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Saturday, December 23, 2017

Bought a Snowblower This Year!

We put up with snow of all kinds and depths for 40 years.  We have a triple wide driveway and a corner lot and after last year we decided it was finally time to get a snowblower.  I got it on deal at model 88640 with a 24" wide capability and electric start.  (I also saw a Honda with tank type treads on it but the price was over $3K and not necessary unless you have hills to clear.)

We got up this morning and even though the snow was minimal, I was determined to give the new snowblower a go.  I gassed it up and put a 110v power cord to the starter and it took right off.  I have to admit I was a bit clumsy with it for the first few minutes but the learning curve was very short.  What used to take a considerable amount of time to do our driveway and nearly 400 ft. of sidewalk was done in about 7 minutes.  I think I could do it in much less time the next time around.  I was amazed at how powerful the 208cc engine worked.  Granted this snow was not much of a test but nonetheless it gave me a sense of power behind this engine.

Using 20/20 hindsight, I wish I had bought one of these wonderful machines years ago.  They come in all shapes and sizes and after more than a lot of research I bought the Sears Craftsman model 88640.  It was on deal back in early November and they would deliver it free of charge to my local Hometown Sears Store on the Caldwell Nampa Blvd. 

My wife and I are now in our 70's and no longer need the exercise shoveling snow once provided. There are some wonderful things out there for homeowners like line trimmers, leaf blowers, zero turn mowers.  I have now added my new snowblower to the must have list of items every Idaho homeowner should have.

Just make sure you buy ethanol free gas and treat it with fuel stabilizer. I spoke with David Woods at Woody's Outdoor Power and he related to me that 90% of his shop work is related to bad gas and gas with ethanol allowed to sit for extended periods of time.  Ethanol is hygroscopic and will absorb water over time rendering the fuel not usable for these engines after prolonged storage.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Commishes Wisely Reconsider $198MM Jail Project

Today's local paper above the fold has a very good article on the fact our County Commissioners have come to the conclusion $198 million for jail bond would not likely pass muster with voters.  Voters have already shot down three previous attempts to pass a jail bond to build a new jail. Here's a link:

Another issue is how Sheriff Donahue states we are in "crisis mode"with our jail as he can find no other places to board inmates outside of Canyon County.  On page A4 of the Idaho Press Tribune there is a article about Jerome County trying to find an entity to rent 50 jail beds.  Jerome County is 126 miles from Caldwell. Here's a link to this story  posted on KTVB News:

 Sheriff Donahue and County Commissioners can't seem to agree on the best way forward.  I was invited to the DLR Group meeting at the Commissioner's meeting room several weeks back when the price tag of $198 million was presented to those in attendance. You could almost hear the oxygen leave the room when this price for a new jail was presented.

Additionally, before Comm. Dale was elected, there was a proposal by Commissioners Rule and Hanson to add onto the existing jail for something less than $20 Million with most of it paid for with existing fund balances.  Candidate Dale said he would issue a stop work order if this project was started.  That proclamation was all that was needed for the Caldwell City Council to refuse a special use permit for the proposed jail addition.  So, the addition died on the vine.  Commissioner Hanson was replaced and now we have Commissioners Dale and White in lock-step with one another on how to proceed with the need for more jail space.  Meanwhile Commissioner Rule is a voice in the wilderness on jail matters.

It will be interesting to see what the Commissioners come up with next.  It has been reported to The Guardian the Vanburen School property is in the final stages of purchase by the County Commissioners.  I am part of a fact finding group and saw a very good presentation of how the Vanburen property along with other property adjacent to the school would amount to 23 acres that could be used to build a jail.  This could be done in piecemeal steps or all at once.  It would remove the need for transporting inmates from the Notus Hwy. site into town for court appearances for in custody inmates.

