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

October 2, 2014
In This Issue
A Message from Mayor Nina Jonas: Living in Two Worlds - Valley Floor and Backcountry

We live in two worlds: what you might call the "valley floor" and "backcountry" life. I love moving between these worlds. Being confronted with radically different lifestyles and realities enriches our perspectives and makes us more appreciative of our valley. Just the other day I was struck by this wonderful dichotomy.

I spent some time with Roberto, a Peruvian herder for the Flat Top Sheep Company. The sheep were up on a sagebrush slope baaaaaing; the sage smell floating in the air like incense. Golden aspen leaves fluttered before our eyes; the high peaks of the Pioneer range punched the skyline. We did not see another soul.

Returning to Ketchum, it was only minutes later that I passed the elegant Sun Valley Golf clubhouse and its manicured greens, fairways and nattily dressed golfers. I was struck by the crazy, yet cool experience one can have in Ketchum. Within minutes of being with a working sheep herder, I can slip back into a high-end tourist village and all its recreational and cultural amenities

It's October. The dichotomy speaks loudly this month. Some examples:

I have friends sighting in their rifles before donning their camo's to hunt elk.  They hear bulls bugling outside some of our subdivisions, they say. They'll quietly head upslope off the valley floor while stars are still in the sky. I have golfer friends who start the day leisurely, talking in one of our coffee houses about who is best. They'll head out to the links, one of four on the valley floor, to settle the boasts.

There's the Trailing of the Sheep Festival next weekend and Sun Valley Jazz Festival the following weekend. Trailing of the Sheep brings together our two worlds in downtown Ketchum. We'll spend four days celebrating our ranching heritage, which includes learning about our link with the Basque herders and their culture and watching sheep dog trials. The gourmet foodies can tour our fine restaurants to taste a variety of lamb dishes. Finally, Roberto and his fellow herders and their dogs will be running the woolies, sheep poop and all, right through the center of Ketchum.

The Jazz Fest provides visitors and locals a feast of jazz on the valley floor at a number of venues. It's also a great time to hike upslope on our many backcountry trails and check out the valley from on high. Come join us and celebrate the diversity of life we celebrate in our two worlds.    


Dog Owners: Be Aware of Hunting Traps

If you're taking your dog for an off-leash walk on trails outside Ketchum, be aware that trapping season is open. Most traps and snares are baited, making them more attractive to dogs. Traps may be placed as close as five feet to trails.

More than 30 dogs were caught in traps in Idaho last year, according to The Spokesman Review. In order to free your dog from a trap, carry a pair of heavy-duty wire cutters and a six-foot rope or leash. Click here for a brochure on freeing a pet from a trap.

Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?     


Bicycle riders in Ketchum seem to be unaware of the laws. Does the city have any plans to educate riders in what they can and cannot do?

--Chuck Abramo


Yes, starting with this newsletter. I also will discuss the topic with the Ketchum Traffic Authority and Police Chief David Kassner. Chief Kassner has been an instructor for the League of American Bicyclists, and is a strong advocate of bicycle safety. We already have children's bike rodeos. In addition, we are developing plans to educate visitors to the Ride Sun Valley bicycle events next summer, as well as creating cards to explain local laws. The cards will be distributed to local hotels, property management companies and bicycle rental shops. Here is a summary of frequently asked questions:

Stop sign:

If there is traffic, you must yield the right of way to other vehicles and pedestrians. You must slow down, but you don't have to stop if there is no traffic.

Traffic Signal:

You must stop at a red light.


Yield to pedestrians.
Sidewalks: Riding on downtown sidewalks is prohibited.

Light and reflector required at night:

Bicycles are required to have a front light visible from at least 500 feet and a reflector visible from the rear of the bicycle.  


Hand signals are required.

Two sheep were killed last week in the East Fork area, home to the Pioneer wolf pack. As herders had reported hearing wolves in the area, the state set traps and ordered the wolves to be killed. 
The Wood River Wolf Project went into high gear. It offered assistance to the livestock producer to prevent any further depredation.

The team contacted the herders who reported that, while they had heard wolves in the area, the killings were more likely the work of bears that had been stalking the band for nearly a week prior to the attack. The project team and the Forest Service contacted the ranch operation and offered nonlethal deterrents to help better protect the sheep from wild predators. State wildlife managers trapped a bear at the site where the two sheep were killed. The bear was released, the sheep left the area, and the state pulled the traps.    

