Friday, November 30, 2012

Remember the Brink And A Half Club?

This is the seventh-edition cover of Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure. The magazine was published by the Brink And A Half Club, and printed by the Tribune Publishing Company of Lewiston. This issue is from 1954.

By Andrea Dell

Unless you were alive in the mid-twentieth century, you probably do not remember the Brink And A Half Club. If you have heard of it, you might know it was founded by people who accidentally drove their cars into the Clearwater River.

Harry Cummings shared with the Clearwater Tribune a 1954 issue of a magazine called Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure, published by the Brink And A Half Club. The magazine featured a plethora of photographs and articles promoting recreation in the Clearwater area and along the Lewis-Clark Highway.

Activities and topics covered ranged from wildfire fighting to fishing, hunting, motorcycle riding, camping, and much more.

The Brink And A Half Club’s founding members clearly had quite the sense of humor. According to the magazine, the club was organized on Sept. 27, 1947, in the small mining community of Fall Creek and Golden.

The founders, a group of local residents who unintentionally landed their cars in the Clearwater River, took the club’s name from this experience. “If you’re on the road, you’re on the BRINK, take away half and you’re in the river—thus Brink And A Half,” explained the article.

Initially, only people who accidentally entered the Clearwater as passengers in a vehicle were eligible to be members. If reading through issues of the Clearwater Tribune from the time period when this club was founded is any indication, someone was newly eligible to become a member nearly every week.

Later, the rules were altered so anyone who had simply driven along the Clearwater could become a member. Finally, membership became open to anyone who wished to join. The membership fee was $3 a year, according to the 1954 issue of Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure.

The club didn’t seek publicity, yet newspapers and magazines carried articles that were read across the country. Letters from all over the United States, including Alaska and Hawaii; and even European countries, made their way to the club. All expressed interest in learning more about Clearwater country.

This inspired the club’s members to publish and distribute, once a year, a booklet. It was called Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure.

From the original 12 members, the Brink And A Half Club grew to several thousand, and included people from Europe and Asia.

Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure was published from 1948 to 1958. The editor listed in the 1954 issue was David Brazil. Horace Parker and Roscoe LeGresley were Associate Editors. Brink And A Half Club officers were Ben Bear of Orofino, President; Ernie Nelson of Lewiston, Vice-President; and Horace Parker of Grangeville, Treasurer. The directors were Roscoe LeGresley of Kooskia, Ed Folden of Clearwater, Harry E. Faris of Kooskia, and Charlie Dundas of Pierce.

This “Big Game Hunting” article was taken from the 1954 issue of Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure.

The cutline that ran in the Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure 1954 issue this photo appeared in read, “Nez Perce Chiefs performing ancient tribal dance. Shira photo.” It may have been taken during Grangeville Border Days.

Delbert Roby, now living in Kamiah, is the man in the center of this picture. To the right is Dick Roby, now deceased. The fellow on the left is unknown. Cutline information under the photo stated, “Three Kamiah residents with the limit of salmon. These six fish weighed a total of 108 pounds. Salmon fishing is good during the spring months. Photo by C.W. Adams.”

Here is a picture of Zan’s Tavern, located a few miles upriver from Orofino, that appeared in the 1954 issue of Idaho’s Golden Road To Adventure.

Monday, November 26, 2012

On the highway with OPD

By Alannah Allbrett

“Up against the car; hands behind your back! Feet back, and spread ‘em!” Just kidding! Those weren’t the words Orofino Police Department (OPD) Officer Matt Russell (pictured above) said to me Nov. 2 when I stood beside his 2009 Dodge cruiser with St. Michael on the sun visor. What he actually said was, “You’re the first person to ride with me in a long time, who I wasn’t taking to jail.” I came armed with a laptop, a tape recorder, a notebook and pen, and a lot of curiosity as I joined him for a ride-along on his swing shift in Orofino.

What did I expect? Well, I sort of pictured us s*l*o*w*l*y cruising through sleepy neighborhoods, an occasional dog barking in otherwise quiet streets, routine drives down back alleyways and a little boredom thrown into the mix. What I got was carsick trying to write in the dark on my lap – in a sometimes fast moving and rarely standing still vehicle.

