Dec 31, 2017 The Yellow Pine Times

Dec 31, 2017 The Yellow Pine Times – Valley County, Idaho

Village News:

Wednesday’s Doings

“The county dump truck with plow broke down on Johnson Creek near Ice Hole about two days ago. The crew arranged to have [locals] with backhoe and experience to help get it to a location suitable to load it onto the low-boy trailer. Today they all gathered for the big occasion. The crew pulled the dump truck to town and part of the way up the “Imel hill”, backed up the trailer, then used the county grader to push the truck onto the trailer.” – LI
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Winter Water Advice

To help prevent frozen water, avoid parking over buried water lines, allow the natural snow cover to insulate the ground. Driving over the lines will also push the frost deeper and can result in frozen pipes. Also, don’t plow the snow over where water lines are buried, and avoid covering up water shut off valves.
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Be Predator Aware

Reports of coyote, bobcat and fox activity and tracks in and around the village. Keep an eye on small dogs and cats and please don’t leave pet food outdoors. Unsecured garbage is also an attractant.
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Yellow Pine Tavern

Christmas Day Potluck at the Tavern.

Watch all of your favorite sports on our Big Screen TV at the Yellow Pine Tavern. Featuring Football. Open 9am to 8pm (or later on game nights.) Juke box is up and going!
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The Corner

The Corner is closed for the season. Stop by if you need wood permits. We will reopen after we have the baby.
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YPFD News:

Winter Fire Safety Tips

Keep your chimney clean to prevent flue fires. Make sure your smoke detector is working. Never leave a portable electric heater unattended. Fire extinguishers should be charged, visible and easily accessible.

There are YPFD T-shirts, as well as YPFD patches and stickers for sale at the Tavern now.

Training will resume in the spring.
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VYPA News:

Next meeting June 2018
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Diamond (Kennedy) Fuel & Feed


Did you know that Diamond Fuel & Feed carries pet food? Arnolds will deliver to Yellow Pine. Give them a call to set up an account. They carry Diamond brand dog food. Current dog food prices: Maintenance is $29.99 for a 50# bag. Performance is $39.95 for a 50# bag. Senior is $37.99 for a 35# bag. Farm Cat is $13.99 for a 20# bag.
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Winter Propane Tips

Keep the snow cleared around propane lines and pipes leading from your tank to the house. The weight of snow can cause leaks that can result in fire. Make sure you have a CO detector with working batteries.
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Local Observations:

Monday (Dec 25) snowed all night, 3″ new, 9″ total on the ground. Warmer this morning than it was all day yesterday. Nuthatches and chickadees visiting. Still snowing steady at lunch time. Hear a jay calling early afternoon. Very light snow falling mid-afternoon (until around 4pm) and quiet, high 30 degrees. A few breaks in the clouds at sundown. Clearing some towards morning and cold.

Tuesday (Dec 26) overnight low of 5 degrees, increasing clouds at sunrise. Lots of bird activity this morning; nuthatches, jays, chickadees and a female hairy woodpecker. Mostly sunny early afternoon, a few icicles dripping but still below freezing, high 31 degrees. Heard a couple of ravens to the southwest. Mostly clear at sundown. Skiff of snow fell before midnight.

Wednesday (Dec 27) overnight low of 11 degrees, overcast this morning. We have 9″ of snow on the ground. Red-breasted nuthatches visiting. Above freezing after lunch time. Road grader came all the way into Yellow Pine. Looks like it was helping a dump truck up the hill on main street. Jays and chickadees have joined the nutcrackers at the feeders. Cloudy afternoon, was a little breezy just before dark, high 39 degrees. A few flakes of snow fell before midnight, but no trace.

Thursday (Dec 28) overnight low of 23 degrees, overcast this morning. Nuthatches and a female hairy woodpecker at the feeder today. Overcast early afternoon and a few flakes of snow drifting down for a short while, no trace. Blustery late afternoon, warmer and trees dumping snow loads, icicles dripping and the old snow is very soft, high 40 degrees. Still above freezing at midnight and calmer.

Friday (Dec 29) probably rained a little early this morning, seems to have been a steady 35 degrees all night. The wind yesterday melted an inch of snow, now measuring 8″ old snow. Nuthatches are busy this morning, joined by chickadees and a junco. Misty drizzles on and off mid-day, very light fog, very damp air, high 40 degrees. Not raining at sundown, some color to the clouds from the setting sun. More rain in the middle of the night and trace of snow before morning.

Saturday (Dec 30) overnight low of 30 degrees, partly clear this morning. About 7″ of old snow on the ground. Chickadees and nuthatches visiting, pine squirrel calling to the south. Snowmobile traffic on the main road. Light snow flurries on and off mid-day to early afternoon, then mostly clear by late afternoon, high 40 degrees. The sun is setting later, light outside longer. Clouds came and went, cold and quiet.

Sunday (Dec 31) overnight low of 6 degrees, clear sky this morning. Still have about 7″ of old snow on the ground. Nuthatches, chickadees and a junco visiting, pine squirrel getting its share of bird feed. Sunny today, still below freezing but south facing icicles are dripping. Quiet sunny afternoon, hardly any traffic, high 32 degrees.

