Without water, there is no modern life in the Magic Valley. There is no farmland, no thriving Twin Falls and no beautiful attractions like the Perrine Bridge and Shoshone Falls.
For the first installment in a six-part, photo-heavy series detailing the many ways that water is crucial to sustaining life in the Magic Valley, Chief Photographer Drew Nash featured Twin Falls Canal Co., and explored their role in keeping the water moving in the valley. See story on page E1
LONDON — Alfie Evans, a British toddler with a degenerative brain condition whose parents lost a legal battle to keep him on life support at a Vatican hospital, was mourned with balloons set free in the sky and prayers from the pope after he died Saturday weeks shy of his second birthday.
Kate James and Tom Evans said their son’s death overnight in Liverpool, England, had left them “heartbroken.” Alfie’s condition left him with almost no brain function, and multiple courts ruled that keeping him alive was not in his best interests before doctors removed his ventilator five days ago.
“My gladiator lay down his shield and gained his wings at 02:30,” Evans, 21, wrote in a Facebook post decorated with a broken heart and crying emojis.
As news spread in the community, dozens of people laid flowers and mementoes in a park near Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, where Alfie was treated.
About 1,000 people gathered 12 hours after the boy died to release blue and purple balloons in solidarity with the grieving mother and father who had struggled to come to terms with their child’s terminal illness.
James, 20, posted a message on social media thanking everyone who supported the family through Alfie’s illness and court fight.
Alfie’s case sparked a medical ethics debate that resonated far beyond Britain.
Doctors overseeing his care said further treatment was futile and he should be allowed to die. But his parents fought for months to try to convince judges to allow them to take him to the Vatican’s children’s hospital, where life support would have been maintained.
Under British law, courts are asked to intervene when parents and doctors disagree on the right course of treatment for a child. In such cases, the rights of the child take primacy over the parents’ right to decide what’s best for their daughters and sons.
Pope Francis, who met with Evans and publicly supported the parents’ campaign to bring Alfie to Bambino Gesu Hospital, wrote condolences that were posted Saturday on Twitter.
“I am deeply moved by the death of little Alfie,” Francis said. “Today I pray especially for his parents, as God the Father receives him in his tender embrace.”
Italy granted Alfie citizenship and put a military plane on standby to transport him to Rome, if the courts allowed it.
“Goodbye, little Alfie. We loved you,” Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano tweeted Saturday.
Tensions between the toddler’s parents and the hospital had eased in recent days. Evans, who earlier said doctors were wrong about Alfie’s prognosis and threatened to resume the court battle over his care, pledged to work with hospital staff to give his son “dignity and comfort” in his final days.
“Our lives have been turned upside down by the intense focus on Alfie and his situation,” Evans said Thursday outside the Liverpool hospital.
He thanked the hospital staff “for their dignity and professionalism during what must be an incredibly difficult time for them too.”
Alder Hey issued a statement to express “heartfelt sympathy and condolences to Alfie’s family.”
“All of us feel deeply for Alfie, Kate, Tom and his whole family and our thoughts are with them,” the hospital said. “This has been a devastating journey for them, and we would ask that their privacy and the privacy of staff at Alder Hey is respected.”
Alfie’s case received widespread attention outside Britain, especially in predominantly Catholic countries. Francis recently appealed for the wishes of the boy’s parents to be heeded, saying only God can decide who dies.
Officials in Poland and Italy criticized Britain’s courts and state-run National Health Service. A leading right-wing politician in Italy, Veneto Gov. Luca Zaia, said that in Alfie, the “so-called civilized world has supplied the latest proof of enormous incivility.”
Supporters of the parents staged angry protests regularly outside the hospital and tried to storm the entrance at times. Alder Hey asked for tributes to Alfie to be left in a park next door so the hospital’s work wasn’t disrupted.
If you do one thing: The College of Southern Idaho Chamber Choir presents a Spring Sing concert with the CSI Madrigal Ensemble and CSI Dance Composition class at 7:30 p.m. in CSI’s Fine Arts Auditorium, 315 Falls Ave., Twin Falls. Free admission; donations welcome to the music scholarship fund.
TWIN FALLS — Could the next governor or lieutenant governor hail from the Magic Valley?
Two local candidates are throwing their hats in the ring: Steve Pankey, a Republican from Twin Falls who’s running for governor, and Jim Fabe, a Democrat from Sun Valley who hopes to occupy the lieutenant governor’s office come January.
