Saturday, November 30, 2013

Thick Fog Cancels Flights In and Out of Lewiston

Posted By on Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM

A thick blanket of fog opened up November 29 (but only briefly) to allow a Horizon Air jet to land at Lewiston Airport, the first flight to touch down since November 27. The airline usually runs three flights a day in and out of Lewiston.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that all landings and departures were pushed away from the Lewiston-Nez Perce County Regional Airport, meaning Thanksgiving travellers had to be diverted to Boise International Airport or the Moscow-Pullman Regional Airport.

"We're at the mercy of the weather," Horizon Air spokeswoman Felicia Kelley-Nando told the Tribune, adding that she had not seen the airport "quite so socked in" in her three years in Lewiston.

Meanwhile the National Weather Service said an air stagnation advisory for the Lewiston region remains in effect through Sunday, December 1.

A number of outgoing flights remain idle on Lewiston's runway.

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It's Official: Boise Council Will Confirm Election Results

Posted By on Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 2:00 PM

When the Boise City Council convenes for a work session this coming Tuesday, Dec. 3, it'll be asked to formally accept the results of the Nov. 5 general election, which saw three of the Council members successfully secure their posts for another term.

In a certified statement from Ada County Clerk Christopher Rich, and co-signed by each of the Ada County commissioners, the final results will be presented to the Boise Council for verification.

In all, 25,283 ballots were cast in Boise, 23.41 percent of registered voters. Election day saw 19,728 ballots cast, while another 5,555 were absentee or early voters.

Council President Maryanne Jordan secured 62.35 percent of the vote in a three-way race for Seat No. 6.

Councilman Ben Quintana won 68.24 percent of the vote in a two-person race for Seat No. 2.

Councilman T.J. Thomson won 54.35 percent of the vote in a three-person race for Seat No. 5.

Bond question No. 1, which would have set aside $6.8 million for construction of a new fire training facility and another $10.1 million to upgrade or replace four aging fire stations, secured 64.06 percent of the vote while question No. 2, which would have set aside $10 million for Foothills protection and another $5.5 million to fund three new city parks while adding new amenities to three existing parks, secured 61.54 percent of the vote. Neither effort was sufficient to win 66.67 percent of the vote for passage.

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Lakefront Boardwalk, New Master Plan on McCall's Drawing Board

Posted By on Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

The public will get a chance to weigh in Tuesday, Dec. 3 on a proposed master plan that would dramatically change the footprint of the city of McCall.

The McCall Star-News reports that the plan—which, if adopted, would replace the current downtown blueprint adopted in 1997—includes a lakefront boardwalk, downtown plaza and more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly streets.

The tent-pole of the proposed master plan would see a boardwalk running from McCall's Legacy Park through Art Roberts Park and beyond, according to the Star-News. The plan is to have a waterfront boardwalk that could include new outdoor restaurant seating and easy access to shopping and lodging.

But the Star-News reports the proposal doesn't include any specifics on how to pay for the improvements.

The plan, which was crafted by a seven-member committee, will be presented Dec. 3 at 5:30 p.m. before the McCall Planning and Zoning Commission. The McCall City Council will have the final say in the matter.

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Rural Idaho Phone Company Pays Customers Back Nearly $300K

Posted By on Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 12:00 PM

No one will ever confuse Project Mutual Telephone with AT&T or Verizon, but the Magic Valley telephone service provider is having a very good year. In fact, about 8,000 Project Mutual customers, primarily in Minidoka and Cassia counties, will share in a $296,260 patronage dividend, according to this morning's Twin Falls Times-News.

PMT was founded in 1916 when it began providing phone service to 34 customers, and was one of the first phone companies west of the Mississippi to offer one-party phone lines. In the 1990s PMT expanded into Burley, Oakley and Heyburn, adding high-speed DSL, cable television and wireless Internet services.The patronage checks will be doled out according to the amount of business customers have done with company, which operates as a cooperative.

"We're the only communication company in the area who pays customers back," wrote PMT Chairman Dennis Dickson, according to the Times-News. "Paying customers patronage is a tangible way to say 'thanks for doing business locally' because without our members, we don't exist."

