Record turnout expected at FFA conference today


MOSCOW - This year's record turnout expected at a Future Farmers of America conference at the University of Idaho today through Friday is attributed to increased state funding for agricultural education.

Jim Connors, head of the UI agricultural and extension education department, said more than 900 FFA members are registered for state career development events. Last year's attendance was 705 students. The events culminate the academic year for FFA students and allow them to apply what they learned about a variety of topics in a competitive setting.

"It's the big ending of the year for agricultural education and FFA," Connors said. The winners will be announced Friday morning during a concluding ceremony at the Pitman Center. Winners are eligible to go on to national competition in October at Louisville, Ky.

Connors said interest in high school agricultural education programs is growing. The university's program is one of the largest in the Northwest. University staff, faculty and alumni help put on the events, which include livestock evaluations, agricultural mechanics, marketing plans and veterinary science career development.

Clearwater Paper worker who suffered burns expected to return to work

A Clearwater Paper employee is scheduled to return to work after being burned by wood pulp in a solution of unspecified chemicals.

The employee, who has not been identified, was taken to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center in Lewiston by ambulance just after the accident happened at 12:15 p.m. on Memorial Day, said Clearwater Paper spokesman Matt Van Vleet.

She was released from the hospital after being treated for injuries that Van Vleet declined to describe because of federal privacy rules. The accident occurred when the employee was doing a cleaning task, he said. Van Vleet declined to provide more details because of an ongoing internal investigation.

Clearwater Paper notified the Occupational Safety and Health Administration about the incident, but an on-site visit has not been conducted.

OSHA is "taking the necessary steps to further determine the best course of action," and will provide more information later, said OSHA spokesman Jose Carnevali.

Lewiston, URA set special meetings to discuss lawsuit

The Lewiston City Council and Lewiston Urban Renewal Agency have scheduled special meetings this week to discuss the potential settlement of a lawsuit filed by Nez Perce County to shut down urban renewal efforts in the city.

The urban renewal agency's special meeting will be held at noon Wednesday and begin with a closed executive session to discuss the pending litigation. Board members will then open the meeting to the public for a review of one of its top project proposals, the extension of Nez Perce Drive to Gun Club Road.

A separate closed meeting will be held at 5 p.m. Wednesday for the group of city and county elected officials and urban renewal agency Chairman Joe Hulett to continue settlement negotiations.

The city council will then meet in closed executive session at 5 p.m. Thursday to discuss the potential settlement. The county filed the lawsuit last year after the city council approved an amended urban renewal plan. It asks a judge to invalidate the plan and redirect the property taxes that fund urban renewal back to the county, city, Port of Lewiston and Lewiston School District taxing authorities.

Rock work is delaying drivers near Time Zone Bridge

RIGGINS - Travelers on U.S. Highway 95 about a half-mile north of the Time Zone Bridge here are experiencing short delays for a rock scaling project on the Salmon River canyon wall.

Bob Schumacher, operations manager for the Idaho Transportation Department at Lewiston, said flaggers are on site at milepost 197.5, about two miles north of Riggins, and traffic is being stopped while rocks are dislodged from the canyon face.

The project is expected to last one to two days, Schumacher said Monday.

The scaling project, which is under contract, is intended to reduce the amount of rocks falling from the canyon wall, he said.

Lewiston woman in critical condition after ATV accident

OROFINO - A 76-year-old Lewiston woman is in critical condition at St. Joseph Regional Medical center following an all-terrain vehicle crash in Clearwater County.

Barbara Schwartzkopf was airlifted by Life Flight helicopter Sunday following the report of a crash at 10:47 a.m. in the Angel Butte-Buck Butte area of Clearwater County, according to a news release from the Clearwater County Sheriff's Office.

The emergency call was relayed to the sheriff's office via the Nez Perce County Sheriff's Office, which had radio contact with people on the scene, according to the sheriff's office. The helicopter arrived before ground crews could get to the area. Schwartzkopf was unconscious at the time, according to the sheriff's office.

The sheriff's office is continuing to investigate the scene. No additional information was available Monday.