Friday, May 31, 2013

School district breathes a little easier as levy ensures important changes in the district

The School Board met on May 22. Superintendent Bob Vian and Business Manager Trina Snyder presented the budget outline for the 2013-2014. The board also reviewed the District’s Strategic Plan as is customary to make sure progress is continuing as planned and in a timely manner. Board members received their Self-Assessment forms which are due back on June 10.

With the passing of the district’s request for the supplemental levy increase of $345,000, the projected overall revenue increase from this year’s budget is $424,239.

State funding is based on student average daily attendance (ADA) which generates funding units. The district budgeted 60.77 units this year and based on the current ADA, 57.4 units are proposed for next year. At this time enrollment is down 18 students from this same time last year. Several months ago 19 students withdrew as work for area loggers ended. It is hoped that when work resumes, the students will be back.

Included in the General Fund expenses:

· All day Kindergarten staffing.

· $150,000 Technology funds included

· Certified staff movement over for education, if applicable and movement down one step, if applicable.

· 2% increase on salary for all classified staff.

· Additional days included for Administrative staff, Data Base Administrator, District Office /Program staff, Assistant Secretaries and Food Service Director.

· Retirement Benefits increased from 10.39% to 11.32%.

· Insurance increased by 11.1%.

· Textbook Budget increase

· Soccer and Drill/Dance team salaries/benefits included.

· Increased stipend for Jr/Sr and Student Council Advisors.

· $2,000 increase for OHS, THS and OES field trips.

· Includes different Salary/Benefit and Professional Leave.

· Increase in School Board budget to fit “actual” budgetary needs.

· Decreased utility expenses because of modular removal.

· Increased Transportation/Mechanic supervisor salary – reimbursed at 85% and 50%.

· One bus was purchased this year. Transferred via depreciation from the General Fund.

Other expenses

· OES boiler replacement will cost $170,000.

· $60,000 to repaint Timberline building

· To replace bus barn roofing $73,000 is estimated.

· Technology budget is set at $40,000.

· $150,000 was appropriated to summer maintenance projects.

· Leaving $317,100 for projects repairs not listed.

The district will offer contracts to current Food Service Director Carmen Griffith, Special Education Director Kerrie Raines, Transportation Director Ben Jenkins, and Business Manager Trina Snyder for the upcoming school year.

An ISEE grant of $33,600 was awarded to the district to hire a mentor teacher for teachers. Traditionally, the school principal took on this role, but his duties have also expanded. The mentor teacher will work one to one if necessary with teachers to find resolutions for situations that arise from time to time.

Other grants in progress are the Nez Perce Tribal grant, Driver’s Education grant, Jim Gustin Science grant and the Valerie Armichardy Recycling and Project grant. A grant for technology awarded $27,140 for Classroom Technology and $10,000 for IT Personnel.

Most aides are funded through the grants provided by Title I, Title VI-B, and Title VI-B PreSchool programs. The Carl Perkins grant funds the district’s vocational activities and programs. Money from Title II-A is used for professional development, credit reimbursement and stipends for mentor teachers.

Currently, there is a balance of $41,000 in the District Property account from the sale of Weippe Elementary School.

Carmen Griffith and her staff of four, received lots of praise and even (a little money) J for doing such a tremendous job this year.

The breakfast program has helped finances tremendously. After closing April’s financial statements, the fund balance was $7,681. Last year at this time the fund balance was short $42,756.

The district will hire and pay six certified staff members; One Admin/ teacher and five instructors. They will be District employees. The District will receive ADA funding for the students that are enrolled and will pay these personnel expenses with these funds. The District will received 14% of the total of these costs as “overhead” for the fiscal and supervisory duties that will be required.

The District and Carmen Griffith, Food Service Supervisor, will also oversee the food service needs for the Youth Challenge Program. Again, the salaries, benefits and food will be reimbursed via the National Guard.

Recognition went to Carl Stemrich, Empire Lumber, Norm Steadman, Orofino Builders Supply, Jason Berreth and Gradi Thomas for donations and their help toward the construction of a play shed at Timberline.

