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The week in random review

Not once, but twice I’ve had a tire completely fly off of my vehicle while driving. The first time, I had a flat east of Wendover, Nev. I put on the spare and returned to the bombed-out desert town for a repair. While at an auto mechanic — whose shop looked like it belonged in a Mad Max film — the mechanic had my truck up on a lift and, leaving to answer a phone call, handed me a lug wrench. I shrugged and put down the wrench on his tool bench, then paid the bill when he returned. About 20 miles down the same freeway, while moving at 70 miles per hour, wham, my truck pitched forward. I looked out the window and saw my tire passing me in the left lane. Grinding to a halt on my three remaining tires, with the exposed rotor throwing sparks, I watched the tire continue bounding happily down the highway out of sight. A state trooper stopped and offered a lift to pick up the tire, which had rolled another mile and a half until finally coming to rest against a fence beside the road. I returned to the same mechanic and informed him the tire flew off the vehicle. He said, “You mean you didn’t tighten the lug nuts? I handed you the wrench.” I countered: “What do you mean? That was your job!” We bickered for 30 minutes over the $80 he was trying to charge for new lug nuts. I drove off without paying when he went into the office to take another call. The second time my tire fell off was on a mountain pass in Oregon a few years later. This time, the tire rolled off a cliff and I was unable to climb down to grab it. I’m not sure what caused the lug nuts to loosen this time, other than the obvious bad karma I had built up for myself, but I managed to secure a spare with borrowed lugs from the other wheels and drove it all the way home to Idaho without incident. Yes, I had absolutely no common sense in my 20s.

fuel problems

Along with tire problems, I had some strange proclivities in my younger years regarding filling my gas tank. I’d never buy gas until the empty light was flashing with dire warnings. It was my foolhardy belief that if I waited to fill the tank for as long as possible, over years and years, I’d end up saving money because more time would pass between filling my tanks. Don’t try to examine this belief too closely, because it barely made sense to me then. As a result, I ran out of gas probably once a month on average, which often left me stranded in some weird places.

youthful quotables

“Wisdom doesn’t necessarily come with age. Sometimes age just shows up all by itself.”

“Forty is the old age of youth; 50 the youth of old age.”

— Victor Hugo, French writer and politician


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March 14, 2024

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City hosts open house for James E. Russell Sports Center layout

The Sandpoint Parks and Recreation Department hosted an open house March 13 to display the chosen court layout for the James E. Russell Sports Center and invite feedback from the public.

The final of the three potential layouts features a total of 14 pickleball courts interspersed between and overlaid on four tennis courts. The different courts will be distinguished by color — white lines for tennis, light blue for pickleball — all atop a blue surface. All courts are ADA-accessible.

According to the city’s slideshow presentation, the chosen layout maximizes space while maintaining a safe distance between play-

ers. The addition of three moveable nets will also allow users to convert the space to accommodate a wider range of games and activities.

The space also includes five restrooms, a lobby and a 50-person community room that opens onto a covered outdoor plaza.

The project is scheduled to be completed in late 2024.

Community members who weren’t able to submit written comments or questions at the open house are encouraged to email them to comments@ or Sandpoint Mayor Jeremy Grimm at

View the layout at bit. ly/48Yu1Xo.

City Hall hosts second joint working session on revised Comp Plan

Members of the Sandpoint City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission again gathered March 13 for a joint working session to go “chapter by chapter” through the city’s Comprehensive Plan — the document that sets out the community’s shared vision for growth over the next 20 years, and provides guidance on how to achieve it.

Work began on the revised document in 2019 — 10 years after city officials adopted the current plan — but that effort was paused with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in spring 2020. P&Z and the City Council resumed the project in 2022, with a series of open houses, workshops and even a full public hearing following in 2023.

The council seemed prepared to approve the final draft in October 2023, but tabled it to seek further public feedback. Town hall-style

workshops took place in November and December, with the council and P&Z meeting Feb. 13 for a working session that addressed the first three chapters of the 138-page document (though with appendices, the Comp Plan totals nearly 300 pages).

Presiding over the joint session March 13, Mayor Jeremy Grimm noted that he would be filling the role of city planner for the evening following the departure of Amy Tweeten, whose last day at City Hall was March 6.

“In the absence of any planners on city staff, I am going to be running this,” said Grimm, who served as Sandpoint city planner from 20072015. “Rest assured, I have some planning experience but bear with me, we’re going to be doing our best here.”

In a text late March 13, Grimm confirmed to the Reader that Tweeten, who started her employment with the city in January 2022, had been offered a position with her former employer in

Michigan. In the interim, the city will be contracting with Boise-based planner Daren Fluke, with whom the city contracted from December 2020 — following the departure of former-Planner Aaron Qualls — until Tweeten’s hiring in 2022.

No final decisions were made at the March 13 joint working session, as councilors and planning commissioners sought to identify areas in the plan to be considered for changes when it eventually comes before the full council for a final decision at an unspecified date.

However, certain sections in Chapter 4 — focused on “Land Use and Growth” — spurred more discussion than others.

Among them was the identification of “heavy commercial/industrial” uses, which Grimm asked the council to consider changing to “light industrial” to avoid the potential for intensive uses such as smelting, processing, crushing and steel manufacturing.

Councilors and planning commissioners also discussed lot sizes for low-density residential zones, going back and forth on whether a 4,000- to 7,000-square-foot or 5,000- to 7,000-square-foot range was more appropriate for balancing infill development with the need for affordable housing and the protection of neighborhood character.

Council President Jason Welker said that smaller lot sizes enable greater density — and thus lower housing costs — for residents, noting that upwards of 50 people can be housed on “8/10ths of an acre” and “that’s pretty cool.”

However, “If everybody thinks we should aspire to prevent future developments as we’ve seen in the past few years, I’m not going to stand in your way, but that conflicts with those values of workforce housing and affordability,” he added.

Among the other discussion points was the controversy surrounding the extension of urban services to areas out-

side the city limits — something councilors and planning commissioners were unified in opposing. They ultimately settled on language that sought to “discourage” expansion of those services and directed consultation with parties in other areas of city impact before expanding services.

Eight chapters remain to be reviewed, with the next chapter focused on “Housing and Neighborhoods,” and Grimm said the council and P&Z would schedule and notice another joint working session to tackle what they can.

“I’m as anxious as anyone to get this adopted and start working on the zoning,” he said. “I understand the pressure and the aspiration to get this done as well as we can as quickly as possible.”

Watch the entire joint working session on the city of Sandpoint’s YouTube channel, and access the full Comp Plan draft document — as well as appendices — at bit. ly/3OaBXxH.

NEWS 4 / R / March 14, 2024
Right: Community members discuss the James E. Russell Sports Center court layout (far right) Photo by Soncirey Mitchell. Layout courtesy of city of Sandpoint

Idaho Republican legislators revive library materials bill

Idaho libraries bill heads to House floor, with support from legislative leadership, after Senate bill failed by one vote

Weeks after a library materials regulation bill failed by one vote in the state Senate, Idaho lawmakers on March 11 quickly advanced an amended library bill that stalled earlier this session.

The amended bill, now headed to the Idaho House floor, would allow children or their parents to file a legal claim against a public or school library if they obtain materials deemed harmful to minors. That’s if libraries don’t move materials within 30 days of receiving a request to relocate the material “to a section designated for adults only.” Children or parents could receive $250 in statutory damages, along with actual damages and other relief, such as injunctive relief, under the bill.

The amended bill comes weeks after the Idaho Senate rejected Senate Bill 1289, a library materials bill that involved a review process that critics called complicated.

Rep. Jaron Crane, R-Nampa, is co-sponsoring the bill advancing now, an amended version of House Bill 384, along with Senate President Pro Tempore Chuck Winder, R-Boise, and House Speaker Mike Moyle, R-Star. Crane also co-sponsored Senate Bill 1289.

“I can assure you that there is no book banning and there’s no book burning and there’s no book removal anywhere in this legislation. What we have to look at when you look at these libraries is that you have differing viewpoints and different opinions from taxpayers,” Crane said.

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee on March 11 advanced the amended version of House Bill 384 to the House’s second reading calendar. When bills reach the House’s third reading calen-

dar, they are up for debate by the full House.

Idaho library officials testify against bill Crane, Winder and Moyle had co-sponsored House Bill 384, which was introduced earlier this year but didn’t advance while Senate Bill 1289 was advancing. The State Affairs Committee on March 11 held Crane’s previous bill, House Bill 384, and moved forward its amended version.

Idaho Library Association President Lance McGrath called the bill unneeded, and said it would strain libraries.

“The private right of action creates a bounty system that will place an incredible financial burden on libraries and open them up to spurious actions and the potential for expensive litigation,” McGrath said.

He said the bill “imposes government restrictions on free speech, relies on vague and overly broad language, is redundant and will have a chilling effect on free expression.”

Jeff Kohler, a trustee of the Meridian Library District, said every library that he’s aware of already has a written policy for relocation. In the past 12 years, only 13 books out of 200,000 books in his library had been challenged, he said. And none of those decisions were appealed up to the library’s board of trustees, Kohler said.

“These numbers tell me that our community’s patrons and taxpayers are pleased with our library and with the books it contains,” Kohler said. “Please don’t add complicated regulations to deal with a problem that doesn’t exist.”

What the bill would do

The bill would rely on Idaho’s existing definition of materials harmful to minors, which includes “any act of ... homosexuality” under its

definition of sexual conduct.

The bill would also amend Idaho’s legal definition of materials harmful to minors. One of those amendments would be to add a definition of schools that includes “public and private school” that provide K-12 instruction.

Crane said while the bill wouldn’t block libraries from having such materials, he said it does call for relocation.

The committee’s two Democrats voted against advancing the bill.

Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, said the bill promotes or encourages lawsuits or court action, when he said he thinks courts should stay out of politics as much as possible.

“Litigation often raises the temperature rather than reduces the temperature between two parties. And I think it should be discouraged in cases like this, and this bill does not do that,” Gannon said.

Under the bill, a county prosecuting attorney or attorney general would have cause of action for “injunctive relief

against any school or public library” that violates the bill’s ban on promoting, giving or making available to children material that’s considered harmful to minors.

The bill would require libraries to have a form for people to request review of materials.

The bill outlines two affirmative defenses to civil causes of action: A reasonable cause to believe that the minor was at least age 18, like a driver’s license; or verification that the minor was accompanied

by a parent or legal guardian.

If passed, the bill would take effect July 1, 2024.

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

Idaho bill expanding birth control access heads to governor’s desk

In a narrow 34-35 vote, a bill to require insurance companies to cover up to six months of supplies of contraceptives passed the Idaho House of Representatives on March 11.

Senate Bill 1234 was first introduced by Sen. Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise, who for several years has drafted similar legislation to make it easier for women to access more than a one- or three-month supply of birth control.

In 2022, Wintrow drafted a similar bill that passed the Idaho Senate in a 20-14 vote

but failed in the Idaho House. This year, the bill passed the Idaho Senate in a 19-16 vote.

Many opponents of Senate Bill 1234 said creating requirements for insurance companies is not the proper role of the government.

Proponents, however, said the bill would make it easier for college students and women in rural parts of Idaho to have longer supplies of contraceptives. Other proponents included doctors who testified that the bill would reduce maternal mortality, help women with economic self-sufficiency, and prevent unplanned pregnancies under the state’s

near-total abortion ban.

[Editor’s note: Sen. Scott Herndon, R-Sagle, and Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay voted against S.B. 1234, while Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint, voted in favor.]

The bill is headed to Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s desk, where he can choose to sign it into law, let it become law without his signature or veto the legislation.

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

NEWS March 14, 2024 / R / 5
Idaho Rep. Jaron Crane, R-Nampa, listens to action on the House floor at the State Capitol in Boise on Jan. 9, 2023. (Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun)

Official candidate filing period open until March 15

Though a number of candidates have already announced their intention to run for Dist. 1 legislative and local offices, the official filing period for the Tuesday, May 21 primary election will close on Friday, March 15 — also the last day that voters can change political party affiliation or become affiliated before the primary.

