Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Suspect in Custody After Six Hour Standoff in Nampa

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 9:18 AM

Carlos Reyna, 26, is charged with aggravated assault and strong arm robbery. - CANYON COUNTY SHERIFF'S OFFICE
  • Canyon County Sheriff's Office
  • Carlos Reyna, 26, is charged with aggravated assault and strong arm robbery.
A six hour standoff near a Nampa elementary school ended late Monday night with a suspect taken into custody.

Nampa Police were summoned to the area around Central Elementary School at 5:30 p.m. April 20. When law enforcement arrived on the scene, they learned that 26-year-old Carlos Reyna of Nampa had barricaded himself in a home on 16th Avenue South. Police said they had reason to believe that Reyna was armed with a shotgun.

Police later confirmed that a woman said Reyna had robbed her on the sidewalk just before 5:30 p.m.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that just before midnight, the Nampa SWAT Team was able to take Reyna into custody. Reyna faces a string of charges including aggravated assault, strong arm robbery and outstanding warrants for domestic battery and drug charges.
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Press-Tribune: Controversy Grows Over Ouster of NNU Professor

Posted By on Fri, Apr 10, 2015 at 9:23 AM

Thomas Oord - FACEBOOK
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  • Thomas Oord
A conversation on the campus of Northwest Nazarene University is less about graduation lately and more about what happened to faculty member Thomas Oord.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that university officials refuse to confirm that Oord was let go, but did say that six layoffs were part of recent budget cuts. Meanwhile, a Facebook page—"Support Tom Oord"—has already picked up 1,300 followers who have a laundry list of questions following the dismissal of the theologian and systematics professor. Supporters say that Oord has been regularly challenged by NNU officials to "respond to questions about this theology in order to stay in good standing with the church," faced a possible heresy trial in the summer of 2014, and was fired in spite of being a tenured professor.

“He cared so deeply for us as students,” Phil Michaels, associate pastor of the Durand (Mich.) Church of the Nazarene told the Press-Tribune. “It was like he said ‘I will teach you some information to form us and prepare us for our lives.’ He definitely holds some of what are controversial views. He doesn’t push his views, though."

Meanwhile, supporters said they've started a GoFundMe account to raise awareness of their plight and plan on wearing T-shirts with a quote attributed to Oord: "I plan to live a life of love."

And just this morning, a letter from Randy Craker, the Chair of the NNU Board of Trustees, was addressed to university employees:

As Chair of the Board of Trustees, I pledge to you that the board will give careful attention to the input received. Your voice has been heard. There are valuable lessons for all of us to learn. But my purpose for writing today is to clarify where I believe we are, and to urge us forward.
We are in a place where decisions have been made, policy has been followed, and now we must find ways to live into the new reality. Those steps must be taken by all. I commit to work with our president and the board to ensure our future. I invite the campus community to work redemptively with us.

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Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Accidents Claim Two Lives

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 10:47 AM

Two weekend accidents—one in Nampa, another in eastern Idaho—have claimed two lives.

Idaho State Police are investigating a two-car crash that killed 21-year-old Allison Brungardt of Meridian. ISP say Brungardt's vehicle crossed the center line on Cherry Lane in Nampa in the evening hours of Feb. 21. That's when ISP said Brungardt's car smashed into another vehicle. Brungardt was dead at the scene and the driver of the second vehicle, 21-year-old Hayden Wright of Nampa was taken to Saint Alphonsus Health Plaza in Nampa for treatment of her injuries.

Meanwhile, a northern Utah man was killed Feb. 21 in a snowmobile accident in Franklin County. Law enforcement was notified of the accident in the area of the Franklin Basin, triggering a search and rescue effort. The Franklin County Sheriff's Office later said 73-year-old Denis Thompson of Smithfield, Utah, had climbed a very steep hill on his snowmobile but it appeared that the snowmobile had struck some trees. Thompson was dead at the scene.

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Move Afoot to Halt Idaho Urban Renewal Districts From Incurring Debt Without Local Government Approval

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 10:32 AM

The Nampa City Council took a major step toward putting its urban renewal agency on a shorter leash. 

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Nampa councilors voted unanimously to restrict the city's URA from creating any new urban renewal districts or issue new bonding without the council's prior approval. 

Nampa councilman David Bills said, "Urban renewal can be a good took, and it can abused too."

