2 / R / March 23, 2023
The week in random review
By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff
rural people are used to being forgotten
…and to be rural and a woman is next level. Infrastructure — particularly of the medical persuasion — has never been built with rural women in mind. Now it seems what little infrastructure was provided for women in North Idaho preparing to welcome children into the world is all but gone, following the announcement from Bonner General Health that labor and delivery services will no longer be provided after May. Initial news coverage stated that Sandpoint, a city of 9,000 people, would now need to seek that care 46 miles away in Coeur d’Alene. If you find that statistic harrowing, hold my beer. Women in rural communities all over Bonner and Boundary counties access labor and delivery care in Sandpoint, the populations of those counties totaling between 60,000 and 63,000 people, according to the 2020 Census (which we all know is essentially bunk after the influx of folks during the COVID years). Yes, there’s a state-of-the-art birth center in Coeur d’Alene — which already serves a massive population. For some in the panhandle, it is more than two hours away. Rumors are swirling that other labor and delivery locations — such as the one in Newport, Wash. — are struggling with staffing as well. Midwives are wonderful resources, but not always an option for women experiencing high-risk pregnancies. The fragility of the situation is no environment in which to plan for anything; especially not the birth of a baby. And there is not only birth to consider: Will prenatal care appointments need to also be managed in Coeur d’Alene should a pregnant woman choose Kootenai Health for labor and delivery? How many additional drives, hours off from work and time away from family will that cost? I can sympathize with BGH’s reasoning for moving away from labor and delivery care: staffing, political climate, etc. Still, women are yet again left to pick up the pieces. Like so many issues surrounding female bodies, we are told to buck up and make it work. Rural people are used to being forgotten. Rural women know the feeling all too well. Now, their children are being introduced to the feeling before they even take their first breath.
a 19th-century quote that applies to today
READER DEAR READERS,
I was born at Bonner General. After May, that statement will completely fall out of usage after our beloved local hospital announced it will suspend delivery services for babies, citing the “legal and political climate” of Idaho (see Page 4).
There’s a reason this story has not only capitivated our immediate region, but also national and international news. We’re starting to see the actual consequences of living in a state torn apart by political extremists. I fear this is just the beginning of a long exodus of sane, normal Idahoans who just want to live and let live in peace.
I don’t blame physicians for leaving this state. They already get paid less than their peers an hour away. Now they might face criminal charges and lawsuits, just for providing health care? Just for doing their job? It’s not fair to ask that of them, just like it’s not fair for extremist lawmakers like Scott Herndon, Sage Dixon and their ilk, to pass their own politcial and religious views off as if they represent the entire state. They don’t. We need a serious wake-up call, or I’m afraid we’ve got nothing left but to continue watching our once great state decline further into madness.
–Ben Olson, publisher
111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208) 946-4368
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About the Cover
No context iPhone notes, 10/6/22
Shit my mom says: “Jiminy Christmas!”
This week’s cover features a painting by Robens Napolitan called “Good Question.”
March 23, 2023 / R / 3
“A woman’s health is her capital.”
— Harriet Beecher Stowe, American abolitionist writer, 1811-1896
Area hospitals pledge support as Bonner General announces end to maternity services
BGH promises ‘smooth transition’ for patients, but long-term ‘political climate’ remains a threat
By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff
Since the news broke March 17 that Bonner General Health would suspend labor and delivery services through May 19, the story has torn not only through the local community but made national and international headlines.
From The New York Times and Washington Post to Fox News, The Today Show, ABC and CBS News, to NPR’s This American Life and the U.K.-based Guardian, the story has remained essentially the same: BGH can’t attract qualified physicians, nor replace those who have left, in large part due to the “legal and political climate” in Idaho stemming from strict abortion and reproductive health care laws that put medical providers at great risk of incurring heavy fines and potential jail time.
“Highly respected, talented physicians are leaving. Recruiting replacements will be extraordinarily difficult. In addition, the Idaho Legislature continues to introduce and pass bills that criminalize physicians for medical care nationally recognized as the standard of care,” the hospital stated in a March 17 news release. “Consequences for Idaho physicians providing the standard of care may include civil litigation and criminal prosecution, leading to jail time or fines.”
Specifically, the Boise-based Idaho Capital Sun reported March 17, Idaho’s abortion bans are among the strictest in the nation, applying broad definitions of what constitutes an “abortion” and including affirmative defenses limited to “documented instances of rape, incest or to save the pregnant person’s life.”
What’s more, should providers be found to have violated the laws, they would face felony charges, license revocation and steep fines.
Those types of laws have been particularly championed by Sagle Republican Sen. Scott Herndon,
who styles himself as an “abortion abolitionist” and has lobbied hard in Boise for strengthening Idaho’s already uniquely sweeping abortion-related statutes — even unsuccessfully attempting to write into the Idaho Republican Party platform a “declaration of the right to life for preborn children” that would have banned abortion regardless of the health of the mother.
In a January ruling, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld the statutes as constitutional.
In addition to Idaho’s hardline anti-abortion legislation — which even opens providers to lawsuits brought by family members of an individual whose medical care is found to run afoul of the law — BGH also noted that demographics in its service area have steadily skewed to the older age range, with only 265 babies delivered at the hospital last year and admitting fewer than 10 pediatric patients.
According to 2021 Census data, the median statewide age in Idaho is 40. North Idaho residents are a median 45 years of age and in Bonner County, that figure is 47.9. 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.
“Our low patient volume is insufficient to attract candidates for pediatric hospitalists, and we cannot afford to continue having locum tenens physicians [a term meaning providers who temporarily work in a speciality that is not their own],” BGH stated, adding later in the news release, “There are many reasons, including a nationwide decrease in births, an older population moving to Bonner County and Kootenai Health having a new, updated unit with neonatologists and OBs in-house 24/7.”
BGH Board President Ford Elsaesser stated that the hospital had “made every effort to avoid eliminating these services.”
“We hoped to be the exception, but our challenges are impossible to overcome now,” he stated.
In the near-term, Sandpoint Women’s Health stopped accepting new obstetric patients immediately, and offered a list of referrals for receiving care at bonnergeneral. org/services/ maternity.
According to an email to the Reader from BGH on March 22, Sandpoint Women’s Health will continue offering gynecological services, including surgical services, preventative and wellness exams, and family planning consultation.
Longer-term, BGH will coordinate care for current Sandpoint Women’s Health obstetrics patients whose due dates are in May and after, and announced the hospital would “collaborate with Kootenai Health” in Coeur d’Alene to help provide OB care.
Included in most of the reporting surrounding the suspension of obstetric care at BGH is reference to the hospital serving Sandpoint, with a population “of more than 9,000.” In reality, BGH serves all of Bonner and Boundary counties, with a total census for both of 59,473, according to 2022 County Health Rankings shared with the Reader by BGH officials.
Meanwhile, the female population for both counties is 29,625, with about 16,568 of childbearing age.
The most concentrated populations being in Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry, that puts a sizable number of current and potential future patients a long way from the nearest hospital offering full OB services. Kootenai Health is 44.5 miles south of Sandpoint and
76 miles from Bonners. Newport Community Hospital, just across the border in Washington west of Priest River, is 29 miles from Sandpoint and 76 miles from Bonners, and a third option at Cabinet Peaks Medical Center in Libby, Mont., is 76 miles east of Bonners and 84 miles from Sandpoint. For the many thousands of Bonner and Boundary County residents who live in more rural, outlying areas, those distances — and travel times, depending on conditions — are substantially lengthened.
In a statement posted March 18 on Facebook, Kootenai Health underscored its “longstanding positive relationship working with Bonner General Health,” and stated that, “Leadership from both hospitals are working together to identify any barriers to care for the patient population affected by this closure and are creating solutions to ensure a quality birth experience.”
Kootenai Health delivers an average of 2,200 newborns per year, according to the statement, and will make its Family Birth Center available to expectant mothers who had planned to give birth at BGH. Additionally, Kootenai Health offers a Level III neonatal intensive unit, alongside “comprehensive care from prenatal education through labor, delivery and postpartum.”
“This was a difficult decision made by our colleagues at Bonner General Health,” Kootenai Health stated, providing a link to its Family Birth Center at kh.org/ family-birth-center.
The next nearest hospital to the immediate Sandpoint area, in Newport, Wash., also expects to admit more Bonner and Boundary County patients in need of OB care.
“First of all, Newport Hospital and Health Services truly understands the situation of our neighboring hospital, Bonner General Health, and we are willing to help them in any way we can,” hospital spokesperson Jenny Smith told the Reader in an email March 21.
However, Newport’s labor and delivery units aren’t staffed at this time, and are expected to be fully operational this summer — a month or so after BGH suspends its OB services.
“Once we have reopened a full-service labor and delivery unit, we will be able to take any patients sent our way,” Smith wrote. “Like many rural hospitals across the nation, nurse staffing for labor and delivery units has been a challenge, especially considering that many nurses left their home hospitals during the pandemic to pursue traveling positions.”
