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January 16th, 2011
LOGAN, Utah â€” Growing up in Bingham County provided Neil Abercrombie with much of the understanding of his new job at Utah State University.
In December USU President Stan Albrecht named Abercrombie as director of government relations.
As such he will help USU garner state and federal funding for key academic programs and research projects.
"A lot of our programs and research have direct relevance to Bingham County," Abercrombie noted in a telephone interview last week. "One of our primary focuses this legislative session is to get funding to start a doctoral veterinary program."
Blaine McInelly, Blackfoot High School Principal, has requested a leave of absence due to health reasons for the remainder of the year at which time he will be retiring, according to a press release from the Blackfoot School District. Ben Speelmon will be working as an educational consultant at Blackfoot High School during McInellyâ€™s absence.
BLACKFOOT â€” Today is the first anniversary of the earthquake that devastated Haiti.
Blackfoot resident Beverly Beach is passionate about helping people in Haiti.
Last September, Beach and her co-director, Katie Tirion, spent two weeks in Haiti checking out land the Haitian government has designated for a quality housing expo. The goal is to build housing that will protect the families.
"I saw people living between two streets; if they stepped into the road, they could get hit," she said. "People live in horrific conditions; the water conditions are horrible.
BLACKFOOT â€”Â Blackfoot High School senior Lacie Parmenter won the Blackfoot area American Legion Oratory Contest Monday evening.
In this contest, Parmenter presented a prepared speech on the U.S. Constitution. She needed to speak from eight to 10 minutes. She spoke 8.6 minutes on voting rights and civic participation.
"I went into the history of voting and its importance in America," Parmenter said. "I touched on discrimination in voting and the soldiers who have fought to preserve our right to vote.
"My generation is looked down upon," Parmenter said, "so I kind of defended us."
BLACKFOOT â€” The Blackfoot High School varsity basketball coach placed on leave last month was reinstated Monday. The coach was placed on leave in December pending a criminal investigation involving former student athletes.
According to a press release issued by the Blackfoot School District Monday, "the administrative leave from coaching duties of Blackfoot High School Boysâ€™ Basketball Head Varsity Coach Jonathan Packer has been rescinded effective immediately." The action was taken following investigations by the district and the Bingham County Prosecutor's Office.
BLACKFOOT â€” The Sea Dog and his bride are back home from Mexico. Again. But this time they intend to stay.
Dwain and Pauline Sweet of Blackfoot have been spending part of each year in the tiny fishing village of Kino Bay, Mexico, since 1989.
Because of advancing age and the fact their children want them home, the Sweets sold their park model trailer and their boat and are determined to stay close to the hometown they have claimed since 1964.
â€śWhen we went down last year, we had an idea this was going to be our last trip,â€ť Dwain said as he and Pauline sat in their dining room last week.
BLACKFOOT â€” About 50 people in opposition to windmills picketed the Bingham County Courthouse Friday afternoon.
Spokesman Kirk Jolley said, "Our property rights are not being protected; our county commissioners are not listening to us.
"Windmills are destroying our economy," Jolley said. "One of the reasons power rates are going up is because of the cost power companies must pay for energy produced by windmills or other alternative energy sources."
BLACKFOOT â€” Students at Stoddard and Stalker Elementary schools donated more than 800 books that will be given to the pediatric floor at Portneuf Medical Center in memory of a child that died last year.
David and Amy Saville, whoâ€™s son Gabriel Grant Saville died last year, began the book drive last year as a way to honor the memory of their son.
The books will be donated to the hospital from the Savilleâ€™s on what would be Gabeâ€™s second birthdayâ€”Jan. 26.
When VISTA representatives Annie Tanner and Jaimie Trevino heard about the drive, they contacted the family and offered to coordinate.
BLACKFOOT â€” Magistrate Judge Charles Roos sentenced the first of the five individuals charged from incidents stemming from criminal activities that occurred last year while the five were athletes on the basketball team at Blackfoot High School.
Tyson Katseanes entered a plea of guilty to an amended charge of misdemeanor battery Thursday morning. Roos sentenced Katseanes to 30 days suspended jail and one overnight stay in the Bingham County jail. The 30 days in jail will be withheld if Katseanes abides by the terms and conditions of the agreement.
BLACKFOOT â€” Bingham County Prosecutors agreed to dismiss all remaining felony charges against Logan Chidester and Nathan Walker.
Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Randy Smith said they reached an agreement with the defense to work toward a resolution.
The preliminary hearing for the case involving two former Blackfoot High School athletes began Wednesday morning.
Logan Chidester and Nathan Walker both faced two felony counts of forcible sexual penetration using a foreign object. Felony charges facing Tyson Katseanes and Anthony Clarke were dismissed Tuesday.