BURLEY — Two Cassia Regional Technical Center students took on a project constructing shooting targets for the Cassia County Sheriff’s SWAT team — saving the sheriff’s office thousands of dollars.
Students Shelby Hurd and Brittany Hardy designed, cut and welded six steel targets for the team during a project that took a year to complete.
“With the budget cuts we don’t have a lot of money,” Jarrod Thompson, the SWAT team director, said Thursday as some of the team members arrived at the school to meet the students. “And these are better than we could’ve bought.”
Thompson said the targets are made out of AR500 steel, which is “really expensive.”
The steel is more durable and improves safety. When softer steel is hit over and over it can start to pit and cause bullets to ricochet, he said.
The cost to purchase one target runs about $500 and for the cost of $500 in steel the students were able to make six targets.
One of the targets has a flip out metal circle that simulates a hostage-type situation and helps the team practice precision shooting, Thompson said.
“This will help make our team members better shots,” Thompson said.
Thompson said the students and their parents could go to the practice range accompanied by officers sometime to try out the targets for themselves.
The AR500 steel, which is used to make items like snow plow blades, is very heavy and hard, Merrill Bylund, automated manufacturing instructor at CRTC, said.
It was Hardy’s first project where she used a plasma table and she was able to lay out the target designs so efficiently they were able to cut an extra target from the allotted steel.
“I pretty much had one shot to get it right,” Hardy said. “I was able to find the different angles and curves and make something someone else needs.”
Hardy said she was drawn to the program because she wanted to learn how to make tractor parts for their family farm.
“It’s really hard to get parts sometimes,” she said.
Hurd, who performed the welding on the targets, had to learn how to use a special wire for this type of steel.
“It’s something you just don’t do every day,” she said.
Hurd said when she saw all the equipment in the manufacturing shop she was instantly drawn to the program.
“I wanted to learn how to use all these machines,” she said.
Owners of a local welding company that visited the shop saw the quality of Hurd’s welding and offered her a job.
“I’m thinking about welding as a profession,” she said. “I haven’t decided yet. But it will definitely be something nice to fall back on.”
Hurd said her next project is building a coffee table for her mother using the family’s ranch brand.
The district’s goal with the technical programs is to help students find professions and join the local workforce, Debbie Critchfield, Cassia County School District spokeswoman, said.
“Projects like this give students a chance to do real life work,” Bylund said.
If you do one thing: The Twin Falls American Legion Post will host bingo at 1:45 p.m. at 447 Seastrom St., Twin Falls. Doors open at 1 p.m.
DENVER — When President Donald Trump raised the idea of banning “bump stocks” and curbing young people’s access to guns, gun owners and advocates who helped his political rise talked about disloyalty and desertion.
Trump’s flirtation with modest gun control measures drew swift condemnation from gun groups, hunters and sportsmen who banked on the president to be a stalwart opponent to any new restrictions.
He’s pledging to make schools safer and reduce gun violence after the Florida school shooting. But gun advocates see a weakening resolve from the man they voted for in droves and spent millions to elect.
“Out in the firearms community there is a great feeling of betrayal and abandonment because of the support he was given in his campaign for president,” Tony Fabian, president of the Colorado Sports Shooting Association, said Friday.
The comments highlight how little room the president and his party have to maneuver without angering and activating a politically powerful constituency.
Trump has not made a formal proposal and he spent much of the past week endorsing the notion of arming teachers and school officials, an approach the gun lobby supports.
Meanwhile, Trump appeared Saturday to begin refining his proposals for combatting school violence, tweeting that arming teachers as a deterrent against such often deadly violence — an idea he championed in recent days — is “Up to States.”
Trump heavily promoted the idea of putting “gun-adept” teachers and staff carrying concealed firearms in classrooms and schools to protect students following this month’s shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, that killed 17 people, most of them students.
He called for bonuses for educators who volunteer to carry a firearm, and said he also wanted action to strengthen background checks and boost the minimum age for the purchase of assault-style weapons.
Expectations were raised that Trump would propose federal legislation on arming teachers, but that no longer appeared to be the case Saturday.
“Armed Educators (and trusted people who work within a school) love our students and will protect them. Very smart people. Must be firearms adept & have annual training. Should get yearly bonus. Shootings will not happen again—a big & very inexpensive deterrent. Up to States,” Trump tweeted.
The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment about the president’s tweet.
Just floating proposals that defy the National Rifle Association and other groups drew threats of political retribution and legal action.
The confrontation is set to test whether Trump is willing to risk his political capital to take on a core group few Republicans have challenged.
“The president has a unique ability right now to maybe really do something about these school shootings,” said Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla. “Nobody is more popular in my district — and I know in a lot of other people’s districts — than Donald Trump. He’s more popular than the NRA. ... So it’s up to him whether or not anything happens with guns.”
After 17 people were killed by a teenager at the Florida school, Trump said that assault rifles should be kept out of the hands of anyone under 21. He endorsed more stringent background checks for gun buyers, and ordered his Justice Department to work toward banning rapid-fire “bump stock” devices.
Gun Owners of America issued an alert earlier this past week urging its 1.5 million members to call the White House and “Tell Trump to OPPOSE All Gun Control!” The organization said anti-gun activists aided by congressional Democrats are trying to convince the president he should “support their disastrous gun control efforts,” the message said. “And sadly, it may be working.”
