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The week in random review

Fun with Chat GPT

Reader Staff Writer Soncirey Mitchell and I are both smart people, who are more than capable writers. We’re also pretty conscientious workers and almost entirely professional for a substantial amount of the time between 9 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. However, a visitor to the office at 4:42 p.m. on a recent Tuesday would have found us cry-laughing over a series of prompts fed into Chat GPT, which culminated in the creation of a full-blown religious cult centered on Cheesus, the sentient grilled-cheese sandwich. Between the two of us — or really three of us, if you count the A.I. — we established an origin story, the biography of the high priestess (Soncirey, of course), a hymn, a prophecy of the end-times for Cheesus and a requiem for the fallen deity. To be honest, it was kind of embarrassing not only how long we spent on this project (and how funny we found it), but how actually good and weirdly inventive the chatbot’s storytelling turned out to be. Despite how talented we might be as writers, I’m sure we wouldn’t have come up with the Gospel of Cheesus on our own. However, I see now that there’s a real art to crafting quality prompts in open A.I. Here are a few that I’ve entered over the past few months:

• Write me a church sermon about how to make the perfect egg salad;

• Tell me how to attract a mate, written in the style of a 1980s stereo installation instructional manual;

• Compare the culinary qualities of purebred beluga caviar to the McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish fish sandwich with cheese, with an emphasis on taste-tovalue and aesthetic presentation, written in the style of William F. Buckley. [Eds. note: This one is so weird.]

• What are the relative merits of a Carl’s Junior Western Bacon Cheeseburger versus gaining and retaining the respect of your peers? [Eds. note: This one is profound, actually.]

• Write me a campaign speech in which the central issue is opposition to teaching dogs to walk on two legs and cats to wear top hats. [Eds. note: I might actually vote for this candidate in November.]

One of my favorites, though, was when I asked Chat GPT to write a short scene in the style of William S. Burroughs. It spit back a gem about a man who walks into a smoky, jazz-filled bar on a rainslick night. Then this exchange happened:

“You’re looking for the talking asshole,” the bartender said, a hint of a smile on his face.

The figure nodded, and took another sip of his drink.

“Well, you’ve found him,” the bartender said. “But be careful what you wish for.”

The figure laughed, a cold, hard sound, and leaned back in his seat. “I can handle it,” he said.

I hate to admit it, but that’s pure gold.


Welcome to the 47th annual ArtWalk, presented by the Pend Oreille Arts Council. This summer event has been a part of Sandpoint life for generations and it remains one of the quintessential parts of local culture. Check out Page 14 for more information and a map of the participating downtown locations.

On another note, we just completed an application for a rare journalism grant. It was a laborious effort, but one thing I appreciated was reaching out for help from some of our local expert grant writers for their guidance. Special thanks to Katie Egland Cox and her team at Kaniksu Land Trust for reading our application and providing notes. Thanks to Zach Hagadone and Soncirey Mitchell for their usual spotless edits, and Chris and Sandy Bessler for helping get this over the finish line. It takes a village, indeed. We don’t hear the winners announced until fall, but keep your fingers crossed for us.

–Ben Olson, publisher


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

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Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor)

Soncirey Mitchell (Staff Writer)

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Contributing Artists: Woods Wheatcroft (cover), Ben Olson, Karley Coleman, USACE, ITD, Bill Borders

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About the Cover

This week’s cover is by the one and only Woods Wheatcroft.

June 13, 2024 / R / 3

ITD reconsiders U.S. 95 east alignment bypass in Sagle

The Idaho Transportation Department recently announced that it will not move ahead with the proposed U.S. Highway 95 east alignment bypass in Sagle, which would have expanded the U.S. 95-Dufort Road to Lakeshore Drive corridor and resulted in many residents being forced from their homes via eminent domain.

The decision comes after area residents and elected officials voiced their opposition during a November 2023

public meeting and again more recently after locals were notified of the potential use of eminent domain to secure the land needed for the expansion.

“After exploring some of the preliminary analysis for that concept, the Idaho Transportation Department is no longer considering a U.S. 95 east alignment bypass concept in the Sagle area,” District

1 ITD Public Information Officer Heather McDaniel told the Reader. “There are many reasons for this decision, including the proximity this alignment would have to a local elementary school,

historic structures and noise sensitive areas.”

That particular stretch of highway has undergone multiple renovations in recent years in an attempt to mitigate traffic and related accidents, though each achieved little success. ITD plans to continue its current environmental evaluation to better plan for alternative future enhancements.

“I’m proud of our citizen efforts. They let ITD know about their concerns in an organized and constructive manner,” said Dist. 1 Rep. Mark Sauter, who has been

interfacing with both ITD and Sagle residents since April. “I think it’s too early to know what’s next... The Dufort-Highway 95 intersection is still an issue we all need to be concerned about.”

ITD plans to host another public meeting regarding the future of the highway at a yet-to-be determined date and location in the fall of 2024.

For more information, visit For

An overhead view of the once-proposed realignment of Highway 95 through Sagle. Courtesy of ITD.

Sagle, Westside fire districts approve successor joint powers agreement

It has been a season of dramatic change for the Selkirk Fire service. First came calls for a change in the joint powers agreement leadership in October, followed by negotiations between Sandpoint, Sagle and the Westside fire districts, culminating with the decision in April that Sandpoint would disengage from the JPA and create its own fire department.

Now, according to a June 6 announcement, the boards of the Sagle and Westside fire districts have approved a new agreement to serve as the successor to the Selkirk Fire, Rescue and EMS JPA, which will ensure future collaboration between the organizations to provide fire protection in their areas.

“The past few months have involved intensive and meaningful work as we reconstruct the JPA,” stated Sagle Fire District Board Chair Geraldine Lewis. “On June 5, we swore in our new Fire Chief Jeff Armstrong, amid a spirit of optimism and excitement

for the future. Firefighters and commissioners see this as an opportunity for a stronger, more sustainable fire district.”

Selkirk Fire officials stated that the JPA model “has proven to provide a higher level of service, coordinated responses, increased firefighter safety and potential for cost savings.”

According to Armstrong, “Fire departments in the area have limited resources and limited budgets. It is vital that we work to support each other, outside of responding to emergency incidents.”

The board also has a joint operations agreement with the Northside Fire District, which Armstrong also serves as the fire chief under contract — a move that officials said saves the district funds, and allows for the hiring of an additional full-time firefighter.

Gavin Gilcrease serves as the chief of the Sandpoint Fire Department, which will become an official entity effective on Monday, July 1. Gilcrease told the Sandpoint City Council at its June 5 meeting that the SFD will feature nine crew members — all based in Sandpoint —

who will be introduced at a to-be-determined council meeting in July.

Mayor Jeremy Grimm wrote that upon his swearing in in January, “one of the top priorities of my office has been to address the approaching expiration of the joint powers agreement for the coordinated and cooperative provision of fire services in the city of Sandpoint, Sagle Fire District and Westside Fire District.”

However, he added, the city received a joint communication from the boards of the Sagle and Westside fire districts indicating that they intended “to move to a more enhanced model, specifically one similar to a fire authority.”

After lengthy discussions over the course of several special meetings, Sandpoint officials determined that Idaho law did not provide for a mechanism to create such a fire authority and the city would have to budget independently for the provision of fire services in Sandpoint. The council then voted in April to leave the JPA — at least for now.

“Looking into the future, I believe that there is merit and value in continued discussions with adjacent fire districts and an opportunity to explore a legal framework that would result in the proposition to the public for the creation of a larger regional fire district to serve the area,” Grimm

wrote. “In the interim, it is my hope that the valuable cross training, collaboration and friendship that has occurred between districts over the past nine years will continue to be supported no matter what framework is used to serve the public.”

Selkirk Fire can be reached at: 208-263-7929 from Monday-Thursday and at the Sagle Fire Station, located at 2689 Gun Club Road. Firefighters remain on duty 24 hours per day, seven days per week at the Sagle, Careywood, and Wrenco fire stations.

NEWS 4 / R / June 13, 2024
Selkirk Fire personnel. Courtesy photo.

Army Corps updates timeline for full lake level

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers released an update on operations at Albeni Falls Dam, stating that Lake Pend Oreille would reach its full summer pool of 2,062.5 feet by Sunday, June 23.

Officials discovered a defective spillway gate at the dam, which required replacement and resulted in limited operations at the dam. That caused the lake level to rise slower than usual.

USACE officials stated that they expected Pend Oreille to reach its full summer by the end of June, but “the exact date may be adjusted due to changing hydrologic condi-

tions throughout the basin.”

The announcement came on June 7, when Albeni Falls Dam also increased its outflow from 28,000 cubic feet per second to 32,000 cfs.

The news followed a joint statement sent to Assistant Secretary of the Army for Civil Works Michael Conner by Sen. Jim Risch and Reps. Mike Crapo and Russ Fulcher, calling for “prompt attention” to address the lake level.

“This situation is extremely concerning to us and we urge the Corps of Engineers to devote all necessary resources to resolve this situation as soon as safely possible,” the Idaho congressional delegation wrote. “While we commend the Corps for ongoing com-

Summer pool expected by June 23

munications with our offices and the public, there are still many uncertainties the Corps should work to address. The timeline for returning the dam to regular operations is chief among them.”

Idaho’s Congress members stressed that the Corps should make the matter its highest priority, stating, “Tens of thousands of people depend on Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River for their recreation and livelihoods, not to mention those who live on these bodies of water. If the dam remains at modified spillway operations into next year, these people, as well as the management of the overall Columbia River system, will be severely impacted.”

The Corps stated that inflows have steadily increased and snowpack gradually decreased, leading to the refill rate increasing on Lake Pend Oreille. As of press time, the current lake level was measured at 2,061.04 ft, or 1.46 feet short of full summer pool.

For updates, email to be added to the email notification list.

WBCSD hosts additional meeting to discuss financials

Trustees with the West Bonner County School District will continue with a series of meetings Monday, June 17 at 6 p.m. to iron out the 20242025 budget and look toward the district’s future. The board has met repeatedly throughout the month, grappling with the ramifications of the May election, which saw the failure of a $4.7 million school funding levy at the polls.

West Bonner’s upcoming meeting will feature updates about funding for extracurricular and co-curricular activities, as well as a report from the Grants and Fundraising Working Group, which was established June 5 to work with the Innovia Foundation and seek alternative sources of income for the district.

The five-hour June 5 meeting included tears from both board and audience members as the community debated which schools would need to shut down following the failure of the one-year, supplemental levy.

“We’re taking cash that we

have today and we’re moving it over to the budget to start next year so that we can meet salaries, keep the buildings open and service our students,” WBCSD Finance Director Dean Davis said at the meeting. “As we talked about last week, the Government Finance Officers Association recommends a 15% reserve at any given time of the General Fund and we’re short — very short — of that.”

He added: “As we get later into next fiscal year and as we move into 2026 without a levy or some other revenue source, we’re just not going to be able to maintain our footprint and meet payroll and that type of thing.”

