Jan 31, 2016 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho
Monday (Jan 25) cold clear morning, an average of 17″ of snow on the ground. Mostly sunny all day, got above freezing for a little while, icicles dripping, then temperature dropped below freezing the rest of the afternoon. Mostly clear and cold night.
Tuesday (Jan 26) mostly clear and cold morning, no new precip. Mostly sunny, increasing clouds in afternoon. Quiet evening.
Wednesday (Jan 27) mostly cloudy morning. Decreasing cloudy by lunch time and warm afternoon. Slick spots on local roads, paths slick. Increasing clouds by evening.
Thursday (Jan 28) partly cloudy morning, increasing clouds during the day. Socked in and raining late afternoon. Rain/snow mix towards sundown, then wet snow falling by dusk. (Really slick while it was raining!)
Friday (Jan 29) mostly cloudy snowing, 3/4″ new snow, average 17″ snow on the ground. Yesterday’s rain froze under the wet snow, hard to shovel, but better for walking.
Saturday and Sunday, both mornings received 1/3” new snow, quiet weekend.
Yellow Pine and Lodge-pole table by Mushroom Man
Bernice passed away this morning, Jan 31, 2016
Bernice Irene Parks
September 17, 1927 – January 31, 2016
Bernice Irene Parks formerly of Yellow Pine and Emmett, Idaho went to her final resting place to join her savior the morning of January 31, 2016.
Bernice was born in Greeley, Nebraska. She was the 7th of 10 children born to Leo and Lillian Zahm. The family moved to New Plymouth Idaho in 1937 where the family farmed. Bernice graduated from New Plymouth High School in 1945. She married Howard Eugene Parks on July 25th, 1945. They farmed on the Emmett bench where they raised their family of 7 children. Bernice was a hard worker who taught that same ethic to all her children whether in the beet fields of Emmett, the dairy barn or in her large garden in the back yard.
In August of 1973 Gene, Bernice and Joe moved to Yellow Pine Idaho where they purchased the Yellow Pine Merc and Post office. They built the Snow Inn and welcomed many family, friends and strangers into their home for great meals and a warm bed. In March of 1983 Bernice lost Gene and Joe to a tragic accident but she continued to operate the Post office and store until her retirement in 1998.
Bernice was also known for her ability to knit and quilt. She won many awards with her quilts and all of her children and grandchildren are recipients of those treasures. A testament of Bernice’s love can be found in her grandchildren who absolutely adored Grandma Bernice. Many of her nieces and nephews called her my favorite “Aunt Bernice”. She will be sorely missed by her family and friends.
Bernice was preceded in death by all but 2 of her siblings, her husband Gene and son Joe. She is survived by her brother Mike Zahm and sister Betty Callahan, three sons Gene (Dianna) Parks of Emmett, Richard Parks of Boise, Bill (RJ) Parks of Eagle; three daughters, Sharon (Dick) Terry of Eagle, Vickie (Les) Hull of McMinnville, OR, and Kathy Parks of Boise; 14 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren, 4 great great grandchildren and numerous nieces and nephews.
Funeral services will be held at the Potter Funeral Chapel in Emmett, Idaho at 2:00 pm on Saturday, February 6, 2016.
The Family would like to thank Les Bois quality care and Heart ‘N Home hospice for their help and compassion during this difficult time. In lieu of flowers the family asks that donations be made to Opal Foundation (Heart ‘n Home Hospice Care) at 1107 N.W. 11TH St. Fruitland, Idaho 83619.
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Ned N. Pence
Ned Pence passed away Friday, January 15, peacefully at home. Ned was born on July 21, 1937. He grew up in Mackay, Idaho, with his loving parents and four brothers. In 1955 he left Mackay to attend the College of Forestry at the University of Idaho to study Forest Management. He received his B.S. degree in Forest Management in 1959 and married Arleen Westfall, the love of his life, on January 29, 1959 in Salmon, Idaho. After graduation he worked at many jobs as a professional forester in Washington, Idaho, Alaska, and Montana. He returned to the University of Idaho in 1966 and received a Master of Forestry degree in 1967.
