Miss Pocatello Nina Forest Crowned Miss Idaho

by Michael Strickland

“Congratulations to our new Miss Idaho 2018, Nina Forest!” reads the Miss Idaho Facebook page. “She will represent Idaho on the Miss America stage in Atlantic City on September 9th. Make sure to keep up with her exciting year!”  Forest, who was Miss Pocatello, received her crown last night at the Nampa Civic Center.

Her platform is Leave Childhood Hunger Behind and as Miss Idaho Forest will focus on decreasing food insecurity in the Gem State.

The Miss Idaho Scholarship Program is a preliminary competition of the Miss America Organization, one of the nation’s leading scholarship  and achievement programs for young women. Forest received thousands of dollars in scholarship money and other prizes. These included an award for the talent portion, in which she played an expressive self-arranged piano solo of Rhapsody Brillante by Melody Bober.

After being a classical violinist most of my life, I started playing piano six years ago in high school and discovered what it truly meant to love music. While I haven’t had the years of experience most pianists have had, I am completely humbled to have won preliminary talent at #MissIdaho2018. The place you start does not determine how far you can go. With passion, hard work, and perseverance anything is possible.  – Nina Forest

A self-described adrenaline junkie, she muses: “I love roller coasters, heights … and I’ve been skydiving. One of the reasons that I love living in Idaho is that our backyard is just one big adventure.” Forest is also a first generation American. “My mom immigrated to the United States from China and my dad was born in England,” she said.

Since 1950, this state-level program has provided all its participants with educational assistance. The mission of the Miss Idaho Organization is to create a foundation of self-esteem and empowerment for the young women who participate. Participants develop interview skills and build self-confidence that lasts a lifetime and prepares them for future challenges and pursuits.


Miss Idaho participants have achieved success in diverse fields including education, medicine, law, business, theater, politics, and broadcast journalism. Contestants work for causes represented by their personally chosen platforms which have included cancer research, organ donation, suicide prevention, child enrichment and mentoring programs, senior citizen advocacy, arts, culture and public safety.

The program has a deep well of community sponsors, parents, and volunteers who offer unwavering support of this organization that dignifies and empowers women. Read more at http://www.missidaho.org.

Top 5 finalists pictured below:
4th runner up – Kaitlin Hae Hae
3rd runner up – Miso Jang
2nd runner up – Marissa Lynne Goodwin
1st runner up – Hannah Menzner
Miss Idaho 2018 – Nina Forest


Where to Buy Rock Salt Ice Melter


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Tamara Code Speaks Out About Conditions at Bannock County Fairgrounds in Downey

codeforcommissioner-headshot-635388972890300000The lack of maintenance for many years has caused the ground to become unsafe for spectators and activity participants.

The candidate for Bannock County Commision, District 1;  says:

I recently made a trip to Downey to  tour the Bannock County South Fairgrounds.  I was shocked by what I found. The state of disrepair of the facility due to the continued lack of presence or concern by the existing commissioners and poor oversight of the tax dollars earmarked for our fairgrounds.  I believe the buck stops at the top and excuses that blame subordinate staff don’t hold water.

SEE:  http://democracy.com/codeforcommissioner

The lack of maintenance for many years has caused the ground to become unsafe for spectators and activity participants.  The arena is full of very hard soil as well as rocks. As I walked across the arena, the ground was so hard I did not even leave footprints. It was clear the arena was not safe for any animal or human participant to ride or race without the potential for a devastating injury or loss.

Some of the issues initially seem cosmetic but as my tour, hosted by Mayor Dennis Phillips and Joel continued, the seriousness of the problems was obvious.  The fencing is not adequate to keep the rough stock away from spectators.  There has been a half-hearted attempt to rectify this situation with new fencing erected along the street but it has not been repaired in the more critical area between the holding pens and the spectator area. Pens have gates hanging from them instead of being attached.  There was some evidence of one stall having been used recently without authorization.  It was left unclean and no rental payment was made to the county for the use.  With no way to police the area or support maintenance staff, secure gates should be in place to keep people from using county facilities without payment.  This unauthorized use just adds to the cost of maintenance and drives down the value of facilities for tourism dollars.

As I traversed the grounds, I noticed a large piece of the roof was missing and lying upside down next the hole it had left.  For such an easy repair, I was surprised a potentially dangerous object like this was left with the strong winds we have in the area.  Along with the broken roof, the buildings have peeling metal around the base and the sides.  The rooftops of all the buildings show damage as well.

The new covered arena is very nice but the covering already has rips and tears.  If these go without repair, they will expand until the entire cover needs to be replaced.  Inside this arena the dirt is so fine that a large cloud of dust rises in the air just from walking. Can you imagine how dusty it is with horses and other animals running through it? This arena was a very good idea, which probably cost a lot of money, but  due to the lack of simple maintenance, it very well could become unusable in a few short years. Poor planning and budgeting leads to even more waste.

The restrooms were locked but both of the gentlemen with me kept mentioning how bad they were.  If men notice how bad the bathrooms are, they must be bad, indeed.

The grandstands were lacking many things.  When the bleachers break, as many sections have, instead of replacing the broken boards, a 2 x 8 is just nailed on top of the broken board. The bleachers bend and flex when you walk on them. In one area, a piece of rebar is sticking out right in front of the lowest seating area. This is definitely unsafe if a child or adult were to trip and fall toward the fencing.  I am appalled at the neglect of protections for human and animal safety that has gone unchecked and unresolved by the Commissioners.

The available handicapped access is below standards and ADA requirements with the single access ramp at the end of one grandstand, ending with nowhere for a wheelchair to be placed. Having gone through an ADA training session in the past, this becomes clear to me as another half-hearted attempt to resolve an issue with a temporary patch instead of a real solution.

