Giant sequoia move on schedule in Idaho, tree doing well

(AP Photo/Rebecca Boone). Workers build a burlap, plywood and steel-pipe structure to contain the rootball so they can move the roughly 100-foot sequoia tree in Boise, Idaho, Thursday, June 22, 2017. The sequoia tree sent more than a century ago by nat…
(AP Photo/Troy Maben, File). FILE -This Nov. 22, 2006, file photo a giant sequoia tree sits next to St. Luke’s Hospital in downtown Boise, Idaho. The sequoia tree that was a seedling sent more than a century ago by naturalist John Muir to Idaho and pla…
(AP Photo/Rebecca Boone). An aerial view shows heavy machinery used by workers as they pruned the roots, built a burlap, plywood and steel-pipe structure to contain the rootball so they can move the roughly 100-foot sequoia tree in Boise, Idaho, Thursd…
(AP Photo/Rebecca Boone). A roughly 100-foot sequoia tree is viewed looking upward from the base of the trunk in Boise, Idaho, Friday, June 23, 2017. The sequoia tree sent more than a century ago by naturalist John Muir to Idaho and planted in a Boise …
(AP Photo/Rebecca Boone). Workers prune the roots and built a burlap, plywood and steel-pipe structure to contain the rootball so they can move the roughly 100-foot sequoia tree In Boise, Idaho, Thursday, June 22, 2017. The sequoia tree sent more than …

BOISE, Idaho (AP) – A massive Idaho tree that grew over more than a century from a seedling sent by a noted naturalist has been uprooted and is poised to travel about two blocks Sunday to a new location.

David Cox of tree-moving company Environmental Design said Saturday the 10-story sequoia is doing well, and everything is in place for the 800,000-pound (362,877-kilogram) landmark to start moving on inflatable rollers shortly after midnight.

Sequoias aren’t native to Idaho, and the tree is believed to be the state’s largest sequoia. St. Luke’s Health System in Boise is paying $300,000 to move it to make room for an expansion.

Cox says if everything goes as planned, the sequoia will be at its new home on city property around noon Sunday.

The tree was sent to Boise as a seedling by naturalist John Muir, who played a key role in establishing California’s Sequoia National Park.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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As Downtown Boise hotels boom, Nampa and Meridian get their own, and Caldwell hopes

Even with a new hotel next door, the Nampa Civic Center doesn’t have the space to attract or house a 1,500-attendee conference like the one the Boise Centre hosted for a national epidemiologists group last week.

But Boise’s blossoming convention capacity and its slew of new Downtown hotels bode well for the hospitality and conference sectors in Nampa and other Treasure Valley cities, hotel developer Chase Santillanes said.

That’s why he and his family’s Spokane-based ownership group built the 82-room Peppertree Inn Best Western Plus in Nampa, which opened in May next to the downtown Civic Center. The $5 million hotel, with rooms averaging about $159 per night, was booked during the epidemiologists’ conference thanks to overflow.

“We looked at the Boise market, but too many hotels were fighting for the same property,” Santillanes said. “We’ve been doing this for a long time, and in our experience, that growth usually leaks out to secondary markets.”

The new hotel positions the Civic Center to land conferences with about 100 attendees that cannot afford the Boise Centre, said Beth Ineck, Nampa’s economic development director. Nampa can support more hotels now, she said, thanks to Boise’s spillover, the new St. Luke’s hospital expected to open in Nampa this fall, and visitors to the SunnySlope wine region.

“It’s part of the natural growth process,” Ineck said. “The new hospital was part of the decision to go ahead on the new Holiday Inn.”

That Holiday Inn, with 85 rooms, opened last week off Interstate 84 near the Karcher Road exit in west Nampa.

Four miles east, the Hampton Inn & Suites next to the Idaho Center on North Idaho Center Boulevard plans to expand, Ineck said. And a developer is considering another, yet-to-be-announced hotel, Ineck said.

Meridian, which previously struck out in efforts to attract a hotel and conference center as part of its downtown revitalization effort, also has a new hotel. My Place Hotel opened in May, offering 85 rooms near the intersection of Eagle Road and Fairview Avenue, near the bustling Village at Meridian.

Bruce Chatterton, Meridian’s community development director, said the city will benefit from Boise bringing large groups to the area even if Meridian cannot get the conference center it wants.

“I certainly wouldn’t rule out that Meridian might be in that game in the future,” he said. “We just don’t see traction now.”

Caldwell lost out when an Oregon group backed out of plans last year to build two hotels at Muller Lane and Aviation Way near I-84. But city leaders are now optimistic that a developer will build a hotel to anchor Indian Creek Plaza, the centerpiece of Caldwell’s downtown revitalization effort.

The plaza, which is under construction, will feature a park, concert stage, skating area and water features. The city hopes to host 150 events a year there.

Planners are “in negotiations” with a developer to build a boutique hotel on the block where the turn-of-the-century Saratoga Hotel burned in 1990, said Steve Fultz, the city’s director of economic development.

Studies show that Caldwell could support more hotels, and “wheels are being kicked” for additional development, Fultz said. He thinks Caldwell, like Nampa, could become a destination for smaller conferences and for events centered around Canyon County’s wine region.

Related stories from Idaho Statesman

Boise is hosting its biggest-ever convention this week. Are we ready for the big time?

“It’s something we’re desirous of having. But I don’t’ know if we’re positioned right now to compete with Boise,” Fultz said.

Zach Kyle: 208-377-6464, @ZachKyleNews

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Idaho high court: Unmarried gay partner has no rights to custody

The Associated Press The Idaho Supreme Court building is seen in Boise, Idaho, on Thursday.

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The Idaho Supreme Court has denied custody and visitation rights to a gay woman who raised a child with her former partner, reflecting state laws that have not been updated since same-sex marriage became legal in 2014.