Candidates will have until 5 p.m. on March 15 to file the necessary forms, all of which are available at the Idaho Secretary of State’s recently launched website.

Candidates for county and local office are required to file a declaration of candidacy with the Bonner County Clerk’s Office no later than 5 p.m. on March 15. That form is also available at the website.

There is a filing fee of $40 for county partisan candidates; however, they may opt to submit a nominating petition containing five valid signatures within the county or district and waive the fee. Independent candidates must file the required number of signatures to qualify for the general election ballot.

State and federal candidates must submit a declaration of candidacy with the Secretary of State’s Office. Partisan state office seekers must pay a $30 filing fee or submit a petition containing 50 signatures from within the legislative district. Likewise, partisan candidates for federal office are required to pay a $300 filing fee or submit 500 signatures from within the congressional district. Candidates for the Supreme or Appellate Court must pay $300 or gather 1,000 signatures from within the state.

Independent state and federal candidates are to submit the required signatures for their offices before appearing on the general election ballot.

Candidates who have already filed have until Monday, March 29 to withdraw.

Below are the Dist. 1 U.S. House, legislative and Bonner County candidates as of press time, March 14:

Dist. 1 U.S. House

Russ Fulcher, Republican (incumbent)

Brendan J. Gomez, Constitution Party

Matt Loesby, Libertarian Party Kaylee Peterson, Democrat

Dist. 1 Idaho Senate

Scott Herndon, Republican (incumbent)

Steve Johnson, Independent Jim Woodward, Republican

Dist. 1 Idaho House

Seat A, Karen Mathee, Democrat

Seat A, Cornel Rasor, Republican (not officially filed, but announced)

Seat A, Mark Sauter, Republican (incumbent)

Seat B, Kathryn Larson, Democrat

Seat B, Chuck Lowman, Republican

Dist. 1 Bonner County commissioner

Brian Domke, Republican

Brian Riley, Republican

Dist. 3 Bonner County commissioner

Dimitry Borisov, Republican

Ron Korn, Republican

Glenn Lefebvre, Independent

Luke Omodt, Republican (incumbent)

Bonner County prosecutor

Louis Marshall, Republican (incumbent) (not officially filed, but announced)

Bonner County sheriff

Daryl Wheeler, Republican (incumbent)

Bonner County assessor

Dennis Engelhardt, Republican (incumbent)

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:

In a 75-22 vote the Senate passed a $459 billion, six-bill package that partially funds the government through September, which President Joe Biden has signed. Politico reported that the funding covers veterans, agriculture, energy, the environment, housing, infrastructure, transportation, commerce and science and water programs. Republicans had sought restrictions on abortion but were denied.

Biden delivered his third State of the Union speech on March 7, covering a wide range of far-reaching and hot-button issues. According to various media sources, those topics included the idea that freedom and democracy are under attack in the U.S. from within and from overseas. Biden urged Congress to pass aid to Ukraine in fending off Russian aggression, and declared opponent Donald Trump’s pro-Putin stance outrageous and dangerous to the free world.

Regarding the Trump-initiated coup attempt of Jan. 6, 2021, Biden encouraged lawmakers who had taken part to uphold their oath to defend against threats “foreign and domestic.” On border security, Biden urged Republicans to quit blocking solutions simply because Trump wants immigration as a campaign issue. He said he is ready to sign border security legislation that’s supported by the Chamber of Commerce and the Border Patrol Union (passed in the Senate 70-29), but House Republicans have blocked the bill that would allow 1,500 more border security officers, 100 more immigration judges, 4,300 more asylum officers and 100 more high-tech drug detection machines.

Biden addressed reproductive rights, which have popular support, by highlighting the chaos caused by Republican-backed women’s health care policies. He introduced a Texas woman whose fetus had a fatal condition, and who was forced to travel out-of-state for urgent medical help. Biden said he would sign legislation to restore Roe vs. Wade.

On the economy, Biden embraced a future free of “trickle down” economics and said he’d continue to fight for a fair tax code and against price gouging and junk fees. He highlighted passage of the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package, and noted some Republicans who opposed it now cheer the investments. Economic successes include 15 million new jobs, a 50-year low for unemployment, 16 million new businesses, 800,000 new manufacturing jobs, rising wages and

falling inflation.

On Israel and Palestine, Biden acknowledged the devastation caused by Israel, and said the U.S. has worked non-stop for a ceasefire. Meanwhile, he described a two-state solution as “the only real solution.”

Regarding his age — Biden is four years older than Trump — the president said his years in office have provided the clarity to value honesty, decency, dignity, equality and respect for everyone.

Other comments in the address included the need to level the taxation field so the ultra-wealthy and multinational corporations pay similar percentages to most Americans, who average 13.6% He questioned further enriching the wealthy via Republican policies.

Alabama Republican Sen. Katie Britt’s emotional rebuttal to Biden’s SOTU speech resulted in observers both inside and outside her party expressing some confusion and dismay at the performance. Among numerous off-kilter statements, Britt cited a child trafficking case, implying it was related to the Biden administration, but media reported it occurred 20 years prior in Mexico, under the Republican George W. Bush administration.

Blast from the past: In 2020 the London School of Economics and King’s College London analyzed 50 years of tax cuts in 18 wealthy countries. They found that “trickle down” impacts did not lead to significant economic growth and employment. Rather, they resulted in big benefits for the wealthy.

And another blast: In his new book The Return of Great Powers, CNN Anchor and Chief National Security Analyst Jim Sciutto documents Trump’s desire to align with anti-democratic nations, such as Hungary, Russia and North Korea. Former Trump Security Adviser John Bolton told Sciutto that Trump likes “big guy” abilities to put people in jail without a judicial process. Bolton said Trump, who had never before held office, was shocked to learn that presidents don’t have “dictatorial-type powers.” Trump often praised Hitler, despite advisers saying it wasn’t a good idea, and the former president had to be told why such praise was inappropriate. Trump’s former Chief of Staff John Kelly said he had to inform Trump, who admired Hitler’s money-making policies, that the economic gains were used to destroy Germany — and 400,000 American service members. When Trump praised Hitler’s “loyal” staff, Kelly said Trump was unaware of their many assassination attempts.

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Private school tax credit bill defeated in close vote

Another major school choice bill has failed in the Idaho Legislature.

The House Revenue and Taxation Committee narrowly rejected House Bill 447, which would have created a $50 million tax credit and grant program to subsidize private school tuition. The split vote marked the latest chapter in Idaho’s debate over school choice, a loose heading of proposals directing taxpayer funds to private education in the form of tax credits, education savings accounts or school vouchers.

A bipartisan group defeated the bill after an emotional hearing, which unfolded in a meeting room packed with school choice supporters.

Opponents feared the tax credit’s costs would balloon, as has happened in other states, and that the taxpayer funds wouldn’t be accountable in private schooling. Spending $50 million on top of H.B. 521’s income tax cut and $1 billion appropriation to public schools “is not being fiscally responsible,” said Rep. Jon Weber, R-Rexburg.

Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, and Sen. Lori Den Hartog, R-Meridian, sponsored the latest school

choice proposal, after years of failed attempts to pass a voucher or education savings account program.

“The reason I was talked into running for office in the first place is I care about the education of every single child no matter where they learn,” Horman said.

HB 447 would have allowed private school families of any income to claim $5,000 tax credits for tuition, fees, transportation, tutoring and other expenses. Families with a learning-disabled student could have claimed an additional $2,500.

Another $10 million would have been set aside for a “kickstart” program benefiting low-income families. The tax credits and grants — distributed on a first-come, first-served basis — would have been capped at $50 million annually, although a provision in the bill set a date to reevaluate the cap based on demand.

One vote made the difference on a motion to send the bill to the House floor — it failed 8-9. Seven Republicans broke ranks with House majority leadership to oppose the bill.

[Editor’s note: Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, serves on the Revenue and Taxation Committee and voted in favor of sending H.B. 447 to the floor.]

The vote followed a lengthy, tense hearing. Lob-

byists for national school choice advocacy groups, like EdChoice and the American Federation for Children, pushed the committee to support the bill.

Several private school parents also urged lawmakers to approve it.

“Sometimes there’s a mentality that only rich people send their kids to private school, but I can certainly testify before you that I am not part of that stereotype,” said Matt Crane, a father of four children enrolled in Nampa Christian Schools.

“I’m already paying taxes that the public school benefits from that I don’t receive any reciprocal benefit from.”

The Catholic Diocese of Boise also lobbied in favor of the bill. Tammy Emerich, superintendent of Catholic schools in Boise, said diocese students score higher than public school students on standardized tests, and the

diocese holds schools accountable to those scores.

Rep. Kenny Wroten, R-Nampa, who opposed the bill, asked Emerich to address a recent diocese newsletter that touted the bill for keeping private schools untangled from state mandates, with “no strings attached.”

“The way House Bill 447 is written is there are no strings attached,” Emerich said. “What I was trying to convey to all of you is that we do have accountability in our schools, and we do make sure that our students are learning and growing.”

Wroten argued the program would force taxpayers in rural areas, where private schools are scarce, to subsidize private education in urban areas, where private schools are concentrated. “We already have nationally recognized school choice,” he said. “This, to me, just seems like it will be the camel’s nose under the tent.”

Groups representing public school trustees, administrators and unionized teachers strongly opposed H.B. 447. “The lack of accountability prevents taxpayers from having any insight or assurance that their tax dollars are actually being used to provide a quality education to Idaho kids,” said Chris Parri, political director for the Idaho Education Association.

Idaho has roughly 15,000 private school students. The Mountain States Policy Center, a think tank that lobbied for H.B. 447, estimated the program would have benefited roughly 8,000 students.

Idaho Education News is a nonprofit online news outlet based in Boise and supported by grants from the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Family Foundation, the Education Writers Association and the Solutions Journalism Network. Read more at

2024 Idaho legislative session likely to extend through March 29

Due to legislative disagreements about Republican House leadership and fights over budgeting procedures and rules that played out behind the scenes during the first half of the session, legislators will likely miss their self-imposed deadline to wrap up the session by Friday, March 22.

Instead, the session is likely to continue until Friday, March 29, legislative

leaders told reporters during the Idaho Press Club’s annual legislative headliners breakfast on March 7.

The Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee is scheduled to finish budget setting this week. Once that happens, it generally takes another two or three weeks to adjourn the session for the year sine die (a term legislators use to signal final adjournment), said Senate President Pro Tem Chuck Winder, R-Boise.

Legislative leaders set the

March 22 targeted adjournment date in November, before the session began. The target was always nonbinding and, frankly, optimistic. There is no legal or constitutional requirement to adjourn a legislative session in Idaho by a certain date or deadline.

“I think with what occurred in the House, they would probably tell you they lost a week to 10 days,” Winder told reporters March 8. “So it’s probably going to be the 29th, which will be the

final Friday in the month.”

“We still have a lot of work to do, a lot of bills ... so it’s going to be a busy two or three weeks,” Winder added.

“I hope that we are in the home stretch of the session, although it feels like we are probably more at second base,” said Senate Minority Leader Melissa Wintrow, D-Boise.

“We are passing a lot of bills,” Wintrow added. “There are a lot of bills, probably a record number in our legislative session, which is a little

startling to me. I’m not sure why we have so many.”

Following Idaho voters’ passage of Senate Joint Resolution 102 in November 2022, the Idaho Legislature also now has the authority to call itself back into session, without the approval of the governor.

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

March 14, 2024 / R / 7 NEWS
Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls. Photo courtesy of


• I was pleased to see a “right hand must turn right” sign installed at the intersection of Highway 95 and First Avenue (where you have to make that right turn to go toward downtown after coming north across the Long Bridge). I’ve had a few close calls there in the left-hand turn lane with my blinker on and a tourist who thought I was turning far left instead of going “straight” onto Superior Street (which is still a left turn from the highway). I’ve often thought we should have a Common Sense Committee that meets once a month to discuss how they can fix simple issues like this without spending much money. We can improve a lot with just some easy solutions.


