Friday, August 19, 2011

Briefs


Romney to visit valley today

Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney will continue his Idaho fundraising campaign in Ketchum today, Aug. 19, with a VIP reception and fundraising lunch.

Romney had raised $214,625 from Idaho voters as of early July, making up 80 percent of all contributions to presidential candidates from state residents.

At $2,500 a ticket for the reception and $500 a plate for lunch, the event is likely to boost that number significantly.

The Idaho Statesman reported that Sinclair Oil and Sun Valley Co. owners Earl and Carol Holding are helping to organize the event with a host committee that includes former First Security Corp. CEO Spencer Eccles, former Navy Secretary John Lehman, co-founder of Trident Capital and former U.S. ambassador to the European Union Rockwell Schnabel, and former Los Angeles Mayor Dick Riordan.

The VIP reception will begin at noon and will include a photo opportunity with Romney. A "general reception" will follow at 12:30 p.m., and the lunch will begin at 1 p.m.

For more information, contact Romney's state finance director, Travis Hawkes, at (208) 890-2174.

Hazards could close campgrounds

Some areas of the Challis/Yankee Fork and Middle Fork ranger districts of the Salmon-Challis National Forest could be temporarily closed during the next two months as crews remove hazardous trees.

Contract crews will be falling dead and dying trees and hand-piling slash in affected areas. These areas will be reopened immediately following completion of cleanup work. Bench Creek Campground, Banner Creek Campground, Thatcher Creek Campground, Mill Creek Campground, Custer No. 1 Campground, Bayhorse Campground (Big and Little), Buster Lake Campsite, Eightmile Campground, Lola Creek Campground, Beaver Creek Campground, Squaw Creek Trailhead and Basin Creek Trailhead could all be affected.

Exact dates for individual campgrounds and trailheads will be determined by the contractor's rate of progress. If planning a trip to these sites, contact the local Challis/Yankee Fork Ranger District in advance for the latest updates.

Resource committee to meet

The Central Idaho Resource Advisory Committee will meet Tuesday, Aug. 30, at 10:30 a.m. at the Salmon-Challis National Forest South Zone office on Highway 93 to finalize project recommendations for 2012.

This may be the committee's final business meeting because members' authority to recommend projects to the Forest Service will expire Sept. 30.

The committee had an estimated $752,171 funding for projects planned for 2012.

The meeting is open to the public. For more information, contact Coordinator Kent Fuellenbach at 208-756-5145.

Spirit Lake will be 'Capital for a Day'

Gov. Butch Otter will visit Spirit Lake in Kootenai County on Aug. 31 and designate it Idaho's "Capital for a Day."

The governor attempts to bring state government to Idahoans living outside Boise each month by making a different town in Idaho the state's temporary capital. The events provide local residents an all-day opportunity to have open discussions about government issues with Otter, members of his cabinet and other senior state officials.

The meeting is scheduled from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Spirit Lake Community Senior Center on N. 4th Ave in Spirit Lake. Virgil Moor, director of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game; Dick Armstrong, director of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, and other state officials will also be in attendance.

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Idaho exports show steady growth

Idaho exports through the first half of 2011 totaled more than $3 billion, an increase of more than 18 percent over the same period in 2010, the Idaho Department of Commerce reported.

The 18 percent growth in exports puts Idaho on par with national average export growth of 17.9 percent. So far in 2011, Idaho maintains a positive trade balance of more than $549.2 million, one of only 15 states that maintain such a surplus.

Top performing Idaho export sectors include mining products, which increased by 118 percent or $227 million from 2010 to 2011. The Idaho Department of Commerce attributed the increase to higher prices and demand for precious and semiprecious metals such as gold and silver and lead.

Exports of processed dairy products such as whey protein and powdered milk increased by 177 percent to $67.7 million due to stronger demand from Asia and Pacific countries.

Despite a slower domestic housing market, Idaho enjoyed a 70 percent increase in export sales of wood products to $52.5 million from 2010 to 2011.

Semiconductors, agricultural commodities, processed food, industrial machinery and fertilizer also all experienced positive growth from the first half of 2011 compared to last year.

While Idaho products reach more than 115 countries, top destinations for the second quarter of 2011 included Canada, Taiwan, Singapore, China and South Korea.

Femling named grand marshal

The city of Ketchum and Wagon Days have announced the selection of Walt Femling as the 2011 Wagon Days grand marshal. Femling served the community for 24 years as the Blaine County sheriff and has continued to devote his time to a number of community organizations in his retirement.

"We are honored to recognize Walt Femling and his service to our community," said Randy Hall, Ketchum mayor. "Walt served as sheriff for over 24 years. We have experienced much change and growth in that time. We were fortunate to have Walt and his visionary leadership."

Femling moved to the Wood River Valley in 1979 and joined the Ketchum Police Department. He was elected to the position of Blaine County sheriff in 1987. He retired from the position in January. Under Femling's leadership, the Blaine County Sheriff's Office opened a new county jail, brought law-enforcement duties for the city of Ketchum under the umbrella of the county and started P.A.L., Police Activities League, a prevention program that relies on educational, athletic and other recreational activities to promote trust and understanding between law enforcement and the youth in the community.

Wagon Days, a celebration of the region's mining era, is scheduled for Labor Day weekend in Ketchum.

Trey McIntyre Project offers lesson

Boise's blockbuster dance troupe the Trey McIntyre Project will offer a free beginning ballet class for adults prior to their appearance at the Sun Valley Pavilion Friday, Aug. 26, from noon to 1:15 p.m.

The company, recently featured on the cover of Dance magazine, are also giving free lessons for intermediate/advanced Modern dancers on Wednesday, Aug. 24, from 3 p.m. to 4 p.m. at the Footlight Dance Centre studio, at the Community Campus in Hailey.

For information on classes, call 578-5462.

Tickets for the evening performance are available by contacting seats@sunvalley.com.

State expects $179M surplus

BOISE (AP)—Idaho is expecting its second year of budget surpluses when the 2012 fiscal year ends, but Idaho officials say it's much too early to count on the money.

Come next July, Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter's office and the Legislature's staff expect to have $179 million in the bank, based on the spending plan passed by the 2011 Legislature.

That's after an $85 million surplus in the year that ended June 30, most of which was distributed to public schools.

Even if the 2012 surplus comes in as projected, Republicans who control the House and Senate say much of the cash is already spoken for.

That's in the form of potentially higher Medicaid costs, requirements to refill rainy day accounts and replacing federal funding for schools that expires this year.




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