Ned believed and practiced active forest management. The high point of his career was his position as District Ranger for the Island Park Ranger District on the Targhee National Forest from 1976 to 1980. The Island Park Ranger District was experiencing an infestation of the mountain pine bark beetle and becoming a dead forest. Ned supervised the harvest of about 150,000 acres of dead and dying lodgepole pine. The 1988 wildfire in Yellowstone National Park stopped at the District boundary where there was no ground fuel to burn. Over thirty years later the area is stocked with rapidly growing lodgepole pine. Today few people would understand what happened in the 1970s. There are thousands of acres of new forests growing in Washington State, the Boise National Forest, Payette National Forest, Targhee National Forest and the Tongass National Forest as a result of active forest management that involved Ned. Ned was a Fellow and Golden member of the Society of American Foresters.
In 1980 Ned transferred to the Petersburg Ranger District of the Tongass National Forest in Alaska. He resigned from the United States Forest Service in 1990 to become a forest consultant working with his wife, Arleen, and son, Don. In 2005 he recognized that the mountains were too steep and the brush too thick to continue and retired.
Ned leaves his wife, Arleen at their Moscow home, his son, Don (Deb) Pence in Hauser Lake, ID, his daughter, Tammy (Tim) O’Connor of Deary, three grandsons, four granddaughters, and his four brothers. One son, David, preceded him in death.
A vigil service will be held on Monday, February 1, 2016 at 10:30 AM at St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Moscow. The funeral service will begin at 11:00 AM. A luncheon for family and friends will follow at St. Mary’s Family Center.
In lieu of flowers, Ned asks that donations be made to the Steel House Inc. Building Fund, 501 ( c )3 Charitable Organization, % Zions Bank, 105 S. Main ST., Moscow, ID 83843.
Arrangements have been entrusted to Short’s Funeral Chapel, Moscow, and online condolences may be sent to http://www.shortsfuneralchapel.net
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photo by Dave Putman
Letter to Share:
Commissioner Cruickshank’s January 2106 Newsletter
Jan 31, 2016
From the desk of Commissioner Cruickshank,
Well Happy New Year everyone. What a great way to start the new year with plenty of snow for all to play in. This surely will provide the much needed moisture for the coming year.
Saturday Jan. 2nd
Today I fielded a few calls from concerns on trash pickup and snow removal. Worked on a few grant support letter re-writes for agencies and groups applying for Idaho Parks and Recreation Grants. Had a call on folks wanting to help with the Capitol Christmas Tree which comes off the Payette National Forest this year.
Sunday Jan. 3rd
I read emails on the Oregon Wildlife Refuge situation. Replied to a citizen about the recent power outages and the closure of Elo Road due to tree hazard.
Monday Jan. 4th
Commissioner day today where we discussed my being invited to attend the Western Governors Association (WGA) workshop on Endangered Species issues and will miss the January 19th commissioner meeting. Approved grant support letters for the Payette National Forest, a market value increase from a Board of Tax Appeal decision, a letter to request utilizing Fire Wise treatment in existing subdivisions was sent to the Idaho Department of Lands, letter of support for the Eastside Bridge replacement project for Eastside Drive and discussed the disbursement of funds from a trust account to Lake Irrigation District.
Worked this afternoon on the draft agenda for the upcoming National Association of Counties (NACo) Western Interstate Region (WIR) Board meeting to be held in Washington DC during the Legislative Conference in late February.
I registered for the WGA workshop that will be in Boise on February 19th.
Tuesday Jan. 5th
The commissioners attended a Valley County Waterways Committee meeting to review and discuss the proposed Lake Ordinance that will work for all water bodies in Valley County. Also discussed was beach erosion on Lake Cascade primarily in the Boulder Creek Arm of the lake due to wake boarding.
Wednesday Jan. 6th
Today I attended a meeting, in Boise, hosted by the Idaho Farm Bureau and the Idaho Recreation Council to discuss Restoring Water Rights to Ranchers and Reasons for State Management of Federal Lands. Presentations were;
Idaho Supreme Court Justice Dan Eismann – the Joyce and LU Livestock water rights Idaho Supreme Court Decision
Randy Parker, CEO Utah Farm Bureau – Federal Extortion of water rights from permittees
Ramona Hage – the recent Wayne Hage Jr. Nevada case finding that water rights equal grazing rights and permanent preference rights
Discussion of Benefits – for State Management of Federal Lands
Thursday Jan. 7th
Today I worked on catching up with emails and phone calls.
Friday Jan. 8th
I met with our Fire Wise Consultant, Idaho Department of Lands officials and a Forest Service official on the request to amend our agreement to allow work to be done to reduce wildfire in existing subdivisions.
