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

August 14, 2014
In This Issue
A Message from Mayor Nina Jonas: Public Art Is as Old as Time 

When former Mayor Randy Hall and local arts advocate Claudia McCain worked together to create the City of Ketchum's Arts Commission (KAC) in 2009, they were following in the footsteps of an already robust arts community that includes the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, scores of local galleries and hard-working local artists.

The commission's goal was to make arts and culture an even more integral part of community life. The idea is as old as time. Since the days of cave dwellers, cultures have honored their sense of place through creative adornment, sometimes unexplainable, but always recognized as expressing pride, thoughtfulness and joy. Celebration of the beauty that surrounds us, both in soul and in environment, is a value well worth the effort.

The KAC members and four staff liaisons from the parks & recreation department and the Ketchum Community Development Corporation have infused the community with creative accomplishments unprecedented in the past five years. From the rotating sculpture display, Art on Fourth, to the transformation of mundane municipal utility boxes into beautiful "Cover Art," to the new addition of Art in City Hall, the organization continues to further the creative sense of our community. There has been relatively little financial support from the city's budget. Indeed, private donors have funded many projects with tax-exempt donations to the arts commission's trust fund.

Ketchum is proud to showcase the country's first art-adorned ski gondola car (see additional stories in this newsletter), which will serve the Sun Valley Resort this winter. A continuation of the KAC's Cover Art series, the gondola was a collaboration of Sun Valley Resort, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the City of Ketchum's Arts Commission. Following a year of hard work that included many starts and stops, the partners persevered. The result is tangible and beautiful. 

I encourage you to visit the KAC's webpage and take a few hours to visit the group's many projects in our community. Thanks to this impressive group, our community is made more creative through impactful and thought-provoking art.


Do you have a question for Mayor Nina Jonas?

Why was a sprinkler running all day near Warm Springs and Saddle Road last Saturday?

A city-owned irrigation valve malfunctioned, and someone was dispatched to turn it off shortly after a citizen alerted us to this on Facebook. It has since been repaired. We hate to waste water too, and we appreciate the fact that someone told us about it.

Why doesn't Ketchum require businesses to have back-up generators in case of power outages?

The cost would be prohibitive for most small businesses and restaurants in town. FYI, the city does have back-up generators for emergency services. 
Sun Valley to Feature Artist-Designed Gondola Car on Baldy
Stop by Town Square and take a look at the artist-decorated Sun Valley Resort gondola car, believed to be the first in the nation. The car features artwork by long-time ski instructor and artist Ralph Harris, who has been an illustrator for skiing magazines as well as the creator of posters for anniversaries of the Sawtooth National Recreation Area and Ketchum's annual Wagon Days celebration.

The gondola car, unveiled this past Tuesday, will remain until fall in Ketchum Town Square, East Avenue between Sun Valley Road and Fourth Street. It then will go on the gondola line on Bald Mountain for the upcoming ski season.

The project is an extension of the City of Ketchum's Arts Commission's popular Cover Art program, in which downtown utility boxes have been wrapped with original artwork. Images of the Boulder Mountains created by Harris were affixed to the gondola car as a vinyl "wrap," using the same process applied to utility boxes throughout Ketchum.

The arts commission spearheaded the project, which also involved Sun Valley Resort, the U.S. Forest Service, the Bureau of Land Management and the city of Ketchum. A donation from David and Trish Wilson, owners of Wilson Construction LLC since 1977, covers the costs.

The idea came to Sun Valley Resort's Julian Tyo, who saw artist-designed gondolas while vacationing in Europe.

"To our knowledge, showcasing original art wrapped around an entire gondola car is a first in the U.S. ski world," Jack Sibbach, Sun Valley Resort director of marketing and public relations, said. "We are excited to feature the work of a local artist, as it represents for our guests how important arts and culture are to this community." He noted that ArtPlace recently named Ketchum as one of the top 12 small towns for art in the U.S.

Sibbach also pointed out that Harris has a long history in the Wood River Valley and worked as a Sun Valley ski instructor for approximately 40 years.

Harris has been an illustrator for Ski, Skiing and Ski Racing magazines, as well as for the U.S. Ski Team. He has won 10 Idaho Fish and Game stamp design competitions, as well as the Idaho Upland Game Bird Stamp competition. He collaborated with the Stained Glass Studio in Ketchum to design windows for Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church on Sun Valley Road. His work has been exhibited in the Pierce Museum in Corsicana, Texas, and the Western Heritage Museum in Billings, Mont. Additional information is available at

Claudia McCain, KAC chair, added, "This project would not have come together if not for efforts of all the partners involved. The KAC developed the concept but the execution required notable time, effort and goodwill by Sun Valley Resort, the Forest Service and the BLM."

Artist Ralph Harris: His Life Reflects Valley's Heritage
If you wanted to learn the history of the Wood River Valley, it would be almost sufficient to trace the life of Ralph Harris, whose depiction of the Boulder Mountains covers the first artist-decorated ski gondola in the United States.

