Thursday, June 30, 2011

Ask the conservation officer

By Gary Hompland, Regional Conservation Officer, IDFG

Question: "I heard about someone that found an orphaned deer fawn and raised it to an adult. I'd like to do this, what kinds of permits are required?"

Answer: The short answer is, only under very rare circumstances would the Department authorize anyone to possess a wild fawn deer or calf elk.

In the past it may have been common in Idaho to allow a "Good Samaritan" to raise an orphaned fawn and "release it back into the wild." When Idaho's human population was sparsely distributed, deer that were habituated to humans were often released on large ranches and farms. Gracious landowners tolerated these deer that often lived out their lives within the security of the ranch.

These deer were usually not marked so the success of these animals returning to the wild could not be evaluated. No doubt some were successful and some were not, but nature decided, not people.

Idaho's population is no longer sparsely distributed. Deer habituated to humans in urban environments damage property and threaten personal safety. Several years ago a buck deer that was raised in captivity as a fawn attacked and injured several people. One elderly lady was charged repeatedly, knocked down and left with numerous bruises on her legs. In the end the deer was euthanized due to the danger it posed to the public.

To add a layer of complexity of the issue, several wildlife diseases, unknown in the past, now pose a threat to other wild deer, domestic livestock, and people. Examples include chronic wasting disease, brucellosis, epizootic hemorrhagic disease, and tuberculosis.

Chronic wasting disease has devastated wild deer populations across country and caused several states to prohibit importation of the carcass or skull of deer taken by hunters. Some think its spread is by contact with infected animals or body fluids.

Brucellosis in elk, bison, and cattle in Wyoming threaten Idaho's livestock industry. Epizootic hemorrhagic disease (EHD) killed thousands of deer in the Clearwater drainage a few years ago. Two workers were infected with tuberculosis when exposed to infected elk in a game farm in Montana.

Many state wildlife agencies are restricting commercial game farms and private collections of wildlife. They are also developing quarantine protocols to prevent the movement of infected or potentially infected animals. These diseases pose significant threats to wild deer and elk populations throughout Idaho. Domestication of wild deer is one of the issues related disease transmission to wild populations.   

The question remains, "What can we do with orphaned fawn deer." First, "Is it really orphaned or was it picked up while the doe was away? How old is the fawn, can it fend for itself with a little protection? Department employees understand the human emotion generated by fawn deer and want to be compassionate about the fate of these wild deer fawns.

Department employees first go to great lengths to reunite the fawn with the doe. There is no better option than having the fawn raised in the wild with its mother.

Our next option includes locating a licensed zoo or research facility in need of deer fawns. In past years we successfully placed several fawns in a Chronic wasting disease research facility in Wyoming and Colorado. Some may argue this is a cruel option, but the fawn can play an important role benefiting future wild deer populations.

If no other options exist, the fawn will be placed in a rehab facility. The people that run these facilities go to great lengths to maintain as much wildness as possible to maximize the fawn's opportunity for survival after release. There are very few of these facilities in Idaho and their abilities are overwhelmed quickly.

At this point in time, the Department is strongly discouraging people from picking up young animals. Our first concern is quickly reuniting young animals with their mothers. We are obligated to use sound wildlife management principles to maintain Idaho's resources and in this case other options are necessary but far less desirable.

If you have any further questions you may call the Magic Valley Regional Office of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game at (208)324-4350 or e-mail us at the Fish and Game web site at http://fishand

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Herrick rocks country at Orofino’s 4th of July celebrations

Pictured (l to r) are Jeff Rogers, Donna Herrick, Kerry Herrick, and Phil Potor of the country rock group Herrick.

By Alannah Allbrett

The 4th of July celebrations in Orofino City Park will provide some rousing “Country Rock” by a group called Herrick. Originally from Spokane, the group now is based out of Nashville, Tennessee and will be performing songs from their 14-cut CD, New Dance, co-produced by Michael Bonagura (Baillie & the Boys)  and Buddy Cannon (Kenny Chesny and Willie Nelson).

