Latest from The Spokesman-Review
Sheriff Ben Wolfinger patrols the streets during recent Coeur d'Alene 4th of July activities. (SR file photo)
North Idaho has the highest crime rate in the state, eclipsing the Boise area, according to the state’s latest crime statistics. It’s a trend that’s been growing in recent years. The Boise area had a much higher crime rate than the Panhandle as recently as 2008, but since then, North Idaho’s rate has surged as the state’s overall crime rates have dropped. “Our guys are working hard and they’re doing a good job, but it’s just trying to keep up is the hard part,” said Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger. One factor: Kootenai County is becoming part of a Spokane-North Idaho metropolitan area, rather than an isolated, more rural area with a seasonal influx of visitors/Betsy Z. Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you feel less safe today in Kootenai County than you did 10 years ago?
BOISE - A federal judge today issued an order barring the state of Idaho from removing Occupy Boise tents placed on state property as part of political protests in the future.
The court ruled earlier that the state can constitutionally ban overnight sleeping and camping – but that restricting political protests, including 24-hour ones, violates the Constitution.
Seven rules that the Idaho Legislature passed to restrict such protests already were found unconstitutional; the Legislature then revoked the rules this past winter. Now that those rules are revoked, that portion of the lawsuit is moot, U.S. District Judge Lynn Winmill ruled. But the Occupy group also asked for a ruling declaring that aside from the rules, the state can’t enforce laws it passed restricting protests in ways that violate Occupy Boise’s First Amendment free-speech rights. Betsy Russell, SR
Do you think tent cities have been an effective way of drawing attention to the protestors cause/s?
RIVER RUNNING — Rafters and paddlers soon will be riding the rails to a popular floating and whitewater stretch of Idaho's North Fork Payette River.
On Saturday, May 31, the Idaho Northern and Pacific Railroad, also known as the Thunder Mountain Line, will debut the Payette River Flyer with runs between Smiths Ferry and Cascade on Saturdays and Sundays this summer.
Riders are able to bring their own rafts and kayaks onboard or opt for a guided raft trip provided by Bear Valley Rafting Company.
The train ride is not only convenient, it's also scenic. Park in one spot and let the railroad do the 17-mile shuttle to the top of the seven-mile river run.
The train travels along the North Fork of the Payette River, also known as the North Fork Carbarton, and features Class II-III rapids. The following rapids are part of the float:
- Trestle Rapids-Class III
- Smoothie Rapids-Class II-III
- Wet Spot Rapids-Class III
- Francois Rapids-Class III
- Howard's Plunge Rapids-Class III
The Smiths Ferry loading location is across the river from the Cougar Mountain Lodge on Highway 55, with free parking available on-site. The Smiths Ferry site will be the only location where rafts and kayaks can be loaded.
The Cascade loading site is behind the Ashley Inn, 500 N. Main St. Parking is free.
Rail enthusiasts can stay off the water and enjoy a scenic roundtrip train ride from either loading sites.
The Payette River Flyer will run May 31 - Aug. 31, with Smiths Ferry departures at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. each day, and Cascade departures at 12:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.payetteriverflyer.com or by calling the ticket office at (208) 331-1184. One-way tickets for river drop-off are $20 for all age groups, while round-trip train rides start at $25/person. All guided raft trips will be provided by Bear Valley Rafting Company and start at $60/person. One-way trips are approximately 45 minutes to one hour in length, with the round trip train ride taking three hours. Food will be available for purchase on the train.
Back in the 1860s, a gold rush lured men from all over the country to the Boise Basin. Some struck it rich, but most simply struck out. Today most of the gold is gone, but in its place is something much more valuable: a rich vein of health, happiness, and fitness that the men of Boise, Idaho, are mining every day.
We arrived at Boise after a long journey measured not in miles traveled but in numbers crunched. All told, we delved into more than a dozen data sources in order to assemble city rankings in 38 different criteria, including everything from air quality to unemployment, cost of living to death rates. We factored in property crime and criminally long commute times. We even took into account the ratio of single men to single women. (After all, what's a great town if you can't enjoy it with a great woman?) But as much as this is Boise's time to shine, the rest of America's men don't need to rush there again. We've unearthed five nuggets of wisdom that will enrich your life no matter where you live. Men's Health, Full story.
H/T Sam Crawford
Would you like to live in Boise?
Mountain lion attacked dogs in three adjacent fenced back yards in Surprise Valley, two of the dogs died…
Three next-door neighbors in east Boise have had their small dogs attacked by a mountain lion in their fenced back yards in the past two weeks, and two of the dogs have died. Fish & Game officials are calling on the public to immediately report incidents with mountain lions in town. The three attacks happened at Surprise Valley, a neighborhood on the city’s eastern edge that backs up to native sagebrush land; it’s the first mountain lion incident reported in Boise this spring, but the city’s had plenty in recent years. You can read my full story here at spokesman.com.
