/ February 25, 2021
PEOPLE compiled by
“What is your favorite crime show?” “I like Law and Order. I’ve seen many of them more than once. It’s smart and the writing is good.” Sarah Butts Clerk Sandpoint
“NCIS: Los Angeles. It’s something everyone in the family can watch.” Jeremy Kohal Equipment operator Sandpoint
It’s been a wild week for weather out there. We’ve seen wind, sunshine, heavy rain, snow and mild spring weather – and that was all before breakfast! One thing is certain: The snow at Schweitzer has been fantastic. Take advantage of it while you can, because it’ll be spring skiing before we know it. February is almost a memory, which means we’re nearing the end of the snow season. But don’t put that shovel away yet. The March snowstorms are a reality. I remember one year riding closing day at Schweitzer and there was almost a foot of fresh snow on the ground. I love living here. I love the fact that we have four distinct seasons. I love that I see people I went to elementary school with in the grocery store aisle and still remember some of their phone numbers. This is still a small town, despite the rapid growth we’re seeing. Let’s always remember that. – Ben Olson, publisher
READER 111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208)265-9724
www.sandpointreader.com Publisher: Ben Olson firstname.lastname@example.org Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) email@example.com Lyndsie Kiebert (News Editor) firstname.lastname@example.org Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Jodi Berge Jodi@sandpointreader.com Contributing Artists: Ben Olson (cover), Susan Drinkard, Bill Borders, BCHS, Erik Daarstad, Kaniksu Land Trust. Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert, Lorraine H. Marie, Rep. Lauren Necochea, Rep. Colin Nash, Adrian Murillo, Mayor Shelby Rognstad, Jodi Rawson, Brenden Bobby, Susan Drumheller, Ranel Hanson, Hannah Combs, Marcia Pilgeram. Submit stories to: email@example.com Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID
“I like Cold Case. It is interesting because some of the cases are very old and they solve the crimes. Some are based on true events.” Leeza Dergunov Mother of 10 Kootenai
“Fear Thy Neighbor. It’s on I.D.—Investigative Discovery. It’s relatable and the stories are true.” Meghan Caldwell with daughter, Linda, age 3 Homemaker Clark Fork “Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. We liked watching it, especially before we had kids.” Heather Dinkins Teacher at SHS Sagle
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Sandpoint Reader letter policy: The Sandpoint Reader welcomes letters to the editor on all topics. Requirements: –No more than 300 words –Letters may not contain excessive profanity or libelous material. Please elevate the discussion. Letters will be edited to comply with the above requirements. Opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers, not necessarily the publishers. Email letters to: firstname.lastname@example.org Check us out on the web at: www.sandpointreader.com Like us on Facebook. About the Cover
This week’s cover features a Bonner County field with haybales drying in the sun. Photo by Ben Olson. February 25, 2021 /
Idaho to require proof of residency for COVID vaccine New online pre-registration tool to launch next month
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff Idaho health officials took steps this week to ensure vaccines against the novel coronavirus make it into the arms of Idaho residents, announcing measures to verify residency of those seeking vaccines and continuing debates about who will be prioritized in upcoming phases of the vaccine rollout plan. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare announced Feb. 23 that providers will from now on be requiring proof that a person registering for a vaccine either lives or works in Idaho. IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen told reporters that same day that “about 4,800 people have gotten vaccinated in Idaho despite not living or working here,” according to the Idaho Statesman. “Vaccine is being allocated to the states based on population numbers, and that means it’s based on the number of people who live in each state,” Jeppesen stated in a news release. “Given the limited number of doses Idaho is receiving, we want to make sure Idahoans who live or work here have as much access to the vaccine as possible so we can stop the spread of COVID-19 in our state.” IDHW announced that acceptable forms of identification for obtaining a vaccine could include “a driver’s license or work or school ID; a letter with the person’s name and address; a utility bill with the person’s name; or a voucher from an employer, faith-based institution, health care provider, school or other registered organization or agency that [says] the person lives or works in Idaho.” IDHW also announced that “regardless of citizenship or immigration status, all eligible people with a primary residence or who work in Idaho should get vaccinated when it is their turn.” The Idaho Statesman reports that Idaho is currently receiving about 40,000 first doses of 4 /
/ February 25, 2021
vaccine per week — 31,000 to the state and about 9,500 through the recently approved retail pharmacy program. Second doses — necessary to complete inoculation — are not counted in those numbers. As of Feb. 24, 223,152 Idahoans have received at least one shot of the COVID-19 vaccine, while 103,307 have received two. In Bonner County, 3,224 residents have received one dose, while 2,711 have received both doses needed in order to be considered fully vaccinated against the virus. The state is currently prioritizing members of Groups 1 and 2 of Idaho’s phased vaccine rollout plan, which includes health care workers, teachers and people over the age of 65, among many other categories. The COVID-19 Vaccine Advisory Committee, which decides who is included in each vaccination group, is currently working to figure out who will be a part of Group 3. People with underly-
ing health conditions, as well as an array of essential workers not yet eligible for the vaccine, are all being considered for upcoming phases, but no final decisions have been made. To see Idaho’s tentative vaccination timeline, visit healthandwelfare.idaho.gov/ covid-19-vaccination. Also visit the site to find which local providers are administering vaccines. North Idahoans without internet access are also welcome to call the Panhandle Health District COVID-19 hotline at 877-415-5225, and someone will assist you. Those in Bonner and Boundary counties are now able to schedule appointments with Kan-
iksu Health Services — one of the local providers administering the COVID-19 vaccine — online. KHS is currently only vaccinating people over 65 who “do not have a COVID-19 vaccine scheduled elsewhere, have not already received a COVID-19 vaccine, have not had any vaccine in the past 14 days, and who are not currently sick with COVID-19 or recently experienced a high-risk exposure to COVID-19.” Visit kaniksuhealthservices. org/covid-19-vaccination to learn more. IDHW also announced the near completion of a new online vaccine scheduling tool: a onestop shop where Idahoans can
An image of coronavirus under an electron microscope. Courtesy CDC. pre-register for a vaccine. “Once registered, an enrolled COVID-19 vaccine provider will reach out to schedule an appointment when they’re eligible to get vaccinated when the provider has an appointment open,” Jeppesen told reporters. “We expect to have this available in early March.” On Feb. 24, Idaho reported 423 new cases of the virus, bringing the statewide total since the pandemic began to 170,289 and 1,840 virus-related deaths. In Bonner County, PHD reports 2,959 total cases of COVID-19 — 240 of those being active and 31 resulting in death.
Festival gun suits continue
As one lawsuit begins the appeal process, the other awaits an April court date
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff Two lawsuits in progress against the city of Sandpoint regarding the weapons ban at War Memorial Field during the annual Festival at Sandpoint concert series are both currently awaiting their next court dates. The first suit, brought in 2019 by Bonner County commissioners and Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, saw its initial conclusion in September 2020, when Kootenai County District Court Judge Lansing L. Haynes ruled that the county lacked standing. The city made a motion for nearly $95,000 in attorney costs and fees, which the judge granted in part in December
2020. In the meantime, counsel for Bonner County filed an appeal to the Idaho Supreme Court, arguing that Haynes failed to rule on the core legal issue: Can a lessee of public city property, in this case The Festival at Sandpoint, legally ban firearms? Bonner County argued throughout the case that if Haynes didn’t rule on the constitutionality of the gun ban, Second Amendment activists would gather at The Festival’s gates during the next concerts to protest, and an “affray” would occur. County attorney Amy Clemmons, of Davillier Law Group, told the Reader in December: “Absent a court decision on this issue, protests
of the gun ban are anticipated.” Court documents indicate that further dates in the appeal case have not been set. Happening in tandem is another case against the city and Festival regarding the nonprofit arts organization’s gun policy, this one brought in May 2020 by area residents Scott Herndon and Jeff Avery; Boise-based gun rights lobby group Idaho Second Amendment Alliance; and the Second Amendment Foundation, based in Bellevue, Wash. The second suit argues that the weapons policy violates state firearms preemption law — which strictly limits the regulation of firearms by state or municipal governments — as well as
the Second, Fourth and 14th amendments. Herndon and Avery both attempted to enter the 2019 Festival at Sandpoint with firearms, and were turned away by Festival security personnel. While a trial was originally scheduled for the case in February 2021, Herndon told the Reader that the court’s schedule was “upset” due to the COVID-19 pandemic and both parties agreed to postpone. Court documents show that Haynes — also the judge in the Herndon case — will now hear a motion for summary judgement from The Festival at Sandpoint on Monday, April 26 and 1:30 p.m.
Dover P&Z looking at zone change for former-Thorne Research property By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff The city of Dover Planning and Zoning Commission will consider a zone change to the former Thorne Research Center property, designating the entire site commercial, rather than its current mix of commercial and residential. Property owners Kelly and Albert Czap requested the change, which would affect two parcels totalling 8.162 acres. Planning commissioners will address the request at their Thursday, March 4 meeting, which is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Dover City Hall, 699 Lakeshore Ave. According to Dover Mayor Mike Davis, the matter before P&Z is mostly housekeeping. Built in the late-1990s, the once-vitamin producer’s facility had originally been planned to
cover 36,000 square feet, but ended up at 57,000 square feet. That additional 20,000 or so square feet spilled into parcels zoned residential, “and somehow it never got fixed or corrected, you know, the way things were many, many years ago,” Davis said. “The issue before Planning and Zoning is to fix the zoning; in other words, to turn what is being used as commercial into commercial,” he added. Yet, potential future development at the former Thorne property has been a matter of local speculation since August 2020, when a Spokane Valley-based medical firm made public its plans to embark on an ambitious multi-faceted operation on the site, including anything and everything from medical services admin staffing; to manufacturing and distribution of medical collection kits for bone marrow, blood, urine and tissue samples;
to processing and cryogenic storage of stem cells. Davis said that project “never really materialized. We never even got an application from them.” Meanwhile, the property owners “are working diligently to bring another operator in and they’re working with the city.” The mayor also made it clear that whatever new development occurs at the former-Thorne
property will be subject to a conditional use permit. “Anything from what it was as a vitamin producer would have to be modified or renewed for whatever purposes and that would all be done in a public hearing,” Davis said. Meanwhile, the public is invited to attend the Dover P&Z hearing, with the deadline for submitting written comment or other
The former Thorne building in Dover. Photo by Ben Olson. materials set for 4 p.m. on Feb. 25. In addition to in-person attendance at Dover City Hall, the meeting will be streamed via Zoom at bit.ly/2P48ZTX or can be accessed by phone at 1-253-2158782, meeting ID 7673088547, passcode 83825. Find more info at cityofdover.id.gov.
City receives bids on Memorial Field work, Council Chambers remodel By Reader Staff The War Memorial Field improvement project is taking an important step forward, with sealed bids for Phase IIB due to the city on Feb. 25. With an estimated cost of between $600,000 and $1.5 million, the work will include reconstruction and expansion of the parking lot and boat launch, along with related civil, electrical and landscaping. According to the city, “The work is generally described as follows: demolition, removal of obstructions, excavation, trenching and piping, backfill, grading, cast-in-place concrete, asphalt paving, parking lot lighting and miscellaneous electrical, timber piling and boom logs installation,
irrigation, landscaping, fencing, rockery wall and other features.” A total of 16 construction and contracting firms attended the pre-bid conference Feb. 10, a recording of which can be found at sandpointidaho.gov under the Solicitation tab. All other documents related to the Phase IIB are also available at that location on the city’s website. Meanwhile, the city is also accepting bids Feb. 25 from qualified Public Works contractors for the remodel of the City Council Chambers at 1123 Lake St. Five firms attended the Feb. 11 pre-bid conference, which included an overview of the project. According to city documents, the planned remodel would reverse the current orientation of Council Chambers, with the dais, podium and staff relocated to the
end of the room opposite where they are currently, backed by a video wall. Renderings also show a conference table situated where the current dais sits, flanked by a bank of windows facing into the Council Chamber lobby. Attendees would be seated in the center of the room — not unlike the current arrangement. In addition to structural work, the remodel will also include updating aging audio-visual technology — the importance of
An architectural rendering of the City Council Chambers remodel at Sandpoint City Hall. Courtesy image.
which has been underscored amid the long-term transition to mostly remote City Council meetings — as well as general refurbishment of carpeting and the repair of various wear-and-tear on the room.
