Wednesday, July 25, 2012

City workers undertake a noble project and need your help

Pictured (l to r) under the new sports gazebo, located above Orofino Elementary are city employees: Todd Perry, Michael Martin, and Jim Thornton as they work on completing the concrete pad. These men worked, on their own time, to construct a covered area for families to enjoy sports. Some work remains to be done, and contributions are still needed.

Looking upwards, from the playing field at Orofino Elementary School, one can see the new gazebo, built for the enjoyment of sports fans.

By Alannah Allbrett

Dan Connor, a Boise man, originally planned to build a home in Orofino. Due to health issues he was unable to do so. He left a lot of equipment and supplies in Orofino which he told city workers they could sell and use the proceeds for a worthy project. That gave the kickoff to the idea of a gazebo.

City workers have been busy building a covered area above the playing fields at Orofino Elementary School. The gazebo is designed to give parents and family members a place, in the shade, to watch school athletics and events.

Michael Martin (Water, Waste Water Supervisor), Todd Perry (Building Official), Jim Thornton (Water, Waste Water), and Sgt. Vincent Frazier (formerly of the Orofino Police Department) volunteered their labor and talents not only in the construction of the gazebo, but in helping to raise funds.

These city employees, in their off hours and without a lot of fanfare, began the work in February. They also raised $900 by making numerous trips hauling off scrap metal and abandoned cars, which gave them the money for fencing and other needs.

Josh Steiner, of Fury Concrete Systems, Orofino, donated the labor for pouring the concrete. The Trevor Haag Memorial Tournament has also contributed to the project.

The work has gone as far as it can, however, until more money is found. If you, or your business, would like to be a part of this worthy project, please make donations via the Trevor Haag Memorial fund through the Lewis Clark Credit Union (LCCU) located at 234 Johnson Avenue.

Casey Drews to run for District 7 House Seat A

Shoshone County native Casey Drews announced her candidacy today for office in the Idaho Legislature. Drews will be running for House Seat A in the newly redrawn District 7 which encompasses Idaho County, Clearwater County, Shoshone County and parts of Bonner County.

A Democrat, Drews said that she is honored to have Shoshone County Sheriff Mitch Alexander and Clearwater County resident, Connie Miller, co-chairing her campaign.

“The constituents of District 7 would be privileged to have Casey represent them,” said Sheriff Alexander. “I’ve watched her become a leader of this community. She understands the challenges we face and always keeps her word.”

“Casey is an exceptional person,” said Connie Miller. “Our region needs her independent voice in the legislature.”

A resident of Wallace, Drews is a fourth generation Idahoan and silver miner. After graduating from Mullan High School, Drews received her Bachelor’s Degree in Criminal Justice Studies from Lewis-Clark State College in Coeur D’Alene. After graduating, Drews followed her family’s footsteps and worked for the Galena silver mine to support her son, Quinn. She is currently a second year law student at the University of Idaho College of Law. Drews is an avid hunter and outdoorswoman. In her free time she enjoys taking Quinn dirt biking, camping and fishing.

Drews said that her campaign will have three priorities: creating jobs for all Idahoans, ensuring Idaho’s youth receive a first-rate education, and restoring integrity and transparency to the Idaho Legislature.

“I am thrilled to share my thoughts with the residents of District 7 on how we can make Idaho great again,” said Drews. “I look forward to working with Democrats, Independents, and Republicans on improving the quality of life in our state.”

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Broken down boaters on Dworshak Reservoir could be in dire straits

The Walla Walla District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has had a large decrease to its recreation budget for 2012+13 and plans to shorten its operating season at several recreation areas at Dworshak Reservoir.

The Corps has also closed or transferred other sites to private management since Oct. 1, 2011. This included the elimination of the gate attendant and maintenance contracts at Dent Acres Campground and boat ramp.

In addition, nine infrequently used sites have been closed, to date, and 25 additional sites have been identified as possible closures.

Most importantly, the declining recreation bud-get has decimated funding for the Clearwater County Sheriff’s Department Marine Program at Dworshak Reservoir, and as a result, there will be fewer patrols on the lake.

The Corps of Engineers is looking for entrepreneurs to fill the gap created by the decreased Dworshak Reservoir recreation budget by asking private individuals to create a towing service business in and around Orofino, to provide towing and retrieval services for more than 85 boats a year.

