Happy New Year. Since my swearing in last January, I have been drinking through the firehose of all things Valley County. I have worked diligently to educate myself on the different departments within the county, county employees and their positions, and most importantly the daily business at the Courthouse and many responsibilities of a Commissioner.
During my first months as a Commissioner, I attended several Elected Official Training sessions put on by the Idaho Association of Counties (IAC), and attended their winter and fall conferences. When a new Commissioner is elected, the Commission does a review of committee assignments. These committees constitute a large portion of our Commissioner duties. I was appointed as the Valley County representative for the following groups: Western Idaho Community Action Program, Valley County Community Action Program, USFS Winter Recreation Forum, Payette Forest Coalition, West Central Mountain Economic Development Council, the USFS Midas Collaborative Working Group, Waterways Advisory Group, and the Snowmobile Grooming Advisory Group.
In addition to the above, I serve on the Idaho Association of Counties committee on the Environment, Energy and Land Use. I have also been following and attending the IAC Legislative Committee meetings and the Public Lands Committee. These Committees are made up of Elected Officials from across the state and have been my first glimpse at how County Officials can introduce resolutions and influence state legislation. It has also been my first inside glimpse at partisan politics and what it feels like to be a minority.
As you may remember, I was elected in the midst of two contentious issues; one being the Community Partnership Agreement with Midas Gold and the other the creation of a waterways ordinance to protect and manage our local lakes and rivers. While the Midas Agreement has since been retracted, the Waterways issue is ongoing. I am hopeful that we will replace the 08-01 ordinance that was repealed during the 2019 discussions in the next few months. Currently we are waiting to see if the State Legislature is going to move forward with the creation of new, statewide waterways legislation before we can proceed with a county wide ordinance.
In addition to the above, the Board of Commissioners has seen an abnormal amount of complexities surrounding normal county issues including; the creation and balancing of our annual budget, property tax assessments and appeals, Idaho Department of Land leases within the County, Planning and Zoning appeals, public and private lands access, Road Department funding, USFS FRTA requests and road ownership reviews, and the demise and subsequent temporary reinstatement of Secure Rural Schools Funding.
While not as complex as the above issues, I have been spearheading the efforts to help resolve the current problems with our local recycling program. Progress has been slow, however, I do think we are getting close to seeing some real improvements beginning with a better understanding of how the program can work more efficiently and by moving it to a centralized collection facility for the summer of 2020.
As if the above isn’t enough to keep us busy, 2019 had an unusually high amount of employee issues. I am proud to say that we have made significant progress on this front by working with our Human Resources Director, the Prosecuting Attorney’s office, elected officials and the department heads to identify and address these issues and develop plans to cultivate a positive and effective work environment. Your commissioners are engaged and much more involved in the day-to-day activities of employees. As a team we have re-written handbooks, redefined policies, positions/job descriptions and worked to improve interdepartmental relationships.
As many know, the resignation of Chairman Cruickshank from the Board came as a surprise this fall, but the addition of Sherry Maupin has been a positive step towards strengthening and diversifying the Board of Commissioners. Commissioner Maupin brings a focus on fiscal responsibility and strategic planning to the Board, and the appointment of Elt Hasbrouck to the Chairman position has brought a different perspective to the team. Over the last year, I have appreciated his insight, candid nature and historical knowledge of Valley County. Despite our differences, the current board is working extremely well together, and proactively addressing issues that have been unresolved for quite some time.
I strive to do better for our constituents. With the establishment of regular office hours for the Commissioners, greater involvement in daily business and an open door policy for employees and public alike, I think we are moving in the right direction. The last and most important step that we are trying to move forward with is more public involvement on issues that affect us. The increase in public forums and open houses has been well received but unless we hear from you, we don’t know where you stand and whether we are representing your best interests.
The past year has been a wild ride and tremendous learning curve yet I have enjoyed getting to know the process of how our County government functions and the people who assist the Commissioners in that process. I hope to continue to hear from you, learn and serve your interests as we move forward and address the many issues that will come with a new year. Please feel free to reach out to me for a meeting, conversation, or just to share your thoughts.
Best wishes for 2020!
Valley County Board of Commissioners
Early Voting for November 5 Election
Monday October 21- First day to early vote at Valley County Clerk at Cascade Court House
Friday November 1- Last day for In-Person Absentee Voting and Early Voting.
Valley County Democrats have rescheduled their Fall Adopt-a-Highway Clean Up to this Sunday, Oct. 13, at 4:30 pm.