For more information on the Council Chambers remodel, visit sandpointidaho.gov and look under the Solicitations tab. Bid awards will be announced in the coming weeks. February 25, 2021 /
Bits ’n’ Pieces Here we have Idaho What’s happening at the Legislature this week
By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Wrongful conviction More than halfway through the 2021 Idaho legislative session only two measures have made their way out of both chambers and onto the governor’s desk: a House concurrent resolution applauding the commissioning of the Navy’s newest nuclear submarine the USS Idaho, and Senate Bill 1027, which would compensate individuals who have been wrongfully convicted of crimes in Idaho. Sponsored by Idaho Falls Republican Rep. Barbara Ehardt, the legislation creates a so-called “exoneree compensation law” providing $62,000 per year of wrongful incarceration or $75,000 per year spent on death row, along with establishing a process for compensation claims. Those wrongfully forced to serve parole on the sex offender registry would receive an additional $25,000 per year. Lawmakers sent a similar bill to Gov. Brad Little in 2020, though he vetoed it. The 2021 version, crafted in consultation with the governor’s office, increases the amount of compensation but does not offer non-monetary services like free health insurance, college tuition or housing assistance, among other provisions in the original bill. Sponsors stated that four individuals in Idaho would be currently eligible for compensation under the bill, and if all took full advantage of its provisions, the total one-time expense to the state would be $3.7 million. Costs to the state would be offset by the damages award6 /
/ February 25, 2021
ed to exonerees from any civil court cases against the state or its political subdivisions related to their wrongful conviction. In a rare occurrence, SB 1027 passed the House unanimously, 70-0. Emergency powers, cont’d… The tug of war between the Legislature and the governor over the latter’s emergency powers continues, with an opinion from the Idaho attorney general’s office stating that current efforts to trim the executive’s authority during disaster events are “overly broad and could introduce legal uncertainty in the governor’s and the state’s authority to respond to disasters and emergencies.” Written by Assistant Chief Deputy Brian Kane, and commissioned and released by Boise Democratic House Minority Ilana Rubel on Feb. 23, the opinion is in response to HB 135, which passed 49-20 in the House on Feb. 17. That bill would empower the governor to both declare and extend an emergency past 60 days, but any additional restrictions or requirements under the order would lapse after 60 days without the consent of the Legislature, which could then extend the emergency for 365 days. The intention of the bill is to preserve federal emergency funding while reigning in the governor’s authority, which enables the office to declare and indefinitely renew 30-day emergencies. HB 135 may yet be amended by the Senate, where it has been assigned to the State Affairs Committee. Follow the Idaho Legislature online at legislature.idaho.gov.
From east, west and beyond
East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling: Last week marked when millionaires stopped paying into Social Security, since the cap is at $142,800 of earnings. Lifting that cap could extend the lifespan of the SS Trust Fund, according to Americans for Tax Fairness. There are currently two plans for doing so: President Joe Biden proposed a payroll tax on earnings above $400,000, impacting the top 0.4% of wage earners. Sen. Bernie Sanders’ plan would apply SS payroll taxes on earnings above $250,000, raising $1.4 trillion for the fund. Hard-core adherants to the QAnon conspiracy theory believe former-President Donald Trump will be inaugurated on Thursday, March 4, Forbes reported, noting that March 4 inaugurations ended with legislation in 1933. Data analysis of almost 800 U.S. counties showed COVID-19 deaths are likely 44% higher than reported. According to StatNews.com — which is produced by Boston Globe Media — undercounting has been prevalent in Trump-supporting counties, and many COVID-19 deaths were either not diagnosed or not reported as being from COVID-19. A civil rights firm, the NAACP and a Mississippi U.S. Representative have sued Trump, his lawyer Rudy Giuliani, and right-wing militant groups the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers regarding the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection. The suit alleges that conspiring to incite riots to block certification of the 2020 election results was a violation of the Ku Klux Klan Act, Politico reported. The Act was designed to protect formerly enslaved Black Americans, as well as congressional lawmakers, from white supremacist violence. During a recent hearing to confirm him as the next U.S. attorney general, Merrick Garland recalled the beginning of the Department of Justice 150 years ago, when it was founded to protect the rule of law amid the KKK’s campaign of murder and intimidation against former slaves, intended to stop them from using their newly won rights. He pledged to continue the mission of protecting citizens from criminal activities, and to battle extremist attacks on democracy. There would have been 40% fewer
By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist
deaths in the U.S. from COVID-19 if the U.S. had a health system as strong as that of Canada or Japan, according to a new report in The Lancet. Recorded COVID-19 deaths in the U.S. have now exceeded a 500,000, according to NPR. While Congress debates the next stimulus package, Thea Lee, of the Economic Policy Institute, challenged opposition that argues the stimulus would be wasteful. “I wish I heard the same kind of righteous indignation … when the Republican tax bill in 2017 gave $2 trillion to folks who didn’t need it, 85% of it going to the richest folks,” Lee said on C-SPAN. “Across the country people are in tremendous difficulty. Kids are going hungry. People are being thrown out in the street.” Pew Research shows 64% of people favor COVID-19 relief. The perspective from Republican West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice: “We need to go big … we’ve got to get ourselves out of this mess.” One of the Senate’s first considerations for 2021 will be the For the People Act. It would increase election security and voter participation; end congressional gerrymandering; strengthen ethics and financial conflict of interest laws for the president, Congress and Supreme Court; rein in super PACs; end secret political donations; and close lobbyist loopholes, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. It passed the House in 2019 but was not acted on under the Republican-led Senate. Blast from the past: “Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.” — Frederick Douglas, c.1818-1895, a former slave who became a noted reformer, author and orator. And another blast: With former President Ronald Reagan’s dismantling of the Fairness Doctrine in 1987, anti-New Deal politicians no longer had to compete side-by-side with ideas from moderate Republicans and Democrats. This opened the door for radio personalities like the recently deceased Rush Limbaugh. His radio career resulted in an estimated net worth of $600 million. Limbaugh is credited with laying the groundwork for Trump’s presidency by stoking decades of resentment among especially white, working-class men, whom he claimed were under threat from “socialism.”
The time is right for the Idaho Working Families Agenda By Reps. Lauren Necochea, D-Boise, and Colin Nash, D-Boise Reader Contributors
Work, family and our children. These are the values embedded in the Idaho Working Families Agenda that House Democrats unveiled this week [Feb. 19]. We propose a package of tax and budget solutions that deliver benefits to Idahoans who are often overlooked. The agenda has three components: tax credits for working Idaho families, lower property taxes for homeowners and seniors, and targeted investments in our children’s education. A tax structure should lift up working Idaho families and build a thriving middle class. It should never tax working families into financial hardship. The Idaho Working Families Agenda lifts up Idahoans in two ways: first, it increases the child tax credit to $250 and allows every family — not just the highest earners — to access the full value of the credit; second, it creates a sliding-scale tax credit for working Idahoans, putting hundreds of dollars back into their pockets. Our communities rely on
Rep. Lauren Necochea, D-Boise. the services that property taxes provide, including emergency response, law enforcement and schools. The problem is we are shifting more of the tax load onto homeowners. For years, Idaho’s homeowner exemption rose with housing costs. This protected homeowners from steep increases in their property tax bills and helped maintain a fair balance of the tax load between homes and other types of real estate. Republicans in the Legislature capped this exemption in 2016. Now homeowners are paying increasingly more each
Rep. Colin Nash, D-Boise. year while commercial property owners are paying less. Additionally, the Legislature has failed to update the property tax assistance program for seniors and Idahoans with disabilities since 2006. The Idaho Working Families Agenda restores balance by increasing the homeowner’s exemption and reinstating the annual adjustment so it increases with housing costs. This will maintain a fair balance between different types of property over time. We also propose to double our property tax assistance for seniors by increasing the amount
of assistance and making more Idahoans eligible. Our agenda stands in stark contrast to the tax plan the House GOP leaders revealed this week. That plan has steep tax cuts for only the highest earners and most profitable corporations. This is paid for, in part, by eliminating the popular grocery tax credit that helps everyone. This means a family of four earning less than $75,000 can expect to pay more in taxes under the GOP plan. This is the playbook the Idaho GOP has been following for decades: With every round of cuts, the top 1% receives thousands of dollars in benefits, while regular Idahoans receive few benefits or see their taxes go up. Finally, we cannot ignore the dire needs of our schools. Idaho is 50th in the nation for school investment. This stifles our children’s potential. Idaho’s own education experts have long recommended a full-day kindergarten option to improve literacy and other educational outcomes. This commitment to our children is overdue, and the time is now to fund optional full-day kindergarten in every district. Additionally, we must address the severe disruptions in
learning brought on by the pandemic. We should dedicate onetime funds leftover from the current budget year to allow schools to add instructional hours, tutors, reading specialists, after-school programming, summer learning programs or other strategies to help our children catch up. Our Idaho Working Families Agenda balances overdue tax benefits for working families and the school investments our children need. Idahoans shouldn’t need a lobbyist to get a fair shake. It is time to restore balance of power at the Legislature and finally put Idaho’s working families first. Rep. Lauren Necochea is a second-term Democratic lawmaker from District 19 in Boise, serving as assistant minority leader and on the Commerce and Human Resources; Environment, Energy and Technology; Revenue and Taxation; and Ways and Means committees. Rep. Colin Nash is in his first term as a Democratic lawmaker from District 16 in Boise, serving on the Appropriations; Environment, Energy and Technology; and Judiciary, Rules and Administration committees.
Conspiracy theories hold us back while we should be ‘spiraling to higher ground’ By Adrian Murillo Reader Contributor While reading Jill Trick’s article on conspiracies [Perspectives, “On conspiracies: truth and relativity,” Feb. 18] I worried where she was going. Then she quoted Alan Watts. It triggered a flashback for me. In 1970 when I was a freshman in college, a group of us would gather to listen to tapes (reel to reel) of Watts spinning his wisdom and brave honesty. We’d sit on the floor, candle in the middle, sharing a jug of cheap red wine, passing a joint. I was the only poet, my friends were math heads studying something called computer science
they felt confident was the future. Listening to them I thought it was boring, nerdy escapism. But they had good weed and we all loved the Rolling Stones. I was too young to hear the sexism in their songs. Watts once said: I want to politicize and eroticize all my relationships. I took that to heart, tried my damnedest as a young man to do just that. What I believe now is we belong to the earth, composed of elements of her greatness. We know the truth when we hear it. It arouses a love reflex (as Wilhelm Reich once said). By that I mean, empathy, compassion, awe at the interrelatedness of life, gratitude for one’s humanity and a humble
acceptance of the responsibility that comes with that, the first being: Do No Harm. Racism, sexism, homophobia, nationalism, all that is ego tripping spreading the virus of contempt. Despite all the intense religiosity of these times, I think what Americans really worship is the almighty Algorithm. I see our surrender to technology with all the addictions, weapons, and impatience with human process and development it has created as a rebellion against organic, human existence. (Too many people are forgetting how to read and think, a precondition that led to the Dark Ages. A time when the church convinced people educa-
tion was elitist and irrelevant to salvation.) It’s the revenge of the patriarchal nerds who couldn’t hang with the liberating energies of the ’60s and ’70s. We have no one but ourselves to blame for now being vulnerable to mass paralysis at the hands of anonymous hackers while some use technology to spread paranoid conspiracy theories. The flip side of the paranoid conspiracy vision is the ecstatic vision of our interrelatedness, a realization of the way life forms a seamless whole, ever dynamic, ever flowing. Life is right in any case. Something pure LSD helped me understand back in the day.
