Wednesday, April 15, 2015

CuMo Mining Corporation Gets One Step Closer to Exploration of Boise River Headwaters

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 4:30 PM

Molybdenum deposits sit under the Boise National Forest. - CUMO MINING CORPORATION
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  • Molybdenum deposits sit under the Boise National Forest.
The U.S. Forest Service recently released a report that found no significant environmental impact to the groundwater near the proposed exploration site—14 miles northwest of Idaho City. There, geologists say, are some of the largest molybdenum deposits in the world. Molybdenum is used to strengthen steel in construction and fertilize crops.

This is just one more step in a long process to allow CuMo Mine Corporation to begin exploring the area for a potential open pit mine near the headwaters of the Boise River. What the Forest Service issued was only a draft decision, so now concerned parties such as private landowners, communities living downriver of the proposed exploration site and environmental groups can come forward with concerns. 

The Idaho Conservation League has a few.

"Our initial review finds concerns for how downstream fisheries are going to be protected and how fuel haul will be handled," said ICL's public lands director John Robison.

By fuel haul, he means the amount of diesel fuel it will take to run exploration drills constantly will be tremendous, and all that fuel must be trucked up winding, narrow roads following the Boise River. His fear is that a truck could topple over into the river, creating a gas spill.

After receiving objections from the stakeholders, the Forest Service will have about a month to go through an objection resolution process, in which the agency can modify the project, strengthen report rationales or nix authorization for the project altogether.

According to a report on KTVB, Phil Bandy—a senior scientist with Forsgren Associates, Inc., based in Boise—spoke on behalf of CuMo Mining Corporation and said the new exploration methodologies are more environmentally friendly than ever. 

Robison raised an eyebrow at that. 

"This is not just a great concern for Grimes Creek, Mores Creek or Lucky Peak," Robinson told Boise Weekly. "If there's one thing we've learned from wildfires upstream, it's that lakes do not function as a protective barrier for communities downstream as folks had previously thought. Fine particles [from wildfire] slipped through the reservoir and make the Boise River quite muddy. And that was just silt and ash. We're really concerned about what could come from a large open pit mining project."

He said he worries about the increased development of the mining area if exploration proved promising, as well as loss of shade, heavy metals in the water and acid mining. 

"All this is happening coming up on Boise River floating season," he said. "We're all investing money into whitewater parks and focusing on what a valuable commodity the Boise River is. It went from being the second most polluted river in Idaho to the most recreated one. Meanwhile, the Forest Service is looking at things that could jeopardize all that."

Objections to the draft decision are due on Sunday, May 24, but can only be offered by people who have previously submitted comments on this process.
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Boise GreenBike Rollout: 8 Bikes Available Now, Full Access by April 22

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 3:24 PM

Passersby and attendees checked out the bikes at the Boise GreenBike rollout. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Passersby and attendees checked out the bikes at the Boise GreenBike rollout.
Boise GreenBike is within a week of being fully operational.

At a rollout event held in the Grove in downtown Boise, GreenBike Director Dave Fotsch told Boise Weekly that the eight bikes that were on display at the Grove station are available for checkout, and by Earth Day—Wednesday, April 22—the public will have access to all 114 bikes available through the bikeshare program.

The bikes can be found at 15 stations that are currently being installed in locations across the GreenBike service area. A smartphone application through Social Bicycles—now ready for download—allows GreenBike users to check out bicycles remotely.

The rollout was attended by stakeholders, including Boise City Council Presidet Elaine Clegg, who described Boise GreenBike as "the culmination of a lot of work we've been doing for the last few years," as well as fitting in with Boise's LIV initiative.

Representatives of GreenBike's title sponsors were also in attendance, including SelectHealth President and CEO Patricia Richards, who told the crowd that SelectHealth and fellow Boise GreenBike title sponsor Saint Luke's Health System "share a common commitment to improving health."

"It's really about taking steps toward better health," she said, referring to lifestyle choices that improve health outcomes like riding a bike to work, walking up stairs instead of taking elevators and adopting a healthful diet. "It's all about health and building healthy communities."
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Modest University Tuition Increases Granted by Idaho Board of Ed

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 1:59 PM

Trustees of the Idaho State Board of Education met in Moscow Wednesday, and the top bit of business was consideration of what students (or parents) will be forking over in tuition in the coming years.

