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Nicholas K. Geranios, Associated Press 

This May 13, 2017, photo shows a portion of the Plutonium Finishing Plant on the Hanford Nuclear Reservation near Richland, Wash.

Kimberly woman looks back at a life of work and fun

KIMBERLY — She’s a tiny little thing, but she’ll not disappear in a crowd.

At nearly 85, Marge Sligar is a bundle of spunk.

“How tall are you, Marge?” a visitor asked.

“Tall enough,” Marge said, as she flitted around her home showing off her memorabilia.

Hundreds of photos cover the walls and shadowboxes hold personal belongings of long-gone loved ones, and trophy mounts from her husband’s numerous hunting trips to Africa dominate the living space.

Some 66 years ago, Marge Duggan met the love of her life, Bill Sligar, on the Snake River near Hagerman. Marge and her brother Marvin were picking cherries in an orchard near the Owsley Bridge when she spotted Bill in a boat.

“We’re going to follow that boat,” she told her brother.

Across the river from Thousand Springs, Bill hitched the boat to a deck alongside gas pumps and a 15-by-20 shack of a store that sold beer, cigarettes and fishing tackle. Marge introduced herself and within weeks they were married.

“I always told myself I was going to marry a blond sailor,” she said with a giggle. “We were just snot-nosed kids.”

Bill’s parents owned the riverside property and after marrying into the family in 1952, Marge began working with the Sligars. Bill piloted a seven-passenger boat upstream from Thousand Springs to Blue Heart Springs and back.

“We charged 25 cents for the tour,” Marge said.

Within a few years, the family installed a pool and built a restaurant, ushering in its resort status. Bill and his brother Keith eventually bought Sligars 1000 Springs Resort from their parents.

The Sligars were an entrepreneurial bunch, doing whatever it took to make a living, said Marge’s niece Marcy Sligar. Bill and Keith built Northwest Crane and Rigging in Twin Falls, while Marge and Keith’s wife, Rita, ran the resort at Hagerman.

“I’d get Bill ready for the day, then drive to Hagerman by 10. We’d close the resort at 10 at night, then we cleaned the pools, restaurant and restrooms before leaving for home,” Marge said. “Then we did it all over the next day.

“I worked 48 hours a day, nine days a week, with no pay.”

Marcy grew up in the resort’s restaurant, working alongside her siblings and cousins. She remembers “Auntie Marge bouncing around the resort like a Banty hen,” she said. “We were brought up to work — it’s just what we did.”

The kids would do chin-ups on a bar near the gas pumps at the resort, but her aunt could outperform all of them on that bar.

“Now I sit and watch the hummingbirds float around,” Marge said. But Marcy doubts her auntie’s words.

“I don’t think she ever sits still,” Marcy said.

On the Oregon Trail

Marge has been on the move since childhood. Her family left Nebraska in 1937, in the Dust Bowl years of the Great Depression. Marge was 4 and Marvin was 2.

Their father transformed a flatbed International truck into a home on wheels, installed beds and a wood stove in the corner of the home, Marvin said, pointing to a photograph of his childhood self standing on the steps. The stove’s chimney can be seen in the photo.

“We loaded up every damn thing we owned and headed to Idaho, following the Oregon Trail,” Marge said.

And so did thousands of other Nebraskans.

In Wyoming, Marge's and Marvin’s father stopped to get fuel for the truck and the filling station owner asked if he could pay for the fuel; Doyle Duggan bristled at the question. The man then walked Duggan behind the station, where dozens of geese, ducks, chickens and pigs were penned — payment for fuel when travelers had no money.

“People did whatever they had to, to survive back then,” Marge said.

When the Duggans reached Hagerman, their father — Marge describes him as a workaholic — paid $100 for five acres on the river near the Owsley Bridge, and built the Duggan Sawmill and a home. The family continued to live in their “motor home” for six months until their home was finished.

Later, Duggan converted the International truck into a school bus, which he drove for the school district for years and years.