Fabe, a solar energy farmer and U.S. Army Major, spent the bulk of his career working as a dentist and financial consultant in Los Angeles, but regularly visited Sun Valley throughout that time.
He moved to Idaho from southern California last year and briefly practiced dentistry in Twin Falls before retiring in March.
Fabe has drawn inspiration for parts of his platform from several years spent living in Europe. He describes himself as a “strong believer in practical government.”
“I’m not interested in ideological arguments,” Fabe said. “You have the right wing and left wing that seem to be talking past each other. We need to get to a point where we can agree on stuff and make things better for everybody.”
As the father of 3 children, Fabe said, he feels an urgent need to address gun violence in light of recent school shootings. He would like to see Idaho adopt a model for gun control that’s similar to Switzerland’s by establishing a “well-regulated” militia of citizens between the ages of 30 and 59.
Under Fabe’s model, Idahoans younger than 30 and older than 60 would not be allowed to own guns. He said he believes this would decrease crime and lower Idaho’s suicide rate. Assault weapons would be banned for civilian use.
Another priority for Fabe: combating climate change by increasing Idaho’s production of solar and wind energy and making the state’s infrastructure more accommodating for electric cars.
Fabe said he is confident that, if elected, he would be able to work with Idaho’s mostly Republican legislature.
“Our similarities are much more profound than our differences,” Fabe said. Pankey, a retired property manager, declined to be interviewed for this article, but said in an emailed statement to the Times-News that if elected governor he would work toward stopping “government fraud, waste and mismanagement” and would “keep power low” in the hands of individuals, families, churches and local government.
Pankey’s website lists local and parental control over education, a “fair and level uniform low rate business tax,” eliminating federal money in Idaho, and “constitutionally limited state spending” — which would mean defunding “decadence,” abortion, and “George Soros programs” — as some of his top priorities.
Pankey has run for statewide office twice before, as both a Constitution Party candidate and as a Republican. In 2014, he ran for governor as a Constitution candidate, but party delegates voted not to support him after Pankey wrote a letter to Attorney General Lawrence Wasden voicing support for same-sex marriage, the Times-News reported at the time.
He ran for lieutenant governor as a Republican in 2010, and for Lincoln County Sheriff as a Constitution Party candidate before that.
TWIN FALLS — Cheers and hollers filled the auditorium as the graduates walked, one by one, across the stage to deliver their speeches.
Fifteen drug court participants graduated Wednesday night, making a total of 594 people who have completed the program in the Fifth Judicial District.
Amy Allred, Michele Dubina and Charles Marvoich were three of Wednesday night’s graduates. Here’s what they had to say about the experience.
How did it feel to walk across the stage?
Dubina: “Absolutely amazing. It was super nerve-wracking and it was super unreal. It’s been a very, very, very long journey, a journey that I never thought I would make, and I never thought that I would accomplish walking across the stage and getting my certificate. It was incredible.”
Allred: “It was good. I got a little stage fright, but it felt really good. It was the first time in a long time that I’ve accomplished anything.”
What’s the most valuable thing you learned in the program? Marovich: “The most valuable thing I learned would probably have to be honesty, and holding myself accountable.”
Allred: “I learned that my addiction hung on by the guilt and shame that I felt. When I started forgiving myself and letting go of that guilt and shame, it got a lot easier.”
What’s next for you?
Dubina: “I am going to school to become an abuse counselor for women and children who have been physically and sexually abused. It’s something that I went through, something that I also overcame.”
Allred: “I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing for the time being, but I’m hoping within the next year I can start buying my own home and just be an adult.”
Marovich: “Remain sober, get into my own place and move forward.”
What do you think will be the biggest challenges will be going forward?
Marovich: “Now that I don’t have the program as a weight, the biggest challenge would have to be taking the tools that I’ve learned and being able to apply them on my own.”
Allred: “The thing I worry about the most is losing sight of my sobriety, the importance of my sobriety. Right now I’m still on probation, but eventually I’ll get off probation, and I don’t want to lose sight of why I’m still sober. When you don’t have somebody looking over you all the time, you tend to get complacent and think that it’s okay.”
Dubina: “I just don’t have those classes anymore, I don’t have all those meetings. I know it’s me. I’ve got to do it all on my own. People are still there to help me, but I need to learn to do life on life’s terms, alone.”