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/ January 13, 2022

PEOPLE compiled by

Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey


“Do you see a bright side to all this snow? Why or why not?” “I love the snow. I had post-holiday boredom. That great snowstorm really helped me out.” Dawn Schatz Clark Fork


Well, it was fun while it lasted. After a week of snow that reminded many locals of the old days, the winter rain has returned to turn our highways and city streets into a sopping mess. Drive (and walk) careful out there, folks. *Insert big, sad sigh here* In this week’s edition, we are publishing the winners of our first 208 Fiction writing contest in which writers submitted pieces that were exactly 208 words long. We were curious if we’d get any good submissions when pitching this contest last month, but were pleasently surprised at the talent and creativity from those who participated. We’ll definitely be doing this every winter, with a different theme each year, perhaps. Without further ado, the winner of this year’s contest is Jeff Keenan, who earned $150 cold hard cash for his story “Winter Mask.” Second place went to Dick Cvitanich for his story “Anton’s Holiday Prayer” and third place goes to Ben Woodbridge for his story “You Can’t Hang Dead Men.” Thank you for all who participated, and special thanks to our judges Sandy Compton, Emily Erickson and Bret Johnson.

– Ben Olson, publisher

READER 111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208) 946-4368 Publisher: Ben Olson Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey (News Editor) Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Jodi Berge

“Depends on what you call ‘all this snow.’ This is just a typical year of snow. The last three years had people spoiled because there was no snow.” George Thornton Clark Fork

Contributing Artists: Bill Borders, Kelli Smithers, Edelmira Calderon, Geri Schaaf, Chad Tompkins, Brooke Macumber, Alden Bansemer, Corey Johnson, Jason Welker, Kristin Carlson Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Kelcie Moseley-Morris, Sandy Compton, Jeff Keenan, Dick Cvitanich, Ben Woodbridge, Desiree Aguirre, Patricia Hofmann, Chris Park, Marcia Pilgeram Submit stories to:

“No. Absolutely not. Just kidding, I do. I grew up in an agricultural family, and last year was a big drought so I know it’s important to get a big snow year.” Chris Cavanaugh Clark Fork

“Yes, because I feel like the past few winters we’ve had have been smaller. … With all the fires this summer, it was good that it got cold so fast.” Taylor Staley Clark Fork

“Yes, because I snowboard.” Sam Barnett Clark Fork

Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID Subscription Price: $155 per year Web Content: Keokee The Sandpoint Reader is a weekly publication owned and operated by Ben Olson and Keokee. It is devoted to the arts, entertainment, politics and lifestyle in and around Sandpoint, Idaho. We hope to provide a quality alternative by offering honest, in-depth reporting that reflects the intelligence and interests of our diverse and growing community. The Reader is printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink. Leftover copies are collected and recycled weekly, or burned in massive bonfires to appease the gods of journalism. Free to all, limit two copies per person.

Sandpoint Reader letter policy: The Sandpoint Reader welcomes letters to the editor on all topics. Requirements: –No more than 300 words –Letters may not contain excessive profanity or libelous material. Please elevate the discussion. Letters will be edited to comply with the above requirements. Opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers, not necessarily the publishers. Email letters to: Check us out on the web at: Like us on Facebook.

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BoCo puts hold on federal rescue funds

Resolution stops ARPA spending, prompting pushback from BoCo EMS

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff Bonner County commissioners voted unanimously Jan. 11 to pass a resolution putting a stop to spending American Rescue Plan Act funds, sparking satisfaction among a vocal group of constituents who have spent months lobbying for a cease to all federal spending. However, the decision also triggered concern from the overwhelmed Bonner County Emergency Medical Services department, which has already spent about $800,000 of the COVID mitigation monies to fund lifesaving equipment. The resolution, drafted by county resident Asia Williams and brought to the table by Commissioner Steve Bradshaw, was inspired by a concern that by accepting and spending ARPA funds — of which the county is set to receive about $9 million in total — Bonner County might be committed to following future federal mandates regarding vaccination or masking. After a well-attended and

contentious meeting featuring comments from exclusively anti-ARPA speakers, commissioners voted unanimously in favor of the resolution, which deems that “all monies identified as ARPA funds that were allocated to Bonner County budgets shall be returned to the originating ARPA account prior to the end of January 2022,” and that those funds remain in county coffers until a legal opinion is issued offering “assurance to the public that utilization of these funds will not trigger any type of mandate, specifically vaccine and/or mask.” Though the Bonner County prosecutor’s office has been searching for answers to such concerns, Deputy Prosecutor Bill Wilson said at the Jan. 11 meeting that no official opinion has yet been delivered. In addition, the resolution dictates that Bonner County EMS “cease utilizing funds out of the ARPA line item within the EMS budget and fully reimburse the originating ARPA account.” Bonner County EMS Chief Jeff Lindsey weighed in on the resolution Jan. 12 in an email to

the Reader, in which he called the movement against federal funds “a dangerous theme that keeps getting pushed forward by some of the public.” “This would decimate our current and future budgets and we would be unable to provide the current level of service,” Lindsey said. “We hope that our community will become more aware of what is going on regarding this issue.” Lindsey emphasized that the ARPA money “can be used to offset county taxpayer dollars in our budget and has already been spent on life saving equipment,” such as automated CPR machines and

UVC disinfection lights for ambulances. He said that his department “would request that our county legal team be given ample time to vet concerns that some of the public have regarding ARPA funding.” Bonner County EMS also took to its Facebook page on Jan. 12 to denounce the commissioners’ actions. “Now, due to pressure from some in our community, we are in danger of having to return these funds, in turn spending county tax dollars,” the post stated, adding that the vocal group pushing for a stop to ARPA funds is also requesting a stop to all federal funding.

Photo courtesy BCEMS Facebook page. “This would decimate our budget, causing employee layoffs, stations to be closed, etc.,” BCEMS added. “This would cripple the ability to provide EMS in Bonner County as at least 1/3 of our budget is federal reimbursement dollars” from Medicare and other government entities. “We would urge our community to reach out and let your county commissioners know that we cannot afford to return federal tax dollars, which would place the burden directly on county taxpayers,” the post concluded.

Luke Omodt announces bid for District 3 Bonner County commission seat By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff The May 2022 Republican primary field got a little deeper Jan. 12, when Sandpoint resident Luke Omodt announced he would run for the District 3 Bonner County commissioner seat currently held by Dan McDonald. Omodt is a lifelong county resident who spent his formative years in the Selle Valley and graduated from Sandpoint High School in 1995. He works as a government teacher at Bonners Ferry High School and will retire from the military in March after a 23-year career that included U.S. 4 /


/ January 13, 2022

Army deployments in Germany and the Balkans in the 1990s and two terms of service in the Idaho Army National Guard in Iraq from 2004-2005 and 2010-2011. He ran for Sandpoint City Council in the 2021 election and, though unsuccessful, was appointed to the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission in December. “I decided to run because I’m frustrated with the tone of our politics, the challenges associated with growth and maintaining our rural character, and most importantly that we get the government we elect,” he stated in a media release announcing his bid for county commissioner. Omodt said his campaign will

focus on a few key ideas, including responsible growth, addressing labor and infrastructure challenges in the county, and adhering to the duties and role of a county commissioner as described by Idaho Code. Specifically, he stated that the county’s Comprehensive Plan needs an update, and zoning ordinances and land use maps must reflect citizens’ priorities. Omodt also stated that citizens and businesses are successful within a framework created by “stable, predictable, efficient and constitutional government.” On the Board of County Commissioners, “We need civility, pragmatism and principled leader-

ship to serve Bonner County,” he added. “Bonner County’s future is bright. The Cabinet and Selkirk mountains frame fertile agricultural/timbered lands as well as Lake Pend Oreille and Priest Lake; however, it is the people who make this place home,” Omodt stated. “I am running for Bonner County commissioner to honor our past and invest in our future. Bonner County deserves leadership that is pragmatic and principled and I am prepared to provide that leadership.” For more info visit lukeomodt. com.

Luke Omodt. Courtesy photo.


Idaho GOP committee defeats proposed ballot rule requiring endorsements Luna says idea would have disenfranchised hundreds of thousands of voters

By Kelcie Moseley-Morris Idaho Capital Sun A rule that would have required any candidate seeking a statewide, legislative or county level position to first obtain the endorsement of Republican central committees in order to be placed on a primary election ballot was defeated unanimously during a party rules committee meeting on Jan. 7. The rule was passed by the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee in November. Idaho Republican Party Chair Tom Luna said that the first step is an easy one to clear. Any central committee can pass a rule for the party’s consideration, and if it had passed the Rules Committee on Jan. 7, it would have been voted on by the full Idaho Republican State Central Committee at day two of the party’s winter meeting on Jan. 8. Normally, Luna said, rules deal with the minute details of party elections, such as record-keeping and processes. This rule in particular was an outlier that “touched a nerve.” “People made it clear that we [would be] disenfranchising

hundreds of thousands of Republicans and their ability to vote and choose who will be their nominees going into the general election, and that if there [are] concerns about candidates and how they get access to the ballot, that this is not the way to address it,” Luna said. The potential candidates would have been put through multiple rounds of voting through the committees in their districts until two candidates remained. If either candidate received 60% of votes, they would receive a place on the ballot. If neither candidate received 60%, both would be placed on the ballot. Terrel N. Tovey, a county commissioner in Bannock County and precinct committee chairman who is also one of 16 members of the rules committee, said they had a good debate about the issue. He doesn’t necessarily disagree with the idea of trying to stop Democrats or members of other parties from sabotaging Republican primaries, which are the reasons given from the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee for the proposal, but he doesn’t believe that issue is widespread. And

if the rule had passed, he said, a much smaller group of people would be deciding the candidates who appeared on the ballot. “The whole thing is, we’re talking about people’s right to choose, and the freedom of choice, the freedom to affiliate is something we believe in quite dearly,” Tovey said. “We do need to look at if there’s a problem of [someone] purposely trying to affect a political process. But we need to actually address that issue and not try to use it for political gain to try to take political power.” During a legislative preview event the morning of Jan. 7, Gov. Brad Little said he was “not a big fan” of the proposed rule and he thought it wasn’t well thought out. “If that passed, then in a small county, maybe three central committee people can show up and decide who the only candidate is on the Republican ballot for prosecutors, sheriff, fill-in-the-blank,” Little said. The change would have applied to any candidate seeking the following offices: • Governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of

state, state treasurer, superintendent of public instruction or state controller; • U.S. Senate or U.S. House of Representatives; • County commissioner, clerk, auditor, sheriff, county treasurer, coroner or assessor. For state offices, including congressional seats, the candidate would have needed the endorsement of the full Republican State Central Committee, while legislative candidates would have needed approval from the Republican legislative district committee in which they reside. For county candidates, the county’s Republican central committee would have final say. The proposal was submitted by Mark Fuller, Bonneville County Republican Central Committee chair; Doyle Beck, state committee member; Lisa Keller, Legislative District 30 chair; Myleah Keller, Bonneville County State Youth Committee member; Linn Hawkins, Bonneville County State Committee member; and Bryan Zollinger, Legislative District Committee 33 chair. Beck told the Idaho State Jour-

nal in an email that the reason for the proposed rule change was to prevent Democrats from running in Republican races and to keep left-leaning voters from participating in the GOP primary. “This unethical practice is now promoted by our faithful [Republicans in name only],” Beck said in his emailed interview responses to the newspaper. Tovey said he was surprised more people running for office this year weren’t more vocal in their opposition to the idea. “Any person that is in favor of this should not hold a political position,” he said. “Because they’re hoping they don’t have to answer to the people.” This story was produced by the Idaho Capital Sun, a Boise-based independent, nonprofit online news organization delivering in-depth coverage from veteran Idaho reporters on state government and policy. The Idaho Capital Sun is part of States Newsroom, a national nonprofit funded by tax-free donations in 22 states. Learn more and follow daily updates at idahocapitalsun. com and

Idaho sees backlog of positive COVID-19 tests Omicron variant fuels surge that shows no signs of slowing

By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff The disruption to Idaho caused by the novel coronavirus is taking on a familiar pattern, as the omicron variant of COVID-19 propels statewide trends upward, putting renewed strain on health care capacity and the state’s own ability to track the overwhelming number of new cases. The Associated Press reported Jan. 11 that, according to Idaho Deputy State Epidemiologist Kathryn Turner, there is a backlog of positive COVID-19 tests around Idaho due to the sheer number coming in need of processing. As a result, Idaho’s COVID-19 tracker “shows an average of about 48 new cases for every 100,000 people each day over the past week.”

