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2 / R / January 26, 2023

The week in random review


“Justice, n. A commodity which in a more or less adulterated condition the State sells to the citizen as a reward for his allegiance, taxes and personal service.”

what’s in a name?

Band names are almost a genre of their own. They are often coined based on an inside joke, or present a double entendre that can bring a smile, as well as evoke the type of music the band plays. While slowly trying not to lose our minds on deadline day, Editor Zach Hagadone and I stumbled upon a website that brought us hours of entertainment. After writing about a bluegrass band with a funny band name we wondered if there was a bluegrass band name generator somewhere. Turns out there is. Many of them. Visit for the best one. You can enter a keyword, and the site will spit out a couple dozen bluegrass band names that never cease to make us laugh. For example, let’s say the keyword is “Monday.” Options for a bluegrass name include; Fancy Monday Beef, Monday Sweet Tanglewood, Yonder Monday Burners, the Bourbon Balsam Monday Riders and the Monday Whiskey Hillmen. Try it yourself for a chuckle.

the year of the rabbit

We entered the Year of the Rabbit on the Lunar New Year, Jan. 22 — a Chinese tradition also known as the Spring Festival. As legend has it, Rabbit was proud, even arrogant, of its speed. He was neighbors with the Ox and always made fun of how slow the Ox was. One day, the Jade Emperor said the zodiac order would be decided by the order in which the animals arrived at his party. Rabbit set off at daybreak; but, when he got there, no other animals were in sight. Knowing he would obviously be first, Rabbit went off to the side and napped. But, when he woke up, three other animals had already arrived, one of which was the Ox he had always looked down upon. That’s why the Rabbit is the fourth in line.

According to Chinese astrologists, Rabbit’s quiet personality hides confidence and strength. People born under that sign are said to have good reasoning skills and attention to detail, and therefore make great scholars. Rabbits are great socializers, but find it’s hard to open up to others, so they often turn to escapism. A plain and routine life is not Rabbit’s style.

alternate reality

Has anyone else ever had the thought that maybe, just maybe plants are really farming us? They give us oxygen and leave us alone for the most part, until eventually we expire and turn into mulch, which they then consume. Seems logical to me.


We’re publishing the winners and honorable mentions of the second annual 208 Fiction writing contest in this week’s edition. Congratulations to Desiree Aguiree for her winning story, “We March.” Thanks to all the 30 or so writers who submitted stories. We always enjoy reading your creativity. Take care, be kind to others and don’t forget to floss.

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Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Brad Smith Julie McCallan, Tim Henney, Rob Kincaid, Mark Sauter, Desiree Aguiree, Jen Heller, Paul Graves, Chuck Eddle, Steve Johnson, Jeff Keenan, Willie Wittezehler, Marcia Pilgeram, Ruth Brown

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READER January 26, 2023 / R / 3

County’s open meeting procedures prove point of tension for new board

Proposed update to workplace conduct policy tabled with a 2-1 vote

In one of the longest and most well-attended Tuesday business meetings in recent memory, Bonner County commissioners came to a split vote on a motion to table a policy update that would change the way commissioners and department heads communicate and ultimately bring items to the weekly agenda.

The county’s observance of open meeting laws proved a prominent topic at the board’s Jan. 24 meeting, with constituent Dan Rose noting during public comment what he called “a void of information disclosure” in the way the county agendizes its meetings.

Commissioner Asia Williams touched on the issue during her District 2 Commissioner Update — a new addition to the weekly meetings listed before public comment, but skipped Jan. 24 as Chairman Steve Bradshaw struggled to follow the order of the agenda — noting that she’d recently made contact with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office in hopes of providing training to county staff and the broader community.

“Hopefully we can get that scheduled for the community and employees to make sure we’re following that open meeting [code],” she said.

Williams also said that she hopes to put recombining the county’s Planning and Zoning commissions on a future agenda in the interest of better utilizing volunteer time. The commissions were separated in March 2022 with the thought

that the move would speed up the Comp Plan update process.

Commissioner Luke Omodt went on to provide an update of his own, stating he had a conversation with Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall about how the county currently observes open meeting laws and what he learned “is that our current practice is what we should be doing.”

“Now, there’s room for improvement, but in regards to [Idaho] Open Meeting Law and executive session, I would like to be exceedingly clear that some of the things that we go into executive session about regard personnel,” Omodt said. “And regardless of whether or not you work for the county, your rights do not end at the county door.”

He also said litigation is often discussed in executive session, and that in his three weeks as commissioner he’s heard about approximately 15 lawsuits, “and they keep coming.”

Omodt also provided an update on his vision for a monthly meeting of the county’s elected officials. He said he hopes to schedule the first of those meetings in the coming month.

Williams followed Omodt’s remarks by requesting any future District 3 updates be agendized, and questioned his authority to call such a meeting.

“That needs to be reviewed,” she said. “I cannot require electeds to do anything; I’m not the supervisor of electeds, so I don’t know that process.”

Commissioners went on to hear items from departments across the county — most no-

tably, a proposal from Human Resources to revise workplace conduct policy regarding open meeting compliance, which would require the board to formulate agenda items in public meetings.

In part, the new policy reads: “The BOCC has adopted the following policy to minimize the risk of secret ‘deliberation’ occurring in the agenda-setting process and to maintain the sovereignty of the people of Bonner County as it relates to public business.”

Acknowledging that policies are typically workshopped by the board prior to being put up for a vote, Omodt asked HR Director Cindy Binkerd whether he had missed the workshop, to which she said there was none.

Williams said she was the one who worked on the new language, and because it was only an update to existing county policy, it did not require a commissioner workshop. The idea, she said, was to eliminate

instances of department heads going to only one commissioner to discuss possible items for future board consideration.

“We shouldn’t be blindsided,” she said. “A single commissioner shouldn’t have a silo of information that the other commissioners don’t have; but, in order to do that legally, it has to be done transparently.

“We have a business to run, and it’s not a personal business — it is for the public,” Williams continued. “In order to do that, we need to be transparent in all the ways that we can.”

Bradshaw said he was aware of state statutes that would conflict with Williams’ proposed policy change, despite county legal counsel having already signed off on the action. Asked during the public comment discussion whether he could cite those statutes, Bradshaw said he could not without consulting items on his desk, but recommended the board table the item until after their Boise


As Williams attempted to explain her position further, Bradshaw interrupted to call for a point of order and said he would only entertain a motion to table. When Williams spoke again, Bradshaw said: “Do you understand ‘point of order,’ Commissioner Williams?”

While Bradshaw advocated for further discussing the policy revision in executive session at a later date, Omodt’s motion to table specifically called for a workshop with HR and “to bring it back in public and address this in a public setting.”

In a roll call vote, Omodt and Bradshaw voted “yes,” while Williams voted “no.”

The next BOCC meeting will be held Tuesday, Feb. 7 at 9 a.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building, 1500 Highway 2 in Sandpoint.

NEWS 4 / R / January 26, 2023
Bonner County Commissioners Luke Omodt, left, Asia Williams, center, Steve Bradshaw, far right. Courtesy photo.

‘A loss for our community’

Citing staff shortage and Medicaid challenges, longtime mental health provider will close doors

For 22 years, North Idaho Children and Community Mental Health has provided a suite of critical resources for children and their families with mental health and developmental needs that they couldn’t otherwise access. Now, according to an announcement Jan. 23, the organization will close its doors in the spring.

“Serving our community, families and clients has not always been easy, but it has been essential,” NICMH stated. “We found great joy to see our clients take new uncharted paths, risks with rewards of providing safety, advocacy and stability within their own family unit.”

NICMH owner Jenny Brotherton-Manna said the closure is due to “a multitude of factors” — most immediate among them the difficulty of hiring and retaining clinicians when the cost of living in Sandpoint has risen to eye-watering levels, as well as both the financial and logistical challenges of working with Medicaid.

“Trying to continue hiring professional people who deserve to be paid a decent wage has become increasingly hard,” she said. “Add that to the cost of living in our part of the world. I have people applying for jobs and finding out how much the rent is in Sandpoint and they can’t do it, so they don’t move here or they don’t stay here — they leave.”

For example, NICMH had 35 employees 10 years ago. That number is down to 23 today, and some of those employees were driving in from Clark Fork and Priest River.

“I’m not sure how much longer some of those people could have held out,” said Brotherton-Manna, who founded NICMH with her late-husband Victor in 2001.

Victor had been a counselor at Sagle Elementary School, until those programs were either severely reduced or outright eliminated in the district. The organization, which has run “on a shoestring” ever since,

was intended to “pick up the slack,” Brotherton-Manna said.

While NICMH has never strayed from its core mission to provide mental health and developmental disability services for kids in the community, it grew to include a wide range of programs from therapy to community-based services to peer-counseling for adults.

“Some of those programs were the only ones in town,” Brotherton-Manna said.

Facing closure in the spring, the immediate priority is getting NICMH’s current clients placed with the appropriate service providers.

“We’re looking at a gradual closure and it’s because the needs of the clients need to be triaged,” she said. “If another agency can take [a program], then we’re going to triage them over there. The therapeutic piece, my providers are looking at where they’re going to land — can we land the clients with them? …

“As long as we’re answering phones, we’ll continue to refer people to others in the community,” she added. “I will not shut that off until I know they are all moved somewhere.”

While other providers work with local kids on mental and behavioral health, “seemingly there’s no other organization that works as much with that community as NICMH,” said BGH Behavioral Health Psychologist Joseph Wassif.

“It’s a loss for our community, to put it bluntly,” he said. “They served a very important clientele.”

Brotherton-Manna said NICMH works with about 150 clients at any given time, though that number 10 years ago was closer to 250 — in large part because the organization has had to turn people away due to lack of staffing.

Therapists at other health care organizations will undoubtedly absorb a portion of that need, but the other challenge is that NICMH emphasized working with Medicaid clients — and a shrinking number of providers are willing to take Medicaid, due in part to its low rates but also the onerous

amount of paperwork that goes into compliance.

“Managed care in Idaho is the bigger story,” said Jill Hicks, who has served as the clinic director for NICMH for all of its 22 years.

Managed care refers to a system of administering Medicaid benefits and services by contracting their delivery to managed care organizations, the latter which receive a set per-member, per-month payment.

Ideally, managed care is intended to “reduce Medicaid program costs and better manage utilization of health services,” according to the official Medicaid website.

Idaho put in place managed care in 2006, and its behavioral health plan is currently administered by Optum Idaho — part of the larger Optum health services company, which itself is a subsidiary of Minnesota-based UnitedHealth Group.

An Optum Idaho representative told the Reader on Jan. 25 that the company was unaware that NICMH had made the decision to close, and was unfamiliar with the Jan. 23 news release.

“So, at the moment we could not comment about this specific provider, since they are currently in network and in good standing, and have not notified us of any plans to close,” Optum Idaho spokesman Chris Smith wrote in an email.

That said, Smith underlined that Optum does not set Medicaid reimbursement rates or policy — rather, that comes from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare and federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

What’s more, Smith wrote, “Optum Idaho regularly provides information to state and federal Medicaid policy makers to make informed decisions on reimbursement rate amounts, to reduce administrative burden, improve quality and avoid unnecessary costs whenever possible.”

Still, Hicks said managed care brought in “just a ton of paperwork.”

“It’s always been a priority here at NICMH to serve the underserved, so we went through all the hoops to implement managed care and went through all the hoops to maintain our licensure and meet all the audit requirements,” she said.

However, that transformed Medicaid from “kind of an introductory insurance” to an unsustainable time sink. Hicks said she knew of seven practitioners who quit taking Medicaid after implementation of managed care in the state, and that number has only increased.

“It’s just not worth it,” she said. “I could personally see two additional clients a day if I wasn’t swamped in paperwork daily.”

Wassif described it as a “spi-

ral”: when providers give up on the paperwork burden and stop accepting Medicaid, it increases the waiting lists with other practitioners, who then find themselves further strained with trying to balance time spent performing compliance with focus on clients, leading to fewer clients being served, meaning less revenue coming in, meaning still more providers dropping Medicaid and leaving an already underserved population even more vulnerable.

