June 4, 2020
You may know Bill Whitacre in many ways, from his years managing the Simplot Company, or around town in McCall, or from his recent initiative, Crush the Curve Idaho.
While he deeply considers Idaho home, Bill also seeks inspiration in adventures around the world on a motorcycle. Idaho roads taught him some basics, allowing him to go anywhere. Almost. Getting into Iran was an intricate detour while riding the Silk Road from Turkey to China.
Learn about how continents may differ while people everywhere are truly the same. Hear Bill elaborate on how we give and receive respect across cultures. Sometimes this involves appreciating some very unusual cuisine.
This ethic of respect has him hesitate and carefully measure his words while describing a difficult journey through western China.
Bill also takes a lot of pictures, just not what you might expect. They reflect the spirit and personality of our adventurer wanting to be ‘curious and close in’ to people and their culture.
Bill closes out the conversation with the back story of Crush the Curve Idaho. He offers an inspiring call to rise above our limitations, make our systems work better, and continue cultivating respect and consensus.
April 22, 2020
If you’ve spent any amount of time in McCall, you’ve probably seen Suzanne Mack walking to and from work. As Office Services Supervisor at McCall Central District Health, she literally walks the talk.
We hear about what Suzanne has seen and learned from ten years of walking almost daily. She also has a unique childhood and personality that make her the perfect fit for this diverse job.
I’ve wanted to have Suzanne on the podcast from the beginning so we can learn more about our CDH. Maybe a month ago when we started getting serious about a pandemic, she remarked, “People talk about not being ready. We have been ready for a long time.”
Hear about that, along with the incredible range of services our CDH offers, including water testing, vaccines, reproductive services, dental services, food inspections, and more. Imagine them as the center of a web connecting government programs, local resources, community services, and a whole lot of wisdom from our favorite town walker.
April 12, 2020
Tom Grote has been Publisher of The Star-News for almost 40 years.
He describes the paper as a local “property,” emphasizing the power of journalism as a record or journal of a community—its people, culture, and events. This does not ensure objectivity. Accuracy, balance, and fairness are the values of a paper. You may know about That One Thing where Tom is not objective, and he passionately relates why.
We consider people’s attitudes toward the media, often negative. Tom explains how unbiased journalism is a relatively recent value—perhaps our news is more accurate than we think.
Hear Tom hold forth on Letters to the Editor, the favorite story of his tenure, and the nitty gritty on how a local journal brings more value to a community than social media content.
We debate the pros and cons of print versus digital, and Tom shares his preference on how to receive the news, which may surprise you. He has some ideas about our responsibilities as well.
Get a sense of the wide-ranging breadth and life of a community—what our resident journalist chronicler must know, remember, and continually emphasize.
Special note: the podcast was recorded at CUB in March 2020 before Shelter in Place restrictions took place.
March 18, 2020
Communities have a lot of people behind the scenes getting things done. Fortunately for our region, we have Andrew Mentzer, Executive Director for the West Central Mountains Economic Development Council.
Andrew’s work ethos hinges on collaboration—having conversations with everyone: non-profits, the private sector, small businesses, and government. Then collect more information, acquire funding, and implement a course of action, all with an eye on ‘best practices.’
We talk about Andrew and the Council’s work on regional broadband, housing, trail access, apprentice work programs, and how to reconcile those controversial notions of growth and development. Turns out our local version of an Economic Development Council is really something else, and that’s intentional.
You may notice the recording sounds differently than the previous episodes—we did this one by phone, adhering to the best practice of social isolation during the pandemic. We talk about getting through that as individuals and a community before Andrew shares what he’s been doing, as usual, behind the scenes.
Have a listen, and go read more for yourself at the WCMEDC website here.
March 13, 2020
You might see Meg Lojek cheering her kids at local sporting events, out on the trails, or welcoming you to the McCall Public Library.
Meg shares her unique path to becoming Director of our Public Library, a journey involving a few continents culminating with directing and opening school libraries in Bangkok. Still an Idaho gal at heart, she acts from a sense of adventure and service, instilling this ethic in our own library.
After reviewing her life and career at home and abroad, we talk about why libraries matter. You’ll hear Meg’s sincerity for what she loves about her job. We’ll hear about the power of stories, and we’ll consider how libraries support community.
You may be surprised at all the creative ways our library works. From unusual check-out items to creative programming to how books are chosen. What about actual books versus ebooks, and what are the trends? The book checked out the most in the last decade? Meg revealed later that the author wrote some of it in our very own library.
In the end, we hear someone dedicated, wise, and fully in love with her job.
February 15, 2020
Sherry personifies community engagement. She relates her unusual journey into banking as a young woman, developing a knack for seeing what communities need and finding ways to make things happen. Visionaries aren't always Implementers with a capacity for details.
Sherry’s big-picture ideals have helped generate solutions and projects in our community. We didn’t win the final ABC round or pass a recreation district; however other cool things are happening because of those efforts--trails and access, anyone?
Do you live, work, shop, or play in Valley Country? Why would anyone want to be a County Commissioner creating structures for those things? Sherry reveals her motivation, learning curve, and facing the unexpected. She shares disasters (literally), wins, and challenges we are all facing.
If you care about the sustainability and future of our community, here are some insights from a leader we see in the grocery store, full of news and ready to serve us all.
February 7, 2020
Donnelly Fire Chief Juan Bonilla personifies Cool.
Juan grew up in Valley County working with cattleman, then served in the Navy as a torpedoman in submarines. He returned home and began a dedicated career in fire and emergency services.
Being the Donnelly Fire Chief and Valley County Emergency Manager is more than just racing to disasters. Juan talks about building a broad volunteer base, working with kids, and creating an education hub at the Donnelly Fire Station. He has deeply studied, taught, and practiced leadership, and some of his ideas may surprise you.
Juan also gives an overview of local emergency services, what he wishes we’d all do to prevent disasters, and offers us a sincere invitation to volunteer.
January 3, 2020
Jackie Aymon has given over ten years of public service to McCall, including the last six years as Mayor. Her infectious, positive energy has redefined what’s possible in public service. You also may know Jackie from her days as a Physician’s Assistant.
We talk about her first love as a globe-trotting gymnastics coach. We touch briefly on her career in medicine before focusing on her Mayoral Days, where she officiated weddings, walked with students, implemented efficient meetings and strategic plans, began the Firewise program, and followed a Christmas Tree to Washington D.C.
Join us for an animated conversation and find out what’s next for Jackie.
December 29, 2019
An Idaho Treasure, Randy is the proprietor of the Donnelly Hat Shop and a recipient of the Governor’s Award in the Arts for Excellence in Folk and Traditional Arts.
We talk about his life's work crafting hats, growing up in Pocatello with the Blackfoot Tribe, his resulting affinity for Native American values and rituals, sobriety, music, losing his daughter, and his self-transformation work with LifeStream. Join us for a heartfelt conversation and a little bit of banjo.