Idaho Falls Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate News

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CITY BUDGET 7-19-17 LMS

The Salmon City Council has passed the first reading of Ordinance 17-823, the city’s proposed $4,952,237 fiscal year 2017-18 budget. 

The approval came July 19 after a public hearing was conducted during which there was just one public comment offered and it came from Robert Dunlop. He objected to the city funding the Lemhi Education Project claiming since the county also funds the program it means dual taxation for city residents. 

During the hearing City Finance Director Amy Fealko reported an overall budget increase of two percent in salaries and a one percent tax increase. She said the complete detailed budget is available at City Hall for public review. The council vote was five in favor and one opposed with Councilman Rob Jackson casting the single ‘no’ vote.

The council passed the third reading of Ordinance 17-821. The document repeals an old ordinance regarding flood control and replaces it with an updated flood prevention ordinance.

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AIR QUALITY ALERT 7-19-17 LMS

The city of Salmon is a participant in the Department of Environmental Quality’s (DEQ) Particulate Matter (PM) Advance Program which deals with the quality of air local residents are breathing.

Rensay Owen of the DEQ Air Quality Monitoring Compliance Division spoke to the July 19 meeting of the Salmon City Council and updated councilmen on a Salmon Idaho PM 2.5 Source Apportionment Research Study conducted by the University of Montana. He said the DEQ financed study showed that 69 percent of the particulate matter in the air during the months of November through February is coming from wood smoke generated by wood burning stoves. The readings indicated more than 30 micrograms per cubic meter. In non-Winter months the wood smoke particulate matter registered 47.3 percent wood smoke. 

In the four meetings held so far, a local Air Shed Advisory Group has been focusing on ways to communicate air quality problems to the public along with what can be done to reduce the particulate matter levels. Councilman Jim Bockelman is a member of the local Air Shed Advisory Group.

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IRON CREEK AND NORTH FORK OF IRON CREEK ROADS 7-19-17

The Forest Service wants to inform users of Forest Service Roads 60045 (Iron Creek) and 60056 (North Fork of Iron Creek) that exploration drilling and other mine-related activities are occurring on private (patented) lands in the area. The Forest Service has a right-of-way through these private lands, located on the Salmon-Cobalt Ranger District. However, the operators must comply with Mine Safety and Health Administration requirements to protect the public from potential hazards on the privately-owned properties. 

Forest Road 60045 is still open to public travel, but users are required to stay on the road and not exit their vehicles while travelling through the site. When approaching the site, approximately 9 miles upstream from the mouth of Iron Creek, be aware of heavy equipment operating and company personnel on foot in the area. If the road is blocked by equipment or personnel, stop and wait until you are directed by the operators to proceed. 

The berm on Forest Road 60056 will be removed or relocated to allow continued access on that route.

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DUMP FIRE 7-17-17

A new fire was reported in the Dump Creek drainage, downriver approximately three air miles from North Fork, at approximately 2:00 pm this afternoon. The Dump Creek drainage is located south of the Salmon River. 

The Salmon-Challis National Forest responded with a medium helicopter with a bucket for water drops, four heli-rappellers, and a 10 person hand crew. The fire is burning on the lower 1/3rd of the slope in heavy grass, brush, and scattered timber. 

The weather forecast for the next few days calls for continued hot and dry conditions with an unstable atmosphere.

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DOWNTOWN PARKING 7-5-17 LMS

In the opinion of the Salmon City Council the lack of convenient downtown parking is an issue that directly affects the business future of Salmon. For that reason an Executive Session to discuss the acquisition of currently vacant property was part of the council’s July 5 agenda.

Following the executive meeting discussions regarding the importance of parking space continued. Councilman Jim Bockelman expressed the opinion that the city should consider buying vacant property for that purpose. Councilman Russ Chinske said he was torn between letting the market be the market and the need for parking, With the thought there are a lot of other beneficial ways to use the money it would cost to buy property, he urged his fellow council members to be economically prudent, 

In Councilman Neal James’ opinion the parking space the city lost when the downtown corner aprons were built should be replaced. Council President Jim Baker said he favors purchasing downtown core property for parking and that he would be amenable to expending taxpayer money for the city’s future benefit. Councilman Ken Hill agreed.

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FOLLOWING COUNCIL DECISIONS 7-5-17 LMS

Even though the Salmon City Council voted to not impose the usual facility rental fees for the recent Preparedness Fair held at the Sacajawea Center on Friday, June 30 and Saturday, July 1, a refundable deposit of $500 for unforeseen expenses or damages was still required. Due to the organizers’ not abiding by the specific days originally reserved, not all of the deposit will be returned.

Members of the Salmon City Council, Mayor Leo Marshall, Sacajawea Center Director Lin Gray and City Clerk Mary Benton discussed the situation at the July 5 council meeting. 

Benton reminded the council they and the event organizers had first agreed to Thursday, June 29 as the day the vendors would set up their wares in advance of the start of the Fair. The organizers then decided they wouldn’t need the advance time therefore the set up time was rescheduled for Friday the 30th. . Benton said when participants started driving stakes in the ground to anchor the vendor tents on Wednesday the 28th, even though the center director told them they weren’t scheduled for that day the set up continued and Gray didn’t want to ask them to leave.

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ANIMAL HOUSING 7-5-17 LMS

In the last 12 months the Lemhi County Humane Society Animal Shelter has given refuge to 220 dogs and 130 cats according to an annual report given the Salmon City Council by Humane Society President Cindy Phelps.

Phelps broke down the numbers as to origin of residence at the council’s July 5 meeting. She said 20 percent of the dogs come from the county therefore that means about 80 percent of the canines are city residents. Only about two percent of the cats are brought in from the county and the rest come from the city. The shelter has a successful rate of home finding due to a network of other rescue organizations, one in Boise and two in Missoula. When the staff is unable to find a local home the animal is sent to one of the other organizations where Phelps said placement is usually achieved in a day or two.

She said the Humane Society runs the Animal Shelter and is able to supply Spay and Neuter coupons from grants as well as its own funds.

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FIRE SUMMARY JULY 10, 2017

Fire resources across the Forest have recently responded to six new fires. 

July 4th, the Mowitch Fire (three acres, lightning caused) was reported on the Middle Fork Ranger District near Indian Creek. 

July 5th, the Cliff Fire (0.1 acres), started by an ATV which had caught on fire, on the Lost River Ranger District on Mine Hill and the Jesse Fire (one acre, lightning caused) on the Salmon-Cobalt Ranger District between Jesse and Pollard Creeks. 

July 6th, the Ajax Fire (0.5 acre, lightning caused) on the North Fork Ranger District, near Ajax Peak. 

The Ajax, Jesse, Cliff, and Mowitch Fires are all out. 

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