In the interim, active labor patients in Newport are being sent to Holy Family Hospital in Spokane. Smith said that prior to the pandemic, Newport delivered an average of 65-70 babies per year.
“We look forward to serving all of the patients in our vast service area, including North Idaho,” Smith said. “Due to our proximity to Idaho and the number of Idaho patients we serve, Newport Community Hospital is deemed an instate Idaho Medicaid hospital. Our service area typically includes Pend Oreille County [Wash.] and Bonner County, even as far as Rathdrum.”
In addition, BGH spokesperson Erin Binnall told the Reader in an email that Newport is also contracted with the insurance provider Blue Cross of Idaho.
“Bonner General Sandpoint Women’s Health is working with each OB patient one-on-one to
< see BGH, Page 7 >
NEWS 4 / R / March 23, 2023
BoCo fairgrounds tussle headed to May ballot as advisory question
Board’s regular Tuesday business meeting sees another clash between Bradshaw, Wheeler
By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff
Bonner County commissioners on March 21 reversed an earlier decision to move forward with a highly contentious boundary line adjustment between the Bonner County Fairgrounds and sheriff’s complex, also opting to put the land’s future use on the Tuesday, May 16 ballot as an advisory question for local voters.
Debate over the boundary line adjustment and replatting of land between the fairgrounds and sheriff’s facility has dominated the past two BOCC business meetings — held each Tuesday at the county administration building — with Commissioner Luke Omodt leading the charge to leverage funding from an Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation grant to place a new RV campground on the property.
Omodt and Board Chairman Steve Bradshaw voted March 14 to move forward with the survey work at a cost not to exceed $25,000. Commissioner Asia Williams voted against the measure, alleging that the campground was best suited for land already considered part of the fairgrounds in order to avoid conflict with Sheriff Daryl Wheeler, who has long claimed the parcel in question is meant for the building of a justice facility to replace the Bonner County Courthouse in downtown Sandpoint and accommodate jail expansion.
Williams brought the issue back to the agenda March 21, but this time in the form of a proposed advisory question for the May 16 ballot, asking voters to weigh in on how the land between the fairgrounds and sheriff’s complex should be best used.
“If the board wants to hold that position of 2-1, I think it’s reasonable that this become an advisory question to the community of how to use that particular piece of land,” she said, later adding: “To be clear, [the land] does not belong to the sheriff. It has been identified as an expansion option [for a justice facility] that would be the least impactful to the county.”
She argued that building an RV campground on the lot would “hinder” the county’s growth, and said constituents should have the chance to weigh in.
Omodt seconded Williams’ motion to put the advisory question on the ballot, then promptly voted against it, citing state code about the commissioners’ authority over the use of county land.
“This advisory ballot does not discuss the … potentially negative fiscal impact, because [a new campground] reduces the amount of money that would be necessary to maintain the fairgrounds,” he said.
Omodt said the advisory vote might as well be, “‘Are you willing, in this economic environment, to vote ‘yes’ on a $100 million building in 2023?’,” referring to the estimated cost of the new justice center.
“My vote is ‘no,’” he said. Public comment followed, with Bonner County Clerk Mike Rosedale stating that the May ballot had plenty of room for the advisory question.
“There is absolutely no downside to putting it on [the ballot], and you will have a very high level of comfort knowing what, actually, everybody would like,” he said.
Spencer Hutchings questioned the board’s willingness to use the property for anything
other than a justice facility, noting the proposed Sandpoint Ice Arena debate that took place in 2021 and 2022. That conflict ended with the former board voiding a lease with the nonprofit looking to build the ice rink after the Idaho attorney general ruled — following a complaint from Wheeler — that the meeting at which the lease was approved was likely improperly noticed.
“There’s got to be a reason why,” Hutchings said. “Somebody is getting their pockets greased or something.”
Bradshaw retorted that the ice rink lease was voided because, “Ponderay bought an ice rink and didn’t tell anybody,” causing an uproar from the well-attended March 21 meeting.
While Sandpoint Ice Arena leaders did decide to collaborate with the city of Ponderay and another nonprofit to pursue an ice rink at Ponderay’s Field of Dreams sports complex, that move came after the AG’s decision was released and the lease with Bonner County voided.
Amid the uproar at the meeting, Hutchings once again
took to the mic, prompting Bradshaw to attempt to trespass him from the meeting. When Hutchings did not leave, Bradshaw shouted in Wheeler’s direction: “Are you going to grow a pair and do your job today or are you going to sit there on your ass?”
Bradshaw went on to call for a recess, but reconvened the meeting one minute later. Omodt called the question in order to prompt the board’s vote while members of the public waited both in person and online to speak, spurring a debate between Bradshaw and Williams about meeting procedure. Once attendees were allowed to continue commenting, the issue of recall came up, and not for the first time in recent weeks.
“I don’t think that there’s any more clear reason for recall than this demonstration,” said George Gehrig.
“You gentlemen, go ahead and do what you’re going to do, but I’m going to work my butt off to make sure that both of you are recalled,” he added, referring to Bradshaw and Omodt.
Bradshaw stated he would vote “yes” to allow for the advisory question on the ballot, but warned that the IDPR grant might expire before everything could be sorted out, which would mean no additional revenue for the fairgrounds.
“If the time expires that grant, then it just cost you taxpayers a shitload of money,” he said.
A special meeting to workshop the ballot advisory question will take place Thursday, March 23 at 11:30 a.m. at the Bonner County Administration Building (1500 Highway 2 in Sandpoint).
Subsequently, Williams and Bradshaw also voted to disengage from the agreement for the boundary line adjustment and replatting work. Williams said she would put an item on next week’s agenda proposing to move the RV campground onto property already understood as part of the fairgrounds.
NEWS March 23, 2023 / R / 5
Bonner County Commissioners Luke Omodt, left; Asia Williams, center; and Steve Bradshaw, far right. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey.
Silicon smelter once planned for Newport, now under construction in Tennessee
By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff
If it seems like there hasn’t been much news coming out of the proposed silicon smelter in Newport, Wash., it’s because the project made a fairly quiet exit from the small community on the Washington side of the Pend Oreille River in 2021 and, as The Spokesman-Review reported March 19, is currently being built in the tiny town of Tiptonville, Tenn.
Officials in Tiptonville, including Tennessee Gov. Bill Lee, welcomed the company behind the smelter — Canadian firm Sinova Global, formerly HiTest Sand and later PacWest Silicon — with a groundbreaking ceremony in the community of 2,400 in October 2022.
“We are pleased to have received all the permits required to commence construction and to partner with TVA [Tennessee Valley Authority] who, along with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community Development, are helping to build a worldclass operation,” stated Sinova CEO Jayson Tymko in a news release at the time.
“To have reached this exciting point in our development is the result of considerable effort by many people for which, on behalf of Sinova, I thank everyone,” he added. “There is more work to be done before we meet here in the future when our operation commences — but I speak for all of us when I say it feels great to be building.”
The $150 million facility will employ 140 workers on a 350-acre industrial park with access to an inland port of the Mississippi River.
That’s what could have come to rural Pend Oreille County, if not for widespread local opposition coupled with slow-moving and complex zoning and permitting issues. Then-PacWest in late 2019 told Washington Gov. Jay Inslee in an update that the project was “on hold,” citing the failure to secure a meeting with the Kalispel Tribe, along with “bad faith actions” by the Pend Oreille Utility District related to costs to supply power to the proposed facility.
Meanwhile, county commissioners had denied a sweeping rezone of the property purchased by the company, and the county Planning Commission hadn’t been able to address the issue amid a long-running and sometimes contentious effort to update the Pend Oreille County Comprehensive Plan, which was recently completed, according to the Spokesman
All that left the company “sitting on the
Bits ’n’ Pieces
From east, west and beyond
East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:
President Joe Biden recently signed his first veto, rejecting a bill that would have prevented managers of retirement funds from considering environmental impacts, such as climate change, CNN said.
By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist
from the banking industry, the Associated Press reported. The recently failed Silicon Valley Bank’s CEO sold $3 million worth of bank shares days before the institution collapsed.
sidelines,” Tymko wrote in the correspondence with Inslee, as it awaited a range of decisions from local officials — even as residents from Newport to Sandpoint and beyond continued their vocal opposition to the project based on fears of emissions affecting regional communities.
Even as far back as the summer of 2019, Tymko told the Reader in an interview that the company was “in a holding pattern” related to zoning, and had already been put two years behind schedule because of “yet another delay tactic” — in that case, the appeal of a land sale.
“We have never experienced anything like this in any of the countless number of communities we have successfully done business in,” Tymko wrote to Inslee later that year.
Fast forward to December 2021, when Sinova Global officials first joined with Tennessee Gov. Lee to announce that the company would relocate to its current site in the state.
