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The week in random review

Thanks, Morpheus

Morpheus, god of dreams, has been especially busy this last week, sending me his most unhinged plots and characters. For instance, one was a dazzling tale of adventure in which I, while attempting to order sushi, was escorted to a walk-in freezer full of jewels. Inside, the sushi chef introduced me to Pope Francis, who was seeking his successor. Since the cardinals couldn’t agree on the next pope, Francis (we were on a first-name basis) and I had to journey deep into catacombs under Vatican City in search of an ancient tome that recorded the names of all popes — past, present and future. I was asked to translate the glowing, golden book made from human skin (because apparently everyone in the Catholic Church had forgotten how to speak Italian), but I failed, causing the entire network of catacombs to collapse and entomb all the cardinals. I was able to ferry Francis out but he wasn’t very happy with me.

In my subsequent dreams I dissolved into a puddle of black goo, had my loved ones transformed into Littlest Pet Shop toys voiced by Tony Hawk and, finally, was harassed by very tall Scandinavians who killed anyone who sneezed in their presence. Overall, not a bad way to spend one-third of my life.

Yes. Yes I do.

My father recently asked me, “You know how we watched all those shows like Buffy the Vampire Slayer when you were a kid? Do you think that did something to you?” The question came out of left field, given that I was quietly eating a sandwich rather than, say, skinning a cat or drawing serial killer clowns. Regardless, the answer is, “Yes.” Yes, I do think it shaped me that I grew up watching every supernatural TV show made between 1990 and 2010, but I will consequently never fall victim to local vampires, demons and/or bigfeet (bigfoots?). I think everyone should treat themselves to a healthy dose of spooky escapism. Watching characters overcome their fears and save their communities is inspiring to those of us living in the real world with far scarier problems. We can’t solve our political or medical crises with wooden stakes or silver bullets, but that magical, black-and-white world reminds us that even one person fighting for a better future can make a difference.

To Idaho H.b. 710 supporters

“And on the subject of burning books: I want to congratulate librarians, not famous for their physical strength or their powerful political connections or their great wealth, who, all over this country, have staunchly resisted anti-democratic bullies who have tried to remove certain books from their shelves, and have refused to reveal to thought police the names of persons who have checked out those titles. So the America I loved still exists, if not in the White House or the Supreme Court or the Senate or the House of Representatives or the media. The America I love still exists at the front desks of our public libraries.”

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: Ben Olson (cover), Chris White, Otto Kitsinger, Kristina Brown, Mike Benson, Bill Borders Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Soncirey Mitchell, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Clark Corbin, Phil Hough, Chris White, Lauren Necochea, Ranel Hanson, Marcia Pilgeram 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 300 words –Letters may not contain excessive profanity or libelous material. Please elevate the discussion. Letters will be edited to comply with the above requirements. Opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers, not necessarily the publishers. Email letters to: Check us out on the web at: About the Cover It’s generative AI. Sorry. READER April 18, 2024 / R / 3

Public hearing draws full crowd for proposed Sagle Panhandle Bike Ranch

The developers of a mountain bike park slated to break ground in Sagle on May 1 were met with a capacity crowd April 17 when the Bonner County Hearing Examiner took testimony on a conditional use permit for the project sought by Scott and Jennifer Kalbach.

Members of the public, some carrying signs that read “Keep Sagle Rural” and “No to the Sagle Bike Park,” testified before Bonner County Examiner Jacqueline Rucker about the proposal.

The Panhandle Bike Ranch is envisioned on two contiguous 85.33-acre parcels owned by the Kalbachs off Jumpline Landing in Sagle, currently zoned Rural 10.Access to the proposed facility is from East Dufort Road to Five Lakes Road, through the Five Lakes residential development approximately 3.5 miles east of Highway 95.

Bonner County Planner

Tyson Lewis shared the staff report about the project, noting that the proposed development, “will not change zoning or land use designation of the property or the properties adjacent,” after numerous emails from concerned neighbors touched on the topic.

Lewis said Bonner County Planning staff determined the CUP proposal complies with the definition of what constitutes a recreational facility on Rural 10 zoning in the county’s revised comp plan.

More than 600 responses came through an online form from the public, according to Lewis, with approximately 60% of respondents in favor and 40% in opposition to the project.

Jeremy Grimm of Whiskey Rock Planning and

Consulting spoke to represent the developers, touting research that showed homes located near trails had higher property values and quality of life. Grimm, who also serves as Sandpoint mayor, declared that the city was not involved in the project in any way.

Grimm reiterated that recreational services are not prohibited within areas zoned Rural 10, and the CUP should be approved as such. Grimm also pointed out that, compared to other developments that could go into that particular area, a mountain bike park is a much lower impact option than alternatives.

“You could have the property owner dividing their property into 10-acre parcels, which could add roughly 51 dwelling units onto the property,” Grimm said. “This could generate up to 100,000 trips per year in the adjacent neighborhood.”

Grimm also said that density bonuses given to landowners who set aside portions of their acreage for open space and trails connecting to public lands could increase density 65% or more.

“There’s a heck of a lot of value if the property owners were interested in a return on their investment, which they’re clearly not in this case,” Grimm said.

Developer Scott Kalbach said he always intended the bike ranch to be a family-run business.

“This isn’t some corporate-owned business with big investors,” Kalbach said. “We don’t have investors who want aggressive growth. We want to run this as a small-scale operation, and I do believe it fits in with the rural character of the community.”

Among those who testified, Sagle resident Natalie Larson said she supported

the bike ranch, was born and raised in Sandpoint and believes mountain biking is a quiet, low-impact sport that wouldn’t create any more noise than passing trains or existing traffic.

“I think this would be an asset to Bonner County,” Larson said.

Taylor Bradish said he appreciates that the landowners aren’t subdividing the property.

“He could be like all the other developers splitting their property into 10- and five-acre parcels,” Bradish said. “This particular use will be much less impactful to the valley there.”

Nick Badoux said he lives within a mile of the proposed location and was also in favor of the project because of how much potential mountain biking has as a healthy alternative for young people.

“Mountain biking has become my son’s passion in life,” he said. “It keeps him out of trouble, teaches him responsibility. ... [L]et’s face it, you could have one horrible neighbor that could create more issues than this bike park will.”

Ariel Olson is a local business owner and self-proclaimed “bike fanatic.” She said she’s traveled all

over the western half of the country for biking and has experienced many different bike parks.

“All along the way, I’ve spent money in all the towns and explored what they have to offer,” she said. “Mountain biking is awesome and it’s a neat way to use a big chunk of land.”

After supporters spoke, those in opposition lined up to give testimony.

Jeff Stevens said that while he can relate to the passion of mountain bikers, he believes the park is in the wrong place.

“I did research on the 85 mountain bike park ranches in the country, and zero of them have been built next to residential areas,” Stevens said. “Commercial businesses should not be involved in rural zones.”

Fifth-generation resident Twylla Miller said she believes the vision does not match the application submitted by developers.

“I’d also like to see a traffic plan for the intersection of Dufort and Highway 95,” Miller said. “That’s a dangerous intersection.”

Numerous commenters opposed the bike park, stating that they’d moved to North Idaho to retire, or for rural peace and quiet,

and the development would disrupt their peaceful surroundings.

Shawna Champlin said she moved to Sagle from Hawaii to seek a rural residential area, and that the bike park wouldn’t fit in with that rural character her neighbors moved here for as well.

“I am highly disappointed with the Bonner County staff report and Jeremy Grimm for not delving deeper to protect existing Bonner County residents,” Champlin said. “Do not tear up another mountain. Please deny this CUP.”

Mary Fraser pushed back on Grimm’s comment that the 170 acres could be several dozen homes instead of a bike recreational facility.

“This slope is 30 degrees and there’s 1,300 feet of elevation gain,” Fraser said. “There could be a handful of estate parcels, but the property does not lend itself to residential development.”

Examiner Jacqueline Rucker closed the meeting, stating she intended to take the five business days allotted for her to issue an approval or denial of the CUP.

NEWS 4 / R / April 18, 2024
Members of the public line up to testify at the conditional use permit hearing for Panhandle Bike Ranch April 17. Photo by Ben Olson.

Update on U.S. 95-Dufort to Lakeshore corridor expansion proposal

Anxiety has been growing among Sagle residents about the proposed U.S. 95-Dufort Road to Lakeshore Drive corridor expansion, which the Idaho Transportation Department unveiled at an open house in November 2023. Sagle resident Monica Gunter addressed the Bonner County board of commissioners during their Tuesday, April 16 business meeting, putting a voice to public concern following ITD’s visits to local property owners.

“We got a call from ITD. They came to our house,” said Gunter. “They showed us their new plan to go through Sagle, through our 100-year-old farm, through 17 low-income houses that can never be replaced, through my son’s brand new house, through my daughter’s brand new house.”

The stretch of U.S. Highway 95 between Lakeshore Drive and Dufort Road has undergone multiple alterations in an attempt to mitigate traffic accidents, though none have achieved satisfactory results. The newest proposal is still in the “exploration phase” and is subject to change.

The plan currently involves widening the portion of U.S. 95 between Lakeshore Drive and Dufort Road into a four-lane divided highway and rerouting it east just north of Gun Club Road in a large arc, which would reconnect with the original route just after Roy Way south of Sagle. The highway would become a local road, and ITD would add frontage roads along both sides of the new route.

To make access to adjacent roads easier, the project includes three overpasses — one from Ivy Drive to Algoma Spur Road, one for Gun Club Road and one to allow access to Bottle Bay

Road from both sides of the highway. Finally, ITD proposes interchanges at Dufort Road and Brisboys Road.

“By expanding the highway as a controlled access facility it will provide separation between both northbound and southbound traffic, eliminate cross traffic conflict, and reduce speed variability, all of which are primary contributing factors to crashes through the corridor,” the ITD project team told the Reader in an April 17 email.

ITD’s website states that the project has yet to receive funding, therefore any potential groundbreaking is as many as 15 years away.

BOCC Chair Luke Omodt further clarified this point in an April 16 follow-up email to the Reader: “Bonner County and Sagle residents need to know that there are no funds for this project and no decisions have been made. For all of us who remember the Sand Creek Bypass, that project took 50 years to complete. A project of this scope takes hundreds of millions of dollars that ITD doesn’t have at this time.”

ITD is currently requesting permission from area property owners to

survey their land as part of a re-evaluation of environmental impact studies performed in 1999 and 2010. Officials did not indicate when the re-evaluation will be completed.

“What we are doing currently is a re-evaluation of the original EIS documents to ensure compliance with regulations, assess potential impacts or changes that have occurred over the last 25 years, and uphold environmental stewardship,” the project team told the Reader

The BOCC voted April 16 to allow ITD access to county property in Sagle, emphasizing that the vote did not constitute a decision on the proposed project.

“It’s not a real consequential thing,” said Deputy Prosecutor Bill Wilson. “We’re just granting them permission just to enter the property to examine it. It’s definitely not a signal that we support or don’t support the project as a whole — it’s just basic cooperation.”

Gunter testified that a representative of ITD told her family that, should the project move forward, residents along the proposed route would be forced to sell or have their property taken by eminent domain.

“While eminent domain is a tool available for property acquisition to meet the transportation needs of the state, ITD views it as a last resort and would much rather engage in collaborative, good-faith negotiations with property owners,” the project team told the Reader. “In accordance with agency policy, ITD obtains licensed appraisals for property at fair market value and has an entire process outlined to help guide property owners through the steps for land acquisition.”

As of yet, there are no concrete plans to seize or buy private property in Sagle, and ITD is still exploring the “feasibility” of the route, taking into account local concerns like the proximity to Sagle Elementary School.

“At this point in the process, there has been no predetermined or selected route for this corridor. However, no matter the ultimate design of the project, engineers will take into consideration all needs to mitigate impacts to adjacent facilities. For the school specifically, certain considerations such as noise, access, parking and pedestrian mobility would be taken into account,” the project team told the Reader

Though Gunter brought the issue before the BOCC, all three commissioners confirmed that they have no power over ITD’s decision, whatever it may be. As the primary route through Idaho to Canada, the state has vested interest in maintaining and enhancing the highway.

“An issue like this requires us to be informed residents of Bonner County and to help our neighbors, which will be the only thing we can do,” said Commissioner Asia Williams. “It is not something that the board of commissioners gets to make a decision on. It is something that if the state wants that land, the state takes that land.”

ITD will schedule another open house in the fall of 2024, giving the public the opportunity to weigh in on the updated proposal. In the meantime, the Gunter family encourages community members to write to ITD with their concerns.

“We are asking for letters. We are asking people to help us fight this,” said Gunter.

For more information, visit pages/us-95-dufort-to-lakeshore

Volunteers sought to fill city committees, commissions

City Hall is in the process of reactivating citizen advisory groups to help engage the community in the implementation of the soon-to-be updated Sandpoint Comp. Plan and other master plans.

A minimum of five citizens are needed to establish a committee, commission or board.

The Ped-Bike, ADA and Sustainability committees are anticipated to meet quarterly. Each committee will include a City Council member and city staff representative.

The P&Z Commission meets twice per month, while the ACHP, Parks & Rec. and Urban Forestry commis-

The Planning and Zoning and Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation commissions (ACHP) will be joined by the Pedestrian-Bicycle, Americans with Disabilities Act and Sustainability advisory committees; the Parks and Recreation Commission; and a new Urban Forestry Commission.

sions will meet monthly. ACHP functions under the umbrella of the Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation Plan, adopted in 2021.

The Parks & Rec. Commission will oversee improvements to the city’s parks and open spaces, as envisioned in the 2020 Parks & Recreation Master Plan.