Previous attempts by the Corps has failed to generate interest in operating a full-time boat towing and retrieval operation that would be available 24 hours a day, seven days a week for Dworshak Reservoir, from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend.

Once again, an urgent plea is being sent out, in the hope of locating someone willing to start a private towing business that would be on call as needed, and who would have the ability to set rates and bill individual boat owners accordingly. Interested individuals can contact Paul Pence at the Dworshak offices in Ahsahka or Loren Whitten-Kaboth at Clearwater County Economic Development.

Kelli Banks, FNP, to begin seeing patients in Pierce

Kelli Banks, FNP, Clearwater Valley Hospital and Clinics will begin seeing patients at the Pioneer Medical Clinic, 105 Carle Street, in Pierce.

Banks came to CVHC from Anderson, Missouri and has been working in the healthcare field since 2005. Kelli is from the Eastern Oregon area and is excited to be moved back to the Northwest to be near her family.

She previously worked in several rural hospital emergency departments and is excited to be starting a new career practicing in our Kooskia, Orofino and Pierce Clinics.

Kelli is certified in Pediatric Life Support and especially loves working with OB patients, women and children. She has held several Labor and Delivery Nurse positions before completing her Masters of Science and Nursing and receiving her Family Nurse Practitioner Certification.

“Kelli is a great addition to our Medical Staff at CVHC, we are glad that she will also be available at two of our satellite clinics to give a larger number of patients a chance to establish their care with her,” says Vicky Petersen, Clinic Manager.

If you would like to set up an appointment with Kelli Banks at the Orofino Clinic please call 476-5777, or at Kooskia Medical Clinic at 926-7801, or Pioneer Medical Clinic in Pierce at 464-2578.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Pierce youth to receive Eagle Scout award

Jonathan Syed, of Pierce, has been involved with scouting since he began as a Tiger Cub at six-years-old. At that time, there was a Scout Pack of Pierce and Weippe boys.

Unfortunately, after a couple years, the Hilltop pack disbanded due to a lack of interest, and Jonathan joined the very active Pack/Troop #536 of Orofino. For the past nine years, he has enjoyed many campouts and activities with this group.

Jonathan, now 17, will be honored at a special Eagle Scout ceremony Sunday, July 15, 5 p.m. at the Pierce Community Center. The public is invited to attend.

To earn Scouting’s highest award, Jonathan had to earn 21 merit badges, serve as a leader in his troop, and complete a major community service project.

Jonathan’s service project took place at the Chinese Hanging Site, along Highway 11, just south of Pierce. After almost nine months of research and planning, in June of 2010, Jonathan led a group of 11 Scouts and adults to perform the work of clearing the 360’ trail up to the historic site, and installing four interpretive signs along the path.

The signs begin with E.D. Pierce, arriving in the area on a gold-seeking expedition, discusses the ensuing gold rush, introduces the influx of the Chinese into the area, and the final sign details the Fraser murder and Chinese hanging incident.

Jonathan will be a senior at Timberline High School this upcoming year, and he plans to pursue a degree in criminal justice at the University of Massachusetts in the future.

One year reprieve for rural school districts

By Alannah Allbrett

A one year extension has been approved by the U.S. Congress to continue payments under the Se­cure Rural Schools (SRS) Act which has provided $3 billion dollars to rural counties which were hit hard by timber industry restrictions by the feds.

Congress authorized a one-time distribution of $346 million to 700 rural counties across 41 states. Idaho is pegged to receive $27.4 million which is a 31 percent reduction from the previous year’s funding. Since 2000, SRS funds have been supplementing school districts that otherwise would have floundered due declining shares of federal logging revenues. Environmental protection for fish and wildlife in national forests in the 1990’s forced sharp cutbacks in the timber industry and subsequent revenue it provided to school districts.

Local School Superintendent, Bob Vian, said that the district (Joint District 171) is just grateful to receive anything at this point. He believes the amount the district receives will be in the $220,000 range. It is funded to the district’s budget typically in January, but was not received in 2012 until March. Vian said he would like to see $100,000 go towards special one-time maintenance projects and the rest into a rainy-day fund. Timberline Schools need a new food mixer in their Food Service Program; that mixer alone cost over $9,000. Vian said there are so many needs right now; the board will have to determine how monies are allocated.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Idaho soldier begins fourth year in captivity

June 30 marked the beginning of U.S. Army Soldier Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl’s fourth year of captivity with the Taliban. Sgt. Bergdahl, an Idaho resident, is being held in Eastern Afghanistan.

