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WOLVES in the Crosshairs


YOU LIVE FOR THIS. It may be navigating a mountain bike though our expansive trail system or skiing knee deep powder though the same terrain in the winter. It could be the calm of taking in the view of Lake Cascade from the top of West Mountain or hearing new stories from old friends during dinner in The Village. Or it may be like Tamarack Resort itself… it’s not just one thing – it’s everything. Come visit, ride the chair, stay the night and have some fun. Visit to book your adventure

Dear Reader, When people ask what I do for a living, I say, “I’m a writer.” And the best piece of advice I ever received about my profession was offered by the esteemed poet, W. S. Merwin. “Every word should be carved out of stone.” In other words, make your writing worth reading. Excellent writing is the purpose of IdaHome magazine and normally, my Publisher’s Letter is dedicated to introducing our great writers and articles herein. This month, however, I looked up (literally, 500 hundred feet in the air) and saw someone who deserves special attention. As the crow flies, Boise is 5,383 miles from Minsk, Belarus, where Yulia Avgustinovich was born. Her life sounds like a modern Russian novel, as her passion for painting led her to study classical art in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, where she met an American tourist and musician. They got married in Las Vegas and then settled in Denver. Today, Yulia, her husband, and their two daughters, Alexandria, 3, and Isabella, 5 months, are visiting Boise for a month while she operates the construction-grade cherry-picker that lifts her with brushes and paint to adorn the Hendrix building at Jefferson and 9th with Idaho-centric beauty. “I decided early that my purpose as an artist is to make public art,” says Yulia. “Art that everyone can enjoy for free.” Yulia won the Alexa Rose Foundation’s international competition to design and paint a downtown Boise mural. “I studied Idaho—the history, the images, the culture—and then created the design you see on the walls,” she explains. “I begin at the top and work my way down in ten-foot grids. I have painted many murals, but this is my biggest. And often, there is no budget for a mechanical lift—so I rappel off the roof and hang in a harness.” On her website, Yulia is wearing wings in photos that suggest she could also paint the walls of Mount Everest. ( All day long for a month now, in summer heat, Yulia deftly raises and lowers the intimidating, fivestory lift, a mechanical skill she learned online. Her canvas is concrete, but the Basque dancers, the giant hawk and bear, and the Syringa blossom look alive. She returns to earth, of course, several times a day, to breastfeed Isabella in the parking lot while cars and pedestrians pass by, oblivious to the magic that awaits us all, for free, if we just LOOK UP!

Thank you, Yulia and the Alexa Rose Foundation! Welcome to summer with IdaHome!




Heather Hamilton-Post is a writer and editor in Caldwell. She holds degrees in both agriculture and creative writing and is herself surprised by that. When she’s not writing, catch her at a socially distanced baseball game with her husband and young sons. Find her work across the web and buried in the lit journals you didn’t know you had.

After graduating from the University of Iowa with a master’s degree in journalism, Harrison Berry returned to Boise, where he spent eight years working for Boise Weekly, rising to the position of managing editor. His work has appeared in publications from Business Insider to American Theatre. He currently works for Boise State University. Hailey Minton is a freelance writer and loves painting with her words. She approaches life with inquisitiveness whether in writing, raising her daughter, or developing her hobbies. With a Bachelor’s in Business Management, she has a love for seeing innovators bring solutions to our ever-changing world. Margaret Carmel is a journalist in Boise, Idaho. She writes about politics, government, housing, homelessness and the economy. Prior to coming to Idaho, Carmel covered business, government and did investigative reporting for The News & Advance in Lynchburg, Virginia. She has a Bachelor's in Broadcast Journalism from Virginia Commonwealth University. Lex Nelson is a Boise-based reporter, ghost writer, blogger, and food enthusiast. She specializes in food, art, and environmental reporting, and her work has been published by Boise Weekly, The Idaho Press, Edible Idaho, Visit Idaho, and more. Samantha Stetzer holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and has written for newspapers, magazines, and blogs for nearly a decade. She loves writing about the stories that make us unique, and when she isn't weaving tales, she enjoys hiking with her husband and pups or visiting a local brewery. April Neale is an entertainment features writer and has read her work on NPR and "Spoken Interludes" and writes for various industry trades and entertainment websites. Neale is a member of CCA - Critics Choice Association, Alliance of Women Film Journalists; Hollywood Critics Association; Television Critics Association, and other professional entertainment organizations. Mike McKenna is an award-winning author and journalist from Hailey. Mike’s writing has appeared widely, from Forbes, People, and Trout to numerous regional newspapers. He has served as the editor of The Sheet and Sun Valley Magazine and is the author of two prizewinning guidebooks, including Angling Around Sun Valley.


J U N E /J U LY 2021 publisher K A R E N DAY features editor H E AT H E R H A M I LT O N POST copy editor C A R R I E L IGH T N E R technically speaking editor H A I L E Y M I N T ON ON THE COVER In the 1990s, we were all talking about wolves in the west, and especially in Idaho. Ranchers, legislators, conservationists, hunters--everyone had noisy opinions. Déjà vu, 2021, and the wolves are still here, more populous than ever, and the multifaceted public debate has resurfaced with a new legal mandate to kill. This issue of IdaHome digs deep into the conflicts and answers.

art and design J S NGR A F I X K A L E Y BE LVA L director of operations and sales manager M A R IELLE W EST PH A L staff photographer K A R E N DAY cover photograph J I M a nd J A M I E DU T C H 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 © 2021 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. Community + Culture + Recreation + Real Estate


COMMUNITY 9 From God's House to a Home 20 Howling at the Moon 26 Reading the River: John Webster Nails It 28 She Fell Into a Burning Ring of Public Fire 32 Tommy Ahlquist: Idaho Advocate 34 Bogus Basin Faces the Future



How Mass Timber Is Building a Sustainable Future Weeping May Endure for a Night...

FOOD, ARTS, & CULTURE 11 The Painting That Predicted the Future


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Chow Down at The Lively & Bar Gibbon Across the River and Into the Bar Ken Burns Interview: Hemingway for PBS A Fungus Among Us

TECHNICALLY SPEAKING 37 Winner of the Coolest Thing Made in Idaho: Black Sage's Sawtooth ALSO IN THIS ISSUE 3 Publisher's Letter 5 Contributors

Relaxation awaits. Surrounded by Idaho’s mountain beauty, our soak experience is more than just a hot springs. Pool-side beverage service, private pools and hotel accommodations, all in a facility that invites relaxation. PLAN YOUR ESCAPE AT 208.392.9500 | The

From God’s HOUSE to a HOME Step inside the North End churchturned-$2.9 million house


In the spring of 2020, Cooper Kalisek and his business partner, Jon King, ripped into the walls of the nearly 100-year-old United Presbyterian Church of Boise. Behind the boards nested ancient fliers, 80-year-old blank checks, and children’s scribbles — the paraphernalia of decades of Sunday school classes, sermons, and mornings passing the offering plate. “We found Sunday school fliers where kids were writing and drawing all sorts of things that you can imagine 13-year-old boys draw on Sunday school fliers,” Kalisek says. “Names, so-and-so loves so-and-so, all of that stuff.” The 4,880-square-foot church still stands at 1723 West Eastman Street in Boise’s North End neighborhood, but from February 2020 to April 2021, Kalisek and King’s company, North End Devco LLC, transformed it from a house of worship into a luxury four-bedroom, fourbath home. Its combination of high

ceilings, thoughtful design elements, and whimsical art pieces (like robot-themed oil paintings, art-covered skateboards, and a stuffed marlin over the door) make it feel part holy space and part art gallery.

