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2 / R / February 22, 2024

The week in random review

a blinding issue

Are you one of the many people who feel that car headlights have grown brighter and cause more glare to other drivers? You’re not alone. According to the director at the Light and Health Research Center at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, vehicles in the U.S. are getting taller and taller. In 2010, 52.7% of vehicles were SUVs or trucks. By 2021, that number was up to 78.5%. Also, the color of headlights has shifted from a warmer yellow hue to a harsher blue-white one. Along with these factors, the research center found that about two-thirds of every car had at least one headlight aimed too high. There is hope around the bend, however. In February 2022, after being required to do so by Congress’ Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration issued a rule officially allowing automakers to install adaptive driving beam headlights, which automatically adjust LED high beams to keep from blinding pedestrians and other motorists. The technology has been utilized successfully in other countries, but U.S. manufacturers are slow to add it to their vehicles, so don’t expect things to change quickly. Until then, check your headlights to make sure they aren’t misaligned and blinding other drivers.

A manner of speaking

Back in the day, it seemed like every American actor, broadcaster or orator spoke in the same nasal, song-like clipped speech. Dubbed the “Transatlantic” or “mid-Atlantic” accent, it combines American and British accents (think of FDR’s “The only thing we have to feah is feah itself”). It was taught as a model of “correct” English in American elocution classes, with many famous people adopting their own styles, including Katharine Hepburn and Cary Grant. The accent fell out of popular usage following the end of WWII. Many viewed it as a “posh” accent, with Americans seeking to dissociate themselves from the East Coast elite. Today, the mid-Atlantic accent is somewhat ridiculed in popular culture as a flowery affectation, but several contemporary artists still employ the same patterns, including the snobby manner of speech employed by actors Kelsey Grammar and David Hyde Pierce in Frasier, or the accent used by actress Elizabeth Banks’ character Effie Trinket in the Hunger Games film trilogy, which helps depict the class divisions in the futuristic North America.


“I have never been able to look upon America as young and vital, but rather as prematurely old, as a fruit which rotted before it had a chance to ripen. The word which gives the key to the national vice is waste.”


It’s the final week of Sandpoint Winter Carnival, and everyone’s favorite event is coming up: the Eichardt’s K9 Keg Pull at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Feb. 23 where they close off Cedar Street in front of Eichardt’s and truck in a bunch of snow for our local pooches to pull kegs according to their size. Winners take home bragging rights, glory and possibly some dog biscuits. It’s an endearing, hilarious event that also doubles as a fundraiser for the Better Together Animal Alliance. Don’t miss this Sandpoint moment.

In other news, I’ve heard rumors there might be some tickets left for The Follies on March 1-2, so if you haven’t picked them up yet, don’t delay. I’m not sure if this is an incentive or a hindrance to ticket sales, but the entire Reader editorial staff will participate in a skit this year, so perhaps bring some tomatoes to toss at us.


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About the Cover

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February 22, 2024 / R / 3

The future of public comment at the BOCC

Commissioners vote to hold meeting dedicated to hearing public comment

The Bonner County board of commissioners maintained an uncharacteristically reserved first half of its regular business meeting on Feb. 20 — unanimously approving airport grant applications, the Justice Services’ purchase of a Chevrolet Equinox and continued improvements to county roads and bridges, among other nuts-and-bolts agenda items — before once again sparring over public comment.

Though the argument over the extent of free speech at business meetings remains, the commissioners voted to hold a separate meeting, at an unspecified date, dedicated exclusively to hearing public comment.

With Chairman Luke Omodt absent on Feb. 13, Commissioner Asia Williams brought the previous business meeting to an immediate end by refusing to second the motion to adopt the order of the agenda because it did

not include a public comment section. This standoff with Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, who chaired the meeting in Omodt’s absence, inspired her Feb. 20 action item, “Discussion/Decision Item for Public Comment.”

“The state law doesn’t require public comment in our business meeting, but we required it by writing this ordinance [1-200], so unless and until public comment is removed out of the actual ordinance, Bonner County needs to continue public comment without obstruction to the community,” said Williams, making a motion to adhere to the current ordinance.

Omodt begins each meeting by reading Ordinance 1-200 of Bonner County Code, which states that BOCC business meetings “do not constitute public hearings wherein the public has the right to be heard on every agendized item.”

The ordinance additionally empowers the chair to set boundaries for public comment, stating: “[A]t the

discretion of the chair, everyone may be afforded an opportunity to speak on a particular issue, if recognized by the chair” — though it further stipulates that the chair “will not under any circumstance entertain comments derogatory in nature toward any board member, staff member, elected official or member of the public.”

Omodt seconded Williams’ motion, then immediately moved to alter its basis.

“I will then step down from the chair and make a motion to amend that the board of county commissioners holds a meeting with all elected officials for public comment,” he said.

City seeking bids for Fifth and Pine stoplight project

The city of Sandpoint is seeking bids from qualified contractors for the city’s Fifth Avenue and Pine Street Signal Project. The project will relocate a traffic signal from Fifth Avenue and Church Street to Fifth Avenue and Pine Street, with the job to include demolition, asphalt pavement, sidewalk, curb and gutter, fiber conduit, traffic control, relocation of the traffic signal, illumination, signage and related work.

The city will host a pre-bid conference on Tuesday, Feb. 27 beginning at 2 p.m., City Hall Council Chambers (1123 Lake St.). Bidders are encour-

aged to attend in person or via Zoom, with a link available at

A bid bond in the amount of 5% of the total bid amount — including any additive alternates — is required. A public works contractor license for the state of Idaho is required to bid the work. Disadvantaged business enterprises are

encouraged to submit bids.

Sealed bids will be received by the city clerk until 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 12, when bids will be opened and publicly read at City Hall and virtually via Zoom.

Get more info on the city website under the “solicitations” menu, Bid 24-3170-1.

When questioned by Williams, Omodt could not specify the frequency or duration of the proposed meeting or meetings. Bradshaw seconded the motion to amend, and it later passed without Williams voting for or against it.

“That’s not really an amendment, that’s a whole new memorandum. My actual motion is addressing the ordinance itself, and so you’re just adding a different item onto the agenda,” said Williams, adding that she was not opposed to the idea in and of itself, but that the board still needed to address public comment in the regular business meetings. Bradshaw then asked Deputy Prosecutor Bill Wilson, present on Zoom, to confirm that the law does not give attendees the absolute right to speak at BOCC business meetings.

“You’re talking about the state statute. That’s correct, it doesn’t require it. If you read our local ordinance, though, it does speak to a public comment [section]. There’s language in that addressing public comment, so I think that the setup we have now, allowing that at the end of the meeting, is probably in keeping with that,” said Wilson.

He went on to explain that Senate Bill 1304 — which requires that “all meetings shall provide a reasonable opportunity for public testimony,” according to the Idaho Legislature’s website — could resolve their arguments about public comment, should it pass into law. Under SB 1304, officials still have the ability to limit the overall time allocated to public

comment, though they must give each individual a minimum of two minutes to speak.

“So are we required to follow laws that might be passed, or the ones that have been passed?” Bradshaw asked, to which Wilson responded that the former already knew the answer.

The argument continued, distracting commissioners to the extent that when Omodt called for the vote they were unsure of what they were voting on.

Williams voted to pass Omodt’s amended motion, despite having argued against it, and Bradshaw voted against the amended motion, despite having argued for it.

“I’m asking for a point of clarification. I thought that we already voted on your amendment of the motion and then we were on the original motion,” said Williams. “If we got it wrong, I would like to fix it in real-time.”

Omodt did not allow Williams to ask the clerk to clarify what they’d just approved, instead calling a five-minute recess before opening the meeting for public comment. Three attendees had the opportunity to speak, though Omodt ended the meeting without hearing testimony from Williams, Brandon Cramer or Rick Cramer — the latter who was trespassed from BOCC meetings on Jan. 30 — triggering a slew of protests from those present in person and on Zoom.

NEWS 4 / R / February 22, 2024
Bonner County Commissioners Luke Omodt, left; Asia Williams, center; and Steve Bradshaw, right. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey. Photo by Ben Olson.

New candidates for BoCo commissioner, Dist. 1A House

The slate of Republican candidates for the 2024 election is getting longer with the recent announcement that Clark Fork resident Dimitry Borisov intends to seek the Bonner County commissioner seat for District 3 and Cornel Rasor’s apparent intention to run for the District 1A position in the Idaho House of Representatives.

ness he started in 2007.

The deadline for candidates to file for the Tuesday, May 21 primary election is Friday, March 15.

Borisov’s announcement came Feb. 15, in which his campaign stated that “his view of the current commission is similar to that of many residents who attend the meetings but seasoned with the experience he brings from living in Communist Soviet Union.”

Borisov spent the first 21 years of his life in Russia before emigrating to the United States 24 years ago.

He is seeking the position currently held by BOCC Chair Luke Omodt, who is also seeking reelection, setting up a faceoff in the May 21 GOP primary.

“Watching elected officials hijack the public process of

government is a horrifying event,” stated Borisov. “I am running with the intention of restoring collaboration, civility and respect to this office. Political leaders should understand the purpose of people-driven government. Shutting down public comment and literally expelling old political rivals with the thinnest margin of reason is reminiscent of the darkest times in history. It can’t be tolerated for even a short season. I intend to be a voice for the rights of the people who pay the commissioners’ salary.”

Borisov is currently Bonner County Republican Central Committee precinct committeeman for Clark Fork, served as a volunteer firefighter from 2007 to 2014 and since 2009 has been involved with the Clark Fork Valley Ambulance Service, which he currently serves as chief. He is self-employed by the masonry busi-

Borisov is a frequent attendee of and commentator during BOCC business meetings, where he has pressed for conducting an wide-ranging audit of the Bonner County Fairgrounds — an issue that his campaign highlighted in the Feb. 15 announcement — and what his campaign referred to as the “ongoing participation discussion,” related to the contentious issue of when, how and whether to manage public comment during BOCC meetings.

“[T]he business of the commissioners must not be mired down in a theatrical production of what amounts to grandstanding and bully tactics,” Borisov’s campaign stated, adding that he “asserts that his immigration to America and subsequent citizenship show the depth of his conviction to see the American political process flourish as designed.”

“Without the legal process and the will to act in accordance with the Constitution and local laws, we’re no better than a gang of loudmouth bullies wearing suits,” he wrote. “My platform of ‘Honesty, Integrity and Transparency’ is not the mantra of the political new guy; it is the only platform to

defend and the only platform to strive for.”

Visit for more information.

Though Rasor declined to provide the Reader with an official campaign announcement press release — writing in an email that he would confirm his candidacy after the filing date in early March — he has an active campaign website at in which he pledges to “fight for you in Boise” and “humbly ask[s] for your vote in May of 2024.” He also filed a certificate appointing a political treasurer for his Dist. 1A candidacy in December 2023. Rasor would face Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint, who is seeking a second term in the May primary.

Rasor is no stranger to local Republican politics, having served as a Bonner County commissioner from 2008 to 2012 — including as chair — until his narrow primary defeat by former-Sagle Republican Sen. Joyce Broadsword.

Rasor has meanwhile been politically active locally for decades, including in District 1, District 7 and the state Republican Party. He served as chair of the Bonner County Republican Central Committee from 2008-2012, then chair of the District 7 Republican Central Committee until redistricting following the 2020 census resulted in the

precinct where he resides being included in District 1. The new boundary lines were approved in 2021 and went into effect for the 2022 election.

Prior to that, Rasor ran an unsuccessful primary campaign for the District 7B House seat in 2020 and has served as state parliamentarian at Idaho GOP conventions and meetings. First elected as a precinct committeeman in 1996, Rasor currently represents Southside at the BCRCC.

Though born in California, Rasor grew up in Bonner County where he attended local schools and raised a family that includes three children and 16 grandchildren while managing the Sandpoint Army Surplus 1 store for 41 years, which he has owned for the past two years.

According to his campaign website, Rasor’s platform is: “Truly pro-life; Control budget by returning decisions to the private sector; Advocate for citizens’ right to bear arms; The best interests of children’s education is with the parents; State and counties are best suited to manage lands; By reducing regulations we limit government and give citizens a voice; Will keep his oath to protect the constitutions of the United States and Idaho; A strong advocate for adhering to our founding principles.”

For more info, visit

Conservation groups petition USFS to outlaw aerial hunting of wolves in Idaho

More than 30 wildlife conservation groups joined forces Feb. 15 to back a petition to the U.S. Forest Service, requesting that the agency ban Idaho from paying private contractors to hunt wolves from aircraft in national forests. The Center for Biological Diversity, the national nonprofit that filed the initial petition, argues that aerial hunting on public land represents a threat to both Idaho’s wildlife and members of the public.

“Recreationists should not have to worry about their safety while enjoying our

public lands,” stated Christine Gertschen, co-director of the Conservation Connection Foundation, according to a recent CBD news release. “Aerial gunning is dangerous for all concerned, especially for our native wildlife.”

The CBD initially lodged the petition with the USFS in 2023, following the Idaho Wolf Depredation Control Board’s decision to reimburse livestock producers for the costs associated with hiring aerial hunters.

The IWDCB — overseen by the Idaho State Department of Agriculture — tracks the

number of cattle killed by wolves and handles the related financial elements, but can only fund control measures sanctioned by the Idaho Fish and Game Commission.

