Art as Medicine

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Most who have had a friend or relative with Alzheimer’s or dementia knows how trying neurodegenerative diseases are, both for the afflicted and those around them. Memories are lost and simple interactions can lead to confusion. In a relatively new method of helping these types of patients, the Sun Valley Center for the Arts has offered a six-week program of free, museum-based art therapy that it calls “Stepping Out of the Frame.”

The program was designed specifically for people with Alzheimer’s and dementia, but is open to anyone suffering a neurodegenerative disorder. Started on July 23, the program meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays through Thursday, Aug. 29, at The Center in Ketchum. Run by the center’s Art Therapist & Enrichment Educator Jordyn Dooley, each session focuses on a different activity or directive as well as a way of interacting with the center’s current exhibition, Mirage: Energy, Water and Creativity in the Great Basin.

Dooley first came to The Center as an enrichment educator, working mostly at local schools. Her Master’s in art therapy that she received from Florida State University, one of the first schools to use museum-based art therapy, gave her the idea to present a therapeutic art program for people in Sun Valley who suffer from neurodegenerative diseases.

Youth Empowerment Services (YES) Needs Your Input

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and other state agencies are in the process of transforming the children’s mental health system. The implementation plan that will make changes to the system includes training parents and caregivers about the new system of care, services and how to access these services. The plan is also looking to engage families in outreach and in educating other stakeholders. ******Would you please take a few minutes to provide us with your thoughts and ideas regarding how you like to be trained, what types of training you prefer, and the approach we should take to engage, educate and involve parents/caregivers in the training process. Please complete this survey by April 30, 2018. It should take about 10 minutes of your time. Thank you! or go to the YES website at

Special-needs kids find results through aquatic therapy

, KTVB 10:27 p.m.
MST January 12, 2016

BOISE – Lullaby Waters is not your typical occupational therapy clinic. It focuses on the healing power of water, and children with special needs are seeing real results from this unique form of therapy.

“We call it the lullaby effect,” said Nicole Nickell, an occupational therapist. “We wanted it to embody what we were going for and that was that peaceful, easy feeling.”

Nickell is passionate about helping children with special needs, but getting her idea off the ground was a big undertaking. The first challenge came in finding a landlord that would accept the installation of a pool. Nickell found a spot in a building on Broadway Avenue.

“We had the pool installed,” she said. “It’s state of the art – an endless pool.”

Now six months after opening, the indoor aquatic therapy center is a dream come true for Nickell.

“It’s been a big venture,” she said. “But I would say that it’s already worth it.”

Her clients agree.

“I was expecting a hospital setting with a big waiting room, but when I came here it was very intimate and relaxed and just what we were looking for,” said Isabella Hale, whose baby daughter, Leona, loves getting in the water. “It’s definitely one of her favorite therapies. A time when she can smile and play in the water because she is free.”

Nickell says the serenity provided by aquatic therapy is second to none, especially for children with special needs.

“Leona has cerebral palsy and she has very high muscle tone, so we’ve been working with Leona to try to help her relax and find that peace, that calm, decrease her pain,” said Nickell.

Buhl woman competes in national Miss Amazing pageant

Maggie O’Mara, KTVB 11:15 a.m. MDT August 6, 2015

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BOISE – Brandi Hosman of Buhl has overcome so much in her young life. She has survived two horrific car accidents, two comas, and she had to relearn everything after a severe brain injury.

This past spring, she was crowned 2015 Senior Miss at the Idaho Miss Amazing pageant. It’s a pageant that celebrates girls and women with disabilities. And last week, she competed in the national pageant in Los Angeles with the other title holders from Idaho.

The path to Los Angeles has been a long one for the 29-year-old, who was severely injured in a crash back in June 2002. She was just 16 years old and was behind the wheel.

“There was a truck pulling a horse trailer behind me and hit me,” she said. “My memory goes blank after that.”

It was a parent’s worst nightmare.

“We got a phone call,” recalled Brandi’s mom, Farah Hosman. “This friend said ‘it’s actually pretty bad, you need to come quick.'”

Brandi was airlifted to a Boise hospital.

