Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Blood donors needed

     The American Red Cross needs blood and platelet donors to help restock the blood supply this February. Severe winter weather throughout January across much of the country forced the cancellation of about 770 Red Cross blood drives, resulting in more than 25,000 uncollected blood and platelet donations.

     There is an urgent need for blood types O positive, O negative, A negative and B negative. Eligible donors with these blood types are strongly encouraged to make an appointment to give in the coming days.

     Platelets, a key clotting component of blood often needed by cancer patients, must be transfused within five days of donation, so donations are constantly needed. Red blood cells, the oxygen-carrying component of blood, are the most widely transfused blood product and must be transfused within 42 days.

     To donate blood, call 1-800-733-2767 or visit to make an appointment or for more information. A blood donor card or driver’s license or two other forms of identification are required at check-in. People who are at least 17, weigh at least 110 pounds and in generally good health may be eligible to donate blood. High school students and other donors 18 years of age and younger also have to meet certain height and weight requirements.


BLM seeks advisory council members

     South-central Idaho residents interested in the management and conservation of public lands have an opportunity to participate on the BLM Twin Falls District Resource Advisory Council. Nominations are being accepted to fill five three-year positions.

     People may nominate themselves or others.  Nominees, who must be residents of the state or states where the council has jurisdiction, will be judged on the basis of their training, education and knowledge of the council’s geographical area. Nominees should also demonstrate a commitment to consensus building and collaborative decision-making.

     All nominations must be accompanied by letters of reference from any represented interests or organizations, a completed RAC application and any other information that speaks to the nominee’s qualifications.

     The Twin Falls District RAC is seeking nominations for vacancies in a wide variety of interest groups.

     To learn more, visit the BLM Idaho website at:, or contact Heather Tiel-Nelson at or 208-736-2352.   

     Nominations should be sent to Heather Tiel-Nelson, BLM Twin Falls District, 2536 Kimberly Road, Twin Falls, ID  83301. They must be received by March 27.


Predation management plan posted on website

     Under a predator management plan for the Middle Fork of the Salmon area, the Idaho Department of Fish and Game seeks to reduce the wolf population by about half and reduce mountain lion and bear numbers.

     According to a news release from the department, the Middle Fork elk population declined 43 percent from 2002 to 2011, due in large part to predation. Elk cows and calves in the area are vulnerable to predation, and the number of calves surviving is too low to replace the adults dying each year, causing a continuing decline in the herd.

     Fish and Game has documented six to eight wolf packs denning in the Middle Fork zone, with additional packs moving in and out of the zone.  Pack sizes tend to increase during summer months (9.2 members per pack in 2012), meaning there could be approximately 90-95 wolves in the Middle Fork zone during summer.

     According to the release, research indicates that wolf removal rates of 30 percent or less typically do not cause any lasting reductions in overall wolf population numbers because wolves reproduce at a high rate and often disperse to new territories.  Future management actions to support elk recovery will be designed to maintain approximately 35 to 40 wolves in the Middle Fork zone.

     The department is also offering extra tags and longer seasons for black bears and mountain lions—other predators affecting the Middle Fork elk population.

     More information about the decline of the Middle Fork elk population can be found on page 100 of Fish and Game’s new 10-year Elk Management Plan.

     A copy of the elk management plan is posted on the Fish and Game website:

House passes elk-ranching bill

     By a vote of 42-27, the Idaho House of Representatives on Monday passed a bill that would reduce the incidence of inspections for disease at commercial elk-raising operations. The bill will now be considered by the Senate.

     Rep. Steven Miller, R-Fairfield, supported the bill, while Rep. Donna Pence, D-Gooding, voted against it.

     House Bill 431 is intended to put the State Department of Agriculture’s testing program on solid financial footing and to reduce inspection costs for Idaho’s commercial elk industry, which consists of 57 ranchers raising about 3,700 animals.

     However, some hunters and environmental organizations contend that it would increase the risk of the state’s wild elk herds’ contracting chronic wasting disease, a fatal illness that attacks the brains of elk, deer and moose. There has been no evidence that the disease affects humans, though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has advised people not to eat meat from infected animals.

     Under current Department of Agriculture rules, elk ranchers must submit the brains of all animals they slaughter or that die of other causes for testing. House Bill 431 would change that to require testing on only 10 percent of dead animals. It would also require that facility inspections be conducted every five years rather than annually.


Board recognizes emergency doctor

     Dr. Keith Sivertson, a St. Luke’s Wood River Emergency Department physician, is among the nation’s first American Board of Medical Specialties-recognized emergency medical services physicians. The American Board of Emergency Medicine recently recognized EMS as a formal subspecialty of emergency medicine and administered its first certifying examination in December 2013. There are currently only 195 board-certified EMS physicians in the nation.

     “I am excited to be specially trained to offer this level of emergency expertise in our community,” Dr. Sivertson said.

     Dr. Sivertson is also board-certified in emergency medicine.

     “We commend Dr. Sivertson for his pursuit of the EMS board certification and passing the rigorous exam,” said St. Luke’s CEO Cody Langbehn.


Help feed hungry pets in valley

     Wood River Insurance in Hailey is conducting a month-long pet food drive this month.
The business is collecting bags of pet food to donate to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley and The Hunger Coalition’s “Paws For Hunger” program.  

     The goal is to collect at least 50 bags of pet food.

     “The effects of the economy reach far beyond just people. The sad truth is that when families go hungry pets go hungry, too,” a news release states. “Through the Paws for Hunger program, the Animal Shelter collects donations to purchase pet food that is then distributed by The Hunger Coalition to help feed the pets of people in need. The ‘Pet Food Bank’ helps control the number of animals entering the shelter by keeping pets with their families during their time of need.”

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