Herrick, headed by Kerry and Donna Herrick, who write their own music, said some of their music influences are “Led Zeppelin, Evanescence, Heart, and too many to mention.” They laughingly referred to their music “Fleetwood Mac meets country.” Donna provides the lead vocals and plays the mandolin. Kerry is the bass man and also does vocals. Phil Potor is on drums and percussion, and Jeff Rogers plays lead, steel, and acoustic guitar for the group.

The show starts at at the Gazebo as Shiloh Sharrard, from Troy, opens for Herrick. Shiloh, who performed at last year’s Bonner Mountain Music Festival, has won the People’s Choice Award for Best Cowboy Musician four years in a row at the Lee Earl Memorial Gathering and has appeared in the Calgary Stampede.

In mid-summer Herrick will be filming their first music video in Memphis at Blue Hawk Production for their title song, Do you Love Me? Their album will be on sale at the concert along with band T-shirts, guitar picks, and other souvenirs. Check out their website at:

Friday, June 24, 2011

Plan ahead for summer trips to the North Fork Ranger District

In 2010, the Clearwater National Forest awarded many construction and maintenance contracts funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA). Much of the contracted work is still underway on the North Fork Ranger District. The projects involve bridge repair and maintenance, road resurfacing, culvert replacements and recreation site improvements. Short traffic delays, detours and road closures can be expected, but once the work is completed, access to recreational destinations will be safer and more enjoyable to forest visitors. The improvements will also help to lessen impacts on the environment.

“ARRA has provided a once-in-a-career opportunity for making this many improvements to our forest’s roads and recreation sites,” explained Heather Berg, Acting District Ranger. “I’m thankful for the investment and employment prospects (the program) has created, but all of this work occurring at the same time is going to be tough.”

Below is a summary of work that will take place on the North Fork District during the summer and fall of 2011. All dates are estimates and may be subject to change. Please contact the Clearwater National Forest for updates and progress reports.

Road 247, between Aquarius Campground and Bungalow

Skull Creek Bridge, near milepost 30, will undergo maintenance work from June 1 - June 25. One lane will be open to through traffic, and travelers should expect short delays.

Flume Creek Bridge, near milepost 18, is scheduled for maintenance from June 25 – July 8. One lane will be open to traffic, but short delays may occur.

Larson Creek Culvert, milepost 37, will be replaced with a bridge. Work will start Aug. 29 and continue through early October.

The project will close Road 247 to through traffic. Visitors who are destined for the Washington Creek, Noe Creek, Kelly Creek and Hidden Creek Campgrounds and all points east will have to access the area via Road 250 from Pierce, ID or by way of Hoodoo Pass from Superior, MT;

Pavement rehabilitation will take place on the paved section of Road 247 starting June 20 and extending one month, through July 20. One lane will be open, but short delays are likely.

The entrance to the Aquarius Campground, near mile marker 25, is being realigned. The project started in early June and should last approximately six weeks. One lane is open to traffic, but motorist may experience brief delays. The campground and Purple Beach will remain open for camping and day use.

Road 250, between Bungalow and Hoodoo Pass

Lake Creek Bridge, milepost 67, will undergo maintenance work beginning July 1 and lasting until Aug. 15. One lane will be open for through traffic and short delays may occur.

Kelly Forks Bridge, at the junction of Roads 250 and 255, will undergo general maintenance from July 1 through Aug. 15. A single lane will remain open, but motorists can expect brief delays.

Fourth of July Pack Bridge, near milepost 8, will be reconstructed beginning July 12. The project is expected to last through Aug. 15. The work will close the bridge to all pedestrian, stock and motorcycle traffic.

Rosebud Culverts, between mileposts 5 and 9, will be replaced in July. The work will force the closure of Road 250 to through traffic. Forest visitors will be unable to access French Mountain Pass from Pierce during this time. Motorists are encouraged to use Road 669, the Shanghai Road, as a detour; however, trailers and commercial traffic should consider alternate routes.

Road 255 from Kelly Forks to Deception Gulch

Kelly Creek Bridge, mile marker 0, will be repaired starting July 1. The work will last six weeks. One lane will be open to through traffic and short delays may occur.

