Monthly Archive: November 2015

Program Gives Kids Chance to Become Lifelong Hunters

LEWISTON | There's one statistic that drives Rick Brazell in his post-retirement endeavors.

Nationally, of the kids who take state hunter education courses 67 percent go on to actually hunt. On the surface that's not a bad number. Two-thirds of hunter ed graduates go on to become hunters in some form or fashion. But Brazell fixates on the one-third who don't.

"That is a kind of an interesting stat," he said. "That means there is a big chunk of them who never go."

The reasons are likely many. But Brazell figures many never go hunting is because they simply don't have the opportunity. Perhaps their families don't hunt. Maybe their parents are too busy with jobs and other obligations. Some may come from single-parent homes. Whatever the reason, he wants to do something about it.

Brazell of Kamiah worked for the U.S. Forest Service for more than 30 years and has been involved in youth programs like the Boy Scouts for most of his adult life. In 2014, he retired as the supervisor of the Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forest, created the First Hunt Foundation and is chipping away at the one-third of hunter education graduates who don't transition into hunters.

Jordan Rhbach of Kamiah was one of the first. His family doesn't hunt but, as Brazell describes it, the 13-year-old has a burning desire to pursue game: "He wants to hunt so bad. He is so passionate about it."

Rhbach heard about First Hunt and jumped at it.

"I figured I would try it. It really paid off, it was a good learning experience," he said. "First Hunt is amazing."

Last spring Brazell took Rhbach turkey hunting. He has since been duck and deer hunting with the group.

"I got my first turkey and my first two ducks and a buck and I'm hoping to do more hunts," he said.

At home, he and his family are enjoying the fruits of the successful outings.

"It just seems really cool how you can get an animal, eat an animal and the excitement of doing it and being out in nature."

Jessica Prosckine of Kamiah is another early student. She shot a bear last spring while being mentored by Rocky Jacobsen of Kamiah.

"We got to sit in a tree stand overlooking our bear bait and it was really fun," she said. "We sat there for three days and we got one on the third day."

Last week the 16-year-old hunter got her first deer.

"I find it really awesome that they have decided to do this for kids if you're from a family that doesn't hunt and you don't really know anybody that hunts," she said. "It's awesome to be able to get the chance."

First Hunt is still fledgling as organizations go, but Brazell has big goals. He envisions a chapter in at least every state and would like to see the foundation mentor 1,000 young people a year. In its first year, he said the group could possibly reach as many as 100 youngsters. He has mentors in about six states, is networking with other youth organizations and actively recruiting both mentors and corporate sponsors.

Insurance is one of the big costs, another is paying for background checks for prospective mentors. Brazell said they are screened for obvious things like criminal history and to make sure they are ethical hunters. It's an all-volunteer organization and Brazell is careful to say the mentors are not guides.

"We don't allow the use of the word guide in our vocabulary," he said. "Our mentors are not allowed to take any income, nothing from the mentees or their parents or grandparents or their guardians."

Nor does the group condone any odd behavior like making the kids take a bite from the heart of the first animal they take.

"If they do that, they are not going to be working for us," Brazell said.

But he said there is something in it for the mentors. Years ago, Brazell took a handful of kids for their first hunts on property he owns near the Colville National Forest where he was also a supervisor. Years later he would run into the kids around town and they would always thank him.

"They would say, 'I will never forget that.' I thought what if I could duplicate that feeling of those kids by thousands and give them something to remember and provide for their families."


Seasonal Closures in Wood River Valley Protect Deer, Elk

HAILEY | The Bureau of Land Management's Shoshone Field Office implemented seasonal motorized-use closures in the Wood River Valley from Dec. 1 to April 30, 2016, to protect deer and elk.

“Winter weather by its very nature causes elk and deer to work harder for their food and shelter. These seasonal closures help to protect animals that find refuge within these areas,” Outdoor Recreation Planner John Kurtz said in a release.

It is helpful if non-motorized users honor motorized closures as well, to minimize human-related stress on wildlife, he said.

“Recreationists disturb wildlife and cause them to waste vital energy that is needed for survival,” Kurtz said. “When deer or elk are encountered during an outing, it is important to respect the animals and view them from a distance so that noise or close proximity will not cause additional stress."

The seasonal closures are for BLM-managed land only.

These areas in the Wood River Valley are closed annually to motorized use, including snowmobiles, Dec. 1-April 30:

• Martin/Big Dry Canyon.

• Croy Creek to south of Townsend Gulch.

• Big and Little Beaver drainages.

• South slopes above East Fork.

• Elk Mountain area.

• Portions of Picabo Hills.

