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Andrew Ottoson

Stories by Andrew

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Harris heading to Jamestown on QB scholarship

Next level athletes

Bulldogs quarterback Layton Harris made a name for himself locally on the football field, and the outward ripples of that will take him to Jamestown, N.D. this fall, where his new coaching staff finds itself in need of a passer.

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Proposed fee irks Snake River guides

Some local Snake River tourism operators aren’t too happy about the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest’s proposal to bump the cost of river tours $5-$10 per person per trip, and some are alleging river managers have made poor use of existing funds while allowing key facilities in Hells Canyon to languish.

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Wallace gets full ride from Rocky Mountain

Next level athletes

Grant Wallace transferred to Clearwater Valley High School last fall and his offensive output greatly boosted the Rams’ chances every night in the ultracompetitive Whitepine League.

Written comments offer glimpse of public opinion on plan

The Idaho County Commission’s first meeting on the new natural resource plan back in January 2016 launched a public process during which the county received written comments from 15 locals. The Free Press reviewed all the comments as well as the Idaho County Natural Resource Plan (ICNRP) initial and final drafts and found some comments are reflected more strongly in the final draft than others. The commission is preparing to adopt the ICNRP next Tuesday, July 26.

County in final stages of adopting resource plan

The idea that climate changes can be predicted well enough to inform government action is part of the new policy the Idaho County Commission is set to adopt at next Tuesday, July 26.

Allegations stack up against two out-of-state bear hunters

Misdemeanor charges – 36 counts dating from 2012 to last month – were filed against a father and son who had allegedly hunted under bad paperwork for years – essentially, for buying and using the wrong licenses. Bruce Gabari Jr. and Bruce Gabari Sr. were named in the stack of case files – 29 in total – which stands several inches tall on a shelf at the Idaho County Courthouse.

Dredgers to fight S.F. Clearwater River mining regulations

Local miners to appeal new paperwork requirements

The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests are going forward with a plan to regulate suction dredging on the South Fork Clearwater River, in a move that will reopen the riverbed to as many as 15 small scale mining operations per year. Prior to 2012, small-scale suction dredging in the river had faced only state-level regulation from the Idaho Department of Water Resources, which had required only a letter permit.

County resource plan hearing set July 26

Idaho County Commissioners had anticipated the final draft of the county’s natural resource plan would be available this week for public inspection online through the county website, idahocounty.org. The document is delayed until next week, so the commission has delayed its next hearing on the plan until 11 a.m. July 26.

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Strong turnout follows record entries

Border Days Rodeo

Attendance nearly matched record entries for the 105th edition of the Grangeville Border Days Rodeo, as crowds last Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights appeared to fill the grandstands as full as they’ve been since the centennial.

DEQ pushes solid waste conformity

A small change in Idaho Department of Environmental Quality policy will make a big change in how solid waste service providers and local governments across the region handle certain kinds of trash. While facilities such as Walco of Grangeville, Latah Sanitation of Moscow and Simmons Sanitation of Kamiah are abiding by local policy, DEQ is telling them – and the counties that rely on their services – to send certain kinds of waste out of the area.

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‘Tradition’ for Border Days participants

Four-day event a family time

With a day earlier start to the rodeo, the annual Grangeville Border Days celebration gave participants more time to celebrate the July 4 holiday. Rodeo events ran July 1-3 with main festivities going July 2-4.

Fire prevention is elementary

Editorial

Everyone who believes in personal, individual responsibility ought to know what they can do to prevent forest fire, and everyone ought to expect their neighbors to know, too. Fire safety basics should be common sense – and, in our region, they are – but not everyone acts like it.

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Arnzen sets Mt. Misery women’s ultra record

Jenny Arnzen practices what she preached to those who turned out for to run cross-country with the Prairie High School team she helped organize in 2015.

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Urbahn marks 40 years with July 4th fireworks display

Border Days: ‘Rocket’s Red Glare’

When John Urbahn started pitching in to help with the Border Days fireworks show, he helped his dad, Bob Urbahn, set up and launch a much smaller booming, glittering display than will be seen at the GHS football field this Independence Day. It has been four decades of joy for John Urbahn, who is about to mark his 40th year launching the July 4 fireworks with the Grangeville Volunteer Fire Department.

Salvage work started to recover logs from 2015 fire season

After the huge fire season last year, the federal forests started planning salvage work that may yet recover lots of logs from burned areas. Plans for three of the projects the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests started in 2015 are now in writing. The three drafts went up for public review and comment on May 7, and the combined forests have made some changes.

Funderburg case dismissed against ICSO

Three years after a sex scandal struck the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office, United States District Judge Edward Lodge on June 10 dismissed a federal civil case against Sheriff Doug Giddings, Undersheriff Jim Gorges and Idaho County.

NEPA projects taking place on districts

Among the “small NEPA” projects the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests announced in a May 27 letter are several taking place on local ranger districts. On the Red River Ranger District are projects calling for electrical lines are to be buried along Road 222D near Dixie and test drilling for gold in the Siegel Creek drainage. On the Salmon River Ranger District are projects calling for culvert replacement in Peasley Creek and placer mining exploration in the French Creek drainage. On the Lochsa-Powell Ranger District is a project calling for tree planting in the area burned by last summer’s Woodrat Fire.

