Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Orogrande Community Protection Project gets underway

The Orogrande Community Protection Project got a jump start in July when Idaho Department of Corrections' (IDOC) Red Shirt crew joined forces with forest personnel.

The Red Shirts, comprised of ten crew members from the Idaho Corrections Institute in Orofino, put training they had acquired to use cutting, brushing, and piling around the community of Orogrande. Corrections Officer Spencer, said of the group, “They are ready to go to work.”

The IDOC crew members earn $1.25 an hour. Wages earned in projects like the Orogrande project can be used to send money home, pay for child support, and purchase items in the commissary like pop, candy, and Ramen noodles.

Skills learned and utilized help inmates reintegrate back into the community and find jobs. When crew members were asked if they had spent time in the forest and done similar work, a range of experience, from one who had grown up in that line of work to another who was originally from Sacramento and had never done any kind of related work or spent time on forest lands, was shared.

Nez Perce-Clearwater Forest Supervisor, Cheryl Probert, signed the Final Decision Notice and Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the Orogrande Community Protection Project on January 29, 2016. 

In a Feb. 8 news release, a community member shared, "The Orogrande Protection Project is an example, of what can be accomplished when the local community and USFS work together in a harmonious way…” 

The project is designed to reduce forest fuels near private lands and roads near the Orogrande Community, other private lands, and along Forest Road 233, the Crooked River Road.

The project is also designed to reduce the risk of high intensity wildfires and to improve forest health, vigor and resilience within forest stands.

These actions are consistent with the Idaho County Community Wildlife Protection Plan (CWPP). The project area is located in the Crooked River watershed southwest of Elk City.

Shown here is some clean-up work done during the Orogrande Community Protection Project. The goal of the project was to reduce the risk of wildfires and improve forest health.

Pictured here are members of ICI-O Red Shirts work crew who helped at the Orogrande Community Protection Project.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Prescribed fire aims to reduce fire risk, improve elk habitat

Weather conditions permitting, fire managers plan to begin prescribed fire operations next week in the Barnard Junction and Moose Kelly project areas of the North Fork Ranger District. 

The planned area has remained relatively untouched by fire for almost a century. Applying fire in a controlled manner will reduce the risk of future catastrophic wildfires and provide better forage for declining elk herds and other wildlife species.

The prescribed burn has been scheduled to take advantage of the narrow window of opportunity for prescribed fire treatment available, as the area receives 30 to 60 inches of rain annually, and is compared to an inland rainforest.

The fire will be allowed to move and spread within the units until precipitation from a season-ending weather event occurs. Units targeted for treatment range from 150 acres to 2,050 acres.

Not every acre will burn, but the entire area will benefit from the increased vegetative diversity created by the managed fire. 

After fire managers perform a test burn, a helicopter, utilizing aerial ignition, will drop hundreds of chemical-filled plastic spheres that look like ping-pong balls onto ridges with stands of dead and dying timber in the target area. A chemical reaction causes the spheres to ignite on the ground and smolder until they light vegetation.

By varying the proportions of the chemical mix and the number of spheres dropped, fire managers can control the speed of ignition and the intensity of the prescribed fire. The fire will then be allowed to back downslope into wet drainages, reducing fire intensity. 

The targeted prescribed fire area burned during the historic 1910 and 1919 fires. Decades of fire suppression has left the area heavily forested with lodgepole pine and many of the trees in the area are dying from infestations of mountain pine beetle. Reducing the amount of available fuels aids in the reduction of potentially large, high intensity wildfires.

Thick tree canopies have prevented growth of forage required by big-game animals. The result has been an adverse effect of elk habitat in the area and elk populations dropping drastically over the past quarter century. Many plants respond favorably to fire and new growth will provide forage for wildlife.

Residents of Missoula and the Bitterroot Valley are likely to see smoke from the burn. Prescribed fire produces smoke, but the smoke is typically short-lived and managed to minimize impacts to communities.

Prescribed fire and other fuels treatments help to reduce the severity of wildfires and minimize adverse smoke impacts on public health and safety.

Over the next several weeks, the forest is planning several other prescribed fire projects in the North Fork and Lochsa/Powell Ranger Districts to reduce fuels and restore characteristics of a fire-adapted ecosystem. Prescribed fire treatments have not been implemented in these wetter areas since 2011.

Planned treatment areas are located within remote, roadless areas or areas with very limited road access. Staggering the prescribed fire treatments through the late fall reduces smoke impacts to local communities.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

ICI-O and Special Olympics Idaho team up for a “Mega Event Fundraiser”

Idaho Correctional Institution-Orofino (ICI-O) has a goal of raising $10,000 for Special Olympics Idaho, and to get there, they are holding a Mega Event Fundraiser all day Saturday, July 30, at Ernie’s Steakhouse in Lewiston.

