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Arts, entertainment, bluster and some news

December 3, 2020

I FR"EE I Vol. I7 Issue 49

Bonner Co. commissioners explore defunding health district • COVID-19 update • Ponderay Police Det. Sgt. Victorino passes away • Downtown Shopping during the pandemic • A brief history of Sandpoint's rail bridge • British TV therapy • Drum battle with rocker Dave Grohl • Tahitian vanilla bread pudding recipe and more!

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/ December 3, 2020

PEOPLE compiled by

Susan Drinkard


“What do you remember about the winter of 1996-’97?”

“I remember it was beautiful, but I was living by myself up Rapid Lightning Road. My house had a metal roof and the snow slid off to create a tunnel to my car. The barn was next to my house but it took two hours to feed and water the horses because I had to use a crowbar to break the ice. I remember the dogs walking on top of the garage because the snow was as high as the roof.” Judy DeLucchi Retired real estate broker Sandpoint “Yes, I remember it. We were living in Deer Park, Wash., and I recall sledding off the roof of the house. Transformers were blowing up. We were the only house around that had power, so relatives came to stay with us. It was a bonding time.” Luke Hedquist Branch manager, Columbia Bank Sandpoint “It started snowing in October and didn’t stop until March. It snowed every single day. It was the only year our Suburban didn’t make it up to our house.” Kevin Porter—Plumbing contractor Anita Porter—Vice President of Columbia Bank Elmira “First off, I had walking pneumonia, so missed the first month of an awesome ski season. Next, I shoveled snow – lots of snow – every day for at least six weeks. Every day. My elbows got so sore that when I did get to ski, I had to ski without poles for most of the season. Good news? Skiing without poles is a great way to learn a lot about skiing.” Sandy Compton Writer, Blue Creek “I recall our path to the front door was like going through a cave because the piles of snow on each side were so high you couldn’t see over them. It just never stopped snowing. It was a bit scary.” Susan Drinkard Writer (among other things) Sandpoint


This week, we asked some longtime locals about their memories of the famed winter of 1996-’97 that saw record snowfall in North Idaho (see Page 16-17 for the story). I was a sophomore at Sandpoint High School at the time and remember when the roof collapsed over the auditorium. We got a month off of school that year, and I spent most of it up on Schweitzer, shoveling roofs for $35/hour and playing in the snow with my friends. I remember one instance (I can safely tell this story now that the statute of limitations has expired) when I tied a rope to the back of my friend’s truck, strapped on a snowboard and he drove through downtown while I rode behind, carving on and sometimes airing off the berms. At one point, a police cruiser attempted to stop us, but the berms were so high between streets that his car got stuck while my friend’s pickup snuck away through the back streets. Ah, to be young and stupid again. What are some of your memories from that fabled winter? – Ben Olson, publisher

READER 111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208)265-9724

www.sandpointreader.com Publisher: Ben Olson ben@sandpointreader.com Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) zach@sandpointreader.com Lyndsie Kiebert (News Editor) lyndsie@sandpointreader.com Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Jodi Berge Jodi@sandpointreader.com Contributing Artists: Ben Olson, Susan Drinkard, Bonner County Historical Society, Emily Deier, Bill Borders, Emily Deier, Rosemary Lucas-Olsen, Audra Mearns, Janice Riley. Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert, Lorraine H. Marie, Cynthia Dalsing, Vicki Reich, Brenden Bobby, Chris Corpus, Marcia Pilgeram, Claire Christy, Ammi Midstokke. Submit stories to: stories@sandpointreader.com Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID Subscription Price: $115 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.

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Masks, money and ‘making some sort of a point’ BoCo commissioners can’t make changes to Panhandle Health District funding ‘at this time’

By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff Who has the authority to take the reins during a deadly pandemic? Elected officials — and citizens — across the state have wrestled with this question throughout the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in Bonner County, where commissioners considered a resolution to defund the Panhandle Health District before the prosecutor’s office advised the board that such action would be illegal. Commissioner Steve Bradshaw proposed the measure in response to the multi-county mask mandate enacted Nov. 19, which he believes the health district created “outside of their authoritative boundaries” in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the five northern counties of Idaho, ultimately trampling on people’s “fundamental right” to “breathe free,” according to the resolution. Though determined moot, that resolution sparked a conversation during a business meeting Dec. 1 about how Bonner County might take action against — or work with — the health district, from taking a closer look at PHD’s budget process to influencing Kootenai County’s choice of board members to filling a health district seat of their own. Which budget, exactly? Bradshaw’s resolution, which made waves when he informally introduced it during the public comment period of the commissioners’ Nov. 24 business meeting, argued that the health district was overreaching with its multi-county mask order, and Bonner County should therefore retract all future funding to PHD. For the 2021 fiscal year, the county’s contribution to the health district is budgeted at 4 /


/ December 3, 2020

$256,985. “Legally, we do not have the authority to do it at this time,” Board Chair Dan McDonald said Dec. 1. “We would have to do it during [the] budget period, so this item becomes moot.” While some local and regional news outlets interpreted “budget period” to mean Bonner County’s budget workshop season — held in August of each year — the Sandpoint Reader followed up with Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bauer to clarify. “I think the idea is that each county can influence the district’s spending authority via their influence on the budget committee,” Bauer said, referencing a piece of Idaho Code that dictates “the chairmen of the boards of county commissioners located within the public health district are hereby constituted as the budget committee of the public health district.” “As I understand it, Bonner’s per capita contribution is based on the district’s approved budget,” Bauer said. “So for Bonner to cause its contribution to be reduced, it would have to exercise its influence via Bonner’s chairman on the PHD Budget Committee and effect a decrease of PHD’s total budget in order to decrease Bonner’s contribution. “So if, for example, PHD’s budget is reduced in half next July, then I believe Bonner’s per capita contribution would be reduced proportionality,” he added. That hypothetical reduction, if approved by the majority of the county chairmen, would trigger a corresponding change to each county’s contribution. Those decisions, according to Idaho Code, “shall be binding upon all counties within the district and the district itself,” meaning that each county is on the hook for its determined contribution to the health district’s budget each year and cannot choose to “defund” or reduce

Bonner County Commissioners Steve Bradshaw, left, Dan McDonald, center, and Jeff Connolly, right. File photos. funding independently. Currently, contributions from the northernmost counties make up about 10% of the health district’s budget, which also receives state and federal funding. A seat at the table Despite the inability of Bonner County commissioners to take any action against PHD for the time being, each commissioner took a turn at Tuesday’s meeting to discuss their views on the mask mandate. Commissioner Jeff Connolly expressed his concern that the commissioners were attempting to say their piece after the fact, when they should instead be more heavily involved in the health district’s process. “I think we’ve been remiss, as county commissioners, not to be sitting at that table,” Connolly said, adding that he sees several benefits to having a sitting commissioner on the PHD board. “Glen’s done a wonderful job. Do I want to sit where Glen does? Absolutely not. But I think I should, and the reason I should is I am an elected official. You can vote me out.” Connolly said pulling funding from the health district was not the answer. “No matter how much money it is, are we going to be affect-

ing what we are trying to do?” Connolly said. “Are we making some sort of a point by removing this money, and are we going to get sued? Are we going to end up in some legal brouhaha — which is a very good possibility — and are we going to spend a lot of money trying to defend that? I think there’s other ways … I don’t know where we go from here.” McDonald emphasized personal responsibility. “If you are compromised, please do all you can to protect yourself,” he said. “It’s your responsibility to protect your own health, it’s not the rest of the public’s responsibility — in my opinion — to protect your health.” While the use of face coverings has been shown to protect wearers from the virus to some extent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the main benefit of wearing masks is to keep from spreading the virus to others through droplets coming from an infected person’s nose and mouth — especially when that person is an asymptomatic spreader. McDonald encouraged people to continue social distancing and washing their hands, noting that those procedures should already be in use during cold and

flu seasons. He said he received more emails about Bradshaw’s resolution than any other issue since he took office in 2017, and that the mask mandate has created the most division he’s ever seen in Bonner County. “We cannot continue to see this division escalate, because it’s going to get bad if we do,” he said, adding later: “Be nice. Be nice from a distance — but be nice.” Bradshaw said that he wanted it “on the record” that he “is not trying to put Panhandle Health out of business,” but takes issue with an unelected body creating restrictions. “Do they do good things? They do a ton of good stuff,” Bradshaw said of the health district’s various services. “But as soon as you cross that line into illegal stuff, what’s that do to your good stuff you’re doing?” According to Idaho Code, the Panhandle Health District acted within its powers and duties by creating the mandate, seeing as health districts are charged “to do all things required for the preservation and protection of the public health.” State law gives the governor, Department of Health and Welfare, health districts and cities the authority to enact pandemic restrictions.

< see COUNTY, page 5 >


COVID numbers continue daily climb Sandpoint City Council hears from PD chief on enforcement of regional mask order

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff

Communities throughout Idaho continue to struggle with navigating the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Cases of the virus have skyrocketed in recent weeks, amounting to about 14 million nationwide, resulting in more than 270,000 deaths since tracking began in the spring. Idaho reported 1,429 new confirmed and probable cases Dec. 2, with 991 total deaths. The Panhandle Health District, which covers the five northernmost counties, reported 238 new cases on Dec. 2, with 67 individuals currently hospitalized and 122 deaths to date. More than 7,000 cases have been considered “closed,” that is, by recovery, refusal for monitoring and/or inability to contact, or death. District-wide, 10,131 known cases have been reported. Sandpoint City Council

member Deb Ruehle noted at the city meeting Dec. 2 the rising death toll due to COVID-19 since the council last met on Nov. 18. “More than two people have died per day since we last met, 14 days ago,” she said, calling on city staff to produce an ordinance or other administrative action making mask wearing mandatory when entering local businesses. Ruehle also requested and received a 30-second moment of silence to honor those who have died as a result of the pandemic. Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Staplton and Police Chief Corey Coon led the pandemic update, with the former stressing that the strategy regarding the PHD mask order has been “education, initially, for the first 30 days, and then we can reassess.” The department is authorized to issue citations and warnings. Per the health district’s order, noncompliance carries a misdemeanor charge

with a maximum $1,000 fine and potential jail time. Yet, Coon said the “plan [is] to educate the public.” “It’s been kind of a reactive and proactive approach by the police department,” he said, adding that in his visits to local businesses, one issue has been the lack of uniform signage regarding the mask order. “That’s an area that we could look at,” Coon said, though, “overall, the businesses are fairly happy” while being “stuck between a rock and a hard place.” By that, Coon alluded to the COVID catch-22: merchants want customers to

visit their places of business, but mingling out and about is actively — and legally — discouraged. Council member John Darling pushed back against any notion of a city-directed signage rule, stating, “Each business owner has the opportunity to put whatever signage in their store that they want and will always have that right. … I don’t believe that any ordinance from the city should be able to ask them to put a sign in their business.” Council member Joel Aispuro — himself a restaurant owner — asked Coon what

making changes to representation on the board. Former Bonner County Commissioner and current PHD board member Glen Bailey, present at the BOCC meeting, Dec. 1, said that defunding the health district would be “overkill.” However, he noted that the two Kootenai County PHD representatives — family physician Richard McLandress and registered nurse Jai Nelson — were the “driving force” behind the multi-county mask mandate. “I think that the county commissioners there could be influenced to modify their representation on the Panhandle Health District board,” Bailey said. Kootenai County commissioners had mixed reactions to Bailey’s suggestion. “Why would I replace the

only two medical professionals on the PHD Board when neither is up for reappointment yet?” Kootenai County Commissioner Chris Fillios wrote in an email to the Reader. “And I remind you that there were at least four members who voted for the mandate. Perhaps Bonner County officials should revisit their two appointments.” Bailey and Allen Banks, both Bonner County representatives on the PHD Board, were the only two votes against the mask mandate. Kootenai County Commissioner Leslie Duncan said, that for her, “the larger issue is if it is appropriate for health board members, who have no direct accountability to the people, to be issuing orders which stretch Idaho’s quarantine laws

to the breaking point,” and characterized the mandate as a “heavy-handed, one-size-fitsall-approach.” “I hope to work with our legislators to amend our codes to put reasonable guidance and limits on health districts’ authority,” Duncan told the Reader.

