Powder Skiing
Bald Mountain, January 9, 2017                                                                                                  Photo courtesy of Ray Gadd

City of Ketchum
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Avenue N.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
"Small Town, Big Life"

Inform. Celebrate. Involve.
January 13, 1017
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas:

                                 Moose on morning walk ↑
People often ask what inspires me; what motivates me to be the mayor of Ketchum? Simply, I am inspired by this place and I am motivated to share it.
 
Ketchum is in my soul; I am a mountain girl. The joy of frolicking in the snow, seeing a moose on my morning walk, crashing down a river, staring at the sky, smelling the rain, and listening to the natural quiet nourishes me and makes me smile. This environment dictates our behavior and defines our day-to-day routine. I cherish living here and know what a splendid place it is.
 
Yet simply being surrounded by this natural splendor is not enough. I want to share it with you. I want to be here with you, I want to share my everyday joys with you. This is what motivates me to work as your mayor. I want to live in this special town nestled in its mountain oasis with generations of people who have the opportunity to thrive and smile.
 
It is essential for our community's well-being that there are work and housing opportunities for the majority. The city will continue to support the business community to provide employment opportunities through tourism marketing, entrepreneurial support at the Ketchum Innovation Center (KIC), building a bridge with Boise State University to encourage a talented workforce to move to Ketchum, and funding convenient mobility to and within the Wood River Valley.
 
We also need more housing opportunities for a variety of renters and buyers. This year the city has funds and will invest in deed-restricted community housing units. Also this year we will intensify the conversation with the community to look for opportunities that permit increased residential units and incentivize the private sector to build a housing inventory with varied choices for residents.
 
Providing security and resource reliability to Ketchum residents and visitors is essential. The city still needs a facility that better supports its essential operations, which provide safety and reliability to you all. Working with BSU, the city will bring all options to the community so we can come to a solution together to best provide these needed facilities.
 
The city has already saved approximately $90,000 in energy bills due to investments and efficiencies in energy. This year we will continue that direction with investment in energy alternatives at the parks and recreation building to provide cleaner and reliable energy.
 
We are diligently focused on protecting and enhancing the real gem of our community, our quality of life. Aug. 21, 2017 will be the first total solar eclipse visible from the continental United States in nearly four decades. People will be able to see it here. In preparation of this celestial treat and to highlight how unique and spectacular the Idaho sky is, we are working to become an International Dark Sky Community and Reserve. This is a collaborative effort with Blaine County, Sun Valley, Stanley, the Forest Service, Idaho Conservation League and Sawtooth Society, and will be a tremendous achievement and celebration of what we have to offer here in Ketchum, Idaho.
 
This year the city will also complete upgrades to the tennis courts, add additional sidewalks, finish the Happy Trails project and begin enhancements to the skate park. Also we are working with the YMCA to bring BSU's Osher Lifelong Learning Institute here to Ketchum. Osher offers non-credit, college-level courses, lectures and other learning opportunities taught by university and community experts to non-traditional-age students. 
 
I look forward to accomplishing these goals this year and sharing this wonderful town with you.

Keep smiling,

Nina


ASK NINA
Q: Yesterday I sat on Main Street for 35 minutes to get from Formula Sports to the Limelight Hotel heading to Hailey. Then it took another 10 minutes to get to Serenade Lane from the Limelight. There was no accident that was causing the problem. The real issue (or so it seemed to me, who has spent an inordinate amount of time sitting in traffic in the years since moving to Hailey) was the kindness of those letting in all the sneaky-Petes on Serenade Lane. Every other car was being kindly let in, but the result was that traffic was hardly moving until AFTER Serenade Lane.
 
If the police department/sheriff's office could figure out a way to have a flagger there, I think it would change the whole traffic flow in these instances. The frustration, waste of gas, air pollution, annoyance to visitors and locals, and optics of having a charming ski town snarled by traffic is a detriment to everyone.

A: I believe the city has found a way to help move traffic during busy, snowy days as a result of a meeting between Police Chief Dave Kassner and Idaho Transportation Department officials, who are responsible for traffic signals on Highway 75. They determined that one of the possible causes for the congestion has been the detection settings and timing of the traffic signal at Elkhorn Road and Highway 75. ITD has extended the amount of time the signal remains green on Highway 75 from 2 to 2.5 minutes, and also set the signal so that it will remain green unless there is actually traffic waiting to enter the highway at Elkhorn Road. We will monitor the situation over the coming weeks to consider if additional traffic control, such as a flagger, would be necessary. Thank you so much for your comments and suggestions.

Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas? AskNina@ketchumidaho.org

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.
COUNCIL AGENDA - MEETING INFORMATION - COMMENT
Stay involved. Included here are links to the Tuesday, Jan. 17, Council agenda and Council meeting information. At this meeting, a workshop for off-street parking and loading will be held. In addition, Council will discuss Yew plant regulations and enforcement, zero-based budgeting and will provide direction to staff on potential state legislation to allow electric bicycles on trails or pedestrian paths.

