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Super Bowl is starting to show its age

By Mike Murphy

Ah, yes, I remember the precise moment that it dawned on me that I had reached 50 years old and that, maybe, I was not quite the guy I used to be. I was reading a book when suddenly the words became blurry. I figured that there must have been an earthquake tremor and everything would come back into focus in a moment, but I was wrong.

Over time, I eventually gave in and bought some of those reading glasses. You know, the magnifying glasses that come in about a dozen styles for women but only one style for men, neo-nerd.

Since then, I have developed quite a collection of glasses. I never throw any of them away even though I break a pair about once a week. They really are not made very sturdy. I’ll be sitting in a restaurant wearing a pair and looking over the menu while the waitress patiently waits, when suddenly I sneeze resulting in a lens popping out and landing in my glass of ice-cold beer. Naturally, I play it cool and act like nothing happened. But now the menu words are blurred so I just tell the girl, “Whatever you think is good. And give me another beer.”

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12,816 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - February 13, 2016 at 10:25 PM

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They fought the law and the law won

By George Ochenski

For what it’s worth, the Bundy-led takeover of the federal Malheur Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon is about over. Why these misled individuals ever thought they could simply pull out military-style weapons, intimidate local citizens, commandeer a federal facility and threaten federal and state law enforcement officers with deadly force is beyond imagination. That the incident ended with only one “suicide by cop” is actually miraculous.

Those who have been following this debacle will recall that Ammon Bundy, son of rogue Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy, told his small band of followers that “the Lord” had directed him to go to Burns, Oregon, to intervene in the case of two ranchers who were sentenced to federal prison for setting fires on public lands. In at least one case, a witness at their trial, who happened to be a relative, testified that they were intentionally trying to destroy evidence of deer poaching. That these same ranchers had a long history of violating a variety of laws and regulations, as well as endangering a fire-fighting crew with their illegal arson, was apparently something the Lord forgot to tell Ammon Bundy.

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9,395 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - February 6, 2016 at 9:52 PM

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Why no space aliens?

By Dr. Ralph Maughan

It’s been an exciting year for astronomy.

We have sharp photos from the New Horizons space probe that zipped past Pluto. Pluto’s surface features were completely unanticipated. There were also very close up photos from the Dawn probe made from its tight orbit around the largest asteroid, Ceres. Most recently came “good” evidence for existence of a large planet, “Planet X,” in the far recesses of the Solar System well beyond Pluto. Discovery of Planet X would restore the number of planets in our solar system to nine.

This year again more new “exoplanets” were detected around other stars. As of Feb. 5, the total number of confirmed exoplanets was 1937. So it’s 1937 down and about 100 billion planets (estimate) to go for our Milky Way galaxy. Despite this, no life has been discovered, not even a single celled organism anywhere but Earth.

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5,398 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - at 9:44 PM

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It’s winter, it’s cold, it snows

By Mike Murphy

A long time ago, back when, believe it or not, people used phones to actually talk to other human beings, it seemed that it snowed a lot more than it does today. Maybe it was just the fact that I was shorter as a kid, but I recall walking down sidewalks that were more like tunnels during the winters when I was growing up in Omaha. Snow was piled so high that the city had to post avalanche warning signs along the sidewalk.

My dad was pretty fanatical about keeping our sidewalks shoveled. And back then we didn’t have any of these modern high-tech shovels that resemble some sort of Star Wars weapon. They’re not even called “shovels” anymore. Now there’s the Back-Saver Lite Wate, the Penguin Snoboss, the Ergonomic Mountain Mover, and the Wovel which looks more like it’s meant to plow the north forty.

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1,696 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - January 30, 2016 at 9:39 PM

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2015 was a good year for Pocatello

By Brian Blad

The year that was 2015 has come and gone and I would like to say thank you to Pocatello’s residents and the city of Pocatello’s employees for making those 365 days into something special.

First off, December was proof that good things come to those who wait and in Pocatello’s case, that wait was close to 40 years. South Valley Road opened just before Christmas and as I looked around the Council Chambers during the opening ceremony, the standing room only crowd served to show just how much community effort it has taken over the years to complete the one-mile stretch of road. I would be remiss if I didn’t thank everyone from mayors and councils past, to current and former employees of the City, and local leaders and residents for their hard work on this project. To all involved, I extend the largest of thanks. Considering the more than four decades it took to come to fruition, I recognize that we were the ones lucky enough to have it completed on our watch.

