The stories in this regional news summary are taken from weekly newspapers across the region. This is the second part, the first having appeared in the Tribune on Saturday.
Amy Westover will hear the inspiration of her youth on Thursday when a steam whistle sounds over Payette Lake for the first time in 44 years.
A 1 p.m. to 2 p.m. event at Legacy Park will be featured in the historic Brown Tie and Lumber Company denunciation for the first time since October 28, 1977, when the sawmill closed.
The whistle, which was rebuilt and erected at Brown Park, will sound for approximately 15 seconds at 1:55 p.m., the time the whistle last sounded to alert sawmill workers of lunchtime, the start or end of shifts.
The event is free and open to the public. It will include a presentation by former factory worker Lewie McFadden.
Public art featuring the whistle can be found in Brown Park, but construction in the park means the event will take place at Legacy Park, where the whistle can be clearly seen and heard.
Westover, an artist from Boise, first visited the sawmill as a child, but it later became the inspiration for a public art exhibit that she was commissioned to design by the City Council of McCall.
“It will also start a new city tradition – the sound of the whistle ushering in a new era from the remnants of the last,” Westover said of the mill whistle art exhibit.
The whistle is one of the last vestiges of the sawmill, which operated on land currently occupied by Brown Park. The closed sawmill burned down in an arson attack in March 1984.
The whistle will be blown annually on Oct. 28 to commemorate the mill’s legacy, said McCall’s economic development planner Delta James, who manages the city’s public art program.
The city could identify other opportunities to blow the whistle in the future, James said.
The completed art exhibit features the original mill whistle mounted on a pedestal inspired by the iconic cone-shaped incinerator used by the sawmill.
The pedestal is about 15 feet tall and is made of steel panels joined by more than 1,000 bolts, Westover said.
Snow and rain will cause the panels to rust, giving the pedestal a color similar to that of the plant’s incinerator, she said.
Before the whistle could be blown again, a crack in the metal had to be repaired.
Samuel Aarons of Idaho City used a low-temperature welding technique to avoid damaging the original metal while using filler metal to fuse the crack, Westover said.
The whistle also received a new matte black paint job, including a gold finish on the name “Sinker-Davis”, the Indianapolis company that manufactured the whistle.
Instead of steam from the cone-shaped incinerator, the whistle is powered by steam from a small wood-fired boiler made by Ross Bendixon of Anacortes, Wash.
The boiler is mounted on a trailer so it can be stored and protected from the elements when not in use, Westover said.
Westover thanked Ohio resident Larry Sprecklemeier, who once helped restore the steam whistle from the sunken Titanic, for helping bring the mill whistle back to life.
âLarry had a whistle museum in his basement,â she said. âHe knew all about whistles and how to blow them. “
– Drew Dodson, The Star-News, (McCall), Thursday
Elven moves to the management of PJSHS
COTTONWOOD – âIt was actually a tough decision,â said Matt Elven, principal of Prairie Junior-Senior High School, of his role as principal. âI always felt effective as a teacher and love children, so it was hard to see the transition from being a teacher to being a principal. “
However, he has slipped into the role this school year and said he is learning the ropes day in and day out.
âThere is definitely more than I knew or imagined,â he said. âI appreciate that there are great staff here and a wonderful community to work with. “
Elven grew up as an only child in Nezperce. After graduating from high school there in 1996, he attended the University of Idaho.
âI spent the first two years and more specializing in economics and accounting,â he recalls with a smile. âWhen my advisor told me I had more math and history classes than I needed and asked me why I wasn’t taking an accounting class, I said : “Because I hate them”. “
âI remember he said, ‘I hate to tell you this, but if you hate accounting, that’s probably not what you should be doing,'” Elven recalls.
This led him on the path of education.
Although he struggled with math in high school, he began to understand it in college. He followed the path of mathematics, economics and history and obtained a high school diploma.
âI love history and I also understand that fear that comes with not understanding math concepts,â he said. “I wanted to be able to help kids with math and let them know that not everyone understands it at the same time – children’s brains aren’t fully developed in high school, so it’s not their fault if they don’t understand it right away I wanted them to know and share strategies that helped me understand math.
Elven was a student teacher at Grangeville high school. As a result, his life took a different turn.
He and his wife, Cassie, originally from the Colton area, moved to Wisconsin.
âWe wanted to spread our wings and see what was going on there,â he said. âWhen I was there, I wasn’t teaching, I was coaching. “
Afterwards, they moved to Montana, where he both taught and coached.
âLoved it, but it was 2003 when we came back to the prairie for a wedding and saw that we could probably afford a house here that it looked like it would be a good time to come homeâ , did he declare. “And we love the prairie, so when a teaching position opened up at Clearwater Valley in Kooskia, I took it.”
The family bought a house in Greencreek and he taught CV before moving to GHS and eventually Prairie, where he taught math and economics, before taking on the senior position.
âI’ve been doing this for 19 years now, and one thing I know is that kids are kids,â he said. “I also know that our # 1 goal is to help our kids find ways to be successful.”
– Lorie Palmer, Idaho County Free Press, (Grangeville), Wednesday