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Natives and Newcomers interviews by

Erica Curless

Living in Sandpoint is a choice regardless if your family goes back generations or if you recently relocated here for that small-town charm and endless outdoor adventure in our mountains and lake. Meet two young natives who left for college but returned and quickly established themselves in business, achieving the dream of going home and making a living. Then learn about two newcomers who picked Sandpoint for its lifestyle even if the job market and short, dark winter days make it tough. Their combined advice: live simply, enjoy the friendly community and get outside.


en Hull, 31, was actually born in Moscow while his dad (former Bonner County prosecutor Tevis Hull) attended law school. Yet he made up for this faux pas by marrying a true native, Diana Peine. Sandpoint is home. He knew he wanted to return here after dental school to raise his children and enjoy the outdoors. After graduating Sandpoint High in 2003, he spent two years in Arizona on a church mission, then worked as a hunting guide. While attending BYU-Idaho, he guided hunts in his off time. He graduated with a Doctorate of Dental Surgery from Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. In 2015, he bought Dr. Michael Durnin’s dental practice. How do you make the most of the long winters? I enjoy hunting, which occupies late fall and early winter. Then I switch to ice fishing (if it’s cold enough here!). Then, I start looking for the earliest open-water fishing opportunities. Oddly enough, I never did catch the ski/snowmobile bug. How has the area changed in your lifetime? When we moved back to Sandpoint, I remember the population signs entering town saying 3,000 some odd population (Editor’s note: Sandpoint’s population was 5,318 people in 1990). Now, that is more than double. While Sandpoint has always

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had a small-town feel with vacationers ever present, I am more aware of the out-of-towner draw now. By that I mean I get the sense that much of the activity in Sandpoint is driven by newer residents and visitors. This may only be perception and not reality, but it does feel a bit like new plants are growing and redesigning the garden, if that makes sense. Where is your favorite place in Bonner County? Why?                Wow, tough call. I really enjoy our mountains. I have hiked and hunted along many of the trails and while there are similarities there are also vastly different areas that I enjoy discovering. The Selkirks, Cabinets, Purcell range and other peaks and valleys all offer life and green scenery. The beauty of it is that I have lived here so long and yet have experienced so little of what the area has to offer – there is really a lifetime of experiences right in our backyard. What has gone unnoticed that Sandpoint should be recognized for? Our history! Locals know it, but it seems that all the current focus on Sandpoint trends toward beautiful new homes and recreational opportunities. There are so many trails here that used to be roads to a mine, or a logging operation, or an old W I N T E R 2 0 17


Natives Benjamin David Hull

homestead. How many pieces of timbered property for sale are where a pioneering family in the area settled and have gone through so many stages of change as to be unrecognizable? I appreciate the county fair and several booths that showed much of the history and pictures of several local families and their generations. What are some great challenges facing Sandpoint/Bonner County? We live in an area that should help us retreat from many of the distractions that muddy our lives now. If we could all appreciate what is in front of us in place of what is on a phone or computer, or get out and be active in wholesome work or recreation in our area, perhaps we could address some of the problems our youth face like teen suicide and drug/alcohol abuse. We could enjoy greater happiness in our families. Developing appropriate gratitude for this wonderful area God has blessed us with can be a challenge the longer we are here and take it for granted. What do you wish Sandpoint had that it doesn’t? A lack of summer/fall road construction! SANDPOINT MAGAZINE


10/25/16 9:17 AM

Issuu smw17  

In this issue: Wings of Winter, Future of snow, NFL Super Bowl Champion Ron Heller, Art of Megan Atwood Cherry, Urban Moose, Thrill of shed...

Issuu smw17  

In this issue: Wings of Winter, Future of snow, NFL Super Bowl Champion Ron Heller, Art of Megan Atwood Cherry, Urban Moose, Thrill of shed...