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The week in random review

Mostly missed eclipse

The recent total solar eclipse on April 8 made a lot of headlines, with stories of upwards of 4 million people traveling to experience the astronomical event from within the path of totality. According to some estimates, as many as 31.6 million people live in the swath of eastern Canada, the U.S. and Mexico in which the views of the eclipse were best — about three times as many as the total eclipse in 2017. That didn’t include us in the Northwest, however. We only witnessed about a 40% occlusion and (of course) it was overcast in Sandpoint so we had to be really lucky to see anything at all. Not to worry, though, the next total solar eclipse will occur on Aug. 23, 2044, when only three states will be fully shadowed by a total solar eclipse: North and South Dakota, and (most conveniently) our next door neighbor Montana.

In praise of brown sauce

Among the many culinary delights either unavailable or hard to find outside the British Commonwealth is what’s affectionately referred to as “brown sauce.” Though there are several brands of this iconic condiment, HP accounts for more than 70% of the U.K. market and is far and away the preferred choice in Canada, where I spent the recent spring break with my family. Though passingly similar, brown sauce is emphatically not the same as A.1. Steak Sauce, with the former boasting a smoother, sweet-and-sour taste with complexities flowing from tamarind, dates and molasses. I can’t seem to find it whenever I look for it in U.S. grocery stores; but, I was so excited to find it for sale at a mini-mart north of Ainsworth, B.C., that my brother bought me two bottles as a gift. Since then I’ve been rationing it out over everything from eggs to baked beans to meat and potatoes, and must wholeheartedly agree with The Guardian when it writes, “the brown stuff will always remain the best complement to one of our greatest offerings to the world: the full English breakfast.” Can confirm.

159 years and counting

We never seem to acknowledge it in any significant or otherwise public way, but the U.S. Civil War ended on April 9, 1865 — this year marking 159 years since Confederate General Robert E. Lee surrendered to Union General Ulysses S. Grant at the Appomattox Court House in Appomattox County, Va. Here’s hoping for another 159 years of (relative) domestic peace.


“Death, a necessary end, will come when it will come.”

— William Shakespeare, who was born in April 1564 and died in April 1616 at age 52 (supposedly)

This week’s cover features a photograph by local filmmaker Paul Reuter with Action Sports Media from his film Success: A Race to Alaska Story, which is playing at the Panida on Saturday, April 13 from 6-9 p.m. (see Page 20 for more info). The event is also a fundraiser for the Sandpoint Sailing Association.

Also, the Idaho Legislature adjourned sine die April 10, wrapping up their damage, er, I mean work for the year. Each year I grow more and more tired of the people we elect to represent us, with very few exceptions.

George Barnard Shaw wrote, “Democracy is a device that ensures we shall be governed no better than we deserve.” I couldn’t agree more. Benjamin Franklin gave another take on this: “If you lie down with dogs, you get up with fleas.”

Such is politics in Idaho.

Enjoy scratching at flea bites, folks. See you next week.

111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 208-946-4368 Publisher: Ben Olson Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) Soncirey Mitchell (Staff Writer) Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey (emeritus) Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Kelsey Kizer Contributing Artists: Action Sports Media (cover), Ben Olson, Jason Duchow Photography, Soncirey Mitchell, Rich Milliron, Christopher Christie. Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Soncirey Mitchell, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Kyle Pfannenstiel, Emily Erickson, Taylor Prather, Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey, Jim Healey, Ed Morse Submit stories to: Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID Subscription Price: $185 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 SandpointReader letter policy: The Sandpoint Reader welcomes letters to the editor on all topics. Requirements: –No more than 200 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: About the Cover Photo by Action Sports Media. READER DEAR READERS,
April 11, 2024 / R / 3

Gov. signs Herndon bill limiting leaseholder rights to regulate weapons on public property

New law will ‘take back some ground’ after 2023 Supreme Court ruling; Festival and city of Sandpoint have concerns about broader impacts

Idaho Supreme Court justices ruled unanimously in June 2023 that the Festival at Sandpoint had the right to ban firearms on city-owned War Memorial Field during the term of its lease for the summer concert series — apparently settling a yearslong dispute over whether private entities could regulate weapons on leased public property.

However, Gov. Brad Little signed a bill March 27 proposed by Sen. Scott Herndon, R-Sagle, that imposes a number of limitations on the rights of leaseholders of public property regarding the prohibition of weapons. Now event organizers like the Festival and its lessor the city of Sandpoint are wondering how to navigate the new rules.

Specifically, Herndon’s legislation blocks lessees of public property from banning concealed weapons unless they are renting public property “for a private event by invitation only, or for a commercial event that charges admission.”

“For any such private event or commercial event, it must appear to a reasonable person that the general public does not have unrestricted access to the designated public property, or any subset of such property, that is normally and habitually open to the public,” the legislation states.

Herndon and Bonner County resident Scott Avery touched off the issue in 2019, when the two men attempted to gain entry to the Festival carrying firearms and were told to leave their guns in their vehicles or be trespassed due to the event’s no-weapons policy.

The incident prompted Bonner County and Sheriff Daryl Wheeler to sue the city

of Sandpoint, claiming that the Festival’s policy created uncertainty for law enforcement. Judge Lansing B. Haynes dismissed that suit in 2020 citing lack of standing — but not before costing the county and city in excess of a combined $320,000, with the county being ordered to reimburse Sandpoint more than $71,000.

Herndon, Avery, Boise-based gun lobby group Idaho Second Amendment Alliance and Washington-based Second Amendment Foundation then filed their own suit, based on alleged constitutional violations as well as centering the argument on whether Idaho Code allowed a public entity to convey authority on a leaseholder to bar firearms possession on public property. State statute explicitly limits government entities from prohibiting firearms in public spaces.

Haynes again ruled that the city of Sandpoint had made no such policy banning weapons at War Memorial Field, and it was the Festival’s prerogative as the private lessee to do so.

Herndon and his fellow complainants filed an appeal in February 2023, which the Idaho Supreme Court rejected in June, writing that,“The Festival was granted a possessory interest in War Memorial Field as the lessee of the property. As the holder of the possessory interest, The Festival had the right to the use and benefit of the leased property, which includes the authority to set limitations on those who come onto the property.

“These principles do not morph depending on the nature of the third-party rights at play.”

What’s more, the court determined that Herndon et al. overstated their constitutional claims.

“[B]oth the Second

Amendment and Article I, Section 11 of the Idaho Constitution apply only to government actors, not private parties,” the ruling stated. “Thus, the lease does not violate the public policy stated in Idaho Code section 18-3302J, the Second Amendment or the Idaho Constitution, Article 1, section 11.”

Following the June 2023 Supreme Court ruling, Herndon promised to “go to the mat to find a legislative solution” to close what he described as a “massive legal loophole in Idaho’s firearm laws,” stemming from the decision.

He celebrated Little’s signing of S.B. 1374 on social media, writing on March 27, “This will take some ground for Idaho’s gun owners after last summer’s Herndon v. Sandpoint. In that case, the Idaho Supreme Court stated that under the common law, any public property rented to a private person becomes private property.

“S1374 changes some of that. When public land is normally and habitually open to the public, it will become difficult for private groups to simply ban firearms,” he added.

In a separate Facebook post two days before the bill signing, Herndon wrote, “S1374 states that in order to invoke a ban on guns, private users will have to restrict access to their events. It will have to be abundantly clear that their event is NOT freely open to all members of the public, and it will have to be clear that the access is restricted in some way. They will not be allowed to just place GUN FREE ZONE signs.

“This is not everything I wanted,” he added. “In my opinion, all taxpayer owned property in Idaho, except jails, should allow the public to car-

ry concealed weapons. Idaho’s law-abiding gun owners are the first responders when a criminal throws it down.”

Asked by the Reader to clarify how S.B. 1374 would affect events such as the Festival, Herndon wrote that the legislation would not apply to the concert series “since access is restricted.”

“The standard is the wellknown reasonable person standard, and it will have to be clear that the event has actual restricted access. It will not be sufficient to just place Gun Free Zone signage,” he wrote. “The restriction of firearms can only be invoked if the access to the public is restricted at an event.”

Despite that, Festival at Sandpoint organizers told the Reader that S.B. 1374 would have a chilling effect.

“This legislation will directly impact future Festival plans and other organizations’ ability to book talent for no-cost events, which could ultimately result in total event cancellations,” the Festival stated in an email to the Reader shortly after Little signed the legislation. “Senate Bill 1374 and its impact on free events will limit accessibility to arts and cultural events for Idaho citizens by hindering and even eliminating essential community events.”

Since the onset of the dispute over weapons regula-

tion at War Memorial Field, the Festival has maintained that it must adhere to contract requirements from performers who stipulate that venues be free of weapons before they will appear — “regardless of whether an event is free or not,” the organization stated.

“This legislation will restrict the Festival at Sandpoint from hosting free performances at our current venue or future venues that are classified as state, city or county lands,” the Festival added.

Sandpoint Mayor Jeremy Grimm told the Reader in a phone interview that the city — as the lessor to the Festival and a number of other private parties — sought clarification from Herndon about the potential ramifications of the bill prior to Little signing it into law, but “never got a response from him.”

“I have reservations and concerns about the impact of this legislation on traditional historical free events,” he said, adding that it could “curtail the public’s access to performers” whose contracts require weapons-free venues and “erode the freedoms of enjoyment of these spaces by the public.”

In addition to War Memorial Field, the city also leases its property to a number of private parties including Panhandle Special Needs Inc. and — notably — Bonner General Health, with critical portions of its campus on Alder Street between Second and Third avenues on city property.

Herndon said BGH’s weapons-free policy wouldn’t be affected by his law.

“Hospitals would not fit the definition of normally and habitually open to the public,” he told the Reader, apparently

NEWS 4 / R / April 11, 2024
Sen. Scott Herndon. File photo.
< see GUN BILL, Page 5

BOCC trespass controversy concludes, District Reports return

Tensions between the Bonner County commissioners and constituents seemingly eased over the past few weeks, bringing the monthslong controversy over the Jan. 26 trespass of Dave Bowman and Rick Cramer to an end. The April 9 business meeting additionally saw the board unanimously approve a final plat for Whiskey Jack Estates, a boating safety grant and a bid to repaint road markings, as well as reinstate Commissioner Asia William’s weekly District 2 Commissioner Reports in a 2-1 vote.

In an executive session April 4, Commissioners Luke Omodt, Steve Bradshaw and Williams unanimously voted to accept Rick Cramer’s April 1 appeal to lift his trespass, according to meeting minutes obtained through an April 9 public records request.

Cramer’s attorney, Dan Sheckler of the Coeur d’Alene-based Sheckler Law Office, responded to request for comment on behalf of his client, clarifying that Cramer is now free to attend BOCC meetings in person.

“Mr. Cramer’s criminal citation was never filed with the court, nor was a complaint filed, to my knowledge. There is no pending criminal case in Bonner County Court against Richard Cramer to my knowledge,” Sheckler wrote in an April 9 email to the Reader.

During the same executive session, Williams made a

< GUN BILL, con’t from Page 4 >

citing the “reasonable person standard.”

BGH officials did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Asked to assess whether Herndon’s law would run counter to the hospital’s prohibition on weapons in the portions of its campus that are located on city property, Grimm said, “I would agree that your interpretation is correct [that it would].”

motion to remove the trespass against Bowman, “as it is not appropriate for either party, legal has advised the trespass be removed, and it is not in the county’s best interest to continue with a trespass against Mr. Bowman,” according to the meeting minutes.

Williams’ motion died without a second, though Omodt stated in an April 2 email to the Reader, “The misdemeanor trespassing charge filed against Dave Bowman was dismissed with prejudice.”

Bowman did not respond to a request for comment by press time.

