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Oct 10

Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training Announce

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Mindy Linn

The Idaho State Police and the Idaho Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Council announce the appointment of Victor McCraw as Idaho POST Division Administrator. Vic, a career public safety professional and criminal justice trainer, has served the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) for over 28 years.  He retired at the rank of Captain to accept his new position after serving as the Executive Officer of the Arizona Law Enforcement Academy for the past five years and is excited for this new opportunity in Idaho.

In addition to his vast law enforcement training experience, McCraw has served as an Arizona Highway Patrol District Commander in the metro Phoenix area, as the Arizona DPS Operational Training Section Commander and as an Air Rescue Helicopter Paramedic Sergeant.  His special duty assignments have included Tactical Negotiator, SWAT Medic, Major Events Security Commander and Senior NFL Public Safety Official for the Arizona Cardinals.

McCraw holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Public Safety Administration, is a graduate of the Leadership in Police Organization course, and the FBI National Academy Session #249. He has held certifications as an Emergency Paramedic and is a Cooper Institute Health Promotion Director and Advanced Police Fitness Specialist.

Vic is a certified trainer for Franklin Covey's 7 Habits of Highly Effective People © series and 4 Disciplines of Execution ©, an AZ POST First Aid Subject Matter Expert. He instructs regularly in the areas of Instructor Development, Use of Force, Cultural Awareness and Bias-Based Policing. As a consultant he has developed and delivered training in the areas of responsible citizenship, leadership, personal development and law enforcement Blue Courage ©.
Vic is married to Siler, his wife of seven years. They are excited to raise their daughter Adelaide (6) and son Turner (4) in the Boise area. Vic’s eldest son Collin (19) will remain in Arizona as a sophomore at Arizona State University. Siler is a school counselor and looks forward to continuing her career here in Idaho. McCraw will begin his duties as Idaho POST Division Administrator on November 17th.
Oct 10

Recap of the IAC Annual Conference

Posted on October 10, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Mindy Linn

The September 2014 IAC conference has come and gone and for myself, I found the conference to be time well spent.  I enjoyed the company, the food, the workshops and even the weather was nice.  Deborah Cox from NACO gave some interesting comments and it was nice that NACO would send someone to Idaho to meet with us.  Dr. Murphy was entertaining and gave us a lot of food for thought.  He has a most interesting background.
    I heard a lot of comments about the workshops, especially the Ethics and Civility workshop, and what an impact it made.  Personally, I congratulate those who set up the workshops for having such a variety for us to learn from and enjoy.
    The debate over resolutions from the committees was also interesting and while not everyone agreed on everything, it was good to see things remain civil and no one resort to throwing things at each other.
     I want to personally thank Patty Weeks and all those who helped put the conference together, especially the IAC Staff, and I want to thank all of those who attended and helped make this conference such a success.  I wish those of you who are on the ballot in November good luck in the upcoming elections and look forward to seeing you in November at the ICE training in Moscow or Twin Falls.  Be sure to register if you have not done so.

IAC President Len Humphries, Fremont County Sheriff 
Oct 06

WIR Report Fall Board Meeting Malta, Montana, by Valley County Commissioner Gordon Cruickshank.

Posted on October 6, 2014 at 12:00 AM by Mindy Linn

WIR Report by Commissioner Gordon L. Cruickshank who attended the WIR Board meeting in Malta, Montana on October 1st – 3rd, 2014 on what he saw and heard during the meetings.

After several days of driving we arrived in Malta, Montana on October 1st.

Wednesday October 1st

We all met in the hotel lobby before walking to the Phillips County Museum and the Great Plains Museum for a tour of their facilities. While there we heard a presentation on the Dinosaur’s found in Phillips County, Montana. One of the dinosaurs is named Elvis and was found completely intact along the shore of the Missouri River. When I say found intact the skin and such were still preserved with the entire body. It is now on display at the museum. 

As a bonus to the tour a Stagecoach was brought to the museum so folks could go on a stagecoach ride or just have their photo taken with the stagecoach. The photo was presented to us the next day at the meeting.

The evening reception was a chance for those arriving late to catch up with everyone who went to the museum.

Thursday October 2nd.

Today we started with a Networking Breakfast of all the attendees.