The Urban Forestry Commission will likewise advise council and city leadership on the implementation of the Urban Forestry Master Plan, adopted in 2022.

All meetings are held at City Hall (1123 Lake St.), take place during regular business hours, 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Friday.

The Ped-Bike Committee has already been filled, but the city is still in need of applicants for the other boards.

The current requirements for each vary, but all residents who live within Sandpoint city limits are invited to apply.

Find the application at: CommitteeApplication.

NEWS April 18, 2024 / R / 5

What bills passed — and what didn’t — in the 2024 Idaho legislative session

Idaho’s sometimes brutal and bruising 2024 legislative session came to a quiet end at the Idaho State Capitol in Boise on April 10, without overriding any vetoes or introducing any new major bills.

Idaho Gov. Brad Little allows transportation budget revoking sale of ITD’s flooded former Boise headquarters to become law increases overhead for office space needs around the state,” Little wrote. “In addition it unfairly cancels an agreed upon sales process, causing future reputational risk for the state of Idaho.”

After passing a controversial transportation budget on April 3, Idaho legislators recessed until April 10 to give themselves an opportunity to try to overcome any late-session vetoes issued by Gov. Brad Little. The Idaho Senate adjourned for the year shortly before 2:45 p.m. on April 10, and the Idaho House of Representatives adjourned a few minutes later, at 2:49 p.m.

Little did issue two vetoes on bills during the legislative recess — one relating to the jurisdiction of the Idaho Public Utilities Commission, another relating to a bill that would have granted the state treasurer the authority to keep a portion of state funds in physical gold and silver. The Idaho Senate attempted to override Little’s veto of Senate Bill 1323, the public utilities commission bill, but fell short of the necessary 23 vetoes. That means Little’s veto stands.

On the other hand, Little allowed two of the most controversial late-session bills to become law. Little signed House Bill 710, which would require library’s to move so-called harmful materials upon a written request or face a lawsuit. Little also allowed House Bill 770 — the transportation services budget that revokes the state’s authority to carry out the $51 million sale of the Idaho Transportation Department’s flooded former Boise headquarters on State Street — to become law without his signature. Little also allowed House Bill 726, a related budget bill for the Department of Administration, to become law without his signature.

Little addressed revoking the sale in a transmittal letter that was sent to House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star, on April 10.

“However, I did not sign these bills because the intent language unwinds statutory policy language about how the state handles surplus properties and it

Idaho legislators missed adjournment targets partially because of GOP infighting April 10 was the 94th day of the session, which gaveled in back on Jan. 8.

Legislators missed their self-appointed adjournment deadline twice due to in-fighting and behind-thescenes debates. Legislative leaders originally hoped to wrap up the session on March 22. But the Idaho House got bogged down in a leadership struggle and contentious budget debate that set legislators back at least a week. On Feb. 8, House Republicans took what is widely viewed as the unprecedented step of removing a major member of leadership, former House Majority Leader Megan Blanksma, R-Hammett, from her leadership post during an ongoing session. Leadership elections traditionally take place in December of even numbered years following a general election. The vote or action to remove Blanksma appeared to happen behind closed doors. There was no announcement on the floor Feb. 8, and Blanksma quietly walked off the floor that day and was eventually replaced by new House Majority Leader Jason Monks, R-Meridian.

Several legislators on April 10 agreed that it was time to wrap up the session for the year.

“It’s a privilege to be able to do this, but it’s time to be done,” Rep. Jack Nelsen, R-Jerome, told the Sun just before the Idaho House was called to order at noon on April 10.

What passed during Idaho’s 2024 legislative session?

•House Bill 722: The fiscal year 2025 budget for the Workforce Development Council provides $71 million to implement grants for the Idaho LAUNCH program that Gov. Brad Little champions. The Idaho LAUNCH program provides Idaho high school and home school graduates with $8,000 grants to prepare for

< see IDLEG, Page 7 >

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, with Earth Day in mind:

According to ultra-wealthy Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos, humans have already rendered the Earth a lost cause. So they want to colonize/geo-engineer the moon and Mars to create a new Earth-like homeworld. But astrophysicist Neil DeGrasse Tyson had words for that 10 years ago: “If you had the power to transform Mars into Earth, then you have the power to turn Earth back into Earth.”

Scotland hit 54% clean energy in 2016, then 76% in 2017, and in 2020 was at 97%. Countries at or near 100% clean energy include Costa Rica, Iceland, Norway, Paraguay and Uruguay.

According to the International Monetary Fund, fossil fuel subsidies run to $165,000 per second, with half going to coal, 40% to petroleum and 10% for natural gas. In the U.S., that amounts to $600 billion annually — 10 times what the country spends on education and more than 20 times what is spent on clean energy subsidies. The fossil fuel subsidies also feed costs generated by pollution, such as asthma, cancer, land degradation and water contamination. Meanwhile, taxpayers foot the bill for fossil fuel subsidies.

The average child spends fewer than 10 minutes a day in unstructured outdoor play, according to the Trust for Public Land. Often outdoor time means asphalt schoolyards, which can become too hot to play on. TPL is urging Congress to pass the Community Schoolyards Initiative, which adds trees, enhances the absorption of rainwater to deter flooding and improves habitat for hosts of creatures.

New rules from the Biden administration require corporations to pay 16.7% more in royalty rates to drill on public land. There will also be stronger requirements to clean up old or abandoned wells, reducing taxpayers’ burden for reclamation work, various media reported.

Numerous news outlets also reported that the U.S. just finished its warmest winter on record. Climate scientists have been surprised at the overall heat acceleration, with one commenting that 2023 “has confounded climate scientists” and has been humbling for their predictive capabilities.

According to Axios, a new report from London-based InfluenceMap found 80% of greenhouse gas emissions come from 57 fossil fuel and cement producers. Since 1854, just 19 entities contributed 50% of global carbon dioxide

emissions worldwide.

The European Union has criminalized serious incidents of environmental degradation, Optimist Daily reported. Defendants found guilty — including CEOs — face up to eight years in prison, or 10 years if death is involved. Complying with permits does not insulate them from legal penalties. Last week, Europe’s highest human rights court ruled that countries must provide better protection regarding climate change.

Lunchables, due to high levels of heavy metals, should not be on school lunch menus, Consumer Reports has told the USDA. A study by Consumer Reports found lead and cadmium to be particularly prevalent in the prepackaged food product, which can affect child development. Sources of the offending ingredients: historic deposits from leaded gasoline and invasive pollutants.

According to an Oxfam report, the world’s richest 1% has the same carbon emissions as the poorest 5 billion people, with a third of those emissions coming from wealthy people in the U.S.

Germany plans to put solar panels on all public buildings by 2025, and has cut public transportation to $9.56 a month to encourage getting off gas. Optimist Daily reported that the renewed focus on green energy is due to awareness of reliance on Russian gas, which has funded violence against Ukraine.

Dr. Mark Hyman, best-selling health author, advocates eating organic for the planet as well as personal health in his book, Food. What the Heck Should We Eat?

According to Hyman, organic foods have more nutrients because the soils are better nourished, resulting in the soils also holding more water and carbon. In contrast, conventional ag fosters droughts, floods and climate change.

Sterilizations in the U.S. have risen more than 21-fold, particularly among women, since the overturn of Roe v. Wade in 2022, U.S. News reported.

In a first for a former U.S. president, a criminal trial for Donald Trump began this week. He faces 34 counts of business falsification aimed at election interference. A Manhattan district attorney said Trump tried to bury negative information to boost electability and “conceal criminal activity.”

Blast from the past: “All things are connected like the blood that unites us. We do not weave a web of life, we are merely a strand in it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.” — Chief Si’ahl, born around 1780, died in 1866. He inspired the name for the city of Seattle.

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an in-demand career. Little said the program will help train the next generation of Idahoans for a trade, allow them to remain home in Idaho and support businesses. But some prominent Republicans in the Idaho Legislature, including House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star, targeted LAUNCH as a “handout.”

•House Bill 521: According to Idaho Education News, House Bill 521 creates ways for the state to spend an estimated $2 billion on school facilities over the next 10 years. Little made school facilities a prominent feature in his Jan. 8 State of the State address, highlighting a school that has sewage leaking under its cafeteria and telling the Idaho Legislature to stop kicking the can down the road on addressing the state’s deteriorating school buildings. “The can we are kicking is getting heavier, and we are running out of road,” Little warned in his State of the State address.

•House Bill 399: After Idaho became the only state not to review maternal death data, this bill authorizes the Idaho Board of Medicine to collect and review that data. Before the Idaho Legislature allowed the state’s Maternal Mortality Review Committee to expire last summer, data between 2018 and 2021 had shown a steady increase in deaths among pregnant women and new mothers, the Sun previously reported.

•Senate Bill 1234: This bipartisan bill co-sponsored by Sen. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, and Rep. Jack Nelsen, R-Jerome, allows insurance enrollees to receive up to a six-month supply of contraceptives. Currently, many insurance plans only reimburse for a onemonth to three-month supply, according to the bill’s statement of purpose.

•House Bill 770: The fiscal year 2025 enhanced transportation services budget revokes the state’s authority to carry out the $51 million sale of the Idaho Transportation Department’s flooded former Boise headquarters on State Street and provides the third successive $200 million installment to repair and replace aging and poorly rated local bridges across Idaho.

• The debate over whether to block the sale of the State Street headquarters at least partially led to delaying the end of the 2024 legislative session and caused the would-be buyers from Hawkins Companies, the Pacific Companies and FJ Management to weigh their legal options after they said they thought they had struck a deal with the state.

“We’re obviously extremely disappointed in the passage of this legislation,” said Brian Huffaker, CEO of Hawkins Companies, in a statement

on behalf of Hawkins, The Pacific Companies and FJ Management. “This governmental overreach is a massive waste of taxpayer dollars, and we’re confident the courts will agree this kind of legislative interference in the free market violates the state constitution. We will be exploring legal action.”

•House Bill 421: The bill states the Idaho Legislature only recognizes two sexes in human beings: male and female. The bill also states the word “gender” shall be a synonym for the word “sex” and shall not be considered a synonym for gender identity. Both the Idaho House and Idaho Senate passed the bill, and Little signed it into law on April 9.

House Bill 710: This year’s version of “the library materials bill” would require libraries to move materials deemed harmful to minors upon written notification from a parent, legal guardian or child, or be faced with a lawsuit for $250 dollars in statutory damages, plus uncapped actual damages and any other relief available by law. The Idaho House passed the harmful materials bill March 13, and it was one of the final bills of the year passed by the Idaho Senate on April 3. Little signed it on April 10.

House Bill 538: This bill enacts protections for public employees and teachers who are unwilling to use a person’s preferred pronouns. Idaho Education News reported that under the bill teacher’s will not be able to refer to a student by a name or pronoun that does not align with their birth sex without parental permission. Little signed the bill into law April 8.

Senate Bill 1377: This bill requires people who are paid to gather signatures for a ballot initiative or a referendum to disclose that they are being paid. Little signed it into law on April 4, and it is scheduled to take effect on July 1.

House Bill 599: Republican House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star and Rep. Brandon Mitchell, R-Moscow, co-sponsored the bill as a way to combat what supporters described as “ballot harvesting.” Under the bill, it is illegal for someone to collect and turn in another person’s absentee ballot or unvoted ballot. If someone collects 10 or more ballots during any election a violation of the bill would become a felony. The bill includes exceptions for caregivers of voters, relatives of voters and a person who is a member of the voter’s household. However, opponents including the voting advocacy group Babe Vote, described the bill as a voter suppression law that criminalizes Idahoans for helping their neighbors turn in their absentee ballots. Little signed the bill into law April 9.

What didn’t pass or didn’t get done in Idaho this legislative session?

•Health of the mother legislation: Under Idaho’s strict felony abortion ban, the law does not allow for a doctor to terminate a pregnancy to protect the health of the mother — only to save the mother’s life. Most Americans support an exception to abortion bans that allows for the medical professional to protect the health or save the life of the pregnant patient, the Sun and States Newsroom previously reported.

Last year, Rep. Brent Crane, R-Nampa, worked on an unsuccessful bill that would have added an exception “to treat a physical condition of the woman that if left untreated would be life-threatening.” Crane pulled back the bill last year, the Sun previously reported, but vowed to continue working on a compromise on the issue, telling States Newsroom, “It has to be dealt with.” Legislators did not pass a bill this year that created a new exception to protect the health of the pregnant patient.

•House Bill 753: This bill was a Texas-style immigration bill sponsored by Rep. Jaron Crane, R-Nampa, which would have created a new state crime of illegal entry into the state, allowed local law enforcement officials to check a person’s immigration status and allow a magistrate judge to order someone who violates the bill to return to their country of origin. The Idaho House voted 53-15 to pass the bill on March 29, but the Idaho Senate never took up the bill.

•Senate Concurrent Resolution 135: This was an anti-racism and anti-hate speech resolution condemning the racist harassment allegedly directed at University of Utah women’s basketball team while visiting Coeur d’Alene Resort in March. The Senate voted 33-1 to adopt the resolution March 28, but the Idaho House never took up the resolution, and it died when the legislative session adjourned for the year.

•Senate Bill 1273: This bill would have required the Idaho secretary of state to mail a new informational voter guide to every household in the state

30 days before an election. The Idaho Senate voted 22-13 to pass the bill on Feb. 26, but the House State Affairs Committee never took up the bill after it was referred to the committee in late February.