An image of the novel coronavirus as it appears in an electron microscope. Courtesy CDC. should be done in cases where individuals, whether customers or workers, cite a medical reason for not wearing a mask. “The conversation really ends at that point,” Coon said, referring to law enforcement’s ability to inquire after a person’s reason for refusing to wear a mask. “Everybody has their own challenges in their personal lives,” he said. “We shouldn’t jump to conclusions ... not wearing a mask isn’t because they’re not being compliant.”

< COUNTY, con’t from page 4 > With Gov. Brad Little’s continued emphasis on local control over those restrictions and his repeated refusal to enact a statewide mask mandate, those decisions have become the talk of health district agendas across Idaho for the last several months. Whether those restrictions will be enforced is another issue altogether. While the PHD mask mandate carries the threat of fine or imprisonment for those who don’t comply, Bonner County law enforcement officials have announced that they will not be enforcing it. A (county) line in the sand With Bradshaw’s proposal off the table and PHD’s budget not up for discussion until July 2021, conversation turned from the health district’s finances to

The Panhandle Health District Kootenai County HQ in Hayden. Courtesy photo. Kootenai County Commissioner Bill Brooks told the Spokesman-Review that Bradshaw’s resolution to defund PHD was a “silly threat” and that he’s “not really interested in theatrics right now.” December 3, 2020 /


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Council OK’s University Park development agreement By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Sandpoint City Council members approved the development agreement for University Park, planned to bring a largescale multi-use commercial/residential subdivision to the former University of Idaho property on North Boyer Avenue. Council member Deb Ruehle was the sole dissenting vote. Jeremy Grimm, of Whiskey Rock Planning and Consulting, represented developers Tim McDonnell and Derek Mulgrew throughout the review process. He told the Reader following the meeting that “my clients are very, very pleased,” with the approval. “You could see dirt turning next week,” he said. The 75-acre development has been contentious, with the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission denying the original application, citing conflicts with the city’s comprehensive plan — specifically the plan section related to “neighborhood feel” and worries over traffic-clogged streets. At the time, at the P&Z meeting Oct. 6, officials balked at the proposal based on its size and potential for creating gridlock traffic on the stretch of North Boyer from the railroad tracks at Baldy Mountain Road to East Mountain View Road. P&Z Commissioner Slade Kemp said in October that the project was “not consistent with the overall planning goals outlined in

the comprehensive plan.” As previously reported, the development envisions 133 single-family homes; between 150 and 160 multi-family homes; a 45,000-square-foot storage facility; and 10,000-square-foot commercial shopping center on the site, which was long home to the U of I agricultural extension facility. The project — located on the last large tract of developable land within Sandpoint city limits — calls for access via North Boyer at two points in the south and one point in the north, at East Mountain View Drive. It will proceed in four phases, planned to conclude in 2025. Consultant Phil Kushlan told the council that changes had been made to the agreement based on previous discussions — going back to September — in which officials asked for traffic flow mitigations among other fixes. Kushlan said that four key issues had been addressed in the development agreement: the construction timeline extending to 2025, deferment of a right-turn lane onto North Boyer from the south end of the development “until increased density or a zone change” are required, greater flexibility on the construction of a fence along Boyer — what some officials on the planning board feared would become a “plastic canyon” — and snow removal. “That’s what you told us to do, and that’s what we did,” Kushlan said.

Ponderay police sergeant dies Mike Victorino succumbed to injuries from an August motorcycle accident By Reader Staff Detective Sgt. Mike Victorino of the Ponderay Police Department died on Nov. 25 after a months-long fight to survive traumatic brain injuries sustained in an August motorcycle accident. Idaho State Police report that Victorino, who was not wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, lost control of his bike on loose gravel near Lewiston. Victorino, who died at age 56, joined the Ponderay Police Department in 2001 and also held positions at the Spirit Lake Police Department, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office, Bonner County Sheriff’s Office and the Sandpoint Police Department during his career in law enforcement. He was also a veteran of the United States Air Force. Friends shared Victorino’s medical journey in detail on social media, and the broader 6 /


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Det. Sgt. Mike Victorino. Courtesy photo. communities of Bonner County rallied to raise money for his hospital expenses at an October benefit event. A celebration of Victorino’s life is being held at the Bonner County Fairgrounds Saturday, Dec. 19 and 2 p.m.

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: Last year’s four-day work week experiment in Japan found that worker productivity was boosted 40%. In the U.S. the Mom Project is urging U.S. corporations to follow Japan’s lead. Nasty stuff: President Donald Trump campaign attorney, Joseph DiGenova, has said Chris Krebs should be “drawn and quartered” and “shot” for disagreeing with the president. Krebs was the director of cybersecurity until Trump dismissed him for saying the recent election was “the most secure in history.” Krebs was responding to Trump’s allegations of rampant voter fraud; he has indicated he is ready to take legal action against DiGenova. The Atlantic commented on President-elect Joe Biden’s cabinet and senior staff picks, and played with Trump’s accusation that Biden was “the most boring human being I’ve ever seen.” They noted that while Biden’s choices may be “boring,” “if you shook them awake and appointed them in the middle of the night at any time in the last decade, [they] could have reported to their new jobs and started work competently by dawn.” Biden has announced plans to have Janet Yellen, a labor economist and monetary policy expert, head the Treasury Department. She chaired the Federal Reserve from 2014 to 2018 and was head of the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President Bill Clinton. She wins praise from left and right: former Goldman Sachs executive Gary Cohn tweeted that she is “an excellent choice … a steady hand.” A recent Rand Study showed that if income distribution were the same as it was in the three decades after WWII, today’s “bottom” 90% would be far better off: those earning $35,000 would instead be earning $61,000, and a college-educated person earning $72,000 today would instead earn $120,000. Former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich commented that the downward trend is not from “natural causes,” but rather, stems from slackened antitrust laws, corporate union busting, bailouts of Wall Street and widened tax loopholes. The daily death toll from COVID-19 is now equal to 9/11 every three days, but Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell sent his colleagues home for

By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist

a break without passing any COVID-19 relief bill. The House passed such a bill in May, but McConnell has ignored it. Inequality Media says that when the bill passed March 27 there were 18,093 new cases that day; now there are more than 150,000 new cases daily. Last week 125 economists wrote an open letter urging a COVID-19 relief package that would serve until a vaccine is ready to have an impact, Newsweek reported. The havoc caused by COVID-19 could change before Christmas, if we followed the lead of Slovakia: That country is utilizing a massive antigen-testing program, with notably successful results, TIME reported. The paper strip test is similar to a pregnancy test but uses a nasal swab sample. It’s inexpensive, easy to manufacture, shows results within minutes, and can be done at home. If half of all U.S. citizens partook, then knowledge that they are either safe that day, or need to quarantine, would buy valuable time and save untold lives before a vaccine is ready for widespread use. If the government footed the bill, the cost would be $5 billion (as compared to the $2.2 trillion COVID-19 relief proposal from the House). Blast from the past: It’s called “American democracy’s design flaw,” and it’s just fine if it works for your party, points out David Daley, author of Unrigged: How Americans Are Battling Back to Save Democracy. In the past eight elections Democrats won seven of eight of the popular presidential votes (including Biden), but that did not always put them into the White House. It was the Electoral College that blocked the people’s will, with Republicans gaining the White House twice, even with fewer votes, since 2000.The explanation: rural areas skew the vote. For example, Wyoming’s electoral vote counts for four times the weight of a California electoral vote. A more recent “design flaw” was the Supreme Court’s declaration that the Voting Rights Act was no longer needed to protect minority voters (not all Supreme Court justices agreed), which opened the doors for voter suppression efforts in 25 states, such as in Texas, where the governor limited ballot drop boxes to one per county. Daley writes that more than 50 million Americans live where one or both chambers of their state legislature are controlled by Republicans, despite Democrats winning more votes in 2018.


Mask order is no attack on freedom

Commish Bradshaw dead wrong about deadly virus, health district funding

By Cynthia Dalsing Reader Contributor

I take issue with Steven Bradshaw, Bonner County commissioner, after his recent diatribe against a public mask mandate by the Panhandle Health Department [News, “Education, not enforcement,” Nov. 25, 2020], in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19. What an embarrassment he is to our town and community government. Mr. Bradshaw wants to decrease the Panhandle Health Department budget from a little more than $250,000 to $1 to “make a statement.” County commissioners are responsible for providing administrative services to Bonner County — a direct job description from the county website — not to make “statements,” especially as a response to our public health department trying to save human life by slowing the spread of a pandemic disease. It appears Mr. Bradshaw believes himself a medical expert (despite no medical training), stating what we are currently experiencing is not a pandemic. The definition of a pandemic is “a worldwide spread of a new disease.” What are we experiencing with COVID-19 if not a pandemic; one that is stretching our health care resources and, most importantly, our health care workers, to their limits? He describes breath as “the very essence of life … there is no human right more fundamental than the right to breathe.” Two of my children are frontline medical workers. Do they not also have “inalienable rights endorsed by our creator”? Do they not also have the right to breath as they care for our friends and neighbors who have fallen ill due to coronavirus? Mr. Bradshaw’s “right” to not wear a mask does not supersede my children’s right to breathe. Indeed, theirs may be the first face he sees, if Mr. Bradshaw needs health care. Wearing a mask is a commitment to our community: to our family, friends and neighbors — a commitment to protect their “fundamental right to breathe” freely, not in a medically induced coma, being mechanically

ventilated in an intensive care unit. Who will help us coordinate a response to COVID-19 if the health department does not have funding? Is Mr. Bradshaw going to volunteer to triage patients when there are no more ventilators and still more sick people come to the doors of our hospitals? Currently more than 91,000 people (twice the 2019 population of Bonner county) are hospitalized with COVID-19 in the U.S. alone. More than 1,000 doctors and nurses — equivalent to the entire study body at Sandpoint High School in the 2018-2019 school year — have died from COVID-19, contracted while taking care of patients with this serious viral illness. This number does not include the rest of the medical team and hospital staff involved with a COVID-19-positive patient: pharmacists, respiratory therapists, medical technicians and lab staff who have direct contact with COVID-19-positive patients. I am also not counting custodial staff, ward clerks, EMTs and countless other essential personnel that keep our hospitals running safely. When you see a picture of a patient who has COVID-19 in the media, have you noticed how many people are at the bedside? Easily five or more. These acutely ill patients require multiple providers, and those providers also have other patients who are relying on these same providers to be 100% present in their care. I guarantee you these health

Bonner County Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, who recently supported defunding the Panhandle Health District because of its mask mandate. Courtesy photo.

care providers are working 12+ hour shifts, many days in a row, with not enough time off between shifts. These people have husbands, wives, children and parents they go home to. Many quarantine themselves away from family at home, to avoid exposing their own families. It is relatively easy to mobilize production of more ventilators and PPE. But what happens when there is no one to run those ventilators? Our force of experienced doctors, nurses, RTs and all the rest is finite. You cannot quickly produce caring, experienced, dedicated health care professionals to take care of your loved ones. The mask mandate is not an attack on any freedoms, it is an act of compassion and selflessness — something I guarantee Mr. Bradshaw’s creator knows a thing or two about, even if Mr. Bradshaw does not. We need to unite, the way our ancestors have multiple times throughout history, when we have faced a crisis as a nation. Let’s keep our health care providers and frontline workers — not to mention our own friends and family — healthy. Wear a mask and do not defund the Panhandle Health Department. Cynthia Dalsing, MSN/ARNP, serves as District 1 representative of the Nurse Practitioners of Idaho. December 3, 2020 /