This afternoon many county elected officials and staff attended the Funeral of our Sheriff’s husband who passed recently. Needless to say the church was overflowing with folks showing their condolences.
Saturday Jan. 9th
I was invited to attend the Idaho Recreation Council’s meeting held in Boise. Legislative issues were discussed as it pertains to recreation that could impact some of the activities in Valley County. Also discussed were National Monument possibilities, State Lands being leased for recreation, Transfer of Public Lands, recreational crossing signs and match funding for a project in Valley County. I am pleased to say before the meeting concluded Valley County had $3,500.00 promised for matching funding.
Monday Jan. 11th
Regular Commissioners meeting today. Thank you to my fellow commissioners for re-electing me to be chairman. Approved Resolution 16-08 to disburse fund to Lake Irrigation District, claims and Jr. College Tuition. Heard reports from Elected officials and Department heads. Held a Closed Indigent session, had a presentation by the Public Defender on the 2015 Year End Report and had a presentation from local folks with the Americas Best Community contest explaining the process and where Valley County/Meadows Valley are with their application. The Mayor of McCall presented on happenings in McCall including the recent loss of the prior City Manager. We approved an Agreement to do additional work on the Jumbo Creek Arch culvert on Lick Creek road and approved bids to Cascade Auto for new Sheriff Patrol vehicles.
Tuesday Jan. 12th
I met with one of the participants in the Woody Debris collection to hear comments on the past work and to offer ways to improve this in the future.
Worked on emails, returned calls and more letters of support for grant applications.
Wednesday Jan. 13th
The commissioners along with many others gathered at Midas Gold offices to learn if Valley County/Meadows Valley become one of the top 15 finalists in the Americas Best Communities (ABC) contest. Happily we made it through and will now compete for the top 8. When we move to the top 8 we are in the final round. KUDO’s to all that are helping make this happen. Now the ABC group here in Valley County/Meadows Valley will need to decide who will represent us in Duram, North Carolina in April to present our plan. …
I participated in a National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition conference call to discuss an upcoming meeting in Washington DC directly after the NACo conference. This event will be to continue the advocacy for Secure Rural School (SRS) payments and the continue the request for responsible forest management which is how the funding source was originally intended instead of payments from the SRS program.
Later today I met with a representative, in Boise, from the University of Nevada Reno who is working on garnering information about Economic Development for the 10 Southwest Idaho Counties. As prior President of the Idaho Council of Government who represented this same region we discussed the ups and downs of the region since I was involved. This information will be used to determine how the Economic Development Area for this region continues into the future.
Thursday Jan. 14th
Today was a meeting of the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) Legislative Committee to review and discuss what legislation seems to be moving and what is being proposed now that the Idaho Legislature is in session.
Monday Jan. 18th
I drove to Boise for the WGA workshop meeting tomorrow.
Tuesday Jan. 19th
The WGA Species Conservation and ESA Initiative meeting was held at the Riverside Hotel. Roundtable discussions were held on:
Role of State and Local Governments in Species Conservation and ESA Implementation
Best Available Science
Critical Habitat Designations
A working lunch where we broke into groups to discuss the issues
Governor Otter spoke on the work accomplished by State and Local Government on ESA issues
Recognition of Voluntary Conservation Efforts
Landscape Level Conservation and Incentivizing Private Land Owners
Facilitators reported on the work group lunch session
And we ended with any final thoughts.
Panels of various agencies, organizations and local government were utilized for each of the above to discuss their accomplishments or lack of accomplishments in their experience to tell their side of the issues.
Wednesday Jan. 20th
Before heading home I stopped by the IAC offices and chatted with the staff on various issues.
This afternoon I attended the retirement party for our retiring Jail Commander held at the Emergency Operations Center in Cascade.
Thursday Jan. 21st
After phone calls and emails this morning I then attended the afternoon portion of the Payette Forest Coalition (PFC). Discussed while I was in attendance was the formation of a potential Land Allocation Committee under the umbrella of the PFC which would encompass the entire Payette National Forest (PNF) including the Frank Church River of no Return Wilderness. This project will be a trial run for 1 year and then reevaluate the need. Then a presentation was done, by PNF staff, on the Middle Fork Weiser River project. I also learned that PNF Supervisor Lannom will be leaving on a detail to the Washington DC office for 5 weeks this spring.
Friday Jan. 22nd
I received a call today from an ABC representative that I was one of the folks chosen to go to Duram, North Carolina in April to represent the Valley County/Meadows Valley group in the ABC Contest. Being asked to be nominated was okay with me however many others could of well represented us also. I am very honored to be asked to do this for our region.
