Shelley's Rayce Bird won "Face Off" a SyFy network show where contestants compete in movie makeup and special effects challenges.
Who ever said people from southeast Idaho don’t accomplish anything great? It certainly wasn’t Shelley’s Rayce Bird, who won the SyFy networks’ reality competition show “Face Off.” He’ll now join an elite group of some of the best movie makeup artists in the country. In more good(ish) news, the INL is only forcibly laying off 19 people after they scared everybody with a number of nearly 200 back in February. The dog who was shot Monday is now back on its feet and heading home, while the man who shot him is still facing charges. Not the worst news in the world today, folks. Isn’t this how Friday is supposed to be?
- The Idaho National Laboratory was supposed to cut up to 185 jobs, but it looks like the ax won’t be so harsh after a high number of employees decided to take voluntary lay offs. Mark Holubar, the INL’s director of human resources, said 56 people volunteered to leave during a two-week period. Now, only 19 people will be laid off as part of reduction efforts. So what about those other 110 jobs? Holubar said they will analyze how much money these cuts save the INL, and whether or not they will need to cut more. [LN8]
- The dog shot by a Pocatello man earlier this week is going home and is on its way to recovery. Jack, who was tentatively named Mr. Amazing until the owner was found, will still need to return for regular visits for dental work and checkups on the damage to his nasal cavity and tongue. Brock Merrill, who lives on the outskirts of Pocatello, said he shot the dog in self-defense after it came to his home several times in a week. Merrill said Jack became agressive, so he shot him. He has been cited with cruelty to animals and discharging a firearm within city limits. [KPVI]
- Idaho Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill has given in to requests by state Democrats to convene an ethics panel, investigating New Plymouth Sen. Monty Pearce for potential conflicts of interest on 21 votes made on oil and gas drilling legislation. Pearce disclosed Wednesday, before his 22nd vote on oil and gas issues, that he has leased oil and gas drilling rights to an oil company since the ’80s. He sees no problem with the potential conflict of interest, and said he just never thought about the connection. But Democrats are up in arms, as Pearce championed bills and rules through the Senate Resources and Environmental Committee as its chairman without ever revealing his connection. Hill said the panel will convene by the end of the day Friday. [IDS]
- A Shelley man is enjoying the spotlight after winning SyFy network’s reality game show “Face Off.” On the show, contestants created special effects, masks and intricate makeup that you might see in Hollywood movies, but in the end Shelley’s Rayce Bird was the champion. Bird won despite not having as much experience as some of his opponents. He works as a tattoo artist at the Spider’s Web in Idaho Falls but just considers himself an all-around creative guy. His prize for winning the show was $100,000, a new car and $25,000 of movie makeup. [LN8]
A man managed to accidentally drive his truck onto this guy wire. His story is a metaphor for us all. (photo via NPG of Idaho)
Sometimes you’re just a truck stuck on a guy wire, you know? You’re helpless to do anything but sit there and wait for a scissorlift to come and help you down. I think that’s the lesson all the people in our morning briefs today learned, especially that guy who actually was in a truck stuck on a guy wire.
- A three-vehicle crash near Eden sent one person to the hospital Wednesday afternoon. According to Idaho State Police, Becki Carlson, 42, was driving west on I-84 near milepost 187 when she rear-ended another car. Both pulled over to the side of the road to the report the crash, but before an ISP trooper got to the scene, Carlson left, driving the wrong way down the highway, where she then crashed into a semi, before hitting the median. Carlson was taken to St. Luke’s Magic Valley hospital for minor injuries. Charges are pending.
