Idaho megaload foes win Dalton Open Government Award

From the Idaho Statesman

A couple from Kooskia, Karen “Borg” Hendrickson and Linwood Laughy, won the Max Dalton Open Government award and $1,000 prize.

Hendrickson and Laughy pressed for the disclosure of transportation plans for shipments of massive industrial equipment bound for Canada over Idaho’s scenic U.S. 12. The also unveiled correspondence between oil companies and the Idaho Transportation Department and posted the material on their website, a blog and a Facebook page.

The award has been presented by the Idaho Newspaper Foundation since 1999 and is named for Meridian dairy tester Max Dalton, who won the Idaho Supreme Court case that established the right of citizens to government records.

“Their efforts, from realization of the problem to the present ongoing fight, resemble a spider web reaching every aspect of government and beyond,” said Lee Halper of Jerome, who nominated the couple. “From two, there are now many who fight this fight but the main battle is still theirs.”

The award was presented April 30. A news release announcing the award and other nominees was issued Sunday.

The news release follows:

KOOSKIA COUPLE AWARDED 2011 MAX DALTON OPEN GOVERNMENT AWARD

A Kooskia couple who battled for information about megaload shipments
on U.S. 12 in northern Idaho has been named the recipient of the 2011
Max Dalton Open Government Award sponsored by the Idaho Newspaper
Foundation.

Karen “Borg” Hendrickson and Linwood Laughy received the award and
accompanying cash prize of $1,000 at an awards luncheon in Boise on
Saturday, April 30.

The Max Dalton Open Government Award has been given each year since
1999 to a citizen or group judged to be an outspoken advocate of
openness in either public records or public meetings on the state or
local level.

The couple was honored for their efforts that resulted in the
disclosure of a large amount of information previously unreleased
about the shipments of giant oil-processing assemblies over U.S. 12
and into Montana. This information included transport plans and
correspondence between the oil companies and the Idaho Transportation
Department. Hendrickson and Laughy then started a Web site,
www.FightingGoliath.org, on which information they discovered was
posted, as well as a blog and Facebook page.

“Their efforts, from realization of the problem to the present
ongoing fight, resemble a spider web reaching every aspect of
government and beyond,” said Lee Halper of Jerome, who nominated the
couple. “From two, there are now many who fight this fight but the
main battle is still theirs.”

ABOUT MAX DALTON

Max D. Dalton was killed, at age 78, in November 1997 by squatters on
his ranch in Costa Rica. Dalton had spent most of his life in Idaho
where he operated a Meridian milk-testing business. In 1981, Dalton
filed a public records lawsuit that resulted in a 1984 landmark Idaho
Supreme Court ruling, “Dalton vs. Idaho Dairy Products Commission,”
which reinforced the right of every Idaho citizen to have swift,
convenient access to state records.

In the years since the Dalton decision, the state’s public records
law has become undermined with scores of loopholes requested by
special interests, state agencies and city and county governments. By
honoring those who emulate Max Dalton’s example, the foundation hopes
more citizens will take personal action against needless government
secrecy in Idaho.

OTHER NOMINEES

Other nominees for the 2011 award were:

* The Idaho Freedom Foundation, whose Web sites OurIdaho.com,
www.IdahoReporter.com and www.IdahoVotes.org, offer nonbiased
informational portals for the public.

* The Boise Guardian, an activist Web site operated by David Frazier
of Boise that uses open government laws in its role as an independent
observer of local politics.

* Rebecca Boone of the Associated Press for her work exposing abuses
at the privately operated prison south of Boise.

* Matthew Roetter of Hayden for his consistent use of the Idaho
public records law to obtain information about government agencies,
including the Lake City
Development Corp.

* Stan Howland, Shirley Ringo & Robert C. Huntley for their work to
open to public scrutiny the Idaho State Tax Commission’s alleged
practices with respect to granting favorable tax settlements.

ABOUT THE IDAHO NEWSPAPER FOUNDATION

The Idaho Newspaper Foundation is a non-profit organization founded
in 1983. The foundation’s mission statement is “To advance the public
understanding of newspaper journalism and a free press in Idaho; to
advocate the rights of citizens and the press in Idaho to have full
access to government, particularly in the areas of open meetings and
public records; to endorse and support efforts to increase that
access; and to oppose efforts to limit public access to government.”

From the Idaho Statesman

Not an IDOG member yet?