Harris, born in Hailey, is a fourth-generation local. His paternal great-grandfather came in 1891 from Delhi, Iowa to work in the mines and subsequently started The Harris Furniture and Mortuary in downtown Hailey.

His maternal grandparents, Eusebio and Pia Arriaga, arrived in Hailey in 1907 to raise sheep and operate a boarding house serving fellow immigrants from Spain's Basque country.

Growing up, Harris was always drawing. There were no high school art classes at the time, so he learned from books and magazines. His first formal classes were at what was then Idaho State College in Pocatello. In his sophomore year in 1962, he transferred to the Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles.

Later that year, the college, Idaho State, was about to become a university and had a competition for the official logo. His former roommate at Idaho State, a friend from Hailey, alerted him to the competition and he won it. This logo was changed some six years ago with the exception of the slogan "Veritas vos Liberabit."

After several years, following graduation and service with the Marine Corps Air Reserve at Los Alamitos Naval Air Station, his late parents were facing health issues and he came back to help with the furniture store. He also worked for Sun Valley Co. as a night bellman so he would have a ski pass and some daytime hours to ski. In addition, he took lessons in how to teach skiing.

Harris had known Sigi Engl, the legendary ski school director whose statue is on the Sun Valley Mall, since he was a child. In December, 1968, Harris became a member of the Sun Valley Ski School

That same year, the Rotary Club of Hailey sponsored Harris as one of seven young businessmen on a goodwill trip to South Australia with all expenses paid. He filled a large notebook with drawings and accounts of the trip. Rotary International published his work in three languages.

His careers in art and skiing soon merged.

During the Jean-Claude Killy Challenge, which featured the French Olympic ski champion racing against other Olympic racers on Dollar Mountain, Harris met the editor of Skiing magazine, Doug Pfeiffer, who asked him to create the cover illustration for the September 1970 edition.

He then began what might be considered a storybook life. He taught skiing in Sun Valley in the winter, tested equipment for Skiing magazine at Mammoth Mountain, California in the spring, and spent the summer in New York illustrating ski techniques and other topics for the magazine. During the fall, he was a representative for the magazine at ski shows in seven cities.

His artistic credentials are numerous, as the story on the gondola in this newsletter notes. His friends may be even more numerous, said Mayor Nina Jonas, who has known Harris and his love for the natural beauty of the community since she was a child.

All in all, it would be impossible to find a more appropriate person to create artwork for a Sun Valley gondola.

Who Comes First When There's a Wildfire? Probably Ketchum
Editors' note: We heard this comment after the lightning and horrendous peal of thunder that preceded Tuesday night's power outage: "Even if the power is out, it's a lot better than the fires last summer." True indeed, and we thought you would like to know how Ketchum is helping to prevent another major forest fire.

What happens when someone sees a smoldering campfire at Corral Creek? Rather than wait for federal firefighters to come in from distant points, the Ketchum Fire Department is dispatched. In fact, local firefighters already have answered four calls this year along Corral Creek Road, about four miles east of town.

Ketchum Fire Department is the first responder to fires on private property in a 50-square-mile area. Its territory goes from the Heatherlands subdivision and the Greenhorn Gulch Bridge south of town north to Galena Lodge. The only exception is the city of Sun Valley, which has its own fire department.

The territory is a result of the consolidation approximately 57 years ago between the Ketchum Fire Department and the Ketchum Rural Fire District. The plus for the city is that Ketchum has one of the largest, best-equipped fire departments in the county with crews based 24 hours a day at the station adjacent to City Hall, said Chief Mike Elle.

Ketchum is responsible for all private property and is usually the first to respond on public lands under an automatic assistance agreement with federal agencies.

The department has 11 full-time firefighters and 35 paid on-call volunteer firefighters, who are paid when they train or respond to calls.

"Our volunteers and off-duty full-time firefighters carry pagers and are always willing to respond," Elle said. "They volunteer and respond because they love their work. They may be asleep in the middle of the night, and they'll still get up to answer calls.We owe a great debt to their employers, too, who will let them walk off their jobs when there is an emergency."

When a call comes in from a remote area, a page goes out to everyone. If the on-duty firefighters go on the call, volunteers arrive to fill their spots so the station is fully manned. Volunteers go to emergency medical call scenes first if they happen to be closer than firefighters based at City Hall.

The biggest concern in summer, of course, is wildfires. If Elle had one request, it would be for people to have open space, or "defensible space" in firefighter terms, around their homes.

"People want privacy, so they plant trees," Elle said. This makes it hard to protect their houses, because there's nowhere to stage firefighting equipment. Trees, especially evergreens, should be at least 10 feet apart and away from the house." Natural, drought-resistant vegetation and wildflowers can be fire-resistant, he added.

Other no-no's are woodpiles, gas barbecues and flammable outdoor furniture adjacent to buildings and on decks. Gutters should be cleaned of debris that dries out in the summer sun.

The fire department also responds to medical emergencies. We'll talk more about this service in a future newsletter.

