Candice Pate, director, Sun Valley Film Festival

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

February 27, 2015
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: My Day

Many people ask me what a typical day is like as the mayor of Ketchum. It's fairly ordinary - although the natural beauty and friendly people make even ordinary tasks more fun here.


Like many others, I start my day with a dog walk. Arby and I go along the river, throw the Frisbee, check for fish, look for the moose and the bald-eagle, and exchange pleasantries with the neighbors.


Then it's back home for a strong intake of caffeine and a check of my schedule. If I have morning meetings, I head to City Hall. If it's afternoon meetings, I take advantage of the window and get some exercise - a hike, ski or the gym - before I head to my office
Once at City Hall I return phone calls, have meetings with citizens or staff and endeavor to complete emails. I usually get about 80 emails a day, and I try my best to respond to all of them. The topics that come up each day are incredibly diverse, complex and enjoyable, with discussions yesterday about the Boulder-White Clouds, downtown parking ordinances, the new hotel going up on Main Street, and the upcoming climate change seminar.


It's rewarding to help find working compromises between parties, express our interests to local, regional and state representatives, and work with city staff on initiatives and policies to be proposed to council.  We have an adept city staff and wonderful members of the community, and it is a privilege to work with them. 


Being mayor means having two jobs - although the "part-time" mayor's position usually takes 30-40 hours a week. So late afternoon I head across town to Rickshaw to manage daily operations at the restaurant I own with my husband, the restaurant's chef. Some evenings I take a break from the restaurant for a town event or a community celebration.


Then it's back to work at Rickshaw before walking a few blocks home to get ready for the next day at City Hall. If I lived anywhere else, it would be much harder to find time to enjoy the beauty of nature and walk along riverbanks with my dog. This access to the outdoors and the friendly, small-town atmosphere are key reasons that I, like almost everybody else, live here.




Rep. Mike Simpson and Sen. James Risch introduced legislation yesterday, Thursday, Feb. 26, with proposed changes to the wilderness acreage for SNRA+. The bill would increase acreage in the Hemingway-Boulders and put the Murdock Creek wheelchair-accessible trail near the Sawtooth National Recreation Area headquarters back into the wilderness, as originally intended. Wilderness acreage in the White Clouds and Jim McClure-Jerry Peak areas would decrease, with helicopter-skiing being allowed on approximately 30 acres.
Why didn't they call when my flight was cancelled? Why wasn't the bus here - didn't they know they were cancelling the flight? These are some questions people have sent to "Ask Nina" recently.

We all love snow, except when we're traveling in and out of town. We asked Carol Waller, director of Fly Sun Valley Alliance, to answer frequently asked questions about airline diversions and tell us how Fly Sun Valley Alliance is working to minimize the inconvenience.

First, be sure that your airline reservation record includes both your email and a cell phone number. You also should always call the local weather hotline for your airline well in advance of your flight to confirm flight and potential diversion busing status. Phone numbers are listed on the Fly Sun Valley Alliance website.  


When airlines know they will be unable to land at  Friedman Memorial Airport, they arrange complimentary motor coach transportation for inbound and outbound passengers. The benefit for air travelers is the commitment of the SUN airlines to this program, which ensures that passengers will get to their intended destinations. Buses for outbound passengers leave several hours earlier than scheduled flight times so that passengers can make connections. This is why it is so important to call the weather hotline - the recorded message will let you know what time you need to be to the airport to check in and catch the bus.


Storms, winds or cloud coverage sometimes cause unplanned diversions: A flight attempts to land at SUN but is ultimately unable to do so and is diverted to an alternate airport. When this happens, there is not enough time to get outbound passengers on a motor coach to Twin Falls or Boise to catch the diverted flight without dramatically affecting that flight's down-line connections. Airlines accommodate these passengers on the next available flights on their own systems or on other airlines.


Flights are sometimes cancelled here, as at all other airports, because of unforeseen weather in other parts of the country or mechanical issues. Again, airlines will do their best to accommodate passengers on alternative flights.


Fly Sun Valley Alliance is working with the airlines and Sun Valley Express to improve the busing experiences with newer motor coaches, an improved on-call system for drivers and airport hosts to help passengers. The response to these improvements has been positive and the parties will continue to work collectively to make this experience as pleasant as possible for air travelers.