Marge remembers her childhood fondly.

“We never had much, but we were happy.”

Part of history

The Sligars have been an integral part of two towns, supporting Hagerman’s tourism and building large structures in Twin Falls, including major expansions at Amalgamated Sugar Co. and Universal Frozen Foods, now Lamb Weston.

They were also involved in tearing down Twin Falls’ past. The Sligars’ crane service demolished many historic structures in the name of progress, including the Hotel Perrine on the west corner at Main Avenue and Shoshone Street.

“I still have one of the tiles from the hotel,” Marcy said.

The Sligar families closed down the crane service before Keith died 15 years ago. They sold the resort 10 years ago.

Bill’s health has declined and he chooses to spend much of his time at their cabin near Pine. Marge keeps busy with her great-grandchildren — especially 4-year-old Mylee.

“I’ve had a good life,” Marge said. “It’s been fun.”

But if the past is a good predictor of the future, Marge is far from done. She says she’s had a hankering to become a photographer for about 70 years now.

“I worked 48 hours a day, nine days a week, with no pay.” Marge Sligar

Amid trade fight, Trump says China will do the 'right thing' (copy)

WASHINGTON — Amid global fears of an escalating trade dispute between the U.S. and China, President Donald Trump suggested that Beijing will ease trade barriers "because it is the right thing to do" and that the economic superpowers can settle the conflict that has rattled financial markets, consumers and businesses.

But fostering more uncertainty, the president's top economic advisers offered mixed messages Sunday as to the best approach with China, which has threatened to retaliate if Washington follows through with its proposed tariffs, even as Trump emphasized his bond with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

"President Xi and I will always be friends, no matter what happens with our dispute on trade," Trump wrote. "China will take down its Trade Barriers because it is the right thing to do. Taxes will become Reciprocal & a deal will be made on Intellectual Property. Great future for both countries!"

But Trump did not explain why, amid a week of economic saber-rattling between the two countries that shook global markets, he felt confident a deal could be made.

The president made fixing the trade imbalance with China a centerpiece of his presidential campaign, where he frequently used incendiary language to describe how Beijing would "rape" the U.S. economically. But even as Trump cozied up to Xi and pressed China for help with derailing North Korea's nuclear ambitions, he has ratcheted up the economic pressure and threatened tariffs, a move opposed by many fellow Republicans.

The Trump administration has said it is taking action as a crackdown on China's theft of U.S. intellectual property. The U.S. bought more than $500 billion in goods from China last year and now is planning or considering penalties on some $150 billion of those imports. The U.S. sold about $130 billion in goods to China in 2017 and faces a potentially devastating hit to its market there if China responds in kind.

China has pledged to "counterattack with great strength" if Trump decides to follow through on his latest threat to impose tariffs on an additional $100 billion in Chinese goods — after an earlier announcement that targeted $50 billion. Beijing also declared that the current rhetoric made negotiations impossible, even as the White House suggested that the tariff talk was a way to spur China to the bargaining table.

The new White House economic adviser, Larry Kudlow, said Sunday that a "coalition of the willing" — including Canada, much of Europe and Australia — was being formed to pressure China and that the U.S. would demand that the World Trade Organization, an arbiter of trade disputes, be stricter on Beijing. And he said that although the U.S. hoped to avoid taking action, Trump "was not bluffing."

"This is a problem caused by China, not a problem caused by President Trump," Kudlow said on "Fox News Sunday."

But he also downplayed the tariff threat as "part of the process,"  and suggested on CNN that the impact would be "benign" and said he was hopeful that China would enter negotiations. Kudlow, who started his job a week ago after his predecessor, Gary Cohn, quit over the tariff plan, brushed aside the possibility of economic repercussions.

"I don't think there's any trade war in sight," Kudlow told Fox.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said on CBS' "Face the Nation" that he didn't expect the tariffs to have a "meaningful impact on the economy" even as he left the door open for disruption. He allowed that there "could be" a trade war but said he didn't anticipate one.

