Guardian Top Stories

Forest Service Wants To Route 630 Truckloads Of Logs Over Ada Streets

After the Ada County Highway District Commishes turned down a request April 11 from the Forest Service to route 630 truckloads of logs through Hidden Springs or Boise’s North End, the Federal Agency appealed to the next level–Boise Mayor Dave Bieter.
In a MAY 20 LETTER to the ACHD, Bieter lobbied on behalf of the USFS, detailing the importance of a “Forest Health Project” at Bogus Basin and the economies of running 630 loads of logs along ACHD roads with top choice being along Cartwright Road and Hidden Hollow.

It sounds like after Dad turned them down they went to Mom for a second try. The GUARDIAN was hard pressed to understand the Team Dave involvement at all since every aspect of the project was outside the authority of Boise City.

–The project involves an agency of the United States Government (Forest Service).
–All of the 3,000 acres of the timber sale are within neighboring Boise County.
–The proposed routes (“haul roads”) are all under the authority of the ACHD.

Primitive roads within Boise County and within the forest boundaries are available to the logging operation leading directly to Highway 55, but the USFS and Bieter say needed improvements would cut into forest rehab budgets from the timber sale revenues.

The ACHD Commishes said they would not allow public streets to be used as “haul roads” for a logging operation. Bieter did not mention any potential conflicts between giant logging trucks and bicycles using either Cartwright or Bogus Basin roads.


Boise Composting Could Be Rotten Deal

Boise City Couuncilors will consider a proposal Tuesday to offer curbside composting at a cost of about $3.40 per month for the average household.
Bulldozer compacter working in a landfill in Boise, Idaho.
On the face of it the idea of cutting the amount of garbage in the landfill and the methane gas it generates sounds like a good deal. We certainly agree with the CONCEPT of recycling, but sometimes it just doesn’t “pencil out.”

Ada County Commishes just paid off Fortistar, a methane-recovery-electric generating firm, a cool $2 million for the rights to “excess methane gas,” generated at the landfill.

If Boise residents put their table scraps and other bio solids in green boxes for composting at the city-owned 20 Mile South Farm, affectionately dubbed the “Poop Farm,” that will cut the methane greenhouse gas at the landfill. Sounds good, but how will that impact Ada County and their deal with Fortistar? The rotting garbage is the “fuel” for the methane-powered electricity generator which earns cash for the county. In a nutshell, if a third bin is put curbside, that will mean a 33% increase in garbage trucks and a big jump in staff to sort the “non-compostables” out of the system.
Methane gas recovery equipment generates electricity at a sanitary land fill in Boise, Idaho. trash, landfill, land fill, methane, gas, generator, power, electricity, energy, sanitary land fill, methane gas
Meanwhile, Boise city fathers and mothers have purchased (or nearly purchased) 120 acres of land –with an assessed value under $70,000– for about $550,000 north of Kuna-Mora Road for a police shooting range. Boise coppers say the location is better than the 4,000 acre Poop Farm because it is about 8 miles closer to town, therefore saving coppers gas to visit the training site. Seems a contradiction to claim to save gas for coppers, but create an exponential increase in trash truck mileage.

We question the wisdom of making hundreds of 40 mile round trips a week with trash trucks to dump garbage for composting, all in the name of cutting pollution. The planners in the city also want to charge us an extra $40 a year for the composting and turn around and provide half the finished product back to us as fertilizer. They claim in a STATESMAN story that some of the compost will be used at the Poop Farm.

What scares the GUARDIAN is the rush to judgement–both on the police shooting range and the composting scheme. Before the council acts this Tuesday, we need some concrete answers to the rotting questions. The big one is: “Will the pollution of natural gas trash trucks traveling an extra 40-80 miles a day be less than the methane generated and recovered at the landfill?”

Many of those answers will have to come from Republic Services, the trash contractor for both the city and the county. To our knowledge there has never been a resolution as to exactly WHO owns the trash. The issue has been raised in the past with regard to recycling commodities such as paper, aluminum, and plastic. At least in the case of Fortistar vs Ada County, it seems some of the stuff belongs to Fortistar.

Whaddya Say And How Do Ya Say It?

Get out your dictionaries and get ready to do battle!

With the micro inspection of all the politicos and the outpouring of political correctness it has become nearly impossible to speak or even go to the toilet without offending someone.

For the sake of stimulating conversation we will offer some examples of “wrong talk.” We speak not of intentional bashing, baiting, or mean spirited use of the English language. Just some of the new terms and situations that create tensions.

A student who is above average intelligence is “gifted and talented.” That student often takes “advance placement” classes. It is considered totally insensitive to use “slow, dumb, stupid, lazy, or god forbid the opposite of advance “R” word.

-A person who cannot hear is never deaf.

-A person who cannot walk is never crippled (although polio is a crippling disease).

-People from Mexico are not called “Mexicans,” they somehow become hispanic or latino. However someone from France is “french” and Germany has “Germans.”

–A man from England is an “Englishman,” but it is considered racist to refer to a male
from China as a “Chinaman.” Asian seems the current favorite.