- A pickup truck wound up teetering on a power pole’s guy wire Wednesday afternoon, in an unlikely accident that you have to see to believe. According to Jefferson County deputies, a man was driving his pickup truck east on 4200 East near Rigby when he took a corner too fast. Instead of crashing into the pole or running off the road, the truck ended up stuck on the guy wire. There was little damage to the truck and the pole, but the driver had to be rescued with a scissorlift because of the danger of the truck falling. He was not injured, said deputies, but he was a little embarrassed. [LN8]
- Fremont County Commission Chairman Skip Hurt issued a disaster declaration for the county Wednesday night after heavy flooding devastated the area. Flood waters overtook County Roads 3200 East, 1000 North and 3000 East, prompting their closure. Hog Hollow Road has also been flooded, as has at least one home and a private road. The flooding is expected to continue through the weekend, as residents and officials started sandbag operations to prevent damage. [LN8]
- A magistrate judge dismissed two misdemeanor charges filed against an Occupy Boise protester Wednesday, who was charged for putting up a tent in Capitol Park in Boise and refusing to leave. The city prosecutor decided not to pursue the case and filed a motion to dismiss it. The protester, 63-year-old retiree George Burns, said he was staging a personal political protest as the Occupy movement’s Global Day of Action on October 15. Although he’s glad he’s not going to jail, he said he was looking forward to his day in court. [IDS]
Officials pull Tyrone Dee Brown's car from a pond in Jefferson County after he drove into the water Tuesday morning.
You might be thinking that the crashed car up there is some sort of metaphor, say, for the American political system or something. But it’s not! If today’s briefs prove anything it’s that the system is very much alive and kicking! Voters turned out around southeast Idaho to vote on school bonds and levies and the like, agreeing on most everything public officials suggested. A controversial bill is appearing a an Idaho Senate committee today, and people who don’t like it will protest. In the south, voters came to support their favorite Republican presidential candidates, but mostly Rick Santorum. Democracy in action!
- A Madison County man is in jail after driving his car into a pond in Jefferson County. The county sheriff’s office said Tyron Dee Brown, 28, ran from his car after driving it into a settling pond early Tuesday morning. He allegedly was driving north on 3900 East when he ran a stop sign on Yellowstone Highway, hit the railroad tracks and landed midway in the pond. Police found the totaled car on the bottom of the pond. The railroad track was knocked off center with the spikes completely out. The wire fencing around the pond was also damaged, the sheriff’s office said. Police are holding Brown on charges of driving under the influence, obstructing or resisting an officer, leaving the scene of an accident and disturbing the peace. [LN8]
- Voters overwhelmingly agreed on pretty much everything in Tuesday night’s school bond and levy votes. Idaho Falls voters approved a $53 million bond. Bonneville County passed its $14 million bond. Soda Springs and Aberdeen voters passed their own $600,000 supplemental levies. Mackay voters renewed a five-year plant facilities reserve fund. There was only one “no” vote of the night, as Salmon voters rejected a $13.5 million bond to build a new school for the sixth straight year. [LN8]
- An Idaho Senate committee will look at a controversial abortion ultrasound bill Wednesday that is sure to draw heaps of protest and support. The bill, drafted by Boise Sen. Chuck Winder, would require women to get an ultrasound screening before terminating a pregnancy. The idea is nothing new, states across the country have been proposing, and even passing, similar legislation. The idea is that some women could change their mind about going through with abortions after seeing ultrasound images of their fetuses. Last week 250 people protested the bill on the steps of the Capitol, accusing it of being an assault on women’s rights. Don’t expect them to go anywhere if this bill progresses. [TN]
- It was a big night for Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, as Mississippi, Alabama and Hawaii all held their primaries Tuesday night. Santorum beat out Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney in both Alabama and Mississippi, proving his popularity in the deep south. The former Pennsylvania senator won 34.5 percent of the vote in Alabama, nearly five percent more than Newt Gingrich, who has been banking on that region, and Mitt Romney. In Mississippi, the race was much tighter. Santorum won by nearly two percent over Gingrich and three percent over Romney. Hawaii was a much different story, as Romney won easily with 45 percent of the vote. In all, Santorum won the most delegates with 36 to Romney’s 34, Gingrich’s 24 and Ron Paul’s 1. [NYT]
Like this cigarette butt, a bill that would raise Idaho's low tax on cigarettes is dead in the State House. (photo via Wikipedia)
People are very opportunistic today! A group of Idaho Falls residents are suing the city over an eminent domain case, because somebody was bound to do it somewhere in Idaho sometime. In Blackfoot, parents are looking to recall a school board trustee over alleged violations of board policy. State legislators had an opportunity to raise the state’s cigarette tax, but that one didn’t exactly work out. But hey, sometimes it doesn’t!
