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2 / R / February 2, 2023

The week in random review


“But February made me shiver/ With every paper I’d deliver/ Bad news on the doorstep/ I couldn’t take one more step.”


The tech news media juggernaut CNET is in deep ethics doo-doo over recent reports that it has been “quietly” (to borrow’s term) publishing a range of articles written by AI software without transparently saying so. That’s dodgy enough, but it gets worse. According to analysis and a subsequent report Jan. 23 by Futurism, a great many of those articles contained errors of fact and even material obviously plagiarized from other sources — including CNET itself and several of its sibling sites. According to Futurism, “The bot’s misbehavior ranges from verbatim copying to moderate edits to significant rephrasings, all without properly crediting the original. In at least some of its articles, it appears that virtually every sentence maps directly onto something previously published elsewhere.” It would seem that artificial intelligence makes for artificial journalism.

125 million

That’s the estimated number of texts that have been published since the invention of the printing press in the 15th century (at least according to Google Books). Meanwhile, The Atlantic reported Jan. 18, between 10 million and 30 million of those titles have been made digital and fed into various AI software, to the point that “rumors suggest” the GPT-4 AI bot that is supposed to be unveiled in 2023 “will be able to generate a 60,000 word novel from a single prompt.”

howdy neighbor

The asteroid 2023 BU — which NASA described as “about the size of a box truck” — made its flyby of Earth on Jan. 26, rifling past a scant 2,200 miles from terra firma. According to CNN, that was “one of the closest passes of planet Earth ever recorded.” Rest easy, though, 2023 BU’s trajectory didn’t put it on a collision course; and, even if it had come directly our way, it would have burned up into much smaller pieces in the atmosphere.


I feel it’s necessary to remind everyone how unfavorable “the Curve” project was in 2010s Sandpoint when the city was pushing for it. If you’re new here, the Curve planned to smooth out the area from Fifth Avenue to Highway 2 with a wide, multi-lane thoroughfare, essentially bisecting our town in two. How many of you love the wide morass that is Fifth Avenue? Ever try to walk across that street on a busy day? It’s not just a pain in the neck, it’s dangerous. Several pedestrians have been struck by vehicles over the years, some even killed. The entire rationale for the Curve was for Sandpoint to gain control over our surface streets from ITD, which we have now after the Sand Creek Byway opened.


111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208) 946-4368

Publisher: Ben Olson

Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor)

Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey (News Editor)

Now, the city of Sandpoint is resurrecting this doomed Curve project, renaming it “the Couplet,” but all the same problems — and dislike — still exist. ITD officially removed funding for the project in 2013, so it’s not a priority for them. The city has already rejected this project, because of its size and safety issues. Why are we digging this up again? Who does this benefit? Why are we constantly spending time and money on problems that don’t exist? It’s time we demand real answers from our city leaders. This was a bad plan then and it’s a bad plan now.

Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus)

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Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Emily Erickson, PollyAnna, Rep. Mark Sauter, Mindy Cameron, Patty Hutchens, Mike Wagoner, Kelcie Moseley-Morris

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The Sandpoint Reader is a weekly publication owned and operated by Ben Olson and Keokee. It is devoted to the arts, entertainment, politics and lifestyle in and around Sandpoint, Idaho. We hope to provide a quality alternative by offering honest, in-depth reporting that reflects the intelligence and interests of our diverse and growing community.

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About the Cover

This week’s cover photograph features a train pulling lumber out of Priest River and Laclede. This was taken by Jim Howes. Thanks, Jim!

February 2, 2023 / R / 3

Remember ‘the Curve’?

Members of the Sandpoint City Council voted unanimously Feb. 1 to table a proposed amendment to the Multimodal Transportation Plan envisioning a realignment of U.S. Highway 2 to provide a direct connection from a new intersection east of where Pine Street and Boyer Avenue currently meet, then north along the former railroad right of way, and joining U.S. 95 at Fifth Avenue and Cedar Street.

Councilor Jason Welker made the motion to table, which Councilor Deb Ruehle seconded, going on to support moving the proposed amendment to a public workshop, with a date expected to be determined at the Feb. 15 regular meeting of the City Council.

“The idea that we are presenting to the ITD is almost like their dream come true — a four- to five-lane highway going through town,” he said, referring to a concept rendering showing the widening of U.S. 2 to a new signalized intersection that would replace the current crossing at Boyer — and cut off access between North and South Boyer avenues.

In the tabled amendment to the master plan, the city envisioned the purchase of the property currently occupied by Dub’s DriveIn, which would be demolished to make way for a realigned access point off U.S. 2 and onto South Boyer Avenue, providing at least some north-south access across the highway.

The council unanimously approved the purchase of the Dub’s property for $380,000 at the Feb. 1 meeting, which it will lease back to current owners Marty and Jeralyn Mire. The Mires, who have operated the beloved diner for more than 30 years, are planning to retire, but will sublease the property to Ryan and Bethany Welsh, who plan to take over Dub’s.

Under the terms of the agreement, the initial lease term will be for two years, after which it may be terminated at any time by either party or renewed for

additional six-month terms. The rent would be $500 per month. The business will stay at its current location until such time as the city needs to use the property, and the Welsh’s have stated that they intend to relocate, rather than shutter, Dub’s in the future.

“It was our decision, we approached the city,” said Marty Mire. “The city’s not coming and taking it.”

According to the proposed overall concept, Pine Street would remain two-way from U.S. 2 to Fifth Avenue, with a signal placed at Pine and Fifth. Northbound traffic would travel on Fifth, which would be converted to one-way. Southbound traffic seeking to access U.S. 2 from U.S. 95 would need to exit the intersection at Fifth and Cedar and take a new two-lane, one-way route traveling along the Sandpoint-Dover pathway to the envisioned intersection east of Boyer and Pine, where it would then join four-lane U.S. 2.

If that sounds familiar to some residents, it’s because a similar concept referred to as “the Curve” was in the works with the Idaho Transportation Department and city of Sandpoint between 2011 and 2013, but which the city ultimately opposed for fear that it would mean the demolition of several local businesses.

The community also balked at the project due to its size, which included the potential for up to five lanes on U.S. 2.

“Once the residents of Sandpoint saw this they pulled back because of the five-lane configuration and were put off by that,” Ruehle said, highlighting fears that the widening and alignment would prove unsafe for pedestrians. “That was part of the context of rejection.”

The impetus at the time was to move U.S. 2 traffic off downtown streets and therefore enable ITD to relinquish control of Pine Street, First Avenue and Cedar Street to the city. As one project planner with the design firm Dale Evans and Associates, which worked on the Curve concepts, said in a 2011 report from the

Council tables vote on multimodal plan amendment for U.S. 2 ‘couplet’ concept, plans workshop

Reader: “The whole purpose of this project is to make a new highway connection at the west end of town so highway traffic and trucks don’t need to travel through downtown.”

With Sandpoint opposed to the Curve on the grounds of its business impact and pedestrian safety issues, ITD took the project off its forecast for funding in 2013. Officials later crafted an alternative in 2015 that enabled the transfer of Fifth Avenue to Sandpoint, which in turn resulted in the city embarking on its two-way traffic reversion, which was completed in 2017.

That would seem to have been the end of the Curve. However, Infrastructure and Development Services Director Amanda Wilson said the Curve had progressed beyond the conceptual stage to being a designed project, and remains the only designed project ITD has for that realignment of U.S. 2. What’s more, under a 2015 cooperative agreement between the agency and Sandpoint, if and when the levels of service fall to a certain level on that roadway, Wilson said ITD will get to work fixing it.

“The Curve was paused,” she said, referring to the “misunderstanding that the Curve went away.”

While getting highway traffic

off of downtown streets is no longer an issue, the push for the newly reimagined “east-west connection,” a.k.a. “the Couplet,” as the proposed concept is referred to in planning documents, is to correct some of the failings of the Curve design and get ahead of whatever ITD might decide to do should service levels on U.S. 2 decline to an unacceptable level.

However, despite the proposed fixes in the Couplet concept, many of the same concerns surrounding the Curve were aired at the Feb. 1 meeting.

“I’m struggling with the fact that our public, our residents here get very attached to pictures and watercolor drawings and can become very offended or riled by the fact that we show much more than we’re actually going to need,” Ruehle said, adding that transit research has show that building more lanes often results in creating more traffic, not alleviating it.

“That is a real thing. Induced and latent demand is a real thing where, you build it they will come. There’s no doubt that is for real and that will happen,” said Preston Stinger, a transportation planner with Fehr and Peers, with which the city has contracted.

“That said, without changes in the future with the community as far as buying into alternative

modes [of transportation] and demand management strategies — that in some cases requires a different mode of living — that’ll be tough to sway without a big program.”

Welker questioned the immediate need for proceeding with the Couplet as currently conceived in the multimodal master plan, much less amending it, and noted that addressing levels of service and traffic volume on that particular stretch of U.S. 2 is “very low priority” in the corridor-wide analysis, and, “There’s actually no high-priority improvements through the Highway 2 corridor.”

ITD’s own analysis suggests U.S. 2 wouldn’t need to be widened until 2055, Welker added.

“We need to make sure that we are accommodating what future demand is telling us it’s going to be,” Stinger said.

Wilson agreed: “The risk of not planning for the future is we would make holistically different decisions at key intersections. … Planning for the future is making us look at what’s the biggest area we’re going to impact, potentially?”

Public testimony favored the purchase of the Dub’s property,

NEWS 4 / R / February 2, 2023
< see COUNCIL, Page 5 >
A map of the so-called “Couplet” outlining potential changes to the downtown streets. Courtesy city of Sandpoint.

Fish and Game responds to ‘unusual’ coyote behavior in Bonner County

Idaho Fish and Game has received multiple reports of highly unusual coyote behavior in and around the city of Sandpoint.

In early January, reports were received of coyotes roaming the Schweitzer ski resort, chasing skiers as they navigated down the slopes. Fish and Game staff worked closely with resort staff to develop a plan to dispatch the coyotes in the interest of public safety.

Before the coyotes could be located and killed, one bit a female skier. Although her injuries were minor, Fish and Game and Schweitzer took the matter seriously. Collaborative efforts are still underway to trap and eliminate the offending coyotes.

Fish and Game received reports during the week of Jan. 22 of two coyotes roaming around businesses in downtown Sandpoint.

The animals were reported to appear comfortable in the presence of human activity during daylight hours, which is highly unusual.

Fish and Game conservation officers consulted with local law enforcement to capture and kill the animals, again in the interest of public safety. One coyote was captured and put down, and its body retained for further testing, if needed. Efforts are still underway to capture the remaining animal.

Coyote behavior

It is unknown what is causing these coyotes to behave so abnormally. Reports of coyotes being comfortable near and even attacking humans are extremely rare, as they are often secretive and largely nocturnal animals.

There are very few documented cases of rabies in land mammals in Idaho, so it is unlikely these coyotes are rabid. Although coyotes are known to defend dens with pups,

< COUNCIL, con’t from Page 4 > intended to give Sandpoint leverage in potential future negotiations with ITD — a point made by the Mires.