“What we had was a historic building on the outside, but we had a blank slate on the inside.” Kalisek took the lead on designing the church’s sleek new look, filling it with his one-of-a-kind functional pieces, including railings and tables handcrafted by a reclusive self-proclaimed “ancient, ancient Idaho” welder and a coffee table he built himself

from a castoff piece of concrete countertop. The pitted stone caught his eye, and when he was cutting it down to size, inspiration struck. “I was snapping my chalk line on there, and the color that the blue chalk left in the caverns and imperfections in that countertop looked really cool, so I just dumped my chalk out, rubbed it around with a little bit of water, sponged it off, and then sealed it,” he says. To complete the piece, Kalisek added a polished teak root ball to the base and lit the whole thing from below. “It’s probably one of the more commented-on pieces. Four hundred pounds of concrete and metal that would have gone to the dump ended up being, in my opinion — and I might be a little biased — a priceless coffee table,” he says. That coffee table lives in what was once the church nave, today a bright, open-concept living and dining space filled with colorful art and high-end finishes. The centerpiece of the room


is the fireplace, a soaring pillar made from sheets of cold-rolled steel held in place by rare earth magnets. The sheets are edged with LED tape lights. It’s a modern touch that contrasts with the buttery light pouring through the windows. “What we had was a historic building on the outside, but we had a blank slate on the inside,” Kalisek says. “It’s kind of a rare opportunity to start with a blank canvas, and the goal was to sort of mix [metal and] wood, cold and warmth.” Other features of the three-story house include two expansive bars, a small deck, and a stone-lined wine cellar sequestered in one basement corner. When chatting about the cellar, Kalisek quips, “This is where they kept the bodies.” Some might say turning a church into a $2.9 million bachelor pad is sacrilege, or perhaps gentrification. But for Kalisek, a third-generation Idahoan, the project represents an investment in the North End community where he grew up. He was determined to preserve key parts of the church’s history, like the exterior look and poorly-maintained stained glass windows. 10

“I spent hundreds of hours trying to save those,” he remembers sady. “I have a tendency to go deep into rabbit holes on items, and I did late-night research on stained glass windows and how they’re built. I did everything I could because I thought they were one of the cooler pieces, one of the cooler aspects of that building.” Stained glass experts in Europe and America ultimately concluded that the windows were beyond repair and in fact were releasing lead oxide. Kalisek’s team removed them, but he hopes to safely donate them to Boise Bible College one day. His team took the building down to the studs, and paid tens of thousands of dollars for lead and asbestos abatement. The renovation process cost far more than the $495,000 North End Devco LLC spent to purchase the property.

“If there’s one thing I learned, it’s never take a hammer to a church,” Kalisek jokes, adding, “no one does this for the money.” As cliche as it sounds, the final result at 1723 West Eastman Street is clearly a labor of love. Kalisek’s personality fills the home, evident in the John Padlo paintings and Randy Kalisek photographs from his personal collection, the mounted marlin he caught deep-sea fishing off the Mexican coast, and the bright orange garage organizer-turned-bedside table he thrifted after a tough divorce. Those touches and his commitment to quality won the project the 2021 Building Excellence Award in Design and Renovation. During the process, Kalisek never lost sight of the church’s importance to the neighborhood. He even found ways to bring the community in. During the Christmas holiday in 2020, he invited the neighborhood kids to finger paint on the sheet metal fireplace, accidentally creating a metaphor for the building itself. “That metal, you can paint on it, then sand it back down or grind it back down to whatever you want,” he says. “It’s just a blank canvas.”

The Painting That Predicted the Future Artist John Padlo shares the story of “Bad Days” portrait that hangs on the fireplace of a the sanguine sky to match her lipstick and When oil painter, tinker, and retro toy church-turned-multimillion dollar home the tears simply because they fit the “mood”. enthusiast John Padlo was a student at the in Boise. It was only later that the painting took on Academy of Art in San Francisco, he took Padlo is best known for his nostalgic the eerie significance. a class from a famous Olympic fencpaintings of robots, vintage toys, candy, and “This painting that was painted with no er-turned-sculptor. Professor Peter Schifrin UFOs in bright pop-art colors, but “Bad plan, completely just intuitively in a way, didn’t play by the usual rulebook. On the Days” features a coiffed blonde woman set almost predicted the future. The next 10 day of the first critique of the semester, against a backdrop of blood-red clouds. years of my life,” Padlo says. Schifrin asked his students to Black, white, and Though Padlo was in a sunny frame bring cameras to class. scarlet tears drip of mind while painting “Bad Days” in “We didn’t really understand the early 2000s, things why he said to bring a camera,” quickly fell apart. A Padlo remembers, “but once the divorce, a protracted critique was done he said, ‘Okay, custody battle, and the go ahead and destroy [your financial collapse of the sculpture]. Great Recession sent You have him into a decade-long three depresminutes sion. He — or five began to minutes, see the or whattwo largever — to est tears photograph in “Bad your sculpture and then Days” as destroy it.” represen“My eyes opened up!” tative of the twin daughters Padlo says. He’d expected he was fighting for. to take his sculpture home Still, he didn’t hesitate and show it off, but now he to pass the painting on to ALL PHOTOS COURTESY OF JOHN PADLO had less than five minutes to Cooper Kalisek, a famidemolish six weeks of hard ly friend and one of the work. When students prodevelopers behind the “THIS PAINTING THAT WAS PAINTED tested, Shifrin threatened to church-turned-house at WITH NO PLAN, COMPLETELY JUST give them failing grades if 1723 West Eastman Street. they didn’t follow his order. It hangs there along with INTUITIVELY IN A WAY, ALMOST “[Shifrin said,] ‘Here’s seven of Padlo’s other PREDICTED THE FUTURE.” the deal: If you’re going to paintings — including robe a successful artist you bots, toy cars, and a lipstick need to be willing to let go of everything from her eyes like webbed lightning. It’s an still life. More than the rest, “Bad Days” you create,’” Padlo recalls. “‘We’re not here ominous image made even more so by its rivets Kalisek whenever he walks by. to hoard paintings and save stuff. It’s not a origin story. “It was one of the first paintings I had resentimental situation. We’re here to create The woman was inspired by a life-sized ceived from [Padlo] … I kept sitting there stuff and sell art.’” mannequin that sits in Padlo’s creative and couldn’t stop staring at it,” Kalisek says. Padlo broke his sculpture apart. Years space alongside his vintage tractors, classic Distilled on canvas, 10 years of hardship later, he told the story of Shifrin’s lescars, metal fabrication equipment, and toy can have that effect. son to explain how he managed to give collection. He painted her on a whim as a To learn more about John Padlo and his up the painting “Bad Days”, a startling way to stretch his creative muscles, adding work, visit BY LEX NELSON





After the stresses and separation of the past 14 months, it is difficult to say “No” to an invitation that reads, “Eat. Drink. Be Lively!” Appropriately named, The Lively restaurant & Bar Gibbon proves a delicious experience worth waiting for. “We moved here from Connecticut 11 years ago with our two kids,” says Kari Strimple, co-owner with her husband, Greg. “We love this community and wanted to give something back to Boise that we knew existed in big cities but hadn’t gotten here yet. So, we built this place from the ground up.” Strimple’s attention to design and detail is rooted in her career as an interior designer. Greg comes from an advertising background and operates a thriving public opinion and consumer behavior strategy firm on the third floor of the sophisticated black building that recalls classic London and/or New Orleans, depending on how far you’ve traveled. “We’ve never been in the restaurant business,” says Kari, polishing a tarnished, antique pitcher to beaming sterling. “But I love making people feel comfortable. We wanted customers to feel like they are entering someone’s home.” The establishment is indeed as welcoming as it is lovely—albeit the vibe of the

