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

July 17, 2014

A Message from Mayor Nina Jonas: The Cooling Effects of the River

Yippee, it's summer and, oh my, it's summer! Summer in Sun Valley can be more fleeting than the beautiful snowflakes of winter. My father thinks summer starts in May and ends in October, but I think it's the two months of July and August when the temperatures rise, soirees fill the schedule and friends visit.


Jamming all of summer into two months can fluster me, which is when I head to the river. The beautiful Big Wood River and its many tributaries save my summer sanity. Jumping into a swimming hole washes away my fluster, calms my stress and makes me giggle.


The water that runs through our valley is our life blood and deserves our understanding. This past Tuesday, Idaho Rivers United  and Save Our wild Salmon Coalition with Yvon Chouinard hosted the movie "DamNation" at the Sun Valley Opera House. The movie brings attention to the importance of unobstructed rivers to the wild salmon population.


I highly recommend this movie. It will further your understanding of how the Salmon River is critical to the success of wild salmon. Known as the "River of No Return," the Salmon begins at Galena Summit and flows 425 miles to the Snake River.


This coming Monday, the Ketchum City Council will address the importance of our water basin to our livelihood and our role in protecting it. The 2014 Ketchum Comprehensive Plan was adopted in February. It states, "Ketchum's new planning perspective is based on the principle of sustainability" to "reinforce our existing efforts to protect the natural environment and create social and economic vibrancy year-round." (Plan, page iii) The Plan pledges that, "We value the quality and quantity of our water resources that we have and will work to conserve them." (Plan, page 10).


We will discuss a scope of work to evaluate current and future needs for developing a city-wide strategy to enhance natural resources and efficient water and energy use, reduce consumption, decrease costs and provide long-term security in these areas. After many years of pursuing the need for a comprehensive city water policy that appreciates the health of the rivers, I am delighted to be bringing this to the Council.


Have a great weekend and enjoy the cooling effects of the rivers.



askninaAsk Nina
Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?

Is overnight parking allowed in the city of Ketchum?
Passenger vehicles can park for up to 7 days in a city lot or right of way except where posted. In the two-hour parking spaces, vehicles parked overnight must be moved by 10 a.m. as the two-hour parking begins at 8 a.m and ends at 6 p.m. RV parking is now available on First Ave. between River and First streets. The Ketchum Police Department's "How to Park and Get Around" brochure provides more information. Click on the city ordinance link near the bottom of the newsletter for even more information.
fonenergy'F' on Energy for Idaho: Meeting Next Week on How to Improve
by Aimee Christensen
2014.07. Did you know that Idaho was one of three states in the nation to get an "F" for power outages from the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration? Did you know that 40 percent of our electricity is generated from out-of-state coal power plants? Did you know that our recent power price increase of 14 percent is costing the city of Ketchum alone $20,000 per year? Did you know that nearly all of the $34 million dollars Wood River Valley residents pay for our power and heating needs leave our valley?

Energy is critical to our economy and quality of life in the Wood River Valley and we face risks that must be addressed. In addition, renewable energy and energy efficiency can save home and business owners money, provide compelling investment opportunities and create local jobs. The Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee (KEAC) was formed in January 2014 to advise the Ketchum City Council on energy including the security, economic and environmental risks and opportunities of our energy system now and in the future. The energy committee is evaluating ways to bring reliable, secure, price-stable and cleaner energy to the Wood River Valley.

To broaden the conversation about our energy issues, the city and our committee are planning four "Town Halls" over the next six months under the title "KetchEmpower: Taking Charge of Our Energy Future." Our first will cover "Our Energy Security: The Redundant Line and Local Energy Sources" on Tuesday, July 22 from 5:15 to 6:30 p.m. at Ketchum City Hall in City Council chambers.

Joining me on the panel will be KEAC committee members Rick LeFaivre, clean energy investor, former senior executive at Apple and advisory board member of the U.S. Department of Energy's Pacific Northwest National Laboratory; Billy Mann, CEO of Sagebrush Solar in Ketchum; Kerrin McCall, writer and environmental advocate; Alan Richardson, former president of the American Public Power Association, and Vern Porter, vice president of Idaho Power.

