Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Steelhead fishing on the Clearwater is good

Mike Bush, of Spokane, WA, is shown with the beautiful steelhead he recently caught. Photo by Charlie Pottenger
By Charlie Pottenger

Steelhead fishing on the Clearwater is good, with fish being regularly caught. Although the large “B run” fish have not returned in expected numbers and the Idaho Fish & Game (IDFG) has reduced catch and keep limits to one fish smaller than 28 inches per day, the enthusiasm of fishermen seems undiminished.

According to Evelyn Kaide, owner of The Guide Shop in Orofino, there was great concern when the projected numbers of Clearwater bound steelhead continued to drop from the optimistic original levels to a paltry 7,500 or so big “B run” fish. It was thought that fishermen would decide to forego this season on the Clearwater and seek other waters where the limits were more generous. This has not happened and there have been few cancellations.

Furthermore, anglers are catching steelhead every day and have been enjoying excellent weather on the river. She said there are lots of happy fishermen with lots of success stories as well as stories of the “monster that got away!” Most anglers are appreciative of the restricted limits, realizing that IDFG must save enough of the big “B run” fish for the hatcheries to assure we will enjoy larger runs again in future years.

It seems that the small 2013 return of the big fish is a mystery. Whether the numbers were reduced by ocean conditions, extreme in-ocean commercial netting, or other events is currently unclear. However, it is certain that all efforts to assure the hatcheries achieve a full complement of “B run” eggs must be taken to make recovery in future years probable.

Currently fish are being taken by the three basic methods commonly employed, Fly fishing has been very popular during October with good results. Fly fishing is exciting but somewhat less productive than back trolling plugs or side drifting eggs or shrimp. To rate the three methods is impossible because each angler has a preference.

There a few openings for guided fishing trips in late November, December and January. It is certain that the steelhead are here and that to get one you must put your line in the water!
Super Grilled Trout Recipe
Provided by Evelyn Kaide of The Guide Shop

Try this recipe to prepare a wonderful grilled Steelhead or Salmon at home!

First, fillet your fish and remove skin.

Second, prepare marinade in a plastic bag:

- 2/3 cup Brown Sugar

- 1/3 cup Rock Salt

Third, place fillets in bag shake well and let marinate for 2 hours, turning occasionally. (Do not exceed 2 hours.)

Four, remove fillets rinse with cold water and dry with paper towels.

Five, sprinkle with coarse pepper and grill!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Orofino Water Plant progress right on schedule

Water Supervisor Mike Martin explains to young guests Paul and Elisa Morris that water in the new plant will be cleaned and recycled, Paul aged 8.5, especially seemed to like the idea that it could be recycled. By the time the children finished asking all those questions that Martin so patiently and simply answered I was certain I had learned quite a bit more that day, than if I had gone alone. My thanks to supervisor Martin for all his time and information to share, and to Paul, Elisa, JD and Jeremiah for accompanying me to the water plant.

Always looking for a teachable moment, I invited new friends to accompany me to the water plant. What child isn’t fascinated by water? Although he would like to explore the site further, Tori Howard holds JD Morris in check while heavy equipment passes nearby. JD is one of three sons belonging to Josh and KC Morris. 

The river parted to expose the new water intake pipes will be visible until the end of this month. Clear weather has allowed the crews a little more time to work before the rains come and the river rises. The curious looking red tarp in the river is scheduled to be removed beginning Oct. 29.
Masons have begun work on the new water plant facility, which will house the offices, computers and the electrical system for the plant. This picture was taken three weeks ago, and has amazingly been transformed already. Much has been added since I last visited and the building will continue to take shape in weeks to come.
By Elizabeth Morgan

It’s been since June 2010, since my dear friend and predecessor, Alannah Allbrett, toured the water plant on Main St. to get a first hand look at where the city’s drinking water comes from and ultimately, why the city needed a new facility to replace it.

They say “a picture’s worth a thousand words,” and quite frankly, the photos were pretty scary. I still remember them. I’m not sure what concerned me most - the rust and corrosion of the pipes, or the fact that plant workers were risking their lives either by electrocution (remember the little frogs?) or by daily exposure to any one of a myriad of molds growing from every nook and cranny, or the realization that this was where my drinking water came from.

Let’s just say that I wasn’t exactly anxious to revisit those scenes, except for that big red tarp parting the mighty Clearwater River.

I met with Water Supervisor Mike Martin for a tour earlier this month beginning with the placement of the intake pipes in the river bed. The tarp blockade or coral, was to come down by Oct. 15, but JC Constructors received an extension date of a couple weeks, and now the days scheduled to remove the tarps are Oct. 29-31. Just in case you were wondering…

I learned to swim and grew up along that river. It has been a magnet each summer no matter where I’ve lived to bring me home for swimming, floating and family picnics. The whole idea of the ground beneath the river exposed and dry was intriguing to say the least. I had to admit that I wouldn’t mind getting a little closer look at all the activity taking place in the past few months!