Greg and Kari Strimple Michelin-Star Chef, Edward Higgins

marble floors, spiral staircase that leads to the expansive, upstairs dining room, and open kitchen of Michelin-starred chef, Edward Higgins belies an Upper East Side Manhattan abode. Again, the sense of “elevated-elegance” is exactly what The Lively & Bar Gibbon strives for and achieves in each dish served. The grilled octopus appetizer is so tender and tasty that it erases your guilty memory of watching My Octopus Teacher. Higgins’ Wagyu Culotte, an American Snake River special, melts tastily with bone marrow butter on your tongue. Pastries are daily works-of-art

Basque Cheesecake and signature cocktail “Bees Knees”

“Our aim has always been simple. We want to welcome everyone in Boise with great food and gracious hospitality.” with novelties like a coconut cake ball with marberries, a fruit so rare that it escapes a Google search. Upstairs, most impressive is the Chef ’s Table, a reservation-only, interactive dinner experience for eight people. Nightly, Higgins prepares an exclusive menu wherein dietary sensitivities and preferences are delectably accommodated. Downstairs, Gibbon monkeys swing across the wallpaper, reflecting the playful creativity of signature cocktails like the Bee’s Knees, concocted with Empress purple gin. No matter which night you walk into The Lively, the crowd is smiling, welldressed, and the atmosphere is as lively as the owners intended. “Our aim has always been simple,” says Kari. “We want to welcome everyone in Boise with great food and gracious hospitality. It’s your party—so be lively!”



Across the River and Into the Bar A Toast to Hemingway

for his war service. He told the other writer to treat Denny with Colonel John “Denny” Pace was one of the most decorated respect or to get lost. The other writer quickly apologized and left pilots to ever come out of the farm fields of Idaho. He was the first a big tip. While Denny soon went back to doing what he did best, person to fly a jet in the Gem State and flew numerous missions in flying planes for the military, Hemingway kept on doing what World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. he did best—writing, hunting, and The Colonel, or “Grandpa” as he drinking. was called in my wife’s family, had The Colonel was a vodka man, countless great stories and loved to especially in his later years. He lived share them over cocktails on the to be 93 and kept on hiking, traveling, back deck of his home in Ketchum’s and drinking—all fairly heavily—until Hulen Meadows. The ski runs of his final days. As for what HemingBald Mountain curved beneath the way’s favorite spirit was, there’s a lot summer sky in the background. of debate. One of his favorite stories inImbibing was a big part of Hemingvolved Ernest “Papa” Hemingway. way’s persona and his writing. It was After returning from the Second such a big part of his life that after he World War, Denny took a job as a passed, bottles of booze were left up on waiter at the Duchin Lounge at the bookshelves of his home above the Big Sun Valley Resort. Wood River in Ketchum, protected by COURTESY SUN VALLEY RESORT ARCHIVES Having gone from fighter pilot Plexiglass covers. There’s even a terrific to slinging drinks, one evening, Denny found himself serving book, To Have and Have Another by Philip Greene, covering over Papa and another writer from the East Coast. There was a minor 60 cocktails connected with Hemingway. mishap with their order. The Easterner started to lay into Denny While wine and drinks like martinis and mojitos are most for the mistake. But Hemingway would have none of it. often associated with Papa, whiskey and soda is what he writes Papa had gotten to know Denny and had a deep appreciation about the most. BY MIKE MCKENNA



Hemingway didn’t write much about Idaho, but he certainly did a decent amount of writing and drinking whenever he was here. In fact, he only wrote one story of note about Idaho; fittingly, it was called “The Shot.” The story isn’t about drinking, but rather about making the perfect shot while hunting in the high desert of southern Idaho. Maybe that’s why Jenny Emery Davidson, the Executive Director of The Community Library in Ketchum, says that the best places to drink like Hemingway in Sun Valley aren’t necessarily in bars. “I would recommend going where he spent time, like Trail Creek or Silver Creek or even the high desert hunting spots where he loved to hunt like Richfield.


He also liked to walk around downtown Ketchum and walk in the hills around town,” Jenny says. “Bring a picnic and your favorite drink to places like Picabo and sit overlooking Silver Creek or swing across Trail Creek and wander into the forest. These are the places where he really was his best self.” Hemingway was known for calling his close friends in Idaho the “family.” The best parts of any strong family are how we look out for one another and when we celebrate good times together. Colonel Denny Pace could certainly attest that Papa looked out for his Idaho family. When I was first welcomed into the family, Denny did so by handing me a drink, telling me one of his best stories and toasting to Hemingway.

H “ emingway didn’t write much about Idaho, but he certainly did a decent amount of writing and drinking whenever he was here.”

Ernest Hemingway, winner of the Nobel and Pulitzer Prize, once gave advice about the best way to get to know a community: “Don’t bother with churches, government buildings, or city squares; if you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.” Sun Valley was one of Hemingway’s favorite places to escape the chaos of life and to focus on what he truly loved most: writing, hunting, and drinking with friends. He first visited Sun Valley in 1939 and ended his life in Ketchum in 1961. Several of the places Papa used to like to imbibe still exist. The Casino on Main Street in Ketchum looks pretty much the same since Hemingway drank there decades ago. The original log cabin on Main Street in Ketchum was built in the 1920s and is even believed to be haunted by a ghost. Although it’s fairly easy to believe pretty much anything after a few strong cocktails at “The Casbah,” as longtime locals like to call the place. Michel’s Christiania opened on Sun Valley Road in Ketchum in 1959. Home to the Olympic Bar, The Christy, as it’s called for short, hasn’t changed much since then. Hemingway had his own table as well as his last meal there in 1961. The Duchin Lounge in the Sun Valley Lodge became known in modern times as the “Wrinkle Room.” Originally dark, cozy, and completely lost in time, it was remodeled in 2015. The new version is much more open and bright, but still offers regular live music and an impressive signature cocktail selection to raise a glass to Papa’s history in Sun Valley. The Community Library in Ketchum is the hub for all things Hemingway in Sun Valley. They even offer a guide to his haunts and areas of interest in and around the area and host the annual Hemingway Symposium each September.



