The Northwest Region of the Aryan Nation was supposed to have a “eat, greet, and meet” event June 27, at Valley County’s Lake Cascade State Park. According to fliers and a website, the event was to take place between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.
Idaho Parks and Recreation communications manager Jennifer Blazek told Citydesk a group of about eight individuals showed up at 5 p.m. and left at 9 p.m.
“They set up their awning and flag, had a barbecue, and then left before sunset,” Blazek said, calling it a “non-event.”
Lt. Dan Smith, Valley County Sheriff’s information officer, said the department had advance notice of the event but did not plan to provide security. Smith said the secluded campground does not "get much traffic," and no calls or complaint were received.
Mark Potok, director of the Intelligence Report for the Southern Poverty Law Center, told Citydesk, “The reality is, we have been seeing a resurgence of the radical-right in this country over the past several years, especially the last two years, and the Pacific Northwest is very much a part of that. This is part of a much larger national trend.”
“It is worth saying;” added Potok, “I do not think that Idaho or Montana are at the levels that they were. The destruction of Aryan Nation has changed the calculus there. I do not doubt that there are still several hundred white supremacists in the area, but they do not have near the organizational energy that they once did. The [SPLC’s law] suit really destroyed them.”
A few hundred school kids chose to spend part of their holiday on the steps of the Idaho Capitol. The children accompanied more than 140 members of the Idaho Community Action Network, protesting proposed budget cuts from Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter.
ICAN specifically targeted Otter's plan to slash $25 million from Idaho's Medicaid division.
"The governor's small-government, low-tax approach will result in greater personal need, reduced consumer and environmental protection, less fairness and decreased capacity for improving the public good," said Andrea Shipley, ICAN's new executive director. "We must focus on the solutions and that means raising revenue and ensuring the budget is not balanced on the backs of the poor."
Shipley told Citydesk that her organization wants a vision "to honor the dream Dr. King left for our country nearly a half century ago."
"Now is the time to make justice a reality for all God's children."
Those are words from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. from his "I Have a Dream" speech in 1963, and they were repeated throughout the nation today on the 82nd anniversary of King's birth.
King's memory was revived in Boise at the Idaho Capitol at noon today, as Lt. Governor Brad Little led a brief statehouse ceremony.
"This great country with all its opportunity never disappointed me."
For some Idahoans, the third Monday in January is a day for optimism. For others it's a day for rebellion. In either instance, it's a uniquely democratic soup of ceremonies, demonstrations and rallies.
Today is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a federal holiday honoring the 82nd anniversary of the birth of the Civil Rights icon. It is also known as Idaho Human Rights Day, a state holiday.
A group of citizens began their day on campus at Boise State, commencing a march up Capitol Boulevard.
Juarez was one of scores of students, parents, administrators and activists who made their way to Boise's City Hall Plaza.
"We need to snap out of what I call the 'messiah mentality,'" said Mario Venegas, speaker at the rally. "It's the notion that one person can help every single person. That's damaging and individualistic. One person alone cannot do anything."
Idaho is one of 18 states that allow felons to vote after they have completed their sentence, including probation and parole. That includes felons from other states who have completed their sentences and relocated to Idaho.