Friday, February 5, 2016

Saturday urgent care opens this Saturday at CVHC

Beginning this Saturday, Feb. 5, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics will offer an urgent care service open on Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Patients will check in at the ER entrance but will be seen as a clinic patient. 

“We are very excited to offer this service to the community,” says Nick Box, PA-C. “We know that everyone is busy and it can be difficult to get off work during the day to get you or your child in for that sniffly nose or possible sports injury.

“One way that CVHC has tried to help that issue is with the evening clinics, offered on Mondays and Thursdays; however, this still may not work for parents with kids in sports or other after school activities. For that reason we are now offering a weekend option,” says Box. 

“Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics strives to offer quality healthcare close to home. We know that sicknesses don’t follow the nine to five hours of typical clinics, so we decided to offer a Saturday urgent care so that our patients won’t have to travel the river road to Lewiston when they just can’t wait until Monday to get in to see their doctor,” says Vicky Petersen, Director of Physician Services. 

Common reasons to visit Urgent Care include colds, earaches, minor upper respiratory infections, sprains, strains, and minor athletic injuries. 

“Should you present to the urgent care with symptoms such as difficulty breathing, chest pain, stroke symptoms such as weakness, sudden vision changes, confusion or face numbness, that will be still be an emergency room visit, as those symptoms are more critical than what urgent care is designed for,” says Box. 

Patients will check-in for urgent care at the ER entrance. “By offering the option for patients to be seen in an Urgent Care we will be able to save them money since they won’t have to be admitted to the ER for an ear infection, etc. We feel our community really deserves the convenience and money saving opportunities an urgent care will offer,” says Box. 

CVHC is a certified Patient Centered Medical Home and the principles of a Medical Home include team work between providers, mid-levels (Physician’s Assistants and Nurse Practitioners) and outside specialists, premium quality and safety, enhanced access to care and affordable care.

“As we strive fully embrace the principles of the Medical Home model providing increased access to care becomes very important and adding Urgent Care to our list of services will help us continue to do that,” explains Box.

The urgent care will be on a first come, first served basis. For more information please call 208-476-4555.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Idaho fastest growing state in over-the-year job growth; December unemployment rate unchanged at 3.9%

Idaho’s 4.4 percent over-the-year growth of seasonally adjusted nonfarm jobs in December was the nation’s fastest–the third consecutive month Idaho has held this distinction. 

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was 3.9 percent in December–unchanged from November due to a labor force increase of 2,600 workers. December’s labor force increase was the largest December increase since 2004 and pushed the state’s total labor force above 806,000.

Clearwater County’s unemployment rate crept up between November and December, from 8% to 8.4%. The December rate for 2015 was less than the December 2014 rate of 12.1%.

Idaho County’s December unemployment rate dropped to 5.2%, down from November’s rate of 5.7%. Last December’s rate was 8.8%.

The December unemployment rate for Lewis County jumped to 6.4%, up from November’s rate of 5.3%. Lewis County’s December 2015 was higher than the 2014 rate of 5.3%.

In Nez Perce County, there was a slight decrease in the November to December unemployment rate, from 3.6% to 3.3%. December’s rate was also lower than last year’s rate of 5.4%.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate—the percentage of people 16 years and older with jobs or looking for work—increased to 64.3 percent after November’s rate was revised down to 64.1 percent.

Idaho’s nonfarm job growth of 4.4 percent was the largest gain in Idaho since 2005, with a seasonally adjusted increase of 29,100 jobs from December 2014 to December 2015. The greatest gains were in construction, manufacturing and real estate. Mining and logging, information, and state government were the only sectors to show declines.

Over the month, Idaho nonfarm payrolls grew by a seasonally adjusted 0.4 percent between November and December due to strong showings in manufacturing and wholesale trade.

With December’s total employment at 774,543 and only 31,460 unemployed people looking for work, there were only 1.2 unemployed individuals per job listing, according to The Conference Board. 

Nationally, the unemployment rate also remained unchanged at 5.0 percent. This was the third consecutive month the rate has held flat for the nation.

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down from December 2014 by 16 percent, from $3.241 million a year ago to $2.736 million in December 2015, while the number of weeks compensated dropped 20 percent from a weekly average of 11,471 to a weekly average of 9,159.

Twenty-seven Idaho counties reported unemployment rates above the state average, with the highest of 8.5 percent in Shoshone County. The remaining 17 counties match or were below the state rate; the lowest rate of 2.6 percent was reported in Madison County.

