Dec 25, 2016 The Yellow Pine Times

Dec 25, 2016 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Village News:

Christmas Day Potluck at The Corner 5pm.
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Mail Day

Mail will come in on Tuesday the 27th as Monday is a holiday.
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Judy Wiley Memorial Stone

Chris Niebrand, Marjie Fields, Sue Ledford, and Nora Jean have been talking about a memorial stone for Judy Wiley.  Chris Niebrand  has volunteered into looking for a stone.  If anyone would like to donate to this please send their donation to Marjie Field at 3706 N E Thompson St, Portland. Or. 97212.


Geraldine A. Atkins

Atkins, Geraldine A., 74, of Kuna (and Zena Creek), died Friday December 23, 2016 at her home. Services are pending Nampa Funeral Home, Yraguen Chapel. 208-442-8171

Published in Idaho Statesman on Dec. 24, 2016
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Lois Fry

A celebration of the life, music, and friendships of Lois Fry will be celebrated on Saturday Jan. 14, 2017, 6-9 p.m., at Northfork Lodge located at McCall RV Resort.

All are welcome! Bring potluck dish, musical instruments, stories and dancing shoes.

Donations at the door to cover expenses. Contact person: Janet Houlian (208) 630-4304.

Published in the Star-News December 22, 2016

Local Observations:

Monday (Dec 19) the low was close to zero last night, clouds came in and a skiff of snow by daylight, cold light breeze, 14″ total snow on the flat. Two ravens flew over the village, and a couple of elk were west of the golf course. (First critters we have seen in weeks.) A couple of snow flurries today, but no accumulation. Rather breezy, but warming up. Internet sluggish around 720pm. Temp warmed up and snowing around 5am.

Tuesday (Dec 20) warmed up during the night and snowing early morning. 2″ new snow by 930am, 16″ total snow on the flat, and still snowing. Snow fell until early afternoon, then warmed to above freezing. Rain and then sleet late afternoon. Clearing after dark and cold.

Wednesday (Dec 21) cold morning, low of -2, clear sky. Winter Solstice sunrise at 1046am (by the school.) The sun was down before 4pm (from our perspective) but still lighting up the top of Golden Gate, the last ray of sun left the top of VanMeter 456pm. Clear and temps dropping quickly.

Winter Solstice Sunrise over Antimony Ridge by Terry

Thursday (Dec 22) very cold morning, low of -7, mostly clear sky, 15″ (old) snow on the flat. Clouds increased during the day then clearing in late afternoon. Quiet day. Temp dropped then clouds came in before midnight.

Friday (Dec 23) not quite as cold, low was around 5 degrees. 14 above and cloudy this morning. Raven calling after lunch time. Snow storm came in right on time at 1115am, blustery and steady snow until around 330pm, little over 1/4″ accumulated. Report of an elk up on the hill above main street eating bushes around homes. A few flakes falling after sundown, calmer and warmer than it has been for a while at 30 degrees. More snow fell during the night.

Saturday (Dec 24) it was 24 degrees this morning, low clouds, ridges socked in nearly to the valley floor. 3″ new snow overnight, 17″ total snow on the ground and still snowing. Snow stopped by lunch time. Cloudy afternoon and evening.

Sunday (Dec 25) fine light snow started before 8am, just a trace, cloudy and cold. Warmed into the mid 20’s today, flaking snow until afternoon, but no accumulation. Locals with snow plows (and backhoe) clearing roads this afternoon. Sky starting to clear before dark.

Idaho News:

Ray and Carol Arnold supply residents of the Idaho back country with much more than mail

Carolyn White December 2, 2016 The Fence Post

Llamas don’t ride well in airplanes. Just ask Carol Arnold of Arnold’s Aviation in Cascade, Idaho.

Her partner, Ray, won’t fly them anymore.

“We put two in his Cessna one day, and they didn’t get along. It was a rodeo,” Carol said. “Their hooves are pretty sharp and they tore up the interior.”

The Arnolds started their aviation business by building a hangar on what was once an open field with a simple dirt strip. During the past 42 years, they have become an important lifeline to the people who live in the isolated Salmon River backcountry.

