Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Youth Challenge gets further support from Idaho’s governor

By Alannah Allbrett

Idaho National Guard’s Youth Challenge Program, which aims to open an alternative school in Pierce, has received a positive boost from Governor C.L. Butch Otter. Otter has requested a “budgetary shift” of one million dollars (with an attendant spending authorization of $1,250,000.) in Idaho’s 2013 fiscal budget. That plan received a setback, however, when the joint budget committee rejected the recommendation last Friday.

Tyler Mallard, Special Assistant to the Governor on Uniform Services, said their office remains optimistic that Youth Challenge in Idaho will still have a satisfactory conclusion and reaffirmed the governor’s intention to “continue to champion” the program, stating that it is a “win/win situation for the military, the youth that it will benefit, as well as the community.” He said that the intent of requesting a fund shift was to get the start-up money allocated, but if it does not go through immediately, “It will in no way jeopardize the commitment to the program.” Mallard stated that the legislature will still have the ability to revisit the issue until the budget is finalized but that it is the prerogative of the legislature.

Major General Gary Saylor, military advisor to Governor Otter, has spearheaded the youth challenge program in Idaho since its inception. The program is just one of the 33 challenge programs located in 27 states. The centers follow a well-rounded curriculum that includes physical fitness, community volunteerism, discipline, and mentoring to achieve its 90 percent success rate in turning around at-risk kids.

Jerome County’s State Representative, Maxine Bell, as the co-chair of the budget committee, questioned why the Guard is involved in education stating, “I’m not sure why they’re getting into that line of work.”

In a recent interview with the Clearwater Tribune, General Saylor addressed the issue saying, “A number of legislators have asked that same question. There are a number of reasons,” he responded. “The Youth Challenge program got started back in the 90’s, in an attempt to see of the National Guard could help correct the number of [high school] drop outs. The Guard is involved in lots of communities – literally in every zip code in America. We are citizens of Idaho ourselves,” he said. “The test program was very successful throughout the nation. We constantly strive to continue military education for our own soldiers, and we are about education,” said Saylor. “But this is more than education. It is also about how to be a good citizen, about team work, leadership, and supporting causes other than just your own. We are continually trying to educate our legislators and feel very strongly about the value of this program.”

The original target date for opening the alternative school, located at the former Pierce Elementary building located on 21 1/2 acres, was for the fall of 2012. With funding problems and the need to establish a 501(c)(3) tax status, however, that date got moved to January 1, 2013, with classes beginning by Jan 7.  

The federal government pays for 75 percent of the ongoing costs. Corporate donations or monies from the state’s general fund would make up the difference. Saylor said there are several foundations which have given their support already or have pledged future support.

When asked if Governor Otter has been a staunch supporter of the program, Saylor said, ‘“Absolutely! He has been behind it for the last 15 months; he’s been on board since day one.”

The one million dollar appropriation would go towards startup costs remodeling the school, and hiring staff, the first of which would be personnel to market the program. General Saylor said the Guard would send out job announcements through the Gowen Field Human Resources office, through the usual hiring channels. Jobs will be opened to the non-military, public.

If funding and startup is achieved, the center would provide 56 direct jobs and 40 indirect jobs (a 3 percent increase) for Clearwater County.

Saylor said he is still hopeful that the measure will get passed in this legislative session. The governor’s budget director, Wayne Hammon, said, “There’s plenty of time to address lawmakers’ concerns this session.”

Candidate filing deadline is March 9

Friday, March 9 is the last day candidates may file to run in the upcoming Clearwater County elections.

The following county offices are up for election in the May 15 primary: County Commissioner District 1 (two year term), County Commissioner, Dist. 3 (four year term), Clearwater County Prosecutor (four year term), Clearwater County Sheriff (four year term), and precinct committeepersons for political parties.

All four incumbents with positions up for election will seek new terms in November. The four are Sheriff Chris Goetz, Prosecutor E. Clayne Tyler and commissioners Don Ebert and Carole Galloway.

Goetz, 37, Orofino, will be running for his second four-year term.

Tyler, 43, Orofino, will be seeking a third four-year term.

