Dec 6, 2015 The Yellow Pine Times

Dec 6, 2015 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Local Observations:

Monday (Nov 30) cold clear frosty morning. Sunny all day (but cold.) Quiet day.

Tuesday (Dec 1) cold morning, barley above freezing by afternoon, lots of sunshine.

Wednesday (Dec 2) not quite as cold, sunny and slightly above freezing in the afternoon, dripping icicles, but not much snow melted.

Thursday (Dec 3) much warmer in the morning, snow flurry for a little while, then warming up to way above freezing by early afternoon. High of 51 degrees! Snow melting (except in the shade where the ground is frozen.) Rained pretty good during the night.

Friday (Dec 4) Misty rain, puddles and slick icy ground. Patchy snow remains, some bare spots. Rain/snow mix off and on. A report of hearing wolves howl, possibly down the EFSF from here. More snow during the night.

Saturday (Dec 5) party cloudy, chilly breeze and about an inch of new snow. Clouds went and came back, gusty winds at times. Quiet day. Report of cougar tracks near Yellow Pine in the Johnson Creek area.

Sunday (Dec 6) rain/snow mix before sunrise. Drizzles most of the day, a few snowflakes once in a while.

Letter to Share:

Commissioner Cruickshank’s November Newsletter

Dec 1, 2015

From the desk of Commissioner Cruickshank,

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving filled with family and friends.

Monday November 2nd
Today was a commissioner meeting day. Approved today were the minutes of October 26th, an appointment to the Board of Community Guardian Committee and a support letter to Idaho Parks and Recreation concerning the use of vendors to sell snowmobile stickers. These stickers is how the users pay for the grooming program. We discussed a shortfall in funding for a part time position, approved accepting payments for Personal Property Taxes owed, discussed 4-H Livestock sales not paid by purchaser and how it holds up the payments to 4-H youth, approved closing the majority of the county offices at noon on Christmas Eve, offices that are required to be open by State Law will be open until 5PM, held an Executive Session on Personnel issue, awarded the fuel bid to Kennedy Fuel and Feed, discussed Cascade Rural Fire to use the old U of I building for training before it is demolished, also discussed Donnelly Fire using the house on Goode Lane for their training before demolition.
I then participated in a conference call with Shoshone County to discuss Charter Forest as a proposal to manage National Forests.

Wednesday November 4th
I participated in a National Association of Counties Webinar Legislative update that discussed Waters of the US, Ozone concerns, changes to Overtime eligibility, Fair Housing, Military Excess property being pulled from availability to local government, Health concerns with drug pricing, 40% Excise Tax and the Office of Management and Budget on Executive Orders with changes that impact counties.

Thursday November 5th
I attended the Valley Adams Planning Partnership (VAPP) meeting to review transportation projects with Valley County, City of McCall, City of Cascade and New Meadows for submitting grants.

I participated in the National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition conference call to discuss Secure Rural Schools payments and the hiring of a Part Time Executive Director.

This evening I attended the McCall City Council meeting and provided an update of Valley County workings.

Monday November 9th
Commissioner meeting day. Approved were claims and Junior College Tuitions, reports heard from Elected officials and Department Heads, approved the contract for Jail meals, 2 Jail Detention Officers graduating from Post, set December 21st as Ugly Sweater day for the Courthouse, approved the minutes of November 2nd, approved the contract with Intermountain Hospital for Mental Holds, approved Resolution 16-03 to transfer funding for the Weed Department, reviewed Area Operating Plans for Boise and Payette National Forest Grooming operations, approved Mr. Clements to the Planning and Zoning Commission, approved the Canvas of Votes from the recent elections held for the cities, approved Cascade Rural Fire to use the old U of I building for training and salvage of windows and storm door, approved Resolution 16-02 a Quit Claim Deed for portions of Lost Basin Road, signed a letter of support for the VAPP grant applications, approved sending a letter to the Bureau of Reclamation on Right-of-Way for Duffers Lane and held an Executive Session for personnel. Approved conditions of position and asked for training a backup staff and approved Holiday pay for employees after discussion with the other elected officials who attended the discussion.