• The Idaho Republican Party sure hit a foul ball when they switched over to a caucus system for determining who gets the party nomination during the primary election. More than nine out of 10 Republicans statewide didn’t participate in the caucus because not everyone can get away from work, school or life. It’s no secret why the Idaho GOP switched to this system. First, in 2012, it closed the primaries, allowing only registered Republicans to vote. Now they’re shrinking the participation lanes even further so that only the most diligent (i.e. the most extreme) voters are able to choose the party nominee. This will further ensure that only the wackiest of whackos will make it through the Republican primary; and, because this is deep-red Idaho, will ultimately get elected. And no, it’s not just “RINOs” who are complaining — it’s committed Republicans as well, who are pissed that they have no say in who is chosen during the primary. Maybe now they know how the rest of us feel.

‘Unsafe childbirth laws’…

Dear editor, Idaho Legislators, I wish you had thought of this. Now babies cannot be born in Bonner County. With your “trigger law,” you caused hardship on families who just want to safely give birth to their children.

“Trigger Law: a person in Idaho who performs an abortion may face 2 – 5 years of imprisonment.” At BGH, no children are born now; our OBGYN staff have left. How sad for our community!

Now families must travel out of state risking late term health issues of mother and child. Abortion is illegal in Idaho, except for “protecting the ‘life’ of the mother in case of rape or incest.” We need an amendment to protect the mother’s “health.”

Probably no lawmakers changing this law thought about young families; medical emergencies; restricting physicians to practices removing the chance for a family to have future children. Lawmakers sought to quash aborting any child, anytime.

Republican Jim Woodward is needed back in the Senate; Jim is bright, aware, and will consider ALL aspects of issues for legislation. I will vote on May 21 for Jim! Our families need my vote and yours!

‘Our common thread’…

Dear editor, We have a common thread that holds all of us together. A number of years ago, as a student at Southside Elementary in Cocolalla, I was fortunate to have one of the best teachers I ever had. Jim Stoicheff was our teacher/principal who modeled for us the “common thread” that connects all of us.

He had President Kennedy’s words displayed at the front of the classroom above the chalkboard: “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” One of his most memorable stories was when he was in the military in a racially segregated state. He and several other soldiers were in their uniforms in a restaurant and the waiter refused to serve the one soldier who was not white. Mr. Stoicheff said every soldier in the group got up and walked out of the restaurant together. Our “common thread” is respect for each other. Period.

‘Cut the chaff’…

Dear editor,

After living in WBCSD for almost 21 years, the only consistency is that Idaho stays in the lower 5% in education and WBCSD is in Idaho’s lower 2%. I have seen our levy go from $250,000 to $4 million dollars per year, yet test scores hardly change in WBCSD.

We had a great superintendent try to bring classic education to our schools but she left because she was threatened, or other reasons. Right after that, Brandon Durst came on board and tried to get the same extension that had been given to our homeboy, Paul Anselmo. WBCSD even paid for Anselmo to educate himself enough to get his certification. It didn’t take the mob in WBCSD long to shut the people down who were brave enough to fight for change in education. I doubt if today’s board majority will change anything from WBCSD’s 20-year norm.

Throwing money at what our educators think is the problem hasn’t helped, yet the same old broken system continues to demand more money.

I support people like Kathy Nash and Scott Herndon who are trying desperately to improve our schools, instead of fighting change.

Cut the chaff and lower our tax burdens.

Bill O’Neil

Priest River

Support for Trump is ‘smoke and mirrors’…

Dear editor,

All this talk about how “bigly” the former president is winning the primaries set me to thinking. Is it true or is it smoke and mirrors? Looking at the percentages in just about every race he is winning by large margins. But how accurate are these percentages?

Looking at Idaho as an example, the “winner” got 84.9% of the vote. Obviously, a total rout — or is it? There are almost 580,000 registered GOP voters in Idaho. The total vote count in the March caucus was 39,584, or 6.8% of the total number. The former president’s huge win is a fabrication based on little factual evidence.

I was reminded of an old Jeopardy clue during Alex Trebek’s run as host. The category was “Books & Movies” and the answer was,

“In the books he is 6’8” and 280 pounds. In the movies not so much.” Of course the question was, “Who is Jack Reacher?” Seems we may have a similarly distorted view of the country’s electorate based on what we’re told.

Our perceptions are easily manipulated by media pundits who cherry-pick their talking points. Our task is to look at facts and make our own choices.

‘May matters most’…

Dear editor, Politics have never been top on my list of interests, but the numerous bills coming out of Boise do not reflect my rights or values. I never want guns in schools or music festivals. I don’t want armed militias walking the streets. I don’t want my tax dollars going to ludicrous lawsuits.

I believe there is a quality candidate to vote for in the May primary. Jim Woodward already had my vote due to his past record in the Senate. Then I got to spend two hours with him at a meet-and-greet. I was so impressed with his gentle-yet-confident demeanor and common sense. He has the knowledge, experience and passion to work for North Idaho. He’s deeply committed and he actually listens!

I know it’s convenient to leave politics to others. Writing letters, following bills and meeting our candidates takes time. But we cannot afford to be passive right now in North Idaho. Make plans to get involved. Your vote counts!

Let’s get Jim Woodward back where he belongs: in the Idaho Senate. I want someone like Jim representing me. I’m tired of the craziness and scary bills coming out of Boise.

Jane Hoover Priest River

‘We are all in this together’…

Dear editor,

Since coming here in 2017, I’ve watched this community come together to accomplish some amazing things. It’s not uncommon to see a meal train or “gofundme” set up for a family in need that quickly amasses hundreds or thousands of dollars. During COVID, many restaurants in the area provided school lunches for kids. Time and time again, this community shows up for each other. No

matter your situation, your income, your political party, your gender. This community shows up. And that is what Jim Woodward’s campaign is about. He is showing up to listen and learn from this community. And it’s about time.

It’s been a long two years with a state senator who lies, ignores and discredits so many of his constituents based on their political affiliation, gender or simply their willingness to disagree. And we all know he wouldn’t dream of stepping foot into the local Sip n’ Bitch. But Jim Woodward would because he is genuinely interested in representing all of his constituents, not just his donors and the IFF.

We’ve got a tremendous opportunity on May 21 to come together to do the right thing. Please join me in voting for Jim Woodward on May 21.

Leah Opitz Sandpoint

Turning RINO to oppose Herndon…

Dear editor,

My friend M. who lives in Bonners Ferry has stage four endometrial cancer. After receiving a diagnosis, her BF gynecologist closed practice and left North Idaho. This exodus of women’s health specialists is alarming. Only half of Idaho’s counties still have obstetric gynecologists, 22% have quit Idaho. This has been inspired by politicians like Scott Herndon who legislate to take away women’s reproductive rights and threaten doctors with criminal charges and jail time.

Women facing disease of their reproductive organs and women wanting to practice informed birth control should have the right to local, trusted medical care. Not having a local doctor will cause delays in diagnosis, stress, added expenses and make traveling hours for care mandatory.

Herndon probably doesn’t care that this shortage of women’s doctors will not only affect young, childbearing-age women but will affect our older mothers, sisters and grandmothers when they can’t find local women’s medical care while facing life threatening illnesses.

I and three friends have become RINOs. We didn’t make this decision lightly. We did this specifically to vote against Scott Herndon in May’s primary. You have until March 15 to do the same.

Betty Gardner Priest River

8 / R / March 14, 2024


Basketball School of Sandpoint has opened registration for its upcoming Spring Break Basketball Camp, which will run from Monday, April 1-Friday, April 5 at Kootenai Elementary School (301 Sprague St., in Kootenai). Boys and girls ages 7 through 9 play every day from 9 a.m. to noon, after which ages 10 through 19 take over from 12:30-3:30 p.m.

Students will learn the fundamentals of bas-

The ‘cluster caucus’ referendum on the Idaho GOP

Idaho’s Republican presidential caucus revealed a disturbing reality: Over 93% of Republican voters in Idaho found themselves shut out, opting out or ill-informed about the event. That’s like throwing a party for 100 people, but only seven attend. It appears that was leadership’s goal: fewer voters.

primary. This proposal preserved the primary and estimated $2.7 million in taxpayer savings every four years. But GOP Chairwoman Dorothy Moon opposed it, advocating for the caucus system instead.

ketball — including handling, passing, shooting, rebounding and defense — while also enjoying competitions, races and other related games.

The registration deadline is Monday, March 25 and admittance costs $105 for one player. Families enrolling multiple kids receive a discount: $200 for two, $295 for three and $390 for four. Visit for more information. Courtesy photo.

A post-caucus survey provided valuable feedback, showing voter frustration with Idaho’s Republican leaders. Many expressed feeling shut out of the caucus. Many couldn’t participate because they were working, deployed, had conflicting obligations or physically couldn’t attend. Absentee ballots weren’t an option.

A Coeur d’Alene Republican lamented, “I had to work. I am extremely upset that I was not able to vote. Shame on our party.” Another said, “It ran smoothly because basically NO ONE showed up!”

A mother shared her struggle, “My husband was out of town so he didn’t get to have his voice heard. I had to stay with my kids and was unable to attend. I feel like this process is incredibly un-American and not a true representation of how Idaho would vote. I’m so disappointed in my party and legislators.”

The winter storm and power outage in eastern Idaho kept many Republican voters off the roads and away from caucus sites. Others said they lacked accurate information and never received their “official postcard.”

A Hayden voter said, “The precincts were only open for an hour and a half. No times were given on the mailer. I couldn’t even vote. There are a lot of angry people right now. This is unfair! Who is running this show? This is a Trump state! We want our votes to count! We the people have had enough!”

Hayden Rep. Vito Barbieri said in his newsletter, “This was an excellent opportunity for the grassroots members of our state and our party to make their voice heard for a candidate.”

But who would consider 7% turnout to be anything but failure?

Last year, a proposal (SB 1186) aimed to reinstate the presidential primary, merging it with the May

The National Republican Platform pledges to safeguard voting rights of all legitimate voters, with emphasis on protecting the rights of elderly, disabled and active military voters. But comments from Chairman Brent Regan suggest willingness to sacrifice active-duty Republicans’ voting rights for the caucus.

Idahoans should have greater accessibility, flexibility, transparency and turnout, not less. That’s why we need early, mail-in and absentee voting options.

If you’re frustrated, you should pay attention to efforts by GOP elites to restrict absentee voting in all future elections. House Bill 667 seeks to limit absentee voting to specific circumstances, like being out of town or dealing with illness or disability. But who would be the real judge? The current efficient system permits absentee voting as a convenient, secure and free choice. Idaho’s secretary of state and county clerks who are in charge of implementing elections all oppose this bill.

In light of this deviation from the Republican platform and growing dissatisfaction among voters, both Brent Regan and Dorothy Moon are clearly failing us as Republican leaders. They want less people voting, not more. They don’t even want you involved unless you do exactly what they say.

The caucus fiasco was purposely instigated by elected legislators and Republican party leaders. Fortunately, we have the power to change this poor leadership — by voting. Vote while you still can.

If you want to vote in the Republican primary on May 21, you need to be registered and affiliated Republican. The last day to change affiliation is Friday, March 15. Please plan to vote — your future and freedom depends on it!

Russell Mann, of Post Falls, is a member of North Idaho Republicans. Get more info about the group at


Science: Mad about

Brought to you by:

curious medieval sciences

You’ve heard me say it a hundred times: the medieval period gets a bad rap. Littered with stories of gluttonous lords, illiterate peasants and noble knights slaying dragons at the behest of fair maidens, one is left to wonder what scholars of 3024 may think of our current age. Will they believe that we were only able to view the world through the screen of our phones and that no other forms of communication existed during this period? Perhaps they will think we worshiped influencers as gods and only knew how to gather food using the labors of a vest-wearing servant class forced to fetch our desires and load them into our iron chariots.

Science during the medieval period seems like a crazy idea, and the common misconception is that scientific advancement virtually halted until the Renaissance. This is a complete fallacy and anyone who’s ever truly looked at how a crossbow works or how a cathedral was constructed would know this period of history had some seriously smart folks designing things that survived to this day. Can we say the same about our first iPhone?

