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/ September 16, 2021

PEOPLE compiled by

Susan Drinkard


“What do you want to accomplish before the snow flies?” “I need to clear out our spare bedroom and convert it into a nursery.” Matt Honsinger Grant writer Sandpoint

“I want to draw while sitting underneath a tree in full autumn glory.” Madelyn Misiuk Senior Forrest Bird Charter School Sandpoint


Oh, September, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. I love your brisk mornings and warm afternoons. I love your quiet downtown streets and crunchy back roads. I love seeing faces I know instead of people I’d rather I didn’t. I love the quiet solitude of the mountains as they prepare for Old Man Winter’s annual arrival. I love the windy days out sailing on a peaceful lake without all the noise of our annual visitors on their jet skis and big, stupid boats you can hear from across the entire lake. We only have a week or so before summer’s officially over, and I for one will not miss it much. I’m already in fall mode, ready to swish through piles of fallen leaves on the way to a backyard firepit and a group of friends laughing together. You rock, September. Don’t ever change. In music news, there’s another Panida fundraiser show this Friday, Sept. 17 at MickDuff’s Beer Hall with Chris Paradis, Steve Rush and Kevin Dorin. The first fundraiser show with Harold’s IGA in August raised more than $800 for the Panida thanks to your contributions! Enjoy these beautiful days.

– Ben Olson, publisher “To get the boat winterized and to get my 28-year-old daughter out of the house.” Scott Brown Civil engineer Sagle

“To clean out my house. It’s a mighty project because it’s completely cluttered. It will take gumption.” Wanita Willinger Retired Sagle

“After reconnecting with old friends, we’re taking the road less traveled out of Sandpoint to clear our minds. When we get home we’ll clear the attic, though it all depends on the red wheelbarrow, of course.” Tom Birdseye Author of 19 books Corvallis, Ore. Formerly of Sandpoint

READER 111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208)265-9724 Publisher: Ben Olson Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) Lyndsie Kiebert (News Editor) Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Jodi Berge Contributing Artists: Duffy Mahoney (cover), Ben Olson, Susan Drinkard, Bill Borders, Clark Corbin Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Emily Erickson, Jen Jackson Quintano, Feliz Papich, Sandy Compton Submit stories to: Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID Subscription Price: $155 per year Web Content: Keokee The Sandpoint Reader is a weekly publication owned and operated by Ben Olson and Keokee. It is devoted to the arts, entertainment, politics and lifestyle in and around Sandpoint, Idaho. We hope to provide a quality alternative by offering honest, in-depth reporting that reflects the intelligence and interests of our diverse and growing community. The Reader is printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink. Leftover copies are collected and recycled weekly, or burned in massive bonfires to appease the gods of journalism. Free to all, limit two copies per person.

Sandpoint Reader letter policy: The Sandpoint Reader welcomes letters to the editor on all topics. Requirements: –No more than 300 words –Letters may not contain excessive profanity or libelous material. Please elevate the discussion. Letters will be edited to comply with the above requirements. Opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers, not necessarily the publishers. Email letters to: Check us out on the web at: Like us on Facebook. About the Cover

This week’s cover photo was taken by Duffy Mahoney featuring a townie bull moose taking a break under a tree in Sandpoint. September 16, 2021 /


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Council approves plats for Boyer Meadows, University Place Phase 2A subdivisions By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff

Sandpoint City Council members voted Sept. 15 to move two subdivision projects forward on North Boyer Avenue, voting 4-2 to approve the preliminary plat for the 21-lot Boyer Meadows development and 5-1 to approve the final plat for the 51-lot Phase 2A of the University Place project, which comprises the bulk of the southern portion of the 74-acre former University of Idaho property. The final plat for Phase 1 has already been approved, which means construction of public infrastructure can go forward on much of the property, as it has on the northern parcel. While the northern portion will be single family residential, the southern portion is planned for commercial and multi-family. There are still three more phases, including 2B and Phases 3 and 4, which City Hall will take up in the coming weeks.

Though the University Place development is far larger, nearby Boyer Meadows dominated the meeting. Planning and Zoning commissioners recommended the project be approved at their Aug. 17 meeting, but with the condition that a 10-foot non-motorized pathway be incorporated midway through its 580-foot-long street, which would run north from East Mountain View Drive and end in a cul-de-sac. The 8.5-acre property is made up of two parcels: 4.26 acres to the east zoned single family residential and the remainder to the west zoned industrial technical park. The western portion is undeveloped for the time being, while the eastern portion will feature lots between 6,700 and 8,200 square feet. Developer Big Creek Land Company, based in Coeur d’Alene, requested that council remove the pathway as a requirement, citing safety and cost concerns.

“People buy in a cul-de-sac, whether it’s families or retirees, because it is one-way in, oneway out,” said Big Creek Land Company owner Cliff Mort. Adding an access point onto North Boyer would create not only a potential physical safety issue but compromise neighborhood security. Plus, Mort added, constructing the path “probably adds $3,000 to the cost of a house there.” Council members Deb Ruehle and John Darling both presented amendments to the approval: the former requesting the pathway be moved to the northern boundary of the property and the latter moving that it be eliminated altogether as a condition of approval. Citing his personal experience developing housing, Darling said, “In this day’s age, it takes away privacy. … Transient people within footsteps of your front door — I see it as a complete take-away from the development.”

Ruehle strongly disagreed, stating that such an argument makes the “assumption that everyone is bad.” Council member Kate McAlister echoed that cul-de-sacs — while not prohibited, are discouraged by the city’s comprehensive plan — do provide safety and security, but opted for approval without the required pathway in order to keep down costs to encourage affordability. “If it’s going to cost that much more, I just don’t think that it’s that worth it,” she said. “I would rather forego the pathway and keep this cul-de-sac whole.” Ruehle pushed back, saying she’s been “exceedingly disappointed in this council. We sit up here and second guess what our Planning and Zoning Commission says, we second guess what the citizens who come to those P&Z meetings express … I would second guess everybody’s heartstrings that they want this ‘safety.’ … “None of those arguments hold

any water with me, because you’re building right up to the edge of an industrial zone,” she added. “I take umbrage with that,” McAlister responded. “I think we do a good job listening to the people and I think we take all things into consideration. … My big thing is I don’t want to add a $3,000 cost to an individual’s housing.” That didn’t wash with Ruehle, either, who continued: “I am going to say that if I hear one more developer or one more consultant come before us and talk about affordable or workforce housing and those houses go on the market for $400,000 … it’s an irritant to me.” “I would request that we stop using those words,” she added later. Darling’s amendment removing the pathway from the conditional approval carried, with Ruehle and Council President Shannon Sherman voting “nay.”

Idaho conservative lawmakers attempt to legislate against vax requirements By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff A handful of Idaho lawmakers, joined by Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin (who is challenging fellow Republican Gov. Brad Little for his job in November), gathered Sept. 15 on the Statehouse steps in Boise to decry COVID-19 vaccine mandates, whether they come from the federal government or private business. As the spread of COVID-19 has ramped up in recent weeks on a wave of the highly contagious Delta variant of the virus, numerous businesses — including hospitals — have begun mandating vaccination for employees even as President Joe Biden recently approved of 4 /


/ September 16, 2021

nationwide vaccine requirements for large employers. “The Idaho Legislature must stand up to this federal overreach and exercise its 10th Amendment jurisdiction under the Constitution,” Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, wrote in a Sept. 14 constituent newsletter. “Time is running out. So many citizens are being pushed into a corner, coerced into making critical short- and long-term health decisions with wildly conflicting information while simultaneously facing imminent job loss. The mandates are having a broad ripple effect into other parts of society with many negative consequences.” Scott was among the legislators and others who spoke

to a crowd of between 150 and 200 supporters at the Capitol on Sept. 15, joined by a number

of similarly hard-right conservatives including Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird, who is

< see IDLEG Page 7 >

A small group of Republican legislators gathered on the House floor Sept. 15, 2021, after they failed to achieve a quorum of legislators. (Clark Corbin/Idaho Capital Sun)


BoCo to workshop anti-mandate resolution After contentious third meeting, commissioners opt to schedule public workshop for Sept. 24

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff For the third week in a row, Bonner County commissioners discussed a possible resolution meant to solidify the board’s stance against alleged unconstitutional mandates, most in relation to the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic. At their Sept. 14 business meeting, commissioners discussed — and ultimately tabled — an iteration of the resolution drafted by Commissioner Dan McDonald after he deemed the original resolution, presented by Commissioner Steve Bradshaw on Aug. 31, an “overreach” of power outside of the board’s authority. McDonald’s resolution, which clocked at about one-fourth the length of Bradshaw’s, focused specifically on the board’s right under Idaho law to deny recommended mask mandates, as well as the board’s intent to oppose any future vaccine mandates “to the level of our authority under the law.” Bradshaw’s resolution

addressed other issues as well — ones McDonald said fell outside the county’s perview under the federal and state constitutions. “We have to make sure we stay true to our oath, stay true to the constitution, stay true to the Idaho Constitution which we swore an oath to, and make sure we live within the limits of our authority, because if not — when government starts to overreach, how many people think that’s a good thing? Anybody?” McDonald asked the packed meeting room. “No,” he said after no one in the room raised their hand. “Neither do we.” Commissioners opted to table the issue once more in favor of taking it up at a public workshop on Friday, Sept. 24 at 1 p.m. in the first floor meeting room of the Bonner County Administration Building. Commissioners each made a statement on the new resolution, with Bradshaw stating McDonald’s draft “would have been more appropriate had it been on pink paper with maybe some lace around

it, because it’s way too soft.” Commissioner Jeff Connolly, who opposed Bradshaw’s original resolution — seeing it as a political gesture meant to bolster Bradshaw’s run for Idaho governor — noted that the people at the Sept. 14 meeting did not represent all of the people of Bonner County. “They’re not all sitting in this room,” he said of the county’s overall population. “They all have ideas on this and other things. I just want to be clear that there is more than just you folks out there.” Most attendees took the opportunity during public discussion to implore commissioners to protect rights they see as under siege during the COVID-19 pandemic, and encourage the board to schedule a workshop. Only Bonner County Treasurer Cheryl Piehl encouraged commissioners to abandon the resolution in favor of “concentrat[ing] our efforts on supporting the people that are working so hard in our community” — health care workers in particular. Ryan Carruth, who identified

himself as a new county resident from Colorado, told commissioners that McDonald’s resolution was “not good enough.” “We will not be dictated to,” he said. “You work for us, and we are asking for things because our most basic and essential human rights are under attack right now. We need more from you. Step up to the plate. Stop mincing words. Call it out for what it is: a sinister and dark and evil agenda.” McDonald had to call for order more than once during public discussion, at one point stating: “I will clear this flippin’ room in a heartbeat if you guys cannot stay in order.” Frytz Mor, a candidate for Sandpoint City Council, who told commissioners he’d also “relocated” to North Idaho, urged the board to “take a stand.” Later in

the meeting, Mor spoke once again, chastising the commissioners for not taking immediate action, asking: “Am I a constituent of this town? Why am I not being heard? Why am I being talked down to?” During a heated exchange in which Mor, McDonald and Connolly spoke over one another, Connolly suggested Mor be removed from the meeting. “They’re going to remove me, guys,” Mor announced to the room. “Make sure you vote for me for city council, because these people need to go.” Connolly and McDonald pointed out that city councils have no jurisdiction over county commissioners and, soon after, voted to take the issue up again at the Sept. 24 workshop, where commissioners will vote on a resolution.

