October 8, 2010

Crash claims ITD's Jonathan Prahasto
State vehicle, semi collide near Ashton Monday

The Idaho Transportation Department lost a long-time friend and respected employee when Jonathan Prahasto died in a tragic two-vehicle crash Monday near Ashton. Prahasto, 55, was westbound in a one-ton ITD pickup truck on U.S. 20 when it collided with a Peterbilt semi-truck carrying produce.

“ITD employees throughout the state join with District 6 this week in mourning the loss of our colleague,” said Director Brian Ness. “I want to express to Jonathan’s family how deeply we have been touched by his loss. I encourage fellow ITD workers who knew and respected Jonathan to do everything possible to help his family through this very difficult time.

“Monday’s crash is a reminder of the risk our employees take every day in service to their state,” the director added. “We do everything possible to ensure that our employees are safe on Idaho highways, from training, to the use of special equipment and high-visibility clothes. Providing safe transportation for all highway users, including our employees and the public, is our highest priority.”


Projects completed in four corridors
Highway construction projects funded by Grant Anticipation Revenue Vehicle (GAARVEE) bonds have been completed in four of the six corridors, according to ITD Director Brian Ness. As of Aug. 31, $646.2 million of the GARVEE funds had been obligated, more than 93 percent of the $692.6 million authorized by state legislatures. The report indicated that $621 million in projects was under contract and $503 had been expended.

Charitable giving

ITD kicks off annual 'United We Care' campaign
When the times get tough, the “haves” dig deeper and give more freely. Last year ITD employees rallied to contribute a generous $20,843 to organizations statewide through the annual state “United We Care” charitable campaign for United Way. The goal this year, explains coordinator Tammie Jauregui is $22,500.


Fund-raising events planned at Headquarters
ITD formally kicked off its campaign Sept. 29, to support the 2010 State Employees’ Charitable Giving Campaign. The annual event, which provides financial support for a wide range of community organizations, will continue through Nov. 5. As in the past, coordinators at Headquarters and District 3 have organized a number of fundraising activities in support of the campaign.

ITD celebrates contributions of all with disabilities
Some people are born with a disability while others may become temporarily or permanently disabled at some point during their lifetime. All have valuable skills and talents to contribute as part of the nation’s workforce. October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month and serves as a reminder that people with disabilities are an integral part of a diverse workforce and contribute each day to organizational and business success across the nation.


Administrative workshop scheduled Wednesday
Final preparations are being made for the Administrative Support Workshop Wednesday (Oct. 13) at the Nazareth Retreat Center, 4450 N Five Mile Road in Boise. ITD Director Ness will be the opening speaker. The special day of training for the administrative support staff will encompass a variety of speakers from within ITD to broaden our knowledge of the department.


Experts continue to monitor U.S. 12 diesel spill
Excavation along U.S. 12 should provide an environmental team with a better understanding of how deep and wide diesel has penetrated into the soil following a tanker crash about 136 miles east of Lewiston last week. Cleanup crews finished excavation of a borrow pit on the north side of U.S. 12 Monday afternoon. Penetration still is evident at depth of about 10 feet. Environmental consultants from Tetra Tech of Boise estimate that about 700 cubic yards of material was removed from north of the highway where most of diesel initially pooled.

Walk to school
Environment, kids benefit from leaving cars behind
If more children were able to walk and bicycle to school, everyone's morning commute might get easier with 25 percent fewer motor vehicles on the road. That's how much additional traffic is attributed to parents driving children to school each day. International Walk to School Day (IWSD) was observed around the world and in Idaho Wednesday. This year's global event highlighted a convergence of issues ranging from childhood obesity to environmental pollution and rising fuel prices that are pushing families to rethink how they travel, including daily trips to school.

Public transportation
Vehicle maintenance workshop scheduled
Community Transportation Association of Idaho will partner with Valley Regional Transit in Boise and the Community Transportation Association of America (CTAA) to offer a unique training and certification program for vehicle maintenance managers and staff. The three-day training will be at VRT’s vehicle facility, 4788 S. Orchard St. in Boise, Oct. 19-21. The sessions, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., will cost $40 and include lunch all three days. An exam is scheduled at the conclusion of the three-day training; successful completion can lead to national certification through CTAA.

