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The lucky ones: Meet some turkeys who won't be on your table this year

SHOSHONE — An infamous Shoshone outlaw has retired and will live out the rest of his days in peace — in the fire chief’s backyard.

The rogue bird, affectionately referred to as “Outlaw Turkey,” first showed up on the Shoshone Police Department’s Facebook page two weeks ago, when the department issued a plea to the public to help find his owners. The turkey, they declared, was “terrorizing” the town. Several hours later, the bird was successfully wrangled by officers and, when nobody came forward to claim him, put up for adoption.

There was just one condition: the turkey could not, under any circumstances, end up on a plate come Nov. 22.

“We said that he ran away from where he was because he didn’t want to be Thanksgiving dinner,” said Tonja Drake, vice president of A Road to Home Inc. in Shoshone. “We were going to honor his amnesty and let him live.”

Outlaw Turkey, who is now settled with Shoshone Fire Chief Casey Kelley, is one of several local fowl who won’t be consumed this Thanksgiving, living out their lives as pets instead. These days, the most wanted bird in Lincoln County is “happy hanging out and being somewhere else besides in the back of a cop car,” Kelley said. “He’s fitting in pretty good and finally relaxing a little bit.”

What are turkeys like as pets? That depends on who you ask — and on which birds they’ve met. No two are alike, according to Drake, who used to raise turkeys herself.

“They can be dull, mundane birds, or they can have a personality just like a dog,” Drake said. “They have their own personalities, just like any other animal.”

While most of Drake’s turkeys ended up as dinner, one was so affectionate — following her around the yard, helping her in the garden — that she found him a permanent home instead.

Outlaw Turkey, for his part, is “a little bit more spunky” than some of the more docile turkeys Kelley has raised in the past, she said.

“This one, he’s a little more rambunctious than some we’ve had.”

Katherine Bennett of Jerome had her first hands-on experience with turkeys three years ago when she decided to raise her own for Thanksgiving. But after months spent bonding with the bird, she couldn’t bring herself to eat him.

The next year, she decided to take in a few more turkeys — this time as members of the family.

“They’re very lovable,” Bennett said of her two female turkeys, one of whom goes by the name Turkey Mom. “They’re just super sweet pets.”

Bennett compares turkeys to “the basset hounds of the fowl world,” in that they are “super friendly,” but “not smart.” Turkey Mom is the friendlier of the two, following Bennett around when she goes outside and accepting kisses from Bennett’s daughter.

Turkey Mom and her sister, who responds to “Pretty Girl” and “Sweetie,” require a bit more maintenance than Bennett’s chickens, as they have little sense of self-preservation, she said. On chilly nights, while the chickens instinctively gather inside their coop, the turkeys will sit outside in the cold until moved.

“I think a lot of the common sense has been bred out of them,” Bennett said. “But I think that’s what makes them so much fun and different, because they are just a little bit off.”

Before Outlaw Turkey, Kelley exclusively raised turkeys for dinner. Now, he’s considering adding a few more permanent members to the family.

“Now that I’ve got him as a pet, I’m halfway thinking about getting a couple more turkeys and letting them hang out so he has some friends,” Kelley said. “He’s kind of awkward hanging out with the chickens.”


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.


Mini-cassia
Rupert gears up for Christmas celebration Friday, skating rink opens

RUPERT — The city is preparing for a special Christmas celebration on the Square on Friday with the traditional lighting ceremony and a first glimpse of the park’s new cast iron fountain bowl.

The new fountain is the centerpiece of the Square, which is undergoing a major renovation.

Along with seeing the new fountain, participants can watch the 7 p.m. arrival of Santa riding on a firetruck to turn on the Christmas light displays at the Square, enjoy chili, cinnamon rolls and hot chocolate while watching fireworks and try out the city’s new synthetic skating rink set up this year at Neptune Park.

The skating rink will be permanently installed on Fremont Street at a later date.

The city purchased the 60-by-40 resin skating rink at a cost just shy of $50,000. The city expects it to bring in hundreds of thousands of dollars in revenue over the next 20 years.

On Monday city water and wastewater crews were busy hammering the resin sheets together.

“I think this is a really good thing,” James Taylor, city water superintendent, said. “It’s good for the kids and the community.”

Taylor said the city ordered 100 pairs of skates in an array of sizes, including a men’s size 13.

David Joyce, wastewater superintendent, said vinyl fencing will be installed around the parameter of the rink. There will also be a concessions stand and holiday decorations added.

The resin-based surface will allow the rink to be used year-round during special events like the Fourth of July celebration.

Rupert Fire Chief Roger Davis said the fire department is ready to transport Santa to the Square at 7 p.m., where he will turn the display lights on.

The fire department will then light fireworks.

“There are a lot of exciting things happening here in Rupert right now,” Davis said. “The city is really being proactive.”

