Monday, April 20, 2015

UPDATE: Toddler Drowns in Kuna Canal

Posted By on Mon, Apr 20, 2015 at 3:39 PM

UPDATE: April 21, 2015

Investigators confirmed that the victim of an April 20 drowning, an 18-month-old boy, had been among a group of young children playing near a Kuna canal. When a family member noticed that the child was missing, they began a search. A short time later, the toddler was discovered in the water and was not breathing.

A family member began CPR and a call to 911 was logged at 1:15 p.m. The child died a short time later at St. Luke's Meridian Medical Center.

ORIGINAL POST: April 20, 2015

Ada County Sheriff's deputies have the unfortunate task of investigating the death of a toddler who fell into a canal Monday afternoon.

Law enforcement was summoned to the 7500 block of Ten Mile Road in Kuna just after 1 p.m. That's where an 18-month-old boy had fallen into a canal. Emergency responders rushed the child to a local hospital, but officials announced a short time later that the boy had died.

The incident remains under investigation.
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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Study: Too Many Hungry Idaho Children

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 11:44 AM

A new study out today by Feeding America confirms what too many Idahoans know already: that an increasing number of men, women and children are going to bed hungry in a number of regions across the Gem State.

According to the survey, pushed out by the Idaho Food Bank, a stunning 15.6 percent of Idaho's population doesn't know where their next meal will come from. The percentage is even worse—21.1 percent—when it comes to Idaho children experiencing food insecurity.

“Even as the economy improves, food insecurity is not diminishing in most areas of our state. The need for our services has yet to see a decrease," said Idaho Foodbank CEO Karen Vauk.

Some of the highest percentages of families experiencing food insecurity were found in Madison County (21. percent) and Lemhi (10.7 percent), Shoshone (19.5 percent) and Adams (19.1 percent) counties. For children, some of the hardest hit counties were Lemhi (29.8 percent), Adams (2.6.4 percent) and Shoshone (26 percent) counties.

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7-Year-Old Shot by Another Child in Eastern Idaho Incident

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 9:34 AM

Eastern Idaho law enforcement are investigating an early morning shooting of a 7-year-old. Bingham County Sheriff's deputies say the child was shot in the left arm by a 9-year-old. The sheriff's office was contacted early today by Harms Memorial Hospital in American Falls, which reported that the 7-year-old had been brought in to the hospital's emergency room.

KPVI-TV is reporting that officers determined that the 9-year-old was moving a blanket which was covering a .22 caliber firearm when it discharged. The parents had already transported the shooting victim to the hospital prior to the Sheriff's office being contacted.

While an investigation continues, the Bingham County Sheriff's Office says its treating the shooting as an accident.
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Video: Dance Teacher Charged With Assault of 8-Year-Old Autistic Performer

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2015 at 9:31 AM

Things got a bit out of control backstage at a recent dance recital in Spokane.

KXLY-TV reports that a dance teacher is now facing child assault charges after witnesses said she hit and choked one of the dancers before the show. Worse yet, the dancer is 8 years old and autistic. The accused, Cynthia Hamilton, later told police that she restrained the child and slapped her to get into focus. According to police, the instructor said she was worried that the child was having a seizure because her eyes were not focused and she was foaming at the mouth.

But witnesses told a different story, and police said they interviewed the child and have photos of injuries that indicate bruising, swelling and scratches on her arms, face and body.

Hamilton is charged with second degree assault.

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Sunday, April 12, 2015

UPDATE: War of Words Ignites Among Idaho GOP In Wake of Defeat of Child Support Measure

Posted By and on Sun, Apr 12, 2015 at 2:27 PM

UPDATE:  April 12, 2015

Factions of the Republican majority are blasting one another in the shadow of the defeat of a child support measure in one of final acts of the 2014 Idaho Legislature.

One side, voiced by Boise GOP Rep. Lynn Luker, was against the bill, saying the media had it all wrong when it focused on comments from another legislator who linked the proposal to Sharia Law. But another side, voiced by Coeur d'Alene Rep. Luke Malek, said the scuttling of the bill was "heavy handed opportunistic theatrics."

One day after the GOP-led defeat of Senate Bill 1067, which was designed to bring Idaho in line with federal regulations on child support payments, Luker pushed back against numerous media reports that some members of his party were uncomfortable with the bill's alignment with agreements from the Hague International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance.  In particular, Cottonwood Republican Rep. Sheryl Nuxoll pointed to countries listed in the international treaty "that have recognized Sharia courts as quasi-courts."

"A few citizens who testified at the hearing raised concerns about SB1067 leading to enforcement of Sharia law in Idaho, which ended up as the major focus in news article. That was not the reason for holding the bill." wrote Luker, in a press release that was pushed out April 11th by the Idaho House Majority Caucus. "The bill and treaty have serious risks and flaws."
But Coeur d'Alene Republican Rep. Luke Malek fired back against Luker's comments. Sending out his own communique on April 12th, Malek, who is also a former deputy prosecuting attorney for Kootenai County, pulled no punches.

