Cheers and Jeers


Braxten Nielsen is giving new meaning to the phrase cowboy up.

The College of Southern Idaho rodeo athlete was competing Aug. 31 at the Twin Falls County Fair when his horse reared in the chute, pinning Nielsen against the gates.

His spinal cord was compressed. His spine twisted. And he broke his back.

Now, the 24-year-old from Roosevelt, Utah, is paralyzed from the waist down.

But that’s not stopping his cowboy attitude. Doctors have told Nielsen it’s unlikely he’ll ever walk again. Nielsen isn’t as convinced.

He’s thrown himself into physical therapy, and he’s taking his recovery just like his bareback rides: one second at a time.

We wish him good luck in his recovery and hope his story will be an inspiration for anyone facing adversity.


Jeers to the GOP’s latest effort to repeal, reform or replace the Affordable Care Act. (At this point, not even Republicans can agree on which of the three this latest proposal does.) Congress has until the end of this month to act before a legislative rule change will make it all but impossible for Republicans to change the controversial health care law.

But this latest proposal, from GOP Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham, is just as bad as the party’s previous attempts this summer, efforts that would have stripped millions of coverage. After eight years of empty promises, a summer of chaos and a party still divided over its vision for health care, the GOP isn’t any closer to finding a workable fix for Obamacare.

This latest effort does deliver ideas worth more consideration, particularly the main thrust of the Graham-Cassidy plan that would give far more powers to states to manage health care for their residents. We generally believe that government works better the closer it is to its citizens.

But do you really want the Idaho Legislature in charge of your health care? Idaho lawmakers don’t exactly have a stellar record in this arena, particularly recently. Remember, the Legislature has been embarrassingly incapable of crafting fixes for the state’s so-called gap population, about 70,000 Idahoans without access to affordable care, despite controlling both chambers and the governor’s office.

We have serious doubts the Legislature would craft Idaho’s plan with the state’s most vulnerable residents in mind, protect people with pre-existing conditions or ensure easy access to affordable plans.

We believe the country’s health care system needs reform – Obamacare is not the ideal system – but this latest last-ditch proposal smacks of a desperate desire to keep a campaign promise even if it means hurting Americans.

We need a fix, but this isn’t it. We encourage Idaho’s congressional delegation to reject this plan and continue working toward a solution that will truly transform the nation’s health care system for the better.

Keep your promise, but get it right when you do.


It’s not very often you’ll get 9 in 10 people to agree on something. At the College of Southern Idaho, it seems almost easy.

Fully 90 percent of the student body has rated their college experience at CSI as “good” or “excellent.”

And, according to the Community College Survey of Student Engagement, more than 96 percent of CSI students would recommend the college to a family member or friend.

That says a lot about the leadership, instructors and programs at the community college. Students leave CSI fully trained to join the workforce, educated through programs tailor-made for jobs available in the Magic Valley. Other students go on to other schools to earn four-year degrees. And some students stay right on campus to earn those diplomas.

Clearly, CSI is on the right track.


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