Wednesday, August 29, 2012

City’s Utility Drop-Off Box Has New Location

Because the lower City Hall parking lot will be closed after Labor Day, the city’s utility drop-off box will be located off of 8th Street in the upper visitor parking lot at City Hall.   Access to the lower lot will be closed on Monday, September 3rd.

Visitors will be directed to use the upper lots (the two-hour Library lot and the current visitor spaces off of 8th street in the small upper lot).  The lower City Hall/Library parking lot will be temporarily closed for about 90 days to allow initial preparations for the McEuen Park project. 

This first of two contract bid packages was awarded to ACI for $1,166,729.50 for some mass grading and to construct new parking south of City Hall.  This work will enable a portion of the existing 3rd Street Parking lot to be relocated before the larger, main contract is awarded next spring for the park and parking garage.  For more information, please contact Doug Eastwood at 769-2252.

Fall Reading Starts at Library Sept. 4


     Fall Reading Programs with a harvest theme begin at the Coeur d’Alene Public Library on September 4 and continue through Oct. 19.
All programs are free and most do not require registration. Fall programs include:
► Book Babies Lap-Sit: Tuesdays, 10:15-10:45 a.m., and Fridays, 10:30-11 a.m. For ages newborn to 2 accompanied by a parent or other caregiver, this is an excellent way to introduce children to the sights and sounds of reading, storytelling, and related activities.
 
► Music & Motion: Wednesdays, 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Charge up your brain cells and move your body while you sing old favorites and learn some new songs. For ages 3 to 5.
► Tales for Twos & Threes: Tuesdays, 11-11:30 a.m. Stories and other activities for ages 2 and 3.
Preschool Storytime: Wednesdays, 10:30-11 a.m., and 1-1:30 p.m. Programs geared for the 3-5 age group.
► Game CafĂ©: Wednesdays, 4-5:30 p.m. Geared for ages 9-13, this activity introduces children to chess, checkers, and other traditional board games.
► LEGO Club: Thursdays, 4-5 p.m. Free LEGO building time for ages 5-10 with the library’s huge collection.
► Home Schoolers Game & Activity Hour: For home-schooled children ages 5 and up and a parent or other adult caregiver. Registration required at least one week prior to the program. Contact Jolie, 208-765-4393. Tuesday, Sept. 4, 1-2:30 p.m. (Continues the first Tuesday of the month through June 2013.)
     Children under 6 visiting the library need to be supervised by an adult or a person who is at least 14 even during programs. Children ages 6-9 should be accompanied by someone who is at least 14 who will remain in the building.

     Patrons who need accommodation to participate in library programs or services are asked to contact the staff prior to the activity by calling 208-769-2315. For more library information visit cdalibrary.org. The library is a department of the City of Coeur d’Alene and a member of the Cooperative Information Network, cinlibraries.org. Library Director, Bette Ammon. Library hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m./Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m./Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For regular updates follow the library on Facebook and Twitter. 
 
 
 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

City Hall Closed Labor Day

On Monday, September 3, 2012, Coeur d’Alene City Hall will be closed for Labor Day.  Other city offices and facilities will be closed as well.  Emergency calls for Police, Streets, and Fire can be made by dialing 9-1-1.  Other city facilities have emergency numbers and can be reached if the need arises: Sewer Back-up 769-2241 and Water 755-9729.

City Hall and other city facilities will open Tuesday, September 4th, at 8:00 a.m.  For more information, please call 769-2204.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Has the Library Gone to the Dogs?

