Sunday, 17 September 2017

Eye on Boise: Silak, Trout and Brody talk women on Idaho’s highest court

From left, Cathy Silak, Linda Copple Trout and Robyn Brody – the only three women ever to serve as justices of the Idaho Supreme Court – speak on a panel in Boise sponsored by the Idaho Legal History Society on Sept. 14, 2017. (Betsy Z. Russell / SR)

In more than 150 years, just three women have served on the Idaho Supreme Court, and the three have some interesting insights into why that is, and what could change it.

Current Justice Robyn Brody, former Chief Justice Linda Copple Trout, and former Justice Cathy Silak spoke on a panel Thursday sponsored by the Idaho Legal History Society. Trout noted that when she first started practicing law in Idaho in the 1970s, there were few women lawyers, let alone judges.

“For many years, there just weren’t many of us,” she told a Boise audience of close to 100 that was heavy on female lawyers and law students. Now, there are more female lawyers, but there’s still a lack of female applicants for many of Idaho’s judicial posts.

Trout said that when she was chief justice, the court did a survey and found that the biggest reason female lawyers cited in not applying for judicial positions in Idaho was the prospect of having to run in an election. “Don’t be afraid of elections,” she told the crowd. “You can do it. Justice Brody demonstrated in a big way that you can.”

Brody, who was elected to the Idaho Supreme Court in a hotly contested race last year, said there have often been no female applicants for Idaho judgeships when vacancies have occurred in the past decade – particularly in parts of the state outside the Boise area. “If you’re looking at the judiciary, I would encourage you to look at other communities,” she said. “The rural counties are a great place to practice. … You may find opportunities you never dreamed of.”

She added, “If you want to be on the Supreme Court, you’ve got to tell people. … You have to tell people that that’s what’s in your heart.”

Silak noted that she was the last woman appointed to the Idaho Supreme Court – and that was 25 years ago. Recalling her Idaho Judicial Council interview for the appointment, she said, “It was the most nerve-wracking experience – I shouldn’t say that.” To laughter, she said, “You all should apply.”

Idaho justices can join the court in two ways: through appointment, when there’s a midterm vacancy, which requires screening by the Idaho Judicial Council and appointment by the governor; or through election, when a justice leaves office at the end of his or her term.

Silak also urged women not to be afraid of elections – though she was ousted from the Supreme Court in a contested election in 2000, losing to Justice Dan Eismann, who retired last month. However, she said, “I am the only person since 1936, I think, to be defeated as a Supreme Court justice, so it’s not that big of a risk, and my election was extremely unusual … so don’t let that stop you.”

She noted that was the third time she ran in a judicial election, including a contested election for her second term on the Supreme Court, and she won the first two. “I am two for three,” she said with a smile.

Silak echoed a recent call from retired Chief Justice Jim Jones for a change in Idaho’s judicial elections, to move them from the May primary to the November general election. She noted that she was appointed by then-Gov. Cecil Andrus, a Democrat. But when she stood for re-election for the nonpartisan post, it was in a primary election – in which 86 percent of those voting were Republicans. “That’s when all the real partisans show up,” she said. “This can be fixed by our Idaho state Legislature – it does not require a change to our constitution.”

Currently, if no candidate gets a majority in the primary, the top two proceed to the November general election. That happened last year; Brody won both.

Brody said she preferred the electoral process to applying through the Judicial Council and seeking appointment. “I’m taking my chances with the people every single time,” the former Rupert attorney said. “I ran my practice that way, and I’ll run my campaigns that way, too.”

Fourth District Judge Nancy Baskin, who served as the moderator for the panel discussion, asked the three when they thought there would be “enough” women on the Idaho Supreme Court, citing U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s famous comment that enough women on the U.S. high court would be nine – every seat, just as men had held every seat for so much of the nation’s history.

Brody said, “When it’s normal – when this isn’t a historic event.” Her comment drew applause. Both Trout and Silak agreed. “I don’t think it’s the numerical number that makes a difference,” Trout said. “It’s the fact that it’s routine.”

Baskin commented to applause, “I would say we need at least three, and I’d take all three of you at the same time.”

The Idaho Supreme Court has five justices.

Silak said when she first applied for the high court, Gov. Andrus had made it known that he wanted to appoint women to the court. “I advocate for our political leaders to take a page out of Gov. Andrus’ book and prioritize opportunity for women and minorities,” she said. “It’s important for judges to reflect society.”

On driving a Ford Pinto …

One of the biggest laughs of the evening came when Baskin teased Brody about having owned not just one, but two Ford Pintos. Brody said, “My father always told me that if we all drove Ford Pintos, the world would be a much humbler place.”

Disturbing "War Prize" Covered Up For 70 Years Is Finally Revealed!

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Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Guess which band had the biggest crowd at the Western Idaho Fair in 2017?