Shaun Ball gave a brief report concerning ISAT test scores for Timberline. Overall, reading scores were good. There is still much that can be done to improve proficiency in math. This will be one of the areas of focus next year.

At OES, students in grades 3-6, worked very hard to raise ISAT scores from previous years. Individual grade levels improved as much as 9 to 14 points in a year, but perhaps more importantly, Orofino students achieved and exceeded state target goals for proficiency in both Math and Reading.

Shelley Brooks, OHS Principal believes that changes in programs, instruction scheduling, school improvement and staff development is making a difference and improving achievement.

Other announcements Brooks shared with the Board were: an Idaho Common Core Standards workshop held May 10, for OES certified staff to develop a unit of study and pre/post assessment aligned to common core in math.

Orofino Elementary held the first Annual Young Author’s contest and Literary Showcase. There were five categories to enter, for the 27 students in kindergarten through sixth grade.

Field trips will continue through May 30. Fifth grade visited the Clearwater Courthouse and participated in a case study, fourth grade will participate in the LCSC Rendezvous Event at OES, third grade is visiting the Science Center in Pullman, second grade will visit smoke jumpers and the mammoth exhibit in Grangeville, and Kindergarten visited the Clearwater Memorial Public Library. Clearwater Marine Patrol presented a water safety training called Idaho Sports Paddle Up for the sixth grade students.

All grades have been holding their spring music programs. Parents and families have enjoyed some excellent presentations. Thank you to both Mrs. Holzer and Mrs. Tetwiller.

Mr. Thomas, OES PE Teacher, has organized and facilitated the OES Annual Track meets for both primary and intermediate grades this week. Thank you to the OHS students and faculty, community members, and parents that help out and supported this event.

Orofino Elementary School will end the school year with the final Rewards and Recognition Assembly on June 6.

Changes in Grading and Progress Reports

Changes to begin next year for students in grades 9-12, are:

· Letter grades will be used to report academic performance on report cards for students in grades 9-12 based on the following numerical values; A – 4.0 for standard classes, 5.0 for advanced classes. B - 3.0 for standard, and 4.0 for advanced. C will earn 2.0 for standard, 3.0 for advanced, and D receives 1.0 point for standard and 2.0 for advanced.

· Students will be encouraged to challenge themselves. Advanced classes will include Pre-Calculus, Calculus, Physics, Chemistry, Spanish IV, Honors classes, Dual Credit College classes, LCSC Tech Prep classes, and certain IDLA classes as identified by school counselors and approved by the Superintendent.

· The calculation of GPAs for determining Valedictorian and Salutatorian will not change until the class of 2016.

Action Items

Alyce Arnsberg declared Jerry Nelson elected as Trustee of Zone 4; Theresa Graber declared Charity Robinson elected as Trustee of Zone 5.

All classified staff except Medicade would be rehired for next year. At this time last year classified staff was still waiting to learn if they would be rehired or not, due to lack of funds. If any changes are to be made, it would be by attrition.

Orofino Jr. High School property is still for sale and has been re-appraised at $295,000, with the agreement that the school district would maintain a 10 year lease of the gymnasium.

Policy 3060 concerning “Homeless Children” will in the future address the students as “Youth in transition” to comply with Federal Laws, required by the SDE. This refers to children living in shelters, vehicles, campgrounds, motels, etc.

And finally the Board approved the travel of THS football team and their equipment to training camp in Montana on June 7-9 at no cost to the district.

Clearwater Basin Collaborative members agree to move forward on forest management and land protection actions

After five years of work on land management issues within the Clearwater Basin, members of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative signed a work plan signifying their commitment to continue work to resolve six natural resource issues.

Idaho Senator Mike Crapo convened the Collaborative five years ago to find long-term solutions to natural resource issues that were contributing to gridlock in the Basin. At the initial meeting, he told members the collaborative process would require all participants to recognize and respect the views of all participants. “Each participant must be as committed to helping others reach their goals and objectives as that participant is committed to advancing their own interests,” he emphasized.

With that goal in mind the group forged a package that proposes six issues be addressed administratively and/or legislatively: Forest management; rural economic needs and county funding; tribal and special places; wilderness, wild and scenic rivers and special management designations, wildlife management; and recreation.