Lastly, the issue of the commissioners seeking judicial confirmation to bypass voters was mentioned by Mr. Dale.  It is very unlikely this could happen given this same request was denied in Sandpoint, Idaho several years ago.  Also, in summary it would appear the words "crisis mode" often used by our sheriff just is not the case when there are jail beds for rent in Jerome County.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Canyon County Concerned Citizens Meet on Jail

This past week a group of Concerned Citizens of Canyon County met at the Nampa Public Library to discuss the cost and necessity of a $198MM jail project.  The meeting was held on the 7th of December at the Nampa Public Library and had an excellent turnout.

It was generally agreed more jail beds are needed but not at a cost of $198MM.  The group consisted of citizens along with current and former elected officials of Canyon County, Caldwell and Nampa.

It was brought out previous polling at our County Fair disclosed citizens did not want to see a jail built out on the Notus Hwy. 20/26 property, their overwhelming choice of a jail site is at the Courthouse Campus.  Also, there was some concern why the addition to the current jail proposed by Comm. Steve Rule was not pursued after the no vote on a special use permit by the Caldwell CIty Council.  The costs to taxpayers along with the eventual absorption of property around the current Courthouse Campus would be negatively impacted if the County would not be allowed to grow in place without Caldwell issuing special use permits for future expansion efforts.

Debt service would mean $132/$100k of net taxable value for 20 years.  The expansion proposal made by Comm. Rule would have cost $13MM and would have come from existing fund balances.  (There is some disagreement on how much is there for this purpose.)  At any rate $13MM is a lot less than $198MM. The impact of $198MM on taxpayers along with other pressing needs for schools, water and sewage treatment (Nampa is looking at $200MM to comply with the Clean Water Act) and other cash intensive projects makes the $198MM jail project unworkable for most taxpayers.

Also discussed was the lack of multiple RFP's for a jail project. Why $250K was spent on this study when there are already studies on jail needs in the County files left a lot of unanswered questions on the table.

I was asked by the group to be Co-Chairman along with former Canyon County Comm. Kathy Alder.  We have taken on the task of delving into a series of questions raised at the jail meeting. A board of directors of this group is also in the formation stages.

More on this as information becomes available.

Thursday, October 26, 2017

Latest Jail Bond Costs

The Guardian attended a meeting at the Commissioner's Meeting Room today from 1-3:30PM this afternoon.  Comm. Pam White called me yesterday to invite me to hear what the good people from DLR, the consultant on yet another jail plan presentation.

Here's the short version of the meeting.  The latest jail plan calls for a 1,044 bed jail at the hwy 20/26 jail site.  The cost will be a whopping $198,600,000.00 if a bond is issued at 5% interest. Or in simple terms about $200,000 for each jail bed.

 This translates to a bond repayment cost of $132/$100k of net taxable value to every property owner in Canyon County.

Also presented was a proposal for new digs for the Sheriff and his staff.  The costs for this were $27,000,000 give or take depending on which option of the two presented gets  selected.  Using the ground floor of the Dale Haile Detention facility was what this money would be used to remodel into a new HQ for the Sheriff.

Beware of Coppers Issuing Parking Tickets

It is dismaying to have to report. you could find a parking ticket on your windshield.  A person well know to The Guardian got a $10 parking ticket for having his rear tire on the rolled gutter part of the curb on Hazel St. near the new hospital building.  He was cited for "parking on the sidewalk".  Add to this the envelope to pay the fine wanted hand delivery to the Caldwell Police Department v. mailing it in.

The Guardian has lived here for nearly 40 years and this is the first actual parking citation I have seen or heard about.  My barber who was formerly located on Arthur Street and 7th Avenue bitterly complained about people parking in front of his shop all day long.  This made it impossible for his elderly customers to get to his shop due to parking hogs.  The city police did nothing about the parking abuses. Downtown is a 2 hr. parking zone also routinely abused by business owners who park directly in front of their storefronts.

This begs the question why my friend got a parking ticket for having his tires on the rolled curb part of the sidewalk. It is also against city code to be facing the wrong direction when parked.  Could this be the next effort in crime fighting here in Caldwell?