“Her coma score was so low, they gave her a five-percent chance of survival,” said Farah, who refused to give up on her daughter. “Finally, I had to get the mother bear in me to come out. I just felt like I needed to treat her like she was going to live because nobody else was.”

With a lot of therapy and her family’s love, Brandi started coming back.

“I had a very good attitude I guess,” she said. “Because I knew early on that I would regain all of what I had lost. I had a lot of help from on high as well, you know? So I am so grateful.”

Boise State opens Veterans Lounge on campus

Kim Fields, KTVB 5:47 p.m. MST March 2, 2015
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BOISE — An exciting endeavor is happening at Boise State University. It is all about veterans and the university’s commitment to the men and women who serve our country.

We all know that Boise State is known for its football program, but did you know that Boise State has been named a “Military Friendly School” by GI Jobs Magazine for six straight years. Now the university is increasing its commitment to veterans.

With an official cut of the ribbon, Boise State University’s Veteran Services Center unveiled a new, on-campus Veterans Lounge — a special place for veterans and their families.

The Veterans Services Center has already been assisting the university’s veterans with various programs like benefit claims and opportunities in the community. Now the new veterans lounge will be a place for veterans on campus to simply hang out — with game tables, TV and a kitchen area.

Boise State leaders say the new space represents the university’s dedication to growing and supporting the educational endeavors of veterans.
“We’re very happy for this moment because it means that it’s a space for our veterans to socialize, but more importantly it’s a space for our veterans to form a greater community here at Boise State,” said Dr. Christian Wuthrich, Dean of Students.

“Our goal is to make sure that you find the success you need in that next stage of life and that you share with us all your experiences all the richness that you can bring to us because you make us better by your presence,” said Dr. Lisa Harris, Vice President of Student Affairs.

R.K. Williams, Coordinator of Veteran Services, and Dr. Harris had a little fun with today’s opening by playing the first game of pool on the new pool table.

Jayden’s Journey: Nampa boy becomes MDA state ambassador

Maggie O’Mara,

KTVB 12:59 p.m. MST January 28, 2015

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NAMPA — A 7-year-old Nampa boy is overcoming a debilitating disease to take on an inspiring journey as the new MDA State Ambassador. He has some big plans to make a difference in our state.

Jayden Long was diagnosed with mitochondrial myopathy – a form of muscular dystrophy – when he was just three.

It causes him to become easily fatigued, his lungs are weak, and he’s losing some muscle function. But that’s not holding him back.

The second-grader at Centennial Elementary School has been tapped to the be the 2015 state ambassador for the Muscular Dystrophy Association in Idaho. The night he was formally announced as ambassador was a special and emotional night for his family, especially his mom.

“Jayden is a superhero in his own right,” said Shellie Long. “He’s been dealt a horrible deck of cards, and he doesn’t complain and he never asks ‘why me?'”

The MDA means a lot to them.

“When my son was first diagnosed, which is a very hard thing to deal with, they were there for the support, they were there for the education,” said Shellie.

Jayden has an incredible, but busy, year ahead of him.

“His biggest honor is he gets to speak at the state firefighters convention,” said Shellie.

Our firefighters collect donations every year for the MDA by filling the boot, and that helps pay for research and programs like the MDA summer camp for kids. Jayden wanted to give back to those firefighters.

“On Christmas Eve I got the idea of bringing little fruit trays and treats to the firefighters to say thanks,” he said.

Jayden’s mom knows her son’s struggle well. She was also diagnosed with the same form of muscular dystrophy. Tragically, her other son died at just 77 days old from pneumonia, a likely complication of mitochondrial myopathy.

“Jaxon had passed away in his sleep … to say the least it’s the hardest thing you ever go through ever,” said Shellie.

“I barely got to even know him,” said Jayden about his little brother. “He had the same disease as I do.”

You can see why this honor is so important to Jayden and his family. He plans to work hard to spread awareness and raise money for the MDA.

Camouflage Christmas will benefit veterans

Operation “Camouflage Christmas” takes place Dec. 18 at 11 a.m. when members of the Idaho Air Guard, Idaho Army Guard plus Navy and Marine Reserve units from Gowen Field convoy to the Idaho State Veterans Home – Boise, 320 Collins Road, to deliver Christmas gifts to veteran residents.