Pope Sylvester II

Was math your weakest subject in high school? Just imagine if you had to divide CCLVII by XXV. Thanks to Gerbert of Aurillac, later known as Pope Sylvester II, you never had to find the remainder of Roman numerals.

Gerbert of Aurillac was a scholar, clergyman and eventual pope who studied mathematics in Arabic Spain in the mid-to-late 900s C.E. Muslim scholars had been using a ver-

sion of the 10 digits we use today for quite some time, while Roman numerals remained en vogue throughout Europe for almost a thousand years. Aurillac was able to calculate large numbers rapidly with an abacus using Arabic digits and very quickly outpaced his contemporaries in the Catholic Church that were still stuck using antiquated numerals.

Interestingly, the Abacus didn’t actually use 0, but instead used gaps where a 0 would land. If this sounds confusing, you’re absolutely right — 867-53_9 just doesn’t have the same ring to it, but in a gridded abacus it made considerably more sense at the time. This abacus was the basis for how many of us learned to add and subtract in elementary school, and it became an essential tool for both the church and nobility to track their growing wealth and plan for the future.

Math, circles, spheres and clocks

Everyone thinks that people in the medieval period believed the world was flat. This is one of the most common misconceptions of the era. The spherical nature of the world has been known measured with remarkable accuracy since as early as 240 B.C.E., when Eratosthenes and his assistant measured the circumference of the Earth by its shadow cast on the moon from two locations: Alexandria and Syene. This knowledge wasn’t simply discarded after the collapse of the Roman Empire and the subsequent so-called Dark Ages. In fact, the medieval Catholic Church was well aware of both the curvature and size of the Earth — so accurately that it managed to figure out rough

time zones throughout Europe.

In the early 1200s, the scholar Johannes de Sacrobosco (also known as John of Holywood) wrote a manuscript titled De Sphaera Mundi, or On the Sphere of the World, that is cited to this day. In it, Sacrobosco stated how ships disappear into the curvature of the horizon and how constellations appear differently from various spots on the globe. His treatise was so comprehensive that it was used as a teaching tool for four centuries. While the book was primarily about the universe being spherical in shape, it also clearly describes the Earth as being spherical as well.

Much of the “people believed the Earth is flat in the Middle Ages” myth likely has its roots in the outdated belief of geocentrism, or the idea that the universe revolves around Earth.

This was believed to be true as early as the fifth century B.C.E., until the idea of heliocentrism — or the universe revolving around the sun — was first proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus in 1543. This was hotly debated, particularly in the Catholic Church, of which Copernicus was a clergyman, even after the telescopic observations and proof presented by Galileo Galilei in the early 1600s.

Galileo was famously sentenced to lifelong imprisonment for heresy in 1632. This sentence is an oversimplification of events that transpired throughout Galileo’s life, and while it is often cited as the “ignorance” of the Catholic Church and the Inquisition, Galileo was also quite aggressive and inflammatory with a number of his comments toward supporters of geocentrism as well as conflicts with

Pope Urban VIII.

Ultimately, political pressures from the Inquisition damned Galileo to imprisonment under house arrest, yet he still managed to smuggle mathematical findings out of Italy to neighboring countries.

By the 1700s, astronomers and mathematicians like William Herschel presented the idea that heliocentrism and geocentrism were both wrong. As it stands currently, we know that the sun orbits Sagittarius A*, a supermassive black hole at the heart of the Milky Way galaxy 4.297

million times more massive than the sun. Someone probably has an idea of where the center of the universe is, but I sure couldn’t tell you.

These are just a couple of the interesting examples of surprising math from the medieval period. In the future, we’re going to look at more exciting developments largely involving weapons and projectiles.

If you’ve followed this article for any amount of time you’re very familiar with my love of all things pointy and dangerous.

Stay curious, 7B.

• Known as the “Apostle of Ireland,” St. Patrick was never formally canonized, but is recognized as a saint by the Catholic Church, the Lutheran Church, the Church of Ireland and the Eastern Orthodox Church.

• Patrick wasn’t actually born in Ireland. He was born in Scotland around 387 C.E., near the end of Roman rule in Britain. Historians argue over where exactly he was born, but most agree it was most likely in Kilpatrick, Scotland.

• According to Patrick’s autobiographical Confessio, he was captured by pirates at age 14 and taken from his home in Britain to be enslaved in Ireland. He wrote that he lived there for six years as an animal herder before escaping and returning to his family. He returned to Ireland after becoming a cleric and, later, a bishop. By the seventh century, he had come to be revered as the patron saint of Ireland.

• Though it is widely repeated that Patrick “banished snakes” in

Ireland, the truth is that there were never snakes in Ireland. Writings from the third century noted that Ireland was a land without any snakes. Of course, snakes symbolize evil in the Judeo-Christian religion, and it’s said that the myth about Patrick banishing snakes represents his fight to convert the Irish to Christianity.

• The shamrock is another symbol associated with Patrick. It’s said, upon returning to Ireland, he used the three-leafed plant as a metaphor for the Holy Trinity. Along with the Celtic cross, the shamrock is now one of the most notable symbols of Ireland.

• The first St. Patrick’s Day parade wasn’t held in Ireland, but rather in Boston in 1737. Ireland didn’t hold its own St. Patrick’s Day parade until 1903.

• An astounding 13 million pints of Guinness are consumed on March 17 across the world.

10 / R / March 14, 2024
Random Corner Don’t know much about St. Patrick? We can help!
A westerner and an Arab learning geometry in the 15th century, by an anonymous painter. Courtesy of Creative Commons.

Emily Articulated

A column by and about Millennials

International Women’s Day

I asked for the purple school bus instead of the yellow one with a busted tire. My older sister, keeper of the matchbox cars and head of distribution, plucked it from its plastic parking space container.

“This one?” she asked, mischievousness glinting in her eye.

“Yes!” I squealed in reply.

Weighing it in her hand, dragging the seconds out like a carnival worker waiting for payment at the game counter, she said, “Sure. That’ll be three Pogs... and the green Jeep.”

I gasped.

Gwen, our neighbor and my sister’s best friend, squared her shoulders, leaning so she was more in front of me than beside me, and looked my older sister in the face.

“You know you can’t ask that. It’s her favorite,” she said.

My stomach clenched at the sacrifice. My sister, more astonished than relenting, settled on a trade of five Pogs and two sprinted laps around the house.

Ten years later, I forced back my morning’s toast as it threatened to gurgle its way out of my stomach. I couldn’t puke, not standing next to my teammates and all the girls I’d be racing against while we queued in a Port-a-Potty line.

The announcer boomed overhead: “Welcome to the 2009 Wisconsin State High School Cross Country Invitational!”

“Shit, shit, shit,” I muttered, jumping from one foot to the other, willing myself to make it to the stall.

Slamming the door behind me, I turned the lock and

flipped the lid of the toilet closed, the stall’s tight walls blocking out the world around me. I fumbled out a text to my sister through trembling fingers. “I can’t do this.”

Her reply was instant. “Yes, you can. Trust yourself. You’ve already done so much to get here. And remember, you’ll be OK, whether you take last or win the whole damn thing.”

My breathing slowed, nerves transforming from panic to heady anticipation, and I opened the door to the dazzling sun.

Eight years later, I gripped the steering wheel of my car, wiping tears from my cheeks as I flipped on my blinker.

I knew Sara’s exit almost as instinctually as my own. The road narrowed as I approached her neighborhood and rain began to spatter across my windshield. It felt like a fucking cliche. Of course it’d start raining on the night I broke up with my boyfriend, putting our dog, our house and the life we had begun to build in my rearview mirror.

As I walked up the stairs to Sara’s apartment, I saw that she was already standing at her door, waiting to pull me into a

silent hug. She held me so long my knees hurt, wracked from the emotion I was exorcizing.

When we finally stumbled inside, the couch was already made up with a pillow and blanket. Sara placed a glass of water on the end table and flipped off the light, whispering, “We’ll make a plan tomorrow.”

And I drifted off to sleep.

Six years later, I removed the tea bag from my mug, watching the errant drops expand like inkblots across my napkin. My thoughts whizzed and whirred in contrast to the liquid’s slow saturation, making a mockery of the soothing spirals of steam heating my face.

My dad’s condition had worsened, making my care to-do list explode like one of those fireworks — each streak of sparks exploding into four additional streaks, all crackling in jest at the lone set of eyes struggling to track a predictable path.

“What is the first step you can think of?” Jamie asked, intuiting the frenzy simmering below my surface.

With an effort disproportionate to the task, I breathed, “Maybe finding someone to check in on him, so I can know how he’s doing?”

Clicking her pen, she wrote, “Think of Step 1,” and crossed it off with a flourish.

“You’re doing great, Em,” she replied.

And, somehow, it was exactly what I needed to hear.

Women have been showing up for me like this my whole life. They’ve done it in large, transformative ways, but also in the millions of small ways that add up to a near wholly supported existence. I’ve found community in the simple ges-

tures; in messages like, “Hey, I haven’t heard from you in a while,” and, “This made me think of you”; and have been saved by un-repayable gestures like, “You’re not in this alone,” and, “How can I help?”

In thinking about International Women’s Day on the smallest scale possible — my personal experience, comprised of individual moments, shared with women throughout my life — I’m left with the immensity of their impact, an

impact that can be multiplied, traced exponentially across time and space until all we’re left with is an unshakeable knowing that we’re where we are because of women.

And we’ll get where we’re going because of women, too.

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


March 14, 2024 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES
Emily Erickson.

Let us work on being united

I always loved the story of the young people participating in the Special Olympics in Seattle almost 50 years ago. It was the 100-yard dash, the gun went off and the runners eagerly started toward the finish line. One of the younger kids stumbled halfway, fell and began to cry. The other “competitors” stopped in their tracks and, to the amazement of the crowd, they all turned and went back to the side of their fallen comrade.

The youngster was lifted by his peers, kissed and then, much to the surprise of the onlookers, all the runners linked arms and proceeded as one unit, crossing the line jubilantly together. It is reported that the fans

simultaneously stood clapping and cheering for quite a while. It is also recorded that many of them were crying.

More recently, there was a heartwarming incident during a softball game between Southeastern University and Grand View University of Des Moines, Iowa. The Southeastern team was ahead 4-1, however, the bases were loaded when Kaitlyn Moses of Grand View’s team, hit a grand slam. Kaitlyn ran to first base, but her ankle gave out and she collapsed before making it to second. It was then, to the astonishment of the onlookers, that two of the opposing team’s members went to Kaitlyn, lifted her and carried her across the remaining three bases tapping her non-injured foot lightly on each base as their rules demanded.

Who were the winners and/or losers in each of these incidents? It appears

in each story — both of which are true — that the winners were what we usually refer to as losers when you are looking at the scores. The richness and depth of their compassion, however, and their open display of caring in each incident placed them over the top of any number.

In both incidents, the “team” effort was not what the fans expected. What they witnessed, what transpired instead, was a bonding — a sense of belonging together that superseded society’s expectations at that given time and moment. All of these young people valued a great deal more than the score of the game. They quickly united, displaying for all to see what they held as a greater value.

And that brings us to the question of what exactly do we value? Most will say family, some their faith and a few, something entirely different. Values may be flexible but everyone needs to stop occasionally and take an inventory of theirs — perhaps narrowing it down to five.

For the past three years in January, the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force, in partnership with the Bonner County public library, has held what is called a “Community Read.” The library has even gone so far as to procure multiple copies of the chosen title, not only to encourage folks to read the material but to make it easy on their budgets. Nothing can be easier than free.

This year they chose the book Belonging, by Geoffrey L. Cohen. For me it was a bit of a slug to read; however, Mr. Cohen substantiated all his material by citing multiple case studies. The richness and expansion of thought came from the discussions both in the library and on Zoom.

It was sad to hear that a few of the participants attending felt they did not belong there, but also expressed that they didn’t feel comfortable or safe anywhere in this area.

The goals and values of the majority of individuals in Bonner County are similarly united, whether they are new migrants or locally born. They are united in their desire to live free of fear and secure in this spectacular environment.