I suggest that to find the balance of justice, first measure your words. Life is a dance continually balancing equality and distinction. We’re not going round in circles or back and forth as media presents. We are spiraling to higher ground. The division cleaving the nation is not between left and right, that’s so 20th century. The division is between the past and the future. Regarding any theory, belief, policy that is proposed, always ask: Who does this serve? What kind of spirit does this law inspire? What kind of world do you want your children to inherit?
February 25, 2021 /
The humane thing to do…
Barbs: • Last year, when Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, introduced several attempts to curtail the ballot initiative process in Idaho, the backlash was fairly severe from across the state. The attempts to revise the initiative rights ultimately failed after thousands of Idahoans spoke out when their constitutionally-enshrined powers were being threatened by a majority party afraid to involve the people in their firm hold over Idaho politics. Though it passed the House and Senate, Gov. Brad Little, a Republican himself, vetoed the bill after fierce backlash from citizens. Well, they’re at it again this year, with SB1110 moving through the Senate. This new attempt nearly doubles the number of legislative districts from which initiative campaigns need to collect signatures, which effectively blocks grassroots campaigns from making the ballot, leaving the path open for well-funded organizations — including those from out of state — to monopolize the initiative process. My question is: Why are Idaho legislators so afraid of their constituents? Even if an initiative reaches the ballot, it still needs to be approved by a majority of voters. There is literally no reason to restrict initiative rights in Idaho except for the Idaho GOP’s insatiable lust for power. Why are we so adamant about protecting some rights in Idaho, while others are continually threatened by partisan elected officials whose main concern, it seems, is to control what Idaho voters see on the ballot. Shouldn’t Idaho voters choose for themselves what they feel is important? Call or write your senators and representatives to let them know you want to keep your constitutional rights for ballot initiatives intact: Sen. Jim Woodward email@example.com Rep. Sage Dixon firstname.lastname@example.org Rep. Heather Scott email@example.com 8 /
/ February 25, 2021
Dear editor, I see articles and ads locally touting the name change Better Together Animal Alliance, formerly Panhandle Animal Shelter, and all the services they offer. Home to Home, keeping animals that need to be rehomed out of the shelter. Pets For Life, spaying and neutering, medical care, all at no cost to the owner. I applaud all of this and their concern for pets. However I am appalled at their lack of care, interest or willingness to help with feral cats. They claim to have a TNR (trap, neuter, release) program to help with expenses, but when I looked into it their “help” would have cost me over twice what I pay Center Valley Veterinary Clinic. I have learned a lot about Feral cats and have the scars to prove it — they are not user-friendly. If we really wish to slow the stream of unwanted cats the feral cat population needs to be spayed and neutered. It is the humane thing to do. Diane Newcomer Clark Fork
Trump is guilty... Dear editor, Unless you’ve been off-world you most likely have seen photos of Jan. 6, the day that radicalized extremists stormed the U.S. Capitol Building. Along with damning videos, you can hear the chants, “Hang Pence,” and, “Get Pelosi.” You may have been shocked to witness, along with millions of others around the world, to see police officers beaten while defending the Capitol. Homegrown terrorists beat one officer to death, while 140 officers were injured during the insurrection. These officers whose calls for assistance were ignored, were not simply trying to keep the building from being trashed or vandalized, they too heard the shouts of, “Hang Pence,” and, “Get Pelosi” — they were attempting to protect lives. You can see the Capitol Police being overrun, crying out in pain and in one case pleading, “I have children.” No matter what kind of spin you’d like to put on this sad day in
America, Trump is guilty of inciting this misguided coup. He’s been dividing the country since his campaign for president, with hate speech and calls to beat protestors during rallies, and refusing to call out white supremacy. Trump Jr. is guilty along with Giuliani, Cruz, Hawley and a long list of Republicans whose lust for control, power and money outweigh any sense of moral decency. All those falsely claiming that the election was stolen are responsible for inciting easily misguided, ill-informed Americans. Fox News to Newsmax and other far-right media, they all have some culpability for officer Brian Sicknick being beaten to death. Many are calling for unity now that Democrats are in power. Unity is what we should all strive for; however, there cannot be unity without healing. To begin healing from the past four years of abuse, those responsible need to be held accountable for their unconscionable actions. Cindy Aase Sagle
Don’t need the stimulus? Do something good with it... Dear editor, You ran a letter in the Feb. 11 issue [“Practice what we preach…] where a gentleman who wrotein was in a state of dismay for having received a $600 cash card/ check for economic stimulus. Not seeing anyone rebut him in the Feb. 18 issue, and not having had the opportunity/time to write promptly, I am finally doing so. In the near future, many of us will hopefully be receiving $1,400 stimulus payments. Some of us will actually not need the money — not the case for most people though. This was the case with the aforementioned fellow, who was quite indignant about the government’s poor aim. My beef regarding this is, if you find yourself receiving such a check which you don’t need, then why don’t you help the government to sharpen its aim? Cash your check and donate the money to the myriad organizations and charities which serve amazing
functions in Sandpoint, rather than calling it something it isn’t. Rather than sending the $600 “back to Russ Fulcher,” the aforementioned fellow could have sent, or even sprinkled the money to various organizations such as: The food bank, The Festival at Sandpoint, various animal shelters, our wonderful schools, any of the churches or even family relatives down on their luck. This list is far from complete. You don’t have to look hard or far for someone who needs help these days. I even head up a nonprofit which I will not name here as it would be disingenuous to do so. Haven’t we had enough of cynicism and negativity? Lets progress forward and back into the light as we put some really weird years and extreme gullibility, and this darn pandemic, hopefully, behind us. Do something kind or good with the money. Rick Reed Sandpoint
An open letter on VA health care
Stopping the war against veterans’ minds and bodies
By Jodi Rawson Reader Contributor Dear President Joe Biden, There are more than two parties, let’s face it. There is another major party — something like a C.E.O.cracy. Led by billionaires and hyper-lobbyist-minions, this party often wins. I had high hopes that President Barack Obama would bring major change to our military situation, but it was just a fantasy. Perhaps it had something to do with the blocks that Obama faced with not having enough people in his party to vote for his interests, and perhaps this will be different and more advantageous for you. But truthfully I have no hope of Democrats voting to end war any more than Republicans because of how this third party profits. It is the same reason that more efficient science has taken a backseat to petro. The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns character is a good mascot for this third party. It is no secret that our taxes pay for war in areas of flowing oil and other resources. Most of us can agree that World War II made sense: free the oppressed. But what are we doing now? How are our drone strikes on impoverished brown people heroic? Our team spirit is down and more than 20 veterans are killing themselves each day. What are you going to do about it? It is time to offer restitution for the shat-
tered homelands around the world attacked by U.S. bombs, guns and drones. It is time to bring our troops home and offer them top quality physical and psychological healing. For more than a decade after I was medically discharged I had no medical insurance. I often landed in local emergencies, with symptoms related to the brain injury and neck fracture I suffered in basic training, and I found myself indebted to their services as a result of being uninsured. And being uninsured ensures that judgement and discontinuity are a part of the emergency experience. My injury was so minor compared to death though, and vets are trained to offer the ultimate sacrifice, so it took me a decade of migraines and compromised immunity to desperately seek help. The VA sent a letter explaining that they could not locate my medical records and “any further attempt would be futile.” This made me go a little insane. I questioned if I hit my head somewhere else or if I was even in the military. One has to be very mentally sound to navigate the VA system, but thankfully I had a lot of help and was encouraged to keep fighting for what I earned as a veteran. Thankfully, a lowly office worker located my records when I called her directly in Fort Jackson, South Carolina — then that angel sent my records directly to me. Thirteen years later I was covered medically.
Today the VA is paying for my regular therapy and I am grateful, but I cannot forget the insane neglect that I faced. Currently countless veterans and worldwide victims of war are hopelessly invisible. If I had access to an advocate who sat me down immediately after my service and asked what the military could do to help me live a balanced and healthy life, it may have eliminated more than a decade of neglect, pain and PTSD. Healing advocacy is my desire for all veterans and there is a budget for it. There is enough money for creating utopias for veterans to debrief in saunas and wheelchair accessible gardens. There is enough money in the military budget to offer every veteran therapy, housing and schooling. Meanwhile, we find homeless, broken people with cardboard signs imploring honestly: “Disabled Vet — Anything Helps.” At a veteran retreat I related to the man who explained that he was “trying to get out from under the dark cloud.” The retreat was life altering for me, but I often felt like I was an imposter because I did not see heads getting blown off, like a couple of the vets, nor was I raped at gunpoint by a superior, like another vet. I was shaken up by training at the Naval Academy and then in the Army, where I was injured and honorably discharged. A Vietnam vet
explained to me that the training was enough for PTSD. We are dehumanized, desensitized and ultimately taught to ignore our hearts. How else could we prepare to murder a stranger? Do we have to spend almost $800 billion on bullying, killing, destroying communities around the world, leaving U.S. soldiers morally and physically wounded, neglected and contemplating suicide? You are a career politician who is said to walk the line between the parties, perhaps donning your own shade of indigo, and maybe I ought to have hope in you. Maybe you can consider those beneath you in your chain of command — vets my former Marine Corps officer sister, now psychologist, may one day meet with and plead with to stay alive. With your old-manwisdom you may reach the hearts of all the younger leaders to vote for peace, healing, and rebuilding. Because who wants war? Vets dive into hellish training because we are brainwashed into thinking it is a heroic service and are promised money and free education. And all too often we get out of the military physically broken with psychological scars and hopelessness about making sense of our lives again. Two years ago my friend was found in his chair hunched over a
pistol. He was cold to the touch, his pets were frantic and he was probably dead two days. I was the one who suspected he was dead and insisted that someone check on him. His body was a toxic wasteland of hundreds of painfully aggressive tumors under his skin, most likely caused from the burn pits in Iraq. Tumors were near his spinal cord and he was passing out, hardly able to care for himself, but he took buses to get to VA appointments that exhausted him and wasted his day — there were no answers, nor assistance for his ailments. Also, after a paperwork mistake assumed he was dead and denied funds for years, his home was getting foreclosed. He was another neglected veteran who ate a gun — another statistic — but he was my friend. The war against the minds of those who serve is one of the most poignant wars to date and it needs your focus like a pandemic. To heal those who have endured trauma for the United States of America, we need far more funding, continuity and expertise than what is currently offered by our country’s massive military budget. Billions of tax dollars can be reallocated to healing instead of hurting. As you read this, another veteran may have sacrificed their life.