Last month, the Ketchum City Council passed a resolution urging the state to stop killing wolves in Blaine County, asking instead for nonlethal control.
Local efforts to avoid killing wildlife go back to 2003, when Lava Lake Lamb operations adopted nonlethal predator and livestock methods to protect sheep and local wildlife. Historically, Idaho counties have contributed money to regional animal damage control districts. Working with Idaho Wildlife Services, they are charged with addressing animal-caused nuisances and preventing livestock depredation by predators. Blaine County previously had declined to participate, Commissioner Larry Schoen said, because commissioners could not support aerial gunning or poisoning and trapping of native predators. Six years ago, county commissioners agreed instead to contribute $1,800 toward nonlethal predator control and work with the Wood River Wolf Project, formed in 2007.
A multi-agency cooperative effort, the project provides technicians to help sheep herders learn to use guard dogs, portable fencing and various forms of hazing such as starter pistols, high-powered flashlights and air horns to keep wolves away. It is coordinated by Defenders of Wildlife, a national nonprofit organization, and has successfully protected up to 27,000 sheep annually grazing on the Sawtooth National Forest. Fewer than 25 sheep have been lost over the past seven years, and no wolf has been killed in the project area by government officials due to reduced conflicts.
"Despite having one of the highest concentrations of wolves and livestock sharing the same landscape, the Wood River Wolf Project area has the lowest loss rate of livestock and wolves in the state," its website notes.
Project Manager Fernando David Najera Munoz frequently spends the night in the field with the flocks. "We provide information to the sheep herders on how to act if they see or hear wolves. We want to protect both wolves and sheep. We have proved that they can co-exist."
Several organizations fund the Wood River Wolf Project. The county budgeted $3,000 this year, and Defenders of Wildlife and private individuals also contribute toward the annual cost of the program, which is $30,000 to $40,000. Some livestock producers make in-kind contributions.
"Ketchum's economy is driven by tourism that is dependent upon our exceptional and diverse natural environment," Mayor Nina Jonas said in presenting Ketchum's resolution to the City Council. "Negative press at the national level about Idaho's radical wolf control promotes boycotts by visitors. We can address the multiple needs of Idaho without extreme measures that disrupt the variety of wildlife that our residents and visitors value."
The next step is to present the resolution to Gov. C. L. "Butch" Otter.    


The handler stands at the post and whistles to the border collie. That's the signal for the dog to run 400 yards, gather a group of four to five sheep and bring them back. Want the dog to herd the sheep into a pen? Or separate a single sheep from the group? A well-trained border collie will do all this, guided only by whistles.


Approximately 50 dogs from around the Western U.S. and Canada, including some of the top-ranked dogs in the nation, will participate in the Champion Sheepdog Trials at our annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival next weekend.  


Directing the trials will be Lavon Calzacorta of Wilder, Idaho, trainer of champion border collies and operations manager at Dynamite Specialty Projects. Dynamite is this year's sponsor of the event, as well as a manufacturer of food and nutritional supplements for dogs, horses and most other living creatures.


Calzacorta's 9-year-old border collie, Gus, just placed second in sheep dog trials at Bridger, Wy., and will compete here this weekend. Tess, one of six dogs owned by Calzacorta, was ranked first in the Northwest and fourth in the nation before she retired a year ago.


It takes about 15 hours of training a week to keep dogs in top shape. It helps if you have your own sheep, Calzacorta said. Necessities of the lifestyle include "a supportive family and employer," he added. Fortunately, his employer is happy to have its own "test team" for canine nutritional products.


Other top competitors will be Wizard, a 6-year-old border collie belonging to Caldwell's Don Helsley. Wizard is ranked 13th in the nation.


Spectators also should watch for Vangie, owned by Pat Shannahan of Caldwell. Vangie took first place in a recent competition on Vashon Island, Wash. You can see her in competition in this video.   


The sheep dog trials will be at the Quigley Canyon Fields in Hailey from dawn until dusk on Saturday and Sunday, Oct. 11-12. Dynamite will give away product samples and host fun activities for children.


Admission fee is $3 and children under 5 are free. Spectators may bring lawn chairs.


John Peavey of Flat Top Sheep Company is lending the sheep.


The Trailing of the Sheep festivities begin Thursday. The schedule includes lessons on how to cook lamb, "fiber fest" programs on wool, historical presentations and photography workshops. The highlight is the Trailing of the Sheep Parade Sunday at noon on Main Street.


Want immediate notification in case of emergency? A new website  launched by the Blaine County Local Emergency Planning Committee offers a central site for information, as well as the opportunity to sign up for alerts via cell phone, landline or email.


You also can watch for alerts on Facebook and Twitter.


The system will be used to notify people about immediate threats to health or safety such as severe weather, evacuations, floods, fires or critical police or fire activity.


With the Community Alert System, registrants can choose multiple addresses at which they want to be contacted. Users can receive notifications about emergencies that may affect their homes, parents' homes, workplaces and children's schools, as long as those locations are in Blaine County.


