Chalk Wall
Sophia Miller, Charlotte Cox and Doran Key display their art on the Chalk Art Wall at Atkinson Park

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

September 30, 2016
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Idaho's State Water Plan

The Idaho Water Resource Board (IWRB) is charged with formulating and implementing a State Water Plan, financing water projects, and operating programs that support sustainable management of Idaho's water resources.

The most recent version of the Idaho State Water Plan was adopted in 2012. In May of 2016, at the request of Governor Otter, IWRB proposed the addition of a new sustainability section to the plan. Over the last several months, the board has held a series of public meetings, including one in Hailey in June, to discuss the proposed language and the topic more broadly. The city of Ketchum attended that meeting and submitted written comments to the board requesting that the state provide a number of concrete tools, with specific examples, to help us advance our continuing efforts to become a model city in the way we manage our water resources.  

We are committed to protecting the water needs of our residents and the integrity of our vital natural waters, being a good upstream citizen, and collaborating in larger community water management efforts. The city's comments can be found here.

It is an honor to serve you.


Q. I thought the Lift Tower Lodge was designed for low-income housing. I have heard that construction workers for the Limelight Hotel are leasing rooms there at below-market rates. Why is the city allowing this to happen?
A. The city has been working with the Blaine County Housing Authority, which owns and operates the Lift Tower Lodge, to determine whether this is an appropriate use of the hotel. The housing authority's conditional use permit from the city allows it to offer short-term housing for low-income individuals in need of transitional or seasonal housing. The Planning and Zoning Commission had two meetings to review compliance of the conditional use permit. At the first meeting, the commissioners and staff questioned if a corporate contract renting blocks of rooms qualified under the permit. Blaine County Housing Authority argued that providing housing to construction workers alleviates the pressure on free market rentals for others. At the second meeting on September 26, the commissioners determined that the Blaine County Housing Authority is in compliance with their conditional use permit.

Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.
Stay involved. Included here are links to the Monday, Oct. 3, Council agenda, Council meeting information and a survey on the 2016 Wagon Days events. The survey asks what we can do better in preparation of the celebration of the 60th year since the start of Wagon Days. Survey closes at 9 a.m., Monday, Oct. 3.

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 taking this week's survey, attending Monday's meeting beginning at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall, 480 East Ave., N., or sending an email to Thank you, Nina    
Shoulder Highway 75 is now safer for pedestrians and bicyclists between Saddle Road and the Knob Hill Inn, thanks to a request from the city of Ketchum to the Idaho Transportation Department (ITD).
Mayor Nina Jonas identified widening of the shoulder as a priority in terms of safety and in response to requests from residents.  
ITD had concerns over snow storage and its ability to reach utilities in the right of way, yet work on widening the shoulder on the east side of the highway is now complete, with the shoulder paved with asphalt. Original plans by ITD were to use only road mix, a combination of gravel and sand.
The 5- to 6-foot extension will not be striped as a bicycle lane, but will make bicycle and pedestrian travel much safer. "The shoulder previously was narrow or non-existent and there was a steep drop-off," said Mayor Nina Jonas. "We met with ITD on the need for this unsafe and well-utilized area and are pleased they agreed with our concern." The Idaho Transportation Department is paying for the project. 
The long-term goal is to have a separated path along the east side of the highway, as recommended in the Blaine County Community Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, however ITD does not cover the costs of separate paths.

Two celebrations coincide in Ketchum this month: Hispanic Heritage Month and next weekend's Trailing of the Sheep Festival. Both acknowledge the mix of culture and commerce that makes our community such a vibrant place today.

John Hailey,  an early pioneer in the northwest, is credited with bringing the first sheep into the Wood River Valley in the late 1860s. Sheep were the first local industry. By 1890 there were a reported 614,000 sheep in Idaho. By 1918, the sheep population was estimated at 2.65 million, almost six times the human population. It was not until 1970 that humans outnumbered sheep in Idaho.

Generations ago, it was mostly  Basque and  Scottish  workers who herded the sheep in the Idaho back-country.  Today, there are only a handful of Basque sheepherders left and it is Peruvian herders who have taken over this difficult job.  T heir skill and presence is vital in preserving Idaho's sheepherding heritage.

