IdaHome--March 2020

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Community + Culture + Recreation +

Real Estate


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Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Film Festival.

Photo courtesy of Treefort.

Photo by Amanda René Photography.


36 Chow Down:

Foodfort & Alefort

34 Idafort Does Treefort 8 Backcountry Rescue Around the State

16 Idaho Weddings 19 How We Met:

Stories of Idaho Love

22 Maid of Honesty's Advice for Brides


25 Real Estate in 2020 with

Ralston Group Properties

26 Affordable Housing Crisis Threatens Communities


37 Hackfort! 38 Boise's Supercomputer ARTS & CULTURE

12 Idaho's Filmmakers 24 Nonprofit Spotlight:

ISF's Idaho Theater for Youth & Shakespearience

31 Makers: Interfaith

Sanctuary's Homeless Art Collective

30 Making Music With Torres MONTHLY EXTRAS

40 Contributors

Pictured: Lewiston Suffrage Parade, 1880s Idaho State Archives 78-203-95

2020 IS THE 100 ANNIVERSARY OF WOMEN’S SUFFRAGE Idaho can be proud that its courageous past made it the 4th state in our country to give women with the right to vote. On November 3, 1896, via Senate Joint Resolution 2, by a vote of nearly two to one in favor (12,126 to 6,282), Idaho changed history long before the 19th amendment to the US constitution was passed on August 18, 1920. Idaho, and the western states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado, and Washington, led the country in the effort of women’s suffrage. Building on Idaho’s past, we will look to the year 2020 that marks the 100th anniversary of the women’s right to vote, and the beginning of the Idaho Women 100 celebration. This celebration will honor the women’s suffrage movement and bring together organizations to shape the unlimited future of women’s leadership in the great state of Idaho. For more information and to get involved, visit:


Pictured: (Top) Women’s suffrage votes by county, 1896 (Bottom) Document acknowledging the passage of suffrage, 1896, Idaho State Archives

The first time I saw live theater, I was a high school scholar at the Wittenberger Summer Writing Project at the

College of Idaho, then called Albertson College. With a few dozen other literary students, I began my first writer residency on the idyllic campus, penning poems with kayaker poets who have since passed and cowboy playwrights whose names I cannot recall. The experience was transformative--never before had I entertained the idea that art can bring people together, form the backbone of a career, or channel the angst I felt into meaningful relationships and action. We bussed to a performance at Idaho Shakespeare Festival, sitting on the lawn to eat our cafeteria picnics and covertly hold hands under the cover of impending darkness and endless stars. The performance, like many ISF produces, wasn’t literal, instead an interpretation of one of Shakespear’s shows, the theater company’s translation resonating through the amphitheater on a warm Boise night. Here’s what art can do, I thought. And I ran with it. I’d been creating art since the public (family) unveiling of my magnum opus, a third grade poem called My Sister’s Stinky Socks, but ISF opened my eyes to the possibility that writing, theater, music, food, photography, visual art--even technology, could do more. In this issue, we’re bringing you all of that and more. We go behind the scenes with Treefort’s many forts, check in with local filmmakers, and explore beautiful weddings that feel very uniquely Idaho. We learn about a supercomputer that sits right in the middle of Boise, hear stories about how people are meeting each other in 2020, anticipate this year’s real estate market, and sit down with Idaho Shakespeare’s Director of Education, who is doing AMAZING things for youth via theater. Plus, I’m excited to tell you, we’ve got a very special article from three perspectives on backcountry rescue as the spring sun begins to warm up the heaps of snow sitting in our mountains. Finally, we’re talking about affordable housing again, because it is a subject so close to our hearts and the hearts of the Idahoans who read our magazine each month. It’s a complicated subject, and we’re talking to a lot of different folks, including a developer who has chosen to offer affordable housing right in downtown Boise. Readers, and I know I say this every single month, but this issue is spectacular, and I’m glad to bring it to you because I know you appreciate the art that goes into making it. More though, I’m grateful for the art that necessitates a publication that showcases it--those great Idahoans doing things so extraordinary that we cannot help but highlight them in a monthly publication. So keep making art, prioritizing art, and appreciating art of all H E AT H E R H A M I LT O N - P O S T kinds, friends. We’re here for it, and we hope to see you in the pages of Editor in Chief our next issue. ART FOR ALL!

2020 Plays

Much Ado About Nothing May 22–June 21 By William Shakespeare

Ain’t Misbehavin’ June 12–July 16 Conceived by Richard Maltby, Jr. and Murray Horwitz Henry V June 28–August 16 By William Shakespeare Jane Austen’s Emma A Musical Romantic Comedy July 31–August 30 Book, Music and Lyrics by Paul Gordon

Sleuth September 4-27 By Anthony Shaffer

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MARCH 2020 publisher K A R E N DAY managing editor H E AT H E R H A M I LT ONPOST copy editor Z ACK CR E NSH AW art and design K AR EN K EY K A L E Y BE LVA L designers and illustrators JOH N AT H A N S TOK E S social media manager K E L L I E M A L ON E director of operations and sales manager M AR IELLE W ESTPH A L contributing photographers K A R E N DAY J OH N W E B S T E R Marketing, Sales and Distribution IdaHome Magazine is publishing by Idaho Real Estate Marketplace P.O. Box 116 Boise, Idaho 83701 208-481-0693 © 2019 IdaHome Magazine. All rights reserved. The opinions expressed by the authors and contributors to IdaHome Magazine are not necessarily those of the editor and publisher.

ON THE COVER Independent and locally owned/operated, Ralston Group Properties (Ralston Group) challenges the status quo within the real estate industry. Th is vibrant, "boutique" brokerage is grounded in the belief that creating long-term, trustbased relationships and always serving the client’s needs fi rst, is both good business and the right thing to do. Five words define this residential and commercial real estate fi rm: Trust + Experience + Heart + Th inkers + Advocates. With offices in downtown Boise and Ketchum, their agents are handpicked and represent the very best in the industry and in our community. Ralston Group… A Tradition of Trust. Photo by John Webster.

I N THE NE X T I SSUE Fo r m i d a b l e Wo m e n I n I d a h o a n d A r o u n d t h e Wo r l d


Would you risk your life for a stranger?

Photo by John Webster, courtesy of Brundage Mountain.

Danger in the Darkness By Taan Robrahn, Fire Chief, Sun Valley Fire Department It was a late summer evening when the initial page went out for the report of a paraglider that had crashed high up on Lookout Mountain south of Bellevue. The initial technical rescue team from Wood River Fire and Rescue responded and established command of the incident. Knowing that this was going to be an extended rescue, they requested the assistance of the Ketchum/Sun Valley Backcountry rescue team. The sun was beginning to set, and darkness was approaching quickly. Though we conduct roughly 25-35 backcountry rescues a year, we classify them as a high-risk low frequency event that requires extra attention. The ground rescue team was working their way to the patient while command staff was evaluating their plan to get the patient off the steep slope high up on the mountain. An air ambulance from Life Flight was at the command post awaiting orders. It was a grueling hike for the ground team, covering thousands of vertical feet to arrive at the patient. When the initial paramedic began his assessment, he determined the patient had serious but not life threatening injuries. At this time, Command notified us that a team would be flown to the top of the mountain by Life Flight with our technical rescue gear to lower the litter team and patient to the bottom. Captain Miles Canfield and I landed on top of lookout mountain around 11:30 P.M. I still remember looking north and seeing the lights of Hailey and Bellevue and the silence before starting our mission. We waited for two other members of our rescue team to be dropped off by the helicopter before descending to the patient. As the team in charge of transport for the patient, we were constantly evaluating our options. Would it be best to raise the team up to the top or lower them to the bottom? We made the decision to lower the patient to the bottom, which would take about six hours. We calculated about 4,600 feet of rope passed through our systems before reaching the bottom in the early hours of the morning. The air ambulance was sitting at the base of the mountain in an alfalfa field where we transferred the patient, who was flown to the hospital. As a first responder, there is no better feeling than a successful mission, good outcome for the patient, and the safe return of all involved.