Meanwhile, two bills have surfaced at the Idaho Legislature that would put similar restrictions on all URA's in the Gem State. The Twin Falls Times-News reports that the House Local Government Committee agreed to full hearings of the two measures, both sponsored by Meridian Republican Rep. Steve Harris.

To date, Idaho has more than 60 urban renewal districts.
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Sunday, January 4, 2015

Nampa's Karcher Mall Struggles to Stay Relevant

Posted By on Sun, Jan 4, 2015 at 10:52 AM

Back in the fall, National Public Radio reported a series of stories on American's changing mall culture, where it reported that of the 1,200 enclosed malls in the country, only about a third of them are doing well. Factors like online shopping, the recession, a surge in shopping local and shifts toward lifestyle centers such as the Village at Meridian have pulled shoppers away from conventional indoor malls.

The Karcher Mall, in Nampa, has struggled since Macy's left in 2009, leaving a 70,000-square-foot empty space. 

According to the Idaho Press-Tribune, rental rates dropped in the wake of the department store's departure. In 2008, the mall underwent a $14-million facelift, but in 2010, it faced foreclosure. 

LeAnne Hume, the branch manager for the mall's broker, went before the Nampa Development Corporation's board in December to fill them in on some possible options that would help keep the mall afloat. She said there are retailers interested in the former Macy's space, but significant renovations would need to be done first.

"We are at a critical juncture right now with that project," she told the board. "We have interest from great tenants, but ... next year will be the 50th anniversary since that mall was built and it's facing some challenges."

Another option is to "de-mall" part of the building. That would mean turning storefronts to the outside and getting rid of the enclosed common areas where shoppers traditionally walk. It's been successful in struggling malls around the country.

NPR's coverage found empty shopping malls have been turned into everything from office space—including Google Glass—to medical centers, churches, universities, even hockey rinks. Some stay concrete carcasses, as seen in this Huffington Post story, which depicts abandoned malls in Ohio, Indiana, Michigan and Pennsylvania. 
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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Nampa to Mull Biking, Walking Improvements

Posted By on Wed, Sep 24, 2014 at 10:15 AM

As the Boise City Council and the Ada County Highway District consider recommendations for improved bicycle infrastructure from a stakeholder group delivered Sept. 23 at a rare joint session of the city council and ACHD, Nampa is considering similar improvements of its own, the Idaho Press Tribune reports

Nampa residents are being encouraged to attend an open house to learn about planned improvements including bicycle boulevards—a bike-friendly street where cars are outnumbered—bike lanes, multi-use paths and enhanced lighting. The city received funding for the improvements through federal transportation grants, and construction is expected to begin in spring or summer of 2015.

The open house will take place from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 23, at Flying M Coffeegarage. 
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Monday, September 15, 2014

UPDATE: 9-Foot-Long Boa Constrictor Came Home

Posted By on Mon, Sep 15, 2014 at 8:49 AM

  • Nampa Police Department


Trinity decided to come home. The 9-foot boa constrictor that went missing sometime between Friday night and Saturday afternoon slithered back into its owner's garage Sunday afternoon, according to KTVB. The Nampa Police Department issued a news release calling Trinity "no longer a 'snake of interest' by this department." 


A boa constrictor named Trinity has gotten out of its Nampa home and escaped into the town. Nampa police were clued into the disappearance when a resident called on Sept. 13 to report the 9-foot-long Colombian boa was missing.

According to a news release, the snake lived in a plexiglass cage in the owner's garage at a home in the 600 block of Drift Wood Lane, near the Roosevelt and Midland area. When the owner went to check on the animal Saturday—it was last seen at 4 p.m. on Friday—it was gone. It appears the snake broke a section of the plexiglass and escaped.

Despite searches around the house and neighborhood, Trinity has not yet been found.

The snake reportedly last ate three weeks ago. It usually eats every two weeks. If you see the snake, the Nampa Police Department asks that you call 208-465-2257. Do not try to catch it.  
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Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nampa's Roundabout Lawsuit Heads to Idaho Supreme Court

Posted By on Sat, Sep 13, 2014 at 10:44 AM

  • Idaho Press-Tribune

The city of Boise has experienced its own tribulations with the proposal to build a downtown roundabout. Earlier this summer, Boise Weekly readers learned about the plan to build a mini-roundabout at Third and Bannock streets starting this fall. But the Ada County Highway District shelved the project indefinitely after Boise City Council members said "no thanks," stating concerns over timing and design. When the City Council suggested the roundabout location be moved to Grove Street, ACHD didn't bite, saying the money had already been spent on planning for the original location.

