Thursday, December 26, 2013

A new year and new owners for Orofino Physical Therapy

Orofino Physical Therapy changes owners, not services. Darin Tucker and John Garrison (l to r) work together to assure their clients the best care possible, with the same hometown environment.

There has been some talk in the community about John Garrison and his potential selling of Orofino Physical Therapy. The thought of losing one of the area’s favorite physical therapists makes more than a few residents and patients a little sad, maybe even apprehensive about the changes to come as the sale of the clinic will be complete on Jan. 1, 2014.

Since June of 2013 Garrison and Tucker have been in constant communication ensuring that this would be a great “win-win”, not only for them, but also for the community of Orofino.

Darin Tucker and Chip Sands are the new owners, but Tucker is no stranger to Orofino. His wife, formerly known as Tracy Johnson is the daughter of Neal and Jeannie Johnson. Tracy and Darin have three children, Savannah, 17, Stephanie, 13, and Ryan, 9, and presently reside in Boise. The family has been coming “home” to Orofino for the past 20 years. Opening a clinic here has always been in the back of Tucker’s mind.

“Orofino is a stellar community,” said Tucker. “I have worked in several small communities, but I can honestly say that Orofino is different. There is a very strong sense of community camaraderie here. It reminds me of the old TV show Cheers …where everyone knows your name.”

Because of this and due to his long history with Orofino, “This clinic, of all of the others is very special to me; I am going to hold it very close to my chest ensuring that excellence happens. I am very much looking forward to working with John to evolve the clinic and to be a part of a really cool community.”

Tucker continues, “John has created an excellent business, selling it to us is just a natural evolution of business ownership,” explains Tucker. “Because of his historic success, he will continue to work with us and the clinic, as advisor and consultant. We both have such a passion for physical therapy that staying connected only makes sense. By working together, we have more resources to help the Orofino Community. Out of all the clinics I have developed, I am most excited about Orofino.”

About the new owners

Tucker and Sands have owned and operated a physical therapy practice (Peak Physical Therapy) for 15 years. Their first practice started in a basement of a physician’s office and has grown to as many as 10 clinics. Currently they have seven clinics—six in Idaho and one in Colorado.

Both have an extensive background in sports medicine. Their approach involves both hands on care and proper exercise progressions backed with lots of education. The more a patient understands their condition (what causes it, what to do to get better, why certain things are done and how to avoid additional injuries in the future) the better outcome they will have and more long lasting it will be. “We don’t only want to get our patients feeling better,” said Tucker, “we want them to be as functional as possible when they are done with us so that they can resume all the activities (work or recreation) that they want.”

There are four phases of health the new clinic will focus on: 1) Preventative 2) Restorative 3) Maintenance of good Health 4) Enhancement (sports/function performance).

Tucker believes that as health organizations get bigger they become more restrictive often in the form of no longer accepting certain insurances. “We are going to do just the opposite. Our number one founding philosophy is: ‘We are healthcare providers, we are in the field of help’. We will help anyone regardless of their pathology, insurance or financial condition. Everyone deserves great care.”

Great care is derived from a combination of knowledge, experience and passion. Darin Tucker graduated from BSU with a Bachelors Degree in Athletic Training (certified from 1996 – 2010) and a Bachelors Degree in Exercise Science; as well as an Associate’s Degree in Health Science (Physical Therapists Assistant).

Tucker holds certifications in the following fields: Athletic Training (1996-2010); Strength and Conditioning Specialist (1996 – 2010); United States Weight Federation (1996 – 2000); Swedish Massage and Reflexology.

Other accomplishments include: Idaho PTA of the Year 2007; First PTA to be a District Chair for the IPTA; Served as on the IPTA board for two years; President of the BNI (Southern Idaho’s most successful Chapter); Member of the Advisory Board for the Boise 100; Board Member for the PTA Program consortium (CWI/LCSC/NIC/CSI); Member of the Program Advisory Committee for Carrington College’s PTA program, and owns/ operates a Physical Therapy consulting company.

Tucker’s partner, Chip Sands, has a Bachelor Degree in Physical Therapy and a Bachelor Degree in Athletic Training.

Sands has a wife of 22 years and has a 14-year-old son. He currently resides in McCall, and provides sports medicine services for the Junior Steelheads. He has worked at the Olympic Training Center (1998) and at the University Games (skiing) in Slovakia (1999) Sands has also worked ski patrol for Bogus Basin.

The new clinic anticipates arrival of a fantastic therapist hired out of Texas: Josh Tilley.

In addition to being a physical therapist, Tilley also a certified athletic trainer and has a strong sports medicine background. He has been fortunate to have spent time working at the Olympic Training Center working with world caliber athletes. The new team is looking to helping out as much as possible with local athletics.