Searching for Tracks By John Postlewaite, Director of Ski Patrol and Risk Management at Bogus Basin Though most of our rescues at the resort are within the ski area boundary, from time to time, the hill receives large snowstorms that tempt guests to leave the perimeter for fresh tracks. Once, I was working the night shift when we received a report of a person missing, presumably down in Mack’s Creek, outside of our northern perimeter. As the backcountry rescue specialists for the shift, my partner and I geared up while the rest of the team gathered information and tried to pinpoint the missing individual’s location. It was dusk on the mountain, and we knew if we didn’t act in haste it would be a long night out in the elements for our patient. We skied around the perimeter until locating the out of bounds tracks, pulled out our avalanche transceivers, and did our preliminary checks. Next, we assessed the snow and noticed signs of instability, and, knowing this, we decided to proceed with caution and ski taking turns. After descending roughly 200 yards, we realized the tracks turn to footprints in waist-deep snow. My partner and I followed this boot pack until around midnight, when we found the patient exhausted and hypothermic. Making a good decision, the guest had improvised a small snow cave covered in pine boughs to wait out the night. We changed out his damp clothes and geared up for our journey back to the resort. After slogging through the deep snow in whiteout conditions, we eventually rendezvoused at our pick up point, where we took snowmobiles back to the Ski Patrol Hut. There were good decisions and luck that made this rescue a success, although we know this is not always the case. Ski area boundaries define a fine line between fun with friends and the dangers of the backcountry.


Above: Rescue teams work together to get wayward skiers and snowboarders to safety. Photo courtesy of Bogus Basin. Left: Students attend an avalanche training course at Brundage Mountain Resort. Photo courtesy of Brundage Mountain.

Staying Safe in Idaho's Backcountry By Janna Allen, Ski Patrol Director, Brundage Mountain Resort

Is it safe in the life-served backcountry at Brundage? Of course. Safety beyond the patrolled and controlled parts of the ski area depends on the experience, training, preparation and equipment of every individual.. Visitors are fortunate to have lift access to epic powder lines just beyond ski area boundaries. However, there are essential rules and knowledge to safely ski the backcountry. • Respect your ability both skiing/riding! • Don’t go alone! • Know that we do not patrol the backcountry. Rescue may be at your own expense. • Get educated! Avalanche education, safe mountain travel, ski area boundaries and survival. Know how to rescue yourself and partners. • Research current avalanche conditions (, weather forecast for the day, and beyond. Determine a meet up location in case your group gets separated. Inform someone not on the adventure of your plan and how to 10

initiate a search. • Carry: - Helmet, 3-antennae Beacon, 3 meter probe, metal shovel (and know how to use them). - Snow study kit. - First aid kit. - Headlamp (extra batteries). - Emergency bivy sack. - Area Topo map with compass. - Extra layers, extra gloves. - Fire starting kit. - Basic repair kit with leatherman. - Water. Water. Water. - Container to boil water. - Radios or SOS satellite communication device. Keep batteries warm. - Extra food. • If conditions are not what you thought they’d be, speak up. REMEMBER: Trust yourself, and ride another day!

Not a Bad Place to Make Movies By Travis Estvold The bad news: Idaho does not offer tax credits to filmmakers – a shortcoming only exacerbated by those provided by neighboring states like Washington and Utah, plus Canada. “Getting productions to look at Idaho without any financial incentives is a tough sell, but if you look at the economies that are created in states that have adopted film incentives, it’s hard to deny their impact,” Celeste Matika, Sun Valley-based film producer/director, said. “Selfishly, I just wish I could work here more often, rather than needing to leave town two to three times a year to work.” But fear not, there’s also good news: the filmmaking community in Idaho is loaded with camaraderie, gorgeous locations, and, as is apparent if you look around at this precise moment, talent. Andrew Ellis, who founded and now co-helms the Idaho 48-Hour Film Competition and Festival (i48), gushes about the dedication and passion of Idaho filmmakers. “The quality of work produced by that cohort is truly impressive,” he said. Missoula-to-Boise transplant Seth Dahl is just such a filmmaker. As a veteran and river guide, an encounter with Timmy O’Neill, a professional climber (and later executive producer of Dahl’s project), led to the opportunity to produce a 20-minute documentary following a pair of injured combat veterans as they guide a fellow vet – who’s now blind – on a kayaking trip through the Grand Canyon. “This film quickly became a passion project for me and speaks of how to move on in life after adversity hits. It’s a story everyone can relate with, not just veterans or kayakers,” Dahl said. Following a long and self-described lonely post-production process, “The Long River Home” was selected to be a part of the prestigious Banff Mountain Film Festival, and even more narrowly, added to the annual 35-film Banff World Tour, which premiered in October of last year. As it sweeps 48 countries over a 12-month span, more than 500,000 people will experience Dahl’s and the other Banff films – including the "Girls Are Strong Here” premieres at the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival. five stops the tour made Photo courtesy of "Girls Are Strong Here". 12

in Idaho locations in late January through early February. Meanwhile, filmmaker Scott Burkhardt is notably not from Idaho. The professor of screenwriting and television writing for the University of Pennsylvania and Stony Brook University had never even visited the Gem State when he won the 2019 1 Potato prize from the Sun Valley Film Festival. 1 Potato and its accompanying $5,000 grant supports emerging screenwriters and filmmakers while encouraging filmmaking in Idaho (a requirement of the resulting films). But Burkhardt, as writer/director, partnered with local Seth Dahl is a filmmaker, veteran, and producer Matika, her third collaboration with 1 Potato winners, river guide. Photo by Lane Lamoreaux. and they set about creating “Girls Are Strong Here” – “the story of a Syrian refugee whose faith in his new country is tested when an American teen and her mother are stranded at his car repair shop overnight,” Matika summarizes. The script is adapted from a portion of a feature script Burkhardt previously wrote. “I think it's special because it deals with immigration and gender roles in what I hope is an unexpected and engaging way,” he notes. “Girls Are Strong Here” will officially premiere at the 2020 Sun Valley Film Festival the week of March 16. Ellis, along with i48 co-director Josie Pusl,remains committed to the goal of providing opportunities and motivation for Idaho filmmakers to hone their craft, then highlighting those films in the community, partnering with the Sun Valley and Idaho Horror Film Festivals. The festival has four events scheduled for 2020: the February Comedy Short Film Festival (screening April 10); the 17th annual i48 Festival ("Best Of" screening June 7); "Thirteen Stories," a collaboration with the Old Idaho State Penitentiary, where teams will make short films inspired by pen-related historical figures and events (screening Sept. 12); and the 9th annual horror component, h48, taking place in October. To experience Seth Dahl’s work, visit For more information on the Sun Valley Film Festival and its 1 Potato Initiative, visit And for upcoming dates and venues, and past i48-winning films, visit Additionally, check out the Boise Film Festival, Idaho Horror Film Festival, Les Bois Film Festival, Sandpoint Radius Film Festival, and University of Idaho’s Kino Short Film Festival for spotlights on filmmaking talent within Idaho and well beyond.

