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Young angler Owen Lincke shows off two of the many perch he caught during a recent trip to Magic Reservoir.

Twin Falls nail artists use social media to find new clients

TWIN FALLS — First the artist has to make the canvas.

It needs to be trimmed, filed and buffed. It needs to be smooth for the paint. The length of the acrylic is determined and glued to the natural nails. A primer is applied. The surface is then dehydrated.

Then another filing for perfection. The canvas is ready.

Nhi Thi Le, who goes by the nickname Toni Le, has a simple design in mind. She applies a pink nail polish with quick but deliberate strokes, afterwards she puts a gel coating over it to bring some shimmer. She draws several curved white lines forming a flower, punctuated with a rhinestone in the middle. The design is basic, but Le uploads the photo to her Instagram and Facebook account with the excitement as if this were her latest masterpiece.


From right, Leann Nulph does Daniela Hernandez' nails Monday at Smokin' Gun Spa and Salon in downtown Twin Falls.

Social media has become an essential new tool for nail technicians. YouTube and Pinterest are full of instructions for how to obtain the newest and most popular styles from ombre nails to color-changing polish to 3D designs. Facebook and Instagram have become the previews for what each technician can give to her customers.

Kessa Wonenberg, owner and nail specialist of Envy Salon Image Artistry, said she wouldn’t have half the clients she has now if it weren’t for social media. Her Instagram, @kessairene, has more than 450 followers.

Wonenberg didn’t get into more intricate nail designs until she went to beauty school. Now she is painting intricate scenes from the movie “Beetlejuice” or signs of the zodiac within the space of a fingernail. The most detailed paintings take up 20 to 30 minutes per nail.

“People don’t realize how long it takes,” Wonenberg said.

A manicure serves as self expression Suzanne Shapiro, a former researcher at the Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, told the Times-News.

Nail art can be a simple design or as over-the-top as nails covered in dazzling Swarovski crystals.

It is a craft that reacts and morphs to the world around it, Shapiro said.

While some may not consider nail art true art, she said, the practice of manicures has always been important.

“Through times of war, financial crises, or personal crisis, it’s a way to reinvent yourself,” said Shapiro, who wrote the book “Nails: The Story of the Modern Manicure.”


From left, Daniela Hernandez has her nails done by Leann Nulph Monday at Smokin' Gun Spa and Salon in downtown Twin Falls.

There are more bold personalities in nail art today with much more sophisticated designs, she said. What started as basic hygiene has transformed into acts of exploration and identification without the permanence of a tattoo.

“The hands are an independent expression,” she said. “They are great site of experimentation.”

Shapiro agreed that social media is a huge help to nail artists. Social media has given a calling card to the independent nail artist, she said. It encourages people to try new styles and to broadcast what they have.

Quality nails take time. The craft is not as easy as people expect, said Julia Snare, a nail technician with Smokin’ Gun Spa and Salon. It takes time and patience to become skilled. There is a precise science to holding your hand still while drawing, she said. The care and precision could be compared to a surgeon.

“I try my hardest so no one leaves unhappy,” Snare said.


From right, Leann Nulph does Daniela Hernandez' nails Monday at Smokin' Gun Spa and Salon in downtown Twin Falls.

Back at the Smokin’ Gun Spa and Salon, nail tech Leann Nulph paints Daniela Hernandez’s nails with a deep purple color. The polish says it will change color depending on the wearer’s mood. Nulph takes time with each finger, putting a gel top over the acrylic to protect her work.

Nulph puts crystals on four of Hernandez’s nails, adding sparkle to this particular piece.

“It makes me feel more comfortable,” Hernandez said. “It makes me feel like a woman.”

Foster care bill cleared by Idaho Senate panel

BOISE — A bill aimed at improving Idaho’s foster care system is headed to the Senate floor.

SB 1341, also known as the Foster Care Improvement Act, would enact a number of reforms to the system, some more dramatic than others.

