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Letters of Thanks

Bish’s RV a great experience

I want to deeply thank Bish’s RV for a great experience in buying my first RV. Not only are they a great shopping experience, but they are expert and eager to get you on the road safely. They know it, do it, have it and make sure that you are educated and safe in your adventure. I will wear my Bish’s hat proudly.

Thank you, especially Shane, Hillary and Brandon, and all who were almost as excited as I am to hit the road.

Mary Foley

Buhl

Filer coach an inspiration

Thank you, Coach Ketterling. Thank you for your unselfish contributions to the Filer girls basketball program for the past seven years. Your leadership example of how to instill character through teaching more than how to win with grace (five trips to state, won state in 2014, coach of the year 2014) and lose with dignity has been evident. Creating a program where the team does yearly charitable giving at Christmas, adopting multiple families and working with youth through holiday camps goes well beyond coaching basketball. Additionally, upon arriving as a young coach, you saw the financial needs of the entire athletic program and began aggressive donation/sponsorship programs, created yearly fund raising, like the corn booth at the fair, and ensured that there were funds for additional uniforms, shoes, hotels and transportation costs to enable every play to participate with minimal costs to the family. This is what leadership looks like! If your passion and commitment were uncomfortable for others — we only wish we had volunteers (as you volunteered hundreds of hours that the $3,000 yearly salary does not cover) that were as committed to our youth and our schools as you are. The poor decision of the Filer School District will be felt for many years to come. We will miss your energy and love of the youth and the game. Stay “Forever Strong.”

Day Egusquiza

Twin Falls

Scouts Recognize Supper Donors

We would like to thank these businesses for the support to Boy Scout Troop 65’s annual pancake supper fundraiser that donated product or money.

First Christian Church, Swensen’s (Washington), Depot Grill, Maxie’s Pizza & Pasta (Twin), Floyd Lilly Company, Ridley’s (Kimberly), Treasure Valley Coffee, Quality Inn & Suites, Road Work Ahead, American Disposal, D & T Automotive, Reynolds Funeral Home, Whitehead Home & Energy, Orthodontic Specialists (Geist, Schvanevedlt, & Dixon), Rosenau Funeral Home, Mason Trophy, Falls Brand, Lamb Weston, Snake River Tire, Ridley’s (Buhl), Rite Stuff Foods, Renter Center, Kidd Performance, Smith’s Food King, Magic Valley Mall, Kapstone Container Corp., Dart, Chobani, Lowe’s, Denny’s, Shari’s Sizzler, McDonald’s, Jaker’s, and Idaho Joes.

Thank you for your support.

Boy Scout Troop 65

Kimberly

Jerome teacher cares

Mr. Lavar Buttars was a teacher of mine in the Jerome School District many years ago. For some reason he has remembered me through the vast majority of my years here on Earth. He has kept track of my time in the service and in different schools and now in marriage and later life. His attention to my life and his caring has meant more to me than I can express, to think that I could have been that important to him. I think about him almost daily. I can only pray hat all his students can remember him in that light. I would like to say thank you, Mr. B.

Bill Mitchell

St. Anthony

The Letters of Thanks column will publish letters of up to 200 words from:

Organizations thanking contributors or supporters.

Individuals thanking public agencies and businesses for extraordinaryservice.

Send letters to letters@magicvalley.com. If you would like to purchase a classified ad to express gratitude of a personal rather than public nature, call The Times-News Customer Service department.


Columns
OTHER VIEW
Other View: Shut down Nunes' investigation - and investigate him for leaking

This appeared in Friday’s Washington Post:

Rep. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., on Monday denounced what he described as the illegal leak of classified information concerning conversations between associates of Donald Trump and Russian officials. He insisted that those who described those contacts to the press be tracked down and prosecuted. He demanded that FBI Director James Comey confirm that such revelations “violate . . . a section of the Espionage Act that criminalizes the disclosure of information concerning the communication and intelligence activities of the United States.”

Forty-eight hours later, Nunes himself held a news conference in which he cited a confidential source to describe what clearly appeared to be classified information about intercepted communications involving Trump associates. He did this outside the White House, where he had rushed to brief the president about the intercepts—even though the House Intelligence Committee he chairs is supposed to be investigating the Trump campaign’s possible connections with Russia.

We’ve said before that it was doubtful that an investigation headed by Nunes into Russia’s interference in the election could be adequate or credible. The chairman’s contradictory and clownish grandstanding makes that a certainty. His committee’s investigation should be halted immediately—and Nunes deserves to be subject to the same leaking probe he demanded for the previous disclosures.