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. and continues until 10 a.m.

“‘ICIO’s Mega Event Fundraiser’ is the largest fund raising event that we have done to date,” said Anthony Riccomini, Even Coordinator. 

“It will include a Jail Sit Challenge, Tip and Cop, Torch Run, inmate artwork auction, free parking lot carnival with carnival games, snow cones, and more! We will be out all day long raising awareness for Special Olympics Idaho,” said Riccomini.

The day begins with the Torch Run at 9 a.m. Athletes from the Special Olympics, along with representatives from the IDOC, local law enforcement, and the general public, will carry the Torch of Hope from North 40 Outfitters down Juniper Dr. to Nez Perce Dr., ending at Ernie’s Steakhouse around 10 a.m.

Law enforcement and Special Olympics athletes will compete to see who can acquire the largest dollar amount of pledges for their run. The top two law enforcement officials and top two athletes that receive the most will win the honor of taking turns running the torch. The general public is encouraged to run as well. 

No pledges are necessary, but a $10 entry fee ($20 with a Torch Run t-shirt) will be collected at the starting line the day of the event between the hours of 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.

The arrival of the runners at Ernie’s Steakhouse will be the kick-off of the free parking lot carnival. There will be a bounce house, face painting, carnival games, prizes, and more. 

IDOC will have a “jail” set up, and will challenge the public to give up an hour of their freedom to sit in this “jail” for charity. 

At 11 a.m. Ernie’s will open for lunch and there will be law enforcement officers on hand to serve the guests for tips. All tips that are collected by the officers will go to the Special Olympics Idaho. (Officer tips are in addition to the servers tips). 

Inside Ernie’s you can check out the IDOC inmate artwork silent auction and place your bids. There will be a radio live remote, as well as a live band for your enjoyment.

Ernie’s Steakhouse is located at 2305 Nez Perce Dr. in Lewiston. To view details about each activity, print flyers and pledge forms, make donations, and view the artwork up for bid in the silent auction, visit

Friday, July 22, 2016

“The Stealing of Idaho’s Capital” at Pierce 1860 Days

The Historical Actors Consortium out of Lewiston will perform “The Stealing of Idaho’s Capital” during Pierce 1860 Days.

The Historical Actors Consortium from Lewiston will be coming to Pierce as part of Pierce 1860 Days. They will perform a play entitled “The Stealing of Idaho’s Capital” at 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 6, at the Pierce Community Center. There is no admission fee.

This play will depict the historically accurate story of the beginning of Lewiston, and how it was the original capital of the Idaho Territory in 1863.

In 1865, disturbing and illegal events caused the capital to be moved to Boise. This is the only time in United States history this has happened.

You will meet hoteliers Hill Beachey and Madame Bonhore, along with Alonzo Leland, the tireless promoter of northern Idaho.

Other important Idaho pioneers will tell their stories, and the second Idaho Territorial Governor, Caleb Lyon, may even show up (if he isn’t run out of town…).

The actors who perform this place don’t use a stage—they create the play amongst the audience. You’ve probably never been to a performance like it!

Pictured here is Caleb Lyon, Idaho’s second Territorial Governor.

This is an Idaho Territory seal from 1863, when Lewiston was Idaho’s capital.

Friday, July 15, 2016

Fun for the whole family at 1860 Days Aug. 5-7

Who’s good at Pie-Eating? Got a talent for creating the culinary masterpiece using berries or cherries? How about slinging buckets of water? Then, we are looking for you! 

Pierce 1860 Days will be chock-full of awesome games and contests, guaranteed to get everyone involved. Just check this list out: Berry/Cherry Bake-Off - Bring your bestest, most beautiful treat to the contest Friday, August 5, and you might just win some cool cash. 

On Saturday, bet on a Duck in the Ducky Derby (sponsored by the Timberline Girls’ Basketball Team), and watch your duck float to victory (cash involved here, too). 

The Studio 205 Stick-Horse Roundup gives kids a chance at a variety of ‘horsey’ talents, all on Main Street, for coveted ribbons.

Have a knack for Dutch oven cooking? Sign up at The Outback to show off your finest Dutch oven accomplishments for bragging rights and cash prizes.

All the while on Main Street, there are many fun contests to join and stay cool! Pierce Hardware hosts the Ping Pong Ball Drop, a long-time 1860 Days tradition, all kids are welcome, with prizes galore. 

Have you ever, ever, experienced our amazing Water Balloon Toss, complete without many rules, just the last duo to have their water balloon intact! Really, this has to be enjoyed on a hot afternoon. 

Last, on Saturday, is another wet one. Gather up your team of six and sign up for the Bucket Brigade Contest - team of six; 2 over 21, two under 12, and two of any age…race to fill an empty barrel with puny one-gallon buckets. The best thing is the spilling!

