Ketchum set to hold budget meeting
The city of Ketchum’s $14 million budget for the upcoming fiscal year will be discussed publically for the first time today, July 9. The meeting is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall.
The new budget has a 1.6 percent reduction from the previous year, due to an anticipated drop in local-option sales tax funds that will be gathered this year.
Changes for the 2014-2015 budget include a 3.8 percent salary increase for firefighters and 2 percent for other city employees. The budget assumes a 15 percent increase in the cost of health insurance for city employees, though that figure could be a low estimate, according to a city news release.
The budget is scheduled to be adopted Aug. 26.
Family seeking help after tragedy
A fund has been established at Pioneer Federal bank in Hailey to help a young father care for his new baby boy since his wife suffered an aneurysm and fell into a coma.
Wesley Lewis was delivered June 15 ahead of schedule weighing 3 pounds and was taken from his mother straight to the pediatric intensive-care unit in a Salt Lake City hospital. His mother, Kianna, was taken to surgery to try to remove an aneurysm caused by a malformation on her brain stem.
She’s been in a coma since June 12 and the prognosis is uncertain.
Wesley is doing well, but “is getting ready to come be a giant handful for his dad,” said his grandma, Cindy Lewis, who people might know from Idaho Lumber in Hailey.
Donations can be sent to the MKW Family Fund at Pioneer Federal by calling 788-2305. Items for baby are welcomed—contact Cindy Lewis at 309-0424 or Kianna’s mom, Cindy Findley, at 801-824-6949.
Obama signs intelligence bill into law
WASHINGTON (AP)—President Barack Obama has signed into law legislation that authorizes spending of $564 million over five years for the U.S. intelligence community and expands protections for intelligence agency whistleblowers against retaliation.
The White House said Obama signed the bill Monday. The cost figure does not include classified programs.
The legislation specifies that employees would be protected when they make disclosures about potential wrongdoing within their agencies, to internal watchdogs or to Congress’ intelligence committees. The legislation adopts and expands whistleblower protection proposals made by Obama in 2012.
The legislation would encourage whistleblowers to voice concerns through channels rather than through unauthorized and potentially damaging leaks, supporters said.
The new law, however, does not provide protections to intelligence agency contractors, such as National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden.
TNC sends youths to Silver Creek
The Nature Conservancy announced this week that urban youth turned interns from its Leaders in Environmental Action for the Future (LEAF) program are heading to Idaho’s Silver Creek and Flat Ranch Preserves for the next few weeks.
The students will participate in a paid internship program through Aug. 1.
During the course of their internship, they will train for “green” jobs and enhance their classroom education by participating in conservation activities such as tree planting.
The 20-year-old program provides paid, residential career internships for students on nature preserves around the country and enriches these experiences in the classroom by providing professional development opportunities to educators from partner high schools.
To learn more about the students LEAF serves, visit www.nature.org/LEAF.
Road work on the Salmon-River Road
Road work is beginning on the Salmon River Road outside of Salmon. Dust abatement using magnesium chloride and grading of the road surface will be conducted.
Salmon-Challis National Forest officials ask that visitors use caution when driving the road and to slow down and give the equipment plenty of room to work safely.
For further information, contact the North Fork Ranger Station at 208-865-2700.
Smokey Bear portraits on display
A vintage collection of Smokey Bear portraits is currently on display at the Sawtooth Supervisors Office, Minidoka Ranger District, Fairfield Ranger District, Ketchum Ranger District, Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters and the Redfish Visitor Center during regular office hours.
The “Smokey Bear through the Eyes of Rudy Wendelin Gallery” was made available through the National Agricultural Library Special Collections in Maryland, and the Sawtooth display is one of many locations throughout the United States that will display the exhibit this summer.
Wendelin worked for the U.S. Forest Service from 1949-1973 and took the approach to “soften and humanize” the appearance of Smokey Bear to gain the attention of children. This method was very successful in helping spread the fire education message “Only You Can Prevent Wildfires” and continues to this day.
To view the complete collection and the U.S. Forest Service Smokey Bear Collection Gallery, visit: http://specialcollections.nal.usda.gov/guide-collections/us-forest-service-smokey-bear-collection/only-you-can-prevent-wildfires.
Otter appoints wolf depredation board
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter announced the appointment this week of three members to the new Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board, created by the Legislature effective July 1 to help Idaho protect wildlife and livestock from wolves.
Along with its co-chairs—Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore and Idaho State Department of Agriculture Director Celia Gould—the new board will include Hamer rancher and former Idaho Cattle Association President Richard Savage representing the livestock industry, Carl Rey of Meridian representing the general public, and former Idaho Fish and Game Commission member Tony McDermott of Sagle representing sportsmen. Savage and McDermott will serve terms expiring July 1, 2016. Rey’s term will expire July 1, 2017.
At Otter’s request, the Legislature appropriated $400,000 from the General Fund, and approved fees of $110,000 from sportsmen and $110,000 from the livestock industry in creating the Wolf Control Board. It will be responsible for allocating funds to control wolves when there are conflicts with Idaho’s livestock and wildlife populations.
The goal is improved coordination of control efforts as the state works through the five-year period of Endangered Species Act (ESA) delisting oversight by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. That period ends in May 2016.
Training helps cut motorcycle deaths
With the arrival of warm weather, the number of motorcycles on the road increases, and so, sadly, does the number of motorcycle crashes and fatalities.
Based on preliminary reports, there have been eight fatalities involving motorcycles in Idaho during the first six months of 2014 (Jan. 1 to June 30), one more than last year.
The Idaho Transportation Department (ITD) and Idaho STAR Motorcycle Safety Program want to see that trend end.
ITD and Idaho STAR encourage drivers and riders to be alert, sober and courteous, and to share the road so everyone can get where they are headed safely.
To reduce the risk of crashes, motorcycle riders are encouraged to participate in motorcycle rider training.
Idaho STAR offers eight different courses for riders of all levels of experience and ability, from people just thinking about buying a motorcycle to veteran riders. There are 11 training locations across Idaho. To find one nearby, visit idahostar.org.