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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

The Idaho State Tax Commission mails more than 21,000 applications to Idaho residents who may qualify for a grocery credit refund between $20 and $70 for the year. If you filed a regular Idaho income tax return you will not be receiving the application because you already got the deduction. If you didn't file and your application got lost in the mail then you may request a form by calling 1-800-8972-7660 or going to www.tax.idaho.gov/forms_indiv_o4.htm. File by April 15.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

The new car wash on 13th and Front streets, we think has potential as a new Boise landmark, gets a slap on the wrist before opening when city planning directors decide the business' new animated sign is a little too flashy and fast for us local yokels. Owner Bill Martin turns the sign down a little but we're excited about the other possibilities. While it's still in the proposal stage, the Boise City Arts Commission is working on a plan for local artists and filmmakers to produce animated shorts and films to display periodically on the sign.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

An U.N. huckster says the richest countries are the most stingy with their money, and President George W. Bush pledges $35 million in aid for victims of the Indian Ocean tsunami. Bush initially threw out a figure of only $15 million.

Friday, December 31, 2004

President George W. Bush increases the U.S. pledge to $350 million in tsunami aid after some countries get in a bidding war over how much they will donate. Now everyone is tallying up how much they actually spend on worldwide aid to prove to the world they aren't "stingy." The U.S. administration makes it a point to state that Americans donate far more privately than any other nation.

The two highest scoring teams in college football this year put a total of 84 points on the board but the Broncos comes up four shorter than their opponents, busting Boise State's 22-game winning streak.

Saturday, January 1, 2005

Japan says, "OK U.S., I'll see your $350 million and raise you $500 million." Then President Bush pulls out his 52-card deck of Iraq's most wanted and challenges Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi to a single hand of Texas Hold'em.

A new year brings in what Y2K doomsayers say should have happened five years ago when the power goes out on the strip in Las Vegas. While some hotels only experience three to five seconds of lights-out before their generators start up, power is not restored to those without generators for another 45 minutes. Revelers at first suspect terrorism but officials say party debris from the estimated 232,000 people partying on the strip fouled up power lines and tripped a breaker.

Locally, fireworks of the worst kind erupt around 3 a.m. in front of JD and Friends on Main Street. David Martin, 24, of Boise dies after 20-year-old Laurence Weed fires multiple gunshots at him. According to police, Cy M. Robertson, a bystander, was also shot in the leg. Citywide, nine are arrested for driving under the influence. Downtown, police conduct over 200 breathalyzer tests.

Sunday, January 2, 2005

Nothing really excited us today about the news but we think it's probably because most people were still nursing a hangover.

Monday, January 3, 2005

Boise's new police chief Mike Masterson begins his job although he won't be sworn-in officially until January 12. His calendar has 39 meetings this week to "get to know his people."

United States Interior Secretary Gale Norton announced that as of February 2, Idaho will have state management control of its 450 wolves. Idaho Senators Mike Crapo and Larry Craig and Representatives Mike Simpson and C.L. "Butch" Otter all hooted and holler'd over the announcement.

Tuesday, January 4, 2005

Ali Al-Haidri, Governor of the Baghdad province of Iraq, and one of his bodyguards are gunned down in the streets of Baghdad. Al-Haidri lost his deputy governor last November to the same malady--Iraqofficialitis.

Not to be outdone in the bidding war the Arab world is debating whether or not they are giving enough in tsunami aid. Kuwait ups its initial $2 million pledge to $10 million, but other Kuwaitis say they should give more since the affected nations provide most of Kuwait's low-wage labor. Qatar has pledged $10 million, the United Arab Emirates $20 million and Saudi Arabia tripled its initial pledge to $30 million. Meanwhile, oil is still close to $50 a barrel.

While all countries and the World Bank have pledged a total of $2.25 billion in tsunami aid, celebrities are getting into the mix too. Sandra Bullock donates $1 million to the Red Cross (she donated a cool million bucks just after 9/11 too). Leonardo DiCaprio donates what is called a "sizeable amount" to victims in Thailand. Networks and media companies are planning fundraisers and telethons to raise money. Not since the Marshall Plan has so much money been allocated to rebuilding.

war in Iraq

U.S. CASUALTIES: As of Tuesday, January 4, 1,335 U.S. service members (including 10 Idahoans) have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 1,049 in combat and 286 from noncombat-related incidents and accidents. Injured service members total 10,252.

In the last two weeks 35 soldiers have died in Iraq.

Since President George W. Bush declared "mission accomplished" aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, 1,057 soldiers have died and 9,710 have been injured.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

IRAQI CIVILIAN DEATHS: Estimated between 15,038 and 17,240.

Source: www.iraqbodycount.org

COST OF IRAQ WAR: $148,298,000,000.

COST OF IRAQ WAR TO BOISE: $63,826,563.

Source: costofwar.com.

U.S. debt

The outstanding public debt as of January 4 is $7,606,054,141,869.00. Each citizen's share is $25,762.63.

citizen calendar

Perspectives on immigration--Local immigration experts including Robert Mather, officer in charge of the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services in Boise and Refujio Nolasco, immigration caseworker from Catholic Charities of Idaho discuss immigration in the United States. Boise Public Library, Thursday, January 6, 7-9 p.m.

Tsunami charity appeals--We all want to help, but the Better Business Bureau warns that tsunami relief scammers are out and about. Before you donate goods or money the BBB suggest you follow some general guidelines:• Be wary about appeals that are long on emotion but short on describing what the charity will spend the money on.• Do not give cash.• Before giving online, find out about the charity and watch for red flags such as hidden domain names or altered organization names. • Be wary about on-the-spot donations with excessive pressure or groups that send "runners" to pick up your donation.• Do not give out your credit card number to anyone soliciting on the telephone.• Ask questions about the charities calling you. If they avoid answering be cautious.• Understand what the charity plans on doing with excess monies donated beyond any disaster relief needs.The best option may be to visit www.give.org, the web site of the BBB Wise Giving Alliance, a national charity watchdog.