Wednesday, February 2, 2011

News Briefs

Get ready to rock at Rail Jam

Back for its second year, the 511 Downtown Rail Jam, to be held Saturday, Feb. 26, from 7-10 p.m., will showcase local and traveling skiers and snowboarders on an actual street rail and a new feature created by Sun Valley Resort's terrain park crew. Admission to the event, at 511 Leadville Ave. in Ketchum, is free.

One thousand dollars in prize money will be awarded for each category. Spectators will be able to enjoy music by DJ Train, food, libations and fire pits. Prizes provided by sponsors will also be up for grabs.

Registration will be at 6:30 p.m. at the 511 Building on the day of the Rail Jam. The competition entry is $10, which will benefit the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation. Participants can learn more by contacting Andy Gilbert at

Event sponsors include Cox Communications, Smith, Sun Valley Co., Board Bin, Sturtevants, SVSEF, Whiskey Jacques', Sun Valley Chamber of Commerce, city of Ketchum and Alpinfoto Photography.

Hear about nukes at Science Café

The public is invited to the Sun Valley Science Café today, Feb. 2, to learn about "clean energy."

The event will run from 6-9 p.m. at the nexStage Theatre in Ketchum. It is sponsored by the Discovery Center of Idaho, Idaho National Laboratory, Boise State University and Idaho Public Television.

Science Café will include a premiere showing of NOVA's "Making Stuff: Cleaner" and a presentation from Steven Aumeier of INL's Energy Systems & Technology Division, on "how nuclear energy will play a role in hybrid energy systems of the future."

Admission is free. Light hors d'oeuvres and beverages will be served.

Handbook to save county money

Blaine County could save up to $10,000 by adopting a modified employee-manager handbook, said County Administrator Derek Voss.

The Idaho Counties Risk Management Program, a property and casualty insurance company, offers a 5 percent policy discount to counties that adopt certain requirements.

The program requires employees to undergo sexual harassment and discrimination training, and the county to adopt certain sexual harassment, personnel and vehicle-use policies.

"The purpose is to reduce costs and exposures to the county in the long term," Voss said.

The county is in the process of revising its employee-manager handbook. Voss said a new handbook could reduce county liability and ultimately save the county more than the initial discount.

Zions Bank to sponsor sheep fest

The 15th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival will have Zions Bank as its naming sponsor. The festival will take place Oct. 7-9 throughout the Wood River Valley.

It celebrates the century-and-a-half-long tradition of moving sheep from mountain summer pastures south through the Wood River Valley to traditional winter grazing and lambing areas. The three-day event includes storytelling and readings, music, a full-day Folklife Fair with sheep shearing, wool spinning and sheep arts and crafts, and sheepdog trials.

This year the festival will honor women and their contributions to the development of Idaho and the West. In addition, the festival will include cowboy poet Baxter Black.

For details, visit

Buy drinks, support the YMCA

The Wood River Y in Ketchum will provide guest bartenders at the Cornerstone Bar & Grill in Ketchum today starting at 5 p.m. Y board members Kathy Jones and Mike Schlatter, along with staff members Nancy Buxton and Mike Wolter, will serve up your favorite drinks. Ten percent of the proceeds will benefit the Y.

Ducks to gather at Whiskey's

The University of Oregon's Ducks in the Snow event will be held in Ketchum on the weekend of Feb. 11. The weekend events will be in support of the Cowboy Duck Scholarship in memory of Tyler Felton. Felton was a native Idahoan and a longtime resident of Hailey who passed away last year. The scholarship was established to help a football player from Idaho attend the university.

On Friday, Feb. 11, there will be a free event open to the public at Whiskey Jacques' from 5:30-7:30 p.m. with University of Oregon Athletic Director Rob Mullens and Tom Drougas, a former Oregon and NFL player who was inducted into the University of Oregon Hall of Fame in 2010.

A signed Oregon game jersey and other items will be auctioned and raffled off. Inquiries may be sent to or the Duck Athletic Fund at (541) 318-9983.

File income taxes online

Idaho has joined with the Internal Revenue Service and software developers to provide free online income-tax filing. People can file their returns at the Idaho State Tax Commission's website at The site features software companies that offer taxpayers whose adjusted gross income is $58,000 or less free electronic filing for both their federal and state tax returns. To get a list of providers and their eligibility requirements, click on the link on the home page.

According to the Tax Commission, electronic filing produces virtually error-free returns because the program does the math. It also allows taxpayers to get a quicker refund than if they file by paper. Last year, almost two-thirds of Idahoans filed their individual income taxes online.

Board sets county priorities

Blaine Manor, emergency preparedness and a veteran's memorial are among the top priorities cited by Blaine County commissioners during their priority-setting workshop Monday.

The commissioners identified projects from a four-page list that they feel merit the most attention from the board during 2011. The projects fell into categories such as public safety, the replacement airport, social and community programs, and administration.

Commissioner Tom Bowman said that while all the projects on the list were important to the county, it was important to narrow the board's focus to key items.

"We can have a thousand projects that are all priorities, but that would be ineffective," Bowman said.

The commissioners plan to continue identifying the items they wish to focus on this year during their meeting at 9 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 7 at the Old County Courthouse in Hailey.

Help available to pay heating bills

The South Central Community Action Program, now located in Hailey, offers assistance to low-income families that struggle to meet winter's high energy costs.

Families must meet certain maximum income requirements to qualify for help under the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, funded through United States Health and Human Services. The aid is paid directly to the gas or electric company, and funding is based on income and family size.

Qualified individuals can apply now through March 31 in person at the program's office on the corner of Galena and Main streets in Hailey.

Applicants must provide proof of gross income, Social Security cards for all household members as well as a current heating bill and other documents. For more information, call the office at 788-2488.

Drug Coalition receives grants

The Idaho Community Foundation awarded the Blaine County Community Drug Coalition $4,500 to be used for its Positive Community Norms Project. In addition, the Curtis W. McGraw Foundation granted the coalition $5,000 to be used for staff training and advertising for the project.

Free rabies vaccinations offered

The Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley will offer two rabies vaccination clinics to the community on two Saturdays, Feb. 5 and Feb. 26, from 9-11 a.m. The vaccination is free with the purchase of a 2011 dog license.

Rabies vaccinations are required by law for all dogs and are a prerequisite to be able to get dogs licensed. All dogs over 6 months of age are required by Blaine County ordinance to be licensed every year. Dog licenses are available from the Animal Shelter, Sawtooth Animal Center, Sun Valley Animal Center, St. Francis Pet Clinic, Ketchum Police Department and the Sun Valley Police Department.

To make an appointment, call 788-4351.

Scholarships offered by The Center

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts is accepting scholarship applications from Blaine County students and teachers who wish to further their studies in the arts and humanities. The application deadline is Friday, Feb. 25.

Three scholarships are available to students, including the Ezra Pound Award, which is a single scholarship awarded to a high school junior to pursue art study during the summer prior to his or her senior year. The Gay V. Weake Award is for college students intending to major in the arts or humanities and the High School Arts & Humanities Scholarships are for students interested in the visual or performing arts or humanities. In addition, Educator's Awards are available for teachers who wish to pursue professional development opportunities in their fields of expertise.

To download a scholarship application and instructions, visit For details, call 726-9491.Winners will be notified in March.

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