Award-winning filmmaker Ken Burns’ latest documentary series for PBS features one of America’s most famous authors, Ernest Hemingway. In the film, Burns utilizes the author’s letters, photographs, and other writings to span a lifetime and give the viewers ample space to decide how they feel about Hemingway’s actions until he ended his life, at age 61, in his breathtaking Ketchum, Idaho home. In Idaho, his health was steadily deteriorating. The Gem State is where he spent his final years. In Burns’ and producing partner Lynn Novick’s exhaustive and intimate film, COURTESY OF PBS they present a more genuine picture of Ernest Hemingway and the linear life events that shaped him. If not for a 1939 invitation from Sun Valley Resort—who knows if Hemingway would have made Idaho his final home. The Nature Conservancy has cared for The Ernest Hemingway House in Ketchum for 30 years. In 2017, the organization gifted the home to The Community Library. Hemingway’s remains lie in the Ketchum Cemetery. Q: You showed many lesser-known facets of Hemingway. A; Ken Burns: Ernest Hemingway carried this oversized public mask and toxic masculinity that is really wearisome. It was exhausting for him, as Mary Karr, the writer, says in our film. But what you find by triangulating the commentaries of people, the biography of his life, the great writing, and then the backstage letters that aren’t as polished as the writing that reveals the moods of a constructed edifice. This was, in part, to hide the vulnerability, sensitivity, anxiety, insecurity, and empathy for others. In some short stories, as we discussed in

the film, he’s in a way criticizing his own boorish behavior, or the boorish behavior of men he recognizes that are like him [in his short story] “Up In Michigan”, which is just an explosive story. Gertrude Stein thought it was too obscene to print 100 years ago! It was hard to shock Gertrude Stein. Or “Hills Like White Elephants”, one of Hemingway’s great masterpiece short stories, about a guy who tried to convince his girlfriend to have an abortion without the word abortion, by saying, ‘“It’s up to you, you decide,”’ but he’s, of course, imposing, as every woman on the planet knows. God bless Edna O’Brien for insisting that she talk about these and many other

things and underscore that androgyny and his ability to get under the skin, as she said, of other people. In the film, you talked about the burden of his persona. Ken Burns: Ernest Hemingway learned how to lie pretty quickly. And that’s what it’s about, of course. It becomes your own kind of Frankenstein monster that you can’t control. At the end of episode one, John Dos Passos calls him the king of the fiction racket. There’s the king in his castle at the beginning of episode two, but he builds a moat around it, and the moat keeps people out. But it also keeps him from getting out.


“He loved the Mountain West. He loved hunting there. He’s an outdoorsman. He is a great observer of nature...”

You delve into his personal sexual life with Mary and the whole androgyny role-playing. Ken Burns: Let’s just say gender fluidity because it’s a term that we understand today and people can grasp. He is curious about those lines. And from the very beginning, he’s having (first wife) Hadley and (fourth wife) Mary cut their hair very short and grow his long. He wanted this, for them to be his “boys” and vice versa. That’s pretty interesting for this guy who’s creating this macho thing. Idaho seemed a happy accident for him. Ken Burns: He loved the Mountain West. He loved hunting there. He’s an outdoorsman. He is a great observer of nature, a big game hunter, and a deep-sea fisherman. He wrote about nature really well. He wrote about human nature, particularly the way men and women interact, and about war. When you go to Cuba, everything’s there in his home as he left it. The booze is still in the bottles. The records are on the record turntable. The pencil scribble marks of his weight are next to the scale in the bathroom. He walked out of there, wholly intending to come back. I think by that time, the mental illness had begun to close in on him. The Idaho house was both a wonderful place but also the kind of sense of the final prison. I feel like he would have never gone to Idaho if he hadn’t been invited in 1939 by Sun Valley Resort. Ken Burns: I think he fell in love with that, the mystery and the vividness to that alpine experience. When I visit Telluride, it’s like a Hollywood backdrop. You can’t believe it’s real. The air is so thin, and everything is clear and crisp. I think Hemingway, who loved nature and had extraordinary observational abilities, felt at home there. Sun Valley was the final resting place, an exit ramp. I don’t think he moved there ever contemplating suicide. Though suicide was on his mind, I imagine, almost all the time given the family history of suicide and given his own ideation. Being a drinker doesn’t make you a great writer. Not all great writers are drinkers. Alcohol doesn’t help the writing, and mental illness is often common to great writers and great artists. That can be treated as well without taking away from the art. I hope you come to Idaho. Ken Burns: I’ve been talking about going, and I’ve been to Idaho many times. I did go for “Lewis and Clark”, filming and cutting across the top of the panhandle, and spent time in Pocatello. We did a virtual PBS in-person a few weeks ago in Boise, and that was wonderful. But I just want to come and spend some time there, for sure.


HOWLING AT THE MOON Idaho’s new wolf rules are a turning point for wildlife management and conservation BY HARRISON BERRY




n drafting their controversial wolf management bill during the 2021 legislative session, Idaho lawmakers and industry leaders charted a narrow course: stunt population growth without raising the ire of you-know-who. “We don’t want the feds to come back and say, ‘We want to control the wolves,’” says rancher and Idaho Senator Mark Harris (R-Soda Springs), who co-sponsored the bill. “We want the State [of Idaho] to control the wolves. And frankly, this bill wouldn’t go that far.” Read the headlines, though, and the rules — signed into law in May by Governor Brad Little, who is himself a rancher — cut things close, with the media and observers estimating that it would enable the killing of up to 90% of Idaho’s 1,500 wolves. The law’s proponents describe it as an important tool for limiting the harm to flocks and herds by predators; for its critics, it’s a brutal, cynical policy that harms the ecosystem and thumbs its nose at wildlife management. At issue is the role of government in some of Idaho’s wildest places, and with these guidelines, the state now gives permissions where it once imposed protections. The law eliminates a 15-wolf-per-year kill limit on hunters and trappers, and empowers the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board to hire private contractors to kill problem wolves that harass livestock.

It also makes wolf-trapping season yearround and lifts many restrictions on how wolves are killed: Any method used to kill other canines is now fair game for wolves. The intention, advocates say, is to keep the population as low as the state’s wolf management plan allows. Rancher John Peterson says that more aggressive predator management is needed. He’s also the president of the Idaho Wool Growers Association, which, along with other groups like the Idaho Farm Bureau, had a hand in crafting the original bill, SB1211. Most of the challenges to livestock maintenance, like keeping animals healthy and secure, are the responsibility of ranchers themselves. And there are few rules when it comes to killing really pesky predators like coyotes. Since the federal government reintroduced wolves to Idaho in 1995, control over their population has moved from the feds to the State of Idaho, which, with the passage of SB1211, has freed the hands of cattle ranchers and sheep ranchers to protect their livestock and financial interests. “As a manager of sheep, we vaccinate, we shed. All of our management practices — we do everything we can to keep every sheep alive and healthy,” Peterson says. “I don’t want to kill wolves, but as far as managing sheep and staying in business, I have to defend my sheep from predators. If we have to reduce [wolf ] numbers to do

that, that’s what we’ve got to do.” Prior to the passage of the bill, wolf predation didn’t have much of an effect on the bottom line. The Western Livestock Journal pegs depredation losses between cattle and sheep at an average of 113 wolf kills annually between 2018 and 2020. That’s out of a total 2.73 million cattle and sheep in the Gem State. Wolves accounted for 3% of all sheep loss, or $154,000 in damages, in 2018, according to the 2019 National Agricultural Statistics Service. That same year, coyotes accounted for 18.9% of sheep loss totaling $981,000 in damages, and weather conditions killed twice as many sheep as wolves. In response to the passage of the law, four major national groups, including the Humane Society of the United States, the Humane Society Legislative Fund, the Sierra Club, and the Center for Biological Diversity, launched a petition for the federal government to reinstate Endangered Species Act protections for wolves, describing the new law as a move to “appease the livestock industry and trophy hunters” by “risk[ing] wolves disappearing from the West again.” That may sound like a shot across the bow of the law’s supporters, but critics have mixed views on whether the law will green-light enough wolf kills to prompt federal intervention. Among the skeptics is Brian Brooks, executive director of

The law eliminates a 15-wolf-per-year kill limit on hunters and trappers, and empowers the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board to hire private contractors to kill problem wolves that harass livestock.