BLM patrols these areas to monitor and enforce closures. Free maps detailing the closures are available through the Shoshone Field Office, 400 W. F St. in Shoshone, or at

Information: Kurtz, 208-732-7296.

Idaho Power Now Counting Fish Population by Drone Only

RIGGINS (AP)• It used to be biologist Phil Groves’ job to assess fish population from a helicopter as it flew down Idaho’s Snake River, but technology has changed that.

KTVB-TV reports that for the first time in 25 years, Groves is sitting at the controls of a drone instead of hanging out the side of a helicopter in a windy canyon.

Groves works for Idaho Power, which put dams on Snake River 60 years ago. Fish hatcheries have helped reduce the impact of those dams and the company has kept track of the spawning native Chinook Salmon and steelhead populations for more than two decades.

Groves says this is the first year the count will be by drone only. Idaho Power will use a program developed by the University of Idaho to analyze the drone video.

Senior Calendar

Twin Falls Senior Citizen Center

530 Shoshone St. W., Twin Falls. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $5, seniors 60 and older; $6, non-seniors; $3, children 12 and younger. Other items: cinnamon roll, $2; coffee 50 cents; soup to go, $3; lunch to go, $5.50. For lunch take-out, 11 a.m. to noon daily: 208-734-5084.

Today: Roasted chicken

Tuesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce

Wednesday: Barbecue pork ribs

Thursday: Chicken alfredo

Friday: Hamburgers

Today: Quilting, 9 a.m.

SHIBA Medicare appointments, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Fit and Fall Proof exercise, 10:30 a.m.

Bookmobile, 11:15 a.m.

Mega Monday, 11:45 a.m.

Bridge, 1 p.m.

TOPS meeting, 4:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Tai chi, 9 a.m.

SHIBA appointments, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Ticket Tuesday, 11:45 a.m.

Hand and foot canasta, 1 p.m.

Cribbage, 1 p.m.

Art classes, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Board meeting, 5:15 p.m.

Pinochle, 6:30 p.m.

Women’s Interfaith Bible study, 7 p.m.

Wednesday: Cinnamon roll sales

Quilting, 9 a.m.

SHIBA appointments, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Fit and Fall Proof, 10:30 a.m.

Bridge, 1 p.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Laughter Club, 5:30 p.m.

Thursday: Tai chi, 9 a.m.

SHIBA appointments, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Organ music with Pat Blessing, 11:30 a.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Art classes, 3:30 and 6:30 p.m.

Ladies AA, 6 p.m.

Friday: Quilting, 9 a.m.

SHIBA appointments, 1 to 3 p.m.

Fit and Fall Proof, 10:30 a.m.

Bingo, 11:45 a.m.

Art class, 1:30 p.m.

Dance with The Shadows Band, 7 to 10 p.m.; $5 per person

Saturday: Duplicate bridge, 1 p.m.

CMA Motorcycle Association Christmas Party 6 p.m.


West End Senior Citizens Inc.

1010 Main St., Buhl. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $4, seniors; $5, non-seniors. Sunday buffet: $5, seniors, 60 and older; $6, non-seniors; $4, children 12 and younger. Bus for lunch pickup: 208-543-4577 by 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Sunday.

Today: Chicken pepper soup

Tuesday: Hamburger patty

Wednesday: Cook’s choice

Thursday: Navajo tacos

Sunday: Chicken fried steak

Today: SilverSneakers exercise program, 10:30 a.m.

Tuesday: Quilting, 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Toe nails, Sherry Paine, starting at 9 a.m.

SilverSneakers, 10:30 a.m.

Bingo, early bird starts at 6:45 p.m., doors open at 5:30 p.m.

Sunday: Last Resort Band


Filer Senior Haven

222 Main St., Filer. Lunch at noon Tuesday through Thursday. Suggested donation: $5. 208-326-4608.

Tuesday: Taco pie

Wednesday: Party casserole

Thursday: Pork chops

Tuesday: Puzzles, 11:30 a.m.

Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Puzzles, 11:30 a.m.

Thursday: Puzzles, 11:30 a.m.

Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Cards, 1:30 p.m.

Friday: Pinochle, 7 p.m.


Ageless Senior Citizens Inc.

310 Main St. N., Kimberly. Salad bar at 11:30 a.m., lunch served at noon; take-out; home delivery. Seniors 60 and above, suggested donation is $5, under 60, $6.50 (not donations); children 10 and younger, $3. Pies available for sale Nov. 25; must order by Nov. 20. 208-423-4338.

Wednesday: Meatloaf

Thursday: Baked cod fish

Friday: Barbecue ribs

Sunday: Pork roast

Today: Exercise, 10 a.m.

AA, 7:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Branches Bible study, 1:30 p.m.