Ebert, 50, Weippe, will be seeking another two-year term in District 1. This will be his fourth term overall.

Galloway, 58, Freeman Creek area, has served two years in District 3 and is seeking a four-year term.

Declarations of Candidacy for all candidates, including independents, for these offices must be filed no later than March 9.

Individuals who run as write-in candidates must file a declaration of intent no later than on Friday, March 30.

Such declarations are available at the office of the County Clerk, located in the Clearwater County Courthouse, 150 Michigan Avenue, Orofino.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Eighth graders get ready for Youth Art Month exhibit

All of the 6 - 12 students enrolled in art at OHS, as well as the high school graphic design students, are getting ready for the Youth Art Month exhibit at the Clearwater Memorial Public Library.  There will be an opening reception for community and family members on Thursday, March 8, from

Youth Art Month is an annual observance each March to emphasize the value of art education for all young people and to encourage support for quality school art programs.  Throughout the United States, art exhibits and activities are held in March to showcase student artwork and show the value of developing young people’s artistic capabilities.

Art teacher, Sandy Goffinet stated, “The eighth graders’ flower paintings were inspired by artist, Georgia O’Keeffe, from an article in Scholastic Arts magazine. The student artists really liked the large format paintings.  They planned well, did preliminary drawings, and enjoyed mixing the colors and painting.  Several of their paintings will be in the Youth Art Month Exhibit. We pick one strong piece from each student for this exhibit and display artwork from the varied lessons we’ve had this school year.”

The Orofino eighth grade art class shows their flower paintings. Pictured (l to r) are: front row, art students Quenton Riccomini, Morgan Byrd, Jared Lytle, Cody Furnish, and Dustin Wilson; middle row, Bree Anderson, Ciera Parker, Casie Jensen, Amy Gladhart, Ally Sommers, and Quinn Kendall; back row, Steve Futrell, Emily Burke, Josh Butzman, Dustin Berry, and Sandy Goffinet, art teacher.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Nixle service coming to Clearwater County

By Don Gardner

Clearwater County Office of Emergency Management is utilizing a new communications service that allows us to send important, valuable community information directly to residents using the latest technology.

The Nixle Community Information Service allows the county to create and publish messages to be delivered to subscribed residents instantly via cell phone text message and/or email. Notifications can also be accessed online at Nixle’s web site at www.nixle .com

Messages may include Weather Warnings and Evacuation Notices as well as other relevant safety and community event information.

The messages can be sent specifically to residents registered within a quarter mile radius, giving them the opportunity to receive trustworthy information relevant only to their neighborhood. Residents decide from which local agencies they want to receive information. Subscribers can also choose the way in which alerts are received, whether it is by email, text message, or over the web, and the service is free.

Nixle builds on the foundations of other public-to-public communication services, such as Twitter, Facebook, and MySpace, but adds a key component: security. When citizens receive information from our agency via Nixle, they know it can be trusted.

Residents of Clearwater County and those in neighboring communities can immediately begin receiving pertinent information via text message, email, and web by registering at We are very excited to have you experience it for yourself.

Nixle is a community information service provider built exclusively to provide secure and reliable communications. It is the first authenticated and secure service that connects municipal agencies and community organizations to residents in real time, delivering information to geographically targeted consumers over their cell phones (via text messages), through e-mails and via Web access.

Nixle has secured a partnership with Nlets (the International Justice and Public Safety Network), allowing local police departments nationwide to send immediate alerts and advisories. For more information, visit

Monday, February 20, 2012

Corps extends public comment period on Dworshak Nutrient Supplementation Environmental Assessment to March 17

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District is extending the public comment period on an Environmental Assessment (EA) and draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for the “Dworshak Reservoir Nutrient Supplementation Pilot Study.” The comment period extension will now end Saturday, March 17. This is a 30-day extension of an initially announced public comment period ending today. The Corps extended the public comment period to accommodate wider public input.

The Environmental Assessment is the next step in Corps’ National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) compliance as it plans to resume this reservoir ecosystem restoration pilot study in 2012. Last year, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to the Corps effective Oct. 15, 2011 after its environmental review and consideration of public comments. The NPDES permit allows application of liquid fertilizer to Dworshak Reservoir as an ecosystem treatment.