Clearwater Basin Collaborative Co-chair Alex Irby said he believes this plan strikes the right balance for people who live, work and play within the Clearwater Basin. “We are very pleased to have reached this milestone,” he stated. “We believe this balanced package is the blueprint for breaking the gridlock that has paralyzed land management actions in the past.”

Irby said when the entire plan is implemented there will be more jobs associated with increased levels of timber harvest and forest restoration work in the roaded front country, and protection for those backcountry lands and rivers that so many people treasure. Additionally there will be more certainty for county governments, improved habitat to support the area’s wildlife and more recreation opportunities.

“In order for this plan to work all the components must move forward simultaneously,” he emphasized. “This is the beginning of a long-term process, not the end.”

While the Collaborative, as a body, has forged agreements and provided consensus input and recommendations on a variety of natural resource issues to multiple agencies, the Agreement and Work Plan is the group’s first attempt to put the separate pieces together into a comprehensive package that all members agree to thoughtfully move forward.

Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt said, “Idaho County needs solutions. The current gridlock on our federally controlled lands is hurting Idaho County in significant ways. This agreement is an attempt to find a solution and to end the gridlock. Our public lands are being managed through the Court system.

This method of conflict driven management on public lands is not working. The best hope we have of preserving the way of life we value in rural Idaho is to try and find ways to work together.”

Brandt added, “If successful, this agreement will create more jobs, provide better school funding for rural schools, and reduce conflict.”

The signed Agreement and Work Plan will be posted on the Collaborative’s website

Friday, May 24, 2013

Council Chambers filled to standing room only over fate of city pound animals

Fifty–four people and one dog filled the City Council Chambers for the meeting on May 14, many of them in attendance to address the emotional issue of putting an animal down for those left for extensive periods of time at the pound.

In a separate meeting among council members and police prior to the council meeting it was decided that each situation was different. In light of the Clearwater Humane Society and the community’s support, euthanizing abandoned animals would not be an option, and that the humane society would be notified in each case.

In the past Clearwater Humane Society has gone to great length to assist the police department with loose/stray/injured animals. At present the shelter is filled to capacity, housing animals rescued in pending neglect/abuse cases, one in the city and the other within the county. Rarely has an animal needed to be at the pound this long. It must also be noted that no animals to this date have ever been put down by the police department for exceeding the time limit at the pound. The agencies will continue to work together.

Melanie Barrett and Mike Thacker, members of American Bikers Aiming to Educate (ABATE) announced that proceeds from their fundraising are used for an annual scholarship offered to local students enabling one to attend a STAR course. STAR is a motorcycle training course. Applicants will be asked to write “Why I should be selected to attend STAR.”

ABATE shared a short safety video, handed out bumper stickers, and reminded everyone that May was Motorcycle Awareness Month.

The organization was granted use of the Orofino City Park on July 26-28. Music, food, vendors, and motorcycle enthusiasts will meet in the park The event will serve as a rest stop for 10,000 motorcyclists on their way to Sturgis, MT, It was noted by the council that in previous engagements with ABATE, the grounds were left as clean, if not cleaner than when they arrived.
Public hearing

Special Use application for Joseph and Kimberly Campbell was approved.
2013-14 Budget Review

City Administrator Rick Laam introduced the 2013-14 Annual Budget to the Mayor and City Council. Laam emphasized that tonight’s introduction is preliminary only and involves the expenditure side of the budget without projected revenue. Therefore, the budget is not yet balanced.

He noted that Department Heads have identified their operational costs for the new year; knowing some of the requested expenses will be reduced or eliminated. This is because the revenue will not be there to cover these costs. It’s a matter of prioritization.

Laam briefly went through each city fund and identified a percentage increase or decrease from the existing fiscal year. The next step in the budget process is for each City Council Committee to sit down with staff and review the funds in more detail.

This process will begin next week and allow Council an opportunity to make additional changes. The final budget will be adopted on Aug. 27, 2013. Additional items impacting the budget included:

· Credit Cards – City staff will explore the feasibility of accepting credit cards for city services.

