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

Inform. Celebrate. Involve.
August 4, 2017
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas

Nina It's late summer and the city has so much happening and unfolding.
Ketchum is poised to adopt a new budget. The city has filed an application to have Ketchum declared an "International Dark Skies Community." Ketchum is providing testimony to the Idaho Public Utilities Commission regarding an Idaho Power proposal to build a $30 million plus redundant power line through town. On Monday, the city will discuss a study on the impact the growing short-term rental market is having on Ketchum and its already tight rental market.
What's more, Ketchum's 60th Annual Wagon Days celebration is just around the corner.
But the topic foremost on everyone's radar? The big buzz? The talk of the town?... Yes, the total solar eclipse. The question from locals is primarily, "Is this really happening? What are you expecting?"
Simply, this is the hundred-year Super Bowl of celestial phenomenon. And the city, along with Sun Valley, Hailey, Bellevue, Blaine County, the State and the National Forest Service are all planning accordingly. My suggestion is that city residents do the same.
The total solar eclipse is scheduled for the morning of Monday August 21. Thousands of eclipse enthusiasts are projected to arrive on our doorsteps. Visitors will be arriving from as far as Asia and as close as Twin Falls. In fact, just this week we learned that another bus scheduled to drive eclipse viewers from the Magic Valley sold out seats in a matter of minutes.
Business should be robust for our retailers, hotels, restaurant and bar owners. It stands to reason that many of these visitors will be making their first trip to Ketchum, and it's my hope that when they explore all the other good things our community offers, they'll plan a return trip.
For your own convenience during this extraordinary event, I highly recommend additional planning. Be prepared for traffic congestion, longer lines at the grocery store, gas stations, ATM's and extended wait times at your favorite restaurant. It is a good idea to get gas, cash, food and water several days in advance, park your cars, lock and walk. Fortunately, Ketchum is an easy town to walk and bike around, is supportive and resilient.
The total solar eclipse is happening and many visitors are coming to experience this unique event. The last time a total solar eclipse was visible in Idaho was February 1979. The next time there will be a full solar eclipse in Idaho will be 2169. This time, Ketchum is fortunate enough to fall within the path of totality, making our hometown one of the best places in the country to sit back and take it all in. Join the cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley from 9 to 4 in Festival Meadow to celebrate the Eclipse together.
Oh, and one more thing, remember to protect your eyes when viewing the eclipse.

Q. I'm a Ketchum resident and excited to view the total solar eclipse, but am wondering about the best place in town to do just that. I know there are going to be a lot of visitors in town that week and many places to view, but I'm open to any recommendations you have.

A. Thanks for your question and interest in the Great American Eclipse. There has been so much interest and planning and the excitement is building for this event. You're right when you say there are going to be lots of visitors in town for this rarity. That's because Ketchum lies within the path of totality for the eclipse, making this area one of the best in Idaho to observe. As for the best place to view, I suggest the Festival Meadow on Sun Valley Road. Officials from Ketchum and Sun Valley are hosting a viewing party that runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Aug. 21. The meadows provide a wide, open area for people to observe. But we've also organized other fun events before and after the eclipse, including yoga, a live DJ and a talk by astronomer Jeff Silverman. There will also be food vendors, beverages and family activities. I know where I'll be for the eclipse and I hope you can join me. For more information about the eclipse and events surrounding it, visit 

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.
Stay involved in your community. Included here are links to the Monday, Aug. 7, Council agenda and Council meeting information. The meeting will begin at 5:30 p.m. At this meeting, Council will hear a presentation by the Sun Valley Ski Education Foundation regarding economic development in the valley, and the second quarter update from Sun Valley Economic Development. Council will also consider approval of the following contracts: Mutual Aid Agreement between Stanley Ambulance and the City of Ketchum, Parking Lot and Parking Lot Equipment Bid Packages, and a Parking Lot Lease with the KURA. There will also be a discussion on a request for proposal for housing on the 6th Street and Leadville Avenue property. Genevieve Pearthree, a fellow hired by the city of Ketchum to examine affordable housing and short term rentals in Ketchum will present her full report. The agenda also includes the second reading of the budget.

