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Sunday, June 30, 2013

NY Times Top Payday List Includes CEOs of HP, Monsanto

Posted By on Sun, Jun 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Whether their personal wealth is any indicator of the health of the U.S. economy remains to be seen, but the nation's top CEOs got big raises last year.

Research of the top 200 chief executives at public companies with at least $1 billion in revenue, published this morning by The New York Times, found that the median 2012 pay package was approximately $15 million, an increase of 16 percent over 2011.

"It's good to be king," wrote the Times' Gretchen Morgenson.

Oracle CEO Lawrence Ellison topped the list, with a total compensation package of $96.2 million in 2012.

The median of combined stock and option awards last year was 60 percent of total pay.

But Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard—who was ranked 92 on the list—only received $1 in salary with the rest of her $15.4 million coming in the form of bonuses, stock and perks.

Interestingly enough, Hewlett-Packard shareholders saw a 46 percent drop in returns during 2012, according to the research.

Another CEO of note to Idaho was Monsanto CEO Hugh Grant, who pulled down $13 million in 2012, while his company reported $1.5 billion in revenues.

"Far too often, though, measures used by company boards to evaluate performance are focused on short-term results," wrote the Times' Morgenson. "They often miss a crucial element that determines long-term success: the ability to innovate."

According to Mark Van Clieaf, managing director at MVC Associates International, an organization consulting firm, "70 to 80 percent of companies have no metrics for measuring the impact of new products or services that were launched."

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State Police Investigating Two Accidents: One Cliffhanger, One Road Rage Wreck

Posted By on Sun, Jun 30, 2013 at 1:00 PM

Local law enforcement is on the lookout for the driver of a white Mazda SUV, wanted in connection with an alleged road rage incident near the Flying WYE of Interstate 84 Saturday, June 29 at approximately 2:15 p.m.

According to witnesses, three vehicles were involved in the incident near milepost 49 of I-84.

When two of the three vehicles collided, ultimately blocking eastbound traffic on I-84, witnesses said an unidentified driver of the white Mazda SUV pulled over, taunted one of the drivers and fled the scene.

The two drivers involved in the wreck were wearing their seatbelts.

Anyone with information is asked to call the ISP District 3 patrol office at 846-7520.

Later in the day, Idaho State Police were called to the scene of a one-vehicle injury crash on Bogus Basin Road near milepost 13 in Boise County.

Nineteen-year-old Tevin Cooper, of Prineville, Ore., was transported via air ambulance to St. Alphonsus Regional Medical Center after his car rolled multiple times when he failed to negotiate a curve driving south on Bogus Basin Road. His car rolled 90 feet below the road before crashing into a tree. A passenger in the vehicle was treated and released at the scene. Bogus Basin Road for closed through much of the evening while the rescue and investigation continued past sundown.

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Times-News: More Alfalfa Acreage in Idaho, Fewer Potatoes

Posted By on Sun, Jun 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

Fewer potatoes and beans, more alfalfa and barley.

This morning's Twin Falls Times-News reports that Idaho growers have cut potato crops by 28,000 acres, or by 8.1 percent, compared to 345,000 planted acres in 2012.

Agriculture officials point to a cold, wet spring as the root cause of less potato acreage nationwide, which is expected to be more than 1 million fewer acres—down 6 percent compared to 2012.

Idaho bean growers also planted fewer acres—a reduction of 20,000 acres—after a 2012 bumper crop of dry beans softened prices.

Meanwhile, lower market prices are prompting growers to look at alternate crops in 2013.

University of Idaho agriculture economist Paul Patterson told the Times-News that alfalfa acreage is up in Idaho by an additional 90,000 acres—an increase of 6.7 percent. Additionally, Idaho barley growers planted 30,000 more acres in 2013—up 5 percent over last year.

Economists also said that corn acreage will be higher in 2013 than first feared. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has pegged the nation's corn acreage at 97.4 million acres, higher than market watchers were expecting, according to the Times-News.

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Idaho Fish and Game Worker Found Dead in River

Posted By on Sun, Jun 30, 2013 at 11:00 AM

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is mourning the death of one of its seasonal employees.

This morning's Lewiston Tribune reports that the body of Joshua Huju, of Sioux City, Iowa, was discovered at a Chinook salmon trap in Crooked River, near Elk City. The 26-year-old died Friday, June 28 while working at the trap.

Huju was found by another employee, who pulled him out of the water, called for help and began CPR. Paramedics were unable to revive Huju.

