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Win i di g

A loo� ahead at the 2020 Idaho Legislature

Update on the Boundary Countld t ain derailment

�ow the opioid crlsis ls a�f=ec i g Idaho

To Cross an Ocea -Part 2 Cool ides, how g ming can chanqe your li�e. local stage auditions and more ...

Everything you need for your vinyl record habit.

New & Used Vinyl Turntable Parts Cartridges / Styli (208) 263-2544

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Wednesday- Saturday

Noon – 5:30pm

2 /


/ January 9, 2020

(wo)MAN compiled by

Susan Drinkard

on the street

What do you think is the greatest issue facing Idaho state government right now? “The Legislature needs to abide by their constitutional mandate to fund public education.” Gino Groseclose Retired general factotum Kootenai

“The overwhelming amount of red tape to get individuals into the services they need.” Jenny Brotherton-Manna Owner of North Idaho Community/Children’s Mental Health Sandpoint

“Daylight savings time. It shouldn’t be dark at 4:15 in the afternoon. It can be depressing.” Eric Plummer Sandpoint Psychotherapy Sandpoint

“I wish the tax exemption that was available to our disabled veterans was not restricted to just the 100% disabled.” Lisa Lawrence Customer service Sandpoint “They need to balance out equally the amount of taxes collected from Idaho citizens so the majority of the revenue collected doesn’t wind up in southern Idaho.” Leon Atkinson Professor of music Sandpoint “Idaho needs to raise the minimum wage to at least $10 per hour; all our surrounding states have raised it.” Jim Gunter Caregiver Sandpoint


It’s been two weeks since Publisher Ben Olson departed for his Caribbean sailing adventure and our last photographic evidence of his whereabouts put him and his girlfriend, Cadie Archer, sipping a couple of cold ones somewhere near the Tobago Cays. Suffice to say, they’re both doing fine. In the meantime, Staff Writer Lyndsie Kiebert and I have been busy keeping this ship on course with a ton of much-appreciated help from our stalwart contributors and Editor Emeritus Cameron Rasmusson, whose byline you’ll find on a pair of important stories this week — the first being a preview of the 2020 Idaho Legislature, which officially gaveled into session Jan. 6. The second piece, which appears on Page 11, provides some hair-raising figures related to the opioid crisis as it has affected Idaho in general and Bonner County, specifically. Speaking of raising hairs, we want to briefly mention a spam email that went out to at least some of our advertisers in late December, alleging a “leftist” conspiracy by the Reader and others to undermine local conservative leaders. We won’t dignify the email writer with a complete rundown of their bizarre claims, but want to let everyone know we’re aware of the message and apologize to anyone who received it.

-Zach Hagadone, editor-in-chief

Winter Pairing Dinner January 26, 2020 Publisher: Ben Olson Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) Lyndsie Kiebert (Staff Writer) Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Jodi Berge Contributing Artists: Chelsea Mowery (cover), Ben Olson Susan Drinkard

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per person Tickets on sale at the brewery Limited to twenty seats 214 Pine Street • Sandpoint, ID

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Contributing Writers: Cameron Rasmusson, Zach Hagadone, Lyndsie Kiebert, Lorraine H. Marie, Emily Erickson, Tim Henney, Brenden Bobby, Ben Olson

7 Course Dinner Paired with 7 Beers Sunday, 6:00 pm



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

Sandpoint Reader letter policy: The Sandpoint Reader welcomes letters to the editor on all topics. Requirements: –No more than 400 words –Letters may not contain excessive profanity or libelous material. Please elevate the discussion. Letters will be edited to comply with the above requirements. Opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers, not necessarily the publishers. Email letters to: Check us out on the web at: Like us on Facebook. About the Cover

This week’s cover features a beautiful photograph of Idaho’s state bird, the mountain bluebird. It was taken by Chelsea Mowery Photography. Check out more of Chelsea’s work here: January 9, 2020 /


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District 1 lawmakers join Gov. Little in lining up priorities for 2020 Legislature By Cameron Rasmusson Reader Contributor

It’s the most wonderful time of the year for Idaho lawmakers, lobbyists and political junkies. With the holiday decorations back in storage and a new year begun, Idaho legislators are back in Boise for this year’s legislative session. Gov. Brad Little kicked the session off Jan. 6 with the traditional State of the State Address, expressing a vision of regulatory reform, education investment and infrastructure development. “I am committed to working with you to invest in education, continue reducing regulatory burdens, and increase all Idahoans’ prosperity and quality of life,” Little said, underscoring that his fiscal year 2021 budget limits General Fund spending growth to 3.75%. “I want us to champion affordable health care, make Idaho safer, and promote healthy lands and waters,” Little said. “I want Idahoans to be confident in their state government.” But it’s ultimately the Idaho Legislature’s job to determine the priorities for this year’s work. District 1 lawmakers will be doing just that in the weeks to come. Sen. Jim Woodward, R-Sagle, sees Little’s speech as a useful blueprint for the discussions to come, with property taxes, Medicaid expansion and education funding being among the highest priorities. “The first week or so of the session is somewhat of a warmup,” he said. “There are many discussions between legislators, between the House and Senate, and between legislative leadership and the executive branch.” Woodward said that over the past 30 or 40 years, when Idaho has experienced economic growth, changes to the property tax system usually follow. With the state undergoing a population boom — the U.S. Census Bureau reports Idaho grew 14% between 2010 4 /


/ January 9, 2020

Rep. Sage Dixon and 2019 — this year may be no different. The key will be finding an approach that keeps Idaho’s three-legged tax system, which relies on income, sales and property taxes, in balance. “The driver for the property tax discussion is economic growth, which typically results in rising residential property values,” Woodward said. In his address, Little promised to “put money back into taxpayers’ pockets,” specifically by leveraging $35 million from the Tax Relief Fund to help lessen Idahoans’ grocery bills. Meanwhile, expansion of Medicaid, an initiative enacted through a vote by Idaho residents, continues apace, Woodward said. “Funds are again coming from savings in other areas of the budget as well as tobacco settlement money,” he added. Little promised that his budget will fund a full year of Medicaid expansion “with a net-zero impact on the General Fund,” citing budget offsets from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare, the Department of Correction, courts and the Catastrophic Health Care Fund. Counties would also be asked to chip with budget offsets of their own, “as Medicaid expansion begins to pay for services the counties used to cover,” Little said. As ever, education will be a major focus this session. Revising the state’s education funding formula, which uses a dated attendance-based model,

Rep. Heather Scott

Sen. Jim Woodward

Gov. Brad Little

has historically been a tough nut to crack — lawmakers tried and failed to do so last year. This year presents an opportunity for a second stab at an agreement. Also on the agenda is implementing recommendations from Little’s education task force. “[The task force] spent a good part of last year analyzing how to best improve our state K-12 education system,” Woodward said. “A significant recommendation from the task force is building out the third rung of the teacher career ladder.” Little told the joint-session of the Idaho Legislature that property taxes are increasingly used to shoulder teacher salaries and operating expenses — specifically via supplemental levies like the one made permanent in November by Lake Pend Oreille School District voters. That trend is prevalent throughout the state, and Little proposed to appropriate $30 million in ongoing General Fund monies as a “downpayment” for increasing educators’ salaries in the coming years. According to Idaho Ed News writer Kevin Richert, who provided analysis to Idaho Reports following Little’s address Jan. 6, that money will go toward veteran teachers who were “kind of left behind” with the career ladder. He predicted the $30 million teacher-pay item will be “a tough sell” with lawmakers. Another key issue facing the 2020 Legislature relates to regulatory reform. Little spent a good portion of his State of the

State address touting efforts in 2019 by the Division of Financial Management — at the direction of two executive orders — to slash a sweeping array of state regulations. The review of the administrative code resulted in cutting or simplifying 75% of all state regulations, making Idaho “the least-regulated state in the nation.” President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence applauded Little’s efforts to cut regulation at a White House meeting in December, and the governor further underlined his commitment to purging state rules by vowing that his first executive order of the year will be to require state government to make such a review standard practice — a policy he dubbed “zero-based regulation.” “Idaho’s statutes could use a good scrub, too,” he said, adding that he will bring more than 30 pieces of legislation aimed at repealing outdated laws. Though Little was keen to highlight that his blitz through administrative code makes it easier for new businesses to start up and existing businesses to prosper, Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, sees regulatory reform as a potentially tricky and contentious issue. The reason Little and DFM were able to excise so many regulations in 2019 stemmed from a disagreement between the Idaho House and Senate that resulted in all existing regulatory rules expiring at the end of the previous session. “This means that the Leg-

islature will have to approve roughly 7,500 pages of rules at the beginning of the session,” Dixon said. “There is no clear way outlined to do this efficiently, and each chairman is attempting to find the best path forward to save time.” It’s entirely possible that similar fights between the House and Senate could break out this year, according to Dixon. “Currently, if one body approves the rule it is enacted as law, regardless of what the other body does,” he said. “The House believes the rules review process should mimic our process for making law, with the requirement being both bodies need to pass a rule, while the Senate is less inclined to go in this direction.” Disagreements on the rules issue, the budget and other dicey issues could well push the Legislature past its March 20 target date to end the session, Dixon added. As for Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, she said she has little time to make predictions at the outset of a legislative session. “As we know, every legislative session’s priorities are controlled by the leadership, but my priorities, as always, remain adherence to the Constitution, smaller government and serving the interests of the citizens no matter what legislation makes it to the floor,” she said. Additional reporting by Zach Hagadone.


Train derails into Kootenai River By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff Railroad and environmental officials are working to contain a fuel spill in the Kootenai River after a train derailed into the waterway Jan. 1. Burlington Northern-Santa Fe officials said a rockslide caused the derailment about 10 miles east of Bonners Ferry, forcing three locomotive engines and six rail cars to jump the track. The lead engine held two crew members at the time of the incident, and both were rescued without injury by first responders. Crews cleared, inspected and reopened the track by Jan. 4, though, BNSF officials reported Jan. 8 that two derailed engines remain at the scene — one on the embankment, which will likely be removed Monday, Jan. 13, and the other still in the water. “We’re still working on a plan to safely remove the locomotive from the river,” BNSF spokesperson Courtney Wallace told

the Reader. “This is being done in coordination with the appropriate agencies and our focus is to ensure the safety of the surrounding environment. A timeline has not been finalized at this time.” Wallace said BNSF has more than 6,000 feet of containment boom placed at multiple locations along the Kootenai River, and, with the help of the Idaho Department of Water Quality and Kootenai Tribe of Idaho, identified four environmentally sensitive areas on the river and placed additional boom in those areas. BNSF has also been monitoring water quality as part of the “ongoing recovery and remediation” process, Wallace said. Dan Redline, regional director of Idaho DEQ, said the spilled fuel has not affected Bonners

Winter parking rules in effect Clean-up efforts in progress until March 1 By Reader Staff

Ferry’s public water intake area on the river. However, he added, residents with private water systems coming from the Kootenai River should take necessary precautions until water samples are tested in the coming days. Redline told the Reader that he’s seen a “really good response” from BNSF regarding the derailment. Looking forward, he said

First responders rescue train crew members from the Kootenai River Jan. 1. Courtesy photo. DEQ with work with BNSF to continue monitoring water quality and take whatever actions are necessary. “We’ll have to wait and see as they do more investigation,” he said.