· PERSI – Effective July 1, 2013 State Retirement will increase for both the employer and employee by almost 1.5%.

· A 2.5% COLA is currently included in the proposed budget.

· Sewer Reserve Program – Effective Oct. 1, 2013 the city will begin a new sewer reserve program by increasing the sewer base $5 per year up to $20. This will generate approximately $2.1 million dollars over the next ten years.

· The City Administrator’s Employment Agreement will terminate July 31, 2013. The Finance and Personnel Committee will be reviewing this agreement.

· The city’s Tort Fund is currently in the red due to the Keith Burch federal lawsuit dealing with his denial of a Special Use Application.

· There is $25,000 for the maintenance and renovation of the City Council Chambers and City Hall.

· An Annexation Plan submitted by Planning and Zoning is currently before our City Attorney for legal review.

· The city will look at updating the city’s computer and software requirements in 2015.

· The city needs to begin planning for the transition of certain key employees who will be retiring within the next two years.
Committee reports

The Street Committee met May 7 and has begun the process of amending the present parking ordinances 10-5-15 and 10-5-16 to address time limits and the ability to enforce by putting up proper signage and street markings. Additional information is required, Committee Chair Marguerite McLaughlin hopes a recommendation can be made for parking at the next meeting.

The Finance/Personnel Committee also met May 7, to review the budget process to take place on May 21-23.

The committee was informed by City Administrator, Rick Laam, that extra money was budgeted for City Hall maintenance/renovation this coming year.

Laam also reminded the committee that the sewer base will increase by $5 beginning Oct. 1. This increase is designed to put money away for the next ten years to renovate the existing sewer plant. The base will increase every year by $5 until a $20 cap has been reached.

Departmental reports

The treasurer provided the State, Cable and Electric Revenue Recap Report. Pam MacGuffie also announced that the new jungle gym ordered for the city park had not only arrived but was paid for in full.

Todd Perry, Building Inspector, reported that one of the potential projects coming up was a Biomass plant and the designer had proposed a location on school grounds. To proceed, a special use permit would need to be approved as well as holding a public hearing.

Perry also told the council that ITD has been conducting a visual traffic count on Hwy. 7, of traffic turning up Dunlap Rd. ITD will analyze situation and return with recommendations regarding a turn lane for the high school.

Perry concluded with the warning that flood insurance rates may rise for many located on the flood plains locally, particularly if homeowners have refinanced their home, purchased a new policy or let an old policy lapse. In 2012, Congress passed the Flood Plain Performance Act making the cost of providing coverage more expensive.

In a report from the Public Works Department, John Barton announced that the flag had arrived and the 80 foot flagpole in Orofino City Park was ready and waiting. The flag pole dedication is set for Thursday, May 23, at 3:15 p.m.

The jungle gym apparatus has also arrived and will be placed on its foundation in the next couple of weeks.

Public Works has completed their first round of mowing and weedeating. On E St. a sidewalk was replaced and new handicapped accessible sidewalk corners were placed in front of Napa Auto Parts and Hansen’s Garage on College Ave.

Barton also shared that an engraved marker to identify Memorial Park and weighing nearly 1000 pounds will be placed on the newly poured foundation in the near future.

Chief Wilson presented the police report. In the time period between Jan. 1 and April 30, there were 597 calls to the police department. Of those calls, there were 138 cases under investigation, 63 arrests, and 79 traffic citations in addition to the arrests. This gave each officer an average of 149 calls and 35 cases each.

The speed trailer is currently on 122nd St. This summer, more of the focus will be to reduce speeding on side streets in the residential neighborhoods.

The Police Department is hosting a one day, eight hour class entitled “Creating a High Performing Organization” recommended for all city staff. Wilson claimed that the class applies to everything, not just law enforcement and attendance was highly recommended.

Mike Martin reported on behalf of the Water/ Wastewater Department. Little can be done on the treatment plant until the water levels recede a bit. With the latest spring runoff the snow has a lower alkaline level which impedes the way it works with the chemicals used to treat the water.

Like City Hall the plant’s extended building has a mold problem, due to lack of ventilation, which is requiring much of the crew’s attention.

