COTTONWOOD -- It is snowing and blowing again as I write this Monday morning. We had fog three months ago to the day. That is said to predict snow or rain. It was right on this time. Cottonwood Butte Ski Area was open last weekend. To say the snow conditions today were incredible would be an…

RIGGINS -- With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I thought a couple of love quotes would be appropriate: “ I love you for a lifetime not only for a day. I love you for who you are, not what you do or say.” by Belinda Galea “I will always be there for you; you will never be alone. I will be that can…

ELK CITY -- Quote of the week: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.--That to secure these rights, Governments are inst…

RIGGINS -- Quote for this week: “February: May this month bring you satisfaction, peace, and joy. May all the desires of your heart be granted. May this be the beginning of new things in your life. Stay strong, be positive, and fulfill your dreams. Happy February!”

    LOWELL / SYRINGA -- There's a six-inch cut of venison (deer neck) in my slow cooker, set on low. There's firewood stacked waist high on my front porch, my favorite, lodgepole rounds. It's snowing this morning and the wind is blowing across the frozen tundra, and I am warm and cozy.

    COTTONWOOD -- We have been enjoying a rather mild winter, but the forecast for the next couple days might not be so good. We woke up to seven inches of snow this morning. I don’t think the groundhog saw his shadow on Feb. 2, so we will have six more weeks of winter.

      WHITE BIRD – I can't figure out if spring is on its way or not? The groundhog predicted an early spring, but when you count the weeks, it's still six weeks to the first of spring. No changing that or Mother Nature, I guess.

      COTTONWOOD -- Mega kudos to Dennis from Seattle who called because he saw my article and wanted to buy chili and cinnamon rolls from the Haiti team to be gifted to someone around this area. Also, to Cliff from Chicago, who bought pizza from Summit Academy to be gifted to someone local. What …

      WHITE BIRD -- The end of January has come and will soon be in to February. We are getting a hint of spring although it will be a couple of more months for that. Enjoy the sun while we can as I'm sure there will be more snow on the way.

      Things are changing at the chamber, so join us for the election of new officers tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 16, at 6 p.m. This will be at Red’s Café. Great new ideas are popping up and some of the old are going away. Anyone who would like to become a chamber member, plan to attend and see what we are all about. This is short notice, but Char is needing your information for the newsletter by Jan. 23, and they will be mailed out on the 30th. This newsletter will cover all the happenings for the rest of January and into February. If you have anything that you may want listed in it, give her a call at 208-839-2261 or e-mail at pathurt9@gmail.com.

      My neighbor and friend, Scott Swearingen, identified the photo in last week’s article: It’s a stand-up weed puller. No instructions required. This morning my thermometer read 9 degrees! Sunshine during the day brings cold, cold nights this time of year.

        Quote for the week: “The secret to living well and longer is: eat half, walk double, laugh triple, and love without measure.” Tibetan Proverb. The Salmon River Junior High 7th graders’ diligence and hard work paid off as they walked away with 5th in the state competition of Future City…and they were awarded a special plaque. Salmon River teacher Mrs. Sarah Walters and local retiree Bill Sampson helped the 7th graders as they planned and put together their Future City and worked on their unique presentation. Congratulations and keep “growing” cities. The 7th graders placed fifth overall and received the Multi-Modal Transportation Network Award from The Institute of Transportation engineers.

          St. Anthony’s Society Crab Feed will be Saturday, Jan. 19, to be held at the Greencreek Hall. Tickets are $30/per person. Social hour begins 5:30 p.m., with dinner of tri-tip and crab starting at 6:30 p.m., and dance at 9 p.m. Dance only tickets are $8. Tickets available from B&A Auto and at the Cottonwood Credit Union, or evenings at 208-962-7781.

            The Clearwater Grange is looking for vendors for their bazaar and yard sale on Feb. 3. Do you have unsold inventory from the Christmas craft fairs or have you been making new items since then? Do you need an excuse to clean out some closets? The Clearwater Grange would love to fill the hall with vendors and welcomes new people to participate. The event is from 9 a.m-3 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 3, and coincides with the Groundhog Day breakfast at the Oddfellows Hall, which brings 400-plus people to town. Tables cost only $10 to rent. Call Carole Bonono at 208-926-7465 to reserve one. This is a fund-raiser for the historic, 100-year-old Grange Hall.

