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.

1968 Retrospect: Professional Basketball

A new professional basketball league, the American Basketball Association (ABA), started up in 1968. It saw only limited success and all teams lost money in the first year. The league lasted only 8 years before merging with the NBA in 1976.

In the NBA, Wilt Chamberlain was the Player of the Year for the 3rd consecutive year. In the 1967-68 season, Chamberlain became the all-time leading career scorer at the time with 25,434 points. In July, Chamberlain was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers for 3 players and cash.

The St. Louis Hawks won the Western Division and the Philadelphia 76ers won the Eastern Division. However, neither team made it to the finals. In the end, it was the Boston Celtics going up against the Los Angeles Lakers. With the scoring of John Havlicek and the defensive skills of player-coach Bill Russell, the Celtics beat the Laker 4 games to 2 to win their 9th championship in 10 years.

The NBA also added two new teams for the 1968-69 season: The Milwaukee Bucks and the Phoenix Suns. They each paid a franchise fee of $2 million. Contrast this with the $300 million franchise fee that the Charlotte Bobcats paid 3 years ago.