“More and more we have a bigger and bigger problem, with now just really a couple of agencies left that will accept Medicaid,” he said. “It’s going to require going to the state level and saying something’s got to change.”

“That system cannot be sustained, it’s not sustainable,” said Brotherton-Manna.

Though the situation looks grim, Wassif underscored that clients shouldn’t panic amid the many “unknowns” presented by the closure of NICMH.

Likewise, Hicks said, “this town is resilient,” noting that NICMH has been around long enough that it has served multiple generations of the same families.

“I think that a lot of us will continue to work in this community; we feel strongly about this community and its needs,” she added.

Brotherton-Manna said that wherever NICMH’s clients end up receiving services in the community, she’s confident in the quality of care.

“One of my proudest things is that this agency has trained an enormous amount of the workforce,” she said, “so the clients are going to be referred to them.”

“Ultimately, I’m really sad,” said Hicks. “I’m sad for the loss in our community, and I hope my future employment here continues to serve our Medicaid underserved population in some way. …

“It was an honor to meet our clients where they were at, in whatever place they were in their lives,” she added.

NEWS January 26, 2023 / R / 5
The empty waiting room at the NICMH headquarters. Courtesy photo.

Neglected dogs show signs of improvement

Animal shelter requesting support from the community to ensure animals receive critical care; BCSO files animal cruelty charges against two people

The 10 dogs brought to Better Together Animal Alliance in mid-January as part of an active investigation by the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office are showing signs of improvement thanks to lifesaving veterinary care generously funded through community support. In an update Jan. 25, BCSO officials shared that 31 dogs had been identified as related to the case, and that Jacob M. McCowan, 45, and Jessica L. Smurtwaite, 31, of Utah had been charged with 31 counts of Animal Cruelty/Abandonment of Animals.

In an update provided Jan. 24, shelter officials said they would be receiving five more dogs related to the same case in the coming days, and continue to provide support for several other related dogs in foster homes.

“We have a treatment plan and everyone seems to be on the uphill swing,” said Devin Laundrie, BTAA operations director. “This is with the exception of one dog. Sugar, who was the first dog we received, is in stable condition but will have a long road ahead of her. We believe she was a week to days away from dying based on her condition when she arrived.”

Sugar, like many of the other dogs receiving care at BTAA, is being treated for lower gastrointestinal issues where parasites and bacteria, such as E. coli, are the main contributing factors. With these dogs on the mend, BTAA is now working to treat any dogs that are currently being cared for in the community. Due to the severity of infection, it is vital that any dogs that may be part of this case be seen for medical treatment.

“Sugar is a great example of why each of these dogs needs to be evaluated and treated,” said BTAA Executive Director Mandy Evans. “We are expecting to treat anywhere between 15-30 dogs in total, both at our facility and in homes throughout the community.

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:

A House Republican proposal to abolish the IRS and federal tax code would require a national sales tax of at least 60% “to make up for lost revenue,” according to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy. Americans for Tax Fairness reported that the GOP-fronted tax would disproportionately fall on middle-class and low-income people. ITEP said that currently the top 1% pay an average of 0.9% share of their income in state sales tax, whereas the lowest-income households pay 7.1%.

Three more Oath Keepers, and one associate, were recently found guilty of seditious conspiracy and other charges in the Jan. 6, 2021 attempted insurrection in Washington, D.C. Two other Oath Keepers were previously convicted of seditious conspiracy, and five Proud Boys currently face sedition charges.

Abortion pills account for more than half of U.S. abortions, according to The WEEK

“We are urging anyone who may have one of these dogs at home to contact us or bring them in so they can receive the care they need,” she continued. “They are welcome to continue to keep the dogs at home, but they need to be evaluated for similar infections.”

As each dog progresses, they will move into a foster home for about two weeks, complete with a care package containing a leash and collar donated by EzyDog, blankets, toys, treats, food and any necessary medical supplies. The dogs will continue receiving medical support and observation by BTAA’s medical team and may need ongoing care for some time.

“We are so humbled and grateful for the outpouring of support,” Evans said. “We are continuing to fundraise and ask for food donations, as we know there will be more dogs coming to us in need of care and supplies. If you haven’t already, please consider making a donation.”

Those wishing to donate food — of which the shelter is in urgent need — can drop it off at food donation bins located at Yoke’s, Super 1, Petco, and North 40 in Sandpoint and Ponderay.

Donations can also be made online via the animal alliance’s Chewy wishlist at and shipped to the facility.

To donate to the online fundraiser, visit

Some say electric vehicles are as bad or worse for the environment than standard vehicles. But Motor Trend reported that even if the power grid were run 100% by coal, 31% less energy would be needed to charge EVs, as compared to fueling gas cars. With natural gas as a base source, powering an EV requires half that of coal. Hydropower-sourced energy saves up to three-quarters of energy currently used by gas vehicles.

A study by the International Council on Clean Energy found that, over the life of an EV — including manufacturing and batteries — there are 60% to 68% fewer carbon emissions from EVs. They are also low maintenance, further reducing owner costs.

U.S. House Republicans recently introduced H.R. 21, calling for releases from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve — which recently reduced gas prices — to be offset by more leases of public lands to oil and gas companies. Reuters reported that the U.S. is already a net energy exporter, and the proposed swap would foster increases in the cost of gas, as well as more climate pollution.

A class action lawsuit brought in 2012 by 325 First Nations parties in Canada will be settled for $2.8 billion. The suit sought reparations for abuses Indigenous people suffered at Canadian government boarding schools. The schools operated from1874 to the last closure in 1996. Students forced to attend the “assimilation” schools suffered from physical, sexual and emotional abuse while enduring facilities that were poorly heated and built, as well as unsanitary, the BBC reported. At least 3,200 children died at the schools, as evidenced by graves that have been unearthed near the schools.

The U.S. government hit the debt ceiling last week when House Republicans refused to raise it. “Extraordinary measures” are now in place to avoid debt default. Historian Heather Cox Richardson wrote that there are two ways to deal with unwanted deficits: cutting expenditures and raising revenue. The latter — typically the first option — has not been discussed. Instead, Republicans called for cuts to Social Security and Medicare.

According to Richardson, the need for raising the debt ceiling is linked to the pre-pandemic 2017 Trump tax cuts, which put the corporate tax rate at 21%, down from 35%. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the tax cuts would increase deficits close to $2 trillion over 11 years.

Blast from the past: When Donald Trump was president, Republicans voted to increase the debt limit three times. That did not seem out of the ordinary, since it has been raised more than a dozen times spanning the past 25 years.

Raising the debt ceiling is not about raising the national debt, which most media have not explained well. It is about paying for bills already incurred by Congress, and not throwing the national and global economy into havoc by failing to pay.

Republicans also led an attempt not to raise the debt ceiling in 2011, which resulted in a credit downgrade of the U.S. Treasury debt. According to the Bipartisan Policy Center, the move also raised government borrowing that cost $18.9 billion over 10 years.

Ways to get around a debt ceiling crisis include a federal government shutdown or supporting the call for a global minimum tax on the wealthy, which would increase revenue and decrease the need to borrow money for program funding.

The Trump administration added $7 trillion to the national debt, in part due to the 2017 tax cuts for the wealthy, which reduced income to federal coffers.

6 / R / January 26, 2023
One of the ten huskies currently in the care of Better Together Animal Alliance. Courtesy photo.

Committee introduces resolution to amend Idaho Constitution around ballot initiatives

Joint resolution is a follow up to bill that Idaho Supreme Court found unconstitutional in 2021

The Senate State Affairs Committee introduced a joint resolution that would ask voters to amend the Idaho Constitution concerning voter initiatives.

Sen. Doug Okuniewicz, R-Hayden, introduced the resolution on Jan. 25, referencing the bill that Idaho Legislators passed in 2021, SB 1110. After a challenge, the Idaho Supreme Court deemed the legislation unconstitutional in August 2021.

The bill, which Gov. Brad Little signed in April 2021, would have increased the number of legislative districts that initiative organizers would need to qualify an initiative. An initiative would need signatures from 6% of registered voters in all 35 districts, rather than 18 districts as previously required.

Opponents of the bill argued that it would make it virtually impossible to get an initiative on the ballot.

Okuniewicz said the resolution would be a way to ask voters if they agreed with the legislation, raising the requirement to 6% of registered voters in every legislative district.

Should lawmakers approve the resolution, voters would need to pass it. The resolution would amend Section 1 of Article III in the Idaho State Constitution.

In the Idaho Supreme Court’s 2021 opinion conclusion, the court said the Legislature’s 2021 proposed changes “are an unconstitutional infringement on the peoples’ right to legislate independent of the legislature.”

Okuniewicz’s resolution would change the parameters of that constitutional right.

The bill’s statement of purpose says the bill’s intent is to give every legislative district a voice.

“The Joint Resolution will eliminate the current practice of ‘venue shopping’ by well-funded activist organizations. For example, under the current system, it is possible to acquire more than half of the total number of signatures required to place a question on the ballot from a single legislative district,” according to the bill’s statement of purpose.

The resolution will require a minimum number of signatures from each of the 35 legislative districts. Current law requires 6% of registered voters’ signatures from 18 legislative districts. Some legislative districts include multiple counties and some counties are split up into multiple districts. So the statement of purpose on the bill isn’t entirely accurate, as petitioners wouldn’t be able to get half of their signatures from a single district, but perhaps from a large county.

Nonprofit group Reclaim Idaho, which successfully got the Medicaid expansion initiative on the ballot in 2018, did not have signatures from every

county in 2018. But the education initiative the group submitted last year, prior to the Legislature’s special session in September, had signatures from every district in the state. After the special session and the state’s commitment to invest $410 million in education, the group removed the initiative from the ballot. They had more than 1,000 volunteers and gathered more than 100,000 signatures, according to Reclaim Idaho.

Regardless of how many counties are represented in the initial signature submission, voters from every county weigh in on an initiative if it makes it to the ballot.

Should Okuniewicz’s resolu-

tion pass, the question would be placed on the November 2024 general election ballot.

Ruth Brown is a writer and producer for Idaho Reports and Idaho Public Television. This story was published by Boise-based nonprofit news outlet

the Idaho Capital Sun, which is part of the States Newsroom nationwide reporting project. For more information, visit

Petition for judicial review filed after latest Camp Bay Road ruling

Area residents Fred and Jennifer Arn have filed a petition for judicial review in Idaho District Court regarding the Bonner County commissioners’ decision Dec. 19 to vacate the last 2,550 feet of Camp Bay Road to developer M3 ID Camp Bay, LLC.

This is the second time that the Arns, who live on the road, have filed for such a review.

The first time occurred in April 2021, when the county voted to vacate the road to M3, which is

building a large-scale housing development in the bay. Following the Arns’ petition, a judge remanded the decision back to the county, ruling that the board failed to prove that the vacation was “in the public interest” — a requirement under Idaho Code. Commissioners then voted against the vacation in February 2022 following public testimony that called into question whether Camp Bay Road provided public access to Lake Pend Oreille. M3 took the issue to court in March, and a judge in September remanded the decision back to

the county again.

Commissioners heard the file for a third time in December 2022, but limited public testimony to whether M3’s proposal to build a dirt trail providing access to a corner of the bay would be in the public interest. Despite repeated requests to allow for testimony on the vacation itself — and, by extension, the outstanding issue of existing public access — the board voted to vacate the road, prompting the Arns’ latest filing.

The petition, filed on behalf of the Arns by Boise law firm

Givens Pursley, alleges that the commissioners applied the wrong standard to the vacation request; failed to prove that the action was in the public interest or consider all relevant information relating to the proceedings; failed to determine whether the right-of-way parcel being vacated had a fair market value of $2,500 or more; utilized erroneous findings of fact unsupported by evidence; used an inappropriate exercise of discretion; and made a decision which was “arbitrary and capricious.”