Ray, along with a second pilot, makes more than 20 stops every Wednesday and Thursday, carrying not only animals but guests, groceries, hay, fuel, tractor tires, seeds, canvas tents, non-electric tools, propane-powered appliances and of course, bags of mail.

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Valley County stops plowing  snow for part-time residents

Fear of budget cuts forces paring back of plow routes

By Tom Grote for The Star-News December 22, 2016

Valley County is no longer plowing snow on county roads where there are no year-round residents, Road and Bridge Superintendent Jeff McFadden said.

The new policy, started this winter, is intended to save money in case Congress does not reauthorize federal funds that make up nearly half of the road department’s budget, McFadden said.

Plowing has been stopped to any road where it has been determined someone lives less than 20 days per month, he said. …

2014 Survey

Valley County commission Chair Gordon Cruickshank said the cutbacks are in line with a survey taken by the county in 2014.

Respondents to the online survey came down strongly in opposition to new fees or taxes to maintain the county’s roads

Respondents resoundingly opposed creating a highway district separate from the county or increasing property taxes.

The survey on the county web site attracted 358 responses. About 88 percent came from full-time residents and the rest were part-time residents.

“The road department and the commissioners are doing what the people asked of us,” Cruickshank said.

full story The Star-News
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Valley County to acquire Clear Creek parking lot from Wilks brothers

State grant, donations will pay for 4.7-acre parcel

By Max Silverson for The Star-News December 22, 2016

Valley County has struck a deal to purchase a parcel of land for a multi-use recreational parking lot at the end of Clear Creek Road south of Cascade.

A deal with the billionaire Wilks Brothers of Cisco, Texas, will see the county buy the 4.7-acre parcel for $42,300, Valley County Recreation Director Larry Laxson said.

The land serves as a staging area for snowmobilers in the winter as well as mountain bikers and off-road motorists in the summer, Laxson said. The purchase is expected to be completed by Jan. 20.

The parking lot is located on private land, and until this year the owners allowed the county to use the parking lot without a formal agreement.

Earlier this year, however, the Wilks brothers acquired the parking lot as part of their purchase of 172,000 acres of timber land in central Idaho formerly owned by Potlatch Corp. of Idaho.

full story The Star-News
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McCall fire chief suggest giving smoke alarm as gifts

The Star-News December 22, 2016

McCall Fire & EMS Chief Mark Billmire has a last-minute Christmas gift idea – smoke alarms.

Smoke alarms are free at the McCall Fire Station at 201 Deinhard Lane, and firefighters will help install them and replace batteries, Billmire said.

“The simple gift of a smoke alarm is an outward expression of how much you care,” he said.

Properly installed and maintained smoke alarms play a vital role in reducing fire deaths and injuries, Billmire said.

Smoke alarms are recommend in every bedroom on each level of a house and in the main living space.

“Sleeping with the bedroom door closed slows the smoke from entering and provides a little extra time if you need to escape out a window,” Billmire said. For questions, call 634-7070.

source The Star-News
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Former Tamarack golf course to be sold at auction Dec. 29

Course has been closed for two years over legal disputes

By Tom Grote for The Star-News December 22, 2016

The former Osprey Meadows Golf Course at Tamarack Resort can be purchased for as little at $1.2 million when the land goes up for auction next week.

The auction is the latest move that homeowners at Tamarack hope will lead to consolidated ownership of the various parts of the resort southwest of Donnelly.

The 200 acres of overgrown land will be sold to the highest bidder at an auction set to begin at 10 a.m. next Thursday, Dec. 29, at the Valley County Courthouse in Cascade.

full story The Star-News
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Adams historical society gets $13,000 grant

The Star-News December 22, 2016

The Adams County Historical Society has received a $13,000 grant from Idaho Heritage Trust for the continuing restoration of the historic Pacific & Idaho Northern Railway Depot in New Meadows.

The funds will be used to complete restoration of the corbels, fascia, and soffits. Matching money will come from “The Fosdick” benefit event awarded this past fall and proceeds from the March Family Endowment.

The first phase was completed in the spring of 2016 an involved taking down of all items involved in preparation for restoration.

