Thursday, May 8, 2014

Press: Guilty Plea in Idaho Mountain Lion Poaching Incident

Posted By on Thu, May 8, 2014 at 4:29 PM

UPDATE Thursday, May 8, 4:29 p.m.:

A North Idaho man has been sentenced for violating the Lacey Act by aiding and abetting the unlawful acquisition and transportation of a mountain lion. The crime is a misdemeanor. 

Jacob Navarro, the son of Tod Navarro of Naples who pled guilty to the same charges April 30, faces a $750 fine and a $25 assessment, as well as a five-year probation. He's also banned from the use of firearms during the probation and from hunting or fishing anywhere in the United States for a minimum of three years.

The ban extends to five years if Jacob Navarro does not earn his GED, attend hunter safety training and serve 50 hours of community service.  

Original Post April 30, 9:13 a.m.:

An Idaho man faces up to a year behind bars after pleading guilty to aiding and abetting the poaching of mountain lions.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports this morning that 49-year-old Tod Navarro of Naples entered the pleas in an Idaho panhandle courtroom. Federal prosecutors also said that Navarro had helped transport three mountain lions that were shot in Idaho to North Dakota.

Navarro's son and an acquaintance have already pleaded guilty to the same charges.

The Press reports that in a plea agreement, Navarro admitted to allowing his Idaho hunting tag to be put on a mountain lion taken by a hunter from North Dakota, knowing that it was going to be transported out of state. Navarro also admitted to using hunting dogs in the poaching incident.

When Navarro is sentenced on July 21, in addition to a possible year in prison, he faces a $100,000 fine and up to five years of probation. He has already had his hunting privileges revoked for up to five years.

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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Bike Lanes And Boxes Make Debut on Capitol Blvd., Main And Idaho Streets

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 10:53 AM

The right way: A vehicle correctly stopped before a bike box. - ACHD
  • ACHD
  • The right way: A vehicle correctly stopped before a bike box.
The wrong way: A vehicle incorrectly at rest in the middle of a bike box. - ACHD
  • ACHD
  • The wrong way: A vehicle incorrectly at rest in the middle of a bike box.

This writer lives on the Bench, and my bike commute to Boise Weekly headquarters at 523 Broad St. typically takes me east along the Greenbelt and north along Capitol Boulevard. After cutting through The Flicks parking lot, I then cross Myrtle Street and walk my bike north on the sidewalk along Sixth Street. This winding route is informed by convenience and safety concerns, since cyclists like me occupy an ambiguous position on busy thoroughfares like Capitol and can be difficult for motorists to see.

My commute changed today: I was able to ride along Capitol, across Myrtle, and make a right turn on Broad, shaving a few moments off my ride. That's because of a new bicycle lane on Capitol that is wider, buffered and clearly marked with green paint. In addition to the lane, so-called "bike boxes"—extensions of the bike lane that place turning cyclists ahead of traffic at major intersections—have been added to Capitol, as well as Main and Idaho streets. Each new bike lane removes one existing vehicle lane.

Bike boxes have been used in Portland, Ore., Chicago and New York City as a way to reduce car vs. bike accidents. Putting cyclists in front of cars at intersections gives them greater visibility where turning cars and direction changes can create hazards. 

These cyclist-friendly changes are part of an Ada County Highway District pilot program kicking off Thursday, May 1. For at least a month, ACHD will be monitoring bike traffic along these roads to determine their popularity and effectiveness, but the public is also encouraged to participate in an online survey to provide it with more information here

A map of the new bike routes through downtown Boise - KELSEY HAWES
  • Kelsey Hawes
  • A map of the new bike routes through downtown Boise
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Idaho's State of the Air? Mixed (And a Lot of Missing Data)

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:42 AM

The "state of the air" in Idaho is mixed, according a new report from the American Lung Association.

The study, released this morning, indicates that Ada County has seen a particular increase in year-round particle pollution (soot) levels when compared to last year.

And overall, the association's State of the Air 2014 said, "The air in Idaho is certainly cleaner than when we started the report 15 years ago."

Ada County ranked a B.

But nearly all of Idaho's counties don't have a rating because there was no monitor collecting data.

“The continued reduction of year-round particle pollution is thanks to cleaner diesel fleets and cleaner power plants," said Jan Flynn, Idaho director of the American Lung Association of the Mountain Pacific. "However, the increases in unhealthy days of short-term particle pollution tell us we still have work to do.”

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Name Dropping: Idaho Legislator Posts Phony List of Endorsements

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:27 AM

Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Jeff Thompson has been touting endorsements from people who have actually thrown their support to his opponent.

In a report entitled "Support for Jeff Thompson Misleading," the Idaho Falls Post Register reports that several individuals and groups listed on Thompson's campaign website were not legitimate endorsements. When contacted by the Post Register, Thompson said he would take the names off his website.

Among those names were former Idaho Reps. Janice McGeachin and Ann Ryalch, and current Idaho Sen. Dean Mortimer and current GOP candidate for Idaho Secretary of State Mitch Toryanski, who were each a bit surprised as being on Thompson's list.

Additionally, Thompson said he had been endorsed by the National Rifle Association, but a spokesman for the NRA said they haven't made any such endorsement.

Thompson also included the Idaho Farm Bureau as a supporter but a spokesman for the bureau said the organization doesn't officially endorse candidates.

Thompson is being challenged for his District 30A House seat in the May 20 GOP primary by Steve Yates.

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Video: Botched Execution Renews Debate

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:24 AM

The national debate over the death penalty has taken on a new urgency in the wake of a botched execution in Oklahoma, where an inmate took more than 45 minutes to die.

