Dec 20, 2015 The Yellow Pine Times

Dec 20, 2015 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Note: Power was out Friday at 1205pm and back on Saturday at 622pm.

Local Observations:

Monday (Dec 14) Power still out Five inches new snow, just over a foot on the ground. Light snow all day. Idaho Power recording reporting access issues, waiting for V. Co. to plow.

Tuesday (Dec 15) Power still out. Just a trace of new snow, total snow settled down to 12 inches, mostly clear. At 1127am a large blue & white helicopter flew low and slow along the power line, circled over the village an headed off (just as it clouded up and snowed a little.) By 145pm an Idaho Power crew was at the fire hall with chain saws (one of the several line breaks was right at the edge of the village.) Mostly clear afternoon and temps dropping. Power back on at 824pm!!! (and 12 degrees.)

Wednesday (Dec 16) Cloudy and light snow. County plow truck at the cross roads before 10am. Power blipped off and back on at 1104am. Light to moderate snow most of the day, then clearing, breezy and cold. Dipped below zero overnight.

Thursday (Dec 17) High clouds and cold quiet morning. Light snow started around lunch time and continued all day, but very little accumulation and cold! Quiet day. Snowed all night, temperature rising.

Friday (Dec 18) 5″ new snow, 15″ total snow, still snowing big flakes. Power out at 1205pm. Mail truck could not make it in, and Idaho Power waiting for county to plow. Light misty rain all day and temps hovered between 32 and 33 degrees all day and most of the night. Rain freezing and building up ice on the ground.

Saturday (Dec 19) power still out, 1″ new snow, low clouds and fog. Rain or rain/snow mix or snow all day. County plow came in followed by mail truck and Idaho Power crews. Power back on at 622pm. Snowed 2″ by midnight.

Sunday (Dec 20) 2″ new snow, 13″ total, heavy frozen slush and snow. Lights flickered at 1105am and sunshine. Scattered sunshine mid-day. Cloudy by afternoon and a few snowflakes. Lights blinking a few times at 537pm.

Photos to Share:

Cinnabar road closure

Dec 17, 2015

This appears to be the first step of the complete closure for access to Cinnabar. We took this picture on Oct.26,2015 on the lower road into Cinnabar. We then went to the top end and noted a sign but no physical road block, but you can bet it won’t be long and it will be closed also.



photos by Bob Earl

Idaho News:

Heavy snow causes outages around region

McCall outage Sunday affects 1,120, lasts 12 hours

BY TOM GROTE for The Star-News December 17, 2015

Winter storms this week caused multiple power outages in the McCall area, according to Idaho Power Co.

“We’ve got 12 to 15 inches of heavy, wet snow combined with wind over the weekend which caused lines to break and trees and branches to fall into our power lines,” Regional Operations Manager Tony Calzacorta said.

About 4 p.m. Sunday, power went out to 1,120 Idaho Power customers in the McCall area when a tree fell through a power line. Service was not restored to most customers until 12 hours later, an Idaho Power Co. spokesperson said.

About 1 p.m. Monday, a tree fell into a power pole at Mission and Park streets and broke the cross-arm, cutting power to 223 customers downtown. Crews had to replace equipment and power was not restored until 5:30 p.m.

An outage affected about 230 Idaho Power customers near Lake Fork about 4 p.m. on Sunday, and power was out for about three hours, the spokesperson said.

Crews worked Sunday and through the night, and by Monday morning crews were concentrating efforts in the McCall, Yellow Pine, Donnelly, Council, Idaho City, Wilderness Ranch and Placerville areas where about 600 customers were without power.

Knee-Deep Snow

“Walking through knee-deep snow, not to mention the wet, cold and miserable conditions, has been tough,” Calzacorta said. “They’re sympathetic to our customers and are working as safely as possible to get the power back on.”

More than 200 customers between Warm Lake and Yellow Pine were without power between Sunday and 8 p.m. Tuesday.

“We have crews on snowmobiles with satellite phones going in to assess damage, and it sounds like the county will plow the road so crew trucks can get access, at least part of the way,” spokesperson Lynette Standley said Tuesday morning.

source: The Star-News
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State officials appoint hearing officer in contested western Idaho oil and gas drilling plan

By KEITH RIDLER – AP Published: 12/17/15

BOISE, Idaho — State officials on Thursday appointed a hearing officer in what will be the first use of a new Idaho law that allows unwilling mineral rights owners to be included in a company’s plan to drill for natural gas and oil.