Sandpoint City Council members sworn in

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Incumbent Sandpoint City Councilwoman Deb Ruehle joined incoming members Andy Groat and Kate McAlister in taking the oath of office Jan. 2, reciting their pledge to “support the constitution of the United Stats and the constitution of the state of Idaho,” and to “faithfully discharge the duties of city councilor of the city of Sand-

point” to the best of their abilities. Outgoing Councilman Tom Eddy thanked his fellow members and city staff for eight years of challenge, growth and the opportunity to contribute to the community. Fellow outgoing Councilman Bill Aitken was absent. “It’s hard to believe it’s been eight years,” Eddy said. “I really hope that I have given back to the community.

L-R: Sandpoint City Council members Deb Ruehle, Andy Groat and Kate McAlister are sworn into office by City Clerk Melissa Ward. Photo by Cameron Rasmusson. Eddy wished the new council good luck and advised them to “listen well and lead thoughtfully.” Councilwoman Shannon Williamson, who members unanimously elected to remain in the position of city council president, thanked Eddy for his service. “You’ve shown a lot of wisdom and leadership,” she said.

Upon taking the oath — which she did alongside her husband and with her hand on a copy of the book Sandpoint: A Small Town with a Big Heart — McAlister took her seat with the words, “Let’s do this.” Groat, wearing his UPS uniform, echoed her sentiment, saying, “Let’s get to work.”

The National Weather Service is calling for a series of winter storms this month, with snow accumulation expected in the area. As the snow piles up, the city of Sandpoint is reminding residents that Priority 3 parking restrictions are in effect until March 1. Per the restrictions, on-street parking is limited to the side of the street with even-numbered addresses, unless otherwise posted. In addition, following incidents of heavy snowfall, vehicles will need to be moved regardless of where on the street they are parked to allow crews to clear the area. Citations may be issued for vehicles parked on the odd-number side of the street in Priority 3 areas. Vehicles and trailers are subject to towing by Sandpoint police — at the expense of the vehicle owner — when on-street parking is not in accordance with the snow removal policy. Portions of Priority 3 streets may not receive snow removal services until vehicles parked on the street no longer restrict access by snow removal equipment. Priority 3 includes approximately 32 linear miles of primarily residential streets. Following big snows, this area will typically be serviced during normal day shift hours after Priority 1 and 2 streets — the arterials, major collector streets and downtown core — are passable. In the event that conditions change, crews may need to return to Priority 1 and 2 streets prior to completing Priority 3 streets. View the city’s full snow removal policy, and a map of priority areas, at Click the link “Winter Weather: Sandpoint Has a Plan” on the homepage. January 9, 2020 /


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City releases third weekly Comp Plan survey By Reader Staff The city of Sandpoint launched the third in a series of weekly surveys on Sunday, Jan. 5, with the current topic covering utilities and infrastructure, public safety, education and community services. Responses to the surveys, which kicked off in mid-December, will inform the ongoing Comprehensive Plan update. This most recent survey is divided into three sections: public utilities and infrastructure provided by the city, including domestic water service, sewer collection and sewage treatment; public safety, covering the city’s role and responsibility to maintain public safety and welfare for Sandpoint residents, including police and fire services; and education and community services available in Sandpoint. The first section does not include utilities and infrastructure provided by independently operated companies, including power, natural gas, garbage and recycling service,

and communications The previous survey on jobs and economic development has been extended due to the holidays. As of Jan. 7, 119 surveys have been submitted. Both surveys will be available through Saturday, Jan. 11, accessible on the city’s website at They are also available on the city of Sandpoint Facebook page and through the Engage Sandpoint mobile app, which can be downloaded to any mobile device through Google Play or the Apple app store. Community members may also come into City Hall for staff assistance in completing a survey. Each survey in the series is launched on a Sunday and closes the following Saturday. Results from each of the prior surveys will also be available publicly on a weekly basis. Remaining surveys include: housing and neighborhoods on Jan. 12, community character and design on Jan. 19, growth and land use on Jan. 26, and natural resources on Feb. 2.


Nikolai Cassius Thorp has the distinction of being the first baby born in Bonner County in 2020. Parents Jared and Love Thorp welcomed him at Bonner General Health on Wednesday, Jan. 1 at 5:36 a.m. He weighed 7 pounds, 2.5 ounces. He joins big sister Nadja at home. Photo courtesy of Bonner General Health. 6 /


/ January 9, 2020

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: Mass protests have grown every year since World War II. According to Harvard political scientist Erica Chenowith, two decades ago protests had a 70% success rate. That rate has fallen to 30%, which Chenowith says could be due to new ways to contain dissent, including intimidating journalists, infiltration of protest groups and use of surveillance technologies. Last year’s rally outcomes included a protest of bread price increases, which brought down Sudan’s Omar al-Bashir, and protests against Chile’s public transit rate hike, which forced cancellation of two international summits. According to the nonprofit Gun Violence Archive, the U.S. ended 2019 with more than one mass shooting per day — a total of 417. Some heart surgeries may not be necessary, according to research led by New York University’ cardiologist Judith Hochman. The study assessed outcomes for more than 5,000 heart patients from 37 countries; it compared those using only medical therapy to those using both drugs and a stent or bypass surgery. For both groups, deaths were “essentially the same,” prompting Hochman to state that for non-emergency heart issues, there is “absolutely no risk in trying medicines and seeing if the patient gets better.” Result of the Planned Parenthood lawsuit against the Center for Medical Progress: PP was awarded $2.2 million, The New York Times reported. The CMP had produced a video falsely claiming PP was illegally selling fetal tissue from abortions. Americans for Tax Fairness analyzed results of the 2017 federal tax cut: While a middle class tax cut was promised, the richest taxpayers in the U.S. saw an average $50,000 cut as opposed to a $645 cut for the “bottom” 80% of earners. For 60 of the Fortune 500 corporations, the tax cuts resulted in no tax payments due, and the corporations reaped $4.3 billion in rebates. While advocates of the law speculated the new funds for corporations would be invested in workers, ATF found that in 2018 the funds instead went to stock buybacks, “which primarily benefit executives and other wealthy shareholders.” A study in PLOS One reports psycho-

By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist

logical well-being in college students improved after three weeks on a Mediterranean diet, as opposed to those on a standard diet. The Mediterranean diet is high in vegetables, fruits, fish, olive oil, nuts and seeds, and low in refined carbs, sugars and saturated fat. Record heat, dryness and high winds have fed unprecedented fires in Australia — smoke is covering a 13 million-acre area equal to extending from the Washington Coast to Lake Superior. The fires — some with walls of flame exceeding 200 feet — have killed more than 480 million creatures since September (but likely more). In light of incinerated homes and human deaths (24 so far, with many missing), people have resorted to waiting on beaches and in shore waters to be evacuated, according to numerous news sources, including the New Zealand Herald and The Guardian. Some 70 firefighters from the U.S. will join Australian firefighters. Mass escape efforts by citizens have been complicated by fires crippling communications, making banks and scanners non-functional. On New Year’s Eve, Australians were astonished by the message: “Stay safe and have fun this new year, from all of us at ExxonMobil Australia.” Koalas have been especially affected by Australia’s fires, the New Zealand Herald reports, since they are slow-moving and feed on eucalyptus leaves, which are oily and highly flammable. While President Donald Trump’s order to assassinate Iran’s No. 2 official has led to speculation that it distracts from impeachment headlines, others are saying it also distracts from new allegations about Trump’s connections with Russia. The latest comes from a whistleblower who allegedly handed the FBI info indicating that Trump’s Deutsche Bank loan was approved only because it was underwritten by Russia’s state bank, VTB, according to The latter has not confirmed the entire allegation, leaving that to the FBI. Blast from the past: The assassination of Archduke Francis Ferdinand of Austria-Hungary sparked the beginning of WWI in 1914. Countries that initially engaged expected the war would end in mere weeks. It spanned four years, took the lives of 10 million troops, injured 21 million men and resulted in an estimated 10 million civilian deaths.


Emily Articulated

A column by and about Millennials

The Nacirema Tribe By Emily Erickson Reader Columnist One of the first groups of people I studied in my Introduction to Anthropology course in college was the Nacirema, a tribe of humans still alive and prevalent in North America today. The original literature on their culture and customs was an ethnological article by Horace Miner, “Body Ritual Among the Nacirema,” researched and composed in 1956. Miner’s research, published in the journal American Anthropologist, focused on the ritualistic behaviors of the Nacirema, often finding their daily routines barbaric and confusing. “While much of the time is devoted to people’s economic pursuits, a large part of the fruits of these labors and a considerable portion of the day are spent in ritual activity,” he wrote. These rituals are founded in the Naciremas’ belief that the human body is ugly and infected with disease and decay, needing regular modification and cleansing to achieve a desirable status. Because of the pervasiveness of these attitudes, and the necessity for regular ablution, most members of the Nacirema tribe have dedicated shrines in their homes for the daily completion of these cleansing and modification ceremonies. The staple of their body modification rituals is the use of what can be roughly trans-

Emily Erickson.

lated as a “magic medicine man,” to whom people of the Nacirema ascribe the highest of distinctions. This reverence is most noted by a visit to a medicine man being rewarded with little charms and potions, kept on display in home shrines and visited by the people one, if not multiple times a day. For other surprising ceremonies, Nacirema men use sharp blades to scrape the sides of their faces, a ritual most regularly performed in the morning light. Also appalling, and completed most often by women, is the act of sticking one’s head in an oven multiple times a year to enhance the beauty of their hair. Finally, regarding body modification and ablution, is the act completed multiple times a day by all Nacirema people regardless of age: the ritual of the mouth-rite. As Miner explained, “The ritual consists of inserting a small bundle of hog hairs into the mouth, along with certain magical powders, and then moving the bundle in a highly

formalized series of gestures.” In these acts, the Nacirema people believe they are making themselves more desirable to potential partners and correcting their body’s natural state of ugliness and decay. Since Miner’s report in 1956, these ceremonies, rituals and acts of worship have expanded, adding further layers of complexity to their strange way of life. In the past few decades, members of the Nacirema tribe have adopted new idols, so important to the culture, despite their small size, that they are carried with each person wherever they go. It is observed that these idols — which using a magical power are able to manifest images and words on a constant basis — are regularly and obsessively worshiped, as the Nacirema believe that they are connected to a holy energy source and are the foundation for a perfected method of interaction. These new idols appear to have permeated the culture so much, that they have their own designated shrines, often in the most prized and prioritized rooms of Nacirema homes. The idols are placed in the shrines while the people sleep, thus replenishing the idols’ stock of the

mother energy. Finally, regarding the bizarre and appalling social organization of the tribe, is the ever-growing rift between two distinct sects within the Nacirema people. Although everyone in the tribe considers themselves Nacirema, they believe in a great difference between the two sects, often ascribing demonistic characteristics to members of the opposite sect. The two sects fight openly and aggressively, finding so much distinction between themselves and the other that they continue to distance themselves from a peaceful, well-functioning society. The tribe seems so dedicated

to establishing hierarchy and division, that its members even go so far as to use the physical characteristics of each person to establish further — and dangerous — alienation and distinction. In studying the Nacirema people, and their strange and off-putting culture, we can learn a lot about ourselves and our own way of life. When we put our patterns, beliefs and social systems under a microscope, we learn that most foreign ways of life aren’t so foreign.

