Entries in Idaho (5)


Girl Scouts in Idaho Denied Sales Tax Exemption on Cookies

Giuliana Nakashima/The Washington Post/Getty Images(BOISE, Idaho) -- Idaho Girl Scouts seeking to get an exemption from sales tax on their famous cookies were thwarted by the Idaho state senate this week.

Idaho puts a 22 cent sales tax on every box of cookies, same as they do with every other food. Sales tax on Girl Scout cookies brings in about $150,000 in tax revenue every year. Earlier this year however, Julie Hart, a Girl Scout mom and lobbyist in Boise, encouraged her daughter’s troop to try to get an exemption from the tax, since the Scouts are a nonprofit.

“I said, ‘you know there's a big freshman class coming in and a lot of things changing why don't we go ahead and try to roll with it this year and see what we can get done,’" Hart said.

The Girl Scouts won an exemption in the state house, but were stopped in the state senate. Republican Representative Jim Patrick says the decision was merely economic.

“The issue is: How man exemptions do we get? And we've been under a lot of pressure to reduce exemptions,” Patrick explained.

Despite the loss, many Girl Scouts say the whole process was a valuable experience.

“I've learned about politics, ethics, about our world and what's in it,” said Girl Scout Ella Marcum.

Copyright 2013 ABC News Radio


Does Five Wives Vodka Offend Mormons?

Ogden's Own Distillery(BOISE, Idaho) -- The deputy director of Idaho’s State Liquor Division says that a new vodka called Five Wives is offensive, without specifying to whom. In a letter, Howard Wasserstein calls it “offensive to a prominent segment of our population.” He has forbidden its sale in state-owned stores.

Idaho’s population is 27 percent Mormon, according to the U.S. Census.

Steve Conlin, head of marketing for Ogden’s Own Distillery, maker of Five Wives, declares himself stunned by Idaho’s decision.

Five Wives, he says, is approved for sale in Utah, where there is also a large population of Mormons. Moreover, Idaho allows the sale of alcoholic beverages whose names might cause greater offense. These include Polygamy Porter, made by Wasach Beers in Park City, Utah. Its tagline: "Why just have one?"

Conlin says the name Five Wives was picked not as a reference to polygamy but as a simple celebration of Western history: The first wagon train to Utah contained, he says, 66 men and 5 women. As to how many men the five were married to, he professes not to know.

Jeff Anderson, administrator for the Idaho State Liquor Division, says no objections by his state’s Mormon community played any role in his agency’s decision. He says a team of professional screeners decides the fate of every brand of liquor that tries to get itself stocked in Idaho’s state-run stores.

In the case of Five Wives, he says, those screeners found the product wanting: The liquor was “an average product trying to get a premium price.” The state already offers, says Anderson, 106 other vodkas in Five Wives’ $21.95 price range. There was not room for another.

It’s true, he says, that some people found the brand offensive -- but they were not Mormons. They were female screeners on his staff.

The Five Wives depicted on the label, they found, upon historical discovery, were not wives. They were sisters: the Barrison Sisters, a vaudeville troupe of dancers whose appeal was that they titilated by asking if audiences would like to see their female organs. They then would lift their skirts, revealing pussycats attached, says Anderson, “around their genitals.”

ABC News contacted Steve Conlin a second time, to impart this information.

“That’s a new one,” said Conlin. “We had not been aware of the history of the photo. Very interesting. The plot thickens, for sure.”

He phoned back a few minutes later to add: “I’m not sure this changes our position. To us it’s just an image. We love the fact that there was a mystery to where it came from. And so what? They’re cats.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Micron CEO Killed in Small Plane Crash

Micron Technology(BOISE, Idaho) -- Steve Appleton, Chairman and CEO of Micron Technology, was killed in a plane crash Friday, according to a statement by the company’s Board of Directors.

Appleton was the only person on board the small, experimental plane, which crashed at approximately 9 a.m. Five crews were investigating the crash at the airport, according to the Idaho Statesman.

Micron Technology is a Boise-based multinational corporation that produces semiconductors and is traded on the NASDAQ. Appleton became Chairman and President in 1994 after joining the company in 1983.

The company recently announced that current sales vice president Mark W. Adams will become the chief operating officer after Mark Durcan retires in August.