- Four people are in the hospital after a rollover accident near Inkom Monday night. Ryan Yearsley, 20, was driving north at about milepost 54 on I-15 when he swerved to avoid hitting a deer. He then over-corrected, causing his car to roll into the median. Yearsley and his three passengers, two 18 years old and one 19 years old, were ejected from the vehicle. They were all taken by ground to the hospital, two with serious injuries and two with minor injuries.
- A group of Bonneville County property owners is looking for a restraining order against the city of Idaho Falls. The group, called the Alliance for Property Rights and Fiscal Responsibility, has been threatened with eminent domain from the city for the construction of the 161-kilovolt North Loop Transmission Line. The members said they were given a March 9 deadline to accept the city’s purchase or face condemnation. They also claim that HDR, the engineering firm hired by the city to work on the project, has already suggested alternate routes. [LN8]
- A group of Blackfoot School District 55 parents isn’t happy about with a member of the school board. The group is looking to get a recall election for Peter Lipovac after he allegedly violated district policy. According to the group, Lipovac traveled to an Indian Education conference in October without pre-approval from the school board, then charged the district $1,075 in reimbursement. While that does seem to violate school board policy, another section specifies the difference between “employees” and “trustees” that excludes the approval language. Furthermore, some Lipovac supporters think the recall action is motivated by his support of a new school on the Fort Hall reservation. Still, the group has enough signatures to petition for the recall. [LN8]
- The Idaho House Revenue and Taxation Committee voted 11-5 against a hike in the state’s cigarette tax Monday. The bill would have hiked Idaho’s cigarette tax by $1.25, to $1.83 per pack. The state’s current tax of 57 cents per pack is one of the lowest in the nation. Supporters of the bill said it would mean $400 million in savings in long-term health care for smokers, and would net the state a cool $50 million in taxes. Opponents, however, called the bill “social engineering,” accusing the bill’s backers of hiding their true intentions. [IDR]
The Idaho State women's basketball team won the Big Sky Tournament over the weekend, claiming the conference title and earning them a spot in the NCAA Division I tournament.
Great news for Idaho State University fans! The women’s basketball team won big over the weekend, and will now represent Pocatello in the NCAA Division I tournament. Let’s hope they can get past the first round this time. In more dour news, authorities have recovered the body of a missing Idaho Falls man in the Snake River. Another man is dead after a car accident in Jerome, as are 16 civilians in Afghanistan after a U.S. soldier went crazy Sunday morning. No, it’s probably not good for U.S.-Afghanistan relations.
- The body of an Idaho Falls man who disappeared back in December while walking his dogs has finally been found. Bonneville County deputies recovered the body of 46-year-old David Finnegan from the Snake River near the 65th South bridge Sunday afternoon. Authorities had already suspected Finnegan had drowned after his wife found his abandoned car and his two dogs, both soaking wet, at his usual parking spot at the Gem Lake Marina along the river. Police believe the dogs might have fallen through the ice, leading Finnegan out to their rescue, where he succumbed to the icy water. Foul play is not suspected. [LN8]
- One person is dead after a rollover on 600 North in Jerome County. According to Idaho State Police, Daniel Acuna-Cosio was driving a Chrysler PT Cruiser near the intersection of 300 East and 600 North when, for unknown reasons, he lost control of the car. His car hit the guardrail of a bridge and rolled. Acuna-Cosio was transported to St. Alphonsus in Boise, but was later pronounced dead. Police do not know whether or not alcohol was a factor in the accident. Acuna-Cosio was not wearing a seatbelt.