This restoration project is the final phase of the exterior restoration of the P&IN depot

source The Star-News
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Winter Newsletter, 2017 – UI Extension, Valley County

Wishing you a Wonderful Holiday Season and a Happy New Year!

We hope to see you this winter at some of the programs planned in 2017. Our office specializes in community development, agriculture, horticulture, and 4H youth development programs. Please view the boxes below to learn more about upcoming programs!

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ISP urging caution around emergency vehicles this winter

KTVB December 24, 2016

Idaho State Police urge all drivers to slow down and increase following distance in winter driving conditions, and be cautious around emergency vehicles.

ISP says that in the last two weeks, five ISP patrol cars have been hit while troopers were performing investigations on the interstate. The Canyon County Sheriff’s Office has had three patrol cars hit in the same period.

ISP alone has responded to more than 230 crashes so far during the month of December — that’s not counting crashes handled by local agencies.

Copyright 2016 KTVB
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State officials deliver $37 million to Idaho public schools

By Keith Ridler –  12/20/16 AP

Boise, Idaho — State officials have presented Idaho’s public schools with a ceremonial check for about $37 million.

The presentation on Tuesday on the second floor of the Capitol Rotunda followed a performance by the Capital High School choir and came before the Idaho Land Board’s regular monthly meeting.

“That check we gave to public schools this morning was huge,” said Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, one of five statewide elected officials on the board.

The check ranks among the largest of disbursements ever to Idaho’s public schools.

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Snowmobilers rescued after getting stuck overnight

12/23/16 AP

Idaho Falls, Idaho — A group of snowmobilers has been rescued after becoming stranded and running low on fuel in Fremont County’s backcountry.

KIFI-TV reports that Fremont County Search and Rescue was called into the area around 2 a.m. Thursday.

The six people in the group told the first two responders who reached them that they had a fire burning and were OK to spend the night.

A team started out at daybreak and reached the group before noon.

Everyone was tired but OK when they returned to base camp that afternoon.


Mining News:

Idaho suction dredge gold miner fined by federal authorities

12/20/16 AP

BOISE, Idaho — An Idaho suction dredge gold miner has agreed to pay a $3,600 fine for violating the Clean Water Act on the South Fork Clearwater River in north-central Idaho.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the agreement Tuesday with Robert Paul Rice Jr. of Idaho Falls.

The EPA says Rice broke the law with unauthorized discharge of pollutants into the river on July 22, 2015.

Federal officials say Rice ran a suction dredge on the river at a time when that activity was prohibited to protect critical habitat for steelhead and bull trout under the Endangered Species Act.


Public Lands:

Bogus Basin Forest Health Project Update

USDA Forest Service 12/19/2016

The Decision Memo for the Bogus Basin Forest Health Project on the Mountain Home Ranger District is available for viewing. The Decision Memo documents Forest Supervisor Seesholtz’s decision to implement the Bogus Basin Forest Health Project. The Decision Memo is available on the Project web page:

Supervisor Seesholtz has determined that this action falls within the categorical exclusion found in Section 603 of Healthy Forests Restoration Act (16 U.S.C.6591b). The Bogus Basin Forest Health Project was reviewed in accordance with the categorical exclusion guidelines at FSH 1909.15(30), as updated on May 28, 2014. Following review of the resource conditions identified at 36 CFR 220 .6(b), Supervisor Seesholtz determined that no extraordinary circumstances exist. In addition, the interdisciplinary team’s analysis did not identify any other unusual circumstances or uncertainties about environmental effects associated with the action that would preclude use of a categorical exclusion.

On January 17, 2014, the President signed into law the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2014 (Pub. L. No.  113-76). Section 431 of that Act directs that the 1992 and 2012 legislation establishing the 36 CFR 215 (post-decisional appeals) and 36 CFR 218 (pre-decisional objections) processes “shall not apply to any project or activity implementing a land and resource management plan … that is categorically excluded ….under the National Environmental Policy Act [NEPA].”  On February 7, 2014, the President signed into law the Agricultural Act of 2014 (Farm Bill) (Pub. L. No. 113-79).  Section 8006 of the 2014 Farm Bill repealed the Appeals Reform Act (ARA) (Pub. L. No. 102-381).  The ARA’s implementing regulation was 36 CFR 215.  The 2014 Farm Bill also directs that the pre-decisional objection process established in the Consolidated Appropriation Act of 2012 shall not be applicable to categorically excluded projects or activities.  As a result of these two statutes, the Forest Service no longer offers  notice, comment and  appeal opportunities pursuant to 36 CFR 215 for categorically excluded projects.

