Stories in the Regional News Roundup are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is part one, with part two appearing in Sunday’s Tribune.


GRANGEVILLE — A December 2018 lawsuit filed by Central Idaho Education Association against Mountain View School District 244 and its board of trustees has been dismissed.

The case was dismissed with prejudice June 6 in the Second Judicial District, Idaho County. When a case is dismissed with prejudice, the plaintiff is barred from filing a lawsuit on the same issue at a later date.

The suit was filed as a “complaint for violation of public records act.” The suit is specifically aimed at the school district and lists trustees Lot Smith, Casey Smith, Rebecca Warden, Mike Dominguez and Brad Lutz as defendants.

The lawsuit states that Charlotte McKinney, president of the education association, on or about Oct. 30, 2018, submitted a public records request to the school district regarding the 2017-18 and 2018-19 health and benefit insurance package employees received as well as any changes in benefits, coverages or costs; copies of all invoices, bills and correspondence between the law firm Anderson, Julian & Hull LLP, Boise, and/or attorney Scott Marotz and the board of trustees or any administrator of the the school district regarding the costs provided by the firm or attorney from Jan. 1-Oct. 10, 2018; and copies of the standard teaching contracts signed by all new hires 2018-19.

The lawsuit states that Mountain View Business Manager Becky Hogg replied by email, “As I understand it, the invoices from Anderson Julian & Hall are considered to be privileged information between attorney and client since they itemize the firm’s time for all the various legal issues under advisement. As such, we are denying this portion of your request.”

The lawsuit claims the district violated the Idaho Public Records Act with this denial.

There is currently nothing new to report on a second lawsuit, a “complaint and demand for jury.”

These documents state “over the past six months the school district and its board of trustees had attempted to silence the district’s teachers by banning them from wearing certain articles of clothing, has violated a prior contract between the district and the representative of the teachers, and has delayed and refused to bargain in good faith with their representatives for a new contract governing the current school year.”

These claims are said to relate specifically to teachers wearing matching T-shirts that read, “Support Education, Support Kids at School,” the board ignoring a memorandum of understanding they agreed to during the prior contract negotiation year (2017-18) to “begin working on salary schedule framework, and not completing negotiations for the 2018-19 contracts.

Attorneys for the education association are Paul Stark, Idaho Education Association, and James M. Piotrowski and Marty Durand with Piotrowski Durand. PLLC, all out of Boise.

— Lorie Palmer, Idaho County Free Press, (Grangeville), Wednesday

Touchet Valley Golf Club board outlines strategy; underground irrigation tops list

DAYTON — The Touchet Valley Golf Club board has developed an aggressive five-year strategy, and is now working on implementation of one of its first priorities, which is to raise money for an underground irrigation system at the golf course.

Golf course concessionaire Bill Ayotte said the June 22 First Annual Gene Crothers Memorial Golf Tournament was hugely successful in raising money for the irrigation system.

“This is the first time there has been a project to benefit the club,” he said.

But it won’t be the last.

Ayotte said the tournament has helped to raise awareness about what the golf course needs to survive. The tournament will be repeated next year, but will be even bigger and better, he said.

“We have to show we have some skin in the game,” said Dayton pharmacist Sean Thurston, who is leading the charge in getting seed money from stakeholders for the planning stages of the irrigation system.

Thurston has reached out to the Port of Columbia and the county commissioners for support.

He said the board has been in talks with the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla Indian Reservation and Washington Water Trust about how to provide water savings through flood plain restoration for the Touchet River in exchange for financial help with the irrigation system. According to the strategic plan, those entities are looking at using effluent from the city’s new wastewater treatment plant for irrigation, and for shallow aquifer recharge ponds to subirrigate the grass and trees at the course.

Thurston said he has applied for a $10,000 grant through Columbia REA for a water efficiency study. The water efficiency plan could be integrated into a larger course remodel design.

— Michele Smith, The Times, (Waitsburg), Thursday

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