Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Brush Up Your Shakespeare: Idaho Shakespeare Festival Getting Closer to Macy's Building

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 4:49 PM

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Boise Weekly has learned that plans are moving along—at a much more rapid pace—on a major development that we reported exclusively in November 2012: that Idaho Shakespeare Festival is in final talks concerning moving its headquarters, administrative, education and rehearsal space into the former Macy's building at 10th and Idaho streets in downtown Boise. If all goes as planned, ISF would also create a new downtown performance venue at the location.

Shakespeare festival is negotiating with as many as three regional nonprofits that could also take over some of the space, which has sat empty since March 2010 when Macy's pulled up stakes.

BW first reported in November 2011 that the Northwest Real Estate Capital Corporation, a nonprofit that specializes in affordable-housing management, has agreed to build approximately 62 individual apartments, ranging in size from 518- to 1,000-square feet on the second through fifth floors. Monthly rent is expected to cost approximately $540-$1,040.

But a big question remained: What to do with the spacious first floor and mezzanine of the building?

"This is the reason why we've delayed the project for about nine months," Jeff Schneider, principal emeritus with CSHQA told Boise Weekly. "If everybody does what they're supposed to do, we'll pull this together by late spring and resubmit plans to the city for the modifications and get going."

CSHQA, the project's chief architect and Northwest Real Estate Capital, were granted a 180-day extension on the project in November 2012. That extension expires in mid-May.

"If we can get everybody online, this will be good not only for the owners, but for that whole area," Schneider told BW. "I think it's one of the most important things to happen downtown. This would give the Shakespeare Festival a permanent home and they have a huge education program during the day which would bring a lot of people into that area every day."

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10-Month Old Middleton Infant Injured in Shooting Involving 3-Year-Old

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 4:19 PM

The Canyon County Sheriff's Department is investigating an April 22 incident involving a baby being shot in the cheek by a 3-year-old. The children were left unattended in a vehicle with a loaded handgun.

The Idaho Press-Tribune is reporting that the 10-month-old suffered "a non-life-threatening injury" and was transported to St. Luke's Regional Medical Center in Boise.

The incident occurred on the 25000 block of Middleton Road in Middleton.

"Unintentional shootings like this one are preventable," Canyon County Sheriff Kieran Donahue said in a prepared statement. "It is critical that gun owners be responsible with the storage of their weapons and lock firearms in a safe place away from children."

The Press-Tribune reports that no charges have been filed.

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BW Video Preview: 'Amamos Idaho'

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 11:26 AM

Political alliances and divisions are being forged this week in the nation's capital as the U.S. Senate takes up a sweeping overhaul of immigration laws. But as lawmakers wrangle with their political differences, as many as 11,500,000 undocumented immigrants who are in every corner of the United States wait nervously, many of them under the radar of law enforcement or social services.

"We're your partners and co-workers. We sit next to you in church," Norma Duarte told Boise Weekly. "I was once an immigrant here; now, I'm a legal citizen. But there are a lot of immigrants who are afraid to talk to you about their reality."

But in this Wednesday's edition of BW, we speak to immigrants, some of them undocumented, about their hopes and fears.

"Amamos Idaho," one family told BW, whose patriarch and matriarch work 12-hour days in the fields of Canyon County.

[ Video is no longer available. ]

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S-R: Phone Calls Threaten Idaho Health Insurance Exchange Board Members

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 9:47 AM

When Governor C.L. "Butch" Otter's newly-appointed 19-member board, tasked with crafting Idaho's first-ever health insurance exchange, sat down in its first session April 22, members began sharing an all-too familiar story: They had been contacted, almost all anonymously, by a mysterious phone caller who threatened that they would soon be the subject of a lawsuit.

The Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell reports that most of the board members brushed off the threat and some even had a good laugh.

"Our call was from Florida. So I haven't lost any sleep over it," said board member Kevin Settles, owner of Boise's Bardenay restaurant. Russell reports that Settles' staff received the call. "I thought it was hilarious."

