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

May 14, 2015
In This Issue

A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas:  


Reliable and safe water is one of the most important services that a city provides for its residents. Those of us who have traveled in other parts of the world realize how lucky we are to take clean and safe water for granted. We want to keep it that way, particularly as the drought continues.


On May 19, the city will have a special election for a $450,000 water revenue bond that would enable the utilities department to discontinue use of a portion of the water system that is more than half a century old. A private water company, acquired by the city in the 1980s, installed steel pipes that have long outlived their expected life. You can see their condition in the video in this newsletter.


The old system incurs frequent leaks and breaks that disrupt service and waste water. In the winter, water needs to be circulated through the pipes to prevent freezing because they are buried so shallowly. This, too, wastes water and the energy that is required to pump the water.  


Customers on the old system have no water meters, and pay according to the size of the connection rather than according to how much water they use. Passage of the bond measure would allow the city to install meters for all customers, encouraging conservation. It also could reduce high maintenance costs, improve reliability of our water system and conserve water and energy.


The polls at Hemingway School will be open on May 19 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Please vote.




See the condition of the Ketchum Water Springs lines and why the city has a water revenue bond on the May 19 ballot.

Why is the wooden sidewalk on Second Street being torn up and replaced with concrete? You're ripping up this town's history!

--Courtney Smart


The wooden sidewalk is being replaced to address safety issues caused by constant damage to the boardwalk, much of it due to the slope of the road. When cars parked along the boardwalk, especially when the road was icy, they frequently slipped over the curb and hit the boardwalk. This damage required repeated maintenance and repairs to the walkway. In addition, the underlying structure of the boardwalk was deteriorating and needed to be replaced.


An adjacent business maintained the walkway for some time before the city took over that responsibility. Before the decision was made to replace the sidewalk, the business was given the opportunity to resume maintenance and declined. It is very expensive to maintain boardwalks. This particular walkway had to be maintained regularly to avoid the safety issues that frequently arose. While cost is a factor, the safety of our citizens is of greatest concern.


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.


Please mark your calendars and remember to vote in the water revenue bond election Tuesday,  May 19. The map below may not represent all properties currently connected to the Ketchum Water Springs system. For questions about specific properties, contact the Water Division at 726-7825 or Click here for common questions and answers.



When honeybees start looking for spring flowers, their favorites are the early dandelions. And when you see a bee or a dandelion in a Ketchum park this spring, think of it as a reminder of the city's pesticide free park policy.


Ketchum banned the use of pesticides and herbicides in pubic parks in 2011 unless they are necessary to protect public health. Why?


Children and pets are the creatures most commonly affected by pesticides, and their small size means they are affected disproportionately by chemicals. The ASPCA estimates that about 30,000 pets in the country die each year because of exposure to chemicals in lawns and gardens.  


Ketchum, rather than scheduling treatments to prevent weeds according to the calendar, uses them only when pests become a problem. Alternatives to pesticides and herbicides are always the first choice. Solutions include improving soil fertility to encourage desired plants to out-compete pests, mechanical removal of pests, and biological control practices such as releasing ladybugs and other natural enemies of pests.


Pesticide-free parks also keep chemicals out of the rivers, where even minute amounts can harm fish.


Is there a downside to the policy? Only that you may see a few more weeds and wildflowers in the parks. Ketchum officials believe these are a much better alternative than exposure to chemicals.


If an herbicide must be applied to eliminate noxious weeds on city property, as required by the state of Idaho, the public always is notified in advance. Signs are posted 72 hours in advance, and spot spray applications are marked with blue dye. Signs are placed to inform residents when it is safe for people and pets to enter the area.


Adjacent property owners may contact Juerg Stauffacher, the city parks & natural resources superintendent, at 726-7820 or if they wish to hand-pull the weeds themselves. The parks & recreation department is sometimes able to provide tools and garbage bags for this purpose.


A complete copy of Ketchum's integrated pest management policy can be viewed here



When you send your child to a youth program sponsored by the city, you can be certain that the leaders have up-to-date and extensive training in keeping everyone safe.


Applicants must first pass a background check. Staff members then must complete a first aid course, as well as training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation and the use of defibrillators used to restore heart rhythms. Youth supervisors have additional training in wilderness first aid and swift-water rescues.  


The summer youth programming staff of about 30 people holds weekly safety meetings.


The Youth Recreation Program Standards of Care outlines safety, nutrition, behavior and participation standards for both the summer youth program and after-school programs.


Registration for the Summer Youth Recreation Program is available now for children who will enter the third grade though age 14. Activities include arts and crafts, gardening, yoga, sports and geocaching, as well as out-of-town excursions to rivers, lakes, mountains, trails, hot springs and other recreational resources.


Online registration and additional information is available here or by contacting the department at 726-7820 or



A city workshop will be held on Thursday, May 28, to discuss standards and regulations on working in city rights of way and the riparian zone near the river, as well as requirements for working on trees.


The city will no longer allow improvements such as irrigation, landscaping, fencing and pavers in the right of way, Ketchum Public Works Director/City Engineer Robyn Mattison said. However, improvements currently in the right of way will be allowed to remain unless they are creating issues such as reducing parking or limiting visibility at intersections. Property owners may be required to remove them if major work is done.


Permits are required for work in the right of way other than minor repairs and maintenance, work along streams or rivers, and work on trees in the right of way.


The city is studying whether additional changes may be necessary, she added, and will ask for comments at the meeting.