“[D]ays like this are why we ran for governor — to bring economic opportunities to parts of the state that needed them like the economically distressed counties,” Lee said, according to a report from the Jackson Sun, which covers west Tennessee.
The Spokesman reported March 20 that Tymko in an interview said Pend Oreille County’s comp plan process and wrangling over utilities were critical to moving on from the Inland Northwest.
“[Local opposition] was no hindrance,” Tymko told the Spokesman. “We are always concerned about what people say about us but the group had no effect on us, no effect on the state.”
Construction of the Sinova plant is expected to take two years to complete.
The International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Russian President Vladimir and Commissioner for Children’s Rights Maria Lvova-Belova, both accused of war crimes for kidnapping Ukrainian children. Russia claims its relocation of the children was patriotic and humanitarian. Newsweek reported March 20 that former-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, who currently serves as deputy head of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, threatened retaliatory missiles against the ICC, located in the Netherlands.
South Carolina lawmakers have proposed executing women who have abortions (House Bill 3549, the “South Carolina Prenatal Equal Protection Act of 2023”), with no exceptions for rape or incest, various media reported.
The Biden administration announced approval March 13 of the Willow ConocoPhillips oil drilling project in Alaska. The Guardian called the project a “carbon bomb.” Pressure to approve Willow came from Alaskan native and Democratic Congresswoman Mary Peltola, who cited the need for jobs. As well, White House officials concluded the oil company would win in court to fulfill its lease. It would be an estimated six years before oil is produced.
Given rapid increases in clean energy production, The Guardian reported Willow is “weirdly incongruous,” like “investing big time in fax machines or cassette players.”
While their profits surged, fossil fuel corporations increased production only 2%, despite Europe wanting to buy from sources other than Russia. Energy companies and their investors are not sure prices will stay high long enough for them to make a profit from drilling new wells, The New York Times reported.
According to a Federal Reserve Bank survey of 141 oil companies, 60% of those surveyed said “investors don’t want companies to produce a lot more oil” since it “will hasten the end of high oil prices,” and they need $56 a barrel to “break even.”
Biden is encouraging Congress to allow regulators to impose stronger penalties on executives of failed banks, including recovering compensation from senior bankers of those banks, and simplifying their removal
Former-President Donald Trump wants people to protest criminal charges against him regarding hush money paid during his 2016 presidential campaign, according to Politico. Newsweek’s report on a Georgia grand jury investigation of Trump’s electoral interference there included a juror saying, “If every person in America knew every single word of information we knew, this country would not be as divided as it is right now.”
Fox News Corporation faces another defamation lawsuit for $2.7 billion by election tech company Smartmatic, according to The Guardian. The Dominion Voting Systems lawsuit asks for $1.6 billion. A Fox News producer has also filed suit against the media company, saying she was coerced into giving misleading deposition testimony. Smartmatic claims Fox News made more than 100 false statements about their involvement with the 2020 election, using “actual malice,” which led to lost business.
Former-Texas politician Ben Barnes, 85, recently told The New York Times that he was part of a team in 1980 that delivered a secret message to Iran on behalf of Ronald Reagan’s campaign: Do not release 52 American hostages until after the presidential election. The goal was to make then-President Jimmy Carter appear ineffective and boost challenger Reagan’s chances of gaining office. Reagan won, and the hostages were let go upon his inauguration
Blast from the past: The U.S. occupation of Iraq began 20 years ago on March 20, 2003. Iraq’s anger with the U.S. was illustrated in 2008 when Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zaidi threw one of his shoes at visiting then-President George W. Bush, saying, “This is a farewell kiss from the Iraqi people, you dog!” He then lobbed his other shoe: “This is from the widows, the orphans and those who were killed in Iraq.” Today al-Zaidi says that, while the Americans are gone, Iraq’s problems have compounded and militias flourish. A first-draft ghost writer of Bush’s autobiography told a reporter in 2004 that Bush told him, “If I have a chance to invade [Iraq] … I’m not going to waste it.” He saw being a war-time commander-in-chief as key to a successful presidency. According to a Princeton human rights scholar, the U.S.-led conflict in Iraq represented “disastrous aggression.”
6 / R / March 23, 2023
Protesters against the proposed smelter near Newport, Wash. gathered in Farmin Park on Earth Day 2018. Courtesy photo.
assist in coordinating and transitioning their obstetrical care,” Binnall wrote. “In addition, we are working closely with Kootenai Health and other entities of the patient’s choice to ensure a smooth transition.”
Cynthia Dalsing, a retired certified nurse-midwife with a Master’s of Science in Nursing, has 40 years of experience working in health care from Virginia to Iowa to the West, and came to Sandpoint in 1995, working at Sandpoint Women’s Health for five years before opening her own women’s health care practice in 2000, which she operated until selling it in 2019 following a cancer diagnosis.
She serves as District 1 representative for the Nurse Practitioners of Idaho, and while underscoring that her comments are her own and not on behalf of the NPI nor BGH, told the Reader that she is aware of 40 physicians who have left Idaho in the past year alone.
“This doesn’t count the ones who are in process or considering it. I have a hard time wrapping my head around that number,” she said.
“I totally understand why a physician would leave Idaho,” she added. “You acquire years of education and debt, grueling schedules completing a residency, and then folks who have essentially no medical expertise tell you how you can practice. They threaten you with criminal prosecution if
you provide the standard of care.”
Dalsing said the political climate in Idaho is “not helping women.” More than that, “you don’t transport a woman who is in an unstable medical condition.”
“This will require women to now travel when they’re in labor,” she said. “I can’t think anyone in active labor wants to do that, nor does the person driving her. We’ll probably see some babies born between the Canadian border and Coeur d’Alene. This is not just affecting the community of Sandpoint, but our neighbors north of us. Sandpoint really does serve a larger population than the quoted ‘9,000’ population.”
News of the suspension of OB services at BGH was an emotional blow for many, as well. Dalsing said that “women who delivered at BGH feel an association with the hospital, as people who say, ‘I was born right here at Bonner General.’”
However, she fears the long-term consequences of the ongoing political climate, scaring off providers far into the future.
“Idaho is digging itself a hole they won’t be able to climb out of,” Dalsing said. “If all this nonsense is stopped tomorrow, Idaho already has a black eye, and it won’t be able to recoup this loss. Loss of health care, loss of dynamic young families moving here, out-of-control development. This is tough.”
As for the immediate future, Binnall said BGH is doing everything it can to help OB patients find the care they need.
“We will provide coordination of care to any entity of the patient’s choice,” she said.
March 23, 2023 / R / 7
From Page 4 > NEWS
•A Bouquet goes out to the Sandpoint Branch of the East Bonner County Library District for hosting the Sandpoint Reader’s Town Hall on March 20 to discuss the Couplet. Also, thanks to the 100+ people who crammed into our meeting room (sorry we didn’t have a bigger one reserved), as well as the volunteers who helped set up and break down chairs, distribute and pick up surveys, and manage Zoom for those who could only participate remotely. Finally, thanks to Sandpoint City Councilors Kate McAlister, Deb Ruehle and Jason Welker for attending. I’ve always believed firmly in opening the lines of communication, especially when dealing with an issue of this magnitude of importance (and permanence).
•It’s that time of year when the snow banks recede, leaving behind all the trash, dog poop and other random items we littered throughout the winter, thinking the snow would hide them forever. Alas, they always remain when the snow melts. I try to pick up a couple pieces of litter every time I walk to and from work. I encourage you all to do the same.
• Whenever someone refers to “wokeness,” I can’t help but feel they are just regurgitating terms they hear on partisan media outlets; terms that very few people actually understand. There are countless videos online of conservative activists railing about “woke” culture, but when asked to define the term, they always fall short. The same happened when “critical race theory” was the popular bugaboo. How can one be vehemetly opposed to something without actually knowing what it is? To refer to something as “woke” is merely a crutch for weak-minded people to straw man their way out of an argument. If “woke” means being “alert to predjudice and discrimination,” then why exactly is that a bad thing? In all my life, I’ve never seen a time when people were so damn proud of being ignorant.
Idaho needs to invest in teachers…
High-quality teachers are the difference between a mediocre education system and an excellent education system; right now, Idaho is facing a crisis, losing more and more of its best teachers with each passing year.
I have always considered myself an Idaho boy through and through. I was born and raised in North Idaho, graduating near the top of my class from Sandpoint High School.
I then earned both my bachelor’s and master’s degrees in math and education from the University of Idaho (Go Vandals!). I was delighted to move back home to teach math at Sandpoint High School. I planned to continue teaching at SHS; unfortunately, I was faced with the reality that thousands of Idaho teachers face. I simply could not afford to live in my hometown.
It was a challenging decision to leave Sandpoint, but I moved to Spokane and immediately started making $25,000 more per year. This difference in salary means owning a home versus renting forever. The difference in salary means planning for retirement instead of living paycheck to paycheck. As a young teacher in Washington, I already make more money than award-winning teachers with advanced degrees and 30 years of experience back in Idaho.