February 25, 2021 /
Mad about Science:
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Ducklings By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist That’s right, everyone: It’s officially the most wonderful time of the year! Eat your heart out, Mr. Claus. Baby bird season is upon us. Aside from the obvious cute factor, what would make you buy ducklings? Once grown, ducks are fantastic additions to virtually any backyard flock. Certain breeds of domestic ducks have been bred to produce eggs nearly as frequently as chickens. Duck eggs are larger than chicken eggs, and they are very fatty, meaning they are unparalleled in their contribution to virtually any baked good. Pastry dough made with duck eggs is very voluminous and flaky while things like cupcakes end up being moist and fluffy. Ducks also produce meat with a very unique flavor closer to red meat than other poultry, with fatty skin that holds a legendary status for its crispiness when cooked properly. If you fancy yourself the possessor of a green thumb, ducks also provide a not-so-hidden third benefit in the form of manure. Ducks produce very wet waste with a fairly even NPK (nitrogen, phosphorous, potassium) ratio. Due to the relatively high level of nitrogen in their waste, it’s not recommended to apply their leavings directly to plants, but when gathered and mixed with other compostable organics, the high water content allows for composting bacteria to flourish — just make sure you allow it to compost fully, or this quality could end up biting you in the gut down the road. This excessively wet waste is also the primary reason that 10 /
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first-time duck owners swear off raising ducklings after about two weeks into their fuzzy little lives. Ducklings are easily some of the messiest livestock on the planet. As a seasoned duck wrangler and self-appointed bird nerd, I can tell you from experience that a little bit of preparation goes a long way when raising ducklings. Ducklings can be a lot more work to rear than baby chicks if you don’t have an efficient setup. Ducklings, much like chicks, can’t regulate their body temperature until they begin growing feathers. They need to be raised in a brooder similar to chicks — essentially a box large enough to house them that is lined with softwood shavings or straw that is warmed by a heating lamp — all of which is easily purchasable from any farm and feed store in our area this time of year. Unlike chicks, ducklings are waterfowl, and they need large amounts of water, which they will splash everywhere. To prevent daily brooder cleanings, there are a number of solutions you can employ to keep the mess minimal and potentially only need to clean their brooder once, maybe twice a week as opposed to the daily chore most duckling owners face. Firstly, remember that water will always seek a neutral position — if you place water in a container on a slant, it will always travel downwards until it is obstructed. It’s possible to create a brooder with small holes drilled into one end, while you shim the opposite end of the structure just half an inch or so. This will prevent the ducklings from losing their footing in a tilted environment, but will also persuade the
water to travel toward the drain holes you’ve created. Another solution is to take a clean and sterilized milk jug and cut a section out of the side large enough for the ducklings to reach into and drink from. Any excess splashing will be contained within the milk jug and keep surrounding bedding from becoming soiled. This effect is doubly effective if you place the milk jug on top of a cookie sheet covered with a metal baking rack (preferably by adhering or screwing the metal pieces together to avoid slippage), allowing any water that may escape the jug to land safely in an area that is free of absorbent bedding. Once it’s time to empty the water, you can lift the cookie sheet up and out, or if you’ve drilled holes into your brooder, simply tilt the sheet into the holes and let the water drain — just be sure you have something under the drain to catch the water, such as a bucket. Also, never use that particular cookie sheet and baking rack for anything other than bird-rearing ever again. Once your ducklings outgrow their humble brooder and the air grows a bit warmer, it will be time for them to move into your backyard. Ducks are gentle birds and natural prey animals, so they will need some form of shelter once they are grown. Prefabricated chicken coops will work for a time, but they are difficult to clean and the wood used in these is extremely absorbent and prone to rotting. Plastic housing, though not very comfortable during winter seasons, is certainly the easiest to clean. I constructed a small house from wooden pallets and plywood, while using refurbished
kitchen tile as a flooring in their house with a layer of softwood shavings overtop to absorb all of the valuable manure and keep the ducks from slipping and sliding all over. If you happened to also buy some goslings this year, all of the information in this article applies to them as well — they are just larger (and come with a few little quirks of their own).
Looking for some more information? Worry not, the library has your back. Check out some of the books in the Storey’s Guide series in their nonfiction collection — they are extremely thorough, easy to follow and a joy to read. Enjoy your new fuzzy friends, and stay curious, 7B.
Random Corner t greece?
Don’t know much about ancien
We can help!
• Classical Greek culture, which flourished during the fifth to fourth centuries BCE, had a powerful influence on the Roman Empire and provided the foundation of modern Western culture.
declare one’s love.
• Ancient Greek democracy, the world’s first, lasted for only 185 years.
• The word “music” comes from the Muses, goddesses of the arts in Greek mythology.
• At its economic height, in the fifth and fourth centuries BCE, ancient Greece was the most advanced economy in the world. Meanwhile, between 40% and 80% of the population of Classical Athens were slaves. • The word “school” comes from the ancient Greek for “free time.” • In ancient Greek, the word “idiot” meant anyone who wasn’t a politician. (My how things have changed!) • The discoveries of Greek mathematicians such as Pythagoras, Euclid and Archimedes, are still used in mathematical teaching today. • In ancient Greece, throwing an apple at someone was done to
• The theory that the sun is the center around which the planets orbit was first proposed by the ancient Greek Aristarchus of Samos in the third century BCE.
• Spartan men were not allowed to live with their families until they left their active military service at age 30. • Ancient Greeks investigated animal structure and described the difference between arteries and veins around 500 BCE. • In ancient Greece, the normal size of a jury was about 500 people. • Ancient Greeks wouldn’t eat beans as they thought that they contained the souls of the dead. • Married women were banned from watching or even attending the ancient Olympic games. The penalty for any married woman caught sneaking a peek was execution.
ByMayor Shelby Rognstad Reader Contributor
Sandpoint and the region is at a critical moment right now. Idaho continues to be the fastest growing state in the nation and the Panhandle is taking its share of that growth. Through the pandemic the Sandpoint economy remained strong as people poured in to escape the urban crowds and enjoy the natural amenities and open space that define our home. Sandpoint’s investments in parks, open space and quality of life continue to deliver positive economic impacts. As the population continues to grow and land prices go up, the ability for the region and Sandpoint in particular to develop trail connectivity and open space becomes increasingly challenging. Open spaces are lost to development and then the cost becomes increasingly prohibitive for public investment. In an Engage Sandpoint Survey in 2019, residents overwhelmingly supported open space as the top priority for future investments in recreation. Open space is any area of land that is not developed. It can include working landscapes like forests, farms and ranchlands. It can include urban green spaces, historic areas, natural areas, scenic overlooks and wetlands. Of course
it can also include public parks, greenways and trails. When the public advocates for and invests in open space, we are maintaining our quality of life for present and future generations. There are a lot of reasons why open space adds a value to a community and sometimes in ways that aren’t necessarily addressed by traditional parks. From an operational perspective, open space is much more affordable to acquire and maintain than traditional parks, like ball fields and playgrounds, which require expensive infrastructure and are resource intensive. Yet, open space still plays
a critical role in helping people get outside and stay healthy and active. This is vitally important in a society where nearly half of Americans get less than the doctor-recommended minimum amount of physical activity. Open space attracts investment, tax-paying businesses and residents. Those taxes help the government pay the bills and it raises property values for residents and business owners. It also helps communities prevent the higher costs of unplanned development. It boosts tourism, which stimulates commercial growth and expands recreational opportunities. Open space promotes city revitalization creating attractive places to live, work and play. It has a host of environmental benefits like managing floodplains and stormwater, providing drinking water, cleaning the air and achieving other environmental goals like protection of habitat, including agricultural lands, which are critical to our economy and our community. As infill development continues to happen in and around the city, the opportunity for the public to secure access, easements and lands protected as open space will continue to shrink and become more cost prohibitive. The economics of open space public investments relative to parks are dramatically more cost
$20,000 in scholarship monies to deserving students each year. The club would like to continue that tradition despite the havoc COVID-19 has caused on its fundraising this past year. Club scholarships are not limited; they can be used for a variety of educational purposes: college, tech school, beauty school, continuing education, etc. Baskets, which are large, beautiful and feature a variety of flowers, are $35 each (retail value is about $70). Baskets will be available the week before Mother’s Day. If interested in a basket, email PonderayRotaryClub@gmail.com or call 208-290-0213. Payment is due by April 30. Payment can be mailed to
the Ponderay Rotary Club at P.O. Box 813, Ponderay, ID 83864 or the club is happy to pick it up. Established in 2005, the Rotary Club of Ponderay Centennial is a small group of active members dedicated to helping the community. A global network of more than 1.2 million members, Rotary brings together leaders who — through meetings, social events and volunteer projects — learn about issues facing global and local communities, stepping forward to take on some of their toughest challenges. Rotary partners with local, national and global experts about potential solutions, and draws up action plans to respond. As its motto states: “Service Above Self.”
Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad. Courtesy photo.
Invest in open space while we still have it
efficient from a construction, maintenance and operations perspective and can often be supported by volunteer groups as well as taxpayer dollars. Sandpoint Disc Golf Association, Pend Oreille Pedalers, Friends of the Pend Oreille Bay Trail and Friends of the Mickinnick Trail are all great examples of volunteer groups that have leveraged public open space to establish valuable community assets with little to no tax dollars. Sandpoint rightfully values its open spaces and it should be proud that it has prioritized protecting these places for generations. Since 1918 the city has invested in the Little Sand Creek Watershed, purchasing 4,000 acres over the past century. We’ve seen public investment continue more recently with projects like Pine St. Woods, Pend Oreille Bay Trail,
Syringa Trail Network and many others. These investments in open space have defined who we are as a community. Sandpoint is beautiful, healthy and fun because of our longtime commitment to protecting open space. As Sandpoint continues to grow, we will need to renew our commitment to open space if we are to retain what makes this place one of the best places to live. This renewed commitment will not only make life here more enjoyable, more sustainable and more beautiful, it will be the most cost effective way to bring greater prosperity to Sandpoint for generations to come. Please join me for the Mayor’s Roundtable to discuss these issues and more Friday, Feb. 26 at 4 p.m. on Facebook Live: Mayor Shelby Rognstad.
Flowers for the future of the community By Reader Staff The Rotary Club of Ponderay Centennial is selling hanging flower baskets to support education and community service projects in the Greater Sandpoint area. Due to COVID-19, the club’s primary fundraisers have been canceled, so this fundraiser is critical to continue its annual action plans. Besides supporting community needs and service projects, the club is committed to continuing its scholarship program helping local graduating high-school seniors and residents wishing to continue their educations. In the past, the club has handed out between $12,000-
February 25, 2021 /
Partnership proposes outdoor classroom designs Kaniksu Land Trust works with U of I and Colorado College to bring LPOSD classrooms outdoors
By Reader Staff Students and teachers know too well the challenges of classroom learning during COVID-19. Alternative education models, inconsistent schedules and safety protocols make concentration in the classroom much more difficult. One alternative being proposed by Kaniksu Land Trust, with support from the University of Idaho, is the outdoor classroom model, which some local schools have already joined in a pilot project. “We’re so excited about this creative opportunity to support learning outcomes in our community, both now and into the future,” said KLT Executive Director Katie Cox. “When innovative organizations like LPOSD, KLT, University of Idaho and Colorado College gather around a common objective, anything seems possible.” Area teachers have reported outdoor learning spaces foster better concentration, fewer behavioral issues and improved attendance. Learning outdoors does have its challenges. Weather during the school year is often cold, rainy, windy or snowy, and playgrounds and sports fields at schools offer little protection from the elements. To address these concerns, KLT installed collapsible tent structures in fall 2020 at two local elementary schools to serve as temporary outdoor classrooms. These proved sufficient to provide a degree of protection from inclement weather as well as open air; yet, while KLT’s outreach programs and temporary shelters served their purpose, there was a desire for something more. “We knew that these tents were not a long-term solution if we looked down the road five years,” said Cox. KLT began discussing more sustainable models for outdoor classrooms with University of Idaho and LPOSD staff. From this idea, a partnership emerged with KLT, UI, LPOSD and Colorado College to leverage resources to accomplish more. With a basic video of what might be possible, the architecture faculty at Colorado College committed to using the Sandpoint outdoor classroom concept as a design challenge for an architecture studio course taught remotely during the fall. Colorado College students met virtually with students, teachers and administrators at Farmin-Stidwell Elementary, and proceeded to create outdoor classroom models customized to the climate and needs of local schools. The design students earned work experience on a real-world project, while 12 /
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LPOSD received consultation and design work at no cost. The best part of all was that Farmin-Stidwell students were directly involved in the design process. “So often design — specifically architecture — in an academic setting can happen in a vacuum,” said Zac Stevens, an architectural design coordinator at Colorado College. Both designs include features that utilize the natural qualities of native and recycled materials to retain thermal energy (to maximize warmth), facilitate wonder, blend with the local environment (including the architectural design of the existing school building), obscure power poles and neighborhoods, and highlight natural features. The students took into account local wind patterns and areas of maximum sunlight for comfort in the elements. Separate ingress and egress centers allow for safe use of the space by multiple classrooms throughout the day. The location of the outdoor classrooms was positioned so as not to detract from existing playgrounds and sports fields. Each concept was unique from the other. One group focused their design on making the space as seamlessly integrated into the land as possible, even proposing using recycled materials as appropriate. The second group’s design incorporated physical and mental health enhancing components such as tunnels and colorful tinted plexiglass filters to counteract the effects of gray days in the winter. “As I look forward to our outdoor spaces, this project has brought a larger perspective on what I thought might be pos-
sible,” Farmin-Stidwell Elementary School Principal Erik Olson said. The partner review session, which marked the end of the project for the Colorado College students, inspired additional innovative ideas. For instance, the spaces intended for classroom use during school hours could be repurposed as recreational and event spaces when school is not in session. The group also discussed how the environment itself might respond to the spaces, perhaps providing opportunities for students to observe local wildlife. A second group of architecture studio students at Colorado College will be focusing on a similar design project later this winter, this time in partnership with Washington
Kaniksu Land Trust staff and LPOSD students show off a construction of a new outdoor learning center. Photo by KLT. Elementary School in Sandpoint. The eventual dream of the partnership is to bring this vision to reality by constructing one of the student designs on school grounds. Long after COVID-19 safety precautions have become obsolete, generations of children will continue to benefit from access to outdoor spaces for learning. The outdoor classroom may be a guarantee of that reality for all children. To learn about the ongoing project visit kaniksu.org or follow KLT’s social media channels.