By David Townsend
Library Communications Coordinator

   In our culture we adore our pets. They are members of our family. We hate to leave them behind – particularly our dogs – when we go out for recreation, make a trip to the store, and even when we go to the library.
  The library staff usually likes your dog, too, but it is best for everyone if Fido stays home when you come to the library.
     The library is open to everyone and for that reason we have to be aware that not everyone is comfortable being around your pet and in many cases, may be allergic to it.
     Does that mean you will never see a dog in the library? No. Under Idaho law and in accordance with the Americans with Disabilities Act, public places such as libraries are required to admit “Trained Service Animals.” Patrons with such animals are only required to state what service the animal is trained to perform.
     Having the dog for security or simply because its companionship is calming are not recognized service functions. And, so far, Idaho does not recognize other types of service animals besides dogs and miniature horses.
     Service dogs are not required to wear any kind of special vest or collar, but it is helpful for the staff if they do.
     Is it OK for non-service dogs and other animals to be left tied up outside while its owner comes into the library? No, we’re afraid not. Under City of Coeur d’Alene ordinances it is not legal to leave pets unattended in a public place.
     How about in your car? On days when the sun is shining and the weather is warm it is never a good idea. Even on an overcast day, temperatures inside a vehicle can reach fatal levels for pets when they are left for just a short time. The library staff will call Animal Control if the owner cannot be found in the library.
     For more library information visit www.cdalibrary.org or call 208-769-2315.

Centennial Trail Seal Coating Nearly Completed


Between August 27th and September 7th, the remainder of Centennial Trail from Highway 41 to the Idaho/Washington state line will be completed, barring any bad weather.

This project is a “rolling project,” meaning that the seal coating takes about two hours to dry, so the trail will be usable, soon after the contractor has sealed it.  The contractor can seal about one mile of trail per day.

During the seal coating period, users will not be directed to an alternate route.  Rather, cyclists are asked to please be aware of the project, use the shoulder when traveling around the work area, and, when appropriate, walk bikes around the work area.

For our trail enthusiasts – please know that we’ll have spotters in front of and in back of the construction to remind people to slow down and ride on the shoulders. 

Friday, August 24, 2012

Library Closed Sept. 2 & 3 for Labor Day


Lower Parking to be closed for improvements
The Coeur d’Alene Public Library will be closed Sunday and Monday, Sept. 2 and 3, for the Labor Day holiday. Beginning Tuesday, Sept. 4, the lower parking lot for the library and City Hall will be closed for about 90 days while the lot is improved.

Many patron services and the library databases can be accessed through the website – cdalibrary.org. Using their library card number patrons can check the status of their account, request changes in their record, and set up holds.

E-books and e-audiobooks can be downloaded by patrons with reading and listening devices through the library’s Overdrive system. To access databases, obtain the needed user names and passwords by calling or visiting the library during open hours.

The parking lot on the west side of City Hall – accessed from the lower entrances to City Hall and the library will be closed for expansion and improvement. Visitors are advised to use the upper lot – for up to two hours – or the visitor spaces in the small lot east of City Hall that is accessed from Eighth Street. Parking will also be available on both sides of Eighth Street between E. Mullan Avenue and E. Young Ave.

The utility drop-off box will be located off of Eighth Street in the upper visitor parking lot at City Hall. 

Work on the lower lot will enable a portion of the existing Third Street parking lot to be relocated before the larger, main contract is awarded next spring for the park and parking garage. 

For more information, please contact Doug Eastwood at 769-2252.
     
For more library information visit cdalibrary.org. The library is a department of the City of Coeur d’Alene and a member of the Cooperative Information Network, cinlibraries.org. Library Director, Bette Ammon. Library hours: Monday to Thursday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m./Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m./Saturday and Sunday, noon to 4 p.m. For regular updates follow the library on Facebook and Twitter.



Construction to Close City Hall Lower-Level Parking


The lower City Hall/Library parking lot will be temporarily closed for about 90 days starting after Labor Day.  Access to the lower lot will be closed on Monday, September 3rd.

