Spring: Sun Valley Fire Department joins forces with Ketchum Rural

In March, the Ketchum Rural Fire Protection District board of commissioners voted to terminate its $337,000 contract with Ketchum on March 21, effectively ending a 62-year partnership with the city. Long-simmering disagreements between Ketchum city administration and Ketchum Rural preceded the break in contract, and one of many breaking points occurred when the city moved to eliminate the department’s fire clerk. A further rift was created when Ketchum Rural equipment was used for wildland fire duties but the city of Ketchum did not reimburse Ketchum Rural for that use. The City Council approved the contract with Ketchum Rural on May 20. Under this agreement, the Sun Valley Fire Department pledged to answer Ketchum Rural’s fire calls, train its personnel and maintain its equipment.

Summer: Golfing for good at the Sun Valley Resort

In June, the Golf To Give tournament netted Sun Valley Realtors Give $25,000 to go toward the 2019 Holiday Basket program in Hailey. In December, Sun Valley Realtors Give provided an estimated 1,000 Wood River Valley residents in need with snow gear, toys and holiday meal kits. The organization spent $15,000 on winter gear at the Twin Falls Target.

In August, the Killebrew-Thompson Memorial golf tournament raised $1 million to help advance immunotherapies for treatment-resistant cancers. The charity tournament helped advance clinical trials at two institutions—the University of Minnesota Masonic Cancer Center and St. Luke’s Mountain States Tumor Institute in Boise. According to a presentation at the Sun Valley Inn, projects funded through the 2019 tournament will help develop oncolytic (cancer-killing) viruses to be used in conjunction with radiation therapy. The tournament is named after Minnesota Twins first and third baseman Harmon “The Killer” Killebrew, who originally launched the memorial in 1977 after his teammate Danny Thompson lost his battle to leukemia.

Fall: Incumbents re-elected

In November, three incumbent Sun Valley politicians reappeared on the Nov. 5 ballot in uncontested elections. Mayor Peter Hendricks, Councilwoman Michelle Griffith and Councilwoman Jane Conard were subsequently re-elected in November and will be sworn into office this month. Hendricks, a previous City Council member and financial broker, was sworn into office in 2016 after receiving a resounding 68 percent of the vote; Conard was elected in 2016, and Griffith was elected in both 2011 and 2016.

Also in November, the nonprofit agency Visit Sun Valley looked back on a successful summer and fall tourism season at its biannual community presentation. A whopping 64 percent of Sun Valley retailers rated summer 2019 as better than summer 2018, Visit Sun Valley reported, and October saw a 14 percent year-over-year increase in room nights sold.

Winter: Sun Valley moves into uncharted territory

For the first time, Sun Valley Resort secured a spot on Vail’s multi-resort EPIC pass, though it remains to be seen how EPIC status will impact tourism in the valley. The pass provides buyers with unlimited and unrestricted access at more than three dozen resorts, including Telluride, Colo., and Park City, Utah.

Email the writer: ejones@mtexpress.com

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