Thursday, April 26, 2012

CVHC patient makes full recovery from colorectal cancer

This article was written by Trent Morgan CRNA, MSNA, Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist, who performed Nellie’s anesthesia for her surgery and procedures. 

Nellie Clifford is what you would call a true “go-getter.” Her strait forward approach hints of a life rich in real experience and overcome hardships. Add one more accomplishment to her 74 years; proud cancer survivor. 

“And, I’ve got the certificate to prove it,” she points out, “99.9% cancer free.” She does not mince words either, “I tell it like it is even though my words aren’t right sometimes. I only was schooled to the eighth grade.” Despite her admitted lacking in formal education, she is engaging and entirely pleasant. Her still thick east coast accent adds a bit of mystique to the conversation. 

Moving to Orofino in 1975 from New Hampshire, “following my kids,” Nellie clearly loves the Orofino community. “That is one reason I decided to have my surgery in town,” she offers. “My kids are here and I can’t see traveling. They [Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics] have good doctors, surgeons and nurses; so why travel down river?” 

She also is certain that the CVH Emergency Department saved her son and daughter-in-law’s lives. “They were in a bad head on collision on the river road,” she describes. “The initial officers on the scene didn’t believe it was possible we could be alive,” offers Nellie’s son, Ken Clifford Jr. 

According to Nellie, local EMS was able to transport Ken and his wife Barbara to CVH where, “Dr. Petersen saved his life.” Ken adds jokingly, “they all got to meet the real Ken and Barbie that day.” This experience was one of many that helped Nellie form positive opinions and trust in Clearwater Valley Hospital. 

Nellie was diagnosed with aggressive and invasive colorectal cancer late in 2010 following a routine screening exam. The need for the exam was identified by Clearwater Valley’s Family Practice Physician Dr. Vanessa Brown and performed by hospital surgeon Enrique Montana MD, FACS at CVH. Dr. Michael Meza, MD assisted with the surgery. 

Dr. Brown says, “Nellie was a bit stubborn about having the test [a colonoscopy] done and took some convincing.” When asked about her initial reaction to the diagnosis, Nellie says; “You can’t get excited, just hold onto God’s hand and have a good attitude.” 

Dr. Montana attributes Nellie’s outcome, in part, to this positive outlook. “That is a very complex operation and you must have the right mindset to be successful,” Dr. Montana explained. 

Nellie underwent an Exploratory Laparotomy, abdominal-perineal resection and hemicolectomy with transverse anastomosis and colostomy.” In laymen’s terms; “We basically located the cancer and removed it putting things back together so the plumbing works,” Dr. Montana explained. 

Though attitude is an important aspect of recovery, the complexity of the surgery required a great deal of expertise and equipment that CVH surgical services maintain for just such a challenge. Dr. Montana stated, “We have the capabilities and staff to handle this type of surgery in otherwise healthy patients.” 

Having full surgical services at the local hospital is important to Nellie. “You need ‘em.” Nellie points out with passion. “You’re going to croak before you get to Lewiston,” she says with a grin. Why more rural residents don’t utilize the full services of the community’s hospital, she’s not certain. 

With CVH and her sister hospital in Cottonwood named the Outstanding Rural Healthcare organization last year by the National Rural Health Association there is recognition that supports that excellent care is provided at both facilities. 

Following Nellie’s “all day surgery,” Nellie spent a week recovering at CVH. “They treated me well… I have nothing to complain about,” Nellie offers with regards to her post-operative care. Ken points out the family was grateful during the long surgery for the constant updates; “Thank God for the operating room staff that kept us informed.” 

Following discharge from CVHC, physicians at CVHC worked with oncologists to coordinate chemotherapy and radiation at St. Joseph Regional Cancer Center. Dr. Montana states that timing is very important in cancer treatment following surgery. “They worked well with us to coordinate postoperative treatment during the ‘golden time’, giving the best results.” 

Nellie agrees that the entire process of treatment following surgery was well planned and easy for her and her family to accommodate. 

