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2008 Editors' Picks Public Eye 


Idaho Humane Society

The Idaho Humane Society is all about getting people to take animals home with them, but we just don't think they meant in the way that one of their ads seemed to advocate. "Take something terrific home for dinner," read the ad, surrounded by a picture of a cute little kitten, followed by the prices for the cats. Remember, Boise, kittens are for petting, not for dinner.

BEST Best Of

Every Stinkin' Top-10 List Boise is On

Boise is a great place to live. OK, we get it already. Now, would you please stop telling everyone else? So far, we've been informed that we have a great economy, this is a great place to raise a family, we have a low crime rate, a great quality of life, etc. What's next? Top cities surrounded by sagebrush? Great survivalists' supply headquarters? How about top places for meetings of brunette rabbit fanciers? Even better, top reasons why ridiculous polls published in national magazines by people who have never been to a place mean jack.


Brandi Swindell and Bryan Fisher

click to enlarge ADAM ROSENLUND

Pray on this for a minute, guys: When you sue the city, that's usually a story, especially if it's a First Amendment thing. But when you lose and are forced to pay legal fees for your sworn nemesis, just send a check and don't call all of your television reporter friends. It's unseemly. Like Jesus in a public park.


The Scary Packet Shoved Through the BW Mail Slot

Late one night, a mysterious package was shoved through the mail slot at BW headquarters. Usually, such things get a quick heave-ho into the garbage, but this time, our curiosity won out. The plastic grocery bag was stuffed with paper plates, towels and scratch paper, each scrawled with someone's version of the Best of Boise. Most of it was incomprehensible—we think there may have been hieroglyphics or runes—but we did manage to decipher a few words, including "ass," "Bill Cope," "Macy's" and "pizza." It kind of freaked us out. Please refrain from shoving rambling manifestos through our mail slot, no matter what drug you're on.


From: Harmful Parasites Subj: It's Living in Your Bowels and Has Teeth but No Eyes

Seriously. Ick.


Dog Bites and Derechos

But not at the same time because that would be too weird, like we've been-dropped-into-a-parallel-universe-that's-actually-some-lesser-version-of-hell weird, or like a wicked bad omen of something worse yet to come. BW's publisher survived two freak non-concurrent occurrences this year. Like the genesis-of-urban-legend kind of freaky. First, she was bitten by a dog while waiting at her therapist's office: a tactic that—if a ploy by said therapist to induce further stress and ensuring future business—shouldn't be repeated. Then she went on vacation, surrendering to the mayhem that sometimes results when we trust forces beyond our control. All was well on the tracks—for, being of adventurous spirit, this publisher of ours had taken to the rails to travel as people did once upon a slower time—until a freak windstorm called a derecho knocked out the tracks and dumped her and her two kids unexpectedly in the sweltering summer of Omaha, some 400-plus miles from her destination.


Cab Companies

The selection of cab companies in Boise is staggering. And even if you've never heard of it, rest assured it's licensed and legal. If you try to have a little fun at the expense of the cab companies, be prepared for vengeance to rain down. Boise Weekly ran a top seven list containing city cabs we'd never heard of, and it turned out to be a catalyst for cabbie rage directed at us. Some of the drivers felt that it made them appear to be renegades; slapping a light and some decals on their cars and driving around town answering to no one. It could be a game trying to spot all the cab companies driving the streets. The luxury BMW SUVs, family vans, town cars and Chevy Impalas are just a few of the different types a fare could hop. Upon further investigation, BW staff found that there are more than 150 cab companies licensed by the city of Boise. By comparison, Portland, Ore., has five.


Justin Cantrell

Not long after we ran an interview with local band Manville, several people called in to say that they saw a mug shot of local show promoter Justin Cantrell on the Web site. It's not the mug shot itself that's a big deal; sadly, hundreds of people are arrested and their head shots posted each week. What made Cantrell's photo worth talking about was that in it, he was sporting a large purple "Manville" tattoo across his forehead. Stories circulated, but the one that made the most sense (or the least, maybe) was that Cantrell had gone in voluntarily to take care of some business and, knowing his pic would be up on the site, temporarily marked himself a Manville fan. We've got to give him credit for advanced planning.


