Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The New Old Time Chautauqua seeks local musicians

The New Old Time Chautauqua (NOTC) is a group of volunteers comprising of performers, musicians and educators who have since 1981, been touring the Northwest from Alaska to Northern California and Oregon to Montana. The group will be here in Orofino a little later this summer, July 31 – Aug. 3. Typically the group makes a three-day visit to each community they tour

The first day of their arrival, a huge potluck dinner is shared to enable everyone to meet, greet, eat, and share a few laughs.

The second day of their tour is comprised of community service. The band, performers and educators will visit State Hospital North, the prison, and the Teweepuu Center on Highway 12 outside of Orofino.

On the last day of their visit, a parade leads onlookers to the workshops. The family style Vaudeville Show will be held at the high school as a grand finale.

In Idaho, they have performed at Salmon, Boise, Sandpoint and Coeur d’Alene over the past 30 years. This year NOTC plans to make a special trip to Orofino as their final stop; the reason being, that their eldest member, folk singer, Faith Petric passed away on Oct. 24, 2013, at the age of 98.

To honor her and the land she came from, the final show of this year’s tour will take place in Orofino.

Faith was raised as the daughter of the Methodist Circuit Rider, Stephen Merrill Craig. Her grandfather was Thomas Curry Craig, a Chaplain who came to Idaho following the Civil War.

As a young girl, Faith attended the Chautauqua which came to Orofino almost one hundred years ago. The show must have made a huge impression on her because Faith eventually joined the organization in 1982. “She was the best ice breaker ever and literally knew over a thousand songs by heart, many of them she learned in Orofino.” said Paul Magid, coordinator of this year’s New Old Time Chautauqua.

There are many photos of her taken by her mother that will be featured at the Clearwater Historical Museum beginning in mid June.

The exact location of the Craig homestead was ambiguous for quite some. After many questions and a great deal of searching, the coordinator of the group discovered through the Clearwater County Assessor’s Office that the old Craig cabin homestead was located on the North Fork of the Clearwater River, near Grandad Bridge. A few close family members and members of the NOTC group were hoping to disperse her ashes near the Craig homestead while they were here.

The Chautauqua group is very proud of their marching band and is inviting all local musicians to perform with them in the parade.

The group will even send the music ahead of time so you can start warming up now. Those interested may contact Mrs. Kathleen Tetwiler (the music director at OJSHS) via email at to receive sheet music written specifically for their instrument or to receive music with the lyrics of the song to accompany the choir.
Another area of the Chautauqua in which the public is invited to participate is the workshops, which will be held after the parade on day three (Aug. 2).

The workshops are an eclectic mix of song swaps, quilting workshops, juggling classes, knot tying, local cartography, etc. Chautauqua encourages members of the community to share whatever workshops they would like to lead as well.

For questions, workshop ideas or more information, contact Paul Magid at pauldmagid

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Reflections From My Trail

By Charlie Pottenger
One of the trap-line tales

Youth is a personal thing, but many young boys might share some things in common. At an early age, shortly after I learned to read, I was fascinated with critters. It didn’t matter much whether the critter was a rabbit, mink, squirrel, muskrat or even larger like deer, elk and moose.

I dreamed of catching or hunting all kinds of critters. I would read everything about trapping, hunting and fishing and pester elders to tell tales of their critter encounters.

I discovered that the A. H. Harding Company, Publisher of Fur Fish and Game Magazine, also printed and sold a series of little books on trapping which gave detailed “How To” directions on the fine art of catching all kinds of critters from mice to bears.

I believe they are still available and I highly recommend them to people, especially youngsters, wanting to learn about traps and trapping.

One of my favorites was titled “Trails to Successful Trapping” and another was “Deadfalls and Snares.”

Armed with the information gleaned from these books I first began trapping muskrats, mink and rabbits at about age seven. A pastime I enjoyed well into manhood, assuming that I have actually achieved that lofty status somewhere along the way.

At the time I was attending college, I spent Christmas break at home and joined with a friend, Paul, to enjoy nighttime pleasures at the local hotspots as well as run a small muskrat trap-line.

At ages 18 to 21 we had actually improved our trapping skills to the point we regularly caught muskrats which we processed each day and eventually sold the furs for about $5 apiece, big money for us then.

We had about two dozen traps and were working a small creek in snowy winter weather. Our trap-line creek flowed parallel to a road so we would drive down and walk the line removing our catch and resetting the traps about 8 p.m. and then again about 1 or 2 a.m. after we had had our fun for the day.

Often we would catch two rats in a good set on the same night. All was going well and our tracks in the often replenished snow were a sure sign that we were working a trap-line.

One night, at the early morning check of our traps, we discovered that five or six of the traps had been found and stolen by someone else! It still makes me angry to think that people steal stuff, but stealing our traps was unforgivable.

We discussed our dilemma and immediately agreed to meet at the creek in mid-morning to seek a method of revenge. Remembering the lessons and techniques learned from all of the great “How to Trap” literature, we had decided to try to catch a thief! We brought a length of braided picture wire, a hatchet, knife and lots of enthusiasm.

