Saturday, March 30, 2013

Oklahoma Opens Corral to Horse Slaughtering

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:42 AM

In November 2011, the U.S. Congress quietly lifted a ban on funding horse meat inspections, again opening the gateway for horse slaughterhouses to return to America. Shortly thereafter, a report in the Twin Falls Times News said that Idaho might be considered an ideal spot for a slaughterhouse "because it is agricultural-based and contains high amounts of unwanted horses."

And while Idaho has yet to see a slaughterhouse open since then, the governor of Oklahoma on Friday signed into law a provision to allow facilities to process and export horse meat, despite bitter opposition by animal-rights activists.

But advocates for the slaughterhouses, including Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin, noted that more than 166,000 horses were sent to Canada and Mexico in 2012 to be slaughtered.

But Fallin quickly added that her state's new law strictly prohibited the selling of horse meat for human consumption in the U.S.

Meanwhile, Huffington Post reports that similar horse slaughtering efforts are under way in Nevada and New Mexico. Oklahoma officials have already received an application for a horse slaughter inspection permit from a meat company in Washington, Okla., about 40 miles south of Oklahoma City.

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NPR To Silence Talk of the Nation

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:37 AM

National Public Radio stunned more than a few listeners Friday, when it announced the end of its popular Talk of the Nation program, heard weekday afternoons on Boise State Public Radio and airing live from Washington, D.C., for 21 years.

Talk of the Nation's final broadcast is slated for July 1.

The New York Times reported that discussions have been under way for "more than two years between NPR and some of its bigger member stations" to end Talk of the Nation and replace it with an expanded version of Here and Now, which is produced in Boston through Public Radio International. But beginning this summer, NPR announced that it will begin producing Here and Now and expand that program from one hour to two hours beginning July 1.

The Times reported that NPR officials denied the organization's budget deficit of $7 million spurred the decision to end Talk of the Nation.

Longtime Talk of the Nation host Neal Conan announced that he will depart NPR after Talk of the Nation ends.

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Enterprise: Payette Schools Still Worried, In Spite of Levy Passage

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Just because its voters passed a two-year $695,000 per-year supplemental levy on March 12 doesn't mean officials in the Payette School District are breathing that much easier.

The Independent Enterprise reports that Payette Superintendent Pauline King says when the the current funding runs out, the school district may be faced with more difficult decisions.

"The state is volatile," King told the Enterprise. "There's not a school district in the state that is not worried about funding right now."

King said that without the recently approved supplemental levy, Payette would have been forced to shut down Westside Elementary School, eliminate many of Payette High School's electives, and even shift to a four-day school week.

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April Fools: Star-News 'Reports' Military Planes Will Monitor Fourth of July Activities

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:32 AM

What with all of the conversation in McCall lately about curbing this Fourth of July's festivities at North Beach, the McCall Star-News got plenty of attention Friday morning, when readers saw the headline, "Surplus Military Planes to Patrol North Beach Over 4th."

On March 8, we reported that state, county and Idaho law enforcement were looking into options to curb rowdiness and drunken behavior at North Beach along Payette Lake. The 2011 Fourth of July crowd at North Beach, which is part of Ponderosa State Park, swelled to 1,500 and had as many as 2,000 partiers in previous years. The previous events saw underage drinking, nudity, beers thrown at law enforcement and fights.

But the story in the current edition of the Star-News touts the use of military surveillance aircraft, usually used to monitor illegal immigration, being mobilized for McCall.

"If North Beach on the 4th isn't a case calling for alien migration management tactics, I don't know what is," reads a quote in the story.

But guess what? it was a hoax—the Star News' late April Fools' joke, joining a string of previous phony stories.

Previous April Fools' Day gems in the Star-News have included Bill Cosby buying the Star-News, The Walt Disney Company buying Tamarack, and the McCall City Council ordering gates be placed across Idaho 55 to control growth.