Presently, Idaho cannot recruit and retain the best educators. North Idaho is especially vulnerable to this problem because of its proximity to Washington. Many teachers don’t even move; they just commute across the border to Spokane.
Now is the time for the Idaho Legislature to invest in its teachers and educational support staff. The Legislature must act to increase teacher salaries and keep our best teachers in Idaho. If not, I fear that many more quality educators will be leaving Idaho, just like I had to.
NCHS math teacher Spokane Dear editor, I’ve never written a “letter to the editor” before. Even though I’ve been tempted to, because I’ve always figured that time will eventually prove out what’s right or wrong.
This time, however, I can’t sit by and allow the besmirchment of one of the finest, most honest, God-fearing men who ever wore the badge (including two of my brothers) in my 74 years. To say that, “The only thing honorable about this man is that uniform he’s wearing,” [News, “Boundary line adjustment for BoCo Fairgrounds RV campground upheld on split vote,” March 16, 2023] is just another slap in the face of law enforcement by an ignorant County commissioner [Steve Bradshaw].
We’re going to need men like Sheriff Daryl Wheeler and his ever-reliable deputies this coming summer and beyond, when the “open border” policies of this current administration will be felt even here in northern Idaho, as MS-13 and even worse, Mexican cartels, pay a visit to Bonner County. They are already in Spokane, Boise, Missoula and Butte. “Wake-up.” The first duty of any elected official is the safety of their constituents.
If the sheriff says we need a new justice facility more than space to park big rigs for the County Fair — “Nough said.” Get your priorities straight. Think human trafficking and folks dying from fentanyl.
Vietnam combat veteran Sandpoint
not unlike choosing prayer over standard medical care. The state of Idaho defends a family’s right to deny acceptable and appropriate medical care and allow their child to die, but House Bill 71 allows the state into the intimate personal family decision to treat their child diagnosed with GD.
Fourth, pairing the treatment of GD with GM is an insult to a family making difficult medical decisions. GM is a procedure that alters a girl’s sexual anatomy. As an aside, circumcision in newborn male children is a near universal procedure done in the U.S. But I digress. Yes, they are usually a little girl when this happens, not a baby. This is done without the girl’s permission or anesthesia. GM is done to control the usual female sexual response. To combine these two situations is insulting to both.
I ask that you let HB 71 die in committee. It is not an appropriate action on behalf of our Legislature.
Cynthia Dalsing Sandpoint
Dear editor, Before writing yet another letter on individual bills coming before our Legislature, I’d just like to point out that the bills are coming so thick and fast that letter-writers don’t
have time to research or digest them. Legislators don’t have time to discuss and amend them: the House State Affairs Committee has introduced three bills to “combat the use of environmental, social and corporate governance.” In what was planned to be the last week of the session, no less.
And when we do testify before committees or write to people we elected to serve us (Reps. Mark Sauter and Sage Dixon, Sen. Scott Herndon and Gov. Brad Little, we are mostly ignored.
Even when there is overwhelming opposition to things like gutting our libraries and threatening their staff, undermining education, and throwing women’s health and self-respect under the bus.
The distraction is intentional and perpetrated by a minority. This minority is backed by out-of-state money. We can vote to replace legislators, and elect a majority of Idahoans who will not use distraction tactics. Stay tuned.
I’d love it if somebody would give us some evidence that I am wrong, and relieve us of the distress caused by distraction-partisanship politics. Anybody out there?
Nancy Gerth Sagle
Send letters to the editor under 300 words to letters@ sandpointreader.com.
Thank you, Chairman Lakey and the committee for the opportunity to speak today on HB 71, to which I am opposed.
My name is Cynthia Dalsing, I have lived in Sandpoint for 28 years. I am a retired certified nurse midwife and I am speaking on my own behalf.
First, most of HB 71, popularly known as the “Genital Mutilation Bill,” deals with the surgical treatment for gender dysphoria in a minor. This is a solution looking for a problem. In Idaho, there is no surgeon performing surgery for GD.
Second, this is an example of “practicing medicine without a license.” Gender dysphoria is a recognized medical diagnosis with its own DSM code. I ask that you let medical professionals take care of medical diagnoses.
Third, treating gender dysphoria is a personal family decision,
8 / R / March 23, 2023
‘To protect and serve’…
‘Genital Mutilation Bill’ is a solution looking for a problem…
‘Driving to distraction: A larger view’…
Reader hosts town hall on U.S. Hwy. 2 concepts
Residents, former and current city officials ask questions, give comment on transportation future
By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff
About 100 area residents turned out to the Sandpoint library for a town hall hosted March 20 by the Reader, where they took in presentations, asked questions and offered their comments on a range of topics related to the city’s Multimodal Transportation Master Plan — specifically, the “East-West Connection” concept focused on widening and realigning the stretch of U.S. Highway 2 between Division and Fifth avenues.
The concept envisions additional lanes on U.S. 2; reconfigured U.S. 2 intersections at Ella, Boyer and Fifth avenues; the relocation of a traffic signal to Fifth and Pine Street; the return of two-way traffic to Pine; a new signalized intersection at Superior Street and First Avenue; a new alignment at Bridge Street and First that separates north- and southbound traffic; and, drawing a large amount of attention, a “couplet” connecting southbound traffic from Fifth and Cedar Street to U.S. 2 at the new Boyer intersection via a new twolane, one-way route alongside the current Sandpoint-Dover Community Trail.
The East-West Connection has been part of the transportation plan since its adoption by the City Council in spring 2021, but reentered the public eye Feb. 1, when the council considered an amendment to the plan that would create a new access point off U.S. 2 to South Boyer Avenue through the current Dub’s Drive-In property, which the city voted to acquire.
Met with mixed reactions of confusion and opposition by the public, the city hosted an informational workshop on the overall plan and concept at its March 15 regular meeting, which ran to more than five hours and only included written testimony from residents.
The town hall put on by the Reader came as a result of community members expressing dissatisfaction with the level of public involvement related to the concept, and was intended in part to provide a forum on the topic and gather responses to an informal survey, which drew 62 respondents.
Invited speakers included Jeremy Grimm and Aaron Qualls, who served as Sandpoint city planners
from 2007-2015 and 2015-2020, respectively. Also in attendance were City Council President Kate McAlister and Councilors Deb Ruehle and Jason Welker, as well as Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission
Vice-Chair Mose Dunkel and Commissioner Amelia Boyd.
Both Grimm and Qualls served the city in various capacities during creation of the 2009 Comprehensive Plan, as well as the so-called “Curve” project, which also envisioned widening U.S. 2 and putting in place a couplet from U.S. 2 to Fifth and Cedar.
Proposed by the Idaho Transportation Department in 2011 and ultimately rejected by the city in 2013 — during which time Qualls was a councilor and Grimm was planning director — the Curve generated similar opposition from the public, leading many to believe the concept had been shelved.
So it was with some surprise that “the Couplet” concept reentered the conversation in February, despite the fact that it had been in the transportation plan all along.
Several attendees at the March 20 town hall questioned the level of public involvement that led up to adoption of the plan, noting that engagement opportunities occurred in the late-winter and summer of 2020, amid the onset and height of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This is how the city went about engaging the public to devise and build the most important plan that’s going to affect the public, two years ago during COVID,” Grimm said during his presentation. “Even as someone who’s engaged, I was not that engaged in the process, because it was COVID.”
Furthermore, he said, the data doesn’t back up the necessity for reengaging with ITD on a large-scale realignment and widening of U.S. 2.
“I’m a little shocked that we’re back here,” he said, adding later, “We fought this thing for the better part of five years, and the resolution was fine for me and a lot of other people. … Let’s leave the sleeping dogs sleeping.”
Both Grimm and Qualls noted that traffic volume projections in the plan suggest annual average daily trips will rise to about 20,000 by 2040 — roughly the same ADT as experienced before the U.S. 95 Sand Creek Byway opened in 2012. At
that point, both said, general planning guidance is to consider adding “an additional lane or two,” but even then, as Grimm said, referring to a page from the city’s transportation plan, Sandpoint’s intersections will not have failed.
Qualls framed the issue as “corridor integrity” versus “livability and small business vibrancy,” and suggested that based on Federal Highway Administration guidance, Sandpoint might even consider reducing lanes — particularly on Fifth Avenue-U.S. 2 north of Cedar Street.
“I guess I wonder why this isn’t a priority right now,” he said.
Comments also revolved around questioning the size, need and urgency of the concept, as well as frustration about public involvement in the process.
Boyd said the conceptual redesign isn’t related to the level of service so much as concerns over cut-through traffic in residential neighborhoods — particularly in south Sandpoint, as motorists seek to avoid traveling on U.S. 2.
