Resources for parenting during a pandemic

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By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

This week on Idaho Reports, I talked to Dr. Roger Olson, a psychologist with St. Luke’s Children’s Center for Neurobehavioral Medicine. He offered up a list of resources for parents and guardians who are concerned about their children’s mental and emotional well-being. For the full interview, watch this week’s Idaho Reports. Idaho Reports airs Fridays at 8 pm on Idaho Public Television, and is available online after it airs at idahoptv.org/idahoreports.

PDF: Parenting For Strong Minds: 3 Keys To Healthy Child Development by Dr. Roger Olson

Video: The Story of the Oyster and the Butterfly: The Coronavirus and Me, by Ana Gomez

 

Books on parenting:
Raising an Emotionally Intelligent Child by John Gottman

Brain-Based Parenting by Daniel Hughes

The Whole-Brain Child by Daniel Siegel and Tina PayneThe Explosive Child by Ross Greene is an additional recommended resource for parents that focuses on establishing a collaborative problem-solving approach with children who exhibit behavior difficulties.

Mindfulness Skills for Kids and Teens by Debra Burdick gives good strategies for building emotion regulation skills.

Parenting that Works: Building Skills that Last a Lifetime by Edward Christophersen and Susan Mortweet offers many useful ideas for developing self-soothing or self-quieting skills.

Books on managing anxiety in children:
Parenting Your Anxious Child with Mindfulness and Acceptance by Christopher McCurry

Freeing Your Child from Anxiety: Powerful, Practical Solutions to Overcome Your Child’s Fears, Worries, and Phobias by Tamar E. Chansky

Helping Your Anxious Child: A Step-by-Step Guide for Parents by Ronald M. Rapee
 

In addition, PBS Kids offers online resources for parents: How To Talk To Your Kids About Coronavirus. 

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Submit questions for our live coronavirus show

Idaho Reports is airing a special hour-long live program with Gov. Brad Little and officials from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to answer your questions on the coronavirus outbreak. The program will air Thursday at 8 pm MT/7 pm PT on Idaho Public Television.

E-mail questions for consideration to melissa.davlin@idahoptv.org. Please include your name and the town you live in. Alternatively, you can submit videos with your questions via e-mail.

On Friday’s Idaho Reports, hear from the director of the Idaho Department of Labor about relief for workers, as well as an emergency room physician about the state of Idaho’s hospitals.

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Idaho Reports COVID-19 special

On Thursday, March 19 at 8 pm, Idaho Reports will air a half-hour statewide special on COVID-19, with information on how to stay safe, what to do if you feel ill, and how the outbreak could affect your daily life, whether you live in rural or urban Idaho. We’ll have state policymakers and medical experts on air to answer your questions and concerns.

If you have questions you want us to answer, either online or on air, send them to melissa.davlin@idahoptv.org.

Idaho Public Television has also launched a resource hub with links to Idaho-specific info on school and higher ed closures, courts, public health district contact information, and more. We have statewide information, so no matter where you are in Idaho, we hope this will be relevant to you. Click here for more. 

 

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Locking down 35

By Devon Downey, Idaho Reports

A proposed constitutional amendment would ensure that the number of legislative districts in Idaho stays at 35.

House Speaker Scott Bedke (R-Oakley) introduced a resolution in the House State Affairs Committee that would amend the Idaho Constitution to remove language that allows for between 30 and 35 districts. Bedke explained that the “proposed change would set the floor and the ceiling at 35 legislative districts.” 

In his testimony, Bedke referenced that the previous two redistricting plans had to be settled in court and intends for this bill to prevent a plan that uses fewer districts. He acknowledged that some of the districts in Idaho are geographically large, and that if they had to add even more population to some districts they would become unwieldy.

The bill was printed on a unanimous voice vote, but Rep. Brooke Green (D-Boise) released a statement through the Idaho Joint Democratic Caucus email expressing concerns with the change after the committee adjourned. “If we are going to change the constitution, we need to tread lightly,” Green said. “This legislation is especially concerning because it ties the hands of future legislators. We should use serious caution when attempting to legislate the future.”

Green’s concern over the legislation is not centered on the bill itself, rather on the necessity of it. “The bill before us will require us to open up our state constitution and this deserves a lot of dialogue.” 

If history is any guide, there will be plenty of dialogue. Legislation last year intending to add an additional member to the redistricting commission was heavily criticized by Democrats. At the hearing last year, the three Democrats on the committee walked out in protest of the speed in which the bill was proposed and debated.

Currently, the Speaker’s bill is only sponsored by the Republican leadership of the House; however, Bedke noted that “the co-sponsor page is wide open.” 

The public hearing for this amendment will be set at a later date, and we will continue to follow the story on Idaho Reports.

 

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Idaho Senator James Risch on Baghdad airstrike

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

Risch-061609-18443- 0004On Friday, Idaho Reports interviewed US Senator James Risch, chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, on whether he was briefed on the Iraq airstrike that killed General Qasem Soleimani, how he felt about President Donald Trump’s order, and whether he was concerned about what might happen next. Here is the full conversation.

