AUGUST 12, 2010

Catherine Carlson, Pierce 1860 Days Grand Marshal, with Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter.


Idaho Governor “Butch” Otter and Orofino resident/business person Teri Bolling.

Pierce is "Capital for a Day"

   Governor Butch Otter arrived in Pierce in a Blackhawk helicopter early last Wednesday morning, Aug. 4, when the Clearwater County community of Pierce was Idaho's "Capital for a Day."

   A question and answer session took place in the Pierce Community Center with a large audience in attendance. Will Wiese of Orofino asked about renewable energy standards; Judge Bradbury commented on Health and Welfare employee loss and the Mental Health Program in the courts and asked what Governor Otter could do to help. Gov Otter said they had to balance the budget and they “simply didn’t have the money.”

   Harv Nelson of Pierce stated there was much concern in the community regarding wolves in the region. Dan Vaughn of Pierce also commented on the wolf situation.

   Don Ebert, Clearwater County Commissioners Chairman, thanked the governor for his help in keeping Dworshak State Park open, to which the governor replied “You should congratulate yourselves” as the reopening was due to local community participation. Governor Otter said that 50 State Parks were kept open and some of them were not only self-supporting but actually bringing in money. Don also thanked Terri Summerfield and Marge Kuchynka of Weippe for their organizational efforts with the Deyo Reservoir Project which will be located a few miles outside Weippe.

   Pierce residents were pleased to hear that the Idaho National Guard, which has a five month Youth Challenge Program providing a high school education for dropouts, has chosen the former Pierce Elementary School as their choice for this endeavor.

The students would graduate from Joint School District 171. This would provide jobs for the area including teachers and medical personnel. The governor did say the project would take approx 12 to 18 months before it is ready to open, but “The process has started.”  He also said, “You can help the process by writing to delegates in Washington,” and that we could contact his staff for assistance.

   Several people commented on the plan to transport large loads over Hwy 12 to Montana. Governor’s staff replied that all safety and road issues had been carefully scrutinized and would be monitored. If any problems arose, they would be addressed immediately, and hauling would be halted until problems were corrected.

   Everyone then moved to the Courthouse Park where a lunch of prime rib sandwiches and salads was served, after which the governor and his staff went back to the Community Center where he entertained more questions.

   Robbin Johnston, Archaeologist, Clearwater National Forest and Doug Gober, North Fork District Ranger. Clearwater National Forest, gave presentations on an interpretive trail being created outside Pierce.

   High school kids from tenth grade to last year’s graduates took the governor on a tour of ten historic sites in Pierce in a Percheron drawn wagon, after which Pierce Mayor Greg Gerot talked about the Sesquicentennial. Governor Otter read a proclamation on the 150th birthday of Pierce.

   Timberline students sang an original song celebrating the sesquicentennial.

   All in all, 172 local people were involved in planning and executing this Capitol for a Day.