Monday, June 20, 2011

Payette Commissioners Green-Light Rezone for Nuke Plant

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 4:04 PM

Payette County Commissioners have given the go-ahead to rezone a parcel of property where Alternate Energy Holdings Inc. hopes to build nuclear reactor. The three commissioners unanimously approved the request in a meeting today. The approval followed a lengthy public hearing on June 6 when more than 30 people testified, the majority in favor of AEHI's nuclear plans.

"We have proved to the world that this process can be accomplished despite the best efforts of anti-nuclear activists," said AEHI CEO Don Gillispie today. "I now look forward to the federal process, as key government officials in the United States, like President Barack Obama, have put their support behind nuclear power."

In a statement released late today, AEHI said it was the first publicly-traded independent-power producer to receive local nuclear site approval in the United States.

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Meridian School District Now Wants to Retain Half-Day Kindergarten

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 3:44 PM

Bowing to parental push-back to a proposal to dramatically shift its kindergarten schedule, Meridian school officials now say they will keep the district's half-day, five-day-a-week schedule.

In its plan to cut $22 million in spending from its 2011-2012 budget, Meridian was looking at teacher layoffs, reductions in the school calendar and a kindergarten schedule that would keep the little ones in class all day, every other day. At a public hearing last week, parents argued that the schedule change would be too distracting for students and too disruptive for family schedules.

The retreat to the status quo for kindergarten schedules does include another major change: The district is eliminating midday busing. Simply put, morning kindergartners will have to be picked up by parents at midday and afternoon students will have to be dropped off at the noon hour. The district will still provide bus service in the morning and the end of the school day. The move is expected to save the district $1.3 million.

The Meridian School District Board of Trustees is expected to sign off on the schedule at its meeting, set for Tuesday.

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Rally, March Culminate Pride Week

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Members and supporters of the LGBT community took over the Idaho Capitol steps June 18, marking national Pride Month and celebrating the last hoorah of Boise’s 22nd annual Pride Week. The rally, hosted by Boise Pride, drew a large crowd that covered the steps and spilled onto the adjacent park across Jefferson Street. Some churches were also represented at the rally in support of the LGBT movement.

A rainbow made of balloons served as a backdrop for the speakers, who talked on pride in one’s identity and in their efforts as activists for equality. State Sen. Nicole LeFavour, the only openly gay senator in the Idaho Legislature, rallied the group to move closer to the steps.

“Now that’s beautiful!” LeFavour said to the sea of people. Many wore shirts that had a Pride support slogan, some were dressed in costume and still others pumped picket signs that read “Born This Way” and “Love is Love.” Religious groups shook banners, proclaiming acceptance and open congregations.

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McGee Arraigned, Freed on $5,000 Bond

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 2:40 PM

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  • Courtesy of Ada County Sheriff's Office.

After spending 24 hours in the Ada County lockup, Idaho Sen. John McGee was released on a $5,000 bond this afternoon, following his arraignment on DUI and grand theft charges.

With his wife, Hanna, his parents, brother and family clergy looking on, McGee appeared in Ada County Court through a video link from the Ada County Jail. McGee's attorney, Scott McKay, did all of the talking on behalf of his client, telling Magistrate Judge Kevin Swain that this was McGee's first run-in with the law. McKay asked for little to no bail, but Swain sided with prosecutors that bond be set at $5,000 due to the "seriousness" of the charges.

McGee was arrested early Sunday morning after police found him passed out in the backseat of an SUV with a 20-foot trailer that had been jack-knifed. Ada County Sheriff's deputies said the vehicle had been stolen, and McGee registered a .15 blood alcohol level, nearly twice the legal driving limit.

McGee's preliminary hearing is set for July 1.

McGee is a four-term state senator, serving citizens of Caldwell, Greenleaf and Wilder in Idaho District 10. At the beginning of the 2011 Idaho Legislature, McGee was chosen to serve as majority caucus leader. He currently sits on three committees: local government and taxation, state affairs, and transportation. He is also chairman of the Canyon County Republicans and is chairman of the College of Idaho board of trustees.

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Transportation Expert: All-Canada Route is Way to Move Mega-Loads

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2011 at 10:22 AM

According to a report in today's Missoulian, there might be a Plan C to move mega-loads to the Kearl Oil Sands project in Alberta, Canada.

ExxonMobil needs to move at least 200 giant loads of oil equipment, manufactured in Asia, to Alberta. Plan A was the best-known, and perhaps most controversial, route. That plan was to ship the equipment across the Pacific Ocean, barge it up the Columbia River, and then move it by truck from the Port of Lewiston across U.S. Highway 12 in Idaho and Montana before moving up to Canada. More than a year of contested hearings and lawsuits followed. Plan B was to "cut down" some of the equipment and move it up Highway 95 from Lewiston through Moscow and Coeur d'Alene, then head east on Interstate 90 to Montana before traveling north. The Idaho Transportation Department granted the first two permits on Friday for a pair of the "cut down" mega-loads.

Today, the Missoulian quotes the president and chief executive officer of OmniTrax, one of the largest transportation management companies in North America, with a Plan C. Long's idea is ship the mega-loads across the Pacific, through the Panama Canal, over to the Eastern seaboard, up to Labrador in Canada, through the waterways of Hudson Bay, and on to the western shore of Manitoba. OmniTrax would move the mega-loads 586 miles by train across Manitoba and then put them on trucks for an additional 750 miles to Alberta.

"We think what's interesting about this is it's an all-Canada route for a Canadian project," said Stephen Keating of OmniTrax. "It avoids the continental United States."

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