You are the owner of this page.
A1 A1
Roger Phillips, Idaho Fish and Game  

Early harvest data shows deer numbers are down and elk tracking is similar to last year.

Grant brings theater workshop to 8 high-poverty schools

TWIN FALLS — Three Bickel Elementary School students played the role of monkeys as actor Ryan Pierce delivered his lines.

“Those monkeys have stolen my hat,” the Missoula Children’s Theatre touring actor/director said. “You monkeys will be very sorry.”

A couple hundred students watched the performance-style workshop Wednesday in the school gymnasium, laughing and mimicking Pierce’s hand motions.

After a few run-throughs, Julia Bourland — another touring actor/director — instructed Pierce: “Make it more dramatic.” He dropped to his knees as he acted.

Thanks to a grant the Magic Valley Arts Council received, eight schools with a high poverty rate are receiving a free performance-style workshop — “So You Want to be in Show Business?” — this week by Missoula Children’s Theatre.

Schools include Bickel and Harrison elementary schools in Twin Falls, Jefferson and Summit elementary schools in Jerome, Wendell Elementary School, Gooding Elementary School, and Filer Elementary and Intermediate schools.

Missoula Children’s Theatre is in Twin Falls this week leading a production of “Aladdin.” There’s a cast of 60 local children — ranging from 5 to 17 years old — and two performances are slated for Saturday.

The Missoula, Mont., traveling children’s theater group travels across the country to produce a show with a local cast in just one week and hold school workshops.

There’s typically a fee for the workshops, but the Magic Valley Arts Council received a $2,000 grant from the Whittenberger Foundation — a Caldwell-based foundation that gives grants to projects improving the quality of life for children — and $500 from the Rotary Club of Twin Falls‘ Ice Cream Funday to cover the cost for eight schools.

Bourland and Pierce put on the workshop Wednesday at Bickel Elementary.

“I need space. I must act,” Pierce announced at the beginning of the assembly. He threw his hand up in the air in a dramatic way and students giggled.

During the assembly, Pierce begins by thinking actors are the most important people in a theater production. But Bourland explains how it takes many people to put on a show.

Many hours, weeks and even years of work are needed to put on a production, Bourland told students, and it’s a risky venture. If the audience doesn’t like it, the show closes, and the cast members and crew are out of a job.

She asked for a student volunteer to be a producer. Dozens of hands shot up and those who weren’t chosen let out a sigh of disappointment.

Fifth-grader Nici Galvan was instructed to come up to the front of the school gym. “I see your name’s on the posters,” Bourland said. “Are you the producer?”

“Yep,” she responded, and gave a thumbs up. Her classmates laughed.

Bourland explained the many different people needed to produce a play, such as a composer and lyricist if the production includes songs. They receive a royalty payment every single time the play is produced for about 100 years.

It’s the job of a stage manager, she said, “to make sure every single aspect of the show runs smoothly.”

Bourland explained many other roles, too, including costume and set designers, publicists, box office and concession workers, casting directors and backers who invest money in the show.

She asked student volunteers to stand up in front of the gym. It showed how many dozens of people are needed for every production.

Once the workshop was over, most students went back to class. But for one group, it was time for recess.

A few students gathered up against a chain link fence in the schoolyard waving goodbye as Pierce and Bourland got into their red truck to head to the next school workshop.

Trump says he and Xi can solve 'probably all' world problems

BEIJING — President Donald Trump emerged from a lengthy meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping today to declare that he believed he and Xi together can solve "probably all" the world's problems.

"I look forward to many years of success and friendship working together to solve not only our problems, but world problems, and problems of great danger and security," Trump said between meetings at the Great Hall of the People. "I believe we can solve almost all of them, and probably all of them."

Trump and Xi were discussing a series of thorny issues during Trump's second day in China, including China's willingness to put the squeeze on North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, and the U.S.-China trade relationship.

Trump projected confidence on both fronts. He said both he and Xi believe "a solution" exists on North Korea. And he said the countries' trade relationship — which he complained had gotten "so far out of kilter" — would be made "fair and it'll be tremendous for both of us."

Xi, meanwhile, said U.S.-China relations were at a "new historic starting point." He said China was willing to work with the U.S. "with mutual respect, seeking mutual benefits, to focus on cooperation and control our differences."

Before the meetings, China rolled out the red carpet for Trump, treating him to an elaborate welcome ceremony on the plaza outside the Great Hall of the People before the leaders turned to their private talks.

