Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Fire Speaks the Land: An Active Audiences Performance

Fire science education for youth merges with the performing arts when the University of Montana, CoMotion Dance Project performs “Fire Speaks the Land: An Active Audiences Performance.”

Eight school performances will be conducted for kindergarten through sixth grade students during the week of March 10-14, (Monday – Friday) at Clearwater Valley Elementary, Kamiah Elementary, Timberline Schools, Orofino Elementary, Troy Elementary, Deary Elementary, Lapwai Elementary, and Grangeville Elementary.

The 50-minute performance uses original choreography, narration and music to explore fire science, forest ecology and traditional native perspectives on fire.

Designed for K-6 students, “Fire Speaks the Land” features five dancers, a narrator, unique scenery and lighting, colorful costumes as well as several opportunities for the audience to participate in the performance, both on and off stage. Students learn about ecological issues relevant to our region through an artistic, narrated performance that both delights and informs.

Karen Kaufmann, 2014 recipient of the Montana Arts Council’s Artist Innovation Award, directs the CoMotion Dance Project, an organization that promotes dance in K-12 education. Written and produced by Karen Kaufmann and Steve Kalling, the piece features choreography by Karen Kaufmann and Joy French, with live performance by five professional dancers: Allison Heather, Kaitlin Kinsley, Katie McEwen, Ashley Griffith and Joy French. Original music is composed and recorded by Steve Kalling and nine Montana musicians. Blackfeet musician and storyteller Jack Gladstone narrates the sound score.

The Fire Speaks the Land tour in Idaho was funded by the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests and the North Central Idaho Fire Prevention Cooperative (NCIFPC). The NCIFPC received a grant through Idaho FireWise in support of the performances. The Lapwai Elementary performance was funded by the Nez Perce Tribe, Forestry and Fire Management Division. Additional support comes from The University of Montana, Montana Cultural Trust, Montana Arts Council, Public Value Partnership, USDA Forest Service Rocky Mountain Research Station, Cadeau Foundation, and the USDA Forest Service Missoula Fire Sciences Lab.

For more information, contact Courtney Couch at the Kooskia Ranger Station at (208) 926-4274.

“Fire Speaks the Land: An Active Audiences Performance” will be performed at regional elementary schools, including Orofino and Timberline, the week of March 10-14.

Friday, February 21, 2014

Clearwater Basin Collaborative gains support of City Council

By Elizabeth Morgan

Jeff Halligan spoke before Orofino City Council members regarding the Clearwater Basin Collaborative (CBC) at the regular meeting held Feb. 11.

Halligan shared additional information about the CBC and asked for the council’s support.

The organization was formed by Senator Crapo in 2008, to bring two very oppositional groups which have long struggled to agree how the Clearwater Basin should be maintained, managed, utilized and preserved. The Wilderness Society has been part of this collaborative effort since it started.

The CBC hopes to discover solutions for everyone involved by designating areas to meet all interests. Their mission is focused on four areas which are often controversial and many times, rest at the center of so little being resolved. These goals include working to support a strong and sustainable timber industry, providing for better motorized and non-motorized recreation opportunities, increasing jobs and funding for rural communities, and conserving back country values.

Halligan believes that a solution to meet all needs can be found and stated that although many support one far side or the other that a middle ground can be decided and negotiated upon meeting the wants and needs for all involved.

After a few questions and considerable discussion, the council unanimously agreed to support the CBC. Watch for more articles regarding the CBC in future issues of the Clearwater Tribune or visit for additional information.

Also under Petitions, Applications, Appeals and Communications, City Clerk Janet Montambo was recognized by the board for her recent designation of Master Municipal Clerk (MMC), awarded by the International Institute of Municipal Clerks (IIMC), Inc. Montambo stated that the achievement was an honor and a goal which she had worked toward for many years.

Stacie Lee, on behalf of 2014 Senior Class of Orofino High School, informed the council that this year’s graduation party is planned to take place at the Orofino Elementary School after graduation on Saturday, June 7.