•Senate Bill 1445: This additional budget for the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare would have provided $545,300 in state funding to provide summer lunches for low-income children, Idaho Education News reported. The federal government would have covered half of the administrative costs for the program and 100% of the lunch money, Idaho EdNews reported. But the Idaho Senate rejected the budget on a 10-25 vote March 28 after Sen. Cindy Carlson, R-Riggins, and others said the state would be sending the wrong message by providing something free without requiring something in return. The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee rewrote the budget without funding for the summer lunch program, killing the program in Idaho.

•House Joint Resolution 4: This proposed amendment to the Idaho Constitution was promoted as a way to block ranked choice voting, which is a component of the open primary ballot initiative. The proposed amendment sought to limit elections to one round of voting, with the person with the highest number of votes being elected. But some legislators worried passing the bill would create unintended consequences for nonpartisan judicial primary elections.

Amending the Idaho Constitution requires a two-thirds majority vote of both the Idaho House and Idaho Senate. But the proposed amendment died in the Idaho House on March 11 on a 42-27 vote after falling short of the necessary 47 votes. The proposed amendment is now dead for the year.

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 18, 2024 / R / 7
< IDLEG, con’t from Page 6 >
Photo by Otto Kitsinger, Idaho Capital Sun.



• “To Tango Cafe, cooks and bottle washers. You all made the 90th birthday of a dear friend of mine last Friday, April 12, so very, very special. The food was great, the huge carrot cake you made for her was scrumptious and so beautifully decorated, and the absolutely gorgeous yellow roses bouquet was breathtaking! You are so caring to do everything you did for her to make her 90th birthday none of us will ever forget. Thank you, thank you. You are the real spirit of Sandpoint.”

• Thanks to all the staff at Schweitzer for another great season. It started out brutal, but got better in spring. That mountain is essential for my mental health, and I’m sure I’m not alone. Thanks for giving us a place to hoot and holler. See you next winter!

• To all of those planning to volunteer their time at one of the various Earth Day cleanup events planned for this weekend: I appreciate you. It’s often a thankless service, and I wanted to make sure to recognize the effort. You all make a difference. If you’d like to find out more information about one of the various Earth Day events in Sandpoint, read Page 18.


• Bike laws are important for both bicyclists and drivers alike. Bike riders do not have to stop at stop signs — if it’s clear they can roll through. At red lights, bicyclists must come to a stop, but they can roll through if the way is clear. Also, bikes should always ride with traffic, not against it (that means the right lane, dude).

‘Did you know’... A clear solution…

Dear editor,

Did you know:

Mark Sauter received a unanimous “no confidence” vote from the Bonner County Republican Central Committee over his performance as Idaho state representative.

He voted against H314 that would have prohibited taxpayer funded libraries from giving sexually explicit obscene material to children. It would have also required the libraries to take reasonable steps to prevent such materials from being accessed without parental permission.

He voted against H293 that would have established that members of the State Board of Education (SBOE) be elected by region rather than appointed by the governor. This would have created needed accountability of the SBOE to voters. With our math and reading proficiency scores in the 30 percentile range, this would have increased the likelihood of improving the performance of public education.

He certainly does not represent Republican views of protecting children from obscene materials or improving students’ education.

Did you know:

Jane Sauter’s main goal is to protect Idaho’s children and families from radical agendas and to support the right of parents to make wise choices for their children.

She is a mother of nine children and is a family-centered Traditionalist.

Vote for the right Sauter — Jane Sauter for House representative L.D. 1! Rita Cortright Priest River

[Editor’s note: The legislation referred to in this letter dates from the 2023 session of the Idaho Legislature. H.B. 293 failed in committee on a bipartisan vote of 34-35. It is also inaccurate to describe H.B. 314 as “prohibit[ing] taxpayer funded libraries from giving sexually explicit obscene material to children.” Rather, it entitled parents or guardians to sue schools or libraries for $2,500 if their children accessed materials deemed “harmful to minors” or otherwise “obscene,” which under Idaho statute includes “sexual content” depicting homosexual relationships. A majority of Idaho lawmakers considered the legislation to be overly broad and Gov. Brad Little vetoed the bill, stating that it would have created a “library bounty.” The House tried and failed to override Little’s veto.]

Dear editor,

The recent passage of Idaho House Bill 710 (a.k.a. the “library porn bill”) may soon require our local library to physically segregate books that an individual identifies as potentially dangerous to minors and move these books to a “protected” area.

I have a proposed solution: Place these books in a locked glass or clear plastic display so library patrons can easily view which book titles are banned (oops, I mean separated). Additionally, I recommend a list of names be displayed in that same area of the stalwart Bonner County citizens assisting the effort to populate the display case.

It is my personal hope that this display will remain empty in perpetuity. Regards,

Trust Jim Woodward to protect Idaho from expensive lawsuits…

Dear editor,

I have been seeing a lot of criticism of Jim Woodward regarding his “no” vote on H.B. 500 back in 2020. Like that was a bad thing. No matter how you feel about trans rights, H.B. 500 is a poorly written law and even the Idaho attorney general thought it was “constitutionally problematic” before it passed. Not surprising to anyone with common sense, H.B. 500 was challenged in court shortly after being signed into law, and has been blocked on constitutional grounds at both the district and appeals court levels.

Passing bills that are almost certainly going to open the state to expensive lawsuits that only make ACLU lawyers rich isn’t conservative. It’s stupid. Passing H.B. 500 didn’t even do what it was intended to do, unless it was intended to shovel your tax dollars into ACLU coffers.

What does seem like common, fiscally conservative sense, would be voting against such a bill.

A vote against H.B. 500 would actually protect the citizens of Idaho from paying the inevitable legal fees of liberal lawyers. That is what Jim Woodward did, and protecting Idaho is what I trust Jim Woodward to continue to do if elected.

Woodward’s focus is on solving problems facing Idahoans…

Dear editor,

As residents of Boundary County, we have known Jim Woodward since his boyhood. He is an exemplary individual, both personally and publicly. Jim is running to recapture his seat as Legislative District 1 senator.

During his tenure, Jim served on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee, setting state agency budgets; the Senate Education Committee, making K-12 and higher education policy; and as vice-chair of the Transportation Committee, among other assignments.

These are key to the well-being of every community in the state.

Jim’s focus? To solve problems facing Idahoans. He read and researched bills up for consideration, weighing their soundness to avoid incurring unintended consequences, then sought feedback from his

constituents before deciding how he would vote.

Jim is concerned about all residents of District 1, not just those whose narrow political focus works to diminish the number who can participate in a free election, as we experienced in the recent move to a caucus from a primary election in the presidential race.

Apathy in the primary election can have disastrous results, as we saw in the 2022 election. Whether voting absentee, early or in person, vote for Jim Woodward. Return him to the Idaho Senate where he served us well.

David and Brenda Walter Boundary County

The word limit for letters to the editor is set at 200 words or less until after the May 21 primary election to ensure everyone gets a chance to submit their letters for publication.

8 / R / April 18, 2024

Earth Day: An enduring movement

In the 1960s and 1970s, political and cultural movements rose up to challenge and change society. These mass movements gave rise to iconic protests and demonstrations. This was participatory democracy in action. The original Earth Day was one of the most successful. It had an immediate impact. And it created enduring change, which continues to this day.

Let’s put it all into some context.

Freedom of speech is the cornerstone of our democracy. Democracy dies without it. Free speech reveals profound differences that exist between “we the people.” By the 1960s, many segments of our society were discovering their voice for the first time.

The 1960s saw drastic changes in all manner of expression, including hairstyles, fashion, art and music. There was a great cultural awakening. Bob Dylan went electric at the Newport folk festival in 1965. Music would never be the same.

The sexual revolution, women’s liberation, a celebration of the culture of psychedelic drugs all challenged and changed societal norms. The musical Hair shook up Broadway. The emerging counterculture took to the streets and shook society to its core. Speeches, marches and protests challenged the establishment on many fronts. “Middle America” dug in. Upheaval followed.

Troops were deployed in the Watts District of L.A. to quell riots in 1965. In the “long hot summer” of 1967, race riots erupted in 150 cities across the U.S. 1968 saw the assassinations of Martin Luther King Jr. and Bobby Kennedy. At the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968, riots erupted leading to the arrest, prosecution and conviction of the Chicago Seven. The whole world was indeed watching as our nation engaged in violent turmoil. Meanwhile, the “silent majority” elected Richard Nixon, a “law and order” president, who promised us “light at the end of the tunnel.”

By 1970, the Civil Rights Movement, the Women’s Rights Movement, the Student Movement, the Youth Movement and the Anti-War Movement, the counterculture with hippies and yippies all reached critical mass. “Don’t trust anyone over 30” was the rallying cry from the youthful end of the generation gap. Our nation was more deeply divided than any time since the Civil War.

Amid this strife, some things united us as a nation. Every one’s eyes turned skyward as Apollo 11 carried Neil Armstrong for his historic walk on the moon in 1969. We were all Americans that day.

And the first Earth Day brought us all together. On April 22, 1970, Americans from all backgrounds came together on a scale that far exceeded any of the other movements.

Earth Day 1970 was well organized. It involved about 12,000 events across the country. It brought about 20 million Americans together. This was 10% of the population of the United States at the time. It became the largest secular protest of all time.

Students and professors took to the streets to protest the ways in which we were degrading the planet. Students, housewives, workers and even some of the silent majority joined to help challenge and change established ways of thinking and doing things. Sit-ins became teachins. Speeches and organized events offered education. It was a day of direct action. Boots in the mud; gloves picking up garbage. All to improve our environment.

Earth Day was a bipartisan movement as it continued through the 1970s and onward. According to Nicholas Lemann, writing for The New Yorker in 2013:

Earth Day led to the Clean Air Act of 1970, the Clean Water Act of 1972 and the Endangered Species Act of 1973, and to the creation, just eight months after the event, of the Environmental Protection Agency. Throughout the 1970s, mostly during the Republican administrations of Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford, Congress passed one environmental bill after another, establishing national controls on air and water pollution.

Of course, one day of action to make our planet more livable does not solve all problems. Our attention would soon be divided again.

Less than two weeks later, on April 30, 1970, Nixon announced the expansion of the Vietnam War into Cambodia. On May 1, a wave of anti-war protests on college campuses and in cities throughout the U.S. began. These protests culminated with the tragic shootings at Kent State on May 4.

On Aug. 26, 1970, NOW activists organized approximately 50,000 women to march for equality in New York. At the same time, another 100,000 women participated in demonstrations and rallies in 90 cities and 42 states.

These events and other protests in 1970 were pivotal moments for our national reckoning of what it means to be an American. We still face many of the same questions and challenges as we try to form a more perfect union.

The importance of Earth Day is to raise awareness of the need to protect our planet’s environment. It is also a day that unites us. We live in times that are again very divided. That’s the cycle of democracy. We have robust debates about competing visions of how to attain the greatest good for all.

During rancorous times like these, Earth Day can bring us all

together. We all want to keep our planet healthy. And we can all put our boots on to take direct action and make this corner of our planet a better place. Be a part of the movement!

The Friends of Scotchman Peak Wilderness will be doing our part to make sure the spirit of Earth Day stays alive. On Saturday, April 20 we will host a trail project on the Star Peak 999 trail. For more information go to

Many organizations and communities will also be celebrating, with opportunities for education, engagement and direct action. For more information consult your local event calendars.

April 18, 2024 / R / 9 OPINION
Phil Hough is executive director of the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness.

Science: Mad about

The sinking of rms titanic

The story of the Titanic is an infamous one. It has all the makings of a truly great story: wealth, opulence and hubris crushed by the unyielding force of nature. It’s a story so captivating that the Titanic remains one of the only sunken ships to continue claiming lives more than a century after its sinking.

Everyone knows the ship struck an iceberg, which led to its inevitable demise. However, many factors are at play here. The ship didn’t strike the iceberg head on. The block of ice was spotted at about half a mile away, which was too close for the ship to be able to slow down or turn sharply. The ship was around 49,000 tons; and, despite the captain putting the ship into full reverse, it was simply moving too fast and far too heavy to do little more than slightly alter its trajectory on the water.

The ship side-swiped the iceberg on the starboard side.

(Bonus fact: Do you confuse port and starboard? Do you confuse your left and right? Hold your hands up in front of you and stand facing the heading of the ship — that is, the direction it is traveling. Your left hand and thumb is the only one of your hands that makes a true L, indicating your left. Now that you know your left and right, port and starboard are easy. Facing the heading of the ship, port is left, starboard is right. Left and right, port and starboard, driver and passenger. Easy!)

The collision caused the indentation of a number of the steel hull panels, resulting in water spilling into five of the 16 previously watertight chambers. Water also poured

into a sixth chamber, attached to the boiler room, though this was briefly manageable with the aid of pumps to flush the water.

Analysis of the metal performed in 1991 revealed an important factor as to why this happened.

The steel and wrought iron used in the Titanic was extremely stiff and rigid and not as ductile as aluminum or more the type of steel we see today. This stiffness caused the steel to fracture when it buckled, creating massive voids for water to spill into the ship. Meanwhile, the cold temperatures made the wrought iron bolts even more susceptible to fracturing under force.

As water flooded below deck, the increased weight pulled the bow of the Titanic downward. Roughly two hours of gradual sinking passed before the bow of the ship, now full of water, acted as a ballast that lifted the aft of the Titanic out of the water and the front deck became completely submerged. Over the following five minutes, the ship sheared in half as the immense weight of the stern was pulled downward by gravity and tore through the remaining plates of the hull.

The sheer volume of ocean water in the bow had virtually doubled the Titanic’s weight.

