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News Shorts April 28, 2004



Boise Mayor Dave Bieter unveiled a 10-year, $40 million plan to overhaul downtown Boise at the Downtown Boise Association's annual meeting on Tuesday, April 20. At the core of this vision is a 24-hour downtown trolley and "circulator" system which would stretch from 27th Street to Broadway Avenue as well as from the Bench to Fort Street, decreasing traffic and parking pressure on downtown Boise. Capital City Development Corp, the Ada County Highway District, Valley Ride and Boise State University have all helped to establish this long-term transportation plan for downtown Boise, the research funding of which Bieter is encouraging DBA members to push to Idaho's Congress.


A major transaction that is both a sale and a donation by the family of the late Ron Yanke to Boise State will allow the university to acquire a key parcel of property adjacent to the southwest corner of its main campus.

Boise State has an agreement to purchase Capitol Village shopping center, the neighborhood retail center at the southeast corner of Boise Avenue and University Drive, officials announced Tuesday.

The property, valued at $6.61 million, will be sold to Boise State for $5 million by the family of Yanke, a longtime Boise businessman, philanthropist and supporter of the university who passed away in February at age 68. The $1.61 million difference will be a gift to BSU from Yanke's family.

Yanke had been a major financial contributor to several projects at Boise State, including the building of the Simplot/Micron Building, the Centennial Amphitheatre and the expansion of Bronco Stadium. He also helped secure the land on which the Boise State-West campus now stands. Yanke also served on the boards of the Boise State Foundation and the Bronco Athletic Association.

The property includes a 25,423-square-foot building previously occupied by an Office Depot store, 13,045 square feet of privately leased space, 3,725 square feet of space currently leased by the university, and an additional 8,721 square feet of vacant space.

The university will honor the leases of the businesses currently operating in Capitol Village; they include a Starbucks franchise, three restaurants, a hair salon and a bookstore that will be opening soon.


With the arrival of spring comes the onslaught of baby birds tumbling from nests, wayward baby squirrels and stray ducklings and goslings. As Boise continues to grow and encroach more and more upon wildlife habitat, the more displaced wildlife finds itself in need of human assistance.

To the rescue is Animals in Distress, the area's only nonprofit wildlife rehabilitation organization dedicated to caring for the area's orphaned and injured urban wildlife.

Each year from April to August, Animals in Distress operates the Ruth Melichar Bird Center to care for hundreds of orphaned and injured wild birds. Located in a nifty red barn on Quail Hollow Golf Course, the Center is staffed by dozens of volunteers who tend the birds from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week. Last year the Bird Center handled over 2,000 birds, ducks and geese.

The Bird Center is in need of volunteers to help with feeding, cleaning, pick-up and delivery of birds. For more information on volunteer opportunities, contact DanYelle at 841-6068.

If you don't have time to volunteer, the Bird Center is always in need of donated food items (lettuce, earthworms, bird seed, cracked corn, scratch grains, Science Diet Maintenance dry dog food, canned dog food, grapes, apples) and supplies (large bird cages, small wicker baskets, paper towels, towels, heating pads, lotion-free Kleenex).

While you are out and about, whether on the Greenbelt, in the Foothills, downtown or in your hood, you may come upon an orphaned or injured critter in need of your assistance.

If you find a baby bird that has tumbled from its nest, try placing it back in the nest, if unable to do so, or if the bird is injured, place it in a towel-lined box and take it to the Bird Center (4650 N. 36th St., north of Hillside Jr. High, 338-0897). If the bird is bleeding or severely injured, take it to Animal Emergency Clinic located at 5019 Sawyer (Chinden west to 50th, north on 50th). The clinic is open all day every day. Tell the nice people at AEC you are dropping the critter off for Animals in Distress and they will notify the appropriate rehabber.

To report orphaned or injured wild mammals, raptors or reptiles, call the Animals in Distress hotline, 367-1026.



The Idaho Supreme Court upheld the dismissal of a libel/slander lawsuit Nampa Charter School—now Liberty Charter School—filed against Ersilia DeLaPaz, a former employee, and her husband Conrad.

The charter school filed suit against the DeLaPaz's claiming the couple was attempting to "bring down the charter" by writing defamatory letters and making false statements.

Third District Judge James Morfitt dismissed the case. The charter school appealed to the Idaho Supreme Court and on April 23, the Court upheld the ruling.

The Court ruled that under the Public Charter School Act of 1998, a charter school can sue or be sued "to the same extent and on the same conditions as a public school district." The court maintained the school could not sue DeLaPaz for libel and slander because her speech related to a matter of public concern and that seeking an injunction against her would violate free speech rights.



A press release issued by Idaho Republican Party Executive Director Scott Phillips last week informed us that doing a search for "waffles" on and resulted in the No. 1 link being John Kerry's official campaign Web site. There are so many lies and half-truths during an election year coming from both the major parties we just had to check it out ourselves. Sure enough, on the first link for "waffles" brings up, John Kerry's official Web site. We got the same result on Yahoo. According to a recent article in USA Today, the prankster joke is a simple manipulation of how search engines calculate what to show as the top search results from a keyword. On, anytime a link reads "waffles" on any number of the political blog Web sites links to it improves the ranking. Put enough links around the Internet and, presto, you've got a No. 1 ranking. Apparently a campaign started on April 3 by Duquesne University Law School student Ken Jacobson to make John Kerry and waffles synonymous has been working. A similar campaign last year made President Bush's resume at the number one listing result for a search for "miserable failure." We did notice that the number three listing for "waffles" on was, the official campaign Web site for President George W. Bush.


As of 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 27, 720 U.S. service members have died since the war in Iraq began in March 2003: 520 in combat and 201 from non-combat-related incidents and accidents. Forty-six U.S. soldiers died last week.

Source: U.S. Department of Defense

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