Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Edith Webb Vannoy writes book

By Harriet L. Reece

Edith Webb Vannoy has written a 90-page true story about the family of her husband, Allie Vannoy, his boyhood years in North Carolina and his family as they traveled to, and lived in, North Central Idaho in the early days.

The couple lived many years at Cavendish and now lives in Lewiston. For a number of years they were snow birds to Apache Junction, AZ and traveled around the country in their motor home. Allie, who likes to be called Al, recently celebrated his 100th birthday to an overflow crowd at the Community Center in Lewiston and now approaching 101 in September, is still going strong. Edith will be 97 a few days later.

For years Al has regaled us with stories of his youth in North Carolina and his early years in Idaho. He always knew how to have fun and this was enhanced when he added the keen sense of humor of Edith Webb when they married in 1938. She has recorded many of these stories in their book, "A Nice Car, A good Woman, A Little Fun Every Day." That has been Al's motto through his hundred plus years and his garage today sports an antique pickup next to a shinny red late model Chevrolet. He still has Edith and they are still having fun.

A description of the book according to Amazon follows: "Life was good but never easy growing up on pre-depression North Carolina farm, and it was soon to become not so good and a lot less easy. Follow this teenager, rapidly pushing into manhood, as his father, forced by hard times to abandon nearly everything he owns, takes two young sons on a 3500 mile search for a greener pasture that never materialized. Though young and not yet full grown, Allie Vannoy is strong, willing and hungry. He has soon to show he had plenty of grit, and even better, an unwavering belief that he was equal to any challenge life or a sadistic boss could lay on him.

"Allie's is no gloom and doom tale of struggle and deprivation. He was and still is stubbornly optimistic... a man of persistent good humor who makes his early trials and successes good stories with which to regale anyone willing to give him a good listen."

The book is available at and will be available at Rosauer's and other locations in Lewiston soon.

Al was born in 1911 in rural North Carolina where he lived from infancy through his teen years. He, his father, and his brother, Ocie, moved to Idaho where they share cropped with horse and mule power. He remembers well what happened over 90 years ago and in between. He rebuilt many old cars, but left his shop in Cavendish when he moved to Lewiston. In his Lewiston kitchen he turns out some really good food, and is known for his delicious bread.

Edith grew up in Reubens and in 1933 graduated from Craigmont High School. She was working for the Forest Service in Orofino when she met Al. and they were soon married. Her hobby is making dolls and she has many including some with faces of porcelain. Her genealogy study has connected them with many relatives and interesting people "not so related." An accomplished pianist, she often played at the Methodist churches in Cavendish and Lewiston Orchards. Her original skits kept many rolling in the isles with laughter at community events. You can find her on Facebook as she keeps in touch with her children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren of whom she is very close.

They are staunch Democrats and Al was honored to drive Governor Cecil Andrus in Al's antique car at a Lumberjack Days parade in Orofino.

I feel privileged to have this amazing couple as friends and neighbors, as they have lived within a mile of me and my husband for most of 59 years.

Friday, August 17, 2012

School District news

By Superintendent Bob Vian

District level

During the last budget cycle the district lost a significant amount of revenue when the Federal Jobs Program ended with a loss of nearly $200,000. In addition we built a budget without assurance that the Craig/Wyden “timber money” which Western States have relied upon for years would be renewed. In July we received notice that there would be Federal timber funds, but at a level approximately $100,000 less than the prior year. In addition the district lost 45 students over the past year. State funds are based on students so funding from the state will be reduced.

Local taxpayers were generous and passed our operating levy of $1.94 million, the same level as the 2011-12 fiscal year.

The budget for 2012-13 was written to “right size” the district based on fewer students and funding cuts. The majority of the cuts to teaching staff were made via retirements and resignations. Several Instructional Aides were cut, but we are currently working to reallocate funds to rehire some of those lost positions. It is our intent that no student’s special needs will be neglected.

Putting money into facilities maintenance was a major concern. As you will read in the building reports several projects are underway. Our goal is to spend our money locally and most of the maintenance work is being performed by local contractors and companies.

Dr Kerrie Raines joins the district as our new Special Education Director. Dr. Raines served as a vice-principal, Federal Programs Officer, and Special Education Director in Glenn’s Ferry Idaho for the past couple of years.

Ben Jenkins will assume the duties of Lon Blades, who retired, as Transportation Director. Ben will continue as the head mechanic along with the Director’s position.