Tempers briefly flared during the April 9 regular business meeting when, before moving to approve the consent agenda, Bradshaw went against the chair by giving an unsanctioned speech denying allegations that he threatened Williams in August 2023, resulting in a protection order.

“I just want to clear something up. Those of you that read Saturday’s paper [that] said that I had threatened Miss Williams — I’ll tell you right now, that’s a lie straight out of the pits of hell,” said Bradshaw, referencing the Daily Bee’s article “Judge keeps protection order in place.”

“Miss Williams has never heard me threaten her — she testified to that in court. Mr. Jostlein never heard me threaten Miss Williams. He lied, under oath — that’s between him and the judge.”

In August 2023, County Risk Manager Christian Jostlein informed Williams

“I think that it’s worth mentioning that events taking place at a hospital can be emotionally charged; there can be assaults, people recovering from assaults, there can be perpetrators of crimes being treated ... mixing high emotion activities and firearms would seem to be concerning,” he added.

The city of Sandpoint is preparing to renew its lease with the Festival, though Grimm said that “we’ve made

that he’d overheard Bradshaw make threats against her life, though the exact nature of the alleged threats remain unclear. Williams subsequently filed for a protection order, granted by Judge Justin Julian, which bars Bradshaw from carrying weapons in the county administration building or from interacting with Williams outside of county business. Julian rejected Bradshaw’s April 5 appeal to lift the protection order.

“Mr. Jostlein lied and may have been financially motivated,” continued Bradshaw, speaking over Omodt’s protests.

In an April 10 email to the Reader, Jostlein stated that he wanted to “reduce the tensions” between county employees but was unsure how to proceed.

“The comments made by Commissioner Bradshaw are unfortunate and unhelpful to resolving the tensions between the elected officials,” wrote Jostlein. “I stand by my testimony. I did not perjure myself. I also did not seek, nor was I offered, any compensation for representing the county in regards to property management. I was seeking official authorization from the commissioners to proceed with ongoing contract negotiations with third party renters/ users of county properties, as these duties are not part of my job duties as risk manager.”

The protection order against Bradshaw will remain in effect until Aug. 30, 2024, unless terminated by an additional court order.

no provisions for that bill in this lease.”

The new law goes into effect July 1.

Meanwhile, Grimm worried about further complications stemming from the legislation.

“We are reactive to whatever laws are on the books and we are always looking for legal advice on how to respond to new legislation,” he said.

“That would be unfortunate if

Neither Bradshaw nor Omodt responded to requests for comment by press time. Williams declined to comment.

The final action item of the April 9 meeting, agendized by Williams and titled “regarding the board’s refusing public comment of Commissioner Williams,” passed with surprisingly little discussion given the months of back and forth it represented.

Omodt and Bradshaw voted during the regular Jan. 9 meeting to strike Williams’ weekly Commissioner District Reports — wherein she would recount work done that week and announce upcoming meetings — as they did not believe the information fell under county business.

Williams has unsuccessfully attempted to agendize these reports under alternative names and, more recently, to relay the information by giving testimony during the public comment portion of the meeting. Ultimately, her supporters in the audience have taken to announcing upcoming events on her behalf

“For the last few weeks my name has been on that public comment sheet and Commis-

the passage of this legislation requires further clarification, made — possibly — through litigation. We have a multitude of high-priority issues that affect our residents, such as our aging wastewater treatment facility, our roads, our water distribution system, and to expend effort and resources on clarification on a matter that occurs annually and has great financial benefit to the city would be frustrating.”

sioner Omodt decides that he gets to remove my name,” said Williams.

“Barring the fact that this board continues to remove my items when I place them on the agenda, my only alternative is to give public comment. It is not reasonable or appropriate for the chair to assume that he has the right to deny an individual. We have been advised not to do that,” she later added, suggesting that “If you don’t like that, then allow me to do my District Report as it was before.”

“I stand by my decision that members of the board are not general members of the public, but I can agree with you that there are things that are valuable in what you bring forward,” said Omodt. “I would move to allow Commissioner Williams to agendize her report as she sees fit, with the hope that it has to do with the business of the county.”

Williams seconded the motion, which passed with Bradshaw dissenting.

Finally, while underscoring that the city fully adheres to and supports all constitutional rights of residents — including the Second Amendment — Grimm added that, “Kneejerk reactions never give the time to think through ramifications and impacts, which is why thoughtful weighing of pros and cons and impacts should always be considered when making legislation.”

NEWS April 11, 2024 / R / 5
Bonner County Commissioners Asia Williams, left; Luke Omodt, center; and Steve Bradshaw, right. Photo by Soncirey Mitchell.

Idaho GOP House leaders provide overview of 2024 Legislature following adjournment

Leaders of the Republican Caucus in the Idaho House of Representatives gathered April 10 in a meeting room of the Capitol in Boise to address reporters following the adjournment of the 2024 Legislature, providing their highlights and touching on the successes and failures of the session.

House Majority Leader Jason Monks, R-Meridian, keyed in on efforts by Republicans to combat fentanyl, as well as reducing personal and corporate income tax rates, investing “record amounts” in school facilities, strengthening online protections for children through age verification and ensuring that artificial intelligence cannot be used to represent kids online.

House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star, focused his comments on House Bill 521 — the school facilities funding legislation, which he described as “the centerpiece of this legislative session” and the “bill of the year.”

The bill dedicated $125 million in ongoing sales tax revenue to a School Modernization Facilities Fund for bonding, while increasing funding to the School District Facility Fund by raising the portion of sales tax revenue to the fund from 2.25% to 3.25% — a move that is projected to result in $25 million in Fiscal Year 2025 alone.

In addition, H.B. 521 channels lottery dividends of an estimated $50 million into the fund and reduces income taxes from 5.8% to 5.695% in order to help Idahoans support local bonds and levies geared toward building and maintaining school facilities.

Though Idaho Democrats criticized the bill as “too little, too late,” Moyle said there was more good than bad in the legislation, and it would serve the purpose of helping districts meet their basic facilities needs, rather than building “Taj Mahal” schools, which he described as featuring vaulted ceilings and couches in the lunch rooms.

Monks said that once basic needs are met, districts should then go to their donor base and can “put a bronze statue of a bull in front of your school if you want to.”

Assistant Minority Leader Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Pondery, spoke briefly, highlighting bills related to election integrity, including tightening rules related to “ballot harvesting,” as well as electioneering near polling places and working across the aisle on legislation

aimed at regulating “synthetic media” so it can’t be abused during elections.

Questions during the post-session conference touched on a range of other bills, including those prohibiting the use of public funds for gender-affirming care, legally defining sex and gender, and banning requirements that public employees use pronouns other than the ones assigned to individuals at birth.

“I hope they’re upheld in court,” Moyle said, later adding that he thought such bills are “what the citizens of Idaho want and we’re reacting to what the citizens of Idaho want.”

Asked whether that notion applied to the controversial bill signed by Gov. Brad Little on April 10 that opens libraries to lawsuits if they fail to comply with patron complaints over material deemed “obscene” or otherwise “harmful to minors,” Moyle said that “polls are not necessarily reality.”

According to a survey from Boise State University, nearly 70% of Idahoans trust librarians to choose the books that are made available to them.

“Sometimes our perception is different than what’s really out there,” he said, and described the bill as a “reasonable compromise” and “not as aggressive” as a similar bill passed last session but vetoed by Little.

Finally, when asked about the state’s strict abortion ban driving health care providers from Idaho, Moyle said that was a “convenient excuse” and doubted poll results that show more than half of Idahoans think the abortion laws are too strict — especially when it comes to allowing providers to perform abortions out of medical necessity.

“As for the definition of health vs. the life of the mother, I don’t know how you crack that nut because the two sides are so far apart,” he said.

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:

Gas prices will likely rise to $6 a gallon pre-election, according to historian Thom Hartmann, who suggests that the increase would be no accident: Saudi Arabia and Russia, who want Trump back in office, are already cutting oil production. They know that higher gas prices could be an effective way to re-elect Trump.

President Joe Biden could mimic former-President Richard Nixon and ban the export of U.S. crude oil. Or he could nationalize the Port Arthur, Texas refinery, which is owned by a foreign national. However, that would require Congressional approval, and most Republicans have vowed to withhold support for anything that could win Biden a second term.

Former Trump lawyer John Eastman has been disbarred in California. A state bar judge said Eastman’s scheme to invalidate the results of the 2020 presidential election “lacked evidentiary or legal support.”

On CNN’s State of the Union show, House Intelligence Committee Chair Mike Turner stated that fellow Republicans are spreading Russian propaganda. Responding to claims that Russia’s 2022 invasion of Ukraine is actually a war between NATO and Russia, Turner said, “of course it’s not,” but that propaganda complicates seeing this as an “authoritarian versus democracy battle.” Recent Washington Post research shows an ongoing campaign by Russia to create anti-Ukraine sentiment among U.S. lawmakers.

Trump’s “secret” plan to end the Russian-Ukraine war “in one day” is to pressure Ukraine to submit to Russia, people familiar with the plan told The Washington Post

In a “pointed” phone call late last week to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Biden pushed for immediate action to open areas for humanitarian aid and an immediate ceasefire. Biden said that failure to do so would prompt a reconsideration of U.S. backing for Israel against Hamas.

Citing “tactical reasons,” Israel has pulled all its ground troops out of Gaza, various media reported. The decision came after warnings from foreign officials about Israeli tactics.

House Republicans want aid for Ukraine tied to a repeal of Biden’s export pause on liquefied natural gas. En-

vironmentalists say the desired repeal is at odds with reality: The U.S. currently exports more gas than Europe needs, according to international monitors. Rep. Sean Casten, D-Ill., recently said that more U.S. gas exports will primarily benefit markets in China and Asia.

Israel has investigated and apologized for seven deaths of World Central Kitchen humanitarian aid workers, The Guardian wrote. But WCK wants an independent investigation, insisting that bombing three vehicles in a row was no “accident.”

Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., joined 36 Democratic lawmakers to sign a letter to Biden urging a halt to weapons transfers to Israel. Signer Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., said “Israel should not be getting another nickel” for targeting an area “grappling with famine” created by Israel.

Historian Heather C. Richardson says the recent March report from the U.S. Department of Labor indicates the difference between Biden’s middle-out and bottom-up policies, as compared to trickle-down economics, with job growth of 303,000 coming in higher than expected. Unemployment dropped slightly, to 3.8%, markingfor 26 consecutive months below 4%.

Speaking on the Morning Joe program, Economist Steven Rattner said immigrants helped push U.S. growth since the pandemic by adding millions of new workers to the labor market, thereby replacing native-born workers who aged into retirement. Wage growth has been 4.1% — above the inflation rate of 3.2%.

Americans pay the most of any nation for health treatments. Biden says that the ability of Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices will save lives and create $200 billion in savings for the program. Biden and Sanders recently teamed up to highlight changes in the costs of health care — which included the Inflation Reduction Act’s limit on annual Medicare Part D out-of-pocket drug costs to $2,000 beginning in 2025.

The Act also capped insulin for seniors on Medicare at $35, which costs $10 to make, but Biden said patients not covered by Medicare pay an average of $400 monthly, since every congressional Republican has opposed a lower price.

Blast from the past: “The only difference between death and taxes is that death doesn’t get worse every time Congress meets.” — Will Rogers, humorist and actor (1879-1935)

6 / R / April 11, 2024
The Idaho State Capitol builidng in Boise. Courtesy photo.

Idaho libraries must move materials deemed harmful to children, or face lawsuits, under new law

Idaho Gov. Brad Little signed into law a bill to require Idaho public and school libraries to move materials deemed harmful to children, or face lawsuits.

House Bill 710, backed by Republican legislative leaders, follows years of attempts by the Idaho Legislature to regulate materials deemed harmful to children in Idaho libraries.

