Boise: A Terrorist Target?

According to a recent study of 132 urban areas in the United States, Boise, Idaho is the 10th most vulnerable to a bio-terrorist attack. The study was funded by the Department of Homeland Security and headed up by University of Arizona mathematics professor Walter W. Piegorsch. Boise was the only city west of Texas to make the top 10 list. That’s right, cities like Seattle, Portland, and Los Angeles are not considered highly vulnerable–at least according to this study.

The three factors considered in the study included social aspects, natural hazards, and the construction of the city. What’s important to realize is that this study measured the vulnerability of cities to attacks–not the probability.

Boise has three large dams upstream. 2 of them are earth-filled: Lucky Peak and Anderson Ranch; Arrowrock is concrete. With the Boise River running through the heart of the city, the failure of these dams (whether intentional or accidental) could devastate the downtown district of the city and many surrounding cities.

The metro area is largely surrounded by federal- and state-owned lands that are composed of mostly grasses and sagebrush that are quite vulnerable to wildfires during the summer months.

While most agree that a terrorist attack in Boise is not likely, local officials are rightly taking the report seriously. They plan on discussing the findings with the authors of study and the FBI.

A Tribute to Buddy: 1991 – 2008

I had always wanted a cat, but couldn’t have one as a child. As a teen, I loved going over to John’s house, because I was able to play with his cat Toby. So, within a week of getting married in 1991, The Wife and I were at the Idaho Humane Society to pick out a kitten. We looked at many, but this adorable little orange fuzzball captured our hearts immediately. We took care of the adoption paperwork and then headed to the store to pick the necessary supplies. I waited in the car and bonded with my new friend while The Wife went inside to get the stuff. He was so tiny that I was able to place him in the recessed instrument panel on our Mazda 323. I was stroking his chin and he was purring like a buzz saw. I looked down at him, he looked up at me, and I said “Hey buddy”. It was that simple…that’s how he became Buddy.

Buddy was the most easy-going cat I have ever known. Whether it was bringing a new animal into the house or having a baby pull on his tail, he never complained–he just purred away. He loved car rides. I would take him with me on a trip to the store. On the trip there, he would wander around the car, look out the windows, then eventually sack out somewhere. However, he would apparently miss me while I was in the store, because on the trip home he was on my lap rubbing all over me.

He also loved to talk. When you talked to him, he was always ready with a reply. He also didn’t have any problem yelling at us after we were gone for too long or if dinner was late. We could always ask a question and fancy that his reply was “yes” or “no”.

About 7 years ago, Buddy developed chronic pancreatitis. It was so severe at one point, that we nearly had to put him to sleep. However, the vet had us try some special food that she thought might buy him some more time. The vet is still amazed that he lived as long as he did.

For many years, he slept at my side. With him there purring, it was a comforting and relaxing tonic for a stressful life. In recent months, he simply preferred sleeping elsewhere. I think that climbing on and off the bed was too difficult for him. However, right up until the end, he would sit on my lap in the recliner each evening–purring like crazy. It was a highlight of my day that I will miss.

Through 17 years, 4 residences, 2 kids growing from infants to tween- and teen-hood, and multiple other animals coming and going, Buddy had always been there. Now that he is gone, there is a huge hole in our home and a pain in our hearts that will take a long time to heal.

Goodbye Buddy…We love you!

Earthquake!

The Wife called me at 7:23am and asked “Did you feel it?” I had no idea what she was talking about. Apparently she was sitting at a stoplight in Meridian, Idaho on her way home from work when her truck started shaking. She looked around for a big truck coming down the road that might cause the shaking, but saw nothing. Then she saw that the stoplights were bobbing up and down.

What she felt was a 6.3 magnitude earthquake that occurred 11 miles northeast of Elko, Nevada, 6 miles below the surface. The temblor was felt throughout northern Nevada, southern Idaho, and northern Utah. Cracked walls were reported at the Motel 6 in Wells, Nevada. Unfortunately, it sounds like there will be many more reports forthcoming of property damage in the immediate Wells area.

Obama Takes Idaho By Storm

Idaho is the most conservative state in the country. In fact, I think we may have a law on the books explicitly banning liberalism. However, it appears the some have been able to sneak across the border.  🙂

Barack Obama held a rally in Boise today to an overflow crowd at Taco Bell Arena. Organizers originally setup the venue for 8,800 people–using a black curtain to block off part of the arena. However, they quickly had to reconfigure the arena to open it up completely. When the dust settled, more than 14,000 people were in seats and standing–a record crowd in the 25 years the arena has been in use. 1,000 people even braved the cold temperatures to stand outside and listen on speakers.

Say what you will about his politics, but this man is inspiring and exciting people in a way not seen since Ronald Reagan in 1980 and John Kennedy in 1960. He doesn’t have a prayer of winning Idaho in the general election, but I think we may see a surprising number of cross-over votes.

http://www.ktvb.com/news/localnews/stories/ktvbn-feb0208-taco_bell.81b065ff.html