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SD25 School Board Votes to Mandate Masks Beginning Monday, September 27

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September 22, 2021

At the September 21 meeting of the Pocatello/Chubbuck SD25 School Board, on a 3-2 vote, the Board reinstituted a mask mandate for the district.  According to a social media post from the district, the mask mandate applies to all students in grades K-12.  The district further states that the mask/face covering requirement allows for a provision for individuals to opt-out for a “legitimate medical exemption.”

Dr. Howell, Superintendent, said in the post, “As we continue to prioritize in-person learning, we recognize that to remain in school and to maintain all of our activities, we will need the cooperation of our staff, learners parents and patrons as we all persist in navigating the challenging conditions Covid-19 has on operating our schools safely and effectively.”

To view the meeting, click on the image, below.  Comments related to a mask mandate begin at 1:03:51.  Following comments, the Board takes up the action item of approving the “road map.”  This item is used as justification to make the mask mandate motion.  You can see this discussion and the subsequent vote beginning at 1:31:40.  This is done even though Board Member Cranor states, “The road map doesn’t indicate what action would be taken.”

 

Gov. Little, 25 Other Governors Request Meeting with Biden on Border Crisis

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CBP Border Security Searches Automobiles (Photo Credit, DHS / Josh Denmark)

(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, September 21, 2021)

Governor Brad Little (Official Photo)

Boise, Idaho – More than half the nation’s governors are calling on President Joe Biden to address the border crisis immediately.

Governor Brad Little joined 25 other governors in requesting an in-person meeting with President Biden to find solutions to the national security and public health crisis created by the unenforced border with Mexico.

“The sustained availability of drugs and the impact from crime related to drug abuse – including property and violent crimes – present continuing threats to the health and safety of Idahoans.  Meth and fentanyl are the most serious and growing drug threats in Idaho, and there is a direct tie to the loose border with Mexico.  America’s governors, including me, are asking the President to talk to us and work with us on solutions to the crisis,” Governor Little said.

View the governors’ letter here.

“The months-long surge in illegal crossings has instigated an international humanitarian crisis, spurred a spike in international criminal activity, and opened the floodgates to human traffickers and drug smugglers endangering public health and safety in our states,” the letter states.  “The negative impacts of an unenforced border policy on the American people can no longer be ignored.”

The governors point out that many states have stepped up and committed unprecedented resources to support security at the border.

In July, Governor Little announced Idaho would send a specialized team of Idaho State Police troopers to assist with intelligence gathering and investigative work related to drug interdiction at the border.  The troopers completed their weeks-long mission, serving both as a force multiplier for local efforts at a time when it’s needed along the border and, importantly, to bring back to Idaho the experience of seeing and learning up-to-the-minute enforcement techniques.

“While governors are doing what we can, our Constitution requires that the President must faithfully execute the immigration laws passed by Congress,” the governors said.  “We come directly to you seeking an open and constructive dialogue regarding border enforcement on behalf of U.S. citizens in our states and all those hoping to become U.S. citizens.”

 

Pocatello City Calendar, September 20-25, 2021

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(City of Pocatello Press Release, September 17, 2021)

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 20

No Meetings Scheduled

TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 21

CDBG Advisory Committee Meeting
12:00 p.m., Council Chambers

Site Plan Review
1:30 p.m., Iwamizawa Conference Room

Pocatello Creek Booster Station Bid Opening
2:00 p.m., Paradice Conference Rm.

Library Board Meeting
4:00 p.m., Council Chambers

WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 22

Animal Shelter Advisory Board Meeting
12:00 p.m., Council Chambers

Planning & Zoning Commission Clarification Meeting
6:00 p.m., Council Chambers

Planning & Zoning Commission Meeting
6:30 p.m., Council Chambers

THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 23

Hearing Examiner
5:30 p.m., Council Chambers

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 24

No Meetings Scheduled

 

Pocatello: Road Closures/Traffic Report for Week Beginning September 20, 2021

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(Photo Credit: City of Pocatello)

September 20, 2021 (Photo Credit: City of Pocatello)

The City of Pocatello has posted the Road Closures/Traffic Report for the week of September 20, 2021.

The reports, issued weekly, detail the City’s plans for street sweeping, micro sealing, road patching, paving, signal work, water line installations, and more.

To view the report for the week of September 20, 2021, visit:  Pocatello Traffic Report/Road Closures, Week of September 20,, 2021

Idahospeaks.com, protecting Freedom of Speech for Conservatives in Idaho

 

Candidate Interview: Kevin England, Running for Mayor of Chubbuck

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September 19, 2021

Chubbuck Mayor Kevin England (Photo credit: City of Chubbuck)

Earlier this month, the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer sent an email interview request to all Chubbuck mayoral candidates.  Mayor Kevin England is running for reelection to the position.  His answers to our questions follow:

  1. What, in your opinion, is the main purpose of government?

To secure the rights of the governed that are endowed to them by their Creator.

  1. How would you ensure that citizens are given the opportunity to be involved in city government decisions?

That is a challenge.  Many opportunities are made available to the people in general to have their voice heard, such as public hearings, open houses, survey’s, and elections, and few participate.  We live in a representative republic where the people elect certain individuals to represent their best interests.  If we are not careful, we can hold an election on all things and then we have become a democracy.