Gem State COVID hospitalizations continue to climb N. Idaho hospitals remain under crisis operations

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff Hospitalizations caused by the novel coronavirus have been steadily on the rise in Idaho since mid-summer, and they don’t appear to be slowing down anytime soon. According to data gathered by the Idaho Capital Sun, fewer than 80 adults were hospitalized with the virus during the first week of July 2021. As of mid-September, that number sits closer to 680. These figures are surpassing the last hospitalization peak in December 2020, when fewer than 500 people needed hospital beds as they battled COVID-19. State health officials shared Sept. 14 that

the most recent peak — fueled largely by the ultra-contagious Delta variant — is far from declining. “The flow of sick people in hospitals continues to increase,” Idaho Public Health Administrator Elke Shaw-Tulloch told the Idaho Capital Sun. “It’s incredibly high, and the stress on the hospitals is very real.” That stress prompted North Idaho hospitals, including those in Bonner and Boundary counties, to enact crisis standards of care on Sept. 7, meaning that health care officials are administering limited resources to those with the most dire needs, and postponing procedures and care that might, under normal circumstances, be made priority. What’s more, getting pa-

tients transferred who might need more specialized or critical care is becoming close to impossible. “A car accident resulting in a trauma surgeon, a stroke requiring a neurosurgeon or a heart attack in need of cardiac intervention could be patients sitting and waiting in the Emergency Department for a specialist or bed to become available,” Bonner General Health spokesperson Erin Binnall told the Reader, illustrating the kinds of the urgent needs that may be delayed under current strains caused by the virus. North Idaho has relied on hospitals across the border in Washington throughout the pandemic, prompting a story Sept. 13 in The New York Times

exploring the ways that Idaho’s low COVID-19 vaccination rate — 40% of adults, among the country’s lowest — has allowed the virus to create a stronghold in the anti-mask, anti-vaccine population, and therefore led to a strain on resources for hospitals around the region. Cassie Sauer, president of the Washington State Hospital Association, told The Times that North Idaho’s ever-increasing reliance on Washington hospitals is “ridiculous.” “If you have your health care system melting down, the idea that you would not immediately issue a mask mandate is just bizarre,” she continued. “They need to be doing everything they can possibly do.” Idaho Gov. Brad Little,

while promoting the vaccine and other CDC-recommended guidelines, has not mandated masks or shots. He announced Sept. 10 that the state would be exploring legal action against President Joe Biden’s COVID-19 plan, which would mandate vaccines for certain workers, both in the public and private sectors. Still, Little concluded his media release by encouraging his constituents to take steps against the virus. “I still urge Idahoans to choose to receive the safe and effective COVID-19 vaccine and other ways to protect themselves and others from COVID-19 so our kids can stay in school and for the continued health and prosperity of the people of Idaho,” he said. September 16, 2021 /


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Panida announces hiring of new managing director

New Panida Managing Director Veronica Lynn Knowlton will assume her duties in October. Courtesy photo. By Reader Staff

After a nearly two-month search, the Panida board of directors announced Sept. 14 that Veronica Lynn Knowlton has been hired as the managing director of the theater. Knowlton comes to the Panida with experience as the marketing and special programs manager at the North Idaho State Fair and as fair operations supervisor at the Alameda County Fairgrounds in California. Her hiring comes after several months of reorganization at the historic downtown landmark, beginning in 6 /


/ September 16, 2021

late-February with the departure of its then-executive director and the addition of a slate of new board members. Since then, much activity has occurred at the Panida, with extensive cleanup efforts and renovations, such as the successful fundraising effort to repair and relight its iconic marquee. Knowlton is expected to begin her duties in the first week of October. A “meet and greet” with the new managing director will take place at the Panida Annual Membership meeting, date to be determined. In the meantime, look for an interview with Knowlton in an upcoming edition of the Reader.

Bits ’n’ Pieces From east, west and beyond

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling: President Joe Biden released a 16page FBI report on the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, which showed ties between hijackers and Saudi nationals living in the U.S. According to NPR, the new report is a “starkly different portrait” than that of the 9/11 Commission Report from 2004. Biden has promised the release of more documents. Nearly 72,000 jobs in Texas were lost due to failure to stem the COVID-19 surge, CBS News reported. That translated to a $13 billion output decline, due primarily to employees’ fear of getting COVID-19 or needing to stay home to care for family members with COVID. Last week more than 250,000 children tested positive for COVID-19. Just seven states showed no deaths of children, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics. According to the CDC, more than 90% of current COVID-19 hospital patients had not been vaccinated. Two other CDC studies show reduced protection for vaccinated older adults: those 75 and older had 76% protection as compared to 89% for all other adults. It’s yet to be determined if the decline is due to the vaccine itself or to those vaccinated being less cautious. Biden recently shared plans for fighting the Delta-fueled COVID-19 pandemic: mandatory vaccinations for federal employees and contractors, for workers at businesses with 100 or more employees, mandatory time off to get vaccinated and vaccination requirements for all health facilities that accept Medicare or Medicaid. The Washington Post reported that Biden is asking governors to require vaccinations for teachers and school staff. U.S. Postal Service workers will not be required to be vaccinated. Fines will double for travelers who refuse to wear masks. As well, hospitals will get aid from a doubling of Department of Defense clinical teams, as well as increases this month in shipments of free monoclonal antibody treatments, which are shown to reduce COVID-19 hospitalization rates. While Biden admitted no one got all they wanted, last Thursday there was a bipartisan deal for a $579 billion infrastructure plan that addresses transportation infrastructure, broadband internet,

By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist

electric utilities, waterways, environmental remediation, climate change and more. The catch, The Post reported: It can only attain the presidential signature if separate bills that address human infrastructure and more climate change efforts accompany the infrastructure bill. Some of the bill’s funds would go to the IRS for enforcement to gain $100 billion in tax revenues. The compromise resulted in no new taxes on the wealthy or corporations, and Republicans’ call for a gas tax was eliminated. Funding for affordable housing was also eliminated, but plans are to pursue that and other issues later. Blast from the past: Haiti is on an earthquake fault line and in a hurricane zone. French colonists on the island’s west side removed almost all trees along with the indigenous Taino people, replacing them with African slaves to work the plantations. The slaves revolted and ejected the French in 1804, under a settlement requiring financial reparations for the price of the slaves. They borrowed the money, but to repay the loan were forced to neglect building infrastructure. U.S. forces occupied Haiti in 1915 to avoid a German takeover, but in the meantime plundered the nation’s gold reserves and imposed forced labor and racial segregation. When Haitians revolted, the U.S. killed 2,000 protesters and pulled out. In the 1950s, the U.S. lent support to dictators Papa Doc and Baby Doc, who pocketed vast sums of money and, with U.S.-trained death squads, “disappeared” 30,000 people. By 1990 Haiti had a democratically elected president, a former priest who planned wealth redistribution. With the aid of the U.S. military he was deposed, then reinstated with President Bill Clinton’s support, then deposed in 2004 by a military coup in which the Bush administration was implicated. When U.N peacekeepers came to provide relief after the 2010 earthquake that killed 250,000, they brought cholera that killed 10,000 people, mostly children. A pop singer was elected president in 2011, but he and fellow leaders were accused of embezzlement and mismanagement of loans. Banana exporter Jovenal Moise was his replacement, but was not popular due to using violence to control his opponents. Moise was gunned down last spring and replaced with a neurosurgeon backed by the EU, the U.N. and six other nations, including the U.S.


Candidates announced for area school boards, fire districts

Sandpoint voters will also be asked to weigh in on 1% local option tax

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff In addition to municipal elections Tuesday, Nov. 2, a number of candidates have also filed to run for positions on area school boards, fire districts and the Selkirk Recreation District Board. Sandpoint voters will also be asked to weigh in on a ballot measure regarding a 1% local option tax. For Lake Pend Oreille School District No. 84 Board of Trustee Zone 2 (which includes Cocolalla), incumbent Gary Suppiger will face challenger Jalon Peters. Incumbent Lonnie Williams, of Sandpoint, will run unopposed for Zone 3 and Tonya Sherman, also of Sandpoint will seek the Zone 5 seat left vacant by Cary Kelly, who has announced he will not seek reelection. In the West Bonner County School District No. 83 (Priest River and Oldtown), Susan Brown, Mark Caldwell and

< IDLEG con’t from Page 4 > running for lieutenant governor, and fellow North Idaho Reps. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens; Mike Kingsley, R-Lewiston; Ron Mendive, R-Coeur d’Alene; and Tony Wisniewski, R-Post Falls. The group had planned to bring a quorum of 36 members to the House floor to press for legislation barring any and all vaccine requirements — an effort that Scott described in another constituent newsletter Sept. 11 as “a bill to protect individuals from medical tyranny.” Far from a quorum, the impromptu session has no legislative authority, as with a similar ersatz session convened by many of the same legislators last year to oppose Little’s then-lapsed COVID-19 restrictions. The

Lonnie Orr will vie for a Zone 2 trustee seat. Meanwhile, Keith Rutledge and Hailey Scott will seek the Zone 4 position. Bob Howard is running for the fire commissioner Subdistrict 3 position with the Northside Fire District versus incumbent Vernon Roof, both of Sandpoint. In the Hope area, Sam Owen Fire District Chief Robert Wathen is running unopposed for Subdistrict 2 fire commissioner, while Terry Jensen will also run unopposed for commissioner of Subdistrict 3. Three candidates are seeking the commissioner Subdistrict 1 seat in the West Pend Oreille Fire District — Christine Coyle, Anthony Edmord and David VanNatter, all of Priest River — while three others are running for the Subdistrict 3 seat: Stephen Bouche, of Oldtown, Samuel Hall and Larry Larsen, both of Priest River. Commissioner candidates in the Coolin-Cavanaugh Bay and East Priest Lake fire districts

are all unopposed. For Coolin-Cavanaugh Bay Subdistrict 2 it’s Dallas Gray and Colleen Wilson in Subdistrict 3. In the East Priest Lake Fire District it’s Thomas Clevenger for Subdistrict 1, Jennifer Seaman for Subdistrict 2 and Ann McKinstry in Subdistrict 3. Stephen Elgar, of Sandpoint, is running unopposed for Selkirk Recreation District board member in Subdistrict 2. Finally, following a decision by the Sandpoint City Council at its regular meeting Sept. 8, voters will see a question on their ballots Nov. 2, asking whether they support or oppose a seven-year, 1% resort city local option tax. The ballot measure states that the tax would be levied on all sales other than those related to occupancy, which are otherwise subject to taxation under Idaho Code. While “exact revenue from this proposed tax is unknown,” city officials have estimated that the LOT could

bring in more than$12 million over the period from Jan. 1, 2022 to Dec. 31, 2028. Funds raised by the tax would go toward the completion of projects outlined in the 2020 Parks and Recreation Master Plan, “including, but not limited to” the City Beach; downtown waterfront; Travers, Centennial and Great Northern parks, otherwise known as the “Sports Complex”; and to purchase property for open space, parks and

House did not officially adjourn for the 2021 regular session and technically remains in recess, but can only be called back by the authority of House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley (who along with Little and Senate Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise, have also vowed to challenge Biden’s vaccine mandate in court). According to Idaho Press reporters Ryan Suppe and Capitol correspondent Betsy Z. Russell, the legislators moved to the House floor in the afternoon, where they were joined by a few others including Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, who said that he was there in “the role of an observer.” Dixon and Sen. Steve Vick, R-Dalton Gardens, are co-chairs of the Committee on Federalism, which he told

the Idaho Press is planning to meet Tuesday, Sept. 28 to work on similar issues of “federal overreach.” With a total of 15 House Republicans in attendance, legislators shared a number of ideas for proposed laws against vaccine mandates, including one that would make required vaccination “assault” under Idaho Code. Scott suggested amending state labor law to bar any type of medical intervention, precaution or procedure from being a condition of employment — with violations punishable as a misdemeanor. That would include hospital employment. “It should all be a personal choice,” she said, according to the Idaho Press. Giddings floated a similar

proposal, including protection of medical records such as vaccine status. The Idaho Association of Commerce and Industry, the most powerful business lobby in the state, condemned the informal Statehouse gathering Sept. 15, calling it “sad,” “an illegitimate session” and “an attention-seeking sham of an exercise” fronted by “a small minority of state representatives” who would seek to “put big government in charge of decisions businesses should be making themselves.” “This gathering is not only a disturbing defiance of House Resolution 004, which states that only the speaker of the House can call the House back into order, but also a shining example

Photo by Ben Olson. recreation. LOT revenue would also be applied to the city’s Pedestrian Priority Sidewalk Network, which was adopted in the 2021 Multimodal Transportation Plan, to the tune of $200,000 per year and to pay for the costs of collecting and enforcing the tax. For all county election information, visit bonnercountyid. gov/departments/elections. of these few House members’ deliberate disrespect for the rule of law, the founding principles of Idaho, and its citizens,” stated IACI President Alex LaBeau. “While the obsession of this small minority of legislators to override our status as a right-towork state is troubling, to say the least, we stand with the majority of Idahoans firm in our belief that businesses can and should make decisions for the health and productivity of their employees on their own,” he added. Lawmakers in attendance at the Sept. 15 gathering said they plan to regroup at the Capitol on Thursday, Sept. 16 at 9 a.m. (Mountain) in hopes that more House members will join them.

