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2 / R / March 16, 2023

The week in random review

Mad House(s)

Not so long ago, real estate meant merely the buying and selling of property. Now it’s a morbid obsession. In the past week, I fell down two online rabbit holes related to the perverse contortions of the contemporary property market: Zillow Gone Wild and McMansion Hell. The first one is a multi-platform, regularly updated compendium of the most ridiculous listings found on the real estate website Zillow. Some highlights I recently saw on the @zillowgonewild Twitter feed: a five-bedroom building in New York City that features an elevated bed with a waterfall running from directly beneath the mattress ($7.5 million); a 2,000-square-foot, one-bedroom pyramid in Texas for $80,000; a 48,000-square-foot Victorian Era fortress in Wales for £500,000; and an entire decommissioned prison in Missouri on sale for $195,000. Find it on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and Substack. McMansion Hell, meanwhile, collects interior and exterior images of the most egregiously overbuilt, gaudy and shoddily constructed “mansions” around, then rips them apart with the wit, vim and bile of a particularly exasperated architect. Find that one on


Value of the items contained in the gift bags handed out to nominees of the 2023 Oscars, which took place on March 12, including a $25,000 credit for home renovations; a vacation at a Canadian estate worth $40,000; three nights in an Italian lighthouse valued at $9,000; and skin, hair and other cosmetic services totalling $41,000. That’s nothing compared to the 2020 Oscars, though, which included swag worth $261,000.


I love it when the people who think they’re the Most Patriotic American reveal that they know the least about their own country’s history (maybe there’s a correlation?). My favorite such instance from the past week or so was when Sen. Chris Trakel, R-Caldwell, argued in favor of a bill that would repeal the Idaho law that bans paramilitary groups (notably militias) from parading around with firearms, saying, “I’d like to point out that this country was built on the fact of our militias and that this country takes great pride in the freedoms that citizens have and [those] opportunities.” Not hardly, buddy. Here’s what George Washington had to say about “the fact of our militias”: “To place any dependance upon Militia, is, assuredly, resting upon a broken staff (sp). … [I]f I was called upon to declare upon Oath, whether the Militia have been most Serviceable or hurtful upon the whole I should subscribe to the latter” (letter to John Hancock, Sept. 25, 1776). Here’s another one: “I am wearied to death all day with a variety of perplexing circumstances, disturbed at the conduct of the militia, whose behavior and want of discipline has done great injury to the other troops, who never had officers, except in a few instances, worth the bread they eat” (letter to nephew Lund Washington, Sept. 30, 1776). And here’s yet one more, from a letter to Thomas Jefferson and fellow governors on Oct. 18, 1780: “I solemnly declare I never was witness to a single instance, that can countenance an opinion of Militia or raw Troops being fit for the real business of fighting.”


It’s with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to award-winning cinematographer and longtime Sandpoint community pillar Erik Daarstad, who passed away March 13 at age 87.

If you didn’t know Erik, he was one of our very best. Aside from his remarkable 65-year career filming history through his camera lens, Daarstad was also a dedicated family man, fervent supporter of the arts, martini enthusiast and a dear friend. Some of my favorite memories with Erik are discussions with him in my office about everything under the sun, or passing the time on Thursday mornings while I delivered newspapers at the Tango Cafe where he met for morning coffee and spirited debate with his Round Table group of friends. When you made Erik laugh, his face would always erupt in a wide, beaming smile that seemed to take over his entire face. It was a smile that just made you feel like you were doing something right in life. I will miss it.

We dedicate this week’s issue to Erik and would like to express our sincere condolences to his family and friends. After we put this newspaper to bed on deadline night, Zach and I will drink a martini in your honor, Erik, and touch glasses to toast a life well lived.

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

Publisher: Ben Olson

Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor)

Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey (News Editor)

Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus)

Advertising: Kelsey Kizer

Contributing Artists: Erik Daarstad family (cover), Ben Olson, Otto Kitsinger, Bill Borders, Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey

Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Clark Corbin, Emily Erickson, Rep. Mark Sauter, Rep. Lauren Necochea, Steve Klatt, Patty Hutchens

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

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About the Cover

This week’s cover photo is of renowned cinematographer Erik Daarstad, who passed away March 13 at the age of 87. The photo comes courtesy of the Daarstad family.

March 16, 2023 / R / 3

Council takes on Hwy. 2 redesign in marathon info workshop

Transportation plan amendment slated to go back to councilors for decision on May 3

As promised, the Sandpoint City Council hosted an informational workshop at its regular March 15 meeting focused on the Multimodal Transportation Master Plan, with a particular emphasis on concepts related to U.S. Highway 2 and the “East-West Connection,” often referred to as “the Couplet.”

With a stacked agenda, the workshop drew dozens of written comments from the public and included a joint presentation from Sandpoint Infrastructure and Development Services Director Amanda Wilson and Preston Stinger, a transportation planner with Fehr and Peers, with which the city has contracted.

Wilson’s and Stinger’s presentation covered 59 slides, ranging from an overview of the goals and objectives of the Transportation Master Plan — which the council approved in 2021 — to a history of planning related to U.S. 2 to vehicle data and simulations and a prolonged discussion of the details of the long-term East-West Connection concept.

Running in excess of five hours, city officials were still addressing written public comment as the Reader was going to press nearing 11 p.m.

The meeting opened with pointed testimony during the forum portion, kicked off by former Sandpoint City Planner Jeremy Grimm, now of Whiskey Rock Planning and Consulting, who criticized City Hall for limiting public participation to written questions, rather than an interactive workshop format.

“This is Sandpoint. Look yourselves in the mirror. You’ve got your people here who want to speak and let you know how they feel about something you’re potentially adopting that’s going to transform the community,” he

said, later adding, “We are mute.”

“Is this what you consider government?” he said with obvious emotion, going on to suggest that the way the city conducts its public business changed in 2015 after the adoption of a city administrator form of government, “and that needs to change.”

Resident Molly McCahon also testified about “what looks like public exclusion,” adding that public outreach on the concept “feels disingenuous to me.”

“If I could trust the master plan process it would be one thing,” she said, describing being “blindsided” by decisions that “go totally against” the wishes of residents.

“Keeping up with the city feels like a job and I have been resenting that deeply,” she said, calling on officials to go door to door, host “better workshops” and conduct more robust surveys.

The U.S. 2 concept has ruffled more than a few feathers since it made its way back into the public spotlight following the Feb. 1 council meeting, when councilors voted to approve the purchase of the property currently home to the popular Dub’s Drive-In at the intersection of U.S. 2 and Boyer Avenue.

That acquisition, for $380,000, would open the way for creating an access point off U.S. 2 to South Boyer Avenue in order to provide a north-south connection across the highway. However, that route would run directly through Dub’s, which current owners Marty and Jeralyn Mire are leasing back from the city and subleasing to new owners, who will operate the business at its current location until such time as the city needs to use the property.

Including the left-turn access off U.S. 2 to South Boyer in the concept would require an amendment to the already-approved Transportation Master Plan, which drew attention — and much public opposition — to the concept as a whole. While councilors voted

to approve the Dub’s acquisition, they held off on voting for the master plan amendment, preferring to host the workshop, which took place March 15. A decision on the amendment, which will include more opportunity for public testimony, is expected at the regular Wednesday, May 3 meeting of the City Council.

At the workshop, Wilson emphasized that “a pretty broad spectrum of individuals” participated in the process of creating the East-West Connection concept over the course of several years, including a variety of state and local agencies, community members and industry representatives.

According to the design, Pine Street would remain two-way from U.S. 2 to Fifth Avenue, with a signal placed at Pine and Fifth. Northbound traffic would travel on Fifth, which would be converted to one-way. Southbound traffic accessing U.S. 2 would need to exit the intersection at Fifth and Cedar and take a new two-lane, one-way route — one half of the “Couplet” — traveling along the Sandpoint-Dover pathway to the envisioned intersection east of Boyer and Pine, where it would then join U.S. 2.

Among the key reasons cited in the presentation for contemplating those changes is to reduce the

amount of traffic cutting through neighborhoods to avoid congestion on the arterials while reducing the number of lanes to be crossed by pedestrians and cyclists by splitting the directional flow of traffic into two separate routes.

According to data presented by Stinger, Sandpoint experienced average daily traffic of 20,200 vehicles in 2010, after which it fell dramatically with the opening of the U.S. 95 Sand Creek Byway. Today, the ADT is pegged at 13,500, though anticipating 2.3% per year growth in traffic, Sandpoint is on track to return to those “pre-bypass” figures of 20,000plus ADT by 2040.

Opposition to the concept has come from a number of residents and former city officials, who liken it to “the Curve,” which was a similar project brought by the Idaho Transportation Department in 2011, but which the city rejected in 2013 based on impacts to surrounding businesses as well as safety concerns.

“The Couplet concept was favored by the community in 2012,” Wilson said, adding that the notion of splitting north- and southbound traffic into separate one-way routes was intended to avoid the type of large-scale widening on U.S. 2 north of Cedar Street and Fifth Avenue.

In 2013, when the city rejected the Curve, it was based on concerns about business impacts, the potential number of traffic lanes, and pedestrian and cyclist safety.

“All of those were unanimous concerns by City Council,” she said, “So the project took a pause for the next year, year-and-a-half.”

That was until 2015, when the city signed a formal agreement with ITD, agreeing that a future expansion of U.S. 2 would occur on a swath of former-railroad property purchased by the city when the transportation system fell below an unacceptable level of service. The only design on file for that potential future expansion remains the Curve, Wilson said. Meanwhile, the city regained control of its downtown streets from ITD and the department constructed the current Fifth Avenue alignment.

According to the presentation, the purpose of restarting the conservation surrounding the concept is “to inform the beginning of a redesign for how U.S. 2 and city streets connect. …

“The city’s request for advancing this redesign is to provide the community and businesses certainty to the future of the U.S. 2 corridor and related impacts.”

“It’s relaunching that process that we did in 2011 and 2013 that we never really came to a great place with,” Wilson said.

“We’re picking this project back up because we have unresolved issues with where our streets interface with the highway,” Wilson later added in answer to numerous questions about why the city was again considering the highway revision.

“We’re not trying to pick it up to advance construction, we want to solidify solutions for our citizens and the only way to do that is by working with ITD,” she said.

NEWS 4 / R / March 16, 2023
Residents attend the Sandpoint City Council meeting on March 15 to hear information about the proposed U.S. Highway 2 redesign. Photo by Ben Olson.

Boundary line adjustment for BoCo Fairgrounds RV campground upheld on split vote

Sheriff files complaint with AG as disagreement over use of county land continues

Bonner County commissioners wasted no time at their March 14 meeting making allegiances known regarding an issue that first reared its head in July 2022: the expansion of the Bonner County Fairgrounds’ RV campground, and, more specifically, where that expansion should take place.

Commissioners Steve Bradshaw and Luke Omodt voted March 7 to contract with Sewell and Associates to conduct work related to adjusting the boundary line at the fairgrounds to fully encompass and bring into compliance a parcel for the new campground, located southwest of where the project was originally proposed in 2022.

Omodt said the reason for the relocation would be to continue accommodating overflow truck and trailer parking in the northern area during the fair and other events. The work, which is not to exceed $25,000, would be paid for with funds from an Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation grant secured last year.

Omodt and Bradshaw originally proposed the replatting and boundary line adjustment during a special meeting

March 2 (Commissioner Asia Williams was not present due to a scheduling conflict), but, after a warning from legal counsel that the item might not have been properly noticed, waited to vote on the matter until the following week’s BOCC business meeting.

Williams voted against the measure on March 7, alleging it was improperly noticed and had not taken into consideration the input of Sheriff Daryl Wheeler,

who has previously come out as opposed to developments on the land between the fairgrounds and sheriff’s complex in the interest of saving that space for the future construction of a new justice facility.

Williams brought the issue back onto the agenda March 14, seeking a review of the decision. When it came time to adopt the order of agenda, Omodt made a motion to strike the item, and Bradshaw stepped down from the chair to second the motion. The two voted to remove Williams’ request for review, but the commissioner still used her designated District 2 Commissioner Report time to address the issue.

“This causes unnecessary hardship between the Fair Board and the sheriff,” she said, later adding: “This is [the Fair Board’s] decision to make.”

She yielded her report time to Wheeler, despite objections from Bradshaw. Wheeler shared that he had filed a complaint with the Idaho Attorney General’s Office alleging the BOCC had violated Idaho’s Open Meeting Law by improperly noticing the March 2 special meeting as a “Discussion/ Decision Regarding IDPR Grant Award — Fairgrounds,” and not mentioning the boundary line adjustment. As a result, Wheeler contested, the subsequent business meeting discussion and vote to engage with Sewell should be considered null and void.

Wheeler’s comments prompted an impassioned response from Bradshaw, who said that all county land “falls under the jurisdiction of the Bonner County commissioners and the Bonner County commissioners only.”

“When somebody says something that is not true, or intentionally misrepresents, they

have a word for that person that is being untruthful,” he continued. “Any one of y’all are welcome to inform the sheriff what that word is. We should do truth and honor — something you’ve been lacking somewhat.”

When Wheeler attempted to interject, Bradshaw advised him to “stay in [his] lane” and accused the sheriff of waiting for moments in front of the “public media” to “come forward and be our great constitutional sheriff,” meanwhile misrepresenting the facts.

“The only thing honorable about this man is that uniform he’s wearing,” Bradshaw concluded.

Omodt used his District 3 Commissioner Report time to state that he was not opposed to the future construction of a justice facility on the property.