Another top White House economic adviser, Peter Navarro, took a tougher tack, declaring that China's behavior was "a wakeup call to Americans."

"They are in competition with us over economic prosperity and national defense," Navarro said on NBC's "Meet the Press." ''Every day of the week China comes into our homes, our business and our government agencies. ... This country is losing its strength even as China has grown its economy."

Trump's latest proposal intensified what already was shaping up to be the biggest trade battle in more than a half century.

Trump told advisers last week that he was unhappy with China's decision to tax $50 billion in American products, including soybeans and small aircraft, in response to a U.S. move to impose tariffs on $50 billion in Chinese goods. Rather than waiting weeks for the U.S. tariffs to be implemented, Trump backed a plan by Robert Lighthizer, his trade representative, to seek the enhanced tariffs.

The rising economic tensions pose a test to what has become Trump's frequent dual-track foreign policy strategy: to establish close personal ties with another head of state even as his administration takes a harder line. The president has long talked up his friendship with Xi, whom he has praised for consolidating power in China despite its limits on democratic reforms.

Further escalation could be in the offing. The U.S. Treasury Department is working on plans to restrict Chinese technology investments in the U.S. And there is talk that the U.S. also could put limits on visas for Chinese who want to visit or study in this country.

For Trump, the dispute runs the risk of blunting the economic benefits of his tax overhaul, which is at the center of congressional Republicans' case for voters to keep them in power in the 2018 elections. China's retaliation so far has targeted Midwest farmers, many of whom were bedrock Trump supporters.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell, left, shoots as Los Angeles Lakers forward Travis Wear defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game Sunday, April 8, 2018, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)

Trump warns Assad: 'Big price to pay' for fatal Syria attack

Missiles struck an air base in central Syria early today, its state-run news agency reported. Although the agency said it was likely "an American aggression," U.S. officials said the U.S. had not launched airstrikes on Syria.

SANA reported that the missile attack on the T4 military air base in Homs province resulted in a number of casualties.

The missile attack followed a suspected poison gas attack Saturday on the last remaining foothold for the Syrian opposition in the eastern suburbs of Damascus. At least 40 people were killed, including families found in their homes and shelters, opposition activists and local rescuers said.

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria," President Donald Trump tweeted earlier Sunday. "Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

Despite Trump's tweeted threat of repercussions for the suspected chemical attack, Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said in a statement, "At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria."

The U.S. launched several dozen Tomahawk cruise missiles at a Syrian air base last year after a chemical attack in the northern Syrian town of Khan Sheikhoun killed dozens of people. Israel also has struck inside Syria in recent years.

The suspected poison gas attack Saturday on the besieged town of Douma came almost exactly a year after the U.S. missile attack prompted by the Khan Sheikhoun deaths.

In response to the reports from Douma, Trump on Sunday blamed Syrian government forces for what he called a "mindless CHEMICAL attack." In a series of tweets, Trump held Russia and Iran, Syrian President Bashar Assad's chief sponsors, responsible.

The Syrian government denied the allegations, calling them fabrications.

First responders entering apartments in Douma late Saturday said they found bodies collapsed on floors, some foaming at the mouth. The opposition's Syrian Civil Defense rescue organization said the victims appeared to have suffocated.

The developments come as Trump has moved to dramatically scale back U.S. goals in Syria, pushing for a quick military withdrawal despite resistance from many of his national security advisers. Trump has given no formal order to pull out the 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria or offered a public timetable other than to say the U.S. will withdraw as soon as the remaining Islamic State fighters can be vanquished.

But Trump has signaled to his advisers that, ideally, he wants all troops out within six months.

Republican Sen. John McCain of Arizona said Assad heard Trump's signal that he wanted to withdraw from Syria and, "emboldened by American inaction," launched the attack. In a statement, McCain said Trump "responded decisively" last year with the air strike and urged Trump to be forceful again to "demonstrate that Assad will pay a price for his war crimes."

