Friday, December 4, 2009

Talking Shop: The United Dairymen of Idaho and CBH Homes

There has been a lot of work going on at Drake Cooper lately, and I wanted to share some of our most recent work.

First, here are two of the six new commercials that have been produced for the United Dairymen of Idaho. These spots all focus on milk and the benefits its nutrition package provides. The production was handled by North By Northwest here in Boise, Idaho. All the talent in the spots are local children from Boise and surrounding areas in Idaho. You can find these videos and more on the Drake Cooper YouTube channel, which can be found here.

For the latest dairy news in Idaho, visit the United Dairymen of Idaho website here.

The next piece of work is for CBH Homes. CBH is offering up to $13,000 in savings - the $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit extension and up to $5,000 towards their design studio or your closing costs! This offer is available through December 31. Be sure to visit CBH's web site here for more information.

Thanks everyone for checking this out. Be sure to check back, more to come soon.

Sean Winnett

Friday, October 16, 2009

ValleyRide provides informative updates on twitter, Facebook

Drake Cooper's creative department recently handed off some new social media signs to Valley Regional Transit for placement on its ValleyRide bus fleet.

The signs indicate ValleyRide's handle on Twitter and Facebook so bus riders can get the latest updates and news. It's really easy ... it's "ValleyRide" in both locations. On Facebook, the ValleyRide fan page can be found via a quick search.

So why would you want to connect with ValleyRide in the social media? Regular bus riders will appreciate receiving ValleyRide posts about last-minute changes in service regarding its bus routes. Sometimes traffic accidents occur, for example, causing the bus to run late on particular routes. ValleyRide also provides regular posts about how consumers can save money by leaving their car at home and riding the bus instead. What are the savings and the benefits? What are the environmental benefits? Check out the ValleyRide twitter and Facebook sites to learn more.

Maybe you'd like to engage in a conversation with ValleyRide fans on Facebook about the relative merits of the transit system. Or, you'd like to compare notes about our future transit needs in the Treasure Valley. People are welcome to write a post on ValleyRide's wall on Facebook to start that type of conversation.

You'll also see posts about upcoming board meetings for Valley Regional Transit (VRT), the regional transportation authority that operates ValleyRide, and opportunities to comment on potential bus route changes. The Highway 44 route from Middleton and Eagle to Boise was being contemplated for termination recently because of budget cuts in the city of Eagle. But after a number of citizens requested that the bus service be retained, VRT officials found a way to keep the route intact, thanks to additional funds from the City of Boise and Boise State University.

After the social media signage went up on ValleyRide buses, the number of twitter followers and FB fans has increased. We hope that continues.

For more information, see or connect with ValleyRide on twitter and Facebook.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Celebrate Idaho's Bounty during September

September is officially Idaho Preferred® Month 2009, when the Idaho Department of Agriculture and local communities will to celebrate Idaho farmers, ranchers and specialty food producers.

The fifth annual Taste of Idaho will be held on Saturday, Sept. 12, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Qwest Arena in Boise. This event features the state’s best food and wine, along with amazing chef demonstrations and samples of award-winning recipes. Fresh peaches, pears, apples and grapes; flavorful huckleberry jams and syrups, Idaho beef, fresh-baked breads, locally grown plants, and award-winning wines are just a few of the unique local products to be enjoyed at this event. Admission is $5 for food sampling and $5 for a wine or beer sampling glass. Children under 12 are free. Tickets are available at the door. The event is jointly sponsored by Idaho Preferred®, Albertsons, Sysco Food services, and Peak Communications.

To kick off Idaho Preferred® Month, the Idaho Dept. of Agriculture’s Idaho Preferred® program, Sysco of Idaho, and Thunder Mountain Line teamed up to give locals and tourists a chance to become locavores for a day. More than 300 people jumped on board the “Locavore Express” in Horseshoe Bend to sip Idaho wine and enjoy locally prepared hors d’oeuvres while rolling alongside the scenic Payette River on their way to an all-Idaho gourmet feast in Banks. Much to the delight of local growers and producers, the event was a quick sell out and smash hit.

On September 10, Wal-Mart locations in Meridian, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls celebrated Idaho Preferred® Month by announcing that Wal-Mart stores throughout the state are now offering larger selections of locally grown food products. This effort supports local economies, farmers, ranchers, and lets Idahoans access homegrown foods.

Two years ago, Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter declared September “Idaho Preferred® Month” to recognize the bounty and abundance of Idaho products. Now the month-long celebration is one of Idaho’s premier culinary affairs highlighted by several events.

For more information about Idaho Preferred® Month or the Idaho Preferred® program, please visit

Thursday, June 18, 2009

E. Idaho riders flock to ATV trail ethics event

We had a good turnout of 50-plus people for the ATV Trail Ethics Education Event on June 13 at Kelly Canyon Ski Area. Resort officials were nice enough to open the lodge for our morning program since it's been so rainy and wet lately.

The purpose of the trail ethics event was to give ATV and UTV riders a number of tips and reminders about federal and state rules and regulations for a safe and responsible summer riding season.

