First-Class Salmon -- SANDPOINT, Idaho -- Think salmon can't fly? They may start to do just that in Sandpoint. The Sandpoint Air Service Committee (SASC) and the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce (GSCC) are collecting pledges in order to make a deal with Salmon Air, a small Idaho-based airline company, for daily nonstop flights between Seattle, Sandpoint and Boise. Fifty-five percent of the goal has been reached through pledges alone, adding up to about $230,000. For the additional funds, the SASC wrote a grant proposal to the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDT) for $550,000.
"We're starting with a nine-passenger aircraft, so we're not moving a lot of people," says Ron Nova, vice president of operations for Harbor Resorts and chairman of the SASC. "Our ticket surveys found the thing that is big is business travel to the Boise and Seattle markets. This local service would take two hours out of my travel time to Seattle."
The USDT grant request is broken into two sections. The first part asks for $215,000, a 50 percent pledge match for each ticket purchased. "For example, if you've pledged 21 one-way vouchers at $97.50 per voucher, through the federal matching program, 10 additional vouchers will be purchased. It's a huge incentive," Nova explains.
The second part of the grant asks for $275,000 to be used as revenue guarantee for Salmon Air for two years.
Decisions regarding the grant will be made later this summer. If it's approved, flights could start as early as this fall, in time for ski season. "Air service in any community helps put it on the map from a destination, tourism, resort situation," says Nova.
To pre-purchase flight vouchers, please call 208-661-0945 or visit www.flysandpoint.com
TV-Free Day -- SPOKANE -- Kids today have an average of seven hours per day of leisure time, yet less than 25 percent of children get the recommended 30 minutes of daily physical activity. Nickelodeon, the entertainment corporation that cranks out television programming, consumer products, online activities, books, magazines and movies, all directed at kids, is publicizing its national campaign, "Let's Just Play," in the spirit of encouraging kids to get active.
This Saturday, July 19, Nickelodeon's "Let's Just Play" is coming to Riverfront Park for kids of all ages. In addition, the company will donate $10,000 to the Boys and Girls Club of Spokane.
Activities will run from 10 am to 2 pm, including a giant kid-powered slingshot and a game of volleying a huge beach ball across an obstacle course. The activities will also consist of local favorites, like a Hoopfest basket shoot and a mini-Bloomsday run.
"Play is the center of everything kids love, and yet [they are] less active with their leisure time," commented Cyma Zarghami, executive vice president and general manager of Nickelodeon in a statement.
SpongeBob SquarePants and Rugrats will be present to root kids on. And, of course, the Finish Line Festival will include a slime show.
To register, call 489-0741, visit www.bgcspokanecounty.org or stop at the Nickelodeon area behind the Convention Center on Saturday morning before events begin.
No Getting Away From It -- SPOKANE -- A nice summer walk or camping trip may turn hazardous for some people, as more and more methamphetamine lab waste is being discovered in public areas. The Department of Ecology (DOE) is cautioning people about the increased possibility of coming across discarded meth labs. So far this year, DOE hazardous materials teams have been called to clean up 818 meth labs and dumpsites in the state of Washington. Spokane County had the third-largest share of that number, with 59 through June of this year.
"The most dangerous [parts of labs] are propane tanks with pressurized cylinders," says Mary-Ellen Voff, public information officer for the DOE Spill Program. "They are explosive. Most [meth] cooks are users, and they aren't careful with what they do with their supplies."
The DOE says these dumpsites are often found along rural or suburban roads, camping areas, parks, wildlife areas and in dumpsters behind businesses. Voff stresses the importance of staying away from any waste that seems like it may be contaminated.
"Call your local law enforcement -- either the police, sheriff or state patrol," says Voff.