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Barbs: • I hold my tongue (sometimes) when Bonner County’s elected officials say and do dumb things, but this week I have to say something. Commissioners Steve Bradshaw and Dan McDonald are continually bringing controversy and shame upon Bonner County residents by promoting their ideological issues over the good of the community. Bradshaw recently voiced support for an ill-conceived measure to defund the Panhandle Health District because he seemed to want to punish PHD for their mask mandate issued on Nov. 19 – which he and McDonald have both come out against. McDonald has expressed on social media that he was looking into this idea as well. The defunding plan didn’t get off the ground at this week’s county meeting because pesky laws got in the way. What alternate reality is this? We’re in the midst of a global pandemic, with cases rising statewide, and we have county commissioners looking into how to defund our health district. People say they don’t want activists in government, but that’s exactly what we have with McDonald and Bradshaw. I’m thankful for Commissioner Jeff Connolly, a Republican who is often the sole voice of reason on the board. I know there are many of you out there who agree with Bradshaw and McDonald’s political games, but I pray you don’t end up on the other side of an issue from these two. Only then, perhaps, you’ll see how inappropriate it is for county commissioners to promote hobby horse ideological issues over the health, safety and economic vitality of a community. Taxpayers have already footed the bill for the lawsuit brought by the county over the weapons policy at the Festival at Sandpoint, which were introduced by Bradshaw and McDonald. This has ended up costing taxpayers more than $200,000, as well as put this economic windfall for Sandpoint in jeopardy – again because of their ideology. My advice to them? Plow the roads, provide services to the people and stop with the bullshit. If you choose not to wear a mask, that’s your choice, but to punish PHD and all the thousands of Bonner County residents who benefit from their services – because of a personal bias – goes beyond petty. Let’s focus on the nuts and bolts issues and steer clear of these tiresome, politically divisive quagmires. 8 /


/ December 3, 2020

Dear editor, When did Bonner County Commissioner Steve Bradshaw become a medical doctor? Putting forth the idea to withhold funds to Panhandle Health because of the mask, social distancing, and hand-washing recommendation/mandate is ridiculous. Limiting your constitutional rights? Please. Rather than a mandate, would you prefer it become another law? Where was all the protesting when the following laws (limiting our constitutional rights) were enacted? • Wearing seatbelts. • Child safety seats. • Hands-free devices only, while driving. Didn’t hear a lot of protesting when the above examples became law. So, what do the above three have in common with the wearing of a mask, social distancing and hand washing? Safety for the greatest number of people. Do you want another law on the books or would you rather “voluntarily” adhere to the mandate? How about using a little common sense and do the right thing for the greater good. Michael Harmelin Sandpoint

To county commissioners: ‘Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water’... Dear editor, I have copied [county] staff on this letter so that it is included in the public record. When I first read of your agenda item to defund Panhandle Health I thought surely it must just be an opportunity to rant against the mask mandate rather than a serious attempt to defund; I was wrong. The authority of Panhandle Health to impose a mask mandate in the name of public health is supported by the following code/rules of the State of Idaho: Idaho Code 56-1003(7), IDAPA, Idaho Code 39-415, Idaho Code 67-5247. Although you may not like the imposition of the mask mandate, Panhandle Health is within its right to do so. Additionally, I would argue not to [institute a mask order] would be a dereliction of duty to protect the public. I’m sure you’ve heard the old saying: “Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water.” Perhaps this is a case of throwing out the bath water with the baby. Either way, you are making a huge mistake because of an ideological difference. Protect public health! Carrie Logan Sandpoint

Here’s what PHD actually does for the community... Dear editor, Here is an abbreviated list of the

health services Panhandle Health District provides to the families of Bonner County, year in and year out: blood pressure management; cancer Screening (colorectal, cervical, skin and breast); cervical polyps diagnosed; colposcopy; dental health; diabetes prevention programs; endometrial biopsies; eye, ear, nose and throat infections; flu symptoms; immunizations, including travel immunizations; menopausal management; minor upper respiratory infections; minor skin problems (mole removal, biopsies, rashes, warts, etc.); minor sprains and strains; pap smears and abnormal pap smear management; PrEP — HIV prevention; school/sports physicals; thyroid problems diagnosis; Type 1, 2 and gestational diabetes management; urinary tract infection diagnosis and treatment; vaccines; vaginal; infections treated; wellness exams; opioid abuse prevention; emergency preparedness; senior companions; and suicide prevention. We, Bonner County residents and business owners, need these services and expertise. Sincerely, Molly O’Reilly Sandpoint

Shopping in Washington, where public health is respected… Dear editor, I had gotten so discouraged by the lack of masking in Bonner County establishments that I did all my Thanksgiving shopping in Spokane last week, where mask ordinances were reasonably observed. I had great hopes for compliance with the new ordinance in Bonner County, but when I shopped today (Nov 24), I found that only about 75% of shoppers were masked, about the same percentage as before the mask ordinance was passed. Whose responsibility is it to ensure that the ordinance is enforced? I’m afraid I will have to go back to shopping in Washington state next week where masking is more rigorously observed, the produce is fresher and one doesn’t have to pay the ridiculous Idaho state tax on food items. Curbside pickup is not available for food items at the Sandpoint Safeway or Ponderay Walmart. I would like to support local businesses, but being in a susceptible category, I am unable to put my life in jeopardy because of their failure to enforce an ordinance that was passed by the Panhandle Health District. Donald L. Kass Sandpoint

Commission’s anti-mask stance is ‘downright dangerous’...

Dear editor, To commissioners: Please consider the health and well being of the entire community when you chose to not only not honor the mask mandate declared by Panhandle Health District,

but to financially penalize them as well, for working hard and doing their best to keep us all safe. This sends the message to the community that individual rights are more important than keeping our citizens safe. It is just plain irresponsible. Health care workers of all kinds need every bit of help and cooperation they can get. This idea makes a mockery of all that is good about our community: people helping people for the good of all. We should be commending the folks who are willing to step up to help and protect their fellow citizens. Putting your own trivial needs and preferences above others’ more serious ones, is self centered and downright dangerous. Especially when following health guidelines is such a simple matter. There is no doubt that a mask mandate would be difficult to enforce. But having one in place that is recommended, supported and followed by the leaders of the community sends a strong message that we all need to do our part to fight this pandemic. Masks are not perfect, but it has been proven that if worn consistently and correctly, they can be at least 70% effective. Even having law enforcement focusing on the educational component will be helpful and effective. We have been fortunate so far with our rate of infection. Please recommend we follow PHD’s guidelines and do all in our power to keep it that way. In doing so we will be able to keep schools and businesses open. Thank you,

ring to, Bradshaw said, “the right to breathe freely as we choose to, with or without a mask.” I would modify that and say that we have the right to “breathe clean air.” I applaud those legislators who have passed regulations to improve the quality of our air (and water). As an example, if we had to live near a coal-fired power plant, I would want such regulations in place. The contaminants from such a plant can produce unhealthy air. Filtering out such contaminants is a good start. Secondary smoke from tobacco products, now regulated, is another example of unwelcome and dangerous air contamination. There is a parallel with COVID-19. Infectious victims do exhale virus droplets. I would like those droplets to be filtered out of the air the rest of us breathe. Masks (filters) are quite helpful for this. So my inalienable right to breathe clean air suggests the use of masks until the virus is under control. Further, I do not believe others have an inalienable right to pollute the air with virus droplets which sicken others and even kill some. Richard Sevenich Sandpoint

Grateful for PHD...

Dear editor, I look forward to being able to stop wearing masks. However, my husband and I are COVID-19 “survivors,” and Commissioner Steve Bradshaw’s proposal to defund the Panhandle Health District makes it hard for me to write a polite letter. My husband, John, (who has an enlarged fibrillating heart and uses a CPAP Margie Corcoran machine — one of those “at-risk” people) Sagle contracted COVID the week of Nov. 1. Ironic, defined... Circumstances were such that we know Dear editor, he got it from going into a store while If I desire to use a rather lengthy wearing a mask. This means he very likely definition of the meaning of the word contracted it from someone in the store “ironic” perhaps I could use the exam- who maybe didn’t know they were sick ple of what is now being spread over and who was not wearing a mask. I subsewhat we used to call “the airways.” quently contracted COVD from John. On August 25, 2020, Hillary Clinton One of the things that make COVID advised Joe Biden to not concede defeat so scary (in addition to the significant on the night of the election on Novemdiscomfort) is the isolation required ber 3 because one never knows what when you are sick. In our situation, my the result of mail-in ballots may be. husband’s doctor’s office was closed bePerhaps, as I call him, Mr. Trump cause all but two of their staff had COVID. is actually listening to the woman Because of this, Panhandle Health District with the handle he gave her, “Lock her was a main lifeline for us. Someone from up,” and is now following her advice. the PHD called after each of us tested positive. They were checking to see how James Richard Johnson we were doing, whether we had a support Clark Fork network of any kind and whether we had Anti-maskers don’t have a ‘right’ possibly spread the disease to anyone to pollute the air… else. They gave us a number to call in case we had more questions or needed more Dear editor, help. They gave us guidelines for self care. Bonner County Commissioner These were reassuring phone calls at a Bradshaw was among those quoted time when we couldn’t have friends comin a recent website article from Spokane’s Spokesman Review. From that ing into our house to help us and when John’s doctor’s office was closed. article I’ll extract this: Bottom line: We are so grateful for “And I don’t believe that anybody the Panhandle Health District. has the power, or any government If anything, their funding should be agency has the power to regulate increased. this fundamental right.” When asked Jill Trick (and John Anderson) which inalienable right he was referSandpoint


101 Women Sandpoint fall grant amounts to $20k By Vicki Reich Reader Contributor

I recently joined the board of 101 Women Sandpoint. I’ve been a member since the group began in 2016, but I felt I wanted to get more involved. 101 Women is a group of women who all agree to donate $200 per year (plus a yearly $25 membership fee). That money is pooled together and every member gets to vote for one of three local non-profits at our biannual event. The winning nonprofit receives a $10,000 grant. It is the multiplying effect of this group and the simplicity of the format that first got me to join. My $200 investment each year turns into $20,000 for our community, and all I have to do is go to a fun event twice a year and vote. 101 Women Sandpoint just concluded its fall grant event. The finalists (out of 14 applicants) were: the Bonner County Historical Society for restoring the homesteading cabin in Lakeview Park, the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint to support its “Music Matters!” program and Pend Oreille Pedalers to help build beginner trails on the newly donated VTT property near Pine Street Woods. Because of COVID-19, we’ve taken our event online. Pre-recorded presentations from the finalists were emailed to members along with a ballot. Members had a week to review the presentations and decide which organization would receive the $10,000 grant. As I waited to find out who the grant recipient would be, I wondered how the grant money had affected past recipients. Grant winners do present how they used their grant money at the following member event, but I had a feeling there was more to the story. I decided to check in with some past awardees. Community Cancer Services won the fall 2018 grant. When I talked to Executive Director Cindy Marx, she was still very grateful for the grant. She said the grant bought $15 gas vouchers — 667 of them to be exact. She told me people undergoing radiation treatment drive to Coeur d’Alene or Spokane five times a week for six to eight weeks, and the gas vouchers can be the difference between getting treatment and putting food on the table. Marx said the grant came at the perfect time and helped the organization get out of a cycle where they would run out of

money before the end of the year. CCS is still benefiting from that good timing. 101 Women also brought CCS to the attention of the community and the organization received other donations that Marx attributes to that publicity. When I contacted Ken Larson, co-founder of North Idaho High School Aerospace Program, about the fall 2019 grant that his organization received, he replied with a document titled, “101 Women Grant Is Huge!” The Aerospace Program’s mission is to provide STEM training and career pathways experience available nowhere else in North Idaho. Before receiving the grant money, Larson said the program was “struggling on a couple of fronts, which the grant solved for us.” The program was able to purchase professional tools and toolboxes it desperately needed to work on and restore an old RV6 plane, which had been donated without an engine or avionics. Along with the tool purchase, $500 of the grant was spent on an engine. The “Gal Squad” — a team of young women aged 11-16 — tore down the engine and rebuilt it into a cutaway teaching engine (using the tools purchased by the grant). Members of the Gal Squad were recently invited to show off their work at an all-female air show, which will allow them to share what they learned and keep stretching the reach of the grant. Food For Our Children was the winner of the fall 2017 grant. FFOC provides free weekend meal bags and mid morning snacks to low-income kids. I talked with board member Michele Murphree and she was still excited about the impact the grant had on the organization three years later. FFOC started in 2015 and Murphree said the 101 Women grant came at an important time. With the grant money, they were able to supply weekend food bags to Washington School, the last elementary school in LPOSD on their list. It was a milestone they had been working towards for 2 years. Aside from the monetary support the grant gave, Murphree said being able to tell a roomful of thoughtful, caring women about her organization was not only empowering but also brought new awareness of FFOC into the community. I know the other five grant winners I wasn’t able to include in this article have similar stories to tell. You can find a list

of them and all of the runner-up organizations over the years at 101womensandpoint. com/past-events. All of these organizations still need our help. Please consider supporting them with your time or money. And consider joining 101 Women to multiply your donations. Last Monday I was excited to find out the winner was The Music Conservatory. They had been among the three finalists two times before and I was glad they finally won the grant. I can’t wait to find out all the great things they do with the funds.

