Friday, December 30, 2011

Huskey Appointed to Third District Bench

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 1:52 PM

A Moscow native and state appellate public defender has been chosen to be Idaho's newest judge for the Third Judicial District. Molly Huskey was appointed today by Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter to take over the Third District bench, which is based in Caldwell. The Third District includes Adams, Canyon, Gem, Owyhee, Payette and Washington counties. Huskey is replacing the recently retired Judge Gregory Culet.

A graduate of the University of Idaho and former deputy prosector and deputy public defender in Bonneville County, Huskey was appointed state appellate public defender in 2002, overseeing a 22-member staff. She was one of 10 candidates for appointment as a Third Judicial District judge.

"To be selected is an honor and a responsibility," said Huskey. "I will work to ensure the confidence of my colleagues and the governor is not misplaced."

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New Iowa Poll Indicates Romney, Paul in Tight Race, Santorum Surging

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 10:14 AM

With the Iowa Caucus just four days away and charges and counter-charges flying about, one of the final polls leading up to the first-in-the-nation presidential contest has former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and Texas Congressman Ron Paul running neck-and-neck in Iowa, former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum surging, and former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich collapsing.

According to the new NBC News-Marist poll, Romney garnered 23 percent of likely Iowa voters, just ahead of Paul, who drew 21 percent. Santorum followed with 15 percent, Texas Gov. Rick Perry had 14 percent, Gingrich had 13 percent and Minnesota Congresswoman Michele Bachmann had 6 percent.

A similar poll by NBC-Marist in late November had Gingrich leading the pack with 28 percent.

Another poll by Rasmussen, which was published on Thursday, also had Romney in the lead over Paul, but only by 1 percent. In order, they were followed by Santorum, Gingrich, Perry and Bachmann.

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Montana Loses Big at the Track, Shuts Down All OTB

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 10:11 AM

Only one year after the State of Montana took over all simulcast racing operations, thinking it could do a better job than the private sector, government officials said they're swimming in red ink and have shut down off-track betting sites indefinitely beginning next week.

As reported in today's Missoulian, Montana's state racing board took over all simulcasting in November 2010, following two decades of private operations. But today, the state board is more than $560,000 in the hole, after "overspending on live racing in anticipation of simulcast generating enough revenue to cover it."

But according to state officials, simulcasting has not been profitable since the day the government began operating it. According to the Missoulian, state officials now recognize they don't have the expertise to oversee the simulcast operations.

On June 1, simulcast racing operations returned to the Treasure Valley for the first time in two years. Treasure Valley Racing opened its off-track betting parlor at Les Bois Park in Garden City, in anticipation of a live racing season at the track. The live racing season, though abbreviated, was deemed a success and a 2012 racing card has already been announced, with 36 days of thoroughbred racing, beginning Wednesday, May 2, 2012.

Additionally, Treasure Valley Racing became 100 percent local in November, when Idaho investors bought out their Alabama-based partners to take over TVR.

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The Beginning of the End on Wall Street

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 10:07 AM

Wall Street is going out with a whimper.

The final trading day of 2011 opened this morning with stocks slipping down. The Dow Jones industrial average fell 23 points in the first hour of trading. The Standard and Poors Index and NASDAQ also dropped. Trading has been relatively quiet as volume on the New York Stock Exchange has been about half of its traditional daily average.

Of local interest, Micron stock increased on the NASDAQ exchange this morning, gaining 7 cents to $6.34. But 2011 has not been kind to the Boise-based corporation, which traded as high as $11.80 per share in February.

Hewlett-Packard also gained some strength this morning on the New York Stock Exchange, trading up 25 cents to $25.87 per share. But again, HP is ending the year on a down note, considering it traded for nearly $49 per share in February.

SuperValu jumped this morning (up 14 cents) to $8.18 per share. But its 2011 high of more than $11 per share was posted in May.

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Embarrassing Letter Tied to Fall of HP CEO

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 10:01 AM

A yearlong series of bad choices and subsequent management shakeup at Hewlett-Packard may be traced to a rather embarrassing letter.

The letter, ordered unsealed and made public for the first time since the scandal shook HP last year, reveals how former CEO Mark Hurd had wined and dined and sought sexual favors from an independent contractor, who later accused him of sexual harassment.

Hurd was booted from HP in August 2010, following the accusations from Jodie Fisher, who said that he had tried repeatedly to "engage" her by asking her to his hotel room, kissing her on the lips and groping her. Fisher retained celebrity lawyer Gloria Allred, who sent the letter in June 2010, outlining the accusations.

Hurd's lawyers had fought to keep the letter under seal but a Delaware appeals court ruled this week that it should be public.

