Monday, April 6, 2015

Port of Lewiston's Main Container Shipper Pulls Up Anchor in Portland

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 9:33 AM

The Port of Lewiston, crippled earlier this year by a severe work slow down at port on the west coast, was dealt another blow when Hapag-Lloyd, which is responsible for more than 90 percent of the Port of Lewiston's container business, announced it was pulling out of the Port of Portland. That announcement came on the heels of Hanjin Shipping's announcement in February that it was pulling up anchor at Portland. The two announcements, in effect, may put the Port of Portland completely out of the container business.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that not too long ago, more than 1,000 businesses in Idaho, Oregon and Washington relied on the Port of Portland's container terminal to or from international markets. But a major labor dispute, where union officials described operator's labor-management model as "authoritarian and intimidation-based," triggered a major work slow down and the ultimate reason for the two container giants to leave Portland altogether. The Tribune reports that Hapag-Lloyd represented more than 90 percent of the Port Of Lewiston's container business for pea and lentil farmers to move their Idaho products up the Columbia and Snake rivers to the Port of Portland.

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Video: Northern Idaho Wedding Chapel Moves Forward With Federal Lawsuit

Posted By on Mon, Apr 6, 2015 at 9:25 AM

A northern Idaho wedding chapel, which became the centerpiece of a debate over whether a business can claim religious exemption, now wants the City of Coeur d'Alene to pay for the days that the chapel closed down in 2014, even though Hitching Post owners shut the chapel down by choice. Additionally, the chapel is moving forward with a lawsuit against the Idaho panhandle city in spite of the fact that they've been told they don't have to perform same-sex weddings.

In 2014, Hitching Post owners Don and Evelyn Knapp said their business was not bound by Coeur d'Alene's nondiscrimination ordinance, which makes it illegal to deny services based on gender identity or sexual orientation. Shortly after a federal court struck down Idaho's ban on same-sex marriage, the Knapps sued Coeur d'Alene, but city officials said they had no desire to prosecute the Hitching Post for violating the ordinance. The debate came on the heels of some controversial proposed "religious freedom" legislation introduced in the 2014 session of the Idaho Legislature.

And now, almost a full  year after the Hitching Post said it would close its doors if it was forced to perform same-sex weddings, KXLY-TV is reporting that the Knapps still say their First Amendment rights are in jeopardy despite the City of Coeur d'Alene agreeing that the Hitching Post was indeed a religious organization and was exempt from the city's nondiscrimination ordinance. In an April 2 statement, Coeur d'Alene spokesperson Keith Erickson said the city "never threatened any legal action, nor does it intend to do so" and has filed, for a second time, for dismissal of the lawsuit.

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

American Lung Association's Fight For Air Climb Raises Around $30,000

Posted By on Sat, Apr 4, 2015 at 3:06 PM

Last year's Fight for Air Climb attracted several first responders, who returned again this year as well. - AMERICAN LUNG ASSOCIATION
  • American Lung Association
  • Last year's Fight for Air Climb attracted several first responders, who returned again this year as well.
More than a few people spent part of their Saturday breathing heavy. The American Lung Association's Fourth Annual Fight for Air Climb drew 250 community members aged 8 to 81 to the U.S. Bank Building in downtown Boise to climb all 32 floors. Some particularly ambitious participants climbed a total of 128 stories in all.

"The thing about lung health is that a lot of us are healthy enough that we don't think twice about the air we breathe," said Heather Kimmel, with the Idaho branch of the American Lung Association. "But most of us have a friend or family member that has suffered from asthma or bronchitis or complications from smoking."

The American Lung Association states that lung disease is the third leading cause of death in the United States, and lung cancer kills more people than the other top three cancer killers combined. Asthma is also the leading cause of missed school days due to chronic illness.

Registration cost $35 for each climber, with a $100 fundraising requirement. That means the organization walked away with an estimated $30,000 from today's event. Kimmel told Boise Weekly that money will go toward lung health programs here in Idaho and advocacy work to keep clean air in Idaho communities.

She added that clean air faces many threats, from vehicle emissions to wildfires.

