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For the week of Mar. 1 through Mar. 7, 2000

Ketchum considers banning smoking from city

Police chief says enforcement would be impossible


By GREG STAHL
Express Staff Writer

The Ketchum City Council unanimously voted on Tuesday night for the city’s staff to draft a no-smoking ordinance that would not allow smoking in any public building citywide, including bars and restaurants.

A proposed draft of the ordinance will return to the council at a regular meeting on either March 6 or March 20.

Ketchum Police Chief Cal Nevland, however, said enforcing such an ordinance would be an "absolute nightmare" and "close to impossible."

"I can’t imagine the possibility of being able to enforce it," Nevland said in a Tuesday interview.

Nevland said that if such an ordinance were statewide, like in California, it may be easier to enforce. But particularly because Ketchum is a tourist community, Nevland said, education efforts would be somewhat fruitless.

Council members didn’t consider enforcement when they asked city staff to draft an ordinance. Health and safety were on their minds.

"I support anything that would protect the employees [of local establishments]. If the owners aren’t going to act, it has to come from a table like this," Councilman Maurice Charlat said in making his decision.

Customers can choose whether to go to a restaurant or not; employees cannot, several of those attending the meeting pointed out.

Hailey resident Randy Van Dyke generated the idea for such an ordinance. At the meeting, he said second-hand smoke is too much of a health issue to be ignored any longer.

Van Dyke and several Ketchum residents at the meeting pointed out that the north-valley city is a place people move to, in part, because of its health and fitness attributes.

The city would simply be affirming its residents’ healthy ways of life, Ketchum resident Frank Meyer said.

Van Dyke turned 86 petition signatures into the city, which support drafting an ordinance. The signatures were collected from around the city, including several of the city’s bars.

Pioneer Saloon manager John Craig spoke at the meeting in favor of drafting a no-smoking ordinance. He said he had the support of the Pioneer’s owner, Duffy Witmer.

"This would be a chance for you to do something for the health of the community," Craig said.

Other local bar owners were hesitant to comment this early, or weren’t immediately available.

 

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