Most notably, the bill would codify the common judicial practice of keeping siblings together whenever possible, strengthen support services for newly reunified families, clarify priorities when investigating claims of abuse, establish in statute a new system of Citizen Review Panels across the state and create a legislative committee to oversee child protection.

The bill’s sponsor, Sen. Abby Lee of Fruitland, described the bill as the “next step” in improving foster care in Idaho.

Because the hearing for SB 1341 was cut short due to a lack of time, the panel was only able to hear two of seven people who had signed up to testify.

Christine Tiddens, community outreach director for Idaho Voices for Children, said her organization especially appreciated the legislation’s efforts to preserve sibling connections and strengthen support and services for recently unified families.

“Strong wraparound services can really help the ease of this transition,” Tiddens said. “While we don’t want any children to remain in the foster care system any longer than absolutely necessary, we want to ensure that they go home to safe and stable environments with supports readily available if things get tough.”

Some reforms may prove more complicated to enact than others, however. The Department of Health and Welfare fully supports most of the legislation, deputy director Lori Wolff told the committee. But she voiced concerns about the fiscal costs and increased workload expected to accompany new standards for investigating and reviewing cases.

Dr. Robert Ball, senior vice president of programs at the Idaho Youth Ranch, was among those who had signed up to testify but were unable to do so.

Ball told the Times-News that he found the establishment of a legislative oversight committee and strengthened support services for families particularly important.

“I really see this as a great first step in addressing the gaps that we know are in the foster care system,” Ball said. “And then really our ultimate goal should be to reduce the number of kids who are in foster care.”

UPDATE: Magic Valley Cinema 13 expansion features reclining seats, beer and wine and ‘Imax-like’ auditorium

TWIN FALLS — Movie-goers in Twin Falls will have a different kind of experience once the Magic Valley Cinema 13 finishes a major upgrade and addition — as early as this year.

Woodbury Corp. and Cinema West announced their agreement on Wednesday. Woodbury Corp. is the real estate management and development company that owns the Magic Valley Mall. The expansion will bring six new theaters, all-new seating, plus one Imax-style theater.

Once complete, the cinema will have fewer seats and more auditoriums, offering a luxury-style entertainment experience that’s all new to the area.

“There’s a great deal of pent-up demand in Twin Falls for entertainment,” said Brent White, regional manager for Woodbury Corp.

As the Magic Valley Mall experiences big changes with Macy’s and Sears closing, White believes malls of the future will no longer be mostly retail. They will be about half entertainment and half merchandise and soft goods, he said. The Magic Valley Mall could look much like that with this addition, and as Woodbury Corp. looks for another type of entertainment to go into the Sears space.

Construction at Magic Valley Cinema 13 will begin as soon as possible, Cinema West CEO Dave Corkill told the Times-News. Work will be done in phases.

“The customers will generally not notice when they’re doing any work,” he said.

Here are some of the features Twin Falls movie-goers will see once the upgrades and expansion are complete:

Imax-style theater

A brand new large-format auditorium will have a floor-to-ceiling, wall-to-wall screen — quite similar to the Imax theaters in Boise and other places.

“It’s designed to immerse you into the motion picture,” Corkill said.

It will come at a slightly increased charge for patrons. Pricing is yet to be determined.

Reserved and reclining seats

All 13 theaters will be retrofitted with electric reclining seats. These seats are wider, longer and allow users to lay back and put their feet up just as they would at home. However, auditoriums will be able to accommodate only about half of the seats as they do now. Corkill believes this will result in fuller theaters.

The other thing that will change is how you pick your seat. Whether they go to the box office or buy tickets online, customers will see a seating chart and choose where they’d like to sit before the movie starts. This will not only make it easier for groups to sit together, but attendees also won’t have to worry if they’re running late.

It also means that opening-night crowds could look a lot different.

“There’s just no reason to line up for hours just to get a good seat at the theater,” Corkill said.