“We would much prefer the city to be in control of this property because what we learned going through the Curve was that the state … I would say maybe they don’t have the best interests of Sandpoint at heart,” Jeralyn said.

“[I] wanna say bullies you,” Marty interjected.

That said, resident Brad Smith, who also serves as North Idaho director for the Idaho Conservation League, cautioned that the increased number of lanes potentially envisioned by the Couplet concept would have unintended consequences.

“I grew up in Coeur d’Alene and watched how a highway divided the town,” he said, referring to the expansion of U.S. 95 and how the increase in the number of lanes became a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that actually increased traffic congestion.

“I think that’s the impact we’ll see in our community,” he said.

Resident Steve Holt, who served on local transportation planning efforts going back to the 1990s, suggested that road widening projects tend to “nibble away at

pup season occurs in April and May, which is several months from now.

The most probable explanation for their behavior is habituation to humans, which most often occurs when wild animals are fed by humans. When wild animals become habituated to human presence or food sources, they can behave uncharacteristically and become dangerous to people. It is suspected this was the case with the coyotes involved in these incidents.

If you or someone you know sees a coyote on Schweitzer, or in and around Sandpoint, contact the Panhandle Regional office immediately at 208-769-1414 to report the incident. Do not approach the animal or attempt to feed, touch or harass it.

For more information or if you have questions, contact the Panhandle Regional office.

You can also follow the Panhandle Region Facebook page to get regular news and updates.

our communities, and I think that’s what this one will do.”

What’s more, he added, “It seems somewhat inappropriate to be amending a community plan that’s over 100 pages long … without getting some public input on it.”

Andrea Marcoccio, who co-owns Matchwood Brewing and has worked on local economic development issues, said a group of five businesses in the Granary District area have come together to look at the impacts they could potentially face should southbound traffic be routed past their establishments.

“I’m not speaking in favor or against something tonight, just opening a conversation,” she said, adding that merchants want to know more about timing, costs and opportunities to surrounding businesses, safety, sound pollution, neighborhood connectivity and other facets of the concept.

“We’re here to listen and participate,” she said.

To view the Feb. 1 City Council meeting, go to the city of Sandpoint’s YouTube channel.

Applications open for two seats on the BoCo Planning Commission

The Bonner County Planning Commission currently has two open seats and applications are being accepted. Planning officials told the Reader that the “positions will close when they are filled.”

Those interested in applying to be a part of the seven-member volunteer board can access the PDF application at Those with questions about serving on the commission can reach Planning Director Jacob Gabell at 208-265-1458 or email

Bonner County Planning Commission hearings are typically held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. The next hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 4:30 p.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building (1500 Highway 2 in Sandpoint). Those interested in watching the hearings online — as well as reviewing past hearings — can head to the Bonner County Planning YouTube channel.

The Planning Commission is tasked with guiding the county’s land use policies, largely with updates and amendments to the Comprehensive Plan, which is currently in the multi-year process of being re-written. After each component is analyzed by the commission, its recommendations go to the board of Bonner County commissioners for final approval. For an up-to-date look at where the commission is in that process, go to

The Planning Commission has been a separate entity from the Zoning Commission since March 2022, when the BOCC voted to dissolve the joint commission under the impression that it would free up more volunteer hours for the Comp Plan rewrite.

At the Bonner County commissioners’ regular weekly business meeting Jan. 24, newly-elected Commissioner Asia Williams noted during her District 2 Commissioner Update that she would like to see a proposal to recombine the two commissions on a future BOCC agenda. That agenda item has yet to be set.

NEWS February 2, 2023 / R / 5
A coyote was spotted on the back patio at the 219 Lounge in downtown Sandpoint on Jan. 25. Bar manager Mark Terry said this particular coyote was bounced from the bar by Sandpoint Police Department. Photo by Robyn Field.

NEWS Education savings account bill introduced in Idaho Senate committee

Bill is modeled after Arizona with a projected price tag of $20 million in state funds

Idaho Capital Sun

Idaho’s Senate Education Committee introduced a bill modeled after Arizona’s universal education savings account program on Jan. 31, with a stated price tag of $20 million in state funds, according to previous statements from legislators.

Sen. Tammy Nichols, R-Middleton, is a member of the Education Committee and the bill’s sponsor. The legislation, titled “Freedom in Education Savings Accounts,” would establish savings accounts using public funds equivalent to 80% of the most recent student funding allocation as calculated by the state.

Committee Chairman Dave Lent, R-Idaho Falls, did not allow discussion on the bill before Sen. Ben Toews, R-Coeur d’Alene, motioned to print it. The bill could be granted a full hearing before the Senate committee in the coming weeks of the legislative session.

Unlike 529 education savings accounts, which are investment accounts with tax benefits meant to be used for postsecondary education such as college or trade school, education savings accounts typically take the per-pupil spending allocated by a state’s student funding formula and distribute that money to parents for use at a private school or for homeschooling.

The bill does not specify if religiously affiliated schools would be included as eligible institutions, but Sen. Brian Lenney, R-Nampa, introduced a bill Jan. 30 that would repeal Idaho’s Blaine Amendment, which prohibits the Legislature and all other public entities from using public funds to support religious organizations.

Under the current calculation, that amount for Idaho students would be $5,950.

“Idaho has limited school choice, but that is not enough,” Nichols told the committee, saying some children face discrimination in education simply because of where they live, their family’s income, disability or race. She then went on to describe other reasons families might want to find a different option.

“Declining test scores, overcrowding, students not meeting grade level benchmarks, bullying, staffing shortages, curriculum issues, indoctrinization (sic) and the list goes on, are contributing to numerous frustrations with the status quo,” Nichols said.

The funds, according to the legislation, could be used for:

• Tuition or fees at a private school or online program approved by the Idaho State Department of Education;

•Required textbooks;

•Educational therapies from a licensed or accredited provider, curricula and supplementary materials;

•Educational and psychological evaluations, assistive technology rentals and braille translation;

• Tutoring and tuition for approved vocational and life skills classes;

•Fees for standardized tests or college entrance exams, textbooks required by an eligible postsecondary institution;

•Fees to manage the education savings account;

•Classes and extracurricular programs offered by a public school;

•School uniforms and transportation;

•Computer hardware and devices primarily used for educational purposes.

Savings account would empower parents ‘rather than the unions,’Middleton senator says

Nichols said 26 states have introduced education savings account bills this year, including Utah, Iowa, Washington and Wyoming. While the policy’s proponents say it is beneficial for students, families and schools, opponents have pointed to states like Wisconsin, where costs have ballooned much larger than original estimates and caused property taxes to increase.

The American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that drafts and disseminates model legislation geared toward conservative policies, was involved in establishing Arizona’s education savings account program, including providing model legislation language.

“The goal is that through an ESA, parents will be the ones we empower rather than the unions and education bureaucracies that have dominated school governance and the learning and higher standards that students need,” Nichols said. “We can no longer ignore the facts and must change business as usual.”

According to a release from the Idaho Freedom Caucus, which includes Nichols, individual accounts would be randomly audited on a quarterly and annual basis to prevent misuse of public funds.

The bill would also establish a parent review commission as well to review the implementation of policies and procedures for the program, parental concerns and any work to address complaints about the program. The commission would consist of six members who are parents of students participating in the program and would be appointed by leadership of the House and Senate majority and minority leaders, and two would be appointed by the governor.

This story was produced by Boise-based nonprofit news outlet the Idaho Capital Sun, which is part of the States Newsroom nationwide reporting project. For more information, visit

Bits ’n’ Pieces

From east, west and beyond

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

The high price of eggs: Avian flu did not substantially reduce egg production, according to Farm Action, a farmer-led advocacy group. Based on evidence they’ve examined, Farm Action reported that the price hike “appears to be a collusive scheme among industry leaders to turn inflationary conditions and an avian flu outbreak into an opportunity to extract egregious profits” from consumers. Farm Action urged the Federal Trade Commission to investigate.

Tech layoffs are up, and it ties into the proliferation of e-commerce triggered by COVID-era at-home buyers. Hiring to meet those demands then means that with current declining demand, tech businesses are “resetting.” The tech sector is responsible for 2% of all jobs. For the labor market, this can mean a chance to “scoop up talent,” such as for the health care industry, The New York Times reported.

Migrant arrests at the border fell by about half, according to The Wall Street Journal. Data shows there’s been a 97% drop in migrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua and Venezuela. President Joe Biden’s new border policy: Up to 30,000 people from those countries per month can now gain a legal path to a two-year visa if they have a U.S. sponsor and a thorough background check. Meanwhile, migration from Peru and Ecuador is up due to instability in those countries.

House Republicans want to block Biden’s plan. The White House said the GOP “would rather keep immigration an issue to campaign on than one to solve,” therefore generating “more illegal immigration.”

Six former presidents and their vice presidents were recently asked by the National Archives and Records Administration to look for any presidential records they may have, according to CNN. So far, such documents have been found with former-President Donald Trump, who fought turning them over to the NARA, as well as former-Vice President Mike Pence and Biden, both of whom have cooperated with turnovers of records to the NARA.

A Congressional Dads Caucus has formed in the House of Representatives, NPR reported. This came after the release of U.S. Department of Labor findings that “child care expenses are untenable” and there is an “urgent need” for greater fed-

eral investments.

The U.S. ranks 35th out of 37 “highwage” democracies for spending on early child care and education. The Dads Caucus plans to coordinate with the House Moms Caucus to advance national paid family and medical leave, affordable and high-quality child care, and the expanded Child Tax Credit, which cut child poverty close to in half before it was repealed.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen recently explained to Axios the fallout that could ensue if extreme right-wing House members succeed in their efforts to block raising the debt ceiling, which authorizes payment of past debts: “It would be devastating … we’ll have a financial crisis. And I believe we would have recession.”

As well, Yellen said, “it would cause a good deal of turmoil globally.”

Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., stated that the far-right Republican House members are engaged in “wrecking the economy” to protect the wealthy. She noted that there would not even be a debt ceiling to hit if there had been no tax cuts under Trump and no Republican attempts to hollow out the IRS, which has not been able to pin down tax debts owed by wealthy tax cheats.

To avoid imminent default on the nation’s debts, Yellen said accounting maneuvers for now include selling investments and suspending reinvestments in the Civil Service Retirement and Disability Fund and the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund. Those measures can only be taken until June; after that there could be failure to make payments to bondholders, Social Security recipients or the military, which “would undoubtedly cause a recession in the U.S. economy and could cause a global financial crisis,” she said.

Blast from the (recent) past: In his 2021 memoir, former Republican House Speaker John Boehner commented on his party’s extreme element: “What they’re really interested in is chaos. … They want to throw sand in the gears of the hated federal government until it fails and they’ve finally proven it’s beyond saving.” Since that extremist faction is strongly affiliated with right-wing media, “Every time they vote down a bill, they get another invitation to go on Fox News or talk radio. It’s a narcissistic — and dangerous — feedback loop.”