Michael Hammond, legislative counsel for the Virginia-based group, said the organization doesn’t hesitate to oppose Republican incumbents and candidates whom it deems not sufficiently “pro-gun.” Motivating gun owners to go to the polls — not campaign funding — is the source of the gun lobby’s strength, according to Hammond.
“When they feel gun ownership is threatened, then they’re going to respond as if that’s the pre-eminent issue,” he said.
Paul Paradis, who owns a gun store in Colorado Springs, was enthusiastic about letting teachers carry firearms on campus. But he was incredulous about the notion of outlawing bump stocks and increasing the age requirement for buying a long gun.
“Trump can propose anything he wants but it’s got to get through two houses of Congress and the Supreme Court,” Paradis said.
Colorado has been a test case for the politics of gun control and the ability of gun groups to retaliate against those who vote for it. In 2013, after the Aurora theater shooting was followed by the elementary school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut, Colorado’s Democrat-controlled Legislature passed a package of gun restrictions, including universal background checks and a ban on magazines that hold more than 15 bullets.
Gun control advocates hoped to roll the program out to other states after showing a libertarian, Western state could pass the bills. But then the NRA backed successful recalls of two Democratic state lawmakers who backed the legislation. The momentum ended.
Democrats won back those seats in the 2016 election. Still, the message has lingered: Democrats have not proposed any major gun legislation since the recalls.
WASHINGTON — Two weeks after President Donald Trump blocked the full release of a classified Democratic memo, the House intelligence committee published a redacted version of the document that aims to counter a narrative that Republicans on the committee have promoted for months — that the FBI and Justice Department conspired against Trump as they investigated his ties to Russia.
The Democratic memo’s release on Saturday was the latest development in an extraordinary back and forth between Republicans and Democrats about the credibility of not only the multiple inquiries into links between the Trump campaign and Russia, but also about the credibility of the nation’s top law enforcement agencies.
The Democratic document attempts to undercut and add context to some of the main points from a declassified Republican memo that was released earlier this month. In that memo, Republicans took aim at the FBI and the Justice Department over the use of information compiled by British spy Christopher Steele in obtaining a secret warrant to monitor the communications of former Trump campaign foreign policy adviser Carter Page.
The GOP memo included the assertion that the FBI obtained a surveillance warrant without disclosing that Steele’s anti-Trump research was funded by Democrat Hillary Clinton’s campaign and the Democratic National Committee.
The Democratic memo counters that the Justice Department disclosed “the assessed political motivation of those who hired him” and that Steele was likely hired by someone “looking for information that could be used to discredit” then-candidate Trump’s campaign.
Republicans say that is not enough, since Clinton and the DNC were not named. President Donald Trump himself seized on this point in a tweet Saturday evening: “Dem Memo: FBI did not disclose who the clients were—the Clinton Campaign and the DNC. Wow!”
The White House had objected to the Democratic memo’s release, citing national security concerns on Feb. 9. That sent the Democrats back to negotiations with the FBI, which approved a redacted version on Saturday. It was then declassified and released.
Trump had no such concerns about the GOP memo, which he declassified in full on Feb. 2 over strong objections from the FBI.
The Democratic memo asserts that the FBI’s concerns about Page long predate the Steele dossier, and that its application to monitor his communications details suspicious activities he undertook during the 2016 presidential campaign. That includes a July 2016 trip to Moscow in which he gave a university commencement address.
The memo also contends that the Justice Department provided “additional information from multiple independent sources that corroborated Steele’s reporting” in the dossier. Most of the details of the corroborated information are redacted but they do appear to reference Page’s meeting with Russian officials.
The memo also details Russian attempts to cultivate Page as a spy. It cites a federal indictment of two Russian spies who allegedly targeted Page for recruitment and notes that the FBI interviewed him based on those suspicions in March 2016.
The Democrats say the FBI made “made only narrow use of Steele’s sources” in the warrant in the secret court that operates under Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, or FISA.
Republicans say that is still too much.
“Again, the fact the minority cannot outright deny that a DNC/Clinton funded document was used to wiretap an American is extremely concerning,” the Republican National Committee said in a statement.
Trump has said the GOP memo “vindicates” him in the ongoing Russia investigation led by special counsel Robert Mueller. But congressional Democrats and Republicans, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Rep. Trey Gowdy of South Carolina, who helped draft the GOP memo, have said it shouldn’t be used to undermine the special counsel.
Partisan disagreements on the intelligence committee have escalated over the last year as Democrats have charged that Republicans aren’t taking the panel’s investigation into Russian election meddling seriously enough. They say the GOP memo is designed as a distraction from the probe, which is looking into whether Trump’s campaign was in any way connected to the Russian interference.
Republicans say they are just alerting the public to abuses they say they’ve uncovered at the Justice Department and FBI.
The top Democrat on the intelligence panel, California Rep. Adam Schiff, said Saturday that the memo should “put to rest any concerns that the American people might have” as to the conduct of the FBI, the Justice Department and the court that issued the secret warrant.
The review “failed to uncover any evidence of illegal, unethical, or unprofessional behavior by law enforcement,” he said.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders disagreed. She said that Trump supported the redacted release of the memo in the interest of transparency, but “nevertheless, this politically driven document fails to answer serious concerns raised by the majority’s memorandum about the use of partisan opposition research from one candidate, loaded with uncorroborated allegations, as a basis to ask a court to approve surveillance of a former associate of another candidate, at the height of a presidential campaign.”