The traditional event which may extend into the wee hours of the next morning is chaperoned and well organized with the intent of providing graduating seniors a fun, memorable, safe and sober function to celebrate an important milestone with classmates.

Lee requested permission for use of the field lights at Orofino Elementary School for the Senior Class party illuminating the field and basketball courts until 2 a.m. on the morning of June 8. The request was approved unanimously by the council.

Work session report

The council met on Feb. 4 for the first work session, as a means for members and staff to discuss and attend to topics which were formally addressed by council committees. Rather than have just a few council members discuss and recommend a solution for the council to vote on at the regular council meetings, a work session brings the entire governing body together providing a more open environment and the opportunity for all members to more freely discuss the topics amongst each other.

No decisions are made at the work sessions, which are open to the public and held the first Tuesday of the month in Council Chambers at City Hall. Items discussed at the work sessions, are voted on at the regular meetings, held the second and fourth Tuesdays of every month.

Of 10 items listed on the work session agenda, all were discussed but only three were reported at the regular meeting held Feb. 11. Other topics will be discussed further as additional information is collected.

One of the main items on last week’s work session agenda was whether or not to continue the annual Curb Appeal Contest. Due to a small number of participants in the past two years, it was decided to discontinue the contest. Council members however, felt it was still important to acknowledge those residents who worked to enhance the landscaping and beautify their homes and ultimately their neighborhood, with letters of recognition.

Another item on the agenda which received much attention was resolving the growing problem of cigarette butts littering the sidewalk and storefronts of certain businesses in town. One solution discussed was to provide locking cigarette receptacles in the areas which seem to have the worst problem. Unfortunately, the receptacles designed to be bolted down and easily emptied by the public works crew are not cheap; each was priced in the neighborhood of $160.

Presently, the Community Beautification Fund budget for such items would purchase one container. The question then, was where would it be placed to serve the most good? The council chose to explore other options for cigarette disposal before making a decision. In the meantime, perhaps smokers could use a little more discretion as to where they toss their butts. It’s only a matter of common courtesy and a little common sense.

Discussion has reopened about a suitable location to erect a community message board. Currently the power pole at the four-way stop seems to be the most popular location, but throughout the year, drivers will hold up traffic while writing addresses down for yard sales or other events before proceeding through the intersection.

In previous discussions regarding a message board, the Rotary club indicated that if the city would purchase the materials, they would construct and install it as one of their projects. One possible location for a message board is located on county property next to Dr. Lundgren’s optical office. The city would need to set up an appointment with Clearwater county commissioners to request if the property might be used for a community message board.

Departmental reports

City Administrator Rick Laam reported to the council on the city’s progress of the application to FAA for the construction of a new terminal at the Orofino airport. The application process should be finalized in the first part of May, and once completed the project will move quite quickly. It is feasible to believe that a new terminal will be in place by the end of this fiscal year. If not, the project would carry over into the first part of 2015.

Other news from the city’s administrator was the announcement board members of the Konkolville Water District to attend and meet with city council members at the next Council Work Session on March 4.

Laam also delivered an update to the council for Chief of Police Jeff Wilson, who was not able to attend the Feb. 11 meeting. The police department’s new drug tracking dog was acquired Feb. 14. The firm that trained the new dog for Orofino, kept her a little longer than usual to make sure she will be a good fit for the department. Casey will receive a more formal introduction in the near future.

Other news regarding the grant submitted through State Farm Insurance for funding for the city park’s surveillance camera was denied for this year. Wilson continues to seek other options for funding to acquire the equipment.

Last but not least in the department’s recent activities, Mayor Ryan Smathers commended the officers in their participation against the Orofino High School girls’ basketball team where in spite of their efforts and in front of a packed house, “got their butts kicked.”

The Treasurer’s report from Pam McGuffie was brief, which included payroll, bills and additional bills as well as a recap report of airport fuel purchased from Jan. 2010 to the present.