Little’s office received 2,227 calls and 4,923 emails against the bill, and 1,297 calls and 2,954 emails in favor of the bill, said Madison Hardy, Little’s spokesperson.

“I share the cosponsors’ desire to keep truly inappropriate library materials out of the hands of minors. That said, I still believe a greater harm confronts our children — content accessible to them on their phones and devices,” Little wrote in a letter to lawmakers April 10 after he signed the bill.

Little wrote that he will be watching the implementation and outcomes of the law “very closely.”

The Idaho Family Policy Center, a conservative Christian group that has spearheaded library-related legislation, said in a news release April 10 that the bill “largely utilizes model language that was drafted by Idaho Family Policy Center last year.”

The center said it is “directly responsible for mobilizing” more than 3,000 Idahans to contact Little’s office in support of the legislation over the past week.

The Idaho Library Association, which represents more than 260 librarians statewide, said it was “so disappointed.”

“We will continue our efforts in supporting all li -

braries and their communities moving forward. Please check on your librarians,” the group said in its post on X.

Law would mandate relocating ‘harmful’ Idaho library materials; some librarians called it unneeded H.B. 710 lets children or their parents file a legal claim against a public or school library if they obtain materials deemed harmful to minors.

That’s if libraries don’t move materials within 60 days of receiving a request to relocate the material “to a section designated for adults only.” Children or parents could receive $250 in statutory damages, along with actual damages and other relief, such as injunctive relief, under the law.

Some librarians have called the bill unneeded, telling lawmakers in a House committee this year that local library relocation policies handle community complaints, while others worried it would strain libraries.

The law takes effect July 1. Most Idahoans — 69% — trust library staff with book selection, while 23% of Idahoans do not, according to this year’s Idaho Public Policy Survey. More than half of Idaho librarians are considering leaving library work as a result of library-related legislation, according to an informal survey conducted by the Idaho Library Association.

The Idaho Senate passed the bill in a 24-11 vote last week. The Idaho House, after a tense debate, passed the original version of House Bill 710 in March. The Idaho House passed the amended bill on a 45-24 vote last week.

The Senate late last month amended the bill to extend the deadline to move materials from 30 to 60 days, and require libraries to have a relocation policy.

[Editor’s note: Sen. Scott Herndon, R-Sagle, and Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, voted in favor of the bill, while Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint, voted against.]

What would the bill do?

In 2022, a bill that critics said could lead to librarians being prosecuted for checking out materials deemed harmful to minors passed the Idaho House, but did not advance in the Idaho Senate. And last year, Little vetoed a bill that would have allowed parents to sue libraries or schools for up to $2,500 in statutory damages if they provided “harmful materials” to minors.

Little, in his letter to lawmakers, said the new bill addresses most but not all of the concerns he raised in a letter after vetoing a bill last year. Little pointed to the bill’s reduced damages and

that the bill allows “a fair opportunity for local libraries to avoid legal action and fees.”

Little said he was proud to sign H.B. 498 this year, which requires age verification on pornography websites. He said the bill was “a good start.”

“I was disappointed the Legislature passed up an opportunity to advance meaningful legislation to truly protect children from the harms of social media, as I called on this body to do during my State of the State and Budget Address in January,” Little wrote.

H.B. 710 relies on Idaho’s existing definition of materials harmful to minors, which includes “any act of ... homosexuality” under its definition of sexual conduct.

The bill also amends Idaho’s legal definition of materials harmful to minors. One of those amendments adds a definition of schools that includes “any public and private school” that provides K-12 instruction.

Under the bill, a county prosecuting attorney or

attorney general would have cause of action for “injunctive relief against any school or public library” that violates the bill’s ban on promoting, giving or making available to children material that’s considered harmful to minors.

The bill requires libraries to have a form for people to request review of materials.

The bill outlines two affirmative defenses to civil causes of action: a reasonable cause to believe that the minor was at least age 18, like a driver’s license; or verification that the minor was accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.

This story was produced by Boise-based nonprofit news outlet the Idaho Capital Sun, which is part of the States Newsroom nationwide reporting project. For more information, visit

April 11, 2024 / R / 7 NEWS
The Sandpoint branch of the East Bonner County Library District. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.


• A special Bouquet goes out to Barbara Jelinek for donating a beautiful antique Remington typewriter to our growing collection in the outer office of the Reader. At 91-and-a-half years old, Barbara is an avid reader of the newspaper. We’re honored to give your treasured typewriter a place to live, Barbara. Thanks for reading!

• One of our readers told me they recently saw a Sandpoint resident out on a residential street by their home, manually filling a particularly nasty section of potholes with a shovel and a wheelbarrow full of asphalt. While this is a Bouquet for that unknown hero, this is also a Barb for our city, because there’s no reason residents should feel compelled to spend their time and money fixing potholes in residential streets. I complained about this a lot during the former administration under Mayor Shelby Rognstad and City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton; namely that they were spending too much time focusing on new developments and largescale projects and not enough time addressing the crumbling streets. Big projects might look good on paper (and resumes), but I think the majority of town residents would prefer seeing their tax money go to improving the roads we all use, not pet projects that ultimately end up dividing the community.


• A Barb to Gov. Brad Little for signing H.B. 710 into law, which requires Idaho libraries to move materials deemed “harmful to children” or face lawsuits. Also, Barbs to all the far right dipshit lawmakers who supported this bill (the only District 1 lawmaker who voted against it was Rep. Mark Sauter. Rep. Sage Dixon and Sen. Scott Herndon both supported it). Freedom? Yeah right.

‘Wheeler follows the Constitution’...

Dear editor, Sheriff Wheeler follows the Constitution. He is a decent man and has the highest authority over this county.

He does not need to defame anyone in order to win an election. His record as sheriff speaks for itself.

We don’t need more trouble and Mr. Bradshaw has shown as a commissioner how painful and damaging he has used his position.

Evie Leucht Sandpoint

Best choices…

Dear editor,

Most people picking out a tomato or melon in the grocery store go for the best one for their needs: are they using it today, tomorrow? How ripe is it? Any blemishes?

Do we take that much time and care when we choose our legislators? Do we bother to think about what their views are and what our needs are? Do we even care enough to vote at all?

There has been a lot of criticism of “RINOs” (Republicans In Name Only), but by closing the primaries, the Republican Party essentially created RINOs. After being a Democrat all my life, the best choice for me in our District 1 Idaho Senate race is Republican Jim Woodward. His views align closer to mine than his opponent’s ever will. He also has been learning about the ripple effect from his prior votes regarding women’s health, and I believe that when he wins the upcoming race, he will make better choices.

I switched parties to be sure I can vote for Jim but will promptly switch back and support Kathryn Larson and Karen Mathee for the state representatives. Next time you’re at the grocery store, think about your choices and the upcoming elections!

‘May Matters’…

Dear editor,

In over 70 years, I have never written a letter to the editor, but our upcoming primary election in May is too important to ignore and one I feel compelled to weigh in on.

I am casting my vote for Jim Woodward. Jim is hardworking, honest and supports whatever community he’s in. When Sandpoint needed

new bleachers at War Memorial Field, Jim brought an excavator and crew to help tear down the old ones. This is just one example.

After graduating from the University of Idaho, Jim served his country in the U.S. Navy for over 20 years as an officer aboard the USS Alabama, a nuclear-powered missile boat. After sea duty, he taught a future generation in nuclear propulsion, retiring as a navy commander.

We need his voice in Boise, working hard to represent the values of all citizens, not just far-right extremists that say, “It’s my way or no way.” We have far too much of that mentality in our political discourse from both the right and the left.

Please join me. Cast your vote for Jim Woodward on May 21. Let’s send him back to Boise where he belongs. May Matters!

Joe Gibbs


‘You’re kiddin’, right?’...

So the SURA plans to close the Mountain View railroad crossing? You’re kiddin’, right?

Judy Pederson Sandpoint

Racism in North Idaho…

Dear editor,

Once again, we made national news for an incident of ugly racism. In downtown Coeur d’Alene, several drivers (one displaying a Confederate battle flag) harassed University of Utah’s women’s basketball team with hateful racial slurs. What should’ve been a joyful experience for these athletes before one of the biggest NCAA games of their lives, instead became unforgettable for the wrong reason.

Then, adding insult to injury, a number of locals and lawmakers ignorantly suggested this was a “hoax.” With traffic video proving them wrong, it lays open the meanness of white supremists present in our community. I find it reminiscent of the ’60s when my husband played football at University of Kentucky on the first SEC team to have any Black players. They, too, experienced harassment when visiting other colleges for games. Standing firm against white supremacy took courage on the part of the whole team and community.

While charges of malicious harassment are investigated, the good people of our area can help foster healing for the Utah athletes and

coaching staff by sending a caring postcard to this address: University of Utah Basketball, Coach Lynne Roberts, 1825 E. South Campus Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84112.

Rebecca Holland Sandpoint

Library ‘obscenity’ bill will create more problems that it solves…

Dear editor,

A big Barb — “supersize that please!” — to the Idaho House for passing H.B. 710. It now moves to Gov. Brad Little to sign. This is the bill requiring public and school libraries to move materials considered (by whom?) harmful to children and young adults into an “adults” section. If not moved, librarians can face lawsuits. There is a very fine line between “banning books” and hiding them or otherwise making them inaccessible.

If a young person is looking or asking for a book on LGBT for example; you can bet it’s a subject he or she can’t discuss at home. If it makes you uncomfortable, choose another book, or read it with an open mind and consider your own bias. Sen. Treg Bernt, R-Meridian, said the stipulations in the bill “will cause greater problems for our libraries than they will solve.”

Diane Newcomer Sandpoint

Mark Sauter gets things done in Boise…

Dear editor,

We want elected representatives to be hardworking, effective and responsive. Dist. 1A Rep. Mark Sauter is just that. That’s why I’m supporting him to represent Bonner and Boundary counties in the May 21 primary. I hope he has your vote, too.

Mark gets things done.

His sponsorship of H.645 corrected a problem that occurred after a recall election in the WBCSD last fall. The new law makes it clear that recalled trustees cannot enter into a contractual agreement that would cost the taxpayers additional money.

Recently, H.687, another bill Sauter co-sponsored was signed into law by the governor. This law benefits our region’s water management because it allows the Idaho Department of Water Resources to petition district courts to adjudicate water rights in the Kootenai River Basin — an important resource for

North Idaho.

Those are just two examples of successful bills Mark has sponsored during the 2024 legislative session. Both demonstrated his hard work and diligence, making sure that he got things right. Both are also in response to issues folks in Bonner and Boundary counties were concerned about.

Please remember to vote May 21, and vote to re-elect Mark Sauter. I know I will.

Robin Lundgren Bonners Ferry


Dear editor,

Ads supporting Sen. Herndon’s positions on social media advocate to stop Idaho from becoming California. Yet he grew up in California, worked there for nearly half his adult life and burdens us with the California Republican Party’s culture wars. Their top priorities: privatizing education, near-total ban on abortion access and denying equality to people who are LGBTQ — exactly what Herndon proposed during the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions.

But Idahoans support public education, health care and tolerance for all. Herndon doesn’t understand, much less take part in, Idaho culture. He wants to scuttle it.

My Idaho neighbors accept me, are kind and help me no matter how I vote.

In deciding your vote for Idaho state senator in Idaho’s Republican primary election, ask yourself who Jim Woodward is. He grew up in Bonners Ferry, left the state only to serve in the military, returned to serve our community with Northern Lights Electric Co-op, Idaho Consumer Owned Utilities Association, Sagle Fire District, Selkirk Fire Agency, Bonner General Hospital Foundation Advisory Board, LPO School District and the Governor’s Leadership in Nuclear Energy Commission.

To vote on the Republican Party ballot, register as Republican until April 26 or on primary day, May 21.

Nancy Gerth Sagle

The word limit for a letter to the editor has been changed to 200 words or less until after the May 21 primary.

