Guardian Top Stories

Former Ada Treas Worker Charged

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden’s office has charged a former Ada County Treasurer worker and another woman with multiple felonies following a lengthy investigation begun last year.

Eleasha Jenkins (aka Hilliard),44, is the former county employee. She faces three counts of grand theft as well as forgery charges. The charges stem from her work on personal property cases administered when someone dies with no heirs and no will. Based on the complaint filed with 4th District Court, it appears the charges involve a forged will, automobile titles, and a check issued by the office of the Treasurer.

The GUARDIAN was previously aware of about $31,000 missing from the treasurer’s accounts. There was a brief mention of the AG probe in an internal forensic audit which was completed last fall at the request of the county commishes.

April Rice, 43 also faces similar charges stemming from the same allegations.


PUC Suggests Boise Cut Water Fee


In an under-reported action by the Idaho Public Utilities Commission on October 7th 2015, the PUC will allow responsibility for maintenance and replacement of Boise fire hydrants to shift from the City to United Water.

In their ruling the PUC expressed concern that the shift could result in higher water rates for Boise customers and the PUC suggested that since the City of Boise receives a 3% United Water Franchise Fee, with revenue of about $1M, “more than two and one half times the City’s $450,000 hydrant maintenance and replacement budget” that perhaps the City needs to reduce their franchise fee to offset the increased water costs to maintain equity with customers.

The City apparently responded how inappropriate it was for the PUC to suggest the City reduce its franchise fee. So the City currently spends $450,000 per year for this service, and United Water will spend $765,000 per year to perform this same service. Will the City be reducing the franchise fee citizens pay since the City is no longer responsible for hydrant maintenance?

The City needs to do the right thing, and reduce the franchise fee to correspond with the reduced responsibilities and cost transfer. Otherwise citizens of Boise are paying twice. You can read the PUC decision HERE.

Dope Reporter Award: Do Inmates Shave Legs?

First 2016 winner of a coveted (dreaded?) GUARDIAN “Dope Reporter Award” is Sierra Oshrin at KBOI TV2 for her live report from the Canyon County Jail-tent.

Jose Esteban Coronado

Jose Esteban Coronado

After an inmate cut through the tent-like material in a minimum security structure, Oshrin did her live stand up outside the scene of the escape, explaining Jose Esteban Coronado cut a hole in an exterior wall. With a pantomime motion she said the escapee “used a plastic razor like you use to shave your legs.”

We immediately wondered how many inmates shave their legs. Guess it’s really a matter of perspective how one uses a razor.

Here are some previous WINNERS over the years.

Ada Jail Offers Discount Rates To State, Travelocity and don’t hold a candle to the Idaho Department of Corrections when it comes to discount room rates.

Beds a little hard, but the en suite toilet and sink combo are convenient.

Beds a little hard, but but the en suite toilet and sink combo are close.

IDOC gets about a 50% discount on rooms at the Ada County jail where the actual cost to keep an inmate is $92 a day. It has been a long standing practice of the state corrections agency to leave inmates in county jails rather than construct more prison cells. Some counties like the $45 a day to offset local costs, but at least in Ada, the county taxpayers subsidize the State of Idaho and it isn’t just for a few bad guys. Room rates are set either by law or negotiated contracts.

In response to a request by the GUARDIAN, Ada County revealed that a recent inmate census showed 165 offenders held for IDOC (rider review hearings, court, waiting to be moved to IDOC to serve time, parole violation, etc.) There were also 73 with $62 rooms held for the U.S. Marshals Service. The sheriff told us the $62 rooms don’t have bigger beds or better meals. However, the Feds did contribute several million for jail cell construction several years ago.

Each guest gets a sweatshirt during their stay.

Each guest gets a sweatshirt during their stay.

Ada taxpayers are paying $7755 a day for state of Idaho inmates to sleep at the Ada Jail. Over the course of a year at that rate, we are donating about $2.8 million that should be paid by the State of Idaho. The 1200 bed jail is nearly full every day.

Ada County Sheriff Steve Bartlett is seeking a grant of nearly $4 million from the McCarthur Foundation to cut down on the number of inmates and provide help to people with urgent mental health treatment at a secure diagnostic facility.

“It would be not only mental health evaluations, but medical evaluations, it would be a center where we could bring law enforcement together to really evaluate what the need is for the person we are dealing with,” said Bartlett.

Allumbaugh House was supposed to be a mental health and detox center, but contrary to political claims by Boise politicos, it is impossible for a cop to take a drunk passed out on the street anywhere but jail or the emergency room, thanks to restrictive policies at Allumbaugh House. See this ALLUMBAUGH post from three years ago.

Rental bracelets available for some.

Rental bracelets available for some.

Bartlett told us that as many as 60% of inmates on any given day are there for “secondary crimes” such as fail to appear, fail to pay fines, contempt of court, probation violation, or simply not being able to pay a fine. He advocates changes in sentencing practices such as electronic monitoring rather than more jail cells.

Protest Erupts In Gun Fire At Burns, Rangeland Protesters Set To Meet In Boise Saturday

MSNBC is reporting gunfire and death Tuesday afternoon at the standoff in Harney County, Oregon where armed protesters have occupied the Malheur Wildlife Refuge for several weeks. See the FBI news release at the end of this post for more details.

The GUARDIAN has confirmed that a group with apparently similar concerns as the protesters has booked Boise’s Centre On The Grove for Saturday January 30. The seminar is entitled “STORM OVER RANGELANDS” and has scheduled a “Property Rights Workshop” and will discuss “Dealing With Federal Overreach.”

This poster was sent to the GUARDIAN promoting the Saturday Event:

Here is the FBI press release about the Oregon events:
“At approximately 4:25 p.m. (PST) on Tuesday, January 26, 2016, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and Oregon State Police (OSP) began an enforcement action to bring into custody a number of individuals associated with the armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. During that arrest, there were shots fired.

One individual who was a subject of a federal probable cause arrest is deceased. We will not be releasing any information about that person pending identification by the medical examiner’s office.

One individual suffered non-life threatening injuries and was transported to a local hospital for treatment. He was arrested and is currently in custody.

The arrested individuals include:

* Ammon Edward Bundy, age 40, of Emmett, Idaho

* Ryan C. Bundy, age 43, of Bunkerville, Nevada

* Brian Cavalier, age 44, of Bunkerville, Nevada

* Shawna Cox, age 59, Kanab, Utah

* Ryan Waylen Payne, age 32, of Anaconda, Montana

These probable cause arrests occurred along Highway 395.

In a separate event in Burns, Oregon, at approximately 5:50 pm, Oregon State Police arrested the following individual:

* Joseph Donald O’Shaughnessy, age 45, Cottonwood, Arizona

All of the named defendants face a federal felony charge of conspiracy to impede officers of the United States from discharging their official duties through the use of force, intimidation, or threats, in violation of Title 18, United States Code, Section 372.

We continue to work with Harney County Sheriff Dave Ward and his deputies; Oregon State Police; and the United States Attorney’s Office to address any further outstanding issues. As the investigation is ongoing, we cannot comment further at this time.

All defendants should be presumed innocent until proven guilty.”

The Boise Guardian

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