Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Video from Co-op Board Hearing

Posted By on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 5:06 PM

For those unlucky folks who weren't able to squeeze into St. John’s Parish Hall for Monday night's Boise Co-op board meeting, we've got a few video highlights. Below, you can watch recently fired co-op manager Ken Kavanagh criticize low member involvement, interim manager Gary Lyons explain the co-op's new manager recruitment process and organic Strawberry farmer Pro-Choice harp on anti-hippie "closed-minded Christians."

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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Co-op Board and Kavanagh Cool Conflict

Posted By on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 2:53 PM

A sizable crowd lingered outside St. John’s Parish Hall last night, anxiously awaiting the start of a Boise Co-op meeting called by fired manager Ken Kavanagh. Words like “rumors,” “answers” and “innuendo” hung thick in the evening air. But once the crowd pushed through the church’s double doors and settled into the basement’s limited chairs, co-op board member David Eberle made something very clear: “This is a board meeting not a member meeting.”

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Though Kavanagh originally hoped for a member vote to reverse the board’s contentious decision to fire him, the board insisted that the meeting conflicted with co-op bylaws and, therefore, no vote would be allowed. The objective of the meeting, Eberle noted, was to update members on the current state of the co-op and allow them to voice concerns about the grocery store’s future without Kavanagh.

Kavanagh, who was in a conference with lawyers and two of the six co-op board members during the first part of the meeting, entered the room to issue a statement.

“We came to a monetary agreement,” said Kavanagh. “I don’t necessarily understand the ‘new direction’ of the co-op. I didn’t think there was anything wrong with the old direction. I want to thank everyone who has supported me. Somebody compared it to being at your own funeral.”

Pat Haas, acting chair of the co-op board, also gave a statement:

“We and Ken have entered into an agreement that basically settles our differences and legal disputes and the details of that agreement are, of course, confidential … We can say that there will be a change of leadership going forward and that Ken has agreed not to contest that decision … the recent decisions about the change of leadership … had absolutely nothing to do with Ken’s DUI in 2009 or the recent probation violations.”

But lurking under the surface of all the talk about Kavanagh's termination was the elephant in the room: Whole Foods. Once the floor opened to members, most voiced concerns that the natural foods chain will threaten the co-op when it opens a Boise location if changes aren’t made quickly.

“I considered Ken a friend," said Christine King, a co-op member for 20 years. "But when I knew Whole Foods was coming, I knew things were going to change … If we want the co-op to be the co-op, we’ve got to change with it."

For more in-depth coverage of Monday night's meeting, check out tomorrow's print story in the Boise Weekly.

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Pro Mega-load Group Unveils Poll of Support

Posted By on Tue, Jan 25, 2011 at 2:38 PM

Saying a "solid majority" of Idahoans support massive oil equipment rolling across U.S. Highway 12, a coalition of business owners and governmental agencies took their pro mega-load initiative to the statehouse today. Sixty-seven percent of people living near Highway 12, as determine by a poll conducted by the Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, said oversize loads should be allowed to travel across North-central Idaho between midnight and 6 a.m.

“There is a lot of support for this particular operation to occur," said Alex LaBeau, president of IACI. "These are American companies working with international partners that are eventually going to result in more American energy independence.”

Lobbyist Ken Burgess and Alex LaBeau of IACI unveil poll from Drive Our Economy coaltion
  • Lobbyist Ken Burgess and Alex LaBeau of IACI unveil poll from Drive Our Economy coaltion

LaBeau said IACI was a partner with the Drive Our Economy coalition, which also boasted 40 other members, including Food Producers of Idaho, Idaho Mining Association and Idaho Grain Producers Association.
[ Video is no longer available. ]

LaBeau unveiled the poll at a mid-morning news conference at the Capitol, one week before four ConocoPhillips mega-loads are expected to move from the Port of Lewiston, across Idaho and on to Conoco's Billings, Mont., refinery.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

No Law Requires Pharmacist to Fill A Prescription

Posted By on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 3:52 PM

Idaho Board of Pharmacy completed its investigation into a complaint from a Planned Parenthood nurse practitioner who alleged that a pharmacist refused to fill a prescription.

"The board basically told us that according to Idaho law, there is no duty to dispense any drug," Kristen Glundberg-Prossor, director of public affairs for Planned Parenthood, told Citydesk. "In essence, they told us no harm, no foul."

On November 6, a nurse practitioner called in a prescription to a Nampa Walgreens. The request was for Methergine (methylergonovine maleate), a semi-synthetic drug used for the prevention and control of hemorrhaging of the uterus following childbirth or an abortion. The Planned Parenthood employee said the pharmacist asked if the drug was related to an abortion. When the practitioner refused to answer, she said she was hung up on. The incident represented a full-on challenge to Idaho's Freedom of Conscience Act, approved by the Idaho Legislature in 2010. The measure allows pharmacists to refuse dispensation of abortifacients or emergency contraception. Methergine is neither, so the practitioner lodged a formal complaint.

"But they told us that there is no provision within the Idaho Pharmacy Act that mandates that a pharmacist fill a prescription," said Glundberg-Prossor. "What that means is that any pharmacist can refuse to fill any prescription at any time for any reason."

Glundberg-Prossor told Citydesk that her organization had no recourse.

"They're telling us that there's no protection for patients in Idaho," she said. "They also told us that our patient wasn't in any grave danger because she eventually accessed the medication. My response to that would be that if she wasn't in an urban setting there probably wouldn't have been anywhere else to get her prescription filled. Methergine is a drug that stops internal bleeding. To be denied that, she would have ended up in an emergency room."