Micron halted trading of the stock before the Board’s statement on Friday. The company campus’ flags were lowered to half mast. Appleton was 51.

“Our hearts go out to his wife, Dalynn, his children and his family during this tragic time,” the statement read. “Steve's passion and energy left an indelible mark on Micron, the Idaho community and the technology industry at large.”

Appleton was injured in another plane crash in 2004. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, pilot error was the ruled cause of the crash.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


How Did Most Desperate US Cities Fall into Bankruptcy?

Comstock/Thinkstock(VALLEJO, Calif.) -- The city of Vallejo, Calif., knows what it's like to go through desperate times -- a distinction it shares with similarly-blighted towns and counties around the U.S., including Central Falls, R.I., Harrisburg, Pa., Boise County, Idaho, and Jefferson County, Ala.

All these municipalities are either facing bankruptcy, have already declared it, or, like Vallejo, are now emerging from it painfully.

Few cities get so desperate as to seek bankruptcy protection.  Since 1937, when Chapter 9 filings first became an option for municipalities, there have been only 625 filings, says Chicago attorney James Spiotto, who has written books on the subject.  Only five communities this year have filed for bankruptcy, while six filed in 2010.

For some towns, bad times arrived slowly by a variety of roads.  For others, a single event tipped them into darkness.

The closing in the 1990s of a U.S. Navy base pulled the financial rug out from under Vallejo.

Boise was the victim of bad legal luck: A jury ruled in 2010 that the county had wrongly prohibited a developer from building a teen treatment center.  The developer won a $4 million judgment, which Boise has been hard-pressed to pay.

Harrisburg fell victim to the "incinerator from hell" -- a waste-to-energy incinerator whose renovation caused the town to go $310 million into debt, five times as much money as the city has in its general fund, according to the Stateline newspaper.  Pennsylvania in December declared the city -- its capital -- financially distressed.

Jefferson County in Alabama, home to Birmingham, has been suffering for three years from the collapse of a sewer bond refinancing.  As of mid-August, it stood poised to file the largest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history, according to Bloomberg News.  It has since delayed filing to continue negotiating with its creditors.

Central Falls' economy declined over many years, starting in the 1970s, when local textile makers began moving plants overseas.  Some 1,400 jobs ultimately were lost, according to the National Council of Textile Organizations.  Crime increased to the point that Central Falls in 1986 was crowned the cocaine capital of New England by Rolling Stone magazine.

According to court papers, Central Falls ran out of money to pay its bills on Aug. 31.  It has a structural budget deficit of $5.6 million and an unfunded liability of about $80 million for retirement benefits and pensions.

To stave off bankruptcy, Central Falls now is trying to wrest back from its police and firemen some $2.5 million in promised pension benefits.  It has eliminated funding for its library, laid off staff, and has closed a community center.

All this pales, however, in comparison to what Vallejo has been through. Since filing for bankruptcy in 2008, the town has become overrun by crime and prostitution in the wake of budget cuts that have reduced the city's police force by almost half.  Prostitutes and pimps can be seeing plying their trade in the middle of residential areas.

In response, residents have taken matters into their own hands, instituting a neighborhood watch program, The Kentucky Street Watch Owls -- or, unofficially, the "Ho Patrol."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Jackpot! Winning $355 Million Mega Millions Lottery Tickets Sold

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(ATLANTA) -- At least two Mega Millions tickets matching all five numbers and the mega ball number in Tuesday night's $355 million drawing were sold in Idaho and Washington state, lottery officials confirmed Wednesday morning.

The numbers drawn in the nation's third largest jackpot were: 4, 8, 15, 25, 47 and mega ball number 42.

"Idaho is a very lucky place," Idaho Lottery Director Jeff Anderson said in a press release.  "We are encouraging everyone who has played Mega Millions to check their tickets carefully for winners.  We are also recommending all our players sign the back of their ticket prior to presenting it for payment.  These tickets are bearer instruments and we want to ensure our winners protect their play."

Idaho lottery officials also said another Mega Millions ticket that matched all five numbers minus the mega ball number in Tuesday's night draw was sold in the state.  That ticket is worth $250,000.

Another winner in Washington state will be sharing the $355 million jackpot, according to the Mega Millions website.

It is unknown if there are winners from other states to claim a share in the game's top jackpot prize.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio