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Who plows school campuses? Twin Falls school maintenance workers gear up for winter

TWIN FALLS – Winter is less than six weeks away and we’ve already gotten the first snow of the season.

It means the Twin Falls School District is thinking about snow removal.

Director of operations Ryan Bowman gave an information report to the school board Monday night about procedures maintenance employees follow during winter storms.

With 16 school campuses, it’s a massive job to make sure parking lots, sidewalks and ramps are shoveled, and safe for students, employees and parents.

“We have a lot of sidewalks and parking lots to clear,” Bowman told the school board.

Last year, many Magic Valley schools logged eight or more snow days. School officials said the winter conditions were highly unusual and most hadn’t seen that many snow days since the 1990s.

Bowman told the school board he likes the moisture, but hopes “we don’t have the same kind of snow as last year.”

“Last year, hopefully, was an anomaly,” Superintendent Brady Dickinson said.

The school district owns seven snow plows. When there’s a snowstorm, some maintenance workers start their day as early as 1 or 2 a.m.

Last winter, some even slept in the school district maintenance shop knowing there would be an early start time in the morning, Bowman said.

School maintenance workers used 37 yards of sand and six pallets of ice melt last year.

A couple of school trustees asked about the school district’s liability for maintenance workers, students and parents if someone slips and falls, for example.

Parking lots need to be “reasonably clear,” Dickinson said, but the focus is especially on clearing and sanding sidewalks.

During their Monday meeting, trustees also:

Heard a monthly financial report.

A budget advisory committee – which includes committee members – is working on a recommendation for a plant facilities levy. The current 10-year measure, for $3.3 million annually, expires in 2018.

The district is considering bringing a renewal request to voters during the March 2018 election.

Fiscal affairs director Bob Seaman also presented a list of capital assets, including school district facilities and equipment. Information for each school included the building’s age, historical cost and projected replacement cost.

The total: $210.2 million in historical costs and $391.3 million-$431 million in projected replacement costs.

Board chairman Bernie Jansen said there’s quite a range of building ages, from brand new to about 100 years old.

Some of the buildings are showing their age, Jansen said, but added the district is to be commended for how well they’ve been maintained.

Dickinson said the topic will be relevant at the December school board meeting when a bond official will be to talk about the plant facilities levy.

Bowman presented a lengthy list of needs in school buildings, such as a new roof at Bickel Elementary School, and improved security at campuses such as Morningside Elementary School and Harrison Elementary School where the school office isn’t right near the front entryway.

Voted to create an endowment for donation money the school district has received to award scholarships to business students.

Recognized employees of the month: secondary schools consulting teacher Cecelia Charland and special education data coordinator Amber Gillespie from school district support services, and teacher Margaret (Peggy) Carr and secretary Tara Fiscus from Magic Valley High School.


Reagan Cota, 6, crawls through her snow fort in January 2017 in her front yard in Twin Falls.

Fund created to help family in fatal Jerome car crash

JEROME — A fund has been set up to benefit a Jerome family affected by a fatal car crash Saturday night.

Donations can be made to the Ortiz-Vega Accident/Memorial Fund at any Idaho Central Credit Union.

Two people died and six people were injured in the crash in Jerome County.

Idaho State Police is investigating and a phone call from the Times-News seeking updates wasn’t immediately returned Monday.

Martina E. Rivera Sandoval, 44, of Jerome was killed in the crash at 150 West 100 North. A child later died at a hospital.

According to the Idaho State Police, Shentasha L. Bybee, 20, of Rexburg, was driving a BMW north on 150 West when she failed to yield for a stop sign, colliding with a vehicle driven by Luis V. Ortiz Vega, 48, of Jerome, who was driving a Dodge minivan.

Bybee was taken by ambulance to St. Luke’s Jerome Medical Center. Bybee’s passengers, Michael J. Wornell, 29, of Twin Falls, and Cole A. Hatcher, 23, of Jerome, were flown to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.

Vega and two children were also flown to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise. One child was taken to St. Luke’s in Jerome.