“We have mountain lions in Boise all the time,” said Evin Oneale, Southwest Idaho regional conservation educator for the Idaho Department of Fish and Game. “They come and go all the time. Some of them we see, some of them we don’t, but they don’t tend to cause any issues or hang around. It’s when we have a lion like this that exhibits this kind of behavior that our awareness of the situation becomes heightened.”
Fish & Game learned of the big cat when a Surprise Valley resident called the sheriff’s department yesterday morning. She’d let her two Yorkshire terriers out into her backyard about 5:30 a.m., and a few minutes later, heard a yelp; click below to read more.
A Boise man from Uzbekistan has been arrested on terrorism charges; he's been indicted in both Idaho and Utah on federal charges including possessing an unregistered destructive device, providing material support to terrorists, and distributing information relating to weapons of mass destruction. Click below for the full new release from the U.S. Attorney's office. Fazliddin Kurbanov, 30, was arrested this morning in Boise and will make his initial appearance in court tomorrow in Boise/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise.
Question: Getting a bit close to home?
A travel writer for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution is touting Idaho as “one cool destination at a cool price.” Writing for the Georgia paper, Clara Bosonetto mentions Coeur d'Alene in her article:
A 7-hour drive north of Boise is Lake Coeur d’Alene, created by glaciers and today an international resort destination with the town of Coeur d’Alene on its north shore and resorts nestled along 135 miles of shoreline. An ideal region for avid birdwatchers - Lake Coeur d’Alene has the largest nesting population of osprey in the western United States. More here.
Question: How do you describe Coeur d'Alene/North Idaho to people you meet elsewhere?
In what top-10 ranking does Boise join nine other much-larger cities from across the nation, from the San Francisco metro area (No. 1) to Seattle-Tacoma (2), Philadelphia (3), New York City and Washington D.C. (tied for 4), Baltimore (6), Boston (7), Portland (8) and San Diego (tied for 9th)? The answer: Yoga. Forbes Magazine reported Friday on the “Top 10 Cities for Yoga in the U.S.,” and while the S.F. Bay Area was tops with its population 59 percent more likely to practice yoga than the general U.S. population, Boise made the list, tied for ninth place with San Diego, with the residents of both rated as 21 percent more likely/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you practice yoga? And/or: Why do you think Boise ranks so high for practicing yoga?
In what top-10 ranking does Boise join nine other much-larger cities from across the nation, from the San Francisco metro area (No. 1) to Seattle-Tacoma (2), Philadelphia (3), New York City and Washington D.C. (tied for 4), Baltimore (6), Boston (7), Portland (8) and San Diego (tied for 9th)? The answer: Yoga.
Forbes Magazine reported Friday on the “Top 10 Cities for Yoga in the U.S.,” and while the S.F. Bay Area was tops with its population 59 percent more likely to practice yoga than the general U.S. population, Boise made the list, tied for ninth place with San Diego, with the residents of both rated as 21 percent more likely.
“Idaho may seem like an unlikely hotspot for yoga,” the magazine wrote. It also reported, “The most yoga-mad metro area in the nation: San Francisco-Oakland-San Jose, Calif., where residents are 59% more likely to practice yoga than the general U.S. population. The Bay Area has long been at the forefront of the American yoga scene — San Francisco was, after all, the first city to set up a yoga room at its airport.” You can read Forbes’ full report here.
Boise has become Idaho's second city to enact an ordinance banning discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodations based on sexual orientation or gender identity; the Boise City Council last night voted unanimously in favor of the ordinance, a move that was followed by a standing ovation in a packed Capitol Auditorium. You can see a full report here from KBOI2 News.
Sandpoint last year became the first Idaho city to enact such an ordinance; Pocatello has one in the works. It's an issue the Idaho Legislature has repeatedly refused to consider, despite an outpouring of support across the state last year for the “Add the Words” campaign, which called for adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Human Rights Act. That's the law that currently makes it illegal to fire someone, evict them or deny them service in a restaurant on the basis of race, sex, color, national origin, religion, age or disability. The state legislation has been rejected for six straight years; this year's push included well-attended rallies across the state, including one that drew more than a thousand people to the state Capitol.
Boise's ordinance takes effect Jan. 1; it exempts churches and private organizations like the Boy Scouts.
Layers of fog and clouds decorate the skies over Boise this morning, where the overnight low dropped into the 30s, but highs today are expected to get up as high as 51 degrees. There's a 30 percent chance of rain today, rising to 90 percent tomorrow, according to the National Weather Service.