Trump looked on approvingly as a Chinese honor guard played the national anthems of both countries, cannons boomed and soldiers marched. He clapped and smiled as children waving U.S. and Chinese flags and flowers screamed and jumped wildly.

Before arriving in China, Trump had delivered a stern message to Beijing, using an address to the National Assembly in South Korea to call on nations to confront the North.

"All responsible nations must join forces to isolate the brutal regime of North Korea," Trump said. "You cannot support, you cannot supply, you cannot accept."

He called on "every nation, including China and Russia," to fully implement U.N. Security Council resolutions against North Korea enforcing sanctions aimed at depriving its government of revenue for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. The latest measure, adopted after a September atomic test explosion, the North's largest yet, banned imports of its textiles and prohibited new work permits for overseas North Korean laborers. It also restricted exports of some petroleum products.

Trump's words drew a caustic response from North Korean state media, which issued a statement Wednesday saying the U.S. should "oust the lunatic old man from power" and withdraw its "hostile policy" toward Pyongyang "in order to get rid of the abyss of doom."

White House officials said Trump would underscore his public messages about North Korea during his private talks with Xi. China is North Korea's largest trading partner, and Trump is expected to demand that the nation curtail its dealings with Pyongyang and expel North Korean workers from its borders. Trump has praised China for taking some steps against Pyongyang, but he wants them to do more.

China is increasingly disenchanted with North Korea over its nuclear weapons development but remains wary of using its full economic leverage over its traditional ally. It fears triggering a collapse of the North's totalitarian regime that could cause an influx of refugees into northeastern China and culminate in a U.S.-allied unified Korea on its border.

China also poured on the pomp and pageantry for Trump's arrival Wednesday. The president and first lady Melania Trump were greeted at the airport by dozens of jumping children who waved U.S. and Chinese flags. The couple spent the first hours of their visit on a private tour of the Forbidden City, Beijing's ancient imperial palace. It's usually teeming with tourists but was closed to the public for the presidential visit.

The Trumps walked alongside Xi and his wife through the historic site and admired artifacts from centuries' past. Trump posed for photos and, with a wave of his hand, joked to Xi about the reporters watching. And he laughed and clapped along during an outdoor opera featuring colorful costumes, martial arts and atonal music.

The president also is expected to showcase a round of business deals, including those signed Wednesday by Chinese and U.S. companies that the two sides say are valued at $9 billion.

Among them: a pledge by China's biggest online retailer to buy $1.2 billion of American beef and pork. Such contract signings are a fixture of visits by foreign leaders to China and are aimed at blunting criticism of Beijing's trade practices.

It's "a way of distracting from the fact that there's been no progress in China on structural reform, market access or the big issues that the president has tried to make progress on with regard to China," said Elizabeth Economy, the director for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Trump has made narrowing the multibillion-dollar U.S. trade deficit with China a priority for his administration. During his campaign, he accused China of "raping our country" on trade and pledged to minimize the countries' trade imbalance.

China's trade surplus with the United States in October widened by 12.2 percent from a year earlier, to $26.6 billion, according to Chinese customs data released Wednesday. The total surplus with the United States for the first 10 months of the year rose to $223 billion.


From left, CSI men’s basketball players Roche Grootfam, Danya Kingsby, Charles Jones Jr. and Tomas Domingos sign their Division I letters of intent, with CSI head coach Jared Phay behind them, on Wednesday at CSI.

The flip of a coin: Heyburn election produces tie for City Council seat

HEYBURN — City and Minidoka County officials were scrambling Wednesday to figure out how to handle an election result tie for a Heyburn City Council seat.

Incumbent Councilman Dick L. Galbraith and Glen Loveland tied for the seat with 112 votes apiece.

Incumbent Chad Anderson won the other seat with 176 votes. Michael Covington took 49 votes and Nile Bohon, who withdrew from the race on Nov. 2, received 28.

Minidoka County Clerk Tonya Page said the county hasn’t had a tie for as long as she can remember.

“So this is new and it’s kind of exciting for us,” Page said.

City Clerk Ashley Langley will perform the coin toss.

Langley said the city council will schedule a special meeting for the tie-breaking event.

“We are trying to sort it all out,” Tony Morley, city administrator said.

City officials have been in contact with the state Attorney General’s Office and the Idaho Association of Counties but have received differing opinions, he said.

Page said some of the laws regarding tie elections are vague and open to interpretation.