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4,421 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - January 16, 2016 at 8:39 PM

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The Idaho State Journal and me

By Billie Johnson

I celebrated my birthday on the Winter Solstice. When I first learned that it’s the shortest day of the year and excitedly told my mom such, she replied “Well, in 1972 it was the longest day in history!” Despite a long and miserable labor, she ensured each birthday’s gifts comprised things I wanted or needed or something she wanted me to have. I could count on socks and underwear along with action figures and athletic equipment.

As I got older and it got weirder for her to buy me underwear, she switched up her routine and found a different yearly gift: an annual subscription to the Idaho State Journal.

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12,818 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - January 9, 2016 at 9:32 PM

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Stepping over memories

By Kalynn Brazeal

We have settled close to home. Home means the area where my better half and I dated and wed so many years ago. Obviously it means we are close to family as well. It’s a blessing. No seriously, stop laughing. It’s amazing after so many years away (18?) to enjoy time together.
However, occasionally we walk over a memory. It absolutely makes my heart sing, and I have a bittersweet twinge as I realize how fast life is flying by. Today was just the example. We were celebrating our youngest child’s birthday, and she requested a trip to our favorite pasta place. It was also the same place that my better half took me to the night before he shipped off to bootcamp 18 years ago. We sat in the same seats. The nostalgia was strong. Watching the child that looks like a carbon copy of me with his humor and smarts across the table from us was humbling. I kept having little flashbacks.
Back then, that was a pricey restaurant for us. I was a college student and worked at a department store. He was a tech for an AC/Heating company. We were minimum wage kids starting our life together with no clue what was in front of us but so excited to do it together. He used all the cash he had to make that dinner happen before he was leaving me for an adventure — an adventure he signed up for to make sure that we had a fighting chance on our own. We were scared and nervous, but neither of us would utter those words out loud. We smiled and held hands, enjoying our dinner. We even have a picture from that night.
After our lunch, of course our daughter wanted a mall trip. Wouldn’t you know, the closest mall is the one where I worked in a fancy department store. What turned out as a celebration of the day of her birth, was becoming a long stroll down memory lane. The better half kept poking me and giving me a grin.
As we passed by our first house, he went to point it out to her and our daughter, who was looking at her phone and not at us, commented, “Yep, that’s where you and mom lived, and a half the block up, you met at that gas station.” Well, OK. So maybe the kids have heard that story once or 40 times.
We arrived at the mall, and we decided to park up top where I used to park when I worked there. We walked in the very door where I worked, and there in my place was another older teen bored to tears at that department store checkout. At this point, it was funny. As we maneuvered through the mall, we noticed all the changes but as I looked at the man beside me, it was weird to see he hasn’t changed much in some ways.
He’s still the cocky man who always has the last word and also the man who speeds up to make sure he opens the door for me to walk through first. He still has a crooked smile that weakens me and makes my heart flutter. But in many ways he’s changed. There’s a touch of gray at his temples, and he’s slower to speak. He thinks first so when he does speak, it carries more weight.
I guess that was where my mind was when I caught a glimpse of myself in a store mirror display. At first I didn’t recognize me. Maybe it’s because my mind was bouncing back and forth between the past and present. But maybe it’s because in my head I’m still that 19 year old girl. Sure of myself but unsure of the world. Holding the hand of a boy that made me feel brave. But the reflection was of a woman approaching middle age, two teen daughters and a long marriage on the books to show for it. She’s more gray than brown now.
And frankly, she looked pretty good standing there next to her better half.

A former resident of Lava Hot Springs, Kalynn Brazeal is a conservative Christian wife/mom/country girl carrying around an MBA, several decades of business experience and a strong opinion.  She continues to share her column on life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and cake. She can be reached by email at kmbrazeal@icloud.com.