Nellie’s most recent triumph was a final visit to the Clearwater Valley O.R. for removal of a port-a-catheter previously placed for her chemotherapy treatment. “They said I’m cancer free, so why keep it?” she rationalizes. “I got stuff to do anyway”, she again grins, “I was chopping wood two months after the surgery; I’ve got to get on with my life!” The visit to the OR gave staff members a chance to see how their part of the team that participated in Nellie’s surgery contributed to her survival. All agree it is a very satisfying feeling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Clearwater County’s next course of action on trail closures

By Alannah Allbrett
  Deputy Regional Forester Jane Cottrell upheld the travel management decision, Plan C, which defines and limits motorized use in Clearwater and Nez Perce National Forests. The decision was made April 12, and received at Clearwater County offices April 13.
  When asked if the county intends to file suit against the Forrest Service as the next step, Commissioner, Stan Leach said the county has 45 days, from notification, to file suit if they decide to do so. Leach said the commissioners met yesterday to gather information to make an informed decision.
  Leach said that the Forest Service is not required to agree with the county, but legally, they are required to look at the county’s plan and to make a “plan-to-plan comparison to show they’ve taken steps to meet Clearwater County’s objections where they might exist.” That due process is called “coordination.”
  At the direction of the board, Clearwater County’s attorney, E. Clayne Tyler, is consulting with Fred Grant, a property rights attorney in Boise. Grant has been called “a champion, in the process of coordination, to stymie federal land-use and protected-species decisions.” Leach said that Atty. Grant has been instrumental in helping the Owyhee Initiative, another collaborative group in southern Idaho, with land management use issues.
  According to The Record Searchlight, “Grant espouses a theory that federal agencies by law must deal with local governments when revising their public land travel plans…”
  Leach said that a decision to file a legal suit, if one is made, would require the agreement of all three commissioners. “We are trying to do our best to protect the rights, customs, and cultures of Clearwater County,” said Leach.
Clearwater National Forest Travel Plan decision upheld
  Orofino - The Northern Region’s Deputy Regional Forester, Jane Cottrell, has upheld the travel management decision announced by Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest Supervisor Rick Brazell on Jan. 12 of this year.
  That decision defined how motorized uses will be managed on the roads and trails within the boundaries of the 1.8 million-acre Clearwater National Forest.
   Brazell selected Alternative C Modified, an alternative described as “Motorcycle Loop Trails and Wildlife Habitat,” because it best responded to public input requesting motorcycle loop opportunities and protection for fisheries and wildlife habitat.
  In affirming the decision, Deputy Regional Forester Cottrell concluded all issues presented in the appeals were adequately considered in the Record of Decision, Final Environmental Impact Statement and project record.
  “I find the Forest Supervisor has made a reasoned decision and has complied with all applicable laws, regulations and policy, and is consistent with the overall mission of the Forest Service,” Cottrell wrote.  “I affirm the Forest Supervisor’s decision to implement the Travel Management Plan Record of Decision.”
  With the affirmation, Cottrell also instructed the Forest to provide additional information and rationale related to elk habitat effectiveness calculations, effects determinations for sensitive species, field reviews of stream crossings and determinations of riparian management objectives.
  Twenty-six groups and individuals, including the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation, County Commissions for Clearwater and Idaho Counties, and Friends of the Clearwater filed appeals. Six appeals were dismissed because appellants   failed to provide comments during the comment period for the Draft Environmental Impact Statement.
  Brazel was pleased with the decision.  “This is the culmination of more than four years of hard work and countless deliberations.  It is time to move forward.”
  Brazell noted that Forest users are very polarized about the issue of travel management.  While many seek increased motorized opportunities, others argue passionately for the elimination of motorized uses in many areas of the Forest.  He said he believes the selected alternative, C Modified, represents the best balance that can be achieved in accordance with existing laws, regulations, policy and Forest Plan direction.
  Forest efforts will now shift to addressing the clarifications requested by Cottrell and preparing a Motor Vehicle Use Map that will display the travel management decision for Forest users with the goal of implementing the decision beginning in June 2012.
  Cottrell’s decision constitutes the final administrative determination of the Department of Agriculture.
  The Clearwater National Forest initiated the travel planning process in response to national agency direction to designate roads, trails and areas where motorized travel will be permitted and to display them on a Motor Vehicle Use Map.  This is a fundamental change from the current system where travel is permitted everywhere except where specifically restricted.
  Drivers of full-size and off-highway vehicles will notice few changes between the routes currently available for travel and those designated through the travel planning process.
  Alternative C Modified limits motorcycle routes in sensitive fisheries and wildlife habitat on the North Fork Ranger District and restricts motorized and bicycle uses in areas recommended for wilderness by the 1987 Clearwater National Forest Plan.
 All project documents are posted on the website at