“The actual numbers are closer to 135 new cases a day for every 100,000 residents,” the AP reported. While the omicron variant is proving to be less debilitating than past variants, it is proving more contagious. Boise-based KTVB-7 TV reported Jan. 11 that “the percent of positive COVID tests has doubled in the last month from 8.6% in December to 17.1% in January.” The strain caused by increased cases is also making itself felt closer to home. Panhandle Health District stated in a media release Jan. 12 that the district has seen a “sharp increase in the daily COVID-19 case count” over the past three weeks. “These unprecedented numbers are likely due to the district’s low vaccination rate and other effective precautions not being taken by the community,” PHD officials said.

“According to the CDC’s genomic surveillance site, the highly transmissible omicron variant represents over 95% of the current case count in the Northwest region of the U.S., representing Idaho, Alaska, Oregon and Washington.” According to PHD, as of Jan. 12, “800 community members have lost their lives to the virus and over 2,700 have been hospitalized.” “We realize that the community is tired, and we all wished the delta wave would have been the final surge, but omicron is proving to spread even faster than the delta variant,” said PHD Director Don Duffy. “Right now, while cases are surging and the level of disease spread in our communities is high, I urge everyone to protect themselves and others,” he added. “As we head into our third year of responding to

this pandemic, we ask the community to continue to be vigilant in practicing precautions to prevent the spread of this virus and get vaccinated.” Aside from vaccination, other recommended measures include masking in public areas, hand washing, social distancing, staying home when sick and seeking out testing. PHD also shared in a social media post Jan. 10 that its COVID-19 hotline should not be used to find out about virus restrictions at travel destinations. “Before calling PHD’s COVID hotline with questions regarding travel, please check with your destination’s COVID-19 restrictions and requirements,” officials stated. “Our call operators do not know every destination’s COVID restrictions and they are unable to research that

information for each caller. With the increase in demand for testing, we will prioritize our test order referrals for those experiencing symptoms or who have been recently exposed to COVID. “If calling for test orders for travel please anticipate 24-48 hours for us to process your request,” the statement continued. “Thank you for understanding.” Access the health district’s COVID-19 hotline for non-travel related questions at 877-415-5225. The hotline is available Monday-Friday from 9 a.m.-noon and 1 p.m.-4 p.m., excluding holidays. Learn more about coronavirus in North Idaho, including where to access vaccines, at January 13, 2022 /


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NEWS Alex Barron, ‘Bard of the American Redoubt,’ faces felony child sex abuse and domestic battery charges By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Sean A. Barron, a 52-year-old Post Falls man well known in North Idaho ultraconservative political circles, has been charged with felony sexual abuse of a child under 16 and domestic battery against an adult woman. According to Jan. 11 reports from KREM 2 News and the Coeur d’Alene Press, in a preliminary hearing Jan. 6 a judge ruled enough evidence existed to refer the case to First District Court. Barron is better known as Alex Barron, the self-proclaimed “Bard of the American Redoubt” and a “thought leader” of the movement. He is also the former secretary of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee and failed District 3 candidate for the Idaho Senate District in 2020. In an interview with the Reader for a series on the Redoubt in 2017, Barron described himself as, “a wayward vagabond carousing through clubs, bars and churches spreading the word that we live in uncertain times in a nation that is increasingly hostile to our culture and faith.” According to a Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department probable cause affidavit, on Sept. 26, 2021 Barron came home in a state of apparent heavy intoxication, then grabbed a 12-year-old girl who was in the household by the wrist “hard enough to hurt,” pulling her toward him. After releasing the girl, he caressed her back and buttocks, according to the affidavit. Based on interviews with the alleged victim and witnesses, as well as court testimony, Barron’s touching made the girl uncomfortable and she moved away from him as soon as possible. When another adult woman later returned to the residence she engaged in an argument with Barron over his actions. Barron then put the minor to bed, again allegedly “cupping and caressing” her buttocks. Later that evening, according to the affidavit and testimony given at the preliminary hearing, Barron groped the adult woman and began to initiate intercourse with her. The woman told sheriff’s deputies that she complied at first to “get it over with,” but then he bit her on her inner upper thigh hard enough to leave teeth marks and bruises, which were visible in photos that she showed law enforcement and that were filed by the state. The woman testified that she told Barron multiple times to stop his advances, but ultimately he forced himself on her. Confronted by the woman the next day, 6 /


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A booking photo of Sean “Alex” Barron, the so-called “Bard of the American Redoubt.” Courtesy photo. Barron allegedly claimed not to remember the events the night before. When questioned by a sheriff’s deputy on Oct. 1, Barron said that he suspected he’d been drugged at a bar in Post Falls and therefore had no memory of what happened on the evening of Sept. 26. Later in the interview, according to the affidavit, Barron admitted that he had a “hazy” memory of touching the minor’s buttocks twice and of being confronted about it. He told the deputy that he then visited a counselor to get help. “I felt this was an odd statement given he earlier stated he was drugged and therefore didn’t remember what happened,” the deputy wrote in the affidavit. As for the forced sexual intercourse, court documents stated that Barron told law enforcement that contrary to what the alleged victim had said, the encounter had been consensual. He at first denied biting the woman, but upon being shown a photo of the resulting bite marks said that the woman had indeed confronted him about “forcing” her to have sex and had already seen the photo, but “didn’t look at it closely.” “In my contact with Sean, he appeared to be trying to absolve himself of responsibility, discredit [the alleged victim] and minimize the events,” the deputy wrote. “I had to confront him several times because his account was contradictory or had changed in a very short time.” Barron had initially been charged with rape, but a judge amended it to domestic battery last week. According to court records, Barron’s arraignment in First District Court is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 2 in Coeur d’Alene.

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: On the second anniversary of the assassination of Gen. Qasem Soleimani by the U.S., Iran’s president said if former U.S. President Donald Trump does not face trial, Tehran will take revenge. The general was killed in a drone strike ordered by Trump on Jan. 3, 2020. Under Iran’s Islamic laws, a convicted murderer can be executed unless the victim’s family agrees to reconciliation via acceptance of “blood money,” the Jerusalem Post reported. California’s second largest fire, the Dixie Fire, which burned last summer, was triggered by Pacific Gas and Electric power lines that contacted a tree and resulted in the burning of more than 1,300 buildings. A criminal investigation is underway. PG&E admitted to manslaughter for its role in the 2018 Camp Fire, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. Two U.S. Senate Democrats and all Republicans intend to block two voter protection bills. To pass them requires altering or eliminating the filibuster. Ironically, Democrats represent 40 million more voters than do Republicans, and the Democrats’ House-passed legislation (stronger voting rights, police department reforms, empowerment of labor unions and tighter gun laws) have strong public support. The Republican National Committee has approved giving Donald Trump $1.6 million to cover private legal bills, The Washington Post reported. Quebec has decided to place a “significant” fee on the province’s unvaccinated residents to offset the extra burden they place on the health care system, the province’s premier announced. Corbevax, a COVID-19 vaccine developed at a Texas university, is being hailed as a “game changer,” according to NPR. It uses proven vaccine technology and is more easily manufactured than most of today’s COVID-19 vaccines. It costs $1 to $1.50 a dose, allowing low-income countries to pursue production. U.S. officials showed no interest, so the vaccine’s developers turned to private philanthropies. So far India has made 300 million doses. It’s been shown to be 90% effective against the original COVID-19 strain and 80% against the delta variant. A drawback: It can’t be as quickly modified to adjust to new COVID-19 variants as compared to mRNA vaccines. Corbevax’s intellectual property status makes it available to any

By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist

manufacturer, as opposed to leading COVID-19 vaccine producers, who protect profits by not sharing their recipes. Where does COVID-19 end? As long as the bulk of the planet remains unvaccinated, COVID-19 has a fertile playground for creating new variants. To stop that cycle, the People’s Vaccine Alliance is urging the U.S. to ramp up vaccine production across the planet. According to nonprofit progressive consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, that can happen at a fraction of the cost of inaction. The 2021 economic COVID cost was expected to run to $1.4 trillion. Expansion of vaccine production will require manufacturing hubs in Africa, Asia and Latin America. One step ahead of the next virus: Researchers are working on developing a universal coronavirus vaccine. While it may not be a perfect fit for the next disease wave, such a vaccine could reduce hospitalizations and buy time for creating a virus-specific vaccine, Mother Jones reported. Such a vaccine could also be cost-effective: The current pandemic is expected to cost $16 trillion in economic damage over the next decade — that’s 500 times more than the cost of preventing the next pandemic. Blast from the past: A noticeable effort to suppress minority voters came on the heels of the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed human enslavement. When Southerners resisted rebuilding the South with their Black neighbors, in 1867 the Military Reconstruction Act was passed, allowing Southern Black men to vote for delegates to write new state constitutions that confirmed their right to vote. Trying to stop ratification of the new constitutions, opponents dressed up in white sheets, pretending to be ghosts of dead Southern soldiers; they hoped to keep Blacks and white sympathizers from voting. As the Ku Klux Klan they defined themselves as having a goal of defending the U.S. Constitution — that is, the pre-Civil War Constitution. Their effort bore little fruit: In Georgia, 33 Blacks were elected to the state’s general assembly and in South Carolina a majority of new elected officials were Black. The KKK’s Plan B was to portray Blacks as unfit to engage in politics, portraying them as bent on redistributing wealth. Further suppression of Black empowerment, according to historian and author Heather Cox Richardson, included requiring educational tests to qualify for voting and poll taxes.


