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Police: Men stole from Twin Falls storage unit to pay off traffic ticket

TWIN FALLS — A former employee of a storage facility in town says he helped another man burglarize storage units to pay off a traffic ticket.

Michael A. Johnston, 38, of Twin Falls was charged Friday with burglary and grand theft at Magic Valley Storage near the Shilo Inn in Twin Falls, police say.

According to court documents, owner Brant McCombs reviewed video footage from Sept. 22 and saw two men in an older model white Mazda pickup remove items from storage units. The missing items were two Crate Barrel brown leather chairs valued at about $675 each, and a set of china and silver wine goblets.

Johnston and the other man, identified only as Morgan from New Hampshire, used an employee code to open the front gate of the storage facility, Johnston told Twin Falls Police Officer Asmir Kararic. Once inside, the two entered a unit containing keys to other storage units, documents say.

Johnston told Kararic he “went along with the burglary because Morgan kept bugging him and he needed money to pay off a traffic ticket,” documents say.

After leaving Magic Valley Storage with the stolen items, Johnston said he went home while Morgan traded the items for drugs and money.

Johnston “said Morgan was supposed to pay him for helping him but he never did,” Kararic wrote in the document.

Johnson’s preliminary hearing is scheduled for Friday.

Idaho lawmaker installs private camera inside Capitol

BOISE — An Idaho House leader said Monday he’s set up a security camera in his legislative office to record meetings with fellow lawmakers, lobbyists and constituents in response to the wave of sexual misconduct allegations erupting across the country.

House Assistant Majority Leader Brent Crane, a Republican from Nampa, says he felt the need to take extra steps to protect his reputation after seeing multiple lawmakers face accusations of sexual misconduct in Idaho and Washington D.C.

“People are concerned,” Crane, who owns a security alarm system company in Nampa, said in a phone interview. “It’s a different environment and we should be able to take measures that protect our integrity.”

Idaho Public Television was the first to report on the existence of the hidden security camera on Monday. According the report, Crane declined to be recorded when interviewed by IPTV.

Crane told The Associated Press he initially informed his House Republican colleagues of the camera, but no one else.

House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, says he found about the camera during a meeting at Crane’s office earlier this month. Erpelding said he had been chatting with Crane for several minutes before noticing the small, black camera on the bookshelf. When Erpelding confronted Crane about it, Crane told him he was being filmed.

“I was blown away by it,” Erpelding said. “In response to the #MeToo movement, they’re implying that someone is out to get them.”

In Idaho, people can record others without their permission. Crane says he does not always tell people of the camera — which records only video and not audio — and has no plans to change that during the legislative session.

“A picture is worth a 1,000 words,” Crane said.

Education department seeks partners for summer food service

BOISE — The Child Nutrition Division of the Idaho State Department of Education is seeking partners for this year’s Summer Food Service Program, which provides free meals and snacks during the summer months to children ages one-18 who live in low-income areas.

The department contracts with community partners — referred to as sponsors — who are reimbursed for each qualifying meal or snack they serve at approved sites. Last year, Idaho’s 75 summer food sponsors served approximately 1.17 million meals and snacks at more than 300 sites.

For the 2018 program year, sponsors may be, but are not limited to:

  • Public or private nonprofit schools
  • Public or private nonprofit residential camps
  • City, county, tribal or state governments
  • Public or private nonprofit colleges or universities that participate in the National Youth Sports Program
  • Upward Bound programs
  • Religious organizations
  • Libraries
  • Private nonprofit organizations

All sponsors, new and returning, are required to attend training and must complete the application process as soon as possible. The Twin Falls training schedule is April 27.

More information on becoming a sponsor or feeding site: call 208-332-6820. Application information will be provided to eligible sponsors and is due to the Department of Education by May 4. Department approval is required prior to program operation.

Meals for the Summer Food Service Program must be served in accordance with federal law and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Nondiscrimination policy.

Public review of US 30 road revamp west of Burley Jan. 31

BURLEY — The Idaho Department of Transportation will hold an open house Jan. 31 in Burley so the public can look at the final plans for the U.S. Highway 30 project.

The public will be able to review and comment on the proposed changes to a 3.25-mile section of the highway from 4 to 6 p.m. at Burley City Hall, 1401 Overland Ave., in the Council Chambers.

The improvements to the road between 400 W. Road and Parke Avenue include widening the highway to two through lanes in each direction, widening the shoulders, installing turn bays at public roads, rebuilding irrigation structures that are affected and revamping business and private access from the road along with adding lighting at identified intersections.

The work includes putting in a traffic signal at Washington Street and the Bedke Boulevard intersection with the highway.

Members of the project team will be on hand to discuss the road safety improvements and what can be expected during the construction.

Construction will be funded in 2019.

People can write comments at the meeting and comments may be submitted through Feb. 16. Comments can be mailed to IDT District 4, Attn: Nathan Jerke, 216 South Date, Shoshone, Idaho, 83352 or emailed to

For more information on the project visit website and click on the design projects tab, US30 North 400 to Parke Ave.

Glenns Ferry man wins $200K on holiday scratch game

GLENNS FERRY — A local man won $200,000 Friday on a holiday scratch game.

“We don’t play that often and I never really thought anyone ever wins big,” Kevin Gonzalez said.

Gonzalez and his wife, Maria, stopped to buy gas Friday evening at Price Less Mini Mart in Glenns Ferry. Gonzalez bought a single “A Wreath of Franklins” scratch ticket.

“I didn’t believe it,” he said. “I thought it was a fake. I checked it on my phone with the app and it said to contact the Lottery.”

Gonzalez signed his ticket and kept it safe all weekend until claiming his winnings Monday morning at lottery offices in Boise. Price Less Mini Mart in Glenns Ferry receives a bonus of $20,000 for selling the winning ticket.

