Editor’s note: This column first ran Jan. 8, 2015, in the Times-News and on Magicvalley.com.
TWIN FALLS — Clarence E. Bisbee wasn’t the only photographer to capture pioneer life in the Magic Valley.
Charles Roscoe Savage was a Mormon who immigrated from England in 1855. He is well known for his photographs of the American West.
Savage settled in Salt Lake City in 1960, then traveled extensively while under contract with the Union Pacific Railroad. He photographed completion of the transcontinental railroad at Promontory Point on May 10, 1869, where the Union and Central Pacific railroads famously joined in Utah Territory.
Many of his photographs were reproduced in Harper’s Weekly. Unfortunately, most of his early originals were lost in a 1883 fire at his studio.
Savage had photographed much of the landscape around southern Idaho before Bisbee arrived in 1906.
TWIN FALLS — It was a coding activity in eighth-grade that sparked Jacob Buscher’s interest in computer science. Four years later, the Twin Falls 17-year-old is operating his own software development company.
On Wednesday, he helped out classmates with “Hour of Code“ activities at Twin Falls High School. Across the Magic Valley, many school campuses are also getting involved as part of Computer Science Education Week.
The purpose is to encourage more students to get interested in computer science as a possible career. There’s a huge demand for employees and a growing number of high-paying jobs.
“There’s a massive deficit of people to fill jobs in this industry, especially around here,” Jacob said.
In an increasingly technology-reliant era, coding is becoming more crucial. It’s used, for example, to create computer software, websites and mobile applications.
Just about everything is run using coding, Jacob said, but many people don’t understand how it works. With the worldwide Hour of Code, “it’s getting (students) a little bit more knowledge of how it runs.”
For those who are knowledgeable and skilled at computer programming, there are huge benefits. Here in Idaho, software developers and computer systems employees rank number one on the Idaho Department of Labor‘s “hot jobs” list. The number of jobs is expected to grow nearly 37 percent between 2014 and 2024, with an estimated 259 openings each year. Jobs typically require a bachelor’s degree and the median hourly wage is $39.52.
To help address the nationwide shortage and expose more students to coding, the nonprofit Code.org provides free online tutorials. Twin Falls High and other schools across the Magic Valley are using the tutorials this week for the Hour of Code. Some tutorials are even based on popular movies and games, such as Minecraft and Star Wars.
It’s the fourth year Jacob has volunteered to help his peers during the Hour of Code.
All eight science teachers at Twin Falls High gave up an instructional day Wednesday to accommodate the lesson.
“We’re trying to hit every student at every level,” computer science teacher Sarah LaMarche said.
Students could stick with a basic coding tutorial, she said, or move on to more advanced lessons.
In the Jerome School District, all three elementary schools — Summit, Horizon and Jefferson — are doing Hour of Code activities this week during computer lab time, curriculum director Janet Avery said.
For Jacob, the Hour of Code is what led to his interest in computer science. “It’s taken off since then,” he said.
Jacob has found work writing code, including for a publishing company. And as a high school sophomore, he created his own company called BF Innovative Technologies.
In October, he filed as a limited liability company with the help of his parents, who run Business Techs.
As for Hour of Code, a focus this year at Twin Falls High was showing students the basics of algorithms — the actual code that goes into creating a program — and its real-life applications, Jacob said.
Coding may seem intimidating when looking at the whole picture. But “when you break down programs into algorithms,” he said, “it’s not complicated at all.”
Patricio Vazquez-Guzman, 47, Buhl; aggravated assault, $25,000, public defender appointed, preliminary hearing Dec. 15.
Kari Jo Kingston, 43, Twin Falls; possession of a controlled substance, $5,000, public defender appointed, preliminary hearing Dec. 15.
Skyler S Guymon, 23, Twin Falls; possession of paraphernalia, $100, public defender appointed, pretrial Jan. 30.
TWIN FALLS — A fatal fire that took the life of a 2-year-old girl Monday afternoon is thought to have started when a cat knocked a heat lamp into a turtle terrarium, according to the Idaho State Fire Marshal.
Cassandra Luckey was the only victim of a blaze that engulfed an RV trailer on U.S. 93, south of Twin Falls, around 1 p.m. Monday. She was napping in the motorhome when the fire started, police said. Her mother, Meredith Menard, had stepped out and into the house next door just minutes before the trailer went up in flames.
The State Fire Marshal’s Office believes the fire began when a heat lamp was knocked down into a terrarium that held a turtle and decorations.