Visitors will be directed to use the upper lots (the two-hour Library lot and the current visitor spaces off of 8th street in the small upper lot).  The utility drop-off box will be located off of 8th Street in the upper visitor parking lot at City Hall

This first of two contract bid packages was awarded to ACI for $1,166,729.50 for some mass grading and to construct new parking south of City Hall.  This work will enable a portion of the existing 3rd Street Parking lot to be relocated before the larger, main contract is awarded next spring for the park and parking garage.  For more information, please contact Doug Eastwood at 769-2252.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Bistro on Spruce, Dave Smith Motors Receive Landscape of Excellence Award

Bistro on Spruce and Dave Smith Motors have been presented Landscape of Excellence awards.  The awards were given by Community Canopy, a tree care education program, in recognition of the outstanding use and care of trees within these businesses’ landscapes.  Bistro on Spruce is located at 1710 4th Street, and Dave Smith Motors is located at 1916 3rd Street.

Community Canopy recognized Bistro on Spruce for removing major portions of a parking lot, planting trees, and for having turf-free zones around trees. Dave Smith Motors was recognized for having many trees which are properly planted, having a separate, drip irrigation system for trees, and for the visually pleasing effect the trees have at the car lot.  Landscape workers at each site have taken care to not wound trees with landscape maintenance equipment.

The Landscape of Excellence award was presented to Chris Mueller of Bistro on Spruce and Terry Olsen of Dave Smith Motors at a recent Coeur d’Alene Parks and Recreation Commission meeting.  Dave Smith gave recognition for a high level of care to their lot manager and staff. Bistro on Spruce gave recognition to their landscaper Liberty Landscape Maintenance.

Landscape of Excellence Awards are presented by Community Canopy for encouraging good tree care by highlighting those businesses or organizations who are doing things right.

Community Canopy is a tree care partnership of the cities of Coeur d'Alene, Hayden, Post Falls, Spokane, and the Spokane County Conservation District with the assistance of the University of Idaho Extension and Washington State University Extension. Community Canopy members work together toward the goal of healthy and sustainable community forests that provide maximum environmental and visual benefits.  Community Canopy provides publications, exhibits, workshops, and in-the-field training.  To make a nomination for a Landscape of Excellence Award, please call 415-0415 or send an e-mail from the website at www.communitycanopy.org.

Monday, August 20, 2012

NI Centennial Trail Seal Coating Underway

Beginning this week, the section of the North Idaho Centennial Trail between I-90/Northwest Boulevard and Highway 41 will be seal coated. This project is a “rolling project,” meaning that the seal coating takes about two hours to dry, so the trail will be usable, soon after the contractor has sealed it.  The contractor can seal about one mile of trail per day.

During the seal coating period, users will not be directed to an alternate route.  Rather, cyclists are asked to please be aware of the project, use the shoulder when traveling around the work area, and, when appropriate, walk bikes around the work area.

Between August 27th and September 7th, the remainder of Centennial Trail from Highway 41 to the Idaho/Washington state line will be completed, barring any bad weather.

For our trail enthusiasts – please know that we’ll have spotters in front of and in back of the construction to remind people to slow down and ride on the shoulders. 

For more information, please contact the Parks Department at 769-2252.

Remove, Replant, Restore – Going ‘Native’ on Tubbs Hill


The Parks Department will soon begin a long overdue project to restore native trees to the north side of Tubbs Hill.

A veritable “wall” of non-native trees such as Norway maples and cherries, trees that are growing at the base of Tubbs Hill near McEuen Park, will be removed.  The freshly cut stumps will be treated to prevent re-sprouting.  

Because of the dense shade from the non-native tree canopies, trees and shrubs native to Idaho are unable to grow. The places where the non-native trees are gaining a foothold are the moistest sites on Tubbs Hill such as the north and east sides of the hill.  These sites should be the home of ponderosa pine, western white pine (Idaho’s state tree), western larch, and a variety of native shrubs.  All of these native tree species need sunlight to become established.  They cannot compete with the shade-dense Norway maple and cherry trees.

Once the non-native trees are removed, the area will be replanted with native trees such as ponderosa pine, larch, and grand fir, but this portion of the hill will look very different until the seedlings have had time to grow.

Tubbs Hill, a unique lakeside mountain park in the midst of the city, serves as a welcome escape from the sounds and stresses of modern life.  It’s an enormous play area and a scenic backdrop for hiking, jogging, and sightseeing. Fans of this natural haven find solace and personal renewal among the tall trees, ever-changing Idaho skies, and varying palette of wildflowers.

