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celebrating the 30th Anniversary of their company in July of 1941. Saturday, March 26

Cavalcade 2011



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Cavalcade 2011


Saturday, March 26

Welcome to a Cavalcade of classics S

ome Idahoans are true classics: Velma Morrison, who has brought a world of arts to the Treasure Valley; the Zamzow brothers, who carry on their family’s legacy of a successful, locally owned business; former Green Bay Packers star and Idaho Vandal Jerry Kramer, and of course, former U.S. Interior Secretary and Gov. Cecil Andrus. Folks like these have formed a foundation for the Gem State — even relative newcomers like Caldwell School District Superintendent Roger Quarles, who has shaken up the district’s schools with changes. Of course, coach Chris Petersen is a classic Idaho resident: unassuming amid tremendous success at leading the Boise State University football team to the national spotlight and an unprecedented double-dose of wins in BCS bowl games. In this edition of Cavalcade, you’ll find a collection of stories about longtime classics, such as the musical Braun family, who have performed on the professional stage for decades; Jimmie Hurley, the one-time rodeo reporter who has worked tirelessly for the Snake River Stampede, and Margie Gonzalez, who has promoted diversity in Idaho for years. I hope you enjoy reading these stories that reflect on the wide array of talents Idahoans have perfected. If you have comments, call me at 4658112 or email David Woolsey Assistant Managing Editor z Multimedia at Cavalcade is an annual magazine produced by Idaho Press-Tribune Coordinated by Managing Editor Vickie Holbrook and Assistant Managing Editor David Woolsey. Cover design by Multimedia Editor Greg Kreller and News and Design Editor Randy Lavorante. Page design by News and Design Editor Randy Lavorante Multimedia staff Greg Kreller and Charlie Litchfield collected, shot and scanned in the many photos featured. Thanks to our two contributing writers Marie D. Galyean and Michelle Cork. A special thanks to the individuals who worked with our Cavalcade writers to bring these Idaho classics’ stories to life. Additional copies of Cavalcade: $3 Copyright 2011, Idaho Press-Tribune

Saturday, March 26

Cavalcade 2011


Coach Pete finds success through details By Dave Southorn

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

Boise State coach Chris Petersen holds the championship trophy after winning the Fiesta Bowl on Jan. 4, 2010.


Cavalcade 2011

In his profession, Chris Petersen is an anomaly. As college football’s most successful coach the last six seasons, he’s thrived at Boise State University in ways foreign to most schools. The Broncos don’t get caught up in the hype involved with the recruiting process, finding under-the-radar players that can be molded into contributors on winning teams. Petersen, 61-5 since taking the helm before the 2006 season, has been perhaps the hottest name thrown around when a “bigger” job opens. Yet he has found a place he loves in Boise, where he and his family have been part of the community for a decade. The 46-year-old often shies away from the media blitz, refusing to “sell” his team to Top 25 voters or promote players for awards — he lets his record do the talking. Petersen’s ability to win consistently, and the journey he took to get to this point, are different, but vital to his status as one of the most famous people in Idaho. “I think of myself as a bit different, yeah, because I don’t have that feeling of wondering what the next thing is,” he said. “I’m competitive, driven, controlling in ways, but I’ve been lucky to be in a place I love doing something I enjoy with great people.”

Saturday, March 26

“He focuses on details, and it has always been that way. Normally, you tell boys to pick up their things, clean their room. Never with him.” — Ron Petersen, Chris’ father

Coaching in the family Chris Petersen was born and raised in Yuba City, Calif., a working-class city about 40 miles south of Sacramento. His father, Ron, coached at the high school and community college levels. It was then that Petersen first caught the coaching bug. “I remember being 6, watching 16-millimeter film on the wall at home and really enjoying that,” said Petersen, notorious for poring over game film to this day. Although Petersen loved the game, and became a standout quarterback, it was also through his father that he saw the downside of coaching. Boise State coach Chris Petersen argues a call with a referee during the 2010 season at Bronco Stadium.

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“The bad times can be really bad,” Ron Petersen said. “He saw how difficult it can be to try to manage a big group of young men and sometimes I wore that on my sleeve.” It was not just the day-to-day challenges of being the man in charge, but the fact that the coaching staff would simply sometimes have to shake off a loss that bothered the younger Petersen. “When I got to be about 14, I started caring more about those losses than some of those coaches,” Chris Petersen said. “I thought ‘I never want to do this. I don’t want 18, 19-year-old kids to control my happiness.’” After graduating from high school, Petersen went to Sacramento City College, then earned a scholarship to play at the University of California, Davis. It was a decision that would change his life. Petersen threw for 4,988 yards, 39 touchdowns and 13 interceptions in his two seasons with the Aggies. His 164.0 career passer rating is still No. 10 in NCAA Division II history. His passing prowess led him to pursue a career in the Canadian Football League. Set to join the Montreal Alouettes, the team folded the day before the 1987 season. “I thought I could go back to school, and it just so happened they had an opening to coach the freshman team at Davis,” Petersen said. “I thought, ‘this might look good on a resume.’”

coach,” Boise State athletic director Gene Bleymaier said. “Hawkins had considered the Oregon State job in 2003, and Coach Pete wasn’t quite sure if he’d be ready to take over. We knew he would be soon enough, though.” In the six seasons since, the Broncos have reached unforeseen heights — two Fiesta Bowl wins in 2007 and 2010, the best record in the — Utah coach Kyle Whittingham nation during that stretch, the highest ranking in school history, and three major coachBuilding a coaching career ing awards for Petersen (Bear Bryant award in 2006 and 2009 and In 1992, Petersen left California when he was Bobby Dodd award in 2010). hired by former UC Davis quarterback Paul “People ask me why Boise Hackett to coach the University of Pittsburgh State is so good every year, and quarterbacks. The Panthers went 3-8, Hackett I just tell them ‘Coach Pete,’” was fired, and Petersen found a job coaching former Boise State defenquarterbacks at Portland State University, sive end Ryan Winterwhere he spent two more seasons before swyk said. “There are joining Belotti’s staff at Oregon from talented players and 1995-2000, coaching receivers. great coaches, but he’s Hawkins knew just the man to hire the guy that puts all as his offensive coordinator when he bethose things in the came Boise State’s head coach in 2001. right places.” In his five seasons running the offense, the Broncos went 53-11, and he was twice nominated for the Broyles Award, given Boise State coach to the nation’s top assistant coach. Chris Petersen was When Hawkins took the job at Coloawarded the The rado in December of 2005, Petersen was Bobby Dodd Coach of promoted — even if it was a position he the Year award during had never really considered. Petersen discovers his passion a ceremony March 19 “I don’t think he expressed much at the Boise Center. After two years, Petersen became the receivinterest in being a head ers coach, and the thought of being a school psychologist or physical therapist started to fade away. Petersen found something unique at Davis, which was fertile ground for coaching talent. The Aggie coaching tree spawned the likes of Mike Bellotti (Oregon), Gary Patterson (TCU) and Dan Hawkins (Boise State and Colorado) in the 1970s and 80s. “It’s a different environment,” Ron Petersen said. “They almost never yelled or used whistles. It was more like being taught than ‘coached,’ and that appealed to Chris.” Petersen’s eventual discovery of something he had a passion for is a lesson he teaches his players today. “We try to tell our guys to think a bit, to figure out what they want their life to look like,” Petersen said. “I was a bit lucky, kind of falling into coaching how I did. I had stumbled around a bit because I had to find my passion.”


“If you talk about getting results and doing things the right way, Chris Petersen is the best coach in the country, in my opinion.”

Cavalcade 2011

Saturday, March 26

Petersen stays loyal to Boise

Boise State coach Chris Petersen prepares to send off safety Jeron Johnson on Senior Day in December 2010 at Bronco Stadium.

With his success, the college football world has often come calling. Job openings all over the country have had his name attached — yet it is mostly just wishful thinking. Major conference schools like Michigan, Miami and Pittsburgh all hired coaches this past offseason from San Diego State, Temple and Tulsa — schools like Boise State that are outside the six Bowl Championship Series conferences. Stanford, coming off an Orange Bowl win, contacted Petersen and wanted a formal interview, yet he opted to remain in Boise. “Chris is not about the money or the fame,” Ron Petersen said. “If he was, he wouldn’t be in Boise. If they continue to build, he will stay for a long, long time.” With Boise’s mix of city life and outdoors opportunities, it is the sort of place Petersen wants to be. Please see Petersen, A12

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Boise State coach Chris Petersen stands before the blue turf with his family, sons Jack (14) and Sam (12), and wife Barb.

“He’s an honest guy. He values leadership and integrity. Normally those are just ideals, but he lives up to them and has us do the same.” — Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore

Petersen Continued from A11

‘More to life than football’

In the offseason, he can be seen behind the wheel of his boat up in McCall or taking a run on the Greenbelt. Petersen holds a charity run to support student scholarships and helps local hospitals, whether via fundraisers or volunteering. It is important to the coach, as a scare more than a decade ago altered his life forever. Petersen’s youngest son, Sam, was 1 when it was discovered he had a brain tumor while the Petersens were at Oregon. Now 12, Sam Petersen is as healthy as can be and a frequent visitor to football practice. “What we went through with Sam not only put things in perspective, it kept them in perspective,” Petersen said. “There’s more to being here than the job. It helps make you realize that when you have something good, you want to keep it that way.”

Petersen’s wife, Barb, helped orchestrate a special weekend in November for Stephen Kinsey, a 12-year-old fan from Texas who is battling cancer. Kinsey was showered with Bronco gear, walked onto the field with defensive end Shea McClellin and was on the sideline for the Broncos’ win over Hawaii. Afterward, Sam and Jack, Petersen’s eldest son, played catch with Kinsey on the Broncos’ famous blue turf. “Something like that is what makes him stand out,” Boise State quarterback Kellen Moore said. “He always stresses that there’s more to life than football. He’s obviously a great football mind, but there’s also the fact you can just come to his office and talk to him about whatever.” Although joys like the weekend spent with Kinsey and his family are part of what make his job special,


Petersen has been more than happy with his teams’ success and the improvements such as the Stueckle Sky Club, the recent approval for a new football facility and the move to the Mountain West Conference. “There’s tremendous variety to this job,” he said. “I can get bored very fast. There’s always something

Cavalcade 2011

to work on, ways to improve. That’s also what I like about being at Boise State – the things we’ve been able to accomplish and the resources we’ve been given make it very rewarding.” The downside, however, is still the same as he felt 30 years ago. “It’s still miserable when you lose,” the coach said.

Saturday, March 26

Grand dame of arts makes dreams real By Michelle Cork For the Idaho Press-Tribune

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

BOISE — Jane Kuster of Boise remembers the first time she met her longtime friend Velma Morrison. It was just after Velma’s 1959 marriage to Harry Morrison, co-founder of one of the giants of the construction industry, the Morrison-Knudsen Co. Harry and his new bride were visiting an MK project in Iran. “We ladies decided we’d have a luncheon for the new Mrs. Morrison, and she was just charming,” recalled Kuster, whose husband Ivan worked for MK as an engineer, project manager and contract negotiator for more than 40 years. “She was very pretty, of course, but she was also very down-to-earth. We all thought it was charming that she had married a man like Mr. Morrison and it hadn’t gone to her head.” Indeed, marrying the man who led the company known the world over for building the Hoover Dam, the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge and the Trans-Alaska Pipeline brought Velma instant notoriety at MK construction sites and in the Treasure Valley. But by the time Kitty Delorey Fleischman met Morrison decades later, Velma had made a name for herself. She resurrected the seemingly unwinnable effort to fulfill Harry’s dream for a performing arts center in Boise — the one that now bears her name — and leads the foundation that has given millions back to her adopted community.

Saturday, March 26

Cavalcade 2011


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For all your pre-engineered metal building needs ! Velma Morrison with her children Gary, Ron and Judith.

And, even at age 90, Fleischman says Velma hasn’t changed. “Her spirit is undiminished,” says Fleischman, author of Morrison’s 2003 memoir, ‘The Bluebird Will Sing Tomorrow.’ “She is just a kick to be around.” Fleischman co-founded the Idaho Business Review and is publisher of Idaho magazine. She met Morrison about 10 years ago during a political fundraiser at Velma’s home for mutual friend Bob Sonnichsen, who was running for Idaho controller. “None of them cared about Bob,” Fleischman recalls with a laugh. “They were there to see Velma.” Morrison asked Fleischman that night to help her find someone to write her life story. “I was just totally charmed by her so I said, ‘I’ll do that for you.’ We started the next day.” Over the next 14 months, Fleischman gained an appreciation for Morrison, a child of the Great Depression who had three children, a sense of adventure and her own business savvy before she married Harry Morrison. Velma Mitchell was born in Tipton, Calif., in 1920. She learned her work ethic on the dairy farm that provided for her extended family – along with dozens of families fleeing the Dust Bowl in Oklahoma and Texas, who sought refugee with the Mitchells. Velma remembers being about 10 or 12 and gathering eggs and feeding livestock. “The kids on the farm in those days had their chores to do,” she says by phone from her winter home in Palm Desert, Calif. Morrison went on to become a nurse. While gaining practical experience with the Alaska Public Health Service, she traveled by dog sled to deliver tuberculosis vaccine to children in the subarctic regions of the state. Please see Morrison, A15


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Morrison Continued from A14

During World War II, she was a real-life Rosie the Riveter — a journeyman boilermaker in the shipyards at Richmond, Calif. She was not quite 40 and the owner of a successful Bakersfield, Calif., restaurant called the Broiler when she met Harry Morrison, who was 71. Harry had flown fans of what was then Boise Junior College on his plane to catch a game between the two cities’ football teams. They dined at Velma’s restaurant. Fleischman recorded Velma’s recollections of that first meeting in “Bluebird.” “He was very distinguished,” Velma recalled. “He was white-haired, tall and handsome, with a gallant manner and the bluest, blue eyes I’d ever seen.” “She loved him, but she was also in awe of him,” Fleischman says of their relationship. “He met her I think it was about a year after (his first wife) Ann died. ... All of a sudden there was this new life for him. I can imagine the joy he felt when he met her.” Six months after that first meeting, Harry, who was diabetic, asked Velma to travel with him as his nurse. She sold the restaurant and her house and arranged for her sons, Ron and Gary, to attend boarding school in Redwood City, Calif. Her daughter Judith was in college. About a year later, Harry and Velma married. Together, the Morrisons visited Morrison-Knudsen Co. projects around the world. Their longtime friends Jane and Ivan Kuster lived overseas for 32 of their 40-plus years with the company — in countries such as Tunisia, Libya, Iran, Morocco, Australia, Thailand and Holland. They say Velma was a quick study.