Monday Jan. 25th
Commissioner meeting today. Approved were claims and Jr. College Tuition, presented awards to an individual for 10 years of service and one individual for 25 years of service. We heard reports from Elected Officials and Department Heads. Enough employees did their work with our Risk Management Program to qualify for a 5 percent discount on our Liability Insurance. Thank you all who participated. We approved a GIS software contract. We held our closed session for Indigent, approved the minutes of January 19th, reviewed election precinct and commissioner districts on a map created by the GIS staff, representatives from Cascade State Parks, Bureau of Reclamation and Idaho Transportation Department came to discuss recent inquiries to have snow removal performed on Stonebreaker Lane for Ice Fishermen. As this is an added cost to everyone no one is willing to provide the service as it takes away from other areas which need the service. A potential solution is a larger parking area near Highway 55. More research is needed on this issue. We then reviewed policy requirements for employees who have medical insurance through the county. Ending the day was an Executive Session informing the commissioners of the issue. This resulted in no decision needed at this time.
After commissioners I met with a consultant representing a potential investor for Midas Gold. He was interested in the county perspective as to the working of Midas Gold and how the community was involved or not.
Early evening I had a phone conversation with an individual to discuss the PFC and their discussions on this new committee to understand why this was moving away from Adams County and more into all of the Payette National Forest.
Tuesday Jan. 26th
I was invited to attend a meeting with the ALZAR School to look at the potential of doing Fire Wise fuel treatments on their property. Especially exciting with this meeting was the opportunity for the ALZAR School to add this into their Science Curriculum on an ongoing basis. With the ALZAR landscape it would provide a great opportunity to teach students how the forest ecosystem works and how to manage it for sustainability.
Wednesday Jan. 27th
Wow I needed to catch up with emails and such. I also reviewed some proposed legislation on forest management to provide comments. I then sent my comments to the parties who asked for the review.
Thursday Jan. 28th
My day started with a conference call with the NACo Western Region. Not to be confused with the Western Interstate Region. The Western Region is a part of the NACo governance structure and the representative is on the NACo Executive Committee. Okay during this call we heard a very detailed report from Judge Grasty in Harney County, Oregon. In Oregon the commissioners are often called Judges when they preside over the commissioners. Judge Grasty provided us a what if this happened in your county. One item that was concerning was the militia had 30-40 people surround their courthouse when they were having meetings to discuss the occupation of the Wildlife Refuge. The militia were armed with assault rifles or hunting rifles along with hand guns. In Harney County they only have 13 officers so many of the Oregon Counties provided additional support with Sheriffs and Deputies responding when needed. Oregon State Police were also providing any resources to assist. This is just one of the topics the Judge brought up on what to be aware of.
The Big CK/Yellow Pine Group was also meeting today so I then attended their meeting. Today we had a presentation, by Anthony Bottello the Krassel District Ranger, of the Big Creek Roads Access Management Plan (BCRAMP for short). This presentation was a preview of what the PNF will be asking for public comment on in the near future. The next part of the meeting was a presentation by the three focus groups who have reviewed the areas in the main South Fork Drainage on the PNF for possible opportunities for recreation and restoration. These groups are Recreation, Resource (fish, wildlife, etc) and Rounded (mining, private land access, etc). Each group after reporting will work on additional questions and or concerns brought up during this meeting.
Friday Jan 29th
Today I met with the other two representatives who were selected to be the team to present Valley County/Meadows Valley’s plan to the folks in North Carolina. Our fist meeting was spent learning a little about each other and where our passions are for this project. We will have our “A” Game on for this presentation as we all are working to be the number one in the end.
Well folks that wraps up another eventful month of meetings and working to keep Valley County in the forefront of everyone I meet and to insure Valley County’s needs and struggles are known out side of this region.
To see more of Valley County’s commissioner minutes or to learn more about Valley County check our website at http://www.co.valley.id.us/
To learn more about the ABC contest and see our proposal along with the other 14 go to
Here is an article about the ABC in Fortune Magazine
One of These 15 Small Towns Will Win $3 Million
Thank you to everyone for reading my newsletter and asking questions or providing comments.
Happy Ground Hog day a few days early.