“It’s not safe, period,” she said. “We’ve got all that cut-through traffic, that traffic zooming down Lake Street. … There is not a safe way to Travers [Park] from south Sandpoint.”
Boyd added that a solution is needed, but whether it’s the EastWest Connection, “I don’t know.”
“I appreciate the conversations that we’re having,” she said. “I do urge everybody to get involved.”
Resident Steve Holt, who has been involved at the citizen level with local transportation issues since the 1990s, said that the city’s transportation plan is not “gospel” and can be reopened and returned for additional public input.
“At least put us at the table and listen to us,” he said.
Dunkel said that Sandpoint is “not going to get rid of this [truck] traffic going through town — to get it to go through town better is the goal.” What’s more, though he indicated he’s in favor of the East-West Connection so long as pedestrians and cyclists can cross the highway safely, Dunkel said the sense of urgency is no more than a perception.
“There’s no way this could happen in the next 10 years,” he said.
One attendee asked where the current parking area will go west of Fifth Avenue between Oak and
Main streets, and also suggested that a greater need exists for addressing rampant growth in the county.
Andrea Marcoccio, who coowns Matchwood Brewing and formerly served the community as an economic development expert, said, “The process has been difficult [to provide feedback].”
“We’ve been following the play-
book and rules to participate,” she said, adding that while she spoke at the Feb. 1 council meeting and “felt heard at the time,” she and other business owners adjacent to the conceptual Couplet route have yet to sit down with city officials to express their thoughts.
“We’re still excited to have that meeting,” he said.
March 23, 2023 / R / 9 NEWS
Science: Mad about
By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist
Fire has been humankind’s greatest ally and adversary for at least 300,000 years.
It’s easy to believe that dousing a runaway flame with water will extinguish it, but this isn’t always the case. We have discovered that fire behaves differently in the presence of certain chemicals, and extinguishing one form of fire will not work for another type — in fact, adding water may make certain kinds of blazes far worse.
Fire requires three things in order to exist: oxygen, fuel and heat. Think of each of these as the legs of a tripod. So long as all three of these legs are standing, they support each other and the fire on top. If you can kick out just one of these legs, the fire won’t survive for long. To help identify how best to sweep the legs out from under a fire, people have developed classes to help manage ways to extinguish them. There are five classes of fire: A, B, C, D and K.
Class A fires are the most common blazes, which are created when fuel sources like wood, paper, fabric or certain plastics feed the flames. This type of fire at a small scale can be doused with water. The water soaks the fuel source and creates a barrier between the fuel and the oxygen while also reducing the amount of heat present. Larger blazes may prove to be too much for water to handle. In the case of major structure fires and wildfires, the primary goal of firefighters shifts from stopping the fire to preventing it from getting larger. If firefighters can block the fire from accessing more
fuel, it will rapidly burn itself out on the fuel that it’s already consuming.
In the case of a large-scale wildfire, there is simply too much fuel present to douse with water. Instead, firefighters move to cut off the fuel source through brute force, by cutting fire lines through the forest, using the topology of the wild terrain to their advantage. If a fire is moving up a mountain that’s jagged and rocky on the opposing side, the crews can force the fire to run up to the edge, run out of fuel and starve itself into self-extinguishing, effectively kicking the “fuel” leg out from the giant tripod.
Class B fires are trickier to manage. These fires are fueled by oil and petroleum products and cannot be controlled by water. Adding water to a gas fire will actually make this fire much worse. Oil and water repel one another, so spraying water on an oil fire will just make it spread more quickly as the oil moves on top of the water, similar to the Leidenfrost effect you see on a hot pan (that is, when water droplets skip around on the pan surface and are slower to evaporate than if exposed to lower temperatures).
In some rare cases, militaries around the world have used explosives to stop blazes, particularly Class B fires in oil fields and refineries. While the heat is still present from the blast of the explosion, certain types of munitions will create a vacuum effect that momentarily sucks away all of the oxygen from a localized area, instantly snuffing the flame. The Swedish Air Force attempted this recently on a wildfire and, while it worked, it was understandably not a tech-
nique that you would use near human habitation.
Class C fires are a unique challenge of their own, as they are caused by electrical equipment. Dousing this with water could cause the electricity to travel through the conductive water and kill whomever is attempting to quench it. These fires are put out similarly to Class B fires, utilizing a blast of carbon dioxide to push out the oxygen and replace it with CO2 to suffocate the flame. Preferably, first responders can cut the power to whatever malfunctioning device is causing the fire, or it can start up again as oxygen begins to push out the carbon dioxide.
The typical red fire extinguisher you see is often an ABC Extinguisher, filled with monoammonium phosphate that coats fuel in a nonflammable material and separates the fuel and the oxygen. This extinguisher will not work on a Class D fire, however.
Class D fires are chemical fires triggered by certain metals like magnesium, titanium, sodium and potassium. Magnesium fires burn white, and if you see a pure white flame then you know it’s time to get out and call help. Metal fires burn very hot and very fast, and Class D extinguishers produce a toxic gas when reacting with the burning metal. This is most commonly seen in machine shops where tiny flecks of metal “dust” coat surfaces and can be ignited by rogue sparks. This can also happen in trucks and train cars that are carrying these types of materials during a crash.
Finally, Class K fires are from oil and grease and most frequently occur in commercial
kitchens. Similar to a Class B fire, spraying water on a grease fire spreads out the grease and oil, heats up the water and causes the blaze to literally explode. Class K extinguishers have a special chemical that quickly combines with acids, creating a foamy layer on the surface of the grease to choke out the flame.
If you’re looking for some ways to guard your home from
wildfires this summer, you should stop by the Sandpoint library on Saturday, March 25 from noon-1 p.m. as we host Sean Mitzel of Integrity Fire Protection. He will share some tips for landscaping for wildfire mitigation to keep your home safe. The present is the best time to plan for the future.
Stay curious, 7B.
managing fire Random Corner
•Mars is known as the Red Planet because it’s covered in soil, rock and dust made from iron oxide which gives the surface a red rusty color.
•Mars is named after the Roman god of war. Its two moons, Deimos and Phobos are named after the two horses that pull Mars’ chariot.
•One year on Mars is 687 days long, the equivalent of 1.9 Earth years. This is because Mars is further away from the sun, so it takes longer to orbit it.
•Mars is home to the largest volcano and highest mountain in our solar system. It is 16 miles high and 370 miles across at the base, making it three times the height of Mount Everest.
•Mars also has the largest canyon in our solar system, Valles Marineris. It is 4 miles deep and stretches thousands of miles long.
•The biggest crater on Mars is Borealis Basin. It is 5,300 miles from end to end and covers 40% of the planet’s surface.
•Mars has north and south poles like earth. The polar ice caps are covered in a layer of frozen carbon dioxide, or dry ice.
•Sunsets on Mars are blue. The Martian atmosphere is dominated by large-sized dust particles. These particles cause something called “Mie Scattering,” which filters out the red light from the sun’s rays and only lets the blue reach our eyes.
•We have sent out unmanned Mars Rovers on missions to explore Mars and collect samples and record scientific data for scientists on Earth to study. Some of these Rovers include Viking 1, Viking 2, Mars 2, Mars 3, Spirit, Phoenix, Pathfinder, Curiosity, and Opportunity.
•There is no evidence of life on Mars. However, it is the planet with the best conditions to support life and scientists believe there is potential for life under the surface of mars because they recently found water ice just under the surface.
10 / R / March 23, 2023
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Greetings from Boise
By Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint Reader Contributor
We are being told the 2023 legislative session is beginning to end. However, I’m not yet convinced we will be done on Friday, March 24. Our voting time on the floor of the House has more than doubled in the past two weeks.
The property tax relief bill is almost through the approval process. It should provide relief for many. The drafters of House Bill 292 took pieces of several tax bills and the insight of many, then turned it into a significant piece of legislation. The bill returns up to $355 million to property owners in 2023.
The actual legislation takes 4.5% of the revenues from state sales tax and divides it among homeowners. It also divides approximately $100 million of revenues (from various sources) and distributes it among school districts to reduce bonds. Finally, it takes the state funds not used for the state budgeting process
Property tax relief and BGH situation among the big Statehouse conversations
•For homeowners in the West Bonner School District, they should see a reduction of $333.
•Homeowners in the Boundary County School District should see a reduction of $339.
•The JFAC crew said the savings didn’t double for a home valued at $900,000, but it was close.
HB 292 was one of those times.
In other news, as many of you know, Bonner General Health issued some sobering news late last week. Due to several factors, the hospital administration has decided to reduce their services. I respect their tough decisions.
(a.k.a. the surplus) and applies them to property tax relief, too.
I asked the staff of the Joint Finance-Appropriations Committee to provide some estimates for our district. They provided the following reductions based on a $450,000 home value:
•For homeowners in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, the JFAC crew estimates there will be a reduction of
HB 292 also adjusts the “circuit breaker” formula. Residents will now stay qualified with a home when it is up to twice the average home value in the county. This adjustment should help some of our residents stay in the program, despite the recent increases in their home values.
