Friday, May 27, 2016

Unlicensed solicitors in Lewiston area

Recently the Lewiston Police Department has received an increased number of complaints of unwanted solicitors canvassing neighborhoods. These solicitors are selling various items or services ranging from satellite TV, books and magazines, cleaning equipment and consumable goods.

Most of the complaints are the result of high pressure sales tactics and refusal to leave when asked to by the home owner. Traditionally the police department does experience an increase in complaints about door to door salesmen in the spring when the weather begins to improve.

Under Lewiston City Code all solicitors are required to obtain a solicitor's license from the city prior to engaging in door to door sales. This process requires a limited records check and fingerprints to ensure the protection of the public. Individuals soliciting for charitable causes are also required to obtain a permit from the city.

Citizens are encouraged to be especially wary of anyone on foot and not associated with a properly marked vehicle representing their company. Be extremely cautious about letting solicitors enter your home.

The Lewiston Police Department urges citizens to contact police about suspicious persons going door to door, and to ask to see their city issued solicitor's license before engaging in a business transaction.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Report on U.S. Forest Service preparations for 2016 wildfire season and unfavorable wildfire trends

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell on May 17 met with Regional Foresters representing areas expected to be at greatest risk during the 2016 wildfire season to discuss their preparations to fight fires across the United States.

Last year, seven members of the Forest Service firefighting team were lost in the line of duty, and 4,500 homes were damaged or destroyed. The job of fighting wildfires has become increasingly difficult due to the effects of climate change, chronic droughts, and a constrained budget environment in Washington.

At least 58 million acres of National Forest System lands are in or near the Wildland Urban Interface and work now can reduce risk to life, homes, businesses and infrastructure. On the call, Chief Tidwell will underscore the Forest Service’s commitment to ensuring the protection of firefighters’ lives.

Climate change has led to fire seasons that are, on average, 78 days longer than they were in 1970, and the average number of acres burned each year has doubled since 1980.

As a result, the Forest Service's firefighting budget is regularly exhausted before the end of the wildfire season, forcing the U.S. Department of Agriculture to abandon critical restoration and capital improvement projects in order to suppress extreme fires.

Over half of the Forest Service’s 2015 budget was used to fight wildfires, compared to just 16 percent in 1995.

Friday, May 13, 2016

Orofino LoggerXross May 13-14

Two nights of racing and entertainment are set for the 2016 Orofino LoggerXross, held Friday and Saturday, May 13-14, at the Orofino City Park lumberjack arena.

Sign-ups for Friday are 3 to 5:30 p.m., and the riders meeting is at 5:30 p.m. Friday’s opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m. Friday’s practice is at 6:15 p.m.

Saturday’s sign-ups are 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with a rider’s meeting at 11:30 a.m. Saturday practice is at 12 noon. Amateur qualifiers are at 2 p.m. Saturday, and opening ceremonies begin at 6 p.m.

Classes include: 65cc, 85cc, women’s, beginners, lightweight, heavyweight, trials, vet, and expert, plus pro women and pro men. The purse for pro men is $10,000, and $2,000 for pro women.

First, second, and third place trophies will be awarded both days. Race fees per day are $35 amateur and $50 pro. For spectators, gate fees are $15 for a wristband, with free admission for children ages five and under.

A new PA system will be in use at this year’s races. Scott Heaton from the Monster Jam Racing series will once again be this year’s announcer. Singing the National Anthem Friday night will be Savanna Simmons. Joan Bonnalie will sing it Saturday.
An amazing line-up of talented riders are expected to race, and there will also be food vendors, Orofino Chamber of Commerce’s beer garden, and motorsports vendors from all over the area.

Race sponsors include: Idaho Forest Group, Fly Racing, Western Power Sports, Inc., Kenda, and Works Connection.

For more information, call Jim Engle at 208-816-6253, or check out Orofino LoggerXross on Facebook.

Pictured: Sean Simmons of Orofino racing in the 2015 LoggerXross. Photo by Tabby Haskett

Friday, May 6, 2016

Record high April melt decreases snowpacks across Idaho

The Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) has just released the fifth water supply outlook report for the 2016 water year. What a difference a month makes. Near normal snowpack covered the majority of Idaho, and the NRCS monitoring region, at the beginning of April.

The beginning of May, however, tells a much different story. Snow across much of the state has melted at a record high rate during April.

Reservoirs and lakes remain in good shape across Idaho and are capturing this year’s snowmelt runoff to store and put to use as we enter the dry summer months.

April precipitation across the state covered the extremes: from well-below to well-above average depending on location. Most areas received below average monthly precipitation.

The lowest precipitation amounts occurred in the Snake River headwaters above Jackson Lake, while Idaho’s southern border from the Owyhee to the Raft basin received from 112% to 150% of normal.

“Precipitation amounts received since the start of the water year on Oct. 1, 2015 remains encouraging with the whole state reporting 92% of average or better,” said Ron Abramovich, water supply specialist with NRCS. “However, those areas with deficits are worth watching and may not improve much as we move into our dry summer months.”

Streamflow forecasts reflect the early melt, early runoff and dry April by shifting forecasts down a notch and are now 70 to 90% of average across most of the state. The exceptions are the high desert streams south of the Snake River from the Bruneau to Oakley Reservoir inflow which are forecast at 100 to 125% of average.

“One of the key variables to watch now is nighttime air temperatures,” said Abramovich. “If they dip below freezing which will slow down melting of the pack. But, if daytime temperatures approach near record highs, there is still enough snow to generate additional streamflow increases across much of the state.”