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Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

Several tennis courts at Salmon Park in Burley will soon receive a makeover.

The city has already raised enough money to complete four of the six courts at the park, and it hopes to raise enough money in the next month to complete the remaining two.

The courts were in desperate need of repair, as sports editor Victor Flores detailed in his June 3 Big Story. The courts, owned by the city, were built more than 50 years ago. They served as the home court for Burley High School’s tennis team, but the cracked surfaces made for impossible court conditions over the past few years. The Bobcats were forced to play “home” matches on the road instead.

Since the city, rather than the school, owns the courts, pursuing a school ballot measure to repair them was not an option. Instead, several local organizations pledged money for the repair, including the Burley Development Authority, Oregon Trail Recreation District and the Burley Lions Club.

Kudos to business and community leaders in Burley for stepping up and repairing the courts, which will include tennis and pickleball stripes. This was a much-needed project and one that we applaud for both community and high school athletic reasons.

Jeer

Details continue to emerge about Rob Spear’s tenure as athletic director at the University of Idaho, and they’re not good.

On Friday, Chadd Cripe of the Idaho Statesman published another massive expose on Spear’s contemptible decision making, or lack thereof.

It’s worth reading the story in its entirety. But in short, Spear intimidated athletes who wished to transfer away from Idaho, including Hannah Kiser, winner of 20 conference championships in her four years as distance runner for the Vandals. When Idaho’s cross country coach left for greener pastures at Washington State, Kiser wanted to follow. But under the NCAA’s silly transfer rules, she needed Spear’s approval to go.

Not only did Spear not provide his approval, but he threatened her spot in the University of Idaho Hall of Fame. And according to a Statesman source, he did the same to at least two other athletes who asked for their release from the program.

In addition to Kiser’s allegations, another female athlete came forward to say she was a victim of sexual assault while competing at the university. She, like the other athletes to come forward earlier this year, said she felt abandoned by the university and by Spear.

Spear has been on paid leave since April 3 while the university conducts an investigation. As it becomes even clearer that he abused and misplaces his power as athletic director, it becomes more obvious that it’s time for Spear to go.

Cheer

The Twin Falls Police Department hosted its eighth annual National Night Out Tuesday. The department showed off its coolest gear, including drones, a bomb squad robot and a very good golden retriever named Ringo.

The event is intended for the police and the community “to come together under stress-free circumstances,” Twin Falls Police Officer J.P. O’Donnell said.

The event is not new, but it does fit into a recent trend of local law enforcement humanizing themselves. Another red-hot social media trend with a similar goal is the “lip sync challenge,” where officers lip-sync an embarrassing (and typically catchy) song.

On the surface, these have very little to do with actual policing. But in the long run, they might.

Community policing is about more than just arresting bad guys. It’s about keeping the peace in the city and ensuring that every citizen feels safe. Events like these build trust with the communities that law enforcement serves and protects.

If that makes even a few people more apt to call police when necessary, it’s proof that these types of things are more than just fun and games.

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