September 16, 2021 /


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Discarded fishing line is fishing for trouble…

Bouquets: GUEST SUBMISSION: • A week ago, Dash Paulson stopped to help my husband, Dan, who had crashed his bike on Gold Creek Road. Dash offered to take Dan home, but instead took him to the ER when it became evident that that was where he needed to go. He helped Dan call me, he waited at the ER until I got there, he took Dan’s bike back to our house, and he helped us figure out where Dan had parked our car at the start of his ride. I know this is what human beings do for each other, but to be the human experiencing such kindness has been simultaneously inspiring and reassuring. Dan had a concussion, and he has no memory of any of this. But I do, and I will always be extremely grateful. — By Cate Huisman GUEST SUBMISSION: • It seems like everywhere I go, I see no sign that we are in a major COVID surge. I want to give a bouquet to one of the few North Idaho businesses I’ve seen take a major step toward trying to limit COVID transmission. Sandpoint Hot Yoga will be hosting weekly yoga classes exclusively for vaccinated people Fridays at noon starting Sept. 17. This local business has been hit extremely hard by the pandemic. If you support businesses standing up for their community, then please consider supporting SHY by showing up for vaccinated-only yoga or buying a punch card to support them through this tough time. Good on you, Kerri! — By Lacy Robinson Barbs: • The Pend Oreille Bay Trail was vandalized over Labor Day weekend with offensive graffiti. Thanks to quick action by the Sandpoint Parks and Rec. Dept., a large portion has already been removed. While the old mill ruins along the trail have always had some graffiti here and there, taggers are now hitting benches, trees, rocks and the water intake pipe with offensive tags. We use our trails to enjoy nature, so please keep your lame graffiti out of the natural spaces so everyone can enjoy them in peace. 8 /


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Dear editor, I just read a story in the Daily Bee about “Poppy,” the osprey who dangled in a tree by the Popsicle Bridge. It was upside down for five hours with its leg tangled in a fishing line. The poor thing ended up dying from this traumatic experience. Something missing from the story is the fact that birds, and all manner of other creatures, get tangled in fishing line that has been cast aside next to bodies of water. I see it all of the time and I always follow the long trail of line, winding it as I go, and disposing of it. The next time you’re by the water, be on the lookout for these potentially deadly fishing lines and dispose of them properly. Better yet, how about if the humans responsible for throwing them on the ground just wind it up and stick it in your pocket until it can be disposed of properly. You might save a life. Cynthia Mason Hope

Notification of (un)vaccination…

Dear editor, I read with some amazement an interview in the People Watching column in the recent Sandpoint Reader [Sept. 9, 2021] with a Sandpoint resident who had the gumption to publicly state that he was not vaccinated because he believed, “It is an experimental vaccine that is untested and unapproved by the FDA.” Apparently he puts all scientific and medical proof aside (I won’t repeat the gentleman’s name). What deeply concerned me was that he identified himself as a cashier. He did not mention where he worked but if I knew that, I would inform the owner of that business that this cashier must wear a mask at all times. In addition, I would like to see a sign on the front door notifying all customers of the unvaccinated cashier. Children under 12, the unvaccinated and elderly need to be warned to stay out of this store. This is how I feel about those citizens who would put other citizens’ lives in danger, disregarding all medical facts available. James Richard Johnson Clark Fork

In support of Jason Welker for Sandpoint City Council… Dear editor, Jason Welker is running in a crowded field of candidates for

Sandpoint City Council. I met Jason recently and learned that he is the chairman of Sandpoint’s Planning and Zoning Commission. Chairman Welker is the only candidate in the race who I feel has the experience, knowledge and commitment to actually increase the availability of affordable and achievable housing in Sandpoint. Chairman Welker has a degree in economics and has been using those skills to analyze the complex problem of the current housing crisis. He has solid, well researched ideas for working toward a solution. We have heard from City Council candidates who told us that they would be working on this issue for the past decade and look where we are. I believe Jason will actually do something about this issue. Chairman Welker is a 17-year homeowner in Bonner County and has seen the changes firsthand. He is committed to responsible growth and development that respects local values. Development is a necessary part of increasing housing supply, but Jason believes that it must be done by balancing the developer’s desire for profit and the community’s need for achievable housing. You can find out more about Chairman Welker at and on facebook at jasonwelkerforsandpoint. Please join me and vote for Jason Welker for Sandpoint City Council on Nov. 2. Lee Christensen Sandpoint

‘Get the damn shot’… Dear editor, I always enjoy reading the Reader, it is informative and often entertaining. I want to comment on [Publisher Ben Olson’s Sept. 9, 2021] “Dear Reader.” It was well said about 9/11 and the World Trade Center and how we all remember that day 20 years ago. I like what you said about COVID-19, the last sentence: “Get the damn shot and let’s

get on with our lives,” — yes! Mary Strunc Bonner County

‘Let us not become the evil’... Dear editor, Congresswoman Barbara Lee [D-Calif.] voted against hasty revenge. A congressional vote of 420 in favor of war to her one vote against it, led to her getting death threats. In a recent interview she eloquently explained that she is not pacifist — her father was a military hero and she supports those who serve, enough to not put them unnecessarily in harm’s way. Her vote 20 years ago was based on the knowledge she gained when studying for a Master’s degree in social work: Decisions should never be made in grief, anger or shock, she said. An excerpt from her speech on Sept. 14, 2001: “Sept. 11 changed the world. Our deepest fears now haunt us. Yet, I am convinced that military action will not prevent further acts of international terrorism against the United States. This is a very complex and complicated matter. … As a member of the clergy so eloquently

said, ‘As we act, let us not become the evil that we deplore.’” Now that thousands of innocent Afghans and thousands of Americans have been sacrificed (amounting to billions of dollars wasted on increasing chaos), Barbara Lee is finally getting respect for her previously scorned courage. I can’t help but wonder what life would look like now if we had all paused and listened to Lee 20 years ago. Jodi Rawson Sandpoint

Fairgrounds mess… Dear editor, Another year, another huge pile of smelly, fly infested sawdust left behind! Every year phone calls requesting the removal are ignored. Why isn’t this cleaned up immediately following the closing of events? The idea of not being able to enjoy the outdoors because of the fly situation is ridiculous! Jo Reitan Sandpoint

Send letters under 300 words to Please elevate the conversation. No toilet rants.

Mad about Science:

Brought to you by:

colonizing mars, part 1 By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist Our subject today is too large to confine to a single page. Fortunately, the crew at the Reader tolerates my nonsense when I try to pull off something as wildly ambitious as a two-part Mad About Science series. The idea of colonizing another planet is a pretty wild concept — it’s such a colossal endeavor that each individual person reading this article will envision the end goal of exoplanetary colonization in a different way. Will we terraform the entire surface to make a second Earth, or will we just populate the entire planet with futuristic dome-cities? Others will scoff entirely at the idea, with my favorite Twitter-ism being, “We need to solve our problems as a society on Earth before we infect another planet.” Sorry to break it to everyone, but that’s not how society works. We as a society don’t devote unified attention to a single goal before moving onto the next one; that’s how a single human operates, while societies break up their problems for “teams” to handle in parallel. The same people building next-generation rockets are not the same people arguing about what does or doesn’t constitute a societal right in the halls of political power — though I think we can all agree that we need the latter to listen to the former more often. Because of this added layer of complexity when talking about exoplanetary colonization, we’re going to gloss over the role that government and society plays in the whole matter and look only at what it would take,

logistically and scientifically, to build a second home for the human race. First, let’s compare the size of Earth and Mars. It’s difficult to understand the scale of something as far away as another planet, since images of Earth and Mars are often scaled to be the same size. Mars is a little more than half the size of Earth, with a diameter of about 4,200 miles. The lower 48 states of the United States stretch to be about 2,800 miles across, to give you a little perspective. Mars has about 0.6% of the atmosphere of Earth — an important feature that drastically influences our ability to build any sort of long-term habitat on the “red planet.” Because of the extremely thin atmosphere, the planet is unable to maintain a steady temperature, swinging from -220 degrees Fahrenheit to 70 degrees F. Additionally, this lack of atmosphere allows larger amounts of solar and cosmic radiation to reach the planet’s surface, which is bad news for organic life. Another hurdle to maintaining a habitable environment for humanity is that Mars’ core doesn’t rotate like Earth’s, which means the planet has a considerably weaker magnetosphere than our home planet, which also means that the radiation bombarding the planet’s surface tends to heat up lighter particles, such as oxygen and hydrogen, and allow them to float high up into the atmosphere before being stripped away and hurled into the vast expanse of space. There is also the small problem of the distance between Earth and Mars. When speaking about planets, measuring in straight lines and static distances like we do on Earth is a waste of

time — it’s something you do at dinner parties to impress your friends who don’t really understand astrophysics. At its nearest, Mars is about 34 million miles from Earth, while it sits somewhere around 245 million miles away at its farthest. Sending supplies to a colony on the red planet is more complicated than firing off a rocket in a straight line. The two planets’ orbits and proximity to one another must be considered, and calculations must be made to adjust for where the planets will be nine months after launch, which is the time it would take for a human mission to reach the planet. You thought your sixhour layover in SeaTac was bad? Imagine being stuck on a plane for nine months. The flight is, in theory, one of the most dangerous parts of the trip. During this time, any defects in the ship’s polyethylene shielding could lead to severe long-term exposure to cosmic radiation, which would be similar to living inside an active X-ray chamber firing off shots at all times. This kind of exposure causes severe sickness, including rapid organ failure and an extremely heightened risk of cancer. Problems that are detected or form part-way through the flight aren’t as simple as turning the vehicle around. After the craft has reached escape velocity of Earth’s gravity well, slowing the vehicle down would alter its trajectory, potentially leaving the crew stranded in a perpetual solar orbit. Descent and landing would likely be the most dangerous and tense time during a crew’s expedition. NASA famously dubbed the descent of the Curiosity Rover in 2012, as well as the

Perseverance rover earlier this year, “seven minutes of terror.” The entry, descent and landing stage (EDL) takes place during the course of seven minutes; this means it takes longer for the radio transmission from NASA to travel to the craft than the entire process of entering the atmosphere and landing on the planet’s surface. This would be mitigated by a manned crew, but if something were to go wrong, it would be

impossible for the crew to call back to Earth for help. They would need to know what to do at the exact moment of any problem. If one should occur, Earth wouldn’t know for almost 10 minutes after the fact. So what about the actual colonization? Where is all the cool, futuristic science-y stuff? I guess you’ll just have to grab a Reader next week to find out. Stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner Don’t know much about fall?