12,843 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - December 27, 2015 at 4:37 AM

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Christmas reveals the greatness of God

By Ed Jordan

Christmas is such an awesome historical event, for it is in the birth of Jesus that we find what appears to be God at His smallest, i.e. taking on human flesh and coming to us as a baby, in order to dwell among us.

But in His smallness as the baby Jesus, we also discover the greatness of God. God’s greatness is often revealed through some of the subtleties of God.

For example, the strength of God is revealed through God coming to us in Jesus, arriving as a vulnerable baby. In the weakness and vulnerability of the baby Jesus, we find Mighty God. Who but Mighty God would take the risk to come to us as a newborn baby? What if the baby died in childbirth? What if the mother did? What if the baby caught pneumonia? What if the parents dropped the newborn, or if Jesus was seriously injured? God revealed His bigness and greatness by making Himself vulnerable when He was born as a little human baby (John1:1, 14).

The greatness of God was shown in the self-sacrifice of God. We humans are very selfish beings. We describe it in many statements conveying that we are “looking out for number one,” namely that each of us believes that we are more important than anyone else.

Jesus revealed the greatness of God when He, who was face to face with God, equal with God, and indeed was God (John 1:1), came in human form. In Philippians 2:6–7 (NASB95) we read about Jesus: “who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men.”

Jesus was God. It would be proper for everyone to bow their knee to Him, to sacrifice for Him, and for Him to insist that we do so. But He didn’t. In the greatness of God, He didn’t hang on to His equality with God. He didn’t hang on to prestige, or power, or wealth. He laid it aside, and lowered Himself. He who was God humbled Himself, and instead of requiring that everyone cater to Him, He took on human flesh, coming as a little baby born to a peasant family.

We live in a society that clamors after celebrities. Whether the celebrities are bigtime politicians, movie stars, or athletes, we treat them as someone special. And all too often they expect special treatment. Do we expect the Princess in England to have one of her children born in a barn and made to sleep in the horse feeder? It is out of the question. No way! They are to be born in the most elite facilities possible, with the best doctors and staff to care for their every need.

Yet the greatness of God is that when it was time for His One and Only Begotten Son to be born (John 1:18; 3:16), He was not born in a king’s palace. He was not born in Beverly Hills, nor in the White House. He was born in a stable, because there was no room for God among humanity.

While humans demand to be treated better than everyone else, Jesus came as a peasant, born as a baby. The greatness of God is that He knows that what makes one great is humility and service. Greatness is not shown by pomp and circumstance! It is not shown by lording it over others. It is not shown by demanding to be treated as someone more important than others.

Greatness was shown when God, who was infinite Spirit, took on the limitations of a human body, and indeed a baby, who had no status nor standing nor power.

Jesus Himself revealed and explained God through His example, teachings, and life (cf. John 1:18).

Jesus came to reveal that those who really know God learn to give up self-glory, and pride. One day Jesus’ disciples were arguing about who would be the greatest among them and get to sit next to Jesus in heaven (Mark 10:37-41).

Here is Jesus’ answer in Mark 10:42–44 (The Message): Jesus got them together to settle things down. “You’ve observed how godless rulers throw their weight around,” he said, “and when people get a little power how quickly it goes to their heads. It’s not going to be that way with you. Whoever wants to be great must become a servant. Whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave.”

The greatness of God is revealed at Christmas in the arrival of Jesus, who came to serve and give His life to save ours. May you experience the greatness of God this Christmas season as you encounter the humility of God and His saving power revealed in Jesus, both in His birth and in His life.

Merry Christmas!

Award-winning columnist Dr. Ed Jordan is pastor of Gwynn’s Island Baptist Church at Gwynn, Virginia, and the former pastor of the Gate City Baptist Church in Pocatello. He can be reached at szent.edward@gmail.com.

7,543 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - December 25, 2015 at 7:53 AM

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Providing for our neighbors

The holidays are well underway and so are the efforts to provide for our neighbors in need in eastern Idaho.

In December 2015, The Idaho Foodbank’s Pocatello branch will distribute food for 367,000 meals through our 44 community partners in the region. To meet the need will require the full support of local soup kitchens, pantries, shelters and senior centers. Thankfully, the commitment and dedication of these valued community partners is equal to the task at hand.