The health of native vegetation on Tubbs Hill plays an important role in maintaining the special gifts so many people return time and again to enjoy.  In 2010, non-natives species were removed in conjunction with a fuel reduction project on the east portion of the hill. The following spring, volunteers helped to plant over 2,000 native trees, now able to grow without the competition of the shade-dense, non-native species.

There are still many non-native tree species which remain, mostly on the far north side of the hill at the base of McEuen Park, which over time will continue to spread onto the hill.

Tubbs Hill trails will be open during the duration of this project.  If you have any questions, please contact Katie Kosanke at 415-0415.


Monday, August 13, 2012

NI Centennial Trail Seal Coating Begins


Beginning this week, the section of the Centennial Trail from Higgens Point to Riverstone Park will be seal coated. This project is a “rolling project,” meaning that the seal coating takes about two hours to dry, so the trail will be usable soon after the contractor has sealed it.  The contractor can seal about one mile of trail per day.

During the seal coating period, users will not be directed to an alternate route – rather, please be aware of the project, use the shoulder when traveling around the work area, and, when appropriate, walk bikes around the work area.

Also during the week of August 13th, trail patch and repair work between I-90/Northwest Boulevard and Highway 41 will be completed on the Centennial Trail.  During the week of August 20th, crews will be crack filling and seal coating this same stretch of trail.

Between August 27th and September 7th, the remainder of Centennial Trail from Highway 41 to the Idaho/Washington state line will be completed, barring any bad weather.

For our trail enthusiasts – please know that we’ll have spotters in front of and in back of the construction to remind people to slow down and ride on the shoulders. 

For more information, please contact the Parks Department at 769-2252.

Water Conservation Practices Save Money, Improve Lawn

By Jim Markley
Water Superintendent

     During the hot summer months, it is natural to use more water.  We ask our customers to pay attention to how much they use and to take care to not over water.  Since early July, water usage has increased from approximately 13 million gallons per day to 24 million gallons per day (August 5th water use report).
     Lawn over-watering is a primary water waster. Over-watering your lawn will not improve the quality of its turf.  In fact, it can make the grass susceptible to disease and actually promote weed growth.  People tend to water too often and too much.  (For residential lawns, daily watering is not required.  Also, lawns only need between 1 and 2 inches of water per week – including rainfall).
     Over-watering of lawns increases the runoff of pesticides and herbicides into the streets and the storm sewers.  This, in turn, lowers the water quality of our lakes and rivers.
     By including landscaping that requires less water to maintain (such as bark, shrubs, and drought resistant plants), you not only lessen your need for water, but also have a more varied and beautiful yard.  Check out the demonstration Xeriscape garden located at 10th and Foster Avenue for ideas (Xeriscape means landscaping that requires little or no water).   
     Evening or early morning watering is more efficient than watering during the heat of the day or when it is windy – both increase evaporation.  You are paying for water that doesn’t moisten your lawn’s roots and you are not getting the full benefit of the water you are buying.  If your sprinklers are poorly adjusted and you are watering the street, once again you are paying for water without receiving any benefit. 
     Increased water demand creates a need for additional wells.  Customers ultimately pay for the operation and maintenance of new facilities.
     And last but not least, minimizing the amount of water needed for irrigation can save you money.  Most customers’ consumption of water increases dramatically during the summer.  So do their utility bills. 
     You can easily minimize wasteful watering practices during the summer without negatively impacting either your lawn or your bank account.

Friday, August 10, 2012

City’s Arts Commission Now Accepting Nominations for 17th Annual Mayor’s Awards in the Arts

The City of Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission is accepting nominations for the 17th Annual Mayor’s Awards in the Arts. Nominations may be submitted by art organizations, individuals, or businesses, and must be received by September 5, 2012.