Topic #1 What kind of UTVs are legal on ATV trails?

There’s been a big growth in the sales of Utility Terrain Vehicles (UTVs) in Idaho, but at the present time, only one UTV, the Polaris Razor, is legal on ATV trails (in southern Idaho). The Forest Service manages to a 50-inch standard on ATV trails in E. Idaho.
o Don’t try to ride a trail machine that’s wider than 50 inches on ATV trails … you probably won’t get past the barrier at the trailhead, for one thing. In addition, it’s not safe because the trails were built only 50 inches wide, and you would likely roll your machine on steep, narrow spots.
o The BLM manages to a 48-inch standard on trails in the Pocatello area, so even a 50-inch machine is not safe for those trails.
o The width of trail machines should be measured from the outside edge of the tires on the left and right sides. If you modify your machine and add bigger tires, it won’t fit on ATV trails.
o Anyone who violates the 50-inch standard is subject to a $180 fine, according to the Forest Service.
o If you’ve got a larger UTV, look for jeep trails and logging trails to ride.

o In northern Idaho, the Forest Service does not allow UTVs on ATV trails, according to forest officials who contacted us this week.

Topic #2 Use your power responsibly
Be a good trail ambassador and lead by example when you’re trail riding with friends. Stay on the trail. Cross-country riding off-trail is illegal.
o Please refrain from high-marking on steep mountainsides. If you want try to test the steep hill-climbing power of your ATV, go to the St. Anthony Sand Dunes, where you can let it rip in the sand without causing environmental damage.
o Don’t turn singletrack into three-track … Singletrack motorized trails are reserved for motorcycle use as well as other multiple uses such as horseback riding, mountain biking and hiking.
o Practice good trail etiquette when encountering other users on the trail. Pull off the trail, shut off your engine and let people pass.
o Stay off muddy trails … know when to turn around and wait for a sunny day if the trails are too muddy to ride.
o Know where to ride. Check the maps online on the Caribou-Targhee National Forest to get tips on what trails are open to ATV/UTV use. The Palisades District has several user-friendly maps online. If you’ve got questions, call the forest to learn more or pick up maps at the Eastern Idaho Public Lands Visitors Center in Idaho Falls. Call 208-523-1012.
o The Idaho OHV web site will have a new where-to-ride section with 25 rides in the coming weeks. Info at

Topic #3 OHV Stickers and License Plates
Make sure your trail machine has an OHV sticker if you’re riding on forest or BLM trails, and if you’re riding on public roads or county roads, you should have a license plate as well. These items can be purchased at your local DMV office where you buy license plates for your car.

If you ride on county roads, you also should have a driver's license and proof of insurance.

Topic #4 Ride safe
Be safe out there and ride with a helmet, boots, gloves and proper safety equipment. If you’re interested in taking a safety class in eastern Idaho, contact Patrick Carlson at Idaho Parks & Rec. He teaches lots of local classes. It's a good activity for scout groups.

You can reach Patrick at 208-520-5387 or email him at

For more information, contact or Steve Stuebner, campaign coordinator, 208-472-5680.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Bike & Trike event a success

About 75-100 kids and families turned out for the Bike & Trike event at Coleman Homes' new West Highlands development in Middleton on Saturday, April 11.

Criterium bike racers provided a lot of great entertainment in the morning as they raced in a Miss&Out format, meaning that after three laps, the last rider across the finish line on each lap was out of the race. The half-mile course on brand new pavement at West Highlands was a great venue because you could watch the racers come flying around the corners and three-quarters of the course was visible at once.

Three age categories of kids raced with Olympic Gold Medalist Kristin Armstrong in the afternoon. A Boise girl won a free mountain bike from George's Cycles, and she was positively thrilled. Many people had a chance to get Kristin's autograph and photo in a low-key setting. All of the race participants received a free T-shirt and water bottle.

Drake Cooper organized the event for Coleman Homes as part of the company's Grand Opening at West Highlands this spring. Home prices start in the $165,000 range. It's a great time to buy with interest rates below 5 percent, great prices and federal tax incentives -- it's a buyer's market for sure.

- SS

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Postal Service cancels air mail contract for Arnold Aviation

Media contact: Steve Stuebner, Drake Cooper, 208-472-5680 or

CASCADE, Idaho – (April 2, 2009) – Ray Arnold, an Idaho icon who flies weekly year-round into the Idaho backcountry to deliver mail and supplies to more than 20 ranches scattered throughout the 2.3-million-acre Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness, has been informed by the U.S. Postal Service that the mail contract will not be renewed as of June 30, 2009.

Backcountry residents and ranch owners this week pleaded with the Postal Service and Idaho’s congressional delegation to reverse course and restore the $46,000 contract, which Arnold has held for 34 years.

Arnold, who flies the only backcountry air mail route remaining in the lower 48 states, said Postal Service officials in Washington D.C. can’t understand why the mail can’t be delivered in other ways. “They’re like, why can’t the cowboys get on horseback and ride down the trail to get their mail,” he said, chuckling. “They don’t have a clue.”

