Tim Bondy – Freelance Copywriter For Hire

After many years at blogging and newspaper reporting in the Mountain Home, Idaho area, I have decided to make the jump to the “freelance copywriter” world.

“Freelance Copywriter in Mtn. Home, Idaho”

If you are looking for an expert to tell your business or organization’s story, I am available to discuss the benefits of hiring me as your copywriter. Your story should highlight how your services and products will help potential customers.

What is a copywriter? A craftsman who writes articles, stories and promotional material for online, social or print media. The written “copy” is usually produced for advertising or marketing in such a way to persuade the reader to take action or increase brand awareness.

Thanks,

Tim Bondy

Review: Bushnell TRKR Headlamp, 150 Lumens

Product Reviews – February 6, 2017

The Bushnell TRKR Headlamp, 150 Lumens get a rating of “zero stars,” the lowest possible rating. Why? Read on but mainly because during a microadventure, having a headlamp turning off after five second could be rather annoying if not very dangerous.

The New Product: I received the Bushnell TRKR Headlamp as a 2016 Christmas present. The flashlight worked properly only the first two times I used it. On the third use, it started malfunctioning.

The Malfunction: The main headlamp turns off by itself within one minute of turning it on.

The Video: See the YouTube headlamp product review video at https://youtu.be/k_a0SokZpXE

The After-Actions Research: I searched the internet for any mentions of a malfunctioning Bushnell TRKR Headlamp, 150 Lumens. I found many different bad reviews and complaints about this $20 headlamp. Most of the problems noted were “the headlamp turns off by itself within one minute.”

I assumed that with the vast number of complaints out in the wild, Bushnell would likely have a recall on the flashlight. Obviously no company would allow a known defective product to remain on store shelves. But they have. Read on.

Contacts With Bushnell:
On or about Jan. 18, 2017, I contact Bushnell via their website support form with the following:
I received the Bushnell TRKR Headlamp, 150 Lumens for a Christmas present in 2016. The headlamp worked properly for less than one month. Today, while doing some fine detail work, the headlamp cut out on me. Bushnell obviously knows there is a problem with this product and for proof I offer the reviews found at https://www.walmart.com/ip/Generic-20215-Bushnell-TRKR-Headlamp-150-Lumens/49840417?wmlspartner=wlpa&selectedSellerId=0&adid=22222222228037948925&wl0=&wl1=g&wl2=m&wl3=92175770657&wl4=pla-183839520737&wl5=9029579&wl6=&wl7=&wl8=&wl9=pla&wl10=8175035&wl11=online&wl12=49840417&wl13=&veh=sem
The six 1-2 star reviews all point to the same flaw in your product.
My question to you: Will be exchange a broken headlamp for a headlamp model that isn’t terminally flawed at no cost or fuss to me? Please respond soonest. Thanks. Tim Bondy

On or about Jan. 18, 2017: The auto-responder sent me this … Thank you for contacting Bushnell, a customer service representative will follow-up within the next 48 business hours. If your inquiry is time-sensitive, please call our customer service department using the phone numbers listed here.

January 23, 2017 at 7:45 A.M.: I called Bushnell and explained the problem with the headlamp to Tory, the customer service representative.
Tory said my problem could be solved by replacing the batteries and if not I can call back. I explained I will not call back but will upload my video to YouTube (see above). Tory understood what I intended to do if the fix didn’t work.

January 23, 2017: I replaced the old batteries with fresh batteries. Only time would tell if the “new battery fix” would eliminate the problem.

Jan. 24 – Feb. 3, 2017: I briefly tested the headlamp a few times over the next nine days. The total “on” time during the test phase was probably less than three minutes.

February 4, 2017:  13 days into the test the headlamp started malfunctioning again. In every instance, the light shut off within one 10 seconds. The “new battery fix” worked for less than two weeks and three minutes shine time.

Why?