The Mayor’s Awards in the Arts are presented by the Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission and the City of Coeur d’Alene to recognize and encourage excellence in the arts and to stimulate and support awareness of the arts throughout the City. Nominees may be businesses, organizations, or individuals who have, through distinguished service or creative accomplishment, made a significant contribution to the arts in Coeur d’Alene, but need not be based or have residence actually within the City Limits.

Nominations should be based on the three categories in which the awards are presented. The first category, “Excellence in the Arts,” recognizes artists who have made a significant contribution to the awareness of the arts in Coeur d’Alene. They are evaluated on their community participation, previous recognition received, and the quality and originality of their work. The second category, “Support of the Arts,” recognizes individuals or organizations based on the length of their commitment to the arts, the type of support they give (financial, volunteer services, etc.), and their overall involvement in the support of art in Coeur d’Alene. The third category, “Arts in Education,” recognizes individuals or organizations for their efforts to strengthen public arts education in the geographic region of School District 271. The award is given based on years of commitment to and advocacy for arts education.

“It is a privilege to recognize the individuals and organizations in our community that make art accessible to everyone,” Mayor Bloem said.

For nomination forms, please contact Amy Ferguson, Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission staff support, at 666-5754, or you can pick up a nomination form at City Hall, 710 Mullan Avenue, Coeur d’Alene, or download a form from the city’s website at www.cdaid.org.

The Mayor’s Awards in the Arts will be held on Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 6 p.m., at the Coeur d’Alene Resort.



DEQ OKs Goats to Control Weeds at City Water Wells

Dion Holton, Utility Supervisor for the City of Coeur d’Alene Water Department, had been working for nearly two years for the piece of paper he held in his hand.  The official title: “Engineering Waiver for Livestock Setback to Public Drinking Water Well.” Translation?  DEQ has approved a waiver to allow the use of goats at city well sites for weed control on a limited basis.  

Although goats have been allowed at the city’s water reservoirs, DEQ rules prohibit the keeping of “livestock” at wells. The intent of the rule is to prevent keeping cows and other large animals near drinking water supplies.  Pygmy goats are legally defined as livestock although pretty much everyone agrees that they would have no measurable impact on water quality.   

Water Department personnel have spent many hours in discussions and even directed their intern, Ryan Barton, to help with the process of developing a goat study.  They are calling him the Water Department/Caprine Weed Abatement Intern.  Although there was general consensus that goats would not negatively affect water quality, a study still needed to be designed and implemented to prove that they would not.  With the help of DEQ personnel, Ryan developed the study protocol that will provide that proof. 

Two years ago, the city contracted with a local owner of a herd of pygmy goats to have the goats eat the weeds at city reservoirs, where no waiver was needed.  The herd owner was responsible to augment fencing to keep the goats penned and to ensure that the goats had adequate water.  The owner periodically visited the sites to make sure the goats were okay.  The goats were placed inside the fenced area of one of the reservoirs and within a few days the weeds had been eaten down to the ground’s surface.  It is believed that eventually the goats will be able to completely kill the weeds.

Not only are goats environmentally friendly, they are customer friendly as well. The passersby are amused by the highly curious and friendly goats and many journey out of their way just to observe the busy, four-legged workers. Numerous customers have expressed support for the beneficial use of the goats.  “As far as I know, no other water utility in the country is using pygmy goats for weed abatement,” said Water Superintendent Jim Markley.

Coeur d’Alene had long searched for an effective, low cost, environmentally-friendly solution to control weeds at its reservoirs and wells.  When constructing wells and reservoirs, the city typically lays filter fabric and covers it with washed river rock.  The sites are weed free for a few years, but eventually weeds get re-established and then weed removal becomes a problem for the department. 

Many methods have been tried to control and/or remove the weeds.  Pulling the weeds by hand diverts employees from other duties.  Reworking the site is expensive. Using herbicides is not environmentally friendly and using weed whackers or flail mowers does an incomplete job.  Paving everything within the fenced area wasn’t considered to be very attractive.  Because the city preaches water conservation, the idea of planting grass was also abandoned because adding more turf for watering would send a mixed message to the customers.

