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Author Topic: In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.  (Read 10417 times)

Elizabeth

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http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/tbray/?id=110002089

More Than Famous Potatoes
In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
BY THOMAS J. BRAY
Tuesday, August 6, 2002 12:01 a.m. EDT

From last Saturday's front page of the Idaho Falls Post Register:

A 19-year-old Rigby woman is the new Miss Idaho Falls.

Tiffany Nielson, daughter of Scott and Gladys Nielson, cried Friday night after being named Miss Idaho Falls and earning a $3,000 scholarship, rhinestone crown and limousine rides and teeth bleachings for a year.


OK, so it's easy to chuckle at the idea of rhinestone crowns and teeth bleachings for a year, as a group of big-city fisherman passing through nearby Rexburg, Idaho, did. But no doubt Tiffany's tears of joy were real--she will now have a shot at becoming Miss Idaho--and it's nice to see something on the front page of a paper, any paper, besides stirrings of war, stock-market gyrations and posturing from Washington.

As one of our group put it, on further reflection about the honest emotion and lack of cynicism of display in the Idaho paper: "It's places like this that are the real backbone of America."

Not that they are disconnected from what is happening in places like New York, Chicago or Los Angeles. Farming areas are often the first to feel the unpleasant ticklings of market disruptions and political disasters at the farthest corners of the earth. But a road trip along the eastern front of the Rocky Mountains offers a vivid reminder of the continental scale of the country and the diversity it offers. The vistas are grand, but it is the sheer sense of space that is so overwhelming. One feels enveloped by the land.

How could anybody in Washington pretend to know what's best for people in such vast expanses? How could a Beltway denizen possibly know what they are feeling, doing and needing? It was the thesis of historian Frederick Jackson Turner that the American frontier played a critical role in molding the American character: the rugged individual, willing and able to carve self-reliant communities out of wilderness, worthy of the framers' perception that much of the work of civilizing a new world could be left to states and communities.

Turner's view remains unpopular on the left, where it is an item of faith that bigger government always means more enlightened government. But it was local cops and firemen, not some emergency SWAT team on the Washington payroll, who risked their lives racing up the stairs of the World Trade Center--as far as the 78th floor, we now know--in an effort to rescue their fellow New Yorkers. It was local rescue teams that persisted, despite broken drill bits, in hauling the "miracle miners" to safety in Pennsylvania last week.

And it is the Mormon farm family struggling to establish a bed-and-breakfast hotel (Inn at Deer Run) along Route 89 in Thayne, Wyo. (no smoking, no booze, firms beds and excellent pancakes and sausage), that form the real social safety net of the country. They are courteous, cheerful and incredibly hardworking, and we find ourselves grateful that the few motels in the area were booked up because of the county fair.

One of the problems of the federal welfare state is that it tends to disrupt the sense of local self-reliance and the political feedback that are America's greatest strength. Who needs to pay attention to local charities or local elections--or even your church and family--if your welfare check comes from Washington? The lingering economic slowdown, combined with the crash on Wall Street, is sending Washington's books back into deficit. Good. Maybe this will provide an excuse to hold down spending for a while, allowing more communities to rediscover the virtues of self-sufficiency.

We fish on private property along the Idaho-Wyoming border. It is what fly fishermen call quality water. The property owners keep their cattle away from the streams and plant vegetation that will give the trout a chance to spawn and grow. The number of fishermen is limited--often by the simple mechanism of charging a modest fee for access. The trout are no easier to catch, but they are bigger and fatter when you succeed.

Meanwhile, there are fights all up and down the Rockies about whether and how to limit access to increasingly overburdened rivers on federal and state lands. And thanks to its own mismanagement, the federal government must throw billions into fighting fires in the surrounding forests--fires, we have learned this year, that are sometimes set by the firemen hired at Washington pay scales to put them out.

If times get hard, it's nice to know there is still character to the country. Communities will rescue and honor their own; families will find ways to get by; people will care for their property and thus their environment. And young women will dream of college scholarships and teeth bleachings and a moment in the vast American sun. How much richer is a country where all blessings don't flow, or purport to flow, from an elite political class.

Mr. Bray is a staff columnist at the Detroit News. His OpinionJournal.com column appears Tuesdays.
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Mega Joule

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2002, 03:46:03 am »


http://www.opinionjournal.com/columnists/tbray/?id=110002089

More Than Famous Potatoes
In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
BY THOMAS J. BRAY



I really loved this article.  

