E-mails show unease over Twin Falls ‘XXX’ sign

From the AP/Times-News, Twin Falls

TWIN FALLS, Idaho (AP) — Three adult stores under investigation for selling obscene materials triggered no complaints from residents even though Twin Falls police said public outcry had sparked the probe, a newspaper found.

A review of e-mails obtained through a public records request only found protest over one store’s large “XXX” sign at the city’s entrance, The Times-News reported Thursday. The e-mails also revealed angst over the sign from city officials, who were uncertain how to proceed.

“It is my understanding that the sign complies with our sign ordinance and does not violate any state laws,” City Manager Tom Courtney wrote Nov. 16. “If that is not correct, we need to discuss. I don’t think this is the kind of thing we want at the entrance to the city. The question is what can we do about it?”

A few days later, police sent letters that threatened action “up to and including arrest” against the owners of Karnation, Enchantress and Allen Nagel’s Smokin’ Head Smoke Shop if they didn’t comply with state law regarding the sale of obscene material.

Nagel, whose store owns the “XXX” sign, has declined to remove it.

A city building inspector reported that a portion of the sign with XXX was gone by Nov. 22, though Nagel told the newspaper he didn’t see the letter until days later.

Lt. Craig Stotts said he was unsure why the other two stores received the letter from police but told the newspaper that in “years past we had sent the businesses a letter because we had heard they were selling illegal material, adult material, pornographic material.”

The letter included a copy of the Idaho code regarding “obscene materials,” which includes books, magazines, pictures and movies that would appeal to a shameful or morbid interest in sex or nudity when considered as a whole.

The ban includes materials that depict or describe ultimate sexual acts — normal or perverted — masturbation, or lewd exhibition of genitals or genital area.

From the AP/Times-News, Twin Falls

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