Road 705, Isabella Creek

Goat Creek Culverts, near milepost .5, will be replaced beginning July 18. The project will last until August 12. The work will close the road to through traffic. Vehicle access to the trailhead for Trails 95 and 96, routes that lead into the Mallard-Larkins Pioneer Area, will be affected

Road 737, Laundry Ridge

China Creek Culvert, near milepost 1.5, will be replaced June 27. The work will continue through July 15. The project will close the road to all through traffic.

Recreation site enhancements

These projects will consist of fire ring replacement, hitching post construction, the removal of outdated toilets and the placement of gravel pads beneath picnic tables at various recreation sites scattered throughout the North Fork Ranger District.

These sites include the Aquarius, Washington Creek, Noe Creek, Hidden Creek and Cedars Campgrounds; Flat Camp; Smith Ridge Trailhead; Isabella Point Trailhead and Kelly Creek Trailhead. New vault toilets will be installed at the Smith Ridge and Isabella Point Trailheads. Work will start sometime in June and continue through Labor Day. All sites will remain open for public use, but individual camp units or parking areas may be off limits during construction work.

Miscellaneous Projects

The decommissioning of approximately nine miles of non-system roads in the Coyote Creek area, near Birch Ridge, west of Cedars Campground is scheduled to start in mid-July. The roads are inaccessible to vehicles.

The employee housing and water system at the Kelly Forks Work Center are currently being replaced. The work should not affect visitor access to popular recreation areas in the Kelly Forks vicinity.

“This is going to be a challenging summer to get around on the North Fork, for the public as well as the Forest Service,” Berg said. “I would hate for someone to drive a long distance to find their way blocked by one of these projects. I want to get the word out now, and I encourage folks to plan ahead. Be sure to call Forest offices for current information.”

For more information or travel updates, contact Travis Mechling, District Engineer, at (208)476-8210 or the Clearwater National Forest Information Desk, (208)476-8267.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Poor weather pushes up North Central Idaho’s unemployment rate

Poor weather conditions slowed logging, construction, agricultural, transportation, and retail activity in May. It also delayed job creation that would normally happen between April and May.

This May, Clearwater County had the highest unemployment rate of Idaho’s 44 counties, due largely to the number of laid-off loggers. Between April and May, Valley County traded places with Clearwater County. In May its unemployment rate was 16.3 percent, the highest rate then. Now, its rate is higher—17.2 percent—but Clearwater's is higher. Boundary County had the highest unemployment in May 2010 at 15.9 percent. Its unemployment rate this May was 14.6 percent. Valley County had the third highest rate a year ago at 14.8 percent, while Shoshone County at 15.3 percent ranked second highest.

Lewis County was affected by reduced mill employment because Blue North Forest Products was unable to get logs to process, as well as the difficulties getting into farm fields in some areas.

Nez Perce County’s job losses resulted mostly from the weather but partly from the general economic sluggishness. Mild job losses were seen across several industries there, but the biggest cause of increased unemployment was that seasonal hiring was below expected levels because of the weather.

In Asotin County, some laid-off workers were able to return to work in manufacturing, natural resources, transportation, and retail helping the unemployment rate to drop significantly. Asotin County’s employment gains offset Nez Perce County’s loses, allowing the Lewiston MSA’s unemployment rate to fall from 8.5 percent in April to 7.5 percent in May.

In Idaho and Latah counties, unemployment rates dropped mostly because more loggers in those areas were able to get back into the woods.

North Central had the third highest unemployment rate of Idaho's six regions in May, same ranking as in April. Its unemployment rate dropped slightly between April and May.

It did not drop as dramatically between April and May as the other regions did. That was because Clearwater, Lewis, and Nez Perce counties all had increased unemployment.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bob and Laura Mason celebrate 50 years

High school sweethearts Bob and Laura Mason of Weippe were married on June 24, 1961 in Cloverdale, CA.  The couple moved to Pierce in 1965 where they resided until 1996 when they moved to their rural Weippe home.

Bob worked for Potlatch Corp. 31 years at the Jaype plywood plant near Pierce in mid-management.  Laura worked for First Security Bank 28 years, the last 12 years as manager of the Pierce branch.