The Spokesman-Review reports that each of the 19 members received a similar call.

"I got a call from a guy who did not want to identify what firm he worked for," said chairman Stephen Weeg, who added that his reaction was, "Wait a minute. We're just doing what the law requires."

And the board has little time to waste. In a recent Boise Weekly article (BW, News, "Now What?" April 10, 2013), we chronicle how the exchange needs to be up and running as early as this October and prepared to take on new customers by Jan. 1, 2014.

"So many people had their heads in the sand, hoping that something would change or delay this. That's not going to happen," said Rick Wagner, who specializes in health care reform as director of business development for Eide Bailly LLP. "Get your heads out of the sand."

Meanwhile the Idaho board will continue to meet today. One of their first pieces of business: interviewing and hiring an executive director to run the exchange.

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Idaho GOP Senators Join Dems to Sponsor Downwinder Compensation Extensions

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 9:44 AM

Idaho U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch are the only Republicans to join three Democrats to co-sponsor Senate Bill 773. But a closer look at the measure reveals why Crapo and Risch are supporting the bill: The legislature would ammend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act to extend compensation to those Idahoans and residents of six other states known as "Downwinders."

"They can't make it right, but they can make it better," Sarah Huges of Wendell, Idaho, told Boise Weekly in 2004. Cancer invaded Hughes' lungs, kidneys and spleen.

In 1997, the National Cancer Institute concluded that rural counties in Idaho had some of the region's highest exposure rates by being downwind of the Nevada and Trinity Nuclear Test sites.

"Passage of this bipartisan legislation is crucial in ensuring Idahoans get the care they need," wrote Crapo in his statement of co-sponsorship. "Idaho communities and individuals that have been adversely affected by our nation's weapons programs must be justly and sufficiently compensated by the federal government."

Specifically, the new RECA amendments would equalize compensation for all claimants to $150,000, expand the downwind exposure area to include seven states and fund a new study of the health impacts on families of uranium workers and residents of uranium development communities.

"This bill once again seeks a fair resolution for those people impacted by the nuclear testing program, just as others in surrounding states have been provided," said Risch. "Idahoans deserve the same care and compensation because of the identical health effects."

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Press-Tribune: Local Irrigation District Expecting Drought Conditions, Cuts Water By 30 Percent

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 9:41 AM

The summer season's first tangible impact of a declining snowpack and possible drought conditions was revealed April 23 when the Pioneer Irrigation District announced that it would reduce water deliveries by 30 percent.

The Pioneer Irrigation District began filling miles of its canal system earlier this month, beginning to feed water to more than 34,000 acres of Canyon and western Ada counties.

"We will be running the system as lean as we possibly can," Pioneer Board Chairman Alan Newbill told the Idaho Press-Tribune. "We will also need the cooperation of our users to be as conservative as possible."

The Press-Tribune reports that the district is currently utilizing its water rights by drawing from the Boise River's "natural flow," which is expected to last until Mid-May. After that, Pioneer is expected to begin supplementing its supply with 52,000-acre feet of storage water.

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Netflix Shares Soar In Wake of House of Cards Success

Posted By on Tue, Apr 23, 2013 at 9:38 AM

What's America's fastest growing television network? Netflix. But of course, Netflix technically isn't a network.

On the heels of its highly successful launch of its streaming-only series House of Cards, Netflix is impressing investors with better-than-expected profits and solid subscriber growth. Netflix reports that it signed up 2,000,000 new customers in its latest quarter, for a total of 29,200,000 members, almost as many as HBO. Almost as important, Netflix has become one of Wall Street's hottest performers, rising more than 80 percent.

In October 2012, Netflix shares were trading at approximately $60 on Nasdaq. This morning, Netflix was trading at $214 per share.

The company pointed to its current buzz-generating series House of Cards, starring Kevin Spacey, for a good amount of its success and its upcoming May 26 release of the rebooted "Arrested Development" series.

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