In search and study of winter By Reader Staff Area residents are invited to go “In Search and Study of Winter” on Saturday, Feb. 27, a combination of safe space winter strolls and road tours to observe and appreciate the winter surroundings. Along the route, participants will visit private land sites of riverside, creek, wetland, forest habitats and birding viewpoints to observe and discuss winter birding; animal and bird tracks, sign and scat; and evergreen and deciduous vegetation. Limited to eight participants, the group will cover an area of diverse locations by caravanning in their own vehicles, stopping and hopping out at roadside stops, and taking a few short walks or mini-hikes on private lands of less than one mile round trip. The group will also briefly discuss
some of the history of the Salish-Kootenai peoples and David Thompson’s party. The instructor for the day is college educated, with more than 43 years of field experience in forestry, wildlife research and land surveying, and more than 20 years of teaching outdoor educational classes. Sponsored by Liby Hostel Base Camp, those taking part will meet at Riverfront Park in Libby, Mont., Saturday, Feb. 27 at 9 a.m. (MST). Riverfront Park is located on the southwest side of where highway 37 begins to cross the bridge over the Kootenai River in Libby. Follow the blue and white signs to the turnoff before crossing the bridge. The group will gather under the large timber frame shelter and review the day’s plan. Organizers ask that participants arrive with full gas tanks, water, lunch, appropri-
ate layers and boots for the weather, hats and gloves for the extremities, binoculars, cameras and any bird, track and plant field guide books they might have. Snowshoes are advised. Wrap up time will be approximately 3 p.m. (MST). Libby Hostel Base Camp can provide accommodations if needed. Check libbyhostelbasecampairbnb.com for availability. If the Libby Hostel is full, mention the class at the Venture or Country inns for a small discount rate. The outdoor educational program is designed as a COVID-19 aware outdoor experience with appropriate social distancing. For more information and to register email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 406291-2154.
ARTS & CULTURE
Sew far, so good By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff
There is comfort in collecting skills from days of yore. In a world that’s constantly hurtling toward the next advancement, knowing how to make things and fix them when they’re damaged is becoming increasingly rare. So when a neighbor offered to give me a sewing machine she no longer used, I didn’t hesitate to accept. Before someone gets their homemade panties in a bunch about me categorizing mechanical sewing as an old-timey skill, it must be understood that while sewing used to be a necessary art in most households — even taught in home economics at school — that isn’t the case anymore, and certainly not during my lifetime. In my experience, people in their 20s who know how to sew were either lucky enough to catch the tail-end of fully funded home ec classes, or independently sought out sewing lessons from a family member or friend. Me? I can count on one hand how many times I’ve used a sewing machine. I envy people who are capable of making beautiful
quilts, designing their own clothing or whipping up a random curtain on a Sunday afternoon. When the pandemic started, the matriarchs who surround me started churning out adorable cloth masks in varying styles and patterns, doing their part to combat the virus. One of these matriarchs is Karen, my neighbor and lifelong friend. Along with the sewing machine, I accepted the customary lesson on how to use it, seated at her kitchen table surrounded by scraps of practice fabric. I had never been so intimidated by such an unassuming machine before; the 1980s Viking presented an array of knobs and levers that I had yet to master. I recognized one thing, though: the Husqvarna logo, bringing to mind a machine with which I am only mildly more proficient — a chainsaw. Karen helped me navigate through a few basic sewing techniques, showing me how to thread the needle and select different stitch lengths. I headed home with my shockingly heavy Husqvarna Viking sewing machine in hand, along with a box of thread and a small notebook for jotting down all my troubleshooting. I had no
doubt there would be plenty to write about. I brought the machine home just before Christmas, and decided this week it was time to tackle some mending. This was my main motivation for accepting Karen’s offer — my fiancé, Alex, will find a way to tear holes through every piece of clothing he owns, particularly thick Carhartt work pants. I set the machine up at my dining room table and resolved to tackle something a little less high-stakes: long johns with a torn waistband and a sizable hole in the crotch. I stitched a single, jagged run along the waistband, and wanted to put the machine in reverse to go back over it. After searching the machine for 10 minutes for a reverse knob or lever, I called Karen. “I can’t picture it,” she said after a long pause. “I’ll be there soon.” Within minutes, she came to my rescue. She made an entry in the troubleshooting notebook in her beautiful script handwriting to remind me where to find the reverse button next time. I finished up the long johns after her short visit, and took in my handy work. I used light blue thread on black fabric, and decid-
‘A golden place’
By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff
Local author Ken Fischman didn’t write his memoir Brooklyn Boy simply to relay the events of his life, but as an attempt to better understand why he is the person he is today. “I was trying to figure out actually who I was,” said Fischman, who grew up in Brooklyn, N.Y., in the 1930s and ’40s. “I come from sort of a mixture of blue-collar and aristocratic background in a big city, and I never did figure out whether I was a prince or a pauper.” Brooklyn Boy is Part 1 of a memoir series Fischman hopes will grow to include three volumes, telling his life’s story in chunks. He will read from the first book live on the East Bonner County Library District Facebook page on Tuesday, March 2 at noon.
“This first one is about my childhood, my youth in Brooklyn, because it was such a special place when I was a kid — it was sort of a golden place,” Fischman said, adding that the access he had to cultural hubs, affordable transportation and a free education made Brooklyn during his youth “a very different kind of city than most cities are now.” His explorations of the city at an early age led Fischman to a passion he now gets to live out every day as a resident of North Idaho: a passion for the great outdoors. “I happened to be brought up in a part of Brooklyn which was near some big green areas,” he said, naming woodsy Prospect Park and the Brooklyn Botanic Garden as places he frequented. “I spent a lot of my time escaping from my family by going there early in the morning and finding all of the things that
Confessions of an amateur seamstress
ed that was to keep me honest. (It was really because I was afraid to change the thread out and not know how to set up a new spool.) There were various stitch lengths from pulling the fabric through the machine too quickly, and swerving lines from my unsteady hands. Still, the holes were gone. These long johns were, for all intents and purposes, in operating order again. Alex’s profuse thanks confirmed that my makeshift attempt at sewing was worthwhile. “I know it doesn’t look great,” I said, gesturing toward the Frankenstein long johns in his hands.
The 1980s Viking sewing machine made by Husqvarna. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert. “It’s custom,” he replied with a smile. “I dig it.” I returned to my work station and started packing it away, first taking a moment to add my own note beneath Karen’s in the troubleshooting notebook: “Repaired some of Alex’s long johns. Karen came over to help me find the reverse button.” I dated the page and tucked it away, slightly less discouraged and determined to sew another day.
Local author Ken Fischman reads from his new book, Brooklyn Boy, live on the library FB page
nobody knew was there. … Most showcases Fischman’s candid people didn’t know that there were writing style. It recounts being an rabbits there. They certainly didn’t awkward teen with a secret: he had know that there were foxes in the yet to kiss a girl. When presented botanical gardens.” with the opportunity, he becomes Fischman had the world at his the butt of a clever girl’s joke. fingertips as a boy in midcentury Fischman’s voice carries the prose Brooklyn, eventually finding his along on a weightless cloud of way to a Ph.D. in genetics and a universal nostalgia and lighthearted six-year journey during which he humor. He is sharing his own story, and his wife lived out of a truck but it is a story we all know — and camper, seeking their ideal home a story that makes us smile while in the Pacific Northwest. Those reading. adventures, Fischman said, will During the process of writing appear in subseLocal Author Connections: Brooklyn Boy, quent volumes of Fischman said he Ken Fischman his memoir series; would periodically Brooklyn Boy ends Tuesday, March 2; 12 p.m.; share his workFREE. Listen to Fischman as the author gradin-progress with read from his new memoir, uates high school. fellow authors in a Brooklyn Boy, live on the An excerpt writer’s group he East Bonner County Library joined. from the book, District Facebook page: available on the “The biggest East Bonner Coun- facebook.com/ebonnerlireaction I would ty Library website, brary. get from them,
even if they came from some small town in Nebraska, was, ‘Hey, wait a minute — that’s my life. I went through that.’” For that reason, Fischman believes any reader will relate to his recollections in Brooklyn Boy. “Everyone’s story is unique, and yet, everyone’s story seems to follow the same sort of path as you’re growing up. There is a certain logic as to the way people grow,” he said, alluding to the “good and bad” that every person sees in their lifetime, and how even the bad times are worth recalling. “Even when I look back and say, ‘Oh, that was awful,’ I got something out of it,” he said. “It contributed to who I am.” February 25, 2021 /
Zoom Boom: Tensions between regulation and deregulation Land use priorities collide in the ‘Zoom economy’
By Susan Drumheller Reader Contributor
A typical rural scene in a Bonner County hayfield. Photo by Ben Olson.