Please send letters to:

8 / R / April 11, 2024

PERSPECTIVES Emily Articulated

Written in the stars

I had a notably bad day last week. Not the kind of bad day when anything catastrophic or earth-shattering happened, but a day where one little thing after another went wrong. It started with spilled coffee on my white bedspread and a $60 cleaning fee request from an Airbnb host (the pet fee I’d already paid didn’t extend to “lint rolling the couch” my dog had curled up on).

While still fuming at that request — they should have specified the room as *hairless pet* friendly — I was jolted out of my reverie by red-and-blue flashing lights in my rearview mirror. A police officer strode up to my car window and asked, “How’s your day so far?” as the silence of the 6 a.m. streets made a mockery of my building rage.

I barely bit back, “How do you think it’s going?” as he informed me I hadn’t stopped long enough at the empty intersection’s stop sign.

The $90 citation was followed by a three-hour dentist appointment (of course they found a cavity), paying my taxes and the check engine light in my car blinking on, prompting me to pull into a parking stall before an afternoon walk with a friend. The stall, I’d later find, was in a newly restricted and poorly-marked “No Parking” zone — a fact I would learn from the bright green warning sticker affixed (near-permanently) to my window.

As I walked with my friend, venting about the string of events that had squeezed themselves into the 12 hours I’d been awake, I felt like if a sit-com writer’s room was scripting my day, a bird was

about to poop on my head.

“I think I’m cursed,” I laughed, mostly without humor.

“Well, Mercury is in retrograde,” she explained. “And with this upcoming eclipse, it’s not surprising it’s hitting you extra hard.”

I blinked, surprised by the simple conviction in her answer.

Bolstered by the idea of blaming something larger than myself for my really bad day, I looked up “Mercury in retrograde” when I got home. I learned that astrophysically, it’s an optical illusion of sorts, where Mercury — at least from Earth’s vantage point — appears to change direction and move backward across the sky before returning to its original, forward-charging path. Astrologically speaking, this phenomenon is believed to wreak havoc on technology and communication and increase negative emotions such as anger, anxiety, resentment and sadness.

I’ve never given much weight to astrology, not willing to relinquish any of the control I feel like I have over my life, my moods and my choices. But I have always given a lot of weight to meaning-making.

Since people have been people, we have used different methods of explaining the things we’re experiencing and for understanding our unique way of being in the world. From strength-finder and enneagram tests to psychological and behavioral groupings, and online quizzes determining which “Cheese We Are,” we love organizing ourselves into categories — using those categories to examine ourselves and our relationships with others.

With meaning-making in mind, I sat with the definition of retrograde, eventually finding truth to the optical illusion-nature of the event, and the metaphor inherent in a solar eclipse. I considered that sometimes, seemingly out of nowhere, events that are usually significantly smaller than the rest of our lives (even 400 times smaller, like the ratio of the moon to the sun), are suddenly more impactful, made bigger by their closeness and the timing with which they present themselves.

Other times, it feels like we are knocked into reverse, suddenly streaking backward on our well-orbited path, for what feels like no reason at all.

But in each of those instances, is the power of perspective. The moon, in a trick of proximity and place, only feels larger than the sun, temporarily positioned to block out its light. And Mercury only looks like it’s moving backward.

In the same vein, if I wasn’t raging about my Airbnb fee, maybe I would have stopped a full three seconds at the stop sign. Without a citation, perhaps I’d have had the head space to notice the “No Parking” sign tucked near the hotel parking lot’s entrance. Between

those events, I may have had the presence of mind to take the little things in stride, giving them only the weight they deserve before considering myself irrevocably cursed.

Sure, my bad day could have been influenced by Mercury, emboldened by the solar eclipse (I’m certainly not discounting it), but it was also undeniably affected by my perspective. My perception of the day colored each precipitating event, allowing each to grow so big that, together,

they blocked out all that was also going right.

But like the eclipse, it only takes a brief stint in darkness to jolt me back into right-sizing the good around me, reinvigorated by how lucky I am and how nice it feels to bask in the light of the sun.

Emily Erickson is a writer and business owner with an affinity for black coffee and playing in the mountains. Connect with her online at

Retroactive By

April 11, 2024 / R / 9
column by
and about
Emily Erickson.

Science: Mad about

A total solar eclipse occurred April 8 over parts of Mexico, the eastern United States and eastern Canada. Some people gave away their life savings in anticipation of the end of days. Some people drove halfway across the country and fought other people for water. Some of us just had really bad luck that was totally unrelated to the eclipse.

In the grand scheme of things, eclipses aren’t all that rare. Two to five solar eclipses happen every year with a total eclipse happening about every five years. These eclipses are seldom in the same spot for a variety of reasons, so you’ll have to burn up your travel miles if you want to view them consistently.

One of the reasons why these eclipses seem to move around has to deal with the wobble of the Earth and the elliptical nature of the moon’s orbit. The moon does not orbit the earth in a perfect circle. The Earth also wobbles up and down as it orbits the sun, giving us seasons as more sunlight reaches either the northern or southern hemisphere. This confluence of interactions leads to seemingly erratic patterns of eclipses, which contrary to popular belief isn’t some supernatural occurrence or signal of the end times, but is just a big rock passing in front of our primary light source. Every time someone with a big hat goes to a crowded movie theater they create the same effect for the folks sitting behind them.

Our moon is weird for a lot of reasons, even if “weird” is a relative term. Weird for Earth is completely regular

on the moon, but I don’t live on the moon so I have no plans of checking my Earthly privileges — I’m going to call it like I see it.

One weird behavior is that the moon is perpetually moving away from Earth. Despite being tidally locked, meaning the moon always has the same side facing the Earth, it’s perpetually drifting farther and farther from us at a rate of about 3.8 centimeters per year. This is common in orbital physics, and in most cases it’s nothing to worry about. We’ll have far bigger problems as a species and a planet before we have to worry about tidal disruptions.

It’s difficult to tell from Earth, but the moon doesn’t consistently travel at the same speed. As is true of any orbit, the moon travels faster as it reaches its nearest point to Earth, called the perigee (roughly 226,000 miles from Earth). As the moon reaches its apogee, its furthest point from Earth at about 252,000 miles, it approaches its slowest travel speed. If you want to exercise this at home, you can try this simple trick: jump. Your apsis is the highest point of your jump (when your speed reaches zero), while your periapsis is the moment you impact the ground.

In orbital physics, these points are extremely important. If you’re trying to elongate the orbit of your craft, effectively expanding your reach, you’ll point in the direction you’re traveling and initiate a burn, called a prograde burn. This increase in speed will have an exponential effect as you travel, elongating your orbit and making your furthest point — your apsis — much farther than it was pre-

viously. This is tremendously useful when interacting with other physical bodies and may allow the potential for slinging your ship even farther away. NASA has done this regularly and it’s exactly how Voyager has managed to break free of the solar system, by slinging off much larger celestial bodies and vastly increasing the craft speed without unrealistic expenditures of fuel.

I know what you’re thinking, this physics lecture isn’t weird, it’s just the moon! Well, what if I told you the moon smelled funny?

In order to smell, one needs air for particulate matter to be carried — something in alarmingly low quantities on the moon. However, astronauts who traveled to the moon reported that upon re-entering an environment with oxygen, their gear had a strange scent to it. It supposedly smelled like spent gunpowder or fireworks. However, this smell did not occur from samples collected from the moon that have since been studied at Earth. Scientists haven’t pinpointed the cause of this, but they believe it may be a brief chemical reaction between particulate matter on the lunar surface and oxygen that dissipates over time.

Another weird trait of the moon is “Earthshine.” While you may be thinking about a tinfoil-clad bootlegger wearing a fishbowl for a helmet, it’s actually light that bounced off Earth first, then bounced off the moon and bounced back to Earth to create a faint glow effect that almost appears as a shadow on the moon.

Speaking of light on the moon, another really weird trait of our satellite is the

sunrise and sunset. On Earth, light from the sun is diffused by the atmosphere to create gradual hours of twilight in which the sky may turn shades of red and purple. On the moon, there is no atmospheric diffusion, so the sunrise is actually quite sudden. One moment there is darkness, the next there is light and long shadows.

There are craters on the moon that are perpetually shadowed. These areas remain

consistently cold — very cold! Some places on the moon have been recorded at -410 degrees Fahrenheit. Many of these craters are also home to perpetual ice. This is frozen water that likely became trapped during the moon’s formation, when various gasses were still present on its surface. It froze before it could evaporate and has been stuck there as ice ever since.

Stay curious, 7B.

• Fractals are mathematical shapes that are never-ending patterns. They are created by repeating a simple process into an ongoing feedback loop, often resulting in stunning artwork.

• The term “fractal” was coined in 1975 by unconventional 20th century mathematician Benoit Mandelbrot. It comes from the Latin word fractus, meaning irregular or fragmented.

• However, fractals were used by mathematicians before the origination of the term. Lewis Fry Richardson was an early-20th century English mathematician who studied the length of the English coastline. He reasoned that the distance of a coastline depends on the length of the measurement tool. If you measure with a yardstick, you get one number. Measure with a foot-long ruler, and you’ll get a larger number because it takes into account more of the coastline’s irregularity, and so on.

• Fractals can be created by mathematicians, but they also exist everywhere in nature. Trees, rivers, coastlines, mountains, clouds, seashells and hurricanes are all examples of fractals in nature.

• Fractals utilize the golden ratio, which was called the “extreme” and “mean” ratio by Euclid and the “divine proportion” by Luca Pacioli. In mathematics, the golden ratio is achieved when two quantities equal the ratio of their sum to the larger of the two amounts.

• If you can find Romanesco broccoli in the produce aisle, it’s a perfect example of a fractal.

• The term “self-similarity” means that as you look closer and closer into the details of a fractal, you can see a replica of the whole. A fern is a classic example. Whether looking at the whole frond or an individual leaf stem, they all appear the same.

10 / R / April 11, 2024
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Schweitzer responds to ICL on environmental stewardship

It’s been eight months since Alterra closed on the acquisition of Schweitzer, and while not much has changed from the guest experience perspective, there’s a flurry of activity happening behind the scenes.

We appreciate [Idaho Conservation League director] Brad Smith’s article published in the Reader on March 28 that zeroes in on our environmental practices, giving us an opportunity to increase awareness of our sustainability efforts.

Let’s start with the obvious — the 2023-’24 winter season was tough. To put it into context, El Niño has never been favorable to the Northwest, but this winter was exceptionally tough. We were challenged with historic rainfall in early December, and frigid cold temperatures in January, affecting key visitation holiday time periods. We struggled to keep the backside fully open until February. However, since late February, we’ve experienced predictable winter weather that has brought an abundance of snow that will carry us to closing day Sunday, April 14.

Unfortunately, the slow start to the season was evident for ski resorts across North

America. While we hope this weather pattern was an anomaly, the winter climate trends around the globe speak to the larger problem.

Despite the need for systemic change, we remain vigilant environmental stewards of our mountain playgrounds and will continue to do everything we can to protect the places we love. Schweitzer’s approach is focused on open conversations and creative solutions for reducing our carbon footprint, which we proudly keep current on our website.

Beyond our emission reduction projects and state and local advocacy, there are several examples of how we continue to prioritize conversations around sustainability. Part of engaging in meaningful conversations around sustainability requires establishing facts which Mr. Smith may have overgeneralized in his article. To accurately clarify some of Smith’s points, Tom Trulock, our V.P. of Schweitzer Mountain Utility Company, writes:

1. Schweitzer Creek Village is a multi-year development project that began in summer of 2022 with the clearing of the parking lot, followed by the replacement of Musical Chairs with the new Creekside Ex-

press in summer of 2023. This multi-million-dollar project has several best practices deployed as part of our engineered Storm Water Pollution Prevention Plan with Idaho Department of Environmental Quality (IDEQ). Some examples include silt fences, straw waddles, settling ponds, check dams and hydroseed mulch with tackifier.

