Former INL engineer carves a niche in art

SALMON — Richard Rabe began carving wood roughly half a century ago with the goal of occupying himself in the evenings to avoid “the idiot box,” his nickname for television.

Rabe, who worked for nearly three decades as an engineer at Idaho National Laboratory, found his love affair with wood intensified after 1976, when he bought a plot of land north of Salmon and began building a custom log home.

Today, at 83, Rabe calls his work in wood a hobby, but everything about his sculptures of wildlife declare him an artist — and of the first order.

The one-time Iowa farm boy has been named artist of the month at Purple Easel Gallery, 408 Main St., in Salmon, where Rabe’s works will be featured through May. And he will be feted from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. May 10 during the gallery’s open house.

Rabe, a U.S. Army veteran and the first in

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