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

December 11, 2014
In This Issue
A Message From Mayor Nina Jonas: 2014 in Review: Energy, Art, Budgets & More

The year 2014, the first year of my term as mayor, has brought issues ranging from a pilot solar energy project at the Ore Wagon museum to local art in City Hall to a balanced budget. The tally of my tasks only makes me eager to continue the work and get more done.


The Ketchum Arts Commission had a bumper year with the production of cover art to decorated utility boxes, multiple art installations along our streets, and the first artist-designed "wrap" for a ski gondola in the nation.


We continued to work on the Sun Peak River Park to provide another asset to the community and preserve a much-beloved section of river. We adopted the bicycle/pedestrian master plan and surveyed town sidewalks to identify needs for future investments.


We spruced up the Ore Wagon Museum to highlight the wagon artifacts and gain a venue for events during Wagon Days weekend every Labor Day. And we had a great Wagon Days weekend with multiple events!


We rolled out the red carpet to celebrate Kaitlyn Farrington's Olympic win and the National Brotherhood of Skiers annual ski trip.


Community enhancements and events such as these are important to all of us who live here as well as to our visitors.


We forged ahead with sustainable resource management with the formation of the Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee and proactive management of our water resources. The energy committee is working on bids for the city's demonstration solar panel installation on the Ore Wagon Museum, exploring renewable energy options and establishing energy goals for the city. It has conducted a series of town hall meetings on "what can be done" at the local level.


Concerning water, the city is analyzing the relationship between water and energy (moving water is one of the biggest uses of energy) to implement smart water conservation. We are working with the Wood River Land Trust on "Trout Friendly" landscaping that avoids the use of chemicals that pollute the river, participating in the Climate Impact Research Consortium's modeling of our water basin for future planning, and attending U.S. Geological Survey modeling workshops on "conjunctive" water management, which looks at the relationship between the use of surface water such as rivers and underground water such as wells.


A strong staff and leadership are imperative to accomplishing objectives. I have focused on forming a team that is responsive and supported. We are now at a great place with City Administrator Suzanne Frick, the expected arrival in January of Planning and Building Director Micah Austin and the already fantastic existing city staff members. Also, a second fire union contract was negotiated harmoniously.


After the financial stress caused by Beaver Creek fire last August, attention to maintaining a balanced budget was consuming. Tough decisions had to be made, including terminating the contract with the state for collecting local-option taxes. Maintaining a balanced budget is a critical priority, and we have made some changes in the budget format for increased transparency and communication.


Increasing communications with the public for greater citizen participation on developing issues is paramount to good long-term decision-making. We brought the work of newsletter production and communications back to Ketchum, using a local consulting firm and city staff. We are now producing the newsletter twice a month, publishing it before each council meeting with the goal of gaining citizen input on upcoming issues. We also discuss local issues twice a month on local radio station KDPI and are reaching out on Facebook and Twitter.


Strengthening collaboration between citizens and representatives is important to getting the work done. I have prioritized building relationships with other mayors and city council members in Blaine County, county commissioners, district and state representatives and senators, and regional and federal agencies. We need their assistance in Ketchum's interest in fire consolidation, marketing, air service, the proposed Boulder-White Clouds National Monument, and wolf/livestock and land management issues.


These are the highlights of the past year inside the mayor's office, but I was not alone. Every day I have the privilege of working with Ketchum staff, area officials, amazing volunteers and you. I thank you very much for the honor of your vote and work hard every day for the future of our community.  


Happy Holidays!




We liked the article and idea of "urban farming," the ordinance proposed in Richmond, Calif., on what food and animals can be farmed within city limits. We would eventually like to expand our greenhouse past the current limits. Our greenhouse is now 10 feet by 12 feet. We also would like to have the option of raising chickens. How does one go about beginning a change for either of these two issues? Thanks for your work. --John and Jini Griffith


We have done quite a bit of work on the issue of urban agriculture. Izzy

Canell, our 2012 summer intern, developed some proposed language, which we would like to make part of our upcoming code update. Our incoming director of planning and building, Micah Austin, developed similar codes for the city of Hailey about two years ago.