The city also needs to consider replacing the bell press at the treatment plant. The proposed cost to replace it was factored into the budget proposal for this year. There is also the possibility of leasing to buy enabling the department to attain the bell press sooner.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Bird family to celebrate birthdays Saturday

Emma Lorraine Lawless Burch is pictured at the age of two on Big Horn Mountain, sometime in the 1920s. Emma later married Jesse (Jack) Bird of Stevensville, MT and became the mother of Bill Bird of Greer, and his siblings, Betty (Bird) Wouri, Jack Bird, Jim Bird, and Peggy (Bird) Bobbitt.

The Bird family of Greer and Orofino will be celebrating their birthdays at Konkolville Saturday, May 18, with special guests and siblings Bill Bird of Greer, 89, whose birthday is May 21; Jim Bird of Orofino, 80, whose birthday is May 23; and Betty Bird Wuori, 87, whose birthday is May 26.

The Birds migrate

When Evan and Cal Whitney “came over the hill” from Montana in 1946 to retire, they unwittingly began a minor Bird family migration to the Clearwater valley. Their daughter, Ruth, was engaged to Bill Bird, who at that time lived in Hamilton, MT. Ruth and Bill were married Dec. 18, 1946 at Hamilton.

Ruth and Bill settled in Greer (where they still reside), and so began the “migration.” First to come was Bill’s father, Jesse “Jack” Bird, who moved to Greer and lived at Ruth and Bill’s little ranch on Lolo Creek. Jack stayed there until 1974, then moved to Konkolville.

In 1950 the youngest Bird, Bill’s brother, James, came to visit Bill in Greer. While there, he was attracted to a pretty blonde girl he saw at The Fountain (now the Ponderosa). At that time, they didn’t exchange a word. When Jim came back to Orofino after being discharged from the Navy, he found his dream girl, Gerri Konkol, working at the theatre. Jim and Gerri were married April 14, 1956, and Jim has never been sorry he came to this area. He and Gerri have five children and nine grandchildren, and still live in Orofino.

Jack Bird junior first visited Orofino with a friend, after school was out. They arrived in Greer “by thumb,” via Boise. Jack returned in 1955 after he was discharged from the Navy. Bill introduced him to Ralph Space with the U.S. Forest Service. That led to Jack meeting Virginia Sturgess, daughter of Faye Sturgess, one of the group of well-loved teachers who finished their teaching careers at Orofino Elementary.

Jack and Virginia married June 16, 1956 at the Methodist Church. Jack flew the USFS air patrol with Jack Godwin. His career was with the government weather bureau. Before retirement he was in charge of the earthquake aftermath at St. Helen’s, and of observing 40 energy stations, including buoys on the ocean that had weather stations.

Jack and Virginia have four children and six grandchildren, and now live in Ashland, OR.

Peggy Bird graduated from high school at Stevensville, MT, and moved to Orofino in 1956. She went to work at the Bank of Orofino as a secretary and lived at Anna Bloom’s apartments on Michigan Avenue.

She met the man of her dreams, Dale Bobbitt, at the bank. They were married July 4, 1958 in Montana. Dale was an electronics wizard all his life. He and Peggy have three children and nine grandchildren, and live in Spokane, WA.

The last Bird to migrate was Betty Bird of Stevensville. She came to this area often to visit family. The Birds spent a lot of time camping and dancing at the Wilderness Gateway on the Lochsa. It was there Betty was blessed to meet Sulo Wuori from Pierce, and they married in Missoula on Aug. 8, 1997 and danced the years away.

Idaho burn permits available online

The Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) unveiled a new Web site this month, BurnPermits.Idaho.Gov, enabling Idahoans to obtain fire safety burn permits online.

Idaho law (38-115) requires any person living outside city limits anywhere in Idaho who plans to burn anything - including crop residue burning and excluding recreational campfires - during closed fire season to obtain a fire safety burn permit. Closed fire season begins May 10 and extends through October 20 every year.

The fire safety burn permit is free of charge and good for 10 days after it is issued.