Darin Tucker shared his thoughts about the changes in healthcare, and made these observations. His business background has taught him one thing….be proactive, not reactive. “I personally believe that the reason we might have issues in healthcare is not because the system is broken, it is because people simply don’t use healthcare correctly,” he began. There are two problems that he sees:

1) Most people are “reactive” with regards to their health. They wait so long to see that doctor that by the time they do their condition is twice as bad; hence it takes twice as long and costs twice as much to handle.

Because of the inconvenience and cost of care, people avoid going to doctors, only making matters worse. So as a healthcare business owner, Tucker feels it is his job to provide solutions and recommends that if someone has pain that has lasted longer than two weeks to seek more information. The faster it gets handled, the faster it goes away and the less medical money spent.

The new clinic will be offering free pain assessments to the community to determine what actions one needs to take to protect their health and their pocket book.

2) Healthcare providers often treat the symptoms of the problem instead of the underlying problem that creates the symptoms. This results in the patients having to go back to seek medical services several times for the same thing.

If the problem is addressed initially it will decrease the need for future services. This is one of the goals new owners will incorporate in their practice; to do it well and only do it once. This will lead to long lasting outcomes helping to decrease future healthcare costs.

As for the health club, it will certainly remain open. The new owners aim is to not only maintain it, but to expand upon it.

Some of the things that the new owners would like to offer in the near future are:

1. Community In-services (free)

2. Business programs that will help business owners prevent injuries on the job, save insurance dollars (lower premiums) (free). “We want to do what we can to help other businesses succeed,” said Tucker.

3. Educational literature—information that will help individuals better understand healthcare, how to handle certain aches/pains, when to seek medical help, how to understand insurance, etc (free)

4. Fundraisers (free)

   a. “We have some excellent school/community fundraisers that we put on. These are aimed at increasing funds for schools, athletics, etc.,” said Tucker.

5. Working with local high schools/colleges to help students. (free)

6. Free pain assessments for the community.

As it evolves, the new owners envision more hours, more services and increasing the diversity of equipment. They will be asking existing members and the community about what they would like to see offered.

Friday, December 20, 2013

School board meeting shy in attendance

A School Board meeting for Joint District #171 was held Dec. 16, at Orofino High School. Attendance was low, as music concerts and holiday programs were taking place throughout the district. A comment was made in regard to planning next year’s events around the board meeting.

The evening’s agenda was approved without additions or changes.

The board approved the last meeting’s minutes and bills to be paid.

Certified and Classified Employees of the Month were announced by board member Amy Jared. They are: OHS Principal Dan Hull and Jerry Bordoni, respectively. Next Volunteers of the Month, Earl Vicory and Rex Robinson were introduced by Mr. Hull. Watch for articles in the near future featuring these incredible and dedicated members of our school community.

Superintendent Vian reported that enrollment is up 14 over last year at this time.
Committee reports

The Wellness and Nutrition Committee met to select policies which were long overdue to be updated. Policies changed were presented before the board for approval later in the meeting listed under “Action Items.”

Due to the recent survey results not being available, the Strategic Planning Committee will postpone their discussion scheduled for the December meeting until the meeting in January 2014.

Building and Program Reports were exceptionally brief. It was noted that some parents and the principal were attempting to attend all the events in one evening. The board watched them scramble from one site to the next in order to attend everything. Unfortunately, OES Principal, Mrs. Brooks was ill and had spent the day at home. Hence, most building and program reports were postponed.

The board did receive a report from Mr. Jenkins with the Transportation Department. He explained that everything had been running up to par, therefore he had little to report other than news of the three furnaces which received a good cleaning and a little maintenance for better efficiency

Technology report

Next, Russ Miles, informed the board that there had been a disconnection of internet service from Friday, Dec. 13, until sometime Saturday afternoon on Dec. 14. The reason for the disruption was due to the district implementing an increase to the broadband width available for students

Superintendent’s report

Mr. Vian reported to the board that he has signed a contract with the National Guard to provide food service to the Youth Challenge School in Pierce for the second half of the school year, Jan. - June 2014.

The contract amount is $228,852.46 and is for “Reimbursement of (to) Joint School District 171 for actual costs and related expenditures for approved food services provided by the school district.”

Because Youth ChalleNGe students attend school seven days a week and are there all day long, food expenses are higher per student than those for the rest of the district. By providing the food service to the new school on the hill, the district makes 14 % of the contract amount for compensation.

Next, Vian explained that engineers from Aerton Environmental Control Systems visited Orofino Elementary School. Orofino High School and Timberline Schools in late November to help the district control energy usage. The team will return to the district with some heating and window contractors to submit quotes for renovation. Aerton will give the district an estimate for a control system for the heating and ventilation units.