January 26, 2023 / R / 7 NEWS
The Senate State Affairs Committee introduced a joint resolution that would ask voters to amend the Idaho Constitution concerning voter initiatives. Photo courtesy Reclaim Idaho.


•We have a lot of talented people who contribute to our newspaper on a regular basis. One of my favorites is Bill Borders, who draws the comic “Laughing Matter” next to the crossword on Page 23. Bill refuses to accept payment for these comics, so if you want to support his creativity, the best way to thank him is by donating to the Angels Over Sandpoint or the Better Together Animal Alliance.

•Special thanks goes out to Robb Talbott with Mattox Farm Productions for generously offering to donate the proceeds from the Boot Juice show (featuring local openers Headwaters) on Jan. 21. Zach and I went to the show and had a great time connecting with people, listening to great tunes and drinking the finest beers Doug from Eichardt’s provided. We really appreciate the support, Robb. Also, thanks to Jeff Nizzoli at Eichardt’s for donating their beer sales to the Reader, too. I’m humbled by such generosity. Thank you, thank you, thank you.


• I’m trying to have more of an open mind about the changing nature of our town, but after reading the 40-page draft document pitching the upcoming design competition for the city of Sandpoint, I’m more worried than ever. It’s filled with errors (like a statement that we are surrounded by the Bitterroot Mountains, which are about five hours southwest of here, and the mislabeling of First Avenue as “First Street”), and fuzzy goals and lofty buzzwords, some from our mayor urging for “cohesion” and “transforming” the town according to our “culture and values.” On the whole, this big effort to “transform” Sandpoint looks like a solution to a problem that doesn’t exist. Nobody asked for the town to be “transformed.” Also, there is very little public input involved in this plan — something that always concerns me. It’s a little insulting to hear our city leaders tell us that a third-party design firm from who-knows-where will know how to define our “cultures and values” better than people who have lived and worked in North Idaho for generations. “We invite you to join us in transforming our city,” Mayor Shelby Rognstad wrote in his intro. No thanks. I’ve lost my appetite.

Sandpoint Waldorf School plans to move to a new site

For 30 years, the Sandpoint Waldorf School has been offering a developmentally appropriate, art-based, academically robust education to Bonner County and beyond. The school has grown from a fledgling endeavor in 1992 with 17 students in a combined kindergarten and first grade, and 14 in a combined third, fourth and fifth grade.

During its first few years, the school moved from place to place until 1998, when it relocated to the current site — what had originally been the ABC Day Care Center on Sandpoint West Drive. Now with 190 students, from ages 2 to 14 in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade, the Sandpoint Waldorf School is outgrowing its current building. It is a testament to the goodwill of the wider community, and the heart work and dedication of the parents and staff of the school, that it has flourished in Sandpoint and is now poised to create a new home for itself.

From its inception, the Sandpoint Waldorf community has desired more land, where children of all ages can be involved in placebased activities that provide the opportunity for them to experience the wonder of the cycle of life throughout the seasons and the practical activities of tending the earth. At its current location, that dream could not be manifested beyond school

Zip it Up

gardens and field trips to the parks, woods and area farms.

A year ago, the Sandpoint Waldorf School purchased a 25-acre hay farm on North Kootenai Road. Since that time, school officials have been working on a campus master plan and the design of the first building, which will house the SWS early childhood program — a state licensed daycare center.

With the county approving the conditional use permit for the school on Dec. 28, the school can now move ahead with the next phase: initiating a capital campaign to raise funds and working closely with Idagon, which will be building the school. Idagon plans to break ground in the spring. Ideally, the early childhood program will move in the fall of 2024 and the following year the rest of the school will move to the new site.

The school looks forward to sharing its new site with the wider community. You may have experienced a bit of the magic of the Sandpoint Waldorf School through some of its community events like the Winter Faire, May Faire, the annual school auction. SWS students also perform plays each year with the eighth grade play typically offered as a public event performed at the Panida or the Heartwood Center. Its summer camp programs are also popular with the wider community. Eventually, SWS looks forward to offering these and other community events at its new site,

envisioning community classes in gardening, cooking, preserving food, woodwork and handwork to people of all ages.

The Sandpoint Waldorf School is an independent school and an associate member of the Association of Waldorf Schools of North America.

In an age when digital technology is used even in the classrooms of the youngest children, Waldorf education chooses a different approach — focused on personal, experiential instruction and fostering relationships from the early years in the play-based mixed aged pre-kindergarten and kindergartens to the grades, where (ideally) the class teacher moves with their class first through eighth grade.

Specialty teachers accompany that eight-year journey offering a variety of subjects, which at the Sandpoint Waldorf School includes Spanish, Japanese, handwork, woodwork, strings ensemble and orchestra, gardening and movement.

Sandpoint Waldorf School is looking forward to creating itself anew and forming new relationships. If you have questions about Waldorf education, the Sandpoint Waldorf School, and the future plans for the new site, please contact Julie McCallan or Jason Grace.

Julie McCallan is pedagogical director at the Sandpoint Waldorf School. Get more information at

Publisher’s Note: The following poem written by Rob Kincaid was read aloud at the Festivus event at the Panida Theater on Dec. 23. We got such a chuckle out of it, we asked Rob to submit it so we could share it with our readers.

Zip it Up

Zip it up your down zipped zipper, Whether you be preacher or a stripper, Whether it’s on Easter or Yom Kippur, We shouldn’t see that little dipper, Zip it up.

If you’re there to make a speech, If you’re strolling down the beach, In the classroom as you teach, The lesson’s point is out of reach, The only focus of us each, Will be your trouser’s glaring breach, Zip it up.

The gaping hole’s not so offensive, But what’s inside makes us defensive, Apprehensive, terror, trembling, Of pants construction disassembling.

If tucked in shirt had slidden out, Or social customs that you flout, Like no underwear, you lout! You might reveal without a doubt, That thing which now we talk about, So Zip it up.

Pay attention in your dressing, Please by all means keep us guessing, We’ll consider it a blessing, Don’t engage in self-expressing, Things whose sight would be distressing, Zip it up.

Local fiddlers’ chapter now largest in state

The District 1A chapter of the Idaho Old-Time Fiddlers will meet for an acoustic jam session on Saturday, Jan. 28, from 3-5 p.m., at the Sandpoint Senior Center (820 Main St., in Sandpoint).

The local chapter, which was formed last May, has been attracting a friendly crowd of fiddlers, guitarists, banjo players and musicians on mandolins, concertinas, ukulele, harmonica and a string

bassist, performing for a group of about 40 listeners.

Representing Idaho’s two northernmost counties, the district has grown to become the largest and one of the most active in the state.

Acoustic musicians who want to play and music lovers who’d like to listen are welcome to join the fun. Beginners are welcome and encouraged.

For more information, call 208-263-7234.

The District 1A chapter of the Idaho Old-Time Fiddlers at a recent meeting.

Courtesy photo.

8 / R / January 26, 2023

Love in the afternoon? Try merriment in the morning Inside the raucous Tango Table Breakfast Brigade

Downtown bank and Tango Cafe customers who walk past a round table occupied by chuckling (often howling) post-middle-aged merry pranksters (some say old noisy annoyances) on weekday mornings often wonder what all the gabbing and guffawing is about.

One pounds the table with such enthusiasm in reaction to a cohort’s comments that coffee cups have bounced to the floor, requiring fetching, bossy Tango person Nadine — unamused — to rush out and tidy up. (The table pounder is a lawyer who claims to have lost the only case he ever had; served as a local PTA president, among other civic duties; has occupied so many Sandpoint houses he can barely remember them; and did so much developing in San Diego he resents city fathers naming it after some dude born around 1400 instead of after him).

Not all breakfast brigade members have had such despondent careers. One, a huge success — despite being Norwegian — shared an Oscar in 1969 for a film he photographed. Another eight of his were nominated for Academy Awards. In all he estimates he photographed some 300 films and documentaries in a career that took him to almost every country on the planet and every continent except Australia and Antarctica — and often in the company of presidents, world leaders and movie stars. Then he wrote a book.

Another, a retired senior FBI officer and pre-Trump sane Republican, has a Ph.D. and is the author of seven or eight books. That few Tango colleagues have bothered to read them doesn’t faze him. “I write for a more enlightened, more cultured readership,” he explains. He and his frivolous, willowy wife spend balmy winters on Maui. (What happened to that old bromide that all men are created equal?)

Other breakfast brigade brothers, dodging the vagaries

of Idaho winters, hie themselves off to California, Arizona or deep into rural Mexico where tourists fear to tread. More courageous colleagues spend winter mornings debating climate change; politics; science; religion; restoring old cars; philosophy; nuclear fusion; literature; the rule of law versus violence in a democracy; history; Ukraine; cannabis; basketball legend Wilt the Stilt’s alleged sexual adventures; the Seahawks; the Zags; inflation; the connection between watermelon and cavities; major surgeries (affectionately called “organ recitals” by braggarts who delight in reporting on innards surgically and repeatedly removed from their bodies); real estate taxes; and denigrating their cowardly comrades basking in Maui, Mexico, California and Arizona.

If those left behind grow weary of high falootin’ conversation, they’ve been known to discuss flatulation and Fox News. Neither of the latter is considered polite breakfast conservation. Especially Fox News.

Many history-reading round table members suspect the powerful, political and uber-profitable anti-America Murdoch family, which owns Fox and their Taliban-like talking heads, base their destructive propaganda on Dr. Joseph Goebbels’ Nazi Big Lie machine of the 1930s and early ’40s. Without Goebbels, Hitler could not have turned democratic Germany into a dictatorship. The result was World War II and more than 50 million killed. (It’s a safe bet no Murdoch or Fox News mouthpiece ever saw combat. Moreover, they know that if they can help sink America into fascism, they, like Goebbels, will sit at the head of political and military tables.)

Two of the group’s dozen or so confreres are Sandpoint natives. One, 81, skis Schweitzer regularly and scoots around town on an e-bike. When not zooming hither and yon on two wheels, this elder athlete volunteers at Bonner General. Past community efforts involved the annual music

festival, Boy Scouts and the food bank.

His parochial comrade, a mere babe of 72, worked as a logger for some 35 years, coached kids’ soccer, then earned an Idaho Vandal degree and taught physics and other sciences. He subscribes to The New Yorker magazine, as do several table buddies. (How many ex-lumberjacks are so cerebrally concerned with world events? To the surprise of some, The New Yorker is written for an international audience, not specifically for New Yorkers).

If this article gives the impression that Tango table dialogists just yak on without pause, you’ve been misled. From time to time they are distracted by a passing fanny. No, wait! A passing fancy.

As in, “If I hadn’t gone into [whatever] I might have been a contender” (a la Marlon Brando, On The Waterfront, 1954). By and large, however, breakfast brigade bullshitters are pleased with past and present achievements and involvements.

Whether retired minister and celebrated journalist Paul Graves feels the same about them is questionable. A friend of all at the round table, Paul sits alone nearby, working on columns and at other erudite tasks. Table members suspect he feels inferior to their collective intellectuality and wisdom. (Yeah, and pigs fly!)

Considering college student

university students. Early in the case he said, “Those guys know what they’re doing. They’ll get him.”

chairmanships and later corporate teams, non-profit boards, university advisory committees and military journalism, this correspondent has known a number of fraternal consortiums. Yet never have I known one where congeniality and diversity define a group like they do the Tango table. Especially diversity in physical accouterments.

One proud beret-wearing ex-hippie charter member has been making locals happy for years with hand-crafted dancing ducks in parades and at the farmers’ market. With his perky, care-giving soulmate he also grows the grandest gardens this side of the Mississippi.

Another, with his wife, launched and operated several of North Idaho’s cherished waterfront and downtown restaurants. Before that he was a college football and rugby star. After that, he flew countless missions under fire in ’Nam as an Air Force pilot. And he writes poetry.