Morley Nelson Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area

Last year, Rep. Mike Simpson introduced legislation to rename the Birds of Prey National Conservation Area after the late Morley Nelson, a champion of the center and for raptor recovery, who died in 2005. While we're totally in favor of honoring someone's selfless efforts, we just have to point out: Wow, that's a mouthful.


Boise Co-Op

Boise Co-op carries Pro-Life's—nee Marvin Richardson—organic strawberries. Kinda makes your head spin? Hey, everyone is going organic these days.


Meat Billboards

Imagine climbing out of a lush green parsley forest and seeing a giant steak mountain range with gorgonzola-topped peaks reaching towards the heavens. Then a juicy blood rivulet mists your face and startles you awake. Crazy dream, right? Nope. "Powerful Beefscapes" are the newest billboard creations of the Beef, It's What's For Dinner crew. Man, we sure would like to meat those guys.


Any of It

Everybody is talking about workforce housing in Boise, but nobody is building it. Spit from the top of the U.S. Bank Building, and you're likely to hit a luxury condo project. Even on the more affordable end of the downtown condo spectrum, the price is too high for the workforce. The problem with survival of the financial fittest is that the people who want to live downtown are members of the workforce, not their multimillionaire bosses. Here's our suggestion: Carve up all those half-million dollar condos into single-bedroom places. Maybe then we could start talking about real estate occupancy rather than vacancy.


Tamarack Resort

So maybe we're looking into our crystal ball on this one a wee bit. Plagued by a little cash flow problem, a CEO who just can't seem to stay out of the headlines, and the Agassi/Graf disappearing act, Donnelly's ground-up four seasons resort looks more like a half-completed ghost town scraping by on borrowed time. Maybe along with snow, they should pray for dough.


State Tax Commission

Don't like your tax bill? No problem, let's talk. Call us at 208-334-7660. We offer out-of-state corporations special discounts on the taxes that trained tax auditors say they owe, and we may just have a deal for you. Uncle Sam does not offer such fine service. And don't worry about looking like a tax cheat. Your deal with the Idaho State Tax Commission will be exempt from public records for perpetuity.


Keke Luv

In April, KISS FM DJ KeKe Luv garnered nationwide attention for his attempt to break a world record by broadcasting for 175 continuous hours. That's more than seven days without sleep, folks. Aside from all the fame and glory that must inevitably be the result of breaking a world record (cuz he did), why would anyone forgo a bed, a shower and a social life for more than seven days? For a good cause, of course. Keke's was to raise awareness about child abuse. KISS FM chose not to officially register the record, but we give KeKe props on a job well done.


Foothills Leash Law Backlash

There are two words you can say in Boise that are guaranteed to get people riled up: Foothills and dogs. Unfortunately for one City of Boise committee, it said both and unwittingly unleashed a torrent of cantankerous canine lovers. When the Foothills Working Group suggested that leash laws needed to be expanded to address concerns about out-of-control dogs on popular trails, dog owners were howling mad. They claimed the Foothills were the only place where their dogs could break away from the rigors of city life. Others said it was about time owners took responsibility for their dogs and their dogs' messes. The protest postponed any definitive decision, but the city did step up enforcement of existing regulations. This is one fight that's probably not going to end anytime soon.


Nathaniel Kicked Out of GOP Fundraiser

He didn't even get a glass of beer. Nope, our correspondent-turned-news editor, after a week of bipartisan, unbiased reporting on the legislative party scene, was unceremoniously booted from a House Republican Caucus fundraiser at the apparently exclusive Power House. He refused to "pay to play." Just Google "Hoffman, cigar, Thayn, ragers" to read all about it.


Solid Foundation's First Annual National Future Hope Family Fun Spot Family Pledge Point Marathon

It took us so long to read the name of the event, we completely missed it.


Blue Girl, Red State

The "over-educated, pissed-off redhead with a broadband connection and a credit card; fiercely dedicated to the Constitution" blogs out of the fellow red state of Missouri, but her bumper sticker has made its way across the country, and was spotted on a big truck right here in Idaho. The blog is read by fans from all over. From global warming to the war to oil prices and every move the Republican party and associates make, she'll be watching and blogging about it with insight, fact-based tidbits and a passionate use of the written word.