McCall Fire issues warning about falling ice
BY DAN GALLAGHER for The Star-News Jan 28, 2016
McCall Fire & EMS is asking homeowners to clear snow and ice from around their propane tanks following a recent explosion at Rock Flat and three calls about gas leaks in the past week.
Firefighters responded to a Jan. 4 call about a blast and fire at the shed at Rock Flat west of McCall. The blaze destroyed the shed owned by Ted Ketlinsky of Boise, including a boat, snowmobiles and jet skis stored inside.
The cause was a severed propane connection caused when ice falling off the roof cut it. Gas leaked inside and was ignited by a heater, Fire Chief Mark Billmire said.
Crews rolled several times last week on propane leaks. They checked the interior of AmeriTitle at 507 Pine St., last Thursday, shut down the tank and ventilated the business. Firefighters continued to smell liquid propane and entered the building next door at 1206 Roosevelt St., Billmire said.
“Snow and ice had broken the connection at the tank and there was an audible hissing sound from the escaping gas,” he said. “The structure was ventilated and utilities shut down.”
The department returned to the Roosevelt address on Friday because of a propane odor. AmeriGas found no leaks, but determined the gas leaked under the snow earlier and was seeping out as the temperatures warmed.
Later that day, they responded to a propane leak at 712 Samson Trail. AmeriGas checked the system, the home was ventilated and the residents advised to stay elsewhere for the night as the problem was fixed.
Home owners should clear away ice and snow from around their tanks, Billmire said. They also should check their roofs to ensure falling ice does not damage the regulator and supply lines below.
“We have been fortunate to only have had the one explosion and fire with the multiple problems and leaks we are seeing,” he said.
source: The Star-News
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Avalanche awareness class to be held Feb. 12-13
The Star-News Jan 28, 2016
Snowmobile enthusiasts who want to know about avalanches safely should attend an Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation clinic on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 12-13.
The Feb. 12 meeting will be held at 6 p.m. at the Valley County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Operations Center at 107 W. Spring St. in Cascade.
The Friday clinic will be followed by a field class on Saturday, Feb. 13., starting at 9 a.m., at the West Mountain snowmobile parking lot at the Anderson Creek trailhead across Lake Cascade from Cascade.
To register, call (208) 514-2414 or register online at http://parksandrecreation.idaho.gov.
source: The Star-News
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Winter Festival goers decorate ornaments for capitol Christmas tree
KTVB January 30, 2016
MCCALL – Winter Festival goers were able to take part in a special craft project on Saturday. Young and old made ornaments to go on this year’s Christmas tree for the capitol building in Washington D.C.
Senator Mike Crapo said that for the last 50 years, a tree has come from a state across the country and this year, Idaho was selected to provide the tree. This year’s tree has been selected to come from the Payette National Forest.
Senator Crapo decorated an ornament himself. He said this is a fun and good opportunity for Idaho.
“People all over Idaho will help to decorate that tree. We will share our heritage and our culture and our values with the rest of the country.”
Idaho will provide the nation’s capitol with a 60 to 85 foot tree.
continued w/video report:
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Fight over public lands takes to Boise
Morgan Boydston, KTVB January 30, 2016
Downtown Boise was a battle ground for two opposing views Saturday afternoon. While a property rights workshop was going on at the Boise Centre, a group was rallying in support of keeping public lands in public hands.
Land ownership is a hot-button issue in the West, and it has been brought to light recently through the take-over of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon. However, it’s not a new concern for ranchers, or for those who want public lands to stay in the hands of the public. Those rallying against privatizing public lands- against the corporate and individual land-grab- marched from the Capitol to the Grove where Utah’s Freedom Conference was hosting a workshop.
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Letter to Share:
Sausage and More Sausage
The Viola community Center has some of the best home made sausage made from real meat. For a donation to the Community center you can get the following.
Hot August Night. This is a stick you will like kind of like pepperoni. $10.00 donation to C/C gets you 1 pkg.
Pepper Stick. This is a little hotter than the Hot August Night. $10.00 donation to the C/C gets you one pkg.
Sweet Italian bulk. $5.00 donation to the C/C will get you a pkg. This is supper for breakfast or meat balls.
Hot Italian links. $5.00 donation to the C/C will get you a pkg. This is my favorite.
Regular Breakfast sausage bulk. $5.00 donation to the C/C gets you a pkg. Very low fat.
Our famous German Sausage in link. $5.00 donation to the C/C will get you a pkg. Now here is a deal you cant pass up. $20.00 donation to the C/C will get you 5 pkgs. This is the best German Sausage in the country.
