Baldy Snow Nils Ribi
  Photo by Nils Ribi

City of Ketchum
P.O. Box 2315
480 East Avenue N.
Ketchum, Idaho 83340
"The Original Mountain Town"

November 13, 2014
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: Imagine Ketchum Without Small Businesses

Small Business Saturday Can you imagine Ketchum without any of our local businesses?


If you want to help create a year-round economy here, one of the best things you can do is shop locally on Nov. 29 - and every other day, for that matter.


Nov. 29 is "Small Business Saturday," created by a Senate resolution in recognition of the role that the nation's 28.2 million small businesses play in the economy.


Consider these statistics:

  • An estimated 141 million shoppers spent $57.4 billion on consumer purchases during Thanksgiving weekend last year. Shopping at independent, locally owned businesses puts 52 cents of every dollar back into the community.
  • Small businesses employ more than 48 percent of the employees in the private sector.
  • Small businesses pay more than 42 percent of the total payroll in the private sector.
  • Small businesses generated 63 percent of the net new jobs during the past 20 years.

Small businesses also make it possible for people to live in places like Ketchum. It is our local businesses that help attract tourists from all over the world, and provide the services that we need while we enjoy living here. Ketchum would be a very different place without our local businesses. Let our local businesses know that you value them by shopping here.


Meanwhile, enjoy the early snowfall and the cold snap. They're good omens for a prosperous and fun winter.




Email me at 



Does the city of Ketchum still enforce the dark sky ordinance? Several times over the past six to eight years I have called about neighbors who have 14 very obvious and bright "uplights" at the base of their trees. I watched these light fixtures be installed and was surprised the electricians were unaware of the ordinance. And now for the catch -- the 14 lights are owned by the city of Ketchum and are on city property! Please be the person who does something about this ridiculous situation. --Barbara Hurlbutt


The city has conducted a site inspection and found the lighting to be in violation of the Ketchum Municipal Code, Chapter 17.132 Dark Skies, which prohibits lights that point skyward. The city does not own the lights. As far as we have been able to determine, they were installed in the city's right of way without permission. We have sent an enforcement letter to the owner of the adjacent property and will remedy this situation. Thank you for your persistence. I am very sorry that this has not been handled previously.


YMCA Jason Frey
Jason Fry and Brian Dirksmeier
The YMCA in Ketchum may very well be the greenest Y in the country. "We're not quite ready to make that claim, but we're knocking on the door," CEO Jason Fry said.


This is the fourth year of concentrated efforts on sustainability, with projects ranging from LED lighting to the use of sphagnum moss in the pool filtration system. The sphagnum moss and the earlier switch to saline water reduce the use of chemicals and lower costs.


LED Approximately 800 lights were replaced with LED bulbs this year, saving more than 300,000 kilowatt hours annually. Although the lights cost about $150,000, the Y will receive a rebate of about $45,000 from Idaho Power and will reduce electricity costs $22,000 to $25,000 a year.


The efforts started in the fall of 2011 with a committee led by board member Page Jenner and Brian Dirksmeier, property manager. Other changes have included an upgraded heating and air conditioning system, improved insulation, installation of water bottle filling stations to reduce plastic bottle use and an annual energy audit.


Future plans include construction of a Greenhouse Learning Lab and a possible complete overhaul of the heating, air conditioning and ventilation system. Replacing the boiler system and installing heat recovery ventilators to save natural gas costs is under consideration, and the Y is exploring whether this reduced energy consumption would make the building suitable for an emergency shelter in the Ketchum/Sun Valley area.


The Y team has worked with the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee, a volunteer city agency, to gather information about energy savings and spread the word across the country.


Fundraising was an initial challenge. "Some people were reluctant to donate money for what they initially viewed as little more than new light bulbs. Once we explained the importance, they understood," Fry said.


All of the changes are saving the Y from $50,000 to $75,000 a year, a significant figure for an organization with an annual budget of a little under $2.5 million, he said.


The Y's three focus areas are youth development, healthy living and social responsibility.


"Our focus on social responsibility is at the forefront of the entire national Y movement," Fry said. "We can share our successes with Y's and other facilities across the country as well as the community as a whole."



What exactly is the Ketchum Traffic Authority? We've had a couple of references to the Traffic Authority in recent newsletters, and learned that many people are unfamiliar with it.

As is indicated by its name, the authority discusses all issues concerning traffic. If you have a complaint or a suggestion for improving traffic or pedestrian safety, the Ketchum Traffic Authority will discuss the issue before it goes to the City Council and make a recommendation.


Members also discuss improvements such as the recent decision to allow only right turns at the intersection of Fourth and Main streets, parking considerations such as whether angled or parallel parking is preferable in specific locations, speeding concerns, bus stop locations, RV parking and signage.


The authority was formed by resolution in 2006 and meets monthly or more frequently if necessary. Members are City Council Member Michael David, Chief of Police Dave Kassner, interim Planning and Building Director Linda Haavik, and Street Superintendent Street Brian Christiansen.


If you would like to bring an issue to the Traffic Authority's attention, send an email to


A proposal to allow four-story buildings in portions of downtown Ketchum will be the subject of a community meeting on Friday, Nov. 21, as well as be presented to the Ketchum Planning and Zoning Commission on Monday, Nov. 24.

Downtown West Slope Sub District

The current zoning code allows four-story community or "affordable" housing in the Community Core Zoning District.


