Monday, February 28, 2011

Travels To Jerusalem

Garden Valley residents, Ron and Ruth Richter, have journeyed to Jerusalem to visit their daughter, Ginger, who works and lives in the area. Ron instigated the journal as 'reports to the
home-front', and true to form, Ruth interjects. As they are both adept veterans at getting the most out of life and equal crack-shots on the written page, the GVDN is pleased to introduce the continuing saga of their travels in this far-away place...

(Above left: Ruth, ever the bargain hunter, in the Christian Quarter.)
Day 5 – Wednesday Feb 23

We have been here almost a week now and I guess it’s safe to say that we are “settled in.” We arrived last Saturday about 3:00 p.m. to a sunny cool windy day in Tel Aviv and were met by Ginger. The ride due east to Jerusalem in the car gave us a lay of the land which is very rocky, barren away from irrigation sources, and hilly. Everything is the same color – limestone beige. The first oddity I noticed is that every building is constructed of the same limestone blocks, a law in Israel, so there is a monotonous appeal to everything. What breaks the monotony is the modern architectural style of the buildings. I am reminded of the time I visited Ginger in Mesa, AZ and found almost every home built of adobe stucco with red tile roofs.

Being Saturday and the Shabat Day, traffic was light and many stores were closed. It looked like the Sundays of our youth.

Ginger has a lovely apartment and decorated with “just the right amount of stuff” from the various places she has lived. She has a good eye for balance, color, and space, especially space.

Sunday, G had arranged a quick walk-through of Old Jerusalem’s Christian Quarter. One of her friends from the Consulate gave us a very informative tour of the various churches and highlights, and with that under our belts, we came back to the apt and I took a nice long nap. I love jet lagged naps. They put me in a wonderful deep sleep that I don’t want to come out of. But we were sched
uled to have dinner out so I pulled myself from the depths of REM and off we went to a popular old hotel for a lovely dinner. I had lamp chops of which I did not get enough. Why lambs have to have such small chops on them I do not know.

Monday was our Masada trip day (Presidents’ Day so Consulate was closed). Weather in Jerusalem had been windy and cold and the dust was blowing like crazy. But once out of Jerusalem it cleared up and turned into a delightful sunny and warm day. The ride to Masada down the west coast of the Dead Sea only reinforced that this is one very barren and difficult land. If you can visualize Horseshoe Bend hill with all of the rolling hills to the left and right, take away every trace of living matter, and leave only gravel and rocks, then you can imagine what the countryside looks like. In our Bible study group we had discussed that Jerusalem of old was at the center of the known world’s trade routes. It is difficult for me to imagine anyon
e being able to travel over this land in anything but a tank, but I guess camels have very tough feet.

Masada was exactly what I had expected, a pile of limestone on the top of a mountain about as high as Horseshoe Bend pass, 4,240 ft. Ruthie and I took the tram up but Ginger hoofed it up the zigzag walking path. Ginger and Ruthie walked around and took in the various views while I found a shady bench and took a brief nap. It is hard for me to identify with a pile of stones that I can’t relate to. Now if this had been an old Nez Perce fishing camp along some river, than that would have been different.

What made our Masada trip memorable was that when it came time for us to go home, we piled into the rental car in the garage with the intention of being back home within an hour and a half. Unfortunately, the car wouldn’t start. Rentals here have a push button code system you must use before the car will start. Our car wouldn’t accept the code. So we phoned Budget Rental and they sent someone out (it took 2 hrs for them to arrive) while we cooled our heels waiting. The mechanic came, couldn’t get it started and swapped us his car for ours so we could get home. No big problem, just an inconvenience that one must hang loose about.

Yesterday was a workday for Ginger and we waited for it to warm up a little before we went tripping off into the Old City again. I am rather disappointed in the Old City. To best think of the Old City, think of an acre square, although it is larger than this, divided into quarter sections, one Christian, one Muslim, one Jewish, one Armenian, each with its own characteristic flair. So we walked again through the Christian quarter meandering through narrow, stone, “streets” and alleys lined with merchants. (See photo above) I could almost feel that these crowded “streets” were no different from the time of Christ and that it was easy to imagine Him walking through them. Crowds of people walk by many of which are being led by a tour guide waving his little flag overhead so all would know where he was.

As we walked thr
ough, we would either walk on or pass by the Via Dolorosa where groups of people would be stopped listening to the guide report on the Station of the Cross. Some groups would actually carry a large wooden cross; others would be singing as they went. The last Station ended at the Church of the Sepulcher. (Overview, left) This is the holiest site in the Christian Quarter. Of course it is crowded with people. Do not think of “church” as you have a church in America. If you remember, Golgotha was a hill and Christ was buried in a cave tomb. When Emperor Constantine, the first Christian emperor, ruled Christianity was good, his wife, Helena, made a pilgrimage to Jerusalem and began building churches on the holy sites. The tomb was one of those sites. She had the hill whittled away except for a mound over the tomb reinforced with heavy vertical steel beams (see photo below) and then built a church around it. It is adorned with hanging lamps, candlestick holders, tapestries, and other stuff so that there is hardly a bare spot in the tomb. To me it was a sacrilege to see what was done in the name of reverence.

If you walked around the Tomb, there were other small chapel areas and altar areas including the place that supposedly was where Jesus wa
s nailed to the cross, some evidence of an earthquake, and the place where his body was prepared for burial. It was very depressing to walk through all of this in gloomy semidarkness. Instead of giving me the feeling of awe for being in a holy place, it was kind of creepy. I was very disappointed in it all and almost wish I hadn’t witnessed it. It is far better for me to hang on to the memory of what I thought it looked like. I guess that is the way most good memories are.

Today, Wednesday, Ruthie and I will go through the Old City again and take in a different quarter. Since we will leave tomorrow for a long weekend in Petra, Jordan, I think we will head to the Temple Mount in which is the Dome of the Rock and the large Muslim Temple. That will be the topic of the next writing.

Day 7 – Petra trip

Thursday morning, we’re off to Petra, Jordan. This ancient city carved out of the mountainside like the Cliff Dweller Indians of the southwest, is all the way down and then some of the east side of the Dead Sea. So off we go by taxi to the Israeli-Jordan border crossing gate on the northern tip of the Dead Sea. Getting through the Israeli side was not a problem and after getting our passports stamped, we boarded a fancy humongous tour bus which drove us about a quarter of a mile to the Jordanian gate. In-between, we crossed the Jordan River that flows from the Sea of Galilee to the Dead Sea. Right there at the border it is a pathetic little muddy stream and one cannot imagine that anyone would want to be baptized in it. I am sure that before dams and reservoirs were put on the river, it was a free flowing waterway and was a much prettier body of water.

So we are now through with a minimum of difficulty and are in Jordan. {Ron forgot to note that we had expended a fair amount of cash at this point, to the Jordanian government for the privilege of entering their country.} A short walk to the Avis rent-a-car place (I’m guessing Avis would be embarrassed to see their name displayed on such a place) where we rented a beat up Chevy with good tires and then off we went with our trusty map marked with the route to take down-country. Well, to make a long and bumpy story short, the map was well marked but the roads and highways were not. We did finally get there and it probably took us only twice as long as it should have, but we got there. In her defense, Ginger did an outstanding job of driving, but Ruthie did the best she could with the navigating. We did arrive and got checked in to our very pleasant all stone hotel room, headed straight to the bar for gin and tonics and then a super buffet dinner.