The current Ketchum code does not specifically address chickens. It does, however, allow animals kept in cages. We have interpreted that to mean that chickens kept in a coop are allowed, as long as they do not create a noise or odor nuisance.


The current code also does not address shed/greenhouse sizes or setbacks. We have conducted a workshop with the Planning Commission on possible shed/greenhouse requirements, and are poised to make some updates with respect to those code items. Please continue to share your opinions and suggestions with us as we address these issues.

Note: If you submit a question to "Ask Nina," your name may be published unless you request that it be withheld.

Ketchum will be a greener, safer city under proposed building code updates that go before the City Council Monday, Dec. 15, at 5:30 p.m.  


New construction would have to be about 15 percent more energy-efficient, and improved firewalls would increase safety for both residents and firefighters.



Energy-efficiency measures would result in long-range savings. It takes an average of about six years to pay back the added costs in most of Idaho, but likely less than two years in Ketchum because of its colder climate and high-quality construction, said Rebecca Bundy, senior planner.


In the United States, she noted, buildings account for 40 percent of energy consumption, a greater percentage than any other sector. Buildings also account for 14 percent of potable water consumption.


Exterior energy consumption by such features as driveway snow-melting systems and swimming pools has been largely unregulated, Bundy pointed out, and presents an opportunity for significant savings.


These are among the proposed changes:

  1. Snow-melting systems that cover more than 50 square feet would need to offset their energy consumption by installing renewal energy systems such as solar or geothermal.
  2. Two-hour fire separation walls would be required in two-family dwellings and townhouses. One-hour walls may be allowed as exceptions now.
  3. Commercial buildings would be required to have low-flow faucets and fixtures, as well as improved fire sprinkler and fire alarm systems.

Changes in the floodplain ordinances adopted earlier this year already are saving Ketchum homeowners money, she said. Flood insurance premiums reflect the Federal Emergency Management Agency's Community Rating System, based in part on applicable ordinances. Ketchum and Boise have the best ratings in the state, and the new ratings are saving residents 20 percent on flood insurance, she said.


Proposed changes to city law also would prohibit the possession of fireworks without a commercial fireworks display permit. Fire and police officials have faced a dilemma in that it now is legal to possess fireworks but not to use them. This has meant that they cannot take action unless they see someone actually igniting fireworks.


"We had two fires started by fireworks in the Wood River Valley last summer," Fire Chief Mike Elle said. "This should make enforcement easier and, in turn, help prevent fires."


The state of Idaho requires the city to bring its building codes into compliance with state-adopted updates to the 2012 International Building Codes by Jan. 1, 2015. The proposed changes do so, as well as set stricter requirements in some areas.



Who is responsible for shoveling sidewalks and snow berms created across driveways when the streets are plowed? In Ketchum, property owners are responsible.


Here's a quick summary of responsibilities for coping with winter snow:

  • The city will plow the streets, beginning as early as 1 a.m., following a snow accumulation of three or more inches. Vehicles must be moved off all streets from 2-7 a.m. Vehicles that are not moved may be towed. Vehicles also must be moved from public parking lots with the exception of the lots at Washington and Second streets and Leadville and Sixth streets. Parking is permitted in these lots until 4 a.m. as an accommodation to late-night restaurant employees who do not finish work until 3 a.m.
  • Residents should expect snowplows to create berms at the road's edge and be aware that those berms may block driveways. The snowplow operators will try to avoid creating large berms but it is not possible to clear driveway openings and still plow all streets in a timely manner.
  • Please keep your children from building snow caves in the "berms" after big snows. Crews will remove them when they get big enough that they are crowding traffic lanes and could seriously injure a child hiding in a cave.
  • Property owners are required to clear ice and snow from adjacent walkways or sidewalks the same day that snow falls or within the first six hours of daylight the following day.
  • Snow and ice cleared from driveways and sidewalks must be placed so it does not obstruct public streets or walkways.

