Celebrating Independence Day at the "Chalk Art" Wall in Little Park                                                                Photo by Jen Smith

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

July 2, 2015
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Getting the Job Done

Every year the city is legally required to construct a budget appropriating funds towards city functions. I am proposing a fiscal and environmentally sustainable budget for 2015/2016. This budget focuses on maintaining excellent city services and facilities, managing water and energy resources conservatively and providing for projects that enliven our quality of life and promote Ketchum as an excellent place to live and invest.


We took steps in this direction last year, and the proposed budget continues to implement my vision for key fiscal responsibility and environmental sensitivity.


Conscientious resource management is critical to the viability of our city. What would the future be if we were to continue to use 100 percent of the resources we have available? Preventing environmental damage will have a beneficial effect on our environment and keep our city strong and ready for tomorrow.


With the recession, city department budget cuts made it difficult to maintain city facilities and services. Decisions were made to eliminate ineffective programs. With improved revenues, the city is on the road to recovery and can refocus on needed infrastructure improvements and city services.


A number of benefits accompany this redistribution of funds: Sidewalks will be built and streetlights will be added, conserving energy and expanding the town's walkability by improving safety for our pedestrians; city irrigation improvements will be made to conserve both energy and water; a police officer will be added to protect our values by enforcing ordinances; investment in community housing will be made to acquire and rehabilitate existing housing stock; the city's technology will be updated in order to increase document availability and work efficiency; the Ketchum Arts Commission will orchestrate the enrichment of the sense of our community and aesthetics with art projects; Guy Coles Skate Park will be improved to promote development of alternative recreation; and an internship program will be developed to both conserve funds and to connect with millennials and new ideas.


My goal is to encourage development of year-round businesses by supporting Ketchum Community Development Corporation's Ketchum Innovation Center and Sun Valley Economic Development, and promote tourism and retention of tourism-based business with marketing through Visit Sun Valley. Affordable housing is a critical need in Ketchum. Phase II of the zoning rewrite will stimulate affordable housing by encouraging small-unit development. To accommodate our anticipated increase in business development and year-round residents, we will continue to support Mountain Rides to maintain mobility and improved accessibility to our valued businesses and amenities.


We all want results and I am anxious to get the job done! Join me in building today for tomorrow.




Copies of the proposed budget are now available online at www.ketchumidaho.org and the City Council will begin taking public comments at our meeting Monday, July 6, at 5:30 p.m. This is the time to speak up, either at a public meeting or via email to participate@ketchumidaho.org . 

I want to encourage the reconstruction of the tennis courts at Atkinson Park. This is a great location for courts and a valuable asset to the city. The surfaces of the courts have deteriorated, which not only affects play but also makes them more slippery and dangerous when they are moist or covered with leaves.
--Peter Pressley

We are aware of the condition of the tennis courts and agree they are a great resource in the community. The projected cost to reconstruct the courts is $160,000. We are seeking grant funding and expect to hear whether funding will be available in 2016.

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.
Ketchum Police Community Service Officer Wes Whitesell

What should you do if you see a dog in a car on one of these 90-degree summer days? In Ketchum, call the police. Not only will they respond, but they will have specific authority to remove an endangered pet if the City Council passes a proposed ordinance at its meeting on Monday, July 6, at 5:30 p.m.


Police have received more than 20 calls so far this year about dogs being locked in cars in hot weather, Police Chief David Kassner said. The ordinance is needed because Idaho law fails to give police explicit authority to enter a vehicle when an animal appears to be in danger.


Currently, if the department receives a call about an animal in possible danger, an officer will go to the vehicle and attempt to find the owner. The officer will enter the vehicle only if the animal appears to be in immediate danger, but will remain by the vehicle until the owner returns to discuss the situation.


The proposed ordinance would give officers legal authority to remove an animal, as well as guidelines calling for removal if the animal is frothing at the mouth or appears to be unable to move.


"Usually, it's lack of education," Community Service Officer Wes Whitesell said. "People don't realize how quickly vehicles heat up."


For example, he aimed the department's scanner last week at the interior of a car that had been left in the sun in 84-degree weather for an hour last week. The scanner registered a temperature of 141 degrees on the front seat.


Although the department receives dozens of calls each summer, Ketchum police recall only one incident in which they entered a car, using a special device to unlock the door, to save a dog because they were unable to reach the owner. In this case, Kassner said, the owner was very happy that police had intervened. In all other cases, they have been able to locate owners before the situation became critical.