January 9, 2020 /


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Congress is delusional...

Parks and Rec round-up By Reader Staff Each year I spend as a reporter, I learn more about the job — and certainly about life. Here’s what I learned in 2019: It doesn’t get any easier to distill someone’s story to fewer than 800 words For every long-form feature or profile you see in the Reader, multiply the word count by three, and that’s how many notes I took while getting to know the subjects of that story. It’s so fun to write about people’s lives — their passions, their backgrounds, their goals for improving our community. But it’s a real struggle to make sure all the good stuff makes it to print, and it’s a struggle I have yet to come to terms with. I have my dream job If you’re studying journalism in college and the end goal is to get a newspaper job, you’ll either have to move to a metropolitan area or pick another dream. I am reminded each time I see my byline in the Reader that I lucked out. I can’t imagine working for a daily or living in a big city, but I do believe in the power of telling stories in a journalistic style. So cheers to alt-weekly newspapers, and cheers to the advertisers and generous sponsors who make the Reader happen each week.

That day you finally wear shorts to work in August, the sheriff’s department will hold a very important press conference It was a sweltering August day outside, and no different in the office. I had a full day of writing ahead, with no plans to meet with anyone in a professional capacity, so I wore shorts to work for the first time ever. As early afternoon approached, I appeared to be in the clear — until the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office announced a major break in a homicide case, for which they’d be holding a press conference immediately. I sat in the front row, notebook at the ready, bare legs blinding the whole room, making a mental note to never wear shorts to work again. Here’s to 2020 — and here’s to pants. 8 /


/ January 9, 2020

Contra dance

Sandpoint Parks and Recreation has partnered with Emily Faulkner and Lost Horse Press to bring you Contra dancing. Contra dancing is community dancing for all ages in the New England tradition, featuring live music and lively callers. Contras, circles and occasionally squares or long ways sets are taught, called and danced in a friendly atmosphere. This month’s dance is Friday, Jan. 10 from 7-10:30 p.m. at the Sandpoint Community Hall, 204 S. First Avenue. Beginners and singles welcome. New dancers are encouraged to arrive in time for the beginning, as instructors always start with the basics. Light, comfortable clothing suggested. Bring soft-soled shoes, a water bottle and a smile. Finger food snacks at the break are much appreciated. A $5 donation will be taken at the door, which goes to the musicians.

Reservations for 2020 Community Garden plots open Jan. 15

Amid a North Idaho winter, it’s sometimes hard to remem-

ber that there are seeds working their magic under all that snow, ice and frozen dirt. It can also be hard to remember that planning for the spring planting season begins even as the flurries fly. The Sandpoint Parks and Rec. Department will begin taking online reservations for Community Garden plots Wednesday, Jan. 15. A plot map for the 2020 growing season is available at Go to “Your Government,” then click on the Parks and Recreation menu. Follow the “Activity Guide” quick link and select “Facility Rentals” to find the map. Fees are nonrefundable, and cost $20 for a 4-foot-by-8-foot plot and $25 for a 7-foot-by-7foot plot. The Community Garden is located at the Old Ninth Grade Center Park on Highway 2 and Boyer Avenue in Sandpoint. For questions or additional information, call the Parks and Rec. office at 208-263-3613. For info about these events, call 208-263-3613 or sandpointgov.parksrecreation.


Sandpoint’s Ryan Shea and Jewel Shea recently traveled to Kyoto, Japan and brought a Reader along. Here’s Jewel standing at a shrine called Fushimi Inari. Thanks guys, hope you had a great trip.

Dear editor, With each reelection, Congressmen seem to translate victory as confirmation of his/her self-importance and intellectual horsepower. Both are delusions. Example: [U.S. House Speaker] Pelosi and [Senate Republican Majority Leader Mitch] McConnell. Our Constitution decrees term limits for the president, but not for congressmen. The Founders assumed, mistakenly, voters would exercise their power and limit the term(s) of ineffectual or dishonest legislators. However, one must keep two things in mind: members of Congress are much smarter than you or I; members of this 116th Congress are smarter than the framers of the Constitution. Don’t you agree? God bless America, and God bless our military. Steve Brixen Sandpoint

Second Amendment needs reform... Dear Editor, Sometimes the expenses involved in a lawsuit are a noble investment (checking the abuse of power, for instance), but there is nothing honorable about our Bonner County commissioners suing the city of Sandpoint. It is a shameful waste. Thank you Zach Hagadone and Lyndsie Kiebert for the thorough coverage on the case that we are paying for. The county’s $28,510.50 Davillier Law Group bill is outrageous! It feels like theft when a big law group diminishes the funds of a small community. The $8,170.08 the city spent defending themselves sounds more reasonable, but the total bill of $36,680.58 is nauseating. Imagine what our local food bank could do with that money? The Second Amendment was written for the underdog. When soldiers and bullish militia roamed the land, a homesteader could legally protect his family from theft, rape and murder. The writers of the Second Amendment couldn’t fathom automatic weapons (easily obtained by people with a history of violence and insanity today), so the term “mass shooter” was not yet in their vocabulary. To protect the underdog again, to offer a modern interpretation

that would prevent confusion in lower courts (saving tens of thousands of dollars for small communities in the future), and to provide clarity for gun lovers attempting to abuse it, the Second Amendment has to be reformed. Jodi Rawson Sandpoint

Voting in 2020 just got easier... It’s easy for Idaho voters to be in the thick of the political action in 2020. Thank you, Idaho Secretary of State Lawerence Denney. The presidential primaries are March 10. This year, the Democratic primary is very interesting. It is open to Democrats and unaffiliated voters. The regular primaries are May 19. To vote on the Republican ballot, you must be registered as a Republican Party member by March 13. That means only three days to change parties, as many may want to. The Idaho 2020 absentee ballot form allows you to declare different parties for these two elections. It’s very simple to do. Download the form at or email your request to, or call 208-255-3631 to have forms mailed to you. When you have the one-page form: For Item 3, check all elections that can happen this year to be sure you don’t miss any. In Column 4, pick your party for the presidential primary. Choices include: Constitution Party, Democratic Party, Libertarian Party, Republican Party and Unaffiliated. In Column 5, select the ballot that you want that fits the party you picked. Column 6 is titled “Change Party optional until March 13, 2020.” That’s where you select the party you want for the May primaries. Finally, in Column 7, you specify which ballot. Be sure to sign and date the form. Then, mail it to Bonner County Elections, 1500 Highway 2, Suite No. 124, Sandpoint, ID 83864. You are now set to vote from home in 2020. If you want to vote from home in 2021, you will need to fill out a new form next January.

Molly O’Reilly Sandpoint

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Rose Bowl mountain memories

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By Tim Henney Reader Contributor Every New Year’s day I watch the Rose Bowl football game and become wistful. The camera always pans to the San Gabriel foothills above the stadium. When I was a kid, I’d ride the Big Red Cars — Pacific Electric trains that traversed most of southern California in the pre-freeway years — from Long Beach, where I lived, to downtown L.A. on weekends. Then I’d hoof it through bustling city streets to the interurban terminal to catch a train for neighboring Glendale. There my dad Burdette and stepmother, whose movie name was Nora Lane when she appeared with William (Hopalong Cassidy) Boyd and other celluloid cowpokes in the 1930s, would retrieve me on a corner. Nora was my dad’s third and only happy marriage. A month to the day after he died, Nora killed herself with his six-gun, leaving a note that said, “I can’t go on without him.” Continuing the pilgrimages to Glendale I’d made since I was a kid — except now I drove a car — I found Nora. That ghastly memory probably has something to do with my passionate belief that contrary to what Second Amendment provincials argue, only police and military should be armed today. This is not 1791. (Some 3.5 million people, including more than half a million slaves, populated the newly formed United States the year Congress ratified the Bill of Rights. Today we are about 330 million and need not depend on ill-educated gun nuts for national defense). But back to the World War Two years. If it was fall and USC was in the Rose Bowl, my dad and I would attend the game. We saw USC beat Duke in 1939, beat Tennessee in 1940 and 1944, and lose to Alabama in 1945. With my Long Beach stepdad, Hal, a Stanford man, I saw Stanford whip Nebraska in the Rose Bowl in 1941. (But this pensive recollection is about my dad, who thought Stanford and all college football teams except USC were phonies). On weekend visits to Glendale as a boy, I often hiked from his and Nora’s canyon home on Chevy Chase Drive into the San Gabriel Mountains, which started in the backyard. Struggling up to the crest then peering down toward Pasadena I could see that giant sanctified saucer, the Rose Bowl. The mountains were, and perhaps still are, covered with live oak, chaparral, laurel sumac and poison oak, from which I regularly suffered. Today I expect those mountains are covered with houses, maybe even strip malls and gas stations — a degradation that I, as a kid, did my best to prevent.

ith w b u The P y! t i l a n Perso For example: Shift back to Long Beach, then a relatively primitive surfing town. When an apartment building was taking shape on a vacant lot across Bixby Road from my grandparents’ home in 1943 or so, my pals Bobby Busby, Bobby Watkins, Jimmy Edson (a preacher’s kid who became a judge) and I punched holes in the walls, busted windows and raised holy hell with the project. We didn’t want some dumb building to interfere with the view across the vacant lot from Bobby Busby’s house to mine. Also, preteen boys built underground forts in vacant lots in that heady, pre-social media era in Long Beach. Vacant lots were, believe it or not, common in SoCal then and we happened to have a secret underground fort in that one. Shift back to Chevy Chase Drive in Glendale: On a weekend visit to my dad’s, also in the early- to mid-1940s, I found wooden survey markers planted all over the pristine hills behind the house. Clearly, some developer was intent on progress. I was not. I ripped up the markers then buried them in a chaparral-concealed canyon. On a subsequent phone call to Long Beach, my dad asked if I knew of any such anti-progress activity because the police needed information. Being a quick study when under such duress, I said no. And that, as I recall, was that. I wasn’t so fortunate after Bobby Busby, his big brother and I, frying eggs over a campfire on a vacant lot adjoining my grandparents’ house, set it and a neighbor’s fence on fire. I hid beneath my bed when fire engines — sirens screaming — came roaring down Long Beach Boulevard. I was found, grounded and got the back of a hairbrush on the butt from my mom. Today she’d be accused of child abuse. But I digress... When I was a lad in Los Angeles before and during World War II — pre-congestion, pre-Dodger Stadium, pre-smog, pre-down-

The Los Angeles Coliseum in the 1930s, where the author and his dad spent many fall afternoons. Student card stunts like the one shown here vanished in the 1950s. Courtesy Tim Henney. town skyscrapers and before Los Angeles had an NFL football team — I joined my dad for fall weekends at the Los Angeles Coliseum. There, as an avocation, he described colorful halftime activities over the public address system at USC games: marching bands, student “card sections,” celebrations honoring former SC coaches and players, etc. After games he sometimes took me into the locker room to meet my heroes, the players. As a little kid during weekend visits with him in Pasadena, the Hollywood Hills, the San Fernando Valley, Glendale and other interim apartments and homes, my dad taught me how to brush my teeth (vertically, not back and forth) and to lift both toilet lids when peeing. He took me to downtown L.A. Biltmore Hotel lunches with the USC alumni club, where he’d introduce me as a future Trojan quarterback. I never quite made it. During summer weekends he and I would go to a rustic family cabin at Lake Arrowhead in the San Bernardino Mountains. There, with blue jays squawking overhead in the evergreens, we played horseshoes, pulled up buckets of icy water from a well and zipped around then-pristine Lake Arrowhead in a friend’s wooden Chris-Craft speedboat. Those hallowed times ended abruptly when an uncle, who lived in Pasadena and owned the Arrowhead cabin, called Long Beach one morning in 1948 to say that my dad — his brother — had died suddenly of a heart attack. My dad was 46. I was 16. I’m 88 now and almost over the shock. I feel sad yet grateful when the Rose Bowl and its familiar foothills bring him back every January 1.