Tuesday November 10th
I attended the Idaho Airstrip Network meeting in Boise. The meeting involved updates to the airstrips primarily on National Forests or in close proximity to the National Forests that are maintained by the Idaho Aeronautics Department, volunteers and Public Agencies. Also included were airstrips along the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area in Oregon and Idaho.

Tuesday November 17th
I met with Payette National Forest Supervisor and Rangers with Idaho County Commissioner Chmelik and a Permitee to discuss a grazing permit as it included both Nez Perce and Payette National Forests.

Wednesday November 18th
Today I was back in Boise attending the Idaho Association of Counties Legislative Committee meeting to work on setting the strategy on submitting legislation the counties would like to move forward with for the upcoming 2016 Legislative session.

Thursday November 19th
Big Creek/Yellow Pine group met today. We heard a presentation on how the Idaho Roadless Rule works by the chairman of the Idaho Roadless Commission. Also discussed was potential trail opportunities for ATV and other types of uses.

Commissioner Willey and I also participated, along with other county elected officials, and staff to visit with the McCall Chamber of Commerce Leadership group to discuss county government operations.

Monday November 23rd
Commissioner day again. Approved Resolution 16-04 to correct an error in transferring funding for the Weed Department, approved claims and Jr. College Tuition, discussed people using small storage sheds as Tiny Houses which don’t meet building codes, heard reports from Elected Officials and Department Heads, approved multiple contracts with counties and the Juvenile Detention Facility, approved a Memorandum of Understanding with McCall/Donnelly Schools for education at the Juvenile Detention Facility, approved a contract for recording equipment upgrade, approved Ruska Road Validation, held a closed session for Indigent, approved minutes from November 9th, approved the Boise and Payette National Forest Snowmobile Operating Plans, appointment to Snow Advisory Committee, appointment to Board of Community Guardian Committee, approved Resolution 16-05 destruction of old court records, reviewed a Catastrophic Health Board Nomination, voted on a Gem Plan Board appointment, approved an agreement with Secesh Engineering, approved a request to extend a deadline with Central District Health for compliance at the Materials Refuse Facility (Dump), heard a report from Lakeshore Disposal on the status of the fire at Idaho Waste Systems and now hauling Solid Waste to Payette County’s Clay Peak site. Approved road name changes for Shady Lane and Shady Lane Loop to clarify where the roads are and Validated the name of Miracle Lane to access multiple parcels. Approved cancellations # 21 & #22 on Solid Waste Fees, approved cancellation #20 for market value change and approved cancellations # 23 – 26 for market value changes, held an Executive Session for personnel, approved wage for a change in wages, approved a contract for Commercial Appraisal assistance and training, Staff from Senator Crapo’s office provided a report on the Senator’s recent efforts, held another Executive Session for personnel, approved setting conditions of employment and approved a salary for replacing the retiring Jail Commander, approved signing the grant application to the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council and okayed a snow removal request for a full time resident.

Tuesday November 24th
Tonight was a meeting in Grangeville with Senator Risch, Idaho County Commissioners and others to speak on the Lochsa Land Exchange being proposed by Western Pacific Timber and the Forest Service which has been stalled as the parties believe this will be a Congressional Legislative action rather than a Federal Agency and Private Party agreement. This proposal has been ongoing for several years and Senator Risch wanted to hear from the citizens and interested groups or organizations on the facts of why the land exchange was proposed. If you are familiar with the Checker Board landscape in the Upper Lochsa River drainage this is what Western Pacific Timber is wanting to exchange for other National Forest Public Lands.

Monday November 30th
Commissioner day today. Approved were the minutes of November 23rd, a support letter to McCall Fire for a Fire Boat grant application, we heard a status update from Wildfire Prevention Associates on the wildfire projects and funding available for future projects. Also presented was a recent tour by Officials who oversee the grant projects so they are more familiar with the work Valley County is doing with the grant funding to firewise areas. Lake Irrigation representatives discussed with the commissioners a Trust Fund that was set up many years ago and now appears to not be needed however there is money left in the account. We heard a presentation on an audit of the Water Ways funding and how the grant funds need to be retained for future dock purchases. The commissioners approved requesting the funds to be retained. We provided direction to research the cost of purchasing some private land currently used for a parking area for recreational use. The funding is proposed to come from the users and grants. Western Community Action Partnership management presented an update of the services they provide in the region and commented that many folks are receiving energy assistance. Camp Pinewood presented on a potential hardship due to missing a filing for Tax Exemption. The commissioners asked the new Director to work with the Assessor on how to proceed with bringing this to the commissioners. Approved Cancellation #27 as the Solid Waste fee was double charged. We returned to the Lake Irrigation topic and heard from former Valley County Clerk who provided a history of the Trust Fund set up for Lake Irrigation and managed by the Valley County Clerk’s office. The Clerk and Assessors offices will work with Lake Irrigation and do some additional research.