Also participating in the climb were about 60 first responders from various fire and police departments, SWAT teams, and service members from the Gowen Field Air National Guard Base and Mountain Home Air Force Base. Kimmel said first responders are particularly drawn to events like these because they have a high exposure to smoke and chemicals in their jobs, which affect their lungs.

Kimmel called the morning a great success.

"It looked like a lot of people beginning at a start line and disappearing up a staircase," she said with a laugh. But that's exactly what she hoped for.
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Friday, April 3, 2015

Video: The Xenophobic Letter From the Bonneville GOP Central Committee

Posted By on Fri, Apr 3, 2015 at 9:52 AM

A letter published by the Bonneville County Republican Party claims that Muslims are a growing problem in Idaho and are a threat to non-Muslims.

KIDK-TV obtained a copy of the letter penned by Becky Prestwich, executive director of the Bonneville Republican Central Committee that claims that Muslims advocate violence and "are taught to be two-faced." Additionally, Prestwich urges Idahoans to contact their legislators "about this problem."

Idaho State University professor Nazer Alnejidi says he's particularly offended:

"Spreading this message of hate and making us feel not safe; there's no reason behind it," he told KIDK-TV.

But Alnejidi, who is the secretary for the Islamic Society of SE Idaho, also chose to take the high road:

"I say to her that she's welcome to ask any questions; she's welcome to be among us," he said.

Meanwhile, Prestwich has backpedaled the article's connection to the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee:

“The article called ‘Islam in Idaho’ was an opinion piece I wrote and included in the BCRCC Newsletter. These views are not necessarily the views of the BCRCC,” Prestwich wrote in an email to the Idaho State Journal on April 1. “While I in no way believe or indicate that all those who claim the Muslim faith as their own are radical or dangerous, I do make the assertion that, if only 10 percent of Muslims are of the radical variety, that equates to some 160 million adherents bent on holy jihad. And you are hard pressed to find very many peaceful Muslims who will condemn the acts of these radicals.”

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tribune: New Admissions Banned at Northwest Children's Home

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 10:01 AM

No new children are allowed to be admitted to the Lewiston-based Northwest Children's Home until further notice. In late December, the Lewiston Tribune offered a rare glimpse behind the walls of the facility, which is home to about 65 children and teens. The minors have suffered from the worst kinds of neglect or abuse and are struggling with a myriad of diagnoses, including abandonment, trust and anger.

But it turns out that Lewiston police had been contacted 260 times in 2014 regarding incidents at the facility. About a fourth of those were runaways who may be in danger of harming themselves or others.

And this morning's Tribune reports that the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has banned new admissions following an inspection at the facility. Officials are requiring weekly progress updates form the home and will reassess operations in May, June, August and November.

"Failure to comply will result in additional enforcement remedies up to and including a revocation or suspension of the license," according to the report chronicled by the Tribune.
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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Video: Idaho Hamlet's Post Office Goes Dark

Posted By on Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 9:59 AM

The now-shuttered Careywood, Idaho post office.
  • The now-shuttered Careywood, Idaho post office.
The United States Postal Service has long been slogging through waist-deep red ink, and its latest casualty is a small post office in the small Bonner County community of Careywood in Idaho's panhandle. For more than a century, residents have kept post office boxes, shipped packages or simply chatted about the weather with their local postmaster. But the Postal Service has turned off the lights at the post office, just north of Athol on Highway 95. The 120 regular P.O. box customers have been told that they'll need to travel seven miles to the south (about a 15- to 20-minute drive) to pick up their mail in Athol from now on.

KREM-TV reports that Tuesday was the final day for the post office which services the community of about 500 residents. But Careywood townfolk argued that the post office served more as a community center and the loss was intangible.

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Triple Homicide Suspect Extradited to Idaho

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 9:52 AM

John Lee, 30, is accused of going on a shooting spree Jan. 10 that left three people dead and a fourth seriously injured.
  • John Lee, 30, is accused of going on a shooting spree Jan. 10 that left three people dead and a fourth seriously injured.
Nearly three months after a triple homicide stunned the city of Moscow, the man charged in the triple slayings returned to the Latah County community March 30. This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that 30-year-old John Lee arrived at the Latah County jail Monday evening, where he'll await trial for the murders and the attempted murder of four Moscow residents. 