Does Boise love rock ‘n’ roll? Or around these parts, do ladies love country boys?

The Western Idaho Fair ended Sunday, which means it’s time for our annual breakdown of the free grandstand concerts.

Organizers usually split the shows between rock and country. (They’ve got us figured out, Idaho.) More often than not — at least in recent years — a country act is the biggest draw.

To estimate attendance, fair employees use a clicker counter. If a performance is full, when a few fans leave, a few more are allowed to enter.

Here are the numbers:

▪ On Tuesday, former “American Idol” winner Scott McCreery performed for about 6,100 country fans.

▪ On Wednesday, ’80s hitmakers Huey Lewis and the News proved the heart of rock ’n’ roll is still beatin’ with 12,200 concertgoers. “What a great show,” says Western Idaho Fair Director Bob Batista. “It’s one of the better shows I’ve seen.”

▪ Joan Jett & the Blackhearts braved wind and rain to perform for 6,700 fans on Thursday — a number that would have been bigger without good ol’ Idaho weather.

Thanks, @joanjett, for not giving up on Boise after the heavy rain threatened to rain on our parade. We love rock ‘n’ roll! Awesome show.

— holly marie (@hmaboi) August 25, 2017

▪ But this year’s winner? Long-haired country boy Trace Adkins. The prospect of shakin’ their booties to “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” lured 12,800 fans Friday. That’s not including the folks who hung out in the bleachers behind the stage listening to the music.

Trace Adkins sold the most beer, too. “Lots of beer!” Batista confirms.

Adkins isn’t the biggest draw in Western Idaho Fair history. Last year, for example, Josh Turner piled up 13,103 fans— on a Tuesday night.

Just for fun, here are attendance numbers for the prior four years. Acts are listed in their order of performance.

• • •


Josh Turner – 13,103

Foreigner – 9,234

Sawyer Brown/LoCash – 6,157

Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo – 11,582

• • •


Jerrod Niemann — 2,900

Theory of a Deadman — 4,200

Gary Allan — 8,900

Queensryche — 4,500

• • •


Seether — 6,500

Montgomery Gentry — 8,200

Doobie Brothers — 9,800

Thompson Square — 7,900

• • •


Los Cuates de Sinaloa — 2,500

Kutless — 4,000

Foreigner — 9,000

The Guess Who — 3,500

Brantley Gilbert — 9,000

Clay Walker — 6,500

• • •

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Friday, 18 August 2017

Murals are dedicated at Boise Library

Main Library Comic Con Mural (2017) by artist Adam Rosenlund. Photo courtesy of Boise Arts & History

The Boise City Department of Arts & History, in partnership with the Boise Public Library, unveiled and dedicated the Main Library Comic Con Mural public artwork designed by comic artist Adam Rosenlund on August 17.

In collaboration with Trademark Signs, the two framed vinyl banners, titled “Imaginauts,” were fastened to the Main Library exterior walls on the corner of Eighth & River streets. The murals celebrate the Boise Public Library Comic Con five-year anniversary and the public’s growing interest in graphic novels and comic books. Library Comic Con 2017 runs Aug. 26-27, and is free to attend.

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Friday, 11 August 2017

Boise State’s McNichols, moonwalking Doug Martin highlight ‘Hard Knocks’ premiere

The season debut of the HBO series “Hard Knocks” debuted Tuesday night, and the team in focus this year is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Coach Dirk Koetter has joked that “we got a little Boise State ‘Deep South’ working here.”

Boise State’s numerous ties in the premiere were on display. Naturally, Koetter was seen plenty, and while talking to quarterback Jameis Winston in his office, a Boise State helmet the team wore in the time he coached the Broncos (1998-2000), an Idaho State helmet and a Highland High helmet were seen. Koetter played at Idaho State, and played and coached at Highland in Pocatello.

Dirk Koetter has a script "Broncos" Boise State helmet, an Idaho State one and a Highland High one in his office.

— Dave Southorn (@davesouthorn) August 9, 2017

First among the rookies getting the spotlight wasn’t first-rounder O.J. Howard but fifth-rounder Jeremy McNichols, the former Boise State running back. Special teams coach Nate Kaczor told Koetter that McNichols “looked nice” working in the passing game.

“He started as a receiver at Boise State his first year, he was a wideout,” Koetter said.

McNichols is highlighted trying to catch up to the small details of the game, knowing the ins and outs of the Buccaneers’ calls. Coaches tell him to study hard so it becomes natural.

“I’m second-guessing myself sometimes,” McNichols says.

Later, McNichols is seen talking with one of his youth football coaches, the hip-hop superstar Snoop Dogg. He’s “Coach Snoop” in McNichols’ phone, but he calls him “Uncle Snoop.”