Ron opted out of the evening festivities, but Ginger and I went to Petra for the candlelit walk to the Treasury Building – one mile through the Sikh, which is the tunnel with the towering rock on either side. It was lit all the way by candles set in sand in paper bags and, amazingly, most of those candles continued to burn the whole time we were there – several hours. Had I been able to see better, I would have known the walk coming back was going to be difficult for me. It was a gradual downhill all the way. When we got to the Treasury Building, they had hundreds of candles set out across the courtyard area. There were several performances for us, of a man on a stringed instrument singing along and then a flute-like instrument, both of which were excellent but seemed to be one theme played over and over (did I say over and over?) again. Then there was a “story teller” who basically commented on the quote, “East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet.” His thought was that, yes, in actuality we could meet and he asked one representative from every country who was there that night to come up and stand beside him, signifying we could all come together and be friends; there were an amazing number of countries represented. They even served us hot tea while we watched the performance. Ginger and I (she, too) struggling, made the walk back, taking considerably longer to get there. }

The next morning, Friday, we were up early, mostly because the idiot crier in the mosque tower was screaming his head off at 4:30. I am convinced he was screaming that he hated to get up so early in the morning and climb these dumb stairs. We lingered for an hour or so more in bed trying to go back to sleep, but finally gave up on it and got up. After a delightful breakfast we were off to the ancient city.

And what a city it is! The Nabataens carved out the mountainsides for these enormous buildings and caves for their homes approximately 2000 years ago. To get to the city you have to go through this narrow passageway and you come out at the Treasury, the most majestic site in the city. (Photo, left) Then down the cobblestone way to other buildings and ruins all built out of the mountainous sandstone.

Although Ruthie and I travelled by horse-drawn carriage and Ginger went by camel, it was a strenuous day. Certainly our behinds will verify that. But it was a most marvelous day spent, and we got back to the room and went straight to the Turkish steam bath to soak out the soreness.

Although we were planning to stay and visit the ruins again on Saturday, we decided to call it a trip and head for home. So off we go in the rental car but this time we are on the correct highway and the drive back to the border crossing took a fraction of the time. However, the border-crossing process made up for the time. I bet we had our passports scrutinized at least 25 times and that was after getting some preferential treatment because we were westerners and not locals. What a process! When we did get back home, we were beat. A glass of wine, beer, and G & T gave us an uplift so we could head to the bed for a nap. (Above: Ruth & Ron Richter, connoisseurs of good company.)

{Observation} – The interior of Jordan is flat and bone dry desert. Occasionally, there is an area of rolling hills. It is very much like the Great Plains in western Kansas or Nebraska, and always windy and very dusty. {Ron says like western Kansas but I’m guessing even in the Dust Bowl years, Kansas never looked this gosh awful forsaken, and I’m not saying that just to be loyal to Kansas.} The countryside along both sides of the Dead Sea is very hilly with small mountains. It is bleak desert except along the very edge of the Sea that is irrigated. I could only wonder that when Jesus was baptized and was taken to the top of the mountain where the devil told him, “If you worship me, you can have all of this land,” why in the world would Jesus have wanted it? It was not much of a temptation.

{Ron doesn’t relate the fun and games of the border crossings coming and going. Going, it cost us a small fortune to get out of Israel and both ways the cost to ride the Jordanian bus for the mile or so of no-man’s land was about $20 per person. Never mind we had to wait to ride that bus for about 45 minutes and once we were on it, coming and going, it stopped three times, once to have us scrutinized with our passport pictures, once to have the metal detector run under the bus, and once, just 'because', as nearly as I could see. Coming back, we were told we needed to hurry, it was the last bus of the day (Saturday, their holy day) and then the process went on and on with them taking up an endless amount of time and once we’re finally on the bus, still we sit there and wait for who knows what. When we got to the Israeli side, it seemed we were moving along reasonably quickly and hustled ahead of folks because we were “tourists”, but then Ron set off the metal detector with all of his artificial parts (wonder of wonders, I didn’t) and they hauled him off to a little curtained room where he proceeded to strip down to his underwear and was preparing to get buck-naked, when they decided they’d seen enough – I can relate! Meanwhile, there are Israeli “secret police” everywhere scurrying hither and yon, and one of them decided we were his special case, harassed Ginger about something or other and never let us out of his sight until we were completely through the process. Even then, several times these plainclothes people came up to us and asked us what our problem was since we appeared to be “loitering” and not getting in a taxi or a bus and getting off their turf. It’s all kind of amusing if it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience, but truly a royal pain in the rear. }

Day 8, Sunday.

We went to church this morning for a very nice service and communion. Then we leisurely walked through a section of Jerusalem called the German Colony. I don’t know why it is called this because I saw nothing that was German. We ate at an Italian restaurant.
{I’m sure it’s called the Germany Colony because at one time in Jerusalem’s history it’s where the German people lived, just as there is the American Colony Hotel here that was begun by Americans and still controlled by that same family.}

Then home for the afternoon

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Playing Sort-of Hardball With Superintendent

The Garden Valley Daily News gets to put up with small rants (which the editor occasionally enjoys doing herself) and bitching in general, not to mention gentle questions by the more mild-mannered school patron. This quiz is a compilation of taxpayer concerns, regarding the Supplemental Levy election coming up on Tuesday, March 8, put to Garden Valley School District Superintendent, Dr. Mike Tomlin.

Tomlin: I will answer your questions directly, but you and I both understand that it will be the decision of the board and not me when these issues are ultimately decided. I will make a recommendation to the board, and it will be their action that determines what is done.

Garden Valley Daily News: Some people are having trouble understanding the table for the monthly cost of the Supplemental Levy. They have said it does not include the homeowner's exemption and want to know how this works.

Tomlin: The FAQs sheet we have provided, which is posted on the district's website, does include homeowner's exemption. It states that fact directly below the table indicating the cost.

GVDN: Patrons have told us that when they have a problem understanding the FAQs tax table and they have brought it up with the school district, they are told to contact the county assessor for the correct information - do you think it is reasonable to ask every single taxpayer within the School District #71 to call Brent Adamson, when they think the district itself has published incorrect
Tomlin: There seems to be confusion here. We encourage people to contact the county assessor if they are not clear on the value of their home and property.

GVDN: There certainly is some confusion here! Since the tax table in the FAQs sheet appears to be confusing to so many people, there is concern that nothing has been submitted to the local paper or GV Daily News or flyers mailed to patrons, to correct this information or make it more understandable. This appears to be giving the public a message that you either don’t want taxpayers to know the real cost of the levy to homeowners or that your lackadaisical attitude exhibits your ignorance of the calculation and real cost to taxpayers. Please explain.

Tomlin: There is no correction needed - please read the FAQ sheet - "*Dollar amounts are calculated as a per month increase. *Calculations include applicable homeowner's exemption. *Estimates are based upon data collected from the district's fiscal agent and Boise County." We could never legally guarantee that the dollar and cents that will be charged in December by another agency are exact. This is the best and most accurate information available, they are not our numbers, they come from the County. We stand by it. But it still is an estimate, and there is nothing the district can do about that.

GVDN: School patrons complain that the school district has stated many times you cannot tell the taxpayers what will happen if the levy does not pass, because you do not have the state budget yet.

Tomlin: That is simply not true. On our fact sheet item #12 we state what the levy will buy, and in item #15 what a failed levy will force the district to do. We have been very clear on this - however, it will ultimately be a decision of the board, and that decision cannot come until after our budget is received from the legislature.

GVDN: But, still, you are constantly asked to give some substantial information about cuts.

Tomlin: Let's be clear - the district will cut over $150,000 in staff and operations costs IF the levy passes. The exact cuts will be decided by the board, but will include some combination of salary cuts, reduced school days or furlough days, decreasing kitchen staff, decreasing office staff, returning Kindergarten to half-time, eliminating preschool or charging self-supporting fees, combining one or more elementary classes and reducing a teacher, reducing aides/paraprofessionals. The combination of these cuts must equal at least $150,000 or more dependent upon the final budget that comes from the legislature IF the levy passes.**Please note too, that as superintendent, my spending authority is only $3,000. I have never exercised even that amount. All levy monies will be used under the law for the budgeted items approved by the board.

GVDN: So, if the levy passes, will we maintain the Music, Art and Foreign Language programs for elementary as well as the higher grades?

Tomlin: If we cut elementary music, then we end up cutting our teacher's hours and pay. He no longer can afford to work here so he leaves and we lose the entire music program. I am a strong supporter of music, and of K-12 music, and I am on record as such. It is my position that passing the levy protects the K-12 music program. We have said as much in the FAQ sheet that I sent yesterday, item #12 - to "preserve all current K-12 programs." My answer regarding art and foreign language is the same as music.