New theaters and alcoholic beverages

Six new auditoriums will allow the Magic Valley Cinema to show films that it currently can’t because of limited screens. Think films like “The Shape of Water” and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri,” Corkill said.

“We’ll allow all ages in those auditoriums until 5 p.m.,” he said.

But at night, they become VIP seating for those ages 21 and older. Each theater will offer patrons beer and wine plus food service that will be like a meal — much different than the standard popcorn and nachos. It’ll create a sort of restaurant experience with a show, Corkill said.

“When it comes to movie theaters, it doesn’t get any bigger than this!” Woodbury Corp. President Randy Woodbury said in a statement. “To be able to introduce a concept of this caliber to the Twin Falls market is just another example of how attractive Magic Valley Mall is to retailers.”

The Magic Valley Cinema 13 opened in Twin Falls in 2012.

Parking lot changes

The addition to the cinema will mean there will be less parking. This is permitted by an updated agreement the mall made with the city earlier this year.

But White noted that Olive Garden will add another 150 parking stalls to the area, stretching from its building off the corner of Locust Street and Pole Line Road all the way to the former Columbia Bank building. The parking lot will have landscaping features.

Other changes

at the mall

The theater expansion isn’t the only announcement Woodbury Corp. has made in recent weeks. Last month, the company announced that Hobby Lobby would occupy the current Macy’s space at the Magic Valley Mall, probably by this fall. Macy’s plans to close at the end of the month, and White said his company hoped to hand the space to Hobby Lobby within 24 hours of that closure, so renovations could begin quickly.

Additionally, Olive Garden will build a casual Italian-American cuisine restaurant near the cinema, at Locust Street and Pole Line Road.

Sears will close in early April. No tenant for that space has been announced.

“Twin Falls is experiencing lots of positive changes and growth at the moment, and as the premier cinema in this burgeoning community, we know we need to keep pace with that change,” Corkill said in a statement.


From left, Oakley's Brittany Hardy, Makinlee Cranney, Jaclyn Wybenga, Rachael Mitton and Brynn Westover celebrate their win over Lapwai during the 1A-DI state semifinals Friday, Feb. 16, 2018, at Columbia High School in Nampa.

Ex-wives testify against former Twin Falls police officer accused of abusing young girls

TWIN FALLS — Fourteen jurists heard the state’s case Wednesday against a former Twin Falls police officer accused of sexually abusing young girls.

Former patrol officer William Anthon Jansen of Twin Falls was charged April 10 and put on unpaid leave. In July, Jansen pleaded not guilty to four counts of lewd conduct with a minor. Jansen is no longer with the department.

Lt. Terry Thueson Thueson told Judge John Butler during Wednesday’s testimony that Jansen’s former neighbor Detective Rick VanVooren brought rumors of the alleged abuse to the department before Jansen was hired in December 2013. As part of a routine background check, Thueson interviewed one of the alleged victims, who then denied the abuse.

Jansen was a sergeant in the Idaho Army National Guard and completed two combat deployments to Iraq.

A teenage girl came forward with the allegations in late March last year, saying Jansen sexually abused her in 2008 and 2009 when she was between 7 and 9 years old. She told a sheriff’s detective that Jansen also abused at least two other girls — one who has since died and another who said Jansen abused her in 2005 and 2006 when she was 8 years old. Jansen is accused of touching the then-preteen girls’ genitals with his hands when he was in his early 20s.

“As soon as we found out about the allegations, we forwarded to the sheriff’s office for investigation,” Twin Falls spokesman Joshua Palmer told the Times-News. “Then they conducted their investigation.”

A sheriff’s investigator said he believes “many more” victims will be uncovered.

“Based on my training and experience and the evidence gathered in this investigation, I believe more victims will be uncovered through the course of this investigation and Jansen remains a threat to society and any current/future victims,” Detective Travis DeBie wrote in a sworn affidavit. “It took these victims many years to come forward. I believe we will uncover many more.”

