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

January 29, 2015
In This Issue
A Message from Mayor Nina Jonas: Protecting the Boulder & White Cloud Ranges

The Boulder and White Cloud mountain chains sit northeast of Ketchum. The Boulders are the rocky juxtaposition across the highway from the Smoky Mountains, the home of Baldy, and wrap around the Big Wood River valley at Galena pass. On the other side of Galena Pass is the White Cloud Mountain range with Castle Peak at its center. These ranges harbor complex mountain ecosystems, including rare spawning grounds for endangered wild sockeye salmon, and a variety of recreational opportunities. 
The city of Ketchum has formally recognized the importance of protecting and preserving the nearby land, ecosystems and recreational opportunities in these two mountain ranges and beyond for over 20 years. In 1993 the Ketchum City Council passed the Central Idaho Wilderness Resolution asking federal authorities to designate wilderness, protect the Salmon River ecosystem and promote sustainable recreation. In 2002 the Boulder White Cloud Wilderness Support Resolution was passed, asking again for designated wilderness in these areas. Most recently, in 2014, the Boulder White Clouds National Monument Resolution was passed, requesting protection of the vast area as a national monument.  
The Sawtooth National Recreation Area currently manages both the Boulder and White Cloud mountains. Two campaigns are taking place to gain greater management protection for the area. Idaho Rep. Mike Simpson is promoting SNRA+, a simplified version of the Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act (CIEDRA) proposed in 2004. Two weeks ago, Blaine County Commissioner Larry Schoen, Stanley Council President Steve Botti and I met with Rep. Simpson to discuss his new proposal for the Boulder and White Cloud mountains. In effect, SNRA+ would maintain the historic uses of the current SNRA and add three wilderness areas smaller than those proposed in CIEDRA.  
As an alternative, the Idaho Conservation League, the Wilderness Society of Idaho and partners are promoting designation of the Boulder and White Cloud mountains as a national monument. The monument proposal covers almost twice as much land and formulates a management plan after designation.
Rep. Simpson's proposal is a legislative action utilizing the Wilderness Act of 1964, while the monument proposal is an executive action utilizing the American Antiquities Act of 1906. However, to boil down the differences between these two plans to nothing more than legislative versus executive action is a mistake. The plans differ greatly in quantity of area and recreation, and ecosystem management. Neither plan is completely formulated and now is the time to provide your input to best maintain Ketchum's values and economy.
I encourage you to follow the links in this article, and to learn, discuss, debate and comment on the two options. Comments can be provided to myself, county commissioners,  Rep. Simpson, and/or The White House.  
What is certain is that Idahoans love their land and the nation admires what wild Idaho has. It is imperative that we stay vigilant in safeguarding this wonderful resource both for its intrinsic natural values and for generations to come.


Are people allowed to smoke at bus stops in Ketchum?

Several people have been asking this question lately. Smoking is prohibited within 20 feet of bus stops by Ordinance 1105. If you see a violation, please contact the Ketchum Police Department at 726-7819. In the case of repeated violations at a specific bus stop, please bring it to the department's attention and officers will pay special attention to the area on their regular patrols. The first violation of this ordinance results in a warning, the second offense within two years is a fine of $25, and third and subsequent times within two years is a $52 fine.

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.
By Jim Slanetz, Ketchum City Council Member and owner of the Board Bin
Councilman Jim Slanetz, Mayor Nina Jonas and Councilwoman Annie Corrock

All the cup-half-empty folk, who have claimed for years that the city of Ketchum is slowly going downhill, will finally be able to prove their point over the next six weeks on the Warm Springs ski slopes.


Mayor Nina Jonas and City Council Members Annie Corrock, Baird Gourlay and myself will represent City Hall under the team name "The Village Idiots" in the 24th running of the Ketchum Town Series ski races sponsored by the Sun Valley Resort and Watkins Distributing.


With about 30 teams of four people each, and skill levels from Olympic-class gate-basher to first-time racer, this is a fun annual event that is as much a social gathering as it is a race series.


Clearly representing our wide range of constituents, our team will include Annie and Baird on their downhill gear and Nina possibly on telemark skis. Since I haven't raced on skis since high school, I'll stick with my snowboard.


I think it's pretty safe to say that most of our team wouldn't be living here without the ski hill, and I always find the Town Series a great way to get outside and immerse yourself in the mountain culture that runs so deep here. The after-race parties, held at The Cellar, the Mule Shoe, Lefty's, Grumpy's, Mahoney's and Whiskey Jacques, provide a great chance to catch up with friends, meet new folks and celebrate how lucky we all are to live in this valley.


Watch us in the races every Wednesday through March 11, starting at 11 a.m.


By Aimee Christensen, chair, Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee

2014.07. Breathing vehicle exhaust is at odds with the enjoyment of Ketchum's natural beauty. Our majestic mountains and lands, clean air and free-flowing, clear rivers and streams are central to what makes our town so special.


