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22 in 21: The State of Our Health April 30

March 31, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

In partnership with St. John’s Medical Center, the Charture Institute is expanding its popular “22 in 21: Jackson Hole in the 21st Century” forums to present its first topic-specific forum: “22 in 21: The State of Our Health – What You Need to Know.”

The event will be held on Thursday, April 30, from 8:30 am to 1:30 pm at Spring Creek Resort and will include lunch. Tickets are $25 and are available at www.22in21.com.

The day’s agenda will look at our community’s health from three different perspectives.

Setting the big-picture context will be Brian Gragnoloti, Senior Vice President of the Johns Hopkins Health System and a board member of the American Hospital Association. Mr. Gragnoloti’s remarks will focus on national health care, with an emphasis on the challenges facing small, rural communities.

Other speakers will offer perspectives at the regional level. Mike Tennican, chairperson of St. John’s Medical Center, and Dr. Lou Hochheiser, CEO of St. John’s Medical Center, will discuss the challenges and opportunities facing St. John’s in particular, and the broader Tetons-area community in general. In addition, Julia Heemstra and Sara Salo from St. John’s Wellness will share the findings of the Community Health Needs Assessment as it relates to the hospital’s role in the health of our community.

Following lunch, roundtable discussions will help participants explore the morning’s content, and lay the groundwork for actions that can help Teton County become a healthier, more vibrant community going forward.

The first 22 in 21 was held in 2012, and since then has become the premier annual event looking at the future of Jackson Hole and the greater Tetons region. “22 in 21: The State of Our Health – What You Need to Know” is the first in a series of issue-specific symposia. All previous 22 in 21 sessions have sold out, and, given the broad interest in community health, organizers expect “22 in 21: The State of Our Health” to sell out as well.

North Highway 89 Pathway Still Closed

March 31, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Despite spring conditions and warm weather, the North Highway 89 Pathway remains closed to non–motorized public use. Though some wildlife have begun their annual migration from wintering areas to summer ranges, approximately 7,000 elk were still on Refuge land last week.

The 5–mile segment of the pathway is subject to an annual closure as part of a condition of the agreement between Teton County, Wyoming and the National Elk Refuge for pathway use on U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service property. Unlike neighboring federal lands with multiple recreational opportunities, the National Elk Refuge is mandated to prioritize habitat conservation and wildlife management, adhering to a “wildlife first” mission when considering or allowing public uses. The seasonal closure of the pathway maximizes benefits to important wildlife habitat and migration corridors and allows the Refuge to be in compliance with its mission and purpose.

Last year, Refuge managers announced criteria to determine when the pathway may open earlier than May 1, using the number of animals remaining on the Refuge and the potential for conflicts with migration as the basis for an annual decision to open the pathway early. GPS collar data shows that peak spring elk movements occur during the second and third weeks of April. However, Refuge Manager Steve Kallin explained that if large numbers of elk migrated off the Refuge early, dropping the number of remaining animals to the May 1 long–term average of approximately 2,500 elk, the pathway could potentially open as early as April 15.

The fall closure date has also been adjusted since the pathway opened in 2011, moving the seasonal closure from October 1 to November 1. The date change reflected the most current data available regarding elk migration patterns near the pathway.

The opening and closing of the pathway is coordinated with Jackson Hole Community Pathways and the Teton County Parks & Recreation Department. “Logistically, we can’t open and close the pathway at a moment’s notice when animals move near or disperse away from the pathway,” Kallin explained.

Some elk began moving north from the Refuge last week, fanning out across the sagebrush flats near the Gros Ventre River and Highway 26/89/191. However, the majority are still in their winter range and are expected to begin moving in large numbers as the warm weather and spring green–up continues.

Even though many of the remaining 7,000 elk are out of the public’s view, there are still times when they use the habitat near the pathway, and the potential for disturbance can be high. “We want to maximize the amount of habitat the elk use, especially at this time of the year,” Kallin explained. “We don’t want them to be discouraged from using the west side of the refuge.” Dispersal of animals is important to decreasing the risk of disease.