Members of 101 Women Sandpoint and grant committee members present $10,000 to Karin Wedemeyer, executive director at Music Conservatory of Sandpoint. Courtesy photo.

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Mad about Science:

Brought to you by:

the fall of pompeii By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist When we picture a volcanic eruption, we envision a huge and awesome fiery explosion and huge columns of smoke spewing into the sky. In the case of Pompeii, many of us imagine the city being leveled by a huge, fiery wave of destruction, as though it were hit by a nuclear weapon. This is not an entirely accurate image; as often is the case, the truth is much more macabre than we could ever imagine. Pompeii was a Roman city near the base of Mount Vesuvius, the only volcano on the European mainland to have erupted within the past century. The city of Pompeii was founded sometime between the 6th and 7th centuries, BCE — surviving for nearly 800 years before being completely destroyed in 79 CE. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was heralded nearly a decade earlier, when a massive earthquake rocked the city of Pompeii. Immense amounts of pressure were created from gasses that were being superheated by magma beneath the Earth’s surface. This pressure exerted from these gasses was enough to move millions of tons of rock, causing the very ground to violently heave and shift beneath the feet of the ancient Romans. Objects expand when they are heated — similarly, they will contract when chilled; these are properties of thermodynamics, to which gas is no exception. Even though we can’t see it, gas is capable of ex10 /


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erting huge amounts of pressure on things when it is heated and expands — that’s why oxygen canisters in hospitals are so dangerous and need to be kept away from sources of heat: oxygen is highly flammable and it violently expands when heated. In the hours leading up to Mount Vesuvius’s fateful eruption, these tremors would have become very noticeable as the pressure beneath the volcano was building, and the mountain’s structure was beginning to succumb at its weakest points to this pressure. These quakes, and the release of pressurized gas from the mountain would have sounded like large, booming explosions in the distance — a sound that is barely normal today, let alone 2,000 years ago. At some point, the pressure would have reached a critical point. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was a violent one, much like Mount Saint Helens in 1980. Vesuvius’s eruption was believed to have blown a huge amount of rock from near its peak, practically turning the mountain into a crater. Most of this rock — but not all — was blasted into silicate dust and plumed into the atmosphere, creating a huge pillar of black smoke from the heart of the mountain. Countless pieces of debris were flung high into the sky, ranging in size anywhere from the size of a pebble to watermelon-sized chunks, and perhaps even larger than that. These chunks of rock didn’t remain airborne for long, and returned to the Earth as a terrifying and destructive hail. Before any wall of superheated gas hit the city, it was likely the denizens of

Pompeii were pelted for what potentially may have been hours by this deadly pumice. Additionally, much of the dust fell around Vesuvius, too, creating massive blankets of snow-like ash. This ash, in large amounts, became extremely heavy and began to collapse the roofs of several buildings throughout Pompeii, burying those that sought shelter indoors. It is believed that there was an evacuation attempt (though “exodus” is probably a more accurate term) during this stage of the eruption. It has been documented that several of the more prominent members of Pompeian society managed to flee at this point, taking many of their most valuable belongings with them. As night began to fall on Pompeii, the pyroclastic flows (surges of heated gas) began to strike the city, leveling and incinerating buildings and bodies in their path. This was when the largest number of people are believed to have died. At this point, Vesuvius would have been obscured by a pillar of swirling ash, illuminated from within by the glow of molten lava. The city was barraged by pyroclastic flows for several hours through the night and into the next morning. What few structures still stood were quickly being covered by thick layers of volcanic ash. Indeed, the ash would not stop falling for almost two days after the initial eruption. Pompeii was so thoroughly covered that many Romans could not identify where the city once stood, and the site would be abandoned and forgotten for

almost 1,500 years. It was rediscovered, by accident, in 1599, but not excavated and explored in some detail until the 1700s. Despite the destruction faced by the city, it is uniquely one of the most well-preserved sites of antiquity to survive into the current era. Many frescoes, wall paintings common in ancient Rome, were well preserved by the layers of volcanic ash — as were the

human bodies excavated from the ruins. In fact, one of the most well-preserved pieces of accidental art from Pompeii is actually graffiti scrawled on walls, including a simple piece that states: “Gaius was here” — a statement that becomes extremely poignant when factoring in the violent utter destruction of the city. Enjoy the snow, and stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner rlin wall?

Don’t know much about the be • The Berlin Wall was a guarded concrete barrier that physically — and ideologically — divided Berlin from 1961 to 1989, when it was demolished by citizens after an East German spokesman misspoke at a press conference and mentioned immediate border crossing privileges for every citizen. The actual demolition did not happen in 1989. It began in the summer of 1990 and was not completed until 1992. • The East German government claimed that the Berlin Wall was an “anti-fascist protective rampart,” intended to dissuade aggression from the West, but it was mostly to prevent its citizens from fleeing to West Berlin. •The Berlin Wall was more than 87 miles long. • Around 5,000 people attempted to escape over the Berlin Wall, with an estimated death toll ranging from 136 to more than 200. The last person who died at the Berlin Wall attempted to escape in a hot air balloon but fell to his death. • In 1963, an East German soldier stole a tank and drove it through the Berlin Wall to escape.

We can help!

• David Bowie performed at the Berlin Wall in 1987 while East Germans gathered to listen behind. You could hear them cheering and singing along from the other side. • Record-holding Olympic runner Usain Bolt owns a three-ton segment of the Berlin Wall. • There is a section of the Berlin Wall in the men’s bathroom of the Main Street Station casino in Las Vegas. • In 1989, then-British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher (leader of the Conservative Party) pleaded with then-Soviet Premier Mikhail Gorbachev to keep the Berlin Wall up. • Nov. 9 is a significant day in Germany. In 1918, Germany became a republic. In 1923, the Bier Hall Putsch in Munich marked the first major move by nascent dictator Adolf Hitler to seize power. In 1938, Kristallnacht, when Jewish-owned homes, places of worship and business were vandalized and destroyed by the Nazis. In 1989, the Berlin Wall fell. • Before the Berlin Wall’s erection, 3.5 million East Germans defected from their country.


Local businesses weather the COVID storm

Left: The Alpine Shop on Church Street in Sandpoint. Photo courtesy Sandpoint Shopping District Instagram. Right: In the heart of the Sandpoint Shopping District on First Avenue. Photo by Ben Olson.

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff As with the nation at large, Sandpoint businesses did a thriving trade as the shopping season started in earnest after Thanksgiving 2020 — all that despite the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which has so far killed more than 270,000 Americans, with more than 150,000 positive cases measured daily across the country. Dauntless, holiday shoppers came out in droves, altering their spending habits as they poured historic amounts of cash online. CNBC reported Black Friday purchases topped $62 billion nationwide, with nearly $17 billion spent online — the former figure a 2.1% increase over last year and the latter a whopping 48.3% bump year over year, even as in-store purchases fell 8.6% from 2019, accounting for $45.46 billion. Closer to home, Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Kate McAlister, who also serves as a member of the Sandpoint City Council, went out “chambering,”

stopping into as many local businesses as possible after the big post-holiday shopping day. “I visited with just about all the businesses on First, Second and some of the others in the area,” she said. “I did go to Eichardt’s and they said they were as busy as they always are on the weekends, MickDuffs was busy as well. “As for the retail stores, without exception I heard the weekend was better than the same time last year. Since Saturday [Nov. 28] was Shop Small Saturday, I was happy to hear they all did so well,” she added. “My hope is, it will continue through the holidays and beyond. Some even said November has been the best November they have ever had.” Darian Kinney, who with her husband, Matt, have owned and operated the downtown jewelry shop Sunshine Goldmine for six and a half years, said the business had a “record day” on Black Friday, comprised of retail but mostly repairs and custom work — the latter being much safer for COVID-19 transmission. “As a business owner I appreciate

people going out, braving it, and shopping local,” Kinney said. “As a consumer, I realize it can be a very difficult decision.” Russ Sabin, owner of the Tervan Tavern, said his bar has been busy all year — aided in part by out-of-town visitors. “We’ve managed to survive this thing really well,” he said. McAlister emphasized that visitors and shoppers alike should continue to wear masks, as businesses perch precariously on the “blade of the sword,” as she put it at the Dec. 2 meeting of the Sandpoint City Council. “These are not big box stores, these are small business owners who work hard to make a living and really can’t afford to shut down for any length of time,” she said. “If they do, it might be for good. We have been very lucky our stores have managed to not only stay open, but thrive, during this crazy time. “We have an amazing community and we work hard to help one another succeed,” McAlister added, “we don’t know any other way to be.” December 3, 2020 /


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Sentimental Sandpoint By Claire Christy Reader Contributor Many Sandpoint natives know Randy Wilhelm, the graphic design and art instructor at Lake Pend Oreille High School. Randy was born and raised in Sandpoint and has held his position at LPOHS for 23 years. “I teach in the same room that was my third-grade classroom, in the building where I went to elementary school, just down the road from where I grew up,” Wilhelm wrote in his artist biography for Pend Oreille Arts Council. “So, it is safe to say that in the past 39 years since my highschool graduation, I have made it a block from home.” Wilhelm and those who have grown up in the Sandpoint area have witnessed many changes taking place in their little town. They saw the Panhandle Mill building on Fifth Avenue come down in 2005. They saw Harold’s IGA grocery store come down in 2006. Nostalgia and sentimentality prompted Wilhelm to create his Sandpoint Series. The series memorializes past and present

Sandpoint local favorites. Harold’s IGA, Panhandle Mill and The Tervan are a few from the series. The landscape of the Sandpoint area inspires Wilhelm’s favorite art to create: scenery and wildlife — especially fish. When he worked at Keokee Publishing, he had the opportunity to work on Flyfisher Magazine, where he had several of his works published. Wilhelm’s work is known to address political and social issues, as well. He tells students in his art class, “I don’t care if you love it or hate it, as long as you can’t walk by it and ignore it.” Wilhelm’s art students often participate in POAC’s Student Art Show as well as the Art for Human Rights exhibit. “I am grateful we have an organization like Pend Oreille Arts Council to help promote the arts in Sandpoint,” he said. “I have been involved with POAC for more years than I can remember — literally. I helped as a volunteer for many years and was even a member of the board at one point. POAC provides opportunities for artists of all

Local artist and teacher Randy Wilhelm creates works of art to memorialize Sandpoint’s past

levels to display their works to the public. I particularly appreciate the student art show each year, which gives my students a chance to show off their creative creations.” To see Randy Wilhelm’s work and the work of other featured local artists, visit artinsandpoint.org/shop-our-gallery or visit the POAC gallery at 110 Main St., Suite 101, inside the Music Conservatory building.

A painting of the former Harold’s IGA grocery store by Randy Wilhelm. The gallery is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Monday-Friday, and 11 a.m.-4 p.m. on Saturdays through December. Claire Christy is the arts coordinator for the Pend Oreille Arts Council.