Power outages in the United States are up an astonishing 285 percent since 1984, according to DOE's Energy Information Administration as reported in Bloomberg Businessweek. Idaho, Montana and North Dakota all got an "F" for their record of outages. We have experienced this record here in our valley with the costly Christmas Eve outage in 2009 and then just in the past few weeks we again faced short power outages. Nearly all our sustained outages, including the 2009 Christmas outage, have been on the feeder lines from south of our valley. To address reliability for our community, Idaho Power has proposed a second transmission line from Hailey to Ketchum. This first town hall aims to deepen our understanding of the options before us and the economic, reliability and environmental aspects of them.

For additional information, contact Christensen at
budgetTell City Council What You Think on Budget Questions
Have opinions on how the city should spend its money? It's time to speak up.


The Ketchum City Council has a little more than a month to finalize a $14 million budget for FY 2014-15, a 1.7 percent reduction over the current fiscal year. The budget will be discussed further at the Aug. 4 City Council meeting, which is open to the public. The major reason for the decrease is a drop in the anticipated local option sales tax funds received in the current fiscal year.


The budget is designed to maintain existing services, as well as accomplish eight objectives adopted by City Council earlier this year for FY 2015, which begins Oct. 1.


In its first budget workshop, the council agreed on these goals:

  • Adopt a balanced general fund budget.
  • Initiate planning for construction of a civic center to incorporate a city hall, fire station and police station.
  • Evaluate the utilization of a multi-departmental code enforcement staff.
  • Work on adopting and implementing environmental initiatives such as water conservation, energy conservation and natural resources.
  • Increase coordination and effective use of resources of city-funded, economic non-government organizations. The first step has already taken place with the planned merger of the Wood River Economic Partnership and Sun Valley Economic Development. (See story later in this issue.)
  • Update the zoning code and make it consistent with the Comprehensive Plan adopted early this year.
  • Consider fire services coordination and/or consolidation with Sun Valley.
  • Maximize the utilization of available social media through the city's communications program. The city currently is using Facebook, Twitter and Vimeo.  

Funds to continue planning for a new civic center are expected to come from the Ketchum Urban Renewal Agency, which will begin budget discussions later this month. The current city hall is in a former auto dealership built in 1960, and the building is too small for today's staff and deteriorating with age.


A multi-departmental code enforcement officer may be hired in January to ensure compliance with collection of the local-option tax. The officer also may focus on planning code enforcement at a later date. The city anticipates that the position will pay for itself through increased collection of taxes and building permit fees.


The budget proposes a salary increase averaging 3.8 percent for firefighters and 2 percent for other city employees. It anticipates an increase of 15 percent, or approximately $177,119, for employee health insurance, although the actual cost may be more.


The city is assessing whether to continue the employment of two or all three of the three firefighters whose salaries have been paid under a federal grant for the past two years.


"All of these programs are integral and important to the city of Ketchum's success," interim City Manager Ray Silva said in his budget message to the mayor and City Council. "However, until general fund and LOT revenues increase significantly, the city is unable to afford to pay for some or all."


The budget is scheduled for adoption on Aug. 26. 

symphonyMusical Performance vs. Flying a Plane: Both Are Risky, But ...

"Musical performance and flying a plane are similarly all-encompassing. And there's certainly risk in both, though as Flying magazine writer Lane Wallace observed, 'In performance you may feel like you could die, but in the end, unlike flying, it's a death you can live with.' A lot of people focus on the risk, but both activities are about feeling joy. ...


"When my wife and I first spent summers here and stayed in Sun Valley, we walked to Ketchum to the old Buffalo Cafe every morning. I love the fact that you can walk or bicycle around town, and that you are close to both the river and the mountains. Between the recreation, the art galleries and the restaurants and cafes, there's something for everyone."

--Both quotes from Jeremy Constant, Sun Valley Summer Symphony concertmaster, private pilot, airplane builder and Ketchum enthusiast.