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Free Fishing Day

It was a beautiful morning for the youths who showed up at Wilkins Pond last Saturday, June 11, as the rainbow trout stocked by Idaho Fish and Game proved hungry and strong.

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Dueling rodeos to feature many of the same entrants

CVRA, White Bird slates brim for Fathers Day

The upcoming Clearwater Valley Roundup Association and White Bird rodeos are going head-to-head this weekend, with White Bird to go on its traditional Friday-Saturday of Father’s Day weekend dates, June 17-18, and the CVRA moving up on the calendar to go on Saturday and Sunday, June 18-19.

Harvests a fiscal windfall for county

The disastrous fires last year made a fiscal windfall for Idaho County, as the yield tax private owners paid from July 15-Dec. 31 last year showed a jump to three or four times the usual level. During the commission’s regular meeting June 7, assessor James Zehner reported $94,000 came in, and a similar amount is anticipated for the coming year.

County to review RMP comments June 28

County to vote July 12 on plan

During the Tuesday, June 14, hearing over Idaho County’s draft resource management plan (RMP), Commissioner Mark Frei staked out a bit of middle ground on which the board will be proceeding toward adopting an official position on numerous public land questions. Chairman Jim Chmelik said he hopes the RMP will “give the county some standing with the agencies and give our input from the county…[on matters ranging] from better management of the resources to better access for recreation to the historical significance” of places such as the meanders miners created long ago at Crooked River.

Commendations issued for efforts on Elk City landslide

Last month, the Idaho County Commission received two letters of commendation praising three county employees for the work they did during the days following the Elk City landslide Feb. 18. Another went to the Post Office. Others went to the Forest Service. It turns out one man wrote them all: Robert McGuire of Orogrande.

Voters rejected Chmelik for his style

Editorial

If you’ve asked the people you know who voted why they think Idaho County Commissioner Jim Chmelik lost, they’ve probably already told you what they’ve been telling us: Mainly, they just don’t like his style.

Camping Season

Summer sports camps keep area kids busy, and the Grangeville girls led off with a good showing under direction from new GHS varsity head coach Michelle Barger (above, right) and prominent area coach Dave Snodgrass, who was decked out in his Nezperce High blues last Thursday, June 2.

Barger in as GHS girls basketball coach

As Michelle Barger steps in for longtime GHS varsity girls head coach Larson Anderson, the Grangeville youth program is leveling up.

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Cortez gets 30 days for shooting bighorn

Paul R. Cortez faced justice Monday in District Court.

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‘Putting On A Show’

A motorized version of a CreatureCraft Waterwog was seen tumbling through the rapids near Lake Creek Bridge on the Salmon River east of Riggins last Saturday, June 4. Piloting the rig was George Nuckols, who later told the Free Press he was “putting on a show.” Last Saturday marked the opening of river rafting season, as the annual Big Water Blowout celebration brought droves of whitewater enthusiasts to Riggins.

Corps finds Salmon River as ‘navigable’

Chmelik raises spectre of lost county revenue

Although the Corps’ decision is consistent with other long-established navigability determinations made by the State of Idaho (1980) and the U.S. Coast Guard (1974), the board – especially chairman Jim Chmelik – met it with displeasure.

Group discussions begin on multi-county regional landfill

Talking Trash:

In mid-May, Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt was named vice chairman of the group of seven counties that met in Council to start hammering out plans for a regional landfill to be located near Adams County’s existing dump site, the Goodrich Landfill. The Adams County Record reported the group’s first meeting in that paper’s May 18 edition, noting the “joint powers” group by then included Idaho, Adams, Clearwater and Valley counties, with Lewis, Boise and Washington counties not yet fully on board.

County resource plan to receive hearing

Overview: What is the Idaho County RMP?

Overview In its statement of purpose, the draft asserts that federal agencies must involve county-level governments in the decision-making process at the earliest stages – prior to the broader public input process.

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County resource plan to receive hearing June 14

'We wanted it to be a statement about resources…'

If approved at a hearing later this month, Idaho County’s draft resource management plan (RMP) will formalize the county’s position on approximately 120 points related to federal land management. While it’s not clear what, if anything, federal agencies might do to accommodate the county’s perspective, the Idaho County Commission is advancing it in hopes the RMP will secure a seat for local government at the federal decision-makers’ table. It’s a step many other western counties are trying to take.

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Probert: J-Bar fire salvage project decision to be withdrawn

Earlier this month, a federal court ordered a preliminary injunction in the civil case over the Forest Service’s Johnson Bar Fire Salvage project. The order stopped salvage logging near the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic rivers, which was set to begin as early as May 16. Now the salvage logging project is being withdrawn.

Kids Klub drops grant application

Multiple factors have nonprofit exploring options

Kids Klub is withdrawing its request for Idaho County’s sponsorship of a block grant, which Clearwater Economic Development Association specialist Kelly Dahlquist and Kids Klub members presented to the board earlier this month. According to a letter from CEDA to the county, which Dahlquist presented Tuesday, May 24, the commission’s continuing support for a grant awarded May 13 to Syringa Hospital and Clinics, combined with changes in the hospital’s construction schedule, means Kids Klub’s application might not be accepted.