GVDN: It is our understanding that (one teacher) is talking about retiring. Do your statements assume that this will happen?

Tomlin: My answer is "no," none of my statements relate to losing a particular teacher. I honestly have had no conversations with that teacher regarding retirement. We all know it will be one of these years..., but I have not asked.

GVDN: Is the school going to cut back to the allotted number of administrators we get funding for, based on our enrollment?

Tomlin: Administrators, administrative staff, and administrative overhead costs are all different things. We have already reduced the number of employees in maintenance and custodial. We will reduce the number of clerical/secretarial staff hours for next year.

GVDN: Some people say they feel before any teachers are let go, they would expect the school to cut back on their administrative staff. The school employs more teachers than it gets funding for, but some patrons think the district is more justified in keeping more teachers than administrators.

Tomlin: We probably will reduce and combine some combinations of administrators to include Athletic Director, Technology Director, Principal, and Superintendent.

Please do not consider that a 'non-answer'. We have been discussing many scenarios regarding multiple overhead positions. Our challenge, and it is a difficult one, is to meet regulatory requirements - DEQ, CDC, state and federal reporting, etc. - with fewer people. I am part-time, but none of the reports are. I am working all weekend on our DEQ permitting report that allows us to run our Waste Water Treatment Plant.

GVDN: And other administrative positions?

Tomlin: "The new laws may require our half-time tech director to manage many more computers and online class hardware and hook-ups. That is scary.

GVDN: How would the position of principal change?

Tomlin: The new education laws give far more responsibility to school principals - their evaluations will be tied directly to student learning. This will be a state requirement, and much more time spent by the principal in classrooms and providing in-service to improve all levels of instruction with all children. Believe me this is a bit scary, but the new reality.

So doing away with any position is unlikely. Realigning duties among some positions and gaining a cost savings from that is paramount to us also.

GVDN: When asked what would happen if the levy doesn't pass, Mr. Vian is reported to have mentioned to members of the Senior Center that the district didn’t want to make “threats” regarding what would happen. Some patrons feel they would like to hear possible scenarios of what the school is really up against if the levy does not pass; this could consist of a hypothetical outcome—why is this not possible to do?

Mr Vian reportedly disputed that teachers would be laid off or that programs like Art and Music would be ended. If the district could combine the Superintendent and Principal jobs, kindergarten could go to 3 days, classes combined, Mr. Vian could take a teaching assignment, teachers’ salaries could be reduced and sports would be limited...if this is the case, which doesn’t seem so radical, patrons ask, "why bother with a levy"?

Tomlin: If the levy DOES NOT pass, then the district must cut another $200,000+ and that will be awful. Very likely all athletics will go, some or all elective programs will go. Elective programs at GVSD include Art, Music, Foreign Language, Physical Education, and Business Technology, plus all athletics and activities. These programs will have to be severely cut or cancelled altogether if the levy does not pass.

GVDN: The Buzz Word that we keep getting at these meetings is Elephant in the Room--so, any of those?

Tomlin: For starters, administrative overhead. It will take the same number of custodians and maintenance workers to run the boiler and heating systems and SBR- waste water treatment plant, and to clean and maintain the school whether we have 12 teachers or 20 teachers. We already cut one position in maintenance to half-time this year with a retirement. But legally maintaining our systems and meeting DEQ and CDC requirements to stay in compliance are the cost of doing business on a self-sustaining property.

GVDN: Give us more about administration cuts.

Tomlin: Secretaries do very little "secretarial" work. They spend a great deal of time entering data into state and federal mandated systems. Just this year we gained new required reports from the State of Idaho that requires several employees to spend multiple extra hours each week. Still, we plan to reduce an employee position and maintain the required reports.

GVDN: Okay, Mike here's the big one from Mr. Buzz. What about the Super's job?

Tomlin: Idaho Code requires districts to employ a superintendent. The GVSD super is part-time as a 4/5ths or .8 employee. Most of the superintendent's work involves overseeing "ownership" issues - budget, funding, policy, operations permits and reports with DEQ, CDC, etc., facilities, purchasing, contracts, transportation, food service, and implementing the desires of the board of trustees.

The challenge here is that the state and federal regulatory agencies do not recognize "part time" and the reporting requirements for small districts are the same as large districts. There is no difference in the superintendent's work load if the district has 100 students or 300 students. And much of the superintendent's work is off campus, with the state department, seeking funding with the legislature, advocating for rural school recognition in state policy, etc.

GVDN: What about combining the Super and the principal positions?

Tomlin: The principal's position can legally be combined with the superintendent's. However, the new education laws increase the role of the principal in terms of working with teachers. The principal's main role is to increase student learning at all levels in the school. Continual in-service and improvement of all teachers requires constant time in classrooms, and with data.

The new laws tie teacher evaluations and the principal's evaluations to student performance. This won't be an option if the new laws pass the House and Governor Otter signs them. If the principal's position is cut, the superintendent will be forced to spend hours daily in classrooms and working with teachers - and possibly require the hiring of an employee to assist with regulatory reporting and other "ownership" duties.
The thing to remember, too, is that the state provides 1.8 administrative salaries. If the jobs were combined, only the state would save money--the school district would not.
GVDN: Any famous last words?
Tomlin: The bottom line is that a failed levy hurts the district badly at all levels. Jobs will be cut. Programs will be cut. Children will have far fewer options, and the excellence of the community's school will erode badly~~~

* Garden Valley School District Staffing and Budget *
School & District Personnel (42+)
1. Elementary teachers (7)
L, K, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

2. Middle School teachers (3)
6, 7, 8

3. High School teachers (9)
Core – E, H, M, S
Elect – A, B-Tech, FL, M, PE
(Some teach K-12)

4. Other Certificated (3.5)
Counselor, Special Education
Technology Director (.5)
Title I Teacher

5. Non-Certificated (6.5)
Preschool (.5)
Para-professionals (6)

6. Administration (3.8)
Principal: K-12 & Lowman
School Secretary, District Secretary
Superintendent (.8)

7. Support (9)
• Maintenance Director
• 1 maintenance worker
• 2 custodians (+ part-timers)
• Food Service Director
• 1 assistant cook, 1 dishwasher
• Business/HR Manager
• 1 assistant accts payable/Purch.

Cuts Already Made
1. Salaries frozen – 2 years.
2. Health insurance cut and capped. ($20,000/yr)
3. Employee benefit of $100/mnth cut. ($50,000/yr)
4. Maintenance position cut to .5
5. Reduced one aide/para
6. Hourly workers cut 10%-20%
7. Athletics cut 15%
8. Technology cut $10,000

Cuts Considered for Next Year
1. Across the board salary (1-3%)
(1% = $19,000)
2. Reduce school days (3-5 days)
(1 day = $7,000)
3. Reduce one secretary
4. Reduce one para-professional
5. Combine elem. Classrooms, reduce one or two teachers
($45,000 each)
6. Cut Preschool; return Kindergarten to half-day

The Numbers Needed
• (-$400,000 = Shortfall)
• $225,000 = Levy amount
• $150,000 – 200,000 internal cuts
Balanced Budget – Programs Intact

Friday, February 25, 2011



Garden Valley School Multipurpose Room

February 26, 2011
5:00 PM and 7:00 PM

Saturday, February 26, 2011, one or more members of the Board will convene for the purpose of public discussion and hearing on the proposed Supplemental Levy and resultant vote on March 8, 2011.

* No actions on item #1 will be deliberated or decided by the Board.

At 7:00 P.M. the Board will convene for the purpose of holding an Executive Session

Executive session is planned to:
a. Consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public school student. [Idaho Code 67-2345(1)(b)]

Consideration of motions or possible actions from Executive Session.



