Saturday, April 30, 2011

News Week in Review

Posted By on Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 11:32 AM

It's been a week of record-setting and historic moments in the news.

Hey Obama, youre fired.
  • "Hey Obama, you're fired."
First up was the release of President Barack Obama's long-form birth certificate, which the president presented in an effort to quell the birther whining that had reached a decibel level registering "completely distracting" thanks to presidential hopeful Donald Trump. As anyone who's seen Trump's reality TV show The Apprentice knows, Trump likes to take credit for just about anything he thinks will make him look good, and the birth certificate release was no different. "The Donald" had this to say in response: "I feel I've accomplished something really, really important, and I'm honored by it."

By midweek, the American South was being ravaged by a record number of tornadoes. ABC reported about 170 tornadoes in 24 hours across six states. As of Friday afternoon, the death toll was more than 300 people with more than 200 of those deaths in Alabama. President Obama surveyed the damage on Friday, saying he'd "never seen devastation like this."

Oh wait, thats the wrong royal wedding.
  • Oh wait, that's the wrong royal wedding.
As President Obama was walking through the damage in Alabama, Royal Wedding coverage was at a feverish pitch in the news globally. While the wedding set Internet viewership records, it didn't break them all, according to Mashable. If you were not one of millions who woke early to catch the live version, here's the two-minute version.

Here in Idaho, Mr. Obama tag himself Rex Rammell is being investigated for attempting to influence potential jurors. From an AP report in the Post Register:

"Rammell was scheduled to go on trial this week for illegally killing a cow elk in eastern Idaho last November. The Post Register reports Rammell is now being investigated for passing out fliers entitled The Jury's Secret Power to potential jurors outside the Bonneville County Courthouse Thursday."

And finally, here's a brief that's not only news of the weird but also news that proves the Associated Press has a sense of humor. On April 19, a goat wandered into a music store in Ammon and the AP's report leads with, "Stop me if you've heard this one: A goat walks into a music store." Bada-bump. But wait, there's more. A few graphs down: "Maybe it was looking for some sheeeet music."

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Friday, April 29, 2011

Scholarship Fund Set to Honor Robert Manwill

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 4:45 PM

It's been nearly two years since the disappearance and murder of 8-year-old Robert Manwill gripped the Treasure Valley. When Daniel Ehrlick, boyfriend of Manwill's mother, begins his murder trial in May, the community is expected to relive many of the sad details.

The Payette County hamlet of New Plymouth, where the young second grader spent much of his time, is remembering Robert Manwill with a scholarship fund, to be given to a student from Manwill's graduating class. Tomorrow, New Plymouth community members will sponsor an art exhibit and auction to raise funds for the scholarship and recognize the month of April as child abuse awareness month. The event is scheduled for 5 p.m. Saturday, April 30, at the Covered Wagon Restaurant in New Plymouth.

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NFL Draft Should Pick Several Boise State, U of I Players Today

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 11:06 AM

The National Football League draft kicked off last night with the first 32 choices. While no players with ties to Idaho were picked, that's expected to change in a big way today.

When the draft resumes this afternoon from New York City's Radio City Music Hall, Boise State wide receiver Titus Young is expected to get snatched up pretty quickly. Also on many NFL teams' radar is Boise State wide receiver Austin Pettis and University of Idaho safety Shiloh Keo. Also mentioned as probable picks are Boise State's Jeron Johnson (safety) and Ryan Winterswyk (defensive end).

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Major Crimes Down in Boise, Graffiti Way Up

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2011 at 10:30 AM

Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson is proud of the latest statistical report on crime with one major exception: graffiti.

For the first quarter of 2011, major crimes dropped more than 5 percent compared to the same period a year ago. That includes aggravated assault, rape and theft. Non-violent crimes, including public drunkenness, disorderly conduct and bad checks, dropped 7 percent.

But graffiti continues to mar the city. Graffiti reports are up 261 percent from 104 reports a year ago to 376 reports.

"Graffiti is essentially someone going onto someone else's property and vandalizing it," said Masterson.

The vast majority of graffiti in Boise is known as "tagging," a signature or symbol from an individuals or group but traditionally not a gang. Boise Police officials said primary offenders are males, age 18-25. Officers say typically a small number of offenders, perhaps two dozen people, are responsible for the vast majority of graffiti crimes.

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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

IEA, Teachers Sue Luna, Otter and Idaho

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 3:45 PM

The Idaho Education Association has filed suit in state district court, challenging school chief Tom Luna's three-pronged package of changes to Idaho's school system—Senate Bill 1108 and two trailer bills—recently signed into law by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter that gut collective bargaining with K-12 public educators and introduce new technology requirements. The suit names Luna, Otter and the State of Idaho as defendants.