he “Zoom boom” economy has exploded in Bonner County — one of many western outdoorsy communities getting flooded with “amenity migrants” seeking a better and, for some, a more affordable place to live while working remotely. Meanwhile, newcomers are also being encouraged to move here by groups like the Idaho Freedom Foundation, which is buying Google ads that ask: “Tired of never-ending taxes and regulation? Discover the free life in Idaho.” In the past year, the county planning staff has processed more than 1,300 building location permits, more than 100 minor land divisions, 18 text amendments to the zoning code, 10 comprehensive plan amendments, 12 zone changes and more than 35 variances. “It’s really overwhelming,” Planning Director Milton Ollerton told Bonner County commissioners at a recent planning workshop. Managing this tsunami of applications is a relatively inexperienced staff that has been operating under a director recruited in 2015 to streamline land use laws in a county where “smart growth” — a planning philosophy that promotes concentrating density near urban services — is sometimes treated as a dirty word. 14 /
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Meanwhile, volunteers from around the county have participated in committee meetings for months — some for almost four years — to develop neighborhood specific (“subarea”) land use plans that cover hundreds of square miles. From Sagle to Selle Valley to Blanchard, the dominant theme of these plans is to protect the rural quality of life; preserving large parcels to protect traditional land uses, as well as wildlife habitat, water quality, dark skies, and to keep traffic manageable and slower paced in rural areas. “We like it the way it is,” said Fred Omodt, a blueberry farmer who chaired the Selle-Samuels Subarea Committee. “Once it’s gone, we don’t have it anymore.” But when everyone wants to have their piece of paradise and land and housing is in short supply, how do you protect the qualities that are attracting people while providing streamlined development to meet the demand? It’s a tough balancing act for the beleaguered planning staff and is starting to have real impacts around the community. With more than 100 new “minor land divisions” (a relaxed regulatory category that doesn’t follow subdivision standards) the pressure is growing on roads and fire districts to serve more homes popping up
out in the woods. Now the county is looking at a special road levy and Northside Fire is looking to pass an impact fee on new growth. Zeal to deregulate Good land use planning can help communities deal with runaway growth, planning experts say. It creates predictability for newcomers and neighbors alike, while protecting commonly held rights and values. It also keeps government services affordable and helps maintain a community’s character. But land use regulations are often portrayed as interfering with private property rights, and a sympathetic Bonner County Commission has been actively working to reduce the expense and hassle to develop land. Beginning 2016, the county began its effort to deregulate, first by firing Planning Director Clare Marley and her senior planner (both sued the county and settled out of court) and by recruiting a new director who would “demonstrate technical expertise in successfully achieving fewer regulations and less government,” according to the job announcement. The county commissioners also stripped certain powers of approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission and
prohibited the commission from postponing certain decisions for further study. Now-retired attorney Paul Vogel called the change “emasculating” the Planning and Zoning Commission in his comments to the commissioners. The changes prompted then-P&Z Commission Chairman Steve Temple to resign in protest and challenge them in district court, contending the new rules were created outside the existing law. The judge ruled that because Temple was not personally harmed, he didn’t have standing to challenge the new ordinance. “Expect bad code to proliferate,” Temple predicted in a guest editorial in the Bonner County Daily Bee at the time. “Some regulation and restraint is needed to reduce lawsuits between neighbors, have predictability in what we can do where and keep Bonner County beautiful.” Land division made simple One of the early code changes was to exempt plats with four or fewer lots from following the county’s subdivision or short plat requirements. The change basically exempts those lots from following standards that ensure lots are buildable and accessible. The new “minor land division” is approved by the planning director alone, bypassing public input. < see LAND USE, page 15 >
< LAND USE, page 14 >
Minor land divisions also don’t need to be reviewed by Panhandle Health District to ensure that septic systems can be permitted. Marty Taylor, a former Bonner County planning director, warned the changes “sets Bonner County back 40 years to the time when plats constituted nothing more than a survey, resulting in substandard roads and unbuildable lots.” Around the same time, the county removed the requirement for Building Location Permits (Bonner County’s version of a building permit) to first get approval for septic or sewer hook-up — a move that came over the objections of PHD, local sewer districts and residents concerned about potential impacts to groundwater and surface water. Now, some of these new lots are being purchased sight unseen and with no guarantees that they are buildable. Since the new “minor land division” code was adopted, a few problems have cropped up, including substandard road access and the creation of lots that don’t have adequate soils or room for a drainfield. Now the county is revisiting the subdivision ordinance, proposing to include more requirements on minor lands divisions to ensure adequate roads, septic approval for lots 2.5 acres or smaller, but at the same time, increasing the number of lots to be included in a minor land division from four up to 10. The divisions still would not include public input nor notification to neighbors. The county will host a public hearing on the proposed revisions Thursday, March 18. When asked about the lack of public involvement, Ollerton said state statute does not require public involvement in subdivision approval: “These are the things that come out of the workshops with the P&Z commission and the board,” he added. Another outcome of discussions with county commissioners was direction to planning staff to revisit the requirement to maintain a vegetative buffer and the 40foot setback for building on lakeshores — a provision meant to protect water quality and arrived at after several months of collaborative stakeholder meetings in 2008. While no concrete changes have been publicly proposed, the prospect of revising rules for lakeside land use has heightened concern among residents that Bonner County is being loved to death through unchecked growth and development.
that the immigrants had a much bigger budget for housing than those in Boise: $738,000 to $494,000. The gap is likely significantly greater in Bonner County. Even small homes in Sandpoint advertised as “affordable” exceed the budget of many locals. In fact, Idaho leads the nation in real estate appreciation — with a 14% increase in housing prices in one year — according to U.S. News and World Report. Over the past five years, prices have increased 73%. The county’s most innovative solution to the problem of affordable housing thus far has been to lift the 120-day occupancy limit on recreational vehicles and allow up to two RVs and an accessory dwelling unit (ADU) on all properties over one acre in size. On less than an acre, one RV and ADU is allowed. While most people agree that affordable housing is desperately needed, allowing the proliferation of RVs as permanent homes on lots throughout the county conflicts with density limits provided by current zoning. Affordable housing was one of the key issues taken up by the Bonner Regional Team, a collaborative group of local community leaders and elected officials who began meeting in 2017 to discuss land use matters and related community issues. Another priority topic was how to address the increasing wildfire threat in
the “wildland urban interface” — those neighborhoods built in the woods all over Bonner County and on the edge of urban areas. The county formally backed out of the BRT in 2019 after the commissioners received a request to do so from the Bonner County Republican Central Committee, which characterized the collaborative as a “direct assault on self-government.” Commissioner Steven Bradshaw described the collaborative process as “socialism” in his decision to back out. Commissioner Jeff Connolly disagreed with his fellow commissioners and continued to attend BRT meetings until the BRT went dormant when it ran out of funds to pay a facilitator. Susan Drumheller is a 30-year resident of North Idaho, a former Spokesman-Review reporter and member of the board of Project 7B, a local nonprofit with the mission to support land use planning based on locally shared values and aspirations. For information or to support Project 7B’s efforts to track land use planning and promote public involvement, go to project7B.org. Look for Part 2 of this article, “A Neighborhood tale of winners & losers,” in the March 4 edition of the Sandpoint Reader.
Affordability challenge The insatiable demand for property, which is far outpacing supply, is also driving up real estate values and worsening the lack of affordable housing in the area. A recent article in The New York Times about Californians moving to Idaho noted February 25, 2021 /
Nature’s monuments By Hannah Combs Reader Contributor In 1910, a passenger moving to Sandpoint by way of the rail may, upon glancing out the window, have seen a pennant waving gently in the breeze to welcome them to town. The 120-foot-tall pole was not graced with a flag, though, but with needles. At the turn of the century, most of the trees in the Sandpoint area had been cut down to make way for the growing population of residents. The timber was used first to build houses, saloons and farms, and eventually churches and schools. By 1910, all that remained were the scrawniest of the original trees and a smattering of new plantings in people’s yards. However, in photos of Sandpoint from around 1905-1910, a single sliver of bark and needle stabs defiantly into the air, floating high above the surrounding structures and landscaping. The tree looks at first glance like a larch, but in a photo taken during winter, it still bears its needles. It could possibly be a grand fir, though in the fuzzy photos of the time, it’s hard to tell. According to Bonner County Historical Society researcher Dan Evans, “If you extended Fir Street and Second Avenue to where they would intersect, the tree would be in that general area.” That is, close to where the Healing Garden resides today. Before the Humbird Mill built Milltown houses in the vicinity, it was an undeveloped area. The tree may even have been partially submerged at high water. For many years, the beanpole was not worth the effort of the timbermen, and so it remained, a sentinel watching over Sandpoint. A blurry photo from 1894 shows the soaring tree surrounded by a denser forest, with a few others challenging it for the
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height record. By the mid-1920s, no sign of it remains, though whether it fell down or was cut remains a mystery. Trees are preserved for a number of reasons — their age and beauty, but also their crucial role in preserving fragile habitats. Pockets of ancient trees can still be found deep in the forests of Bonner County. When trees were preserved in populated areas, though, human sentimentality was sometimes the driving force. Such was the case with one small larch tree growing in the heart of downtown. An article in the Pend Oreille Review on June 6, 1906 laments, “the tamarack tree which has stood in the road at the intersection of Main and First streets was cut down Saturday, much to the regret of the old timers. The landmark has been allowed to stand as a matter of sentiment, but there was a feeling that it might some day be the cause of a bad runaway mixup.” Photos from the time show the little tree, hardly 20 feet tall, standing proudly in the middle of First Avenue, with the tracks from years of traffic veering around it. Perhaps the original street planners thought it would serve in lieu of a lane divider. Perhaps it stood as the original Sandpoint Christmas tree. All we can do now is wonder, as no other records remain. But from the deeply felt newspaper fragments we have, we know it was a beloved little tree. Perhaps no tree in recent memory was more loved than the rope swing tree over Sand Creek. During construction of the Highway 95 byway, all of the trees on the east side of Sand Creek were cut down, including a large black cottonwood that leaned out over the creek, inviting intrepid youth to hang a rope swing from in its branches. A guide to Sandpoint’s tree species, published by the city of Sandpoint’s Tree Committee in 2009, calls the cottonwood an “outstanding” specimen that served “at least two generations of children — and some brave adults” who plunged from its rope into the water below. In the mid-2000s, when the byway project was in the planning and early construction stages, many residents opposed the project because of how significantly it would change the character of the downtown. Numerous editorials were submitted to the local papers reminiscing about the beauty of Sand Creek before the project began. They show the deep nostalgia and regret that the tree and its removal evoked. Perhaps Bonner County Daily Bee then-Staff Writer Carolyn Lobsinger best captured the nostalgia tied to the tree in an
Landmark trees of Sandpoint
article from 2004: “People who visit Sandpoint on vacation often stand on the Bridge Street bridge and watch as kids swing on a rope and drop into the chilly waters of the creek. They walk away feeling that they have been privileged to glimpse a moment of Norman Rockwell’s Americana.” Trees have always astounded us and played a special role in our communities and our lives. The trees we have preserved have given the town of Sandpoint character for more than 100 years. As the town grows and changes, favorite trees come and go. The trees planted today may become the beloved landmarks of the future. In an eloquent letter to the mayor published in 1995, titled, “Neighborhoods are more than land,” longtime local Dan Shook wrote about all of the moments that make up our home. Nestled in his words, he wrote, “It’s trees that were planted when the kids were born and grass that won’t grow under a rope swing.” This article is brought to you by the Bonner County Historical Society. Research provided by the Bonner County History Museum and Dan Evans. The Tree Committee’s booklet Outstanding Trees of Sandpoint, Idaho is a fantastic resource about prominent local trees. It can be picked up at the City of Sandpoint at 1123 Lake St. or the Bonner County History Museum at 611 S Ella Ave.
Top: A photo of the tall fir tree in 1905 looking north from First Avenue. Photo courtesy of BCHS. Bottom: The rope swing over Sand Creek, looking north toward the Cedar St. Bridge, before the tree was cut down. Photo taken by and donated to BCHS by Erik Daarstad.
Dirt-y Secrets Being mindful of harmful plants to pets,fertilizer and insecticides
By Ranel Hanson Reader Columnist
Hello gardeners! As I write this in mid-February, we are just emerging from some serious cold — and wind. That combination, with little snow covering in the lower elevations, means we may lose some tender plants come spring. Like hybrid roses, if you didn’t mulch deeply. (Next fall, we’ll talk again about the beauty of mulch.) That said, we are only halfway through ski season, a month away from spring and daylight savings time, and COVID-19 vaccines are available. There really is light at the end of this long, dark tunnel. Meanwhile, February has been for planning. Seeds are in stores and all of us gardeners are chomping at the bit. Soon, bulbs will be poking up and, because I have a new puppy, I am very aware of the plants that are dangerous to pets. There are many — and you probably have some in your garden. I won’t list them all here (Google “plants harmful to pets” for a complete list), but the most common ones are worth mentioning, as they can all make your pet ill or even cause death. Lilies are the worst, especially for cats. Just chewing a leaf can be fatal. Other harmful plants and bulbs most commonly used in landscaping in our area include tulips, azaleas, foxglove, Autumn crocus and hyacinth. House plants can be dangerous to pets, too, including amaryllis, caladium, African violets and aloe. (Speaking of house plants, I usually start to fertilize mine toward the end of February. I use a liquid and go kind of lightly to start. You are waking them up after a winter nap. You can soak them in the diluted liquid fertilizer when they are dry, gradually decreasing the dilution.) Pets aren’t our only animal friends who face some dangers this time of
year. You may have heard that our wild birds are being threatened by salmonella bacteria. I feed the birds and have not noticed “my” birds seeming to be sick, but some areas near us have this problem. The symptoms include lethargy, fluffed feathers and death. So, here’s what to do: clean your feeders with a weak bleach solution (10 cups hot water, 1 cup bleach), rinse and dry thoroughly and refill. Clean regularly. Also, rake the area under your feeder and dispose of the debris. If you see sick birds, take your feeders down for a couple of weeks. The birds will forage in a wider, safer area. In the past, I have recommended using egg shells to discourage slugs and I am still a believer. However, I think those egg shells may also potentially spread salmonella. From now on, I am going to boil my eggshells before putting them in the garden. Birds like egg shells, too, and I am wondering if the shells I store in a bucket in my garage might grow poisonous. It is a hassle to boil them, but egg shells are so nutritious for plants; I think it’s worth the trouble to use an ecologically friendly fertilizer and slug begone. I am always urging gardeners to use natural fertilizers and insect remedies. It is our gift to the environment we live in. One suggestion for easy and safe household plant help is baking soda fertilizer. Sprinkle it around the base of plants to boost nutrient absorption.