Little has been resolved on that front, but now the city of Nampa has its head spinning over a roundabout, too. According to the Idaho Press-Tribune, a long simmering lawsuit brought by two property owners against the city of Nampa over the roundabout plan is headed to the Idaho Supreme Court.

Douglas Pfenninger and Katrina Yoder own property on the southeast corner of the intersection where the roundabout was proposed—Midland Boulevard and Lake Lowell Avenue. The roundabout was fronted in 2008, and they sued the city in 2012 with a claim that their property had been undervalued by more than $750,000.

Court documents showed the city appraised the property (complete with nine acres, a house, shop, pasture and corrals) for more than $997,000 in 2008, then appraised it again for $231,330 in 2012.

When negotiations fell through and the case reached the district court, the judge sided with the city and ordered the property owners to pay $61,000 in court fees. The property owners appealed the decision to the district court, but it was dismissed in March.

The Idaho Supreme Court has decided to take the case on, and will hear oral arguments as soon as the end of the year. City officials told the Press-Tribune that the $1 million allocated to the roundabout will instead be used for improvements on a nearby intersection. The city's master plan calls for a roundabout at the intersection of Midland Boulevard and Lone Star Road as well, but with the current backlash, it may reconsider.
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Sunday, July 6, 2014

Idaho Press Tribune: Emergency Dispatchers Prepare for Next Generation 911

Posted By on Sun, Jul 6, 2014 at 4:31 PM

  • Idaho Press Tribune: Greg Kreller

Idaho is one of 20 states in the preparation phase of implementing Next Generation 911 technology, which lets callers send text messages, photos and videos directly to 911 dispatchers via a cellphone. 

According to the Idaho Press Tribune, Nampa Police Department dispatch says the service will come in handy for folks who witness a crash, hear an intruder in their homes, or are hard-of-hearing and have trouble talking on the telephone.

In the past, because incoming 911 calls most came from landlines, emergency dispatch centers automatically knew the caller's address. Now, with the dramatic decline in home phones, location information is harder to come by. While that's a challenge, there is opportunity with the proliferation of cellphone cameras.

Nampa police said the sweeping upgrade will allow dispatch centers to transfer calls to other facilities in real-time, rather than flipping physical switches, as is the case now. Plus, It's already paid for through an extra dollar on cellphone bills. Idaho has the option of proposing a 25 cent increase to that rate if approved by voters. That has already happened in some Idaho counties, resulting in an additional $9 million in 911 funding over four years—which has helped prep for Next Generation 911.

There is no firm date for implementation of the change, but preparation has begun and police departments are closely watching other states where the technology has already been implemented. 
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Sunday, July 14, 2013

Press-Tribune: Is the Idaho Center a Nampa Asset or Money Suck?

Posted By on Sun, Jul 14, 2013 at 11:00 AM

While visitor spending increases—approximately $10.5 million in 2006—and tax revenues top $9.7 million, some say the Idaho Center in Nampa still ought to be run like a business and shouldn't enjoy more than $1 million in subsidization from the city of Nampa.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune asks the question: "Is the Idaho Center a community asset or a money pit?"

Quite simply, event revenues aren't enough to keep the lights on at the Nampa venue. And since 2010, the city of Nampa has pumped more than $4.4 million into the facility to help cover the center's costs of operations, according to the Nampa Department of Economic Development.

"The parks lose money, the Civic Center loses money, the streets lose money," Nampa Mayor Tom Dale told the Press-Tribune. "But we invest money in those things because it adds quality of life to the community."

But Nampa City Council Member Bob Henry isn't convinced.

"I don't feel comfortable with having the city support the Idaho Center ... without the hope of seeing some sort of improvement," Henry told the Press-Tribune. "It does serve a purpose, but unless the citizens of Nampa are willing to maintain high taxes and high levy rates, we need to look at ways to reduce the size of the government."

The Idaho Center is set to host its highest profile event of the year: the weeklong Snake River Stampede, which runs July 16-20.

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