Risch vs. Anyone

He's not doing any debates, and the 10 Rammell-LaRocco showdowns are a bit of a stunt, but why is the lieutenant governor turning his back on the League of Women Voters and Idaho Public Television? Oh, we forgot, public television is a gay communist plot, and women should never have gotten the vote. Guess we'll have to tune in to KTVB to watch the "debate."


Risch vs. Risch

Since Lt. Gov. Jim Risch has made it clear that he does not like impromptu debates or unexpected questions, perhaps he'd like to debate himself. He's a seasoned orator, so it could be informative to see Risch challenge his past positions and stake out new ones for his U.S. Senate race. If outgoing Sen. Larry Craig is unavailable to moderate, perhaps Risch vs. Risch could be moderated by ... Risch.


Loss of Downtown Restaurants

The local indie restaurant scene has taken a beating this year after a fatal superbug sucked the life out of some of the city's best restaurants. The virus, which is the result of shitty economic factors mutating an otherwise healthy business environment, latches onto seemingly successful restaurants, burrows into and feeds off of their cash flow while simultaneously emitting a noxious odor that keeps away customers. The unpredictable spread of the disease has plenty of restaurant owners battening down their financial hatches in hopes that they can secure their moolah. Many of those still plugging along swear by the power of positive thinking. Scientists, economists and business tycoons have all given up on a cure, believing in a Darwinian model. For those who've fallen we'll pour one for you, homies.


Boise Weekly

Yep, we won. The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce awarded Boise Weekly with the best small business award of the year for a small business with between 10 and 50 employees. Thanks to Bea Black for nominating us, and thanks to the chamber for picking us. Visit to see a video about the award.


Curt Bowers

Memo to Caldwell Republican Rep. Curt Bowers: Write another five-year plan, man. Caldwell voters returned Bowers to civvy status after his brief stint as an appointee to the Legislature was highlighted by a guest opinion in the Idaho Press-Tribune arguing that the communist agenda in the United States had quietly worked to destroy marriage, business and morality by promoting co-habitation, environmentalism and homosexuality. It didn't add up for all the shacked up, gay greenies in the 2C, however.


Department Of Arts and History

We're so happy arts and history finally got married. Did you see the rock he gave her? Bigger than Gibraltar. And her dress looked like it was straight out of a Mucha painting. Probably cost as much, too. That's right, at long last, two former city commissions made the leap and became a full-blown department. We can't wait to see the products of their union. 208-433-5670,


Dan Popkey

Google "Dan Popkey" and "Brandi Swindell" and you get about 1,180 results. There's about half as many hits for a similar search with partner in crime, Bryan Fischer. But according to his July 17 column in the Idaho Statesman, Popkey is not going to be a "moth to flame" anymore and will eschew the media circus surrounding the dynamic moralistic duo and extremists of all sorts. We think that's a bit "addlepated," Dan, but have a better suggestion: Why not follow Swindell and Fischer around for six months and see what you learn about their, uh, private habits?


Boise Weekly Offices

All we wanted was a few trees, some decorative concrete and a sculpture flanked by benches. What we got was a massive bureaucratic headache. Between tree experts, the City of Boise, the Capital City Development Corp. and the Ada County Highway District, no one seemed to be able to agree if our fancy, stamped concrete met the streetscape standard. After months of wrangling, we ended up with part fancy concrete, part loose gravel and part vegetation. At least we got to keep our sculpture.


Carnegie Library Building

We love Andrew Carnegie. We might be biased since he is from a town near and dear to some of our staff's hearts. The real reason we love him is that without Carnegie's grants to towns across the United States during the 1900s, the Carnegie Library would not be here. Sure, you've been by it, barely given it a glance. The Carnegie Library building at 815 W. Washington St. is one of our favorite buildings in Boise. It doesn't get much better than that and, phew, are we lucky it didn't get torn down during Boise's "revitalization" projects of the '80s. It's stunning. Go look for yourselves. It's right there across the street from Boise High School, set back on a wide expanse of green lawn and trees. We are jealous of the lawyers that work in the building and get to sit in Boise history all day long.