Gonzalez claimed the last grand prize on the holiday-themed game; his win officially ends that game.

Pharma deals, shutdown pact help stocks set more records

NEW YORK (AP) — Hefty gains for energy and technology companies helped U.S. stocks set more records Monday. Drugmakers announced two major deals worth about $20 billion and smaller-company stocks climbed after the Senate reached a short-term deal to end the government shutdown.

Stocks were slightly higher in the early going as strong fourth-quarter results from Halliburton helped energy companies, and big technology companies like Alphabet and Microsoft continued their ascent. Starting at noon, after Senate Democrats said they would support a three-week government funding bill, bond yields increased and smaller-companies shook off their early losses to turn higher.

French drugmaker Sanofi is buying hemophilia treatment maker Bioverativ in a deal the companies valued at $11.6 billion, while Celgene will buy cancer treatment maker Juno Therapeutics for $9 billion. In the financial sector, insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, for $5.56 billion.

Marina Severinovsky, an investment strategist at Schroders, said health care companies are likely to find more money for deals because the Republican-backed tax package gave the companies a one-time tax break on money they’ve been keeping overseas. Meanwhile AIG’s big purchase is a sign of how far the company has come since the federal government bailed it out almost a decade ago.

The Standard & Poor’s 500 index picked up 22.67 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,832.97. The Dow Jones industrial average rose 142.88 points, or 0.5 percent, to 26,214.60. The Nasdaq composite added 71.65 points, or 1 percent, to 7,408.03. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks gained 7.54 points, or 0.5 percent, to 1,605.17.

The Senate was poised to pass a bill that will fund the federal government until early February. That came after Republican leaders said they will soon address immigration and other contentious political issues. The government shut down after the previous funding bill expired Friday.

The threat of a shutdown has loomed for months and the short-term fix doesn’t resolve that. But the threat hasn’t troubled Wall Street because investors doubt it would have much effect on the market or the economy unless it persists for several weeks or more. After that, it might affect economic growth or consumer spending.

Sanofi is buying hemophilia treatment maker Bioverativ for $105 a share. Bioverativ makes Eloctate and Alprolix, which treat two different types of hemophilia. It’s part of Sanofi’s growing focus on rare diseases, which can command high prices at a time generic medications for more common ailments are falling.

Bioverativ jumped $39.68, or 61.9 percent, to $103.79 while Sanofi lost $1.40, or 3.1 percent, to $43.20.

Meanwhile Celgene will pay $87 a share, for its partner Juno Therapeutics. Juno is one of several companies developing CAR-T cancer therapies, which genetically engineer patients’ blood cells into “living drugs” that fight cancer. The stock surged last week on reports Celgene might buy the company. On Monday it rose $18.19, or 26.8 percent, to $86 while Celgene added 26 cents to $102.91.

Bond prices gave up an early gain. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note remained at 2.66 percent, a three-year high.

Halliburton climbed after the oil and gas drilling services company posted a bigger adjusted profit and greater revenue than analysts expected. Its stock advanced $3.39, or 6.4 percent, to $56.40. Competitor Schlumberger, which reported better-than-expected results Friday, gained $3.37, or 4.4 percent, to $79.79.

Benchmark U.S. crude rose 25 cents to $63.62 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 42 cents to $69.03 a barrel in London.

Insurer AIG is buying Validus, a provider of reinsurance, primary insurance, and asset management services, for $68 a share. Validus gained $20.57, or 44 percent, to $67.29 and AIG slid 55 cents to $61.

Utility company FirstEnergy surged after it received a $2.5 billion investment from a group of firms including Paul Singer’s Elliott Management. Those investors will get $1.62 billion in convertible stock and $850 million in common stock, and FirstEnergy said the funds will help the company pack back debt and contribute to its pension fund as it converts to a fully-regulated utility.

Its stock climbed $3.05, or 10.4 percent, to $32.45.

In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 2 cents to $1.88 a gallon. Heating oil stayed at $2.06 a gallon. Natural gas climbed 4 cents to $3.22 per 1,000 cubic feet.

The dollar rose to 110.99 yen from 110.60 yen from 110.98 yen. The euro edged up to $1.2258 from $1.2234.

Gold slipped $1.20 to $1,331.90 an ounce. Silver lost 5 cents to $16.99 an ounce. Copper gained 1 cent to $3.20 a pound.

The French CAC 40 added 0.3 percent and Germany’s DAX edged up 0.2 percent. In Britain the FTSE 100 lost 0.2 percent. Tokyo’s Nikkei 225 rose less than 0.1 percent and Hong Kong’s Hang Seng advanced 0.4 percent. The Kospi in South Korea lost 0.7 percent.


AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at His work can be found at


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Valley BeansPrices are net to growers, 100 pounds, U.S. No. 1 beans, less Idaho bean tax and storage charges. Prices subject to change without notice. Producers desiring more recent price information should contact dealers.

Open market prices established by Kelley Bean’s Idaho locations: pintos, $21; great northerns, $21; small reds, $28; blacks, $27; pinks, ask. Quotes current Feb. 19.

Valley Grains

Prices for wheat per bushel mixed grain, oats, corn and beans per hundredweight. Prices subject to change without notice.

Wheat, $3.45, new barley, $6.00 (cwt) corn, $7.00 (cwt) oats, $5.45 (cwt). Prices are given by Rangen in Buhl. Prices current Feb. 19.

Corn, $7.30 (cwt) barley, $5.30 (cwt) wheat, $3.90 (bushel). Prices quoted by JD Heiskell. Prices current Feb. 14.


Barrels $1.46 -3 Blocks $1.4950 -3 Prices current Feb. 23.

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