Cavendish School

Teacher Jenine Nord will start school with a logging theme this year, preparing for the county fair. Students will do research on logging the first couple of weeks of school. Jenine plans to ask local loggers to speak to the students. Students will take a field trip to the Dam Visitor Center and the Orofino Museum on Aug. 28 to learn about logging.

The furnace was replaced at Cavendish.


Mindy Pollock will have the Peck students working on projects for the Clearwater Fair as well. The logging theme of the fair will dictate projects.

Timberline Schools

New Principal Shaun Ball has moved to Pierce from Bonners Ferry. He reported that the one portable which was purchased has been moved from the east side of the school. The portable is sited next to the current Timberline Elementary building. TES will now have six classrooms for the seven K-6 grades. No elementary students will have classes in the high school this year. The second portable was returned to the vendor.

Timberline High School will have one new teacher this year; Joe Lawrence replaces Shannon Poppe, long time School District #171 teacher who moved to Wyoming. Mr. Lawrence will teach Language Arts. Joe attended high school in Lewiston, did his student teaching in Lewiston, and substituted there last year.

The new sewer system is nearing completion. The nearly $300,000 project is being built by local contractor Riverview Construction. The new system will replace a system that used two sewage ponds that were beyond their life span. The majority of funds for the project has come from the districts $232,784 Building Fund (money from property which the district has sold, we are currently receiving $250 per month due to the sale of Weippe Elementary on a contract) which will be depleted. The balance will come from Federal forest funds.

Orofino Elementary

New Principal Shelly Brooks has joined our staff from Priest River. Mrs. Brooks has six years of experience as a high school principal in Priest River and Kellogg. Prior to becoming a principal she served in several administrative positions and as a Special Education Teacher.

Deidre Jenkins will become a full-time fourth grade teacher. Lindsay Waggener was hired to fill Mrs Jenkins’ half time position. Jennifer Jyler will be the Special Education teacher at OES.

Mrs. Brooks and head custodian Justin Howard have been overseeing several building upgrades at OES. The portable classrooms are being removed from the school grounds. Avista has removed several power poles and upgraded insulation on the overhead wires near the school. Two restrooms are being remodeled due to floor joist dry rot and generally poor condition. Two classrooms, where odor problems have persisted for the past couple of years, were stripped to subfloor level. New floors and carpets have been installed to make the classrooms ready for students and staff for the new school year.

Orofino High School

Principal Robert Alverson is the “old timer” in the district administration. He will begin his second year as principal at OHS. Doug South, hired from Marsing High School, will be the new Vice Principal. Mr. South will also serve as Activities Director. Doug will handle all aspects of school administration including teacher supervision, student discipline, and student safety. Michael Tetwiller has been hired to teach math at OHS. Mr. Tetwiller replaces retired social studies teacher Bo Cummings.

Space has been adjusted to make room for the seventh grade move to OHS. Seventh grade lockers and a computer classroom used by the seventh graders were moved from OES.

OHS has received a wiring upgrade to allow all computer labs to operate simultaneously, something that the building wiring could not handle in the past. New rain gutters have been ordered for the front of the building. Old worn and torn carpet is being replaced in three classrooms by local contractors. The carpet was a safety hazard as students and staff tripped on the seams that had four inch gaps of missing carpet.

Clearwater County sees rise in percentage of college graduates

By Bill Bishop and Roberto Gallardo

Clearwater County has experienced a brain gain in the last 40 years, joining the rest of the country in what has been a massive increase in the number of adults who have earned college degrees.

In 1970, 5.7 percent of those over 25 years of age had college degrees in Clearwater County. By 2010, 14.4 percent of adults here had completed college.

The percentage of adults with college degrees in Clearwater County was less than the national average of 27.9 percent in 2010. The college-educated rate here was less than the Idaho average of 24.3 percent.

The number of adults in the United States with college degrees has nearly tripled since 1970, when only 10.7 percent of adults had graduated from college. But the percentage of adults with degrees in rural counties, such as Clearwater County, while increasing, has generally fallen behind the proportion of college-educated residents in urban counties.

The loss of young, well-educated residents has posed a long-standing difficulty for rural communities.

“One of the problems that rural areas face is that in order to get a college education, young people often have to leave,” says Judith Stallmann, an economist at the University of Missouri. “Once you leave, that introduces you to other opportunities that you might not have seen had you not left.”

The good news for rural America is that it has caught up in every other measure of education.

In 1970, 7.8 percent of adults in rural counties had some education after high school, but less than a college degree. By 2010, 27.4 percent of rural adults had attained some post high school education without earning a college diploma. That level of education was close to the national average of 28.1 percent.

