Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Boise Police Blotter: Lewd Conduct, Failure to Register as Sex Offender and Grand Theft

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 4:12 PM

Mark Moreland, 24, is charged with lewd conduct with a minor.

A Boise man turned himself in to the Ada County Jail Tuesday and was promptly booked on multiple felony counts of lewd conduct with a minor.

Boise Police said they began investigating the case in September, after receiving reports that two children had been repeatedly sexually abused by the suspect at different locations over a period of several years.

Mark Moreland, 24, of Boise is at the Ada County lockup awaiting his arraignment.

James Keller, 18, is charged with failing to register as a sex offender.

Boise Police arrested another Boise man early this morning and charged him with living in the Boise area for over a month and not registering locally as a sex offender as required by law. James Keller, 18, was convicted of sex offenses in the Portland area.

David Bradfield, 24, is charged with grand theft and forgery.

Law enforcement made another felony arrest this morning after investigating a report of a man trying to cash stolen checks at a Boise bank. Police said the checks had been reportedly stolen recently from a home in Weiser.

David Bradfield, 24, of Boise is charged with two counts of felony grand theft and forgery.

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BW Video Preview: School Districts Facing Their Own 'Fiscal Cliff'

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 11:29 AM

This morning, Idaho lawmakers began to examine options in the wake of the overturning of the Luna Laws.

Meanwhile, one key stakeholder—Karen Echeverria, executive director of the Idaho School Boards Association—told Boise Weekly that the issue may be more urgent than many Idahoans may suspect.

"A series of payments go out to school districts and the next one is scheduled for Friday, Feb. 1," Echeverria told BW.

Echeverria explained that the approximately $30 million that she said was "left on the table" will not be included in payments to school districts.

"We don't want that going toward business personal property taxes. We want that to go to school districts," she said. "Many schools will have to wait until May 1 or maybe we try to get another payment somehow. To a school district like Meridian, that's something like $5 million and that's a huge cash flow."

In Wednesday's edition of Boise Weekly, we sit down with Echeverria to talk about the new "cliff" that districts are facing Feb. 1, as well as ISBA's tenuous relationships with districts across the Gem State.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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Idaho Lawmakers Consider Plans B, C and D for 'Luna Law' Money

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 11:08 AM

In the wake of Idaho voters' November 2012 rejection of Propositions 1, 2 and 3, better known as the “Luna Laws,” the House Education Committee huddled this morning to consider new strategies.

Lawmakers heard a presentation from Paul Headlee, budget and policy analyst from the Legislative Services Office, on the fiscal impact of the vote. Measures passed during the 2012 legislative session specifically allocated a portion of Idaho’s education budget for funding the implementation of the Luna Laws. Their failure leaves $30.6 million in public school funding unallocated.

“We’re looking at this as a conservative number,” said Headlee, warning that, with an increase in “use it or lose it” budget flexibility for districts from 2012 to 2013, the actual amount may be even higher. “It’s safe to assume that that number will increase. To what amount, we don’t know. Hopefully by February, we’ll have a better estimate.”

Headlee presented to the committee three possible options for the unallocated funds:

“These aren’t the only options,” he said. “They are really only the primary options and there may be other solutions out there.”

The first option, which required no legislative action, allowed the funds to remain in appropriations until the end of the fiscal year (June 30), at which point they would be transferred to the Public Education Stabilization Fund and used to reconcile the budgets of districts across the state, keeping them all in the black for the year.

The second option allows for distribution of funds to individual school districts. Because the Luna Laws’ failure reinstated several programs and restored teachers’ salaries, this option would result in a $6.9 million deficit at the end of the fiscal year. Such a deficit “would not be insurmountable,” according to Headlee, because of the current $49 million balance in the PESF.

The third and final option Headlee presented was to reallocate the $30 million to purposes other than education, which would require a two-thirds vote by the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to reopen the 2013 public schools budget and remove the funds. There has already been talk of using that money to offset costs to counties if Idaho’s personal property tax is repealed this year, according to Republican House Speaker Scott Bedke.

“In this era of how we’re going to pay for personal property tax, it’s no secret there are people who are eying some of this money,” Bedke said to members of the press just before the start of the session.

No formal discussion took place during this morning's committee meeting which was, according to Rep. Reed DeMordaunt, a Boise Republican and committee chairman, "purely informational."

“All of these numbers we need to have a discussion about,” DeMordaunt said. “There’s certainly an impact. We’re not going to have that discussion today, but we need a discussion about each of these (funds) and whether they should be restored back to the school districts.”

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Boise Fire Douses Flames From 'Pit' in Oil Change Business

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Boise firefighters were able to douse flames from a 55-gallon drum of methanol this morning before the blaze could spread. The Fire Department was called out just before 9 a.m. to an oil change business on the 8400 block of Overland Road and quickly evacuated employees from the scene.

Firefighters said the flames were coming from a drum in the so-called "pit area" of the business, where employees usually work to change oil.

No damage was done to the structure and the cause is still under investigation.

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Press-Tribune: Legislators Indicate No Ultrasound Bill For This Session

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:51 AM

Three Canyon County lawmakers, who were co-sponsors of a controversial ultrasound measure during the 2012 Idaho Legislature, have indicated that they don't expect a repeat of the bill during this year's session.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that Nampa Sen. Curt McKenzie, Nampa Rep. Brent Crane and Wilder Rep. Gayle Batt, all Republicans, "said they had not heard of any effort to bring the bill back."