Holiday events make it easy to support FSPW By Reader Staff

The Holiday season is here — and, in keeping with the times, saving wilderness can be festive, too. The Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is hosting several events full of holiday spirits. The first, at Idaho Pour Authority, takes place now through Saturday, Dec. 12. During this time, you can purchase raffle tickets to support FSPW. The tickets give you a chance to win prizes — like a Scotchman Peaks-branded apparel basket and a Cozy Up with a Book basket. Or, if you prefer the more direct route, make a donation. Next up is a Sip and Shop fundraiser at

Pend d’Oreille Winery on Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 4-8 p.m. On that day, a percentage of all sales, whether it be wine to go, wine to stay or retail, goes to FSPW. It’s the perfect day to pick up all your favorite things — or do some holiday shopping — while supporting a local business and a good cause. As always, play it safe this holiday season, and abide by social distancing and COVID-19 masking requirements. Both of these events make it easy to stop in, do your shopping and pick up some beverages to enjoy at home. Remember that gift cards make great presents, too. Visit scotchmanpeaks.org for more info.

Create Art Center explores virtual Holiday Artists’ Shop By Reader Staff

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Create Art Center in Newport, Wash., will be providing an opportunity to support local artists in a virtual Holiday Artists’ Shop this season. Create has developed a website catalog for participating artists to access. The presentation will feature pictures of some of the available items and artist information. Customers can also / December 3, 2020

communicate directly with the 19 artists. The items presented represent a variety of media, including but not limited to: fiber arts, fused glass, copper wire work, cutting boards, cards, books, metal art, wooden bowls, succulents in pottery and hand-painted shopping bags. The catalog is online at createarts.org to help support exceptional local talent, small businesses and regional economy.


The other bridge

A brief history of Sandpoint’s important — but still controversial — rail bridge

By Chris Corpus Reader Contributor You know you’re a local when, returning from the south, you get that special feeling of “I’m home” — a burst of endorphins or a sigh of contentment when you reach and cross the Long Bridge. Its history is embedded in the lore of the town, from the longest wooden bridge in the world to its current extension with the controversial but useful bypass. But it wasn’t the first Sandpoint bridge, nor the first wooden bridge, to span Lake Pend Oreille. Crossing the Long Bridge, looking east, you often see a mile-long string of train cars crossing an equally impressive lengthy bridge across the open water. We can imagine the rumble of the engines, and hear an occasional train whistle, while cars full of coal, oil, manufactured products of all sorts, and occasional plane fuselages or windmill blades pass through to destinations east or west. The train bridge goes back 137 years when the northern transcontinental rail route depended on finishing the bridge before the rail barons could pound in the ceremonial golden spike in Gold Creek, Mont., signaling the connection from St. Paul to Seattle. That hastily-built bridge started in 1882 and finished in 1883 in order to meet the congressional deadline for the railroad to be granted land as compensation. The Long Bridge didn’t come along until 1910. Then-Secretary of War Robert T. Lincoln noted in the progress report to Congress that “the most difficult portion of the whole line to construct was around and across Lake Pend d’Oreille.” Of course, they used timber to build the trestle since they had to cut down trees along the route in order to lay the track. “Might as well put it to good use,” they noted in the report. When they built the original train bridge, it lay mostly across the seasonal mudflats, the “sandy point,” crossing only a shorter length of the deeper part of the lake/river. But the flood of 1894 changed all that. The flood waters inundated the wooden bridge, threatening to float it away. Workers put flatcars loaded with rock on the bridge to hold it in place while the water receded. The event prompted the

railroad to design and build a replacement bridge six feet higher than the original. Using 83 cement piers we now take for granted, steel spans and a swinging bridge to accommodate steamboat traffic, the 1904 replacement was also necessary because of increasingly heavier train loads. A Northern Idaho News article from the museum archives notes that replacing the old bridge was becoming necessary, “because the old pile bridge which has done duty for so many years in spanning the waters of the Pend d’Oreille creaks and moans with every passing train.” The “new” bridge was the talk of the town and gave a boost to the local economy. Today’s anglers can tell you that the old wooden bridge pilings still exist underwater, losing many a lure and tackle to that portion of unseen history. Over the years improvements to the existing bridge meant dropping replaced sections onto the lake bottom, too. The “new” bridge also nudged the town of Sandpoint west of Sand Creek and out of the control of the railroad. The six-foot bridge height increase meant a six-foot rise in the grade through the middle of the original town. The rail passenger depot was moved north and to the west side of the tracks, and soon all commerce completed the move to the west side of the creek. Few were willing to continue going up and down the new tracks to get to businesses on either side of the tracks. But that’s another story.

Driving past the bridge today you might notice the cranes and pile drivers on barges busy adding a second train bridge across the lake. Again controversial, it solves the century-old problem of “the funnel,” where trains would have to wait their turn to cross the lake. The goal is to increase efficiency of movement, but also the number of trains carrying goods from 65 to more than 100, although BNSF downplays the increased potential number of trains. For up-to-date information on the construction, go to keepsandpointrolling.com or lakependoreillewaterkeeper.org. With the new bridge construction drawing your attention, you might notice the odd section of the 1904 bridge, seemingly a trestle on a trestle. The bridge design had to accommodate the steamboat traffic that dominated lake travel before the trains arrived. This strange part of the trestle is a swing bridge. It sits atop a circular cement pier and used to swing open when a steamboat, or tugboat towing logs to a lumber mill, needed to pass. The water depth is 40 feet under this section, 30 feet on either side of it and 20 feet deep approaching either shore. The swing bridge stopped operation in the 1920s. No longer there, a small cabin sat atop the swing bridge, where the operators were stationed to use a 15-horsepower gasoline engine to swing it open. A local historian noted, “The guys who sat up there were basically gassed every time a

A rare photo of the Northern Pacific bridge over lake Pend Oreille with the swing portion open. Courtesy Bonner County Historical Society. locomotive passed over the bridge.” The swing bridge opened one last time in 1957, according to Sandpoint native Ted Farmin, an equipment operator during his teens. “We needed to get our pile driver to the other side of the lake,” he said. “My boss worked it out with the railroad. Two guys on each side with ‘keys’ were able to get it to swing open. It looked very different dangling over the water.” Out of the thousands of donated photographs, the museum has only one photo of it open, and since it still had the operator’s cabin above it, it must be before the 1930s. Without the generosity and vision of longtime residents, the donations of photos, artifacts and key objects that tell a story of the past to the Bonner County Historical Museum, we would be left to wonder about who we are, where we came from and why Sandpoint remains a vibrant town compared to the many railroad towns that have faded into mere footnotes in history. This article and research were brought to you by the Bonner County Historical Society.

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Same trees, more ways to give Kinderhaven hosts 2020 Tour of Trees Dec. 6-12

By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff For more than two decades, Sandpoint nonprofit Kinderhaven has hosted its biggest fundraising event of the year at the Bonner County Fairgrounds: The Festival of Trees. With a gathering of up to 300 people not possible during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Kinderhaven Board Chair Kathy Chambers said her team decided to adapt to the times by creating a Tour of Trees in an effort to spread the fundraising event across several locations that will play host to Kinderhaven’s signature holiday trees and other auction items. This year’s event will also feature some new ways to support the nonprofit, which manages a group foster home and emergency shelter for local children removed from dangerous living situations. There are five ways to support the kids who depend on Kinderhaven this holiday season: 1. Tour of Trees, Dec. 9-12: Beginning Dec. 9, 18 local businesses will host decorated Christmas trees with gifts beneath them. Visit kinderhavensandpoint.com to register and be prepared to bid on the trees starting Dec. 9. Pick up a map of all 18 locations at the Tour of Trees headquarters: The Little Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave. in Sandpoint. 2. Online Silent Auction, Dec. 6-12: Baskets, wreaths and tabletop trees will be available for bid on the Kinderhaven website. This is an opportunity to do some Christmas shopping while supporting the kids at Kinderhaven. Registration, also available on the website, is required to participate. 3. Virtual Paddle Raise, Dec. 6-12: The Virtual Paddle Raise is the opportunity to make a donation to help the kids at Kinderhaven. Register on the nonprofit’s website, follow the link to Paddle Raise to select the dollar amount you want to give. 4. Giving Tree, Dec. 6-12: Sharon’s Hallmark on First Avenue is hosting the Giving Tree, which will feature tag ornaments with items listed on them that Kinderhaven needs. While walking on the Tour of Trees, take a tag or two from the Giving Tree, purchase the items and deliver to Kinderhaven. 5. Sip & Sleigh Raffle, Dec. 4-Dec.12: Win a “boozy” sleigh full of goodies by

A sample of a Kinderhaven tree at a past fundraiser. Courtesy photo. purchasing tickets online or in person at Kinderhaven’s Panida headquarters starting Friday, Dec. 4. $25 per ticket or five for $100. View the sleigh online or sneak a peek at the event headquarters. Chambers said the Tour of Trees is the nonprofit’s only major annual fundraiser, constituting about 75% of Kinderhaven’s yearly budget. She said only about 15% of the budget comes from the state, while the remainder comes from grants and donations. Despite the pandemic’s effect on staffing at many organizations, Kinderhaven has had no choice but to continue working at full capacity — 24 hours a day, supporting kids in need at all times. Chambers said Kinderhaven’s shelter has been largely full for the past three years. “We need to expand, and we know that,” she said. “We’ve got a plan.” Community participation in the 2020 Tour of Trees will be an integral step in making that plan a reality, and Chambers hopes the new virtual format will help even more people get involved. “It opens it up to so many different ways of giving, from big to small, and it all matters,” she said. Visit kinderhavensandpoint.ejoinme.org/ touroftrees to learn more about the 2020 Tour of Trees. December 3, 2020 /


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The infamous winter of 1996-’97 North Idaho locals share memories of the biggest snow season in recent history

By Ben Olson, Zach Hagadone and Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff For longtime North Idaho locals, there are three topics that frequently come up in conversation: how fast Sandpoint is changing and growing; downtown traffic; and the infamous winter of 1996-’97, when it started snowing and didn’t seem to stop. The winter began with a bang on Nov. 19, 1996 when about four inches of snow fell throughout the Inland Northwest, followed later in the day by more than an inch of freezing rain that coated trees, roads, buildings, vehicles and power lines. Trees came crashing down across the region, leaving hundreds of thousands without power throughout eastern Washington, North Idaho and western Montana. When it was all said and done, four people lost their lives in Spokane and Kootenai counties, and damages were estimated at $36.5 million in today’s dollars, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. It turned out, Old Man Winter was just getting started. Over the next few months, snow fell. And fell. And fell. Downtown Sandpoint resembled old Ross Hall photos from the 1940s, with 10-foot-high snow berms piled in the middle of the streets and cave-like sidewalk canyons cut through the waist-high snowfall. Rooves all over town collapsed from the weight of the snow — including the roof over the auditorium at Sandpoint High School, giving high-schoolers more than a month of winter break while the damages were repaired. The Idaho National Guard was even called in to help school employees that had been shoveling for hours to reduce the weight. Shovel brigades were a regular sight around town as they worked night and day lessening the heavy burden of snow from rooftops. For anyone that was around that winter, it remains one of 16 /


/ December 3, 2020

those quintessential North Idaho moments in time that instantly established your street cred — especially when newcomers complain about a mere foot of snow. We reached out to a handful of longtime locals to ask their memories from that famed winter. What follows are their responses, lightly edited for space. A.C. Woolnough — former principal at Sandpoint High School “It was winter break and an ideal time to get caught up on paperwork and planning for the next semester. The choir had recently been practicing in the auditorium and I had enjoyed a few minutes of my own private concert as I listened to them rehearse. A short while later, while sitting in my office wondering why I wasn’t up on Schweitzer, it happened. The entire building shook and a tremendous noise ensued. Instinct took over as I remembered childhood earthquake drills and dropped to the floor under my desk. Clearly a train had derailed and locomoted into the building or a large airplane had crashed into it. “As the noise and vibrations subsided, I arose and went looking for whatever it was. I started in the cafeteria and heard what sounded like a waterfall coming from the auditorium. When I opened the door, I saw water pouring from broken pipes in what was now our new outdoor arena. A 20-by20-foot section of the roof had collapsed due to the inordinate snow load and, I was later told, the cheap construction of the roof with rafters spaced too far apart. Fortunately, no one was inside at the time and there were no injuries — except to the insurance company’s pocketbook.” Arlene Cook — director of Ski Patrol at Schweitzer Mountain Resort “I’ve worked on the mountain since 1980, so all the years kind of blur together, but I do have a few memories. I was working as a ski patroller for John Pucci. It was a pretty snowy winter from the

beginning but really started dumping late February, early March. I remember that we had to add to our snow stakes, as they didn’t read as high as the snow was deep. We topped out at about 180 inches on the top of the mountain. I remember the avalanche hazard being high in the backcountry, and some fairly low angle slopes sliding. Gene Klein and Dan were skiing west of Sam’s Alley and kicked off an avalanche and Dan got caught and went for a ride. He survived, but it scared the crap out of both of them. “There was so much snow that it was hard to keep ahead of it. We had to dig out a trench for Chair 1 towards the top of the Face so peoples’ skis wouldn’t drag in the snow. It kept blowing in, so we were constantly trying to keep it dug out. We had a lot of early days doing avalanche control work, and just trying to keep everything dug out. We also had some really epic skiing! “We’ve had quite a few powderful seasons before that and after that, but in my lifetime the winter of 1968 was the most snow I ever remember. I was just a kid, and Schweitzer wasn’t keeping records back then. We were snowed in for weeks and school was canceled for almost a month!”