The elimination of a March primary date for school elections was also included in the bill. I had previously voted to keep the date for our schools (we lost that vote). As noted in a previous column, there are times when a bill includes some things that are unwanted and many things that work for the district. My vote for
The BGH situation didn’t happen suddenly. This issue has been building. Our medical community has been having trouble recruiting and retaining staff for some time. Meanwhile, a large group of stakeholders has been meeting for months to develop some changes to state statute regarding our abortion regulations.
The new bill, in brief, changes the “affirmative defense” section of the bill known as the “Trigger Law.” This change is important to our medical providers as it gives them the “innocent-until-proven-guilty” provisions of law. The bill also clarifies certain women’s health procedures that may be legally performed.
As with many bills, there were compromises made by all
HB 342 was introduced to the House State Affairs Committee on Monday morning, March 20. The committee voted to print the bill and schedule a hearing for the next morning. Unfortunately, several parties involved with the bill raised objections on Monday afternoon. As I write this piece on March 22, the bill is being held.
There are many active conversations regarding HB 342 among members of the House and Senate and all other parties involved. The local Boise medical community is involved as well.
As this is a pressing issue for our district, I am very hopeful we can get something done with this bill before the session ends.
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. idaho.gov.
GOP property tax bill has poison pill for schools
Rep. Lauren Necochea, D-Boise Reader Contributor
Idaho Democrats had many priorities entering this session, but two topped the list. First, a mandate from voters to increase school investment. Our schools — rural schools, in particular — face dire challenges in retaining staff and a nearly $1 billion backlog in facilities needs. Second, finally, address property taxes.
Now these priorities, shared by Idahoans, are at risk.
A fast-moving GOP bill, HB 292, couples property tax reduction that homeowners desperately need with a poison pill threatening the financial stability of our schools. Specifically, it eliminates the March election that schools use for voter-approved levies and bonds.
Ideally, schools would
receive adequate, reliable state funding and would never need levies and bonds. These options are challenging, uncertain measures to secure funding. Schools only pursue them to ensure a quality education for their students.
Sadly, levy reliance has become the norm. Eighty percent of Idaho’s districts require
supplemental levies for day-today costs like teacher salaries, supplies and utilities. The March election date allows them to make timely salary offers to retain their staff for the following school year. If schools have to wait until the May election to get their full budget, many educators may have taken more certain job offers across state or district lines. The only other election opportunities, August and November, are generally useless because the school year has already started.
Even with levies, Idaho is 51st in the nation for school investment. It’s worrisome to imagine where our kids would be without an opportunity for voters to bolster school funding when needed. And while the state is poised to boost investment this year, this commitment is never guaranteed for the future
and is less than half the funds school districts sought in last Tuesday’s election.
[Editor’s note: Bonner County was not among the 40 out of 44 Idaho counties to participate in the March 14 election, though Boundary County did, resulting in the approval of a two-year, $4.8 million supplemental levy by 55.3% of voters].
At its core, this legislation strips control from local school boards and voters themselves. Residents will no longer have the power to make timely decisions about what supplemental funding they wish to support.
This bill recently passed the House just like another recent property tax “fix.” In 2021, HB 389 was sold as critical legislation to reduce property taxes. Of course, the promised benefits never materialized. But the bill did cause harm, taking away
property tax assistance from some low-income seniors and impeding local governments’ ability to set budgets. Republican legislators and the governor enacted bad legislation because they got the message there would be no other option to meet a desperate constituent need.
Today, we need the courage and thoughtful reflection that was lacking in 2021. The Idaho Senate and Gov. Brad Little must hold the line and reject HB 292 as written. The future of our schools depends on it.
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.
March 23, 2023 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES
Rep. Lauren Necochea. File photo.
Rep. Mark Sauter. File photo.
Protecting the commons — our highest quality wetlands
By Jennifer Ekstrom Reader Contributor
Coined in 1833 by the British economist William Forster Lloyd, “the commons” is an interesting concept that deserves more prominence in modern times. The commons is exactly what you might think it means — the cultural and natural resources accessible to all members of a society, including air, water and habitable earth. Even when owned by the public or privately, these resources are held in common and serve all people by their very existence.
Wetlands are one example of a critical common resource. They serve to protect and improve water quality, sustain water supplies during drought and are vital for biodiversity. They also help with erosion control, soil and nutrient trapping, and provide humans with a margin of safety in a changing climate. Acting like sponges and reservoirs, wetlands absorb excess water during periods of heavy runoff — keeping communities from flooding and stabilizing the shorelines of lakes and rivers. Wetlands even help recharge groundwater, a critical resource that is often out of sight, out of mind.
Human development has wreaked havoc on wetlands worldwide. According to the UN Environment Program, nearly 90% of the world’s wetlands have been degraded since the 1700s, and we are losing wetlands three times faster than forests.
Idaho’s wetlands are impacted too, especially as more people move to the state. In North Idaho, since most of the waterfront areas that are appropriate to build on have already been snapped up, developers are turning to sites like wetlands that are problematic from both a development and ecological standpoint. It’s an alarming and dangerous trend.
In 2009, the Environmental
Protection Agency encouraged states and tribes to develop plans that would guide and prioritize actions for the benefit of wetland conservation and restoration, though Idaho still lacks a formally recognized wetland plan. The Idaho Department of Fish and Game moved forward to adopt a plan for the wetlands they manage, but other agencies like the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) need to work collaboratively to develop a comprehensive plan that will be a guide for management, conservation and restoration of wetlands all across our beautiful state.
Fifty-nine wetlands are found in Bonner and Boundary counties in North Idaho. Thirteen of those are designated by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game as the best quality Class 1 wetlands, deserving highest conservation priority. They are identified through a rigorous scientific process due to their richness, rarity, condition and viability.
The Corps has the authority to issue permits to fill in these wetlands for development, and while some of these permit processes require rigorous scientific assessment and public involvement, their “Nationwide Permits,” (otherwise known as general permits) allow for a very quick and easy process with no public involvement or environmental review. These general permits authorize filling in a half acre of wetland or less, but complications abound, and often developers will seek to bend the rules.
A case in point is the Class 1 wetland at the southern end of Priest Lake, known as the Coolin Chase Lake wetland complex. The Corps recently issued a general permit for the developer to fill in approximately one third of an acre of one of 35 subdivided parcels. The fill is slated to be the pad for a 4,080-square-foot shop. Since the rest of the wetland parcels are still
undeveloped, it begs the question whether additional general permits will be sought, which would then total well over the half acre maximum.
The Idaho Conservation League is asking the Corps to revoke this first of many potential general permits, and require the developer to apply for an individual permit that would require scientific analysis of the impacts and allow the public to weigh in. We are also asking the Corps to exempt Class 1 wetlands in North Idaho from their general permitting process entirely.
Please join us in asking the Corps to exempt our thirteen Class 1 wetlands in North Idaho from their general permitting process. It’s quick and easy, and could make all the difference.
These 13 wetlands include Bottle Lake, Kaniksu Marsh, Potholes, Smith Creek, Three Ponds, Coolin-Chase Lake, Armstrong Meadows, Packer Meadows, Mosquito Bay Fen, Perkins Lake, Lambertson Lake, Upper Priest Lake Fen and Upper Priest River.
With your help, our commu-
nities can continue to be afforded the resilience and habitat these precious wetlands offer, as well as the timeless beauty they provide.
The first step is to get the Corps to exempt Class 1 wetlands in Bonner and Boundary counties from their general permitting processes. Join us in protecting our commons; our amazing wetlands. Take action today: takeaction. idahoconservation.org/aEGrGMe
12 / R / March 23, 2023 PERSPECTIVES
Jennifer Ekstrom is North Idaho Lakes Conservation associate at Idaho Conservation League. For more information, contact her at 208-318-5812 or jekstrom@ idahoconservation.org.
A peat bog at Mosquito Bay. Photo courtesy ICL.
To submit a photo for a future edition, please send to email@example.com.
March 23, 2023 / R / 13
Right: A local group of women who like to knit and drink beer, caught in the wild at Utara Brewing Co. recently. Photo by Ben Olson.
Middle left: The Heartwood Center after a spring snowstorm on March 11. Hard to believe that was only a couple weeks ago! Photo by Rich Milliron.
Bottom left: Sunset taken from Gamlin Lake. Photo by Tom Trulock.
Bottom right: Bill Preuss brought the Reader along on his trip to Bali, Indonesia. Photo courtesy Bill Preuss.
Local siblings sweep first place awards at Schweitzer and Lookout Pass ski races
By Reader Staff
A brother-and-sister duo are both flying high after taking down first-place honors at the Schweitzer Snow Ghost Banked Slalom race and the Lookout Pass Final Ski Race.
