Wednesday, March 14, 2012


What's the state of the economy?

Sustain Blaine has gathered statistics on the local economy for the past year and will present its findings on Thursday, March 15, from 5:30-7 p.m. in the Limelight Room at Sun Valley Resort. The economic development organization will conduct anonymous polling that will allow attendees to offer observations confidentially and in real time.

The findings will answer questions such as:

- How does our economy look compared with the last five years?

- What business sectors are leading and what's lagging?

- What's been happening to our tourism and housing metrics?

- How is 2012 faring thus far?


A cash bar will open at 5 p.m.

First Bank of Idaho assets up for bid

A dozen loans totaling more than $7 million from the failed First Bank of Idaho in Ketchum are up for bid, the Idaho Statesman reported. The loans are part of a limited liability company made up of loans with a book value of $762 million owned by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and Mariner Real Estate, based in Kansas City, Kan.

The loans are mostly for commercial land in Idaho, including one parcel on Fifth Street in Ketchum.

The U.S. Office of Thrift Supervision—an agency of the Department of the Treasury that regulates federal savings associations—closed the bank in April 2009. The FDIC was named receiver of the closed bank.

About $7.1 million in First Bank loans were bundled into a package with loans from other banks, and 40 percent of the interest in that package was sold to Mariner for $52 million.

Mariner is offering some of those loans for purchase by other investors.

Preliminary bids are due by March 21. Mission Capital Advisors will narrow those down to the top few bids, which must be finished and submitted by April 4. For more information, contact Mission at

Holding on Forbes' billionaires list

Forbes magazine this month reported that Sun Valley Co. owner Earl Holding is No. 464 on its latest list of the world's billionaires.

As of the beginning of this month, Holding, 85, has an estimated net worth of $2.6 billion, Forbes reported. He is listed as the 155th wealthiest person in the United States.

The magazine wrote: "Holding parlayed a stake in the Little America motel in Wyoming into a hospitality empire including ski resorts Sun Valley and Snowbasin and the Grand America hotel in Salt Lake City. He bought Sinclair Oil in the 1970s, which still operates refineries and pipelines. Holding is said to be among the largest landowners in America, with some 400,000 acres across the West. He grew up with the current president of the Mormon church, Thomas Monson."

The magazine also reported that Holding's family is "preparing for a changing of the guard," with his son, Stephen, as the heir apparent.

March BAH Thursday in Hailey

The Hailey Chamber of Commerce is inviting businesses and the public to its March Business After Hours on Thursday, March 15, from 5-7 p.m. This month's event is hosted by the Wood River Inn at 603 N. Main St. Catering will be provided by Fresshie's.

This free networking event is a way to make new contacts and learn about community businesses. Call 788-3484 for more information.

Depression screenings offered

The National Depression Screening Program provides increased awareness of the symptoms of depression and the mental health resources available. For anyone who thinks they may be suffering from depression, bi-polar disorder, anxiety or post-traumatic stress, St. Luke's Center for Community Health is taking appointments for free, confidential depression screenings on Tuesday, March 20.

The one-hour screenings are provided by licensed mental health counselors, and are available in English or Spanish.

They will be held from 9:30 a.m. to noon at St. Luke's Center for Community Health, 1450 Aviation Drive, Suite 200, in Hailey. Call 727-8733 for an appointment.

Talk offered on new CPR guidelines

Registered nurse Karen Morrison will give an overview of the updated American Heart Association's Heartsaver CPR requirements on Wednesday, March 14, from 12:15-1:15 p.m. at St. Luke's Clinic in Hailey.

In this hands-on event, participants will learn basic heart function, the new and simplified CPR techniques and why this new method is effective.

All Brown Bag lectures are free and no pre-registration is required. Call St. Luke's Center for Community Health for information on this or other educational programs, 727-8733.


Deed-restricted homes retain value

According to a recent report, Blaine County's affordable housing market has withstood the housing collapse better than the free market.

