In any other state, North Idaho Republican politico Cornel Rasor would need some fancy footwork to dance out from under a remark he made to Spokesman-Review reporter Betsy Z. Russell. Rasor, chairman of the resolutions committee of the Idaho GOP, told Russell that he would “hire a gay guy if I thought he was a good worker. But if he comes to work in a tutu … he’s not producing what I want in my office.”
The former Bonner County commissioner, whose establishment of a property rights council made news in 2011, spoke to Russell following the Idaho Republican Party State Central Committee meeting, which took place in McCall on Saturday, June 15.
During the meeting, Rasor brought forth a resolution that would have directed lawmakers to pass a measure invalidating any local anti-discrimination ordinances that go beyond current state statute—meaning, erasing protections for gender identity and sexual orientation. Rasor’s resolution was rolled into a similar proposal touted by the GOP central committee of Idaho County, and approved by state central committee members.
So far, six cities in Idaho have enacted some form of ordinance that bars discrimination based on gender identity, sexual orientation or both: Boise, Ketchum, Moscow, Coeur d’Alene and Pocatello. Sandpoint, where Rasor has long operated the local army surplus store, was the first municipality in the state to approve such an ordinance.
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter came out against the resolution to undo municipal anti-discrimination ordinances, saying, according to the Spokesman-Review, “I really think that the overriding value of local folks making local decisions about local policies is much more valuable than us directing folks from Boise.”
Rasor’s “gay guy in a tutu” comment has since gone viral, being picked up by Salon, The Raw Story and UPI. The remark prompted the Tuscon Weekly to speculate: “Idaho Republican Appears to Have Never Met a Gay Man.”
Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter pointed to Idaho's prison population growth as one of the fastest growing in the nation as the foundation for creation today of something called "Justice Reinvestment," which Otter called a "comprehensive, data-driven approach to developing and implementing new policies to control spending and improve public safety."
The number of people incarcerated in Idaho prisons increased 28 percent from 2004 to 2012, and while more than half of the nation's states saw a decline in their prison populations between 2010 and 2011, Idaho's prison population grew 4 percent, one of the largest increases in the nation.
Otter's announcement follows the 2013 Idaho Legislature's creation of an interim committee to address the state's growing inmate population and rising corrections costs.
"In 2011, Idaho had the 11th-highest incarcerate rate in the entire country. We can and must do better," said House Speaker Rep. Scott Bedke. "With Justice Reinvestment, I a confident that we will."
Officers with the Transportation Security Administration at the Boise Airport announced today that they recently discovered a loaded firearm at the security checkpoint—the fourth firearm TSA agents have discovered this year in a carry-on bag at the airport.
The incident occurred June 14, when TSA agents said they discovered a .380 caliber Ruger, loaded with six rounds. The owner, 31-year-old Mia Gussie of Meridian, was ticketed for travel to San Francisco. She held a valid concealed weapons permit, but she was cited for attempting to bring a weapon aboard an aircraft. The weapon was taken into police custody.
Nationwide over a three-day period, spanning June 14 through June 16, 26 firearms were detected in carry-on bags at security checkpoints. Since January 1, more than 750 handguns have been found during routine screening of carry-ons at airports across the country.
Firearms are always prohibited in carry-on baggage, but unloaded weapons may be transported in checked baggage provided the traveler declares the firearms to the airline during the ticket counter check-in process.
A pair of separate overnight traffic stops in Boise netted two arrests with each suspect charged with meth possession.
A Boise Police officer witnessed a car straddling the double yellow lines of South Orchard Street and following a traffic stop, it was determined that the driver was driving on a suspended license. A search of the vehicle also revealed a baggie of meth and syringes.
29-year-old Tabatha Christensen of Caldwell was booked into the Ada County Jail on a felony count of meth possession and charges of possession of drug paraphernalia, driving without privileges and failure to appear on a previous warrant.
Also the night of June 17, another Boise Police officer noted that a vehicle at the intersection of Owyhee and Rose Hill streets was driving without a front license plate. During a traffic stop, a Boise Police K9 detected the presence of drugs in the vehicle. Police said they discovered a pipe with the burnt smell of marijuana and the suspect was wanted on a outstanding warrant for felony possession of a controlled substance (meth).
22-year-old Alexandra Lafollette of Boise was booked into the Ada County Jail on a felony count of meth possession and possession of drug paraphernalia.
