Friday, November 14, 2014

Can You Help Boise's Homeless With Much-Needed Winter Gear?

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 2:29 PM

Left to right: Justin Davis and Karen Shay - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Left to right: Justin Davis and Karen Shay
Thursday, Nov. 13, Boiseans saw the first snowflakes of winter, and while for many in the Treasure Valley that means spending a few minutes shoveling the sidewalk and raiding the closet for a winter jacket, for Boise's homeless, those flakes are a signal of hard times ahead.

At Boise's Corpus Chrsti Day Shelter, men and women crowded in the lobby and main room. Hallways were congested with people sitting in chairs and milling between the rest rooms and other shelter facilities. There are more people in the shelter than usual—especially children—because of the weather.

"The tension sort of rises a little bit," said Marc Schlegel, who works at Corpus Christi. "Piles of kids in here, but people respond quickly if we ask them to change their behavior because nobody wants to be kicked out of here."

In this week's edition of Boise Weekly, readers heard from community leaders saying that as the weather changes, people should be mindful about giving materials directly to Boise's homeless because it accumulates under the I-84 overpass.

"Our hearts are in the right place and everybody has great intentions. People see a need and want to help. Many of the items are donated by a very generous community. But too often, those items are not being used and they're accumulating," said Interfaith Sanctuary Director Jayne Sorels.

But donations made directly to relief organizations like Interfaith Sanctuary and Corpus Christi are flying off the shelves. Nov. 9, St. Mary's Catholic Church donated wool socks and thermal underwear to Corpus Christi, and by Nov. 11, they were gone. Other items in high demand are gloves and waterproof shoes. Currently there are between five and 10 winter coats available, but almost everything else is in short supply. Women-specific clothing like bras and underwear, said Karen Shay, is particularly lacking.

"We're women; we need this stuff," she said. "People don't like to talk about it."

Under the nearby I-84 overpass, Justin Davis has been directing people across the river to Boise State University, where he said people are being hired to clear the Broncos' blue turf and seats in anticipation of Saturday's home game, but "none of them have gloves on," he said.

Davis said that despite pleas by advocates for people to make donations to shelters and other organizations, cars regularly pull up under the overpass with clothing, coffee and sometimes food. Shay told BW that's because because the homeless under the bridge next to the road are more visible than homeless piled into Corpus Christi.

"People roll up with hot coffee and blankets. And everything goes. Most of them stop here. It's easy for them because they see us here," she said.

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Snow Day at Camel's Back Park

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 1:39 PM

Nic Daniels sleds like a pro. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • Nic Daniels sleds like a pro.

With school cancelled, well over 100 people flocked to Camel's Back to spend the day in the snow. - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • With school cancelled, well over 100 people flocked to Camel's Back to spend the day in the snow.
While school playgrounds sit empty today after more than 100 public and private schools across the Treasure Valley called it a snow day, Camel's Back Park filled with more than 100 kids and parents, armed with plastic saucers, wooden toboggans, inner tubes  old-fashioned runner sleds and a couple of pool toys.  

For Chris Downs, this is the first time in his life that he's experienced snow. The 26-year-old moved from Louisiana only two weeks ago—in the mist of Boise's nice, mild autumn. All that changed yesterday when a cold front from Canada transformed the city into a winter dreamscape. 

"It's awesome," Downs said. Indeed, his friend Nic Daniels agreed, calling the day "epic."
Daniels and his wife, Emily brought their three children—ages seven, nine and 10—to Camel's Back for a morning of sledding. Emily said when her kids found out today was a snow day, "the house was full of a lot of cheering." 

But the popular sled hill at Camel's Back is a dangerous place to be. One kid got going so fast on his plastic toboggan that he ran into an innocent bystander looking the opposite direction, taking the guy's legs out from under him and leaving the victim going a front flip into the snow. 

"That's the best wipe out we've seen so far," Daniels said. 

"Oh, Owen, you idiot! I love you, son!" Emily said, laughing as she watched her own son slide down the hill sans sled.

Seven-year-old Olivia decided spending a day at Camel's Back definitely beat a day in her second-
grade classroom at Hillcrest Elementary.
For Nick Crawford and his friends, today was about training for the upcoming season. - NICK CRAWFORD
  • Nick Crawford
  • For Nick Crawford and his friends, today was about training for the upcoming season.

"You can have fun here," she told Boise Weekly. "You can't [at school]. If it snows, they make you stay inside."

Nick Crawford and Audrey Coon circumvented the chaos of the Camel's Back sledding hill, taking their dogs and cross country skis through the deeper foothills trails. Crawford is the coach of the Bogus Basin Nordic Team, gearing up for his fourth winter in the job. 

"I'm good at combining work and pleasure," he said. They started their trek around 7:30 in the morning and finished by 10 a.m. 

Coon wasn't as shocked by the snow as Downs—she moved to Boise from Alaska to study kinesiology (sports science) at Boise State University. 

"This is our first venture in the snow," Coon said. "It's awesome to be back on skis."
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Grab the Shovel and the Sled; Snow Storm Tangles Traffic, Cancels Classes

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 9:47 AM

UPDATE: November 14 10 a.m.

Idaho State Police report that the westbound lanes of I-84 at milepost 201 have now been reopened to traffic.

The investigation continues into the accident involving several commercial vehicles near the Kasota Road exit.

UPDATE: November 14 9:50 a.m.

Idaho State Police reported at 9:45 a.m. that a multi-vehicle accident, involving several commercial trucks has completely blocked both westbound lanes of the I-84 near the Kasota Road exit (milepost 201).

Motorists are encouraged to avoid the area if possible and take and alternate route.

ORIGINAL POST: November 14 9 a.m.