The 2012 proposed legislation would have required Idaho women considering an abortion to undergo an ultrasound procedure, with no exceptions for rape or incest.

"I talked to a couple of groups that supported it last session," McKenzie told the Press-Tribune. "And they said they didn't intend to have anything."

McKenzie added that since the Idaho House didn't give the proposed measure a hearing in 2012, he didn't expect a repeat of the legislation.

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Milelong Ice Floe Crawls Down Salmon River

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:47 AM

Our weeklong blast of arctic air has done more than ice up roads and highways; some of the region's rivers are also reporting ice jams, increasing flood risks.

This morning's Missoulian reports that "a milelong ice jam was moving down the Salmon River through the town of Salmon on Monday," backing up water and putting a U.S. Highway 93 bridge in town at risk of minor flooding.

“We’ve been barely making it out of the teens, and after several days like that, it starts to build up the ice,” National Weather Service meteorologist Luke Robinson told the Missoulian. “But Salmon has been down to 15 below zero, and stayed at 5 below for several days.”

The Salmon area is expecting highs for the rest of the week in the upper teens, but overnight lows approaching 5 below zero until Thursday, Jan. 17.

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Lewiston, Twin Falls Add Sexual Orientation Protections to Cities' Hiring Policies

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:42 AM

The Lewiston and Twin Falls city councils added some of the words last night.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that Lewiston councilors voted 5-2 Monday evening to adopt a new city policy that "adds sexual orientation language to its non-discrimination clause in hiring practices."

But the vote only came after a bit of wrangling over the proposed language. Council Member Clinton Daniel initially proposed that the sexual orientation clause be omitted from two sections of the city's handbook, but Council Member Ged Randall asked that Daniel's proposal be amended, so that the policy would state that "individuals will be hired based solely upon their qualifications and how fitting they are for the job," according to the Tribune.

But both proposals failed. In fact, Lewiston Mayor Pro-Tem Brad Cannon said the initial language was necessary.

"Until we solve the problem of discrimination in this country, we're going to have to protect classes of people," said Cannon, according to the Tribune. Cannon added that a close relative of his was gay.

Meanwhile, this morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that the Twin Falls City Council also voted Monday night "to add sexual orientation to the anti-harassment and discrimination policy" for its city employees. Only one City Council member voted "no."

The Times-News also reports that the council "discussed the possibility of bringing the issue up as a city ordinance that would include all employers."

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Paging Dr. Google: More Americans Self-Diagnosing Online

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:37 AM

Maybe it's because of the high cost of health care. Possibly it's due to more Americans having greater access to the Internet. But a new survey by the Pew Research Center reveals that as many as 35 percent of U.S. adults say they self-diagnose via information they have obtained online.

The survey results, published this morning, indicate that up to one-third of those surveyed who have self-diagnosed "end up handling their medical problem on their own."

But health care providers caution that individuals with a serious condition could go undetected or untreated. Secondly, they point to instances where individuals may have a more serious condition than they have self-diagnosed.

The survey shows most people, 77 percent, still start online medical searches with a search engine, such as Google or Bing, rather than a specific health site (13 percent) or social networks such as Facebook (1 percent).

The quality of information that people find through search engines can vary a lot and "there are risks," including finding inaccurate or scary information, or missing the best sources, said Rahul Parikh, a pediatrician in Walnut Creek, Calif. But, he added, "I would encourage people to search more, rather than less," and to keep talking to their doctors about what they find.

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Wal-Mart Pledges to Hire 100,000-Plus Vets

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Wal-Mart announced this morning that, over the next five years, it will hire every veteran who honorably left the U.S. military in the previous year. That would include more than 100,000 men and women, making it one of the largest hiring commitments for veterans on record.

While the nation has struggled with high unemployment rates for nearly five years, the jobless rate for veterans has been even worse: 10.8 percent in December, more than 3 percentage points higher than civilians.

The nation's largest retailer said today that it would kick off its hiring blitz on Memorial Day, with most of its jobs at Wal-Mart stores and more at its distribution centers.

First Lady Michelle Obama, who has championed hire-a-vet programs, called the Wal-Mart plan "a concrete example of our nation's support" and challenged every business to follow the retailer's lead.

Wal-Mart is Idaho's second-largest private employer, behind the St. Luke's Health System.

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Apple Peels Back Orders for iPhone 5 Components

Posted By on Tue, Jan 15, 2013 at 9:11 AM

iphone_5.jpg

Apple shares opened lower this morning on the NASDAQ exchange in the wake of Monday's report that Apple has cut their orders for iPhone 5 parts significantly, which some have speculated was in reaction to lower-than-expected demand.

The company's orders for screens for the new model have dropped to around half of what they had initially planned to order for this coming quarter, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Japanese daily Nikkei reported similar cutbacks, saying that Apple has asked suppliers Japan Display Inc., Sharp Corp., and South Korea's LG Display Co. Ltd. to cut back on some of the iPhone 5's components, according to Reuters.

Business Insider's Jay Yarow wrote:

Apple is expected to sell ~48 million iPhones in the December quarter. If it meets that expectation it would be Apple's best ever iPhone quarter. Yet, somehow Apple was putting in an order for a giant sequential increase?

The new order number of 32.25 million sounds more reasonable. (We can't find a consensus number for the March quarter.) But we find it hard to believe Apple cut its orders in half.

Apple's hold on the smartphone market has also reportedly been dropping over the last year or so. While it held control over 23 percent of the market in the fourth quarter of 2011, that number had dropped to 14.6 percent by 2012's third quarter.

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