Friday, February 6, 2009

Law Enforcement Torch run covers the valley

Speakers and gifts attend each stop


By DANA DUGAN
Express Staff Writer

Community School senior Sam Farnham stuns the assembled audience with an original “rap” during the ceremonies at Dollar Mountain.

Hundreds of school children, youth and community members greeted the Special Olympics Law Enforcement Runners as they moved through the valley on Wednesday.

The Law Enforcement team consists of 80 law enforcement officers, 10 Special Olympians and other support staff from nearly all the states of the U.S. They also hailed from Canada, Austria, Bulgaria, Taipei, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Gibraltar, Great Britain, Greece, Hong Kong, Ireland, Kazakhstan, Netherlands, Poland, Australia, Turkey and Ukraine.

The event began at 8:30 a.m. at Hemingway Elementary School in Ketchum with a warm send-off by the students and then proceeded to run through the streets of Ketchum. Folks along the route included students from the Pioneer Montessori School who cheered as the torch went by. The entire student body and teachers from The Community school joined the run to Dollar Mountain. At each stop a different law enforcement officer and a Special Olympian athlete spoke. At Dollar, Officer Gary Gordon from Ireland did the honors.

"We thought our hospitality in Ireland was impressive but I think Idaho has us beat," he said, in his lilting Irish accent. "I even cried in Rupert. It's all about spreading the love."

Sam Farnham, a senior at The Community School, was the emcee. At the end of the ceremony he rapped an original composition that celebrated people's differences and living life to its fullest.

"That was amazing what Sam did," said Assistant Police Chief Mike Crawford, who organized the local events.

At the Wood River Middle School, the Special Olympics received a $1,000 donation raised by a special needs class at the school. Then middle school track and field runners and cross-country skiers joined the Torch Run through old Hailey to Hailey Elementary School. Students from Silver Creek Alternative School joined that ceremony. All along the way were signs for "Be the Fan" and cheering people.

At Wood River High School were more speakers, including Hailey Police Chief Jeff Gunter, Blaine County School District Superintendent Jim Lewis and Blaine County Commissioner Angenie McCleary, who is also a competitive runner.

Special needs athletes were recognized and 2009 World Winter Games co-founder Pirie Grossman spoke. An officer from Hawaii "got the crowd pretty fired up," Crawford said.

At Woodside Elementary the entire student body joined the runners for a lap around the parking lot.

"That was awesome," Crawford said. "Students did the chant I taught them, 'Mighty, mighty torch bearers, guardians of the flame, mighty, mighty torch bearers, that's our name.'"

Speakers at Woodside included Bellevue Marshall Ron Taylor, Woodside Principal Gary St. George, a law enforcement officer from Alaska and a Special Olympian from Oklahoma.

Wood River High School senior Dakota Barnes and Miss Teen Idaho Kylie Richmond emceed both the high school and Woodside ceremonies. Barnes also helped organize the pre-torch dinner and arranged for a breakfast at Our Lady of the Snows Catholic Church before the Torch Run for her gold medal Girl Scout project.

After leaving the valley, the Torch Run headed for stops in other communities on its way to Boise and the 2009 Special Olympics World Winter Games opening night ceremony in Nampa on Saturday.

Dana DuGan: ddugan@mtexpress.com

Local events

Friday

The Community School Town Dance for all athletes in town during Host Town Program, 6-8 p.m. 

Saturday

Footlight Dance Center "Olympic Dances," 7 p.m. Community Campus, Hailey.

Youth Art Exhibition on display at all Sun Valley Art Gallery Association member galleries.

Sunday

Snowboarding Competition at Dollar Mountain, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Youth Art reception to meet artists, at Ketchum art galleries, 2-4 p.m. Ketchum.

Snowflake Ball and Dance, 7-9 p.m. with Special Olympics athletes at Wood River High School, Hailey.

Monday

Snowboarding Competition at Dollar Mountain, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cross-Country Skiing Competition at Nordic Lodge, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

First Award of the World Winter Games at Dollar Mountain, 5 p.m.

Special Olympics Town, at Wood River Community YMCA for athletes only. Crafts, games and activities, 4-10 p.m.

Tuesday

Snowboarding Competition at Dollar Mountain, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Cross-Country Skiing Competition at Nordic Center,  9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Special Olympics Town at YMCA for athletes and family members, 4-10 p.m.

Benefit Concert at Sun Valley Pavilion, 4:30 p.m.

· DJ music, 5-5:30 p.m. Sun Valley Pavilion.

· Local students and Special Olympics athletes read trading cards, 5:30-5:45 p.m.

· Michael Franti and Spearhead concert, 6-7:30 p.m.

Tickets: frontgatetickets.com or Sun Valley-Ketchum Visitors Center.




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