Saturday, March 26

“[Harry] was very distinguished. He was white-haired, tall and handsome, with a gallant manner and the bluest, blue eyes I’d ever seen.” — Velma Morrison “She was very interested in the company and all the jobs,” Jane says. “We used to be amazed, and we still are, that she can tell you all about the job and who was on it.” Velma served on the MK board of directors until she reached age 70, when members were forced to resign. She’s been outspoken about the dramatic fall of the renowned corporation her husband founded. It was forced into bankruptcy and sold off to Washington Group International in 1996. In an April 1995 edition of “Time” magazine, Velma blamed former CEO Bill Agee and his handpicked board. “It’s just a terrible thing that the directors and the outside auditors could have let a thing like this happen,” Morrison is quoted as saying. “You wonder where they were, what they were doing that they didn’t know what the hell was going on.” Sixteen years later, when asked about the breakup of MK, her response is mellowed: “Businesses change, times change. Changes, they never cease. I think they were the Grand Dame of the construction world. They had their day in the sun.” But biographer Kitty Delorey Fleischman says Morrison is just being diplomatic. “She can be very guarded. She’s pretty cautious about what she says,

Harry and Velma Morrison in Tokyo during a tour of MK projects in Japan.

but she didn’t want Agee in the top position,” Fleischman explains. “That company, it meant so much to her.” Former MK employee and friend Ivan Kuster says it meant a lot to his family, too. “It was sad,” Kuster says. “When you spent your life with one company, it’s sad.” Traveling the world with Harry developed Velma’s love of the performing arts — and dramatically changed the Boise landscape. Before the Morrison Center, be-

Cavalcade 2011

fore the Boise Centre on the Grove or Taco Bell Arena and, in turn, its vibrant business community, downtown Boise “looked like this bombedout mess,” Fleischman says. There were no large performing arts or concert venues. Shows were held in high schools. But the community wasn’t ready to step up to pay for the performing arts center that Harry Morrison had dreamed of building in Ann Morrison Park. Two bond issues in the mid 1970s failed.


Velma poses in the Morrison Center, which opened in April 1984.

Velma is pictured with Ralph Comstock at the October 1981 groundbreaking for the Morrison Center.

“They didn’t want it if they had to pay for it,” Velma says, adding, “As long as they could get it free, they loved it. You can quote me — that’s from my heart.” Morrison was discouraged and considered leaving town until the new president of Boise State, John Keiser, suggested putting the performing arts center on campus along the Boise River. “Here’s a great spot,” recalled Keiser, who led BSU from 1978 to 1991 and retired to Boise six years ago. “MK was here. It ought to be here, the Morrison Center ought to be here. “Ultimately, she (Velma) had to say yes. Without her, it wouldn’t have happened.” What did happen was the Idaho Legislature appropriated $5 million for the building, which included the stage house and an academic wing for the Boise State Music and Theatre Arts departments. The Harry W. Morrison Foundation made a $6.5 million donation. The foundation was established in 1952 by Harry and Ann, and has been led by Velma since Harry’s death in 1971. Another $3.7 million came from the community, including a $1 million gift from J.R. and Esther Simplot. But it took years. And the entire way, Velma


was there — pushing, prodding, driving Harry’s dream to reality. She convinced Ralph Comstock to chair the project. Organizers broke ground in October 1981 and the center opened in April 1984, with Velma’s key collaborator Fred Norman as its first executive director. “She went out and got the leaders of the community to get this center built,” says Justin Wilkerson, current president of the Morrison Foundation and Velma’s grandson. “It was her connections in the community. She was the facilitator.” But Morrison is unwilling to take credit. “The person who was completely responsible for the center is Fred Norman,” she says, only adding when pressed, “We were hard workers, both of us together.” “I think she’s very embarrassed it was named after her,” Fleischman says, “but from everyone I’ve talked to, it should be named after her.” What Velma says she is most proud of is the Morrison Center’s endowment, which was started with seed money from the Morrison Foundation. “Every center I went to, they were in the red. That told me something — that we had to get an endowment,” Velma recalls. “Our center has

Cavalcade 2011

never been in the red.” “Performing arts across the country generally can’t pay for themselves,” adds Wilkerson, who is also president of the endowment board. “They can’t charge enough for ticket prices to cover their costs.” Wilkerson says the endowment — which subsidizes maintenance and operating costs not covered by box office revenues and rental fees — is now $12 million. According to the Morrison Center website, no public funds are appropriated for operating the center. And, Wilkerson says, the endowment remains true to its original intent: giving local performing arts organizations and students a place to learn and perform, along with drawing nationally and internationally recognized artists to the Treasure Valley. The center that bears Velma’s name is her legacy, Fleischman said. “She certainly looks at the Morrison Center as her gift to the community,” Fleischman says. “She’s very proud of that.” “It was paid for when the bottle was broken on it,” Keiser said. “I don’t think there’s any question about the fact that it increased the quality of performing arts and education. ... It raised the level of the discipline and appreciation of performing arts.”

Saturday, March 26

“I’ve always admired integrity in an individual. I’ve always admired energy in an individual. I had so many people I’ve admired and respected.” — Velma Morrison

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Velma says Harry would be proud of the center. “He’d be very happy. It’d be pleasing to him,” she said. “I just followed through with some of his thoughts.” Fleischman says part of Velma Morrison’s charm is, “She is very modest about everything she gives to, both personally and through the foundation.” “She’s exactly the same person I first met,” friend Jane Kuster said. “She’s a very open, honest person. She has a heart of gold and is very compassionate.” As for her legacy, Velma has this to say: “I don’t know if I’ll be remembered. I hope I’m not remembered as someone with an ego. I don’t like a person who has a high opinion of themselves.”

World-traveling Idahoan n Velma Morrison has traveled to all seven continents. The last was Antarctica, which she visited Christmas 2001 with her husband, John Hockberger. Velma said she doesn’t have a particular favorite. “They all have a beauty, and they’re all places God has put in our world today.” n The walls of Morrison’s office are covered with framed photographs of family and wellknown individuals, including President Ronald Reagan, Vice President Dan Quayle, Sen. and former presidential candidate Bob

Dole, former NBC Nightly News anchor Tom Brokaw, and entertainers Charlton Heston, Jimmy Stewart, Bob Hope, Sally Fields, Burt Bacharach, Willie Nelson and Tony Bennett. n Velma and Harry Morrison were invited by Nejeeb Halaby, the CEO of Pan American Airlines (and father of Queen Noor of Jordan), to ride on the first commercial flight of a Boeing 747. Harry couldn’t go, so Velma took her son Ron. n Morrison portrayed Sophie Tucker during a 1980 fund raiser for the Velma Morrison Center for the Performing Arts. Morrison’s biographer, Kitty Delorey Fleischman, delights in relaying the story told by Fred Norman, the production’s director, the center’s first executive director and Velma’s key collaborator. “They practically had to pull her off the stage” after 16 ovations, Fleischman says. n Fleischman said Velma was once a guest on the yacht of Ferdinand Marcos, former president of the Philippines. n Morrison likes to play poker. n Velma and Harry Morrison started Gem State Stables on Velma’s family farm in Tipton, Calif., where they bred and raised racing horses. Governors from Idaho, California and Montana attended its grand opening. Please see Morrison, A18

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Left: Velma shakes the hand of President Ronald Reagan, who was the featured speaker during a National Governors’ Convention held at the Morrison Center in 1985. Below: Velma with a tugboat that bore her name. The tugboat was used to help build a bridge over the Tagus River in Lisbon, Portugal.

Continued from A17

n In addition to being the namesake of the Morrison Center, Velma’s name is also on the interpretive center at the World Center for Birds of Prey. n Morrison has four honorary doctorates, from Boise State University, the College of Idaho, Pepperdine University and Gonzaga University. n After World War II, Velma and her extended family (including then husband Ron Shannon, Velma’s parents, her sister and their spouses) did the “wild harvest.” They drove trucks and harvesters through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and South Dakota to harvest grain for farmers. It was the responsibility of Velma and her sister Melva to find the jobs, but the in-between times were tough and food was scarce. Fleischman recalls in Morrison’s memoir how a hungry Velma and Melva mowed down a flock of chickens in the road with their truck so their family and crew could eat. n Morrison is trustee or trustee emeritus at BSU Foundation, College of Idaho, Pepperdine, and Sansum Medical Research Foundation at Santa Barbara. She sits on the Boise Philharmonic Association advisory board and the President’s Advisory Council for the Kennedy Center.

Morrison timeline Aug. 1920: Velma Mitchell is born in Tipton, Calif., 35 years after Harry Morrison was born and eight years after he co-founded Morrison-Knudsen Co. with Morris Knudsen. May 1939: Daughter Judith is born to Velma and husband Roland Gatewood. Sept. 1946: Son Ron is born to Velma and husband Ronald Shannon. Oct. 1950: Son Gary Shannon is born. 1952: Morrison Family Foundation is established by Harry and his first wife Ann Morrison. Velma becomes chair of what is later named the Harry W. Morrison Foundation upon his death in July 1971. June 1959: Ann Morrison Park is dedicated to residents of the Treasure Valley. Work to construct the park from reclaimed swampland began after Ann’s death in 1957 and was funded through the Foundation. Fifteen acres within the park are reserved for a future performing arts center. July 1959: Velma and Harry Morrison are married. Jan. 1968: Velma’s son Gary dies during snowmobiling incident at McCall. Gary’s Boise High School classmate, Rick Crabb, also dies. 1971: Harry Morrison dies. 1975 and 1976: Bonds to fund the future Morrison


Morrison at a glance n Today, Morrison says her goal has always been “to do the very best you can do, and try to be helpful to your fellow man.” A story by former EmKayan Ivan Kuster illustrates her point. He says he and his wife Jane were driving home to Boise from Beaver Creek, Colo., with Morrison when they noticed a stray dog walking along the road. “She insisted we stop and pick up the dog,” Ivan Kuster recalls. “That’s typical of Velma.” n “She has always been very generous, which I

think is no secret,” former Boise State University President John Keiser agrees. “She cares a lot about people and she is generous in personal relationships. ... She is wealthy, but shares her wealth with the community.” n Of all the famous people Morrison’s met, she says President Ronald Reagan was her favorite. She has at least three copies of a photo of the two of them taken when Reagan was a speaker at the Morrison Center during a 1985 National Governors’ Convention. Then-Gov. Bill Clinton also attended. So did former President Gerald Ford.

Center for the Performing Arts in Ann Morrison Park fail. 1978: New Boise State President John Keiser suggests constructing the Morrison Center on campus near the river. Oct. 1981: Ground is broken for Morrison Center. April 1984: Morrison Center for the Performing Arts opens with performance of “My Fair Lady” directed by Fred Norman, the first executive director of the center. 1986: Community, with large donations from Harry W. Morrison Foundation and J.R. Simplot, complete fund drive to create $5.25 million endowment to support operation of the Morrison Center. June 1986: Velma marries John Hockberger. 1996: Morrison-Knudsen Co. is acquired by Washington Group International, which in turn is purchased by URS in 2007. Dec. 2001: Velma Morrison accomplishes goal of visiting every continent during a trip to Antarctica.

