Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate News

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WATERSHED REPORT 2-12-18 LMS

Monday, February 12, North Fork US Forest Service District Ranger Ken Gebhardt provided the Lemhi County Commissioners with a power point review of the work that has gone into months of research on the Salmon Municipal Watershed and the results from that effort.

The city of Salmon’s water supply is delivered by way of the 14,000 acre watershed that has a fuel load which is virtually untreatable by way of normal means due to its almost inaccessible terrain. The watershed has been designated by the state as one of the two most fire threatened-areas in Idaho and has been a focus of the Lemhi County Forest Restoration Group for many years. Gebhardt said the group’s continued assistance throughout the study has been very much appreciated.

Gebhardt’s presentation took the commissioners through all the statistics covered and how they were obtained by way of the most modern technology and feet-on-the-ground analysis. He said the overall treatment goal for the area is to keep any fires that occur, down on the ground rather than up in the tree crowns. Wind studies of the canyons were a big factor in determining the way to approach the wildfire challenges.

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ROUNDTABLE 2-7-18 LMS

The Salmon City Council’s February 7 Roundtable Discussion included updates, questions, thank you’s and comments. 

Councilor Jim Bockelman thanked City Clerk Mary Benton for the informative written updates from city departments. He also thanked Sacajawea Center Lin Gray for her letter to the council. Bockelman said he has decided a goal he wants to accomplish is research into solar power. He said it would cost between five and six thousand dollars to obtain a complete assessment of city facility needs and he asked Finance Director Amy Fealko to provide figures on how much the city spends annually for electricity and propane.

Councilor Robin Phillips noted a meeting scheduled for that week to announce by-laws, a name and a mission statement for a new Chamber of Commerce. She said the gathering was also to solicit membership towards establishing an active Chamber organization in Salmon.

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TO BUY OR NOT TO BUY 2-7-18 LMS

The city has been approached with an offer to buy the parking lot on Shoup Street which runs from the Wells Fargo Bank property west to the area behind Rags & Wags. The offer was a topic of discussion at the February 7 meeting of the Salmon City Council.

The open access lot presently provides parking behind four Main Street businesses as well as anyone just needing a parking space. The Lemhi County Assessor has established a value of $95,400 for the 160 foot long parcel which calculates to $4.75 per square foot.

Parking space has long been a concern for council members who want to keep downtown businesses in place rather than move to the city outskirts. City codes require each business to have a certain number of parking places. Last year the council considered buying a smaller vacant lot further west on Shoup which was listed for $89,000.

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COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS & VACANCIES 2-7-18 LMS

The Salmon City Council has unanimously approved Cathy Cranney be re-appointed to the Local Option Tax Commission and that Amy Tonsmeire become a new member of the commission. 

The LOT appointments took place during the February 7 meeting of the council and filled the commission’s vacancies. At that same meeting the council heard there are vacancies on the Sacajawea Center Advisory Committee which also need to be filled.

Sacajawea Center Director Lin Gray told the council she has extended an invitation to the Shoshone-Bannock Cultural Committee for a representative and is hoping to hear from them before the next meeting. She said the Cultural Committee liked the idea of having an annual meeting at Fort Hall.

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VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR NAMED 2-12-18 LMS

Fred McDonald has been named as the Lemhi County Volunteer of the Year for 2017. 

In presenting a plaque with the county’s thanks and appreciation Commissioner Chairman Brett Barsalou confirmed that McDonald has served as a volunteer member of the Airport Board for 23 years and that he still doesn’t have a plane.

The award during the February 12 meeting of the Lemhi County Commissioners came as a complete surprise to McDonald who thought he had been summoned to give an Airport Board status report, which he had done before the unexpected announcement. He asked his wife Beth if she had known about the plot and was told she was the one who aided and abetted the ruse. She had told him the reason for the meeting was to discuss the airport web cams.

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COMMITTEE APPOINTMENTS & VACANCIES 2-7-18 LMS

The Salmon City Council has unanimously approved Cathy Cranney be re-appointed to the Local Option Tax Commission and that Amy Tonsmeire become a new member of the commission. 

The LOT appointments took place during the February 7 meeting of the council and filled the commission’s vacancies. At that same meeting the council heard there are vacancies on the Sacajawea Center Advisory Committee which also need to be filled.

Sacajawea Center Director Lin Gray told the council she has extended an invitation to the Shoshone-Bannock Cultural Committee for a representative and is hoping to hear from them before the next meeting. She said the Cultural Committee liked the idea of having an annual meeting at Fort Hall.

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REPORTS & POSSIBLES 2-7-18 LMS

Bob Gutzman of the Lemhi Education Project (LED) spoke to the Salmon City Council February 7 and advised them of LED’s interest in creating a taxing district as a way of realizing the potential the program has created. He said that the need for more funding is the fault of the program’s success in creating the need for more.

According to Gutzman in the program’s six years of existence it has helped fulfill many of the community’s educational gaps. Tiffany McAlister spoke as the former full-time director of the program. She said the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) classes and testing are now a constant in the community and allow those interested in obtaining a GED the opportunity to accomplish their goal without having to leave town. She said the seventh Certified Nursing Assistants training is underway and for the second time the college classes are being made available to High School students. Thanks to the College of Eastern Idaho (formerly Eastern Idaho Technical College) there are plans to bring a Registered Nurse training to town. 

All the interest is out distancing the abilities of the local part-time staff.

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LIBRARY DISCONNECT COSTS 2-7-18 LMS

Based on recent reports of a City Hall renovation project, members of the Lemhi County Library District’s Board of Directors were getting nervous over disconnect expenses regarding separating the old library building from the City Hall Building. At the Salmon City Council’s February 7 meeting District Board member and Library Director Ramona Combs-Stauffer expressed the board’s concerns and was assured the district would be consulted as to any disconnect expenses as the process progresses.

Last year the city agreed to donate the city-owned property under the old library building to the Library District pending on-going legal negotiations which specify that in return for the land the district will pay for the building disconnection costs. The District owns the building. A portion of the library building existed as part of City Hall before the library was built and with the city’s permission it was used as office space for the library.

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