A.F. Mayor Marc Beitia
Red always used to say, as another one went packing down the dusty dirt road towards Oasis, “men, you just can’t fix stupid!” Now I know it is not a politically correct word, but before you run off in a dither let me explain Grandpa’s context. Grandpa would have been 105 this last December 24, had he still been kickin’. He grew up and died in a much different time than at least half of us. His was the greatest generation, true still, in my opinion. As he told it, you learned to do and you learned to do without, or you died. So in that context, “stupid” referred to someone who would not learn, specifically when told by the boss how to do something most generally they did it that way, or they went packin’.
It started back in December when Rick Phillips and I were driving back from Boise together after a two-day, butt-numbing, meeting. I will say it was tenfold better than the one previous, but still numbing. He got a call from his lovely wife Kerry who had just scored six great tickets to the February 26 Merle Haggard concert at the Stephens Performing Arts Center. He promptly invited Sally and me to join them. I am a huge fan of the ‘country western” genre of the late 50’s through 70’s. It told a story, had huevos (Major League 2), and just felt right in a bluesy, soulful way. Of course I said yes. Last Wednesday six of us, including Keith and Lana Davies, enjoyed a lovely meal and made the concert just in time. Sally and I sat in the right side isle seats in row seven as Rick and Kerry’s guests. Perfect! Well, until stupid showed up.
There were three of them right in front of us in row six. They had to have had parents, but they must have been at-large in the formative stages of the development of their spawn, for there was not an inkling of social grace among them as they “snuck” jugs of Bud Light, hee-hawed, stood up and bellered, went in and out for more beer and cigarettes, and were generally just down-right obnoxious. In a moment of near rage, I leaned forward as a restraining hand grabbed my shoulder. Sally was shaking her head, and not up and down. She was right of course; it would have exacerbated the situation. So, despite what was immediately in front of us, we enjoyed the classics of a 77-year-old man who was still young at heart. It took me back to different days and Grandpa and Grandma, as my foot tapped to the Bakersfield rhythms.
As we were leaving I thanked Rick for his generosity and he responded accordingly. As we departed Kerry leaned in and said to me softly, “as the mayor you should have said something to those three.” Perhaps she was right. However, I responded with the truism, “you just can’t fix stupid.” Ya, Grandpa, it is still out there. Some just don’t know no better or care to learn.
Fortunately I have the pleasure of working with the antithesis of those in row six both at school and with the city. All in all it was a productive week. “A little less talk and a lot more action,” than last week.
We hired the Golf Pro, Bill Beck, at the golf course. He has some new ideas and marketing strategies and plans to have the course open when you read this, if weather permits. One thing that came from the meetings and interviews was the idea of forming a Golf Committee; thanks to councilman Stuart Pankratz. The committee’s responsibilities will be focused on course improvements, marketing and management ideas along with something a bit bigger that I will share later. The committee will include two council members, the golf superintendent, the golf professional, three folks who use the course regularly, the men’s and lady’s league presidents as ex-officio members, and the mayor.
We believe we have found a new concessionaire for the Willow Bay Café and campground. The nitty gritty has been worked out, and the agreement is being drafted. Her name is Candace Reynolds, a local gal with tons of restaurant experience. If you ate at the Remo’s of old, or more recently Buddy’s or Juniper Hills Country Club, you will recognize Candace. My daughter Frances, the manager at McKenzie River Grill and Pub in Pocatello, tried to hire her, but Candace and her family want to go into business for themselves. From what I have seen and heard so far, that will work out very well for all of us. As I sit here at the bottom of my first cup on a rainy dark Saturday morning, I hope I don’t have the cart too far in front of the horse as the agreement won’t be signed until Wednesday night.
You may be wondering about what I left hanging above. It was just past 5 p.m. last Monday when my phone rang. It was Dusty Whited. Robyn Herndon, Jeremy Peirsol and I were discussing something that at the time seemed important but it escapes me now. “Check your email,” Dusty said. “Holy smoke (not quite),” I said as Robyn and Jeremy echoed. The email was from George Fekaris, Transportation Planner for Western Federal Lands and the Federal Highway Administration. The header read: ID-10 Marina Road FLAP Proposal Update. The first word was “Congratulations!” The approved project scope includes a new 1.2 mile link between Marina Road and SH-39 to create a safer intersection and eliminate an existing railroad crossing. The Program Decisions Committee approved up to $2.6M for your project from the Federal Lands Access Program; with a 7.34% match and other contributions, nearly a $3M project. The 1.2 mile link will extend west off the 100 block of Idaho Street through the SH-39 bypass, down in front of Simplot Soilbuilders to the Willow Bay road on the northwest side of the Union Pacific tracks. We haven’t seen the details yet to know the timeline; originally however, construction is in 2017.
Some of you may remember an idea that was floated when the dam was reconstructed; an idea of a tunnel under the SH-39 bypass that would have allowed for small vehicle traffic from the golf course to the now big patch of dirt and sagebrush. I never really thought the decision not to build the small underpass could be “fixed.” I have had ideas. But, I never truly thought it could be “fixed” until Monday night. You’re “smart;” you will figure it out.
Until next week…
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