Black Panther's M'Baku, Winston Duke, Karen Day's award-winning documentary, Bamboo and Barbed Wire, attends Sun Valley Film Festival, March 18th-22nd. premieres March 12th at the Idaho State Historical Museum. Ruth Photo courtesy of Sun Valley Film Festival. Bader Ginsberg is featured in the film. Photo courtesy of Karen Day.



EAST RIDGE 24 2 0 E WA R M S P R I N G S AV E N U E | B O I S E , I DA H O 8 37 1 2 5 B e d ro o m s | 5 B at h ro o m s | 61 2 9 S Q F T | 6 0 Ac re s $7,750,000 N o t h i n g q u i te co m p a re s to t h i s o a s i s o f co m fo r t l o d g e d at t h e e d g e o f a d ve n t u re o n B o i s e ’s E a st R i d g e. Pe rc h e d a b ove I d a h o ’s h i g h - d e s e r t , u r b a n c a p i t a l , t h i s s e c l u d e d re t re at w i l l p ro te c t , i n s p i re, e n l i g h te n & f u l f i l l . B o i s e ’s ce n t ra l co re i s j u st m o m e n t s away f ro m t h i s exq u i s i te s a n c t u a r y o f sto n e, wo o d , a i r, & wate r. N at u re b u i l t t h e b a s e, i n g e n u i t y a d d e d t h e co m fo r t s , & yo u c a n a d d t h e l i fe w h i l e s o a k i n g u p t h i s m a g n i f i ce n t h o m e ’s e n e rg y. 6 0 - a c re p r i vate p re s e r ve s u r ro u n d s t h i s u n i q u e v i s i o n a r y re t re at . 14


WALK INTO THIS Alicia Ralston 208-850-7638

420 W Main Street · Suite 102 Boise · Idaho 83702

co-listed with

Eric DeBord 208-283-1509

495 W Main Street Boise · Idaho 83702


WEDDINGS are always a unique adventure, especially in Idaho. From north to south and east to west, the many landscapes of the Gem State offer couples mountains, rolling hills, and even luscious city parks. Whether you’re hoping for sun or cruising through Idaho’s beautiful Sun Valley, there’s no better place to say ‘I Do’.


happily ever after



we’ll create it.

If you can’t imagine it, we will help you dream up something spectacular. Whatever your style, allow us to transform your wedding or next event into something extraordinary!

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Photo by Amy Russell, courtesy of Treefort Music Fest.

I DO! Stories of How We Met Roses are Red

“I saw Jessica at a Halloween party at the Rose Room. She was dressed as a red crayon. I was a wolf hunter. I bought her a gin and tonic and she asked me who my favorite author was (at the time, Joan Diddion).” -- Joe Jaszewski

Young Love

“His family moved into the house next door to my grandmother. We were 5 and 4 when we met, friends until we started dating at 22, married at 23, and married now for 12 years!” -- Heather Sharpe

by Heather Hamilton-Post

Picking Teams

Getting Lost

"Junior year in high school, I was hanging with the guys when a new girl (and foreign exchange student) came in to PE class and started running laps. I did something I almost never do and introduced myself (I am shy in the beginning of most interactions). Later I chose her for my basketball team, and realized she was super competitive and I was hooked. We bantered and flirted back and forth for several months and then had our first date during tip off (Jan 1999) and have been together since." -- Ben Brown

“I met him in a bar in Caen, France. Neither of us was supposed to be there. And I knew I was in trouble from the minute I saw him. A few days later he stole my number out of a friend’s phone, called and asked me for a date. I told him to get lost, and the rest is history.” --Sally Stokes

Spicing T hings Up

“I met Bob at Taco Bell where I worked with his brother. He came in and I told my girlfriend “he’s the one”. He still has the paper I gave him my number on! And next week is our 19 year wedding anniversary!” -- Lynda Hall


Happily Ever After: Adventurous Idaho Weddings Photo by Amanda RenĂŠ Photography.

From public Treefort proposals to bicycles built for two, Idahoans embrace the adventurous wedding with the same enthusiasm for life outside the box that sends us down Photo by Lindy Photography. the slopes in winter or mountain rol ler coasters beautiful as the brides peaks, nobody does wedding s quite like who dot their lucious in summer. With landscapes as hil ls and snow capped Idaho. 20

Photo by Blythely Photography.

Photo by Lindy Photography.

Photo by Blythely Photography.

Photo by Blythely Photography.


Advice for

An Incredible Wedding By Maya Renee, Maid of Honesty

Oooooh! You finally got that ring--now let’s get the planning started! Even if you don’t want to admit it, it’s something you’ve probably been dreaming of since you could remember. No big deal, right?! All is bliss until about a month in and you quickly become overwhelmed by pretty much everything. What was supposed to be a joyous experience is quickly becoming a chaotic and stressful time. Yuck! Let a sista help you out! I’ve worked as an event planner for over 20 years, and, while I could talk weddings all day, here are a few manageable tips!

out. They also know that Uncle Jim’s plane comes in at 1pm and he needs transportation. That person doesn’t forget your cousin who has changed their dietary restrictions a few times in addition to so many other fun wedding details. Don’t play yourself, sweetie! You spend over a year planning and investing in your wedding day, and when that day comes, you and your immediate family are basically in hiding! You NEED someone who knows what they’re doing--a person who takes your money seriously and represents your wishes. Photograph courtesy of Kimberlee Miller. I could continue on with a list of tips and tricks to assist you along your wedding Have a Vision planning journey, but the right wedding planner/day Remember, the more people you talk to, the of manager will have it all under control! more opinions you will hear. Make sure that you Remember t he Purpose have a clear vision before discussing details with too This day is all about you and your love. You’ve many people, or your wedding can quickly turn into found your person! You’ve found your partner in someone else’s-- especially if you have a hard time crime, the person you are most comfortable with, the speaking up for yourself. one who has agreed to fight along your side in this For t he Love of Everyt hing Alive… crazy thing called life! This day is a reflection of the love you both have for one another. If it gets stressful, Get a Wedding Planner take a break. Refocus, and remember the reason for At the very least, find a “day of ” wedding the day. manager. Please*clap* under *clap* stand *clap*: this is You’re probably not a professional at getting NOT a family member who is in the wedding. This married (I would be a bit nervous if you were), so be is not your very organized and bossy best friend. This sure to work with people who are professionals. That is an experienced wedding professional that knows way, you and your families can have the pleasant how to move quickly and put out fires. This person experience they deserve and you and the love of your understands logistics and knows how to execute life can have something beautiful to reflect on for multiple timelines at once. They know who can and years to come. can’t sit at the same table without the claws coming Contact Maya at 22