For more information, please contact the Water Department at 769-2210 or the Department of Environmental Quality at 769-1422.               

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

North Idaho Centennial Trail Improvements Underway


The North Idaho Centennial Trail needs to be seal coated.  This project is a “rolling project,” meaning that the seal coating takes about two hours to dry, so the trail will be usable soon after the contractor has sealed it.  The contractor can seal about one mile of trail per day.

During the seal coating period, users will not be directed to an alternate route – rather, please be aware of the project, use the shoulder when traveling around the work area, and, when appropriate, walk bikes around the work area.

The crew has finished all the gravel shoulders out to the Washington state line and will be starting over at Higgens Point with asphalt repair.  Through August 10th, work will be done on the section of trail from Higgens Point to Riverstone Park, which includes the preparation of all shoulder work on the Class 1 section of the trail.

Beginning August 13th, the section of trail from Higgens Point to Riverstone Park will be seal coated. Also during the week of August 13th, trail patch and repair work between I-90/Northwest Boulevard and Highway 41 will be completed on the Centennial Trail.  During the week of August 20th, crews will be crack filling and seal coating this same stretch of trail.

Between August 27th and September 7th, the remainder of Centennial Trail from Highway 41 to the Idaho/Washington state line will be completed, barring any bad weather.

For our trail enthusiasts – please know that we’ll have spotters in front of and in back of the construction to remind people to slow down and ride on the shoulders. 

Work on the Prairie Trail was completed last week.  For more information, please contact the Parks Department at 769-2252.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Providing Award-Winning H.E.L.P to the Homeless

Three years ago, the City of Coeur d’Alene’s 10-Year Plan to End Homelessness met one of its main goals – the opening of a “one stop” center to provide crucial services to the homeless and those in need in North Idaho, all under one roof and centrally located.  The roof is provided by the city’s former library, now leased by the city to St. Vincent de Paul.  The partnership between the city and St. Vincent’s recently received the Association of Idaho Cities “Resilient City” Award.

At the Help Empower Local People (H.E.L.P.) Center, St. Vincent’s operates 7 buildings all within 1 block of the center, making it central to its overall operations. The location of the former library to its campus allows easy access to its Thrift store, two emergency shelters, transitional housing, Harger House, and warehouse. In all, 19 agencies provide 25 programs in the former library building.

It’s essentially no cost to the city.  Because St. Vincent de Paul is paying utilities and maintenance, the city no longer has to. 

Jeff Conroy, Executive Director of St. Vincent de Paul said, “It really has become that “one-stop” place.  People know to come here if they are in need.”

Conroy explained that when they opened in 2009, the economy hadn’t hit bottom yet.  Once it did, some state agencies that had been working with the homeless had their funding cut and left the center.  Many non-profits have come in to fill the gap.  Conroy also recognizes the support provided by grants.

One recent grant provided funds to keep people from becoming homeless.  “This grant alone kept 1,200 people from losing their homes or apartments,” said Conroy.  The grant works like this:  if a tenant receives an eviction notice because he is three months behind on rent, because he cannot pay a utility bill (which is often a requirement of a lease), or if he cannot meet this month’s rent, St. Vincent de Paul will work with the tenant to manage expenses. 

Often, if one member of a couple loses his or her job, expenses that used to be affordable begin to pile up.  Soon, even the rent or lease payment is overwhelming. “We’ll work with the landlord,” said Conroy, adding, “We pay back the debt and help tenants with a finance plan.”

To qualify for this specific grant program, tenants must agree to attend education programs to help them better understand personal finances and money management.  Conroy said that once these folks are tapped into St. Vincent de Paul, they usually discover other benefits and programs for which they already qualify. 

As Conroy emphasizes, “The 10-Year plan is to end Homelessness,” adding, “We’re a step ahead if we can keep it from happening.”

The H.E.L.P. Center is located at 201 E. Harrison Avenue.