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Perhaps the most surprising thing about the downtown Twin Falls renovation isn’t the neat new look of the streets and sidewalks. It happened way back at the beginning of the project, when the city removed the trees along Main Avenue.

Those tall trees had been blocking the second stories and signage at a lot of downtown businesses, as well as views of mountains to the southeast.

It was as if the buildings’ old-timey architecture, character and charm were all suddenly revealed for the first time in decades.

Unfortunately for some business owners, their buildings were lacking some of the charm. The facades were simply old, worn down eyesores.

But inspired by the streets projects, many downtown business owners are doing their own sprucing up.

“With a downtown restoration, we’re trying to beautify and make sure we have a nice facade on our building as well,” said Jared Johnson, manager of the Orpheum Theatre. “Those large trees — as beautiful as they were — they’re not hiding those facades anymore. With those gone, we can see every detail of the architectural vision of what the designers of these buildings and the designers of the downtown wanted.”

Thankfully, most business owners are hewing close to the original designers’ intentions, rather than recladding over existing materials. That’s what led to some of the uglier storefronts to begin with.

Come check it out if you haven’t already. It’s striking to see how beautiful downtown once was — and how today’s business owners are restoring that beauty.


Sen. Jim Risch, R-Idaho, is no snowflake. His career started as a hard-nosed prosecutor in Ada County. He bounced back from political defeat to become governor of Idaho. Today, he serves on the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is at the center of some of the most important issues around the globe.

But he simply can’t find it in himself to call out President Donald Trump.

In an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that’s now gone viral, Risch says it’s not his job to criticize the president when he says something disagreeable.

Here’s the exchange:

Blitzer: But when he lies about something and you know it’s a lie, shouldn’t you speak up?

Risch: That’s your job.

Blitzer: But that’s your job. You’re a United States senator. You’re a co-equal branch of the United States government.

Risch: Wolf, if I went around criticizing a statement that was made by the President or any one of my fellow senators or any one of the congressmen up here or people in Idaho who hold public office and I stood up and talked every time they talked and said I don’t like this, I don’t like that, I’m criticizing — I’d be busy all day long.

What a cop out.

If a United States senator like Risch can’t compel the president to stop lying — or at the very least, correct the record for the American public when the president says something he knows to be untrue — who can?

Risch wants the media to do his dirty work, but then he often turns around and criticizes the media.

Here’s how CNN’s Chris Cillizza ended a column about the exchange this week:

“The whole damn point of public service is to serve the public. You do a disservice to the public when you abrogate your responsibility to tell the truth and ensure that those around you do the same. Case closed.”

We don’t expect Risch to take such drastic actions as his fellow senator Jeff Flake, who dramatically condemned the president when he announced last week he wouldn’t seek reelection. Risch was elected to represent Idahoans, who are deeply red and loyal to the Republican Party, after all.

But Idaho must have a senator who can call out a liar when he sees one, even if it is the president of the United States. No, especially when the liar is the president.


Cheers to the parents, students and business owners in the Cassia School District, who are volunteering and donating to help finish projects at district schools.

Most know by now that the district botched a voter referendum that underestimated what it would cost for a massive overhaul of the district’s schools.

Now, volunteers and donors are picking up the tab for some finishing touches, including a new sprinkler system and sod at Raft River High School. A Burley student, Tyler Muir, 13, raised $7,000 for new sod at John Evans Elementary and new outside benches.

Janis Warr of Malta led the sprinkler project.

“She was able to mobilize the community around her,” said Debbie Critchfield, district spokeswoman. “That is the magic and beauty of small towns.”


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