A third forever-member is a jazz authority and talented photographer (see the joyous photo of the hairy and hairless comrades on this page).

A table regular who considers skiing as essential to life as, say, bacon is to eggs, ran a Moscow insurance business for decades and was not surprised when authorities there helped track down the suspected murderer of four

Would a retired airline pilot who still flies a private plane, sails boats, zips around on an e-bike, hosts a radio music show and, with his equally energetic (and hungry) wife personally keeps DiLuna’s cafe prosperous, have time for morning hijinks with cronies? Of course. He knows his priorities. His buddies include a former marathoner and professional firefighter; an entrepreneur who divides his time and business acumen between running a company in Phoenix and his condo in Sandpoint’s Seasons; and a retired school teacher and principal who served, among other places, in Africa and spent seven years overseas during which he and his bride traveled the world.

Table compatriots include a Sinatra sound-alike and archivist who recorded thousands of radio and TV voice overs and, as an art director, had a creative hand in big league ad accounts in Chicago and San Francisco.

Unfortunately, now and then some effusive colleague feels compelled to repeat a joke he’s told many times before. His pals use the moment to visit the bathroom. It helps, though, if the joke is short, as in:

“What happened when the woman backed into the airplane’s spinning propeller?” “Disaster!”

I confess I have never known such bonafide camaraderie or had more fun with friends. When I left the bank building after a recent bull session I found myself humming, “Grab your coat and get your hat, leave your worries on the doorstep... just direct your feet, to the sunny side of the street.” But when I walked across the street it was snowing. So I switched to an all-weather Carole King/James Taylor anthem seemingly composed for the Tango table: “You’ve Got A Friend.”

January 26, 2023 / R / 9 PERSPECTIVES
Two members of the wide reaching Tango Table Breakfast Brigade; Erik Daarstad, left, and Dan Murphy, right. Courtesy photo.

Science: Mad about

the uncanny valley

Let’s be honest. There are two kinds of people in this world: people who collect porcelain dolls, and the rest of us. Have you ever wondered what it is about an ultra-realistic porcelain doll that’s so horrifying? Simply looking at their little faces evokes emotions of revulsion, uneasiness and terror. Movies like Child’s Play or M3GAN would not exist if it weren’t for these feelings many of us feel around lifelike dolls.

As a kid that grew up in a house that was stuffed to the brim with nightmare-inducing porcelain dolls staring soullessly at you anywhere you dared to tread, my perception of this matter may be heavily subjective.

There is a term for the feelings that arise from gazing into the lifeless eyes of a doll, robot or even a museum display: “the uncanny valley.”

The idea is that as an object becomes more human in appearance, we begin to feel more attached to it — up until a certain point. Suddenly, those feelings of familiarity sharply drop and our minds exhibit feelings of fear and revulsion. Strangely, at some point beyond that, these feelings return to levels where we feel as though we’re looking at another happy, healthy and attractive human being.

Defining the exact point of falloff is difficult to quantify. There seem to be multiple contributing factors that make us feel the way we do. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular animated children’s movies of all time: 2013’s Frozen. The characters are very obviously designed to resemble humans in a non-threatening, somewhat realistic manner, yet they are very obviously animated. Their movements reflect the art

style, as do the voices of the actors portraying them. All of these factors linked together make for an enjoyable movie, but if you were to alter any part of this formula, the entire thing risks falling apart.

Travel back just nine years earlier to look at another example: The Polar Express. The characters appear more representative of how humans look in real life, yet something is wrong. The movements are jerky and unrealistic, and the facial expressions of the characters aren’t reflective of the great acting being performed by the humans in the studio. There’s a strange and unsettling deadness to the eyes and expressions of every character on the screen. This is the uncanny valley at work.

Combatting the feelings evoked by this phenomenon is a current goal of the robotics industry. As a society, we are becoming increasingly reliant on computers, robots and artificial intelligence to keep our lives in order and running smoothly. Do you own a Roomba or know someone who does? Does the Roomba have a name? It’s a non-threatening device because it is distinctly a robot and not trying to emulate the appearance of a human in any way; yet, as humans, we feel a need to anthropomorphize it and make it a more relatable part of our family — similar to a pet.

Anthropomorphizing (that is, giving human traits to nonhuman things) is intrinsically linked to the effect of the uncanny valley. It’s how we attribute familiarity to things in our lives like domesticated animals, Roombas, cellphones and even our climate. Humans have been doing this for millennia, which you can see in ancient myths from virtually anywhere around the globe. Egyptian mythology in particular adds a tremendous amount of anthropomorphism to its tales, from talking

crocodiles to dog-headed keepers of the Underworld.

So why does the uncanny valley even exist? It’s hard to say. Most of humans’ psychological functions are learned behaviors from millions of years of evolution and shared experiences, yet this is a relatively new phenomenon. Why is it that we fear something that looks human, but isn’t? Similarly, why do we try to make some things more human, but only up to a certain point?

There is likely no single answer. As with the example of a porcelain doll, the boundaries of the uncanny valley are deeply subjective and cannot be universally defined. More than anything, it is likely built upon a diverse number of advanced emotions and feelings, culminating into a weird human quirk.

Researchers have raised some interesting points while studying the uncanny valley, though no single point seems to be “right” on its own. One of the core ideas raised seems to be that our standard of identification changes once it crosses a certain threshold. Instead of judging something as a robot for trying to impersonate a human, our minds start thinking of that thing as a human trying — and failing — to adapt to social norms. Another peculiar point is that our brains process these things as we would when seeing a human corpse, which could explain the feelings of uneasiness around them.

It’s likely that these processes developed intentionally when seeing corpses as an instinctual cue for us to avoid things like disease or danger, and the fact that it translates into 3-D animation and robotics is just an unfortunate side effect of that.

Of course, that’s not a definitive answer, but it’s the best that I’ve got.

What do you think? Are you a doll person? Is Robert Zemeckis your favorite director? Have you ever even thought about this wacky subject before in your life? At the very least, you now have

something new to talk about at the bar.

Stay curious, 7B.

•Wednesday is named after Woden, the most prominent god in the German Pantheon and often associated with the Norse god Odin. The name is derived from the Old English word Wōdnesdæg and the Middle English word Wednesdei, meaning “day of Woden.”

•Woden and Odin are also associated with the Roman god Mercury, which you’ll notice when looking at languages derived from Latin. The French name for Wednesday is Mercredi. In Spanish it’s Miercoles and Italians call it Mercoledì.

•According to a survey, bosses are most receptive to requests from their employees on a Wednesday. So if you’re asking for a raise, make sure you do it on a Wednesday.

•Charles Addams, who created The Addams Family, chose to call the titular family’s daughter Wednesday because of the nursery rhyme “Monday’s Child,” which states, “Wednesday’s child is full of woe.”

•The first day of Lent in the Western Christian Calendar is known as “Ash Wednesday” and follows “Shrove Tuesday.”

•Americans often refer to Wednesday as “hump day” because it’s the middle of the work week. Once you get over the hump, it’s all downhill to Friday.

•The first U.S. Navy ship, christened “United States,” was launched on Wednesday, May 10, 1797.

•You’ve likely heard of Ash Wednesday, which occurs 46 days before Easter and kicks off the 40 days of Lent for Christians and Catholics, but have you heard of Spy Wednesday? Also called Good Wednesday, this date is a religious observance remembering Judas Iscariot’s betrayal of Jesus Christ. Spy Wednesday occurs three days before Easter.

•Only one sports team in the world includes the name Wednesday in its title. The English football club Sheffield Wednesday was founded on Sept. 4, 1867, and was named as such because the founders took a day off from work on Wednesday to play.

10 / R / January 26, 2023
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A graph showing the “uncanny valley” phenomenon regarding robots with human likeness. Courtesy image.

Legislative update

Successful governance relies on building relationships

The Idaho Legislature opened for business Jan. 4 with the state’s constitutional officers taking the oath of office. Five days later, Gov. Brad Little laid out the condition of Idaho in his State of the State Address, giving some guidelines and recommendations for the 70 representatives and 35 senators assembled in the Legislature.

However, there are many variations of what is best for the people of Idaho and a legislature often has a mind of its own. The 105 lawmakers began floor discussions the day after the governor’s report. Freshman like me and the veteran legislators alike have been off and running since.

I plan to provide readers with a balanced, regularly published narrative on how the legislative process goes from here forward. I will keep you (my constituents) informed of this experience. By nature, the Legislature is a deliberative body. I don’t intend to provide a minute-by-minute chronicle of Capitol activities. Rather, I will attempt to bring readers into the legislative process.

I am committed to being a responsible representative for Bonner and Boundary counties (Legislative District 1). What does that mean? It means listening to parents, students, employers and educators so that I understand what Idaho’s educational system requires. It means listening and learning from our local businesses and what they need to thrive. It means having concern about tax burdens and balancing public safety needs. And it means forming a balanced understanding of constituents’ needs.

This endeavor comes with pitfalls. There will be things that pop up in the news. I will try to give perspective to those events and of state governance by presenting broad and diverse explanations. I intend to keep daily notes through this session, recording insights and actions worthy of conversations and reporting.

The legislative voting record of each lawmaker is a public record. But voting


relationships with other lawmakers. It takes time to get to know your colleagues and build trust. Our priorities in North Idaho are not necessarily shared in eastern Idaho. Not everything that works in Boise will benefit Bonners Ferry.

That said, lawmakers share many of the same concerns, such as taxes, education, health, public safety, infrastructure and the economy. The freshman legislators who share my office area have similar concerns on these issues.

Regular committee meetings have started. Like most lawmakers, I have at least three daily meetings for which to prepare, attend and participate in four days a week. There are usually two morning meetings on Fridays, with afternoons left open for other gatherings and meetings, constituent follow-up, administrative work and travel.

records don’t tell the whole story. Votes are actions that require a simple “aye” or “nay.” Often, it is far more complex. For instance, I can’t give 70% of my approval for a bill and hold back 30% of my support. I must vote based on a bill’s positive and negative aspects. Well thought out bills can have unintended consequences.

As a freshman legislator, the key to getting anything accomplished is working with fellow lawmakers. It takes 36 votes to get anything through the House of Representatives, another 18 votes to find success in the Senate and one final weigh-in by the governor with an approving signature before a bill becomes law.

But that’s only the public action on a proposed law. It all starts with the researching and writing of a bill, building support for the ideas behind it and getting an appropriate number assigned. The printed proposal is then assigned to an appropriate committee for discussion and debate. If it receives committee approval, it is sent to the appropriate chamber for potential floor debate. If a bill is approved on the House floor, the process starts again in the Senate.

The success or failure of legislative governance often relies on building

Speaker of the House Mike Moyle has assigned me to three standing committees: Agriculture, Education and Judiciary. The Education Committee meets every morning. The Ag and “Jud-rules” committees each meet two afternoons a week.

I have volunteered for a statewide committee looking into the delivery of Emergency Medical Service (EMS) to rural areas of Idaho. This group meets monthly and I serve as its representative for the House.

The governor’s staff notified me late last week of my appointment to the Governors Permanent Building Fund Advisory Council. I will learn a lot more about the expectations and work of this committee this week. I’m hopeful I can provide a voice for the needs of our district in any future action this board takes.

Feel free to provide me with feedback, ideas and comments at msauter@

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


The inflation rate in December 2022, as compared to the year prior, marking the sixth straight year-over-year slowdown. Inflation in November was 7.1%. Prices have decreased 0.1% per month, marking the first drop since May 2020.


The number of state legislatures that have convened or will convene in 2023, including Montana, Nevada, North Dakota and Texas, which only meet in odd-numbered years. Forty-five states will have their legislatures convene in January. Louisiana lawmakers will be the last to gavel in among the 50 states, beginning their session on April 10. $31.4


The so-called “debt limit” in the United States, meaning the maximum amount of money the federal government is allowed to borrow in order to pay its existing financial obligations. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellon warned that the U.S. would reach that limit by Jan. 19, meaning the government will need to either borrow more money to pay its bills or stop making good on its financial obligations, which includes possibly defaulting on its debt. The responsibility for lifting or suspending the borrowing cap falls to Congress, which must obtain a simple majority in both the House and Senate to vote for any change to the debt limit. It’s worth noting that the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act passed by former President Donald Trump in 2017 added $1.8 trillion to the debt alone.