Building Official Todd Perry informed the council of a Public Hearing scheduled for the next Planning and Zoning Commission on Feb. 18, concerning the proposed amendment to the Comprehensive Plan of the Future Land Use Map.

Perry also mentioned that he had made contact with Warren Watts, the designer for the new 10,000 square foot AAA Precision Tools building to be constructed on Hwy. 7. Perry also had communication with the Idaho Transportation Department regarding the new business. At this time, it does not appear that the activity at the business will affect the traffic on Hwy. 7 or influence the proposal of a future turn lane for the hospital’s new clinic.

Lastly, the Building Official submitted January Building Permits.

Supervisor John Barton for Public Works announced that in addition to the department’s routine maintenance freezing weather required heat lamps to placed on the master tanks. Public Works crews had been out plowing snow all weekend of Feb. 8 and 9, and with rain predicted to follow, the crews would proceed with the clearing of storm drains to accommodate all the extra water. Ditches will need to be monitored as well, once the snow begins to melt.

Water/Wastewater supervisor Mike Martin reported that most of the work on the water plant was taking place on the interior of the plant. There was a rather unexpected predicament of the temporary intake pipes floated out of the water when the extreme cold caused the river to freeze. Workers had to pour concrete around the pipes in order to hold them in place.

Other news from Martin included a report from the Wastewater plant where workers had spent much of their time catering to the belt press. It appears that the aging piece of equipment is in worse shape than first believed. The facility may have to contemplate their replacement at a later date.

Fire Chief Mike Lee has not been present at the last few council meetings due to unexpected complications of his health. It was reported that he is home from the hospital, but is still in need of additional time to recover.

Ordinance revisions

The council was presented the third reading of Ordinances 777, 778 and 779, regarding Beer Regulations, Liquor by the Drink, and Wine Regulations, respectively. Mark Swayne had questioned the validity in several areas of the ordinances which seemed to be outdated. After consulting with the city’s attorney and state codes, the areas of concern were updated and adopted by the council. The specific changes made to the ordinances will be announced and legally posted by the city in the near future.

Council comments

Council member Swayne suggested that perhaps unanswered questions could be assigned to individuals at the city’s work sessions to assist in more efficient and timely resolutions of work session topics.

Public comments

Tristan Harvey commended John Barton and the Public Works crew for their excellent job of snow removal of the city‘s roads and close attention to the public’s safety during the extreme weather this past week.

Harvey also commended the staff and council members for their efforts at the Feb. 4 work session.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Replacement of bridge on Orofino Creek launches deeper investigation into the region’s history

Clearwater County, with the assistance of the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council, plans to replace the Orofino Creek Road Bridge. The bridge replacement project is subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended, because it will received federal funding through the Federal Highway Administration.

Section 106 requires federally assisted projects to take into account their effects on historic properties included in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places. So in 2012, ITD performed a pedestrian survey of the project area.

An initial cultural resources investigation identified a pre-contact (short term occupation) lithic (debitage) scatter site in the project’s area of potential effect (APE)). Debitage is the collective term used by archaeologists to refer to the sharp-edged waste material left over when someone creates a stone tool (knaps flint). Some of the waste flakes may be used as tools themselves, as expedient scrapers for example, but by and large the word debitage refers to those pieces which have not been utilized.

Testing the vertical and horizontal extent, content, and integrity of the site within the APE was recommended and SWCA was contracted to complete the evaluation as a result of consultation between the ITD and the Nez Perce Tribe.

Twenty-one shovel probes and three test units were excavated in and around the site along the road. Cultural materials were discovered between 0 and 138 centimeters (or 54.3 inches) below the surface in three of the 21 probes and in the test units. After careful examination of the artifacts found archeologists believe the site was used repeatedly for short periods of time, most likely as one of the Nezperce camps where activities focused on the hunting and processing of animal resources.

