Friday, November 2, 2012

No contest in soil district election

Ballot misprint leads to confusion

Express Staff Writer

Irrigation systems water an agricultural property in Quigley Canyon, east of Hailey.

What an online sample ballot appeared to portray as a race for a Blaine Soil Conservation District position is actually a misprint, county staff said Wednesday.

The online general election sample ballot shows a three-way race for Blaine Soil Conservation District supervisor, with voters choosing one of three candidates: current district chair Aaron Andrews, current district secretary-treasurer Justin Stevenson and current supervisor Bryan Dilworth.

However, residents will be able to cast votes for all three in the general election, said Deputy Blaine County Clerk Leslie Londos. She said all the ballots have been changed.

The three supervisors’ terms were up this year, and the three are all choosing to run for re-election to the board.

Andrews said he’s received a few phone calls regarding the mix-up, but that there is a silver lining to all the confusion.

“We don’t mind having the media coverage,” he said with a laugh. “But none of us are opposing each other—our terms are just up.”

The Blaine Soil Conservation District works to bring state funding to Blaine County for programs that help conserve natural resources, boost water quality and preserve fish and wildlife habitat.

The district is publicly funded; each year it receives $13,600 from Blaine County and more than $27,000 from the state to carry out its programs. It also has a yearly tree sale, during which it sells drought-resistant trees to interested landowners and sponsors educational contests meant to get children involved with conservation.

Andrews said the district also works with the Legislature to develop and pass bills that fulfill the district’s mission. Andrews said it didn’t bring any bills forward last year, but has helped get land conservation and water quality bills passed in previous years.

According to the district website, Dilworth is a long-time Blaine County resident, farmer and building contractor. He also is a deep sea diver, and spends much of his time in the South Pacific.

Stevenson grew up on a barley and hay farm south of Bellevue. He has a B.S. degree in agriculture from Montana State University, and worked in vineyards in California before returning to Idaho. He currently works on his own farm and at Lava Lake Land and Livestock, as well as serving as a ski coach for the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation.

Andrews has served on the board since 2000, he said, and has lived in the valley since he was 10. He lives with his wife, Wendy, and their six children in Carey.

Andrews is also the man behind the Blaine County snow survey for the Natural Resources Conservation Service, the government agency responsible for releasing snow survey reports for the state. Those reports help predict irrigation and water supply for the upcoming spring, as well as the possibility of flooding—and also let skiers know how good of a snow year the area is having.

Dilworth said the district is still looking for people to become either supervisors or associate supervisors—one supervisor left earlier this year and has not been replaced. For more information, call 208-481-1080.

Kate Wutz:

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