First I’m going one direction down Hwy. 12 – nope, now we are going the other way. What’s that? There’s something in the road? We turn around and stop in the middle of the highway, lights flashing. It turns out to be a bunched up tarp somebody dropped or blew off of a vehicle. Officer Matt retrieves it quickly and stows it in the trunk. Later we swing by the police station to drop it off; he hasn’t got room to haul around extra stuff.

I soon found that cramming into the tight fitting passenger side of the car, with a Tough Book laptop mounted to my left, a long flashlight mounted by my left kneecap, a radar gun (looking like a remote control with a curly telephone cord), a hand-held drivers’ license scanner, and some other gadgets I was afraid to touch – that this was not going to be an easy night. I resorted to taking notes the old fashioned way, with a notebook and pen.

‘I’m tough,’ I told myself. ‘If he can take it, I can take it!’ So, with my laptop case as a desk, and my purse on the floor between my feet (hey, I’m old, gotta have a purse) – I proceed to play reporter asking lots of questions of this nice young man who has helped me out in the past, more than once.

One time, on a hot summer day, I locked myself out of my car (I know, I know) while getting gas at IGA. I went into the store wondering what to do. It was after business hours, so I couldn’t call a locksmith, even if I knew of one. I was tired, thirsty, and embarrassed to have done such a stupid thing.

Karen Wolfe, at the service desk, bought me a bottle of water with her own money and said she’d call the police for help. ‘The police?’ I thought. I’m from a big city, and it never would have occurred to me to call the police for something like getting locked out of one’s car. Soon, Matt was on the scene to help me. It was tricky; he didn’t want to break the automatic locking system, so he called in Mickey of JV Lock & Key to help. (Thanks Mickey. Thanks Karen!) Another time, my car was vandalized, and Matt was there taking pictures and writing a report.

We make a stop to fuel the car then are heading past Tri-Pro to pick up a service revolver from another officer. One of Matt’s jobs is to perform regular maintenance on service weapons to make sure they are in proper firing order. As we pass the mill, Matt says that he grew up playing in back of it with other kids.

It was never part of his plan to come back to his hometown after finishing POST training in Pocatello’s Idaho State University. But he worked for Clearwater County Sheriff Department as the resident deputy in Weippe before joining OPD. ‘How’s that going for you?’ I asked him. “So far I approve,” he answered. It’s challenging enough to be in law enforcement without serving in the town where you grew up; where a former classmate might think he gets special treatment instead of a deserved DUI.

With the service revolver picked up and secured in the trunk, we are heading back towards town on Michigan Avenue. Up ahead, a small sedan has a white light showing on the rear end below the taillight. “Local 32090, white Subaru” Matt says into his mic. The dispatcher comes back with the registered owner’s name and city of residence.

Matt thumps the keyboard of his built-in laptop and verifies the driver’s information. He waits until the driver is in a straight area with room to pull off, then turns on his lights. One can almost feel the driver’s heart thumping as she slows down and pulls off the road. “You know you’re giving her a heart attack,” I say. “Mmmmhm” comes the reply as he steps out of the squad car, closes the door, and carefully approaches the stopped vehicle.

With the observation camera filming the scene in front of me, I watch as he reaches down and checks the tail light area and then steps forward to talk to the driver. Turns out to be a middle aged lady from Lenore. No, she did not know she had a backup light stuck on. She is given a courtesy warning and the opportunity to fix it, Matt calls in “clear” on the radio, finishes entering information in his computer, and we move on.

‘Do you run a regular circuit around town?’ I ask. He replies in the negative, “I try not to get into predictable patterns or habits.” We make another run down the highway and back before heading towards the high school. Matt turns on his spotlight, and checks the doors and windows at the school. He responds to the dispatcher many times during the night, turning the radar on and off with the approach of passing cars. He explains what the lights on the radar equipment stand for and the various beeps it makes. One kind of chirp indicates a misreading on the radar that might happen as three cars approach at the same for instance.