Monday, October 23, 2017

Terry Reilly on Pennywise Site in Caldwell

It has been reported to The Guardian a brand new three story Terry Reilly Health Services Clinic will be built on the old Pennywise Drug Store property.  The property is located on the corner of Kimball and Cleveland Blvd. 

If you are wondering what it will look like there is a new Terry Reilly Clinic in Nampa on 1st South near the Nampa Burger King.  This is probably a good example of what will be built in Caldwell.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Ada Jail Costs Taxpayers $97/day

The Guardian has long maintained it costs property taxpayers about $100/day to keep someone in jail or prison when all the costs are added into running a jail or prison.  Ada County was recently awarded $1 million to figure out better ways to manage their jail costs.  Again, The Guardian has been a supporter of all alternatives to incarceration due to the costs to taxpayers.  Here's a link to the KTVB video on the money awarded to research better methods of running their jail.

The actual cost of incarceration in the Ada County Jail are mentioned about 2:58 into the video.  That cost is $97/day to Ada County property taxpayers. You will have to suffer through an advertisement on the front end of the video.  It is worth a look and listen listen to what is said. 

Jails and prisons are big ugly facilities taxpayers get to pay for with some of our citizens need to be locked up while others may only need some other method of social retribution for their crimes.  $100/day per inmate seems like a lot of money to keep someone in jail for minor offenses. There are other options and they need to be researched and used.

A new $250K jail study will soon  be out for general review by the public.  The Sheriff is pushing for a new 1,000 bed jail.  Canyon County owns a jail site out on the Notus Hwy.  The last time around a special use permit was denied to the county so they could add onto the existing jail.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

What Does NFL Rule Book Say About National Anthem

The Caldwell Guardian did some follow-up research on a post in the Boise Guardian about NFL Player conduct during the National Anthem.  Page A-62-63 was cited for the following quote:

"The National Anthem must be played prior to every NFL game, and all players must be on the sideline for the National Anthem.
During the National Anthem, players on the field and bench area should stand at attention, face the flag, hold helmets in their left hand, and refrain from talking. The home team should ensure that the American flag is in good condition. It should be pointed out to players and coaches that we continue to be judged by the public in this area of respect for the flag and our country. Failure to be on the field by the start of the National Anthem may result in discipline, such as fines, suspensions, and/or the forfeiture of draft choice(s) for violations of the above, including first offenses".

Given all the money these guys make for playing the game you would like to think they could at least follow the rules in the NFL Rule Book.  All The Guardian had to do was enter NFL RUlE Book Pages A-62-63 to find the above quote from the rule book.  

I ask myself everyday what these guys would be doing if not for their positions on a professional sports team.  Certainly few would be making what they make playing football.  The game is starting to suffer from a lack of parental support at lower levels now that we know about CTE brain damage.  

Time takes care of all problems and lack of future players looms large with this game Americans love so much.  More things that create a negative perception  aren't helping the image of the game.  

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


The Guardian keeps hearing about how impossible it is for people to reach credit reporting agencies to put a freeze on their private credit information.  Has anyone asked WHY we are the ones who must put a freeze on our private credit information?  Credit reporting agencies have collected private information on all of us and have kept this information without our approval and now we are the ones who must contact all of the credit reporting agencies and "at our own cost" pay these agencies to put a freeze on our private information.

The Guardian thinks it is time for Congress to step in and make all the credit reporting agencies put a freeze on our private information.  If we want to release our private information to someone then we can do so of our own volition.  There are plenty of mistakes made with credit reporting that can ruin members of the public without having the very agency in charge of our information not keeping it private,

Take the time to let Congressman Raul Labrador know how you feel and ask his help in getting the credit reporting agencies to put an automatic freeze on our credit information until it it actually released by us. Here's a link to Congressman Labrador's Webpage:,  it takes just a few minutes to send him your thoughts on this matter.  They really do listen and want to hear how you think about this serious breach of our private information.

