Friday, May 27, 2011


Y hires new program director

Kaylan Sisco is the new program director at the YMCA in Ketchum.  Sisco joins the team with a history of Y experience. He was most recently with the YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region in Colorado Springs, Colo., and has a background in youth and teen programming.

According to a press release from the Y, Sisco has already made a great impact on the its Kids Club after-school program in Hailey and in Ketchum, and is looking forward to offering a great day camp program this summer.

  For details on the camp, visit


Bike to Work winners announced

With 100 percent participation, Scott USA won Mountain Rides' 2011 Bike to Work Day Employer/Workplace Challenge in the 41 employees and over category. The competition took place on Friday, May 20.

Other category winners were:

- Five to 10 employees: J. Neel & Co. in Bellevue with 60 percent participation.

- 11-40 employees: Rocky Mountain Hardware with 35 percent participation.

- Government: Tied with 45 percent participation were city of Hailey and Blaine County Recreation District.

- Nonprofit: The Y with 35 percent participation.

In the 41 employees and up category, Smith Optics placed second with 57 percent participation and Marketron placed third with 44 percent participation.

Each summer, participants in the Smart Moves Community Challenge track their trips by bike, foot, carpool or bus that they would have otherwise driven alone.  For more information, contact 788-7433, ext. 103 or go to


Reforms nab innovation award

The Idaho Freedom Foundation awarded Gov. Butch Otter and schools Superintendent Tom Luna its annual Education Innovation Award last week, lauding the drafting and passage of a set of three education reform bills earlier this year.

"These reforms are re-empowering our local elected school boards to make the decisions they were elected to make," said foundation Executive Director Wayne Huffman.

The reforms limited collective bargaining rights for teachers and implemented a pay-for-performance system while cutting state funding for teacher salaries to pay for increased classroom technology. Despite overwhelming public testimony against the bills, the reform package sailed through the House and met with limited resistance in the Senate.

The Idaho Freedom Foundation promotes limited government and choice in education.

Ed referendum to reach ballot

Measures to repeal Superintendent Tom Luna's three education reform bills will be on the November 2012 ballot, due to a grassroots petition-signing effort.

More than 48,000 people signed each of three petitions to put the laws to a referendum vote. According to The Associated Press, the signatures are currently being verified by county clerks and will need to be verified by Secretary of State Ben Ysursa as well before the measures can be placed on the ballot.

The bills limit collective bargaining rights for teachers, institute a merit pay system and shift money from teacher salaries to classroom technology.

A companion effort to collect enough signatures to place a vote to recall Luna is still underway. The group needs to collect over 158,000 signatures before the June 30 deadline.

INL upgrades emergency communication service

The Idaho National Laboratory is establishing an emergency communications program that will integrate with emergency responders across Idaho.

The federal lab is working with counties to update mutual-aid agreements that enable INL emergency responders to work with authorities from counties across the area to mitigate events such as accidents on the highway and wildfires. Interoperability among agencies is a fairly recent concern—most local systems were based on each agency's having its own autonomous radio system.

White Cloud Communications, a 63-year-old Idaho-based company, will maintain the infrastructure and make necessary equipment upgrades.

Got your permits?

Cutting firewood for personal use is a central Idaho tradition. Pickup trucks, trailers and stake-side flatbed trucks stacked high with firewood or posts and poles are routinely seen around the local communities. Most of the loads have validated load removal tickets posted properly on them. However, some are seen without validated load tickets.

The Forest Service is reminding people that it's illegal to remove forest products from national forests and other public lands without a permit and validated load tickets. Visit the local ranger district office to obtain personal-use permits, load tickets and other information about firewood gathering.

Permittees who are unable to cut their own wood may enter an agreement with a third-party woodcutter. However, the third party must come to the office at the time the permit is purchased to sign an agreement.

People are required to cut only dead trees in areas where cutting is allowed, clean up slash and follow fire requirements and restrictions.

For more information visit  HYPERLINK

Elk foundation funds conservation

Controlling noxious weeds, managing overgrown forests and researching wolf predation on elk populations headline a list of 2011 grants for Idaho from the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation.

Foundation funding totals $72,013 and affects 17 counties, including Blaine.

"Fire suppression and noxious weed infestations are taking a toll on areas elk use as winter range, summer range, migration corridors and calving grounds," said foundation Director David Allen.

According to a press release from the foundation, it has "The habitat projects that we're funding this year will help restore habitat quality, and could add over 25,000 acres to the 377,487 acres that we've previously helped to conserve or enhance for wildlife across Idaho."

Nationally, the foundation said it hopes to impact about 100,000 acres in 2011 to reach the 6 million-acre lifetime mark in lands conserved or enhanced for elk and other wildlife.

Idahoans share 'salmon stories'

In "Salmon Stories," a new video produced by Idaho Rivers United, 11 Idahoans discuss during brief interviews why salmon are important to their businesses, Idaho's ecology and the region's cultural heritage.

The project also includes footage of salmon jumping at Selway and Dagger falls during their summer 2010 return.

"In this long-running regional discussion about recovering salmon and steelhead, there's a tendency to focus on politics, legal benchmarks and spreadsheets full of numbers. In some ways that's unfortunate," said Greg Stahl, policy director for Idaho Rivers United. "In 'Salmon Stories,' we return to what salmon mean to everyday Idahoans."

The video can be accessed by going to  HYPERLINK and clicking "Protecting Salmon," then clicking "Salmon Stories: Video Tour of Idaho" and clicking the featured cities.

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