We are in the downtown area of Orofino, it’s a Friday night, and three teen-aged girls are laughing and yelling to each other as they meander toward the theatre. Another woman hesitates by a car. Matt watches to make sure she is not in trouble. He explains that her behavior looked curious, and he wanted to know that she was alright. A couple more loops on the highway, and we are back downtown again. By this time I had gotten myself good and queasy from trying to write, ask questions, and watch the road as we traveled.

It’s very dark, and I’ve abandoned any type of note taking, I switch to my tape recorder as we ride along – except for the radio, it’s quiet for the moment. We cross Orofino Bridge, and Matt is checking out a pickup in front of us that has some kind of metal object sticking up behind the rear window. He gets closer to take a look. From my angle, it looks like the side of a tool box that is open; it doesn’t appear to be a problem.

We loop through town and I ask to be let out of the car to catch my breath. Matt drops me off and tells me when he will pick me up again. I offer to give him my cell number – silly me, of course, it’s right there on his screen when he enters in my name. I decide to sit on a bench, and get my stomach back where it belongs by sucking in some cold night air.

A car comes by where I am sitting; it occurs to me how odd this must look, a lady sitting on a bench downtown on a cold night. The car comes around the block a couple more times. I begin to wonder how smart my idea is. I stow my bulky computer case in my car so that I have more leg room when I get back on board with what the police do on a regular basis, night after night. I ask Matt if it’s unusual to see a car repeatedly circling the block like that. He tells me that sometimes, in the course of a night, he will pass the same car several times while making his rounds.

Deer are everywhere – in the park, on street corners, behind the bank on Michigan Ave, in the cemetery, up behind the high school, in front of the library. Oh look, there’s a buck standing on a slope watching us as we go up the hill into a Riverside subdivision. Matt tells me what a common problem they are and how easy it is to hit one. One rolled across his hood not too long ago, putting him on the infamous list of officers who have collided with Bambi.

I was not feeling too friendly towards the ungulate population myself after having an encounter of that kind the week before. They are a known problem in this area, especially this time of the year, and don’t make it any easier for him to get to where he’s going.

It turns out to be a night of “vehicle violations,” broken tail lights, only one head light, no lights – over and over again. Matt pulls a pickup over near the transfer station road. He knows the entire family in the pickup. He tells me afterwards that his job is mostly “talking to people.” Whether that means talking to them about broken equipment, giving them a citation, or booking them and taking them to jail – basically, he still has to communicate the problem with them.

He doesn’t always gain agreement, but in the case of a warning about a broken light, he’s doing them a favor. Besides making it safer on the road, it saves the driver money. “A part that might cost them $12 to $15 to fix is a lot cheaper than a ticket,” he says. Unfortunately, they might have been warned several times already and have ignored the problem.

A property owner, who lives in another town, but owns a house in Riverside, has asked that the recently vacated house be checked. After giving the house a onceover, Matt pulls into the narrow driveway, gets out his flashlight and walks around the house checking inside the windows. Nothing appears amiss.

The flashlight snaps into a charging unit, but of course I’m not able to do that simple task. We are in the Forest Service parking lot, and I get out again to gulp air, as Matt replaces the flashlight. More deer.

We head back into town: more radar checks, more vehicle stops, and so it goes. We turn around on Riverside Avenue, and as we approach the intersection near the bridge, Matt flips on his right turn signal. Okay, this is too much. ‘You’re not taking me back out on that highway again are you?’ I whined. And away we go.

Previously, I pointed out to Chief Wilson when I signed a safety waiver, that there was nothing in the agreement about backseat driving – in this case from the front seat. He assured me though, that that was not acceptable behavior. He didn’t say anything about me not whining.

We’re watching traffic alongside the highway, in a turnout by the Clearwater River where city lights shine across the water. A vehicle in the oncoming lane flicks on his brights, warning another car that the police are watching.

Matt checks some more streets, and then turns around where Mountain Motor Sports used to be. As we pull out on the road, we feel something under the tire and hear a small thump. Matt turns around to see if something is in the roadway. Nothing was spotted, but he checked anyway to make sure it was safe. I asked him if he’s ever recorded how many miles he puts on the road in one week. He has no idea, but is sure it’s well over a hundred miles. Matt pulls over a blue, Chevy pickup after calling in the plates. He comments that the driver doesn’t like the LED’s (flashing lights) any better than he does. But it’s a necessity.