The suit alleges that SB 1108 violated the state constitution "by impairing existing and vested contractual obligations to teachers."

Joining IEA as plaintiffs were two Idaho teachers (a Moscow district art teacher and Pocatello district kindergarten teacher), as well as three IEA locals (in Caldwell, Fremont and Shoshone).

The suit seeks injunctions barring the state from enforcing and implementing the laws.

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Obama Releases Birth Certificate; Trump Takes Credit

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 11:08 AM

When President Obama released his Certificate of Live Birth this morning, he presented a new problem: What will Donald Trump have to talk about now?


The White House released the president's long form birth certificate in an attempt to put "birther" questions to rest. Obama admitted at a mid-morning press conference that he was amused but puzzled by the degree to which his place of birth became an issue. Obama said he needed to bring greater focus on the federal deficit and growing federal debt.

"We're not going to be able to do it if we spend time vilifying each other. We're not going to be able to do it we just make stuff up and pretend the facts are not facts," said Obama.

Meanwhile, Trump took full credit for the release.

"I feel I've accomplished something really, really important and I'm honored by it," said Trump, who happened to be visiting New Hampshire, site of next year's first presidential primary.

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Idaho Finance Department Alleges Sky Detective Didn't Detect Much

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 11:03 AM

Idaho's Department of Finance is accusing a Boise man of fraudulently promoting a high-tech tracking device. Gerald Thompson, a former Los Angeles County sheriff's deputy, was the founder of Sky Detective, an Idaho corporation. Thompson promoted a surveillance device that could be attached to vehicles or shipping containers, and a similar device to be worn as an ankle bracelet for law enforcement purposes.

The Department of Finance's complaint alleges Thompson never had a tracking device that performed as represented. He is also accused of inducing investors to buy stock in Sky Detective, with investor losses estimated to be in excess of $3.6 million.

The state is seeking a court order finding that Thompson violated state securities law and asks that he be required to make restitution to investors, prohibited from selling any securities in Idaho and fined an additional $40,000.

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PlayStation Gamers' Personal Data Hacked

Posted By on Wed, Apr 27, 2011 at 10:57 AM

The Sony Corporation said late Tuesday that in the wake of a PlayStation network hacking attack, an "unauthorized person" had obtained personal information, including account holders' names, addresses, email addresses, user names and passwords.

The attack crippled the PlayStation network over the weekend, shutting down the system for more than 60 million gamers worldwide. Sony also warned that other confidential information, including credit card numbers, may have been comprised, warning customers to "remain vigilant" in monitoring their bank accounts.

The breach is being investigated by the FBI, in addition to Sony's security forces.

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Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Anti-Nuclear Activists March to Downtown

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 6:18 PM

Today marked the 25th anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl. To commemorate it, approximately 50 people gathered in Julia Davis Park to show their opposition to nuclear power in Idaho and around the world.

"The problem is we're arrogant," event organizer Eric Schuler told the crowd through a bullhorn. "We continue to believe that we can build a reactor immune to human behavior and natural disasters. All for a resource we don't need."

Schuler then criticized the belief that there was no way to foresee the recent disaster at the Fukushima plant in Japan by pointing out that it was an outdated plant built on the coast of a region prone to earthquakes and tsunamis and maintained by a company whose safety record was less than exemplary.

"Though we couldn't put a date on it," Schuler said. "The disaster at Fukushima was more than just foreseeable; it was inevitable."

Schuler said that while having only three major accidents in 50 years would be a good safety record for most industries, the scope of each disaster was so large that it made the stakes too high for anything less than a perfect safety record, something nuclear could never achieve. That, he said, was the reason it was wrong for Idaho.

Behind him, several disc golfers played through on the course.

The crowd then marched down Myrtle and up Eighth Street, holding signs, wearing masks and chanting: "Cooling tower to renewable power!"

Several drivers honked in approval. One slowed down to yell slurs.

Continue reading »

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Nondetectable Amounts of Iodine Registered in Idaho Drinking Water

Posted By on Tue, Apr 26, 2011 at 4:49 PM

Idaho's Department of Environmental Quality reported today that samples of drinking water collected from across the state are no longer showing detectable amounts of radiation.

On March 22, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency detected rainwater in Boise with radiation levels at 242 picocuries per liter. The levels of iodine-131 in the water samples were blamed on the radiation from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster.

In the wake of the discovery, the DEQ had been testing water samples from Boise, Fruitland, Horseshoe Bend, McCall, Weiser and 13 other towns throughout the state. Since its recent samples registered "nondetectable" iodine amounts, the DEQ will return to its regularly scheduled routine sampling.

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