Stories in this Regional News Roundup are excerpted from weekly newspapers from around the region. This is part one, with part two set to appear in Sunday’s Tribune.


CASCADE — Representatives of DF Development on Monday offered to Valley County commissioners ownership of roads now owned by the company near Donnelly and Cascade.

The proposal would see the county take ownership of roads in the Kennally Creek and Gold Fork areas that provide access to state and federal land.

“The subject property, which we refer to as Gold Fork North, is over 11,000 acres and would provide the general public with some beautiful scenery and allow access to State and National Forest land,” Wilks Ranch Brokers Manager of Sales and Leasing Jerry Conring wrote in an email to the county.

The new roads would have direct access off of Barker Lane and Gold Fork Road, Conring said.

Commissioners were receptive to the proposal, but also asked that the company consider making more DF Development-owned roads into public roads.

Those requests include sections of Flat Creek Road, Lost Basin Road, West Fork Creek Road, Packer John Road, Sage Hen Road, Lost Basin Road, Corral Creek Road and Horsethief Road.

“I think it’s great they turned around and decided to deal with us instead of locking everybody out,” Commission Chairman Elt Hasbrouck said.

Commissioners speculated that the transfer of roads may be in advance of DF Development selling parcels of land in the area at some time in the future.

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

No charges to be filed in 2018 death of McCall teen

McCALL — No charges will be filed in connection with an auto accident in 2018 that killed a McCall teen near Riggins, Idaho County Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Adam Green said.

However, Green told the Star-News that the investigation into the death of Katelyn Thayer, 17, was still open.

“Based upon my review, at this time I do not intend to pursue criminal charges against any individual,” Green said. “In the event that the investigation reveals any additional information, I will reconsider my decision.”

Thayer was an occupant in a car that lost control and ran off the Salmon River Road east of Riggins on April 21, 2018. The car came to rest upside down in the river.

Thayer was found dead in the car when rescuers reached it. A second person in the car, Alaska Frandsen, 17, of Malad, was ejected from the car during the crash. Frandsen was hospitalized for her injuries and was later released.

Idaho State Police conducted the investigation with assistance from the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office.

Green said he received “the results of their investigation, to date,” from ISP during the last week of January.

It was unclear why the investigation took more than 20 months to complete. Green declined to comment on the length of the investigation or what parts of the incident were still under review.

— Tom Grote, Star-News (McCall), Thursday

Lawsuit settled over 2017 Tamarack fire that killed two children, two adults

McCALL — A wrongful-death lawsuit has been settled in connection with a 2017 gas explosion at Tamarack Resort that killed four people.

The settlement was between the lone survivor of the blast and family members of those killed with the owners of the rental home that exploded, the management company and a McCall wood-stove company.

A trial was scheduled to start Jan. 28, but was canceled after the parties settled the case, Fourth District Court Judge Jason Scott, the presiding judge, told the Star-News.

The terms of the settlement are confidential, said David W. Knotts, a Boise attorney representing Master Craft Hearth & Home Inc., of McCall.

The lawsuit was filed in 2018 by family members of Erin Smith, 34; Autumn Smith, 7; James “Jim” Harper III, 49; and James “JJ” Harper IV, 14, all of Boise. The four were killed in the explosion and resulting fire on June 30, 2017, at 541 Whitewater Drive at Tamarack Resort southwest of Donnelly.

The lone survivor, William “Mitch” Smith, 46, of Boise, also was a plaintiff in the lawsuit.

The five people were renting the house for the Independence Day weekend when the explosion occurred.

The settlement was reached with Master Craft, homeowners John and Gretchen Carrougher of Seattle and TMA Technology and Operations Co., which managed the Carrougher home as a rental.

The defendants in the case denied the allegations of wrongdoing listed in the lawsuit.

The lawsuit claimed a previous owner of the home removed a gas fireplace, but did not cap the gas line.

— Tom Grote, Star-News (McCall), Thursday

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