Courtesy photo. This is particularly good for begonias, hydrangeas, and geraniums. Another suggestion is vinegar, water and liquid soap insecticide. Mix in a spray bottle (just a few drops of soap, fill the rest of the bottle with 1/2 water and 1/2 vinegar). Spray plants to discourage insects. Leave out the water and, voila, weed killer. Yet another alternate insecticide calls for 1 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp baking soda, 2 drops dish soap and 1 gallon water. For epsom salts fertilizer — which is great for most plants — just sprinkle once per week or so, starting in spring. It’s especially good for roses. Finally, my Mason bees are still kickin’ back in my fridge. Here in North Idaho, they will go out to their houses in about mid-April in order to get to work pollinating. The date is tentative because it depends upon weather and nature. The temperature in daytime must average 55 degrees and we must have blossoms for them to feed upon. I plant crocus near their houses because they are reliable early bloomers. Mason bees are another way for us to help out Mother Earth. After all, our food supply depends on our pollinators. No bees, no food and, as Edwin Curran wrote: “Flowers are the music of the ground / From earth’s lips / Spoken without sound.” Until March!
February 25, 2021 /
February 25 - March 4, 2021
THURSDAY, February 25
Live Music w/ Maya and Alex 7-9pm @ The Back Door
Live Music w/ Benny Baker 6-8pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall
FriDAY, February 26
Live Music w/ Kevin Dorin 7:30-9:30pm @ The Back Door Live Music w/ Colby Acuff 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall
Live Music w/ Chris Lynch 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery
SATURDAY, February 27
Live Music w/ Benny Baker 7:30-9:30pm @ The Back Door Ferns of North Idaho (virtual) 10am @ Zoom meeting Presented by KNPS, this virtual meeting can be accessed here: bit.ly/KNPS-Feb27 Live Music w/ Lucas Brown Duo 7-10pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Live Music w/ Dallas Kay 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall
Ross Creek Cedars Snowshoe @ Ross Creek Cedars, Mont. Join Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness on a guided snowshoe hike through the Ross Creek Cedars. This is an 8-mile roundtrip hike. Sign up at scotchmanpeaks.org. February Fun Fling Dance 7-10pm @ Sandpoint Community Hall Tango lesson taught 7-8pm, followed by general dancing until 10pm
SunDAY, February 28
Sandpoint Chess Club 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am
Piano Sunday w/ Dwayne Parsons 3-5pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Bingo at the Winery 3-5pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery
monDAY, March 1
Outdoor Experience Monday Night Group Run – All levels welcome 6pm @ Outdoor Experience Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s Restaurant “Inside Terrorism: A Muslim’s Quest to Stop Jihad” Monday Night Blues Jam w/ Truck Mills 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub
Parks and Recreation programming for March By Reader Staff
Sandpoint Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces will be offering the following programming in March, noting that masks are required for instructors and participants. • CPR/AED with optional First Aid on Monday, March 8 at the Sandpoint City Council Chambers, 1123 Lake St. CPR course costs $35 or CPR and First Aid for $60. Online registration deadline is Thursday, March 4. Minimum of eight participants required. • Acrylic Painting on Fridays, March 5-26 from 5:30 p.m.-7 p.m. at the Sandpoint Community Hall, 204 S. First Ave. Fee is $160 and all materials are included. Online registration deadline Friday, Feb. 26. Minimum of five participants required.
The Sandpoint Parks and Rec. also acts as a clearinghouse to connect the public with other recreational opportunities in the community. Visit the department’s online activity catalog to view listings. Outside organizations and individuals wishing to list their activities are encouraged to contact Parks and Rec. with their program information at recreation@ sandpointidaho.gov. For Parks and Rec. program registration and other community programs, visit the web catalog at sandpointidaho.gov/parksrecreation, visit the Parks and Rec. office (1123 Lake St.), or call 208-263-3613. The Panhandle Health District recommends following CDC guidance, stay home if sick, reduce physical closeness when possible, wear a mask if possible and clean hands often.
tuesDAY, March 2
Local Author Connections: Ken Fischman 12pm @ E. Bonner County Library Facebook Page Local Author Ken Fischman will read live from his humorous memoir, Brooklyn Boy.
wednesDAY, March 3 ThursDAY, March 4
CAL Scholarship applications now available By Reader Staff
The Community Assistance League offers scholarships to Bonner County graduating high-school seniors. This includes home school, private and public school students. In addition, CAL offers scholarships to those who received a CAL scholarship in 2020, and those who have delayed their education. Applications are available to be downloaded from the Sandpoint High School website by following the Counseling Center’s Scholarships/Local Scholarships link. Deadline for submitting applications is 9 / February 25, 2021
a.m. Monday, April 12. Mail your applications to CAL Scholarships, P.O. Box 1361, Sandpoint, or drop them off at your high school’s counseling center or at CAL’s Bizarre Bazaar store by 3 p.m. Friday, April 9. Be certain they are complete, including the correct CAL cover form for your category. Bizarre Bazaar is CAL’s upscale retail store located at 502 Church St. All profits from the store are given back to the community through scholarships and grants. For more information, contact Heather Hellier at 208-255-7094 or email email@example.com.
February 25, 2021 /
The Sandpoint Eater Classy Kahlua By Marcia Pilgeram Reader Columnist
I couldn’t be happier to report to you that I will soon have my second Moderna vaccination under my sleeve, and it already feels so liberating. I’m not yet sure how it will impact my daily life, but visions of freedom dance through my head. Will I travel more? Will I take up a seat in a favorite local restaurant or go to the odd gathering that I’ve so sorely missed this past year? One thing is certain, I won’t be going anywhere until my humble home is back in order. Given the ever-expanding gaggle of grandbabes in my life, I needed more sleeping space and found the perfect solution in a set of triple beds for each spare bedroom. From top to bottom, I can stack them in a series of twin, double and a bonus pullout trundle bed. Lots of room for little ones to sleep; but, now with the trundles, I’ve lost living space for at least a half dozen under-bed totes, filled with linens, papery party supplies, oversized chargers and tarnished silver. Trying to find (or create) the needed space for them, I started a serious reorganization project and soon realized that there are two genres of items filling every nook and cranny of my home (and garage): family ephemera and anything remotely cooking related. I’ve never considered myself a hoarder — OK, maybe an organized stasher — but what’s going on behind closed doors (and drawers) is more than 100 cake pans. I know. I was surprised, too. And there’s not a single one I can part with. Even though I 20 /
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haven’t made a wedding cake in a few years, I feel like there are still a few IOUs out there. I did sort through all the gadget drawers, and though I could never part with the extra crinkle cutters, pastry scrapers and truffle shavers, I did, at least, gather, tote and label them before stacking them on the shelves in the garage. Someday, I’m certain my children will thank me. It’s all pretty time consuming, this organizing business, and I know I’d be a lot more efficient if I didn’t spend copious hours examining each treasured scrap from multiple generations. Lots of curls from first haircuts, a program from my first Broadway experience (Annie), myriad fancy menus and programs from past catering gigs, and so many diplomas (even Gram’s from
Common School). What I especially love coming across is anything handwritten, in either my mother’s or grandmother’s script — especially recipes. Many are from the ’70s. I suspect my newly widowed grandmother was trying to spice up her bridge club gatherings with some creative offerings. Her recipes include herbed cheese spreads, individual molded jello salads (languishing on shredded iceberg) and homemade coffee liqueur (Kahlua). I well recall the batches of Kahlua my matriarchs churned out. It was always made in the early fall, to be ready for Christmas consumption. Two of the main ingredients were “instant coffee crystals” and “cheap vodka” (sorry, Tito). I can’t lie, seeing that recipe, written in fading
pencil, gave me an urge to head to Evans Brothers for some coldpressed coffee and brew up my own, albeit higher quality, batch of counterfeit (classy) Kahlua. Besides Kahlua, my clan made copious amounts of (bitter!) chokecherry wine. Making hootch must have been a thing back then because I remember our immigrant neighbors enthusiastically gathering and sorting fruit, then concocting all kinds of homemade spirits: Slivovitz, the Slovenian plum liqueur; the Polish cherry liqueur Wisniak; and Amaro, which is Italian herb liqueur. My memories are somewhat vague, but I do recall the ladies drinking these prized libations after dinner in tiny, colored cordial glasses and — crazy as it sounds today — pouring miniscule
amounts over scoops of vanilla ice cream for we, wee, children. I guess this apple didn’t fall far from the tree, because I’m actually pretty fond of mixing up my own signature batches of hootch — huckleberry, specifically, made with high quality vodka. Some things change and at least I know better than to try and tip a little of this liquid treasure over the dishes of frozen yogurt I serve to the grandbabes. That said, I am known to add a bit of liqueur to a few of my baked goods. I mean, you can’t make Kahlua brownies without Kahlua, right? Give these decadent brownies a try and I’m pretty sure you’ll agree. You might even want to take a nip or two while you’re cooking — to commemorate National Kahlua Day (honest!) on Feb. 27. Salud!
For best brownies, don’t overmix and don’t overcook — I recommend hand-mixing. Makes 1 9x9-inch pan (that’s between 6-16 brownies, depending on whether or not you have teens in the house.)
2½ cups unbleached flour
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9x9-inch pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a medium bowl, sift the flour, salt and baking powder; set aside. Set a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Place the chocolate chips and butter in the bowl and stir until melted and smooth. Remove from heat and let cool a bit. In a large bowl, whisk eggs. Add the sugar, 1/2 cup Kahlua, whisk until smooth and add chocolate mixture. Beat by hand until mixed well. Mix in the dry ingredients and beat just until combined. Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until the top cracks slightly and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out moist (don’t overcook). Remove the brownies from the oven and immediately brush warm brownies with 2 tablespoons of Kahlua. Let the brownies cool completely and serve. Cover and store leftovers (if any!), in the fridge.
1 tsp salt 1/2 tsp baking powder 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter 1½ cups brown sugar ½ cup Kahlua plus 2 tbs Kahlua 2 large eggs
Rave music is still all the rage Daft Punk disbands after 28 years, leaving a legacy of EDM for the ages
This week’s RLW by Ben Olson
OK, when’s the last time you read Herman Melville’s epic tale Moby Dick? If you’ve never read it, what are you waiting for? If you have, I suggest diving into it again. This book changed my life. There is so much depth, darkness and meaning in every page. Moby Dick is, perhaps, the greatest portrayal of despair ever penned in literature, and every allegory can be related to modern times with some imagination. Read it, Ishmael.