Letter to Share:

Commissioner Cruickshank’s December Newsletter

From the Desk of Commissioner Cruickshank, Dec 31, 2017

Monday December 4th
Today was a commissioner meeting day. To review the minutes of the meeting please go to the Valley County website at Valley County Idaho Official Site then click on the commissioners section. Once there click on the meeting minutes and look for the date of the minutes you are looking for. Please be advised the minutes are only added to the website once approved during a following commissioner meeting so it may be a week or two later.

Tuesday December 5th
Today I worked on emails, sent a message to the Bureau of Reclamation requesting a phone conversation about Firewise on their lands around Lake Cascade and visited with a Marine Deputy about the Waterways Committee duties.

Wednesday December 6th
I replied to an email request on how the Western Interstate Region (WIR) conferences are selected from a person in Wyoming. I provided dates to meet with the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation Director who is requesting to meet. I reviewed the Lease for the Juvenile Detention facility to the City of McCall, discussed some issues concerning the West Central Mountain Economic Development (WCMEDC) with one of their Board Members to keep informed.
I participated in a National Forest Counties and Schools Coalition conference call to discuss ongoing efforts of the Secure Rural Schools program for future funding which congress has not reauthorized.

Thursday December 7th
I reviewed an email from the 4th District Magistrate Administration on a review of a prior appointment for a Judge placement. This was to determine if the Magistrate Commission needed to meet to discuss the duties and if they were being done correctly.

Monday December 11th
Commissioner day today. Please see the minutes on the Valley County website.
I visited with the Executive Director of the WCMEDC to discuss potential woody bio-mass projects that could assist with various firewise and forest management in our region.

Tuesday December 12th
I viewed several Payette National Forest Coalition video’s that help showcase their efforts of Forest Restoration.
I participated in a Idaho Association of Counties (IAC) Board of Directors Conference call. During this call the new Executive Director explained some of his vision for the future of IAC and discussed upcoming legislation for the 2018 Idaho Legislative Session.

Wednesday December 13th
I reviewed a draft of a purchasing policy for Valley County.
I met with the Payette Lakes Water and Sewer District employees to discuss septage disposal from pumper trucks, collection sewage from septic tanks and porta potties. The concern is the volume of septage collected and who can effectively handle in large quantities.
I had a phone conversation with the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) on Firewising the lands around Lake Cascade that the BOR manages and a discussion on Agricultural Easements.

Thursday December 14th
I hosted the National Association of Counties (NACo) Western Region Call today. We heard from NACo staff on recent meetings with other organizations to help support NACo efforts with forest management, wild horses and burros and autonomous vehicles. We also had an update on the recent efforts of tax reform and what that means to counties. The message here is NACo continues to work on counties behalf to lessen the burden on the taxpayer in multiple ways. We also heard from a commissioner in Ventura California who thanked all the surrounding states for their support while they fight the devastating wildfires in California. Many states send additional firefighters and support equipment to assist.
I then attended a portion of the Big Creek/Yellow Pine meeting which had already started. Discussions were held on the Davis Ranch Road after reviewing a Forest Service slide show of the route. Then I saw the beginning of a presentation on trails in the East Fork of the South Fork of the Salmon River on a variety of potential uses. I had to leave early to attend my next meeting.
My next event was the Leadership Group of the McCall Area Chamber of Commerce. Commissioner Willey, Myself and the Valley County Planning and Zoning Administrator spoke on county government and how different processes work. Multiple questions were asked and hopefully answered to the group. This years leadership group consisted of folks from Meadows Valley to Cascade from various businesses and organizations.

Sunday December 17th
I reviewed a letter concerning the access using Sugar Creek Road to the Cinnabar Mine property. This letter is to show that this is a needed route to access private property in a safe manner.

Monday December 18th
I missed the commissioner meeting today due to being ill. However Commissioner Willey came by so I could sign Christmas cards for the Valley County employees. I really appreciate my fellow commissioner doing this for me.

Tuesday December 19th
I provided a email to say Valley County Commissioners approved signing the Sugar Creek Road letter to support access for private property.
I visited with the Chairman of the Snowmobile Advisory Committee to discuss the upcoming snowmobile grooming season.
I replied to the McCall/Donnelly School Superintendent that the Secure Rural School funding has not been reauthorized and hoping that congress will do something by January 2018. I also requested that he insure schools across the country were supporting the efforts by calling their respective congressional offices. The Secure Rural Schools is so important to counties like ours as it helps with county road maintenance and educating our school students. As a recap the Secure Rural Schools funding is a program to supplement the dollars not received from National Forest Timber Harvest. Historically counties with National Forests received 25% of the proceeds from timber harvest sales. In Valley County in years prior to 2000 Valley County received approximately 3 million dollars in funds from Timber Harvest. Once collected then we split the funding with 30% going to the school districts and 70% retained for county road maintenance. Over the years congress supplied the Secure Rural Schools funds to help offset the lack of timber harvest. As the years went by congress has steadily reduced their commitment and now Valley County in the past few years only received approximately 1.5 million with a different formula as some stays with the Forest Service to be used in a grant process, some provided to the county for Search and Rescue on the National Forest and then the rest is split using the 70/30 formula.