Our economy is based upon these natural assets, with so many residents and visitors alike here because of the natural beauty, enjoying it summer and winter. Ketchum's law prohibiting vehicles from idling for more than three minutes is one way we can protect our community's beauty and economy, improving our local air quality, reducing noise pollution, saving money, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and just creating a more pleasant environment for all.


In the United States, idling vehicles waste more than one billion gallons of fuel and about $4 billion per year, over $13 million per day! With current engine technology, once you idle for more than 10 seconds, you're wasting more gas than turning your engine on and off. An idling vehicle releases air toxins, chemicals, gases and particulate matter ("soot") and emits 20 times more pollution than one traveling at 30 miles per hour! Breathing in exhaust can aggravate asthma, allergies and cardiovascular disease, and emissions are still present and harmful even when you can't see the exhaust.  


Idling is also not good for your vehicle, produces various negative effects and puts a strain on the engine. Idling engines do not work at their most efficient mode and just having the cylinders firing and the belts moving is inducing wear on those parts - without racking up any miles! Consider idling a stress test on your car. Whenever the engine is running, you are slowly wearing out some of the components of the vehicle. 


To address this waste and local air quality and global pollution, cities and states across the country have in place a wide range of idling regulations: Some cover all motor vehicles, some just commercial, some just diesel, some only autos over a certain weight. Ketchum's ordinance was passed in 2009, limiting idling to less than three minutes with a $300 fine for violations. The city started with a one-year grace period for education, and then changed the penalties to a warning for the first offense, a $25 fine for the second offense, and a $52 fine for third and subsequent offenses.


At the Jan. 22 City Council meeting, however, we learned from Police Chief Dave Kassner that our computer system cannot allow for a graduated fine structure, so officers have been limited to issuing warnings to date - a couple thousand of them, in actuality continuing our educational period for over five years. We also learned in those five years that there are many repeat offenders. Click here to read his report. 


At the meeting, the chief recommended a change to a flat fine of $10. After discussion, learning about other communities' idling laws and agreeing that a fine will help change behavior, the City Council voted for a flat fee of $25.


To give a sense of where we stand compared to others, we reviewed a wide range of communities' laws. Burlington, Vt., has a limit of three minutes, with a sliding scale for fines of $10, then $50, and up to $100 thereafter. The state of Hawaii is also three minutes, with fines starting at $25 and going up to $2500! Given that our computer system can't handle a sliding scale, a flat fee of $25 is a smart start. There is always discretion allowed to let our officers decide whether there are extenuating circumstances, such as an elderly person or child in a car when temperatures are very cold. Let's keep our community beautiful, healthy and prosperous!


To learn more and find out other cities' regulations in the U.S., read the articles in the What We're Reading section below.


Dr. Stephen Pauley, sometimes called "Dr. Dark" because of his campaigns to avoid light pollution in the night sky, is indeed a retired ear, nose and throat surgeon.


Although recent research indicates that excessive exposure to light at night is bad for human health, Dr. Pauley's interest in reducing light pollution originally came from his love for the skies.


He and his family sailed to Hawaii in 1979 on a 42-foot boat. "We didn't have GPS then," he said, "so we had to navigate by the stars. One thing led to another."


One of the joys of the Wood River Valley, he realized, was the ability to see the stars overhead "unmarred by the glare and sky glow caused by bad outdoor lighting that shines sideways and upwards."


Dr. Pauley, also an amateur astronomer, wrote an article in the Idaho Mountain Express. It attracted the attention of the late Ketchum City Councilwoman Christina Potters. Then-Mayor Guy Coles and the council invited him to make a presentation. 


As a result, Dr. Pauley and former city planner Tory Canfield drafted the 1999 dark sky ordinance, Idaho's first.


"Light scattered sideways offends the human eye which, if not insulted by bright glary light, can adapt to see in shadows.  Light escaping upwards causes sky glow by reflecting off water vapor and dust.  That blocks views of our magnificent night sky.  Our starry night skies can be just as spectacular as those we saw in the middle of the Pacific," Dr. Pauley said.


"Wasted light is also wasted energy.  By using lower wattage lamps and shielding the light downward, we lower energy costs," he added.


Since that time, medical research has shown the importance of spending part of the night in total darkness. Even minor amounts of light can disrupt sleep patterns and can increase the probability of colorectal and breast cancer.


Light suppresses melatonin, a sleep hormone and a protective anti-cancer hormone, developed over eons of evolution in response to our light-dark circadian rhythms.


Research also has verified that women working the graveyard shift have higher incidences of breast cancer. Their melatonin never rises at night in response to darkness. 


The American Medical Association now cautions shift workers, and the International Agency for Research on Cancer lists shift work as a "probable carcinogen."


