Monthly Archive: September 2015

Forest Service Adds 7 Air Tankers to Firefighting Fleet

BOISE (AP) | The National Interagency Fire Center says the U.S. Forest Service has awarded three companies exclusive contracts to provide seven Next Generation Airtankers for fighting forest fires.

The center in a statement Wednesday says that doubles the number of the Next Generation Airtankers in the Forest Service fleet that can fly faster and carry more retardant than older firefighting aircraft still in use.

The agency says Neptune Aviation Services Inc. in Missoula, Montana, will supply four of the tankers.

Aero-Flite Inc. in Spokane, Washington, will supply two of the aircraft and 10 Tanker Air Carrier in Albuquerque, New Mexico, will supply one.

Forest Service officials say the agency is making progress modernizing its fleet of large air tankers.


Pocatello Woman Attacked by Black Bear

POCATELLO (AP) | A southeastern Idaho woman is recovering after being attacked by a black bear during a family hunting trip.

The Idaho State Journal reports that Holly Owens suffered a bite on her leg during the attack on Sunday.

Owens' husband, Joshua, had encountered a cub while tracking a deer he had shot. Holly Owens says she heard the mother bear galloping toward her as the couple and their three young children made their way back to their vehicle.

Owens beat the bear off with a stick and was treated and released from a hospital.

State biologists say they checked the area in Caribou County but determined the bear had left. They are monitoring the area.

Joshua Owens later returned and found the deer he had been tracking.


Boise Man Sentenced to Life in Prison for Road-rage Killing

BOISE (AP) | A 37-year-old Boise man who shot and killed another man during a road rage incident has been sentenced to life in prison.

KBOI-TV reports  that Shawn Fisher received the sentence Wednesday in 4th District Court.

Fisher shot and killed 28-year-old Matthew Mohler-Kerns in February 2013.

A judge committed Fisher to a prison mental health program in October 2013 after finding he was mentally ill. He was determined to be competent to stand trial a few months later.

Fisher pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in July.


Groups Hope to Save Tree Grown from Seeds Taken on Apollo 14

BOISE (AP)• Boise, Idaho, residents are trying to save a tree that was grown from seeds taken aboard the Apollo 14 mission to the moon.

The Idaho Statesman reports the loblolly pine planted in 1977 on Lowell Elementary School’s campus is dehydrated and infected with insects.

Eagle Historical Museum curator Alana Dunn brought the tree to the school’s attention. Pattie Hennequin has a third-grader enrolled at Lowell and is now leading the effort to save the so-called moon tree.

“The tree has a special place in our history,” she said. “It’s a fascinating thing to help teach kids about space exploration and to tie in a little Idaho history.”

Astronaut Stuart Roosa included the seeds in his personal items at the request of the Forest Service, in part to test the effects of zero gravity. Roosa was a former Forest Service smoke jumper.

Most of the seeds germinated after returning from their journey in space and were distributed to schools and other entities to grow. Demand was so high the Forest Service grew more seedlings from cuttings of the trees.

Lowell got its tree because the son of then-Gov. John Evans was enrolled there.

It’s unclear where all the moon trees were planted, with many of the known trees having died off since the 70s.

Arborists with Idaho Tree Preservation in Boise are donating time to deal with the insects. The North End Neighborhood Association has agreed to pay for the 275 gallons of water the pine needs each week.

Lowell students are making a plaque for the unmarked tree, which Principal Nick Smith said was hard to identify at first.

“We had to gather cones from both trees to figure out which one was the loblolly,” he said.


Ed Foundation Plans ‘Cow P.I.E.’ Fundraiser

TWIN FALLS • Cows will be on the loose Friday for a fundraiser to support Twin Falls teachers.

The Twin Falls School District Education Foundation is holding its annual Cow P.I.E. (Partners in Education) Challenge.

Proceeds are used to award mini-grants to teachers for innovative classroom projects. The event has become a tradition during the Twin Falls versus Canyon Ridge High School varsity football game.

“It’s just a really nice community event that involves students at both high schools,” said Linda Watkins, the foundation’s executive director.

Six years ago, Watkins decided to try something different for a fundraiser. “Living in the agriculture area that we do, cow pie came to mind,” she said.

Watkins saw a similar event at a Catholic school in Montana and thought it was a clever idea.

Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge high schools will each have a decorated cow during the event. A grid will be spray-painted on the Twin Falls High football field.

Community members can buy tickets for a particular square, guessing where their school’s cow will relieve itself. The winning school’s booster club will receive $500, and other prizes will be awarded.

“It’s a little different than the ordinary golf tournament,” Watkins said. “We wanted to start a tradition for years to come that involves the students.”

Canyon Ridge opened in 2009, creating a crosstown rivalry with Twin Falls High.

Later this school year, teachers can apply for mini-grants, which will be awarded in February. Last year, the foundation awarded 35 grants totaling more than $20,000.

“The mini-grants are a great way for teachers to get additional supplies,” said district spokeswoman Eva Craner.

Past recipients have used grants for items such as new laptop computers, ukuleles for a music program and books.

To apply, teachers fill out an application on the foundation’s website addressing the educational need, impact on student achievement, and the creativity/innovation piece of their request.

Foundation board members use a rubric to assign points to each proposal.

Sometimes, teachers receive all of what they’ve requested or part of it. “They really try to cover as much need as they can,” Craner said.

During Friday’s fundraiser, there’s also a service bowl where service members — as well as veterans— are recognized.

In addition, Lithia of Twin Falls is providing two trucks attendees can fill up with canned food. The school that brings the most food will receive a prize.

Plus, the coveted spirit bell will be awarded at the end of the third quarter of the game. Judges will use a rubric to decide which school has the best spirit.

The prize: A glass-enclosed cowbell that resides in the winning school all year.

Student groups — such as cheerleaders and drumlines — from each school will face off. And FFA students help control the cows on the football field.

Participating student groups will receive a share of the money raised during the event, Watkins said.

For children 12 and younger, there’s a Frisbee toss planned on the field. Any child whose Frisbee hits a flag will receive high school gear such as t-shirts.