We can help!

• Americans typically refer to this time of year as “fall,” while the British use the word “autumn.” Both terms date back to the 16th century but before that it was called “harvest.”

• Red and purple leaves are only that color because of the presence of sugars and sap that are trapped within the leaves. These sugars provide plants with the energy they need to survive.

• Fall was called “harvest” because of the “harvest moon” that occurs when the full moon is closest to the autumn equinox. Before man-made lighting, this moonlight was essential to a prosperous harvest.

• Evergreen trees such as pines, cedars, and spruces stay green because their leaves (needles) are covered with thick wax and they contain materials that prevent freezing when it gets cold.

• Weight gain around this time of year may not only be due to comforting fall foods like pumpkin pie and cider, researchers have found that lack of vitamin D reduces fat breakdown and triggers fat storage. • The yellow and orange colors you see actually always exist in leaves but they are overpowered by the abundance of green from chlorophyll. The amount of chlorophyll starts to decrease as the sun weakens and the days grow shorter.

• Many birds will prepare for their winter migration during the fall. The distance they can travel is impressive; the Arctic Tern travels 11,000 miles each way for it’s annual migration. • Men and women experience high levels of testosterone during the fall. This makes sense because more babies are conceived during the fall and winter. The cause is unknown but it could be due to lack of sunlight or even go back to ancient mating rituals.

September 16, 2021 /


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Where are all the workers?

How demographics, COVID-19 and housing prices have helped shrink the local labor pool

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff

This article is the introductory piece in an ongoing series during which the Reader will examine various aspects of the labor shortage affecting area employers. When the state entered Stage 4 of its Idaho Rebounds COVID-19 reopening plan in May, businesses threw open their doors, events and gatherings that had been waylaid over the previous year went back on the calendar, families busily planned for long delayed vacations and those who had received both doses of the coronavirus vaccine in the spring happily threw away their masks. Amid the optimism for the return of a “normal” summer came a harsh reminder that not all was “normal.” Employers ranging from restaurateurs to retailers to manufacturers found themselves unable to attract — or even retain — enough labor force to offer their previous levels of service, let alone keep those doors open on a consistent basis. From across the national, state and local economies came a similar question: “Where are all the workers?” The answer to that question locally lies in both the longand short-term trends at play in North Idaho, which revolve around three broad factors: demographics, the effects of the ongoing — and worsening — COVID-19 pandemic and the affordability of housing. Of first importance, however, is grasping the extent of the problem. ‘All the employers are feeling the same thing’ Clyde Montgomery has been in the temp-to-hire business since 1989, helping connect employers with job seekers in North Idaho through Coeur d’Alene10 /


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based Integrated Personnel, Inc. With offices in both Kootenai and Bonner counties, the company works in all five northern counties and can fill positions in both eastern Washington and western Montana. He said the current job vacancies in the region are “close to triple” the typical number. “We’ve seen an uptick in possible new clients, which would be employers coming to us and they’re looking for employees, but for the most part we’ve had to turn them away because we have more than 300 openings that we have to fill with our existing clients,” said Montgomery, who serves as vice president of the company, which is owned by his now-retired father-in-law. “I’d just be wasting their time. There’s way more jobs than there are people now. … All the employers are feeling the same thing.” According to data from the Idaho Department of Labor, the civilian labor force in the five northern counties of Benewah, Bonner, Boundary, Kootenai and Shoshone comprises 117,989 workers, as of July 2021. The regional unemployment rate is 3.8% — the highest in the state, which has recorded 3% joblessness since July — though still far lower than the national rate of 5.2%, reported in August. Meanwhile, Idaho has added more jobs to its economy over the past year than any other state in the country and, alongside Utah, the only state in which nonfarm payroll employment actually increased from the beginning of the pandemic shutdowns in March 2020 and March 2021. In other words, according to an article published in July by late-Labor Department Regional Economist Kathryn Tacke, “Idaho’s good fortune is one reason for the labor shortages. Its economy has proven hardy during the pandemic …,” yet, “While jobs have grown since the pandem-

ic’s start, some Idahoans left the labor force.” That said, the labor force in the northern region increased from 115,524 in July 2020 — when unemployment was 6.9% — to 117,989 in July 2021. That’s an additional 2,465 workers, which boosted the total number of employed laborers in the five northern counties by nearly 6,000 year over year, bringing unemployment down to the current 3.8%. Those job gains haven’t been distributed evenly across the region, however. In Bonner County — which has a civilian labor force of 20,852, representing 17.6% of the regional whole — unemployment is 4.2%, as of July 2021. Labor Department data shows that Bonner County lost workers year over year, falling from 21,440 in July 2020 to its current number. That’s a reduction of 588 over the 12-month period, which doesn’t seem like much, but during the same time total employment rose by 74 workers — meaning that, in Bonner County at least, there are numerically fewer workers but more of them are working than a year ago. It’s a bit of a head-scratcher, considering that as the county’s

labor pool has shrunk, its population has increased. The recent U.S. Census data, covering the 10-year period from 2010 to 2020, showed that Bonner County grew by 15.2% for a total population of 47,110 — and that doesn’t include the new residents who have continued to flood into the area since over the past year. Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton told the City Council in August that Sandpoint’s population grew 17.3% over the decade to 8,639, but, “We believe these [numbers] are lower than what we’re all experiencing, feeling and seeing. We’re looking at data based on the surveys and door-to-door surveys that were completed well over a year ago … What we’ve seen is that it feels like we’re at that 17.3% growth just from last year to this year.” So what gives? Shouldn’t a bigger population equal more workers? Retirees, Zoomers and COVID collide Part of the conundrum facing Sandpoint, and Bonner County as a whole, is demographics and the changing nature of work stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. While the median

One of the many help wanted signs that seem to be everywhere now. Courtesy photo.

statewide age is 40, regionally it’s 45 and in Bonner County it’s 47.9. Only 20% of Bonner County residents are under the age of 18 (compared to 25.7% statewide) and 23.8% are 65 and older (statewide that figure is 15.4%). “Historically we’ve leaned more toward the retirement age of residents,” said Ryan Robinson, interim executive director of the Bonner County Economic Development Corporation, meaning that many of those who live here do so not to work but to enjoy its amenities. Meanwhile, the pandemic “accelerated that dream of moving to a place as beautiful as it is here,” he said. That’s a trend that has been felt nationwide. According to data cited by AARP, about 2 million “older workers” opted to drop out of the labor force altogether since spring 2020 and more than a quarter of all workers said that COVID-19 has spurred them to plan for an earlier retirement. As Tacke, with the Idaho Department of Labor wrote, “the number of Idahoans 55 years or older in the state’s labor force

< see WORKERS, Page 11 >

< WORKERS, con’t’ from Page 10 > fell 11%” from March 2020 to March 2021, due in part to a combination of fear of COVID-19 exposure and early retirement. During that time, more than 16,500 Idahoans applied earlier than expected for Social Security benefits because of the pandemic, Tacke wrote, citing a Census Bureau survey conducted in March. Meanwhile, that has caused a ripple effect as many other, younger, workers dropped out of the labor force to care for non-working elderly relatives. “There are more people reaching retirement age than there are youth to replace them,” Tacke added. “Despite Idaho’s rapid population growth and relatively youthful demographics, the number of teens entering the labor force has grown much more slowly than the number of people entering their retirement years.” Robinson echoed that, pointing out that Bonner County has always had a hard time keeping its kids at home. “All these high-school-age kids are fleeing the area and not coming back,” he said, pointing not only to the inability to secure affordable housing, but the lack of local post-graduation education and training opportunities. “There are not a lot of opportunities for high-school kids to go to trade school and then come back,” Robinson said. “By that time they’ve decided to live somewhere else due to the cost of living.” That, in turn, hollows out the available labor pool for lower-wage sectors such as the service and hospitality industries, which, in Bonner County, make up the fourth-largest employment area (nearly tied with manufacturing, which is ranked third) but its lowest paid. Department of Labor statistics show that the average wage for leisure and hospitality workers in Bonner County is $20,020 — $1,083 lower than the regional rate. Anecdotal evidence for the pressure placed on the leisure and hospitality sector is made clear by signs posted on restaurant doors apologizing for reduced hours and menus, even abrupt midweek closures, due to lack of staffing. But the reason for the imbalance between population and labor pool also has to do with the surge in remote workers relocating to the area. The so-called “Zoom economy” has quickly come to typify the workplace in many sectors, enabling employees specifically in technology and information-based jobs to ditch larger cities and relocate to rural areas where their salaries can afford them a higher quality of life for relatively less cost. This phenomenon has been widely reported, especially as it affects resort communities in the West, but it’s worth

noting that when addressing the “workpopulation, Kootenai County is expeer shortage,” these workers don’t count riencing the greatest need for skilled when tallying up the local labor pool. workers, though Montgomery estimated Even though remote workers may be that about 33% of the total vacancies that living and working in a community, they he’s trying to fill are in Bonner County, aren’t technically employed there — their numbering about 100 openings. work product is being exported to create “I’ve had work orders before where profit elsewhere, while their wages are they say, ‘Send me 100 workers,’ and imported and leveraged to demand local others are open-ended: ‘Keep sending me services. Ideally that results in a “trickpeople,’” he said. le-down” effect, with their spending spurRobinson, at the Bonner County Ecoring economic growth, but just as often nomic Development Corporation, noted creates inflation in critical areas such as that Bonner County has long struggled housing prices. with skilled labor. “You have peo“You have people coming in here, not A concerted effort ple coming in here, in the first decade contributing to the labor pool, working of the century to not contributing remotely or working out of the area to the labor pool, attract manufacturworking remotely ing firms has been and making out-of-area wages, yet or working out of successful enough the area and making demanding services that can’t be met to raise that sector because of a lack of workers in those out-of-area wages, to the third-highest yet demanding lower-wage sectors because they can’t employment area services that can’t in the county — afford housing.” be met because of a centered in large — Ryan Robinson lack of workers in part on aeronauthose lower-wage Interim executive director of the Bonner tics and firms like sectors because Co. Economic Development Corporation. Encoder Products they can’t afford and Litehouse housing,” Robinson Foods — but it still said. “None of these issues are new issues hasn’t overcome the housing hurdle, even for Bonner County — they’re just magnithough those wages pay better here than fied because of the situation we’re in.” elsewhere in the region. “I’ve had a number of conversations The housing crunch and ‘the perfect with employers who have higher-end jobs storm’ open — $80,000-plus — they offer the The income disparity between local position to someone out of town, they workers and those making an out-of-area accept and as they look at the housing wage — and its inflationary effect on prices they back out,” Robinson said. “Eihousing prices — is a big factor in what ther that or they go back to their current Montgomery has also been seeing with employer, bargain for a higher wage and regional employers’ difficulty with findend up staying.” ing labor. And it’s not just in the service That trend has also affected the ability and retail sectors. Integrated Personnel of health care providers, as well as edudoesn’t even work primarily with those cational institutions, to attract workers, employers, focusing more on manufactur- which while combined make up the secing and timber, in particular. ond-largest number of employees in the Those sectors pay much higher wages county pay an average wage of $38,507, than most other industries in the area: according to the Department of Labor. regionally, manufacturing jobs pay an Skyrocketing housing prices have been average salary of $50,928 and, in Bonner a constant source of both national headCounty, it’s $52,539. lines and local conversations for more Still, Montgomery said, “The housing than a year, with the median list price for market has a lot to do with it. We do a lot a home in Sandpoint rapidly increasing to of blue-collar, and the blue-collar worker somewhere in the $500,000 to $600,000 is getting kind of priced out of this area. range over the past year alone, depending “I’ve seen that happen with some of on the source. Meanwhile, the area medithe employees we’ve hired; they move an income is about $60,000 per year. here, they can’t afford to live here and “We’ve been slow to react on prethey have to move back,” he added. vailing wages but you’re starting to see Meanwhile, Montgomery said his employers react to that,” Robinson said, clients are raising wages, offering benefits referring to the types of attraction and sooner, providing incentive pay on attenretention strategies described by Montdance and sign-on bonuses — “anything gomery. “That’s going to help.” they can think of to entice employees.” What else would help, he added, is Unsurprisingly, given its much larger supporting more local professional-tech-