When city crews are aware of special situations, such as elderly or physically challenged residents, they will help clear those driveways after they have finished their plow routes and then as time allows. The city also encourages people to give a helping hand to physically challenged neighbors.


For questions about snow-plowing operations, contact the street department at 726-7831. For questions about sidewalk snow removal, policy enforcement and parking, contact the police department at 726-7819. Information also is available at



Ketchum will have its own Gingerbread Village, replicating the iconic buildings of our community, this holiday season.


The village will be on display from Saturday through New Year's at 240 N. Main St. Admission is free. Creator of the village is local baker Mary Jones, owner of The Chocolate Moose and who created a gingerbread village at the Sun Valley Resort two years ago.


Hours are 3-7 p.m. from Friday, Dec. 12, through Wednesday, Dec. 18, and noon to 8 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 19, through the holidays.


Private donations, as well as a $500 grant from the Ketchum Events Commission, are helping to fund the display, designed to draw visitors downtown during the holidays.


Additional details are at, as well as in recent stories in the Idaho Mountain Express and Eye on Sun Valley.


Mountain Rides will request additional funding for late-night bus service this winter from the Ketchum City Council at its regular meeting Monday, Dec. 15, at 5:30 p.m.


Mountain Rides already has added buses to serve the Warm Springs and Elkhorn areas, as well as the "valley" route from Ketchum to Hailey, until 2:30 a.m. on New Year's Day.


Several restaurant and bar owners have asked for extended service through the busy winter months as a means of increasing business. Mountain Rides is developing budget data and expects to make a specific proposal with cost estimates and possible funding sources on Monday.


A committee to explore late-night service was formed after the Dec. 1 City Council meeting on permits for taxi and limousine service. One proposal is to offer free service, as Mountain Rides does on its daytime routes in Ketchum and Sun Valley, and ask for contributions from restaurant and bar owners.


Committee members are City Councilmembers Anne Corrock and Michael David; Kristen "Kitten" Derrig, co-owner of The Cellar Pub; Jon Duval, executive director of the Ketchum Community Development Corporation; Police Chief Dave Kassner and Kirk "Bubba" Lindsey, owner of Sun Valley Limo and Taxi.



Next BAH Scheduled for Dec. 17

Ketchum/Sun Valley Business After Hours will be Wednesday, Dec.17, from 5-6 p.m. at Washington Federal, 460 Sun Valley Road. There will be a drawing for a $1,000 advertising package donated by KMVT in Twin Falls. The winner must be present. For additional information, contact Gary Hoffman at 725-5522 or


#Seek Sun Valley

Visit Sun Valley is encouraging the use of the hashtag #seeksunvalley on social media to tie in with the organization's advertising campaign. In other news, Thanksgiving occupancy this year was up 9 percent.

New Flights, More Seats, More Passengers, Lower Fares

New flights and expanded air service brought a 26 percent increase in seats and a 30 percent increase in enplanements from January through October 2014, Fly Sun Valley Alliance (FSVA) officials reported at a recent Air Service Board meeting. This was true, even though Friedman Memorial Airport was closed for 25 days last spring for runway improvements. It was also reported that, based on recent studies, the average fares have dropped approximately 20 percent due to the increased competition.


A recent air passenger survey, conducted over the past year by Fly Sun Valley Alliance in partnership with the airport, showed that most new-to-Sun Valley passengers, 59 percent, came from the West, and half of these came from California. Of the other new passengers, 18 percent came from the East; 15 percent from the South; 5 percent from the Midwest, and 3 percent from international locations.


The survey data estimates that the new visitors who arrived by air spent $16.3 million, while part-time residents and second homeowners also spent more because they came to visit more frequently.


