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In this July 6, 2011, file photo, a grizzly bear roams near Beaver Lake in Yellowstone National Park, Wyo. The Idaho Fish and Game Commission has approved a limited hunting season for grizzly bears in eastern Idaho.

10 years after dropping out of high school and 4 children later, this Burley mom is graduating from CSI

BURLEY — Ten years ago, Patricia Ganoe dropped out of high school. But her pursuit of education didn’t end there.

She soon went to the College of Southern Idaho to earn a high school equivalency certificate. Then in 2009, she started taking college classes. It didn’t go well.

“I was kind of an idiot and didn’t go to class,” the 28-year-old Burley woman said Tuesday.

When she returned to CSI in 2014, she was on academic probation. She was determined not to make the same mistakes again.

“I’m in a completely different mindset,” Ganoe said. “And this time, I had to graduate to help out the family.”

She made it, earning an associate’s degree in business management and entrepreneurship. She’s among hundreds of CSI students who’ll graduate Friday during two ceremonies at the college’s gymnasium in Twin Falls.

Like many at CSI, Ganoe is a non-traditional student. She took the vast majority of her classes online, except for two in person at the CSI Mini-Cassia Center in Burley.

For four years, Ganoe was a part-time student at CSI, juggling classwork with raising her four children, now ages 6, 4, 2 and 9 months. Her two youngest were born while she was a college student.

Her oldest child has high-functioning autism. She said they’ve gone through autism testing and a battle over his Individualized Education Program at school.


Patricia Ganoe holds her nine-month-old son Oliver Ganoe as they participate in the 'make it and take it' event Tuesday, May 8, 2018, at the DeMary Memorial Library in Rupert. Ganoe will be graduating from the College of Southern Idaho with honors after spending years working on her degree while raising her four children.

By going back to school, Ganoe wanted to set an example for him. She said she can now tell him, “you have to see what mom’s done and what the reward is to go to school.”

Ganoe is continuing her education this fall through Boise State University, pursuing a bachelor’s degree in business through an online program.

Ganoe is a hard worker, said Robin Bagent, director of CSI’s Business Management and Entrepreneurship program. “She stressed herself at times due to attention to detail. She had set very high standards for herself.”

That’s not always easy, Bagent said, especially with four children. But her family provided a good support system and “they really wanted her to succeed. I think that’s really important for any student in any program.”

Once she finishes a bachelor’s degree, Ganoe said she thinks she wants to work for a small business, helping them in an office setting. “We have a lot of small businesses in the Mini-Cassia area that could use more (help).”

Ganoe’s goal is to “use her attention to detail to help companies update office procedures,” Bagent said. “That is right up her alley and she is so good at that. She’s very strong in marketing and systems development. Both of those together, she’s really going to help a company.”

‘Anyone else can do it’

When Ganoe started taking CSI classes, her husband was working in landscaping for his father and didn’t have health insurance. The thought was if Ganoe went back to school to earn a business degree, “we had a backup plan,” she said, such as if her husband was injured on the job.

Plus, she was planning to work for the family business after graduating. “We were thinking I would take over the office stuff,” Ganoe said. But last year, her husband was hired by the city of Heyburn, so that plan ended up changing.

During her four years at CSI, Ganoe’s class load varied. When her third child was born, she decided to take one class. “I was not sure how I would handle that,” she said.

Her youngest child was born in August and is now 9 months old. Despite having a newborn, Ganoe took three classes that semester.



In CSI’s Business Management and Entrepreneurship program, students can attend classes either in person or online. Most students opt for fully online since many work full time or don’t live near the college’s Twin Falls campus, Bagent said. She has students from all over Idaho, Oregon, Nevada and South Carolina.

“Most of the students are a little older than fresh out of high school,” she said. “They’re willing to put the work in, which makes the classes more fun.”

Ganoe credits her husband and mother for supporting her and helping with childcare. For the last four years, Ganoe has spent Sundays doing as much homework as she can and her husband watches the children. She also used to drive to Twin Falls with the children so her mother could watch them while Ganoe did her math homework.