“The American West is not to be a sterilized landscape. That’s not what the American public wants. That’s not even what Idahoans want.” sporting and conservation group the Idaho Wildlife Federation, who said it would take radical methods like poison to reduce the purported goal of 90% reduction in wolf population, and that the methods for killing and trapping allowed under the new rules “isn’t going to get them close” to the 90% decline projected by some. Rather, the law is the opposite of wolf management, pulling responsibility for wild animals out of the hands of biologists and putting it into those of lawmakers. “We don’t think that the legislature has the expertise, scientific literacy, or the ability to interpret science to be making significant policy regarding the management of Idaho’s wildlife, much like this bill. We think that’s a dangerous precedent,” he says. Others, including Carter Niemeyer, who retired after 33 years of working in predator control for the U.S. Departments of Agriculture and the Interior, take a similar stance, that wolves have become a political football — “retribution to the federal government for reintroducing an animal the states didn’t want.” Like Brooks, he says that one peril of Idaho’s tack will be 22

the deprofessionalization of the state’s wolf management, and the state will likely see an increase in the inappropriate hunting and trapping of the animals. Decades spent around predatory animals taught Niemeyer their role in the ecosystem. Listen to proponents of sterner wolf management, he says, and wolves are slaughtering livestock and driving elk herds into cattle and sheep grazing areas; but following their lead will result in lax enforcement of what rules are left and a tide of inhumane animal killings. “When you turn it over to amateur trappers, who knows what they’ll do? When you turn this loose to contractors, I’d say all bets are off,” he says. On the other side of the issue are those who dedicate their lives to advocating for wolves in the wilderness. Garrick Dutcher is the Research & Program Director at Living With Wolves, a non-profit co-founded by his parents, Jim and Jamie Dutcher, who lived with the Sawtooth Pack for six years and beautifully documented the animals’ in the film, Wolves At Our Door, a winner of two, primetime

Emmy awards. Garrick has followed the reintroduction and recovery of wolves in Yellowstone and central Idaho closely. He and his wife also took home a primetime Emmy for their documentary Wolf: Return of a Legend. Garrick’s nonprofit conducts education and outreach around the wolves. His voice echoes many as an implacable wolves defender and strong opponent to Bill SB1211. Dutcher held no illusion that it would fail to clear the Statehouse; but when Governor Little signed it into law, he felt a swell of emotion. The West, he says, had been settled in blood, and he invoked images of riflemen shooting bison from trains and the decimation of apex predators. Federal management had struck a new balance between wildlife and people, but in the new rules he saw a return to the days of government acquiescence to industry. “It’s a rancher’s bill written by ranchers and signed by a rancher,” Dutcher says. “The American West is not to be a sterilized landscape. That’s not what the American public wants. That’s not even what Idahoans want.”

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READING THE RIVER: John Webster Nails It!



“In the beginning, I hated kayaking,” says photographer John Webster. “I flipped and had the typical ‘overly-dramatic, I’m-going-to-die’ experience. I was a total beater.” Ten years later, Webster is a hard-shell regular on Idaho rivers, and just won the 2021 Whitewater Awards Photographer of the Year presented by Gala International. “I spent a couple of years burning up in the hot sun, photographing my friends having a great time on the water. I tried again.” Fortunately for Webster, his friends were whitewater devotees. They sacrificed the thrill of the big drops of the North Fork of the Payette to guide him down the Main until he gained the skill and knowledge to face big water. “They taught me how to catch the eddies, when to stop paddling— the real art of kayaking, which requires ‘reading the river.’” Learning the essentials also taught Webster how, when, and where the most spectacular kayaking feats would present themselves to his lens. Ironically, he now admits that the best place to photograph those moments is from shore. Boise-born and -raised, Webster studied film at BSU, imagining a future in filmmaking. His talent in still photography evolved out of a personal passion for outdoor adventure and his professional skills evolved from an internship. These days, Webster holds a coveted position as a commercial photographer at Drake Cooper Advertising, a job he attributes to improving his adventure photography. “You wouldn’t think photographing a bowl of cereal could help— but working with a team of professionals, designing shots, lighting the set—taught me that great photography is not just about catching amazing moments. It’s also about taking risks, experimenting with light, and timing,” he says. For example, Webster will drag a wire across the river to hang a strobe light and gain special effects. He has also learned to wait. “Patience is the best piece of advice I can offer. And always, be curious. Shoot a place over and over until you know how the sunlight falls every hour of the day. Discipline your eyes. See the shot before it happens,” he explains. For Webster and kayakers alike, there’s one element they can’t control. Water. “The North Fork is bare bones right now,” he says. “It’s pretty scary to see such low flow this early.” Last year, COVID. This year, drought. Looking at Webster’s recent award-winning photos, it’s clear he’s going to ‘catch the shot,’ no matter the challenge.

KAYAKING SLANG GLOSSARY: Courtesy of John Webster Beater (n.) A kayaker whose skill doesn’t match the level of whitewater paddled, often leading to a beat-down and much mirth—for everyone else. Boof (vb.) A powerful stroke and hip thrust off the lip of a waterfall or rock. This maneuver helps avoid getting stuck in holes and makes you look stylish. Bootie beer (n.) Punishment for swimming. Pour your beer in your bootie and chug. Carnage (n.) What may happen if you blow your boof or huck. Often followed by a yard sale. Class fun (n.) A rapid or stretch of river that offers more smiles than worries. Think: deep, big wave boogie. Dirtbag (n.) A term of endearment for broke, unemployed kayakers dedicating their lives to chasing flow. Often found living in a dilapidated van down by the river, and spoken of with admiration and envy by kayakers with day jobs. Huck (vb.) The act of throwing oneself over a waterfall.


SHE FELL INTO A BURNING RING OF PUBLIC FIRE Dr. Christine Hahn, Executive Director of Idaho CDH



Dr. Christine Hahn went from 24 years of invisibility to walking a political high wire under the lights of the COVID-19 big-top almost overnight. Hahn, 58, took her post as Idaho’s state epidemiologist in 1997, a position most Idahoans probably didn’t know existed. Since then, she’s quietly advised five governors and other high-ranking state officials on the spread of infectious diseases cropping up from all over the world, including SARS, bird flu, and Ebola. Sometimes, if things got particularly hairy, there was a press conference where she would pop up. But usually, it was just one, before the disease ebbed back into obscurity and the worldwide threat of the world’s first major pandemic since 1918’s Spanish Flu died down. Not this time. Now, after dozens of weekly press conferences and with nearly 600,000 Americans (including over 2,000 Idahoans) dead from COVID-19, Hahn is more famous than she ever expected. 28




“This has been the only time I have had this sustained high-profile work,” she said earlier this month, sitting at a picnic table across the street from the Idaho State Capitol. “Even with my mask on, I’ll have people kind of recognize me and I think, ‘Oh god.’ I am looking forward to sinking back into obscurity.” That doesn’t mean she is nervous, though. Hahn and other epidemiologists have been preparing for this exact scenario for decades, watching each new disease that springs up with eagle eyes to see if it’s going to be the next major pandemic the world is due for. She wasn’t totally sure COVID-19 was going to be “The One” when it first emerged, but once it took hold in Washington State’s long-term care facilities she knew it was time to batten down the hatches. When Hahn stepped up to the podium for her weekly appearances on press conferences with Governor Little watched by thousands, she used the same advice she tells her kids before they have to do public speaking: If you say what you know, and admit what you don’t, you have nothing to be worried about.

