/ April 8, 2021
PEOPLE compiled by
“Have you traveled to other regions of the United States? What region would you like to explore outside of the Pacific Northwest?” “I grew up in Ohio so I know the Midwest pretty well. We went on vacations to Maine, above Acadia when I was young and would stay in Beverly, Mass. I would still like to explore the Florida Everglades and the Tetons in Wyoming.” Emily Norton Kindergarten teacher East Hope
“I’ve been everywhere but the Southeast. I had the opportunity to do a massive road trip over two summers. I’d love to get down to Florida, Georgia and Louisiana. Also, Alaska – the last frontier, would be fun.” Cory Treeman Owner of Laughing Dog Brewery Sandpoint
“Not to a lot of places. I retired from the Willamette Valley in 2011; it rained too much there. I like to fish, so I would like to explore Montana and Wyoming. They are both very scenic and I would like to fly fish there.” Dave Gillmor Retired general contractor Sagle “We flew to upstate New York two years ago to an Amish community where they still use the horse and buggy. My sister-in-law lives in that area. I really want to see the red rock formations in Utah and to hike some of the trails there.” Sage Brown Health food manager Sagle
“I have traveled through many states from coast-to-coast in the Lower 48. Every state has something interesting. My parents and I were independent missionaries off and on for 20 years in Costa Rica and have traveled extensively on music and mission trips to Europe. I play the banjo and guitar. We try to help people physically and spiritually. I would like to explore Alaska.” Buddy Tetreault Musician and missionary Priest River
We hope you all enjoyed our April Fools’ day jokes in last week’s edition. It’s not often we have the perfect storm of April 1 lining up with a Thursday distribution, so when it happens we like to have some fun. Of all the many emails and phone calls we received from readers — some confused, some bemused, some downright angry — the common refrain was that they had to Google “Evergreen Sludge” and see if Lake Pend Oreille was in fact going to be drained this season. That, more than anything, gave my heart a lift, because those of you who read and questioned that hilarious article were praticing great media literacy. You read something, knew it didn’t sound right and double-checked other sources to see what was going on. So yeah — I guess we turned this one into a journalism lesson for all of us. The bottom line is you should always search out the facts when a news article sells you a load of goods. For those of you who couldn’t take a joke, rest assured that the lake will not be drained, “Evergreen Sludge” isn’t really a thing and farting aliens from outer space are not infiltrating our happy homes. Yet. One caller commended us for the hilarious article, saying, “I wish all those people from out of state read this and decide not to come here.” Another caller was quite angry with the article, even though they acknowledged it was clear it was a April Fools’ joke. One thing about this newspaper that I have always enjoyed is applying just the right touch of humor when the situation calls for it. We’re not the paper of record for Bonner County. We’re just a free weekly rag that likes to do things at our own speed, and sometimes that includes poking fun at things in a way that gives a nod to the locals and gently makes fun of the frowning tourists and newcomers who aren’t in on the joke. The truth is, it wasn’t written for them, it was written for us, the locals who endure months of snarled traffic and gawking tourists in the summertime, as well as astronomical housing prices that have all but priced out locals who want to live in the town in which they were born and raised. The alternative is drinking whiskey every night until we’re numb, so we’ll stick with a pinch of satire from time to time. – Ben Olson, publisher
READER 111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208)265-9724
www.sandpointreader.com Publisher: Ben Olson email@example.com Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) firstname.lastname@example.org Lyndsie Kiebert (News Editor) email@example.com Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Jodi Berge Jodi@sandpointreader.com Contributing Artists: Lyndsie Kiebert (cover), Ben Olson, Susan Drinkard, Bill Borders. Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert, Lorraine H. Marie, Clark Corbin, Rep. Ilana Rubel, Sen. David Nelson, Jen Jackson Quintano, Mike Wagoner, Marcia Pilgeram. Submit stories to: firstname.lastname@example.org Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID Subscription Price: $135 per year Web Content: Keokee The Sandpoint Reader is a weekly publication owned and operated by Ben Olson and Keokee. It is devoted to the arts, entertainment, politics and lifestyle in and around Sandpoint, Idaho. We hope to provide a quality alternative by offering honest, in-depth reporting that reflects the intelligence and interests of our diverse and growing community. The Reader is printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink. Leftover copies are collected and recycled weekly, or burned in massive bonfires to appease the gods of journalism. Free to all, limit two copies per person.
Sandpoint Reader letter policy: The Sandpoint Reader welcomes letters to the editor on all topics. Requirements: –No more than 300 words –Letters may not contain excessive profanity or libelous material. Please elevate the discussion. Letters will be edited to comply with the above requirements. Opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers, not necessarily the publishers. Email letters to: email@example.com Check us out on the web at: www.sandpointreader.com Like us on Facebook. About the Cover
This week’s cover photo was taken at the Oak Street Food Court by Reader News Editor Lyndsie Kiebert. April 8, 2021 /
Governor takes strong stance against ‘vaccine passports’
Student-led petition aims to keep mask requirement at SHS
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff Idaho Gov. Brad Little presented a strong stance against so-called “vaccine passports” during a live announcement April 7, sharing that he’d be signing an executive order “banning any state of Idaho governmental entity from requiring ... proof of COVID-19 vaccination for citizens to receive public services or access facilities.” Little emphasized that while the vaccine is “safe and effective,” it should be an Idahoan’s “choice to receive the vaccine” against COVID-19. “Vaccine passports create different classes of citizens,” Little stated in a media release. “Vaccine passports restrict the free flow of commerce during a time when life and the economy are returning to normal. Vaccine passports threaten individual freedom and patient privacy.” While some states have floated the idea, Little’s executive order makes the concept of vaccine passports impossible in the public sector in Idaho. Read the entire order at gov.idaho.gov/ executive-orders. As of April 7, 497,589 Idahoans have received at least one dose of any of the three COVID-19 vaccines available for use, including 12,566 Bonner County residents. On April 5, the state opened vaccine appointments to all residents over the age of 16. Anyone is able to pre-register for a vaccine at covidvaccine.idaho. gov, and a local provider will contact you when an appointment is available. Those in North Idaho who lack internet access or need assistance scheduling their appointment can call the Panhandle Health District’s hotline at 877-415-5225. Availability of the vaccine was a major factor for the Lake 4 /
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Pend Oreille School District Board of Trustees when they voted March 23 to shift the face covering policy in schools from “requiring” masks to “recommending” them. Masks will be optional for students, staff and visitors in LPOSD facilities starting Monday, April 12 — the day students return from Spring Break. The decision prompted a student-led petition to be circulated online, asking people to sign on and push back against the policy change and keep masks required at Sandpoint High School. The petition’s student author argues that eliminating the mask requirement immediately following Spring Break is “irresponsible,” considering that many families travel during vacation. “Removing this mask mandate does not only create unsafe conditions, it also makes things like prom and graduation more hard to justify and plan,” the petition reads. “Our seniors deserve a safe prom and graduation especially after both of
our upperclassmen years have been affected by the devastating arrival of COVID-19.” The petition had garnered 626 signatures as of April 7, with a goal set at 1,000 signatures. LPOSD trustees did not reply to requests for comment on the petition. Superintendent Tom Albertson, who is not a voting board member and told the Reader he could not speak for the board, reiterated that the board considers local COVID-19 case numbers within Bonner County and the schools when making policy
decisions. When they voted to loosen the mask rule, that data was trending downward. “Please note that from the beginning Gov. Little did not put a statewide mask mandate but still recommends people wear them; the health district was clear that they are only an advisory role to school districts, putting all decision making at the local level with school boards, a difficult position to be in,” he wrote in an April 6 email, also noting that the Panhandle Health District recently lifted its multi-county
‘The silver tsunami’ By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Sandpoint City Council members received an update on the longtime, ongoing, Multi-Modal Master Plan, which seeks to lay the foundation for at least the next few decades’ growth in the region. Amanda Wilson, who serves as director of infrastructure and development for the city, kicked off the presentation April 7, calling the planning effort “a significant milestone,” in a process that began “many, many years ago.” The council took no action April 7, sitting for a high-level
presentation from consultants Mandi Roberts with Otak and Preston Stinger, of Fehr and Peers, as they outlined the first of two parts of the future vision for Sandpoint’s highways, byways, bikeways and pedestrian walkways. A central takeaway was that Sandpoint has an exceptionally complex infrastructure at the same time as it is experiencing a historic amount of growth. Part 1 of the presentation took place April 7; Part 2 is scheduled for Thursday, April 22 and a final vote is expected at the regular council meeting on Wednesday, May 5. Regarding the plan, Roberts
Gov. Brad Little speaks on April 7. Screenshot via YouTube. mask mandate. Albertson also shared that if a student tests positive for COVID-19 in an LPOSD school, nursing staff will still consider mask usage when determining who will need to quarantine. Under current district policy, if two students are interacting for more than 15 minutes within six feet of one another and one tests positive, the masked close contact would not be required to quarantine.
Planners working on infrastructure future for Sandpoint as it faces waves of growth
said, “The vision is aspirational but it’s not too far reaching.” Much time was spent on discussing how to ease congestion on roads such as Great Northern, as well as planning for increased congestion on surface streets in the downtown core. Noting that Sandpoint is “a strong year-round community,” of both walkers and bikers, Roberts said that residents use transit at a higher level than other communities. The plan is intended to to think about growth insofar as, “we want the plan to really consider that and look ahead to that.” According to data presented
by consultants, the so-called “silver tsunami” of retirees to the area is crashing on the Sandpoint area. Roberts said to expect higher-than-average growth in the coming years: 3.4% per year until 2025 and 2.7% from 2025 to 2040. All of this, of course, has a huge impact on the built environment, with traffic, parking and pedestrian safety becoming increasingly important. Stinger concurred, telling the council that, “There’s some pretty substantial growth planned for the area,” and, “those are quite large levels of growth. … You gotta plan for that.”
