local weather Click for Sun Valley, Idaho Forecast
 front page
 last week
 express jobs
 about us
 advertising info

 sun valley guide
 real estate guide
 sv catalogs

 email us:
 arts and events


Produced & Maintained by Idaho Mountain Express, Box 1013, Ketchum, ID 83340-1013 
208.726.8065 Voice
208.726.2329 Fax

Copyright © 2001 Express Publishing Inc.
All Rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part in any form or medium without express written permission of Express Publishing Inc. is prohibited. 


Mountain Jobs

Formula Sports

Idaho Conservation League



Gary Carr...The Carr Man!

Edmark GM Superstore : Nampa, Idaho


For the week of  September 5 - 11, 2001


Express photos by David N. Seelig

Craig holds town hall meeting

Senator addresses mental health, wolves, forests

Express Staff Writer

Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho, conducted a town hall meeting Friday in Ketchum. 


About 70 valley residents gathered Friday at the American Legion Hall in Ketchum to communicate concerns and ideas to Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho. The town hall meeting was one in a series Craig held across Southern Idaho this month.

Wood River Valley residents covered issues from gray wolf reintroduction and forest logging to mental illness and genetically altered food. Many chastised Idaho’s senior senator for what they view as his skewed political stances on public lands management.

Even so, Craig said he values such meetings.

"This gives me a chance to gain your thinking," he said.

Craig listened and responded in a question-and-answer format.

  • Tewa Evans, president of the local National Alliance for the Mentally Ill chapter, used the opportunity to lobby a senate bill that would provide those with health insurance equal coverage for mental health benefits.

"We know mental illness is treatable if it can be paid for," Evans said.

Tewa Evans, president of the local National Alliance for the Mentally Ill chapter, lobbied for equal coverage for mental health benefits.

She pointed out that Idaho ranks 49th in the nation for mental illness coverage, and that Blaine County has the highest suicide rate in Idaho. The state has the fifth highest suicide rate in the nation, she said.

The bill, the Mental Health Equitable Treatment Act, would cover the full range of severe mental illness, including schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depression, obsessive-compulsive and panic disorders and serious childhood mental illnesses.

The bill is cosponsored by Sens. Pete Domenici, R-N.M., and Paul Wellstone, D-Minn.

Criag said he is studying the legislation, but has not signed on as a co-sponsor.

The concern, Craig said, is that businesses might stop providing insurance to their employees if premiums go up as a result of the greater costs incurred by providing mental health benefits.

  • Lynne Stone, an environmentalist and the executive director of the Boulder White Cloud Council, scolded Craig for his anti-gray wolf stances.

Lynne Stone, an environmentalist and the executive director of the Boulder White Cloud Council


"I would prefer that the wolves not be here," Craig admitted. "I do not believe they should be able to push livestock off the land. But the reality is this: You’ve got your wolves, and they’re going to stay."

  • Blaine County Commissioner Sarah Michael made clear that she and her colleagues are in favor of former President Bill Clinton’s roadless initiative, which would have prevented further building of roads on millions of acres of U.S. Forest Service land.

Craig also readily admitted his opposition to Clinton’s roadless policy, which has to be re-addressed following a federal court ruling in Boise last spring.

"It became obvious to me that there was a pre-drawn conclusion," Craig said. "The rule’s down, and it will stay down, I believe. But we still have to deal with the roadless issue, and we must."

Craig advocated selection of road-free public lands on a national forest-by-forest basis.

"A lot of times, we forget the local decision making process," he said.

  • Aside from addressing constituent concerns, Craig used the meeting to bolster public sentiment for the Bush Administration.

Craig said he likes President George W. Bush "because he’s strong, he’s bright."

"He puts very talented people around him. He delegates authority and lets that authority run.

"It’s a busy time. It’s a challenging time in Washington," Craig said. "But it’s an exciting time."

The Idaho Mountain Express is distributed free to residents and guests throughout the Sun Valley, Idaho resort area community. Subscribers to the Idaho Mountain Express will read these stories and others in this week's issue.