Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Briefs


Sun Valley businesses make more

August local-option tax receipts indicate that Sun Valley proprietors saw 5 percent more business that month than they did in August 2009.

The city collected $204,500, compared to $195,400 in August 2009. Retail saw a 2 percent growth in the past year. Lodging experienced 8 percent growth, and liquor-by-the-glass sales grew 6 percent.

City contracts with outside groups

The city of Sun Valley has handed over the funding it promised in this year's budget to Mountain Rides, Blaine County Housing Authority and the Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department. The city annually contracts for services with those organizations to provide bus service, housing and recreation opportunities. The fiscal year started Oct. 1.

The Housing Authority asked for $7,500, but the city kept its contribution at $5,000. Sun Valley gave $300,000 to Mountain Rides, $30,000 less than last year. Ketchum's Parks and Recreation Department received the same amount of $30,000.

"I wish it was a little more money [for Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department]," Mayor Wayne Willich said at an Oct. 21 meeting, in which the contracts were finalized.

Willich said Ketchum provides recreation opportunities and the parks that Sun Valley cannot.

Time to put up holiday lights

Ketchum residents and business owners can place holiday lights on public trees starting Nov. 1, including those in city sidewalks. People who put up lights early are subject to a misdemeanor fine.

Anyone performing work of any kind on a public tree must have a public tree permit, which needs to be renewed annually. Call the city arborist at 726-7820 for information.

'Creating a Healthy Community'

St. Luke's Center for Community Health and the Blaine County Community Drug Coalition are partnering to bring James Vollbracht to their annual Creating a Healthy Community fall conference on Saturday, Nov. 13. Vollbracht is the author of the acclaimed book "Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand: How to Create a Culture That Cares for Kids."

The fall conference will be held at the Community Campus in Hailey. Vollbracht will present the keynote lecture from 9:30-11:30 a.m. Doors open at 9 a.m. for check-in. Participants may also choose one of three learning sessions on a variety of topics from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The fourth annual Unsung Hero Community Awards presentation will also be made during the conference. The awards, given by the Blaine County Community Drug Coalition, are an effort to recognize the everyday heroes who contribute to the health of the community.

The conference is free and open to the public. Pre-registration is strongly encouraged. Information and registration are available through the website www.stlukesonline.org/healthycommunity or by calling 727-8733.

County jobless rates trend upward

Unemployment was up in 25 of Idaho's 44 counties in September when the statewide jobless rate increased a tenth of a point to 9 percent.

In Blaine County, the September jobless rate was 9.5 percent, the same as in August.

The highest rate was in Adams County, in west-central Idaho, where unemployment jumped a full percentage point to 19.6 percent in September. Oneida County, in southeastern Idaho, had the lowest rate at 4.9 percent, down three-tenths from August and the only county with a rate under 5 percent.

Only eight of the 44 counties had unemployment rates in September lower than September 2009, but the fallout from the recession did not reach its peak statewide until February 2010.

Tax collector targets pumpkin stand

(AP)—An Idaho family that operates a roadside pumpkin stand is scared out of its gourd after a state tax collector showed up and tried to squash the business.

The Lewiston Tribune reports that the Idaho State Tax Commission has called for the closure of a family's pumpkin stand in Lewiston, a mill city along the Snake and Clearwater rivers.

Dan and Kami Charais told the newspaper that a Tax Commission employee informed them the stand was in violation of laws and had to shut its doors.

The couple says their 4- and 6-year-old children had been carving out a niche for themselves in the local jack-o-lantern market—to raise money for school sports, they say.

A Tax Commission representative told the newspaper that even goods sold at roadside stands are taxable and that the stand did not have a proper permit.

Train your hands to heal

St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center is offering a Healing Touch Level 1 training class on Friday, Nov. 5, and Saturday, Nov. 6. Healing Touch is an energy-based approach to health and healing; practitioners use their hands above or on the body with the intent of affecting the body's energy fields.

The hospital has been offering Healing Touch to its inpatients for 15 months, with patients reporting significant benefits. Patients have noted 50 percent decrease in pain and 70 percent decrease in anxiety after treatments.

The class will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at St. Luke's Hailey Clinic. Cost is $350. There is a reduced rate of $125 to those who are able to commit four hours of volunteer service per month for nine months.

To register for the class, or to obtain information about the Integrative Therapies program, contact Mary Kay Foley at 727-8417.

Zenergy passes to help nonprofits

Zenergy Health Club and Spa at Thunder Spring in Ketchum is selling one-day weekend passes for $10 on Saturdays and Sundays through Nov. 21. The day pass fees will be donated to the Hailey-based Advocates for Survivors of Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault when bought Oct. 30-31, to the Crisis Hotline when bought Nov. 6-7, to Wounded Warriors when bought Nov. 13-14, and to the Hunger Coalition when bought Nov. 20-21.

People can buy a $10 day pass as many times as they like over the four weekends. The pass will include group fitness, yoga, spin and use of outdoor and indoor pools, as well as the gym. For details, call 725-0595.

Land Trust to hold boardwalk benefit

A candle-lit fundraising event, Boardwalk Aglow: A Celebratory Unveiling is scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 28, from 5-7 p.m. at the Wetlands Boardwalk entrance in Hailey.

The Hailey-based Wood River Land Trust needs to raise $70,000 to finish the boardwalk on the east side of the city and to install interpretive signs. The event will include a tour of the boardwalk, live acoustic guitar, hors d'oeuvres, wine, champagne and a bonfire. The event is free but donations are appreciated.

For details, call 788-3947.

History department wins award

The Jeanne Lane Moritz regional history department of The Community Library in Ketchum has received the Esto Perpetua Award by the Idaho State Historical Society. The award honors significant contributions to the preservation of Idaho history and takes its name from Idaho's state motto, translatable as, "Let It Be Perpetual."

The regional history department was established in 1982 at the instigation of Jeanne Lane Moritz, a founding member of The Community Library.

The department collections include one of the best in the nation on Ernest Hemingway, one of the best ski information collections and nearly 10,000 photographs. The staff creates programs exploring topics such as Native American history, mining, Sun Valley Resort, recreation in the Wood River Valley and the influence of the expansion of the Union Pacific Railroad. They are presented to local school groups and convention groups that visit the valley.

Sweet month for mountain resorts

Western mountain destinations posted a 15.8 percent increase in occupancy in September compared to the same month last year, according to data released by Mountain Travel Research Program, a Denver-based company that sells reports on tourism-related business. That represents the biggest monthly increase in more than two years and the first increase over pre-recession levels in 2008.

September marked the fourth consecutive month of higher occupancy and better rates in mountain destinations. Mountain Travel Research Program also reported that the booking pace was brisk during September, with a 14.9 percent increase in rooms booked for arrivals in September through February.

The company also reported that mountain resorts had higher occupancy and better rates during four of the six summer months and in four of the five winter months.

"Those figures combined with a positive booking pace are encouraging signs, but overall gains remain modest so far," said company Director Ralf Garrison. "If customer demand remains relatively tepid, competition among resorts is likely to remain strong, and individual results may vary widely."




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