FSVA Goals for fiscal year 2015 include the following:

  • Retain contracted nonstop flights to Seattle, Los Angeles, Denver and San Francisco and continue to support Salt Lake City flights.
  • Work with airlines and marketing partners to increase load factors and minimize cost of air service contracts.
  • Improve bus service when flights are diverted because of weather.
  • Pursue a new nonstop flight market for FY16.
State Tax Credit Awarded to New Hotel 
Owners of the proposed Bald Mountain Lodge on Main Street have been awarded a $132,000 tax credit. Read Idaho Mountain Express story here


Mayor Nina Jonas 2014.07.17
Ketchum Energy Advisory Committee Chair Aimee Christensen

City Council President Michael David

News at a glance

Arts Commission Reports on Past Fiscal Year

The Ketchum Arts Commission projects during the past year included the nation's first "artist-wrapped" ski gondola, art placed along the Wood River Trail in collaboration with several other agencies, the installation of a chalk art wall in Little Park for people of all ages to express themselves, and an exhibition of works by local artists in City Hall. Ketchum also increased its Percent for Art Ordinance for public projects from 1.33 percent to 5 percent, which is believed to be higher than any other city in the country. Activities are detailed in the commission's annual report, presented to the City Council on Dec. 1.


Trailing of the Sheep Festival Recognized

Ketchum's Trailing of the Sheep Festival has been named an "Outstanding Family Event" by the National Committee of American Craft Week


Why Black Tents at Main & Fourth?

In case you are wondering why there are black tents at Main and Fourth street, it's part of the ongoing work for the pedestrian crossing at the intersection. The ground is frozen, so it needs to be warmed before concrete bases can be poured for flashing beacons.


Added Buses for New Year's Eve 

Mountain Rides will operate three buses until 2:30 a.m. on New Year's Eve. Buses will go to the Warm Springs and Elkhorn areas as well as to Hailey.

Holiday Tree Fires Cause More Deaths Than Other Home Fires 

One of every 40 home fires that begins with a holiday tree results in a death, compared to an average of one death per 142 home fires, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Common causes of holiday house fires in Ketchum, according to Fire Chief Mike Elle, are burning wrapping paper and holiday trees in fireplaces. To keep yourself and your family safe during the holidays, read these tips.


Help with Center for the Arts Survey 

The Sun Valley Center for the Arts invites you to take five minutes to complete this brief survey about arts, culture and entertainment in our community. Please click here to take the survey.


Call for Student Entries for Film Festival 

The Sun Valley Film Festival and Future Filmmakers Forum are accepting student submissions through Dec. 19 for the event, which will be held March 4-8.


New Writers Organization Formed 

The newly organized Silver Creek Writers' Residency plans to offer writers' residencies to emerging authors as well as writing conferences, workshops and lectures. For more information, email   


Welcome to New Police Sergeant 

Blaine County Sheriff's Deputy Dave Aslett has been named police sergeant in Ketchum, filling the vacancy created when Chief David Kassner was promoted from sergeant last summer. Aslett has eight years experience in law enforcement. The city contracts with the sheriff's department for police services. 


Artist-Wrapped Gondola Goes into Service Dec. 20 

The nation's first artist-wrapped gondola, a project of the city of Ketchum Arts Commission, will go into service on Saturday, Dec. 20, at 8:45 a.m. Read press release here.


Holiday Farmers' Market in Town Square Dec. 23 

A holiday Farmers Market will enliven Town Square on Tuesday, Dec. 23, from noon to 5 p.m. Vendors will sell locally produced foods as well as lotions, photographs, pottery and jewelry.  


Ice Rink Opening 

The Ketchum Parks and Recreation Department is preparing the Christina Potters Outdoor Ice Rink and hopes it will be open by the schools' winter break starting Dec. 19.

City Council 
Attend the next City Council meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 5. 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 
The December 22, 2014 Planning and Zoning Commission meeting has been cancelled. The next meeting will be held on Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 at 5:30 p.m. in Ketchum City Hall.

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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