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From ‘accidental’ politician to Idaho legend Andrus had little interest in politics before he became one of the state’s most successful public officials ever By Mike Butts

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

BOISE — The man who served as Idaho’s governor for more terms than any other turns 80 in August. That’s still not enough years for Cecil Andrus. He has more work to do. Two decades of it, he figures. And he wants his adversaries to know. “I’m going to live to be 100,” the former Democratic governor said recently. “So those people at (Idaho National Laboratory), the nuke waste situation, they’re going to have to put up with me for another 20 years.” And who would doubt the former governor and Secretary of the Interior’s ability to fulfill that pledge? Andrus stormed his way from a boyhood home without indoor plumbing to four terms as Idaho governor and took on an influential position in President Jimmy Carter’s cabinet. The former sawmill worker from Oregon remains uncommonly active for a person his age. He takes daily walks with his German Shorthair, Macy, and takes a day to fish and hunt whenever he gets the chance. His love of the outdoors shaped much of the conservation policies that helped make his mark in politics. Please see Andrus, A21

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important secretaries of interior But veteran Republican state in U.S. history. Not bad for a guy Sen. Leonard Cardiff had none of Continued from A19 who once called his political career it. “That school system was good At an interview in his down- “mediocre.” enough for me. It’s good enough “People give me a lot of credit, town Boise office, Andrus, known as “Cece” to legions of Idahoans, but I’ve had a lot of help,” he said. for them,” Andrus recounts Cardiff saying in Andrus’ biography, spoke for more than an hour about “Cecil Andrus: Politics Western An unusual start in politics his youth and his life in politics. He scarcely scratched the surface of a Andrus’s political career started Style.” Some friends wanted Cece to career that spans decades and will with an insult. run against Cardiff, but he wasn’t leave behind stories that Idahoans Public office was the last thing interested. tell for decades to come. on young Cecil Andrus’ mind in That is at least not until the ReAndrus has decorated his fifth- 1960 when the lumberjack father floor workspace with pictures of from Orofino butted heads with a publican Clearwater County chairman told Andrus that he would mountain landscapes and high- Republican state senator. profile national politicians from Andrus had concerns about have lost big anyway. That remark the 1960s and 1970s. One photo rural public education getting sent Andrus straight to the county shows him with Jimmy Carter less than a fair shake. And with a courthouse to enter the race, even speaking from a lectern that carries daughter entering school the issue though Andrus had to first put his shirt on (he was at work on a hot the presidential seal. Andrus shows hit home. day) and he didn’t even know what no signs of waning at 79, wearing to do to get on the ballot. a neat dress shirt and houndstooth The young laborer who had check sport jacket. never even been to Boise won that “I’ve been a very fortunate felelection and began serving as a low,” Andrus said in summing up state senator at 29, the youngest his life. person elected to that Idaho body. The Boise School District has honored Andrus with an elemen“I’m a lumberjack and tary school in his name and he’s the state’s only governor elected to a political accident.” four terms. One historian calls — Cecil Andrus Andrus one of the most Former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus looks out over the Boise foothills near his home.

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“I’m a lumberjack and a political accident,” Andrus says now. “That’s the truth. That is not a flippant statement.” That first public election continued and started a distinct trend in the political life of Cecil Dale Andrus: winning elections. Andrus won several elections to high school offices with only one loss. And he ran for governor five times, winning four campaigns.

A political natural What’s behind Andrus’ success at the ballot box? According to the Hood River, Ore., native’s daughter, Tracy, Andrus has authenticity. “My father genuinely likes people, and that comes through,” Tracy Andrus, 55, of Eagle, said. “You watch him with people and he’s listening because he’s interested. People know when someone’s genuine, and he’s the real deal.” Former Meridian School Board member Wally Hedrick admits he’s biased when talking about Andrus, who appointed Hedrick the first directory of the state lottery in 1989. Hedrick now works as the state director of Rural Development. “I don’t think there’s been a better governor in the state of Idaho,” Hedrick said. “He’s a once-in-a-lifetime politician.” Andrus’ ability to resolve differences sets him apart, Hedrick said. “His ability to pull people together to try to find solutions to difficult problems makes him an exceptional individual,” Hedrick said. “I come across people all the time that wish he’d run again.”


Out of official public life since the mid 1990s, Andrus comes from a time when politics was perhaps less disagreeable than now. Although the former governor was and is a staunch conservationist, Idaho Rivers United Executive Director Bill Sedivy said his group has not always agreed with Andrus. “(But) you could disagree on one issue and work together on another,” Sedivy said. “And that’s a trait that seems these days to become less and less prevalent.” When President Carter called on the Idaho Korean War veteran to act as secretary of the interior, there was no hesitation on Andrus’s part, even though he was in the middle of his fourth term as governor. “I come from the old school,” Andrus said. “I Cecil Andrus visits with then-president Jimmy Carter, left, during Andrus’ term as Secretary of the Interior. was raised (that) when the president of the United States asks you to do something, you don’t quibble. You say, ‘Yes, sir’.” Andrus left the governor’s office to serve under Carter in 1977.

Education, conservation Andrus and political observers agree that the governor’s focus in politics was on education and conservation, or environmental, issues. Education issues prompted Andrus to run in the first place. And he considers the establishment of public kindergarten to be the top achievement of his four terms as governor. The kindergarten policy came only after years of effort. Andrus said he had brought up public kindergarten to Idaho lawmakers several times without success. Opponents, he said, called kindergarten a “Communist plot” to take children out of the home. But once someone suggested that kindergarten be voluntary, the revised law made it through the Statehouse. “Once you got it on a voluntary basis, it might as well have been mandatory,” Andrus said. In today’s global economy education becomes even more important, Andrus said, and the best investment a community can make. An avid outdoorsman, Andrus always understood the value of preserving open space and wilderness. When he first won election as governor, he campaigned on saving the White Cloud Mountains from a planned open-pit molybdeCecil Andrus shakes hands with President Jimmy Carter around 1977. num mine.


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“The Gem State is not a dump.” — Cecil Andrus One of his first acts as governor was to stop a mining company plan that would extract lead and zinc deposits near Craters of the Moon National Monument. In his biography Andrus explains that he blocked the proposal because the company did not want to use scrubbers to prevent air pollution.

National nuclear image Andrus has been concerned about nuclear waste since 1971. In perhaps his most well-known, and most dramatic, act as governor Andrus blocked train delivery of nuclear waste to Idaho in 1988. The New York Times published a picture of an Idaho trooper standing next to his cruiser with arms folded blocking a railroad into the state. “The Gem State is not a dump,” Andrus writes in his biography. To this day Andrus advocates for what he believes are important guidelines for disposing of nuclear waste at the Idaho National Laboratory near Idaho Falls. He said he supports the idea of INL, a nuclear research facility established in 1949, with caveats. “The good news is the Department of Energy has found a place to store nuclear waste,” Andrus wrote in a letter to Gov. Butch Otter in January. “The bad news is it’s between Idaho Falls and Arco.” Another signature environmental move by Andrus came when he served as secretary of the interior and helped create the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act in 1980. The deal designated millions of acres as public land, much of it as wilderness area. Andrus worked to make sure the deal was done only weeks before President Ronald Reagan took office because he was convinced the Reagan Administra-

Saturday, March 26

In this undated photo, former Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus holds onto a falcon as one of his last acts as Sectretary of the Interior. Andrus withdrew nearly half a million acres along the Snake River in southwest Idaho from development in order to maintain food supply for various species of raptors and birds of prey in an area that would later be recognized as the Snake River Birds of Prey National Conservation Area.

Battle against nuclear waste in Idaho BOISE — Former Democratic Gov. Cecil Andrus said he’s troubled by a new deal that would allow even small amounts of nuclear waste to be shipped to eastern Idaho, the Associated Press reported in January. Andrus was instrumental in negotiating an agreement in 1995 with the federal government to limit nuclear waste shipments coming into the state for any reason. In a Jan. 11 letter, Andrus raises questions with Gov. Butch Otter about a new agreement that clears shipments of small amounts of waste to the Idaho National Labora-

tion would not go as far in preserving land. For that and other reasons, historian Douglas Brinkley told Idaho Public Television in December that Andrus ranks among the top three

tory for research. The new agreement essentially makes Idaho a final destination for nuclear waste, Andrus said. Otter, a Republican, said the 880 pounds of used fuel coming to the lab annually under the new agreement will be used for research and will count toward existing limits set in the state’s 1995 nuclear waste agreement with the federal government, according to the AP. That agreement requires the federal government to remove all 300 tons of spent fuel at the lab by 2035, or pay the state $60,000 a day if it fails to do so.

or four most important secretaries of interior in U.S. history. His political adversaries may disagree, but Andrus’ bark sometimes seems worse than his bite. He’s a true people person who relates to presi-

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dents and plumbers the same way, those who know him well say. That easy way of interaction makes many people comfortable with dropping the formal title of governor. They just call him Cece.


Andrus poses with his wife, Carol, in the early part of his political career.

“If it has fins, feathers or fur, I chase it.” — Cecil Andrus

Things you may not know about Cecil Andrus n He was president of his junior class at Eugene High School. He ran for student body president and lost in a runoff. n Andrus killed his first deer when he was 12 and has not stopped hunting since. “If it has fins, feathers or fur, I chase it,” he once wrote. n Andrus and his wife, Carol, have three daughters, two granddaughters, one grandson and one great-granddaughter, and they all live within six miles of the couple’s Boise home. For that he says he is “grateful.” n The Andrus family has used the same cabin in Cascade as a retreat for more than 40 years.

Influential people Cecil Andrus’ father Hal Andrus: Hal Andrus died in 2004 at 98. “Dad taught me how to work, that if I gave my word to somebody I had to keep it. My dad was also a stickler to respect the fairer sex. There was no such thing as abuse.” Anwar Sadat: Former president of Egypt. “Egypt wouldn’t be having the problems today if he were still alive.” Pope Paul VI: Andrus, a Lutheran, had a private audience with Pope Paul and was impressed with his ideas and actions.

Andrus timeline 1948 and 1949: Attended Oregon State University August 1949: Married Carol May in Reno 1951: Enlisted in the U.S. Navy and served on active duty during the Korean War Mid 1950s: Left the Navy and moved to Orofino to work in the timber industry. 1960, 1962, 1964: Elected to the Idaho Senate from Orofino 1966: Ran for governor and lost in both the primary and general elections. His primary opponent was killed in an airplane crash so he ran as an appointed replacement nominee and lost in the general election to Republican Don Samuelson. 1970: Defeated Samuelson in a rematch, became governor at age 39 1974: Defeated Republican Lt. Gov. Jack M. Murphy for re-election 1977: Resigned as governor to serve as President Jimmy Carter’s secretary of the interior, the first Idahoan to work on a president’s cabinet. 1986: After years in private life, ran for governor and defeated Republican Lt. Gov. David H. Leroy 1990: Vetoed a stringent anti-abortion bill passed by the Idaho Legislature 1995: Founded the Andrus Center for Public Policy at Boise State University


Cecil Andrus holds onto the antlers of an elk he recently bagged on a hunting trip outside Sun Valley.

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Hurley, an awardwinning western writer with a dream By Marie D. Galyean For the Idaho Press-Tribune

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

NAMPA — Sixteen horsewomen covered with glowing lights thunder into a darkened arena to perform intricate patterns of horsemanship, accompanied by heart-pounding music. A strange nightmare? No. It is the famous Snake River Stampeders Night Light Drill Team, a creation of Jimmie Gayle Hurley, a woman from Corinth, Miss., who had never seen a rodeo until she moved to Wilder, Idaho, as a young married woman, and attended the Snake River Stampede in Nampa. It was love at first sight, and it changed her from a local reporter into an award-winning Western writer. After 34 years of working for the Stampede, she is still on the job, offering a warm welcome to visitors at the Idaho Center ticket office on the outskirts of Nampa. Her title says “executive secretary,” but Hurley has a remarkable history with rodeos and the media that her title doesn’t begin to describe. She has been telling the stories of cowboys and cowgirls in the Treasure Valley as well as on the national scene for more than 35 years. Please see Hurley, A28


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“I’ve had an interesting life.” — Jimmie Hurley

Hurley Continued from A26

Hurley’s busy life in Wilder and Caldwell has been filled with family, writing, awards, and working with Western music and rodeo stars. But when some people might be thinking of cutting back or retiring, Jimmie Gayle Hurley is still working at the year-round job that Jimmie Gayle Phillips, picincludes bookkeeping, ticket selling, writing, tured in 1948 or 1949, in and, of course, the organizing and promotion Corinth, Miss. of the acclaimed Night Light Drill Team that has thrilled audiences at the Nampa rodeo since 1997. In her quiet, unassuming way Hurley says, “I’ve had an interesting life.” A western magazine hired Jimmie to write a series on Idaho’s “King of the Ropers,” Dean Oliver, who went on to break records with his three “World Champion All Around And indeed she has. Cowboy” titles and eight World Championships in rodeo calf roping. Oliver is now a Snake River Stampede director.

Southern roots She was born in Mississippi, and says she was always interested in writing and journalism. She was the editor for her high school newspaper and her first job was as a reporter for her local paper, “The Daily Corinthian.” When she and her husband, Billy (not William) Hurley, moved to Idaho, she knew nothing about rodeos and didn‘t ride horses. But as soon as she attended the Snake River Stampede, she was hooked on the mystique of cowboys and rodeos — and writing about them became a passion. One of the first rodeo stories she sold ran in “This Week Magazine” that appeared in many Sunday newspapers. When she and Billy moved to Wilder, she was pregnant with her first child and didn’t want to work away from her home. She began contacting national Western magazines, and one suggested that she do a series on a local man, “King of the Ropers,” Dean Oliver, who eventually won eight World Championships in rodeo calf roping and three titles as World Champion All Around Cowboy. Oliver, who lives in Greenleaf now, said that when Hurley contacted him, he had already won three or four calf-roping championships. He wasn’t familiar with Hurley’s writing back then, but, he said, “I thought she was very good, and was always accurate,” in the many stories she wrote about him. Oliver eventually went on to win 11 championship buckles, and he said he thinks his rodeo records are still unbeaten. He has been on the Snake River Stampede Board of Directors since 1990. Hurley jumped at the chance to interview Oliver and wrote a story and then a series that, she said, ran for a year and doubled the stand sales and the subscriptions for the magazine. She wrote about every event rodeos offered, from bull riding, bareback riding, barrel racing, calf roping and even the clowns. She estimated that she wrote at least 30 to 35 cover stories, for magazines such as “Hoofs and Horns,” “Western Horsemen” and “Horse and Rider.”