The current proposals approved for funding would allow aerial gunning on public lands such as the Caribou-Targhee, Boise, Salmon-Challis, Sawtooth and Payette National Forests, and could undermine years of conservation efforts, according to the CBD.

Hunters nearly eradicated Idaho’s wolf population in the early 20th century, and the

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service removed the animals from the endangered species list as recently as 2015.

Wolf hunting in Idaho underwent a dramatic change in 2021 with Senate Bill 1211, which gave hunters and trappers the ability to kill an unlimited number of wolves and the Idaho Department of Fish and Game permission to hire private contractors to enforce population control.

The use of helicopters further gives hunters the ability to exhaust their prey, and the noise from the blades fright-

ens not only wolves, but other species like grizzly bears and Canada lynx — both of which are protected under the Endangered Species Act — away from their dens and hunting grounds.

“Aerial gunning prioritizes wolf killings over the health and safety of our shared forests,” stated Sasha Truax, president of Teens Restoring Earth’s Environment, in the same CBD news release. “It is a twisted abuse of public funding and its continuance exposes the brutality of wolf management on public lands. It must be stopped.”

February 22, 2024 / R / 5 NEWS
Dimitry Borisov, left; Cornel Rasor, right. File photos

NEWS Date nearing for Idaho GOP presidential caucus

The Idaho Republican Party will hold a statewide presidential caucus Saturday, March 2, with each county inviting Republican candidates and registered Republican voters to participate. Voters must have been registered to vote in Idaho and affiliated as a Republican prior to Dec. 31, 2023 to cast ballots.

Candidates in the 2024 Republican presidential race are former-President Donald Trump and former-South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley.

Delegates for the Republican National Convention will be awarded proportionally based on the results of statewide balloting. The candidate who garners more than 50% of the total will receive all of the Idaho delegates to the national convention. The caucus will result in 32 pledged delegates to the RNC.

According to the Bonner County Republican Central Committee, the 2024 nominating caucus will follow a “firehouse” format, meaning secret ballots will be cast in one round of voting.

All local caucuses will take place on Saturday, March 2 beginning at 11 a.m.

See below for more information on caucus locations. For further details, got to

District 1

Airport, Baldy, Beach, Humbird, Washington precincts

Farmin-Stidwell Elementary School, 1626 Spruce St., Sandpoint

Contact: Mathew Macdonald,

Hope, Clark Fork precincts

Clark Fork High School, 502 N Main St, Clark Fork

Contact: Dimitry Borisov,

Edgemere, Clagstone precincts

Edgemere Grange, 3273 Bandy Road, Priest River

Contact: Douglas Paterson,

Lamb Creek Precinct

Priest Lake Elementary School, 27732 Idaho 57, Priest Lake

Contact: Michael Fife, mfife3433@

Algoma, Careywood, Gamlin Lake, Sagle, Southside, Westmond precincts

Sagle School, 550 Sagle Road, Sagle

Contact: Cornel Rasor, csrasor@

Selle, Grouse Creek, Colburn precincts

Northside Elementary School, 7881 Colburn-Culver Road, Sandpoint

Contact: Sean Morgan,

Kootenai and Oden precincts

Kootenai Elementary School, 301 Sprague Street, Kootenai

Contact: Grace Bauer,

Priest Lake Precinct

Coolin Civic Center, 5361 Dickensheet Road, Coolin

Contact: Mike Nielsen, tacmike@

Blue Lake, Oldtown, East Priest River, West Priest River precincts

Priest River Jr. High Gymnasium, 5709 US-2, Priest River

Contact: Kristen Dodd,

Dover Precinct

Nutlicious, 25820 US-2, Sandpoint

Contact: Dolores Glass, dodie.

Wrenco, Laclede precincts

Laclede Community Center, 24 Moore Loop Road, Laclede

Contact: Jane Purdy,

Bonner District 2

Spirit Valley Precinct

Blanchard Community Center, 650 Rusho Lane, Blanchard

Contact: Asia Williams, asialakey@

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:

Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich. has introduced the Stop Politicians Profiting from War Act, which, if enacted, would ban Congress members and their family members from having any financial interests in corporations doing business with the U.S. Defense Department and ban them from trading defense stocks. Underscoring the need for the legislation, Tlaib noted that between 2019 and 2021, 97 members of Congress — or their family members — invested in weapons contractor stocks and 25 of them sat on committees responsible for shaping national security while also trading and profiting from defense stocks.

Talk show host John Oliver, who earns $8 million annually, offered U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas $1 million a year to resign. Thomas makes $298,500 a year, The Guardian reported.

Florida organization Moms for Liberty has supported banning more than 1,600 books about the history of racism and those featuring LGBTQ characters, according to the National Campaign for Justice. A new state bill would authorize school districts to institute a $100 processing fee after the first five ban requests if the requestor is not a resident or parent in the school district. The bill passed two state subcommittees, 17-1 and 16-0.

North Carolina has become the fourth state to require home sellers to disclose the flooding history of their homes, as well as the flood risk, The Washington Post reported.

A month out from Russia’s presidential election, international media reported the death of Alexei Navalny — the leader of the opposition to President Vladimir Putin — who had been incarcerated in an Arctic prison. Navalny had appeared healthy just days before.

After recovering from nerve agent poisoning, which he blamed on the Kremlin, Navalny returned to Russia, was arrested and received three prison terms in 2021. He said the terms were politically motivated. In a 2022 documentary, Navalny said if he was killed his message would be “you’re not allowed to give up. If they decide to kill me, it means that we are incredibly strong.”

According to Navalny’s mother, Russian officials claimed the 47-yearold had suffered from “sudden death syndrome.” Hundreds of Russians gathered at memorial sites dedicated to Navalny were arrested.

A New York State judge has ruled former-President Donald Trump must pay more than $334 million for lying about his property values when applying for bank loans, the BBC reported. The “massively inflated” property values enabled borrowing at more favorable interest rates. Per the decision, Trump is banned from serving as company director and taking bank loans in the state for three years. His business license was not revoked. The judge said the frauds “leap off the page and shock the conscience,” and the “complete lack of contrition and remorse borders on pathological.”

Another court ruled that Trump owes a writer $83.3 million for defamation. Between the two cases, expect Trump to “obfuscate” his trial so voters “lose sight of the big picture,” political commentator Robert Reich wrote.

New EPA methane regulations will reduce emissions from oil and gas producers by 80% over two decades, The Lever wrote. Methane is a significant contributor to climate change.

Clarification: Last week it was noted that Trump said Russia should do “whatever the hell they want to NATO countries.” Trump included a caveat that NATO members not contributing 2% of their GDP to enhance their militaries should be left exposed to Russian aggression. According to the BBC, of 31 member nations, Poland pays 3.9%, the U.S. pays 3.5% and 11 members pay more than 2%. Average members in Europe, as well as Canada, pay in 1.74% of their GDP.

Former FBI informant Alexander Smirnoff has been arrested following a 37-page indictment for obstruction and making felony false statements, ABC and BBC reported. Smirnoff’s 2020 information related to Hunter Biden and his father, President Joe Biden. Republicans in Congress pinned their impeachment inquiry of President Biden on the alleged fabrications. Smirnoff faces a maximum 25-year sentence

Last week the Senate passed a security bill in a bipartisan vote that would have given aid to Ukraine, Israel, Taiwan and Gaza. But the House Speaker Mike Johnson refused to allow a vote, which the far-right said would have passed, according to CNN. Instead, Johnson suspended the House until Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Blast from the past: “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends.” — Civil rights leader Martin Luther King, Jr. (1929-1968)

6 / R / February 22, 2024

Bundy militant Eric Parker says he’s behind Idaho bill to narrow definition of ‘terrorism’

Critics argue legislation ‘essentially guts’ Idaho’s Terrorist Control Act

The 2014 photos, snapped by a Reuters photojournalist, had turned Idaho’s Eric Parker into a kind of legend on the far right: They showed Parker, in body armor and a trucker cap, laying on his belly on the bridge above the Bureau of Land Management’s base camp in Nevada, pointing his semi-automatic rifle through the gap in the concrete toward the federal agents gathered below.

At that moment, the government’s attempt to seize Nevada rancher Cliven Bundy’s cattle for unpaid grazing fees had become a national rallying point for the right, as militants like Parker flooded onto Bundy’s ranch to stand up to what they saw as government tyranny.

Parker’s decision to point a gun at government officials got him accused of “domestic terrorism” by the FBI. He spent 19 months in prison. He went through two federal trials. But it also gave him the kind of fame that he’s been turning into political influence ever since.

And now, Parker, head of the Real Three Percenters of Idaho, a militia movement group, is casting himself as a key architect of Senate Bill 1220, an Idaho bill to change the state’s definition of terrorism.

The bill “essentially guts” the state’s Terrorist Control Act, said Jim Jones, a Republican who served as Idaho’s attorney general from 1983 to 1991. Jones said he convinced the Legislature to pass the act nearly 40 years ago, in the wake of a bombing of a North Idaho priest’s home by violent white supremacists. It gave the state the power to charge criminal acts that are “dangerous to human life” and intended to influence government policy through intimidation as an “act of terrorism,” carrying elevated criminal penalties.

The new bill would change the law to apply only to those who commit violent acts who are associated with federally

designated foreign terrorist organizations, like ISIS or Hamas, making it inert against actual homegrown domestic terrorists. That new definition of “domestic terrorism,” notably, would exclude Parker and the other militants at the Bundy ranch.

In multiple phone interviews over the past week, Parker, a 40-year-old construction worker, spoke with InvestigateWest about his role in pushing the legislation behind the scenes for more than three years.

As early as February 2022, according to a screenshot shared with InvestigateWest, Parker was texting with Sen. Chuck Winder, president pro tempore of the Idaho Senate, asking to “touch base on the domestic terror language now that [he] had some time to think about it.”

Winder, a Boise Republican, responded by encouraging him to connect with Senate Majority Leader Kelly Anthon, R-Burley, who ended up sponsoring the bill three years in a row. Neither senator responded to InvestigateWest’s interview requests about the extent of Parker’s involvement with the bill.

On Feb. 13, Parker testified in an Idaho House committee hearing to argue that, as it stood, the Terrorist Control Act could be “weaponized” to accuse ideological opponents of being terrorists. He also argued that the bill to change the language would protect left-wing protesters as well.

But Parker’s own past has long alarmed organizations that track extremism, like the Western States Center.

“Federal authorities have considered Eric Parker to be an anti-government and paramilitary extremist who belongs in prison” for his actions at Bundy’s ranch, said Amy Herzfeld-Copple, Western States Center director. “Why would the Idaho Legislature be listening to and taking policy cues from someone who pointed a rifle at law enforcement?”


Parker walked into a January 2018 meeting of the Idaho Legislature as a free man. Two trials over his role in the Bundy standoff had resulted in two hung juries. He’d copped to a misdemeanor plea of obstruction to avoid a third.

Rep. Dorothy Moon, R-Stanley, announced Parker was in the room and praised him for “everything he’s done for the citizens of Idaho and Nevada.” Dozens of Republican members of the Legislature responded with a hail of applause.

Moon and more than 50 of her Idaho Republican legislative colleagues had signed a 2017 letter urging the charges against Parker be dropped, arguing they represented government overreach. Today, Moon is the head of the state GOP.

Parker left the Capitol in Boise that day, he said, with a new fondness for political possibility. He said he began to sense the influence he could have by meeting with those who held the reins of power.

“I want to actually look at legislation and make a difference, not just screaming,” Parker said.

Parker started trying to sway policymakers. It meant showing up to the Boise Statehouse, shaking hands and making arguments in person. While his own attempts to run for state office had resulted in resounding defeats, he had “plugged in with a whole network across the state” that could get him the meetings with the leaders he wanted.

By 2022, Parker had become such a fixture at the Idaho Capitol that far-right legislators

and politicians were seeking his advice on legislation, according to audio reporter Heath Druzin’s podcast series about the militia movement.

Parker doesn’t call himself far-right. He prefers to think of himself as a militant moderate, caught between fascists on one side and Maoists on the other.

When conservative legislators have asked him about white nationalism in recent months, he said he’s told them that there really is a problem with that ideology in North Idaho.

“I’ve been telling legislators to stay away from that,” Parker said.

But ever since his arrest, he’d been interested in one issue in particular: Court proceedings had revealed internal FBI documents that tagged him and the group he was affiliated with, the Idaho Three Percenters, with the phrases “militia extremism” and “domestic terrorism.” But he hadn’t been charged with domestic terrorism.

Federal law often makes it much easier to go after domestic extremists using federal terrorism charges if they have connections to foreign terrorist groups.

That, he said, gave him an idea about how to limit Idaho’s own terrorism statute: By adding a definition for “domestic terrorism” to the Idaho law that only included local terrorism connected with existing foreign terrorist organizations, he thought he could help prevent Idaho law enforcement from, in his view, recklessly accusing people of terrorism.

But Jones, the former attorney general, said the bill’s definition is nonsensical enough to effectively destroy Idaho’s Terrorist Control Act if it passes. It passed the Senate in January, though it hasn’t been voted out of committee yet in the House.

“Hamas, or ISIS or Al Qaeda is not going to want to get involved in a terrorist act in the state of Idaho,” Jones said. “You might as well repeal it.”

In fact, Parker said, he would be happy if the Legislature did just that. He doesn’t

think crimes should be treated differently because they may have a political motivation. But eliminating the Terrorist Control Act entirely, he felt, was too politically difficult, so he pushed to make it as narrow as possible instead.