Jeremy Constant, concertmaster of the Sun Valley Summer Symphony and his wife, Sharon, are Ketchum residents for the summer symphony season.


While almost anyone interested in music has heard Constant perform here, fewer people know that he spent seven years building his own experimental aircraft. In this newsletter's video (video and photo courtesy of the San Francisco Symphony where Constant is assistant concertmaster,) he talks about the balance between the tangible act of building an airplane and the intangible experience of music.


The Sun Valley Summer Symphony, where he has performed for about 15 years, is very special to him. "Being a fantastic player is just the starting point for being invited to perform here," he said. "There are lots of fantastic players, and you can't just apply.


"You have to be invited to apply either because you've worked with some of the musicians or because Music Director Alasdair Neale knows you. We want to know whether someone will not only be a part of the orchestra, but also be a part of the community.

"The orchestra wants people who will blend into the population the town attracts," he added. "People are here to enjoy the natural beauty, and the needs of the year-round residents and the summer visitors seem to dovetail. Even though Ketchum has changed considerably over the years, it is holding onto the charms that keep people coming back." Ketchum is lucky that Constant is one of them.


The Sun Valley Summer Symphony is celebrating its 30th anniversary this year, and Constant will be the soloist in Massenet's "Meditation from Thais" on Monday, Aug. 4. The In-Focus series of "Made in America" chamber music begins July 28, the gala is Aug. 3, and symphony performances begin Aug. 4 at the Sun Valley Pavilion. All performances except the gala are free.  

compplanBlaine County Seeks Input on Comp Plan

Blaine County is asking residents to take a short survey to guide the updating of the county Comprehensive Plan. The county describes the plan as "a visionary document that guides the county into the future. It serves as a foundation for county decisions on land use, infrastructure, services, recreation, natural areas and other topics." 


The updated plan will be developed around a series of key principles that represent common beliefs shared as a community and that have guided planning since the first Comprehensive Plan in the 1970s. Go online to take the short survey

livebroadcastKetchum Starts Live Broadcasts of Council Meetings

Live broadcasts of Ketchum City Council and Planning & Zoning Commission meetings can now be heard on the Internet.


To listen, go to, click on "Public Meeting Information" on the left side of the page, and follow the instructions. Broadcasts of previous meetings, as well as information packets on key agenda items, are available.


"Our goal is to make public meetings more accessible to Ketchum residents," Mayor Nina Jonas said. "We see this as a major step, as people can now listen to a discussion as it takes place or at a later time."


The city plans to improve the video broadcasts soon. 

businessBusiness News: Economic Development Groups Merge
Sun Valley Economic Development and Wood River Economic Partnership plan to merge into one organization with a united approach towards economic development in Blaine County. The new organization will retain the name Sun Valley Economic Development.  

This move is in keeping with national trends that have seen a consolidation of economic development entities across the country, officials of the groups said. SVED's strengths in economic analysis, innovative projects like the proposed local culinary institute and business development initiatives fit well with WREP skills in advocating on timely issues such as hotel construction and air service. The two organizations have collaborated on these and other issues and believe the timing is right to join forces.

May 2014 Local Option Tax
whatwerereadingWhat We're Reading
From Mayor Nina Jonas
2014.07.17 From City Council President Michael David 
From Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee Chair Aimee Christensen and member Alan Richardson, also former president of the American Public Power Association
photo credit: Blaine County Sheriff's Office 
Fire Restriction Go Into Effect 
Special fire restrictions went into effect today for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth National Forest. It is illegal to build a fire outside a fire ring provided by the U.S. Forest Service or to smoke outside an enclosed vehicle or building. The restrictions will be in effect until further notice, the Forest Service announced.

Stay tuned to fire activity on the following links:

Idaho Smoke Information
InciWeb - Incident Information System
aroundtownAround Town

New Summer Hours at Ore Wagon Museum 
The Ore Wagon Museum will be open immediately after the Friday morning historical "Sun Valley Story Tours" on Mountain Rides buses through Aug. 22. Free one-hour Sun Valley Story Tours, with a guide pointing out local historical sights, start every  Friday at 10:15 a.m. at the Visitor Center. Immediately after the tour, the guide will invite participants to walk together to the museum at East Avenue and Fifth Street. It will remain open until 12:30 p.m.