Board members considered financial breakdowns for each possible school closure, and after hearing vehement opposition to the idea of closing Priest Lake Elementary School, ultimately decided to shutter Priest River Junior High School and move seventh- and eighth-grade students into one half of the Priest River Lamanna High School.

“To rehab the [junior high’s] existing infrastructure,

I think you could probably do something with that building for $7 [million] or $8 million, but we don’t have that money, do we? And then we have four other buildings,” said WBCSD Facilities and Maintenance Operations Director Ryan Carruth, who testified that the historic building was the most expensive to maintain.

The district will still need to budget for general maintenance to ensure the building doesn’t fall into disrepair while unoccupied.

In response to concerns over students ranging in age from seventh to 12th grade intermingling, PRLHS Principal Matt George proposed creating a “school within a school,” placing the seventh- and eighth-graders and ninth- through 12th-graders at opposite ends of the school, separating lockers and segregating locker rooms by grade.

Board members were unanimous in their approval of a motion to keep elementary schools open for kindergarten through sixth grade, and move seventh- and eighth-graders to the high school — including the suggested division of student

populations. In addition, the approved motion called for keeping the junior high building heated and “seeking additional funding from the community” for a period of one year.

Davis clarified that, though “closing one school is better than none,” it’s a temporary solution that will not be sustainable. Despite the loss, the district will remain short on funds and additional cuts may be necessary, depending on the generosity of donations toward extra- and co-curricular activities, as well as a

proposed endowment fund, managed by the Innovia Foundation, which would help cover general expenses.

The board has yet to decide whether it will add another levy to the ballot this November, which, if passed, would help secure the district in the 2025-2026 school year.

NEWS June 13, 2024 / R / 5
Albeni Falls Dam as seen from the air. Photo courtesy of U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Local schoolchildren holding signs and banners to support the eventual recall of West Bonner County School District trustees Susan Brown and Keith Rutledge. Photo courtesy Idaho Education News.

Deadline nears for public comment on Sagle bike ranch

The Bonner County board of commissioners will hear two appeals on the proposed Panhandle Bike Ranch off of Five Lakes Estates Road, in Sagle, which has drawn criticism from area residents due to the potential noise and traffic users may generate. Currently, the bike ranch is set to feature downhill biking trails, campsites for trail users and shuttles, with the goal of opening in spring of 2025.

The county hearing examiner approved the conditional use permit sought by owners Scott and Jenni-

fer Kalbach in April; however, both developers and residents have appealed the permit, with the former requesting more leniency and the latter asking that it be overturned.

Members of the public wishing to comment on the proposal before the commissioners’ decision must submit written comments to the Bonner County Planning Department by Monday, June 17 via an email to or hard copy at 1500 U.S. 2, Suite 208, in Sandpoint.

Panida announces Jim Healey resignation

The Panida Theater announced the resignation of longtime volunteer and board member Jim Healey on June 7.

Healey has filled a number of volunteer roles at the Panida over the past 15 years, from serving guests to organizing and ordering inventory for the concession stand and the bar. Healey has also held many positions with the board, including as board chair and board treasurer, and as a member of the Hiring, Volunteer, Finance, Film, Governance and Panida Centennial

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:

President Joe Biden recently issued a restrictive immigration policy for asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border. Authorities could automatically block would-be migrants from presenting their asylum cases if their numbers are deemed too great. The immigration system, not updated in 30 years, has an exceptional backlog.

The UN has added the Israeli military to a global list of states and armed groups committing grave violations against children’s rights.

The economy added 272,000 jobs in May, according to the U.S. Labor Department. That’s higher than 180,000 additional jobs predicted for the month. The unemployment rate has been lower than 4% since early 2022. Wages were also higher.

Celebration committees.

Healey lists his greatest achievement as being responsible for forming the volunteer cleaning crew. Healey’s achievements at the Panida also include organizing open houses, running the ice cream booth, organizing food drives, grant writing and helping arrange a five-figure donation to the theater.

He will be missed, but the Panida wishes Healey success and fulfillment in spending more time on personal endeavors and vacations.

“Thank you for your time, Jim,” wrote Panida Board President Sean Behm. “We are forever grateful.”

Infowars owner Alex Jones dropped his bankruptcy petition. He’s asked the courts to sell his assets to help meet the $1.5 billion he owes families of Sandy Hook, Conn. A school shooting there in 2012 left 26 people dead — mostly children. The Guardian reported that one in four people around the nation believed Jones’ claim that the shooting was staged by “crisis actors” to boost gun control efforts. In court, Jones admitted the shooting was real, and apologized to those who’d been threatened and harassed due to his lies. The documentary, The Truth vs. Alex Jones, shows Jones has continued to share unfounded information. According to the AP, Jones’ liquidation of assets makes it less likely families will receive any money, but he will be able to keep his home and personal belongings.

Various media reported that Senate Republicans, with the exception of a few, have blocked The Right to Contraception Act, a bill that grants the legal right to contraception

John Deere has announced more layoffs of agricultural equipment workers, The Guardian reported. Many of the jobs will go to Mexico. The company reported $10 billion in profits in 2023, and the CEO received $26.7 million in compensation.

The IRS free tax filing program will be available nationwide starting in 2025, CNBC reported.

A key Israeli cabinet member, Benny Gantz, has resigned, saying he’s done so due to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s handling of the war in Gaza. Gantz, a Netanyahu political

rival, stated that Netanyahu “prevents us from moving forward to a real victory,” CNN reported. The resignation came just after four Israeli hostages were retrieved, at the cost of 274 Palestinian lives and hundreds wounded, the Gaza Health Ministry said. Civilian witnesses described Israel’s hostage rescue as “hell on earth.”

Russian President Vladimir Putin is not happy that other nations now say Ukraine can use their weapons to attack Russia. On ABC News, Biden emphasized that U.S weapon usage is limited to “just across the border,” and U.S. weapons are not to be used to target Moscow.

The Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries recently agreed to extend a cut to voluntary production of crude oil, to counter a slowdown in demand and higher output from the U.S., CNN reported.

According to a CNN/SSRS poll: 79% polled said climate change is causing extreme weather in their communities. Meanwhile, policies to cut greenhouse gas emissions are favored by 73%.

In a study of 170 democracies, The Lancet medical journal found that citizens in democratic societies lived longer and happier lives than those in non-democracies, and tended to have more wealth.

A recent Gallup poll shows that weekly church attendance comes in at 21%, while 56% of respondents “seldom or never attend” religious services. Blast from the past: In July 2015, Trump’s campaign Twitter account featured an image of Nazi soldiers superimposed between stripes of an American flag. Michael Cohen, then Trump’s “fixer,” blamed an intern and the posting was removed. More recently, another alleged mistake occurred when a Trump campaign site posted a hypothetical newspaper reporting on Trump’s election in 2024, saying there would be “the creation of a unified Reich.” The Third Reich was the Nazis’ label for their ruling years, 1933 to1945. They regarded 1871 to 1918 as the Second Reich, and 800 to 1806 as the First Reich. The recent posting also referred to Trump’s rejection of “globalists,” which is often used as anti-semitic shorthand for Jews. Calling both postings a mistake is striking many as disingenuous, since Trump has previously made comments calling immigrants “vermin,” stating “Hitler did some good things” and insulting his generals with comments like “why can’t you be like the German generals ... in WWII?”

6 / R / June 13, 2024
Jim Healey. Courtesy photo. Residents line up to testify at a conditional use permit approval meeting before the Bonner County Hearing Examiner on April 17. Photo by Ben Olson.

Huzzah! It was another fine weekend at the Sandpoint Renaissance Faire. All the knights, lords and knaves gathered for two days of bawdy fun, and aye, fun was indeed had. The lady responsible for capturing all of these joyous scenes for thee is Karley Coleman. Thou might find more of Karley’s work on the magic box by typing in:

June 13, 2024 / R / 7



• “Kudos to Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society’s Cindy Hayes and Julie Reister-Keaton for stepping in at the last minute to make sure the KNPS Tree Tours went off without a hitch. The last Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday in May, 270 third-graders, their teachers and parent escorts descended upon the North Idaho Native Plant Arboretum to learn about trees and to have fun. During this annual field trip event, sponsored by the KNPS, students learn to identify and appreciate the unique qualities of 10 different native trees and their contributions to our environment. They also participate in games and craft activities that support what they’ve learned. KNPS supplies all materials and volunteer docents to share tree knowledge and lore. Six local third grade classes participated this year, and to quote one excited third-grader, ‘This is my favorite field trip this year.’ Thank you all!”


• Fair warning to anyone who rides a motorcycle: Watch where you park in Sandpoint. Most of us are used to squeezing into tiny “motorcycle only” spots so as not to take up a valuable vehicle spot downtown, but don’t let your bike drift into the white diagonal lines (which in many other cities denote spots where motorcycles are allowed to park so they don’t take up vehicle spots), or you’ll see a $50 ticket taped to your seat. Hey, city of Sandpoint: How about you take some of the thousands of dollars you’ve fleeced off of locals for exorbitant parking tickets and put the money into fixing our crumbling residential streets instead of funding expensive vanity projects? Also, why have we abandoned the warning system for non-repeat offenders? Parking violations shouldn’t unfairly punish local workers who commit a violation every 10-15 years, otherwise this just seems like another cash grab.

Dear editor,

The article in the June 6 edition of the Reader concerning the three-way prize fight on Sagle between Hutchings, Rose and Franco perfectly illustrates the mentality of many of those with their views and mentality [News, “Parking lot tussle following May 21 primary leads to battery, property damage charges,” June 6, 2024].

Steve Bradshaw is another example, illustrated by his threats requiring a restraining order during or after the county commissioners meeting(s).

They settle things not in a civil manner, but a threatening manner — just like a certain convicted felon MAGA leader I could mention. They emulate their hero, expressing respect for the law until the law or events don’t favor them, then it’s all bets off.

Lawrence Fury Sandpoint

‘A sad day, indeed’…

Dear editor,

Many people have lamented the “sad day” in America when former-President Trump was convicted on 34 fraud counts of falsifying business records with intent to interfere with a presidential election. And it is so true: a sad, sad day.

But the saddest part is that those who profess to worship at the feet of the convicted Trump refuse to accept that the guy is a crook, a liar; someone who demands loyalty and then throws those who support him under the bus. He calls them names, disparages their character (as if he knew what character even is), ambushes their careers, sends them into bankruptcy and even jail. And he never looks back.

The even sadder part is that those same Trump worshippers — most of whom don’t know him, have never worked with him, have never met him but believe everything he tells them — actually espouse that he is on their side, will protect them, will work for them. And they dismiss the experiences those who have worked with him now tell us — about how dangerous he is to all of us.

Is that you? He never has been on your side, he never will be, and he will throw you under the bus, too, as soon as he gets your vote and your money.