Kallin also noted and appreciated compliance of the pathway closure over the weekend as many cyclists hit the trails. “I think there are members of the community that recognize the value of the pathway and its availability for six months of the year. It demonstrates a respect and commitment to living compatibly with Jackson’s wildlife.”

 

Internal Review of Grove Phase I Complete

March 31, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

TCHA_logo-sidebarEarly last week, a private citizen raised a concern with the Teton County Housing Authority about the Grove Housing Project Phase I.

Specifically, Tim Rieser raised a concern whether or not the Teton County Housing Authority was receiving the proper credit from the contractor, GE Johnson, for tax exempt raw materials that were being purchased directly by the Teton County Housing Project.   The Teton County Treasurer conducted an internal audit completed by their Financial Accountant who has prior experience as a Controller in the construction industry and six years as an auditor.   The County Treasurer’s Office concluded that the tax exempt materials are being tracked by GE Johnson in the Pay Application Line 015, Owner Purchased Materials.   The original agreement with GE Johnson outlined that a final change order would be presented at the end of the project will be presented to credit the final contract amount.  This procedure is consistent with that followed for numerous publically funded projects.  Going forward, however, GE Johnson will provide a separate change order for every pay application to credit the materials purchased by TCHA.

A follow up workshop on the Grove Phases II and III will be held on Monday, April 20th at 10:30 in the Commissioner’s Chambers (200 South willow Street).

Granite Hot Springs Pool Closed for the Season due to Inaccessible Road  

March 31, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

The Jackson Ranger District of the Bridger-Teton National Forest is announcing the closure of Granite Hot Springs Pool a week earlier than its scheduled closing date due to the unusual warm conditions making the road inaccessible. Granite Hot Springs will be closed on Tuesday March 31 for the winter season.

“The unusual early warm weather conditions we have had this winter has caused the roads to become excessively muddy and slushy for snowmobiles and snow bikes to reach the Hot Springs” said Linda Merigliano, Recreational Manager of the Jackson Ranger Districts. “A lot of our outfitters are done for the season and it just makes the most sense for both the public convenience and resource protection to close it a little early this year.”

Vehicle access through Granite road is closed until May 1st. Granite Hot Springs Pool will open for the summer mid-May, if the weather is favorable. 

Grove Costs Trigger Audit

March 30, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

 

An increase of about 8 million dollars in the Grove Affordable Housing Project was caused by a 36% in construction costs, a million dollar increase in site costs, and a 2 million dollar spreadsheet error. That’s what Teton County Commissioners heard at todays meeting and that concern over the finances of the construction gave cause for the County Attorney’s office to ask for an audit by the Treasurer.

Donna Bauer said her office conducted the examination and, despite some small deficiencies, found no signs of malfeasance.

The spreadsheet error was discovered in the original estimation where the formula used caused the project to look less expensive. It mistakenly counted habitable square foot costs at 75 dollars rather than 150 dollars.

The main driver of the cost escalation, according to the Housing Authority was a large increase in the cost of construction and site work.

In the sometimes-tense meeting, Commissioners complained about the lack of consistent information and the fact that previous boards relied on wrong numbers to make decisions.

Barb Allen said, “ I shouldn’t have to go home and review your math.”

Another meeting to discuss the future of the project is set for April 13th. The final cost estimate is expected on April 29th.

Weight Limits on Fall Creek Road Temporarily Reduced

March 30, 2015 Uncategorized No Comments

Jackson, WY – March 27, 2015 — Road damage caused by spring weather conditions is creating the need to reduce the vehicle weight limit on Fall Creek Road to 40,000 pounds GVW (Gross Vehicle Weight) from the normal 60,000 pounds GVW.  This change takes effect immediately but is expected to be returned to the normal weight limitations once weather conditions change.

Teton County Road and Levee Department appreciates the community’s understanding of this temporary reduction in weight limits on Fall Creek Road. 

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