Senior Planner/Building and Development Manager Rebecca Bundy will discuss riparian zone regulations and required permits.


Director of Parks & Recreation Jennifer L. Smith will describe the city's responsibility for trees in the right of way.


The meeting will be held in City Council chambers at Ketchum City Hall, 480 East Ave. N, at 9 a.m.


Reservations are requested but not required for the free workshop. Call 726-7801 or email


Developers of the Limelight Hotel, now beginning preliminary construction work at the site on Main and River streets, will hold a community meeting Wednesday, May 27, at 4 p.m. in City Council chambers in City Hall. Discussion topics include the impact on the nearby Forest Service Park, as well as construction parking, road closures, fence locations and traffic control.

Ketchum firefighters sharpened their backcountry rescues skills with helicopter hoist training with the Idaho Army National Guard near Baker Creek last weekend. Approximately 45 participants from agencies as far away as Stanley and Mackay took part in the training. They learned how to assess and "package" a patient for a hoist, as well as how to direct a helicopter to a safe landing zone. The video of this training will be in the next newsletter and on the city's vimeo page. 


'Pitch Night' for New Businesses Scheduled for May 21

The Sun Valley Band of Angels & Mentors, along with the Ketchum Innovation Center, will host its third "Pitch Night" on Thursday, May 21, at 5:30 p.m. Two companies will discuss their businesses, including plans for growth and investment and potential mentoring needs.


Visit Sun Valley Promotes Summer, Fall Events

Visit Sun Valley has created a 5-by-7 card promoting summer and fall events. These cards can be given out at events, restaurants, hotels and shops. They are available at the Visit Sun Valley office or the Visitor Center.


Skier Count is Up for 2014-15

The Sun Valley skier count was up 3 percent this year, an impressive figure considering that most Rocky Mountain resorts were down about 2 percent.


Nina Jonas, Mayor
Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks and

Learn About Water-Wise Landscaping Today  

The first in a series of four "water-wise" landscaping workshops, co-sponsored by the city of Ketchum, will be today, May 14, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Sawtooth Botanical Garden. Tonight's program will be on how native or drought-tolerant lawns can cut water use by 50 to 67 percent, as well as save maintenance and fertilizer costs.Other sponsors of the programs are the Wood River Land Trust and the cities of Sun Valley and Hailey.


Coming Up at City Council

Ketchum Fire Department swears in new volunteer firefighters, and the first Council work session on the interim zoning ordinance are on the agenda for the next meeting on Monday, May 18. 


Honor for Mayor Jonas

Mayor Nina Jonas has been named an honorary gunfighter commander by Mountain Home Air Force Base.


Bundy Earns Planning Certification

Senior Planner/Building and Development Manager Rebecca Bundy is now a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners.   She applied for and was accepted to take the exam in spring 2014, studied for a year and passed the 3 ½ hour exam with a score of 90 percent.  The exam topics cover all things related to the planning profession, including history, law, theory, energy, environment, housing, transportation, public participation and ethics.


Saturday is Kids to Parks Day

The fifth annual Kids to Parks Day in Ketchum is Saturday, May 16, by proclamation of the City Council.


Reserve a Park Online 

Want to reserve a spot at one of Ketchum's 13 parks for a picnic, wedding or softball game? You can find a list of all city parks and facilities, as well as a reservation application, online at


Airport to Reopen Saturday

Friedman Memorial Airport is scheduled to reopen at noon on Wednesday, May 20, following completion of construction work on a taxiway.


Willow House to Be Destroyed in Farewell Bonfire

The Patrick Dougherty sculpture Centerpiece, often called The Willow House, will be destroyed in a farewell bonfire on Thursday, May 21, at 5 p.m. The structure, commissioned by the Sun Valley Center, is located across from the Ketchum Post Office. Dougherty intends for his creations to be impermanent, and asks institutions to remove them after a period of time.


Sun Valley Wellness Festival to Start May 22

The 18th annual Sun Valley Wellness Festival will be May 22-25 at the Sun Valley Resort.
Keynote speakers will be Elisabeth Gilbert, best-selling author of "Eat, Pray, Love," spiritual visionary Panache Desai and Mark Nepo, spiritual writer, poet and philosopher. 


Firefighters to Push Engines in 'Street Fight'

Ketchum Professional Firefighters Local 4758 will sponsor the annual "Street Fight" on Saturday, May 23, in Town Square starting at 9 a.m. Teams of people whose combined weight is no more than 1,000 pounds will compete in five events, including a sand bag carry and a fire engine push.


Ketchum Police Schedule Children's Bike Rodeo

The Ketchum Police, Blaine County Sheriff Bike Rode, held in partnership with Higher Ground Sun Valley, will be Saturday, May 23, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the YMCA parking lot. Activities include safety instruction and bike safety checks. Helmets are available.


In addition, the Police Field Day will be Friday, May 29, from 8 a.m. to noon at Hemingway Elementary School. Approximately 250 children will have a chance to meet local police officers and see their vehicles and equipment.


Reminders: County Surveys, Bike Path Reconstruction, Chip Sealing

There's still time to take part in the Blaine County survey on recreational needs . Reconstruction of the Wood River Trail from Wood River Drive in Ketchum north to Adams Gulch Road continues, with updates at or by calling the trail hotline at 578-9754. Chip sealing is scheduled for July 13-16 in West Ketchum.


City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, May 18. 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, May 25 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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City of Ketchum