Meg
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Solitar

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Can the FSP help save Rural America?
« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2002, 03:35:52 pm »

Can the FSP say it is trying to preserve the way of life posted above? Are the FSP activists allies in that fight or will you be bringing big city ways with you? Can you be accepted as honorary locals who help the natives and other honorary locals hold back the tide? Okay, so you are not traditional farmers or blacksmiths, but could FSP activists earn similar respect by helping the chosen state hang onto its heritage? This could be a selling point for the FSP since every candidate state is predominantly rural. Even if Boise and Wilmington are becoming too urban, people in the other cities and towns have at least sorta-rural country within walking distance.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2003, 08:52:01 pm by Joe, aka, Solitar »
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JasonPSorens

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Re:Can the FSP help save Rural America?
« Reply #3 on: September 25, 2002, 03:39:58 pm »


Can the FSP say it is trying to preserve the way of life posted above?


I say: absolutely.
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Barbara

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #4 on: September 25, 2002, 04:28:39 pm »

But it was local cops and firemen, not some emergency SWAT team on the Washington payroll, who risked their lives racing up the stairs of the World Trade Center... It was local rescue teams that persisted, despite broken drill bits, in hauling the "miracle miners" to safety in Pennsylvania last week.

And it is the Mormon farm family struggling to establish a bed-and-breakfast hotel ... that form the real social safety net of the country. They are courteous, cheerful and incredibly hardworking...

The property owners keep their cattle away from the streams and plant vegetation that will give the trout a chance to spawn and grow. The number of fishermen is limited--often by the simple mechanism of charging a modest fee for access...

Meanwhile, there are fights all up and down the Rockies about whether and how to limit access to increasingly overburdened rivers on federal and state lands. And thanks to its own mismanagement, the federal government must throw billions into fighting fires in the surrounding forests--fires, we have learned this year, that are sometimes set by the firemen hired at Washington pay scales to put them out.

If times get hard, it's nice to know there is still character to the country. Communities will rescue and honor their own; families will find ways to get by; people will care for their property and thus their environment. And young women will dream of college scholarships and teeth bleachings and a moment in the vast American sun. How much richer is a country where all blessings don't flow, or purport to flow, from an elite political class.


AMEN!

And I think you can find that self reliance and community spirit in most small, rural areas, and even some of the tight knit neighborhoods in urban areas.  So what is lost in the translation to other parts of those cities and  Washington DC?  Maybe it's the anonymity factor - when people know other people their actions may be affecting, when they have a reputation to uphold, maybe they are more careful about whose rights may be trampled?

Turner's view remains unpopular on the left, where it is an item of faith that bigger government always means more enlightened government....One of the problems of the federal welfare state is that it tends to disrupt the sense of local self-reliance and the political feedback that are America's greatest strength.

And if not for a huge victim class created by that welfare state and bigger government, the left would practically be out of business, wouldn't they.
« Last Edit: September 25, 2002, 04:43:19 pm by blnelson »
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Kelton Baker

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #5 on: June 23, 2003, 09:23:19 am »

Over on the Idaho + thread (one of the most popular threads to date--now locked)

« on: August 10, 2002, 01:48:52 pm »   philinidaho stated:

Quote
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have been rethinking my position on what state. I know it is still premature, but since everyone is discussing the issue, I have been giving it much thought. I had favored Alaska and Montana because they are closer to our goal than any of the other states. Now I say lets choose Idaho.

My reason for saying this is that Idaho is surrounded by pioneer-spirited states: Montana, Yyoming, Nevada, Eastern Oregon & Eastern Washington. Adjoining Montana & Wyoming are North & South Dakota. I believe we could make the free state project work in any of these states, so why not choose the one that would be most comfortable to live in - while enjoying support from all of the others.

Idaho has a perfect climate. In the Treasure, we have mild winters for you Southerners and mild summers for you New Englanders. In addition we have jobs in the electronic industry and a low cost of living.

The local LP is growing rapidly and is mostly favorable to FSP, but reluctant to leave the ideal conditions in Idaho.
 