Both high schools continue to work on Accreditation. Site visits will take place in February. Accreditation occurs on a six-year cycle and assures that student transferring to other high schools and moving on with a post-secondary career or education will received credit for their high school learning.

District vehicles

The district needs to make a decision concerning the vehicles which are tired, and which vehicles need to retire or be repaired. A direction for the future needs to be determined, to either purchase newer vehicles, convert to a mileage system, or purchase a couple of vans for multi-employee use and have individual trips bill mileage.

Drivers Education faces the same issue, as the cars are worn out. The district subsidizes driver’s education. Newer vehicles will mean larger subsidizing in the future. We should consider whether we want to continue the driving portion of driver’s education or turn it over to a local business.

Last in his report, Mr. Vian gave a PowerPoint presentation on maintenance projects which were completed over the summer, to include before and after pictures of the boilers and water heaters at OES, the patchwork and painting of Timberline Schools and the roof and skylight repairs of the bus barns. A new covered walkway was constructed to access the new portable.

Bob Reggear exercised his first opportunity to thank Mr. Vian for his tireless efforts in moving education forward and in his leadership of the school district to date, during the Public Comment section of the meeting.

As mentioned earlier, the board listened to the first reading of suggested policy updates recommended by the Wellness/ Nutrition Committee. These include: Policy # 8200 Healthy Lifestyles; #8210 District Nutrition Committee; #8220 Food Services, #8230 Child Wellness; #8235 Water/Energy Drink Consumption; #8240 School Meals; #8245 Competitive Food Services; #8250 Individual Food and Beverage Sales; #8260 Vending Machines.

Before adjourning, board member Charity Robinson thanked other board members for sharing information they received from the November conference in Coeur D’Alene, as she was unable to attend.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Clearwater, Idaho counties file suit over travel plan

Clearwater and Idaho counties have filed suit against the United State Forest Service concerning the travel plan. The counties have filed jointly, because “most of our issues with the USFS are identical,” according to a press release issued by the counties.

Both counties are members of the Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC); however, the CBC itself has chosen not to become involved in the travel plan issue, “because we felt that consensus would be too elusive,” according to the press release.

In the suit filed against the Forest Service, the counties allege the Forest Service:

Did not consider the local land use plan of Clearwater County as required by federal coordination mandates;

Closed trails to single track (motorcycles) because of conflicts with little or no evidence that conflicts exist;

Failed to consider the economic impact to the citizens of the two counties;

Relied on data which was speculative insufficient or non-existent;

Constituted a management plan whereby de-facto wilderness areas are created without the required Congressional designation;

Failed to consider the impact by snowmobiles or even how much use there actually is.

The counties “attempted to resolve our claims administratively, by appealing the travel plan and those appeals were denied,” said the press release. “We believe the travel plan decision lacked sufficient data, and was therefore arbitrary and capricious. The travel plan does harm to our Counties and our residents and we believe the plan was not done in accordance with federal law. We felt this is a place to take a stand and we would be remiss if we had not.”

Friday, December 6, 2013

Idaho employment stabilizes in September, October

Idaho employers maintained jobs at or above normal levels in September and October, and total employment rose fractionally, injecting some stability into the economy as the state approached the holiday season.

The state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate was unchanged from August to September at 6.8 percent, and then slipped to 6.7 percent in October, ending an upward trend that saw the rate increase seven-tenths of a percentage point from April through August - the second largest percentage point increase in the nation. Massachusetts rose eight-tenths of a point in the same period.

Locally, unemployment rates saw miniscule changes. Clearwater County’s rate increased by .2 percent, up to 13.3 from September’s rate of 13.1 percent. From August to September the rate stayed at 13.1. Last October Clearwater County’s unemployment rate was 12.5 percent.

Lewis County’s unemployment rate dropped incrementally to 6.2 percent, from September’s rate of 6.3 percent. Last October’s rate was also 6.2 percent. Nez Perce County also saw an incremental decrease, from 5.9 down to 5.7. In October of 2012 the rate was also 5.7.

Idaho County ticked up to 9.6 percent, from September’s rate of 9.5 percent. Last October Idaho County was at 8.7 percent, and in August of this year it was 9.1 percent.

Nationally unemployment dropped in September to 7.2 percent and then increased in October to 7.3 percent, reflecting the temporary layoff of federal employees during the government shutdown the first 16 days of October.

Idaho’s rate has been below the national rate for a full 12 years.

The number of Idaho workers without jobs rose slightly in September before falling more than 1,000 to 51,400 in October - the fourth straight month unemployment has been above 50,000.

At the same time, total employment was up 300 over the two months to exceed 721,000 but remained slightly below employment levels of October 2012 when the rate was 6.6 percent.

Although Idaho’s labor force saw a slight increase in September from August, it fell by 900 in October. That combined with the marginal increase in employment was enough to push the jobless rate down.

