Tuesday, July 16, 2013

UPDATE: Pine Creek Fire Grows to 1,200 Acres, 10 Percent Contained

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 3:37 PM

  • Courtesy Idaho Department of Lands

UPDATE: July 16 3:30 p.m.

The Pine Creek Fire has now grown to an estimated 1,200 acres and is only 10 percent contained.

Firefighters spent much of the day Tuesday burning out fuels along Wildcat Gulch Road, progressing in a southern direction from high elevation downward.

Grimes Creek Road remains closed at Highway 21, because of dangers of rolling rocks and falling logs. Fire managers say they are making every effort to open the road as soon as it is safe to do so.

Approximately 260 fire personnel are working the fire lines, including nine 20-person hand crews, 9 engines, one dozer and air support.

Travelers along Highway 21 are still cautioned to the possibility of heavy smoke on the highway.

The cause of the Pine Creek Fire remains under investigation, but it is believed to be human-caused.

  • Courtesy Idaho Department of Lands

  • Courtesy Idaho Department of Lands

ORIGINAL POST: July 16 9 a.m.

View of the Pine Creek Fire from Jackson Peak Lookout.
  • Courtesy USFS
  • View of the Pine Creek Fire from Jackson Peak Lookout.

200 additional firefighters have been dispatched to the Pine Creek Fire burning about 15 miles northeast of Boise and four miles east of Shafer Butte. The fire has already scorched 800 acres north of Highway 21.

Motorists on Highway 21 are being cautioned, due to periods of thick smoke.

Boise County officials have closed Grime Creek Road past the junction to the Clear Creek Subdivision, but residents of the subdivision are still granted access to their homes. No structures have been threatened.

Thus far, fire resources include seven 20-person hand crews, two hotshot crews, 12 engines, two dozers and three helicopters.

Fire officials say they'll spend much of July 16 building fire lines to secure the line along the Wildcat Gulch Road. The fire burned actively throughout the night of July 15, but there was limited perimeter growth.

Weather forecasts have called for lightning in the area today, so fire managers are bracing for additional fire starts.

Firefighters from the Clear Creek, Valley of the Pines, Wilderness Ranch and Idaho City volunteer fire departments are on the line, along with resources and personnel from the U.S. Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management and the Idaho Department of Lands.

The fire is in the IDL Southwest Forest Protective District.

  • Courtesy Idaho Department of Lands

View of the Pine Creek Fire from Jackson Peak Lookout.
  • Courtesy USFS
  • View of the Pine Creek Fire from Jackson Peak Lookout.

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Police Blotter: Eyewear Theft and Drug Possession

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 10:40 AM

Shawn Buroker, 24, is charged with felony robbery.

Boise Police said they were called to a disturbance outside an Orchard Street restaurant late July 15. That's where a victim told police that another man struck him and took his glasses off his face. Police found the suspect about a half hour later.

24-year-old Shawn Buroker of Boise was booked into the Ada County Jail on a felony charge of robbery.

Donald Taylor, 41, is charged with possession of a controlled substance and probation violation warrant.

That same night, Boise Police said they responded to a citizen report of possible drug activity near State and Bloom streets. A check through Boise City Records indicated that a suspect on the scene was wanted on an outstanding warrant. Additionally, a search of the suspect revealed a glass pipe with a residue of meth and a small packet of meth.

41-year-old Donald Taylor of Boise was booked into the Ada County lockup on felony counts of meth possession and violation of a probation warrant.

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Press-Tribune: Mass Exodus of Emergency Dispatchers in Canyon County

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:52 AM

Canyon County has lost a third of its emergency dispatch personnel and the sheriff is warning Canyon County commissioners that if they don't improve wages, he won't be able to keep more staff from leaving.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the shortage—with only 16 of the necessary 24 dispatch positions filled—could put local emergency services at risk.

"The reason is real simple," Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said. "They're going to work for the Nampa Police Department and others [making] from anywhere from $3 to $7 an hour more. We pay so poorly."

The Press-Tribune reprots that a current job opening lists a dispatch salary in the range of $33,659 to $36,000.

Meanwhile, Donahue said he was working his staff overtime and postponing vacations to pick up the slack.

"We're watching them walk out the door to another agency after we get them trained," he said.

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Which American Cities Are Seeing Soaring Wages?

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:46 AM

While the nation's economy slogs through a slow recovery, a new study of American wages indicates that some paychecks are soaring, depending on in which U.S. city the worker resides.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average wage of a U.S. worker was $1,000 per week in the fourth quarter of 2012, about 4.7 percent higher than the same period in 2011. But in some areas, pay rose by more than 10 percent.