 
 
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ZionCurtain

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #6 on: June 23, 2003, 11:50:27 am »

I will say it again as I have in the past. As a born and raised Idahoan I think it would be a huge mistake to vote for moving the FSP to Idaho. It is a great place weather is decent, people are great, local culture is what america is all about or at least used to be. That being said the population factor would kill the FSP from day one. I understand the argument that with alot of hard work we could make a difference maybe eventually, but I signed up for the FSP for liberty in my lifetime not 50 years from now. Does Idaho offer the best chance at that? No. Wyoming has the same basic culture as Idaho with less people. Some people question whether we can get enough people to move to Wyoming. I say if they don't really want liberty unless it is totally convenient for them, then are they really the type of activists that we want out championing our cause? People that don't 100% believe in what the FSP is trying to accomplish. I may be off base, but in my opinion Wyoming stacks up well against every state that is in the running, but with one great unmistakeable advantage: Population. 20,000 activists in Wyoming provides a greater power than in any other state.
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SethA

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #7 on: June 23, 2003, 12:16:16 pm »

According to Sarah Cooke, Associated Press writer:
(AP article published 6/23/03)

In Riverton, Wyoming a new group named Wind River Unity Group was formed to combat the white supremacist message of the World Church of the Creator that announced plans last year to move its headquarters to this central Wyoming town.

The church's move has apparently failed, with no recent activity by the group. Their Wyoming representative, Thomas Kroenke, as much as said so saying that local printers refused to print the groups tracts and three (of the four) local banks refused to open an account for him.

World Church leader Matthew Hale was arrested in January and charged with solicting to murder a federal judge. He pleaded innocent and is awaiting trial.

One local businessman, Fred Baehr, said that sociologically it (the World Church controversy) was the best thing he'd ever seen happen in this community. He said that it united the white, Indian and minority communities and brought them together on one issue.

Debra East, founder of the Unity Group added that it doesn't mean everyone always agrees but they got to meet people and if something shakes down again people now know everyone's phone numbers.

My take on this for the FSP is tread lightly in Wyoming. You need to respect the locals and not start off with extreme positions. I've read a number of opinions posted in various threads that indicate that Wyoming will be easy because of the low population and individualistic nature of many of the locals. Those very characteristics make outsiders very noticeable and if they immediately rock the boat the locals may resist instead of joining up.

The other Wyoming issue is more practical. I read that the jobs issue will be solved by "FS Transit" taking people from the Cheyenne area down to Ft. Collins and Greeley, CO to work. How will that really play? Those people then have to deal with CO taxes and regulations. The southern part of Wyoming is high altitude: Cheyenne 6200 ft., Laramie 7200 ft., Interstate 80 between the two is the highest altitude section of interstate highway in the country with a long section over 8,000 ft. Granted its downhill on I-25 to Ft. Collins at 5,000 ft. but its uphill coming back.

The winters at high altitude are a real experience. I lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Nevada for many years and it was at times a real reminder of what the pioneers went through making America great.(Think zero visibility whiteouts in blowing snow, blizzard conditions, roads closed periodically, multi-day power outages.) So bring that pioneer spirit to Wyoming and you'll be fine, but daily commuting to CO will not be fun.

Please Wyoming supporters, don't take offense. I've lived in the West most of my adult life in AZ, CA and NV and travelled extensively. I've visited eight of the 10 FSP candidate states, most several times (missed ND and DE) and I still haven't made up my mind on a first choice.
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ZionCurtain

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #8 on: June 23, 2003, 12:51:13 pm »

According to Sarah Cooke, Associated Press writer:
(AP article published 6/23/03)

In Riverton, Wyoming a new group named Wind River Unity Group was formed to combat the white supremacist message of the World Church of the Creator that announced plans last year to move its headquarters to this central Wyoming town.

The church's move has apparently failed, with no recent activity by the group. Their Wyoming representative, Thomas Kroenke, as much as said so saying that local printers refused to print the groups tracts and three (of the four) local banks refused to open an account for him.

World Church leader Matthew Hale was arrested in January and charged with solicting to murder a federal judge. He pleaded innocent and is awaiting trial.

One local businessman, Fred Baehr, said that sociologically it (the World Church controversy) was the best thing he'd ever seen happen in this community. He said that it united the white, Indian and minority communities and brought them together on one issue.

Debra East, founder of the Unity Group added that it doesn't mean everyone always agrees but they got to meet people and if something shakes down again people now know everyone's phone numbers.

My take on this for the FSP is tread lightly in Wyoming. You need to respect the locals and not start off with extreme positions. I've read a number of opinions posted in various threads that indicate that Wyoming will be easy because of the low population and individualistic nature of many of the locals. Those very characteristics make outsiders very noticeable and if they immediately rock the boat the locals may resist instead of joining up.