Implementation of this decision is scheduled to begin in the summer of 2017.

Please contact Stephaney Kerley, District Ranger, Mountain Home Ranger District, if you have questions regarding this project at 208-587-7961.

Aaron Stockton
South Zone NEPA Planner, Boise National Forest
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North Zone Districts of the Boise National Forest intend to submit grant proposals to Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation

Boise, Idaho, December 19, 2016 — 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.

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.

* RV funds would be concentrated on improving Rattlesnake Campground and funding campground furniture and tent pads replacement as well as improve the spur sites.

* ORMV funds for Avalanche and snowmobile safety public education, assess trail conditions, trail maintenance (clearing downed trees and debris) as necessary, assist the groomers especially when working in Avalanche areas and complete compliance checks.

* Posting Kiosk information, placing snow poles, route assurance markers so that recreationalist can clearly identify a trail and are able to return safely.

* Fund more frequent patrols, debris removal and clearing trails over the next several years due to 188,000 acre Pioneer Fire. Over the next several years more than average blow downs, falling snags, landslides and other issues are expected due to the decreased soil stability and fire damage.

* ORMV funds would provide additional funding to assist with the necessary equipment and crew time to support heavy trail maintenance and signing of approximately 250 miles of the 687 miles of motorized trails within the three northern districts (Lowman, Cascade and Emmett Ranger Districts) ) of the Boise National Forest.

* RTP funds would help maintain approximately 80 miles of the 230 miles of non-motorized trails located within the three northern districts (Lowman, Cascade and Emmett Ranger Districts) of the Boise National Forest.

All grant proposals will improve the visitor experience, and remove some public health and safety hazards caused by the Pioneer Fire. 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 Mathue Fasching, Lowman Ranger District, 7359 Highway 2, Lowman, ID 83637 or by calling (208) 259-3361 ext. 7553, and/or  Everardo Santillan, Emmett Ranger District 1805 Highway 16, #5, Emmett, ID 83617, (208) 365-7000 ext. 7611.

Linda Steinhaus
Public Affairs
Boise National Forest
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McCall Ranger District Seeking Grants for Recreation Improvements

December 20, 2016, Payette National Forest

McCall, ID – The McCall Ranger District on the Payette National Forest will be applying for state recreation grants for trail, recreation, and avalanche programs.

The district will be applying for two grants to support the Payette Avalanche Center.  The first proposal will be submitted in order to support continued daily avalanche advisory work, as well as provide assistance in repairing or replacing technical equipment for weather stations and avalanche beacons. The second proposal is a request to cover 50% of the cost of a new snowmobile for the program.

Plans also call for rerouting sections of the Jackson Creek Trail off of the Warren Wagon Road near McCall.  The proposal calls for rerouting the trail out of wet areas and enhance the trail.

The final proposals to be submitted will be to make facility improvements to the Lake Fork Campground.  The current restroom facilities are in need of full replacement.  Funds will also be requested to improve signage in the campground and enhance other amenities such as picnic tables and fire rings.

Comments or requests for information should go to Susan Jenkins at 208-634-0400 or

Brian D. Harris
Public Affairs Officer
Payette National Forest
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Payette River Annual River passes now available for 2017 season

12-23-2016 News Release

Boise, Idaho, Dec. 23, 2016 — Annual River Passes for the Payette River Recreation Area in the Banks and Garden Valley area are now on sale for the entire 2017 season for $20 per pass at the following locations:

Alpenglow Mountain Sports Boise/Bogus Basin Rd 208-331-2628
Cascade Outfitters Garden City 208-322-4411
Idaho River Sports Boise/Hyde Park 208-336-4844
Ray’s Corner Market Horseshoe Bend 208-793-2391
Valley View Chevron Horseshoe Bend 208-793-4321
Garden Valley Chevron Garden Valley 208-462-3869
USFS Garden Valley Work Center Garden Valley 208-462-3241
Emmett Ranger District Emmett 208-365-7000

The season pass waives the daily $3 fee charged at each Payette River Recreation site and can also be used in fee areas along the South Fork of the Snake River. Fees will start May 1 in the Payette River complex. River recreation fee sites include: Beehive Bend, Chief Parrish, Banks Beach, Banks River Access, Deer Creek, Confluence and Danskin. During the boating season, there are self-service daily fee stations for non-annual pass holders.