Like all bully followers (remember the bullies in elementary school? The bully’s groupies — the kids who didn’t have other friends, who weren’t chosen for the first team? They gravitated toward the bully because he/she would promise

them everything, and when the chips were down and he/she got what they wanted, abandoned the “little” guy/gal?) And, of course, that is what will happen here.

Trump has no loyalty to anyone — including his children — and he won’t be loyal to you.

Trump’s not your friend.

Maureen Graham Sandpoint

“nothing” that I used to love.

Jodi Rawsom Sandpoint

Thanks for a great


Radio Day… Eating their own…

Dear editor,

Excellent article [News, “Parking lot tussle following May 21 primary leads to battery, property damage charges,” June 6, 2024]. Maybe Heather Scott is on to something: When the far-right runs out of leftist enemies they’ll start eating each other. Can’t survive without someone to attack.

Ted Wert Sagle

‘Morning baubles’…

Dear editor, Rainbow reminders of Sunshine Wonders Put a Bauble in the Morning Window Carry the Brilliant Light All day long.

Steve Johnson Sagle

‘Yada yada leditor’…

Dear editor,

In response to Caleb Keaton’s letter [“A few points about Seinfeld…,” June 6, 2024] — Jerry Seinfeld is done.

When Seinfeld was in his late 30s, grooming 17-year-old high-schooler Shoshanna Lonstein, and lying about her age, this was a different time — a nostalgic time of “dominant masculinity,” Seinfeld recently lamented. He missed a time of an “an agreed-upon hierarchy,” where I assume he was comfortable at the top.

He blames his dead comedy on “the extreme left and PC crap,” but there are plenty of brilliant comedians who make us laugh and think, Seinfeld just isn’t all that clever.

Seinfeld allegedly mocked the fate of Gaza children in a recent performance. In 2018, he brought his family to “Caliber 3” where he got to practice killing Palestinians in a fantasy camp.

Seinfeld, the show “about nothing,” brought me to tears in laughter while I was in high school, but I agree with Zach Hagadone that this was thanks to Larry David’s writing. Seinfeld on “something” turns out to be bullish and cruel, trumping his arbitrary youthful whining about

Dear editor,

A great day and lots of fun was had by one and all. 88.5 KRFY hosted their annual Community Radio Day Celebration on June 1 — open to the public and the event was a success.

KRFY wants to thank the following for their generosity, time and talent:

•Bluebird Bakery — scrumptious pastries;

•Evans Brothers Coffee — well, you guessed it, great coffee;

•Doug Jones Graphic Design — for the beautiful and fun event poster;

•Music Conservatory of Sandpoint — the perfect venue: Little Carnegie Hall;

•Sound Audio Wizard — Denis Zwang;

•The entertainment — the musicians and bands: Hanna Meehan, The Accidentals, Global Gumbo, Little Wolf and Right Front Burner;

•The public that stopped by to enjoy the day and say hi.

•And, of course, the many KRFY volunteers who made it all happen.

Suzy Prez Sandpoint



Dear editor,

In the months following the passing of Idaho House Bill 710 — which requires Idaho public and school libraries to move materials deemed harmful to children or face lawsuits — our own East Bonner Library board continues to insist that materials explicitly sexual in nature are not so.

The material currently in question is the comic Saga: Volume 6, which contains graphic sexual content (speech and illustration) that the library board does not deem a danger to children, because it contains illustrations of sex, but “illustrations do not excite like a photograph.”

The notion that the content was pornographic was also dismissed under the guise that, because the images depict aliens, they cannot sexually excite like human imagery would.

Title 18-1514 in Idaho Code comprehensively covers what is to be considered “obscene,” as materials relate to children and vulnerable adults. It states: “The quality of any material or of any performance or of any description or representation, in whatever form, of nudity, sexual conduct, sexual excitement, or sado-masochistic abuse, when it appeals to the

prurient interest of minors as judged by the average person, applying contemporary community standards … .” By this definition, the concerns of numerous local patrons are founded in questioning why this comic series has not already been placed in a section of the library not accessible to minors at large. My question is: Why is the library board, supposedly elected to represent the desires of the community, ignoring all requests for further inquiry into material procurement and placement?

Faith Brenneman Spirit Lake

‘God bless America’…

Dear editor,

I didn’t think I would ever say this, but I’m glad my immigrant grandfather met his maker. He loved his adopted country. He said “God Bless America” everyday. He instilled in me how fortunate I was to have been born in a country that tried to improve itself and attempted to look after its citizens. He gained his citizenship by fighting for the U.S. during WWI. I’m so glad he didn’t have to hear a later commander-in-chief call him a “sucker and loser.”

My Nono would be so upset to see how divided we are, how suspicious we are, how fearful we are and how ugly we have become to each other. Many in this country have decided to take their lead from a grifter. I was taught that good citizens looked out for each other and celebrated the success of all.

Democracy is a team sport. When we’re lazy, we leave the decision of leadership to others. The majority of us have had it too good for too long and have become lethargic. We don’t vote; and, when we do, we don’t do our homework and just check a box.

Dictatorship is easy. You don’t have to worry what’s going on because you have no say. If you believe the rhetoric of the wannabes, you believe they will do whatever is best for you. Surprise! Those who desire complete control are only in it for themselves. Your rights are vanquished to satisfy their whims. When you hear someone say they will take revenge on “your” enemies, they’re saying they plan to take revenge on “their” enemies and one of those enemies might be you.

As a wise young man once said, “We are not red states, not blue states, but the United States of America.” God bless America!

Sylvia Humes Sandpoint

8 / R / June 13, 2024

GOP attacks on school levy process mean deep cuts for our students

Most Idaho voters agree that we must invest in strong schools to ensure the next generation’s success. Sadly, the Republican supermajority is preventing our state from meeting this goal in multiple ways. First, Idaho spends less per student on public education than any other state. Second, they sabotage the levies that districts rely on to fill funding gaps.

Recently, Republican lawmakers eliminated two of the four election dates that school districts use to propose funding measures to voters. This essentially forces school districts to use the May election, when the most hardline conservative voters come out to vote in the closed Republican primary. The hard-right ideological bend of the voters makes critical levies harder to pass.

Last month’s election played out as GOP leaders hoped. The election that boosted extreme-right Republicans with beliefs far outside the mainstream also meant terrible blows to our students, as five supplemental levies failed.

In the West Bonner County School District, two of its three elementary schools will shutter, and staff reductions could include more

than a dozen teachers and several classified staffers. Without funding for extracurricular activities — including sports — the board must turn to community groups and fundraising to try and save these popular programs.

The failure of the Plummer-Worley Joint School District supplemental levy means critical building updates and maintenance will be kicked down the road again, and athletics and athletic transportation are on the chopping block. Layoffs, including elementary teachers, a counselor and library staff, will mean crowded classrooms and fewer resources.

In Kuna, the district will eliminate two dozen jobs, including 12 teachers. The board is considering further reductions, including elimi-

Ribbon cutting celebrating newly remodeled WaFd Bank

The Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce joined WaFd Bank in celebrating its grand reopening after completing a remodel of its location at 405 N. Second Ave. in Sandpoint. Branch Manager Danielle Resso has been at the location with WaFd since the bank established its branch in Sandpoint more than 12 years ago.

Resso and her team welcomed the chamber for a tour and celebrated by hosting a Chamber After Hours event on the last Wednesday of May.

nating career technical programs. These heart-wrenching decisions have been thrust upon local leaders by Republican lawmakers who have put schools in precarious situations. They come on top of other shortfalls, causing negative impacts on student learning. With a $4.3 million budget hole, Idaho Falls is laying off teachers and forcing secondary students to take online classes one day a week.

Under the old statute, schools could have asked voters to reconsider a last-resort levy with an August election right before classes started. The GOP supermajority eliminated that option as well.

Years ago, I spoke with a Caldwell school administrator who didn’t fret over inadequate state funding because their voters always supported their schools. Indeed, voters had an impeccable record — until now. Last month’s levy failure was the first in 50 years for Caldwell schools.

The school-supporting spirit of the broad electorate cannot always overcome the craftiness of Republican legislators seeking to undermine local school funding. It’s up to voters who care about our schools to elect legislators who will support them this November. Then, we can invest in our children the way they deserve.

Rep. Lauren Necochea is the House assistant Democratic leader, representing District 19 in Boise on the Environment, Energy and Technology; Resources and Conservation; Revenue and Taxation; and Ways and Means committees.

June 13, 2024 / R / 9 PERSPECTIVES
Rep. Lauren Necochea. File photo Courtesy photo.

Science: Mad about

swainson’s thrush

June in Idaho means different things to different people; for some it’s a great time to drop the boat in the water, crack a cold beer on the lakeside and enjoy the quiet solitude of nature. Others take it as a great opportunity to trek deep into the woods and track down the myriad birds that haunt the shadowy copses covering our beautiful state.

Sitting idly in the shade for some time can reveal a cacophony of birdsong, ranging from the cheeseburger call of the black-capped chickadee to the punctuated du-du-du-du of migratory hummingbirds. Piercing through all calls of the forest is that of the Swainson’s thrush, a distinctive and ethereal call that’s very hard to describe as very little in the world shares a sound with this creature.

Avid hikers, cyclists and wanderers of Pine Street Woods would immediately recognize the call of the thrush, which seems to shift notes erratically while calling with an indescribable haunting resonance. The thrush is a bird you consistently hear when out in nature, but one you will almost never see.

The thrush is a migratory forest bird perfectly camouflaged for its preferred environment. Favoring alder forests, the thrush will migrate into our area during the late spring and early summer to live and breed. During the breeding season, a female will lay between three and five eggs in a nest and incubate them over the course of about two weeks. Both parents will work to feed the babies until they leave the nest, roughly another two weeks after hatching. The primary diet of

the thrush is insects and other arthropods found on the forest floor. Despite commonly foraging the forest floor for food, spotting one in action can be an extremely rare occurrence. This is likely due to the camouflaged nature of the bird.

Swainson’s thrush is primarily a bark-brown color with buff speckling across its chest that fades into a cream white dotted by dark brown. In the shadow of the alders they prefer, the thrushes blend right in and audibly taunt you with their quirky call. One of the most distinctive features of the thrush is a cream colored ring around their dark black eyes.

Mating pairs of thrushes work in teams with the male singing to defend their claim against other pairs. The female will do all of the heavy lifting by constructing the nest herself. The females pack all sorts of materials into their nests, scavenging virtually anything they can transport including twigs, strips of bark, moss, grass and even mud to paste it together. The nest will often resemble a cup tucked away in a bush or the limbs of a tree. Female thrushes tend to favor locations ten feet from the ground or lower, though they have been observed to build nests as high as thirty feet off the ground.

Though the Swainson’s thrush’s conservation status is considered low concern, the changing climate and warming of the Northwest has presented some unique challenges to the species. They have shown a notable decline along the Pacific Coast. It’s hard to pinpoint a single reason as to why this may be the case, as it is likely a web of issues ranging from loss of habitat to human development and a decline in insect populations due to a rapidly altered climate.