“June 30 marks the end of three years captivity for our son. We remain hopeful for the release of our son and we will continue to work to make that happen,” said the family in an official statement.

“We would like to thank the organizers and participants in a number of events around our nation who have rallied to bring awareness to our cause of bringing Bowe home. The yellow ribbons we see all around our own community remind us that our son has not been forgotten here at home or around the world. We’d also like to ask each of you as individuals and as a nation for your continued awareness as Bowe begins his fourth year as a prisoner. We want this to be the year we see our only son safely returned home.”

The Defense Department remains focused on efforts to return the only U.S. service member known to be in Taliban captivity to his family, Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. John Kirby said. Kirby told reporters that freeing Army Sgt. Bowe R. Bergdahl is a constant focus for commanders in Afghanistan.

“Every day…there is time, attention and sometimes substantial resources applied to trying to locate, identify where he is and to continue to look at options for how to get him home,” he said.

Kirby was asked about Bergdahl during a regular meeting with the Pentagon press corps. The 26-year-old soldier was found missing from his duty station in eastern Afghanistan on June 30, 2009 and was declared missing/captured three days later.

Bergdahl, from Hailey, Idaho, is assigned to the 1st Battalion, 501st Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division, based at Fort Richardson, Alaska.

The Defense Department is keeping the Bergdahl family informed of efforts to find and return their son, Kirby said.

“Our thoughts and prayers and our hearts go out to the Bergdahl family and we appreciate the anguish that they continue to endure,” he added.

“It’s a sad day for all Idahoans as we face the reality that one of our native sons is about to enter his fourth year in captivity,” said Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. “But I know the Department of Defense and other U.S. agencies are doing all they can to safely bring Sgt. Bergdahl home to his family.

“Since this began three years ago, I have met with the Bergdahls several times and am impressed with the fortitude they’ve shown throughout this unimaginable ordeal. I know that part of their strength comes from the support they receive in their community, from citizens around our state and our nation.

“Please continue to keep the Bergdahls in your thoughts and prayers as we look forward to the day Bowe Bergdahl safely returns to Idaho,” concluded Gov. Otter.

Mystery Dinner Theater a week away

A play filled with local humor and a spoof on football, combined with an all-you-can-eat barbeque dinner awaits lucky fans in just another weekend!

You won’t want to miss this year’s mystery dinner theater presentation; the last one was a sell-out with patrons missing out on tickets! This year’s play was extended to a four-night run to accommodate those who had wished they could attend the popular event two years ago.

Each night’s presentation begins at 5:30 p.m. with a no-host bar and complimentary appetizers, while guests find their seating in the lovely Sunken Garden of the High Country Inn. The play and dinner will begin promptly at 6:30 p.m., and will end before it gets dark.

The dinner menu will include chicken, country-style ribs, and sausages; several hearty salads, cowboy beans, garlic bread, dessert, and beverage. The “tailgater style” buffet dinner will be served during the course of the play, and guests will be entertained the whole time, guessing at some football trivia while wondering about “who dun-it?” This is an event all will want to attend! —an event which will be talked about for days afterward, so don’t miss the action and fun!

Idaho Vandal fans will be spotlighted Thursday, July 12, while Friday night’s event hopes to draw “Always a Maniac” fans. However, all four nights are open for all. Saturday and Sunday evenings will be just as much fun for all.

Tickets are available by the night preferred, at the library. The phone number at the Clearwater Memorial Public Library is 476-3411, or call Jo Moore at 476-7570 for more information.

Raffle tickets will be available at each night’s performance of Fatal Football Fever, with a grand array of prizes being offered, including this beautiful “trophy” autographed Vandal football held by library Director Ellen Tomlinson. The football, along with four tickets for the Vandals’ Homecoming game, sideline passes, deluxe Vandal shirts and cap, all make up the Vandals package.

Other packages include a 12-guest suite at an Idaho Steelheads ice hockey game in Boise along with a deluxe king room at the adjoining Four Star Grove Hotel in the CenturyLink Arena; a set of hand-thrown pottery by Bernie DeLallo, and a deluxe dinner and overnight package at the High Country Inn. Tickets for these prizes are also available at the library for $5 each, as well as the play/dinner tickets.