For visitors with an America the Beautiful Interagency Senior or Access Pass, Payette River Recreation Area use is free. The Idaho State Parks Passport is not valid at federal recreation sites.

Funds received are directly used for operation, improvement and site maintenance to enhance recreation opportunities and public use along the Payette River corridor. The fee program is within the Federal Lands Recreation Enhancement Act.

The program is managed jointly by the Bureau of Land Management and the Boise National Forest. The Forest Service manages the daily operations and maintenance, and administers commercial outfitter and guide permits, while the BLM performs most of the construction activities and administers special recreation event permits.

Comments are welcome and are evaluated annually. Further information is available by calling the Emmett Ranger District at 208-365-7000.

Linda Steinhaus
Public Affairs
Boise National Forest

Critter News:

The Standoff, in McCall, Idaho

Dec 19, 2016 KTVB

by Daniel

Photo Gallery:
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Winter Wildlife Sport Elegant Dress

Dec 16, 2016 – IME

Photo by Roland Lane

A weasel dressed for a white Christmas is almost perfectly camouflaged against a backdrop of fresh snow earlier this week along Warm Springs Creek west of Ketchum. Three species of weasels swap their summer brown coats for snowy whites: the least weasel, the long-tailed weasel and the short-tailed weasel, or ermine. Weasels feed on rodents, including mice, voles and young cottontails.

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Groups to sue over coyote poisons

Potential plaintiffs claim two substances endanger other wildlife

IM Express Dec 23, 2016

Four conservation and animal-welfare groups have filed a notice of intent to sue the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for failing to protect imperiled mammals and birds from two deadly pesticides used to kill coyotes and other predators. The suit seeks mitigation measures to prevent exposure of the poisons to nontarget predatory and scavenging animals, including grizzly bears, Canada lynx, wolves and California condors.

The EPA has registered the pesticides at issue—sodium cyanide and Compound 1080—for use by Wildlife Services, the predator-control arm of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, as well as by state predator-control agencies in Montana, Wyoming, South Dakota, New Mexico and Texas.

M-44 devices propel lethal doses of sodium cyanide into the mouths of animals lured by bait, while Compound 1080 is used in “livestock protection collars” strapped onto the necks of sheep and goats that often graze on public lands. The collars contain bladders filled with liquid poison intended to kill coyotes.

The lawsuit is being pursued by the Center for Biological Diversity, WildEarth Guardians, The Humane Society of the United States and the Fund for Animals.

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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

Third week of December 2016
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Conservation area to help wildlife migration in 3 states

By Keith Ridler –  12/22/16 AP

BOISE, Idaho — A federal agency has established a 7,000-square-mile watershed conservation area in three Western states that includes major migration corridors for birds and mammals, officials said Thursday.

The Bear River Watershed Conservation Area in Idaho, Utah and Wyoming is part of a plan to protect wildlife habitat by buying perpetual conservation easements from willing private landowners, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said.

The agency said it has identified some 1,400 square miles of potential easements that connects the northern and southern Rocky Mountains.

The conservation area includes national wildlife refuges in each state and the 500-mile Bear River. The river starts in the Uinta Mountains in Utah and flows north into Wyoming before making a U-turn in Idaho and flowing south back into Utah where it becomes the largest surface water source for the Great Salt Lake ecosystem.

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Hailey elk video garners over 1 million views on Facebook

Dec 23, 2016 IME

Footage taken of elk crossing state Highway 75 north of Hailey had been viewed 1.4 million times on Facebook as of press deadline Thursday.

The footage, shot by Hailey resident Toni Marcroft, shows several trophy bull elk crossing the highway and jumping a white fence on its west side while northbound drivers wait patiently.