PTAC, IWG hold joint meeting Tuesday
Two public transportation advisory groups will meet at the Holiday Inn-Vista in Boise Tuesday (Oct. 12) to discuss initiatives, partnership coordination and federal funding opportunities and related issues. Members of the Interagency Working Group for Public Transportation (IWG) and the Public Transportation Advisory Council (PTAC) will assemble at 9 a.m. After opening remarks, groups will receive an overview of the I-Way website and learn of funding partnership opportunities through the Federal Transit Administration.


Idaho not immune from earth's rumbling
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter signed a proclamation Oct. 1, 2009, making October “Earthquake Awareness Month” in Idaho. Oct. 28 is the 27th anniversary of the magnitude 6.9 Borah Peak Earthquake. The 1983 earthquake still ranks as one of the strongest quakes in the lower 48 states during the past 50 years. Ada County is outside of the Seismic Zone where this event was centered, but residents of the county could feel the earth tremble. The question that remains is, could Ada County experience such a powerful earthquake?

October 1, 2010

Director's visits
Director Ness commits to meetings with employees again next year
Shortly after becoming ITD director in January, Brian Ness made a commitment to meet as many of the department’s employees as possible. However, the extensive road trips had to wait about three months for conclusion of the legislative session. Since late spring, Director Ness completed his quest to visit facilities and employees in every region of the state, including Headquarters. It required a lot of time, energy and creative scheduling, but the results made the efforts worthwhile, he insists.


Stimulus funds
Idaho obligates all of its ARRA funds before deadline
ITD Roadway Design Engineer Nestor Fernandez reported Sept. 23 that all of Idaho’s $182 million (highways obligations and transfers) for 84 projects had been obligated. ITD has done an exceptional job getting projects out the door and on the ground where they are creating or sustaining jobs and improving the state’s economy. Idaho is among the nation's leaders in completing projects funded by the federal American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA or stimulus) of 2009.

Stimulus funds help create 'summer of recovery'
This summer, the orange cones have been out on highways and bridges across the country, a visible symbol of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act at work. Although accounting for only six percent of the total funding included in the stimulus, the $48 billion targeted at the nation’s highways, transit systems, intercity passenger rail, and aviation networks have borne rich fruit, both in creating good jobs for tens of thousands of Americans and in updating an aging transportation system.

ITD employees donate aircraft registration sticker
An airplane without a sticker is like a boy without a shoe. Not fully clothed. As a replica of the first plane to fly over Idaho soil began to take shape in Lewiston, representatives of ITD’s Division of Aeronautics noticed something missing. The recreated Curtiss Pusher, built in a Lewiston hangar, had no aircraft registration sticker. To be completely proper, one needed to be affixed to the aircraft

Cyber Security
Employees urged to use precautions online
ITD employees have one of the greatest professional communication tools at their fingertips. That same technology has the potential to introduce unwanted obstacles that can slow productivity. A focus on cyber security can help ensure work continues without serious interruption. National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) has been observed every year since 2004, encouraging employees to protect their computers and the national cyber infrastructure. ITD participates in and supports the national effort.

October designated Cyber Security Awareness Month
The Office of the Chief Information Officer designated October as Cyber Security Awareness Month in Idaho to focus attention on the “need to guard information shared online and through e-mail. The campaign provides information and sponsored events for citizens, businesses, educators and local and state government organizations.


Credit union to present 'university' sessions
ITD employees who want a new perspective on creating a strong financial future are invited to attend ICON University, a two-day seminar sponsored by the credit union. Four sessions are planned in the Headquarters auditorium.

Women in Transportation Seminar seeking nominations
The Treasure Valley chapter of Women in Transportation Seminar (WTS) will accept nominations through Oct. 29 for three awards that it presents annually, said ITD’s Monica Crider. WTS will announce winners of the awards at its third annual banquet, Dec. 2. The banquet is planned for 6:30 p.m. at the Hatch Ballroom in Boise State University’s Student Union Building. Cost for the banquet is $25 for WTS members and $29 for non-members.