In Clearwater County, 9.1 percent of adults had some college in 1970, rising to 28.3 percent in 2010. The Idaho average in 2010 was 35.1 percent. Clearwater County had 5,866 adults (those over 25 years of age) in 1970 and 6,691 adults in 2010.

Overall, Stallmann says, the trends show that “rural people have responded to the demand for increased job skills by the increasing their post secondary education.”

Only 15.3 percent of the adult population in Clearwater County had failed to graduate from high school in 2010. Nationally 15 percent of adults had not completed high school; in Idaho, the rate was 11.8 percent.

Mark Partridge, a rural economist at Ohio State University, says that regional differences in college graduation rates have increased in recent years. Partridge said his studies have found that rural counties and counties with small cities in the South and West didn’t fare as well as those in the Midwest and Northeast in attracting college graduates. Even though the Sunbelt has seen tremendous growth over the past few decades, the South’s rural counties haven’t kept up in terms of attracting adults with college degrees.

But the problem of keeping college graduates in rural America is a national issue and one that is also enduring.
Types of jobs

Missouri economist Stallmann said this is a reflection of the kinds of jobs that are generally available in rural communities. If there are fewer jobs demanding college degrees in a community, there are likely to be fewer college graduates.

“It’s a big deal in a lot of rural counties because you don't see a lot of jobs that require a college education," Stallmann said. Young people graduating from high school don’t see many jobs that demand a college diploma, so they don’t think about coming home once they leave for the university.

There can be a “self-reinforcing cycle” in rural communities, Stallmann said — young people leave to gain higher education, they don’t come back after college because there aren’t jobs that demand such education, and their absence diminishes the chances that more of these kinds of jobs will be created.

Nationally, rural counties and counties with small cities have caught up with urban counties in the percentage of adults who have some post high school education. Stallmann sees this as a sign that “there are perhaps more jobs in rural areas that require post secondary education but not college.”

Both Stallmann and Partridge said the data on college education rates told them that rural communities should consider the kind of jobs being created locally.

“Rural communities may need to think about the types of jobs being created,” Stallmann said. “There are some communities that are doing things like getting local businesses to put an emphasis on hiring local kids who got a college education."

“It really suggests that rural communities that aren't thinking about making themselves attractive to educated people are really going to suffer,” Partridge said.

Bill Bishop is co-editor of the Daily Yonder (, an online news publication covering rural America that is published by the Center for Rural Strategies. The Center for Rural Strategies ( is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization whose mission is to promote healthy civic discourse about rural issues.

Roberto Gallardo is an assistant extension professor at the Southern Rural Development Center at Mississippi State University, ( For the raw information included in this story and charts, graphs and a map, visit this site:

Friday, August 10, 2012

Letters to the Editor: Myrick Pullen, III and Pat Baxter

Dear Editor:

For Clearwater County come November two county commissioners will be elected. I have a definite stake in one candidate, John Allen.

John needs no recommendation from those he served as commissioner from 2008-2010; from those that paid attention, that is.

As seen from my childhood and for the over 60 years that followed, John has selflessly nurtured the lives of a large portion of those around him, my father for one. His concern for community characterizes him completely. John bridles at the political process and in conversations with all around him focuses doggedly on the needs of his home county. John lives county government.

Political polemics aside, a commissioner can do more for your immediate well being than any other level of government; your safety, your roads, your hospital, and your unforeseen emergencies. If I had to trust anyone with my life it would certainly be John from a lifetime of observation. Clearwater County has a host of people who know him in the same way.

Your concern for Clearwater County joined with John Allen as Commissioner will go a long way toward making Clearwater a desirable home.
Myrick (Mac) Pullen, III
OHS ’61 U of I ‘65 
Dear Editor:

Grateful acknowledgment to County Commissioner Carole Galloway and Commissioner candidate Trever Heighes! These two people recently demonstrated how committed they are to our local property rights.

Commissioner Galloway’s recent Clearwater Tribune article described how the Corps of Engineers harassed a Pierce land owner about “wetlands” on his property, operating without a required permit and violating the Clean Water Act. The landowner was threatened with a $32,000 per day penalty, $100,000 criminal penalties including imprisonment. This is precisely how the Sackett’s of Priest Lake lost control of their property for 7 years until a recent Supreme Court ruling found in their favor. Fortunately, Trever was the equipment operator on the site at the time and was familiar with the rights of the property owner and knowledgeable of the landowner’s compliance with the law.