January 12, 2020 • 11:00 a.m.

212 Cedar Street Downtown Sandpoint


A SandPint Tradition Since 1994

January 9, 2020 /


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Mad about Science:

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strange turing machines By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist

Bear with me on this one. We’re going to take a deepdive into some serious theoretical mathematical principles without barraging your brain cells with huge strings of numbers and equations — all in 800 words or less. A Turing machine isn’t a physical device, it’s more like a theoretical system of rules for a computational device to work properly. To work, it needs to be able to exist in a number of states (such as a starting state, like when your PC begins to boot up), an ability to read and write data like the head of a hard drive disk, and a tape that can store the altered data — or the actual hard drive disk, in the case of most PCs. It also needs a functional alphabet, which is used to represent the data it writes. An object in the real world that can simulate the functions of a Turing machine is considered Turing complete, which is important to the nature of this article. Your PC and phone are considered to incorporate a number of Turing-complete programs and components to achieve computational tasks — from your calculator to your Facebook app — and these devices are generally the first thing someone thinks about when they call something a Turing machine. What if you want to build a Turing machine inside of your 10 /


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computer with a relatively simple source? This principle has been exercised in one of the most popular games in recent memory: Minecraft. Using networks of redstone, people have created simple machines that can be arrayed to build complex computers built inside of the game, with absolutely no external changes to the game or its code. YouTube hosts a multitude of uploaded videos of people who slapped some blocks and redstone down in a very specific order to create calculators that would not only calculate mathematical equations, but display the answers like a handheld calculator in the real world, based on real-world mathematical principles. If using a computer to build another computer doesn’t impress you, what about using trading cards to build a functional computer? This isn’t like your phone or PC — it doesn’t have any display mechanisms, nor will it be able to run World of Warcraft on any setting, but it does function as a basic computer that can read and write data. Sort of. I can’t take credit for this awesome example; I actually learned about this from watching Kyle Hill’s Because Science series on YouTube. If you’ve never heard of this series, drop everything and go to the library right now and use one of their actual computers to watch his video, “I Built a COMPUTER in Magic: The Gathering.”

In the video, Hill borrows ideas from mathematicians who built a very specific deck for Magic: The Gathering that is capable of creating a tape, and then reading, writing and destroying data on this tape to perform simple actions. It does this by using the game’s built-in colors and creature types as an alphabet, while using power and toughness as parameters for reading and writing data. If you’re worried about the video being a giant, confusing slog of crazy math equations and difficult-to-understand concepts, dispel those fears now. Hill is extremely funny and passionate, while doing an incredible job at making the science easy to understand for anyone. Plus, he and I have the same hair, so that’s always a benefit. Are you not excited by a $1,000 pile of colored paper being a functional computation device? Well how about something a little closer to your heart? The cells of our heart are capable of functioning in a Turing-complete manner. Heart cells have been observed to follow the rules of logic gates, an important factor in computer science that involves one or more inputs leading to a single output. While a single logic gate isn’t Turing complete, it turns out that a whole bunch of them working together to power something like our heart over decades can be considered Turing complete. You’ve got a fleshy super-advanced comput-

er stuffed into your skull and a juicy red one beating away in your chest. One more cool bit of info I found out on that subject is that the scientists who figured that out used an Xbox 360 to test their simulations. Hopefully that one didn’t unleash the “red ring of death” on their experiment. There are about a billion

more things I’d love to geek out over, but I’ve already run out of words. If you want to learn about more unusual computers, you should ask the tech desk attendants at the Sandpoint library. Having worked there myself, I can tell you with unwavering certainty: they live for this stuff.

Random Corner ?

Don’t know much about horses •Horses evolved over the past 50 milion years and began being domesticated by humans around 3500 BCE. • The Przewalski’s horse was never domesticated, making it the only true “wild horse” still with us today. • Wild horse population is estimated at 58 million. Their average lifespan is betwen 25 and 30 years. • “Old Billy” lived to be 62 years old - the oldest verifiable horse. He lived back in the 19th century. •Horses can weigh from 840 to 2,200 pounds, while their height averages 56 to 72 inches. The largest horse ever recorded was 85.25 inches tall and 3,360 pounds. • Female horses (called mares) carry their young (called foal) for about 11 months. • Horse breed are usually categorized based on their temperament: spirited “hot bloods” (speed

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and endurance), “cold bloods” (good for slow and heavy work); and “warmbloods” (developed from crosses between hot and cold bloods). • Ponies are - taxonomically the same animals as horses. They developed small stature because they lived on marginally livable horse habitat. • Horses are herbivores are have a small stomach compared to humans. An average horse would eat around 24 pounds of food and drink 10 gallons of water. They have the largest eyes of any land mammal and have a range of vision of over 350 degrees. •Horses aren’t color blind. They have dichromatic (two-color) vision. •Horses have a great sense of taste and contact, sensing something as subtle as an insect on any part of their body. •Domestic horses sleep 2.9 hours per day, usually in short intervals of 15 minutes.


Facing the crisis By Cameron Rasmusson Reader Contributor It was a wake up call when Sandpoint local Kim Smith learned how drug abuse can transform a family. When one of her family members was convicted on criminal charges stemming from a drug addiction, she was left with a multitude of questions. How did the situation get so out of control? What could have been done to prevent it? What had happened to a beloved relative who still held so much promise and potential? “He did something horrible, but he wasn’t always that person,” she said. “In fact, he was the complete opposite of that person. You’d look into his eyes and see the gold-hearted human being that you trusted.” The experience inspired her to lend her time and energy to the fight against drug abuse. It’s a fight that needs all the recruits it can get. Over the past decade, the opioid crisis — a drug abuse epidemic instigated by the over-prescription of pain medication — has spiraled out of control. It affects millions nationwide, resulting in addiction struggles and even death. “The opioid crisis isn’t just a national crisis,” said Kevin Knepper, CEO of Kaniksu Health Services. “It’s a local crisis, and it’s having a significant negative impact on our community. … We need to be brave and innovative in trying to address the issue.” According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 702,000 people died from a drug overdose between 1999 and 2017. Almost 68% of those deaths resulted from opioid use, either acquired illegally or through a prescription. According to data from Kaniksu Health Services, opioid abuse killed 64,000 people nationwide last year alone, making it the leading cause of death for individuals under 50 years old. It outpaces car accidents, gun fatalities and the height of the HIV epidemic in deadliness. Figures from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency show that 12,246,020 prescription pain pills flooded Bonner County between 2006 and 2012 — enough for 43 pills per county resident per year. The McKesson Corporation was responsible for the majority of the distribution, while SpecGx LLC manufactured a majority of pills. While those numbers are surprising, they don’t touch those of many other Idaho counties. Shoshone County, for instance, received 75 pills per person per year during the same time period. Even that pales in comparison to the hardest-hit counties in the nation. Charleston County in South Carolina received a shocking 248 pills per person per year.

Meanwhile, a 2018 needs assessment study published by the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare concluded that while “Idaho is most definitely experiencing a significant increase in opiate and heroin use, misuse and death, the opiate epidemic here has not yet reached proportion that other states in the Midwest and East Coast are facing.” “Thus, coordinated efforts to combat this epidemic are just now coming to fruition in this state,” the report added. Comparative severity notwithstanding, Idaho law enforcement and health care communities face a test like no other with the opioid crisis. According to Kaniksu Health Services, one out of five high-school students “have used a prescription drug without having a prescription, and Idaho’s rate of drug overdoses is double what it was in 1999.” Opioids are pervasive enough to claim the life of one Idahoan every 45 hours, and a person can become addicted to them in as little as a week. So how did Idaho — and the rest of the nation — get into a predicament where dozens of opioid pills exist per resident? According to Adam Kusler, behavioral health director of Kaniksu Health Services, the medical community is largely to blame: specifically the easily abused financial relationship between pharmaceutical companies and doctors. Incentives to push opioid painkillers have resulted in over-prescribing on a massive scale. The effect has been particularly severe in rural areas, where a small number of doctors build closer relationships to their patients and their circumstances. “It seems in those small communities there tends to be a little less objectiveness in terms of prescribing according to the actual medical necessity,” Kusler said. The crisis sparked an explosive legal response. On June 6, 2019, Idaho sued Purdue Pharma, the maker of painkiller OxyContin, and eight members of the Sackler family, which owns the pharmaceutical company: Richard Sackler, Theresa Sackler, Kathe Sackler, Jonathan Sackler, Mortimer D.A. Sackler, Beverly Sackler, David Sackler and Ilene Sackler Lefcourt. As ABC News reported, the naming of individual family members was a somewhat unusual touch from Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden, but the lawsuit itself wasn’t. By summertime, nearly every state in the country had sued the firm. “Between 1999 and 2017, Idaho’s opioid-related death rate nearly tripled. In 2015 alone, approximately 1.3 million opioid prescriptions were written in Idaho — nearly one prescription for every man, woman and child in the state,” the lawsuit reads. “This

How small communities respond to the opioid epidemic

crisis and its consequences could and should have been avoided.” While state and U.S. officials hope to extract some justice from those allegedly responsible for the crisis, local communities are left to mitigate the damage as best they can. There’s a reason opioid addiction is so devastating: It manifests in particularly insidious ways. According to Kusler, an opioid addict can present as productive and fully functional while their addiction is being fed. It’s only when their supply dries up and withdrawal sets in that their problem becomes obvious. If there’s one consistent element to the opioid addiction experience, it’s that withdrawal is a misery most try to avoid at all costs, Kusler said. “Imagine the worst flu you’ve ever had in your life, and times that by 20,” he added. But feeding an addiction isn’t as easy as it used to be. Because of new rules and regulations, pharmacies that once freely distributed opioids now keep a tight grip on the pain medications. The upshot is a surge in heroin trafficking as addicts look for other means to satisfy their dependency. Idaho State Police data indicates that between 2014 and 2015, the amount of heroin seized in the state exploded by 800%. Too often, drug addicts wind up in the justice system, not a treatment program. Whether the addict uses legally obtained painkillers or heroin, addiction-related behavior or possession of controlled substances can land them in front of a judge. The problem, Kusler says, is prison terms don’t address the underlying problems. “[The justice system] does nothing to impede a person’s addictions,” he said. “In fact, it does the opposite. They become better criminals, more capable addicts.” The good news is treatment programs are available for those who choose to seek help. The World Health Organization defines buprenorphine and methadone as “essential medications” in fighting drug abuse. But according to health profession-

National data shows the rate of opioid prescriptions written per 100 people in Bonner County was 56.1 in 2017 — below the national average of 58.7 and the lowest of the five northern counties in Idaho. The highest is Shoshone County, with 95.5 prescriptions per 100 people. Screen capture, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. als, every individual’s situation is unique, and effective treatment can vary from patient to patient. Kaniksu Health Services, for instance, centers its treatment on a buprenorphine-based medication called Suboxone. The drug is engineered to ease opioid cravings while limiting the potential for abuse of the treatment itself. The treatment is combined with a robust program of counseling and examination. But Kim Smith sees another important factor in the fight against drug abuse going unaddressed: open acknowledgement of the problem. Drug problems can be embarrassing for both the person struggling and their family. It’s a difficult problem to discuss in a tourism-dependent town reliant on a well-polished surface. But ignoring the problem doesn’t make it go away, Smith said. “That’s what I’m really hoping to achieve: conversation,” she said. “You’re not the only one dealing with this.”