A few bands of steel plating acted as a hinge between the two halves of the ship as the bow slipped entirely beneath the surface before finally breaking off and descending into the abyss.

The stern remained upright while listing to the port side as it sank below the waves, the water flooding inward acting as a ballast until it was swallowed by the sea.

Once below the water, the

bow descended like a torpedo in a mostly stable trajectory until it crashed onto the seafloor, releasing an underwater shock wave upon impact.

The stern behaved very differently, as the open end was exposed to the onslaught of water and pressure, causing a massive implosion and the forcible tearing of tons of material as it twirled and spiraled downward. The stern eventually began to fall with the aft and propellers pointing downward, and, once it finally landed, it heavily compacted against the seafloor amid a scattered field of debris.

The wreckage of the Titanic lies more than 12,000 feet below the surface, where water pressure exceeds 5,000 pounds per square inch. The bow remains fairly intact, though iron-eating bacteria have steadily eroded much of the surface of the ship. It’s anticipated that by 2040, much of the ship’s remnants will fully collapse into the sea floor.

The stern is in considerably worse condition, in part due to the structural instability sustained during the sinking and the heavy impact on the seafloor. Much of the structure has pancaked and collapsed onto itself. The two halves are forever separated by a span of about one-third of a mile.

A debris field that spans an area of roughly five miles by three miles surrounds the wreckage of the ship. This debris is a mixture of metal from the ship itself, the belongings of passengers and crew and what remains of those who lost their lives aboard the ship. The bulk of human remains are believed to have been devoured by marine life or buried beneath the ocean floor.

Fueled by scientific ad-

vancement and human curiosity since the 1985 rediscovery of the wreck, a number of submersible journeys have been taken to explore what remains of the Titanic. While some of these journeys have rendered incredible scientific discoveries — including full 3-D scans and a greater understanding of how to better build ships in the future. It’s not all sunshine and rainbows, though. Many

of these missions have created unintentional damage to the Titanic, including at least one submersible directly impacting the ship.

The Titanic’s allure has also created a booming (though niche) tourism industry for the ultra-rich, as the world saw with the untimely destruction of OceanGate’s Titan submersible in 2023.

Stay curious, 7B.

•If you haven’t heard of pickleball, you haven’t been paying attention. It’s a paddle sport that resembles tennis, badminton and ping-pong, but the play area is smaller than a tennis court, allowing for plenty of action that doesn’t require long sprints. As such, it’s become a popular sport among seniors over the past decade.

•While it’s blown up in popularity lately, pickleball was invented in 1965 in Bainbridge Island, Wash., by U.S. politician Joel Pritchard and his friends Barney McCallum and Bill Bell.

the name referred to the idiom “in a pickle,” since he enjoyed putting his opponents in difficult situations.

•In 2017, 3.1 million people played pickleball regularly. By the end of 2023, that number grew to 13.6 million.

•The record for the longest pickleball rally belongs to Angelo and Ettore Rossetti, who made 16,046 consecutive exchanges of shots on Oct. 10, 2021.

•There is such a thing as Major League Pickleball. In fact, numerous athletes have purchased teams, including LeBron James, Tom Brady and Naomi Osaka.

•Washington became the first state to declare pickleball as its official sport in 2022.

•Pritchard’s ex-wife, Joan, claimed the origins to the name pickleball came from the term “pickle boat” because it combined different sports. In rowing, a pickle boat consists of different rowers from other boats. Bell, however, claims

•Pickleball was banned in Seravalli Playground in New York in 2022 because there were so many adult pickleball players that there was no room for kids to play in the park.

•In Hawaii, pickleball is known as “pukaball.” Puka means “hole” in Hawaiian, and pickleballs are full of holes.

10 / R / April 18, 2024
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Random Corner
The RMS Titanic in Belfast, Northern Ireland before the tragedy. Courtesy photo.

My drug of choice

“What do you think, can he handle this pitch?”

“No, he’s too little to handle that much heat.”

“Ahh, let’s see what he can do with it.”

Moving it back and forth from ear to mouth, I am talking to a wiffle ball. I hear the first giggle. I windmill my arm and then flail around like Leonard Bernstein conducting a Wagner crescendo before lobbing the ball to my 4-year-old grandson standing 15 feet in front of me. He is poised, ready with his plastic bat on his shoulder. He is looking for the pitch; I am looking for something else. As I’m winding up I hear the most wonderful sound: high-pitched, uncensored laughter — pure joy to my ears. This sound reaches to my core with high vibration. It seems to caress my very soul. He smacks it and, with unbridled laughter and squeals, runs hard for our first base tree with me in hot pursuit, loudly narrating the action and his fate should he be tagged out.

A base hit for him; a home run for me.

Then it’s a repeat back to home plate with him begging me to, “Talk to the ball, talk to the ball.” His laughter, and any hearty laugh given or received, is like a drug I am happy to be addicted to. Overdose? Yes, please!

Supposedly children laugh some 300 times a day versus 15-20 for adults. Whatever the figures, children laugh exponentially more than us grown-ups. Personally, I manipulate the numbers to my favor by mostly listening to stand-up comedy in the car and absorbing doses of news from the comedic talents of Bill Maher and Jon Stewart. Laughter is a common human denominator, a universal language spoken everywhere on the planet. We can all communicate and connect through it. It dissolves awkwardness; it helps build trust.

Laughter truly is good medicine. Medically, scientists tell us it releases happy endorphins that reduce our anxiety, lower blood pressure, reduce pain and cool inflammation. I once had an unexplained, uncontrollable 15-minute laughing fit with a small group of friends that left me extraordinarily rejuvenated — as if I’d had a turbo, full body/mental/emotional cleanse that bordered on a mystic experience.

I won’t Google more in-depth facts about laughter because — like orgasms — I like the mystery and amazement of it; the delightful magic and wonder that remains in the aftermath. It is sacred territory. I don’t want to know how the trick is done.

Spontaneity is the key. Whatever wit and humor I have I treasure and try to nurture. Its high value is important because it taps into my fondest childhood memories before real life intruded. Hilarity brings me back in time. It is also important because facing our complicated world without being tempered with some degree of humor is terribly grim. Humor is a critical relief valve that can bring us back from the brink of despair.

Not only laughing myself, but listening to any hearty, genuine laughter immediately clicks my current mood into a higher gear of happiness. It’s immensely satisfying to see spontaneous smiles break out on everyone present.

Whatever rift was going on in my childhood family dynamics was dissolved by my sister’s penchant for hysterical laughter. I try to keep the tap open, harvesting laughter when I can: my son and I are deadly serious about pranking each other. Getting a previous girlfriend to snort when laughing was a highlight of my day. Hearing my grown children belly guffawing is true bliss.

Children especially draw out laughter, and I have a fruitful target. I spend worthy time thinking of ways to get the free-range laughs out of my grandson. (I am lucky enough to have a granddaughter, but her age is measured in mere weeks, which makes her currently quite useless as a playmate. Soon, she too will be making these golden sounds).

Besides the usual chases around the house (you’ve got to contain those quick little legs) and wrestling, I have a hand-puppet named Tango, a tiger capable of many things. He’s a good listener and always kind, plus a useful third wheel who can join the conversation and create fun.

Tango recently popped up from the front seat with a pickleball paddle in paws looking for a game, causing peals of laughter from my car-seated grandson in the back. When the day ends I know I’ve again embraced my own inner child when my daughter appears at the door with hands on her hips and exclaims, “Both of you need to settle

down now!”

Laughter is a free and powerful gift to mankind — an essential ingredient to our lives in which we can all actively partake. It inexorably connects us like the air we breathe. As long as it is delivered with no intent to harm, it is a pathway to all things good in the moment and a uniquely sweet doorway to memories of our past innocence.

May we have many more spontaneous guffaws.

April 18, 2024 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES
Tango the Tiger is always ready to earn a laugh. Photo by Chris White.

PERSPECTIVES Hard-fought wins overshadowed by growing extremism in 2024 session

People deserve a government that works for them. The 2024 Idaho legislative session saw both triumphs and setbacks for the people of Idaho. The positive outcomes were often made possible because of Democratic support. Despite these hard-fought wins, the session was marked by setbacks for our freedoms and well-being.

One notable win this year came from funding LAUNCH scholarships for in-demand careers. We know thousands of high school seniors are counting on this support to make their post-graduation plans into reality. The business community is likewise counting on LAUNCH to fill critical workforce gaps. Unanimous Democratic support was able to overcome opposition from a majority of Republicans. Making good on our promise to

the next generation was a relief.

Senate Democratic Leader Melissa Wintrow sponsored legislation to expand birth control access that passed by a single vote in the House. House Democratic Leader Ilana Rubel brought legislation to legalize fentanyl testing strips to curb accidental overdoses. Sen. Ali Rabe successfully passed bills to help renters get a fresh start and ensure homeless youth can receive services.

Democrats were pivotal in blocking harmful GOP proposals, like attempts to terminate Medicaid expansion and take health care away from tens of thousands of Idahoans. Democratic votes made the difference to stop a voucher scheme that siphons dollars away from public schools for private school subsidies. Democratic votes stopped a bill that would have weakened our domestic terrorism statute, which was enacted when the Aryan Nations terrorized our state. And we stopped legislation that would give

pesticide manufacturers, including foreign-owned corporations, immunity if their products harmed Idahoans.

Nevertheless, significant setbacks were enacted that demonstrated a lack of care for the people of Idaho.

While Idahoans overwhelmingly trust their local librarians to decide which books are on the shelves, Gov. Little signed a book bounty into law that puts libraries at risk of costly lawsuits. Voting rights were compromised with legislation making delivering a neighbor’s ballot illegal. Similarly, new restrictive requirements on ballot initiatives will disenfranchise voters and stifle grassroots democracy. Republican lawmakers pushed discriminatory legislation attacking LGTBQ+ Idahoans, threatening their safety and dignity. Senate Republicans even callously blocked summer food assistance for needy kids.

Also of grave concern is the lack of action to restore reproductive freedoms. The extreme GOP abortion ban criminalizes health care providers and puts women at risk during medical emergencies. Republican leaders continue to ignore the pleas from impacted patients and the warnings of the looming crisis as OB-GYNs and maternal-fetal medicine specialists leave the state.

Amid these challenges, Idaho Democrats remain steadfast in our commitment to make life better for Idahoans. We stand ready to defend democracy, protect fundamental freedoms and build a brighter future for our state.

Rep. Lauren Necochea is the House assistant Democratic leader, representing District 19 in Boise on the Environment, Energy and Technology; Resources and Conservation; Revenue and Taxation; and Ways and Means committees.

12 / R / April 18, 2024
Rep. Lauren Necochea. File photo.



The number of pieces of legislation passed by the 112th U.S. Congress, which lasted from January 2011 to January 2013 — labeled as the most unproductive session of the past 50 years. Despite being addled by threats of a government shutdown, a divided House and Senate that failed to pass a federal budget in a timely manner and a historic debt limit crisis — the 112th Congress still managed to push through 284 pieces of legislation. The average for years before and after is usually around 350-500 pieces of legislation.


The number of pieces of legislation passed from Jan. 3, 2023 to present by the current U.S. Congress, which pundits have blasted as being on track to blow the unproductive numbers from the 112th U.S.

Congress out of the water.

NewsNation’s Dan Abrams highlighted this trend by noting the House of Representatives’ recent effort to shoot down a procedural vote on reauthorizing FISA after former-President Donald Trump instructed his followers to “kill it” before the bill was ultimately accepted.

“The House members who voted no today weren’t voting no on a bill,” Abrams said. “They were voting no on talking about a bill. It is the seventh time since 2023 that what’s called a rules vote has been defeated. Prior to this, a rules vote hadn’t failed since 2002. ... The present Congress is on track to be four times less productive than the least productive Congress of the last 50 years. ... [O]ur legislators are ... not passing bills that can actually do something for all of us,” Abrams said. “They’re playing games with their media counterparts. ... They want talking points.”

April 18, 2024 / R / 13



Races for Bonner County commissioner Dist. 1 and Dist. 3 and Bonner County sheriff

Publisher’s note: Before each election, the Sandpoint Reader reaches out to candidates in contested races to ask questions about how they would represent the constituents in the offices they seek. Below are questions and answers for the offices of District 1 and District 3 Bonner County commissioner, as well as Bonner County sheriff in the Tuesday, May 21 primary election. Next week’s edition will feature candidates running in contested Idaho legislative races.

All candidates who responded to our questions have been included below, with some answers edited lightly for length.

There are two candidates forums coming up: the first featuring Bonner County candidates on Monday, April 29 hosted by the Bonner County Daily Bee and Selkirk Association of Realtors; the other featuring Idaho Legislative District 1 candidates on Tuesday, April 30 and hosted by KRFY 88.5FM, and the Sandpoint Reader.

Both forums will be held at the Sandpoint High School auditorium and will begin at 5:30 p.m. and conclude no later than 8 p.m.

Finally, don’t forget to vote Tuesday, May 21.

Bonner County Commissioner

1.Why are you running for Bonner County commissioner?

2. What do you think are the three most important issues to your constituents?

3.What do you see as the top challenge facing your district — or the county in general — and how do you propose to address it?

4.Given the amount of lawsuits the county has faced in recent years, how would you use your position to protect against future litigation? What next steps would you propose to ensure that the county gets and maintains proper insurance?

5.The political climate surrounding the board of county commissioners has become notoriously divisive under the current BOCC. How would you diagnose the reasons for that division and how would you ease the tensions on the board?