Trump was briefed about Saturday's attack by his chief of staff, John Kelly, officials said. Trump's homeland security adviser, Thomas Bossert, noted the timing of the suspected chemical attack — almost a year to the day of the U.S. missile strikes.

"This isn't just the United States. This is one of those issues on which every nation, all peoples, have all agreed and have agreed since World War II, it's an unacceptable practice," Bossert said.

Trump was to meet with his senior military leadership today, the same day his new national security adviser, John Bolton, assumes his post. Bolton previously has advocated significant airstrikes against Syria.

Vice President Mike Pence on Sunday deemed Saturday's attack a "likely chemical attack" and reiterated Trump's threat that consequences would be coming for those responsible.

"We condemn in the strongest possible terms the assault on innocent lives, including children," Pence tweeted. "The Assad regime & its backers MUST END their barbaric behavior."

Trump's decision to single out Putin in a tweet appeared noteworthy because Trump long has been reluctant to personally criticize the Russian leader. Even as the White House, after some delay, imposed tough new sanctions on Russia in the wake of its U.S. election meddling and suspected poisoning of a former spy on British soil, Trump left it to others in his administration to deliver the rebukes to Moscow.

Last month, Trump called Putin and, against the counsel of his advisers, congratulated the Russian president on his re-election and invited him to the White House. On Sunday, Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, urged Trump to "ramp up the pressure and the sanctions on the Russian government, because, without the support of Russia, I do not believe that Assad would still be in office."

Trump also invoked Iran in his series of tweets, further challenging Tehran while signaling he may scuttle its nuclear deal with the West. The president has often laid some blame on his predecessor, Barack Obama, for Assad's continued grip on power after years of civil war.

Obama said in 2012 that Syria's use of chemical weapons would be a "red line" that would change his decision-making on intervening in the war and have "enormous consequences." After such an attack in 2013 killed hundreds outside Damascus, American ships in the Mediterranean were poised to launch missiles. But Obama pulled back after key U.S. ally Britain, as well as Congress, balked.

He opted for a Russian-backed proposal that was supposed to remove and eliminate Syria's chemical weapons stockpiles.

"If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!" Trump tweeted from the White House.

Twin Falls City Council to receive update on recycling

TWIN FALLS — Is your recycling this month going to the landfill? The City Council may find out Monday.

In March, the Council approved an increase to sanitation bills in order to cover the costs of recycling through PSI Environmental Systems. But Twin Falls will only pay up to $100 per ton to recycle, so if prices rise beyond that, recyclables will be sent to the landfill instead.

At its meeting Monday, the City Council will hear an update on the state of the city’s recycling program and the current market. The meeting begins at 5 p.m. in City Hall, 203 Main Ave. E.

Also at the meeting, the Council will:

  • Hear a proclamation declaring the second week of April this year as Youth Appreciation Week in Twin Falls.
  • Hear a proclamation declaring April 8-14 as Idaho Crime Victims’ Rights Week in Twin Falls.
  • Hear a proclamation declaring April 9-15 as Sexual Assault Awareness Week in Twin Falls.
  • Present POST basic and intermediate certifications and have a formal ceremony promoting officer Shawn Applewhite to the position of sergeant.
  • Present a service plaque to Tom Reynolds recognizing his service on the Parks and Recreation Commission.
  • Confirm the re-appointment of Bryan Rice and Richard Birrell — and the appointment of Chance Munns — to the Parks and Recreation Commission.
  • Consider a request to award the contract for an on-site hypoclorite generator project to Process Solution Inc. of Campbell, Calif., in the amount of $99,500.
  • Consider a request to award a bid to Weidner Fire for airport firefighting tools and equipment in the amount of $106,819 under FAA AIP Grant 40.
  • Consider a request to award a bid to White Cloud Communications for airport fire truck radio/headset equipment in the amount of $9,796 under FAA AIP Grant 40.