 

 

 

For more, including coverage of today’s AP legislative preview, watch Idaho Reports tonight at 8:30 pm on Idaho Public Television, or stream the show on idahoptv.org.

 

 

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Sen. Risch responds to Baghdad airstrike

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

Idaho Reports reached out to Sen. Jim Risch on Thursday to ask if he had been briefed on the Baghdad airstrike that killed General Qassem Suleimani. Here was his response. We’ll have more on Friday’s Idaho Reports.

“Congratulations to President Trump on his decisive action and the successful outcome. Qassem Suleimani was responsible for the deaths of hundreds of Americans and his death presents an opportunity for Iraq to determine its own future free from Iranian control. As I have previously warned the Iranian government, they should not mistake our reasonable restraint in response to their previous attacks as weakness. The U.S. will always vigorously defend our interests and allies in the face of terrorist conduct and provocations.

“On behalf of every American serviceman and servicewoman who has either been killed or injured due to an Iranian-provided IED or rocket in Iraq over the years, today justice was done. Suleimani was responsible for the weapons program that caused those casualties and injuries with the use of those treacherous and cowardly devices.”

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A few changes at Idaho Reports

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

The new season of Idaho Reports begins on Friday with a 2020 legislative preview. When you tune in, you’ll notice some changes.

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The 2020 Idaho Reports on-air team, clockwise from top: Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News, Gemma Gaudette of Boise State Public Radio, Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press, and Melissa Davlin of Idaho Reports.

First, I’m going to be on maternity leave for most of this season, starting next week (or sooner, if this baby has other plans). Gemma Gaudette, host of Idaho Matters on Boise State Public Radio, will fill in for me on the anchor desk until I come back in mid-March. Kevin Richert of Idaho Education News and Betsy Russell of the Idaho Press will do one-on-one interviews with the policymakers and stakeholders at the statehouse. While I’m gone, the show will be half an hour, but will still feature the interviews and analysis you’ve come to expect from Idaho Reports.

Behind the scenes, associate producer Devon Downey will take over producing the show. University of Idaho student Logan Finney is interning for us for the session.

And for the first couple of Friday night shows, Idaho Reports will air at 8:30 pm before moving back to our regular 8 pm airtime in mid-January. As always, you can catch us online at your convenience at idahoptv.org.

 

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Erpelding resigns to join Boise Metro Chamber

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House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding (Source: Idaho Legislature)

By Devon Downey, Idaho Reports

House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding of Boise has resigned from the legislature to join the Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce, one month before the Legislature convenes for the 2020 session. In his resignation letter, Erpelding cited his family’s future and the need to advance his professional career as reasons why he is leaving.

Following Erpelding’s resignation, Rep. Ilana Rubel of Boise will be the interim minority leader.

Erpelding was first elected to the House in 2012 and became minority leader in 2017. In his statement, Erpelding lamented the polarization in Idaho, writing “I encourage my legislative colleagues to increase bipartisan efforts rather than kowtow to the extreme views being advocated on both ends of the spectrum.”

When asked on Wednesday morning what policy areas could see bipartisan legislation, Erpelding cited education, transportation, and Medicaid. “The culture of the legislature is being pulled apart by what I think is dysfunctional parties. Compromise is not incentivized.”

This isn’t to say that Erpelding disliked serving in the Legislature. “I’m going to miss the people and the opportunity to directly impact policy,” Erpelding said. “I’m going to miss it, but I’m excited to advocate my beliefs with the Chamber.”

The resignation of Erpelding follows high profile turnover within the Idaho Democratic Party, which recently lost its political director and abruptly fired their executive director before their hiring was even announced. It also comes one day after Idaho’s highest-profile Democrat, Boise Mayor Dave Bieter, lost the runoff for his reelection in a contentious race that divided Treasure Valley Democrats.

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Want to avoid long lines in Caldwell? Vote early.

By Melissa Davlin, Idaho Reports

Planning to vote in the Caldwell city council runoff? Be prepared for the potential of a long line.

While Ada County is opening up all its 88 regular polling places for the Boise mayoral runoff, Caldwell voters have just one option on Dec. 3: the Canyon County Elections Office in Caldwell.

For the Nov. 5 election, Caldwell had 18 precincts, and 3,290 people voted in the now-contested race for City Council Seat 6.

Canyon County wasn’t prepared for a runoff, and announced it would hold one only after a challenge from city council candidate Evangeline Beechler to Caldwell’s interpretation of the word “majority” in city code. Boise, which spells out a provision for runoffs in city code, had been anticipating the possibility since before the regular election.

In its Wednesday press release, Canyon County acknowledged that election day will be busy. “The Elections Office encourages as many voters as possible to take advantage of early voting to help reduce potential lines and wait times for the runoff election on December 3,” the press release says. Early voting starts on Monday, Nov. 18 and ends Nov. 29. The office will be closed on Thanksgiving.