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Letter to the Editor: Carla and Newell Freeman

Two weeks ago the county met with concerned citizens about our road conditions. It was a good crowd of about 40 or more people. All tried to voice their opinions about their particular road. Yes, we all agree that the county has lacked the ability to improve roads over the past 10 years or so. Yes, we all agree that going out and working on the road costs the taxpayers as much for a bad job as it does for a good job. Yet, we seem to keep getting the bad jobs.

We just got a quote from one of the local tire shops in Orofino to replace the struts on our car. The estimate is $575. But the kicker was the man’s comment; “I have never seen struts this bad on a car with only 30,000 miles.” Then he looked at our address and boy that explains the situation. Several of my neighbors have the same repair bills or worse for their cars. Should we all send our bills to the county? It seems to be the roads’ fault. There is no way in hell to avoid the potholes.

Another of our neighbors has had several surgeries and needs to go to the physical therapist, but can’t stand the jarring of the ride on the Clearwater roads. So they have to go the long way around (through Nez Perce County to Lenore) each and every time to get to Orofino. Does this even make sense to the County Commissioners?

They did come out to Sunnyside Bench Rd. the day after the meeting and worked for four days. It is better than we have seen in a long, long, time. However, my daughter came to visit on Sunday and said “What the hell’s the matter with your road? It’s terrible.” So you see another four days of bad jobs. The ditch across the road at Robinson’s should never have happened. The county should have ditched along the hillside to the culvert. A quick fix is not really a fix. It’s gotten worse and now is its own problem.

All that was fixed last year is back this year. The slides on the road are larger than ever. I’m sorry but the road department is not doing satisfactory work. If you don’t wish to do the job, please give it up because there are a lot of people that need a job and would be willing to do a good one.

World Jet Boat Marathon Championship kicks off Friday

Races come to Orofino Wednesday, April 18

In less than five days racers from around the world begin the first leg of a four river race in Idaho to crown a new 2012 Toyota Weaver Seed Jet Boat Marathon Champion!

Racing teams were spotted making practice runs on the St. Joe River at St. Maries, Idaho over the weekend, Race Organizer Kim Friend said.

“This is an amazing opportunity to see world class jet boat river racing right here in north central Idaho,” Friend said.

Over 150 non-paid volunteers from all over Idaho and the northwest have dedicated hundreds of hours to make this event a success, Race Director Gary Labrum said.

“Willing sacrifice is the word for our corps of world race committee volunteers,” Labrum said.

“Some of our volunteers have given up weekends each month since October to drive as far as 300 miles one way on their own nickel to then sit in logistics planning meetings for five hours,” he said.

Opening ceremonies and events begin at 6 p.m. at St. Maries’ Lower City Park on Friday followed by the first legs of racing on the St. Joe River Saturday and Sunday. Spectators may watch the race for free from a river bank with public access along each of the four rivers.

The 2012 Toyota Weaver Seed World Jet Boat Marathon Championship continues over a nine day period, April 13-21 on select sections of the Snake River at Lewiston, April 16-17; the Clearwater River at Orofino, April 18 and the Salmon River at Riggins, April 19-21. For the latest racing information go to:

Free copies of the 2012 Toyota Weaver Seed World Jet boat Marathon official race program include maps of each river course and information on over 30 elite racing teams. The complimentary programs are available at a variety of businesses throughout St. Maries, Lewiston, Clarkston, Orofino, Grangeville, White Bird, Riggins and McCall.

