Friday, October 11, 2013

Local bright spots emerging

    Even as the gloomy and unnecessary government shutdown continued this week, signs of future local economy recovery glimmered like tantalizing, thin veins of silver ore. Also, new local mental-health services and an environmental protection effort are making the future in the Sun Valley area look brighter.
l Piled on top of the earlier move by United Airlines to provide brand new service from San Francisco, the news that Alaska Airlines would expand its schedules from Seattle and Los Angeles made local spirits even brighter.
    The Alaska flights will be added in the fall and spring—the shoulder seasons the area is always struggling to build in order to have a stronger year-round economy.
    In today’s economy, every little piece, every major and minor expansion of air service, makes a difference to our area whose economic lifeblood is tourism.
    New flights are particularly important when the flights come in the winter or in shoulder seasons. Sun Valley Resort General Manager Tim Silva said this week that 60 percent of skiers and snowboarders travel here by air through Hailey or Boise.
    More air service, if advertised well, will help our battered local economy a lot.
- It’s been painfully and tragically apparent for years that the nation needs to improve access to care for mental health. For far too long, we Americans have acted as though health care should end at the neck.
    This week, that attitude started to change dramatically in Blaine County when St. Luke’s hospital opened the doors of its new Mental Health Services Clinic.
    Specialized treatment is often difficult to find or is non-existent outside of large metropolitan areas. That’s left families and communities without the resources they need to cope and to prevent tragedies.
    Our community will benefit from having more comprehensive mental-health care available locally. No one should hesitate to use the new clinic when mental-health questions or illness arise.
    We’re thankful that St. Luke’s is making this effort and wish it every success.
- Efforts by the Wood River Land Trust and the Nature Conservancy to acquire Rock Creek Ranch west of Hailey will be good news if they succeed.
    The 10,400 acre working ranch is part of a major big-game migration zone that is key to the survival of the elk, deer and other wildlife that are an important part of what everyone enjoys in the Sun Valley area. Figuring out a way to keep the ranch property undeveloped would help protect that enjoyment for future generations of residents and visitors.

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