Here we have Idaho By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff

In a 29-minute speech Jan. 10, Idaho Gov. Brad Little delivered his fourth State of the State at the Capitol in Boise, officially opening the 2022 session of the Idaho Legislature. Overall, the governor presented a positive picture of the Gem State, even as it enters a third year of COVID-19 pandemic response and political tensions roil his own Republican Party ahead of what promises to be a hyper-contentious primary election in May. “Idaho’s economy is stronger than ever before,” Little said in his opening remarks, citing job growth despite the pandemic, a low unemployment rate, balanced budget and an historic $1.9 billion surplus. “My friends, our success is no accident,” he said. Little outlined a number of priorities in his budget address, including an increase in funding for education, income tax cuts and investments to address aging infrastructure. Calling it “the largest investment in Idaho education, ever,” the governor proposed adding $1.1 billion to the education budget over the next five years, focusing in his speech on $47 million in ongoing funding for K-3 literacy programs. “I cannot think of a more ‘back to basics’ investment that will make a meaningful difference in students’ lives today and for years to come,” he said. The K-12 budget would see a $300 million increase under Little’s proposed budget, opening the way for the state to fund all-day kindergarten, which the governor’s staff estimates 80% of Idaho families would take advantage of. On top of that, Little proposed $50 million for grants that would cover things like computers, tutoring, internet connectivity and other education needs outside the classroom. Last year the state served 18,000 families representing 46,000 students with such grants. Little also lauded the $450

million in income tax cuts in Idaho last year. “It was called the biggest tax cut in state history, but I call it a good start,” he said. Blasting President Joe Biden’s handling of the economy, which he twice referred to as resulting in runaway “Bidenflation,” Little proposed delivering more than $1 billion in income tax relief over the next five years, starting with an immediate $600 million in relief. That package would include $350 million in income tax rebates for Idahoans in 2022 on top of $250 million to pay for cutting the highest income tax bracket for both individual taxpayers and corporations from 6.5% to 6%. Turning to transportation infrastructure spending, Little proposed $200 million in additional ongoing funding to address maintenance needs throughout the state, as well as another $200 million one-time expenditure to tackle a third of the backlog of deficient bridges in Idaho. Referring to the record-breaking $1.9 billion surplus, the governor said, “We have a once-in-alifetime opportunity to fully fund known needs — to maintain our roads and bridges permanently — with no new taxes.” Throughout his speech, Little drew unflattering comparisons between Idaho and the federal government, criticizing the Biden administration for “digging the country into a $29 trillion hole” while the Gem State enjoys never-before-seen prosperity. “In Idaho, we manage government the same way families manage a household budget,” he said. “It is basic ‘kitchen table economics.’ It means facing trade offs head on, choosing to live within our means, saving for hard times, cutting waste and stretching our dollars further.” In their response to the governor’s address Jan. 10, Idaho Democratic leaders said the “once-in-a-lifetime” surplus had less to do with “kitchen table economics” and more to do with “systematically underfunding vital services,” according to Rep. Ilana Rubel, D-Boise, who serves

Gov. Brad Little delivers fourth State of the State, opening 2022 Idaho Legislature

Courtesy photo.

as House minority leader. “Idaho has a lot of money in its bank account right now, but it is in large part due to irresponsible decision-making by politicians, where children and working families have been paying the price,” she said in a press conference following Little’s speech. Rubel also took aim at the governor’s tax relief proposals, calling them “trickle-down” measures that will benefit the top earners and corporations in the state at the expense of “regular working folk.” “Last year, we saw a bill that took $400 million out of the general fund that funds education so that [the GOP supermajority in the Legislature] could give $10,000 tax cuts to millionaires,” she said, noting that most Idahoans below the highest tax bracket received between $50 and $100 under that plan. Rather than focus on income tax relief, Rubel and her Democratic colleagues said property taxes present a greater financial burden to Gem State residents. “We have listened to our constituents — they desperately want a break from sky-rocketing property taxes,” she said. “I have never been contacted by a constituent seeking more income tax breaks for those at the top. It was the Legislature that caused the property tax crisis, and they have the power and responsibility to fix it.” House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley, told reporters that, “I did not leave that speech with a

list of things I did not like,” according to the Idaho Capital Sun. Bedke is running against controversial White Bird Republican Rep. Priscilla Giddings for lieutenant governor in the May primary and, despite Little’s evasive answers to reporters’ questions about whether he, too, will be running for reelection, the governor did deliver a number of election year-style jabs and campaign-like pieces of rhetoric. “While President Biden divides Americans in his attempts to elevate the role of government in citizens’ lives, coercing Americans with government-imposed vaccine mandates, Idaho says, ‘No,’” he said, citing the state’s lawsuits challenging “Biden’s polarizing vaccine mandates.” While Little’s own COVID-19 policies have come in for fierce criticism from within his own party — including Blanchard Republican Rep. Heather Scott’s now-famous reference to the governor as “Little Hitler” following his early-pandemic lockdown orders — Little underscored that “I banned divisive ‘vaccine passports.’ I never mandated masks or vaccines. We responded to a crisis with a balanced approach and kept Idaho open.” A raft of bills held over from lawmakers’ three-day special session in November are sure to be reintroduced as the legislative session begins in earnest, all of them pushing back against various state and federal COVID-19 policies. Meanwhile, Little dedicated 233

words of his speech to attacking Biden’s border policies, representing about 7% of the total address. Pointing to his visit to the southern border in summer 2021, the governor said that due to Biden’s “flawed border policies,” “Mexico drug cartels control access into our country.” What’s more, Little highlighted a special team of Idaho state troopers that he deployed to Arizona last year to help fight drug flow. Little also proposed spending $60 million to address needs within the Idaho State Police. “Idaho is a state that openly values its police officers. While others seek to ‘defund the police,’ Idaho defends the police,” he said. “Idaho truly is a state that ‘backs the blue.’” If Little does enter the gubernatorial race, he will face a number of challengers, including current-Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, who has been hostile to Little’s coronavirus policies and more than once worked to undermine the governor — including while he has been out of the state and she serving as interim-governor. In what some Statehouse observers have described as a statement targeted at the vitriol that has characterized recent legislative sessions, Little said, “The voice of a leader is effective, not just loud.” Read Gov. Brad Little’s full 2022 State of the State address at Find highlights of his 2022 proposed budget at bit. ly/3K6e3zm. January 13, 2022 /


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Bouquets: • In November, the Bonneville County Republican Central Committee passed a rule requiring that any candidate seeking statewide, legislative or county level positions to first obtain the endorsement of state and local Republican central committees in order to be placed on the primary ballot. When the Idaho Republican Party took up the matter last week, they defeated it unanimously, saving the disastrous rule from becoming party edict statewide. This is yet another example of Republicans’ attempt to erode voting rights and curb democracy so their candidates win elections. If passed, the rule would have allowed Idaho’s various central committees carte blanche to select whichever candidate they wished and, since Idaho is a deep red state, whoever wins the GOP primary likely will win the general. This is not democracy, this is yet another creeping step toward fascism. At least the Idaho GOP was smart enough to realize they couldn’t get away with such a sweeping rule change. Party Chairman Tom Luna wrote, “People made it clear that we [would be] disenfranchising hundreds of thousands of Republicans and their ability to vote and choose who will be their nominees going into the general election ...” Gov. Brad Little weighed in Nov. 7, saying, “If that passed, then in a small county, maybe three central committee people can show up and decide who the only candidate is on the Republican ballot for prosecutors, sheriff, fill-in-the-blank.” Barbs: • The past week was amazing at Schweitzer. It was some of the best snow I’ve ridden in years. However, it was frustrating because almost every day either the Colburn Triple or the Cedar Park Express lifts (or both) were shut down because of staffing issues, limiting access to the North Bowl. We pay good money to ski at Schweitzer. It’s the least they can do to make sure the lifts are adequately staffed so we don’t have to make the long traverse down the Cat Track, then hike over to North Bowl just to make a run. I totally understand that COVID-19 is still a reality, especially when it comes to staffing, but with the millions of dollars Schweitzer makes off of us every year, you’d think they’d plan for these contingencies and keep the lifts running. 8 /


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On Something and SDRs By Sandy Compton Reader Columnist At Oakland Airport, I await a flight to Spokane, the last leg home from Seattle. It’s a roundabout way to get there, but it fits the day, which has been roundabout also. I still like to fly, but there are a number of SDRs that go with flying these days that I could do without. “SDR,” by the way, stands for Stupid Damn Rule. I start the day learning an SDR: Bags can’t be checked with the airline until four hours before departure. Got it. Won’t make that mistake again. I go back to the hotel, and check my bag at the front desk. This takes 40 minutes and another 40 when I retrieve my bag before returning to the airport. Counting the 40 minutes it took to learn the SDR, I lost two hours of a perfectly good Saturday morning I’d planned to spend in downtown Seattle. Yesterday, I spent a maddeningly unproductive hour trying to upgrade software on my computer. After we leave Seattle and fly up to the mandatory 10,001 feet before turning our electronics back on (is this an SDR?), I try to connect with the onboard WiFi, watching the reload wheel spin and spin as my 9-year-old pinhead Mac battles it out for bandwidth. It loses. At Oakland, it won’t shake hands with the free WiFi at all. Instead, Boingo Hotspot hijacks my modem again and again. I want to find its little electronic soul, rip it out and recycle it. We are at the mercy of our electronics. And SDRs. In its defense, the electronic revolution has made life better in a number of ways. We shoot words and images across the void at will. The communica-

tions device in my lap pushed me further into the writing world than I might have gone otherwise. My friends and I communicate via Facebook, email and text. Sometimes, we even arrange to talk to each other. It’s also made the publishing and writing world careless about the final product, less discriminatory about what gets printed — on paper or electronically — and less trustworthy. Remember what Abe Lincoln said: “Don’t believe everything you read on the internet.” And God forbid our devices don’t work instantly or all the time. Meanwhile, back in Seattle, after reclaiming my bag at

the hotel and returning to the airport, I trip over said bag and fall on my face in the courtesy bus landing area. Good Samaritans rush to my aid, helping me pick up various accoutrements spilled out of my backpack — headphones, headlamp, camera charger, M&Ms — stuffing them back into my pack as I get a handle on my camera and which way is up. I am stunned at first, then angry and disgusted with myself. I am grateful for the assist— but I edge toward seething. But Something steps in, and then it is OK. Something — with a capital S. Whatever you may or may not think about Spirit, and whatever it might be, I still encounter it in my life on a regular basis. It is Something I know not what, try as I might to have figured it out, but it is a helpful Something. This is not a whole lot to hold on to some days, but it’s all I have. And all I really need. So... Our tendency as humans is to try to quantify everything, often with SDRs, but some things can’t be quantified. In the myriad names of Something, many SDRs have been made, but

it’s doubtful that anyone really knows what Something is up to. When I start to think I do, I am often disappointed. But, it seems to me that just about the time I’m suffering something I really have no control over, Something steps in and saves me from extra misery. A distinct image from my wait at SeaTac is of a thin young woman in black yoga pants dragging a roll-around suitcase with one hand and holding her cell phone in front of her with the other as if it was a compass — which maybe it was. Maybe that’s her Something. It might not look like mine, but if it works for her, Something bless her. Here’s to more run-ins with Something, whatever It might be, and fewer SDRs. I think this world could use both. Sandy Compton is the editor and publisher at Blue Creek Press and author of 11 books of fiction and nonfiction. His latest is The Dog With His Head On Sideways, available at Sandpoint bookstores, and online at or Amazon.