Weddings & Events (208) 947-2840

Better Than Broadway Idaho Shakespeare Festival Brings Theater to Schools by Heather Hamilton-Post

“When we perform a comedy, all of the students one with actors. want to know if anyone is dating,” laughs Veronica Von Von Tobel chooses the performance for each tour Tobel, the Director of Education for Idaho Shakespeare carefully, taking into consideration current events, child Festival. In Von Tobel’s time with ISF, she’s also been in and young adult development, and, well, fun. “Richard III six educational tours and has taught in various capacities makes kids think about how we judge people, how we put since 2010. This year, she’s directing the Idaho Theater for them into boxes. Sword Song is a story about what we Youth tour performance of Sword Song: A New Arthurian can all do to help our world if we come together,” she says. Legend, in addition “Theater is a great to overseeing ISF’s way for kids to gain other educational empathy.” programs, including The other Shakesperience, important thing which is performing these tours are Richard III. doing, Von Tobel For students explains, is showing in rural areas, there kids that there are is limited access to careers in the arts. live theater. Maybe “One of the actors they’ve read a little in Richard III was Shakespeare, but a student at Nampa taking turns reading High when I met lines of dialogue him. He came up is the closest most after the show and Idaho Theater for Youth actors perform The Science of Fiction. have come to asked how he could Photo courtesy of Idaho Shakespeare Festival. engaging with the do this. He went text in a physical way. “It’s 8am when they get there to to college, and now he’s back, doing the same thing,” she watch our show, and it's the last thing they want to do. And says. And there are opportunities other than acting--these by the end? They’re engaged and asking us why we didn’t shows have directors, professional fight choreographers, make the show longer. It’s the best compliment we can dialect coaches, playwrights, costume designers. “There are get,” explains Von Tobel. so many opportunities for these kids,” she emphasizes. Idaho Theater for Youth is geared toward younger Both Shakesperience and Idaho Theater for Youth are audiences, while Shakesperience is meant for students in professional theater productions, and Von Tobel says that grades 7-12. Both tours travel via minivan and moving she wants them to be the best of the best. “Because they truck to schools in nearly every Idaho county and some deserve that, you know?” she says. “We’ve reached so many outside the state, relying on actors to set up, take town, and students. I’m so grateful, and I take the job very seriously. I operate whatever set is necessary in the space available. want to create a magical time for them.” Schools receive study guides prior to performances, as Both shows offer pubic performances (information well as discussion questions, activities, and script excerpts, available on, and, Von and can even pay a little extra for a smaller workshop that Tobel points out, performances can be sponsored if you’d delves into the material and allows students to work one on like to see these fantastic shows at a school near you! 24


By Alicia Ralston, Ralston Group Properties

While real estate professionals are often asked to speculate about local markets, experience has taught us at Ralston Group to be appropriately cautious in giving a declarative position about our local real estate market. Those of you who know us well recognize that we’re cautious optimists, but also realists. You also know that we’re deeply committed to helping our clients’ manage risks — especially financial risks. The average Ada County single-family home sold price in 2019 was up 10.3% from 2018. Although this is a lofty increase, it felt a little more reasonable than the 16.5% increase from 2017 to 2018. Average sold price per square foot in 2019 was $186.52, compared to $167.51 in 2018. Over the decade the average Ada County home price increased 110.0%. Home prices in 2019 increased 123.6% since the low in 2011 ($172,969), and are 44.9% higher than the high price in 2007 ($266,967). In Blaine County, average single-family home sold prices were up 4.0% in 2019 from the prior year and up 24.9% over the decade. Average sold per square foot in Blaine County North Boise Northeast Boise Southeast Boise increased to $372.12., as compared to $350.74 in 2018. Since Blaine’s low in 2012 ($487,828) prices increased THE RALSTON 66.9%, but 2019 prices were only$585,553 3.4% higher than the 2007 high ($787,044) prior to the ’08$443,280 recession. $636,545 North Boise Northe THE RALSTON The Idaho Department of Labor MONTHLY North Boise Northeast Boise Southeast Boise +5.8% from $585,553 $636,545 THEstrong RALSTON +11.8% +39.6% forecasts continued growth in January 2019 MONTHLY $585,553 $636,545 $443,280 JANUARY 2020! +5.8% fromBoise North key job sectors. Ada County and Blaine$293 MONTHLY $243 THE RALSTON $221 January 2019 +5.8% from 99% 92 99% 2020! 99%+39.6% +11.8% JANUARY 47 County home prices have recovered and THE RALSTON 35 $585,553 $636 29January 2019 29 21 $293 $243 JANUARY 2020! North Boise Boise $585 99% Northeast 92 9 MONTHLY homeowners have regained their equity. $293 $243 $221 THE99%RALSTON 29 +5.8% from 92 99% 99% MONTHLY 47 35 29 $585,553 29 $636,545 January 2019 21 $443 We’re currently not in an “overbuild” JANUARY 2020! Northwest The Bench MONTHLY West Boise Boise $293 JANUARY 2020! +5.8% from situation, and new construction inventory 99% 92 +11.8% The Bench West 29 January 2019 The Bench West Boise $408,553 Northwest Boise JANUARY 2020! is relatively low. 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Interest rates remain low. need anything. February! Spring is right Warmly, Eagle North M Greetings+17.5% and Happy Eagle North Meridian South Meridian Warmly, Warmly, around the corner. Please February! Spring is right LocalAlicia economic indicators suggest Alicia $218 Alicia don't hesitate to call if you around the corner. Please $177 $572,062 Greetings and$376,084 Happy 99% 99% $406,947 81 $572,062 $572,062 need anything.38 45 $406,947 don't Eagle hesitate25 to call if $376,084 you February! Spring is right $376,084 M: it’s 208-850-7638 likely to last for at least a couple M: 208-850-7638 Warmly, M: 208-850-7638 need anything. around the corner. Please E: Alicia E: E: Warmly, don't hesitate to call if you more years in Ada and Blaine counties. $572,062 +9.9% +16.2% +7.5% +9.9% +16.2% +7.5% Alicia $376 +9.9% need anything. Eagle North Meridian M: 208-850-7638 $572 Ralston Group isreferrala (10.3%) small, vibrantfeels referralWarmly,Ralston Group is a small, vibrant referralRalston a small, vibrant TheGroup 2019isprice increase E: 205 M: 208-850-7638 $202 Alicia $176 100% 205 $178 100% based residential“boutique” brokerage $202 $202 $176 $178 $176 99% based residential“boutique” brokerage based residential“boutique” brokerage 91 76 +9.9% E: 99% 91 100% 100% 51 7655 99% 10 52 $572,062 76 55 $376,0849151 $406,9 a bit healthier the priorBoise year.andIt’s 52 and withthan offices downtown with offices in downtown Boise with offices in downtown Boiseinand Ralston Group is a small, vibrant referralM: 208-850-7638 Ketchum, Idaho. $202 E: Ketchum, Idaho. Ralston Group is a small, vibrant referralbased residential“boutique” brokerage Ketchum, Idaho.we’ll still see double digit probable 99% 91 76 +16.2% LIKE US ON FACEBOOK based residential“boutique” brokerage with offices in downtown+9.9% Boise and LIKE US ON FACEBOOK Hailey LIKE US FACEBOOK increases inON2020 —VISIT we’re hopeful Ketchum Sun Valley Ralston Group is a small, vibrant referralwith offices in downtown Boise and Ketchum, Idaho. Hailey OUR WEBSITE Ketc Hailey Sun Idaho. Valley 205 VISIT Ketchum OUR WEBSITE $202 $176 100% based residential“boutique” brokerage Ketchum, VISITbelow OUR WEBSITE 91 76 LIKE US ON 99% FACEBOOK we’ll stay 2018 increases, but 52 $682,857 with offices in downtown Boise and $543,910 Hailey LIKE US ON FACEBOOK $543,910 VISIT OUR WEBSITE $1,190,658 Ketchum, Idaho. TRADITION OF increases. TRUST $682,857 $543,910 doubtful we’ll Afall below 10% $1,190,658 VISIT OUR WEBSITE A TRADITION OF TRUST $1,190,658 +9.1% A TRADITION OF TRUST LIKE US ON FACEBOOK $543,910 +28.9% -6.6% Th ere are stillAverage signifiSold cant differences Price Hailey $1,190 +28.9% Ketchum $543 A TRADITION OF TRUST VISIT OUR WEBSITE Average Sold Price +9.1% Average Sold Price Per SQFT +28.9% -6.6% A$421 TRADITION OF TRUST $290 Average Sold PriceAverage (at least locally) from the “pre-crash” $583 Average Sold Price Per SQFT +28.9% Percent of List Price 338 98% 110 98% 98 $682,8 Average Sold Price $290 $543,910 $583 Average Sold PriceDays Per SQFT 93% Average Percent of List Price On Marketlow and new 110 98%Sold $1,190,658 $421 Sold Price Per $290 Average Price 7 era. InventoryList remains A TRADITION OF 5 TRUST $583 Average338 13 SQFT 93 $290 Average Percent ofTotal Price Homes Sold Days On MarketAverage Percent of List 98% 110 98% 98 98% Average Sold Price Per SQFT Price 110 93% 5 -6.6% +28.9% TotalAT:Homes Days On Market inventory is not insane. construction RALSTON GROUP PROPERTIES IN BOISE 420 WSold Main Street, 102 AND IN KETCHUM AT: 191 Sun Valley Road, 202 Average Percent of Suite List Price AverageLOCATED Sold Price Days OnSuite Market 5 13 7 5 Total Homes Sold Average Sold Price Per SQFT Total Homes Sold DaysLOCATED On Market RALSTON GROUP PROPERTIES IN BOISE AT: 420 W Main Street, S We still believe many people learned a $290 $583 Total Homes Sold LOCATED Average PercentAT: of List Price 338 110 RALSTON 98% GROUP PROPERTIES IN BOISE AT: 420 W Ma RALSTON GROUP PROPERTIES LOCATED IN BOISE 420 W Main Street, Suite 102 AND IN KETCHUM AT: 191 Sun Valley Road, Suite 202 Closed sales from past month for single-family homes including condos and townhouses. Information derived 93%from the Intermountain/Sun Valley ML Days On Market very hard lesson and are hopefully less RALSTON GROUP PRO 5 13 Closed sales from past month for single-family homes including condos and townhouses. Information derived from but not warranted by Ralston Group. Total Homes Soldthe Intermountain/Sun Valley MLS. Data is deemed reliable and accurate, likely to repeat the excesses and other RALSTON GROUP PROPERTIES LOCATED IN BOISE AT: 420 W Main Street, Suite 102 AND IN KETCHUM AT: 1 financial mistakes of the past. Most (including contractors and builders) are cautious, more thoughtful, and more fiscally responsible. We’re personally seeing younger generations, especially Millennials, who are not buying homes unless they are well positioned – 10-20% down payments (lower loan to value ratio), good credit, and thoughtful budgets (not purchasing what they qualify for, but rather what they are comfortable spending). We’re cautiously optimistic, and will continue to be vigilant in counseling and protecting the interests of our clients when, where, and how they purchase and sell properties. Closed sales from past month for single-family homes including condos and townhouses. Information derived from the Intermountain/Sun Valley MLS. Data is deemed reliable and accurate, but not warranted by Ralston Group.