Our plan was to build a great snare in hopes of catching our trap thief. We selected a sturdy aspen sapling growing near one of the sets that had been stolen and with our weight determined that it could be bent enough to provide about four feet of hefty lift. Using a finger latch trigger attached to the wire and staked to an embedded fixed-finger we created a flat loop snare in the path which would be tripped by anyone walking the trap-line who didn’t know its location.

With the snare set and our traps replaced we returned to our routine. Everything seemed as it had been before the thefts. We caught muskrats, we had fun and we avoided our snare.

A couple nights later when we made our early rounds we approached the snare location and heard cussing voices of several men. It was clear that they weren’t having fun! Paul and I listened and finally were able to determine that although the great snare had done its job, the multiple thieves had managed to free their hapless mate and were heading toward town. So we hightailed up a ridge and ran, far ahead of them and hid behind a huge tree alongside the road.

When the three crooks were abreast of us, Paul and I jumped out screaming like banshees, waving my hatchet and a big stick. At the sight of us, the three thieves probably wet their pants and they ran like the wind after dropping their flashlights and some of our traps on the road.

Actually, Paul and I remember that night as a highlight of our trapping experiences.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Water supply forecast as varied as this winter’s weather

The latest Water Supply Report issued by the Natural Resources Conservation Service shows variable precipitation and snow pack conditions across Idaho this winter leading to a wide range of water supply forecasts.

“Depending where you are in the state the conditions can be thin low-elevation snow or near record high snow pack with concerns for drought conditions or floods,” said Ron Abramovich, Water Supply Specialist with the Idaho Natural Resources Conservation Service. “Some areas have too little water and water supplies will be short; some areas may have too much water and high runoff is a concern. Yet other areas seem to have about the right amount of water.”

The snow pack in north Idaho’s Lochsa River basin shows winter has not loosened its grip. Numerous storms provided the Clearwater basin with 120% of the normal April precipitation, the third straight month with well above average amounts. The already deep snow pack continued to increase and is now at its peak for the season.

NRCS Hydrologist Karl Wetlaufer and Lynn Reese from US Army Corps of Engineers measured 11 feet of snow depth with 57.4 inches of water content, the second highest May measurement since records began in 1955, at the Fish Lake Airstrip snow course in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.

The deep snow pack in this region foretells a plentiful runoff season to come. River runners heading to the Selway and Lochsa this summer can expect some of the biggest whitewater in years. The stream flow volume forecast for the May to July period is currently 145 to 150% of average, highest in the state. Peak stream flow timing and magnitude depends on spring temperatures and precipitation.

Other areas across central, southern and eastern Idaho experienced a range of conditions in April, but only the upper Snake region had above normal precipitation.

Reservoir storage also varies around the state. The Owyhee and Salmon Falls reservoirs have low storage and very low projected inflows. Magic, Little Wood and Mackay reservoirs are 50-80% full but users will have short water supplies. Other reservoirs are near full or scheduled to fill after the peak stream flows occur.

“Hang on! We may not be done with this rollercoaster weather ride yet,” Abramovich said. “The increase in variable weather we saw this season keeps our job as hydrologists, forecasters and water managers interesting each year. Having weather that was even close to normal would make water management and planning decisions much easier.”

There will be one more 2014 water supply report issued in June.

Idaho burn permits required May 10 through Oct. 20

Closed fire season in Idaho begins May 10, and lasts through Oct. 20, each year. By Idaho law (38-115), any person living outside city limits anywhere in Idaho, who plans to burn for any reason—including the use of burn barrels and crop residue burning—during closed fire season, must obtain a fire safety burn permit. Permits are not needed for recreational campfires.

The fire safety burn permit is free of charge and good for 10 days after it is issued. The permit can be obtained online at BurnPermits.Idaho.Gov or at any Idaho Department of Lands (IDL) office.

The responsibility of issuing all fire safety burn permits statewide is under the purview of the IDL. Residents and growers in northern Idaho, generally are accustomed to obtaining the fire safety burn permit along with other necessary permits depending on where and what they plan to burn. Many residents in southern Idaho, especially growers planning to burn fields, may not be aware of the law requiring the fire safety burn permit.

BurnPermits.Idaho.Gov provides tips for safe burning practices, information about fire restrictions and if additional permits are required from other entities. Contact information is provided for local jurisdictions and counties that may have other fire restrictions in place. Additionally, before burning, all burners in Idaho must check with the respective Tribe (if in Reservation boundaries) or DEQ to ensure there are no air quality restrictions in place.

Acquiring a fire safety burn permit informs 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.

The permits also can be obtained in person at any IDL office in the state. Office locations are available on the IDL Website,, by clicking “Contact.”

Friday, May 9, 2014

Kayakers beware: Lolo Creek is unsafe

Dangerous areas like this have appeared on Lolo Creek since last year’s Incendiary Creek Fire, according to Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office.

Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office would like kayakers to be aware that Lolo Creek is extremely treacherous at this time, due to what happened with the Incendiary Creek Fire last year.

In August of 2013 the Incendiary Creek Fire burned approximately 1,100 acres in the Lolo Creek drainage in Clearwater County. Lolo Creek is the boundary line between Idaho and Clearwater counties, and runs into the Clearwater River.

In the spring of each year Lolo Creek becomes a popular area for kayakers, with most starting at the Lolo Creek Bridge near Weippe and ending at the Clearwater River.

During the fire last summer several large trees fell across the creek, completely blocking it. There were at least six trees completely across the Lolo Creek and concern that more would fall across over the winter. There was also concern about rock and mudslides along the creek due to the loss of vegetation from the fire.

An April flight over Lolo Creek found only a couple of problem areas where trees have fallen into the creek. The first area is approximately half a mile down from the bridge near Weippe. There is a complete blockage of the creek from trees, and it is not possible for a kayak to go over or under this blockage. This blockage is on a fairly calm part of the creek and should be easily seen from upstream. The bank would allow portage around this blockage.

The next blockage is from a single tree and appears that you could navigate around it. There are also several other trees that are currently sticking out over the creek and could become a problem during higher water or if they break off.

One of the challenges of Lolo Creek for kayakers is the inability to scout ahead before starting down the creek. In the past this has caused difficult Search and Rescue Operations for Clearwater County, when kayakers have gotten in trouble.

If you are considering kayaking on Lolo Creek this year, please be aware of the potential dangers.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Lolo Trail Muzzleloader Club Spring Fling this weekend

By Dusti Howell

Saturday, May 3, Lolo Trail Muzzleloader Club (LTML) is having our Annual Spring Fling shooting event at Wolverton’s Cabin, 2852 Wells Bench Road, Orofino. The start time is 10 a.m. The fee to participate in the shoot is $7 per person.

Prizes for the top three mountain men, women, and young trappers will be awarded. We will also be having drawing prizes, with tickets selling for six for $5 dollars or $1 each. After the shoot there will be a potluck with the club providing barbequed hamburgers and hot dogs. Please bring a side dish, beverage, and your chairs. Can’t wait to see all of you black powder shooters!

Sunday, May 4, LTML is holding our second parent/child day event, also at Wolverton’s Cabin, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. We would like to invite all families that are interested in learning more about the traditional ways of life. This is a free event with the members of the club donating their time, weapons, and supplies, and will also be providing and barbequing hamburgers and hot dogs for a potluck.

All you need to bring is a side dish, beverage, chairs and great attitudes! We will have three events for the kids: hawk and knife throw, muzzleloader rifle paper shoot, and flint-n-steel fire starting. We hope to have a safe and fun filled day!

For any questions regarding both events please e-mail or call Dusti Howell at 476-9471, Guy Walker at 435-4814, or Larry Kaufman at 208-827-0018.

Community invited to 'Living Ready' preparedness fair

Ronda Bowser demonstrates the agility course with her search dog, Pandora, during the 2012 'Living Ready' preparedness fair.
Some challenges in life impact the whole community like the wildfires last summer that threatened homes and businesses, while others are individual such as unemployment or health problems. ‘Living Ready’ can help in facing and overcoming these parts of the human experience.

Orofino Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is inviting people of the community and surrounding area to 'Living Ready', a preparedness fair Saturday, May 10, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at their meetinghouse, 13610 Fremont Ave.

Living Ready is not about fear or panic; it is about learning to take care of what is important-loved ones. It is about learning to be smart, savvy and resilient when facing challenges. Today's world presents lots of challenges from medical emergencies to flooding, landslides and other events that impact the whole community. People can prepare to meet those challenges and better 'weather the storm'.

The fair will have numerous booths, demonstrations and presenters that can answer questions about how to prepare and be ready when facing challenges in life. Some might call it provident living.

Among topics for the fair are:

Canning, preserving and storing food

Sprouting, dehydrating and freeze dried foods


Herbs and health foods

Edible landscaping

Medical basics

Legal document preservation

Alternative cooking

Water storage and purification

72-hour kits

Household ingenuity


Family history & genealogy

Adult education

Emergency shelter

There will also be displays by a variety of emergency responders and community resources such as:

Clearwater County Sheriff’s Office

Orofino Police Department

Clearwater County Ambulance Service

Orofino Fire Department

Red Cross

Northwest MedStar helicopter


Search and Rescue

Emergency communication



USA Pea and Lentil Commission

Don Gardner, Clearwater County Emergency Management Coordinator, will help participants look at ways they can begin and continue to prepare without becoming overwhelmed. He will also have information about protecting personal privacy from spying eyes.

Come learn about how people can prepare and care for themselves and their families through the challenges that they face individually and as a community. The ‘Living Ready’ preparedness fair will be at the LDS meetinghouse, 13610 Fremont. To reach the church, turn off U.S. Highway 12 just west of Barney's Harvest Foods.