Well this winds up another month of duties. For more information on Valley County happenings and Commissioner meetings please go to the Valley County website Valley County, Idaho | Official Site .

Thanks everyone for reading the news letter. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year as it will have come and gone before my next letter comes out. Stay warm and travel safe out there.


Idaho News:

Nampa newlyweds injured in crash with bull celebrate Thanksgiving at home

by Katy Moeller Idaho Statesman Dec 1, 2015

It may be a long time before they are fully healed, but Jack and Doris Garner are both home from the hospital.

The couple suffered a constellation of critical injuries on the night of Nov. 1, when their Subaru station wagon struck a bull on U.S. Highway 95 about 6 miles north of Council. The 2,400-pound bull smashed through the windshield of the car.

What happened after the crash is under investigation. The owner of the injured bull, Jack Yantis, died after a fatal encounter with Adams County deputies who had responded to the accident.

Jack, 53, was released from a Boise hospital after a few days. But Doris, 47, needed medical care for more than three weeks. She was released a couple days before Thanksgiving, one of her sisters told the Statesman Tuesday.

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Sheriff Zollman says deputies’ futures unclear

Shannon Camp, KTVB December 3, 2015

Earlier this week, Adams County Sheriff Ryan Zollman identified Brian Wood, 31, and Cody Roland, 38, as the two deputies involved in the shooting death of Council rancher Jack Yantis. Zollman said that identifying the two deputies has sparked a new wave of angry emails and phone calls to the Adams County Sheriff’s Office.

“With the release of the names it’s definitely flared up again,” said Zollman. “They don’t believe they should come back to work ever as a sheriff’s deputy.”

That decision of when, and if, the men will return to active duty is one that weighs heavily on Zollman.

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McCall dash cam footage: ‘Get your hands off me!’

Bonnie Shelton, KTVB December 3, 2015

MCCALL — Through public records requests, we received dash cam video from a 2011 traffic stop involving then-McCall Police Officer Brian Wood.

Wood is one of two Adams County deputies involved in the fatal shooting of Council rancher Jack Yantis on Nov. 1, 2015.

According to court documents, Wood and the McCall Police Department were sued back in 2011 by Rodney Thomas Whaley, 78 of Cascade.

In the lawsuit, Whaley claims that Wood used excessive force and violated his civil rights during a traffic stop on July 6, 2011. The lawsuit states that Wood’s actions put the man in the hospital.

The dash cam video shows Wood pulling Whaley over. Court filings state the traffic stop was for speeding.

continued w/video:

Forest / BLM News:

Forest Service wants to close 250 miles of roads

Old logging roads in Valley County get little use

“It’s kind of the low-hanging fruit.” —Jake Strohmeyer

BY DAN GALLAGHER for The Star-News December 3, 2015

The Forest Service is considering how many miles of little used logging roads should be closed in Valley County.

Many of the roads on the Payette National Forest and the Cascade Ranger District of the Boise National Forest can be closed without causing inconvenience to forest users while protecting the environment, according to federal officials.

Valley County commissioners recently got a preview of the roads analyzed for possible closure, of which about 250 miles are on the entire Payette forest and about 55 miles are on the Cascade district.

The roads vary in length from one-tenth of a mile to about three miles and are scattered throughout the two forests.

Some roads have not been used for years, said Jake Strohmeyer, a staff officer with the Payette forest. Others are redundant as several segments reach the same destination, Strohmeyer said.

Some of the targeted roads pose an environmental risk if trucks or ATVs throw sediment into nearby creeks during when the road are wet, he said.