Ketchum Arts Commission Unveils "Chalk Art" 
A new interactive art project in downtown Ketchum, "Chalk Art," features a free-standing corner wall in Little Park, Fifth Street between East and Walnut avenues, that has been transformed into an over-sized chalkboard. A series of questions, created by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, will be written on the board periodically and visitors will be encouraged to respond in whatever way inspires them, with both language and images. Chalk is provided on site.
Watch for Artistic Gondola 
It's almost official. The City Council will vote Monday on a proposal for artist and former ski instructor Ralph Harris to design an artistic wrap for a ski gondola. It will be on display in Town Square this summer and then move to the gondola line at the Sun Valley Resort. The Ketchum Arts Commission, Sun Valley Resort, the U.S. Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management have spent months working out the logistics of this project. The goals is to have the wrap completed by the end of the month.

Wine Auction Festivities Start Today 
The 33rd annual Sun Valley Center Wine Auction, one of the premier charity wine auctions in the country, starts tonight with "Dinners with the Vintners" and continues through the weekend.
Summer Outdoor Music Continues 
Enjoy Ketchum's continuing music series on July's warm evenings. "Town Square Tunes" is Thursdays from 6-8 p.m. in Town Square, East Avenue between Fourth Street and Sun Valley Road; "Ketch'em Alive" is Tuesdays from 7-9 p.m. in Forest Service Park, 131 E. River St.; and "Jazz in the Park" is at Rotary Park, Warm Springs and Saddle roads, on Sundays from 6-8 p.m.
Writers Conference Begins Saturday

The Sun Valley Writers Conference begins Saturday, with some single-event tickets available online through tomorrow. Tonight's speakers are Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson, who will talk about how they happened to write Peter and the Starcatcher, the Peter Pan prequel that turned into a five-book series and a Tony Award-winning Broadway play.
Ketchum Cruise Set for July 25

Classic cars, hot rods and custom vehicles will motor down Main Street on their way to Town Square on July 25. The cruise begins around 5 p.m. and the cars will remain in Town Square until 8 p.m. There's no charge to see the array of cars. The Ketchum Cruise is part of a two-day benefit for the Blaine County Drug Coalition.
Chip Sealing Starts July 28 
Remember that chip sealing of streets will take place in residential areas of West Ketchum July 28-30. Click here for a detailed schedule. There will be no downtown chip sealing this year.
Business After Hours  
The next Ketchum/Sun Valley BAH will be held on Wednesday, July 30, from 5-6 p.m. at the UPS Store patio, 220 East Ave., and is a collaborative event of the businesses in the building. A donation of $5 per person is suggested. A $1,500 advertising package from Neuhoff Communications will be the prize in a free raffle. It covers production and airing of a 30-second commercial on KSVT-Fox 14 television. For more information, contact Gary Hoffman at or 725-5522. 
Fire Restrictions Go Into Effect 
Special fire restrictions went into effect today for the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Sawtooth National Forest. It is illegal to build a fire outside a fire ring provided by the U.S. Forest Service or to smoke outside an enclosed vehicle or building. The restrictions will be in effect until further notice, the Forest Service announced. 
KDPI Radio - "For A Cause"
Tune in to KDPI 89.3 FM to hear from Mayor Nina Jonas. The half-hour program is held on Tuesdays following Council meetings from noon to 12:30 p.m. Next week's show will be on Tuesday, July 22 at noon. Listen live at 89.3 or visit
meetinginfoMeeting Information
 City Council
The Ketchum City Council will address the importance of our water basin to our livelihood and our role in protecting it. (See Mayor Nina Jonas' message above.) Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, July 21. 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, July 28 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 entered into public record and reviewed by the Mayor and Council.

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480 East Ave. N.
P.O. Box 2315
Ketchum, ID 83340
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