Cover Art by Marie Stewart, "Aura of Ketchum," located at corner of Washington Avenue and First Street  

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

July 30, 2015
In This Issue

A Message from Mayor Nina Jonas: Crafting a New Approach to Funding Outside Agencies

The city of Ketchum will be taking a proactive and collaborative approach towards contract negotiations with the outside agencies the city funds for transit, marketing, business incubation and community housing management.


Over the next two months I will add workshop-style sessions to Council meetings with each of the four main organizations that the city funds; Mountain Rides, Visit Sun Valley, Ketchum Community Development Corporation (KCDC) and the Blaine County Housing Authority (BCHA).


In these workshop sessions there will be open dialogue among council members, the organization receiving city funding and an independent subject-matter professional on the Council's service expectations for the coming year. Council members can represent what desired services they have heard from their constituents, the contractor can share their professional operational perspective and the independent subject-matter professional will add an untethered and different perspective to the conversation. This workshop format is a positive opportunity to share distinct views and question the status quo. This will foster innovation and promote best practices amongst the Council and organizations.


Out of these workshops, specific services, goals and performance metrics will be established and incorporated into the 2015/2016 contracts. Then the city will turn over the executed contract to the organization's board to oversee annual operations.


The council and I have heard your appreciation of and need for the services Mountain Rides, Visit Sun Valley, KCDC and BCHA provide, but we would like to hear even more. Please email, call or show up to a council meeting and let us know what specific service is important to you.


Our contract discussions with these agencies will incorporate your requests and the city will represent you as completely as possible.


Monday, Aug. 17:   Mountain Rides

Tuesday, Sept. 8:   Visit Sun Valley

Monday , Sept. 21: KCDC and BCHA


I am quite upset that the city has been spraying toxic chemicals to control the weeds by the bike path--namely below River Street and north of First Street. What happened to using goats to eat weeds? I am also upset that the signs indicating this spraying were so low to the ground--surrounded by the weeds, and spaced very far apart--that I only noticed them AFTER my dog had walked through the weeds!! It seems your person in charge of this is not very aware of alternatives. I requested that the signs be larger and placed where they could be read above the weeds. This is a serious issue especially in light of the dangers of pesticides. Surely we can do better than this!

I share your concern about the dangers of pesticides. I also agree the signs indicating that herbicides were being used could have been more visible. We are revising weed control policies to avoid spraying, and this situation underscores the importance of this effort.


Idaho law requires landowners, including the city, to "control noxious weeds on their land and property." The state also gives the county complete authority to determine how noxious weeds are controlled, regardless of the ownership of the property. The county can even take over weed control on public and private property if it decides to do so.


In 2011, Ketchum adopted the Integrated Pest Management resolution (IPM) to guide city staff in minimizing environmental damage on city-owned or managed property. Measures taken may be mechanical (pulling weeds by hand), cultural (improving soil health and/or reseeding with native plants), biological (weed-eating creatures) or chemical (citrus- or vinegar-based products and low-toxicity herbicide).


Ketchum has a pesticide free parks practice in the management of all city parks in which no pesticide shall be used in turf grass areas or playgrounds, except for instances in which a pesticide is required to protect public health and safety. In these instances, use of a pesticide is allowed.


The city is forming a consolidated approach to weed control before weeds appear next spring. City staff will meet with county organizations to establish a protocol for weed abatement in Ketchum and a maintenance schedule to better manage weed control to avoid the use of chemicals.


Jennifer L. Smith, currently Ketchum's IPM coordinator and director of parks and recreation, is assigned to lead this effort and to inform other agencies of the city's policy regarding noxious weeds.



A waitress at a local restaurant told me to remove my dog because of a new city ordinance. Why are dogs not allowed on outdoor patios any more? This seems so silly to me. This is a dog town. -- Greta Hansen 

The city of Ketchum has no ordinance prohibiting pets on patios. It is entirely up to the proprietor.  


You may also be interested in reading the Times-News article on Idaho dog laws.



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.


Bob Rosso nl Grand marshal of the  Wagon Days Big Hitch Parade this year will be Bob Rosso, whose Elephant's Perch sports store is located in the building that once was the home of Horace Lewis. Lewis was the original owner of the historic ore wagons, pulled by a 20-mule team, that conclude the parade each Labor Day weekend.


Rosso's story is a familiar one in Ketchum. "I had a friend who had spent a winter here and told me amazing stories about the incredible snow and blue skies. It sounded perfect," he said.


Even though he was a novice skier at the time, Rosso decided to come for the winter of 1972. He founded the Elephant's Perch in 1976, the year that it did not snow! The Wagon Days route goes past the building, and the parade was so small in the early years that the store sponsored a bicycle race around the block during a break.


Rosso and his wife, Kate, have been married since 1977 and have worked together in The Perch and on countless community events.