Another officer is going to meet with Matt later that evening to take care of some police business, do I want to come along? ‘Well gee, this has been educational and everything’ I think to myself, but all I can think about is getting out of that car.

In terms of vehicle accidents (thankfully there were none) or arrests, it was a quiet night. In terms of danger on the road – watch out for deer and drunk drivers. Sometimes there is a lot more activity, and some nights it gets very quiet and he is able to catch up on paperwork in the office in the wee hours.

Matt said he was taught keyboarding (typing) in school, but he was never taught to type while driving. “It’s an acquired skill,” he says. The multi-tasking a police officer has to do, the verbal questioning, the checking of every little detail when passing a car, the recording of incidents – is simply amazing. There are a LOT of acquired skills.

The next time your heart is thumping as you are being pulled over, count yourself lucky that someone was looking out for your safety. Not everybody likes police. According to Chief Wilson, no one likes enforcement. I have never heard anyone complain, though, about feeling too safe in their neighborhood. Your job may seem hard sometimes, but hey, when was the last time you had to put on a bullet proof vest just to do it?

The Orofino Police Department has an interactive website where people may read news bulletins, email an officer, or read the Chief’s Blog. Check it out at: 
[Note: vehicles and licenses for this article are fictional.]

Friday, November 16, 2012

Christmas tree permits available at Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests

The permits can be purchased from any of our Forest offices or at the following local vendors: Harpster Store in Harpster, Tom Cat’s Sporting Goods in Kooskia, Rae Brothers Sporting Goods and Tackett’s Saw Service in Grangeville, Cloningers Harvest Foods in Kamiah, Helmer Store and Cafe in Helmer, Idaho Rigging in Potlatch, and Southside Chevron and Woodland Enterprises in Moscow. In this area, it is a popular tradition to begin the holiday season with an outing to the forest to cut the family Christmas tree. Permits are required for each tree you are going to cut. Permits are $5 each and are limited to three per family.

“Cutting a Christmas Tree on Your Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests” brochure is available at all forest offices. As a general rule, no special areas are designated for Christmas tree cutting.

Here are some tips when choosing and cutting your Christmas tree:

· Cut your tree at least 200 feet away from well-traveled roads, flowing water, campgrounds and recreation sites.

· It is permissible to cut trees from the cut banks and fill slopes of lesser-traveled roads.

· Select your trees from thickets or overstocked areas. Avoid removing trees from plantations or other areas where tree growth is sparse.

· Select a tree that is the right height for your needs. Please don’t cut a large tree just to take the top.

· Pile all discarded branches away from roads, ditches and culverts.

· Cut your tree as close to the ground as possible. Stumps should be eight inches or less.

· Attach a permit to each cut tree prior to transporting it in your vehicle.

Have a safe and fun outing! For more information, call the Nez Perce National Forest at (208) 983-1950 or the Clearwater National Forest at (208) 476-4541.

KLER/Key Club Stuff the Bus hauls in 1.5 tons of food

The second annual “Stuff the Bus” event was held Friday and Saturday at Glenwood IGA and Barney’s Harvest Foods. KLER Radio and Key Club of Orofino High School members sponsored the event. Key Club members shown are (l to r) Taeh Burke, Madison Parks, Tanner Schwartz, Ashley Frank, Devin Broncheau, Dale Kellar and Dustin Berry.

This past weekend, a generous community gave to those who are struggling by donating 3,000 pounds of staple food items and paper products to the second annual Stuff the Bus.

KLER Radio and the Key Club of Orofino hosted the event for the second consecutive year, with big results. A school district 171 bus Nov. 9-10 was set up at local grocery stores Glenwood IGA and Barney’s Harvest Foods. During two-hour live remote broadcasts, listeners were encouraged to come by the stores and purchase canned items, boxed foods or paper products that would be donated to the three local food banks in Orofino.