The Idaho Oil and Gas Conservation Commission on a 5-0 vote appointed the hearing officer for two areas in Payette County in western Idaho that a Texas oil company believes have profitable reserves. Houston-based Alta Mesa is already active in the region with more than a dozen wells producing natural gas.

The law approved earlier this year involves a process called integration that applies to specified areas, typically 640 acres. When 55 percent of mineral rights owners want drilling to go forward, they can ask the state to integrate the other 45 percent.

“We’re trying to set up a precedent for future integration as they may need to be performed,” said Commissioner Jim Classen, an exploration geologist, after the meeting. “We’re trying to do it in the fairest fashion for the benefit of the mineral interest owners as well as the exploration companies.”

John Foster, a spokesman for Alta Mesa, said the state should handle the integration much more quickly through an administrative process rather than going through the commission and a hearing officer with hearings that have yet to be scheduled.

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Idaho will give partial pay to people hired by rural fire departments to battle August blaze

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 12/18/15

Idaho says it will give partial payment to people who were hired by rural volunteer fire departments to help battle last summer’s fire near Kamiah.

The state Department of Lands will pay people hired last-minute to help firefighters on Aug. 10-17, when traditional firefighting resources were used up and blazes were still raging, reported The Lewiston Tribune ( ).

The rural fire chiefs approached the state during the fires to ask if their hires could be compensated, explained State Forester David Groeschl.

The state usually only pays contractors it signs agreements with before the start of fire season. Those contractors have their equipment inspected and are given some firefighting training.

But the department made an exception in this case. Groeschl said he decided to pay people who were doing the most important work, like using heavy equipment to dig fire lines or hauling water in trucks during the most critical time.

Those workers will get 65 percent of the standard rates for such work, he said.

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Human remains, artifacts returned to Nez Perce Tribe in northern Idaho

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 12/19/15

LEWISTON, Idaho — State officials have returned human remains and artifacts to the Nez Perce Tribe dug up more than four decades ago during construction of a northern Idaho rest stop along U.S. Highway 12.

The Idaho Transportation Department in an announcement Friday said the human remains and related objects were unearthed between 1967 and 1972 near Lenore.

“Repatriation is very important to the tribe,” Nez Perce Tribe staff attorney Darren Williams told the Lewiston Tribune ( “Working on these processes to make this happen is important.”


Forest News:

Fire showdown: Vilsack says he’ll demand emergency funding if wildfire costs exceed budget

By MEAD GRUVER – AP Published: 12/18/15

Federal budget brinkmanship could flare while wildfires are bearing down on U.S. communities after Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack vowed to end the practice of raiding other programs’ funding to cover firefighting costs.

The U.S. Forest Service depleted its firefighting budget in August as the costliest fire season in U.S. history destroyed hundreds of homes in California and the Pacific Northwest. If money budgeted for firefighting runs out again next year, Congress will need to step in with emergency funding instead of expecting the Forest Service to fill the gap, Vilsack wrote congressional budget leaders Thursday.

“The American public can no longer afford delays to forest restoration and other critical Forest Service activities caused by annual fire transfers,” he told the chairmen and ranking members of the House and Senate appropriations committees.

Next fire season would need to be a bad one, indeed, for firefighting funds to run out. The Forest Service is getting $1.6 billion for firefighting, up from $1 billion this past year, in the federal budget that cleared Congress on Friday.


Critter News:

Keep your pet safe from traps on the trail

Winter in Idaho means fur-trapping season is in full swing

Pets that run off-leash or off-trail are especially at risk

Idaho Fish and Game Dec 15, 2015

Most trappers avoid using traps near heavily used recreational trails and use common sense where they set traps. But, there’s always a chance a dog can get caught.

Idaho Fish and Game has two videos with tips on what to look for to avoid traps and what to do if a pet gets caught.

Some traps and trap sets can be easy to spot if you know what to look for. However, many traps can be hard to see. The video “How to recognize and avoid wildlife traps while walking your dog” will help you make decisions about whether to keep your pet on a leash in certain areas.

Video: Recognizing & Avoiding Wildlife Traps while Walking your Dog

A second video describes the types of traps and snares you could encounter and provides instructions on how to quickly release a dog. Both videos and a brochure are available on Idaho Fish and Game’s website.

Video Releasing your Dog from a Trap:

Tips to avoid traps

* Look for posted signs that a trapper might be setting traps in the area. If you see a trap, assume there are more around.