2. No wastewater is applied directly adjacent to Schweitzer Creek. Schweitzer’s permitted wastewater system uses hydraulic management units (HMUs) built with setbacks to water bodies and public access as mandated by the IDEQ. These HMUs and surrounding water courses are highly monitored and tested regularly for nitrogen and phosphorus, with results reported to the state. Further, a Facilities Plan for the wastewater system is on file with IDEQ that outlines current and future operations, expansion plans and planned treatment upgrades considering community development.

3. Schweitzer’s trash and recycling are handled internally, contracting with Waste Management of Idaho and others for these services. The resort does not rely on or use the waste site at the Fire Station. However, the Fire Station site is a community service that we support and are trying to make successful with the help of the Selkirk Rec. District, Schweitzer Mountain Community Association, the Schweitzer Property Owners Association and other stakeholders. A committee was formed in 2022 to investigate solutions to the management of this site as it continues to be a problem area and will reconvene this month.

Schweitzer is a special place, and no one knows that more than those who have the privilege of living, working and recreating here. Part of being environmental stewards at Schweitzer is sharing the mountains with others so that they can

gain a sense of belonging, resulting in greater care for what happens to our environment.

We appreciate our community’s commitment to keeping us honest and engaging in meaningful conversations about important topics like sustainability and growth. Growth in our region is happening, therefore growth at Schweitzer is inevitable. We are lucky to have Alterra involved with our next phases of development as they have a dedicated team focused on environmental sustainability and social responsibility.

As we continue to integrate with Alterra, we are excited to explore opportunities to dive deeper and create even bigger impacts to support and protect our environment. We invite you to follow along at and

April 11, 2024 / R / 11
Taylor Prather is the marketing communications manager with Schweitzer.

Donate between now and April 30, 2024 to be entered to win a Radical Firearms, RF-15.*


over 7,000

The number of emails and calls received by Gov. Brad Little’s office in opposition to House Bill 710, which requires Idaho libraries to move materials deemed “harmful to children” or face lawsuits. About 4,250 emails and calls were in favor of the legislation, which Little signed into law April 10.


The number of Idahoans who “trust library staff with book selection,” as opposed to 23% of Idahoans who do not, according to this year’s Idaho Public Policy Survey.

The number of Idaho librarians who are considering leaving library work as a result of library-related legislation, according to a survey conducted by the Idaho Library Association.


The annual salary that a prospective homeowner must earn to afford a typical home in the U.S. That’s an 80% increase from the $59,000 salary needed to afford a home comfortably in 2020. The national median household income is around $74,000.


The median sale price of a home in Bonner County as of March 2024, down from $631,000 in February.


The median individual income for Bonner County as of 2022.

$6 billion

The amount the Biden administration has announced for projects to cut emissions from the industrial sector, which is responsible for approximately 25% of all U.S. emissions. It will be the nation’s largest-ever investment to decarbonize industry in hopes of fighting climate change.

12 / R / April 11, 2024
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For viewers of one Mexican TV news broadcast, the solar eclipse on April 8 was nuts.

When RCG Media asked viewers to submit footage from the celestial event, they got more than they bargained for.

While a male anchor listed cities where the eclipse could be witnessed, the station ran clips on the left side of the screen submitted by audience members. One clip cut to a man blocking out the sun with his testicles, causing one female anchor to gasp in shock before the clip was taken off the screen.

The male anchor told viewers that the fervor to include fans’ experiences can lead to embarrassing situations for broadcasters.

Oddly enough, eclipsing the sun with one’s testicles is growing in popularity in Latin Amer-

ica. The so-called “testicular eclipses” have been recorded before — once during the 2019 eclipse in Chile and Mötley Crüe drummer Tommy Lee even got in on the action, posting a video on his Instagram page before taking it down. But, the April 8 ball-scapade was the first time someone had made it onto the TV news.

X user Rhevolver claimed responsibility for submitting the clip to RCG Media, writing, “Greetings to all my people from Saltillo who had to watch my eggs on television because those from @rcg_media neglected to review the video of the eclipse carefully. I love them.”

He also wrote to RCG Media, “I appreciate that you took my video about the eclipse, but I would have loved to have been credited. Greetings.”



April 11, 2024 / R / 13
Photographer Rich Milliron captured this photo of Lake Pend Oreille from the Windbag Jetty at Sandpoint City Beach, looking east.

FEATURE Let the officials officiate

A lack of officials has the potential to impact local athletics, but good sportsmanship and new blood could go a long way to solve the problem

More than 14 million people tuned in to watch the Final Four matchup between the Iowa and UConn women’s college basketball teams earlier this month, setting a new record for women’s basketball viewership. A foul called in the final seconds has drawn unprecedented ridicule in the days since, as many fans wondered aloud — and, in many cases, very angrily — whether a decision by an official led to the game’s ultimate outcome.

Such is the nature of sports, but it begs the question: What happens when the refs have had enough?

This unabashed outrage toward officials isn’t limited to high-profile, high-stakes competition. In North Idaho, youth sports organizations have been navigating a shortage of officials reflected across the nation, making it difficult to schedule events and maintain typical seasons.

“Baseball, softball and soccer have really struggled the most with low turnout. However, all sports continue to experience a shortage of officials,” said Rayna Longstreet, an official who also serves as the District 1 volleyball and basketball commissioner, coordinating refs for high school sports across the panhandle.

“Basketball needs 70-75 officials on the roster,” Longstreet added, “and we have been operating with 58-60 for the past three years.”

Among the factors for this shortage, according to national data, is poor sportsmanship.

“Not only do people not want to sign up, but those that do often stop officiating between the first and third years,” Longstreet said. “New officials are learning and making mistakes; coaches and spectators can be unforgiving and abusive.”

Sports officials: Humans, too

If 17-year basketball officiat-

ing veteran Evan Ratcliffe could say one thing to folks who are quick to vocally criticize refs, it would be that he’s “never known an official that purposefully messed up a call.”

“There are calls that every official misses in every single game,” the District 1 referee said. “Sometimes those calls can be important mistakes, but I promise you their intent wasn’t to try and mess up the call.”

Mistakes are part of the learning process, he said, especially for new officials, so “grace and understanding” are important cornerstones of what it means to act in a sportsmanlike manner.

“I think if coaches and spectators understood how much we beat ourselves up for missed calls and how most refs are constantly working to get better at limiting those missed calls, they’d cut us a break more often,” Ratcliffe said.

And it goes both ways.

“We as officials also need to know that coaches and spectators are human, too, and can let their emotions get the best of them in the heat of the moment,” he said. “In my experience, most of the disrespectful or rowdy actions are not a direct attack at you, but instead just an emotional response. That isn’t a justification for doing it, but it helps me let things go and not beat myself up for making mistakes.”

‘A new perspective on the game’

Before Briana Cysewski took the court as a basketball official, she hadn’t anticipated the willingness of coaches, spectators and even athletes to vocalize their displeasure with her work.

“I was taught growing up to never speak to the officials, so it wasn’t ever something I did,” she said. “I think it surprised me a little bit how comfortable some people were with yelling at me.”

Despite this, Cysewski said she plans to stick with it.

A lifetime basketball player and mother of four, — including three kids who now play

the sport as well — she found herself eager to get back on the court in a new capacity. With encouragement from her husband, Cysewski did just that during the 2023-’24 season.

“Watching them play and fall in love with the sport made me miss it so much,” Cysewski said, “so this was a good opportunity to get back into the game I love.”

She said she has gained new insights from each role she’s experienced: player, coach and official.

“Reffing gives me a new perspective on the game,” Cysewski said. “Deep-diving into the rules book has given me an opportunity to look at the game in a whole new way. It’s exciting, and so much fun.”

She said becoming a basketball referee has also helped her in everyday life.

“You have to be confident as an official. I think as I learned how to do that more, the confidence has helped me off the court as well,” Cysewski said. “As a stay-at-home mom, it’s hard sometimes to make friends. I love how this group of officials has been so welcoming and I feel like I’ve made some good friends, which is important.”

Cysewski said she has also experienced more concrete benefits of officiating, such as being “paid to get a workout”; the chance to work directly with local youth and ensure games are able to happen on schedule; and a flexible, fulfilling part-time gig she can manage as a busy parent.

Ratcliffe said he’s found similar benefits in his nearly two decades as an official, including a “sense of accomplishment being able to give back”; an opportunity to “stay busy and active” during the downtime he sees in his career as a wildland firefighter; comradery and lifelong connections with fellow refs; and supplementary income, which he has used to fund family vacations as a “thank you” to his family for tolerating his absences on several nights each basketball season.

Put me in, commissioner!

In the interest of recruiting and retaining officials, Commissioner Longstreet said District 1 is making moves to increase pay and encourage an environment in which refs want to make a career of it, as Ratcliffe has.

“District 1 is working diligently toward mitigating these issues and has really stepped up with increased game fees and an emphasis on all coaches for better sportsmanship,” she said. “Only time will tell the longterm effect.”

The process to become an official is fairly uniform across sports, and according to Longstreet, “fairly simple.”

First, those interested should go to the Idaho High School Activities Association website and register at idhsaa. org/new-officials. Longstreet said new officials will have the typical registration fee — $47 — waived, then must complete two health safety courses and pass a background check.

As for training, officials attend a state rules clinic hosted by the IHSAA commissioner for their chosen sport, then a minimum of two local clinics.

“Our local officiating groups within the North Idaho Officials Association provide all the training a person needs to become certified,” Longstreet said.

Getting trained is one thing, but nothing replaces on-the-job experience. Ratcliffe said new

officials should stick with it for at least two seasons before considering stepping away.

“The first year or two can be a lot of new information and techniques, but it gets much easier the more games you log and the more comfortable you get. Your skin gets thicker and thicker, so the coaches’, players’ and fans’ comments don’t bother you as much,” he said. “The benefits you gain from a career of officiating, in my opinion, greatly outweigh the commonly talked about deterrents.”

As a new official herself, Cysewski is familiar with the apprehension that comes with deciding whether to wield the whistle — and the satisfaction that comes with taking the leap.

“For anyone on the fence considering becoming an official, I would say put your insecurities aside and come join us,” Cysewski said. “I was extremely nervous about starting — super insecure about my abilities — but I did it anyway, and it has changed my life.”

Those interested in officiating any sport can contact Rayna Longstreet at rayna.longstreet@gmail. com and she will put you in touch with the commissioner for your chosen sport.

14 / R / April 11, 2024
Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey is a writer, mother, volleyball coach and editor emeritus of the Sandpoint Reader. Photo by Jason Duchow Photography


Let’s put a spotlight

on Idaho

for the right reasons

Support the Open Primaries Initiative to bolster voter — not party — power

Idaho once again made national headlines for the wrong reasons. Collegiate athletes from the University of Utah women’s basketball team experienced hate and racial slurs from individuals in North Idaho — in our community.

The events are a stark reminder of the divisions that still plague our area. These divisions and the extremism that drives it must change. The only way for us to start making that change is to ensure extremists know they aren’t more powerful than the often-silent majority. And that means we need to vote.

When we exclude people and limit voter participation, we create an environment where elitism and party power — not voter power — are unlimited. We see this with unnecessary voter registration requirements months in advance, an exclusionary caucus and with the Republican Party restricting voter access.

These actions provide more party power and an environment for extremism. Recent actions by the Republican Party to make voter initiatives more difficult further insulates the party from the power and choice of the voters.

In our recent caucus, only 6.8% of Idaho’s Republicans attended to cast their vote for president. That leaves more than 93% of registered Republicans without a voice, without a vote and completely silent on their

opinions. This is an intentional result of party efforts to limit voter participation. It’s anti-democratic and not the answer to creating a strong party, or a voter-driven political agenda.