Wednesday December 20th
I participated in a NFCSC conference call to again discuss recent efforts of reauthorizing the Secure Rural Schools program. Currently congress will need to vote to fund the government so SRS is not a priority for congress even though we feel it is a priority as without the funding the counties and schools will be losing many funds and will impact services across the nation.
I received a call from the Valley County Clerk and the manager of Lakeshore Disposal to discuss the repairs needs for the Recycle Baler as it is broke down.

Thursday December 21st
I reviewed the upcoming claims to be paid on Monday at our Commissioner meeting. The claims are sent out via email prior to the commissioner meetings when we pay bills so if there is any concerns we see we can ask about them.

Monday December 25th
I trust everyone had a great Christmas with family and friends.

Tuesday December 26th
Commissioner day today. Please find the minutes once approved, probably after our meetings in January on the Valley County website.
This afternoon was an appreciation for Anne the Building Department Supervisor who is retiring the end of December. I want to wish Anne well in her retirement as she has done a great job for Valley County as the Building Official.

Well other than a few phone calls and email reviews here at the end of December it winds down 2017. It has been another year full of decision making, disasters, helping where we can, finding solutions and working to the best of our abilities for the citizens we represent.

Thanks to all who take the time to read through my months work.

A new year will be here soon so Happy New Year everyone. See you in 2018.

Thanks again to everyone,

Scam Alerts:

Phone scams continue to victimize eastern Idaho

Dec 27, 2017 Local News 8

Idaho Falls, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – Bonneville County residents are continuing to fall victim to a recurring phone scam.

The Bonneville County Sheriff’s Office said the scam involves a call from someone claiming to be a deputy or some sort of law enforcement official. They tell the victim they’re investigating some sort of crime or court issue and that a warrant is being issued in the victim’s name. Victims are told they’ll be taken to jail if they don’t pay money to the caller in one of a variety of ways.

Typically, the caller asks the victim to send money via Western Union, Green Dot money cards, or even I-Tunes or other gift cards. Those cards can be purchased locally and loaded with money.

The callers appear to be fairly sophisticated. According to reports, they often have a variety of accents and have used the internet to mask their true phone numbers on caller-ID. They can even make their number appear to be originating from a legitimate Sheriff’s Office phone number. In some cases, when the number is not masked, victims have called it back to find an answering machine or voice mail indicating it is the “Sheriff’s Department” or some other entity.

Regardless of the entity, the real Sheriff’s Office says no Idaho law enforcement entity or court collects money in that fashion. If you have a legitimate issue with law enforcement or the courts, you will likely be contacted in person by an officer. While legitimate officers may contact you by phone on occasion, they will never require payment of money over the phone, ask you to wire transfer funds, or entice you to obtain a money or gift card.

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Phone scam targets new Idaho area code

by Alexis Goree Wednesday, December 27th 2017

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) — Phone scams have been the talk of the season. For scammers, it’s the idea of whats new and how they can target. It’s as easy as sitting at a computer, typing in a number and placing the call.

Ever heard of call id spoofing? It’s where a person can call your cell phone and put any number they want on your caller ID.

“We see people using caller ID spoofing for scams. It’s perfectly legal and I think the idea behind it is that somebody may think of it as a funny prank to pull, but scam artists exploit it, “ says Dale Dixon, Chief Innovation Officer, Better Business Bureau.

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Watch out for these holiday scams

Local News 8 – Dec 30, 2017

Boise, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – Better Business Bureau Serving the Northwest is warning you to look out for common scams that occur during this time of year.

Holiday season scams include online purchase scams, look-alike websites, fake shipping notifications and free gift card scams.

Last year from October to the end of December, more than 500 US victims reported an online purchase scam to BBB Scam Tracker. Victims reported more than 200 look-alike website scams, 300 phishing scams and over 150 gift card scams.

The BBB said to look out for the following:


Idaho News:

Saturday celebration to close out Valley County, Cascade centennial

The Star-News December 28, 2017

A celebration will be held Saturday to close out the centennial year for Valley County and the City of Cascade.

The fun will start at 6:30 p.m. Saturday at The Roxy Theatre, where video will be shown of this year’s centennial celebrations and events.

The event will move at 7 p.m. to Lake Cascade State Park’s Van Wyck Unit for hot dogs, hot drinks, s’mores, and music.

At 7:30 p.m., there will be the lighting of 100 Chinese lanterns at Van Wyck, the same even that kicked off the centennial celebration.

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Baler breakdown stalls Valley County recycling

County announces plastic no longer accepted

By Tom Grote for The Star-News December 28, 2017

Valley County residents are being asked to hold onto their recyclable items while repairs are made to a baler that prepares the materials for shipping.

Also, plastic will no longer be accepted at the county’s three recycling centers because the operators of the incinerator where the plastic had been taken will no longer accept it, officials said.