The  Peruvian population in the Wood River Valley today is growing as sheepherders' friends and families learn of Idaho and come to work other occupations, adding cultural diversity and support to our economy.  

Blaine County today has 4,442 Hispanics, making up 20.7 percent of the county's population. Hispanics make up about 9 percent of Ketchum's population. The percentage in both Ketchum and Blaine County has been growing in recent years. We join them in celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs  Sept. 15-Oct. 15 .

Bus Shelter
The city of Ketchum, Mountain Rides and The Community School are working together on a new bus shelter as part of the city's commitment to a multi-modal environment and art in public places. 
Bus Stop
When The Community School received permission to locate a dormitory in the light industrial area, a shelter at a nearby bus stop was a condition of the approval. Ketchum Arts Commission Chair Trina Peters, whose daughter is a student at the school, saw this as an opportunity. She recalled that local artist Karen Jacobsen had prepared artwork for a proposed transit hub in downtown Ketchum. Jacobsen agreed to modify the work to fit the sides of the bus shelter at Saddle Road and Northwood Way. She will receive a stipend for this project from donations to the Ketchum Arts Commission. 
The city has adopted a new standard for the design of bus shelters. All bus shelters will follow the basic format shown in the attached sketch. Additional requirements include the following:
  • Main structural components will be made of wood.
  • Uprights must be vertical to allow for placement of signage.
  • Walls may be made of glass, metal or wood although as much glass as possible is desirable for better visibility.
  • At least three sides must be fully enclosed for protection from the weather.
  • An information post for an electronic display must be planned on the street side of the concrete pad and separate from the shelter. There must be a solar panel to power the display.
  • Ski/snowboard racks must be incorporated into the shelter design.
  • A single bike rack must be located on the concrete pad adjacent to the shelter.
  • Sizes of shelters may vary.
Ketchum currently has only two bus shelters, which are located across from each other on Warm Springs Road at the YMCA. 

Ketchum is expected to join cities across the nation next week in passing proclamations recognizing three significant events.

Child Health Day
Monday is proclaimed as Child Health Day, acknowledging the importance of the health of future generations. The president of the United States has proclaimed Child Health Day every year since 1928.

Mental Illness Awareness Week
Next week, Oct. 2-8, will be recognized as Mental Illness Awareness Week. The goal of the national observance is "to shine a light on mental illness and fight stigma, provide support, educate the public and advocate for equal care." Citizens are encouraged to take the #StigmaFree pledge. Information about the Wood River Valley chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness is available here.
Hispanic Heritage Month
Hispanic Heritage Month in the United States ends Oct. 15, with four weeks dedicated to recognizing the contributions of Hispanic and Latino Americans. Mayor Jonas and City Council will support the effort to work on getting the Latino community registered and represented at the ballot box on Election Day. Look for information on this event in future newsletter.

The month, observed every year since 1968, begins on Sept. 15, the anniversary of independence of five Latin American countries: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico, Chile and Belize also celebrate their independence days during this period and Columbus Day (Día de la Raza) is Oct. 12.
Approximately 17 percent of the American population is of Hispanic or Latino origin. The figure is estimated at 9 percent in Ketchum and 21 percent in Blaine County.
Firm Hired to Fill Vacancy at Visit Sun Valley 
SearchWide, which focuses on finding executives for destination marketing organizations, has been selected to help find a new president for Visit Sun Valley. Former President Arlene Schieven resigned last summer.    
Flag at Half Staff
Flags are at half staff until sunset Friday in memory of Shimon Peres, former president and prime mininster of Israel, at the direction of President Barack Obama. 
The community housing workshop scheduled for Friday, Oct. 21, has been postponed until Thursday, Nov. 17. More information will following in upcoming newsletters.

Mayor Jonas Walks for Girls on the Run
This year, Mayor Nina Jonas joins the 2016 Mayor's School Walking Challenge. This year, she will contribute any winnings she earns to Girls on the Run. Hemingway students will help her earn bonus steps while she walks with them during their Way-Ta-Walker Program. Last year, Mayor Jonas reached the 10,000 step milestone and received $1,000, which she donated to the Hemingway Elementary School's new playground. 