The couple raised the child together after splitting up in 2012. But their relationship deteriorated two years ago, and the child’s biological mother barred her former partner from contacting the child, who is now 7.

Grandparents, great-grandparents and even first cousins in Idaho can seek custody, guardianship or visitation rights to children in certain circumstances, but an unmarried same-sex partner cannot. But they can legally adopt if the other parent agrees.

Several states, including New Mexico, Washington and Nevada, allow women or men who consent to another woman’s insemination to be legally considered the child’s parent, even if the couple is not married, according to the National Center for Lesbian Rights.

But a few states, including Idaho, are far more restrictive. Utah, for instance, prohibits anyone who lives with an unmarried partner, same-sex or not, from adopting.

In the Idaho ruling Wednesday, the high court decided unanimously that the woman identified only as Jane Doe has no parental rights to the 7-year-old child because her former partner is the one who was artificially inseminated and carried the baby and because the two women were not married.

The alias is often used in custody cases to protect the identity of children.

Cathy Sakimura, an attorney with the National Center for Lesbian Rights that represented Jane Doe, said the ruling limits the ability of unmarried parents of even straight couples to protect their relationship with their children.

"Obviously, we’re extremely disappointed by this outcome, which is devastating for our client and her child and completely out of step with the way the majority of states are treating LGBT parents and their children," Sakimura said. "Even though you may not be married, or you may have used assistive reproduction, children have a right to have a relationship with their parents."

The attorney representing the child’s biological mother did not return a phone call requesting comment.

According to the ruling, the couple began a relationship in 2006, four years before the child was born. The two later decided to start a family using an anonymous sperm donor.

The couple talked to an attorney about having the partner who was not artificially inseminated adopt the child, but they decided not to pursue it after the attorney said same-sex couples were prohibited from adoptions.

Both women attended prenatal appointments and the partner was present during the birth in 2010. They raised the baby together and shared parenting duties when they broke up two years later.

In 2015, the child’s biological mother barred her former partner from contacting the child and rejected her financial support for the child, according to court documents.

That’s when the former partner petitioned a court for adoption, guardianship and visitation.

A magistrate court dismissed her claim to be legally considered a parent under Idaho’s artificial insemination laws, which state that an opposite-sex couple who has a child through that method can sign a form to establish legal paternity, but same-sex couples must go through adoption procedures.

Both sides appealed, and the Idaho Supreme Court agreed that the former partner had no parental rights. It also terminated her visitation rights.

Same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in Idaho until two years after the couple split. Though some state agencies have updated policies to reflect the change, many laws have not been similarly revised.

The state has no laws allowing same-sex partners to seek the same rights as certain relatives to custody, visitation or guardianship unless they are biologically related or adopted the child.

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How To Have A Good Time When You Visit Boise ID

If you haven’t been to Idaho before, you might not know exactly where to go if you want to have fun on a vacation. Many people think of Idaho as a state that’s literally in the middle of nowhere, but it is so much more than that. There are parks that you can visit, aquariums, and many outdoor activities that you can enjoy. Here are a few things that you will be able to do when you get to Idaho, specifically the city of Boise.

Parks You Can Visit

The first place that you might want to go is a park so that you can just relax. There are several that you can visit. There is Barber Park which is a place where you can get onto rafts, something that’s fun to do in the summer. Another place that you can go for a good hike is Camels Back Park. There are also other parks including Katherine Albertson park and Julia Davis park.

Museums You Can Visit

There are several museums that you can go to as well. One of the best is the Discovery Center of Idaho. You can literally spend all day there, and if you have your kids with you, they can also have a lot of fun. If you are just traveling by yourself, and you enjoy looking at beautiful art, you can go to the Boise Art Glass Museum where you can see some of the best glass artifacts that you have ever seen at one location.

These are just a few ideas to consider if you are going to be traveling to Boise. There are also plenty of things that you can do at night. There are nightclubs, concerts and shows that you can also do. It’s actually a very fun place, and if you are traveling to Boise, these are just a few of the locations that you can visit.

Dogs destined for meat market hope for new homes in Boise

BOISE — A dozen dogs that had been raised to be sold to a South Korean meat market are getting a second chance in the City of Trees.

The dogs were flown into Boise by nonprofit animal rescue Dog is My Copilot Friday morning, and handed over to the Idaho Humane Society.

Idaho Humane Society spokeswoman Allison Maier said the twelve animals were saved from "really dismal conditions" at a backyard breeder operation in Seongnam, South Korea.

"It’s a bit of an unusual transfer for us," she said.

The Idaho Humane Society has been designated an "emergency placement partner" by the Humane Society of the United States – due in part, Maier said, to the fact that the Boise shelter’s intake is lower and there is frequently space to take in dogs or cats from other areas.

The emergency placement designation means the Idaho Humane Society is eligible to take in dogs seized from abusive homes elsewhere, or displaced by natural disasters.

"We’ll work on vet checks, behavior checks, rehabilitation and eventually put them up for adoption," Maier said of the newest additions.

The dogs appear to be mixes of the Shiba Inu and Korean Jindo breeds, according to the shelter. Maier says those breeds are known for being active and very loyal. Most of the dogs that came to Boise are under 30 pounds.

Maier said staff at the Humane Society had wondered whether the dogs would be fearful of people after their rough start at life. She was pleasantly surprised.

"A lot of them seemed pretty friendly, toward the front of the kennels, seemed interested and curious to meet people," she said.

Although the dogs were checked and vaccinated before entering the country, Maier said the Idaho Humane Society wants to do its own evaluations before placing the dogs in forever homes. Most will be ready to adopt within a few months, she said.

Check the Idaho Humane Society’s website for availability.

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