KNPS presentation on botany By Reader Staff The Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society is hosting the program “A Simple Invention that Transformed Botany and Changed the World,” presented by Preston Andrews of KNPS on Saturday, Jan. 15 at 9:45 a.m. The program will be presented both in-person at the East Bonner County Library’s main branch, located at 1407 Cedar St. in Sandpoint, and on Zoom. Andrews is program coordinator and vice president of the board of KNPS, as well as an

emeritus professor of horticulture from Washington State University, an avid gardener and student of plants. He will introduce attendees to a simple invention for conveying plants, based on the astute observations and promotion by an amateur English plantsman, that helped build empires, fed colonies, introduced beloved garden plants, spread invasive species and then the means to control them. The presentation will also be recorded for later viewing on the Kinnikinnick Native Plant

Society’s YouTube channel. The program is co-sponsored by Sandpoint Parks and Recreation and the East Bonner County Library District. To register for the online version of the program on Zoom go to: COVID-19 protocols for in-person attendance: Please attend only if you are fully vaccinated and feeling well. Masks are highly recommended, except when eating or drinking.


Upcoming Sandpoint Parks and Rec. programming By Reader Staff Sandpoint Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces will be offering the following programming in January and February 2022: Little Dribblers basketball (grades 1 and 2). This clinic style program is designed to introduce kids to the sport of basketball, teaching the basics of the game with a heavy emphasis on dribbling and ball handling. Play is on Wednesdays, Feb. 23-March 30 at Kootenai Elementary School (301 Sprague St., in Kootenai) from 4-5:30 p.m. for first-graders and 5:30-7 p.m. for second-graders. Register by Monday, Jan. 17. Fee: $34.50 ($5.25 non-resident fee). Scholarships and sibling discounts are available. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and volunteers are needed for this program. Sign up to volunteer during online registration. No special basketball background is needed, just a genuine desire to engage with the special child in your life. We have a complete step-bystep guide and a coordinator to help with drills and keep everything running smoothly. A red/white nylon mesh reversible sports jersey will be required. They may be purchased online or at the Parks and Recreation Department if you do not already have one. Red-andwhite reversible jerseys from other organizations may also be used. Jerseys cost $14.50. Sandpoint Parks Rec. is hiring for the following positions: youth basketball coordinator $15/hr, Little Dribblers coordinator $15/ hr, youth basketball officials $12/hr. Applica-

tion Deadline is Friday, Jan. 21. Apply online at under “Job Opportunities.” For more information call 208-263-3613. Open gym basketball for adults and youth. Open gym is held on Sundays at the Sandpoint High School Gym (410 S. Division Ave.) and continues through March 13 (No open gym on Sunday, Feb. 6). Adults play 4:30-6 p.m. and pay a $2/player fee at the door. Youth (grades 3-12) play 3-4:30 p.m. for free. Schweitzer Own the Night Twilight Ski Program with Sandpoint Parks and Recreation, Fridays and Saturdays Jan. 7-March 5, Jan. 16 and Feb. 20 from 3-7 p.m. Half the proceeds from online Twilight ticket sales, made under the option to support Sandpoint Parks and Rec., will benefit the Sandpoint Parks and Recreation Youth Scholarship program. Fee: $20. Find tickets online at Tickets are valid for the date specified during purchase. Bring your eTicket QR code to a Schweitzer pick-up box located on the ticket window or Ski and Ride Center decks to redeem your ticket for the day. After your order is complete, there will be a link to your eTicket(s) on the confirmation email. Download the eTicket on your phone for paperless redemption at the pick-up boxes. If you will not have your phone, please print the eTicket voucher(s) with the QR code and bring it to the pick-up box for redemption. Community garden plots. Last year’s plot tenants in good standing will receive first right of refusal on their plot for the upcoming

2022 season. Online reservations are currently open. The community garden (located at Highway 2 and Lake Street) offers both 4-foot by 8-foot plots for $26 and 7-foot by 7-foot plots for $31.50. Supply is extremely limited. Make your reservation on the Parks and Rec. website: Programs beginning in February: CPR/AED with Optional First Aid. For ages 16 to adult or ages 12-15 with an adult guardian. American Health and Safety Institute’s CPR/AED with optional First Aid is a general community course for individuals with little or no medical training, who need a CPR/ AED and or First Aid card for work, OSHA requirements, school or personal knowledge. This course meets American Heart Association guidelines. Classes are offered the first Monday of every other month. Register by Thursday, Feb. 3 for the Monday, Feb. 7 class. Located at Sandpoint City Hall Council Chambers (1123 Lake St.), the class meets 4-6 p.m. for CPR/ AED and 6-8 p.m. for First Aid. Fee: $35 CPR/ AED, with additional $25 First Aid option. For Parks and Rec. program registration and other community programs visit the Sandpoint Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces website at, visit the Parks and Rec. office at 1123 Lake St. or call 208-263-3613. Panhandle Health District recommends following CDC guidance for slowing the spread of COVID-19: stay home if sick, reduce physical closeness when possible, wear a mask if possible and clean hands often.

Snow removal planning By Reader Staff With more than eight inches of new snowfall overnight and rain with warm temperatures melting the snowpack over the past week, Sandpoint street crews have had to cease using snow gates. Gates are not effective with the amount and weight of the current snowpack, according to a news release from the city of Sandpoint. Crews are in an all-city plow, first working on residential streets, then returning to priority routes and main arterials. When gates aren’t used, it creates a berm in driveways and the city stated that it recognizes and understands “the challenges and frustrations that creates, especially with the wet heavy snow.” The city’s highest priority is ensuring that the streets are passable for emergency services. With the build-up of slush that will freeze overnight when temperatures decrease, plowing the snow floor in driving lanes is critical. Citizen assistance in this effort is requested as follows: • Park on the even address side of the street only, unless posted otherwise; • Move vehicles on the street at least once

in 24 hours; • Move recreational vehicles, basketball hoops, boats and trailers of the streets; • Keep sidewalks, ADA ramps, mailboxes and fire hydrants clear of snow; • Avoid trash containers in the street — use the driveway as an alternative; • Avoid shoveling or blowing snow onto streets; • Assist your neighbors, especially our seniors, who may not be able to remove the berm on their driveway so they can get out. City crews will continue plowing streets 24 hours a day and will ensure city-maintained pathways and trails will be plowed as well. Sandpoint’s full snow removal plan and priority street routes is available on its website at Regular snow removal updates are provided on the city’s website and through the Engage Sandpoint mobile app, which can be downloaded in the Playstore for Android devices or the Apple Store. Community resource officers are actively identifying vehicle obstructions and priority sidewalks that have not been shoveled. Vehicles that have not been moved within 24 hours

will be ticketed and ongoing violations will result in towing and impound. Tickets may also be issued for vehicles not parked on the even address side of the street. Citizens with questions or concerns about snow removal are invited to contact the city’s snow hotline at 208-920-7669 (SNOW).

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/ 9

Mad about Science:

Brought to you by:

The science and importance of reading

Part II

By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist Today’s article is a deeper dive into how your brain processes reading. Due to the nature of the complexity of neuroscience, much of this article will be condensed, and there will likely be several gaps in the facts. Our brains are extremely complex organs, so covering them in detail in fewer than 1,000 words would be virtually impossible. If you’re curious to learn more detailed information about how our brains work, head to the library and check out one of its many medical and scientific resources, including The Great Courses DVDs, books and documentaries. Last week, we learned that reading helps strengthen our brains in a way similar to how we bulk up our muscles through lifting weights. While vaguely alike, the actual processes involved are extremely different. Our muscles are pretty simple: They’re a collection of cells arranged into fibrous tissue designed to expand and contract, which allows us to exert force and manipulate the world around us (or, in some cases, like the heart, the world inside us). When these cells are damaged through use, new cells form to take their place. The more frequently this happens, such as with exercise or a tough labor job, the more your body produces these cells to adapt to the changing conditions and make future tears less likely — one of the many contributing factors to why you may see a plateau effect when exercising. Brain cells are unique among other cells in our bodies. Most cells are round, but brain cells — 10 /


/ January 13, 2022

also called neurons — are somewhat rounded with a number of branch-like arms called dendrites and long tail-like structures called axons. Neurons are designed to create vast webs and connections with one another, almost like roads inside your skull. Axons function like interstate highways linking cities, while dendrites are similar to country backroads feeding into the city, or the nucleus of the cell. Interstate highways are great, but they don’t amount to much if there aren’t any backroads to gather all of the resources like grain from farms and logs from timberland and consolidate them in the city. In the case of your neurons, these things are moving and collecting chemicals to help you calculate things, recall memories and perform actions. Some neurons can use the axons to travel, transporting their chemical resources and energy and moving around your brain. In doing so, they’ll rearrange things, set up shop and expand their own networks to create new and optimized connections within your brain. So what exactly does that mean, and how does it pertain to reading? It means that our bodies adapt to the situations in which we put them. Our brain cells adapt more quickly than any other cells in our entire body, while also living longer than any other cell we have. Your neurons optimize their positioning, network connections and circuitry based on your current situation and how you are utilizing your brain. Scrolling through social media is kind of like snacking on candy for our brains. It gives us little rushes when we scroll past

things that make us laugh, which spark little shots of serotonin and dopamine, or making us upset when we scroll past a family member’s overtly political and factually questionable diatribe. This doesn’t really provide our brains any sustenance or exercise, but our brains enjoy it because of the immediate gratification provided by inputting a simple action and retrieving a randomized result. Taking time to sit down and read a book triggers completely different areas of your brain, while offering similar short-term results. Time we spend reading material that genuinely challenges us triggers multiple areas of our brain. We’re translating a written code into spoken language, which triggers both the language centers and the parts of our brain that work to unwrap puzzles. As these neurons are stimulated, they’re redirected to perform more of these actions in anticipation of repeated behavior in the future. That means your brain is essentially saying: “We’re in the middle of a problem. I’m going to reward myself with happy chemicals for solving pieces of the problem, and I will also shuffle around some processes to make these problems easier to solve and more rewarding moving forward.” Luckily for us, many of the problems we encounter in life use the same optimizations that we gain from reading meaningful content. This includes decoding messages, solving puzzles, how to comprehend complicated emotions like empathy and critically thinking about our environments. Studies have shown that stimulating these parts of your

brain can help stave off things like dementia, improve memory and even slow the progression of Alzheimer’s. Those are some pretty huge rewards for very little investment; it would be like saying you could buy a Malibu mansion by just tossing your pocket change into a bucket twice a week for a couple of years. Have you given my “10 days of reading books instead of social media” challenge a

try? Maybe you’re struggling and just haven’t found the right book? If you’re afraid to ask for help or suggestions for fear of judgment, don’t worry; I’m an adult man that’s currently reading a children’s book about dragons. If I can admit that to an audience of 4,000-plus readers, then you have nothing to worry about when asking your local librarian for reading suggestions. Stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner Don’t know much about books • Jane Austen had a knack for brewing her own beer. She used molasses to give her brews a sweeter taste. • 451 degrees Fahrenheit isn’t actually the temperature at which paper burns. Bradbury was misinformed when he was choosing a title for Fahrenheit 451. That’s the temperature at which paper will combust (that is, undergo a flameless heat reaction). Paper actually burns (that is, bursts into flame) at between 424 and 475 degrees F. • Harper Lee was Truman Capote’s assistant when he was writing In Cold Blood. She was in charge of managing his 8,000 pages of notes, as well as interviewing townspeople who were too suspicious to tell him anything. She later went on to write To Kill a Mockingbird. • Suzanne Collins claims she came up with the idea for The Hunger Games when she was channel surfing, switching between footage of the war in Iraq and reality TV. • Mystery author Agatha Christie once disappeared for two weeks

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in 1926 after her first husband announced he wanted a divorce. Christie’s car was found abandoned and more than 15,000 volunteers undertook a manhunt. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle even consulted a psychic. She was found in a hotel under an assumed name (which was borrowed from her husband’s mistress) and never offered any explanation — not even in her autobiography. • Hans Christian Andersen was a fan of Charles Dickens, but the feeling was not mutual. Dickens accepted Andersen’s request to sleep in his spare room when he visited Britain, but Andersen overstayed his welcome. After he left, Dickens wrote on the mirror in the room where Andersen had stayed, “Hans Christian Andersen slept in this room for five weeks — which seems to the family AGES!” • James Joyce wrote with huge blue pencils and crayons, lying on his stomach in bed, wearing a big white coat. This likely contributed to his notoriously poor eyesight, which required 25 surgeries over the course of his life.


