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Andrew Craft  

Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl leaves a motions hearing during a lunch break in Fort Bragg, N.C., Sept. 27.

Who’s knockin’? Top Magic Valley Halloween costumes

BURLEY — On Halloween night, those taps at the door will likely emanate from myriad creatures and characters begging for goodies in lieu of tricks.

Children dressed as superheroes, dogs dressed as food and adults dressed as – well, more adult – are some of the characters that will prowl the streets and stand at the front stoop.

The top-ranked children’s costume nationwide this year, according to the National Retail Federation, will be action figures or superheroes.

Americans will drop a record $9.1 billion on candy, costumes and pumpkins this year, up 8.3 percent from $8.4 billion last year, NRF said, based on a survey by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

“A lot of the popular-selling costumes this year are Marvel characters like Spiderman and Ironman,” Allison Cox, assistant manager at Walmart in Burley said.

Costumes featuring Disney’s Descendants sisters, Disney princesses, Power Rangers, Batman and Minions are also popular, she said.

Adults are going for more, “adult looks,” Cox said.

“We see it all, and every year it’s different things,” Marilyn Felt, owner of Mill End Fabrics, in Burley, said.

Felt’s clientele tends to lean to the creative side—like covering themselves with newspaper and wearing a trench coat to represent a newsflash or sewing random items like socks and panties on their clothing and attending a party as static cling.

On average, consumers are expected to spend $86.13, up from $82.93 last year, NRF said.

The number of people who say they their spending will be impacted by the economy shrunk to 12.9 percent, compared to 14.1 percent last year and 32.1 percent in 2011.

Costumes will be purchased by 69 percent of Halloween shoppers, who will spend $3.4 billion on them. Ninety-five percent of people surveyed said they will buy candy, spending a total of $2.7 billion. Seventy-two percent will buy decorations, for another $2.7 billion, and 37 percent will buy greeting cards costing $410 million.

Two-year-old Corbin Erickson, of Albion, settled on traditional costume after waffling between choices for days.

“For the last few weeks he kept saying he wanted to be firefighter, so we bought that one,” Corbin’s mother, Jessica Erickson, said.

Among people celebrating Halloween, 49 percent will decorate their home or yard, 48 percent will wear costumes, and 23 percent will visit a haunted house.

Sixteen percent of people surveyed will put costumes on their pets.

“She doesn’t seem to mind the costumes,” Sydney Taylor, of Burley, said of her 11-year-old Dachshund, Daisy, as she fastened a Velcro closure around the patient pup. “But she doesn’t like the hood on her Minions costume.”

Laurie Welch Times-News / LAURIE WELCH, TIMES-NEWS  

Sydney Taylor, of Burley adjusts a hot dog costume worn by her dog Daisy on Thursday at Four Paws Bed and Bath in Rupert.

Taylor and Daisy’s costumes usually match. This year, Daisy’s accessories include a hot dog box that she sits in and Taylor dressed as a vendor. Four Paws Bed and Bath in Rupert, where Taylor works, sells K-9 costumes.

Laurie Welch Times-News / LAURIE WELCH, TIMES-NEWS  

Daisy models her hot dog costume Thursday at Four Paws Bed and Bath in Rupert while her owner Sydney Taylor, of Burley, watches.

Smaller dogs often leave dressed as little panda bears and the owners of bigger dogs opt for animal costumes like bears, she said.

Like dogs and their owners, Felt said she often sees families dress as a theme.

Brianna Bennett, of Heyburn, said she tries to guide her children, Tayli, 9, Dre, 6 and Case, 3 toward a theme each year.

This year Tayli will be a princess, and Case will be a knight. She is still trying to coax Dre into a dragon costume, but he hasn’t made a commitment yet.

Their dog, Bella, a Yorkshire terrier, poodle and Maltese cross, will wear a unicorn costume, Bennett said.

One year, her children dressed up as a farmer, tractor and a cow.

Bennett said the real challenge this year may be getting Case to actually wear his costume.

“He likes it, but the first time he put it on the tag scratched him. Now he just likes to carry it around,” Bennett said.

Brenda Walton, of Paul, who works at the Burley Public Library, wears a version of the same costume each year to a church Harvest party and to work.

“I dress up as a queen or a Goddess. Obviously, what else would I be,” she joked.

She made a queen costume in high school for a Shakespeare play, and now rotates that with another costume each Halloween.

Rachel Hale, of Burley, said she got her 3-year-old son Calvin a Tyrannosaurus costume that looks like he is riding the dinosaur. Her five-year-old daughter, Ruby, will be Elsa.