For these reasons, I am a strong supporter of the Idahoans for Open Primaries Initiative. It’s not just about partisan politics — it’s about ensuring that every citizen has an opportunity to vote, everyone has a voice and everyone has a seat at the political table. When we open our primaries, we invite more participation and more diverse perspectives. That has shown to foster more civility, better and more qualified candidates, and greater voter engagement.

Simply put, open primaries will transfer more power to the voters and away from professional politicians who now set the political agendas. More power to the voters!

I’m proud to say that most of the legislative districts in Idaho’s panhandle have collected enough signatures to qualify the Open Primaries Initiative to the ballot. It’s a testament to the strength of our community and the power voters have to make their voices heard and their votes matter.

Volunteers have worked tirelessly, engaging in meaningful conversations, and sparking political discussions with neighbors and strangers alike. Their dedication is inspiring, and it reaffirms my belief in the power of grassroots political activism — something feared by party bosses.

Arts commission seeks nominations for 2024 Governor’s Awards in the Arts

On behalf of Gov. Brad Little and First Lady Teresa Little, the Idaho Commission on the Arts announced April 8 that it is seeking nominations for the 2024 Governor’s Awards in the Arts, with a due date of Wednesday, May 15.

The awards recognize and encourage excellence in the arts in Idaho. Nominees must be Idaho residents, businesses based in Idaho, or organizations or communities that have made a significant contribution to the cultural life of Idaho.

The public is encouraged to nominate potential awardees online at arts.

Award categories include Excellence in the Arts, Excellence in Folk

and Traditional Arts, Support of the Arts, Support of Arts Education and Excellence in Arts Administration. Nominations must include a brief description of why the nominee merits the award; two to three letters of recommendation; and any supporting materials such as magazine and newspaper articles, resumes or bios, or artist statements.

Examples of artwork are strongly encouraged for the Excellence in the Arts and Traditional Arts categories.

Arts commissioners review the nominations and make recommendations to the governor, who then determines the recipients. An awards ceremony will be scheduled for fall 2024.

For more information email info@

Our work is far from over. It is extremely challenging to place a citizen-led initiative on an Idaho ballot. The volunteer group faces deadlines, signature demands, validation checks from the state, as well as opposition trying to keep the primaries closed. With just a few weeks left to push the initiative onto the ballot, every signature counts.

I urge my fellow Idahoans to join me in supporting open primaries. Let’s show the world that North Idaho can be a place that creates thoughtful policies, rejects hatred and engages in political discourse.

I believe open primaries will change the political landscape. It will bolster the Idaho we know and love — not the hateful actions reported in national media. Please join me in supporting this voter-led movement.

Ed Morse is a business owner and real estate consultant in Hayden, Idaho. He served as a Republican Idaho state representative from 2012-2014 and is actively involved with North Idaho Republicans.

April 11, 2024 / R / 15

Funky Junk Antique Show and Crafts Market returns for 17th year

Spring is a time for rebirth, regrowth and rejuvenation. It’s also a great time to find bargains with the 17th annual Funky Junk Antique Show and Crafts Market, which returns to the Bonner County Fairgrounds from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13 and Sunday, April 14.

Idaho’s largest and longest-running antique and craft festival, Funky Junk features more than 100 vendors selling everything from antiques to gardening décor to crafts and who-knows-what else in between.

Founder and organizer Jennifer Wood told the Reader she’s excited to present this year’s theme, “Foraging for Treasure,” featuring artwork focused on local fungi.

“People have been super excited about the theme,” she said. “We’ve had the best reaction this year. I had no idea mushrooms were so hot here.”

Wood said all credit for the theme and poster design go to artist and graphic designer Elle Susnis, as well as her son Glenn Kelly Wood.

“Glenn came up with the theme this year and he and Elle collaborated on that,” Wood said. “I’m always so proud of what they come up with.”

About 70% of the vendors are returning this year, but Wood said quite a few new vendors have registered their booths, many focusing on vintage items.

“Some of our vendors have been in the business 40, 50 years and now they’re ready to let go of their collections,” she said. “We also have a really great plant lady I’m excited about.”

Wood said she’s noticed a few trends this year, notably the search for raw, natural wood items.

“People want to appreciate wood furniture for what it is,” Wood said. “There are a lot of people looking for antique pieces that haven’t been painted over with chalk paint.”

Also, Wood said vendors are seeing a demand for true antiques again.

“With so many home stores selling the same mass produced items and replicas, there is a desire for the old and unique pieces to create a style of

each own’s curation,” said Wood.

Wood said there’s always a market for items that return customers to their childhood.

Along with the vendors, Funky Junk welcomes back local Celtic band Bridges Home, who will play live starting at 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 13.

“Dave and Tami have been with us since Year 1,” Wood said. “We always love having them.”

Live music Sunday will feature Newport, Wash. musician Dirk Swartz, who Wood said, “plays everything. I mean everything.”

The Garden Gnome Cafe will return, serving soup, sandwiches and salads. LJ Sams will provide baked treats through Passionately Eclectic, and Kettle Korn will offer that iconic snack. Finally, Honeybee Coffee Co. will supply everyone with enough caffeine to shop all day long.

This year marks the second installment of the event since Funky Junk transitioned from Labor Day weekend to springtime. Wood said the move has been welcomed by all.

“We didn’t have any smoke or flies to deal with at the fairgrounds,” she said. “We also weren’t competing with so many other events like we were in the fall. We had a higher turnout last year for customers and we also have more vendors who are free to do the show in April. People are itching to do something after the long winter.”

Admission to the show is $8, which is good for both days. Kids under 12 and parking is free.

Learn more at

16 / R / April 11, 2024 COMMUNITY
Courtesy photo.

Dig into gardening season



Series at the Sandpoint Library

The Sandpoint Branch of the East Bonner County Library is celebrating spring with the newest installment of their Natural Connections series, which will cover planning a garden, preserving a harvest, and seed starting and saving. The four classes, which run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday, April 13, are perfect for new and experienced gardeners looking to hone their skills and mingle with a community of plant-lovers.

“I’m always excited to share gardening information with fellow gardeners,” wrote presenter and University of Idaho Extension Educator Jennifer Jensen in an email to the Reader.

Jensen is joined by Library Garden Coordinator and Seed Librarian Kelli Burt, U of I Master Food Safety Adviser Tina Imlay and Master Gardeners Elizabeth Strube and Nan-

cy Mangham as they dive into fun and practical information, including demonstrations and hands-on activities where attendees can learn to properly freeze, can and dehydrate crops; utilize soil blocking; and make seed tape for easy row planting.

“By this weekend we will be about five weeks before the last frost for our area. There are still some plants that can be started indoors, especially using succession planting,” wrote Jensen.

Bonner County bioblitz returns for fourth year

In the most recent installment of the Biodiversity Matters Series, the Sandpoint Branch of the East Bonner County Library and the Wild Ones Northern Rockies Chapter have teamed up for the annual City Nature Challenge, in which communities around the world join together and participate in a “bioblitz” by documenting wildlife in their areas.

Attendees of the presentation, which runs from 5-6 p.m. on Monday, April 15 at the Sandpoint Library (1407 Cedar St.), will learn about the CNC and the iNaturalist app, which they can then use to identify plants and animals in the library garden and beyond.

“Bioblitzes are important because they allow baseline data for species to be determined,” wrote Presenter George Gehrig, a Xerces Society ambassador and the president of the WONRC. “With this data — like with temperature data for climate studies — changes and trends can be ascertained regarding population size. But, it is

just as important to notice which species are no longer in the landscape.”

This marks the fourth year Gehrig has organized the CNC in Bonner County, and he hopes to get 1% of the community outside identifying flora and fauna for the four-day international event, which officially begins Friday, April 26.

“This year, for the first time, all 10 counties in the panhandle will have official projects,” he added.

Visit and for more information.

“Broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbage and lettuce, as well as zinnias and marigolds could be started indoors.”

Attendees will also be the first to take advantage of the reopened Seed Library, where members of the community can take or donate any open-pollinated, non-GMO seeds that aren’t copyrighted and are suited to the local climate. Gardeners who are

just starting out can still take seeds even if they have none to donate in return.

Join the community for one or all of these free classes and reap the benefits of home-grown produce and flowers all spring and summer long.

For more information, visit

Master Naturalists and U.S. FWS reveal North Idaho’s ancient history

The Idaho Master Naturalists will host a deep-dive into North Idaho’s ancient history with the class “North Idaho after the Glaciers and Floods,” presented by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service archaeologist Carla Burnside, who works in eastern Washington and North Idaho. The event runs from 9-11 a.m. on Saturday, April 13, and will feature information on the regional plants and animals that existed both before and after the most recent North American ice age.

“There is some very surprising information about what our region used to be like over the last 18,000 years. Did you know that we used to have mastodons, mammoths and camels in our backyards?” Patrick Meyers, president of the Pend Oreille Chapter of the Idaho Master Naturalist, told the Reader in an email.

Burnside’s presentation will utilize historical, regional maps — some created by cartographer and fur trader David Thompson — covering British Columbia, Montana, Washington and

North Idaho, which illustrate how the changing landscape affected life in the area. Many of the species covered in the class, including giant beavers, giant bison and woodland muskox, are long extinct.

“The changing landscape over the millennia supported very diverse animals — from those in the alpine tundra to those in our current interior forest,” wrote Meyers.

The class is free with a suggested donation of $5, which funds the Master Naturalists’ operations and the Waterlife Discovery Center. Space is limited, so RSVP to imn.sandpoint@ to reserve a spot and receive the exact location of the class.

April 11, 2024 / R / 17 COMMUNITY
The path of the ice age Missoula floods. Courtesy image. Courtesy images. A native paddle-tailed darner. Photo by Christopher Christie, courtesy of the Idaho fish and Game Species Cataloge.


Send event listings to

THURSDAY, april 11

Artist Reception and live music w/ Matt Lome 5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

See Lome’s illustrative paintings and listen to his live music

Bingo Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Music w/ Mason Van Stone

April 11 - 18, 2024

Concert with Peter Rivera, David Raitt and the Baja Boogie Band 6:30pm @ Heartwood Center

Join Rare Earth drummer Peter Rivera and Grammy Award-winning artist Bonnie Raitt’s brother David’s acclaimed blues band for a special show

Cribbage League

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Mike Wagoner Trio

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Live Music w/ Adrian Xavier

6-9pm @ Matchwood Brewing Co.

Seattle reggae artist

Live Music w/ Devon Wade Band

8:45pm @ The Hive

Sandpoint country band ($5), with line dancing from 7:30-8:30 ($10)

Live Music w/ Ian Newbill

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Doug and Marty

6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Sandpoint Sailing Assoc. movie night

6-9pm @ Panida Theater

Come watch Success, about four North Idaho sailors who participated in The Race to Alaska. Fundraiser for SSA, Dogsmile Adventures

Bel Canto Opera presents Tortellini

6pm @ Little Carnegie Theater, MCS

An operatic comedy inspired by real life events. Tickets include dinner, dessert and bottle of wine

Live Music w/ Big Phatty & the Inhalers 9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Blend of classic rock, reggae, jam, blues

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

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s “The Crowd and the Crucifixion”

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan Tavern

FriDAY, april 12

Live Music w/ Heat Speak 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Contra Dance

7-10pm @ Sandpoint Community Hall

Local band, local caller. New dancers session 7-7:45pm. All dances taught and called. No experience/partner needed. Please be fragrance-free. $5

Live Music w/ Jason Perry

5pm @ Connie’s Lounge

SATURDAY, april 13

MCC: The Gardener’s Gathering

10-11am @ Hope Memorial Comm. Center

Beginners/experts welcome to talk gardening for an hour. 2nd/4th Saturdays

Natural Connections

10am-4pm @ Sandpoint Library

A selection of gardening workshops. Read more on Page 17

Funky Junk Antique & Craft Festival

10am-4pm @ Bonner County Fairgrounds

Idaho’s largest and longest running antique and craft festival with treasures galore. Tickets $8. Kids under 12 free

Schpring Finale at Schweitzer (April 13-14) Fundraiser for Rotary, costumes, prizes

Live Music w/ Picked Up Pieces

6-9pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

SunDAY, april 14

Magic with Star Alexander 5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s Up close magic shows at the table

monDAY, april 15

Outdoor Experience Group Run 6pm @ Outdoor Experience 3-5 miles, all levels welcome

tuesDAY, april 16

Paint and Sip w/ Lisa Maus

5:30-7:30pm@ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Paint a hydrangea bouquet. $45/ person, includes everything

Tapas Tuesday (FREE)

4-6pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Lightwire Theater: Dino Light 7pm @ Panida Theater

A glow-in-the-dark adventure that blends puppetry, technology and dance. $30/adults, $10/students

Live Music w/ Kyle Mont Cunningham

6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ Rock, country. Music, BBQ & beer!

