Newspaper Archive of
The Adams County Record
Council, Idaho
October 10, 2012     The Adams County Record
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October 10, 2012

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Page 8 Wednesday, October 10, 2012 The Adams County Record Community Spotlight "We like living on the edge of civilization," said Dick Thompson, soil scientist and outdoor entrepreneur extraordinaire of Council, Idaho. He and his wife, Nancy, walked away from suburban living as young adults 53 years ago, and never looked back. "We like to say we were born with silver spoons in our mouths, but we spit them out" Dick laughed, as he shared his broad history with the western frontier. Dick was born in Oklahoma, the son of a hardworking grocery businessman. After they moved to Denver, Dick finished high school and graduated from Colorado State University with a degree in agriculture. He met Nancy in 1957 during his freshman year. Nancy was a Connecticut horsewoman who'd grown up in hunt clubs, exercised race horses, and competed in open jumping. Normally shy and hesitant, Dick couldn't resist her intriguing aura, but she was suspicious of his advances. When he asked "what are we going to do for Valentine's Day," she responded "I'm going out with someone else:' He persisted and finally wed her the year before college graduation. "She's been a saint putting up with me all of these years; Dick grinned. Nancy wasn't his only attraction in life. Fascinated with soil and how to manage it effectively, he scored a college summer position •investigating field drainage. After • graduation he became a soil scientist, working for decades on such diverse projects as soil resource surveys, field and forest drainage, topography mapping, timber sales management and forest road building. Briefly he and Nancy returned to uncomfortable city living in Denver to help his father after an automobile accident claimed his brother, Doug. In 1963 the Forest Service took him and Nancy, with two children and a third on the way, to the stunning central Colorado National Forests. For five years he backpacked and hiked the magnificent mountains, conducting soil resource inventories for various projects. His next assignment, the 1968 soil resource inventories of the Tahoe Basin and Las Vegas, brought his family a tough adjustment to the Nevadan •gambling culture. Dick feels grateful for the superb mentoring of the survey team there. "The only rank in this room is ideas," he recalled the Region Four manager, Bill Wertz, proclaiming. Nevada was a land of amazing contrasts: the silent splendor of the eastern limestone mountains; the frantic pace of Las Vegas, and the 11,000 foot high summit of Mt. Charleston 40 miles away. A transfer to the Payette Dick Thompson A Man of Multi-dimensional Talents By Deb Wilson National Forest brought him to Idaho in 1969, and a love of back country airstrips. Dick recalled his work in the back country as a "mission impossible" existence, as in "Here's your assignment for tomorrow," each day. From a Frank Church Wilderness landing strip, small survey teams would fly by helicopter for drop off all over the huge region to help with mapping the back country soils. He learned to fly his airplane in McCall. Sometimes in landslide areas, sometimes in lodge pole pine ddwnfall so thick he seldom touched the ground, always in awe of the monumental topography; he hiked preliminary survey lines and studied the forests, while his wife and three daughters skied and rode 4H horses in the lush chilly greenery of McCall. A transfer to Orofino forest planning soured him on an increasingly poisonous management climate, and he retired from the Forest Service. Now empty nesters, he and Nancy hit the road to explore Arizona and New Mexico. "This is it" announced Nancy when they drove into the small town of Clarkdale, Arizona. Community activities grabbed their interest, then "Dumb me, I decided to run for office 7 laughed Dick. He served as town mayor for two terms; he and Nancy helped with restoration of the town's historic district. He'd also completed an Air Frame and Power Plant Mechanics certificate in 1981, and enjoyed rebuilding his plane. He continued his natural resource work' contractually, serving t0 years as chairman of Verde National Resourc.e Conservation District, managing clean water act grants. Dick continues to be a National Environmental Policy Act coordinator, and has worked all over the country as a soil scientist, team leader, writer and editor on land exchanges, forest enhancement, air quality and related projects. One day in Clarkdale, Nancy decided the kids and grandkids were too far away, and she found their Council, Idaho property. They designed and helped build their house on Orchard Lane in 1998. "This is the longest we've ever lived anywhere," said Nancy. Dick flew hid plane onto the previously poorly maintained Council airport strip that received massive renovation the next year. The renovation funding required the establishment of a volunteer city airport commission, and Dick became an original member. The airport commission monitors the airport and makes recommendations to the City Council. For his 12 years as the airport commission chairperson, he worked on grants and maintained airport equipment, and oversaw the airport fence and the first pavement preservation projects. Now he is stepping down from his position, after selling his airplane a year ago. "There are just so many things waiting for me to do," he said. "You . have to understand I love the railroad;' he explained. He was referring to the Sumpter Valley Railroad Restoration, Inc., a narrow gauge steam railroad west of Baker City. The authentically restored historic Cars traverse scenic northeastern Oregon mining country, carrying 10,000-12,000 passengers a year. The volunteer work is challenging but exhilarating. For 11 years Dick has laid track, refurbished cars, checked signal crossings and split wood while learning all facets of railroad operation. He's working his way up the crew progression toward becoming an engineer. "I made it to fireman" he happily reported. This weekhe'll be working on the railroad's photo tour, the last run of the season. He's been an avid ham radio operator since 1961. He's also busy with the East Fork Ditch Company, a local private corporation providing irrigation waters to stockholders. Dick helped accumulate multi-agency funding to create their pilot project fish screen, a new design with no moving parts. Dick loves creating tongue-in-cheek jargon. His favorite line is "We are trying to quantify a multi-dimensional continuum controlled by a multiplicity of complexly interrelated macro and. micro environmental factors" His multiplicity of talents and skills has contributed to many accomplishments. "Thank you, is the best reward to get," he said. "We love the satisfaction of doing a good jobY Pastor's Corner What is Your Passion.; ,,,, ,o,, Sore Now I am not talking about the things you do for fun; I am talking about the things that you are passionate about. Some of us may love to go play golf, but does it interfere with everything else to the point that it is all you talk about and care about? The same with money. Yes, I know we all need it to survive, but does it consume you? Do these idols pull you away from spending time with God? The Lord Almighty says that He is a very jealous God and that we should not have any other gods before Him. It seems that we as a nation have put many other things in front of God instead of making him number 1 in our lives. So where is our passion? God asks us to give our old life and follow Him. In 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 it says, "And what union can there be between God's temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. 7 AS God said: ""I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people. Therefore, come out from them and separate yourselves from them, says the •Lord. Don't touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty: I truly believe that where your passion lies, the rest of your life will follow, proverbs 3:5-8 says, "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will direct your paths. Don't be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn your back on evil. Then you will gain renewed health and vitality y Jesus is very passionate about you! That's why he died for you. Let's be passionate about him and put him first in our lives, not last. Adult Council Valley Free Library Book Shelf New Books at the Council Library Night Watch by Linda Fairstein Winter of the World by Ken FoileR, Sweet Talk by Julie Garwood Arranged by Catherine McKenzie Salt Lick Range by Lauran Paine • Delusion in Death by I.D. Robb Adult Non-fiction Becoming Sister Wives by Kody Brown Links to Our Past (History of New Meadows) by Carla Standley Juvenile Fiction Do Princesses Really Kiss Frogs? by Carmeia Coyle Big Nate Makes the Grade by Lincoln Peirce Juvenile Non-fiction The Lego Book by Daniel Lipkowitz Lego Ideas Book by Daniel Lipkowitz