He was one of the founders of the Blaine County Recreation District and served over 20 years on the board of directors, the Boulder Mountain Tour from the very beginning, Sun Valley Mountain Guides in the 1970s, Ski Education Foundation Cross Country Ski Team with Rob Kiesel, and the free annual Adams Gulch Fun Run. He started the Backcountry Run for over 35 years now and has been involved every since!


He has also been on the Galena Advisory Committee for the historic cross-country ski lodge and trails north of town and the boards of the Wood River Community YMCA, Sun Valley Junior Hockey and the Community School.


Rosso has long been familiar with resort communities, and his grandparents owned a resort on Lake Tahoe at Meeks Bay for many years, starting in the 1930s.


"I'm always a proponent of special events, whether arts or sports or Wagon Days," he said. "Events are what make a resort community strong, Wagon Days is one of the best, and I am flattered to be honored."


"Bob Rosso is someone who gives back to his community," Mayor Nina Jonas said. "He has been a dedicated and tireless volunteer for the many causes he champions. I am happy we can honor him in this way."


Ketchum's Wagon Days celebration takes place every Labor Day weekend. A highlight is the Big Hitch Parade, which goes down Sun Valley Road past the Elephant's Perch to Main Street and is one of the largest parades in the Pacific Northwest without motorized vehicles.


Americans for the arts roundtable here again
For the second year in a row, Americans for the Arts, the leading nonprofit committed to advancing the arts and arts education in America, will hold its annual Leadership Roundtable in Ketchum and Sun Valley. It will be held August 9-11. We have plenty of art to share ...

Read full press release
by Dave Kassner, chief of police

Should drivers be allowed to use hand-held cell phones in Ketchum? 


Texting while driving is illegal in Idaho, but no laws are in place concerning talking on hand-held cell phones. We would like to hear from citizens as the city looks at formulating a policy on the use of hand-held cell phones while driving.


Idaho is the 37th state to outlaw text messaging while driving. The fine is $85. The "inattentive driving" law, rarely used for cell phones or texting, allows a fine up to $300 with the possibility of jail time.


The Idaho Transportation Department reported that electronic devices caused 27 percent of the state's distracted driving accidents in 2014. The Idaho text-messaging law calls for primary enforcement - meaning police need no other reason to stop and cite violators - but offenses are not moving violations. There are no points against the license.


In California, an estimated one in four car crashes involve cell phone use. In 2012, 3,328 people were killed and 421,000 were injured in crashes caused by distracted driving, which typically means using a cell phone. California's fine for texting or talking on a cell phone is $161.


After California banned the use of hand-held cell phones while driving, overall traffic deaths dropped 22 percent, deaths blamed on drivers using hand-held cell phones dropped 47 percent, and deaths among drivers using hands-free phones dropped at a comparable rate. There was a similar drop in the number of injuries.  


Here are some additional statistics from studies conducted by various organizations across the country:

  • Texting is dangerous. The average time to read or type a text is 4.6 seconds. Just 3 seconds of texting while driving at 65 mph is equal to driving 100 yards, or the length of a football field, blindfolded.
  • 20 percent of 18- to 20-year-old Idaho drivers think that texting makes no difference to their driving and 68 percent of those drivers are willing to answer incoming phone calls.The tasks associated with the use of hand-held phones, such as reaching for a phone and dialing, increase the risk of getting into a crash by three times.
  • 43 percent of 25- to 39-year-old Idaho drivers use their phone regularly while driving

Many employers, including the city of Ketchum, are bringing about change by prohibiting employees from using cell phones while driving during work.  


How do you think Ketchum should address the situation? Please send your opinions to

Jim Jaquet
What better way than a guided story tour to convince visitors how easy it is to take the free Mountain Rides bus to Ketchum businesses and restaurants?


That's the idea behind Sun Valley Story Tours that began three years ago to show visitors the area and its history. Former Ketchum City Administrator Jim Jaquet, now retired and the unofficial chief tour guide, explained with a smile that he was looking for something to do with his extra hours. The town is the beneficiary. Jaquet is also a local Hemingway expert, telling anecdotal stories about the area and its famous residents in his unscripted tour.


The one-hour story tours take place aboard Mountain Rides buses leaving the Visitor Center at Sun Valley Road and East Avenue every Friday at 10:15 a.m. On the busiest Fridays, there are enough people to fill two buses. Reservations are not required, but you can sign up as far ahead as you like at the Visitor Center.


The tour goes along Main Street, past the Mercantile Building, built in 1887. It started out as the home of a general store serving miners and shepherds and subsequently has housed a bank, a clothing shop, a coffee shop and a restaurant. The route continues past the Ketchum Cemetery, where Ernest Hemingway is buried. It goes out Warm Springs Road past burned trees remaining from the 2007 Castle Rock Fire, to the origination point of a pipeline that once brought warm water from Guyer Hot Springs to a swimming pool at a downtown hotel.  The final course goes by the Warm Springs Lodge at the base of Bald Mountain, back to downtown Ketchum and on to Sun Valley, America's first destination ski resort.