Live Music w/ Erick Beavers Alt Rock 6-9pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Funky Junk Antique show (Apr. 13-14) 10am-4pm @ Bonner Co. Fairgrounds

Idaho’s largest and longest running antique and craft festival. See Page 16. $8. Parking and kids under 12 FREE

Webb, Morse and Keeler concert

6pm @ CREATE in Newport, Wash.

With Patrice Webb, Lyle Morse and Brad Keeler. $12/$15. Students FREE

Drum with Rhythm Boomers

10am @ Pearl Theater (Bonners Ferry)

Free drumming circle open to all

Ponderay Rotary: Grin it to Win it 10am-1pm @ Schweitzer Mountain

An open-air photo booth, with chances to win free season pass. $20

Live Music w/ Weibe Jammin

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Funky Junk Antique & Craft Festival

10am-4pm @ Bonner County Fairgrounds

Lost in the ’50s Fundraiser Breakfast @ Second Avenue Pizza

Trivia Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Hosted by a revolving cast of characters

wednesDAY, april 17

Live Piano w/ Peter Lucht 5-7pm@ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Student Safety Summit

5:30pm @ SHS

ThursDAY, april 18

Film: Small Town, Big Vision • 5pm @ The Heartwood Center

A film for anyone who’s ever cared about where they live. Learn more about land use, planning and how to build better communities. FREE. Also a raffle

Pend Oreille Economic Partnership event 5-6pm@ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

A community networking and listening event, following board meeting from 4:155pm. Public is welcome and invited

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan

Bingo Night

Cribbage League 7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

18 / R / April 11, 2024

A critically acclaimed semi-finalist on America’s Got Talent, Lightwire Theater blends technology, music, puppetry and light to tell visually stunning, inventive stories.

Brought to the Panida Theater by the Pend Oreille Arts Council, the traveling group will perform a full-length theatrical production of their original show Dino-Light on Friday, April 12 at 7 p.m.

“Dino-Light is a captivating performance that appeals to a wide range of ages, making it enjoyable for children, families, and even adults who appreciate artistry and creativity,” said POAC Executive Director Tone Lund.

Ian Carney and Corbin Popp’s story follows a dinosaur created by a magical scientist on his journey to discover the meaning of love, encountering a number of fun and fascinating characters along the way. Each magical being is a large, colorful puppet lit up by electroluminescent (EL) wire, creating unique visuals unlike any

other production to grace Sandpoint’s stages.

As part of POAC’s educational mission, the Ovations Outreach Program will host an additional free performance for 450 elementary students in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Tickets for the public performance are $30 for adults, $10 for youth, and are available online at or by phone at 208-263-6139. Doors open at the Panida Theater (300 N.

The cast of Dino-Light, which will be at the Panida April 12. Courtesy photo.

First Ave., in Sandpoint) at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m.

“I am particularly excited about the visual storytelling in Dino-Light. The seamless blend of technology, dance and music creates a magical experience that will transport the audience into a whimsical world,” said Lund.

Idahoans for Open Primaries host signature events

Idahoans for Open Primaries volunteers in Legislative District 1 are announcing a series of events for the rest of April as part of the last push for the initiative signature drive. The events in Sandpoint and Priest River will give volunteers an opportunity to turn in signed petitions and allow voters to sign the petition if they haven’t yet.

The Sandpoint event will take place on Saturday, April 13, between noon and 3 p.m. at Matchwood Brewing, 513 Oak St.

The Priest River event will also take place April 13 between 1-3 p.m. at Tyee Coffee on High Street, between Main and Wisconsin.

The last planned event in Sandpoint will take place

Oscar-nominated Anatomy of a Fall to screen at the Panida Welcome to Jurassic POAC

Did she or didn’t she? That is the question the film Anatomy of a Fall will answer... or not!

The 2023 French courtroom drama will be shown at the Panida on Sunday, April 14, at a 2 p.m. matinee and in the evening at 7 p.m.

The plot is simple: Novelist Sandra Voyter (played by Sandra Hüller) is married to university lecturer Samuel Maleski (played by Samuel Theis), and they are staying at a mountain chalet with their visually impaired son, Daniel (played by Milo Machado-Graner).

When Daniel returns to the mountain chalet from a walk with his guide dog Snoop, he finds his father dead in the snow from an apparent fall from the upper floor of the chalet.

Was Samuel’s fall an accident? Was he pushed by Sandra? The film presents layers of a complex relationship as the plot moves to the courtroom, where Sandra is on trial for the murder of her husband. Eventually Daniel will take the stand, but what will his testimony reveal? Possibly the dog Snoop should be put on the witness stand as well.

Anatomy of a Fall premiered at the Cannes Film Festival

in 2023 where it won several awards. The film received five nominations at this year’s Academy Awards: Best Picture, Best Director (Justine Triet), Best Actress (Sandra Hüller), Best Original Screenplay (Justine Triet) and Best Editing (Laurent Sénéchal). Triet took home the Oscar for Best Original Screenplay.

Besides being nominated for her performance in this film, Hüller was also recognized for playing Hedwig, the wife of Auschwitz commandant Rudolf Höss, in the critically acclaimed The Zone of Interest, an Oscar nominee for Best International Feature Film.

Saturday, April 27 from noon to 3 p.m., also at the north community room of Matchwood Brewing Co.

All events will feature volunteers on hand to answer questions about the initiative and assist voters wishing to check their registration status. Notary publics will also be available for volunteers to turn in completed signature pages.

The LD1 volunteer leadership team expressed optimism about the events, and took the time to remind volunteers the importance of turning in signature sheets.

“We’re finishing this signature collection strong up here in our district,” stated volunteer Catherine Brenner. “Let’s take some time to recognize our accomplishments before we begin the work for November.”

Anatomy of a Fall is sponsored by the Heartwood Center and costs only $5.

So, head to the Panida on Sunday and become a member of the jury to decide Sandra’s fate.

Jim Healey is a longtime member of the board of directors for both the Panida Theater and 88.5 KRFY Panhandle Community Radio, as well as an avid film buff. Courtesy photo.

April 11, 2024 / R / 19 STAGE & SCREEN
Lightwire Theater’s critically acclaimed Dino-Light comes to the Panida

STAGE & SCREEN Sandpoint Sailing Club screens Success, chronicling Race to Alaska

In the summer of 2023, four North Idaho sailors embarked on an adventure that saw them racing from Port Townsend, Wash. to Ketchikan, Alaska with nothing but the wind and themselves.

Local filmmaker Paul Reuter will screen Success, his film about the experience of Team Dogsmile Adventures’ voyage in their 1996 Corsair F27 trimaran — dubbed Mahana — at the Sandpoint Sailing Association’s third annual movie night Saturday, April 13 at 7 p.m. at the Panida Theater (300 N. First Ave.).

The night will serve as a fundraiser for Sandpoint Sailing Association, a nonprofit organization with a mission to connect as many local residents — especially the youth — with sailing. In addition to a screening of Reuter’s film, there will be a showing of the short film The Art of Slowing Down Time,

door prizes from local merchants and a silent auction.

Connie’s Cafe and Lounge is the title sponsor of the event.

Reuter told the Reader that his film Success is the culmination of a lifelong love for sailing, as well as an effort to bring more attention to Dogsmile Adventures, which is run by Jon Totten, who hired Reuter’s Action Sports Media to create the film.

“It’s a therapeutic sailing program that aims to get underprivileged people on the water,” Reuter said. “We’ve been working with Jon and Dogsmile Adventures for years, doing media and video production. Any way we can help him establish his program.”

Reuter said that since he was unable to join the race on the small boat, he had to train the crew members to also operate cameras.

“Strategically, it was tricky,” Reuter said. “It’s an off-grid race, so we weren’t able to be on the boat. We had to train the sailors how to use a GoPro camera and film themselves.”

After filming the departure in Port

Film highlights four locals’ Race to Alaska

Townsend — including drone shots of the vessel hitting the blue water — Reuter said the rest of the film was up to the four sailors on board to film. The crew included Gabe Mills — captain and owner of Mahana based in Bayview — first mate Jason Taft, David Kilmer and Totten.

Success will focus on the voyage, but also on Totten’s important work establishing Dogsmile Adventures on Lake Pend Oreille and connecting with local youth on the water.

“We’re hosting this event to let our community know just how easy it is to go sailing with the SSA in Sandpoint,” said SSA Past Commodore Chris Ank-

ney. “We’re inviting anyone interested in sailing to join us to learn how they can get involved and get out on the water this summer.” The event is open to the public and the cost of entry is a suggested donation to the club.

“Come join us and find out how to get involved with a fun local nonprofit group,” Ankney added.

To learn more about the Sandpoint Sailing Association, visit

Small Town, Big Vision Film Festival

Project 7B and the Idaho Chapter of the American Planning Association hope to inspire the community with their new Small Town, Big Vision Film Festival on Thursday, April 18 at the Heartwood Center, by showing short and feature-length films that teach responsible land use and development.

“Land use and planning have been the focus of much concern in recent years as our area experiences pretty intense growth pressure,” wrote P7B Board Member Susan Drumheller, who helped organize the event. “The hope is that these films will be entertaining and engaging enough to help people better appreciate and engage in a process that can sometimes seem like an abstract, bureaucratic exercise.”

Films are intermixed with group discussions so that attendees can explore how the ideas presented might translate into action in Bonner County. The two groups of films — divided by their focus on either rural and urban living — explore ways to maintain the aesthetics of an area while dealing

with practical concerns like sprawl, parking and the proliferation of vacation homes.

The night ends with the feature film Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, about journalist Jane Jacobs, who changed the course of U.S. urban planning and fought to save historic neighborhoods in New York City. Her story emphasizes the impact just one motivated individual can have on their community.

“There’s something for everyone who has questions about the way growth is happening in and around

Sandpoint — whether you are concerned about sprawl in the county, or wondering how we can save our small town vibe,” Drumheller told the Reader in an email. “All the videos are short, and the full-length feature film is at the end, so you can pick and choose what you want to watch.”

The event is FREE and runs from 5-9 p.m. on Thursday, April 18 at the Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., 208-263-8699. For more information, visit or

20 / R / April 11, 2024
The disheveled sailors at the end of their race (from left to right): David Kilmer, Jon Totten, Capt. Gabe Mills and first mate Jason Taft. Photo courtesy of Action Sports Media. Courtesy photo.


Festival at Sandpoint announces Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw

The Festival at Sandpoint unveiled another act for the 2024 Summer Series of concerts at War Memorial Field, announcing that Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw will take the main stage Saturday, Aug. 3.

Sandpoint member presale tickets open Thursday, April 11, while tickets go on sale to the public Friday, April 12.