“In the instance where we could actually fund the $50 [million]-$100 million necessary to build a justice complex, I am absolutely in support of that,” he said. “An RV park is something that is very simple to change. … When and if the voters approve it, we can adjust that. Until that time, I stand by our decision to be fiscally responsible and support our county fair.”

Still, the “either-or” theme surrounding the issue persisted

throughout public comment, which included an advisory ballot measure proposal brought by Bonner County Republican Central Committee Clark Fork Precinct Committeeman Dimitry Borisov, which would ask voters to share their preferred use of the land in question: an expanded RV campground or a justice facility.

Borisov’s proposal was submitted into the record without comment from the board.

At the advice of Deputy Prosecutor Bill Wilson, Williams’ request to review the Sewell contract decision appeared back on the agenda after the attorney — who arrived late to the meeting and therefore missed the order of agenda amendment and vote — said the most appropriate course of action would be to respect a commissioners’ right to agendize items and then vote on them, rather than striking them altogether.

When Williams brought her motion to disengage with Sewell to the floor, Omodt voted “no.” Williams implored him to explain why, to which Omodt responded with stories of his experiences as a participant in the Bonner County Fair and as a member of the Idaho National Guard utilizing the fairgrounds-adjacent property known as the Bonner County Readiness

Center. He noted his family’s generational connection to the area and how the fairgrounds are a part of the county’s agricultural heritage.

“I am 100% opposed to having a resource of Bonner County lie fallow,” he said. “We are not giving up anything — we are trying to be fiscally responsible.”

“Appeal to emotion is not enough for you to reach into my pocket and do this,” Williams said in her rebuttal.

Public comment on the item urged the board to disengage with Sewell and collaborate with the sheriff and Fair Board before making further decisions about the RV campground.

“There is a huge amount of angst over this property, and I think the counsel of just waiting — just giving it time so that everything can be looked at — would be the best advice I can give,” said Bonner County Clerk Mike Rosedale.

Williams’ motion to disengage with the surveyors ultimately failed 2-1, with Omodt and Bradshaw voting “no.”

NEWS March 16, 2023 / R / 5
“The only thing honorable about this man is that uniform he’s wearing.”
— BOCC Chairman Steve Bradshaw referring to Sheriff Daryl Wheeler Bonner County Commissioners Luke Omodt, left; Asia Williams, center; and Steve Bradshaw, right. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.

Idaho House kills bill that would have restricted voting by absentee ballot

More than 129,000 Idahoans voted by absentee ballot in the November election

The Idaho House of Representatives killed a bill March 13 that would have placed strict restrictions on who could vote using absentee ballots or even request an absentee ballot.

The Idaho House voted 30-40 to kill House Bill 205, which would have prohibited Idahoans from voting by absentee ballot for convenience. Instead, if the bill had passed, Idahoans would have needed to meet one of a handful conditions to vote by absentee ballot, including serving in the U.S. armed forces, illness, disability or hospitalization, serving a religious mission, staying at a second home they own, or having to work or attend university classes.

In November’s general election, 129,210 of the 599,493 votes cast were cast by absentee ballot, representing about 21% of all votes.

Rep. Joe Alfieri, a first-term Republican from Coeur d’Alene, sponsored House Bill 205, saying it was necessary to prevent voter fraud. Alfieri said it would be easy for hackers to steal someone’s personal information, request an absentee ballot, forge a voter’s signature and vote fraudulently — practices which are already illegal.

Alfieri said in-person voting is more secure because voters must present photo identification (or sign a voter identification affidavit).

Unless his bill passes, Alfieri warned Idaho could be “on the precipice” of experiencing voter fraud that he alleged was widespread in other places.

“Our goal here is to preserve our republic,” Alfieri said in his debate. “And the way our republic functions is through the voting process. It should not be a convenience. Our republic, our country, our state is much more important than that.”

Opponents of bill say Idaho elections are secure and voting shouldn’t be more difficult

But many legislators, including a several Republicans, said Idaho has secure elections and voting is a fundamental right that should not be made more diffi-

cult to exercise.

“So, I heard a lot of concern about what might happen, what could happen, what’s happened in other places. What I didn’t hear is what’s happened in Idaho,” Rep. Britt Raybould, R-Rexburg, said in her floor debate against the bill. “And to the best of my knowledge, no examples have been shared that indicate that there is an issue with how Idaho conducts its elections.”

In her debate, Raybould asked legislators to consider whether its fair to ask Idaho grandparents to make a judgment about whether visiting grandkids out of state is a qualifier to be eligible to vote by absentee ballot, or to ask Idahoans to understand whether or not their condition meets the state’s definition of illness or disability. Raybould also pointed out that anyone who supplies false information on a request for an absentee ballot is already breaking federal and state election laws and subject to a $50,000 fine or imprisonment.

“So here is the question I am asking: Are we really comfortable with potentially making the fellow citizens in our state accidental criminals because we put forward a bill that adds unneeded complexity to a system that is currently not at risk of fraud, has not experienced fraud and has worked just fine for the citizens of this state as is?” Raybould asked.

“We could keep going down this rabbit hole of all of the things that could happen,” Raybould added. “I am inclined to focus on the things that have happened in this state and what has happened are secure elections. That’s what I am standing for and that’s why I will be voting ‘no’on 205.”

Because House Bill 205 failed to receive the support of the majority of members of the Idaho House, it is dead for the session and will not be sent to the Idaho Senate for consideration.

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

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:

According to a Department of Energy study, the U.S. has enough geothermal energy in shallow locations to heat every U.S. home and commercial building “for at least 8,500 years.” Advocates of clean geothermal energy believe it could move forward with government plans to incentivize construction.

After the cartel deaths of two Americans traveling to Mexico for cosmetic treatment, the BBC shared why Mexico is a destination for “tens of thousands” of U.S. citizens seeking medical care. It’s more affordable (a co-pay under insurance in the U.S. can cost more than treatment in Mexico) and, typically, quality of care is equal to that in the U.S., though maybe not for surgical procedures, which run the risk of infection. The U.S. Department of State warns against travel to some areas of Mexico, while some Mexican border states also have travel warnings.

The second-largest bank failure in America occurred March 10, when Silicon Valley Bank was shut down. That followed bankers’ half-million dollar investment in lobbyists pushing for less scrutiny of “low risk” banks, The Lever reported. Under scrutiny: SVB’s CEO pulled out “millions” weeks before. The bank closure has been linked to a bank deregulation bill signed in 2018. The FDIC took over SVB during the following weekend, where more than 90% of deposits were not insured. By March 12, measures were announced to fully protect fund owners, with no burden to “be borne by the taxpayer.”

Bloomberg noted that the SVB scenario included a gamble with deposits: bankers speculated the Federal Reserve would not raise interest rates, so they invested in long-term Treasury bonds. But those declined in value when the Fed pushed up interest rates. Two crypto-friendly banks also recently failed.

President Joe Biden introduced his $6.9 trillion 2024 budget proposal last week, which The Wall Street Journal said would “save hundreds of billions of dollars” by lowering drug prices, raising some business taxes, cracking down on fraud and cutting spending that Biden sees as “wasteful.” Biden asked for a larger defense budget in light of the Russia-Ukraine ordeal and tensions with China.

Various media reported that Biden’s budget proposal includes measures to protect Social Security and Medicare,

lower prescription drug prices for current and future retirees, cap older Americans’ generic drugs at a low cost for chronic conditions, and improve and expand home and community care services for seniors and the disabled.

Funds for those projects would come via lifting the cap on Social Security pay-ins for those with incomes more than $400,000. The latter is expected to reduce the deficit by close to $3 trillion over the next decade. Incomes under $400,000 would see no increase in federal taxes.

Biden’s plan includes changing the Trump-era tax break for corporations from 21% to 28%. The rate was 35% before Trump’s 2017 cuts. The proposal would also raise the tax on capital gains for those earning at least $1 million annually from 20% to 39.6%.

The wealthiest 0.01% would pay a minimum 25% income tax rate, as opposed to the current 8%. Biden’s budget posed a sharp contrast to “supply-side economics,” used since the 1980s, that exploded deficits and upped the national debt, historian Heather Cox Richardson stated. A 2020 Rand Corporation study found that $50 trillion “moved” from the bottom 90% of Americans to the top 1% between 1975 and 2018.

Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy called Biden’s budget “completely unserious.” So far, House Republicans have not submitted their own budget, but are working on the Default Prevention Act, which would allow the federal government to continue to borrow money for existing debts and prioritize some debts over others, The Washington Post reported. The plan could cut $150 billion from the federal budget in the upcoming fiscal year. The White House said the DPA puts “wealthy foreign bondholders over working Americans.” According to Mark Zandi, of Moody’s Analytics, Republicans’ cuts will be “so extreme” they will trigger a recession and cost as many as 2.6 million jobs.

Some 56% of Americans define “woke” as being aware of social justice, not being overly politically correct, according to a USA Today/Ipsos poll.

CNN reported the International Criminal Court plans to investigate accusations that Russia unlawfully acted in Ukraine by abducting Ukrainian children and targeting infrastructure.

Blast from the past: “The price of apathy is to be ruled by evil men.” — Plato, Greek philosopher (427-347 BCE).

6 / R / March 16, 2023

Idaho Legislature’s JFAC finishes setting 2024 state budget

Public schools would see an increase of $378.6M in state general funding, including $145M increase for teacher raises

The Idaho Legislature’s Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee reached a major checkpoint in this year’s legislative session as it finished setting the fiscal year 2024 state budget March 14 and signed off on a 16.4% increase in state funding for K-12 public schools.

Altogether, JFAC approved a $378.6 million increase in state general fund spending for public schools. That includes a $145 million increase in state funding for teacher raises — enough for the state to send an additional $6,359 per teacher to school districts and charter schools. That brings that statewide minimum starting teacher salary in Idaho to $47,477 next year.

That starting salary meets a major goal Gov. Brad Little outlined in his Jan. 9 State of the State address, where he called to increase starting teacher pay to place in the top 10 nationally based on 2020-’21 National Education Association data.

The $378.6 million increase in state general fund spending also satisfies the $330 million funding increase for public schools that legislators approved in House Bill 1 during the Sept. 1 special session.

In a statement released by his office March 14, Little called the budget JFAC set a promise kept.

“Thank you to JFAC for your support of our public schools this morning!” Little wrote. “You put Idaho students and families first by approving increased pay for teachers and classified staff across the board. We’re making the teaching profession in Idaho more competitive and rewarding, which keeps great teachers in the classroom to help our students achieve.”

“Last September, we secured historic investments in public schools and workforce training while cutting taxes, and 80% of Idaho voters approved the move,” Little added. “This is a ‘promises made, promises kept’ moment, and I am proud of my legislative partners for putting Idaho first.”

The K-12 budget JFAC set March 14 was broken into seven divisions, and each will be written up as a separate budget bill that will need to pass the Idaho House of Representatives and Idaho Senate.

In terms of total state general fund dollars, the budget is the largest for public schools in Idaho history.

Idaho Education Association President Layne McInelly said in a statement released March 14 that the increases, if passed, will allow school districts to pay a livable wage to education support professionals and classified school district employees, including office assistants, nurses, bus drivers, cafeteria workers, classroom paraprofessionals and others

“These proposed budgets show all educators — both certified teachers and classified educators — the respect they deserve by providing the competitive, fair compensation Idahoans want them to have,” McInelly said in the statement. “They are a bold and important step toward reversing Idaho’s decades of chronical underfunding of public education and begins to address many of the challenges facing our public schools, including the ongoing educator vacancy crisis crippling school districts across the state.”

In an interview March 14, JFAC co-chair Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, said the public school budgets include “historic numbers.”

Horman told the Idaho Capital Sun the raises for teachers and school classified employees who do not require a teaching certificate, such as information technology specialists, paraprofessionals or clerical workers, are larger than the raises approved for other state employees. The state is sending school districts and charters enough money to pay for raises of $6,359 for all teachers through the career ladder salary allocation system, but teacher salaries in Idaho are negotiated at the local district level each year and vary between school districts and charter schools.

There is also additional money outside of the public schools

budgets for arts grants, public school safety and career-technical education, she said.

“It is a huge investment in public schools,” Horman told the Sun. “And we hope that districts will see the investment that is being made here and give property tax relief to their property tax payers.”

Horman said she hopes the education funding increases from the Idaho Legislature will curb local school districts’ needs to put forward supplemental levies to local voters.

Passing the 2024 budget moves Idaho’s legislative session

closer to adjournment

The K-12 public school budgets were among the largest and one of the last aspects of the state’s fiscal year 2024 budget that needed to be set. JFAC’s original deadline to finish setting the 2024 budget was March 10, but JFAC’s budget setting hearing schedule was affected last week by ceremonies honoring the late-Idaho Gov. Phil Batt.

Republican legislative leaders are working to adjourn the 2023 legislative session for the year on Friday, March 24 — the end of next week. As a general rule of thumb, it takes about two weeks for budget bills to be written and

have the time to pass through both legislative chambers. However, legislators are able to suspend rules and work quickly in the final days of a legislative session.

For the session to adjourn on time, all of the budget bills would need to pass both legislative chambers and be signed into law.

If either the Idaho House or Idaho Senate kills a budget bill this week or next, that could extend the session beyond the March 24 target deadline. A legislative impasse over a major pending bill like the new property tax bill could also threaten to extend the session.

