Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Historic Pierce Cemetery Friends Memorial Day celebration

Forty-one American flags will be placed at the Pierce Cemetery on Monday, May 28. 

Volunteers are invited to join the Historic Pierce Cemetery Friends on Monday, May 28 (Memorial Day) at the Pierce Cemetery. This year the group will be displaying 41 Memorial Flags. 

Flag set up will be at 8 a.m. At 7 p.m. the group will take the flags down. It is our goal to be able to display flags at the Pierce Cemetery on special days with the help of volunteers. 

To accomplish this goal, the group is asking for donations to purchase Memorial Flags. This project is intended to beautify the cemetery and honor Veterans and loved ones who have served and sacrificed for us. 

The purchase price of $100 includes the flag, flagpole, hardware to attach the flag, in–ground pole holder, and a memorial plaque. Any individual or group may purchase a flag in memory of a Veteran or a loved one, regardless of whether the person is buried at the Pierce Cemetery 

Anyone wishing to assist with this project by making a donation of $100 may do so by contacting Dan and Patty Goodrich at (208) 464-2333. Please join the Pierce Cemetery Friends in this worthwhile project!

Resource Damage at Fish Creek and Milner Areas

Unknown individuals in a full size vehicle bypassed the posted sign and mudbogged in this creek behind site #8 at Fish Creek Campground. They created a diversion in the main stream course and broke down the stream banks.

This mudbogging site was found off the Milner Trail, where extensive damage occurred in a meadow. 

Grangeville - Forest Service law enforcement officers are asking for any information pertaining to the mudbogging damage in the areas behind Fish Creek Campground and the Milner Trail. 

Two weekends ago, unknown individuals in a full size vehicle bypassed the posted sign and mudbogged in the creek behind site #8 at Fish Creek Campground. They created a diversion in the main stream course and broke down the stream banks. They created a loop that encompasses the first wooden bridge. 

Another mudbogging site was also found off the Milner Trail where extensive damage occurred in a meadow. Persons with knowledge of any information associated with this recent resource damage, are to contact Jill Forth, Law Enforcement Officer, at 208-983-4054.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Small town post offices to remain open, with reduced hours

By Alannah Allbrett

In an announcement last Wednesday, the United States Postal Service says it will adopt a new strategy to preserve services in small town post offices by reducing window hours. 

According to USPS spokesperson, Ernie Swanson, reduced service hours, as an alternative to closure, will take place, affecting 13,176 post offices nationwide. 

Locally, the Ahsahka post office will decrease its eight hour day to four hours per day as will Lenore. Pierce will decrease from eight to six, and Peck will move from eight hours of service to four. Elk River will move from six hours to four. Exact hours of service have not been determined yet. 

These adjustments are based upon the amount of usage – how many customers actually avail themselves of live postal services. The walk-in traffic is tallied at the computerized work stations which calculate the amount of customers each day, sales, and services. Swanson said that some post offices will be reduced to as few as two hours per day, due to lack of activity and demand. None in northern Idaho were on the two hour operating schedule. 

At town meetings, customers have told the government their rural post offices are very important; some people receive services such as prescription medications via the mail. More and more people pay their bills and communicate via the internet, however which has reduced the volume that traditionally goes through the U.S. mail. 

Postmaster General and CEO Patrick R. Donahoe. said, “We’ve listened to our customers in rural America and we’ve heard them loud and clear – they want to keep their post office open. We believe today’s announcement will serve our customers’ needs and allow us to achieve real savings to help the postal service return to long-term financial stability.” 

In January, 2012, first class postage rates were increased a penny from 44 cents to 45 cents. No foreseeable increase in postage rates is scheduled. The government estimates it can save a half a billion dollars per year, however, by implementing reduced hours. The plan would be phased in by 2014. 

Eligible Postmasters, nearing retirement, will be offered a $20,000 retirement incentive. Remaining postmasters would go from salaried positions to an hourly wage, reducing costs overall. “Most of these small offices are run by one Postmaster and a relief (PMR) person who fills in during vacations or illness” said Swanson. 

Anita Brumley of Ahsahka, began her career in postal work in 1976. She worked in the Orofino Post Office from 1980 to 2005, and became Postmaster of Ahsahka in February 2005. When asked what her reaction to the news of no closure was, she said she had “mixed feelings.” About early retirement she said, “I will read the information and make a decision.” Carolyn Smith is the PMR for Ahsahka.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Weather makes Back Country Medics rescue a challenge

Back Country Medics flew by Hillcrest Aviation Co. helicopter to Warren Friday to assist a cardiac patient. However, they found no one there and needed to track him down. Photo by Mike Norton, Back Country Medics 

Weather including low clouds, rain, snow and fog made a Back Country Medics flight to assist a cardiac patient in Warren a challenge Friday. 