Volunteers will place nearly 500 gifts around the Christmas tree in the home’s dining room.  Men and women from all branches of service will pay visits to veterans before returning to their duties at the base or with their civilian employers.  Many of the service members will return to help the veterans open their gifts at the Christmas party on Dec. 20, starting at 2 p.m.


From one teen to another: Saving a friends’ life means speaking up

by Dee Sarton


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BOISE — Like a lot of young adults, Kaitlyn Carpenter has a tattoo, “It says ‘I’m the hero of this story.’ I got it my senior year because of everything I went through.”

This BSU freshman is a survivor, and now she’s helping others survive the very real danger of depression and suicidal thoughts.

“It’s extremely terrifying not to be able to trust your own mind,” said Carpenter.

Kaitlyn has dealt with depression since she was in high school. At first, she did what a lot of teens do, reached out to friends and often in the middle of the night with a text.

“It wasn’t until I went though treatment that I realized how dangerous it was to only rely on friends for support,” Carpenter said.

Now she shares her story and her warning to adolescents in schools and churches. Her biggest concern is that teens are texting in their darkest hour — a form of communication that is superficial and doesn’t convey the possible urgency of the moment.

“I would say the number one reason these kids who receive texts don’t say anything is because they feel an obligation to text them until they go to sleep then count that as a victory if they don’t hurt themselves and they feel an obligation not to say anything about it and keep it to themselves,” said Carpenter. “It’s a game that’s so dangerous, It’s becoming deadly and that’s something I want high school kids in particular to understand.”

Teaching young drivers good habits behind the wheel

by Bonnie Shelton


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MERIDIAN — It’s National Teen Driver Safety Week and Idaho State troopers are doing what they can to promote safety by reaching out to the youngest drivers on Idaho’s roads.

ISP said they’re sending a strong message to new drivers through the “5 to Drive” campaign. It stresses five rules for staying safe on the road.

1. No cell phones while driving

2. No extra passengers

3. No speeding

4. No alcohol

5. No driving or riding without a seat belt

Officers told us limiting distractions is important for any driver, but especially one just learning the rules of the road.

“Distracted driving is one of the biggest things that we deal with. Cell phones, it seems like everybody has a cell phone. Sometimes, you really think teen drivers especially they’re more worried about who’s texting them than operating the vehicle that they’re in charge of,” said ISP Trooper Kenny Walker.

In 2012, there were 62,000 licensed drivers between the age of 15 and 19 on Idaho roads, according to the Idaho Department of Transportation. That makes up about six percent of total drivers in the state.

ITD officials say young drivers are also more likely to be involved in fatal or injury related crashes.

School Lunch Programs a Casualty of Government Shutdown Mess

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“We don’t have any idea what may happen if the shutdown goes further or if it affects funding for November.”

While Idaho’s congressional delegation join their House and Senate peers in debating who is to blame for the shutdown of much of the U.S. government, the repercussions of the stalemate are inching closer and closer to home.

Here’s a question: What happens to kids from low-income homes who access free or reduced/cost school lunches?

Last year, more than 5 billion lunches were served to more than 31 million students in the U.S. through Federal School Nutrition Programs. Today, funding for the programs totals more than $16 billion in cash and commodity payments to schools.

Currently in the Boise School District, 11,442 students access free or reduced cost school meals.

During the 2012-13 school year, 127,691 Idaho school children participated in free or reduced lunch programs; 10,310 in the Meridian school district, 8,992 in Nampa and 5,108 in Caldwell.

“We’ve been told that any meal that we served in September would be federally reimbursed,” Dan Hollar, spokesman for the Boise Independent School District, told Boise Weekly. “Beyond that, it’s unknown.”

And it’s nearly impossible to get any answers.

“Many Food and Nutrition Service staff will be furloughed pending reinstatement of funding by Congress,” read an Oct. 1 letter from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to school districts. “These staff will not be available by phone or email, and cannot carry out work for the agency, until funding is restored.”