Among the metropolitan statistical areas, Coeur d’Alene had the highest rate with 4.8 percent and Idaho Falls the lowest with 3.2 percent.

For more information on Idaho’s unemployment picture visit

Friday, January 22, 2016

Prizes, games, and fun await at Pierce Winter Festival Feb. 5-7

By Greg Gerot

This year's Pierce Winter Festival (PWF), held the weekend of Feb. 5-7, will be an exciting weekend full of fun, stirring events, and educational opportunities for the whole family.

Our newly designed T-shirts with our Winter Festival logo are now available. They feature a genuine real tree camo-patterned long-sleeved crew-necked t-shirt with lettering and images in blaze orange. They will be available at White Pine Credit Union for $22 and they can also be ordered off of the Pierce Winter Festival Facebook page.

There are a couple pictures of this year’s shirts on the Facebook page. This is one of the few ways we support the effort to produce the PWF. 

This year’s grand prize drawing will be a $300 gift card to Sportsman's Warehouse. Second Prize will be a Sportsman’s Warehouse gift card for $100, and third place will be for $50. Tickets are on sale at S&S Foods, Pierce Hardware, White Pine Credit Union, The Saw Shop, Pierce Public Library, and Studio 205 on Main Street.

Individual tickets are $5 and five for $20. Sportman’s Warehouse has been more than generous in their contributions to the efforts of the Pierce Winter Festival. Thank you!

This year's events include an educational feature called Hilltop Demonstrations, which run Saturday, Feb. 6 from 1 to 2:30 p.m. and 3:30 to 5 p.m. at Pierce Hardware. Each demonstration will be about a topic of local interest, such as trapping, taught by Wes Lineberry, to a leather boot care clinic put on by Obenauf’s. There will also be game skull bleaching and presentation taught by Grant Getchell, and bee keeping taught by Charlie Berreth. 

The city’s newly energized and manned fire department, headed up by newly appointed Fire Chief Tyrel Shaw, will be available for tours and demonstrations as well. This is always a big hit with the kids, and giveaways will be available for them. This event will be held concurrently with the horse-drawn wagon rides provided by Pete Armichardy.

This year’s festival will also feature the ever popular variety show, held at 6:30 p.m. Saturday night at the Pierce Community Center. This year, several talented local musicians, comedians, and our own Timberline High School drama class (performing four vignettes) will be featured. Before the variety show, enjoy a feast—the results of the new Dutch Oven Cookoff contest—from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., for just $5.

Those who provide a dish for the cookoff, be it a main dish, a bread, or a dessert, will each have a crack at some great prizes, compliments of Sportsman’s Warehouse. 

A staple of the PWF are great outdoors action events, beginning with the Ice Man Relay Saturday morning at 10 a.m. The hilarious Bar Stool Race is at 2:30 p.m. that afternoon at The Outback. In addition to a trophy, this year’s winner will receive a $100 gift certificate to S&S Foods, courtesy of owner Sammy Bhardwaj.

Add the downhill sledding Friday night of the festival weekend, complete with bonfire and snacks, and you have a mixture of outdoor activities to appeal to the whole family. 

Kids are important to those of us who organize the PWF, and the Faith Lutheran Church women are again making available to kids of all ages a craft workshop at the community center. It will be Saturday during the festival, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Games will also be available during the same time period in the gymnasium. 

For the spectator or for the player, the Spartanball Snowshoe Softball Tournament and Chili Feed at the Pierce Ballpark from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. You’ll also be supporting the Timberline High School football team.

Throw in the snowman building contest and the Suds and Snowshoe Race at the Flame Bar and you have a festival that will keep your interest and provide you with a weekend of enjoyment.

The schedule of events is posted on the Pierce Winter Festival Facebook page and can be downloaded and shared for your convenience. Look for the posted schedules around town.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Orofino Police seek victims of Shake It Off Fitness scam

Orofino Police Department is asking anyone who was victimized by the Shake It Off Fitness scam over Orofino Lumberjack Days to file a police report with them, if you have not already done so. Please stop by their office at 217 E 1st Street (across from Hanson Garage), or call (208) 476-5551.

Shake It Off Fitness was present at the 2015 Orofino Lumberjack Days. The company offered for purchase the machine, described as a set of fitness plates that the company claimed would assist with a person’s health and fitness levels in various ways, such as increasing circulation, improving blood pressure, and massaging muscles, amongst other things, according to Officer Skye Ortiz with Orofino Police Department.

