2018 WIR Conference


2018 WIR Conference

The NACo Western Interstate Region (WIR) Conference brings together county officials from across the nation to focus on pressing issues facing counties and our residents.
Tue. May 22
8:30 am

Mobile Workshop: Explore the Next Frontiers of Nuclear Energy at the Idaho National Laboratory

Tue. May 22 | 8:30 am to 5:30 pm EDT

RSVPs for mobile workshops are required through the registration process at no additional cost.

Idaho National Laboratory (INL) serves as the nation's command center for advanced nuclear energy research, development, demonstration and deployment. It is home to the unparalleled Advanced Test Reactor and related post-irradiation examination, fuel fabrication and materials testing and development facilities. INL and its more than 4,200 scientists, engineers and support personnel leverage these and numerous other remarkable assets to build on the potential and promise of the theoretical for real world benefit. The tour will visit two primary facilities—the Advanced Test Reactor Complex and the Materials and Fuels Complex—and includes a scenic stopover at the Craters of the Moon National Monument.

*Lunch is included in this mobile workshop. No open-toed or open-heeled shoes are allowed. No skirts or shorts are allowed. Long pants that cover the entire leg and ankle must be worn in operational areas..

9:00 am

Mobile Workshop: Converting Local Assets to Economic Engines—Workforce Development in an Adaptive Economy

Tue. May 22 | 9:00 am to 5:30 pm EDT

RSVPs for mobile workshops are required through the registration process at no additional cost.

Workforce development is among the most important components to a successful economic development strategy. Another is collaboration and long-term cooperative efforts among key stakeholders. Few places can demonstrate this better than the Magic Valley Region of South Central Idaho, which, with its 400,000-plus acres of irrigated agriculture as a base, has become a food manufacturing hub and received a coveted federal designation of Food Manufacturing Community. The mobile workshop will tour the College of Southern Idaho's Applied Technology Innovation Center and Clif Bar Baking Company and include a scenic stopover at Shoshone Falls.

* Lunch is included in this mobile workshop. Participants should wear comfortable walking shoes and dress to be outside. Please note that there is a 1.5 hour drive each way.

Wed. May 23
7:30 am

Public Lands Trust Fund Trustees Meeting

Wed. May 23 | 7:30 am to 8:15 am EDT

(Invitation Only)

8:00 am

WIR Conference Registration & Table Displays

Wed. May 23 | 8:00 am to 4:00 pm EDT
9:00 am

WIR Board of Directors Meeting

Wed. May 23 | 9:00 am to 12:00 pm EDT
9:30 am

NACo Finance Committee Meeting

Wed. May 23 | 9:30 am to 10:30 am EDT

(Invitation Only)

10:30 am

NACo Audit Committee Meeting

Wed. May 23 | 10:30 am to 11:45 am EDT

(Invitation Only)

Solutions Session: Public Surplus – Online Auctions for Surplus Property Made Easy

Wed. May 23 | 10:30 am to 11:45 am EDT

Public Surplus provides online auctions to help agencies sell their surplus property. Public Surplus has built the most state of the art system that is seamless, productive and efficient to help ensure that agencies are receiving the most value for their surplus property, while also making the process as simple as possible. This workshop will include showing the auction system, discussing options to make sure your agency is getting the most value of your surplus property and also showing the newest tool to the online auction format in the auction creation process.

12:00 pm

NACo Executive Committee Meeting

Wed. May 23 | 12:00 pm to 1:30 pm EDT

(Invitation Only)

1:30 pm

Committee Meetings & Committee Mobile Workshops

Wed. May 23 | 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm EDT
  • Agriculture and Rural Affairs Policy Steering Committee Meeting
  • Public Lands Policy Steering Committee Meeting
  • Environment Energy and Land Use Policy Steering Committee 

Building A Local Food Network for Resiliency, Economy, Society, Environment and Health

Wed. May 23 | 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm EDT

Agriculture and Rural Affairs mobile workshop

Even remote regions with short growing seasons seek locally- and regionally-based solutions to create year-round food security and healthy, tasty food alternatives. To generate real sustainability in this area takes many people, much effort and a lengthy timeframe. This workshop will visit up to two local greenhouse operations--which operate year-round even in this cold, high-altitude environment—the Hunger Coalition food distribution center and the Sustainability Center for a tasting. Discussions will cover the evolution of different models for establishing local food networks and addressing food insecurity, with tales of both success and failure. Additional contributors will include Idaho's Bounty (CSA), CK's Real Food Restaurant and the Local Food Council.