All Democrats and friends are invited to participate and should meet in the south parking area of Elk Creek Church, 14102 Highway 55, McCall, shortly before 4:30 pm. Participants should bring hats, sunscreen, water, and gloves. Safety vests and trash bags will be provided.
After the clean up join Valley County Democrats at Home Town Pizza in McCall for a no host social time. For more information contact Jim Arp at 634-5833
Valley County Democrats will hold their fall Adopt-A-Highway community service cleanup on Sunday, September 29th at 4:30 pm.
All Democrats, friends, and family are invited to participate and should meet at 4:30 pm in the parking lot of Elk Creek Church south of McCall on Highway 55.
A no-host social at Hometown Pizza will follow the cleanup. Participants should wear sturdy shoes or boots and bring gloves. Safety vests and trash bags will be provided. For further information please call Jim Arp at 208-634-5833.”
We need everyone’s help for one final push to stop harmful and expensive restrictions to Medicaid Expansion. We have until Sept. 22 to do all we can.
Despite Idahoans from all over the state and many legislators speaking out against these restrictions, Idaho Republicans ignored the will of the voters and passed a bill that added barriers to healthcare coverage for those who qualify for Medicaid Expansion.
Since the federal government is funding a large portion of Medicaid Expansion, the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare has to get permission to implement each individual restriction passed by the Legislature.
We need your help to stop one of the worst restrictions: work requirements.
From now until Sept. 22, the public can submit comments on the pending restrictions, and the federal government has a legal obligation to take those comments into consideration when evaluating whether or not it will allow restrictions.
In some cases, judges have been persuaded to not allow restrictions due to a large volume of comments from the public, so if there was ever a time for us to speak out, it’s NOW.
Life long McCall Democrat Harry Warden died Aug. 13, 2019. He lived to 99 years and 8 months old and in those years touched many people in our community. He is survived by his loving wife, Lois of 78 years.
For us Valley County Democrats he was the person in the room that represented the “Greatest Generation”. He risked his life as a bomber pilot over Burma as part of the flying tigers to defeat fascism.
Harry was the first to give a check to candidates and causes. For those younger than Harry he gave us strength when we got discouraged. If Harry was still fighting injustice with a smile on his face and a twinkle in his eyes so could we. He was our link to the honorable tradition of FDR’s New Deal that put people above money interests.
In 2013, Harry and Lois were awarded a lifetime Democrat Award at the Annual Valley County Picnic. In 2016, Harry was concerned about coming to the Valley County Democratic Presidential Caucus. His mobility had deteriorated, but he wanted to cast his vote. With a seat arranged near the door, Harry was able to cast his vote.
Harry was missed at the Valley County Democratic Picnic this year and many tears were shed when the attendees were told about his passing. When you get discouraged and suffer political losses, Harry’s livelong, continued commitment is a tonic to any breath of cynicism. He is dearly missed. Our love goes out to Lois and Harry’s family in this time of grief.
Full Obituary Star News THURSDAY, AUGUST 22, 2019
What an amazing and full life you have lived. A life with a million different chapters: adventures, careers, family, cities, other countries, and a special, quiet little town.
Long-time McCall resident Harry Warden, well known and beloved, died Aug. 13, 2019. Harry lived to 99 … and 8 months.
He was born January 4, 1920 in Riverdale, California, and was the only child of Harry Warden, Sr. and Hazel Clifton Warden. Harry’s early years were spent in Gardena, California, where he attended the local elementary school.
He lived in Compton, California, during his high school and junior college years and attended UCLA until joining the U.S. Army Air Corps pilot training program in 1942.
While awaiting orders, Harry met his future wife, Lois Martin, who was also attending Compton Junior College and conveniently lived right next-door to his parents.
In June 1943, he graduated from the Army Air Corp advanced pilot training program as a second lieutenant at Luke Field near Phoenix, Arizona. Harry was then assigned to Tonopah, Nevada, to train in the Bell Cobra P-39 fighters.
In December 1943, he trained in the Lockheed P-38 fighter and was then sent to join the Flying Tigers in the China-Burma-India theater. While in Karachi, India, those orders were canceled, and he ended up flying the four-engine B-24 bomber, surviving 28 combat missions, often under enemy fire.
Upon his return to the U.S., he and Lois were married in the First Presbyterian Church in Madelia, Minnesota. Harry and Lois returned to California where he was stationed in Long Beach to deliver new C-54 and B-17 aircraft being made there.