Even though the 2024 budget is set, JFAC met again March 15 to consider transfers. There are also a handful of bills circulating that would spend additional state money if they are passed into law. If those bills pass, JFAC may reconvene to draft so-called trailer bills to provide funding for those bills. They are called trailer bills because they follow behind a traditional agency budget.

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

Storied Futures exhibit reception invites public to take in local history, consider approach to development

The quote “history doesn’t repeat itself, but it often rhymes” is widely attributed to writer Mark Twain, though historians aren’t certain that he was the one who actually said it. Regardless of attribution, more certain is the truth in the turn of phrase — history never reflects in exactitudes, but the themes remain intact regardless of era.

In Sandpoint, the history of development is a patchwork of the same conversation again and again: How can we grow and

change without losing what’s already been established as our community character? It’s a theme of today, and one that’s persisted for well over a century.

It’s also the concept behind a new community-curated exhibit known as Storied Futures, which showcases the findings of a two-year research project on the history of Sandpoint’s Elsasser Homestead. A reception for the exhibit will take place Friday, March 17 at Evans Brothers Coffee (524 Church St.) from 5-7:30 p.m.

The project takes a microcosmic look at what can be learned

through studying the creation and ultimate demolition of a local homestead to make way for a modern housing development. Storied Futures came to life through a partnership between architect Reid Weber, Hannah Combs of the Bonner County Historical Society, writer Emily Erickson, community member Cynthia Dalsing and illustrator Owen Leisy.

The exhibit will be on display at Evans Brothers until May. Look for a bigger story on the Storied Futures project in an upcoming edition of the Reader

March 16, 2023 / R / 7 NEWS
Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee co-Chair Rep. Wendy Horman, R-Idaho Falls, directs committee business at the Idaho State Capitol building. Photo by Otto Kitsinger.


•It’s rare that I give Bouquets to the Idaho House of Representatives, but I have to give credit where it’s due. I was pleased to see the House voted 30-40 to kill off House Bill 205, which would have prohibited Idahoans from voting by absentee ballot for convenience. One thing we’ve learned from more than two years of constant whining from election deniers is that our elections are in fact secure. That isn’t my opinion or said for entertainment — it’s a fact, supported by more than 60 judicial rulings in the aftermath of the 2020 election. There’s just no “there” there. Any attempts to restrict access or convenient methods to vote should always be turned away at the pass. If someone is of legal voting age and eligible to vote, we should never make it more difficult for them to do so.

Kudos to Rep. Mark Sauter for voting to kill this bill. Too bad his colleague Rep. Sage Dixon voted to pass it.

• I was so pleased to read about the Storied Futures exhibit currently on display at Evans Brothers Coffee. It sounds like a really cool idea and I encourage anyone interested to attend the opening reception from 5-7:30 p.m., Friday, March 17 at the coffee shop. The project is a collaboration of a two-year research process between Hannah Combs with the Bonner County History Museum, architect Reid Weber, writer Emily Erickson, community member Cynthia Dalsing and SHS senior Owen Leisy. I’m really pleased to see the next generation of stewards taking a step forward to promote and produce events like this. Please keep up the good work and shine a light on our history.

Barbs: Next week, friends.

A young person’s perspective…

Dear editor,

From a 15-year-old’s perspective of our country, deep sadness fills my heart as I look back at what our country used to be. My tears fall vainly for a country that’s dying, but I will always remember the men who died so we can all be free. Look at the Star-Spangled Banner waving in the wind with fierce pride. In God we trust shall be our motto, land of the free home of the brave.

Why do the “elites” treat us this way? For all they see is money and power. In a world full of wickedness, will goodness and truth surely prevail?

Without God our country is nothing. Without religion and morality, freedom cannot stand firm in its foundations. My future is set up for totalitarianism between the government and artificial intelligence. They will try to control me with their deceiving ways. In God I will trust, for America is the land of the free home of the brave!

concerned about the full disclosure of details of sexual abuse forced upon children in our community. There is absolutely no valid reason to report such shocking details in a small local paper. It only needlessly stigmatizes the victims, further traumatizing the children.

This kind of sensationalistic journalism also discourages other victims from reporting abuse. The research on this goes back decades.

This type of reporting also targets victims among their peers and unhealthy adults who seem to enjoy the further exploitation of others. The only purpose of detailing sexual abuse is to sell more newspapers and it’s appalling that our local paper is stooping to this level of re-traumatizing children who’ve already been through hell.

Anyone who supports this type of content, which absolutely re-traumatizes victims, needs to take a hard look at the quality of their moral fiber.

Instead of this salacious type of reporting, how about detailing what our elected officials are up to here locally and in Boise that has the potential of causing great harm for generations to come? How about educating the public on topics to engage our society to work for a better future, rather than exploit vulnerable abuse victims?

Councilman (and later Mayor) Ray Miller frequently said that the one thing we did not need was another study. I agree with his sentiments and applaud the recent comments of former Sandpoint Public Works Director Kody Van Dyk along that line [Letters, “City of Sandpoint should look local for its future…,” March 3, 2023].

And surely we don’t need “experts” from hundreds of miles away who can’t even identify the mountain ranges around us.

It’s now been seven years since the city hired an administrator to run our city. I’ve lost track of how many “studies” and “plans” the city has paid for. Abdicating their leadership roles as a city council didn’t work in the late 1970s and it sure isn’t working now.

Dear editor, I listen each week to a different area pastor’s invocation for the Board of Bonner County Commissioners’ regular business meetings, appealing for moral consideration toward just and reasonable conduct of county business. I’m listening!

to even be objected to by fairground beneficiaries, not to mention the Idaho attorney general and a great many citizens in red, white and blue heaven.

A reasonable and simple resolution exists when constitutional county officers are embroiled in significant disagreement and division. Provide judicial review back to the county residents via the largest public hearing available, a non-binding advisory ballot question: Justice Complex use or fairground campground use.

We shall not be silenced. County business shall not be secreted. Our grievances are being assembled.

Dear editor,

I am a veteran and have owned and used guns for sport for over 60 years. The Idaho Legislature is considering repealing all or part of the state’s law banning private militias. I think that would be opening the door for evil people to take up arms and take the law into their own hands. What we saw in D.C. on Jan 6, 2021 was just a glimpse of what a world with militias could be like.

Dear editor,

If the city goes forward and submits a plan to ITD for the Couplet it will be placed into ITD’s capital plan. It isn’t going to languish there until 2040 or later when traffic conditions might actually warrant doing something. ITD will commit to funding and that project will be on the ground within seven years. That’s a big highway bisecting Sandpoint, as Government Way does in Coeur d’Alene.

With that proposed project also comes a return of through trucks downtown. Is this the legacy mayor and council want to leave? That they divided Sandpoint and brought truck traffic back to downtown Sandpoint?

Carrie Logan Sandpoint

Dear editor, Recently there have been a series of articles in the Daily Bee that I feel need to be called out. The many mental health care workers that I’ve spoken with are extremely

Dear editor,

In 1995, when mayoral and council candidates were addressing the issues facing the city, the candidates shared one basic issue: They said we need to return to basics in city government. They said things had become too complicated and more attention had to be paid to what residents wanted in their city government.

“We need some common sense in government,” said mayoral candidate John Conlan, a Sandpoint icon. “We need to solve things, not study things until they’re so complicated that no one can understand them.”

They echoed one another, saying the city must find out from residents what kind of a town they want Sandpoint to be and follow that path.

My recollection from 24 years as Sandpoint’s city clerk is that

I then observe the newly chosen BOCC chair [Commissioner Steve Bradshaw] turn long-standing precedent of public business on its head by invoking unlawful executive session to secret public business, to deny appropriate authority of vested public duties and responsibilities, to capriciously wield the advice of counsel, and to apply censorship of public comment for bureaucratic convenience and a surreptitious proxy agenda, and uses verbal threats to “throw us all out of the room” for daring to participate, or Lord forbid, make any challenge of to this public servant.

Additionally, I’ve heard Sheriff Wheeler’s plea to both the BOCC and the public for civil engagement. I commend Sheriff Wheeler for standing firm in defense of the Constitutional right to partake in civil First Amendment rights, without mitigation.

In full disclosure, the BOCC’s pursuit of the conveyance of county property from current and future Justice Complex use, for skating rink and then campground use, defies fiduciary land management. The BOCC misrepresentations of fact, and lack of compliance to code, toward land use usurpation appears

Idaho’s Constitution states that the “military shall be subordinate to the civil power” and similar statements are in the constitutions of 48 of the states. Repealing the law would be unconstitutional.

Supporters of repealing the law say that the law is antiquated and not in compliance with the First and Second amendments. It’s not the law that bans militias that is antiquated, it’s the militias that are antiquated. This is not the 1800s. Also, established case law has repeatedly said laws banning militias are constitutional.

Militias are not about expanding freedoms; they are about taking away freedoms by forcing their beliefs on others.

Militias are not about the rule of law; they are about bypassing the rule of law.

Militias are not about fighting for our independence; they are about taking away independence.

Militias are not about protecting democracy; they would be legalized anarchy with guns.

8 / R / March 16, 2023
Hwy. 2 ‘Couplet’ concept would bring trucks back through downtown…
Reporting sexual abuse details is traumatic, sensational…
‘Words of wisdom from the past and present for the future’...
An open letter to Idaho legislators and Gov. Brad
‘We shall not be silenced’…

PERSPECTIVES Emily Articulated

Gardening 101

The mix of rain and sunshine the past few days, along with the blanket of snow showing its dirt and mud-splotched patches, has me thinking about spring. I’ve lived in this area too many years to think it’s actually arriving; but, for many Idahoans, beyond prematurely daydreaming about dry ground, this pre-spring time of year also marks the beginning of a wellplanned growing season.

Experienced gardeners will be pulling out their seedling planters, honing in their transplant schedules and gridding out their seasonal plots, all while holding visions of the bountiful summer salads fresh on their menu in July.

Although I dabble in planted goods, I’m far from a master gardener, often planting things too soon, too late, in too much shade or in poor quality soil. But there are a few general rules of thumb, some Gardening 101 concepts, in which I am confident. Like, the seeds you plant are the plants that grow.

This concept, although seemingly obvious, could benefit many of our local and state decision makers of late.

For example, no matter how powerful the growing season, seeds of expanded roadways in the downtown area won’t grow into anything other than increased traffic in our downtown. By decreasing access to the arts district, removing a swath of public park and adding several additional lanes for pedestrians to cross when walking

to the Farmers’ Market, out to breakfast or to their favorite downtown shops after grabbing a coffee, we’re doing nothing other than prioritizing semi traffic over the pedestrian. We lose the benefits of the “walking town” so proudly printed at each of Sandpoint’s entrances. It doesn’t matter if those seeds are labeled “the Curve,” “the Couplet,” “East-West Connection” or “semi thoroughfare.”

Similarly, if the seeds of loosely regulated development are planted, towering condominiums, sprawling storage unit complexes and subdivisions with neat rows of unaffordable housing will grow.

When selling the area’s rural character to the highest bidder, workforces will be pushed farther away from the jobs that need them; service-based businesses will struggle to find and keep employees; and second-, third- and fourth-homeowners will crop up in the place of people who want to live, participate in and contribute to the community.

What else could possibly grow from those seeds?

Another Gardening 101 concept in which I’m fairly confident is that what you put into your soil matters.

Like, if our state leaders continue to fertilize their legislation with hypocrisy — in one breath crying “First Amendment protections” to advocate for parading in the streets with weapons, while with the next screaming to restrict people’s freedom to parade in the streets in high heels and a feather boa — what grows will look a lot closer to hate and discrimination than the safety and wholesomeness they’re claiming to sow.

Comparably, if you douse your soil in a toxic mix of fear and punishment, criminalizing health care providers for meeting the basic needs of their female patients, and women for having concerns and making choices about their own bodies, how could a skilled, qualified medical workforce possibly survive, let alone grow? How must women and families weighing the now-increased risks of pregnancy feel about the prospect of and safety in putting down new roots?

The final Gardening 101 concept of which I’m pretty sure is that requiring a seedling to grow across your whole yard before letting it live in your garden, or plucking new growth just to prevent it from maturing, ensures very few (if any) plants will grow.

The Idaho Legislature’s proposed “solution” to ballot initiatives and referendums, SJR 101, seeks to increase the number of legislative districts requiring signature-designated

support from 18 to 35 — closely resembles the pruning of public input and opinion to make way for the monolithic cover-crop of certain legislators’ own agendas.

Luckily, with gardening, there’s always course-correction within a growing season. We can sow fresh seeds of plants we know we want to grow. We can replenish depleted soil with the well-rounded

nutrients of community and encourage its upkeep through our consistent participation. And we can prune, not only the weeds that inevitably crop up throughout a growing season, but the people from positions of power who have proven time and again that they have no business making decisions about our garden in the first place.

March 16, 2023 / R / 9
Retroactive By
Emily Erickson.

Science: Mad about

northern flicker

Every year, around this time I hear a little tap, tap, tap at the window. First thing in the morning, it’s always a little bit disorienting — who is tapping at my window? Shaking off the morning grogginess, I swiftly come to the realization that the pre-spring alarm clock is the annual window cleaning service. Brown-and-white feathers, speckled with black and splashed with a touch of red, the northern flicker has come to scavenge the remains of insects lining the edges of my window panes.

