Stories in this Regional News Roundup are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is part two, with part one having appeared in Saturday’s Tribune.


CASCADE — Valley County commissioners changed course on Monday, approving a 15 percent raise for themselves instead of the 40 percent that was proposed.

Commissioners said they chose to vote on a smaller increase because of public opposition to the proposed raise from the current $44,000 to $62,000.

The smaller raises were approved on a 2-0 vote from commissioners Elt Hasbrouck and Dave Bingaman. Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank was absent.

The raises were part of the 2020 budget, which passed without comment Monday other than the salary discussion.

“We certainly caught a lot of earful about the 40 percent raise,” Hasbrouck said.

Commissioners were trying to set up the salary so someone could work solely as a commissioner instead of having to work two jobs, he said.

“I just think this job is worth the $62,000. It’s probably worth more than that — the personal liability and stress alone is worth that — but because of all the late-night phone calls and irate emails, there was a lot of folks who didn’t think that was right,” Hasbrouck said.

Valley County Clerk Doug Miller presented three alternate budgets that included 10 percent, 15 percent and 20 percent raises for commissioners.

The 40 percent proposed raise included the expectation that commissioners would be available for 30 hours per week.

— Max Silverson, The Star-News (McCall), Thursday

Toxic algae in Lake Cascade prompts health warning

LAKE CASCADE — A health advisory has been issued for Lake Cascade for an outbreak of toxin-producing bacteria that can be harmful to both humans and animals.

The advisory was issued Sept. 6 by the Central District Health Department and the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.

The advisory marked the second year in a row that toxic algae blooms were found in Lake Cascade. Last year’s health advisory started Sept. 7 and was not lifted until Oct. 16.

The bloom, commonly referred to as blue-green algae, is actually bacteria called cyanobacteria that releases dangerous toxins.

Warmer, nutrient-rich conditions can lead to the bacteria growing exponentially, creating blooms that look like spilled paint, surface scum or foam.

The bloom was first discovered by the citizens group Friends of Lake Cascade on Sept. 3. The group has been taking samples from the lake every two weeks since the end of April, said Lenard Long, founder of Friends of Lake Cascade.

“We were surprised at how fast the surface outbreak increased in size into the north lake area within 24 hours,” Long said.

The bacteria was found in the lake much earlier, but concentrations were not dangerous, he said.

Samples showed widespread cyanobacteria in the water as early as mid-June, with isolated surface outbreaks observed as early as Aug. 3, Long said.

The entire lake appeared to be affected by the bloom as of Sept. 4, said Chase Cusack, water quality analyst for the IDEQ.

“The highest concentrations I was able to observe occurred near Sugarloaf Island and north into the Poison Creek area,” Cusack said.

Stormy weather in recent days appears to have broken the scum apart from the surface, leaving a more uniform mixture of cells throughout the lake, Cusack said.

— Max Silverson, The Star-News (McCall), Thursday

Fred’s Body Shop celebrates 60 years

COTTONWOOD — Rod Behler practically teethed on the tires at Fred’s Body Shop. He was 2 years old when his father purchased the George Kaschmitter Building in 1959.

“I learned from my dad, hands-on, in the shop,” Rod said.

Fred Behler opened Fred’s Body Shop Sept. 21, 1959. He, the son of Mr. and Mrs. Herman Behler, was born and raised in Ferdinand, and lived in Lewiston at the time. He brought 15 years of auto body experience to the business and moved his wife, Norma, and family, to Cottonwood.

After Rod graduated from Prairie High School, he spent three years in the U.S. Navy as a diesel mechanic.

“Like most people, I wanted to get out of there for a while and see the world,” he said. “Then I realized how fortunate I was to be able to live in Idaho County.”

Rod and June Hinkleman began dating in 1979 and were married in 1981. They took over Fred’s Body Shop April 1, 1985.

June now works full time at St. Mary’s Hospital and also keeps the books at Fred’s.

In 2009, when the Behlers celebrated the shop’s 50th anniversary, they had no way of knowing it would be the last time Fred would be in the shop. He died days after the celebration, and Norma followed just a few months later.

Rod said the biggest changes in the industry have been those from the simple engines to the electronic age.

The Behlers have raised four children – three daughters and a son – and have 12 grandchildren.

When they are not busy with work, the Behlers enjoy camping, boating and spending time with family. Rod served 34 years on the Cottonwood Volunteer Fire Department, 25 years as chief, and also enjoys trapshooting. June is an avid flower gardener and walker.

Fred’s Body Shop, 507 Main St., will host a 60th anniversary open house starting at 4 p.m. Friday.

— Lorie Palmer, Idaho County Free Press (Grangeville), Wednesday

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