“We think there was a cat that the family had, and apparently the cat had a habit of trying to get to the turtle,” Fire Marshal Knute Sandahl said.
The official cause of the fire has been listed as combustible material too close to a heating source, according to Sandahl.
NEW YORK (AP) — U.S. stocks took another small step backward on Wednesday after a plunge in the price of oil dragged down shares of energy producers. The losses overshadowed gains for technology companies and other areas of the market. The Standard & Poor’s 500 index dipped by a fraction of a point, down 0.30 to 2,629.27, and it’s down just 0.5 percent so far this week. But even those modest movements could count as notable in a year that’s been unusually calm and easy for investors. It was the fourth straight loss for the index, the first time that has happened since March.
The Dow Jones industrial average fell 39.73 points, or 0.2 percent, to 24,140.91, the Nasdaq composite rose 14.16, or 0.2 percent, to 6,776.38 and the Russell 2000 index of small-cap stocks lost 7.88, or 0.5 percent, to 1,508.88. Stocks have been mostly drifting lower this week following a strong run for markets this year. The ups and downs have come as the Senate and House of Representatives try to iron out differences in their proposals to overhaul the tax system, and investors shift their portfolios toward companies that stand to benefit most from lower rates.
“It looks like we topped out last week and we’ve been rolling a bit,” said Phil Orlando, chief equity market strategist at Federated Investors. “The reality is we had a phenomenal run here, and we looked a little overbought in my mind. So I wouldn’t at all discount a little bit of a correction here of 2 or 3 percent.”
The market, which is still up more than 17 percent for the year, is also in a relatively quiet period, Orlando said. Companies have finished reporting how much profit they made in the summer, and fourth-quarter reports won’t start again in earnest for more than a month. That can lead to a drifting market.
The market’s biggest movers were energy stocks, which sank with the price of oil. Benchmark U.S. crude fell $1.66 to settle at $55.96 per barrel. Brent crude, the international standard, lost $1.64 to $61.22 a barrel.
That led to a 1.3 percent loss for energy stocks in the S&P 500, the sharpest drop among the 11 sectors that make up the index. Oil company Newfield Exploration fell $2.12, or 6.9 percent, to $28.44 for the biggest loss of any stock in the S&P 500.
Companies in the dental industry were also weak, hurt by fears that their industry is the next that Amazon will upend. Patterson Companies lost $1.51, or 4.2 percent, to $34.81, and Henry Schein fell $3.52, or 5 percent, to $67.58.
Analysts at Morgan Stanley cut their financial estimates for the companies on signs that Amazon has gotten access to a key dental equipment maker and may line up others in coming years, among other factors.
On the winning side was DaVita, which jumped to the biggest gain in the S&P 500 after UnitedHealth Group said it will buy DaVita’s medical group, which serves patients through nearly 300 medical clinics, for $4.9 billion in cash. DaVita gained $8.27, or 13.6 percent, to $69.20.
Technology stocks also rose, and they recovered some of their losses from earlier in the week.
The main drivers for the stock market much of this year have been the improving global economy and a resulting jump in profits for businesses. A report on Wednesday implied that the U.S. job market continues to strengthen.
Private employers added 190,000 jobs last month, according to a report from payroll processor ADP. Economists see the report as a relatively good indication of what the more comprehensive federal government’s jobs tally will show.
That report arrives on Friday, and it will be one of the last pieces of major economic data released before the Federal Reserve’s meeting next week on interest rates. Most economists expect the Fed to raise rates, which would be the third increase of the year.
Treasury yields sank as prices for government bonds rose. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note dropped to 2.33 percent from 2.35 percent late Tuesday.
In markets overseas, Asian stocks slumped. Japan’s Nikkei 225 index lost 2 percent for its worst day since March. The Hang Seng in Hong Kong dropped 2.1 percent, and South Korea’s Kospi lost 1.4 percent.
In Europe, markets trimmed their losses as the day progressed. Germany’s DAX dropped 0.4 percent, and France’s CAC 40 ended little changed. The FTSE 100 in London rose 0.3 percent.
The dollar dipped to 112.28 Japanese yen from 112.62 yen late Monday. The euro fell to $1.1793 from $1.1816, and the British pound slipped to $1.3375 from $1.3442.
In the commodities markets, natural gas rose a cent to $2.92 per 1,000 cubic feet, heating oil fell 5 cents to $1.86 per gallon and wholesale gasoline dropped 6 cents to $1.66 per gallon.