The other Wyoming issue is more practical. I read that the jobs issue will be solved by "FS Transit" taking people from the Cheyenne area down to Ft. Collins and Greeley, CO to work. How will that really play? Those people then have to deal with CO taxes and regulations. The southern part of Wyoming is high altitude: Cheyenne 6200 ft., Laramie 7200 ft., Interstate 80 between the two is the highest altitude section of interstate highway in the country with a long section over 8,000 ft. Granted its downhill on I-25 to Ft. Collins at 5,000 ft. but its uphill coming back.

The winters at high altitude are a real experience. I lived in the Sierra Nevada mountains in Nevada for many years and it was at times a real reminder of what the pioneers went through making America great.(Think zero visibility whiteouts in blowing snow, blizzard conditions, roads closed periodically, multi-day power outages.) So bring that pioneer spirit to Wyoming and you'll be fine, but daily commuting to CO will not be fun.

Please Wyoming supporters, don't take offense. I've lived in the West most of my adult life in AZ, CA and NV and travelled extensively. I've visited eight of the 10 FSP candidate states, most several times (missed ND and DE) and I still haven't made up my mind on a first choice.
If weather was the only factor then I would agree with you. I have visited or lived in 6 of the 10 FSP states NH, VT, AK, WY, MT, ID. Out of these 6 states weather wise AK is the only one IMO that had any dramatically different climate overall. I personally don't think anyone will need to commute to Colorado for work, unless they choose to do so. I think that if you are trying to make a difference in a certain state you should be doing so in the workplace also. That includes people commuting to Boston from NH or any other commuting out of the state we choose for work. Obviously it will happen, but to maximise our group effort we should work and live in the same state that we choose.
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Zxcv

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #9 on: June 23, 2003, 02:25:15 pm »

Working in Ft. Collins is clearly a back-up solution, that could be called on for those having short-term difficulty finding jobs. It might also appeal to those who could get a telecommuter situation going. But Wyoming work would obviously be better, and that should be the goal.

I'm pretty sure we need to tread lightly in any state, when we first get there.

Glad to hear that white supremacist churce did not get off the ground. Obviously, they are within their rights to establish anywhere they want, but that does not mean you have to appreciate having them around!
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freedomroad

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #10 on: June 23, 2003, 02:26:05 pm »

The other Wyoming issue is more practical. I read that the jobs issue will be solved by "FS Transit" taking people from the Cheyenne area down to Ft. Collins and Greeley, CO to work. How will that really play? Those people then have to deal with CO taxes and regulations. The southern part of Wyoming is high altitude: Cheyenne 6200 ft., Laramie 7200 ft., Interstate 80 between the two is the highest altitude section of interstate highway in the country with a long section over 8,000 ft. Granted its downhill on I-25 to Ft. Collins at 5,000 ft. but its uphill coming back.


This is not the solution.  There is no need for a solution because there is no problem.  The are more than enough jobs in Wyoming or any state for the FSP members that will be looking to work for other people.  I am finishing up a 15 page state report on this issue, right now.  My research shows that we will do fine in states like North Dakota and Vermont.

However, if someone wants to drive to Ft. Collins (at 40 min) from Wyoming, then can.  This will be done because they want to make very large amounts of money and also network with the various freedom movements in CO (there are many).  This whole drive is plains, by the way.  We understand that their might be 1 to 3 days per year that someone is not able to mak drive.  I work at a low level wholesale job and it gives me 21 days a year off, not 1 to 3.  Not only that, but likely these 1 to 3 days a year will also have bad weather in CO, so no one will even miss work.

This is not the solution to any problem.  There is no problem.  It is just to allow members to do their own thing.  CO has low income tax, btw.  Another option would be to travel from Torrington, WY to Scottsbluff, NE.  The Scottsbluff area has over 30,000 people while the Torrington area only have 7,000+ people.  This drive is less than 30 min, it is all plains, and the weather is not bad.  These are just options, they are not needed.  

Driving from NH to Boston is a drive that has high traffic, cold temps, snow, and high winds.  Yes, Boston has near the amount of wind as Cheyenne, WY.  The same this is true if someone decided to drive from ME to Boston.  However, in MT, this is not even an option as the state is not even close to a single large city.
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robmayn

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Re:Can the FSP help save Rural America?
« Reply #11 on: June 23, 2003, 06:33:13 pm »

Can the FSP say it is trying to preserve the way of life posted above? Are the FSP activists allies in that fight or will they be bringing big city ways with them? Can we be accepted as honorary locals who help the natives and other honorary locals hold back the tide? Okay, so we are not traditional farmers or blacksmiths, but could FSP activists earn similar respect by helping the chosen state hang onto its heritage? This could be a selling point for the FSP since every candidate state is predominantly rural. Even if Boise and Wilmington are becoming too urban, people in the other cities and towns have at least sorta-rural country within walking distance.

