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Andrew Ottoson

Stories by Andrew

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Orofino hosting district tournaments this week


Prairie, Kamiah stun Genesee; Orofino spoils Bulldogs’ CIL title hopes; Panthers crack Lawrence’s gem.

Grangeville takes CIL crown chase to the wire


Earlier in the week, Grangeville whomped Potlatch, but the game of the week came last Saturday, April 30, at the literal last moment of a key game on the Lumberjacks’ field.

County objects to SF river mining regs

Decision on hold to review objections

Idaho County joined Mike Edmondson of Elk City in objecting to a Forest Service proposal that would streamline suction dredging regulations, and the county filed an objection of its own in mid-April.

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Brink blasts Bulldogs out of league title contention

Kolby Brink crushed Grangeville's Central Idaho League baseball title hopes into the bleachers in left center field, breaking both a 4-4 tie and a bit of the Bulldogs' fighting spirit in one fell swing.

Uncertainty still surrounds Seven Devils liquor license

Mike Blimka has enlisted a different lawyer to help him resolve the fate of the Seven Devils Bar liquor license. Alcohol Beverage Control authorities revoked the license under a March 30 cease-and-desist order, which followed from an ABC investigation into Blimka’s ties to the company behind the bar.

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‘One more layer of federal bureaucracy is not what we need’

260 miles of Salmon River face new regulations under old law

Under an old law, Salmon River users – including mining and agricultural interests – will soon have to contend with a permitting process they haven’t faced before.

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Grangeville holds home meet

Restored track proved fast for some runners

If you look at the season Trey Pfefferkorn has had in the 100-meter dash, his run at the GHS track last Tuesday, April 19, stands out. He was clocked at 11.37, which converts to 11.64 — which ranks among the Top 10 1A performances on the list kept by

Moisture loosens boulders at slide

SH 14 closed overnight

About an inch and a quarter of rain last Friday made for one of the most active days the slide area has seen since 100,000 cubic yards came down in February. The South Fork Clearwater River – into which more than 260 square miles of countryside drains – nearly doubled its flow as all the runoff came down. In the area destabilized by February’s massive landslide, the sudden rush of moisture loosened boulders as large as 10 feet in diameter, which fell and blocked the narrow path through the slide area.

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Brown Signs

Grangeville track and field standout Madison Brown signed last Thursday, April 14, to join the Weber State track and field to compete in her favorite event: the triple jump.

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Speed Racers

Another way of looking at the time trial format used in the Salmon River Jet Boat Races is this: It’s all about holding the highest average speed through all sections of the course.

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Maniacs defend home field, 6-3


Grangeville has ambitions of winning the Central Idaho League — or at least qualifying for the state tournament out of second place — but will have to crack Orofino when the Maniacs visit May 3.

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Crowding The Shore

The 32nd Annual Salmon River Jet Boat Races once again thrilled a large crowd that packed the shores in and around Riggins last weekend. With the Salmon River running high, some rapids appeared less imposing than usual – but the white water immediately upstream of the Time Zone Bridge sent boats frequently on end or aloft. Pictured are some of the approximately 1,500 who lined the area immediately south of Time Zone on Saturday afternoon, April 16.

Divide on land management issues for pair

Election: Dist. 3 Commissioner

A divide over whether and how the Idaho County Commission ought to confront and cooperate with outside agencies on public land management issues is at the center of the race between Republicans Denis Duman and Jim Chmelik.

Cortez pleads guilty in bighorn sheep poaching case; judgement withheld

Paul R. Cortez of Nampa pled guilty in Idaho County district court today, through an agreement to drop all the charges against him but one felony count for poaching a bighorn sheep in Salmon River country last November.

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Salmon River sets new daily discharge record

Every April 14 for 102 years, the White Bird streamgage topped out well below 30,000 cfs, but this morning, the reading topped a 74-year old daily record -- and the river continues to rise.

Ownership scandal threatens to make Riggins a two-bar town; hearing today

Seven Devils liquor license pulled; Belton seeks solution in time to serve race-day crowds

Depending how things go at a hearing today in Meridian, last month may prove the last of the good ol’ days, back when this town of 400 boasted three different places to buy liquor by the drink. Late last month, Idaho State Police rocked the Riggins bar scene, shutting down liquor sales out of the Seven Devils Steakhouse and Saloon and stopping the Salmon River Inn from moving its liquor sales to a back room at Summerville’s. Seven Devils operator John Belton has kept the restaurant open but stopped selling alcohol after the Alcohol Beverage Control (ABC) authorities delivered an order to cease and desist amid an ownership scandal.

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Big impression with Little interview

During his Thursday stop in Grangeville, Lt. Governor Brad Little sat for an hour-and-a-half interview with the Idaho County Free Press. I asked the best questions I could think of, and I listened as intently as I could. These are my impressions....