In Feeding America’s “Map the Meal Gap” study released earlier in 2015, it’s estimated there are 55,190 residents in eastern Idaho, including more than 21,000 children, who don’t know when or if they will get a next meal. Sadly, we know these numbers are increasing even as they show a modest decline in other areas of the state.

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3,349 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - December 12, 2015 at 9:56 PM

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Helping the needy this holiday season

By Brian Blad

In a few days, many of us will be gathering around the dinner table, joining with loved ones and celebrating one of the oldest of American traditions — Thanksgiving. Then as sure as that time-honored turkey dinner will be devoured, Christmas and the New Year will be here in short order.
For many, these holidays are happy times, filled with joy, cheer, love and celebration. But there are those among us who find these festivities especially trying. We’ve all heard the stories. The mother wondering how she will put food on the table, not only on Thanksgiving but every day before and after. The father silently agonizing over how to explain to his child there will be nothing under the Christmas tree. An elderly couple being forced to decide what bill gets paid with their fixed income — food or heat. A veteran without a roof over his head shivering in the cold as the snow bears down.
Statistically speaking, these issues aren’t mere stories and truly impact thousands of Idahoans across the state, including citizens in East Idaho. According to The Idaho Foodbank, food insecurity affects one in six Idahoans. That means more than 200,000 people in the state do not know where their next meal will be coming from. Further, the Foodbank’s partner organization Feeding America shows that in Bannock County there are 13,210 of our friends and neighbors who are wondering about that next meal. Census numbers show that poverty impacts about 18 out of every 100 Pocatellans. The National Council on Aging figures represent that 33 percent of seniors nationwide have no money left over at the end of the month, and close to 2,000 people are homeless across the Gem State, according to the Idaho Housing and Finance Association.
Thankfully — and I cannot express my gratitude enough — there are organizations, businesses and individuals in our community that have taken it upon themselves to lend a helping hand when times are tough during the holidays and beyond. Just last weekend, I was able to take part in the annual SLEDS Toy Run to help benefit the Southeast Idaho Community Action Agency (SEICAA). The ride helps SEICAA provide toys at Christmas for children and funds SEICAA’s programs that directly improve the lives of citizens in seven Southeast Idaho counties.
Meanwhile, Barrie’s Ski and Sports’ second annual “Cranksgiving” turkey drive got a boost recently from fellow business Ray’s Custom Interiors. Ray and Deanna Rosen and their staff donated 64 turkeys to the drive. Organizers hope to get 1,000 turkeys to The Idaho Foodbank to help those in need on Thanksgiving. The Foodbank is also getting support from our local Stinker Stores, which are matching customer donations dollar for dollar. Our Marshall Public Library is offering up chance for you to get rid of those overdue fines on library books through its “Food for Fines” program. Double Shot Coffee does “Tips for Turkeys” every Tuesday during the holiday season and uses the tips to purchase turkeys for the Foodbank. On Thanksgiving Day, the folks with Puerto Vallarta and First National Bar will each be hosting a free thanksgiving dinner at their respective establishments. In addition to SLEDS’ work, Christmas morning will also be made just a bit better thanks to the diligent work of the Steven D. Merrell Marine Corps League Detachment #698’s Toys for Tot campaign. There are numerous drop-off boxes around town, including City Hall.
Earlier this year, the Greater Pocatello Association of Realtors donated more than 30 coats to the children of Pocatello/Chubbuck School District #25. The Idaho State Journal is currently working with The Salvation Army to round-up winter apparel including gloves, scarves and jackets. The Homeless & Housing Coalition of South East Idaho is collecting nice, warm, wooly socks for our homeless. You can drop off your sock donations at City Hall as well.
The people and organizations I’ve listed above are by no means exhaustive. There are hundreds — and it may very well be thousands — in this community who are doing what they can to assist and comfort those in need. I commend you all for your diligence and hard work in helping your fellow man. If you’d like to help and haven’t yet, please do. It doesn’t take much. A few cans of food, a pack of socks or just checking in on your elderly neighbors is all you need to do to make a difference in a life.

This column was submitted by Pocatello Mayor Brian Blad.

12,844 comments - What do you think?  Posted by ifennell - November 22, 2015 at 3:40 AM

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