The thrush has long legs in

relation to its body with inverted knees that bend backward towards the tail. They’re roughly the size of a robin and could be easily mistaken for one at a glance, though robins in our area have bright red or orange underbellies while the thrush does not.

The thrush is a close relative of our state bird, the mountain bluebird. This is pretty shocking when you look at images of the birds side by side as they look nothing alike and are completely different colors.

The Swainson’s thrush has a long lifespan for a wild bird, capable of surviving up to 11 years, though doing so is rare. Most of these birds only survive for about two years due to predation, inclement weather, disease and other factors. These birds have many natural predators ranging from raptors to foxes, weasels and especially domesticated cats. An even larger variety of creatures will prey on thrush eggs and chicks, including crows, racoons, squirrels and snakes. The bird’s preferred nest height makes it easy for these predators to feed on them, should they find the birds to begin with.

Swainson’s thrushes aren’t usually attracted to feeders left out by humans. Generally shy and secretive birds, they aren’t as willing to compete with their more aggressive neighbors like woodpeckers. However, adding a water feature such as a fountain or a bird bath increases the chances of luring a thrush into your backyard, should you live reasonably near a copse of trees that may provide the thrush shelter. You’re more likely to see these towards the outskirts of town, while other members of the thrush family such as robins will be a little

more adventurous in urban neighborhoods.

Are you interested in tracking down some birds for yourself? The library has a birding backpack available as a part of the Library of Things.

Contained within this pack is a set of Vortex binoculars, Sibley Guide to western birds and a logbook you’re encouraged to write in. Please note, the logbook is the only item to be written in and the Sibley Guide should only be used for identification. There are two available at the Sandpoint library and one available in Clark Fork.

Additionally, stop by Pine Street Woods on Fridays, June 14; July 12; or Aug. 9 between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. to borrow a pair of binoculars, collect

samples and view your finds under a number of microscopes provided by the library during our Citizen Science series.

I’ll be perched up at the parking lot with supplies perfect for families to explore the woods, find all sorts of interesting materials, and then observe and record them back at our mobile science center. This is a great time of year to explore your local ecosystem and maybe even find some rare birds while you’re at it. In past years I’ve commonly spotted numerous black-capped chickadees, robins and I’ve heard the near-constant call of the Swainson’s thrush while sitting near the parking lot. Stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner

•Avocados reached their evolutionar y prime about 66 million years ago. Back then, they were regular food for megafauna such as mammoths and giant ground sloths, which ate them whole and distributed their seeds far from the tree after passing through their digestive tracts. Scientists are baffled that avocados still exist, since megafauna went extinct about 13,000 years ago and as a result didn’t distribute their seeds.

•Mexico is the world leader in avocado production. In 2022, it produced about 2.5 million tons. The demand for avocados grew from about 542 million pounds in 2000 to 2.7 billion pounds in 2022.

•Most avocados come from Michoacán, one of the more complex and violent states in Mexico. Many are calling for a way to promote conflict-free avocados so as not to support the cartel violence surrounding the industry.

•Got high blood pressure?

Eat an avocado. They are rich in potassium, with one average-sized avocado providing 21% of the daily potassium needs, which helps regulate blood pressure and strengthen your nervous system.

•Though avocados have a pit (like peaches), they are considered a berry. Fruits are berries if they have a fleshy middle and outer layer.

•About 80% of avocados eaten worldwide are Hass, named after the postman Rudolph Hass, who decided to grow avocado seedlings in his home in 1926. One of the seedlings eventually bore a smaller, dark-skinned avocado that tasted exceptionally creamy and delicious, leading to Hass patenting the Hass avocado tree in 1935.

•Some people use avocado pits as a facial scrub or to make dye. Some use the pits to make tea, which is full of antioxidants.

•Avocados are poisonous to cattle, goats, birds and horses, among other animals.

10 / R / June 13, 2024
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Being old is awful… or is it?

“One never knows, do one.”

Other than outliving dear family members and cherished longtime friends (and dogs) the worst thing about being old are medical maladies. About two years ago my 1957 bride lapsed into dementia. Today she remembers nothing of our storybook 67 wedded years or its romance-on-steroids 1956 prelude, zooming top-down in a Brit roadster up and down Pacific Coast Highway to Lake Arrowhead, to sports car races in Palm Springs, Santa Barbara and other sunny Edens before they were overrun by the likes of us.

She hasn’t any memories of our mid-’50s Block Island wedding or bohemian Greenwich Village apartment; or summer vacations in tents and canoes on a Vermont wilderness lake; or summers with dearest friends at their waterfront Cape Cod cottage; or exploring España and gorging on paella on a Mediterranean beach with hog-farmer pals from rural Illinois — a state in which we lived twice.

Jacquelynn cannot remember her parents, her siblings or starting her own family; or happy decades of tennis; or racing sailboats on Cold Spring Harbor on Long Island; or sailing on the Mississippi. If one of our senior citizen kids recalls family Caribbean adventures, my bride smiles yet remembers nothing.

She sleeps all night and much of most days. She can’t cook or shower or dress herself, or recall losing her dad and youngers brothers whom she virtually reared — aged 9 and 11 — in a raging Bermuda Triangle storm when their wooden schooner splintered and sank.

“So the proverbial glass half full or half empty is dry as a bone?”

Not quite. “Mumsie” (to family) has never been happier. For starters, having dementia means you don’t know it. Or remember tragedies. She roars with laughter at Seinfeld reruns even though she doesn’t know what they’re shouting about. She spends hours trimming and conversing with wilting roses from bouquets received weekly. When the dry silverware cage from the dishwasher is placed in front of her she meticulously separates the utensils, muttering happily to each fork, knife and spoon. When presented

with a stack of finished laundry, she folds each item with the care given a baby bird who fell from the nest, murmuring softly to every stocking.

Speaking of which, while being chauffeured around Sandpoint, Mumsie counts the same bird nests along tree-lined streets day after day in the belief that all are new.

We have for many years had two cuddly cats: Maestro and Bootsie. Bootsie adored Mumsie, and vice versa. When Bootsie stopped eating and vanished, as cats often do when tossing in the towel, Mumsie simply assumed Maestro was Bootsie. Easy-peasy.

Perhaps most importantly, my mate loves being social and is amusingly so. Hard of hearing, her humor is unintentional. At the downtown Tango Table, to which she often accompanies me for camaraderie with pals, someone might say, “Then some bird flew up to the perch.” She will ask, in total earnestness, “Did you say, ‘Then some turd threw up in church?’” And hysterical colleagues almost tumble from their chairs. Things at Tango and at home are happiest when Mumsie is there.

But let’s be fair. I too have issues. About the time Jackie sank into dementia my kidneys, feeling ignored, up and quit. Subsequently I started thrice weekly dialysis visits; three to four hours per trip, ensnared in one of 12 repeatedly rubbed and scrubbed chairs — each connected to a purified blood-cleansing computer with super-size needles, tubes, bandages and sometimes a bit of blood — and first requiring surgically inserted catheters or fistulas.

A blood-cleansing computer instead of kidneys? Yes, and one that squawks, screams, squeals, screeches, shrieks, beeps, burps, chirps, honks and hollers.

How my kidney-less colleagues can spend their penance in slumber is baffling. Most weary patients bring blankets in preparation for a needed nap. Some show up in pajamas. They know the drill, because when I finish a treatment I can barely walk or talk. Because kidneys are dependent upon every other vessel, valve, vein, muscle, mineral, bone and artery, the thoroughly trained technicians and RNs who keep us alive are constantly attentive to a legion of medical factors, which they tweak continually on the intimidating machines. Fluids measurement is a priority. As is blood pressure, which enjoys such prestige

in the dialysis hierarchy that its own armband is attached to its own arm — the unpunctured one.

“And so dialysis, you poor thing, is a torture chamber!”

Well, no. Let me tell you about little old men with crapped-out kidneys and canes. Little old ladies compete to open the door for me at the liquor store, the drug store, the post office, the liquor store, the grocery store, Image Maker, the liquor store, the bank, Di Luna’s Cafe, wherever. If my cane slips from the grocery cart and clatters to the floor, fellow shoppers compete to retrieve it. Also, as luck (and brilliant planning) would have it, loving family members who live next door mow our lawn, shovel our snow, fix our toilets, chop firepit wood, plant and tend the garden, lug recycling out to the curb, dump the cat litter, watch over Mumsie when I’m away and keep things humming.

Even if we don’t play tennis, travel or have backyard horses or a boat, nursing a margarita in our cozy patio while watching chickadees bitch at one another at the bird feeders is compensation. The secret to a joyful antique life is to slow down, scale back and simplify. And join the collegiality at a dialysis clinic.

“Excuse me?”

The gentleness, professionalism and wit of technicians Allyssa, Ashley, Ashlyn, Kris, Elisa, Zoe and their pinch hitters easily outweighs treatment discomforts. This veteran of military, collegiate and corporate organizations, and of later nonprofit and university boards, cannot recall a staff so disciplined, so gifted and so content with their task: saving 24 lives every day. The managing office RN in my dialysis clinic sets by example the attitudes and skills of her technicians. For one thing, she’s “been there, done that.” For another, she’s a natural “tough love” leader. Moreover, she is very much liked by those she leads. In 30 years among corporate managers I found that to be somewhat uncommon. (I once ran a national corporate PR organization and it was whispered that some employees didn’t like me. What? Malicious idle gossip!).

The task of a dialysis team is to keep patients healthy and happy. They do so with aplomb. Thanks in large measure to them, my cup runneth over. And Mumsie’s, too.

June 13, 2024 / R / 11

Meet the 2024 class of North Idaho’s Women of Wisdom

The Women Honoring Women Committee has announced its 2024 Women of Wisdom honorees, including a Lifetime Achievement Award to Linda Gibbs.

More than 100 women have been honored by the committee since 1999, which elevates women with vision who achieve goals through collaboration, love to learn, who are leaders and committed to serving our community, who inspire others, and face life’s challenges with grace and courage.

Honorees are Linda Gibbs, Ina Loman, Jean Elsaesser, Marcia Pilgeram and Carlene Peterson.

Awardees will be celebrated on Saturday, June 15 at a Gala Brunch celebrating at 11 a.m. at the Ponderay Events Center (401 Bonner Mall Way).

Linda Gibbs

surer. She served on the Dover Urban Renewal Board and is the Dover Election Precinct captain. She is a member of Beta Sigma Phi, a Lost in the ’50s volunteer and member of the Sandpoint Sailing Association. For more than a decade, Gibbs has volunteered a day a week at the Bonner Community Food Bank.

Linda and Joe Gibbs have two children and four grandchildren. When she is not volunteering, Gibbs golfs at the Elks Club with her grandson Issac, sails on Lake Pend Oreille, plays mahjong, directs plays and sings.

Ina Loman

students, parents and staff until her retirement in 1993.

In addition to her work as a teacher, Loman served as a court appointed special advocate and as a driver for Meals on Wheels.