"This is a heart-breaking tragedy and the thoughts and prayers of everyone at Fish and Game are with Josh's family," said IDFG Director Virgil Moore.

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Saturday, June 29, 2013

Second Auction Scheduled to Sell-Off More of Shuttered Tamarack Village Plaza

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 3:00 PM

If all goes as planned, unfinsihed and/or empty buildings at the Tamarack Village Plaza won't be the only things sold in July at the Valley County resort. The McCall Star-News reports that an extensive list of uninstalled building materials are also scheduled to be sold.

Furniture, elevator cabs, heating and cooling equipment, bathtubs, sheet metal, electrical conduits, restaurant equipment and vehicle tires are all on the "for sale" list at an auction scheduled for Monday, July 15.

That's in addition to the already-scheduled sheriff's auction, scheduled for Tuesday, July 16, when the Village Plaza complex and an unfinished wing of the Lodge at Osprey Meadows will be on the block.

"This sale should be viewed as another step in the completion of the larger Tamarack foreclosure," David Papiez, controller and asset manager of Tamarack Resort LLC told the Star-News.

In 2007, the Tamarack Resort, just outside of Donnelly, had experienced about $500 million in real estate sales, and the ski runs were being hailed as some of the best in North America. That was then. Today, the resort's village plaza is eerily silent: restaurants are padlocked and half-completed lodges are abandoned behind ugly makeshift fences.

Tamarack homeowners remind the public that their ski runs, golf course and bike trails are still open.

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Valley County In-Flight Plane Crash Kills Toddler, Seriously Injures Father

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The National Transportation Safety Board will be the lead agency to investigate a mid-air collision of two planes over Valley County Friday, resulting in the death of a toddler and leaving the child's father in serious condition.

The accident occurred just before 10 a.m. June 28 near Yellow Pine, according to the Federal Aviation Administration. Witnesses said the two aircraft were attempting to land on a backcountry air strip at Johnson Creek Airport at the same time.

Occupants of one of the planes were a Utah family, including a 2-year-old boy and his father. The boy was fatally injured and the father was rushed, via air ambulance, to a Boise hospital. The identities have not been released. Two occupants of the other plane, two men from Oregon, suffered non-life threatening injuries, according to the Valley County Sheriff's
Department. The two men were taken to a McCall hospital.

According to the Associated Press, Johnson Creek Airport has a 3,400-foot runway and is located at 4,933 feet above sea level, surrounded by densely forested mountains. The AP's John Miller reports that the airport has been the site of numerous crashes, including accidents in 1996, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2007 and 2010.

The airport remains open, but there could be some restrictions, according to the Idaho Transportation Department.

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Furloughs, Benefit Cuts Await Nampa School Teachers in Coming Year

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 1:00 PM

The already-strained relationship between the Nampa teachers' union and the Nampa School Board will only get more unpleasant as the board, in a last-ditch vote before its July 1 deadline, decided to force a 14-day furlough, a decrease in counseling and nursing services, and elimination of life insurance, as well as short- and long-term disability insurance.

This morning's Idaho Press-Tribune reports that the Nampa School Board unanimously approved the cuts during a special meeting on Friday, July 28, after not being able to come to agreement with the Nampa Education Association, which pleaded for a salary increase for teachers in addition to the furloughs.

"I have kept my cool pretty good this entire time … but you have wasted my time,” said NEA President Mandy Simpson, according to the Press-Tribune. “You have wasted my time because you did not come to this table to negotiate in good faith. It is insulting and it is disrespectful and I do not appreciate it.”

According to the Press-Tribune, Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said in May that school districts can impose a contract if the two sides do not find a balance.

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Mandatory Contraceptive Coverage Codified Into Obamacare

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 11:00 AM

The White House issued a final rule Friday, moving forward with a key provision of the Affordable Care Act which requires employers to provide free insurance coverage of contraceptives for women, but opening the door to a flurry of legal action from faith-based employers.

The Obama administration said it received more than 400,000 comments on the issue, and agreed that certain religious employers—primarily houses of worship—may exclude contraceptive coverage from their health plans.

But for the overwhelming majority of Americans who have employer-financed insurance, the ACA's essential health benefits must include sterilization and the full range of contraceptive methods approved by the Food and Drug Administration, including emergency contraceptive pills, such as Plan B.

Under the new health care law, employers with more than 50 employees will be required to offer health insurance or be subject to financial penalties.

“Today’s announcement reinforces our commitment to respect the concerns of houses of worship and other nonprofit religious organizations that object to contraceptive coverage, while helping to ensure that women get the care they need, regardless of where they work," said Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services.