A presentation on the importance of Rural Communities in Food Production was given by the Phillips County Extension Agent. Phillips County with a population of just 4,000 people have ranches that handle 50,000 head of cattle and produce enough beef to feed roughly 330,000 people. In addition we heard that three Asian companies have built a total of 800,000 bushel of grain storage to cut out the middle man from when they purchase grains. We also heard where China has purchased some of the meat packing plants in the US as well.

Lesley Robinson current President of WIR and a Phillips County Commissioner presented on challenges to her county. These include efforts to create a 3.5 million acre Buffalo Range so they can be free roaming. This in turn will force livestock producers off the land. Lesley comments that it appears we are exchanging priorities away from people. An environmental group has purchased 300,000 acres to run Buffalo on however to keep their BLM permits intact they are running the Buffalo as livestock. In their management of the land they have removed the infrastructure which included the dams created to water livestock. Taxes are still paid on the land however a concern is what happens if this changes. If they change to wildlife from Livestock then they will lose permits and taxes.

We then heard from Jamie Connell the Montana State BLM Director. Jamie commented that working with counties is very important. The BLM invests $1 and receives $5 in return however this funding is turned over to the treasury. She went on to discuss impacts to Sage Grouse by oil and gas exploration. Today they are attempting to determine if one well pad and access roads will be an impact. She stressed that plans need to be somewhat consistent across the region. Working with different plans is just as frustrating to the BLM as it is to counties. Sage grouse is said to be the top priority for the BLM in 2015. Drilling fees have increased from $6,500 to $9,500 which has helped some to fund the BLM operations. Additionally an inspection and enforcement fee is being considered with the President’s Budget.

Wild Horses and Burro’s in Montana are not a huge heard and have been controlled with removal each year of excess horses. Trial fertility control is still being tested however long range the herds will not be sustainable on the landscape.

Dave Galt with the Montana Petroleum Association then provided Challenges and Opportunities for Oil and Gas. Montana has 11,000 wells active currently with 48,000 wells on the landscape. This industry is currently providing 15,600 jobs in Montana. Phillips County is currently the largest producer of Natural Gas for Montana. He spoke of the ability to pump CO2 into the wells to help boost production and then the CO2 is held there. The oils and Gas industry provided last year 2.3 Billion in taxes with ½ going to the State of Montana and the other ½ going to local government. He has a concern that Montana State DEQ says the air quality of the industry is in compliance however the BLM is attempting to insert itself with air quality standards. 

Sage Grouse habitat is concerning as it impacts well installation and production.

There is lots of coal produced in Montana which is used to create electrical generation. DEQ is confident the coal fired plants can stay in compliance. 

Taxes are based on the value at the wellhead with reductions for the first year or 1 ½ years if it is a horizontal well. This is to provide some relief until the well goes into production.

We then heard from Brian Meinhart with the Western Energy Alliance. They are the regional trade association for 13 states with a heavier presence in 6 states. He also discussed the Data Quality Act passed in 2001 as Public Law 106-554 which requires federal agencies to ensure sound science for projects. End result he was looking for funding support from any source to help with their research efforts.

A local rancher Sierra Steinberg-Holt provided an insight of Human Roles in the Ecosystem. She discussed where the Wilderness Characteristic is defined as untrammeled by man and where man is just a visitor. She went on to discuss the characteristic of Kentucky bluegrass as it is found in many places across the continents as are humans. So wilderness is either having people living there or not recognizing they live there. This is what happened on the Serengeti Desert. Before it became a desert people nourished the land and made it work. Once removed the land reverted back to desert where only the rich could access it. 

Glacier National Park was promised to the Blackfeet Tribe however when gold was thought to be there they took it back.

She went on to discuss what she referred to as the Keystone species which includes all that is needed to exist. If you remove what is there a new ecosystem will be created. Journals of Lewis and Clark show huge herds of wildlife. If 5 million Buffalo existed which reproduced approximately 2 million each year how did the killing of 1 million by the fur traders and homesteaders change the herds. Only by removing what helped sustain them did the herds decline. Ever wonder why wildlife chooses to graze behind the livestock? The livestock disturb the nutrients the grasses need for survival and produce the best graze so the wildlife follows. 

So the lesson I learned here is part of our preservation of the landscape is not removing the people who cherish the land and animals. They are needed to help with the process.

Lesley Robinson then provided how Phillips County Transit combined several transit buses into one organization to fit all the needs of their county to provide transportation to needed services not found in their county.

Rick Levesque a local Veterinarian and former Wildlife Biologist provided his insight as to living in Phillips County and the working ranchers and farmers.

