Friday, May 10, 2013

Star-News: 2013 Wildfires Could Be As Bad As 2007

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 11:15 AM

This morning's McCall Star-News reports that Valley County Commissioners say they have reason for concern over wildfires this summer.

Fire managers brief commissioners May 6, warning that this summer's forest fires have the potential "to be as bad or worse than the record year of 2007."

"Last year, the conditions were drier than 2007, and it's likely we'll be even drier than we were last year," said Boise National Forest Fire Management Officer Bob Shindelar, according to the Star-News. "I would expect our fire season will start earlier and it's expected to go later in the season.

The Payette Forest lost 400,000 acres to wildfire in 2007. The Boise Forest Saw an additional 250,000 acres burn.

The Star-News reports that readings taken on May 2 saw a 12.6 percent reading for large dead trees laying on the ground. Fuel moisture this time of year should exceed 20 percent and on average reach the 12 percent level in early July. Grasses along the Snake River up to 3,500 feet in elevation on the western Payette are already curing out.

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Wayne Hoffman: 'I Got A Speeding Ticket For Law That Doesn't Exist'

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 11:12 AM

Wayne Hoffman, executive director of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, wrote a long opinion piece--appearing in this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press--about how he recently "got a speeding ticket for a law that doesn't exist."

"I got a speeding ticket the other day," wrote Hoffman. "I was driving between meetings in Kootenai County."

Hoffman writes that while his ticket indicated that he violated Idaho Code 49-654(2)(E)--the "E" is for excessive--for doing 73 mph in a 55 mph zone, he insists that there is no statute. Hoffman insists that Idaho Code does not truly distinguish excessive speeding.

Hoffman advocates for the Idaho Legislature to set penalties for speeding, not courts. Yet it was the Legislature that ceded that authority to the Idaho Supreme court in 1988.

"Only the Legislature should make law," writes Hoffman. "Lawmakers and the court would do well to get this portion of the law correct."

In the meantime, Hoffman faces a fine of $155.

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Kuna Melba News: Melba Mayor Will Resign

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 11:10 AM

The Mayor of Melba is resigning.

The Kuba Melba News first broke the story May 1 that Doug Sturges, who took office in January 2012, is taking a job as director of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Institute of Religion at the University of Oklahoma.

Sturges said he anticipates his resignation to be presented before the Melba City Council on Monday, May 13. Struges will have served approximately 19 months when his family pulls up its Idaho stakes in mid-July and head for Oklahoma.

The Melba City Council is expected to choose a successor who would serve until November when the post will be put before voters.

The Kuna Melba News wrote that when Sturges rolls into his new Oklahoma digs, he'll "make sure that the Sooners know that a Bronco has come to town." Sturges said he's a proud Boise State grad.

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Crapo Campaign Lost $250K In Bad Investment

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 10:28 AM

An odd press release came out of the office of the Crapo for Senate Campaign late Friday morning.

Crapo doesn't consider running for re-election until his current term (his third) runs out in 2016, but it turns out that his last campaign suffered a significant investment loss in 2010.

"I was not asked about nor approved this loan, and am certainly disappointed that the money was lost," Crapo said in a prepared statement. "This circumstance occurred during a period of transition between treasurers."

Crapo said that in September 2008, a top aide to his campaign authorized a $250,000 loan to an Idaho-based limited liability company, Blueberry Guru, LLC, using campaign funds. The loan was never repaid. According to Gavin McCaleb, the managing member of the company that invested the loan, Blueberry Guru handed the funds over to a third-party venture that absconded with the money. Crapo was informed of the loss in late 2010.

Crapo tried turning to the the FBI and the U.S. Attorneys office, but feds indicated that they were not in a position to pursue the matter further and the investigation was closed.

"Campaigns often invest funds during off-election years, seeking to increase campaign funds," said Washington-based attorney Stephen Ryan who advised the Crapo campaign. "[Crapo] was not consulted about this specific transfer of money for what ultimately became a bad loan. Although the campaign reviewed many avenues to retrieve the money, those efforts have been unsuccessful."

As a result, the Crapo for Senate Campaign filed two amended campaign reports Thursday—detailing the loss—with the Secretary of the U.S. Senate, which, in turn, provided them to the Federal Election Commission.

Little information is available on Blueberry Guru, LLC, which has since been dissolved according to the Idaho Secretary of State's office. The registered agent for Blueberry Guru was Gavin McCaleb a Boise-based real estate agent and short sale negotiator.

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Police Blotter: Attack With a Tree Branch, Child Endangerment and Drug Possession

Posted By on Fri, May 10, 2013 at 10:22 AM

Jason Cochrane, 36, is charged with aggravated battery.

Police say an attack with a tree branch landed a Boise man behind bars overnight.

Boise Police responded to a call of a fight at a residence on the 3600 block of North Collister late Thursday. That's where witnesses said two men, both residents of the home, were in a fight when one of the men struck the other in the arm and head with a two-foot long piece of wood. The victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment of what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries.

36-year-old Jason Cochrane of Boise was sent to the Ada County Jail and charged with a felony count of aggravated battery.

Boise Police said they also arrested a Boise woman Thursday on a felony count of injury to a child, stemming from what witnesses said were deplorable conditions in a residence near Overland and Curtis roads. On February 13, three children under the age of ten were placed into protective custody after police and representatives from the Idaho State Department of Health and Welfare found animal feces, dirty dishes and rotting food in multiple rooms of the home.

Willow White, 33, is charged with injury to a child.

The mother, 33-year-old Willow White of Boise, was sent to the Ada County Jail Thursday on a charge of injury to a child.

Stuart Milstead, 21, is charged with possession of a controlled substance and possession of drug paraphernalia.

Police also arrested a Boise man Thursday evening at a traffic stop, after they observed a vehicle conducting an illegal left turn near Amber and Bond streets. Police said they discovered marijuana, in addition to Amphetamine, Detroamphetamine Sulfate and Clonazepam in the vehicle, none of which the suspect had documentation for.

21-year-old Stuart Milstead of Boise was charged with two felony counts of possession of a controlled substance and three counts of misdemeanor possession of a controlled substance and drug paraphernalia.

UPDATE: Two charges of controlled substance use and one charge of possession of drug paraphernalia against Milstead were dismissed by a district judge in May 2013. Milstead was acquitted of another charge of controlled substance use.
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