News Roundup: Avian flu comes to Teton Raptor Center; Teton Valley school district delays decision on four-day week

News Roundup: Avian flu comes to Teton Raptor Center; Teton Valley school district delays decision on four-day week

Avian flu reaches the Teton Raptor Center

Two longtime residents of the Teton Raptor Center have died from avian flu. The deadly and contagious virus was identified in the region this spring, but the Birds of Prey Center’s quarantine efforts had been working until recently.

Beatrix, an American kestrel, died in late November. She showed no usual symptoms of bird flu, but a few days later the center’s male American kestrel, Frost, also died. Tests showed he had the flu.

The center is quarantining all of its birds and has canceled its upcoming programs.

The Teton Valley School District is deferring the decision on the four-day week

The Teton County, Idaho school board delayed its decision on a proposed four-day school week during a Dec. 12 meeting.

Proponents advocated the change to boost staff morale and recruiting efforts as the school district faces staff shortages. Opponents said a four-day work week would put a strain on parents who are already under pressure from limited childcare options and that they fear schooling is not as good.

Tetonia and Victor’s principal, Megan Christiansen, also said the school board is currently looking for a new superintendent, considering the move to limit further discussion.

“This is a big issue to swallow right now when looking for a superintendent, and it’s something to definitely think about,” said Christiansen.

The 2023-24 school district calendar will be on a future agenda in the new year.

Reporting for this story came from KHOL contributor Natalie Schachar.

Carrie Geraci brings color to the Center for the Arts

A new exhibit lights up the walls at the Center for the Arts in Jackson. Carrie Geraci is an artist and director of Jackson Hole Public Art. Her new collection, titled Where Have You Been? now hangs in a hallway in the center, just off the main lobby.

Geraci’s colorful pieces are inspired by her favorite spots in the Tetons.

Hopefully these paintings will also help people remember that while our actions can have a truly gigantic impact, we are tiny and the environment around us is so big and beautiful and powerful and we are truly in balance with it have to live. She said.

Geraci began working on the pieces during the Covid-19 pandemic when she began to pursue her own art in addition to directing Jackson Hole Public Art, which commissions public artworks in the area.

“I decided my heart really ached to be making art again,” she said. “So I promised myself I would start devoting a lot more time to making art, and I did.”

Geraci’s exhibition will be on view at the Center for the Arts through January.

Read the full interview with Geraci Here.

The Colorado River could face another dry year

The Colorado Basin River Forecast Center said the river’s headwaters could be drier than normal for a year. Though snow cover is relatively normal in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, that could be changing, according to the center’s hydrologist Cody Moser.

“We’re excited to see some of the last snow, but it’s far too early to get too excited,” Moser said.

Moser said a third year from La Nina makes a dry winter more likely. The amount of water the river supplies to Utah and Arizona’s Lake Powell, one of its main reservoirs, is currently expected to be below average this spring due to dry soils throughout the basin.

The river is in a 23-year mega-drought that has drained its major reservoirs to historic lows.

This story is part of ongoing Colorado River coverage produced by KUNC and supported by the Walton Family Foundation.

The future of Astoria Bridge remains uncertain

The Astoria Bridge will remain closed for the foreseeable future. Traffic has been diverted onto a national logging road since December 8 when a semi truck crashed into the red bridge that crosses the Snake River south of Hoback Junction.

The bridge is the primary access point to Astoria Hot Springs, the Snake River Sporting Club and over 100 residences. Astoria Hot Springs, meanwhile, is closed, and it’s unclear when — and if — the bridge will reopen.

Yellowstone opens for winter activities

Yellowstone National Park opened yesterday for the winter season.

Most winter visitors explore the park by snowmobile or snow carriage with a commercial guide. Access to non-commercial snowmobiles is limited to four groups per day.

Otherwise, the road to Mammoth Hot Springs and the northeast entrance remain open to vehicles year-round.

The park’s winter season ends in March, when crews begin plowing the roads. The park typically reopens to regular traffic in mid-April.

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