EV charging stations could come to the Vendome in the future

Mayor Randy Hibberd
Last Friday, Cathy and I finally got the trailer out and headed to the hills for our first camping trip of the year. We ended up at Upper Payette Lake, north of McCall. For those not familiar with it, Upper Payette Lake is a beautiful, fairly small, but popular lake, so finding a camp site can be interesting. 
 On Sunday, we drove further north and hiked into Josephine Lake. The lake sits at 7,400 feet elevation but was well worth the effort to get there. It is nestled into a bowl with mountain peaks on three sides. There was still snow in places and the whole scene was gorgeous. 
 With us being two old duffers, we were glad to get back to the pickup and sit down, but also so glad to have made the hike. 
 This would probably be a good time to let you know some of the things that are going on with the City this summer. 
 To start, City Clerk David Tate and I have been accepted into the Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation Community Health Academy, which will start on July 20. The Academy consists of four sessions, two Zoom and two in Boise, and a few hours of outside reading where eight Idaho mayors and one other city employee meet to go over topics from housing, childcare, food systems, built environment, and communications. The purpose is to learn how these areas affect the overall community health. These factors are part of what is called the social determinates of health. 
 I was surprised the first time I learned that a person’s zip code had more to do with their life span than their genetics. This is why the social determinants of health are worth looking into. Attendees who complete the course are eligible for a grant of up to $20,000 for a community health project. 
 Another project we will be looking into, will be placing at least two electric vehicle charging stations in Weiser, probably at the Vendome. The Idaho Department of Environmental Quality has received a grant for $30 million to install charging stations within the State. In visiting with DEQ, they are very interested in locating units in Weiser. Between Caldwell and Lewiston there are no charging stations and the State’s objective is to create the infrastructure to encourage electric vehicles. (Ontario doesn’t count because it is out-of-state). 
 Placing the charging stations at the Vendome parking lot would help bring people to downtown Weiser where they can browse, shop, and eat while waiting for their car to charge. It would also provide a small amount of revenue for the City’s Electric Department.
 Another possible grant we are starting to look into involves transportation infrastructure from the Federal Government. At the Association of Idaho Cities annual conference last month, I attended a session about infrastructure. In visiting with the presenter, from Washington, afterwards and talking about Weiser’s needs, he told me about funding that probably could be used to rebuild Commercial Street.
 When Commercial Street was designed and built, it was not engineered for the size of trucks that pass over it now. Both Idaho Street and Main Street have been engineered to handle these trucks since they are on a spur of Highway 95. But the City of Weiser does not want semi-trucks and other truck traffic passing through relatively narrow residential areas. Since Idaho Street and Main Street can handle truck traffic, the Idaho Department of Transportation is unwilling to fund or assist in rebuilding the wider Commercial Street for truck traffic. The funds it would take for Weiser to handle the cost on its own would be beyond the City’s means. 
 However, if there are Federal dollars available, this may be a way of bringing the rebuild into the realm of possibility. There will be more on this later. 
 It is my understanding at this point, that all three of the grants listed above would be available without requiring matching funds from the City. At this point, we will move forward and see what happens. 
 Also, if you have not already read the articles, both the Signal American and Living in the News wrote excellent pieces on what is going on with the Fire and Rescue services in town that is well worth reading. I did not include any comments here because they did such a good job.
 In City news this week, Ken Anderson at the Recreation Department let me know that there will be football camp for third through sixth graders from Aug. 1-4. The sign-up deadline is July 27. Football camp for seventh and eighth grade will be Aug. 8-11. The sign-up deadline is Aug. 3. Also, the youth tackle football and fall soccer programs have sign-ups on Aug. 3. 
 For details and fees, please contact Jhonna or Ken in the Recreation Department at (208) 414-0301.
 Well, that’s it for this week. Hope you are staying cool, but still enjoying your summer!


Signal American

18 E. Idaho St.
Weiser, ID 83672
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