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Sometimes, she said, she would have her articles in four different magazines on the stands at once. She even had her own darkroom in her home and printed her own photos for the stories. At one point, a magazine editor suggested she use a second name for bylines because periodicals were publishing so many of her articles. So she began submitting some stories using her middle name and maiden name: Gayle Phillips.

All this and Caldwell, too As if all this writing wasn’t enough to keep her busy, along with the three children she had in three years (Lisa, Phillip and Laura), she began working for the Caldwell Night Rodeo in 1976, as secretary and publicist. Around 1978, she began doing promotional work for the Stampede as well. But this was too much, even for workaholic Hurley, and she finally dropped the Caldwell rodeo and settled in with the Stampede, along with her freelancing for several Western magazines. Bill Deal, now director of the Idaho Department of Insurance, is a past president of the Snake River Stampede and said he served about Louise Yerger Photograph, Jackson, Miss. 32 years on the board of “red shirt“ directors. A case of mistaken identity: Greeters and photographers rush to welcome a contestant at the Miss Mississippi “I go back to the beginning, when Jimmie beauty contest in the 1960s, but it was reporter Jimmie Hurley who got all the attention when she stepped out was working for the Caldwell rodeo,” he said. of the car first. Miss Corinth is still in the car. Deal was impressed with her writing and her Jimmie Hurley, contacts in the rodeo world. right, interviews “I tried to lure her away from the Caldwell world champion rodeo,” he said, “and when I succeeded, she professional barrel racer Sammy brought with her a lot of great friendships and Thurman, who relationships from the rodeo circuits.” was in Treasure “It was due to Jimmie’s friendship with Reba Valley in 1975 McEntire at an Oklahoma City rodeo that we giving a clinic. were able to book her as the singing star here — the summer before she hit the big time,” IPT file photo Deal said. McEntire, a country singer and actress, became the second-best selling female country artist of all time. Hurley said McEntire was from a rodeo family and was a barrel racer herself, but she was an unknown and it took a lot of persuasion for the directors to book her as the summer’s star singer. Deal called Hurley one of the most important participants in making the Snake River Stampede a success over the years.

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Little-known facts about Hurley n Jimmie has never owned a horse n At 52, she went skydiving and broke her ankle n She is a bridge-playing addict n She loves Hawaii and was there during the 2011 tsunami (from the Japan earthquake)

“Talk about dedication,” he exclaimed. “It is more than a job to Jimmie — it’s her family.” By 1981 Hurley was raking in media awards for her articles and writing stories in the Idaho Press-Tribune’s special rodeo editions.

Accomplished writer She was honored by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and co-sponsor Frontier Airlines with a gold-and-silver belt buckle set with rubies for the best feature story in their publication, “Pro-rodeo Sports News,” during 1980. The story concerned a young Indian cowboy, Howard Hunter, from a reservation in South Gustafson Rodeo Photography, Jerry & Emmy Gustafson Dakota. She had learned his grandfather was a Jimmie, award-winning rodeo writer, interviews former Dallas football star Walt Garrison in Cheyenne, Wyo., in survivor of the Wounded Knee Massacre. 1974. She wrote a story for “Western Horsemen” magazine. Also, at a convention in Denver, she was presented with the News Media Award from the Women’s Professional Rodeo Association as the person who did the most to promote women’s rodeo that year. Even her family couldn’t escape the lure of the rodeo. Her son, Phillip, who teaches school in Portland, Ore., returns each summer to sing the National Anthem at the opening of the Snake River Stampede, and his sister, Laura Crowe, who teaches in Caldwell, helps her mom during the Stampede’s busiest time. Lisa works for Horizon/Alaska Airlines, but when she was a teenager she sold tickets at the rodeo’s booth in downtown Nampa.

History of the iconic Stampeders In 1997, the Stampede rodeo moved out of its famed green arena (the Green Queen) and into the sparkling new Idaho Center. Jimmie Hurley knew many fans were sad about leaving the old arena and she wanted Submitted photo to create something really special for the new The month of July is frenetic for Snake River Stampede executive secretary Jimmie Hurley, who works with the rodeo Board of Directors to coordinate the annual Top 15 national-level rodeo. site.


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She conferred with friends like Shawn Davis, a former three-time champion saddle bronc rider who is now the general manager of the National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas. His best suggestion was, “Put pretty girls on fast horses.” Hurley isn’t sure when the idea came to her, but she thought, “Let’s put pretty girls on fast horses — in the dark. And put lights on them.” With the help of the late Jack Blake, plus the coaching skills of Yo (Willhite) Marts, they began to assemble a team of crack riders and planned a show that would wow the fans. “Jack had worked with rodeo queens,” Hurley said, and Yo was the Miss Rodeo Idaho from 196768. “The coaches, riders and light crew did all the work. I was just the one who dreamed it up.” But they were worried. They couldn’t actually get into the arena to practice and see what they had until the night before the rodeo opened. They were hoping to attach the Christmas tree lights to the riders and horses, and one night, with the lights spread out all over Alice Blake’s kitchen, while Jack, the coaches and Hurley plotted and

PRCA ProRodeo Photo/Tom Donoghue

The Snake River Stampeders Night Light Drill Team thrills audiences as it charges through the darkened arena, performing intricate patterns of horsemanship to dramatic music. Jimmie Hurley dreamed up the concept as a spectacular act for the new Idaho Center in 1997.

argued, Alice Blake exclaimed: “I don’t think this much planning went into D-Day.” But opening night arrived and Hurley was thrilled. She called Shawn Davis and told him he had to book her team for the Wrangler National Rodeo Finals in Las Vegas. He trusted her enough to come and see for himself… and the rest, as they

say, is history. The lighted equestrian drill team from Nampa became the only drill team ever invited to the rodeo finals, again and again. Davis even arranged for the group to appear at the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City. The team, now coached for the past five years by Leslie Todd from Middleton, has gotten sharper, and the lights have become larger, sturdier and brighter. Each member and her horse wear about 150 lights. Perhaps the most moving performance Hurley recalled was after the 2001 terrorist attacks on the East Coast, when American patriotism was at a high point. When the team appeared in Las Vegas that year, they rode to “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood and displayed an American flag created from lights. The audience in Vegas surged to its feet for a prolonged standing ovation. Surely this was an inspiring tribute to the coaches, riders and crew from Treasure Valley who have worked so hard to make Jimmie Hurley’s “dream” into an exciting and memorable event.

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Cavalcade 2011


Jim, Rick Zamzow: Building a company on family values By Jon Meyer

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

TREASURE VALLEY — Innovator, dreamer, mad scientist: Jim Zamzow has many titles if you ask the people who have worked with him for years. For others in the Treasure Valley, he may just be a voice on the radio or a familiar name on a sign or passing truck. In Jim’s brother and co-owner, Rick, people see completely different personalities, a balance point that has helped the company thrive in the 40 years they’ve been at the helm. In that time it has grown from Zamzows Coal & Feed into a full-service retailer specializing in lawn and garden, pets, feed and more, known now simply as Zamzows. Ask either Rick or Jim and they’ll tell you that the legacy began not with them, but in the 1930s with their grandfather August “Gus” Zamzow and his wife Carmalita, the iconic “Grandma Z.” The emphasis on hard work, honesty and earning customers one at a time was born there and continues to govern the brothers and the employees who run 10 stores across two counties in the Treasure Valley today.


Cavalcade 2011

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Jim and Rick Zamzow at the Zamzows headquarters in Nampa.

“It’s not our idea; that’s the way Dad did it, that’s the way Grandma and Grandpa did it. It’s basically old Christian ethics,” Jim told the Idaho Press-Tribune over the phone while vacationing in Hawaii. He said he still did business everyday. “Basically you’ve got to have your customer’s back. In other words, they’ve got to know that what you’re providing to them is quality.” Rick and Jim worked the retail sales floor for years. That’s part of the reason Rick said Zamzows has been successful in carving out its own niche among big competition: They know what the customer really wants. He tells employees: “When a customer comes in the store and says they want a bag of dog

Saturday, March 26

food, do they really want a bag of dog food? ... filled with frogs. They swam in the irrigation ditches, played baseball in the cattle fields and No, they don’t, they want a healthy dog.” hauled manure to the garden in coal wheelbarrows. An early start There was always Zamzows, and always For Rick and Jim, the journey started in a work to be done. house behind the Zamzows store on Fairview “You know you’re born with it basically,” Avenue in Boise, nestled behind a cow pasture and outbuildings that stored fertilizer, cattle Rick said, naming his dad as one of his biggest feed and hay. The house still stands today and mentors. Bernie involved the family in differtheir 94-year-old father, Bernie, still gardens ent aspects of the business, taking the brothers in what was once a 10,000-square-foot space to the store on Saturdays early on, before they got more involved. “There was nothing that my complete with an orchard. The boys remember hunting pheasants on brother and I didn’t do.” Jim remembers helping Bernie with baby their way back and forth from school, trapping chickens in the spring. gophers for 25 cents a tail and playing in an area then surrounded by fields and stock ponds Please see Zamzows, A36

Cavalcade 2011


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Cavalcade 2011


Zamzows Continued from A33

“From the time we were big enough to walk, we were in the store,” he said. “We were just kind of a fixture.” Their work ethic was born here. Before they could play or hunt, chores had to be done, windows cleaned at the Meridian mill, coal hauled. “We were poor but didn’t know it,” Rick said. “Pop, he put every nickel he had back into the business just to buy inventory and keep it afloat. We worked seven days a week; there was never a day off.”

Family, company values “We were taught to work when we were just kids, so we didn’t have any options,” Jim said. “The discipline was there. We were so exposed to gardening and the farming aspect of it, it’s been kind of in our blood I think.” Rick remembers Grandma Z saying that a lot of hard work never hurt anybody, and that’s Carmalita and Gus Zamzow in the Meridian Mill looking at the new, more modern equipment for milling grains, just one of the values that has been passed down in the 1950s. through the generations.

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Cavalcade 2011

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“[Jim] is an absolute genius. We call him kind of a mad scientist.” — Zamzows President Darin Eisenbarth When they started, Carmalita and Gus mixed feed ingredients on the floor of the old Snodgrass Mill, a small store at the corner of Fairview Avenue and Liberty Street in Ada County that they purchased in 1933. Carmalita would hold the bags as Gus shoveled in the 100 pounds of feed, then sewed them closed with a needle and thread. Eight-year company President Darin Eisenbarth said Grandma Z was an environmentalist probably before the term even existed. “She wanted to recycle everything and compost everything, and never put any chemicals in her garden and those values are still alive today.” An emphasis on the people in business — the customers and employees — was passed down to Rick and Jim from an early age. “If you don’t put back more than you take out, eventually it becomes deleted, whether it’s a soil or it’s a human being or whether it’s a family or a relationship,” Rick said. “So we’ve always felt that you have to invest more in your people, more in the soil.”

Jim: The dreamer Jim planted his first row of beans when he was just 9 or 10 and they “came up beautifully.” But, he’d planted them diagonally across Bernie’s garden, meaning all the other rows had to be designed to match. He took an interest at an early age in planting, and thinks that sometimes things “come a little natural to you.” He didn’t always want to be deeply involved in the business. A Boise State University graduate and veteran of the Air National Guard, at one point the plan was for him to go into the world and learn business and bring the principles back to Zamzows. A counselor talked him out of it. He decided to stay and learn more from Bernie. In the early ‘70s, the boys convinced Bernie to expand the Fairview store and Jim soon

Saturday, March 26

Jim Zamzow at the Zamzow’s warehouse in Nampa.

had to make a decision about whether or not he wanted to manage it. “I thought, you know what, this is an opportunity and I just can’t pass it up. I’m going to have to learn how to run this business through the school of hard knocks.” That’s exactly what he and Rick have done since, expanding to new locations — although some later closed — adding and designing new products and lines, focusing more on lawn and garden and pet foods, always with an eye on the future. On the innovation front, Jim has always been a leader. “The man is an absolute genius. We call him kind of a mad scientist,” Eisenbarth said. Company managers can bring ideas from customers to Jim, who then goes to his lab to try to come up with a product to satisfy the need. Eisenbarth calls him a “true student,” continually attending classes and seminars to broaden his knowledge. Company Vice President Ken Kirkbride has been with Rick and Jim since the Fairview store in 1974. He remembers being involved in the early development of Thrive, a fertilizer product that now sells more than 50,000 gallons a year.

Cavalcade 2011

In his own words Jim Zamzow’s role models n “I admire my father, Bernie Zamzow. By example he taught me to accomplish something worthwhile every single day of my life and to do a good job.” n “Agronomist C.J. Fenzau completely revolutionized my view of the soil and its relationship to the food grown in it. He taught me the errors of conventional farming and how to use a more natural, sustainable approach.” n “The head of my karate school, Hanshi 10 Dan Isao Ichikawa, had an enduring reverence for the earth and all living things. Taking joy in the sight of the setting sun and pushing beyond what I thought was possible are lessons he taught me.” Things you might not know about Jim n Holds a fifth-degree black belt in karate n A licensed aviator with licenses in fixed-wing and helicopter n An expert marksman and gun enthusiast n A former sheriff reserve deputy n “Happiest with my hands in the good earth of my garden.” n “Voracious reader studying topics from philosophy to finance and health.”