Closed sales from past month for single-family homes including condos and townhouses. Information derived from the Intermountain

Closed sales from past month for single-family homes including condos and

Closed sales from past month for single-family homes including condos and townhouses. Information derived from the Intermountain/Sun Valley MLS. Data is deemed reliable and accurate, b


Affordable Housing Crisis The need, obstacles, and solutions by Heather Hamilton-Post

Photo courtesy of Harrison Berry, Boise Weekly. Boise’s Planning and Zoning Commission denied a development group’s request to rezone the Redenbaugh Place apartments, which would have demolished them. “A lot of the people who work in downtown Boise can’t even afford to live here,” says developer Clay Carley. “It’s hard on the roads, and hard on the air. People should have a chance to live close to where they work if they want.” Strange words, he acknowledges, from someone who makes their living developing housing in a housing market that shows no signs of slowing down. Carley’s looking at things from a unique vantage point though--he owns what he calls “a bunch of ground”, which allows him the flexibility of allocating some of it to housing developments that won’t necessarily make a lot of money. And he’s doing exactly that. On a piece of land he owns (behind Penguilley’s and Cactus Bar), Carley is set to build income-restricted apartments, which should be operational by summer of 2021. With development partner Dean Pape and Carley’s two sons who will take over the business eventually, Carley evaluated what to do with the ground. “I told them that it would cost less to build upfront (because of tax credits), but that it would return around 30 times less than the market rate over the next 40 years. I asked what they thought we should do. Without hesitation, they told me ‘affordable housing’,” he says. But why? As a developer, Carley’s livelihood depends on housing prices. “Mixed income neighborhoods are stronger and more sustainable than neighborhoods without age and income diversity. And affordable housing is badly needed in our community,” he says. Zoe Ann Olson, executive director of the Intermountain Fair Housing Council, echos Carley’s sentiment-approximately half the calls they’re currently receiving are from people who can’t find affordable housing, are being evicted because they can’t afford current housing, or have to move because their rent has changed and it is no longer affordable. She adds that voucher holders face additional “source of income” discrimination, and include veterans with disabilities, seniors, women, families with children, and people of color. “Since about 2017, the number of people needing affordable housing has increased and eviction numbers have increased. It is definitely worse for voucher holders and people living on fi xed incomes or paycheck to paycheck,” she says. The National Low-Income Housing Coalition reports that, in 80% of Idaho’s counties, renters are paying more than one-third of their earnings. “Wages and income aren’t keeping up with the cost of housing,” Olson explains. Boise Mayor Lauren McLean has identified the need for affordable housing as a top priority both in her campaign and now that she holds the office of mayor. She’s created an affordable housing taskforce made up of 26

