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Thursday, 23 October, 2014

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Local News


Tribal members encouraged to sign up for direct deposit

FORT HALL — The Shoshone-Bannock Tribes is encouraging members to sign up for direct deposit for the upcoming 25th Gaming Distribution tentatively scheduled for December 8. 
To receive direct deposit, you must complete a Direct Deposit form and submit to the Finance office by November 6, along with ALL supporting documentation (bank statement or voided check) in order to receive direct deposit for the upcoming distribution.  If you have account changes or account has been closed, please notify Finance office as soon as possible to avoid a late payment.
You may obtain the Adult and/or Minor Direct Deposit Forms, Federal Tax Withheld form, & the Minor Agreement form from the Tribes external website www.shoshonebannocktribes.com.
If you have not received a direct deposit receipt or 1099 in the mail, please contact the Enrollment office and provide your current address.  Tribal Enrollment telephone number is 208-478-3946. Future direct deposits/per cap will be placed on hold, if not updated as soon as possible.
The Federal Income Tax Withholding is a VOLUNTARY request made by the Tribal Member.   Those who wish to have a percentage of taxes automatically deducted from gaming distributions will be done at the members request ONLY.  Forms are available on the Tribes website or can be picked up here at the Finance office.  To discontinue taxation, you will need to stop by the Finance office and sign a form that authorizes the Tribes to revoke any withholdings.
Please submit any name changes & court orders to the Enrollment Department by November 24. Address changes will need to be updated as soon as possible. Any questions can also be directed to the Enrollment office.

Conflict:ISP hands private prison probe to FBI

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — An Idaho State Police investigation into staffing problems at a private prison was handed over to the FBI after police detectives determined their agency could have a conflict of interest in the case, according to public records. Officials didn't offer details of the potential conflict.
The records were among hundreds of documents obtained through public records requests by a campaign staffer for A.J. Balukoff, a Democrat who is challenging Republican incumbent Gov. C.L. “Butch'' Otter for the governor's seat. Balukoff's campaign spokesman, Mike Lanza, said Balukoff thought it was important for the public to find out how the state handled the investigation into understaffing at a prison run by Corrections Corporation of America.
“People deserve to know what happened here,'' Lanza said.
The Idaho Department of Correction first asked the state police to investigate in 2013 after an Associated Press story revealed that some guards were recorded as working as many as 48 hours straight without a break. The Nashville, Tenn.,-based company later acknowledged it had understaffed Idaho's largest prison by thousands of hours in violation of its $29-million-a-year contract with the state.
Though IDOC employees said they believed the criminal investigation was underway for the next year, in January of 2014, the state police acknowledged it had never investigated the case. The state ultimately reached a $1 million civil settlement with CCA to resolve the understaffing claims. A few days later, Gov. Otter ordered the state police to start the criminal probe.
One of the records, an internal state police memo describing a weekly investigation meeting dated March 3, states that detectives had begun interviewing people and analyzing evidence. Based on those initial steps, the detectives believed the case qualified as a criminal fraud matter, according to the memo.
An internal state police email from Capt. William Gardiner dated March 6 details a meeting that Gardiner had with state police Lt. Jack Catlin and officials at the U.S. Attorney's office.
Writing about Catlin, Gardiner said, “He was stuck in a bind because much of the material uncovered was mingled with information that suggested (state police) administration was involved.'' 
Gardiner, who confirmed the email, said the conflict of interest was primarily that state police leaders had been involved in IDOC's initial examination of the staffing issue, so state police detectives could find themselves interviewing their own superiors as part of the investigation. That could create the appearance it wasn't an impartial investigation, he said.
Officials then met with the U.S. Attorney's office, and the FBI took over the investigation.
State police spokeswoman Teresa Baker said earlier this year that the FBI was taking over the investigation because it was already handling similar cases, not because of a conflict. Baker said last week it's not uncommon for law enforcement agencies to ask another agency to take over an investigation if there's a chance people think it was being handled impartially.
“This doesn't appear, just on the surface, to be a just a run-of-the-mill conflict. There appears to be serious unanswered questions right now,'' Lanza said.
Both an FBI spokesman and U.S. Attorney Wendy Olson declined to comment on the matter because the investigation is still underway.

Idaho legislative races to watch as election nears

BOISE (AP) — Idaho's general election isn't known for its competitive legislative races due to Republican dominance of state politics, but a handful of races for seats are heating up as Nov. 4 approaches.
More than 90 of the state's 105 legislative seats have incumbents trying to retain their spots. A third of the incumbents, who are overwhelmingly Republican, face no opponent in the general election after surviving the May primary election.
However, both Republicans and Democrats have placed aggressive candidates in districts viewed as vulnerable.
For example, all but one Democrat who holds a leadership position in the Legislature is being challenged by a Republican. On the flip side, only House Majority Leader Mike Moyle of Star faces an opponent out of the Republican leadership team in both houses.
Here is a look at some of the more interesting races:
District 5
In northern Idaho, GOP Rep. Cindy Agidius is running against Democratic candidate Paulette Jordan for a second time after narrowly winning against her by 120 votes in 2012.
While Agidius has the GOP incumbent advantage, Paulette has been named by the Democratic Legislative Campaign Committee as a candidate to watch. Jordan has outraised her opponent in campaign funding by nearly $15,000, spending most of it on advertisements throughout the district.
District 6
Republican candidate Mike Kingsley is trying to oust Democrat Minority Leader John Rusche of Lewiston, but Kingsley reported spending $2,500 to book a visit and endorsement from Sam Wurzelbacher, known as ``Joe the Plumber'' during the 2008 presidential campaign.
While Rusche has held the seat since 2004 and is expected to return to the 2015 Legislature, an upset isn't out of the question. He's only faced two opponents during his tenure and has won by less than five percent each time.
District 10
For the first time in 34 years, a Democratic candidate may have a chance of winning a representative seat in a GOP-led district covering most of Canyon County. Democratic candidate Leif Skyving is running against Republican candidate Greg Chaney after incumbent Rep. Darrell Bolz announced he wouldn't run for an eighth term.
Chaney comes with a criminal history that includes  pleading guilty to malicious injury to property and disturbing the peace after he ``pushed and shoved'' his then-wife throughout their house in 2009, according to court documents. His past wasn't revealed until after he received Bolz's endorsement. Bolz later said Chaney could be a liability to the Idaho Republican Party.
District 26
Democratic candidate Dick Fosbury of Ketchum, well-known as the 1960s Olympian who revolutionized the high-jump, is running against two-term incumbent Republican Rep. Steve Miller from Fairfield.
The race over the central Idaho seat is one that pits the rural interests of the farmers and ranchers who outline the cities of Ketchum and Hailey. In the past, the district has swung in both political directions.
District 32
It's difficult to find a race a Democrat could win in eastern Idaho, which is known for its conservative districts. However, for the first time in 40 years, a Democratic headquarters opened in Soda Springs brought on by the energy behind Ashlee Stalcup's campaign.
Stalcup is running against veteran Rep. Tom Loertscher, who was first elected in 1990. He has defeated his Democratic opponents each time by gaining more than 60 percent of the vote.

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