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Andrew Ottoson

Stories by Andrew



Oatman leads Kubs charge

Kamiah’s Kaleb Oatman had thrown the discus farther and farther each week since April 28, but even a new personal record might not have outdistanced the bombs barrel-chested Valley sophomore Collin Tvrdy hurled last Saturday morning, May 19.

May 23, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Grangeville takes second place in Nampa

Grangeville’s Hunter Schoo was the goat for much of last Friday afternoon, May 18 at Nampa Christian High School. But at the end of the Bulldogs’ semifinal comeback win over Malad, Schoo was Grangeville’s hero.

May 23, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Congratulations 2A Baseball Runners-Up

The Grangeville baseball team placed second at the 2A state tournament last week. Pictured are from left: (back row) assistant coach Rick Stephens, Tyler Stephens, Ethan Bonn, Chase Adkison, Easton McEwen, Hunter Schoo, Trent Hunter, Kolten Key, Jack Kennedy, Braxton Miskin, Blake Schoo and Reece Wimer; (front row) Dawson McEwen, Quinn Hall, assistant coach Bob Barreiros, Gannon Garmin, head coach Lee Nadiger, Tescher Harris, Ethan Croston, Tori Ebert and Michael Woods.

May 23, 2018 6 a.m. read more..
 

Budget line blown as men MacGregor once defended face prosecution in county

As part of a review of county spending midway through the current budget cycle, the Idaho County Commission recently had the prosecuting attorney account for a spending line that had over-topped the full-year amount the commission budgeted last summer. Commissioner Mark Frei asked prosecuting attorney Kirk MacGregor to account for the amount the county has spent on for “conflict” prosecution since the current budget year began last October.

May 16, 2018 6 a.m. read more..
 

State grant, federal SRS funds bankroll county’s fire mitigation

The Secure Rural Schools (SRS, a.k.a. federal forest funds) reauthorized by Congress earlier this year flows not only to highway districts and local schools. Some of it funds small forestry projects through Idaho County’s fire mitigation department. But the county’s fire mitigation arm also has put some state money to work: About $111,000 so far this year, fire mitigation manager Randy Doman told county commissioners Tuesday, May 1.

May 16, 2018 6 a.m. read more..
 

Vacancies cloud role to allocate SRS funds

When the county receives federal Secure Rural Schools (SRS) forest funds anticipated next month, it will deal with two longstanding types of money not addressed in previous Free Press reporting on the sudden reauthorization earlier this year. These funds are known as Title II and Title III funds, and are administered differently than the bulk of the money, which flows to local schools and highway districts.

May 9, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


$152K bid at sheriff’s auction; Commissioners question SAR budget overage at meeting

The Idaho County Sheriff’s Office auction held April 28 drew bids totaling more than $152,000, according to public records – and not every big-ticket item was sold. “There were things we couldn’t sell because of the time requirements of the federal government,” Giddings told the Free Press May 7. Because state law requires money from the sale of county property to flow through the county’s general fund and be allocated by the county commissioners through the normal budget process, elected officials are moving to put their “horsetrading” over what to do with the auction proceeds in writing.

May 9, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


County seeks bids for Woodland gravel stockpile

Idaho County’s informal solicitation to supply rock for the county’s Woodland-area stockpile resulted in one bid for $138,000 last month, so the county commissioners decided Tuesday, May 1, to advertise it formally in the newspaper. The “call for bid” legal notice is in the Idaho County Free Press this week.

May 9, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Grangeville wins district

Grangeville’s second consecutive district title came on the heels of coach Lee Nadiger’s first regular season title, as the Bulldogs ran over Orofino 12-2 and blunted a last-inning rally by St. Maries to win the district title game 3-2.

May 8, 2018 3:54 p.m. read more..
 

Forest Service monitoring finds South Fork miners sticking to the rules

In recent years, gold miners have gone to the state capitol in large numbers to demand a sweeping rollback of state and federal Clean Water Act regulations they say impinge on small scale suction dredging operations, but a subtle change in the state’s rules for this upcoming dredging season may put to the test how many miners are willing to work the South Fork Clearwater River this summer.