Here We Have Idaho By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Lawmakers in Boise gaveled back into session April 6 after an 18-day recess prompted by an outbreak of COVID-19 among a number legislators and staffers; yet, according to multiple Statehouse sources, continued to go about the business of the state unmasked and ignoring social distancing protocols recommended by both Idaho health care officials and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. A number of critical pieces of legislation remain in limbo — among them, the budget for the Welfare Division of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, which House members voted 27-42 to kill on their first day back on the floor. Republican Reps. Sage Dixon, of Ponderay, and Heath Scott, of Blanchard, voted against the funding bill, which drew scrutiny for $33.7 million in one-time federal funding to support child care providers amid the stresses of COVID-19. Some lawmakers, such as Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, balked at the “sizable amount of money” flowing from the federal coronavirus relief measure, according to the Idaho Press, wondering aloud whether that sum would be commensurate with the number of providers who might need it. The vote included some Republicans, such as House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, and Rep. Greg Chaney, R-Caldwell, who chairs the Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee, joining Democrats in supporting the funding. It’s failure means the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee will have to reconvene to come up with a new proposal. The Idaho Constitution requires the Legislature to pass a balanced budget each year before adjourning sine die. With the death of the IDHW budget — which totals $200 million — it means the Legislature will
likely stay in session for at least the next few weeks, far longer into the spring than normal. Meanwhile, the Idaho Senate killed another bill related to children on April 6 — this time, focused on the so-called “Strong Students” grant program, which makes available funding to low-income families who wish to pay $500 or less on tutoring. According to reports, opponents keyed in the nation that parents may be allowed to leverage those funds for tuition and fees at private schools. Sen. Jim Woodward, R-Sagle, was among those who stood against the bill, stating, “Our Constitution does say that we have a duty to public schools. It does not say we have a duty to fund private schools.” Meridian Republican Sen. Lori Den Hartog brought the bill, saying it “is not a threat to public schools and it was never intended to be,” according to Statehouse reporters. Republicans were split on the bill: 16 voted “yea” and 11 voted “nay.” Democrats — all seven of them in the Senate — voted “nay.” According to Idaho Ed News, much work remains to be done regarding education funding. The nonprofit news organization outlined a number of items that should come up in the final days of the 2021 session. Among that business includes the K-12 public schools budget; the higher ed budget, which the Senate passed but House killed late on April 7; a bill authorizing grant funding for early education; and a bill to fund all-day kindergarten, which has long been a political football, with conservative lawmakers arguing for decades that the responsibility for early childhood education lays more on parents than the state. Rep. Dixon, meanwhile, made some headlines with a proposal April 6 that would grant Idaho veto power over federal government and court actions. According to the Associated Press, Dixon recognized that
What’s happening at the Legislature this week
the measure will certainly draw heavy legal criticism, but, “This is us flexing our muscles as a state that we need to do. And it is a growing argument throughout many states in the U.S., so I think we’ll see this popping up more across the country.” Finally, lawmakers are poised to vote on Senate Bill 1110 — the legislation that would raise the requirements for securing a citizens initiative on Idaho ballots. Proponents say the current rules favor urban communities while opponents characterize the measure as tantamount to voter suppression. The Idaho Press reported that debate in the evening hours of April 7 had grown heated, with House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, stating that SB 1110 is an “unheard of” curtailment of citizens’ constitutional rights to bring issues to the ballot. “There’s no state that does anything like this. If y’all are afraid of what the people of Idaho want to do and what their agenda is, and you feel it is important to block that, you may be in the wrong line of work,” Rubel said, according to the Press. Dixon presented similar legislation in 2019, though it was thwarted. Speaking in favor of this bill, he said, “I don’t think any of us are afraid of what our constituents have to say to us.” Rather, he argued, raising the bar for signature-gathering in all
of Idaho’s legislative districts for ballot initiatives is not unlike the legislative election process — with voters in all 35 districts electing lawmakers to serve in the Senate and House. Yet it was House Democrats who sounded the alarm about the erosion of constitutional rights — long the province of Idaho conservatives, including firstterm Caldwell Republican Rep. Ben Adams, who launched into a speech on the House floor April 6, apropos of nothing, exhorting in high tones his fellow lawmakers to “wake up” to pernicious federalism. (On his legislative profile, Adams lists his occupation as “public speaker.”)
Meanwhile, according to the Press, Rep. Colin Nash, D-Boise, said, “While it’s certainly our constitutional authority to change the restrictions around the ballot initiative process, we also have a duty to uphold a right. So If I were to present a bill that made Idaho the toughest place in America to buy a gun, I would not be treated with a warm reception. And If we make Idaho the most difficult place in America to bring a ballot initiative — that have that in their Constitution — we are not honoring and protecting that constitutional right.”
Sandpoint branch pickup week is April 12-16 By Reader Staff The city of Sandpoint has scheduled its annual citywide branch pickup for Monday, April 12-Friday, April 16. All branches must be in place by Sunday, April 11 for pickup, as city crews will not come through a second time. Pickup guidelines include: • Stack all brush and branches lengthwise in the street along the curb — do not place branches on lawns. No leaves or bagged leaves;
• The maximum branch diameter is four inches and no longer than six feet. Larger branches or stumps will not be picked up; • Do not mix brush piles with other items such as leaves, grass clippings, building materials, timbers or commercial contractor-generated tree waste. Crews will not remove mixed piles. Residents are also asked to prune branches that might overhang sidewalks to keep walkways clear and usable. Trees should be trimmed a minimum of seven feet above the sidewalks and streets. April 8, 2021 /
Lake Pend Oreille on the rise Army Corps announces lake refill operations
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers announced April 1 that Lake Pend Oreille would gradually rise about a foot over the following week, officially marking the start of the lake’s journey to summer pool. USACE officials shared that outflows at Albeni Falls Dam would decrease, and “planned operation for April is to target a lake elevation of approximately 2,055 feet by the end of the month.” “The day-to-day rate of refill will vary based on changing inflows to Lake Pend Oreille,” the Corps added. Dam operations will vary through May and June depending on spring weather
events and the melting snowpack making its way into the lake. In a non-flood year, Lake Pend Oreille typically reaches its summer range — 2,062 to 2,062.5 feet — in midto-late June. Current water supply forecasts are showing an inflow volume of 88% of average, according to the Corps. Short-term lake elevation forecasts are tracked by the Northwest River Forecast Center. Lake Pend Oreille is expected to hover between 2,052 and 2,053 feet until April 10, when it will crest the 2,053-foot mark and continue its climb upward. To track the lake’s pool, which is logged from the Hope gage, visit nwrfc.noaa. gov and click on the icon over Lake Pend Oreille, titled “HOPI1.”
Idaho Capital Sun is newest media outlet focused on state politics By Reader Staff At a time when news media around the country is shrinking — more than 60 newsrooms went dark around the country in 2020, according to TIME magazine — the Gem State is actually adding more vital coverage of its chief city of Boise with the Idaho Capital Sun, which describes itself as “an independent, nonprofit online news organization delivering in-depth coverage from veteran Idaho reporters on state government and policy.” Launched on March 31, the news site has already covered a number of important Idaho issues, ranging from housing prices to education, school sports and — of course — the Idaho Legislature, which reconvened April 6 after a recess promapted by a wave of coronavirus infections among lawmakers. Helmed by former Idaho Statesman Editor Christina Lords, the Sun is affiliated with the national nonprofit States Newsroom, which operates in 22 states funded by tax-free donations. According to a news release announcing the launch of the news site, “Readers can access its free content online with no ads, paywalls or monthly subscriptions. Any other news outlets across Idaho can pick up the Idaho Capital Sun’s statewide coverage, with proper credit, for free.” The Sun also includes a stable of well-respected reporters in southern Idaho: Audrey Dutton serves as senior reporter, with more than 10 years at the Idaho Statesman. Her specialties include health care, business, consumer protection issues and white collar crime. Reporter Clark Corbin is also a veteran 6 /
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Idaho journalist, with more than 10 years covering Idaho government and politics. Finally, Reporter Kelcie Moseley-Morris is an award-winning journalist who has covered many topics across Idaho since 2011, though her specialty is in reporting complex subjects related to fiscal policy. “Idaho’s identity is at a critical crossroads as explosive population growth has led to tough decisions — and inaction — from state and local policymakers,” according to a news release. “Issues like affordable housing, crowded classrooms, health care (including mental health care), low wages, public lands access, voter rights and property tax increases are just some of the topics on all of our minds. “That’s why we need more accountability and investigative reporting in Idaho — not less.” According to Lords, “We’re looking forward to establishing ourselves with reporting based on data, context and analysis as Idaho continues to navigate this pivotal time in our history. … As newsrooms across the country continue to shrink and the journalism industry grapples with broken advertising models, we’re excited to provide another path for readers. We hope to become a trusted, in-depth news source on the issues that matter most to Idahoans — old timers and newcomers alike.” The Sun’s free email newsletter, The Sunrise, will provide a roundup of the day’s top news and commentary. Readers can sign up for the newsletter at idahocapitalsun. com. Follow at Twitter: twitter.com/IdahoCapitalSun or Facebook: facebook.com/ idahocapitalsun
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 warnings that domestic terrorism, (such as the assault on the Capitol building Jan. 6), could continue for up to two decades, bipartisan members of the House Homeland Security Committee are exploring how to address the challenge. The Washington Post reported that ideas under consideration include: treating domestic terrorism as equal to international terrorism, holding social media companies accountable for circulating extremist propaganda and funding for mitigation strategies. An investigation of WinRed, the digital fundraising arm of the former-President Donald Trump’s campaign, shows they’ve reimbursed donors who thought they were giving one-time donations, but actually forked over recurring weekly donations from their bank accounts, according to The New York Times. Another online, pre-checked box doubled a donor’s donation; neither box, being part of fine print, was easy to see. An example: a man treated for cancer donated $500, but had $3,000 withdrawn by WinRed in one month. After donors caught on, online donations of more than $122 million were returned, Forbes reported. Those return funds came from money Trump raised after the election to fight what he called election fraud. WinRed says it’s easy to request a refund. Trump’s campaign did not respond when asked if it was aware of the use of recurring payments scheme, the Times stated. The Labor Department said 916,000 jobs were added in March, dropping unemployment to 6%. That is still 8.4 million fewer jobs than in February 2020, before the pandemic took off. From the “will it fly?” file: Since Congress has inside information that impacts the stock market, Sen. Elizabeth Warren has proposed that congressional members should have their stock holdings put in a blind trust and members be banned from trading stocks. All U.S. adults can be vaccinated by July 4, reducing the possibility of a big surge in COVID-19 mutations. The best way to avoid a variant surge is to ensure that the virus “doesn’t find new hosts to replicate in and spread through,” Vox pointed out. They say the current surge could be the last if people continue habits like social distancing, masking up, hand washing and getting vaccinated. President Joe Biden’s proposed American Jobs Plan was introduced last week. It calls for spending $2.25 trillion over eight
By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist
years for clean energy and infrastructure jobs, to be paid for by taxing the rich and big corporations. Republicans are saying the economy is too fragile for tax increases (although, as reported by Forbes, while the U.S. has experienced the biggest rise in poverty in more than 50 years since the start of the pandemic, the nation’s billionaires’ collective net worth has grown by $1.1 trillion in that same time). The White House says the plan will be paid for over the next 15 years if the Made in America tax plan is passed. That tax plan would raise the corporate tax rate to 28%, and close numerous loopholes that prevent corporate stashing of money in offshore banks. Other funding components of the American Jobs Plan include weatherizing and retrofitting millions of buildings to make them more energy efficient; construction of EV charging stations; encouraging the manufacture and purchase of EVs; funds for a Civilian Climate Corp; elimination of tax preferences for fossil fuel producers; increased investments in research and development, in roads and bridges, in public transit, broadband and water infrastructure (no more drinking from lead pipes); a plan to restock the nation’s Strategic National Stockpile to boost preparedness for future pandemics; and a boost for domestic care workers in the form of better wages and benefits. The plan is expected to take longer to get through Congress than the American Rescue Plan before it gains the president’s signature. In a statement introducing the American Jobs Plan it was noted that the U.S. now ranks 13th in the world for its quality of infrastructure and that the public domestic investment has fallen more than 40% since the 1960s. Blast from the past: The nation’s highways got a big boost from Republican President Dwight Eisenhower in 1956. Years earlier, as a U.S. Army general, Eisenhower had attempted to take 72 military vehicles and officers and enlisted men on a national tour to display new equipment; roads were so poor that they averaged 10 miles per hour. Eisenhower’s resulting $25 billion federal Highway Act aimed to tie together existing roadways with 41,000 miles of roads, spurring increased employment for road builders, as well as new markets for motels, diners, gas stations and towns along the way. At the time the top marginal income tax rate was 91% for incomes above $200,000. By 1970 American incomes had doubled.