Hale said she doesn’t dress up; instead, she’ll leave the costumes to the kids.

“I don’t like Halloween, she said, “but they do.”

Otter urges end to sexual harassment amid lawsuits
Otter urges end to sexual harassment amid lawsuits

BOISE — Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter and First Lady Lori Otter said Friday they are working to bring awareness to stop sexual assault and harassment and are encouraging Idahoans to also step up in their efforts.

The governor’s tweeted statement highlighted the popular “me too” social media campaign —which has allowed men and women to share personal stories of sexual harassment or assault on Twitter and Facebook.

“Please join Miss Lori and me in working to bring awareness to the #MeToo movement to stop sexual assault and harassment,” Otter tweeted.

The remarks, however, come at a time when the state faces multiple pending and ongoing sexual harassment lawsuits across state agencies and executive offices.

These accusations include a former Idaho Department of Fish and Game employee alleging that a male supervisor threatened to strangle her with an extension cord, as well as a separate former employee at the Idaho State Controller’s Office who maintains she was sexually and racially harassed by a supervisor.

And the state recently settled a lawsuit with a woman who said she was coerced into sex with a detective investigating her in a federal drug case.

Otter’s office defended the governor’s actions in response to an inquiry by The Associated Press on what specifically the governor plans to do when it comes to stopping harassment and assault.

Otter was asked to lend support to increase public awareness by a local chapter of the National Organization for Women, said Otter’s spokesman Jon Hanian.

“Suffice it to say the governor is very concerned any time issues of discrimination or harassment arise in our state, be it at a state agency or anywhere else,” said Hanian in an email.

Hanian added that the Republican governor nearly a year ago directed the state’s Division of Human Resources to increase public employee training — specifically with a focus on sexual harassment, discrimination and employee retaliation.

This includes increasing the amount of “supervisor academy” training, resources on how employees can have tricky conversations and workshops, said Susan Buxton, who oversees the division.

Buxton recently gave harassment and retaliation training to state controller’s employees on Oct. 3 — nearly two weeks after an employee filed a tort claim alleging a supervisor made sexual and racial remarks in front of employees with no consequences from Controller Brandon Woolf.

The controller’s office has disputed the claims they condoned the harassment.

“If you are a bystander and you see something, you need to speak up,” Buxton said. “Be the solution.”

Hanian said the governor could not comment on the pending and ongoing litigation involving the sexual harassment legal challenges.

If you do one thing

If you do one thing: Beginning ballroom dance classes will be held at 7:30 p.m. at XrossWay Life Center, 1385 Parkview Drive, Twin Falls. Free.

Jae C. Hong  

Denver Broncos running back C.J. Anderson, middle, is tackled by Los Angeles Chargers free safety Tre Boston, right, and strong safety Jahleel Addae on Sunday.

Early voting begins Monday

TWIN FALLS — You won’t have to wait until Nov. 7 to cast your vote in local elections. Early voting begins Monday across the state.

Same-day registration is also available for early voters or anyone planning to vote on election day. To be eligible, the person must be 18 years old and have been a resident in the state or county they’re voting in for at least 30 days before election day.

If you plan to vote absentee, the deadline to request an absentee ballot from your county clerk is Oct. 27.

Cassia County

In Cassia County, early voting takes place 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 3 at the Cassia County Courthouse, 1459 Overland Ave., Burley. Sample ballots are available at

Absentee ballots can be sent in until 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 7.

Gooding County

Early voting takes place 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 3 at the Gooding County Courthouse, 624 Main St. Sample ballots are available at

Jerome County

Early voting in Jerome County takes place 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 3 at the Jerome County Courthouse, 300 N. Lincoln, Room 301. Sample ballots for Jerome, Eden and Hazelton — plus information on the Minidoka school levy and Shoshone school bond — can be found at

Minidoka County

Early voting takes place 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 3 at the Minidoka County Courthouse, 715 G St., Rupert. Absentee ballots must be received by the county clerk’s office by 8 p.m. Nov. 7.

Twin Falls County

In Twin Falls County, in-person early voting takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday until Nov. 3. The election includes a supplemental levy for Filer School District, candidates for the Rock Creek Rural Fire District, and city election candidates in Buhl, Castleford, Filer, Hansen, Hollister, Kimberly, Murtaugh and Twin Falls.

You can cast your vote on the first floor of the Twin Falls County West building, 630 Addison Ave. W., by entering on the north side.

