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Tuesday, September 30, 2014

2012: The final 6 months

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

(Photo)
Jorge Alberto Lopez-Orozco was convicted of a 2002 triple murder. He is scheduled for his sentencing hearing on Jan. 14.
July

Animal control officials struggled to deal with complaints from local residents about number of cats running loose within city limits.

City code prohibits pet owners from allowing their cats and dogs to roam freely outside their property lines without a leash and limits people to no more than three dogs or cats before they have to register for a kennel license.

* * *

Barry Peterson, a former Elmore County commissioner and head of the local Republican party central committee, was named head of the state Republican Central Committee, replacing outgoing chairman Norm Semanko. Peterson promptly became one of the most powerful and important Republicans in Idaho.

* * *

Construction began on a new stormwater drainage system along a stretch of East 8th North Street.

* * *

The Catholic community formally opened its new parish fellowship hall, located at the corner of East Jackson and South 3rd East streets The 14,000-square-foot building gives the church needed space for its administration offices and religious education classrooms in addition to serving as a gathering place.

* * *

A lightning storm triggered a series of wildfires across southern Idaho, including a dozen in Elmore County, and one blaze that threatened homes and businesses north of Mountain Home when the fire burned to the very edge of the city. Despite the spectacular nature of the fire, however, there were no reports of any injuries or buildings burned. The 29,000-acre Benwalk Fire started around near Bennett Mountain Road approximately seven miles north of Glenns Ferry, and reached the side buildings just north of Exit 90 off American Legion Boulevard within two hours.

By mid-July, range fires alone had burned over 127,000 acres in the county, more than double the normal for that time.

* * *

Elmore County saw crime drop to a five-year low in 2011, according to an annual report released by the Idaho State Police.

* * *

Following a sharp drop in 2010, the assessed value of homes in Elmore County continued to fall in 2011, with the value of commercial businesses showing a similar decline. Figures released by the Elmore County Assessors Office showed home property values fell by an average of 14 percent in 2011 with some toppling by as much as 30 percent. Repossessions and short sales had become the "new normal."

* * *

The Mountain Home City Council imposed a ban on smoking in the city's public parks.

* * *

A group of private landowners in Elmore County officially formed Idaho's first rangeland fire protection association (RFPA), setting up a response system to prevent and suppress fires on their lands. Elmore County Commissioner Wes Wootan and landowner Steve Percy were instrumental in the development of the Mountain Home Rangeland Fire Protection Association.

* * *

Steven James won the junior state title at the Idaho Amateur Trap Shooting Association championship.

* * *

Despite temperatures hovering in the high 90s to low 100s most of the week, the Elmore County Fair saw an increase in participation and visitors from the previous year.

August

An ongoing effort to build a community recreation center in Mountain Home will require $600,000 in donations before construction can start, according to preliminary findings from a report prepared for the Western Elmore County Recreation District.

To accomplish that goal, a committee would need to be formed to launch a capital campaign to raise the money. So far, the committee still has not been named.

* * *

A proposed design for a new 3,700-square-foot animal shelter in Mountain Home was presented to the city council. Once the facility's design receives final approval, the shelter is expected to be built on Elmcrest.

* * *

A Tipanuk family lost their home after fire swept across their property July 24. The blaze started in a storage shed on the couple's property.

* * *

The Oasis Fire Volunteer Department completed work on its first official fire station. The 1,500-square-feet station holds both of the department's engines and a brush truck.

* * *

In the first incident in what would become a long-running battle over permits and zoning regulations between the county and the owners of the new Oasis Event Center, a three-day music festival scheduled to start at at the center was shut down by county officials just as the concert was set to start.

* * *

The Trinity Ridge Fire forest fire broke out Aug. 3 on, ignited by an ATV that caught fire. The fire spread rapidly, eventually becoming one of the largest fires in the nation, dominating news coverage for over a month and drawing national media attention as it bore down on the mountain community of Featherville. Hundreds of firefighters were called in to fight the blaze and their efforts helped stop the fire less than half a mile from Featherville. Structure crews from the Mountain Home fire department stood on standby in the mountains for a month, prepared to help out if the town caught on fire. Smoke from the fires often filled the entire Treasure Valley, sometimes reducing visibility to less than a mile on bad days, and for a time, a mandatory evactuation was in place for many residents who lived in the Pine-Featherville corridor. Eventually, the fire burned 150,000 acres and cost over $50 million to fight. It wasn't officially put out until snow began to fall in the mountains in September. Rehabilitation work on the area, which ate out the heart of the winter range for many area elk herds, has already begun.

* * *

A Mountain Home man, Michael Martin, convicted in 2010 for his role in a fatal car accident, was ordered to spend at least seven years in prison for violating the conditions of his probation.

* * *

The Three Island Days celebration in Glenns Ferry, which moved much of its activities to the fairgrounds from its former location at Three Island State Park, featured a car show, vintage trailer tours, lawnmower races, a raft race, two dances, a chili cook-off and ice cream freeze-off, gold panning and strongman/highlander games.

* * *

The 52nd Annual Basque Picnic kicked off, drawing hundreds to the local celebration of Basque culture.

* * *

At least six mailboxes were blown up by crude, homemade bottle bombs over a two-week period. No one was injured but authorities said that was more by luck than anything else. The perpetrator was never caught.

