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Q Services awarded $7.7 million contract

Boise-based Q Services & Technologies was awarded a five-year, $7.7 million contract with the Defense Commissary Agency to acquire and manage food products at the South Fort Bragg Commissary in North Carolina. The contract starts April 1.

Q Services President Wes Harris said the company will receive 180,000 to 200,000 cases each month and stock about 130,000. Some cases will be stocked by vendors.

The company plans to add three to four employees at its downtown Boise office and about 65 at the store site, he said.

Q Services in the past 18 months also has been awarded five-year commissary contracts for $6.6 million for McGuire Air Force Base in New Jersey, $5 million for North Fort Bragg, $5 million at Fort Myer in Virginia, $3 million for Memphis Naval Support Activity and $2 million for Naval Air Station Fallon in Nevada.

Harris, a service-disabled veteran, said the Defense Commissary Agency set aside contracts for companies like Q Services that are based in Historically Underutilized Business zones established by the U.S. Small Business Administration. The Boise office of the Procurement Technical Assistance Center helped Q Services, he said.

About 200 people work for Q Services.

Brad Carlson 

Twin Falls contractor indicted for tax evasion

A federal grand jury has indicted a Twin Falls home builder on four counts of tax evasion.

The indictment was issued the week of Feb. 13 against 40-year-old Justin D. Schoenauer, also known as Cory Schoenauer.

Federal investigators accuse Schoenauer of hiding business receipts between 2005 and 2008 and asking clients to make checks to him personally instead of his company, Patagonia Construction. Investigators say he then deposited those checks into bank accounts that he hid from his tax accountant.

The indictment also alleges that Schoenauer claimed personal expenses — including helicopter flying lessons and a 21-foot boat — as a cost of goods sold by his home construction company.

The case was investigated by the Internal Revenue Service.

If convicted, he faces up to 20 years in prison.

The Associated Press

Idaho County leaders fight federal land swap

Idaho County commissioners are telling the Forest Service that they still oppose a land swap that would give timbered land in the upper Lochsa River basin to the federal government.

But they are also acknowledging that a deal between the Western Pacific Timber company and the Forest Service is likely to move forward anyway. The plan trades about 18,000 of federal land spread over three national forests in Idaho for 40,000 acres of Western Pacific Timber land in the Idaho County region.

The Lewiston Tribune reports commissioners say that would erode the county’s tax base and timber industry.

The Forest Service says the land is important habitat for steelhead, bull trout and Canada lynx, and has historical value. Explorers Lewis and Clark trekked the area in the early 1800s.

The Associated Press

Idaho bill frees insurers from birth-control mandate

Idaho insurers would be exempted from a federal requirement they provide birth control for women, under a bill meant to counter changes called for in the 2010 federal health care overhaul.

Rep. Carlos Bilbao of Emmett said Feb. 16 the federal mandate for insurers to provide contraception is an attack on his rights of conscience – and an affront to his religious freedoms.

Bilbao’s measure would exempt insurers from the requirement they provide coverage for abortion-inducing drugs, sterilization and contraception.

Planned Parenthood and the American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho opposed the bill, saying it would allow employers to deny basic health care to women.

Hannah Brass, lobbyist for Planned Parenthood, said the measure discriminates against women.

A vote was delayed until at least Feb. 20, when additional testimony will be taken.

The Associated Press

Doctors, industry debate tanning beds for teens

Skin doctors told lawmakers to ban teen use of tanning beds, while personal liberties activists argued against turning Idaho into a “nanny state.”

Bans for children under 18 are being debated in states including Washington, West Virginia and Utah.

University of Washington medical student Blake Sampson told the House Health and Welfare Committee he’s promoting the bill because Idaho has some of America’s highest rates of skin cancer – and teen tanning.

Sampson says there’s irrefutable evidence that ultraviolet radiation increases cancer risks.

Several dermatologists called this a necessary step to helping young people make healthy decisions. The Idaho Freedom Foundation’s Erik Makrush says families, not well-intentioned legislators, should decide.

An industry representative called the bill the most extreme she’s seen.

Lawmakers delayed a vote until Feb. 20.