Transboundary selenium pollution has the potential to damage Kootenai River fish populations — but there’s an effort to get ahead of it
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff
While the borders between states and countries appear definite and bold on maps, there are other lines with absolute disregard for the clear-cut conventions of humankind: rivers. Just as Canada, Montana and Idaho all share borders — they also share rivers. One in particular, the Kootenay (or Kootenai) River — depending on which international ground you stand — has become a focal point for discussions on cross-border pollution, regulation and responsibility. The pollutant in question is selenium, an elemental byproduct of mining. The issue recently saw movement in Canadian court, as British Columbia-based Teck Coal Limited stood accused of discharging dangerous quantities of calcite and selenium into area waterways, suffering a $60 million fine for the transgression. The Missoulian reports that the fine, issued due to violations Teck committed in 2012, is 10 times larger than any previous fine under Canada’s Fisheries Act. “[T]o the Ktunaxa First Nation, whose territory we operate on, and to our communities in the Elk Valley, we deeply regret these impacts and we apologize,” wrote Teck President and CEO Don Lindsay in a statement, detailing the efforts his company has undertaken to improve and monitor the affected watershed. “You have my commitment that we will not waver in our focus on addressing this challenge and working to ensure that the environment is protected for today and for future generations.” Research suggests that Teck’s pollution, caused by mountaintop removal mining, has already done major damage to fish populations, prompting an array of cross-border parties — from
environmental groups to Indigenous tribes — to work together to get ahead of a potentially worsening ecological situation. Canadian conservation group Wildsight told the Missoulian that between 2017-2019, the Upper Fording River Tributaries — located in the Kootenay River watershed — saw a 93% decrease in adult westslope cutthroat trout. Data out of Lake Koocanusa, a dammed reservoir spanning the Montana-B.C. border, suggests similar negative impacts due to selenium levels. Those detrimental statistics have not yet made their way downstream to Idaho, where 66 miles of the Kootenai River flows into the state from northwest Montana and exits at the international border between Idaho and Canada. Stakeholders of the Gem State are keeping tabs on the Idaho Panhandle’s portion of the river, and according to a 2020 report from the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality, the early signs of selenium pollution are starting to surface. In a 2019 study of nine mountain whitefish in the Kootenai River near Leonia, Idaho, all nine were found to have levels of selenium in their ovaries and eggs exceeding amounts allowed under Idaho law “for the protection of aquatic life.” The state recognizes ovary-egg selenium data as superseding measurements of the element in other parts of the fish, seeing as selenium tends to primarily impact the reproductive system. “By preventing this pollution from continuously entering the river, we can hopefully prevent those more drastic effects from happening in Idaho,” said Ellie Hudson-Heck, a conservation assistant with Idaho Conservation League. “But in order to do that, we have to act now.” Idaho and Montana have already taken steps to prevent further international contamination of area waterways. Idaho listed
the Kootenai River as “impaired” due to selenium levels under the Clean Water Act in that Idaho DEQ report from last year. “It’s an official way of saying that the water quality in the Kootenai is not good enough for the fish that live there,” Hudson-Heck said. Also in 2020, Montana DEQ approved new site-specific selenium standards for Lake Koocanusa and the Kootenai River, adopting the most stringent selenium limits in the country. The Flathead Beacon reported that while the current national standard is five micrograms of selenium per liter of water in a lake or river, Montana’s portion of the Kootenai River is now limited to 3.1, and Lake Koocanusa to 0.8 micrograms per liter, in direct response to the damage caused by Teck’s operations. These policy changes are steps in the right direction, Hudson-Heck said, and integral for catching the attention of the International Joint Commission: a regulatory body made up of both Canadian and U.S. officials, which is in charge of finding resolutions for international
water issues. The IJC is charged with enforcing the Boundary Waters Treaty, which, according to Hudson-Heck, “was designed to prevent transboundary water quality issues exactly like the ones we’re seeing in this watershed.” The IJC is overseen by both the Canadian and American federal governments. While Teck paid fines for its actions in 2012 and has publicly committed to investing in water treatment, “scientists say there isn’t any proven evidence to show the process is reversing or even stabilizing contamination trends at the U.S.-Canada border,” according to the Beacon. ICL is currently urging people to contact the U.S. Department of State to request activation of the IJC in order to bring all parties — federal, state, provincial and tribal — to the table for a discussion about mitigating selenium pollution. Kootenai Tribe of Idaho Chairman Gary Aitken, Jr., told the Reader that the tribe’s efforts to protect the Kootenai River stem from the tribe’s belief “in a Covenant with the Creator.” “When we were placed here on this land, the Creator told us
The Kootenai River. Image courtesy Idaho Conservation League. that this land is here for you, it will take care of you, as long as you take care of it forever,” he said, adding: “All the restoration that we do is in that spirit.” He said the work to suppress selenium is just one aspect of the tribe’s ongoing restoration efforts for the river, which is home to the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon — a species especially susceptible to selenium pollution, according to Hudson-Heck. She said that the “detrimental processes” occuring in Canadian fish populations due to selenium pollution are a glimpse “into the future of what might happen in Idaho.” Hudson-Heck added that there are already “signals” — such as the 2019 whitefish egg data — that selenium is making an impact on the Kootenai River in Idaho, meaning that those processes witnessed in Canada are getting closer to home. “We can’t wait until we have a population die-off because of selenium to get ahead of that,” she said. April 8, 2021 /
30 U.S. states now considering version of Idaho’s transgender athlete bill The law is on hold as court determines its constitutionality By Clark Corbin Idaho Capital Sun A bill that bans transgender girls and women from participating in girls’ and women’s sports has quickly spread to more than 30 statehouses across the country after originating in Idaho. Sponsored by Rep. Barbara Ehardt, R-Idaho Falls, the bill originated in the form of House Bill 500 during the 2020 Idaho legislative session. The Republican supermajority that controls the Legislature passed it, and GOP Gov. Brad Little signed it into law. While states across the U.S. have picked up a version of the bill this year, U.S. District Court Judge David Nye issued an injunction last summer putting Idaho’s law on hold while a lawsuit over the constitutionality of the law plays out. Hearings are expected to resume in U.S. District Court in May. Ehardt, a former Idaho State University basketball player who coached at Cal State-Fullerton, Brigham Young University and Washington State University, said the bill is about protecting opportunities for women to play sports and preserving gains made under the federal Title IX law. Without it, Ehardt said students who are assigned male at birth but identify as a woman would be able to take women’s spots and dominate competition. 8 /
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“There have been many women who paved a path forward for me, most of whom I never even knew,” Ehardt said in a March 24 telephone interview. “I felt it was incumbent upon myself to do the same for girls and women to follow.” But opponents say the bill discriminates against transgender women and could subject young student athletes to invasive physical examinations if their assigned sex at birth is challenged. “Unfounded stereotypes and false scientific claims led to the passage of HB 500 and are embodied within it,” ACLU Idaho and Legal Voice wrote in an April 2020 lawsuit over the Idaho law. “In short, HB 500 is entirely unnecessary, was prompted by a campaign targeting transgender and intersex persons and can be explained only as impermissible and baseless discrimination.” Chelsea Gaona-Lincoln said it has been hard to watch the bill pass in Idaho and advance to other states. Gaona-Lincoln is the Idaho programs manager for Legal Voice, a nonprofit Northwest firm working for equality and the protection of rights for the LGBTQ community and women. Legal Voice joined ACLU Idaho in suing over Idaho’s law last year. Gaona-Lincoln said these bills and bans create a standard of othering and erasure against young people who are just trying
to belong and find a supportive home in sports and at school. “That erasure is so deeply painful and so deeply troubling,” Gaona-Lincoln said in a telephone interview. “You can’t legislate people out of existence, but you can create a lot of harm in doing that.” Gaona-Lincoln ran unsuccessfully for the Idaho House as a Democrat in Canyon County in 2020. Ehardt enlisted help from Alliance Defending Freedom, other groups Ehardt said she came up with the basics of the idea that became HB 500 in 2018 when she heard about high school state track meets in Connecticut that two transgender girls won. “I thought that was wrong; biological boys should not compete against biological girls,” Ehardt said. “I realized if we don’t do something about this, we all see where this is heading.” Ehardt, who was first appointed to the Legislature in December 2017, contacted the Idaho Legislative Services Office for help drafting her idea into bill form. She said it was one of the first bills she began working on.
At first, Ehardt said she couldn’t figure out how to get the bill off the ground. Then she said she began reaching out to as many as 12 to 15 conservative groups focused on “traditional family values” for help and direction. “I contacted somebody at the [Alliance Defending Freedom] and the one thing they helped me find is there was a path forward through the Idaho Legislature,” Ehardt said. One of the original roadblocks Ehardt faced is she didn’t think the Legislature could write policy for the Idaho High School Activities Association, which is a private group. But she said somebody at the Alliance Defending Freedom found House Bill 632 from the 2012 legislative session, a law that set out new concussion, head injury and return-to-play protocols that applied to middle school, junior high or high school sports, including those overseen by the Idaho High School Activities Association. That precedent, Ehardt said, was her foot in the door and ticket forward. At that point, Ehardt reached back out to the alliance’s legal counsel to look it over and suggest alterations.
“That’s where the Alliance Defending Freedom decided to get involved and help craft some better legislation,” Ehardt added. Legislation modeled by Alliance Defending Freedom helped bill spread Ehardt credited the Alliance Defending Freedom with helping spread the bill they worked on together from state to state via model legislation, where the substance of a bill remains the same, but certain language — such as the name of the state — is changed. The Alliance Defending Freedom is an Arizona-based 501(c) (3) nonprofit that focuses on advocacy, training and funding legal cases. According to its website, it focuses on the issues of “religious freedom, sanctity of life and marriage and family.” Southern Poverty Law Center classifies Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF, as an anti-LGBTQ hate group. “Since the election of President Trump, ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBTQ rights,” SPLC officials wrote in their file for the alliance. Matt Sharp, senior counsel for Alliance Defending Freedom,
said the ADF disagrees with Southern Poverty Law Center’s classification. He called it a fundraising tactic. “We are very disappointed in SPLC’s attack against organizations like Alliance Defending Freedom that are standing up for female athletes, standing up for religious freedom and standing up for free speech,” Sharp said in a telephone interview. The alliance’s website has a tab devoted to fairness in women’s sports promoting “a large collation of athletes, legislators, governors, attorneys general form 14 states and many others [that] have been honored to stand up for women’s sports in courts and legislatures across the county.” State legislators across the country have reached out or worked with the alliance for guidance and have used Idaho’s law as a template for their own bills, Sharp said. “You see the Idaho law really being used as a model that other states have taken, usually verbatim,” Sharp said. “To put that on their books sometimes you have to adjust to comply with a particular state’s code and how they phrase things.” Alliance for Defending Freedom is involved in the Idaho lawsuit, Sharp said. ADF is also involved in lawsuits in Connecticut stemming from the track meets that Ehardt said inspired her bill in the first place. Idaho legislator travels to other states to support student athlete bills Ehardt is also supporting the bill’s passage in other states. This year, she said she traveled to Montana and South Dakota to testify in favor of similar bills in those states. Ehardt also testified or has plans to testify in front of several other state legislatures remotely, she said. When she travels to testify on those bills, Ehardt said she doesn’t expense the trip to either state’s taxpayers. “It’s not state money,” Ehardt said. “Pro-family groups, both times, paid for it. From that state.” The Idaho Capital Sun requested Idaho legislators’
travel and expense reports for the 2021 session in March and found Ehardt did not expense any of her out-of-state trips. She declined to name the specific groups that covered her costs. In each case, Ehardt said somebody reached out to her and asked for testimony; she said she didn’t proactively reach out to legislators in other states. South Dakota’s Legislature passed a similar bill to Idaho’s in March. Although the bills themselves are different, the key section of Idaho and South Dakota’s bills are similar. Idaho’s HB 500 reads: Athletic teams or sports “shall be expressly designated as one of the following based on biological sex: A) Males, men or boys; B) Females, women or girls; or C) Coed or Mixed Athletic teams or sports designated for females, women or girls shall not be open to students of the male sex.” South Dakota’s HB 1217 reads: any athletic team or sport “must be expressly designated as being: 1. A male team or sport; 2. A female team or sport; or 3. A coeducation team or sport. A team, or sport designated as being female is available only to participants who are female, based on their biological sex, as verified in accordance with subsection 13-67-2.” Both bills also have the phrase “fairness in women’s sports” in the title of the legislation.
