Lemhi County Citizen Journalism

Leslie Shumate's picture


Bob Gutzman of the Lemhi Education Project (LED) spoke to the Salmon City Council February 7 and advised them of LED’s interest in creating a taxing district as a way of realizing the potential the program has created. He said that the need for more funding is the fault of the program’s success in creating the need for more.

According to Gutzman in the program’s six years of existence it has helped fulfill many of the community’s educational gaps. Tiffany McAlister spoke as the former full-time director of the program. She said the GED (General Equivalency Diploma) classes and testing are now a constant in the community and allow those interested in obtaining a GED the opportunity to accomplish their goal without having to leave town. She said the seventh Certified Nursing Assistants training is underway and for the second time the college classes are being made available to High School students. Thanks to the College of Eastern Idaho (formerly Eastern Idaho Technical College) there are plans to bring a Registered Nurse training to town. 

All the interest is out distancing the abilities of the local part-time staff. McAlister said everyone appreciates the city’s past financial support of LED and is hesitant to ask for more however “more” is what it will take to realize the full potential of what the local link to the newly formed community college district can provide.

Gutzman said LED wants to approach the public about establishing a special taxing district to fund LED and is asking the city’s permission to research the idea. In order to maintain control of potential funds generated, he said members prefer a concept of a local taxing district rather than a collaborative one. A local taxing district takes a two thirds approval from local voters and LED wants to find out if there is any possibility of such support.

The council unanimously approved the Lemhi Education Project research effort.

Councilor Jim Bockelman reported on the January 24 Open House hosted by the local Clean Air Committee and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The purpose of the gathering was to discuss air quality concerns in the Salmon area and hear about the PM 2.5 Advance Program the city has joined. Between 30 and 40 people were in attendance.

Bockelman said the DEQ was surprised by some of the strong statements in support of the effort and the disgust expressed over current air problems. On the other end of the scale there were stove users who, even if provided with a complete no-cost installation of an EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) approved wood stove would not participate or be supportive of the program.

He said that for the record there is no wood stove replacement program in effect at present and the city is not taking reservations. Because of local interest in the replacement program Bockelman said he thinks the city should be ready to participate if funding becomes available and possibly initiate research into grant opportunities.

If funding does become available for the wood stove replacement program the city will notify the public.

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