You may be familiar with the northern flicker, a large member of the woodpecker family that lives here year round, but is most visible during the winter months. You may have heard its call while wandering the trails, though it may have been difficult to differentiate from the sounds of chipmunks and squirrels. The northern flicker makes a very high-pitched and repetitive “yipyipyip” sound that can repeat itself for several seconds. The true hallmark of the northern flicker’s call is its drumming. These birds will repeatedly tap their beaks against a surface very rapidly to create a hollow drumming tone. This sound is used by the bird to identify itself to its neighbors and to attract mates. It’s similar to the behavior of that one really loud guy at the bar who’s always trying to start a fight:

“Look how big and imposing I am! No one is as loud as I am! I am a prime candidate for a mate!”

Northern flickers have a higher success rate with this obnox-

ious behavior than humans do, particularly when they decide to percuss on a metal roof.

Woodpeckers will often stick to trees where they’ll root for insects and find shelter from large predators. Northern flickers take a slightly different approach, instead foraging for insects on the ground until something spooks them into flight. Similar to grouse, the northern flicker will explode into flight and startle whatever was passing by in a flash of brown, white and red feathers.

Similar to many other woodpeckers, the northern flicker has an extremely elongated tongue that can extend up to two inches beyond the point of its beak. This specialized tool is used by the bird to probe into anthills and capture ants to eat. You may be wondering to yourself: “Doesn’t it hurt? Aren’t the ants biting its tongue? How is it grabbing the ants?”

While I may not be able to answer the first two questions, I can tell you that the northern flicker has a special salivary gland that secretes a sticky substance that coats the tongue every time it emerges from the beak. This sticky substance glues the ants to its tongue, allowing the bird to pull them back into its beak to eat them. Ant al dente!

The northern flicker’s appetite for ants also explains its preference for foraging at ground level. While ants will climb trees to gather sap and other resources, they almost exclusively build their nests underground. Their predictable pattern, guided by pheromone trails, makes the insects easy prey for the agile woodpecker.

The northern flicker has a tremendous range, flying as far

north as Alaska and as far south as Nicaragua. The bird’s range extends from the Pacific to the Atlantic, though you begin to see some variety in the appearance of the bird past the Rockies. The red shafted northern flicker resides around here, easily identifiable by the brilliant red patches that look like rouge on its cheeks. A yellow-shafted variant becomes prominent as you travel eastward, claiming much of the southern United States, stretching its range all the way up and into Maine. During breeding season, they’ll travel into some of the northernmost reaches of every province in Canada.

Breeding season extends from February through July, as parents will create a nest in a hollowed out section of a dead tree or artificial nesting box and lay between five and eight eggs. Both parents will take turns incubating the eggs in the nest, which will not go untended until the chicks are ready to venture out on their own. Woodpecker parenting is a full-time gig.

As beautiful as they are, these birds do have natural predators. Northern flicker chicks are vulnerable to raccoons, squirrels and snakes. Adults are preyed upon by raptors that specialize in hunting other birds. Death by hawk is one of the most brutal outcomes for any creature on Earth, as hawks will often daze their prey with an impact, pin them with their talons and let their prey exhaust themselves until the hawk feels confident enough to eat the prey alive.

Northern flickers will perform a ritualistic dance during mating season. It’s an unusual display, and one not often seen by humans. Two males will puff

out their chests and point their beaks upward to fence at the air in the direction of one another, sometimes for hours before one of them abandons the territory and moves on. This isn’t unusual bird behavior by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s incredibly funny to watch. There are numerous videos of the bird’s mating dance on Youtube if you are particularly interested.

Unfortunately, their numbers are declining, likely due to human-related activity and a changing climate. While their numbers aren’t in a freefall toward becoming endangered,

they — like virtually every other non-human animal other than roaches and rats — are steadily declining in population. You can help slow this decline by building a nesting box and hanging it up securely out of the reach of many common predators. While there is no guarantee that a bird will inhabit your space, even offering a spot may help a bird that’s struggling in the future. There are several books on building birdhouses and nesting boxes at the library, each one specially designed to house a specific kind of bird.

Stay curious, 7B.

•The human bladder is essentially a sac that holds urine until we release it into the wild, which happens four to 10 times a day for most people (and many more for beer drinkers).

•After passing through the kidneys, fluid will end up in the bladder, which expands as it fills. When it’s full, nerve endings in the bladder walls send signals to the brain, indicating that the organ is full and we need to empty it.

•When in the proper place mentally, physically and perhaps emotionally for urination, our brains send a signal to the bladder to start contractions. The sphincter — a muscle located on the exit of the bladder before the urethra — then relaxes and urine flows through the urethra until the bladder has been emptied.

•Urination is a way for our bodies to get rid of unwanted cells and toxins, which are filtered out by the kidneys. When kidneys filter our blood, they replace water, blood and good cells such as proteins and nutrients into the bloodstream. In layman’s terms, urine is all the bad stuff leftover from our blood.

•There are three main types of bladder problems: overactive bladder, a lack of control of sphincter muscles and urine retention. With an overactive bladder, your brain sends unexpected signals to the nerves in your bladder, making you feel like you need to urinate even if your bladder isn’t full. A lack of control of sphincter muscles is usually from nerve damage, making it difficult to hold urine in the bladder. Finally, with urine retention, the bladder is too weak to contract and the brain doesn’t get the message that it needs to urinate, even with a full bladder.

10 / R / March 16, 2023
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Greetings from Boise

It is the duty of the Legislature each session to set and approve a balanced state budget. I believe it’s the only required duty. We have a considerable number of bills to pass to fulfill this obligation. Of most recent concern is the holding of appropriation bills on the House floor and doing the same with all Senate bills. I’m told this effort is to help with negotiations between the Senate and House leadership, and the governor. The original plan was for us to be finished on Friday, March 24. Things are getting contentious, too.

Recently, an Education Committee member abruptly left our meeting after a vote didn’t support a bill she favored. Before leaving she made a point of scolding those who voted against the bill and disparaging the person (and his bill) next to her. She hasn’t returned.

We get a lot of emails. Lately we average about 125-150 a day. This is understandable. It is good to hear the insight of so many. Most encourage a certain way to vote on

an issue. Some are positive, some are negative. Many point out how we should have voted. Some are threatening. The same holds for phone calls. Some messages are late by several days, meaning the votes have already happened.

It’s worth noting that not all votes are “yea” or “nay.” Some votes during a bill hearing give direction to the bill author to make edits or more substantial changes. These votes don’t necessarily stop a bill. The bill just gets amended before it is moved forward.

However, to some, the vote to direct an amending procedure is a vote against the original bill and

The tricky business of amending bills, and other updates

against an issue.

Voting on a bill — no matter the direction of the vote — does establish a legislator’s position on an issue. Often, within an hour or two of a vote, posts start to appear on social media. The wording may go something like, “[fill in the name] doesn’t support kids, or families, etc.” The truth is the legislator may be supportive of the bill concept, but believe the current bill isn’t what it should be. Obviously, politics can be inserted into this mix as well.

An example of this problem occurred with two recent library bills. House Bill 139 was a broadly written bill that carried civil fines for libraries found distributing questionable materials to minors. This type of enforcement language has been called a “private cause of action.” Plaintiffs who bring these types of complaints may be awarded thousands of dollars and are often given years to file their complaints after an alleged incident occurred.

HB 227 directed libraries to develop policies to cover the security of objectionable materials —

that is, keeping minors away from certain content — and how parents could protest materials they found problematic.

Both bills defined obscene materials in a similar way and dealt with an issue that has been in the news for the last couple of years. They both failed to get a “do-pass” recommendation of approval in committee, but for different reasons. As a result, the bill authors were encouraged to work together to develop a bill that would give direction for library board policy, improve the confidence for parents and have some consequences.

Today I learned another library bill will be introduced soon. I’m told the new bill has the fine portion reduced to $2,500 per event. I haven’t read the bill yet. The story is the bill will go before the State Affairs Committee this time instead of the Education Committee, like last time. Apparently the bill authors are hopeful they can get approval this time.

The Education Committee will soon hear a school bathroom bill. Since last Thursday evening, I’ve received about 1,700 — yes,

1,700 — emails supporting the bill. Interestingly, our three school superintendents all support the direction of the bill. So I will likely be supporting the bill as well.

What’s the point here? It’s that sometimes it takes time to work out the details of a bill. Yes, it can take too long, and the final product isn’t always perfect. But it can be better than it would have been on the first try.

Finally, we just passed a property tax relief bill (HB 292). I will write about it next week. As expected, there was little time to consider it. It was first rolled out the afternoon before the vote, and will likely be the only tax relief bill we get to vote on this session. The bill is a mix of actions that should help our homeowners and our schools.

Rep. Mark Sauter is a firstterm Republican legislator representing District 1A. He serves on the Agricultural Affairs; Education; and Judiciary, Rules and Administration committees. Contact him at msauter@house.

Good transportation design requires balance between vehicle, pedestrian movement

It is interesting to observe the discussions begin again about transportation routes through Sandpoint, as individuals once again dig their philosophical trenches to create more “roadblocks” to finding an optimum or even acceptable driving solution.

Having been on the Sandpoint City Council in the 1970s, when we implemented a one-way street grid so that we could drive through Sandpoint and worked with public involvement on the Sand Creek project, this subject is not new to me.

I still find myself maintaining the position we need to have a transportation design that allows

all traffic flow through Sandpoint, and this does definitely include commercial trucks of all shapes and sizes.

Through decades of commu-

nity transportation planning, we have never really done justice to the industrial trucking complex clustered in the northwest corner of Sandpoint, and this is one vital economic component of our community. Likewise, we are a community of pedestrians and bicyclists needing connectivity from one side of town to the other. Functional traffic design typically calculates the numbers of types of users on the road system. Designing dysfunction for the majority to accommodate a preferential few is not a good design premise, either. Sandpoint as a community chose a course of traffic routes bisecting Sandpoint in the 1980s, when the city began opposing the concept of a western route for a bypass that could connect all highways.

Finding solutions to any divisive community issue takes some open-mindedness, tolerance of others’ viewpoints and willingness to incorporate a little personal humor into our interactions. So, I find it troubling when we chide political polarity in governmental affairs and elected officials, then start chains of diatribe to instigate polarity on this issue rather than promoting community conversation.

There are numerous elements available to be utilized for pedestrian movement, as well as choices for connecting traffic routes for both form and function. I am an old-school road and highway guy who believes traffic design has a primary purpose to accomplish: smoother vehicle movement while accommodating pedestrian


The most recent downtown street designs were all about pedestrians and few considerations were made for how vehicles traverse between highways. Somehow, creating traffic movement that shifts to residential streets as the most expedient routes through Sandpoint is not really very good design for city residents, either. There are many of us who live in the county, traverse Sandpoint for our livelihoods and are local shoppers, but do not find the lack of vehicular connectivity a community attribute.

Steve Klatt is a former Sandpoint City Council member and retired longtime director of the Bonner County Road and Bridge Department.

March 16, 2023 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES
Rep. Mark Sauter. File photo. Steve Klatt. File photo.

It’s time for the Legislature to get on track

At the onset of this legislative session, we had strong proposals to enact, opportunities to seize and problems to solve. Sadly, progress on Idaho’s most pressing needs has stalled. As we zoom toward a target March 24 adjournment, it is past time for the Legislature to get on track.

Idahoans spoke clearly in their advisory vote last November: We resoundingly endorsed a new $330 million investment in K-12 public education and $80 million for in-demand career training. Idaho Democrats were eager to enact these investments as our first order of business. We hoped our Republican colleagues would be just as eager to take up the charge.

Instead, these common-sense investments are threatened by political hostage-taking, infighting and general hostility toward education. The in-demand work force bill squeaked through the House by a single vote. It took every Democrat to overcome the majority of Re-

publicans in opposition. It is now languishing in the “amending order” in the Senate. Zero steps have been taken to bolster teacher and education support staff pay as rural schools, in particular, are struggling with hiring. A bill to

start addressing the nearly $1 billion backlog in school facilities needs failed in committee.

This theme keeps repeating itself. Idaho families and employers rely on child care, yet Republicans just rejected $80 million for child care business support. Idahoans want better infrastructure. So far, not one budget has advanced, whether it’s for shovel-ready wastewater projects or the maintenance backlog for our beloved state parks.

What are Republicans in power advancing?

One far-right folly after another: criminalizing certain vaccines, bringing back firing squads, attempting to ban drag shows while taking down our entire cultural arts sector, taking away the rights of parents to make medical decisions for their children, ensnaring libraries in endless frivolous lawsuits, banning most absentee voting so that people with vacation homes can vote by mail but not those traveling to a loved one’s funeral, amending the Idaho Constitution to effectively eliminate our ballot initiative rights, allowing armed militias to parade down Main Street and restricting bath-

room use.

These bills will not bring good jobs to our state. They will not improve our schools. They will not make raising your family more affordable. They will not lower your property taxes so you can stay in your home.

These manufactured issues are worse than mere distractions from voters’ real concerns. These bills are outright harmful. They attack our fellow Idahoans, stoking fear and hate for our LGBTQ community. This toxic environment makes business owners and talented employees think twice about putting down roots in Idaho, causing lasting damage to our economy.

We know what the people of Idaho want. The Idaho Legislature needs to start delivering.

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

Volunteers needed for trail projects in North Idaho

The Idaho Trails Association recently released its 2023 project schedule, with more than 80 work sites planned across the state this spring, summer and fall. Now, the organization is seeking volunteers to help undertake that work.

Projects range in length from one day to one week, and in difficulty from “easy” for beginner hikers to “strenuous” for seasoned volunteers. Hikers who are interested in joining are encouraged to visit ITA’s website to sign up for a project. No trail maintenance experience is necessary to join.

