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Franklin OK, Alamar Back

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Mental-health facilities Franklin House and the proposed Alamar Ranch have both seen some changes after a period of dormancy and doubt.

Alamar Ranch submitted an application last week to build a 72-bed residential treatment center for youth on Klam Ranch, above Hwy. 21. The announcement came from Amy Jeppesen, director of the Alamar Ranch project for developer Oaas Laney.

The firm's previous application was met by strong opposition from local residents with concerns over security, among other issues.

"We are greatly disappointed that Oaas Laney has taken the same approach of no communication prior to the conditional use permit application submission of Alamar Ranch II, as they did with Alamar Ranch I," said Brian Bulow, a member of Opponents of Alamar Ranch.

"We believe we have addressed the concerns of many in the community and will provide a wonderful addition to Boise County that will fit in well with its surroundings," Jeppesen said in a prepared statement.

On another front, Franklin House, a local short-term mental-health treatment center, was given at least a temporary respite from threatened closure, thanks to the Legislature.

An effort led in part by Rep. Margaret Henbest, a Boise Democrat, diverted funds that will allow the facility to continue operating until June 31, 2008. With an annual budget exceeding $700,000, Franklin House was slated to shut its doors this past April 1.

"We're all breathing a big sigh of relief," said Gena Westcott, program manager for Region IV Mental Health.

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