Gold ticked up by $1.20 to $1,266.10 per ounce, and silver fell 11 cents to $15.96 per ounce. Copper recovered a fraction of its sharp loss from the day before and rose 2 cents to $2.96 per pound.
Oct Live Cattle 120.750 119.875 120.200 S 0.100
Aug Feeder Cattle 147.000 144.950 145.225 S -1.100
Oct Feeder Cattle 145.075 143.425 143.650 S -0.975
Aug Lean Hogs 68.925 67.850 68.850 S 0.375
Oct Lean Hogs 73.225 72.025 73.125 S 0.725
Jul Wheat 395.5^4 391.5^4 392.5^0 S -2.5^2
Sep Wheat 424.5^6 417.5^6 419.5^0 S -2.5^4
Jul KC Wheat 406.5^2 404.5^0 400.5^6 S -2.5^2
Sep KC Wheat 423.5^6 417.5^0 418.5^0 S -2.5^6
Jul MPS Wheat 597.5^6 S -1.5^0
Sep MPS Wheat 616.5^0 608.5^0 611.5^2 S 0.5^2
Jul Corn 341.5^2 338.5^4 340.5^0 S 1.5^2
Sep Corn 354.5^0 351.5^2 352.5^6 S 1.5^2
Jul Soybeans 996.5^4 986.5^0 989.5^6 S -2.5^2
Aug Soybeans 1008.5^6 997.5^6 1001.5^4 S -2.5^6
Jul BFP Milk 14.47 14.30 14.40 0.01
Aug BFP Milk 14.41 14.28 14.33 -0.03
Sep BFP Milk 14.57 14.44 14.48 -0.07
Oct BFP Milk 14.81 14.69 14.75 -0.06
Nov BFP Milk 15.10 14.95 15.05 -0.04
Jul Sugar 14.39 13.97 14.05 S -0.26
Oct Sugar 14.30 13.91 13.97 S -0.27
Jun B-Pound 1.3524 1.3358 1.3394 -0.0077
Jun J-Yen 0.88470 0.88065 0.88165 -0.00260
Jun Canada Dollar 0.78100 0.77640 0.77740 -0.00015
Jun ^uro-Currency 1.17820 1.17345 1.17715 -0.00075
Jun Swiss Franc 1.0081 1.0027 1.0077 0.0015
Jun US Dollar 94.075 93.785 93.870 D 0.101
Aug Comex Gold 1254.4 1244.4 1250.1 -3.0
Oct Comex Gold 1258.4 1248.8 1254.5 -3.0
Sep Comex Silver 15.910 15.720 15.855 0.053
Dec Comex Silver 15.970 15.800 15.925 0.055
Sep Treasury Bond 154.5^11 153.5^22 154.5^5 0.5^6
Sep Coffee 123.90 121.90 122.60 S -0.30
Dec Coffee 126.20 124.15 124.80 S -0.35
Jul Cotton 74.28 73.62 73.72 S -0.51
Mar Cotton 74.85 74.30 74.39 S -0.43
Aug Unleaded Gas 1.7480 1.7081 1.7300 0.0152
Aug Heating Oil 1.9438 1.8907 1.9275 0.0304
Jul Natural Gas 2.820 2.757 2.780 0.017
Aug Crude Oil 46.43 45.16 46.20 0.54
INTL FCStone Financial Inc.
Fax:208-575-0350, ICE Chat: Jcarr3
195 River Vista Place, Suite 301, Twin Falls, ID 83301
Prices 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 Dec. 11.
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 Dec. 11.
Corn, $7.40 (cwt) barley, $5.50 (cwt) wheat, $3.75 (bushel). Prices quoted by JD Heiskell. Prices current Dec. 11.
Barrels $1.67 NC Blocks $1.4575 -1.75 Prices current Dec 11.
Big Wood 101%
Little Wood 105%
Big Lost 125%
Little Lost 112%
Henrys Fork/Teton 111%
Upper Snake Basin 128%
Goose Creek 40%
Salmon Falls 61%
Today’s median peak compares water content with what is normally seen on this day.
As of Dec. 11.
TWIN FALLS — Police are looking for an unidentified vandal who drove around town throwing rocks at car windows late Tuesday night.
The Twin Falls Police Department had received about 20 reports from all over the city as of Wednesday afternoon, according to Lt. Terry Thueson.
The department believes the person threw the rocks in the early hours of Wednesday morning.
No further details are known at this time, Thueson said.