Idaho, Iowa or Ohio for introduction. A proliferation of stand-yourground laws a few years ago was one example of model legislation, Kettler said. The transgender athlete bans are the latest. It can be extremely difficult for the public to tell if bills originated via model legislation or if they came about more organically. One tool political scientists have been using is anti-plagiarism software that will flag matches in different bills across different states. Kettler said this is becoming easier as technology advances. “Model legislation isn’t anything new, there have been groups or organizations providing model legislation for a long time,” Kettler said. “ALEC [the American Legislative Exchange Council] has gotten a lot of attention from reporters and scholars in terms of how successful they have been in terms of getting model legislation introduced and passed in many state legislatures, particularly in those more conservatives legislatures.” In hindsight, there were plenty of signs Ehardt’s bill, contro-
versial as it is, was about to blow up on the national stage. In June 2020, former Attorney General William Barr filed a statement of interest from the Trump Administration supporting Idaho’s law banning transgender athletes. Then, in November, Nebraska Attorney General Doug Peterson and 13 other Republican attorneys general signed a friend of the court brief supporting Idaho’s law, the Idaho Falls Post Register reported. “It’s been pretty exciting and very gratifying to see something I started working on in the fall of 2018, to see that start to come to fruition, obviously not just in Idaho, but in so many other states,” Ehardt said. This story was produced by the Idaho Capital Sun, an independent, nonprofit online news organization delivering in-depth coverage from veteran Idaho reporters on state government and policy. The Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national nonprofit funded by tax-free donations in 22 states. Learn more at idahocapitalsun. com and statesnewsroom.com.
States considering transgender athletes bans Alabama Arizona Arkansas * Connecticut Florida Georgia Hawaii Iowa Kansas Kentucky Maine Michigan Minnesota Mississippi * Missouri Montana New Hampshire New Jersey New Mexico North Dakota North Carolina Ohio Oklahoma South Carolina South Dakota Tennessee * Texas Utah West Virginia Wisconsin * Denotes signed into law. Source: Alliance Defending Freedom, which is advocating for many of these bills in state legislatures across the country.
What is model legislation and who uses it? Jaclyn Kettler, an assistant professor of political science at Boise State University, said using model legislation or form legislation is one tactic advocacy groups and policymakers on both sides of the political aisle use to share legislation between states. In simplified terms, model legislation could be thought of as a generic bill template where a few words or legal citations could be swapped out and the real substance of the bill could be dropped off at a statehouse in April 8, 2021 /
Exhausted by childish driver…
Bouquets: • The other day I was walking downtown to check the mail and run some errands. There was a woman walking about a block ahead of me that occasionally bent down to pick up random pieces of litter that she saw on the sidewalk and curbs. I tried to catch up to her to thank her for being a good steward to our community, but she was too quick for me. Whoever you are, this week’s Bouquet goes out to you, litter-picker-upper. I appreciate your care for our beautiful town. Barbs • Sometimes the Idaho Legislature begins to resemble an article you’d read on satiracle humor site The Onion. Case in point last week when efforts were made to strip local municipalities from having the ability to issue mask mandates – this coinciding with a two-week suspension of the Legislature because numerous lawmakers had contracted COVID-19, mind you. Or Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard’s idea about a bill making it mandatory for businesses to accept cash for transactions. Writers on Saturday Night Live couldn’t make this stuff up. I mean seriously - this is what we elect our lawmakers to do? Go to Boise and prattle on about nonsensical bills that most people kind of just shrug and say, “Meh,” when asked about them? Kudos to those elected few who attempt to bring real issues to the forefront, like infrastructure concerns, education funding, COVID-19 relief and health care that affects everyone in the state. Their voices may occasionally be drowned out by the ones devouring the low-hanging fruit to appease their followers, but they still forge ahead in this brave new era of dumb, bound and determined to get something done with most of their colleagues are tilting at windmills. 10 /
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Dear editor, My friend and I were walking Saturday afternoon, April 3, on North Boyer between Woodland and Schweitzer Cutoff. It was a beautiful day until a person driving a large, late model black pickup truck slowly drove by revving his engine up at least three times spewing black exhaust in our faces. I didn’t realize children were allowed to drive in North Idaho. Jo Reitan Sandpoint
The right thing to do… Dear editor, I am over 70 years of age and I have now received both of my COVID-19 shots, but I still wear a mask when I enter any store. Why, you may ask? It has nothing to do with any thoughts of politics or alleged freedom from restrictions some people might try to convince us. I wear a mask because it sets a good example and I believe it is the right thing to do. I served in the military (I was drafted right after I got my college degree) and spent 1968 and all of 1969 in Vietnam and am proud to say I love America. (We won that damn war because we kept out China and Russia and I am always amazed that the most forgiving people I’ve ever known, the people of Vietnam, welcome even former soldiers back.) But, I rarely wear my hat stating that I am a Vietnam veteran. Why, you may ask? It is because I don’t need to brag in public, or desire a need to have people start up a conversation or say, “Thank you for your service.” I enjoy the right to carry a concealed weapon in this country. I might be in a position at some time to help save lives, if I am able to. But I never carry a weapon openly for others to see. Why, you may ask? Because I have no need to look “macho” or to impress others. I also don’t want young children to see weapons worn by my fellow Americans. I believe it is the right thing to do. I am going to continue to wear a mask in public if I am around other people until everyone has had a chance to be vaccinated. It is the right thing to do. James Richard Johnson Clark Fork
Legislature is yet again trying to limit the public’s popular power… In another attempt to suppress our right to be heard, the Idaho House will soon take up Senate Bill 1110. This bill makes it impossible for all voters to vote at all on ballot initiatives,
requiring signatures from 6% of voters in all 35 legislative districts — up from 18 currently. The failure in just one district would kill the attempt, no matter how broadly popular. Western states created the ballot initiative more than a century ago to pressure legislatures that had been captured by special interests. The proposed law would end the initiative as a way for people to vote on popular issues — the Legislature is trying to gum up the process. Over 25 years, voters enacted
initiatives that were popular: 1994: Nearly 60% of voters enacted term limits; 1997: A law passed requiring signatures not just from 6% of voters statewide, but also from 6% of voters in each of 22 Idaho counties. A federal court ruled it unconstitutional; 2013: After the landslide vote for the “Luna Laws” referendum our Legislature required that signatures must be collected from 6% of voters in each of 18 different districts; 2018: Medicaid expansion won in
35 of 44 counties; 2019: The Legislature pushed an “urban vs. rural” myth to try to restrict initiatives. Despite overwhelming public opposition, Senate Bill 1159 passed but was vetoed by Governor Little; 2021: A bill that demands signatures from 6% of registered voters in all 35 state legislative districts. Not one of 26 states with ballot initiatives imposes an all-districts requirement. Nancy Gerth Sagle
Voters must not reward their own suppression By Idaho House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, D-Boise Reader Contributor The ballot initiative is the voice of the people. It’s the only mechanism for Idahoans to enact a law when legislators won’t listen. This session, Idahoans’ ballot initiative rights were put on the chopping block, and GOP legislators swung the axe. It’s already extremely difficult to get an initiative on the ballot, but S1110 would make it essentially impossible by doubling the district signature requirements. Only one initiative has succeeded in recent years — Medicaid expansion — and it wouldn’t have come close to qualifying under S1110. Ever since that passed in 2018, GOP legislators have waged war on ballot initiatives, which survived this long only because Gov. Brad Little vetoed a 2019 legislative assault. This year, despite 80% of Idahoans opposing added restrictions, almost every GOP legislator voted to effectively shut down future citizen-driven ballot initiatives. Why would they do this? GOP politicians hold every statewide office in Idaho, control the entire federal delegation and 82% of the Legislature. If these GOP legislators truly represent a majority of Idahoans, why are they so afraid of your voice? If they are in fundamental agreement with voters, why work relentlessly to end the only mechanism whereby voters can directly pass a law? The answer is: The
GOP-dominated Legislature does not represent the majority of Idahoans — not even close. The agenda of the GOP politicians running the state may mirror certain lobbyists’ wish lists, but it looks nothing like the agenda of most Idahoans, Democrat or Republican: 77% of Idahoans support funding early childhood education. After blocking a vote on pre-K for eight years, 60% of House GOP members rejected a $6 million federal grant to develop early childhood education programs; 61% of Idahoans wanted Medicaid expansion, but GOP legislators blocked a vote for seven years, and most House GOP members voted this session to defund it; 72% of Idahoans support medical cannabis for seriously ill Idahoans, but 86% of Senate GOP members voted to constitutionally ban cannabis for any purpose; 74.5% of Idahoans say their top priority is education, but GOP legislators have put us last in America in education funding, while instead doling out massive tax cuts to the wealthy. No wonder GOP legislators want to end ballot initiatives, which uncomfortably expose the chasm between what Idahoans want and what they get from their special-interest-driven Legislature. Initiatives provide a path for the people to prevail over politicians, heaven forbid. To all the mainstream Republicans and Independents out there: If you support public education investment, Medic-
aid expansion, early childhood education and property tax relief that doesn’t gut local services, this is for you. Idaho Democrats want to advance your agenda, and have a slate of bills targeted at the real problems facing our state — insufficient funding for education, skyrocketing property taxes and crumbling infrastructure, to name a few. It’s hard to make progress, though, when we only hold 18% of the seats in the Legislature and can’t get hearings on our bills. Every year, elements of the majority party become more and more radicalized, widening the disconnect between GOP legislators and the will of citizens. As long as the disregard of Idahoans’ desires is rewarded with re-election, the problem will only get worse, and will be almost unfixable once they’ve dismantled ballot initiative rights. Our ask of you is simple. Free yourself from party affiliation and vote for candidates who will actually stand up for your rights and priorities, which will often mean voting for the Democrat in a race. Remember next November. GOP politicians are silencing your voice when they effectively end ballot initiative rights. If they don’t want your voice, do they deserve your vote? Ilana Rubel is a fifth-term Democratic Senator, serving District 18 in Boise. She is House minority leader, with seats on the Health and Welfare, Resources and Conservation, Transportation and Defense, and Ways and Means committees.
Idaho’s transportation future By Sen. David Nelson, D-Moscow Reader Contributor
Investing in infrastructure is something almost all Idahoans can agree on, yet we haven’t got it down. This might be the year we can make to make the compromises and get started on it. It’s one of mine and Gov. Brad Little’s top legislative priorities. The recent Boise State University’s Idaho Policy Institute study is one of a long line of studies showing we have a problem. The gap is now $380 million dollars per year just to maintain our existing roads. A 2011 study pegged that gap at $262 million. We at least are staying ahead of inflation, but we also need to invest in new capacity to deal with traffic issues in fast-growing parts of the state. The most recent transportation bill, House Bill 342, passed the House on March 17, and is now making its way to the Senate. This legislation, which increases the sales tax distribution to transportation from 1% to 4.5%, is better than its predecessors and allocates 1.5% of that funding to city and county governments to fix local roads. However, the bill doesn’t go far enough. It moves extra money out of the state General Fund but doesn’t raise user fees, which I believe is a mistake. I want to see an even higher proportion of the funding going to locals to maintain a 40% local share and minimize the use of General Fund dollars. It is likely HB 342 will be amended in the Senate, and I have been working with my fellow senators across the aisle to make changes that will improve the legislation. Better transportation infrastructure helps all of us. Many of us drive to work and get our kids to school each day. In north-central Idaho, where I am from, wheat, cattle, timber, and all the other important agriculture and forestry products we make get to market mostly on trucks. In many parts of Idaho, we have
been working to build a great cycling/ walking system. This is important in many respects because, fundamentally, a walker or biker is not in a car, and that reduced use saves money for the state. It also results in healthier kids who walk to school, healthier adults who walk to work and reduces greenhouse gas generation. What happens if we don’t make these investments? Per year, the average Idaho motorist incurs approximately $427 in costs for repairs and maintenance due to driving on poor-quality roads. If we don’t have the road capacity, people spend too much of their valuable time sitting in traffic, and if we have safety problems not getting fixed, people’s lives are at risk. Earlier this year, Little proposed $126 million in one-time spending and $80 million in increased spending
Sen. David Nelson. Courtesy photo.
annually. These are a start, but I am very concerned the math doesn’t add
up. We have a maintenance gap of $380 million per year and $80 million only closes a portion of that. The one-time spending will certainly help congestion and inject money into our economy for 2021, but it makes that maintenance gap even larger. We need to realistically fund transportation. One-time funding will help expand the system, but it does not adequately maintain it. I am supportive of the governor’s proposals this year, but I wish they could be bolder, as should HB 342. Let’s find a way to fairly charge all users of our roads an equitable amount to properly maintain them. David Nelson is a second-term Democratic senator serving District 5 from Moscow. He holds positions on the Agricultural Affairs, Education and Transportation committees.
