Some photos I took yesterday while reporting on a wildfire in central idaho

Denise Freeman rakes up pine needles to help make her log home less susceptible to a nearby wildfire in Featherville, Idaho on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Freeman was among residents warned that they will likely have to evacuate their homes because of the nearby Trinity Ridge Fire.  (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

Denise Freeman, right, helps firefighters remove the wooden lattice on the side of her log home in Featherville, Idaho on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. Freeman was among residents warned that they will likely have to evacuate their homes because of a nearby wildfire burning on 100 square miles, less than five miles from Featherville.  (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

Lizzie Morris, 4, waits for her grandmother, Lorie Winmill, to load their belongings into a vehicle as they prepare to evacuate from their home in Featherville, Idaho on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. They were among residents warned that they will likely have to evacuate their homes because of a nearby wildfire that has burned 100 square miles.  (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

A sign posted to a tree in Featherville, Idaho on Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012 expresses gratitude for firefighters who are battling the 100-square-mile Trinity Ridge Fire burning less than five miles away. Residents have been warned they will likely have to evacuate. (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

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Survivor’s video shows harrowing Idaho plane crash


This story
, as with most things these days, is about a video that went viral online. Nathan Williams, the survivor of a plane crash in central Idaho last month, posted this seven-minute video documenting the crash and the aftermath.

The video was posted for his friends and family and he was surprised to see it elicit so much response. You can see, the comments on his YouTube page range from shock to a debate over how the pilot handled things. I loved what Williams had to say when he explained that he understood why people were so intrigued.

“You see how fast something happens, something that’s life-threatening,” Williams said. “That’s kind of people’s worst fears and it kind of came true for us, in a way.”

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lost ring comes home…

This Monday July 23, 2012 cell phone photo provided by Emily Geislery shows a platinum Princess cut diamond ring belonging to Necia Rasmussen that washed up on the shore of Rigby Lake in Idaho and found by Geisler while she was kayaking _ four years after it went missing. (AP Photo/Courtesy Emily Geisler)

When she lost her diamond wedding ring four years ago, Necia Rasmussen held out hope for several months before finally buying a replacement. But she never stopped missing the one that got away.

Earlier this week, she nearly fell over from joy when she was reunited with the platinum Princess cut diamond ring that washed up on an Idaho lake shore and was found by a kayaker four years after it went missing.

Rasmussen, 34, said she started crying when she claimed the ring after describing it in great detail and providing a photograph.

“I mean, what are the chances?” Rasmussen told The Associated Press on Thursday.

read the rest of the story here.

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weed dating and dr. ruth

Davey Rodenstein, left, and Lindsay Reiber participate in a “weed dating” event at the Earthly Delights Farm in Boise, Idaho on Thursday, June 28. The farm is among a handful across the country offering this unconventional form of speed dating, where singles meet while working together in the fields.

I didn’t really expect this story about a small farm in Boise to explode like it did, but it went everywhere, even making it onto npr’s morning edition and prompting the following tweet from dr. ruth.

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A little about “The Hole”…

Officials break ground on an 18-story building slated to fill the long-vacant space on the corner of 8th and Main streets, site of Boise’s infamous downtown hole, on Thursday, July 12, 2012.  (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

As a huge fan of the tv show, Parks and Recreation, I can’t help but draw comparisons between Boise’s downtown “hole,” and the fictional town of Pawnee, in which a park employee (Amy Poehler) struggles to fill “the pit.”

In Boise, I like to think that “the hole” (which has its own twitter page)  provided just as much comic relief, and I’m kinda sad to see it go.

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More public schools splitting up boys and girls

In this photo taken May 9, 2012, Dillon Elledge, 8, right, and Brody Kemble, 7, second from right, work with flash cards in their all-boys classroom at Middleton Heights Elementary in Middleton, Idaho. Middleton is believed to be the only public school in Idaho offering all-boy and all-girl classrooms, though the movement is widespread in other states and is now being targeted by the American Civil Liberties Union in a bitter struggle over whether single-gender learning should be continued. (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

This story was a huge learning experience, as I didn’t really know much about single-gender classrooms when I started the reporting with my AP colleague, Heather Hollingsworth. I learned a lot, and was pretty happy with the story, which resulted in  editorials, including this one in the New Yorker.

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Jenni Lake

I first heard about Jenni Lake from a co-worker, who came across her obituary while going through newspapers. She was a teenager who had given birth and then died 12 days later, after losing her battle with cancer. It was only after calling a family friend did I learn that Jenni had actually stopped her cancer treatment after learning that she was pregnant.

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Idaho’s execution chamber

I took some photos the other day of Idaho’s new execution chamber, where a man named Paul Ezra Rhoades is scheduled to die on Nov. 18. AP got an exclusive tour of the facility and the visit was non eventful, save for the image of Rhoades shown on a security camera screen wheeling up to the door of his cell to collect his medicine for the day. The man, now crippled by diabetes, wreaked havoc on southeastern Idaho communities after killing a teacher and two store clerks in the 1980s.

I found myself reading an AP story from back in day and couldn’t help but notice he was described then as a “hulking, 230-pound, 6-foot-2” man who put fear in the hearts of most who lived in the community. Gun sales skyrocketed, women were afraid to go out at night and doors were bolted.

Thinking about that sad old man wheeling his chair into execution chamber next month, I could only think about the wasted lives involved, both his and theirs.

An unidentified woman leaves the Idaho Maximum Security Institution on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 on in Boise, Idaho. Paul Ezra Rhoades, who was convicted of killing three people in Idaho Falls and Blackfoot in 1988, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

The execution chamber at the Idaho Maximum Security Institution is shown on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011 as Security Institution Warden Randy Blades look on in Boise, Idaho. Paul Ezra Rhoades, who was convicted of killing three people in Idaho Falls and Blackfoot in 1988, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/Jessie L. Bonner)

FILE – This undated file photo provided by the IdahoDepartment of Correction, death row inmate Paul Ezra Rhoades is shown. Rhoades, who was convicted of killing three people in Idaho Falls and Blackfoot in 1988, is scheduled to be executed by lethal injection on Nov. 18, 2011. (AP Photo/ IdahoDepartment of Correction, file)

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