nical training to provide opportunities for younger people to stay home and contribute to the economy as skilled workers. Again and again, however, one of the fundamental factors fueling the worker shortage is the lack of affordable housing pushing out not only workers in traditionally lower-wage sectors but affecting those employees who even in the recent past would have been considered moderate- to high-wage earners. “The labor shortage and housing issue has always been here, it’s just been magnified because of the perfect storm of COVID, housing prices and people moving out to seek lower cost of living and higher wages,” Robinson said, “and we as economic development people can’t fix it — the market has to fix it or private industry has to put a Band-Aid on it by providing work force housing to get us through it.” Pick up the Sept. 23 edition of the Reader for the second part in this series, which will specifically look at housing costs as a factor in the local worker shortage. If you have a story of how the worker shortage and/or housing affordability has affected you or your business, share it with us at

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North Idaho recently made the national news cycle thanks to the fact that we’re currently rationing health care, operating under “crisis standards of care” at all of our area hospitals. This is not a badge of pride. This is not a good advertisement for what the panhandle is all about. But it is what the panhandle is all about, or so it seems. We value freedom above all else, including responsibility. We value the freedom to decline a vaccine or mock masks, even if a more responsible approach would yield far less dire results — and far more open hospital beds. As the parent of a young child, the balance between freedom and responsibility is one I contend with every day. How much responsibility must my daughter exhibit before I grant her more freedoms? How do I balance the drudgery of her responsibilities with the exhilaration of newfound freedoms? She knows how to assemble kindling and tinder to build a fire, but am I ready to hand her the match? She enjoys steering the car around our driveway, sitting in my lap, but am I ready to take my own hands off the wheel? The hope, as a parent, is to find a happy balance, avoid injury and disaster, and raise a conscientious and independent child. Sadly, in North Idaho, we do not seem to inhabit that happy balance. We are not ready for the matches or the steering wheel. We are petulant children intent on burning the whole goddamn thing down because our personal freedoms are more important than the collective well-being. Scientists from around the 12 /


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Jen Jackson Quintano. world worked their tails off to create a life-saving vaccine in record time so that the scourge of COVID-19 might become a page in classroom history books. In the meantime, researchers found irrefutable evidence that simply covering one’s face could slow the spread of the virus, saving countless lives. But in North Idaho, we value the freedom to ignore — and even protest — these measures. I think these are ignorant and selfish choices, but fine. Mine is only one belief among many. As a defender of women’s rights, I’ve stood behind the phrase “keep your laws off my body,” and I suppose that expression can apply here as well. So, let’s not mandate masks and vaccines. Instead, I have another suggestion. If you have chosen to remain unmasked and not get vaccinated, that is your decision. It is your body, after all. However, I would argue that, in making such a deci-

sion, you also forfeit your ability to receive scarce medical care and resources. Our health care workers are at a collective breaking point, all of our hospital beds are taken and life-saving equipment is in short supply. If you have chosen not to protect yourself, then you have also chosen not to have an overworked doctor pick up the pieces for you. You have made your bed — and it ain’t one in a hospital — and now you can lie in it. If we only admitted the vaccinated into our hospitals (and the unvaccinated suffering from non-COVID ailments), we would no longer be dealing with crisis standards of care. Health care workers would no longer have to play God in deciding whose life is most worth saving. These same health care workers could then rest their weary hearts, breathe for a moment (and not through the misery of two masks) and spend some time with neglected loved ones who are also bearing the burden of this latest COVID surge. I understand my proposal is rather draconian. I understand it is unrealistic. I understand that if I had a loved one who remained unvaccinated, I might feel differently. But I’ve had enough. Something’s got to give. I have multiple friends and acquaintances whose all-too-necessary surgeries are on indefinite hold due to a lack of health care bandwidth. These people are needlessly suffering and worrying as this preventable crisis drags on. My grandparents died of COVID. Both of them. As I write this, it is my grandfather’s birthday. Wilton Jackson was a

decorated World War II veteran with a heart as big and adventurous as the desert landscapes he called home. I inherited my entrepreneurial spirit from him. With every success we enjoy in our business, I think of Gramps, wanting to share the excitement with him. I no longer can. It breaks my heart. Now, with crisis standards of care implemented, one of the lastditch suggestions from area health care providers is “avoid activities with a high risk of injury.” So, what is an arborist to do? All of us who work in this industry here are actively highrisk on a daily basis. If we want to pay the mortgage, we don’t have a choice. We run chainsaws — sometimes 100 feet above the ground — and trust our lives to intricate webs of ropes and rigging. We routinely send trees weighing upwards of 10,000 pounds crashing to the ground. We shove recalcitrant limbs into raging chippers (have you seen Fargo?) and separate trees with strange tensions that want to move in unpredictable and dangerous ways. Heretofore, we have always felt some small reassurance that the hospital was nearby; that if the unthinkable happened, highly trained medical professionals could, in time, put us back on our feet. The summer before COVID hit, three different arborists in our region made headlines for near-fatal accidents. They survived thanks to immediately available life-saving measures. What if an arborist — my husband, one of my employees or colleagues — is similarly injured

today? Then what? This isn’t rhetorical. I’m really asking: What will happen? What can we expect? Will the necessary hospital bed be inhabited by someone suffering an entirely preventable illness? Will his or her freedom to suffer said illness impinge upon the hospital’s ability and responsibility to care for all, including someone I love? Or myself? These are the scenarios that keep me up at night. These are the questions that leave me feeling pissed off and powerless. This is the reality that weighs heavily on me — on many of us. My family is directly affected by the decision-making that led to this latest COVID surge. My business is affected. My friends and colleagues are affected. People I love dearly are not and will not receive the care they need. This is unacceptable. So, North Idaho, go ahead and flaunt your freedom. Run through the trees with your matches and think nothing of your responsibility to the surrounding forest. Fine. We’ll keep our laws off your bodies if you do me two favors: 1.) extend the same courtesy to me, my daughter and all the women I love; 2.) kindly leave our community health care facilities to those who are suffering not from the predictable and preventable, but from the unanticipated and the inconceivable. Jen Jackson Quintano writes and runs an arborist business with her husband in Sandpoint. Find their website at See more of Quintano’s writing at


Emily Articulated Persuasive

By Emily Erickson Reader Columnist I’ve been thinking about my high school English class a lot lately and the care my teacher, Mrs. Auch, took in instructing us on the proper way to write a persuasive essay. In the methodological, formulaic approach to crafting a compelling argument, we learned not only how to write but, also, the amount of work and care that should go into having an opinion. In writing a persuasive essay, the first element to develop is the argument the writer is trying to make. This argument should be concise enough to fit into a single statement and is called the thesis. For example, I’d begin the essay-writing process with a thesis like, “Gentrification is inevitable in resort mountain towns that take a ‘hands-off’ approach to growth.” But, before diving into an argument, information and resources supporting the thesis need to be gathered. Peer-reviewed articles, journals from accredited institutions, and data sets collected in a context that’s relevant to the population about which the author is writing should be evaluated and sourced. Powerful statistics and quotes that make the argument more compelling should be extrapolated and, in their research, the writer should strive to develop a deep and nuanced understanding of the topic. After a thesis is developed and resources are gathered, the essay can begin to take shape. An introductory paragraph detailing the thesis and its context is followed by the supporting body paragraphs. In my example about resort town gentrification, I’d begin with describing the types of peo-

Emily Erickson. ple migrating to rural mountain areas. I’d reference the Journal of the West article entitled, “The persistent frontier & the rural gentrification of the Rocky Mountain West,” by J. Dwight Hines, which states, “In general, contemporary urban-to-rural migration is an amalgam of several different processes. In-migrants to Park County [Montana] over the last two decades include members of: (a) the national wealthy-elite; (b) the cultural elite; (c) the retirement set; and (d) the middle class.” With this, I’d assert that migration to beautiful rural areas, especially those with resort-quality amenities, is not a new phenomenon — the results of which have been modeled in towns across the North American west for decades. In my next paragraph, I’d describe the effect that resort-town migration typically has on existing communities, beginning with pressure on the housing market. Citing the peer-reviewed article “Resort-induced Changes in Small Mountain Communities in British Columbia, Canada,” by Sanjay Nepal and Tazin Jamal, I’d share, “Resort accommodations and second homes are seen as putting further pressure on existing home stock and driving

real estate prices. This has made it difficult for many long-time residents to maintain their property, whereas, for [non-wealthy] newcomers, property is simply unaffordable.” I’d argue that rising housing prices and lack of affordable housing are nearly always followed by staffing shortages in working-class industries — consequently creating greater demand than supply for basic amenities like hair appointments, restaurant seats and routine car maintenance. I’d highlight the ubiquitousness of this phenomenon, and its exacerbation by COVID-19, with remote work and pandemic protocols accelerating the urban to resort-rural migration. I’d share quotes from the recently published article, “More mountain towns taking drastic measures to address housing shortages,” published by Rocky Mountain PBS, like, “This housing crisis all came to a head during the last year. Housing shortages in mountain towns have been building up for years, but the pandemic pushed it over the edge,” and, “it’s gentrification on steroids … You actually lose long-term residents; you lose people who have been here for generations and that’s the more important impact.” Before I could conclude, however, I’d have to incorporate the last element of a persuasive essay: the counterargument. To be truly persuasive, the writer must make a concerted effort to disprove their own thesis to test its durability. This helps prevent the writer from taking a narrow view of the point they’re trying to make. In my example, I’d propose that maybe gentrification is inevitable in resort mountain towns, regardless of intervention. Towns

A column by and about Millennials

like Crested Butte, Colo., which declared a housing emergency in June to help bypass zoning and regulation that stymies fast action planning, and posed a moratorium on short-term rentals (STRs), still assert greater interventions as being necessary. But mountain-town gentrification intervention efforts, when more aggressive, like government-incentivized development programs, imposed regulations on STRs and community-led initiatives to support working populations, are paired with

absolute buy-in that the character of the mountain town is worth preserving — perhaps gentrification can be slowed, and growth can be molded with intention. Finally, a persuasive essay finishes with a conclusion. It ties up the argument and validates the writer’s perspective by demonstrating the effort put into having, and asserting, an opinion. So, is gentrification inevitable in resort mountain towns that take a ‘hands-off’ approach to growth? I think that’s a thesis worth writing an essay about.



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Roll d20 for consent By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist Are you a fan of tabletop role-playing games (TTRPGs) such as “Dungeons & Dragons,” “Pathfinder,” “Call of Cthulhu” or, my personal favorite, “Eventide Saga”? Have you ever felt uncomfortable at a table because of a topic presented during the game? Maybe you joined a new group expecting a heavy role-playing experience, just to discover the rest of the party was a group of murderhobos with their hearts set on loot and plunder. If you’ve ever felt you’ve had to leave a table permanently for any reason, today’s article is for you. Tabletop games have changed in the past few years as nerd culture has permeated the mainstream. New faces have started showing up at the table, some for the very first time in their lives. As the culture of tabletop games changes, it’s important to respect everyone at the table — we’re all gathered to have fun.