District 1

James Burroughs, R

Age: 58

Birthplace and residence: DID NOT RESPOND

How many years lived in Bonner County: DID NOT RESPOND

Past/current government service (if applicable): Retired correctional peace officer

Profession: Food service director

Education: Two associates degrees

Contact info: Jim021166@, 530-304-1741, no website


Brian Domke, R

Age: 49

Birthplace and residence: born in New Jersey, Bonner County resident

How many years lived in Bonner County: 10

Past/current government service (if applicable): chairman of the Planning and Zon-

ing Sub-Area Committee for Priest River/Oldtown (20192021), member of the Bonner County Natural Resource Committee (2017-2019)

Profession: Landscape architect

Education: B.S., Cornell University; A.A.S., Morrisville State College

Contact info:, (208) 610-9853,

1.I am running for this office to bring decorum and effectiveness back to the board of county commissioners. The current dysfunction within the BOCC has created an environment that is inefficient, creating unnecessary liability, a work environment that negatively impacts the retention/ recruitment of county staff, and has resulted in an adversarial relationship between the BOCC and the public. It is my intent to reverse these negative impacts so that our county can

rebuild a healthy relationship with the public, retain and attract talented county staff, reduce its legal liability, and use tax dollars in an effective and efficient manner.

2. I believe the citizens of our county desire to have a board of county commissioners that: together effectively by focusing on making well-vetted decisions that include listening to the voice of the public, instead of being distracted by personality conflicts;

b.actively seeks to keep the size and cost of county government limited to reduce our tax burden;

c.protects private property rights, our natural resources and our community as a whole, which are threatened by poorly planned growth and unlawful land use decisions.

3.The top challenge facing our county is the rapid growth that has overburdened our infrastructure, driven up property/housing costs and undermined the fabric of our rural character. Solving this challenge requires improving the county’s Comprehensive Plan to better assess and define which areas of the county can support stable growth without overtaxing the capacity of the land or harming the adjacent neighbors, revamping county land use regulations to provide clear and concise permitting requirements, and defining impact fees so that the burden of cost for new development falls on those benefiting from the project, not the current residents.

4.I would protect the county from future litigation by only voting in favor of board decisions that are openly deliberated and lawful to the best of my knowledge. Such lawful decisions would include respecting the con-

< see Q&A, page 15 >
14 / R / April 18, 2024
No photo submitted Compiled by Zach Hagadone and Soncirey Mitchell

< Q&A, con’t from Page 14

stitutionally protected rights of the public, complying with the Comprehensive Plan and land use regulations, and working to maintain a professional working relationship with all other elected county officers. Treating each citizen equally under the law can significantly reduce the county’s future liability. Once the county has reduced its level of risk, obtaining property insurance will become more competitive and affordable.

5.The current BOCC dysfunction appears to stem from personality conflicts among the board. The BOCC should be focused on addressing issues, instead of attacking people. I would help restore professional conduct through leading by example. This would include treating others with respect and staying focused on each issue, not the personalities associated with it. To this end, I would second the motion of each of the other board members so that the idea can be heard and its merit can be vigorously debated before being voted on — allowing the idea to win or lose, not the person presenting the idea.

Age: 50

Birthplace and residence: Born in Laguna Beach, Calif., and currently resides in Sagle

How many years lived in Bonner County: 39 years, since April 1985

Past/current government service (if applicable): N/A

Profession: Semi-retired business manager

Education: Three years of secondary education and over 20 years of practical management experience

Contact info: rileyresources@gmail. com, 208-255-9229

1.I feel that I have the qualifications and experience to perform the roles and duties of a county commissioner as outlined by the Idaho Association of Counties. I also feel that our culture and sense of community is important to the residents of Bonner County as it is with me — our family’s roots go back several generations in Bonner County.

2.a. Property taxes affect everyone and are all impacted by tax rates.

b.Property rights are a focus within our communities due to several factors, including the Comp Plan being outdated. There have been several individuals in our community who have volunteered large amounts of time to get this completed and by the time of January inaugurations, the new BOCC is expected to have this as a tool.

c.Infrastructure improvements (or lack thereof) will have many impacts to our communities. The challenges of employee retention and recruiting are an issue in the departments providing many of our infrastructure services.

3.There will be several challenges but one that will impact the largest percentage of our county is maintaining the needed employee base to carry out the services expected to be provided by Bonner County. The ability to retain and attract qualified employees for the open positions within the county affect services and drain available budgets due to training and hiring costs.

4.Consistently follow our laws and ordinances when making decisions. If a potential “loophole” exists, make an agenda item to review the appropriate policy. Working with the risk manager and requesting annual audits is not out of the realm of expectations for validating the correct insurance is being selected both for cost and coverage.

5.Understanding that conflicting interpretations or thoughts on an issue are not to be discouraged. Many times I have learned that there were perceptions surrounding an issue that I had not considered that did in fact change my decision. Allow for discussion and input on issues before finalizing a decision but keep the discussion centered on the topic. Experience in having had to do this is very helpful in these circumstances.

District 3

Age: 45

Birthplace and residence: Soviet Union, residing in Clark Fork, Idaho

Years lived in Bonner County: 23

Past/current government service (if applicable): N/A

Profession: self-employed

Education: some college

Contact info:,

1.I’m running for Bonner County commissioner to ensure transparency, accountability, responsible governance, and responsible land use practices and planning. With my background in community service and dedication to listening to residents’ concerns, I aim to represent their interests effectively and advocate for positive change.

2.Restoring trust in the commissioners’ office. The lack of fiscal accountability to the taxpayer for the county funds at the fair. The sudden and unmetered housing boom with no street plan to mitigate traffic safety and practical use. Addressing responsible land use practices and planning.

3.The primary challenge is restoring trust, accountability and integrity in the commissioners’ office. I will advocate for increased transparency, regular public engagement and a commitment to ethical governance. By actively involving residents in decision-making processes and prioritizing open communication, we can rebuild confidence in our local government.

4.I would prioritize proactive measures to minimize legal risks: closely working with legal counsel, seeking their guidance on potential liabilities; thoroughly assessing all available information before making decisions, while also working with risk management; regularly reviewing county policies and procedures to identify areas for improvement. By being transparent, accountable and having responsible governance practices, we can mitigate the possibilities of future litigation.

5.I believe the division stems from differing priorities and communication breakdowns, such as the unwillingness to listen to different opinions. To ease tensions, I’d prioritize open dialogue, build a culture of respect and collaboration, and focus on common goals for the betterment of Bonner County.

Luke Omodt, R (incumbent)

Age: 46

Birthplace and residence: Missoula, Mont.; Sandpoint, Idaho

Years lived in Bonner County: 45

Past/current government service (if applicable): 23 years United States Army SFC (ret.), 12 years as a government teacher at BFHS/SHS/CFHS and Middle School, current county commissioner

Profession: soldier/teacher/commissioner

Education: B.A., secondary education social studies with a minor in government; U.S. Army NCOES: WLC, BLC, ALC, SLC, Equal Opportunity leader, Master Resilience trainer

Contact info:,, 208-946-3395

1.Bonner County is a great place to live. I grew up here, left for the U.S. Army to realize how great home was, married a girl from my high school class and live across the street from my grandmother’s house. County commissioners run a public utility company responsible for safe roads and bridges; weeds, airports, EMS and the Sheriff’s Office; solid waste and more. These statutorily obligated services are paid through property taxes. Bonner County deserves efficient, prudent and competent leadership. I have the experience, commitment and temperament to protect and improve our quality of life. Vote Luke Omodt.

2.The three most important issues are the health, safety and welfare of Bonner County. County government is created by the law to provide services to the residents of Bonner County. Voters should demand competent, civil and responsible leadership that protects the ability of individuals to live their lives as they see fit. County residents should feel secure in their homes, finances and their opportunities. Parents need to know their kids are safe and they work in a county that is fiscally responsible. Reliable, efficient and prudent use of taxpayer monies is the recipe for the success of

April 18, 2024 / R / 15 < see Q&A,
16 >
Dimitry Borisov, R Jeff L. Glass, R RON KORN, R

local government.

3.The biggest challenge facing District 3 and Bonner County is addressing a growing county with an exodus of labor due to limited and exorbitantly expensive housing. We are addressing this challenge by updating our Comprehensive Plan with data-influenced decisions, improving roads and bridges with detailed analysis, and providing a stable regulatory environment to sustain a vibrant business community with economic opportunity. More government is not the solution. We are an ingredient in the mix of a free market, economic opportunity, a ridiculous quality of life and the opportunity for residents to pursue life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

4.We live in an age where people sue without consequence. Until I took this job I’d never been sued — I’ve never sued anybody. Bonner County is currently paying three outside law firms and five lawyers to defend us against lawsuits from one employee of the Bonner County Prosecutor’s Office. Personally, I think that this is nuts. Property insurance is crazy with the risk of fire like Lahaina’s and Paradise Valley. Big insurance companies are pulling out of Idaho. Commissioner Bradshaw and I saved Bonner County $200,000 by not accepting the status quo and switching to Idaho Farm Bureau Insurance.

5.I’ve been an Idaho Republican since turning 18. Since taking this job I’ve been called a “tyrant,” “king,” “racist” and “misogynist.” Chaos merchants who revel in disruption are entitled to their opinions and rage. I’ve asked what they are mad about and received silence. I’ve lived for years in warzones serving this country. I know how blessed we are. I choose joy, humility, integrity, professionalism and competence. I am here to serve all of Bonner County. I chose to serve my country, to teach our youth, and am asking for your vote to protect and defend our quality of life. Luke

1.Why are you running for sheriff?

Bonner County Sheriff

2. What do you think are the three most important issues to your constituents?

3.What sets you apart from your opponent?

4.What do you see as the top challenge facing the county, and how do you propose to address it?

5.There have been undeniable tensions between the BOCC and the Sheriff’s Office in recent years. How would you diagnose the reasons for those tensions and how would you ease them going forward?

Steven Bradshaw, R

Age: 69

Birthplace and residence: Born in Pasadena, Texas; moved to Bonner County in 1988

Years lived in Bonner County: 36

Past/current government service (if applicable): Elected as a Bonner County commissioner in 2018 and finishing my second term (six years)

Profession: Self-employed as a commercial and residential contractor for 45 years


Contact info: 208-597-2383,

1.I am running for Bonner County Sheriff because I have watched good deputies leave our sheriff’s department over the years, all the while being told by the current sheriff “they left because of the pay.” The last five-and-a-half years I have worked with the previous board and brought our deputies pay up considerably, even with budget restraints. That being said, I have lived here 36 years and I haven’t talked to a single deputy that left in the last 15 years be-

cause of the money. I have known most of them. Something is seriously wrong.

2.The current S.O. organizational chart resembles a funnel standing on its point. If it were a ship, it would capsize and sink. At its current state it is not sustainable and desperately needs to be restructured. We need more deputies on the street and less office deputies. In my five-and-a-half years, we have built two EMS stations with one in the planning stage for the Blanchard area — the second being completed this year, which will also house many county departments with room for future needs as growth continues for years to come, and at no increase to the taxpayer.

3.The office of sheriff is an administrative position and does not require law enforcement experience, but right and wrong combined with common sense and the ability to manage. The current S.O. budget is a disaster. I can correct that and help our deputies at the same time. I will be an honest servant to the people of Bonner County while also being a leader of what I consider to be some of the best law enforcement personnel in the Northwest.

4.Moving from the current EMS station in downtown Sandpoint will save the county approximately $10,000 per month and moving DMV from the Bonner Mall in the future will save $1,350, lowering the county’s cost by $136,000 annually. We also lowered the county property insurance by $200,000 with better and more

detailed coverage at a $10,000 deductible instead of $100,000 deductible. I have proven my fiscal and managerial abilities.

5.We need an honest person for sheriff. Vote Steven Bradshaw for Bonner County sheriff.

Daryl Wheeler, R (incumbent)

Age: 66

Birthplace and residence: California, Bonner County

Years lived in Bonner Co.: 25

Past/current government service (if applicable): 38 years in law enforcement

Profession: Bonner County sheriff, 15 years

Education: All possible Idaho certifications: see website

Contact info: wheeler4sheriff. com, P.O. Box 795, Ponderay, ID 83852

1.To continue to keep Bonner County a safe place to live, work, learn and play.

2. a. Liberty; b.Safety; c.Fiscal management.

3.I have 38 years of law enforcement experience, with 15 of those years as your sheriff. My opponent has no law enforcement experience.

4.After the lockdown, the price of housing soared and has become unaffordable. Kootenai County pays their deputies $10 more an hour than Bonner County deputies. It is the responsibility of the county commissioners to make sure that wages are competitive. We invest around $100,000 in each deputy. We throw away that money each time we lose one of our deputies. It is short-sighted to ignore this reality.

5.Over the last few years there have been several dysfunctional boards in North Idaho. All have exhibited a similar structure: board members who were intolerant of other members, the public and elected officials; members engaging in obvious decision making outside of board meetings and keeping the main stakeholders outside the decision-making process; behavior that encourages lawsuits. The only solution to the Jerry Springer Show in Bonner County will happen when the two male members are replaced at the ballot box. Hopefully we will get new commissioners who are fiscally responsible, practice lawful land use and are favorable to law enforcement.

Idaho Legislative District 1 candidate questionnaire will appear in the April 25 edition of the Reader.

Election day is May 21, 2024 from 8 a.m.-8 p.m.

16 / R / April 18, 2024
answers continued: < Q&A, con’t from Page 15 >

OUTDOORS Dirt-y Secrets

Spring has sprung and it’s time to plan for May showers

“It is one of those April Days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold, when it is summer in the light and winter in the shade.”