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F-15Es Train Over Boise This Week

Posted By on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 10:58 AM

The F-15E Strike Eagle is not an uncommon sight in a theater of war. The fighter is known for its long-range, high-speed strikes in Afghanistan and Iraq. It's distinguished by darker camouflage and fuel tanks mounted near the engine intakes.

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Officials at Mountain Home Air Force Base want the public to know that firepower from F-15Es will blast over Boise this week, in addition to the Danskin Mountains and the towns of Pine and Featherville. The fighter jets will be training in medium altitudes during the afternoon hours.

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U of I, Lewis-Clark Presidents Warn Lawmakers of Financial Consequences

Posted By on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 10:31 AM

In the wake of last week's hand-wringing over funding for Idaho's K-12 public education, leaders of higher-learning institutions went with hat in hand this morning to Idaho lawmakers.

"We've taken a 22 percent cut from our base budget in the last couple of years," said Duane Nellis, president of the University of Idaho. "We've been trying to be good, to cooperate. But I think we're on the margin of long-term negative impacts in our effort to serve this state."

Nellis spoke of job cuts and hiring freezes, but he said the most tangible need may be the U of I's buildings.

"We just had a water pipe break in one of our residence halls," said Nellis. "And just before that, we had another pipe break on a floor above our computer lab."

Earlier Monday, Lewis-Clark State College President Tony Fernandez told the Joint Finance Appropriations Committee that he was most concerned with keeping key faculty.

"Our salaries don't compare with our educational peers," said Fernandez. "Faculty and staff retention may be impacted if we continue to have years without merit increases."

Boise State President Bob Kustra is expected to address JFAC later this week.

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Friday, January 21, 2011

Boise Co-op Members on Kavanagh's Firing

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 5:17 PM

BW stopped by the Boise Co-op to ask customers what they thought of the firing of longtime manager, Ken Kavanagh.

Some were supportive of Kavanagh, some not. Many knew nothing about the issue. Even more said they had opinions but didn't want to share them on camera.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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Teachers Get Animated About Luna's Education Reform Plan

Posted By on Fri, Jan 21, 2011 at 4:15 PM

A local teacher, with the online handle Boibeck, has spoken out against Tom Luna's proposed education reform packages with a series of animated videos from the site Xtranormal.com, a recent BW "Find."

The videos claim that Luna's math about class sizes greatly underestimates current class sizes and portrays his plan as out of touch with the situation on the ground and the needs of both teachers and students.


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Thursday, January 20, 2011

Trader Joe's Rumors Circulate Again

Posted By on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 7:57 PM

Whether it’s because of the recent Boise Co-op melodrama or the ongoing Whole Foods hoopla, the rumor mill has started churning once again about Trader Joe’s opening a location in Boise.

To see if there was anything behind the buzz, Citydesk dialed up Cece Gassner, assistant for economic development at the City of Boise.

“I haven’t heard this latest rumor,” said Gassner. “I do know that Trader Joe’s is always looking for new markets, and Boise is definitely one they are looking at because of the retail gap that we have in specialty grocery here. From time to time I know that they take a look at different places, but I am not aware that they’ve actually signed something or that they’re close to signing for any particular property.”

Asked specifically whether TJ’s might open a location in the now-vacant former Ridley’s Market space on Bogus Basin road, Gassner had this to say:

“I’ve heard they’re looking at [Ridley’s] just because it used to be a grocery store, so of course it would be something fairly easy for them to kind of step into,” said Gassner. “My understanding is that they’ve also looked at places that are out … closer to the mall just because of its proximity to 84 and the ease with which folks from Ontario and Mountain Home can get out here. So they’ve kind of looked all over, my understanding is that they’re sort of keeping options open.”

A potential drawback for Trader Joe's opening a local store, Gassner noted, is Boise's relative distance from the nearest distribution center.

"One serious issue … is the distance that we are from their closest distribution center," said Gassner. "So that’s something that, from a logistics standpoint, I know they are constantly going to be looking at, and I am not sure where they are right now, to be honest, with their decision."

Hal Simmons, planning director at the City of Boise, also hasn’t heard anything concrete about Trader Joe’s coming to town in the immediate future.

“Nobody’s talked to us about the site or about Trader Joe’s. I’m not saying it’s not happening but nobody’s come in and talked to us about it yet,” said Simmons.

Trader Joe’s couldn’t be reached for comment.

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Idaho's 116th Five Months into Iraq Deployment

Posted By on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 at 8:52 AM

Idaho citizen soldiers continue to toil north of Baghdad since taking command of Camp Taji, Iraq, in December. The 116th Cavalry Brigade, headquartered in Boise, is comprised of approximately 1,500 soldiers from the Idaho Army National Guard, 600 soldiers from the Montana Army National Guard and 600 soldiers from the Oregon Army National Guard. The 116th left their homes in mid-September for pre-deployment training at Camp Shelby, Miss., and arrived in Iraq in mid-November.

Soldiers with the 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion stand in formation during a ceremony at Camp Taji, Iraq.
  • 116th Cavalry Brigade
  • Soldiers with the 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion stand in formation during a ceremony at Camp Taji, Iraq.

The 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion is responsible for life support, facility maintenance, land management, force protection and base defense for Camp Taji. The unit operates much like a municipal office, responsible for maintaining infrastructure and support services to U.S. service members and civilian contractors.

Lt. Col. Kevin Sheehy, commander of the 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, uncases the 116th BSTB colors.
  • 116th Cavalry Brigade
  • Lt. Col. Kevin Sheehy, commander of the 116th Brigade Special Troops Battalion, uncases the 116th BSTB colors.

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