Registered voters can also request an absentee ballot by mail, by picking up an application at the county clerk’s office, or by downloading one at The county’s website also has sample ballots available under “election information.”

The last time for a mail-in absentee ballot application to be received is 5 p.m. Oct. 27.

Trump urges House GOP to move quickly on budget, tax cuts

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump urged House Republicans to move swiftly on passing a budget bill during a conference call Sunday, clearing the way for what he described as an historic push for tax cuts.

Trump and Vice President Mike Pence both joined the House GOP call in which Trump called on members to adopt the budget passed by the Senate this week, so that they can move on to passing his tax reform plan.

Trump told the members they were on the verge of doing something historic, according to one Republican official on the call, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss publicly what was intended as a private update for members.

Another GOP aide familiar with the conversation said Trump told the members again and again that the party would have a steep price to pay in next year’s midterm elections if they failed to pass his plan, which would slash the corporate tax rate to 20 percent and double the standard deduction used by most average Americans. The president also said multiple times that, beyond the looming elections, his plan was the right thing to do for country, the person said.

The Senate last week passed a budget that includes rules that will allow Republicans to get tax legislation through the Senate without Democratic votes and without fear of a Democratic filibuster.

Republicans are desperate to rack up a legislative win after a series of embarrassing failures that have come despite the fact that the party controls both chambers of Congress and the White House.

On the call, House Speaker Paul Ryan told members he hoped to pass a revised Senate budget bill this week to increase the chances that tax reform can be enacted by the end of the year.

Trump will work to rally support for the plan on the Hill Tuesday at a lunch with Senate Republicans.

Congress also continues to wrestle with the health care system.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Sunday he’s willing to bring bipartisan health care legislation to the floor — if Trump makes clear he supports it. A proposal by two senators—Republican Lamar Alexander of Tennessee and Democrat Patty Murray of Washington—would extend for two years federal insurance payments that Trump has blocked. But Trump has offered mixed signals, alternately praising and condemning the effort—confusing Democrats and Republicans alike.

Asked whether he would bring the bill to the floor, McConnell said on CNN’s “State of the Union” that he was waiting “to hear from President Trump what kind of health care bill he might sign.”

“If there’s a need for some kind of interim step here to stabilize the market, we need a bill the president will actually sign. And I’m not certain yet what the president is looking for here, but I will be happy to bring a bill to the floor if I know President Trump would sign it,” the Republican said. He added of Trump: “I think he hasn’t made a final decision.”

The plan unveiled last week likely has 60 votes in the Senate, mostly from Democrats, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer on Sunday urged McConnell to bring it to the floor “immediately, this week.”

“This is a good compromise,” Schumer said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” He predicted it would pass “by a large number of votes” and that the president would ultimately sign it to avoid the blame for rising insurance premiums.

“If Republicans think that if premiums go up they’re going to avoid the blame, if Senator McConnell thinks that, he’s wrong,” Schumer said.

Trump at first suggested he supported the temporary fix as he continues to hold out hope for the passage of legislation that would repeal and replace former President Barack Obama’s Affordable Care Act, which Republicans have repeatedly failed to achieve.

But White House officials said later that Trump would only sign an interim bill that also lifts the tax penalties that Obama’s health care law imposes on people who don’t buy coverage and employers who don’t offer plans to employees. The White House also wants provisions making it easier for people to buy low-premium policies with less coverage. Top Senate Democrats reject those demands.

White House budget director Mick Mulvaney, who was also spotted at Trump’s Virginia golf course Sunday, said on CBS’ “Face the Nation” that Trump doesn’t want to back a plan “without also getting something for folks who are being hurt.”

“And I think the criticisms you’ve heard this week are like, ‘Look, I’m okay with doing a deal.’ This is the president now. ‘But I’m not getting enough for the folks who are getting hurt. So give me more by way of associated health plans. Give me more of the things that we know” we can do for folks back home to actually help them,’” Mulvaney said.

“I think there’s actually a pretty good chance to get a deal,” he added. “It’s just Murray-Alexander in its current form probably isn’t far enough yet.”

McConnell, in his interviews, also but pushed back against former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon’s efforts to recruit candidates to challenge Republican incumbents who support McConnell’s leadership, arguing that what Republicans need is candidates who can win.

“Look, this is not about personalities. This is about achievement. And in order to make policy, you have to actually win the election,” he said on Fox News. “And some of these folks that you’ve been quoting, as I said are specialists on nominating people who lose.”

Otto Kitsinger