The proposed ordinance calls for a $100 fine for a first offense and a $250 fine for  a subsequent offense if a person leaves "a companion animal unattended in a standing or parked vehicle in a manner or under conditions that endanger the animal's safety or health."


It gives police the authority to "use reasonable force under the above circumstances to enter a vehicle and remove the companion animal after first making a reasonable attempt to contact the animal's owner. The officer removing the animal shall use reasonable means to contact the owner of the companion animal to arrange for its return home. Absent contact with the owner, the animal will be taken to a veterinary clinic if emergency care is needed and after a reasonable amount of time to the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley."  


"We expect the ordinance to pass, and we hope that other communities and the state legislature will follow our lead," Mayor Nina Jonas said.

Ketchum police are hoping to see no violations of fireworks laws for the second year in a row, Ketchum Police Chief David Kassner said.


"After two major forest fires in recent years, people are realizing the dangers of aerial fireworks, which are illegal in Idaho," he added. "We used to write 10 to 15 citations a year. Last year was the first Fourth I remember when we saw no violations."


Nevertheless, he said the department intends to continue its aggressive stance against illegal fireworks, and a new state law will make it easier to enforce laws prohibiting aerial fireworks.


The city's roadside electric signboards also are reminding people of the danger from fireworks. "We've received lots of good comments about the one with the message, 'Don't be that guy,'" he said.


Violators now can be charged with an infraction, rather than a misdemeanor, making it easier for officers to write citations, he said. The fine for a violation is a fixed fee of $154.50, while the fine for a misdemeanor is up to the judge in each case.


All firecrackers and aerial fireworks are illegal in Ketchum. Fireworks also are illegal if they emit sparks that go more than 20 feet in the air or travel outside a circle 15 feet in diameter. This means that bottle rockets, "jumping jacks" and similar products, as well as aerial fireworks, are illegal for personal use.


It is legal to celebrate with sparklers, smoke bombs, "snakes," ground spinners and fountains less than 20 feet high.


However, if a fire starts because of fireworks, the person responsible may be held liable for damages.


Fireworks are not the only danger, of course. A discarded cigarette started a quarter-acre fire along the Wood River Trail just north of the bridge near St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center Monday. Ketchum firefighters were able to bring it under control quickly, thanks to their summertime procedure of staging a brush fire truck at City Hall.


Ketchum firefighters also responded to calls of unattended campfires left smoldering in Corral Creek and the Warm Springs area this week. They were able to extinguish both before they spread.


"There is a large amount of cottonwood seed this year because of the heavy May rains," Fire Chief Mike Elle said. "Cottonwood seed burns very easily and spreads fire rapidly across the ground. This year an errant spark from a cigarette or a firework could start a large fire very easily, and we are urging people to be especially careful."


Open burning is illegal in Ketchum and nearby areas until further notice because of dry conditions and record high temperatures. 


Details on the law in Ketchum are at http://ketchumidaho.org/index.aspx?NID=166.


city eases rules on plants in rights of way

Revised city standards will permit plants in the right of way, as long as they are at least eight feet away from the edge of asphalt.


The city originally had proposed prohibiting new plantings in the right of way, but agreed to modify the regulations after a meeting with local landscaping companies. Provisions still must be made for vehicular parking and drainage, and no buried irrigation systems will be allowed.


Complete right-of-way standards are available online in the July 6 meeting packet.


The regulations apply to new work in the right of way. Improvements currently in the right of way will be allowed to remain unless they are creating issues such as reducing parking or limiting visibility at intersections. Property owners may be required to remove them if major work is done.


The following diagrams show new development standards for 60-foot, 80-foot and 100-foot rights of way.   

flush report

The volume of wastewater entering our treatment plant indicates how busy our community is.  As population increases, so does wastewater as more people flush toilets, wash dishes, and take showers. Flows generally peak around this time each year, as well as the year-end holidays and Presidents Day weekend. The graph below shows how wastewater flow to the treatment facility, which also serves Sun Valley, varied during the past 12 months. 


The record high was July 4, 2006 with with 2.3 million gallons process; the lowest, 770,000 gallons on May 10, 2013.


Who Can Afford a Two-Bedroom Apartment?

How much do you have to make to rent a two-bedroom apartment in Idaho? The figure is $13.56 per hour, according to a recent report by CityLab. Minimum-wage workers would have to work 59 hours a week to afford even a one-bedroom apartment.