city employees, and, importantly, citizens. The taskforce will make recommendations regarding affordable housing in the community, and has been encouraged not to be discouraged by current action or inaction on housing in Boise. The inaction to which she refers is notable, but not necessarily without cause. So why the resistance? There are many answers. “People don’t understand what affordable or income-restricted housing is,” says Carley. “It isn’t high density developments. It isn’t people who choose not to pay their rent.” Carley explains that, in most income-restricted communities, it is simply people who work in the service industry or other jobs and don’t make enough to pay $1,800 for a one bedroom apartment. “And neighborhoods that are pigeonholed into one demographic income become stale-they wear out. There’s an obligation to the community to balance things out to make more sustainable and equitable mixed income neighborhoods,” he says. Olson cites a variety of studies that show that access to quality, affordable, accessible, and healthy housing leads to improved health, safety, and individual and community health outcomes. But lack of funding and support, public "Don't judge someone standing on a street corner. transportation, generational competition for affordable housing, They may be trying to support their family." - Jessica and Not-In-My-Backyard (NIMBY)ism all exacerbate the #gettoknowme • situation. “Affordable housing is critical for the welfare of the Photo courtesy of Matthew Wordell at Visionkit Studio. community and for the economy,” she emphasises. Mayor McLean has said that she believes housing is a human right, and is considering changes to zoning code that would positively impact the development of affordable housing in Boise. And, though she’s looking for additional ways to save money that could go into a housing trust to take city dollars to purchase land that affordable homes could be built upon, McLean has said that, if forced to choose, would prioritize financial incentives for affordable housing over those for historic preservation. Carley believes that somebody has got to subsidize the projects, and says that should come from any and all sources possible, including state, county, and municipality land assets. “Let’s get over the ‘what if we need it someday’ mentality--they should all be working with local communities to use land that is just sitting. What’s near an employment center or transit corridor? Where could we build?” he asks. Ultimately, Carley believes that elected officials will mandate such action, but argues that willing collaboration would be more beneficial. “When the people who have lived here for generations can no longer afford housing, then families lose grandparents, parents lose children, employers lose workers, and communities lose neighbors to other communities,” Olson explains. “Study after study shows that when we provide quality affordable housing tied to livable income at every income level and affordable transportation, then the community thrives. That’s fair housing. That’s Beloved Photo courtesy of Karen Day. Though major development is happening in Community.” downtown Boise, most rentals go for no less than $1,200 per month.


Avimor, Chapter 3 The Art of Living


Avimor is not just a subdivision -it’s a community. A rich social life is easy here, and you are cordially invited. Living well takes effort and thoughtful planning, and, with our Art of Living program, we’re dedicated to helping you achieve your best life. Avimor even has its own Art of Living Director, who plans and coordinates community events that build neighborhoods and social interaction. Avimor is a place for fun, with a variety of events throughout the year, including a robust outdoor calendar with 100+ miles of foothills trails, eight community parks, and a large community center. Look forward to monthly “Evenings at Avimor, Meet & Greet events, and informative “Avimor 101” presentations about subjects like fly fishing, gardening, Avimor wildlife, snowshoeing, hiking, dog training, birdwatching, and many more. If you like meeting and developing relationships with your neighbors, learning about where you live, weekly hikes and mountain bike rides, holiday parties, and socials, you’ll feel right at home in Avimor. As Avimor continues to grow, so do the opportunities here. Whether you have an idea for an activity, club, event, our Art of Living Director is committed to making it happen. From hiking groups to bike rides, ski groups to game nights to wine tastings and everything in between, we’d love to help bring your passion to the people--we’ve already got clubs for books, writing, photography, shooting, knitting, and Mahjong and Bunco, and more physical things like aqua aerobics, stretch and yoga classes, and tap dancing and line dancing on our new dance floor. The 12,000 square foot community center proudly hosts kid’s activities too, including preschool dance, music and movement, and swimming lessons. Of course, you can always work out in our state-of-the-art fitness center, where you’ll have no trouble finding a fitness partner or friend for a little conversation. We love to celebrate too, so look for holiday themed events like Easter egg hunts, Halloween parties and parades, St. Patrick’s Day parties, Christmas tree decorating events, and our famous annual chilli cookoff! Our community center is just that--a comfortable lounge area, library annex, meeting and exercise space, and gathering place that exists in service of the Avimor community.

Located North on Highway 55 a Mile Above Shadow Valley Golf Course Model Homes Open Daily 10 am - 5 pm 208-939-5360 • Marketed by Epic Realty LLC • RCE 35084

Silver Tongued Torres Gets Specific Despite what you’ve read, the album is not dead. With more and more artists releasing songs to streaming services the moment they hit the save button and more and more listeners gravitating to playlists that allow them to nibble music like grocery store samples, several critics have written obituaries for the albumas-art. But for every surprise-drop single there’s a Silver Tongue, the new album from Torres that was written, recorded and sequenced as a start-to-finish conceptual work. “I really love thinking about an album like a novel,” says Mackenzie Scott, who as Torres has recorded four albums that thread together folk classicism, prismatic dream pop and jagged ’90s alt-rock. “It should have a beginning, middle and end. It should be all the good things that a novel is.” Silver Tongue is Torres’ most detailed and dynamic album to date. It’s “an album about love,” Scott says, chronicling the end of one relationship and the beginning of another. She sings in the first

By Chad Dryden

Photo by Michael Lavine, courtesy of Treefort Music Fest. person, directly to her (ex-)girlfriend, and the lyrics read like a series of letters. Scott writes with a novelist’s precision as she expresses her joy, sorrow, doubt, devotion and longing through personal vignettes that by way of their specificity – making love “under Tennessee stars,” sitting “at the bar on St. Mark’s where we met” – achieve the universal. “I like to think I came out of it with a record that people can find easy access into it,” she says. “I’ve kind of always been obsessed with

Photo by Elise Malterre, courtesy of Treefort Music Fest. 30

hyper-specificity in lyricism. All my favorite novels are like that. As a fan of music, as a fan of books, the more general something gets, the more unrelatable something gets." While Silver Tongue may be a singer-songwriter album at its core, the nine songs are colored with synth washes and textured beats that draw from contemporary pop, electronic and indie rock production. Producing on her own for the first time (she co-produced the previous three Torres albums), Scott was able to fully realize the “imprint of the sonic world” her brain has occupied. “The challenge of self-producing is the tunnel vision aspect,” she says. “You don’t know if you’re being too self-indulgent or things are starting to sound the same. There’s a lot more self-trust involved. I ended up making the album that I was hearing in my head.” Catch Torres at Treefort!