During the Korean Conflict he was recalled as a captain in the Air Force. He was stationed at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas, Nevada ,and at Perrin Air Force Base in Sherman, Texas.
After the war, Harry returned to UCLA and completed his undergraduate and graduate degrees in education. He taught for 33 years for the Los Angeles Unified School District teaching in the historically under-served areas in central Los Angeles.
Harry and Lois made their homes in Tarzana, Reseda, and Westlake Village in California. Harry was a Scout Master for the Boy Scouts and his two sons became Eagle Scouts.
He taught Sunday school in California and was an active member of the McCall Community Congregational Church in McCall.
Each year Harry recounted his captivating stories of World War II with McCall middle and high school students, leaving a lasting imprint. The last 30 years of retirement were spent in his beloved McCall, enjoying the mountain scenery, fresh air, and friendly small-town life.
Harry is survived by his loving wife of 74 years, Lois, his daughter Carol Benedict and her husband Nate (Tucson, Arizona), daughter Joan Brundige and her husband Eric (McCall), son Bob Warden and his wife Janet (Louisville, Colorado), son John Warden and his wife Dianne (McCall), granddaughter Nancy Cease and her husband Craig (Littleton, Colorado), grandson Nathan Benedict and his wife Tiffany (Phoenix, Arizona), granddaughter Natalie Young (McCall), granddaughter Stephanie Young (Los Angeles), granddaughter Erin Brundige (Boise), granddaughter Katie Warden (Tulsa, Oklahoma), grandson Harry Warden and his wife Taylor (Oklahoma City, Oklahome), grandson Patrick Warden and his wife Stephanie (Arvada, Colorado), and granddaughter Ronda Warden (Denver, Colorado).
Harry is also survived by three great-grandchildren, Emily and Claire Crease, and his newest great-granddaughter Seraphina Benedict.
Harry’s celebration of life will be at the McCall Community Congregational Church, Saturday, Aug. 24, at 2 p.m. Harry was selfless, resilient, and a strong supporter of women’s rights and environmental action. He cared deeply about equal rights for all.
He has been such a good example for staying active, being engaged, and for taking care of himself.
In lieu of flowers Harry requests donations be made to the McCall Community Congregational Church, and in honor of Harry, try a signature “Harry’s Sandwich” at FoggLifter Cafe.
Thank you for always being there and thank you for loving us.
Valley County Commissioner Chair Gordon Cruickshank will step down on September 30 and the Republican Party will appoint a replacement to fill the Commissioner District 2 spot until December 2020. An election where the voters will decide who represents Valley County District 2 Commissioner will be in November 2020.
Now is the time for us to consider who will run on the Democratic ticket against this appointed Commissioner. We want a candidate that belives the county commision should be a non biased oversearer of the development of the Stinite Mine site and not a one sided pro mine company advocate. We have an opportunity to develop smart growth plans on a county basis and not just be a rubber stamp to unbridled commercial development.
Dave Bingaman, District 1 County Commissioner (D) states “the main portion of a Commissioner’s job is overseeing the workings of the county offices, services, employees and related groups….Most importantly is the interaction with constituents” Dave see “the ideal candidate for Commissioner has to be first and foremost good at multi tasking.”
It is time for Democrats to stand up and be counted. It is time to consider putting your hat in the ring and run for County Commissioner. You need to be a resident of District 2 to run although the whole county votes for all the Commissioners. District 2 is the west side of Highway 55 going south to Fairbrother Lane. The proposed salary for the position is a fair wage of $62,000.
If you are interested please contact Bill Thomas, 208-339-4583 or Dave Bingaman, Valley Co. Commission for more information and support.
Real change comes when good people run for office. Now is the time you can make a difference.
Dave Bingaman Statement on County Commissioner Opening
Bill asked me to write a little description of the Commissioner job for any that might be interested in running for the District 2 seat. It isn’t brief and doesn’t cover everything but provides a good overview. The Commissioners are responsible for a wide variety of duties. Most importantly is the interaction with constituents. This is one of the most demanding components of the job. Answering calls and emails takes up a good amount of time every day. The main portion of a Commissioner’s job is overseeing the workings of the county offices, services, employees and related groups. As a part time employee that can be challenging and requires a lot of reading and research time prior to weekly meetings and making decisions on a WIDE variety of topics from P&Z issues to drafting ordinances. The Commissioners are also the point of contact for issues and agreements involving state and federal agencies which often requires sifting through complex documents. In addition, they function as the spokesmen for the county on most of the media inquiries. Commissioners are also responsible for setting the budget each year not only for the county but also as the Valley County EMS Board for our 3 local fire and EMS departments. In addition, commissioners look for and help submit grants for projects throughout the county. The Commissioners also must participate in a number of committees on local, regional and statewide levels which requires more meetings and often involves travel to adjacent counties.