And another blast: “Lord, make my enemies ridiculous.” — Voltaire, 18th century philosopher.

6 / R / February 2, 2023

Emily Articulated

Asking for and receiving help

Lately, I have required a lot of help. I’ve spent the past few months caring for my dad as he navigated doctor and legal appointments, first from afar and, for the past month, from my Wisconsin hometown. This was uniquely taxing for me, as it was both logistically challenging and emotionally heavy — like signing up for a project manager role at a job in which I had no prior experience, there was no manual and the stakes of my mistakes felt oddly high.

Accepting help from others has never been comfortable for me, not wanting my presence in someone’s life to add heaviness or stress to theirs. I’ve shirked offers of assistance; replied, “all good!” to people’s inquiries into my OK-ness; and stubbornly taken on more responsibilities than I knew I could healthily manage alone — all just to bob inevitably in the murky waters of stress and overwhelm instead of accepting the outstretched arms of support and assistance I’m so lucky to have been offered.

But as I get older, and as I have felt the consequences of wedging “OK-ness” between me and the people who care about me, I’m learning that asking for and receiving help from those who are willing to give it is not only a kindness, but also a vulnerable and honest facet of deep and meaningful relationships.

Now, as I’m packing up to drive back to Idaho, I’ve been reflecting a lot on all the different and thoughtful ways people have helped me over the past few months, and various strategies they took when offering their support that I found generous and easy to receive.

First were the people who reached out just to let me know they were thinking of me, or to ask how I was doing in a way that required very little energy or thought to respond. Often, times of stress or hardship are paired with added responsibilities and commitments, making every day a storm of tasks to accomplish and line items to cross off — all requiring brain power when a personal is already mentally and emotionally taxed.

This was especially true for me, so messages that didn’t make their reply feel like another item on my to-do list, or that were free from the expectation of a quick response, were gentle displays of care and support.

Taking this approach, one friend texted, “Thinking of you

and your dad today,” while another wrote, “Hello! How’d yesterday go? Pick one or a combo of the following emojis (spiral eyes, brain explosion, contented smile, cry face).”

These were both supportive and generous in what little they asked of me to receive them.

Another way people showed their support was in their willingness to open up their schedule to accommodate the fluctuations in mine. Because my days quickly became a nebulous collection of the moving parts and pieces of my dad’s and my life, making plans to connect with others was a very wanted, but challenging task to execute. Relinquishing me from any guilt around having to reschedule, cancel or cut time short was a kindness I was routinely afforded.

An old friend texted, “I’m open all day today, so just give me a heads up if you feel like getting together,” and my aunt wrote, “I’ve cleared my calendar to help you run around. We can get all your errands done together, if you’d like.”

Finally, there were acts of service. From doing my laundry to taking care of my dog, opening up their homes and making a meal, all the way to flying to Wisconsin to drive across the country with me (seriously amazing, I know), people continuously showed up for me in ways that alleviated my burdens and demonstrated their willingness to be helpful.

I consider myself among the most fortunate to have the kind of people in my life that I

do. My friends and family have been gracious and patient, creative and loving, and thoughtful and generous.

Throughout the past month, they’ve shared space and experiences with me, and have added love, lightness and joy to an otherwise heavy time — teaching me not only how to ask for and receive help, but the

many and incredible ways to show up and give.

Emily Erickson is a writer and business owner with an affinity for black coffee and playing in the mountains. Connect with her online at www.

February 2, 2023 / R / 7 PERSPECTIVES
Emily Erickson.
Retroactive By BO


•“Thank you to everyone who made The Pro-Voice Project possible: the brave folks who submitted their stories, the performers and panelists, the Human Rights Task Force, the bevy of business sponsors, vigilant security volunteers, the venue and videographer and the incredible number of attendees. This was truly a community-driven production, born of a generosity of spirit and numerous helping hands. It was also a win for area women and the men who love them. It gives me confidence that Sandpoint is still in possession of a heart that works.”


•“Shout out to Dorothy Prophet, Jen Jackson Quintano and the Heartwood Center for the Pro-Voice Project presentation. Powerful stories speaking to reproductive choices.”

•Since they began publishing in 2021, the Idaho Capital Sun has become an essential tool for Idahoans to find out what’s going on at the state level. A small newspaper like the Reader doesn’t have the ability to hire a stringer to cover the Idaho Legislature in Boise, so we are extremely fortunate for the Idaho Capital Sun’s coverage.


• After he won the 2022 general election to take over as District 1 Idaho senator, many of us feared Scott Herndon would put his own interests over those of his constituents. It’s no surprise to see that’s exactly how he began his time as a lawmaker. Herndon is utilizing a shotgun approach of flooding the zone with bills that attempt to do everything from redefining what abortion is to eliminating the need to get a marriage license. Keep a close eye on this guy, voters. He’s not interested in supporting anyone except the far-right religious extreme that he identifies with. If we don’t watch his moves, we might just find ourselves living in an American version of the Taliban, with religious doctrine dictating laws we all must follow.

Where’s the support for kids after they’re born?…

Dear editor, Scott Herndon’s anti-abortion bill is no different than all the other bills across the country that are intended to control women and their bodies. The article in the Jan. 19 Reader [News, “Idaho Senate committee advances bill that would change legal definition of abortion”] stated that the bill is in line with the Idaho Republican Party’s most recent adopted platform, which states, “all children should be protected regardless of the circumstances of conception, including persons conceived in rape and incest.”

So I want to know, is the Republican Party, or anyone who wants to make abortion illegal, prepared to pay the cost of raising these children into adulthood? Are they also offering to make sure these children are not neglected, abused, born to drug-addicted parents and will have a decent upbringing? (Currently, in the child protection system, there are not enough people to foster and adopt all the traumatized and neglected kids in North Idaho).

Would they also be comfortable with legislation that requires people to donate their organs to others who need them, whether the donor is alive or dead? Because when you tell women they don’t have a choice over decisions about their own bodies, it’s basically the same thing.

So many people concerned about killing a fetus, yet so little effort to help the mother and child that survives.

Keep in touch with your elected officials…

Dear editor,

I’m hoping I’m wrong, but some elected people only represent one side of the coin, and possibly don’t want to consider those who might have a different side of the coin.

I do not believe that none of us is a bona fide typecast. Depending on what the issue is, we fall all over the political spectrum.

Now the election is well over, and those we voted for or might not have are meeting at our local level, the state capital and/or the federal capital. They need and should hear from us.

So I’m asking all politely to get

hold of your elected officials, regardless of whether you voted for them. Let them know what is going on in our lives — our dreams, hopes, concerns and ideals. It doesn’t matter whether our political, faith and/or ideology lines up with those we send off to represent us.

It is essential to keep in touch with our elected officials throughout the year. We can communicate with our elected officials by email, letter and phone. I’m sure there are other means as well.

But we won’t have a primary and/or general election until 2024. When a candidate is elected, they represent many and various constituents. So I encourage one to keep themselves informed on what is going on and by using more than one source.

Yes, I’m planning to email my elective officials. As constituents, it doesn’t end on Election Day.

final revisions and updates to the plan, and ensure that the public’s values and vision for growth are captured in the final document.


Dear editor, It is my own fault. I know better. But, I read Scott Herndon’s “Notes From Boise” this morning. In it, he slyly “buries the lede” by placing his main repugnant gem near the end. I respect his right to say what he believes, but how dare he assume that he can legislate his beliefs.

In his opinion, there are no reasons to have an abortion. Not incest, not rape, not health — nothing. His is the very height of arrogance to think that his beliefs are the only ones and to think that he can dictate to us all.

Dear editor,

Thanks to Ben Olson for his thoughts on the 40-page draft document pitching a design concept for the city [“Bouquets and Barbs,” Jan. 26, 2023]. I have similar misgivings.

The city administrator says the object is to “‘establish a master vision and a concept’ upon which further strategies could be developed, from funding to implementation’” [News, “Council votes to table approval of downtown design competition,” Jan. 19, 2023].

Huh? What is driving this push? I agree with Ben that this effort looks like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist.

Georgia York

Dear editor,

On Tuesday, Jan. 24, the county held an informative public workshop on proposed changes to two sections of the county’s proposed Comprehensive Land Use Plan, organized by Commissioner Asia Williams. More than 40 people attended. The workshop was inviting, as it encouraged polite discussion and dialogue with no time limits. Full copies of the proposed plan and comment cards were provided. This meeting will be followed by another workshop on Feb. 9 with both the Planning Commission and the county commissioners in attendance.

Since the Planning Commission started working on the land use plan revisions last spring, this was the first workshop that actively sought to educate the public and encourage thoughtful citizen input.

Project 7B commends the organizers and would like to see more workshops of this kind to make sure the finalized land use plan actually reflects the facts on the ground and the values, desires and goals of county citizens.

While the recent workshop was a positive move toward increased public engagement in the land use plan update, we continue to strongly encourage the county to hire a professional planning consultant, who could assist the county with the

Every woman has the right to care for her own body in the way she sees fit. Period. Who does Scott Herndon think gave him the right to decide that a woman must carry a child to term after she is raped? Surely not a loving God.

I am ashamed that a man of this mentality got elected to represent us. Ashamed, but determined not to remain silent. I suggest we all use every opportunity to disavow this ridiculous attempt to promote and legislate this extreme agenda.

Above all, when the opportunity arises again, we must vote him out of office. We screwed up once, let us not allow it again.

Got something to say? Write a letter to the editor. We accept letters under 300 words which are free of libelous statements and excessive profanity. Please elevate the conversation. No trolls.

8 / R / February 2, 2023
Kudos to organizers of county land use workshop…
Herndon’s moral legislating is ‘height of arrogance’…

Each early January, as everyone hoists aloft their new goals and new selves in a show of mental weightlifting, I start my year bogged down by thoughts on aging. My grandmother and my partner’s father both have New Year’s Eve birthdays. So New Year’s Eve, rather than being about alcoholic scavenger hunts and carelessly wielded explosives, has become an annual meditation on time’s fleet rabbit feet.

My grandma just turned 93 at the close of 2022. Helena no longer reminisces nonstop about her Great Depression childhood in rural Michigan… she’s hit that dementia milestone where she’s simply battling to remember who we all are.

During the first year and a half of the COVID-19 pandemic, my mother and her siblings checked grandma out of her assisted living facility and took turns hosting and caring for Helena. The end result was fraying familial relationships. As Helena continued the backwards progression towards re-childhood, she grew increasingly cranky about being told what to do by her own kids. Cleaning supplies had to be locked up, veggies were cajoled onto her plate and bathroom habits had to be monitored. My mom even had to watch to make sure grandma wouldn’t touch the wood stove (and frequently heard the telling creeaakk of the stove door the moment she stepped out of the room).

Now that the sons and daughter have reluctantly checked grandma back into her institution, like a well-loved but overdue library book, Helena is — shockingly and immediately — four times happier. It defies our heartstrings, and cultural studies, and all the things you want to believe about multigenerational living.