A dose of a drug cocktail was administered to Clayton Lockett April 29, but the director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections halted the execution about 20 minutes later, saying there was a vein failure that prevented the chemicals from reaching Lockett's heart. In the meantime, Lockett was writhing, convulsing and shaking uncontrollably according to eyewitnesses.

Lockett was sentenced to death for the shooting death of a 19-year-old girl. Prosecutors said Lockett also stood by as two accomplices buried the girl alive.

Here's how the Oklahoman described part of Lockett's botched execution:

Lockett grimaced and tensed his body several times over a three minute period before the execution was shielded from the press. After being declared unconscious ten minutes into the process, Lockett spoke at three separate moments. The first two were inaudible, however the third time he spoke, Lockett said the word "man."

The Atlantic reports that Oklahoma state officials used untested drugs from a secret source in the incident.

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Times-News: Plea Deal for Rickards

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Charges have been reduced against a one-time Idaho gubernatorial candidate who was originally charged with marijuana trafficking when police said they seized more than four pounds of marijuana from his home in May 2013.

Prosecutors said that the pot taken from the home from well-known anti-nuclear activist Peter Rickards had a street value of $17,000, but Rickards argued that he had a "religious right" to his plants, adding that the pot plants were "sacramental" and served medicinal purposes.

In 1998, Rickards waged an independent campaign against then-Gov. Dirk Kempthorne. Rickards garnered 3.2 percent of the vote.

And now, this morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that a plea deal has been reached in which the 59-year-old Rickards would plead guilty to one charge of manufacturing marijuana. The Times-News reports that prosecutors will recommend five years of supervised probation and 30 days in jail with credit for time served. They also recommend that Rickards be fined $2,000 and complete 200 hours of community service.

Sentencing is set for July 9.

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Idaho Man Accused of Threatening Woman With Bayonet

Posted By on Wed, Apr 30, 2014 at 9:16 AM

A Pocatello man is behind bars after police said he lunged at a woman with a bayonet.

This morning's Idaho State Journal reports that Pocatello police were called to a home April 28 on North Grant Street in Pocatello after receiving a call of a disturbance. That's where they found Richard Simmons armed with a large bayonet. When police ordered Simmons to drop the weapon, he complied and no one was harmed in the incident.

Simmons was taken into custody and charged with aggravated assault. Detectives said the suspect used the weapon and lunged at a female victim, though she was not hurt.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Boise Teen Arrested, Video Goes Viral, Following Incident at Frank Church High

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 10:42 AM

The Boise Police Department sent out a statement Monday afternoon regarding the arrest of a Boise teen at Frank Church High School, but by then a video of the incident had already gone viral.

The video shows a Boise Police Student Resource Officer holding down the young man, while school officials were waving other students away. Additionally, the school officials are shown telling the student who filed the incident that he shouldn't have been capturing the event on his smart phone. But by Sunday night, the video had splashed across social media via the Boise Guardian and a website called PINAC, an acronym for "photography is not a crime." In fact, PINAC wrote, "Idaho School Officials Confiscate Phones from Students Recording Arrest, Delete Footage."

"It got a little rough for just one kid," a student told KTVB-TV. "There were a lot of cops involved ... I feel they didn't need that many cops."

Boise Police said the incident began at about 11:50 a.m. on April 25 at Frank Church High School. That's where a student was reportedly told to leave the school due to an earlier disturbance. When the 17-year-old student refused, an SRO took the teen by the arm to escort him out of the building. That's when things got out of control. Police said the young man started punching the officer in the face. The entire altercation lasted about three minutes, but it had plenty of witnesses as it was the lunch hour.

The 17-year-old was booked into the Ada County juvenile detention facility on a felony charge of battery on a law enforcement officer, and misdemeanor charges of battery and resisting.

An investigation into the incident continues.

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Amtrak Empire Rolling Again Following Derailment, Passenger Injury

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 10:00 AM

The Amtrak Empire, the only daily passenger train that regularly rolls through Idaho, resumed its journey early this morning, after Monday's derailment, which injured one and derailed travel plans for 117 other passengers.

The Empire, which runs from Seattle to Chicago and is already known as the worst on-time train in the Amtrak fleet (which basically means that it is rarely on schedule), partially derailed in northeastern Montana after two cars slipped off the tracks at a switch.

The injured passenger was taken to a nearby hospital.

The Empire makes one daily Idaho stop, in Sandpoint, in the pre-dawn hours.

The Associated Press reports this morning that the train was upright Monday evening and resumed its journey early today. But, you guessed it, as many as seven other trains were delayed while repairs were made.

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Mafioso Who Lived in Idaho Sent Away For 28 Years

Posted By on Tue, Apr 29, 2014 at 9:51 AM


His friends and neighbors knew him as Jeff Shaw, an Idaho cattle rancher. But his real name was Enrico Ponzo, 45, a man who spent 17 years on the lam, including time as a rancher in Marsing.

On April 28, Ponzo was sentenced in a Boston courtroom to spend 28 years in prison for a series of crimes, including the attempted murder of a would-be Mafia boss.

Ponzo was caught in February 2011, when law enforcement raided his Idaho home, finding $100,000 in cash, $65,000 in gold coins, 22 rifles, eight handguns and 34,000 rounds of ammunition.

The 45-year-old Ponzo chose to represent himself during his sentencing hearing, telling the courtroom that he deserved no more than 15 years in prison. Ponzo also declared himself to be a "self-rehabilitated man" from his time Idaho.

But federal prosecutors urged Judge Nathaniel Gorton to send Ponzo away for 40 years. Ultimately, Gorton sentenced Ponzo to 28 years in a federal prison.

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