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Lucky Friday mine on track to reopen in early 2013

Lucky Friday mine on track to reopen in early 2013

Good news for the Silver Valley: Rehab work at the Lucky Friday silver mine is ahead of schedule.  Hecla Mining reports that the mine on pace to open in the first quarter of 2013.

The Silver Shaft closed back in January after federal inspectors order Hecla to remove built-up sand and concrete material.  The Mining Safety and Health Administration had conducted a series of inspections after a rock burst injured 7 miners in December, 2011.

The Silver Shaft, commissioned in 1983, is one mile deep and it's the primary access for the Lucky Friday mine.  The clean-up is expected to cost $20 million dollars and left more than 100 miners out of work.

"The current rehab work at Lucky Friday has exceeded our expectations and has been completed through the important 4,900-foot level," said Hecla President and CEO Phillips S. Baker, Jr.

20 miners were rehired and will return to work this month, in addition to 75 hourly employees already at work.  Hecla expects to be back to a full complement of 201 miners by the end of 2012, in anticipation of resuming operations in early 2013.


Tear it up on Schweitzer bike trails

Tear it up on Schweitzer bike trails

It's time to "tear it up" on the trails of Schweitzer Mountain. Most downhill mountain bike trails on the mountain opened Friday.

The mountain hosts 10 trails that range from beginning scenic rides to striclty downhill paths that will give your shocks and brakes a workout.

There are a few rides that have unique features that riders don't want to miss. You can go across 12 handmade bridges and numerous freeride features on the Collector Trail or ride all the way to a lake on the the Colburn Trail. Plus there are plenty of views for anyone to enjoy/.

For the most part, the road is shared with hikers and horseback riders but there are a few that are strictly for cyclists only. 

Schweitzer said the Mid-Mountain skills state and the Redemption trail are still closed.  Both of these trails are for technical riders, especially the Redemption trail, where riders face multiple rock drops and a descent of 1300 feet. Employees said Redemption needs a little more work before it can open while Mid-Mountain needs more time to dry out. However, Schweitzer estimates both trails should be open in two weeks.

Osprey making their nest look like home

Osprey making their nest look like home

A pair of Osprey at Sandpoint’s Memorial Field have been busy in the way that makes their nest looks a lot like home.

Avid watchers of the birds are wondering when we’ll see eggs. The webcam was turned on last month after the nesting platform was installed on top of new lighting at the field.

Signs of “bedroom activity” were spotted earlier in April and now we wait. The male has been out and about bringing back fish. The female has been hanging out inside the nest the majority of the time.

Jane Fink, a biologist with Birds of Prey Northwest out of St. Maries, has been documenting the bird’s activity on the webcam’s website. Her last update was on April 26th regarding the addition of the “nest cup”, the depression that keeps future eggs in place and provide the right temperature.

Predicting The End of the World With Science

Predicting The End of the World With Science

Hypothetically speaking, if a nearby star were to go supernova, it could eventually reach our blue planet and rip apart our atmosphere. Complex life would cease to exist. That scenario is unlikely says Dr. Dirk Schulze-Makuch, professor of astrobiology at Washington State University. That’s one of nine of possible ways Earth could meet its doom, and there’s only so much we can do about it.

His new book, “Megacatastrophes!”, co-written with David Darling, explores scientific realities we face and how we can simply be aware of them.

First and foremost, Schulze-Makuch and Darling are scientists. They ignore the pop culture paranoia of zombie apocalypse and the ominous Mayan calender. Schulze-Makuch even says that scenario is nonsense. The two writers discuss the realistic scenarios humans face from asteroid impacts, nano-technology to global pandemic.

“I’m not the prophet,” Schulze-Makuch said. “We look at different scenarios and we basically prioritize how dangerous it is and how disastrous it would be.”

Would the scenario result in a million dead or even a billion dead? Schulze-Makuch says a pandemic tops the list with diseases like the Spanish Flu or Black Death. With passenger flights crossing oceans and country borders, disease has no boundaries.

Search For Missing Snowmobilers

The Shoshone County Sheriff's Office spent another busy weekend looking for missing snowmobilers. The Sheriff's Office put out a search for 62 year old Lester Allert after he got separated from his group near Bloom Peak. A helicopter from the 36th Rescue Flight from Fairchild Air Force base was enroute when Allert was located and able to rejoin his group.

During that search, the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office was also searching for 50-year-old Kevin Gouin. A friend reported him missing near Wallace when he failed to meet him near Placer Creek after 5 hours. Searchers found him near Avery after walking 10 miles. Gouin had to abandon his snowmobile after it ran out of gas.

This is the sixth search of the winter season. Just last week, the Shoshone County Sheriff's Office issued a press release after three other search and rescue incidents. The Sheriff's Office reminds recreators to be prepared with equipment and emergency supplies when they head into the back country. It also warns of avalanche danger in warmer temperatures.

A look at Silver Mountain's past

A look at Silver Mountain's past

Back before the majority of the world knew what snowboarding was, there was skiing and it was fashionable. Here's some photos taken at Silver Mountain back in the day - possibly the late 1970s or early 1980s. Marketing director, John Williams, isn't sure of some of the date, but says it was before his time.

The resort is gearing up for their "Jackass Day" on Friday. It's actually a day dedicated to the historical creation of the resort in 1968.

Earlier today we mentioned the history behind the event: "Jackass Ski Bowl on Wardner Peak opened to the public in January 1968 with a single Riblet chair. After four years, the name was changed to Silverhorn Ski Area. Then in 1990, it became known as Silver Mountain, after a major expansion of trails on Kellogg Peak."

Williams also had another historical factoid up his sleeve. The resort was supposed to open in December, but there wasn't enough snow, so they had to delay until January 7th, 1968 - thus Jackass Day.

Will your region have a White Christmas?

Will your region have a White Christmas?

Consider this our holiday greeting card arriving just in time for the holiday weekend. It's a map displaying the probability of a white Christmas in areas around the United States using data from the National Climatic Data Center.

There's no way to zoom in, but if you look carefully at the Eastern Washington and North Idaho regions, our chances of a white Christmas range from 26-100 percent depending on where you're located.

Have a safe weekend and don't forget to email weather photos at news4@kxly.com.