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“Fun” is a tricky term to define. Think of just about any ride at an amusement park. The entire appeal is that we are tricking our own bodies into thinking that, at any moment, we could be flung to a horrific death — but so long as the safety straps are intact, it’s a great time! Because of the forces involved with the ride, different sets of safety precautions are required for different types of rides. This is especially true of any good RPG. Users online have come to develop a set of safety tools for role-playing games, to ensure that everyone at the table has a good time, and they’re all based upon the premise of consent. Before the first game, it’s the responsibility of the game master to present a list of topics to everyone at the table. This list of topics is meant to span most things that would make someone feel uncomfortable during or after the game — things like depictions of gore, sexual violence, racism, spiders — the list goes on. It’s the player’s

responsibility then to mark how they feel about depictions of those topics in their game in three stages. Think of it like a traffic light. Green means: “I am completely fine with this being in the game.” Yellow means: “I am OK with it being in the game, if it is minimized or done ‘offscreen,’ such as ‘... and fade to black.’” Red means: “Under no circumstance do I want this in the game.” This stoplight method sets a precedent for both the players and the game master at the table. If a player, or a GM has issues with upholding these for a player, it’s much easier for that person to move on to another group before the game has started, rather than several months later, when it can severely damage friendships. Another safety tool that has come into play is referred to as “The X-Card.” Each player is given a card and, if a subject they’re uncomfortable with arises, they can flash the card to the game master, who will then alter the narrative to respect the wishes of the player. If the players don’t wish to break the immersion of the game, they can instead state, “Pause for a moment,” then talk about what has made them uncomfortable, and how the party can address it and move forward without damaging the narrative. My favorite safety tool is a constructive one called “stars and wishes.” At the end of a game, the players mention something they enjoyed about the game that night — that is a star. Additionally, they mention something they would really enjoy seeing in a future game — this is a wish. Stars reaffirm good behavior and storytelling for a game master, who will often spend hours building a scenario for their players and spend an entire

A close-up shot of Dungeons & Dragons gameplay. Courtesy photo. session as an antagonistic force set against their players. This makes positive feedback very special. Wishes help ease the GM’s burden of creating content for the group by giving them constructive criticism and goals to strive for in future sessions. Some of the most important safety tools in any game setting are positive reaffirmation and contact. Is your group waist-deep in the blood of cosmic horrors, with their minds wracked by unfathomable evils? It’s important to be able to leave the table for a few moments and take a break if the stress gets too high. If you are in a roleplay heavy group, fully committing to the persona of the character you have adopted, sometimes it may be difficult for others to tell if your character is stressing out or if you are. This becomes especially true in horror games, where the entire point of the game is to build stress and fear without crossing a boundary. Sometimes, a simple touch, or a quick check-in with another player at the table can totally change their perception of the night for the better. You may not agree with these tools, and that’s perfectly fine. If everyone is happy with how your game is progressing, that’s great! If you’ve ever struggled with attendance, or just not quite found a group that clicks, maybe give some of these tools a try and see if that alters your experience. We’re all in this to have fun! If you have any questions about some expanded TTRPG safety tools, or would like some source material about them, email me at


A plea on behalf of wildland firefighters By Feliz Papich Reader Contributor As I read about the devastating wildfires on all the news outlets and witnessed the gracious outpouring of gratitude for our federal firefighters, I thought I would take this moment to address a major issue. I am hopeful that many people will read this because it is such an important topic, as well as one that is generally overlooked. The brave men and women who spend six to eight months every year in conditions that ordinary citizens will not currently go outside in, are labeled forestry technicians rather than firefighters, as they should be. They are frequently thanked in news articles and on social media sites where people call them heroes, which they are. However, they do not receive the same benefits as most of our other first responders do, and many of these heroes are temporary employees who do not receive any benefits at all. Their wages lag far behind standard firefighter wages, and they do not receive pay for their escalating workloads within an increasingly longer fire season. I write this as the wife of a hero — a wildland firefighter — and a selfless man who is gone for months at a time saving our beautiful country. These men and women miss kids’ birthdays, anniversaries, wed-

dings, holidays and everyday moments with their families for the safety, health and wellbeing of others — people they do not even know, and I can guarantee that not one of them complains because they love their work. I believe a recent letter written by a wildland firefighter to Congress describes it better than I ever could. But I will summarize the key changes they are asking for below: 1. A psychologist with an office located in the forest headquarters of each national forest who is available to all Forest Service employees for mental health support; 2. A Critical Incident Stress Management (CISM) paid leave category is created with 1.5 hours per pay period (roughly 1.25 weeks per year) to take time for mental health; 3. Cut the gibberish, we are wildland firefighters, not forestry technicians. Compel land management agencies to convert all wildland firefighters from the GS pay scale to a new pay scale such as WLF. A WLF-6 (currently GS-6) should be paid at $30/hour or $60,000 per year. Since it took me until my ninth year of fighting wildfires to attain the level of GS-6, this is clearly not a starting wage, which it should be; 4. Eliminate any hiring of GS-3 workers for wildland fire. This wage is insultingly low and not acceptable for the type of risks that are required;

5. After we are called firefighters in our official position description, end hazard pay. Our jobs are inherently hazardous, and our lives should not be valued based on our pay rate, which is the current practice; 6. Eliminate temporary positions for any firefighter returning

A wildland firefighter in the thick of the flames. Courtesy photo.

for their second year. If they are worth bringing back for a second season, then they are worth receiving benefits and being allowed to contribute to their retirement plans.

al-firefighter-asks-for-six-specific-reforms/ Thank you very much if you took the time to read this.

Read the full letter here:

Feliz Papich is the wife of a wildland “Hotshot” firefighter.

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100K Poets for Change celebrates 10 years Lost Horse Press and the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force host local iteration

By Reader Staff Lost Horse Press and the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force are once again co-hosting 100,000 Poets for Change — an online poetry, art and music event for local writers, musicians, artists and students to express their ideas for positive change in the community, in ourselves, in our country and in the world. This marks the 10th anniversary of the event. Join Sandpoint poets, artists and musicians as they connect with artists all over the globe to express their aspirations for a better world. The Sandpoint event will begin on Saturday, Sept. 25. Those who hope to participate can email in poems,

artwork, MP3 music files or photographs that will be displayed on the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force website to share in an online gallery exhibit. The work will also be featured on the 100,000 Poets for Change website. Send files (photos and art in JPEG form) to losthorsepress@ by Saturday, Sept. 25. “The first order of change is for poets, writers, musicians, artists — everyone — to get together to create and perform, educate and demonstrate, simultaneously, in conjunction with other communities around the world. This will change how we see our local community and the global community,” organizers shared in a media release. “We have all

become incredibly alienated in recent years. We hardly know our neighbors down the street let alone our creative allies who live and share our concerns in other countries. We need to feel this kind of local and global solidarity again. Let’s make it happen in our little corner of the world.” 100,000 Poets for Change, founded in Sonoma County, Calif., in 2011, has become an annual event in which poets, musicians and artists around the world come together to call for environmental, social, political and personal change. On Sept. 25, more than 300 concerts, readings, workshops, flash mobs, parades and demonstrations will take place in more than 120 countries around the world. 100,000 Poets for Change’s

Courtesy illustration. founders Michael Rothenberg and Terri Carrion have stated that peace and sustainability “are major concerns worldwide and the guiding principles for this global event.” All participants are hoping, through their actions and events,

to seize and redirect the political and social dialogue of the day and turn the narrative of civilization toward peace and sustainability. For more information contact Lost Horse Press at

Kaniksu Land Trust earns national recognition By Reader Staff Since 2002, Kaniksu Land Trust has been preserving the open spaces of North Idaho and Western Montana. Now the organization has announced the completion of the process of renewing its land trust accreditation. “Renewing our accreditation is a rigorous process, but it is a critical part of KLT’s ongoing work and our commitment to the communities that we serve. The accreditation renewal process symbolizes our strength as an organization and a community committed to the values of conservation, and confirms our ability to protect places special to all of us, forever,” said KLT Executive Director Katie Cox. KLT provided extensive documentation and was subject to a comprehensive third-party evaluation prior to achieving this distinction. The Land Trust Accreditation Commission awarded renewed accreditation, signifying 16 /


/ September 16, 2021

its confidence that KLT’s lands will be protected forever. Accredited land trusts now steward almost 20 million acres — an area the size of Denali, Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Glacier, Everglades and Yosemite national parks combined. KLT works with land owners to establish conservation agreements to protect the land for future generations. The nonprofit organization also owns and manages two public access properties, Cabinet View Nature Area and Pine Street Woods. The latter served more than 20,000 visitors in 2020. KLT has also completed more than 30 conservation projects, protecting nearly 4,000 acres in Idaho and Montana. “It is exciting to recognize Kaniksu Land Trust’s continued commitment to national standards by renewing this national mark of distinction,” said Melissa Kalvestrand, executive director of the commission. “Donors and partners can trust

the more than 450 accredited land trusts across the country are united behind strong standards and have demonstrated sound finances, ethical conduct, responsible governance and lasting stewardship.” According to the Land Trust Alliance’s most recent Nation-

al Land Trust Census, there are a total of 1,363 land trusts in the United States. A complete list of accredited land trusts and more information about the process and benefits can be found at

The Bull River conservation agreement was completed in December 2020. The easement area encompasses 43.68 acres of undeveloped rural property, and includes a mixture of upland forest, wetland meadow, and riparian corridor along Bull River and East Fork Bull River. The land agreement will help to ensure sustainable forestry and encourage restoration activities while preserving a significant wildlife corridor providing connectivity across the Bull River Valley. Courtesy photo.


Bonner Co. Gardeners Assoc. highlights busy month

By Reader Staff

Members of the Bonner County Gardeners Association have been “busy bees” this summer, hosting a successful garden tour, plant sale and recent completion of the Chamber of Commerce beautification project. The garden tour July 3 featured six residential properties just outside of downtown Sandpoint and one local community garden, each showcasing unique soft and hard landscaping features. BCGA’s spring plant sale was also a success and money raised also contributes to supporting community beautification projects, classes and assisting with elementary schools’ gardens. The association’s fall plant sale is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 17 from 9 a.m.-5 p.m. at the Ponderay Event Center parking lot (401 Bonner Mall Way). BCGA is an active supporter of a variety of beautification projects in both Sandpoint and the surrounding communities, providing financial support to the recent completion of Hope’s Veteran Park, Cedar Street Bridge Shops and flower baskets in Farmin Park, among others. The BCGA crew has also regularly scheduled cleanup days along a designated portion

Volunteers with the Bonner County Gardeners Association landscape at the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce. Courtesy photo. of Highway 95. The colorful Farmin Park bench was painted by local artist Susan Gallo through the support of BCGA The gardening group’s work party completed multiple scheduled days of beautification at the Chamber in July, focused on sprucing up its entrance, weeding, pruning and planting flowers near the building and around the concrete structure near the Fifth Avenue. As team members completed their last workday, they were grateful for the cooler weather and Mother Nature’s recent gift of rain. While working on the grounds, they also realized how many visitors use the Chamber’s services and what an important purpose the Chamber serves for Sandpoint and its guests. For more information on all things gardening, visit Also consider joining BCGA or become a corporate sponsor to help the nonprofit’s gardening commitment to education, camaraderie and community. September 16, 2021 /