Welcome to the Sandpoint Reader’s first-ever 208 Fiction contest, in which we invited any and all writers to submit a work of fiction totaling exactly 208 words for consideration by an esteemed panel of local judges. Those judges included Sandy Compton, Emily Erickson and Bret Johnson, who read more than two dozen entries and ascribed points to their top picks which, when aggregated, resulted in first, second and third place, as well as six honorable mentions (including one from the Reader staff). About the judges: Compton began writing creatively as a teen. His essays first found publication in the 1980s, and his first editing project was The Cinderella Tree, by Werner Mayr, published by Keokee in 1991. His first book of fiction was published that same year. He’s been writing, editing, designing and publishing ever since. His website is Erickson is a writer and creator by day and a ravenous consumer of fiction by night. She’s responsible for the “Emily Articulated” column in the Sandpoint Reader and has had her writing featured in various publications and platforms nationwide. Johnson is a short story aficionado and sometimes dabbler. He teaches English at Lake Pend Oreille High School. Entrants paid $5 per piece, with first place winning $150 in cash and second and third place finishers receiving gift certificates courtesy of the Reader and its advertisers. We enjoyed every one of the entries. Thanks to all those who participated and we extend our hearty congratulations to the winners. — Reader Staff

First Place

Winter Mask

Winner of $1 cash prize 50 !

By Jeff Keenan I was driving home from work, listening to Enya and crying; it was a pretty standard Tuesday. The sun was down and the rain threatened to turn to ice at any moment. In the roundabout I caught a glimpse of a woman as my headlights illuminated the inside of her truck. Our masks tend to fall away when we’re in our cars, heading home, worrying, daydreaming of tropic breezes, reminiscing sweet moments, or even channeling our frustrations toward other drivers. Sometimes, our faces open like windows. The woman’s face, filtered through my tears, was warped, as if seen through a funhouse mirror. Her somber eyes reflected defeat, surrender, and a sullen calm. No funhouse mirror can hide our bad vibrations; it can only make them seem strange. My headlights were past her in a flash, and perhaps I was projecting, I’m not sure, but I felt that she was wishing of being held, not in any sexual or romantic way, but like a baby at night, awakened, but facing lingering dream visions and praying for the darkness to end. If I’d pulled over and tried to do this, however, she might have run me down with her truck. I wiped my face, turned Enya up, and headed home.

Notes from the judges:

Sandy Compton: I like this piece for its sense of time and place and the way it reflects our real lives. It’s a bit quirky, as well, revealing how the narrator — quirky themselves — views their world.

Emily Erickson: I couldn’t pass up acknowledging such a stellar opening line as, “I was driving home from work, listening to Enya and crying; it was a pretty standard Tuesday.” I appreciated the empathetic lens of this piece, and the truth found in the simple shared experience of being alone in your car.

Bret Johnson: It’s been a tough couple of years. This sliceof-life story captures our humanity, held in check, as it were, by our fear of otherness. Besides, who among us couldn’t use a hug?

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Anton’s Holiday Prayer By Dick Cvitanich Anton considered a decision before praying. Should he call upon God or Jesus; it was like choosing between a Chevrolet and Ford. Based upon previous religious experiences, he considered them alike, although he believed God offered more horsepower because of His overall size. God had responded impressively when

Anton was accused of inappropriate touching with a former student, accelerating from zero to sixty in no time; leaving the allegations behind like wind-blown trash. Jesus had proven equally effective, showing his talent when helping Anton win the club’s golf tournament. In addition, God’s respect for rest intrigued Anton. Did he play

softball, hike, barbecue or hang with angels on that seventh day? Jesus, on the other hand, presented as one who worked every day, forging ahead like a conscientious hedge fund manager. He never smiled, at least Anton didn’t recall any paintings of a smiling Jesus. Honest? Yes. Smiling? Never. Anton had visited dozens of museums

Judges’ notes:

and churches in Italy and couldn’t recall one happy faced Jesus. God was the final choice because He possessed the stronger hand and a sense of humor. He was no George Carlin, but he did create giraffes, opossums and politicians. More than ever the world needed someone with a sense of humor. Amen.


You Can’t Hang Dead Men By Ben Woodbridge

Bill, with his sons beside him, sat in the wagon. The wagon moved down main street as The Marshal rode towards it. Bill was a harsh man, had always been a grim man, even before the last few months. Bill’s hollow eyes watched The Marshal approach. “Bill.” “Marshal.” 12 /


/ January 13, 2022

“Bill… Been out east beyond the river lately?” An unsaid question hung between them in the cold morning light. Bill moved the reins to his left hand, his right moving to rest on the handle of his revolver. “I’ve been out hunting. Marshal...” Contempt filled Bill’s voice. “Hunting what, Bill?” Silence greeted him in

reply. “Bill, let the law bring in justice. For Emily.” Bill lowered his head, the brim of his hat hiding his eyes from The Marshal. “Don’t say her name.” Now anger filled his voice. The Marshal’s hand now found his revolver. “Have faith in the law, Bill. We all want the men responsible hanging from a rope.”

Winner of gift certifi $50 c to Eichard ate t’s Pub

“I no longer believe you can deliver that. Marshal...” The Marshal stared back intently, sighed, and moved aside. The wagon again started moving, passing by The Marshal. “Father, why don’t you believe …” His oldest son started, then stopped. Bill stared ahead. “Because, boys. You can’t hang dead men.”

Compton: This is funny, insightful, personal and creatively sacrilegious. It calls upon me to think, as well. The writing is good, and — this is important — I laughed several times. Erickson: I liked the cheekiness of this piece and the general commentary on one person’s relationship to prayer and religion. I could feel the smirk of the writer as he/she/ they concluded with “giraffes, opossums, and politicians” and liked the thought experiment of God’s vs Jesus’ work ethic and downtime exploits.

Winner of gift certifi $20 c to MickDuf ate f’s Judges’ notes:

Compton: I would like to nominate You Can’t Hang Dead Men for the Louis Lamour Award.

Erickson: I enjoyed how convincing the narrative was in this piece, and how the writer was able to fit an entire story arch into his/her/their 208 words. Although just a bite of a greater storyline, it managed to feature developed characters and a plot twist. Johnson: Nothing pulls a story along like dialogue. Even though we can see the end from the beginning, it’s still satisfying to read the titular last line, its speaker complicit, resolute.

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honorable mentions

The Tinman Raphael the Tinman loved the sound of Uriel the Timekeeper’s voice. He loved the way she dotted her eyes and crossed her tees with the shape of her lips, the cadence in her eyes, the bend of her swan-like neck. Raff loved to hear Uriel sing, her vocal chords swooping and swaying like a starling in the winter, rising above the clouds and then falling, slow and gentle, like a thousand snowflakes, each one an individual miracle. Raphael, a box of a droid with a can do attitude, was a master at making do. When his base squeaked he found a case of WD-40 and added a monthly lube job to his maintenance routine. When his left telescoping arm got stuck in the extended mode, he used his outer gripping arm to rip it out of place, and replaced it with a folding ladder device

that he could tuck into what he called his belly, next to his drills, wrenches, screwdrivers, and hammers. If Tinman were in charge, he would have a mouth, lips, tongue and vocal chords, so that he could give Uriel the Timekeeper the greatest gift — a twoway conversation that danced between them, a sensual tango, a smooth waltz, a feisty jig, a long march. Erickson: I loved the imagery and descriptive style of this piece, and the other-worldly stage the writer subtly sets—all while focusing on the relationship between two interesting characters. With a Wall-e sort of quality, I found myself rooting for Raff, not needing to have much context to know he’s a droid worth investing in.

Dream Drive “Get a life, Bert!” I slam the door on her cruel words, tired of her arguments. But as I sit alone in the garage, in my crumbling naugahyde recliner, next to mother’s equally decrepit hand-me-down car, I begin to wonder if she’s right. Studying the old sedan with disgust, I begin to daydream. With elbows resting on stained brown armrests and hands positioned at 10:00 and 2:00, I fantasize that the gray flannel Ford has been replaced with something Porsche-like, turbo charged, and righteously red. I mind maneuver this car out of the garage. The engine, fuel injected with high-octane adrenaline, begs release. Clutching the cold, steely gearshift, I drop it into first and stomp down on the gas, fishtailing a scorched trail of rubber and smoke. The G-forces of acceleration force me

By Desiree Aguirre

By Patricia Hofmann

deep into the plush, black leather, and I become the demon of speed, the master of fast, eating up the pavement. The wind races through my hair as the horizon beckons, and I howl at the vehicular power at my command. I am the pilot of this dream machine, racing down the road to sweet freedom, headlong towards blessed oblivion, looking for that sweet spot between highway and sky. Get a life indeed!

Compton: Walter Mitty lives. I like the fantasy, and I like the writing, particularly the descriptives. There are some stellar phrases here, and they put us in the passenger seat.

VHS The tripod withstood many winters, finally collapsing long after anyone had the interest or ability to watch what it’d captured. The camcorder contained magnetic tape; every time it reached the end, a little gadget would click and rewind the tape, and it would begin recording again. In summertime, critters would scatter at the mechanical sounds. Its angle changed after the video recorder fell to the ground. Most of the film was a blurred white after that — snow covered it for nine months out of the year — or pitch black — during the winter months. This made for a sad film. The camera experienced nothing, I think. It was uncovered by an Arctic fox one day and dragged to her den. Her nine pups sniffed it, licked it, and made a great fuss over the machine. When it

Reflections It was close, but the community and the city pulled together and succeeded in purchasing the University property, saving it from development. The eighty acres of exceptional farmland and wildlife habitat, with a year-round creek, was dedicated as a community farm, nature park and wildlife sanctuary. Now, a decade later, the wisdom of this decision is clear as food production flourishes, families picnic under stately shade trees, children splash in the creek, bicyclists pedal quietly down bike paths and numerous birds and animals find refuge. Local schools hold regular outdoor classrooms where students learn about and engage in ecology, biology, soil science and organic agriculture. There is a mycology project growing edible and medicinal mushrooms, herb gardens, pollinator gardens, bee hives, a seeds savings bank, community composting

By Jeff Keenan clicked and whirred to rewind the tape, the pups watched it attentively; Mom had gone out for food. It was nearly pitch black in the den; the light signifying that the camcorder was recording had burned out years ago. The pups were soon piled around the warm machine. When spring came, the camera emerged ready for her life on the tundra: white fur, small eyes, and shortened tripod legs — to retain heat.