Through her college experience, Ganoe has learned she loves business — the numbers, laws and marketing. “I tell my husband that I’m emotionally attached to it now.”

It was a long and challenging journey to get to graduation. But Ganoe has a message for other students: “If I can do it while having babies and dealing with a special needs child, anyone else can do it.”

N. Korea summit set, detainees free

WASHINGTON — Envisioning "a very special moment for world peace," President Donald Trump announced Thursday he will meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un for highly anticipated summit talks in Singapore on June 12. He set the stage for his announcement by hosting a 3 a.m., made-for-TV welcome home for three Americans held by Kim's government.

"We welcomed them back home the proper way," Trump told supporters at a campaign rally in Indiana Thursday evening.

Final details in place, Trump and Kim agreed to the first face-to-face North Korea-U.S. summit since the end of the 1950-53 Korean War. It's the most consequential and perhaps riskiest foreign policy effort so far in Trump's presidency as North Korea's nuclear program approaches a treacherous milestone — the capacity to strike the continental U.S. with a thermonuclear warhead.

Trump says the U.S. is aiming for "denuclearization" of the entire Korean peninsula, but he has yet to fill in just what steps that might include and what the timing would be.

"We're starting off on a new footing," Trump said of himself and Kim as he welcomed the detainees in a floodlit ceremony at Joint Base Andrews outside Washington. He hailed their release as a potential breakthrough in relations between the longtime adversary nations.

He and Kim "will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" he said of the summit later on Twitter. He told his rally crowd, "I think it's going to be a very big success."

Kim has suspended nuclear and missile tests and put his nuclear program up for negotiation, but questions remain about how serious his offer is and what disarmament steps he would be willing to take. The White House has said withdrawal of thousands of U.S. troops from South Korea is "not on the table."

Long before dawn Thursday, with the former detainees by his side on the air base tarmac, Trump said it was a "great honor" to welcome them back to the U.S. but "the true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons."

The ceremony, which also featured a giant American flag suspended between the ladders of two firetrucks, emphasized Trump's penchant for the dramatic as he raised expectations for the summit. And it underscored how closely the fate of his foreign policy agenda is being tied to the North Korean negotiations.

He had wanted to hold the summit in the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas but yielded to the concerns of officials who thought a DMZ meeting would focus attention on relations between the North and South rather than the nuclear question.

Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, other top officials and first lady Melania joined the president for the air base celebration. The former detainees — Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim — had been released Wednesday at the end of Pompeo's visit to North Korea.

They appeared tired but in excellent spirits, flashing peace signs and waving their arms as they emerged from the aircraft. One said through a translator, "It's like a dream; we are very, very happy." They later gave the president a round of applause.

Pence said Pompeo had told him that at a refueling stop in Anchorage, "one of the detainees asked to go outside the plane because he hadn't seen daylight in a very long time." The men were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for evaluation before being reunited with their families.

Trump thanked North Korean leader Kim for releasing the Americans and said, "I really think he wants to do something" on denuclearization.

Pence said on NBC News, "In this moment the regime in North Korea has been dealing, as far as we can see, in good faith."

Sen. Cory Gardner of Colorado, who was among several Republican lawmakers who dined with Trump and National Security Adviser John Bolton Wednesday evening before the detainees returned, said their release was a positive development, but he remained cautious about North Korea's intentions.

"We are in uncharted waters," he said. "This is the highest level diplomacy that the United States has to offer. Failure would be a significant setback to diplomatic efforts."

As for the venue, why Singapore?

White House spokesman Raj Shah said the country has relationships with both the U.S. and North Korea, meaning both presidents' security — and a sense of neutrality — can be assured.

Located at the southern tip of Malaysia, the prosperous city state is a regional Southeast Asia hub whose free enterprise philosophy welcomes trading partners from everywhere. It has close diplomatic and military ties with the U.S. and yet is also familiar ground for North Korea, with which it established diplomatic relations in 1975.