But the fact is, from there, she can pursue one of the peak joys of aging: “othering.” She gets to poke fun at “all these little old people” that live all around her. She gets to wander the hallways in the pursuit of being “helpful” (gossiping and being nosy). She gets to relish how she’s the only person on her floor without

a little cold for streaking today’

a walker or a wheelchair — and occasionally, even confesses to cringing adventures with other people’s wheelchairs. (“I gave him a push, and he went flying, and suddenly there were six people gathered all around!”) She can love her kids from afar, now that they aren’t bossing her to bits. And her kids can relax slightly… and pray for the sanity of the poor underpaid staff who supervise her wake of chaos.

A few weeks ago, on New Year’s Eve’s eve, I called my grandma to wish her a happy birthday a day early. Helena was in supposed quarantine, having contracted COVID and subsequently wandered the hallways doing as her pastors always taught her — sharing freely and abundantly. Despite the fact that she has the memory of a goldfish (“look, a castle!”), grandma can’t be locked in her room due to home regulations. Our family had been mobilized to call the walking biohazard as much as possible, to keep her busy enough that she wouldn’t get bored and break out. (Breaking out, like dementia, is a genetic tendency in my family. Along with aged streaking… as in naked, through public spaces, with wrinkles.)

During our conversation, grandma once again had completely forgotten what COVID was, and grumbled in confusion about being in trouble for “not obeying.” But some clever person had figured out an important trick: put a castle in the goldfish tank. Or, in this case, a sign on the back of her door. Grandma read it to me happily, conveying the punctuation perfectly through her tone: “Helena: You are in isolation due to an infection!”

I gave her as much empathy as I could. She counted the bird decorations in her room to me, misreported the activities of my cousins and repeated stories a few times. And then, after we hung up, I reached out to my mom and my cousin to compare notes.

Notes-comparing is a vital part of the family’s relationship with grandma now. We try to share a baseline on which memories need correcting, or which resources have been carefully stationed in grandma’s environment. The day following

my phone call, my mother had to scold Helena for darting across the hall to share her birthday care package with her frail neighbor. On the phone, she made her reread the sign in her room. “Well that sign doesn’t work!” grumbled grandma. “I was on the other side of the door!”

Out of all my motley relatives, I’ve always most closely resembled Helena in attitude and emotions. Her health, her bumblebee zest for life and her generosity all seemed like great attributes to have inherited. Recently, though, I catch myself thinking, “Phew… Is this how it’s supposed to end? In spirals of increasing indignity?”

It’s hard to not let the last impression of something be the lasting impression. It’s always that last glance, that last conversation that becomes the legacy — the most perfect place you ever lived, or the worst breakup ever. Those final minutes of a year — or of a home, or a life lived — can throw a bias over the whole beast. Positive or negative.

As I struggle with thoughts like these, and fumble to tie yet another year in a bow, my favorite cousin has found the best way to keep grandma’s true legacy alive. A year and a half ago, she started using a signature sign-off to every phone conversation with Helena: “Don’t you go streaking, now!” And she writes Helena’s reactions down. The cheekiness in Helena’s responses leaves us both with hope that, somewhere in that tiny little frame, grandma’s still there:

“Well, it’s a little cold for streaking today.”

“No, I wouldn’t want to feel bad if they didn’t catch me.”

“I won’t, but you don’t either… even though they’d have a hard time catching you, because you’re probably faster than me.”

With best wishes for your own 2023, don’t you go streaking, now.

PollyAnna lives and writes the “townie” life in Sandpoint, where you can pick her out on one of the icy sidewalks by her wildly flailing arms. Ice cleats: wear them.

February 2, 2023 / R / 9

Science: Mad about

muppets and puppets

“As children, we all live in a world of imagination, of fantasy, and for some of us that world of make-believe continues into adulthood.”

Puppetry is an ancient art form, dating back perhaps at least 4,000 years. While puppets have evolved considerably in the past 50 years, their role in conveying storytelling hasn’t changed since those distant origins.

The earliest puppets we’ve unearthed have been found in Egyptian tombs, with some made of wood and others fashioned from ivory and metal wire. There is historical record dating back several thousand years to the use of puppets for entertainment and ceremony in Africa, Southeast Asia and Greece.

There were a number of benefits to puppetry in ancient societies that still translate to the modern day. Early puppets were used to convey stories, both dramatic and comedic. It was considerably easier to build a dramatic set for small puppets than it was to engineer the same setting at a human scale. Puppetry fulfilled a role similar to CGI in current cinema, bringing fantastical people and creatures to life to tell an incredible story. Many of these stories were allegorical — meant to convey a lesson about morality to the audience.

Puppet shows of early society served as more than a vehicle for entertainment. Many were tied to religious ceremonies that have been preserved for millennia, including a number of healing and hunting ceremonies that take place in parts of Africa. The Japanese art of bunraku evolved from a mixture of Shinto rituals and kabuki theater, and remains

a nationally protected cultural art form to this day.

Though you may not interact regularly with puppets, everyone is familiar with two puppet powerhouses that have bridged generations for more than half a century: Sesame Street and The Muppets.

The Muppets were created 68 years ago by Jim Henson, beginning with Kermit the Frog in 1955 (he was joined by Rowlf the Dog in 1962 and most of the rest of the core gang followed in the ’70s). Their initial inception skewed toward entertaining adults, hearkening back to burlesque performances and sketch comedy shows that were popular at that time.

Henson’s muppets changed the landscape of puppetry forever.

Traditional puppetry and marionettes were often controlled by wires suspended from either above and behind the façade of the theater, or from below a framing box that would conceal the performers. Instead, Henson and his crew would control the muppets just directly off-screen of the cameras, using the limited frame of the screen to their advantage. This would become a pivotal mechanism for acting when Henson joined forces with the crew of Sesame Street in 1969.

Even though the technology behind filming Sesame Street has advanced considerably, the methods in which the cast operate and act as the muppets on screen has remained virtually unchanged. In the event that you don’t want your childhood ruined with a peek behind the curtain, you might want to turn the page.

Most of the muppets on Sesame Street are rod puppets. Elmo is a great example of a rod puppet, where the puppeteer puts their left hand up and through the puppet to control its mouth with their thumb, while using their fingers to manipulate two wooden dowels

behind the puppet’s eyes to make it look different directions. Elmo’s arms are controlled by two metal rods that are manipulated by the puppeteer’s right hand. In some cases, when Elmo needs to perform fairly complex tasks on screen, a right-hand assistant that is often working as an understudy to the main performer will take control of the rod that manipulates Elmo’s right hand. Elmo’s ability to pick up items is performed by affixing magnets to the inside of his hand. Elmo’s puppeteer is sitting on the floor, just out of view of the camera, and delivering all of the voice lines in real-time. The puppeteer isn’t able to see how the puppet is acting from their vantage point, so they watch their performance through a monitor that is also out of view of the camera.

Big Bird is a more mechanically complex puppet than Elmo. Bird Bird is essentially a mechanical costume that is placed over the body of the actor, whose left arm goes up through the puppet’s neck to control the mouth and eyes. Unlike Elmo, Big Bird can blink, which is controlled by a wire rigging inside the puppet’s head. The arms are linked mechanically inside, so that when the puppeteer moves their right arm, the left arm will move in an organic fashion.

Big Bird’s actor isn’t able to watch their performance due to the costume, though it’s likely they can be fed cues as needed through an earpiece similar to any other actor that would be reading a teleprompter.

Becoming a puppeteer for Sesame Street, like many culturally important puppet theaters around the world, requires years of training and study beneath experienced actors. In this regard, it’s very closely related to traditional stage theater, but with

more scooting across the floor and watching your own performance in real-time.

If you fancy yourself an amateur puppeteer and would like to channel your inner Elmo for your kids, the children’s area at the Sandpoint Library just received a host of new puppets for use in Karen’s Room, the glass room in the children’s area. These are free to use in the room any time a program isn’t going on.

If you’d prefer to watch rather

than perform, you’re welcome to check out any of the library storytime events. Storytime builds great habits for kids, while imparting wonderful storytelling skills to parents who participate. This helps foster a love for reading and a closer bond between parent and child. Check out the library’s events page for a list of storytimes. You can even filter events by title, making it a breeze to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Stay curious, 7B.

•The word “Thursday” is derived from the Old English Þūnresdægand and Middle English Thuresday, which meant “Thor’s Day,” after the Norse God of Thunder and son of Odin, Thor. The Latin word for Thursday is diēs Iovis, meaning “Jupiter’s Day.” (Thor was sometimes equated to the Roman god Jupiter). Many European languages adapted this in the term for the day, including Jeudi in French and Jueves in Spanish.

•In the ancient Aztec world, they called this day Tezcatlipotōnal, which translates to “Day of Tezcatlipoca,” one of the Aztecs’ most important gods, being the god of the night, magic, slaves and human sacrifices.

•Since its beginning in 2004, the Sandpoint Reader has always published on a Thursday. There are a few reasons for this, but mostly it’s to give us enough time to produce the paper and you, the reader, enough time to read it and plan your weekends accordingly.

•During the 1950s and ’60s, there was a strange belief that some high school teens followed, claiming that anyone who wore the color green on a Thursday was a homo-

sexual. The belief thankfully died out in the 1970s and never came back into popularity.

•In Estonia, local people often didn’t work on Thursdays, calling that night “evenings of Tooru,” where they’d gather in holy woods and listen to someone playing bagpipes while they danced and sang until dawn. Tooru (a.k.a. Taara, Tharapita or Tarapitha) was a western Estonian deity related to the Scandinavians’ Thor.

•During the days of the Soviet Union, Thursday became known as “Fish Day” because the nation’s food service institutions would serve fish rather than red meat, pork or chicken. This was partly because leaders were concerned about meat shortages.

•The U.K. holds its elections on a Thursday, as opposed to Tuesday, which is the standard in the U.S.

•In Buddhist Thailand, Thursday is considered to be “Teacher’s Day.” Thai students pay homage to this by holding gratitude ceremonies for their teachers that are always held on a Thursday. Also, most university graduations are held on a Thursday.

10 / R / February 2, 2023
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Legislative update

Learning curve

In the education debate, words matter

Idaho legislative activity is trending up. Standing committees are increasing the frequency of their meetings and the number of new bills are beginning to stack up.

Our only vote on the floor of the House was to sync the 2022 changes to the IRS tax code with the Idaho tax code. This matter was not without objection, as it was noted there are conflicts between the federal code and the Idaho Constitution. These conflicts were noted several years ago as well and are ongoing.

There is always a question for those who look at details. The “80/20 rule” is real: 80% of our work often gets done with the first 20% of our efforts. Fine tuning and digging into the details often takes that last 80%. Sometimes the limits of time creep into our priorities, too. I voted with the majority of the House, we approved the motion. This action clears the way for all Idahoans to begin their 2022 tax preparations now.

For me, the learning continues. However, many of the learning opportunities here are optional. Almost daily there are “meet and greets” for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Some speak pejoratively of legislators who attend these events. One way to serve our district is by attending and applying oneself by listening and/or asking appropriate questions. I’m doing my best to watch my weight!