- The Idaho State University’s women’s basketball team won the Big Sky conference this weekend, with a 49-46 victory over Northern Colorado. The Bengals claimed their second ever tournament title at home in Pocatello, and will now go on to the NCAA Division I tournament. The women’s team last played in the tournament in 2007, when they were knocked out in the first round by Stanford. This year’s bracket will be released tonight at 7 p.m. [KPVI]
- There’s no sign of violence yet, but the Taliban has vowed revenge for the Sunday killing of at least 16 Afghan civilians by a rogue U.S. solider, with the country’s parliament saying they have run out of patience with foreign forces. The incident happened just after dawn Sunday, when the soldier walked off the base in a remote southern Afghanistan base and opened fire on civilians inside their homes. He turned himself in upon returning to the base. The Taliban has since called the killings a “blood-soaked and inhumane crime” by the “sick-minded American savages” and has vowed to “take revenge from the invaders and the savage murderers for every single martyr.” [WP]
Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer are pictured in an old photograph. The two Jackson skiers were killed in an avalanche Thursday. (screen grab via Local News 8)
So close, but so far away, that’s the theme this morning. Two local skiers had their lives cut short after an avalanche buried them in Wyoming. A Pocatello woman died just before her 112th birthday. Police ALMOST had a fugitive, but now he’s on the run. In the state House, legislators returned money cut from Medicaid, but it’s nowhere near the amount they initially cut.
- Jackson Hole is grieving after the deaths of two local skiers in an avalanche Thursday. Steve Romeo and Chris Onufer were found Buried in Waterfalls Canyon in the northern end of the Teton range. According to friends, the two were on a backcountry skiing trip to Ranger Peak. The two, both in their early 40s, were reported missing Wednesday night. Teton County Search and Rescue did a search by helicopter Thursday morning, when they found the avalanche and the two bodies. Friends remember the two as good, solid guys. [LN8]
- Police are looking for a fugitive and want the public’s help finding him. The fugitive is 30-year-old Chris Hudson, who is wanted on a $250,000 felony drug warrant. Officers already tried to catch Hudson at his Idaho Falls home on Eve Drive on Thursday afternoon, breaking in through the window when people inside barricaded the door, but Hudson had already fled on foot. This isn’t the fugitive’s first run-in with police. He also ran from authorities back in July 2010 in Ammon. That time, he hid in the garage of a nearby home, but it happened to be the garage of a section supervisor with the Idaho Department of Correction. [LN8]
- Legislators in the Idaho House have backtracked on some of last year’s severe cuts to Medicaid funding. The House voted 65-0 Thursday to restore three cuts amounting to $1.5 million of the $35 million cut from Medicaid programming. The restored funding all goes to patients with developmental disabilities. One cut previously forced patients with both developmental disabilities and mental illness to choose which they wanted treated. Another took away funding for preventative dental care for developmentally disabled adults, while the third imposed a “tiered” budget on such patients that forced big cuts in some people’s care. The bill to remove all those cuts now goes to the Senate. [SR]
- A mere nine days from her 112th birthday, a Pocatello woman passed away Thursday afternoon. Mersene Zohos was a fresh 111, making her the oldest woman in Idaho at the time of her death, which officials say was due to natural casues. Zohos was fewer than four years shy of the oldest living woman in the world, Georgia’s Besse Cooper, who is 115 years old. [ISJ]
The Franklin County Grain Growers building in Preston is engulfed in flames Wednesday night, after an overheated bearing ignited grain dust. (screen grab via Local News 8)
It’s all about combustion in southeast Idaho today. Last night, a fire burned through the Franklin County Grain Growers building in Preston, which will probably completely destroy the place. In Pocatello, fire fighters cleaned up 25 gallons of spilled gasoline at a gas station. In outer space, the sun erupted, sending radiation to rain down on the world. Try not to explode, OK?