Check-in times also are important. Please be aware of them so you don't miss your flight. Details are at .


If you have an experience to share, please send it via email to Carol Waller. This helps Fly Sun Valley Alliance improve service. 

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.


Sun Valley Film Festival Director Candice Pate used to joke that she was the only "civilian" in the family - the only one not involved in the entertainment industry.


"It's funny because now I find myself knee-deep in it," she said as she prepares for next week's fourth annual Sun Valley Film Festival. She grew up in Los Angeles, where it's hard not to have friends in the industry. Her husband, Josh Pate, is a screenwriter and director, currently shooting a show for ABC called "Boom."


The Pates bought a vacation home mid-valley 10 years go. Five years ago they decided to "try" living here full-time for a year with their two children, now ages 9 and 7. "We're still here," she said.


It was a friend from LA, Teddy Grennan, who asked her what she thought about starting a film festival in Sun Valley.


"I wasn't even sure I wanted it," she said. "This was 'my private Idaho.' But the tone they struck the first year was spot on - a little bit Hollywood, a lot of Sun Valley, just the right amount of sizzle and a real nod to the Hollywood heritage of this town. So when he asked me to get involved in year two, I said, 'Sure!'"


"Even though the festival is only four years old, it feels like it's been here a lot longer. The return rate for our visitors is off the charts, and it's just one more way we can get people to sample the Wood River Valley. Once they've had a taste, they're hooked," she added.


The festival, which runs from March 4-8, will pay special attention to Idaho this year. Clint Eastwood, a frequent visitor to the area for decades, will be on hand Saturday night to receive the inaugural Lifetime Vision Award. Eastwood's 1985 Western Pale Rider was filmed in the area.


The new One Potato Short Screenplay Competition will award a $2,500 stipend to a screenwriter, with the funds to be used toward shooting the film in Idaho. The festival also will include 10 films shot in Idaho.


"We have always had a Gem State Award that includes a cash prize and is co-sponsored by our presenting sponsor, Zions Bank," Pate said. "The category is growing as the festival takes hold. Our aim is to make filming in Idaho more visible with the One Potato initiative, and we are excited about raising awareness of the potential economic impact on the state."


Encouraging young filmmakers also is a goal. Mayor Nina Jonas will present The Gem State Jr. Award at the Future Filmmakers Forum at The Spot, 220 Lewis St., on Friday, March 6 at 5 p.m. 


"I encourage people to attend the film festival. We have everything from passes for the full festival to individual tickets to free screenings to coffee talks with industry insiders."


There's also a free "Kids Screening" and an ice skating party at Sun Valley. After all, ice-skating was a big part of "Sun Valley Serenade," the film made here in 1941 to promote the resort.


Bus service, recreation, emergency services, city promotion: These are some of the necessary elements of a successful and active resort community. Ketchum residents have supported the local option tax (LOT) to support these services for more than 25 years. The tax allows the city to invest in a wide range of services and economic development initiatives that benefit local residents and businesses as well as visitors. Our economy relies heavily on visitors, and the LOT lets the city provide the services required during our busiest times of the year without placing a burden on our property taxpayers.

The specific purposes for use of the LOT are:
  1. Municipal transportation
  2. Open space acquisition and recreation
  3. Capital improvements: roads, water, sewer, parking, Ore Wagon Museum
  4. Emergency services: police, fire, ambulance
  5. City promotion, visitor information and special events
  6. Property tax relief
  7. Direct costs to collect and enforce the tax
  8. Maintain and increase commercial air service

The impetus of the tax, first approved by the required 60 percent of voters in 1978, was the need to fund a bus to help visitors reach shops and restaurants. Other ski resort communities were doing the same, as well as using LOT to improve emergency services and market their communities. (Learn more on the history of the LOT in an article by retired Idaho state Rep. Wendy Jaquet.)  


Citizens have reinforced their support of the services provided by the tax by passing several subsequent amendments renewing or extending the duration of the collection period. 



Recent funding has gone to Mountain Rides for bus service, the Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department, streets and sidewalk repair, dispatch services for police, fire and ambulance, Visit Sun Valley, Fly Sun Valley Alliance, events and promotions. As the tax revenue has increased over the past 25+ years, so have the benefits to our visitors and ultimately to our community. Below are some statistics on estimated revenues and budget allocations since the LOT first became effective. 

