Friday, July 16, 2010

Bluebell bouquets

Even in the midst of the Great Recession, optimism abounds in the Sun Valley area where residents know from long experience that gloom and doom aren't options. They are bullish on the future and busy dreaming up and executing plans to benefit the mountain community.

The last few weeks produced a notable crop of optimists. The following list of resourceful, innovative people and organizations, and the good work they've done is by no means comprehensive. They are merely examples of the many energetic people whose pervasive can-do attitude inspires others to reach farther and aim higher.

We acknowledge their efforts with summer bouquets of bluebells for:

Donors to the Ketchum Town Square: The newly dedicated square wouldn't have been possible without the private donors who picked up the bulk of the cost to develop the city-owned site. It's a hit with visitors and locals alike and instantly became the city's beating heart.

Engineer Mike Choat: This local engineer is saving the always cash-strapped city of Bellevue $1 million by finding resourceful ways to make do with its current water system. He figured out relatively low-cost ways to pump more water with simple fixes of an existing system. Glass of cold water, anyone?

Sun Valley Heritage and Ski Museum: They said it would never last, but the museum in Ketchum celebrated its 15th anniversary this week and opened with redesigned exhibit spaces and brand new displays of a proud heritage of mining, ranching and skiing. Its success is the result of the efforts of tenacious volunteer board members and resourceful directors.

Bellevue Community Librarian Patty Gilman: Her leadership has put this tiny library into the service of more than 140 children who participate in the library's Summer Reading literacy program. She makes sure parents and kids connect with the Jumpstart Program when the kids enter kindergarten. She makes a skimpy budget go a long way to open doors of the future for today's kids. The Lee Pesky Learning Center recognized her with a recent award.

Sagebrush Equine Training Center: The money raised by the training center's dinner and auction earlier this month will pay for programs for people with physical, mental or emotional disabilities. The center's horses and trainers often open pathways for learning and communication that would not open any other way.

As area residents confront the future, they should find courage and motivation in the great work of folks like these for whom no obstacle is too big, no budget too small and no project impossible.

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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.