April 8, 2021 /
Mad about Science: the Titanic
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff
People have long been fascinated by the RMS Titanic — a British passenger liner that hit an iceberg and sank into the Atlantic Ocean on its maiden voyage to New York City in April 1912. For some, this fascination might be entirely morbid. We, as humans, lean into stories of tragedy and death, appalled but enthralled at the thought of so much destruction. The Titanic also captures imaginations thanks to its sheer size and unmatched luxury. In addition, there’s something alluring about an “unsinkable” ship that sank, taking a snapshot of the early 20th century with it to be preserved at the bottom of the ocean; however, current estimates believe much of the ship’s remains will be gone — eaten away by bacteria — by 2030. The story of the Titanic has seen several revivals in popularity over the years, spurred by new discoveries and blockbuster films. What is lost in the factoids and elaborate fictional storylines is the audacity it took to create the ship in the first place. To truly understand the grandeur resting at the bottom of the Atlantic, one must start from the beginning. The Titanic was born of a battle between luxury passenger liner companies. The White Star Line needed something to compete with Cunard’s extremely fast, beautiful ships, the RMS Mauretania and RMS Lusitania. As a result, White 12 /
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Star made plans to create the three largest ships to ever exist, the second of which was the Titanic — constructed in Belfast, Ireland over three years. The ship, which required three engines, 29 boilers and 600 tons of coal per day, was deemed “practically unsinkable” by Shipbuilder magazine, thanks to its watertight bulkhead compartments, which were meant to seal off should the boat begin to take on water. However, the compartments were flawed, and that combined with the lack of lifeboats on board — it is rumored that designers found them unsightly, cluttering the decks — meant that the Titanic was woefully unprepared when it struck an iceberg, creating a dent in the hull that opened on a seam during the wee hours of morning on April 15. According to History’s extensive Titanic research, “Hundreds of human dramas unfolded between the order to load the lifeboats and the ship’s final plunge: Men saw off wives and children, families were separated in the confusion and selfless individuals gave up their spots to remain with loved ones or allow a more vulnerable passenger to escape.” It is believed that the Titanic nose-dived into the ocean just after 2 a.m. Logs of people and items onboard the Titanic as she embarked on her maiden voyage showcase the class stratification and enormous wealth of the time. The ship carried the richest man in the world: John Jacob Astor IV, worth an estimated $3.5 billion in today’s
Brought to you by:
American money. He died, along with about 1,500 other passengers and crew. Estimates say that about 700 people survived, mostly women and children. Men who took seats on lifeboats were often ostracized later in life, accused of dressing as women to escape the sinking. It’s hard to imagine, but immediately following the Titanic’s wreck, there was very little information in the media. Initial news stories claimed that while the ship sank, all the passengers survived. The captain of the RMS Carpathia — the ship that rescued those in lifeboats — didn’t want any information getting out, limiting use of the wireless communication system on board only to reach authorities or relay messages between family members, according to Smithsonian Magazine. “As the Carpathia sailed into New York — on the stormy night of Thursday, April 18 — it was surrounded by a mass of tiny vessels, all chartered by news corporations desperate to break what would be one of the biggest stories of modern times,” Smithsonian reported. “From their tugs, reporters shouted through megaphones offering terrific sums of money for information and exclusives, but Captain Rostron said he would shoot any pressmen who dared venture aboard his ship.” One Titanic survivor, a journalist, was able to sneak a manuscript of his account of the sinking off of the Carpathia, and his words appeared in the New York Evening World
soon after. People dedicate their entire lives to learning about the Titanic. The ship’s perilous story is, in itself, a study of culture, class, engineering and humanity. There are a ton of great sources out there continuing to explore the topic, including a recent two-part episode by podcasters Josh Clark and Chuck Bryant of Stuff You
Should Know. Find “How the Titanic Worked,” Parts 1 and 2, on Spotify, Apple streaming or wherever you find podcasts. As for me, I’m jonesing to rewatch James Cameron’s 1997 movie Titanic. A good 80% of my fascination with the ship and its wreck can be credited to that film, which is objectively magnificent, and I will not argue about it. Stay curious, 7B.
Random Corner rctica?
Don’t know much about anta • Antarctica is the largest desert in the world. • Antarctica is the coldest, windiest, highest and driest continent on Earth. Some parts of Antarctica have had no rain or snow for the past 2 million years. • The coldest place on Earth is a high ridge in Antarctica where temperatures can dip below -133° Fahrenheit. • The highest temperature ever recorded in Antarctica is 58.2° F. • 90% of the world’s freshwater is in Antarctica. • Although myths and speculation about a “Southern Land” date back to antiquity, Antarctica was only first sighted in 1820 by a Russian expedition. • Antarctica is about 1.3 times as large as Europe. • Antarctica is the only continent without reptiles. • You cannot work in Antarctica unless your wisdom teeth and
We can help!
appendix are removed. • Chile has a civilian town in Antarctica, complete with a school, hospital, hostel, post office, Internet, TV and mobile phone coverage. • Antarctica is the only continent without a time zone. • The ice sheet of Antarctica has been in existence for at least 40 million years. • There’s a treaty signed by 38 countries that prohibits military activities, mineral mining, nuclear explosions and nuclear waste disposal in Antarctica. • There are 300 lakes beneath Antarctica that are kept from freezing by the warmth of Earth’s core. • A scientist in Antarctica got a date through Tinder with a girl camping just 45 minutes away. • In 1977, Argentina sent a pregnant mother to Antarctica in an effort to claim a portion of the continent. The boy became the first human known to be born in Antarctica.
“I want to be her in my next life,” I heard our client say to her husband. She said it about me. I ducked my head and soldiered on with my work, burning with the shame of knowing that I am nowhere near her perception of me. I am diffident and deferential; in her next life, she wants to be a badass. I am not a badass. However, my view of this trait lacks perspective. It’s hard to gauge the badness of one’s ass from within the confines of one’s own skull. Especially when the skull can be such a trap. I don’t know the view from the outside, but the inside is rife with insecurities. Insecurity doesn’t feel very badass. In 2010, I quit my work as a poorly paid wordsmith and librarian to labor in the trees with sharp and noisy implements. My husband invited me to start an arborist business with him. I responded with an enthusiastic yes. We have been partners ever since. And when I say we are partners in the business, I mean it. I don’t just pose with Stihl equipment for cute website photo ops; I run that shit. Yes, I do hold down the traditional role of keeping the company books, but I also keep the pace on the job site, letting my younger male employees know when they need to beat feet to match mine. On the surface — running chainsaws, feeding chippers, rigging for big trees to come down in small pieces — it
Jen Jackson Quintano. all sounds pretty badass. And sometimes it feels that way… especially when no one is looking. Some readers may remember the Saturday Night Live skits from 10 years ago featuring Rhianna and Shy Ronnie, played by Andy Samberg. (If you’ve never seen them, check them out. Still hilarious.) The premise is that Rhianna and Shy Ronnie are a performing duo, but while Rhianna is her usual cool and confident self, Shy Ronnie has a case of performance anxiety. He unintelligibly mumbles into the mic. He guffaws nervously. He even wets his pants. However, once Rhianna gives up on her
sidekick and leaves the room, Ronnie explodes with some aggressive rhymes. He’s amazing. But when Rhianna returns, it’s back to the mumbles. Dang it, but I’m a Shy Ronnie. If I can get the crew to look away or busy themselves with something else, I’ll drop trees, back the chipper into tight places or buck up big logs with terrible tension points. But look my way, and I do the equivalent of mumbling into the mic, as I stall or delegate the task at hand. Shy Ronnie, Rhianna cajoles, use your outside voice. Shy Jenny, use your outside skills. Seriously. The thing is, there’s a term for this. A couple, actually. One is impostor syndrome, and it disproportionately affects women working in male-dominated environments. Though I have been running chainsaws for a decade now, I increasingly find myself deferring to the men on my crew, assuming they are more proficient than I am. Because men are just inherently better sawyers, right? Though I know, on some level, that this is bullshit, there are psychological barriers that prevent me from seeing this clearly. I am a female arborist and, therefore, an impostor. An oxymoron. I don’t belong. I am a fraud, and I am deathly afraid of being found out as such. So I don’t risk failing — making a bad face cut, getting the chain-
saw stuck at a pinch point, etc. — because that would confirm to everyone (including myself) that I shouldn’t be here. Never mind the fact that my coworkers often make mistakes — to err is human, after all — and I don’t question their competence because of it. I just help them get the dang chainsaw out of the dang log and move on. The other clinical term for Shy Ronnie-ism is stereotype threat, and this also affects women to a greater degree. Stereotype threat is the fear that your actions will serve to confirm negative stereotypes about the group you represent. As the sole woman on the job site, by default, I represent women everywhere. And we all know, women are terrible with machinery, right? So, you there, with the testicles: Get the skidsteer in position for me because my ovaries might make me drive it into the lake. Thank you. The problem with stereotype threat, though, is that the perceived threat has real and lasting impacts on our actual performance. It’s a kind of self-fulfilling prophecy. Or maybe culture-fulfilling. If enough of us believe that I can’t competently operate the skidsteer, I’m probably going to navigate poorly or jerk the thing around. My anxiety will hijack my brain, and suddenly I’m conforming to everything you expected of me as a female driver. However, it’s not my
ovaries that are to blame; instead, it’s my societally-induced cortisol levels. Anxieties, be damned. All of this brings me back to the client who wants to be the outer me—the tough chick. And the fraught inner me that wants everyone to stop watching so that I can just be the me freed of expectations. Is it possible to be a badass and self-doubting? Is it possible that I am a person to be admired, anxiety and all? Who knows, maybe that’s the most badass thing of all: performing in the face of fear. Picking up the chainsaw day after day, come what may. Making a mistake and understanding that to err is not woman, but human. Maybe next time — if there is a next time — I can graciously receive a compliment that conveys, you are amazing. Because by not receiving it, and by doubting its truth, I am the one othering myself. I am the one making a big deal out of my gender and my worth. There’s already enough of that going around in this world — I don’t need to get in on the game, too. Jen Jackson Quintano writes and runs an arborist business with her husband in Sandpoint. Find their website at sandcreektreeservice.com. See more of Quintano’s writing at jenjacksonquintano.com. April 8, 2021 /
FOOD & DRINK
Variety is the spice of Oak Street
Northern Grind coffee stand finds new home at Oak Street Food Court
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff
Those who frequent downtown Sandpoint have noticed that something is missing — Northern Grind coffee stand, previously located at the corner of Cedar Street and Second Avenue, is gone. Luckily for dedicated patrons of Northern Grind, the shop was relocated in one piece to the Oak Street Food Court, and has plans to be open in its new location in the coming weeks. “My goal is to have the least amount of change as possible, because I believe the community loves what Northern Grind was already,” said new owner Jacob Holmberg, noting that the move was necessary because the lease for the Cedar Street location was terminated. “Aside from the obvious — which is us moving — we will have a couple new faces as well as some familiar.” Holmberg plans to implement a military discount and looks forward to being located across from Farmin Park, where the Farmers’ Market is held each Wednesday and Saturday from May to October. He 14 /
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said Northern Grind’s mission is to “create relationships, make delicious coffee and make it fast.” “To be honest, owning a coffee shop has always been an absolute dream of mine,” Holmberg said, “so when the opportunity arose, it was too easy to take advantage of.” Northern Grind is the latest addition to the Oak Street Food Court, which has become home to several new Sandpoint businesses over the past year. Traditionally, the food court’s season starts in tandem with the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market — typically early May. However, some food court eateries are already slinging good eats, each with varying hours. La Catrina offers authentic Mexican food; Heart Bowls does smoothie bowls and more, all gluten-free and plant-based; Moxie’s is a grill and bakery offering comfort food with a vegetarian and vegan twist; Shilla Korean BBQ with Seoul specializes in Korean fusion cuisine; and Chili D’s, which offers a variety of chili, burgers and more. There are other businesses not yet open for the season, including Ohn’s Thai Plate, which is owned by Ohn and
Ken Nail — also owners of the Oak Street Food Court itself. Ken said he is excited about the addition of the Northern Grind coffee stand, and hopes Holmberg does well in the new location. “The special thing about a food court is that there’s a variety of food,” Ken said, “and anybody that’s not interested in going to, say, a specific restaurant for Italian food or Mexican food, they can go there and look at a number of different concessions, and they have a wide variety of choice for what they might decide.”