Planning and Preparing for Social and Environmental Resiliency, Sustainability and Post-Disaster Recovery

Wed. May 23 | 1:30 pm to 5:00 pm EDT

Joint Public Lands and EELU mobile workshop

Blaine County settlement began in earnest in the 1860s. Today, it is a growing county in a fast-growing state. Its zoning reflects three key principles: conservation of natural resources and working landscapes, public safety and 'smart growth.' Regulations affect development on hillsides, in avalanche zones, in floodplains, in scenic and wildlife migration corridors. Density decreases as one moves from cities to 'urban influence' perimeters to rural and remote areas. Commercial development is concentrated in cities. The County encourages residential cluster development, has a Transfer of Development Rights Program, a unique Land, Water and Wildlife Levy Program and the state's most robust rural transit system.

Among other natural disasters, Blaine County recently has experienced two large wildfires—the 44,000-acre Castle Rock Fire in 2007 and the 111,000-acre Beaver Creek Fire in 2013. Major flooding and debris flows followed these fires. Only one home burned. Blaine County also suffered major flooding with seven flood peaks following the winter of 2016-17's record snow packs.

This mobile workshop will tour areas damaged by fires and floods, areas in post-disaster recovery and sites illustrating the County's restoration and resiliency programs--including its stream protection program and mountain overlay district. Discussion and site visits will showcase how zoning and regulations can help accommodate future growth, resource protection and disaster resiliency; and, “what happens when you build in bad places?” and "how can you protect against similar situations in the future?"

6:30 pm

WIR Board of Directors and NACo Board of Directors Reception

Wed. May 23 | 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm EDTRiver Run Lodge

Hosted by Blaine County & the Idaho Association of Counties

(Invitation Only)

Thu. May 24
7:30 am

WIR Conference Registration & Table Displays

Thu. May 24 | 7:30 am to 4:30 pm EDT
8:30 am

Opening General Session

Thu. May 24 | 8:30 am to 10:00 am EDT
10:15 am

Financing Affordable Housing: Solutions for Urban and Rural Counties

Thu. May 24 | 10:15 am to 11:45 am EDT

As communities across the West capitalize on their natural and cultural assets to become popular destination brands and economies, the very quality of life that drives growth and tourism all too often creates significant issues of equity and affordability. Many of these communities, along with most of the country, are experiencing an affordable housing crisis. As rents and home prices increase, so does the percentage of a family’s income needed to put shelter over their head. This workshop will feature speakers discussing financing tools for affordable housing, with an emphasis on workforce housing, and will highlight solutions from the companion report, to be released in May.

Rural County Efforts in Health Care Delivery

Thu. May 24 | 10:15 am to 11:45 am EDT

Counties are the safety net for many residents and often a major provider of clinic care and social services. This session will explore how Blaine County, Idaho is creating a comprehensive system of care to provide services to their residents. Attendees will hear about how St. Luke’s Wood River Medical Center is coordinating physician training for rural health care, funding and managing the Center for Community Health, utilizing telemedicine, and addressing behavioral health issues with limited resources.

Stepping Up: Collecting Accurate and Timely Data on People with Mental Illnesses in Your Jail

May 24, 2018, 10:15 A.M. – 11:45 A.M. MDT

2018 WIR Conference


Thu. May 24 | 10:15 am to 11:45 am EDT

More than 400 counties have joined Stepping Up: A National Initiative to Reduce the Number of People with Mental Illnesses in Jails. Building on the success counties have seen as part of their local efforts, Stepping Up is expanding its work to provide counties with the tools they need to systematically identify people with mental illnesses who enter local jails. Consistently and accurately identifying people with mental illnesses will result in better connections to treatment in jail and in the community, and collecting and tracking data on these individuals is essential to understanding the extent of the challenges locally, setting goals for improvement and measuring progress. Having this data at the beginning of a planning process helps counties target scarce resources and develop an action plan that will create a system-wide impact. In this workshop, hear about the tools and resources Stepping Up is developing to tackle this important part of counties’ efforts and hear from counties that have already made progress in this area.

Unable to attend? Watch live online here or on NACo's Facebook page.

12:00 pm

Attendee Luncheon

Thu. May 24 | 12:00 pm to 1:15 pm EDT
1:30 pm

Counties Build: Planning and Funding Strategies for Facilities and Infrastructure

Thu. May 24 | 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT

County governments are critical players in building, maintaining and funding infrastructure facilities used by residents every day. This workshop will examine how counties use innovative funding strategies and strategic partnerships for facilities and infrastructure, and how to create consensus for lasting results. Learn how you can add your voice to the national and local dialogue on infrastructure by leveraging tools from NACo’s “Counties Build” campaign.