ll of the a n e h w , y a “Somed nd people a s le t t e s t s du worked t a h w t a k c look ba n’t work , I id d t a h w d an be some l il w e r e h t believe some in t a h t n io recognit mandates s ie it n u m m co ful...” can be help

“The only reason I could be nervous is if I felt like I should know more than I do, but I don’t and then I would be nervous and my weakness would be revealed,” she says. “Or if I was trying to mislead and I felt like I wasn’t being honest with the public, but I’ve always been free to say what I want to say.” Idaho, like many deep red states, wasn’t an easy place to do this work in 2020. Hahn took criticism from both sides of the aisle, with the far-right doubting the existence of the pandemic at all and protesting measures to control the spread while liberals were demanding more action. The Gem State was one of 11 states never to impose a mask mandate, even when officials like Hahn and the CDC said high rates of mask-wearing could save lives. Hahn says she spent hours discussing the pros and cons of a mask mandate with Little as pressure mounted. But, she says his locally focused approach to mandates likely worked for Idaho because it kept tensions down. “We had heard there were some people who said, ‘If you mandate it, I will take my mask off,’” Hahn says. “...Someday, when all of the dust settles and people look back at what worked and what didn’t work, I

believe there will be some recognition that in some communities mandates can be helpful and in some communities, it might be counterproductive.” America was already a simmering hotbed of government skepticism and conspiracy theories, but the virus and government-imposed public health orders took it to a new level. Hahn says that her strategy throughout the pandemic was focusing on reaching people who were in the middle of the political spectrum and trying to stick to the facts as she had them, instead of trying to bring in people from the fringes. “I understand that there are some people who are very skeptical and very mistrustful, but I felt like I didn’t need to reach specifically out to them,” she says. “I’m going to try and reach most people and hopefully the people who are skeptical will say, ‘Well, I’m not necessarily going to jump out and get a vaccine but I don’t think she’s lying. I feel like she’s telling her truth and I don’t agree with it.’” And even after everything that has happened over the past year, Hahn still heads into the office eager to get to work, volunteering administering vaccines or taking a look at the latest data. “I love what I do and I feel like it’s still so important,” she says. “I still get up and I think, ‘Oh my gosh, today I’ve got this meeting.’”


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First, microbiology 101: Mushrooms are a fungus and a fungus is a type of mold. Of note, while all mushrooms are born of mold, not all molds can be considered mushrooms. In other words, you will not find mushrooms in your shower. However, a fungus is considered the fruit body of mold. Mushrooms were already pre-pandemic superstars in “Fantastic Fungi,” a documentary that proved mushrooms communicate better than Democrats and Republicans. Mushroom farms blossomed during the plague in entirely new markets and websites like Etsy.





ne of my mother’s favorite anecdotes about my childhood is that I would reach up to the cutting board to grasp a handful of raw mushrooms waiting for a salad. Unlike most children, I loved the crunch of raw vegetables and the particular earthiness of raw or sauteed mushrooms. Now in adulthood, and never able to commit to an entire garden, I prefer more manageable countertop options–ready-made herb kits and houseplants, and most recently, DIY mycology, which simply means that I’m growing mushrooms in a tube of sawdust on a shelf above my sink. The pandemic fueled within many of us the need to nurture ourselves and indoor experiments like sourdough bread, beer brewing (and drinking), and even babies. I concentrated on growing fungi to the delight of my two young boys who appreciate all things related to dirt.

I purchased my kit from QH Mushroom Farm for around $15. Out of the box, it looked impressive and simple–a tube of sawdust that fits in a shoebox, with instructions for cutting a hole in the plastic. Then, you spray it with water once in a while and let it bask in “adjacent” sunlight. Then you wait....kind of. Faye at QH Mushroom Farm reports that summertime is usually slow, but business, like my mushrooms, is growing fast. “Americans like to explore and eat healthy food, so growing healthy mushrooms at home has become very popular. We started ecommerce last April–now we have almost 20,000 sales.”

“For me, the most fascinating part of countertop fungi was the speedy growth and delivery on the promise of beauty, bounty, and taste.” Back to my kitchen and day 2, where weird yellow bulges pulsed from the tube. Day 3, they doubled in size. Day 4, they resembled oyster mushrooms, gaining in bright yellow. Day 5, voila–a bouquet of mushrooms! For me, the most fascinating part of countertop fungi was the speedy growth and delivery on the promise of beauty, bounty, and taste. But a surprising thing happened when I harvested them. The anatomy of an oyster mushroom, paper-thin with silky-soft gills beneath a fan-shaped yellow cap, is sturdy and unshakable. Their perceived fragility is an illusion that allows them to grow wildly in my kitchen and around the world. Trust me. Fungus never tasted better!



TOMMY AHLQUIST: Eighty-two years have passed says without hesitation when since Jimmy Stewart faced down asked about running for governor. the American political machine as “Once I saw the underbelly of polBY KAREN DAY an impassioned, naïve senator in itics even in this small state, and Frank Capra’s classic, Mr. Smith the personal toll on my family…” Goes to Washington. Interviewing Tommy Ahlquist brings to mind Ahlquist pauses, staring out the window as if he is watching his the film and how his life offers a good plotline for a modern-day past play out like a baseball game in the large open fields beyond sequel. Middle-aged, wizened-yet-tarnished by reality, the altruisthe sprawling Ball Ventures Ahlquist (BVA) office complex along tic main character finds future success as a doctor, businessman, I-84 in Meridian. “That said, those two years of campaigning husband, father, and grandfather, evolving beyond disillusionment were probably one of the greatest experiences of my life,” he into a faith-bound, community leader—which also sounds a lot continues. “The friendships I made all over the state, the personal like the sequel to It’s a Wonderful Life. Either way, in the movie growth, taking that risk, losing—without those experiences I version, the good guy never loses. Nor does he suffer two nearwould be a different person. For all that, I’m grateful.” death heart failures before he is 53. Grateful is a word Ahlquist uses often, but not blithely. Born Looking at Ahlquist today, he appears anything but comproand raised in a small mining town in Utah, he escaped the mised by a congenital heart condition or his loss in Idaho’s 2018 predictable fate of working in the Kennecott copper mines by gubernatorial race. Fit, tan, and 6 feet 4 inches tall, he leans back playing basketball, which led him to Idaho and becoming the in his office chair with hands behind his head, legs outstretched, first in his family to attend college. “All my relatives worked in offering contemplative and articulate explanations of an array the mines, including my dad. I always wanted to be a doctor. To of subjects, including emergency medicine, Idaho’s far-right make a difference, like our town physician, Dr. Knowles. He had legislative war cries, his last thoughts facing death, and a stinging a noble position. He helped people, passed out lollipops, and political defeat. “Looking back, I wouldn’t do it again,” Ahlquist drove a nice car. So, as soon as my residency was over, I came



back to the Treasure Valley and went into emergency medicine, because I’m a fixer.” As Ahlquist explains it, after attending to more than 40,000 patients, being ‘a fixer’ also led him to run for governor. “I was serving on a coalition of business leaders and could see that Idaho had big problems,” he says. “Healthcare gaps, falling literacy rates, low wages, lack of broad-

band—I had the means, saw solutions, and figured becoming the CEO of the state was the best way to fix these problems. But again, there was so much I didn’t know. It was humbling.” The time spent knocking on rural doors also informed Ahlquist’s understanding of Idaho’s far-right swing in the legislature. “Idaho is mostly populated by good, hardworking, underpaid, rural people who are deeply affected by issues about the Forest Service, water, and wolves. Those representatives who appear out of touch to us here in Ada County are really very savvy about what matters to their constituents.” Ironically, political failure has led Ahlquist to greater business success in his new development partnership. BVA started just three years ago and despite COVID, has built more than two million square feet of commercial space, with 18 current projects in the Treasure Valley. Considering Idaho’s sudden and exponential growth and skyrocketing real estate values, Ahlquist has also been accused of

being a capitalistic opportunist contributing to the escalating cost of living for struggling Idahoans. He readily admits his business passion and drive, but not without explaining how the company’s success leads to economic growth that attracts companies that pay higher salaries. He also explains, as a Mormon, that giving back to the community is at the heart of his