Hundreds of Boiseans turned out for a five-hour public hearing last night, with nearly all in favor of a proposed city ordinance to ban discrimination in housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Citizens shared emotional stories of living in fear of losing their jobs if employers found out they were gay; business leaders said the ordinance will help the city attract employers. You can read the Boise Weekly's account here, and the Idaho Statesman's report here; and see KTVB-TV's report here and KBOI2 News' report here.
For some background, here's a link to my Aug. 5 story on how Idaho's cities are moving to ban such discrimination, after the the state Legislature repeatedly refused to consider legislation for a statewide ban. Boise's City Council is expected to vote on the ordinance Dec. 4.
Boiseans know very little about Hammerfest 2012 — just enough to be outraged. Fronted by the white supremacist group Hammerskin Nation, the music “festival” is supposed to take place somewhere in or around Boise on Saturday. The group bills this concert as a 25th anniversary celebration. And since a quarter century of racial intolerance is obviously not something to be very proud of, the group is revealing nothing about the location — hiding in the underground where cowardice and hatred thrive. Why must this group find its underground here — in a state that has for too long had to endure the stain and the stench that follows even small groups of bigots? Perhaps we’re just in the wrong general area at the wrong time/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: I feel sorry for the good people of Boise. But aren't you glad this isn't in North Idaho?
The Hammerskin Nation's planned series of concerts has raised concern with police and the city of Boise, even though the festival's exact venue isn't known. An online poster for the event simply names Boise as the event's location. Also unclear is why the Hammerskins chose the Treasure Valley. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks hate groups across the country, calls the Hammerskin Nation “one of the oldest, most violent and most dominant skinhead groups in the United States.” The center identifies Wade Michael Page, who in August opened fire at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin, killing six, as a member of the organization/Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Had you ever heard of Hammerskin Nation before now?
Boise is holding its 58th annual Art in the Park festival this weekend at Julia Davis Park, a fundraiser for the Boise Art Museum that's also a spectacular place to find one-of-a-kind holiday gifts, if you're planning ahead. But you don't have to go to the park to find art downtown. Among the public art there are nine newly decorated traffic boxes, unveiled for First Thursday this past week, each with an Idaho artist's unique design; that brings the total number to 53. This one's by Yen Ching restaurant on 9th Street. City public art manager Karen Bubb says, “The program brings public art to the street, decreases graffiti, and increases the unique character of Boise.”
The University of Idaho's plan to seek state funding to expand its Boise law program won approval Thursday rom the Board of Education, but not without concerns from one trustee that the cart was getting ahead of the horse. The Moscow university is now offering third-year law courses in Boise and school officials ask the board at a meeting in Pocatello to request $400,000 from the state in 2013 to grow the program to include second-year classes. The expansion of the law program in the state capital has so far been “a great success,” said Don Burnett, the dean of the university's College of Law. Burnett noted that board members were convened in Pocatello exactly four years ago when giving the university permission to bring a portion of its law program to Boise/Jessie L. Bonner, AP. More here.
Question: Did someone in your family graduate with a law degree from University of Idaho?
After what Exergy Tour communications director Heather Hill called “a little bit of an unexpected glitch here on the first day” - the theft and then recovery, apparently unscathed, of $120,000 worth of racing bikes and equipment from one of the teams - the event is on.
“We are humbled to be hosting over 100 athletes representing 18 of their home countries, many of whom will represent their home nations in the Olympic games this summer,” Hill declared. She said the women's bike race is aimed at “raising the bar” for women's sports. “Our $100,000 prize purse, the largest for a ladies' five-stage race in the history of the sport, is one example of raising the bar.” Betsy Russell, EOB More here.
Do you ride a bike? How often?
In national statistics, Boise has ranked high for being one of the nation's most livable cities, having some of the best bike infrastructure and having one of the most happening independent music scenes. Well, according to an article in Men's Health, Boise can add one more ranking to that list: porn capital. According to the article, Boise—aka the place where vanilla is occasionally referred to as “spicy” and open discussions of sex and sex-related issues are about as common as Bigfoot sightings—ranked 11th in national porn consumption statistics/John Gross, Boise Weekly. More here.
Question: Why would Boiseans be among the top consumers of pornography?
