Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Laura Zuckerman News

SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - The costs of fighting U.S. wildfires topped $2 billion in 2017, breaking records and underscoring the need to address a U.S. Forest Service budget that mostly goes to fires, Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue said on Thursday.

“Forest Service spending on fire suppression in recent years has gone from 15 percent of the budget to 55 percent – or maybe even more – which means we have to keep borrowing from funds that are intended for forest management,” Perdue said in a written statement.

The Forest Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, could be spending that money on logging, prescribed burns or insect treatments, measures designed to reduce the fuel load of forests primed to burn, he said.

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SALMON, Idaho (Reuters) - Forest rangers and fire managers across the U.S. West will be on high alert as motorists flock to Oregon, Idaho and Wyoming for next week's total solar eclipse, clogging roads and straining scarce resources at the height of summer wildfire season.

The rare spectacle of the moon passing directly in front the sun, combined with the appeal of the West's great outdoors, is expected to draw tens of thousands of eclipse enthusiasts to rugged, remote national forests and rangelands from the Cascades to the Northern Rockies.

By Laura Zuckerman | SALMON, IDAHO Grizzly bears in and around Yellowstone National Park will be stripped of Endangered Species Act safeguards this summer, U.S. Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke announced on Thursday in a move conservation groups vowed to challenge in court. Dropping federal protection of Yellowstone's grizzlies, formally proposed in March 2016 under the Obama administration, was based on the agency's findings that the bears' numbers have rebounded sufficiently in recent decades....
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By LAURA ZUCKERMAN SALMON — People stranded this winter after the U.S. Forest Service ordered the closure for safety reasons of a road along the Salmon River north of here say the episode intensified worries about being cut off in future from needed supplies and emergency services. The Salmon-Challis National Forest in early February cited public health and safety concerns tied to avalanches for instituting a weekslong closure of 40-plus miles of a dirt road along the Salmon River west of North Fork, which is about 20 miles north of Salmon. The Forest Service roadway is the only access by vehicle to homes and private property for the roughly 50 people who live in an area mostly composed of public lands. Those residents said the road closure saw a temporary halt and, ultimately, a slowdown in the delivery of U.S. mail, including needed prescription medications, and the abrupt end of supplies such as propane amid an exceptionally harsh winter...

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By LAURA ZUCKERMAN  SALMON —

A horse named Rooster is an equine without equal if you ask the volunteers and staff at Whitewater Therapeutic and Recreational Riding Association. The Salmon-based association offers horseback experiences to riders of all ages whose challenges can include everything from a physical disability to a psychological trauma. In the decades since the accredited nonprofit was founded, dozens of horses have been either selected or donated for the purpose of providing equine therapy but few have gained the profile and elicited the adoration of Rooster. Whitewater workers say Rooster has all the mannerisms of a courtly gentleman even though he once was a wild horse from the Challis area before adoption through a U.S. Bureau of Land Management program. “I’ve dealt with a lot of good horses but Rooster has a special place in my heart,” said Joyce Scott, Whitewater’s executive director. “He’s an elegant and powerful horse who personifies peace and calmness. Everyone who rides him falls a little bit in love with him.”...

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By LAURA ZUCKERMAN SALMON —

Hundreds of wooden cutouts of pollinating insects such as bees and butterflies now adorn a chain-link fence that greets locals and visitors driving into or out of the city on U.S. Highway 93 South. The new public artwork was the brainchild of Ella Deutchman, board president of the nonprofit Salmon Valley Stewardship, and represents nearly two years of planning and preparation. The project, dubbed “Pollinator Pathway,” mimics the nearby “Stream of Dreams,” which was erected in 2014 and which features painted wooden cutouts of fish such as steelhead on fencing outside the local high school....

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SALMON — Richard Rabe began carving wood roughly half a century ago with the goal of occupying himself in the evenings to avoid “the idiot box,” his nickname for television.

Rabe, who worked for nearly three decades as an engineer at Idaho National Laboratory, found his love affair with wood intensified after 1976, when he bought a plot of land north of Salmon and began building a custom log home.

Today, at 83, Rabe calls his work in wood a hobby, but everything about his sculptures of wildlife declare him an artist — and of the first order....

Off Site Article: 
By LAURA ZUCKERMAN
The documentary will be shown at 7 p.m. and 8:15 p.m. Oct. 27 in Salmon. The 7 p.m. showing is full. To reserve a seat for the 8:15 showing go to hopevetoed.com.
It also will be shown in Idaho Falls on Nov. 15.
SALMON — Whether marijuana-based products have medicinal value and should be legalized are matters of debate among Idaho politicians. For one local family, the fight is purely personal.
 
The Phillips family is widely known in Salmon for generations of boys who excel in wrestling. Yet, lately, the family is seeking to establish a different kind of legacy. It is one linked to the epilepsy of Josh Phillips, the 19-year-old son of Jeannette and Gary Phillips, and the family’s hope he could be legally treated with an oil developed from cannabidiol, a chemical in marijuana.
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