Victims were convinced to pre-pay $1,549 for the plates, which the company claimed they would ship to them, according to Officer Ortiz. Officer Ortiz described the scam as a pyramid scheme. So far, no one who ordered the machine has received one.

There are victims in Lewiston and Nezperce as well, according to Officer Ortiz, who also explained that, due to the number of people who have been affected by this scam, the FBI has been contacted.

Lewiston Police Department has reported that Shake It Off was present at the Nez Perce County Fair as well, conducting the same scam.

If you purchased from or gave any money to Shake It Off Fitness, please file a police report with Orofino Police Department (or the law enforcement agency in your town) as soon as possible.

Friday, January 8, 2016

Idaho Attorney General reaches settlement with makers of 5-hour Energy products

(Boise) – Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has reached a settlement with the companies that manufacture and market 5-hour Energy products.

The settlement, approved by District Judge Richard Greenwood this week, resolves a lawsuit filed by Wasden alleging Living Essentials, LLC, and Innovation Ventures, LLC, misrepresented their energy shot products, including whether consumers experience a “crash” after consumption and claims the products are recommended by doctors. Living Essentials and Innovation Ventures deny any violations of Idaho law.

Under terms of the agreement, the companies will not represent that 5-hour Energy products have sponsorships, benefits or ingredients they don’t have. 

“Ensuring companies make accurate statements about their products is important to consumers and the marketplace,” Attorney General Wasden said. “I’m pleased that we were able to reach a resolution of this case.”

Wasden filed a lawsuit in 4th District Court in May asserting violations of Idaho’s Consumer Protection Act and Consumer Protection Rules. Specifically, Wasden alleged the companies engaged in false, deceptive or misleading practices in advertising and promoting their products.

According to the settlement, the companies, for products to be sold in Idaho, will:

· Ensure that any new marketing materials for 5-hour Energy products that use the word “crash” shall use the words “no sugar crash” instead;

· Provide on labels warnings for women who are pregnant or nursing, and that their products are not recommended for children;

· In any advertising campaign, only use survey data if it was created, conducted and evaluated in an objective manner by qualified people who used methods generally accepted in the profession to produce accurate and reliable results;

· Continue to list the amount of caffeine in products and disclose that amount as a separately listed ingredient; and

· Not use testimonials or endorsements that do not comply with Federal Trade Commission rules.

The settlement also addresses how the companies market their products to minors, Wasden said.

For the next 3.5 years, the companies will not use or hire persons under the age of 18 to promote products or appear in ads. The agreement prohibits the use of the name, logo or mascot of any elementary, middle or high school in promotional materials related to products.

The settlement also bars the companies from promoting products at school events and using child oriented animated characters to market energy products.

The companies will pay $9,000 to the Attorney General for fees and costs of the investigation and litigation.

Thursday, December 31, 2015

Idaho Youth ChalleNGe academy is creating new opportunities for troubled teens

By Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter

In a remote corner of northern Idaho’s Clearwater County, there is a place where young people at a difficult time in their life are finding motivation and direction toward a better future. 

The Idaho Youth ChalleNGe Academy is flourishing in Pierce, a tiny timber town that’s benefiting from the program’s presence there almost as much as the dramatic and inspiring changes that those once-wayward teenagers are experiencing. 

On Dec. 19 in Lewiston, Youth ChalleNGe leaders joined the families and friends of 101 graduating teens. It was the largest class yet for the program established by the Idaho Legislature at my recommendation in 2011 as part of the Idaho National Guard’s mission – thus the capitalized “NG.”

Cadets in the most recent graduating class came from 27 of Idaho’s 44 counties, led by 26 graduates from my native Canyon County. 

Thirteen cadets received their high school diplomas and another 12 earned their GED certificates. Sixteen graduated with a 4.0 grade-point average, and since the Academy started its cadets have averaged academic improvement of more than two grade levels during their 17½ -month residential stays. 

Just as impressive, the latest group of cadets contributed over 4,600 hours of community service valued at $33,524 during their time at the Academy. Since it opened, 333 cadets have contributed almost 20,000 hours of community service in and around Pierce. 

PICTURED: Maj. Gen. Gary Sayler and Academy Principal Bicker Therian present a $1,000 scholarship to a graduating Idaho Youth ChalleNGe cadet at the Dec. 19 graduation ceremony in Lewiston.

