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Smoking ban and bike deaths

Three cyclists killed in a month in Boise

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Eagle passes smoking ban

Tuesday evening, June 9, Eagle Mayor Phil Bandy cast the deciding vote to prohibit smoking at all indoor public places within city limits.

The ordinance will go through two more public readings before residents will have to relinquish their habits in public places. Shauneen Grange of Smokefree Idaho, the group that brought the ordinance to Eagle, commended the city in a statement, saying, "Secondhand smoke is a known public health hazard and no one should have to choose between a job and good health."

The council members were split with Norm Semanko and Jeanne Jackson-Heim voting against and Michael Huffaker and Al Shoushtarian voting for approval.

Semanko first moved to pass the notion of a public smoking ban on to the state Legislature for statewide consideration, rather than voting for it at the city level, but his motion failed. Huffaker then suggested passing the Eagle ordinance and also asking the Legislature to consider a statewide ban, as Semanko had suggested.

Smokers not following the ordinance will receive a warning for the first offense and a $25 fine. Second and third violations face a $50 fine.

Eagle is the first city in Idaho to expand statewide smoking limitations to bars, small businesses and all public places. Smokefree Idaho has also approached Boise, Garden City and Meridian.

In other tobacco news, Idaho's entire congressional delegation has voted in favor of FDA regulation of tobacco products in the form of the Family Smoking Prevention and Tobacco Control Act. Sen. Jim Risch issued the following statement: "Tobacco products and their effects are a scourge to our nation. They take a tremendous toll on our health and make up a significant portion of our soaring health costs. This bill continues the general tightening of restrictions on the industry to limit the spread of these dangerous and addictive products."

Bye bye TV

Citydesk got a little choked up last week bidding adieu to analog television. Not because we were missing

Friends

, or whatever it is people are watching these days. It happened during a National Public Radio report on the digital transition in which television critic David Bianculli pointed out that poor kids, who learn to read on public television, are most likely to be left behind by digital signals. Then he played "Sunny days, sweeping the clouds away ...," the theme song to

Sesame Street,

and we shed a tear for a bygone era. Then we went home and found that our Idaho PTV was not coming in, despite our new converter box. One more reason to kill the TV.

Three cyclists killed in a month

Drivers have hit and killed three bicyclists in the past month in Boise.

Jim Lee Chu, 55, of Eagle was killed on May 19 on Orchard Street northbound near Aeronca. Thomas D. Bettger, 62, of Boise, was killed two days later riding southbound on Emerald Street at Milwaukee. And on June 11, Kevin Pavlis, 37, of Meridian, was hit and killed eastbound on Hill Road at Smith Avenue.

All of these fatalities remain under investigation and at press time no charges had been filed.

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, June 16, 2009, 4,315 U.S. service members (including 31 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 3,454 in combat and 861 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 31,354. In the last week, no U.S. soldiers died.

Since President Barack Obama was inaugurated on Jan. 20, 86 soldiers have died.

Source: U.S. Dept. of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 92,345 and 100,820.

Source: iraqbodycount.net

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $678,686,857,840

Source: costofwar.com

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