“United” is a great word. It means “in agreement.” It does not mean lockstep in and on every topic but it is the opposite of polarization, the taking of so-called sides or opposing teams. I

have discovered how many people are actually helping unite our communities.

The sheer number of volunteers in Bonner County is commendable. They can be found in the food banks, the schools and the thrift shops all set up to help. The churches are uniting in common goals whether it be soup kitchens or Meals on Wheels. And most of them could use more help.

Thanks to the BCHRTF and the library’s unification the first community book read was in January 2022 and they chose Caste: The Origins of Our Discontents, by Isabel Wilkerson. What I discovered right off the bat in that book is that the Third Reich — in its formative years — actually studied the United States to see how we, as a nation, could suppress and isolate whole cultures and still remain respected in the world. The Nazi’s they kept copious and accurate records, so Wilkerson could substantiate her writings.

In 2023, two books were discussed: I Never Thought of It That Way, by Monica Guzman, and Between the Listening and the Telling, by Mark Yaconelli. What I came away with from that reading was that everyone — and I emphasize everyone — has their story. You don’t know if the surly checker at the market lost their parent or didn’t have breakfast that morning. Rarely do we know everyone’s story and the bottom line is continually to practice being kind — knowing we don’t know what the other individual is experiencing, regardless of their age.

As we emerge from winter, I suggest we check our core values. Perhaps list them, and limit it to five. Let us try to listen and not pontificate. Is there something we can do to support them as a family, neighborhood or community?

Bonner County has a plethora of places you can lend a hand. Look around and let us become united, creating an accepting and safe environment for all. Let us focus on the positive and avoid the negative. Let us bring back respect for everyone and not just give the words lip service. Learn to reach back, help another get up and move forward remembering the real winners are those who possess deep empathy, integrity and respect for all.

The real winners are those quality individuals who work not only to benefit themselves, but strive additionally for the betterment of others — all the “others” in our stupendous community.

12 / R / March 14, 2024 PERSPECTIVES
Community Sandpoint Writers on The Lake presents… Writing Contest Bonner County Library Saturday, March 23, 2024 Sign-ups begin at 8:30 a.m. Readings begin 9:30 Categories & Prizes: One Grand Prize: $100 Adult – 18 & Up: Best $50; Runner-up $25 Youth –17 & Under: Best $50; Runner-up $25 ~ Any unpublished fiction, non-fiction, or poetry eligible (keeping in mind our youthful audience) ~ All contest entrants get a free book from a selection by published authors of Sandpoint Writers on the Lake For more information contact Jim Payne 208-263-3564;; or ~ Read your original writing to an appreciative audience of friends and fellow writers! ~ Readings are 5 minutes each. ~ Audience members vote for prize winners! Snacks for everyone!

ICL seeking applications for revived Artist in Residence Program

The Idaho Conservation League announced the return of its Artist in Residence program, and is encouraging artists from across the state to apply this spring.

Applications will open Friday, March 15 and close Sunday, March 31. Artists should submit five examples of past work that best demonstrate their relationship to Idaho’s environment and responses to a Google Form available at

Digital images should be approximately 10-by-14 inches at 72 dpi in JPEG format.

A selection committee will then review the applications and choose an artist with whom to work. Selection will be based on artists’ work quality, artistic relevance to ICL’s work and commitment to Idaho’s environment.

Artists will be notified of acceptance by Wednesday, May 1.

Applications should be sent to ICL Central Idaho Community Engagement Specialist Lexi Black at, via the Google Form at

From 2013 to 2020, the Idaho Conservation League invited one artist annually to

join in celebrating Idaho’s natural beauty — and the advocacy required to protect it — through ICL’s Artist in Residence program.

After a few years’ hiatus, ICL has decided to bring back the program. As opposed to prior years, ICL has condensed and simplified the required application materials so that all levels of artists — from household names to up-and-comers — can apply.

The aim of ICL’s Artist in Residence Program is to foster wider public awareness of the work of both ICL and the selected artist. During the residency year, which begins and concludes annually in May, the artist is expected to complete a body of work to be exhibited at ICL’s annual Wild Idaho! conference. The materials created will also be available for ICL’s use in digital and print materials.

The artist will benefit by ICL’s promotion of their work through print, web, social media and other means. A stipend will help the artist cover some costs of the expected work, as well as potential travel needs. In addition, the artist is offered a three-day winter retreat at White Clouds Preserve through the residency program. This is not a physical residency and is open to artists throughout the state of Idaho.

For more information about ICL, visit

March 14, 2024 / R / 13

Gardenia Center to be sold

Sandpoint’s only metaphysical church commonly called The Gardenia Center is going up for sale this March. Until her passing, Marilyn Chambers, the founder of the Gardenia Center, leased the building to the organization, remaining its leader. Since her passing the board has kept the center functioning as a community building and as the focus for its Sunday service. The Gardenia Center has for decades been the home of many AA, NA and similar groups who have used it to hold their meetings. In addition, weddings, memorials, birthday parties and numerous other gatherings have also graced its walls.

Recently, the Gardenia Center board of directors has been notified that Marilyn’s heirs are planning on selling the center. The board had been involved in a series of projects to stabilize the building and modernize

the facilities with the hope that more people could be served. However, in light of the recent notification of sale, all projects have been suspended.

After receiving notice of what property the family wishes to claim as its own, the center finds itself having many materials needing to find homes. The Wednesday soup kitchen, a service for many decades, will be closing and all of the kitchen materials and equipment will be offered to other community service groups. The same is true for many pews, folding chairs, tables and other materials. Thus, the board wishes to invite churches or community programs to contact 208-217-4842 where their needs may be added to the list of those to whom the materials will be given. The board will then contact them for more details.

Unfortunately, a number of rumors have developed including one saying the land will become a parking lot or condo. The truth is no one knows who will purchase it, nor what they may have in mind for the property. Thus,

the board asks the many folks who have been served by the center to find new accommodations and refrain from negative speculation.

Although metaphysical classes and meditation groups have been a part of the Gardenia Center, those too will have to find new venues, for the Sunday service will also cease.

A heartfelt farewell service, open to the community, will be scheduled

before the final closing. We began as a service group and we will end by being of final service to the community. First, by giving away the assets and second, by continuing to live our lives as catalysts for positive growth in the community.

Mandy Evans at BTAA honored as Woman of Distinction

Mandy Evans, executive director of Better Together Animal Alliance, has been named a Woman of Distinction by the Girl Scouts of Eastern Washington and Northern Idaho. The award recognizes women who have made significant contributions to the region through their professional achievements, community dedication and leadership.

31% decrease in owner surrenders in her tenure.

Meanwhile, Evans consults with shelters across North America, helping to decrease the number of animals entering shelters and promoting community-based approaches to animal welfare.

“I’m thrilled to be included in such an esteemed group of accomplished women throughout the Inland Northwest,” Evans stated in a news release. “I am proud of the work we do at BTAA and am honored to be recognized for my contributions.”

Under Evans’ leadership, BTAA reorganized the region’s largest animal welfare organization from a shelter filled with animals with long lengths of stay to an organization with robust programming focused on keeping people and pets together.

That change has resulted in a 500% increase in animals assisted, a 77% reduction in shelter stay duration and a

BTAA has earned national recognition for maintaining a no-kill philosophy, achieving a 98% success rate in 2022, surpassing the 90% benchmark set by Best Friends Animal Society. Evans’ brainchild, Home To Home — a rehoming site for animal shelters — was founded in 2016 and is now used by more than 150 shelters across North America preventing more than 78,000 animals from entering shelters in 2023.

Additionally, the CATalyst Council awarded BTAA its inaugural grant to support the helpline and the national Home To Home program in 2023, addressing issues like inappropriate house soiling among cats. Evans’ expertise has led to invitations to present at conferences such as the Humane Society of the United States and Humane Canada.

14 / R / March 14, 2024 OUTDOOR
Mark Reiner is president of the Gardenia Center Board. Photo by Ben Olson. Mandy Evans. File photo.

Legislative update

Greetings. I hope all is well. The Legislature is in its 10th week of session. The introduction of bills has slowed but is still well ahead of the past five years.

The House is winding down its bill introductions through committees and beginning to hear Senate bills. What does this mean? For the legislative session to end, the state budget needs to be completed and adopted. New bills to add, reduce or edit/amend state statute are not always necessary but are the other part of the Legislative process. Bills can also be used to get other things accomplished.

So, the House getting their bills pushed to the Senate is a step toward finishing the session. Hearing the Senate bills is the next step.

The House and Senate can hold a few important bills the other side wants to see passed as hostage — that way they can try to influence the decision of when to stop and what bills to hear from the other side.

Before the session ends, there will be some controversial bills to vote on.

A library bill (House Bill 710) will be heard this week. This bill empowers

juveniles — and their parents/guardians — to question and report harmful materials found in the juvenile section of a library and request the same materials be moved to an adult section within 30 days.

If the materials are not moved, the juvenile and parent/ guardian would have a “cause of action” against the library with a possible statutory fine of $250 plus any other relief available by law. The county prosecutor and attorney general may also be involved.

Lawmakers entering another step toward finishing the session, though more bills to be heard

LAUNCH program will also be brought to the floor for a vote. This is a $70 million-$80 million program that helps graduating high school seniors pay for their training when they pursue high-demand careers. The program goal is to prepare young Idahoans entering the workforce with the training they need to fill the jobs that Idaho commerce and industry need. These jobs are determined by the Idaho Workforce Development Council.

this change to the Joint Finance-Appropriation Committee (JFAC) process. The first round of agency budgets have all been approved. The secondary budgets are just beginning to come to a vote on the House and Senate floors. The second round of budgets include replacement equipment, cost escalation for services delivered, changes in employee compensation, and new services and equipment.

A school tax credit bill (H.B. 447) was heard earlier this week and voted down in the Revenue/Taxation Committee. The bill would have granted parents an allowable refundable tax credit against their Idaho taxes of up to $5,000 for school expenses, including tuition. A credit of $7,500 would be possible for eligible special needs students. It has been rumored this bill may return for another vote before this legislative session ends.

The funding for the Idaho

Deadline nearing for Angels Over Sandpoint’s community grant requests

Those wishing to access funding from the Angels Over Sandpoint Community Grant Program

Have until Friday, March 15 to submit their applications. Charitable and educational organizations are eligible for up to $2,500 in support for services that benefit Bonner County residents.

Applications can be found on the Angels Over Sandpoint website at under the “need help/grants” tab. Instructions and a complete description of the grant are under Community Grants. All requests must be received by March 15.

Organizations eligible to apply must meet one of the following criteria:

• An organization holding a current tax-exempt status under Section 501(c)

(3), (4), (6) or (19) of the Internal Revenue Code;

• A recognized government entity: state, county or city agency (including law enforcement or fire departments), that are requesting funds exclusively for charitable purposes;

• A pre-kindergarten to grade 12 public or private school, charter school, community/junior college, state/private college or university;

• A church or other faith-based organization with a proposed project that benefits the community at large;

• A children and/or youth program.

“The Angels Over Sandpoint looks forward to your wonderful ideas on how to enhance the life of our children, seniors, veterans, and all Bonner County citizens,” organizers stated. “Each request will get careful consideration.”

Senate Bill 1390 has been introduced to provide more direction and limits for funding this program. Meanwhile, hundreds of our District 1 students have applied for this program.

This year the budgets for state agencies have been divided into two parts. Much has been said and written about

I will be home this Saturday, March 16 for meet-and-greets in Priest River, Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry. I ran an ad in this edition of the Reader with times and places [see Page 3]. Please consider attending. If you prefer to offer your feedback and insight in writing, you can email me at msauter@ or call 208-332-1035.

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

March 14, 2024 / R / 15 PERSPECTIVES
Rep. Mark Sauter. File photo

Local team takes 3rd in Mathcounts competition

Five girls from Sandpoint Middle School took third place in a Feb. 13 competition held by Mathcounts, a national nonprofit organization that brings extracurricular mathematics programs to thousands of kids.

Though it wasn’t advertised this year, student Cara Lankamer remembered the previous competition date just in time and managed to gather up a group of math-loving friends with only a week’s notice.