Energy Upgrades Underway at Atkinson Park
Work is underway on energy upgrades at the parks & recreation department's administration offices and recreation center at Atkinson Park. Upgrades include replacing inefficient heating and lighting items, installing occupancy sensors to trigger lighting, and installing circulation fans that will help correct the building's temperature zone irregularities. The roof on the 20-year-old building also will be replaced this fall.
Ribbon Cutting for Craters of the Moon Sculptures
Formal ceremonies for the installation of John Grade's Spur will be at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the fork in the Wood River Trail just south of Serenade Lane.

Middlebrook The city will host a ribbon cutting for the installation of the second sculpture, Homage to the Limber Pine, by Jason Middlebrook, Thursday, Oct. 20, at 11:30 a.m. in Little Park on Fifth Street behind the Ore Wagon Museum.

Both sculptures have been on display at Craters of the Moon. The city and private donors contributed to the sculptures commissioned by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts. 
New Home for Chalk Art
The Chalk Art wall, formerly located in Little Park, is now in Atkinson Park near Hemingway Elementary School. The wall, a 9,000-pound concrete remnant donated to the city by Elias Construction two years ago, has been a blank "canvas" where community members create drawings or messages. The move was to make room for the Jason Middlebrook sculpture Homage to the Limber Pine, which will be dedicated Oct. 20. (See previous reminder.)
The city thanks Ketchum Arts Commission member, Adam Elias (Elias Construction), Earth & Structure, and private donations to the Ketchum Arts Commission for covering all costs associated with the chalk wall move.
Sidewalk Work to Begin 
Rebuilding of sidewalks, curbs and gutters is underway at various locations throughout Ketchum. You will see workers on Sixth Street, First Avenue, First Street and Second Avenue,  Sun Valley Road, Warm Springs Road and Howard Street. Locating a contractor for smaller jobs has been very difficult. The city is pleased that a one-week window became available, and expects completion by Oct. 9, weather permitting.
Tennis Court Construction has Begun 
The 40-year-old public tennis courts at Atkinson Park have been closed for reconstruction.They will reopen as weather permits next spring.
Tennis Court 
Mayor to Speak at Veterans Program
Mayor Nina Jonas will speak at a 5-kilometer fun run launching 5B Realtors for Veterans, a new program sponsored by the Sun Valley Board of Realtors Community Foundation to assist veterans and their families with housing. The ceremonies will begin Saturday, Oct. 1, at 9:45 a.m. in Lions Park in Hailey. For additional information, go to or call 726-7764. 

Dark Skies Movement Gathering Momentum
The Dark Skies movement is gathering momentum, with Blaine County commissioners recently discussing a Dark Sky Reserve. In addition, Goblin Valley State Park has become Utah's second Dark Sky Park. Ketchum was the first city in Idaho to pass a Dark Skies ordinance.
River Street Temporarily Closed
River Street is closed between Main Street and Washington Avenue through Oct. 14 for construction at the nearby Limelight Hotel.
Coming Up at City Council and Planning & Zoning 
The City Council meeting agenda for Monday, Oct. 3, includes a request to extend the development agreement for the Warm Springs Ranch area. A request from the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee for approval to submit a recommendation to the Public Utilities Commission is also on the agenda. Mayor Jonas is asking that they require Idaho Power Company to conduct an independent cost-benefit analysis of energy reliability solutions for Blaine County prior to approval of the proposed redundant transmission line.

The Planning & Zoning Commission Oct. 10 will consider the application for a gas station, convenience store and food service establishment (Bracken Station) at 911 North Main St.  

Monthly Billing for City Utilities to Start
The city will switch to monthly, rather than quarterly billing, for water and sewer service customers starting Oct. 1. 
Airport to Close Oct. 3-5 
Friedman Memorial Airport will be closed for runway maintenance from 8 a.m. on Monday, Oct. 3, through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. Please consider this when you are making travel plans. 
Adams Gulch Bridge Closure Oct. 4
Both traffic lanes will be closed at the Adams Gulch Bridge for approximately two hours from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 4, to remove a dead tree.
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 3. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Monday of each month 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 meetings at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 10. P&Z meetings are held on the second and fourth 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 Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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