Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Blaine County named one of Top 10 places to live

These beautiful Arabian horses that live in mid-valley between Ketchum and Hailey are a picturesque example of the rustic scenery of Blaine County that Progressive Farmer magazine says makes it a wonderful place to live. Photo by Willy Cook

Blaine County has made the annual list of Progressive Farmer magazine's Ten Best Places to Live in Rural America, the Sun Valley-Ketchum Chamber and Visitors Bureau has announced. Progressive Farmer contacted the Chamber about the story, and it provided assistance to Senior Editor Jim Patrico on a recent visit and photo shoot for the issue.

Progressive Farmer considered 600 counties with rural areas that met population, population density and income criteria. The magazine ranked them by health care (the number of hospitals and clinics in the county); education (student/teacher ratio and number of higher learning institutions); climate (average temperature and rainfall); pollution index (ranked against the national average); crime index (personal and property crime ranked against the national average); and tax burden (county sales tax and state income tax only, since property taxes vary too widely between municipalities).

The editorial board also looked at intangibles, such as quality of life, leisure and cultural pursuits and scenery. They talked to residents in the various counties and looked for counties that have access to large cities for culture and shopping, but are still rural with plenty of elbow room.

"Patrico really enjoyed his stay in Blaine County," said Ellen Gillespie, Chamber public relations coordinator. "He was particularly impressed by the diversity of cultures here, from old-time ranchers to artists to the owners of large second homes, and the fact that we are surrounded by so much public land."

The story and photographs will run in the February issue.

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