“Idaho is mostly populated by good, hardworking, underpaid, rural people that are deeply affected by issues about the forest service, water and wolves.” faith. All executives are required to serve on nonprofit boards that benefit Idahoans. The BVA Chief of Staff spends 95% of his time managing the company’s nonprofit objectives. When COVID hit Idaho, Ahlquist mobilized the most powerful business leaders and formed the non-profit, CRUSH THE CURVE. Operationally within a week, the organization facilitated public testing, publicized virus facts and safety protocols and stepped ahead of governmental bureaucracy to offer vaccinations asap. Ahlquist also leads an innovative “Teens to Trades” mentorship program and serves as co-chair of the Campaign to End Family Homelessness in Idaho, ac-

cepting the task to help raise eight million dollars to build affordable housing. “There are 1,500 homeless kids just in the Nampa school district,“ says Ahlquist, shaking his head. “That’s unacceptable and we intend to fix it.” The verb “fix” keeps echoing through his comments, but one thing the good doctor admits he can’t fix is his congenital

heart condition. Near-death complications have shoved him onto the emergency operating table twice in the last two years. “The second time was a year ago in July,” says Ahlquist. “I felt chest pains, went to the ER, saw my EKG, and knew I was in trouble. On the chopper ride to Boise, I remember feeling no fear. Only gratitude. That’s because my first attack the year before forced me to reevaluate my life and priorities. So, I’d spent much of the past 12 months at my ranch in McCall, with my family, my dogs, my horses, and fishing. I was at peace. I’d done my best to help people, as a doctor, through my church, and my business. I truly believed I was going to die. And then, I woke up in the St. Luke’s COVID ICU.” Considering the growing list of BVA development projects and Ahlquist’s nonprofit leadership goals, facing mortality has not slowed his pace. “We’re going to do great things for Idaho in the next 20 years,” he says. “What more could I ask from life?” That’s a true Hollywood ending.





Despite the challenges of a pandemic, Bogus Basin enjoyed a record number of Treasure Valley visitors during the 2020-2021 ski and snowboard season. That’s an impressive and complicated feat for a nonprofit resort, facing a swelling population while balancing affordability and value. Taking a cue from trail maintenance and education organizations like Ridge to Rivers and the Southwestern Idaho Mountain Biking Association (SWIMBA), Bogus’ director of marketing, Austin Smith, says that the resort is in the midst of developing new operations that will assuredly bring change, but also offer beneficial upgrades to residents. “Change is inevitable,” Smith says. “Change is the presence of improvement — even if at times it feels like it takes a step backward, it’s a minor reset to claw forward.” BALANCING GREATER DEMAND AND AFFORDABILITY Since it opened more than 80 years ago, Bogus Basin has maintained a unique foothold across the ski industry. Large corporations dominate ownership of mountain resorts, privatizing the industry and increasing prices for profit and yet, Bogus has remained a nonprofit. As demand for use of the mountain increases, including summer months of trail and entertainment recreation, so does the ALL PHOTOS COURTESY BOGUS BASIN


need and cost of maintenance and operations. During the pandemic snow season, Bogus saw five days of seriously congested use. And 2021-2022 will most certainly bring even bigger crowds. “[We] could lift prices on day passes and season passes and push local people out of the market,” Smith says. “But we had to ask, who are we serving? Our original population? Or are we now accommodating the new, out-of-market population?”

“It takes a community to manage a trail system. We are all responsible for keeping our trails in good shape for the next generation.”

WATCHING BELOW AND FINDING COMPROMISE Looking forward, Smith explains, “There may be more limited access during peak times, but rewards for enjoying the mountain in off-peak hours.” As the resort continues to adapt, Bogus is watching the activity below. Organizations like Ridge to Rivers and SWIMBA have also dealt with a heavy increase in foot and mountain biking traffic. Ridge to Rivers reported that 2020 was the trail system’s busiest year. Ridge to Rivers Trail System Manager, David Gordon, explains that one of its biggest efforts in response to the increase is a new pilot program. As of spring 2021, the organization was segmenting and monitoring usage by deploying “directional and separation of use” guidelines on certain days. By doing this, Gordon explains, Ridge to Rivers can more effectively manage the impact. “It takes a community to manage a trail system,” he says. “We are all responsible for keeping our trails in good shape for the next generation.” Another large component of responding to heavy use has been educating the community on trail etiquette, SWIMBA executive director Carlos Matutes says. For example, he explains, Boise’s dry climate varies from nearby regions in that using wet and muddy trails can be detrimental to the health of the trail. New or local, not every hiker knows that.

Matutes adds that SWIMBA is also partnering with Ridge to Rivers and Bogus to expand trails across the valley and create bike-specific trail systems. Bogus is already famed for their bike-only trails. As population growth is the new Idaho reality, Smith, Matutes, and Gordon each say they are looking at the expansion as an opportunity. Ultimately, Bogus abides by its nonprofit status, but balancing the challenges is key to maintaining an affordable resource for the next generation. “Bogus

is protected by that [nonprofit] status,” Smith says. “It’s ensuring it for the future. But, it still takes a village.” The question remains: How much will our exploding Treasure Valley village help sustain this unique amenity?


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Enforcing the “no drone zone”


Ten years ago, counter drone systems did not exist because they were not needed. High commercial drone production has led the market to evolve quickly, which has opened the door for the technology to be used for nefarious purposes. Black Sage is a Boise company that offers counter drone solutions. They live by their business philosophy of being agile and proactive to quickly adapt to new problems. Whether it is a big military drone classified as a Group 4 drone, or a small Group 1 drone you can buy at Walmart, Black Sage’s defense OS software utilizes sensors of the highest caliber to detect and defeat any drone threat. Ross Lamm, co-founder of Black Sage, is the Chief Technology Officer and holds a

PhD in Machine Vision Engineering. “It’s really interesting to be constantly exposed to new and different technologies that we can add to the system,” he says. Sawtooth is the system that is used in the field. It is a layered approach. Black Sage doesn’t make any of the sensors used in the system themselves. “Many of our competitors repurpose their radar to counter UIS,” explains Ross. That makes them biased towards their own technology instead of using the best solutions for their clients. “We don’t make any of them,” Ross continues. “We integrate various sensors that are very interesting. We don’t necessarily make all those sub technologies, but we survey the market space and evaluate the different things available and integrate those.”