Both enjoy gardening. Bob plants the vegetable garden, and Laura enjoys flower gardening.  Both are active in the community.  Bob has served as a member of the Clearwater Valley Hospital Foundation Board; Laura has served on the J. Howard Bradbury Logging Museum board and as trustee on the Clearwater County Free Library District board.

Bob is a well-known custom gunstock maker, and has a home-based business which keeps him busy in his retirement years. He also loves to hunt and fish, and enjoys Idaho’s great outdoors.  Laura enjoys reading, baking, and being active in her Beta Sigma Phi chapter.  Both enjoy spending time with friends and family.

The couple has two grown children and one granddaughter.  They plan to celebrate their 50 years together with a family dinner, and have planned a trip for later in the summer.

Lapwai man pleads guilty to stealing from Nez Perce Express

Michael Charles Taylor, 39, of Lapwai, pleaded guilty June 15 to grand theft, announced U.S. Attorney Wendy J. Olson. Taylor entered his plea before U.S. District Judge Edward J. Lodge at the federal courthouse in Coeur d'Alene.

According to the plea agreement, between July 1 and Sept. 17, 2010, Taylor was employed at the Nez Perce Tribal Express store as a cashier. During his employment, he processed fictitious returns of cigarettes and pocketed the money.

Taylor was later interviewed by the chief of the Nez Perce Police Department. During the interview, Taylor admitted to stealing some money, but minimized the extent of his thefts. A financial audit revealed that Taylor stole $8,146.88. Taylor agreed to pay the store $9,146.88 in restitution, which includes a $1,000 deductible paid by the store to the insurance company that covered its loss.

The charge carries a maximum punishment of up to 14 years in prison, a fine up to $250,000, and up to three years supervised release.

Sentencing is scheduled for Sept. 7 before Judge Lodge in Coeur d’Alene.

The case was investigated by the Nez Perce Tribal Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Amended mega load complaint brings In Highway Administration

In an amended complaint filed June 15, Idaho Rivers United named the Federal Highway Administration as an additional defendant in its federal lawsuit that charges the government with failing to protect the Wild and Scenic values of the Middle Fork Clearwater and Lochsa rivers in north central Idaho.

“As we identify parties with legal responsibilities to protect the Wild and Scenic values of the Middle Fork Clearwater and Lochsa rivers, they should expect to become defendants in this litigation”, said IUR Conservation Director Kevin Lewis. “The Federal Highway Administration clearly shares in the responsibility to protect the values of this river corridor”.

IRU is represented by the non-profit law firm Advocates for the West.

The original lawsuit, filed March 10, charged the U.S. Forest Service with violating the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act and other federal laws by allowing the Idaho Transportation Departments to issue permits for hundreds of road-closing, mega-sized shipments of mining and industrial equipment via U.S. Highway 12.

Filed in Boise’s U.S. District Court, the lawsuit and amended complaint are so far the only federal actions challenging Exxon Mobil’s proposal to transport hundreds of so-called mega loads up Highway 12 and through the Clearwater and Lochs Wild and Scenic river corridors, for which the Forest Service and Highway Administration have management responsibilities.

The equipment – up to 24 feet wide, 200 feet long and three stories tall – creates a massive rolling roadblock and visual blight, impedes recreation and impacts other values as they lumber along a National Scenic Byway and through a Wild and Scenic river corridor.

“These rivers represent the embodiment of what the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act was meant to protect”, Lewis said. “The industrialization of this river corridor clearly violates the desires of Idaho’s last Sen. Frank Church, who authorized the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act. It also violates the will of Congress and the American people, who have overwhelmingly supported the protection of these two treasured rivers”.

Idaho Rivers United is a non-profit river conservation group with 3,500 members, most of who live in Idaho. The group’s mission is to protect and restore the rivers of Idaho.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Benefit coming for Orofino girl recovering from brain tumor surgery

A benefit, silent auction and dance are in the works to help with medical expenses incurred during treatment for Taylor Tondevold, 9, of Orofino, who is recovering from surgery to remove a tumor from her brain.

The benefit is planned for July, and details will be published at a later date.

