Published: April 12,2012
Two Idaho brokers fined and suspended by FINRA
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority took action against two Idaho representatives recently, according to FINRA’s April report of disciplinary and other actions.
Vincenzo Gabriele Covino, registered principal in Boise, submitted a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent in which he was fined $5,000 and suspended from association from any FINRA member for 30 business days, FINRA said in the report.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Covino consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he borrowed money from a customer by purchasing a home from the customer and had the customer finance the purchase, FINRA reported. His firm did not allow its registered representatives to borrow from customers. The suspension was in effect from Feb. 21 through April 2.
Chad Eugene Hanson, a registered representative in Eagle, submitted a letter of acceptance, waiver and consent in which he was fined $5,000 and suspended from association with any FINRA member for 30 days, FINR said in the report.
Without admitting or denying the findings, Hanson consented to the sanctions and to the entry of findings that he improperly distributed a state long-term care insurance continuing education exam study guide, answer key and exam to registered representatives at his member firm and to others not associated with the firm. The findings also stated Hanson instructed recipients to fill in the answer sheet just like the answer key and fax it. The suspension was in effect from Feb. 21 through March 21.
Idaho kicks off school laptop bidding process
Idaho has started accepting bids for a contract to provide every high school student and teacher with a laptop, or similar mobile computer.
Suppliers have until May 25 to submit their pitches, according to a request for proposals issued by the state Division of Purchasing. The 85-page document was obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request.
Idaho is phasing in laptops while making online classes a requirement to graduate, under reforms authored by public schools chief Tom Luna.
A task force created to help implement Luna’s changes recommended the device come in the form of a laptop. That recommendation is mentioned, but not a requirement in the request for proposals that was issued last Wednesday.
The document includes a description of what should be in the device.
The Associated Press
Court hearing set for Idaho Scout camp land swap
A 1st District Judge in northern Idaho will hear arguments this week on whether the Boy Scouts’ Inland Northwest Council can trade a historic campsite for another parcel of land.
The Coeur d’Alene Press reports Judge John Luster will hold a hearing Tuesday. A group of Camp Easton supporters have sued the Scouts, contending the plan to trade the land violates the terms of the deed for the campsite. The group is seeking a permanent injunction to prevent the property from being used for anything besides a camp for boys.
The council wants to sell the 420-acre campsite to an Arizona developer, who plans to convert the land into lakefront properties. In exchange, the developer would provide 270 acres elsewhere on the lake and build a new camp.
The Associated Press
Universities seeking lower tuition hikes
Officials at Idaho State University in Pocatello say they’re proposing their lowest tuition increase in 15 years, while the University of Idaho in Moscow also plans to seek a smaller hike compared to previous years.
Idaho State officials confirmed they will recommend a 4.73 percent tuition hike at a state Board of Education meeting next week. Since 2002, the university’s tuition hikes have ranged from a low of 4.75 in 2006, to a high of 9 percent in 2010.
The University of Idaho will propose charging full-time, undergraduate students 6.1 percent more in tuition next year. The plan, if approved, would represent the university’s smallest tuition jump since 2008, when the board approved a 5 percent increase.
Boise State University is seeking a 5.7 percent tuition increase for next year.
The Associated Press
Report: Idaho’s lack of pre-k puts students behind
A national study finds Idaho’s lack of a state-funded preschool program puts students at an educational disadvantage when compared to their peers in other states.
The Times-News reports some school officials in south-central Idaho agree with the report released April 10, saying preschool makes a big difference in helping prepare students for a more rigorous experience in kindergarten.
Bill Brulotte is the principal at I.B. Perrine Elementary School in Twin Falls and says many kindergarten teachers can tell, within their first week of classes, which of their students went to preschool. Brulotte says those students are more likely to be successful later.
The nonpartisan National Institute for Early Education Research report examined 39 states that do offer state-funded preschool education programs.
Idaho doesn’t require children to attend preschool or kindergarten.
The Associated Press
Employer services firms merge
Kash Browne & Company LLC and Echelon Group Inc. are merging their employee benefits and human resources units into a new company they own equally, Echelon Benefits Services LLC.
Don Reiman, founder and president of Echelon Group, said Kash Browne & Company and Echelon Group each have established client bases in employee group benefits, including group medical and dental plans for employers. Kash Browne & Company has an extensive HR services business, while Echelon Group offers 401(k) retirement plan expertise and fee-based financial advisory services.
The combined companies are better positioned to help employer clients tackle increased workloads related to complying with health care reform and changes in retirement plan regulation, Reiman said.
Echelon Benefits Services LLC provides compliance, technology, communication and employee education resources. The goal is to improve communication with employees using an integrated process as opposed to multiple, often disconnected, relationships, Reiman said.
He said Echelon Benefits Services has access to national-level resources through a new partnership with ProSential Group, an HR, benefits and technology company with about 65 partner firms.
Echelon Benefits Services LLC has seven full-time and two part-time staff members including Kasheila “Kash” Browne, who will move, with one employee, to the Echelon Group office at 2600 Rose Hill St., Suite 206. Browne, in a written message to clients, said the merger means her business is “growing, adding substantial capabilities and becoming a national organization.”