The video was posted to Facebook on Monday by the Chamber of Hailey and the Wood River Valley’s social media manager, Julie Gates. She said Wednesday that she has watched the video gain thousands of views each day.

“I kept checking the video periodically and was just amazed at the amount of views,” she said. “It’s such a boon for the chamber and the community to bring so much attention to our little valley.”

To view the video, visit

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Mountain goat image tops Scotchman Peaks photo contest winners

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review 12-21-2016

(Leslie Keibert)

Friends of the Scotchman Peaks Wilderness 2016 photo contest winner Leslie Keibert kept her proper distance when she caught these two mountain goats with her telephoto lens on Scotchman Peak.

more info:
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Researchers target disease-carrying bighorn sheep

By ERIC BARKER –  12/24/16 AP

LEWISTON, Idaho — Faint beeps picked up by a transceiver alert Frances Cassirer to the nearby presence of bighorn sheep, but the animals are momentarily invisible.

Their tawny bodies and white rumps are a perfect match for the conditions in the Asotin Creek canyon. The mix of patchy snow, dry grass, sage brush and basalt outcroppings make the animals melt into the landscape.

“It’s the Bev Doolittle effect,” she said, referencing the artist known for landscape paintings sprinkled with animals that are, at first glance, hidden by their markings.

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Mountain ash a festive holiday treat for birds

By Rich Landers The Spokesman-Review 12-21-2016

Townsend’s solitaire eating from a pyracantha bush. (Alistair Fraser)

People planning landscaping changes this spring should take a tip from the birds and consider planting a a version of mountain ash.

The clustered fruits produced by regular or dwarf varieties are a hit with birds from fall through winter. The Townsend’s solitaire in the photo above reminds us orange berries are a hit with birds, even though in this case it’s from a pyracantha, a thorny bush that provides cover and protection for birds, too  Tina Wynecoop shared this photo from her friend Alistair Fraser of Nelson, British Columbia.

Other similar photos coming in from birders around the region show a variety of species including robins and waxwings feasting on the bright orange “berries.”

Warning: Bears also bulk up on mountain ash fruits in the fall after the huckleberry crops have faded away.

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Good rescue it was: Yoda the tortoise saved from school fire

12/21/16 AP

IDAHO FALLS, Idaho — Firefighters have rescued a Russian tortoise named Yoda at an eastern Idaho elementary school after a heating device caused his habitat to start smoldering.

The Idaho Falls Fire Department says it responded early Wednesday to a fire alarm at Fairview Elementary School in Idaho Falls and found the building filled with smoke.

Crews discovered a smoldering fire in a classroom in Yoda’s 30-gallon enclosure and saved the tortoise.

Bonneville School District Superintendent Charles Shackett says a heating pad meant to keep Yoda warm caused the problem. The hand-sized tortoise is fine and back home with his owner, a teacher.

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Columbia Basin Bulletin

Weekly Fish and Wildlife News
December 22, 2016
Issue No. 814

Table Of Contents

* Study Uses Epidemiological Model To Track How Salmon-Eating Sea Lions In Columbia River Transmit Behavior

* Corp Issues Draft Letter, EA Outlining Cost-Share With States To Battle Invasive Mussels; Comments Due Jan. 12

* Montana’s Extensive Testing Of Water Bodies In Two Weeks Found No New Detections Of Invasive Mussels

* Council Approves Master Plan For Snake River Steelhead Kelt Reconditioning Facility At Nez Perce Hatchery

* Study Identifies Steelhead Kelt ‘Consecutive’ Or ‘Skip’ Spawners; Aids Management, Could Raise Return Rates

* Year-End Assessment Matches 2016 Water Supply, Stream Flow, and Fish Conditions With Juvenile Migration

* NMFS Seeks Comments For EIS On Upper Willamette Basin Salmon/Steelhead Hatchery Programs, Genetic Management Plans

* Council FW Committee Identifies More Than $500,000 In Project Cost Savings To Free Up For Others

* DOE Awards OSU $40 Million To Build World’s ‘Premier’ Wave Energy Test Facility In Newport

* Council Ready To Roll-Out Interactive Mapping Tool For Columbia Basin Salmon/Steelhead

* Study: Best Written Scientific Papers, Narrative Style, About Climate Change More Influential

Fun Critter Stuff:

[h/t RE]
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Two bears frolic in the sea

USA TODAY Dec 9, 2016 Kamchatka, Russia

These two bears played for an hour – hugging and cuddling each other in the water.