  • Why didn’t Bushnell just send me an email or call and tell me I should replace the batteries when I originally contacted them on January 23, 2017?
  • Why would a reputable company make their customers jump through hoops to apply a fix that likely has never worked?
  • Why go to all the trouble to write up a product review on a inexpensive piece of equipment? Answer: because Bushnell must believe no one would go to all that trouble and thus, they can leave a flawed/defective product on store shelves.
  • What would happen if I took that headlamp out on a microadventure only to discover it didn’t work when I needed the light the most?

This is my life just off Interstate 84 in Elmore County, Idaho.

T.B.

Tim Bondy
Freelance Writer
Mountain Home, Idaho, U.S.A.

Ending Pun:  If you do research in optics you will have to do some light reading.

Elmore County Commissioners Appear Flummoxed On How To Move Forward

Elmore County, Idaho – February 4, 2017

At an Elmore County Commissioners deliberation of the Cat Creek Energy, LLC appeal hearing on February 3, 2017, the two active commissioners appeared frustrated and lost while trying to figure out a way to move forward on the proposed renewable energy project.

Only 13 people attended the deliberation hearing for a controversial $1.5 billion project in Elmore County

At stake in this series of hearings is the approval of five conditional use permits (CUP) for the planned $1.5 billion renewable energy project that includes the creation of a new reservoir on the Little Camas Prairie located between Boise and Fairfield, Idaho. Those five CUPs, include  a large scale solar farm and 16-30 wind turbines, were denied in 2016, after a series of Elmore County public meeting. However, the applicant, Cat Creek Energy LLC, appealed the decision to deny, bringing us to this meeting.

The two county commissioners are apparently close to overturning the 2016 decision and allow the project to move forward. But that will only happen if the commissioners can secure a promise from Cat Creek Energy to help the county get some of the water from the proposed 50,000 acre-foot reservoir.

“Ground Zero” for the Cat Creek Energy project is located on the Wood Creek Ranch, near U.S. Highway 20, milepost 121.1 or 43.3217361, -115.3505917 where this photo was taken on Nov. 19, 2016.

 

More than half the 13 people in attendance at the one hour hearing were from the Cat Creek Energy team. It’s likely only four people in attendance were there in opposition to the project, including Nancy and Ted Thompson and Wendi Combs.

During the deliberation process, the county commissioners cannot take any additional testimony and have to make their decision based solely on the submitted 8,000+ pages of documents and verbal testimony heard at earlier public meetings.

As the deliberation hearing came to an end, it became apparent Commissioners Corbus and Hofer still have a lot of work, research and soul-searching to do before making an informed and well thought out decision for the residents of Elmore County, Idaho.

As one of the Cat Creek Energy team members said after the meeting “Hopefully they [Corbus and Hofer] will come to the next meeting a little more prepared.”

For more information about this issue, contact Elmore County and some addtional information can be gleaned from my November 18, 2016 blog post at: http://www.bondyblogs.com/elmore-county-addresses-alt-energy-plan/


This is my life just off Interstate 84 in Elmore County, Idaho.

T.B.

Tim Bondy
Freelance Writer
Mountain Home, Idaho, U.S.A.

Ending Pun:  If you do research in optics you will have to do some light reading.

Idaho’s Christmas Tree at the State Capitol Building

Photo by Tim Bondy – December 16, 2016

2016 Boise, Idaho Christmas Tree. CLICK for a larger version.

Photograph Information

Date taken: December 15, 2016 at 6:15 p.m.

Location: The Idaho State Capitol Building in Boise, Idaho USA

Coordinates:  43.6170833, -116.2001778 ***

Notice the U.S. and Idaho flags are being flown at half-staff …

“As a mark of respect for the memory of John Glenn, I hereby order, by the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, on the day of interment. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same period at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.”

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to one and all.


This is my life just off Interstate 84 in Elmore County, Idaho.

T.B.

Tim Bondy
Freelance Writer
Mountain Home, Idaho, U.S.A.

Ending Pun: “Before he sold Christmas trees, he got himself spruced up.”