“All the things you learned in college are going to be super-sized, times two,” Snoop says.

“That’s real. At this level, it’s all mental, I learned that fast,” McNichols responds.

Snoop tells him, “Jeremy, you know I love you.”

McNichols got the spotlight in the first episode. Here he is talking with @SnoopDogg.

— Dave Southorn (@davesouthorn) August 9, 2017

Fellow rookie and former Boise State player Thomas Sperbeck was shown in the montage of players being cut early in training camp. Sperbeck was let go July 30 and was given an injury settlement because of a hamstring injury.

“You did nothing wrong, you can’t beat yourself up over that, because you can’t control it,” Koetter said.

Former Boise State running back Doug Martin, entering his seventh season with Tampa Bay, has made two Pro Bowl teams and rushed for 4,227 yards in his career. He will be suspended the first three games because of a PED violation, but he’s still No. 1 on the depth chart. That storyline is bound to be part of the series, but Martin stole the one scene he appeared in Tuesday for another reason.

As rookie cornerback Maurice Fleming was singing “Dancing Machine” by The Jackson 5 in front of the team, Martin jumped on stage and did Michael Jackson’s famous moonwalk.

Former Boise State cornerback Jonathan Moxey also plays for the Bucs.

When you’ve seen enough of the rookie talent so you steal the show @DougMartin22 @MFlemingxxiv#HardKnocks

— NFL Films (@NFLFilms) August 9, 2017

Dirk Koetter has a script "Broncos" Boise State helmet, an Idaho State one and a Highland High one in his office.

— Dave Southorn (@davesouthorn) August 9, 2017
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Sunday, 30 July 2017

Boise, ID, Where The Best Craft Beer Is Brewed

There are certain cities and states that just naturally have a great beer because they have a long tradition of brew pubs. In many of these brew pubs, the beer is made from natural ingredients right there on site. Once beer drinkers experience real beer, made from all natural malted barley, hops, and toasted grains, they’ll never want to drink canned beer again. One of the best towns in the West for Craft Beer is Boise, Idaho.

There Is The Wine And Beer Expo At Hyde Park

In this particular beer fest, there are usually over a dozen local breweries and half a dozen wineries that will all have tables and grills set up inside. All of the beers will come in the 22 oz. bottle which will fit perfectly in the large commemorative glass mugs you can buy there. There is usually an entry fee that gets you special tokens, each is good for 4 different beer taste tests. Then there will also be a token for food but you can buy as much food as you can eat, it’s great.

There will almost always be tons of ribs, smoked meats, and all kinds of burgers and sausages as well. There are plenty of other booths with local artists selling their wares and different music venues too. This is 21 and older only, no kids allowed.

Boise, ID Has An Entire Craft Beer Month

Yes, you read that right, the whole month of April is dedicated to Craft Beers. It’s supported by the Idaho Tourism Association to encourage and inform the country where the best high-quality Craft Beers are brewed. It has grown into a multi-million dollar industry with nationwide recognition.

If you’re looking for a place to live where great beers are brewed and consumed you can’t go wrong with Boise, ID. The air is fresh, the food is fantastic, and the beer unsurpassed.

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Friday, 28 July 2017

Boise State football adds first Treasure Valley high school commitment to 2018 class

Keeghan Freeborn primarily has played on the offensive line throughout his high school football career at Rocky Mountain.

But Boise State coaches think the 6-foot-1, 310-pound senior’s skills are better suited for a defensive role at nose tackle.

Freeborn confirmed he’s more than happy to make the switch, accepting a scholarship Thursday to play for the Broncos beginning in the fall of 2018.

“It’s just a new way to play the game. I’ve been able to know both sides of the ball with O-line and D-line,” Freeborn said. “They both go hand-in-hand. Being able to know how to counter it means you know how to play that position at the same time.”

Freeborn said he called Boise State defensive line coach Steve Caldwell to give his commitment Thursday afternoon. Caldwell then put Freeborn on speaker to talk with head coach Bryan Harsin.

“(Harsin) said: ‘We’re pumped up. We’re excited for you.’ ” Freeborn said. “ ‘Now the real fun starts — you get to go have a good senior year and then you get to come here and put in the work.’ ”

The Grizzlies’ starting left tackle also had offers from Air Force, Montana State, Weber State, Idaho and Hawaii, he said.

“He is a true nose guard. His strength, balance and understanding of leverage make him special,” former Rocky Mountain coach Scott Criner said. “He’s one of the nicest people off the field you’ll ever meet, but on the field he plays with a very aggressive and nasty demeanor.

“He’s a powerful player who fits the blue-collar attitude that is Boise State football.”

After taking a year off from wrestling, Freeborn advanced to the 5A state final at 285 pounds in February. He narrowly lost to Columbia’s Brandon Kipper — who is now a freshman offensive lineman at Hawaii — 3-2 in an ultimate tiebreaker.