Taylor is the daughter of Chad Tondevold and Stacey Wallace, and the granddaughter of Bob and Marsha Tondevold.

Chad, who was living in Boise, returned to Orofino to raise Taylor. He is employed at Nightforce, but has not been an employee long enough to receive health insurance.

Items are needed for the silent auction. If you have something to donate, contact Brandi Mael at 208-553-6715 or Ashlee Diffin at 208-827-0037.

Monetary donations are also welcome. An account has been set up at LCCU, P.O. Box 1173, Orofino, ID 83544.

Taylor’s story

In May of 2011, Taylor began experiencing severe headaches, and neck and back pain. The first several visits to the doctor resulted in Taylor being sent home with over the counter solutions such as Tylenol. Nothing helped.

Taylor’s parents demanded that more tests be conducted until the problem was identified. An MRI June 2 revealed a tumor on Taylor’s brain.

Taylor was immediately taken to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital in Spokane, WA and scheduled for surgery. Doctors Ling and Gruber on June 3 performed the surgery.

Since then, Taylor has been making a wonderful recovery. Her ninth birthday, on June 6, was spent in the hospital.

The family is awaiting test results that will determine the nature of the tumor removed from Taylor’s brain. This information will help map the way for her rehabilitation.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Chief Justice tours Idaho, meeting with commissioners

Idaho Chief Justice Daniel T. Eismann (left) and Chief Fiscal Officer Corey Keller (right) met with Clearwater County Commissioners Monday while touring various counties.

By Alannah Allbrett

Idaho Chief Justice Daniel T. Eismann and Chief Fiscal Officer Corey Keller met with Clearwater County Commissioners Monday in an informal exchange focusing on the county’s drug court. Justice Eismann stated that he started Ada County’s drug court, and said that he wanted to see it expand statewide.

To correctly determine the costs of a drug court, a slot system was set up with so many available “slots” rather than a per-person cost, as the first six months of an offender’s treatment is initially the most expensive. If a person is unsuccessful and is replaced, the intake costs end up being higher than if the first offender had completed the program. Justice Eismann said, “I would like to see more money per slot for rural areas, as the larger cities have other resources.” In example, Eismann said it is not uncommon for a drug offender also to have suffered sexual abuse. Boise has resources for alternative counseling in those instances that smaller counties do not.

Justice Eismann said that initially it was thought the two percent tax revenue from hard liquor sales would pay for drug courts. “It hasn’t gone as we projected he said. Every legislative session we try to get as much money allocated to the drug courts as we can. We are trying to adjust upwards for the more rural areas of the state.”

When Ada County first started its drug court they applied for a two year grant. Eismann said after the initial grants they have had to find how to keep the drug courts funded. He also said counties have to find judges willing to serve in after-work hours so offenders do not have to leave work to participate. “Drug courts ultimately save money when people are working and kids are not in foster care” he said.

Drug testing is costly and requires people to administer the drug tests and probation officers to follow through. A county desiring a drug court has to decided how many slots they need and go through an approval process.

Eismann said that they have started charging participants a portion of their costs. He said, “You have to be firm in making them pay” he said. He outlined another possibility of cost recovery in making it more costly for a participant who comes back with a positive drug test.

Justice Eismann said that in typical criminal cases a judge seldom sees the offender again and doesn’t usually know the outcome from a case. In a drug court, however the judge sees the offender frequently. He said that he has seen lives get put back together where a person has gone from being homeless, and unemployed, to successfully being restored with their family, employed, and drug free. Eismann said, “It is the most rewarding work to do as a judge.”

Justice Eismann answered specific questions from the commissioners about the statutory rules on how much a county may recover from drug court participants. Commissioner Stan Leach said of the drug court, “We believe in it and want to see it keep going.”

Commission Chairman Don Ebert, in reference to the criminal court’s high caseload, asked why Clearwater County could not have a resident district judge. Eismann said the biggest problem is funding and that rests solely with the legislature.