It is the responsibility of the city to inform the public and gain public input. Please provide the city with your opinion and comments by attending Tuesday's meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall, 480 East Ave., N., or sending an email to participate@ketchumidaho.org.

Agenda  
Info 
HOW SOME HANDLE HIGH CAPACITY DURING HOLIDAY WEEKS
How busy were the holidays this year?
 
So busy that some customers in the rental line at Formula Sports decided they would rather buy new skis than wait in line to rent, said Jen Nelson, general manager. "You smile, pull up your bootstraps and do the best you can," she said. "People were understanding and the snow put a smile on everyone's face," she added, even though some customers were waiting as long as 30 minutes to rent skis.
 
The year-end holidays were some of the busiest in memory, according to three long-time Ketchum businesses. Sun Valley Resort also reported a record number of skiers.
 
Formula Sports
Zach Burney, rental technician, (left) looks at ski equipment with "Scooter" Carling, shop manager, at Formula Sports
Formula estimates that business was 20 percent higher than a typical winter week, and Atkinsons' Market estimates the increase at 30 percent. Scott Mason, whose family owns three restaurants in Ketchum, said business was 20 to 30 percent higher than usual. Every restaurant was fully booked and had waiting lists.
 
We asked the three businesses to talk with us about how they manage the swings in demand, and what the community may be able to do to help.
 
"We have 60 years of institutional memory of what it takes to operate with seasonal increases," said Chip Atkinson, president of Atkinsons' Market. "We're fortunate to have good, stable employees and we don't lay off employees in the 'off' seasons. That helps us keep a well-trained staff that is prepared to handle increased business."
 
Atkinsons' supplements its holiday staff with temporary workers, often drawing on seasonal employees at Sun Valley Resort who are willing to work extra hours. Atkinsons' also offers a "great package" of benefits and wages, which helps reduce employee turnover, he said.
 
There were no difficulties in finding suppliers able to provide adequate inventory, he said, although a couple of deliveries were delayed because of weather. Atkinson had praise for Brian Christensen, city street superintendent, and the snow removal crews that have worked extra hours to keep the streets open.
 
LOT Chart The Mason family has three restaurants: Ketchum Grill, which opened in 1991; Enoteca, which opened in 2012; and Town Square Tavern, which opened in 2015.

The year-end holidays always are the busiest weeks of the year for his restaurants, Mason said. While Presidents Week is busy, it attracts many people who come only for the long weekend. Christmas and Near Year's, in contrast, bring in groups that stay for a week or more.
 
His restaurants typically operate at 70 to 80 percent of capacity during the rest of the year. Mason said he has been able to find adequate staffing although it is "always difficult." Restaurant employees historically have been more transient than employees in other occupations who may spend an entire career with a single employer. College students returning for vacation are a good source of holiday help, he said. Adequate inventory of food supplies is never a problem, he added.
 
They cope with the slow times by offering promotions to attract patrons and encouraging staff to take vacations then. It would be helpful, he said, if people were more flexible about the times they are willing to eat dinner, and if the community were to do more to encourage visits in the fall and summer. Special events definitely help, he said. "All in all, this is a great place and that's why people want to come here."
  Airline Chart
Jan Nelson, general manager at Formula Sports, agreed that special events in the shoulder season make it easier for businesses to cope with the ebb and flow of customers. She cited January visits by ski clubs and Fly Sun Valley Alliance air service promotions as very helpful to business.
 
Formula, which has been here for more than 30 years, also keeps a core staff year round, supplementing it with seasonal help during the busiest periods. The core staff, she noted, is busy making the transitions between ski equipment and bicycling equipment during the shoulder season.
 
This year was the one of the busiest holiday seasons she can remember, with lines for ski rentals extending from the second floor down the stairs, out the door and around the corner. Formula brought in additional rental skis from storage, but did run out of ski bags and heated boot bags.
 
The final word?
 
Nelson quoted 97-year-old Klaus Obermeyer, of the line of ski clothing the store carries: "Snow always makes us look really smart."

THANK YOU, SNOW REMOVAL CREW, FOR ROUND-THE-CLOCK WORK
Snow Hauling
Despite the complications of snow, we live here because we love our winter wonderland. Snow means dollars for our community and skiing is at its best. Thanks to the men and women who work through the night we can get out and enjoy the snow.
 
Ketchum's 13-member snow removal crew worked up to 16-hour-plus days since last Sunday (Jan. 6) to keep the city functioning.
During the three days in which 17 inches of snow fell, crews worked around the clock for a total of almost 600 hours. Snow removal operations so far used up more than half of its annual $172,000 budget.
 