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September 16-23, 2021

THURSDAY, september 16 FriDAY, september 17

Oktoberfest at IPA (Sept. 17-24) @ Idaho Pour Authority There will be 12 Oktoberfest beers on tap and IPA is challenging you to drink them all throughout the week to win a German stein! Anyone dressed in lederhosen or dirndl will receive 25% off! Live Music w/ Bright Moments Trio 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery A local jazz trio SHS Class of 1970 reunion (Sept. 17-18) 5:30-10pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Live music, old friends Live music w/ Kevin Dorin 7-9pm @ The Back Door

Panida Fundraiser Show! Music w/Chris Paradis, Steve Rush and Kevin Dorin 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall All donations received will benefit the Panida Theater for this show Sandpoint Seniors Open House 1-3pm @ Sandpoint Senior Center All are welcome to come see all of the renovations and check out activities. Light refreshments provided BG Gardeners Plant Sale 9-5pm @ Ponderay Events Center Gear up for the annual fall plant sale

SATURDAY, september 18

Live music w/ Bright Moments Jazz 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Oktoberfest at Memorial Community Center in Hope 6-9pm @ Memorial Comm. Ctr. (Hope) Festival at Sandpoint Rummage Sale Live music by Miah Kohal Band from 8am-2pm @ Festival office, 525 Pine St. 6-9pm, brats dinner for purchase from Peruse vintage merchandise and find 5-7pm, beer and wine available to buy incredible bargains. drink bar offering Live music w/ Harold’s IGA mimosas, coffee and other beverages. 9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge Ponderay Neighbor Day 1-6pm @ Harbison Field (behind Hoot Owl) Indie folk rock originals and covers Live Music w/ Daniel Hall Free activities include kids’ crafts, pony 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery rides, petting zoo, inflatables, carnival Acoustic set of rock, folk, pop and blues games, live music, food and more! Live music w/ Chris Paradis Sand Creek Regatta 7-9pm @ The Back Door 11am @ Parking lot by City Beach A locals event where people build rafts and race them from Bridge St. to Cedar St. Bridge and back for all the glory. Spectators are encouraged. Prizes awarded for fastest, biggest disaster and other categories. Show your local pride, Sandpoint!

Live Music w/ Ron Greene 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Sandpoint Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm @ Farmin Park Live music w/ Musha Marimba Green Monarchs Futbol match 8pm @ Memorial Field — Free

SunDAY, september 19

Sandpoint Chess Club • 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am

monDAY, september 20

Outdoor Experience Monday Night Group Run – All levels welcome 6pm @ Outdoor Experience Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s Restaurant “What’s Your Pet Trying to Tell You?” Willy Wonka - Open Call Auditions (Sept. 20-21) 3:30-7:30pm @ Sandpoint High School auditorium Growing Dreams Productions of Willy Wonka! Everyone ages 8-18 are welcome to come prepared with a one-minute monlogue. Each audition participant will perform their monologue, read lines cold, sing and dance. There are non-singing roles available, too. Audition applications will be accepted until 5:30pm each afternoon. Questions Showdates: Jan. 14-15, 20-22, 2022

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

wednesDAY, september 22

Live music w/ Cece Censor • 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority Singer-songwriter traveling through Sandpoint drawing influence from Ed Sandpoint Farmers’ Market Sheeran, Elvis Presley and Amy Winehouse 3-5:30pm @ Farmin Park 18 /


/ September 16, 2021


Fun and feedback Fifth annual Ponderay Neighbor Day happening Saturday, Sept. 18

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff

The first Ponderay Neighbor Day, held in 2017, was meant to be a one-time way for the city of Ponderay and Friends of the Pend d’Oreille Bay Trail to gauge community support for an underpass to Ponderay’s waterfront. Overwhelming enthusiasm for the event — and its continuance — has kept it alive as an annual gathering in the years since. “All year long, community members tell us how they look forward to attending,” said KayLeigh Miller, Ponderay planning director. “For me, this is one of the most rewarding projects that I work on each year.” The fifth annual Ponderay Neighbor Day will be Saturday, Sept. 18 from 1-6 p.m. at Harbison Field, located behind

the Hoot Owl Cafe on Highway 200. The family-friendly event will feature kid crafts, pony rides, a petting zoo, inflatables, food and retail vendors, carnival games, tastings, demonstrations and Magic by Star Alexander. There will also be free live music by country rock group Copper Mountain Band from 3-5 p.m. Keeping with the event’s original purpose, the city will also be requesting community input on local projects. Miller said attendees can visit the city of Ponderay booth to fill out a quick survey and earn free entry into raffle drawings for a cooler, fire pit or drill kit. This year, officials are seeking opinions for “The Front Yard Project” — an effort to make Ponderay’s waterfront accessible to the community. “Folks will be able to answer a few simple, quick and fun survey questions that help us keep in touch with the pulse of the community and gain important feedback,” Miller said. Ponderay residents, as well as those who work in the city or who frequent it, are welcome to partake in the survey. Ponderay Neighbor Day is meant to celebrate connections between the many people invested in “The Little City with the Big Future,” as the city’s seal reads. “Everyone who attends this event for the first time is pleasantly surprised by what can happen when an amazing community comes together,” Miller said. “Thanks to our generous sponsors, we are able to provide this event and all of the activities, as well as the live music free of charge.” Ponderay Mayor Steve Geiger emphasized the important role local businesses and volunteers play in making Ponderay Neighbor Day an annual reality. “What makes this event so special is the overwhelming generosity of our community businesses and residents who volunteer and contribute to make this event possible. We couldn’t do it without them,” he told the Reader. “It is a great event for the kids and families to come together and have a great time.” Find more information at, or contact Miller at 208-265-5468.


More tweed, please By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff

Nothing about the dusty halls of a “lower-tier Ivy League” English Department scream compelling drama, yet, The Chair — a new Netflix original series — builds a world worthy of a hilarious and emotionally-charged binge session. The Chair begins as Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh) takes the helm as the first female English Department chair at the fictional Pembroke College. The setting is stuffy, the opening scene’s music obnoxiously formal, but a gift on Kim’s new desk is opened to reveal the brash comedy about to define the series: An ornate desk plaque engraved with “F---er in charge of you f---ing f---s.” It is from there that we’re launched into the realities of today’s academic world, from the aging scholars struggling to remain relevant to the up-and-comers: women of color and the students who crave a fresh and honest perspective while doing close readings of Dickinson and Melville.

Netflix’s The Chair packs a punch

The six episodes, each only 30 minutes long, follow storylines of forbidden romance (with chemistry so great it’ll have you yelling at the screen), debilitating grief, parenting struggles and the ever-more-present vocalization of sexist and racial injustices. The tension comes as Kim attempts to face each issue, only to be presented with roadblocks and mishaps at every brick-lined turn. Still, for being so full of heavy topics, The Chair manages to be hilarious, prompting the occasional guffaw from yours truly. Part of what makes the complex story possible within the small screen time is the work of Oh as leading lady Ji-Yoon Kim. Best known for her role as Dr. Cristina Yang on ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy, Oh is able to embody each trait required to help the viewer understand just how far her character has come, and what motivations carry her into the next scene. She is tough, but also deeply sad. She is funny, but also keenly aware of the problems in the world she (might) have the power to change. The supporting cast

rises to the occasion as well, bringing life to the characters who have ironically spent their lives analyzing and loving the characters in the texts they teach. By the time the series — and mere three hours — is over, there is a lopsided bow tied onto the first season’s storyline, but the characters made me want to rip off the misshapen wrapping and demand more. Political upheaval in the English

Sandra Oh, left center, stars in Netflix’s The Chair. Courtesy photo. Department temporarily placated and a long awaited romance on the rise, I’ve got to know what happens next in the wacky and wild lives of Pembroke’s literary scholars. Count this as an official and enthusiastic endorsement for a second season of The Chair.

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Willy Wonka play auditions Sept. 20-21 Show to take the stage in January 2022

By Reader Staff It’s been a long time in the making, as the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to the initial rehearsals and planned performances of Growing Dreams Productions’ Willy Wonka, The Musical. Local kids and teens can now plan to be a part of take two, as the local production company hosts open auditions Monday, Sept. 20 and Tuesday, Sept. 21. Auditions will take place for children and teenagers ages 8-18 at the Sandpoint High School auditorium beginning at 3:30 p.m. both afternoons. Audition applications will be accepted until 5:30 p.m. each day. Auditions will last until approximately 6:30 p.m. Callbacks, if necessary, will happen on Wednesday, Sept. 22 at the same time and place. Students are asked to arrive a few minutes early and plan to stay for the entire audition, as the afternoon will entail both group and individual performances. Bring snacks and water. Acting hopefuls are asked to come prepared with a memorized one-minute monologue (see the Growing Dreams Productions Facebook page for monologue suggestions). Youth only need to audition on one of the days to be considered for a role. Auditions will include performing your prepared monologue, cold reading lines, dancing and singing. Young children can recite a nursery rhyme or favorite story. There are 50-60 roles available, some of which require no singing. There are also parts available for aspiring puppeteers. The cast list will be posted on the Growing Dreams Productions, Inc., Facebook page by the evening of Wednesday, Sept. 22. Rehearsals will begin soon thereafter. Rehearsal specifics will be available when the cast list is posted. Tuition to participate costs $150, which includes a pair of tickets to the show and a T-shirt, as well as plenty of theatre experience. Full and partial scholarships are available for children in the cast. The production will take the stage Friday-Saturday, Jan. 14-15 and Thursday-Saturday, Jan. 20-22, 2022. Guests 20 /


/ September 16, 2021

Willy Wonka, The Musical, will show in January 2022 at the Panida Theater. Courtesy photo. should come dressed for the part as the red carpet is rolled out for a classic opening night gala on Jan 14. The family show on Jan. 15 will be a 2 p.m. matinee with special treats and low-price tickets for small folks. Student night will be Jan. 20, with free popcorn for students 18 and younger, and the final show on Jan. 22 will honor the 12th graders in the cast. All shows, other than the matinee, will begin at 7 p.m. in the Sandpoint High School Venishnick Auditorium (410 S. Division Ave.). Willy Wonka, The Musical, will be directed by Jeannie Hunter, with musical direction by Jon Brownell, assistant directed by Natalie Aller, choreography by Becky Lucas of Danceworks Studio with costumes by Angie Aller, and the help of parents and volunteers. “Supporting youth theater is such a great way to get your name out there and help our community’s youth participate in an amazing and professional setting full of support and team building,” organizers stated in a media release. “A big shout of appreciation goes out to Panhandle Alliance For Education for awarding a generous grant toward paying for the part of the rights and royalty fees for this production.” Sponsorship and advertising opportunity information is available by contacting Mimi Feuling at For more information, visit the Growing Dreams Productions Facebook page or email


This week’s RLW by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey

A community crescendo

Suzuki Strings Academy moves to larger space, hosting open house Oct. 2

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff When the Suzuki String Academy launched in Sandpoint about three years ago, owner Ruth Klinginsmith — along with only one other instructor — took up residence in the Sandpoint Business and Events Center. In the time since, the academy has become home to two more instructors as well as nearly 100 students. “People are desiring, I think, to be connected, and to be a part of a supportive community,” Klinginsmith said of the rapid growth. Between private and group lessons, as well as adult offerings and ensemble classes, Sandpoint’s Suzuki String Academy has quickly outgrown its modest events center suite. As a result, the academy has officially moved to a larger space at 1033 Baldy Mountain Road. “It gave us the opportunity to say, ‘We need to find a bigger space that can accomodate all of that current [activity], but also give us more space to grow for the future,’” said Suzuki piano instructor Simon Pranaitis. The Suzuki String Academy utilizes the Suzuki Method, created by Japanese violinist Shinichi Suzuki. The method sees music education as a conduit for

fostering overall positive personal development. “Really, our purpose is more than just teaching music lessons,” Klinginsmith said. “It’s really investing in students’ lives and families’ lives.” Family involvement is key to the Suzuki Method, Klinginsmtih said, as parents are expected to attend lessons and learn the instruments right alongside their child. Violin, viola, cello and piano lessons are currently offered at the Sandpoint academy, with each student given the opportunity to learn in both private and group settings. Other Suzuki offerings include ukulele lessons, launching in October; chamber ensemble lessons; the adult and teen cello group, Vivace Cello Ensemble; and the Summer Strings Festival — a three-day summer music camp culminating with a performance at the Bonner County Fair. The first string festival took place in 2021. “We’re envisioning that that was the first annual in several string festivals,” Pranaitis said. Community members will have the chance to see the Suzuki String Academy in action at a recital on Saturday, Sept. 25 from 1-3 p.m. at the Sandpoint Business and Events Center auditorium.