It is the responsibility of the City to inform the public and gain public input. We encourage you to provide the City with your opinion and comments by attending Monday's meeting at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall, 480 East Ave. N., or by sending an email to

Stephen Pauley
By his own account, Stephen Pauley is "just an old guy who loves the stars."
But to truly appreciate this retired physician and his decades-long effort to improve Ketchum's quality of life, understand that he's not your average, hobbyist stargazer.
In fact, Pauley's passion for astronomy, coupled with his desire to ensure Ketchum remains one of the best places in Idaho to stare into space, has been integral in the city's pursuit of "Dark Sky Community" status.
For his commitment to preserving Ketchum's window to the planets, reducing urban light pollution and educating anyone who will listen about the beauty and wonder of the cosmos, the City of Ketchum and Wagon Days has named Pauley the 2017 Wagon Days Grand Marshal.
Ketchum Mayor Nina Jonas said honoring Pauley this year is all the more appropriate given the timing of next month's total solar eclipse. Ketchum is one of several Idaho locations within the path of totality and the rare spectacle is expected to draw thousands of eclipse watchers to the Wood River Valley.
"It's a great honor for me," Pauley, who will turn 77 in September, said of being named Grand Marshal.
"There are so many other worthy soles out there. But I think with the upcoming total solar eclipse and the excitement around the dark skies efforts, it all fit. I'm really honored to do this and very appreciative of the recognition," he said.
But for Pauley, public recognition has never been a motivating force.
His celestial love affair began on a sailing trip to Hawaii in 1979, when he learned to use a sexton and navigate by using the stars. Vacations to the Ketchum area in the 1980s provided Pauley with a terrific vantage point and environment to view the stars and learn more about the universe beyond.
"That's when I gained the appreciation for the beautiful night skies we have up here," he said.
After making the move to Ketchum in 1991, Pauley began speaking publicly and writing columns about the cosmos, The Big Bang theory and Earth's creation, and the risks of light pollution.
"I liked the idea of tackling light pollution because I saw it as something that happens one light at a time," Pauley said. "To me, it was the easiest kind of pollution to fix."
Over time, Pauley lobbied to convince leaders in Ketchum, Sun Valley, Hailey and Blaine County to adopt ordinances to limit light pollution, from regulating holiday lighting to installing low-profile street lighting.
This month, Ketchum filed application to the International Dark-Sky Association seeking status as a "Dark Sky Community." Later this fall, Pauley and others hope to submit a separate application seeking IDSA approval for establishing the Central Idaho Dark Skies Reserve, which would stretch from Ketchum to Stanley.
"This is a quality of life issue," said Pauley. "People want to move here and being able to see the stars so clearly and well at night is a selling point. There is also an economic aspect to this in drawing visitors interested in seeing the stars. Half of our world is above us, and it's nice to be able to see it."
In one way, having a pair of dark sky designations in his backyard would validate so much of the energy and work Pauley has committed during the last 26 years. But an even bigger victory would involve more of a dramatic cultural shift, he said.
"We're all byproducts of supernova explosions, yet none of us are really looking up at the skies where it all occurred anymore. We're all looking down, staring at our mobile devices," he said. "Just put them down and look up at the stars. Pay attention to what's around you because this is an awfully beautiful planet."