Snooker, 1 p.m.

Bingo, 7 p.m.; cash prizes

Wednesday: Tai chi, 9 a.m.

Exercise: 10 a.m.

Kiwanis meeting, noon

Thursday: Snooker, 1 p.m.

Crafters, 1 p.m.

Friday: Exercise, 10 a.m.

Music by Gem State Fiddlers, 11:30 a.m.

Bingo, 11:45 a.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Saturday: Southern Idaho Veterans AA, 9 a.m.

Sunday: Dinner fundraiser; $10 for adults, $6 for children under 10

Cinnamon roll sales Dec. 9, pre-order by Dec. 5; $1.50 each, with or without raisins


Gooding County Senior Citizen Center

308 Senior Ave., Gooding. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $3.50 for seniors. 208-934-5504.

Today: Potato bar

Tuesday: Stroganoff

Wednesday: Chicken noodle soup

Thursday: Roast pork

Today: Pool, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Fit and Fall Proof exercise, 11 a.m.

Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Pool, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Hand and foot, 5 p.m.

Wednesday: Pool, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Fit and Fall Proof, 11 a.m.

Shuffleboard, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Morning out, 9 a.m.

Pool, 9:30 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Friday: Duplicate bridge, 1 p.m.

Bingo, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Breakfast, 7:30 to 10 a.m.


Wendell Senior Meal Site

105 W. Ave. A. Lunch served at noon Mondays.


Hagerman Valley Senior and Community Center

140 E. Lake, Hagerman. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $5, seniors 60 and older; $7, non-seniors; $3 for children. All take-outs, $6. 208-837-6120.

Today: Spaghetti

Wednesday: Chicken fried steak

Friday: Salsa chicken with rice

Today: Blood draws, 8-10:30 a.m.

Bridge Club

Thrift Store, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Thrift Store, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Music by Gem State Fiddlers

Friday: Thrift Store, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.



Jerome Senior Center

520 N. Lincoln St., Jerome. 208-324-5642. Salad bar at 11:30 a.m.; lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $4, seniors (age 60 and older); $5, non-seniors.

Today: Hamburgers

Tuesday: Spaghetti and meatballs

Wednesday: Chicken and rice soup

Thursday: Ham

Friday: Hot turkey sandwich with gravy

Today: Muscular strength and range of movement class, 10:30 a.m. and 5:20 p.m.

Music by Ricki Lee, 11:30 a.m.

Bridge, 12:30 p.m.

Bunco, 12:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Muscular strength and range of movement class, 10:30 a.m.

Blood pressure checks, 11:30 a.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Foot clinic, 1 p.m.

Wednesday: Breakfast, 7:45 to 9:15 a.m.

Muscular strength and range of movement class, 10:30 a.m.

Country Boys Band, 11:30 a.m.

Women’s pool, 1 p.m.

Stitch in Time, 1 p.m.

Pinochle, 7 p.m.

Thursday: Yoga Stretch, 10:30 a.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Hand and foot, 1 p.m.

Muscular strength and range of movement class, 5:20 p.m.

Freewill Baptist potluck dinner, 6 p.m.

Women’s pool, 7 p.m.

Friday: Muscular strength and range of movement class, 10:30 a.m.

Medicare information, 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Music by The Fiddlers

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Bingo, 6 p.m., doors open at 5 p.m.


Silver and Gold Senior Center

210 E. Wilson, Eden. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $4.50, seniors (age 60 and older); $6, non-seniors; $3.50, children 3 to 10. 208-825-5662.

Monday: Deck the Halls, 11:30 a.m.

Tuesday: Coffee, 7 a.m.

Hamburger gravy over mashed potatoes

Wednesday: Bible study, 7 a.m.

Breakfast, French toast, 8 a.m.

Thursday: Coffee, 7 a.m.


Friday: Kathy Grant Memorial Dinner and Fundraiser Auction; lasagna dinner at 5:30 p.m., auction at 6:30 p.m.


Richfield Senior Center

130 S. Main, Richfield. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $4, seniors; $5.50, under 60.

Today: Beef stroganoff with noodles

Thursday: Open-faced beef sandwich


Golden Years Senior Citizens Inc.

218 N. Rail St. W., Shoshone. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $4, seniors 60 and older; $5.50, non-seniors. 208-886-2369.

Tuesday: Open-faced turkey sandwich

Wednesday: Hamburgers, potato soup

Friday: Baked potato bar with toppings

Today: Quilting, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Friday: Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Saturday: Christmas bazaar, 9:30 to 2 p.m.; lunch served at 11:30 a.m., $5


Camas County Senior Center

127 Willow Ave. W., Fairfield. Breakfast, 7:30 to 11 a.m., Monday through Friday. Lunch served noon to 2 p.m. Suggested donation: $4, seniors 60 and older; $5, non-seniors; $2.50, children 10 and younger. 208-764-2226.

