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Cheers and Jeers

Cheer

The Twin Falls Planning and Zoning Commission made the right call this week in amending the special use permit that allows Bumpin Bernie’s to operate late at night. Instead of taking away the owners’ livelihood, the city saved that for its very last option — as it should. Instead, the bar is essentially on probation. It will now close at 1:30 a.m. and stop alcohol sales at 1 a.m., and the commission will review its special use permit again in one year.

The problems at Bernie’s have been well-documented, including excessive police calls and failing to adhere to the rules of its special permit. But this is the right move by the Planning and Zoning Commission to give the bar one last chance, with some sanctions, to get its act together.

If it still doesn’t shape up, the city will need to use a heavier hand. But that should be the absolute last resort, and the city handled this correctly.

Jeer

Idaho officials sent another 150 male inmates to Texas this week because of overcrowding in Idaho prisons. That brings the number of Idaho inmates housed at the Eagle Pass Correction Facility to 549, and 151 Idaho inmates housed at another Texas facility. So of the 8,700 offenders for whom the state must provide housing, about 8 percent are housed more than 1,000 miles away. At a cost of $70 per inmate per day, that’s $49,000 per day and $17.4 million per year that the state is spending on housing inmates out of state.

Until Idaho either changes some laws and sentencing guidelines or expands and builds its prisons, or some combination of the two, the state will pay the same amount that it would cost to house an inmate in a cheap motel. That’s simply unsustainable.

Cheer

After 53 years as the only attorney for the College of Southern Idaho’s board of trustees, Bob Alexander, 78, is headed for retirement.

Alexander was hired soon after the college opened in the 1960s. Since then, he’s worked with four college presidents and seen the college develop into the regional education hub that it is today. Happy retirement to Alexander, though he plans to stay on with his law firm in downtown Twin Falls, and thank you for your service to the college and the Magic Valley.

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