We then loaded onto a bus for a trip to the Matador Ranch which is owned by The Nature Conservancy. Under their management program local ranchers pay discounted fees to graze their cattle on the Matador Ranch in exchange for wildlife friendly practices on their own ranches. They call this a Grass bank with a commitment to control noxious weeds and not break any new ground (sod busting) for farming. If you do additional conservation measures then you lease fees are reduced as well. There is also a program developed with the input of ranchers in the area to allow young ranchers wanting to be in the business a chance to start their herd by using the Matador for part of their grazing needs.

The night was topped off with a beef barbeque at Jim and Lesley Robinson’s ranch which is 45 miles south of Malta. Interesting was the Robinson ranch is much warmer than other ranches in and around Malta. Sometime up to 40 degrees difference can be seen. The day we were there the Little Rockies a mountain range in southern Phillips County received snow while temps at the ranch were in the high 40’s and low 50’s. 

Friday October 3rd.

Richard one of Lesley’s fellow commissioners said he had 23 degrees this morning and Lesley said it was 57 degrees at her ranch at 5:00 AM to show the temperature swing.

Today Deborah Cox with NACo (who attended the IAC Conference in Moscow) provided an update to the PILT Fly in. She reported a mixed message from the Hill as there is support for PILT however the funding is uncertain. During the briefing NACo helped with there was 120 staffers attended. I heard from Senator Risch’s staff that it was standing room only. The dear colleague letter is being distributed in the House and asking members to sign on to support PILT and SRS funding. We discussed the issue of Tribal and Trust Lands and how they could be included with the PILT type issues discussed in Washington DC. We also discussed the inclusion of the low population counties into Senator Wyden’s proposed legislation. Again we got into the discussion of winners and losers of different formula changes but nothing was decided other than to allow the WIR PILT working group to continue looking at solutions. Revenue for all programs needs to be calculated to see the larger picture. 

The Public Lands Trust of WIR was discussed as to how the process was to work according to the by-laws. Everyone in attendance was okay with the process however a working group was formed to clarify the intent and what happens if we don’t do Fly ins.

The financials had a few clarifications needed so it was tabled until NACo Financial could explain and then the WIR Executive Committee could approve. 

The working groups reported on their status.

PILT group was the same as reported at IAC with Senator Wyden asking for a simple fix which was the small populated counties using the same formula down to 1,000, work on other potential changes and support long term funding.

ESA group reported that the Equal Access for Justice is being looked at, how NACo policy fits their work and if change is needed, the potential to do an ESA Fly in and the economic impact to counties. NACo reports that of the ESA bills currently being proposed they support them all as they help the counties. 

Wild Horses and Burros group reported a letter writing campaign is underway to encourage the federal government to manage the program as it was intended and remove the excess animals from the landscape. Understand that Euthanasia is off the table so other means of disposing of the animals is needed. More education of what the overstock of Wild Horses and Burros is doing to the landscape where no cattle can be run. This will show it is not a livestock problem of overgrazing. This directly impacts the Endangered Species and we need to show this with solid information.

Our own Dan Chadwick explained his disappointment of only five State Executive offices represented. He and fellow State Executives will be discussing at their conference later this year to see why others are not attending.

We then discussed the major issues WIR needs to work on which are as follows but not in any priority order. We decided that we will call them issues to work on not priorities.

  1. Endangered Species Act Reform
  2. Federal Land Payments (this includes PILT, SRS, Refuge, Tribal, mineral, oil and gas, etc.)
  3. Transportation
  4. Forest Health
  5. Transfer of Public Lands

WIR will also send a support letter to the Western Energy Alliance with a request for more information on what funding will be used for if we decide to help financially with their efforts. We also thought it would be good to invite them to a NACo Conference to speak to a larger crowd of counties.

Next May the WIR Conference will be held in Kauai, Hawaii. Hawaiian officials are working to find lower fares in the event people want to come early or stay later.

I did provide the information on the Resolution we passed concerning National Monuments. I was asked to review current NACo policy to see if this already existed which I will do.

Doug Briedenthal current WIR 2nd Vice President is going to be on the WFLC Sub-committee.

This ended the WIR Board meeting. 

Thanks to everyone for allowing me to represent Idaho Association of Counties at WIR meetings.  

Valley County Commissioner Gordon L. Cruickshank