Tuesday: Beef stroganoff

Wednesday: Chicken pot pie

Friday: Meatloaf

Tuesday: Exercise class, 9 a.m.

Quilting, 10 a.m.

Cards after lunch

Wednesday: Exercise class, 9 a.m.

Cards after lunch

Bingo, 1 p.m.

Thursday: Art class, 10 a.m.

Friday: Exercise class, 9 a.m.

Quilting, 10 a.m.

Book Club, 10:30 a.m.

Cards after lunch


Blaine County Senior Center

721 Third Ave. S., Hailey. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $5, seniors; $7, non-seniors. 208-788-3468.

Today: Beef burgundy

Tuesday: Corn dogs

Wednesday: Chicken Parmesan, lasagna

Thursday: Braised pork shoulder

Friday: Shrimp creole

Today: Fit and Fall Proof exercise, 11 a.m.

Connection Club, 11 a.m.

Trip to Hunger Coalition, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Foot clinic, 10 a.m.

Caregivers meeting, 11 a.m.

Connection Club, 11 a.m.

Bingo, 1 p.m.

Wednesday: Fit and Fall Proof, 11 a.m.

Kiwanis lunch, 11:30 a.m.

Thursday: Connection Club, 11 a.m.

Card games, 1 p.m.

Friday: Connection Club, 11 a.m.

Fit and Fall Proof, 11 a.m.


Minidoka County Senior Citizens Center

702 11th St., Rupert. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $5, seniors; $6, non-seniors; $3, children 10 and younger; $4.50, home delivery. 208-436-9107. Lunch served Monday through Friday.

Today: Spaghetti

Tuesday through Friday: Menu wasn’t available

Thursday: Pinochle, 6 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 7 p.m.


Golden Heritage Senior Center

2421 Overland Ave., Burley. Lunch at noon. Suggested donation: $5, seniors and children 12 and younger; $6, non-seniors.208-878-8646.

Today: Fish burger

Tuesday: Sloppy Joe

Wednesday: Pork roast

Thursday: Spaghetti

Friday: Fried chicken

Today: Chair yoga, 1 p.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 6:45 p.m.

AA meeting, 1 p.m.

Wednesday: Chair yoga, 1 p.m.

Pinochle, 1 p.m.

Thursday: Art class, 1 p.m.

AA meeting, 1 p.m.

Friday: Pinochle, 1 p.m.



Albion Senior Center

424 Market St., Albion. Open Wednesdays, 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.; lunch at noon. Suggested donation, $5 seniors, $5 non-seniors. Take-out available ($8.50), call by 11:30 a.m. 208-673-6210.

Wednesday: Lasagna

To Do For You

Recovery Support

Recovery For Life groups meet at 7 p.m. every Monday at the Twin Falls Reformed Church, 1631 Grandview Drive N.

Groups include Divorce Care, Grief Share, Hope 12-step program, Co-dependency for Men and Women, and Parenting Skills. A meal is available beginning at 6 p.m.

“Special Parents Special Kids,” a support group for parents of special-needs children, meets the first Monday of each month.

Free child care is available. Information: 208-733-6128.


Caesarean childbirth class, 6:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 1, in the Oak Rooms on the lower level of St. Luke’s, 801 Pole Line Road W.

Topics: Caesarean deliveries, pain management, non-conforming labors and hospital procedures.

Free; preregistration is required: 208-814-0407.

Victims Support

Support group for victims of domestic violence, 6:30-8:30 p.m. every Tuesday at the Mini-Cassia Shelter Haven of Hope, 323 First St. in Rupert.

Information: Rachel, 208-312-7021.

Infant Safety

Infant safety and cardiopulmonary resuscitation class, 6:30-9 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, in the Oak Room on the lower level of St. Luke’s Magic Valley Medical Center, 801 Pole Line Road W., Twin Falls.

New parents, grandparents and caregivers learn CPR and what to do if a baby chokes. The class isn’t a certification course.

Free; no registration required. 208-814-0407.

Alzheimer’s Support

Alzheimer’s Association, Greater Idaho Chapter’s Caregiver Support Group meeting, 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 2, at DeSano Place Village, 1015 E. Ave. K, Jerome.

The group meets on the first and fourth Wednesdays every month.

Information: Becci Bowler, 208-749-1621.

Grief Support

“Visions of Hope” meeting, 5 p.m. every Thursday at Hospice Visions, 1770 Park View Drive, Twin Falls.

This grief support group is open to everyone in the community. Information: 208-735-0121.