The site was recommended as eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Accordingly, Clearwater County will take whatever measures necessary to avoid any adverse effects to the site.

From a local perspective

The people who lived on the property in question were in no way surprised to learn of the research to be carried out in their neck of the woods. Violet Bruce and her husband, moved to the area in 1949 and purchased the property which is adjacent to Orofino Creek Bridge to make there home, which is where the archeological tests were performed.

Neighboring residents who were more familiar with the area informed them that the Nez Perce were known to have frequently camped in the vicinity of their property. Various arrowheads and pieces of other elements resembling cultural artifacts surfaced as the Bruces settled in and established their garden and orchard, confirming the information shared by neighbors who had lived in the area over several generations.

Throughout the years, various items of interest have revealed themselves, but perhaps the most obvious and intact artifact discovered was a sizeable tool most likely used as a pestle for grinding, found by Violet Bruce in their orchard.

Brandy Rinke, with SWCA Environmental Consultants, explained “This project has followed the Section 106 process and is a good example of positive relationships between private landowners, the ITD, the Nez Perce Tribe, and the County. SWCA is especially grateful to the Bruce family for allowing us to access their property and for the history they shared with us.”

Perhaps the most obvious and intact artifact discovered was a sizeable tool most likely used as a pestle for grinding, found by Violet Bruce in their orchard.

One of 21 shovel probes excavated to the depth of impenetrable cobbles, excavated in and around the site along the road. 

The Orofino Creek Bridge soon to be replaced is subject to Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, because it will receive federal funding through the Federal Highway Administration.

The north wall profile of one test unit showing the layers of soil and its distribution and composition. Testing the vertical and horizontal extent, content, and integrity of the site within the area of potential effect was recommended. The dark layer beginning about 110 centimeters below the modern surface is an old buried soil surface and artifacts were identified throughout the profile to about 140 centimeters or 54 inches deep – the black/red and white sticks are divided in 10 cm increments.

The artifacts shown above were recovered in the latest tests performed at the site. The fragments have been modified to illustrate how the original object appeared when it was first made/used.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

URM Stores acts to notify and protect customers

URM Stores’ investigation of a criminal cyber attack in November is coming to a close. “We now know which stores were affected by the attack and that the incident was limited to credit and debit card transactions made in those stores during time periods that range from Sept. 1, 2013 to Nov. 24, 2013,” said URM in a press release.

A list of stores affected and the specific time frame for each store can be found at under the “Credit/Debit Card Announcements” link. Only transactions at stores on the list during the defined time period were affected.

Some local stores include: Barney’s Harvest Foods in Orofino, Asker’s Harvest Foods in Grangeville, A&B Foods 1 and A&B Foods 2 in Lewiston, Valley Lapwai Foods in Lapwai, Cloninger’s Harvest Foods in Kamiah, Phil’s Family Foods in Kendrick, and White Pine Foods in Deary (Sept. 2, 2013 only).

On Nov. 25, URM Stores announced that it had found signs of a criminal cyber attach against their payment processing system. The attack was similar to attacks reported by other grocery stores and retailers.

In response, URM Stores engaged a leading computer security firm to investigate, and notices were posted in every store and on URM’s website.

“We blocked the attack and implemented enhanced security measures to make our systems more secure,” said URM.

For most of the transactions, URM believes that the attacker or attackers could only access “track 2” data—information on a credit or debit card’s magnetic stripe that contains only the card account number, expiration date, and card verification number.

For a small number of transactions, the attacker may have had access to “track 1” data, which contains all the information of track 2, plus the cardholder’s name. No customer addresses, phone numbers, or Social Security numbers were compromised in the incident. Social Security numbers are not collected by URM at all.

URM does not have sufficient information to identify which specific cards or data track from cards were actually taken, according to the press release. A letter or e-mail message will be sent to a small group of individuals for whom URM believes their track 1 data may be at risk.

A dedicated call center remains open for customers who have questions. The number is 877-237-7408 and the call center is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Pacific, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.