He didn’t try to convince the bill’s sponsor, Anthon, directly. Instead, he said he asked for help from Anthon’s constituents, urging them to appeal to the senator.

By 2022, Parker said Anthon had introduced the exact bill he was looking for.

The ‘terrorist’ label

In 2023, a similar bill to redefine terrorism passed the Senate, but didn’t get out of the committee in the House. But the legislator who Parker said stopped the bill last year didn’t win re-election. Most of the Republican representatives at the Feb. 13 hearing seemed supportive.

“It really is a due process bill,” Rep. Douglas Pickett, R-Oakley, said at the hearing. “Common, ordinary Idahoans are unfairly being labeled domestic terrorists.”

In his testimony, Parker cited the American Civil Liberties Union’s concerns about the “highly problematic trend of both the federal and state government using domestic terrorism powers to punish dissent,” the national ACLU wrote last year.

He noted that dozens of left-wing protesters of a police training center near Atlanta had been charged under Georgia’s “domestic terrorism” law after the reach of the law was expanded to include property crimes.

Similarly, when Oregon legislators were debating legislation to expand the definition of domestic terrorism to include damage to critical infrastructure, the American Civil Liberties Union of Oregon fought hard to try to stop it.

But when Julianne Donnelly Tzul, advocacy director with the < see TERRORISM, Page 9 >

February 22, 2024 / R / 7 NEWS
Eric Parker. Courtesy photo.


• Three cheers to Tom and Marcia Vanderford, who have run Vanderford’s Books and Office Supplies for the past 47 years in Sandpoint. That kind of longevity is impressive, especially in a town where new businesses seem to cycle in and out every couple of years. Customers might notice the front of their store is no longer accessible due to a change in their lease. However, the book store is still open! Just head over to the entrance on 321 Second Ave. The revamped retail space will now be called Vanderford’s Books on Second and will feature books, maps, art supplies and all the things that normally go with a bookstore. Support your local business owners.

• I really appreciate our readers. The job of putting together a newspaper every week can be a difficult one, but it’s made so much more tolerable thanks to the tireless support we receive from our community. I’m not just talking about donations to the Reader, either. I’m referring to the many kind emails we receive. I’m talking about the strange little gifts some people drop off at our office, the words of encouragement we seem to get every day and so much more. I don’t know what we did to deserve such treatment, but we are so thankful for it.


• I played pool recently at the bar and had a funny thing happen. When I was shooting a ball into one of the pockets, one of my opponents suddenly took the butt of his pool cue and blocked the ball from entering the pocket, then claimed the ball never touched the cue (even though everyone standing around the table saw it clearly). People who don’t respect the gravitas of playing pool or darts at the bar should probably stay home and play with their own balls. In some towns, you can get punched in the face for something like that. Needless to say, I left the game shaking my head at why someone would even do something like that.

Transparency needed in West Bonner bookkeeping…

Dear editor,

WBCSD’s new superintendent is pushing for a levy while there is an ongoing investigation going on with the district’s finances that are in a real mess. How can they propose needing a levy when they don’t have a complete budget of where the money has been spent or by whom?

I have seen a letter written by a new member on WBCSD’s School Board alerting those in their system to avoid getting involved because things could get sticky if the investigations reveal wrongdoing in the “creative” bookkeeping that has been a problem for some time.

Previously, in checking how the finances were, it was even stated that the person doing the job did not have the skillset. When the board was talking about replacing that person, a board member suggested that person’s job be kept and WBCSD could train her for the position she was supposedly already qualified to do. That person is gone and WBCSD is out the $34,000 invested in that training.

I believe the auditors have found enough in the financials created by WBCSD’s creative bookkeeping to warrant continuing forward to see if there might be a pattern because of so many checks that were found that had no known vendors. We need to know who received those checks. Transparency

Isn’t it the duty of the school board to watch over the funds provided by the property owners whose taxes pay for school levies?

It appears WBCSD has been looking the other way long enough.

It’s disheartening to know that in the more than 20 years I have lived here that Idaho has been in the bottom 5% in the U.S. in education and WBCSD has been in Idaho’s bottom 2%. The levy requests grow larger, yet test scores stay the same.

Time to rethink traffic changes to Pine Street…

Dear editor, As west-of-Boyer and Pine Street residents who often cross Fifth Avenue by foot and by car, the proposed Church Street stoplight relocation one block south seems like a fix looking for a problem. For a price of about $350,000 and the removal of a mature tree, the project will do little to alleviate traffic in

central Sandpoint; it simply shifts a disproportionate amount of traffic onto Pine Street, which already shoulders more than its share.

What’s more, the existing one-way block of Pine between Fourth and Fifth is slated to become two-way. This one-way stretch of Pine has helped foster a tree-lined, pedestrian-friendly thoroughfare and mix of residences along with the small, authentic businesses that give our town the character we so esteem.

Pine Street is a bona-fide neighborhood with a unique mix of businesses, residences, parks and lovely trees. It makes the best of a present traffic situation that includes too many vehicles traveling too fast, along a route that serves as a primary artery for children going to school and playing at neighborhood parks.

The current plan will not be money well spent and could bring about buyer’s remorse, especially if unforeseen, pricey consequences come into play. Time for a rethink that prioritizes keeping traffic more evenly spread across the area.


‘May Matters’…

Dear editor, Maybe you’ve already seen the May Matters signs around the area?

What the signs say is true, especially now. This May does matter. The Idaho primary election takes place on Tuesday, May 21, when all 105 state legislative positions will be decided.

Jim Woodward is one of the candidates running for the Idaho Senate from District 1, and hopes to win your vote on May 21. Jim is a lifelong citizen of Bonner and Boundary counties, a Navy veteran and local business owner.

Jim is a common sense conservative, not an ideologue. He already demonstrated that during his last stint in the Idaho Senate from 2018-2022, working with a variety of folks to get things done for residents here in District 1.

One of Jim’s top priorities is education. He believes the more “tools” at your disposal the more you can do for yourself and others. That includes support for the governor’s LAUNCH Program, which has already helped thousands of young Idahoans “jump start” their chosen careers.

On the other hand, Jim’s oppo-

Idaho GOP faces fierce pressure to toe the line

For democracy to work, elected leaders must have the freedom to act in the best interest of their constituents. This bedrock principle is now being severely undermined by Idaho’s House GOP leadership. We’re seeing historic levels of strong-arming around votes behind closed doors and harsh punishment for dissent. With the Idaho House looking more like the dysfunctional U.S. House of Representatives, there are harmful repercussions for Idahoans.

At the heart of the conflict is our Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee. The committee’s recent departure from our decades-old budget-setting process consolidates power in the hands of a few people. The committee co-chairs are ramming through skeletal budgets they constructed without study and input from other committee members. Skeletal budgets leave out critical investments like raises earned by educators through Idaho’s teacher career ladder, the LAUNCH scholarships propelling young Idahoans to in-demand careers and certain transportation funds. While the co-chairs claim they will go back and plug budget holes, services are now at risk.

The first House vote on a skeletal budget was a test case. The bill passed 38-31 (with all 11 Democrats opposed), showing many Republicans objected to the new budget-setting scheme.

That’s when the hammer came down.

The next day saw an unprecedented vote on the House Floor in support of Speaker Mike Moyle. The motion “to retain the speaker” received unanimous “yes” votes because no one was

nent in the primary is a staunch opponent of LAUNCH and its potential. If you are unaffiliated, change your affiliation to Republican today to be able to vote and make a difference. Don’t wait! If you already are

willing to fall into the trap of expressing disloyalty publicly. The Legislative Services Office couldn’t find any other instances of such a motion in state history.

Immediately after, in a private caucus, House Republicans ousted the first female majority leader because she was among those opposing the new budgeting scheme. Research turned up only one other instance of a leadership change in the middle of a session, which occurred when a Senate leader was battling cancer.

By making a historic example of the majority leader, the speaker sent a chilling message about the consequences of dissent. Skeletal budgets for different agencies are now zooming across the House floor. Almost all pass on party-line votes, signaling Republicans are under immense pressure to toe the line.

This budget scheme has given Speaker Moyle the singular power to block second-round funding bills that plug budget holes. It won’t matter what the Legislature as a whole wants because he can prevent votes from even taking place. And the speaker is on the record opposing LAUNCH scholarships, Medicaid services and other crucial investments that make life better for Idahoans.

The stakes are high and the need for a government that faithfully represents the people is more crucial than ever. Idaho Democrats will continue to vote our conscience and defend a strong, transparent democracy.

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

a registered Republican you know what to do. Vote for Jim Woodward May 21. Thank you. Remember: May Matters!

8 / R / February 22, 2024

ACLU of Idaho, got up to testify Feb. 13 in Boise, she made clear that her organization was opposed to the Idaho bill. By narrowing the law to focus on those with potential ties to “foreign terrorist groups,” she argued that the bill could lead to new powers of surveillance at the state level. Foreigners, refugees and religious minorities could ultimately be hurt.

“We shouldn’t be targeting our citizens for their speech or thought, and this bill seems to invite that,” Donnelly Tzul said.

One woman tearfully recalled friends who died in Timothy McVeigh’s bombing of a federal office building in Oklahoma City in 1995, and called it an affront that even an act like that wouldn’t be considered “terrorism” under the proposed bill.

Another woman, Tawny Crane, identified herself as the daughter of LaVoy Finicum — the militant who was shot and killed during the 2016 armed occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in Oregon — and said that labeling her dad a domestic terrorist may have helped get him killed. It’s become a frequent part of the far-right mythos surrounding Finicum — that he was a martyr for a cause, instead of a militant who made poor decisions. Neither the supporters nor the opponents of the bill cited the rare cases — such as the Nam-

pa, Idaho, man sentenced to 15 years in prison in 2019 for making fake sarin gas bomb threats — where the Terrorist Control Act has actually been used in Idaho.

After all, it’s the federal government that keeps the big list of domestic terrorists that Parker landed on, not the state of Idaho.

Parker’s mentor

In the decade since the Bundy ranch standoff, anti-extremism groups like the Western States Center have continued to track Parker closely.

“He claims to have had several meetings in D.C. with members of Congress,” Herzfeld-Copple said. “It looked like he met with Utah Sen. Mike Lee.”

In recent months, Parker believes he’s found some sympathetic ears on a U.S. House subcommittee created to investigate alleged FBI bias against conservatives.

The House Judiciary Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government was formed by former Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy as a concession to the hardright elements of his party. Democrats have mocked it as a “tinfoil hat” committee, little more than a delivery vehicle for conspiracy theories.

But Parker said he’s been talking to committee staffers about how labels of

“terrorist” from federal agencies can trickle down to state and local law enforcement. When local police pull somebody over, if they’ve been designated as suspected domestic terrorists by the federal government, that pops up on their police computer screen. Parker worries that can make traffic stops riskier.

He said he’d been recruited to get involved with the committee by Mark Herr, co-founder of the Center for Self Governance, which itself is labeled an anti-government group by the extremism experts at the Southern Poverty Law Center. Herr had interviewed Parker extensively for a documentary on the trials of those charged in the Bundy ranch standoff. And Parker, in turn, had taken a government and civics class from Herr.

Herr pioneered the intentionally provocative term “label-lynching” — used in recent years by far-right Idaho legislators like Sen. Tammy Nichols and Rep. Heather Scott to argue that even terms like “far-right” are smears that can potentially put them in danger.

In a text message to InvestigateWest, Herr wrote that he expects Parker to be interviewed by the committee, though there’s nothing scheduled yet.

Parker credits Herr with shaping his philosophy to be less partisan and teaching him effective ways to influence policy makers.

They’re both pursuing the same strategy: In a 2022 press release, Herr’s organization recommended defining a domestic terrorist as someone connected to a foreign terrorist group as one of their “solutions with actions” to combat government “weaponization of labels.”

A very similar domestic terrorism bill as the one Parker has been pushing in Idaho passed overwhelmingly in North Dakota last year.

In a text message, Herr said it’s ironic that his group is accused of being “anti-government” when they’re working with the government to change policy.

But Herzfeld-Copple said that’s not unusual.

“It’s not uncommon for anti-democracy actors to ... infiltrate and engage directly in the democratic institution they’re seeking to weaken,” Herzfeld-Copple said. “It’s part of their strategy: engaging government to enact their exclusionary and authoritarian worldview.”

InvestigateWest ( is an independent news nonprofit dedicated to investigative journalism in the Pacific Northwest. A Report for America corps member, Daniel Walters covers democracy and extremism across the region. He can be reached at

February 22, 2024 / R / 9
< TERRORISM, con’t from Page 7 >

Science: Mad about

Brought to you by:

complex board games

There is something to be said about the importance of board and table games. While it’s easy enough to boot up a console and start pwning n00bs online, some interesting things start happening to your brain when you’re playing video games versus playing board games with a group of friends or strangers.

Video games — particularly games developed within the past eight years — have immense amounts of research behind them to study the effects they have on the human brain. AAA game firms make money by selling you games and content, so it makes sense that they want the games to be fun... and, more importantly, addictive.

My own journey into video games began with Super Mario Bros. for the Nintendo Entertainment System when I was young enough to still say “basketti,” so if you’re expecting a dusty lecture on why video games are bad and board games are good, you’re likely to be disappointed.