Some closure methods include bulldozing multiple berms to bar off-road traffic or regrading the flat road to its previous natural slope.

A public process will be started in the next few month to gather comments on the proposed closures, but Strohmeyer hopes they would not be controversial.

“It’s kind of the low-hanging fruit, such as redundant roads that were part of a logging system and we aren’t going to need that road anymore,” he said.

Access Advocates

The commissioners have been diligent to advocate forest access for recreation or industries such as mining. In 2011, Valley County joined a 2009 suit in federal court against the Payette, claiming that roads used historically, some even before creation of the Forest Service, should stay open.

As a result, a collaborative citizens group ranging from miners to fish biologists is examining access roads in the Big Creek-South Fork Salmon River area.

The roads on the list presented by Strohmeyer involve a different roads than those in the Valley County suit.

The current effort is part of the Forest Service’s attempt nationwide to determine which roads should be left open for the agency to adequately administer and protect the forests.

The roads researched for possible closure are divided into two levels:

• Level 1: A Level 1 road has been closed to all traffic, including administration, for more than a year. Many have vanished back into the landscape and are covered with vegetation.

Up to 90 percent of the 250 miles analyzed on the Payette are Level 1 roads.

“They’re usually built for timber sales that we kept for future access. We put them into long-term storage,” Strohmeyer said.

• Level 2: A Level 2 road can be traveled by a vehicle with high clearance and is maintained every two to five years. They may be closed seasonally, year-round or used just by the Forest Service under the proposal.

About 10 percent of the 250 miles on the Payette and three miles of the 55 miles on the Cascade district are Level 2 roads.

Commissioner Elt Hasbrouck said he would like the proposed closures plotted on a map to ensure some areas do not become de facto wilderness, where fire suppression is restricted and only horsemen or experienced hikers are able to visit.

[hat tip to BJ] The Star-News
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Feds trying new strategy to avoid past mistakes in wildfire rehab in southwest Idaho

By KEITH RIDLER – AP Published: 12/2/15

BOISE, Idaho — The federal government has a long history of failure when it comes to restoring sagebrush rangeland scorched by wildfires.

Scientists and land managers aim to change that by using the knowledge gained by those past setbacks to restore a giant swath of sagebrush steppe destroyed by a wildfire last summer in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon.

Scientists say three subspecies of big sagebrush make it among the most successful and widely-spread plants in North America. The three subspecies contain variations adapted to local climate and elevation.

Past restoration efforts failed to consider those differences.

The $67 million restoration effort underway in southwest Idaho and southeast Oregon is using seeds from surviving sagebrush within the 436-square-mile burned area, seeds from sagebrush adjacent to the fire, and seeds from similar regions.

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Advocacy groups in Montana, Idaho sue over Kootenai National Forest plan

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 11/29/15

KALISPELL, Montana — Snowmobile clubs and advocacy groups from Montana and Idaho are suing over a U.S. Forest Service plan that bars motorized access in certain areas of the Kootenai National Forest in northwestern Montana.

The forest plan, finalized in January, designates 115,000 acres as recommended wilderness areas and eliminated mechanized and motorized means of transport in those places.

The lawsuit filed in federal court earlier this month alleges the plan fails to follow Forest Service guidelines for recommended wilderness areas.


Mining News:

Forest Service clearing out southern Arizona mine after orange sludge leak

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 11/30/15

TUCSON, Arizona — The U.S. Forest Service is working to plug holes and bury waste at a southern Arizona mine after orange sludge appeared downstream last year.

The Arizona Daily Star reports ( ) a September 2014 storm released heavy metals and iron from the abandoned Lead Queen mine site into the Harshaw Creek watershed, about six miles south of Patagonia.

The Forest Service is putting waste rock into an underground contained area, covering it and placing barriers to keep it in place. The cleanup is expected to be complete by February.

Patagonia Area Resource Alliance board member Carolyn Shafer says the Patagonia area is home to at least 130 abandoned mines. The alliance wants the abandoned mines to be cleaned before any new mines begin operating.


Critter News:

Remember to keep your pets warm, too

Dennis Valera – Local News 8 – Dec 01, 2015

POCATELLO, Idaho – Single-digit temperatures and harsh winds have been hitting the area hard. While we remember to stay warm outside, we have to do the same with our pets.

