Wednesday, November 21, 2012

News Briefs

Jobless rate drops again
    Idaho employers maintained payrolls at a slightly higher clip than normal for October, and the state’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate continued falling, dropping another tenth of a percentage point to 7 percent. That’s the lowest jobless rate in three and a half years.
    The September-October seasonal decline in jobs was only fractionally lower than the 10-year average, leaving total employment across the state essentially unchanged from September at fewer than 721,000. The lower unemployment rate was the result of another 1,100 workers leaving the state labor force. October marked the fifth straight month of labor force decline. More than 7,000 workers have left the labor force since May. The only other year that the labor force was smaller in October than in May was 1980 between the 1980 and 1981 recessions.  
    The unemployment rate, which has dropped nearly two percentage points since the post-recession high of 8.9 percent in July 2011, remained nearly a full percentage point below the national rate, which rose a tenth to 7.9 percent in October. Idaho’s rate has been lower than the national rate since September 2001.

School board to discuss strategic plan
    The Blaine County School District board of trustees has scheduled a special meeting for Wednesday, Nov. 28, to receive an update from administrators on the district’s strategic plan.
    The meeting is set to run from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the district office at 118 W. Bullion St. in Hailey.
    The public is welcome to attend.

Sockeye among ‘most endangered’
    Idaho’s endangered sockeye salmon are highlighted as one of the nation’s most endangered species in a recent report by the Endangered Species Coalition.
    The report, “Water Woes: How Dams, Diversions, Dirty Water and Drought Put America’s Wildlife at Risk,” examines the ways that poor water quality and reduced water quantity threaten imperiled species in 10 ecosystems across the United States. It cites three West Coast salmon species, including Idaho sockeye.
    “This report reiterates what folks in Idaho have known for a long time, and that’s that our sockeye salmon—and all of our salmon—are suffering because of unneeded dams on the lower Snake River,” said Idaho Rivers United board member Tom Stuart.
    The report states that “[i]n addition to blocking migration routes to and from spawning habitat, dams create slow-moving water reservoirs, which allow river temperatures to reach levels considered dangerous or even lethal to cold-water species like the sockeye.”
    In August 2011, a federal judge overturned a fourth federal salmon recovery plan for failure to do enough for Idaho’s endangered salmon, and remanded the plan for a rewrite due in January 2014.
    The Endangered Species Coalition has produced a “Top 10” report annually for the last five years. Water Woes can be downloaded from

Small Business Saturday to kick off
    American Express will team up with Chapter One Bookstore and other small local businesses to promote local shopping on Saturday, Nov. 24.
    American Express is offering credit-card holders the opportunity to get a $25 credit when they enroll their eligible American Express card and then use it to spend $25 or more in a single in-store transaction at a qualifying small business location.

Giving Tree helps kids at Christmas
    The Wood River Community YMCA and the Advocates are sponsoring a Giving Tree to help provide gifts to children of local families in need. Starting Thanksgiving Day, the Giving Tree will be displayed in the Y’s front lobby. There, people can pick an ornament of their choice off the tree and return the wrapped gift and the ornament back to the Y by Dec. 21. The Y will make sure the gifts are delivered before Christmas Eve.
    For more information, contact Danna at 928-6701.

Help the needy with holiday baskets
    The Sun Valley Board of Realtors’ Community Holiday Baskets can drive has begun.  Holiday Baskets helps over 300 Blaine County families at Christmas, providing each family with a special holiday meal. All children receive a gift of warm clothing and a small toy.
    People can donate at Christmas Holiday Basket cans at all Atkinsons’ Markets, Albertsons in Hailey and Splash & Dash in Bellevue.
    For more information or to make a donation, contact Robin Christensen at 720-2905 or email  

ISP will target DUIs this week
    The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is considered the busiest travel day of the year, and local law enforcement agencies, including Idaho State Police, have partnered with the Idaho Transportation Department’s Office of Highway Safety for the upcoming Impaired Mobilization Patrol. This impaired-driving campaign will run from Nov. 17-25.