Trennon Scherr, 11, is a fifth-grader at the Sandpoint Waldorf School and a passionate skier. Ever “Sissy” Scherr, 7, is in second grade at Waldorf and also loves to ski race.
Trennon earned first place at the Snow Ghost Banked Slalom competition March 12 at Schweitzer in the “Groms” age division (ages 6-12).
The same day, Sissy earned first place in the Slalom ski race and first place on the Giant Slalom — both at Lookout Pass — and another first-place season trophy for overall.
“These kids love to ski and truly embrace what living in a ski mountain town has to offer,” said proud mom Tina Scherr. “Their big smiles and welcoming, fun attitude will have you hooked on skiing too.”
Right: Ever “Sissy” Scherr, 7, won three first-place awards in a single day at Lookout Mountain. Far right: Trennon Scherr earned first place the same day at Schweitzer in the Snow Ghost Banked Slalom race. Photos courtesy Tina Scherr.
Idaho Trails Association teaching Backpacking 101
By Reader Staff
Idaho Trails Association will be hosting a free, three-hour class on Thursday, April 13 from 6-9 p.m. geared toward backpacking for beginners and seasoned hikers alike.
ITA Board Member and Crew Leader Tom Dabrowski will host the event at his shop in Sagle, where participants can learn the basics of backpacking and get hands-on experience with the necessary gear.
Attendees will learn the general differences in backpacks and other gear, what to carry for an overnight up to a week-long trip, how to pack a backpack, tips for making loads lighter and how to stay safe in the backcountry.
Trail Talks: Backpacking 101
Thursday, April 13; 6-9 p.m.; FREE. Tom Dabrowski’s Shop, 877 Heath Lake Road, Sagle, 83860. For more info and to RSVP, visit idahotrailsassociation.org/event/backpacking-101-north-idaho.
Kaniksu Folk School hiring coordinator
By Reader Staff
Kaniksu Folk School is seeking a program coordinator to oversee and manage all aspects of the school’s operations. The coordinator will be responsible for working with independent instructors who teach classes, developing and imple-
menting programs, managing administrative and financial records, and building relationships with community members and partners.
This is a part-time position with Kaniksu Land Trust. For the full job description and application instructions visit kaniksu.org/careers.
14 / R / March 23, 2023
Photo by Glenn Florence.
The closure of Bonner General’s labor and delivery unit is the talk of the town. In fact, it is the talk of the nation. The Today Show reported on it, and even The Guardian ran a story.
Which means the whole thing is just that effed up. The glare of the media spotlight is affirmation of the fact. The media reports on spectacle, and we are that.
Sandpoint is emerging as one of the Four Horsemen of the Women’s Health Apocalypse.
Giddyup, pardner. It’s going to be a wild ride.
I understand that there are many factors at play in this tragedy. Finances and a changing demographic are part of the decision. Obstetrical care in Sandpoint — as in many rural areas — was already a house of cards. But many babies were born and lives saved in that house. It was our house of cards.
Idaho’s punitive abortion laws, however, were just the winds to knock the whole enterprise down. And I’ll bet good money that we’re just the beginning, the first domino of many across the state.
It turns out that the meddling of inept minds in health care decisions has a ripple effect. That is not to say that the powers that be in Idaho are generally inept (though some might argue the case), just that they are inept when it comes to medicine. Take me, as a writer and business owner — if you asked me to craft legislation related to ranching, I would torpedo the whole enterprise. I am an inept guardian of the livestock realm.
Just as white male legislators are inept guardians of the uterine sphere.
When are politicians going to understand that there is so much they don’t understand? When are they going to see that the gaps in their health care knowledge trans-
late to deaths in real life? This isn’t a matter of a failed pop quiz. Ignorance, here, is deadly.
Women’s health providers are fleeing our state because they don’t want to go to jail for doing their jobs. Oregon, Washington and California are welcoming them with wide open arms, better pay and zero threat of prosecution. Not only is BGH closing the door on labor and delivery, but the rest of the state is tottering at the edge of obstetrical collapse.
As House Minority Leader Ilana Rubel, a Democrat from Boise, shared with msn.com (yeah, they’re covering our plight, too), we’ve recently lost one-third of our specialists caring for high-risk pregnancies in the state. And, for the first time in Idaho history, we can’t fill our medical residencies. No one wants to practice obstetrics here right now. Why should they?
Idaho’s current abortion laws allow for an affirmative defense in cases of rape, incest and the life of the mother (but not for the mother’s health, mind you — fuck the mother’s health). That means that physicians are guilty until proven innocent.
In a state where abortion is a four-letter word, doctors here must essentially start with the assertion that, yes, it was an abortion. Who here is going to keep an open mind after hearing that nugget of
truth? Who is going to care whether it was justified? (And I say “justified” in Idaho’s very narrow sense of the term. I believe there are far more reasons than incest or imminent death that warrant performing an abortion.)
Furthermore, in January of this year, the Idaho Supreme Court upheld our state’s prohibition on abortion, as well as our Texas-inspired bounty hunter law, wherein a family member of the aborted fetus may sue the attending physician for at least $20,000 in damages. (Yes, the law identifies a floor, not a ceiling, for settlements in such lawsuits.) Meanwhile, the felony charge for attempting, performing or assisting with an abortion in Idaho includes two to five years in prison, suspension of one’s medical license and fines.
Never mind that, in some instances, an abortion is the most compassionate act available based on predicted outcomes for mother and/or child; in Idaho, that compassion is likely to land the provider in jail.
Listen to the pitter-patter of feet as all the terrified OBGYNs flee.
It is a heart-wrenching sound.
Our legally mandated lack of compassion is likely to land pregnant people in the emergency room, where physicians are poorly equipped to handle complications. As one ER nurse friend of mine quipped, pregnant folks might be better off with local veterinarians; at least they have extensive experience delivering babies.
Eight years ago, I required the services of Bonner General. I tried for a home birth, but the fates — or my daughter — had other plans in mind. Things got complicated, and Dr. Amelia Huntsberger safely brought my baby into the world via cesarean. My stubborn girl wasn’t coming out any other way.
At the time, I lived up Rapid Lightning Road — a 40-plus-minute drive to the hospital. What would it have been like to append an extra hour to that already formidable journey? My daughter was born in December. What would we have done with snowy roads all the way to Coeur d’Alene’s labor and delivery department?
I shudder at the thought, though for currently expectant mothers in Sandpoint, that thought is a reality.
At school drop-off, one of my dear friends — a pillar of the community and mother of two — lamented, “Are we going to have to move? Is that what it’s come to?”
It was a serious question.
I’m concerned about its implications.
Sandpoint already skews toward the older end of the age spectrum. As Editor Zach Hagadone recently reported in the Reader, our town’s median age is about 48. Now, with young doctors leaving and their child-bearing patients soon to follow, what does that mean for the further erosion of Sandpoint’s demographic diversity?
Graver implications aside — like maternal mortality — what does this do to business owners like myself? I’m already having a hell of a time hiring this season. If younger residents flee because they can’t raise families here, then my pool of qualified candidates further diminishes. Just as it does for local restaurants, retail spaces, hotels and more, all of them already struggling with employee shortages. And forget actually attracting employees, as companies in technology, engineering and other knowledge sectors must. Idaho likely looks like a medical hellscape to potential recruits.
As I mentioned, meddling in women’s health care has a ripple effect. Removing all abortion access might seem like a life-saving measure, but it actually makes life more challenging and dangerous for everyone. Physicians will leave. Young families will either depart or take on added risk with their birthing experiences. Some women will die. Demographics will change. More babies will now be born with no medical or social safety net (as TIME magazine reported, there is a paradox in that “the states most committed to requiring women to carry pregnancies to term tend to invest the least in the health and economic security of expectant mothers and children after they are born”). Entire communities will bear the burden of laws lacking compassion and foresight.
As Tyler quipped this morning, pondering a potential outflow of young residents, “I guess retirees are going to have to learn how to cut down their own trees and pour their own wine.”
Maybe they can learn how to deliver babies while they’re at it.
All of this because legislators are grandstanding on a podium that sits squarely between women and their physicians. They are saying, if you have a uterus, your health and wellbeing matters little. They are saying that their ideas matter more than your life.
Legislators are saying all of this, and now Sandpoint is paying the price.
Jen Jackson Quintano writes and runs an arborist business with her husband in Sandpoint. Find their website at sandcreektreeservice.com. See more of Quintano’s writing at jenjacksonquintano. com.
March 23, 2023 / R / 15 PERSPECTIVES
Jen Jackson Quintano.
The joy, and the lessons
Local author Ammi Midstokke releases collections of essays, All the Things
By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff
Ammi Midstokke isn’t shy about her love for both the outdoors and for learning by doing. Where those two loves collide, a childhood pastime comes to mind: sledding.
Midstokke said the last time she remembers wetting her pants coincides with a sledding memory.