Idaho employers added 4,000 jobs in September, slightly above the 10-year average of 3,700 that included both a strong expansion and a severe recession. Job losses held to just 300 in October, when the number of jobs typically drops 2,200, based on the average over the last 10 years. Goods producers added several hundred jobs in October when they typically cut employment, primarily in construction, and the service sector kept job cuts to 80 percent of the 10-year average loss.

Total nonfarm jobs for October were 2.3 percent higher than in October 2012, down from a 2.6 percent year-over-year spread in September. October’s numbers likely reflected the shutdown of the federal government and economic uncertainty it created.

Businesses reported hiring nearly 20,000 people in October, the second highest total for any month since the expansion ended in December 2007 and the highest October total since 2000. Nearly all of those jobs were replacement jobs. Combined with the decline in the labor force, the numbers reflect the increasing size of Idaho’s population 55 years old and over – 25.3 percent in 2012, up from 19.6 percent in 2000.

Idaho’s labor force participation rate, which is the share of adults working or actively looking for work, dropped below 64 percent in October for the first time since 1981. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the share of Idaho households where neither spouse is in the labor force increased from 16.5 percent in 2007 to 20.1 percent in 2011 - the largest percentage point increase of any state during the recession and above the national rate of 19.7 percent for the first time.

The national labor force participation rate in October was 62.9 percent, the lowest since May 1978.

As Idaho’s employment picture stabilized and began to decrease, October’s unemployment benefit payments were down 37 percent with the number of claimants 40 percent lower than October 2012. Nearly $9 million in state and federal benefits were paid to a weekly average of 8,800 claimants in October. Just over a quarter of the payments were federally financed extended benefits, which will cease at the end of the year. An average of 2,600 people a week received federal extended benefits in October.

A year ago, over $14.2 million in state and federal benefits were paid to a weekly average of 14,500 claimants. Almost 44 percent of the payments were federally financed extended benefits.

At the depth of the recession in March 2009, an average of 50,000 workers a week received $54 million in state and federal benefits.

Thirty-five of the 44 counties posted declines in their unemployment rates from September to October, as did all five metropolitan areas.

The same six rural resource-dependent counties that have been reporting double-digit rates continued to do so in September and October. Adams County again posted the highest rate at 14.5 percent in October, down slightly from September.

Twenty counties recorded rates below 6 percent led by Oneida and Franklin at 4 percent. That was up from 15 counties with sub-6 percent rates in September.

URM assures shoppers that using their cards is now safe

United Retail Merchants (URM) a wholesale cooperative serving as many as 160 stores in Washington, Idaho and Montana, wasted no time to enhance security in their payment processing system, after a recent outbreak of fraudulent credit card cases were found to have originated at URM affiliated stores, to include Harvest Foods, Rosauers, Family Foods, Yokes, Super 1 Foods and Yoke’s stores.

URM stores issued a statement Dec. 2 announcing that they have finished implementing enhanced security measures designed to block the cyber-attack against its payment processing system. Customers may now resume using their payment cards (credit, debit, EBT, gift cards) in all member stores.

“Working with a leading payment card industry security firm, we have taken steps to block the attack,” said URM CEO Ray Sprinkle. “We are incredibly grateful to our customers for their patience and understanding. we are humbled by their support and continue to extend our sincere apologies for the frustration and inconvenience caused by this incident.” Sprinkle also commended the employees of URM and its member stores, “We are extremely proud of their dedication and hard work throughout this process.”

“We are learning from this experience and will continue to constantly look for ways to make our system more secure.” added Sprinkle.

Although this attack has been blocked from continuing, any card used before the attack was blocked (except separate stand-beside transactions) could have been accessed and may still be used to make fraudulent purchases. Thus, customers who used their card in a store before the attack was blocked out should continue to monitor their accounts for unauthorized charges and immediately report any such charges to the financial institution that issued their card.

Major credit card companies have “zero liability” policies that guarantee cardholders will not be responsible for fraudulent charges. Again, cards used through a separate stand -beside or dial-up system from Nov. 25 - Dec. 2 were not affected.

URM is working with the security firm, its payment processor, and the credit card companies to identify cards that may have been affected by this attack. After finding signs of the attack, the company devoted all of their efforts to stop it.

The investigation will now turn towards identifying the stores that were affected and for how long. When that occurs, alerts will be sent out to the companies that issued cards which might still be at risk. After they receive alerts, those companies can apply enhanced monitoring techniques or cancel and reissue the cards to protect their cardholders. We are also working with law enforcement to apprehend those responsible.

A dedicated call center remains open for customers who have questions. Customers may call (877) 237-7408, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 7 p.m. PT and 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. PT on Saturday. Up to date information can always be found on the URM web site at under the “Credit/Debit Card Announcements.”