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PRISON INVESTIGATION-FBI

APNewsBreak: FBI investigates prison company CCA

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — The FBI has taken over the Idaho criminal investigation into private prison company Corrections Corporation of America.

CCA has operated Idaho's largest prison for more than a decade, but last year, CCA officials acknowledged it had understaffed the prison by thousands of hours in violation of the state contract. CCA also said employees falsified reports to cover up the vacancies. The announcement came after an Associated Press investigation showed CCA sometimes listed guards as working 48 hours straight to meet minimum staffing requirements.

The Idaho State Police was asked to investigate the company last year but didn't, until amid increasing political pressure, the governor ordered the agency to do so last month. Democratic state lawmakers asked the FBI to take up the case earlier this year.

COMMISSIONER CHARGED

Former S. Idaho commissioner facing charges

(Information in the following story is from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com)

SHOSHONE, Idaho (AP) — A former Lincoln County commissioner and secretary for the Shoshone City and Rural Fire Protection District is accused of stealing money meant for the fire department.

The Times-News reports Friday that 50-year-old Jay Loesche is charged with two counts of felony grand theft and felony insurance fraud.

Court documents say Loesche was charged in January in 5th District Court.

Authorities say he transferred money from the fire department's account to his own bank account, including $1,700 for repairs to his own truck

Investigators say Loesche also made a false insurance claim for the truck's damages.

Loeshce's next court appearance is set for March 14.

STUDENT TEACHER RATIOS

Senator tackles inaccurate student-teacher ratios

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A Boise Democrat's plan to get accurate information about how many students are in Idaho classrooms is headed to the House floor.

Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking told the House Education committee Friday that student-teacher ratios are often incorrect.

Schools determine those ratios by dividing the number of students by the number of certified staff.

That can include counselors, speech pathologists and vice principals — people who work with students, but don't necessarily head up a classroom.

Ward-Engelking said teachers get frustrated when they have a dozen more kids in their classroom than the ratio suggests.

The lawmaker wants the State Department of Education to compile a count at every Idaho school — a task she says won't cost the state a dime.

The bill passed the Senate unanimously last month.

CROP DUSTER SHOOTING

S. Idaho man convicted of shooting at crop duster

(Information in the following story is from: The Times-News, http://www.magicvalley.com)

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — A south-central Idaho man has been convicted of shooting at a crop duster.

The Times-News reports that a jury on Thursday found 42-year-old Christopher V. Lewis of Filer guilty of felony discharging a firearm at an aircraft.

Prosecutors say the pilot told police he saw someone wielding a shotgun below him at about 10:45 a.m. on Aug. 24.

Authorities say that at about the same time, someone called the spraying company saying the pilot was flying too low over homes and threatened to "dust the pilot with his 10-gauge shotgun."

Several witnesses say they saw Lewis standing outside his house with a shotgun. Another neighbor testified she heard four shots, walked outside and saw Lewis fire twice at the crop duster.

Sentencing is set for May 5.

TREE-APARTMENT

Tree smashes through apartment in Boise

BOISE, Idaho (AP) — A large tree smashed through a second-story apartment in Boise and trapped two men inside.

The Boise Fire Department says firefighters responded at about 2:20 p.m. Thursday to find the tree had entered through the roof of the apartment.

Officials say the men were on the opposite side of the apartment and weren't injured, but the tree blocked the stairway.

Firefighters put a ladder up to the window and helped the men out.

Firefighters also evacuated residents in several nearby apartments.

Officials say the tree came from a neighboring property and appeared to be wet and rotting.

TRAIN-TRUCK CRASH

E. Idaho man escapes injury when train hits pickup

BLACKFOOT, Idaho (AP) — An eastern Idaho man escaped injury when a train struck his pickup at a crossing.

Idaho State Police say 26-year-old Anthony Pfannschmidt of Blackfoot stopped his 1999 Dodge Dakota pickup at a flashing railroad crossing in Blackfoot at about 1:30 p.m. on Thursday.

Police say Pfannschmidt said he thought he was too close and decided to cross the tracks, but his vehicle had a mechanical problem and slowed.

The collision caused heavy damage to the pickup and minor damage to the Union Pacific train. The road remained blocked for half an hour.

Police say Pfannschmidt was wearing his seatbelt.

Police are continuing to investigate.

BODY FOUND-JACKPOT

Jackpot homicide may be domestic dispute victim

(Information in the following story is from: Elko Daily Free Press, http://www.elkodaily.com)

JACKPOT, Nev. (AP) — Elko County Undersheriff Clair Morris says a homicide victim found last month about 3 miles south of Jackpot may have been killed in a domestic dispute.

Detectives originally suspected 26-year-old Leopoldo Filverio-Martinez of Guajara, Mexico had been murdered by members of a Mexican drug cartel when his body was found Feb. 3 with four gunshot wounds to the chest.

But Morris tells the Elko Daily Free Press investigators learned Filverio-Martinez had been involved in a fight with an unknown person over a woman before his body apparently was dumped along a dirt road off U.S. Highway 93.

The victim worked at a dairy farm in Gooding, Idaho. He had purchased a vehicle from a co-worker who is missing. Authorities are looking for the 1996 Ford Windstar with Idaho plates.

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

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