Prior to 2013, the law requiring fire safety burn permits was not consistently applied across Idaho because multiple agencies were issuing the permits using manual processes.

Therefore, many residents in southern Idaho - especially growers planning to burn fields - may not even be aware of the law requiring the fire safety burn permit.

Residents and growers in northern Idaho, on the other hand, generally are accustomed to obtaining the fire safety burn permit along with other necessary permits depending on where and what they plan to burn.

Legally, it has always been the responsibility of IDL to administer 38-115 but because most of the IDL fire protection responsibilities and offices are located in north central and northern Idaho, the IDL delegated the authority to issue the fire safety burn permits south of Riggins to the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, federal agencies that have significantly larger fire protection presence in southern Idaho.

In 2012 fire managers revisited the administration of the law and agreed to move the responsibility of issuing all fire safety burn permits statewide under the purview of the IDL, to provide uniform applicability of the law in all parts of Idaho.

The IDL and cooperating agencies developed the online self service system to bring more consistency to the permitting process and make it easier for all Idahoans to comply with the law.

In addition to issuing IDL fire safety burn permits, the new Web site will provide tips for safe burning practices and information about fire restrictions in place. If there are other burning restrictions in effect or additional or alternate permits required, the Web site will provide instructions for Idahoans on how to contact those entities.

The fire safety burn permit system will help inform fire managers where burning activities are occurring, reducing the number of false runs to fires and saving firefighting resources for instances in which they are truly needed. It also enables fire managers to respond more quickly to fires that escape, potentially reducing the liability of the burner if their fire escapes.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Dworshak Reservoir jumps up Bassmaster Magazine’s list of Top 100 best bass fishing spots

For the second year in a row, 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 information released April 29 by B.A.S.S. Communications

The second annual list ranking the country’s best bass lakes found Dworshak Reservoir, located near Ahsahka, on the north fork of the Clearwater River, had leaped 51 positions up the Top-100 chart from number 85 to number 26.

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, 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 3 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.

The Columbia River in Oregon and Washington fell one position to number 21 on the Bassmaster Top-100 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 mainstem, 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.

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 upstreatm 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

A photographic slide show of all Top-100 locations and their rankings is available on the Bassmaster Magazine website at

Capt. Stuffle assigned to Destroyer Squadron One

In September 2012, Lyle “Doug” Stuffle was promoted to the rank of Captain and assigned to Destroyer Squadron One as Deputy Commander, where he is second-in-command and will eventually “fleet-up” to become the Commanding Officer (commonly referred to as the Commodore).

Since graduating in 1986 from Orofino High School, Capt. Stuffle has served on five ships and commanded two, the USS Gladiator (MCM 11) – a minesweeping vessel - and most recently the USS Rodney M. Davis (FFG 46) – a frigate. Capt. Stuffle has since served as the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations at Commander, US Third Fleet and then as Assistant Chief of Staff for Operations at Commander Naval Surface Forces Pacific.

Destroyer Squadron One will be his third afloat command, but unlike his previous two, he will be charged not with one ship but eight, along with their crews and senior leadership. While deployed, he will be the Sea Combat Commander for the Carrier Strike Group, directing the anti-submarine warfare and anti-surface warfare efforts of his squadron and other strike group assets.

Of his third Sea Command, Capt. Stuffle says, “Commanding a United States Warship was one of the greatest honors of my life and to be able to serve in that capacity multiple times, was something I could have never dreamed of. I’m proud to have the chance to influence the lives of our young service men; hopefully in the same manner I was influenced by the amazing teachers, coaches, friends and neighbors who took interest in me while growing up in a small town.”

Capt. Stuffle is a 1986 graduate of Orofino High School, where he continued on to the University of Arizona and received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Astronomy. He was commissioned through the Naval Reserve Officer Training (NROTC) program.

Capt. Stuffle holds a Master of Science Degree in Physics from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, California, and a Master of Science in National Resource Strategy from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces.

The bachelor party (a fish story)

By Charlie Pottenger

In early May my son Andy was invited to a campout bachelor party on a sand beach up the Snake River from Lewiston. Traveling upriver from Clarkston in boats and on waverunners or jet skis, the group of young men made camp, pitched tents and prepared for the bachelor party.