Free programs will also be available at the starting area of each race or can be downloaded from the North Central Idaho Travel Association’s web site,

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Tribune Memories – by Harriet Reece, former Clearwater Tribune employee

  Everything was hot metal when I went to work for the Clearwater Tribune Publishing Co. in 1945—between my sophomore and junior years of high school. The back shop was devoted to presses, linotypes, and other machines needed in running a print shop.
  The print shop was an important part of the business in those days, doing jobs for the county, state, Potlatch Forests, Inc., and other businesses, large and small.
  Robert D. “Bob” Werner, with his wife, Vera, was the owner, editor, publisher, and all things important. I was thrilled when Bob asked my mother if I could go to work in his shop. He soon found out that my talents did not lay in gathering, stacking, punching, gluing, so he moved me into the front office where he taught me to write stories, make up ads, and keep books.
  I was always welcome in the back shop and pressed into service for rush jobs. I knew of some newspaper/print shops where the back shop and the front office did not speak, but we always worked together to provide the best product for our customers.
  My experience at the Clearwater Tribune my last two years of high school convinced me that I should major in Journalism when I enrolled at the University of Idaho the fall of 1948. I transferred to University of Oregon my senior year to earn a B.S. in Journalism in 1952.
  Julian Dahl was foreman of the back shop with Wally Rugg as his able helper when I began my employment there. Others came and went during the years of hot metal, but these two stand out in my mind as master printers. They taught me about type lice and hot ink.
  They even let me try my hand at those presses that will crush your hand if you aren’t quick. We went really slowly on that one. It was a noisy, dirty, smelly place to work and we loved it. There was a deaf-mute linotype operator whose name I can’t remember. He, Julian and Wally communicated in sign language. Julian and Wally would interpret for me.
  Those of you who came along after the hot metal days may not know about type lice. “Come look in this little crack and you can see the lice,” they said as they snapped the two pieces of metal together, sprinkling my face with black, sticky printer’s ink. The hot ink one—“Boy, the ink is sure hot today. Just feel the heat,” they say as they pushed my hand into the sticky, black ink.
  Everyone remembers the flood of 1948 when the waters rose on the weekend, flooding the building. Everyone pitched in to raise the press motors so they wouldn’t get wet, and when the waters receded they were able to put everything back together to put out a newspaper on time the next week.
  The paper was printed on a huge flat bed press in the back and on Thursday morning everyone helped to “put out the paper.” As the papers came off the press on the final run, they went into a folder that put it all together.
  If there were two sections, we had to put the second section in by hand and also insert any flyers by hand. The interesting part was putting the labels on the paper. There was a hand operated machine with a glue pot. The addresses were on a long, long, strip of paper that was fed past the glue pot, putting glue on one side.
  We fed this strip through by hand and slapped the machine on the top of the newspaper to cut the label off and make it stick. You know where there is glue involved, things get sticky, and so we constantly had to stop to clean the glue off of the cutting edge.
  We could always count on Lindy Carr to come in every Thursday morning to buy a paper. She had her money tied in the corner of her handkerchief until we handed her the paper. A number of citizens would come in Thursday mornings to get their news “hot off the press.” (That must be how the ink got hot.)
  Type was set on linotypes using hot metal pressed against a line of tiny molded letters (matrix). Each line came out into a stream of lines called galleys. The printers would roll ink on these and press newsprint on top to make strips for us to proofread.
  After the paper was printed, all these metal strips were cleaned with carbon tetrachloride and melted down in a pot in the back of the shop where any remaining ink was skimmed off. The metal was cast into bars to be fed back into the linotype machines. We used lots of glycerin to keep our hands from drying out with the paper.
  For the big headlines and big type in ads, the type was hand set. That is an art. You use a tool looking at the letters upside down and backward. A good printer’s hands move so fast your eyes can hardly keep up. I was a little ahead when I took the type setting class at University of Oregon, because I already knew part of the type case and the reading upside down part. The typesetting class was required for Journalism majors in 1951. How different things are today!
  I took some time off after I married to raise children and work as a correspondent for the Lewiston Morning Tribune. When my youngest was in first grade, Bob was again knocking on my door asking me to return to the Clearwater Tribune. I loved that job because I never knew when I went to work what the day would bring.