There was early uncertainty among some folks about the State of Idaho getting into the business of helping troubled dropouts get their lives back on track. After all, there are plenty of private-sector and even non-profit alternatives. 

But most skeptics came around after seeing what other states have done with Youth ChalleNGe programs and coming to understand the value that such a proven, affordable and accountable option provides for the next generation of voters, taxpayers–fully functioning citizens of Idaho. 

Families and students volunteering for the program are looking for a way to succeed outside of a traditional school setting. At the Academy, cadets learn self-discipline, leadership and responsibility while working to complete their secondary education or re-integrate with their high school class back home. 

Once they leave the Academy itself, new graduates start a 12-month “Post Residential Phase” designed to help them continue their progress. They have Idaho Youth ChalleNGe case managers and community mentors helping them continue their education, enroll in college, begin job training, find employment or enlist in the military. 

For some of these kids, Idaho Youth ChalleNGe is providing them with their first taste of success. And it’s not a Band-Aid that quickly wears off. Fully 80 percent of Academy graduates re-enroll in high school or go on to college, military service, employment or volunteer service for at least 30 hours per week. 

But the real change is in the hearts and minds of the teens who learn how to follow, how to lead, how to respect others, and most of all how to respect themselves. 

That is the real measure of the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe program – how it changes the lives and the futures of adolescents at risk, not by restricting and marginalizing them but by enabling them to enter the mainstream of society with pride in what they have accomplished and the confidence to go even farther. 

Find out more about how the Idaho Youth ChalleNGe is changing lives, families and communities at

Thursday, December 24, 2015

Cultural items reunited with Nez Perce Tribe

Nearly four decades after a highway project unearthed them, a lengthy curation project has repatriated several sets of Native American human remains with the Nez Perce Tribe, along with several thousand artifacts and related documents from north-central Idaho. 

These items represent a small part of the project carried out by Idaho Transportation Department’s (ITD) partners at the Archaeological Survey of Idaho, Northern Repository (ASINR), located at the University of Idaho.

The human remains and associated objects were excavated in association with the development of the Lenore Rest Area, located on U.S. Highway 12, approximately 27 miles east of Lewiston. That work occurred between 1967 and 1972, and is located within the Nez Perce Indian Reservation.

Dr. Leah Evans-Janke, Archaeological Collections manager at ASINR, points out that they have more than 750 collections in their facility with over 100 different owners. 

“Of all the state and federal agencies who store collections here, ITD is among the most conscientious and responsive we have ever worked with,” said Evans-Janke.

“All of their collections in our facility meet or exceed federal curatorial mandates. The work that we have most recently completed represented a significant commitment by ITD, and serves as acknowledgement of an agency’s responsibility to the collections generated by their work. Providing support for the repatriation work allows us to carry out some of the most important work we will ever do at the repository,” said Evans-Janke.

The identification of human remains and related items presented ITD with new obligations, but also new opportunities to address ITD’s archaeological curation issues. Click here for a picture of ITD Archaeologist Marc Munch talking with an ASINR employee during a recent visit.

“The repatriation of these cultural items to the Nez Perce Tribe has strengthened the working relationship between the Tribe and ITD, and we are pleased these items have been returned,” Munch said.

The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) of November 1990 requires federal and state agencies, along with museums and other institutions that receive federal funding to return Native American “cultural items” to lineal descendants and culturally affiliated Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. Cultural items include human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects and objects of cultural patrimony. 

After the excavation of the remains and artifacts, the collections sat in a backlog at the ASINR until approximately 2005, when ITD began to provide funding for curating and rehabilitation of all of their excavated collections. When human remains were identified in the collections, ASINR staff members, with ITD support and oversight, embarked on the process of inspecting every item to determine if it was a candidate for repatriation.

Research of the collections revealed a strong relationship with the Nez Perce Tribe, and the official consultation process began in 2013. Tribal representatives traveled to the ASINR to help review artifacts and other objects for inclusion in the repatriation. Once the inventory was completed and approved by the Nez Perce Tribe, ITD and ASINR drafted a notice for publication in the Federal Register announcing their intent to repatriate the cultural items.

At the end of the mandatory 30-day period, no other tribe came forward with a claim. With the process completed, the Nez Perce Tribe was officially in control of the remains of Nez Perce ancestors for the first time in decades.