Scot Auld – former lifty, current Human Resources Director at Schweitzer Mountain Resort “My memories of the winter of ’96-’97 center around one unifying theme: shoveling. It was my fourth winter in Sandpoint, and my third ski season working at Schweitzer Mountain. At the time I was a lifty, working weekends — mostly for the free ski pass. “When the weather forecast called for significant snowfall overnight, we were required to come in an hour or more before the usual 7:30 start time. This was because with deep snowfall, Ski Patrol had to access the mountain top earlier to allow extra time for avalanche mitigation. “If memory serves, in the month of December alone the mountain operations crew had something like 21 early mornings — in a row. We would arrive at our lifts with a foot or more of snow to remove (by shovel) from around the terminal, on the ramp and on every one of the chairs. And it kept snowing. All day. So you never stopped shoveling. The skiing was epic, but many days we barely had time to make runs. At the end of each day I’d head home from Schweitzer tired and sore but still energized because I love snow. “Yet my task was not com-

Photo by Emily Deier, who said snowpack at their house was more than six feet. plete. That year my wife Wendy and I were living in a house her great uncle owned out in Sagle. And just that summer he had added this tremendously huge, beautiful deck off the second story. I called it the “helipad,” it seemed so big. And there was no way in hell I was going to let Uncle Mike’s new deck collapse on my watch. So every day, after shoveling out my chairlift all day long, I would come home to another foot of snow on the helipad… and I’d grab the shovel.” Tom Trulock — former Mountains Operations Office, currently director of Utilities Division at Schweitzer Mountain Resort “A bit fuzzy that far back but it was the year we had to retrofit the Great Escape Quad due to manufacturing defects in the chair grips that attach the chair to the cable. This was not a problem just for Schweitzer, but for every resort in the world that had this make/model of lift. … getting parts delivered was glacial at best … it was January before the lift was able to run and we were well into a very big winter by then. I recall having to put our big snow blower out on the

< see WINTER, page 17 >

< WINTER, con’t from page 16 > Main Road in mid-October because the berms were so high our plows weren’t able push berms out any further and the road was shrinking down to one lane. Haven’t had to do that in October since. “The lift project was a sevenday-a-week job, and line crews were walking from tower to tower in November/December in chestdeep snow. We finally had to run a cat down the lift line so they could move from tower to tower. The cat operator came close to getting stuck a few times — going downhill. … “About midway up the [quad] we had to plow a trench under the loaded side because the snow was so deep you could touch it with your skis from the chair. Several places on Chairs 1 and 6 had to be barricaded to keep skiers out from under the lift line because the chairs were so low to the snow. … In June of that year, topto-bottom skiing was more than doable and I was out flagging a new run. When the snow finally melted I went out to look at my flags and they were 10 feet off the ground in most places. “When I was talking about that season to Brian Crettol, one of our longtime patrollers, his standout memory — he worked on the lift project until January — was all of the epic powder he was missing because he couldn’t go skiing. I suggested it was probably time he got over that.” David Sawyer — Sandpoint mayor, 1996-2000 “As I recall, that was my first winter as mayor. There were a number of buildings that collapsed. Seems like part of the auditorium at the high school went down. “I recall that city staff from Public Works and the Parks Department collaborated on a 24-hour-a-day basis to snow blow the roof of what at that point was our fairly new City Hall. That action probably saved it from collapsing. “When we finally had Earth Day in the middle of April, there were still piles of snow in the parking lot at City Beach. “I’m not sure, but that heavy snow could have led to spring flooding, where we were actually sandbagging the intake pump station at the end of the jetty where the Marina is.

“And it was the only time I had the opportunity to cross country ski to work! “Seems like there was a lot of tension around snow plowing the streets in dealing with all of the automobiles. A large part of this was that, at that point, the Sandpoint Independent Highway District (which we used to joke about and say very Independent Highway District) was in control of that plowing, not the city. And of course they wanted us to remove the cars, not them.” Elissa Glassman — communications specialist, Northern Lights, 1996-present “I started that year — almost 25 years ago — but Jay Peterson, who has been a lineman for over 35 years, said that he also remembers on New Year’s Eve, in 1996, trying to get the power back they heard all the cheers [when the lights came back on] from the people in lodge. “They worked through Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Years — working 16 hours straight. They weren’t able to be with their families, they were out working. … They’re super dedicated.” [Note: Peterson is still out there working the lines. “He started young,” Glassman said.] Steve Klatt — former Bonner County Commissioner, current Road and Bridge director “After coping with 60-plus Bonner County winters, the details of individual winters begin to blur together with the exception of some truly notable winters and the winter of 1996-’97 was one that is hard to forget. “A detail that is quite notable when trying to gain perspective of overcoming the challenges of winter is the radical difference of equipment available to assist in those 25 years. There simply were not dozens and dozens of pickups with plows running around here, nor were there a multitude of contactors with snow blowers and skid steers in trailers driving from home to home. There were a few pickup plows and there were a few old tractors with buckets, but there were a whole lot more snow shovels and sore backs than anything else. “Imagine the lovely country scene with a foot of snow on the ground when a storm rolls in that deposits 16 inches of snow in

24 hours. You have shoveled for most of the day and a good part of the night trying to keep up, only to wake up needing to start over again. Then the next storm rolls in and delivers another 12 inches that you are trying to throw up over snow banks to keep some part of your driveway clear. The doggone road crew comes by and stuffs your driveway completely shut again. “About this time I’m growing concerned about a couple of roofs and got out a ladder to get up on the most problematic one. The air is absolutely full of very large snowflakes as I step from the ladder on to the roof and the ladder starts to go out from under me. I jump backward off the ladder thinking I will land in the deep snow, but one foot lands on the firm shoveled path and a searing pain erupts from my ankle. I am lying on my back in three feet of snow and being covered quickly by the falling snow, when I begin to realize my wife won’t miss me for several hours. “Out of the snow I crawl and up the path on my hands and knees to the driveway where I can prop the snow shovel under my arm and hobble to the house. Oh yes, that ankle cast was just one part of a memorable winter.” Jason Topp — 21-year-old operator for Bonner County Road and Bridge in 1996, current District 1 foreman “It was a big winter. I started in ’95 with the county, so I got thrown right into it. … I can remember the drifts were horrible. We’d push snow from one side of the road to the other, and the wind would blow so hard you couldn’t even tell we came through there. You’d have to turn right back around and go right back through it again. Out there in the Samuels area we had areas pushing 12-foot berms from the drifts. … There were several days where we worked 24 hours through — didn’t get to go home. We’d pull over and sleep in the trucks sometimes and get right back at it again. … It came in early and it just didn’t stop. … It’s sure different nowadays compared to what it was. Our equipment wasn’t what we have now, either.” Top: “The cover to our satellite dish collapsed. Penelope the dog was inspecting.’ Photo by Rosemary Lucas-Olsen. Middle: Audra Mearns was building her first house at Schweitzer during the winter of ‘96-’97. “Got the first floor done when it started snowing. Covered it with a tarp and lived in it for the winter.” Audra said people even skied over the top of their house, having no clue there was a home underneath. Bottom: Francis and Beverly McNall standing on the sidewalk in front of their home. Photo by Janice Riley. December 3, 2020 /


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December 3-10, 2020

THURSDAY, December 3 FriDAY, December 4

Live Music w/ Lucas Brown and friends 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Acoustic songs with vocal harmonies

Ladies’ Shopping Night @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Discounts on retails items, door prizes


Kelsey Maxwell joins FSPW as communications and outreach coordinator

SATURDAY, December 5 Live Music w/ Kevin Gardner 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery From the Spokane band Spare Parts

Santa at Cedar Street Bridge (Dec. 5-6) @ Cedar St. Bridge Santa’s coming to town. Free and open to the public. carousel.sandpoint@gmail.com for more information

SunDAY, December 6

Piano Sunday w/ Annie Welle 3-5pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Solo jazz, improv, original works and more

By Reader Staff

monDAY, December 7 Monday Night Blues Jam w/ Truck Mills 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Outdoor Experience Monday Night Group Run – All levels welcome 6pm @ Outdoor Experience

Lifetree Cafe 2pm @ Jalapeño’s Restaurant “How Does Prayer Work? Exploring the Mystery of Connecting With God.”

tuesDAY, December 8 Sip ‘n’ Shop for FSPW • 4-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery A percentage of proceeds will be donated to Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

wednesDAY, December 9 Kinderhaven’s Tour of Trees (Dec. 9-12) 18 locations around Sandpoint Visit kinderhavensandpoint.com to register, bid on trees and pick up a map

ThursDAY, December 10

FSPW Virtual Pint Night • 6:30-8:30pm @ scotchmanpeaks.org/events Register on the FSPW website to access discounts for growler fills, games over Zoom and more! Game winners receive $25 gift certificates to participating restaurants

Live Trivia • 5:30-7:30pm @ Pend d’ Oreille Winery Point-wagering questions and musical clues lead to an interactive trivia experience. Play solo or bring a team. Free to the public

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From Senate chambers to vast, wild landscapes, Kelsey Maxwell has seen her share of diverse work environments. This week, she adds Sandpoint and the nearby Scotchman Peaks to that list as Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness’ communications and outreach coordinator. She will take over communications, outreach and some fundraising duties as the outgoing assistant director, Britta Mireley, moves out of state with her family. “North Idaho is such a unique and magical place,” said Maxwell. “I can’t wait to explore and work to protect the Scotchman Peaks and their surrounding wild areas.” Maxwell hails from the East Coast and spent her childhood in states like New Jersey, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Those early years were marked by a passion for the environment, climbing on glacially deposited boulders in dense, mossy forests, and scavenging for crabs and snails along rocky shores. Her love for nature brought her westward, first to Colorado College where she graduated with a dual degree in Environmental Science and Feminist and Gender Studies. Her career began at Environment

Kelsey Maxwell brings a personal touch and excellent organizational skills to Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. Courtesy photo. Colorado, where she worked to reduce car emissions. Later, Maxwell moved to Strategies 360, where she gained experience in state politics. She followed that thread as a legislative aide for Colorado Sens. Tammy Story and Julie Gonzales during the 2020 legislative session. With environmental and political work both under her belt, Maxwell arrived in Idaho this year to work as an educator at the Sawtooth Interpretive and Historical Association. The admiration she developed for Idaho and its public lands led her to join FSPW in late 2020. As communications and outreach coordinator, she will work with the FSPW team to make sure the wilderness word gets out to the public. “We are excited to welcome Kelsey to the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness,” said FSPW Executive Director Phil Hough. “We also want to wish Britta well as she and her family leave for Colorado.” For more info, including announcements and events, visit scotchmanpeaks.org.