Following the bus tour, visitors may follow the guide to the city-owned Ore Wagon Museum, located at Fifth Street and East Avenue and open for about a half hour after each tour. The museum houses the six original Lewis Fast Freight three-ton ore wagons used in the 1880s to haul ore from back country galena mines to the former Philadelphia Smelter on Warm Springs Road.  


The tours operate every Friday through Sept. 4.


10 New Businesses Open in Ketchum 
Ten new businesses have opened in Ketchum since the first of year, bringing 19 full-time and 54 part-time jobs to town.

The largest employers are two new restaurants, the Warfield Distillery & Brewery on Main Street and Town Square Tavern on East Avenue.

Others are 5B Flotation, Alexander Buck, Black Diamond Management, Classic Drivers, Mane Muse, Propeller Industries, Sun Valley Medical & Aesthetics, and The Yoga Center Sun Valley. 

LA Times Quotes Mayor Jonas

"We need to bolster ourselves for a changing economy due to a changing climate," said Mayor Nina Jonas in the Los Angeles Times story on how ski resorts are addressing climate change. The article also mentions the efforts of the Sun Valley Institute for Resilience and the Ketchum Innovation Center business incubator.


Ketchum, One of the Most Beautiful Small Towns in America 

Good Housekeeping magazine joins the growing list of publications recognizing Ketchum as the great town that it is. 

Help Eliminate 'Butt Dials' to 911

Emergency dispatchers in Blaine County received 1,711 "butt dials," or calls made by sitting on a cell phone, last year. This accounts for only the first-time dial, not repeated dialing. Each of these calls must be responded to therefore taking time away from real emergencies.


How can you avoid them? Many phones have an "emergency" selection on the lock screen. Cover touch pads or keyboards on your phone when it's not in use or remove the lock screen. If you do mistakenly dial 911, stay on the line to let the operator know it is a mistake.


Traffic Delays on Highway 20 

If you're planning a trip to Boise this weekend, be aware of potential traffic delays on Highway 20 through Fairfield. The Mountain Home Country Music Festival starts on Friday, July 31, and takes place along the highway between Fairfield and Mountain Home. Camping is also located next to the venue. 


Workshop Set for Aug. 10 on Design Review Regulations

Ketchum will hold a workshop on proposed new design review regulations at City Hall on Monday, Aug. 10, from 3:30-5 p.m. A draft of the regulations, part of the comprehensive zoning ordinance update, is on the web at The goal is to clarify standards, consolidate all design review regulations into one place in the zoning code, and to streamline the application process. Questions and comments should be directed to


Ketchum is 'Best of the Valley' for a Place to Live + More

Ketchum won four "Best of the Valley" awards in the Sun Valley Guide's recent reader poll: Best City to Live In, Best Free Event - Ketch'em Alive, Best Annual Event - Wagon Days Labor Day weekend celebration, and Best City/County Staffer - Jen Smith, director of parks and recreation.


Chip Sealing in Alleys Aug. 12 - 13

Chip sealing in selected downtown alleys will take place Aug. 11-12. Click here for schedule. 

Typical to winter climates like ours, the city must perform chip sealing during the summer to best extend the life of paved streets. We have selected chip sealing dates for the following reasons:

  • Appropriate temperatures. Asphalt temperatures must be 60 degrees and rising for chip sealing to be effective.
  • Additional weather concerns. Heavy rains and cold weather that force schedule changes are relatively rare in July and August.
  • Equipment availability. Ketchum shares chip sealing equipment with neighboring jurisdictions, therefore must coordinate equipment availability within the short summer calendar.
  • Avoiding special events. No major events or conventions are scheduled on the days when chip sealing is planned.

The city thanks you for your cooperation and patience during the street chip sealing earlier this month. 


Idaho Falls May Follow Ketchum's Lead on Tobacco

Idaho Falls recently requested knowledge of Ketchum's smoke free air ordinance, passed in 2013. Ketchum's smoking ordinance bans smoking in all city-owned vehicles, public property, private and public school property, indoor public places and places of employment, as well as within 20 feet of all designated bus stops.


House Passes Boulder-White Clouds Bill

The House of Representatives has passed Rep. Mike Simpson's Boulder-White Clouds bill, which would protect 295,960 acres in the area.


Coming Up at City Council

The fiscal year 2015-2016 budget discussion will continue at the City Council meeting on Monday, Aug. 3, at 5:30 p.m. Building code amendments will also be presented, which include expiration and extension of building permits and green building code updates.   

City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 3. 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, Aug. 10 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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