In offering his own leak Wednesday, Nunes was trying to provide cover for Trump’s false claim that his campaign had been wiretapped on orders of President Barack Obama—a statement that Comey flatly described as groundless. Unsurprisingly, Trump declared hours later—again, falsely—that Nunes had proved him right.

In fact, as Nunes himself acknowledged, the intercepts he described were legal and appropriate, the result of routine surveillance of foreign targets, or that were approved by a secret court. The identities of the Americans who were picked up in the conversations were mostly masked—Nunes said he was able to figure out they were Trump associates because of the context.

Nunes’s antics serve only to underline the urgency of a serious, nonpartisan and uncompromising investigation into Russia’s interference in the election and any contacts between Moscow’s agents and the Trump campaign. The Senate Intelligence Committee, which is also conducting a probe, may make a useful contribution, but as McCain said, “no longer does the Congress have the credibility to handle this alone.” It is time to discuss the formation of an independent, nonpartisan commission with full subpoena power, like those that investigated the attacks of 9/11 and the intelligence failures in Iraq. In the meantime, House leaders should put an end to the embarrassing travesty being directed by Nunes.


Columns
Malloy: Times are a-changin’, but not with school board elections

Do you know who your “zone representatives” are on your local school board?

I don’t, and it hardly matters. I’m 66 years old, semi-retired and have no kids in school. In recent years, my wife and I hosted three exchange students who went to Centennial High School in the West Ada School District. All were treated well and had wonderful experiences. The principal, faculty and staff were outstanding.

So I can say with some authority that, at least at Centennial High School, public education is in good hands. I have no reservations voting for bond issues and levies, which generally raise my taxes no more than the price of a dozen golf balls. I also vote in school board elections, where voter turnouts in West Ada and throughout the state are somewhere between deplorable and pathetic.

Sen. Mary Souza, a Republican from Coeur d’Alene, tried unsuccessfully to do something to boost the turnouts. Souza, with Sen. Jim Rice of Caldwell co-sponsoring, proposed a bill that would move school board elections from May of odd years to the November general election in even years – when peopleactually vote. Her bill also gave school districts the option of scrapping the ridiculous “zone voting,” in which even fewer people decide the outcome of school board elections.

“It’s a simple bill to increase voter turnout for an important election that has been getting only single-digit turnouts in many parts of the state, our area included,” Souza said in her recent newsletter to constituents.

Judging by the reaction, you’d think that Souza was declaring war against North Korea.

“Having trustees take office on Jan. 1 simply does not work with the school schedule,” said Karen Echeverria of the Idaho School Board Association in an article written by the Spokesman-Review’s Betsy Russell.

“Setting the budget in February will be challenging, since the Legislature obviously has not set appropriations for the coming fiscal year,” said Rob Winslow of the Idaho Association of School Administrators in Russell’s piece.

Who says a new board must set budgets in February? The thrust of Souza’s bill was about holding school board elections at a time that will ensure the highest possible voter turnout. School board members can set budgets whenever they want, whether they are elected in May or November. It’s not that complicated.

Ironically, Souza said, “Not one of the stakeholder groups opposing this bill expressed any concern about the low voter turnouts in these elections. Not even a passing mention.”

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, a Boise Democrat, said (in Russell’s story) she was concerned that shifting elections to November in even years would result in “voter fatigue?” The fear, apparently, is that school board elections and longer ballots would create too much stress and confusion to the voters.

Hmmm. I’d rather see “voter fatigue” than the level of non-participation we’re seeing in school board elections, which is what we’re getting with today’s flawed system. It’s the same system that, along the goofy “zone” voting, that two years ago elected several new school board members in West Ada County. That group had one big mission – to make life miserable for Superintendent Linda Clark, who was well regarded in the community. It didn’t take long for the howls of protest to surface. Clark resigned under pressure, two board members resigned and two others were recalled after less than a year in office.

The “zone” voting made things worse, at least for me as a voter. I had reservations about one of the candidates running, but couldn’t vote in that race because I wasn’t in the right zone. The candidate ended up winning, and the rest is history.

The funny thing is, while people were calling for the heads of the West Ada board members, hardly anything was said about the shoddy system that helped elect the troublemakers. Low turnout usually produces board members who go along, get along and rarely make waves. But it didn’t work out that way two years ago.

I’ll give Souza props for trying to fix a broken system. But, as she found out, institutional changes are not easy – with school boards, or the Legislature.

“Better access to school board elections will help more community members of all political flavors engage in the process and be more interested and invested in our schools and our students,” Souza said.

The arguments for change clearly are on her side.