When the landowner scheduled a meeting with a Corps Supervisor, both Trever and Carole attended. The local landowner had the full support of a County Commissioner and a candidate for Commissioner who stood against a bureaucracy that would attempt to nullify citizen property rights. It was ultimately determined that the Pierce landowner did nothing illegal!

Re-elect Carole Galloway and elect Trever Heighes as County Commissioners when you vote on Nov. 6. They protect property rights and property owners.
Pat Baxter

City of Orofino accepts airport bid, changes Lumberjack Days vendors’ setup

By Alannah Allbrett

A special meeting was held of the Orofino City Council July 31 for the purpose of accepting a bidder for airport pavement rehabilitation, and an access road and apron construction at the airport.

Three separate motions were passed: firstly, to award the airport project to Debco Construction, contingent upon FAA funding and concurrence in award; secondly, to allow the mayor to sign the contract with Debco, and lastly, to allow the mayor and city administrator to accept the FAA grant upon receipt and authorize them to sign the offer once received.

A special (and separate) meeting of the Street Committee was held, with members of Orofino Celebrations, Inc. (OCI) as guests, to discuss overcrowding by street vendors during fair week, and to discuss fees and the application of them.

It is incumbent upon the city to provide safety for the community through policing of the streets and park during fair week. The city also provides maintenance of the City Park and clean-up of streets and fair grounds afterwards. All fees collected by the city, through licensing of activities, help to defray those costs and go into the Street Committee budget.

Members of the OCI Board said they are not opposed to the city keeping fees, but pointed out that vendors within the park are from the city’s non-profit groups.

Outside vendors compete for those dollars and take business outside of the fair. Several vendors rent space from private owners and also set up on sidewalks, impeding pedestrian traffic. OCI is content that all monies continue to support the Sidewalk Program.

The Street Committee made the recommendation that, 21 vendor spaces (12’ x 25’) will be allowed in a designated area for a rental fee of $50 per day, plus the purchase of a special business license for $35 (covering Thursday through Sunday during the fair).

The city will take over all vendor placements on College and Main Streets. The closed area, reserved for outside grounds vendors, will include the area between the railroad trestle and Main Street and between Main Street and First Street. Wisconsin Street will be blocked off.

City staff will mark off the designated rental spots. No vendors will be allowed to set up on sidewalks. Vendors still have the option to set-up on private property as long as no public right-of-way is encroached upon.

The city anticipates $2,100 in vendor rental fees and $735 in business licenses. Letters of intent have been mailed to regular vendors, notifying them of fee increases and of spaces available. Spaces are rented on a first come, first served basis.

The city, besides waiving business license fees to non-profit groups, will continue to be supportive of OCI’s functions.
The Council meets every second and fourth Tuesday, at 6 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 217 1st St., Orofino.

Friday, August 3, 2012

Wagonteamster hits the road

Bob Skelding is traveling with a wagon and a team of horses around the northwest. There starting point was La Garita Creek, CO, and they will end their journey in the southwest before the snow flies. 

While most travelers’ thoughts are on the price of fuel these days Bob Skelding of La Garita Creek, CO, and his team of horses, Doc, Bill and Bob, are cruising past the gas pumps. After a day of being on the road these explorers are looking for a cool place to stop and rest that has good grazing and access to water.

Skelding, a nuclear industry consultant, and his team, which consists of two Belgians and a Percheron, will travel 1300 miles in three months, averaging 20 miles per day. This is the fourth trip for Skelding with his horses and wagon and they will travel through 11 western states on this trek.

After a stop near Greer Friday and a visit with local 4-H leader Eileen Rowan about horse pulling he headed to Orofino. Skelding and his horses traveled through the Orofino area Saturday, stopping at a local grocery store for lunch, water and supplies. He anticipated he would be in the Lewiston area Monday.

Skelding’s fourth trip began April 30 from La Garita Creek and he anticipates ending up in the southwest before the snow flies. He carries eight bales of hay and 600 pounds of grain for feeding reserve; however, he stops along the way frequently to let the horses graze and rest Sunday he stopped overnight along the Clearwater River near Lenore. He will cut across southwest Washington to Walla Walla and then head south to California to beat the snow.

The journey

Skelding reported that he had a chance about four years ago to decide what was important in his life and to lose some of the “excess baggage” and do something he truly loved.

Skelding, the father of two grown children and grandfather to a two year old grandson, writes on his blog that the sole purpose of his journey is to travel by horse and wagon and meet people. He wants people to share their experiences with him and he enjoys sharing his. He is not supporting any cause or trying to achieve a goal. He does not have any sponsors.