  1. What is your position on the City imposing health-related ordinances such as mask or vaccine mandates?

I believe that governments role is to educate and encourage.  Mandates are an extreme measure and rarely called for.

  1. What is your fiscal policy?  How would you ensure that the taxpayer is getting the best value for his tax dollar, and what steps would you take to reduce spending therefore reducing taxes?

I am a fiscal conservative.  We review expenditures at least twice a month and make sure dollars are being spent appropriately and wisely.  This policy makes it sure that we are not overtaxing.

  1. What is your policy with respect to economic development?

I do not believe in the use of incentives.  Our vibrant, growing community is incentive enough for development to happen here.  TIFF Districts, used appropriately, can be a good tool.  Growth should pay for its self.

  1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing Chubbuck right now, and how would you address them?

One big issue is getting our side of the State represented better.  This year I have been elected as the President of the Association of Idaho Cities (AIC).  That is a big deal for our area and will give us more of a voice in the State.  Next, we are in the middle of taking care of our facilities needs and if we stay the course we can have that in hand in the next couple of years.  Finally, growth is coming and we need to insure that it happens in a way that will bless our community in general.

Mayor Blad, Council Member Ortega, Have Testy Exchange over Purported Purchase of $9000 Granite Countertops/Custom Cabinets, for City Officials’ Offices

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September 19, 2021

Pocatello Council Member Claudia Ortega (Photo Credit: Claudia Ortega for Pocatello FB Page)

At the Thursday, September 16, Pocatello City Council meeting, Mayor Brian Blad and Council Member Claudia Ortega had a testy exchange regarding the purported purchase of granite countertops and cabinets, part of a redecorating project, supposedly costing $9000 apiece, for City Staff offices.

The dispute began with Council Member Ortega stating she would vote no on approving the Treasurer’s Report, as, she said, “I have questions about the custom cabinets and the custom granite that was purchased for the office of the Public Works Director and from what I understand also for the office of the Police Chief.  I can’t imagine that at minimum $18,000 between those two redecorations of offices?  I can’t imagine that there was not better use of that money for the people of this city.  I really can’t.  And to me, that is exercising poor judgment and blatant disregard for the taxpayers.  And, that’s a huge, huge problem, huge problem for me, so I’m going to vote no.”

Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad (photo credit: City of Pocatello website)

Mayor Blad, in breaking the tie to approve the report, said, “I’m going to vote yes, but with an explanation that we did go through the process when you say granite and make it sound like its a big thing.  The cost was the same.  And we went through the bidding process for the Public Works Director’s stuff, and it made sense for the public to have that.”

At this point, Ortega interrupted the Mayor, saying, “9,000, that made sense for the public?”

Blad continued, “Let me finish.  It made sense, it made sense to do that.”

Ortega responded, “Question.  Did you approve that?  Question.  Did you…”

Blad continued, “I’m not answering that right now.  And it’s offensive that we have the idea that we don’t follow the policies that are in hand.  They’ve been there for decades.  We have followed them very, very good.  The department heads, the p card holders, our CFO, it’s offensive to me that we would question the integrity of all of our…”

Ortega again interrupted the mayor, saying, “The people sitting here, that $18,000 was spent on redecorating two offices.  That’s what’s offensive, Mayor.”

At this point, although Council Member Chris Stevens attempted to interject, the mayor stated that they had voted and would move on to the next agenda item, the reading of two proclamations.

You can watch the exchange between Blad and Ortega by clicking on the image, below.  Ortega’s comments begin just after minute 25:00.

 

Healing America: Medical Health Symposium set for Saturday, October 2nd

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September 19, 2021

ConservativesOf is hosting the Healing America:  Medical Health Symposium on Saturday, October 2, at Foothills Church, 9655 W. State Street in Boise.  The event is scheduled to run from 9:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m.

Those attending will:

  • Get cutting edge updates on the real science for staying healthy
  • Learn what happens to America if she stays on her current path
  • Discover how to pray in spiritual warfare to heal America

For more information, click on the image, below:

 

Candidate Interview: Taylor Wood, Running for Pocatello City Council, Seat #4

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September 18, 2021

Last week the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer sent an email interview request to all Pocatello City Council candidates.  Taylor Wood is running for City Council Seat #4.  His answers to our questions follow:

  1. What, in your opinion, is the main purpose of government?

Different levels of government have different roles and purposes.  The main purpose of the federal government is to protect our constitutional rights.  This is important to me, but given that I am running for city council, I will speak specifically to the main purpose of our city government here in Pocatello.  I believe the city government’s purpose is to: provide, maintain and improve basic services such as water and sewer; fund and support emergency services; plan, maintain, and improve infrastructure (roads, bridges, sidewalks, etc.); and, when necessary, allow for healthy economic growth by providing businesses and workers ample opportunity to succeed as to improve the overall quality of life for its residents. 