At age 84, Loman took a trip to New York City with her daughter and granddaughter, where they walked the Brooklyn Bridge, saw a Broadway musical and got a “family” tattoo. The tattoo artist remarked that Loman was “the oldest person she had ever tattooed.”

Now, approaching her 94th birthday, Loman resides at the Bridge Assisted Living in Sandpoint where she is still enjoying life’s adventures.

Scout Troops, one Boy Scout Troop and was a 4-H mom. She also commuted to Whitworth College, where she took evening accounting classes in preparation for taking and ultimately passing the national certification exam and becoming a certified public accountant.

Elsaesser has provided accounting services to families and businesses throughout Bonner County for 40 years.

Raised in Dover, Gibbs and her husband Joe were hired by the United States Forest Service after high school, where she worked as a clerk/typist. She retired 34 years later as chief financial officer for the Custer National Forest.

Gibbs worked as the finance section chief on an inter-agency incident command team responsible for all expenditures for payroll, vendor payments and contract support activities for wildfires throughout the U.S. Throughout her career, she worked to mentor and inspire young women to achieve higher levels within the Forest Service.

After retirement — and back home in Dover — Gibbs volunteered with the Community Assistance League, including as secretary and trea-

Loman spent her career helping change the world for countless Bonner County students as a teacher — but also as a lifelong community volunteer.

Born in Lakota, N.D. in 1930 — and the oldest of 10 children — Loman came to Sandpoint with her family in 1946, graduating from Sandpoint High School in 1948. She married fellow SHS alum Paul Loman. Upon Paul’s discharge from the Navy, the Loman’s moved south to Lewiston, where their three children were born.

The family moved again to La Puente, Calif., where Loman enrolled full-time at Cal Poly in 1968. She achieved her dream of becoming a teacher in 1972, at the age of 42, when she graduated with a Bachelor of Education degree and went on to earn master’s degrees in education and administration.

The Lomans returned to Sandpoint and lived on Sixth Avenue and Poplar Street for almost 50 years. Ina taught at Southside, Northside, Lincoln, and Farmin elementary schools and was loved and respected by

Jean Elsaesser

When Elsaesser moved to Priest River in 1977, the Priest River library consisted of a single room in the City Hall and there was no library for Blanchard residents.

Elsaesser led efforts to form the Friends of the Library organization in 1998. More than 20 years later, the city of Priest River could boast a new library at the center of a downtown redevelopment project. In addition, the Blanchard facility provides full library services to all of west Bonner County.

Born in Sterling, Mass. in 1951, Elsaesser attended Goddard College in Plainfield, Vt., earning a B.A. in education and a K-8 teaching certificate. She met fellow student Ford Elsaesser and they married in 1973.

Elsaesser worked as a seventh-grade teacher at Idaho Hill until the birth of her first of three children in 1981. She then volunteered in her kids’ schools, managed two Girl

Jean served as a library friend, volunteer, treasurer, general manager, board member and general manager on a library remodel. In 1982, Elsaesser began working as an election volunteer for the East Priest River Precinct. She started in the counting room and has served as chief judge since the mid-1990s.

Her other passions include reading, teaching and traveling.

Marcia Pilgeram

The youngest of four children born in Trident, Mont. and raised in Helena, Pilgeram grew up independent and inquisitive — and her love of cooking surfaced early, as she began preparing food for her family by the age of 8. Pilgeram attended Helena High School and Carroll College, going on to work for a veterinarian who inspired her to become an animal health technologist. She then joined the Montana Livestock Department, testing cattle, elk and bison. Soon after, she met her future husband and joined him on his third-generation cattle ranch.

After ranch life ended, Pilgeram opened a catering and event venue in Missoula. One of her clients was Montana Rail Link, and so began her career and passion for uniting food and travel. When a group of investors founded a private passenger train on the Montana Rail Link route, Pilgeram relocated to Sandpoint for the startup of Montana Rockies Rail Tours in 1995. That was also when Pilgeram became a single mom of three kids.

She continued with Montana Rockies Rail Tours until 2004, then became a chef on private Pullman trains. She also organized food and wine tours for the Smithsonian. Today, Pilgeram owns and operates the Capers travel agency, specializing in cultural travel.

Pilgeram is a longtime member of the Angels over Sandpoint, a volunteer for the dessert auction for Bonner General Health Foundation’s Heart Ball and was part of the team involved with raising more than $100,000 for the foundation. She has also volunteered for Rotary’s CHAFE 150, the Panida Theater, the Bonner Community Food Bank, the Festival at Sandpoint, and the Scenic Half. She is a regular columnist for the Sandpoint Reader, in which she introduces readers to the world and highlights people and places closer to home. Although she loves food and travel, Pilgeram’s greatest love is her children and her beloved grandchildren. She is also proud to claim Sandpoint as her forever home.

Carlene Peterson

Peterson is a successful businessperson; a community leader; a devoted wife, mother and grandmother; and a person of faith. Born in Missoula, she came to Priest Lake with her family at the age of 2 and continues to reside in Priest River with her husband Jim.

Peterson states that the values passed down from < see WoW, Page 13 >

12 / R / June 13, 2024 COMMUNITY

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her mother — always being honest even if it hurts and working hard to get through tough situations — have contributed to both her personal and professional successes.

She was a dedicated stay-at-home mom when her children were young, processing much of the families’ food, sewing their clothes and working side jobs to help make ends meet. Starting her career as a real estate agent in her late 30s, today Peterson is a “top producer” and associate broker for Tomlinson Sotheby’s International Realty.

Her community involvement began at age 7, when Peterson started collecting pop bottles to raise funds for Priest River Logger’s Day, now known as Timber Days. She remains active with Timber Days, and also volunteers with Lost in the ’50s, Oktoberfest, the Selkirk Area Realtors annual charity golf tournament and the Realtor Political Action Committee fundraiser. She served for more than a decade on the board of the Priest River Chamber of Commerce and has volunteered with Priest River Advocates for Women.

June 13, 2024 / R / 13 $0 JOIN FEE* Visit YMCAINW.ORG Today! FIND YOUR SUMMER SKILLS. FIND YOUR Y. *Prorated membership dues apply. Offer Good 6/3-6/16 Join the Litehouse YMCA and gear up for an unforgettable Summer! Our swim lessons are tailored for all ages, ensuring that everyone learns both safety and skills.

Paint the town red, yellow, blue…

POAC’s annual ArtWalk beings June 14

Sandpoint businesses will be bursting with color and creativity starting Friday, June 14, as the Pend Oreille Arts Council’s annual ArtWalk kicks off with local work displayed throughout town. The celebrations begin with an opening reception at the POAC gallery (313 N. Second Ave.) from 5-8 p.m., and the myriad local works will be on display through Aug. 30.

“I always think of ArtWalk as a town-wide reunion. We all emerge from our winter caves to celebrate local artists and enjoy our downtown businesses. I love hearing the words ‘Happy ArtWalk’ exchanged between smiles and hugs,” POAC Arts Coordinator Claire Christy told the Reader

The POAC Gallery itself will feature 15 artists and rotating themed exhibits at various times throughout the summer, including “Miniature Masterpieces” beginning July 5 and the Artists’ Studio Tour preview show on Aug. 2.

“The [first] display is a vibrant mix of work from photography by Marni Quist, a playful pastel by Matt Lome, to abstract expressionism paintings by Nives Massey, Teresa Rancourt and Audrey

Milch. This diverse collection offers something captivating for every viewer,” said Christy.

Maps and passports will be available for free at all participating businesses across Sandpoint. Visit 10 exhibits, earn 10 stamps and drop your passport off at the POAC gallery by Sept. 2 for a chance to win a season pass to the POAC Performing Art Series. Visit for more information and for this season’s lineup, which will be announced Friday, June 14.

“I want to thank all of our participating artists and businesses for their contributions to this event. It truly takes a village to make ArtWalk happen. I’m grateful for all the support and enthusiasm,” said Christy.

A map of ArtWalk locations: 1. Matchwood, 2. Misty Mountain Furniture, 3. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 4. Upqua Bank Community Plaza, 5. Woods Wheatcroft Studio, 6. The Old Power House, 7. Barrel 33, 8. Lakeshore Realty North, 9. Burlwood Dreams, 10. Art Works Gallery, 11. Northwest Handmade, 12. The Pickled Kitchen, 13. Outdoor Experience, 14. Azalea Handpicked Style, 15. Grace & Joy Clothing Co., 16. Bluebird Bakery, 17. The Speak Easy, 18. Bleeding Hearts Tattoo Emporium, 19. Lisa V. Fine Art, 20. Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, 21. Pend Oreille Arts Council Gallery, 22. Yellow Goat Studio, 23. Hepler Law & Consulting, 24. Nieman’s Floral Market, 25. Eichardt’s Pub. Image courtsey of POAC.

Big top, bigger fun

A big top will feature in Sandpoint’s skyline Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15, housing the clowns, daredevils and delights of the Culpepper & Merriweather Circus.

The national, family friendly show will present four 90-minute performances at the Bonner County Fairgrounds (4203 N. Boyer Ave.) Friday at 5 p.m. and 7:30 p.m., and Saturday at 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

The Oklahoma-based circus tours the nation for 32 weeks each year before returning to Hugo, Okla., dubbed

“Circus City, USA,” because of the 20 circuses that have set up shop there since 1941.

The circus will showcase talented performers juggling with their feet, walking the tightrope, wrangling horses and big cats, and much more. Tickets are available at and cost $8 for children from ages 2 to 12 and seniors 65 and older, or $13 for adults.

Tickets purchased at the box office cost $9 for children and seniors and $16 for adults. All children under the age of 2 are welcome for free. Visit for more information.

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Culpepper & Merriweather Circus comes to Sandpoint Courtesy photo.

CHAFE 150 returns for 15th annual fundraiser bike rides

The CHAFE 150 Gran Fondo bicycle ride is celebrating its 15th year on Monday, June 17, tallying another year of supporting the Book Trust Program of the Lake Pend Oreille School District and other educational, scholarship and youth leadership programs of the Sandpoint Rotary Club, which sponsors the event.

Featuring a 150-, 80-, 40- and 25-mile route — as well as a new four-mile Family Fun Ride gravel route — the CHAFE 150 has received numerous accolades, from being recognized as a top-10 scenic ride in the country to being named the thirdranked charity ride in the country by Bicycling Magazine.

Also regarded as one of the best-supported rides in the country, vehicle and motorcycle, medical and mechanical support are deployed on all routes. Six fully stocked rest stops are organized by various community organizations, including LPOSD, Angels Over Sandpoint, KRFY 88.5 FM, Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness, Pend Oreille Pedalers, Sandpoint Rotary, Williams and Schiller, and the Litehouse YMCA.

Organizers expect about 350 riders plus the Family Fun riders. Riders come from all over the U.S. and Canada.

The 150-mile route is a loop around the Cabinet Mountains through lake and river valleys. The 25- and 40-mile routes wind through the Selle Valley. The 80-mile route incorporates portions of the 150-mile route.

