Friday, December 10, 2010


Resort opening more ski terrain

Sun Valley Resort announced Thursday that more mountain terrain will be opened today and Saturday.

Bald Mountain's Lower College run will open today, Dec. 10. Dollar Mountain will also open daily for the season instead of just on weekends. Dollar's Tubing Hill will also be open. Spokesman Jack Sibbach said the Half Dollar area will remain closed as crews work to build terrain features.

Sibbach said Seattle Ridge and the bowls on Baldy will open Saturday after snow safety work is complete. The Frenchman's lift and the runs it serves are also scheduled to open Saturday.

Animal Shelter receives grant

The Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley near Hailey has received grants totaling $6,200 for its community spay and neuter programs. The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals has given the shelter $3,000, The Deer Creek Fund of the Helen K. and Arthur E. Johnson Foundation gave $2,200 and the Donald W. and Gretchen K. Fraser Fund in the Idaho Community Foundation donated $1,000.

During the past year, the shelter's no-cost community spay and neuter program provided up to 400 spay or neuter surgeries for dogs and cats of needy families in Blaine County.

For details about the spay and neuter clinics, call the shelter at 788-4351 or visit

FAA: Draft EIS ready in May

A draft environmental impact statement for a proposed new airport to replace Friedman Memorial Airport in Hailey is projected to be released in late May, the Federal Aviation Administration announced this week.

The EIS will address environmental impacts of the preferred site in southern Blaine County just east of state Highway 75, two alternative sites and a no-action alternative of continuing to use Friedman.

The draft EIS will be available for viewing on the website, at the Friedman office, at local libraries and at Bureau of Land Management offices.

Once the draft EIS is published, a 90-day public comment period will begin. A public hearing will be held during the comment period. A final EIS and decision are expected in 2012.

New photo gallery to open

James Bourret Fine Art Photography will celebrate the opening of its new gallery in Ketchum today, Dec. 10, at 5 p.m., on Sun Valley Road above the Cellar Pub. The gallery will feature wilderness landscape images of Idaho and beyond, as well as limited-edition, fine-art photographs, note cards and handmade woolen accessories.


Heart of the Valley seeks submissions

Submissions to the Wood River Land Trust's Heart of the Valley contest are due Jan. 6. The theme this year for photos and written submissions is "Do you remember?" Contestants should share moments, sights or experiences that sparked a deep connection with the Wood River Valley.

See the website for guidelines, submission form and details, or contact Ashley Wells at 788-3947 or

Holiday hotel, condo bookings flat

Despite abundant early-season snowfall across the Rockies, Wood River Valley hotels and condominium rental groups are reporting reservation bookings for the Christmas season similar to last year's.

"We are getting a lot of calls recently about Christmas, which is much later than usual," said Debbie Fox of ResortQuest Sun Valley. "The pre-Christmas week is up compared to last year, but the week between Christmas and New Year's is flat. What is most noticeable about this year is that everyone is looking for a promotion or deal when they call."

With only a week and a half until many students are dismissed for Christmas break, local businesses are hoping the late calls keep coming.

Feds building heli base near Salmon

The Salmon-Challis National Forest is constructing a new helicopter air base at the Salmon Airport. The base will provide space for training and for operations for six helicopters.

"Every fire season we have 40 to 45 rappel-trained firefighters working on three air crews assigned to the base in Salmon," Forest Operations Staff Officer Larry Svalberg said.

These crews staff numerous fires on the Salmon-Challis National Forest each fire season and are also assigned to fires throughout the country.

The base will include a 5,100-square-foot wood frame building with office space and a large training room. Pads will be built for four medium and two heavy helicopters. There will also be an asphalt apron and ramp for fixed-wing aircraft. A rappel tower will be built for training purposes.

Work started on the new base in October and is expected to be completed in April. The project will cost about $2.4 million.

County hires road and bridge manager

Oregon resident Tom Duffy has been hired as Blaine County's new road and bridge manager position.

"His combination of skills is unusual to find in one applicant," said county director of operations Char Nelson. "He fulfilled all our hopes."

Nelson said Duffy's experience managing roads while stationed in Afghanistan with the U.S. Army was a key factor in his hiring, as he managed construction of more than 500 miles of roads, 10 bridges and four paved airfields.

Nelson said Duffy also has experience in snow removal on U.S. supply routes, as well as managing roads that were peppered with land mines and damaged by explosives.

"I think he'll find our potholes to be relatively minor," Nelson said.

She said Duffy was chosen from 33 state and nationwide applicants, including several from Blaine County. Though the county interviewed six candidates, Nelson said, Duffy was the clear standout.

"He's beyond our expectations," she said.

For the past two years, Duffy has worked for the city of Pendleton, Ore., as project manager of an upgrade to its wastewater treatment plant. He holds a bachelor's degree in construction engineering as well as a master's degree in business management. He will begin work with the county in January.

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