$1.35 billion

The latest Mega Millions winning jackpot, which was won Jan. 13 by a single ticket holder in Maine. The odds of winning were 1 in 302.6 million. If taking the lump sum in cash — which most financial professionals recommend — the winner would receive $707.9 million. After federal taxes are collected up front on the winnings, the jackpot amount shrinks to around $446 million. Maine has a tax rate of 7.15%, which would further reduce the winnings to around $414 million. Nobody’s likely complaining much, but that’s a lot of taxes to pay

January 26, 2023 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES
Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint. File photo.

Removing grizzlies from the endangered species list would be premature

The state of Idaho petitioned the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to remove all grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 from the endangered species list in March 2022. Grizzly bear populations in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Washington were put on the list in 1975. The Grizzly Bear Recovery Plan calls for restoring populations in the Yellowstone, Northern Continental Divide, Selkirk, Cabinet-Yaak, Bitterroot and North Cascades ecosystems — representing a fraction of the species’ historic range in the western United States.

The recovery plan envisioned that these populations would be removed individually from the endangered species list when their population-specific recovery goals were achieved.

Thanks to the Endangered Species Act listing and associated efforts, recovery goals for both the Yellowstone and Northern Continental Divide have been met. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has twice attempted to remove the Yellowstone Population from the endangered species list and twice those attempts were overturned in court. Idaho’s petition to remove all grizzly bear populations in the lower 48 was triggered by these court decisions.

While the state’s frustration is understandable, Idaho’s petition to remove all grizzly bear populations from the endangered species list is premature. For starters, recovery targets for the Selkirk, Cabinet-Yaak, Bitterroot and North Cascades populations have not been achieved. More work is needed to recover these other populations. Delisting of any grizzly population should only occur after recovery goals have been met.

The Idaho Conservation League believes that conservation strategies should also be drafted and approved for each population before delisting occurs. Conservation strategies are documents that provide additional clarity regarding recovery criteria. These documents also spell out the management commitments and responsibilities of state fish and wildlife depart-

ments when delisting occurs, before the primary role of grizzly bear management is officially handed to the states.

If the states of Idaho, Montana, Wyoming and Washington fail to sustain healthy grizzly populations or live up to their management commitments, then federal law mandates that grizzly populations will go back on the endangered species list.

Managing grizzly bears requires both proactive and responsive approaches. There were 21 incidents of livestocks depredations in Boundary and Bonner counties last summer. As far as state and federal officials can tell, these incidents can be attributed to just two male grizzlies that had been conditioned to seek out livestock for food. Idaho Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had to make a tough call and euthanize these two grizzlies because they posed a danger to both livestock and people. Five grizzlies near Island Park were also euthanized last year.

While it is impossible to say with certainty that these incidents could have been avoided, we know that proactive education campaigns and assistance programs can help minimize conflict between grizzlies and people. There is a need to expand programs that are designed to teach local residents to secure grizzly bear attractants such as livestock and pet food, trash, gardens and orchards. Assistance is available to help ranchers and farmers cover the cost of electric fencing to protect their animals and their crops. Recreationalists, hunters and anglers must also be educated about how to recreate responsibly in bear country.

Before the state of Idaho assumes the primary role of managing grizzlies within our borders, the state must also deploy more staff and resources for these types of programs. Idaho Fish and Game employs one permanent employee and one seasonal employee for grizzly bear work in the Idaho Panhandle. The department also has one permanent position in southeast Idaho in the Yellowstone ecosystem. This is important work and we are thankful for the

resources and talent that Idaho Fish and Game is directing toward it, but more is needed.

Given the distinctness of and distance between the communities of Priest Lake, the east side of Bonner County and Boundary County, the department should deploy one full-time staff person in each of these areas to assist with both proactive and defensive grizzly bear management efforts. Additional full-time staff will also be needed in the communities of southeastern Idaho near Yellowstone and those near the Bitterroot. This will require funding, and the state and federal governments need to invest in this effort.

Finally, any discussion about delisting grizzly bear populations should include tribal officials. While state fish and wildlife departments are generally the primary managers of non-listed species, tribes are playing an increasingly important role in the management of fish and wildlife within their traditional territories through co-management and even tribal government-led management arrangements.

Tribes with traditional territories in grizzly country likely have something to say about delisting and who will have a hand in managing grizzlies post-delisting. Notwithstanding the need to honor tribal treaty rights, we owe it to tribes to consult them on grizzly bear delisting, and their knowledge and experience will lead to

better outcomes for humans and wildlife alike.

12 / R / January 26, 2023
A grizzly bear seen on a game camera on Sept. 9, 2020 in Long Canyon, near Bonners Ferry. Courtesy photo. Brad Smith is the North Idaho director of the Idaho Conservation League.
January 26, 2023 / R / 13

Time to share the love

Bonner County Valentines Cards for Seniors returns for its third year of card collection

In the eyes of Donna Price, Valentine’s Day is a time to spread tidings of love and care beyond the bounds of one’s romantic relationship. For the third year, Price is organizing Bonner County Valentine Cards For Seniors — an effort to collect valentines from community members who want to help local senior citizens feel the love this February.

Participating is simple: create a valentine that an elderly stranger would appreciate receiving, and drop it in one of the program’s heart-shaped baskets at several locations around the county. Price asks that any envelopes be unsealed, and that valentines not include candy or other small objects. Handmade or store-bought cards are welcome.

Cards can be dropped off any time before Thursday, Feb. 9. After that, they will be delivered to local nursing homes, senior centers, senior apartment complexes and

in-home health agencies.

“Last year I was also able to deliver some to Bonner County hospital patients as well as people who were in hospice,” Price told the Reader. “For some recipients, this was the last valentine card they may have received. I personally know of several seniors who have passed since then, so I know this made special memories for them.”

Drop-off locations are Java Bear, Fry Creek Animal Clinic, Maker’s Long Acres and Pierce Auto in Sagle; Missi Balison Fitness, Miller’s Country Store, Sandpoint Super Drug, Spuds Waterfront Grill, Sharon’s Hallmark, Monarch Coffee, Finan McDonald, Panhandle Cone & Coffee, Sanctuary Seconds, Evans Brothers Coffee, Kokanee Coffee, Creations and the YMCA in Sandpoint; and the Hoot Owl Cafe, Verizon Store and Cafe 95 in Ponderay.

Those with questions can reach Price on the project’s Facebook page, which is called “Bonner County Valentine Cards For Seniors.” They can also email iamprob@

Top: Look for baskets like these to drop your valentines for seniors at participating area businesses.

14 / R / January 26, 2023 COMMUNITY
Right: Some of the homemade valentines cards from a previous year. Courtesy photos.

Festival at Sandpoint announces REO Speedwagon

The Festival at Sandpoint has released its lineup announcement for the 2023 summer concert series, with REO Speedwagon set to take the stage on Friday, Aug. 4. Tickets are now on sale at

Formed in 1967, signed in 1971 and fronted by iconic vocalist Kevin Cronin since 1972, REO Speedwagon’s non-stop touring and recording jump-started the burgeoning rock movement in the Midwest. Platinum albums and radio staples soon followed, setting the stage for the release of

the explosive album Hi Infidelity in 1980, which contained the hit singles “Keep On Loving You” and “Take It On the Run.” The landmark album spent 15 weeks in the No. 1 slot and has since earned the RIAA’s coveted 10X Diamond Award for surpassing sales of 10 million units in the United States.

At the center of REO’s desire to keep rocking for the fans is Cronin, alongside bandmates Bruce Hall on bass, Dave Amato on lead guitar and drummer Bryan Hitt. From 1977 to 1989, REO Speedwagon released nine consecutive albums, all certified platinum or higher. Today, the band has sold

more than 40 million albums around the globe, and they are still electrifying audiences worldwide in concert with hits and fan favorites such as “Can’t Fight This Feeling,” “Time For Me To Fly,” “Roll With The Changes,” “In My Dreams” and many more.

The Festival at Sandpoint’s 40th Annual 2023 Summer Concert Series will take place July 27-Aug. 6, 2023, at War Memorial Field in Sandpoint.

The nonprofit organization is implementing a few key changes to venue policies and procedures to enhance customer safety, security and overall experience, including: no guest

re-entry; season passes will now be season pass badges with a single, transferable barcode to be reused each night; and hard-sided coolers, rolling coolers, wagons and strollers will not be permitted into the venue.

General admission tickets are $69.95 before taxes and fees. Gates open for general admission at 6 p.m. and the music begins at 7:30 p.m. VIP packages are available at bit. ly/3kK6Ahn.

For more information — including future lineup announcements and to purchase tickets — visit or email

POAC kicks off adult art class schedule with open house

Anyone who wants to hone their artistic skills — or are curious about what goes on in Sandpoint’s art world — is invited to stop by the Pend Oreille Arts Council’s Joyce Dillon Studio birthday party and open house on Friday, Feb. 3 from 5-7 p.m. Held at the Music Conservatory’s Little Carnegie Concert Hall (110 Main St., downtown Sandpoint), the event will

celebrate the studio’s first year in operation.

“The Joyce Dillon Studio is fortunate to have such a group of talented and dedicated teachers,” said JDS Chair and POAC Board Member Jan Rust. “To see them in action, have some fun and learn more about the studio, mark your calendars and join us.”

Rust said that there will be sparkling wine, birthday cake and drawings for free art classes. The party will include an art show featuring the

artwork of JDS teachers, as well as demonstrations of their classes so potential students can determine which classes they want to take.

“We’ll have catalogs of classes available, and attendees will be able to register for classes while attending the party,” Rust said.

At the end of the first year, the JDS committee members reviewed student comments and data from 2022 and were pleased with the positive remarks.

February Parks and Rec programming

Sandpoint Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces will be offering the following programming in February 2023:

CPR/AED with optional First Aid 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 persons with little or no medical training, who need 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 every other month on the first Monday. Register by Thursday, Feb. 2 for

the Feb. 6 class. Located at Sandpoint City Hall Council Chambers (1123 Lake St.).

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.

Open gym basketball for adults and youth. Open gym is held on Sundays at Sandpoint High School (410 S. Division Ave.), continues through March 12 — no open gym on Feb. 12. 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 Twilight Skiing. Open on the Basin Express high-speed quad and Musical Chairs. Sandpoint Parks and Recreation is again participating in the Schweitzer Own the Night Twilight Ski program, Fridays

and Saturdays, through March 4 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 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, print the eTicket voucher(s) with the QR code and

“They found that new and experienced artists felt that the small class size and individualized instruction led to a fun and productive experience. Students appreciated being in a creative environment and connecting with other people who shared their interests. Most everybody was surprised at the growth they made, the connection they made with others, and the fun they had,” Rust said.

For more information about Joyce Dillon Studio or the Pend Oreille Arts Council go to

bring to the pick-up box for redemption. Community Garden reservations. Online reservations for remaining 2023 Community Garden plots are currently available for a limited number of four-footby-eight-foot and seven-foot-by-seven-foot plots. Located at U.S. Highway 2 and Lake Street. Fees are $26 and $31.50, respectively. Make your reservation on the Sandpoint Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces website:

Visit the online activity catalog to view listings in this category.

Register for any Parks and Rec. program at, visit the office at Sandpoint City Hall (1123 Lake St.) or call 208-263-3613.

COMMUNITY January 26, 2023 / R / 15

Here comes the second annual 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 Trish Gannon, Cameron Rasmusson and Jen Jackson Quintano, who read nearly 30 entries and ascribed points to their top picks which, when aggregated, resulted in this year’s winners and honorable mentions.