Certain video games have had a profound and lasting effect on American society. Video games such as the Final Fantasy series, which we’ll explore next week, are story- and strategy-driven titles that make you think while you play. It’s been shown that players think more critically and strategically about other decisions after spending some hours playing a role-playing game, while those who prefer twitchy shooters like Call of Duty tend to develop better reflexes and make better snap decisions.

Video game players in general, regardless of type

or genre of game, have been proven to outperform nongamers on average in areas of cognitive function and executive decision making. While it’s likely that a large amount of this is both genetic and based on upbringing and general life experiences, it appears that video gaming can be like taking vitamins for your brain. Strike the right balance and you’ll be thinking more quickly on your toes; stuff too many fistfuls of Flintstone vitamins into your mouth and you’re just wasting time.

Board games do something else entirely to our brains, depending heavily on what the board game is, just like with video games.

Board games come in a staggering variety, from snappy party games like Cards Against Humanity and Here to Slay, to deeper strategy games like Monopoly and Risk. These are just some of the most basic titles, when really there is a sea of games out there with a variety and depth to rival even the robust video game catalog that has developed over the decades.

Let’s pair two roughly similar (and well known) titles and explore the effects they have on the human brain: Monopoly and Settlers of Catan. The objective of both games is to “win.” Monopoly has a single win condition: to bankrupt the other players at the table — though getting Uncle Mark to flip the table in rage is a bonus win condition. Catan has a single win condition that can be achieved in multiple ways: reach 10 Victory Points by having the largest army, longest road and/or the strongest presence on the board.

Both of these games lean into the idea of heavy social interaction through politicking

to gain an advantage in your strategy. These games also require adaptive thinking, as the presence of dice can either grant you a windfall or doom you to streaks of bad luck.

There is no single, surefire solution to either game, and it’s evident that if your group plays multiple games it will often be more wary of winners of past games. Trades and loans become more difficult for those who achieved victory once, as the players are more cautious of their ability. This has an immediate effect on how our brains process information, perceive threats, and adapt to neutralize those threats and come out ahead based on past experiences. Games are, in a way, a practice run for real life with low stakes and high impact.

It has been shown that board gamers approach social interactions outside of games differently from non-gamers, much in the similar way that video gamers have a higher cognitive function and are less reluctant to make snap decisions than non-gamers. Much like reading, social gaming in-person is like exercise for your brain.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mad About Science article without some wacky extremes. What’s the longest game you can think of? While it’s true that there has been a Dungeons & Dragons game going on for 42 years, this isn’t really what I’m talking about. What about the longest board game, with everything packed into a single box ready to roll out. Any guesses? Catan? Monopoly?

Let’s try The Campaign for North Africa. This game is an intense simulation of the North African campaign of World War II between the Axis and the Allies. The game

recommends two teams of five players, each with a specific role to execute.

To call this a game is an inaccurate representation of what it actually is. It is a complete simulation of the campaign, including rolling for weather effects, the armor of vehicles and even the availability of water to cook pasta. To give you an idea of the scope of this simulation, its expected playtime is roughly 1,500 hours! If you were to meet once every two weeks and play for three hours at a time, you’d wrap up a single game after 20 years.

If you’re looking for a less

intense and committed gaming engagement, a community group has been hosting a war game night at the library every Thursday from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Games available so far have been Onepagerules’ Age of Fantasy and Grimdark Future, as well as Metal King Studio’s Relicblade. The space is great for Warhammer: 40,000 as well. Here to Slay is another title that’s easy to jump into with no prior experience. It’s free and open to any member of the public. Feel free to bring your own board game and network with others interested in building up their brain.

Stay curious, 7B.


• There are more slot machines in Japan than in the U.S., but gambling is technically illegal there. Japanese machines are not considered gambling devices because players can only win tokens or balls to be exchanged for merchandise, rather than money.

• Taken as a whole, slot machines pay 90% of the funds they collect. Even so, they still rake in $34.2 billion in revenue across the nation, contributing to 80% of a casino’s revenue.

• Slot machines don’t run “hot” or “cold.” Each push of the button has an equal chance of winning or losing (usually losing). If you have a 1 in 1,000 chance of winning a jackpot on a particular spin, no matter if you win that jackpot or not, the next spin will also give you the same odds of winning.

• The first modern-day slot machines were invented by Bavari-

an-born American inventor Charles August Fey, who built his first coin-operated gambling machine in 1894. Fey’s first machines emulated poker hands.

• There are no strategies that can be employed to have better odds while playing slot machines.

• Slots are called different names around the world. Australia calls them “pokies.” The United Kingdom calls them “fruit machines.” Japan calls them “pachinko” and “pachislot.”

• The largest jackpot ever won by a slot machine was in 2003, after a software engineer won $39 million while playing a progressive slot machine in Las Vegas.

• According to WeeklySlotNews. com, there are more than 900,000 slot machines across the U.S., with the state of Nevada accounting for the largest portion, followed by California.

10 / R / February 22, 2024
Don’t know much about slot machines? We can help!

Judge finds racist robocaller liable for 4,959 illegally spoofed calls

Justice finally caught up with Scott Rhodes, a man who lived briefly in Sandpoint while conducting a yearslong campaign of hate through racist robocalls directed at individuals across the nation — including the Reader and its publisher, me.

The U.S. District Court in Montana issued a partial summary judgment Feb. 20 against Rhodes, finding him liable for sending 4,959 illegally spoofed robocalls in six separate instances, including in Sandpoint. At $2,000 per violation, this puts the forfeiture amount proposed by the FCC at around $9.9 million. District Judge Dana Christensen ordered parties to submit briefs to the court so that it can determine the final forfeiture amount later this spring.

To say I feel relief is quite an understatement. As many of our readers remember, Rhodes waged a campaign of hate, threats and intimidation against the Sandpoint Reader, our advertisers and me (personally) after reporting by then-Editor Cameron Rasmusson and me first identified him as the person responsible for distributing racist propaganda in Sandpoint, as well as a series of inflammatory robocalls that linked back to Rhodes’ video blog site.

It all started with a police report about an individual observed distributing CDs containing racist propaganda on students’ vehicles in the Sandpoint High School parking lot in November 2017. After a substantial investigation and public records requests, the Reader identified Rhodes as the person of interest in that incident. Subsequent reporting also linked Rhodes to multiple robocalls placed in various U.S. locations. After several follow-up stories reporting Rhodes’ behavior, approximately 750 Sandpoint residents received a robocall on Sept. 20, 2018, which proclaimed, “Ben Olson is a cancer on wholesome North Idaho, and cancer must be burned out. ... Punish his advertisers for feeding the cancer on our town. Burn out the cancer, Ben Olson, or the cancer that he is will spread and kill.”

That call was followed by another one a week later, which urged listeners to throw stacks of the Reader in the trash and burn them, and claimed the Reader was “mind poison.”

The robocalls came after Rhodes’

eviction from his rental home in Sandpoint, which he claimed was because I had “blackmailed” his landlord. Needless to say, none of what this deranged man says is or was true. But the harassment didn’t stop there.

In the following months and years, a number of our advertisers reported receiving periodic anonymous messages and fliers falsely accusing me of everything under the sun, from child sex trafficking to blackmail to operating a “cabal” in North Idaho. It was a sustained effort that lasted until January 2021, right after the Federal Communication Commission announced it was issuing a $13 million fine against Rhodes, later amended to $9.9 million.

In a blistering 31-page ruling, Christensen granted summary judgment in favor of the Department of Justice, linking Rhodes to the specific calling services, his video podcast for avowed white nationalists, internet domains and “power dialer” software used to place the nearly 5,000 robocalls using illegal or “spoofed” return numbers.

Christensen referred to a segment of a Sept. 13, 2018 episode of Rhodes’ video blog in which he claimed the news media are “literally terrorists” who “need to be named; they need to be targeted; they need to be punished; they need to be dealt with by the means available to us now.”

Along with granting the summary judgment in favor of the DOJ, Christensen also granted a permanent

injunction that directs Rhodes to obey the Telephone Consumer Protection Act and Truth in Caller ID Act and imposes compliance reporting requirements on him. It also bans Rhodes from initiating any call or message using misleading or inaccurate caller identification information.

One year after the order, Rhodes must submit a compliance report, sworn under the penalty of perjury, to identify his primary contact information and describe in detail how he is in compliance with the judge’s order. Also, for 20 years after the order, Rhodes must submit a compliance notice within 14 days of any change to his name, including aliases or fictitious names, telephone number, residence address or business address. Furthermore, Rhodes must permit DOJ and FCC representatives to interview any employee or other individual affiliated with him.

I haven’t shared much about this court matter against Rhodes with our readers, because it’s been an open case, but now that we are entering the home stretch I feel the need to bring some closure to one of the darkest periods of my life. I don’t suppose the U.S. government will ever see a dime from Rhodes, but the fact that he’s on the hook for $9.9 million and must remain on a bit of a leash to the U.S. government approaches something close to justice, at least in my eyes.

After the court determines the final forfeiture amount, the Reader will follow

up with more news coverage, then we’ll close the book on this ugly chapter.

Rhodes’ despicable actions brought distress to our community. Unfortunately, his threats will always live inside me, in that dark, evil place where journalists put the vitriol that comes with being a reporter. I don’t regret any of the stories we wrote, only that we have such vile people in our world.

February 22, 2024 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES
A screenshot from Scott Rhodes’ racist podcast. Courtesy image.

Ponderay soup kitchen celebrates 10th anniversary

The Community Crockpot, Inc. Soup Kitchen celebrated 10 years of feeding Bonner County’s underserved community Feb. 12 with a 125-person pizza party. The nonprofit, which operates from the Hoot Owl Cafe under the supervision of Savannah Mort, served up 24 large pizzas, in addition to their regular fare, and is now looking toward the next 10 years of shared meals and smiles.

It began 10 years ago, when Mort’s husband wanted to celebrate his February birthday by volunteering at a soup kitchen, but the family was unable to find any that were open on that day. Inspiration struck, and Mort’s mother — Wendy Franck, who was the longtime owner of the Hoot Owl, until handing over the keys to Josh Butler in 2022 — offered them the use of the iconic local eatery to

found their own soup kitchen.

Volunteers currently run the Community Crockpot every Monday from 4-7 p.m., using homemade foods like soup, lasagna and casseroles donated by area residents.

“It’s a tremendous amount of people that bring food in weekly,” said Dave Diehl, who’s been involved with the kitchen for more than six years. “I’m blessed to be a part of that outreach. We serve coffee, tea or water, and then ask people what they’d like to have for dinner. It gives them some dignity back since they get to have regular sit-down dinners.”

Community Crockpot, Inc. became an official nonprofit two years ago, and Mort hopes one day to build a permanent home for the soup kitchen — on the lot next to the Hoot Owl — complete with showers and P.O. boxes for patrons. She credits her faith and host of volunteers with the overwhelming success the kitchen has enjoyed

during the past 10 years.

“The Lord has sustained our efforts,” said Mort, later adding, “Praise be to God.”

Mort said diners return to the kitchen after their situations have improved, giving back to the community by volunteering, donating, mentoring or simply visiting with other patrons who live solitary lives.

“It’s all pretty darn fulfilling,” said Mort. “It’s just super fun when you have someone come in who is struggling, ill or just lonely at heart, and you get to see their life change over the years.”

12 / R / February 22, 2024 COMMUNITY
Courtesy photo.

Winter Carnival 2024: Week 2

Loads of live music, Schweitzer events, a free film and the K9 Keg Pull round out the carnival

Thursday, Feb. 22

Activities at Schweitzer

Meditation in the Cambium Spa, 9-9:30 a.m., followed by tubing from 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. and Flow Yoga at Cambium from 4:30-5:30 p.m. Get more info at

Live music w/Buster Brown at Matchwood Brewing

Award-winning solo artist at 513 Oak St. from 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Friday, Feb. 23

Activities at Schweitzer

Tubing from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m., with night skiing from 3-7 p.m., Yin Yoga at Cambium from 4:30-5:30 p.m., Starlight Race series followed by a party at Taps 4:30-6:30 p.m. and even more live music at Taps with Ben and Buds from 5-6 p.m. and 8-10 p.m. Mor info at

Barn dance and line dancing w/the Hankers at The Hive

Award-winning country, rock and bluegrass band at 207 N. First Ave. Doors at 7 p.m. followed by $10 line dancing lessons from 7:30-8:30 p.m.

The Hankers take the stage at 8:45 p.m. Tickets are $5, available online at or at the door. 21+.

Live music w/The Ronaldos Trio at Pend d’Oreille Winery

Blues, jazz and rock at 301 Cedar St., from 5-8 p.m.

Live music w/Doug and Marty at Connie’s Lounge

Smooth harmonies from these local favorites at 323 Cedar St., starting at 5 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 24

Activities at Schweitzer

It’s a big weekend at the mountain with Vinyasa Yoga at Cambium, NASTAR, tubing, kids craft, a village campfire, twilight skiing, hosted moonlight snowshoe hike, Kids Night Out and music at Taps with Fine Line. Events run from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Get more info at

Live music w/Ponderay Paradox at Pend d’Oreille Winery

Folk, blues and ’70s-’80s tunes at 301 Cedar St. from 5-8 p.m.

Live music w/Ian Newbill at Barrel 33

Solo artist at 100 N. First Ave. from 5-8 p.m.

Live music w/Karry Leigh at Connie’s Lounge

The “gentleman cowboy” himself plays at 323 Cedar St. at 6 p.m.