- Fire fighters worked all night Wednesday to put out a fire at the Franklin County Grain Growers building in Preston. The building caught fire when an overheated bearing on a conveyor belt ignited some grain dust and quickly engulfed the entire building. Fortunately, the Franklin County Fire Battalion has had a fire plan in place for the building for at least 30 years, according to chief Scott Martin. But even with the plan in place, the fire was simply too big, and the building will likely collapse.The loss is big for people in Preston. Martin said it has been a place of gathering for local ranchers and farmers, and, of course, there are always the employees that worked there. [LN8]
- About 25 gallons of gasoline spilled at a Pocatello gas station Wednesday night, forcing police to block off the station while fire fighters could clean up the mess. According to police, a customer was filling four 50-gallon barrels in the back of his pickup at the Maverick station on Alameda Road. While filling one up, he discovered it had a leak, but he had already filled it about halfway. Firefighters used oil stop, a sand mixture, to clean up the mess before securing the barrel to stop any remaining leakage. [ISJ]
- A giant solar flare is engulfing the planet! In fact, the sun erupted Tuesday with two of the largest solar flares of the 11-year solar cycle. The first flare traveled toward the planet at about 1,300 miles per second, while the second flare traveled at about 1,100 miles per second. When the flares finally reached some NASA satellite equipment, the geomagnetic storm that resulted was rated relatively low, rated a G1 on a scale that goes up to G5. You also have to worry about those pesky radiation storms that are capable of disrupting satellite operations and high-frequency radio transmissions. It doesn’t look like anything will really be affected, but it produced some pretty cool video. [NASA]
Mitt Romney riles up a crowd in Idaho Falls last week. On Tuesday, he easily won Idaho's Republican caucus. (TBA file photo)
Mitt Romney won lat night’s Idaho Republican caucus, which is great news for all your Mittheads out there. But as the state moves on from the temporary political moment in the sun, we all have to face the harsh reality of some not-so-great news. For example: A burglar got away with some cash at a Pocatello business, and police couldn’t catch him—even with the dogs! Idaho Power is looking to hike their residential rates, despite touting rate decreases last month. And state legislators might have to stay in Boise longer, as they can’t agree on the federally-mandated health insurance exchange. Reality can be harsh, folks.
- Police are investigating a burglary at Intermountain Beverage in Pocatello, but the suspect has already eluded officers once in the case. Pocatello Police officers responded to an alarm activation at the beverage distributor on Garrett Way Tuesday night. When they got there, they saw a person dressed all in black leaving the building. That shadowy figure ran and officers gave chase, but they just just couldn’t keep up. They later dispatched a K-9 unit to find the suspect, but the trail of footprints ended at a set of tire tracks. Upon inspection of the crime scene, it looks like a bank bag may be missing from an unlocked drawer, said police. The investigation is still under way.
- How’s this for a kick in the teeth? Idaho Power is looking to hike residential customers’ rates by $3.56 a month, just a few weeks after they announced they wanted to lower bills by 67 cents a month. What gives? The hike would pay for a new natural gas power plant that’s almost complete. Idaho Power filed the request with the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on Tuesday, and the request will have to endure some public hearings before it’s approved or denied. That plant is the $391 million Langley Gulch power plant in southwestern Idaho. Idaho Power has also filed for a revenue-sharing deal, which would help offset the hike somewhat. [LN8]
- After months of controversy, Idaho legislators are now saying a bill establishing state health care exchange probably won’t happen. The federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly referred to as Obamacare, requires states to set up exchanges by January 2013, or else the federal government will make one for them. The exchanges allow individuals and small businesses to compare insurance policies. But Senate Pro Tem Brent Hill and House Speaker Lawrence Denney said Tuesday that the bill is hopeless. Denney said the issue isn’t with the bill itself, but with the idea of passing legislation to build a system for which the rules are still being written. In other words, a lot of Idaho legislators are banking on the health care act being struck down legally or overturned. If they don’t pass legislation, however, they could stay in Boise longer than planned. [TN]
- Mitt Romney walked away with a win at Idaho’s Republican Presidential caucus last night, making his haul for the night a total of six states and about 224 delegates. Rick Santorum won three states while Newt Gingrich won one, meaning Romney still hasn’t entirely secured the nomination. Still, those couple hundred delegates won’t hurt his chances; many pollsters are once again predicting an inevitable Romney nomination.
This McNugget, which sort of resembles George Washington sol on eBay for $8,100. Aren't you mad you ate yours? (photo by Nate Robson/Sioux City Journal)
OK, I know you want to hear about the $8,100 George Washington McNugget, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. There is also some very serious news in the region today! Yesterday, another person died in a car accident, this time in Blackfoot. Some in the region have been getting scam texts that you should obviously not respond to. And today, Idaho Republicans will get a chance to choose their presidential nominee. But, of course, some woman sold a McNugget that resembles George Washington for $8,100. What has the world come to?
- On the heels of all the wrecks this weekend came another fatal crash in Blackfoot. At about 8:35 Monday morning, Greg Steely, a 57-year-old Blackfoot man, drove north on US 93 near milepost 113. According to police, Steely didn’t take a turn correctly, driving off the road and crashing into the bank of a dry creek bed. He was pronounced dead at the scene of the crash. Steely was not wearing a seat belt.