With the extension, public comments on the Corps Environmental Assessment must be postmarked, faxed or e-mailed to the Corps by March 17, 2012, to be included as part of the public record.  E-mail comments should be sent to

Faxed comments should be sent to 509-527-7832. U.S. Mail comments should be mailed to U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Walla Walla District, Environmental Compliance Section, ATTN: John Leier, 201 North 3rd Avenue, Walla Walla, WA 99362-1876.

The EA and draft FONSI documents are available for viewing at the Corps’ website at www.nww.; Orofino City Hall at 217 First Street, Orofino; Clearwater County Courthouse, 150 Michigan Avenue, Orofino: and Recorder’s Office, Room 100, Nez Perce County Courthouse, 1230 Main Street, Lewiston.

To learn more about the Corps of Engineers and its mission in the Walla Walla District, see the District website at

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Historical Rex Theatre up for sale

The Rex Theatre is shown in this 1920 picture of Orofino as the first building on the left-hand side of the street across from the Ford dealership.

By Alannah Allbrett
  The Rex Theatre in Orofino is not officially listed for sale with a realtor, but owner, Chris Wagner, says he will sell it if the right offer comes along. “I have thought a lot about it.  I am a painter by trade, and I have a few rentals to manage and other things that fill my time up.” Wagner has to make a 120 mile (round trip) trek to Orofino each week. “I’m tired of bringing the film down. I just think somebody could do a better job at it at this point.”
  The Rex has been in Wagner’s family since his grandfather, Al Wagner, Sr., purchased it in 1955. Wagner also owns the Blue Fox Theatre and Sunset Auto View, both in Grangeville, The Rex has recently undergone renovations. Wagner said it has a new roof, furnace, carpet, seats, and has been painted. He’s asking $159,000 for the historical movie house.
  The Rex is Orofino’s first theatre. It was built in 1914 in its present location at 156 Johnson Avenue. But it looked very different from today. To start with, there was a vacant lot on the left of it with a large barn in the distant background. To the right, facing on a diagonal, was a little gas station or “filling station” as they used to be called.
  Theaters are universally switching to digital format, requiring costly new equipment. Wagner reports that film will not be made anymore once everything goes digital within the next couple of years. He said no one knows for sure when the cutoff will be.
  Digital movies take a couple of hours to download, according to Wagner, but one doesn’t have to deal with the “messy film.” He has a couple of friends in the business who have made the conversion. “It’s pretty cool,” he said.
  Wagner plans on purchasing the computerized digital equipment for his Grangeville theatre. It requires a digital processor, a laptop computer, a content box, and a digital projector. “It’s pretty good sized and weighs about 40 to 50 pounds” Wagner said referring to the stacked computer components.
  Movie studios have financing plans for new equipment if a theatre wants to convert. “You have to sign up and order the equipment; you initially have to take out loans to make it happen. Supposedly the film studios will pay 100 percent over a 10-year period,” said Wagner.
  When asked if going digital helps a movie theatre get top run movies when first introduced, Wagner said owners have to commit to running a movie for a two week period. “They give a two week minimum on movies like War Horse or Mission Impossible. In a small town like Orofino, you reach a saturation point (where everyone has seen it) within one week.”
  Practically, movies could also be downloaded directly to Orofino. When asked if that would solve his commuting problem and keep the theatre open, Wagner said, “I have to see how it works here” [Grangeville], not ruling out the possibility that digital format might be just the answer for keeping the theatre going from a distance.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Marti Deyo receives P.E.O. grant

Christine Bradbury, P.E.O. Chapter AW Program Continuing Education co-chairperson, Marti Deyo (center) and P.C.E. recipient, Carla Laws, P.E.O. Chapter AW, President.

Marti Deyo received a P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education grant from the P.E.O. Sisterhood, with sponsoring Chapter AW presenting the grant.  P.E.O. Program for Continuing Education was established in 1973 to provide need-based grants to women in the United States and Canada whose education has been interrupted and who find it necessary to return to school to support themselves and/or their families.