May 2, 2018 6 a.m. read more..
    

Giddings, Ada County poised to grapple over homeowners exemption

A local elected official insists she has followed the law, but an April 20 report in the Lewiston Tribune exposed a dispute between Rep. Priscilla Giddings and the Ada County Assessor’s office, in which that county may yet seek tax payment related to Giddings’ move from Garden City to White Bird ahead of her run for the District 7 House seat she won in 2016.

April 25, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Idaho County Commission backs Alt3 in USFS Hungry Ridge restoration

The Idaho County Commission’s latest letter to Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests supervisor Cheryl Probert put the board’s weight behind Alternative 3, which Hungry Ridge Restoration Project documents indicate would “maximize potential 25 percent return to Idaho County.” The Forest Service is working toward making a final decision on the project by January 2019.

April 25, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


D-3 wins Kooskia-area fire mitigation bid

The Idaho County Commissioners on April 17 approved a bid by D-3 Native Woodworks of Grangeville for fire mitigation work at a cost of $834 per acre, totaling $5,504. Work on the Tahoe Fire Mitigation Project, which consists of fuels reduction on 6.6 acres east of Kooskia, is to be complete by July 30.

April 25, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Bulldogs pound Orofino, Prairie

The fields up top were swamped last week, so Prairie and Grangeville made arrangements to meet in the river valley, where the Kubs showed off a field in spectacular condition and the Bulldogs overpowered PHS 10-0 last Friday afternoon, April 13.

April 18, 2018 8:14 a.m. read more..


Grant money sought for public defender; request lists $170K for Lankford case

Idaho County’s public defender last November reported a caseload of 75 felonies and 228 misdemeanors during the fiscal year that ended last Oct. 1. The caseload also included six juvenile felonies and seven juvenile misdemeanors and 10 other types of cases. In all, the county paid out about $127,000 in the first year of its two-year contract with McFarland Law Offices.

April 18, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Manning Arch Dedication

Riggins City Councilman Gary Miller and Mayor Glenna McClure presented Brady Clay (center) with “the golden bolt” – an award recognizing his work relocating one of the old Manning Bridge towers to Riggins City Park.

April 18, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Fiber upgrade may prove decisive for private industry

As the Idaho County Commission grappled with the question whether or not to commit public money to studying a plan for upgrading Internet infrastructure for the county’s own emergency services, the board kept returning to a more basic question last Tuesday, April 3. Where is the fiber that is already in the county?

April 11, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Board weighs permanent commitment of adding 25 cents a month to phones to fund 911 infrastructure grants

The county commission’s April 3 discussion involved the board weighing whether committing now to a 25 cents per line per month grant fee would be a permanent commitment. “If we do the 25-cent fee, can we get back out of it?” commissioner Mark Frei asked Zumalt. Idaho County emergency manager Jerry Zumalt said the county commissioners would still be the county’s 911 board, and thus such a decision would still be within their power.

April 11, 2018 6 a.m. read more..
  

Steel Sunday

Fishermen who have been returning to the same location every spring for a decade or more told the Free Press the steelhead run this year has been the worst they can remember.

April 4, 2018 8 a.m. read more..


County undecided on upgrade for regional Internet

Idaho County Commissioners heard a plan out of the Idaho Office of Emergency Management last week that calls for a massive interconnection of the fiber optic network in North Central Idaho – a pricey infrastructure project that would “meet the needs of emergency communications along with the advent of Next Generation 911” service.

April 4, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


County comment on Lolo Insect & Disease Project highlights 41 miles of road decommissioning

“Idaho County commends the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests for continuing efforts to address forest health issues,” the Idaho County Commission wrote in a comment letter approved last week regarding the Lolo Insect & Disease project. The project proposal, which was subject of a March 7 public meeting in Kooskia, calls for timber harvest, soil rehabilitation, road improvements and other work in a 78,000-acre project area located approximately 16 miles northeast of Kamiah.

April 4, 2018 6 a.m. read more..
   

Grangeville thunders CV

In a game that had been planned as Grangeville's home opener, the Bulldogs batted last -- and by way of a string of walks in the fourth inning, mercy-ruled Clearwater Valley 14-1 Tuesday afternoon, April 3.