Land Use Planning Around Airports

Thu. May 24 | 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT

Land use planning and development around airports is especially difficult due to the offsite impacts associated with airport operations. This is true in rapidly growing urban areas, where development land is increasingly at a premium, as well as in space-constrained communities like mountain valleys. Workshop will explore this topic with an expert who co-authored Idaho Transportation Department, Aeronautics Division's Idaho Airport Land Use Guidelines.

Putting Drones to Work for Public Safety and Resilience

Thu. May 24 | 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm EDT

Police, fire and emergency agencies are increasingly using drones to capture criminal suspects and fight fires. In fact, according to a 2017 report, at least 350 local police, sheriff, fire and emergency units in the United States have acquired drones. This session will explore how local governments are utilizing this emerging technology – including funding and training – and tailoring drone usage to best meet their public safety needs and saving money in the process.

NACo Board of Directors Meeting

Thu. May 24 | 1:30 pm to 4:00 pm EDT
3:15 pm

Federal Agency Partner Session with the U.S. Department of the Interior and the U.S. Forest Service

Thu. May 24 | 3:15 pm to 4:45 pm EDT

Federal lands make up around 35 percent of the more than 2 billion acres in the United States and comprise as much as 90 percent of some counties, particularly in the west. Resource and forest management plans, along with land use plans, provide direction to federal land managers for development and use of natural resources and can greatly affect the economic, physical and social landscape of local communities. This workshop will explore the opportunities for robust local government involvement to ensure the perspective of the community is reflected in resource and forest management plans and implementation.

6:00 pm

Conference-Wide Event

Thu. May 24 | 6:00 pm to 10:00 pm EDT

Hosted by Blaine County and the Idaho Association of Counties

All conference attendees are invited to join us for a memorable evening of fun, food and fellowship. The event begins with cocktails on the Limelight Terrace at 6:00 p.m. before moving to the Ballroom for dinner at 7:00 p.m. Head over to the Opera House at 9:00 p.m. for the highlight of the evening – an exclusive performance of “LUMA: Art in Darkness!” LUMA is presented free – courtesy of Blaine County and Lumican – to celebrate the night sky.

Fri. May 25
8:00 am

WIR Conference Registration

Fri. May 25 | 8:00 am to 12:00 pm EDT
8:30 am

WIR Annual Business Meeting and Election of Officers

Fri. May 25 | 8:30 am to 9:00 am EDT
9:15 am

General Session

Fri. May 25 | 9:15 am to 10:30 am EDT

This session will begin with the installation of the WIR Officers and the presentation of the Dale Sowards Award.


Mr. Brian Steed

Deputy Director, Programs and Policy, Bureau of Land Management

The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) is at the forefront of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s efforts to better engage with state and local governments. This presentation will include a discussion of new efforts to improve the relationship between the federal government and counties, highlight the Administration’s achievements after its first year in office and the BLM’s plans and priorities moving forward.

Ms. Dotti Owens

Coroner, Ada County, Idaho

Coroners and medical examiners play a key role in strengthening the communities we serve, especially in the face of public health and social issues like the opioid epidemic and suicide. This presentation will focus on the role of the coroner and the importance of thorough death investigations.

10:45 am

Best Practices in Communicating with Residents During a Disaster

Fri. May 25 | 10:45 am to 12:15 pm EDT

One of the toughest issues facing county officials – especially in the geographically diverse West – is when and how to alert the public of unforeseen disaster events. Communication during and immediately after a disaster situation is a crucial component of response and recovery, in that it connects affected people, families, and communities with first responders, local decisionmakers and support systems. Learn from county leaders whose communities have been recently ravaged by natural disasters and crisis events as they discuss when and how they alerted residents of developing threats, including the need to evacuate, and communicated critical service delivery information immediately following the emergency event.

NACo Board of Directors Orientation

Fri. May 25 | 10:45 am to 12:15 pm EDT

Rural Poverty and the Impact on the Safety Net System

Fri. May 25 | 10:45 am to 12:15 pm EDT

Challenges of providing services is well documented in rural communities, yet many counties are developing opportunities to create or enhance rural human services delivery. Often, a patchwork of services and funding are needed to serve disparate populations such as the elderly, children and at-risk families. This session will examine the intersection of rural poverty and human services systems and explore approaches toward addressing local need.

Tracking Opioid Overdoses in Real Time

Fri. May 25 | 10:45 am to 12:15 pm EDT

Overdose deaths due to opioid use and heroin have increased in many communities over the past two years. The opioid epidemic touches nearly every aspect of county government. In many areas, local government is stretched thin and seeking innovative approaches to addressing this epidemic. Most jurisdictions lack tools to track both fatal and non-fatal overdoses. This session will explore tools developed to coordinate efforts and share data, including how county coroners and medical examiners are a key stakeholder in addressing the opioid epidemic.

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