Eagle Chief of Police, Chief Hippe (Pronounced "Hippie")

click to enlarge JOYCE ALEXANDER

Eagle Police Chief Brian Hippe gets this year's best name in law enforcement. If he pulled us over, we'd say, "Now you're not really going to give us a ticket, are you, Chief Hippie?" Good luck battling all those hippies out in Eagle, chief. Next year we might have to rotate the award back to Boise Police Officer Hancuff.


The Aspen

It's the reason drivers on Front Street subconsciously hug the right side of the already-narrowed lanes. It's the simple fact that a 17-story building is being constructed on a 32-foot-wide strip of ground, it's hard not to cringe at least a bit. For our money, there's nothing more unnerving than when pedestrians hear a worker far above yell "Oops!" followed by a loud bang.


Foothills Heritage Festival at Avimor

So, you're upset about a massive development in your precious Foothills. Don't worry, watch the swirling Basque dancers. Still irritated by the clogged roadways and disjointed residential services? Take a tour of a model home. Still can't get over it? We gave you a festival, what more can we do?



Only one word strikes fear into the hearts of all BW staffers. Nine little letters wreak havoc on our lives if we're not super diligent to ensure all precautions have been taken to avoid the catastrophe. It's become the MacBeth of our newsroom; to utter the word is to incur the wrath of the gods. Sometimes we inadvertently place the wrong grid with the wrong clues or fail to provide the correct answers to the previous week's crossword puzzles. On threat of being drawn, quartered and hanged, we usually get it right. When we don't, we certainly face the music thanks to angry calls from rabid crossword fans. (Editor's note: all crossword FUBARs should be directed to the art director. Yep, she's officially under the bus.)


Larry Craig Bobble Feet

While Sen. Larry Craig's bathroom sex sting arrest has become only an occasional punchline for the late-night comedians, we have to admit, it's still funny. Especially when the St. Paul, Minn., Saints baseball team hands out 2,500 Larry Craig bobble-feet souvenirs. The small plastic toys featured a miniature bathroom stall with tiny little moving feet in dress shoes visible underneath. The collectors items were going for big bucks on eBay initially, and recently ranged from $20 to $100—guess a good joke is always funny.


Capitol Renovation

Ahoy, Nick Collias here. I don't work at BW anymore, but I snuck into the office and typed this blurb when no one was looking. So here's the deal: I just moved back to town for a spell, and last Wednesday I found a nail in my car's rear tire. While it was getting fixed, I decided to walk from Les Scwhab at 13th and Jefferson streets over to the taco truck on Sixth street. However, I was dismayed to discover that pedestrians now have to detour all the way from State Street to Bannock Street in order to get around the stupid Capitol renovation project. "My kingdom for a mule," I was heard to exclaim. "Oh, what a pain in my heinie!" Luckily, the two tongue tacos I bought at the end of my journey were worth the struggle.


Delete Web Content

We've all done things we wish would fall "down the memory hole." Before the advent of the Internet and the world domination of Google, it was a lot easier to bury information in reams of court documents, to relegate public faux pas to microfiche, and if things got really bad, you could just move out of town. These days, the ubiquitous nature of the Internet ensures that lots of details are around for a long, long time. Not only that, but they're easy to find. BW prefers not to play the role of the Ministry of Truth. So stop asking.


C.J. Rose

She's from about as far away from Boise as you can get without being in Canada, but C.J. Rose has been here. Once. Rose left her log cabin near Spirit Lake, where she cooks and heats with wood, to attend the state Democratic Convention in June. While in town, the 61-year-old retired schoolteacher and lesbian, who hopes to upset Rep. R.J. "Dick" Harwood in November, attended a cocktail fundraiser at Lush.


Out-of-State Nuclear Energy Companies

It must have seemed like a good idea to someone. When Warren Buffett sent his people to Payette County to scout a location for a new nuclear plant in Boise's back yard, hundreds of people showed up to voice off on the plan. It didn't pencil out for Buffett, but then another guy thought it might just work over in Owyhee County, and then he changed his mind and started planning for Elmore County. We have a suggestion for a great location for a new nuclear plant: on Facebook. We might even send it good karma.