In his own words Rick Zamzow’s role models: n Father Bernie Zamzow: “He taught me how to work hard, and to do a job right, give it 100 percent and never accept less than the best. He also taught me how to watch the money. He always said if you don’t watch it nobody else will.” n Mother Helen: “She was a very giving person and taught me how to love and be very considerate of your fellow man. She taught me how to love, by example.” n Clay Mathile, former owner of the Iams company: “He always preached quality, culture, and people were the most important parts of a business, and surround yourself with the best. He also gave me the 12 commandments of a business owner.” n Albertsons founder Joe Albertson: “He demanded excellence on every stick I carried down to his den, three flight of stairs, where his office was. I admired his stores and their people. One day I asked him why he was so successful, with such great employees, and he said it’s simple: Happy employees make happy customers, the rest is just stuff.” Something you might not know about Zamzows “What most people don’t know about our business is we started as Zamzows Coal and Feed company and there wasn’t a job or a task we would ask of our employees to do that Jim and I haven’t already done, or would do. We worked hard and didn’t expect success overnight. It was one day at a time and we never gave up.”

Rick Zamzow holds up a bag of Grandma Z’s dog food at the Nampa location of Zamzows next to the company’s headquarters on Franklin Road.

“In the old days … customers were real hard to come by. If you didn’t take care of your customer, he didn’t come back. So you had to give him better products and better service than anybody else in order to keep him.”

“I helped Jim mix the first batch of Thrive in the back parking lot of the Fairview store in a 55-gallon drum with an oar,” Kirkbride said. “He was always into that innovation.” When the board wanted to stop Jim’s foray — Rick Zamzow into Iams premium dog foods, he persisted, “In the old days … customers were real hard saying more people would realize that it gave to come by,” he said. “If you didn’t take care them healthier dogs. of your customer, he didn’t come back. So you Rick: A different personality had to give him better products and better serThe brothers are close, only 2 1/2 years vice than anybody else in order to keep him.” When they were working to become bigapart in age and both veterans of the Air Nager than the popular Union Farm & Garden tional Guard. “We’ve been good for each other,” Rick in the ‘70s, Rick remembers driving over to sit in Union’s parking lot with Jim to watch what said. They’ve had a passion to grow the business people bought. soon after taking over from Bernie. While Jim focuses on research and develop-


Cavalcade 2011

ment, Eisenbarth said Rick’s passions lie elsewhere. “Rick is really interested in the property acquisition for us,” he said. “Rick loves dogs and dog food. That’s his big passion, and so he is really active in helping us develop our new dog foods and then improve the formulas that we currently produce.” The brothers have done a nice job of splitting up their responsibilities, Kirkbride said, “which is unusual for two brothers being able to be involved in the same business.” Rick quotes Joe Albertson, to whom he delivered wood to as a child, remembering he told him “happy employees make happy customers.” He also is dedicated to quality over anything else, never sacrificing that for profit. “A lot of companies will make a dog food, for example, or a fertilizer and they’ll make it as cheap as they can to make the most amount of money. It’s just the way they do; it’s unfortunate,” he said. “We make it as best we can and then we put a price on it.”

Saturday, March 26

“I don’t think that we ever had any real major plans of being a big or a larger corporation. I assumed that my Dad (Gus) started with nothing and I guess we just kind of took things for granted and took every day as it came.” — Bernie Zamzow

Continuing tradition When 94-year-old Bernie Zamzow looks back at the time when he sold the business to his sons, he said he didn’t expect it to turn into what it has become. “I don’t think that we ever had any real major plans of being a big or a larger corporation,” Bernie said. “I assumed that my Dad (Gus) started with nothing and I guess we just kind of took things for granted and took every day as it came.” To this day, as annual sales near $20 million, Zamzows fights to earn every customer, just like the brothers did in their first years of ownership. “We would see people driving by real slow, looking in, and they’d see we were closed and we’d run outside and we would wave: ‘Come in, come in, come in, we’ll open the gate. Please come in,’” Jim said. “Sometimes we didn’t get home at night until 7:30 or 8 o’clock ... As long as there was a customer that wanted to do business with us we would do business with them.” Bernie said that commitment has been with the company all along: “The customer came first and you had to supply him with the service and the products that served him well.” To this day, the company’s reputation is everything to the staff, Eisenbarth said, and they’ll never do anything to damage what has been built over seven decades. “We won’t bring in products that are substandard that may hurt our reputation,” he said. “We won’t treat our employees badly.”

Looking into the future In the age of big box stores, Rick said some of the employees feared that competitors could shut Zamzows down. He doesn’t get scared. In fact, their No. 1 store in sales — on Federal Way in Boise — shares a parking lot with Home Depot, Fred

Saturday, March 26

Bernie and the late Helen Zamzow stand in front of the original Fairview store, then called Zamzows Mill, prior to Fairview being widened, requiring the Zamzows gas pumps to be torn down.

Meyer and Petco. “I said that if you take care of the customer and you give him good products and service beyond his customer’s expectations ... they’ll drive by those guys, I’ll guarantee it.” As the brothers get older and move further out of day-to-day operations, they have children who have shown an interest in getting into the family business, and they have put together a management team with its eye on growth. Even in the economic downturn, as others closed, Zamzows grew; when others laid off, they hired. The company has experienced 4 percent growth this year. Looking forward, the management has their eyes on the Twin Falls market. Past that, Eisenbarth said the next choice would be Salt Lake City. Rick is looking hard at starting an employee stock ownership program soon. Jim thinks the company could be a $50 million to $100 million business someday. “We just have to work harder to get more of the pie,” Rick said As Bernie Zamzow looks at what his sons have accomplished, he reminds them that “continued good health is the biggest thing in life.” With all that Zamzows does with its proprietary blends, lawn and garden products and pet and feed lines, Rick said that his company is something unique that will continue. “I’ve been to pretty much every major town and small town across the United States in the last 30 or 40 years,” he said. “I’ve never seen a prototype that we have. Nobody does what we do.”

Cavalcade 2011


Timeline Spring 1933 — Carmalita and August (Gus) Zamzow found the company as Zamzows Mill and soon call it Zamzows Coal and Feed. It sits at the corner of what is now Fairview Avenue and Liberty Street in rural Ada County, a dirt road at the time. Late 1930s — Bernie Zamzow quits the University of Idaho to help his parents run the company. 1940s — The State of Idaho takes out the Zamzows gas pumps and widens Fairview Avenue and turns it into Highway 30, without compensating Zamzows for the land taken. Bernie later fights the state and wins compensation. 1953 — Zamzows buys the Meridian mill. They add on to the mill in 1957, largely expanding space for grinding and processing livestock feed. 1960 — Now owned by Bernie, his brother Stanley and their parents Carmalita and Gus, Zamzows acquires the Kuna Mills property along Main Street (West 3rd Street ). Early to mid 1960s — Bernie’s sons, Rick and Jim Zamzow, begin working in Zamzows as teenagers, working as laborers, driving coal and fuel oil trucks, and learning different aspects of the business. 1970 — Moving on from studies at Boise State University and the University of Idaho as the Treasure Valley went through a big growth period and a transition from rural to urban in Boise, Jim and Rick convince Bernie to rebuild the Fairview store. They turn part of their focus to the blossoming lawn and garden business. 1973 — Bernie agrees to sell a partial interest in the company to Jim and Rick, though the full transaction isn’t completed until 1978. Bernie continues to work at the Meridian mill in the early ‘70s. 1978 — Jim and Rick become the sole owners of Zamzows, owning 50 percent each. Mid to late 1970s — Always looking for new and innovative products, Zamzows becomes one of the earliest dealers in modern-day Weed Eaters for residential use. It came about after Jim saw a man using one of the devices at a state park in Oregon. Late 1970s and early 1980s — The company focuses on developing its own line of organic-based lawn and garden products, specifically liquid fertilizer. 1979 — A small Zamzows store is built in Emmett. Mid 1980s — A second Boise location opens on State Street. 1989 — The company opens a corporate headquarters and distribution center in Boise on Glenwood Street. 1990 — The company opens the first store in CanThe tower at the Zamzows on Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard in Nampa. yon County on Nampa-Caldwell Boulevard, across from Karcher Mall.


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1993 – The first “superstore” opens on Federal Way in Boise, featuring pet grooming facilities, a pond, a greenhouse and more. Today it is the company’s top selling store. 1999 n An Eagle store opens after several years of planning. It starts a new trend for the company, adding other tenants to the same complex to draw people in and accommodate development costs. n In the summer, needing more office and warehouse space, the company relocates its headquarters and distribution center to Nampa, along North Franklin Boulevard. 2006 — The Nampa store is rebuilt and moved behind the original store. The original space is torn down and the area is sold to D.L Evans bank. 2008 — A third store is built in Meridian at the corner of Overland and Eagle roads. Now — In 2011, plans for development have the company looking toward expansion to the Twin Falls market. Now, 10 stores stand in Ada and Canyon counties. Seven of the 10 stand on or west of Eagle Road. The company brings in more than $19 million in annual revenue.

Rick Zamzow (left) and Jim Zamzow (right) on the lawn of their home behind the Fairview store in the 1950s.

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Cavalcade 2011



Kramer remembers gridiron life Football great enjoys exciting year, strives to make living better for others A42

By Tom Fox

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

It has been more than a month, but he still remembers the overwhelming celebration. It was Feb. 6, 2011, when Jerry Kramer, 75, watched from comfort of the Green Bay Packers’ executives suite at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas and realized the significance of his Packers defeating the Pittsburgh Steelers in the biggest game on the planet. “It’s very special when the Packers get to the Super Bowl for me, it brings back a lot of old

Cavalcade 2011

memories and warm feelings and wonderful thoughts,” he said. It has been 43 years, but Kramer, still remembers the finite details of the final play of one particular overwhelming victory. It was Dec. 31, 1967, when Kramer, then 31, sprang from his three-point stance on the frozen turf at Green Bay’s Lambeau Field, and guided the way for what now is the most famous play in NFL history. Green Bay defeated the Dallas Cowboys 21-17 for the NFL Championship and won the berth to their second straight Super Bowl.

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Everyone knows what kind of an incredible athlete [Kramer] was ... but he’s always been so much more than a football player.” — ESPN reporter Jeremy Schapp Jerry Kramer at the University of Idaho.

Heroes 1. Russ Kramer. Jerry Kramer’s older brother Russ was a running back for Sandpoint High. 2. Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch. Kramer said he first saw the Los Angeles Rams star when he starred in the 1953 movie “Crazylegs.”

Jerry Kramer and his two sons, Danny and Tony, at in the Green Bay locker room.

“We assumed we’d play a few years and be remembered for a couple years and drift off in the midst of time somewhere,” Kramer said. Well, Kramer and his Green Bay Packer teammates have not been forgotten. Between winning the first two Super Bowls and watching this year’s Packers claim the 45th Super Bowl title, the Vince Lombardi Packers are still widely considered the gold standard for NFL franchises. They won five NFL championships from 1961 to 67, including a record-three straight from 1965 to 67. Kramer has helped keep his former coach and teammates fresh in the minds of readers through four books he co-authored with his friend and award-winning journalist, the late Dick Schaap. “I grew up with Jerry,” said Schaap’s son, Jeremy, an award-winning reporter for ESPN and Jerry Kramer’s godson. “Jerry and my father were best friends. Jerry is in a lot of ways my father’s hero and he’s certainly my hero. Jerry is a remarkable guy. Everyone knows what kind of an incredible athlete he was — one of the greatest at his position in the history of football — but he’s always been so much more than a football player.” Please see Kramer, A45

Saturday, March 26

Jerry Kramer with the Green Bay Packers.

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Jerry Kramer with the Green Bay Packers.

Continued from A43

Reaching goals Goals have always been in front of Kramer. From an early age, his father, Charlie, planted one certain goal in the minds of his six children. “He talked to me when I was growing up maybe being an engineer and go to college at an engineering school,” Kramer said. “He said maybe you could even go to MIT.” The Massachusetts Institute of Technology was the “golden cathedral on the hill” to Charlie Kramer. But to Jerry Kramer, the esteemed Boston institution was “unreachable.” Kramer did not want to be an engineer like his father, who owned a TV and radio shop in their hometown of Sandpoint. Instead, Kramer wanted to be Crazy. In his youth, Kramer remembers watching the 1953 movie “Crazylegs,” starring Los Angeles Rams halfback/end Elroy “Crazylegs” Hirsch, and playing for the Rams became his goal. “I put that in my high school year book, that I wanted to be a Los Angeles Ram,” he said. “I liked their helmets, I guess, plus they were on the West Coast, probably the closest team to us.” Kramer did not end up being like Crazylegs and playing for the Rams. Instead, Kramer excelled without the ball. At first it was at Sandpoint High, then as the first all-American at the University of Idaho and eventually a five-time All-Pro offensive guard for the Lombardi’s Packers. “The fact that I got to be in Green Bay when coach Lombardi was there was just a sensational opportunity for me and all the other things kind of came from the association with Green Bay,” he said “It’s been such a wonderful ride, it’s been a great experience and it keeps on keeping on.”

Replay of health When Kramer was playing in the NFL, the league introduced a disturbing study. “I was only supposed to live until 54, according to the NFL stats,” he said. Kramer, now 75, remembered his teammates and opponents alike when he went through a new stem cell injection into an ailing hip a couple months ago. “I told him, ‘Doc, I’ve got about 10,000 buddies

Saturday, March 26

and every one of them needs something, whether it’s a shoulder or a hip or a knee or a back or something. so, I’d love to have this work so I could let them know about it.’” Through two different conversations with two different friends, Kramer discovered there was a need for an organization that would do preventative medicine. “It was an interesting time in medicine with the Internet and the rush of knowledge coming down the Internet,” Kramer said. “We started looking at the system and seemed to be in need of an organization that would do preventative medicine.”

