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Saturday, August 27, 2011

Don't disparage one of Idaho's great small towns

The first year I moved here, there was an incident on
Main Street involving two women in a fender bender. Instead of rushing out of their cars to blame each other, they both emerged to apologize profusely and peacefully. They each made sure that the other person was all right, and then gave each other sweet bear hugs. After that, they agreed that they should meet together soon, because it had been too long since they had seen each other.

This remarkable event defined for me what the essence is of everything good about Ketchum; and perhaps for what is great about many small western towns: good people who care about each other, more than they do for their measly worldly possessions. Therefore, it grates at me, when I hear intermittent comments that disparage the town and townspeople of Ketchum (and the
Wood River Valley). Some will say, "I have no desire to visit Ketchum, or any of the people up there." That's too bad, because if you take a closer look, this pedestrian-friendly town offers much for young and old, rich and poor, sick and well.

Like most
Idaho towns, Ketchum has changed over the years. Yet, it retains many high-quality aspects of a hardy Western town. When it comes to weather, Ketchum is in the top 10 percentile of sunniest towns. The people here are equally sunny, and there is ample reason for this. A river runs through it, offering opportunities for enjoyable fishing and water sports. We have a popular YMCA. On summer Tuesdays, a vibrant farmers' market attracts vendors and customers from throughout southern Idaho. After that, energetic music performers play freely til twilight in our Forest Service Park.

For the spiritual, Ketchum has more than a handful of sacred places to worship. When someone becomes severely ill, or is in a crash, our community often bonds together, helping with fundraisers.

Wagon Days brings a festive weekend of olden-times coming alive, as craftspeople, blacksmiths and storytellers demonstrate their trades and speak their lore. Wagon Days also features the largest non-motorized parade in the west.

Ketchum's Community Library has an extensive regional history section, with helpful staff and an oral history program. The library also hosts frequent lectures and enlightening events, featuring respected authors and adventurers from near and far.
Ketchum has dozens of fine restaurants. We have movie theaters; nine (and growing) outdoor parks, live stage and Huck Finn-like swimming holes. Free newspapers, magazines, maps and wi-fi are abundant. We also have a water park, bringing boundless glee to splashing kids. On the edge of town, Sun Valley Co. has installed a gondola for uplifting
Bald Mountain rides.

This list of what good things our fine town (and valley) has to offer is much longer than this, but I hope for now this gives some hesitation to those who are quick to sneer at lively Ketchum.

I sometimes wonder if some of Ketchum's harsh critics have even spent much time here.

~ ~ ~


After last July’s candlelight vigil march for Bowe Bergdahl, the local soldier captured in
Afghanistan; I sat with some friends, one of whom described an image she thought best captured Hailey's essence. One of the men attending the ceremony had left his tools in the open on the back of his truck, parked in front of Zaney's Coffeehouse, where the event began. The tradesman had drawn a large cardboard sign, asking passersby to leave his tools alone, because he was standing for Bowe. And the aura of respectfulness that evening permeated the atmosphere so thick that nobody dared tamper with his tools. Then we agreed that we all look forward to the day when Bowe can return to this pleasant valley, where his friends and family can openly share with him, some strong bear hugs.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Stop inviting burglars to ransack your home

As we know, our latest social networks like most tools can be used for good and / or nefarious purposes. Facebook has a popular application, which invites groups to social events, and then asks if you will be participating. A problem with this, is, the second you’ve confirmed that you intend to be present at some special event, you may have alerted a miscreant that your house will be unattended for some time.

When many travelers leave for vacation they take simple precautions such as locking doors and windows, securing burglar alarms, adjusting lights with timers, and canceling newspaper and postal delivery. It may not have occurred to some of these same wise souls that by advertising the fact they will be gone, they’ve taken the guesswork away from potential robbers.

We haven’t reached the age yet, where it’s become unstylish to send old fashioned R.S.V.P.’s via mail or over the phone. Depending on your circumstances, it might be wise to hesitate confirming through an online social network easily penetrated by strangers that you plan to be away from your house for an extended period.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Stop inviting robbers to burglarize your home

As we know, our latest social networks, like most tools can be used for good and /or nefarious purposes. Facebook has a popular application, which invites groups to social events, and then asks if you will be participating. A problem with this, is, the second you’ve confirmed that you intend to attend some special event, you may have alerted a miscreant that your house will be unattended for some time.

When many travelers leave for vacation they take simple precautions such as locking doors and windows, setting burglar alarms, adjusting lights with timers, and canceling newspaper and postal delivery. Most folks wouldn’t leave a pile of freshly laundered money drying off in the front windowsill, would they? It may not have occurred to some of these same wise souls that by advertising the fact they will be gone, they’ve taken the guesswork away from potential robbers. It’s bad enough that criminals who gain passwords to smart-meter accounts will soon hold the capability to determine whether or not residents are home. Don’t double-confirm that you will be gone by thoughtlessly clicking the “I will be attending” button.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Let’s have cleaner money

A few years ago, a Clark County, Nevada investigation showed that a Vegas clinic was not using clean syringe procedures, which over a four-year period contaminated dozens of anesthesia patients with incurable hepatitis C. This seemed odd, especially since Las Vegas is the same city where casinos and hotels often offer to help clean your money. When did we start giving sanitized money a higher priority than we do to medical patients?

For many reasons, our money is one of the filthiest things that we handle. And for years, it’s been a lively topic of local discussion, about how Ketchum has an overabundance of grubby banks. With the new credit card reform laws finally being implemented, it’s interesting to watch how to make up for purported losses; some neighborhood banks are incrementally raising fees for their simple checking and ATM services.

During this shift, bank managers must certainly be keeping a close eye on public reaction. With this in mind, it would be refreshing to see some banks around here, began to offer a new service in the form of disinfecting paper currency and coinage. Besides helping defend locals and tourists from diseases and flu, banks would also be protecting their most precious assets - their dedicated tellers – from nasty germs while handling the dirty money, lessening sick days, etc.

Besides Vegas improving the odds for healthier customers, such purification programs have become popular in a few other countries, such as Japan. A bank around here ‘wishing well’ on its clients in such a courteous manner would stand to profit gainfully and karmatically from this clean advice.