–Caucasians of European ancestry are “white.” Negro is the black opposite of caucasian and “colored” is taboo despite the official name of the NAACP. (National Association for Advancement of Colored People.

–Mexicans, Mid-eastern, and other brown skinned people are “people of color.” Never
say, “Arab-looking.”

–Despite the Bureau of Indian Affairs, Indian crafts, and casinos, those people are “Native Americans,” not to be confused with “African-Americans.

–Then we have the issue of “self-identifying” gender identity. Can a high school junior go to the girls locker room on a whim because he “self identified?”

–We can remember when LGBT mean lettuce, guacamole, bacon and tomato on a sandwich rather than code for sexual identity.

–We haven’t seen any women using urinals, but then again any man will tell you it’s bad form to peek at the person next to you…ALWAYS stare straight ahead!

Male, female, Christian, atheist, Republican, Democrat, today life in America is to skate on thin ice. If you or your group was mentioned above and you didn’t like it, we offer a blanket apology.

We welcome reader comments, but will not post anything obviously rude or distasteful.

Group Opposes St. Luke’s Street Closure

The following guest opinion is written by a group calling itself “KEEP BOISE CONNECTED.” A spokesman for KBC asked to remain anonymous for fear of political retaliation. The opinions expressed are those of the group, many of whom are bicycle advocates.

The enormous planned expansion of St. Luke’s Regional Medical Center in downtown Boise is nearing the end of its approval process with the most crucial decision still on the table: the Ada County Highway District (ACHD) ruling, slated for June 22, on the permanent closure of Jefferson Street.
Acquiring a portion of Jefferson is the linchpin to St. Luke’s planned expansion.

File Photo view of St. Luke's Boise Regional Medical Center looking west.

File Photo view of St. Luke’s Boise Regional Medical Center looking west.

This acquisition could forever cede that street and the public right-of-way from the citizens of Ada County to St. Luke’s. When St. Luke’s previously acquired and closed three blocks of neighboring Bannock Street, Jefferson became the only low traffic route that connects east and west Boise through downtown – and St. Luke’s says it now must have Jefferson, too.

St. Luke’s would have us believe that the expansion is a “health care decision” and that because they save lives, they should be given carte blanche to expand in any way they wish. However, this is not a health care decision:
–It is a land-use determination that sets precedent for how and why public resources are allocated and relinquished to private hands in our county.

–It is a public decision that highlights how local government addresses a massive project promoted by a powerful and extremely aggressive private, tax-exempt institution.

Downtown residents are understandably very concerned about increased traffic and “blockade” between east and west downtown that the massively expanded St. Luke’s campus would create with the closure of Jefferson Street. However, there is ample cause for all other Ada County residents to be concerned, whether as taxpayers, patients or employees of St. Luke’s. We believe it’s important to look at this decision in terms of who wins, who loses and who pays:
Continue reading here…

The Gravity Of Foothills Developments

slide sign
You don’t have to be Isaac Newton to predict that water runs downhill with the force of gravity, often taking loose soil along with it.

In recent history the Idaho Transportation Department learned the gravity/water/soil lesson on Horseshoe Bend Hill, forcing the relocation of Hwy 55 to its present location.

Same issue caused massive rockslides and road closures below Warm Springs Mesa near the golf course as saturated earth caused rockslides on Warm Springs Ave. when it was also Hwy 21. GROWTHOPHOBES will tell you foot hills development is a slippery slope at best.

Old Hwy 55 after years of washouts and landslides.

Old Hwy 55 after years of washouts and landslides.

Seems there isn’t much in the way of “institutional memory” when it comes to Boise foothills road and home construction. The “Boise Front” is essentially the same piece of land as HSB Hill and Warm Springs Mesa, yet Boise City officials seemed surprised that high-end real estate along Table Rock Road is now slip-sliding a way.

For perspective, think of the foot hills as a giant sponge and all the roads and rooftops as strips of plastic wrap. The sealed parts of the sponge repel the water, but soon there is more water than the sponge can absorb and it either pools or runs off like a flash flood.
It may be nice to look down on your neighbors, but those big roofs, paved driveways and roads all tend to concentrate water and saturate the subsoils. The local precip is about 13 inches annually, but all those green lawns and trees at luxury homes need much more water to survive. We know instances of hillside irrigation flooding downhill neighbor’s basements. The laws of gravity are enforced by Mother Nature.

New home construction in Boise, Idaho.

New home construction in Boise, Idaho.

A Boise City spokesman recently told the STATESMAN that policy “requires a licensed engineer to conduct surveys of geological characteristics for the ground beneath every Foothills development. The city requires the same geotechnical surveys for each lot in a development. The city then hires third-party engineers to review the survey reports for accuracy and potential problems.”

“Every Foothills development also requires a grading plan, the extent of which depends on the results of the surveys. The same step is required for each lot.”

A home previously worth hundreds of thousands of dollars and a roadway are now unusable, “baffling the experts.” Could it be the geologists have rocks in their heads and the hydrologists have water on the brain?

The Boise Guardian

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