The Clearwater Tribune has had a few recent inquiries as to the company selected from more than a dozen bidders to attempt the amazing feat of making water pure enough to drink.

As money was an issue in the construction of a new water plant, JC Constructors of Meridian was selected for the bid of 5.7 million dollars, while the average bid ranged closer to 6.3 million with some of the bids extending up to 6.9 M.

Construction of a water plant in town, along the river, with all the EPA restrictions was no easy task. Not just anyone could take on such a project, requiring both the knowledge and experience. But work has definitely progressed, and how quickly some things change!

The company has done such an impressive performance thus far, that the site in Orofino will be used in the company’s promotional video for prospective clients. Jesus Morales is the on-site contractor.

The pipes installed in the riverbed will lead to the raw water pump station being constructed on the bank of the river showing the skeleton of rebar to house the pumps. Parris Rebar specialists were sub contracted to install the framework, while Walker and Fox Masonry was sub contracted to lay the cement walls of the membrane and pump station.

The onsite inspector is Dick Bentley of CH2M Hill. A third party inspector, Allwest, oversees all of the plant’s operations, even collects samples from every load of bricks delivered to be assured that every aspect of the job is up to code and that all the systems work together.

The new facility to replace the old water plant (the building is literally hugged by Main St,) is taking shape quickly, and will soon be ready for local electrical contractor Kary Anderson of Weippe, subcontracted by Mountain States Electrical contractors.

Completion is still a ways off, but keep your eyes open, as the site changes almost every day, and if you’re like me you’ll be out there waiting to watch a river turned loose. Be careful not to get too close - remember, safety first!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Orofino city pool project makes progress

By Amber Hanes-Miller

If you visited this and past Lumberjack Days festivities, you likely were greeted by a menagerie of stimulants: smells, tastes, lights, crowds, and a handful of people working very hard to fund-raise for our city pool project.

Each year, for more than 20, the Orofino Pool committee has operated a bingo booth at Lumberjack Days. In the past the booth’s proceeds benefited the swim team; present day, proceeds fund the effort to build a new city pool. For the third year, the annual ATV raffle ticket sales have also been a large part of fundraising. One hundred percent of money raised from raffle ticket sales and the bingo booth are deposited to the “Orofino Community Complex, Inc.” account. Raffle tickets are $50 and only 600 will be sold. The committee continues to sell personalized tiles as well; all tiles will be placed at the new pool facility on a designated donor space.

Financial overview

The Orofino Community Complex, Inc. combined accounts currently have a balance of $56,783.78, detailed as follows:

Pool tiles: $7,602.41

Regular shares and CD: $35,831.37

2013 RZR Raffle ticket sales, to date: $13,350 

Thank you

The bingo booth is a meaningful fundraising tool, procuring over $1,200 during this years’ event; however, its operation would not be possible without the support of volunteers. We truly appreciate the contribution of our volunteers this year and hope they and others will participate by volunteering for a two-hour shift at next year’s event. Your contribution is so very helpful and appreciated!

For a schedule of meetings, to purchase a tile, or to be added to the bingo volunteer list, please contact Lyn Anderson at 208-476-5908 or lynavon4u@

To purchase a raffle ticket, visit an outlet: Orofino Body Shop, Valley Motor Parts (NAPA), Barney’s, LCCU, or P1FCU, or a committee member. Visit us on Facebook at Orofino Pool.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Street Committee opens dialogue for diagonal parking

By Elizabeth Morgan
The Street Committee met Oct. 2 in Council Chambers once again, to address downtown parking. The meeting opened with a bit of confusion, as Johnson Avenue was repeatedly and mistakenly referred to as Main Street, but as the meeting bore on, emotions grew tense, more information surfaced, and then...

It became clear that the wheels were in motion. It was the very dialogue that the dozen or so in attendance were waiting to hear. In fact, the discussion took a surprising turn in favor of further exploring the options for diagonal parking.

In the attempt to reduce further confusion and discord (there has been too much already), this article will focus on the new information brought out during the last meeting. This information caught the attention of more than a few council members to look closer into many of the merchants’ pleas for solutions other than timed parking, including diagonal parking.

Chief Jeff Wilson announced that he and Public Works Supervisor, John Barton had taken some measurements of Main and Johnson streets, which were 40 and 43 feet wide, respectively. This would allow diagonal parking on one side of the street only. They also discovered that for every car parked parallel to the curb, two vehicles could fit diagonally in the same space.

Wilson remarked that while no significant change would appear in the number of spaces, that those spaces that were available were much easier to access and utilize all of them, in spite of a person’s ability, or inability in this case, to park.

