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Not your grandpa's gym class: High school P.E. incorporates yoga and spinning

TWIN FALLS — When she starting teaching physical education 15 years ago, Leah Holloway used to get frustrated when her students complained about having to jog two laps.

She was teaching at Twin Falls High School at the time and decided to get approval for a new class called “Heart to Heart Fitness” — which was later renamed — that combined aerobics, dance and core exercises. She wanted students to have more P.E. options.

“My thinking was if students are able to choose their class, they’re going to get more of out if,” Holloway said.

When she transferred to Canyon Ridge High School — where she currently teaches —spinning bikes were available and she got certified as a spinning instructor. And earlier this month, Holloway proposed another new P.E. class: yoga. She’d also like to see a CrossFit class offered in the future.

South-central Idaho teenagers — at least at some of the larger schools in the region — have more specialized P.E. classes to choose from, like cardio fitness and spinning, than in years past. And there’s a greater emphasis on promoting lifelong physical fitness.

The Twin Falls school board heard a proposal from Holloway Feb. 11 to consider adding a yoga class — “Yoga Life” — to P.E. offerings at Canyon Ridge High School, but trustees didn’t take action. They’re slated to vote on the proposal in March.

Twin Falls and Canyon Ridge high schools already offer a wide variety of P.E. classes — most of which are co-ed — including beginning body development, cardio fitness and strength training, lifetime sports, spinning, and varsity body development.


From left to right, senior Veronica Valdez, sophomore Zoey Beebe and sophomore Alexia Pfister strike a yoga pose Wednesday during their body development class at Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls.

Students can also earn credit for participating in an Idaho High School Activities Association activity that requires a physical exam to meet their P.E. or elective requirement.

Why the shift toward more specialized P.E. classes? “As the amount of physical activity children get in and out of school has declined in recent years, youngsters have become more overweight and less fit,” according to an article on Education World’s website. “To help reverse that trend, some fitness experts say, physical education classes should be revamped so there is less emphasis on team sports and more on lifelong fitness activities.”

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends children ages 6 to 17 engage in an at least an hour of “moderate-to-vigorous physical activity” every day.

The benefit of more specialized P.E. classes is students get exposed to different ways of exercising, Holloway said. “They get to decide which one fits their needs the best and which one they actually enjoy.”


Health and P.E. Instructor Leah Holloway leads her students in yoga Wednesday during her body development class at Canyon Ridge High School in Twin Falls.

Last school year, Holloway — a P.E. and health teacher at Canyon Ridge and department chairwoman for the Twin Falls School District — started incorporating yoga into her women’s body development class.

The girls loved it and it was well received, she said, so she got her yoga instructor certification. “They kept asking for more yoga sessions.”

When Holloway presented her proposal for a yoga class to the school board earlier this month, “they were intrigued by it,” she told the Times-News on Wednesday. “There’s definitely a yoga boom happening in the community, so there seems to be a need for it in the schools.”

If approved, “Yoga Life” would include four days a week of yoga practice and one day of classroom instruction, covering topics like nutrition and stress management.

Elsewhere the Magic Valley, Jerome High School offers physical education, lifetime sports, girls fitness, basketball and two body development classes — one for girls and one focused on weight lifting.

Kimberly High School doesn’t offer yoga, but P.E. teachers bring in guest instructors to teach lessons in Zumba, Pilates and other fitness styles, Principal Dominik Unger wrote in an email to the Times-News.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to P.E. classes. “Everyone has what works for their (school) district and what doesn’t,” said Anna Edwards, a P.E. teacher at Wood River High School in Hailey.

Edwards, a 1997 Wood River High alumna, has taught at the school for 10 years. Previously, she taught at Vera C. O’Leary Middle School in Twin Falls.

Wood River High has two P.E. classes this school year, both of which are co-ed. The school aims to incorporate yoga into its classes at least once a week.

Two classes will be added for next school year: aerobic body sculpting and PEAK performance, which is for athletes. But whether the school can offer a class depends on how many students sign up.

Before Wood River students get to high school, they already have access to an innovative offering with a physical activity component: Wood River Middle School in Hailey has an outdoor education program.

Feds: Coast Guard lieutenant compiled hit list of lawmakers

WASHINGTON — A Coast Guard lieutenant who was arrested last week is a “domestic terrorist” who drafted an email discussing biological attacks and had what appeared to be a hit list that included prominent Democrats and media figures, prosecutors said in court papers.

Christopher Paul Hasson is due to appear Thursday in federal court in Maryland after his arrest on gun and drug offenses, but prosecutors say those charges are the “proverbial tip of the iceberg.”

“The defendant is a domestic terrorist, bent on committing acts dangerous to human life that are intended to affect governmental conduct,” prosecutors wrote in court papers.

Hasson, who works at the Coast Guard’s headquarters in Washington, has espoused extremist views for years, according to prosecutors. Court papers detail a June 2017 draft email in which Hasson wrote that he was “dreaming of a way to kill almost every last person on the earth,” and pondering how he might be able to acquire anthrax and toxins to create botulism or a deadly influenza.