"Since their independence, they've very deliberately developed a reputation as an honest broker between East and West," said David Adelman, the former U.S. ambassador.

The White House choreographed the arrival event at the air base, the image-conscious president telling reporters, "I think you probably broke the all-time-in-history television rating for 3 o'clock in the morning."

The public display stood in stark contrast to the low-key, private reception that the State Department had envisioned, in keeping with a practice of trying to protect potentially traumatized victims from being thrust into the spotlight so soon after an ordeal.

Shortly after they touched down in Alaska, the department released a statement from the freed men. They expressed their appreciation to Trump, Pompeo and the people of the United States and added: "We thank God, and all our families and friends who prayed for us and for our return. God Bless America, the greatest nation in the world."

Burley man charged in Thanksgiving day beating, encouraging toddler to stab mom, takes deal

BURLEY — A Burley accused of beating a woman on Thanksgiving and forcing her toddler to help stab her with a knife has taken a plea deal with the state.

David James Gifford, 37, has pleaded guilty to one felony count of domestic violence. In return, the Cassia County Prosecutor’s Office will dismiss an enhancement charge for committing the crime in the presence of a child and felony charges of injury to a child and attempted strangulation.

Cassia County Deputy Prosecutor McCord Larsen said his office will recommend Gifford be sent to the state’s retained jurisdiction program, known as a rider. It’s a therapeutic program run by the Idaho Department of Correction. If he fails the program, a judge could sentence him to three to 10 years in prison, the plea agreement said.

Under the terms of the agreement, Gifford’s attorney is free to request a different sentence.

The victim in the case testified in a prior hearing that Gifford attacked her by punching, strangling and kicking her until she lost consciousness. She said he stabbed her several times with a steak knife then gave a knife to her toddler and got him to stab her also.

The woman said Gifford held her down while the two-year-old boy stabbed at her stomach several times but did not penetrate the skin. She said Gifford then flipped her over and told the boy to stab her again. Then, Gifford and the boy were both stabbing her in the back using different pressures.

Gifford is scheduled to be sentenced July 3 in Cassia County District Court.

Steve Conner, Courtesy of CSI 

The CSI softball team celebrates a game-winning hit from Anjalee Batchelor (smiling, in helmet) against Salt Lake Community College on Thursday during the Region 18 softball tournament at CSI.

Israel, Iran attack each other's positions

BEIRUT — Israeli forces unleashed a heavy bombardment against Iranian military installations in Syria on Thursday in what Israel called retaliation for an Iranian rocket barrage on its positions in the occupied Golan Heights, the most serious military confrontation between the two bitter enemies to date.

The two rivals have long fought each other through proxies, and with the new exchange each seemed to be sending a warning that a direct clash between them could swiftly escalate.

“If we get rain, they’ll get a flood,” Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman warned.

The scope of the attacks — which Israel called its largest in Syria since the 1973 Mideast war — raised the specter of a full-fledged war between Iran and Israel in Syria, a conflict that could potentially drag the militant Hezbollah and Lebanon into the mix with devastating effects, although both sides appeared to signal they wanted the confrontation to remain contained, at least for now.

Israel, however, has been emboldened by President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal earlier this week, and the latest escalation seemed to signal a potentially coordinated surge in military activity targeting Iran.

The Israeli military said Thursday it hit nearly all of Iran’s military installations in Syria in response to the overnight Iranian rocket barrage that targeted Israeli front-line military positions in the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that Israel captured in the 1967 Middle East war. It was the first time Israel has directly accused Iran of firing toward Israeli territory.

Iranian media described the Israeli attack as “unprecedented,” but there was no official Iranian comment on Israel’s claims.

Iran has vowed to retaliate for repeated Israeli airstrikes targeting its forces in Syria. But it seemed to carefully calibrate its response by targeting the Golan Heights, which Israel annexed in 1981 in a move that is not internationally recognized, instead of striking Israel proper.