If any auxiliary aids or services are needed for individuals with disabilities, please contact (Paula Fox) at 462-3756 no later than three (3) working days before the meeting,

Mike Tomlin
Dr. Michael Tomlin
Garden Valley School District
P.O. Box 710
1053 Banks Lowman Road
Garden Valley, ID 83622

Thursday, February 24, 2011

GV Chamber Notes

GV Chamber of Commerce Board Meeting
February 10, 2011

Co-President Diane Caughlin opened the meeting at 5:30 p.m., in the downtown Crouch Community Hall. She reiterated the Chamber’s desire to help provide improved insurance solutions, especially health care, for Chamber members.

Caughlin then turned the discussion over to Lee Sells, for his findings presentation related to health care insurance developments and alternatives. Some of his main points were ObamaCare and that state law precludes a Chamber association-type of health plan. The choices basically come down to employer policies and individual/family policies, but no group association policies.

However, because ObamaCare is scheduled to be implemented in stages over the next two years and there are moves in the new Congress to amend it in a variety of ways, much uncertainty surrounds the whole subject of health care, particularly from the perspective of the health care providers. Lee was scheduled to present and elaborate at the following member meeting.

Per discussion, neighbors may soon look for the new "Chamber Meeting Tonight" sign on the second Thursday of each month, in front of the Community Hall.

Officers now moved across the street for
The Regularly Scheduled Monthly Member Meeting

Treasurer, Vicky Burford, presented the Treasurer’s Report and noted member dues are due by the end of March.

Diane Caughlin:
• Reiterated to Chamber Members that Chamber dues are due by the end of March. A schedule of payments can be arranged, just contact the Chamber Treasurer, Vicky Burford, to set it up.

• Noted that John Cottingham is the overall 4th of July Celebration coordinator; John Jauregui is the parade coordinator; and Tami and Kate are running the duck race. Volunteers are usually needed for the Chamber booth, but others chimed in that it might be too much and would require a $20 payment to the City, for a city vendor’s permit. The same applies to a booth for upcoming the Spring Fling.

• Also mentioned that John Jauregui is heading up October’s Halloween Trunk or Treat event. John noted he will be dressed as a Predator looking for volunteers to make the event memorable for all.

Unfinished Business
From the Chamber “Light-Up-The-Town” initiative, there remain four strands of store front lights, available for sale at $18 per strand.

New Business
Lee Sells presented his findings related to the desired goal of helping Chamber members improve their health care insurance options. Some important points include:

• The Chamber used to have an association health care program provided by the Treasure Valley “Blues”. Problems with this included not enough members and too much turnover to make it a viable program.

• ObamaCare requires employer programs with two or more on the payroll working a minimum of 20 hours per week, to be qualified for coverage, but covers children up to age 26 and no coverage maximum limitations.

Entitlements and mandates result in increased premiums. Thus, premiums will go up, not down. Pre-existing conditions and waiting periods are gone. Preventative care services such as Wellness Checks will be covered 100%.

There will be more coverage options for 2011 health care programs. You can design your own program. ObamaCare left out the issues of tort reform and competition across state lines.

Most important, there still remain many unknowns and uncertainties in the ObamaCare legislation. Bottom line is there are no provisions for association type health care programs which would address the Chamber’s desired goal.

Member Updates

Mike Tomlin, School Superintendent:
• Discussed the Republican Party sponsored Lincoln Days (now cancelled).

• Presented an outline of points related to the planned supplemental school levy.

His points included:
o The levy is a local tax to supplement state funding of local school districts.
o Only registered voters in the school district can vote. All the money stays in the district. All the money goes to the schools.
o The purpose is to maintain current school programs.
o Idaho state budget has been reduced due to the extended economic down turn.
o The levy amount is set at $225,000 per year for two years.
o The school budget is being reduced by reductions through employee retirements, decreasing administrative costs, combining some positions, increasing some elementary classes, making Pre-school self-supporting, etc.
o The levy cost per household will be 4 to 13 dollars per month, depending on the appraised value of the voter’s property.
o The vote is scheduled for March 8th.

Sales: Mariann Steen announced The Red Rooster was having a Valentine’s Sale with 30 to 50 percent off winter wear.

Due to the time, a planned Job Creation /Retention Council game plan update presentation was deferred to another date, and Diane Caughlin adjourned the Chamber meeting.

Members in attendance:

John Jauregui:
Diane Caughlin:
Julie Leslie:
Oii Silk:
Mike Tomlin:
Jerry McLain:
Red Rooster (Ken & Mariann):
Tami Smith:
Lynne McKibbin:
Gloria Sells: L_and
Vicky Burford
Anjali Angel:
Diane Carlson:

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Garden Valley School District Levy Election Date Set For March 8

In order to cover a nearly $400,000 revenue shortfall, the Garden Valley School District is asking district voters to approve a supplemental levy just over half that amount.

District #71’s board of trustees voted on January 17th to take a Supplemental Levy to the district’s voters in the amount of $225,000 per year, for the next two years.

The election date is set by the state and will be March 8, 2011. Unlike previous school related elections, voting no longer takes place at the school, as new laws place it in the hands of Boise County. The election locations will be the Crouch Community Hall and the Lowman Emergency Center.

Following salary freezes and cuts to employee benefits last year, along with reducing all program budgets, the district plans another $150,000 - $200,000 in internal cuts for the coming year. The levy amount will allow the district to maintain its excellent programs in music, art, athletics and foreign language.

Yet even with the successful levy, the cuts will reduce some administrative staff hours, and likely result in combining two or more elementary grades.

“Next year is less than bare bones,” says district superintendent Mike Tomlin. “We just returned from two days with the Legislature, and I am very convinced this is a ‘new normal’ level of funding.

“Council School District has cut salaries 11% in the last two years, and does not offer art,” Tomlin continued, “every legislator I spoke with said to ‘get used to lower state funding.’ That puts our elective programs of excellence and all activities well short of state funding.”

Passage of the levy will raise school district property taxes generally in the $4.00 to $13.00 per month range. Passage will also allow all current school programs to continue.

The district has placed a FAQ Sheet – Frequently Asked Questions - on its web site at, and on the Garden Valley Daily News and encourages all voters to review it, and to contact the district with any questions they may have.

Contact: Dr. MichaelTomlin, or
208-462-3756 X 1012



GARDEN VALLEY – Based on new traffic volumes and projections, the updated South Fork Payette River Bridge design has a reduced width, different than what was previously presented.

A public open house is scheduled for March 2 at the Crouch Community Hall, 342 Village Circle. The public is invited to stop by anytime between 4 and 6 p.m. Project team members will be on hand to answer questions and receive comment.

The 82-year-old South Fork Payette River Bridge (also known as the Alder Creek Bridge, Silver Bridge or Wetzel Bridge) is deteriorated to the point that it is structurally deficient and functionally obsolete.

Boise County and the Local Highway Technical Assistance Council (LHTAC) are working with J-U-B ENGINEERS, Inc. of Boise to design and prepare a bid package for construction of the new bridge, anticipated for 2012.

Public comments can be sent to: Southfork Payette River Bridge project team, c/o The Langdon Group, 250 S. Beechwood Ave, Suite 201, Boise, ID 83709-0944, or email comments to: To be considered in the official comment period, comments must be received by March 16, 2011.

Cancelled: Boise County Republican Lincoln Days Event

John Blattler of the Boise County Republican Party has cancelled the Lincoln Days event scheduled at the Garden Valley School on Saturday, 26th. No date of rescheduling was mentioned.

Lady Wolverines End Season With 3 State Games

Reported by Mike Uhl

The GARDEN VALLEY Wolverines (11-7) played in the semi-final game of the District 3 Tournament, on February 5. The Wolverines lost to Meadows Valley 47-38. After that loss, Garden Valley played Council in an elimination game on Thursday, February 10, in McCall.

With an (11-8) record, the Lady Wolverines smashed the Lady Lumberjacks, 52-16, and moved on to the Saturday, February 12 game, to play Meadows Valley again, with the winner going to State and the loser eliminated.

With everything on the line, the Wolverines won the game, 55-44, and increased their record to (13-8). Chancey Jones scored 35 points and added 16 rebounds. The most points scored by the Wolverines during the district were 22 in the fourth quarter.