“We are thrilled to have over 80 projects planned this season; there is something for everyone, from day trips to weeklong projects deep in several of Idaho’s iconic Wilderness areas,” stated ITA Executive Director Melanie Vining in a news release. “I’m excited to see what ITA can accomplish on trails across Idaho this year, with more projects planned than ever before, and focused work on the Idaho Centennial Trail.”

ITA has a number of projects scheduled throughout North Idaho. Below are the projects scheduled for Bonner and Boundary counties:

Lakeshore: May 13-14

ITA volunteers will cut out logs and brush on this trail along the upper western shore of Priest Lake on Lakeshore Trail No. 294. There will be car camping available for those who would like to spend the night and enjoy the camaraderie. Hiking difficulty is “easy,” while project work difficulty is rated “moderate.”

Mickinnick: June 3

Coinciding with National Trails Day, volunteers will cut out logs, do tread work, improve drainage and trim back brush on the popular 3.5-mile hiking trail in west Sandpoint. Difficulty rating is “moderately strenuous.”

Boulder Meadows (women only): June 17-18

This Women in the Wild project takes place in the Boulder Meadows area about 45 minutes drive time east of Naples, including tread work and brushing, as well as sawing logs off the trail. Car camping is scheduled for Saturday night and work will be until mid-afternoon on Sunday. Difficulty rating is “moderately strenuous.”

Navigation Trail — Backpacking 101: June 24-25

This backpacking clinic at Navigation Trail No. 291 on Priest Lake will provide a chance for new and experienced backpackers to get together and share ideas on how to better enjoy the sport, as well as perform trail work. Hiking difficulty is “easy” and project work difficulty is rated “moderate.”

Beehive Lakes: July 8

Located at upper Beehive Lake, this project includes cutting trees, removing brush and repairing tread on the four-mile Beehive Lakes Trail No. 279 about an hour north of Sandpoint. Crews will work from the morning until mid-afternoon. Difficulty rating is “moderately strenuous.”

Beetop Roundtop: July 15-17

Volunteers will dig and saw, carrying tools and day packs, to perform three days of tread work, brushing and sawing out logs along this five-mile section of the Idaho Centennial Trail about an hour and 15-minute drive north of Clark Fork. There will be car camping available for those who would like to spend the nights in the area. Difficulty rating is “moderate.”

Grouse Mountain: July 24-28

This project includes tread work and brushing on Trail No. 53, which goes up and past Grouse Mountain about 30 minutes southeast of Naples. Work will take place Monday-Thursday. Volunteers will only have to carry some personal gear to the high camp, as food and a cook will be provided. A packer will take the crew back to the trailhead on Friday to head home. Cost is $50 to cover food and other expenses for the five-day project. Difficulty is “moderately strenuous.”

Blacktail Lake: Aug. 7

In partnership with the Sandpoint Monday Hikers group, volunteers will do brushing and tread work on Blacktail Lake Trail No. 24 (an approximate 1.5-hour drive east of Sandpoint) for several hours before turning the hikers loose to explore the lake and its surroundings. Hiking difficulty is rated “easy” and project work is rated “moderate.”

Pend Oreille Divide: Aug. 12-14

Cutting trees and brush off of Pend Oreille Divide Trail No. 67, volunteers will drive to Lunch Peak Lookout about an hour northeast of Sandpoint for a three-day project, during which car camping is available for those who’d like

to spend the nights there. Hiking difficulty is “moderate” while the work difficulty is rated “moderately strenuous.”

Hughes Fork: Aug. 18-22

Volunteers will clear Trail No. 312 from Hughes Meadows Road to the Hughes Fork Trail to the top of the ridge. Work will include a substantial amount of crosscut work up the valley into the Salmo-Priest Wilderness, about 45 minutes north of Nordman. The five-day project is fully supported with a cook and local horse packers. Cost is $50. Hiking difficulty is “moderately strenuous,” while project work is rated “strenuous.”

Timber Mountain: Sept. 16

This fall day of general repair on Timber Mountain Trail No. 51 — located about 40 minutes east of Bonners Ferry — is rated “moderately strenuous.”

Chimney Rock: Sept. 23

Taking place on National Public Lands Day, volunteer workers will do brush work on the lower part of Chimney Rock Trail No. 256 on the Selkirk Mountains, as well as removing logs and rebuilding tread on the upper trail. The work site is located about an hour’s drive north of Sandpoint. The crew will work from the morning until mid-afternoon. Difficulty rating is “moderately strenuous.”

Spaces are limited for all projects. To sign up, and see the rest of ITA’s statewide schedule, visit

12 / R / March 16, 2023 PERSPECTIVES
Rep. Lauren Necochea. File photo.

‘Not an old man’s club anymore’

Sandpoint Lions Club rebrands and looks forward to the next generation of Lions

The year was 1953. Dwight D.Eisenhower was sworn in as the 34th president. Lucille Ball revolutionized television with her emerging comedic TV show I Love Lucy. Nikita Khrushchev won a power struggle in the Soviet Union after the death of Josef Stalin. Sir Edmund Hillary led the first expedition to reach the summit of Mount Everest and the first color television sets appeared, selling for $1,175 (a measly $13,200 in today’s money).

Closer to home, 1953 also saw the introduction of a philanthropic club that has served as a guiding light for Sandpoint for 70 years. A brief news article in the July 2, 1953 edition of Sandpoint News-Bulletin announced that “Local men organize Lions International,” introducing the club to the community. More than 300 people turned out to the charter ceremony, where Lester Brown was elected as the Sandpoint club’s first president, and Charles Stidwell elected vice president.

“Lions International is composed of business men and farmers,” the article explained. “Members are interested in charitable work and sponsor many youth activities.”

While there was a first Lions Club in Sandpoint during the 1940s, it had been phased out and disbanded by the time the current club received its charter in 1953.

In the 70 years that have passed, quite a lot has changed, but the Lions’ simple mission to give back to their community remains as strong as ever.

This year, current President Janice Rader told the Reader the Lions Club is taking a bold new step forward to rebrand and renew the club to appeal to the next generation of stewards and members who will keep its mission alive.

“This isn’t an old man’s club anymore,” Rader said. “We’ve revamped everything and the Lions Den has a fresh new look. We’re not the group of old timers

anymore — we’re looking for new volunteers and members to join the club.”

Rader said that after many of the “elder” Lions resigned in recent years, the club is eager to tap into the younger community members who want to further the Lions’ mission to help the community thanks to a variety of annual programs it offers.

Among the many programs the Lions offer for the community is the wildly popular Toys For Tots fundraiser, which Rader said helped more than 800 Bonner County children last year alone.

“Since the COVID pandemic began, the holiday season has become a hardship for many families,” the Lions wrote in a letter to the editor recently. “We are proud of our ability to provide help to those in need and we cannot contribute to the prosperity of our community without your generous donations, especially the volunteer time.”

Along with Toys For Tots, the Lions sponsor an annual Easter egg hunt, a sight and hearing program providing eyeglasses and hearing aids for the community and an annual Halloween haunted house. They provide books to local daycare centers, support the Canine Companions for Independence program, which trains service dogs and last but not least, they’ve put their stamp on the annual Independence Day parade and fireworks display for decades.

As part of their campaign to refresh the club, Rader said the Lions are hosting monthly bingo nights, often donating proceeds to worthy causes. Their most recent event, hosted on Valentine’s Day, benefited the Childhood Cancer Foundation.

The next bingo night will take place on Friday, March 17 at the Sandpoint Community Hall. Doors will open at 5 p.m. and bingo begins at 6 p.m. The cost is only $1 per card and there will be a raffle available, as well as the famous hand-dipped corn dogs the Lions sold at the Fair last year.

Rader said a combination of factors have recently made it clear

the Lions need more support.

“Our permit costs from the city are going up,” she said. “Just to get a permit for our Easter Egg Hunt now costs $400. Just to rent the park.”

Beyond economics, politics have also been a challenge. The kerfuffle over the COVID-era Fourth of July festivities caused some level of distress for the Lions. After the club decided to forego its traditional events in 2020 on concerns about the spread of COVID-19, a local group calling itself Sandpoint Independence Day, Inc. formed with the mission to “save” the Fourth of July. Shortly after the replacement event, the rival group SID applied for a permit to repeat the events in 2021, effectively attempting to wrest away the event from the Lions. SID was led by Ron Korn, Steve Wasylko and Todd Prather — all well-known local conservative activists. Korn also ran an unsuccessful campaign for Bonner County Commissioner in 2022.

In 2021, Sandpoint City Councilors Joel Aispuro, John Darling and Andy Groat all spoke in complementary tones in favor of allowing SID to handle the Fourth of July event over the Lions, which would have ended the Lions’ 68-year history with the event in Sandpoint.

“I wouldn’t want the Lions Club to do the fireworks,” Groat said at the time, referring to the 2020 display when SID took over. “You guys did a great job. … I want you to do another great job … You guys are hittin’ home runs.”

Aispuro also defended SID, claiming that the new group had a “better event” and had their “stuff together” more than the Lions.

“No offense,” to the Lions, Aispuro said, but, “last year was a better event in my opinion; getting the citizens involved.”

Aispuro continued that he’s “not into” the idea of “traditionally, historically” when it comes to community events.

Wasylko and Korn claimed at the 2021 Sandpoint City Council meeting that they were told the Li-

ons wanted to give up the parade and fireworks events, but former Lions president Howard Shay told the Reader, “We never said we weren’t going to pick it back up.”

The City Council ultimately voted in favor of allowing the Lions to continue hosting the important community event.

A huge part of the Lions’ fundraising efforts are the Independence Day Raffle, which Rader said will kick off sales during Lost in the ’50s this year.

“Last year, because of poor weather, we barely broke even with the raffle,” Rader said. “This year, it’s going to be a big one. Sandpoint Motorsports will be donating a special prize. We hope everyone buys a ticket.”

Also in 2023, the Lions will offer numerous food vendors at City Beach during the festivities on the Fourth of July, hopefully providing more of a draw for people to hang out in the daytime after the

parade and before the fireworks.

In the meantime, the Lions are actively searching for new volunteers and members to continue moving forward with the club. For those unable to donate their time, the Lions Club appreciates any donations it receives from the community, which are tax deductible.

“We’re growing so positively,” Rader said. “Things are starting to bud and bring joy to this community, which is what we’re all about. We invite anyone to come into a meeting and check out what the Lions Club is all about.”

The Lions meet every second and fourth Monday each month at the Lions Den by the Bonner County History Museum at Lakeview Park.

“We’re in it to help,” Rader said. “We want to make this community a better place.”

March 16, 2023 / R / 13 FEATURE

A very Sandpoint St. Paddy’s A round-up of all the best places to wear green this Friday

St. Patrick’s Day celebrants can safely be separated into two camps: those who balk at the hokey tradition of green beer, and those who embrace the emerald liquid as a once-a-year tradition with little value, if not for being aesthetic and slightly silly.

Another camp altogether are the ones who can just as well forget the green beer in favor of the excuse to gorge oneself on corned beef and cabbage, which would just be weird to eat on any other day of the year.

Lucky for every St. Paddy’s Day lover, Sandpoint has a plethora of events featuring all of the above and more on tap for the holiday.

Here is a sampling, with all events taking place on Friday, March 17:

St. Patrick’s Day specials all day at A&P’s Bar and Grill

11 a.m.-midnight @ 222 N. First Ave.

This open-to-close shamrock celebration will feature food specials and green beer, as well as dancing and swag giveaways starting at 8 p.m.

Sandpoint Lions Club St. Patrick’s Day Bingo

Doors open at 5 p.m., games begin at 6

p.m. @ Sandpoint Community Hall (204 S. First Ave.)

There will be a raffle, snacks and prizes to go along with the Bingo calling. Don’t forget to wear green. Contact with questions.

Family Fun(draiser) Night

Doors open at 5:30 p.m., dinner served at 6 p.m. @ the First Presbyterian Church (417 N. Fourth Ave.)

Eat a traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner for a cause at this event, which is raising money for the Sandpoint Area Senior Center and Deacon Missions. Reservations are required (call 208-263-6860) and cost is by donation. There will also be a live auction and raffle. Wear green.

Food specials and live music at Connie’s Cafe & Lounge

6-10 p.m. @ 323 Cedar St.

Festivities at Connie’s will be complete with food and drink specials, as well as tunes from Benny Baker & Friends.

MickDuff’s 17th Anniversary Party

6:30-9:30 p.m. @ the Beer Hall (220 Cedar St.)

Enjoy live music from Brendan Kelty & Friends as well as good eats by Smokesmith Bar-B-Que.

DJ Party at the Heartwood Center

7-11 p.m. @ 615 Oak St.

Internationally touring recording artist DJ Coral headlines this event, marking the Heartwood Center’s first-ever DJ dance party. Doors and the Eichardt’s-hosted bar will open at 7 p.m., and DJ Mercury will kick things off at 8 p.m. Find tickets in advance for $15 at Eichardt’s or online at, or get them for $20 at the door.

St. Paddy’s Day Bash at The Hive

7 p.m. @ 207 N. First Ave

Doors open at 7 p.m. and music kicks off from 7:30-8:30 p.m. with The Cole Show. The RUB will go on after that. Ticket pre-sale ends at midnight on Thursday, March 16. If there are any tickets left, organizers will post on The Hive’s Facebook page, which is also the best place

to find the ticket link:

14 / R / March 16, 2023 HOLIDAY
Courtesy photo.