Marti graduated with a BA in English from Willamette University in 2004. While at Willamette she was a member of the swim team and Delta Gamma. She volunteered in various organizations and worked at the bookstore and surrounding schools.

She spent the fall semester of her junior year studying in London. While there she spent spare time enjoying Shakespeare plays and visiting European countries.

The spring semester she spent on Semester at Sea - a ship that sailed around the world starting in the Bahamas and venturing to Cuba, Brazil, South Africa, Tanzania, India, Korea, Japan, Alaska, Canada, and ending in Seattle. This was a life-changing experience that got her interested in living abroad and becoming an English teacher.  She has been in 63 countries.

After graduating from Willamette, she was accepted into the JET Program and moved to Japan. She spent five years in three different cities. For three years she was an assistant language teacher and taught elementary to adult learners. The last two years she was a prefectural advisor in charge of welcoming the 121 new JETs to her prefecture (state).

She founded a Peer Helper group and was the founder and editor of the first Aomori Quarterly detailing the events around the prefecture and JET lives.

She returned to the USA in 2009 to travel throughout the States on numerous road trips from coast to coast.

She enrolled in Boise State University in 2010 to get her masters in Early Childhood Studies.  Spring semester of 2012 she received a graduate assistantship, assisting the professors in various capacities including research, lesson plans, and brainstorming.

Marti has applied for both graduate school to get her doctoral degree in academic administration as well as a position with the Department of Defense working with Head Start programs on bases around the world.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hooray for Hollywood!

Rebecca Wentz is pictured in front of a model set that she built for a commercial. As Art Director, she worked with one other girl using found objects; everything from soup cans, to thumb tacks, buttons, plastic and water bottles, to textured paper towels to create the set.

Local girl, Rebecca Wentz, finds her dream job
By Alannah Allbrett

Rebecca Wentz, a 20 year old young woman from Orofino, has found success in Hollywood. A 2009 graduate of Orofino High School, Rebecca always supposed she would go into pre-med classes in college. She took a sharp departure from that by applying “on a whim” to a specialized artistic school in Los Angeles. She found, to her surprise, that she was one of ten new students accepted at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising (FIDM) to study visual communications. She followed that course of study with entertainment set design and decoration.
Rebecca visited the school in February of 2009, formed a friendship with another girl from the school, and together they found an apartment. With the support of her parents, Lynn and Audrey Wentz, her new adventure in southern California began.

As a school assignment, Rebecca was scheduled to tour a prop house (a warehouse that stores movie props) and write a report. She visited Omega Cinema Props in West Hollywood for what was supposed to be an hour long visit. Bedazzled – five hours later, she was still there. Rebecca said, “I fell in love with it!” She found herself wandering through canyons of prop rows, including: period pieces of furniture, trees, mailboxes, and clothing – anything one might imagine that could be needed for a movie production.

Rebecca had the opportunity also of interning on a set with the students from the American Film Institute. The set decorator asked her to return, and she had the opportunity to work with the art department. She says set design helps tell the whole visual story of a film. A set decorator works with the film’s director to figure out the look for a film. They draft out the set, which may include computer or hand drafting, blue prints, models and sketches.

While in school, Rebecca had the opportunity to study in Italy during the Spring of 2010, and 2011, traveling through Paris, Florence, Venice, Rome, and Milan, learning about the culture, art, and architecture.

In the fall of 2010, Rebecca got to work on the film The Artist, a French film set in Hollywood between 1927 and 1932. Rebecca said the whole crew was French and came to the U.S. to make the movie. Rebecca said the sound stage was huge; it could hold five different sets at once.

Rebecca helped setting up by placing furniture, and finding the right lights and fixtures. It required researching that period of time to create accurately the right look. At $20 million dollars it was considered a low budget film. After it was made, Warner Brothers bought the film and released it on a limited basis. After people started seeing it, it started playing widely and subsequently won a Critics’ Choice and three Golden Globe Awards. The film has been nominated for 10 Academy Awards.

Since graduating from FIDM in 2011, Rebecca has had many wonderful opportunities such as working on music videos, and on several television commercials for companies such as Honda, Kellogg, and the Oprah Winfrey Network. She worked also on student films and two television shows: The Children’s’ Hospital and NTSF-SD.  “I learned so much from those crews, It was awesome.” Production Design is now Rebecca’s dream job.