- Idahoans will get a chance to have a say in the upcoming election today, in Idaho’s first ever Republican caucus. The caucus isn’t a quite like a typical primary, as voters slowly weed out weaker candidates until one person has at least 50 percent of the vote, or they simply reach a final vote between two candidates. Ron Paul overwhelmingly won Idaho’s unofficial January straw poll, but Mitt Romney is believed to be a front-runner nationally. The Gem State has 32 delegates to give, and could actually be somewhat influential in the race. [TN]
- Some people in southeast Idaho have been getting late-night text messages that look like they’re probably definitely scams. The texts offer free Walmart gift cards if you only click on a link. That link leads you to a site that asks for personal information, which is in turn used to steal all your money. Walmart said the texts are fraudulent, as did the Better Business Bureau. Walmart, or most companies for that matter, would never ask for sensitive personal data through a text message, so just ignore them and go back to sleep, everybody. [LN8]
- A Nebraska woman sold a McNugget for a whopping $8,100 on ebay, all because it kiiiinda looks like George Washington. Rebekah Speight of Dakota City sold the three-year-old nugget to raise money for a drive to send 50 children to summer camp in Sioux City. The $8K from the nugget sale puts her at more than halfway to the $15,000 price tag for the camp. eBay had initially taken the auction down because it violated rules barring the sale of expired food, but Speight later got an email from the company saying they were “willing to to make exceptions to help your cause.” [WP]
Justin Oleson, father of Blackfoot shooting victim Dakota Oleson, said the incident between his two sons was completely accidental. He stressed gun safety to all others, of course. (Screengrab from Local News 8)
It was a particularly horrid weekend in southeast Idaho, with two fatal car accidents and one with what appear to be some pretty rough injuries. But it wasn’t all wrecks! Blackfoot police are also investigating a family shooting from Wednesday that left a 19-year-old man in bad condition. Yikes, everybody.
- The Bingham County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a Wednesday shooting of 19-year-old Blackfoot man, Dakota Oleson, who officials say was shot by his 16-year-old brother. The nature of the shooting is still under investigation, but the family is saying the shooting was a complete accident. Sheriff Dave Johnson said these types in incidents are rare in rural Idaho, as most people know about gun safety early on. The victim is expected to make a full recovery, and his family expects him to be released from the hospital within the week. But the family’s big message? Be safe with your guns, obviously. [LN8]
- An Idaho Falls woman is dead after a late-night car accident Friday. The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office is still looking into the single-car accident, but they believe the car, a Dodge Durango, lost control around a curve, striking a fence and nearby bridge on Fifth West in Idaho Falls. The woman, Martine Nelson, 40, was pronounced dead on the scene when she was partially thrown from the vehicle. Investigators believe speed contributed to the accident. Nelson was not wearing a seat belt. [LN8]
- Another Idahoan is dead after another strange car accident. Cassia County Sheriff Randy Kidd said the fatal crash, that sent another person to the hospital, happened around 7 p.m. Friday night in the parking lot of the McCain Food USA plant west of Burley. Kidd said the crash is still under investigation, so details are scarce, but according to Morrison Funeral Home in Burley, a 59-year-old Albion man, Santiago “Ed” Maestas, died of injuries sustained in a Friday car accident. That’s really all we know. More information should come in due time. [TN]
- A rollover on Sunday morning near Jerome sent two more people to the hospital with unknown injuries, although it sounds like it could be bad. Idaho State Police investigated the rollover, which happened at the 164 mile marker on I-84 at about 2:20 a.m. Sunday. According to ISP, the driver, 36-year-old Shannon Mitchell, of Idaho Falls, was driving east in a pickup. He drifted off the left side of the road and over-corrected, rolling the truck, which ended up landing upright in the median. His passenger, 36-year-old Dawn Mitchell of Salt Lake City, was ejected from the truck. Both were taken to St. Luke’s Magic Valley Regional Medical Center with unknown injuries. Police don’t believe conditions or alcohol were a factor. Neither were wearing seat belts.