Tehran is wary of a wider military conflagration with Israel that could jeopardize its military achievements in Syria at a time when it is trying to salvage the international nuclear deal and may be limited in its ability to strike back.

The recent clashes reveal the difficulty both sides face in dealing with an unprecedented situation, said Jean-Pierre Filiu, a professor of Middle East studies at Sciences Po, Paris School of International Affairs.

The clashes will eventually likely lead not to further escalation, but to the “consolidation of new ‘red lines’ tacitly endorsed by Israel and Iran,” he said in an analysis written for the Carnegie Middle East Center.

The extent of the damage inflicted by the Israeli airstrikes was not immediately clear.

Israel said among the targets were weapons storage, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces in Syria. It also said it destroyed several Syrian air-defense systems after coming under heavy fire and that none of its warplanes were hit.

The Syrian military acknowledged that the strikes destroyed a radar station and an ammunition warehouse, and damaged a number of air defense units. It said three people were killed and two were wounded.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which closely monitors the civil war through sources inside Syria, said 23 fighters, including five Syrian soldiers, were killed. It was not immediately clear if any Iranians were among the dead.

The White House swiftly condemned Iran’s “provocative rocket attacks from Syria against Israeli citizens” and expressed strong support for “Israel’s right to act in self-defense,” while Russia said the Israeli strikes marked a dangerous escalation and urged both Israel and Iran to avoid provoking each other.

In a statement, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said “the Iranian regime’s deployment into Syria of offensive rocket and missile systems aimed at Israel is an unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East.”

Israel has carried out over 100 airstrikes in neighboring Syria since the civil war erupted in 2011, most believed to be aimed at suspected Iranian weapons shipments bound for the Hezbollah militant group.

But in the past few weeks, Israel has shifted to a more direct and public confrontation with Iran, striking at Iranian bases, weapons depots and rocket launchers across Syria, and killing Iranian troops. Israel accuses Tehran of seeking to establish a foothold on its doorstep, something it has vowed never to allow.

Reflecting the scope of the pre-dawn attack, Russia’s military said 28 Israeli jets were involved, striking Iranian and government sites in Syria with 70 missiles. It said half the missiles were shot down.

Speaking at the Herzliya Conference, an annual security gathering north of Tel Aviv, Lieberman said Israel would respond fiercely to any further Iranian actions.

“We will not let Iran turn Syria into a forward base against Israel,” the Israeli defense minister said. “If we get rain, they’ll get a flood. I hope that we ended this chapter and that everyone understood.”

In a statement issued as Israel’s security cabinet met, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said the strike sent a “clear message” that “whoever attacks us — we will attack them sevenfold and whoever prepares to attack us — we will act against them first.”

Iranian state television announced the Israeli strikes, sourcing the information to Syria’s state-run SANA news agency, and described the Israeli attack as “unprecedented.”

Israel captured the Golan Heights in the 1967 war and annexed it in 1981. In 1974, Israel and Syria reached a cease-fire and a disengagement deal that froze the conflict lines with the plateau in Israeli hands.

Pedestrian dies on I-84 after being hit by semi-truck

WENDELL — An Idaho Falls woman died early Thursday morning in a vehicle versus pedestrian crash Interstate 84 near Wendell.

Cynthia J. Mead, 57, died at the scene as a result of her injuries, Idaho State Police said in a statement. Her family has been notified.

ISP responded at 1:48 a.m. to Interstate 84 east at milepost 158. Mead had been walking east in the right lane of the interstate.

Robert R. Pierce, 60, of Reno, Nev. , was driving east in a 2018 Freightliner semi. He was unable to see Mead walking due to a curve in the road and was unable to stop his vehicle before hitting Mead.

Both eastbound lanes were blocked for about three hours.

Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office, Gooding County Sheriff’s Office, Idaho Transportation Department and Wendell Quick Response Unit assisted during the investigation.