The baler is located on East Lake Fork Road and is owned by Valley County but operated by Lake Shore Disposal, the county’s contract waste hauler.

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BSU study says short-term rentals are a double-edged sword

By Phil Janquart for The Star-News The Star-News December 28, 2017

A new report says short-term rentals in McCall are critical to local tourism but create nuisances and reduce available housing.

Graduate students from Boise State University’s Master’s of Public Administration program presented their findings recently to the McCall City Council.

There are an estimated 453 short-term rentals in McCall and surrounding areas, according to the report.

Benefits resulting from short-term rentals include additional tourism dollars for local businesses such as restaurants, bars, museums and recreation.

Also, the city collects 7 percent in sales taxes from short-term rentals, with proceeds split between tourism grants and street projects.

However, the 44-page report points to noise, parking, trash and appearance as pervasive problems as cited by public officials.

Their proliferation also has caused a decrease in long-term rentals and a reduction of affordable housing for seasonal and permanent residents, the BSU report said.

The short-term rentals also have spurred rising purchase and rental prices and created “unfair” competition with traditional lodging such as hotels and bed-and-breakfasts, the report said.

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Snow brings boost to McCall just in time

Dean Johnson, KTVB December 27, 2017

McCall, Idaho – The city of McCall is breathing a collective sigh of relief thanks to a nearly foot of new snow over the past week.

“A week ago, we were a little nervous,” Blake Hanks with Home Town Sports said. “The impact the snow has on this place is a hundred percent.”

Snow helps to bring in millions of dollars to the local economy each year from snowmobiling, to cross country skiing, to alpine skiing.

“Having plenty of the white stuff is what drives our economy. It brings millions of dollars a year and thousands of people up each year and we’re a recreation tourism economy any way you paint it.

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Mountain snowpack measures only half of average

Gretchen Parsons, KTVB December 29, 2017

Boise – Just by looking outside, it’s clear we have a lot less snow in southern Idaho compared to this time last year.

Friday, officials got the first reading of just how much snow has fallen and the water content in it.

Snowpack measured at Mores Creek Summit was just half of what’s average for this time of year.

Farmers, skiers and irrigators are hoping that more winter storms are on the way.

“We measured 25 inches of depth and a year ago the depth was 52 inches, so it’s a lot less than a year ago,” says Ron Abramovich, a USDA hydrologist.

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Land Board approves cottage site leasing plan for coming years, anticipates most to be auctioned

Betsy Z. Russell The Spokesman-Review Dec 19, 2017

Idaho’s state Land Board voted unanimously this morning to approve a cottage site leasing plan for the next three years, which anticipates many of the remaining state-owned cottage sites at Payette and Priest lakes will be auctioned off. The new plan, which covers 176 leases that will expire over the next seven years, includes provisions for appraisals and leases for those who aren’t yet involved in auctions; once current leases expire, the new ones would be shorter term, running through 2024. At that point, Lands Department official Mike Murphy told the board, there will be some cottage site lessees who have not gone through a voluntary auction process to obtain the land under their cabins, but there “might be a very small number.”

Associations representing lessees have been pleased with the proposed process, Murphy said. “Quite frankly, the Priest Lake folks were thrilled. We went up to their association meeting in Spokane and they fully supported what we’re proposing today,” he said.

State Lands Director Tom Schultz said, “It’s truly a success story in my mind.”

Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said, “Few things have been as contentious, and the fact that we’ve been able to resolve this in this way is remarkable in my view.”

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CDC: Widespread influenza activity in Idaho

Tami Tremblay, KTVB December 27, 2017

Boise – Idaho has been labeled by the CDC as having widespread seasonal influenza activity. This comes one year after the deadliest flue season on record for the state.

The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare is urging everyone to get a flu shot because it’s not too late. The flu season typically runs from October through May.

Seven people have died so far in Idaho from the flu, and many others are ending up in the doctor’s office with symptoms right now.

Chris Smith, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare PIO, says the good news is this season’s flu shot targets the strains that are showing up.

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Developer buys building back from state for nearly $1M less than he was paid in 2013

Betsy Z. Russell The Spokesman-Review Dec 19, 2017

An eastern Idaho real estate investor is almost $1 million richer, thanks to the state Land Board’s changing policies on real estate investments.

In 2013, Gary Voigt of Idaho Falls sold an eastern Idaho office building to the state for $6.1 million. On Dec. 6, he bought it back for $5.3 million.

State officials say the transaction still was a good deal for the state endowment, because while the endowment owned the Idaho Falls building – which is leased to Battelle Energy Alliance LLC, the contractor that operates the Idaho National Laboratory – the endowment collected $2.9 million in rent, at more than a half-million dollars a year.

“We are actually to the good about $2.1 million,” said state Lands Director Tom Schultz.

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72-year-old man found alive in snow after missing for a night

by KBOI News Staff Tuesday, December 26th 2017

Boise, Idaho (KBOI) — A 72-year-old man was found laying in the desert snow south of Boise on Tuesday after he didn’t return home the night before.

The man survived and is getting medical treatment.

