Weiser hosts Capital for a Day

Area residents visit with Gov. Brad Little and state department heads during the Weiser Capital for a Day event held Friday, Jan. 27. Photo by Philip A. Janquart
Philip A. Janquart
Many high school students have no idea what will happen after graduation.
 Weiser High School teacher Bernie Weldon, however, is providing a specialized learning experience that is helping kids paint a clearer picture.
 The former Microsoft employee is in his seventh year offering Microsoft certification classes that help students develop skills and expertise using Microsoft programs like Word, Excel, and PowerPoint.
 And it’s kind of a big deal.
 Having a Microsoft certification can bump you ahead of other candidates vying for open positions available at myriad companies. It can also allow students to waive college requirements, saving time and tuition.
 “The valuable thing about what we are doing is that it’s industry standard,” said Weldon from his classroom at Weiser High. “It’s not specific to me or the high school. When I started teaching here, they were learning Microsoft Word and stuff like are utilized by users to see if their drugs are laced with the deadly synthetic chemical, which can cause overdose and death, even in tiny doses.
 “It sounded like that was a good thing, not something a person would get arrested for,” she said.
 Idaho Department of Health and Welfare Director Dave Jeppesen, who also serves as co-chair of the Idaho Behavioral Health Council, responded.
 “That is a policy issue that the legislature would have to wrestle with and … there is a bill floating around that hasn’t been printed that may or may not come to the surface. On one hand it can be argued that this is promoting the use of illegal drugs; on the other, it can be argued that it’s a device that’s used to make sure that people who are using illegal drugs can test to make sure there is no fentanyl in there … there is some debate about that and we’ll see what comes up in the legislature.”
 Other issues addressed included equal access to mental health care and funding of certified family home providers, which allow people with disabilities to receive care in the comfort of their home.
 Property taxes was yet another issue posed by residents.
 “People are losing their homes because they can’t afford their taxes,” said one area resident. 
 “What can we better do to have a more effective tax rate so people can stay in their homes and they are not taxed out of it?” 
 Little said the issue is complicated and that an answer that fits all taxing districts has been elusive.
 “There are only two things in property taxes: it’s either you cut the cost of services – schools, sewer, water, police, fire – or you shift it to somebody else – an apartment owner, a commercial entity, a farm, a bigger house, a smaller house or sales tax or income tax … 
 “It’s complicated and the reason things haven’t been done is because like-minded legislators from like-minded districts come and say, ‘This will fix it,’ and then the other legislators look at it and say, ‘This doesn’t help my taxpayers at all.’ That’s why it’s complicated, because of the variation of property taxes.”


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