In the same email, Hasson described an “interesting idea” that included “biological attacks followed by attack on food supply” as well as a bombing and sniper attacks, according to court documents filed by prosecutors.

In September 2017, Hasson sent himself a draft letter that he had written to a neo-Nazi leader and “identified himself as a White Nationalist for over 30 years and advocated for ‘focused violence’ in order to establish a white homeland,” prosecutors wrote.

Hasson routinely read portions of a manifesto written by Norwegian mass murderer Anders Behring Breivik that prosecutors said instructs would-be assailants to collect firearms, food, disguises and survival tools, court papers said. Breivik, a right-wing extremist, is serving a 21-year sentence for killing 77 people in a 2011 bomb-and-shooting rampage.

Hasson also expressed admiration for Russia. “Looking to Russia with hopeful eyes or any land that despises the west’s liberalism,” he wrote in the draft email. Prosecutors say during the past two years he had regularly searched online for pro-Russian as well as neo-Nazi literature.

Prosecutors allege that Hasson visited thousands of websites that sold guns and researched military tactical manuals on improvised munitions.

Federal agents found 15 firearms — including several rifles — and over 1,000 rounds of ammunition inside Hasson’s basement apartment in Silver Spring, Maryland. They also found a container with more than 30 bottles that were labeled as human growth hormone, court papers said.

Prosecutors wrote that Hasson “began the process of targeting specific victims,” including several prominent Democrats in Congress and 2020 presidential candidates. In February 2018, he searched the internet for the “most liberal senators,” as well as searching “do senators have ss (secret service) protection” and “are supreme court justices protected,” according to the court filing.

Hasson’s list of prominent Democrats included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and presidential hopefuls Sens. Kirsten Gillibrand, Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris.

The list — created in a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet — also included mentions of John Podesta, who was Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, along with Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Maxine Waters, former Rep. Beto O’Rourke, MSNBC’s Chris Hayes and Joe Scarborough and CNN’s Chris Cuomo and Van Jones, according to the court filing.

Hasson appeared to be a chronic user of the opioid painkiller Tramadol and had purchased a flask filled with four ounces of “synthetic urine” online, prosecutors said. Authorities suspect Hasson had purchased fake urine to use in case he was randomly selected for a drug test.

The chief at the federal defender’s office in Maryland — which is representing Hasson — declined to comment on the allegations. The Coast Guard did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Hasson’s arrest. No one answered the door Wednesday at the home address for Hasson listed in public records.

Hasson’s arrest on Feb. 15 was first noted by Seamus Hughes, the deputy director of the Program on Extremism at George Washington University.

If you do one thing

If you do one thing: A community dance will feature music by the Shadows Band from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Snake River Elks Lodge, 412 E. 200 S., Jerome. Admission is $5.

Federal jury convicts Twin Falls man who trafficked marijuana and shot at police officer

BOISE — A federal jury has convicted a 31-year-old Twin Falls man who was trafficking marijuana and shot a handgun at a police officer in January 2018 in Shoshone, U.S. Attorney Bart M. Davis announced Wednesday.

Jesus Javier Malagon was convicting of unlawfully possessing firearms as a felon, possessing marijuana with the intent to distribute, and using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to the drug trafficking crime.

Malagon was indicted by a federal grand jury in February 2018, according to a statement from Davis’ office. A trial last week began Feb. 11 and concluded Friday when the jury returned a verdict.

During a traffic stop Jan. 30, 2018, in Shoshone, Malagon fled and a high-speed pursuit with police ensued, according to the statement. Malagon eventually crashed his vehicle.

When a police officer approached Malagon after the crash, Malagon shot a 9 millimeter handgun at the police officer, the statement says. The officer immediately returned fire, striking Malagon multiple times and giving him non-life threatening injuries.

In a search of Malagon’s vehicle, police found the 9 millimeter handgun, a .38 caliber revolver, multiple pounds of marijuana and other items showing Malagon was distributing marijuana, according to the statement.

Malagon has a prior felony conviction for manufacturing marijuana and is prohibited from possessing firearms, the statement says.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 9 before U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill at the federal courthouse in Boise.

Malagon could face up to 10 years in prison and three years of supervised release for unlawful possession of firearms by a felon, up to 10 years and at least four years of supervised release for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute (enhanced by Malagon’s prior marijuana manufacturing conviction), and at least 10 years and up to life in prison and up to five years of supervised release for using and discharging a firearm during and in relation to the drug trafficking crime.

The case was investigated by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; Shoshone Police Department; Gooding County Sheriff’s Office; and the Critical Incident Task Force, which included Idaho State Police, Twin Falls County Sheriff’s Office and Twin Falls Police Department.

The case was prosecuted as part of the Department of Justice’s Project Safe Neighborhoods program.