Sun Valley and Hailey have joined Ketchum in adopting dark sky ordinances. New construction in unincorporated areas of Blaine County also is required to comply. Dr. Pauley is working on Twin Falls.


The bottom line, according to Dr. Pauley: "Sleep in the dark, fully shield all outdoor lighting and enjoy the night sky."


In Ketchum: Outdoor lights must be fully shielded and shine downward. An exception is made from Nov. 1 to April 15 for holiday lights, defined as festoon-type lights, limited to small individual bulbs on a string, where the spacing of bulbs is not closer than three inches and the output per bulb is no greater than 15 lumens. Flashing lights are prohibited on commercial properties and discouraged on residential properties. The city also requests that holiday lights be turned off after businesses close and after bedtime. Click here to read the complete ordinance.


Enter the Nordic Festival Raffle

Stop by participating stores and restaurants from 7:45 to 9 p.m. from Friday through Feb. 7 to enter raffles during the Sun Valley Nordic Festival.  


Business After Hours Feb. 25

The next BAH is being held at the Knob Hill Inn on Wednesday, Feb. 25 from 5-6 p.m., where you will hear presentations on two topics of local business interest. For more information, call Gary Hoffman at 725-5522 or email    

Chip Sealing Set for July 13-16

Ketchum plans to chip seal streets on the east side of the community core, as well as Lewis Street and Northwood Way in the industrial area, from July 13-16. Major considerations are dates when the weather is expected to be warm enough, as well as times when there will be minimal disruption to Ketchum businesses. This schedule avoids the Fourth of July weekend and Allen & Company conference, and allows time to repaint the streets before Labor Day. Click here for a detailed schedule.



Coming up at City Council Monday

The agenda includes reports from City Council liaisons to several organizations receiving city funds; Mountain Rides, Ketchum Community Development Corporation and the Blaine County Housing Authority. Also on the agenda are the policies on uses of city rights of way and amending the community housing in-lieu fee. The meeting begins at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. 


Solar Technical Assistance Available to Ketchum

Want to know whether a lot is a good site for solar energy? How to reduce regulatory hurdles for solar projects? The city of Ketchum, with the assistance of the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee, has received a one-year solar technical assistance grant from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. This means that residents seeking technical assistance with solar projects may access information (available later this week) through the city's website at  


Opening for Community Service Officer

The Ketchum Police Department is hiring a community service officer, whose duties will include enforcement of parking regulations and animal control. Click here for the job description and application. For more information, contact Holly Carter at or (208) 788-5536.   


Two Candidates for Presidential Scholars Program Announced

Two Ketchum high school seniors, Remy L. Lozano-Ives and Madeline R. Nelson, are among 3,900 candidates for the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholars Program. The program, now in its 51st year, is one of the highest honors bestowed upon graduating seniors. The Commission on Presidential Scholars will select one young man and one young woman from each state, as well as 15 students at large and up to 20 students from the creative and performing arts, to be invited to Washington, D.C. for a recognition ceremony in June. Remy is a student at Inspire Connections Academy and Madeline, at Deerfield Academy. Read press release here


Nordic Festival Starts This Weekend

The Sun Valley Nordic Festival starts this weekend. Opening ceremonies are in Town Square on Friday, Jan. 30, at 4:30 p.m. Events include Ski the Rails and the annual benefit for Galena Lodge on Saturday, plus the Skin It to Win It uphill race on Dollar Mountain and Paw 'n Pole (see photo at top of newsletter), benefiting the Animal Shelter of the Wood River Valley, on Sunday. Next week brings a biathlon for able and disabled skiers and the Ski Hall of Fame induction on Wednesday, Feb. 4. Festivities end Saturday, Feb. 7 with the Boulder Mountain Tour, marking its 40th anniversary this year. View the program here


Crisis Hotline Benefit Feb. 7

The "Share a Smile" benefit for the Crisis Hotline, featuring actress and author Mariel Hemingway, will be Saturday, Feb. 7 at 6:30 p.m. at the 511 Building on Leadville Ave.


Want to Serve on Planning & Zoning Commission? 
Ketchum is accepting applications through Feb. 28 for an upcoming vacancy on the Planning & Zoning Commission. The current term ends on April 13. Click here to read qualifications and access additional information.


Ketchum to Co-Sponsor Seminar on Climate Change, Water Use 
The city is among the sponsors of a seminar on climate change and water conservation, to be held March 6 at the Community Campus in Hailey. We'll have more on this in a future e-newsletter. Read the flyer here.  

Arts & Crafts Festival Honored

The annual Sun Valley Center Arts and Crafts Festival has been ranked in Art Fair SourceBook's  "Elite 100" fine art fairs for 2015.The festival ranked 37th in the country for fine art and 45th for fine crafts. This year's dates are Aug. 7-9.


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 2. 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, Feb. 9 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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