              I took a ride up to the mill site on Mother Lode Road to get some pictures (see photo). The ball mill is sitting to the left of the building, ready and waiting to be installed. Lots of chemtrail? activity in the sky over Elk City on Jan. 12. Looks like they were playing Tic-Tac-Toe with each other (see photo). Wonder who won?

              The new year started and hope it has been good for everyone so far. Welcome 2019, as this brings on new events for the year. Stay tuned for information on all the happenings around our little town. Upcoming dates: WBARD will be have their meeting on Monday, Jan. 14, at 7 p.m. Remember to come check out the breakfast on Sunday, the 27th, at 8 a.m. We are serving elk steaks and eggs. Come have breakfast with us and enjoy some great conversation, too. Donations are always welcomed for this event. SRAG will be meeting on the 10th at 10 a.m., and then the chamber is meeting at 10:30 a.m., at the Baptist church. Plan to attend as they will be needing members to step up and help with some of the upcoming events that have been scheduled. They are also looking for new officers to continue with this organization. Check out the next phase of the new fire station, they have walls going up and the inside of city hall is looking good, too.

              A fire just off the Selway Road up Swiftwater Road burned Tom Kennedy’s house clear to the ground, nothing left but ashes, so say the neighbors. Two men, and perhaps more, have been arrested by the Idaho County Sheriff Department for a series of burglaries at the same time, in the same area. Sources say the men had been upriver from New Year’s Eve, Monday, until Wednesday of that week. The helicopter loggers came forward to add they had some vandalism at their job site, and a few local cabins were also broken into and burglarized. One close neighbor here in Lowell ran into several men and a woman at the dumpsters and said they were pretty rough.

                Quote for the week: “Always notice the people who are happy for your happiness, and sad for your sadness. They’re the ones who deserve a special place in your heart.” Bingo is tonight, Wednesday, Jan. 9, at 6:30 p.m., at the Riggins Community Center. The progressive pot is now $146 and growing. Funds go to help with our Senior Transit Bus. Salmon River High School will hold its football and volleyball awards night tomorrow, Thursday, Jan. 10. Check with the SRHS office for time and place.

                  Cottonwood Butte Ski Area was open last weekend. With huge snowflakes falling Sunday night there is a good chance they will be open next weekend. Check their website to find out for sure. Here is your chance to get away and forget about the dreary winter days. Summit Academy is selling tickets for a $1,000 credit to the Shore Lodge on Payette Lake in McCall. For only $20 a ticket, you may win and use the credit at any of their in-house services at Shore Lodge. You need not be present to win. The blood drive is coming up on Jan. 29. Take the opportunity to help save lives by donating a pint of blood for someone who is needing it. Call St. Mary’s Hospital to make an appointment, 208-962-3251 and ask for Brenda or Donna.

                    I try to keep this column pretty positive, but right now there is not much good news. With a big chunk of the federal government shut down, most of the Nez Perce-Clearwater NF employees who work in the Kamiah and Kooskia offices (as well as the rest of the offices in the country) have been sent home without pay for an indeterminate amount of time. The main thing that the Constitution requires of Congress is that they fund the government.

                      I’m back. Guess you wondered where I was this last two weeks? Things were quiet with no planned activities and no news that I could report at the end of the year. With the increased traffic on Crooked River Road due to the mining activity, I would like to caution everyone to be extra cautious when driving that road.

                      Grangeville Elementary Middle School held its Christmas concert, under the director of music teacher Carla Astle, Tuesday, Dec. 18. Students in kindergarten through fifth grade performed in “Rockin’ Around the Holidays,” which included music through the 1930s, 1940s and 1950s.

                      ’m hoping everyone had a very nice Christmas. We did get our white Christmas and now I think winter has set in for the next few months. Temperatures are going to dip down, which can cause some hazard effects. Keep warm, but also if you have wood heat, remember to clean your chimneys and burn dry wood. The roads will be slick at times, so take that extra five minutes to get to wherever you plan to travel. Dates to remember are the food bank pickup on the 3rd at noon. City Council meets on the 9th at 6 p.m. SRAG will meet on the 10th at 10 a.m., followed by the chamber at 10:30 a.m. Pinochle winner last week was Smiley. Cribbage winners last week were Bones winning 1st and Smiley taking 2nd.