After making camp, relaxation became the center of interest. A couple of heavy-duty fishing rods were set in holders stuck into the sand while the lines with 16-ounce sinkers baited with “Sturgeon Candy” were taken to the center of the river. As the relaxation set in, one of the lines twitched, twitched again and then jerked so hard the sand spike holder was flattened. The rod was grabbed by one and all, but Andy and another, Don Crea of Grangeville, jumped into boats and set out to fight a sturgeon down the river.

Don and Andy were given last minute instructions and the armada left them. Neither had ever caught a sturgeon. Five minutes passed and there was a first twitch, then another. Andy had seen the first fish flatten the rod holder so he jumped up and held the pole. Sure enough, in a second it felt like he had dropped his hook off a bridge and caught a train.

Since there were no boats, Don and Andy took turns and fought the fish from the sand beach. At least once, the fish was actually pulling Andy on the sandy river bottom like he was skiing!

After 30 minutes, as the fish was finally tiring, Brayton Zipse of Clarkston showed up on his waverunner and helped hold the fish for pictures. The guys then released the magnificent giant!

Andy Pottenger of Lewiston (left) and Don Crea of Grangeville with a 90-inch sturgeon they caught on the Snake River.
Andy Pottenger (left) and Brayton Zipse (the groom-to-be) of Clarkston with the sturgeon.

Friday, May 3, 2013

"Yikes,” “Hmmmm,” “What the....?”

Great storytelling at Camas Festival May 24-25 

This year’s Camas Festival, held May 24-25, features Bill Rossiter from Kalispell, MT, who has been singing and telling tall tales from ranch life to fur trade era scandals for many years. Bill is scheduled at 12:30 p.m. at the Weippe Community Hall on Saturday, May 25. Bill has been playing traditional finger-style guitar, autoharp and old-time “clawhammer” banjo music in bars, concert halls and back rooms for a really longtime. About his singing, reviewers have raved,

“Yikes!” as well as “Hmmmm,” and “What the…?” Sharon, Bill’s wife, often joins him in his performances. She sings, sometimes plays bass, and helps keep Bill on subject (he tends to ramble). Bill has been a farm laborer, railroad brakeman, Capuchin friar, factory worker, carpenter, newspaper columnist, editor, public relations flack, disk jockey, ghost writer and bartender. He was a professor of literature and illiterature (folklore) for 25 years, retiring in 1999. He currently travels the Northwest, singing about railroads, heroes and outlaws, the Irish immigration, the Civil War, mines and miners, cowboys, ranch life, the Great Depression and other eras of American history.

With his wife, Sharon, he sings songs of courtship, love, wedlock and deadlock from four centuries. He says he learned most of his songs at his mother’s knee and other low joints. He holds the world record for the most songs written about Spotted Knapweed: one.

Before going on the road as a soloist, he played with a Milwaukee Dixieland band, “The Beer City Six,” which sank without a trace; he then toured the U.S. with a Denver bluegrass band, “Bear Creek Canyon,” which was beamed up to the mother ship during a lunar eclipse. His jug band, “The Merrie Order of St. Bridget High-Steppers,” was run out of Greendale, WI, for refusing to play “Feelings.”

He currently plays with “The Grin and Bear it String Clan,” the “Rocky Mountain Rhythm Kings” Dixieland band and with “Note Worthy,” all of which have thus far survived his presence.

Recently he’s given concerts for western and heritage museums, ski and summer resorts, and art centers in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Nevada, town festivals and heritage celebrations, concert series, cowboy poetry and storytellers’ festivals, various clubs and organizations, reputable and otherwise, and exactly one zillion grade and high schools. He is in demand as an after-dinner speaker-entertainer throughout the Northwest.

Bill dislikes beets, has all his teeth, and likes old, weird songs. When asked his age he claims to be 69.99 plus shipping and handling; and although he does children’s programs and will fight for the right to sing children’s songs, he refuses to sing songs about froggies and duckies.

This program is made possible in part by a grant from the Idaho Humanities Council, the state based affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.