Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

Twin Falls seemed especially blue this week, but it didn’t have anything to do with the gloomy weather.

Yes, the FFA is back in town for its annual leadership conference at the College of Southern Idaho, and those tell-tale blue jackets are everywhere. More than 1,400 students and their advisors have descended on town to compete for a chance to represent Idaho in the FFA’s national convention later this year in Indianapolis.

Besides competing, the students are touring 17 Magic Valley businesses, learning all there is to know about modern agribusiness. But FFA, which has ditched its more formal Future Farmers of America moniker, is about much more than farming these days. Students compete in categories including public speaking and others aimed at preparing students for careers both inside and outside of the farming industry.

Congrats to all the teens competing this week, and for the winners, we’re sure you’ll make Idaho proud in Indiana.

Jeer

Jeers to Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, who late on Thursday vetoed four bills that passed the Legislature. One had to deal with creating a supervisor to coordinate the state’s response to invasive species; another would have funded the position.

Otter’s third veto was a cosmetology bill sponsored by Twin Falls Republican Lance Clow that would have allowed cosmetologists to work for theatrical events and weddings without having to obtain a license, among other changes. But, Otter said, lawmakers hijacked a compromise from the industry that led to the initial bill and went far beyond what the original idea intended. He urged lawmakers to come back next year with a cleaner bill.

Fine.

It’s the fourth veto that has us irked. Otter scuttled a bill passed with broad bipartisan support that would have reformed civil-asset forfeiture – laws that allow the police to seize your money and property if they suspect you’re involved in drug crimes, even if you never face charges.

Otter called civil-asset forfeiture reform “a classic case of a solution in search of a problem,” and he wrote in his veto letter that there have been no cases of Idaho law enforcement suspected of bending these laws.

Apparently, the governor missed Times-News reporter Alex Riggins’ investigative report into civil-asset forfeiture laws in Idaho we published last summer. Riggins found one case where police took $9,000 in cash from a couple caught with a small amount of pot. Neither was ever charged, nor suspected of being involved in major drug trafficking.

This bill wasn’t a solution in search of a problem. It was a bill that would have restored liberties to Idahoans and prevented potential police abuses, and it had the support of law enforcement after lawmakers worked hard with police to craft bill wouldn’t totally strip away a valuable tool in targeting drug rings.

Otter should have kept his veto pen in his pocket on this bill.

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Cheer

If you’re not already including the miracle 1-pound baby born in Twin Falls in your prayers, you should be.

Rainna Crabb is just three weeks old and growing, but she’s still only slightly heavier than an NFL football. Doctors are working around the clock to save her life after she was born only 24 weeks into her mother’s pregnancy.

Even though one of her kidneys stopped working after doctors gave her medication to close a hole in her heart, her family say the baby is doing OK.

But it could be months before Rainna can come home from the hospital in Boise, where she was rushed after the delivery at St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center. All that time in the hospital is putting tremendous financial pressure on her parents, Hansen’s Samantha and Steven Crabb.

Well-wishers can make donations at Wells Fargo locations to an account under Rainna Crabb’s name. And of course, keep the baby in your prayers.

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