Sunday might seem like a slow day (starts off that way), and then it all amps up after 1 p. m! How ‘bout the old fashioned Kids’ Sack Race, Three-Legged Race, and the now famous Pie-Eating contest, for Kids and Adult Kids. This should not be missed. Oh, and yes, another rousing Water Balloon Toss!

Don’t miss the fun; please pick up one of our 1860 Days programs, available almost everywhere. The schedule of events is posted on, along with parade and vendor forms. The schedule can also be seen on 

There is much more, so read the next chapter next week! See you in Pierce Aug. 5-7!

Friday, July 8, 2016

Wasden urges business owners to guard against Attorney General email scam

(Boise) – Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden is warning business owners to be on the lookout for emails sent by scammers posing as representatives from his office.

The emails indicate they were sent by the Attorney General, are generically addressed to “Business Owner” and inform recipients a complaint has been filed against them, Wasden said. 

The messages also include a link that purports to take recipients to a document that can be used to respond to the complaint. But the link is actually a zip file that installs a computer virus used to obtain sensitive information to help perpetrate identity theft and fraud, Wasden said.

“This is no different than any other scam that uses the names of government or law enforcement agencies in an effort to dupe consumers,” Attorney General Wasden said. “Constituents and business owners need to know that my office will never send unsolicited emails about complaints.”

Wasden said a business owner from northern Idaho notified the Consumer Protection Division last week after receiving a sham email. Similar email scams incorporating Attorneys General have been reported in other states, including recently in Illinois and Maryland. 

Consumers are encouraged not to open these emails or click on any links. Wasden said consumers should delete the emails and contact his office to report the scam.

The Consumer Protection Division can be reached at 1-800-432-3545.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Dworshak Reservoir makes Bassmaster Magazine’s list of Top 100 best bass fishing spots for fifth year in a row

For the fifth year in a row, Dworshak Reservoir, a water-recreation destination managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District, made the nationwide Bassmaster Magazine Top-100 list of best places to fish for bass, according to information released June 20 by B.A.S.S. Communications at

Dworshak Reservoir, located near Ahsahka, on the north fork of the Clearwater River, ranked as number five in the Western Region. In previous years’ Top-100 lists, it ranked: 2015 - 74, 2014 - 47, 2013 - 26 and 2012 - 85. This year marks Bassmaster’s fifth year of publishing the Top-100 list.

Bassmaster made a significant change in organizing the rankings for this year’s list: “The Top 10 lakes in the nation are ranked regardless of location, but instead of ranking the remaining lakes through 100, as has been done in the past, Bassmaster divided the nation into four regions: Northeast, Southeast, Central and Western. Now, readers will see the Top 25 lakes closest to them. This also created four No. 1 regional fisheries.” 

“We’re extremely pleased to be recognized for providing some of the best bass fishing in the nation,” said Paul Pence, Dworshak Dam and Reservoir natural resources manager. “Combined with our campgrounds, marinas and boat launches, we offer some great outdoors recreation experiences for our visitors.”

Bass clubs and other outdoor recreation groups frequently choose Dworshak for group events and tournaments, according to Corps park rangers at the dam. Organizations interested in scheduling an event at Dworshak, call the visitor center at 208-476-1255 to find out how to apply for a special use permit.

Dworshak reservoir extends 53 miles upstream of Dworshak Dam, with a surface area of 17,090 at full-pool, about 175 shoreline miles, and dozens of secluded inlets, streams, rocky points, stumps and long bars creating ideal bass-fishing conditions. The state-record smallmouth bass record, weighing in at 9.72 pounds, was caught on Dworshak Reservoir by Dan Steigers of Juliaetta, on Oct. 28, 2006. Dworshak Dam is a large straight-axis concrete gravity dam 717 feet high and 3,287 feet long. Its construction led to the development of various marinas, boat launches and camping facilities on the reservoir. 

The Columbia River in Oregon and Washington, downstream of McNary Dam to Portland, managed by the Corps’ Portland District, ranked number 18 in the Western Region. This stretch of the river also regularly made the cut on past years’ Bassmaster Top-100 lists.

Natural resources recreation opportunities are managed by the Corps’ Walla Walla, Portland and Seattle districts along much of the Columbia River’s length through the United States. 

The Columbia River runs about 1,200 miles from its headwaters in British Columbia, Canada, through Washington and Oregon to the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, Oregon. The Corps operates five dams on the Columbia River mainstem, each forming a lake and water recreation opportunities including fishing.

More information about Walla Walla District outdoor recreation opportunities is available at Portland District recreation information is available at

A photographic slide show of all top bass locations and their rankings in the Western Region is available on the Bassmaster Magazine website at