Road Into Twin Falls Park will be closed Wednesday

TWIN FALLS — The road into Twin Falls Park will be closed on Wednesday while contractors do trench work as part of ongoing road repairs.

Traffic has been restricted to one lane for the past month while contractors have corrected drainage issues under the road. They will install a drainage system to prevent further damage. Work is expected to be completed by Friday.

Twin Falls Park is owned and maintained by Idaho Power as part of its federal license to operate the Twin Falls Power Plant. The 10-acre day-use area is a few miles upstream of Shoshone Falls. Facilities include ADA-accessible restrooms, picnic tables, a covered shelter, garbage service, boat launch with docks and a viewpoint with interpretive information.

County to transfer fireworks permitting to fire districts

TWIN FALLS — Twin Falls County has been issuing fireworks permits for years, but commissioners recently discovered it isn’t the county’s responsibility.

“It turns out, the fire districts are supposed to do that now,” Commissioner Terry Kramer said.

Anyone in the county can apply for a fireworks permit to set of aerial fireworks legally — though “there’s a lot of illegal stuff that goes on,” Kramer said. The county hasn’t been charging for these permits, and it issues five or six a year for various events that are outside city limits, such as the Christmas in the Nighttime Skies event.

But when fire districts were created, and they coordinated to cover most of the county’s land, they were supposed to take over issuing the permits.

“We didn’t realize that until recently,” Kramer said.

The fire districts are already in charge of controlled burn permits in the county, he said.

The County Commissioners will have a public hearing Tuesday on an ordinance transferring the fireworks permitting to the seven fire districts within the county. The hearing takes place at 10 a.m. in the commissioners’ second-floor meeting room at 630 Addison Ave. W.

Idaho State Bar recognizes members at meeting

TWIN FALLS — The Idaho State Bar will recognize six of their Wood River Valley and Magic Valley members during the annual Fifth District Bar Association Resolution Meeting to be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Stone House, 330 Fourth Ave. S., Twin Falls.

Andrew H. Parnes will receive the Professionalism Award — given to at least one attorney in each of Idaho’s seven judicial districts who has engaged in extraordinary activity in the community, the state or the profession. Parnes, with his law office in Ketchum, is a graduate of the University of California-Berkeley School of Law and has practiced law in Idaho for 27 years.

Two individuals will receive the Denise O’Donnell Day Pro-bono Award: Brian Williams — with Williams, Meservy and Lothspeich LLP in Jerome — dedicated 100 hours of pro-bono work on a guardianship petition for a vulnerable adult. He also volunteers at the College of Southern Idaho’s legal clinic. Williams attended law school at the University of Idaho. Bruce Collier — with Kneeland, Korb, Collier and Legg PLLC in Ketchum — spent 50 hours providing legal service to a local woman needing assistance on family law matters. Collier is a graduate of the University of Utah S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Fifth Judicial District Judges Robert Elgee of Hailey and Michael Crabtree of Burley will be recognized as retiring judges. Elgee, a graduate of the University of Idaho College of Law, was chambered in Blaine County. Crabtree attended law school at the University of Kansas and was chambered in Cassia County.

Donald Chisholm, with his law office in Burley, will be recognized for his 50th year anniversary of admission into the Idaho State Bar. He attended the University of San Francisco School of Law.

More information about these recognitions or the Fifth District Bar Association Resolution Meeting: Contact Idaho State Bar and Idaho Law Foundation Executive Director Diane Minnich at 208-334-4500.

College of Idaho hires new enrollment vice president

CALDWELL (AP) — Officials with the College of Idaho have hired a new vice president of enrollment management.

The Idaho Press-Tribune reports that interim president Robert Hoover announced Nov. 6 the school had hired Brian Bava.

Bava had been the associate dean for Concordia University School of Law since 2013. He previously served at the College of Idaho’s admission office from 2005 to 2013.

Bava replaces Lorna Hunter, who left the College of Idaho in July to work at Washington College in Maryland.

Bava officially starts in January 2018.