Live music w/Corn Mash at the 219 Lounge

A mix of original rock, swing, blues, country, punk, funk and bluegrass from 9 p.m.-midnight at 219 First Ave.

Live music w/The Rub at The Hive Regional rockers include Cary Beare (guitar and vocals), Michael Koep (drums, cymbals and vocals) and Cristopher Lucas (vocals and bass gui-

tar), bringing the ruckus to 207 N. First Ave. Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8:30 p.m.

Tickets $10 advance at or $15 at the door if not sold out.

Sunday, Feb. 25

Activities at Schweitzer

Schweitzer wraps up its Winter Carnival week with special events including hosted hermit’s hollow hike, NASTAR, tubing and kids craft, with events from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. More info at

Eichardt’s K9 Keg Pull

The signature closing event of the Winter Carnival brings dogs and their owners downtown, where the pups will race down a snowy course on Cedar Street in front of Eichardt’s Pub. Keg sizes are tailored to dogs’ sizes — from a full-sized keg to a beer can, it’s a race against the clock for best time and prizes. The beloved event benefits the Better Together Animal Alliance pet shelter. Registration starts at 10:15 a.m. with races beginning at 11 a.m.

Free family film Cool Runnings

Following the K9 Keg Pull, the

Innovia Foundation hosts a free screening of Cool Runnings at the Panida Theater, which tells the true story of the Jamaican bobsled team at the 1988 Winter Olympics. The free matinee screens at 2:30 p.m. at 300 N. First Ave.

Tea Time Serenade

The talented faculty at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint will perform classical music at the Little Carnegie Hall at 110 Main St. starting at 2 p.m. Tickets are $25 for adults, $10 for students, available at

Learn more about Sandpoint’s annual Winter Carnival at For even more events happening around Sandpoint this weekend, head to Page 18 to peruse the Reader calendar or head to

February 22, 2024 / R / 13 COMMUNITY
The K9 Keg Pull in Sandpoint. Courtesy photo.

New study shows economic impact of arts and culture

Music Conservatory highlights report, describes its own local contributions

The Music Conservatory of Sandpoint is touting the results of the recently released Arts & Economic Prosperity 6 (AEP6) report, illustrating the broad economic benefits of arts and culture.

“Arts and culture organizations have a powerful ability to attract and hold dollars in the community longer,” stated Americans for the Arts President and CEO Nolen V. Bivens. “They employ people locally, purchase goods and services from nearby businesses and produce the authentic cultural experiences that are magnets for visitors, tourists and new residents.”

The study also showed that the nonprofit arts and culture sector in the U.S. is a $151.7 billion industry, which supports 2.6 million jobs and generates $29.1 billion in government revenue.

“When we invest in nonprofit arts and culture, we strengthen our economy and build more livable communities,” Bivens added.

“The message is clear: A vibrant nonprofit arts and culture community not only keeps residents and their discretionary spending close to home, it also attracts visitors who spend money and help local businesses thrive,” MCS stated in a news release detailing the study results.

Drilling into the conservatory’s numbers, the nonprofit reported hosting 44 performances and events in 2023, and identified its own local economic impact as creating an average of 25 jobs; contributing $14,000 to local government tax revenue; and $39,500 in state tax revenue each year.

Taken together, MCS reported that its audiences spend an average of $789,232 each year — measured by attendees of cultural events in communities of a similar size to Sandpoint. Meanwhile, the typical concert attendee spends $387.29 per person per event, excluding the cost of admission, and 89% of respondents agreed that the activity or venue they were attending was “a source of neighborhood pride for the community.”

The 500-strong student population of the conservatory represents 10% of Bonner County youth, taking lessons from 20 on-site teachers in a facility containing more than 15 studios and

11,000 square feet of community space.

According to Andra Murray, who is director of Teaching and Learning at the Lake Pend Oreille School District, “kids who receive music enrichment through Music Matters [the MCS outreach program] are more connected to school and that music may be the area where they shine. They learn leadership skills, performance skills, interact with peers and gain confidence through Music Matters.”

“We invite the community to participate, so that our students can dream up their musical future at our school,” stated MCS Executive Director and Founder Karin Wedemeyer. “Our classes and curriculum honor that we are not just consumers. We are poets and painters, mathematicians, and musicians, and so much more.”

Located in what was once the Sandpoint City Hall at 110 Main St., the building itself is a contributing resource within the National Register of Historic Places and the Sandpoint Historic District, originally listed in 1984. In addition, it also once housed the Library and served as the fire station.

Proposed work on the building will follow the U.S. Secretary of the Interior’s Standards for Rehabilitation to retain historic character-defining features. Lost elements, such as the former bell tower and cupola, will be restored, augmenting the building’s exterior visual character. Soon, MCS plans to restore windows and the front entryway, bringing the building back to its original look.

Heather Upton, who serves as Sandpoint’s arts and historic preservation officer — as well as representing the Bonner County Historical Society as a member of MCS’s building design team in 2022 — shared, “I have worked closely with their leadership team as they develop strategies for completing renovations of the building. Its central location and long history as a public building make this a key space to help tell the story of our community; the exterior displays and the fire department, now reimagined as a recital hall, will continue to draw the community together for generations to come. We cannot overemphasize the potential this space carries as

For more info visit, email mcs@sandpointconservatory. org or call 208-265-4444.

14 / R / February 22, 2024 COMMUNITY

Building community in Bonner and Boundary counties NAMI Far North’s Sand Creek Clubhouse Project

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Far North branch will host a fundraiser and info session on Thursday, Feb. 29 for the Sand Creek Clubhouse — an upcoming project that will help reintegrate people living with serious mental illness into the community. Though people around the world have benefited from the Clubhouse International’s model for the past 30 years, the SCC will be Idaho’s first accredited branch.

According to NAMI, national statistics reveal that one in 20 people live with serious mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, major depression or schizophrenia. Those fortunate enough to receive proper care often require additional time and space to heal — the SCC is intended to provide both.

By following Clubhouse International’s 37 standards of care, NAMI plans to build a welcoming environment in which participants can engage with the rest of the community, build relationships, educate themselves and find fulfillment through work.

“Clubhouse has inclusion and no hierarchy — members work side by side with staff and are involved in all Clubhouse decision making. This rebuilds confidence, which is important for reintegration,” NAMI Far North President Dawn Mehra told the Reader

in an email. “With approximately 3,500 people in Bonner and Boundary counties potentially affected by SMI [serious mental illness], there’s a significant opportunity to make a positive impact.”

People living with SMI account for 26% of the unhouse population and 24% of those incarcerated, yet existing Clubhouses have demonstrated reduced hospitalization and incarceration rates, as well as a 42% employment rate among members, according to Mehra.

“Serious mental illness can push people to the margins of society, as they live invisible and often lonely lives, excluded from friendships, education, employment and community. The resulting poverty, homelessness, addiction, incarceration and ‘revolving door’ hospitalization are both visible and costly,” stated NAMI Far North in a recent funding request.

Any adult with a history of serious mental illness can become a lifetime member of SCC, free of charge, and will build skills and confidence while gaining access to NAMI’s partners — including housing, employment and educational support agencies, psychiatric care and insurance and benefits advisors.

“Members plan and cook nutritious meals and can lead exercise programs — pilates, yoga, weight training — or invite volunteer trainers to guide classes in meditation, for example, or to lead art or music therapy programs,” the or-

ganization stated in the funding request.

SCC’s program, dubbed the “work ordered day,” gives members opportunities for hands-on learning in units focused on employment, holistic health, advocacy and education. The Clubhouse will remain open five days a week and provide low-cost meals and free social activities in the evening and on weekends and holidays.

“Unfortunately, North Idaho suffers from a significant absence of community-based outreach facilities, exacerbating the struggle for recovery,” Mehra wrote to the Reader. “It’s evident that a combination of factors including stigma, discrimination and insufficient mental illness education contribute to the scarcity of post-hospitalization resources in our region.”

Visit the Heartwood Center (615 Oak St., in Sandpoint) on Thursday, Feb. 29 from 6-7:30 p.m. to enjoy free refreshments, learn more about the Clubhouse and help NAMI Far North raise the $170,000 needed to make SCC a reality.

Reserve a spot by Friday, Feb. 23 at For more information, call 208-597-2047 or email

“Mental illness is a medical problem, it’s no one’s fault,” Mehra wrote. “Recovery happens when the gaps in health care are filled, and everyone deserves a chance to recover from serious mental illness.”

KRFY show Community Character Hour focuses on local culture, history

Panhandle Community Radio is unveiling a new show Monday, Feb. 26 on KRFY 88.5 FM titled Community Character Hour, which will air monthly in partnership with the Bonner County Historical Society and Sandpoint Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation Office.

The show will run live at 8 a.m. on the fourth Monday of each month, with a rebroadcast of the latest show in the same time slot on the second Monday.

Bonner County Historical Society Executive Director Hannah Combs and Sandpoint Arts and Historic

Preservation Officer Heather Upton will host the program, with production support and the occasional layman’s perspective from KRFY Associate Station Manager Jack Peterson.

Community Character Hour will focus on the people, places and events that make life in the Sandpoint area unique and examine them through a historical lens.

The first episode, airing Feb. 26, will tackle the subject of city planning, following the development of the lumber camp that grew up on the east side of Sand Creek as it evolved into the modern day city of Sandpoint to the West.

Along the way, Combs and Upton will introduce listeners to some of the

prominent citizens of the early 20th century who determined what much of our built environment would look like up to the present day. As well, the inaugural show will explore the origins of city planning as a practice, from the ancient world to the first comprehensive city plan in the United States: Cincinnati.

Future programs will focus on one subject at a time, from local public art to the shifting economic role of Lake Pend Oreille.

The premiere episode of the Community Character Hour will broadcast live at 8 a.m. on Monday, Feb. 26 on 88.5 FM or streaming on The show will later be available as a recording on the station’s website.

February 22, 2024 / R / 15 COMMUNITY

Love at first bite

Pizza might just be the perfect food: it’s delicious at any time of day or night, tastes great hot or cold, and is just as easy to eat on the go as it is sitting down in a pizza parlor with friends.

Nearly a year ago, Arlo’s Ristorante began the process of adding pizza to its authentic Italian menu. After installing a hybrid wood-fired oven, establishing a menu, holding a soft opening and tweaking the recipe a few times, owner Jesse Guscott is pleased with the outcome.

Guscott’s family started Arlo’s in 2001 and the eatery has been a staple for Italian cuisine in Sandpoint ever since.

“My dad always wanted to do pizza in our old place, but we didn’t really have space for it,” Guscott told the Reader. “When we moved into this new building, it was always in the back of our minds.”

The first step on the road to gourmet pizza was the purchase of a commercial Fiero Forni oven, built in Modena, Italy, and shipped to New York for finishing touches. The oven found a home in Arlo’s secondary kitchen — right next door to the main kitchen — and when chef Andrew Miller joined the crew prior to the pandemic, it became clear he would be the official pizza whisperer.

“We literally hired him before COVID and a month later we were shut down and only doing takeout,” Guscott said. “He’s really creative and talented in the kitchen and always had a bug in our ear about pizza. He’s wanted to own a pizzeria or pizza truck ever since he was a kid.”

Miller quickly got to work with Guscott designing a pizza menu.

“Andrew’s food combinations are just awesome,” said Lindsey Falciani, Jesse’s finance, also an owner-operator at Arlos’s.

Because of the type of oven they purchased, Neapolitan-style pizza turned out to be the best for Arlo’s.

“Neapolitan is more Italian style, less American,” Miller said.

“It was never going to be a New York-style pizza in my mind,” Guscott said. “There’s no reason to cook a New York pie in this oven.”

New York-style pizza uses sugar and a heavier yeast and flour, as well as heavier toppings. Neapolitan pizza, on the other hand, features fewer ingredients and more closely resembles

Arlo’s Ristorante adds Neapolitan pizza to the menu

the original modern pizza, created in Naples, Italy.

“The biggest difference is the type of flour you use and the types of ingredients,” Guscott said. “We use superfine ‘00’ flour and we ended up getting a good link on the best flour we could find from Naples. ... We also use fresh yeast instead of dehydrated. We actually get blocks of yeast, salt and water.”

One of the defining characteristics of Arlo’s pizza is its crust, which has a soft, light texture.

“Our crust takes three days to make,” Guscott said. “We batch ferment it for two days, and ahead of time we make a poolish, or pre-ferment, which kickstarts the yeast. When you add that to the dough, it really wants to start going. The dough sits for 48 hours minimum, and that’s when it starts to get that tang to it.”

Guscott said he and Miller tweaked the recipe for months, learning the best bake times in the oven and establishing mouth-watering recipes.

Currently, Arlo’s offers 11 types of pizza, and usually includes a nightly special as well. Each pie has a unique quality that sets Arlo’s apart from the rest. Even their pepperoni — arguably the workhorse of any pizza restaurant — has a distinctness to it, with two

types of pepperoni that compliment one another well.

“We didn’t want a boring pepperoni pizza,” said Miller. “One person said they should lay flat, one said they should cup and char, so we said, ‘Why don’t we try both?’”

The pepperoni and burrata pizza adds garlic, fresh basil, hot honey and a fresh lump of burrata cheese. It started as a special, but Guscott said they were “bullied into putting it on the menu by our regulars.”

For those who love the heat, the Speziata Fiore is so spicy it comes with a caution to “be careful” on the menu.