Ultrasound technologist Jeanine G. conducts an abdominal ultrasound at the Idaho Statehouse on Wednesday in Boise. The organizers back Senate Bill 1387, which mandates ultrasounds that determine heartbeat and gestational age before a woman can receive an abortion. At right is Brandi Swindell of Stanton Health Care. See Betsy's ultrasound bill story below. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski )
- Snow advisory issued for tonight/MIke Prager, SR
- Studded tire deadline moved to April 16/Washington DOT
- Opinion: Wasden has your back, Idaho/Coeur d'Alene Press
- Post Falls reports accidental release of treated wastewater/City of PF
- Idaho's forced ultrasound bill likely dead/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise
- ATV hunting bill squeaks through Senate Resources 5-4/Betsy Russell, EOB
- Discourse, decisions from marathon council meeting/Tom Hasslinger, Press
- Ex-Shoshone County sheriff withdraws from commish race/Kelsey Saintz, SNP
- Bonner County roads are drying out/Cameron Rasmusson, Bonner County Bee
An ultrasound is performed on a pregnant mother inside a committee room at the Idaho Statehouse on Wednesday in Boise. The demonstration was put on by Stanton Health Care, a pregnancy resource center in Boise, to provide legislators with a look at an abdominal ultrasound after the pre-abortion ultrasound bill recently passed the state Senate. (AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Charlie Litchfield)
Anti-abortion activist Brandi Swindell is conducting the live ultrasound demonstration in the Statehouse today with the enthusiastic air of a lively state fair product-demo host. “Isn't this fun? Who doesn't love seeing an ultrasound image of a baby?” she asked, adding, “Remember, this is first trimester, so the baby is tiny, tiny, tiny.” A bamboo screen hung with a banner saying, “Voices from the Womb” and “Knowledge is power,” is set up to screen the table where the three pregnant volunteers from Swindell's organization, Stanton Healthcare, are taking their turns lying down for ultrasounds that are being projected on screens. Only two lawmakers have been sitting through the demonstration, Rep. Janice McGeachin, R-Idaho Falls, and Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
Boise Police arrested Cynthia Clinkingbeard (pictured), 58, Boise, on Friday after she reportedly walked into a store at Eagle Road and Chinden Boulevard and threatened employees with a gun. The website of the Idaho Secretary of State lists Clinkingbeard as a Democratic candidate in the May 15 primary race for the First District congressional seat. Clinkingbeard was a doctor specializing in edocrinology, diabetes and metabolism, until the State of Idaho Board of Medicine revoked her license in 2005. On Friday, police were called at 9:15 p.m. by employees of the store who told dispatchers a woman, later identified as Clinkingbeard, had walked into the store, made strange, threatening remarks to three employees before pulling out a handgun. The caller told dispatchers Clinkingbeard then left the store, continuing to make threats, and drove off in a car/Idaho Statesman. More here. (Photo courtesy Ada County Sheriff's Office/Idaho Statesman)
Question: Who said Democrats supported gun control?
Twin brothers Nick and Adam Filicetti, Boise, Idaho, were born 15 minutes apart at midnight on Feb. 28 and March 1, 1991. Nick gets to celebrate his 21st birthday a full day before his younger brother this leap year. Patrick Orr/Idaho Statesman story here. (AP Photo, Idaho Statesman, Darin Oswald)
Question: How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter introduced GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney at Romney's Boise campaign rally this afternoon. “Folks, this election is about your and my liberty,” Otter said. “We will turn out for that Idaho caucus. … We will turn out for the man that has the executive experience, understands that we are a free market, not a socialist country, that has been there and done that.” Romney, who's come to Idaho to campaign for Otter in the past, told the crowd, “What a great state this is - you're lucky to live here.” He recalled a summer he spent working on an Idaho ranch near King Hill when he was 15. “I learned so much about cultivating corn and spring corn and irrigating corn,” he said. “I thought I'd never see the end of corn”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.
At the rally for Mitt Romney in Boise now going on, Dennis Mansfield Facebooks: “
Republican presdential hopeful Ron Paul greets supportors on Thursday after giving a speech at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls. 1,200 people attended the political rally at the school. Twin Falls Times-News story here. (AP Photo/Times-News, Ashley Smith)
- Paul announces Boise rally Saturday/Betsy Russell, EOB
- Desmond Tutu to speak at Gonzaga commencement/SR
- Idaho lawmakers grapple with ethics reforms/Betsy Russell, SR
- Newport area crash kills 2 Priest River residents/Bonner County Bee
- Ed Board gives BSU football complex final OK/Brian Murphy, Statesman
- Prez candidate visits to north-central Idaho very rare/Brady Gary, Lewiston Trib
- Labrador gets first bill through House, on geothermal energy/Betsy Russell, EOB
- WSU athletic fund has jumped since Leach hiring/Ryan Burnett, Murrow News Service
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum told a Boise audience Tuesday night that he would work with Congress to transfer federal lands to states and sell lands to the private sector. Santorum said the federal government “doesn't care” about its western lands and could make money and improve management by shedding ownership, an idea reminiscent of the “Sagebrush Rebellion” of the 1970s and 1980s. About one quarter of the U.S. land mass is owned by the U.S. government. An audience member asked Santorum about his view of “turning land over to the states.” He replied that the one national forest in Pennsylvania, a state he represented for 12 years in the U.S. Senate, was poorly run/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.