British TV therapy By Lyndsie Kiebert and Zach Hagadone Reader Staff As George Bernard Shaw quipped, “The British and the Americans are two great peoples divided by a common tongue.” Yet, the official UK opinion polls put Queen Elizabeth II — aged 94, the longest serving monarch in world history — with at least 78% approval. In the U.S., she’s met with 69% approval. Look no further than Americans’ love for the Netflix series The Crown to see just how unreconstructed we are when it comes to monarchy. Britishness is in this nation’s bones, which makes it so satisfying — if not fraught — to indulge in a bit of televised anglophilia. Here are two of our favorites (or favourites): The Great British Baking Show Like most Americans with Netflix subscriptions, I got into The Great British Baking Show sometime in the early stages of the pandemic. My best friend, fresh off having a baby and stuck at home, suggested I try it. Soon, our phone calls explored the merits of a successful short crust and the challenges of Bread Week. We discussed our favorite contestants and what pastry creations we might consider making in our own kitchens. One thing became clearer than a perfect mirror glaze: TGBBS was a welcome distraction and effective sedative amid the stressors of the year. As for the premise, a dozen ametuer bakers compete in various baking challenges inside a massive, white pole tent in the British countryside. Two staunch but good-hearted judges and two quirky hosts roam the pastel-colored kitchen stations as contestants navigate the fickle world of meringue and caramel, creating bakes to match the week’s theme. Each episode, one is crowned Star Baker, while another is sent home. The show

first aired across the pond in 2010, and has since found a foothold in the US thanks to Netflix. Unlike the often anxiety-inducing American cooking shows, TGBBS takes a more relaxed approach. That’s not to say that there isn’t high drama. Have you ever tried to make an intricate trifle — complete with jelly, fruit, sponge cake, custard and cream — in the image of the Union Jack in under three hours? I’ve seen the bakers on this show attempt it, and it certainly kept me on the edge of my seat. But unlike its American brethren, TGBBS never feels like life or death. On more than one occasion, a contestant has said something along the lines of, “Oh well, it’s just biscuits.” Still, the shear craft and thought going into each biscuit — to make sure it has a good snap, and that the cardamom and orange flavors balance perfectly — makes me want to curl up on the couch with my laptop and some tea, ready to watch another hour of British goodness. – LK Antiques Roadshow: UK Like it or not, we Americans don’t have a lot of history — better to say, perhaps, that our history has occurred in a toosmall space of time. Seriously, people queue up to show the stuff of their attics and garages to the amiable experts of Antiques Roadshow: UK and end up revealing ridiculously valuable and significant items. I’ve seen episodes in which granny’s water pitcher dated to the 1600s. Her spice cupboard? From the Tudor Period; that is, the 1500s. I’ve even seen episodes in which rando Brits have trundled up stuff going back to the Roman occupation. We just don’t have that here. In large part because “we” — our near precedents, at least — consciously destroyed all vestiges of the cultures hitherto existing so completely that they’re now sold in reservation gas stations as “authentic Indian

arrowheads,” and such like. The historical (and historic) terror of what transpired between Euro-invaders and Indigenous peoples in the Americas is, despite our wishes to the contrary, not far gone. Which is maybe why watching snaggle-toothed, baggy-dressed Britshers disgorge the treasures of their sitting rooms for review by a small army of material culture nerds is so soothing. But, let’s be honest. The British wrote the book on brutal subjugation of Others: Scots, Irish, Indians, Africans, Maori

Why (and where) we find solace in limey boob tubeage

and Otherwise — including, for about 270 years, the Indigenous North American peoples. Yet, when I watch old brokemouth dames from Taunton put their ratty dolls under the adjudicating eye of a bow-tied swot-boffin only to hear the latter rule that, “I’d say this would fetch about £1,200,” I thrill. Truth is, large amounts of what passes under those expert eyes is plunder from places from Japan and China to Indian to Afghanistan to Africa (Zulus FTW). But it’s all so friendly and picturesque; and no

Hosts from The Great British Baking Show talk with a contestant about their work of confectionary art. Courtesy photo. one would ever sell a thing, of course. I suppose what makes this post-imperial garage sale so calming — to the point that my kids hear the French horn intro on the TV and run downstairs to watch with me, as I give commentary on each item — is that the UK is simultaneously grosser and greater than we, their American cousins. – ZH

Enjoy the backcountry from home Annual Backcountry Film Festival offers virtual streaming to benefit SOLE

By Reader Staff Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education is known for providing local youth with free opportunities to learn in North Idaho’s great outdoors through the organization’s SnowSchool Experiences and other education programs for students of all ages. SOLE supporters looking forward to the nonprofit’s annual Backcountry Film Festival need not fear, for the event — typi-

cally held at the Panida Theater — is being offered in a virtual format in 2020 in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. This year’s Backcountry Film Festival — which is created by the Winter Wildlands Alliance — showcases “documentaries and ski movies about athletic pursuit in the mountains, artistic vision, friendship, and how the snowsports community is adapting to a changing environment,” according to organizers.

Purchase individual or household tickets to stream the film festival from home starting Dec. 4 by visiting winterwildlands. org/tourschedule and clicking on the “BCFF 2020-2021 SOLE Experiences” event. That way, proceeds from the tickets will directly benefit SOLE. Individual tickets are $20, and households pay $40 to access the films. Streaming to benefit SOLE runs until Jan. 4. December 3, 2020 /


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The Sandpoint Eater Holiday flare By Marcia Pilgeram Reader Columnist

I’m still full from Thanksgiving. Full of gratitude that my table was full of food and that my house is warm and cozy. And I was delighted to spend several days with one third of my adorable grands (though, by the last couple of days, their voices exponentially compensated for the other missing six). When we weren’t cooking and eating, we spent myriad hours walking off the aforementioned eating. How fortunate we are to live in an area filled with so many recreational areas — even for lightweights like me. With mismatched mittens and a rambunctious golden retriever in tow, we spent good hours hiking along the trails of Pine Street Woods, the Bay Trail, the Bypass Trail and through the wet sands along the lakeshore below the Long Bridge. The weather was warm and sunny, and our walks were ambitious enough that there was no guilt involved when we indulged in pie for breakfast then heaped our plates with leftovers after our treks. I have a couple of cooking assignments coming up this month requiring photographs of the step-by-step recipes and I was lucky (or convincing) enough to coerce my son-in-law, Russ, into helping me with my project (he’s a film professor and is pretty handy with a camera). While we shared this oneon-one time across the kitchen counter, it also seemed like a good opportunity to devote a little time to what I refer to as “the death dialogue.” It was a 20 /


/ December 3, 2020

taboo subject when I grew up, but I think it’s important to normalize it. My motto has long been, “laugh or cry,” and so I choose to laugh. My girls are rarely game to participate in this event, so I’ve endeavored to include their spouses in my lighthearted attempts to make sure we’re all on the same program for my last hurrah. One thing’s for sure: I’m planning to host (posthumously) my own farewell party, with over-the-top-food and an extreme vodka luge. Wildly popular at luxury travel events, I’ve coveted this novel concept for at least a decade. Russ and his oldest son, Alden, are quite clever when it comes to designing and building projects, and so they indulged me with some really great preliminary

luge designs. It didn’t take long to see that Russ had caught the spirit (on behalf of my spirit) when, besides endorsing the luge project, he suggested we might as well go big with a “destination funeral.” Russ thought it was the perfect sendoff for someone like me, who’s in the travel business. I have planned, booked and catered to/for the destination wedding market for nearly 30 years. But gosh; why did I never think of the lucrative “destination funeral” market? I’m sure I won’t be the first, and it actually sounds pretty fun. My financial planner knows me pretty well, and we’re lucky that he’s not going to find any of our inquiries one bit disturbing or disconcerting. The recipe I prepared was a

sweet and rich coconut bread pudding, to be included in a guest blog I’m writing for a Tahitian cruise line. Russ has long wanted to visit Tahiti and took this opportune moment to pitch his dream destination. To be honest, I too love Tahiti, and I’ve been lucky enough to visit a few times. I can’t think of a better place for my family to gather. It may seem dark and morose to some, but it’s my way of “having the necessary discussion.” I prefer to have these types of conversations in my safety zone (the kitchen) and it seems to work for us. Between tearing up day-old rolls between my fingers, whisking thick coconut milk and scraping seeds from fragrant Tahitian vanilla pods, we took care

of business. And though I feel like (and hope!) we’re 20 years away from the “big party,” I feel better for it. Whether you’re headed to Tahiti or not, this dessert is the perfect finale to any meal, especially a festive one. Per the photograph, you can add a little extra flair (and flare), by dishing up the bread pudding in individual fancy stemware, adding a little rum and igniting. I do owe Russ a big “thank you” for spending a couple hours of his time devoted to my cooking project. He said, in keeping with the gratitude theme, he was really grateful that we were flambéing in my home, and not his. Geesh, I haven’t scorched anything in his home for at least two or three years.

Tahitian vanilla bread pudding Yes, this is a rich and decadent pudding. Wonderful finale for a holiday meal. If you can get your hands on Tahitian vanilla, it’s worth it. It’s a more fragrant and fruity vanilla and is well suited to baked desserts. If your bread is fresh, tear into cubes and let dry for a few hours (or overnight).

INGREDIENTS: Pudding: • 4 eggs • 1 cup fine white sugar • 2 cups heavy cream • 1 (14 ounce) can coconut milk • 2 tsp Tahitian vanilla • 1 tsp ground cinnamon • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg • 1/4 tsp salt • 6 oz good quality dark chocolate, chopped into ½ inch pieces • 2 tbs cold butter • 1 loaf French bread, or 8 dinner rolls (like Hawaiian rolls), torn into 1 inch cubes Tahitian vanilla sauce: • 2 cups of heavy cream • 1/2 cup fine white sugar • 2 Tahitian vanilla beans, split and scraped • 1/2 cup dried coconut flesh • 1/4 cup dark rum

Serves 8

DIRECTIONS: Preheat oven to 325 degrees Butter a 10-12 in round baking dish with butter, and dust with fine sugar. In a large bowl, combine sugar, eggs, cream, coconut milk, vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt. Mix until smooth. Toss chocolate with bread cubes in the baking dish. Pour liquid mixture over top of bread in prepared baking dish. Set aside for 30 minutes so liquid soaks into bread. Into a larger cooking vessel (like a small roaster), add 2-3 inches of warm water. Set pudding into water bath. Cover both pans tightly with foil. Place in oven and bake for approximately 1 1/2 hours. Remove from oven, uncover baking dish and place back in oven for 10-15 minutes (without water bath). Sauce: In a medium saucepan, add cream. Scrape vanilla pod seeds into cream, whisk well. Add scraped pods and coconut. Over medium heat, whisking constantly, bring cream to a boil and cook until reduced by 1/3. Strain out coconut

and vanilla pods. Add sugar, rum and 1 tbs butter. Bring back to boil, reduce heat. Simmer and whisk on low heat a few minutes to develop flavor. Pour sauce over warm bread pudding,

or serve on the side in a bowl. For an extra grand finale, spoon pudding into individual serving bowls, ladle sauce over the top, pour a tsp of rum on top and ignite.