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Advocates Trumpet Gideon's Urgency at City Club of Boise

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:27 AM

In 1961, Clarence Gideon asked for a lawyer but a judge refused, telling Gideon he had to pay for counsel.
  • In 1961, Clarence Gideon asked for a lawyer but a judge refused, telling Gideon he had to pay for counsel.

The opening of Law and Order—which aired on NBC for many years—featured some of the most familiar lines in network television history:

In the criminal justice system, the people are represented by two separate yet equally important groups: the police, who investigate crime; and the district attorneys, who prosecute the offenders. These are their stories.

"What? That's not true. How about the defense?" asked Dawn Porter at Friday afternoon's City Club of Boise event at the Grove Hotel. "It's a TV thing, but it's a big thing when you think of how many people get their information from TV."

Porter knows a thing or two about TV, having worked for both the ABC and A&E networks. Porter is also a former attorney and a current filmmaker. She was in Boise to talk about her most recent effort, Gideon's Army, a documentary that will air later this year on HBO and had a big-screen showcase Friday evening at Boise's Egyptian Theatre.

Porter was joined by Sara Thomas, director of the Idaho State Appellate Defender's Office, to talk about one of the most basic freedoms of all Americans: the right to an appropriate defense. The conversation was in sync with 2013 being the 50th anniversary of Gideon v. Wainwright, the landmark U.S. Supreme Court ruling that guarantees a free public defense for members of the public who can't afford an attorney.

Boise Weekly recently chronicled the Gideon case [BW, News, "And Justice For All?" March 20, 2013] and reported that Idaho was rife with inconsistency, at best, and probable civil-liberties violations, at worst, in complying with the constitutional requirement.

Thomas told Friday's gathering that there was a dramatic lack of uniformity among Idaho's counties in determining who should be granted counsel.

"Even definining 'indigency' is inconsistent among our judges," said Thomas. "The caseload standards among public defenders is wildly different. And huge caseloads are, in some case, preventing proper investigations for the defense."

Porter said it took her three-and-a-half years to film Gideon's Army. In one of the film's scenes, a young attorney stretches his arms out in his office, pointing to a handful of framed documents hung up on the wall. Each of the documents represents a "not guilty" verdict handed down for one of his indigent clients.

"My goal is to fill this wall up," he says. "My other goal is to have the names of people who have been found guilty to be tattooed on my back."

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ABC: Raul Labrador Silent on Racial Slur From Alaska Congressman

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:20 AM

ABC News Senior National Correspondent Jim Avila reported late Friday that Idaho Republican Congressman Raul Labrador was resolutely quiet about the comments made by Alaska Republican Rep. Don Young, who provoked a firestorm after calling migrant workers "wetbacks."

Young's racial slur aired during a public radio interview in his home state:

"I used to own—my father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes," said Young. "You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now."

The following day, Young said that he meant "no disrespect." When his first statement didn't seem to satisfy even members of his own party, Young released another statement just a few hours later, saying, "I apologize for the insensitive term."

Some of the GOP's top leaders weighed in on the comment.

Arizona Sen. John McCain called Young's comments "offensive," while Texas Sen. John Cornyn said, "There is no excuse for ignorance." Speaker of the House Ohio Republican Rep. John Boehner said Young's remarks were "beneath the dignity of the office he holds."

But Avilla wrote Friday that comment from GOP Hispanic Republicans was still missing, with Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Idaho's Labrador not answering repeated emails and phone calls on the issue.

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UPS Admits to Dealing With Illegal Online Pharmacies, Will Pay $40 Million Penalty

Posted By on Sat, Mar 30, 2013 at 11:09 AM

UPS agreed Friday to hand over to the U.S. government $40 million in payments that the express shipping company has received from illicit online pharmacies. UPS also will cooperate with the U.S. Justice Department to identify digital drugstores and stop working with them.

"The FDA is hopeful that the positive actions taken by UPS in this case will send a message to other shipping firms to put public health and safety above profits," said John Roth, Food and Drug Administration criminal investigations director, in a statement.