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Football Squad Advances Three

Grangeville football coaches Jeff Lindsley and Jeff Adams stand behind three Bulldogs who are headed to college to play football at the next level this fall. Quarterback Layton Harris (left) is headed to North Dakota to join the University of Jamestown Jimmies, while Cole Lindsley (center) and Austin Parks (right) are headed to Caldwell to join the College of Idaho Coyotes.

Wolves roamed half of Idaho in 2014

Wolves used about half of Idaho’s total land area in 2014, according to Idaho’s year-end wolf monitoring report, which pegged the 2015 official total at 786 in 108 documented packs inside the state. Biologists also documented border packs – 20 of them – that overlapped the state boundary.

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Private ground timber harvest came in nine percent lower than 2014

About five percent less timber was harvested in Idaho last year than in 2014 – an amount still about 40 percent more than was harvested during the recession-driven low of 2009. That’s according to the 2016 Idaho Forest Products Industry current conditions and forecast report, which noted the harvest from private ground came in nine percent lower than 2014.

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IRU wins road permit, salvage logging case

Federal district court ruled Moose Creek District Ranger Joe Hudson erred

When it comes to roads in the Wild and Scenic Selway River drainage, the Forest Service can’t just give the State of Idaho permission to run a thousand log trucks to and from state ground. The Forest Service has to consider environmental laws before issuing a permit, including the 1968 Wild and Scenic Rivers Act.

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Delay would push J-Bar salvage to brink, county says

'Any further delay will compromise the quality of the available wood and result in economic losses to the local communities'

Friends of the Clearwater and Idaho Rivers United are suing the Forest Service over federal salvage logging near Lowell, in the area scorched by the Johnson Bar Fire nearly two years ago, and the Idaho County Commission is chiming in.

Commission chimes in on J-Bar Salvage lawsuit

Friends of the Clearwater and Idaho Rivers United are suing the Forest Service over federal salvage logging east of Lowell, in the area scorched by the Johnson Bar Fire nearly two years ago, and the Idaho County Commission is chiming in.

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More than 200 finish area hunter ed courses

“It’s a huge undertaking for the kids and the instructors alike,” Idaho Department of Fish and Game district conservation officer George Fischer said Monday, March 28, looking back at the hunter education programs that IDFG has helped put on across the area this year. “It’s two hours after school in the evenings. Ages go from nine to 60 — I think we had a student in their 70s this year.”

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Storm stops meet at CV

Grangeville’s tennis squad followed up a strong outing March 17 at Orofino with a good showing in limited action last week at Clearwater Valley. The Bulldogs were rained out of a March 21 visit to Lewiston and were all but rained out against the Rams, when wet weather slickened the courts at CVHS and put a stop to four matches that were in progress early Thursday evening.

Bulldogs break through before spring break

Grangeville headed to spring break on a bit of a high note, notching the first win of the spring 9-3 during the second half of the set last Friday, March 25. Layton Harris relieved Shane Wood in the fourth inning of the opener, which GHS dropped 11-9 despite a late rally. With Harris starting the late show, the Bulldogs won 9-3, as their suddenly hot hitting carrying over into leads of 2-0 and 4-2. Grangeville added four insurance runs in the top of the seventh.

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Colton tops Grangeville; unbeaten Rams whip Troy 9-2

Grangeville’s baseball season opener was bumped from March 12 to last Friday, March 18, by wet weather and the Bulldogs’ game showed a bit of rust.

Commission leans toward Adams County landfill, pushes for central setup

'our fee structure is disconnected from actual use'

A plan to put a regional landfill at the Kaschmitter Rock Pit east of town was buried by a backlash five years ago, and a fresh talk of a regional landfill had some locals wondering late last month whether Idaho County Commissioner Skip Brandt has been digging in the same old dirt. But it’s not the same. Five counties – Adams, Clearwater, Idaho, Lewis and Valley – are considering new digs for a regional landfill near Council, and Brandt has been Idaho County’s point-man for the joint powers agreement that would be needed for the counties to start formal talks with each other.

Bulldogs to open at Asotin

Harris to pitch as Grangeville's season gets underway.

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Rams rock on, but other openers were washed out

Spring springs

For the first time in three years, the Clearwater Valley softball girls scored in their first game. That was true whether the count began with an exhibition tournament at Fenn Field last Friday and Saturday, March 11-12, or with a 14-7 win over Grangeville Monday night, March 14.

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Night closures start on Manning bridge project

Night closures related to the Manning Crevice Bridge work were scheduled this week, March 14-18, as announced in the weekly project newsletter released last Thursday, March 10, online at

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Weather mucks spring sports openers; CV tournament to proceed

The baseball and softball seasons are scheduled to open today, but weather may yet interfere. For now, the Clearwater Valley boys are set to take on Orofino's JV at 3 p.m., with a CV-Troy game to follow at 5:30 p.m. Across town at Fenn Field, the CV girls are set to play Asotin at 3 p.m. with the Grangeville girls to play Asotin at 4:45 p.m., if the weather holds up.