Johnson: This story features a fully-realized narrative arc—no small feat provided the spartan word allowance. Is the melding of animal and machine social commentary? Perhaps.

By Chris Park and soil building projects. Currently, the agricultural fields and orchards are meeting over 25% of our town’s produce and fruit needs. Potato sheds have been built for root crop storage, solar dryers preserve food using no electricity and greenhouses with solar collectors operate year-round. We have a thriving farmers market and fully stocked food bank. Food security and the well-being of our community has prospered. To think this land would’ve been covered with homes no local could afford. Now that’s criminal! Erickson: I appreciated the relevance of this piece and the “I wish it wasn’t fiction” quality of the subject matter. It speaks about the general loss of missed opportunities (within our community, and really, everywhere), and to the short-sightedness of boomtown development over community development.

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MLK’s ‘I Have a Dream’ speech in its entirety By Ben Olson Reader Staff Some moments in American history will be remembered forever. One such moment occurred on Aug. 28, 1963, about 100 years after President Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation freeing the slaves. In 1963, a young man named Martin Luther King Jr. climbed the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. and shared his vision of America in front of more than 200,000 people who had come to listen. The audience was a mix of races, genders, ages and demographics. They came by plane, train, bus, car and foot, demanding equal rights for Black Americans. The speech they heard that day became legendary. It became a rallying cry for peaceful protest, for equality and for a nation that followed its ideals, instead of one that excluded its less privileged citizens. Martin Luther King Jr. Day is Jan. 17, and we present Dr. King’s entire speech here to help his words ring for future generations to see the America that is still possible, even amid so much strife and division:


am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation. Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand today, signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of their captivity. But one hundred years later, the Negro still is not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languished in the corners of American society and finds himself in exile in his own land. And so we’ve come here today to dramatize a shameful condition. In a sense we’ve come to our nation’s capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men, yes, black men as well as white men, would be guaranteed the unalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happi14 /


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ness. It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check, a check which has come back marked insufficient funds. But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. And so we’ve come to cash this check, a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to make real the promises of democracy. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood. Now is the time to make justice a reality for all of God’s children. It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment. This sweltering summer of the Negro’s legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. 1963 is not an end, but a beginning. And those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges. But there is something that I must say to

my people, who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice: in the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred. We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again, we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to a distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny, and they have come to realize that their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone. And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall always march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, “When will you be satisfied?” We can never be satisfied as long as the Negro is the victim of the unspeakable horrors of police brutality. We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro’s basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as our children are stripped of their selfhood and robbed of their dignity by signs stating for whites only. We cannot be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters

Left: A marker etched into stone where Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered his “I Have a Dream” speech in 1963 in Washington, D.C. Courtesy photo. Right: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Photo courtesy Wikipedia. and righteousness like a mighty stream. I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow jail cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive. Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to South Carolina, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair. I say to you today, my friends, so even though we face the difficulties of today and tomorrow , I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream. I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.” I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

< see MLK, Page 15 >

< MLK, con’t from Page 14 > I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of “interposition” and “nullification,” one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers. I have a dream today. I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight , and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together. This is our hope. This is the faith that I go back to the South with. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day. This will be the day, this will be the day when all of God’s children will be able to

sing with new meaning: “My country, ‘tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim’s pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring!” And if America is to be a great nation, this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania. Let freedom ring from the snow-capped Rockies of Colorado. Let freedom ring from the curvaceous slopes of California. But not only that: Let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia. Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee. Let freedom ring from every hill and molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring. And when this happens, and when we allow freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God’s children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual: “Free at last! Free at last! Thank God Almighty, we are free at last!”

< FICTION con’t from Page 12 >

honorable mentions

Pocket Adventure It was a warm, sunny day and I wanted to go to Grandma’s but, it was my little sister’s turn. I was sad it wasn’t my turn and I love Grandma, she laughs a lot. Then I got an idea. Dad was making a shrink ray, “Hey, this could be a test drive. I could use the shrink ray and jump into Grandma’s jacket pocket?” I climbed upstairs, went into the attic, and stood on the pod, pushed the button and ZAP!! There I was as tiny as a mouse. The problem was, how to get back downstairs. I thought of the toy grappling hook in my pocket I had been playing with earlier. I took it out of my pocket, pressed the button under the hook — SLING! It hooked and WHEE! I flew down.

By Levi Batchelor

(with a tiny bit of help from Grandma)

The second obstacle was the stairs where a Hot Wheel had been left. I jumped in, pushed and… went down. It was a very bumpy ride. The third obstacle was climbing to the hanging jacket. You know what I did? I am an excellent climber having practiced on trees. I climbed with my hands and feet to the top of her jacket pocket, let go and dropped into the cushion of her pocket. Reader Staff: We chose 8-year-old Levi’s entry as our “honorable mention” because we love the imaginative idea, his stellar use of onomatopoeia and action words, the excellent story pacing and because we just know that he had a great time writing it — as we did reading it. Keep writing, Levi!

Ode to Wood by Jubilee… By Lizbeth Zimmerman My time has come after witnessing much in the hundred or so moons I’ve slept under. I didn’t expect to end up like this, like all who have gone before me — firewood, fuel for industry, clear cut for cattle, coffee and palm oil, milled into boards, chopsticks, toothpicks. Turned, lathed, sanded and lacquered. Pulped into paper and hoarded during hard times. Look at me, I am the lungs of the world, my naked branches look like lungs when they shed the leaves that shade you when it is hot. I shelter the creatures that give you comfort and wake you with their morning song. Oh the palette I share with every shade of greens, reds and yellows. Without me, the Wood Wide Web

would not exist. Who would feed where terrestrial life began hundreds of millions of moons ago? The decaying mass of my ancestors giving everything to the fungus, lichens, bacteria and mycelium and in return, sustaining more life. I sense a transition. I feel a hot, burning sensation in my bark and hear glee in their tiny voices. I topple over and am dragged away. Soon I will be covered in twinkling lights, ornaments and tinsel. Boxes made of me, wrapped in me share my destiny. Compton: This is good stuff. To think like a tree might takes some imagination, and to think like a Christmas tree takes more.

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Right: This winning photo captured how many of us felt after the week of snowstorms was over. Photo by Kelli Crawford Smithers. Middle left: The snow ghost trees were in full bloom on Schweitzer on Jan. 8. Photo by Edelmira Calderon. Bottom left: You know it was a good storm when you can make such an impressive igloo. Photo by Geri Schaaf, with her grandsons posing inside. Bottom middle: Winter in the mountains is always an amazing view — especially from the back of a snowmobile. Photo by Chad Tompkins. Bottom right: I swear, there are cars underneath there. Photo by Brooke Macumber.

Winning photo!

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This photo earned Kelli Crawford Smithers a $25 gift certificate to Eichardt’s Pub. Thanks for playing, everyone!

To submit a photo for a future edition, please send to

Top right: A unique aerial view of Garfield Bay, with the snow-capped Cabinet Mountains in the background. Photo by Alden Bansemer. Middle left: A family day on Schweitzer as they ride up the Quad. Photo by Corey Johnson. Bottom left: A view of the winter sun over Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille from atop Schweitzer Mountain. Photo by Jason Welker. Bottom right: You’re sitting on top of the world, pooch! Photo by Kristin Carlson.

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events January 13-20, 2021

THURSDAY, January 13

Fundraiser for the Scotchmans 5:30-8:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness is turning 17 years old! Celebrate with beer.

FriDAY, January 14 Live Music w/ Scott Taylor 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Singer-songwriter multi-instrumentalist

Live Music w/ John Firshi 7-10pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Unique collection of songs and style

SATURDAY, January 15 Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz 7-9pm @ The Back Door 8th Annual Fatty Flurry Fest 10pm @ Section 16 trails (s. of Bonners) Group rides and fat bike rentals available with reservation. 208-255-4496 for info Live Music w/ Mobius Riff 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Classical, jazz, folk and rock

Winterfest seasonal gathering 11am-3pm @ Pine Street Woods To kick off a new season of Kaniksu Folk School, Kaniksu Land Trust is throwing a family gathering at Pine Street Woods with live bluegrass music, a firemaking class, a winter plant walk and chili contest and feed. It’s all free!

Global Cinema Cafe: Driveways 7:30pm @ The Panida Theater A lonesome boy accompanies his mother on a trip to clean out his late aunt’s house, and ends up forming an unexpected friendship with the retiree who lives next door.

KNPS presentation 9:45am @ Sandpoint Library / virtual A presentation for the Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society titled, “A simple invention that tranformed botany and changed the world.” Live Music w/ Weibe Jammin 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority A blend of unique musical flavors

Live Music w/ Right Front Burner 9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge Get your groove on and shake your booty

SunDAY, January 16

Sandpoint Chess Club 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am

Global Cinema Cafe: Driveways 2:30pm @ The Panida Theater

Panida volunteer training 4:15pm @ The Panida Theater The Panida is in desperate need of event volunteers! There will be an open house training. There are open shifts for Banff, This Winter Night and more. Enjoy free events when scheduled to volunteer

monDAY, January 17

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

tuesDAY, January 18 wednesDAY, January 19

Live Music w/ Tim G. 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Piano Music 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Hear the grand played by the experts

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NAMI Far North general meeting 5:30pm @ VFW Hall (1325 Pine St.) This month’s speakers are Brenda Hammong and Sharon McMahon. Everyone is welcome to attend in person


Shades of gray By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff The ironies and contradictions in Passing, a 2021 Netflix film based on the 1929 novel by Nella Larsen, are apparent from the outset. The story leans into its internal conflict, the movie’s trailer stating that “nothing is black and white.” This, of course, used to advertise a black-and-white film about the Black and white worlds — racial, that is — of 1920s New York. The story begins at an upscale hotel restaurant, where Irene Redfield (Tessa Thompson) takes refuge from the hot city streets. There, she runs into childhood friend Clare (Kendry) Bellew, played by Ruth Negga. Both are Black women “passing” as white in the hotel, and when Clare invites Irene back to her room to catch up, it becomes clear that Clare’s passing extends beyond

the convenience of accessing a fancy tea room. She is married to a wealthy, racist white man who does not know of her true identity. In contrast, Irene lives a comfortably middle-class life in Harlem with her Black husband (a doctor) and their two sons. As the childhood friends reconnect, a mutual obsession with one another’s lifestyles begins to grow. Clare attends Harlem social events and forms bonds with Irene’s friends and family. Irene must confront her own feelings about race, wondering aloud what a white person — or someone passing as white — could want with her inner circle, all the while fighting with her husband as he attempts to educate their young children about the lynchings happening across the country. Tensions culminate when Irene asks Clare what she would do if her husband learned of her true

Netflix film Passing brings Nella Larson’s 1929 novel on race, friendship and deceit to life

racial background. Clare replies, sure and chipper, that she would simply move to Harlem and be the person she wants to be. When Clare’s husband does discover the truth, Irene’s true feelings are (possibly) shown as well, depending on one’s interpretation of the story’s final scene. Passing was filmed entirely in monochrome on a 4:3 aspect ratio, creating a vintage, elegant and timeless look. The music of 1920s Harlem provides an understated and era-appropriate soundtrack, adding audible color to scene changes and conversations in the street alike. Foreshadowing is rich throughout Passing, particularly in giving viewers a sense that things can only end badly as the tension builds in volume and velocity throughout the film. Thompson does a particularly good job in her role as the mother and wife who, thanks to the reintroduction of her

friend, begins to teeter on the edge of her steadfast, signature grace. The agent for that change is Clare, played beautifully and chaotically by Negga. Passing is the directorial debut of Rebecca Hall, who excels in bringing Larsen’s story to the screen. By the end, the figurative blackand-white of Passing is muddled in the mind of the viewer, burned into memory in literal black-and-white

Tessa Thompson, left, and Ruth Negga, right, in Passing. Courtesy photo. contrast. We can make assumptions about the story’s abrupt end, try to find the culprit and reason away the ache in the pit of our stomachs, but, ultimately, Passing has achieved its ultimate message: Good and evil, truth and deceit, love and hate — it’s all gray.