Top left: A sunny day at the Oak Street Food Court. Top right: La Catrina food truck serving authentic Mexican street tacos and more. Above: Heart Bowls food truck offers unique smoothie bowls and rice bowls among other vegetarian options. Photos by Lyndsie Kiebert
FOOD & DRINK
Sipping in the shade A pair of tipples for toasting the return of spring
By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff It’s been a heckuva 12 months since last spring. According to researchers, such as those at the University of South Carolina, it’s been a particularly hard couple of seasons on the nation’s collective livers — alcohol sales exploded as the COVID-19 lockdowns began last March. By April 2020, the data suggested that booze sales had spiked to 55% above normal within the first month of pandemic life. Those numbers have remained high, and will likely continue to be so as we transition into the warmer months. On top of everything else, it has long been traditional for humans to celebrate the turn of the seasons from winter freezes to spring breezes — very typically with a cool, refreshing alcoholic beverage in hand. This year, it seems particularly important to toast the return of spring. The following are a pair of easy-to-moderate cocktail recipes that readily enliven any springtime porch session. Whiskey smash This is an oldie but a goodie. First published in the 1880s bar books, the whiskey smash is a relative of the iconic mint julep (the latter being a combination of whiskey, simple syrup, carbonated water, mint sprigs and crushed ice), but heightens its effect with a burst of citrus. According to the best sources, the whiskey smash requires 2 oz. of whiskey — Bourbon or rye seem to be preferred — four or so sprigs of mint, with spearmint being particularly well recommended; a like number of lemon wedges; and 3/4 oz. of simple syrup (or a lump of sugar, if you’re in a hurry). Using a cocktail shaker and muddler, bash up the lemon wedges, making sure to grind the peels to extract their essential oils. Then add the whiskey, sugar, a couple of mint leaves and ice (use regular cubes, not shaved ice), shake and strain twice over ice in a rocks glass. Garnish with the remaining mint sprig. My 1941 edition of Mr. Boston’s De Luxe Official Bartender’s Guide describes the whiskey smash as including 1 oz. of carbonated water to zazz up the concoction, as well as adding garnishes of
orange slice and a cherry. Owing to its essential simplicity, the smash may be successfully adapted to a range of base liquors — gin/vodka and strawberries is an especially good alteration to the traditional recipe. Elderflower gin fizz I categorically reject the notion of “girlie” and “manly” cocktails — there are only good and bad cocktails. Among my favorite springtime refreshments is the French 75 — a combo of gin, simple syrup, lemon and sparkling wine that your garden variety boor would probably scoff at. Well, to that tasteless jerkwad, I’d remind him that the drink is named the “French 75” after an artillery piece from the First World War and is so named because it packs as much of a wallop. The elderflower gin fizz, which I discovered courtesy of the British-based
Top: The whiskey smash. Bottom: The elderflower gin fizz. Courtesy photos. Craft Gin Club, is essentially a triple-barreled French 75: 2 oz. gin, 1 oz. St. Germain, 1 oz. lemon juice; top with sparkling wine and garnish with lemon peel and/or elderflower blooms. To fix, shake together the gin, St. Germain and lemon juice on ice, then strain into fluted glasses or coupes (the latter being sort of like Champagne flutes that have been made shorter and fatter). Pour in the sparkling wine, garnish and serve. You’ll be pleased with its ethereal blanched honey hue, but beware of this family of spirits — these combinations taste entirely too good, too refreshing and treacherously “healthy.” They are truly good and refreshing, but definitely not the latter descriptor. Proceed with caution and enjoyment. April 8, 2021 /
Woods, wings and waterfowl By Reader Staff Woods, Wings and Waterfowl, sponsored by Libby Hostel Base Camp on Saturday, April 17, will be a day of exploring for and identifying Rocky Mountain vegetation, local and migrating birds, and diversified species of waterfowl. Participants are to meet at the timber shelter in Riverfront Park, on the southwest side of the Kootenai River Bridge in Libby, Mont., at 9 a.m., Mountain Standard Time. The group will go over a few birding tips and head right to the field. Those joining the event will take their own vehicles and keep safe space as they visit roadside stops and viewpoints, go on short walks into private land sites, and take in river and lakeside views. Organizers as that participants come
By Mike Wagoner Reader Contributor
To Believe or Not to Believe prepared for the day with full gas tanks, appropriate clothing for the weather (class will not be canceled due to weather), lunch, water, binoculars and spotting scopes. Pre-registration is required, as spaces are limited. To register email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406291-2154. Class will wrap up at approximately 3 p.m. MST. For accommodations if needed, visit airbnb.com or email email@example.com.
Waterkeepers seeking volunteers for Water Quality Monitoring Program By Reader Staff Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper is seeking new volunteers for its Water Quality Monitoring Program. Each year, LPOW’s dedicated volunteers go through citizen scientist training and help collect water quality data on Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River. Since 2012, LPOW has collected thousands of data points for 11 different chemical, physical and biological parameters. This data has helped LPOW keep the lake and nearby waterways swimmable, fishable and drinkable for future generations by identifying any potential water quality issues and notifying the appropriate agencies. View all the data collected since 2012 and where LPOW samples at lpow.org/water-quality-monitoring-program/. Volunteer training will be on April 20 at 5:30 p.m. Monitoring starts in May and goes until September. Volunteers are responsible for collecting samples every third Tuesday of the 16 /
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Volunteer citizen scientist Preston Andrews collecting water quality data at Morton Slough in 2020. Courtesy photo. month from May through September, being able to access a specific location on the water via a boat/kayak/canoe, and safely collecting data while following the proper procedures. Want to learn more about the program or get involved? Call the LPOW office at 208-597-7188 or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. “We would love to see some new faces out on the water this summer,” LPOW said in a statement.
Ever wonder why our species is so much smarter than any other? Even our closest relative — the other primates — can’t hold a candle to what we do. Oh, we find it curious to watch a film of a monkey usin’ a stick to get a bug out of a hole or hear stories at a cocktail party about how bright someone’s Australian Shepherd is, but we make airplanes, cathedrals and calculus. Using the geologic time scale as a backdrop — you know, millions of years — chimps and us were basically the same critter the day before yesterday. When I ponder the fact that human and chimpanzee DNA nucleotides differ by only 1.6% or that hemoglobin — the protein in our blood that is composed of 573 amino acids in a very specific sequence is exactly like that of chimp’s except for one amino acid — I get to thinkin’, OK, that’s weird because we are a lot different than they are and it happened fast. The progression from them to us seems to have begun with homo habilis: the first crude tool maker. Then to homo erectus, who expanded those tools a little — spears and arrowheads — then to us, you know, the builders of pyramids and computers. Divine intervention? The God thing? I confess, I go back and forth with it. Then I put my biologist hat on and revel in the genius of Darwin — how he came up with the premise that species change
over time because of environmental changes that go on around them and these changes can happen to a species because of sexual reproduction by which two individuals donate their genes and, not unlike the shuffling of cards, create a new and unique offspring that may possess traits that end up coming in handy in that changing environment… or just random mutation may offer up something useful. Yes it makes sense; but, I’ll tell ya what hangs me up is this: Where did the spark of life come from? The relentless drive to exist — to carry on? Even today scientists can gather together all the organic molecules needed for life, shake ’em, shock ’em, spit on ’em… whatever, but they still can’t even cause the simplest cell to form. I think about that cell happening somehow by chance in an ancient world, but before it perished it would have had to come up with a way to reproduce itself. Come on… really? So I guess I’m kinda stuck in the middle; tryin’ to intellectualize myself out of the dark. I’m thinkin’ it may be time to relax and just take a few things on faith. Maybe science is just finding out what an awesome engineer God is. I know this: Religion will always have one thing over science as it applies to the human condition. Religion offers up something that science never will: love.
How the west was written
Novelist Larry McMurtry rides off into the sunset at 84
By Ben Olson Reader Staff Stories of the American West should come with a disclaimer: “Warning, what you are about to read is probably a load of bull, but who cares, pardner? Enjoy the ride.” For generations, Western novelists have constructed a facade of what it meant to live and die in the West. Filled with ham-fisted plot lines injected with moral justifications for violence against “the others,” (whether they are outlaws, Native Americans, crooked lawmen or nature itself), the genre often grows stagnant until a new voice gets things moving. When Larry McMurtry came along, he painted a new portrait of the West. Gone was the romantic claptrap of dime-store novels, the fanciful cowboys protecting a culture that was dead before they were even born. McMurtry gave rise to a movement in the genre known loosely as the “anti-Western,” a formal rebuke of the myth of the cowboy that flipped these trite stories on their head. McMurtry, 84, died on March 25 from congestive heart failure at his home in Archer City, Texas. He left behind more than 30 novels and books of essays, memoir and history, and 30 screenplays. In his masterpiece Lonesome Dove — an 843-page novel about two retired Texas Rangers seeking a new life by driving a herd of cattle north to Montana — McMurtry gave birth to characters like Woodrow Call and Gus McCrae, who redefined the modern anti-hero. Neither of them were “good” or “bad,” just flawed men waking each morning and saddling themselves with another 24 hours of baggage that life hands you on the prairie. The novel would go on to win McMurtry the Pulitzer Prize and spawn a popular TV mini-series and handful of lesser-known remakes that never quite captured the glory of his words on the page. It remains to be one of the best stories ever put to paper, in any genre. But McMurtry was never a one-trick
pony. The Last Picture Show was a rose that grew out of the desert, depicting a sad Texas town as it struggled to keep its one movie house alive as its residents battled with the foregone conclusion that the modern world was coming to their town. The film adaptation from this book won an Oscar, as did his screenplay of the tragic forbidden love story Brokeback Mountain, in which Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal acted their hearts out in this fresh look at queer love in the American West. What made McMurtry a great writer was not only his sharp storylines, but his tight, punctuated dialogue that breathed life into every character. His villains are dark, haunting and murky. His heroes are flawed and damaged. The morals that emerged from his stories were few and far between, instead relying on the arc of the characters in their big, big world to suggest to the reader that not everything has to happen for a reason. Sometimes people die, horses fall over cliffs and good men are gunned down by a stray bullet. What McMurtry also did was create a lexicon of memorable female characters in a genre that often glossed them over, relegating their appearances either in the form of raucous whores or busybody school marms. McMurtry’s women were something altogether different. In Terms of Endearment, his self-centered widow Aurora Greenway (played by Shirley Maclaine in the film adaptation) was someone everything could relate to, but nobody had ever met before. “Only a saint could live with me, and I can’t live with a saint,” Greenway said in the book. “Older men aren’t up to me, and younger men aren’t interested.” Often snubbed by literary critics who generally panned the Western genre as low-rent entertainment, McMurtry took it all in good stride, reportedly wearing a T-shirt that read “Minor Regional Novelist” to troll the critics who refused to let him have a seat at the table. There have been other writers who have maintained their position firmly on the edge of dark Western writing — Cormac McCarthy, Elmore Leonard, Terry Johnston, Charles Portis and B.