Federal prosecutors said online pharmacies often sell drugs for discount prices but don't have appropriate oversight to market powerful drugs such as narcotic painkillers like oxycodone and hydrocodone. The Justice Department said that some pharmacies had shipped prescription drugs to customers who had simply filled out a questionanaire.

Feds said UPS had been repeatedly been warnd about working with online dipensaries but did not comply until now.

The shipper said it had been cooperating with law enforcement since 2007.

"As an industry leader, UPS is taking responsibility and playing a role to address the issue of illegal online pharmacies," said Susan Rosenberg, a UPS spokeswoman.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

UPDATE: Power Restored After Outage Hits Downtown Boise

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 10:04 AM

UPDATE: 10:30 a.m.

Idaho Power confirmed that power had been restored to a section of Boise's downtown after an outage—caused by debris on a power line—had knocked off the lights to more than 400 customers.


Idaho Power tells Citydesk that a power outage in Boise's Downtown should be over in a matter of minutes.

Idaho Power Corporate Communication Specialist Kevin Winslow told BW that 431 customers were hit by the outage, which began shortly after 9 a.m., due to debris caught in the main power line. The impacted area was (running North to South) from Fort Street to BODO and (running East to West) from 1st to 10th Streets.

"I just got off the line with dispatch and we're expecting to be up and running in a half-hour or less," Winslow told BW at 9:45 a.m.

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Seven-Hour Standoff At Boise Motel Ends With Tear Gas, Arrest

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 9:25 AM

Dimas Narvaiz, 26, is charged with attempted strangulation.

A seven-hour standoff ended late Thursday night with a Boise man facing a felony charge of attempted strangulation, with more charges being likely.

The suspect, 26-year-old Dimas Narvaiz, was previously arrested by Boise Police on Feb. 2 and charged with aggravated assault after allegedly threatening another man with a handgun.

Boise Police responded to a call at a motel on the 8000 block of West Overland late Thursday afternoon. That's where they said a violent domestic incident had occurred in a first floor motel room. When officers arrived, a female victim was safely out of the room, but a male suspect was reportedly armed inside the room.

Law enforcement said the suspect immediately began threatening to harm himself and even requested officers to use their weapons on him. Instead, crisis negotiators spent the better part of the next seven hours trying to talk the suspect out of the motel room. Several SWAT officers were also called to the scene.

Several people were asked to leave the motel during the standoff.

Eventually, officers broke a window to the room and deployed tear gas. The suspect surrendered about 20 minutes later. The suspect also had a dog in the room during the incident. The dog was uninjured and captured safely by Ada County Animal Control.

The suspect was taken to a nearby hospital for medical evaluation. An investigation is ongoing.

Narvaiz is charged with attempted strangulation, and additional charges are likely.

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Mountain Express: Hailey Airport Prepared To Sue Feds Over Tower Tussle

Posted By on Fri, Mar 29, 2013 at 9:18 AM

The authority that oversees Hailey's Friedman Memorial Airport says it will play hardball with the Federal Aviation Administration, going so far as filing a lawsuit in federal court to seek an injunction to keep its air traffic control tower open.

Friedman is one of four Idaho airports—including airports Lewiston, Idaho Falls and Pocatello—that are on a list of 149 air traffic towers slated to be shut down in early May by the FAA. The cuts, triggered by the federal funding sequestration gridlock, will affect airports with fewer than 150,000 flights per year and fewer than 10,000 commercial flights.

This morning's Idaho Mountain Express reports that the Friedman Airport Authority met in emergency session March 27 to decide to file the lawsuit following a behind-closed-doors executive session.

A representative from Horizon Airline reportedly told a member of the authority that their airline could continue to fly in and out of Friedman, but that service might be compromised by the lack of a tower.

The Mountain Express reports that Blaine County Commissioner Jacob Greenberg said the cost of litigation would range from $16,000 to $30,000.

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