Question: Do you support selling public lands to private parties in Idaho?
The major regional business story on Friday is the fatal plane crash that took the life of Micron CEO Steve Appleton.
The photo here is an archive photo from 2005 showing Appleton in the hangar with a plane described as a stunt jet. The news service name for the photo was “Daredevil CEO.”
As a younger business reporter, I met Appleton when the Review produced a four-part series on how Boise became a technology hub. Appleton was a good interview.
When my daughter, now 21, was little, she used to call this a “Boise, Idaho rainbow sunrise,” and to this day, the phrase comes to mind when I see one. This morning's is gorgeous; it's chilly, just 34 degrees, but something to see.
Here's a news item from the Associated Press: BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Meridian developer says he has signed a contract to buy a prime chunk of real estate in downtown Boise that has been vacant for years. Officials from The Gardner Co. say they have agreed to buy the parcel on the corner of 8th and Main streets from Capps Holdings LLC, which acquired the land in a foreclosure auction two years ago. Gardner Co. Chief Operating Officer Tommy Ahlquist said Wednesday the deal hinges on resolving a handful of issues. He says the company is doing a study to determine what kind of project best fits the property. The site has been vacant since 1987 and is nothing more than a hollow pit. Financial and legal problems scuttled previous plans to build a 25-story tower at the site.
Incidentally, the site became vacant back in '87 when the historic Eastman Building, a grand, multistory sandstone structure that had been vacant for years but for which restoration plans had just been announced, caught fire in the middle of an icy night, thanks to a squatter's campfire, and burned to the ground. I covered the fire as a young reporter for the Statesman, after having just spent a couple of days amassing info on the building's history for a planned story on its looming renovation as part of the city's downtown redevelopment; that evaporated with the flames. Boise's been awaiting the next step ever since.
Nicole Hensley of KXLY posts: “Coeur d'Alene, you're 379 miles via US-95 and ID-55 from the city most prone to skin cancer. Boise, with an average of 51 clear summer days per year leads the nation in the statistic put together by The Daily Beast. Their melanoma deaths average out to 3.9 per 100,000 people, with incidents averaging out to 27.3. Boise ranked #1 while its other Northwest neighbors ranked #10 (Spokane), #14 (Seattle) and #18 (Portland).” More here. (AP file illustration)
DFO: This issue has hit home in our household since my mother-in-law (Coeur d'Alene) and sister-in-law (Post Falls) are having a brush with skin cancer.
Question: Do you know anyone who has contracted and fought skin cancer? And/or: Are you careful to protect yourself from too much sunshine? Or do you take any precautions?
It's amazingly calm and mild in Boise this morning, with only a few puddles testifying to last night's wild weather - massive amounts of lightning, hard, soaking rains, and whipping wind gusts. We lost power at 10 p.m., which meant TV and computer were silenced in favor of watching the incredible lightning show by candlelight for the next hour and a half. The Boise Police reported two lightning-caused fires totaling 12 acres. “At about 11 p.m., as firefighters had the fires both under control, fire crews had to retreat to their vehicles for their own safety as another very active storm cell brought numerous lightning strikes to the area,” reports BPD spokeswoman Lynn Hightower. “Fortunately the storm also brought moderate to heavy rainfall. Crews were clearing from both fires by midnight.”
The Idaho Statesman reported that a Garden City man was struck by lightning while standing in the front doorway of his home, touching a metal screen door frame; he was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Valerie Mills, a meteorologist and senior forecaster with the National Weather Service in Boise, said there were about 50 lightning strikes recorded in Ada County, the fifth-most in the last 10 years. “So yeah, it was a big night,” she said. The violent storm was kicked off by Boise's first really hot day of the year, which wasn't a record but hit 95 degrees. “We had warming below, and cooling aloft,” Mills said. “We also had moisture. That added instability, and the moisture that we had was just the ingredient that was needed to trigger those thunderstorms.” It wasn't the typical Idaho rainstorm - a few drops, a lot of wind, and it's over. Instead, the whopper of a storm was enough to clear out worsening air quality, water everyone's lawns and put on a big light show. “It was quite a day for Ada County, in fact other areas around too, in southeastern Oregon and Southwest Idaho,” Mills said.