ARTFORT: A Creative Space for Interfaith’s Homeless Art Collective By Amber Daley

Boise has made national news for its sometimes controversial decisions impacting its homeless population. These days, however, residents at Interfaith Sanctuary Housing Services are appearing in headlines for a different reason — their diverse creative skills. Spearheaded in late 2019 by Interfaith Sanctuary guest Geoffrey McCaully, the Homeless Art Collective provides shelter residents with opportunities for self expression — whether it’s through visual art, performance art, crocheting, or other mediums. Interfaith staff has supported the collective from the beginning. Evening Team Member and Case Manager Kayanna Gunther leads a workshop and facilitates open studio hours once a week so artists can have time and space for creative practice as well as storage capabilities. Now, with Boise’s iconic Treefort Music Fest approaching later this month, ten members of the Homeless Art Collective will soon have another opportunity — to display (and sell) their work at Trailhead Boise for Artfort’s Interfaith Sanctuary Showcase. McCaully was thrilled to hear the news. “It’s the most amazing thing I’ve ever heard,” he says. “It went from nothing to BAM — the biggest festival in Boise! How about that?” This marks the first time the Homeless Art Collective will have a dedicated exhibition in a professional setting, so participants will receive assistance pricing their work and writing their bios. Artists will also receive 100 percent of the proceeds from sales during the event, so they may “eventually become self-sustaining,” says Gunther. To help provide artists with much-needed supplies, Interfaith guests auctioned off work during its 14th Annual Xtreme Holiday Xtravaganza in December. Money raised went back to members of the collective, who were each allotted $50 to meet their basic creative needs. Boise has rallied behind this newly formed collective — Quality Art provided artists with discounted supplies, and community members have made donations specifically to benefit the group. Interfaith Executive Director Jodi Peterson isn’t surprised by the support. “Whenever we talk about these kinds of programs, people ask, ‘How can we help?’ Boise has one of the most generous, activated communities.” Picasso once said, “The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” For our community’s most vulnerable members, these words are proving true — thanks to the Homeless Art Collective, the Interfaith Sanctuary, Treefort/Artfort, Trailhead Boise, and sponsors throughout the community.


idahome magazine Photo by Maggie Mattinson.

Comedyfort What’s the coolest part about Comedyfort? “Ha! THis is comedy, baby, there ain’t NOTHING cool about it,” laughs Dylan Haas. “One of our headliners --Tom Thakkar -- just premiered his 30 minute special on Comedy Central and is currently writing a new show on SciFi network,” he says. “We guarantee you will laugh and have a terrific, relaxing time-not Yogafort relaxing, but, you know, giggle-fort relaxing.”

Photo by Danielle Abaya.

kidfort With 20 events over 3 days, there’s lots of allages fun at Kidfort. “There’s a little of everything music, storytelling, art, dance, tech, free sponsorship engagements, workshops, a dance battle and more!” says director Emily Williams. “A popular highlight is the Youth Variety Showcase, 'Treefort’s Got Talent,' she says, “a show comprised of local youth who were selected from an audition process to perform live at Treefort.”

Photo by Lila Streicher.



“Our goal is to highlight emerging indie filmmakers who are setting a new standard for thought provoking and visually compelling American cinema,” explains Filmfort director Chelsea Smith. “The lineup ranges from our top picks from Sundance and Tribeca to weird underground experimental stuff we source from filmmakers around the world to superb storytelling by Idaho filmmakers,” she says. Think of it as a “chill respite” from what Smith calls the buzzing chaos magic of Treefort--”you can duck in, catch some short films or a cool documentary, and still be out in time to see the headliner.”

Photos courtesy of Treefort Music Fest.

at treefort 2020! skatefort Photo by Amanda Morgan.

“There are full shows happening in the middle of the skatepark in the midst of people skating--it’s this beautiful chaos,” explains Marissa Lovell, who helps put on Skatefort. It’s family-friendly too, and Lovell says the public is welcome to skate or just enjoy the show, which includes music, professional skate teams, and everything in between. “It’s unique, and also a fleeting event, since it doesn’t happy every day of the fest. Check it out while you can!”, she says.

yogafort Photo by Brent Cheffings.

“I have this notion that the public perception of yoga can be that it takes extreme physical strength and flexibility as well as a knowledge of yoga language and concepts to get into it. We are not about any of that at Yogafort--we believe that if you show up, you are ready!”, says Celeste Bolin, one half of Team Yogafort with Marisa Weppner. “You are just as likely to arrive at a wild dance party with live drums or ecstatic singing session as a room full of silent downward dog poses,” she says. Yogafort, which began 8 years ago, is a passion project, and Bolin and Weppner want to continue to “spread the magic joy we have felt in yoga with hundreds of strangers that became instant friends.”


Treefort takes place March 25-29, 2020.

Photo by Amanda Morgan.

“The love, community, sense of discovery, and unconventional approaches to the literary arts and storytelling at Storyfort emanates from what Treefort has been about from the start,” says Christian Winn, who serves as director of Storyfort. “Our team's, and my own, goals from the start have been to break out of the mold of more traditional literary festivals and reading series, and to make Storyfort accessible to a music festival audience as well as lovers of story in all its many forms,” he says. The festival offshoot is mostly free, and features lesser-heard voices of all genres, and, in its seventh year, launched a behind-the-scenes podcast!


C H O W DOWN By Tim Atwell

BEHIND THE BEER AT ALEFORT As can be inferred from the number of craft breweries that have opened in recent years, Boise is an excellent place to brew beer. “We are in one of the world’s only great beer ingredient regions where we can get all of beer’s ingredients super high quality right here in our state,” said David Roberts, Director of Alefort. Brewers and beer enthusiasts will gather for Alefort, March 2729 in Boise, to celebrate the region’s craft beverage scene. Roberts has been there since the beginning, fostering his love for craft beer, culture and community. “At the same time that Treefort was being launched, I was thinking wow, the way those people feel about music and art is the way I feel about beer,” said Roberts. This year, ale is only one aspect of a variety of beverages to enjoy. While Photo by Karlie Jeneson, there will be over 80 different beers to sample, there will also be a selection of courtesy of Treefort Music Fest. wine and craft cocktails. “It felt like we had a huge hole if we weren’t acknowledging our city’s wine and cocktail culture in addition to our beer culture,” said Roberts. As part of a drive to make all dishes reusable at Alefort, everyone will need an 8 oz. Alefort cup or a 16 oz. stainless steel Treefort cup in order to sample beverages. Guests can bring their Alefort mug from a previous year or purchase one at the event. Aside from a reusable cup, Roberts encourages guests to bring an open mind to Alefort. “It feels like people really give us permission to push their boundaries and ask them to try something new,” said Roberts. “And I think that we make good on that, and reward them.

SHARING BEAUTIFUL MOMENTS AT FOODFORT As a Foodfort Producer, Alyssa Pearson works behind the scenes to ensure every event at Foodfort runs smoothly. You’ll find her running between events March 27-29, when Foodfort occurs under the umbrella of Boise’s signature music festival, Treefort. “I don’t necessarily get to sit down and eat. But that’s OK. An artist must suffer for their work,” Pearson told me with a laugh. This year, Foodfort features community dinners, a lineup of foodthemed speakers, and Street Eats, a market-style event featuring dishes from local chefs to sample. Though Foodfort typically draws big crowds, it is the type of environment where quiet little moments steal the spotlight. A standout moment for Pearson occured last year when Chef Bonnie Morales, owner of Kachka, a traditional Russian restaurant in Portland, Oregon, cooked dumplings with locally sourced sturgeon caviar and white sauce. “Seeing everyone’s face as they all took a bite of that dumpling, and everyone just freaking out about how good it was, that was such an overwhelmingly beautiful moment,” said Pearson. While the food helps to highlight beautiful moments at Foodfort, the real driving force is the community of people who gather to share these experiences. “Each dinner that we’re hosting is not only an opportunity to try new food, but it’s an opportunity to meet new people in the community that maybe you wouldn’t cross paths with otherwise,” said Pearson. “To hear new stories, and to make connections, and just feel closer to the community that we have here in Boise.”