By Ben Olson Reader Staff When I was in high school and college, there was a phenomenon known as a rave that doesn’t seem to happen much anymore. The concept was simple: gather a bunch of young people together at some house or grange hall, dim the lights, cue the fog machine and blast electronic dance music at top volume until the barnacles inside your soul broke loose. Sure, raves also embraced drug culture to a certain degree. It wasn’t a stretch to see someone tripping on psychedelic mushrooms or dancing in a fever of MDMA, but at the heart of raves was the experience of losing yourself in a crowd of people all jumping to the beat of electronic dance music. There was freedom in giving into the music, where no matter how awful you danced or howled along, everyone else was right there on the same Technicolored page as you. Few artists helped establish this genre in the mainstream than Daft Punk, which announced this week it was disbanding after 28 years of revolutionary music. This electronic duo from Paris was influential on the electronic music scene from
the moment its famous single, “Around the World,” began playing on loop at raves and radio stations around the world. The single appeared on their debut album, Homework, in 1997, but the band’s second album Discovery, completely reshaped dance music for the Digital Age. Discovery contained such singles as “One More Time” and “Harder, Better, Faster, Stronger,” which both seemed to lean on the mirth and fun of electronic dance music, incorporating robotic synthesizer beats and vocals, dropped beats that bring the house down and raw tracks that stick with you long after you hear them. Daft Punk didn’t just create music; it created a full experience, even a persona, that EDM artists have emulated ever since. Live performances were wild affairs, with members Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bangalter always dressing in futuristic robot costumes and helmets, playing their music to a crescendo of visual and audio elements that just seemed to work perfectly. Think Pink Floyd’s laser light show, but in an EDM setting. They’re also quite versatile and genre-bending, embracing club bangers, neo-disco house music and rock-based minimalist sounds, culminating with a digital cinematic techno style in
one of their later albums made for the movie Tron. At the core of Daft Punk’s success was its patience and attention to detail. This band never did anything half-assed. In a 2013 interview, Bangalter explained why it took the duo five years to complete its 2013 release Random Access Memories. “We always do things one step at a time,” he said. In this age of crapping out sub-par studio albums to generate income, the autureship that went into Daft Punks’ albums was always well-received by fans and critics alike. EDM pioneer Giorgio Morodor related a story about Daft Punk’s attention to detail while recording vocals for a track on Random Access Memories. Daft Punk asked Morodor to talk about his life on the song, and ended up recording his vocals on three different microphones of varying ages, so when he spoke about his early life they used a vintage mic, and so on. “Who would hear the difference?”’ Morodor asked in the documentary. Daft Punk would. If the band applied that level of detail to every aspect of its music, it shows just a glimpse of how seriously the duo practiced their craft. Daft Punk’s crescendo probably came in 2006 when the music
Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo and Thomas Bankgalter, the men behind the robot masks that make up the band Daft Punk, perform live. Courtesy photo. festival Coachella finally lured them to play after years of the duo declining their invite. Each time Coachella asked them to play, they would increase the financial offer until it finally landed on $300,000, which the band then used to construct an ultra hightech pyramid that they debuted at the festival and later toured with. The pyramid became an iconic part of Daft Punks’ performances, turning each live show into a fully-interactive experience for all the senses. Finally, by hiding their visual identities behind robotic masks, the band chose not to participate in the fame charade that seems to tarnish some of the best artists when they achieve popularity. The fact that the duo never performed without their identity-concealing helmets removed them personally from the trappings of fame. “It’s a rejection, a philosophical position,” said Pedro Winter, Daft Punk’s manager from 19962008. “Creating these robot personas lets them stay human, grounded and completely free. They bought their freedom by sending the robots to do their dirty work.”
There aren’t many rock stars like Dave Grohl. He got his start drumming for Nirvana, and went on to create his own band Foo Fighters, which has won 11 Grammy Awards over the years. On top of that, he’s genuinely a nice guy who seems to care about music from a deep place not often reached by the modern dickhead rock star. Foo Fighters released a new album this year called Medicine at Midnight. It’s worth a listen, if only to support Grohl’s endless passion for rock.
Somehow I completely missed the fact that they made a Deadwood movie a few years ago. I only noticed it while scrumming around looking for something to watch one night. What a delight. Deadwood, the TV series, was a landmark event for television. The acting and writing were topnotch, blending historical facts and breathing new life into them with relatable characters of this boomtown in South Dakota before the turn of the 20th century. What I like best about the movie is that it visits the characters some years later, picking up the story seamlessly. February 25, 2021 /
BACK OF THE BOOK
Ice ages From Northern Idaho News, March 1, 1921
HYNOTISM LEADS TO JAIL Teck Osborn and wife, who have not made it clear where they came from and for what purpose, have been furnishing a sort of wild west show in Sandpoint the past week and are not in the county jail. Ostensibly they came here to visit Mrs. Osborn’s sister, Mrs. Nylund, five weeks ago, the two not having met according to Mrs. Osborn’s story, since they were little children. At first Mrs. Nylund accepted the woman as her sister, but later had very convincing evidence that she is not a sister. Mr. and Mrs. Osborn when they came here were accompanied by Mrs. Metherd of Burleigh, Idaho, who is a sister of Mrs. Nylund, and has with her a little girl. When Mr. and Mrs. Osborn were committed to jail, Mrs. Methred and her little girl went along with them. Asked why her sister had done this Mrs. Nylund said that Osborn is a hypnotist and has cast some sort of spell over her and that she cannot understand this influence. Mrs. Nylund says that both Osborn and his wife threatened her with a revolver, and made life so miserable for her while they were her guests that she was obliged to leave the house for a week. The two Osborns were arrested for flourishing revolvers in Mrs. Nylund’s home and at the telephone station. They were arrested Saturday and lodged in jail and on Monday were arraigned before Probate Judge Martin and pleaded guilty to carrying concealed weapons, asking mercy of the court. Osborn complained that Mrs. Nylund was suffering from religious mania and frenzy, and that she had Mrs. Osborn hynotized. 22 /
/ February 25, 2021
By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Regarding the many forms of fishing, I’ve already made clear my lack of real success or skill. Still, it’s an activity I enjoy. The other week, when we were sunk in a deep freeze and cabin fever in my particular cabin was approaching a fever pitch, I got it into my head to make my family experience ice fishing. In addition to general lack of success or skill, ice fishing is a form of fishing with which I have little experience. Undaunted, I packed up the rods and tackle, grabbed an ax and a couple of chairs and layered up. When it came time to pile into the car, no one wanted to go with me so I exercised my fathers’ prerogative and forced my almost9-year-old son to come along. “It’s good for you,” I said, a la Calvin’s dad, of Calvin and Hobbes. “It’ll build character.” Good son that he is, he went along with it, gamely packing up his pocketknife and cold-weather gear. He even helped scrape the windshield. After a stop to pick up some maggots and worms, along with an assortment of beef jerky, a bag of Cheetos and our preferred beverages, we journeyed south on the Long Bridge, marveling at the extent to which the watercourse had frozen from the train bridge to the river. I repeated stories about how it used to freeze like that a lot when I was a kid, and one year it iced up so quickly that huge rafts of coots got trapped, their feet frozen solid. They had no escape from the eagles who circled and swooped, plucking them up and away and leaving great smears of blood and feathers. All that remained of their bodies were their legs, sticking up like bristles through the ice.
A boy and his dad go ice fishing
My son likes gruesome stories like that — including the one I like to tell about the time long ago that my brother found a beaver fully encased in the ice on Fry Creek. Beavers are bigger than a lot of people might think, so it took a family effort and much time to chip Ötzi the Ice Beaver from his frigid tomb and load him onto a sled in a giant block. I regaled my son with the beaver story yet again as we picked our way over the frozen waves at the mouth of Fry Creek — within sight of the Great Coot Massacre and only a stone’s throw from the location of the Ice Beaver find. The wind ripped at us as we identified a good spot to chop a hole. At that point, my son informed me that he’d brought wet gloves and was dying of hypothermia. Luckily, we’d brought along a sleeping bag, which he wrapped around himself in a chair and zipped to its furthest extent. The hole cut and hook baited, I exhaled with satisfaction and looked out across the icescape to Baldy and Schweitzer. “It sure is beautiful out here,” I said in the direction of the sleeping bag. “It’s nice to get out of the house.” “Yeah,” I heard the mildly enthusiastic yet muffled response. “Can you pass me the Cheetos.” A frozen little hand emerged from the cinched up bag, I handed them over. The faint sound of crunching then commenced. I jigged the line a little. “C’mon fish, I know you’re hungry,” I said to no one in particular. “Maybe you’ll catch a big old bass,” the sleeping bag said, trying to buck up the old man. “Yeah, well, we’ll see. That’s not the point anyway.” I cracked a beer. “Are you drinking a beer?” the sleeping bag asked. “Of course.”
“It’s freezing out here.” “It’s tradition.” After a few more minutes I opened a bag of jerky. “Are you eating jerky?” came the voice from the sleeping bag. “Yeah.” “Can I have some?” The little hand reappeared. Taking the bag, the voice from within remarked, “This is the best gas station jerky I’ve ever had.” We stayed out there for about an hour and a half. I bumped bottom once, I think, but told the sleeping bag that it was a nibble, just to keep things exciting. But I was getting cold, too, so we packed up. As we were doing so — and my son had emerged from the bag — he looked at the hole. “How long do you think before it’s gone?” “Before you know it,” I said.
Sudoku Solution I guess I kinda lost control, because in the middle of the play I ran up and lit the evil puppet villain on fire. No, I didn’t. Just kidding. I just said that to help illustrate one of the human emotions, which is freaking out. Another emotion is greed, as when you kill someone for money, or something like that. Another emotion is generosity, as when you pay someone double what he paid for his stupid puppet.
By Bill Borders
Solution on page 22
Solution on page 22
Woorf tdhe Week
[noun] 1. a clever, unscrupulous person.
“The world is filled with snollygosters trying to find loopholes on their taxes. ” Corrections: In the story “Little by Little,” published Feb. 4, we accurately quoted Idaho Gov. Brad Little when he said, “there’s going to be certain businesses and certain places you go where it’s going to be required [to have a COVID-19 vaccine].” However, some are “questioning the meaning” of what Little said, according to his office, which offered clarification: “Certain businesses and employers may require COVID-19 vaccinations for their employees, especially if international travel is required for their work. There may be some countries that require COVID-19 vaccinations for any individual entering their country. That was the governor’s meaning but some think he meant restaurants or other local businesses could require patrons to be vaccinated. This interpretation of the quote is not accurate.”
1. Stave 6. Segments of DNA 11. Infantile paralysis 12. Greed 15. Poor person 16. Lift 17. Arrive (abbrev.) 18. Manufacturing plant 20. Pair 21. Anagram of “Ties” 23. Greeting at sea 24. Little lies 25. Metal fastener 26. Kick 27. Drunkard 28. Against 29. Anagram of “Ail” 30. Piglet 31. A coarse cloth 34. British biscuit 36. Charged particle 37. Faucets 41. Boxes for bricks 42. Remain 43. Biblical garden 44. Backside 45. Police action 46. Hindu princess 47. A sizeable hole 48. Truthfulness 51. Chart 52. Incontinence 54. Empathize 56. Mark for misconduct
Solution on page 22 57. Redress 58. Hard wood 59. Gloves
9. Historic period 10. A session 13. Cattleman 14. God of love 15. Ottoman title 16. Nationalities 19. Sealant 22. A part of a broadcast serial DOWN 24. Attack aircraft 1. Austere 26. Rate 2. Vacationist 27. Drollness 3. Mountain 30. Small horse 4. Feudal estate 5. Ancient marketplaces 32. Autonomic nervous system 6. Stumblebum 33. A lot 7. Each and all 34. Place of worship 8. Fleet
35. Halloween wear 38. Set 39. Roman household gods 40. Sharpshoot 42. Rationality 44. Acted like 45. Kino gum 48. Protagonist 49. Streetcar 50. Abominable Snowman 53. Confederate soldier 55. A parcel of land
February 25, 2021 /
Zoom Boom: Planning in Bonner County. Idaho to require proof of residency for COVID vaccine. Festival gun suits continue. Dover P&Z seek to...