The Associated Press

Board OKs changes to Idaho online learning rule

The state Board of Education is approving changes to a rule requiring high school students to take online courses to graduate.

The rule hit a snag in the 2012 Idaho Legislature, where education groups protested a requirement that one of the two required online credits be taken in the form of an asynchronous course. That’s a class where students move at their own pace and interact with their online teacher as needed.

With a synchronous course, students and their instructors are online together at a scheduled time.

The Idaho School Boards Association was among stakeholders who urged lawmakers to leave the delivery of the online courses up to local school districts. The state Board of Education approved a new rule Feb. 16 that removes the asynchronous requirement.

The Associated Press

Idaho agricultural exports grew last year

Idaho’s food product exports to Taiwan, China and Mexico grew last year. Exports to China in 2011 grew by 26 percent from the U.S. and by 47 percent from Idaho, said Xu Fang, Idaho representative based in Shanghai, at a Department of Commerce meeting Feb. 15.

Taiwan last year surpassed Singapore as Idaho’s second largest export market for food products and other goods, said Eddie Yen, Idaho representative based in Taipei. Idaho sends dehydrated potatoes, wheat and barley, peas and lentils, and wine to that country.

Latin America and Asia-Pacific markets are expected to increase their imports of fresh and processed potatoes by about 35 percent over the next three to four years, Anderson said. Idaho has seen strong sales of onions in Latin America, and a lot of the state’s fresh and frozen potatoes are going to Asia, he said.

Andy Anderson, executive director of the Western United States Agricultural Trade Association, said Idaho spends as much as any Western state on marketing its agricultural products.

By Brad Carlson

Shoshone Silver/Gold plans to buy Utah property

Coeur d’Alene-based Shoshone Silver/Gold Mining on Feb. 15 announced it signed a letter of intent to acquire a 50 percent interest in the Desert Hawk mineral properties in Tooele County, Utah, on the Nevada border. The proposed joint venture is with Desert Hawk Gold Corp.

Shoshone Vice President Lex Smith said the area shows good potential for mining gold, silver, and other precious and base metals. Shoshone, in business since 1969, has a gold mill and a silver mill among numerous properties. Smith said the company in the last couple of years has been working to expand its gold operations in light of high prices.

Desert Hawk controls about 33 square miles of claims and leases in the Gold Hill Mining District. The district has many past producers of gold, silver, copper, tungsten, molybdenum, lead and zinc, according to Shoshone. The district has 43 historic mines. Desert Hawk refurbished and permitted a mill that is expandable, Shoshone said.

Shoshone would contribute $10 million in project equity and a four-year, $2 million loan to start the Kiewit gold leaching operation.

IBR Staff

Environmental group sues EPA over Idaho water law

An environmental group has filed a federal lawsuit accusing the Environmental Protection Agency of approving rules that don’t adequately protect Idaho’s rivers, lakes and streams.

The Greater Yellowstone Coalition filed the case Feb. 14 in U.S. District Court in Pocatello.

The group is asking a federal judge to force the EPA to set aside its 2011 endorsement of Idaho’s anti-degradation laws. Those laws are designed to protect Idaho’s waters from the kind of incremental pollution that over time can cause significant damage.

Lawyers for GYC say Idaho’s rules don’t go far enough to protect pristine lakes and rivers, allows for pollution without government approval or public review and ultimately violate the Clean Water Act.

EPA Spokesman Mark McIntyre declined to comment, citing the agency’s policy against making statements on pending litigation.

The Associated Press

North Idaho apartment owner fined for discrimination

A federal jury has awarded $21,000 in damages against a Post Falls apartment owner for discriminating against prospective tenants with disabilities.

The ruling settles the dispute between apartment owner CVE Falls Park LLC and Boise-based nonprofit Intermountain Fair Housing Council. The nonprofit sued Falls Park in 2010 for requiring potential tenants with service animals to pay a $1,000 damage deposit.

The jury ruled late last week that Falls Park violated the federal Fair Housing Act and was negligent in 2008 when it told a disabled woman she would need to pay a deposit for her service dog. Intermountain sued on the woman’s behalf.

Falls Park owner Charles V. Eckert III told The Coeur d’Alene Press he stopped the practice and that no person ever paid the deposit.

The Associated Press

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