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Sullivan, Lindsley dominate

Track & Field

During his final days in Bulldogs uniform, Cole Lindsley swept the 2A throwing titles, firing off a personal record 51-11½ bomb in the shot put and ripping a near-PR 167 in the discus.

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Primed for Middleton

46 individuals qualify, six as No. 1 seeds

No one in the region could match the Kubs’ strength in numbers on the boys side of the 1A/2A District I-II championships held last Friday and Saturday, May 13-14, and they had one additional edge going for them: their track was looking freshly sharp on account of new paint the KHS coaches and boosters had recently laid down.

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Kamiah mill sale: Blue North officials asked IFG to step in

Faced with having to close the Kamiah mill, in October 2015, Blue North Forest Products approached Idaho Forest Group about buying out its assets and timber position, Blue North operating manager Bill Mulligan confirmed to the Free Press Monday morning, May 16. IFG is in the process of completing the buyout, subject to “various closing conditions” IFG now anticipates will be met later this month.

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Swap stopped

Risch finds 97 percent opposed Lochsa Land Exchange - Matter 'not settled' and 'not close'

In a letter to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell dated May 12, U.S. Senator Jim Risch formally ended his pursuit of a legislated end to one long, controversial saga: the Lochsa Land Exchange.

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Judge puts J-Bar salvage on hold

USFS reviewing decision and and 'will move forward accordingly'

Late Thursday, May 12, a federal court ordered a preliminary injunction in the civil case over the Forest Service’s Johnson Bar Fire Salvage project. The order stops salvage logging near the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic rivers, which was set to begin as early as Monday, May 16.

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Pirates end Genesee’s reign

Spencer Schumacher had Genesee off-balance from the very start last Saturday, May 14, yielding only a bunt single through the first three innings even as the PHS lineup pounded out a 5-0 lead on the way to an 8-2 win over the defending 1A champions.

Forest Service salvage logging blocked

Late yesterday, a federal court ordered a preliminary injunction in the civil case over the Forest Service's Johnson Bar Fire Salvage project. The order stops salvage logging near the Selway and Middle Fork Clearwater Wild and Scenic rivers.

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Absent "critical mass of consensus," Risch will not advance Lochsa Land Exchange

In a letter to Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell dated May 12, U.S. Senator Jim Risch formally ended his pursuit of a legislated end to one long, controversial saga: the Lochsa Land Exchange.

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Grangeville's season ends on walk-off home run

Baseball

Orofino's Hayden Wilson brought the Maniacs all the way back from down 7-2 to win 8-7 during the second game of the district tournament last night, May 10, at OHS.

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Blue North ‘couldn’t sustain’ losses

IFG ‘intent’ to dismantle mill unconfirmed

With very little advance notice, more than five-dozen mill workers got the word from Blue North Forest Products ownership May 3: that the mill is closing, that market forces have swallowed up the business, and that unlike the other times the plant has shut down, this time, “this is the end.” Last week, the Free Press reported buyer Idaho Forest Group anticipates the sale will be complete by mid-month.

County support sought on grant for Kids Klub

Commission gives ‘basic nod yes;’ nonprofit yet to set return date

“In no way did we say no to them,” Brandt explained last Friday, May 6. “We did not say yes either, and there is more we need to consider before we can say yes.”

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Orofino hosting district tournaments this week

Baseball

Prairie, Kamiah stun Genesee; Orofino spoils Bulldogs’ CIL title hopes; Panthers crack Lawrence’s gem.

Grangeville takes CIL crown chase to the wire

Baseball

Earlier in the week, Grangeville whomped Potlatch, but the game of the week came last Saturday, April 30, at the literal last moment of a key game on the Lumberjacks’ field.

County objects to SF river mining regs

Decision on hold to review objections

Idaho County joined Mike Edmondson of Elk City in objecting to a Forest Service proposal that would streamline suction dredging regulations, and the county filed an objection of its own in mid-April.

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Brink blasts Bulldogs out of league title contention

Kolby Brink crushed Grangeville's Central Idaho League baseball title hopes into the bleachers in left center field, breaking both a 4-4 tie and a bit of the Bulldogs' fighting spirit in one fell swing.

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‘One more layer of federal bureaucracy is not what we need’

260 miles of Salmon River face new regulations under old law

Under an old law, Salmon River users – including mining and agricultural interests – will soon have to contend with a permitting process they haven’t faced before.

Moisture loosens boulders at slide

SH 14 closed overnight

About an inch and a quarter of rain last Friday made for one of the most active days the slide area has seen since 100,000 cubic yards came down in February. The South Fork Clearwater River – into which more than 260 square miles of countryside drains – nearly doubled its flow as all the runoff came down. In the area destabilized by February’s massive landslide, the sudden rush of moisture loosened boulders as large as 10 feet in diameter, which fell and blocked the narrow path through the slide area.

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