Speed Limit
A new engineering study has determined that the majority of the city's posted speed limits, from busy downtown roadways to neighborhood streets, are reasonable and appropriate.
The study, requested by the Ketchum Traffic Authority, was completed last month by Galena Engineering Inc. The document may be helpful to city officials in the future for drafting ordinances or city codes revisions related to speed limits.  
The city last addressed speed limits in 2002. An ordinance approved that year established various maximum speeds through town, including 20 mph on all streets, 10 mph in all alleys and 15 mph in school zones.
The report determines that the established 20 mph speed limit on city streets is substantiated based on a variety of factors. The engineers also determined that keeping that general 20 mph limit is recommended, with a few exceptions.
As part of the study, engineers reviewed traffic speed count data collected between 2006 and 2016 by the city as well as an on-site review of speed count locations. At these locations, engineers factored in the effect of driveways, business access, obstructions to clear sight distances at intersections, pedestrian traffic, among others.
Speed Limit
Multi-Modal Path 
The report also provides the city with some options and flexibility for adjusting posted speed limits in certain areas. For example, the report recommends a series of special speed zones, some of which could allow for higher speeds while other streets may be better suited for slower maximum speeds.
The report also pointed out that the 25 mph speed limits on Main Street, also known as State Highway 75, and Sun Valley Road east of Main Street within city limits, is controlled by the Idaho Transportation Department. Any change in posted speeds along those segments would have to be reviewed and authorized by the state agency.
The engineers also concluded that the speed limit on those segments is appropriate and no change is recommended.

The final study will be available next week at  
The cities of Ketchum and Sun Valley will be hosting a pair of community meetings next week to provide residents and business owners with information essential to being prepared for the total solar eclipse event.
The meetings are scheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 9, at 10 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. at the Community Library.
Invited speakers include representatives from Blaine County Disaster Services, the U.S. Forest Service, the Idaho Department of Commerce, Idaho Office of Emergency Management, St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center, Mountain Rides and Ketchum emergency personnel.
At the meeting, pamphlets will be made available for residents and for business owners to share with customers and visitors during the eclipse. The pamphlets will provide critical information, from important contact information and telephone numbers to locations of public bathrooms and parking.

"Eclipse Tips" provided in the pamphlet include: 
  • Stock Up on Essential Provisions
  • Avoid Driving
  • Do Not Rely on Cell Service or Internet Access
  • Protect Your Eyes
  • Sign Your Property
  • Have Plan for an Emergency
  • Know the Regulations
  • Attend Local Events
  • Take Care of Your Pets
  • Safety in the Backcountry
With so many people expected in town for the eclipse, the cities plan to do whatever possible to help residents and business owners and their customers be prepared for a variety of needs and circumstances.
For more information about the eclipse and events surrounding the rare phenomenon, visit
Work for FREE at KIC 
The Ketchum Innovation Center invites start-up businesses to work for free at the KIC every Wednesday throughout August. The public is also invited to visit to see the open work space KIC provides to local entrepreneurs. 
Community Meeting Focusing on Eclipse Preparedness 
Business owners and residents, please attend the community meeting planned for Wednesday, Aug. 9. Here you will learn important preparedness information for the eclipse weekend. See more details in above article and find more information on eclipse events at
Special City Council Meeting 
The City Council meeting scheduled for August 21, 2017 has been changed to Thursday, August 17, 2017. The meeting will take place at Ketchum City Hall beginning at 5:30 p.m. The date and time of this meeting was changed from that sent out on the tax assessment notice.

New Job Openings 
The Ketchum Street Division is looking for a full-time equipment operator and a seasonal equipment operator. Full job description and application can be found at Positions are open until filled.

General Election on November 7 
Three positions are up for election on November 7, 2017, mayor and two city council members. Each position serves a 4-year term. Declarations of Candidacy must be filed with the Ketchum City Clerk at City Hall, 480 East Ave. N. beginning on August 28 and ending on September 8, 2017 at 5 p.m. Please visit for information and forms. 
City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 7. City Council meetings are held on the first and third Monday 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 
Attend the next Planning and Zoning Commission meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 14. P&Z meetings are held on the second Monday of each month 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 would like to express an opinion, please submit your comments via email to Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed. 
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City of Ketchum