If the FSP is to be successful, the answer had better be yes.
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mtPete

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #12 on: June 25, 2003, 09:44:47 pm »

However, in MT, this is not even an option as the state is not even close to a single large city.

Some might call this an advantage given the culture of liberty present, or rather absent, in many large cities.
« Last Edit: June 25, 2003, 09:45:36 pm by mtPete »
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freedomroad

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Re:In Idaho and Wyoming, a reminder of what makes America great.
« Reply #13 on: June 25, 2003, 11:12:03 pm »

However, in MT, this is not even an option as the state is not even close to a single large city.

Some might call this an advantage given the culture of liberty present, or rather absent, in many large cities.

I already report an article on how cities destroy many freedoms and I posted it the this forum.  So I agree that many people think rural areas are more free.

I do not see how it could be an advantage for Montana.  Most of Wyoming is away from large MSAs and all of ND, SD, and ID are away from large MSAs.  However, Wyoming also has two parts that are near large MSAs.  In other words, Wyoming has it both ways, somthing none of the other states in the West or Mid-west have.

This can only be an advantage for Wyoming (out of the states west of the Miss River).
« Last Edit: August 08, 2003, 03:56:32 am by FreedomRoad »
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Kelton

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An old Newsweek magazine article
« Reply #14 on: August 08, 2003, 01:47:46 am »

This interesting article came from Newsweek magazine.  I don't even have a date, though I copied it on Jan. 20, 2003 back when it was much more fresh, I haven't yet shared this anywhere, hoping I could find the actual magazine again, but  I cannot find even a link anywhere.  Anybody know when this came out?

Anyways, enjoy.
 