The problem with marked parallel parking is that some cars are more compact, requiring less than the 22-26 foot long space, taking up valuable space that could also be used for others to park. Just one badly parked vehicle can throw parking off right on up the block. The other problem was that marked parking still had to be monitored and enforced, when our police officers already have their hands full.

Teri Bolling commented that the truck route on Johnson Avenue was one of the concerns of diagonal parking and one-way streets. “Ask any truck driver and he’ll tell you the four way stop.” Why? “Because it’s easier and safer to enter Michigan.” This raised a few eyebrows and nods of agreement from the audience as well as the Chief of Police. It seems to be yet another reason to further explore the options.

From there, I witnessed the cooperation of everyone involved. More questions arose and still more dialogue came forth, but perhaps a meeting of the minds finally occurred. It was decided that having a plan on paper in front of the council was essential for the next meeting. It would then be possible to look at several options and how to resolve the issues at hand.

Merchants and residents of Orofino are invited and encouraged to attend this special meeting with any concerns or input. The Street committee and merchants and residents are all eager to have this issue resolved as soon as possible, to better serve all of Orofino.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Adopt a Block Project Launch with Matt Potratz

By Elizabeth Morgan
Have you ever known a person who has just been there - whether to chat, or listen, to laugh, to share? Have you ever considered how much it would mean to someone who has no family to reach out and let them know that someone cares – that they still matter? Is there a child or a family in your neighborhood with unmet needs?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, here’s one more: Do you have 30-40 minutes on Wednesday evening (6 p.m.), Oct. 16, at the Rex Theatre, to hear how Matt Potratz is planning to bring the community together in his vision of “Adopt a Block” Project for Orofino?

All I knew about Matt was that he was a person of tremendous spirit and he had been miraculously bounced back into life after being in a coma in a close brush with death. He had been caught in an avalanche a few years back while snowmobiling. I’ve ready several of his columns and heard he was an incredible inspiration to others. He hasn’t missed a beat. Matt sports a fierce determination to make the most of his life and the situation at hand.

As I approached the house to learn more about Adopt a Block, a couple of young boys asked who I was and who I was looking for, they sent me to the front door when another young man answered, and invited me in. Eight little guys altogether were playing contentedly around the house. It was noisy, but a happy noise and they all seemed to understand the rules. “Three of the boys are mine,” claimed Matt, “the others are friends over to play.” “They seem to have no where else to go.” he states simply. On this particular Friday and most of the others, “they come here where they know and their parents know it’s safe.” Sometimes they come to eat; sometimes we watch movies or do activities. It’s what we do. It’s just one way I can help.”

Adopt a Block originated in some of the more desperate neighborhoods in L.A. Matt attends church at New Bridges in Lewiston and the congregation has made some big changes for some very needy residents.

Technically, it was a faith based program, but that’s not a priority in Matt’s perspective. Adopt a Block is all about people serving people, and what better way to serve God than by helping those around us who need it most?

“It’s not about me, my ordeal, or my book,” he clarifies, it’s about helping those who don’t really have a choice,” and that’s why he has focused on serving the elderly and youth in our area. “I’ve checked around and identified a few areas of particular need right now. Brookside Landing and Clearwater Health and Rehabilitation are such examples. Both facilities have many residents without family near and who rarely receive visitors. Matt would like to facilitate small groups (two-five people) to go and share an hour once a week with some of the residents.

At the other end of the spectrum, he is working with the schools to help locate the families of young children with unmet needs. Matt would like to pair them up with a family able to help make a difference, in whatever way they can.

“The best part,” he said, “was that while we think we are the ones giving, we are actually the one’s receiving. Once a person feels the fulfillment that helping others brings, it’s hard to stop. Matt considers it a way for him to give back to the community that never gave up on him and gave him a second chance at life.

He tells how his accident helped to open his eyes to being a person and a father. As one might anticipate, priorities shift after such an event, and Matt wants others to know that we are all capable of rearranging our priorities - we shouldn’t need a tragedy as a catalyst to begin.

“If I had the chance right now to go back and be the old Matt, I wouldn’t do it,” he shares. “No way. I had no idea what life was really about." The relationship with his God, his family, and his sons has evolved ten-fold since the accident.

As the days get shorter, darker, holidays lurk around the corner, and our paychecks (if we have one) are having to stretch even farther, it is also a time of loneliness and hardship for many. A visitor with a familiar face an encouraging word, can make a world of difference to those without.

So on Wednesday, Oct. 16, do yourself a favor, see what all the excitement is about, learn how you can help. Meet with Matt Potratz, and others in our community who want to make a difference at 6 p.m. at the Rex Theatre. Refreshments will be served.