Fast forward to life After a life of football, injuries and successful business ventures, Kramer has a new project. He doesn’t know why people can’t live longer. His dilemma eventually took him to that “golden cathedral on the hill.” And a man who used to intimidate on the gridiron was intimidated. He spent 11 years in the NFL (1958-68) trying with all his might to knock anyone to the turf. But on this day in 2002, Kramer was standing in MIT’s Glenn Laboratory for the Science of Aging, anxious to meet department director Dr. Leonard Guarente. “I was a bit imitated,” said Kramer, who stood 6-foot-3 and weighed 245 pounds during his play-

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ing days. “He said, “Jerry, Jerry, call me Lenny, as in Lenny Moore, I’m a huge Packer fan.’” “I was just stunned to be there,” Kramer said. Kramer, whose best-selling 1968 book, “Instant Replay,” gave readers their first glimpse into the world of professional athletes, is a father of six and grandfather to four. And he’s ready to release another forward-thinking idea to the world. “We call ourselves the 120 Plus Club, thinking that you can live to be 120 years and the plus is the vitality, the mentality, the relationships, you’re family, your children, everything about life that makes it worthwhile,” he said. That is why Kramer, who lives in Boise, is busy traveling back and forth to Scottsdale, Ariz. In the next four to six weeks, he and his 15 business partners, the seven-person medical research staff hope to open the doors to the 120 Plus Club. Instead of reactive medical treatment, Kramer’s new venture applies proactive diagnosis and preventative, predictive and individualized medicine. They don’t actually practice medicine. “It’s an exhaustive physical and look at your genetics and look at your whole package and we try to find illnesses before symptoms appear,” Kramer said. “Oftentimes an illness will lay dormant in your body for years and then symptoms will appear and its too late. Pancreatic cancer is a really good example of that.”


Jerry Kramer at Green Bay with his sons Danny and Tony.

Jerry Kramer with grandson Myles.

Jerry Kramer and his daughter Alicia.

He’s one of my best friends, he’s my confidant, my big rock.... He’d give you his shirt off his back and keep giving.” — Alicia Kramer, Jerry’s daughter

Returning to roots

What you may not know n Jerry Kramer is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. For unknown reasons, Kramer was named to the NFL 50th Anniversary Team, but he is not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He’s not worried about his inclusion any more. “With Green Bay winning the Super Bowl and the movie, the timing couldn’t be better for him to get in,” Alicia Kramer said. “He’s just like, ‘Alicia, I’m more worried about my golf game than getting in the Hall of Fame.’” n Jerry Kramer and Dick Schaap had lunch with Jack Nicholson in Los Angeles in 1968 and first pitched “Instant Replay” as basis for a movie. It didn’t happen then and other attempts at a film have fallen short. But Kramer is hopeful now that ESPN has taken on the project. Robert De Niro has been cast as Vince Lombardi and Eric Roth, who wrote screen plays for “Forrest Gump” and “The Curious Case of Benjamin” Button, has written the screenplay for ESPN’s “Lombardi.” The movie was set to debut the week before next year’s Super Bowl, but Kramer said he doesn’t know if that date is correct. n Jerry Kramer’s son’s Matt and Jordan Kramer both played football at the University of Idaho and Jordan also played in the NFL. He was a linebacker with the Tennessee Titans from 2003 to 2004. n Jerry Kramer was also a successful kicker. Kramer converted 20 of 54 field-goal attempts and 90 of 95 point-after attempts during his career. Kramer kicked three field goals in Green Bay’s 16-7 victory over the New York Giants in the 1962 NFL Championship game.

After retiring from football in 1968, Kramer, his second wife, Edwina, and their three children, Alicia, Matt and Jordan lived on a cattle ranch near Parma. “Life was as good as it could get out there,” Kramer said. “I just had a wonderful time and life out on the ranch. it doesn’t get any better.” After Jordan left to play football at Idaho in the mid-1990s, the couple sold the ranch and moved to Boise. Kramer has continued to stay busy, working as a television commentator and helping start businesses from diving to films to the 120 Plus “He’s my dad,” she said. “He’s one of my best friends, he’s my confidant, Club. my big rock. He’s all those things people think, but he’s such a good dad To many, Kramer is a football great, a best-selling author and speaker. and good person. He’d give you his shirt off his back and keep giving.” But to Alicia Kramer, he’s someone else.


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The musical Braun family Three generations of performers have left their musical mark on the Gem State and beyond By Dan Lea

©2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

CHALLIS — From the upstairs lounge of the Club 93 casino in Jackpot, Nev., to the sizzling-hot music scene in Austin, Texas, the music of the Braun family resonates across the country. For more than 60 years and three generations, this multi-talented family performed throughout the United States — from the back of a flatbed truck in tiny Challis to the stage of the Grand Ole Opry and “The Tonight Show” with Johnny Carson.

In the beginning Eustacious “Musty” Braun performed as the house entertainer and piano player at the Sportsman’s Club in rural Weiser in the 1950s during the final days of legalized gambling in Idaho. When the owners announced they planned to build Club 93 in tiny Jackpot, Nev., Musty moved his family to Twin Falls. “My dad didn’t want us to live in Jackpot because at the time it was just a spot in the road,” his son Musty said. “So, he made the 48-mile round trip six days a week to Jackpot where he entertained in the lounge for 25 years. He would set his B3 Hammond organ and Wurlitzer spin-it piano at a 45degree angle so he could play both simultaneously.” Musty learned how to play the accordion from mail order lessons growing up on a farm in North Dakota next to legendary bandleader Lawrence Welk, who was both a neighbor and a relative.

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“My dad worked long, long hours,” Muzzie recalled. “When my brothers and I began to perform we would complain about having a four-hour gig, but my dad would leave the house most nights at 7 p.m. and often wouldn’t get back home until 4 or 5 a.m. the next morning. He’d play as long as there were customers.” Muzzie also recalled, with amazement, how his father could play any song. “He covered everything from country to jazz to contemporary songs of the day, ranging from Perry Como and Dean Martin to The Beatles,” Muzzie said. “I remember my dad has this library of music that was absolutely astounding. If anyone came up and made a request for a song he had this slotted, alphabetized file system. He would reach over, throw it up there and he’d bang it out. I never saw my dad get stumped with a request for a song … ever, and I used to go down and watch him a lot.” Musty’s wife, Becky, stayed home to raise the boys until they were old enough to have their older sisters watch them. “She took a job down there as a cocktail waitress while my dad worked in the lounge and restaurant,” Muzzie said. “She liked to go to work with him and they did that right up until the end.”

Musty’s boys in the spotlight “I can remember when we were young — I mean little kids — we would play a talent show kind of thing,” Muzzie said of the early years when he and his brothers Gary and Billie began their musical careers. “I can remember my two brothers and I singin’ songs in harmonies and literally getting up on the kitchen table with our sisters shining a flashlight on us while we


“I never saw him get stumped … ever, and I used to go down and watch him a lot …” — Muzzie Braun on his father Musty who was the house entertainer in the lounge at Club 93 in Jackpot for 25 years

Braun family roots Musty Braun, patriarch of the Braun musical family, grew up on a farm in North Dakota. His childhood musical inspiration and influence was famed bandleader Lawrence Welk who

performed. I guess it was because we were always around music that we did it. I don’t know any other reason why we would do that sort of thing.” Muzzie, Billie and Gary were influenced by their dad but also by the music of the day. Musty built the boys a studio in the basement where they could perform and fronted them money for their instruments. “We grew up in Twin Falls,” Muzzie said. “That’s where my brothers and I went to school and college. My brothers and I started a Rock and Roll band when we were in high school called ‘The Syndicate.’ My sister, Becky Lou, was a good seamstress and she made our band clothes … these double-breasted gangster suits with wide lapels. It was me, Gary, Billie and a couple other local fellas. Those players changed through time. Billie was kind of the brains behind everything. He was a much better musician than Gary and I and could figure out the chords and teach us the harmonies.” College broke up the band. Billie headed for Boise at 17 to pursue a solo career playing at Kenny’s Corner. He now lives in Caldwell.

“I remember when we were little … I mean little kids, we would play a talent show kind of thing. I can remember my two brothers and I singin’ songs in harmonies and literally getting up on the kitchen table while our sisters would shine a flashlight on us …” — Muzzie Braun Muzzie and Gary continued to live in the Stanley area and formed the band “Spud Russet” that played regionally and recorded three albums. The three brothers put together a country rock band, and Muzzie joined Gary to perform as the Braun brothers before Gary moved to northern Idaho. Billie formed a new band, and Muzzie embarked on a solo career until his sons began playing with him in the family band.

Braun family band The Braun family band, “Muzzie Braun and the Boys,” appeared on some of the biggest stages in the country. They played Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry and “The Tonight

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Show” with Johnny Carson. Muzzie remembers when sons Cody, Willy, Micky and Gary first became interested in “the family business.” “Cody was maybe 7 at the time and I got he and his brother, Willy, a quarter-size fiddle and half-size guitar,” Muzzie said. “I actually think the fiddle was Willy’s but they traded within a week. Willy also had a drum set he’d gotten from one of his uncles and, of course, we always had instruments around … mandolins, guitars and harmonicas.” Growing up north of Stanley afforded the Braun boys an opportunity to experience the wonders of nature along with life on the road. Please see Braun, A50

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Muzzie and JoAnn Braun raised their four sons in a rustic rental home between Stanley and Challis. The couple now lives in a solar-powered cottage that took eight years to build. The home is nestled in the shadow of the scenic Sawtooth Mountains. The couple is seen inside the cottage on the stage Muzzie built so that the musical Braun family can perform when they get together.

Braun Continued from A48

The family home was rustic — to say the least — with no running water in the winter and no electricity. Because of its isolated location, five miles off the main road and nestled in the shadow of the Sawtooth Mountains, the four boys were home schooled. “It wasn’t like we made them do home schooling,” Muzzie’s wife, JoAnn, said. “We could have worked it out, but they would have had to be at the road before six in the morning.


Once they got used to the lifestyle on the road we all loved it. We had a lot of fun on the road … did research on where we were going as we moved along all over the United States. They got to do really fun stuff instead of sitting behind a desk all the time. They grew musically, too; got to meet a lot of really good entertainers and see how entertainers treated their public. A lot of them were Western folks like Riders in the Sky … very congenial people. To this day I think the boys learned how to treat their fans and how to pay them back.”

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Brothers Micky and Gary Braun are front men for the band Micky and the Motorcars (left). Willy and Cody Braun are founders of Reckless Kelly (above). Both bands have found success in the hot Austin, Texas music scene.

“The boys had the best of both worlds,” JoAnn said. “When we were on the road they could watch TV, go see movies or enjoy what other kids did like swimming, going to parks and museums. When they were here they had the best of what nature had to offer.” Muzzie booked his sons into school assemblies as an introduction to performing for live audiences. “It was a pretty good place for them to start performing,” Muzzie said. “We played in elementary schools — short 15 minute gigs — so they could get stage experience playing for their peers. It turned out to be a great vehicle for them to learn how to perform without the pressure.” JoAnn said the experience helped the boys learn responsibility and how to deal with problems that arose like a public address system that might not work. They also got their first taste of fanfare and how to deal with it.

Behind the scenes “I don’t have any musical talent,” JoAnn admitted. “I think they inherited it all from Muzzie’s side. I just liked doing what I did which was homemaker type stuff, being a mom, making sure they grew up properly and to make sure they had someone

Saturday, March 26

around them that was good. When you’re on the road as much as we were — quite a bit of the time — it’s a job in itself. I was happy doing it … selling tapes, CDs and T-shirts after their performances.” JoAnn has been content to remain in the background while watching her husband, his brothers and her sons enjoy musical success over the years. Nevertheless, she has played a vital role in that success. “Our mom was the only person in the family that didn’t play anything,” Willy said. “But, she’s played a vital role as the band’s road manager for “Muzzie Braun and the Boys,” selling CDs, sewing costumes, coordinating schedules and appearances. She also provided stability and played a key role in the boy’s educations.

Reckless Kelly, Micky and the Motorcars and the Austin scene The four Braun brothers — Willy, Cody, Micky and Gary — grew up north of Stanley with musical instruments and not much else. They fed off the influences of their grandfather’s music (Musty Braun) and their dad (Muzzie Braun). They performed together with their father as “Muzzie Braun and the Boys” and launched several bands before form-

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The Braun musical legacy “Music has always been in our family,” Cody Braun said. “Having our uncles around when we were little to teach us and help us along was huge, and of course there was our dad. When we started our band, we already had about nine years under our belt of playing with our dad. We had a real good head start that most kids our age wouldn’t have when they tried to start up a Rock and Roll band. “As far as a legacy, it’s just to keep playing the music and coming back to Idaho. It will always be our home,” Cody added. “Lots of musicians down here in Austin make songs about Texas. Our dad made his living playing songs about Idaho. It’s a big part of us and we are always glad to come home.”

ing the groups Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars. After a short period of performing in the Northwest, Willy and Cody (Reckless Kelly) moved to artist-friendly Austin. Several years later, Micky and Gary (Micky and the Motorcars) followed, and the four have enjoyed phenomenal success ever since. “Austin’s been a great place to expand musically because it is so open to music in all sorts of genres,” Willy said.