Rentals are much higher in Ketchum, and the city is working on this issue with the Blaine County Housing Authority. It found that the average price for two-bedroom rentals in the Ketchum/Sun Valley area over a five-month period was $1,605 per month, requiring a wage of $32.10 per hour.


The City Council will continue its discussion of community housing at its meeting Monday, July 6, at 5:30 p.m.


What's Happening at the Limelight Hotel?

The final Construction Management Plan for the Limelight Hotel, being built on Main Street between River and First streets, is available. Subcontractors will park at the River Run ski area and take shuttles to and from the site. Although the east sidewalk between River and First streets will be closed, two traffic lanes will remain open on all streets. Aspen Ski Company plans to break ground after the Fourth of July weekend. 


Ketchum Objects to Idaho Power Proposal on Alternative Energy Contracts

A proposed community solar farm between Ketchum and Hailey "would in effect be halted" if the Idaho Public Utilities Commission reduces the required length of alternative energy contracts from 10 years to two years, Mayor Nina Jonas said in a letter to the PUC. The Ketchum City Council voted earlier this year to go on record against the proposal.

Click here for the press release. 


Construction is Up This Year - Way Up

Building permits issued through June 30 show a total value of $35 million, almost $1 million more than all of 2014. If as many are issued in the second half of the year, they will equal the 2006 total of $70 million and come close to the 2005 peak of $75 million.   

Ribbon Cutting for New Airport Terminal on July 2

A ribbon cutting today, July 2, at 5 p.m. will mark the opening of the new terminal and runway safety area at Friedman Memorial Airport. In other airport news, United has added weekend flights to and from Denver and San Francisco Sept. 9-20.


Sen. Cory Booker to Speak at Sun Valley Forum on Resilience

The inaugural Sun Valley Forum on Resilience will be held July 12 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the Walnut Avenue Mall. Keynote speaker will be Sen. Cory A. Booker, who will discuss rebuilding after Hurricane Sandy and economic resurgence in Newark. 


Chip Sealing Schedule for Alleys Set

Chip sealing in alleys in the community core will take place Aug. 11-12, while chip sealing on residential streets in west Ketchum will be July 13-15.



Remember Summer Water Restrictions

We're all in the drought together, so please remember that municipal water customers must irrigate lawns and gardens before 10 a.m. or after 5 p.m. There are some exceptions for new plantings or drip systems that minimize evaporation. If you see daytime sprinklers running at a vacant building or have a neighbor who fails to respond to a gentle reminder, please contact participate@ketchumidaho.com. Read Ordinance 587


Seventh Annual Art on Fourth Sculptures Installed

Sculpture on loan from five regional artists has been installed in Town Square and along the Fourth Street Heritage Corridor as part of the city's seventh annual Art on Fourth Exhibition. Selections range from a life-size bronze deer to a 10-foot high human figure


Learn More About Noxious Weeds

If you're relatively new to Idaho, you may be unfamiliar with the problem of noxious weeds, non-native invasive species that can cause significant damage to the landscape. Even though some produce attractive flowers, it is illegal to allow them to grow on your property. Click here for photos of common noxious weeds and sources of additional information.


Want to Know Where to Go Fish?

Want to know where to find river access? Click on the links for the Blaine County Recreation District's map showing locations and a summary of fishing regulations.

Honors for Ketch'em Alive

Sneak Preview: Idaho Mountain Express readers have given the city's Ketch'em Alive free concert series a first-place gold medal as the "Best Free Event" and a second-place silver as "Best Live Music." The results will be published next month. Concerts are Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Forest Service Park


Curtis Kemp Leaves Ketchum Arts Commission

Former City Council member and Ketchum Arts Commission member Curtis Kemp is now breakfast and lunch host at Gretchen's restaurant at the Sun Valley Resort. In a charming note of resignation from the arts commission, he wrote, "At the age of 72, I have not only found a new leaf, but have managed to summon the strength to turn it over." We appreciate all the hours he has spent serving the city, and wish him well.


Featured Online

Read about Ketchum and summer fun in Sports Guide Mag and Matador Network articles.


No Open Burning

Permission for burning has been suspended in Ketchum and surrounding communities until further notice because of forecasted record high temperatures, low humidity and high vegetation growth. (See early story on fireworks and fire danger.)


