[Morning Briefs] Idaho Mysteries Cause Tragedy and Drama

10 Jan

Hoku Materials Inc. has filed a formal complaint against Idaho Power, claiming it's been paying millions for unused power in its Pocatello plant. In this summer photo, you can see it's really just SUPER active. (Jamie Hale/The Bannock Alternative)

The world can be a very mysterious place. Like Stonehenge, what’s up with that? In today’s briefs we have a few mysteries of our own. A Cassia County crash killed one after a car mysteriously drove into the median. An Idaho Falls pitbull became mysteriously aggressive. Governor Otter is mysteriously plotting millions in tax cuts (that one’s a stretch).  Hoku and Idaho Power have a tiff going on, but that’s not much of a mystery. Will we ever get the answers to our burning questions? Perhaps, but for now, they remain in the zone of mystery, forever shrouded in a cloak of uncertainty. Except, of course, for Hoku and Idaho Power. That’s really just crystal clear.

  • One woman is dead after a rollover crash on I-84 in Cassia County yesterday afternoon. Just after 2 p.m., Jennifer Shira, 23 of Kooskia, Idaho, was driving along I-84 at about milepost 274 when her 2003 Subaru Impreza drove into the median for some unknown reason. The car flipped and slid out of the median into oncoming traffic in the opposing lane where Shira’s car collided with a tractor trailer. Shira was pronounced dead at the scene, but her husband and two young children, who were in the car with her, escaped with only minor injuries. Unlike many fatal crashes in the region lately, everybody involved was wearing a seatbelt.
  • Hoku has filed a formal complaint against Idaho Power in the ongoing battle over Hoku’s electricity bill. In the complaint, Hoku says  Idaho Power has been unfairly charging their Pocatello plant with exorbitant fees for power they haven’t even been using. This amounts to $2 million each month for electricity not being consumed by the plant, plus an additional $5.8 million security fee, according to a press release. Hoku says they have only been using about $1,000 of electricity per day. The crux of the problem, they say, is that Hoku expected to have operations up and running about two years ago, but had to stop due to a sour economy. Since then, they’ve been paying millions for power they haven’t been using, while trying to reassess their business plan. This whole situation really makes me feel better about being late on my $35 power bill.
  • An Idaho Falls pitbull was euthanized after being shot by an Idaho Falls police officer on Friday afternoon. The situation began with a call to the Idaho Falls Police Department about two angry-looking pitbulls allegedly being menacing at a house on 11th Street and June Avenue. When officers showed up, the two dogs turned on them. An officer shot one of the dogs, as the other ran away. Because the pitbull wasn’t killed by the shot, it was taken to the Idaho Falls Humane Society, where it was first adopted. Although the dog had no history of violence, it’s size and apparent attack led the IFPD to call the shooting officially justified. Unfortunately, every dog story can’t be a happy, sweet, adorable one, folks. [LN8]
  • Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter gave his state of the state address in Boise yesterday, and proposed $60 million in tax cuts and a pay raise for state workers and teachers. One of his proposed tax cuts is the top bracket of income tax, reducing it from 7.8 percent to 7.6 percent. Democrats are naturally wary of the Republican governor’s proposals, fearing millions in tax cuts will go to the biggest lobbying efforts, rather than to those who need them the most. However, Otter’s proposal also includes a $41 million, 3 percent pay raise for Idaho educators, as well as a $5 million initiative to create technology jobs and spur university research. “But how can Idaho afford those millions?” you ask. Why, with the estimated $103 million surplus from last year. Oh yeah, it’s raining in Idaho. [ISM]

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