Mental Health Support

Mental Health Support Group, 5:30 p.m. every Thursday at Family Health Services/Behavioral Health building, 1102 Eastland Drive N., Twin Falls.

The free support group is open to Magic Valley residents. 208-734-1281.

Anxiety Support

Anxiety Support Group, 6 p.m. every Thursday at Magic Valley Fellowship Hall, 801 Second Ave. N., Twin Falls.

Support for those who experience anxiety, panic attacks or depression. Learn about the signs, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and coping skills.

Information: Cathy Shaddy, 208-410-2768.

Blood Drives

The American Red Cross will hold blood drives in December in Twin Falls.

Blood donation opportunities are available from noon to 5 p.m. Friday, Dec. 4, at La Quinta Inn, 539 Pole Line Road; and 1-7 p.m. Monday, Dec. 7; noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8; and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 9, at Church of the Ascension-Episcopal, 371 Eastland Drive N., Twin Falls.

All blood types are needed. Download the American Red Cross Blood Donor App, visit or call 1-800-733-2767 to make an appointment or for information.

Joint Replacement

Free class on total joint replacement, 6:30 p.m. Tuesday, Dec. 8, at BridgeView Estates, 1828 Bridgeview Blvd., Twin Falls. Meet in the lobby.

Topics: Preparing for joint-replacement surgery, amount of pain, recovery time, insurance coverage, care after surgery, discharge planning and long-term rehabilitation. Tours of the BridgeView rehabilitation facility are available.

Pre-registration is required, Amy at 208-280-0047 or Sarah at 208-280-0045.


Heartsaver CPR and AED class, 6-10 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10, in the Elm Room on the lower level of St. Luke’s, 801 Pole Line Road W., Twin Falls.

The course includes training under the guidelines of American Heart Association for cardiopulmonary resuscitation and automated external defibrillators.

Cost is $44; pre-registration is required, 208-814-0403.

CPR, First Aid

Heartsaver CPR and First Aid class, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 12, in Oak Rooms 5-6 on the lower level of St. Luke’s, 801 Pole Line Road W., Twin Falls.

The course combines cardiopulmonary resuscitation and first aid training under American Heart Association guidelines, and includes training for automated external defibrillators.

Cost is $50; preregistration is required: 208-814-0403.

Fire Damages Twin Falls Home, No One Injured

TWIN FALLS • Fire heavily damaged a Twin Falls home Saturday afternoon.

Firefighters were called out about 1:05 p.m. to 2436 Pole Line Road East for a fire that started in the home’s garage, said Battalion Chief Brian Cunningham.

The fire blackened the garage and started working its way up to the home’s attic.

About 3:45 p.m., firefighters were still putting out hot spots.

A woman was inside the house when the fire started. She escaped uninjured.

The two people who live in the home will be displaced, Cunningham said.

College of Idaho Celebrates 125th Anniversary

CALDWELL (AP)• They came by the hundreds.

When College of Idaho founding president William Judson Boone said, “Let them come, let them all come, and we will see what they can do,” he could only hope hundreds of students would attend his institution for higher education for 125 years.

And since 1891, when the institution was founded, they have.

Nick Kytle is a junior at College of Idaho studying engineering. Kytle initially was attracted to C of I for the football program, in its second year of being reinstated, but soon found he was attracted more to academics.

“The institution itself, with the PEAK program, evolves the mind of the student athlete,” Kytle said. “It keeps the mind running.”

In its 125 years, according to officials, one of the College of Idaho’s proudest achievements is launching the PEAK curriculum, which stands for a Professional, Ethical, Articulate and Knowledgeable education. Students major in at least one while minoring in three of the following areas: humanities and fine arts, social science and history, natural science and mathematics and professional studies and enhancements.

Also in that time frame of 125 years, the college has weathered world wars, economic crises and decreased demand for a liberal arts education.

When asked why the College of Idaho has survived, former president Marvin Henberg, who was president from 2009 to 2015, emphasized the quality of a liberal arts education and the generosity of donors, particularly the Albertsons family.

“There is a special feeling in the state as a whole ... I certainly felt that when I was president,” Henberg said. “I could go to northern Idaho, I could go to eastern Idaho, and I’d run into people who were proud of the College of Idaho and were proud of it because it is singular and unique. I think if there had been two or three liberal arts colleges in the state and the pride was diffused a bit, I think the college might not have survived.”


Lillian Potter and Minnie Reed arrived for their first day of classes Oct. 7, 1891, which would become the College of Idaho’s founding date. As described on the college’s 125th anniversary website, these two students timidly sat across from an array of instructors and at 2 p.m. began their studies with a reading from the fourth chapter of Proverbs. Later that year, 17 more students would attend the college, bringing the student body to 19. Now, more than 1,100 attend.