Traven. But McMurty did his thing with an elegance and familiarity that meant anyone could follow along, whether they’re fans of the genre or not. He will
Larry McMurtry. Photo courtesy Wikipedia. be remembered by his words, but also because he lived his life on the outside.
April 8, 2021 /
events April 8-15, 2021
THURSDAY, april 8
Throwback Thursday 6-9pm @ The Longshot ’90s throwback music
Live Music w/ Chris Lynch 6-8pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Piano man cometh
FriDAY, april 9
Friday Night Wine Flight 6-11pm @ The Longshot
Live Music w/ Colby Acuff duo 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall
Live Music w/ Michelle Rivers Duo 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes 2-4pm @ Gourmandie at Schweitzer
SATURDAY, april 10 Live Music w/ Hanna Rebecca 7-9pm @ The Longshot Singer-songwriter from Coeur d’Alene Live Music w/ BTP 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Classic rock with Benny Baker, Ali Thomas and Sheldon Packwood
Live Music w/ Wiebe Jammin’ 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz 7:30-9:30pm @ The Back Door
SunDAY, april 11
Sandpoint Chess Club 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am
Piano Sunday w/ 3-5pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery
Sunday Brunch & Lawn Games 11am-3pm @ The Longshot From Coeur d’Alene
monDAY, april 12
Outdoor Experience Monday Night Group Run – All levels welcome 6pm @ Outdoor Experience Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s Restaurant “Inside the Gun Debate: To hunt? To defend? To assault?”
Monday Night Blues Jam w/ Truck Mills 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub
tuesDAY, april 13 wednesDAY, april 14
Live Music w/ Ben Murray 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub
ThursDAY, april 15 Longshot Trivia 6-9pm @ The Longshot
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STAGE & SCREEN
Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s new PBS doc on Hemingway is stellar, but its subject is played out
By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff It’s hard to imagine what more can be said about Ernest Hemingway. Born in Illinois in 1899, died by self-inflicted gunshot in Idaho in 1961, in the interim he became the most celebrated American writer of his time and fundamentally altered English-language literature with his iconic, terse style. It has been 60 years since Hemingway shot himself at his home in Ketchum — meaning he’s been dead almost as long as he was alive — and it’s been about 100 years since his breakout novels and short stories of the 1920s. In the meantime, his works have passed into canonic status; taught in schools and adapted into films. That said, far more outsized than his literary output is the legacy of his life and personality. Thousands of books, articles and academic papers have been written about Hemingway’s life, his personal letters have been published and parsed for decades, there’s a center for Hemingway studies at Boise State University, there are Hemingway look-alike contests near his old haunts in south Florida, there’s a Hemingway festival and conference in Ketchum, his face was put on a U.S. postage stamp and there are at least three bronze statues of Hemingway — one of them leaning against the bar top at the Floridita in Havana, Cuba, and another doing the same in Pamplona, Spain. Every house or apartment he lived in, from Illinois to Paris to Spain to Florida, Cuba and Idaho, is set aside for some historic preservation or mention. Truly, it seems Hemingway has attracted much more than his fair share of attention. Not so, apparently, with the April 5 premiere of the three-part documentary series Hemingway on PBS. Put together by docu-
mentarians Ken Burns and Lynn Novick — legends in their own right — the episodes purport to reveal “the man, the myth, the writer.” Of course, this is the goal of every Hemingway biography, whether in print or on film. That Burns and Novick are not just any old biographers makes Hemingway superior to most every other effort to capture “the man, the myth, the writer.” It’s tightly written, well paced and organized, gorgeously illustrated with archival and personal photos, and impeccably sourced — particularly pleasing is that Patrick Hemingway makes numerous appearances to give first-hand accounts of his “Papa.” Despite all this, there is precious little new to gleaned from Hemingway. Anyone who has read the books both by and about the writer will come to this documentary already fully informed of the complexities of its subject’s character. That he was as kind, loyal and fun-loving as he was cruel, faithless and depressed. They will already know all about the hyper-mascu-
linity and corresponding tortured androgyny of Hemingway’s life and art. They will know that he was a liar and self-mythologizer as much as a profoundly wounded and traumatized veteran of war and family tragedy. They will know about the many wives he loved and betrayed in turn; about the children he alternately abandoned and lorded over. They will know that he suffered crushing insecurity and anxiety, that his body was severely punished by accident and intent — the latter in large part from the lifelong alcoholism that eventually drove him to his final act in the vestibule of the Ketchum house. It’s hard to pinpoint exactly where Burns and Novick break any new ground with Hemingway, but that’s not their fault. There simply isn’t much more to be said about the man, which begs the question of why this documentary series was necessary — especially at a cultural moment in American life that seems more far removed from Hemingway’s world than his
was from the stuffy Victorianism against which his fellow “Lost Generation” artists rebelled. Even during his own life Hemingway — both his work and the cult of personality he’d cultivated — had become a caricature. His perceived redemption with The Old Man and the Sea, which propelled him to a Nobel Prize, is somewhat doubtful. As Irish writer Edna O’Brien — herself credited as among the greatest writers now living — said in Hemingway, it was a “schoolboy” effort. “He was the bloody fish,” she said. Still, it seems to be news to some people that Hemingway was by and large a ridiculous, vainglorious asshole, and the discussion about how to separate the faults of an artist from his or her art has been had about Hemingway since even before the writer killed himself. Yet, it’s an important part of our contemporary conversation about socalled “cancel culture” and how (or whether) to hold accountable those with political, economic and cultural power for their transgressive actions, beliefs or
Ernest Hemingway at work behind his typewriter. Photo from Ken Burns’ documentary Hemingway. statements. Burns and Novick do an admirable, yet yeomanly, job of laying out this writer’s life in chronological order, but to what end? We need little reminding that Hemingway existed, nor are the contents of that existence particularly surprising after so much attention over so many years. Lacking much real analysis, Hemingway feels like a panegyric even and perhaps especially as it revels in poking at its subject’s well-known warts. As a lifelong Hemingway aficionado, I left the series feeling what I usually do when I contemplate Hemingway for too long: sadness and what the Germans call fremdschämen, defined as embarrassment on behalf of another. Also with the sense that maybe it’s time to let Hem rest in peace. Surely, there are other literary lives — many only now unfolding — worthy of some attention outside the long shadow of Papa. April 8, 2021 /
The Sandpoint Eater Unparalleled possibilities By Marcia Pilgeram Reader Columnist
Like most everyone else, I have a few things I need to cross off of my bucket list. I’ve got some serious travel plans — someday I am going to take the world’s longest train trip (more than 10,000 miles), from Lisbon, Portugal to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. Also on my list are non-travel achievements and notable accomplishments that I hope to add to my legacy. I want to leave my heirs something they’ll take pride in and find obituary-worthy (more than just my unparalleled, parallel parking prowess). I’ve always had a secret desire and crazy notion of a cooking feat so grandiose it would be featured in the Guinness Book of World Records. I often (mostly during episodes of insomnia) fantasize about the perfect entry I could make/bake to accomplish this lifelong culinary dream. I figure I have another 30 or so decent years ahead of me, and it’s a good thing because I’m pretty sure the wait time for the Guinness World Records is about that long. My big idea is not even that original — I was shocked to learn that the Guinness World Records receives more than 50,000 record applications a year — that’s almost 1,000 applications every week. Due to the sheer volume of applications, the waiting time for a response can be up to 12 weeks, or about as long as the back-ordered home improvement supplies I’m waiting to receive. Once they have documented the evidence for my yet-tobe-determined (but awesome) culinary record attempt, it can 20 /
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take the folks at Guinness World Records up to another 12 weeks to review the documentation and let me know if I’ve achieved a world’s record. Part of the problem is that baker’s block stymies me, as I try to develop an idea for something that’s not only edible and delicious but original, awe-inspiring and beautiful. My most fantastic culinary achievement to date is a life-sized bûche de noël (yule log) that I created for a financial institution’s grand opening/holiday party nearly 30 years ago in Missoula. The finished buttercream-filled, dark-chocolate ganache-covered log creation, decorated with dozens of cocoa-dusted meringue mushrooms and sugared marzipan holly, was more than six feet long and 16 inches in diameter.
We displayed it (and transported it) on a heavy, swinging wooden door, dismantled from my catering facility. It took four men to tote it three blocks down Higgins Avenue. They drew plenty of stares. I proudly paced them until we reached First Interstate Bank, and I’ve always regretted not capturing photos of the process or finished product; but, back then, 20-pound cell phones were only capable of making $15 phone calls. Though it was a great personal accomplishment, it can’t hold a birthday candle to the most enormous cake ever made: a 17,388-foot-long vanilla-flavored beauty, baked by 1,500 chefs and organized by the Bakers Association of Kerala, India. The most expensive cake I
ever made was the labor-of-love wedding cake for oldest daughter Ryanne. Though the five-tier beauty was practically worth its weight in gold (actually, European butter), it didn’t come close to the price tag of cakes baked for royalty and celebrities. Many of those creations can cost upwards of $100,000. I’ve also thought about making something that I could flambé, because I live by the words of my dearly departed, favorite chef, the fabulous Julia Child: “I think every woman should own a blow torch.” I own one and it’s omnipresent in my kitchen. Mine is actually an industrial plumber’s torch that I use for glazing hams, browning meringues and burning sugar to finish topping custard-like desserts, like crème brûlée.
I’m not even going to think about an entry for that record. According to Guinness Book of World Records, the largest crème brûlée ever created was made by the students of the Le Cordon Bleu Program at the Orlando Culinary Academy in Orlando, Fla., and weighed a whopping 1,599.96 pounds — geez, if only they’d added another egg or two. Most specialty foods created for world records end up as community projects, to be sold by the serving, with the money going to a local charity. So, if anyone has a brainstorm and some brawn, I’ve got the blowtorch. Even if I never end up dangling off a crane, torch in hand, burning sugar atop the world’s largest crème brûlée, I still guarantee this recipe to be a winner.
Tahitian Vanilla crème brûlée If you can use farm fresh eggs, by all means, do so. The hallmark of this dessert is the cracking sound made when the back of the spoon is tapped on the sugar topping.