Spring has arrived! Daffodils are blooming and tulips are getting ready. The air smells fresh and warm — sometimes. Here in North Idaho, we can experience snow flurries to sunshine in an hour. Gardeners need to pay attention to the weather forecasters because frost is possible virtually anytime. I usually plant porch pots around May 1, but I am ready with frost cloth to cover if need be — and April showers really do bring May flowers.

If you have tulips, you probably don’t have deer. Or you have put them behind a fence. Deer really consider your tulips to be candy, and daffodils are more like Brussels sprouts. Not that they won’t eat them, but they will only eat them after exhausting supplies of more attractive plants. The same goes for hyacinth and crocus, and I have never had a deer munch on alliums — they’re too oniony. So, plant your-not-so-tasty bulbs in open areas and your tulips in protected spaces.

Swallows are back and eager to start families. Robins, chickadees, woodpeckers, starlings, sparrows and eagles are all mating and staking out their own territories. Nests are being built, eggs are being laid and soon we will hear those baby birds cheeping; then, in just a few weeks, they will fledge. Soon after, their parents will begin again, as some birds raise several clutches.

If you have bird houses, be sure to place them near a hedge or leafy tree so that birds can seek cover from predators. I think birds do a good job of cleaning bird houses by eating whatever larva wasps left behind. I haven’t seen a hummingbird yet, but I put out a feeder. I expect they will arrive soon.

Bees are eager to get to work and pollinate up a storm. But unless the days are above 50 degrees, they are staying in their cozy hive, crevasse or nest tube. They will wait until conditions are right and blossoms are out to get to work.

I haven’t freed my Mason bees from their winter fridge haven because there just aren’t yet enough blossoms for them to feed upon.

Mother’s Day is coming up soon — Sunday, May 12 — and, if your mom appreciates flowers, I’d like to suggest you plant a pot or a basket and give it to her as a gift. If her favorites are the summer standbys like zinnias, petunias, marigolds and begonias, be careful to keep them from freezing. But you can plant pansies, creeping Jenny, primroses and violas without fear. Or, if that sounds like too much, you can get a ready-made basket at one of our fine local nurseries. A gift certificate to a nursery is also a worthy gift.

Meanwhile, it is time to pay attention to weeds — get them before they take over. I use my trusty squirt bottle of vinegar and dish soap if the weeds aren’t close to the plant I am nurturing, because vinegar kills everything. You must really soak them, and not on a rainy day. If you can’t squirt, use your trowel to get them out and always try to get the root. There is a handy tool that pries them out neatly and is

available at the co-op.

It is also almost time to plant milkweed. I encourage everyone to plant some and invite monarch butterflies to stop by. Idaho used to be on the migration route but, because of habitat loss, they have changed their route. They must have milkweed for their caterpillars to eat (and only milkweed). We have an organization locally that is devoted to monarchs ( and you can get lots and lots of great information from them. They have seeds for free or you can buy them at All Seasons nursery.

Finally, I am again urging everyone to use organic garden condiments. No weed ’n’ feed, no Turf Builder, etc. That is because those products, and many others like them, contain toxic chemicals that can end up in our lake and in you. Absolutely no Roundup, in spite of all of the attractive ads. Good old steer manure (composted, to avoid weeds) and any of the many organic fertilizers that are readily available work beautifully.

Until April showers bring May flowers!

April 18, 2024 / R / 17

ICL Earth Day Shoreline Cleanup

The Idaho Conservation League and city of Sandpoint are joining forces with local volunteers to celebrate Earth Day by cleaning up City Beach, lower Sand Creek and the Pend Oreille Bay Trail on Saturday, April 20.

Do-gooders will be treated to snacks and drinks from Evans Brothers and given their own bags and gloves to help collect the trash that has accumulated over the winter months.

“Volunteering at the shoreline cleanup is an opportunity to make a difference, take pride in your community and connect with others. Together we can create a cleaner environment for everyone to enjoy,” Karissa Huntsman, ICL North Idaho community engagement specialist, told the Reader

This is ICL’s third year hosting the cleanup, which was run by the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper before the organization closed its doors in 2022.

Yet, community members and local organizations continue to show up every April to clean up beloved parks and give back to the planet.

“Animals can get entangled in fishing lines, plastic bags and other debris, leading to injury or death,” Huntsman said. “Plastic items also gradually break down into smaller pieces called microplastics. These can be ingested by fish and other animals, entering the food chain and posing potential risks

to both wildlife and humans.

“By properly disposing of trash, community members can safeguard these creatures and their habitats,” she added.

Volunteers can begin checking in April 20 at 9:30 a.m. at the City Beach pavilion, located at the southeast end of the park. Register at under the Earth Day CleanUps calendar entry.

KLT hosts Paved Pathways Earth Day Cleanup

Join Kaniksu Land Trust for the Paved Pathways Earth Day Cleanup on Saturday, April 20 from 9 a.m.noon. As Earth Day approaches, it’s not just a time for reflection on our planet, but also for taking care of our corner of it.

Winter’s thaw has unveiled litter along our pathways, detracting from the natural beauty of our town. KLT invites residents to gather their families, friends or work crews and meet at the KLT office at 1215 Michigan St., Ste. A in Sandpoint between 8:30 and 11 a.m. to receive cleanup supplies, assigned area and refreshments courtesy of KLT Partner Sponsors, Winter Ridge Natural Foods and Evans Brothers Coffee Roasters.

Sign up in advance at kaniksu. org — which organizers prefer — or simply show up on the day of the event. For more details, contact KLT at 208-263-9471.

18 / R / April 18, 2024 COMMUNITY
Cleanup volunteers at Sandpoint City Beach. Photo by Jimmy Matlosz

First Lutheran Church welcomes new minister KNPS program focuses on medicinal plants

The Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society invites those interested in learning about the healing properties to be found in nature to attend the program “Wild Medicinal Plants of North Idaho,” presented Saturday, April 20 at 10 a.m. in the main branch of the East Bonner County Library (1407 Cedar St., in Sandpoint).

Presenter Suzanne Tabert, of the Cedar Mountain Herb School, will introduce attendees to the medicinal flora of the region — from the tallest trees to the tiniest plants — including identification and a discussion of what’s known about their pharmacological features.

She will also share the right time and plant part to harvest for the most potently effective nutrition and medicinal benefits.

Tabert is an herbalist, author, speaker, director of herbal education at the Cedar Mountain Herb School — with locations in Sandpoint and Seattle — and an adjunct professor at Bastyr University, located in Kenmore, Wash., with more than 35 years of experience working with students of all-natural living.

The program is available to both in-person and Zoom audiences. In-person attendance begins with coffee, tea and snacks at the library at 9:30 a.m. The program is co-sponsored by the East Bonner County Library District and Sandpoint Parks and Recreation, and is free and open to the public.

Register in advance to view the program on Zoom at For more info, contact Preston Andrews at KNPS.Tech@

2nd annual Newport Earth Day ArtWalk and ‘Trash-n-Fashion’ Parade

Newport is celebrating Earth Day with its second annual artwalk on Saturday, April 20, featuring a theme of art made from recycled items, natural materials or otherwise inspired by nature.

The Newport Earth Day ArtWalk begins with a “Trash-n-Fashion” parade at 10:30 a.m., with attendees invited to walk in the parade wearing their costumes made from recycled or discarded items.

Participants will meet at 10:15 a.m. in the parking lot of the Pend Oreille Playhouse (236 S. Union Ave.) and will proceed south on Union to Kelly’s, turn right to Seeber’s and head north on Washington Avenue to TJ Kelly Park.

The artwalk kicks off at 11 a.m., with stops featuring art exhibits at 14

locations, including: the Pend Oreille Playhouse, Kelly’s, the Newport Visitor Center, the Pend Oreille County Museum, Owen’s, Vessel Gallery and Clay Studio, Farmer’s Insurance, Newport Pizza, My Sidewalk Cafe, the Hospitality House, Shanty, the Roxy, the Newport Library and TJ Kelly Park.

Pick up a passport at Kelly’s or the park and visit all 14 sites to be eligible for prize drawings.

There will also be art activities for kids, music, dancing and craft booths at the park. Attendees can also contribute to a collaborative community art project, which will later be displayed in a storefront window. Events end at 3 p.m.

The Newport Earth Day ArtWalk is co-sponsored by Evergreen Art Association and Newport Creative District, with support from the Washington State Arts Commission.

First Lutheran Church in Sandpoint will welcome Rev. Duane Fister as its new minister Sunday, April 21, with his first sermon at the place of worship, located at 526 S. Olive Ave.

Fister attended Pacific Lutheran Theological Seminary in Berkeley, Calif., as well as other institutions, holding advanced degrees in divinity and theology.

equipping, challenging, encouraging, guiding and companioning his fellow life travelers. He feels he’s at his best when he is ‘able to recognize or intuit the values, gifts, strengths, roles and passions of others and encourage their participation and expression in congregation, family and community life.’”

First ordained in 1982 and ordained again in 2021 by the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Fister has been involved with public and private ministry for more than 40 years and served multiple congregations, including two Episcopal churches. He is also a licensed master electrician, and has owned and managed an electrical contracting business alongside his pastoral activities.

According to an announcement from First Lutheran, “Pastor Fister sees his role and focus as one of

Fister will be joined by his wife, Lynn. Both grew up in Fircrest, Wash., and attended high school and college together, graduating from Washington State University in 1975 and 1976, respectively. The couple have raised four children, including a daughter who, along with her husband and family, lives in Priest River.

First Lutheran has served the Sandpoint community since its founding more than 100 years ago. The church holds Sunday worship at 9 a.m. followed by a coffee/fellowship hour. The public is invited to meet Fister at the church and welcome him to the community.

April 18, 2024 / R / 19 COMMUNITY
Pastor Duane Fister. Courtesy photo.

Local man to circumnavigate lake on paddleboard to support Ethan Murray Fund

Nate Christensen will embark on the adventure April 25

When Nate Christensen made the decision to leave North Idaho, he wanted to head out with a bang.

Christensen plans to circumnavigate Lake Pend Oreille’s shoreline solo on a stand up paddleboard starting April 25 — both as a personal challenge as well as an effort to support the Ethan Murray Fund, a nonprofit organization started by local business owner Justine Murray, which aims to empower and support individuals in need by providing financial assistance for mental health services in the community.

Christensen told the Reader that he came back to North Idaho a year ago after traveling the world, hoping to find work in freelance photo and video and reconnect with the place where he was born and raised. However, when a job opportunity popped up in Colorado, he again made plans to leave, but not before a final adventure.

“I recently worked with this organization down in California which did a channel crossing from Catalina Island to the Huntington Pier in outrigger canoes,” Christensen said. “I did the crossing with them and got really inspired by it. I grew up on the lake, on whitewater. I thought, ‘I should do something like that.’”

Christensen looked into whether anyone has ever circumnavigated Lake Pend Oreille on just a SUP. While many have done the voyage in kayaks, canoes and other

crafts, Christensen might be the first to attempt it on a paddleboard.

“If anyone has, please reach out to me,” he said. “I really want to get your input to help plan this mission.”

Christensen said the quest is also a way to come to terms with this region after life experiences left something to be desired.

“I’ve had a really rough childhood here,” he said. “It was a rough experience and transition out of this area. I moved back and went through a divorce a year and a half ago. To me, it’s a way of making peace with the area.”

To help him navigate all 111 miles of shoreline, he received help from Jason Hershey — also known as Ocean — who Christensen said was a sort of pioneer of paddleboarding.

“He’s lending me an ocean paddleboard called a Perfect Wave,” Christensen said. “It’s 14 or 15 feet long and 30 inches wide. It’s a big boy. Full fiberglass board.”

Depending on the wind and weather, Christensen estimates he’ll average about three miles an hour with the board.

“I’m taking very minimal gear, so I don’t force a big weight load on the board,” he said. “I want to do it in less than five days. I tossed around the idea of literally pushing as fast and hard as I could. ... Obviously, the goal is to finish it, but I also want to enjoy myself. I’m not going to make myself miserable to finish 12 hours sooner.”

He plans to start April 25 — depending on the weather — with a departure from Sandpoint City Beach and proceeding counterclockwise around the lake. While Christensen plans to do the trip alone, he said friends have pledged to join him for legs along the way, and a couple of local charter boats that plan to be on standby in case he needs to fire off an SOS and get a ride out.

Christensen said it isn’t necessarily the long paddling time that concerns him, especially with lake temperatures hovering in the high

30s to low 40s in April.

“It’s the weather I’m more worried about,” he said. “I’ve gotten generous donations of gear. I have a friend who did a circumnavigation in a sea kayak that loaned me a dry suit and a nice paddle.”

Along with loaned gear, Chrstensen is currently raising pledges for the journey.

“Justine has put up a pledge board at her store [La Chic Boutique]. ... People can pledge per mile or donate a lump sum.”

Either way, the donations will all benefit the Ethan

Murray Fund, named for Justine’s son Ethan, who suffered from mental illness and was killed by a Spokane County Sheriff’s deputy in 2019. Spokane County agreed to a $1 million settlement to the Murray family for shooting and killing Ethan while he was unarmed. Since then, Justine has channeled her grief into activism, establishing the Ethan Murray Fund to help provide support for mental health, homeless and addiction services.

“I really wanted to do a personal challenge before I leave town, and I’ve been friends with the Murray family for a while,” Christensen said. “I wanted to do this for a purpose beyond myself, and that kind of spurred this along. I’m leaving this community, and I might as well help leave it better before I go.”

Christensen said he was also inspired by a nonprofit organization he worked with called Until Death Collective based in Texas.