The reason he travels in this fashion is because it combines all the things he likes best and eliminates those he likes least. He writes, “Also, I can’t think of a cooler thing to do.”

The horses

Bill and Bob are the two Belgian geldings in the team. They are half brothers, 14 and 15 years old, and weigh about 2000 pounds each and stand about 18 hands high. Doc, the Percheron, was adopted out after Skelding thought he was no longer able to pull, but was later returned to Skelding and is back to enjoying the traveling adventures.

About the wagon

Skelding’s first wagon, with a loaded weight of 7700 lbs., was built from scratch on a running gear. The six ton running gear included bolster springs for a better ride, hydraulic drum brakes on the front and mechanical brakes on the rear. The wagon was 7 ½ feet wide and 16 feet long. The walls were constructed on 2 x 4 frames and sheathed with 3/8” plywood. It had a 75 watt solar panel to help keep a charge on the battery.

This wagon was destroyed Feb. 10, 2009, on a trip from New Hampshire to Mississippi when Skelding and his team were rear-ended by a tanker truck traveling 71 mph. Two of the horses on this team were killed. Skelding spent four months recovering and then set off on a new adventure with a new wagon and a pair of Belgians to pull it.

The new wagon, weighing 3800 pounds loaded, was built on a three ton running gear. It has outside storage boxes and an outside shelf for supplies, a stove, refrigerator, sink, toilet and shower with all the necessary plumbing and electrical. Water is stored in a 20 gallon tank and there is a propane/electric hot water heater with six gallons of hot water storage.

There are two deep cycle marine batteries for electrical storage and an inverter, charger, solar panel and a “shore power” electrical reel. Skelding usually has to plug in every two days to recharge the batteries. The table and seats convert into a full sized bed and the shower is on the front porch with the floor lifting up for the shower tub.

Skelding’s philosophy that he tells people that stop to visit with him is that they should strive for their dreams but also make the best of what they have. Good philosophy for anyone, not just a man with a wagon and a team of horses.

(To read more about Skelding’s adventures go to, where he posts blogs and has information on his past travels and adventures.)

Horses Doc, Bill and Bob took a rest Saturday near the Orofino Bridge before resuming their trip towards Lewiston. Two horses are used to pull the wagon and one is ‘pony-ed’ behind the trailer.

Grazing near “Peach Lane” by Lenore was a little more complicated of a camping spot than Skelding had originally thought it would be. The river bank was too steep to lead the horses to water so the horses were watered from the wagon stores.

Fate of Henry Nelson discovered

Ethel Poole Crim and Henry Nelson (left side of the picture) are pictured with family members.
Norwegian grandson will visit area in September

Retired Norwegian reporter Pelle Nilssen has learned the fate of his grandfather, Henry (Nilssen) Nelson.

In December of 2011, Pelle, a resident of Oslo, Norway, contacted the Clearwater Tribune requesting aid in tracking down his grandfather, who left Norway for the United States in 1909. Henry left behind a wife and son, and his motives for doing so were a mystery; one that sparked Pelle’s curiosity. He began to research Henry’s journey, tracing his movements through Deer Lodge, MT and Anaconda, MT.

Just when it seemed like he had hit a dead end, Pelle’s daughter-in-law came upon evidence that Henry worked for Schmidt Bros. Mill in Weippe in about 1935. The exact time he was employed there is unknown. This evidence included a social security number, and the information it yielded verified Henry’s identity.

The Clearwater Tribune ran two articles about Pelle’s search. He was also in contact with a few enthusiastic researchers from surrounding areas, and thanks to their efforts, Henry’s fate was discovered.

Henry Nikolai Nelson married the widow Ethel Poole Crim in Nezperce in 1939. While married they lived in Weippe as well as Nezperce. Ethel died of cancer in January of 1962. Henry died of a heart attack just three weeks later. They are both buried in Nezperce.

Pelle was able to find and connect with one of Ethel’s grandchildren, a man named Norris Young. In September of this year, Pelle is visiting this area to see where his grandfather spent the last several years of his life. He also plans to spend time with Norris, plus meet the people who helped him.

Norris may be the only living person who remembers Henry, but Pelle is holding out hope there is someone else. He is even interested in meeting them while he visits. If you think you remember Henry Nelson—even if you didn’t know him personally—please contact the Clearwater Tribune at (208) 476-4571 or e-mail