We have some limited amount of our famous Summer Sausage. The casings are 25 to 30 inches long and about 3 inches thick. For a donation of $30.00 you can have a full casing. We do cut them in thirds and for a donation of $10.00 you can have a 1/3 stick.
All the Sausage is very lean, when you pan fry you will need to put a little oil in the pan. You can give me a call at 208-883-3423 for directions for pickup or we will deliver in the Moscow area.
Sausage is going fast. If you want some great eating you need to reserve now. Give me a call or email and I will hold for you. First come gets first. We have it frozen and ship to Az. Tex, the coast. All the pepperoni and summer sausage is cooked and smoked. The rest is smoked except the bulk.
North Zone Districts of the Boise National Forest Intend to Submit Grant Proposals to Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation
Jan 25, 2016
Cascade, ID – The Lowman, Cascade and Emmett Ranger Districts of the Boise National Forest are applying for grant funding from the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation to help trail and developed campsite improvements and maintenance.
The different applications will request funding through the Departments Off-Road Motor Vehicle (ORMV), Recreation Trails Program (RTP), Recreational Vehicle (RV) programs, Mountain Bike Plate Funds, and (MBR) Motorbike Recreation Account.
* ORMV funds would improve maintenance of 300 miles across a large cross section of the 687 miles of motorized trails within the three northern districts.
* RV and Road/Bridge Program would be to extend the existing pavement on National Forest System Road (NFSR) 489 approximately ½ mile, past popular and/or high use recreational areas, including the North Shore Lodge/Resort and Picnic Point CG.
* ORMV funds would support providing the necessary equipment and crew time to assist in the heavy trail maintenance and signing of approximately 250 miles of motorized trail.
* Mountain Bike Plate Fund/ORMV would assist with the completion the last section of the Wewukiyi mountain bike trail and rework previously constructed portions of trail.
* RTP funds would help maintain approximately 80 miles of the 230 miles of non-motorized trails located on the North Zone of the Boise National Forest.
* RV funds would be concentrated on improving Tie Creek Campground. The grant will fund the replacement of campground furniture and tent pads as well as improve the ramp.
* ORMV funds would support 2 OHV Trail Rangers and enhance OHV trailheads with regulatory and informational signage, conduct trail clearing, install three new OHV map kiosks, and barricade illegal user created trails.
* MBR funds would support providing the necessary motorcycle equipment and crew time to assist in the heavy trail maintenance and signing of approximately 250 miles of motorized trail.
All grant proposals will improve the visitor experience, and mitigate public health and safety hazards. If received, implementation of the trails and ORMV grants would begin in late summer and the RV grant would be implemented in the fall.
Comments or requests for more information should be submitted to Ronda Bishop, Cascade Ranger District, and P.O. Box 696, Cascade, ID or by calling 208-382-7460.
Boise National Forest
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Wildfire plan seen as biggest land policy change in decades
By KEITH RIDLER – AP Published: 1/26/16
BOISE, Idaho — A year after Interior Secretary Sally Jewell shifted the national approach to fighting wildfires across a wide swath of sagebrush country in the West, her strategy is turning out to be one of the most significant federal land policy changes in some 80 years, public land experts, outdoor enthusiasts and scientists say.
The five-page order she issued last January directed federal resources for the first time to fight massive blazes in open sagebrush steppe habitat that supports cattle ranching, recreation and some 350 species of wildlife, including the imperiled sage grouse.
“It is one of the most imperiled ecosystems in the United States,” said Janice Schneider, the Interior Department’s assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management.
Firefighting officials say Jewell’s order led more of the nation’s firefighting resources to respond to blazes in Great Basin sagebrush steppe last year, when the U.S. experienced one of its worst wildfire seasons, with nearly 16,000 square miles burned. Experts say her strategy helped extinguish several smaller fires, though one giant blaze scorched sagebrush steppe in portions of Idaho and Oregon.
Nevada governor seeks change in sage grouse mining rule
By SCOTT SONNER – AP Published: 1/28/16
RENO, Nevada — The governor of gold-rich Nevada is pressing the Obama administration to alter its sage grouse protection plan to free up thousands of mining claims by shrinking the restricted area in exchange for making other unprotected areas off limits, restoring burned out rangeland and reining in wild horse herds.