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Felony Shoplifting Arrests Mar Black Friday

Posted By on Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Ty Camis, 26, is charged with felony burglary and probation violation. - COURTESY ADA COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Courtesy Ada County Sheriff's Office
  • Ty Camis, 26, is charged with felony burglary and probation violation.

Employees of local retail stores said a Boise man was guilty of five-finger discounts on Black Friday, landing the man behind bars. The man's arrest involved officers from the Boise Police Department's Retail Crime Unit, patrol and property crimes detectives.

The Retail Crime Unit was out in force Friday, Nov. 29 when they spotted a vehicle matching the description given by witnesses in a theft from a local retail store. Officers stopped the vehicle in the area of West Franklin Road and North Milwaukee Street for driving without a front license plate. The driver was also found to have a suspended driver's license.

Police said they the suspect was in possession of a high-end knife and a pair of shoes that had allegedly been taken from a nearby retailer. Officers added they found evidence the suspect had entered stores with the intention of stealing.

Ty Camis, 26, of Boise, was charged with two felony counts of burglary and probation violation.

Boise police, working with private security at a number of locations, also arrested three 15-year-olds for shoplifting Nov. 29. The three teens were charged with felony burglary and released to the custody of their parents. Officers found evidence that the teens, two from Boise and one from Meridian, had taken items from several retailers in the area of Franklin and Milwaukee.

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Montana AG Appeals 30-Day Rape Sentence for Teacher

Posted By on Sat, Nov 30, 2013 at 10:00 AM

Former Billings, Mont. school teacher Stacey Rambold, 54, in an undated jailhouse photo, may see his 30-day jail sentence for the 2007 rape of a 14-year-old female student overturned, now that the state of Montana is appealing the ruling on grounds that it was illegally lenient. - BILLINGS POLICE DEPARTMENT
  • Billings Police Department
  • Former Billings, Mont. school teacher Stacey Rambold, 54, in an undated jailhouse photo, may see his 30-day jail sentence for the 2007 rape of a 14-year-old female student overturned, now that the state of Montana is appealing the ruling on grounds that it was illegally lenient.

The Montana attorney general's office formally filed an appeal Nov. 29 in the controversial case of a teacher who was given a 30-day jail sentence for the rape of a 14-year-old girl.

District Judge G. Todd Baugh sentenced former Billings Senior High School teacher Stacey Rambold to 15 years, but then suspended all but 31 days and gave him credit for one day already served.

But at the time of the sentencing in August, the judge said the young rape victim was "as much in control of the situation" as her rapist, adding that she not only had equal control of the rape, but was also a troubled youth "older than her chronological age."

Baugh backpedaled Aug. 28, with the statement, "I'm saying I'm sorry and it's not who I am. I deserve to be chastised. I apologize for that." He added that he was "fumbling around" in court and "made some really stupid remarks."

Still, the judge stood by his sentencing for the 2007 attack on the 14-year-old.

This morning's Missoulian reports that the state of Montana now argues the minimum sentence for Rambold, 54, would have been two years in prison, and that a sentence of 20 years behind bars—with 10 years suspended—would be appropriate.

The victim killed herself  weeks before her 17th birthday, in 2010.

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Friday, November 29, 2013

Mountain Express: Six For Sochi? Sun Valley's Best Eye Olympic Games

Posted By on Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 12:45 PM


Sun Valley's goal is "Six in Sochi."

Simply put, the challenge is to get six locally-trained skiers and/or snowboarders on the U.S. Olympic Team at the 2014 Winter Games in Sochi Russia.

This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports that the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation is going full tilt, what with the grand opening of its newly remodeled Olympic training facility at the base of Bald Mountain's Warm Springs lifts on Picabo Street, named after the 1998 super-G gold medal winner. For nearly half a century, another 35 U.S. Ski Team members and many more national and regional champions have also risen through the ranks of the SVSEF. In recent years, Sun Valley has served as a training ground for Morgan Arritola, Simi Hamilton and Andy Soule, who was the first American to win an Olympic or Paralympic medal in the sport of biathlon.

Earlier this month, Boise Weekly visited the facility that will play host to more than a dozen local skiers and snowboarders vying for a spot on the U.S. Olympic Team.