I am involved in another learning option with fewer calories involved. I’ve been invited to sit in on the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee (JFAC) lunch sessions. Attendees bring their own food, so it’s all business. I’m there as a silent volunteer with interests in how our education system is funded.

The phrase used here is that learning is like “drinking from a firehouse.” I don’t completely agree, but there is some truth to it. I’m buying a new iPad this week for notetaking in hopes of making this old guy better/faster with his learning efforts. I bought a new iPhone just before the session started. I still miss the keyboard on my Blackberry.

I also had lunch with the Sandpoint, Priest River and Bonners Ferry city leaders and talked about property taxes, local option taxes and the challenges of providing important public services to an area with a fast-growing population. Getting growth to pay for growth is a challenge.

At one of the Education Committee meetings we heard from the Idaho Osteopathic School of Medicine. They shared their views and findings relative to the availability of health care for Idahoans. Their message was insightful and sobering. They opined that our state had a need for more physicians and medical providers, yet the training system wasn’t producing as many professionals as we need. They also shared the need for more training opportunities in our rural areas.

The presidents of all eight colleges and universities all made presentations, too.

Last Monday was Emergency Medical Services (EMS) day at the Capitol. Many of the EMS providers from across our state spent several hours speaking with interested visitors (and legislators) about the status of our EMS system. Currently, the system does not provide complete coverage statewide and the service that is provided in some areas is performed by volunteer groups with limited capacity. Our own EMS Chief Lindsey attended. It’s a system that we all rely on that needs improvement and more support.

Next week the bill introduction process starts in earnest.

Rep. Mark Sauter is a first-term Republican legislator from District 1A. He serves on the Agricultural Affairs; Education; and Judiciary, Rules and Administration committees. Contact him at MSauter@house.

While delivering his State of the State speech in January, Idaho Gov. Brad Little used the word “public” 11 times in reference to K-12 education funding.

Many lawmakers have a far different vocabulary when discussing Idaho’s education budget. Words like “choice” and “scholarships for private school tuition” and “education savings accounts.” Heather Scott, who represents a portion of Bonner County in the Legislature, is an outspoken critic of public education. She spews buzzwords about “woke agendas” in Idaho’s public schools and claims our schools are places of “liberal indoctrination,” including “radical gender identity.”

Words matter and it’s imperative that supporters of adequate funding for public schools hold Little to his words and know what’s behind the words of the “choice” advocates.

I spent a decade as a member of the Lake Pend Oreille School Board, and I am well acquainted with board members, teachers and administrators. I know firsthand that Rep. Scott’s claims are pure baloney.

The legislative battle over education funding is not about what happens in the classroom, but where the money goes. Scaring parents and taxpayers is a campaign technique of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, whose agenda is to do away with public schools by directing taxpayer money to so-called choice initiatives: scholarships for tuition to private schools, vouchers and education saving accounts.

IFF is the real radical in this debate. It would leave existing schools, families and communities facing new and untested scenarios. And, to do so, it would violate the Idaho Constitution, which states: “It shall be the duty of the Legislature of Idaho to establish and maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.”

These are not idle words, and they have been upheld by the Idaho Supreme Court on five occasions.

Public schools are a part of Idaho’s history, dating to 1864 when the first public school opened with six students in a remote town called Florence, now a ghost town in Idaho county northeast of Riggins.

In his history of Idaho, In Mountain Shadows, Carlos A. Schwantes writes: “Schools, no matter how crude by today’s standards, were sources of public pride and centers of community social life. They hosted dances and box suppers, literary societies, picnics and debates.”

Most Idahoans, Schwantes writes, came

to accept the idea of tax-supported elementary schools, while high schools slowly followed.

Today’s activities are different — no box suppers and literary societies — but public schools remain sources of community pride, especially in smaller, rural towns. A community attachment to sporting events and local athletes is the most obvious connection, but student academic achievements, and other activities and projects, fill the pages of hometown newspapers.

Joel Wilson has been a superintendent in Idaho rural schools for 14 years. In a recent commentary for Idaho EdNews, Wilson wrote that parent choices are already embedded in Idaho education: “traditional, homeschool, homeschool academies, charter schools.”

What the Freedom Foundation is lobbying for — vouchers, education tax credits and education saving accounts — Wilson said, “would lead to death by a thousand cuts to Idaho schools.”

Gov. Little has said he does not support diverting taxpayer dollars away from “our constitutional and moral obligation to fund public school education.” His plan includes significant boosts for teacher and staff pay, scholarships for graduating seniors and career-technical training, among other smaller initiatives.

This is an unusual year for the Legislature and all sides agree on one thing: There is $410 million to spend on K-12 improvements. The battle is over how the money is spent — meeting the constitutional obligation to support public education or siphoning off taxpayer dollars to private education ventures.

Remember the words that matter most in this debate: public, taxpayer-supported schools as mandated in the Constitution that serve the entire community, or “choice” and tax money set aside to serve private, individual interests.

Mindy Cameron is a former newspaper editor who moved to Sandpoint in 2001. This article was written in coordination with North Idaho Voter Services, which will be hosting various guest writers, speaking on current issues before the Legislature and the voters.

February 2, 2023 / R / 11
Mindy Cameron. File photo. Rep. Mark Sauter. Courtesy photo.

Firewood Rescue honored as January volunteer of the month

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce is highlighting Firewood Rescue as its January volunteer of the month, honoring the local nonprofit for its efforts to make sure community members stay warm during the winter months — or any time of year.

Firewood Rescue became a reality in 2017, when founder Paul Krames realized veterans had a program to get free firewood, but the general citizenry did not. That changed when a woman whose husband was disabled contacted Krames for help. He was able to secure some firewood, but had no way to transport it.

Krames made an appeal on Facebook for a truck to pick up the wood and deliver it, which gave him the idea to help provide firewood for any community member in need of assistance, and the endeavor took off from there.

Since then, Firewood Rescue has remained dedicated to providing a one-time delivery of free firewood to individuals and families on an emergency basis.

“We give you a ‘load’ based on the truck size of the volunteer delivering wood to you. This is usually about half of a cord of wood. In addition, applicants must be faced with difficult circumstances and primarily use wood for heat,” said administrator Eileen Esplin. “Priority consideration will be given to the low-income/disabled individuals and elderly, or individuals who are low-income and seriously ill.”

Processed wood is provided by the work

of community volunteers, the majority of them being retired and who cover the cost of expenses out of their own pockets.

“We are not a government agency and therefore not constrained by stringent rules,” Esplin added. “We work closely with Community Action Partnership in Bonner and Boundary counties and other local agencies and businesses to provide information to our recipients on how to apply for their energy assistance programs.

“It may take two weeks for CAP to get a check to purchase a couple of cords of firewood and, in the meantime, Firewood Rescue will deliver a load of wood to keep their home warm,” she added. “We deliver all year round and in any weather.”

Since inception, Firewood Rescue has delivered more than 250 loads of firewood — all free to the recipients.

Tickets going on sale for 2023 Follies

After COVID-related cancellations in 2021 and 2022, the Follies variety show is scheduled to return Friday, March 3-Saturday, March 4 to the Panida Theater, featuring two nights of “risque, racy and ridiculous” adult-themed entertainment.

Tickets are going on sale Thursday, Feb. 2 — a.k.a. Groundhog Day — available for $30 at Eichardt’s Pub (212 Cedar St.) and online at VIP tickets are $50 with early entry and reserved seating, available only at A total of 76 VIP tickets will be available for each night.

The theme for the long-delayed 2023 event is “Studio 54 — The ’70s,” so

would-be participants as well as attendees are encouraged to dig deep into their closets for era-appropriate (or inappropriate, as the case may be) accouterments.

As every year, organizers stressed that the Follies is “politically incorrect,” “rated ‘R’” and “Not for the easily offended.”

Founded in 2002, Angels Over Sandpoint is a local nonprofit organization whose mission is to raise money for grants and scholarships that support continuing education, assist families with back-to-school supplies, support young artists and reward community service.

For more information on the Angels and their programs, visit

12 / R / February 2, 2023
Right: The Chamber’s Bob Witte presents the January volunteer of the month award to Eileen Esplin. Courtesy photo.
February 2, 2023 / R / 13

One man’s (gently used) trash

Before there can be successful thrifting, we all need a refresher on responsible donating

After I wrote a story about tips and tricks for successful thrift shopping in the Jan. 19 edition of the Reader, I received an email from Cherie Warber, co-manager of the Community Assistance League’s Bizarre Bazaar resale store in Sandpoint. Warber suggested I write a follow-up piece addressing the front end of the thrifting cycle: donating. She said that while Bizarre Bazaar receives mostly good-quality used items, some people have taken advantage of its donation drop-off as a dumping ground. This demonstrates a lack of understanding about what these organizations do, and costs valuable volunteer time.

By donating items mindfully, everyone in the process of thrifting and resale benefits. Here are some tips for how to be the best donor you can be:

Always wash or wipe down

When it comes to donating clothes, always make sure they have been laundered since their last wear. The goal should be to drop off clothes with a general lack of scent and a complete lack of pet hair. Shoes should be either washed in the washing machine or, if that’s not possible, scrubbed in the sink and thoroughly dried.

As for household items, remove all evidence of dust or grime. Disinfectant wipes are great for this. Imagine yourself cleaning an item so well that you can picture it on the shelf at your favorite resale store. Volunteers will thank you for saving them time and yuck exposure.

Be honest about wear and tear

There is a difference between “gently used,” “well-loved” and “downright done for.” Gently used clothing and household items can often pass for brand new, especially after a good clean. Well-loved items might feature light wear or mending, but still have plenty of life left to give. If it even crosses your mind that those boots your kid wore for three winters are done for, don’t try to donate them. Those boots served their purpose. Their next life might be as a doggy chew toy if you can’t bear to throw them out.

As for electronics and appliances, plug them in to make sure they all work as intended before donating.

Know before you go

If you have questions about what is accepted at a particular thrift shop or resale outfit, don’t be afraid to call and ask questions. This will save everyone

time and hassle. For instance, when it comes to consignment, most places only accept seasonal clothing at certain times. Also beware before trying to donate large, bulky household items, as some places don’t have the space or manpower for those donations at certain times.

There’s also a pretty universal list of items undesirable for general donating, including mattresses, medications, open cosmetics, undergarments and the like.

Consider transportability

Donated clothing should be folded and secured in bags or boxes that can keep it protected from the weather or any unpleasant donation bin or warehouse odors. Household items should be packaged keeping in mind that they might need to be moved several times before being

unpacked. Wrap things in newspaper, and mark boxes “fragile” as needed.

Imagine opening a donated container and finding the actual contents of someone’s junk drawer presented as if they’d just been dumped for disposal. This has been a reality for volunteers in the community, and there’s no excuse for it. Vet items, clean them and pack them nicely.

Remember your options

Some charities and shops are seeking only gently used items for resale purposes. Others are willing to accept the more well-loved pieces, particularly if they have a specific goal to get vital items — like jackets and other basic needs — into the hands of underserved or unhoused folks.