Deputies determined that the man went to do some target shooting around the Pleasant Valley and Tenmile Creek roads. He stepped into a hole and fell over while setting up his target.

Unable to move, the man spent the night and the next morning laying in the snow.

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Snowmobiler dug out OK from avalanche near Idaho-Utah border

12/27/17 AP

Pocatello, Idaho — Authorities say a snowmobiler was rescued by others after being buried by an avalanche along the Idaho-Utah border.

The Utah Avalanche Center in Salt Lake City told the Idaho State Journal the Tuesday incident happened in the Franklin Basin area in Utah just south of the Idaho state line.

The person wasn’t immediately identified, but was not reported to have been seriously injured after being dug out of the snow by fellow snowmobilers.

Avalanche warnings had been issued in recent days for the mountainous backcountry of southeast Idaho and northern Utah including the Bear River Range, western Uintas and the Wasatch range including Ogden, Provo, Salt Lake City and Park City.

The center says skiers have triggered several avalanches in northern Utah, but no injuries have been reported.

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Season in Review

Joel Tannenholz Sage Winds Newsletter Autumn 2017

Typical of fall, the pattern was active, with passing weather systems bringing showery periods and changing temperatures.

September’s temperatures were split between summer and fall.

It was drier than normal in eastern Oregon, but wetter than normal in central and southwest Idaho, especially in the mountains.

A very warm high pressure ridge kept temperatures above normal for the first two weeks of September. But smoke from numerous fires plagued the region, preventing daytime temperatures from climbing even higher.

Summer weather ended abruptly on the 14th following a cold front from British Columbia. The change was made even more dramatic by west to northwest winds gusting into the 40 to 45 mph range at Baker City Oregon and through Idaho’s Snake River Valley.

A second cold front, this time from the Gulf of Alaska, crossed our area on the 18th. It was followed by a low pressure trough which was responsible for most of the rain during an otherwise dry month, along with unseasonably cool temperatures. The trough hung over the region through the 24th.

A high pressure ridge returned temperatures to near or slightly above normal at most locations from the 26th through the 29th, although the Magic Valley remained cool.

On the 29th and 30th another low pressure trough from the Gulf of Alaska brought cooler air and generally light precipitation. One exception was McCall, where .6 inch of rain fell on the 30th.

October’s temperatures averaged below or much below normal.

It was wetter than normal in northern Harney County, Baker County, and the central Idaho mountains, but drier than normal elsewhere.

Late September’s low pressure trough continued to reside over the northern Intermountain Region through the 5th, keeping our area cool, but providing little if any precipitation.

After one day of seasonable weather on the 6th, a series of low pressure troughs from the Gulf of Alaska kept temperatures cool through the 14th.

By the 16th the storm track had moved north into Canada, leaving our area under relatively warm southwest flow aloft through the 19th. Most of the region experienced the last summerlike weather of the year on the 18th and 19th, ahead of a Pacific cold front. High temperatures were in the 70s at lower elevations. Rome Oregon warmed to 80 degrees on the 18th.

The cold front crossed eastern Oregon and southwest Idaho on the 19th, and high temperatures on the 20th were as much as 20 degrees lower.

The radical temperature contrast across the front caused strong gusty winds at many locations. Ahead of the front in Oregon, Baker City recorded a gust of 41 mph from the south on the 19th, and a gust of 44 mph from the south was measured at Rome. As the front crossed southern Idaho on the 20th, Jerome experienced a gust of 50 mph from the southwest. Strong winds followed the front as well. A gust of 50 mph from the northwest was reported at Mountain Home, and gusts exceeding 40 mph were common elsewhere.

From a quarter to a half inch of rain fell at several places. McCall measured over two-thirds of an inch of precipitation, falling mainly as snow from the 20th through the 22nd.

After a frosty morning and a cool day on the 21st, temperatures warmed to above normal from the 22nd through the 29th under a ridge of high pressure.

By the 30th the ridge had shifted to off the west coast, putting our area under northwest flow aloft. This allowed cooler air from British Columbia to spread south across the northern Intermountain Region, lowering temperatures to near normal.

In contrast to the cool October, most of November was warmer than normal.

It was wetter than normal across much of our area, notably along the Snake River and in the southern half of Malheur County Oregon, areas which ordinarily receive the least precipitation.

The only notable cool spell was initiated on the 3rd by a low pressure trough from British Columbia, which was responsible for the coolest weather since last winter.

Temperatures remained below normal through the 8th.

Most locations received light to moderate precipitation during that period, mainly in the form of rain at lower elevations. Moderate to heavy snow fell over the mountains. Snow totals were not reported, but the McCall airport measured a storm total of 1.4 inches of water equivalent by the time precipitation ended on the 5th.

Warmer more seasonable weather returned on the 9th. A weak high pressure ridge over the western U.S. and a persistent low pressure trough off the northwest coast kept us under southwest flow aloft, maintaining near normal or slightly above normal temperatures through the 20th.