Residents also sign up for National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) weather alerts.


Residents and businesses with listed landline telephone numbers are automatically included in the Community Alert System database. Residents with cell phones are encouraged to sign up. If you have registered with the previous Blaine County alert system, you can update your contact information on the profile management link on the website.

yield to pedestrians in crosswalk bright yellow sign The city is installing improvements to the intersection of Fourth and Main streets. Only right turns will be allowed from Fourth street onto Main Street, and flashing beacons and pedestrian-crossing signs have been ordered. Advance warning signs, posted 20 to 50 feet in advance of the crosswalk, will be new additions to the city's roadways and will remind motorists to yield for pedestrians. The four trees at the corner of the intersection will be relocated at the end of the month, when the weather is expected to be most favorable for transplanting, to Second Avenue by the bicycle "pump park."

Click here for more detail and sign locations


Strong Results for Summer Marketing Programs

Visit Sun Valley spent $450,000 on summer advertising campaigns this past year in Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver, New York and San Francisco, targeting areas where there is increased air service. (New Yorkers can take connecting flights through Denver.) The Sun Valley Resort also focused on these same markets (plus Chicago) to bolster the community marketing efforts and extend the reach of the campaigns. All marketing efforts are closely coordinated to ensure maximum overall impact.


As a result, room nights were up 1 percent in June, 5 percent in July and 17 percent in August. August figures are somewhat difficult to compare over the previous year, said Arlene Schieven, Visit Sun Valley president, due to the forest fire last August.


Website visits increased 41 percent from May 1 to Sept. 28, and website visitors from New York increased 348 percent in response to the first-time marketing effort there.


Visit Sun Valley plans to spend about $1 million in marketing during the coming year, with approximately $600,000 earmarked for the winter season. An additional $40,000 is budgeted for regional markets in the winter and $20,000 for Nordic activities. A new video that will be used in the upcoming campaign highlights winter in Sun Valley. 


Schieven made her remarks at Visit Sun Valley's quarterly meeting this past Tuesday. Visit Sun Valley also is planning three "listening sessions" for community members at 10 a.m. at the Sawtooth Club, 231 N. Main St., on three Tuesdays, Oct. 14, 21 and 28. To reserve a spot, contact Aly Swindley or call 725-2104. 


 August 2014 Local Option Tax 





Get Your Seat for Economic Summit

There's still time to sign up for Sun Valley Economic Development's Annual Summit, to be held Oct. 8 at the Sun Valley Resort. This year's topic is "From Adversity to Opportunity." 

Celebrate Trailing of the Sheep Festival 
The 18th annual Trailing of the Sheep Festival begins on Oct. 9. See the complete schedule of events here.

Skatepark Fundraiser at Board Bin 
Listen to music, enter the skateboard slalom race and bring the kids after the sheep parade on Oct. 12. The events at  The Board Bin will help to raise funds for an expansion of Guy Coles Skatepark.

Sidewalk Repairs Scheduled for Next Week 
Repair work will begin Monday on 594 possible "trip hazards" in downtown sidewalks, identified in a recent sidewalk survey. Thanks to new technology, the sidewalk should not be blocked for more than 20 minutes in any single location. The goal is to finish on Friday, but work possibly could extend into Saturday.

Higher Fees for Water, Sewer, Parks

The City Council has approved a 4.9 percent fee increase in water and sewer rates starting Oct. 1. Fees also will go up slightly for some parks and recreation department programs.


ISU to Speak About Online Courses

Idaho State University will hold two informational meetings on Tuesday, Oct. 7, on new online master's and bachelor's degrees. ISU College of Business Director of Graduate Studies Heidi Wadsworth and College of Education Professor Karen Scott will speak at meetings at noon at the YMCA in Ketchum and at 6 p.m. at the College of Southern Idaho Blaine County Center in Hailey. There also will be an information table at the Sun Valley Economic Summit on Wednesday, Oct. 8. For more information, contact Chris Vaage, ISU-Twin Falls program director, at (208) 736-2101 or (208) 933-2301.


Marking 20th Anniversary of Violence Against Women Act

This year is the 20th anniversary of the federal Violence Against Women Act, which changed attacks on women from a "family affair" to a crime. We are proud that Blaine County has been ahead of national trends. Our own Advocates for the Victims of Violence and Sexual Assault dates back to 1991. Ketchum Police Department Detective Kristen Quinton also spoke on KDPI Community Radio on the topic.


Jazz Festival Celebrates 25th Anniversary

The Sun Valley Jazz Festival will celebrate its 25th anniversary Oct. 15-19 with five days of music. You can start the celebration a day early with a Mardi Gras party.


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