Wastewater Plant Fish Are Flourishing

The city wastewater plant keeps fish in water recycled for use at golf courses as a demonstration of the water's safety, and the fish are flourishing. They've grown so much, in fact, that two of them no longer fit in the tank. They have a new home in the Weyyakin pond.


Ore Wagon Museum Rooftop Solar Project Ready to Begin

The city has authorized OWM Solar LLC of Ketchum to install a solar electricity system on the roof of the city-owned Ore Wagon Museum. The system will feed the power grid and offset electricity use at City Hall. Installation is scheduled for completion in early August.


Trailing of the Sheep Receives Grant

The Idaho Commission on the Arts and the National Endowment for the Arts have awarded a $4,000 grant to the Trailing of the Sheep Festival to assist with bringing in top artists, writers, musicians, dancers and storytellers. The commission said the festival is "authentic, community driven, a grass-roots effort and true to itself."


Highway 75 Bridge to Be Widened

The Idaho Department of Transportation plans to start widening the bridge over the Big Wood River on Highway 75 just south of town from three to four lanes starting next February. Completion of the project is anticipated in November 2018.


It's a Boy for the Salinas Family

Balthazar Salinas, a long-time irrigation specialist in the parks and recreation department, and his wife, Margo, had a baby boy, Gael Salinas Romero, born Tuesday in Mexico.


City Offices to Close Friday

Ketchum city offices will be closed Friday, July 3, for the Fourth of July holiday.


July Filled with Fundraisers

The month of July is filled with fundraisers for our local nonprofits. The Sun Valley Opera's Diva Gala is tonight at 6:30 p.m. Higher Ground Sun Valley will hold its annual fundraising dinner on July 6. The 13th Annual Kickball Tournament, hosted by Higher Ground Sun Valley and Idaho Basecamp, will be at Atkinson Park on Sunday, July 19. The Swiftsure Ranch Cowboy Ball, benefiting the therapeutic equestrian center, will be Thursday, July 9. The Dog Days of Summer annual benefit for the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley is set for Thursday, July 16.      


Antiques Show Opens Tomorrow

The Ketchum Art & Antiques Show, 40-years old and described by Country Living magazine as one of the "Top 100" antique shows in the country, runs Friday, July 3, through Sunday, July 5, at Forest Service Park.  


Sun Valley Story Tours Start Friday, July 10

Hop on a bus at the Visitor Center on Sun Valley Road Fridays and hear former City Administrator Jim Jaquet and former state Rep. Wendy Jaquet talk about the community's history. Free tours start at 10:15 a.m. every Friday, July 10 through the Labor Day weekend. The Ore Wagon Museum also is open on Fridays, after the tour from 11:30 a.m. to noon. 


Wood River Studio Tour Festivities Begin Tomorrow

Activities connected with the Wood River Studio Tour will start tomorrow, July 3, with the opening of The Mosaic Project, a display of 70 locally made works of art, at the Visitor Center. The studio tour will be held Aug. 22-23 this year rather than in the fall.


Join the Gallery Walk on July 10

Sun Valley Gallery Association members will host a Gallery Walk from 5-8 p.m. on Friday, July 10.


Ketchum Arts Festival Starts Next Weekend

More than 100 artists will sell items ranging from wind chimes to wardrobe accessories at the Ketchum Arts Festival, Friday, July 10, through Sunday, July 12, at Festival Meadow. 


Dance Troupe to Perform Around Town

The Ketchum Arts Commission will bring Good Company: Home Brew, an eight-person dance troupe from Seattle, for three free performances in Ketchum on Saturday, July 18. Dancers include Wood River Valley natives and troupe members Molly Sides and Ali Maricich, as well as local dance students.



Chip sealing on residential streets in west Ketchum will take place July 13-15, and in some alleys on Aug. 11 and 12 ... The city co-sponsors three free concerts every week: Ketch'em Alive on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in Forest Service Park, Town Square Tunes on Thursdays at 6 p.m. in Town Square, and Jazz in the Park on Sundays at Rotary Park.


July 6 Agenda Items

The City Council agenda for Monday, July 6, includes the first discussion of next year's budget, an ordinance that would give police authority to remove endangered animals from vehicles on hot days, a building code amendment governing the length of projects and continuing discussion of the city's community housing strategy. See early stories in this newsletter on the budget, animal protection and community housing.


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 6. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Mondays 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 
Planning and Zoning Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month. The next P&Z meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 13 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 have an opinion, please submit your comments via email to participate@ketchumidaho.org. Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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