* Assume that trapping is being done in areas where you see beaver, fox, coyotes and other fur-bearing animals.

* Keep your dog on a leash in areas where you suspect trapping.

* If your dog gets caught, cover it with a coat or jacket, which should help keep it calm so you can quickly remove the trap.

* Take safety gear: It’s a good idea to carry a small first-aid kit, gloves and a multi-tool while hiking to help your dog.

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Dog survives 2-month ordeal in valley

Lilly traveled from Bellevue to Ketchum before being found

Dec 9, 2015 by Ryan Thorne – IME

A Washington woman was recently reunited with her dog after the canine went missing near a home in Muldoon Canyon east of Bellevue, only to be found two months later, skinny and freezing, some 30 miles north near Warm Springs Road in Ketchum.

The missing dog, a 2-year-old Lab and boxer mix named Lilly, was visiting Bellevue with her owner, Diane Finnie, a Vancouver, Wash., resident, during the last week of September when the dog suddenly went missing.

… Ketchum resident Andrea Cookston had found Lilly wandering around near her home on Short Swing Lane off of Warm Springs Road that night.

“She didn’t come to me right away, but I finally got close to her and was able to pet her,” Cookston said. “We put a blanket over her and she didn’t even try to shake it off, she was just happy.”

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Dog rescued from icy water by Idaho Falls Fire Department

Local News 8 – Dec 18, 2015

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho – One firefighter fell into the icy Snake River just south of Idaho Falls, while rescuing a dog Friday afternoon.

Idaho Falls Fire Department responded to Gem Lake Marina for a report of a dog that had fallen through the ice and was struggling to get out.

The dog owner called in the report at 4:40 p.m. and directed the crews to her location at the marina. Firefighter/Paramedic Dan Muhlestein donned his water rescue equipment. While tethered to the other emergency crews on the bank, he crawled approximately 20 yards on the ice to reach the dog.

While attempting to pull the dog out of the water, the ice gave way under the firefighter and both ended up in the water. Muhlestein was able to lift the dog onto the ice and then pull himself back out as well. The dog then made its way back to the shore to its awaiting owner.

There were no injuries.

source w/photo:
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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

Third week of December 2015
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Move to take Great Lakes, Wyoming wolves off endangered list left out of federal budget bill

By STEVE KARNOWSKI – AP Published: 12/16/15

A proposal that would have taken gray wolves in the western Great Lakes region and Wyoming off the endangered list did not make it into a massive year-end congressional tax and spending package, an omission that surprised its backers but was welcomed Wednesday by groups that support maintaining federal protections for the predators.

U.S. Reps. Collin Peterson, D-Minnesota, Reid Ribble, R-Wisconsin, and some other lawmakers had hoped to attach a rider to return management of wolves in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and Wyoming to the states, which could have opened the door to a resumption of wolf hunting in those places. The provision would have undone federal court decisions that restored the animals’ protected status in the four states despite repeated efforts by the federal government to remove them from the list.

Peterson said budget negotiators dropped the provision from the final bill, which was unveiled late Tuesday, because the White House had threatened a veto if the bill contained any changes to the Endangered Species Act.

“Obviously I’m disappointed,” Peterson said. “We thought it wasn’t going to be a problem because the Fish and Wildlife Service was supporting it.”

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Scientists call for wolf delisting

by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online! November 30, 2015

A leading group of wolf scientists are calling for wolves in the Great Lakes states to be removed from federal protection, and managed by the states. The letter comes nine months after another group of scientists and wolf advocates penned a letter with the opposite viewpoint.

Click on the links below for details.
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Yellowstone wolves

by Cat Urbigkit, Pinedale Online! December 15, 2015

Yellowstone National Park officials report that in December 2014, the park harbored at least 104 wolves in 11 packs, including nine breeding pairs. According to the park’s annual wolf report, “From 2009 to 2014, wolf numbers have fluctuated between 83 and 104 wolves, and 6 to 9 breeding pairs. Pack size in 2014 averaged 9 wolves (range = 2 to 14). Forty pups survived to year-end, including 17 in northern Yellowstone and 23 in the interior of the park. An average of 4.4 pups per pack (82%) survived in the nine packs that had pups.”

