Wednesday, August 6, 2008

News briefs

Sentencing scheduled for Fairfield man

A Fairfield man faces sentencing On Jan. 20 after pleading last month in federal court in Boise to conspiracy to launder money and to conspiracy to manufacture, distribute and possess marijuana with intent to deliver.

Ian Ireland, 46, faces up to 30 years in prison and a fine of $4.5 million on the two convictions, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The Justice Department reported that Ireland's convictions stem from a 4-year investigation conducted by the Drug Enforcement Administration, the Internal Revenue Service and the Gooding County Sheriff's Office.

The Justice Department further reported that Ireland admitted to smuggling and arranging for smuggling of marijuana and cocaine from Canada to the U.S. Ireland was also involved in growing marijuana, including a crop seized near Buhl in 2003, the Justice Department reported.

Property seized from Ireland, including several residences and automobiles, will be auctioned at the Gooding County fairgrounds on Friday, Aug. 8, starting at 11 a.m.

Get ready for travel delays

Motorists can expect travel delays for seal coating projects this week north of Stanley and next week in the Ketchum-Sun Valley area.

The Idaho Transportation Department announced that travelers should be prepared for delays of up to 15 minutes on state Highways 75 and 21.

Beginning Monday, Aug. 11, seal coating is scheduled for Sun Valley Road from Ketchum to Trail Creek. Motorists should be prepared for stops, slow traffic and flaggers.

ITD reminds drivers that increased speeding fines can be applied for driving too fast in road construction zones.

Blaine Manor wins again

Blaine Manor elder care facility in Hailey won the L. Jean Schoonover "Excellence Award in Caring" Award for the fourth year in a row. The award is given by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and is based on criteria from federal and state surveys.

Blaine Manor is a 25-bed skilled nursing facility built in 1982 and funded by the citizens of Blaine County. The facility provides 8570 patient days per year, including short-term rehabilitation, lengthy stays for chronic disabilities, respite and end of life care.

In May 2007, Blaine County citizens voted to sell Blaine Manor and use proceeds to build the Croy Canyon Ranch continuing care retirement community in Croy Canyon. When Croy Canyon Ranch is built, all residents from Blaine Manor will be relocated to the new facility.

Based on an agreement between Blaine County and the Croy Canyon Ranch Foundation, 16 of the 25 beds at the Croy Canyon Ranch facility will be designated for Medicaid patients.

Power outage hits Hailey

7,600 Hailey residents lost power for about four minutes beginning at 10:38 Tuesday morning. Until 10:42, many homes and businesses were without electricity and traffic lights were blinking red. The source of the outage is unknown.

"A lot of times, we never find out what causes an outage," said Idaho Power Co. spokesman Russ Jones. "We are calling it a 'trip-close' outage, because the substation came back on without us having to send someone out."

Jones said the automated "re-closer" function at Hailey's electrical substation worked as it was designed to, closing the tripped line and restoring electricity to the city. He said he doesn't expect further troubles with the system today but added, "There are a lot of miles of wire out there and you never know."

W. Nile Virus reported in Twin Falls

The first probable case of West Nile Virus was reported in a Twin Falls County man this week. Health officials remind Idaho residents to fight take precautions by draining standing water on property, avoid the outdoors at dawn and dusk, dress appropriately, use insect repellent and keep door and window screenings in good condition.

Slowing it down in Ketchum

The Ketchum City Council passed a resolution to lower the speed limit from the corner of Sixth Street and state Highway 75 to the Ketchum Cemetery from 35 miles per hour to 25 mph.

Assistant Police Chief Mike McNeil said that the stretch of road, approximately 0.2 miles long, said on Monday that the area has seen increased development and the sharp corner makes decreases the line of sight for traffic both ways.

The Idaho Department of Transportation will change the signs in the near future and the Ketchum Police Department will add a blinking light or orange flags to alert drivers to the change.

Making room for fire engines

The Ketchum Street Department, along with the police and fire departments will be working on a way to reduce the flow and speed of traffic in the alley that abuts the bay doors of the Ketchum Fire Station.

Fire Department Senior Lt. Tory Canfield said that the alley, located between East and Walnut avenues, presents a dangerous situation, especially as the fire engines can come out of the bays unannounced. As well, she said there are often children in the area touring the station.

Through traffic will be restricted, with access allowed only for businesses on the street, along with city personnel.

A speed hump may be added as a traffic calming measure.

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