The new gravel route is a 55-mile trek from Clark Fork to City Beach in Sandpoint. The route starts with 30-plus miles of riding in the Cabinet Mountains before joining with the 25and 40-mile routes in Selle Valley.

The gravel route is the second leg of the new Idaho Panhandle Gravel Series, which includes the ¾ Minus Cykeltur in May, the CHAFE 150 Gravel Route in June and the Monarch Grind in September.

The 150-, 40- and 25-mile routes — as well as the Family Fun Ride — start and end at City Beach. The 80-mile route starts in Troy, Mont., after breakfast at City Beach and a bus trip to Troy. The gravel route starts in Clark Fork after breakfast at City Beach and a bus trip to Clark Fork.

Riders in the Family Fun Ride will

travel up the Sand Creek Trail and return to City Beach for an afternoon of games and more in the park.

The Rotary Club is partnering with the Sandpoint Parks and Recreation Department, the city of Ponderay, the YMCA and LPOSD to organize and hold the Family Fun Ride.

All rides end at City Beach for an after-ride party on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille, featuring music, a wine and beer garden, meals, raffles, games for the kids and more.

Riders can still sign up in person on Friday, June 14 from 3-7 p.m. and at 5 a.m. on Saturday, June 15 at City Beach.

Registration costs $85 for the 150-, 100-, 80-mile and gravel routes and $60 for the 40- and 25-mile routes. Registration for youth riders (aged 16 and under) costs $60 for the 150-, 100-, 80-mile and gravel routes, and $30 for the 40- and 25-mile routes.

All adult riders are required to raise a minimum of $50 for the ride causes — $25 in the case of youth riders.

Registration for the Family Fun Ride is free for children 12 and under. They must be accompanied by an adult. Ages 13 and older are $10. Family Fun riders are encouraged to raise funds for the cause and a chance to receive prizes for their efforts.

Also new this year is the Book Trust matching program, in which anonymous donors will match all donations above the $50 minimum. For an extra $45 — plus the match — riders will be able to support one student’s access to the benefits of the Book Trust for an entire school year.

Registration includes a full breakfast for the 150-, 100-, 80-mile and gravel route rides, and a continental breakfast for all other rides and an after-ride party catered by Trinity at City Beach with a beer and wine garden provided by the 219 Lounge. Family Fun Ride participants can participate in the after-ride party meal by purchasing a meal ticket after the ride.

The after-ride party is open to the entire community.

Prizes for fundraising range from free registration to a new bike for those who bring in $4,000 in donations.

The 2024 CHAFE 150 Gran Fondo has about 100 platinum-, gold- and silver-level sponsors.

Sponsorships are still available. Contact Mel Dick at melvindick@ for more information.

June 13, 2024 / R / 15 COMMUNITY
Courtesy photo.

NAMI sailing trips tap into healing powers of Lake Pend Oreille

The National Alliance on Mental Illness Far North Chapter and therapeutic sailing organization Dogsmile Adventures join forces throughout the summer to host a series of free sailing trips on Lake Pend Oreille, beginning with a 5 p.m. event Tuesday, June 18.

Dawn Mehra, president of NAMI FN, told the Reader this partnership came about because of a “shared belief in nature’s healing power for mental health. Dogsmile’s therapeutic sailing adventures align with NAMI’s holistic approach, providing immersive outdoor experiences that nurture wellbeing and personal growth beyond clinical treatment.”

Together, they will host three additional sailing adventures beginning at City Beach Marina on July 2 at 9 a.m., July 16 at 5 p.m. and Aug. 6 at 9 a.m., each lasting approximately two hours. The trips are free and open to anyone who has

participated in NAMI programs like Family Support, Connections Support and the Family to Family Education Series. Caregivers are encouraged to attend to build their support network and take a few hours to focus on their mental and emotional wellbeing.

“Dogsmile sailing adventures provide a break from caregiving stresses, allowing family members to find healing through immersion in nature while bonding over a shared experience that builds resilience and life skills,” said Mehra. “These powerful experiences help participants rediscover their potential and inner strength, which can be invaluable for families navigating the challenges of supporting a loved one’s mental health journey.”

Space is limited to eight people spread across two boats, so participants should email or call 208-597-2047 well in advance to secure their spot.

Visit and for more information.

Spacepoint to host European Space Agency scientist for talk on the ‘dark universe’

Summer solstice picnic also includes film and stargazing at Area 7B observatory

Local nonprofit Spacepoint — which aims to connect Sandpoint with the space industry — is hosting a presentation from European Space Agency scientist Rene Johannes Laureijs on Saturday, June 15 at the Area 7B observatory at 10881 N. Boyer Road.

Laureijs is the lead scientist on the Euclid space mission — a powerful telescope designed to create a 3-D map of the universe and explore the farthest, darkest reaches of the cosmos.

Referred to by the ESA as “our dark universe detective,” Euclid is intended to “investigate how dark matter and dark energy have made our universe look like it does today,” with approximately 95% of the universe composed of so-called “dark entities,” which scientists don’t yet fully understand. Euclid is tasked with spending the next six years observing far-distant galaxies — some as remote as 10 billion

light-years from Earth — in order to create what the ESA calls “the largest cosmic 3-D map ever made.”

Laureijs will introduce Sandpoint audiences to the project and discuss how the mission will construct its historically detailed universal map.

Meanwhile, Spacepoint will host a summer solstice picnic along with Laureijs’ presentation, including food from Woods and Moosemeadow Farms, and beverages from Matchwood Brewing. In addition, attendees are invited to enjoy a drive-in movie screening of the 2008 animated Disney-Pixar family sci-fi film Wall-E.

Finally, the Area 7B observatory — which boasts the largest telescope in North Idaho — will be open for evening stargazing.

Tickets for kids cost $15, $25 for adults and $60 for families of four or more (not including fees). For more information, and to buy tickets, go to

16 / R / June 13, 2024 COMMUNITY

101 Women grants $10,000 to Bonner Homeless Transitions

Bonner Homeless Transitions is the most recent recipient of a $10,000 grant from the nonprofit organization 101 Women Sandpoint.

BHT provides housing and program management services to homeless families and victims of domestic violence in Bonner County — with the goal of helping individuals and families who are homeless, in danger of becoming homeless or who lack adequate housing reach self-sufficiency and independent living in a safe and supportive environment.

The organization will use the funds to procure a dedicated vehicle to better serve remote areas and facilitate transportation for clients to access essential services like health care and child care.

101 Women Sandpoint provided the $10,000 grant with the generous donations of 101 local women, whose contributions throughout the year support two annual $10,000 grants to member-elected Bonner County nonprofits.

The group meets twice a year to vote on the three finalists, who

emerge after a vetting process that includes reviewing grant applications and site visits.

Community Cancer Services and Priest River Ministries were the other two finalists in this spring grant cycle. Each offers specific programs to the community and needs financial support to succeed.

The CCS Cancer Burden Relief Project is dedicated to alleviating the multifaceted challenges of cancer while promoting inclusivity in Bonner and Boundary counties.

Priest River Ministries has been a place of refuge for women and children fleeing domestic violence, sexual assault and trafficking for more than 20 years.

Visit, and for more information. All three organizations rely on donations and volunteers to continue their work.

To learn more about 101 Women Sandpoint, their grant opportunities or to find out how to become a member, go to

CAL awards student scholarships, nonprofit grants

By Reader Staff

The Community Assistance League has selected 69 deserving students from local high schools to receive $74,000 in scholarships to further their education. Graduates include students from Sandpoint, Priest River Lamanna, Clark Fork and Lake Pend Oreille high schools, as well as Tech Trep Academy/Idaho Home Learning Academy.

Meanwhile, CAL will also award 40 grants totaling $150,000 to organizations that assist residents in Bonner County. The funds will support programs to provide art supplies, musical instruments and outdoor activities for children; parking lot repairs; food to eliminate childhood hunger; and support cancer care and mental health services to all residents.

CAL is a nearly 50-year-old organization dedicated to improving the lives of Bonner County residents through philanthropy. Although personal monetary donations are always welcome, the bulk of the monies the service organization gives back to the community come from proceeds at the Bizarre Bazaar upscale resale store, located at 504 Church St., in Sandpoint. Since 2006 alone, CAL has given more than $2.3 million in grants and scholarships.

For more information, visit

June 13, 2024 / R / 17 COMMUNITY
Courtesy photo

Send event listings to

Cribbage Club 7pm @ Connie’s Game Night 6:30pm @ Tervan

Live Music w/ Sammy Eubanks

6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ

Blues, rock, Americana

Live Music w/ Doug and Marty 5pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Live Music w/ Small Paul

8pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Four-piece Seattle folk rockers

The Hedge School fundraiser

5-8pm @ Matchwood Brewing Co.

An annual fundraiser with live music, silent auction, kids’ activities and more to support nature-based education

Little Women The Broadway Musical 6pm @ Panida Theater

Presented by Nova High School

Live Music w/ Tim G.

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Marc Stevens 6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Live Music w/ Ian Newbill

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Culpepper & Merriweather Circus

2 & 4:30pm @ Bonner County Fairgrounds

Tickets $16:

CHAFE 150 Gran Fondo charity bike ride

More info at

Proceeds fund LPOSD’s Literacy Initiative and after-school reading programs

Live Music w/ Kosh

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Sandpoint Farmers’ Market

9am-1pm @ Farmin Park

Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz

6-8:30pm @ Arlo’s Ristorante

Sandpoint Chess Club

9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Pool League

6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Live Piano w/ Jennifer Stoehner

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Benny on the Deck concert series

5-7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Special guest John Daffron

Open Mic Night

6pm @ Tervan Tavern


Turbo Trivia ($5)

7pm @ Connie’s

Bingo Night 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

FriDAY, June 14

Sean Bostrom in concert

6-8pm @ Create Arts Center (Newport)

Pianist from Bonners Ferry presents a diverse program of classical music, jazz and comedic flavors a la Victor Borge

Live Music w/ Matt Lome (ArtWalk)

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

Live Music w/ Justin Lantrip

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Music w/ Weibe Jammin’ 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Culpepper & Merriweather Circus

5 & 7:30pm @ Bonner County Fairgrounds

Tickets $16:

Jeremy McComb in concert

8:45pm @ The Hive North Idaho native country rocker

Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes (TGIF) 5-8pm @ 1908 Saloon


KNPS: Species Conservation in N. Idaho 10am @ Sandpoint Library

Join Terrestrial Species Project Manager Austin Terrell for updates on conservation efforts in North Idaho

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

Little Women The Broadway Musical 2 & 7pm @ Panida Theater

Presented by Nova High School

Always a Bridesmaid play 2:30pm @ Roxy Theater (Newport, Wash.)