What began as a public forum on proposed changes to Kootenai County's land use code quickly got out of hand the night of June 17 and was quickly shut down shortly after the meeting got underway.
This morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that the Coeur d'Alene Fire Department shut down the meeting when officials informed the Kootenai County Planning Commission that its meeting at the county courthouse was over capacity, thus canceling the meeting.
June 17 was supposed to be the first of four public hearings on the county's proposals to chance land uses, but nearly 300 people wedged into a room that was designed to hold 150.
Shortly after a consultant began explaining the process of the proposed code, shouts erupted from the crowd expressing displeasure that the public wasn't being given an opportunity, early in the minute, to weigh in.
"This is typical," yelled one man, according to the Press. "You are wearing us down with this. First there are no chairs and you aren't going to give us any time to comment."
The meeting was stopped shortly thereafter.
The commission's attorney Pat Braden said he would advise the commission that it extend its comment period, given the June 17 meltdown.
"It's like they are trying to make the county a giant homeowners association," Rick Cramer told the Press. "It sounds like they are trying to mico-manage what people can do with their own property."
Prosecutors say they're ready to move forward with their marijuana trafficking case against anti-nuclear activist and one-time Idaho gubernatorial candidate Peter Rickards.
The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Department said it seized more than four pounds of marijuana May 24 when they arrested the 58-year-old Rickards. The pot had a reported street value of $17,000. 32 live marijuana plants were also sized.
But Rickards said that he had a "religious right" to his plants, adding that the plants were "sacramental" and served medicinal purposes.
This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that Twin Falls County magistrate Judge Michael Redman found that evidence is sufficient to send the matter to trial. During a June 14 perliminary hearing, Twin Falls Detective Guy Joslin testified that he smelled fresh and burnt marijuana in Rickards' home at the time of the arrest.
Rickards is scheduled to be arraigned on Monday, July 1.
A federal judge pulled the plug on any plans for suction dredge mining along the North Fork of the Clearwater River.
This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that Administrative Law Judge Robert Holt handed down a 27-page ruling that said public recreation and the river's archeological history are more important than would-be gold miners dredging river bottoms.
"Full-scale placer mining would substantially interfere with other substantial recreational and cultural uses," wrote Holt.
The Tribune reports that more than two dozen placer claims had been filed to suction-mine a 30-mile stretch of the North Fork that runs through the Nez Perce Clearwater national Forest. But the U.S. Forest Service challenged the claims, triggering a hearing last January and Holt's ultimate ruling.
But at least one miner said his economic livelihood was at stake due to the ruling,
"All of us miners are in general agreement that we are getting ripped off by the government," Cark Callear of Orofino told the Tribune. "It is the government that owes us money."
If the caffeine doesn't wake you up, maybe this will:
Venti Caffe Mocha Whip (nonfat milk): 390 calories
Venti Pumpkin Spice Latte Whip (nonfat milk): 460 calories
Venti Vanilla Latte (nonfat milk): 290 calories
Venti White Chocolate Mocha Whip (nonfat milk): 530 calories
Venti White Chocolate Mocha Whip (whole milk): 630 calories
These and hundreds of other items or combinations are according to CarlorieLab.com.
But beginning Monday, June 25, Starbucks will begin displaying its own calorie counts for coffee and snacks at all of its U.S. locations. The company announced this morning that the labels were in advance of a federal requirement that large American food chains prominently disclose nutrition information.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is expected to require chains with 20 locations or more to make similar disclosures by the end of 2013.
But the New York Times reports that researchers at Tufts University found that labels at fast-food restaurants under-reported calories by 7 percent and that 20 percent of the foods surveyed had at least 100 calories more than claimed. The study didn't examine drinks.
"There's no measure in the (federal) regulations to address accuracy," Lorien Urban, one of the scientists who worked on the Tufts study told the Times. "It's yet to be determined how that will play out nationwide."
Vacation property in and around Valley County is particularly vulnerable to burglars, but law enforcement said one particular would-be thief was more brazen than most.
The Valley County Sheriff's Office released a series of security-cam photos that captured images of a suspect who took a small boat across Horsethief Reservoir south of McCall to a vacation property. When the would-be burglar failed to break into the cabin, he spent some time in an outside hot tub.
The suspect is identified as a balding white male with facial hair and dripping wet.
The incident occurred between June 7 and June 9.
The Valley County Sheriff's Department is hoping that someone will identify the suspect at call their office at 209-382-5160.