April 3, 2018 8:48 p.m. read more..
  

Trillion-dollar bill renews SRS funds for local budgets

With President Trump having signed off on renewing Secure Rural Schools funding Friday, March 23, local school and highway tax districts stand to receive the first of two big payments – totaling about $5.8 million – within the next 45 days. The renewal is part of a massive federal spending bill – a $1.3 trillion roll-up of numerous topics – which passed Congress Thursday despite opposition by conservatives including Sen. Jim Risch, Sen. Mike Crapo and Rep. Raul Labrador.

March 28, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Mountain lion sighted in Elk City

Jeff Fromel, who has lived 12 years on upper Main Street in Elk City, told the Free Press Monday, March 26, he had never seen a mountain lion there before. Until the night before, when one was out behind his place.

March 26, 2018 4:57 p.m. read more..


Trump signs off on trillion-dollar federal funding bill, with SRS among the monies renewed

With President Trump having signed off on renewing Secure Rural Schools funding Friday, March 23, local school and highway tax districts stand to receive the first of two big payments – totaling about $5.5 million – within the next 45 days. The renewal is part of a massive federal spending bill – a $1.3 trillion roll-up of numerous topics – which passed Congress Thursday despite objections by conservatives including Sen. Jim Risch and Rep. Raul Labrador.

March 23, 2018 1:43 p.m. read more..


Prairie tops Clearwater Valley in first of season

The Prairie boys led 1-0 after a high-contact play went their way in the first inning March 13 at Clearwater Valley, and on the strength of sharp pitching, the first run of their season proved enough to land the Pirates their first win.

March 21, 2018 9:13 a.m. read more..


County commits to road repairs dating back to last year; still chasing fed funds

Two more major road repair projects out of those that date back to Spring 2017 went to bid earlier this month, with work at Ft. Misery won by Cook & Sons and work at Cottonwood Creek won by Crea Construction during the Idaho County Commission’s March 13 meeting. Both projects are eligible for FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) funding but the feds had not yet obligated the money for these projects, Idaho County disaster management manager Jerry Zumalt told the Free Press last week.

March 21, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


With taxing districts under pressure, county commissioner works the cut

The “forest funds” came up far short last year In 10 or 20 years — if the Forest Service succeeds in getting out the timber cuts now being proposed all across the county — those of us too young or too new to the forest wars to remember the boom times may be able to look back on 2017 as the worst of our hard times.

March 14, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Hungry Ridge Restoration Project advances to alternatives

A public meeting has been scheduled April 11 regarding a draft environmental impact statement proposing timber harvest 17 miles southeast of Grangeville. According to the document released March 9, known as the Hungry Ridge Restoration Project DEIS, the work would “restore a more diverse and resilient forest structure, with a range of age clases, size classes, habitat complexity and disturbance patterns that more closely emulate the results of natural disturbance.”

March 14, 2018 6 a.m. read more..


Probert’s effort on public’s part in forest plan revision

For Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests supervisor Cheryl Probert, the ongoing Forest Plan Revision has involved more than 70 meetings, including meetings with a Clearwater Basin Collaborative subcommittee, visits to county commissions and stakeholder meetings – including eight with Friends of the Clearwater, she said Monday, March 12.

March 14, 2018 6 a.m. read more..
   

As NFL draft hype builds, Riggins man keeps focus

During the months since Leighton Vander Esch declared for the NFL entry draft, his chance to ascend from Salmon River High School and Boise State University to football’s top professional level has become a conversation starter in Idaho County — and not just among local football fans.

February 28, 2018 7:44 a.m. read more..


County officials say they ‘have not seen’ coordination in Forest Plan Revision

Idaho County Commission chairman Skip Brandt has been the board’s ambassador to the Forest Service, having attended more than 20 meetings during the past year on topics related to the ongoing Forest Plan Revision – a process that also involves evaluation of potential for new wilderness and Wild & Scenic River designations. Lately – participating in this month’s open comment period before Forest Plan Revision alternatives are announced – the board has sent Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests supervisor Cheryl Probert several letters

February 28, 2018 6 a.m. read more..

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