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Toronto Zoo Giant Panda vs. Snowman

Toronto Zoo Keepers made giant panda Da Mao a snowman for enrichment!

Watch as he plays with, or rather disassembles, their creation.


Fish & Game News:

News Releases


The Winter Solstice

from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

In 2016, the winter solstice date is December 21. This is the astronomical start of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. Enjoy our solstice facts, folklore, and more!

Winter solstice is the day with the fewest hours of sunlight during the whole year. In the Northern Hemisphere, it always occurs around December 21 or 22. (In the Southern Hemisphere, it is around June 20 or 21.)

In 2016, the winter solstice occur[ed]: Wednesday, December 21, 2016 at 3:44 am MST

The word solstice comes from the Latin words for “sun” and “to stand still.” In the Northern Hemisphere, as summer advances to winter, the points on the horizon where the Sun rises and sets advance southward each day; the high point in the Sun’s daily path across the sky, which occurs at local noon, also moves southward each day.

At the winter solstice, the Sun’s path has reached its southernmost position. The next day, the path will advance northward. However, a few days before and after the winter solstice, the change is so slight that the Sun’s path seems to stay the same, or stand still. The Sun is directly overhead at “high-noon” on Winter Solstice at the latitude called the Tropic of Capricorn.

more info:
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The Star of Bethlehem

from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

What is the Star of Bethlehem?

Every holiday season, planetariums present their “Star of Wonder” show, which offers astronomical explanations for the most famous star of all—the Star of Bethlehem.

The show suggests that the star was either a comet, a conjunction of bright planets, or maybe a supernova.

Or perhaps it was Jupiter alone in the constellation Aries, according to a newer thesis that got New York Times headlines a few years ago.

… In the below painting, Adoration of the Magi, the Star of Bethlehem is shown as a comet. The painter, Giotto di Bondon, saw Halley’s Comet in 1301.

more info:
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Star of Bethlehem

from Wikipedia

The Star of Bethlehem, also called the Christmas Star,[1] revealed the birth of Jesus to the Biblical Magi, and later led them to Bethlehem, according to Christian tradition. The star appears only in the nativity story of the Gospel of Matthew, where astrologers from the east are inspired by the star to travel to Jerusalem.[2] There they meet King Herod of Judea, and ask where the king of the Jews had been born. Herod, following a verse from the Book of Micah interpreted as a prophecy, directs them to Bethlehem, to the south of Jerusalem. The star leads them to Jesus’ home in the town, where they worship him and give him gifts. The wise men are then given a divine warning not to return to Herod so they return home by a different route.[3]

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Christmas Traditions

from The Old Farmer’s Almanac

What do you know about the origin of Christmas and Christmas traditions? Find out how people started decorating Christmas trees, saying things like “Jiminy Christmas,” and giving gifts on Christmas.

The exact circumstances of the beginning of Christmas as we know it remain obscure. The oldest existing record of a feast to celebrate the birth of Christ is in the Roman almanac called the Chronographer of 354 or the Philocalian Calendar.

This Almanac noted that a festival commemorating Christ’s birth was observed by the church in Rome in the year 336. Chronographers of the third century were the ones who reckoned December 25, around the winter solstice, as the most likely day of Christ’s birth.

Many historians believe that the church stirred up interest in a festival at this time of year to counter the pagan festivals surrounding the solstice, but no historical document proves Rome’s involvement. The record shows that such a festival was adopted throughout the Christian world by the year 458. The word Christmas comes from “Christ’s Mass.”

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Why Is Christmas Celebrated on the 25th December?

From the Old Farmer’s Almanac

Merry Christmas! What is the real meaning of Christmas? Enjoy our everything-Christmas page with Christmas dates, customs, folklore, and beautiful quotes—perfect for a Christmas card!