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event t h u r s d a y


f r i d a y


s a t u r d a y


s u n d a y Presented by WHERE ACTIVISM GETS INSPIRED




Sponsored by

Artwork by Lawrence Lander

Tickets at Eichardt’s or $15 in advance $20 at the door

February 1 • The Heartwood Center • 7 pm

Celebrating 15 Years with 10 inspiring films

Appetizers and No-host bar by Eichardt’s Silent Auction • Raffle

Save the wild Scotchmans 12 /


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m o n d a y t u e s d a y



w e d n e s d a y t h u r s d a y

15 16

Kinnikinnik Committee Meeting 4-5:30pm @ The Longshot Resolve to help contribute to the conservation of native pl and their habitat. Your participation will help the Kinnikin Native Plant Society build a robust conservation effort

Dollar Beers! 8pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Good until the keg’s dry

Live Music w/ Mobius Riff 5-7pm @ Idaho Pour Authority Live Music w/ Bright Moments 9pm @ 219 Lounge Great jazz and a little bit of ska

Live Music w/ Other White Meat 6:30-9:30 @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Classic rock from masters of sound

Live Music w/ Cris Lucas 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Live Music w/ DJ Shanner 9pm @ A&Ps

Live Music w/ Kevin Dorin 8-10pm @ The Back Door

Live Music w/ Mike Johnson Jazz Trio 7-9pm @ The Longshot Jazz, baby Live Music w/ Truck Mills Quartet 9pm @ 219 Lounge Truck is an acclaimed gublues, Americana and rock Live Music w/ Brian Jacobs 8-10pm @ The Back Door Sandpoint Chess Club 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am

Live Music w/ John Firshi 5-7pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Parenting with Love and Logic Talk 1-4pm @ Panida Theater Foster Cline shares his Love and Logic philosophy. Proceeds benefit the Panida

Live Music w/ Red Blend Trio 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Soul, pop and blues

Night-Out Karaoke 9pm @ 219 Lounge Join DJ Webrix for a night of singing, or just come to drink and listen

Dollar Beers! 8pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Good until the keg’s dry

Live 9pm No c

Lifetree Cafe 2pm @ Jalepeño’s Mexican Restaurant An hour of conversation and stories. This week’s topic: “Is the Devil Real?”

Trivia Night 7pm @ MickDuff’s Show off that big, beautiful brain of yours

Magic Wednesday 6-8pm @ Jalapeño’s Enjoy close-up magic shows by Star Alexander right at your table

Edgar Cayce Study Group 9-11am @ Gardenia Center

Intro 9:30A pre abou bedsi

Ecstatic Dance 10am-12pm @ Embody Free-form all-ages silent dance meditation where music is your teacher. $8-$15 sliding scale fee

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ Truck Mills 7:30pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Karaoke 8-close @ Tervan

Wind Down Wednesday 5-8pm @ 219 Lounge With live music by blues man Truck Mills and guest musician Mike Johnson


Ou 6pm Ac bev

Djembe class 5:45-7:30pm @ Music Join Ali Thomas for thi

Bike Movie Night 6pm @ Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair Always free and always fun. Feel free t bring your own chair and snacks/bever ages. 208-255-4496

Girls Pint Out 5-7pm @ Idaho Pour Authority Cool Chicks! Great Beer! No Dudes! Vicki will be tasting Weird and Unusual Beer Styles.

Third Thursday W Meet-up 7:30pm @ Matchw Make connections w women in the comm


Jan. 9 – 16, 2020

f native plants e Kinnikinnick effort



A weekly entertainment guide to keep you on your toes. To list your event free, please send an email to Reader recommended

Edgar Cayce Study Group 9-11am @ Gardenia Center Meets every Thursday

Ukulele Jam 6-8pm @ Fiddlin’ Red’s Bring your favorite uke and your favorite tunes and come hang out with other ukulele players. No uke? No worries! A spare or two will be available.

Contra Dance 7-10:30pm @ Sandpoint Community Hall Beginners and singles welcome; new dancers encouraged to arrive on time for an introductory dance. $5 suggested donation at the door.

Intro to Sandpoint Threshold Choir 9:30-11am @ Sandpoint Library rm. #102 A presentation for singers who want to learn more about Threshold Choir’s mission of singing at the bedside and our local Sandpoint chapter Live Music w/ DJ Kevin 9pm @ A&Ps No cover Piano Sunday w/ Bob Beadling 3-5pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Karaoke 8-close @ Tervan Northern Stars Rising auditions 11-2pm @ the Heartwood Center Open to musicians and vocalists ages 14 and up who are hoping to further their musical careers. Find more info on page 21

New Mug Club 11am @ Eichardt’s

Outdoor Experience Monday Night Run rant 6pm @ Outdoor Experience This A chill, three-mile(ish) group run with optional beverages to follow. Headlamps recommended

Parkinson’s Support Group 2-3pm @ the Sandpoint Library

@ Music Conservatory of Sandpoint mas for this djembe (drum) class

N Repair Feel free to acks/bever-

ursday Women’s

@ Matchwood nections with other the community

Jan. 17-18 Follies Auditions @ an undisclosed location...

Adult Grief Support Group 6pm @ Bonner General Hospital classrooms Facilitated by trained bereavement counselors, and primarily comprised of those who’ve lost a spouse or parent. Free. Call 208-265-1179 for more info Open Mic Night 9pm-12am @ A&Ps No cover

Sandpoint Literary Collective Open Mic 6-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Recite a favorite poem or share an original story

Jan. 18 N. Idaho Women’s March @ Sandpoint Middle School

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Charles Mortensen’s 1961 Willys Jeep draws attention for all the right reasons

By Ben Olson Reader Staff

Anyone who has strolled past Charles Mortensen’s bike shop, Syringa Cyclery on Oak Street in Sandpoint, has probably noticed the collection of repurposed scrap metal welded into functional art festively arranged around the building. The pieces — including everything from bike frames welded together to form bike racks, to crushed frames and chairlift seats making benches — draw the eye to an alternate reality. Parked outside the shop most days is Mortensen’s 1961 Willys Jeep truck painted a unique hodgepodge of earth tones and shapes, giving the truck a wild look that can only be classified as “North Idaho eccentric.” The repetition and designs almost give the style a Peruvian-meets-Tibetan look. One could almost imagine this truck crawling over a one-lane mountain pass deep in the Aztec country, loaded 20 feet high with harvest bound for the market. Or it would be right at home with Ken Kesey’s Merry Pranksters in the height of their frivolity. Mortensen, who lives in Sandpoint with his wife Rindy and has two children, Alex, 23, and Isabella, 21, picked up the truck more than 20 years ago when he saw a friend had listed it for sale. 14 /


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“I bought it from Matt Jablon in 1997 after I saw it parked out front of Eichardt’s with a ‘for-sale’ sign on it,” Mortensen said. “I painted it like that in 2002 to 2003.” Mortensen said Jablon was selling everything to prepare for a trip around the world and he picked up the truck for “around $1,500.” “It just looked like a really cool old farm truck,” he said. “I thought, ‘That would make a nice utility truck,’ so I put a little work into it — rebuilt the engine, put in a new radiator. The clutch linkage goes out every two years or so, so I’ve replaced about five of those, but other than that it runs great.” The truck still has the original flathead six-cylinder engine, which has served this truck well over the years. Before selling it to Mortensen, Jablon successfully trailered horses all the way from Colorado to Sandpoint in the Willys, which he originally bought from a farmer in Nebraska. “The original color of the truck was red, and it was fading,” Mortensen said. “I said, ‘I might as well paint it.’ I had this idea to hand paint it. My kids were small at the time, so there are handprints and funky stuff they did, but of course they got bored so I took over. Most of it is mine, but the kids did some and my wife Rindy did some and some friends helped here and there.”

The result is one of the most unique vehicles driving around Sandpoint today. In fact, Mortensen said passersby often stop to check out the truck and the paint job. “People will stop and take pictures of it,” he said. “I get a lot of compliments from people. Lots of people will go out of their way to say, ‘I love this truck, I always wondered who owns it.’” Syringa Cyclery has become a bit of a museum for the weird art that Mortensen has collected over the years. Since starting the business in 2014 and later buying the building at 518 Oak St., which formerly housed the Arts Alliance, Mortensen randomly adds to the collection. While he has contributed to many of the pieces, including the chairlift bench atop crushed bike frames, his artist friends often chip in their own pieces. Tom Brunner, a welder artist currently living in Hayden, made a round sculpture that Mortensen is going to turn into a standing plaque for the ¾-inch minus cyclocross bike race he helps organize every year. Brunner was also responsible for welding the bike

frames into bike racks out front of the building. “Tom’s vision with the bike rack out front was, because this building was an old church, the bike rack was like a congregation,” Mortensen said. “The idea is to put an old bike on top of the A-frame in the front, which would be the reverend, and the congregation the rack.” Another piece of art hanging at the cycle shop was a contribution from the Willys, in fact. “One year, my son was pulling out of the driveway and parked next to the Willys,” Mortensen. “He caught his bumper on the Willys and ripped it off, so I’ve got the old one hanging from the column outside. I just like the looks of it — I like making art out of old junk.” When asked if the Willys defines him in any way, he said, “I guess in general, I just like old classic vehicles like that — whether a car or a bike or whatever. In the case of that truck, I’ve had it longer than any other kind of vehicle I’ve ever owned. It’s pretty unique. I don’t know if it defines me or I define it, but we’ve kind of sort of grown together.”