                      Happy New Year from Lowell and Syringa! We have snow, and ice, and a bright year ahead. Everything up here is closed up tighter than a drum. As always, we have gone into hibernation. The cougar hunters are out and about, the logging crew is still active on Coolwater, ITD trucks are clearing Highway 12 each morning, and the eggnog is gone. Lots of events last year including Three Rivers Resort and Rafting under new ownership. It will open in a couple of months for a great 2019 season.

                        Happy Happy New Year 2019! You have rung in the New Year and are on your way to a wonderful 2019. Quote for the week: “I hope there are days when your coffee tastes like magic, your playlist makes you dance, strangers make you smile, and the night sky touches your soul. I hope there are days when you fall in love and being alive.” by B. Hampton Congratulations to our Salmon River basketball boys, Randy McClure, Ethan Shepherd, Reece Jones, Canyon Harper, Sane Nicolay, Jimmy Tucker, Garret Shepherd, and Jonathan Swift, and coaches, Levi Tucker, Brandon Ratcliff, and Mike Shepherd and scorekeeper, Joni Shepherd, for taking the Championship of the Christmas Tournament at College of Idaho with just eight boys on the team. They had to win three games for this honor. Randy McClure was named Player of the Game; all tournament honors went to Ethan Shepherd and Randy McClure.

                          Happy New Year! Did you make your resolutions yet? With the New Year, Mass times change again for 2019 between St. Mary’s and St. Anthony. Beginning Sunday, Jan 6, 8 a.m. Mass will be at St. Anthony in Greencreek; 10 a.m. Mass will be at St. Mary’s in Cottonwood.

                            As I end my 2nd full year of writing this column, I reflect on the fun and interesting people and events in the Clearwater Valley. With this, my first column of the New Year will recapture some highlights of the year’s mix of events, both events with long traditions and new events. Tradition is good, as long as something works, but great to try new things once in a while, or a new twist on the past events. The Kamiah Characters reprised in early January with a live theater production of “Let’s Hang Him and Read the Will,” a murder mystery with over-the-top characters, played by various high school and middle school students. Later in January, the biggest event of Kamiah’s winter social scene, the Crab Feed had another fun three-night run of all-you-can-eat crab, rock and roll by the King pins, local entertainment and community fund-raising.

                              Kamiah Characters presented a Star Trek spoof Dec. 17 and 19 at Kamiah High School. The play was under the direction of teachers Jody Dow and Taylie Hopkins.

                              Early deadline for the paper, so this will probably just a reminder of upcoming events. Hoot’s Cafe will be hosting the annual New Year’s Party on the 31st. Dinner will be served from 5-8 p.m., with your choice of New York steak, prime rib, or baby back ribs, all with salad bar included. There will be a charge for this. Then join them for music provided by Joaquin, Verna and Dave starting at 8 p.m. Drinks will be available at the back bar. Remember to call for your reservations at 208-839-2265.

                                Quote of the week: “Spend some quality time with your loved ones this Christmas vacation and in the rush of the Christmas and post festivities and events. Quiet times or game times or story telling times top the list for quality time.”

                                  The Annual Harpster Community Christmas Program drew a crowd Sunday, Dec. 16. (Top) Phil plays and sings; (middle, L-R) Max Adams talks to Santa and Gabe Daugherty enjoys the show; while (above) Dixie Lynn shares a look with Jim Fuller.

                                  Saturday night was the place to be, as the town came alive with lights, Santa Claus and our sky lit up with the great fireworks rounding out the evening. A huge “thanks” to all the residents, volunteers and the businesses that came out to help set up, tear down and whatever else was needed. Winners of the lighted Christmas contest was 1st: Carl & Linda Norton, and 2nd was won by John & Cheryl Zehner. Best Business went to the Silver Dollar.