The Frank Church Wilderness is the most remote region of pure wilderness in the lower 48 states. Many of the ranches are more than 60+ miles from the nearest road. In the winter, Arnold flies in on his Cessna 185 outfitted with skis. The skilled bush pilot has been profiled in National Geographic, CBS News, The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Newsweek, Time and more.

“It’s a pretty serious situation,” said Judd DeBoer, the owner of a backcountry residence at Yellow Pine Bar on the Salmon River. “The services that Ray and Carol (Arnold) provide are a big deal for everybody back there. It’s their lifeline, and they count on it.”

“They’re a vital link to the backcountry – it’s about so much more than the mail service,” added Doug Tims, owner of Campbell’s Ferry Ranch. “They bring in critical food supplies and medical supplies – they’re a vital link to the people who live and work in the backcountry.”

The Arnolds have trouble understanding why the Postal Service is cutting back services to the Idaho backcountry when John Potter, the Postmaster General, told a congressional subcommittee on Jan. 28, 2009, “We must serve every customer and every community equally. Rich or poor, from the biggest cities to the smallest towns, we must provide the same high level of service…. We must make our services available at the same price – in both easy-to-serve locations and locations so remote they can only be reached only by mule, by swamp boat, or by bush plane.”

The mail contract has never covered the cost of the weekly mail-run flights, so the Arnolds have been subsidizing the route by adding additional passengers, equipment and supplies, Carol Arnold said. The contract “does not allow for any profit margin, just cost,” she said. “In addition, we are paid for a great circle, start to finish – one loop. No allowance for landings and takeoffs or weather, etc. It is a set price for each mail run and if we miss a week, we do not get paid.”

So as Ray Arnold points out, “We’re not getting rich on this. The way we make it work is to fly in freight and supplies with the mail, and then fly backcountry guests with us on our way back. It doesn’t always work out that way, but that’s what we have to do to make it work financially.”

For Lynn Demerse, who runs Shepp Ranch on the Salmon River with her husband, Mike, the cancellation of the mail contract would be difficult. “It would seriously compromise my ability to book guests, do Forest Service contracting and pay bills,” she said. “In addition, I get my perishable freight on the mail plane which saves the grueling, often-hot trek from Riggins up the road and in the jet boat. Meat and salad fixin’s don’t do well, not to mention the effect on a case of eggs on that bumpy river road and jet boat ride.”

Beyond the challenging logistics, everyone in the backcountry loves Ray and Carol Arnold. With Carol manning the backcountry radio, and Ray flying the plane, the duo have saved many lives by rescuing lost hunters or injured people who get hurt out of the woods in a timely manner. He’s even discovered people who have passed on when he’s noticed no smoke coming out of a chimney in the dead of winter.

“Ray is obviously a large part of our lives and Carol makes the whole thing work,” Demerse said. “Whether it is a rescue (last year Ray evacuated a patient with a head injury from here within two hours of the incident) or just a letter from home, it makes a huge difference.”

To contact Ray and Carol Arnold at Arnold Aviation, please call 208-382-4844. To reach Lynn Demerse, email her at Media inquiries can be directed to Steve Stuebner, 208-472-5680 or

For visuals, the media may be interested in a YouTube video of Arnold taking off and landing in various backcountry air strips in the Frank Church Wilderness.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Learning Lab hosts annual Lunch for Literacy

The Learning Lab is hosting their largest annual fundraiser, Lunch for Literacy, on Thursday, February 19 at the Boise Centre on the Grove. The luncheon kicks-off with a silent auction at 11 a.m. featuring copies of autographed books from well-known authors including David Sedaris, Sean Connery, Newt Gingrich, Ridley Pearson, Isabel Allende and George Foreman, among others.

The lunch and program begin at noon. Keynote speaker is Nancy Turner, award-winning author of the popular Sarah Prine series. Also speaking is Mohamed Ibrahim Mohamed, a current Learning Lab student who made his way to the Treasure Valley after fleeing his home in the violence-ravaged countryside of Sudan. Mohamed will generously share the story of his journey towards literacy and talk about the Learning Lab’s impact upon his life.

Tickets are $50 for individuals and $500 for a table. The luncheon is fun, fast-paced, positive and supports a great cause – helping people who struggle with literacy. Tickets can be purchased here:

For more information, to donate to the Learning Lab, or if you're interested in sponsoring a table at the luncheon, contact Ann Heilman, Executive Director, at or 344-1335 ext. 120.

Builder mag publishes story about CBH Homes

It's always nice when a national magazine bites on a story idea. In this case, it was Builder magazine.

The Drake Cooper PR team felt that CBH Homes, the No. 1 builder in Idaho, had done a marvelous job of repositioning itself internally and externally to cope with the rapidly changing real estate market and economy in late 2007 and 2008. We thought that some of the things that CBH had done to sell homes in a very challenging market might provide ideas for other national home-builders.

We were right. Builder Senior Editor John Caufield liked our story pitch, and he did a lengthy interview with CBH principals Corey Barton and Ronda Conger last fall. The story appeared online in early January 2009.

Here's a copy of the article.

Thanks to John Caufield at Builder and CBH Homes for creating the opportunity.