Researchers monitoring wolf-prey relationships indicate that wolves still prefer elk, but predation in bison and mule deer appear to be increasing within the park.Park officials also noted that there were 7 instances in 2014 when wolf behavior was considered habituated or when wolves closely approached humans, involving four different wolves. While hazing the wolves appeared to be somewhat effective, efforts to haze one wolf were unsuccessful, and the wolf was eventually shot by a licensed hunter near a residence outside the park.

source w/link to report:
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Dr. Charles Kay: “Isle Royale Conditions Are Not Applicable Any Place Else in North America”

December 18, 2015 at Tom Remington’s blog

*Editor’s Note* – The following article from “The Outdoorsman” Bulletin Number 60, June-November 2015, is republished here with permission. Please respect the copyright of this work. If you would like to ensure that The Outdoors remains in circulation, please donate to the cause. It is extremely worthwhile. Please click on The Outdoorsman “Subscribe” button to the right of this screen. Thank you.

Dr. Charles Kay: “Isle Royale Conditions Are Not Applicable Any Place Else in North America”

By George Dovel

In 2009, following an ongoing 2008 celebration of 50 consecutive years of wolf-moose research on Isle Royale, Research Leader Rolf Peterson warned that the island’s record low estimate of 500 moose could not provide enough sustained food for the 24 wolves they had counted. He predicted the wolf population could become extinct.

His prediction was based on basic facts from his research, which began as a graduate student in 1970 when there were 1,045 moose to feed only 18 wolves. That was nearly twice as many moose as the 30-moose-per-wolf that researchers had learned were required to feed them on a sustained basis.

But as inevitably happens when there is abundant prey and a healthy wolf population, the wolves rapidly expanded at a rate which far exceeded the reproductive rate of the moose. However that was not the only factor causing a rapid decline in the moose-to-wolf-ratio.

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Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
December 18, 2015
Issue No. 775

Table of Contents:

* Early 2016 Salmon Run Projections: Spring, Summer Chinook Higher Than 10-Year Average, Sockeye Much Lower

* Study: In Warmer Ocean Years Juvenile Salmon Consume More Food, But End Up Smaller, Skinnier

* Council Moves Proposal For Evaluating Salmon Habitat Above Grand Coulee To Science Review

* Study Examines Reasons Some Salmonids Enter Freshwater Before Sexual Maturation, Forsaking Ocean Food Supply

* Rainstorms, Flood Stage Rivers Make It Difficult To Maintain Target Flows For Spawning ESA-Listed Chum

* Montana’s 10-Year South Fork Flathead Cutthroat Conservation Project – Purging Non-Native Fish – Proves Successful

* Isolated Rearing Facility For Native Fish Key Component In Montana Effort To Reduce Hybridization Threats In Flathead Basin

* Kalama River Hatchery Loses 2.4 Million Salmon Fry In Flood; 15 Percent Of Wash. Fall Chinook Production Below Bonneville

* NOAA’s Three Month El Nino Outlook: Early Months Of 2016 May See Rapid Snowmelt, Warmer, Drier

* Infamous West Coast Warm Ocean Waters Known As ‘The Blob’ Weakening With Strong Winds From Alaska

* West Coast Sees Record Levels Algal Toxin: Detected In Salmon Muscle Tissue (Filets) Though Well Below Regulatory Levels

* Bureau Releases Hood River Basin Study; Finds Shift In Timing Of Water Availability

* Study: Data Contradicts Perception ESA’s Section 7 Onerous; No Project Since 2008 Stopped Under USFWS Consultations

Fun Critter Stuff:

In Siberian city, cat more popular than 6 mayoral candidates; some see comment on corruption

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 12/19/15

BARNAUL, Russia — Tired of the dog-eat-dog politics in their Russian city, the residents of Barnaul say they want a cat to be their next mayor.

The Siberian city of 650,000 people, which lies 2,900 kilometers (1,800 miles) east of Moscow, is to get a new mayor next week when a commission comprising the city council and the regional governor choose from among six candidates.

But none of the six appear to spark much affection among Barnaul’s residents. An informal online poll asking residents to express their preferences among the six and a Siamese cat named Barsik showed the feline nabbing more than 90 percent of the vote.

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Cowboys ride to the rescue of deer trapped in canal, help officials rope, recover the animal

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 12/18/15

PEORIA, Arizona — Two cowboys are being credited with coming to the rescue of a deer stuck in an Arizona canal.

The state Game and Fish Department received several calls Thursday reporting a deer was trapped in a canal near Lake Pleasant, northwest of Phoenix.