There is debris and garbage all over the grounds and in the bleachers. Now I understand that the wind blows in Idaho, but using workers in the Sheriff’s Commissioner’s Inmate Labor Detail Program (SCILD) once a month would eliminate this portion of the maintenance cost while utilizing the valuable county asset of the SCILD program. Weeds are overtaking many areas and it is clear that the grounds are not watered with any consistency.  A brand new patch of grass which was paid for by a grant from the Ifft Foundation is also suffering from the same story of neglect, and it would be a great loss to the County’s future access to beautification funds if it were allowed to die because it has no water or care.

The solutions for so many of these issues are clear.  While not everything can be done at once, it is clear that the current state of the fairgrounds is not the result of one season or one year of neglect but many years of not caring for this property for it to sink into this level of disrepair.  I believe in planning and, with a comprehensive plan, this area can once again be a property the County can take pride in.

As I was growing up in Jerome, the annual county fair was the high point of a summer of hard work for all of us enrolled in 4-H. Downey is home to many 4-H groups and should be encouraged to keep up this tradition. The rural nature of the Downey area is a great home for healthy activities for our youth.  Showing responsibility through animal ownership is a fantastic way to instill a work ethic in kids.  This life style will encourage them to put down the video games and smart phones, and enjoy a healthy, active life.

In a community the size of Downey, events at the local fairgrounds can bring in a significant amount of economic stimulus.  If enough paying events were brought into the area, the county should at least be able to clear enough funds to maintain the facilities. It may not turn a profit but it should help to cover maintenance costs.  According to Idaho Statutes, Title 31 Chapter 8 31-822, the Commission is charged with the maintenance of the fairground site and regulation of its use.  To do anything less is clearly not in the best interests of their constituents.

As your Commissioner, I will take an active role in the fairgrounds.  It is simply tragic to see a way of life and time-honored tradition in our community be threatened because no one is paying attention. The South County Fair is a a worthy event that needs to be preserved. Adequate maintenance not only makes sense – it is the right thing to do.  Hold your commission accountable for the things they are required to do by Idaho Statute.

I invite you to view the gallery of images I photographed while at the Fairgrounds in Downey.  I welcome your thoughts and ideas, not only on how to prevent such problems in the future, but also solutions.

@IdahoStateJ: Pocatello mosque progresses

Despite recent vandalism, the new Pocatello Mosque, formerly El Jacalito Mexican Restaurant, located on South Fifth Avenue is nearing completion of the first phase of the building project.

The society estimates that if each Islamic community member donates around $200  they will have enough funds to finish the mosque.

…  this project quadruples the capacities of the existing place of worship. The Islamic Society has met for 25 years in their current location on Fourth Avenue.

    At that time, the community was small and it worked well for them. However, the last 10 years has seen a dramatic increase in the Islamic community and the need for the new mosque became more urgent, according to Hummel.

    … The new mosque will better serve the students from Middle Eastern countries as well as the approximately 1,400 community members from this region.

… the restoration of the old run down building will also enrich the area.

Read the full story.

Afterthoughts on Pocatello’s ordinance decision #gay #LGBT #lesbian #homosexual

By H. Wayne Schow

At the outset of Thursday’s Pocatello City Council meeting, everyone stood and repeated the “Pledge of Allegiance.” At meeting’s end, the Pledge’s concluding words, “with liberty and justice for all,” seemed to hang hollowly, hauntingly, in the air.

The dramatic 4-3 outcome makes a statement about our city to outsiders. It says we will not be in the vanguard with progressive cities like Sandpoint, Boise, Moscow, Ketchum, Salt Lake City and numerous others in fighting for equal justice. It says that, for the time being at least, the majority of our elected representatives would rather continue with the status quo.

Council members Nye (who moved to accept the motion), Bray, and Moore made abundantly clear that they recognize the existence of too much unfair treatment in our community directed against LGBT persons. Revealing, heartfelt testimony from the previous hearing had powerfully established that. They argued that the proposed ordinance could help to address that bias in the areas of housing and employment and ought to be adopted. Moore said his yes vote was an easy decision for him. Bray said that the proposed ordinance, if not perfect, was nonetheless a carefully considered first step, and subsequent adjustments could be made if needed.


From the comments:

ike says:


“It’s time for a new mayor.”

Replaced by who? I disagree with his decision (as you do), but as I’ve met with him on a couple of different occasions and know a number of people who interact with him rather intimately, I’m convinced that you Pocatellans have one hell of a mayor – this latest decision notwithstanding.

LFerro says:

Ike, Blad will have to “prove” that he’s a good mayor to me because all I’ve seen to date, is the opposite, a lot of talk, no action.

Disgusted Reader says:


He has to prove it to the electorate and not you. One man one vote, not on PC things and the religious can’t vote on it type of thing. Idaho went through that back in 1884 and it appears didn’t learn much since.

When action is counter productive then the only thing you can do is talk. DUH! Making things worse is not helpful, ever. But the perps in Boston were so innocent, just ask their mother and aunt.

I suspect your lack of backing him up will result in him being elected by a bigger majority next time around. Thanks for the compliment.

He could replace the mayor of Austin in a heartbeat and a huge bunch would be pleased down here.

We’re in the process of getting rid of a drunk D.A. and a bad judge here at present. One bad one at a time.

She tested .239 but says she wasn’t drunk but pleaded guilty anyway, the D.A. is now in jail serving a 45 day sentence for DUI. Dashcam videos were rather damning against her.

We’ve had a number of people yell, discrimination and when the videos came out they ended up being the perps. Get ready for Poky to be covered by thousands of cameras, which aren’t cheap to prove just who is the one with the problem. Isn’t technology expensive but helpful in showing things are just like most people thought they were and not what a few allege but can’t prove so they do the “bad law” route?

Never learn, do we?