About the judges:

Trish Gannon is the editor of Sandpoint Magazine and an inveterate reader. She lives in Sandpoint after making Clark Fork her home for almost 30 years. She recently published her first book — A Shot in the Dark: The Mysterious Death of Emma Langford McEwen — a genealogy-based true crime story about the killing of her grandfather’s sister, that she warns is full of footnotes.

Cameron Rasmusson is a university-trained journalist whose resume includes the Bonner County Daily Bee, Sandpoint Magazine and serving as editor-in-chief of the Sandpoint Reader from 2015-2019. He is currently editor-in-chief of MultiLingual Media. He’s also an aficionado of film, games and literature — primarily in the sci-fi, horror and fantasy genres.

Jen Jackson Quintano writes and runs an arborist business with her husband in Sandpoint. She’s best known for her column, “The Lumberjill,” which appears regularly in the Reader. She’s published a bunch of stuff in the past and hopes to do more of the same in the future.

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 and honorable mentions.

We March

In Flanders fields the poppies blow, row on row. Never been. Never crossed the water to Europe, although I dipped into the Caribbean, helped evac the Bahamas. Sad situation. The waters rising, eating row upon row of dry land. The rich exited without passing the torch and the poor, swept into the rising tide, died. I remember the water before the swells swallowed the land line, shifting into shimmering blue, a slice of heaven as innocent as the poppies growing in Flanders fields.

Don’t believe in heaven but I pray for forgiveness. I pray that my feet forgive me, I pray that the girl with the olive colored skin survived to forgive me, I pray the innocent children forgive me, I pray that the son of a bitch Marlburl, sir, yes sir, didn’t survive, or if he did, that he himself found forgiveness.

I pray that my mom forgives me. She read me “Flanders Fields” trying to get me not to enlist. She had a way with words. She had a forgiving smile. She had a garden with irises painted the colors of the sky before the sun raged with a glow that continues to butter my skin to a crisp.

We march, but not to Flanders fields.

One of Those Clean Places with Decent Lighting

It was a quiet night at the Niner. She had been hoping for some loud drunken conversations to eavesdrop on, but it was close enough to empty that she could feel the moose staring stiffly at her back as she downed another too-large swallow of her IPA.

With nothing else to do, she had been watching the man at the far end of the bar as he sipped his “Jack on the rocks, please.” It

had probably been about seven minutes, give or take, when he finally noticed.

“Evening,” With a nod and an old-fashioned touch to the hat brim.


Having been caught, she turned her gaze towards the window.

God, she thought, to be old like that. To be a half century into adulthood, to be past the first generation of wrinkles and into the

fault lines, when all one’s faults live on your face instead in your gut. To shoulder up to a bar with no notice for the latest version of a young thing watching you or not. That was living.

She got up, tipped her glass vertical, shook the dregs down into her open mouth, and walked over to the till. “Add his to my tab,” she said, and fumbled for her card.

Judges’ notes:

Trish Gannon: Best line:

“I pray that my feet forgive me, I pray that the girl with the olive colored skin survived to forgive me, I pray the innocent children forgive me, I pray that the son of a bitch Marlburl, sir, yes sir, didn’t survive, or if he did, that he himself found forgiveness.” It gives a sense that there’s a bigger story that I want to know about.

Cameron Rasmusson: There’s some really evocative writing here.

Winner of $20 gift certificate to MickDuffs

Judges’ notes:

Jen Jackson Quintano: There are several turns of phrase here that are fucking brilliant, like, “past the first generation of wrinkles and into the fault lines, when all one’s faults live on your face instead of in your gut.” It’s so true. It makes me remember the feeling of my mistakes twisting in my gut as a youth, and makes me realize the lines on my face speak to them today. I love that this one is so distinctly Sandpoint, taking place in the Niner. I love the narrator’s perspective, the set-up for her perceptivity, how that perceptivity leaves her in a state both generous and shaken. The best short stories derive their power from all that is left unsaid, the negative spaces, those things that are hinted at. This story nails it.

16 / R / January 26, 2023 LITERATURE
< see FICTION, Page 17 >
Winner of cash$150prize!

“Jack, it isn’t as tough as you make it out to be.” he said. “Just swing at the ball and it flies out there toward the flag, and rolls into the hole. Nothing to it.”

“You keep leaving out the luck factor, Dad. You’re the lucky one. I’m the good one.”

Their traditional ribbing began as Jack climbed into the

golf cart and they headed toward the Par 3, sixth hole. For 60 years, Jack and his dad had spent part of Father’s Day on the golf course where Jack learned to play golf at the age of 10. Harry’s two holes in one came on this 135-yard sixth hole.

Now, Jack was the only

Winner of $20 gift certificateMickDuff’sto

Judges’ notes:

TG: Good dialogue.

It was rather like what one might expect of any antiques store. Quiet, small, so crammed with shelves and racks that were stuffed to the limit with vintage paraphernalia that it seemed reasonable walking space was scarcely an afterthought. The air was filled with lonesome songs of an age similar to that of the antiques.

We went there on a lark, she and I, after having met for drinks not an hour before. We breezed past the entrance and towards the back of the shop with barely a glance at the displays by the window. Deeper into the store, we pointed at whatever caught our eyes and

one who still played golf. Ninety-four-year-old Harry’s arthritic hands stopped him from playing golf. But he could still mess with Jack’s mind. Jack was always a much better golfer than his dad was, but he’d never made a hole-in-one. And Harry wouldn’t let him forget it.

Jack stood up to the ball, waggled his eight-iron a few times, then took a smooth and balanced swing. His ball headed straight for the flag. “Great looking shot, Jack. For a beginner!” Harry exclaimed.

Then with a pensive near-whisper, “I really hope it goes in, Son.”


whispered smart remarks about them to each other. Silly things. I distinctly recall one such piece: It was a small figure of a man, cast in bronze and, to our delight, sporting a corkscrew in a rather fitting place.

We left shortly after that, chuckling as we breezed past the front displays a second time, empty handed. We were a few steps out the door and saying our goodbyes when she reached up and pecked me on the cheek before heading off, leaving me dumbfounded and grinning with the realization that I left with something I cherished more than any antique.

No hole in one yet? Antique 27

At first, it was just barely noticeable, but pretty soon it became unbearable.

I saw you out there on the ice, believe me, transporting a backpack packed with those unbearable things – which, weight in mind, threatened to drown you. I called out to you on the ice, What are you doing transporting a backpack packed with those horrid, unbearable things?

You waved and smiled like an idiot. You might have been drunk or something.

So, I ran out to you.

You were still smiling like an idiot, transporting a backpack packed with those unbearable things, but you could not understand why I was running out.

By way of explanation, I said, I’m

coming to help you transport that backpack packed with those horrid, stinking, unbearable things.

You tried to stop me, but it was too late — I’m an idiot. The ice cracked open and we plunged beneath the milky surface, under the ice, enfolded by dark water.

Those horrid, stinking, deep-red, unbearable things immediately scuttled out of your backpack and chewed our guts. The water churned thick, rusted, flushed, and those horrid, stinking, deep-red, vacant-eyed, unbearable things squirmed inside and outside of us, chomping vacuously at our viscera, furiously burrowing our fascia, spraying masticated webs of unbearable things.

JJQ: Golf’s not my thing, but that makes this story’s ability to hook me all the more remarkable. There is so much conveyed about this father-son relationship without actually having to say it. While, instead, discussing an annually shared round of golf. The last line almost made me cry. Which is silly — c’mon, we’re talking about golf here — except that it’s not silly. Because we’re talking about so much more than golf. Very well written.

CR: I like the dialogue and how much of the father-son relationship comes through. I like the tension of the ending. Solid slice of life.

December 8, 1967

Mom, Richard and I were at the breakfast table. The chores were done. The cows milked and the hay fed and the woodboxes filled. Dad had just finished filling the kindling box. Lester had stayed in town so he could work the weekend at Rogers grocery store in Sandpoint. Brother Ron was in California with Sheila, his pregnant wife. The snow in our long driveway was a foot and a half deep, and we hoped that Floyd Irish would plow us out with the county road grader in the next day or two. Mom suddenly stepped to the kitchen window. “Someone is honking at the bottom of the hill.”


We all hurried to the back door and Dad opened it. Art’s red Datsun pickup was at the mailboxes. The honking stopped and Art got out. He cupped his hands around his mouth and hollered something. He had brought us messages before since they had the only phone on our county road. We couldn’t understand what he said. Dad hollered back, “What did you say?

“It’s a boy!”

“It’s a boy! They have a baby boy! All healthy!”

We cheered and hugged and hollered our thank yous to Art. Mom and Dad’s first grandchild. And I was an uncle.

Turned Upside Down

Billie was where he loved to be, relaxing beneath a giant tree, when all over the earth, the small things fell first, like marbles, pencils, and worms from the dirt. Raindrops fell back up into the sky. Cars left the roads and began to fly. Luckily Billie was under the tree. Caught by the branches, he hung from his knees. Buildings, bridges and trains went up, too. Even the great tree tore up from its roots.

Billie cried out for his family, but his small voice was drowned by the people and things swirling wildly around. Drifting through the air like a vast river flow, Billie watched as the stars passed, above and below.

Later, Billie awoke to a thunk! A sailboat’s anchor had hooked onto his trunk. The captain had learned how to sail through the sky. She showed Billie how, saying, “Give it a try!” Billie steered his tree upward, burst through a cloud, smiled and shouted, “I’m flying!” aloud.

They flew around picking up those who were lost, filling up branches, every last spot. In this upside down world, everything had changed, but together they created new ways to maintain. Some reunited with loved ones again, while others, like Billie, found new families and friends.

January 26, 2023 / R / 17
< FICTION, con’t from Page 16 >


January 26-February 2, 2023

THURSDAY, January 26

FriDAY, January 27

Live Music w/ Miah Kohal Band

7:30pm @ The Honey Hive

Join Sandpoint’s outlaw classic rock and alt-country band on The Hive’s awesome stage. $10 at the door. VIP booths available

Toyota Free Ski Day at Schweitzer

All day @ Schweitzer

Bring your Toyota, Scion or Lexus to Schweitzer and get one free lift ticket!

Live Music w/ Summer of Soul

7pm @ Panida Theater

Over the course of 6 weeks during the summer of 1969, thousands of people attended the Harlem Cultural Festival to Celebrate Black History, culture, music and fashion

Live Music w/ Shedroof Divide

2-4pm @ Create Art Center, Newport Upright bass, cajon drum, acoustic/electric guitar, keyboard and three-part harmonies playing a fundraiser for Selkirk Alliance for Science in Newport. FREE show

Live Music w/ Right Front Burner

8-10pm @ 219 Lounge

A pre-Follies’ kickoff, featuring the always funky, always fresh RFB

Live Music w/ Chris and Lauren

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

An evening of pop and folk

Live Music w/ Mobius Riff

7-10pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes

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

SATURDAY, January 28

Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz

4:30-7:30pm @ Barrel 33

Sandpoint’s hardest working jazz group

Winter Wilderness Skills

10am-2pm @ Pine Street Woods

An in-person skills class led by Karie Lee. Learn what basic requirements are to thrive in the wilderness in snowy winter conditions. Focus on fire making in wet, cold conditions and shelter making. Bring snacks, water and lunch. $75. After class, join the Kaniksu Folk School Winter Fest for a sledding party from 2-4pm

Live Music w/ Ian Newbill

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Country and classic rock

Live Music w/ Courtney and Company

7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Sandpoint Chess Club

Live Music w/ Corn Mash and special guest Larry Kiser

9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Making their debut at the Niner, Moscow-based Corn Mash plays a mix of pretty and dirty country songs mixed with a little rock, blues, punk and a tinge of funk

Live Music w/ Larry Mooney

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Classic and rock favorites

Science on Saturday

10am @ Panida Theater

Enjoy a presenter from the GIZMO Learning Lab. Explore physics, with an activity learning about energy, motion, gravity, force, speed and elasticity. You will be creating handheld catapults!