Some items will present dilemmas. Maybe a kitchen appliance needs a simple fix and it would work like new, but you just don’t have the desire to do it yourself. Maybe those rain boots would be in perfect working order with some shoe glue. Maybe the mirror’s frame is beautiful, but the reflection shows some chips and other light damage. For these items, we have the Clark Fork Mall, or the Dufort Mall or the Colburn Mall. That is, that small area at almost every local refuse site where things go to wait in a strange purgatory between donation bins and dumpsters. Lord knows we’ve all found some treasures there.

14 / R / February 2, 2023 FEATURE
Bizarre Bazaar Assistant Manager and CAL Publicity Chair Donna Hutter sorts through donations at Bizarre Bazaar. Photo by Ben Olson.

Reimagining modern nursing care

As a registered nurse, Sandpoint native Kelli Hansen has cared for countless people her entire career, and done so with deep compassion and a love of what she does.

“I have witnessed miracles and tragedy, life beginning and life ending. Being with others in their most vulnerable moments to offer support and compassion creates a connection on such a deep level,” said Hansen who has a background of more than 20 years in acute medical, surgical and obstetrical care.

“That connection to another human is such a gift, especially in our fast-paced, digitalized world,” she said. “Witnessing the miracles of the human spirit in spite of seemingly impossible odds has deepened my passion for authentic connection.”

It is that passion that has guided Hansen to open LanteRN Health Consulting, a concierge nursing service that provides in-home care for patients.

“I have often observed patients returning to the hospital with complications due

to lack of care or support at home,” said Hansen, who said that patients who were being discharged from the hospital would often tell her they wished they could take her home with them. “Initially I laughed it off and felt honored by such a sweet compliment. After some time, I began to wonder, why can’t they? Nurses are uniquely equipped to utilize the nursing process in a variety of environments.”

Providing in-home after care, a concierge nurse is able to identify possible obstacles to recovery and provide tips to make life easier while recovering from surgery or an illness.

The seed was planted for opening LanteRN Health Consulting when Hansen’s dad was away on business and experienced a health scare. She guided him through the ordeal and began to wonder what others would do in his situation if they did not have a family member in the medical field.

“I started interviewing members of the community, inquiring with patients, and listening to doctors and several other health care professionals,” said Hansen. “What I learned is that the system is increasingly

overwhelmed. Due to higher costs of living coupled with inadequate wage increases and an influx of new residents in the area, medical offices and hospitals are strained.”

Hansen’s goal is to illuminate the obstacles on the path to health. She believes in creating lasting relationships and bridging the gap between patients and providers, as well as being a resource and advocate to help clients live to their fullest potential.

The services provided by LanteRN Health Consulting are specially tailored to the needs of the client, ranging from shortterm nursing packages to monthly services that include ongoing support for the client and their family.

“We offer a perioperative package that includes a consultation, pre-op preparation appointment, accompaniment the day of surgery and in-home support for either a few hours or days after discharge,” said Hansen.

Various services include weekly in-home wellness check ins, medication management, medical record keeping, communication and care navigation with providers, as well as transportation to and from appointments and respite care for caregivers.

While LanteRN Health Consulting services are not covered by insurance, the services can be paid for through health saving or flexible spending plans, as LanteRN Health Consulting is a qualified nursing service.

“It also allows us to be more flexible with our patients’ care due to the fact with a home health agency, insurance will only pay for the ordered services that are authorized,” said Hansen adding that her ultimate goal is to have nurses based in Bonner, Boundary, and Kootenai counties.

Prior to providing services, Hansen meets one-on-one with clients so they can get to know each other and discuss the goals of care, health priorities and fears related to health care.

“Humans are complex, and healing is not linear,” Hansen said. “When we can assess not only the physical, but also the emotional, mental and environmental state, we are able to address the whole person, giving each client personalized care unique as they are.”

For more information, visit, call 208-254-0256 or email

February 2, 2023 / R / 15 COMMUNITY


Members of the Sandpoint Rotary Club turned out Monday, Jan. 30 to help distribute books to kindergarten through third-graders at Farmin-Stidwell Elementary School.

The distribution is made possible by donations received thanks to the annual CHAFE 150 Gran Fondo bicycle ride, hosted by the Sandpoint Rotary, which raises money every year to assist Lake Pend Oreille School District students.

For the 2022 ride, Sandpoint Rotary chose to donate funds to the Book Trust Program, which aims to enable students in grades K-3 to purchase their own books on a monthly basis during the school year for reading in the classroom or at home.

After distributing books, Rotarians then sat down to read and interact with the students and their new books

“We are incredibly grateful for our Rotarians and what they have done for the Lake Pend Oreille School District,” said Farmin-Stidwell Principal Betsy Dalessio. “From supporting our after-school programs in the district the past few years, to now supporting our Book Trust program, literacy remains at the forefront.

“Students at Farmin Stidwell have the opportunity to select books they are interested in and have the means to purchase them — something that a school with a 42% low-income population doesn’t often have access to,” she added. “It is definitely one of the best parts of the month for

our students — receiving brand new books and having the time to dive into them.”

An estimated 600 students at seven elementary schools within LPOSD will benefit from the Book Trust Program, thanks to the donations provided by Sandpoint Rotary, contributing an

Outside the stacks

The East Bonner County Library District has already proved itself committed to expanding the library’s reach beyond the walls of its brick-and-mortar branches by offering services through the Bookmobile, which makes weekly stops across the county’s far reaches.

In that same spirit, EBCL is now offering outreach services to the community’s senior population, and is currently accepting applications from homebound residents who would like regular visits to receive new library materials.

Andrea Evans, the district’s outreach and Bookmobile manager, shared the current outreach schedule with the Reader:

•Every other Wednesday EBCL visits the Senior Center from 11 a.m.-1 p.m.;

•Every other Friday EBCL visits the Woodland Crossing Senior Apartments from 10 a.m.-12 p.m. and then the Sixth Street Senior Apartments from 1-3 p.m.;

•The alternating Fridays EBCL visits The Bridge Assisted Living.

Evans said that on these visits, she sets up a “mini-library” in a community room with a selection of books, movies and other library materials.

“Neighbors of these facilities are welcome to come in and take advantage of the library,” she said. “We get to know the

patrons at each visit and then bring more specific selections based on their preferences. We can issue new library cards at each location provided the patron has an ID with a local address within the library district with them.”

To find out the schedule on any given week, call the Sandpoint Library’s Outreach line at 208-263-6930 ext. 1281.

The library district also hopes to reach seniors and other homebound folks by scheduling home visits to deliver desired library materials. EBCL will launch a “Seniors” tab on its website soon, which will feature a link to the homebound application as well as information on other services.

extra 10,000-11,000 books to the community.

In the above photos, kindergartner Nick Block shows off his book with Rotarian Tim Cochran (above left) and Rotarian Ross Hall, Jr. reads with another book recipient (above right) — photos and words by Ben Olson.

Co. Library District amps up outreach to seniors, launches homebound program

“This would involve an outreach person connecting with them individually to assess their situation — what they’d like to read, watch or listen to, and what format and genre best suits their preferences,” Evans said. “We will then schedule home visits to deliver materials on a bi-weekly basis anywhere within our library district.”

Until the link on the website goes live, people are welcome to call 208-263-6930

ext. 1281, email or visit the library to obtain a homebound application form.

16 / R / February 2, 2023
East Bonner A library patron proudly shows off her trivia prize of a knit hat during a recent EBCL outreach program. Courtesy photo.


BGH to host 15th annual Heart Ball fundraiser

As any local will tell you, Bonner County’s unprecedented population growth over the past couple of years has put a pinch on local resources. Among those resources is basic health care services, which take time to administer — time that’s stretched thin as the patient pool grows.

With this in mind, the Bonner General Health Foundation is using money raised through this year’s Heart Ball fundraising event to purchase an additional 3-D mammography machine for the hospital’s Diagnostic Imaging Department.

The 15th annual Heart Ball is slated for Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. While tickets to the event — being held in person for the first time since 2020 — have sold out, donations are still being accepted.

“Due to the significant growth in population, Bonner General Health currently has an abundance of mammogram orders waiting to be filled. This likely means there is undiagnosed breast cancer in our community,” BGH Foundation Vice President Patty Hutchens told the Reader. “The new imaging center in the Health Services Building has a room dedicated to an additional 3-D mammography machine, so once we raise the funds to purchase it, we will be ready to go.”

The new machine will mean that the Imaging Department will be able to perform up to 20 additional mammograms each day, freeing up valuable time to get patients both the screening and diagnostic mammograms they need.

Hutchens said the BGH Foundation was revived 15 years ago, and has since raised $1.4 million to support the hospital’s needs. While the foundation has traditionally hosted one major annual fundraiser — the Heart Ball — recent efforts have expanded to include multiple events and programs to target particular goals. The first annual Find Your Strength 5K/1K Family Fun Run happened in 2022, and will continue in order to fundraise for an exoskeleton, which Hutchens described as “a state-of-the-art therapeutic device that assists those who have lost their ability to walk.”

In addition, the Hometown Health Grants program raises money for internal grants for BGH

department needs that are not covered by the operating budget. In two years, the foundation has awarded $70,000 in Hometown Health Grants.

“We are extremely grateful for the support this community has provided to our foundation and Bonner General Health over the years,” Hutchens said. “We are very blessed to have such exceptional services and providers in our rural community.”

To learn more about the BGH Foundation and Heart Ball, go to

Clark Fork Chaos Market happening first Saturday of each month

Rather than putting itself in a box, the Clark Fork Chaos Market is embracing its namesake by combining everyone’s favorite features of a flea market, farmers’ market and craft fair to create a monthly

shopping experience heavy on variety and light on limits.

The Clark Fork Chaos Market happens on the first Saturday of every month from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Filling Station, located at 108 First Ave. in Clark Fork. The next market is Saturday, Feb. 4.

Artisans, farmers, bakers, resellers, crafters and others will be on hand to sling their wares, produce and lightly used home items. The only way to know what’s for sale is to show up and shop around. You never know what you might find.