In the three games in the District 3 Tournament, the Garden Valley girls scored a total of 145 points. Every point in every game by every player helped the Wolverines make it to State:

Johanna Backe~~2 points
Emily Dovel~~~~12 points
Desirae Goff~~~~15 points
Aimee Johnson~~13 points
Chancey Jones~~ 59 points
Tess McInally~~~28 points
Logan Pergande~~4 points
Katie Vincent~~~11 points

Chancey Jones added 40 rebounds and 10 assist over the three games, with Desirae Goff and Katie Vincent both adding to the victories with rebounds and assist.

Now it’s time for the 1A Division 2 State Championship games.

These games took place in Nampa, Idaho. Garden Valley is just one of eight teams to make it to State from this division. Garden Valley was the only girls team from Boise County to make it into the State Tournament: Clark Fork (12-8) * Dietrich (20-2) * Garden Valley (13-8) * MacKay (12-9) * North Gem (22-0) * Richfield (17-5) * Summit Academy (17-8) * Tri-Valley (16-3)

The Wolverines with a (13-8) record opened the State Tournament with a tough game against Richfield, who had a (17-5) record. Richfield is a two-time defending State champion. They have been in four championship games in the last five seasons.

The game starts with a bang for Richfield, scoring 13 points in each of the first two quarters, to lead the Wolverines 26-15 at the end of the first half. The ladies from Richfield crushed Garden Valley, with 23 points in the third quarter. The Wolverines could not buy a single point.

After three quarters, the score stood at Richfield 49, Garden Valley 15. But Tess McInally and Chancey Jones and the rest of the outscored team stood up to Richfield, 13-7 in the fourth. The Wolverines, though, could not overcome the 23 points they were faced with at the start of the second half.
Final score: Richfield 56, Garden Valley 28.

On Friday, February 18, Garden Valley (13-9) get to play another game. This is the Elimination Game, the winner going on, the loser going home. This time it’s against Clark Fork (12-10). After the last game, the Lady Wolverines pull themselves up by their sneakers. But Clark Fork starts out with an 11-5 first quarter lead.

Garden Valley comes back with 13 points to lead at halftime, 18-17. When the second half starts, the Wolverines pick up where they left off, with 10 points. Clark Fork can only muster 2 in this quarter. Garden Valley gets 11 points in the fourth and Clark Fork can only add 9 to their total.
Final score: Garden Valley 39, Clark Fork 28.
Tess McInally’s 15 points, and Chancey Jones’ 12 points and 13 rebounds helped the Wolverines to the victory.

On Saturday, February 19, the Consolation Game is between Garden Valley (14-9) and Summit Academy (18-9). The winner of this game will take home the fifth place trophy in the state. In the first two quarters, Garden Valley scores just 16 points, while Summit Academy scores 32, led by Savana Prigge 25 points and 15 rebounds, for the game.

Garden Valley was led in scoring by Chancey Jones, with 19 points and 12 rebounds and Tess McInally, with 16 points. The Wolverines could not overcome their slow start in the first quarter and took home the sixth place trophy at State, with a final season record (14-10).

During the three games in the State Tournament, the Garden Valley players scored a total of 106 points, but Clark Fork, Richfield and Summit Academy players scored 138 points.

Joanna Becke 3 points
Emily Dovel 2 points
Desirae Goff 7 points
Aimee Johnson 4 points
Chancey Jones 38 points
Tess McInally 44 points
Katie Vincent 8 points

Again, every point in every game by every player helped the Lady Wolverines this season. I would like to thank the girls, coaches, parents and community for the good season!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Absentee Voter Information and Ballot for School Levy

Absentee requests need to be completed and faxed or e-mailed.

Fax to: 208-392-4473 Attn: Molly.

E-mailing the request will work as well, as long as the same information is included that is asked for on the request below; additionally, it needs to contain the actual signature of the elector.
Emails are sent to: .
February 4th – Absentee voting began through the County election office.

March 2nd – Last day for application for mail-in absentee voting through the County election office in Idaho City.

March 7th at 5 PM – Last day for walk-ins to vote in absentia at the County election office in Idaho City.

March 8th – Election day – polls will be open from 8 AM – 8 PM – right now it is my guess the voting precinct will be at the Community Hall in Garden Valley. As soon as we have confirmation we will notify everyone.

If someone is not registered:

They may register (and vote) by walk-in, in Idaho City, through March 7th at 5 PM or on the day of election.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me or the county election clerk or view the Boise County election website located at .
Paula Fox
Business and Human Resource Manager
Clerk, Board of Trustees
(208) 462-3756 ext. 1013


State of Idaho
County of ____________________}s.s.

Date: _____________________________, ___________

I, ___________________________________________, hereby make application for an absent elector's ballot or ballots to be voted at the election held on

(Check election this application is to be used)

􀂆 2nd Tuesday in March (School Bond or Levy)
􀂆 3rd Tuesday in May (Primary Election and/or Taxing Districts Elections)
􀂆 Last Tuesday in August (School Bond or Levy)
􀂆 Tuesday following 1st Monday in November (General Election and/or Taxing
Districts Election)
􀂆 Special Emergency Election to be held on _____________________, ___________.

My home address is: ___________________________________________________________ in

__________________________________________, and I am duly registered in _________________________ County, Idaho.

Please mail ballot(s) to me at the following address:


(Mailing Address)

(City, State and Zip Code)


Signed: _____________________________________________________

EA-4 Approved by the Secretary of State, 2011

ANNOUNCEMENT OF VACANCY: School Board Trustee Position, Zone II

The Board of the Garden Valley School District announces an opening and vacancy for Zone II, effective immediately.

Requirements for the position include being a legal resident of Trustee Zone II, energy and enthusiasm for the District and its schools, the ability to listen to and represent parents and patrons, the ability to make difficult decisions in the face of popular sentiment, and the ability to spend the necessary time for training, meeting preparation, and meeting attendance and participation.

Interested parties should submit a letter of interest answering the following questions:

1. Why do you wish to serve on the Garden Valley School District Board of Trustees?
2. What experience, knowledge, skills, or training do you have that would benefit the Board?
3. What do you see as the major issues confronting the school district?
4. What do you see your role on the board as being?

The deadline for letters of interest is 4:00 pm, March 9th, and should be sent to Paula Fox, Clerk of the Board, PO Box 710, Garden Valley, ID 83622, or delivered to the District office at 1053 Banks Lowman Road.

Applicants selected for an interview will be notified and a date and time agreed upon.

The successful applicant will be sworn in at the next convening meeting of the Board, and will serve the remainder of the term associated with the vacant position – standing for reelection in the Spring of 2011.

For questions about the Garden Valley School District, the application process, or boundaries of Zone II, please contact Paula Fox, at 462-3756 X 1013.

Thank you for your interest in the Garden Valley School District

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Think Summer! A Story ~ On Fishing and Eating Fish

By Rich Smith

I finally got around to reading “How To Avoid Catching Fish” by Charlie Lasiter. Until recently, it remained buried underneath my other bathroom reading material, including Wayne Allred’s “Disgusted Drivers Handbook” and his infamous “Outhouse” book.

Actually, I don’t need a book telling me how to avoid catching fish. I consider myself expert on the subject. Charlie Lasiter must be an undiscovered twin brother, for I related to his warped logic and weird sense of humor.

As some of you know, I enjoy fishing but am not fond of eating fish. Raised in the San Francisco Bay area by a Catholic mother, who served overcooked filet of sole every Friday, I grew up with a justified hatred of fish for dinner. As a teen I prayed for a moratorium from the Vatican on meatless Fridays, but this penitential rite lasted well into my adulthood. I once considered joining the Baptists to avoid meatless Fridays. Occasionally, and this was rare, after work some Fridays my Father would stop by the fish market and bring home crab or prawns or a freshly caught slab of salmon, and the frozen sole went back into the freezer.
As an adult, I am more broad-minded about eating fish. I tolerate crab, prawns, salmon and trout, yet there are limits. Filet of sole remains off my menu, no matter how well cooked or covered with sauce. After watching a “Hooked” National Geographic episode, in which a smelly Tilapia hauled out of Thailand’s stagnant waters became that night’s dinner, I’m no longer sure that species belongs on my dinner plate.