Black Sage’s Sawtooth setup has a range of sensors atop a mast. The sensors are integrated with their Defense OS software. This mast is built on a trailer that can be driven to the location that needs to be protected. After raising the mast, the radars, cameras, and antennas monitor the area for threats. The effectors on the mast are responsible for defeating the drone threats. Ross and his team are passionate that their contributions in technology save American military lives. The U.S. military’s Forward Operating Bases are some of the locations that need counter drone protection. FOBs are typically a structure like a shipping container and act as an office for personnel to communicate with others who are operating in the field. Sawtooth


TECHNICALLY SPEAKING has the capability to jam a signal, fire a laser, or even shoot a machine gun to defeat a threat. However, some actions require a person in the loop depending on the concept of operations in the field. Ross clarified that Black Sage isn’t the one deploying these counter drone actions; the governments, or locals with the authority, are deploying them. These systems are used frequently for military purposes but Sawtooth success stories in those situations are classified. This technology is also relevant to markets like airports and hosts of large public events. Their system potentially saved lives at Incheon International Airport in South Korea when it detected a drone in the air. The air traffic was diverted until the drone was out of the sky. In another instance, someone was flying a drone in a restricted area at a New Year’s Eve celebration in the Middle East. The police had the authority to use a jammer so they did so and took down the drone. The number of illegal drones entering the airspace is accelerating and drones pose an increasing threat worldwide.

“There’s no single technology that stops all drones,” says Ross. If someone is flying a drone via remote control, they are communicating with that drone through radio frequency. Sawtooth can listen for passive radio frequency to alert the system of a drone in the air. However, that radio frequency communication isn’t needed if a person programs a drone to fly from point A to point B before deploying it. To spot these drones, Sawtooth uses active radar to send out pings to look for objects moving in the sky. The next layer is a thermal camera system. The day I interviewed Ross, they were in the field hammering the system with the difficult scenario of having to disambiguate the many birds in the area. All of these different layers look for questionable flying objects and determine if they are a threat. Once a threat is determined, Sawtooth can jam the radio frequency, interrupt the programmed mission to get the drone from point A to point B, fire a laser at the drone, or use a machine gun to defeat the drone. “We’re deploying with a laser in one place, some international airports have jammers, at another we don’t,” says Ross. Defense OS is the software created at Black Sage that integrates all those sensors and effectors on Sawtooth. The software is what makes the technology so adaptable and Sawtooth is the platform that offers a variety of solutions depending on the mission.



Knock on Woodf


How Mass Timber Is Building a Sustainable Future


Moscow, Idaho, is known for the magnificent rolling hills of the Palouse and the University of Idaho. U of I, the Gem State’s first and only educational institution for 71 years, continues to prove itself as a quiet pioneer of innovation. Nestled next to the Kibbie Dome, a concrete stadium with a barrel-arched roof, the Idaho Central Credit Union Arena is scheduled to open this fall. Aside from its stunning architecture, mimicking the surrounding hills, the huge structure is remarkable for what is inside–4,000 seats in a building made almost entirely of wood. Using long-span mass timber, the arena utilizes mostly regional cross-laminated timber, dowel-laminated timber, flulam, plywood, and cedar siding. It is as strong as steel, and requires less energy to build. “Very simply put, we’re replacing concrete construction with wood construction,” says Paul Fast, founder of Fast+Epp. He explains that there are other materials in the infrastructure, but mass timber predominates. And, while the idea of building with wood doesn’t necessarily sound revolutionary, it is. “Timber is definitely a powerful climate change mitigation strategy because it

reduces the emissions from manufacturing of construction materials. It also leads to a substantial amount of carbon stored in buildings and in our future cities,” says Dr. Galina Churkina, Senior Scientist at Potsdam Institute for Climate Research. This premise, she explains, also relies upon our ability to harvest and manage forests in a sustainable way. In addition to being more sustainable, mass timber proponents note that construction is quieter, without concrete trucks and pumps. Even with current escalating timber costs, wood remains competitive since concrete and steel prices are more subject to supply and demand pricing. Fast explains that there are approximately ten mass timber projects per state happening right now, a significant increase over previous years. “I like to call it a mass timber wave in North America,” he says. This wave includes large-scale projects like new Walmart office buildings on the 350-acre complex in Bentonville, Arkansas. Idaho is also pushing forward. Governor Brad Little recently signed H143, requiring the state building code to include 2021 tall mass timber building code provisions by January 1, 2022, setting safety standards and

allowing expanded construction use. Climate change is exacerbating wildfires, which escalates mass timber safety concerns. “However, we’re not talking about building with sticks or stick frame construction,” says Fast. “We’re talking about thick pieces of wood that behave much differently in a fire.” Other barriers to mass timber construction include outdated building codes and a general market and architect reluctance to employ techniques not yet accepted in the general marketplace. Yet people are coming around, explains Lucus Epp, head of engineering at StructureCraft, the company managing the fabrication of the ICCU Arena. “There are at least four different kinds of engineered wood product manufacturers, including two Idaho glue manufacturers involved in the project. It’s really cool to start seeing manufacturers come together and produce the wood and material for these larger-scale products,” he says. On the horizon, Americans can expect to see increasingly unique projects utilizing mass timber construction, especially given the housing shortage. But why wait? Take a road trip to Moscow and watch a U of I game under a roof of local innovation.



Weeping May Endure for a Night... BY CHERIE BUCKNER-WEBB I awakened one morning and the moment I opened my eyes, a song burst from my heart and onto my lips. I sat up singing an old gospel standard. One I had not heard since I was a youngster – a very, very, very long time ago. I remembered every word: “Weeping may endure for a night, but joy will come in the morning.” And I was weeping and singing and rejoicing in a mighty way. My spirit was light. After months of anxiety, stress, and great challenges in virtually every aspect of our lives, I joined in – guardedly – taking a deep breath and breathing a collective sigh of relief.

emergency room (and I hope we never meet again). During the week I spent in the hospital, and during several weeks of recovery, I witnessed valiant men and women, working day and night to meet the needs of hundreds of Idahoans, often to their own detriment. Weary, tired, courageous, purposeful, compassionate folks, doing much more than their regular jobs. I became acutely aware of those most seldom acknowledged, the ones who made our lives manageable during the height of misery and continue to do so daily: ministers, teachers, checkers, servers, service providers, food preparers, bank employers, delivery personnel, educators, sanitation workers, grocers, healthcare workers…those on the front lines whom we often take for granted. I have made a personal commitment to honor those often anonymous. I vow to intentionally give them their earned appreciation and my gratitude. Now, as I blessedly celebrate the end of infection and beginning of healing, I remain careful to take precautions, to avoid infection, to demonstrate care and concern for humanity with responsible actions. I will be mindful. As my grandfather Luther E. Johnson often reminded me from the Book of Matthew, “Watch therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh.” Listen up.

“I witnessed valiant men and women, working day and night to meet the needs of hundreds of Idahoans, often to their own detriment.” It is my hope that I have learned from and been humbled by the lessons of the pandemic past. It is my fervent prayer that we, the collective community, have stepped out of our complacence, arrogance, and selfishness with a new awareness of the interconnectedness of humanity. We have witnessed and experienced more pain, suffering, and loss in the last months than in much of our lives. Regrettably, we have also witnessed a level of avarice, prejudice, and hatred that I have not previously seen. But why now, I wonder? I am so appreciative of the opportunity to live another day. I was fortunate to get both COVID-19 vaccinations and walked around as if invincible. Then up popped sepsis – I didn’t even know what it was until we were formally introduced in the


About the author The Honorable Cherie Buckner-Webb is an Idaho State Senator, Certified Professional Coach, Consultant and Motivational Speaker




Alicia C. Ralston 208-850-7638

Alicia C. Ralston 208-850-7638 w w w. rals t ongroup p rop er ti