Right: Charles Mortensen stands before his 1961 Willys Jeep truck outside his bike shop Syringa Cyclery in Sandpoint. Top left: A front view of Mortensen’s Willys’ grill. Photos by Ben Olson. Mortensen said he has no plans to get rid of the truck, even though Jablon asked to buy it back from him shortly after selling it — paint job and all. “I’ll never sell it. I’ll keep driving it until it dies,” he said. “I’ve thought about touching up the paint job, but it’s still hanging on there pretty well. It’s developed a sort of patina. … People have asked to buy it, but if it doesn’t go anymore, it’ll become some sort of lawn art. Maybe I’ll put some dirt in the bed and plant a tree.” Check out Mortensen’s truck for yourself at his bike shop Syringa Cyclery, 518 Oak St. in Sandpoint. Got a cool ride you’d like us to write about? Send in a picture of your ride and a little info about what makes it special to


Impressions from A Montana Train Glacier dawn.

This open Window

Vol. 4 No.1

poetry and prose by local writers edited by Jim mitsui

Cut Bank. Erosion. River carving sand and stone. Water always wins. Structure. Sculpture.

Cold. White. Blue sky. Morning sun creeps down eastern slopes, hulking granite shoulders. Darkness slinks away. Valleys, folds, and fingers melt, flowing into saddle-colored hills, leather-scented imagination. Old man and dog cross a dry brown field. Heading for the creek? Frozen. Open space. Abandoned? cabin at edge of ice-slick pond, heavy old logs settling into the earth. Two ponies grazing, backs to the wind. Three dogs, house trailer, old Toyota. Wood smoke rising.

Beaches By the resort hotel in Cancun Beyond yard peacocks, grand pastel columns and glossy tiled floors, liberated flip-flops dance with abandon in random wave action. Foreign lovers dodging the rollers capture photos with selfie sticks. Some glide through sky, in baskets hanging from jellyfish, colorful ripstop, tethered to jet boats. Tourist beauties in new beaded cornrows stroll with their blonde lobster sweethearts Laughter bubbles from beach-volleyball games bikini bottoms bobbing their cheeky smiles. Ubiquitous wrist bands, a different tint for each event, commingle with golden Rolexes. A local barker hawks cigars, Cuban I presume, from a cartable wooden box. One beach over, beyond the ropes, slopenosed pelicans peruse the tumbling blue for something to spell their hunger, while a local woman hunches over a little table beside the public restroom, selling five squares of toilet tissue for twenty pesos. — Beth Weber Beth is a regular in this column. This time of year it’s good to read about places like Cancun and Hawaii. The one thought that comforts me is that we’re starting to turn the tide on darkness. Not sure about the snow, though.

Sky turning ferrous. Ramshackle village huddles against bleak wind.

Tombstones. Sentinels of sentimentality. Someone’s story. Someone’s life. The land consumes weather-battered farmhouses, big country tooth decay. Grain bin, elevator. Monolith, empty and grey. Broken windows. Welcome to Shelby! Chinese food, Rainbow Hotel. Big round bales, stacked in rows like segments of a cow-candy serpent. Big Sky sushi, California roll roughage. Free-range Land of Freedom. Free wind, too. Wheat stubble designs, gully of snow, lonely trees, crystalline branches. A bovine gathering in a cottonwood kingdom.

Severity. “Don’t do meth. Not even once!” Great Plains graffiti.


Silhouettes on a ridge, more horses? Elk?

Surrounded by horizon, where does the earth end? Beyond the edge of the watercolor sky. What then?

Frosty-grass hills flatten, crooked fenceposts march to the horizon. Black Angus. Don’t fence me in.

Now what are ya gonna do with ‘er?

North Dakota — Scott Taylor

Scott wrote this as a stream-of-consciousness impression while traveling across Montana on Amtrak. The structure of the poem is meant to illustrate the open space of the country and irregular sequence of the sights, and so is quite important to maintain. He is an artist, writer and musician living on Sunnyside and roaming the world.

Taking Care Of Winter She slips out of the cocoon that was her bed into the 55° room, pulls on a sweatshirt, barefoots downstairs, and opens

The extra clothes, extra time for anything outside, and the vigilance it takes to protect body, house, water, plants & pets from the cold.

the stove damper on the way to a bathroom that’s even colder. She slides two pieces of birch onto what’s left

And in that moment she understands snowbirds and retirement homes.

of the fire, and hurries back upstairs to dress — heavy sweatpants, wool socks — and a thought for how complicated winter makes everything.

— Jeanette Schandelmeier

Oct. 30, 2019

Jeanette is another regular to This Open Window. Unlike Beth’s poem about Cancun, this poem is a grim reminder of the difference between January and July.

Send poems to: January 9, 2020 /


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To cross an ocean A pictoral essay on crossing the Atlantic Ocean By Ben Olson Reader Staff

By Ben Olson Reader Staff Life aboard an oceangoing vessel is the best life there is. The noise of the outside world reduces to a simple existence of water, wind and sky. No phones notifying you if someone liked the picture you took of breakfast. No emails pinging you back to work. Just 24 hours every day dancing across the water at a jogger’s pace, with a sole purpose: to cross an ocean. The water throws a thousand shades of blue all at once — everything from the gunmetal matte of twilight to turquoise and teal in the bright sun. We witnessed calms that turned the surface of the sea into a liquid mirror and 25-foot swells that originated from a storm somewhere off Newfoundland, traveling thousands of miles to roll under our hull. Each night, the crew climbed up to the bow to watch a unique sunset and hope for the green flash — a piece of old sailor’s lore holds that when the sun dips whole into the horizon it does so with a rare green flash. We never saw it, but saw a green hue, which is something right? 16 /


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After darkness sets in, night watches are terrifyingly beautiful. Under a new moon, since the nearest source of light pollution is a thousand miles in either direction, the stars litter the sky and shine brighter than I’ve ever seen. The constellations become your friends, your guides through the inky night. We always headed in roughly the same direction — south by southwest — so Orion came up on our port beam and arced across to the starboard bow by morning. I found it funny that I knew more and felt closer to this collection of stars in the sky than I do most people on earth. Night watches didn’t come without peril. Many times I peered over the edge of the boat into the abyss and found some kind of odd comfort that if I stepped off, I would be erased in a heartbeat, swallowed by the unforgiving sea. Those on watch wear a necklace with an indicator on it that hits an alarm switch if put into contact with salt water — but even that wasn’t foolproof. During one 4 a.m. watch when Cadie was headed below, we hugged for a few extra moments and the salti-

ness of our clothes must’ve set off the alarm, because all hell broke loose in the saloon. After turning off the wailing alarm, I realized that neither our captain nor Gary heard it and roused to see who had fallen overboard. After that, we hooked the alarm up to speakers to amplify it. We spent idle time on various tasks and projects. There’s always something to do on a sailboat, and there’s also a plethora of free time. Cadie and I played music, with our captain banging on pots to keep the beat. Gary hauled out his leather rawhide strips and began weaving bracelets, giving each of us one to commemorate the crossing. Dolphins appeared every few days and flying fish constantly zipped around. Sometimes we’d wake up and notice that a few had ended up on the deck the night before. One night watch of mine, a flying fish took a world record leap and ended up smacking me right in the face as I was at the helm — a clear eight feet above the waterline. He was as confused as I was when I bent down to pick him up and toss him over the side. More next week, dear readers.

Page 16 – Top: Another glorious sunset on the Atlantic Ocean. Each one was unique. Bottom right: Captain Chris White shakes loose the mainsail from a snag in the shrouds. The jib flies on the let side of the photo and the panther, a headsail, is furled on the top left. Page 17 – Top left: Cadie Archer plays a little midday ukulele on the afterdeck, where we hung out most of the time. It is a covered table that converts to a bed if needed - with the lazarette (or food storage) underneath the benches. To the left is the dingy. Photo taken from the helm. Top right: Gary Quinn shoots a sun line with a sextant as the crew attempts to learn celestial navigation. We tried for days and days, but never did achieve an accurate positioning. Thank God for GPS. Middle right: Every day or two, dolphins would appear and swim before the TYGA for 15-30 minutes before disappearing back to their regularly scheduled programs. We saw a half dozen different species, each of them more beautiful than the last. Magnificent creatures in every way. Bottom right: Cadie Archer manuevers along the afterdeck while Gary Quinn stands his sunset watch. Each crew member, including the captain, served two hours on watch, followed by six hours off, 24 hours a day. While standing watch, you are responsible for keeping an eye on the wind and the radar, and to rouse the crew if sail adustments need to be made. Standing watch at night proved to be an eerie sensation. Often, watch standers were unable to even see the water off the boat it was so dark. Other nights, the full moon lit the sky like a lamp. Throughout the journey we observed bioluminescent algae, which looks like cool blue sparks showering from the bow wake. Once, I observed a pair of glowing orbs under the water, which turned out to be a pair of dolphins playing in the night. It remains one of the most magical things I’ve ever seen. Photos by Ben Olson. January 9, 2020 /


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Let’s hear it for the (winter) birds Not into snow sports? Birding is for everyone during the cold months By Ben Olson Reader Staff Is there any more pleasant sight than flocks of migrating birds taking wing and flying overhead in magnificent V-shaped formations, bound for their wintertime southern climates? Yet, not every species leaves when the weather turns cold in North Idaho and northwestern Montana. Many stick it out, wintering around the lake and mountains, providing an excellent opportunity for an activity that is gaining in popularity: winter birding. According to Brian Baxter, a field ornithologist who instructs tracking and birding classes for the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, migratory birds, like people, will stay the winter if they can sustain their food supply and stay safe. “Winter birding can be both a complex and very rewarding experience,” Baxter said. “Birds are by necessity adaptive, and will change diet, find shelter in or excavate their own tree cavities, cache food, congregate in mini flocks, fluff out feathers to stay warm, move locations, burrow under snow and change daily and evening patterns. When we learn how to detect these behaviors, a whole new birding world unfolds.” Local birders have established several locations around the region where ample opportunities exist to observe a wide variety of species, from waterfowls to raptors. Prevalent species present in North Idaho and northwest Montana during winter include raptors like rough-legged hawks, northern 18 /


/ January 9, 2020

hawk owls, northern pygmy owls, great horned owls and boreal owls, along with bald eagles and hawks. Waterfowl such as tundra swans, common and Barrow’s goldeneye ducks, common and hooded mergansers and some Canada geese and great blue heron also hang around over winter. The tap-tap-tap of woodpeckers such as downy and hairy woodpeckers, red-shafted flickers and pileated woodpeckers can be heard across the winter forest; and, finally, songbirds like chickadees, juncos, waxwings and golden crowned kinglets can be observed flitting from branch to branch, filling the muffled outdoors with their songs. Baxter’s preferred locations to observe many of the abovementioned species in North Idaho are the Lake Pend Oreille wildlife management areas, Pack River, Round Lake and the Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge. In northwestern Montana, hotspots include the Kootenai River near Libby and up to the dam, the Lost Trail National Wildlife Refuge and Glacier National Park. Baxter said because we live on the migration path for many different species, we are occasionally able to view birds in motion, even during the wintertime. “We do have some species that are in irruptive semi-migration status that may migrate in phases according to weather, food sources, shelter availability and predator pressure levels,” Baxter said. “ Other species, such as the boreal owl, are winter residents that generally prefer elevations of 3,700 to 5,300 feet on north

and east aspects, making a sighting a rare and beautiful thing to even the most experienced winter birder. For Sandpoint bird enthusiast Rich Del Carlo, who regularly leads birding outings such as the annual Christmas Bird Count hosted by the Audubon Society, birding is a year-round activity. “Once you get into birding, it opens up a whole other world to you,” Del Carlo said. “When you’re birding you’re really just present, in the moment with nature, so it’s a very gratifying experience.” Del Carlo — who loves birds so much he named his tree removal and landscaping business Peregrine Tree & Landscape after the falcon — recommends Sunnyside Road, Denton Slough and the Clark Fork Delta as great locations to observe waterfowl. “You’ll also see eagles and hawks chasing some of those birds,” he added. Those interested in participating in an instructor-led birding outing can contact Baxter or Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness to sign up for their

