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JFAC calls for 7.4 percent school funding increase

JFAC calls for 7.4 percent school funding increase(Courtesy Idaho Education News) BOISE — Legislative budget writers Friday voted to increase K-12 spending by 7.4 percent and boost teacher salaries by $33.5 million next year. Under the 2015-16 proposal, the state would increase school funding by $101.2 million next year and fully fund the first year of the teacher salary career ladder. The […]

Mural produced for 1964 World’s Fair finds home at BYUI

Mural produced for 1964 World’s Fair finds home at BYUI(Courtesy Brigham Young University-Idaho) REXBURG ­­­— A mural originally produced for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ pavilion at the 1964 New York World’s Fair now has a permanent home at Brigham Young University-Idaho. Titled “The Purpose of Life,” the mural has been installed on the ground floor of the BYU-Idaho Center. A […]

Mitt Romney talks family, treating blindness, Evander Holyfield fight

Mitt Romney talks family, treating blindness, Evander Holyfield fightNEW YORK – Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has an unassuming member of his family helping him prepare to fight retired boxer Evander Holyfield. Romney spoke about the fight, his family, and his desire to treat blindness on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon Wednesday night. Fallon and Romney have become friends over the […]

IFPD officers honored for saving man

IFPD officers honored for saving manIDAHO FALLS – Two Idaho Falls police officers were honored at City Council meeting for saving a mans life. Officers Jason Miller and Steven Avery responded to a cardiac arrest call on December 11, 2014. When they arrived, they found a man who was not breathing, unconscious, and without a pulse. Miller and Avery performed […]

Pocatello continues crack sealing project

Pocatello continues crack sealing projectPOCATELLO – The City of Pocatello will continue crack sealing streets next week. From March 30, 2015 through Friday, April 3, 2015, crews will focus on the following streets: Agate Drive; Emerald Drive; Garnet Drive; Jade Drive; Quartz Drive; Onyx Drive; Roy Street; Tanner Street; Sterling Street; Jessie Clark Lane; Avis Court; Dustin Circle; Jordyn […]

Rigby woman arrested for burglary

Rigby woman arrested for burglaryIDAHO FALLS – A Rigby woman is facing burglary charges after she allegedly stole items from Macys at Grand Teton Mall. Twenty-five‐year‐old Whitney Zahrn was arrested Thursday night. Idaho Falls police officers responded to assist Bonneville County deputies with Zahrn at Kohl’s around 10:15 p.m. According to police, Zahrn had nearly $650 worth of stolen […]

Idaho Falls woman admits to stealing dead mother’s benefits

Idaho Falls woman admits to stealing dead mother’s benefitsPOCATELLO – An Idaho Falls woman pleaded guilty Thursday to theft of government funds. Wendy Banks, 55, admitted that between June 2009 and January 2014, she stole over $29,600 of her deceased mother’s monthly social security benefits. After her mother’s death, investigators say Banks maintained the joint bank account she had shared with her mother. […]

Second Sears thief sentenced in Rexburg

Second Sears thief sentenced in Rexburg(Courtesy Rexburg Standard Journal) REXBURG —Sherri Fullmer, the owner of Sears in Rexburg, appeared in court again for the sentencing of the second Sears employee charged with stealing from her. Fullmer read another victim impact statement that outlined her history with Brady Clements, 22, who had worked with her for nearly three years. Clements was […]

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Describes Brutal Conditions of His 5-Year Captivity

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl Describes Brutal Conditions of His 5-Year Captivity