"Representative Luker does not speak for Idaho or me. Scuttling SB1067 without debate was heavy-handed opportunistic theatrics at the expense of single-parents and children, the most vulnerable in our society," wrote Malek. "I do not support the erratic behavior that will lead to the dismantling of our child support system, nor the implication that this mockery of a legal analysis in any way represents our Republican caucus."

Additionally, Nampa Representative Robert Anderst said he wouldn't speak to the specifics of the legislation, "However I will not allow Mr. Luker to be perceived as speaking for me or the caucus. Rep. Luker may be right, he may be wrong, but on an issue that affects so many and so drastically, he does not speak for me especially at this time."

Burley Republican Rep. Fred Wood added, "Rep. Luker is entitled to his opinion, legal and personal. It is not my opinion; I do not want to be associated in any way with it."

Late Sunday, April 12, a statement from Cindy Agidius, Communications Director for the Idaho House Republican Caucus said, "The editorial sent out written by Lynn Luker is his personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of the entire House GOP Caucus."

ORIGINAL POST: April 11, 2015

A bill that would have helped Idaho track and enforce child support payments stalled Friday in the House Judiciary and Rules Committee over concerns that it would allow Sharia law into the U.S. Court system.

Senate Bill 1067 would have brought Idaho up to date with federal regulations, allowing the Gem State to use the government's system for tracking and enforcing child support payments.

The federal system is tied to the Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, which requires states using the federal tracking system to conform to 2008 amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act.

Therein lay the rub for some Idaho lawmakers, including Cottonwood Republican Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, well known for her comments comparing the Affordable Care Act to the Holocaust and deriding Hinduism as "a false faith with false gods."

Amendments to the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act include agreements with the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance, which has among its members Muslim-majority countries such as Bosnia and Albania.

That was enough for Nuxoll and others to see an inroad for Sharia law into Idaho's justice system.

Quoted by the Associated Press, Nuxoll told House committee members, "There is no specific language in the bill that would protect the rights of those dealing with parentage, child support and support orders from a foreign country that would contradict our laws here. There are other countries listed in the treaty—France, Belgium— that have recognized Sharia courts as quasi-courts. So I just feel that you should be aware of those facts."

The failure of the bill means that more than $16 million in federal funds to Idaho have been lost, and up to $30 million may be lost to the state's Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program, according to Idaho Reports.

Supporters of the bill have said that failing to pass SB 1067 would make Idaho a safe harbor for people avoiding paying child support because the state would not have the resources to enforce collections. Its detractors, including Coeur d'Alene Republican Rep. Kathy Sims, Boise Republican Rep. Lynn Luker and Nuxoll, said that its ties to international law are too close for comfort. Luker, who is an attorney, advised against passing the bill.

"We don't need to invite foreign law in Idaho," Sims said, according to the Coeur d'Alene Press. "Rep. Luker is a very fine attorney, and I trust him."

According to Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, the notion that the bill would open the floodgates to other legal systems, including Sharia, is baseless. Attorney Scott Keim, who advised legislators about the measure over the phone, said the bill would not have allowed any foreign government or justice system to have jurisdiction over an Idaho citizen unless that person moved to a foreign country. What's more, he told lawmakers that no countries currently involved in the Hague Convention operate under Sharia law.
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Thursday, April 9, 2015

BW Video: Rallying Against Child Abuse at Idaho Capitol

Posted By and on Thu, Apr 9, 2015 at 11:50 AM

Students and volunteers setting up balloons ahead of the Rally Against Child Abuse rally at the Idaho State Capitol. Each balloon represents 10 reported cases of child abuse in Idaho. - HARRISON BERRY
  • Harrison Berry
  • Students and volunteers setting up balloons ahead of the Rally Against Child Abuse rally at the Idaho State Capitol. Each balloon represents 10 reported cases of child abuse in Idaho.
The speakers and attendees at the Rally Against Child Abuse on the capitol steps agreed: The cold, drizzly rain and gusty winds made for fittingly bleak weather for their subject. Every year, thousands of Idaho children are physically and sexually abused, but this rally leaned more toward how this hidden social ill affects individuals and their communities.

"I was sexually abused as a kid and was happened was I grew up thinking I was bad. ...I saw it as being my fault," said Matt Pipkin. "And that lie that I was bad took root."

Pipkin said he suffered for 20 years in silence before seeking help. He's now the founder and CEO of Speak Your Silence, a nonprofit that raises awareness about childhood sexual assault and connects victims with appropriate counseling services.

"[Childhood sexual abuse] is not a coffee table conversation piece. We're trying to change that into something people can be really excited to do something about and not take action because it's dreary and a bummer if they don't," he said.

According Pipkin, one in five Americans—some 39 million adults—has experienced some kind of sexual assault prior to the age of 18, but law enforcement officials, including Ada County Prosecutor Jan Bennett and Boise Police Chief Bill Bones, the social stigma surrounding these kinds of crimes make the frequency with which they occur extremely difficult to measure. Bennett said that Ada County's FACES program received 2,100 reports of such abuse in 2014.

"It's a hidden crime too often," Bones said. "It affects [victims] for a lifetime."

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Tuesday, April 7, 2015

U.S. Dept. of Ed Report: Greater Need for Idaho Kids to Access Preschool

Posted By on Tue, Apr 7, 2015 at 1:08 PM

Among the multiple issues left untouched by the 2015 session of the Idaho Legislature was pre-K learning for thousands of Gem State children.

Democrats were hoping to float a measure where lawmakers would consider funding for preschool programs, but the Republican majority had little to no appetite to address the issue. In response, the City of Boise has proposed its own Pre-K pilot program working with the Boise Independent School District, where Pre-K would be offered for eligible children in the city's Vista neighborhood.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Department of Education released a new report Tuesday that points to the greater need for Idaho's children to access high quality preschool. The report, "A Matter of Equity: Preschool in America," show what most Idahoans already know—that none of its 24,427 four year olds are enrolled in a state preschool. Why? They don't exist. The same report shows that 8 percent of the children are enrolled in a federal Head Start program and 4 percent are enrolled in a special education preschool service.

Nationally, the report indicates that 28 percent of U.S. 4 year olds are enrolled in a state preschool, in addition to 10 percent in a federal Head Start program and 3 percent in a special education preschool service.

High-quality preschool provides benefits to society of $8.60 for every $1 spent, according to the White House Council of Economic Advisors' December 2014 report, "The Economics of Early Childhood Investments," about half of which comes from increased earnings for children when they grow up. 

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

Tribune: New Admissions Banned at Northwest Children's Home

Posted By on Thu, Apr 2, 2015 at 10:01 AM

No new children are allowed to be admitted to the Lewiston-based Northwest Children's Home until further notice. In late December, the Lewiston Tribune offered a rare glimpse behind the walls of the facility, which is home to about 65 children and teens. The minors have suffered from the worst kinds of neglect or abuse and are struggling with a myriad of diagnoses, including abandonment, trust and anger.

But it turns out that Lewiston police had been contacted 260 times in 2014 regarding incidents at the facility. About a fourth of those were runaways who may be in danger of harming themselves or others.

And this morning's Tribune reports that the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has banned new admissions following an inspection at the facility. Officials are requiring weekly progress updates form the home and will reassess operations in May, June, August and November.

"Failure to comply will result in additional enforcement remedies up to and including a revocation or suspension of the license," according to the report chronicled by the Tribune.
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Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Idaho First Grader in Critical Condition Following School Bus Accident

Posted By on Tue, Mar 17, 2015 at 11:02 AM

A 7-year-old Nampa boy was rushed to a Boise hospital early today after he was struck by a school bus.

Nampa Police report that first-grader Conner Wright was with an older brother while crossing Roosevelt Avenue in Nampa—an unmarked crosswalk at the intersection of Beechwood Drive—when the younger Wright was hit by a school bus.

He's in critical condition at Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center.

An investigation into the accident continues.
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Monday, March 31, 2014

WCA and Two Men and a Truck Collect Goods for Mother's Day

Posted By on Mon, Mar 31, 2014 at 10:58 AM

WCA Executive Director Bea Black and Two Men and a Truck Marketing Manager Lynda Bruns kick off a collection drive for Mother's Day with the help of moving mascot "Trucky." - JESSICA MURRI
  • Jessica Murri
  • WCA Executive Director Bea Black and Two Men and a Truck Marketing Manager Lynda Bruns kick off a collection drive for Mother's Day with the help of moving mascot "Trucky."

Bea Black, executive director of the Women’s and Children’s Alliance, had a warm smile when she talked about the community support for victims of domestic violence.

“The fact that someone who they don’t even know cares about them, that’s huge for them,” Black said. “It helps their sense of support and their self confidence.”

For this coming Mother’s Day, that support will come from moving company Two Men and a Truck. The Boise franchise set up 20 boxes at local businesses around town to collect dishes, silverware, robes, slippers, toiletries and bedding for women staying at the WCA shelters. Two Men and a Truck will collect the boxes on Thursday, May 8, and deliver the goods to the shelter. They call the drive Movers for Moms.

“When they’re ready to move, these women can take these items with them to use in their own place,” Black said. “It’s an important way to help them start over.”

Corporate Pillars Manager for WCA Lisa Uhlmann said WCA’s relationship with Two Men and a Truck started in the summer of 2012, only months after the franchise opened in Boise.

“They were the only moving company that answered,” Uhlmann said. “They’ve never said no to us.”

Two Men and a Truck participate in a $3,000-$5,000 corporate sponsorship, where the company picks up furniture donated to WCA’s thrift shop and shelters, stores WCA’s supplies in their warehouse and helps women move from the shelter into new homes at discounted prices. A non-discounted residential move costs $500 on average.

This spring marks Two Men and a Truck’s second year of Movers for Moms in Boise, and the seventh year nationwide. Last year, the company collected more than 210,000 donated items across 30 states.

The WCA houses an average of 20 women and 20 children at two shelters, as well as offering legal help, case management, counseling and a hot line. Donated goods can be dropped off at D.L. Evans Bank locations, Nature’s Childcare, Silverstone Library, Meridian Library, The Learning Garden and Bank of the Cascades.
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