“We really love spicy food and we wanted a kick-your-ass pizza on the menu,” Guscott said.

The pie combines roasted serrano peppers and pickled habaneros — all prepared in-house — as well as prosciutto and mozzarella. While I wouldn’t recommend this item for those who can’t handle spice, I was pleasantly surprised with the level of heat. The habaneros hit on the tongue and lips, while the serranos add a nice hum underneath. Adding a ball of burrata cheese on top helps mitigate the heat.

“We have a lot of people who say we should tone it down on that one, but we tell them no,” Guscott said.

“That one is going to stay,” Miller agreed. “It’s all of our favorite pizza.”

Also available is a meatball ricotta pizza, with Arlo’s famous meatballs sliced flat atop the pizza with fresh ricotta, oregano and mozzarella. Chicken options include a pesto chicken with artichoke hearts, marinated tomatoes and mozzarella, while the garlic chicken pie features garlic cream, sautéed onions, marinated tomatoes and mozzarella.

Finally, there are veggie options, sausage and mushroom varieties and the famous Margherita, named after Queen Margherita of Savoy, whose visit to Naples spurred that dish into being and, subsequently, launched the modern pizza we enjoy today.

Along with unique fermented dough and exciting varieties, Arlo’s pizzas are also constructed in a novel way.

“The way we build our pizza, we actually build them upside down,” Miller said. “Our cheese goes down first and we don’t shred it, but slice into pats. Then we add ingredients and then sauce. That allows the sauce to cook down into the ingredients.”

With the oven cooking at a blistering 700° Fahrenheit, it only takes a few minutes to fully cook a pizza at Arlo’s.

Along with the pies, Arlo’s added a series of beer taps featuring Utara Brewing Co. beers, serviced by Utara owners Dave Kosiba and Christina Stecher.

Once the pizzas were dialed in, Falciani spearheaded transforming Arlo’s secondary dining room and kitchen into a clean, warm and comfortable place.

“Lindsey did everything in here,” Guscott said. “She did the walls, the floors and worked with the company to help design the oven.”

“I went to school for art and it was a creative outlet for me,” Falciani said. “It turned out how I envisioned it.”

Guscott said the addition of pizza to the menu makes him feel closer to his father, Tom, who founded Arlo’s and passed away at the end of 2018. Guscott and Falciani took over managing the family business after that.

“It makes me think about my dad a lot,” Guscott said. “When I see bowls of pasta and pizza in the dining room, it just feels right having pizza on the menu. It feels like it should’ve been that way all along. He would’ve loved it.”

To learn more about Arlo’s pizza and the rest of the menu, visit or, better yet, stop by the dining room at 124 S. Second Ave. and have a pizza.

16 / R / February 22, 2024 FOOD
Chef Andrew Miller, left; owner Jesse Guscott, center; and owner Lindsey Falciani, right, with a pepperoni burrata pizza in the foreground. Photo by Ben Olson.

Idaho Public TV invites teens to share ‘Life Outdoors’ in statewide contest

Idaho Public Television is partnering with environmental education nonprofit LifeOutdoors, the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation and Idaho Press newspaper to offer the “My Life Outdoors: Teen Multimedia Contest.”

Open to all Idahoans between the ages of 13 and 18, the competition invites young

explorers to share their outdoor adventures through written essays and video submissions.

“This initiative aims to celebrate the profound con-

Festival at Sandpoint offers new scholarships

The Festival at Sandpoint is offering two new scholarships ahead of the 2024 award season, a $2,500 Vocalist Scholarship and a $1,500 Music Industry Scholarship.

Festival at Sandpoint scholarships are open to Bonner and Boundary County high school students. All grade levels are encouraged to apply; however, priority is given to graduating seniors continuing their studies in music.

The new Vocalist Scholarship will include a live audition, and the winner may have the opportunity to perform at the Grand Finale on Sunday, Aug. 4.

The Festival at Sandpoint’s Music Industry Scholarship is tailored for students interested in pursuing a career in the music industry but not necessarily becoming performers themselves.

This scholarship is open to students pursuing a future career in the music industry, which includes, but is not limited to, music business, artist management, concert or venue promotion, e-commerce, sound and light design and operation, and production management.

“There are so many careers in the music industry outside of being a live performer, and we wanted to provide an opportunity for these students to obtain a scholarship,” stated FAS Production and Education Manager Paul Gunter.

“The industry looks so different than it did even five years ago. We are excited to help students prepare for these exciting jobs.”

In addition to the new scholarship opportunities, the Festival continues to offer an Instrumental Scholarship and the Charley Packard Memorial Songwriting Scholarship.

The Festival’s Instrumental Scholarship winner will receive $2,500 and may also have the opportunity to perform at the Grand Finale.

The Charley Packard Memorial Songwriting Scholarship fund was established to memorialize beloved late-local musician Charley Packard and perpetuate his lifelong mentorship of young singer-songwriters. Applicants are asked to write and perform an original song, and the winner will receive $1,500.

Outside of the traditional 2024 scholarship season, the Festival at Sandpoint also offers a $1,000 scholarship to the winner of the annual Poster Contest which closed at the beginning of February.

Meanwhile, applications for the Festival at Sandpoint’s four scholarships are now open. Completed applications are due by Monday, April 8 at 9 a.m. to the Festival at Sandpoint office, located at 525 Pine St., or the applicant’s high school counseling office.

For more info, including application forms and criteria, visit education.

nection between Idaho’s youth and the environment while encouraging others to embark on their own outdoor journeys,” according to contest organizers.

Now open for submissions until Wednesday, March 27, entries should reflect on participants’ “life outdoors,” with some examples being “recounting the triumph of conquering a challenging hike, the excitement of reeling in a big catch while fishing, navigating the exhilarating whitewater rapids of a river or simply embracing the serene beauty of a mountain sunset, all encounters with nature are welcomed and celebrated.”

Organizers stated that the contest is an interdisciplinary fusion of STREAM — where STEM (science, technology,

engineering and mathematics) partners with language arts to create narratives about the environment and its significance to our well-being.

The grand prize winner will receive a $500 student scholarship provided by LifeOutdoors and distributed by Idaho’s college savings program iDeal. In addition, the grand prize winner and their family will receive an outdoor getaway package from Sawtooth Adventure Company, including a day-long rafting trip on the Salmon River for a family of four; two-nights accommodation at Stanley Stays in Stanley, Idaho, for the winner, their parent(s) and a sibling or friend; and dinner and breakfast for four at local Stanley eateries.

First-place video and first-

place written submissions will both receive an excursion for a family of four at an Idaho park of their choice, a one-year Idaho Parks Pass and Outdoor Idaho swag bag. The winner of the video category will also see their submission featured in Idaho Public TV online media and partner websites, while the winner of the written essay will have their submission published in print media and partner websites.

Participants can submit their entries via Google Form on the contest’s official website — outdooridaho/lifeoutdoors — where they will also find detailed guidelines and the official contest rules and FAQs.

Bonner County Democrats support Bonner Homeless Transitions

Bonner County Democrats celebrated a successful donation drive to benefit Bonner Homeless Transitions over the holidays, presenting $270 to organization representative Janet Pultorak at the January 7B Speaker Series.

Bonner Homeless Transitions is a nonprofit organization based in Bonner County that provides transitional housing to qualifying families. The group has provided nearly 11,000 bed-nights to families in Bonner County to date — especially serving children and families in need of housing. In addition to housing, the group provides training in skills and services to assist with job and permanent housing searches.

“We’re grateful for all the support we receive from Bonner County,” said Pul-

torak. “This is how we can continue to provide necessary and in some cases life-saving services, and we hope to be able to grow and expand those services with continued support from our wonderful community.”

Bonner County Democrats organized the donation drive by placing jars in local businesses, including Evans Brothers Coffee and Outdoor Experience. The group plans to make the drive an annual effort to support Bonner Homeless Transitions.

Community members who missed the holiday donation drive and still wish to contribute can visit the Bonner Homeless Transitions website atbonnerhomelesstransitions. org. Community members interested in helping with other efforts sponsored by Bonner County Democrats can visit for more information.

For questions regarding the Bonner County Democrats and their work, contact Hal Gates at haldan.gates@gmail. com.

February 22, 2024 / R / 17 COMMUNITY
Emma Stanford, left, presents donation jars from Bonner Co. Democrats to Janet Pultorak, right, of Bonner Homeless Transitions. Courtesy photo. Courtesy photos.


Send event listings to

THURSDAY, february 22

Live Music w/ Jacob Robin

6-8pm @ Smoke Smith BBQ

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan Tavern

Live Music w/ TimG

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall


Live Music w/ The Ronaldos

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Blues, jazz, rock originals and covers

The Hankers Winter Carnival Barn Dance

7pm @ The Hive

Award-winning country, rock and bluegrass band. Line dancing lessons from 7:30-8:30, showtime at 8:45. $5

Live Music w/ Corn Mash

9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Original rock, swing, blues, country, punk, funk and bluegrass. FREE 21+

Live Music w/ Kerry Leigh

6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

The Gentleman Cowboy rides again

Live Music w/ Ian Newbill

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

Country and classic rock

Live Music w/ Yotes

6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ Rockabilly, country, Americana

The Rub Winter Carnival Closing Concert

7pm @ The Hive

CDA band with fun covers that rock the house. Show starts at 8:45. $10/$15

Eichardt’s K9 Keg Pull

11am @ Cedar St. in front of Eichardt’s

The final event of Winter Carnival, and it’s a fan favorite! Watch local dogs pull kegs down a snow run for the best times. Fundraiser for BTAA

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s

“The World as the Lake: A Historical Context of Jesus discussion”

Live Piano w/ Bob Beadling

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

A Taste of Indonesia

6pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Live Music & Happy Family Hour

4:30-5:30pm @ Matchwood Brewing Co.

February 22-29, 2024

Bingo Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Music by Buster Brown Cribbage League

FriDAY, february 23

Live Music w/ Doug and Marty

5pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Guitar mandolin duo from Sandpoint

Live Music w/ Sheldon Packwood

6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ

Live music, BBQ, beer - the perfect trio

Live Music w/ Justin Lantrip

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Sandpoint singer-songwriter

Karaoke Night

8pm @ Tervan Tavern

SATURDAY, february 24

Live Music w/ Doug and Marty

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Sandpoint mandolin/guitar duo

Live Music w/ Ponderay Paradox

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Folk, blues and ‘70s/’80s tunes

Vendor and Craft Fair

10am-3pm @ VFW Hall, 1325 Pine St.

Held on fourth Saturday every month

Nordic Club Full Moon Fun & Potluck

5-8pm @ Pine Street Woods Rec Center

Fun for all, bonfire, kids’ prizes

Dance Party w/ DJ Coral & Blu Moon

7pm @ The Heartwood Center

A night of dancing! $10/$15, with Eichardt’s bar and music starting 8pm

SunDAY, february 25

Sandpoint Chess Club

9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am

Magic with Star Alexander

5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

dumb of the week

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Medical Fundraiser and all-you-can-eat taco benefit for Sierra Kramer

5pm @Cedar Hills Church

Fundraiser for Sierra Kramer’s medical expenses, who was diagnosed with a rare heart cancer. Tacos by Hoot Owl and live music by Devon Wade

Paint & Sip

5:30pm @ Barrel 33

$5 Movie: The Holdovers

7pm @ Panida Theater

See story on Page 19

February Fun Dance

7-10pm @ Sandpoint Community Hall

Tango lesson at 7, general dancing

8-10. $8/person. All welcome

Rhythm Boomers drum circle

10am @ Pearl Theater, Bonners Ferry

Held Saturdays at 10am. Drums available

Kaniksu Folk School: Healing Herbs

12-3pm @ Big Red Shed, 11735 W. Pine St. Learn traditional methods to care for seasonal depression w/ remedies made from nature. $25/person + $10 materials fee

Cribbage at the Eagles Lodge

12pm @ Eagles Lodge, 1511 Johnny Long Rd.

Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes

5-8pm @ 1908 Saloon

Live Music w/ John Daffron

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Faculty Winter Recital: A Team Time Serenade

2-3:30pm @ Little Carnegie

Listen to warm classical music at MCS, with proceeds benefiting the youth of our community. $25/$10

Up close magic shows at the table

Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes

3-6pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

monDAY, february 26

Outdoor Experience Group Run

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

3-5 miles, all levels welcome

wednesDAY, february 28

Live Music w/ John Firshi 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

An authentic three-course Southeast Asian meal, including app, main and dessert. $30/person. Seating limited: 208-265-8545

Cribbage League

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Trivia Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Hosted by a revolving cast of characters

Open Mic Night 6pm @ Tervan Tavern

ThursDAY, february 29

Bingo Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Music & Happy Family Hour

4:30-5:30pm @ Matchwood Brewing Co.

Live Music by Buster Brown

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan Tavern

Live Trivia ($5/person) 6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Sand Creek Clubhouse Project fundraiser

6-7:30pm @ The Heartwood Center

NAMI Far North presents a fundraiser for the Sand Creek Clubhouse project. Refreshments provided. For more info: or 208-290-1768

In the latest installment of, “Is this for real, or is life just a simulation?” former-President Donald Trump showed up at Sneaker Con in Philadelphia on Feb. 17 to launch his own line of tennis shoes and perfume.