The city's first objective during major storms is to keep at least one traffic lane open for emergency service vehicles and public transit. When the storm subsides, crews will widen streets and remove snow stored in the right of way and center parking lanes.
 
Snowplow routes are now posted on the city website so that you can find out when your street will be plowed. 
 
Snow removal operations become more difficult when people move snow from their property into the public right of way. This slows operations, adds to costs, and causes equipment to leave larger berms at the end of the driveways.

How You Can Help
  • Snow removed from driveways and walkways on private property must be placed elsewhere on your property or trucked away.
  • It is your responsibility to remove berms left across your driveway.
  • Vehicles must be removed from the streets between 2 and 7 a.m. You can sign up for alerts of snow removal operations.
  • Please do not allow children to play in the snow "forts" created by snow removal operations. Equipment operators may be unable to see them.
  • Property owners are required to clear ice and snow from adjacent walkways or sidewalks the same day that snow falls or within the first six hours of daylight the following day. Snow removed from sidewalks can be placed in the gutter section of the street, prior to 4 a.m., for pickup by city crews.
  • Residents are asked to clear snow from nearby fire hydrants if possible.
For questions about snowplowing operations, contact the street division at 726-7831. For questions about sidewalk snow removal, policy enforcement and parking, contact the police department at 726-7819.
 
Men at work ... 
Snow removal operations with 42,915 Facebook views.
BUSINESS NEWS
We're One of the Top 10 
Vogue Magazine has listed us as one of the top 10 places in the world to visit in 2017. It describes our "laid-back mountain-town feel (think Aspen in the '60s)."
WHAT WE'RE READING
NEWS AT A GLANCE
Get Involved!
Are you looking for ways to get involved and work toward positive change? Do you want to have influence in your community as well as at the state and national levels? Are you unsure about how to even start? Join the Idaho Conservation League on Thursday, Jan. 19, at 6 p.m. for "Get Involved 101." Speakers will answer your questions and provide steps for individuals to take. Additional information can be found here.

Hemingway School Plans to Expand to Grades 6-8
Ketchum's Hemingway School will expand to grades 6-8 with a focus on STEAM - science, technology, engineering, art and math integrated across subjects and throughout the learning experience. The Blaine County School District will hold informational meetings. Although the meetings will be geared to parents of fourth and fifth grade students, they are open to all.
 
The Ketchum meeting will be Tuesday, Jan. 24, at Hemingway School from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. and will be conducted in both English and Spanish.

City Council to Honor P&Z's Steve Cook
The City Council Tuesday plans to honor architect Steve Cook, who will retire as a member of the city Planning & Zoning Commission Feb. 3 after nine years of service.

P&Z Commission Meets Second Monday of Month 
In 2017, P&Z meetings will be held once a month. Click here for meeting schedule. 
 
Help Protect Wildlife in Town
Deep snow is prompting wildlife to come into town looking for food, so please be especially alert. Several elk have been spotted in the alley behind City Hall, and a herd of approximately 30 elk was on Fifth and Walnut streets in recent days. A moose has been seen in the vicinity of Wood River Drive several mornings. Be aware also that some species of yew plants are poisonous to wildlife. Last year, Blaine County declared the yew as a noxious weed in Ordinance No. 2016-01.
 
Map of ADA Parking Spaces Now Available
Want to know where parking spaces reserved for people with disabilities are located? A map is available here.
 
New Cover Art at First & Main
New Cover Art has been installed at First and Main streets, part of the city's program to place artistic elements on utility boxes. The artist is Rudi Broschofsky and sponsors are Aspen Skiing Company and McLaughlin Architects.
 
City Hall to Close Monday for Martin Luther King Jr. Day
City Hall will be closed on Monday, Jan. 16, for the Martin Luther King Jr. holiday. The regular City Council meeting schedule for the third Monday of the month will be on Tuesday, Jan. 17, at 5:30 p.m. instead.

Get Your "Ski for Air Service" Lift Ticket
Lift tickets for $40 are available for Sunday, Jan. 22, with proceeds going to support air service. Ticket must be purchased in advance.

Turn Off Engine Motors
Please remember that it is illegal to leave a vehicle unattended with the motor running. State law requires the operator to lock the ignition and remove the key from the ignition before leaving a vehicle.
MEETING INFORMATION
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan 17. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays of each month, except when a holiday falls on Monday, in Ketchum City Hall. Click here to see the agenda and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Planning and Zoning Commission 
Attend the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 13. P&Z meetings are held on the second Monday of each month in Ketchum City Hall. Click here for agendas and staff reports or scan the QR code.

Public Comment 
If you cannot attend the Council or P&Z meetings and would like to express an opinion, please submit your comments via email to participate@ketchumidaho.org. Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
Subscribers
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City of Ketchum
208-726-3841