Ultimately, trustees approved some of the lowest tuition increases in years. 

Boise State University was granted a 3.5 increase in undergraduate resident tuition and fees. The University of Idaho and Eastern Idaho Technical College were also granted 3.5 percent increases.

Idaho State University was given the OK for a 3.3 percent bump and Lewis-Clark College tuition will increase 1.7 percent.

For the better part of two decades, Idaho's public universities and colleges have been granted a series of tuition increases, often more than 5 percent and, on occasion, into the double-digits, saddling more students and families with mounting debt. But prior to this week's meeting, Board of Ed trustees cautioned Idaho public universities and colleges not to request increases of more than 3.5 percent. 
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Petition Supports Ousted Professor While NNU President Is Hit With Vote of 'No Confidence'

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 12:54 PM

Dr. Thomas Oord - FACEBOOK
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  • Dr. Thomas Oord
The Board of Trustees of Northwest Nazarene University has been presented with a petition including the names of 123 faculty members from faith-based universities and colleges across North America in support of Thomas Oord, who was recently laid off by NNU.

Oord, a tenured professor at NNU, was part of a March layoff due to budget cuts, according to university officials, but supporters say Oord may have been targeted due to his beliefs, which included the acknowledgement of the theory of evolution.

NNU President David Alexander, in an open letter to students, conceded that communicating with Oord about the layoff via email "was not respectful."

"While our actions were policy-driven, we did not demonstrate the compassion and care reflective of our values," wrote Alexander. "We can and should have done better."

Meanwhile, NNU Faculty officers have announced that following a three hour-plus meeting, more than three-fourths of the group cast a vote of no confidence in NNU President Alexander.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the petition from faculty members from other universities in the U.S. and Canada has been received by NNU officials but they would not comment further.

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Video: One Capsized Canoe, A Shot of Whiskey and a Lot of Damage to an Idaho Cabin

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 12:51 PM

Law enforcement in northern Idaho is still trying to piece together details of an incident which began with a canoe tipping over and ending in a bizarre crime spree.

KREM-TV reports that a fisherman and a friend were out on Feman Lake, near Coeur d'Alene, when their canoe capsized. The two men ended up breaking into a nearby cabin to warm up. They also called 911 from the hope. But before police arrived on the scene, one of the men took a shot of whiskey and the pair decided to hop back into their canoe and resume fishing. But the canoe capsized a second time and both men swam to shore and broke into the home a second time. The men apparently called 911 a second time and when a relative of the homeowner stopped by to check on the cabin, he found one of the men in the shower.

Police said the homeowners have decided not to press criminal charges and they're still hoping that the fisherman will chip in to repair some of the damage they caused, including a $2,000 bill to fix a solid metal door.

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City of Meridian Installs 39 Defibrillators—14 in City Parks

Posted By on Wed, Apr 15, 2015 at 11:12 AM

Three years ago, mayor of Meridian Tammy de Weerd witnessed someone have a heart attack in Settler's Park. The image stuck with her, and she decided to do something about it.

In an effort to create a "HeartSafe" community, the city of Meridian recently invested in 39 Automatic External Defibrillators (AEDs) and placed them in 12 of the 25 Meridian Police patrol cars, 13 Meridian Fire Department rigs, and 14 in Meridian's city parks for citizens to use. There are also additional AEDs at the Meridian Community Center, the Parks Maintenance Facility and three mobile AEDs for event use.

"Seeing someone have a cardiac arrest in the park was traumatic enough that the mayor decided to move forward with this to provide safety options for our citizens no matter where they are," said city of Meridian communications manager Kaycee Emery. 

Among the AEDs distributed throughout the parks, three in Settlers Park, two in Kleiner, and one each in Heroes, Bear Creek, Storey and Tully parks. Each one is currently stored in the parks' concession stands. Eventually, however, Emery pictures emergency stations similar to those around the Boise State University campus, compete with an emergency phone and an AED.

The AED, she says, is simple enough to use that an ordinary citizen could operate it in an emergency situation. Once the box is opened, the lid acts as a head rest, and a computerized voice walks the user through helping the patient—including a reminder to call 911 and instructions to place shock pads on the person. 