I think the ideal candidate for Commissioner has to be first and foremost good at multi tasking. I also have learned that you have to be pretty thick skinned when dealing with unsatisfied or disgruntled constituents many of whom are friends or acquaintances. In addition, the ability to look for solutions from a variety of perspectives is critical. One of the challenges for me has been patience with the process and the ability to take advice on what is possible and not possible from a legal standpoint. You have to be comfortable being in the public eye and scrutinized with a magnifying glass. Flexibility may be the key to success, you never know what you are going to be dealing with or making a decision on from day to day. Finally, you need to be good at learning fast! There are so many moving parts that you have to be able to absorb as much as possible as fast as possible. If it sounds interesting or maybe intimidating, it is both. Just know that there are resources and training available to help you get your feet under you as you jump into the job.
If you are interested in finding out more, feel free to email or call me. You know where to find me.
District 3 Valley County Commissioner
Reprinted from Rebecca Schroeder of Reclaim Idaho
You Can Protect Medicaid Expansion! A Federal Judge ruled your comments MUST be considered by the State and Feds when it comes to fighting back against legislators who put restrictions on Medicaid Expansion. Click here for a simple email tool by Close the Gap to voice your opposition to the Idaho State Legislature’s “bait-and-switch” restriction to voter-approved Medicaid Expansion. What’s the best way to do that? Read on…
Do it the Right Way: You rose to the occasion during the 2019 legislative session by calling on legislators to enact the Medicaid Expansion you voted for. They ignored you. However, by law, they can’t now. Your voice should be directed to the State of Idaho and the Feds – NOT the legislators.
Summary of Restriction: The first “waiver” Idaho is seeking would allow poor Idahoans earning between 100-138% of the poverty level to retain their subsidized private health insurance plans even though they qualify for Medicaid Expansion. These “plans” often have huge co-pays and astronomical deductibles that can run into the thousands of dollars. It’s almost like not having health insurance.
How to Fight Back: Remember, you’re addressing the state and the Feds. Telling them to “do their job” won’t help. Those comments will likely be discarded. Below is a sample comment which should help guide you on how to respond – PLEASE do not copy and paste.
To Whom it May Concern:
I am writing to express my objection to the 1332 “waiver” being sought by the State of Idaho which would keep thousands of Idahoans on exchange-based health plans even though they qualify for Medicaid Expansion. My objections are as follows:
1. Medicaid Expansion provides far more reliable and valuable healthcare coverage than exchange-based plans. That’s the whole point of Medicaid Expansion. The subsidized plans come with large co-pays and even larger deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses. While this restriction is cloaked in the veil of “choice,” it is nothing more than a mechanism to confuse thousands of working-class citizens who may be denied, even inadvertently, information about the benefits of Medicaid Expansion. Also, will people be denied healthcare coverage if they stay on exchange-based plans and fail to pay for premiums?
2. It is unclear whether thousands of working Idahoans will be given a real “choice” about whether to stay on subsidized plans or switch to Medicaid Expansion. I am concerned about the transparency and availability of information regarding this “choice.” If working Idahoans don’t have access to the pros and cons of subsidized insurance versus Medicaid Expansion, then the “choice” is a false one. As such, I would encourage you to deny this waiver as requested.
3. Finally, there is the cost. While it is difficult to predict the factors that will contribute to a decision to stay on the exchange, it is almost certain that maintaining access to a federal tax credit, rather than moving this population to Medicaid will result in a higher cost to the federal government than straight Medicaid expansion.
Thank you for your consideration. Sincerely _____
|Nancy HarrisCandidate for U.S. Senate|
Meet and Greet
Wednesday, June 26, 11:30 am- 1 P.M.
Bistro 45, McCall
Nancy Harris is running in the Democratic Primary to replace Jim Risch and would love to meet people from Valley County as she starts her campaign for U.S. Senate. Folks can get lunch, beer, wine, coffee at the Bistro to help them out for being so supportive of us over time.
|SAVE THE DATE|
Valley County Democratic Picnic, Wednesday, August 21, 6-8:30 pm, Woodlands Development Picnic Area, McCall.