On Monday in Pocatello, a Boston terrier was found frozen to death by police in a man’s yard.

Mary Remer, the city’s animal services director, said the best bet to keep your pets warm in cold weather is to get them in your house.

“Get a kennel for them or something if you can’t leave them alone at any time,” she said.” Get them indoors where it’s warmer.”

If a dog has to stay outside it’s best to get them an insulated or heated doghouse, even if the dog is able to withstand cold temperatures. A heated doghouse is a must for short-haired dogs. You can put something on the opening of the doghouse to prevent wind from getting inside.

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State Supreme Court declines to reinstate northern Idaho wolf center’s exhibition license

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 12/3/15

SANDPOINT, Idaho — The Idaho Supreme Court is declining to reinstate the license of a wolf exhibition company in northern Idaho.

The Bonner County Daily Bee reports ( ) that the high court issued a denial on Nov. 19.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game in February suspended Wolf People’s commercial license for one year, contending the company failed to comply with a 2012 agreement prohibiting visitors from having physical contact with the wolves.

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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

First Week of December 2015
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Four canines, likely wolves, photographed in Whitman County

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Dec 4, 2015

Four canines, likely wolves but unconfirmed, were spotted Dec. 2, 2015, crossing a seeded farm field near the Johnson cuttoff road near Pullman, according to photos circulating among Palouse landowners.

Whitman County has had numerous reports of wolves in recent years, including a case in which one was illegally shot by a farmer near Pullman and a case of sheep being killed by a wolf in the northeast corner of the county.

But no wolf pack has been officially documented in the county, yet.

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Yellowstone wolf numbers up slightly

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Dec 4, 2015

Yellowstone National Park biologists counted at least 104 wolves from 11 packs living in the park at the end of 2014.

The figures released Wednesday were up slightly from the prior year, when 95 wolves from 10 packs were counted. Northwest states released their 2014 numbers last spring.

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Montana predators kill fewer livestock, but payments up

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Dec 4, 2015

While the number of livestock killed by wolves, coyotes and grizzly bears has declined in Montana, the state is paying a record amount this year to reimburse livestock growers’ for losses.

The Montana Livestock Loss Board was established by the state Legislature in 2007 to address economic losses caused by wolf and grizzly bear attacks and to create incentives for producers to take steps to decrease the risk of loss.

The Great Falls Tribune reports that until this year the program’s highest reimbursements were in 2009 when the state paid $144,995 for the deaths of 370 head of livestock: 107 cattle, 256 sheep, three goats, three guard animals and one horse.

So far this year, Montana has paid $146,745 for the deaths of 133 head of livestock, including 81 cattle, 51 sheep and one llama.

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California plan could end protections for gray wolves in state once predator numbers 50

By SCOTT SMITH – AP Published: 12/3/15

FRESNO, California — Gray wolves could be stripped of state endangered species protections once at least 50 of the animals are roaming in California, wildlife officials said Wednesday.

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released a draft plan for managing gray wolves, which were granted protections last year but whose numbers are growing. It outlines efforts to minimize livestock loss and ways to ensure there’s enough prey for wolves, other predators and hunters.

Under California’s protections, gray wolves can’t be killed or hunted. U.S. law also protects wolves in most of the nation, except for Idaho, Montana and parts of Washington, Oregon and Utah, but there is a pending proposal to strip federal protections from most of the Lower 48 states, including California.

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More than 11,000 Norwegians line up to shoot 16 wolves

Norwegian hunters outnumber wolves 763 to one, according to new figures for licences to kill population that could be as low as 30

Elisabeth Ulven in Oslo Tuesday 1 December 2015

Wolves have emerged as the most sought-after animal for Norwegian hunters this season, with 11,571 people registering for licences to shoot 16 animals – a ratio of 723 hunters per wolf.

The animals – of which Norway may have as few as 30 living in the wild – top the league in new figures that reveal a trigger-happy community of hunters.

The Norwegian brown bear comes in a close second with 10,930 registered licence holders keen to hunt down 18 individuals, followed by 10,820 licence holders interested in 141 wolverines, according to the country’s register for hunters.