The animal apparently slipped into the cold water and couldn’t scale the canal’s steep, concrete walls to get out.

Game and Fish officer Reuben Gonzales says two cowboys with lassos happened by and stopped at the scene to help.




Fish & Game News:


The Man Who Created Santa As We Know Him Today

Although he could not read or write, Thomas Nast is a perfect example of the importance of knowing our heritage and just how many legacies one person can leave behind. Thomas Nast, through his wood engravings, helped to shape customs not only in America but also throughout the world.

Thomas Nast is best known for his Christmas drawings. His first drawing appeared in Harper’s Weekly for Christmas of 1862, marking the first appearance of Santa Claus as we know him today. Prior to this, Santa had passed through a series of stages beginning with a more religious-type figure.

The inspiration for how Nast’s Santa should look came from Clement Moore’s poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas. Still lacking reading skills, he had his wife read to him while he prepared his drawings and engravings. On one occasion, Mrs. Nast read Clement Moore’s poem to Thomas. That was all it took for inspiration.

The next 24 years saw Nast produce 76 Christmas engravings that were signed and published. Nast used Moore’s poem to put it all together in visual form – a sleigh, reindeer, jolly old elf, filling the stockings hung by the chimney, and so forth.

In addition, Nast used his own imagination to expand upon the theme. He was the first to establish that Santa’s home was in the North Pole. In this way, Santa didn’t belong to any one country – he became a citizen of the world. The concept of Santa having a workshop and elves to help him was also Nast’s idea. Prior to his engravings, all children received gifts from Santa. Nast conceived the idea that bad children didn’t get gifts from Santa. The custom of sending Santa a letter is also due to Thomas Nast. Although the custom of kissing under mistletoe was known in Europe prior to Nast’s engravings, it was through his engravings in America that the custom caught on there.

Thomas Nast brought Christmas to a large audience through his engravings. The result of the impact that these drawings had on Americans is astronomical. In Europe, Christmas was observed for centuries on December 6. By the late 1800’s when Nast’s Santa Claus gained popularity, Christmas Day was legally established as December 25 in all states and territories in the United States. In addition, an extended school vacation during this period became a custom. (A brief pause while all students write a thank you note to the Nast estate.)

From this seed, Christmas began the move to commercial and economic interests. Stores began including drawings of Santa (though not necessarily done by Nast) in their ads and tying it in with Christmas sales and promotions. Soon to follow was the custom of sending Christmas cards. Without Nast and the Christmas drawings that he brought to the masses, it is hard to tell what Christmas and the customs that go with it would be like today.
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More Holiday Triva from History Buff

[Hat tip to RE]
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Get Ready For The 2015 Winter Solstice!

by Farmers’ Almanac Staff Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

Monday, December 21st at 11:48 p.m. EST, marks the Winter Solstice for 2015.* This is the moment when the Sun reaches the Tropic of Capricorn, and we have our shortest day and longest night of the year in the Northern Hemisphere. Regardless of what the weather is doing outside your window, the Solstice marks the official start of the winter season.

The term “solstice” comes from the Latin words “sol” (sun) and “sistere” (to stand still) because, during the solstice, the angle between the Sun’s rays and the plane of the Earth’s equator (called declination) appears to stand still.

So what does that mean, exactly? Essentially, our hours of daylight — the period of time each day between sunrise and sunset — have been growing slightly shorter each day since the Summer Solstice of June 21, which is the longest day of the year (at least in terms of light). After December 21, the days will begin to grow longer and will continue to do so until we reach the Summer Solstice on June 20, 2016, at 6:34 p.m. EDT, and begin the whole cycle anew.

While we celebrate the Winter Solstice, those living in the Southern Hemisphere will be simultaneously marking the Summer Solstice. That’s because while our half of the globe is inclined away from the Sun, their half is inclined toward it. (See illustration above). Being tilted away from the Sun brings us shorter days and colder temperatures.




[hat tip SMc]
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Outdoors man?

During his physical, the doctor asked the patient about his daily activity level. He described a typical day this way:

“Well, yesterday afternoon, I walked along the edge of a lake, drank eight beers, escaped from wild dogs in the heavy brush, jumped away from an aggressive rattlesnake, marched up and down  several rocky hills, stood in a patch of poison ivy, crawled out of quicksand and took four leaks behind big trees.”

Inspired by the story, the doctor said, “You must be one hell of an outdoors man!”

”NAH,”  he replied, “I’m just a lousy golfer.”