I knew there'd be no middle ground on last week's main feature, "Cow Country." The debate/name-calling in the story's comments section online has been interesting to follow. As is typical with stories like this one, the comments range from "well done" to "shame on you." One commenter in particular stood out: "Janey," who identified herself as Jane Miller Ledbetter, owner of one of the mega-dairies Scott Weaver reported on. Ledbetter's dairy, according to ISDA records, violated rules governing dairy CAFOs in Idaho five times in the span of 10 years, including a 2008 discharge when one of the dairy's honey wagons (aka manure takers) dumped its contents into a canal that flows into the Snake River. After last week's story hit stands, Jerome County P&Z approved Ledbetter's request to expand her dairy by 1,120 animal units, bringing the total to 4,080 (see Citydesk at boiseweekly.com for a full update). Weaver's attempts to reach a representative from Ledbetter's dairy prior to publication were not successful. However, after leaving a comment on Weaver's story at boiseweekly.com explaining the ownership of her dairy, Ledbetter contacted editors at Boise Weekly via e-mail. We've put her in touch with Weaver, and as of press time this week, we're hoping to give Ledbetter some column inches in the near future. Indeed, if we've bungled the facts, we're happy to set the record straight. But we're also hoping to ask Ledbetter a few tough questions, too. Hopefully she is as eager to explain the steps her dairy has taken to prevent another spill or non-compliance in the future as we are to ask her about it.
Looking at this week's main feature, it looks like it'll be an encore of last week's debate/name-calling in the comments section come Wednesday. Some of Jody May-Chang's story on homophobia in Uganda you've heard before. If you've read any of writer Jeff Sharlet's work on The Family, or heard him on NPR's Fresh Air, much of what you'll read in "Exporting Homophobia" will not surprise you. This month, Sharlet is back on the airwaves and back on stands with a follow-up, and May-Chang interviewed him earlier this year as that work was just going public. It's a dense read, but one I think is worthy of the page space and your time.
Finally, this week News Editor George Prentice, who pulls double duty as BW's film reviewer, heads to the Toronto International Film Festival and will be keeping us in the loop while he's checking out possible Oscar nominees. Keep an eye on boiseweekly.com for updates.