Stories from this compilation are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region.


KOOSKIA — A recall effort targeting Kooskia Mayor Charlotte Schilling has passed the first legal requirement.

A list of 20 names was submitted to Kooskia City Clerk Teresa Lytle by recall organizer Wayne Finehout.

In a letter Monday, Lytle confirmed that the petition was in proper form, meaning it contained 20 signatures of electors eligible to sign such a petition, according to Idaho Code 34-1704.

According to Lytle, 45 valid signatures would need to be gathered and returned within 75 days. The 20 signatures gathered for the prospective petition cannot be used toward the 45 required certified signatures, according to law.

A petition that is not perfected with the required certified signatures in the allotted time is null and void in its entirety.

If the 45 signatures are validated, Lytle is required by law to inform Schilling of her findings. From that day of being informed, Schilling could choose to resign within five days. If she opts not to resign, the city clerk will order a special recall election. Idaho County would then become involved in running that election.

— Ben Jorgensen, The Clearwater Progress (Kamiah), Thursday

ITD says Grangeville speed zone change ‘not appropriate at this time’

GRANGEVILLE — The Idaho Transportation Department will maintain the speed status quo on U.S. Highway 95 and retain a 45 mph zone entering south into Grangeville.

The declaration was in response to a citizen petition submitted in November requesting to extend the 35 mph zones to improve highway safety.

In a two-page letter to Grangeville Mayor Wes Lester dated Dec. 28, ITD District 2 engineer David Kuisti provided speed and crash data for the 1.27-mile evaluated zone (from Cash Lane to the new rib restaurant), stating that on the analysis, “extending the 35 mph zone is not appropriate at this time.”

The letter summarized five-year (2013-17) crash data in this area, noting there have been nine vehicle crashes from Fish Hatchery Road to Pine Street. Of these, one was fatal (2016 car, tractor-trailer collision), two were injury (ran a stop sign, other alcohol-impaired), and six were property damage (three involving animals, two failure to yield and one inattentive driver).

“In summary, the crash rate for this section of roadway is lower than the average rate of similar sections and does not indicate an improper speed limit,” according to the letter.

Kuisti’s letter completes the process started by commercial developer Jerry Cloninger — who is planning a development off of U.S. 95 adjacent to the Family Dollar Store — to decrease the northbound highway speed into Grangeville to improve safety.

— David Rauzi, Idaho County Free Press (Grangeville), Wednesday

McCall council will not sign Midas Gold agreement

MCCALL — The McCall City Council voted unanimously Monday night not to sign an agreement with Midas Gold, the company that is proposing a gold mine near Yellow Pine.

About 125 people attended a special meeting of the council at Northfork Lodge in anticipation of the decision.

The four-hour meeting featured 68 public comments, 58 of which were in opposition to signing the agreement.

Many called a decision “premature” until the Payette National Forest, the lead permitting agency on the proposed project, releases its draft environmental study, expected in May.

The city instead will delay any agreement with the company until the draft study is released.

Signing the agreement means communities get to put a representative on an advisory council that will have the ear of Midas Gold, based in Vancouver, B.C. Signers also get to put a representative on the board of a forthcoming charitable foundation funded by Midas Gold.

Once the draft study has been reviewed, the city council plans to propose an agreement of its own to Midas Gold that excludes involvement with the Stibnite Foundation and caters to the city’s questions.

“I think that there is a better path … to ensure ongoing communication between Midas and the city without joining this community agreement,” council member Colby Nielsen said.

Midas Gold Idaho President Laurel Sayer said in a statement Tuesday that the company was “disappointed” that the city chose not to “work alongside its neighbors to help shape the project.”

— Drew Dodson, The Star-News (McCall), Thursday

St. Ignatius Hospital buyer now in prison

COLFAX — Derrick Fincher, 48, the Spokane Valley resident who was sentenced last September in U.S. District Court in Spokane to more than 11 years in prison for swindling more than $2 million from three investors, also purchased the former St. Ignatius Hospital building 16 months ago.

Fincher purchased the hospital building and grounds from Anthony Girges of Bellflower, Calif.

After he negotiated a purchase agreement for St. Ignatius, Fincher reached an agreement with the Colfax Chamber of Commerce to continue the “haunted hospital” tours in the St. Ignatius building. The tours have generated more than $100,000 in revenue for the chamber over the past five years. Colfax Downtown Association also participated in the sponsorship of the tours for a short time.

Val Gregory, executive director of the chamber and the association as well as the historical society, said the chamber arranged for tours to continue through a real estate company that has been trying to sell the property.

The St. Ignatius purchase was not a part of the charges involved in the U.S. court conviction involving Fincher.

— Whitman County Gazette (Colfax), Thursday.

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