Some wags claim fishing is a sport, but I fail to see the sport in it. Considering their small brain cavity and unpredictable appetite for worms and grubs, fish are at a distinct disadvantage. If fishing is a skill, then anyone over the age of 5 who can skewer a worm on a hook and sit back in a comfortable chair until a tug on the line wakes them from slumber, is an expert.
Since I don’t like eating what I catch, my strategy is to avoid catching a fish in the first place, and this is where Mr. Allred’s rules come in handy. Through trial and error, I have discovered that using bait unlikely to tempt any fish, making pathetic casts to empty pools, or using a dull, rusty hook works to my advantage. Another tactic is to spend most of the time replacing lost hooks and sinkers, unraveling bird-nested spools, or disentangling my line from that of another angler.

Despite my ineptitude, occasionally a brain-challenged fish will grab my bait. I gently remove the hook embedded in its greedy mouth and practice the rule of “catch and release”. If a fish does not survive my surgery and revival efforts, I pawn it off on someone who enjoys eating fish.
Such generosity is normally a good solution, but only if the recipient does not insist on a gutted and cleaned donation. Next to eating fish, my greatest loathing is cleaning them. All that blood and guts with a pathetic big eye staring at me is a total turn off, not to mention the smell that clings to one's hands for hours after scraping guts and eviscerating other organs and finally beheading the unfortunate victim.

So, why then do I go fishing? Well, there is the beautiful lake or stream, the wildlife, the occasional good companionship of a partner willing to spin lies in a one-upsmanship contest, and most of all the cigars and beer. Oh, did I forget to mention the poor-boy sandwiches and Hostess ding-dongs? And then there is the beer. ..oh, I already mentioned beer. Well, anyway this is what makes fishing a worthwhile venture. .

After a day on the lake or stream, my catch and release tactics ,or gifting, means I will return home empty-handed, with beer breath and faintly smelling of cigar smoke. With nothing to show for my efforts, apparently it’s too much to expect a welcome kiss from a wife unimpressed by the empty creel and beer cooler.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Merc Matches Box Tops For Education!


We did it! We collected 1000 box tops for education with a value of $100. The Merc matched the amount and wrote a check today to the Garden Valley PTO for an additional $100. The money will be used for Teacher and Student supplies through the end of the year.

Thank you for helping us meet our goal!

Greg and Gerold

Tonight: Wine Tasters!

Dear Wine Enthusiasts,

I am reminding you of our meeting tonight, Saturday, February 19. It will be at 7:00 p.m., at Wild Bill's in downtown Crouch.

We will be tasting 'Wines that go with Roast Lamb'. Leg of Lamb, with two different recipes, will be served. Please bring an appetizer.

The usual $10 per taster contribution is requested. New tasters always welcome.

I look forward to seeing you there,
Rod Murchison

Friday, February 18, 2011

~ Still Pickin' On the District ~

In a time when the Garden Valley School District is going to need all the support it can get from its patrons if it wants to get the supplemental levy passed, it has looked like special interest groups might sit down and share the pipe for a short while.

A school patron has some misgivings, and appearing to distain the illusory truce (a fancy of mine?), recently sent out an e-mail to other Garden Valley School patrons. In an attempt to "set the facts straight", Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Michael Tomlin, sent to patrons an e-mail with answers to the patron's assertions. The following is the unedited letter of concerns by the patron (sans signature), with unedited responses by Mike Tomlin (sans identity of patron).

Tomlin: Garden Valley School District patron ( ) sent the following email (in blue) to multiple recipients. While (he) has every right to his opinion, his assertions are in many cases factually flawed. It is important that voters in the valley accurately understand the issues, school finance law, budgeting, and the role of the school board and administration in order to make informed decisions on the upcoming Supplemental Levy vote. I have corrected (his ) incorrect statements, in red, following his statements.

Statements in blue by ( ):

By taking away some of the funding from the school district the state government has given more control to the people at the local level. Now that the school district has to rely on direct support from the community my suggestion is that the School Board and the District Administration better start showing a lot more respect to the community, teachers, parents and of course the Kids. My suggestion to community members is to not let this opportunity pass them by. Make the Board and Administration responsible for their past, present and future actions. I have yet to see true transparency by the administration and therefore I will be voting “No” on this Levy.

[Mr. ( ) has not requested any documents, budget or otherwise to verify transparency. He has attended multiple meetings and has had every opportunity to view and analyze every budget document that exists. The Board of Trustees held multiple public budget meetings and hearings in 2009, and in 2010, debating and preparing its adopted budgets. Per law, the school district is audited and just this year underwent a federal audit. The district is exceedingly transparent, and proper and accurate in its financial operation.]

Yes, I am very concerned about our children’s education and the welfare of our teachers, but the core classes will not be affected. They will not go below 19 ½ teachers.
[That is factually untrue. There is a downward spiral effect of program cuts. As non-required classes and programs are reduced, the population shifts to schools and districts that provide them, which further erodes the funding base of the schools and our community. There is no way Mr. ( ) nor anyone else can assure the district that we will have 19.5 teachers next year (or any other number) prior to the legislature deciding on the new laws under consideration and setting our revenue. It is irresponsible to make such a statement.]

And, sports and other extra curricular activities can and should be funded more directly by the community through direct donations and organizations like the PTO/Booster Club. They do fundraising specifically for funds for the teachers and students use and not for the administration's overview. Sometimes you have to fall flat on your face before you finally make the decision for a better tomorrow. We have to look beyond next year and the next two years. We have to look at the long term future of this community.

The School District is very top heavy and has not been financially responsible the last couple years. [The Garden Valley School District is an award-winning district in academics, sports, and is recently reaccredited due to its excellence. This includes financial management, as noted in our audits, and the fact that we were able to delay for two years the drastic cuts made by many districts. It is a credit to those superintendents and boards who served before, and to the recent board(s) and its fiscal responsibility.] They have spent the School Districts savings and did not respond to cuts from the state the last two years. [Mr. ( ) is factually incorrect. The District responded to state cuts by reducing expenditures, freezing salaries, reducing overhead staff, cutting and capping health care benefits for employees, cutting athletic travel and costs, and imposing activity fees. The District intentionally and strategically used its savings to keep teachers employed, and to keep programs sound.]

If this were a private company they would not be able to ask Tax Payers for more money (and would be laying people off or closing their doors in response to the lower income.) That is just how it is.

The state, through funding cuts, has given us, The People, the power to say enough is enough. Get your message out and demand action. We can always vote on a Levy in the fall again. But they have to know that there must be a change [The people always have the power in our Republic. School district administration spends the monies received per approved budgets the school board adopts in open session following community hearings. It is a great process. However, as Mr. ( ) proposes voting on the levy in the fall – we must by law enter into contracts with teachers well before that. It is an unsound proposal that we can wait until November to determine a budget, and then hire back the teachers released in May. There would be no classes for them to teach.]

By passing this levy we give the administration the power to decide where the money is spent [This is factually false. The Board of Trustees will set and approve a budget for the next fiscal year. It will involve open and public community hearings and multiple readings and printings. It is the job of the administration to properly account for and spend the budget of the district – Neither the superintendent nor the Business Manager have the power to decide where any significant amounts of money is spent.] and if they are not listening to the community, who knows where that money will really go [That money will go exactly where the Board of Trustees directs that it go in their adopted budget]. It's not like the funding we get from the state where it's destination is designated by the state and the administration has no or little say. [Mr. ( ) is again factually incorrect on his assertion. We have quite a bit of discretion or "say" in the monies that come from the State. We will have far less discretion with the levy funds as the Board will have dictated exactly and not generally what their use will be.]