The College of Idaho is the oldest institution in Idaho, and is currently the only liberal arts college. Today, in an environment where demand for a liberal arts education has decreased while demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics graduates has increased, Henberg believes the struggle for a liberal arts education to remain relevant is not over.

Henberg said there is a great misunderstanding that a liberal arts education is not practical and therefore has limited place in today’s workforce. Henberg argues that it is actually the most practical education. Current C of I president Charlotte Borst stands behind this ideology and the college’s mission to continue providing a liberal arts education.

Borst said she gets a bit upset when some “in the political world” argue “it’s all about job preparation.” Borst said her husband, an IT guy, validates that a technical education (for example, skills learned through STEM) prepares students for about three or four years of relevancy in the workforce. For Borst, the importance and relevancy of a liberal arts education lies in preparing students to be citizens who can think critically and actively seek truth in society.

“From our founding mothers and fathers, there was insistence that the liberal arts were a way to freedom,” Borst said. “If we think about what it means to be an American citizen, a lot of our choices, regardless of the political climate, and a lot of our beliefs, are based on the fact that we want an educated citizenry. We have to be able to read.

“We have to be able to write well. We have to be able to understand numeracy of some kind. (A liberal arts education is) also based on being a whole person ... that you can understand if you are outdoors what you are looking at; if you are in an art gallery you can begin to appreciate art.”

Southwest Idaho a Wildfire Restoration Lab for Land Managers

MARSING (AP)• Even before the smoke cleared last summer, scientists and resource specialists spread out across the blackened range of the Owyhee Mountains to assess the damage of the Soda Fire.

These experts from several federal and state agencies used aerial photographs and their own observations to put together a plan not just to stabilize the soils and rehabilitate the plant communities. Their job was to map out five years of projects that would restore the sagebrush steppe ecosystem and turn it into a laboratory for restoration across the West.

“We’re working for the survival of the sagebrush landscape,” said Tim Murphy, Idaho State Bureau of Land Management director. “We’ve completed Phase 1 by stabilizing the soil and preparing to reverse the cheatgrass growth.”

When the snow came earlier this month, contractors completed “drilling” seeds into the soils where the Soda Fire burned 280,000 acres after starting Aug. 10. As tractors were seeding the snow-covered Idaho and Oregon landscape, 200 scientists, land managers, county commissioners and ranchers were meeting in Boise to develop a strategy for protecting the native grasses and shrubs that provide habitat for 350 species including sage grouse by stopping and reversing the cheatgrass invasion.

This is no easy task.

Cheatgrass is a non-native annual grass that came to the United States from Eurasia in the 19th Century and had spread across the nation by the 1930s. But it was in the West’s high plains that the barbed seeded grass, best known for sticking to socks and filling dogs’ ears and paws, found bare ground from overgrazing on which to take hold.

Aldo Leopold expressed the frustration of land managers, hunters, ranchers and scientists in his 1949 environmental classic, “A Sand County Almanac,” referring to the alien grass simply as “cheat.”

“I listened carefully for clues whether the West has accepted cheat as a necessary evil, to be lived with until kingdom come, or whether it regards cheat as a challenge to rectify its past errors in land-use,” he wrote. “I found the hopeless attitude almost universal.”

Sixty-six years later, the invasion has only grown worse. The remarkably adaptable plant grows in the fall and then again early into the spring before turning into a honey-colored mat of fuel as it dries out in June. In the lower elevations of the sagebrush steppe, cheatgrass has taken over and changed the frequency of fires from every 30 years to single digits in some places, helping to eliminate sagebrush, other shrubs and native bunchgrasses.

Scientists and land managers have tried and failed to find ways to reverse the invasion of cheatgrass and other non-native plants like medusahead, including efforts in just the past decade.

Nowhere is this infestation more apparent than in the federal range southwest of Twin Falls, where the Murphy Springs Fire burned 650,000 acres in 2007. After seeing a waving sea of cheatgrass covering tens of thousands of acres as she stood on Browns Ridge in 2014, Interior Secretary Sally Jewell issued a secretarial order earlier this year calling for additional firefighting efforts and restoration.

This fire plan, which grew out of talks with Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter, provided more firefighters, engines and retardant planes in the peak of a season when resources were stretched. That approach kept the Soda Fire from burning much of the best sage grouse habitat, even as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was determining that listing the bird under the Endangered Species Act across millions of acres in 11 states was not warranted.

Despite lawsuits from Otter and others, the Obama administration and the states are now seeking to put into action one of the largest and most complex conservation plans ever developed.