Gov. Brian Sandoval maintains his alternative would exclude only about 6 percent of the federal land the government has temporarily withdrawn from future mineral development in Nevada. Previously unverified mining claims in the state are effectively frozen across 4,200 square miles — a swath nearly as large as Connecticut.
The moderate Republican wants to swap about one-fifth of the withdrawn area, some 555,000 acres, for 394,000 alternative acres he says contain higher quality habitat more critical to the survival of the imperiled bird, according to interviews with his aides and documents obtained by The Associated Press.
Idaho wolves far exceed minimum levels for 16 years
Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 25, 2016
Despite allowing hunting and trapping for wolves, Idaho has far exceed federal gray wolf recovery levels of 100 wolves and 10 breeding pairs for 16 consecutive years, the Idaho Fish and Game Department’s top official says.
“The bottom line is that Idaho has a healthy, sustainable wolf population that is over seven times higher than the federal recovery goal,” said director Virgil Moore in a media release.
Following is Moore’ assessment of the state’s management since wolves were reintroduced in the state by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in 1995 and 1996.
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Wolf pack closely watched after surrounding rural couple’s dog
Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 29, 2016
A northeastern Washington wolf pack is under scrutiny after rural residents fired shots to scare at least five wolves away from a confrontation with their two dogs.
“We’re taking this incident very seriously,” said Donny Martorello, who heads the Washington Fish and Wildlife Department’s wolf recovery program.
On Monday, Jan. 25, the pack of wolves confronted dogs near the home of a family northeast of Chewelah off Burnt Valley Road.
At dusk, the Stevens County residents were alarmed to see wolves in a field approaching their female Great Pyrenees, Martorello said.
The man got his rifle as the wolves surrounded the dog. The wolves were posturing and jumping and his German shepherd-mix was approaching the group.
Martorello said the man fired “two or three shots” over the heads of the wolves and dogs as his wife reported the incident to the Stevens County Sheriff.
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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report
Last week of January 2016
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Wolf management reaching new levels of success in region
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Published: 1/24/16
MISSOULA, Montana — Aggressively dealing with wolves that kill livestock works better than a gradual approach, according to research in Montana.
“Killing livestock is a learned behavior,” Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks biologist Liz Bradley said. “You might have a pack in an area for several years and not have a problem, and then, boom, you have a livestock kill, and then it happens again and again and again. There are many variables, but if you decide removing wolves is the best option, you’re better to take more earlier than picking away at them.”
Ten years of data and study on wolves has helped wolf managers improve their tools for protecting cattle and sheep. Livestock deaths have shown a steady decline in the past several years.
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Idaho to be clear on using drones for hunting: No
Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review Jan 26, 2016
Idaho will move to explicitly ban the use of drones to locate, track or flush out game under a change recommended by state Fish & Game officials, according to news reports from the Statehouse in Boise.
The popular devices meet definitions for aircraft and motorized vehicles, the use of which by hunters is already restricted. Animals spotted and located from the air may not be hunted for 24 hours.
The state Fish & Game Commission “has heard from many sportsmen that they are concerned that unmanned aerial vehicles are not held to the same hunting restrictions already in statute for aircraft and motorized vehicles,” Deputy Director Sharon Kiefer told the Senate Resources & Environment Committee Monday.
Kiefer said Fish & Game has received reports of drone use from hunters, but has not independently witnessed such activity.
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Relatively unknown disease killing deer in Wyoming Range
Christine Peterson Casper Star Tribune Jan 23, 2016
The fawns just curled up and died, said Kevin Monteith, a University of Wyoming assistant professor.
Nothing appeared wrong with them. They looked healthy — fat, even — and had no marks from predators. But last summer and fall, high in the Wyoming Range, fawns were dropping dead.
On a hunch, Monteith asked that the fawns be tested for adenovirus, a relatively new, little-known disease he had seen before in California.
The tests came back positive, leaving researchers wondering if it was an isolated incident, an ominous sign of future die-offs or simply a result of improved diagnostic testing.
“It is surprising for sure,” Monteith said. “I don’t think any of us expected to see this. Of the animals we lost, a third of them are associated with this disease. That is alarming.”