Reader to host open town hall to discuss Couplet concept

The Reader is hosting an open town hall to discuss “the Couplet” concept for widening and reorienting U.S. Highway 2, which has made the news in recent weeks.

The event is scheduled for Monday, March 20, from 5-7 p.m. at the East Bonner County Library Meeting Room B, and will be an informal opportunity for city residents to see enlarged maps and discuss details of the concept, offer their opinions and ask questions of former city staff members who were directly involved in the similar “Curve” plan more than a decade ago and share any insights

Invitations have been extended to members of Sandpoint city staff and elected officials, and all Sandpoint and Bonner County residents are welcome to come hear information about the Couplet and share their insights and opinions. There will be a couple of short presentations by former city

Thunder’s Catch wins award for its wild salmon chowder

pating in the Seafood Expo

staff members familiar with the issue, followed by an opportunity for those in the audience to speak and ask questions about the concept.

The meeting will be shared via Zoom so attendees can participate remotely if unable to attend in person.

The direct link is us06web. The meeting ID is 847 0544 4802 and if joining via phone, call 386-347-5053. There will also be a clickable link posted to sandpointonline. com prior to the event.

The Reader will distribute surveys at the town hall to poll those in attendance on their support or opposition to the Couplet concept. For those unable to attend, here is a link to an online version of the survey: or scan the QR code printed above.

After the meeting, the Reader will compile the information gathered from the public and make it available to city leaders.

KNPS to host presentation on forestland collaboration

The Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society invites community members to attend a presentation Saturday, March 18 titled “Priest Community Forest Connection and Panhandle Forest Collaborative: Working In and For Our Forestlands.”

Scheduled for 10 a.m. at the main branch of the East Bonner County Library (1407 Cedar St., in Sandpoint), the program will be presented by Liz Johnson-Gebhardt, who serves as executive director of the Priest Community Forest Connection and

co-chairperson of the Panhandle Forest Collaborative.

Attendees can take in the presentation either in person or remotely via Zoom. Coffee, tea and treats will be available starting at 9:30 a.m. for those participating in person.

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 those wishing to view the program on Zoom, register in advance at bit. ly/3IKiTCi.

Sandpoint-based Thunder’s Catch took home the award for Best New Retail Product with its wild salmon chowder at Seafood Expo North America and Seafood Processing North America, the largest seafood trade event in North America held March 14 in Boston.

Operated by Sandpoint’s own Taran White and Kara Berlin, Thunder’s Catch was among 1,141 exhibiting companies from 49 countries taking part in the event, with winners selected from a group of finalists during a live judging by a panel of seafood buyers and industry experts from the retail and food service industries.

Finalists were previously selected through a screening of products partici-

North America

New Product Showcase. The New Product Showcase features seafood products, condiments and culinary dishes launched in the past year by exhibiting companies.

The Seafood Excellence Awards recognize the leaders in the North American seafood market. The new products are judged based on several criteria, including uniqueness and appropriateness to the market, taste profile, market potential, convenience, nutritional value and originality.

A real chance at goodbye

BTAA launches humane euthanasia program thanks to anonymous donor

It’s never easy to say goodbye to a family pet, be it due to old age or illness. It can be more challenging for families who may not have access to the resources needed to have their pet humanely euthanized by a veterinarian.

Thanks to a special donor, Better Together Animal Alliance offers a program called Lovingly Letting Go, which provides humane euthanasia services for free and keeps people and pets together through the process.

“I heard a story of a woman who needed to have her senior dog euthanized due to declining quality of life,” said the BTAA donor who started the Lovingly Letting Go fund (she asked to remain anonymous). “She asked another shelter for help but was told she would need to surrender the dog to the shelter for that to happen. I couldn’t imagine having to make such a decision. Luckily BTAA was able to provide the support she needed for her elderly dog. This story called to me and I wanted to make sure everyone who is in need of end-of-life care for their pet has access to it.”

Lovingly Letting Go exists to keep people and pets together until the end of a pet’s life, and BTAA’s animal care center has a designated room for people and pets to say goodbye. When another longtime BTAA supporter, Mike Green, heard about the room, he commissioned a mural by local artist Savannah Pitts to make the space a celebration of the human-animal bond.

“My hope is that the mural will serve as a comforting and calming presence for pets and their loved ones, as well as a tribute to

the preciousness of life,” Green said.

“To have the opportunity to help someone ease their emotional and financial stress by allowing the end-of-life decision for their pet to be done with love and compassion is what this program is about,” the Lovingly Letting Go founder said. “If the program can provide a comfortable environment to keep owners and their pets together during the final stage of life, it has fulfilled its purpose.”

If you or someone you know may benefit from Lovingly Letting Go, or another one of BTAA’s community programs, contact the BTAA Helpline at 208-217-4453 or email Learn more about BTAA or make a donation at

March 16, 2023 / R / 15
Local artist Savannah Pitts poses by a section of her mural in BTAA’s Lovingly Letting Go room. Courtesy photo.

Erik Daarstad (June 27, 1935- March 13, 2023)

Erik Daarstad passed away on Monday, March 13, 2023 after a short illness at age 87. He was born on June 27, 1935 in a small mining town located in the rugged, desolate mountains of southern Norway. Five years later, World War II came to Norway when the Germans invaded the country on April 9, 1940. After two months of fighting, the much-superior German forces overwhelmed the Norwegians and, for the next five years, Norway would become an occupied country suffering from the many hardships that war brings.

In the village stood a simple wooden building, having been built to serve as the schoolhouse and a community hall used for meetings, dances and the occasional traveling entertainment show. It also served as the local movie theater, and it was here that Erik saw his first movies when he was 6 or 7 years old. It was an entrance into a world so different from what he knew at that time, but also perhaps with a connection to the strange and unfamiliar things happening as World War II had now invaded his small community.

Then, on March 3, an event happened that changed everything. It was a bright, sunny spring day that suddenly was interrupted by the sound of airplanes. Erik observed the bombs falling that killed 17 civilians, including his dad.

His mom and older sister then moved to live with his grandparents in the coastal town of Sandnes. The war ended on May 7, 1945, when the Germans capitulated and made it possible for life to slowly return to normal.

Erik had an early interest in photography and, when in high school, developed a love for movies and storytelling. He explored the few places that offered an education in filmmaking and decided to attend the University of Southern California in Los Angeles — the oldest film school in the United States — to pursue his dream of becoming a cinematographer.

His mom had also passed away at this point and so, at 18 years old, he set out on a 6,000-mile journey to a new country and new adventures. He had planned to return to Norway, hoping to work in its fledgling film industry; but, after finishing college in three years, decided to try his fortune in the film capital of the world: Hollywood.

Even though he had intended to work more in dramatic, fictional films, he was at first offered more work in the field

of documentary films. It turned out that this was a field he really enjoyed, and he developed a reputation for excellent work.

Doing mainly documentaries gave him the opportunity to travel and meet and work with many different people in different walks of life — from presidents and celebrities to farmers and fisherman, as well as experiencing being in situations that he would normally never be in. He spent time in Africa covering the work of Jane Goodall studying chimpanzees, as well as documenting a large outdoor concert in Ghana with mainly Black American performers, such as Ike and Tina Turner and many others.

He spent time with President Lyndon B. Johnson, covered the workings of the Richard Nixon White House two weeks before the Watergate break-in, and accompanied President Ronald Reagan on his trip to Ireland and the 40th anniversary of the Normandy invasion.

Erik made documentaries covering the lives of celebrities like Rita Hayworth, Paul Newman, Kim Novak, Natalie Wood and especially veterans like Lillian Gish, who got her start during the dawn of motion pictures.

He photographed documentaries about people like composer Aaron Copeland, Elvis Presley and Creedence Clearwater.

He spent time listening to the stories of the astronauts who traveled to the moon; experiencing the Sun Dance on the Pine Ridge Reservation; meeting unique individuals like Buckskin Bill and Frances, living alone among the majestic beauty of the Salmon River in Idaho; enjoying the company of Claudeen Arthur, a young Navajo attorney; meeting unique individuals like Father Gregory Boyle and seeing the difference he had made in the lives of former gang members; and working with people like Anita Hill.

Erik traveled the world and into faraway places doing documentaries for National Geographic, being chased by a rhino in deep Africa and surviving a vicious storm in the North Sea off the coast of Scotland. He even spent time in a war zone in Iraq, covering the stories of wounded soldiers when he was 72 years old.

In 1969 a short film titled Why Man Creates, which he photographed, won an Oscar and in subsequent years several others were nominated for an Academy Award — including some produced by his longtime close friends and filmmaking collaborators for decades, Terry Sanders and his wife Freida Lee Mock.

In 1963 on a ski trip to Aspen, Colo., he met a beautiful woman by the name

of Louanne Frye. They got married that same year and ended up having three wonderful children: Kari, Heather and Erik Even. They had enjoyed Aspen so much in the early days that they wanted to some day move there; but, by the late ’60s and early ’70s, Aspen was changing so much that they started to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

Erik and Louanne wanted to try living in a small town that had a ski area, and they heard about Sandpoint from people in Aspen. They checked it out for a couple of years and, in 1976, moved to the Sandpoint area. In 1986, Erik got an offer from a film company in Seattle and they lived there for 11 years before they decided to move back to Sandpoint.

Beside all his film work, Erik became quite involved with local organizations such as the Panida Theater, POAC and the Historical Society. The Panida became his favorite charity, where he spent several years on the board helping to preserve the old movie theater. Erik was preceded in death by his loving wife Louanne of 45 years.

As he laid in bed nearing his next new adventure, his daughter asked him if he could have anything to eat or drink right now, what would it be? His slurred speech cleared up right away and his eyes lit like fireballs: “A martini.” So that is exactly what he got.

He is survived by his three children — Kari Saccomanno (Clay) of Sandpoint; Heather Downey (Dale) Okanogan, Wash.; and Erik Even Daarstad (Stacey) of Murrieta, Calif.; plus 11 grandchildren; and two — soon to be three — great-grandchildren.

Erik was able to work in the film business until he was 80, a remarkable career of 65 years, with his last project being a young couple’s love story during the ’60s in California.

About 15 years ago, a bunch of old timers in Sandpoint started to meet every morning for morning coffee around a Round Table discussing world affairs, listening to stories, telling jokes and laughing, which would reverberate through the halls of Tango Cafe in Sandpoint. Tomorrow morning there will be an empty chair at the Round Table.

Please visit Erik’s online memorial at and sign his guest book.

16 / R / March 16, 2023
Erik Daarstad passed away Monday, March 13, 2023. He will be missed. Courtesy photo.

Youth mountain biking scholarship and grants available

Sandpoint’s local cycling club, Pend Oreille Pedalers, is offering three sessions of youth programming in 2023, starting with five weeks of after-school mountain biking clinics running from May 8-June 8.Two weeks of summer mountain bike camps will run from Aug. 21-Sept. 1, and after-school clinics will resume in late September for another five weeks in the fall.

The twice-weekly after-school program allows kids from the greater Sandpoint area to receive instruction from POP’s experienced mountain biking coaches on the trails of Pine Street Woods and VTT — properties within the greater Syringa Trail System just west of town where POP has built more than 10 miles of new trail since 2019.

Now in their fourth year, POP’s after-school programs have served more than 200 children aged 7-12 since 2020. Starting in 2022, POP began a scholarship program that included free tuition and brand-new mountain bikes granted to six

kids from Farmin Stidwell and Washington elementary schools. Supported by a $2,500 grant from the Litehouse Giving Fund, the 2022 scholarship program introduced the lifelong sport of mountain biking to six kids who otherwise might not have had the opportunity to participate.

In August 2022, POP hosted a movie night fundraising event at Matchwood Brewing, which drew more than 200 community members out to support the 2023 scholarship program, successfully raising more than $8,800 in the process.

With the recommitment of Litehouse to supporting POP’s scholarship program for another year, the club was able to order 15 high-end Trek mountain bikes through Outdoor Experience, and is all set to grow the scholarship and bike grant program in the new year.

“The goal of our youth scholarship and bike grant program is to increase equity in access to outdoor recreation in Bonner County,” stated POP Executive Director Jason Welker. “After two years of offering youth programs, we noticed that most

of the kids signing up were from families that were already into mountain biking and whose parents could afford nice bikes and to transport them to and from Pine Street Woods.”

By offering scholarships and bike grants, Welker added, the club is fulfilling a part of its mission that describes “expanding opportunities for mountain biking and cycling.”

After-school youth programs and summer camps are not the only examples of how POP is expanding access to opportunities for cycling. According to Welker, POP will lead fundraising, planning, design and construction efforts for a mountain bike skills park within Sandpoint’s Travers Park this year.

“Late last year, the POP Board approached city staff and asked if there was any interest in the club leading an effort to bring a modern bike skills park to Sandpoint,” stated Welker, who also serves on the Sandpoint City Council. “Parks staff enthusiastically replied ‘yes,’ and after several meetings, a presentation to City

Council and a resolution offering the city’s support for the project, POP was given the green light to fulfill a component of the city’s Parks Master Plan that the city itself had no funds or capacity to complete.”

Since January, POP has applied for four separate grants to fund design and construction of the half-acre skills park, and plans to launch a community fundraising campaign later this spring. The goal is to have a modern skills park, including prefabricated wood features, completed in Travers Park by the end of September 2023.

Registration for POP’s youth programs opens on Saturday, April 1. Scholarship applications can be submitted now and will be reviewed in April, with recipients being notified by the end of the month.