Statesman/BW/ Idaho Press-Tribune Printing

Hey, we were there first. BW has been printed for years over in Nampa, in the Idaho Press-Tribune's hulking, state-of-the-art pressroom. Now the Idaho Statesman wants in on the ink. Sometime next year, the state's biggest little daily in Canyon County will start printing its bigger medium-sized daily from Ada. But the best headlines will still sneak through on Tuesday afternoons as BW rolls off those Germanic presses. We may buy ink together, but that's it. It's not going to second base.


Make it into a memorial

To those who have fallen from glory into financial and personal ruin trying to get the cursed tower built, of course.


Anna Sali

Rep. Bill Sali's daughter was honored earlier this summer with a Congressional Award Gold Medal, a noncompetitive award bestowed apparently on any 14- to 23-year-old who sets some goals and attains them. Singer Anna Sali set out to learn about the music biz, put out a CD and do a little volunteer work at her school. Maybe someone should have told Michael Phelps there was an easier way.


Legislature Doesn't Do Anything About Transit/Transportation

Now, you really wouldn't expect the Legislature to support a train in Boise, but what about Idaho's rural road system, the one they actually have some jurisdiction over? Well, the big-truck driving legislators can't even get their act together to fund the road crews, leaving Idaho's highways, er, byways to deteriorate for another year. So you don't want to raise taxes or fees? Fine. How about getting out there with a steamroller and doing some real work?


Capitol Annex Murals

At this point, we need to fly in an expert from Harvard University to advise the state on how to come to terms with a mural that depicts a lynching on the wall at the old Ada County Courthouse, which is serving as the Statehouse for at least one more year. There have been at least five committees and as many as 47 different opinions on whether to destroy the mural, move it, cover it or explain it. The whole debate is so, damn, Idahoan. But we'll take a Harvarder's opinion to heart, too.


Karen McGee for Stepping Down as the Governor's Adviser

Karen McGee took political firing to new heights when she was fired, er, resigned from the governor's staff after recently leaving the State Board of Education. She wanted to spend time with her grandson who was having a birthmark removed from his face. OK, Karen, there's that and the $1 million bill you paid without having the money available. Can't anyone just say "sorry?"


Governor's sidewalk spot

click to enlarge NATHANIEL HOFFMAN

It was the best parking spot in town. Gov. Butch thought it was just dandy to have his security guards park his big black Suburban on the sidewalk behind the Borah Building, which temporarily houses a bunch of state offices. One problem though: It's illegal to park on the sidewalk in Idaho. Not to mention, quite rude. After BW pointed that out, the Gov. worked out some street parking with the city. But if he's not there on your nights out on the town, you can take his spot.


Boise State Students Track Delinquents Picking Up Cigarette Butts

The premise of the submission was based on the little known fact that starving artists can't afford the tax on cigarettes, much less a new pack, and are forced to reuse half-smoked butts. Troubled youth of Boise are already picking up butts as part of their penance, so why not put their efforts to good use and free up some creative time for the artistic community? For less than $3,000, the applicants were willing to track and record the number of ciggie butts collected, barter with Ada County to secure possession of said butts and pay a group, preferably Republicans who most likely wouldn't dare abscond with the precious payload, to sort and count the collections to determine how many butts local artists are being deprived of with this asinine activity of the Alternate Sentencing program. The follow-up included proposing a codified rule that made the removal of cigarette butts illegal in public places thereby leaving more butts for artists to smoke. In the opinion of the proposal, the trickle down effect would benefit Boise's homeless population because "well-smoked" artists are more relaxed, happier and more likely to spare some change.


Moyle's Constitutional Amendment

What's the best way to solve the Treasure Valley's transportation woes? How about asking the good folks in Challis if they'd like to amend the State Constitution so that their little mayor can raise their taxes? Hey that's a good idea. That's really rolling up the shirtsleeves and putting on the thinking cap, guys. Nice use of nexus and foreshadowing, Rep. Mike Moyle. Not. How about letting the people in southwest Idaho who are actually utilizing the services of science and engineering and dealing with the traffic and smog figure it out for themselves?

(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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