“Their slogan is ‘Movement is Medicine,’” Christensen said. “They encourage people in their communities to get out and do stuff, to bring people with you who might need that extra push. This is a way for me to demonstrate to people that if I can do it, anybody can.”

To learn more about the Ethan Murray Fund, or to donate or pledge to Nate Christensen’s mission, visit, or stop by La Chic Boutique, 107 Main St. in Sandpoint.

20 / R / April 18, 2024
Nate Christensen will circumnavigate Lake Pend Oreille on a paddleboard starting April 25. Photo by Kristina Brown.

Sandpoint’s favorite vaudevillian visitors The musical experience MarchFourth returns to the Panida

It’s been nine long, long years since vaudevillian musical group MarchFourth last graced the Panida Theater’s stage, bringing a level of showmanship and pizzazz that puts even New Orleans Mardi Gras to shame. This talented group of 12 touring musicians and three performers — acrobats, dancers and all around crowd-pleasers — will offer up an assortment of musical and visual delights on Wednesday, April 24 at 7:30 p.m.

“What I have learned as a band leader is that every person counts, and when you have the right chemistry between professionally-minded musicians who genuinely love playing together, the possibilities are infinite,” bassist, leader and co-founder John

Averill told the Reader MarchFourth, which Averill describes as a “sophisticated, vocally-driven experience,” effortlessly blends funk, rock and jazz into toe-tapping pieces that demand to be danced to. The audience will be on their feet April 24, so if you need to sit, choose a spot at least six rows from the stage to ensure you can take in the spectacle.

“It’s just the nature of the beast. The energy was there from Day 1, and we still can’t stop ourselves from going allout bananas on stage — and when the audience gives the energy back, that drives us even more. It’s a reciprocal relationship,” said Averill. “I love it when the band is locked in and we’re executing our songs with feeling and precision. But really, it’s all about the audience.”

Eye-catching costumes

merge marching band uniforms with the whimsy of a circus and the flare of a rock ’n’ roll band, visually enhancing the performances of the vocalists, percussionists, and the brass and strings sections. The group has undergone dozens of changes throughout its 21 years, and Sandpoint music lovers who treated themselves to previous MarchFourth concerts will be delighted by

their new songs, musicians and performers.

“Everything is becoming more refined, and the songs are getting better and more interesting,” said Averill.

One thing remains the same; MarchFourth’s mixed-media performance is a jam-packed hour and a half that audiences will remember for the rest of their lives. When asked to describe the

group in three words, Averill said, “Rocking good times!”

Secure your invite to the best party in Idaho and savor every moment — it may take another nine years to lure them back.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are available for $25 at or $30 at the door. Listen at

April 18, 2024 / R / 21 COMMUNITY
MarchFourth will return to the Panida Theater Wednesday, April 24. Courtesy photo.


Send event listings to

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

Live Music w/ Chris Traylor

7-9pm @ The Back Door

Live Music w/ Mobius Riff

8pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Live Music w/ Tim G.

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Wild Oatz

5pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Live Music w/ Brian Jacobs

6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ

Live Music w/ Truck Mills

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Sandpoint blues guitarist extraordinaire

Live Music w/ Sheldon Packwood

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ John Daffron

6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Live Music w/ Ponderay Paradox

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Live Music w/ Hogwire

8:45pm @ The Hive

Sandpoint group focused on Southern rock and country. $5 cover. Line dancing from 7:30-8:30 p.m. for $10

Scott Pemberton O Theory concert

8pm @ The Heartwood Center

An emerging force on the festival circuit, with his wild approach to guitar and nimble funky band

SunDAY, april 21

Sandpoint Chess Club

9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee

Meets every Sunday at 9am

Live Irish Folk Jam

3-6pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

FriDAY, april 19

Live Music w/ Little Wolf

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Feat. Josh Hedlund and Justin Landis

Live Music w/ AP Collective

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Folk and Americana at the Winery

Season Bender w/ The RUB

8:45pm @ The Hive

Join CDA supergroup The RUB for $10/advance, $15/door. 21+

SATURDAY, april 20

Wild Medicinal Plants of North Idaho

10am @ Sandpoint Library

Hosted by KNPS, a free presentation by Suzanne Tabert from the Cedar Mountain Herb School

Pancake Fundraiser

9am-2pm @ Gardenia Center

A fundraiser for Forrest Bird Charter School students’ trip to Yellowstone. $15/person or $35/family

Earth Day Shoreline Clean-Up

9:30am @ City Beach pavilion

Join volunteers to help clean up the shorelines and waterways. Read more on Page 18

Live Music w/ Headwaters

9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Sandpoint string band heroes

Magic with Star Alexander

5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

Up close magic shows at the table

Sandpoint Onstage presents: Sherlock 2pm @ Panida Theater

tuesDAY, april 23

KRFY Little Live Radio Hour feat. Patrice Webb, Doug Bond, Desiree Aguirre

8pm @ Little Panida Theater

A monthly intimate show with chats with local musicians between songs

Suzuki String Academy’s Celebrations Concert

6pm @ North Summit Church, 201 N. Division

Biggest event of the year for their students

Live Music w/ John Firshi

8pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan

Live Piano w/ Carson Rhodes

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

April 18-25, 2024

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan

Bingo Night

Cribbage League

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Sandpoint Onstage presents: Sherlock 7:30pm @ Panida Theater

An evening of mystery, comedy and emotional complexity by Sandpoint playwright Teresa Pesce. See Page 22

Local play: Jingle!

7pm @ Pearl Theater (Bonners Ferry)

A delightful small town play feat. Curtain Call cast and crew of Bonners.

Live Radio Shows

7pm @ Create Arts Center, Newport, Wash.

Evening of comedy with two live radio shows performed on stage. $12/$15

Paved Pathways Earth Day Cleanup

8:30-11am @ Kaniksu Land Trust office

Meet at KLT (1215 Michigan St., Ste.

A)to get your assigned area, garbage bags, bites and warm beverages to help clean up our community.

Sun Daddy Sandpoint Drum Circle

3-5pm @ Moondance Sanctuary Yurt

130 Pinecrest Loop. Free, all welcome

Sandpoint Onstage presents: Sherlock 7:30pm @ Panida Theater

Local play: Jingle!

3 & 7pm @ Pearl Theater (Bonners Ferry)

monDAY, april 22

Sandpoint Lions Club Open House

6pm @ 609 S. Ella Ave. (near Lakeview Park)

Come learn about the Sandpoint Lions Club.

BBQ burgers and hot dogs!

Outdoor Experience Group Run

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

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

Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s “Resurrection as Resistance”

Visiting pianist inspired by Elton John, John Legend and Billy Joel. Free!

wednesDAY, april 24

MarchFourth in concert

• 7:30pm @ Panida Theater

The larger-than-life colorful explosion of brassy funk, rock and jazz from this traveling group of 15 musicians, dancers and acrobats. Expect dancing and loads of fun. $25

Bingo Night

ThursDAY, april 25

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Cribbage League

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

22 / R / April 18, 2024

Sandpoint Onstage presents Sherlock

Local playwright Teresa Pesce has channeled her inner Sir Arthur Conan Doyle in her new murder mystery Sherlock, presented by Sandpoint Onstage at the Panida Theater in a four-show run Friday, April 19, Saturdays, April 20 and 27 and Sunday, April 21.

The brand new take on Doyle’s beloved characters has all the charm of a BBC drama and will transport audiences to 1900s England with its engrossing plot carried by talented local actors.

“The writing of all my plays begins with two characters having a conversation in my mind, and I just listen and write it down,” Pesce told the Reader. “Sometimes it’s comedy, sometimes it’s serious... people ask me how I come up with what comes out of their mouths and I haven’t a clue. They just said it, that’s all.”

Sherlock started as a conversation between Holmes’ housekeeper, Mrs. Hudson, and her neighbor, but reached new heights as Pesce fleshed out the mystery.

Actor Eric Bond brings the titular character to life in what Pesce describes as a “Sherlockian miracle,” balanced by Cory Repas’ “intelligent and sensitive” performance as John Watson.

The conflict between Holmes and his famous nemesis Moriarty, played by Michael Bigley, is central to the drama.

“I began with a thought, ‘Where did Moriarty come from?’ and that evolved to the heart of the play and the source of murder and mystery,” Pesce told the Reader. “It is based on something I believe is true. There is no such thing as hate on its own. Hate is usually/always something else, twisted.”

Performances of the emotionally complex play will be Friday, April 19 and Saturday, April 21 and 27 at 7:30 p.m., as well as a 2 p.m. show on Sunday, April 21. Tickets are $25 at

“Sherlock is brisk, fast and funny when it’s not disturbingly close to the bone. It’s a drama, mystery and comedy,” wrote Pesce. “It’s great fun!”

Waldorf School hosts pre-auction screening of DiCaprio-led GreatGatsby

The clock is ticking for the Sandpoint Waldorf School’s Annual Spring Auction on Saturday, May 11 — this year with the theme “Gatsby Gala Night” at the Hive. In the meantime, turn back the clock and get into the spirit of the Roaring ’20s with a screening Friday, April 19 of the 2013 film The Great Gatsby at the Panida Little Theater (300 N. First Ave., in Sandpoint).

Directed by and with a screenplay from Baz Luhrman, this adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s iconic 1925 novel of the same name stars Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular Jay Gatsby — a man of fabulous wealth and murky motives masked by a murkier past.

With Tobey Maguire as

KRFY Little Live Radio Hour feat. Patrice Webb, Doug Bond and Desiree Aguirre

the observer/narrator Nick Carraway and Carey Mulligan as Gatsby’s unrequited love Daisy Buchanan, the film won Oscars for Best Costume Design and Best Production Design — highlighting the sumptuous settings and styles of the era it portrays.

Drawings for prizes as well as extra discounted tickets to the auction will be sold at the movie screening. Bar and snacks will be available through the Panida Theater next door.

Seats are limited for the pre-auction screening and cost $10. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the movie starts at 7 p.m.

For more information on the upcoming auction and film showing — and get tickets to both events — go to and click on the “buy tickets” button.

It’s the fourth Tuesday of the month on April 23, which means it’s time once again for The Little Live Radio Hour from Panhandle Community Radio KRFY 88.5 FM.

Hosted by KRFY’s Jack Peterson, the monthly series showcases an ever-changing lineup of local musicians through performances and lively conversations — all broadcast live from the Panida Little Theater.

Audiences can tune their dials to 88.5 FM (or use the live webstream on or attend in person for free.

This month’s musi-

cal guests are folk-infused singer-songwriter Patrice Webb with guitar-and-mandolin master Doug Bond, and a special guest appearance by multi-instrumentalist, singer and storyteller Desiree Aguirre. The radio broadcast begins at 8 a.m., while live audience members are asked to arrive by 7:45 p.m. and get settled with a glass of beer, wine or other refreshment before the one-hour show starts. Installments of The Little Live Radio Hour will continue through October, with new musical acts each month. For more info, visit

April 18, 2024 / R / 23 STAGE & SCREEN
Sherlock cast members, from left to right: Corey Repass, Eric Bond, McCallum Morgan and Andrew Sorg. Courtesy photo.

When I returned home from my most recent travels and opened the 60-pound suitcase that I’d carried far too often the previous two weeks, it carried me right back to Istanbul. Closing my eyes and inhaling the treasures within — the intoxicating fragrances of star anise pods, saffron threads and plump nutmegs — took me right back to a most unforgettable day exploring the ancient Istanbul Spice Bazaar. Nearly 400 years old, this magnificent mosque-style structure houses more than 85 shops selling spices, Turkish delight, and dried fruit and nuts.

Visiting the Spice Bazaar was at the top of my Istanbul list. It was about a 20-minute walk from my hotel; and, given my propensity for getting lost (often and everywhere), I gave myself an hour to locate the Bosphorus River and cross the Galata Bridge.

My early morning walk offered stunning skyline views — a juxtaposition of new skyscrapers and ancient mosques. The bridge was filled with hopeful fishermen balancing poles while sharing cigarettes, animated conversation and bits of bait with hungry stray cats.

The bridge had two levels: the top level was for vehicle and foot traffic (and fishermen), and the lower level was filled with aromatic shops offering myriad varieties of gözleme (savory stuffed turnover made with unleavened dough then baked on a hot griddle), sweet pastries, Turkish coffee and hot apple tea, which I sampled and found fragrant and delicious.

I arrived at the bazaar and somehow wandered through the

The Sandpoint Eater Makes scents

workers’ entrance, only to learn I was about 15 minutes early. As I was about to exit and await the official opening, a kind vendor encouraged me to stroll the quiet bazaar and capture some good photos while I waited for the 8 a.m. opening.

My senses were overloaded between the centuries-old architecture of bright, colorful turquoise tiles and Ottoman stone and the spice scents that filled the air. I wandered around, captivated by the pungent aromas of cumin, saffron, star anise and countless other less-familiar spices. I was also captivated by Cem, the shopkeeper in stall NO:51. When I began to inquire about his saffron, he welcomed me in like a long-lost friend, in-

sisting I take a seat and share in a ritualistic Turkish coffee before I began to shop.

In between sips of the strong brew, he proudly pointed out his photos with famous shoppers, like Rick Steves and Martha Stewart, which adorned a wall. When I gave him my business card (featuring the likeness of me used for this column), he quickly determined I was wall-worthy, too, and insisted we pose for a picture.

Though small, his space was engaging, lively and spotless. He explained every detail of saffron to me (everything I thought I knew and didn’t) and took the time to have me experience every variety he had in his stall. Only one crocus flower in the

world produces saffron, and I learned that the longer the delicate threads, the more expensive the spice — as much as $ 5,000 per kilogram.