A kinder, gentler kind of film

Panida to screen hidden gem Driveways as part of Global Cinema Cafe series

the film unfolds in low tones as the two loners forge a friendship that helps bring both out of their shells. Cody is a fish out of water, somewhat sidelined and adrift as Living in a dramatic age when his hardworking single mother each day seems to bring some new Kathy (Hong Chau) has moved calamity or crisis, quiet displays of empathy are refreshing. That’s truer them to a small New York town to clean out her estranged and as many of us live lives that feel recently deceased sister’s house. more isolated than they once did, As Kathy excavates her strained either cloistered by the pandemic sibling relationship, in the process or cut off by the vitriol of the era. getting to know her sister postThe 2019 film Driveways, humously, Cody peeks out from screening at the Panida Theater behind porches and kicks around on Saturday, Jan. 15 and Sunday, sidelots, watching Jan. 16, is a gentle, the neighborhood sometimes wistful Driveways (NR) as it goes about its portrait of the pow- Saturday, Jan. 15, 7:30 p.m.; Sundy, Jan. 6, 2:30 p.m.; $8 adults, collective life. er of kindness to $7 students and seniors. Panida His attempts dispel loneliness. Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208at friendship with Centered on 263-9191, get tickets at panida. the local kids are a shy young boy org. Theater capacity will be limited to 225 guests per show. awkward at best, named Cody Advance tickets are recomand it’s clear that (Lucas Jaye) and mended, but not required. The elderly Korean Panida Theater strongly encour- Cody has long existed in the War veteran Del ages all guests to wear a mask, peripheral vision (Brian Dennehy), regardless of vaccine status.

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff

of adults. That said, he catches the eye of neighbor Del, who has also retreated into an interior existence but recognizes something of the same yearning for connection in Cody. As they get to know each other, the elder imparts his stories and life lessons, but also sees and listens to Cody, showing him what it feels like to have a friend. Driveways proved to be among the last for Dennehy, who died in 2020 at the age of 81. During his long career the legendary star won several Emmys and two Tony Awards for best actor, and critics have been near universal in announcing Driveways as among his best performances. The film itself has earned high praise, with a 99% critical rating and 83% audience score on, 3.5 stars from and even a 4-star rating from the likes of Rolling Stone. Some critics have referred to it as a “modest” film, but that’s

better put as an “unpretentious” film. There are no explosions, no hidden heinous crimes, no ulterior motives, no dangerous mysteries or even real villains. Rather, it’s a delicate vision of the human experience by director Andrew Ahn, who managed to create a film about kindness without descending into sentimentality. Audience’s emotions are not toyed with here, but treated with the dignity they deserve while the characters are

Courtesy photo. fully realized and free of cliche. While audiences, like their times, often gravitate toward bombast and violent spectacle, Driveways “feels like a salve right now,” as one reviewer described it. Another called it “a true balm.” If that sounds refreshing, then this hidden gem of a movie — part of the Panida’s Global Cinema Cafe series — is for you. January 13, 2022 /


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The Sandpoint Eater Grit and grits By Marcia Pilgeram Reader Columnist

Years (and years) ago, I was a bored teenager, visiting my father for what felt like an endless hot summer in the California desert. One day after he and my (wicked) stepmother left for work, I climbed the rafters in the garage to poke around in some boxes stored away on a plywood shelf. The dusty boxes yielded some fabulous treasures, including a Japanese kimono, foreign coins, black-and-white photos and other remnants of his time in World War ll. But the greatest treasure to behold was a well-worn copy of the novel, Mildred Pierce. I’m not sure why the tattered book was in the box of artifacts (perhaps loaded in a hasty move from one wife to another). Nevertheless, whenever the opportunity arose, I’d shin myself up into the rafters, nestle up in the corner and devour the spicy novel about a post-war housewife who starts up a home-based pie-baking business. The wholesale pie business is a hit with restaurateurs and, before long, Mildred makes enough money to open a chicken and waffle house. Eventually, she is successful beyond her dreams and builds a mecca of five popular restaurants. As much as I loved the salacious details about Mildred’s love life and her philandering husband, I was more mesmerized by the minutiae of her restaurants’ operations. And I later discovered that nearly as delicious as the book written by James Cain was the movie starring Joan Crawford, which earned her the Academy Award for best actress. It was not uncommon for down-on-their-luck women to 20 /


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reinvent themselves by opening restaurants, boarding houses, managing railroad commissaries and fancy tea rooms in real-life situations. Like the fictional eateries run by Mildred, many of these bold women filled with little more than grit and determination became wildly successful with their start-ups. For instance, around the turn of the 20th century, Alice Foote MacDougall began her enterprise with a small coffee house in Grand Central Terminal. She added waffles to her offerings and eventually turned her coffee roasting business into a New York City restaurant empire. Out West, women like Katherine Sara Sterrett Munra (Grandma Munra) were making a name for themselves, developing menus and standards for bus-

tling, turn-of-the-century hotels and railroad eateries. Grandma Munra operated a series of restaurants and railroad station houses. She became so beloved in the Portland, Ore. area that Munra Falls and Munra Creek in the Columbia Gorge were named in her honor. The revered epicurean James Beard began his restaurant life at the Gladstone Hotel in Portland, owned by his mother, Elizabeth. She oversaw the foods prepared by her loyal Chinese chef, Let. Beard wrote in his memoir, Delights and Prejudices, “Mother had an uncanny sense of food and the talent to show others how to prepare it. She loved to cook, eat and talk about food more than almost anyone else I have known. At the turn of the century, she had an internation-

al approach to food that would have been considered revolutionary in the past 10 years. When women were still subordinate and modest, Mother was forceful and fearless. She swept through the room or down a street with an air of determination and authority, and she met men on their own terms.” After browsing through the classifieds and spotting an ad that read “Chris Steakhouse for Sale,” another powerhouse of a woman, Ruth Fertel, mortgaged her home for $22,000 to purchase the New Orleans eatery. The divorcee, with a fierce entrepreneurial spirit, wanted to make a better life for her two sons. Shortly thereafter, her 60-seat restaurant burned to the ground. Undeterred, she quickly found a new restaurant and added her name, Ruth, to the

sign. Ten years later, at the urging of a loyal patron, she granted her first franchise in nearby Baton Rouge. My introduction to Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse was a business dinner in New Orleans in the mid-’90s. As someone who wants cold food at arctic temperatures and hot food to be helllike, my steak that was served on a 500-degree sizzling platter left a significant impression on my gastronomic mind. Since then, I have eaten at dozens of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouses but rarely stray from my two favorite entrées, the sizzling porterhouse or the shrimp and grits. Of the half dozen recipes shared by Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, its shrimp and grits isn’t one of them. I hope I do Ruth proud with mine.

mixture. Add the chicken stock to the shrimp mixture and simmer about 5 minutes. Add the cheese and butter to the grits, stir, turn off heat and cover.

Spoon the grits into individual, shallow bowls. Spoon shrimp over the grits and garnish with parsley, pimento and lemon zest.

Shrimp and grits A meal to celebrate Mardi Gras. Serve with crusty French bread and a chilled white wine. Serves 4-5.

INGREDIENTS: • 4 ½ cups water • 1 tsp kosher salt • 1 cup stone-ground yellow grits • 2 tbs unsalted butter • 2 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded • 4 bacon slices • 1 cup chopped yellow onion • 1 cup chopped green pepper • 3 cloves garlic, pressed and minced • 1 ½ pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined • 1 cup chicken stock • ¼ cup green onions, chopped (about 4) • 2 tablespoons pimentos or roasted red peppers • 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley juice and zest of 1 lemon

DIRECTIONS: Fry the bacon in a large sauté pan on medium heat until crispy. Remove the bacon and chop. Turn off heat, reserve bacon grease in pan. Cook the grits by bringing water to a boil in a medium pot. Add the salt. Slowly pour the grits into the boiling water, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, stirring constantly to avoid lumps. When all the grits are incorporated, turn the heat down to a low simmer and cook the grits, stirring often, for 35 minutes. When the grits have cooked for about 30 minutes, heat the sauté pan (with bacon grease) on medium-high heat, add the onion and green pepper and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add the bacon, garlic cloves and shrimp and toss to combine. Cook until shrimp is no longer transparent (3-5 minutes). Squeeze lemon juice over


This week’s RLW by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey

The golden ticket to fun

Growing Dreams Productions presents Willy Wonka the Musical

By Ben Olson Reader Staff

Hunter’s expert direction, with Musical Director Brownell and Quayle as choreographer, the About a decade ago, cuts in group truly captures the essence school funding forced the Sandof stagecraft and produces some point High School drama and of the best live plays in the region. music programs to think outComplete with a cast of about 50 side the box to ensure students’ students, with another 50 includcreative output wasn’t negatively ing stage crew and volunteers, affected. The result was Growing their productions feature intricate Dreams Productions, a collaboraset design, over-the-top costumes tion between Jeannie Hunter, Jon and ongoing musical rehearsals to Brownell and Taryn Ann Quayle, ensure each production gets the which produces notable plays most out of the talented students led by students at SHS. In short, taking part. Everything, from the Growing Dreams makes certain opening lights to the final curtain, that the show(s) will go on — and is operated by students under the indeed they have. direction of an adult. For its ninth production, GrowVolunteer Mimi Fueling said ing Dreams presents Willy Wonka each production serves to remind the Musical, a critically acclaimed her why she volunteers for Growplay capturing the essence of the ing Dreams. well-loved Roald Dahl book as “The kids absolutely love it was immortalized by the film it,” she said. “That’s one of Charlie and the Chocolate Factothe reasons I’m so happy to be ry. The musical will show at the involved and volunteer oodles Sandpoint High School auditorium of time. When you see those Friday-Saturday, Jan. 14-15 and kids go through auditions, doing Thursday, Jan. 20-Saturday, Jan. their monologues and singing, 22, with doors opening at evening it’s wonderful to see their inner shows at 7 p.m. strength. Once with a 7:30 p.m. Willy Wonka the Musical they get going, showtime. The it’s an amazing Friday-Saturday, Jan. 14-15; family matinee transformation. Thursday, Jan. 20-Saturday, Jan. doors will open 22; evening shows 7:30 p.m., You really see it matinee (Jan. 15) 2 p.m.; $12. at 1:30 p.m. and when they get into Sandpoint High School Audishowtime begins their makeup and torium, 410 S. Division Ave., get at 2 p.m. on Sat., costumes. That’s tickets at 15. my favorite part: dreamsproductions. Growing Seeing them transDreams productions aren’t your form themselves.” ordinary high school plays. Under Fueling said it costs quite a bit

to put on productions, with most of the funds going toward securing rights for the music and play. “The budget for these shows can be around $20,000,” she said. “PAFE [Panhandle Alliance for Education] has been a huge supporter for us. They’ve given us a grant for the last three plays and it’s been a significant chunk.” When she first got involved with Growing Dreams, Fueling said she was blown away by the caliber of talent shown by the students. “It’s incredible what these people and volunteers can do,” she said. “The singing is top notch and the costumes are just amazing.” During the 2018 production of Shrek, for example, Fueling said the crew brought in professional prosthetics and makeup. It was during Shrek, in fact, when the power failed during the final scene due to a malfunction with a smoke

