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COBALT 11-27-17 LMS

In answer to local questions about the Idaho Cobalt Project (ICP) the Lemhi County Commissioners were told Monday “It’s for real. The market is there. It’s time for this project.” 

Many local residents have been thoroughly acquainted with the ore called Cobalt for years, dating back to the mining days of the 50’s and 60’s. Recent world interest in the ore is pretty much old news to those who lived the Cobalt days. The recent focus on electric cars powered by lithium batteries which contain the specialty metal known as Cobalt has created a huge interest in the ore. Presently the Republic of the Congo is producing some Cobalt but it is only mined as a by-product of Copper and the country is in the midst of civil war. The only Cobalt belt in the free world is in Lemhi County and the Idaho Cobalt Project is the only near term, environmentally permitted, primary Cobalt project located in the United States. 

On November 27 the commissioners were introduced to Llee Chapman, General Manager of Formation Capital Corporation’s Idaho Cobalt Project.

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A question of whether or not to institute an additional monthly Salmon City Council meeting solely to discuss city finances was decided at its November 15 meeting.

The impetus behind the suggestion is that some council members feel city finances are the most important aspect of the City Council job as well as being one of the most complex.

Councilman Jim Bockelman reintroduced the topic and in answer to an email of the Finance Team meeting minutes being enough, he said the only way to be fully informed about city finances is to attend the actual meetings. In his opinion it is impossible to put every detail discussed in the minutes because the business of understanding finances is a step by step process.

Soon to retire Councilman Rob Jackson totally agreed with Bockelman that finances are the most important part of the job and he said the new council members need to have the opportunity of all the financial information.

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The recent survey of commercial and industrial sewer customers sent by the city to local business owners is extremely vital to the continued operations at the city’s Wastewater Treatment Plant. The mandatory survey was a topic of discussion at the November 15 meeting of the Salmon City Council.

Councilman Jim Bockelman said the survey is a form business owners need to complete and return to the city. He said the survey is a very important document the city needs for the plant’s operational permit renewal. Councilman Rob Jackson is a business owner and admitted he at first didn’t take the survey request very seriously but later found out otherwise. He encouraged anyone who has questions or doesn’t understand how to fill out the form to call City Hall and ask for assistance.

Other topics included in the evening’s Roundtable Discussion and public comment opportunities were the Forest Plan and snowplowing. Jackson said he thinks the Forest Revision Plan and draft assessment report is very important to the community and that residents as well as the city should officially submit comments. The plan being developed will guide Forest Service directions for the next 20 years.

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After months of tramping through rugged terrain in the vast Salmon Municipal Watershed located above the city and compiling all the data obtained, the US Forest Service has developed a proposed action for lessening the threat the overgrown, unhealthy forest is posing to the city’s water supply. 

At the November 15 meeting of the Salmon City Council North Fork District Ranger Ken Gebhardt introduced the interdisciplinary core team which has been engaged in the project aimed at protecting the city’s water quality and quantity.

Watershed Program Manager Dave Deschaine led the presentation depicting what the team has learned about the high fire risk area that is comprised of waters from Jesse, Chips and Pollard creeks as well as Turner Gulch.

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The November 7 election produced some tie votes throughout the state, including locally.

In the Elk Bend Fire District race for the commissioner’s seat in District 2, contenders Scott Wayne Wootton and Keith Allen Richards each received 33 votes. 

In such cases the final decision is made by the toss of a coin. At the November 13 meeting of the Lemhi County Commissioners County Clerk Terri Morton was all prepared for the coin flipping occasion with a special Salmon Volunteer Fire Department coin however; the preparations proved to be unnecessary. 

It was announced that Scott Wootton had conceded the race and resigned from the fire district’s board of directors.

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Sacajawea Center Director Lin Gray informed the October 18 meeting of the Salmon City Council that the Governor’s Lewis and Clark Trail Committee has approved a very significant grant for the facility.

She said she has been informally informed, by way of email, that the committee has approved a fully funded grant to replace the facility’s aging fishing weir, brush lodges and tipis. In partnership with the Shone-Bannock Tribes, Gray applied to the committee for a $9,675 grant to rebuild the replications. Tribal students will do the rebuilding.

Gray told the council that because she will be out of town, she hoped the council would approve acceptance of the grant so she can notify the tribe before she leaves. Councilman Rob Jackson said he would like to see the official letter before approving the grant’s acceptance. Gray said her concern is that in her absence the council won’t approve the acceptance and she wouldn’t know why or be able to defend the grant.

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The deer population in town has again come to the attention of the Salmon City Council. During its October 18 RoundTable Discussion Council President Jim Baker said he has been informed of three dogs being killed by a deer. He didn’t know if any official report had been filed. He said the council has not talked about the deer problem for a number of years. Councilman Ken Hill said the instance was a matter of a doe protecting her fawn. Baker said he had asked the individual who reported the incident to him, to file an official report so the council will have something with which to work.

Baker also said that the sewer connection to the Hockey Rink is underway.

Councilman Neal James said he has had some complaints about overgrown trees along the driveway beside City Park.

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A request to vacate a portion of an alleyway between 9th and Copper streets was granted by the Salmon City Council at its October 18 meeting.

The action took place after a formal Public Hearing which included comments by the applicant. There were no other comments of any kind either in favor or opposed to the vacation. 

Marion Turner is the applicant and she explained the so called ‘street’ is shown on city maps but actually does not exist and is therefore not used for anything. By law any vacated property is divided equally and turned over to adjacent property owners. Turner said she would like the half of the non-existent street which adjoins her property to become hers.

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