ABC News(NEW YORK) -- For the first time, Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl has described in his own words the brutal conditions he endured as a Taliban prisoner for five years, a time during which he said he was kept in constant isolation. Bergdahl also claims he attempted to escape about a dozen times, including once when he was able to evade his captors for nine days before being recaptured.Bergdahl walked away from his unit's outpost in eastern Afghanistan in June 2009 and was held captive by the Taliban until last May, when his freedom was secured in a controversial prisoner swap for five former Taliban leaders being detained at Guantanamo.On Wednesday the Army charged Bergdahl with desertion and misbehavior before the enemy; he could face life in prison for the latter charge.Bergdahl’s account of his captivity was included in a statement provided to reporters by his attorney Eugene Fidell, who told ABC News it details “the really atrocious conditions in which he was held” and the worsening treatment after his escape attempts. “I think those are important facts that decision makers will take into account when they figure out how this case should be disposed of,” said Fidell.“I was kept in constant isolation during the entire five years, with little to no understanding of time, through periods of constant darkness, periods of constant light, and periods of completely random flickering of light, and absolutely no understanding of anything that was happening behind the door I was held behind," wrote Bergdahl in the single-spaced, two-page statement.He said that in the first three months of his captivity after his two escape attempts, “I was chained to a bed spread-eagle and blindfolded.” He remained constantly blindfolded except for the few times a day when he was allowed to eat and use the latrine.As his muscles atrophied and it became difficult for him to walk, his captors allowed him to sit chained on the bed. He eventually developed open wounds on his ankles “that looked like the staph infection I had had earlier that year.”He also began to develop what he called a “growing internal sickness" that made it difficult for him to eat for the rest of his captivity and led to a dramatic weight loss.After a year of captivity he was placed in a cage with his hands in chains except for the few times when he would wash or change clothes. For a year his feet were chained to the cage every night, though that ended “because of the acute pain my feet and legs where [sic] in.” He claims that pain had developed into a “freezing numbness that continues to the present, as both feet have neuropathy.”He would spend the rest of his captivity in the cage, but unshackled only because it was placed over plumbing that allowed him to relieve himself.His captors would routinely play mind games with him, telling him he would be executed one day, “told I would leave the next day, and the next day told I would be there for 30 years.”Bergdahl claims he attempted to escape from his captors about a dozen times, the first one taking place just hours after he was captured in 2009 in eastern Afghanistan.Taken to a village, he claims a Taliban fighter began punching him each time he evaded his questions. Blindfolded with a blanket over his head, “I believed I had a chance to run for it and did.” But he was soon brought down by a large group of men who repeatedly punched him, including one who used the butt stock of a broken AK-47.He twice was able to escape beyond the buildings where he was being held -- the first time during his first week in captivity, when he escaped for 10 to 15 minutes “and after recapturing me and putting chains back on they took turns beating me with a length of thick robber [sic] hose.” Bergdahl said the escape attempt led to his being taken to a more secured compound.His most daring escape occurred at the end of his first year of captivity, when he was able to evade his captors for nine days. “Without food and only putrid water to drink, my body failed on top of a short mountain close to evening.”He was recaptured a short time later by a large Taliban search group that proceeded to beat him severely. “One tried to rip my beard and hair out, but from what I could sense they where [sic] more worried about getting me out of that area as quickly as possible.”

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Hitt Road single lane closures and detours

Hitt Road single lane closures and detoursIDAHO FALLS — Effective today, road construction on 25th East (Hitt Road), from Sunnyside Road south to 49th will result in periodic night traffic restrictions consisting of single lane closures or detours throughout the remainder of the project. City officials said the improvement project is scheduled for completion in July. Access will be maintained for […]

Hotel on the Falls reopens today

Hotel on the Falls reopens today(Courtesy BizMojo Idaho) IDAHO FALLS — The Hotel on the Falls, an Idaho Falls landmark for almost 40 years, is back in business today, with a new owner and refurbished rooms. The 85-room, eight-story building at 475 River Parkway, which dates back to 1978, when it was known as the Westbank Tower, was sold at […]

Idaho teacher salaries took an unexplained dip in 2013-14

Idaho teacher salaries took an unexplained dip in 2013-14(Courtesy Idaho Education News) BOISE — The average teacher pay in Idaho dropped by more than $200 from 2012-13 to 2013-14 — a decrease that the state’s teachers’ union can’t explain. On average, only two states pay their teachers less than Idaho. A March 10 hearing on a teacher career ladder bill drew dozens of […]

Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion, lawyer says

Bowe Bergdahl charged with desertion, lawyer says

ABC News(WASHINGTON) -- American soldier and former Taliban captive Bowe Bergdahl has been charged with desertion for allegedly walking off his post in Afghanistan in 2009, Bergdahl's attorney told ABC News Wednesday.Bergdahl was freed after five years in Taliban captivity in a controversial deal last year in which the U.S. agreed to release five mid- to high-level Taliban figures from detention in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba. President Obama called it a "good day" when Bergdahl was freed, but critics, including some high-ranking Republicans, loudly denounced the deal, likening it to negotiating with terrorists. Also, lawmakers complained that Congress had not been consulted about the exchange, as they said the law requires.After Bergdahl's dramatic return to the U.S., the Army launched an investigation into whether the soldier willfully left his post in Afghanistan before he was taken by the Taliban in 2009, as some Afghan war veterans alleged.

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Little scientists at Lincoln Elementary

Little scientists at Lincoln Elementary(Courtesy Rexburg Standard Journal) REXBURG — The Lincoln Elementary School library was full of scientists Thursday, examining the tiny skulls and skeletons of rodents and birds. The best part? Those scientists were third- and fourth-graders. This activity was the last after-school science session for the year at Lincoln Elementary, news that made the students say, […]

Madison opting out of test could cost Idaho $10 million

Madison opting out of test could cost Idaho $10 million(Courtesy Idaho Education News) REXBURG — Madison School District Superintendent Geoff Thomas says his students will not be taking the state-adopted standardized test next month, even though that may defy a federal requirement and could cost Idaho more than $10 million. “It certainly could be that extreme,” said Tim Corder, special assistant to Superintendent of […]

Idaho Falls man tasered after alleged domestic dispute

Idaho Falls man tasered after alleged domestic disputeIDAHO FALLS – Police tasered and arrested a man Tuesday night after they say he assaulted an officer following a domestic dispute. Rusty Price, 48, was booked into the Bonneville County Jail after officers were called to the 700 block of Cleveland. A woman reported she and Price had been arguing when he became physically […]

Police: Man assaulted, robbed woman & kicked officer

Police: Man assaulted, robbed woman & kicked officerPOCATELLO – A Pocatello man is behind bars after police said he assaulted and robbed a woman Tuesday night. Jeffrey Upchurch, 28, was arrested near 5th and Bridger Street around 8:30 p.m. Investigators said he assaulted, knocked down and took cash from a woman walking near 100 McKinley Ave. Officers don’t believe Upchurch knew the […]

Report: State has ‘sunk’ $61 million into Schoolnet

Report: State has ‘sunk’ $61 million into Schoolnet(Courtesy Idaho Education News) The state has “sunk” about $61 million into a flawed statewide instructional management system, and now has few options going forward. That’s the conclusion of a state report criticizing the Schoolnet project — a system that was supposed to provide teachers with real-time data on student development and growth. “Poor management, […]

Burglaries in I.F.

Burglaries in I.F.IDAHO FALLS — Several vehicles and a business were burglarized in Idaho Falls Monday night. The Idaho Falls Police Department responded to several vehicle burglaries at the 700 block of 1st Street at about 9 p.m. The vehicles involved had the passenger side windows broken out, and, in all cases, women’s purses were taken. A […]

Police respond to “out of control” man at EIRMC

Police respond to “out of control” man at EIRMCIDAHO FALLS — Police were called to East Idaho Regional Medical Center on Sunday for a report of an out of control man in the emergency room. Police say 19-year-old Zachary Anderson walked into the hospital and became combative with workers. Security was called and, according to officers, Anderson was carrying a marijuana pure and […]
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