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 Farmer sentenced for harassing Ethiopian grain grower

A judge in Malheur County, Oregon has ordered an exotic grain farmer from Caldwell, Idaho to spend a year on probation for harassing a rival grower.

Wayne Carlson pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor harassment charge as part of an agreement with prosecutors, according to court documents.

The Idaho Statesman reports that Carlson founded The Teff Co. in Caldwell, working with other area growers of the north African grain called teff.

Tesfa Drar, the general manager of Teff Farms in Minnesota, told authorities that Carlson threatened him when Drar was visiting the region last year to talk to local farmers about partnerships.

Drar, a native Ethiopian, said Carlson approached him during a luncheon and told him to go back to where he came from.

The Associated Press 

Eagle again opens search for new City Hall building

In an effort to lower its operating costs, the City of Eagle is again accepting proposals for a City Hall building.

Proposals for purchase of a 5,000 to 13,500-square-foot building for city hall services will be accepted until May 13. Mayor Jim Reynolds said the proposed move is a way of looking for long-term cost saving benefits ahead of 2012 budget planning process. In 2010, it cost the city about $300,000 annually to lease the 13,000-square-foot city hall building on Civic Lane.

A Request for Proposals for a building was also advertised in 2010. A task force evaluated different options for the future of City Hall, and recommended either purchasing the current location at fair market value and co-locate additional city services within the same building, or purchase the building without co-location.

“Anytime you are spending public money, you need to look at what options are out there to best maximize the value of public money,” Reynolds said.

Jennifer Gonzalez

Bureau of Reclamation kicks in $25 million to overhaul turbines at Palisades Dam

The turbines at the Palisades Dam in southeastern Idaho are in line for a $25 million upgrade.

Officials from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation announced the award the week of April 25 to overhaul the four hydroelectric turbines at the dam along the South Fork of the Snake River.

The Post Register reports the goal of the upgrade is to boost the dam’s efficiency for producing power. Officials say new components could increase output enough to generate power for an additional 35,000 homes.

The rehab project is slated to begin next summer, with completion in 2016.

Agency spokesman David Walsh said the dam will still be operational and sending power to the grid during the upgrade.

The Associated Press

Idaho alleges investment scam

The Idaho Department of Finance is suing a Boise man seeking the return of $3.6 million in investments made in a company that was developing an electronic tracking device.

The state alleges Gerald R. Thompson, a former Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputy, lied to investors about the progress he was making in developing a better device for tracking containers and vehicles that combined GPS technology and cellular technology.

The state’s lawsuit alleges Sky Detective Inc. never produced a functioning surveillance device and that Thompson squandered investment money.

Thompson told the Idaho Statesman that he stepped down in 2009 after an investor made that a condition of a $1 million investment. Thompson says those in control then took the assets and started another company and didn’t inform investors.

The Associated Press

Pocatello officials say airport boardings are up

The manager of Pocatello’s regional airport says flight boardings were up in 2010 compared to the previous year.

The Idaho State Journal reports that about 23,000 passengers boarded flights in 2009, and that increased by more than 300 people in 2010.

Allen says that so far this year, boardings are keeping pace with last year’s numbers. But he’s optimistic that some spring travel deals now being offered between Pocatello and Salt Lake City will boost numbers again.

The Associated Press

 Federal charges filed in Ponzi scheme

A former Bonner County man charged with taking $2.2 million from investors has denied 13 criminal counts of wire fraud.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports 58-year-old Dale Edward Lowell pleaded not guilty during an arraignment in U.S. District Court in Coeur d’Alene on April 20. His trial is set for June.

Federal prosecutors allege Lowell established “Dale’s Investment Club” in 2005, advertising that he averaged 30 percent to 40 percent rates of return trading stock options.

The Associated Press

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