But to change direction, the emphasis must change, said Virgil Moore, Idaho Department of Fish and Game Director.

“If we’re going to break this invasive fire cycle, it’s done with the fuels, not with the fighting end of it,” Moore said.

As daunting and disappointing as the fight against cheatgrass has been, some recent successes were noted at the Boise conference, which was aimed at offering guidance for addressing habitation destruction, said Ted Koch, a biologist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in Reno who worked in Idaho.

Managers removed cattle and wild horses from an area in the Hart Mountain Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon and from 1987 to 2013, cheatgrass was replaced by native bunchgrasses as the natural biologic crust was restored in what scientists called “passive restoration.”

In Petrified Canyon in eastern Washington, a stand of cheatgrass was replaced by native bunchgrasses by repeated plantings from 2004 to 2011 in what scientists called “active restoration.”

In Dry Canyon in Elko County, Nev., a mix of native plants and non-native crested wheatgrass replaced cheatgrass in 2004 and again this year after a fire in another example of active restoration.

In Grass Valley, Nev., cheatgrass naturally died off, giving managers a chance to replant native plants.

The BLM replanted native plants through aerial seeding on some of the most intact sagebrush stands of the Soda burn, and plans even more in the spring. In areas where the native ecosystem was already fragmented and cheatgrass was dominant, they planted a mix that included non-native crested wheatgrass and native grasses.

In some small plots scientists are testing the use of a new biological herbicide called D7. It uses a bacterium, Pseudomonas fluorescens, which was discovered in the Palouse and has been shown to suppress cheatgrass in some areas.

Teams from the BLM, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Geological Survey are treating 25-acre plots to see how the herbicide works in the Owyhee and to understand better why it works and why sometimes it doesn’t.

Roger Rosentreter, a retired BLM biologist who has published many papers about the sagebrush ecosystem, is glad the agency is using the Soda Fire area as a lab. But he’s skeptical that the agencies have sufficient untouched control areas to be able measure how the plantings and treatments work.

He’s also skeptical of the intensive replanting projects, arguing that passive restoration that doesn’t break that natural crust is the least expensive and most successful approach.

“I’m saying there’s many studies out there that show plowing up the land is damaging,” Rosentreter said.

In low elevations where cheatgrass has taken over, the BLM is seeking to develop strategic firebreaks along roads, 200 feet wide on each side.

“We put out all the small fires, so why would we build small fire breaks?” Lance Okeson, BLM Boise District assistant fire manager for fuels. “To stop big fires, we need big fire breaks.”

Fish and Wildlife’s Koch invoked Leopold to liken past conferences and rhetoric to “tilting at windmills.” But he said managers now have a “lance” with which to attack cheatgrass.

“In 2015, we have that lance and we have deployed it several times across the basin,” Koch said. “The challenge now is to deploy the lance on a landscape scale.”

And it starts with the lands burned by the Soda Fire, where the Department of Interior has allocated $67 million over the next five years to see if its restoration approach can work on a broad landscape. The Boise conference outlined the strategy to expand the effort across the region.

How well it does may be critical five years from now, when the Fish and Wildlife Service reassesses the sage grouse population. But it will take collaboration between the states, private landowners and the federal government, said Janice Schneider, Interior’s assistant secretary for Land and Minerals Management.

“It’s critical for the ecosystem, the economy and the western way of life,” she said.

Beating Defeat: Intense Love of Pro Basketball Buoys Idaho Teen Battling Rare Disease

IDAHO FALLS • Nov. 18 was a particularly tough loss for the Portland Trail Blazers: It was the team’s final defeat in a seven-game losing streak. After the game, Coach Terry Stotts recalls flipping on his phone to an unread text.

The message was from Scottie O’Brien, Stotts’ young bud in Idaho Falls, sending him and the rest of the Blazers words of support. Stotts was touched.

“Scottie’s very supportive of us,” Stotts told the Post Register. “His battle is much bigger than ours, but he has a great perspective on life — and basketball.”

Hovering at 5 feet, Scottie O’Brien isn’t exactly tall — but that doesn’t stop Stotts, along with several of the NBA’s other biggest names, from looking up to him. Scottie is a die-hard basketball fan who knows many of the league’s players, teams and statistics so well, he’s earned the nickname “Stats.”

He trades texts with Stotts fairly regularly and considers Trail Blazers’ star Damian Lillard a close pal. Scottie also communicates often with former Brigham Young University and Boston Celtics great Danny Ainge, among other players, coaches and league executives from his favorite teams: the Trail Blazers, Celtics, Memphis Grizzlies, Atlanta Hawks and San Antonio Spurs.