This week’s RLW by Ben Olson

[Drum]stickin’ it to the man

The epic drum battle between Dave Grohl and a 10-year-old drum prodigy will melt your heart

By Ben Olson Reader Staff Those who think the news cycle is only filled with negative stories have yet to see the epic drum battle between rocker Dave Grohl and a 10-year-old girl from Ipswich, England named Nandi Bushell. It’s exactly the kind of story we all need right now. It all started innocently enough; Bushell posted a video on her YouTube channel calling out Grohl — famous as a drummer for Nirvana and later leading his own band, the Foo Fighters — to a drum battle. In the video, Bushell wears a purple skirt, purple headphones and purple ankle bands as she sits before a full drum kit, her feet barely able to reach the foot pedals, hair puffed together jauntily in dual puffs. She starts off the video by shouting into the camera, “Dave Grohl, I challenge you to a drum off!” and proceeds to absolutely shred Grohl’s song, “Everlong.” Screaming along with the words, her face erupting with joy, Bushell never misses a beat. When the song slows and picks up again, Bushell explodes in a soul-satisfying howl that only lives in those who play rock ’n’ roll as loud as they can. She finishes the song by twirling her sticks a few times and pointing one directly at the camera, yelling the now iconic catchphrase, “Checkmate!” A year earlier, Bushell posted a cover of Nirvana’s “In Bloom,” a clip of which Grohl received from his producer. “I watched it in amazement, not only because she was nailing all the parts, but the way that she would scream when she did her drum rolls,” Grohl said in a video

interview at the time. “There’s something about seeing the joy and energy of a kid in love with an instrument. She just seemed like a force of nature.” Months later, after Bushell posted the challenge to Grohl, this time the rocker said he had to respond. After “hundreds” of text messages from people telling him this crazy 10-year-old drum prodigy was calling him out on social media, he entered the ring for this epic drum battle that has defined the best of us during pandemic existence. Grohl breaks down how the battle moved forward on Stephen Colbert’s The Late Show: “Someone sends me a link and says, ‘Hey this kid’s challenging you to a drum battle,’ and I thought, ‘Oh isn’t that cute?’ … So I thought, ‘OK, I’ll play something simple and send it to her.’ One day later, she comes back with her response, and she just wipes the floor with me. She’s kicking my ass! This kid is like kicking my butt at the drums.” The two volleyed back and forth a few times, with Bushell bringing up the heat with more complicated covers and Grohl eventually writing an adorable song about her with lyrics such as, “She got the power / She got the soul / Gonna save the world with her rock ‘n’ roll.” Bushell answered with her own song called “Rock and Grohl,” where she plays drums, bass, guitar, keyboard and sings lyrics like, “Rock ’n’ roll’s my love / rock ’n’ roll’s my soul / rockin’ Grohl will help me change the world.” She ended the video thanking Grohl for his song about her and claiming once and for all that “this has been the greatest battle of rock history.” Finally, after several more sal-

She rocks By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff

In the nine years that the Grammy Awards has given a gramophone for Best Rock Performance, eight of those have been awarded to male artists and male-fronted bands. Only one went to a female-fronted group — Alabama Shakes and its incredible vocalist

vos that did nothing to pierce the incredible ability of this 10-year-old superstar, Grohl conceded the drum battle, proclaiming Bushell the winner. “Sometimes you just have to concede defeat,” he told Colbert with a grin, after the talk show host had just done a segment on the president’s refusal to concede the presidential race. “There’s nothing I could do. It was like being called out by the school bully, like, ‘I’ll see you on the playground after school!’ So every time she would send me one of these videos... I just thought, like, ‘Oh my god, I’m gonna get my ass kicked again.’ It just happened over and over and over again.” Later, as the two met over video chat, Grohl showed us all how to be a rock superstar by giving this incredible young woman his respect and attention, even asking Bushell if she’d teach him some lessons so he could be as good as she is. Grohl then said that when the Foo Fighters begin touring again in support of their 25th year as a band, he’s going to invite Bushell to sit in with them on stage next time they’re playing in England. Quite a meteoric rise from a couple hundred YouTube subscribers (now a quarter million) to sitting in with the Foo Fighters. Everyone wins in this story. Bushell gets to interact with a rock icon, Grohl shows us all that being

of rock’s best creators: Grace Potter, with “Daylight”; Fiona Apple, with “Shameika”; sister trio HAIM, with “The Steps”; Big Thief — fronted by Adrienne Lenker — with “Not”; and Phoebe Bridgers with “Kyoto.” The performances up for battle are some of the artists’ best, and each exhibits what makes them unique and invaluable in the world

Science fiction hit a dark, moody peak with Philip K. Dick in the 1960s-’70s. Many of Dick’s novels have been made into films, but they never quite nail the feelings and intricate stories that Dick has created. One of my favorites is Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?, which was adapted into the 1982 film Blade Runner. While the film is a masterpiece, it departs heavily from the novel, which is Dick at his best.


Top: Nandi Bushell covers “Everlong” and calls out Dave Grohl to participate in a drum battle. Bottom: Dave Grohl answers with a song about Nandi. Images courtesy YouTube.

a famous rock star doesn’t mean insulating oneself from those coming up into the scene. He changed this little girl’s life with his attention, and she has changed the world with her passion and talent on the drums. Also, without even trying, she suddenly became an icon for girl power across the world, with her fearless confidence, her hard core love of loud rock, her rough and tough afro puffs and raw talent that shows anyone can accomplish their dreams if they just work at it like a dervish. To watch the drum battle from the beginning, search “Everlong by the Foo Fighters Drum Cover” and follow the rabbit hole until Grohl’s concession. You won’t be sorry.

Female nominees dominate the 2020 Grammy Awards’ Best Rock Performance category

Brittany Howard — in 2015 for the single “Don’t Wanna Fight.” In its 10th issuance, the Grammy for Best Rock Performance is guaranteed to go to a woman, as the 2020 class of nominees is stacked with only female artists for the first time. Howard is back as a nominee in the category for her solo song “Stay High,” along with a host


of rock — and not just among female musicians. As for my bets? I will always pull for Bridgers, whose melancholic and honest music has been a constant companion of mine in recent years. However, my money is on Big Thief — “Not” is a shout-your-lungs-out anthem for 2020, and it showcases Lenker at her most powerful.

Icelandic pop experimental group Múm has been around since the late 1990s, but you’ve probably never heard of it. Featuring a style characterized by soft vocals, electronic glitch beats and effects, and a mix of classic and unconventional instruments, this intriguing band builds soundscapes that are perfect for working from home on a snowy day in North Idaho. Its 2000 album “Yesterday was Dramatic — Today Is OK” is my favorite of theirs.


YouTube rabbit holes can lead you to some weird places. One minute you’re watching Stephen Colbert, the next you’re watching a sovereign citizen being arrested in England. I’ll never figure out the algorithms, but I’m thankful it recommended a page called The Operations Room, which produces highly informative and visual time lapses of famous military battles in history. Its naval battles of WWII are especially well done, especially the “Battle of Midway” video. For history buffs and insomniacs alike, The Operations Room is always worth checking out. I just wish the page had more content. December 3, 2020 /


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A grain of salt From Northern Idaho News, Dec.6, 1923

LOCAL MOON LANDS BARBER IN COUNTY BASTILLE John Thompson, a barber recently from the wilds of Alberta, Canada, has more respect for the American laws today than he had a week ago and it all happened because John took several more drinks of moonshine than he was accustomed to Thanksgiving Day. Today he is facing deportation back to the Dominion. In his ramblings about the city, Thompson entered the ome of Mr. and Mrs. C.W. Palmer on Church street during the temporary absence of the family, where he made himself strictly at home. His first act was to find the Palmer kitchen, where he satisfied his appetite with a generous meal of cold turkey after which he made a tour of investigation of the house winding up by taking a snooze in one of the bed rooms where he was located by Mr. Palmer, while later Mrs. Palmer’s purse was found under the blankets. Thompson was arraigned in probate court Monday morning but his case has not yet been set for trial by Judge Davis. 22 /


/ December 3, 2020

A health column... sort of

Stages of mourning a pandemic

By Ammi Midstokke Reader Columnist I don’t know about the rest of you, but I could really use an addiction to lose myself in right about now. Those of you riding that struggle-bus already; I see you and your need is valid as hell. We are all getting desperate to dissociate from reality. Most of us were ready months ago. We’ve embraced the pandemic with all the textbook unoriginality of a typical mourning process: Shock and denial — Remember when we all balked at masks, decided we were most afraid of running out of toilet paper, and acted like we were excited about a long spring break and time with our kids? Pain and guilt — Then we wanted to sell our children or run away, but couldn’t cope with the cognitive dissonance of mask-wearing in stores. Was I really going to kill the lady at the deli by standing too close? Did that person know I was smiling when I flipped them off? Anger and bargaining — In this phase, I started silent swearing behind my mask and increased my vitamin D and colloidal silver dose so much I’d probably set off a metal detector. Then I decided everyone was dumb, banned social media and started journaling with a bright red sharpie in all caps. Depression — This stage is perfectly timed with all of the other major causes of depression: holidays and four hours of daylight. Best increase that vitamin D again.

STR8TS Solution

It’s no wonder we want to check out. National and international statistics are starting to emerge about the mental health impacts of 2020 (a year many of us are wiping from our memories by staying inebriated most of the time). Even those of us who are not suffering from the typical symptoms of addiction are merely diversifying our distractions. One week, I might use wine. Then a new diet. Then a bizarre dedication to the gym. Baking. Sex. Netflix binging. Another week, it’s a clog sale. My kid raised the alarm on that one: “How many pairs of clogs does one need to own?” she asked. Ridiculously. Clog owners will understand why that question cannot be answered mathematically. While we may be able to righteously claim that we’re not addicted to any particular thing, I am seeing a clear pattern in many of us. We’re tired. We cannot take another news flash, death toll, mask debate. We’ve lost friends. We can’t see our families. There’s no end in sight or at least not a clear timeline. When we cannot control the external environment, there is a path to relief through surrender. This situation is temporary. Holidays to come will be that much more special. We are learning to value things we might have taken for granted. There are

gifts in this. Somewhere. We are beyond learning new languages and taking up new hobbies. We are now just trying to survive and do as little damage to our livers and relationships as possible. Also: micromanaging your sock drawer and towel-folding can be cathartic and calming. As the weeks to come present us with the tangible reality of these challenges, infuse your life with tiny meditations of normalcy to remind your struggling heart that not all has changed. Take slow walks with friends. Bake from old family recipes. Recreate holiday traditions in your own home. Send care packages with handwritten letters. Most importantly, find ways to connect to those you love, because they are the antidote to the ailments of our souls right now. And we could all use a bit of that medicine.

Crossword Solution

Sudoku Solution As the light changed from red to green to yellow and back to red again, I sat there thinking about life. Was it nothing more than a bunch of honking and yelling? Sometimes it seemed that way.

Solution on page 22

Solution on page 22


Woorf tdhe Week

By Bill Borders


[adjective] 1. exceptionally pleasing to taste or smell; especially delicious or fragrant.

“She entered the Christmas store, which was filled with ambrosial delights.”

Corrections: Nothing to see here. Move along, move along. –BO

Copyright www.mirroreyes.com

Laughing Matter

CROSSWORD ACROSS 1. Mentally prepare 6. Whimper 10. Snip 14. Hello or goodbye 15. Chocolate cookie 16. Hindu princess 17. Finger or toe 18. Website addresses 19. Frosts 20. An orbiting vehicle 22. Past tense of Leap 23. An Italian woman of rank 24. Spiteful 25. Jump up and down 29. Withdraw 31. A connector between devices 61. Leg joints 33. Indigenous 62. Coalition 37. A type of fabric 63. Layer 38. Manly 64. It makes dough 39. Coach rise 41. Any amazing occurrence 42. Bullfighter 44. Not more DOWN 45. Path 48. Animal toxin 1. Cushions or mats 50. Skirt lines 2. Faux pas 51. Very small 3. Eastern discipline 56. Module 4. Fashionable 57. Part of a plant 5. Despised 58. Equestrian 6. Griever 59. Wise men 7. Straying 60. Countertenor

Solution on page 22 8. Financial aid 9. Misplaced 10. Involving three parties 11. Contests of speed 12. Bumbling 13. Foggy 21. Diadem 24. Point of greatest despair 25. Agreement 26. Smell 27. Nurse shark 28. Expecting the best 30. Hem in 32. Anagram of “Talon”

34. Rodents 35. Ailments 36. C C C C 40. A pasta dish 41. Watch closely 43. Reduce in rank 45. One on each hand 46. Kidney-related 47. Chum 49. Turbid 51. “Darn!” 52. Prong 53. Notion 54. V V V V 55. At one time (archaic)

December 3, 2020 /


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Bonner County commissioners can't defund Panhandle Health District 'at this time.' COVID cases rise. Mike Victorino dies. Sandpoint Eater. N...


Bonner County commissioners can't defund Panhandle Health District 'at this time.' COVID cases rise. Mike Victorino dies. Sandpoint Eater. N...

Profile for keokee