[hat tip to WEI]
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Bull elk poached north of Council

KTVB December 1, 2015

COUNCIL — The Idaho Department of Fish and Game is asking for the public’s help tracking down whoever illegally shot an elk, cutting off the animal’s head and leaving the body to rot.

The dead bull elk was found Sunday near Ridge Road, north of Council. Game officers believe the elk was poached for its antlers Wednesday or Thursday, weeks after the elk hunting season closed in the area.

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Wild horses are available for adoption

IME – Nov 30, 2015

The BLM still has wild horses gathered from the Owyhee region following the Soda Fire available for adoption. So far, 39 horses have been adopted. There are six young fillies and five mares between the ages of 2 and 4 available for adoption. Additionally, there are a handful of 2- to 6-year-old mares and geldings from Nevada herd management areas that are available.

To adopt a wild horse, people must be at least 18 years old, never convicted of animal abuse and have the proper facilities. An approved adoption application must also be on file.

Anyone interested in seeing the horses or adopting one can contact Clay Stott at 208-384-3454 to set up a time to visit the Boise Wild Horse Corrals.

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Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
December 4, 2015
Issue No. 773

Table of Contents:

* Post-Mortem On 2015 Snake River Sockeye Run; 90 Percent Of Fish Dead Before Reaching Ice Harbor Dam

* Post-Mortem 2015 Water Year: Normal Precipitation Oct.-March, And Then Region Went Dry

* 10-Year John Day Wild Chinook Study: Smolt Size When Leaving Freshwater A Determining Factor For Return Age

* Draft EIS: Oil Trains, Proposed Vancouver Terminal, Deep Draft Ships Could Impact Listed Columbia Basin Salmonids

* Year-End Salmon Tally: 2.3 Million Adult Salmon Cross Bonneville Dam, Nearly Half Fall Chinook

* Cantwell’s Yakima Basin Legislation Passed By Senate Energy And Natural Resources Committee

* 2015 Willamette River Report Card Released; Lower River C-Plus

* FERC Issues Order Denying Further Hearings In Transfer Of Flathead Lake Dam To Tribes

* California Releases Draft Gray Wolf Conservation Plan For Comment

* New Wolf Pack Confirmed In North-Central Washington’s Methow Valley

* Study Observes ‘Emotional Fever’ In Fish: Do Fish Have Some Degree Of Consciousness?

* Higher Levels Of Fukushima Cesium Detected Off West Coast; Well Below Limits Of Concern

Fun Critter Stuff:

McManus Comedies – My First Deer

The story of my first deer. From the McManus Comedies – A Fine and Pleasant Misery.

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All Our Otters Want for Christmas are… Ice Treats!

Monterey Bay Aquarium

Watch our otters go crazy for holiday ice treats. It probably doesn’t hurt that the “frosting” is minced clams!

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All trains delayed until further notice



Fish & Game News:

Tips & Advice:

On thin ice? Know what to do if you break through

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Dec 3, 2015

Ice fishermen aren’t the only people who could find themselves on thin ice this winter.

Everyone who ventures out near ponds, streams or lakes should have a basic understanding of what to in case of breaking through ice into a sudden cold water immersion.

First, be prepared with a looped rope for a rescue.  Angler ice picks, one for each hand, would aid in self rescue, especially if the ice surface is smooth.

Second, avoid thin ice even if you’re prepared.

continued w/video:

Fun Stuff:

Norwegian TV show about a fireplace sparks nationwide debate after furious viewers say wood was stacked with bark facing ‘the wrong way’

22 Feb 2013

In most places across the world, the topic of firewood would hardly be expected to set the nation’s imagination alight.

But in Norway, a television programme on the subject of wood has become quite the burning issue, after splitting the country straight down the middle on how it should be stacked.

Nearly a million people, 20 per cent of the Norwegian population, tuned in to the programme when it was aired during prime time on Friday night. But the angry responses started almost as soon as it had begun.

The show was inspired by the book Solid Wood: All About Chopping, Drying and Stacking Wood – and the Soul of Wood-Burning, by Lars Mytting, which spent more than a year on the Norwegian non-fiction bestseller list.


[hat tip to SD]

Thanks for sharing news and photos for the YPTimes.