                                    Quote of the week by the Chipmunks: “Christmas, Christmas time is here. Time for joy and time for cheer. We’ve been good, but it can’t last. Merry Christmas hurry fast….we can hardly stand the wait. Please, Christmas, don’t be late.” We only have six more days ‘til Christmas…I can hardly wait as our kiddos and grandkiddos will be here with us beginning this weekend. Remember our rural fire department’s loving message for all of us: “Merry Christmas! Water your Christmas tree so we don’t have to.”

                                      The Greencreek St. Anthony Society Christmas party will be Dec. 22 at 5 p.m. All members and invited guests are welcome. On Sunday, Dec. 23, Santa will come to the Greencreek Hall after the 10 a.m. Mass. All children are welcome. There will be treats and a chance for a picture with Santa.

                                        Harpsterites gathered for the old-fashioned Christmas program on Sunday afternoon at the Harpster community center (AKA the old Harpster schoolhouse). I got in on the popcorn ball making on Saturday this year. I had fun with Nancy Charley, head popcorn popper, Jan Adams, keeper of the recipe/syrup maker and Patsy Hunter, lead popcorn ball roller. Colleen and I were trainee rollers and gift bag stuffers while Nancy’s and Jan’s husbands set up chairs and organized the room.

                                          Here’s praying for you and wishing you a Merry Christmas. Boy, the year goes by fast! For those of you who enjoy seeing the wild elk herd sharing dinner with the horses, see photo. There appears to be somewhere between 35 and 40 in this photo.

                                            Quote of the week: “Children don’t need more things. The best toy a child can have is a parent who gets down on the floor and plays with them.” The planned protest about closing steelhead fishing turned into a celebration. “We would like to take a moment to thank local business owner, Roy Akins, for his efforts in our Salmon River Community, for his perseverance and dedication in this cause … organizing and leading meetings, devising a plan and launching the Alliance. Thank you, sir, and thank you to the many others who were front and center in this process.#community #rigginsidaho,” by Salmon River Chamber of Commerce. See more info on this protest/celebration in the Free Press.

                                            “Baby, it’s cold outside” and I’m not talking about the song! The temperatures have dropped, so stay warm and remember the fur babies, too. One last reminder that Santa is coming to town! Join in for our lighted at-night Christmas Parade on Dec. 15 in downtown White Bird. Parade starts at the entrance to White Bird at 6 p.m., lineup is at 5:30 p.m. Then join us for hot drinks, food, bonfire, and fireworks to follow at the Memorial Park in town. Contact City Hall at 208-839-2294 or 208-839-2457 to enter or for information. Spread the word as everyone is welcomed! Set up that morning and anyone who can lend a hand is needed, starting at 11 a.m.

                                              The morning of Dec. 7, the sunrise was so beautiful I had to get up and take a picture. It was magnificent! And with the cold weather we have been having, the snow sparkles like there are thousands of diamonds on the ground. What a wonderful place to live. Stop and enjoy the little things around you. The Christmas Mass schedule is as follows for the Tri-parish churches. Dec. 24, 5 p.m., at St. Mary’s; Dec. 24, 7 p.m. at Assumption; Dec. 24, 7 p.m., at St. Anthony’s; Dec. 25, Midnight Mass at St. Mary’s; Dec. 25, 10 a.m., at St Mary’s. Everyone is invited to any of these Masses.

                                                I met a great guy named Mr. Sandy Staab at the Kamiah Middle School Library last month. He uses the moniker “The Chess Guy,” and travels to area schools at lunchtime to teach students the game. Fun to watch the excitement of kids as young as fourth grade intent and focused on playing this ancient board game.

                                                  For those of you who don’t live in Elk City but have ties here/love it here/care about what happens here, there was a house fire last Friday. Sheri and Charlie Yarborough’s house burned down. Sheri’s mom, Nancy Smart, and Charlie and Sherie’s son and daughter-in-law, Devin and Rochelle Stranathan, were also living there. Everyone is safe but in shock. The volunteer fire department responded and although they weren’t able to save the house, they saved the outbuildings and prevented it from spreading. Several members kept a watch late into the night. The Elk City Ambulance also responded. I am sure there will be fund-raisers for the families and I will keep you informed.

                                                  News and information from our community partners

                                                  Upcoming Events