Seventy-five students from more than 16 teams faced off against each other in the competition in Coeur d’Alene, which tested their speed, accuracy, reasoning, problem-solving and collaboration.

Coached by Tonya Sherman, the team consisting of Clara Sherman, Freya Bearly, Ruthie Laughbridge, Laney Barron and Cara Lankame achieved one of the top scores

after only one evening of practice.

“It was so fun to see five well-rounded, intelligent, confident girls create a team and go for it!” said Sherman. “I can only imagine what would have happened if they had been practicing since Novem-

The bees and the butterflies

Library hosts “Bring Back the Pollinators” presentation

The East Bonner County Library District and Wild Ones Northern Rockies Chapter will host the second installment in the Biodiversity Matters series, “Bring Back the Pollinators,” which explores practical ways to support native pollinators.

George Gehrig, Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation ambassador and founder of WONR, will give the presentation on Monday, March 18 from 5-6 p.m. at the library’s Sandpoint branch (1407 Cedar St.).

ber like many of the other teams. They achieved excellent results. We are so proud of them.”

with limited outdoor space to get involved with community gardens and conservation groups and to make use of vertical planters, trellises or hanging baskets to make the most of small areas. Visit the Sandpoint Library Garden to see the impact of biodiversity and planting for pollinators in action.

“There are thousands of native bees that are critical for pollination and biodiversity,” Gehrig told the Reader in an email. “Bees face many threats including pesticide use, habitat loss and climate change. People can help by planting native plants, providing pesticide-free habitat and nesting sites and spreading the word.

“Even one flowering native plant in a pot can make a difference,” he added.

Gehrig encourages locals

“With the continued assistance from volunteers, we hope to expand the native plants and pollinators section of our demonstration site,” said Library Community Engagement and Adult Programming Coordinator Joyce Jowdy, who helps organize the series. “This garden is for the community to learn, experience, use and explore.”

For more information about the event and resources on helping pollinators, visit, or and listen to the “Bug Banter” podcast at

The library will host the next installment of the Biodiversity Matter series, titled “City Nature Challenge” on Monday, April 15 from 5-6 p.m.

16 / R / March 14, 2024 COMMUNITY
From left to right: Students Freya Bearly, Ruthie Laughbridge, Cara Lankamer, Clara Sherman and Laney Barron take 3rd place. Photo by Tonya Sherman.

Festival at Sandpoint announces 2024 Poster Contest winners

Daniel Gill has been selected as the Festival at Sandpoint’s 2024 Fine Arts Poster Contest winner — the latest in a tradition that dates back to the start of the organization in 1983.

What began as an advertisement and fundraising opportunity for the Festival has become a way to showcase the talented community artists and publicize their work.

creative storytelling.

Since 2022, the Festival has chosen the winning submission in an open competition, evaluated on criteria including: originality, creativity, execution, quality, demonstrated skill, and how well the art embodies the spirit of the Festival and the Sandpoint region in a creative or innovative way.

Gill is a Sandpoint designer and illustrator who studied graphic design at Southern Utah University and earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in 2010. Since then, he has worked primarily as a graphic designer specializing in brand development, visual identity and

Writers on the Lake hosts community writing contest

Sandpoint Writers on the Lake is hosting a community writing contest at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, March 23 at the East Bonner County Library Sandpoint branch (1407 Cedar St.).

The contest is free to enter, with first prize winning $100. Contestants will read their works to the audience (with a five-minute time limit). After all the presentations, the audience will vote to decide the winners.

The contest is open to writers of all ages. All genres of writing — fiction, non-fiction and poetry — are included, but material must be unpublished. First-time writers and younger contestants are especially welcome — there will be a separate division for young contestants.

Registration and breakfast treats start at 8:30 a.m. with readings to commence at 9:30 a.m.

For more information, contact Jim Payne 208-263-3564.

His mediums vary from traditional drawing and painting to digital illustration to photography and video.

“My love of drawing and painting goes back to boyhood,” Gill stated in an announcement from the Festival. “While I now spend more time with a mouse and keyboard, a pencil and brush will always be my first love.”

The winning art piece will be revealed on July 9, following the Festival’s Sponsor Appreciation event.

“As an artist, it’s always tempting to try something complicated and painstakingly detailed, but for this piece, I thought I should try a simple approach that would need little ex-

planation,” Gill stated. “I wanted to see what kind of an image I could get working with just simple shapes and flat colors.

“I hope that anyone who sees the piece will find it to be a tribute to the natural beauty of the region and the summer days that make one want to relax and enjoy the view,” he added.

The artist’s donation of this original piece is not only a tradition but a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization’s mission. The original art is auctioned, with bidding beginning on July 9 and concluding at the Grand Finale performance on Aug. 4. Visit to see more of his work.

In addition, this year’s poster contest was expanded to include a Series Lineup winner. Magdalena Idzikowska, a college student pursuing a degree in graphic and web design from North Idaho College, was selected as the 2024 Series Lineup Poster Artist and scholarship winner.

Idzikowska is originally from Poland, and her passion for travel

KNPS to give progress report on Sand Creek Connections

The Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society program, “Sand Creek Connections: A Progress Report,” will dive into a project established to create a space for community connection, communication and collaboration in identifying a future vision for the Sand Creek Corridor.

Presented by Kaniksu Land Trust Director Katie Cox and KNPS member Mark Stockwell on Saturday, March 16 at 10 a.m. at the East Bonner County Library’s main branch (1407 Cedar St., in Sandpoint), the program will provide an update on continuing work among team members including the Kalispel Tribe, KNPS and other area partners, who will be conducting initial inventories and analysis of environmental conditions in the corridor, such as identifying native plants, invasive species and water quality.

Recommendations on how to

achieve a shared vision and goals for the Sand Creek Corridor will be made to the cities of Ponderay and Sandpoint, and local stakeholders will be engaged to identify opportunities and constraints.

“We will also educate the larger public about our shared water environments, including plants and wildlife habitat, and our public stewardship of these assets,” organizers stated.

Coffee, tea and snacks will be available at the March 16 presentation starting at 9:30 a.m. The program is co-sponsored by East Bonner County Library District and Sandpoint Parks and Recreation, and is free and open to the public.

For questions or more info, contact Preston Andrews at KNPS.Tech@

inspires both her art and her life.

From studying at Liverpool Hope University in England to now attending North Idaho College in Coeur d’Alene, she has worked to merge her creative side with her love for exploration.

“As someone who deeply appreciates nature, I was inspired to create my poster, titled, ‘A Mountain Goat’s Melodic Journey,’” Idzikowska stated. “Upon learning about the presence of mountain goats around Lake Pend Oreille in Sandpoint, I felt compelled to showcase their beauty and significance through my artwork.”

Find more of Idzikowska’s art on Instagram or her online portfolio at

To learn more about the Festival at Sandpoint’s Poster Contest or browse posters from throughout the Festival’s 41-year history, visit

Human Rights Task Force invites grant applications

The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force is seeking grant proposals from community nonprofits, as well as educational and governmental agencies, for the development and implementation of projects and programs specific to human rights.

Successfully funded projects and programs will support the stated mission of the BCHRTF: “to affirm the American principles and ideas of the inviolable dignity and worth of each human being and recognize that everyone is equal under state and federal laws and constitutions.”

The task force hopes to help sponsor activities that enhance human rights, focus on community education, provide a support system for people victimized by malicious harassment or intimidation, and celebrate diversity as a community strength in Bonner County.

Grant requests up to $8,000 will be considered, however the average amount of grants in the past has been approximately $2,250.

For more info on how to apply, go to Applications are made directly to the Idaho Community Foundation and the deadline is Tuesday, April 30.

Contact or call 208-290-2732 with questions.

March 14, 2024 / R / 17 COMMUNITY
Daniel Gill, left, and Magdalena Idzikowska, right. Courtesy photos


Send event listings to

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan Tavern

Bingo Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Cribbage League

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

St. Paddy’s Day Bash: Last Chance Band

8:45pm @ The Hive

Country rock band, with doors at 7pm, line dancing lessons from 7:30-8:30pm for $10, and show at 8:45pm for $5

Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Live Music w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Live Music w/ Thom Shepherd

6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ

Live music, BBQ & beer, the perfect trio

St. Paddy’s Day Bash: Snacks at Midnight

8:45pm @ The Hive

Spokane indie-rock band with irresistable grooves and catchy melodies. $5

Live Music w/ Ian Newbill

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Country and classic rock

Live Music w/ The Buckley Storms

9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

CDA-based indie rock, dance band

$5 movie night: The Commitments

2pm & 7pm @ Panida Theater

1991 Irish comedy, two showings

Sun Daddy Sandpoint Drum Circle

3-5pm @ Embody, 823 Main St.

THURSDAY, March 14

Live Music & Happy Family Hour

4:30-5:30pm @ Matchwood Brewing Co.

Live Music by Buster Brown

Musical Madness with Waldorf School

6pm @ Panida Theater

With Waldorf’s 8th grade performing

FriDAY, March 15

Speakeasy concert series:

Sam Tru and Alex Sjobeck Trio

7pm @ Panida Little Theater

Born and raised in Sandpoint Sam Tru returns after her Festival at Sandpoint opening, playing a hybrid of jazz, soul, pop and R&B. Come see Sam’s incredible vocal talents. $15/advance, $20/day of show

Live Music w/ Justin Lantrip

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

SATURDAY, March 16

$5 movie night: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

2pm & 7pm @ Panida Theater 1982 Spielberg classic, two showings

Live Music w/ Benny Baker

6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ

St. Patrick’s Day celebration

Live Music w/ Courtney & Co.

6-8pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Harp guitar and excellent vocals duo

SunDAY, March 17

Live Music w/ Brendan Kelty

5-8pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Americana on St. Paddy’s Day

No experience needed, free to attend

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Sweet Lou’s SSA Takeover Fundraiser

5-9pm @ Sweet Lou’s (Ponderay)

Strikers athletes and coaches will serve your meal, and a portion of proceeds goes to support soccer program

Live Piano w/ Peter Lucht

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Artful, refined jazz piano

Kindergarten Registration event

8:30-11am / 12-2:30pm @ Zoned schools

Parents invited to drop by their zoned schools for in-person event. Kids welcome but not required for registration

March 14 - 21, 2024

Retirement Mixer

4-6pm @ Farmhouse Kitchen

An event to meet and engage with newly retired folks with the community.

Live Music w/ Double Shot Band

5-7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Live Music w/ Devon Wade (country)

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Steven Wayne

7-9pm @ The Back Door

Family Fun(draiser) Night

6pm @ Presbyterian Church, 417 N. 4th Ave

Corned beef and cabbage dinner by donations taken at door. Fundraiser for Sandpoint Senior Center. Dessert auction

To RSVP: 208-263-6860

Kaniksu Folk School: Print making

10am-1pm @ Big Red Shed, 11735 W. Pine Intro relief printing class to learn basics of making single color print using linocut block with instructor Amy Stephensen. $45 + $15 materials fee

Live Music w/ Marcus Stevens

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Truck Mills

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Magic with Star Alexander 5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

Sandpoint Chess Club 9am @ Evans Brothers

Shamrock Shindig (Newport) • 3-6pm @ Double Barrel Taphouse

Family friendly, Celtic music, art expo, Irish eats and more. Donations at door

monDAY, March 18

Outdoor Experience Group Run

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

tuesDAY, March 19

Paint and Sip with Lisa Maus

5:30-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Paint a fullmoon sky over the lake. $40/person, includes instruction, supplies and first glass of wine

wednesDAY, March 20

Open Mic

6pm @ Tervan Tavern

ThursDAY, March 21

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan Tavern

Bingo Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Cribbage League

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Trivia Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Hosted by a revolving cast of characters

Tapas Tuesday and Live Music

4-5:30pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

With live music by Zach Zimms

Festival at Sandpoint accepting applications to join orchestra

Applications are now being accepted to perform with the Festival at Sandpoint (FAS) Orchestra in the Aug. 4 Grand Finale of the 2024 Summer Series.