A snowy owl swoops low to the surface of the snow. Photo by Jim Cummings. numerous winter birding classes held in the region. For those interested in setting out on their own, Baxter recommends a few vital supplies while foraying out into the winter wilderness to watch birds. “You’ll want a good set of binoculars, at least 7 x 35 or 10 x 42 power,” Baxter said. “Also spotting scopes, field notebook, field guide to birding, pencils, tape measure to identify bird tracks, sunglasses and sunscreen.” For Del Carlo, birding is the perfect activity for anyone seeking communion with nature — not just because it’s fun, but because it broadens our perspective on the natural world. “The more awareness people have of the world around them, the more likely there is to respect it and honor it,” Del Carlo said. For more information about instructor-led classes, contact Brian Baxter, 406-291-2154 or email

Winter Birding Classes hosted by Brian Baxter, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness All sessions take place at 8 a.m. (9 a.m. MST) in Libby, Mont.

• Saturday, Jan. 11; Mammal and Bird Tracking. •Saturday, Feb. 8; Winter Ecology and the Study of Aerial and Terrestrial Predator/Prey Relationships. •Saturday, Feb. 29 and Sunday, March 1; two-day program: Winter Foray — Fur, Feathers, Flora and Fauna. • Saturday, March 28; Late Winter/Early Spring Birding. *Most classes end around 3 p.m.


Casting call for Willy Wonka musical By Reader Staff Growing Dreams Productions is calling on between 50 and 60 youths, aged 8 to 18, to audition for parts in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory — The Musical. The casting call is set for 3:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 13 and Tuesday, Jan. 14 at the Sandpoint High School auditorium. Audition applications will be accepted until 5:30 p.m. each day and auditions will last until about 7:30 p.m. Callbacks, if necessary, will happen on Wednesday, Jan. 15 at the same time and location. Cost to participate runs $150 per prospective thespian, with full and partial scholarships available for children in the cast. Tuition fees include a pair of tickets to the show and a T-shirt. Students only need to attend one of the audition sessions to be considered for a part, and are asked to come prepared with a memorized one-minute monologue — suggested monologues are available on the Growing Dreams Productions Facebook page. Plan to stay for the entire audition, so bring snacks and water. Auditions will include performing the monologue, cold reading of lines, dancing and singing, though there are some parts that do not require singing. Young

children can recite a nursery rhyme or favorite story and there are parts for aspiring puppeteers, as well. The cast list and rehearsal specifics will be posted on the Growing Dreams Productions Facebook page by the evening of Jan. 15, and rehearsals are set to begin Thursday, Jan. 16. Directed by Jeannie Hunter, with assistance by Natalie Aller, musical direction by Jon Brownell, choreography by Becky Lucas of Danceworks Studio and costumes by Anglie Aller, Willy Wonka — The Musical is set to take the stage at the SHS Venishnick Auditorium for a run of shows April 10, 11, 16, 17 and 18. All performances, with the exception of the April 11 family show matinee at 2 p.m.,

The cast of Shrek the Musical, a past Growing Dream Productions show. Photo by Annie Terry. will take place at 7 p.m. Presented through a special arrangement with Musical Theatre International, the production is also supported in part by the Panhandle Alliance for Education, which awarded a grant to help pay for rights and royalty fees. For more information, see the Growing Dreams Productions Facebook page or email

Angels Over Sandpoint open auditions for 2020 Follies By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff We’re still a few months away from Sandpoint’s annual bacchanalian variety show of raunchy comedy, musical performances and generally zany stage antics, but the time is nigh to audition as a participating act. Tryouts for the Angels Over Sandpoint event — which this year takes place March 6-7 — will run 5:30-8 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 17 and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 18 at. The auditions are scheduled in 15 minute-increments, with each prospective performer (or group) doing their thing and leaving. No one is allowed to stay in order to keep as many acts as possible a surprise until the night of the show. To further ensure secrecy, the location for the auditions is kept under wraps until someone books an audition time. It’s free to audition and the content is

notoriously risque. However, if material is too political it likely won’t make the cut — according to one of the event organizers, Dorothy Prophet, “this is supposed to be light-hearted and FUN!” Beyond those stipulations, pretty much anything else goes so long as it’s original and entertaining. A total of 17 acts are needed to populate the show and first-timers are heartily encouraged to audition. “We love new blood! (So to speak!),” Prophet said. Schedule a time to pitch an act either through The Follies Facebook page ( or call and leave a message at 208-290-7685. The Follies are the largest fundraiser of the year for the Angels, a nonprofit organization dedicated to helping community members in need. Celebrating its 18th anniversary in 2020, The Follies raises between $30,000 and $50,000 for the community each year, making it racy, risque, ridiculous and a really good cause.

January 9, 2020 /


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In service of the Horde By Brenden Bobby Reader Contributor When my best friend, David, sat me down to try World of Warcraft in 2008, I never anticipated that it would change my life. Honestly, when I created my first character, a Forsaken Mage named Zephyr, I didn’t even like the game. My formative years had been spent in roleplaying games in which my actions had consequences and deep narratives, like Neverwinter Nights and The Elder Scrolls III: Morrowind. The idea of being told to go kill 20 Level 3 boars with absolutely no impact on the world just didn’t appeal to me, so I stopped playing it. “I’m done,” I said, “I’ve tried World of Warcraft like a real gamer and it just wasn’t for me.” Then, in February 2009, I broke my leg. It was a severe open fracture of both the tibia and fibula, which led to me needing to take a two-month leave of absence from my job and a ludicrous amount of bed rest. “Well, it’s not like you have anything else to do,” David halfjoked, “Why don’t you give WoW another go?” I wasn’t quite convinced, but I didn’t want to disappoint my friend. Instead, I picked up Warcraft III, a real-time strategy game that took place before World of Warcraft. I played my way through the campaign and immediately fell in love with the characters. Why couldn’t the world-famous MMO be like this

20 /


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masterpiece, I wondered. I quickly discovered World of Warcraft wasn’t like its predecessor, because it was so much better. Enraptured by the story of the Tauren, a race of sentient cow-people who seek to protect themselves and Azeroth — the world that Warcraft is of — from forces that would stop at nothing to destroy them both, I logged back into the game and created my first real character: Jikath, Llevel 1 Tauren Warrior. As with just about everything else I’ve done, my interest bounced around inefficiently within the game world. I gained levels slowly; asked plenty of stupid questions; and created a small army of characters I didn’t really understand, excel at or even really enjoy that much. I was, as so many denizens of the internet would come to call me: a noob. That insufferable, inexperienced little whelp destined to stumble and fall in Darwin’s great race for survival. Lucky for me, after every arduous defeat, a spirit healer would be waiting to infuse my poor, ignorant soul back into my body and let me face my challenges again head-on. Every bad experience taught me a little bit more of how to solve new problems. I learned what skills to use and when to use them, I learned not to stand in the fire, and eventually learned to find my voice and use it to lead our rag-tag group of loot-hungry adventurers to victory. I played for several months,

eventually becoming quite comfortable with a handful of characters I began to enjoy. Poor Jikath had fallen by the wayside as my interest turned to Arsuria, a Level 80 Blood Elf Paladin that used the powers of light to heal allies’ wounds and keep them fighting through any trial or tribulation. A few months became a couple of years. We had conquered the Lich King at the pinnacle of Icecrown Citadel — we halted the Destroyer, Deathwing, from bringing about a cataclysm at the heart of Azeroth that would have wiped away all life — and now we had traveled to Pandaria, an Asian-themed continent filled with Chinese dragons, murderous stone lions and, you guessed it, a race of sapient pandas. I had joined a guild by now, a group of likeminded players that gather together to defend the

How World of Warcraft changed my life

world from evil, and we found ourselves at the steps of the Throne of Thunder, a new area threatening to drown the world in electrical storms at the behest of Lei Shen, the Thunder King. Arsuria had gotten much stronger by now, augmented even further by the fact that I knew what buttons to press to not be terrible. It was here that I met Tragicdevil, a Troll Balance Druid, often comically called a “Laser Chicken” because of their shape-shifting form that blasts lasers everywhere. Tragicdevil and I played together with a host of other adventurers. At some point, we had all decided to add one another on Facebook, and the friendship with Tragicdevil soon blossomed into something more. We spoke on voice chat regularly, where we shared the difficult situations we were in at that time in real-life and

The author’s Tauren Priest, Cowthalic, taking a selfie with Lord Rhyolith in Firelands. Courtesy Brenden Bobby.

it only reinforced our connection. Eventually, Tragicdevil and I met in-person for a frigid North Idaho spring break. Five years later, we got married at Trestle Creek under parting clouds, with the lake at our sides and the guy who led me to meet her to begin with — my best man David — bawling like a baby right behind me. The game’s eighth expansion, World of Warcraft: Shadowlands is set to be released in 2020. If you’re thinking about getting back into the game or just starting out, feel free to add my account to your friends list: Unkers#1108. Unlike trade chat, I’m always willing to offer a helping hand.