Elmore County Addresses Alt-Energy Plan

Elmore County – November 18, 2016

About 75 residents showed up each night for the Cat Creek Energy conditional use permit appeal hearing in Mountain Home.
About 75 residents showed up each night for the Cat Creek Energy conditional use permit appeal hearing.

For two evenings this past week, Elmore County, Idaho commissioners heard testimony from the public and Cat Creek Energy LLC officials during an appeal hearing. At stake is the future of a proposed $1.5 billion alternate energy complex that could be built on private lands about 30 miles northeast of the county courthouse.

Earlier this year, the Elmore County planning and zoning board members voted to deny five Cat Creek Energy conditional use permits (CUP). The November 16 and 17, 2016, appeal hearing meetings were held because Cat Creek Energy contends the Elmore County planning and zoning commission didn’t do their due diligence when they made the decision to deny all five use permits.

Cat Creek Energy project scope map.
Cat Creek Energy project scope map.

This Cat Creek Energy alternate energy project is very complex as are all the issues surrounding why Elmore County denied the energy company’s submitted use permits. In short, approving the five conditional use permits would have been just the first hurdle in getting the project approved. There are still many state and federal permits Cat Creek Energy would have to get approved before they could break ground on the project.

No Decision Made Yet

With over five hours of verbal testimony during the two appeal hearings to consider, the county commissioners also have over 8,000 pages of documents and evidence to read and understand  before making a decision on CUP appeal.

What’s next? The Elmore County commissioners will set a date for a public deliberation hearing. The date and time of that meeting will be published on the county website and possibly in the legal notices in the Mountain Home News.

Elmore County employee carting off most of the CUP documentation. 8,000 plus pages.
Elmore County employee carting off most of the CUP documentation. 8,000 plus pages.

Cat Creek Energy officials and the public are welcome to attend the deliberation hearing(s), but typically, no new testimony, evidence or public input can be accepted. The county commissioners have a big job to do and with the sheer amount of data they have to sift through, I cannot imagine a decision being made before the end of the year.

Interactive Map – scroll around, zoom in or out,move the map around.

  • Blue area = new reservoir
  • Pink area = location of the 36 proposed wind turbines
  • Yellow area = a huge solar panel array
  • Flag = six concrete water intake/outlet silos on the water’s edge


Opinions

From my side of the fence it appears as if the people who are against the project live mainly in the Pine and Featherville, Idaho area. However, area ranchers and farmers are in favor of the project. But my observations on this point are purely anecdotal and could be way off the mark.

Our two newly elected legislative District 23 individuals, Zito and Blanksma, who also insist they are private property-right champions stated they are against this 99% private property project. I saw neither Zito nor Blanksma at the two meetings, so maybe they had more important things to do.


This is my life just off Interstate 84 in Elmore County, Idaho.

T.B.

Tim Bondy
Freelance Writer
Mountain Home, Idaho, U.S.A.

Ending Pun: A sign at a cemetery reads, ‘No Trespassing – Violators Will Face Grave Charges’.

Wilson Flat Hike – Nov. 10, 2016

Elmore County Hikes, Microadventures – November 13, 2016

Wilson Flat is located high above the northwest bank of Anderson Ranch Reservoir and remains one of my all-time favorite local hikes. The geography and scenery are dramatic and while there is a portion of the hike that is rather strenuous, once on the flat there are a number of different hiking options available that range between a 3.5 mile day hike and 15+ mile backpacking adventure.

From Wilson Flat looking north. Little Wilson Creek canyon drops off sharply on the right side of this photograph.
From Wilson Flat looking north. Little Wilson Creek canyon drops off sharply on the right side of this photograph. CLICK for a larger version.

 

During this Thursday, November 10, 2016 hike, I decided to head off-trail to the canyon rim. Other options include heading northwest on trail 607 or southwest on trail 606 and connect with some other outlier two-tracks.