Treasure Valley residents woke up Friday to quickly acknowledge that Thursday was a dream (or nightmare) and the first major snowstorm of the season still had plenty of muscle left.

Plows and trucks from the Ada County Highway District continued to work throughout the night in an effort to ease the already-challenging morning commute. But slide-offs were reported throughout the region with several accidents resulting in significant damage. ACHD crews pre-treated many of the county's major routes before the snow began to fall Nov. 13, but many sections reported up to four inches of snow by sundown with larger accumulations in the Boise Foothills, Eagle and Star. 

But the traffic headaches were drowned out by the cheers of more than a few school children who woke Friday morning to the news that many of the region's schools were closed for the day—including the Boise Independent School District. More than 100 public and private schools decided to give in to the snow and cancel classes, including Bishop Kelly High, Boise School District, Boise State University (classes are canceled until noon), Buhl, Caldwell, The College of Idaho, the College of Western Idaho, Emmett, Filer, Giraffe Laugh, Hagerman, Idaho State University at Meridian, Jerome, Kuna, Middleton, Nampa, New Plymouth, Parma, Payette, Twin Falls, University of Idaho Boise Campus, Vallivue, West Ada (Meridian) and Wilder. 

Additionally, Ada County officials say the inclement weather will delay trash and recycling services. In some areas, service will resume as soon as roads are clear and safe, but residents should be alerted that trash and recycling services scheduled for Friday may be delayed until Saturday, Nov. 15.
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Idaho State Ed Board Approves Altered Tiered Licensure Proposal

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 9:26 AM

A number of Idaho educators say they need some time to parse through the numerous changes made to a tiered licensure proposal that was approved by the Idaho State Board of Education Nov. 13.

Following a string of public hearings on the matter, the board gathered in a packed Idaho Statehouse meeting room to give its unanimous approval to the plan.

IdahoEd News reports that several key changes were made to the tiered licensure proposal, including the removal of one of the tiers—moving down to two instead of three tiers; removal of performance requirements and accountability provisions for professional teachers; scaling back an "observation" requirement for teachers in the residency tier—leaving only one observation instead of two; and giving school districts the flexibility to extend by one year the time frame for beginning teachers to advance to a professional tier in three years.

Boise Independent School District Superintendent Don Coberly told IdahoEd News that he likeed the changes but still needed to read the new proposal carefully.

"It is a much improved version, but there will still be some things to work out," Coberly told IdahoEd News. "Hopefully the implementation team will take care of some of that."

Meanwhile the superintendent of the West Ada (Meridian) School District, Linda Clark, said she was "impressed" with the changes.

"We made a huge step forward," she said.

The 2015 Idaho Legislature will get the final say in the matter when it convenes in January.
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Report: Coeur d'Alene, Hitching Post Want to Resolve Same-Sex Marriage Dispute Outside Courtroom

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 9:20 AM

Hinting that they would prefer to resolve the dispute outside of a courtroom, attorneys for the city of Coeur d'Alene say they filed a motion for a delay in a lawsuit filed against the city by a local wedding chapel, which wants to refuse services to same-sex couples.

The Hitching Post insists that it's a "religious corporation," and therefore not bound by the city of Coeur d'Alene's nondiscrimination ordinance, offering protections based on sexual orientation or gender identity. And shortly after a federal court struck down Idaho's ban of same-sex marriage, owners of the Hitching Post filed a lawsuit against the city, gaining national notoriety and the ire of LGBT advocates.

But this morning's Coeur d'Alene Press reports that Coeur d'Alene City Attorney Mike Gridley says the stay request was filed "in order to allow both parties time to resolve the issue outside the courtroom," adding that he wants the case dismissed. An attorney for the Alliance Defending Freedom, a Christian rights legal advocacy organization representing the Hitching Post also said "the parties needed time to reach a settlement."
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KTVB: Idaho Teacher Kills, Skins Rabbit in Front of Biology Class

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 9:15 AM

A Nampa public school teacher is apologizing in the wake of a graphic demonstration played out in his 10th grade biology class last week.

KTVB-TV is reporting that the Columbia High School teacher snapped the neck of a live rabbit, killing the animal, and then skinned and cut up the rabbit in front of his class. The unnamed educator is facing possible disciplinary action, though school officials wouldn't say whether the teacher had been suspended pending an investigation.

"It's not appropriate in the 10th grade class," Nampa district spokeswoman Allison Westfall told KTVB. "It wasn't approved by the administration, it's not part of biology [class,] so that judgment is not appropriate for that type of lesson in the classroom at 10th grade."

The teacher was reportedly reluctant to show the students how to prepare a rabbit for a meal, but relented when encouraged by some of the students. Other students chose to leave the room during the demonstration. The teacher reportedly raises animals and had brought the rabbit to class as part of a demonstration.

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Video: Northern Idaho Cemetery Desecrated, Ashes Stolen

Posted By on Fri, Nov 14, 2014 at 9:12 AM

Police in the North Idaho community of Kellogg have issued a warrant for a second suspect in connection with a break-in at the town cemetery, where two men desecrated remains of the dead. KREM-TV is reporting that the suspects broke into an urn wall at the Kellogg Cemetery, broke into several urns and scattered ashes around the grounds of the cemetery. Officials said it will be difficult to determine which ashes belong to which family.

Robert McCool, 20, was arrested in connection with the incident and a warrant has been issued for another man, Jeremiah Miller. They're expected to be charged with grand theft, malicious injury and desecration of a burial site.

One of the families devastated by the incident say they'll hold another memorial service to honor the memory of their grandparents.

"We know that they're in heaven. They're happy, they're together. But this is sacred, this is sacred," said Debbie Mikesell, whose grandparents' ashes were desecrated.

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