Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Former AEHI Exec Pleads Guilty to Securities Fraud

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 4:46 PM

This bullet-riddled sign stood on the site of where Gillispie and Ransom had promised to build a nuclear facility in Payette County. - GEORGE PRENTICE
  • George Prentice
  • This bullet-riddled sign stood on the site of where Gillispie and Ransom had promised to build a nuclear facility in Payette County.
Jennifer Ransom, the former AEHI Vice President described as a "pretty blonde" by her boss by AEHI attorneys, pleaded guilty April 21 in a Boise federal courtroom to one count of securities fraud.

In February 2011, Boise Weekly interviewed Jennifer Ransom, former vice president of Alternate Energy Holdings, Inc., after listening to AEHI's CEO Don Gillispie describe her as "a pretty blonde" in a federal court hearing where prosecutors alleged that the company was a shell for a "pump and dump" scheme.

"Quite frankly, Asians like a pretty blonde face to look at," said Gilliespie. "So it doesn't hurt." Gillispie referred to the numerous trips that he and Ransom had taken together, including to the Far East.

In fact, AEHI attorneys presented Ransom as a secretary with "no day-to-day responsibilities." During the hearing, AEHI attorneys referred to something called Bosco Financial LLC, through which hundreds of thousands of dollars had flowed. Ransom later told BW that "Bosco" was the name of a family dog.

A few months later, Ransom resigned from AEHI, citing "significant health-related issues."

But the 40-year-old Ransom returned to the Boise federal courthouse Tuesday to plead guilty after a grand jury indicted her on securities fraud. According to prosecutors, Ransom and Gillispie artificially increased the market price of AEHI stock. And over time, Ransom received multiple shares of AEHI stock prior to her sale of approximately 1,000,000 shares, receiving $675,326. As part of a plea agreement, Ransom agreed to forfeit $580,780.

The charge of securities fraud is punishable by up to five years in prison. Ransom's sentencing is set for July 27. 

Meanwhile, Gillispie continues to fight charges of conspiracy and securities fraud, and is still slated for a federal court trial in July.
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Power Outage, Gas Leak Keeps Boise Emergency Crews Busy

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 9:19 AM

Emergency crews had a very busy Tuesday morning.

A number of homes were evacuated near Franklin Road in the pre-dawn hours following a report of a gas leak. Police said a driver had crashed her car into a gas line on Franklin near Hilton Street. That prompted the evacuation of nine homes as Intermountain Gas shut off the gas and repaired the line. Neighbors were let back into their homes a short time later.

The driver of the vehicle was taken to a local hospital for treatment of minor injuries. 

Meanwhile a power outage near Boise State University knocked out the lights to about 2,400 customers early Tuesday morning. Idaho Power reported that most power was restored by 7:30 a.m. The outage stretched from the Boise Bench to the area around Boise State.

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Idaho Theme Park's Facebook Page Hacked

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 9:12 AM

Fans of Silverwood Theme Park knew something was up when they started seeing bizarre, and often inappropriate, posts on the northern Idaho amusement park's Facebook page.

"15 Horrible Methods of Capital Punishment," said one post. "Badass Exotic Animals You Wish You Owned," said another. "And "Best Boob Tatoos" read a third.

The odd Facebook posts continued through much of this past weekend; and in short order, Silverwood officials knew that their page had been hacked. That prompted them to create a new Facebook page to explain the situation to its visitors.

"We are so sorry for the confusion with the hacked account! All account admins had been deleted so we have no way of stopping the posts," wrote Silverwood officials on the second Facebook page.

And now, this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that Silverwood has grabbed back control of its original Facebook page and deleted the hacked posts, but only after getting flooded with complaints, mostly from parents who were upset of what had been flowing into their children's news feeds.

"It is quite unfortunate as we have gained a significant amount of loyal followers based on worthwhile organic postings and engagement which took much effort," Mark Robitaille, Silverood director of marketing told the Press. "Silverwood is committed to being family-friendly and is in no way associated with these posts."
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Blue Bell Ice Cream Expands Recall to All of its Ice Cream Products

Posted By on Tue, Apr 21, 2015 at 9:10 AM

Blue Bell, makers of gourmet ice cream, announced Monday that it would recall all of its products. The announcement came as the Texas-based creamery found Listeria in yet another product after finding the bacteria in some of its frozen treats in early March.

In April, health officials confirmed that three people made ill by Listeria in 2014 had died in a Kansas hospital where Blue Bell frozen treats had been served.  

The recalled Blue Bell products had been distributed to grocery and convenience stores in 23 U.S. states and some international retailers.

In a written statement late Monday, Blue Bell said it was voluntarily recalling all products, including “ice cream, frozen yogurt, sherbet and frozen snacks because they have the potential to be contaminated with Listeria monocytogenes.”

“We’re committed to doing the 100 percent right thing, and the best way to do that is to take all of our products off the market until we can be confident that they are all safe,” Paul Kruse, Blue Bell CEO and president said in the statement. “We are heartbroken about this situation and apologize to all of our loyal Blue Bell fans and customers. ... We want enjoying our ice cream to be a source of joy and pleasure, never a cause for concern, so we are committed to getting this right.”

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Monday, April 20, 2015

Boise Man Dies of Injuries Suffered in March 31 Crash

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 11:59 AM

Idaho State Police report that a Boise man has died of injuries he suffered in a two vehicle crash on March 31.

The crash occurred at the intersection of Chinden Boulevard and Eagle Road. That's where 64-year-old W.D. Taylor, of Boise, was travelling northbound on Eagle Road in a Dodge Dakota pickup. But witnesses said Taylor made an improper left tun in front of a tractor-trailer, causing the tractor-trailer to smash into the passenger side of Taylor's vehicle. 