UPDATE 9/20/2017:  The Guardian went to the Equifax site and they now have a quick and easy signup for Cyber Security and Credit Monitoring.  Here's a link
You can check to see if your credit information has been compromised and sign up at this site free of charge.

Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Are We Going for Another Jail Bond?

The local paper came out in favor of a new jail for Canyon County in the Sunday edition of the IPT.  Not much has changed other than the costs of building a new jail.  The Guardian has opposed all jail bond efforts in the past due to the extremely high costs of building, maintaining and other jail overhead costs like food, medical and staffing costs.

Typically it costs about $100K per jail bed to build a proper jail these days.  It also costs about $100/day to keep someone incarcerated in a jail when all the ancillary costs are put into running a jail.  

Our county commissioners have spent another $250,000 for this latest jail study.  The support for building a new jail is that we have over 200,000 people in our county.  No stats were given to support building a new jail other than the size of the jail in Ada County.  It would really be interesting to see how they came up with the data to support the costs of running a new jail.  One thing for sure is we will continue to use what we have in addition to any and all existing jail beds.

Here's a very good example of why we are not managing jail space properly.  I know a person who got a 45 day sentence for "malicious damage to property" over a $45 cell phone bill.  He owed the money so the judge sentenced his to work off his $45 damages in jail via 45 days of incarceration.  One has to ask if this was an appropriate sentence and questions "are the right people ending up in jail".  In this case I think not.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Incumbents Having Election Challengers

This post is for those of you who don't take either one of the local papers or watch the local news. This post is a short list of challengers and jobs they are seeking.

Mayor challenger to Incumbent Garret Nancolas is Ted Brumet.  Mr. Brumet is a retired veteran from the National Guard he has been active in veterans organizations here in Caldwell.  He has lived in Caldwell for the last 14 years. Ted served 25 yrs. active duty in the National Guard.

City Council
Seat 1:
Teressa Dodge
Mike Pollard (Incumbent)
Magda Ruano

Seat 2:
Terrance Biggers
Dennis Callsen (Incumbent)

Seat 3:
Robert Hopper (Incumbent)
Jack Linton
Brian Ruehl

The local papers usually give candidate a set of questions to each candidate to answer when they are trying to ferret out their positions on various issues.  The Guardian will try to keep readers abreast of this off-year election.  In years past the turnout has been very low with about 3,000 total votes.  Generally the one with as low as 1,600 votes will win.  (Caldwell now has nearly 55,000 people living in this city.)

Election day is Tuesday,November 7, 2012.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

New School Week 4.5 Days!

New School Week 4.5 Days! I didn't believe it at first when I asked a group of Jefferson Middle School kids how come they were getting out early on a Wednesday afternoon a couple of weeks ago. One of the kids shared with me they were going to get early release on Wednesdays all year long.

At first blush I thought it was a kid messing with an old man's mind.  I the following Wednesday I observed the same deal with kids walking by my house on their way home.  I had to get to the bottom of this and fired off an email to the Caldwell School District Office yesterday afternoon.  I got a prompt reply from Mr. Caleb Shore, the webmaster at Caldwell School District Office.  Here is what Mr. Shore said about the early out:

"Correct, Wednesday is an early release for students. We are using this time for professional development and training."

The Guardian also learned that Nampa is now into their second year of the 4.5 day work schedule for teachers.  Questions abound about how teachers are going to get done what they are expected to accomplish with the shortened work week.  It also raises the question of why not go to a 4-day week like what is done in other school districts to save money on all manner of things from bussing costs, heating and power costs etc.  

If anyone knows more about this, please do leave a comment below.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


THE GUARDIAN has been approached about reviving this blog.  I have a person who has expressed a willingness to help with all the research needed and I have agreed to bring the Caldwell Guardian back on line as topics of interest become available.

Stay tuned for more... Paul