Live Music w/ Harold’s IGA

4-7pm @ Taps at Schweitzer

SunDAY, January 29

9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee

Meets every Sunday at 9am

Magic with Star Alexander (Sundays)

5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

Up close magic shows right at the table

monDAY, January 30

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s

“Thinking Theologically”

Group Run @ Outdoor Experience

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

3-5 miles, all levels welcome, beer after

tuesDAY, January 31

wednesDAY, february 1

ThursDAY, february 2

Follies tickets on sale TODAY!

18 / R
26, 2023

‘Ready to be heard’

Just after the U.S. Supreme Court effectively overturned Roe v.Wade, ending the federal right to abortion, Sandpoint woman Jen Jackson Quintano found herself eager to do something but disheartened by the idea of simply participating in another march.

“While I do recognize the importance of such actions, personally, I felt like I needed to channel my energy elsewhere,” she told the Reader.

Her own path forward materialized on a summer day beside an alpine lake, sitting on the shoreline with a friend while their children explored the surrounding woods. The women shared their hopelessness, anger and “fears around mothering daughters in a world seemingly hell-bent on stripping them of their agency,” then resolved to do something about it.

The Pro Voice Project highlights stories of local womens’ reproductive choices

she added. “What if, instead of hiding our abortion stories, we shared them? What if the personal had the power to change the political?”

Drawing inspiration from The Vagina Monologues, a widely performed play centered on womens’ personal stories of sexuality and female empowerment, the two imagined a stage production in which local stories about women’s reproductive choices could be shared.

Soon after, Quintano read an op-ed in the Reader by Dorothy Prophet, in which Prophet shared her own abortion story. Remembering Prophet’s background in theater and current work with Cade Prophet Memorial Productions, Quintano made the connection and Prophet enthusiastically joined the effort. Thus, The Pro Voice Project was born.

The Pro Voice Project

Saturday, Jan. 28; 3 p.m. and 7 p.m., doors open 30 minutes before each show; $10 at the door, with proceeds benefiting the Northwest Abortion Access Fund. Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., theprovoiceproject. com. Learn more about the fund at

“Both of us being writers, we soon landed on the power of story,” said Quintano, who contributes the regular “Lumberjill” column in the Reader

“Our stories carry weight. Our stories are our testimony,”

“When I wrote the piece about my own abortion experience for the Reader it was because I wanted to try to help people understand the many reasons women choose to have an abortion,” Prophet said. “It is rarely a black-and-white issue. Medical, emotional and mental health reasons should not be put aside.

“Rape, incest, trauma, health

and safety are all a part of it. No woman has made the decision to abort without serious consideration,” she continued. “The Pro Voice Project will hopefully enlighten people with women’s stories that perhaps they have not considered.”

The Pro Voice Project will take the stage Saturday, Jan. 28 with two performances at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. at the Heartwood Center. Each showing will feature a storytelling production followed by a moderated panel discussion with regional health care providers and advocates for women’s reproductive choice. Audience participation is encouraged, and proceeds from each $10 ticket will benefit the Northwest Abortion Access Fund, which runs a toll-free helpline with the goal of connecting women to funds, rides and safe places to stay while pursuing an abortion.

For the stage production portion of The Pro Voice Project, actors will perform the real stories of local women. Quintano said these stories illustrate the ways that women’s lives could have been irrevocably changed if forced to give birth, whether by abuse, diminished health or lack of autonomy.

“I am so grateful to all of these women for their courage in sharing these deeply personal — sometimes painful — experiences,” Quintano said. “No

Summer of Soul screens for free at the Panida

A free showing of the Academy Award-winning documentary film Summer of Soul will take place at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 27 (doors open at 6:30 p.m.) at the Panida Theater.

Gather your families, friends and neighbors and for an evening of eye-opening performances at the Panida by

such artists as Nina Simone, the Chamber Brothers, Sly and the Family Stone, Mahalia Jackson, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Stevie Wonder, Mavis Staples and more.

Rated PG-13, the award-winning Summer of Soul has been called “the Black Woodstock,” documenting a series of summer concerts at the Harlem Cultural Festival

one had to share their stories; they chose to. They believed that their stories could make a difference. I’m grateful, and I want to prove them right.”

Mingled with gratitude, Quintano said she also feels “anger and dismay that today’s young women have been stripped of similar choices and outcomes.”

“I feel fearful for the future my daughter might inhabit,” she said. “However, these stories also give me strength. And hope. Because if enough of us raise our voices and tell our stories, someone is going to hear them. That someone may not be our legislators, but it could be the voters. It could be the courts. I want to generate a chorus that can’t ultimately be ignored.”

Cynthia Dalsing, a retired certified nurse-midwife who practiced for almost four decades, will be one of the health care experts present on the panel following the stage production. She told the Reader she believes that “women can and do make their own best decisions,” and she sees The Pro Voice Project as a chance to “bring the experience of abortion out of the dark corners of our lives and into a space where the very common



in 1969 and celebrating Black music, identity and culture.

The 2021 documentary sat in basement vaults for 50 years until musician and filmmaker Questlove edited more than 40 hours of footage.

Summer of Soul is brought to the Panida by 88.5 KRFY with a grant from the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force.

experience of an unplanned pregnancy can be shared and thus better understood.”

“Women don’t need others to make this decision for them; they need the freedom and support to make their own decisions,” Dalsing said. “When that happens, women have got this.”

Quintano said that The Pro Voice Project’s inaugural performance marks a beginning, as she hopes to continue the enterprise.

“The Idaho Legislature reminds us daily that our voices need to be heard,” she said. “We are not dairy cows. We are not baby incubators or baby murderers. We are more than the sum of our body parts. We are women. Together, we are strong of voice and heart. Many of us are ready to be heard. I want to facilitate women being heard.”

open for

Sound of Music

Suzuki String Academy is holding auditions for its summer 2023 performance of The Sound of Music.

Auditions will be held from 4-6 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 3 at the Suzuki String Academy located at 1033 Baldy Mountain Road in Sandpoint.

Aspiring musicians, singers and performers aged 8 through adult are asked to come to the three-minute audition with a monologue, dialogue or well-prepared song.

Sign up for The Sound of Music auditions at or

January 26, 2023 / R / 19 STAGE & SCREEN

I just returned from a quick scouting trip to the Islands of Tahiti. I grabbed a friend to tag along, spending sunny days on warm sandy beaches and dreamy nights in overwater bungalows, watching iridescent fish shimmering in the waters below our glass floor. We island hopped, meeting with promoters and hoteliers, and learned about new properties and attractions for those seeking respite from the harsh winters of North Idaho.

The food was fabulous, too. We savored every bite that met our lips — especially the poisson cru, a combination of just-caught tuna marinated in fresh coconut milk, cucumber, tomato and onion. It’s the signature dish of Tahiti, and every chef has a secret recipe for perfection. It’s always delicious and a favorite mainstay when I’m in French Polynesia.

You’ll also find many local dishes flavored with Tahitian vanilla. The aromatic spice is popular in Tahitian cooking not only for sweet confections but also savory dishes. We were fortunate to visit a small plantation on the island of Mo’orea with a native Polynesian friend, Heimata. He has a popular business that provides food tours of the island (and also in Tahiti) and explained the history of the famous vanilla in depth as we toured the plantation and gardens.

We learned that Tahitian vanilla is second only to saffron as the most costly spice in the world because the production is exceptionally labor-intensive. Nearly 80% of Tahitian vanilla beans are grown on Taha’a island, only 35 square miles, locat-

The Sandpoint Eater Oh beans!

ed in the Society Islands about 150 miles east of Tahiti. It needs a lot of water for growth and is grown primarily on the rainy, windward side of the island. It takes about three years for the plant to mature, and it flowers from July to September.

The bees used to pollinate the vanilla orchid are not native to Tahiti, so each vanilla flower is pollinated by hand. When the plants are flowering, the farmers rise early, hand-pollinating each blossom. In addition to the season being very short, each flower only blooms for about six hours, so the farmer must move quickly yet delicately, ensuring each flower closes and withers away. The pollinated flowers produce a vanilla bean.

The ripening process is also laborious, and Heimata said each plantation closely guards its perfect technique. Sadly, as the cost of Tahitian vanilla rises (worth hundreds of thousands of dollars), he reports that many plantations have seen a surge in the theft of the nearly ripe beans. As a result, most are under lock and key, with elaborate safeguards in place.

Tama’a means “to eat” in Tahitian, and we did just that as we toured the island. Heimata took us to several local snack shacks, including one from his childhood, where he stopped every day after school. We learned about local traditions as we tasted Polynesian snacks and bites influenced by the fusion

of Tahitian, French and Chinese cultures. Polynesians love carbs, and a favorite snack is Chinese fried noodles and French baguette sandwiches (washed down with even more carbs — a Hinano beer, a local island favorite).

Baguettes are baked twice daily and delivered around the island each morning and afternoon. Because the government fixes the prices of baguettes, everyone can afford this staple in their diet.

Besides bread and fish, other plentiful staples on the islands include sweet potatoes, coconut milk, taro, ginger and chicken (though most of the islands are overrun by small feral chickens, they are left to roam, and chick-

en is purchased at the market).

Corn and lemons are not plentiful or even barely present, so I suffered mightily with lime twists in my vodka. Heimata was thrilled to receive a variety of corn tortillas I picked up during a stopover in Seattle. He reported having some lemon seeds and promised to plant them soon (I hope he hurries).

Shrimp with Tahitian vanilla and coconut sauce

(chevrettes à la vanille et coco)

Meanwhile, this is a delicious and famous recipe on the islands, with plentiful ingredients in Tahiti, and you can pick them up locally in Sandpoint, too (visit Winter Ridge or Miller’s Country Store for vanilla beans): chevrettes à la vanille et coco, a.k.a. shrimp with Tahitian vanilla and coconut sauce. Tama’a and enjoy! Serves


•2-3 tablespoons of cooking oil

•2 pounds of peeled and deveined shrimp (16-20 count)

•1 Tahitian vanilla pod

•⅓ cup rum

•1 cup coconut milk

•1 heavy cream

•Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a frying pan or skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp and cook until just pink and done. Remove and keep warm.

Split the vanilla bean in half and scrape the seeds. In a saucepan, add the rum, vanilla and seeds, and bring to a boil. Let simmer until the rum has mostly evaporated.

Pour in the coconut milk and cream and simmer gently until the sauce has thickened and its volume is reduced by about half.

Remove the vanilla bean, add the shrimp, tossing to coat well.

Simmer and season to taste.

Serve hot over rice. Garnish with scant chopped parsley or other mild green that will not spoil the delicate flavor of the sauce.

20 / R / January 26, 2023


Prepare to boogie

Separately, the members of the Baja Boogie Band are all wildly talented and seasoned musicians. Together, they’ve created something that audiences across North American have come to know as an act you don’t want to miss.

Sandpoint has the luck of being one of the Baja Boogie Band’s stops on this year’s winter tour, as the outfit — joined by the legendary Peter Rivera — will play Saturday, Feb. 4 at the Heartwood Center (615 Oak St.). Tickets are $25 in advance online at or at Eichardt’s Pub (212 Cedar St.), and expected to sell out quickly. Day-of tickets, if there are any available, will be $30. Doors and bar will open at 6:30 p.m. with the music kicking off at 7:30 p.m.

Baja Boogie Band bassist Dave Hutcheson told the Reader that the band formed in Mexico’s Baja California Peninsula about 12 years ago when he met David Raitt — brother to the famed Bonnie Raitt, but an accomplished musician in his own right. Raitt needed a band on short notice, so Hutcheson and some other players joined him for a performance that proved worth


“It went so well that we started doing a couple of tours a year in Mexico, the U.S. and Canada,” Hutcheson said, “and we’ve been doing that ever since.”