“There are totally different kinds of bands and music and fans of all kinds of music here. Just getting to be around those bands and musicians is an influence in itself. Seeing the level of musicianship down here in every band is phenomenal.”

Micky and the Motorcars Micky and the Motorcars formed in Challis with brothers Micky (vocals, acoustic guitar) and Gary Braun (vocals, guitar, mandolin, harmonica) and childhood friend Mark McCoy (bass), Kris Farrow (guitars and saxophone), and Shane Vannerson (drums and percussion). Eight years and five albums after the band was founded, they still write 90 percent of their own music as it defines the lives of the band. Since its inception, MMC’s Braun front men, Micky and Gary, have admitted that their music is all about “just wanting to play good Muzzie Braun and his brothers, his dad and his sons make up the Braun family songs.”

musical legacy. Above and at right, he shows off a vintage slot machine and the Braun Brothers Reunion Reckless Kelly neon sign that are part of From its humble beginning as a the memorabilia collection he keeps in record release concert for the Braun the basement of his Challis area cottage.

Brothers’ (Muzzie and Gary) “Old Cowboy Blues” album in 1979, the Braun Brothers Reunion has expanded into a major regional summertime musical event. “Actually, my brother Billie also played on the album and so did my dad who played piano and accordion,” Muzzie remembers. “We did this album release concert in Stanley at the old Mt. Village pavilion … a place we called ‘The Plywood Palace.’ It actually burned down before it was ever completed. “Every year from that point on we would have my brothers and I play music, invite our friends … the guys who played on our records and some other local bands,” Muzzie


added. “We built it up.” The first reunion was a one-day affair. As the event grew and more musicians expressed a desire to perform, the event moved to several locations before settling on the city park. “We did it there for a lot of years but there wasn’t a lot of room for growth so we wound up moving it to Challis eight years ago,” Muzzie said. With the move up the road to Challis, the reunion has swelled to three days to accommodate both musicians and an ever-growing audience. “We went in and built a permanent stage called the community

stage and the city was really behind it (the reunion) in terms of sponsorships,” Muzzie added. “The first couple of years in Challis we basically did the same thing we’d done in Stanley. It was us and the boys and their bands performing from the back of a flatbed truck.” Pretty soon the boys (Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars) began to bring their musical “compadres” from Texas.

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“Some of those performers have been with us almost every year since,” Muzzie said. The reunion has drawn names like Cross Canadian Ragweed, The Randy Rogers Band, Idaho legend Pinto Bennett, Asleep at the Wheel and a host of others. “I don’t think we’ve ever had an act that played at the reunion that didn’t want to come back,” Muzzie said.

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Above: (left to right): Cody, Muzzie, Micky and Billy Braun perform together at the 2010 Braun Brothers Reunion in Challis. Below: (left): Huge, enthusiastic crowds gather each August for the reunion event to see Idaho icons like the Braun family.

“We added a second day and then a third as much to accommodate the musicians as we did the audience. Basically, we had so many people who wanted to come and play for it and we had this opportunity to bring in all these great acts … great bands that we couldn’t get them all on stage without expanding.” But the reunion’s main attraction remains performances by the Braun Brothers, Reckless Kelly and Micky and the Motorcars. Reckless Kelly never fails to rock Challis off its hinges with its talent and “outlaw” attitude. Younger brothers Micky and Gary are real crowd pleasers with their own brand of Americana rock. The reunion also serves as a chance for the Braun family to reunite for short time. “It’s one of the things we look

Braun Brothers Reunion The 2011 Braun Brothers Reunion in Challis is set for Aug. 11 to 13. Tickets and a complete entertainment line-up for this year’s event will be available March 31 at

forward to the entire year,” Willy Braun said. “It’s pretty overwhelming to be able to go home and see 3,000 people in Challis for the event who are supporting our family’s music and the other bands that come in. My dad’s done a really good job of keeping the quality of the entertainment way up there. It’s pretty unbelievable to have people coming from all over the country now. Mom and dad have done a really good job keeping it all organized and growing with the crowd. They work pretty much all year long to make it happen.”

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Cavalcade 2011


An unlikely educator. A born leader By Tabitha Simenc

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

CALDWELL — To look at Roger Quarles, it seems he’s been an educator his whole life. In fact, it’s unusual how he rose to where he sits today. Quarles led the Caldwell School District into rapid change during his four years as superintendent. New schools, refurbished facilities, higher student achievement, better graduation rates, fewer discipline problems; on the surface the list of improvements is long. But what does it mean for Caldwell kids and who is the man behind these achievements?

A leader n “Roger Quarles believes in people and, through all of his other assets and traits, he has an ability to unite the power of individuals and minds together to take on problems. It’s kind of a unique leadership quality that you can’t teach but you sure know it when you see it,” William Parrett, director of the Center for School Improvement and Policy Studies at Boise State University, said. n “He’s just an amazing leader and I think it’s because he’s positive and he builds relationships with people, he cares about people,” Caldwell Schools Information Director Jennifer Swindell said. “You just want to do well to make him happy. He motivates by building trust and relationships.” n “For me it’s absolutely collaborative,” Tony Richard, Canyon Springs High School principal, said of Quarles’ leadership style. “He values me as one of his captains. He always makes me feel like I have an equal input. ... He’s a genuine person. He follows through on his promises and he is open to new ideas.”


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A family man n “He’s very heartfelt, very sincere, very loving, very compassionate, very caring,” Quarles’ wife, Trish, said. “One of the things that we both agree on is priorities and balance and so we hold each other accountable for that … he’s a fantastic dad. “I love him dearly and I think that he’s taught me a lot about leadership. He’s taught me a lot about inspiration, I can only imagine ... what he’s done to effect change.”

A community partner n “He’s a visionary man, a proactive man. He is a great community partner. The relationship between the school district and the city has never been better,” Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas said. “The dropout rate has been reduced, the graduation rate has been increased, you’ve seen all the awards that the schools have received for the quality of their education. I just think Roger has been a great leader for the school district

“[Quarles] is a visionary man, a proactive man. He is a great community partner.”

that was put together primarily to serve all demographics of people,” Quarles said.

From pizza to schools

Quarles sold his California restaurants and — Caldwell Mayor Garret Nancolas moved to Hailey, where he opened two pizza resand has implemented programs and policies that taurants in the area. “I came to visit and fell in love with it,” he said have really benefited the students, the families of of Idaho. “It was more along the lines of where I this community. There’s no question that some wanted to raise my family.” of his programs have helped reduced crime in A deep-rooted desire to teach had persisted Caldwell.” throughout his pizza career, and Quarles’ inclination toward education came to fruition when then Eatery owner turned teacher Blaine County Schools Superintendent Jim Lewis Quarles took an unusual road to a superinten- suggested Quarles teach high school. dency. After he studied public administration at That same day, fate came into play: A man came California State University, Chico, he went on to into a restaurant and offered to buy the place. open various successful pizza restaurants throughQuarles sold the Idaho pizza joints and dove out the Sunshine State. headfirst into teaching. He followed an alternative He began as an “idea man” and, with the help route to a teaching certificate, commuting from of an investor, opened his first restaurant right out his job at Wood River High School in Hailey to of college in San Clemente, Calif., followed by study in Twin Falls at the University of Idaho exmany more over a 12-year span. tension office. “It was a sports-themed, family, fun restaurant “It was a commitment that I was willing to make,” he said. “It was fun and it was exciting and it was exhausting at times.” Roger Quarles stands outside the Caldwell Freshman Academy. The first of its kind in Idaho, the school offers an alternative curriculum for ninth graders before they can move on to Canyon Springs High School.

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What Quarles changed in Caldwell schools n He hired every principal now in charge of each Caldwell school. Some former principals left, others were promoted and some were let go. n Caldwell taxpayers passed a $30 million bond for facility improvements. n Two new elementary schools were built with bond money, which are now two of the best elementary facilities in the state, one gold LEED and one silver LEED indicating their energy-saving design. n Energy upgrades and improvements were made on the other schools using $5.1 million from the bond. In the first year the district saved $365,000 in energy costs from the upgrades. The district also received more than $500,000 in incentives from Idaho Power for the upgrades. n The two older elementary schools were renovated. One now houses Canyon Springs Alternative High School with an expanded student body. The other houses both the Caldwell Freshman Academy and the district offices. n The Renaissance School was created, a program for extreme discipline cases when students spend half the day in online classes and half the day in community service. While these changes have now shown results, some of which may be mirrored by other school districts, Quarles drew some criticism for breaking the mold and doing things differently. “Everyone wants to be first to be second,” Quarles said. “Almost anytime changes are made it creates heartache. We have made many operational and personnel changes over the last six years,” he said. “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion and it is difficult to satisfy everyone’s concerns. Our job is to work through these and try to reach some consensus. There will always be something that draws controversy.”

The pre-Caldwell years During Quarles’ four years at Wood River, he not only taught, but founded and directed the Blaine County Academy of Arts and Sciences. The academy gave students the opportunity to pursue their passion in areas such as business, fine arts or information technology. Quarles left Hailey to become principal of Kuna High School in 2000. During his five years at the school, he transformed music and performing arts programs while still continuing his own education. When someone suggested he apply for the open assistant superintendent position in Caldwell, Quarles already had the qualifications in place to move on to Canyon County.

Successes in Caldwell schools After less than two years as an assistant superintendent in Caldwell, Quarles moved up to the superinten-


dent position and began work to, in his words, revitalize the district. “We had some serious issues facing us and kind of stopping us from moving forward, and that was gangs, drugs and violence, poor student attendance, poor student achievement, inefficiencies in leadership, inefficiencies in classroom teaching, tremendously high teacher turnover. And if you were here for a few weeks you Roger Quarles sits at his desk in the new Caldwell School District offices. The buildcould see why,” he said, naming run- ing formerly housed Washington Elementary School and the district refurbished the down schools and inequities in facili- facility to accommodate administration and officials. ties as a major reason for problems. “He has a wonderful way with people. “My vision was to make it the premier school district in Idaho, first He’s honest, he’s sincere, his enthusiasm and foremost, and then make it nationally recognized for doing amaz- just bubbles over in his ability to create ing things for children, by recruiting and hiring great adults,” he said. “It relationships and partnerships. Some of was what we talked about and where his core beliefs in people are what we spent our time and energy. We had to start focusing on what was go- inevitably have created a lot of what’s ing right. And so we identified these happening in Caldwell.” pockets of excellence, or these bright — William Parrett, director of the Center for School spots in the district and that’s where we spent our time.” Improvement and Policy Studies at Boise State University

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A passion for at-risk students

Success stories in Caldwell under Quarles

Born to high school parents, the problems that face teen mothers hit n Teacher retention improved. The district went from losing about 80 teachers home for Quarles. each year to one who left for another position in 2010. â&#x20AC;&#x153;I see the struggles of young mothers in school, and so thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a pern In Roger Quarlesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; first year, he held more than 100 expulsion hearings for sonal attachment for me, to take that back to what my mother and father students with extreme discipline issues. In 2010 he held one. n In 2010, eight of 10 schools met adequate yearly progress goals. None met were probably going through at that age,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;At that point in time I the goals in 2007. think that supports were put in place by my grandparents. Where here [in n Graduation rates across both high schools have improved with both Caldwell Caldwell], if we didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t do it, I donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what would happen to the kids.â&#x20AC;? High and Canyon Springs graduating record numbers of students. In 2010, 100 In providing an alternative environment for at-risk students like teen percent of Canyon Springs seniors graduated. mothers, Quarles hopes they will continue to build a positive life. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Minimally theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re going to be a better parent, minimally. And chances â&#x20AC;&#x153;So whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s our net profit in public education? are, theyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;ve got a better shot at going on to become highly educated,â&#x20AC;? he Can we define it? Well, for me, itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s clearly desaid. With his goal to increase student achievement in Caldwell, Quarles in- fined as student achievement. Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s our net cluded all students in that aspiration. profit. And without it, weâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;re working really hard â&#x20AC;&#x153;You have to believe that every single child can succeed to work in these with no net profit. Well what kind of business schools,â&#x20AC;? Swindell said. So Quarles set out to not only increase achievement for students who ex- (is that)? Thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a business that doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t exist.â&#x20AC;? celled, but also to help students who traditionally would struggle in school. â&#x20AC;&#x201D; Roger Quarles n Quarles led the expansion of Canyon Springs. In August 2010, triple the number of students attended, giving three times more kids the oppor- successful, in part due to Quarlesâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; vision. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Roger is a lot like Walt Disney,â&#x20AC;? Richard said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Roger goes beyond tunity to learn in an alternative environment. Canyon Springs Principal Tony Richard said the expansion has been limitations, he doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t see limits he just sees possibilities.â&#x20AC;?



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Top: Roger Quarles consults with construction workers at the groundbreaking for two new elementary schools built by the district — Washington Elementary and Van Buren Elementary. Bottom: Roger Quarles with his wife Trish after he graduated with his Master of Arts degree in education administration from the University of Idaho.

