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Eye on Boise: Minnick concession Tweet No. 8 on ranking list

BOISE – Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick’s election-night concession on Twitter made history – according to Twitter. It was ranked No. 8 on the site’s list of the “10 Most Powerful Tweets of 2010.”

The tweet, sent by campaign manager John Foster around 2 a.m. as Election Night stretched into morning, said, “Congratulations to Raul Labrador on a hard-earned win, and best of luck as Idaho’s next Congressman.”

In its “Year in Review,” the microblogging social network site reported, “Twitter was a powerful campaign tool during the 2010 U.S. Midterm Elections, and Election Night results often broke first on Twitter. Demonstrating how quickly the world of political communications is changing, Idaho incumbent Walt Minnick’s campaign manager issued a concession Tweet.”

Other tweets making the “most powerful” list included one from NBC reporter Ann Curry, seeking clearance for a Doctors Without Borders plane to land in Haiti; one from the president of Ecuador declaring a state of emergency; and one from the British royal family announcing the engagement of Prince William to Kate Middleton.

Committee on … what?

For the fourth time in a row, Idaho Sen. Mike Crapo has been selected to chair the Senate Republicans’ Committee on Committees – yes, that’s really what it’s called – to handle GOP committee assignments for the 112th Congress.

“Mike is a trusted adviser and has the respect of his colleagues,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. “He has a proven track record and the entire Republican conference is honored to have him once again leading our negotiations on committee assignments.”

Said Crapo, “I look forward to working to ensure my colleagues have the best possible opportunities to make a mark on the important agenda of the 112th Congress.”

A ball for all

Tickets are now on sale for the Inaugural Ball, a once-every-four-years public event that celebrates the inauguration of the new governor and includes a “grand procession” of elected officials in the state capitol. This affair is separate from the pricey political events also typically held in conjunction with inaugurals; this one is for the public, and anyone can go for the price of a $20 ticket.

The ball will be on Jan. 7, with doors opening at 7 p.m. and the grand procession of statewide elected officers, legislators and distinguished guests beginning at 8. It’s a dressy, family-friendly event with punch and cookies, dancing to the music of the 25th Army Band from the Idaho National Guard, and lots of Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts on hand, doing everything from helping with coat check and serving refreshments to getting the first dances with the first lady and governor.

Tickets are on sale at the Welcome Center in the garden level of the state capitol, which is open from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. weekdays excluding holidays. They also can be purchased online at

State law charges the Idaho National Guard’s adjutant general with administering the ball, which is funded entirely through ticket sales. The adjutant general also oversees the public inauguration ceremony for the governor and constitutional officers, which is set for Jan. 7 at noon on the capitol steps.

Minnick ‘gone for good’

The Capitol Hill newspaper “Roll Call” reports that Idaho Congressman Walt Minnick says he’s “gone for good” from elective politics. “I think I’m done with elective politics,” he told the newspaper. “I’m not sure what I’m going to do, but I think it’s time for somebody else.”

The article examined the dismal elective record of Democrats in Idaho in the past three decades, and the Idaho party’s future prospects, perhaps with conservative, well-funded Democratic candidates like Minnick. “I might’ve fit the profile of a winner, but it was a bad year,” Minnick told Roll Call before one of his last votes in Congress. “It was a big wave, and I was on a low island.”

Free ski day set

It’s the silver anniversary of Idaho’s free ski and snowshoe day at state parks and park-and-ski areas. On Jan. 8, Nordic skiers and snowshoers will be able to use the parks and park-and-ski lots for free to access the trails, from Priest Lake to Island Park; it’s the 25th annual event. Entrance and ski trail fees will be waived that day for everyone, as will park-and-ski parking permit fees, and some parks will host special events ranging from clinics to welcome parties.

Among them: Farragut State Park will offer free nordic lessons from 10 a.m. to noon (bring your own equipment, meet at the Visitor Center), along with free cookies, coffee and park access. Priest Lake State Park will offer free cross-country ski lessons, hot chocolate and coffee; and Ponderosa State Park will offer snowshoe lessons and tours, Nordic ski lessons and free equipment rentals from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Said state parks chief Nancy Merrill, “The goal of Free Ski/Snowshoe day in Idaho is to introduce newcomers to the wonderful terrain and winter recreation opportunities across the state.”

Labrador settles in

Idaho Congressman-elect Raul Labrador has been assigned to the Committee on Natural Resources and the Committee on Oversight and Government Reform for the 112th Congress, assignments he welcomed. “I ran for Congress to serve Idaho and to restore the people’s faith in government. These two influential committee assignments position me perfectly to accomplish these goals,” he said.

The 1st District congressman-elect also announced the hiring of Jason Bohrer, who most recently worked as legislative counsel for Sen. Jim Risch, as his legislative director. Bohrer also worked as a regional director of Sen. Larry Craig and as a policy director for the Idaho Republican Party.

AG: Dannon to pay

It turns out that eating a particular yogurt a day for two weeks won’t solve intestinal problems after all, and drinking a particular dairy drink won’t give you immunity from colds or the flu. Now The Dannon Company Inc. will pay Idaho $425,000 as part of a multi-state settlement over its “unsubstantiated and unlawful marketing claims,” according to Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, who joined with the attorneys general of 38 other states in a $21 million settlement with the yogurt firm.

Under the settlement, Dannon doesn’t admit any wrongdoing, but it promises not to claim that Activia yogurt and DanActive dairy drinks “can prevent, treat, cure or mitigate disease,” and the firm is required to “possess competent and reliable scientific evidence to support otherwise permissible claims about the health benefits, performance, efficacy or safety of its probiotic food products.”

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