The area is one of several resort communities included in a report by Rees Consulting dealing with deed restrictions in a receding housing market. Rees consulting focuses on high-cost resort areas throughout the mountain West. Blaine County Housing Authority staff provided Rees with data for the report.

In all communities examined, the rate of foreclosure on affordable homes was substantially lower than the foreclosure rate in the free market. Most affordable home sales are attracting the maximum resale value allowed by their deed restrictions.

When maximum resale values were not reached, most homes sold for at least their purchase price. There are very few instances where affordable homes with a restriction on appreciation have sold at a loss.

There is also evidence that the affordable housing market is boosting the low end of the free market. As households move from the affordable market to the free market, their deed-restricted homes have provided capital to do so.

The full report can be viewed here.

Have coffee with School District reps

The Blaine County School District is inviting people to Coffee With the Community today, March 14, from 8:30-9:30 a.m. at Java, 191 Fourth St. in Ketchum.

Administrators and trustees will be available to answer questions about the School District. For more information, call 578-5005.

Dance Theatre offers fancy footwork

Boise's professional contemporary dance troupe will arrive in Ketchum for a reception at Kneeland Gallery on Thursday, March 15, from 4:30-6 p.m. Longtime Kneeland artist Carl Rowe is co-artistic director of the company.

On Friday, March 16, at the nexStage Theatre, the company will perform "Lifespring," described as a reawakening of one's appreciation for water. The dance will be accompanied by music by composer Joe Young on Native American flutes, saxophone and percussion.

Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for students for reserved seats. Premier seating is $30 and $21. Call 208-331-9592 for details. The show starts at 7:30 p.m.

The public is invited to see the company perform "Galaxy of Dance" on Saturday at 9:30 a.m. at the Community Campus in Hailey as part of the Wood River Arts Alliance Children's Art Festival. The performance is free and open to all. To register for classes that will start after the dance, plan to arrive as early as 8:45 a.m. For details on that arts festival, see

Valley man attains Guinness record

Part-time Sun Valley resident Richard Byerley, 84, who bought a trip to Mount Kilimanjaro at a Galena Lodge fundraiser, has been included in the Guinness World Records as the oldest person to summit the mountain on foot.

Byerley, a retired farmer from Washington, took his grandchildren with him for the six-day trek on the Machame Route accompanied by Adventures Within Reach.

The previous record was sent by an 82-year-old Brit.

For more, see

Dudamel to conduct Gershwin

The Sun Valley Opera and Big Wood 4 in Hailey will host the last L.A. Phil concert broadcast of the season on Sunday, March 18, at 2 p.m.

This latest installment of the HD series features conductor Gustavo Dudamel through a program of Gershwin favorites including the "Cuban Overture," "An American in Paris" and "Rhapsody in Blue."

Tickets can be bought at the door for $20 adults, $18 seniors and $16 students.

Trumpet virtuoso to headline benefit

Tickets are on sale for the Sun Valley Summer Symphony's annual benefit concert featuring trumpet virtuoso Chris Botti on July 29. The performance will kick off the season for the country's largest free-admission orchestra.

The Associated Press called Botti "a musical alchemist who tastefully mixes genres for his brand of fusion." According to The New York Times, he is "a modern-day jazz heartthrob."

Botti, who has had four No. 1 jazz albums and been awarded multiple gold, platinum and Grammy Awards, draws from classical, pop, jazz and other genres.

Ticket prices range from $50 to $500. The pavilion lawn will be closed for this performance. For details, visit or call 622-6507.

Ketchum proclaims Disability Awareness Week

Ketchum will recognize the week of April 16-20 as Disability Awareness Week.

Mayor Randy Hall read the proclamation during a City Council meeting Monday.

"More than 40 muscular dystrophy diseases, including ALS, affect over one million Americans," the proclamation reads. "The local Muscular Dystrophy Association office serves over 560 families with muscular dystrophy in Southern Idaho and Eastern Oregon by providing medical equipment, clinics, support groups, a summer camp and many other resources."

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