If you do not agree with this or want to correct something I said please do so. Right now I cannot support the Levy. I tried to get on board with pushing the Levy through but I can't get myself to believe it is the right thing to do at this point. I would love to here some of your thoughts. If you want to pass this on please do so, I have nothing to hide.

Again, Mr. ( ) has every right to his opinions, but misleading and non-factual assertions must be answered. Please let me know if you have any questions regarding the above.

Mike Tomlin

Dr. Michael Tomlin
Garden Valley School District
P.O. Box 710
1053 Banks Lowman Road
Garden Valley, ID 83622
208.462.3756 X1012

Ronald Reagan Centennial Luncheon










Thursday, February 17, 2011

Public Hearing: Crouch Bridge Replacement

On Tuesday, March 15, a public hearing will be held
on a project to replace the Middle Fork Payette River Bridge,
south of Crouch.

The hearing, at Crouch Community Hall,

from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.,
will be an open-house format.

Project staff will be available to answer questions,

and displays will illustrate information. A public
hearing officer will be available to take verbal

In addition to improving road safety, the project will:

* Design a new two-lane bridge over the Middle Fork

of the Payette River, the purpose being to accommodate
heavier loads.
* Improve the reliability of the river crossing
and enhance safety.

Public comments regarding the project will be taken

from March 15 to March 22. Comment sheets will be
available at the public hearing, along with return
envelopes for mailing.

The Crouch Community Hall is located at

1022 Old Crouch Road.

Those with questions on the project can contact

Adam Rush, Idaho Transportation Department
public involvement coordinator, at

or by phone at (208) 334-8005.

Concern For Feral Cat Population Rises in Garden Valley

Some tips from Lou Ann at FixPets

The Feral Cat Spay/Neuter Program is available to people in Garden Valley also.

My recommendation is to feed these animals so they
don't starve. Maybe take up a collection in town for them at the
restaurants/bars. No reason you can't feed them scraps from the
restaurants also rather than throwing it away, or cook up non-sellable
meat from the grocery. Provide shelter for them if needed.

Let me know if
you need ideas on feral cat shelters. BTW, you can make some feral houses out of old ice chests (cut a hole in the end and add blankets) or you can modify a storage tub and line it with sheets of styrofoam, add blankets or straw and cut a hole in the end. It helps keep the cats out of the wind and retain their body heat inside. I have a couple of plugged in pet heaters for mine. They also make some you can microwave to heat up and that lasts for a while. The internet may have other creative ideas. is a great organization with ideas for feral cats.

The cost per cat to fix them is $10
for feral cats in traps. We have traps for checkout

with a $50 refundable
deposit for each trap--we hold your check

to IHS until traps are returned.

Oh, and try to establish feeding areas and a feeding routine.
That way you'll get more bang for your buck (more cats per trip)
which will save
you time, effort, and money.

You'll want to capture as many cats as
possible the first time out

so they don't get trap wary.

For the tame cats,

you might considering bringing them to IHS
to be adopted or place an
ad with pictures on Craigslist.

Plea for help if you need it. You can also
put an ad for food for these cats

and let people know you are working to
have them fixed.

Always fix before adopting cats out.

Let me know if you
need help placing any once they are fixed.

Place an ad asking farms if
they'd like free fixed feral cats. They must agree

to provide food, water
and shelter though.

For online scheduling:
password: feral

Once you have fixed your cats, we'll remove your name from the system. You
will need to register again the next time you need to bring in ferals.

From: Fixpets

SPOT also spays/neuters tame cats for $25 for low income residents, so we are a one stop service. NAC is awesome too though. I'm not sure what their prices are currently. We are offering a big event on February 22 & 23, if a bunch of folks want to sign up for that and low income won't be required. ** (See earlier post on feral cats, hurry, may be too late to register!)

If low income folks want to sign up their tame cats, they can contact IHS SPOT Clinic directly at 342-3599 to make an appointment. Might be a good idea to have a group of people do this. Perhaps the cats can carpool and people can take turns. ~~
For the high income people, we also accept donations to the SPOT program to help support the low income family pets and feral cats. The program actually loses money doing this and relies on donations.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Forest Service Approves New Exploration at CuMo Project in Boise River Headwaters

(Reprinted from
On February 11, 2011, Forest Supervisor Cecilia R. Seesholtz decided to implement the CuMo Exploration project by selecting Alternative B (Reduced Road Alternative). Alternative B and its environmental effects are displayed in the Environmental Assessment (EA). The decision is documented in a Decision Notice/Finding of No Significant Impact (DN/FONSI). The EA and DN/FONSI may be found at, along with comments received during the 30-day notice and comment period. The 45-day appeal period will begin with publication of a legal notice in the Idaho Statesman.

Project Contact
Jeffrey Alexander, 208-373-4100

(reprinted from Idaho Rivers United
CuMo Mine
~ a mega-mine in our headwaters

After receiving more than 500 comments from concerned citizens, the U.S. Forest Service has released the Final Environmental Assesment for CuMo Exploration Project and issued a Finding of No Significant Impact.

The decision reached by Forest Supervisor Cecelia Seesholtz permits a Canadian mining company, Mosquito Gold Company, to conduct a five year mineral exploration project, including the construction of up to 10.2 miles of new temporary roads and four new stream crossings.

Idaho Rivers United is reviewing the decision with its partners in Idaho Families for Clean Water. The decision may be appealed for 45 days.


The CuMo project is located on a forested ridge on the south side of Grimes Creek upstream of Pioneerville and Idaho City, just 38 miles from Boise. Interestingly, while the project is in the Boise River watershed, it's just a stone's throw from Garden Valley and the South Fork Payette River. Conceptual drawings of the CuMo molybdenum and copper mine show a massive open pit and complete removal of the ridge.

Thanks to Mountain Visions, you can get a birds-eye view of the CuMo project site as well as what is now Idaho's largest open pit mine - Thompson Creek, on the Idaho Rivers United webpage.

Pictures speak loudly. Please take a minute to view the short video from our tour of the huge Thomspon Creek mine near Challis. You'll get an idea of what is in store for the Grimes Creek area.

The New York Times ran a story on the CuMo project on September 17, 2010 - Molybdenum Project Sparks Debate Over Idaho Watershed that features many locals.

World's Largest Open-Pit
Accessible Moly Deposit

Mosquito Consolidated Gold Mines Limited is looking for molybdenum and copper at the CuMo site. The Canadian company claims CuMo is one the world's largest molybdenum deposits.

Mosquito Gold is seeking a permit to expand and complete their exploration. They propose to drill approximately 260 exploratory holes and construct 10 to 13 miles of new temporary access roads.

KTVB, Channel 7, aired a story on the CUMO mine on Nov. 24.

Boise River Community Lecture:

"Treasure Valley Water Plan"
Tuesday, Feb. 22, 6 p.m.
Garden City Library, 6015 Glenwood

State development of a new water plan, known as the Treasure Valley CAMP, will be the topic of a panel discussion. Panelists include John Gannon, Peter Anderson, Kathy Peters, Lon Stewart and Kevin Decker. The program is cohosted by the Sierra Club, Idaho Wildlife Federation and Trout Unlimited.






Tuesday, February 15, 2011

School Board: Everything Relies On Levy

No matter where the agenda took the board, the supplemental levy was the invisible guest at dinner. Potatoes were passed over, dialogue paused, and dessert was difficult because how could you eat the last of the cobbler, in case he...

The 2011-2012 school calendar drafts are ready for input, but are dependent upon the budget. Job descriptions were approved and adopted, but the Super said it was likely some of these jobs will no longer exist.

Residents who attended the Monday night meeting were clear about one thing: We want to support the levy, but where is the money going? Be specific.

Superintendent Mike Tomlin responded that “the levy is supporting a budget we don’t have yet.” The state sets the election dates and there are four. If the levy doesn’t pass, they anticipate running all of them until it does. By the March 8 election date, they will not have the exact Idaho budget. If they wait until the second date, which is after teacher contracts are renewed, they would have to procedurally let all untenured teachers go and then rehire them.