Luxury Hotel Comes to Ketchum 
Ground-breaking is scheduled for May for Ketchum's first luxury hotel, with completion expected by late 2017, Trail Creek Fund, LLC, announced this week. The operator will be Auberge Resorts Collection, award-winning owner and operator of boutique luxury hotels, resorts, residences and private clubs.

To be located at River and Main streets, the five-star hotel will be the first lodging constructed in Ketchum since the 1990s. The 155,000-square-foot mixed-use project will have 80 to 90 hotel rooms and penthouse residences, a full-service restaurant and bar, spa and fitness facilities and conference space. Other Ketchum developments by Project Director Jack Bariteau and his partners include the shops and residences at the Colonnade, the Christiania Building and 600 Second Street East. Read press release here.

Sun Valley Economic Summit Set for Oct. 8 
Save the date! The theme of the Sun Valley Economic Summit on Oct. 8 will be "From Adversity to Opportunity: Building a Secure and Resilient Community." Sun Valley Economic Development sponsors the annual event. Click to view their City of Ketchum Economic Profile 2013.

Business After Hours 
Take a look at the new historical panels at the Ore Wagon Museum at the next Ketchum/Sun Valley BAH, to be held Wednesday, Aug. 27, from 5-6 p.m. The ore wagons will be out of the museum for the upcoming Wagon Days celebration so the event will be inside the museum at East Avenue and Fifth Street. A donation of $5 per person is suggested. For more information, contact Gary Hoffman at or 725-5522. 

Mayor Nina Jonas 
2014.07.17 Aimee Christensen, chair of the City of Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee and CEO of Christensen Global Strategies, is the author of two recent articles:  Jennifer L. Smith, Ketchum director of parks & recreation
Parks & Rec's Jen Smith Honored 
The Sun Valley Guide's "Best of the Valley" honored Jennifer L. Smith, director of parks & recreation, as the "Best City/County Staffer," as chosen by a vote of the readership. "Perhaps if all managers worked from the ground up to get their positions, they'd be as humble and centered as Smith," the article noted. Free copies of the magazine are on news racks around town.

Ketchum Resident Donates $50 Million to Sustainability 
Ketchum's Julie Ann Wrigley has donated $50 million to Arizona State University's Global Institute of Sustainability, which was recently renamed in her honor.

Grant Application Deadline Approaching for Winter Events 
There are two more weeks to submit applications for city grants to help fund events taking place November 2014 through May 2015. Deadline for applications to the City of Ketchum's Events Commission is Aug. 29. Read full press release.

Turn Off Your Motors 
Remember that Ketchum prohibits parked vehicles from leaving motors idling for more than three minutes. Violators may be subject to fines of $25-$52, per City Ordinance 1080. Click on the Ordinance link below to read more.

More Shade in Town Square 
Summer afternoons and evenings will be more comfortable in Town Square, thanks to the generous donation of yellow and green sun shades from the Grossman family.

Honor for Morgan Arritola 
Ketchum's Morgan Arritola was honored as one of the "Top Names in Mountain Running" by Runner's World magazine.

Graduate Online Courses Coming Soon 
Idaho State University is working with the College of Southern Idaho to offer online graduate-level courses, and plans to hold an informational meeting in Hailey this fall. Read more information here.

Gillespie to Lead Library 
Sally Boettger Gillespie has been named acting executive director of The Community Library. Gillespie, former executive director of the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, will assist the library while it searches for a replacement for Cynthia Dillon, who has resigned. Read full press release.

"Almost Annual" Skateboard Contest Set for Aug. 23 
Ketchum's 12th "almost annual" Skateboard Contest will be at the Guy Coles Skateboard Park, Warm Springs and Saddle roads, on Saturday, Aug. 23, with registration at 10 a.m. Sponsors are the Board Bin and the Wild West Skateboard Contest Series. For information, call 726-1222.

All-Day City Budget Meeting 
The City Council will hold a special all-day meeting on the FY2014-15 budget on Tuesday, Aug. 26. Agenda will be available here prior to the meeting.

Open House Aug. 26 on Big Wood Bridge 
The Idaho Department of Transportation will present designs for a new bridge over the Big Wood River on Highway 75 south of Ketchum at an open house on Tuesday, Aug. 26, from 5-7 p.m. at the Kentwood Lodge, 180 S. Main St. A committee of local residents, working with the Blaine County Recreation District, is hoping that artwork can be incorporated into the design.

Get Ready for Wagon Days 
Mark your calendar for some of the special events at Wagon Days festivities celebrating Ketchum's history. The new historical panels at the Ore Wagon Museum, 5th Street and East Avenue, will be dedicated following the parade on Saturday, Aug. 30, at approximately 2:30 p.m. The Papoose Club will serve its annual all-you-can-eat pancake breakfasts Saturday and Sunday from 8 a.m. to noon in Town Square, with proceeds benefiting children's activities. We'll have more details in the Aug. 28 newsletter. 
City Council
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 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, Aug. 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, p
lease submit your comments via email to Your input and engagement is encouraged. All comments will be reviewed.
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