Photo by Brent Cheffings, courtesy of Treefort Music Fest. 36

T ck ech fo nic There’s a little music festival called a Treefort that takes over our fair city’s downtown nd rt: all each March. While the music sits front and center, Cr Whe y Treefort also aims to bring different communities of ea tiv re passionate people together for a variety of “forts,” one of which is ity the technology-focused Hackfort. I recently met with Sean Wakeley and Mike Taylor, Hackfort’s Director By Karissa Manske


Sp e Te akin ch g Co nol and Assistant Director respectively, at a Hackfort Happy Hour event hosted at ll ide ogy Trailhead’s downtown location. The two shared their vision and goal of making Hackfort a fun and inviting part of the Treefort experience. Both started out as volunteers at Treefort and are currently in the second year of their more official roles. Feeling a little daunted by the idea of technology? You’re not alone. Wakeley and Taylor are aware of the enticing/intimidating juxtaposition that is technology. In fact, Taylor and I are two English degree holders who have found ourselves working in and around technology on a daily basis — and enjoying it. “A vast majority of the things we bring aren’t for the super hardcore technical people. We want people to leave interested, excited, and inspired,” Taylor said. Wakeley echoes those sentiments. “Since Mike and I took over Hackfort, he and I have really been focusing on building the community of technology, which doesn’t have to mean you’re a computer science major or an engineer. We want to celebrate the culture of entrepreneurialism, innovation, and design, and bring in a variety of events to help in that celebration,” Wakeley said If you’re worried about hearing “I’m bored!” during your Treefort experience, take your kids over to Hackfort for their all-ages events. There are a variety of hands-on workshops involving robotics, video games, virtual reality, and giant LED puppet design. And remember, kids under 13 get in for free with their parents! Other events hosted at Hackfort involve presentations and more intimate “fireside chats” with technology creators and entrepreneurs. “We’re extremely open to how people want to present their content, but this year is much more hands-on event heavy. Basically, we’re looking for anything to help people get their hands dirty!” Wakeley said. And therein lies the beauty of Hackfort. It offers a way for the entrepreneurs, the tinkerers, the casually curious, and the young minds to get excited about what is possible when technology and creativity collide.

Photo courtesy of Treefort Music Fest.

Photo by Koji Crill, courtesy of Treefort Music Fest.


Technically Speaking

Boise’s Geek Gal Amy Gile

By Karen Day

“I’d like to say the tech industry supports the idea of a female CEO,” says Amy Gile, founder of Silverdraft Supercomputing. “But unfortunately, my experience mirrors our cultural subconscious. No matter how successful or knowledgeable, women are judged by different standards, especially in tech.” Gender-bias isn’t stopping this Boise powerhouse from creating cutting-edge technology in visual rendering of data via supercomputing. In layman’s terms, Gile’s company offers mega-clients the opportunity to see into the future of their products in real time through virtual reality. Silverdraft uses supercomputing and compute capacity to analyze the workflow processes of very large companies and combine massive amounts of data to become more profitable and competitive. The job of a supercomputer is to swallow vast amounts of data and convert it into a visualization. In this way, big data saves millions of dollars, becoming an accelerant of success instead of a behemothic impediment that becomes obsolete before it can be made relevant. Leviathans like Disney, CBS, NBC, Nissan, Tesla and Toyota rely on the hyper-customized visualization solutions that Gile’s team designed and engineered. “Currently, we’re providing virtualization of the Las Vegas strip for a film production company,” Gile explains, standing in front of three large screens. “With real-time rendering of hundreds of hours of footage shot by LiDAR scan, and HD cameras, which our supercomputer converts at 159 frames per second onto these screens, a director is able to see each blade of grass or blow up the MGM without leaving the studio lot.“ “Most companies use technology as one aspect of creating an end product, as opposed to using technology to combine all aspects to create the best-possible end product,” she says. The general population experiences VR in video games. Putting on goggles and virtually leaping tall buildings may be entertaining, but this emerging technology is already an inherent part of space exploration, the automotive industry, architecture, manufacturing and Hollywood. By building prototypes with VR, companies save dollars by avoiding mistakes. Take, for example, the virtual model of Hard Rock Hotel built in Florida. Shaped like a giant, shining guitar, the virtualized building allowed the architect to step inside and see how the desert sun reflected off the building and promised to boil the swimming pool and anyone in it. Back to the virtual drawing board! “Name an industry,” Gile. “I’ll tell you how VR/AR/AI and supercomputing can and will, eventually, implement expediency and efficiency. Medicine, for instance. VR is proving an incredible methodology for training surgeons.” This reference is all in the family, since Gile’s husband Dr. Michael Gustavel is an orthopedic surgeon in Boise. Ironically, many industries remain as naïve as the public about the possibilities enabled by supercomputing and futuristic visualization solutions. Everyone who uses a laptop understands the commercial drive for faster performance, increased storage capacity and visual clarity. However, only IT specialists and engineers speak the language of higher FPUs, liquid cooled CPUs and GPUs, and 600 Xeon cores. Beyond seemingly impenetrable technical jargon and calculations in quadrillions, however, the main reason many corporate giants are not embracing the advantages of supercomputing is availability. In 2019, there were only 116 supercomputers in the United States and 500 in the world. Hewlett Packard and Idaho National Laboratory provide outsourcing for supercomputing solutions that are impossible to solve with regular computers. There is a two year wait to engage the use of one of the two supercomputers at INL. Independent supercomputing companies like Silverdraft are rare. And even more unusual is to find a female at the helm of the future. “I remember when my grandfather got a BetaMax!” Gile laughs. “I know that makes me sound like a dinosaur, but I’m in my 40s and the experience of being part of the tech evolution has always been a handson fascination for me. I would take everything apart trying to figure out how it worked,” she explains. So how did a curious little Boise girl grow up to be a visionary Geek Gal? And how do we encourage more little girls everywhere to do the same? Technology’s lightspeed taught Gile to face failure quickly and move on. “We need to let girls make and break things. And teach them to code. Success is genderless!”



Karissa Manske is an Idaho native Boise transplant who graduated with an English degree but found her calling in tech. When she’s not researching, writing, or editing content about the latest technological advances, chances are she’s shopping for thrift store steals or exploring Idaho’s hiking trails.

Tim Atwell graduated from Boise State University in 2016 with a BA in English and a certificate in Technical Communication. He currently works on the marketing team of a local healthcare technology company. In his spare time, he enjoys reading, cooking and spending time outdoors. Amber Daley is a fifthgeneration Idahoan who appreciates potatoes in all their forms — but also finds opportunities to politely inform newcomers of our official nickname: the Gem State. She finds writing inspiration through spontaneous road trips, mountain bike rides, and long walks down the cheese aisle.

Travis Estvold was born in Washington, raised in Oregon, then shipped to Idaho by the Air Force in 1998. (And he never left.) A BSU alum and marketing communications veteran, Travis loves dogs, chocolate, the outdoors, and sharing stories that aid vulnerable populations. His lone tattoo says, "And then ______."

Chad Dryden has built a life around his passion as a writer, vinyl-only DJ and longtime record store employee. He has written about music for two decades and is currently Marketing and Promotions Director at The Record Exchange in Downtown Boise. He lives in Boise with his wife Erica and daughter Magnolia.

Alicia C. Ralston 208-850-7638 Alicia C. Ralston 208-850-7638

Alicia C. Ralston 208-850-7638


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