Like Ada, Canyon County will automatically send absentee ballots to those who had requested one during the regular election. Caldwell voters will also receive a postcard in the mail informing them of the single location for the runoff.

Canyon County public information officer Joe Decker said the decision to have just one polling location is partly to keep costs down, but also because of the compressed timeline to organize the unanticipated runoff. Decker pointed to the logistical difficulties of securing the normal polling places, as well as enough volunteers, with only a few weeks to go.

Instead, the single polling place will be staffed by county employees. The elections office, which has just 10 parking spaces, plus one handicap spot, is also looking at reserving additional street parking and parking across the street for voters, Decker said.

There is just one item on the Caldwell ballot: the runoff between Beechler and John McGee. Still, even if only a fifth of those who turned up on Nov. 5 show up in three weeks — 658 — that will still be almost twice as many voters than showed up to Caldwell’s busiest precinct on election day.

To avoid long lines, Decker stressed early voting.

“As many people as we can get in to vote early, the less likely it will be that Dec. 3 is just a madhouse at the elections office,” Decker said.

 

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Brent Coles once agreed to never run for office again.

By Seth Ogilvie, Idaho Reports

As former Boise Mayor H. Brent Coles prepares once again to enter the political world, the disgraced politician is staying mum on an agreement he made with a judge to not run for elected office in the Gem State.

According to court documents, Coles once agreed to be “disqualified indefinitely and permanently from holding any office in the state of Idaho.”

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That promise was made in 2003 after Coles pleaded guilty to one count of misusing public funds and one count of presenting a fraudulent voucher while serving as Boise’s mayor.

At the time, 4th District Judge Thomas Neville told Coles he was “disqualified indefinitely and permanently” from running for elected office in the judge’s initial withholding judgment and probation order. 

In Idaho, these agreements work like a contract. Coles agreed to the terms to receive probation.

Idaho Reports reached out to Judge Neville through colleagues and the Idaho courts to interpret the order but were unable to reach him.  

Idaho Reports also reached out to Coles via Facebook Messenger and asked him what his understanding of the probation agreement was and received this comment:  Screen Shot 2019-09-13 at 5.38.44 PM.

Essentially, Coles provided us with a new way to say “no comment.” 

During the sentencing hearing back in 2004, Coles was more verbose. 

“I apologize to taxpayers and citizens of this community in whose trust I broke,” Coles said. “So I want you to know I accept full responsibility for that.” 

Coles continued: “I am aware of the pain and anguish that has occurred in this community. It will haunt me for the rest of my life.”

News coverage at the time characterized Coles as penitent, aware and thankful for the mercy Neville showed him. 

Tammy Rice, the Boise Human Resources Director at the time, received a harsher sentence from Judge Nevile, despite playing arguably a smaller role. She was the only woman implicated in the scandal with her two male coworkers and was the only one who went to jail in handcuffs. 

According to the Idaho Statesman at the time, Coles reported to jail within 30 days at his leisure.

Judge Neville pointed to the acts of repentance and acknowledgment of guilt as the reason for Coles receiving a lighter sentence then Rice.

This month, Coles formally filed to run for Boise Mayor. He will be on the ballot again when Boise citizens next vote on their chief executive officer.

The Secretary of State and county clerks do not have mug shots on their wall of people who can’t run for office. The official vetting of candidates is equivalent to the vetting of voters. 

“We confirm their voter registration and any other statutory requirements necessary to run for that office,” said Ada County Clerk Phil McGrane. “Often this is confirmed by the voter registration information.”

Neither McGrane, nor any other clerk, research the record of a candidate to find out if a judge, a governor, a president, or a spouse said they are unfit for office. 

“That’s not our job, that’s your job,” said several people who I talked to for this story. 

What a judge said to or about a politician has no bearing on an election in Idaho if the voter registration does not concur. 

Here is a possible reason why Mayor H. Brent Coles gets to ignore what 4th District Judge Thomas Neville told him: Sixteen days after the order the state changed the order. 

The reason for the change appears to be that Judge Neville overreached his jurisdiction. 

“The Court cannot enforce a condition beyond the time that it has jurisdiction,” said Tara Malek, owner of the Idaho law firm Smith + Malek. “Here, the court retained jurisdiction over Mr. Cole for three years.”  

“Indefinitely and permanently”  is longer than three years.

“As a result of completing the terms,” said Idaho’s former U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson, “my view is that the condition of not running for office is no longer binding, if it ever was.”

So that means Coles is legally allowed to run for office. It was not within Judge Neville’s power to stop him. The moral and ethical questions, however, are left to the voters.

“(Coles) so abused his position of power that a court felt compelled to prevent him from holding public office.” said Malek. “To me, it says this person was a danger to the public.”

We all deserve a second chance and 16 years is a long time. As Coles steps back into public life, it might be useful for voters to remember what he said when he left it. 

“I was elected by the citizens of this community to do the right thing every day with every dollar and with every penny — every ounce of trust they gave to me,” Coles said. “I broke that trust, and I know it, and I accept that responsibility. I blame no one else but myself.”

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