But the initiative was pricy: Each machine costs $1,400—for a total of around $54,600. 

Regardless, Emery told the Boise Weekly that the Meridian Fire Department would like to see more even more AEDs accessible around the city. 

"Our fire department would love to see these included in new [property] developments going up in Meridian," she said. "We want to make sure families feel safe and protected wherever they go."

Other cities that have worked towards creating "HeartSafe" communities like Seattle and San Diego have increased heart attack survival rates up to 56 percent. The nationwide survival rate is between 2 and 25 percent, with Meridian currently at 22 percent, according to KTVB

Emery said Meridian's addition of AEDs to its municipal parks can even serve as a pilot program.

"We'd like to see it become something that is accessible in all Ada County parks," she said.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Lake Lowell to Open April 15 with New Regulations

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 4:33 PM

Pelicans, as well as ducks, geese, bald eagles, herons and various songbirds, make Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge their home. - U.S. FISH AND WILDLIFE SERVICE
  • U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
  • Pelicans, as well as ducks, geese, bald eagles, herons and various songbirds, make Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge their home.

Starting Wednesday, April 15, the waters of Lake Lowell will open to boaters, but with some new regulations in place this season.

A new management plan for the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge outlines some of these regulations, such as additional no-wake zones on the east and south ends of the lake and through the Narrows. The no-wake zones force boaters to slow down for wildlife in the area, like osprey, bald eagles and grebes. 

According to a news release from the Deer Flat National Wildlife Refuge, there aren't any on-water closures for seasonal nesting, but as wildlife begin their nesting seasons, closures could be implemented. The 15-year refuge management plan allows continued recreational activities on and around Lake Lowell, including fishing, hunting, boating, hiking and environmental education programs, while making improvements to wildlife habitat.

Along with the waters opening up to boaters on Wednesday, the refuge will also re-open the Lower Dam Recreation Area and all boat ramps. 

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Bandit Hits Boise Bank in Mid-Morning Robbery

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 1:04 PM

A Boise elementary school was on a brief lock down Tuesday morning when a nearby bank was robbed.

Officials at the KeyBank on the 4900 block of Overland Road said a bandit, wearing a knit cap, sunglasses, a purple scarf and red jacket entered the bank at around 9:15 a.m. April 14. According to Boise Police the male suspect approached a teller, demanded cash and took off with an undisclosed amount of money.

Police say the suspect may be driving a teal colored, 4-door sedan.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Crime Stoppers at 343-COPS.

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Study: Too Many Hungry Idaho Children

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 11:44 AM

A new study out today by Feeding America confirms what too many Idahoans know already: that an increasing number of men, women and children are going to bed hungry in a number of regions across the Gem State.

According to the survey, pushed out by the Idaho Food Bank, a stunning 15.6 percent of Idaho's population doesn't know where their next meal will come from. The percentage is even worse—21.1 percent—when it comes to Idaho children experiencing food insecurity.

“Even as the economy improves, food insecurity is not diminishing in most areas of our state. The need for our services has yet to see a decrease," said Idaho Foodbank CEO Karen Vauk.

Some of the highest percentages of families experiencing food insecurity were found in Madison County (21. percent) and Lemhi (10.7 percent), Shoshone (19.5 percent) and Adams (19.1 percent) counties. For children, some of the hardest hit counties were Lemhi (29.8 percent), Adams (2.6.4 percent) and Shoshone (26 percent) counties.

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Former Minidoka Sheriff's Girlfriend Sentenced for Fraud

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 9:35 AM

The girlfriend of the former sheriff of Minidoka County told a Jerome County courtroom April 13 that she knew it was "wrong having this relationship," before being sentenced to 150 hours of community service and placed on probation for her conviction of falsifying time records.

In September 2013, former Minidoka Sheriff Kevin Halverson was sentenced to 90 days in jail after prosecutors said he was having a personal relationship with a county employee, Alicia Daniel and misusing public funds.

And now, this morning's Twin Falls Time-News reports that Daniel was sentenced for making fraudulent claims, but refused to acknowledge her guilt.

“I allowed Kevin to influence me with the promises that he made. My whole world revolved around that relationship. However my job was still my job,” Daniel told Jerome County District Judge John Butler April 13. 
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