Ronald W. Drake, 71, Warren, was experiencing cardiac issues when Back Country Medics was called in by Idaho County Sheriff’s Office. They launched from Orofino shortly after 8 a.m. and flew toward Warren. 

The weather, along with the mountainous terrain made the flight to Warren difficult. At one point, it was almost necessary to reverse course and land on the Salmon River until the snow, fog and clouds cleared sufficiently to allow the flight to continue, but they were able to get through. However they found no one there. 

Unbeknownst to the Back Country crew, McCall-Donnelly Fire Department had started out from Warren to transport the patient by quardatrack on the Warren Wagon Road because they did not think a helicopter could make it into the area in the storm. Consequently, BCM had to chase them down. 

They finally made contact with the patient and McCall-Donnelly Fire Department personnel at Secesh Saddle which is about 15–20 miles south of Warren on the Warren Wagon Road. 

Back Country Medics flew Drake to the McCall airport and he was taken by ground ambulance to the McCall Hospital because there is no helipad at the hospital. 

Communications was a significant issue during the course of the flight due to the involvement of different groups and the inability to access repeater sites which are few and far between in the wilderness area.

The patient and the McCall-Donnelly Fire Department crew transporting him on quadratrack were at Secesh Saddle. This is a shot down from the helicopter. Photo by Mike Norton, Back Country Medics

Corps completes environmental compliance for Dworshak Nutrient Supplementation Project Environmental Assessment

Environmental Assessment reviewed within well-established process 

Ahsahka - The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District has completed environmental compliance for the Dworshak Nutrient Supplementation Project, an ecosystem improvement project at Dworshak Reservoir. After review and consideration of recent public comments in accordance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), the Corps found that the project would not have significant impacts on the environment. 

The Corps’ environmental analysis was performed within a well-established environmental review process that includes public involvement. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) previously issued a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit to the Corps on Sept. 6, 2011, effective on Oct. 15, 2011 after EPA environmental review and consideration of public comments. The NPDES permit allows application of liquid fertilizer to Dworshak Reservoir as an ecosystem treatment. 

The Corps then performed an Environmental Assessment (EA) and developed a draft Finding of No Significant Impact (FONSI) for public comments. The Corps initially accepted public comments through Feb. 16 and further extended the public comment period until March 17 to accommodate wider public input. All public comments received were considered as part of the decision-making process. The Corps received comments from 22 individuals. 

The Corps has openly communicated with the public about this project for several years at public meetings and, most recently, at an April 12 Open House in Orofino with Idaho Fish and Game (IDFG). The Corps partners with IDFG on this project. The Corps plans to resume addition of nutrients to the reservoir this year. 

District Commander Lt. Col. David Caldwell signed the final FONSI on May 2 after careful deliberation. The Dworshak Nutrient Supplementation Project FONSI, EA, public comments and Corps responses to comments, and related information are available on the District website at

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

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Bassmasters Magazine ranks Columbia River and Dworshak Reservoir in Top 100 best bass fishing spots

Walla Walla, WA. -  Of the thousands of fishing holes across the nation, two locations managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Walla Walla District made the Bassmaster Magazine Top-100 list of best places to fish for bass, according to an April 24 release by B.A.S.S. Communications at  

The Columbia River in Oregon and Washington ranked number 20 on the list. Much of the river’s natural resources recreation opportunities are managed by the Corps’ Walla Walla, Portland and Seattle districts. The river runs about 1,200 miles from its headwaters in British Columbia, Canada, through Washington and Oregon to the Pacific Ocean near Astoria, OR.

The Corps operates five dams on the Columbia River main stem, each forming a lake and water recreation opportunities including fishing. The Walla Walla District operates McNary Lock and Dam in Umatilla, OR, which created Lake Wallula stretching upstream to the Kennewick-Pasco-Richland area in Washington.

Dworshak Reservoir located near Ahsahka, ID, on the north fork of the Clearwater River, ranked number 85 on the Bassmaster Top-100. The reservoir extends 53 miles upstream of Dworshak Dam, with dozens of secluded inlets and streams 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, ID on Oct. 28, 2006.

Dworshak Dam is a large straight-axis concrete gravity dam 717 feet high and 3,287 feet long. Its construction created various marinas, boat launches and camping facilities on the reservoir. Dworshak’s generator unit number three is the largest hydroelectric generator in the Corps of Engineers’ inventory, capable of producing up to 220 megawatts of electricity. 

Bass club and other outdoor recreation groups frequently choose Dworshak for group events and tournaments, according to Corps park rangers at the dam. If your group is 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.

Recreation information for the Walla Walla District’s McNary Lock and Dam area is available from the McNary Natural Resources Management Office in Umatilla, OR at 541-922-2268; Upper Lake Wallula information upstream of McNary is available from Ice Harbor Natural Resources Management in Burbank, WA at 509-547-2048.

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