The 40 miles of Interstate 15 that stretch between the mini-metropolises of Idaho Falls and Pocatello testify to the spud state's agrarian heritage. The air hangs heavy with the pungent aroma of manure, a roadside sign beckons drivers to visit the Potato Expo museum, and, against the backdrop of the snowcapped Rockies, a Budweiser brewery logo proudly proclaims a predilection for "Idaho Barley." Yet the future of the cities--which house about 100,000 people in Idaho's Snake River Valley--depends more on computer chips than potato chips. Pocatello, whose major claim to fame is building the country's first domed college football stadium, boasts AMI Semiconductor, one of the nation's top chip manufacturers. And downtown Idaho Falls--where the counter help at the cozy D. D. Mudd coffee shop know patrons' names and salad-dressing preferences--hosts a number of high-tech firms like cybersecurity leader Nitro Data Systems.
1. That's right, french-fry fans: In Idaho, silicon is starting to supplant spuds. "We think we could be the next Silicon Valley," says Ray Smelek, who kick-started the starch state's digital revolution in 1973 by choosing Boise as the site for Hewlett-Packard's laser-printing division. "All the basic seeds are here," says Smelek, now CEO of a Boise technology consultancy, the Network Group. Among them: surprisingly strong venture-capital growth, a population that churns out the most patents per capita of any state in the union, and a cost of doing business that's among the nation's lowest. The last is a particularly poignant perk for coastal digerati accustomed to the sky-high prices of Boston and San Jose.
Idaho's jaw-dropping scenery--the "purple mountain majesties" line could have been written here, and Montana has no monopoly on the West's big skies--does its part to entice new recruits as well. "The most spiritual moments I've ever had in my life have been in Idaho," says Mark Solon, managing partner of Boise venture-capital firm Highway 12 Ventures, which Solon cofounded after moving from Boston in 2000. Plus, he notes, Idaho's famously accessible outdoors mean "I can leave work at 5 and be on the ski slopes by 6."
OK, Idaho's Silicon Valley is nowhere near as big as the original--the state's high-tech workforce numbers fewer than 30,000. Still, a technological legacy is one of Idaho's best-kept secrets. Natives proudly point out that the cathode-ray tube that makes TV pictures possible was invented in tiny Rigby, near the Wyoming border. And Boise has been a tech wallflower for years. Micron Technology, the nation's largest semiconductor manufacturer, followed HP to Boise in 1978 and now, with 11,500 in-state workers, is Idaho's biggest private employer. The two tech giants have spawned at least 60 spinoffs in Boise alone, including software firm Extended Systems and start-up Telemetric, which sells wireless monitoring systems to utilities. "Brand-name companies like that hire a lot of smart people," says Tom Loutzenheiser, a managing partner at Akers Capital, a Boise venture-capital firm.
Ph.D.'s and pickups. The remote southeastern corner is also home to a portion of the state's technology brain trust. The Idaho National Engineering and Environmental Laboratory--an 890-square-mile tract of land called simply "the site" by locals--has studded the area with nuclear physicists and engineers. Jason Larsen, an INEEL computer security specialist whose software program Hogwash set international standards for cyberdefense, says a visiting friend described the area as "the strangest combination of Ph.D.'s and pickup trucks" he'd ever seen. It's the doctoral element of that equation that lures firms like Nitro Data, a cybersecurity software developer that moved from Minneapolis to Idaho Falls in 1999. "The area's strength is its close proximity to talented technical individuals," says President Howard Stewart. To date, the region boasts over 100 tech firms.
To be sure, Idaho hasn't been exempt from the tech sector's battering; but some evangelists still see tech as the state's salvation. From 1995 to 2001, the state's technology employment grew by 60 percent. "We've seen only moderate growth since then," concedes Jim Bowman, CEO of the Eastern Idaho Economic Development Council. "But, most importantly, our firms have survived the last two years." Some 60 Idahoans per 1,000 now work in the private tech sector, which accounts for nearly 40 percent of the gross state product--more than agriculture, lumber, and mining combined. "Our thought is that if we work tech right," says Georgia Smith of Idaho's Department of Commerce, "we can save agriculture." To that end, broadband communications technology recently helped Idaho Falls snare a $64 million malting-plant deal with Mexican brewer Grupo Modelo.
So far, attracting talented techies hasn't been hard. "I can hire any fly-fishing engineer I want," says Bill Shipp, INEEL's president. Many homegrown tech firms, in fact, have refused to leave. David Hempstead, CEO of Pocatello start-up TetriDyn Solutions, which designs wireless software for the medical industry, turned down a Seattle venture-funding offer that would have required his firm to move out of state. Clad in blue jeans and cowboy boots, the former INEEL engineer turned businessman gestures out his office window to the mountains in the distance. "Why would we want to leave, when this is our backyard?" To keep TetriDyn local, regional development organizations chipped in with $500,000 in financing and a year's free office space. High-tech jobs pay an average of about $66,000 in Idaho--the state's average pay is $28,000--so lawmakers are increasing such inducements to draw more tech firms.
Christine King, the new CEO of AMI Semiconductor, didn't need economic incentives. A 23-year IBM veteran, King dumbfounded AMI's investors--who recruited her last year with the promise that she could relocate the headquarters to tech centers like Dallas or Boston--by opting to move to Pocatello. "I love the outdoors and [horseback] riding," says King, who also wanted to be near the firm's manufacturing plant. Sitting in her Pocatello office beneath a poster-size model of a semiconductor, King talks up the benefits of small-town living. Buying a car during her first weeks in town, for example, King blanked on her new address. "The salesman said, `You moved into the old Morgan place, right? I know where you live.' "
Go west. Such familiarity might not appeal to everyone, King concedes, but since taking AMI's helm last year, she has recruited a slew of execs and engineers to the mountains. And judging by AMI's recent $93,000 United Way gift--the town's biggest ever--most transplants are sold. "Sure, there's a percentage of people who just won't move here," says King. "But there's a similar percentage who would never move to Austin or San Jose either."
While semiconductors and nuclear spinoffs have been the backbone of Idaho's technology economy, the state is poised to take advantage of at least one big upcoming tech boom: homeland security. Idaho State University, for example, is one of 36 schools currently certified by the U.S. government to train cybersecurity professionals. Says associate dean Corey Schou, also an adviser to President Bush's cyberczar, Richard Clarke: "Our students will be the ones defending the nation's digital borders." Other ideas on Idaho's technological tap include an INEEL pitch to turn farm-waste products into alternative energy sources and spinoff Positron Systems' plan to use radioactive beams to detect weakness in metals.
But if the Snake River Valley really does turn into another Silicon Valley, will it become just one more BlackBerry-toting, nerd-infested, smog-ridden tech corridor, destroying the natural glory that seduced so many in the first place? Akers Capital's Loutzenheiser isn't worried. Such is the beauty of the West's wide-open spaces, he says. "There's lots of room here."
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« Last Edit: August 08, 2003, 01:53:59 am by exitus »
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. . .the foundations of our national policy should be laid in private morality. If individuals be not influenced by moral principles, it is in vain to look for public virtue --The U.S. Senate's reply to George Washington's first inaugural address
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