General Manager of KLER Radio, Jeff Jones, said, “All the kids who participated both days from Key Club and our staff at the station were blown away by the generosity of the people who came by our bus. It wasn’t uncommon to see shoppers come out of the stores with a cart full of groceries, and leave them with the bus. Plus people would just walk right up to one of our Key Club kids and say, here’s $20, buy what every you might need.” Advisor to Key Club Ashley Sartini said cash donations seemed to have no limits. “One of our girls came running up to us with a $100 bill and said a gentlemen gave it to her to place into our cash donations. It really does our young people well to see how generous people are, and then to know that their work collecting food is going to a worthwhile cause.”

Saturday afternoon the three food banks located at St. Theresa’s Catholic Church, Seventh-day Adventist Church, and Lifeline Food Bank, were visited by the bus and each received a third of the weekend haul. Donations continue to be taken at both IGA and Barneys with the foods to be delivered before the holiday season.

Jones said, “We didn’t keep track of how much food we collected the first year, but if people continue to give the same way next year, we’re going to have to get a bigger bus!”

Friday, November 9, 2012

Clearwater County gets its first Seasonal High Tunnel

The White family in their seasonal high tunnel this summer.

By Amber Brocke, Clearwater NRCS District Conservationist

In the past couple of years, recognition has been given to the benefits of locally grown produce. Many of you have likely seen information on the USDA People’s Garden and the movement towards locally grown produce and the numerous benefits it is having on communities.

Many people across the nation have chosen to take advantage of USDA programs that provide cost-share incentives to help address resource concerns within agricultural lands such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP).

As a part of the EQIP program, practices that help to extend the growing season of annually grown fruit and vegetable crops, such as a seasonal high tunnels, have been implemented across the nation and further support the idea of locally grown produce.

Longtime residents of Clearwater County, Jean and Bill White, were the first participants in the county to receive cost share assistance through EQIP to implement a seasonal high tunnel to extend the growing season of their fruit and vegetable crops.

In addition to the seasonal high tunnel, a micro-irrigation system was also implemented to increase the irrigation efficiency and allow the placement of the water directly in the root zone where the plants can utilize it. Less water is lost to evaporation and the health and vigor of plants that are grown within the seasonal high tunnel are greatly increased. The seasonal high tunnel in conjunction with other practices to address resource concerns can help to extend the growing season of crops by up to two weeks at each end.

The White’s, including Bill, Jean, and their son Terry, planted a variety of crops this year in the seasonal high tunnel including numerous varieties of tomatoes, cabbage, broccoli, basil, squash, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, beans, and various flowers to attract pollinators. Crops will be rotated throughout the seasonal high tunnel to reduce pest pressure and address fertility in the soil.

This winter the Whites hope to grow cool season crops including kale, chard, and lettuce in the high tunnel. “We are pretty pleased with it,” said Bill White. Terry and Jean both commented on how they are “continually learning new things” with the high tunnel and how to manage the crops inside of it.

As of Nov. 6, the high tunnel was still producing broccoli, tomatoes, eggplants, and hot peppers. They are currently using passive heating techniques, such as compost and black plastic, to keep the temperature within the high tunnel up and the plants growing.

In addition to the seasonal high tunnel, the White’s have additional areas on their place where they grow corn, raspberries, gourds, fruit trees, grapes, and various other crops. As a result of program timing, the White’s were not able to assemble their seasonal high tunnel until the beginning of July 2012. The delay posed some challenges for them; however, they were able to work through them and had a very successful year with their vegetable and fruit production.

In addition to cost-share assistance to implement a seasonal high tunnel, multiple other practices can also be implemented to address resource concerns such as nutrient management, pest management, cover crops, and micro-irrigation systems.

Persons interested in applying for cost-share assistance through the EQIP program can submit an application to the local NRCS office, located in the Forest Service building at 12730 Highway 12, Orofino, ID 83544.

To be considered for 2013 funding, applications must be submitted prior to Friday, Nov. 16. For questions and more details about the EQIP program, please contact the Clearwater NRCS office at 476-5313, ext. 3.

USDA is an equal opportunity provider, employer and lender. To file a complaint of discrimination, write: USDA, Director, Office of Civil Rights, 1400 Independence Avenue, SW, Washington, DC 20250-9410 or call (800) 795-3272 (voice), or (202) 720-6382 (TDD).

