What locals are reading…
photography: Kevin Johnson
To say that Carl Manus is young at heart would be an understatement. At the age of seventy-four, the man has the energy of an eighteen year old. Take, for example, his rigorous recreation schedule: In summer, Manus plays golf every morning, then goes fly fishing or mountain biking—or both—in the afternoon. In winter, the snowboarding junkie rarely misses a day on Baldy. Even after the lifts have closed, he’s been known to hike up the mountain to get in one last run. “I’m the type of person that has to be busy,” he admits.
Born and raised in Walnut Ridge, Arkansas, Manus joined the navy after high school. A year later, at the start of the Korean War, he was stationed on a seaplane tender in Japan. “Fortunately I was in naval aviation, so I didn’t have to carry a gun or shoot anyone,” he says.
Following a four-year tour of duty, Manus headed to California for college, and later settled in Laguna Beach. There, he worked in the motorhome manufacturing business and spent his free time surfing and skiing. In 1974, at the urging of his buddy Charlie French, Manus accepted a job doing development work for Scott USA in Ketchum. “I thought I’d stay a few years, then return to the rat race,” he says. Oh, well—so much for that.
After Scott USA relocated to Utah, Manus was recruited by Smith Sport Optics to develop a motorcycle goggle. He worked six years for Smith before being lured back to Scott, which had been purchased and moved back to Ketchum, in 1984. Since retiring nine years ago, he has continued to do contract design engineering for Scott—that is, when he isn’t on his snowboard or the golf course.
Growing up, Manus didn’t have much of an interest in books. But in the navy, he became an avid reader. “I really liked good detective stories,” he says, “especially Mike Hammer’s Mickey Spillane novels.” He also enjoys Christian writer Max Lucado, whose books he finds “very uplifting.” His last fiction read was John Grisham’s A Painted House. “It takes place in the northeast corner of Arkansas, which is where I was raised,” he explains. Nowadays, because his days are so busy, Manus doesn’t get much of a chance to sit and read. “I really don’t need adventure stories, because I have my own adventures,” he says with a laugh. However, there is one book that he always finds time for . . .
The Bible. “I read the Bible every morning, without exception. I like to call it the care, feeding, and maintenance manual for life. There is so much truth in it. You can read it every day and never, ever exhaust the wisdom and guidance that comes out of it. If I’m having a problem, I can sit down with the Bible and come upon a verse that applies. I’ve had the same Bible for more than 60 years. It was given to me by my mother in 1941. I keep it in my bathroom, in a chest with other books. That’s where I like to read.”
“Bartending is an ideal job for me because I love having my days free,” says Mary Reagle, who has been a fixture behind the bar at the Pioneer Saloon for the past twelve years. “It allows me to spend as much time outdoors as possible and to lead the life I want to lead.” It doesn’t really matter, she says, whether she’s hiking to a high lake near Stanley or skiing down Baldy with her husband, J.R.—as long as there isn’t a roof above her head.
“I define myself not by work but by my lifestyle,” Reagle says. “I try to enjoy every single day. In the summer, when I wake up, I decide whether it’s going to be a mountain biking or hiking day. I’ll go with whichever friend calls me first.”
Reagle grew up in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, and then studied special education at the University of Oregon in Eugene. The day of graduation, she threw her worldly possessions into her 1960 Mercury Comet and drove to Bend, determined to learn how to ski.
In Bend, while working as a substitute teacher, Reagle fell in love with mountain life. Four years later, in 1979, she moved to Sun Valley on a quest for better chairlifts and ski terrain. She worked as a bartender for the Sun Valley Company and at the former Ore House in the Sun Valley Mall before landing her job at the Pio.
“It’s a fun place to work,” she says. “You get to know all of the locals, as well as the tourists who come back time after time.”
“I love murder mysteries,” Reagle says. “I got hooked on them in college. They’re such a great escape.” During the summer, she reads four murder mysteries a week. On a typical day, she’ll go for a hike or bike ride with “the girls” in the morning, do some gardening, and then read in the afternoon before going to work. “As far as I’m concerned,” she explains, “it isn’t a good book if someone isn’t killed on the first page.” She also likes trying to solve the crime before the culprit is revealed. “When it comes to reading, I’m very shallow,” Reagle admits. “As a general rule, if it doesn’t pique my interest in the first 60 pages, I’m done with it.”
“Do I have to pick one? I really enjoyed Keith Ablow’s Psychopath, a psychological thriller about a serial killer. I also like courtroom mysteries, like Double Tap and The Jury by Steve Martini, and Jonathan Kellerman’s books featuring psychologist-detective Alex Delaware. Not long ago, a friend gave me a copy of The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold, and I couldn’t put it down. Basically, if it’s on the bestseller list, I’ll read it. If I had to choose a favorite author, it would be James Patterson. His stories are really good and gory. They keep me enthralled. But then again, I’m easily entertained.”
You may not know his face—but his voice? Ahhhh, yes. You hear that unmistakable deep timbre and dignified tone every day while driving to work or to drop off your kids at school. As news director of KECH 95.3 FM, Gary Stivers may just have the most distinctive voice in the Wood River Valley.
Born in 1952, Stivers was raised in Los Angeles and in a small town near Lake Tahoe. His high school years were spent in Gibbonsville, Idaho, about 35 miles north of Salmon—which, he says, added about ten years to his life: “It slowed me down and knocked some of the L.A. baloney out of me.”
After high school Stivers returned to Los Angeles, where he took classes at a local college and worked as a line cook at a Beverly Hills restaurant. In 1974 he migrated to Sun Valley to ski. He worked as a cook in the Sun Valley Lodge’s Duchin Room before becoming a morning disc jockey for KRMR, a cable-only radio station in Ketchum in late 1976. “Back then, KSKI was playing middle-of-the-road music, like Doris Day and Englebert Humperdink,” Stivers says. “At KRMR, we were playing contemporary rock-and-roll, and I was in heaven.”
A year later, Stivers left Sun Valley temporarily to study English and journalism at UCLA. After earning his degree, he returned to become news director at KSKI. In the summer of 1988, Stivers helped found classic rock station KECH, now part of Alpine Broadcasting. With the exception of a brief period in the mid-1990s, when he left to help establish the Environmental News Network, Stivers has been news director at Alpine ever since.
“At a small-town radio station, there is only one news position: the news director,” Stivers says modestly. “No glory, but a paycheck—of which I am appreciative.”
“As a child, I was big into comic books,” Stivers says. His mother encouraged him to read, but it was his primary and secondary school education that had the greatest influence on his literary pursuits. In high school, he remembers picking up a book called The Law by Renee Wormser. “It made me fall in love with the idea of being a lawyer,” Stivers says. “At one point, I was intent on going to law school. But then I realized that the law profession isn’t as much about right and wrong as it is about winning.” These days, he mainly reads technical manuals for his job at the radio station.
John Fowles’s Daniel Martin. “It’s about a British screenwriter. The book chronicles his work and travels and relationships with women. I love the emotional authenticity of it. The fact that the main character is a screenwriter may be part of it. We’re both in the communications field, although Daniel Martin’s salary is exponentially greater than mine. Fowles also wrote my second-favorite book, The Magus, and others, including The French Lieutenant’s Woman. I believe his work is glitteringly well written.”