When I think of saffron, Spain (and paella) comes to mind, but Cem explained that the world’s finest saffron is grown in Iran. It was markedly apparent as I smelled and tasted each variety, noting the fragrance, flavor and color.

I’ve always had saffron in my spice collection for use in savory dishes, such as paella and stew, but I had never before tasted it in desserts, and what a fabulous culinary experience! It doesn’t take much to infuse a cake or pudding, but the distinct taste and its brilliant golden hue

Orange saffron cake

This dense and aromatic cake won me over. Star anise can overpower the saffron, so use steep pods only (not powdered anise).


• ¼ cup boiling water

• ½ tsp saffron threads (don’t crush)

• 6 star anise pods

• ¾ cup buttermilk

• 2 Tbs fresh orange juice (zest before juicing)

• Zest of 1 orange (save some for glaze)

• 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

• 3 cups all-purpose flour

• ½ tsp salt

• 1 tsp baking powder

• 1 tsp teaspoon baking soda

• 2 and 1/4 sticks (1 ⅛ cup) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

• 2 cups granulated sugar

• 3 large eggs at room temperature

• 1 large egg yolk at room temperature

• 1 cup finely chopped pistachios


• 2 cups powdered sugar

• 2 Tbs fresh orange juice

• Remaining zest

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Grease a 12-cup bundt pan with butter (or use baking spray).

In a small glass bowl, place saffron threads, star anise pods and add hot water. Cover and steep for 15 minutes. Remove the pods (but leave the threads).

Add buttermilk, vanilla, orange juice and zest to the saffron mixture and whisk.

In a separate large bowl, sift flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda and whisk well.

Cream butter and sugar in standup mixer on medium, until fluffy and pale.

Beat in eggs, one at a time, and finish with the egg yolk.

Begin adding flour mixture, alternating with liquid saffron mixture. Mixing on low after each addition. By hand, fold in the pistachios and blend well.

Pour batter into the bundt cake and bake for 45-50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes in the pan, carefully turn out onto rack, then let it cool completely. Whisk powdered sugar and orange juice until smooth, pour over the cake. Sprinkle remaining zest.

can produce an array of tasty, sweet offerings.

Saffron is also rich in antioxidants that fight against cancer and heart disease, and research suggests it might even reduce inflammation in the brain (I’d guess they aren’t using the $5,000-per-kilogram variety in research). Due to its mood-enhancing properties, it’s often called the sunshine spice and is used to treat depression.

I’m grateful that I don’t have any depression that needs treatment. But I will admit, the first bite of the saffron cake made me pretty darn happy! Bake some up, and see if you agree.

Serves 10-12

24 / R / April 18, 2024 FOOD

Festival at Sandpoint announces the Violent Femmes

Influential alt band will perform their iconic first two albums from cover to cover

The Festival at Sandpoint announced the Platinum-selling iconic alternative band Violent Femmes will play under the lights Friday, July 26, with tickets going on sale to the public Friday, April 19.

Violent Femmes will play two of their albums from cover to cover, including their eponymous debut record and sophomore release, Hallowed Ground.

During these unprecedented performances, the Femmes will begin with Hallowed Ground, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary in 2024. Following a brief intermission, the band will retake the stage and play their debut record, Violent Femmes, from cover to cover, as well as a few fan- and band-favorites to finish the show.

Serving as a sonic time capsule for the soul, these special shows will capture a pivotal moment in late-20th century pop music as Femmes’ lead vocalist and guitarist Gordon Gano wrote the songs for both albums while he was still in high school. In fact, the tracks for Hallowed Ground were penned long before the release of Violent Femmes, but the band wanted to focus on upbeat songs for the debut album and “confuse people”

with the more experimental songs that ended up as Hallowed Ground.

The result was two unique releases that showcased very different sides of the Violent Femmes.

Their eponymous record — once hailed as the “soundtrack to male puberty” — amplified teenage angst and alienation in the 1980s with such songs as “Kiss Off,” “Add It Up” and “Gone Daddy Gone.” The album, which was mostly autobiographical, would later prove to embody some of the most relatable and enduring anthems of a disenchanted youth that the world has ever known.

While it took the album 10 years to go Platinum and hit the Billboard Top 200, it has now sold 3 million copies worldwide and is still in

We know you have many entertainment options for 4/20, but a night of bluegrass and good times seems like it would be well in order.

Sandpoint’s premier bluegrass quintet of Jared Johnston, John Edwards, John Firshi and Mick Taylor will bring what they call “multigenre mountain music” to the 219 Lounge for a show Saturday, April 20, mixing a little Grateful Dead with a touch of

rotation on today’s top rock stations, cementing it as more than a simple battle cry for misunderstood adolescence. Today, it stands as a pillar of an American underground movement and one of the best early examples of alternative rock.

Meanwhile, Hallowed Ground, which incorporated elements of country, gospel and blues, was a surprise to many critics and fans who were expecting another collection of teen-rage punk songs. Instead, what they received was an eclectic piece of art that not only fused different genres and sounds but also ideals and imagery that only a pubescent Gano could write.

For the remainder of the ’90s, the Violent Femmes continued to record new material, while their earliest

songs remained in the zeitgeist, thanks to popular shows and films like My So-Called Life, Reality Bites and Grosse Pointe Blank. Since that time, the band has released 10 studio albums, including their most recent, Hotel Last Resort (2019). Today, the Violent Femmes continue to resonate with audiences of all ages. Upon the band’s 40th anniversary, Pitchfork wrote that, “The Femmes don’t signify an era so much as a time of life,” adding that “for young people growing up in the internet age,” their music “is part of a shared language.”

For more information, visit Tickets for An Evening With Violent Femmes are available at General admission tickets are $59.95.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

the blues and rolled up with influences from rock, country, funk and jazz.

As the folks at the Niner put it, “This isn’t some old backwoods, porch bluegrass. This is some get-down, boogie, kick-up-the-dust bluegrass.”

9 p.m., FREE, 21+. 219 Lounge, 208-263-5673, 219 N. First Ave.,

It’s difficult to reduce the whimsical, original work of Scott Pemberton O Theory — a.k.a. SPOT — to a small corner of the paper. The trio’s sound is a concoction of genres and time periods, with vocals lending a distinct indie-rock vibe; funky, psychedelic guitar solos that oscillate between the ’60s and ’70s; and melodies that are entirely unique. Pemberton throws himself into every performance,

This week’s RLW by Ben

delivering high-energy, visually exciting concerts that earn him instant, lifelong fans. Grab your tickets for this onenight event before SPOT’s tour takes them down the West Coast.

— Soncirey Mitchell

7-11 p.m., $20 for adults and $10 for youth. The Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., 208-2638699, Listen at or on all streaming platforms.


While researching all the dumb things former President Donald Trump has said or done for my “Back of the Book” article this week, I ran across a source that I’m bookmarking on my browser for future reference. It’s McSweeney’s “Lest We Forget the Horrors: A Catalog of Trump’s Worst Cruelties, Collusions, Corruptions and Crimes.” This exhaustive compilation includes more than 1,000 separate instances of Trump abusing his power. Just Google the quoted words above and prepare yourselves — it’s one hell of a list.

When I heard the Festival at Sandpoint was going to host the Violent Femmes this summer, I felt my whole soul say, “Yesssss!” While their debut album is an anthem for many Gen-X and early-Millennials, I think their definitive album is Add It Up, released in 1993. It’s a compilation of sorts, highlighting their best live and studio recordings from 1981-1993. See you at the show this summer.


I watched Amazon’s remake of Road House a few weeks ago when I felt like watching people beat each other into a bloody pulp. It certainly scratched that itch. While not as iconic as the 1989 Patrick Swayze original, Jake Gyllenhaal brings a brooding, almost Western vibe to the film. He also beefed up and now looks like he could tear your head directly from your neck. If you like slightly cliche action movies, you’ll be pleased.

April 18, 2024 / R / 25
219 Lounge,
MUSIC Headwaters,
April 20 SPOT, Heartwood Center, April 20
Photo by Mike Benson.


William J. Corcoran, who resides on Derr’s island near Clarks Fork, came near losing his life as a result of placing dynamite in a cookstove to thaw.

Corcoran, who is a homesteader, was engaged in clearing his land with the use of dynamite. Saturday forenoon he allowed the fire to go out and while the heat was still in the over placed several sticks of dynamite in the oven to thaw. Later in the day he took the powder from the oven and used it during the afternoon. In the evening, while getting supper, the stove exploded and Corcoran was badly injured, being cut and bruised all over his body, the most serious injury being confined to the knee cap, which was shattered badly. Corcoran was also injured internally.

After the accident the injured man regained consciousness and walked to the home of a neighbor where he was taken care of for the night.

Dr. Stackhouse of this city was summoned and arrived at the bedside of the injured man Sunday morning. Dr. Stackhouse states that the man was in a deplorable condition but will survive if complications do not set in.

It is supposed that the nitroglycerine in the powder run out onto the bottom of the oven and the heat and a slight jar caused the explosion.


The good ol’ days

I miss the good ol’ days.

You know, that era in politics when a candidate — no matter which party they belonged to — did or said something so incredibly stupid that they would sink in the polls and perhaps even lose their races.

It was an age of accountability and sometimes I fear we’ll never see it again.

In 1988, Democratic presidential candidate Gary Hart entered the race as a clear front-runner. However, his campaign self-destructed when he was asked by reporters about rumors of “womanizing” and taunted them that they should “follow me around,” which directly led to a dalliance Hart had with a young beauty queen named Donna Rice, including photos of Rice sitting on Hart’s lap aboard a lobbyist-piloted yacht named — you can’t make this up — Monkey Business. Hart wound up losing the nomination and faded from politics.

When Rick Perry ran in the 2012 Republican primary, many considered him a front-runner. However, Perry fumbled during a debate when he couldn’t name one of the three federal agencies he had proposed to eliminate. He hung around, bleeding support, but finally dropped out of the primaries after a brutal fifth-place finish in Iowa.

Joe Lieberman, who passed away recently, was on track to be a front-runner in the Democratic primaries in 2004, trading on the name recognition earned as Al Gore’s vice-presidential nominee in 2000. He ran afoul of Democratic activists after his robust support of the Iraq War and became an object of ridicule for trying to spin a fifth-place finish in New Hampshire as a sign of “Joementum.” He ultimately

dropped out.

Vice President Dan Quayle served under President George H.W. Bush and was often ridiculed as an intellectual lightweight after a series of blunders, most famously the “potatoe incident,” in which Quayle tried to correct a 12-yearold at a spelling bee over the student’s spelling of “potato,” which Quayle (incorrectly) insisted ended with an “e.” Quayle never heard the end of it.

Those were the days.

Now it’s a complete free-for-all. By comparison, here’s a “lowlight” reel of some of the most baffling statements and actions of Republican nominee Donald Trump, who is currently leading President Joe Biden in the polls:

Trump has repeatedly failed to condemn white supremacists, telling the Proud Boys during a debate to “stand back and stand by,” and after neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Va., he claimed there were “very fine people on both sides.”

There was that whole “stolen election” thing, of course. He incited the crowd on Jan. 6, 2021, which led to an insurrection culminating in more than five deaths and an attempt to overthrow U.S. democracy. Trump has referred to those incarcerated for attacking police and invading the Capitol as “hostages” and “political prisoners.”

He wondered if people could inject bleach inside their bodies to get rid of COVID. He mocked and ridiculed a physically disabled reporter. He referred to dead American soldiers as “losers” and “suckers.”

Trump tried to kick transgender service members out of the military, passed a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefited the wealthy (adding between $1 trillion and $2 trillion to the federal debt, according to the Tax Policy Center) and threatened — though failed

— for years to introduce a health plan to overturn the Affordable Care Act.

He spearheaded a plan that saw children separated from their parents and incarcerated. He has echoed the language of Adolf Hitler, referring to immigrants “poisoning the blood” of America. He has continued to refuse the release of his tax returns, issued a travel ban on predominantly Muslim countries and told an estimated 30,000 lies while in office.

He vowed to be a “dictator,” but only on his first day back in office, pardoned convicted war criminals, was found liable for sexual assault, personally profited off the presidency while in office, belittled parents of a Muslim-American soldier who had been killed while serving in the Army and was caught on a hot mic saying, “when you’re a star, they let you do it, you can do anything... grab them by the pussy.”

Trump was indicted on 91 felony charges in four separate criminal cases: one for paying hush money to a porn star he slept with while his wife was pregnant with his son Barron, one for interfering in a federal election, one for interfering with the election in Georgia, and one for taking highly sensitive national security documents when he left the White House and refusing to return them when asked to do so by the government.

Just last week, while speaking in Pennsylvania, Trump said, “Gettysburg, what an unbelievable battle that was. The Battle of Gettysburg. What an unbelievable — I mean, it was so much and so interesting, and so vicious and horrible, and so beautiful in so many different ways.”

The list goes on. There’s never enough room to list all the nonsense.

There are those who will say, “There he goes, attacking Trump again.” It’s not an attack, it’s a brutal presentment of facts. Do we remember when facts meant something?

It wasn’t that long ago, but it now seems like a distant memory.

From Northern Idaho News, April 16, 1912
26 / R / April 18, 2024
Crossword Solution Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

Laughing Matter


Often Facetious. an umbrella.

“Mr. Whifflebottom shifted to his other arm the long black bumbershoot he carried ever with him, against the rain that seldom came, even as he wore always knee-high rubber boots for the same reason.”

April 18, 2024 / R / 27
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Word Week
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