The $399 “Never Surrender” hightops feature a gaudy gold finish, American flag design and a “T” emblazoned on the side. Critics have already dubbed the sneakers “Air Treasons” or “Scammer 1’s,” and mocked the design for imitating Nike Air Force 1’s and Jordan 1’s. Others called the shoes “January 6’s,” in reference to the day in 2021 when Trump’s supporters stormed the Capitol in a deadly insurrection and attempted election coup.

“There’s a lot of emotion in this room,” Trump said to the crowd, which heralded his appearance with a mixture of boos, groans and cheers.

All 1,000 of the limited-series hightops sold out, with one man reportedly paying $9,000 for an autographed pair.

President Joe Biden’s re-election campaign threw some shade at Trump, with Communications Director Michael Tyler writing, “Donald Trump showing up to hawk bootleg Off-Whites is the closest he’ll get to any Air Force Ones ever again for the rest of his life.”

Trump’s shoe launch came fewer than 24 hours after Trump was hit with a $350 million penalty for engaging in repeated financial fraud through his family corporation.

Along with the gold high-tops — which look like something that would have been worn by President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Camacho in Idiocracy — there are two other shoe designs with Trump branding at a lower price point.

The sneaker grift reminded some of the tacky NFT trading cards released in 2022 and 2023 featuring AI images of Trump dressed as a superhero, an astronaut, a cowboy, a race car driver and a fighter pilot.

The website selling the sneakers also features a “Victory 47” perfume and cologne for sale at $99, featuring Trump’s head atop a gold-hued bottle that looks like a phallic idol to some bush-league Ozymandias. According to the website, the cologne is a “crisp opening of citrus blends into a cedar heart, underpinned by a rich base of leather and amber, crafting a commanding presence.”

Or whatever.

18 / R / February 22, 2024


The Holdovers really is a holdover to a more human type of film

At its most basic, The Holdovers reads like a Hallmark holiday special: an embittered, middle-aged man; a teenaged boy whose loneliness has honed the chip on his shoulder to a razor’s edge; and a mother mourning the loss of her own teenaged son are forced to spend the weeks surrounding the Christmas holiday together. Their various flaws and hurts at first keep them apart, but slowly the walls come down and they form a kind of family of misfits.

That premise could be as hokey as any throwaway piece of holiday wish fulfillment, but The Holdovers is in line for five Oscars in some of the most prestigious categories: Best Picture, Best Actor for Paul Giamatti, Best Actress in a Supporting Role for Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Best Film Editing and Best Original Screenplay for David Hemingson.

In case we need reminding, Payne is most known for Nebraska (nominated for six Oscars), The Descendants (won an Oscar and was nominated for two others), Sideways (won an Oscar and was nominated for four others), About Schmidt (nominated for two Oscars) and Election (nominated for one Oscar).

That award-winning pedigree shines through every frame of The Holdovers and puts it in the front ranks of the character-driven, narrative-focused dramedies for which Payne, and his leading man Giamatti, are rightly famous.

The Holdovers (R)

Friday, Feb. 23; doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m.; $5. Sponsored by Ting. Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208-263-9191. Get tickets at

This might seem incongruous for a “holiday movie,” but The Holdovers was directed by Alexander Payne.

In this case, Payne roots the story on the grounds of elite New England boarding school Barton Academy in the waning days of December 1970. Here we find all the expected elements of patrician education in the blue-blood section of the Northeast: tidy-yet-majestic brick buildings, snow-swept sidewalks crisscrossing vacant quads and a nearby small town that has clearly seen better days following an apparent industrial downturn.

tinged with a mingling of gun-metal gray and the shade of winter blue that makes you want to go back to bed for a few weeks. Under the boughs of the skeletal trees, the boys of Barton are busy getting ready for their luxury Christmas vacations — some to ski resorts, others to Caribbean islands. Weapons-grade curmudgeon and history teacher Paul Hunham (Giamatti) is having none of it, as he cracks down on his pampered, empty-headed students with a pop quiz in the final hour before vacation is to start.

Enter Angus Tully (Dominic Sessa), who makes the fateful mistake of mouthing off. Hunham punishes the whole class for Angus’ sass by delaying the quiz but requiring the entire class to take their textbooks with them on their getaways. As if things couldn’t get worse for Angus, his newly remarried mother calls to inform him that he’s been disinvited to the previously scheduled trip to St. Kitts. Sorry, but he’s going to have to be a “holdover” at the school during the holiday.

senator’s son and will be required to serve as the guardian of the titular holdovers. Things get worse and worse for Angus, as circumstances intervene to result in him and Hunham being the only ones left on campus, alone but for the head cook of the school, Mary Lamb (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), and the custodian Danny (Naheem Garcia), who has a deeply sweet crush on Mary.

While Hunham sullenly slugs Jim Beam and ruminates on his lonely, futile existence and Angus hums with internal rage, hurt and despair, it’s really Mary who’s suffered the greatest tragedy. Being a single mother and Black, the only way she could see of getting her son enrolled at Barton was to take a job there. He excelled as a student but, almost immediately upon graduation, was killed in Vietnam. Freshly bereaved, it falls to her to do the basic work of keeping Hunham and Angus fed.

out, but rather woven into every scene and interaction, which fuels the trajectory of the film as its characters confront themselves as much as each other and their situations. There is no grand monologue or ham-handed “moment” in this film; just a series of deeply human (and frequently hilarious) gestures that make this film feel like a tiny island of quiet authenticity in a sea of cinematic bombast, CGI confection and ulterior motives.

Perhaps the strangest effect of The Holdovers is the sense of nostalgia it evokes — though for a place and time that few, if any of us, has any real connection to. I suspect it’s nostalgia for the act of watching a movie about people who seem real. Nothing explodes, no worlds are traversed, no battles are fought and there aren’t even any real villains. Just people. In that way, maybe The Holdovers really is a holdover.

A few other unfortunate kids are in the same boat, made even more unfortunate by the fact that Hunham himself is being punished for failing a

The layers of race, class, gen der and gener ational fric tion in this arrangement are never explicitly hashed

Innovia Foundation to host free film screenings at Panida, Roxy Theater

The Innovia Foundation is spending the month of February spotlighting historic theaters in communities across eastern Washington and North Idaho, including the Panida Theater in Sandpoint and The Roxy Theater in Newport, Wash.

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the nonprofit — which each year invests $10 million into regional communities through grants and scholarships — is hosting free movies and other events.

“Community is the heart and soul of Innovia Founda-

The light is perpetually tion,” stated Innovia CEO Shelly O’Quinn. “Our celebration of historic theaters this month underscores the importance of a vibrant arts and culture network throughout the region and especially in rural communities.”

The foundation will host a free screening of Trolls Band Together on Saturday, Feb. 24 at 3 p.m. at The Roxy (including a free small popcorn) and Cool Runnings at the Panida on Sunday, Feb. 25.

Pairing the 1993 film about the Jamaican Olympic bobsled team with the Sandpoint Winter Carnival, doors open for Cool Runnings at 1:30 p.m. after the Eichardt’s annual

K-9 Keg Pull. Entry is free and open to all.

“Part of the Panida Theater’s mission is to be a center of entertainment, education and community involvement. The theater provides a fun space to experience joy and art amongst old and new friends. This free movie event brought to us by Innovia Foundation is a wonderful way to check out our theater — especially if you’ve never been here before,” stated Panida Events Coordinator Katelyn Shook.

Newport Chamber President and Roxy owner Jason Totland said, “Innovia has been a key partner in so many projects

here in the Newport area, most recently helping to fund a workforce capacity building initiative. We are so grateful for their continued support and investment in our community.”

Innovia will host free family-friendly activities in regional communities each month through 2024, and has launched an online calendar where individuals and organizations can submit information about celebrations and activities in their community. The calendar is open to any events within the foundation’s region that are free or lowcost, family-friendly and have a broad community appeal. Meanwhile, attendees of

Innovia-sponsored community events this year are invited to submit photos from the event for a chance to win a drawing. Winners will be selected in March, June, September and December to receive a $250 grant to a nonprofit of their choice. Entries can be submitted by posting photos on Instagram with the hashtag #innoviacelebratescommunity or by submitting through an online form.

Full drawing details and rules, including the online submission form, as well as calendar submissions and other info related to Innovia’s 50th anniversary can be found at

February 22, 2024 / R / 19

When my anti-train noise neighbors lobbied and won approval for a no-horn zone in Ponder Point, I sorely missed those long, warning whistles from the big, blue-liveried engines of Montana Rail Link (MRL). Still do.

Sadly, those familiar blue engines no longer blow whistles. Anywhere. On Jan. 1, MRL discontinued its rail operations, and the line reverted back to Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF). The former MRL line from Missoula to Sandpoint will now be known as the MRL Subdivision of the Montana Subdivision of BNSF.

I had a lot of history with MRL. In the early ’90s, when MRL was a young enterprise (founded in 1987), they purchased their first business car, the Silver Cloud, a beautiful, polished steel business car with a rear platform. Living in Missoula at the time, I was fortunate to help furnish the car with her first fine trappings and provide catering services whenever she left the static tracks at the corporate office.

In 1994, MRL founder Dennis Washington celebrated his 60th birthday to much fanfare, including a BBQ at their ranch, a street parade and dinner train filled with family, friends, politicians and celebrities. The Pullman-style passenger cars were owned by private individuals from all over the country. Later that week, we utilized the equipment to run a train to Billings, treating MRL’s shippers to a first-class passenger train experience. During that run, I became acquainted with the

The Sandpoint Eater All choked up

well-heeled car owners who wanted to operate a summertime passenger train. Soon, Montana Rockies Rail Tours was born, and I relocated to Sandpoint to oversee their operation.

From the mid-1990s to the early 2000s, from May through September, we operated between Sandpoint and Livingston, Mont., using many of the same railcars from the birthday train. We ran two operations: the Northern Parks Limited (NPL) and the Montana Daylight (MD). The NPL ran as an all-sleeper luxury train and originated in Missoula, ran to Paradise to pick up passengers off a coach tour of Glacier Park, overnight in Missoula and Helena, and then ran to Livingston, where the passen-

gers disembarked for a coach tour of Yellowstone National Park. The following week, we reversed operations and headed west.

The Montana Daylight operated as a coach and sleeper train from Sandpoint to Livingston, with an overnight stop in Missoula, and similar to the NPL train, it reversed.

Running a private luxury train on a freight line was challenging and required considerable planning and logistics. The first year, my sales rep from Food Services of America (FSA) showed up with some beautiful baby artichokes to sample, which were perfect for our cold-poached Pacific salmon plate. The tour operator who bought the NPL trip series wanted oversight on the menus and loved the

colorful and tasty salmon plate selections. Once we agreed on all eight menus for the trip, they were printed for the season (long before desktop publishing).

By the third trip, we were getting our groove on, and things were running smoothly until the baby artichoke incident. Those babies were back-ordered that week — a no-show on the FSA delivery truck. I searched far and wide for a source, to no avail. I desperately contacted the California Artichoke Advisory Board in Castroville, Calif., to see if they could assist. And did they ever. From that week forward, depending on our location, a case of baby artichokes was delivered via air freight to either the Bozeman or Missoula airport (and

Stuffed artichokes

Serves 6-8

I learned a valuable lesson about overcommitting products to paper).

I can’t see a baby artichoke without thinking of that first crazy year of running passenger trains. I’m still grateful to the generous folks in Castroville and, to this day, I still get all choked up reminiscing about the rumble of those big blue engines and their long, familiar whistles.

I haven’t seen any baby artichokes around here, but it is the beginning of artichoke season, and I just came home from Costco with a bag of giant, perfect green globes. The price was right, too (my bag of four cost less than $2 each). They are ideal for stuffing, so grab a bag and get busy.

The filling is rich, filled with lots of garlic and cheese. I like to serve atop a platter of pasta, lightly coated in olive oil, to catch all the flavorful drippings in the pasta. Artichokes oxidize (turn brown) quickly, so have a big big bowl of lemon water ready before you begin. Delicious as a main course or add some seafood with the pasta.


• 4 large whole artichokes

• 2 lemons

• 1 ½ cups fresh, dry bread crumbs

• 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (use good Parmesan and grate yourself)

• 3 tbs finely chopped fresh parsley

• 6 cloves garlic, minced finely

• 4 tsp coarse sea salt

• 1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper

• 2 cups water

• 1 cup wine

• 1 cup good olive oil, divided in half

Preheat oven to 400 F.

Zest the lemon peel from one lemon and set aside. Cut both lemons in half. Squeeze juice from zested lemon into a large bowl filled with cold water.

Cut top ¼ of an artichoke off and discard. Trim the tops of remaining leaves. Cut off bottom of stalk to create a flat bottom. Trim the tops off bottom leaves. Pull on leaves to expose the center. Remove the choke with a sharp spoon (grapefruit spoon works well). Drop artichokes into bowl of lemon water.

Combine ½ cup olive oil, lemon zest, bread crumbs, grated parmesan, parsley, garlic, 2 tsp salt, and the pepper in a medium bowl and stir well.

Sprinkle bread crumb mixture evenly into all the artichoke leaves, avoiding the thistle leaves in the direct center. Work mixture evenly in between all the leaves of each artichoke, tapping bottom on counter to settle the mixture. Continue with each artichoke until all of the mixture is gone.

Pour water and wine into the bottom of a Dutch oven or roaster, adding 2 tsp of salt. Set artichokes in the pot so they will remain upright during cooking. Drizzle juice of remaining lemon and olive oil over the artichokes. Cover tightly and

cook until the leaves release very easily, about 1 hour. Uncover, cook 10 more minutes. Let rest for 10 minutes and serve as a family-style appetizer, a side or atop your favorite pasta.