To learn more about POP’s youth programs, including how to apply for a scholarship, go to pendoreillepedalers. org/programs. To read more about the skills park project, or to contribute to the fundraising effort, go to

March 16, 2023 / R / 17 COMMUNITY

March 16-23, 2023

THURSDAY, march 16


Missoula Children’s Theater to perform TheEmperor’sNewClothes

Cribbage Night

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Sip and Shop for SHS seniors

4-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Japanese Culture Workshop

4-6pm @ Sandpoint Library

Learn about Japanese culture with a tea ceremony, calligraphy, origami and more

A percentage of proceeds will support SHS seniors’ Grad Night Trivia Night

5-8pm @Paddler’s Alehouse

FriDAY, march 17

MickDuff’s 17-year Anniversary and Live Music w/ Brendan Kelty & Friends

5:30-8:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Celebrate 17 years of MickDuff’s in Sandpoint. Food from Smokesmith BBQ food truck Live music will Brendan Kelty & Friends

Live Music w/ Benny Baker & Friends

7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Prime rib/clam chowder cabbage rolls on special all day. Classic rock music 7-9pm

Live Music w/ Zach Simms Trio

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Live Music w/ Ken Mayginnes

5-8pm @ Drift (in Hope)

Mamma Mia! the musical

7pm @ Sandpoint High School Auditorium

Presented by SHS’s Mime & Masque. $12

Storied Futures Exhibit opening night

5-7:30pm @ Evans Brothers Coffee

A 2-year research process culminates in this exhibit exploring property development and preservation through the history of Sandpoint’s Elsasser Homestead

St. Paddy’s Day bash at the Hive

7:30pm @ The Hive

Classic rock CDA band The Rub headlining, with The Cole Show from 7:30-8:30pm

SATURDAY, march 18

Live Music w/ Courtney and Company

7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Road trip music from the 8-track to CD era of pop music

Live Music w/ Tom Catmull

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Americana, folk and country music

Fly Fishing Film Tour

7pm @ Panida Theater

Fly fishing based documentary films

Mamma Mia! play

2pm & 7pm @ SHS Auditorium

Sandpoint Chess Club

The Emporer’s New Clothes play

3 & 5:30pm @ Northside Elementary Gym

Presented by Missoula Children’s Theater, featuring Northside Elementary students!

Cabin Fever Dance

7pm @ Ponderay Events Center

One hour of Cha Cha lessons, followed by general dancing until 10pm. $9/person

Live Music by Harold’s IGA / Blird

9pm @ 219 Lounge

One band, two sounds! First half is electronic shoegaze, second half is indie rock

SunDAY, march 19

9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee

Magic with Star Alexander (Sundays)

5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

NAMI Tacos and Tickets night

3pm @ Sandpoint Cinema

Free admission to Champions and tacos by Jupiter Jane. RSVP: 208-290-1768

monDAY, march 20

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s “Challenges Facing Progressive Christians”

Group Run @ Outdoor Experience

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

3-5 miles, all levels welcome, beer after

Pool League

6-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge

tuesDAY, march 21

Robo Club at the Library • 3:30-5pm @ Sandpoint Library

For grades 6-12. Explore robotics!

wednesDAY, march 22

Live Piano w/ Jason Evans

• 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

ThursDAY, march 23

Bella Note Special Music Performance

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Students of Bella Note Studio present a special night of music including flute, cello, guitar and piano

Mamma Mia! play

7pm @ SHS Auditorium

Cribbage Night

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Date Night Fundraiser

6-8pm @ Jumping Jackalope, 130 N. 6th

An evening of axe throwing and raffers to support Valor Christian High School. $25

Celebrating All the Things book

7pm @ Pine St. Woods warming hut Support Ammi Midstokke’s new book, with live music and a no host bar by Eichardt’s Pub. Good times all around!

Join the Emperor, his friends and subjects, along with the busy Silkworms on Saturday, March 18, when the Missoula Children’s Theatre and more than 50 local students present an original musical adaptation of the Hans Christian Andersen classic, The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Playing the title character is local student Teak Ross. Other featured performers include Harper Overland as ManyPenny, Hannah Majors as Royal Scholar Roxy and Olivia Watson as Royal Scholar Red. The Kings will be Noah Hermiston, Ronan Kohout and Flynn Pamperin, and the Queens will be Lila Westfall, Lilliana Kater and Evoda Logan.

The Money Council will be Sabrina Funk, Cassidy Johnson, Elsie Peak and Avalon Gillis. Gem is Maylie Spohn, while the Royal Jewelers are Sienna Williams, Bailey Hermiston, Harper Brown, Remmi Shadel and Melina Tifft.

Boots is Honah Jensen and the Royal Cobblers are Matthew Guill, Scout Tau-

ber, Kaleb Padilla and Natalie Mills. The Royal Hatters Magnolia Slough, Liam Deis, Calvin Conley and Fisher Ross will be led by Alivia Storms as Lid. The Royal Tailors will be played by Eric Jansson, Ashlyn Gillis, Hadley Reilly, Eilah Poelstra and Piper Barnes will be Stitch.

Finally, the Royal Silkworms will be played by Brinley Schaures, Pearl Jacobson, Elliette Spohn, Adelaide Hawkins, Josie Tauber, Parli Barnes and Arabella Funk. Austin Albert, Tian Abercrombie and Vienne LaFountain have served as assistant directors.

The Emperor’s New Clothes will be presented at 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. at the Northside Elementary gym (7881 Colburn-Culver Road). Tickets are $3 for adults, free for children and are available at the door.

The Missoula Children’s Theatre residency in Sandpoint is sponsored by Northside Elementary School with support from Northside Elementary PTO. For more information, call Camille Fuller or Natalie Cain at 208-263-2734.

18 / R / March 16, 2023

Reach for the rod

Fly Fishing Film Tour returns to the Panida

Storytelling in the form of film never fails to inspire, especially when viewers know their own chance to take part in the story is just a few short weeks away.

This is the power of the Fly Fishing Film Tour, which gives local anglers the chance to raise the hype before they can break out their own rods and reels on North Idaho’s waterways.

Theater, and is once again being hosted by the Panhandle Chapter of Trout Unlimited and North 40. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the films will kick off at 7 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children.

This year’s F3T will feature nine action-packed films from around the world, with proceeds benefiting local conservation efforts to protect water resources.

Fly Fishing Film Tour

Saturday, March 18; doors at 5:30 p.m., films start at 7 p.m.; $15/adult, $10/child. Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208-263-9191, get tickets at More info at facebook. com/PanhandleTU.

The annual tour visit will take place this year on Saturday, March 18 at the Panida

The night at the Panida will also feature a live emcee, drinks, and several high-value raffle and door prizes. Those raffles will include topof-the-line rods and reels, YETI cooler prod-

POAC to host local Missoula Children’s Theater production of Red Riding Hood

Local kids invited to audition March 20, shows slated for Panida stage March 25

ucts, Costa Del Mar sunglasses, other apparel, a guided trip by Linehan Outfitters and more.

More prize details can be found at Raffle tickets will be cash only.

Laura Forsberg, an organizer with Trout Unlimited,

said F3T plays a big role in getting local fly fishing enthusiasts stoked for the upcoming season.

“One of my favorite things about this event is the energy and excitement generated by watching these films,” she told the Reader. “Our chapter has

chosen this event as our annual fundraiser in lieu of holding a banquet. Funds generated support the conservation mission of Trout Unlimited and enables us to conduct fly fishing instruction to area youth.”

SHS to host production of Mamma Mia! musical

The Pend Oreille Arts Council will host its penultimate 2022-’23 Performing Arts Series event on Saturday, March 25 at the Panida Theater, with two showings of Red Riding Hood, a Missoula Children’s Theater production featuring local thespians in grades K-12.

Before the show can come to life, those students must audition on Monday, March 20 from 3:305:30 p.m. at Forrest Bird Charter School. It is advised that participants arrive 15 minutes early and plan to stay the full two hours. Some cast members will then be asked to stay later, depending on their role.

There are approximately 5060 roles open to all local children, and it is free to participate. Rehearsals are held each evening

leading up to the Saturday shows.

MCT’s Red Riding Hood, adapted and written by Michael McGill, is a retelling of the iconic tale of the little girl in red. Now not so little, Red and her pre-teen pals navigate the woods they call home. The plot thickens, thanks to the Big Bad Wolf and his young counterparts, the Shadows, a handsome Woodsman, Three Little Pigs, a gaggle of mischievous Raccoons and many more characters.

Viewers of all ages will learn what it means to “stay on the trail” and depend on friends when times get tough.

Performances will take place Saturday, March 25 at 1 and 4 p.m. at the Panida Theater (300 N. First Ave.). Doors open one hour before each showing. Tickets are $15 for adults and $5 for youth. Those with questions can reach POAC at 208-263-6139.

Musicals don’t get much bigger than Mamma Mia!, the story of a young woman preparing to get married on a fictional Greek island, but who first must figure out the identity of her father so he can give her away on the big day.

Her search results in hilarity, a little heartache and a whole lot of high-energy music, as the production is based on the music of 1970s and ’80s Swedish rock group ABBA — widely regarded as among the most internationally beloved bands of all time.

Opened on the West End in London in 1999, the musical written by Catherine Johnson, with songs by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, ran on Broadway from 2001 until 2015, making it the longest-running jukebox musi-

cal in Broadway history. It was also adapted into a 2008 film and 2018 sequel, both starring Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried.

Now, Mamma Mia! is coming to Sandpoint High School as the 2023 musical production presented by theater club Mime & Masque.

Show dates are Friday, March 17-18 and Thursday, March 23-Saturday, March 25. All performances will take place at 7 p.m. — with a 2 p.m. matinee on Saturday, March 18 — at the SHS auditorium (410 S. Division Ave.). Tickets are $12 general admission and can be purchased at Eve’s Leaves, Eichardt’s and from cast and crew members.

March 16, 2023 / R / 19 STAGE & SCREEN
A still frame from the 2022 Fly Fishing Film Tour. Courtesy photo. The production is directed by Jeannie Hunter, with musical direction by Kamie Hobbs-Berkey and choreography by Taryn Ann Quayle. Courtesy image.

North Idaho Neurotherapy Clinic welcomes John DeWig

The North Idaho Neurotherapy Clinic recently announced the addition of John DeWig, MS to its team, led by Dr. Linda Larson.

DeWig, a Minnesotan who comes to North Idaho by way of California, is a talk therapy and neurotherapy-based clinician with more than 15 years of experience working with a wide variety of patient populations. His expertise and experience allows the clinic to expand its services treating a variety of brain disorders, including — but not limited to — traumatic brain injury, attention deficit disorder, anxiety and addiction.

These and other mental health diagnoses are becoming increasingly more prevalent in our society. Unlike a broken

bone that can be diagnosed through an X-ray, issues related to brain function are more difficult to diagnose and even more complex to treat. Thankfully, due to advances in the field, people are now experiencing healing when they had otherwise lost hope.

Through the use of a non-invasive, quantitative EEG brain map, Larson and DeWig can measure, analyze and quantify brainwaves. After gathering data and comparing that information against different databases of hundreds of others’ EEGs, the team can determine where an individual is different from others, giving information on everything from addiction, depression, traumatic brain injuries and more.

Practitioners are able not only to see the brainwaves under different situations, but can also see the relationship of the brainwaves to one another, look at the symmetry of the brain, the stability of brainwave relationships and areas where the brain may be generating signals that may be manifesting as problematic symptoms and behaviors. Once all of the data is interpreted, a treatment plan can be executed.

“Treatment in our clinic involves neurostimulation, which is often referred to as neuromodulation, and is what makes us unique from other neurofeedback providers,” said Larson, adding that the clinic provides both.

DeWig explained that neuromodulation can be accomplished through classic conditioning that involves giving the brain the desired frequency to mimic and allowing that process to work.

“In time, the brain can be conditioned to respond in a more desired way,” DeWig said. “Other biofeedback methods related to heart rate variability can also be applied to help facilitate this process.”

In addition to his degree in marriage and family therapy, DeWig holds a Bachelor of Science degree in computer science, which facilitated his journey as a neurofeedback and biofeedback technician.

For four years prior to moving to Idaho, DeWig practiced in Santa Bar-

bara, Calif., at NeuroField Neurotherapy, Inc. There, he worked under the direction of Dr. Nicholas Dogris, the co-founder of Neurofield, Inc, which developed specialized neurostimulation and neurofeedback used in North Idaho Neurotherapy’s clinic. Prior to that, DeWig worked for Pure Recovery, based in Oxnard, Calif., where he worked with NFL players who had suffered traumatic brain injuries.

DeWig is currently in the process of receiving his QEEG certification, a distinction given to those who exhibit competency in the reading of electroencephalographic data (EEG), as well as mastery of the quantification of that data as seen in brain maps. He is also working toward becoming BCIA (Biofeedback Certification International Alliance) Board Certified. This certification is given to individuals who meet education and training standards in both biofeedback and neurofeedback.

“I am thrilled to have John join our team,” Larson said. “He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to our clinic and community. This will expand the services and availability of Neurotherapy and help for individuals and families.”

For more information, visit or contact the office at 208-255-6057.

20 / R / March 16, 2023 COMMUNITY
Dr. John DeWig. Courtesy photo.


Festival announces family show with Michael Franti and Friends

Tickets are now available for the family show with Michael Franti and Friends at the Festival at Sandpoint on Thursday, Aug. 3.