Live Music w/ Brenden McCoy

6-9pm @ Barrel 33

Live Music w/ Eclectrick 9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge Funk rock group from Seattle. 21+

SunDAY, June 16

Magic with Star Alexander 5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s Up close magic shows at the table

monDAY, June 17

Outdoor Experience Group Run

6pm @ Outdoor Experience 3-5 miles, all levels welcome

tuesDAY, June 18

Free Handbell Concert 7:30pm @ First Presbyterian Church

wednesDAY, June 19

Live Music w/ John Daffron

5pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Live Piano w/ Bob Beadling 5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

June 13 - 19, 2024

Live Music w/ Kerry Leigh 6-8pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

POAC ArtWalk Opening Reception

5-8pm @ POAC Gallery, 313 N. First Ave. Reception kicking off annual ArtWalk throughout downtown Sandpoint

Contra Dance

7-10pm @ Sandpoint Community Hall

Live music, lively caller, all dances taught and called. New dancer session 7-7:45pm. $5 donation

BoCo Museum Historic Walking Tours 2:30pm @ Elevate, 212 N. First Ave. Guided tour covering general history of Sandpoint and Bonner Co. $15, $12/locals, $5/youth. Kids up to 6 free

Always a Bridesmaid play 7:30pm @ Roxy Theater (Newport, Wash.)

Live Music w/ Chris Traylor 8-10pm @ The Back Door

Sandpoint Senior Center BBQ fundraiser 10am-2pm @ Sandpoint Senior Center

Hosted by Injectors Auto Club, with a car show and great BBQ. Stop by!

Summer Community Day at Schweitzer 11am-5pm @ Schweitzer Mountain

Local food trucks, live music and more. Chairlift open to the summit and summer amenities in full swing

Father’s Day Weekend Family BBQ 10am-2pm @ Sandpoint Senior Center Plate of food $10, hosted by Injectors Spacepoint Summer Solstice

6-10pm @ Area 7B, 10801 N. Boyer Rd. Join European Space Agency’s Rene Johannes Laureijs, with drive in showing of Wall-E, BBQ, drinks and Area 7B observatory is open for stargazing

Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes 3-6pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Weekly Trivia Night 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz 5pm @ Hope Memorial Community Center

Sandpoint Farmers’ Market

3-5:30pm @ Farmin Park

Fresh local produce and artisan goods

18 / R / June 13, 2024 events

Dick Sonnichsen’s latest crime novel brings the FBI to Sandpoint

The newest book by regional writer Dick Sonnichsen is coming out from publisher Blue Creek Press, with Tumbleweed: Angela’s Sometimes Messy and Complex Odyssey To Find Her Voice.

Sonnichsen’s second crime fiction book set in Sandpoint, Tumbleweed focuses on Nicky White, a recent college graduate taking a gap year to soak up some lake time and meet new friends. However, she has a secret or two — her real name is Angela Wilson and she’s an FBI special agent working undercover to figure out if somebody really wants to blow up a coal train on the Lake Pend Oreille railroad trestle, or if it’s just an idle threat from a hot-headed local environmentalist.

Angela’s other secret is that she’s trying to figure out who she really is. A short and disastrous marriage sent her directly into an existential tailspin. As she confesses to a new friend, she feels like a tumbleweed, blowing every which way on the winds of her own emotions. Things get messy when her abusive ex decides to take revenge on her for leaving on their first wedding anniversary — the only decision she is sure of up to that point.

As an undercover agent, she learns much about herself while dealing with a murder, a near-deadly assault, an investigation that seems to point to a disgruntled bookstore owner as an eco-terrorist and her growing awareness that her sexual orientation is not what she thought it was.

With the help of retired Special Agent Frank McBride, a couple of young loggers, her good friend Special Agent Nora Sims and bookstore owner Clyde Spooner, Wilson figures out the answers to her questions about coal train bombings and her own transformative, tumbleweed journey.

Sonnichsen’s first Sandpoint-based crime fiction book was Whipsawed: Agony, Joy and Destiny at a Mountain Pond. He is also the author of six books of social commentary. Find his work at select bookstores and For more information, contact Blue Creek Press at

Roxy Theater to host live-action version of AlwaysaBridesmaid

Out of the Box Entertainment presents a live-action performance of the feel-good comedy, Always a Bridesmaid at the Roxy Theater, located at 120 S. Washington Ave., in Newport, Wash. Showtimes include Friday, June 14, with doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starting at 7:30 p.m., and Saturday, June 15, with doors at 2 p.m. and the show at 2:30 p.m. Tickets for both performances are $15 online or $17 at the door.

KNPS hosts species conservation program

The Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society will present a program looking at conservation efforts for wolverine, Canada lynx and whitebark pine in North Idaho on Saturday, June 15, featuring Austin Terrell — the terrestrial species project manager in the Idaho Governor’s Office of Species Conservation.

Terrell will also share information about his work with grizzly bears, monarch butterflies and gray wolves, as well as his work in community education and outreach, bear safety and the Office of Species Conservation’s carnivore conflict prevention programs.

Coffee, tea and snacks will be served at 9:30 a.m., with the program beginning at 10 a.m. at the Sandpoint branch of the East Bonner County Library (1407 Cedar St.).

“The Governor’s Office of Species Conservation in North Idaho” is co-sponsored by the library district and Sandpoint Parks and Recreation, and is free and open to the public.

For questions about this program, please contact Preston Andrews at KNPS.

Based on the 2019 film of the same name, the story focuses on a group of friends who make an oath at their senior prom to be in attendance at each other’s weddings. That’s easier than it sounds, when more than 30 years later they have to keep their promises despite everything that life has thrown at them over the decades.

Written by Jones Hope Wooten. Script courtesy of Direct Play Services. For more info and show venues, visit

June 13, 2024 / R / 19

Early Sunday morning, armed with a well-wrapped, hot-from-the-oven huckleberry and rhubarb cobbler, I hightailed it to daughter Casey’s home in Spokane. It turns out her little ones — Runa and Sam — are just as crazy about this longtime family favorite, as is their momma. It was still warm when we scooped it into bowls and topped it with vanilla ice cream.

Casey lived in Chicago for nearly 15 years, and 1,800 miles separated us. Now, I pinch myself when I make the easy drive for a casual Sunday morning coffee date with my daughter and her family.

She lives in the Perry District, and we love walking the neighborhoods lined with sturdily built, classic and historic homes. One of those beautiful old Craftsman-style homes on South Arthur Street, less than five minutes from Casey’s, is the former home of Sonora Smart Dodd.

Her name may not be familiar to you, but take a minute this Sunday to acknowledge this fine woman’s contribution to celebrating fathers everywhere — Sonora is the mother of Father’s Day.

Her father, a Civil War veteran, was a single parent to whom she wanted to pay tribute. Thanks to her, the first Father’s Day was celebrated on June 19, 1910 in Spokane. In 1972, after 60 years of lobbying for her cause, President Richard M. Nixon proclaimed Father’s Day a federal hol-

The Sandpoint Eater Father fodder

iday. Sonora had hoped officials would recognize the holiday on her father’s birthday of June 5 (Casey’s birthday, too); but, instead, it takes place annually on the third Sunday of June.

At 92, she was honored for her lifetime of achievements at the 1974 Spokane Expo. Though I missed her important event, I was at the Expo, too. I was in between stepfathers, and the furthest thing from my mind was the father-daughter relationship. Today, little brings me more joy than watching real men — like my son Zane and my sons-in-law John and Russ — prioritize these father-daughter (and father-son) relationships. These guys are hands-on,


and since their earliest days of fatherhood, I’ve watched them change diapers, fold laundry, sew buttons, pack lunches and suitcases, comb the tangled hair, brush away the crocodile tears and read endless bedtime stories in character voices, no less.

I have plenty of friends who also boast about their grandkids’ dads. I can’t speak for all families, but my friend and I tend to agree that today’s fathers are more engaged with their kids than our past generation. I see it in my travels, too, observing young fathers walking the aisle on long flights, bouncing an unsettled baby so momma can take in a wellearned time of respite. When traveling abroad


in Spain, Italy or France, I marvel at the young families I encounter, taking full advantage of their afternoon break and walking their kids home from school. It’s not uncommon to see whole family units, kids on scooters, babies in buggies and grandma frequently in tow, too.

It does my heart a lot of good to see families simply enjoying one another’s company.

Lately, I’ve been away more than I’ve been home, but you needn’t look that far.

Just look around our Saturday market, Panhandle Cone and Coffee or Pine Street Woods, and you’ll spot many young families with equally engaged moms and dads.

Some “dad things” things

bean salad

will never change. For instance, generations of young children will continue to labor over hand-drawn cards, depicting their beloved dads and their favorite activities: boating, fishing, golfing or tossing a ball. And we must not forget the quintessential dad grill!

Whether it’s a hardware store hibachi or a world-class Traeger, I never met a man who didn’t love to grill. Let him have his way with the heat and the tongs, and the rest of you can throw together this fabulous spicy bean salad — it goes with whatever he’s cooking (burning) on the grill. It’s delicious, and he deserves it.

Happy Father’s Day, fellows. And thanks a heap, Sonora.

This salad is so versatile. For more spice, leave some of the seeds from the jalapeno peppers. Serve with grilled ribs and a side of cornbread, or use as a side for your Mexican fiesta. Don’t add the avocado to the salad until you serve or it will get mushy.


• 2 cans black beans (15 ounces each) drained and rinsed

• 1 red bell pepper, small chop

• 1 orange or yellow bell pepper, small chop

•2 jalapeno peppers finely chopped

• 1 poblano pepper, finely chopped

• 1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1 cup)

• 3 cloves garlic minced

• ½ cup cilantro, rinsed, stemmed, and finely chopped

• 2 limes, zested and juiced

• Avocado (optional)

Lime Vinaigrette

• ¼ cup good quality olive oil

• 2 tbs white wine vinegar

• Juice of 2 limes

• 1 tsp cumin

• 1 tsp smoked paprika

• Salt and pepper to taste

Pour the drained and rinsed black beans into a large bowl.

Mix in the peppers, garlic, red onion and cilantro. Sprinkle on lime zest.

Pour olive oil in a small mixing bowl, slowly whisk in vinegar and lime juice until emulsified. Stir in cumin, paprika, and salt and pepper. Pour it over the vegetables and gently mix everything until it is nicely coated. Correct seasoning if needed.

Chill 4-6 hours. Garnish with diced avocado, lime wedges and cilantro.

20 / R / June 13, 2024 FOOD


Musicals as a philosophy of life

When Michael Seifert talks about producing musicals, his verbiage only hovers around song and choreography for a moment before it veers sharply into philosophizing on the growth one can achieve while performing on stage. Specifically, stepping into the vulnerability of singing on a stage. Hearing Seifert speak, one is given the impression stage acting may be as necessary a developmental milestone as, say, learning to eat with utensils. Which is why it was not difficult to pull him from his own charade of retirement to lead Nova High’s production of a spring play this year. In fact, the Waldorf-trained Seifert can be lured into almost any gig involving teaching children, but he is particularly powerless against the promise of a musical.

back to them, benefit their growth through the challenges of production.

Thus, an uninformed eyebrow might be raised when learning that a little known musical adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s Little Women will be performed on Friday, June 14 and Saturday, June 15 at the Panida Theater.