Friday, November 2, 2012

Deyo Reservoir and Recreation Area update

The Deyo Reservoir peninsula is pictured at full pool in March 2011. Fishermen will be able to fish right off the peninsula, as well as fishing off any of seven additional docks.

Submitted by Friends of the Deyo Reservoir

As the construction period of 2012 ends, we want to report the progress made throughout the summer at Deyo Reservoir. The repairs have been completed on the seepage area that occurred last winter. Those repairs required that the reservoir water level be drawn down to facilitate the repairs.

We will hope for lots of moisture this winter and next spring, so the reservoir will fill again, and the reconfigured wetlands will trap and hold water for the use of birds and wildlife. Hundreds of geese, ducks, cranes, turkeys, and other game birds and song birds have already discovered their new home at Deyo.

Many trees needed to be replaced that were lost during construction. Thanks to a generous donation of 11 fifteen foot Canadian Cherry trees (chokecherry) from Reggear Tree Farms, we began recovery of the site.

Hauling these large trees and helping to plant them were Ed and Marge Kuchynka and Sid and Christine Brown. Marlowe Jorgenson backhoe dug and prepared the holes, and others helping to set the trees were Cynthia Tews, Norm Steadman, Jim and Bridgett Lalonde, and Hayden Wilson. The Weippe Volunteer Fire Department crew supplied a pumper truck with water that day, and several other times throughout the summer.

The Friends of Deyo Reservoir have completed the public pavilion that is situated on the north peninsula, just off the parking lot. The location is easily accessible and also handicap accessible. This pavilion is for all to enjoy for picnics, gatherings, outdoor meetings, or just a place to sit and relax.

In 2011, trees from the site were cut and hauled to Weippe by Deyo Brothers, Mike and Brian. Don Ebert donated his time and talent to cut the timbers and lumber on his portable saw mill, and stored the lumber and timbers until we started construction of the pavilion. Under the direction of Ed Kuchynka, construction began Aug. 15.

The following businesses donated time and equipment for this project: Jason Berreth of Solid Rock Gravel for gravel, equipment and concrete; Gateway Materials of Lewiston for iron, steel, rebar and other hardware; and Luke Lapointe for steel fabrication, delivery and installation; Fastenal of Lewiston for hardware; Tim Kortens for bobcat, concrete and landscape work; Carl Stemrich for concrete pour and finish; Ron Larson for setting timbers and trusses; Equipment and labor were donated by Ed Kuchynka, Norm Steadman, and Luke Lapointe.

Others helping were Ed Dobson, Jim Lalonde, Toby Cox, Leo Fitz, Helen Kettle, Steve Brand, and Marge Kuchynka. We received discounts on trusses from Barlow Truss and discounts on roofing materials from Orofino Builders Supply. The volunteer spirit is alive and well at Weippe.
The approach and interior roadways, designed and engineered by Norm Steadman and Ed Kuchynka, were pioneered, installed and built by Jason Berreth of Solid Rock Gravel, and Kirk Gangewer and crew of Clearwater Highway District. The interior roads include those through both the East and West RV Campgrounds. There is a handicap accessible site at each campground location.

Toilets were purchased and installed at each of the campground sites thanks to a grant from Idaho Parks and Recreation RV funds, and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game personnel, under the direction of Don Beck. Don has also installed another toilet just off the parking lot, next to the boat launch. All of these toilet facilities are handicap accessible.

The Fish and Game have also installed six floating fishing docks, besides the one next to the boat launch ramp. Four of these docks are handicap accessible.

The Friends of Deyo Reservoir and Weippe-Fraser Recreation District are currently working on the water and power installs at the Deyo Site and hope to have the well drilled soon. The actual campground sites will be put in next summer, pending another grant approval by Idaho Parks and Recreation RV Fund.

The Weippe-Fraser Recreation District will be handling some aspects of the Recreational needs at Deyo Reservoir, and we welcome comments, help, and input from anyone. Contact Marge at 208-435-4362.


Pictured here is the completed pavilion on the Deyo Reservoir peninsula.