Franti is a globally recognized musician and activist known for his high-energy live shows and uplifting reggae, pop and hip-hopinspired style influenced by the power of optimism.

Before the Thursday evening performance on Aug. 3, Michael Franti and Friends will take the Festival stage for an upbeat, familiar and crowd-interactive

Family Show geared to encourage audience members of all ages to get moving and sing along.

“After such an overwhelming response in ticket sales to our Michael Franti and Spearhead with SOJA evening show, we feel so lucky to be able to include this additional family show,” Executive Director Ali Baranski said. “We are grateful for the opportunity to extend this fun-loving show to all ages as this year’s family concert.”

Throughout his multi-decade career, Franti has earned three Billboard No. 1’s with triumphantly hopeful hits “Sound of Sun-

shine,” “Say Hey (I Love You)” and “I Got You,” as well as six Top 30 Hot AC singles, 10 Top 25 AAA Singles and three Billboard Top 5 Rock Albums.

The Family Show with Michael Franti and Friends will be a seated performance. Gates open at 11 a.m. and music begins at noon.

All food and beverage booths will be open, so bring the whole family for a midday Festival experience. Tickets are $14.95.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit or email info@

Heartwood Center to host first DJ event

Psy-Sister recording artist DJ Coral to headline psy-trance show

The Heartwood Center has been on fire lately, hosting several well-attended live music shows from touring artists who each bring their own special flavor to the scene. Now, Mattox Farm Productions’ Robb Talbott introduces the first DJ night at the Heartwood with Psy-Sister recording artist DJ Coral on Friday, March 17.

Sandpoint local DJ Mercury at 8 p.m., followed by headliner DJ Coral. The party will last until 11 p.m. or later, with tickets available for $15 in advance from Eichardt’s or, or $20 at the door.

DJ Coral at The Heartwood

Friday, March 17; doors at 7 p.m., DJ Mercury at 8 p.m. and DJ Coral to follow. The Heartwood Center, 615 Oak St., 208-2638699. Get tickets at mattoxfarm. com. To listen to DJ Coral, visit

The doors will open and Eichardt’s will start serving at 7 p.m., then the party will start with

DJ Coral began her music career in 1999, when she was introduced to the irresistible sounds of Psy-Trance.

Psy-Trance is characterized by layered melodies and rhythms dominated by high-tempo riffs and cerebral breaks. The subgenre has a distinctive,

energetic sound that often uses layering techniques to add new musical ideas and directions every four or eight bars until a climax is reached, then the song usually breaks down and starts a new rhythmic pattern over a constant bass line. It’s fun, intense and atmospheric, providing a perfect soundtrack to dance with wild abandon.

DJ Coral’s insatiable appetite, energy and joy for the music has naturally evolved into the world of production, where she has enjoyed

several successful releases on various labels, including Psy-Sisters Music and Spacewarp Records. Coral’s infectious energy and enthusiasm behind the decks has seen her perform on some of the biggest psy-trance stages around.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

Blird and Harold’s IGA, 219 Lounge, March 18 Tom Catmull, Pend d’Oreille Winery, March 18

Local music lovers can enjoy a two-for-one gig at the Niner on Saturday night, courtesy of the indie rockers behind Harold’s IGA, who have started a new project exploring the sonic realm of lo-fi electronic music.

That project, known as Blird, will kick off the first half of this 219 set. It features Cadie Archer on the pedal-driven electric guitar, our own Ben Olson on the bass and synth effects, and Josh Vitalie on drums. Blird delves into a shoegaze style — a type of rock known for its ethereal quality and emphasis on distortion and reverb. The band plays a mix of

originals and covers from bands like Thievery Corporation, Ruby Haunt, Cigarettes After Sex and more.

For the second half of the set, Archer, Olson and Vitalie will don their Harold’s hats to close out the night. Sponsored by Montucky Cold Snacks, the band will also be giving out free shirts and hats periodically to concertgoers. That’s a win-win-win.

9 p.m.-midnight, FREE, 21+. 219 Lounge, 219 N. First Ave., 208-2635673, Listen at haroldsiga. com/listen.

According to The Missoulian, singer-songwriter Tom Catmull “straddles genres like a bow-legged cowboy on a mountain bike.” It’s an apt description for the longtime music man, originally hailing from Gulf Coast Texas and now based in western Montana.

Catmull’s catalog sounds like the bow-legged cowboy rode that mountain bike all the way from the Gulf and picked up every influence along the way, resulting in a style laced with the sounds of what it means to

This week’s RLW by Zach Hagadone


Anybody who’s even passingly familiar with MAD Magazine knows the work of Al Jaffe, whether they know his name or not. He’s the guy who invented “Snappy Answers to Stupid Questions” and, critically, the iconic MAD “Fold-in” on the back page. He turned 102 on March 13 and, to commemorate, writer Mike Sacks has published an in-depth interview with the artist on New York Magazine’s “Vulture” site. Find it at

be a well-traveled artist.

Listeners at the winery will take in everything from pure country to flavors of folk to possibly the occasional waltz or pop number. A Catmull show is many things, and boring isn’t one of them.

5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., Listen at


The Internet was supposed to deliver up a boundless mass of information and education, democratizing the academy so that even the humblest of us could have the accumulated learning of the world at our fingertips. Obviously it’s mostly done the exact opposite, except in little nooks and crannies. One of those is the Odyssey channel on YouTube, which pulls together hundreds of high-quality documentaries (from real academics and experts) on ancient history. No aliens building the pyramids here. You could just as easily watch these, but I prefer to listen to them. Choose your own adventure.

It’s been 42 years since Mel Brooks released his satirical film History of the World — Part I.Now, the farcical retelling of the inglorious past is getting its sequel in the form of a series on Hulu. Released in episodic chunks of about 25 minutes each, History of the World — Part II features bawdy, silly sketches on everything from Jesus and Mary Magdalene to the Kama Sutra, American Civil War, Russian Revolution and Alexander Graham Bell. Seeing Jack Black as Josef Stalin is worth a watch alone.

March 16, 2023 / R / 21
Courtesy photo. DJ Coral. Courtesy photo.

From Northern Idaho News, March 16, 1915


Though the moving picture Sunday opening ordinance cannot be passed till next regular meeting, at council last night the Rev. George Bray obtained the privilege of the floor and made what he called an appeal to the hearts of the men present not to desecrate the Sabbath. He placed Sunday movies in the same class as the red-light district or thieving, saying that the council would not hearken to a majority petition in favor of either of those.

He implored his hearers not to take men away from the churches, that it was hard enough work now for ministers to keep them. He professed the greatest respect and regard for Mr. Abbott and Mr. Tindall, of the moving picture shows, but said he would not be true to his religion if he did not enter a vigorous protest. He apologized for his talk not having been made sooner but said he had been present at three meetings for the purpose but the subject had not come up or there had been no meeting. Although the majority of his auditors were not in sympathy with him he was accorded most respectful attention.

H.V. Williams responded in a stronge diatribe, speaking, he said, for the over 700 signers of the petition for Sunday opening. He said that even among church people what keeping holy the Sabbatch means is a subject of wide difference. He argued that the Sunday movies in some instances took the places of the auto, launch or buggy of more fortunately situated people. He claimed ministers wanted people to come to church and get religion but refused to take it into the highways and by-ways as commanded by Christ.

BACK OF THE BOOK Dearly departed

The honor roll of departed community icons is getting uncomfortably long. With the passing March 13 of Erik Daarstad, at age 87, Sandpoint has lost yet another irreplaceable personality — an individual of uncommon wit, humor and decency, whose metier was to give back to everything and everyone around him.

You can read much more about Erik on Page 16, and you’ll see him gracing this week’s cover in an image generously shared by his family. For my part, I just needed to say how much I appreciated his friendship going back almost 20 years, when I met him through an also-dearly departed local icon and mutual friend, Bob Gunter, with whom Erik palled around and worked on various projects and schemes for years.

The news of Erik’s swift transition from a surprise cancer diagnosis at the beginning of the month to hospice care to the inevitable in about a week was a stunner, and aside from deep sadness, it also threw into relief for me the rate at which the good ones are going.

This is only natural, of course, but I can’t help but feel like it’s a particularly fraught time in the life of Sandpoint for its longtime cultural pillars to be leaving it.

Generally speaking, Sandpoint is on a demographic knife’s edge. According to 2021 numbers, the median statewide age is 40.In North Idaho, that rises to 45 and, in Bonner County, it’s 47.9 years of age. Only 20% of Bonner County residents are under the age of 18 and 23.8% are older than 65. Statewide, those figures are 25.7% and 15.4%, respectively.

Meanwhile, according to data included in a report from Portland, Ore.-based Leland Consulting commissioned by the city in 2022, as the population leapt more than 4% between 2020 and 2022, every one of those new Sandpointians were people who

A reminder to commit to community

moved here. There weren’t enough babies born in Bonner County to offset the number of people who died, therefore we are experiencing a natural population decline amid a dramatic artificial upswing.

Putting a finer point on it, “More people are dying than are being born in the county,” Leland Consulting President Chris Zahas told the council in July 2022.

Based on the numbers, that trend has been going on at least since 2010, and it’s hard to imagine that it won’t continue as our already older-than-average population continues to do what people do and get older until they don’t anymore, at the same time as local economics continue to make it harder and harder for young people to settle down to the business of creating a natural population increase.

That we will be a foundationally different community in the next 10 years is assured. What that looks like will be determined by the younger people who step in to fill the cultural voids increasingly left by people like Erik — and I specify “cultural” with intention, because those are the people who truly build community, serving on nonprofit boards, volunteering for organizations, creating art of various kinds and generally being contributors to, rather than consumers or extractors of, our “lifestyle.”

There are people like that who are already moving into these roles, but I do worry about the longer-term sustainability of maintaining local vibrancy in the face of these much larger forces. I don’t think I’m being over-dramatic or needlessly doomstruck about this.

The same day that I was grieving the loss of Erik, I went to the 80th birthday celebration of a family friend, who also happens to be one of those community cultural icons whom I’ve loved and looked up to for most of my life.

Surrounding her that night at a favorite downtown restaurant were dozens of other

Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

community pillars who have given decades of their varied talents to enriching Sandpoint in their own ways — from the arts to education to entrepreneurship.

It had been a long time since I enjoyed the company of many of those people, and it left me feeling comforted and connected in ways I haven’t felt much since returning home to a Sandpoint in painful flux since 2019. It reminded me of what real community feels like — away from the jockeying local politicos, fire-breathing culture warriors and big-money opportunists consuming the town in a frenzy of amenity exploitation, which usually dominate my working life.

One of the party attendees bent my ear for a while, talking about all these issues, but what he came down to was that while his generation — the wave of the 1970s and early-’80s — had helped create and steward the Sandpoint that so many people want to buy today, the generation that they created won’t be around, able or willing to continue the work.

I agree, but if there’s a fitting tribute to those local culture-creators who’ve gone before, it’s to follow their example however and whenever we can.

Crossword Solution

The weirdest thing about going to the store and seeing a jar of pickles with your picture on it is not that your picture is on the jar. It’s that the store manager won’t give you the pickles for free, and doesn’t even think the picture looks like you.

22 / R / March 16, 2023

Solution on page 22

Laughing Matter


Solution on page 22

cranreuch / KRAHN-ruhkh/

Word Week of the

Corrections: In last week’s Photos of the Week page, Jon Hagadone’s photo of a unique ice formation on the lake was of discs about three feet in diameter, not three inches like we wrote. Sorry about the error.

March 16, 2023 / R / 23
1.Secret meeting 6.Manila hemp 11.Oozing 12.Drive crazy 15.Jogger 16.Breaks into many pieces 17.Half of a pair 18.Employees 20.Male adult 21.Make a raucous noise 23.Difficult 24.Memorization method 25.Asian nurse 26.Memory unit 27.Rational 28.Easter flower 29.An uncle 30.Might 31.Western shrub 34.Rewrites 36.Buffoon 37.Thought 41.Oriental grain 42.Credulous 43.Lairs 44.Euphemism for death 45.Not his 46.Carve in stone 47.Flowery verse 48.Book lovers 51.Beer 52.Caulks 54.Choice 1.Destructive sea wave 2.Reclamation 3.Craving 4.Gush forth 5.Apprentice 6.Stick 7.Whiskers DOWN ACROSS Copyright Solution on page 22 8.Cultural doings 9.Feline 10.Windflower 13.Food shredder 14.Feudal worker 15.Regal 16.Boards with wheels 19.What limericks do 22.Science of matter and energy 24.Untanned animal skin 26.Pleads 27.Mayday 30.Breathe noisily 32.Consumed 33.Lift 34.Wears away 35.Illness 38.Specifics 39.Surround completely 40.Pale 42.Tidy up 44.Fail to win 45.Therefore 48.Tirade 49.Was a passenger 50.Urge (on) 53.Grassland 55.Darjeeling or oolong 56.Perfume 57.Affaires d’honneur 58.Consumed 59.Eliminate
1. a covering of minute ice needles, formed at night upon the ground and exposed objects when they have cooled below the dew point, when it is below the freezing point. “The temperature dropped sharply after dusk, leaving the once wet leaves coated in cranreuch.”
March17 DJ Dance Party Featuring DJ Coral & DJ Mercury April2 Songwriters Showcase 1111 Featuring Matt Mitchell, 1111 Fern Spores, Justin Landis 1111 April27 Aaron Golay Album Release Party April28 Scott Pemberton 1111 1111 1111 1111 1111 JIii 1111

Articles from Reader_March16_2023