There is something unfortunate in the title of Little Women — a subtle shift in our linguistic judgment of the term. Those familiar with Alcott’s work beyond its charming tales of sisterhood might recognize that the title is a reference to the coming of age through adolescence. The story is one that celebrates the individual’s journey toward understanding their own identity.

Little Women the Broadway Musical

Friday, June 14, 6 p.m.; Saturday, June 15, 2 p.m., 7 p.m.; $5 child/student, $15 adult. Panida Theater, 300 N.First Ave., 208-263-9191, Get tickets at

For this class of 12 high-schoolers, Seifert began searching for the right musical months in advance. Selecting a piece is an art form in itself: It must somehow relate to the class, reflect their own stories

Little Women celebrates the pursuit of one’s dreams regardless of societal expectations, while resisting the temptation to identify its main protagonist (Jo March) as the hero. In this tale of youthful transition into adulthood, each path is valued for its authenticity. It explores how we wrestle with being in integrity with ourselves while navigating

the complications of maturing relationships.

What is fantastic (and it is fantastic — I had the opportunity to hear them rehearse) is how the actors in the play are of a life experience now in which they can embody the emotions they are depicting. They relate to these characters, the awkwardness of interactions, their longing for their own version of personal triumph and liberation.

Perhaps more impressive is knowing the teens did not audition for these roles, are not trained actors, but adept students. They bring with them to the stage a willingness to explore themselves and

their own potential through the art form of a musical. They demonstrate courage and playful curiosity from which we could all learn.

Little Women isn’t a quaint story for girls, but a delightful reminder of our autonomy and personal empowerment, of the essential value of adolescence (and adolescents). And while you should go for the entertainment because it is a joyful experience to see what these kids bring to the stage, also go to remember yourself and your own dreams.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

Kosh, Pend d’Oreille Winery, June 15 Small Paul, Eichardt’s Pub, June 14

Idaho rockstar Kosh is no stranger to the stage — he’s been playing coast to coast with legends like Metallica and Cheap Trick since 1983. He sings and plays guitar with a textbook rock ’n’ roll style that makes you feel like you’re an extra in an ’80s blockbuster. Kosh performs solo and in multiple groups up and down the West Coast, and is beloved by members of Gozzer Ranch Golf and Lake

Club — a favorite vacation spot for Harry Styles and the Kardashians. Thankfully you don’t have to be a millionaire to enjoy his rock and pop stylings Tuesday at the Pend d’Oreille Winery.

— Soncirey Mitchell

5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St STE 101, 208-265-8545, Listen at

Seattle produces excellent bands and musicians. There must be something in the Space Needle.

Small Paul was born out of the pandemic, as four musicians living in the same pod fused together in the name of good harmonies, folky rock ’n’ roll and intuitive songwriting. With each member of the quartet bringing something special from their respective

This week’s RLW by Zach Hagadone

I greatly admired the 2023 Oscar-winning international film The Zone of Interest, which explores the twisted domestic life of Auschwitz Commandant Rudolf Höss. What I didn’t know was that it was based on the 2014 novel The Zone of Interest, by Martin Amis — which I found even more compelling and consumed in two very long sittings. The film and book bear almost no similarities, but the latter is a dark-satire masterpiece and much greater achievement than the former. Buy it where you buy books.


Despite the fact that I don’t identify as a podcast listener, I do listen to quite a few — specifically, Fall of Civilizations and Esoterica, on YouTube. Then there are the YouTube channels I’ve been introduced to by my wife related to the analysis, lore and general fandom of Game of Thrones, Lord of the Rings, Dune and other like-styled cultural institutions. Next on my list is one that Reader Staff Writer Soncirey Mitchell recommended: You’re Dead to Me, which is a BBC Radio 4 production about history — but with a comedic twist. Find it on YouTube. I’ll report back.


bands, Small Paul shone with this merging of talents and perspectives.

Small Paul’s music sounds comfortable and accessible, rocking the folk and folking the rock in just the right ways.

— Ben Olson

8 p.m., FREE. Eichardt’s Pub, 212 Cedar St., 208-263-4005, Listen at

I am an unabashed sucker for a Godzilla movie, and Godzilla Minus One is the best addition to the canon yet made. The 2023 film from writer-director Takashi Yamazaki even won the 2024 Oscar for Best Visual Effects — which is really the whole purpose of a Godzilla movie. It’s a spectacle first and foremost, and Yamazaki’s work more than earned the accolade. However, it’s the cultural, political and historical context that he wove into the film that makes it truly special (and controver sial in its home country of Japan). Stream it on Netflix.

June 13, 2024 / R / 21 READ
The cast of Nova High School’s production of Little Women. Courtesy photo.

From Northern Idaho News, June 13, 1907


The lid which was clapped on the gambling here in Sandpoint last Friday was nailed down when Sheriff Doust visited the different saloons last night.

It was evident last week that a storm was brewing, the sheriff ordered all those who might have or be running any gambling devices to close them out under penalty of prosecution. As a consequence the slot machines were turned to the wall and some of them decorated in mourning.

The order was a local one applying to Sandpoint alone. While the order was generally observed as to the running of machines and various gambling devices, it is said that a few black jack games were still being enlivened by having a consideration at stake. Such offenders were difficult to catch for the reason that the plunder could easily be pocketed when an alarm was given adn witnesses would be unwilling to give testimony if called upon.

Yesterday evening, Judge W.W. Woods and Sheriff Doust were in consultation on the subject and immediately afterward the order came from the district judge that gamling should cease throughout the county. This brought things to a head and sheriff served multiple notice on the saloon men, and any who might be offenders, in Sandpoint that prosecutions would immediately follow if there was any more gambling. A stir was made in certain quarters. A number of bums who have long remained here without visible means of support will now be compelled to seek useful employment or leave town.

BACK OF THE BOOK Dangerous past times

Among the titles that I’ve coveted in my life — from president to general to knight of the Most Noble Order of the Garter — the one I’ve come closest to achieving is “historian.” But I can’t even claim that, really, as I’m a mere bachelor and master. Not a doctor.

However, in weaker moments, I allow myself to lean on the university’s Medieval power to grant distinction and reckon that if it called me a “master” of history, then that’s what I am. My diploma says that I’m entitled to “all the Rights, Privileges and Dignities to that Degree appertaining.” I’m still not sure which “Rights, Privileges and Dignities” I’m owed; but, a lot of times, my mastery of history is just a pain in the ass.

One of the biggest pains in the ass is hearing that “people who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.” No. People who don’t know history doom historians to listening to them make lame observations about “history repeating” when it surely does not. It doesn’t even “rhyme,” as Mark Twain quipped. History isn’t even in the past — it’s happening to us right now and it’s not even a subject, it’s a practice. We don’t “learn” history, we “do” history as a constellation of research methodologies and structures of thought that say as much or more about the present as they do about the past.

James Baldwin was approximately twice as smart as Mark Twain and at least seven times smarter than me, and he made the deceptively simple observation that, “History, as nearly no one seems to know, is not merely

STR8TS Solution

something to be read. And it does not refer merely, or even principally, to the past. On the contrary, the great force of history comes from the fact that we carry it within us.”

That’s a heavy burden, which is why most people content themselves with saying crap like, “Those who don’t learn history are doomed to repeat it,” while not actually knowing anything about history. Perhaps it’s no coincidence that those are often the same people who get really pissed off when someone actually tells them about history.

I had one of those experiences the other night at the bar.

There I was: Drinking some beers and having a good time with my friends, when some guy asked me what was up with my outfit. To be fair, I was decked out in full English country gentleman style, wearing a pair of woolen breeks, knee-high socks and my best brown leather brogues, a woolen vest, wool tie and Prince-ofWales tweed jacket.

My friends and family know to expect this sort of thing from me, but this guy wasn’t my friend or family member, and came on kind of aggressive. It turned out this 20-something scrapper was from England — and not too far from where my own English relatives live — and my clothes triggered him a little, since he professed a deep sense of loathing for his home country. Once he determined that I wasn’t appropriating his culture (after I could locate Essex, Sussex, Wessex and Cornwall on a map), we fell into a pretty bruising conversation about history that reminded me just how present the past really is.

Some people might be critical of England for its rightward turn. Well,

Sudoku Solution

this guy was angry that England wasn’t right-wing enough, and he loved North Idaho in particular because he felt reinforced in his beliefs here.

“Immigrants wreckin’ the country, innit?” he said with a straight face.

Once our conversation came around to the fact that I’m schooled in history, he asked me a question: Did I think that the media was unfair to the Nazis? Like, were movies too hard on the Germans and weren’t the Nazis really just badass nationalists and all that stuff they say about “the camps” a little overblown? He totally wasn’t a racist or a Nazi sympathizer, though, as he told me numerous times. (If you have to say this, then you are this.)

We talked for more than an hour, during which time I realized that this person did not have even the most basic grasp on the events of the past 20 years, much less the first decades of the 20th century. He even came to realize it, too, becoming drunkenly emotional about how “no one ever taught me anything about history.”

It was heartbreaking. This man did not want to be a Nazi apologist, he just didn’t know any better. I don’t think I changed his mind on anything, and he certainly didn’t sway me toward his perspective, but he showed me just how present (and dangerous) the past can be.

Crossword Solution

Probably to the shark about the funniest thing there is is a wounded seal, trying to swim to shore, because where does he think he’s going?

22 / R / June 13, 2024

Laughing Matter

Solution on page 22

interdigitate /in-ter-DIJ-i-teyt/

Word Week of the

[verb] 1. to interlock, as or like the fingers of both hands.

“The roots of the two plants interdigitate, forming a strong and interconnected network.”

Corrections: We inadvertently ran the copy of the same article twice on Page 6 last week. Apologies for the dumb mistake. Also, the Gardenia Center’s soup kitchen is in the First Presbyterian Church on Fourth Avenue. Its hours are 11 a.m.-1 p.m. on Wednesdays.



1.Asian aquatic plant


10.Flying mammals

14.Love intensely

15.Dugout shelter


17.Metric unit of length

18.Metal money

19.Citrus fruit





25.Flower holder



33.A young unmarried woman



39.Breed of dog


42.Confined to certain regions

44.“Oh dear!”

45.Growing old

48.This day

50.Pear type



57.Celestial bear


59.Chills and fever

Solution on page 22

Solution on page 22

60.Fortune teller




64.Kind of whale


1.Holy man

2.Lyric poems


4.Fertilizer component

5.Type of body fluid

6.To the touch

7.Double-reed player

8.Not in cursive


10.Deadly nightshade





24.Tart yellow fruit


26.Skin disease

27.Fly high

28.Dug in



34.Travel on water by wind

35.European volcano




43.Choice bit

45.Old Jewish scholars

46.Hollow out

47.Put out






55.Primordial matter

June 13, 2024 / R / 23


4 TIME GOOD FOODAWARDWINNER 2024,2023,2016,2013.

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