Peaveys win sheep industry award
    John and Diane Peavey of Flat Top Sheep Co. received the 2012 Idaho Sheep Industry Appreciation Award at the 120th annual convention of the Idaho Wool Growers Association.  The meeting was held for the first time in Jackson, Wyo., and in conjunction with the Utah and Wyoming Wool Growers.
    The award was presented for “long-time service, commitment and dedication” to the sheep ranching industry in Idaho. With the Peaveys accepting the award were son and partner Tom and grandsons Cory and Jake Peavey, the fourth and fifth generations to work Flat Top Sheep Co. in south central Idaho.  The ranch was founded by John Peavey’s grandfather, U.S. Sen. John Thomas, in the 1920s.
    Former state Sen. Laird Noh, a legislative colleague of John Peavey, introduced the couple. He provided insights into John’s 21-years in the Idaho State Senate and particularly his pivotal work in water and campaign finance issues.
    Noh went on to comment on the work of John and Diane who reach out to the public to discuss sheep ranching through contemporary stories and its history in Idaho. This has culminated with the Trailing of the Sheep Festival, which the couple co-founded.

LAX, Seattle flights to resume
    Sun Valley Resort and Fly Sun Valley Alliance have once again partnered with Alaska Airlines through a minimum revenue guarantee program to bring daily Horizon Air nonstop flights from Seattle and Los Angeles to Sun Valley for the winter. The flights begin Dec. 14 and end March 31, a schedule that is one week longer than that of last winter and goes through Easter.
    Last winter, the flights to Sun Valley carried nearly 8,700 passengers.
    According to Fly Sun Valley Alliance, inbound Horizon Air bookings are tracking strong for the holidays and for February and March, with lower year-to-date bookings for January.

Hailey holiday raffle starts Saturday
    The Hailey Holiday Raffle starts Saturday, Nov. 24, at 1:30 p.m. in Hailey Holiday Square, and will run each Saturday through Dec. 22. The raffles will be part of a holiday celebration each week from noon to 2 p.m.
    The Hailey Chamber of Commerce announced that raffle prizes include more than $2,300 in Hailey Chamberbucks as well as prizes from Hailey restaurants, shops and service providers.
    Santa, music groups, warm refreshments and vendors will be present with picnic benches surrounding a warm fire pit.
    Hailey shoppers will receive one raffle ticket for every $10 spent at participating businesses, with a limit of 25 tickets per purchase. Each raffle will include dozens of prizes and gift certificates.

Artist to move studio to Ketchum
    During Friday’s Gallery Walk, artist Jennifer Bellinger will open her first local art studio and gallery at 511 Fourth St. in Ketchum. A professional artist for 40-plus years, Bellinger is known for her batiks and oil paintings of animals, still life and landscapes. She has shown in many galleries, both locally and nationally, and teaches oil painting workshops through the Sun Valley Center for the Arts and privately.

Mustaches for men’s health
    The Ketchum firefighters union, Local 4758, is working hard this month to change the face of men’s health.
    Through November, or “Movember” as the men’s health awareness month is monikered nationwide, male members of the union will grow out their mustaches to solicit donations for prostate and testicular cancer research. The union will throw a “Mustache Bash” on Saturday, Dec. 1, at 7 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques to judge the mustaches and choose a winner.
    People interested in keeping track of the whisker growth or in supporting a participating union member’s efforts by making a donation should go online to and type “mo-firefighters” in the search bar on the website’s homepage. So far, the local 4758 team has raised just over $1,000. According to a recent union press release, the event raised $140 million worldwide last year.
    To further celebrate and support men’s health, the union will hold a “Ketchum Street Fight,” a strongman and CrossFit type competition, on Dec. 1 at 11 a.m. at Ketchum Town Square.
    The competition will entail a fire engine push, tire flipping, a 100-pound fire hose carry and sandbag carrying, throwing and dragging. The competition will benefit The Advocates, a Hailey-based organization that aims to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault in the Wood River Valley.

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