Weather disturbances moving inland weakened as they traversed the ridge, but they retained enough moisture for light to moderate amounts of rain, mainly on the 9th and 10th, and again from the 15th through the 17th. A few places received heavier amounts, including Ontario with .72 inch, and Jerome with .80 inch.

On the 21st a very strong and unseasonably warm high pressure ridge built over the Desert Southwest and northwest Mexico, creating a source of warm air for the northern Intermountain Region. Average daily temperature departures from normal ranged from +6 to +20 degrees around the region from the 20th through the 28th. But in eastern Oregon at both Baker and Rome, temperatures on the 23rd averaged 28 degrees above normal, with highs of 70 and 71 respectively.

Moist weather systems moving through the north portion of the ridge generated nearly daily showers as far south as northern Nevada. Precipitation was generally light, but the west central Idaho mountains received heavier amounts as the moist air was lifted over the higher terrain.

Mining News:

Ask Midas: What Makes Midas Different?

December 20, 2017

Midas Gold Idaho wants to keep the community informed about the work we are doing at the Stibnite Gold Project site. The Ask Midas blog series gives the experts in our company a chance to answer some of the community’s most frequently asked questions and help clear up any misconceptions around the project.

In the summers, I spend a lot of time up at the Stibnite Gold Project site giving tours to community members and telling them about our plans for the future. As I talk to people about the past, I often get asked what makes Midas Gold different than the companies that have come before it. Let me explain.

Why is mining today different than historical mining?

Mining practices have greatly improved today compared to past decades—especially compared to the early to mid-1900s when major mining activity occurred at Stibnite. Mining, environmental technology and practices have evolved, engineering controls have been developed, federal and state regulatory programs and financial assurance requirements have been adopted and successfully implemented since the early 1990s to ensure comprehensive bonding for mining’s impacts. Societal values have also changed and, at Midas Gold, we are very aware of our potential impact on the environment and have taken extensive and comprehensive measures to address those potential impacts. Historic mining activities focused on profit or, in the case of Stibnite, focused on providing critical and strategic metals for the United States and its allies during World War II and the Korean War, with little regard for impacts to the environment. The Stibnite Gold Project was designed from the start with ultimate closure in mind, and with restoration and reclamation as primary design standards.

It is important to note that, since the implementation of more stringent environmental standards and bonding requirements over the past several decades, there have been no new mines developed in the U.S. that required Federal CERCLA status funding for clean-up.

If you have a question you would like us to answer, please email it to

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Idaho mining strike continues as negotiations falter

12/25/17 AP

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho — Negotiations to resolve an Idaho mining strike have stalled after beginning in March, mining company officials said.

Negotiators from the Hecla Mining Co. and the United Steelworkers Union have met 21 times since about 250 union members went on strike from the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan, the Coeur d’Alene Press reported .

Despite the meetings and a federal mediator, progress has not been made since mid-October, said Luke Russell, vice president of external affairs for the mining company.

“Hecla feels the talks are deadlocked,” Russell said.


Public Lands:

Boise National Forest

Looking for a seasonal job with the Boise National Forest?

The Boise National Forest will soon be filling Temporary Seasonal (1039hrs) positions for the 2018 Summer Field Season.

continued w/links:


Critter News:

From Cascade Vet Clinic

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Keeping Pets Safe

* If possible, keep pets indoors.
* Routinely check outdoor water dishes to make sure they don’t freeze.
* Keep food dishes well stocked; it takes lots of energy to stay warm.
* Keep antifreeze where pets cannot access it.
* Protect paws from salt and other anti-icing chemicals, or wipe paws with damp towel to remove these irritating compounds.
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Dog stranded on cliff on Oregon coast rescued

KGW December 27, 2017

Cannon Beach, Ore. — Thanks to social media, a drone, and lots of caring people, a dog stranded overnight on a cliff on the Oregon coast is back home safe.

The dog, named Felix, was walking with his owners on a trail in Ecola State Park on Christmas Day when he disappeared.

The owners posted on Facebook that they needed help to find him, and the message eventually got back to Cannon Beach Fire Chief Matt Benedict, who just happened to be a drone operator.

On Tuesday, Benedict went out with the drone to search the cliffside for Felix.

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Livestock owners concerned about wolves in Boise foothills

12/27/17 AP

Boise, Idaho — Federal officials say there have been no reports of livestock kills associated with a seven-member wolf pack that roamed in the Boise foothills last spring.

Idaho Wildlife Services Director Todd Grimm says the agency warned livestock producers in the area. He said Wednesday the current whereabouts of the pack is unclear.

Idaho Cattle Association Executive Vice President Cameron Mulrony tells the Capital Press in a story on Tuesday that just having wolves in the area can cause cattle to put on less weight and cost ranchers money.

Jennifer Struthers of the Idaho Department of Fish and Game says there are usually several wolf sightings each winter in the foothills when elk and deer migrate to lower elevations.

She says it’s not clear where the wolves go in the summer.

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Suspect cited in Gros Ventre wolf poaching

Dec 26, 2017 Local News 8

Jackson, Wyo. (KIFI/KIDK) – Wyoming Game and Fish personnel used a tip from a sportsman to hunt down a suspect who appeared to be pursuing a wolf in a closed area. The person said he noticed the suspicious activity in the upper Gros Ventre drainage northeast of Jackson.