Quarles’ role models Throughout his success in life, Roger Quarles has followed the example of his parents as his role models. Although his mother gave birth to him while still in high school, both his parents attained college degrees and have been married to each other for 50 years. “I had good role models, and I had good role models because my parents had good role models,” he said. This spring he will defend his doctoral dissertation and achieve his Ph.D. “I dedicated my research to my mom and dad for always telling me to pursue my dreams and my wife Trish for helping me reach my dreams,” Quarles said.

n Also in August 2010, the Caldwell Freshman Academy welcomed its first class of ninthgraders. The first of its kind in the Gem State, the school offers an alternative to traditional high school for freshmen who would usually have to fail for an entire year before entering an alternative high school, like Canyon Springs. “(Quarles) believes every kid can learn and he has a particular passion for the kids who have come to school with less, and Caldwell’s got a lot of them,” Parrett said. “He has a passion for ‘If what we’re doing isn’t working, let’s change what we’re doing.’ It’s a relentless commitment to counter underachievement and counter some of the effects of difficult lives. ... He’s a remarkable individual in terms of his passion for equity and his passion and demand that we do all we can to help kids that need it most.”

Future of the district So with student achievement already increased across Caldwell Schools, what lies ahead for Quarles and the district? “ It’s like a snowball, you want it to keep going and you want it to keep getting get bigger and better. I want people to move here to put their kids in our schools. I want our community to be the example of the American dream,” Quarles said. “This is a beautiful place, the whole valley. Caldwell specifically was and is full of opportunity. ... I think if you can inspire people and give them hope, real hope, that they’ll go on to do incredible things.”


“How do you get a kid out of generational poverty? They have to have, first and foremost, a foundation of an unbelievable education. And then secondly they have had to have some sort of relationship, a meaningful relationship with an adult, or somebody who doesn’t live in poverty, so they can see things differently, so they can aspire to do something different.” — Roger Quarles What about the goals achieved so far? “I think the value is really in the journey not the destination,” Quarles said. “I think the experience and the real meaningful part of it is what you do along the way that allows other people to have opportunities they never dreamed of.”

Cavalcade 2011

“Every child can succeed ... I think that’s a foundation of his beliefs. He knew he could inspire kids to do great things and he continues to prove that day in day out. That inspiration moved on to his administration, his principals and his teachers.” — Trish Quarles, regarding her husband Roger

Saturday, March 26

“Roger is a lot like Walt Disney. Roger goes beyond limitations, he doesn’t see limits he just sees possibilities.” —Canyon Springs Principal Tony Richard

Time line 1983 – Quarles graduates from California State University, Chico, with a Bachelor of Arts in public administration. 1984 – Quarles founds Stadium Pizza in Temecula, Calif. 1996 – Quarles becomes a secondary teacher at Wood River High School in Hailey and director of the Blaine County Academy of Arts and Sciences. 2000 – Quarles becomes principal of Kuna High School and graduates from the University of Idaho with a Master of Arts in education administration. 2004 – Quarles graduates with an Education Specialist in Educational Leadership from the University of Idaho. 2005 – Quarles becomes Caldwell schools deputy superintendent. 2007 – Quarles becomes Caldwell schools superintendent. 2011 – Quarles defends his doctoral dissertation and achieves Roger Quarles with his son on a hunting trip. An avid outdoorsman, Quarles likes to hunt, fish, play tennis and camp. a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from the University of Idaho.

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Margie Gonzalez remembers her roots By Sharon Strauss

© 2011 Idaho Press-Tribune

BOISE — It’s quiet in the eye of a storm, and it’s quiet in a government office one block from Idaho’s Capitol. Not so many Hispanics come by the downtown office of the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs since it moved from its former Boise Bench location on Franklin Road and Phillipi Street. Executive Director Margie Gonzalez isn’t sure exactly why — maybe Idaho’s Latinos feel intimidated by the ultra-urban location on the corner of North 8th Street, where she shares building space with judges, federal program administrators and the Idaho Meth Project. It troubles her to lose face time with the people she represents. She works with a powerful audience to address their needs. Gonzalez gathers data on Idaho’s Hispanic population and tracks its contributions and inequalities in everything from education to health; from the Latino labor force to their buying power; from civil rights to corrections. She monitors legislation, serves as a clearinghouse for Latino statistics and provides data-driven recommendations to decision-makers throughout state government. The creation of the commission in 1987 “was like opening Pandora’s box,” said Gonzalez, who is well-aware that a portion of non-Hispanic Idahoans would like to see Latinos go away. “I’m constantly defending an agency representing this population,” she said.


Cavalcade 2011

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“We have legislators who are very anti-Latino, who are in pretty strong positions as far as head positions. I’ve never really backed away from going in front of them, or presenting to them or speaking to them, but you can feel that tension.” Hispanic immigration — and the plethora of caustic controversies that come with it — is a hot topic, both in Idaho’s Legislature and on front porches all around the state. “There’s times I really have to take a deep breath. We get some pretty discriminatory phone calls,” she said. “When I’m asked to do a presentation, there’s always someone on the board who is anti-Latino.” So while Gonzalez and her audience don’t always see eye-to-eye, she is unanimously known as a bridge-builder and a diplomat. “It’s a difficult task for her,” said Juan Saldana, one-third of the commission’s employed staff. “She has to answer to the governor’s office, legislators, our board, the community, and everybody has a different opinion on where we should stand on these issues.” The daughter of a Mexican agriculture worker and a Texas matriarch with a thirdgrade education, Gonzalez’s life plays like a classic American story. One of 10 children, she grew up in a predominantly white Washington state town, not knowing how poor they were until high school when she first learned she had less than her peers.

Saturday, March 26

Cavalcade 2011


Margie Gonzalez with her husband, Juan Gonzalez, with their two daughters in 1979. They now have four children and six grandchildren.

“Diversity is a very beautiful thing, if you’re able to accept it.” — Margie Gonzalez Married after high school, she went to college and focused on a career of “working with children and families in poverty who shared the dreams of one day being self-reliant.” Her mentor during this time was Gloree Davis, an administrator in Head Start, “who always reminded me that it is common knowledge that glass ceilings serve to keep women from reaching the highest echelons of power, authority and influence,” Gonzalez said. “But what we must also know is that breaking through those glass ceilings is even more difficult for even the best qualified women of color.” She came to the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs in 1998 to oversee the agency’s substance abuse scholarship program. If she wasn’t with ICHA, she likely would be working the trenches of the nonprofit world, she said, “following my path continuing to make a difference in the lives of the Hispanic population in Idaho.” But as it is, she worked her way up to lead the commission, creating a flurry of youth programs statewide. She was named Woman of the Year 2009 by Mujeres Unidas de Idaho, a U.S. Census Bureau 2010 State Partner of Year, and was among the Idaho Business Review’s Women of the Year in 2011. She has published a number of reports distributed at the national and state level and has sounded the call to action to bridge the Idaho Hispanic student academic achievement gaps that have existed for the past three decades. “As a Latina in a government position in the state of Idaho, where I have on-going challenges, I am confident that I have broken through the glass ceilings in numerous occasions,” Gonzalez said. “Diversity is a very beautiful thing, if you’re able to accept it.”


Mike Vogt / IPT

Executive Director Margie Gonzalez, right, of the Idaho Commission of Hispanic Affairs chats with ICHA Board Chair Juan Alvarez at the Statehouse.

Mike Vogt / IPT

Executive Director Margie Gonzalez, left, of the Idaho Commission of Hispanic Affairs chats with Sen. Merv Brackett at the Statehouse.

Cavalcade 2011

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Margie Gonzalez

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Born: Bellingham, Wash. Age: 51 Job: Executive Director of the Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs Grew up in: Washington Now lives in: Caldwell. Canyon County resident for 33 years. Values: “Our culture, family traditions, and heritage I have carried in life and instilled in my children and now my grandchildren. I lost my father over one year ago, and I carry his words of wisdom very close to my heart, ‘Don’t ever forget your roots, no matter where life takes you.’ This is something I live by.” Role model: “My mother is Margie Gonzalez in the first grade. She atthe strongest Latina woman I tended kindergarten through 12th grade in have ever met, a woman with Mt. Baker, Wash. a third grade education whose primary language was Spanish all through life and learned English in a new Americanized world after moving and settling in the state of Washington in early 1950s. Always holding her head high, (she) continued to emphasize the importance of an education. A woman who kept strong through raising 10 children and always made the time for each of us. She was our best friend as well as our confidante, and mother.” Bitter times: “When I was 2 years old I became very ill with rheumatic fever and was hospitalized for over three months. My parents would tell the story of how the doctors told them there was a high chance I would die. My mother would stay with me during the day while my father worked, and my father would stay with me during the nights. My mother ‘til this day gets teary-eyed when she tells the story of how my eyes were swollen shut, clumps of hair fell out and I forgot how to walk. During this time my siblings were with friends of my parents. When I recovered and was about to be released, my older sibling fell ill with pneumonia. By the time my parents could get him to the hospital he was critically ill. The hospital turned my parents away with my brother, who was only one year older than I, due to having a hospital bill unpaid. My parents had to travel over one hour of distance to the next city with a hospital. My brother arrived in critical condition. The next day my brother died. He was 3 years old.” Better times: “I have fond memories of my mother singing and dancing with us. She knew how to multi-task well. She would wax the wood floors in our small house and when the wax was ready to be removed she would extend a blanket and have several of us climb aboard and swing us around as a game while shining her floors. Our lack of material goods, popular toys, or a television with more than two channels kindled our imagination to entertain ourselves. My mother would make up games and she would sit us around her and tell us stories of our ancestors, and teach us cuentos. Good food and music was the cornerstone of my childhood. Christmas was a favorite holiday as my father would go up to the evergreen mountains and chop down our tree. The scent of fresh evergreen still lingers in my memories. We spent a lot of time together making tamales and bunuelos.”

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After 80 years, women still meet The Friendly Neighbors Club By Amy Larson For the Idaho Press-Tribune On April 5, 1928, a group of mom-types formed a club, aptly named ‘The Friendly Neighbors Club,’ not knowing then that their small community organization would outlive them, their children, and beyond. The purpose of origination Amy Larson was unclear, although in this pre-PTA era, Lakeview’s one-room schoolhouse’s need was urgent: hot lunches and helping hands to assist the two teachers. As time went by, the Club reached beyond the school’s essentials. Last Day of School Picnics, purchase of a new furnace and hot water heater, presents for teachers, janitors and cooks, eighth grade graduation ceremonies and much more. They began looking for other places where they might be needed. They made curtains for the Hall, donated holiday turkeys, brought gifts to clients at the State School on a regular basis, and sold baked goods at the Marsing Disaster Fundraiser each year, giving the proceeds right back to the Fund. For more than three-quarters of a century, the Club has regularly donated to over a dozen local and national charities without fail. Hundreds of women were listed on the rosters, kept meticulously since 1930. Therein are the names of large, well-known country families, but not all. Some were simply transplants from out of state, needing friends, and the Club was there. “It made me feel that I belonged,” said a member. The ladies loved their community, families, and each other with an uncommon steadiness. They threw parties for one another, mourned losses and celebrated gains. If anyone was ill or down, they were sure to get a


“...nothing ever really ends; it just changes.” — Long-time member of The Friendly Neighbors Club well-fed as a reward. A tragedy occurred when the Lakeview School had a fire in 1967, but the children, although bussed to different schools, tried to stay in touch. Over 80 years since its formation, the Friendly Neighbors Club lives on. The members are generally older now. When unable to donate their time, they donate funds. They are still doing good works finding ways to meet a need. Budget and Finance Chairman, Mrs. Earl Lyons, unloads a box of items for Once a month they gather, the rummage sale in this 1957 photo. and continue to celebrate the Club’s anniversary each year, card, and sometimes a plant, flowers, or a cason April 5. serole. They worked hard, but they knew how “It’s a matter of being welcomed by people. to play, too. The books give accounts of stunts, People who feel like family; people that you can riddles, games, contests, and practical jokes on count on,” said a long-time member. When their husbands. asked about the hey-days of the Club, she conSince children were allowed at the meetings, tinues, “It’s a lost time,” but then thoughtfully the members’ young formed a tight bond, hav- added, ‘But nothing ever really ends; it just ing grown up together. It was their children, changes. We still need to know who our neighafter all, who had been a large focus of the Club bors are. Not knowing might be all right in in the first place, and children were never left New York, but it’s not all right here.” out, nor were helpful husbands, who were often n Amy Larson is a local business owner and freelance writer.

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Protect Our Kids,

OBEY THE LAW! Passing a stopped school bus is a serious offense in Idaho. For the SAFETY of ALL, you as a driver must know the law. Your responsibilities are: To prepare to stop when the amber warning lights on the bus are flashing. These lights are your signal that the bus is preparing to stop and you should be preparing to stop, too.

On a two-lane road, traffic in both directions must stop when the bus does. On a four-lane road, only the traffic behind the bus is required to stop.

To stop when the red stop lights on the bus are flashing and the side stop arm is displayed. This means the bus is stopped and you should be stopped, as well.

Don’t get in a big hurry and try to pass the bus. There may be kids coming or going from both sides of the street and they are relying on the traffic stopping.

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Two-lane roadway: When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop!


Divided highway of four lanes or more with a median separation: When school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop!


Two-lane roadway with a center turning lane: When school bus stops for passengers, all traffic from both directions must stop!


Roadway of four lanes or more with a center turning lane: When school bus stops for passengers, only traffic following the bus must stop!

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Cavalcade 2011 'Idaho Classics'  
Cavalcade 2011 'Idaho Classics'  

Published and inserted with the Idaho Press-Tribune on Saturday, March 26, 2011. Cavalcade is an annual magazine produced by the Idaho Press...