Caillat is a two-time Grammy Award-winning and five-time Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter whose catalog has amassed more than 15 billion global streams. Other nominations and accolades for Caillat include Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, MTV Video Music Awards, BMI Pop Awards and more.

Her debut album Coco hit No. 5 on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart and is certified three times platinum, while her platinum-selling follow-up album Breakthrough landed at No. 1 on the Billboard Album chart.

Caillat’s radio career boasts eight No. 1 and/or top 10 singles, including sixtime platinum-certified hit “Bubbly,” “Realize,” “Try” and her Grammy-winning

duet with Jason Mraz, “Lucky.”

As part of the country quartet Gone West, Caillat made her debut at the Grand Ole Opry, and the group reached the top 30 on the Country Airplay charts with their gold-certified single, “What Could’ve Been” from their album Canyons Caillat’s debut solo country album, Along The Way, is out now and features hit singles “I’ll Be Here,” featuring Rock ’n’ Roll Hall of Fame member Sheryl Crow, and “Meant For Me.”

Graw’s inimitable voice and soulful style boldly bloomed on his 2003 platinum-certified full-length debut, Chariot.

As an expert storyteller, Caillat’s live show is personal and engaging no matter where she plays — from arenas and festivals to intimate clubs.

For additional information, visit

Grammy Award-nominated multi-platinum singer-songwriter Gavin De-

It included the gold single “Follow Through,” as well as both platinum hits, “Chariot” and “I Don’t Want To Be.” His self-titled second album in 2008 landed in the top 10 of the Billboard Top 200, powered by the platinum-selling single “In Love With a Girl.” His gold-certified Sweeter saw him return to the top 10 as the single “Not Over You” went four times platinum. Meanwhile, his duet with Colbie Caillat, “We Both Know,” garnered a Grammy nomination in

Colbie Caillat, left, and Gavin DeGraw, right, will play the Festival at Sandpoint Saturday, Aug. 3. Courtesy photos.

the category of “Best Song Written For Visual Media” for “Safe Haven.”

This past winter, DeGraw released his applauded first-ever Christmas EP, A Classic Christmas. DeGraw is the rare talent who can seamlessly share the stage with Billy Joel and The Allman Brothers or Maroon 5 and Shania Twain with his signature fusion of pop, soul, country, folk and funk.

Tickets for Colbie Caillat and Gavin DeGraw are available at beginning Friday, April 12.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

Wiebe Jammin‘, Pend d’Oreille Winery, April 13 Peter Rivera, David Raitt and Baja Boogie Band; Heartwood Center; April 11

Inland and Pacific Northwest performer Nick Wiebe — a.k.a. Wiebe Jammin’ — will wow audiences with his diverse array of musical covers, stemming from just about every genre, on Saturday, April 13 at the Pend d’Oreille Winery. This one-man-band uses an acoustic guitar and loop pedal to fill the room with inventive takes on hits from the ’60s through to the

present, including a sprinkling of originals. Sip some wine and enjoy a performance that is the culmination of more than 30 years of experience and countless shows.

5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., Ste. 101, 208-265-8545, Listen at

Of the most important influences on the development of popular music, the blues reigns supreme.

Tap into some of the best in the business with a special concert featuring Peter Rivera, David Raitt and the Baja Boogie Band, as they play their unique form of this ageold American art form.

Rivera, who also serves as drummer for Rare Earth, and

This week’s RLW by Zach Hagadone


I can’t overemphasize what a terrific source the Idaho Capital Sun is for statewide newspapers and their readers. Drawing on some of the best reporters in Idaho, and producing solid copy daily, if you aren’t already subscribed to the newsletter you should be. Better yet, because the Cap Sun just celebrated its third birthday at the end of March, donate to their nonprofit mission at


Raitt, whose sister is Grammy Award-winning artist Bonnie Raitt, lead this raucous evening of top notch music. The last time they played the Heartwood, they sold out, so don’t delay buying tickets.

Doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.; $30 advance, $35 at the door. The Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., 208-263-8699. Get tickets at

Color me culturally uninformed, insofar as I’m only just now getting on the Frazey Ford train. This Vancouver, B.C.-based singer-songwriter is a revelatory force of nature — her warbly, winding timbre teases with apparent vulnerability while covering an essential, strident solidity. She knows exactly what she’s about (think Cat Power-meets-Janis Joplin) and you should know what she’s about, too. Recommended tracks: “September Fields,” “The Kids are Having None of It” and “Firecracker.” Listen to her on all the streamers and YouTube.


In case you haven’t noticed, the Idaho GOP is suffering from an existential crisis. is proof. Founded by lifelong Republican and CEO of Snake River Strategies Gregory Graf, the site features pungent analysis of the rotten state of IDGOP play, as well as a podcast series Idaho Inside Out — Uncovering the plot to take over the Gem State at politicalpotatoes.substack. com, which already has 26,000 subscribers (not too far off from the 39,500 Idaho Republicans who participated in the 2024 presidential caucus last month).

April 11, 2024 / R / 21


In addition to the new boats for Lake Pend d’Oreille, formerly announced in the columns of this paper, several other persons have either ordered new boats or their orders have been filled and the boats have already arrived. Some of the vessels are being constructed here, among them being a substantial one by O.L. Peavy. His launch will be 25 feet long, with 6-foot beam and equipped with a 10-horse power engine. The vessel is to be christened the “Cougar.”

Sheriff Doust has planned a boat of the same design as Mr. Peavy’s and it will be built here at an early date. Their boats will be twin vessels in every way, having the same dimensions and type and power of engine.

E.R. Nelson has sold his interest in the Necedah to George H. Hipko, and he and Ed Ulrich are having a new boat constructed which it is believed will be the fastest on the lake. The boat will be constructed here and its dimensions will be 27 feet long by 4-foot beam, and equipped with a 14-horse power gasoline engine. This engine will drive the boat at a speed of 18 miles per hour. The engine has already arrived.

H.G. Williams has ordered a launch with a speed of 10 miles an hour. The vessel will be shipped from Shell Lake, Wisc. and is expected here not later than the end of the month. The vessel will have a seating capacity for 14 persons.

Several other persons have expressed their intention of having new vessels constructed during the next few months but have not decided upon the design of boat to be chosen.


The old song

It was already midday when my mom and I left home for our college road trip, taking the old roads through eastern Washington. Washington State Route 261 leads to Lyons Ferry Road, which leads to Harvey Shaw Road in an endless stream of pavement that takes you somewhere through nowhere, the long way ’round.

Harvey Shaw’s two lanes weave through brown fields with no houses, broken only by a fallen barn or a water pump — small reminders of civilization. The moon was high and bright by the time we neared Walla Walla, and it glinted off waves of frosted grass.

In the midst of all that nothingness, I saw a man in a wide-brimmed hat strumming his guitar on a desolate hilltop. I mistook him for another statue — rural Washington is littered with rusting monuments to a white man’s idea of the lost frontier.

He wasn’t a statue. He wasn’t a man anymore, either.

He was a ghost, and he disappeared almost as soon as I’d noticed him.

I stared at the spot where I’d seen him until the moonlight that had glinted off his guitar faded into the blinding spotlights of Washington State Penitentiary, Walla Walla, WA 99362.

When you drive Harvey Shaw Road at night, you’re blinded by the prison’s searchlights. The white watchtowers sprout out of flat land, producing enough light for a city of skyscrapers and casting it down onto single-level houses with peeling paint.

Washington State Penitentiary was home to the state’s death row from the first execution in 1906 to its abolition of capital punishment in 2023, and in

all that time it was both neighbor and specimen to Whitman College. They don’t mention that in the promotional pamphlets.

The boy who led my mom and me around campus wore a beaming smile as he told us that Whitman classes are allowed to interview the inmates — “not the famous ones, though.”

The famous ones are men like the Green River Killer, the Werewolf Butcher, the Hillside Strangler and the South Hill Rapist — men who make “violence against women” its own category.

I wanted to ask if he knew of any inmates who had played guitar before they felt that lethal needle prick. Maybe the phantom in the wide-brimmed hat had a nickname, too, before he took up his haunt on the hill.

I picked a different college. There, I sat in a circle of tiny swivel desks and debated capital punishment with boys who told me they “watch true crime.”

“It’s always so obvious when you see these men. They don’t look human,” one of them said. “How could you not want people like that dead?”

He looked through me as he said this, because I’m the symbol that states use to justify their killing — the pretty white woman, the perfect victim. They couldn’t answer when I asked them why states are so willing to kill for women yet try, at every turn, to strip us of our bodily autonomy. Governments have always found the ideal of femininity more appealing than its reality.

I’ve never seen hatred warm anyone but the living.

Just as it’s easier for governments to idealize women as victims, it’s much easier to kill a perpetrator of a heinous crime as an anomaly than to admit they’re just one note in a much longer song.

Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

As we sat on the campus of one of Ted Bundy’s alma maters, I wondered who the threat of capital punishment supposedly deterred — not Gary Ridgway or Kenneth Bianchi or the spectral guitarist. Sometimes I can hear his song in the staccato slam of my neighbor’s door when he’s angry, in the voice of the man next to me who yells into his phone or in the footsteps that follow me one block too many.

They’re all elements of society’s background music, going unnoticed yet constantly influencing and informing our lives.

I wish I could say that guitarist only haunts Walla Walla, but Harvey Shaw Road leads to Lyons Ferry leads to Washington State Route 261, and from there the highway can take him anywhere. I will never know who he was, or what he did to earn his purgatory of a guitar, a field and the frost.

I know his death didn’t save anyone. Gone and buried, his song continued, amplified by a society that normalizes violence and views women as prized possessions with no autonomy. We’re all bound to the same, vicious song until we learn to acknowledge that the problem is bigger than the individual.

Crossword Solution

I guess more bad things have been done in the name of progress than any other. I myself have been guilty of this. When I was a teenager, I stole a car and drove it out into the desert and set it on fire.

When the police showed up, I just shrugged and said, “Hey, progress.” Boy, did I have a lot to learn.

From Pend Oreille Review, April 10, 1908
22 / R / April 11, 2024

Laughing Matter


April 11, 2024 / R / 23
1. A city in Nebraska 6. Frigid 11. Temptress 12. Emote 15. Wasteland 16. How a coward acts 17. Be mistaken 18. Prejudice 20. Mister 21. Snivel 23. Sacred 24. Mexican sandwich 25. Story 26. Replicate 27. Imitation 28. Didn’t dillydally 29. Employ 30. Financial institutions 31. Side streets 34. Mucilages 36. Beer 37. Ticks off 41. Tatters 42. Stair 43. Holy man 44. Sunbathes 45. Fashionable 46. Aquatic bird 47. Climbing vine 48. Strangle 51. Concealed 52. Arouse 54. Without difficulty 56. Furious 1. Intersection 2. Govern badly 3. Lumberjack’s tool 4. Parsley or sage 5. Against 6. Stout 7. Female egg organ DOWN
Copyright Solution on page 22 8. Impose 9. Form of “to be” 10. Plunder 13. Short light metallic sounds 14. Apprentice 15. Arrears 16. Group action 19. Specter 22. Chinches 24. Things in your throat 26. Swear 27. Thick flat pad 30. Toot 32. “I agree” 33. Select by voting 34. Engraved 35. Rigging rope 38. Untanned animal skin 39. Sent an electronic letter 40. Like most beaches 42. Tatters 44. Rubber wheel 45. Birthday desserts 48. Plum variety 49. French for “Head” 50. Deserve 53. Armed conflict 55. Unhappy 57. Exchange 58. Clothe 59. Terminated Word Week of the Corrections: No corrections this week. Thanks for playing. ailurophile /ahy-LOOR-uh-fahyl/ [noun] 1. a person who likes cats.
to ‘crazy cat lady.’”
By Bill Borders
Solution on page 22 Solution on page 22
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