North Jackson Game Warden Jon Stephens located the suspect vehicle several hours later. The driver said he was varmint hunting in the area. Two red foxes were found in the back of his truck, but Stephens noticed additional blood markings around the truck bed.

Stephens asked to look through several boxes in the back of the truck and discovered a recently killed wolf stuffed in the bottom of one of them.

When asked what was in the bottom of the box, the individual responded “You got me, I shot a wolf in the closed area.” The individual stated they had planned to wait a day then try checking it in, saying it was taken in a different area.

The dead animal was seized. The suspect received several citations including taking a wolf in a closed area, failure to tag the animal, and shooting from a public roadway.

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KWVR Oregon Wolf Education weekly Wolf Report

Third week of Dec, 2017
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Wolf Education International

Newsletter Dec 25-31, 2017

Wolves Kill 154 Cows In Just One Northwest Minnesota County

Wolves Habituated to Human Environment. Does It Lead To Attacks?

Lapland reindeer go high-tech with tracking sensors to protect them from wolves

Midwest farmers say wolves are a growing problem, urge Washington to act

Coyotes: Kill or Koexist?

Washington spent $15,000 to shoot wolf, much more to avoid it

Bad POW deer season blamed on wolves, logging

Wolves knocking on Colorado boundaries
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Wildlife officials kill mountain lion that attacked pet dog

12/28/17 AP

Pocatello, Idaho — Wildlife officials have killed a mountain lion in eastern Idaho after it killed a dog near Pocatello.

The Idaho State Journal reports a woman found her dog apparently mauled by a mountain lion Wednesday morning

Southeast Regional Fish and Game office Regional Supervisor Mark Gamblin says wildlife officers confirmed the attack.

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Dead cougar found in luggage at airport

AP Dec 27, 2017

Las Vegas, NV (AP) – Police say a traveler’s trip home hit a snag in Las Vegas after security screeners found a dead cougar with a hunting tag in his luggage.

No crime was committed, but Las Vegas police Lt. David Gordon told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that Transportation Security Administration agents held the man at McCarran International Airport late Tuesday to confirm the validity of the Utah state hunting and fishing game tag.

The man’s name and destination were not made public.

Airport spokeswoman Melissa Nunnery says the man ended up shipping the cougar carcass home, but not on the airplane.

Gordon says it’s not a crime to transport legally possessed game on an airline flight. But he says airlines can refuse to transport certain items.

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Elk rescued from frozen water at Palisades

Local News 8 – Dec 29, 2017

Palisades, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) – About 40 people helped get a dozen elk out of water in the Palisades around 8 a.m. Friday morning.

Dusty Jones of Alpine, Wyoming tells Local News 8 and Eyewitness News 3 he was driving to work when he saw people on the ice with about 10 head of elk in the water.

They had a large stick, a chain saw and cut a path in the ice for the elk.

The water was about eight to 10 feet deep. There is usually no water in that area because it is usually drained out.

The people on the ice lassoed a couple of the calf’s to pull them out of the water first.

continued w/video:
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Appeal seeking Idaho horse herd sterilization is dismissed

By Keith Ridler – 12/26/17 AP

Boise, Idaho — A federal appeals court has dismissed an effort to allow the sterilization of a herd of wild horses in Idaho.

The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals earlier this month granted a request by the U.S. Bureau of Land Management to stop the effort.

Documents filed by BLM seeking the dismissal of its own appeal didn’t include a reason.

“This case threatened to set a dangerous precedent for the sterilization of wild horses throughout the West,” said Nick Lawton, an attorney representing American Wild Horse Campaign and other groups.

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Llama dies in Weiser barn fire

KTVB December 28, 2017

(Photo: Weiser Area Rural Fire District)

Weiser, Idaho — A llama perished when a barn burned down in Weiser early Wednesday morning, although other animals were rescued from the flames.

According to the Weiser Area Rural Fire District, the fire was called in off of Pioneer Road at 4:34 a.m.

… Fire investigators determined the fire was started by a heat lamp left on to keep the animals inside warm.

Rescuers were able to safely remove goats, sheep, llamas, cows and ducks from the barn before it was engulfed, officials say. No humans were hurt in the fire.

full story:
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Eagle barn destroyed in late-night fire

KTVB December 28, 2017

(Photo: Eagle Fire)

Eagle, Idaho — A barn north of Eagle is a total loss after it caught fire late Wednesday night.

Firefighters were called out to the blaze off Homer Road and Haven Drive at about 10:35 p.m.

Eagle Fire Battalion Chief Nevil Humphreys said the barn was already engulfed in flames when crews arrived.

… Several chickens inside the barn died in the fire, but no people were hurt, Humphreys said.

full story:
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Idaho short-eared owl study expanding to 8 western states

12/28/17 AP

Boise, Idaho — Researchers observing a possible decline in short-eared owls are expanding their study from Idaho to eight western states.