But Scottie won’t ever be a basketball star. He was born with a rare mitochondrial disease with no known cure or treatment. It’s his outlook on life, despite his health challenges, that motivates others.

“Every time I see (Scottie), he’s connected to his (oxygen) equipment and his breathing tubes and yet he’s always got a smile on his face,” said Ainge, the Celtics’ former shooting guard and current general manager. “It’s hard for him not to leave an impression on you, and inspire those around him.”

About the Disease

Some mornings, Scottie wakes up with a splitting headache. Others days, it’s a bleeding tongue.

“What happened?” he’ll think to himself.

Scottie suffers epileptic seizures regularly, oftentimes worse during the night. It’s one of several ailments caused by the disease he manages daily.

Mitochondria, dubbed the “powerhouse” of the cell, create more than 90 percent of a body’s needed energy, according to information from the United Mitochondrial Disease Foundation. Mitochondrial disease results when those mitochondria fail to work properly. Over time, as less and less energy is generated within a cell, the whole system begins to fail, according to the foundation.

Between 1,000 and 4,000 children in the United States are born with a mitochondrial disease each year, according to the foundation. For Scottie, symptoms run the gamut. He faces a multitude of problems with his lungs, heart and muscles and often battles headaches and nausea. The disease has also impacted his brain and causes dementia-like confusion and memory problems. He also has endocrine system failure, a compromised immune system, debilitating fatigue and dysautonomia — a rapid heart rate, temperature and blood pressure drop.

“It’s like managing 20 different diseases at once,” his mother Kelly said. “We’ll be like, ‘Where is this from?’ But it’s all from the same origin, the cells not working. But we’ll wonder, ‘Why are the cells not working here, at this time?’”

Joining the ‘NBA Family’

Ainge has six kids and 14 grandchildren, according to his Twitter account. And as the Celtics’ GM, there’s no doubt he’s busy. But a text from Scottie most always commands a response, similar to one from his own grandchildren, Ainge said.

“He’s a tough guy to say no to,” Ainge said. “I just love his passion. When I hear from Scottie, boy, I want to respond.”

Scottie’s frequently updated social media accounts leave no confusion of his love of sports. He’s racked up hundreds of followers on Twitter and Instagram, many of whom are NBA players and execs. As Kelly puts it, the NBA has adopted him.

It all started in 2012, the year the O’Briens teamed up with the Make-A-Wish Foundation. As his wish, Scottie chose to attend the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass. At that event, he met a number of NBA legends, including Chris Mullin, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Larry Bird and Moses Malone. He was also invited to a Boston Celtics practice where he first met Ainge.

Scottie’s since attended a multitude of NBA events. He’s met San Antonio Spurs all-star Tim Duncan and Coach Gregg Popovich. He’s friends with Dallas Mavericks guard Wesley Matthews and he’s met some of his favorite draft picks at the Summer League in both Las Vegas and Utah. He’s attended the USA Mini-Camp and watched some of the top players in the league.

“We’ve kind of tried to be a little bit of an extended family as much has we can,” said John Hollinger, vice president of operations for the Memphis Grizzlies. “Hopefully we’ve been able to make everything he’s facing a little easier.

He’s an inspirational kid. It touches me, because he reminds me a lot of how I was a kid, being a fan and being so into the stats. I see a little bit of myself in him.”

Looking into the Future

Scottie’s disease is likely fatal. Kelly said most children diagnosed do not live past their teens or mid-20s. But he and his family are hopeful new research will help extend his life or even lead to a cure.

Scottie works with researchers at the University of California, San Diego to undergo clinical trials and he receives treatment at Seattle Children’s Hospital. The family is hopeful the trials will lead to better treatment options.

Either way, Scottie tries not to fret too much about the future.

“We all have our sets of trials that are basically supposed to make us stronger,” he said. “For some people it may be mental illness, and others (something else). I’ve kind of accepted the future. It’s not (death) that scares me, it’s how. And it’s leaving my family.”

Scottie said he doesn’t let his disease define him. His religious faith helps him not worry about the future, he said.

He’s an avid rapper, who creates hip hop poetry videos on topics ranging from his love of sports to his dreams and various philosophies on life such as “I don’t want to live dying. I choose to die living.”

Scottie also wants to finish high school, attend Brigham Young University-Hawaii and become what he calls a “peacebuilder” — a role in which he’d “use good process and dialogue to help bring people together to help make our world a better place, whether in war torn countries, inner cities or a small town like Idaho Falls.” He’d also like to work in NBA management.

His outlook is best summed up as outlined on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.

“My plan for life,” Scottie writes. “Go to bed happy, wake up happy, do stuff that makes me and the people I love happy in between. With the sickness? Let go and let God.”