Fielding the residency issue of where judges live while serving a particular county, Eismann said, “There may be a time in the future when we have more freedom in residency requirements.” But for now, he stressed, “rules are rules.” The matter of residency became prominent when retired Judge, 2nd District John H. Bradbury filed suit two years ago against Eismann and the high court concerning residency requirements. Judge Bradbury and 2nd District Randall W. Robinson were both present at the meeting.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Movie to be filmed at Winchester and Kamiah

You can be part of boxing/rodeo history this year at the Winchester Open Rodeo in Winchester and the Clearwater Valley Round-up in Kamiah. A German film company is creating a movie for German State TV (similar to our PBS) entitled, “Rodeoboxer.”

The film chronicles the true story of Steffen Mueller, a poor brick layer from Germany. Mueller’s bank is about to call in his loan, but a friend and boxing enthusiast who works at the bank, has an idea. The friend tells the amateur boxer that he could make a lot of money fighting in matches at American Rodeos. Steffen comes to America and spends eight months of the year travelling the rodeo circuits and sending money back home to Germany.

The German film company chose Winchester and Kamiah as filming locations based on a recommendation. Film crew member, Elke Thye, spent time in Nezperce as an exchange student over 30 years ago. When the film’s director told her the story line, she stated, “I know a place to go.” The crew has scouted both locations and will be filming in Kamiah on June 25-26 and in Winchester July 2-3.

The actual boxing match for the film will be held on Sunday, July 3 at the Arena in the Pines in Winchester. The boxing match will start at and the public is invited to attend. Arrive early and enjoy the great food and atmosphere, grab a bleacher seat and you may even end up being in the movie!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Nuisance animals

Spring is the time when many wild animals begin looking for places to make their summer home, find easy foraging for food, and raise their young.

Warm temperatures also mean humans start spending more time outdoors.

Now is the time people should do a thorough evaluation of their property for opportunities for nuisance birds and animals. Scattered garbage or refuse, pet food, and birdfeeders should be cleaned up and put away for the summer.

Holes in foundations of buildings or in the skirting of trailers are inviting places for wild animals to take up residence. Now is also the time to repair woodpecker holes and close up other inviting openings in your eaves for squirrels, starlings, and bats.

Homeowners must also be vigilant to prevent swallows from packing mud into the eaves of a house. Continuous removal of the mud and providing an alternate nesting site usually results in the swallows moving to the alternate. For plans for an alternate nest area for swallows contact your local Idaho Fish and Game regional office.

Most wild animals easily adapt to human food. Skunks, foxes, and raccoons will take young fowl raised for human table-fare. They are also adept at eating birdseed, fruit, and pet food left outside intended for the cats or dogs.

Porcupines pose a threat to many pets and can girdle valuable landscaping but if handled carefully can be easily removed from residential areas and released back into the wild. Once they are on the ground, a broom or long handled shovel can be used to sweep them into a garbage can. Place the lid on the upright can and transport them out of the area for release.

Hawks and owls thrive in close proximity to humans and agriculture. For many farmers they are worth their weight in gold due to their focus on crop eating rodents. Great horned owls are also an important predator on skunks. If owners fail to take precautions they can also prey on small domestic pets.

Hawks and owls have also been known to draw blood while protecting their nests. In areas where this is a problem we usually recommend allowing the birds to raise their young and leave the nest and then removing the nest for the following year.   

In bear country, now is the time to make plans for bear-proof refuse containers. Bear-proof dumpsters used in subdivisions and around restaurants make those areas less attractive to black bears. I strongly suggest all concessionaires utilize bear-proof dumpsters.   

As bears develop patterns of use on human food sources, our attempts to protect landowners and the public become less effective. With each success at getting the "easy meal" bears get bolder and more determined to defeat attempts to protect private property.

In several cases last year bears entered residences and made a shambles inside the houses. Bears that habituate to human food present a significant threat to public safety. Those showing aggressive tendencies will be humanely killed. It's much easier to prevent a bear problem than it is to correct it once it develops.

Hikers need to be aware of wildlife in the springtime as well. Sow bears with cubs and cow moose with calves are not fond of human intrusion. They are even less fond of Fido walking at your side. The lesson here is make sure they know you're coming, make lots of noise, and they will move out of your way.   

Like old Ben Franklin said, "An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure." Take inventory of your situation and decide how to best protect yourself from nuisance animals.