Last fall, Freeborn made the 5A All-Idaho first team on the offensive line after helping Rocky Mountain average 342 rushing yards per game and run for 43 touchdowns.

Freeborn took an unofficial tour of Boise State’s campus Tuesday. He said the visit “confirmed the feeling that it’s the place to be.”

Boise State now has eight known verbal commitments for the 2018 class, including three on the defensive line — with all three coming this week. Texas nose tackle Scale Igiehon announced his commitment Monday and Hawaii defensive end/linebacker Kukea Emmsley committed Wednesday.

Rachel Roberts: 208-377-6422, @byrachelroberts


▪ LB Phillip Mills, 6-3, 220, Paloma Valley High (Menifee, Calif.)

▪ LB Brandon Hawkins, 6-3, 210, Georgetown (Texas) High

▪ QB Zach Wilson, 6-3, 200, Corner Canyon High (Draper, Utah)

▪ LB DJ Schramm, 6-1, 215, Clovis West High (Fresno, Calif.)

▪ RB/WR Kazmeir Allen, 5-9, 165, Tulare (Calif.) Union High

▪ NT Scale Igiehon, 6-2, 327, Del Valle (Texas) High

▪ DE/LB Kukea Emmsley, 6-4, 230, Kapolei (Hawaii) High

▪ NT Keeghan Freeborn, 6-1, 310, Rocky Mountain High

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Thursday, 20 July 2017

Idaho to One-And-Done Landlords During Eclipse: Don’t Forget To Collect Taxes

The Idaho Tax Commission cautions those renting out their homes during the Aug. 21 eclipse.

With tens of thousands of people expected to travel to Idaho to witness the total solar eclipse Monday, Aug. 21, more than a few Idaho home- and landowners are already planning to cash in on the once-in-a-lifetime event by leasing out accommodations. Officials at the Idaho State Tax Commission, however, are offering words of caution for one-and-done landlords.

"A lot of people are unaware that even just by renting a room for a night, you still have to collect [Idaho sales and/or tourism] tax," said Renee Eymann, the tax commission’s Public Information Officer. "We really want to make sure people know what’s required."

Those taxes include a 6 percent Idaho sales tax and an additional 1 percent Idaho tourism tax. Depending on which Idaho community the would-be landlord lives in, additional local sales or auditorium district taxes could apply. For example, auditorium district taxes are an additional 5 percent.

"Yes, technically, they have to collect that tax. Renters should be registering with the Idaho Secretary of State’s office and ultimately collecting the auditorium tax," said Boise Centre Executive Director Pat Rice. The Boise Centre is one beneficiary of tax revenue in the Greater Boise Auditorium District, which cuts across most of the Boise metro area. "That said, it would still be up to the Secretary of State’s office to enforce the issue if someone is not collecting that tax."

The state tax commission is poised to penalize anyone who doesn’t follow the rules.

"If people are caught renting or selling items without collecting their taxes, they will have to pay the initial taxes plus interest," said Eymann. "Plus, they’ll be fined a penalty."

The additional interest on uncollected tax is accumulated at a rate of 4 percent, and the penalty for not collecting or paying taxes is another 5 percent.

If Idaho home- or landowners are only renting during a one-time event, such as the upcoming eclipse, they can apply for a temporary tax permit, available online at

Lacey Schotts of Idaho Falls said she was still coming up to speed on the procedure of temporarily renting out her eastern Idaho home during the eclipse.

"Actually, this is technically the second time that we’re renting out our home, but the first time it was just to a friend," she said. "We called around to area motels and hotels to figure out some pricing. I think renting out the house for $800 a night is a little ridiculous, but we’re still renting it lower than some of our friends."

Schotts said she requires a 2-night minimum stay and a $500 refundable deposit. In her Craiglist description of her offer, she wrote that hotels in her area were renting out single rooms for $500 a night, so she felt it was reasonable to charge $800 a night for a 3-bedroom house.

Another Idaho Falls homeowner, Joanne Provencher, who is renting out part of her home on Craigslist, said she listed her basement two weeks ago.

"We decided we had the perfect private basement," said Provencher. "Our space will sleep up to six people and it includes breakfast. We’ll see how it goes."

Provencher is renting out the basement for $350 per night for a 2-day minimum stay. She added that she was well aware of the need to collect the proper taxes.

Communities across Idaho are preparing for the solar eclipse, which is expected to cross into the western border of the Gem State at approximately 10:10 a.m. on Monday, Aug. 21, and leave the state on the eastern border at approximately 12:48 p.m. Kerry Hammon, spokeswoman for the city of Idaho Falls, said as many as 300,000 to 500,000 visitors could come into eastern Idaho in the 48-hour period surrounding the eclipse.

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