INGREDIENTS: • 2 cups heavy whipping cream • 1/2 cup fine-granulated sugar • 1 fresh, whole Tahitian vanilla bean, split lengthwise • 5 large egg yolks (take care that no bits of whites are included) • 1/4 cup (12 tsp) fine-granulated sugar
– 6 servings
DIRECTIONS: With rack placed in middle of oven, preheat to 325 degrees Fahrenheit. In a medium saucepan, combine cream and sugar, mixing well. Use a small knife to slit vanilla bean open. With the back of your thumb nail, or the knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod into the saucepan. Once all the seeds have been added to the saucepan, add the empty vanilla bean into saucepan. (Give it a little bend to expose the inside, where the remaining seeds will get more exposure/flavor). Over medium heat, whisk until sugar is completely dissolved and the mixture comes to a simmer. Simmer on a low boil, while whisking, for about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and remove the empty bean and any other pieces of the bean. In a medium bowl, whisk yolks until well blended. Very carefully and in a very slow stream, whisk the hot cream mixture into the yolks, just a little at a time, so as not to cook the eggs. When all the cream has been incorporated, give it a couple more whisks to make sure it is well blended. Divide custard evenly among six individual 3/4-cup ramekins. Place ramekins in a glass 9”×13” baking dish. Pour enough boiling water into the pan to go halfway up the sides of ramekins. Care-
fully place the baking dish in the oven and bake for about 35 minutes. Custards should be almost set in the center when the pan is gently shaken. Remove ramekins from baking pan and let cool to room temp. Chill in fridge for at least four hours (or up to two days). When ready to serve, sprinkle 2
tsp fine sugar evenly over each chilled custard. With a blowtorch, move flame quickly back and forth over the sugar topping until it reaches desired caramel appearance. Repeat with other custards (don’t caramelize until ready to serve). Serve immediately, cracking sugar (brulee shell) with the back of your spoon.
Sandpoint Farmers’ Market sets May 1 opening day The market will return to Farmin Park this season with lots of new vendors
By Ben Olson Reader Staff
Spring has sprung in North Idaho and the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market is eager to launch into the 2021 season. Market Manager Kelli Burt announced the market would return after a truncated 2020 season due to COVID-19, with a return to Farmin Park and an expanded list of vendors. “It feels good,” Burt told the Reader. “It feels like we’re regaining that momentum we had in 2019.” The market’s opening day will be Saturday, May 1 at 9 a.m. It will keep the same hours as years before, with Saturday markets going from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. and Wednesday markets from 3-5:30 p.m. Oak Street will be closed to traffic to allow for more vendor space, and the Jeff Jones Town Square will also be utilized as the market swings into the summer season. The 2021 Sandpoint Farmers’ Market has seen a number of new vendors, Burt said, attributing the growth to all the new people that have moved to the area in the past year. “We’re seeing a lot of people that started their own side businesses during COVID times, as well as seeing creative new things that people have put out,” she said. So far, more than 65 vendors have applied to sell their wares at the market — a number that is usually a lot smaller this time of year. “We have a lot of returning vendors and a ton of new vendors,” she said. “We’re gaining a lot of momentum.” During 2020, the market was forced to relocate for a time to the city parking lot — a location somewhat lacking in the charm of its usual location at Farmin Park. “We took a big step back in 2020 and a giant leap forward this year,” Burt said. Burt said market staffers are
This week’s RLW by Lyndsie Kiebert
Email subscription services have seen a revival in the age of COVID, particularly Substack — a program catered to freelancers who hope to monetize their reporting on their own terms. The author releases content, some of which is free and some which requires a subscription. Critics say this will only further the demise of traditional print media. I’m not a paying subscriber yet, but I do appreciate Leah Sottile’s Substack, “The Truth Does Not Change According to Our Ability to Stomach It.”
encouraging social distancing, but it will be “up to people to monitor themselves with whatever comfort level they feel. … We want our community to be healthy and safe.” Masks are recommended based on public health guidelines, but there will be no enforcement at the market. Also returning this year will be live music every Saturday, which has long been a vital component of the market experience. “It was apparent last year how much we all missed live music,” Burt said. “It was such a huge part of the market.” Currently, live music is scheduled for Saturday markets only, but Burt said she is working on funding to be able to hire musicians for Wednesday markets as well. A new feature added this season is the ability for patrons to donate directly to the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market. “In years past, people have said they’d be happy to donate money,” Burt said. “We have it set up on our website so people can pay via Square to be a friend of the Farmers’ Market. We’ll be set up to accept donations in
person, too, but for now it’s just on the website.” Donated funds will help pay for live music, Burt said. Also returning is the Double Up Food Bucks program, which Burt said was a success last year. “We got funding from Idaho Farmers’ Market Association for this program,” she said. “When people are on SNAP, they can withdraw money at the manager’s booth and we’ll match their money up to $10 for food at the market.” The program has been available for three years, and Burt said it has been vital for creating better access to food for those who need it. “It keeps money in a closed circle, too; keeping money within our farmers,” she said. “Really, last year was such a tough year. We saw an increase of people using SNAP and Double Up Food Bucks. I saw the same families that came week after week, and it was the best part of my job engaging with these folks and talking about what they were making for dinner. It’s one of those really amazing programs that we’re really passionate about.” While the market emphasizes
An assortment of jams at a vendor’s booth at the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market. Photo by Ben Olson. a higher ratio of booths from farmers to achieve the “true farmers’ market status,” Burt said organizers will also include a wide assortment of hot food vendors and bakers, fine arts and crafts booths. For new vendors interested in obtaining a booth at the market, their entries must be juried by the market staff. The last jury date will be in June, so all applications for new vendors must be received by June 1. For returning vendors, staff asks that they apply no later than July 1. For Burt, it always feels good to launch the opening day at Sandpoint Farmers’ Market. “The biggest challenge for me this year is that I’m going to have a baby any day now,” she said. An assistant manager will be physically at the market each Saturday while Burt is out for maternity leave, but she intends to be right back at the booth in June as soon as possible.
Wolf is a one-woman indie hip-hop act out of Queens, N.Y., and I promise this won’t be the last time you hear about her. She’s only released 13 tracks — all of them either singles or part of one EP — and each one showcases her simple-but-sultry vocals. Above all, Wolf bumps. I suggest her songs “High Waist Jeans” and “Ghost” turned up in the car as loud as you can stand, windows down, sunglasses on.
My mom bought my fiance all four Lethal Weapon films for his birthday in December, and we’ve watched them all twice now. The characters, hijinks and action are timeless, even if some of the humor is painstakingly outdated. I have a certain affinity for Sgt. Roger Murtaugh, played by Danny Glover. He’s salty, but heroic. For the record, I think we can all agree that Lethal Weapon 3 is the best in the franchise.
For more information about the Sandpoint Farmers’ Market, visit sandpointfarmersmarket.org. April 8, 2021 /
BACK OF THE BOOK
Watch an ASMR massage video and thank me later From Northern Idaho News, April 10, 1923
FORGER WORKS FOUR VICTIMS J.A. Estelle, an itinerant tailor who had been working for John Frank for a month, on Saturday night passed four forged checks totaling $87, and disappeared. The victims of Estelle’s work are: Foss & Anderson, $22; J.A. Foster Co., $21; Jennestad & Larson company, $23; The Club pool hall, $21. The checks were drawn on the First National bank and bore an imitation of John Frank’s signature, the blanks having been stolen from Mr. Frank’s check book which he keeps in his tailor shop. Those who cashed the checks were the more readily deceived because they bore the printed business card of Mr. Frank, and were drawn in sums which might readily be his wage checks. The forgeries were fair imitations though not what might be termed professional work. At the Jennestad Larson store in getting his paper cashed, Estelle paid a $3 debt and received the balance in cash. At the Foster store he made a payment of $5.00 on a suit of clothes which he proposed to buy and received the remainder in cash. At Foss & Anderson’s and at the Club pool hall he plays a few games of cards and presented the forged checks, receiving the balance in each case in cash. The fellow chose well his time for working off the forgeries, passing them all late Saturday night, thus giving him until yesterday morning to make his getaway before his work could possibly be discovered. 22 /
/ April 8, 2021
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff I remember the day I watched my first ASMR video. I stumbled across the concept in a podcast. The hosts described a YouTube genre made entirely for the purpose of inducing “tingles” — the relaxing sensation on the back of one’s head and neck when they hear a sound or observe slow, meticulous actions. That tingly feeling is called an autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) — a pleasing, low-grade paresthesia with no clear cause. The host of the podcast urged listeners to watch an ASMR video to familiarize themselves with the topic. I obliged, and haven’t looked (or listened) back since. There are millions of ASMR videos on YouTube and, as with anything, viewers tend to find their niche. ASMR is typically quiet, slow and methodical, aiming to relax the viewer with pleasing sounds (tapping and scratching on various surfaces, gentle whispering) and movements (hand fluttering, wood carving, playing with slime, food preparation). Some consider mouth noises especially pleasing, causing me to come across a video of someone eating Taco Bell with a high-definition microphone clipped to their shirt. It certainly wasn’t my cup of tea, but as ASMR has taught me, judging someone for the ASMR they choose to watch is silly. By many people’s standards, those of us who unwind by clicking on a video titled “ASMR **trigger** sounds for deep sleep ~ ZzZzZzzzzz ~” are all weird. For this reason, I was hesitant to come out as a dedicated ASMR enthusiast. However, the time has come that I share
my greatest joy, and that is curling up on the couch with my dog, sipping a hot beverage and watching itsblitzzz ASMR massage videos. Julia — a Los Angeles YouTuber known by her handle, itsblitzzz — started dabbling in ASMR only a couple of years ago. Her most popular videos have amassed more than 10 million views. The premise of an itsblitzzz video is simple: a model sits in a chair and Julia — typically wearing a turtleneck — stands behind, her head cut out of the frame, as she administers a head/shoulder/face massage using essential oils. She whispers positive affirmations while the model melts in her tattooed, manicured hands. At the end, she offers them a drink and a snack. A microphone picks up each sound, from Julia’s breathing to her nails on the model’s scalp. These videos are typically about half an hour long, which is simply not long enough. While many of the more popular ASMRtists use mannequins for these kinds of massage videos, Julia uses friends and subscribers. In addition, while ASMR massage videos can occasionally slip into sexually-charged territory, Julia’s never do. She is professional, kind and big-sisterly. This all sounds admittedly strange. There are a lot of ways to unwind, like, I don’t know, normal television? Scrolling through social media? The difference is that ASMR does not require an energy exchange. I don’t have to feel anything about a plot twist or a baby photo while watching someone have their hair brushed. I simply have to sit back and be mildly hypnotized.
A screenshot from a video by the author’s favorite ASMRtist, itsblitzzz. To those who judge: the eight-figure view counts on many of these videos speak for themselves. ASMR works for a lot of people — especially those of us who crave a way to slow down our minds. These YouTube channels are free, accessible and certainly worth a try. Happy tingling.
Sudoku Solution I bet when cheetahs race and one of them cheats, the other one goes, “Man, you’re such a cheetah!” and they laugh and eat a zebra or whatever.
Solution on page 22
Solution on page 22
Woorf tdhe Week
CROSSWORD ACROSS By Bill Borders
[noun] 1. a construction made of whatever materials are at hand; something created from a variety of available things.
“The police found the man dead in his bricolage of cardboard boxes on 4th St.” Corrections: Based on multiple complaints and internal investigations, Clayton Rau and Owen Bolson were revealed to be bad actors after inserting their stories into last week’s Reader. They were both taken out behind the wood shed and given what’s for. – BO
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9. Belief 10. Insignificantly small 13. Anything that covers 14. Feudal worker 15. Hebrew unit of weight 16. Draftiest (British spelling) 19. Increased 22. Thaw 24. Saintly 26. Three-handed card game 27. Years (French) 30. Car
32. Not in 33. Rowed 34. Meager 35. A small rounded boat 38. Teach 39. Earwax 40. Urgency 42. Belonging to them 44. Defunct 45. House style 48. French for “Head” 49. Vipers 50. “Sure” 53. Uncooked 55. South southeast April 8, 2021 /
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