  On a weekly newspaper you can do a number of different jobs and it never gets boring. I covered all units of government, from City Council and County offices to our legislators when they were in session in Boise. The state and city police and county sheriff offices were always challenging and I never knew when I would be dashing off to take a picture of a fire, a wreck, a new officer, school crossing guards, or the first buttercup.
  I especially enjoyed working with Bonnie Bessent and Nancy Noble in the front office and we became good friends. Friend, Marty Donner, was in the back shop forever and a big asset to changing times.
  One of the best things that happened was being able to work with Hans Wetter. Hans was working in the front office in the early days. He and Lucille Pruitt ran the paper while Bob Werner was in Washington, D.C. for a year as a speech writer for Sen. Henry Dworshak.
  Hans knew everything there was to know about putting out a newspaper, and in his quiet way, he was always willing to share that knowledge. Bob was always willing to help his employees, and he allowed Hans to continue working at the newspaper while he built up his insurance business, doing less and less for the paper as his business grew.
  Working for Bob was an education. He always had his pencil ready to mark out unnecessary words and he taught us all to be succinct. He was a conservative Republican and it showed in the paper.
  His driving was legendary, but he never had an accident. When he was elected to the City Council, I was given the job of covering those meetings. Watching him in action at those meetings gave an insight into his keen mind.
  I especially enjoyed the advertising and became good friends with many of my advertisers. My first advertising accounts were Stoddard Electric, Fisk Electric, and Nezperce Rochdale. I learned a lot about their businesses as I assisted them in drawing in customers. I also learned a lot about Orofino history from Carl Fisk who was well educated with a degree in engineering, but chose to spend his time in Orofino.
  The technology of setting up ads was changing fast about the time I retired in 1988.
  When I started, if I wanted an illustration, I had to find a “mat” with that image and have it cast in hot metal to be placed in the ad with the type. We didn’t have much leeway to be innovative, having to take the images available and put everything in a straight line.
  I had to draw up the ad to show the people in the back shop how the advertiser wanted it to appear. We had to have a “meeting of the minds.” They took prints for proofreading and many advertisers wanted to see their ad before it went to print.
  My most challenging advertiser was Les Schwab. I didn’t know anything about tires, and, frankly, didn’t care if I learned. Jerry Harris would give me a list of tires and their prices, and a book of tire images, and with this I was to make a half to full page ad.
  Of course, I took him proofs. I learned a lot about tires, and today am not intimidated if I have to buy any. I think those ads were a challenge for the printers to set up, also. As were the grocery ads that were constructed the same way.
  Bob and Vera sold the paper and printing shop to John and Cloann McNall about the time things began to change in the printing industry. Photographic processes were entering the printing process. John and Cloann were never afraid to embrace the new technology and I think that is one reason the paper is still successful today. I don’t know of any surviving hot metal printers.
  One incident really stands out from John’s early years and really sticks in my mind. I covered lots of crime activities and court actions, but this one was different. A teen aged boy shot and killed his cousin in a house outside of Weippe. I had a good relationship with Sheriff Nick Albers and he told me in detail what had happened know I would write a story for the paper.
  The paper hadn’t been out long before the family of the two boys involved in the shooting stormed into the office demanding to see me to tell me I had it all wrong and the Sheriff was a lying so and so.
  John noticed this and came out from the back shop to quietly stand beside me offering his support. I offered to print the family’s side of the story and they were happy to give me the facts as they saw them. We sold a lot of papers that month.
  Of course the sheriff’s version of the facts held up in court because he had the evidence, or he wouldn’t have proceeded. Covering the several murders that occurred was my biggest writing challenge. One time I was allowed by Sheriff Leroy Altmiller to interview an accused murder in his cell. What an experience!
  I was asked to tell you about my earliest recollections, and here they are. I hope someone else is covering the John McNall years and the Cloann McNall years, because I could go on and on. I especially remember the special editions that we put out four times a year.
  Many years, I provided the stories and sold all the advertising for those editions. It kept me busy and I always had to think ahead. It was a wonderful occupation for this farm wife and mother.