February 2, 2023 / R / 17
Donations support goal of purchasing additional 3D mammography machine Sandpoint resident Wendi Lies, who will share her breast cancer story at this year’s Heart Ball. Courtesy photo

Follies Tickets on sale

February 2-9, 2023

THURSDAY, february 2

FriDAY, february 3

Live Music w/ Devon Wade

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Sandpoint’s independent country artist

Live Music w/ One Street Over

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Rock, electronic, romantic and pop

POAC Birthday Art Show

5-7pm @ Music Conservatory Hall

Celebrate one year of the Joyce Dillon Studio with art, demos, music, cake and more

The Sound of Music auditions

4-6pm @ Suzuki String Academy

Casting for musicians, singers and performers ages 8-adult. Prepare a monologue or dialogue with a well-prepared song for a three-minute audition. Sign up at Performance in June

Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz

5-7:30pm @ Barrel 33

A night of excellent jazz in Sandpoint

Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes

5-7:30pm @ Drift (in Hope)

SATURDAY, february 4

Friends of Library Book Sale

10am-2pm @ Sandpoint Library

The monthly book sale which supports the Friends of the Library. New additions in the children’s section and teen DVDs

Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz

7-9pm @ The Back Door

15th Annual Heart Ball by BGH

@ Bonner County Fairgrounds

An elegant evening with a gourmet dinner served by Pack River Store. Dancing, dessert auction and live auction. Raises funds for an additional mammogram machine

Live Music w/ CobraJet and more

8pm @ Eagle’s Club (1511 John Hudon Ln)

An evening of hard rock and metal featuring CobraJet, Better Daze and Devoured Soul

Live Music w/ Justyn Priest Band

9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Sandpoint Chess Club

Live Music w/ John Daffron

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Bluegrass, country and rock

Clark Fork Chaos Market

10am-3pm @ Clark Fork Filling Station

What do you get when you mix a flea market, farmers’ market and craft fair? A Chaos Market! 108 First Ave., Clark Fork David Raitt and the Baja Boogie Band in concert w/ guest Peter Rivera

7-10pm @ The Heartwood Center

Produced by Mattox Farm Productions, this concert will certainly get you on your feet dancing. Tickets are limited and are available at Eichardt’s or online

Live Music w/ Kerry Leigh

7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge

SunDAY, february 5

9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee

Meets every Sunday at 9am

Magic with Star Alexander (Sundays)

5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

Up close magic shows right at the table

7th Anniversary gathering for Embody Center for the Healing Arts

3-5pm @ Embody, 823 Main St. Sandpoint We will start off with a Kundalini Kriya, WildCore Movement and Dance Party.

Live Music w/ Brian Jacobs

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

monDAY, february 6

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Cookie Decorating @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Group Run @ Outdoor Experience

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

3-5 miles, all levels welcome, beer after

tuesDAY, february 7

Paint & Sip w/ Lori Salisbury

5:30-7:30pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Sign up @sawyers_bakery (Instagram)

Paint a warming winter scene that’s full of color. $45/person. 208-265-8545

wednesDAY, february 8

Live Piano w/ Dwayne Parsons

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

ThursDAY, february 9

18 / R / February 2,
2023 events

Little big death

The thing about apocalypses is that they happen to everyone, and anything that happens to everyone all at once really freaks us out. I suspect this has something to do with the fact that most of us like to think that we’re (mostly) in control of our fates. Of course, on a fundamental level, that’s not true. We’re all locked into a personal apocalypse that’s coming at some time or another — that is, we’re all going to die.

When that baseline reality spirals out into society at large, we lose our tenuous (perhaps deluded) grip on what we presume is our individual trajectory to the grave. One person dying in the hospital of an illness is sad, but within the tolerable, incremental pace of mortality. Millions of people dying in the hospital of an illness all at the same time is terrifying.

Never mind that all of those people were going to die someday anyway; the fact that they’re all shuffling off the mortal coil within close proximity to each other vaults death from the scope of the individual (and therefore manageable) to the communal, and therefore out of control. That makes us feel smaller and more vulnerable than we already are, and we don’t like that. At all.

Juxtaposing the personal and collective experience of an “end time” is at the core of every existentially-driven piece of art, from the Bible to disaster movies. That said, it’s a particularly critical tension at the heart of two recent pieces of big- and small-screen storytelling: the so-named film adaptation of Don DeLillo’s novel White Noise and the also-so-named HBO Max series adapted from the video game The Last of Us.

White Noise puts the apocalypse in the living room of an upper-middle class family in the 1980s. Two death-obsessed academic types and their kids have to navigate an amorphous “airborne toxic event” that puts their fears of mortality front and center, thereby also placing immense strains on the many fractures within their relationships. It is decidedly a per-

sonal rumination on the inevitability of death.

The Last of Us is a collective armageddon, in which the world has been overrun by life (ironically) in the form of a rampant fungal infestation that invades human bodies and turns them into “zombies” who only seek to spread the mycological plague. In this scenario, almost everyone has been turned into mushroom people and only a hardy band of survivors remain not only to survive, but find a cure and therefore end the infection.

DeLillo’s novel, published in 1984 and winner of the U.S. National Book Award for Fiction in 1985, is widely regarded as a postmodern masterpiece and also impossible to bring to the screen. That’s a big reason why it’s taken almost 40 years — and director Noah Baumbach — to attempt it. The results have garnered mixed reviews: critics seem to mostly like it, but audiences have been more than a little dismissive.

That’s surprising, given the cast: Adam Driver as the “Hitler studies” professor and hapless husband Jack Gladney; Greta Gerwig as his wife and mortality foil Babette; and Don Cheadle as the cheerful scholar of Elvis, consumerism and car crashes Murray Jay Siskind.

People who don’t like White Noise the film probably wouldn’t like White Noise the novel, because the former really is a pretty faithful rendering of the latter: Gladney is as distinguished in his career as he is schlubby in his life — an international expert on the narcotic mass-cultural attraction of Hitler (i.e. Death), but he can no more speak German than he can exert authority over his own much more capable children. Babette, meanwhile, is not-so-secretly addicted to an experimental drug that removes the terror of death just as it causes memory loss. Siskind is almost like a Greek chorus, opining on the “optimism” of car wrecks in cinema, offering Elvis as a mass-culture counterpart to Hitler and wandering grocery stores like they’re European cathedrals.

When the caprice of a drunken truck driver causes a train derailment that spews an obscure toxic chemical into the air above their

How White Noise and The Last of Us explore personal and communal mortality — and survival

bucolic college town, all these characters must suddenly confront the reality (or maybe non-reality?) of actual (or perhaps simulated?) imminent (or creeping?) death among them. All the while, the family unit — which is described as “the cradle of the world’s misinformation” — stands as the shaky scaffolding on which Jack and Babette’s middle-aged death terror is erected and dismantled.

That’s awful damn thinky for most American audiences. Boil it down, though, and you’ve got an incisive family dramedy that explores how individual, private death is cast into cathartic relief by the prospect of communal death, and that family is the first and most important form of community.

There has never been a better time since its publication almost 40 years ago for White Noise to reenter the zeitgeist. Screw the reviews, the masses are asses on this one. It’s more than worth a watch on Netflix.

By contrast, The Last of Us comes from much humbler origins (the 2013 game franchise by Naughty Dog and Sony Interactive Entertainment), and travels much more familiar terrain. People love this series — now past its third episode, with new installments airing each Sunday — and are trying to get as thinky about it as they should be about White Noise, but aren’t. Honestly, it’s a zombie apocalypse tale with all the tropes that entails.

Pedro Pascal stars as Joel, the grizzled, damaged, yet-golden-hearted custodian of a “very special girl,” who is 14-year-old Ellie (Bella Ramsey). They have to use their awesome wits, guns and sass to deal with all the inconveniences and treacheries of a collapsed society, and etc., etc., etc.

Both are Game of Thrones alums, which might account for why

they work so well together: There is seriously heart-warming chemistry between the two, as they break through the grotty proto-fascist strictures of their post-mushroom doom world in the Boston “QZ” (“quarantine zone”) to find Joel’s long-lost brother and deliver Ellie to whatever semblance of civilization still exists and serve as “humanity’s last hope.”

It’s super rote and boring on paper, but the set direction and characterization leave even the most cynical viewer actually feeling for these video game-inspired ciphers as they battle the ’shroomers, rapacious humans remnants, and (naturally) themselves and each other in a valiant bid to force individual survival above the relentless onslaught of global fungal rot.

Friends, enemies and allies come and go, struck down by bullets, infection or simply changing scenery along the quest (Episode 3, which aired Jan. 29 is particularly evocative, despite some thinly veiled homophobic gamer-dork

howling); but, above all, the individual resilience of our heroes is underscored as the engine of collective salvation — even if the masses are asses, whether mushroomed or not.

White Noise and The Last of Us provide weirdly consistent notions about the centrality of community in the face of communal disaster (though, as the former would point out, those communities don’t do much good work when they’re reduced to screaming fan hordes for Hitler or Elvis, and the latter toys with the very definition of “group-think”).

Regardless of the nuances, a central theme is that transmuting the personal fear or threat of death into deeper connections with those around us might not stop the apocalypse, but it certainly slows it to a manageable pace.

Stream White Noise on Netflix and The Last of Us on HBO Max.

An Affair to Remember screens at the Panida

Frequently referred to as “one of the most romantic movies of all time,” the 1957 film An Affair to Remember is coming to the Panida big screen Wednesday, Feb. 8, as part of the theater’s Vintage Second Wednesday series.

Cary Grant and Deborah Kerr star as a pair of travelers aboard a transatlantic cruise who — despite being otherwise romantically involved — fall into an infatuation that only deepens with time. In this case, that amount of time is six months: the date at which they agree to meet atop the Empire State

Building after they’ve broken it off with their respective fiancés and cement their new relationship.

Fate intervenes, however, throwing the rendezvous into uncertainty.

Tickets are free to Panida members — to join, visit panida. org — and $5 general admission, also available at the website. Bar drinks are half off and popcorn is $1 a pop.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. (300 N.First Ave.) for an evening of romantic nostalgia perfect for a pre-Valentine’s Day date — provided it’s not with a partner you’re planning to jilt in six months.

February 2, 2023 / R / 19 STAGE & SCREEN
Screenshots from White Noise, left, and The Last of Us, right. Courtesy images.

Ben Olson’s recent essay, “The Bitter Pill of Nostalgia” [Back of the Book, Jan. 26, 2023] struck a chord with me. Ever since the mid-’70s, weekends oftentimes found me playin’ and singin’ in a little club wherever I was living. I mostly sang other people’s tunes early on, but after a few more trips around the sun I began to try and come up with something that an audience might like… that I would like.

One part I really enjoyed about singing back then was that no bar, lounge or private party would ever have a TV on… it just wasn’t done. It would have been collectively perceived as rude. When the invasion of TVs started to kick in I found that it suddenly became harder with them on to develop a bond or human connection with an audience.

“We’ll turn the sound down,” was the usual response from the bartender or manager.

It didn’t make much difference.

During a soft ballad, suddenly a table in the room would erupt when a touchdown was made or a loud complaint would be expressed as a result of a perceived bad call.

They were distractions that got in the way of me being able to do my job… it’s never been about ego… I was hired to entertain… to hold a crowd and it just made my job harder.

Being a musician who was used to interacting with whatever group was in front of me… initiating a sing-along… playing name-that-tune or bringing up someone from a big table to sing with me on a chorus… I had become hobbled, resigned to basically being white noise while many in the crowd stared at the screen like zombies.

A few bars still are without them and thankfully most wine rooms have not succumbed, but overall they’re getting harder to find. I’ve had a good long run and, since I’m not quite played out yet, these are the venues I will seek out. The younger players can have the rest… they’ve really not known anything else. They haven’t been spoiled like I have… spoiled by those earlier days when folks pretty much concentrated on what you were presenting…

I’m gonna say it: “Those were the good ol’ days.”