20 / R / February 22, 2024 FOOD


Lee Brice tapped to play Aug. 1 at Festival at Sandpoint

When Curb Records recording artist Lee Brice, isn’t selling out arenas, writing and recording songs, or building new brands like American Born whiskey, you’ll find the family man with his wife Sara, two young boys and daughter. Meanwhile, with more than 3.7 billion on-demand streams and more than 4 billion spins on Pandora, Brice continues to enjoy massive success on country radio, digital streaming services and the road.

He has reached the No. 1 spot at Country Radio with Platinum-selling “Memory I Don’t Mess

With,” which consecutively follows three prior No. 1s:

ASCAP’s 2021 Country Song of the Year and three-time Platinum track “One of Them Girls,” “I Hope You’re Happy Now” with Carly Pearce and the four-time Platinum hit “Rumor,” which was nominated in the category Single of The Year at the 55th Annual ACM Awards.

Brice will take the stage

This week’s RLW by Soncirey Mitchell


for the 41st annual Festival at Sandpoint Summer Performance Series on Thursday, Aug. 1, kicking off the second week of the event, which runs Thursday, July 25-Sunday, Aug. 4 at War Memorial Field.

One of the most-played country artists of all time on Pandora, Brice was the second country artist behind Keith Urban to receive the Pandora Billionaire plaque. He is also a Grammy nominee, CMA and ACM award winner, and has taken nine radio singles to No. 1: “A Woman Like You,” “Hard to Love,” “I Drive Your Truck,” “I Don’t Dance,” “Drinking Class,” “Rumor,” “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” “One of Them Girls” and “Memory I Don’t Mess With.”

Garth Brooks, Jason Aldean, Kenny Chesney and others have recorded Brice’s songs, and he’s performed on numerous TV shows, including NBC show Today and The Voice, The Bachelor on ABC and Miss USA 2018 on FOX.

Brice also performed as part of the Library of Con-

gress Gershwin Prize for Popular Song honoring Garth Brooks, which aired on PBS in March 2020. At the 54th Annual CMA Awards, he took home the prize for Musical Event of the Year for his song with Carly Pearce, “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” which also won Single of the Year and Music Event of the Year at the 56th ACM Awards, where Brice and Carly Pearce performed the song live.

His latest album, Hey World, has been certified Platinum and features several multi-Platinum-selling hits.

In 2024, Brice is kicking off the year with a special acoustic tour, Me & My Guitar

Tour, and is releasing a collaboration track with Australian group King & Country, “Checking In,” which will be featured in their upcoming biographical film, Unsung Hero. Lee Brice will appear at the Festival at Sandpoint on Thursday, Aug. 1 for a standard show, meaning the area in front of the stage is standing-room only. General admission tickets are $69.95 (before taxes and fees). Gates will open at 6 p.m. and the music starts at 7:30 p.m. Find more info and get tickets at festivalatsandpoint. com.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

The Hankers, The Hive, Feb. 23

You’d be hard pressed to find a finer country-rock band in the region that The Hankers — or one with a finer pedigree. Wifeand-husband duo Julie and Keith Niehenke lead Spokane-based The Hankers, the former named female vocalist of the year by the Inland Northwest Country Music Association and the latter a nationally recognized fiddle and guitar player.

As a five piece, The Hankers have been named IN-CMA’s Band of the Year two years in a row, and opened for the likes of Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire,

Waylon Jennings and Charlie Daniels, among others.

If you’ve got a hankerin’ for a premier regional sound that blends outlaw country, southern rock, blues and bluegrass, The Hankers at The Hive on Friday, Feb. 23 will satisfy.

— Zach Hagadone

Doors at 7 p.m., show at 8:45 p.m.; $5 advance and at the door; 21+. The Hive, 208-920-9039, get advance tickets at livefromthehive. com. Listen at

Corn Mash, The 219 Lounge, Feb. 24

Singer-songwriter Bill LaVoie has bounced around Washington, Montana and Idaho since the formation of his nowMoscow-based project Corn Mash — and it lives up to its name. LaVoie plays originals that mash up rock, swing, blues, country, punk, funk and bluegrass, which he terms “music for the brain and the booty,” according to his ReverbNation profile. His dynamic perfor-

The Inheritance Trilogy by N.K. Jemisin is a fantasy series spanning several generations that examines cultural conflict, oppression and gender dynamics — but I promise it’s fun. The first novel, The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms, centers on political intrigue and infighting in a backward empire. To survive, protagonist Yeine Darr must compete for the throne and attempt to ally with the royal family’s enslaved gods.


Up-and-coming alternative and indie artist Paris Paloma went viral on TikTok for her ballad “Labour,” which explores feminine rage and traditional domestic duties. “Village Song” is my personal favorite, though, as it captures the beauty and melancholy of living in a rural town. She pairs her poetic lyrics with a deceptively simple melody that fractures into a round, giving me chills every time I hear it.


mances have audiences stamping their feet and his lyrics, which range from the sweet to the absurd, are the perfect accompaniment for a night on the town.

Raise a glass to good tunes Saturday, Feb. 24 at the Niner.

9 p.m.-midnight, FREE, 21+. The 219 Lounge, 219 First Ave., 208-263-5673,, listen at

While the world awaits the return of The Great British Bake Off (or Baking Show in the U.S.), satisfy your sweet tooth with Food Network’s Spring Baking Championship. Contestants show a similar level of wholesomeness and camaraderie as they compete for $25,000 in this pastel-and-flower-filled tournament. Sadly they don’t have fun accents, but they do carry on the British tradition of mispronouncing every French pastry name. Rewatch the first 10 seasons on Discovery+ before the 11th installment airs on March 6.

February 22, 2024 / R / 21
Lee Brice. Courtesy photo.


As a result of an investigation made by County Superintendent Mrs. Tuck and by the county Defense League, John Moes, a German living on a ranch three miles east of Newport, is under arrest charged with utterances in violation of Section 3, title 1, of an act of congress approved June 15 last. The complaint charging seditious utterances by Moes was made by Richard J. Crane, secretary of the county Defense League, before U.S. Commissioner Weil on Wednesday and the warrent was served yesterday on Moes by Deputy Sheriff Spoor.

The complaint alleges that on deverse times and occasions on or about January 15, Moes made use of the following language:

“The United States cannot run me;” “Germany will win the war and I am going back to Germany;” “Your country” (meaning the United States) “is no good and cannot fight;” “I can and will say anything I please and nothing will be done because this country is no good;” “I am not a citizen of the United States and am proud of it;” “The Red Cross stuff is all a fake and a graft;” “Uncle Sam has to force you to join it and fight.”

Mrs. Tuck also found that the teachers of the district No. 17 had boarded at Moes’ home and left there because of the strong pro-German utterances of the Moes family.

Moes was brought to the county jail last evening and was arrainged this morning before Commissioner Weil and his preliminary hearing is set for next Wednesday. He is in jail in default of $1000 bond.


Idaho’s militant fringe is trying to build a private army

It’s been a bad run of years for a lot of reasons, but one particularly insidious trend has been eroding the substructures of civil society in Idaho since at least the mid-2010s. First it was normalization, then the legitimization, now the attempt at shielding extralegal, paramilitary organizations from the most critical threat to their existence: Calling them what they are, and that is, domestic terrorists.

None of us needs a refresher on the miasma of lethal absurdities that emanate from the Bundy family. We all remember the standoff at Bunkerville, Nev., in 2014 and the occupation of the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in eastern Oregon two years later — both animated by the political constipation of the Bundys. We also remember that precious few of the right-wing militants involved with those outrages ever felt the full measure of their legal transgressions, though one of them got himself shot.

Not only that, but we’ve tolerated these miscreants with increasing intensity ever since. Ammon Bundy — despite the evidence of his basic mental and political instability being blindingly obvious to any thinking person of good faith — has enjoyed years of post-terrorism prominence in Idaho’s cesspool of ultra-conservative wackadoodlery, which unfortunately is a mile wide and a mile deep, and getting deeper, wider and more noisome all the time.

In March 2019, I wrote a commentary for the Inlander titled “The Kooks Conquer Idaho,” which teed off on the then-controversial photo-op with then-Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin and members of the Three Percenter militia group advocating for the release of Todd Engel, who was then in prison for taking part in the Bundy ranch standoff. (His charges were later dismissed amid a general collapse of the government’s case against the Bundy-

ists on a number of prosecutorial failures. He then sued the federal government and ran for and lost a race to be one of our District 1 House members.)

“Here were people with little love for town halls standing shoulder-to-shoulder with the second-highest executive official in Idaho government. In the Capitol, no less,” I wrote, later getting to the point: “What I find particularly noxious about this whole situation is that it illustrates how deeply anti-government, militia-inspired kooks have penetrated mainstream Idaho politics.”

That was March 2019. In December 2019, I reported on the investigation commissioned by the Washington House of Representatives into the “domestic terrorism” activities of disgraced former-Washington Dist. 4 Rep. Matt Shea, in which our then-Idaho District 1A Rep. Heather Scott featured as many as 20 times as a “lieutenant” of Shea and stated that she helped drum up support for the 2016 Malheur occupation. The report concluded that the actions of the group to which she belonged “during the armed takeover and standoff at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge constitute domestic terrorism.”

Then followed a resounding shrug.

Fast forward to June 2, 2020, when a gaggle of armed men and women invaded downtown Sandpoint in the wake of the George Floyd killing and strutted around like an occupying force ginned up on fake threats of “outside agitators” swarming the town to riot (in fact, they were the “agitators”). Yet, our own police chief later called these people “patriots,” while Georgetown Law sent a letter to the city flatly stating that the militia activity that day broke the law. Again: a resounding shrug.

In February 2022, I wrote about House Bill 475, which would have lifted Idaho’s prohibition on paramilitary organizations “associat[ing] themselves together as a military company or organi-

zation, or parade in public with firearms in any city or town of this state.” That measure failed, but now we’re in even dicier territory with Senate Bill 1220 in the current legislative session.

We’ve gone from normalizing to legitimizing, now we’re in the shielding phase with SB 1220, which, in an outrage upon an outrage, was lobbied into existence by none other than Eric Parker, the Bundy ranch militant made famous for laying belly down on a highway bridge and aiming a rifle at federal authorities during the 2014 standoff. They call him the “Bundy Ranch Sniper,” and he’s aiming to strip the Idaho Terrorist Control Act of all its authority to label people like him domestic terrorists.

In one of the most cynical, despicable bills ever presented to the Idaho Legislature (which is saying a lot), SB 1220 would alter the state’s definition of “terrorism” to “apply only to those who commit violent acts who are associated with federally designated foreign terrorist organizations, like ISIS or Hamas, making it inert against actual homegrown domestic terrorists,” reporter Daniel Walters wrote in a Feb. 20 article on the bill, published by nonprofit regional news organization InvestigateWest. “That new definition of ‘domestic terrorism,’ notably, would exclude Parker and the other militants at the Bundy ranch.”

If that gives you pause, it should. Bills limiting reproductive rights, banning books, stripping health care for certain people based on sexual identity, funding religious schools with public money, eliminating protections for children in abusive homes, removing executive power in favor of legislative authority — all of that is odious policy, but the most odious of all would be if the people pushing for that legislation had a normalized, legitimized, legally shielded private army behind them.

Which is what they’re aiming for.

From Pend Oreille Review, February 22, 1918
22 / R / February 22, 2024 Crossword Solution Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

Laughing Matter

Solution on page 22

ailurophile /ahy-LOOR-uh-fahyl/


Week of the


1. a person who likes cats

“Ailurophiles from all across the country met at the annual Cat Convention to share their love of felines.”

Basically, this is the way the economy works: I do a service for you, and you pay me, even if you claim you didn’t want the service and that I “ruined” something of yours.

Corrections: We’re in the clear!



1. Hesitates

6. Water vapor

11. Tropical vine

12. Sudden downpour

15. Church speech

16. Wrist band

17. Buddy

18. Beleaguer

20. American Medical Association

21. Ear-related

23. District

24. Backside

25. Bingo relative

26. Secluded valley

27. Acquire

28. Biblical garden

29. At a future time

30. Greens with dressing

31. Multi-talented

34. Ancient Roman magistrate

36. Blip

37. Russian emperor

41. Between head and shoulders

42. Chooses

43. Big brass

44. Statistic (abbrev.)

45. Diva’s solo

46. Deserve

47. Assist

48. Type of wrench

51. Droop

52. Causing to happen

Solution on page 22

Solution on page

54. Inhabit

56. Mailing

57. Innocent

58. Evade

59. Implant


1. Made sheep sounds

2. It flies passengers

3. Escape

4. Circular rounded projection

5. Rational

6. Filter

7. Coniferous forest

8. Being

9. Play a role

10. Protozoal infection

13. Request

14. French for “State”

15. Uttered

16. Bugging

19. The business of selling goods

22. Find guilty

24. A painter’s tool

26. Circular course

27. Lass

30. Small mouthfuls

32. Antlered animal

33. Moon of Saturn

34. Complete

35. Not a through street

38. Convincing

39. Worn down

40. Scope

42. Citrus

44. Wood cutting tools

45. Mimicking

48. Lose traction

49. Coastal raptor

50. Unit of paper

53. Big fuss

55. Brother or sister

February 22, 2024 / R / 23
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