Suction dredging bill stalls

Each of the last three sessions at the state legislature, suction dredge miners have pushed for legislation to roll back state and federal regulation of their practice. With a voice vote last Tuesday, Feb. 23, the House Natural Resources Committee opted not to advance the dredgers’ latest proposal.

Utah group tells state legislature federal land weakens Idaho

Attorney George Wentz on Monday told the Idaho legislature that federal ownership makes states weaker than states that have little federal land – and that the constitution does not allow the federal government to make any state weaker than the others. “Is Idaho weaker than New York because Idaho doesn’t have dominion over all its land? Actually, it is,” Wentz said.

Wassmuth, Owens win titles; seven locals medal at state

Shaydn Wassmuth needed only 16 seconds to take the championship in the 2A 220-pound weight class. Keiran Owens took down Collin Fogg of Ririe for the 2A 285-pound title.

Grangeville KOs Orofino, braces for St. Maries

The Grangeville boys led by a point midway through the second quarter of their 54-45 win over Orofino last night night at the Central Idaho League's district tournament, and the score remained close through halftime. The Bulldogs took the lead for good with a layup-and-one by Luke Stokes, which Dylan Canaday cemented with a jump shot.

Grangeville routs Charter, forces rematch with Orofino

Luke Stokes scored 14 points, Layton Harris scored 10 and Grangeville ripped Coeur d'Alene Charter 67-40 on the second night of the Central Idaho League's district tournament Tuesday night, Feb. 23. By thrashing Charter, the Bulldogs set up a rematch with first round nemesis Orofino, which tagged GHS 58-39 on the tournament's first night. Grangeville will play Orofino at 7 p.m. tonight at Troy.

Wassmuth qualifies as No. 1 seed; 19 local wrestlers heading to 2A state

The familiar mats at Clearwater Valley High School were a fine proving ground for local wrestlers who last Saturday, Feb. 20, competed for space at the state tournament coming up this week at Pocatello’s Holt Arena.

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Savages take third

The Savages put together a righteous run at the end of their battle with Dietrich last Friday, Feb. 19, but the Blue Devils held on by a slim margin, 47-44.

Bulldogs dinged; Pirates advance; CV survives; Summit set to open

Boys basketball: District II tournaments

Patriots play tonight; Pirates state-bound; Maniacs maul Dawgs.

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GHS run out Friday

Grangeville had an early lead against Cole Valley Christian, but the Chargers eventually pulled away, 48-35, despite shooting just 12 percent from the field during the first half. Grangeville went 10-for-62 for the game, but put together a 14-3 run that staked out a 16-8 lead during the second quarter last Friday, Feb. 19.

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Pirates top Valley, drop Genesee, take second

The Prairie girls sputtered during the first quarter, dominated during the second, persevered during the second half and ultimately, won their 1AD1 semifinal playoff against Genesee, 64-52. In effect, the Friday night, Feb. 19, battle between the Whitepine League rivals decided second place, as eventual champion Lapwai had beaten both Prairie and Genesee by double-digits in all recent meetings.

Prairie girls advance to 1AD1 title game

Girls state basketball results

The Prairie girls sputtered during the first quarter, dominated during the second, persevered during the second half and ultimately, won their 1AD1 semifinal playoff against Genesee, 64-52.

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Council seals top seed

The Salmon River boys had designs on winning one of their last two regular season games, and had a two-point difference late in their finale against Council last Wednesday, Feb. 10. The Lumberjacks pulled away, 70-55, but with six minutes to go, Riley Travis tallied a layup and fouled out Council’s Paolo Celada, bringing the Savages within 47-45.

Grangeville sweeps Orofino, secures second seed

Despite some sharp shooting by Orofino's Hayden Wilson (16 points, mostly during the third quarter) and Kolby Brink (16, mostly during the first half), the Grangeville boys pulled out a 52-44 win over their Central Idaho League rivals.

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Pirates outpace Bulldogs in rivalry game

Jake Bruner (25 points), Terran Peery (17) and Calvin Hinkelman (10) lifted the visiting Pirates to a 74-59 win over Grangeville on the last night of their regular season. The Bulldogs will wrap up on Tuesday night at Orofino.

THURSDAY: Grangeville girls to play for district title

The Grangeville girls will take on St. Maries with the Central Idaho League's district title and a state tournament berth at stake.

WEDNESDAY: Savages to host key league game

The Salmon River boys have a chance to climb the Long Pin Conference standings with Council in town on senior night.

Cameras give justice necessary speed


No one ever wants to see a law enforcement officer kill anyone, and bringing a firearm to bear is rarely necessary even in that dangerous line of work. Whenever it is necessary for an officer to draw down on a human being, there must be quick, clear accountability. Every. Single. Time.

FS plans salvage of 1,864 acres in emergency sales

Emergency logging on salvage sales east of Kooskia and north of Lowell is in the works. The Nez Perce-Clearwater National Forests on Jan. 27 announced 1,864 acres of salvage harvest and reforestation divided between two salvage projects, the Woodrat Salvage and the Upper Lolo Salvage.