Selected musicians will have the opportunity to exhibit their orchestral talent alongside internationally renowned conductor Morihiko Nakahara and professional musicians in the largest orchestra in Festival history.

The Festival is accepting applications, including audition videos, for all orchestral instruments.

Collegiate-level or professional-level orchestra or band experience is preferred.

The 2023 Summer Series Grand Finale was the debut performance of the FAS Orchestra. The Pacific Northwest’s newest sinfonietta was comprised of more than 60 local and regional musicians, curated by Sandpoint-born Dr. Jason Moody, who also served as concertmaster.

Under the baton of conductor Nakahara, the FAS Orchestra performed “The Princess Bride in Concert.”

Applications for the FAS Orchestra are open now. Visit festivalatsandpoint. com/getinvolved to learn more and apply.

A Taste of Ireland (music/dance)

7:30pm @ Panida Theater

A Taste of Ireland performs a show that has entertained thousands around the globe. Celtic tunes, champion dancers and more. for info

18 / R / March 14, 2024
Live Trivia ($5 entry fee) 6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Dune: Part 2 is a visual treat, but strays from its source in critical ways

After decades of waiting, devotees of Dune may be feeling like their time has finally come — that the sleeper of their fandom has awakened with the epic big-screen adaptation of Frank Herbert’s 1965 novel Dune in the form of two two-plus-hour films, the second of which premiered on March 1.

I’m pleased to report that I left the theater on March 2, 2024 feeling pretty OK about the prospects for further bigscreen exploration of the Dune universe.

First the good: Timothée Chalamet continues to ably inhabit the character of anti-messiah Paul “Muad’Dib” Atreides, deftly moving from gifted-but-unsure duke-ling to confident Fremen-in-training to war leader grappling with the dire implications of his burgeoning cult of personality.

Of all the cast members — except Javier Bardem as Fremen leader Stilgar — Chalamet’s Paul hews closest to the intent of Herbert’s original. Which is very good, because without Paul’s trajectory from galactic noob to jihadi-emperor (and the accompanying psychic freight of his universe-spanning “terrible purpose”) there’s not much to Dune other than sandworms.

Dune: Part 2 remains a gorgeous spectacle demanding and deserving the biggest screen and best sound system possible. While fly-bys of the sweep and brutal grandeur of the landscape gobble up a good portion

of the runtime, much more action animates the surface of Arrakis in the second installment, with thunderous battles on the sands culminating with an almighty götterdämmerung for Baron Vladimir Harkonnen (Stellan Skarsgard) and Padishah Emperor Shaddam IV (played by an inscrutably cast Christopher Walken). Much can also be praised in the expanded views we get of the vicious black-and-white Harkonnen homeworld Geidi Prime and its scion, the ultra-psycho Feyd Rautha (Austin Butler).

The scenes of Paul’s ascension to demi-god and how that plays out politically among the Fremen are the narrative highlights of the film, though they hint at some of its problems. Mainly, how they represent Paul’s fated Fremen partner Chani (Zendaya), his Bene Gesserit-trained mother Lady Jessica (Rebecca Ferguson) and “preborn” sister Alia (Anya Taylor-Joy... sort of).

Now the bad: Dune: Part 2 has a problem with its female characters. Villeneuve and his script doctors made the understandable decision to expand Chani’s role from the source material, in which she is first little more than an image in Paul’s dreams, followed by a devoted shield-maiden and quasi-wife.

Making Chani an equally central character in the movie is great; but in the film she’s the surliest 20-something Fremen atheist in Sietch Tabr, then reduced to Paul’s alternately clingy and pissed off girlfriend. Chani in the book is a hardened, unsentimental

E.T. phone Panida

The Panida Theater will hold a special $5 screening of E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial — regarded by many critics as one of the greatest films of all time — on Saturday, March 16 at 2 p.m. This 1982 Steven Spielberg masterpiece surpassed Star Wars, spending 11 years as the highest-grossing film of all time, and was later added to the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.

E.T. follows the growing friendship between a kindhearted alien and a young boy named Elliott as they attempt to get E.T. back home, evading the government and getting into all kinds of hijinks along the way.

Anyone who hasn’t laughed, cried and/or cheered their way through this affecting tale of childhood innocence should consider grabbing a ticket and heading to the Panida for a life-changing afternoon.

For more information or to purchase tickets, visit

warrior in a semi-nomadic desert tribe that rides giant killer worms. That Chani would have no time for romantic possessiveness or petulance, but this Chani kicks ass on the battlefield then stomps out of rooms when her boyfriend is annoying her.

Likewise, the Lady Jessica of the book is as strong, wise and devoted to her son as she is possessed of powers ranging from access to collective memory to controlling every muscle and nerve in her body. Yet, as in Dune: Part 1, the film version of this character is simultaneously weakened bodily and emotionally and turned into the Machieavellian villain of the whole story — manipulating her son and by extension the Fremen into the universal warfare that Paul dreads.

self (Anya Taylor-Joy). This is despite the fact that in the novel, Alia is supposed to have been born and aged enough to play a critical part in the final battle for Arrakis.

Finally, there’s Alia. She’s a fetus who awoke to consciousness in the womb when Jessica ingested “the water of life” (a.k.a., sandworm blood) in order to transcend space and time to become a reverend mother. Alia is not only fully aware in utero, she has all the powers of an adult reverend mother.

That’s weird, I know, but instead of leaning in, Villeneuve chose to keep Alia as a sentient bun in the oven for the whole movie, albeit with a few lines delivered second-hand by Jessica and a quick vision of her grown-up

OK, fine, but by not allowing Alia to be born in Dune: Part 2, we’re left to conclude that the action of both parts of the film took place in fewer than nine months, which is a change to the original story that is as unnecessary as it is absurd.

But I’m not naive — the only people who will care about these quibbles are hardcore Dune fans; and, even as one, I can tell you this movie is a joy to look at. It’s obvious that Villeneuve could clearly do without much of the source material in favor of more conventional storytelling, but we’re a faithful bunch, so here’s holding out hope for whatever a third installment of the Dune films might bring.

The Commitments gives American soul music an Irish twist

Want to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in proper fashion? You don’t have to wear anything green or pretend that you are Irish. Just head over to the Panida Theater on Sunday, March 17 and enjoy the 1991 comedy-drama The Commitments.

The film takes place in contemporary Dublin and focuses on a group of working-class youth as they form a soul band based on American R&B music from the 1950s and 1960s. Such classic songs as “Try a Little Tenderness,” “Chain of Fools” and “In the Midnight Hour” highlight the magic that the Commitments create while struggling to maintain harmony within the band.

The film has received 90% on Rotten Tomatoes from both critics and audiences. Nothing like American soul music showcased through Irish vocalists and musicians to make your St. Pat’s Day top-notch.

There are two showings of The Commitments on Sunday, March 17, at the Panida: a matinee at 2 p.m. and an evening performance at 7 p.m. Doors open 30 minutes before each event. The afternoon showing will be closed-captioned.

Thanks to Ting, the internet service provider, for sponsoring the film.

Jim Healey is a longtime member of the board of directors for both the Panida Theater and 88.5 KRFY Panhandle Community Radio, as well as an avid film buff.

March 14, 2024 / R / 19 STAGE & SCREEN
Courtesy photo Courtesy image

Erin go craic

Irish slang terms to bellow on St. Patrick’s Day

At one point in history, slang was regarded as the vocabulary of disreputable people, with those in high society refraining from such low speech.

Today, everyone from street urchins to billionaires speaks slang; and, since St. Patrick’s Day is looming around the corner, we thought our readers might like to know some Irish terms to bellow at their barmates on that hallowed day of debauchery.


This is without a doubt the most well known, but rarely understood, Irish slang word. Pronounced “crack,” craic means, simply, fun.

It can be a fun, flowing conversation, good times and good company. It can sometimes mean breaking social rules, being mischievous or getting up to no good (but it falls short of breaking laws).

Irish purists claim you always have “the craic,” not “a craic.”

Irish people will often greet others with, “What’s the craic?” which is equivalent to, “How are you?” in the U.S. It isn’t intended to be used literally.

A common phrase used in Ireland and found on the outside of pubs is “craic agus ceol,” which means “live music and good fun.” Also, if something is no fun at all, they might say it’s “minus craic.”


“How was the party last night?”

“It was the absolute solid craic. Craic central, by god.”


When someone asks, “How are you?” in the U.S., people will often respond, “fine,” even if they’re not. In Ireland, they’ll use “grand.”

This is not to be confused with the British usage of “grand,” which means “royal” or “fancy.” Grand in Ireland basically means par or average, or not bad.

Usage: “Howaya?” “Oh, grand.”


In the U.S., we sometimes use the word “doohickey” as a noun substitute for a word we can’t quite remember. In Ireland, they use “yoke.”

Usage: “Hey lad, can you hand me that yoke there?”


Slagging is a foundational part of Irish culture, and it generally means riffing or joking around in a friendly, gentle manner.

While at first glance, it might seem that Irish people are constantly insulting one another, they’re merely slagging. Irish people might slag tourists on their accent, or their funny expressions. They usually mean no offense — it’s just a friendly gesture.

Note: While slag means joking around in Ireland, it has quite a different connotation in England, where it means a woman who has experienced many sexual partners.

‘How’s she cuttin’?’

This light greeting derives from the agricultural foundation of Ireland, and literally asks about the state of your plough or grass-cutting equipment.

‘Ye half eejit ye’

When someone isn’t quite a full eejit (“idiot”), but might act like half of one.

‘You’re an awful snake’

Pronounce snake as “shnaake” in this expression, which means, “You’re quite a sneaky person, but I like it.”

The jacks

In the U.S., we call our bathroom facilities a “John” or we’ll sit on the “throne,” but in Ireland they refer to restrooms as “the Jacks,” as in, “Where are your jacks?”

Rhyming slang

Irish people love to rhyme their slang words, with a few

examples being:

Stall the ball

A playful way to ask someone to slow down: “Can you stall the ball — we need to get a photo by this yoke.”

Mae West

This means “best,” as in, “I’m not feeling the Mae West today.”

Cream crackered

This means exhausted, and it rhymes with another Irish slang word, “knackered” which means tired.

Sound as a pound

Basically means, “It’s all good.” This expression might be used for someone to describe a friend who is helpful or a good soul.


Someone who is boring and no fun at all.

‘I will yeah’

This is Irish sarcasm, because when you hear an Irish person say, “I will yeah,” it usually always means, “I definitely will not.”

‘Acting the maggot’

To fool or mess around.

Culchie or blogger

A culchie or blogger is someone who lives in a remote part of Ireland. Those living in Dublin tend to refer to anyone living outside the capital as one of these terms. A U.S. equivalent might be “hillbilly.”

‘Now we’re suckin’ diesel!’

This means making progress, as in, “I couldn’t motivate myself earlier this morning, but now we’re really suckin’ diesel!”

Drinking terms

Ireland has a lot of slang for drinking booze or getting drunk. Often they’ll just add “-ed” to the end of practically any word to get across the same meaning. Scuttered means being blind drunk, but they might also say, “buckled,” “locked,” “hammered,” “trollied,” “plastered” and so on. Langers is an expression for being drunk, as is “on the lash.”

Naggins and shoulders are sizes of spirit bottles, typically vodka. While a shoulder might get you scuttered, a naggin is perfect for sneaking into a pub.

‘Top o’ the morn’!’

Irish people never say this phrase and you shouldn’t either, unless you want to come across as a daft eejit.

20 / R / March 14, 2024 HOLIDAY
“What’s the craic, ye half eejit? Ready to get trollied?” Generative AI.


‘Jazz adjacent’

When Sandpoint-raised Sam Tru opened for Gladys Knight at the Festival at Sandpoint in 2021, it was the realization of a dream she’s had for as long as she can remember. Now, Tru is back in her hometown to play a special show at 7 p.m. on Friday, March 15 at the Panida Little Theater.

The second in the “Speakeasy Series” of shows, Tru will play alongside the Alex Sjobeck Trio to bring her unique blend of jazz, soul, pop and R&B — or “jazz adjacent” as Tru calls it — to a more intimate audience.