Boise State Public Radio reported Thursday that researchers believe there has been a 60 percent decline in the owl’s population in the West over the last 40 to 50 years.

Research Biologist Rob Miller says Boise State has been studying the owls in Idaho with several partner agencies and citizen scientists since 2015 and has expanded their efforts to Utah.


Fish & Game News:

Become a Master Naturalist

By Jennifer Bruns, Regional Conservation Educator
Tuesday, December 26, 2017

Anyone who enjoys and appreciates Idaho’s outdoors can be an Idaho Master Naturalist; teachers, hunters, nature guides, farmers, retired professionals, and …you! The Idaho Master Naturalist Program aims to develop a corps of well-informed volunteers to actively work toward stewardship of Idaho’s natural environment.

A certified Master Naturalist completes 40 hours of hands-on, experiential classroom and field training about Idaho ecology, plants, animals and natural systems. Participants also complete 40 hours of volunteer work for local conservation agencies; hours can be divided between agencies such as IDFG, US Forest Service, Army Corps of Engineers, Idaho State Parks and more.

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F&G News Releases

Fun Critter Stuff:

Pet ‘booze’ lets you toast to the new year with your furry friends

By Jean-Sun Ahn Dec 29, 2017

When you’re sipping a glass of red or some bubbly, ever feel like your pet is missing out on the enjoyment? You may not get the straightforward answer you were hoping for, but thanks to Pet Winery, your cat or dog can enjoy some “Meowsling” or a “Dog-tini.”

No, there isn’t any alcohol in these drinks, but they are formulated to be a healthy and fun treat for your pet. The wines are made with filtered water, salmon oil, organic catnip and a splash of organic food coloring.

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Elephants Munch On Old Christmas Trees

Elephants at Berlin’s Tierpark zoo were munching on a special holiday treat on Thursday. The pachiderms were fed leftover Christmas trees as a healthy addition to their usual diet.


Seasonal History:

New Year’s Eve in 1864 Idaho Territory

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Passing of the Saloon

Four years before the national prohibition of liquor, Idaho became a prohibition state on January 1, 1916. The Idaho Statesman seemed to treat it with good humor, lamenting that it “Would deprive many men of the only home they ever had.” (See image)

But there also seemed an element in the paper, as there was in society in general, that had mixed opinions about it. On May 19, 1916, the Statesman reported on an alarming increase in dandelion wine in Boise: “Many owners of dandelion infested lawns have marveled lately at the number of children and grownups who asked permission to help extricate the little golden nuisances ‘for a medicine that mother makes,’ and have been enthusiastically granted permission.

“It has now been learned the manufacture of dandelion wine has been carried on in many Boise hoes in large quantities this spring.”

State Chemist Jackson (no first name given) tested some of momma’s medicine and found it came in at 12.6 percent alcohol. He opined that perhaps it should be called “Dandy Lion” wine, because of its alcohol content.

The newspaper extolled the wine’s virtues as a liver medicine, but cautioned that “many a strict prohibition mother is probably making the wine, never dreaming that she is a lawbreaker.”

With those warnings out of the way, the paper proceeded to go give a complete recipe for making the wine.

Speaking of Idaho history posts are copyright © 2018 by Rick Just. Sharing is encouraged.


Seasonal Humor:


Tips & Advice:

Fire prevention in the winter months

Tami Tremblay, KTVB December 28, 2017

Boise – This time of year firefighters see a big increase in the amount of house fires they respond to because more of us are using additional heating sources.

Boise Fire Department Deputy Chief Romeo Gervais says the first thing we need to remember to protect ourselves from fire is placement of heating devices.

“At a minimum keep about three feet of clearance around those space heaters, whether it’s hay or your blanket that’s in the bedroom,” said Gervais. “Heaters do heat up, so if those devices overheat or get too close to combustibles they could ignite those.”

He also says make sure heating devices can’t be knocked over by animals or children because that could lead to trouble as well. Also, make sure they have safety features like tip-over protection and overheat shutoffs.

Gervais says check smoke detectors and make sure they’re working, and have a carbon monoxide detector outside of every bedroom. If you have a chimney, have it inspected at least once a year.

He says it’s also always a good idea to have a home safety plan so in case a fire does break out everyone knows what to do and where to meet outside.

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Prepare for the unexpected when driving this winter

Dean Johnson, KTVB December 28, 2017

Boise – Whether you’re heading home from Christmas break or somewhere new for New Year’s Eve, it’s important you’re prepared for any type of weather you may encounter. Ada County Emergency Management advises before heading out anywhere this winter you pack an emergency kit to protect you from the unexpected.

“You never know, your three-hour trip might turn into an eight-hour trip,” St. Luke’s Disaster Preparedness Officer Lisa Spanberger said.

One of the first steps to being prepared is to plan ahead, check road conditions and, most importantly, tell people where you’re going.

“Notify people ahead of time what your travel plans are, that is the biggest thing. Even if it’s just too short trips,” Myla Jeffries with Ada County Emergency Management said.

In areas with a lot of wide open spaces, like Idaho, help is not always close-by.