20 / R / February 2, 2023
‘We’ll turn the sound down’


Michael Franti and Spearhead with SOJA to return to the Festival At Sandpoint

The Festival at Sandpoint announced the return of a crowd favorite for Thursday, Aug. 3; Michael Franti and Spearhead with SOJA. Franti and Spearhead are no strangers to the Festival at Sandpoint stage, playing under the white tent in 2010 and again in 2011.

Franti is a globally recognized musician and activist revered for his high-energy live shows and uplifting reggae, pop and hip-hopinspired music influenced by the power of optimism. Throughout his multi-decade career, Franti has earned three Billboard No. 1’s, with hits “Sound of Sunshine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I Got You,” as well as six Top 30 Hot AC singles, 10 Top 25 AAA Singles and three Billboard Top 5 Rock Albums.

Spearhead’s 12th studio album, Follow Your Heart, was released in June 2022 and debuted at No. 2 on the iTunes Pop Chart.

In January 2019, Franti released his self-directed documentary Stay Human, which won an array of awards at film festivals worldwide and influenced the album Stay Human Vol. II (Thirty Tigers), which debuted at No. 1 on both the Americana and Independent Album charts and received critical acclaim from USA Today,

Billboard and more.

Franti continues to foster community both on and off stage, with a wish-granting nonprofit, Do It For The Love, which he founded with his wife, Sara. Do It For The Love brings veterans, children, those with life-threatening illnesses and others with severe challenges to concerts worldwide, fulfilling more than 3,300 wishes and touching the lives of more than 12,000 people to date.

For more than two decades, SOJA has entertained international audiences with a fresh yet timeless take on roots reggae, born from a shared passion for making music that transports and inspires.

On the band’s Grammy Award-winning album, Beauty in the Silence, the SOJA deepens that communal spirit by collaborating with artists from all corners of the reggae world, including the UB40, Slightly Stoopid, Stick Figure and Rebelution.

SOJA is comprised by Jacob Hemphill (lead vocals, guitar); Bobby Lee (bass, vocals); Ryan Berty (drums); Kenny Bongos (percussion); Patrick O’Shea (keyboards); Hellman Escorcia (saxophone); Rafael Rodriguez (trumpet); and Trevor Young (lead guitar, vocals).

Michael Franti and Spearhead with SOJA on Thursday, Aug. 3, is a standard show, meaning the area in front of the stage is standing

room only.

Tickets are available now at General admission is $54.95 before taxes and fees. Gates will open Aug. 3 at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 7:15 p.m.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

CobraJet and more, The Sandpoint Eagle’s Club, Feb. 4 One Street Over, Pend d’Oreille Winery, Feb. 3

Hard rock music provides a special brand of catharsis — one that fans of all kinds could benefit from during the dark days of a North Idaho winter.

Lucky for us, we have Sandpoint rockers CobraJet, and CobraJet has friends that will join forces Saturday, Feb. 4 for a show that promises “three bands going bonkers at high speed and high volume.”

Apart from CobraJet, the night will feature Sandpoint

metalheads Devoured Soul and St. Maries punk rockers Better Daze. Organizers suggest that CobraJet may be opening, Devoured Soul may be closing, but the only way to know for sure is to show up.

8 p.m., FREE. Sandpoint Eagles 589, 1511 John Hudon Ln. Listen at

It would be easy to describe One Street Over as a family band and let people draw their own conclusions as to how that informs the band’s sound. However, that would be selling this versatile group short, because OSO’s strengths lie in each member’s own commitment to craft. A love for music might be inherited, but a drive for excellence can’t be duplicated.

Guitarist, vocalist and father Michael Lewis will team up with gifted singer and daughter

Bridgette and son Jordan, a music composer and keyboardist, for this show at the winery. The trio doesn’t limit itself on genre, dabbling in rock, electronic and pop music, all with a polished sound and cohesion which — we’ll admit — might have something to do with being a family.

5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., powine. com.

Among the highlighted essays in the Longreads “best of 2022” list is Matt Dinan’s piece “On Winter,” published by The Hedgehog Review. In fewer than 2,000 words, Dinan crafts an elegant, often funny contemplation of cold-weather living and what it shows us about our social and political lives: Being cold makes us feel tough and individualistic, but snowstorms are communal. Read it at


Judging by the shambly, mellow sound on Mac DeMarco’s newest album, Five Easy Hot Dogs, released Jan. 20, you’d never know it was created over the course of an epic car trip through New York, Utah, California, the Pacific Northwest and western Canada. Its 14 instrumental indie-pop tracks are as sleepy and pleasantly unoccupied as a sunny Sunday morning. Listen to the album on YouTube or whatever streamer you prefer.


Regular readers of this column may have picked up that I’m a fan of “Lovecraftian” horror, and so I was intrigued when members of the H.P. Lovecraft Facebook group to which I belong started recommending the Amazon Prime series The Rig, which premiered Jan. 6 with six episodes. Synopsis: A crew of Scottish oil refinery workers are trapped on the titular North Sea rig when it’s enveloped by a sinister fog hiding supernatural dangers. It’s no Cthulhu, but it’ll do.

February 2, 2023 / R / 21
This week’s RLW by Zach Hagadone Michael Franti and Spearhead with SOJA will play the Festival at Sandpoint Thursday, Aug. 3 at War Memorial Field. Courtesy photo.

From Northern Idaho News, Feb. 2, 1915



An action to force a right of way for logging operations over the land of Denver P. Dayton, the well known Addie farmer, was started in the district court last week by W.J. Greenway. The complaint asks for a temporary injunction to be made permanent after the hearing of the case and also $90 a day damages for each day that Dayton has refused permission to cross his land.

In the complaint Greenway sets forth that he had an oral agreement with Dayton the 28th of last August in which Dayton gave him permission to haul timber across his land. Acting upon this, Greenway bought $3300 worth of timber that could be brought out only by crossing Dayton’s land. Later, he says, he bought a team of horses from Dayton for $550, being $100 more than the animals were worth, the extra $100 being, it was understood, as compensation for the right to cross Dayton’s land.

December 10 Greenway started teams to hauling the logs and this hauling continued until January 27th when Dayton appeared on the scene with a loaded rifle, warned Greenway and his men not to use his road any more and compelled three teamsters to unload on the spot.


On buzzer beaters

It was like the climax of a sports movie, only less probable.

I was volunteering to help coach a girls’ junior high basketball game when a divine combination of hard work and dumb luck graced the gym in what I can only describe as the most exhilarating moment of several pre-teens’ lives — and, quite possibly, my own.

The first thing to know about junior high basketball is that to find success is to accept and thrive in chaos. This is true of most rural schools that draw from a pool of a few dozen sixth-, seventh- and eighth-grade girls, but particularly true in this case.

This season, fresh off the graduation of last year’s sizable and athletically inclined eighth-grade class, our team has had no choice but to undergo exponential growth since its first game in December. To us adults, that was only a few weeks ago. To a tween who has since learned to shoot a left-handed lay-in, that was last lifetime.

On this particular Wednesday night, the girls were playing a hard-fought game against a team with arguably more basketball know-how. Lucky for us, our intensity on defense kept us within five points, then three, then back to five all game long. The head coach and I kept exchanging glances each time the girls would hustle particularly well, earning an extra possession and scoring more consistently than they had all season. With each glance we seemed to say, “Well, this is a win so far. Can you believe this is the team we assembled a couple of months ago?”

To win in junior high basketball is to see improvement and make sure all the players

still like the sport — and each other — once the final buzzer sounds. Our most important stats are the attempted shots that are equal parts smart and brave, steals and rebounds by the most timid athletes, and how many high fives or words of encouragement are freely offered between players.

Of course, to have that win reflected on the scoreboard feels good, too.

With seconds left in the game, we came within three points, and I let the most hopeful corner of my Hoosiers-loving brain start to take over. For everything the girls have yet to learn about basketball, how to apply a full-court press has been pretty far down the list compared to basic shooting and ball-handling skills.

“Press!” I screamed anyway.

The opposing team threw the ball in, off a teammate’s foot, and we had possession under our own basket with 1.8 seconds left. Professional basketball leagues have it calculated that a player needs at least 0.3 seconds to get a shot off once the ball touches their hands. Taking into consideration the kind of full-body wind-up required for a pre-teen girl to shoot a three-pointer and tie up the game, I figured 1.8 seconds would be cutting it a little close.

We called a timeout, and with eyes as big as saucers, the players listened intently while I outlined an elaborate play to get our most confident shooter — a sixth-grader, no less — open for a three-point attempt.

As it turned out, after walking onto the court and seeing the other team’s laid-back defense, we didn’t need the play. With a perfectly placed one-handed baseball throw to the top of the arc, the ball hit the sixth-grader’s hands and, like a small springboard, she launched it into the air. The buzzer sounded halfway through its flight path, and the net barely moved as the ball dropped through

Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

the hoop.

Like I said: a sports movie, but less probable.

I don’t need to describe the energy in the gym immediately following that shot. I don’t think I can capture it except to say it was absolute pandemonium. Imagine seven 11-to 14-year-old girls overwhelmed by disbelief and joy, some sobbing and all hugging. Then imagine getting their attention and telling them to breathe because they needed to play overtime.

All of the credit goes to their coach, Lindsey, and the girls’ willingness to trust that practice can and will pay off. Sometimes those results aren’t so evident on the scoreboard, and sometimes they are. That night, the team was able to seal the deal by scoring the only basket in overtime.

“Good luck following that act,” I told the boys’ coach as his team began warmups following our game.

He smiled and shook his head in the way we do when hard work and dumb luck combine to remind us that anything is possible.

I’m still shaking mine.

22 / R / February 2, 2023
There is one question that probably drives just about every vampire crazy: “Oh, do you know Dracula?”

Solution on page 22

Laughing Matter


Solution on page 22

pandiculation /pan-dik-yuh-LEY-shuhn/

Word Week of the


1. the act of stretching oneself, especially on waking.

“After a long session of pandiculation, the family cat wandered off to see if there was any new food in his bowl.”

Corrections: Last week, a photo of the Bonner County board of commissioners was credited as a courtesy photo. News Editor Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey actually took that photo at the board’s Jan. 24 meeting.

February 2, 2023 / R / 23
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term meaning insane
of “Sneer” 6.Mend
under roofs DOWN ACROSS Copyright
on page 22 8.A form of pool 9.Stooge 10.Based upon 11.Roof overhangs 12.Lacquer ingredient 13.Adjust again 21.French manor house 24.Critical 25.Swerve 26.Otherwise 27.Exam 28.Load with excessive weight 30.Candidate 32.Bless with oil 34.Musical phrase 35.Whale 36.Marsh plant 40.Mislead 41.Earnest 43.Previous 45.Confuse 46.Regal 47.Tropical fruit 49.Spread out 51.Farm equipment 52.Story 53.Angers 54.Beast 55.Trawling equipment 63.We are (contraction) 64.Affirmatives
1.Alliance 2.Slang