Tru’s roots are in Sandpoint, where her family goes back several generations, but she now lives and makes music in Boise.

“There is a lot of music in [Boise], and I have been fortunate to ... collaborate with a wide variety of incredible musicians,” Tru told the Reader

Along with her solo work, Tru has thrown in with a quasi-jazz trio called The Kindness as well as collaborated with the Boise Philharmonic

Orchestra and Boise Cello Collective.

“All of these experiences have helped me grow as a musician and are incredibly inspiring,” she said. “I take what I learn from each of these experiences and put that toward the music I write.”

Tru has been hailed by critics for her unique hybrid jazz style — perfectly showcased on her 2020 album Cycle, which made the nominating ballot for the 2021 Grammy awards.

“I feel honored that my album was so well received,” she said. “Cycle was released in January of 2020, which wasn’t great timing.”

Downbeat Magazine wrote that the album “offers up a persistent theme of unrequited love, harmonies that entertain the ear, an excellent band and an Amy Winehouse-sounding mournfulness that overlays the eight tunes here.”

Speakeasy Series: Sam Tru and Alex Sjobeck Trio

Saturday, March 15; doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m.; $15/ advance. Panida Little Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208-263-9191, for tickets. Listen at

Tru’s plans to tour and promote her album went out the window after the pandemic set in, causing the album to stall despite great traction and critical acclaim.

“When I heard I was on the nominating ballot the next year it restored my faith in the record, and

Sam Tru & Alex Sjobeck Trio playing Speakeasy show at Little Panida

gave me more confidence to keep writing and continue to promote the album even years after it was released,” she said.

While her most recent show in Sandpoint was on the biggest stage in town — for a legend like Gladys Knight, no less — the Speakeasy Series takes place inside the Panida Little Theater, offering a more intimate experience.

“There seems to be a deeper connection with the audience in these settings,” she said.

Joining Tru onstage is the Alex Sjobeck Trio, which Tru connected with in Boise in 2019 through a mutual mentor. The pandemic put a hiatus on collaborations until recently, but Tru said Sjobeck is her “first call when I get a gig opportunity.”

Joining Sjobeck on the piano will be bassist Josh Skinner and drummer Gabriel Mangione, all hailing from Boise.

“We have all known about one another for a while now, but this is our first opportunity to play together and we are absolutely loving it,” Tru said.

The show will feature original songs written by Tru and Sjobeck, as well as some arrangements of their favorite tunes, which Tru said will “encapsulate the ‘jazz adjacent’ genre.”

In the meantime, Tru said she’s excited to continue this

tour and eventually record another album to follow up her successful Cycle.

“The goal is to record this year and release an EP in early 2025,” she said.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

The Buckley Storms, 219 Lounge, March 16

Last time Coeur d’Alenebased rock band The Buckley Storms played the 219 Lounge, those in attendance were blown away with their fresh take on the genre.

The energetic and unpredictable performers bring together vibes of surf rock, bluegrass, dance, indie rock and good ol’ rock ’n’ roll for a unique show that promises good times.

If you like bands like Wil-

co, The Wallflowers and U2, you’ll appreciate The Buckley Storms.

Bonus: There will also be plenty of Guinness and Jameson flowing at the Niner for a proper St. Patrick’s Day prefunk.

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

Brendan Kelty, MickDuff’s Beer Hall, March 17

Folk-rock artist Brendan Kelty traces the roots of his soulful music to the Northeastern Rust Belt, though it’s grown and evolved through his travels and time spent in nature. His updated Americana sound draws inspiration from the wilderness of the Pacific Northwest, giving it a rustic, welcoming vibe that still feels inventive despite its familiarity.

Pass a glass among friends

This week’s RLW by Soncirey Mitchell


New Zealand author Tamsyn Muir’s debut novel Gideon the Ninth is a gothic, science fantasy story with a captivating mystery at its center — plus necromancers in space. I sped through this book, desperate to know more, while simultaneously wanting to throw it across the room. The swordswoman Gideon is truly the female version of a “himbo” (kind, beefy and stupid) and inspires emotions as big as her muscles. Read it and suffer with me.


this St. Patrick’s Day on Sunday, March 17 while listening to his original work at the most Irish of downtown Sandpoint establishments — MickDuff’s Beer Hall. Just don’t forget to wear green.

— Soncirey Mitchell

5-8 p.m., FREE. MickDuff’s Beer Hall, 220 Cedar St., 208209-6700, Listen at

My dad’s punk band X-15 released its album Bombs and Insurance more than 40 years ago, bursting into the ’80s West Coast punk scene and helping to usher in Seattle’s famous grunge era. Rock critic Daina Darzin dubbed the sound “melodic punk,” which would have been an oxymoron before X-15 changed the local music scene. Hits like “Mad Again” and “Vaporized” have stood the test of time by capturing the essence of youthful rebellion and political disillusionment. Listen on Spotify.


Grab your second breakfast and dive into the essence of my childhood by watching the 1977 version of The Hobbit. This Rankin/ Bass production was animated by the team that would go on to form the universally beloved Studio Ghibli. What makes The Hobbit truly special, though, is the incredible soundtrack performed by folk singer Glenn Yarbrough (and talents like Thurl Ravenscroft). For me, listening to the song “The Greatest Adventure” feels like coming home. Watch it on Amazon Prime.

March 14, 2024 / R / 21
Courtesy photos


Only for the vigilance of Sheriff John Amblie and his deputies a wholesale escape of prisoners from the county jail might have taken place last Tuesday night. Suspecting that an attempt would be made, however, the officers remained close at hand during the night and apparently the sounds they made were carried to the attentive ears of the leaders of the sortie and the attempt was not made.

The delivery was apparently planned by way of the kitchen.

Between the wall of this room and the jail corridor, a large section of heavy sheet iron has been made fast to the wall on the jail side. A radiator is placed at this point also, and, on the kitchen side opposite, this section of the wall lies between the range and the sink. Apparently, on Monday night this section of steel or iron plate had been jerked loose from the wall, with the idea of completing the task of removing it Tuesday night. With this out of the way it would have been an easy matter to knock the lath and plaster from the wall in the kitchen, permitting as many who wished to pass through and then make their way to liberty through the office to the coveted out-of-doors.

The crowded condition of the jail has made it impracticable to confine the prisoners in separate cells, there not being enough of the latter to care for all of them. For this reason, inmaates have been given the run of the corridor.

Sheriff Amblie suspects four prisoners as being the ringleaders in the plot to escape and is keeping a close watch on them.


“Hell is other people.”

— Jean-Paul Sartre, No Exit

I had a severe allergic reaction to the COVID-19 vaccine while in college. My joints swelled so much I couldn’t move them; my entire body broke out in hives; and, eventually, my throat started to swell.

Don’t misinterpret my story: I had a choice between getting vaccinated and dying — or potentially killing my parents — during a global pandemic. I don’t regret my decision.

As I sat in the emergency room, my face red and swollen, a male doctor asked me why I’d come in. I told him I was having all the classic symptoms of an allergic reaction and that I felt like my throat was closing. He agreed that, yes, these were “textbook symptoms.”

Then he asked me if there was any chance I was pregnant. I told him, “No,” and he left. He returned an hour later and asked me if there was even a slight chance I was pregnant. I told him, “No,” and he left. An hour and a half later he led me into an exam room and once again declared I was displaying “textbook symptoms” of an allergic reaction — then he asked me if I wanted to take a pregnancy test.

“There’s no possible way I’m pregnant,” I said, and he looked at me like a parent disciplining a toddler, covered in marker, who swears up and down she doesn’t know who drew on the walls.

“The female body reacts to pregnancy in many distinct ways. And the woman doesn’t always know...,” he said, shoving a $300 pregnancy test into my hands and making it clear I’d get no treatment until I complied.

After two and a half hours, he gave

Seeing a male doctor as a woman

me a shot of epinephrine “just in case,” and suddenly I didn’t feel like I was dying.

Shockingly, I wasn’t pregnant. It took me four visits to four different hospitals — the last to a female doctor — for a medical professional to confirm that I’d had a severe allergic reaction.

Reruns of House and Royal Pains had apparently made me a better diagnostician than the average doctor’s medical school. My friends from conservative states like Idaho and Missouri have all had similar experiences, the only difference is I had my medical emergency in western Washington.

On a recent Sunday, my Missouri friend proposed we move to a liberal area like Washington to escape the oppressive politics of our respective home states.

“They at least have things like women’s rights,” she said.

The Washington Legislature does indeed protect women’s reproductive rights — rather than stomping them into the dirt while simultaneously running every OBGYN out of the state — but Idaho sets the bar low. I’d love to share her dream of greener pastures, but in my experience, no state is a haven for us.

No matter where women go in the U.S., doctors will reduce us to our reproductive organs.

When I walked into that E.R., though the doctor admitted I had all the symptoms of an allergic reaction, he still only saw me as a uterus. Not only did my personal well-being matter less than that of my theoretical child, but the doctor either thought I was lying to him or too stupid to know if I might be pregnant. Neither option paints a flattering picture.

When existentialist philosopher and playwright Jean-Paul Sartre wrote, “Hell is other people,” he wasn’t simply an introvert at the office Christmas par-

ty. He meant that the way others perceive us affects how we move through life and, consequently, our reality. Likewise, because we can never know another person’s mind, other people are essentially objects to us, and we must work to recognize that they’re their own subjective beings.

Often, when we talk about women being viewed as objects, we focus on the concept of sexual objectification. It’s glaringly obvious that advertisers reduce the half-naked models eating Carl’s Jr. hamburgers to set-dressing for the horny and hungry, but our society often forgets that women don’t have to walk around in lingerie to be seen as objects. For myself and many women in my life, actions as mundane as going to the doctor can turn Sartre’s philosophical concept into a harsh reality.

Unlike in his play, there is no exit — no hope of escape — for us. Political extremism and threats to women’s rights will continue to spread if left unchecked. We have to dig in our heels and reshape doctrine, legislature and society where we are if we ever hope to walk into a hospital unafraid.

One good thing about hell, at least, is you can probably pee wherever you want to.
From Pend Oreille Review, March 13, 1924
22 / R / March 14, 2024
Crossword Solution Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

Solution on page 22

Laughing Matter

By Bill Borders

taradiddle /tar-uh-DID-l/

Word Week of the


1. a small lie; fib

“The mischievous twins concocted a taradiddle about their missing homework to avoid getting into trouble with their teacher.”

Corrections: We listed an incorrect URL for the Angels Over Sandpoint. It’s, not .com. Also, in the story “Sandpoint P&Z recommends approval of fairgrounds lot subdivision,” we misidentified the Sandpoint City Council as having hosted the public hearing on March 6. It was the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday, March 5. Also, we flubbed the date on Voices of the Wild Earth fine art raffle fundraiser. The drawing will take place Friday, March 15.




20. Local Area Network

21. Mark down


24. Amount of medication

25. A set of garments 26. Small fastener 27. Sage

28. Engrave

29. Picnic insect


Solution on page 22


56. Perfume

57. Large Asian country

8. Jewish month

9. 5 plus 5

10. Surround completely

13. Stopped

14. Feudal worker

15. On edge

16. Unpunctual

19. Deservedly receives

22. Grain alcohol

24. Lowlife

26. Bleats

27. Was victorious

30. Large mass of floating ice

32. Honey insect

33. Climb up

34. Seashores

35. Side by side

38. Windflower

39. Eventually

40. Hurried

42. Humiliated

44. Being

45. Ceasefire

48. Banquet

49. 2.53 centimeters

50. Type of salmon

53. Morning moisture

55. Container

March 14, 2024 / R / 23
Kind of nut 6. Condition 11. Extreme 12. Rhythmic
15. Remnants 16. Scales 17. N N N 18. Bicyclist
42. Cozy
45. Not
46. Jewels 47. South
48. Forceful 51. Encountered 52. Sporting venues 54. Not a single person 1. Emotional
2. Stretchable 3. And more 4. Ship
6. Climbed 7. Fables DOWN
Uninterested 31. Humiliation 34. Walking sticks 36. Dung beetle 37. Big party 41.
Chop finely
on page 22
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