According to 24/7 Wall Street, particular industries are triggering significant change of average wages in particular cities. For example, Midland, Texas, and Cheyenne, Wyoming, have seen increased wages tied to growth in the oil industry. In San Mateo, Calif., the average weekly wage grew more than 100 percent when Facebook moved its headquarters to Menlo Park in San Mateo County.

According to the survey, these are the American cities "where wages are soaring:"

1. San Francisco-Oakland-Mateo, Calif., up by 24.7 percent (growth in tech industry jobs)
2. Vero Beach, Fla., up by 11.1 percent (growth of leisure and hospital industry jobs)
3. Midland, Texas, up by 11.1 percent (growth in oil industry jobs)
4. Fond du Lac, Wis., up by 10.6 percent (growth in manufacturing jobs)
5. Provo-Orem, Utah, up by 9.8 percent (growth in mining, logging and construction industry jobs)
6. Odessa, Texas, up by 9.6 percent (growth in oil and gas exploration jobs)
7. Cheyenne, Wyo., up by 9.5 percent (growth in oil industry and mining jobs)
8. Elkhart-Goshen, Ind., up by 9.1 percent (growth in manufacturing jobs)
9. Dalton, Ga., up by 8.2 percent (growth in government jobs)
10. Topeka, Kan., up by 8.1 percent (growth of food industry jobs)

In Idaho, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics said the average weekly wage was $732—the lowest in the nation in the fourth quarter of 2012.

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Tribune: Idaho Resort Shut Down By Forest Service

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:39 AM

A prospective owner of a North Central Idaho resort says he's being muscled out of business by the U.S. Forest Service, but the feds say the resort doesn't pass inspection.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that officials with the U.S. Forest Service seized the reservation book from the Red River Hot Springs located in the Nez Perce-Clearwater national Forest about 85 miles southeast of Grangeville. Feds also ordered the resort to close.

"They gave us a paper saying we're shutting [the resort] down and everybody has to vacate because of trash," Gabrial Eagle told the Tribune. "There is no trash here."

Eagle said he was in the process of buying the hot springs since November 2012 from current owner Robert Blake. The Red River Hot Springs is located on U.S. Forest Service property and is operated under a special use permit administered by the agency.

A spokesman for the USFS Elk City Ranger District said Red River had an additional problem: lack of proof of insurance.

"The powers that be said there was a problem, especially with the lack of insurance," said Randy Borniger, of the USFS. "We needed to suspend operations until they resolved the issues."

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Study: Sea Levels Rising As Globe Warms

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:30 AM

A new study indicates that for every degree Celsius that the globe rises in temperature over a sustained period of time, the Earth's sea levels would rise approximately seven meters.

"We're trying to pin down the 'sea-level commitment' of global warming on a multi-millenial time scale," said Oregon State University paleoclimatologist Peter Clark, the author of the study. "In other words, how much would sea levels rise over long periods of time for each degree the planet warms and holds that warmth?"

The study was funded primarily by the National Science Foundation and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Clark indicated that his simulations were "fairly consistent with evidence of sea-level rise from the past." As an example, Clark said, "Some 120,000 years ago, it was 1-2 degrees warmer than it is now and sea levels were about five to nine meters higher. This is consistent with what our models say may happen in the future.”

David Vaughan, head of the Ice2Sea project, told Reuters that the biggest impact rising seas will have is that storms will become much more destructive.

"It's not about chasing people up the beach or the changing shape of coastlines," said Vaughan. "The big issue is how the storms will damage our coasts and how often they occur. That'll increase even with small levels of sea rise in coming decades."

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U.S. Senate Showdown Over Nominees Expected Today

Posted By on Tue, Jul 16, 2013 at 9:27 AM

The U.S. Senate appears headed for a showdown today as Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid and Republican Leader Mitch McConnell play a game of political chicken.

A series of votes is set for today surrounding a list of proposed presidential appointees that has been gathering dust while the GOP stalls and/or blocks the measures. Reid said if Republicans don't allow up or down votes on the appointees, he will move to change the Senate rules so that presidential nominees can be confirmed with a simple majority—51 votes—as opposed to the current 60 votes. Reid threatened that unless the GOP stops its blocking efforts, he will try to change the rules "to save the Senate from becoming obsolete."

But senators from both sides of the aisle are calling for a compromise, urging Reid and McConnell in a marathon late night behind-closed-door session to avoid the rule change.

But Reid appears adamant.

"This is a moment in history where circumstances dictate the need for change," said Reid. "I love the Senate, but right now the Senate is broken and needs to be fixed."

And McConnell was having none of it.

"It's a decision that, if they actually go through with it, they will live to regret," said McConnell.

Among the list of nominees are new directors of the National Labor Relations Board and the Environmental Protection Agency.

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