The girls testified in court Tuesday, followed Wednesday by Jansen’s ex-wives, Nicole Mathis and Amanda Barnes. Mathis and Barnes both testified that Jansen had confessed during their marriages to abusing young girls.

Mathis earlier told sheriff’s investigators Jansen admitted to “inappropriately touching juvenile girls” and to having sex with a 17-year-old roommate that lived with them while they were married. She also told investigators that Jansen was sent home dishonorably from his Mormon mission “due to a sexual incident that occurred” prior to the mission.

She told detectives Jansen disclosed to his Mormon bishop that “he had inappropriate contact with juveniles.”

Jansen told detectives he was never alone with the girls he’s accused of abusing, one of whom said Jansen showed her a book depicting sexual acts the first time he assaulted her. He admitted to having sex with the roommate but said he believed she was 18 years old.

Ada County deputy prosecutors Kassandra Slaven and Abby Kostecka rested their case against Jansen Wednesday afternoon.

Attorneys Joe Filicetti and Scott Pearson of Boise will begin their defense at 9 a.m. Thursday.



CSI officials: Next year's budget is 'bare bones'

TWIN FALLS —College of Southern Idaho officials say they’ll have a lean budget next year with just a 1.1 percent increase — a smaller boost than Idaho’s other community colleges.

The state legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee voted March 6 to approve $46.1 million in community college funding — a $6.7 million increase, Idaho Education News reported. The vast majority of the increase, $5 million, will go to the new College of Eastern Idaho.

CSI President Jeff Fox described the college’s funding for next year as a “bare bones budget,” but said he’s not complaining and is optimistic.

“We’ll have to figure out how to do more will less,” he said Wednesday.

State budget decisions still must be approved by the House and Senate, and signed into law by Gov. C. L. “Butch” Otter.

CSI’s board will meet Thursday morning for a fiscal year 2019 budget discussion, but no decisions will be made.

Fox said he’d like to see a little more state financial support for CSI. But in the big picture, he said, that money is going to support CSI’s sister institutions and a shared mission.

The College of Western Idaho — which has seen rapid enrollment growth — will see a 10.9 percent increase, while North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene will get a 1.5 percent boost, Idaho Education News reported.

The College of Eastern Idaho in Idaho Falls needs the additional $5 million in funding to get off the ground as a full-service community college, Fox said, calling it “absolutely essential.”

For CSI, the slight funding increase will likely go toward items such as covering rising employee health insurance costs and pay raises. This fiscal year, the college has an approximately $42.5 million general fund budget.

Jeff Harmon, vice president of administration at CSI — who oversees finances — wasn’t available to comment Wednesday.

CSI has seen an enrollment decline, which also impacts state funding. Its total headcount hovers around 7,000 students — lower than during the economic recession, a trend mirrored nationwide. But the growth trend continues for dual credit, which allows high schoolers to earn college and high school credits simultaneously.

Another piece of the puzzle: Otter recommended no funding for line items for any Idaho colleges and universities, including CSI, for next fiscal year.

“That’s fine, Fox said. “I’m sorry that happened.”

CSI spent about six months developing roughly $1 million in line item requests, including for institutional technology support, and weekend and night programs and classes to help adults who are training for the workforce. None of the line items were essential to ongoing college operations, Fox said.

In past years, CSI has received funding to pay for transition coordinators who work in high schools, dual credit advisers and the Bridge to Success summer program for first-time, degree-seeking students.

“They’ve been instrumental in us moving forward,” Fox said, toward the Idaho State Board of Education‘s goal of having 60 percent of residents ages 25 to 34 with a post-high school degree or certificate by 2020.

The college is also seeking to boost the approximately 50 percent rate of students who continue their education beyond high school. “A lot of requests are aimed at solving those problems,” Fox said.

Without any funded line items, “it slows us down and limits the progressive ideas we’d like to see,” he said, but he appreciates how Idaho has a balanced budget.