Today we have some unfortunate news and some potentially good or bad news depending on your personal opinions. A crazy accident left one local woman severely injured near America Falls, while another woman fortunately escaped much injury in a domestic violence case. Those weren’t the stories that require your opinion. No, the ones sure to drive local debate crazy this year are two ballot initiatives, one to raise money for Bonnevile County schools in March and another to privatize state liquor sales in November. I’m not touching the inherent good or bad involved in those issues, that’s for you to decide. TBA is not your moral compass!
- Two people are injured after a two-vehicle crash on I-86 near American Falls Wednesday evening. The Idaho State Police said Cory Hanks, 35, of Burley, was driving a 2005 Ford Taurus when he rear-ended a 1993 Chevrolet Blazer driven by Gary Lujan, 55, of Pocatello. The impact caused Lujan’s Blazer to roll, ejecting his passenger, Christinna Pehrson, 51. Pehrson suffered severe leg injuries and was taken to Portneuf Medical Center with Lujan, who only suffered minor injuries. It is unclear whether or not anybody was wearing a seatbelt at the time. Hanks was uninjured, although his airbags deployed. He did, however, get a nice citation for inattentive driving.
- Pocatello police arrested Michael J. Hook, 32, for domestic battery with children present after he allegedly grabbed and pushed a female out the door of a house. Details are naturally thin on this case, but it looks like Hook and the woman were having some kind of fight when he grabbed her by the arm and pushed her out the front door, landing on top of her. Since children, whose ages were not released, were present, the domestic battery case gets an additional charge of “with children present” and puts Hook in hotter water. This might be a good time to note that Bannock County has consented to an audit over the obscenely high rates of domestic battery in 2011. It’s just fortunate that this case didn’t end as tragically as so many do.
- The Bonneville County School District is asking voters to pass a $14 million bond in March, most of which would go to the construction of a new elementary school. The figure is much lower than the amount initially recommended by the district’s facilities planning committee, which came to the tune of $76 million. That figure included $50 million for a new high school, another project the district says it direly needs. The school district will hold public meetings between now and March to go over all the specifics. They are also asking voters to allow them to refinance $15 million of their $58 million debt to take advantage of lower interest rates. [LN8]
- Could Idaho be the next state to privatize liquor sales? According to the Times-News, Governor Otter met with a grocery industry lobbyist over a mounting campaign to privatize liquor sales in the state. Apparently, Northwest Grocery Association President Joe Gilliam is looking to get the issue on November’s ballot. In order to do it, Gilliam would need to collect 47,432 signatures by April 30. Otter, however, isn’t necessarily in favor of the measure. In January 2011, Otter said liquor is the one area of retail in which he thinks the state should be involved. After all, Idaho’s constitution states: “The first concern of all good government is the virtue and sobriety of the people.” But retailers are hoping the measure passes, as a similar one did in Washington last year, with 60 percent approval. [TN]