Laurie Welch Times-News /   


Gleeful Democrats see political wave; GOP says not so fast

NEW YORK — Jubilant Democrats across America are declaring their big election victories in Virginia and New Jersey — their first of the young Trump era — mark the beginning of an anti-Trump surge that could re-shape the balance of power in Congress in 2018. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says he can “smell a wave coming.”

Not so fast, Republicans said Wednesday. But they acknowledged that setbacks in Virginia, New Jersey and elsewhere on Tuesday created new urgency for the GOP to fulfill its list of campaign promises before voters head back to the polls next year. They, along with President Donald Trump, have failed to demolish “Obamacare” and now are straining to approve a far-reaching tax overhaul despite controlling the White House and both houses of Congress.

“If anything, this just puts more pressure on making sure we follow through,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said at an event hosted by the Washington Examiner. He added, “I think it simply means we’ve got to deliver.”

Whether the president’s party delivers or not, there is clear cause for concern for a Republican Party that would lose its House majority if Democrats gained 24 seats next fall.

Tuesday’s results left little doubt that Trump’s dismal approval ratings can drag down Republican allies, particularly those serving in states he lost last November. And even if his ratings show signs of improvement, history suggests that the first midterm elections for any new president often lead to major gains for the opposing party.

An early string of Republican retirement announcements in competitive districts across Florida, New Jersey and Arizona adds to the GOP’s challenge.

“We’re taking our country back from Donald Trump one election at a time,” Democratic National Committee Chairman Tom Perez said in a Wednesday conference call. “This is not just one night. It is a trend.”

Added Schumer, the New York Democrat: “Our Republican friends better look out.”

Trump declared that the blame for Tuesday’s losses was not his.

“Ed Gillespie worked hard but did not embrace me or what I stand for,” the president tweeted as he toured Asia.

Actually, Gillespie, a mainstream Republican who lost the Virginia governor’s race, had taken up Trump-like positions on such issues as Confederate monuments, NFL players’ national anthem demonstrations and the dangers of Hispanic gangs. Trump endorsed him but was not invited to campaign in the state in recent weeks.

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel had a different view from Trump’s.

“I absolutely think any candidate should be embracing the president,” she said, “and I think Ed did.”

As for Tuesday’s longer-term significance for the Democrats, both parties’ leaders know that much can change in the year before voters decide the 2018 midterm elections. And Republicans enjoy a redistricting advantage that limits the number of truly competitive House races, thanks in large part to GOP routs during Barack Obama’s eight years in office.

Also, Democrats wrestle with their own party strife, pitting the Bernie Sanders’ wing against the more mainstream section of the party.

The liberal group Democracy for America had abandoned Virginia’s gubernatorial candidate, Ralph Northam, over immigration policy, then celebrated his win days later. “The plus of a tidal wave like this is it washes away the stains of all the campaigns,” Charles Chamberlain, DFA’s executive director, said in an interview.

Republican Party leaders also expect their political outlook to improve dramatically once the GOP-led Congress takes action on taxes or health care.

Based on Tuesday’s results, they need to act quickly.

Governors’ races in Virginia and New Jersey — where Phil Murphy will replace Republican Chris Christie — were perhaps the most consequential, but Democrats also celebrated victories in Maine, where voters slapped the state’s Republican governor, a Trump ally, by backing a measure to expand Medicaid coverage under Obama’s health care law. Manchester, New Hampshire, elected its first Democratic mayor in more than a decade. And Virginia voters sent a large and diverse group of new Democrats to the statehouse, including a transgender heavy metal singer, a member of Democratic Socialists of America and a former news anchor whose journalist girlfriend was fatally shot while on-air in 2015.

The results were particularly troubling for Republicans serving in suburban districts in states Trump lost last fall.

Schumer singled out by name one of the most vulnerable House Republicans in the nation: Rep. Barbara Comstock, whose northern Virginia district lies just west of Washington.

Roughly two of three voters in the counties that primarily make up Comstock’s district backed the Democrat in this week’s governor’s race. Sensing opportunity, more than a half dozen Democrats have already lined up to challenge her.

A spokesman for Comstock said that Democrats have regularly underestimated the two-term congresswoman. “Barbara has always over-performed and that won’t change in 2018,” said political director Ken Nunnenkamp.

Trump’s team concedes the Republican Party’s suburban challenges but predicts voters will bounce back once Congress begins to enact his agenda. Embedded in that diagnosis, however, is a warning for Republican lawmakers that continued inaction could be disastrous.

Republican Sen. Thom Tillis of North Carolina acknowledged the urgency for his party to produce results.

“We’ve got to be RINOs,” he said, “Republicans in Need of Outcomes.”