting and signal improvements at Honeysuckle and Hayden avenues.

The project also includes enhancements from Honeysuckle to just north of Hayden Avenue. That will include burying utility lines, planting trees, installing landscaped median islands, enhancing pedestrian crossings, and installing pedestrian and festival lighting.

Funding comes from a mix of federal, state and city sources.

Construction could start in March 2007 and will take about four months.

Staff reports

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