Meanwhile, this morning's New York Times reports that a number of federal judges, considering multiple lawsuits from Catholic hospitals, schools and universities, deferred decisions until the White House had issued its final regulation. Publication of the rule clears the ways for courts to move forward with decisions.

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New Era Begins for U.S. Horse Slaughterhouses

Posted By on Sat, Jun 29, 2013 at 11:00 AM

In effect ending the nation's six-year ban on horse slaughter, the U.S. government has given the green light to a New Mexico company seeking permitting for a facility to slaughter horses for human consumption. The last U.S. horse-meat plant closed years ago, after the U.S. Congress banned funding for inspection of horse-slaughter plants.

But the nationwide ban lapsed in 2011 and, on Friday, the federal government gave its strongest indication yet that a new era of horse slaughter was about to begin.

"The administration has requested Congress to reinstate the ban on horse slaughter," wrote U.S. Department of Agriculture press secretary Courtney Rowe in an e-mail, according to Bloomberg News. "Until Congress acts, the department must continue to comply with current law."

Simply put, the USDA issued a permit to a pending horse slaughter operation in Roswell, N.M., and is expected to issue permits for similar facilities in Missouri and Iowa.

A report in a Dec. 5, 2011 edition of the Twin Falls Times-News said Idaho may be considered an ideal spot for a horse slaughterhouse "because it is agriculturally based and contains high amounts of unwanted horses."

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals said it is “dismayed” by the USDA decision. “Horse slaughter is inherently cruel,” the organization said in a statement.

“Moving ahead with a government program to fund horse slaughter inspections is a cruel, reckless and fiscally irresponsible move,” said Nancy Perry, senior vice president of ASPCA government relations.

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Friday, June 28, 2013

Boise State Welcomes First Class to Downtown Venture College

Posted By on Fri, Jun 28, 2013 at 3:22 PM

HannaLore Hein (in green) is part of Boise States first class in its Venture College Program.
  • Ryan Thorne
  • HannaLore Hein (in green) is part of Boise State's first class in its Venture College Program.

Boise State student HannaLore Hein was pretty excited about her new scholastic challenge, taking part in the inaugural class of the university's Venture College Program

“It’s a non-credit program that they were opening up to students from all disciplines,” Hein told Boise Weekly at Thursday afternoon's Venture College launch, which took place at Boise State's new downtown digs at Front Street and Capitol Boulevard.

Hein told BW that she graduated from the University of Colorado with a degree in history, but applied to Boise State's Venture College to help pursue her dream of integrating history into local tourism, business brand recognition and community engagement.

“Being a history major, I kind of jumped on it because I didn’t want to go back and get a second degree in business just to have those skills,” Hein said.

The Venture College pairs 14 graduate and postgraduate students currently engaged in individual entrepreneur efforts, with nearly 200 seasoned business mentors throughout the larger Boise community.

One of the mentors, Scott Fischer, from Boise State's Idaho Small Business Development Center, said he's excited about the prospect of community-driven entrepreneurship.

“I want to support the growing, sort of burgeoning market here of people who are creating a new business,” Fischer said. “So I will be volunteering as much as I can here.”

The program evolved from a Boise State Division of Research-funded effort promoting Boise State faculty private enterprise, to a student-focused mentor program in which enrollees can develop individual business ventures.

“One day, a little light bulb went off and said, ‘You know, shouldn’t we also help students that want to start businesses?’” said Venture College Director Kevin Learned.

Applicants to the program were required to submit a 1,000-word essay, credentials and existing or potential project ideas in order to be selected for an interview with Boise State officials and a community business professional.

Program directors aimed to select applicants passionate about their ideas and intended to pick a first-year lineup with plenty of contrast.

“The numbers are really diverse: eight women, six men, graduate, undergraduate and every grade level is represented except freshman, I believe,” Hein said. Though, according to the Venture College's application requirements, all full-time, degree-seeking students are eligible to enroll.

Members must commit at least 10 hours of office time to Boise State’s downtown space, and maintain a standard GPA and full-time enrollment in the university in order to remain eligible for the 12-month program.

Hein and other program participants also compete for nearly $30,000 in project funding provided by the university, which will be doled out according to necessity and progress made. After that cash runs out, students must use their mentor resources to reach out and obtain funding themselves.

“I have summer homework where I am looking to write some small business grants,” Hein said. “There is a small amount of funding, and over the year the people in charge are going to be looking for additional funding from community members.”

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