Seeking local talent

POAC to hold Northern Stars Rising auditions Jan. 11

direction. This category is for high-school students who are learning what it takes to be a Working toward its mission professional musician,” Combs to help local artists broaden their said. “All stars shine, but none reach, the Pend Oreille Arts like Sirius, the brightest star in Council is again facilitating the the northern sky. This category Northern Stars Rising competiis for young adults with serious tion — a battle of musical talent hopes of booking more paid for local performers of varied gigs. [And] the stunning aurora ages and skill levels. Auditions borealis, or northern lights, give for the annual competition are a rare, breathtaking show that Saturday, Jan. 11 from 11 a.m. to is a delight to see. This [catego2 p.m. at the Heartwood Center. ry] is for the established artists “We’re open to all genres and ... who are already performing sizes of groups,” said POAC Ex- locally but hope to expand their ecutive Director Hannah Combs. reach outside North Idaho.” “They can perform original or Performers will audition cover music — and there will with a three- to five-minute be a separate prize for the best sample of their work, and two original song.” competitors will be chosen from Northern Stars Rising each category to perform a 10competitors are split into three to 12-minute set at the official categories: Polaris, which enNorthern Stars Rising show compasses performers ages 14 to Friday, Feb. 21, also held at the 18; Sirius, for ages 19 to 25; and Heartwood Center. Aurora, for those A panel of three 26 and older. POAC Performing Northern Stars “The North leaders will Rising Auditions Arts Star [Polaris] is jury the auditions. Saturday, Jan. 11. FREE. The First and second a bright beacon Heartwood Center, 615 in our night sky, prizes in each Oak St., 208-263-6139, always orientcategory during ed in the right the Feb. 21 show

By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff


After attending a Claire Vaye Watkins reading during college, I bought her collection of short stories titled Battleborn. After opening it up last week, I was immediately reminded why I felt compelled to buy it — her style is exactly what would happen if you took Annie Proulx and forced her to take a rigorous post-postmodernist fiction course. Watkins’ stories are based mostly in her home state of Nevada, and her characters are as mystifying as the desert in which they toil.


will be determined by five guest panelists. Prizes include recording sessions, photoshoots, music supplies, lessons at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, videos and more. Those wanting to audition must RSVP to secure a time slot by going to and clicking on the Northern

Milla Coggin plays her ukulele during the 2019 Northern Stars Rising competition. Courtesy photo. Stars Rising button, where details and an application form are available. Those with questions can call the POAC office at 208263-6139.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint Cris Lucas, Jan. 10, Pend d’Oreille Winery

This week’s RLW by Lyndsie Kiebert

Michael Johnson Jazz Trio, Jan. 11, The Longshot

Along with Spokane-based power trio The Rub, Cris Lucas has played all the rooms big and small in the Inland Northwest, as well as toured around the world. His musical pedigree supports his popularity. Born in New York to musician parents — his mother a member of the famous a capella group The Sylte Sisters and his father a renowned producer and jingle composer — Lucas grew up in the studio, rubbing elbows with some of the great artists of the day. Relocating to his family’s farm in North Idaho, Lucas’ career has included a number of album releases, showcasing his effortless pop-rock-indie sound, stellar songwriting and impeccable vocals. It’ll be a rare treat to catch him performing solo Friday, Jan. 10 at the Pend d’Oreille Winery, with a mix of popular hits and originals. — Zach Hagadone

The only thing better than three talented jazz musicians is three talented jazz musicians who have joined forces to perform brand new material. The Michael Johnson Jazz Trio is doing just that, bringing its combined talents to Sandpoint for the first time for a Saturday, Jan. 11 show at The Longshot. The Spokane-based trio is comprised of Michael Johnson, a seasoned jazz composer and classically trained guitarist; Eugene Jablonsky, a bass instructor at both Whitworth and Gonzaga universities; and Jacob Reed, who is described by show organizers as the “slickest, most sensitive drummer in Spokane.” — Lyndsie Kiebert

5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., 208-265-8545, Listen at YouTube: x24lucas.

7-9 p.m., FREE. The Longshot, 102 S. Boyer Ave.,

If you haven’t heard girl in red yet, congrats — you’ll be one of the first of many, once this artist gets the exposure she deserves. Marie Ulven is a Norweigian singer-songwriter who started making music as girl in red in her bedroom in 2017. She’s released two EPs — chapter 1 and chapter 2 — and a plethora of singles. Her soft, indie-pop sound contrasts with the angst in her lyrics and, if you know me, you know I’m all about the angst.


I don’t always like heist films, but when I do, the cast is comprised entirely of powerful women. Such was the case with Ocean’s 8, a 2018 spinoff of the original Ocean’s trilogy with George Clooney. Ocean’s 8 features Sandra Bullock as lead criminal Deb Ocean as she and a star-studded group of ladies work to steal a necklace worth $150 million. With plenty of suspense and a twist ending, Ocean’s 8 is worth every second.

January 9, 2020 /


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COMMUNITY Agreement extends Sandpoint police services to Kootenai By Reader Staff

From Pend Oreille Review, Jan. 9, 1914


With the arrest of Albert Schmidt in Spokane yesterday by Sheriff Remer, Clarksfork may have found the man who has been terrorizing that community for some time. Dog poisoning and robberies have been of frequent occurrence, C.J. Coleman’s house burned under circumstances that pointed to an incendiary origin and all during Schmidt’s stay of three months in the community. Recently A.L. Austin who lives on Derr’s island down the river from the village came home to find his shack had been broken into and articles taken. He sized up the bootmarks at the door and when he went to the ferry shortly thereafter he saw Schmidt with a pack on his back. Austin stopped at the ferry approach long enough to see that Schmidt’s boot mark tallied in appearance with the bootmark made by the intruder at his cabin and hastened up to the village to get out a warrant to search Schmidt’s shack in the village. Schmidt immediately disappeared but was traced to Spokane where Sheriff Remer took the fellow into custody yesterday. Several articles stolen from Austin’s cabin were found in Schmidt’s possession. Schmidt pleaded guilty to a larceny charge and was sentenced to pay a fine of $200 or remain six months in jail. Clarksfork is much excited over the arrest and many of the villagers believe that Schmidt the author of all the deviltry which has stirred the village the past few weeks, including theft of $52 from John Caws’ cabin on Middle mountain about seven weeks ago, as well as blowing of the safe at the general store of Whitcomb Bros. 22 /


/ January 9, 2020

Local officials are lauding a new law enforcement partnership between Sandpoint, Kootenai and the Lake Pend Oreille School District as a win-win-win. The Sandpoint City Council approved a contract between Sandpoint and the school district in September, adding an additional school resource officer from the Sandpoint Police Department and expanding SRO services into the middle and elementary schools, including Kootenai Elementary. The expanded SRO presence in Kootenai presented an opportunity for the two cities to enter into a joint powers agreement — which went into effect on Jan. 8 — for Sandpoint to provide municipal law enforcement services within the city of Kootenai. According to Sandpoint officials, the result of the agreements is a mutually beneficial connection between area schools and communities. The police service model for the city of Kootenai includes a 24/7 response to citizen-driven dispatched calls; a regular SRO presence before, during and after school hours at Kootenai Elementary; proactive police patrols focused on traffic concerns (as prioritized by Kootenai Mayor Nancy Lewis and the Kootenai City Council); and Sandpoint police attendance at regular Kootenai City Council meetings to include semi-monthly activity reports to Mayor Lewis and the Kootenai City Council. Kootenai Lewis said that she and the council have been actively working on getting a proactive local law enforcement presence for at least a year, though the desire has been there for much longer. “It is something [the] council has wanted for a long time and we are very happy,” Lewis said. “When the school came on board with a resource officer, it just made sense — it is going to be great for all of us.” SPD Chief Corey Coon said residents should expect to see the increased law enforcement presence in Kootenai immediately, and should not be alarmed by Sandpoint patrols in the area. “We have been pleased to provide expanded SRO services to Kootenai Elementary and we’re excited about the partnership with the city of Kootenai to

provide broader municipal police services. It’s good for the kids, their families and the broader community,” Coon said. Sandpoint Police Officer Spencer Smith has served as a SRO for the school district since 2014. Sandpoint Police Officer Dave Giffin became the second SRO in September 2019. “Our school resource officer program is about educating and partnering with the community, and letting the students know that law enforcement is out there to help them,” said LPOSD Superintendent Tom Albertson. “It is great to officially extend our SRO program into Kootenai. Now that they have jurisdiction here, it just makes it more official.” The contract between Sandpoint and LPOSD to expand the SRO program was approved following the voter approval of the school district’s two-year, $25.4 million maintenance and operations supplemental levy, allowing LPOSD to provide 60% of the annual salary for the two SROs. “We are pleased to be able to serve the city of Kootenai,” said Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad. “This partnership is an excellent example of how local governments can work together collaboratively to provide a higher level of service to our citizens in a cost-effective manner.” He added: “Sandpoint residents benefit by having another trained law enforcement officer available to respond during our peak summer tourist seasons when our call volumes are the highest without having to incur the costs for the additional position year round.” The agreement between the cities is active through Sept. 30, at which time Sandpoint and Kootenai officials will decide whether to renew the JPA for an additional one-year term.

Left to right, back: Sandpoint Police Chief Corey Coon, LPOSD Superintendent Tom Albertson, SPD School Resource Officer Spencer Smith, Sandpoint Mayor Shelby Rognstad, SPD School Resource Officer Dave Giffin. Front: Kootenai Mayor Nancy Lewis and Kootenai Elementary Principal Kelli Knowles. Photo by Mary Malone, city of Sandpoint.

Crossword Solution

As I walked through the woods, I looked up and saw a squirrel. I smiled and he smiled. At least I think it was a smile. My teeth were showing and my cheeks were pulled up. That’s a smile, isn’t it? (The squirrel was definitely smiling.)

Conquer the Outdoors Again


1. Wanderer 6. “Cut that out!” 10. Unwakable state 14. Ancient Greek marketplace Office Located in the Ponderay Walmart Vision Center 15. The thin fibrous bark Call and make an appointment today: 208.255.5513 16. By mouth 17. Varnish ingredient 18. Anagram of “Seek” 19. 1 less than 10 20. A small unit of troops 22. C C C C 23. Dawn goddess 24. Churns 26. Hit the sack 30. Spin 32. Utilizers 33. Passerines 61. Master of 37. Russian emperor ceremonies 38. Remedies 62. Secluded valley 39. Relating to aircraft 63. Neat 40. Punctuation mark 64. Darlings 42. Drive 43. Buddhist religious leaders /sahy-kuh-TRON-ik/ 44. Grow feathers DOWN 45. Hillsides [adjective] 1. An aromatic ointment 47. Ghost’s cry 1. of or relating to a genre of usually low-budget movies that e 2. Curved molding of th 48. Male undergrad social includes horror, fantasy, science-fiction and underground films. 3. The bulk club “He’s a weirdo who only watches psychotronic films about the apocalypse.” 4. Diva’s solo 49. Communicative 5. Terpsichoreans 56. 53 in Roman numerals Corrections: The staff information on page 3 of our Jan. 2 issue listed both 6. Originates in 57. 62 in Roman numerals Zach and Lyndsie’s emails as “” Rather, 7. Give and ____ 58. Product of bees our email addresses are and lyndsie@sandpoin8. Not closed 59. Plus, respectively. Sorry for any confusion. —LK 60. Not odd


Word ek We



Solution on page 26 9. Profiteroles 10. Make peace 11. Bay window 12. Flowing tresses 13. Beers 21. Furrow maker 25. Sphere 26. Tracks 27. Anagram of “Sees” 28. Squad 29. A watering system 30. Beginners 31. Small songbird 33. Humdinger 34. Anagram of “Deer” 35. Remnant 36. Achy

38. Body armor 41. Prompt 42. Splashed 44. Enemy 45. Lefteye flounder 46. Lift 47. Brackish 48. Banner 50. 26 in Roman numerals 51. Multicolored 52. A few 53. Ancient Peruvian 54. Swerve 55. Visual organs

January 9, 2020 /


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Profile for Keokee :: media + marketing


Winter Birding in North Idaho, 2020 Idaho Legislature, Boundary County train derailment


Winter Birding in North Idaho, 2020 Idaho Legislature, Boundary County train derailment

Profile for keokee