Willy Wonka the Musical cast members rehearse at Sandpoint High School. Courtesy photo. machine. “The kids ended up finishing the last scene of the play on the picnic tables outside, with the audience around them,” she said. “They sang and when they were finished, they had the biggest ovation of all those shows.” Tickets are available at, but don’t delay as Growing Dreams productions often sell out. With ticket prices set at only $12, it’s a sweet deal to attend Willy Wonka the Musical — as much for the stellar acting as the high production value involved. “You should see the kids’ faces when I walk backstage and tell them they have a sold out show,” Fueling said. “They love playing to a packed house.”

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint Scott Taylor, Pend d’Oreille Winery, Jan. 14

Right Front Burner, 219 Lounge, Jan. 15

Local singer-songwriter Scott Taylor is an artist who pays respect to the greats who came before, happy to tout his influences and pay tribute in his gig work. From Neil Young to the Grateful Dead, James Taylor to Townes Van Zandt, Beck and more — Taylor’s music blends beloved works from the past with his own unmistakable sound to create something new, and something Sandpoint has come to love.

For more than a decade, Right Front Burner — a.k.a. RFB — has been bringing Sandpoint to the dance floor with its signature mix of funk, disco, rock and general high-energy groove. In short, when RFB shows up, it’s sure to be a party to remember. Feel the burn(er) with trio Paul Gunter, Dave Pecha and Alvah Street at the 219 Lounge on Saturday, Jan. 15 and, in case you’re new to RFB, prepare to experience

The multi-instrumentalist once told a regional magazine that his inspiration extends beyond his influences into broader concepts, like nature, spirituality and “crusty old gamblers who like to drink whisky and shoot guns.” Now that’s a style we can get behind. — Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey 5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., powine.

some of the finest musicianship around belting out one of the biggest sounds you’re likely to hear anywhere. — Zach Hagadone


My New Year’s resolution (to read at least 10 pages of a for-fun book per day) is off to a great start thanks to Emily Ruskovich’s 2017 novel Idaho. While the plotline of a dark family mystery keeps me turning the pages, so does Ruckovich’s stunning prose. Her characters are in turmoil, yet their strife is portrayed so beautifully that the reader can’t help but empathize and hope right along with them. I’m nearly halfway through and savoring it. No spoilers.


Throughline, a weekly podcast I recently discovered from NPR, is artfully done. The show’s mantra is “the past is never past” — that is, there is a throughline from history to the present. What can we learn from the headlines of days gone by and, more importantly, what have we — especially as Americans — refused to learn? Co-hosts Rund Abdelfatah and Ramtin Arablouei are great storytellers and interviewers. Find Throughline on all major listening platforms.


When my husband chose the original NCIS television series as our evening show a few months ago, I made the assumption that — as someone who rarely cares for crime shows — I could passively watch it while completing household tasks or scrolling through my phone. I was wrong. There’s a reason why NCIS has persisted, and why it has been reborn into countless variations. These Naval Criminal Investigative Service detectives are smart, funny and complex. I see the intrigue.

Saturday, Jan. 15; 9 p.m.-midnight; FREE; 21+. 219 Lounge, 219 N. First Ave., 208-, Listen at, more info at facebook. com/rightfrontburner. January 13, 2022 /


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The snow that binds us together By Ben Olson Reader Staff

From Northern Idaho News, January 6, 1914

WEDDING ENDS CASE OF FRED REIKEN HELD ON STATUTORY CHARGE, MARRIES COMPLAINING WITNESS Fred Reiken of Colburn, the young man who was recently brought here from Copeland charged with a serious offense, was married last Wednesday morning to the girl who was the complaining witness against him. Reiken was locked up recently after he had been living with Orabelle Bailey of Copeland. The girl’s mother was dead and her father found difficulty in handling her so when the charges were preferred against Reiken the girl was also brought to the jail here on a charge of incorigibility preferred by her father. When Reiken was taken before Judge Wood in probate court last Wednesday morning the girl’s father and Reiken’s parents talked the matter over with the result that the young people were married and the charges withdrawn. All parties concerned were of the opinion that the settlement of the matter in that way would be best and therefore the young people, instead of being branded for life, are happy together. 22 /


/ January 13, 2021

Last week’s snowstorms felt like traveling back in time — back to Old Sandpoint, when events like that would occur a half dozen times throughout a normal winter season. It seems we’re lucky to have one good blizzard a year these days, so it was nice to see the season in earnest again. Several times, as I leaned on a shovel to catch my breath while digging out, I looked around the neighborhood and watched all the bustling activity. A snowblower chugged cheerfully across the street, ejecting a plume of snow like a geyser. Teenagers spun their tires and turned lazy doughnuts in the intersection with smiles on their faces. A dog broke free of its owner’s hold on the leash and jumped for glory into a snowpile, disappearing for a moment before emerging like the abominable snowdog. Snow binds us together. It presses pause on all the petty nonsense we bicker about on social media and brings people out to interact with one another as we collectively dig ourselves out of the mountain of snow Mother Nature sent us. No matter how hard you try, you just can’t shovel your walk behind a keyboard. Snow is the proverbial clean slate. It transforms a yard that was previously full of junk, engine parts and dead weeds into a Christmas postcard. It provides the perfect excuse to laze around by a picture window with a book in your hand, watching the world go by without any feelings of guilt or fear of missing out. It also gives GAAs (or Grown-Ass Adults) a reason to act like kids again, as they scamper around in snow pants and winter hats, tossing snowballs at their children and sledding down makeshift hills in their backyards with tallboys shoved into the snow to keep them from freezing. Snow is comforting and familiar, a nod to childhood when entire days were spent in bibs and parkas. We had a couple of

STR8TS Solution

snowmobiles that were ancient even when I was a kid, and big snowstorms meant my two sisters and I got to race them around the field, or behind the house along the pipeline. Occasionally we’d separate into teams, with one building a defensive fort stocked with snowballs and the other on the snowmobile with a driver and a passenger sitting backwards with a stash of snowballs between their legs. All day long we’d buzz around the yard, drive-by snowballing the other team, crashing through fences, getting the sled stuck and sweating as we wrenched the big machine free (this was before the days of reverse drive in snowmobiles). When we weren’t snowmobiling, we’d tag along behind my mom as she conscripted us into death marches on cross-country skis — a sport I never enjoyed until much later in life. Or we’d walk out onto Cocolalla Lake and drop our lines through the ice, never catching anything but the occasional cold. When we weren’t playing down in the valley, we’d be up at Schweitzer howling down the slopes as it seemed the snow never stopped falling. In the famed winter of 1996-1997, when roofs collapsed all over town, high school was put on hold for a whole month over winter break after the auditorium roof failed. Back in those days, if it didn’t snow enough to force the city plow drivers to create berms in the center of the road, it was just a dusting. Always at the end of these winter excursions, a roaring fire waited at home. We’d crash inside, scattering snow all over the living room as we hung our boots, gloves, hats and scarves by the fire to dry. There is nothing quite so satisfying as a crackling fire waiting for you after a day of playing in the snow. When we have winters filled with rain and slush, it’s just not the same North Idaho as I remember while growing up. The past decade or two, it seems like we’re always a few degrees too warm, turning that poten-

tial snow into ugly winter rain. It doesn’t get much more unfulfilling or annoying as slopping around through winter rain. It’s like winning the lottery, but the prize is only one dollar. Looking ahead at the forecast, it appears we might be in for another round of fun this week. I say bring it on. Sandpoint during a heavy winter is one of the best places to be. This week, I held an impromptu photo contest and asked our readers to send in their winter photos to win a $25 gift certificate to Eichardt’s. All week my inbox has been dinging as more of your fun photographs trickle in. One thing this contest reminded me of is that we are proud of our winters here in North Idaho. It’s a badge of honor to see that four-foot wall of snow we shoveled through to make a pathway to the mailbox, or the hill created after plowing the drive. It’s never-ending entertainment to watch your kids play in the snow, as we did when we were their age. Will they grow up to despise it like some people do, or will they always have a toboggan leaning against the porch in winter, ready for the next blizzard to take us away to a simpler time?

Crossword Solution

Sudoku Solution

If you’re in a boxing match, try not to let the other guy’s glove touch your lips, because you don’t know where that glove has been.

Solution on page 22

Solution on page 22


By Bill Borders


Woorf tdhe Week

[verb] 1. to tumble over; capsize.

“She picked her way slowly down the alley, careful not to wintle onto the uneven cobblestones.”

Corrections: Nothing to report this week, folks. Have a great weekend.


Laughing Matter

CROSSWORD ACROSS 1. An ancient board game 6. Tiara 11. Greetings 12. Ancient Greek mistress 15. Take into custody 16. Bully 17. Total 18. Nonproprietary 20. Barrier 21. A style of design 23. French for “State” 24. Friend 25. Seize 26. A crumbling earthy deposit 27. Cain’s brother 28. Dines 29. Historic period 30. Pantywaist 31. Gradual increase in loudness 34. Sugary 36. Pair 37. Placed 41. Posterior 42. Opinion 43. Italian for “Wine” 44. An intimate chat 45. Rude person 46. At one time (archaic) 47. “___ Maria” 48. Dispute 51. A parcel of land

Solution on page 22 52. Copies of brand name drugs 54. Change 56. Compose an elegy 57. Drome 58. Adulterated 59. Lumberjack

DOWN 1. An acute intestinal infection 2. Vixen 3. L 4. Smelting waste 5. Achy

6. Written for a choir 7. Send, as payment 8. Ear-related 9. Pallid 10. Sewing tools 13. Actually 14. Troops 15. Mooch 16. Disparagements 19. Approaches 22. Lewd 24. Pardon 26. Encounter 27. Rescue 30. Winter precipitation 32. Scarlet

33. Decorative jugs 34. Excavator 35. Shrunken 38. A company that flies 39. To that extent 40. Daft 42. Expressed 44. An enclosure 45. Felt-like fabric 48. Handle 49. Nursemaid 50. Bygone era 53. Conceit 55. Morning moisture

January 13, 2021 /


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