In an upcoming newsletter, we'll talk more about the specific services funded by our LOT over the last five years and how they have improved our community. 



New Visit Sun Valley Board/Committee Members

Kristin Poole, co-executive director and artistic director at Sun Valley Center for the Arts, was elected to fill the open board position held by Wendy Jaquet, whose term had ended. Real estate developer Jack Bariteau, was selected for a vacant position on the advisory committee for the accommodation sector.  


Plans for Improving Business Climate 
Sun Valley Economic Development's plans for this year include emphasizing investment in the local community, business initiatives based on the area's status as Olympic and Paralympic training sites, and tourism related to a proposed culinary school.

Hotel Developers Request to Use Lot as Staging Area 
The Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency has agreed to discuss leasing the lot on the corner of First and Washington streets to a contractor working on the Limelight Hotel, under construction at 151 S. Main St. The contractor would use it as a staging area for materials and leave the lot in accordance with KURA requests at the end of the lease.

An astute citizen pointed out that our monthly local option tax reporting was not indicative of actual sales during that period because some businesses pay their LOT monthly and others pay on a quarterly, semi-annual or even annual basis. For accuracy and consistency, we will be reporting LOT revenues on an annual basis. Click on the links to view the annual LOT revenues.

Final Local Option Tax Collected - FY2013/14

Local Option Tax Collected - FY2012/13

Local Option Tax Collected - FY2011/12

Local Option Tax Collected - FY2010/11

Local Option Tax Collected - FY2009/10 



Coming Up at City Council: Road-Bridge Levy

The City Council will discuss Monday, March 2, at 5:30 p.m. whether to offer a letter of support for the $3 million, two-year levy to maintain and improve roads and bridges in Blaine County. The agenda will include an update on the Big Wood River Bridge Project and a special meeting will be held at 4 p.m. on March 2, for agencies requesting funding from the city. 


Lip Sync for the Environment

Mayor Nina Jonas will be the lip sync judge at the Environmental Resource Center Winter Blast Lip Sync and Benefit on Saturday, Feb. 28, from 6-9 p.m. at Whiskey Jacques. Proceeds benefit the ERC.  


Films and More Films

The Family of Women Film Festival continues through Sunday, March 1. The Sun Valley Film Festival opens Wednesday, March 4. (See story earlier in this newsletter.)

Climate Change Seminar Set for March 6

Concerned about the unseasonably warm weather and the early closing of the city's Christina Potters Outdoor Ice Rink? The results of a two-year climate study on the upper and lower Big Wood watershed will be the keynote presentation at the Climate and Water Conservation Seminar on Friday, March 6, at the Community Campus in Hailey.


$25 Fine for Idling Vehicles Passed

Ketchum's amended idling ordinance has been approved. A flat fine of $25 for idling vehicles more than three minutes is now in effect.


Special Olympics Comes to Sun Valley

The Sun Valley Resort will host more than 450 athletes in the Special Olympics State Winter Games Friday through Sunday, Feb. 27-March 1.


KinderCup Scheduled for Sunday

The Papoose Club's KinderCup free ski race for children is Sunday, March 1.


Alasdair Neale to Discuss Work Commissioned for Symphony

Sun Valley Summer Symphony Music Director Alasdair Neale will appear Tuesday, March 3, at 6:30 p.m. at The Community Library in a one-on-one conversation with Kenji Bunch, the Portland composer who is orchestrating a work the symphony has commissioned for the genre-defying trio, Time for Three.


Library to Celebrate 60th Anniversary

The Community Library celebrates its 60th anniversary on Wednesday, March 4, with a free concert by the Wood River Orchestra at 6 p.m.


Northwest Earth Institute Book Club to Begin

Join Cynthia Carr at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden as she moderates a discussion of food, ethics and sustainability on Mondays from 6-9 p.m. starting March 9.


Walk Your Dog, Help the Shelter
Raise money for the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley whenever you take your dog for a walk. Get the ResQwalk app on your mobile phone.


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, March 2. A special meeting is also being held at 4 p.m. on March 2 for agencies requesting funding from the city. 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, March 16 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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