  1. How would you ensure that citizens are given the opportunity to be involved in city government decisions?

Winston Churchill once said “Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak.  Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.”  Too often, politicians don’t listen to their constituents.  As a member of the City Council, I will always listen.  Transparency will be the cornerstone of my time on the Council.  Most citizens genuinely care about Pocatello and want to get involved when they feel that they can trust their politicians.  I will always shoot straight with the people of Pocatello.  As a small business owner, I plan to be out in the community earning the trust of hardworking citizens.  Everyone’s opinion will be welcome and no idea will ever be too small or too big to matter to me.

  1. What is your position on the City imposing health-related ordinances such as mask or vaccine mandates?

I’m not a proponent of mask or vaccine mandates.  Citizens can and do educate themselves using reliable and trusted sources.  Let’s allow them to make individual choices.

  1. What is your fiscal policy?  How would you ensure that the taxpayer is getting the best value for his tax dollar, and what steps would you take to reduce spending therefore reducing taxes?

As someone with a background in finance, I am a strong proponent of local governments living within their means just like everyday citizens do.  This means the Pocatello government should follow the lead of Pocatello families by balancing the budget, spending wisely, and preparing for the long-term future.  I do not support the reckless tax-and-spend policies that you see coming out of Washington, DC right now.  I will improve Pocatello’s financial situation not by raising taxes on ordinary Idahoans, but by expanding our tax base.  Commercial business activity generates much more tax revenue than residential areas.  On Council, I will help grow business activity in Pocatello and thus alleviate a heavier future tax burden by the residents.  This will provide new opportunities for the city while keeping people’s hard earned money in their own pockets.

  1. What is your policy with respect to economic development?

My wife and I have both started businesses in Pocatello.  On national news we hear and learn about trade deficits and surpluses between the US and other nations.  That same principle applies to states and cities.  A city with a trade surplus grows and prospers- with most residents benefiting both financially and from a better quality of life.  It’s time to buckle down and build a trade surplus in Pocatello.  What I mean by that is instead of us simply exchanging our money with each other and spending our money online and  with companies outside of our city, we must bring and build businesses that bring money into Pocatello or When a business that brings money to Pocatello by providing services or products to other cities, states, countries, economic development inevitably follows providing better, higher-paying jobs for those of us in Pocatello.

  1. What do you believe are the most important issues facing Pocatello right now, and how would you address them?

While Pocatello faces many challenging issues at the moment, I believe two of the most imminent issues we are facing are (a) unity within the city council and (b) slower economic development in relation to our neighboring cities. 

I find it wholly disenchanting and frustrating for us to have such a divided city council.  Having a divide pushes citizens away from wanting to be involved, turns off businesses from wanting to do business here, and stagnates the cities should-be goal of improving the quality of life for its citizens.  Pocatello isn’t DC.  Pocatello can and should be united- even in the city council.  After more than a quarter of a century in politics, Theodore Roosevelt observed, he had found that change was realized by “men who take the next step; not those who theorize about the 200th step.”  I believe I can work with the city council to maintain diversity of thought and find compromise on the difficult issues to realize the next step and effectuate change.

Pocatello has experienced a lot of residential development, but is lacking commercial activity.  We have too many vacant office and commercial buildings.  Pocatello should be thriving on commercial growth given our geographic advantages compared with other cities in the region:  Pocatello is located closer to Salt Lake, offers incredible trails for recreation, and has a rich history.  Playing to our strengths and letting the region know what Pocatello has to offer is one of the first steps Pocatello can take to ignite economic development.  And of course, the city has several levers to incentivize business growth and development that should be used.

Governor Brad Little, Other Idaho Officials, Send Letter to Joe Biden Regarding Federal Vaccine Mandate

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(Idaho Governor’s Office Press Release, September 18, 2021)

Boise, Idaho – Governor Brad Little, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Winder, and House Speaker Scott Bedke sent a letter to President Joe Biden today detailing the flaws with the President’s federal vaccine mandate on private business and threatened legal action if he does not rescind the directive.

“One size fits all federal solutions are unproductive and do not appropriately balance the specific interests and needs of states or the businesses operating within our states.  If you choose to continue to move forward in this direction, the State of Idaho will have no choice but to take the necessary legal actions to uphold its sovereignty, check the overreach of power by federal bureaucracy, and uphold the system of checks and balances our Constitution guarantees,” the letter said.

View the full text of the letter, here:  OFFICE OF THE ATTORNEY GENERAL (idaho.gov)

 

Pocatello VSO’s Host First Responders’ Lunch on 9/11 Anniversary

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September 18, 2021

Charity Anderson

Last week, on the anniversary of 9/11, several Pocatello Veterans Service Organizations (VSO’s) came together to host a lunch for our local first responders, and to honor the heroes who lost their lives responding to the 9/11 terror attack.  Members of the Pocatello Fire Department, Pocatello Police Department, and many members of the community attended the lunch.

A highlight of the event was the talented Charity Anderson singing the National Anthem.  Her stirring rendition prompted members of the Pocatello Fire Department and others to ask for an encore.

VSO’s hosting the lunch included:

AmVets Auxiliary
American Legion Auxiliary
VFW Auxiliary
Daughters of the American Revolution
Marine Corp League
Military Order of the Purple Heart