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The Columbia Basin Bulletin
Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
January 29, 2016
Issue No. 779
Table of Contents:
* States Set Columbia River Spring Recreational/Commercial Fishing Openings; Spring Chinook Forecast Just Above 10-Year Average
* Flows Below Bonneville Dam Remain High For Chum Operations Intended To Protect Redds, Emergence
* Oral Arguments In Federal Court Over Lower Snake River Dredging Set For Feb. 2
* Global Analysis Finds High Levels Of Toxic Pollutants In Ocean Fish, But Concentrations Dropping Last 30 Years
* Study Looks At How Interaction Of Leaf Litter, Salmon Carcasses Impacts Nutrients In Salmon Spawning Streams
* Research Shows Priest Lake Non-Native Lake Trout High Density, Low Productivity; Management Options Studied
* WDFW Seeks Comments On Siting Gene Bank For Wild Steelhead On Lower Columbia River
* It Isn’t Just El Nino: Researchers Study Another Huge System In Western Pacific That Impacts World Weather
Fun Critter Stuff:
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The Cat May Have Been Domesticated Two Separate Times
One time it stuck, One time it didn’t really
By Grennan Milliken – PopSci January 27, 2016
There are more than 500 million domestic cats (Felis catus) worldwide. Their grip on the globe is tangible, too. For anyone who has spent any amount of time wasting away on the internet, they’ll know it’s awash in cat videos and memes. Millennia ago, just as we do now, Egyptians depicted cats on walls and worshipped them as gods. Yet, it wasn’t always so.
Scientists know for certain that all domestic cats are descended from the North African and Near Eastern subspecies of wildcat Felis silvestris lybica, and recent evidence has shown that this domestication occurred probably 10,800 years ago near the Middle East. But new findings suggest that cats were likely domesticated twice–the second time some 5,000 years ago in China, when an altogether different species of wildcat was brought into a then catless human community. This puts cats in the company of pigs and dogs on the short list of animals whose domestication occurred more than once. The findings are published in the science journal PLOS One.
Cats, perhaps not surprisingly, largely domesticated themselves. This likely happened in concert with the Neolithic revolution and the advent of agriculture. Large fields and stores of grains meant large numbers of mice and rats. And humans, of course, did not object to having helpful hunters around to protect their crops. So they started taking care of the felines to make sure they stayed around—and to increase their numbers for the war on rodents. Cats’ presence around humans is well documented in Ancient Egypt, but it is believed domestication was well on its way before then, with cat remains found associated with human burial sites in Cyprus from as early as 10,800 years ago.
Fish and Game News:
Fish and Game News Releases
* Idaho wolf management a success ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Radio collars are vital tool for game management ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Grangeville angler nets first Idaho catch-and-release record fish ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Phone scam reported in Magic Valley ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Spring turkey controlled hunt information available online by Feb 1 ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
* Commission to meet in Boise this week ( Boise, ID – 1/25/16 )
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Rep. Scott targets Fish & Game issues with three bills
By Betsy Z. Russell The Spokesman-Review Jan 27
Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, presented her first three proposed bills today, all dealing with Fish & Game issues. The House Resources Committee agreed to introduce all three, but members had lots of questions and concerns about the proposals.
One would repeal an existing law that allows conservation officers, upon their retirement, to be issued their badge, gun and handcuffs, if three of their fellow officers certify “that the retiring officer has served meritoriously for a minimum of 15 years and should therefore be so honored.”
… The second bill would restrict inspections and searches by Fish & Game officers of storage facilities, requiring a search warrant or consent for any inspection or search. “It just kind of appears that the way this is written, the state has a right to search, and they don’t have a right to search without consent or a search warrant,” Scott told the committee. “So this just clarifies that.”
… The third bill would impose minimum safety standards for Fish & Game check stations, including lighting, signage and sight distance, plus add this line to current law: “Fish and game check stations are only authorized to stop licensed hunters and fishermen.”
Photo of potato sells for over $1 million
Irish visual artist charges premium for portraits
By Kevin Lui for CNN MST Jan 27, 2016
What’s more lucrative than Johnny Depp or Yoko Ono?
A photogenic potato, at least for renowned celebrity photographer Kevin Abosch.
His “Potato #345” — a simple portrait of an organic Irish spud — reportedly sold for €1 million ($1.08 million) last year to a European businessman, who saw it while dining at Abosch’s Paris home.
The 46-year-old Irish visual artist — who typically charges up to $500,000 for portraits of famous figures — revealed earlier this month that the sale, brokered over a few glasses of wine, was the biggest of his career.
continued w/photo of photo:
During the cold weather, it’s a good practice to keep at least a half a tank of gasoline in your vehicle at all times. Not only does it prevent you from being stranded, but it prevents any water in the tank from freezing, which can damage the fuel pump.
– from The Farmers’ Almanac