Taylor was rushed to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. That's where he died April 17, succumbing to his injuries.

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Tribune's Blotter Fodder: 'Rambo Wannabe' Holds Puppy at Gunpoint

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 9:45 AM

One of the more entertaining columns for readers of the Lewiston Tribune to read each morning if reporter Ralph Bartholdt's rundown of that region's police blotters.

And this morning's edition has a real gem:

"Holding a neighbor's puppy with one hand, while threatening to kill the dog with the assault rifle he held in his other hand, a Lewiston man told his neighbor he had every right to protect his family."
The Tribune reports that the "Rambo wannabe" told the unsuspecting pet owner that he was justified "by using violent, unreasonable force against the neighbor's boxer puppy." At first the dog owner laughed, thinking the whole thing was a joke; that is, until he realized that the gunman meant business.

"Police cited the gun wielder for being unneighborly," reports the Tribune.

By the way, Monday's police blotter also included a report of drugs after midnight in Moscow, a man bitten by a horse in Nez Perce County and someone tampering with license plates at a ballgame.
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Today's Boston Marathon Includes One of the Oldest Practicing Attorneys in Idaho

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 9:37 AM

More than 30,000 runners faced very high security and chilly temperatures this morning for the 119th running of the Boston Marathon, the most famous race in North America. 

More than a few spectators said sentiment was mixed as they cheered the runners as the trial of 21-year-old Dzhokhar Tsarnaev took a one-day pause as jurors decide whether he should be put to death or remain behind bars for the rest of his life for his role in the 2013 bombing which killed three people and injured 264.

91 runners, out of a field of 30,250, call Idaho home, including 25 who listed their  hometown as Boise.

Idaho's oldest runner in today's marathon is 72-year-old Lowell Hawkes of Pocatello, one of the oldest practicing attorneys in the Gem State. The youngest is 23-year-old Sam Magnuson of Coeur d'Alene, a physics major at Marquette University.

There are 53 participants using wheelchairs today and 29 using handcycles. By far the 18-39 age range group has the most participants—12,354; 4,664 are between the ages of 40 and 44; 4,908 are between the ages of 45 and 49; 3,716 are between the ages of 50 and 54; 2,412 are between the ages of 55 and 59; 1,368 are between the ages of 60 and 64; 590 are between the ages of 65 and 69; 177 are between the ages of 70 and 74; 50 are between the ages of 75 and 79; and there are 12 runners over the age of 80.
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Monday, April 13, 2015

Star-News: McCall-Donnelly Hires New Superintendent But Mystery Remains On What Happened to Old One

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 9:17 AM

Officials in the McCall-Donnelly School District have answered one big question: Who will be their new school superintendent? But they still haven't answered another—whatever happened to the old superintendent?

This week's McCall Star-News reports that a twelve-year veteran of the school district, Jim Foudy, who has served as the joint principal of the Barbara Morgan and Donnelly elementary schools, was picked by the McCall-Donnelly Board of Trustees to take the top post for the school district. Foudy was one of seven candidates for the position.

But the mystery still remains on whatever happened to Glen Szymoniak, who resigned as school superintendent in December 2014 without explanation.

The Star-News had lambasted the publicly-elected trustees for refusing to talk about Szymoniak's outster, writing, "It is obvious the process has been hijacked by attorneys, who have no regard for the public interest unless their clients directly benefit."

All that trustee Frank Eld would say after Szymoniak's disappearance in December was, "We have been instructed to talk to no one."
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Report: More Delays, Customer Complaints for U.S. Airlines

Posted By on Mon, Apr 13, 2015 at 9:10 AM

It shouldn't come to many travelers' surprise that the performance of U.S. airlines worsened last year.

In an Airline Quality Rating report released early today, the overall industry performed worse in four main areas: baggage handling, consumer complaints, on-time arrivals and denial of boardings. The report had particularly bad news for Frontier and United Airlines, which had the most complaints in 2014. Alaska Airlines had the best record when it came to customer complaints.

Co-author Brent Bowen of Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Arizona said, "Delta has worked its way back to the top tier" after it merged with Northwest Airlines in 2008, but United Airlines "has not fully bounced back from its 2010 merger with Continental Airlines."

Both Southwest and American Airlines declined in all four areas tracked by the report.

Hawaiian Airlines posted the best on-time performance (91.9 percent) last year. Envoy Air, a regional carrier for American that flies as American Eagle, had the worst on-time record (68.8 percent).
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Sunday, April 12, 2015

Washington Bill to Increase Speed Limit Heads to Governor's Desk

Posted By on Sun, Apr 12, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Washington's KING-5 reports the state may soon join Idaho and Utah in the fast lane.

A bill raising the speed limit from 70 miles per hour to 75 miles per hour along some of the Evergreen State's highways cleared the state legislature April 10 and is now headed to the desk of Gov. Jay Inslee. 

The bill gives Washington Transportation Secretary Lynn Peterson authority "to increase the speed limit in areas that are deemed safe." Interstate 90 was specifically indicated in the bill, but other roads are still under consideration. Heavy transports over 10,000 pounds would still be limited to 60 miles per hour.

If Inslee signs the bill, changes would take effect until 90 days after his signature—around mid-July. 

Idaho remains the West's speed demon, however. The Gem State bumped speed limits along I-84, I-15 and I-86 in June 2014 from 75 mph to 80 mph.

While the change in Idaho was lauded online by many motorists, the change resulted in a sharp increase in the number of speeding citations. In the months following the speed limit increase, police handed out around 300 more speeding tickets than during the same period in previous years. 

Idaho might not be in the head of the pack for long, though, as one of three Montana bills aimed at raising that state's speed limit from 75 mph to 80 mph—SB 375—has cleared the Montana Senate. 
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