Tomlin says 100% of the levy money will be used to fight off debt. It is not for purchases. "The board will be facing a combination of a $400K reduction in budget—with the $225K levy and $150K in reductions across the board, there is the assumption, regardless of all, that there will be reductions in staffing,” he informed the gallery. "What we know is the budget will be less than this year...the board will not know the cuts until we receive the budget from the legislature.”

Garden Valley resident Shirleane Abbott persevered in her insistence that the District was being vague. Principal Bob Vian interjected: “Our goal is to preserve all core programs. The levy committee made a big list of what we could potentially cut. If the levy doesn’t pass—if we have to cut $400K-- we have another cut list; it will be very draconian—that’s the future we’re trying not to go down.”

Alan Ward answered the direct query, “Are we going to lose two full-time teachers? That is the word on the street,” with a straight on “I think it would be extremely unprofessional of us to say we were going to cut teachers, and then suddenly we find the money. Speaking only for myself and not the board, I think probably we are going to be forced to do it—I watch the news and the spending.”

Mr. Vian added, “We listed salary cuts, day cuts, staff, athletics, transportation, kindergarten...every nickel we thought we could find.” Vian said elementary grades could be divided three into two, for about 20 in each class.

The Levy has received a supportive thumbs-up from Crouch City Council and the Garden Valley Education Association. Chamber of Commerce members told Dr. Tomlin they appreciated that the District didn’t come to them with full need, that they’re making their own cuts.

Marlo Glauser reported that when she met with Ladies Lunch Bunch to discuss the levy, the first question she received was, “Are they still fighting?” She admonished the roomful of people guilty of scrapping that if the school is not strong, there will be no jobs, less business and people won’t be able to sell their homes. “No matter how beautiful Garden Valley is, you know the parents will not stay here if the school is not strong. I don’t want to lose good teachers; if we don’t pass this levy, we won’t keep them.”

There is a niggling thought at the back of many minds in Garden Valley that says, “and how did the fighting help the kids?” It is not boding well for passing a levy, when voters question “what is going on at the school”?

So, let’s consider it. Major damage was inflicted on the school by the group we all call “the friends”. Clearly, their agenda was purely an avenging act and they have not gone away but it appears there is a truce at the school for now. What is poignantly transparent is that the disturbance only created a rift in the community and has not done our children any good—and that is the bottom line.

That said, it really doesn’t seem to have prevented the children from getting a superb education. It just goes to show you how resilient young minds can be. There are also many fine teachers sticking to the program and getting the best out of the kids. We have award winning teachers, an Idaho School of Excellence, State Championship-level athletes and a second-year accreditation. The children continually prove themselves to be fine human beings who help out others and support their community, not to mention other communities, as senior Dylan Bass has exhibited as Idaho’s top youth volunteer.

Absentee Voting: Clerk of the Board, Paula Fox, announced that the last day for absentee voting applications is March 2, 2011. Walk-in absentee voters must go to the County Clerk’s office, 420 Main St., Idaho City. For an absentee ballot to mail, go to (or copy form below). You will need to scan your actual signature. On March 8, the election will probably take place at the Community Hall.

Zone III Trustee Selection: When the candidates for Garden Valley School Board Zone III trustee stood at the podium, they were delivered some challenging questions not normally posed for this volunteer position. Not surprising, considering the disjointed conditions under which the board has been operating since the recall elections, new trustees, resignations and the tragic loss of Dawn Smith.

It appeared that the two candidates weren’t as well-versed in GV school-ese as wary board trustees would have liked. Neither one had any info on the Levy. Hmm. They couldn’t talk about the budget...huh! Other qualifications surfaced, though, and it was clear the candidates were certainly willing to try the job.

So, the appointment of Laurie Snyder to fill the Zone III, Lowman/GV trustee seat, was gratifying and hard won. She came through the unexpected fire not, perhaps, like a champ, but limping courageously through the last lap.

Although Chair Terry Elmore voiced reminders to trustees that the last time they went through this selection process, they had four good applicants and they opted to wait for a more experienced person, Jeff Bass opined that the levy has a better chance of being passed if the board has representation in Lowman. He said, “We need a recruiter and a hard charger.”

Alan Ward was convinced that Snyder’s nine years with the Nampa School District and involvement with special education law and being a school counselor and grant writer for a non-profit board sufficed to qualify her to sit on the board.

The board also declared the vacancy of Zone II, formerly held by Dawn Smith.

School Daze

PTO: Delores Bedard announced the school has a new laminator. Box tops are being gathered for money. So far, the kids have amassed $220 worth, not counting the amount the Merc is collecting to match up to $100. Elementary Student Council will have a party for the winners and the bucks will go to the elementary teachers. Labels are being collected and the $ will go to the Spanish and art classes.

The PTO provides refreshments for events, will hold a book fair, a father/daughter ball and mom and son dance – all fundraisers. And be sure to pick up your $3 bumper stickers and other items for sale at the school.

Principal Bob Vian was given kudos by Marlo Glauser, for creating incentives to keep students interested, in school, and trying harder to achieve. He is a never-tiring problem solver.

Barb Sulfridge gave an overview of the Title One program. They identify at-risk students who are below grade-level achievement and work with them on reading, writing and speaking. She acknowledged Pam Doyle, who supervises and coordinates and Pauline Grant, special education consultant.

PEP RALLY for Lady Wolverines, at 11:15, Thursday, March 17, before the Girls Basketball team takes off. Middle School Cheerleaders will root for the girls to win at State. GAME at Nampa, 6:15 p.m.

Check out school sports at

School District Stuff

It’s time to update Trustee zone boundaries. The Idaho School Board Association has found someone to do this and they are awaiting an estimate. $5K have been budgeted for this. Also, the good news is the district budgeted $10K for the comprehensive inventory of the school and appraisal and after shopping bids, took a $4800 bid.

Superintendent Tomlin clarified that although he supports the idea of what the Job Creation Council is trying to accomplish, neither he nor the board have made any decisions regarding the possible renovation of the old school facilities for the Council and will not consider it, until the proposal comes before the board and there is a public hearing. In the enthusiasm of the Council for job creation, it has appeared that decisions have been made—they have not.

General Fun Stuff

The Lincoln Days Reagan Centennial luncheon will be hosted by GV School, on Saturday, February 26. This not being an election year, the pickin’s is thin for representation!

Bob Vian will appear as guest speaker at the GV Syringa Club Meeting at the Senior Center, Thursday, February 17, at noon. Bring a brown bag lunch and have a Georgiana Goetsch special treat for dessert. Mr. Vian will bring a teacher along and they will address your concerns about the Levy. All are welcome.

Georgianna Goetsch presented checks for the Garden Valley Travel Club, Baseball Team and GV School Music Department, from the Holiday Bazaar at the school; funds were raised from space rentals at the December 4 crafters fair.

Students will have an inspiring morning session on March 17, with Bill Johnson, Idaho’s Writer in Residence. Perhaps they will get to write some great poetry and since Mr. Johnson is a talented folksinger, who knows what will transpire? He will be appearing at the new library that evening, for a reading sponsored by Syringa Club.



State of Idaho
County of ____________________}s.s.

Date: _____________________________, ___________

I, ___________________________________________, hereby make application for an absent elector's ballot or ballots to be voted at the election held on

(Check election this application is to be used)

􀂆 2nd Tuesday in March (School Bond or Levy)
􀂆 3rd Tuesday in May (Primary Election and/or Taxing Districts Elections)
􀂆 Last Tuesday in August (School Bond or Levy)
􀂆 Tuesday following 1st Monday in November (General Election and/or Taxing
Districts Election)
􀂆 Special Emergency Election to be held on _____________________, ___________.

My home address is: ___________________________________________________________ in

__________________________________________, and I am duly registered in _________________________ County, Idaho.

Please mail ballot(s) to me at the following address:


(Mailing Address)

(City, State and Zip Code)


Signed: _____________________________________________________

EA-4 Approved by the Secretary of State, 2011

Fax to: 208-392-4473 ~ ATTN: MOLLY FOX
E-Mail to: (e-mail must contain actual copy of signature)