You can read the letter here.

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Boise Police: Stolen Beers Lead to Chase and Crash

Posted By on Fri, Dec 30, 2011 at 9:57 AM

It started with two beers and some sticky fingers. It ended with a string of criminal charges, including a felony.

Boise Police said they received a call early this morning following a report that a man had pocketed two beers from a convenience store on West Overland and walked off without paying. As police arrived on the scene they saw the suspect driving away and began a chase, which ended when the suspect rammed his car into a parked vehicle. When he was booked into the Ada County Jail, records indicated that the suspect had already been suspended from driving. He was charged with eluding police, DUI, resisting and obstructing, and driving without privileges (again).

Additionally, a Boise man was booked into the jail overnight charged with an elaborate scheme of stealing from a local retailer. Police said the man had been using fraudulent paperwork to steal more than $4,000 since last July. He was charged with felony grand theft.

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Thursday, December 29, 2011

Lewiston Sears Among Stores to be Shut Down

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 2:00 PM

The first list of Sears and Kmart closings has been made public, and a Lewiston, Idaho, location of Sears was at the top. No closing date was announced.

On Tuesday, the retailers announced they would be shutting down between 100 and 120 stores in the new year, in hopes of generating $140 million to $170 million in much-needed cash from liquidation sales. This afternoon, a list representing 79 of the stores was made public, meaning more store closings are expected to follow.

At the top of today's list was a location on 19th Avenue in Lewiston, known as a "hardlines" location. Traditionally, hardlines are known for appliances, electronics, furniture and sporting goods as opposed to clothing or fabrics.

Sears operates other Idaho locations in Boise, Chubbock, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho Falls, Moscow, Mountain Home, Nampa, Pocatello, Ponderay, Rexburg and Twin Falls. Kmart has locations in Boise, Ammon, Coeur d'alene, Lewiston, Nampa, Poctatello and Twin Falls.

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UPDATE: Vandals on Wheels Sweep Across City Overnight

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 1:57 PM


Boise Police now say that they have received in excess of 30 reports of vandalism believed to be related to last night's string of shootings and/or damage to vehicles throughout the city. Their investigation continues.


Local law enforcement are looking for some help to find the person or persons responsible for a string of vandalism that cut a wide swath across Boise overnight.

The calls started pouring into Boise Police this morning, one after another, with similar reports: Someone had used a BB gun or something similar to shoot out and/or break multiple vehicle windows. Police are convinced that the suspect(s) had wheels because the stretch of affected neighborhoods was considerable. Victims reported vandalism from north and south at McMillan Road and Fairview Avenue to east and west between Five Mile and Cole roads.

As of this morning, at least 15 incidents had been reported, but police were expecting to hear about more.

Crime Stoppers is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. You can text CRIMES (274637), subject: Tip236, or call them at 343-COPS.

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BLM Proposes Energy Development Zones for Public Lands

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 1:52 PM

The Bureau of Land Management today unveiled plans to create new guidelines for wind and solar projects on public lands. Today's announcement said that the agency would set aside so-called energy development zones before competitive leasing for alternative energy projects could occur.

"Existing regulations limit the competitive process," said Bob Abbey, BLM director. ""The renewable energy resources on America's public lands are enormous."

The American Bird Conservancy, which has called for greater diligence before public lands would be used for wind projects, offered cautious optimism following today's announcement.

"Siting is the most important step in making wind energy bird-smart," said Kelly Fuller, ABC's Wind Campaign coordinator. "American Bird Conservancy is developing a map of the areas where wind energy would be most risky to birds."

Earlier this month, ABC, the nation's leading bird conservation organization, petitioned the U.S. Department of Interior to "protect millions of birds from the negative impacts of wind energy by developing regulations that will safeguard wildlife."

The BLM will accept public comment regarding today's proposal until Monday, Feb. 27, 2012.

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Ignition Breathalyzers to Be Required for DUI Offenders in Oregon

Posted By on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 10:27 AM

While most new laws in Idaho traditionally go into effect on July 1, the beginning of the state's fiscal year, most states introduce their new rules on New Year's Day. One of the more interesting in Oregon involves drunk driving.

Beginning this Sunday, anyone convicted of DUI in Oregon, even first-time offenders, will be required to get an ignition interlock device installed in their automobile. The machine checks a driver's breath before an engine can start. It also checks the driver's breath periodically to keep it running. The devices are already required for many convicted of DUI in Oregon, but the new law now includes first-time offenders.

In 2010, about 11,000 people arrested for drunk driving in Oregon were sentenced to diversion programs rather than installing the ignition interlock. Now, they will be required to do both.

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