Lee has been in the Whitman County Jail in Washington since early January after being charged with eluding police in a high-speed chase across the Idaho/Washington Border. Washington prosecutors say they have dropped their charges so that Lee could be extradited to Idaho. Latah County prosecutors say Lee shot and killed his adoptive mother 61-year-old Terri Gzebieski, his landlord 76-year-old David Trail, coworker 47-year-old Belinda Nieburh, and the shooting of a fourth person: 39-year-old Michael Chin.

The Tribune reports that the extradition process was completed earlier this month when Whitman County Superior Court Judge David Frazier ordered that Lee be returned to Idaho as soon as the Washington case was resolved.

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Monday, March 30, 2015

Idaho Supreme Court Affirms $3.5 Million Award in Drivers-Ed Suit

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 9:43 AM

The Idaho Supreme Court ruled early today that a $3.5 million judgment was appropriate when a Wood River Valley Family successfully sued the Blaine County School District for damages after their 15-year-old son, Austin Hennefer, was killed in a driver's ed crash in October 2010.

In May 2013, a Blaine County jury said the school district was "100 percent at fault" for the incident in which a student was practicing a three-point turn in a Carey School driver's-education car on an icy U.S. Highway 20. The driver's-ed car was struck by another car, killing Hennefer.

The school district appealed the verdict, and even asked for a new trial. But a district court denied both motions.

In its ruling handed down today, the Idaho Supreme Court ruled that the school district "was found to have acted recklessly," and "the limitation on non-economic damages in Idaho Code did not apply."

Idaho's high court said that the "jury was properly instructed on what constituted reckless misconduct and that the evidence supported the verdict." You can read the full ruling on the appeal here.

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The Benefits of Madison County (Idaho's Healthiest)

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2015 at 9:31 AM

Idaho's healthiest county? That would be Madison, in eastern Idaho. Idaho least-healthy? That's Benewah, between Moscow and Coeur d'Alene in north central Idaho.  For the record, statistics were not available for Camas or Clark counties.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, in collaboration with the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute, is out with its annual health rankings for counties throughout the United States—measuring obvious health behaviors such as diet, tobacco and alcohol use, sexual activity and access to care; but the study also examines high school graduation rates, employment, income, housing and transit to configure the rankings. 

And based on equal weighting of length and quality of life, Madison County comes out on top, followed by Blaine, Lewis, Oneida and Adams counties. Madison County got very high marks for quality of life and health behaviors, where it came out first in the state.

Though statistics were not available for Camas or Clark counties, the bottom of the pack was Benewah County, with Lemhi, Shoshone, Clewater and Washington counties also ranking low.

Ada County ranked seventh overall, getting high marks (third highest in Idaho) for health factors such as its food environment and access to exercise opportunities. And Ada ranked first in the state when it comes to clinical care. But dragging Ada County (eighth in the state) was its physical environment, including air pollution, severe housing problems and the number of people who drive alone to work.


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Saturday, March 28, 2015

Northern Idaho City on ISIS 'Hit List'

Posted By on Sat, Mar 28, 2015 at 9:15 AM

Flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
  • Flag of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria
The Boundary County city of Bonners Ferry is the latest bizarre target on an ISIS hit list.

The so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has claimed responsibility for the cyber attack of North American credit units, websites of multiple U.S. municipalities, and even a Northwest winery—Latah Creek Winery in Spokane, Wash. 

And now the Hagadone News Network is reporting that officials with Boundary County in Idaho's Panhandle are working with the FBI to investigate the fact that Bonners Ferry is the only Idaho city on a list of 50 municipalities being threatened by ISIS.

Boundary County Incident Commander Bob Graham told the Hagadone News Network he had briefed county officials "and that they had outlined what kind of reaction there would be if there was a credible threat that could involve local agencies."

"ISIS itself is not a measurable threat to Boundary County," said Graham, "but there are (potentially explosive) products out there, and people irritated with the government or an individual have that capability easily available."
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