Davis said 95 percent of the grass was installed at the Square and the remainder will be put down after the fountain bowl arrives on Tuesday.

When the owners of Windsor’s Nursery, a subcontractor at the Square, learned the fountain bowl would not arrive in time for the Christmas celebration, they went to Georgia to pick it up.

“I can’t say enough about the whole Windsor crew,” Davis said. “We are all so excited.”

Costs to skate are $5 for any age with skate rental, $4 with own skates and $40 for a 10 skate punch card. Other fees are $3 for helmets, $3 for scooters and $3 for skate sharpening. Party rental is $175 for the first 25 skaters. Anyone interested in sponsoring the rink should call the city recreation office at 208-434-2400.


Local
Going shopping? Here's when stores open Thanksgiving and Black Friday

TWIN FALLS — If you’re planning to get started on Christmas shopping, some Magic Valley stores will kick off sales as early as Thanksgiving morning.

At Target in Twin Falls, employees were working this week to prepare for Gray Thursday and Black Friday, including getting products out on the floor, said Christy Lounsbury, executive team leader of logistics.

Plus, they’re working on other organizational details, including safety measures to make sure crowds of people don’t run into the store when doors open at 5 p.m. Thursday.

“There will be several people staged throughout the store to make sure that’s not happening,” Lounsbury said Tuesday.

Some Magic Valley big-box retailers are planning to open their doors on Thanksgiving to bargain hunters. Others are opting to close on the holiday and kick off their sales early Friday morning instead.

Following Gray Thursday and Black Friday, there’s Small Business Saturday, which encourages community members to shop local and support small businesses, and Cyber Monday, which features online shopping deals.

In downtown Twin Falls, there isn’t a Small Business Saturday event planned this year, but some stores are holding their own sales, said Jensen Jewelers of Idaho’s CEO Tony Prater, who is active in promoting downtown events.

Across the Pacific Northwest, interest is starting to wane when it comes to in-person Black Friday shopping, according to a survey conducted by Washington State University’s Carson College of Business.

About 78 percent of shoppers will likely shop on Cyber Monday, compared with 55 percent on Black Friday, according to survey results.

“We’ve seen an intriguing shift in consumer behavior with the pervasive use of technology in the retail industry,” WSU clinical associate professor Joan Giese said in a Nov. 15 statement. “Instead of getting to stores on Thanksgiving and waiting in line for hours to get the best Black Friday bargains, shoppers can spend time with family while also snapping up savings online.”

Of more than 1,000 people surveyed, 87 percent agreed with the idea that “Thanksgiving is about spending time with family, not shopping,” according to a statement, and 78 percent “appreciate stores that stay closed on Thanksgiving.”

Here’s a list of hours for some of the Magic Valley’s large retailers:

Magic Valley Mall: Closed Thursday and opens at 6 a.m. Friday.

The first 100 people to visit Santa Claus at the mall on Black Friday will receive a $20 mall gift card. A mall spokesman wasn’t available Tuesday to provide more information.

Hours for some individual stores in the mall may vary. Shopko opens at 2 p.m. Thursday and remains open until 10 p.m. Friday. Hobby Lobby is closed Thursday and opens at 8 a.m. Friday. JCPenney opens at 2 p.m. Thursday and remains open until 10 p.m. Friday.

Best Buy: Opens at 5 p.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday.

Target: Opens at 5 p.m. Thursday and closes at 1 a.m. Friday. Reopens at 7 a.m. Friday.

Walmart: Black Friday deals begin at 6 p.m. Thursday.

Fred Meyer: 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday and beginning at 5 a.m. Friday.

Kmart: 6 a.m. to midnight Thursday and 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday.

DICK’S Sporting Goods: Opens at 6 p.m. Thursday and 5 a.m. Friday.

Sportsman’s Warehouse: Closed Thanksgiving. Opens at 6 a.m. Friday.

Costco: Closed Thursday. Opens at 9 a.m. Friday.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Closed Thursday. Opens at 6 a.m. Friday.

T.J. Maxx: Closed Thursday. Opens at 7 a.m. Friday.

Ross Dress for Less: Opens at 6 p.m. Thursday and 7 a.m. Friday.

The Home Depot: Closed Thursday. Opens at 6 a.m. Friday.

Lowe’s: Closed Thursday. Opens at 6 a.m. Friday.

Barnes & Noble: Closed Thanksgiving. Opens at 8 a.m. Friday.

Pier 1 Imports: Closed Thanksgiving. Opens at 8 a.m. Friday.


DREW NASH, TIMES-NEWS FILE PHOTO 

Joel Lira, left, and Gracie Robles wait to buy a television on Gray Thursday in November 2017 at Best Buy in Twin Falls. They spent the night in their vehicle outside the store after placing their chairs at the beginning of the line.