Music fans who enjoy hearing the stories behind popular songs should circle Thursday, Sept. 16-Saturday, Sept. 18 on their calendars. Sandpoint SongFest is a unique series of shows featuring nationally recognized musicians with a handful of locals thrown in for good measure. The series is produced by Thom Shepherd, with proceeds benefiting the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint. With performances opening Thursday, Sept. 16 and running through Saturday, Coley Mc-

Cabe Shepherd, Thom Shepherd, Wil Nance, Steve Azar and Leslie Satcher will be in Sandpoint playing their No. 1 songs and telling stories about the writing process. Thursday’s performance will take place at The Idaho Club (216 Clubhouse Way) at 7 p.m. featuring Thom and Coley. Fans are encouraged to make dinner reservations. Friday’s “songwriters in the round” performance will take place at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint (110 Main St.) with Sam Leyde and Ben Vogel at 6:30 p.m. Hit songwriter Wil Nance will immediately follow.

I just started The Particulars of Peter by Kelly Conaboy. I’ve had my eye on the book for a while — ever since I saw it lauded as the ultimate obsessed-dog-mom tellall. So far, I can see why, as the author spends her debut learning everything there is to know about her adopted dog, Peter. She calls him her “great love.” You have to be a pretty invested dog lover to understand that feeling and, so far, I’m here for it.


The academy will also host an open house on Saturday, Oct. 2 at its new Baldy Mountain Road location from 10 a.m.-1 p.m. “We like to say we’re in the business of building beautiful hearts,” Klinginsmith said. “[T] he vehicle we use to do that is music.” Contact info@suzukistring-

Suzuki String Academy instructors (from left to right): Simon Pranaitis, Bianca d’Avila do Prado, Marianne Wall and Ruth Klinginsmith. Courtesy photo. or call 208-3049085 with questions. Learn more about the Suzuki String Academy and its offerings at

Sandpoint SongFest slated for Sept. 16-18 By Reader Staff


Food vendors will be available on the street from Jupiter Jane. A free open mic will take place at MCS Saturday at 11 a.m., followed by a local artist show at 3 p.m. featuring Hannah King, Ben Vogel and Maya Goldblum. At 6:30 p.m., Thom and Coley will play followed by Steve Azar at 7:30 p.m. Leslie Satcher will close the night starting at 8:30 p.m. General admission tickets

recently discovered You’re Wrong About, a podcast hosted by two journalists who explore both events of the past and modern social phenomenons to debunk common beliefs. My favorite episodes so far have been the five-part series on the life and death of Princess Diana, various explorations of the Satanic Panic, Cancel Culture and Koko the Gorilla. Hosts Sarah Marshall and Mike Hobbes are foul-mouthed and knowledgeable. Find You’re Wrong About wherever you find podcasts.


… your screen time. Nothing prompted me to delete apps faster than setting up a weekly screen time report on my iPhone. I’m ashamed to admit that my daily screen time, before my detox, registered around four hours. Between actually communicating via text or email, and simply scrolling mindlessly, that’s a hefty chunk of the day. By deleting Instagram and creating time limits under my “Settings” app, I’ve cut my daily screen time in half. I highly recommend it.

Coley McCabe Shepherd and Thom Shepherd at ease in North Idaho. Courtesy photo. are $35, with a three-day pass going for $79. September 16, 2021 /


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From Northern Idaho News, Sept. 10, 1912

BIG ‘BULL MOOSE’ PASSES THROUGH Just as full of vim as when he was here eighteen months ago, Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, candidate for the presidency on the progressive ticket again greeted the folks of Sandpoint for a few minutes last Sunday evening from the read end of his train on which he was bound for the Pacific coast and then back across the continent, speaking as he goes in the interests of himself and the other member of the national progressive ticket. Although the train stopped here for less than five minutes, in that time Colonel Roosevelt shook hands with many of the Sandpoint citizens and told them in a few words his mission. There were hundreds of people at the depot to greet him and when he appeared at the rear end of his car a rousing cheer went up from his crowd of admirers. The train had hardly stopped when the crowd surged toward the Colonel, each trying to be the first one to shake hands with the man who served nearly two terms as president of the United States and who is again contesting for that high office. Leaning over the railing of the rear platform of his private car, the big ‘bull moose’ shook hands with old and young, democrats, republicans and progressives alike, pausing long enough to caution the people, especially the children, from crowding too close to the rear end of the train, stating that he did not wish to lose any little ‘bull mooses.’ 22 /


/ September 16, 2021

On the value of Wilderness By Sandy Compton Reader Columnist Or more accurately, “wilderness.” Capital “W” or not, officially designated or not, large or small, chunks of contiguous wild places are of unimaginable value. I say “unimaginable” because we can suppose and theorize and research all that our curious little selves wish, but we still don’t really know a hell of a lot about how the planet or the rest of the universe really works or came to be. To our credit, we — some of us, at least — are diligent enough to keep trying to figure it out and humble enough to admit that we will probably never really know all the answers. A hiking companion and I this very morning discussed this, standing in a place where the truck and the cooler of beer in the back seat is at least a six-hour hike away. Some of it will even be on a trail. An artist friend once said in this very place, “I want to know how that blue rock came to be on top of that green rock on top of the purple rock.” He also has a belief in an afterlife. The first thing he’s going to ask God is to show him in fast-forward how places like this came to be. This is my 11th visit to this place in 17 years. Many things have changed that I can’t see, I’m sure, but one I can see is the shrinking of the resident snowfield, greatly reduced by this summer’s heat. My guess is that ice formed from snows that fell hundreds of years ago melted this summer. I wonder if it will ever recover. The gelid pool at its base that I drank from not so many years ago is somewhat tepid. Green algae has sprung up in it from God knows where. We visitors have had to be more

STR8TS Solution

careful about water sources this year than ever before. I write this sitting in sunshine on a great stone bench sloping a quarter mile to the pass below. Two magnificent male mountain goats lie in the rock above, waiting for the two-leggers to leave so they can come and drink. It brings to mind how much one species — especially ours — can affect another. If a mountain lion was hanging around, their reaction would be similar, but we are not mountain lions. We are critters who can come to an understanding of the consequences of our actions and choose to change our behavior so as not to continue on a destructive course. Maybe. I hope so. In spite of the shrunken snowfield, all of what and why I have come here for in the past is still here. Silence. Solitude. The exposed mysteries of the Belt Supergroup of sedimentary stone, a billion years old and more. Airborne goat hair floating on a breeze. Soaring peregrine falcons. Picas. A landscape so varied and glorious that I told my fellows last evening that my eyes never get full out here — except with sweat. Yesterday’s three-mile travail took five and a half hours. Tomorrow, the seven-mile trek to the truck and the beer will take not six hours, but eight. Where is this place? You will have to find it yourself, as I did 17 years ago: by accident, following an intention to push into a place I’d never been before, one with no trails, no cell service, no lights and no emergency backup systems. In fact, it’s not really any specific place. There are many places like this left on the planet, thank goodness. This one is not so different, but it is one that I know, and

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really only a little; certainly not completely. On trip 11, I find places and views I’ve never seen before, and may never see again. I told my friends in camp last night that I learned seven new secrets yesterday, but I was being conservative. It’s a jumbled up place, this wilderness — hard to get into, out of and around in — which makes it perfect, as far as I’m concerned. I haven’t looked at my phone in three days — it’s sitting on my desk at home. Instead, I’ve watched ants hauling off bits of my lunch, listened to the call of a Clark’s nutcracker, studied the angle of the stone tilting ever-so-slowly to the northeast, enjoyed late light on yellowing false hellebore and maroon huckleberry brush. This evening, we watched the goats — who have evidently decided we mean them no harm — make their way across the slope above us to the water and then back to their cliffy sanctuary. There is plenty of entertainment here for any human who wishes to pay attention. Self-discovery keeps us occupied as well. My companions and I do things and go places we might not have thought we could do or go. We find our way in a place that seems designed to get us lost. We come to know that we can, even though sometimes maybe we shouldn’t. Humans get stretched out here. Physically. Mentally. Spiritually. If we have souls, I doubt that we know any more about how one really works than we do about the rest of the Universe. But if we have them — and I think we do — wilderness is a place, maybe the place, where they are refreshed, restored and refilled.

Crossword Solution

By Bill Borders



Laughing Matter

Solution on page 22

Solution on page 22



Woorf tdhe Week


[adjective] 1. of or relating to the purging of the emotions or relieving of emotional tensions, especially through certain kinds of art, as tragedy or music.

“Jack Keroac’s cathartic novel On the Road helped define the Beat Generation.” Corrections: Keep moving, bucko. Nothing to see here. — BO

It makes me mad when people say I turned and ran like a scared rabbit. Maybe it was like an angry rabbit, who goes running to go fight in another fight, away from the first fight.

1. Writing table 5. Half of six 10. Affaire d’honneur 14. Skin disease 15. Train tracks 16. Moving within 17. Circuitous 19. Petty quarrel 20. Santa’s helper 21. Pieces 22. Immunizations 23. Parry 25. Drive forward 27. Beer 28. Tending to repel 31. Forays 34. Apprehensive 35. Spy agency 36. Shade trees 37. Passageway 38. Collections 39. Venomous snake 40. Gall 41. Anagram of “Debit” 42. Threshold 44. Many millennia 45. Old photo color 46. Touching upon 50. Non-glossy photos 52. Lift 54. To make a fool of (archaic) 55. Margarine 56. The coldest season of the year

Solution on page 22 10. Plates 11. Unregulated 12. French for “State” 13. Plenty 18. Honor fights 22. Agile 24. Boys DOWN 26. No more than 28. Writer 1. Risked 29. Briskly (music) 2. French school 30. Where the 3. Extinguish sun rises 4. Barbie’s beau 31. Absorb written 5. Hypnotic state material 6. Ritual 32. Along with 7. Violent disturbance 8. In an elusive manner 33. Pretenders 9. Eastern Standard Time 34. One-dimensionality 58. Unit of pressure 59. Coral island 60. “Oh my!” 61. Command (archaic) 62. Units of force 63. Marries

37. Against 38. Make melodious sounds 40. Vipers 41. Silly mistake 43. Comeback 44. Artists’ workstands 46. Name of a book 47. Ancient Roman magistrate 48. Bedouin 49. Amount of hair 50. Sweater eater 51. Maguey 53. Again 56. Roll of bills 57. A Hebrew letter September 16, 2021 / R / 23

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Where are all the workers? A series about the labor shortage. COVID in North Idaho. Panida hires new managing director. Ponderay Neighbor Da...


Where are all the workers? A series about the labor shortage. COVID in North Idaho. Panida hires new managing director. Ponderay Neighbor Da...

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