Rebecca enjoyed Christmas at home in Orofino with her parents whom she would like to thank. “They supported me even though it sounded like a crazy idea.” said Rebecca.

The set for illustrated the story of a sock puppet who was trying to find its match. The store front names humorously played off the sock theme. The theatre was “Asockalypse Now” showing “The Sock Father.” And the local diner was named the “Sock-Hop.”

Friday, February 3, 2012

CVHC Doctors advocate for drug free youth

Taylor Kelso, Dr. Phil Petersen, and David Olson demonstrate some props used to showcase healthy lifestyle choices at the 2012 OES Health Fair. 

A Health Fair was held Jan. 26 at Orofino Elementary school for grades K-7 where students visited twenty different stations throughout the day. Presenters focused on health issues and came from a wide range of local businesses and organizations including the Orofino Police Department, Sunnyside Fire Department, LCSC Outreach, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics and several others. Topics that were covered were exercise, bone health, germ awareness, internet safety, spine care, boating safety, goal setting and healthy choices. 

 “We wanted to have a broad range of presentations to really cover every area that is related to health. We asked Dr. Petersen and Dr. Meza to focus on healthy lifestyles that are free of drugs, alcohol and tobacco,” says Angie Baldus, OES Principal.

Dr. Phil Petersen, Physician at CVHC, presented to the morning classes and spoke about smoking in terms of lifelong cost, “How much does a pack of cigarettes cost? Five dollars? Some people smoke one, two and three packs a day! That’s really going to add up over time,” as he held up a little red sports car toy, “If you’re smoking three packs a day, there’s no way you’ll ever be able to afford a car like this!”

Dr. Michael Meza, Physician at CVHC, took over for the afternoon classes and continued on the same track. “The children at all age levels seemed to really enjoy the discussion and many had great questions. We spoke about the importance of healthy decisions, in an attempt to learn healthy behaviors throughout life,” says Meza.

Dr. Petersen recently joined a task force based in Coeur d’Alene that aims to deter kids from using any type of prescription medications that are not prescribed to them. “I know the interest is here to get something similar started in this community. There are a lot of people from the hospital who I think would want to participate and I’m hoping to find more potential members, possibly through the K-12 Roundtable. It’s a very important issue that needs to be addressed here in Orofino as well as all over Idaho,” says Petersen. 

“The Health Fair was a great success that the kids enjoyed and learned a lot from. We hope to do it again next year and continue teaching our kids about healthy, safe, productive lifestyles,” says Baldus.

Manufacturing a foundation for the future

North Central Idaho leaders will be gathering at the Red Lion Hotel in Lewiston on Thursday, Feb. 16 to discuss regional activities that support manufacturing. Clearwater Economic Development Association (CEDA) and Northwest Intermountain Manufacturers Association (NIMA) are holding their fourth joint meeting of members. 

Starting at there will be an interactive session with young adults in the local workforce and a panel of business, civic, and elected leaders. They will discuss the strengths and challenges of living, working, and volunteering in the region. At , CEDA will host an orientation for anyone interested in the mission, vision, goals, and activities of their organization.

Concurrent NIMA and CEDA business meetings will follow at 5 p.m. Beginning at 6 p.m., with the theme of “Manufacturing a Foundation for the Future,” CEDA Chairman and LCSC Dean of Professional Technical Programs Rob Lohrmeyer and NIMA President and Seaport Machine General Manager Kim Geist Jr. will co-host the dinner and program.

Presenters will share progress on key projects being developed in the region. This includes the City of Potlatch River Ridge Redevelopment Plan presenting the master plan and marketing strategy; the Lewis-Clark State College National Science Foundation Project which uses a solid modeling software tool for supporting the instruction of math, technology, engineering, and math concepts in six area high schools; and the American Manufacturer Network which supports a network of manufacturers’ efforts with Department of Defense contracting.

This public event is open to anyone with interest. For more information, contact Clearwater Economic Development Association at (208)746-0015.