The Baja Boogie Band is known for its polished and energetic blend of blues — from Delta-inspired to R&B — with a touch of rock and a hearty dose of big-band swing. Aside from Raitt and Hutcheson, the band’s lineup also features Pat Barclay, Dave Winslow, Dennis Wilson, Jon Goforth, Al Kitchel and Dan Cox.

The band’s Sandpoint show will also feature drummer and vocalist Peter Rivera, known best for his time with platinum rock group Rare Earth.

“He’s been rated as one of the best vocalist-drummers of all time, across the board,” Hutcheson said of Rivera. “He’s a star.”

Baja Boogie Band

Saturday, Feb. 4; doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.; $25 for adults in advance at Eichardt’s or online at bajaboogieattheheartwood., $30 at the door. Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St.,

Hutcheson lauded the talent and experience of each of his bandmates, calling it “a real treat to be playing with this level of musicians right now.”

“The musicianship is off the charts,” he said.

Apart from the obvious commitment to craft, the Baja Boogie Band also takes pride in putting on a live show worthy of your best dancing shoes. On touring and playing to often sold-out

Baja Boogie Band to bring international blues act to the Heartwood Feb. 4

crowds, Hutcheson said: “We have a hell of a lot of fun doing it.”

“We’re all doing it because we love music,” he added. “Everyone has spent their lifetimes pursuing their careers in all kinds of different ways, and for us to connect together at this stage of our lives and be able to do the stuff we’re

doing — we get to go to Mexico and play, we get to go to Canada and we get to come to Sandpoint.”

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

Shedroof Divide, Create Art Center, Jan. 28 Corn Mash, 219 Lounge, Jan. 28

Among the many stunning trails in the Salmo-Priest Wilderness of northeast Washington is “the Shedroof Divide.” Much farther down the mountainside, in Newport, Wash., is a homegrown, family-centered band that goes by the same name. It may be a coincidence, but we think not.

Randi and Mike Lithgow; Tina Shaw, who is Randi’s mother; and their friend Jessica Martin are Shedroof Divide, mingling Americana-bluegrass with a bit of folk,

pop ballad and gospel sound for an all-original setlist layered with three-part vocal harmonies.

Catch Shedroof Divide on its home turf Saturday, Jan. 28 at the Create Art Center in Newport.

— Zach Hagadone

2 p.m., FREE. Create Art Center, 900 W. Fourth St., Newport, Wash., 509-447-9277, createarts. org. Listen at

Making their debut at the 219 Lounge, Moscow-based band Corn Mash seems like the perfect match for our resident five-star dive bar.

Corn Mash is the project of singer-songwriter Bill LaVoie. The band originally formed in Seattle in 2003 and has undergone several iterations and makeovers throughout the years.

They play a mix of original rock, swing, blues, country, punk, funk and a touch of bluegrass. It’s

music that gets the booty shaking, but also stimulates the brain.

Corn mash has opened for such acts as The Gourds, Great American Taxi and Richard Buckner. Special guest Larry Kiser will join for the 219 Lounge show.

9 p.m., FREE, 21+. 219 Lounge, 219 N. First Ave., 208263-5673, Listen at

I spent the better part of my 20s reading classic novels that most critics argue we should read. The past decade though? I’ve slummed with genre fiction, detective novels, courtroom dramas and low-hanging fruit that helps my brain shut off after a long work day. I’m hoping to take another tour and read some of my favorites in the coming decade, including Ken Kesey’s One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest, a beautiful and heartbreaking novel that always inspires me to continue my own creative writing. If you haven’t read it for a while, dive back in.


Bill Callahan has one of those voices that soothes whatever is jagged inside you. First known as Smog, a prog-rock, lo-fi sadcore band active in the 1990s, Callahan now can be classified as gothic country, or perhaps apocalyptic folk. There’s a cathartic feeling of darkness and hope in his baritone voice and often clumsy sounding songs that always come together. His 2022 release YTILAƎЯ (the mirror image of REALITY) is a great example of his calm, intriguing adventures in lo-fi songwriting.


True crime fans come in all shapes and sizes. Michelle McNamara, wife of comedian and actor Patton Oswalt, was often hailed as one of the founders of the “online sleuth” world. Her book, I’ll Be Gone in the Dark: One Woman’s Obsessive Search for the Golden State Killer, revolutionized the true crime genre with thoughtful, personal reflections about the obsession that eventually led to her death. HBO Max is showing I’ll Be Gone in the Dark, a multi-part series about her story, as well as the story of the Golden State Killer and his many crimes up and down the state of California.

January 26, 2023 / R / 21
This week’s RLW by Ben Olson Top: The Baja Boogie Band will play the Heartwood Center Saturday, Feb. 4. Courtesy photo. Above: Special guest Peter Rivera from Rare Earth will join the Baja Boogie Band. Photo by Jack Mongan Photography.

From Northern Idaho News, Jan. 24, 1922


At the weekly luncheon of the Chamber of commerce directors last Wednesday, Judge G.H. Martin reported that at a recent conference with Mayor E.W. Wheelan, Aldermen Benedict and Brown and Station Agent T.L. Gibson of the Northern Pacific railroad, the details of the leasing of the beach from the railroad company for a park site were gone over and agreed upon. It was found that the railroad company was willing to grant the 9-year lease of all that tract of land bounded on the west by the tracks, on the north by the city dock, and south and east by the lake, with a 30-day terminating clause, providing the company should have use for that portion included in the original grant to it by the government. Another clause was also required by the company, to the effect that the city should begin the improvement of the tract within a period of two years or forfeit the lease. To the attaching of these strings, the committees of the city agreed, and as the proper authorities of the company have already given order for the drawing of the lease, it will be a question of but a short time before the city will be in possession of a real park site.

The proposed site covers 80 acres. Excepting in area of perhaps the size of a city lot, the entire tract is annually inundated by the flood waters which flow into the lake at spring time and do not recede until July.

To transform this large tract into a well ordered park in a season is recognized as impossible for the city, from a financial viewpoint since the plans call for a tremendous reclamation process, creation of a lagoon, the planting of trees, flower beds, etc., entailing a tremendous outlay. The ultimate purpose of the park will be to provide a playground; to provide a camping-ground for the tourist; and a beach for bathers.

The bitter pill of nostalgia

I love watching movies from the 1990s. There’s something nostalgic and warm about that decade right before we all became consumed by the internet, smartphones and social media. It feels like coming home.

My generation — occupying some fuzzy space between Generation X and the Millennials — is often viewed as the last generation that remembers the world before technology changed everything.

We grew up in a quaint world where people still wrote letters and dropped by without calling in advance. You made plans to meet up with your friends and everyone just showed up at the right time and place — no text messaging needed. We rented VHS tapes from video stores, made mix cassette tapes from the radio and scraped together our spare change to buy candy from the corner store. We read magazines that we bought from the newstands, discovered new music from watching VH1 and MTV, and somehow managed to learn and survive without having Google always at our fingertips to answer any question that popped into our heads.

We spent hours roaming around outside — catching frogs in a creek behind the house or riding bikes with friends on adventures seemingly without purpose. When we were older, we’d cruise around town in our first cars, park window-to-window at the City Beach to catch up with friends and see where the party was later.

We were raised without the constant intrusion of smartphones dictating our every desire, and I think we were better off for it. Walk through an airport today and you’ll see thousands of people with their heads bent down, thumbs tapping on their devices, filling the void by searching the internet, swiping left or right on some dating app or watching the latest 30-second viral sen-

sation on TikTok. It’s almost as if we’re unable to spend a single moment without visual stimulation.

I often wonder how things like urban legends and childhood games were spread to one another before the internet captured us all in its viral embrace. I remember playing the old “Bloody Mary” game, in which you’d stand in a dark bathroom with a candle burning and chant “Blood Mary” three times while staring into the mirror. The reflection would suddenly transform into a ghastly, ghostly face and we’d run screaming from the bathroom.

I’ve talked with other people my age from different geographic areas, and they confirmed they played similar games when they were younger.

Were they spread by word of mouth? Was it the collective unconscious? Or were big brothers and sisters the sole vehicle for teaching their younger siblings these things?

Today, we’re oversaturated with information bombarding us every moment of every day. All the information of the world is at our fingertips, and somehow it has lost a bit of its gravitas. I long for the days when I don’t have the ability to answer any question instantaneously with a few taps of my fingers.

I remember sitting around arguing with friends in high school and later in college. We’d talk about what a star is, and everyone would have a different set of facts and anecdotes to add to the conversation. Today, it would just take someone Googling “what is a star?” and all the answers would be there; but, back in the day, we had to rely on the things we learned in Mr. Collins’ science class or from watching Cosmos with Carl Sagan on PBS.

I remember our family’s hardcover set of Encyclopedia Britannica on the bookshelf. I’d pore over them volume by volume, starting with aardvarks and finishing by learning about zymurgy in the final book. The year

Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

1990 was Encyclopedia Britannica’s heyday, when 120,000 sets were sold worldwide. Just 10 short years later, the antiquated books were all but replaced by CD-ROMs and, a little later, websites like Wikipedia. By 2012, well into the digital age, the books went out of print completely. Sure, it’s more convenient to have all the encyclopedic information digitally stored, but there’s also something a bit soulless about it, too.

Nostalgia is a dangerous potion that can bring such joy, but can also leave a bitter taste in your mouth when realizing we might’ve been better off without all the abilities in the world at our fingertips.

We hear people talk about freedom a lot around these parts. I think real freedom was the ability to live in the present, each and every day, and not be beholden to our chirping devices always waiting to divert our attention.

There is no going back at this point. You can’t unring the digital bell. But we can still escape into the warm embrace of a ’90s movie now and again, before we all became so connected and grew so very far apart.

Crossword Solution

Probably one of the main problems with owning a robot is when you want him to go out in the snow to get the paper, he doesn’t want to go because it’s so cold, so you have to get out your whip and start whipping him, and the kids start crying, and oh why did I ever get this stupid robot?

22 / R / January 26, 2023

Laughing Matter



Word Week of the

Corrections: In last week’s Reader, we wrote about the Ting donation matching campaign for the Panida that Ting was matching donations of up to $2,000, but they’re actually matching donations of up to $5,000. Apologies for the error.

January 26, 2023 / R / 23
1.Notices 5.Go on all fours 10.“Go away!” 14.Misfortunes 15.Female demon 16.Vagabond 17.Growing 19.Reign 20.An uncle 21.Parenthetical comment 22.Full of excitement 23.Obsolete 25.Place into the soil 27.Each 28.Public demonstrations 31.Detest 34.Select by voting 35.Cap 36.Lowly laborer 37.Break into pieces 38.Capital of Peru 39.Hearing organ 40.Arrears 41.Joyful 42.Blue denim 44.Butt 45.Intestine 46.Snake 50.Pertaining to Arius 52.Depart 54.Born, in bios 55.Hide 56.10 to the centimeter 58.Period of discounted prices 59.Donkeys 1.Allied 2.Lacquer ingredient 3.Imps 4.South southeast 5.Nearer 6.Swift 7.In the center of 8.Juice extraction device 9.Delay DOWN
Copyright Solution
22 10.Reliquary 11.Matrimony prelude 12.Capable 13.Pigeon-___ 18.Kind of beam 22.Unit of power 24.On top of 26.Scottish lake 28.Dish 29.Pack down 30.Remain 31.Mimicked 32.Boyfriend 33.Bird of tropical Africa 34.Beautify 37.Arid 38.Light source 40.Sunrise 41.A group on concubines 43.A small chin beard 44.Rewrite 46.The business of selling goods 47.Reply to a knock 48.Requires 49.Brusque 50.Abbey area 51.Backside 53.Apart from this 56.Thick flat pad 57.Chapter in history 60.Crimsons 61.Celtic language 62.Not those 63.Rear end
on page
trachle /trah-kHUHl/ [verb] 1. to fatigue; tire; wear out. “The long walk into town thoroughly trachled the horses as they pulled the carriage through the falling snow.” Solution on page 22 Solution on page 22


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