"We will have the best facility in the country for winter snow sports," SVSEF Executive Director Rob Clayton told BW. "Our main priority is to provide a high-quality training venue for Olympians and aspiring Olympians. We will see a higher level of competition here."'

The Mountain Express' Tony Evans reports this morning that Sun Valley cross-country contenders include Mike Sinnott, Miles Havlick, Matt Gelso, Rose Kemp, Mary Rose and Chelsea Holmes. Alpine athletes include K.J. Savaria, Kipling Weisel and Tanner Farrow. Sun Valley snowboard athletes include Chase Josey and Kaitlyn Farrington. And freestyle skiers training under the SVSEF are Wing Tai Barrymore and Shane Cordeau.

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IDOC Women's Prison Warden Removed From Post Following DUI Arrest

Posted By on Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 12:30 PM

Nancy Espeseth
  • Nancy Espeseth

She has pleaded not guilty to a DUI charge, but the warden of the Pocatello Women's Correctional Center has been removed from her post following her Oct. 12 arrest.

“Circumstances have led us to the decision to have Nancy [Espeseth] step out of the warden position at PWCC,” wrote Idaho Department of Correction Prison Chief Jeff Zmuda in an Oct. 22 email to the state Prisons Division. “I appreciate the leadership and commitment Nancy brought to her role as warden at the facility. Nancy has been a dedicated employee for many years and though no longer a warden, she will remain with the organization in another capacity.”

This morning's Idaho State Journal reports that Espeseth remains with IDOC in another capacity.

Espeseth was arrested Oct. 12 by Bingham County sheriff's deputies and charged with a misdemeanor DUI. A pre-trial hearing has been set for Tuesday, Dec. 10.

Prior to her career as a probation and parole officer, Espeseth was a softball and basketball star at Idaho State University in the 1980s and was inducted into the ISU Sports Hall of Fame.

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Black Friday at Boise's Sunrise Rim: Car Plows Into Power Pole

Posted By on Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 12:15 PM

UPDATE: November 29, 2013 6 p.m.

Boise Police said they spent several hours November 29 with Idaho Power crews to lift power lines off of a vehicle and away from the front yard of a Boise Bench home. Officers said the crash was the result of a drunk driver, according to a statement released later in the day by the Boise Police Department.

According to a release from BPD, "Idaho law states a person must be driving or in physical control of a vehicle to be guilty of DUI." The driver's vehicle, a SUV, was seized as evidence. Results of a searc of the vehicle will be included with evidence to be forwarded to the Ada County Prosecutor's office. Approximately 300 homes were impacted by a power shortage caused by downed power lines when the suspect's car drove through a power pole in the 1900 block of Sunrise Rim Road, just before midnight, November 28. ORIGINAL POST: November 29, 2013 10 a.m.

Some residents in Boise's Sunrise Rim neighborhood struggled with an overnight power outage after a car struck a nearby power pole.

Boise police were called to the scene of the 1900 block Sunrise Rim before midnight. That's where witnesses said a vehicle had struck a power pole and come to a stop in the front yard of a home. Police said they noted the odor of alcohol on the suspect, and drew blood for alcohol level testing.

Charges are pending while information related to the investigation is forwarded to the Ada County prosecuting attorney's office for review.

Idaho Power worked for several hours overnight to restore power to residents.

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Former Idaho Rep. Mary Lou Shepherd Dies

Posted By on Fri, Nov 29, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Funeral arrangements are pending for 80-year-old Mary Lou Shepherd, who represented North Idaho's District No. 2 in the Idaho House from 2000 to 2010. Shepherd's death was announced Thursday, Nov. 28.

“Mary Lou served Idahoans with distinction and advocated for her constituents in an honest and common sense way," wrote Lewiston Democratic Rep. and House Minority Leader John Rusche. “People in the Silver Valley trusted her and knew that she represented them well in the Statehouse. She worked hard to improve Idaho’s transportation system and to keep our highways safe by supporting Idaho State Police. Her greatest achievement, though perhaps also the most understated, was the energy and work that she put into constituent service. She will be missed.”

Shepherd was first appointed to the Idaho House in 1999 to replace Larry Watson and was re-elected five times before losing to Republican Rep. Shannon McMillan, who has since been redistricted into Idaho Legislative District No. 7.

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