Recent History

The Wilson Flat trail, until a few years ago, supported motorcycles and ATVs as well as horses and hikers. After a sustained wildfire burned through the area, a flash flood then bulldozed the lower portion of the Wilson Creek canyon in 2013 and those events dramatically changed the landscape. And yes, after the flash flood it really looked like a bulldozer had its way with the canyon. The fire damage and flash flood effectively closed this area down for a few years.

Trail 6060 near the trailhead. It's still closed to ATV and motorcycle traffic.
Trail 606 up to Wilson Flat near the trailhead. It’s still closed to ATV and motorcycle traffic.

Late last year the forest service opened the area to foot and horse traffic. This year, big game hunters have returned to the flats in big numbers. On October 31, 2016, when I originally planned to hike up to Wilson Flat, there were six vehicle parked at or near the trailhead. Hunters certainly don’t need hikers molesting their hunt so I decided to head elsewhere that day.

As of November 2016, ATVs and motorcycles are still prohibited on this trail system including up on the flats. Evidence suggests mountain bikers have been using the trails recently but I recommend checking with the Boise National Forest to see if mountain bikes are allowed.

The Hike

The beginning of the hike follows Wilson Creek. This portion of  canyon experienced the major flash flood but the trails is now easy to follow. There are five small creek crossings to contend with and during low-water conditions they pose only a minor slowdown in the hike.

The steep part of the trail up to Wilson Flat give some outstanding views of Anderson Ranch Reservoir. CLICK for a larger version of the photograph.
The steep part of the trail up to Wilson Flat give some outstanding views of Anderson Ranch Reservoir. CLICK for a larger version of the photograph.

About one-half mile into the hike, you’ll find the trail takes a sharp turn to the left, or southwest. It also starts the journey up to Wilson Flats. In two-thirds of a mile you’ll gain over 500 feet in elevation. The scenery opens up nicely, so be sure to stop and look around every once in awhile.

Land ownership is always are concern when treading upon our western lands. My research indicates there is no private property in the vicinity of this hike.

Once up on the flats, you have many options to explore, climb and hike. Enjoy our public lands and remember, when your representatives tell you that you should share this land with private industry, think about what that mean? Maybe it means nothing or maybe it means a gold or silver mines, fences and private property with many “Keep Out” signs.

“Keep public lands public”

Getting There

Driving mileage and time: 27.7 miles or about 40 minutes +/-10 minutes from Mountain Home, Idaho

Starting location: 43.141513, -115.662475

  • From the starting point at the intersection of Foothills Avenue and U.S. Highway 20 in Elmore County head north/east on U.S. Highway 20 for 20.4 miles.
  • Turn left onto Anderson Dam Road
    and continue for 5.0 miles.
  • Turn left onto the Anderson Dam structure called Forest Road 134 for 0.3 miles
  • Turn right onto Anderson Dam Rd and continue for
    2.0 miles until you reach the traihead parking area.

Trailhead coordinates: 43.380535, -115.436577

Interactive Map of the Wilson Flat Hike:
The red line is my GPS track of the hike and the yellow pushpin symbol is the trailhead/parking area.

 

The Hike Statistics

  • Total mileage: 4.58 miles
  • Elevation gain/loss: 1,095 feet / -1,135 feet
  • Elevation range: 4,222 feet up to 4,808 feet.
  • Slope: average 8.5% with max or 48.5%
  • Total big game animals: two mule deer
Tim Bondy with Anderson Ranch Reservoir in the background while hiking up to Wilson Flat in southern Idaho.
Tim Bondy with Anderson Ranch Reservoir in the background while hiking up to Wilson Flat in southern Idaho.

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you need any food, supplies or equipment for this microadventure, it’s best to get them in Boise or Twin Falls, Idaho.


This is my life just off Interstate 84 in Elmore County, Idaho.

T.B.

Tim Bondy
Freelance Writer
Mountain Home, Idaho, U.S.A.

Ending Pun: The prairie quartet sang flat while the scissors trio sang sharp.