Dr. Sandy Curtis photo

Dr. Sandy Curtis, the new medical director for Kamiah Fire Rescue.

GRANGEVILLE — Jim Church, of the University of Idaho extension office, addressed the commissioners letting them know about his future. “I know it’s early but I’m going to retire next year, on Aug. 31, 2022,” Church said. He indicated that he will remain through the 2022 fair, which will be his 36th Idaho County Fair and his 39th year overall.

Commissioner Denis Duman asked about how the university will fill the job and what the requirements are. Church explained that the university will put a committee together and do a search. Applicants will be required to have a masters’ degree, according to Church. He told commissioners, “I will let them know that we want local input.”

The commissioners approved the sole bid from Pony Creek Outfitters to complete fire mitigation work on the Cantlon property in the Secesh area, at a cost of $15,540 for 3.7 acres. Sandi Paul, the county’s fire mitigation program coordinator, discussed the potential fire mitigation work surrounding the Secesh cemetery.

Two of the four properties in the tax deed sale were sold in competitive bidding during the auction. Adam Hart, representing Three Amigos Development LLLP was the high bidder on both properties according to Abbie Hudson, Idaho County Treasurer. He purchased the property at 198 Hill Street Alley in Kooskia for $9,000 and a four-acre property, lot 11-A in the Almost Heaven subdivision, about 12 miles north of Kamiah, for $22,000. Two lots on Thenon Street in Kooskia did not receive any bids. The county may assume the two unsold properties and could sell them in the future, according to Hudson.

Kamiah Fire Rescue (KFR) Chief Bill Arsenault updated the commissioners on the combined fire and ambulance program that he has led for nearly a year. A considerable portion of the area is located in Idaho County, including the Woodland, Caribel and Glenwood areas, which he describes as “blowing up” with many new people moving there. He shared that demand for services continues to increase.

Arsenault introduced Dr. Curtis Sandy, who was recently selected as the medical director for KFR. Sandy lives in Pocatello, working at the Portneuf Medical Center. (He also serves as the medical director for the Kooskia ambulance.)

Sandy described the medical director role as being responsible for the quality of care, the level of education and training, process and quality assurance. In response to County Commissioner Skip Brandt’s question about a local doctor filling this role, Sandy explained that the complexity of EMS has increased over time, leading to EMS medicine being identified as its own subspecialty. Also, with KFR’s transition from basic life support to paramedic level response, the increased responsibility and time commitment would be challenging for a family practice type doctor to meet. Brandt thanked Sandy for his willingness to step up.

Arsenault described KFR’s program, which includes seven full-time staff, including four paramedics. He has seven high school students who have joined the KFR as cadets for their senior project. The cadet program includes extensive training and experience to help prepare them for the job market. Contrasted with other areas where it is difficult to find volunteers, KFR is turning them away. “We are busting at the seams with volunteers,” exclaimed Arsenault, noting they now have 31 firefighters in their ranks compared to 10 a year ago. He also noted they have not any problems keeping their full-time paid positions filled.

The commissioners approved a request from the City of Grangeville for a tax exemption for the 96 acres of hay ground they recently purchased between the truck route and the airport, according to Kim Nuxoll, Idaho County assessor. Idaho County Prosecutor Kirk MacGregor confirmed that land owned by a city is tax exempt.

The commissioners approved the law enforcement agreement between the City of Kooskia and the Idaho County Sheriff’s Office. MacGregor explained that the agreement for the new fiscal year includes the same terms as the current agreement. It requires the sheriff’s office to have two deputies who live within 10 miles of Kooskia who will give priority to Kooskia calls as best they can according to MacGregor, who also serves as the Kooskia city attorney. They will also attempt to enforce city ordinances, recognizing that misdemeanors and felonies are priorities. Kooskia will pay $25,000, plus provide office space for the deputies.