* * *

Linda Ramsey was named the Air Force Appreciation Day parade grand marshal.

* * *

At least three and possibly five people in Elmore County were reported to have caught West Nile fever in 2012, prompting efforts to remind landowners to avoid creating standing water conditions on their property where the mosquitoes that carry the disease breed.

September

Sunny weather generated huge crowds for the 52nd Annual Air Force Appreciation Day celebration.

* * *

Renovation of the former King's Building was completed by the city's Urban Renewal Agency, with the Bealls department store opening the following month, bringing a major retailer back into the downtown area.

* * *

A King Hill woman was killed and her young daughter taken by LifeFlight to Boise following a two-car accident on Highway 30 near King Hill.

* * *

The lengthy and laudable football career of Glenns Ferry's Korey Hall came to an end after he was cut by the New Orleans Saints. He was beginning his sixth year in the NFL after having been a star collegiate player with the BSU Broncos. He was drafted by and played his first four seasons in the NFL with the Green Bay Packers, where he had been a key player in its 2010 season Super Bowl win.

* * *

Senior Ashley Sessions was crowned as the 2012 homecoming queen during halftime of a game the Tigers lost to the Caldwell Cougars 26-28.

October

After a one-year absence, a local tradition returned as the Mountain Home Chamber of Commerce hosted the community's 16th Fall Harvest Festival. More than 3,000 attended this year's festival.

* * *

Five spot fires were ignited over an eight-mile stretch of the interstate with one, pushed by high winds, burning more than 1,000 acres north of Mountain Home.

* * *

A murder trial for a case that took more than ten years to come to court began for Jorge Alberto Lopez-Orozco, who had been charged with the 2002 murder of Rebecca Ramirez and two of her children, Miguel, 2, and Ricardo, 4. The trial saw nearly four weeks of testimony, all prosecution witnesses, before Lopez-Orozco was convicted of three counts of first-degree murder. Sentencing is set for Jan. 14 but he is not facing the death penalty, part of a deal made with the government of Mexico to have him extradited to the United States.

* * *

Alan Bermensolo, who had served as the city's interim fire chief after the retirement in the spring of the city's first full-time fire chief, Phil Gridley, was named the full-time fire chief by the city council. Bermensolo has been a member of the fire department for 35 years.

* * *

The U.S. Secret Service launched an investigation regarding counterfeit low-quality $20 bills that were circulating around Mountain Home.

* * *

Five soccer all-stars from Mountain Home took home top honors after they earned medals during a recent state tournament. Madison Roache, Asia Jackson and Biri Martinez were on teams that placed first in their divisions, while Violet Martinez was on a team that placed second overall in its divisions.

November

Republicans swept every contested race on the ballot in Elmore County during heavy voting in the general election, while at the same time county voters, like the state, rejected the "Luna Laws," the legislature's attempt at education reform.

At the county level, Republican Franklin "Bud" Corbus beat independent candidate Larry "Slick" Jewett in the race for First District County Commissioner and in the Second District County Commissioner race incumbent Republican Al Hofer outpaced Democratic challenger Mike Crawford.

In the new Legislative District 23, Republican incumbents Pete Nielsen and Rich Wills won re-election to their house seats, and longtime legislator Bert Brackett of Twin Falls became this area's newest state senator.

* * *

A series of poaching cases had the Idaho Department of Fish and Game offering rewards ranging from $250 to $1,000 for information that would solve the incidents. Two involved elk illegally shot and wasted, one on Bennett Road and another off Show Rodad, and the third was a sturgeon illegally taken near King Hill. Those cases remain open.

* * *

The city council began moving forward on changes in the city's solicitor laws, toughening them up considerably. Final approval could come this month or early next month.

December

The city's holiday events kicked off in grand fashion with the annual Parade of Lights and the Creche Exhibit, followed by Shop With A Cop, the Giving Tree Project and the Festival of Trees. In addition, a score of groups, organizations and businesses launched food drives to aid the area's needy.

* * *

Nearly 18 months after it gained approval by the board of county commissioners, the Mayfield Townsite Planned Community, a large-scale city-sized development project will once again require public input before it moves forward -- and is facing serious water access issues.

The commissioners agreed to schedule public hearings in early spring to determine if it will grant a one-year extension to the project.

Mayfield Townsite, and the as-yet-to-be approved Mayfield Springs, are two planned communities that, together, would create a major city over the next 50 years on the western edge of Elmore County if development were to proceed.

* * *

Following the deaths of 26 students and teachers at a school in Connecticut, Mountain Home School District officials emphasized that procedures are in place to prevent a similar incident here.

After the shootings at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the district received a handful of calls from concerned parents.

Responding to those concerns, the district outlined the various drills included in its emergency management plan.

Among them are steps teachers and students would take if a gunman entered a school building.

* * *

Sue Martin, a long-time Mountain Home High School teacher, was one of four K-12 teachers across Idaho who received an award for inspirational teaching during Boise State's Winter Commencement ceremony.

* * *

Plans to turn an existing athletic field into a city-owned park changed abruptly earlier this month after the city was unable to purchase the land.

The city's offer to purchase the existing park property, owned by the LDS church on East 8th North Street, fell short with Richard McKenna Charter High School submitting a higher bid. McKenna will hold the land for future expansion.



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