The proposed change would allow four stories in the 12.5-block area bounded by the alley between Main Street and Washington Avenue, Second Avenue, and 1st and 6th Streets for market-rate housing. "The sloping topography in this 12.5-city block area is appropriate for taller buildings," Lisa Horowitz of the Sego Planning Group in Hailey wrote in a letter to the city. This means that the additional height can be accommodated "without compromising our public views of Baldy and the surrounding peaks."


Horowitz said the Sego Planning Group represents several property owners in the area.


The Nov. 21 community meeting will be from 4-6 p.m. at The Community Library. Concepts will be presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Nov. 24 at 5:30 p.m. "Our goal is to get feedback at these two meetings before we prepare any kind of formal zoning change to submit to the city," Horowitz said.


Also on the Nov. 24 P&Z agenda is a proposal from Bald Mountain Lodge, to be built on Main Street, to have one floor rather than two floors of underground parking and to lower the building height by a few feet. The redesign will still meet city parking requirements.


Both items are on the agenda for discussion purposes only and no action is scheduled.


2011 Christmas Tree Installation

A 35-foot Norway spruce will grace Ketchum's Town Square this year, thanks to the generosity of Susan Reinstein and Brian Ross. The couple owned a tree that had grown too large for its space and needed to be removed. Alpine Tree Service donated a portion of the cost of professional tree removal, crane work and placement of the tree at Town Square. Formal lighting ceremonies will be Dec. 3.


"Occasionally, trees in urban settings need to be removed," Juerg Stauffacher, parks and natural resources superintendent said. "We are fortunate to find another wonderful purpose for the tree during the holiday season."


"We are happy the tree will add to the lovely downtown holiday season. Our gift is to the entire community that we love," the donors said. Kingsley Murphy helped the city in arranging the donation.


The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency will have two appointed board member seats open Jan. 5, when the terms of Chairman Mark Eshman and Vice Chairman Trish Wilson expire. If you are interested in applying, submit your letter of interest to Secretary/Treasurer Sandy Cady.
In other KURA news, Windermere Real Estate has become the third tenant of the KURA-owned building that already houses the Ketchum-Sun Valley Visitor Center and Starbucks. Windermere was the only applicant for the vacant 400 square feet in the building.
Also, live streaming of Urban Renewal Agency meetings will begin with the Nov. 17 meeting at 3 p.m. at City Hall. Live streaming of City Council meetings and Planning and Zoning Commission meetings began earlier this year.
Click here or visit to view the meetings.


Visit KIC's Library for Entrepreneurs

Miss some of the recent programs for entrepreneurs sponsored by the Ketchum Innovation Center? Click here for information from the presentations.


Gourlay to Report on Economic Development

City Council Member Baird Gourlay, liaison to Sun Valley Economic Development, will report to City Council on the organization's activities at the Nov. 17 meeting at 5:30 p.m. This is part of a new schedule of regular reports to the council on organizations receiving city funds.  


1% for Air Nets $1.6 Million in 1st 9 Months

The 1 percent local-option tax for air service has resulted in collections of $1.6 million through Sept. 30 in the cities of Ketchum, Sun Valley and Hailey. This is slightly over the original projection.


Mayor Nina Jonas
Fire Chief Mike Elle
Ketchum Director of Parks & Recreation Jennifer L. Smith

City May Give up Right of Way Near Former Bavarian Village

The City Council Monday will discuss giving the right of way for Wick Strasse Street to the owners of nearby lots, Dennis Hanggi and the Glen H. Hamilton Trust. In return, the city may request that water rights for a well on the property be transferred to the city and will require that any buildings constructed on the lots use city water. Wick Strasse Street, south of Rember Street off of Bird Drive, has been privately maintained in the past and served the Bavarian Village apartments, which were demolished several years ago. The property is vacant, and there are no current applications for development of the site. Click here to read the staff report. 


City Clerk Recognized

City Clerk/Treasure Sandy Cady, who started working for the city in 1974, is featured in the current issue of the Idaho City Clerks, Treasurers & Finance Officers Association publication. See Page 9.
Storm "Watch," "Warning" or "Advisory"?
What's the difference between a winter storm "watch," "warning" and "advisory"? Find out from the National Weather Service during Winter Weather Awareness Week.


Wastewater Bond Refinancing Completed

Ketchum has completed the refinancing of 2004 and 2006 wastewater bonds, saving the city a total of $134,044.24.


Housing Authority to Receive Lift Lower Lodge

The Lift Tower Lodge will be turned into affordable housing, thanks to an anonymous donation to the Blaine County Housing Authority. The 3,100-square-foot motel with its iconic ski lift tower has long been a landmark at the southern entrance to Ketchum. It ceased operations as a motel last month. 

Caritas Chorale: 'I Hear America Singing'

The Caritas Chorale will give concerts on Saturday, Nov. 15, at 7 p.m. and Sunday, Nov. 16, at 3 p.m. at the Church of the Bigwood. The concert, "I Hear America Singing," will feature works from American composers and takes its name from the poem by Walt Whitman. Caritas is a non-profit organization that encourages and promotes musical education and appreciation in the Wood River Valley. 


Outdoor Ice Rink to Open When Weather Permits

The Christina Potter Outdoor Ice Rink at Atkinson Park is expected to open in December, although there is still no firm date for its opening.  



The Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation will hold its 37th annual "Wild West Game Dinner" to benefit young skiers on Saturday, Nov. 15. The Ketchum and Sun Valley Volunteer Firefighters' Association will have the 35th annual Firefighters' Ball on Saturday, Nov. 22, at 8 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques.


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 17. 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, Nov. 24, 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 Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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