Christmas Day is an annual Christian festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Specifically, the meaning of Christmas comes in the remembrance and celebration of God’s presence in our world through Jesus, God made flesh.

Today’s rich mosaic of Christmas customs dates back through the ages. Evergreen branches were used to symbolize life in ancient solstice festivals, as they stayed green in winter. This tradition was absorbed by Christians, who interpreted the evergreens as the Paradise tree and began decorating them with apples.

The candles and lights associated with Christmas, meant to symbolize guiding beacons for the Christ child, may have evolved from the Yule log, which was lit to entice the Sun to return as part of the jol (Yule) festival in pagan Scandinavia.

more info (and recipes):
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When Does Chanukah Start in 2016?

Saturday, December 24

from the Old Farmer’s Almanac

Chanukah is the 8-day festival of light. See when Chanukah falls—plus, history, customs, and a few traditional recipes.

Chanukah is the eight-day festival of light which starts each year on the 25th of Jewish month of Kislev. This date changes every year, because it is primarily based on the lunar cycle, not our civil calendar, and can range from early November until the 26th December.

This festival commemorates the rededication of the Temple in Jerusalem after a group of Jewish warriors defeated the occupying mighty Greek armies. This celebrates the triumph of light over darkness and of spirituality over materiality.

more info (and recipes):


Xmas Humor:


[h/t SMc]


[h/t JMc
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Cledus T. Judd – “Tree’s on Fire”


Pilots Christmas Poem

‘Twas the night before Christmas, and out on the ramp,
Not an airplane was stirring, not Acztec, not Champ.
The fuel trucks nestled, all snug in their spots,
While north wind was gusting to 49 knots.

The aircraft were fastened to tiedowns with care
In hopes that come morning, they’d all still be there.
And I at the fuel desk, duties caught up,
Had just settled down with coffee in cup

When over the radio, came such a clatter
I turned down the squelch to see what was the matter.
A voice clearly heard over static and snow
Asked for clearance to land at the airport below.

He made his transmissions both lively and quick
And I’m sure that the call sign he used was “Saint Nick.”
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
Sure that it was only Horizon’s late Dash.

I peered at the sky seeking Nav lights on sled
I saw only one at the front it was red!
He called his position, and I heard him say,
“St. Nicholas here, inbound on my sleigh!”

He flew the approach, on glideslope he came,
As as he passed fixes, he called them by name
“Now Ringo! Now Tolga! Now FAF Bacon!
On Comet! On Cupid!” (what pills was he takin’?)

The last of those fixes were bound to confuse,
So the Tower called me to deliver their views
The message they gave was both urgent and dour
“When Santa Claus lands, HE WILL PLEASE CALL THE TOWER!”

He landed like silk, with the sled runners sparking,
With “Exit at Charlie,” and “Taxi to parking.”
He stepped from the sleigh, but before he could talk,
I had run out to give him my very last chock.

He was dressed all in fur, which was covered with frost
And his beard was all blackened from chimney exhaust.
His breath smelled like peppermint, gone slightly stale
And he smoked on a pipe (but he didn’t inhale).

He had a broad face, his armpits were smelly,
His boots were as black as a cropduster’s belly.
He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old fool,
And, smiling, informed me he needed some “fuel”.

A wink of his eye and a turn on his toes,
He left for the washroom to powder his nose.
As he departed I wondered and saw
That my challenge was finding a fuel called . . . straw.

I thought for a while about passing this test
Then remembered a ‘plane had arrived from out West
Just full of supplies for a stable quite near
The freight warehouse must contain straw for the deer!

So I went to the warehouse and warnings unheeded
Found and brought back what the nine reindeer needed.
When I got to the sleigh Santa beamed with relief,
Then went for a phone for a flight-service brief.

And I thought, as he silently wrote in his log,
That with Rudolph, he could land in a one-eighth-mile fog.
He finished his preflight, from front to the rear,
Then on with his headset. I heard him yell “Clear!”

And laying gloved finger upon his push-talk,
He called up the tower for clearance and squawk.
“Straight out on three-zero,” the tower called forth,
“And watch for a Cessna inbound from the North.”

I heard him exclaim, as he climbed in the night,

“Happy Christmas to all! I have traffic in sight.”

[h/t BF]