“I remember having one of those pile-up crashes with my friends and my siblings and just the hilarity of it all,” she told the Reader. “How often in life do we have those times in community, when we literally have a physical pile-up and are laughing until we can’t control our bladders?”
This memory is one of many that inspired Midstokke to ensure her upcoming Sandpoint book launch event would benefit Kaniksu Land Trust’s fundraising efforts to purchase the iconic Pine Street Sled Hill, so that future generations have a place to do the same kind of pants-wetting, gut-busting, memory-making.
“There is so much more to be said about that — why exposure to nature and accessibility to those places is essential to a community,” Midstokke said.
The book launch, celebrating the release of Midstokke’s first book, All the Things: Mountain Misadventure, Relationshipping, and Other Hazards of an Off-Grid Life, will take place Thursday, March 23 at the Pine Street Woods warming hut. Doors will open to VIP ticket holders at 6 p.m. and general admission folks at 6:30 p.m. While general admission tickets are $10, VIP access is $50 and includes a pre-event reception, appetizers, one drink ticket, an autographed book, a hand-woven bookmark and premium reserved seating.
Find tickets at kaniksu.org/happenings.
Midstokke has established herself as a
regionally well-known storyteller through her regular contributions to The Spokesman-Review, Out There Outdoors and the Sandpoint Reader. While on contract to write a memoir for Spokane publisher Latah Books, the company asked Midstokke about a separate project highlighting the various small works she’s already written.
“We took all these essays — there were so many — and went through this curation process and distilled it down into this book,” she said.
All the Things, Midstokke’s first book, details the many misadventures that result from being a single mom living off-grid.
“There’s a lot in there about me gardening and just the debacle of my yearly attempts to grow a garden, and various other catastrophes — learning while doing,”
she said. “It’s really very North Idaho.”
Humor is a cornerstone of Midstokke’s style, and yet, she still manages to address hard topics like the loss of friends, navigating trauma and the sometimes jarring reality of choosing to live in an unforgiving place — like when you’re pinned to a mountainside by a boulder and require an elaborate backcountry rescue, or when your well dries up and you have to conjure several thousands of dollars in a matter of days.
“I want to choose to see them through a filter of humor, even when they are hard things,” Midstokke said. “That doesn’t mean I don’t talk about how real it is.”
The author will share some of that signature humor and real-life reflection when she reads from All the Things at the KLT event, which she hopes will bring the nonprofit a few steps closer to securing the sled hill — a vital stomping ground for “not just the joy, but the lessons,” she said.
That’s also an apt description for what Midstokke is able to uncover with her writing — not just the joy, but the lessons.
All the Things is available to purchase locally at Vanderford’s, Outdoor Experience, La Chic Boutique and Greasy Fingers Bikes N Repair. Also find it online. For more information about the author — including details about two upcoming women’s writing retreats she’s leading — head to ammimidstokke.com.
16 / R / March 23, 2023 LITERATURE
Author Ammi Midstokke, left, and the cover of All the Things. Courtesy photos.
A colorful connection
Robens Napolitan and Tom Kramer showing new paintings at Monarch Mountain Coffee
By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff
For Sandpoint artists Robens Napolitan and Tom Kramer, “it was an art connection” right from the moment they met.
Napolitan was handing out art supplies at a community center where Kramer was scheduled to teach a cartooning class the same day. It was fall and the end of daylight saving time, but he’d forgotten, arriving at the community center an hour early.
That was in 1974. Just shy of 50 years later, the couple continues to foster that art connection, and currently has a collaborative art show on display at Monarch Mountain Coffee (119 N. First Ave.) until April 29.
Napolitan said Sherrie Wilson, owner of the coffee shop, asked the duo to curate a show to accompany the shifting of the seasons into spring. Both Napolitan and Kramer are known for painting with raucous color — an observation made by attendees at an opening reception for the collection earlier this month.
“There was a relief that people felt, it seemed to be,” Napolitan said. “They kept saying ‘color,’ but you could tell it was their spirits that the color lifts.”
While both Napolitan and Kramer work with the full spectrum of the rainbow, each artist also has a distinct style. Working with texture and more geometric units, Napolitan is inspired by nature and whimsy, while Kramer’s background in cartooning often means that his work features semi-figurative interpretations of people and what he calls “the silence within.”
One of his works, “Wild Child,” was of particular interest to art viewers during the Monarch Mountain Coffee opening reception.
“Tom often paints at night after I’ve gone to bed,” Napolitan said. “In the morning, when I go to open his curtains to the daylight, I see what has appeared on his easel. When I saw ‘Wild Child’ I said, ‘Don’t touch it! It’s done!’”
The two serve as one another’s closest critic, and oftentimes, collaborator. One joint piece of artwork now on display is titled “Internal Logic,” and happened as a result of Napolitan giving up on a canvas, offering it to Kramer and asking him to “break it open.” Kramer said the title is
derived from a concept he and Napolitan subscribe to in their creative process.
“It has to have some sort of thing that holds it together — some sort of meaning, even if we’re the only ones who know what that meaning is,” he said.
The pair has shown at Monarch Mountain Coffee before — in both the coffee shop’s former and current locations. Napolitan said it is one of the most artist-friendly places to hang and display art. The collection currently on display consists almost entirely of never-before-shown paintings by both her and Kramer, making it a satisfying culmination of a year of hard work.
“This was worth working for — well worth working for, because it shows off the work well,” Napolitan said.
March 23, 2023 / R / 17
Monarch Mountain Coffee is located at 119 N. First Ave. in downtown Sandpoint. The coffee shop will display Napolitan and Kramer’s artwork until April 29.
March 23-30, 2023
THURSDAY, March 23
Bella Note Special Music Performance
5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery
Flute, cello, guitar and piano from students of the Bella Note Studio
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!
Live Music w/ BTP
Winter animal tracking and early spring birding class
Mamma Mia! play
7pm @ Sandpoint High School Auditorium
The international hit presented by SHS’s Mime & Masque. Tickets $12 available at Eve’s Leaves and Eichardt’s
7pm @ Connie’s Lounge
5-8pm @ Paddler’s Alehouse
FriDAY, March 24
5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery
Rock through the decades
Schweitzer Community Day
$20 lift tickets with 100% of proceeds going to Community Cancer Services
Mamma Mia! play
7pm @ SHS Auditorium
Live Music w/ John Daffron
6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall
SATURDAY, March 25
Missoula Children’s Theater: Red Riding Hood play
1 & 4pm @ Panida Theater
Featuring over 50 local schoolchildren
Live Music w/ Bill Corwin
7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge
Anticipated debut of a new local artist
Live Music w/ Weibe Jammin’
5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery
Featuring Nick Weibe with a new set list
Patrice Webb and Lyle Morse in concert
6:30pm @ Create (Newport) Blues, swing, jazz, folk and country! $12
Live Music w/ Puttin’ on the Frytz
6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall
Mamma Mia! play
7pm @ SHS Auditorium
Live Music w/ Miah Kohal Band
9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge
Outlaw classic rock and alt-country
Belly dancing at the Pearl
10am, 11:30am & 7pm @ The Pearl Theater Workshops at 10 & 11:30am, live performances at 7pm at the Pearl in Bonners Ferry
Idaho Old-Time Fiddler’s Assoc. jam sesh
3-5pm @ Sandpoint Senior Center Free event that is open to the public
Protest against the Willow Project
1:30pm @ Corner of Boyer and Hwy 2
A group of high schoolers are gathering across from Dub’s to protest the Biden administration’s Willow Project decision
SunDAY, March 26
Sandpoint Chess Club 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am
Fern Spores in concert 5pm @ Bluebird Bakery
Touring Americana band blending blues ballads with folk sensibilities
monDAY, March 27
Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi
7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub
Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s “Restoring Relationships”
Group Run @ Outdoor Experience 6pm @ Outdoor Experience
3-5 miles, all levels welcome, beer after
6-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge
tuesDAY, March 28
Robo Club • 3:30-5pm @Sandpoint Library
Explore robotics (Grades 6-12)
wednesDAY, March 29
Avalanche Dog fundraiser w/ Schweitzer Ski Patrol
5-7pm @ Burger Express in Sandpoint
Live Piano w/ Paul Taylor
5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery
100% of profits will benefit the avalanche dog program. Meet the dogs and have a burger!
ThursDAY, March 30
By Reader Staff
Join an all-day outing in rural northwest Montana, where attendees will learn how to use natural observational skills to find and identify animal tracks and sign, and spot and identify local and migrating avian species.
The adult class will meet Saturday, March 25 at the Venture Inn Viking Room in Libby, Mont., at 9 a.m. (Mountain Time) to review learning aid sheets before heading to the field. Participants will visit several sites of differing habitat characteristics, observational viewpoints and undertake a few short hikes on private lands led by an experienced field researcher. The event is expected to conclude around 3 p.m. (MST).
Attendees should come prepared dressed for weather in layers, with good footwear, hats and gloves. Camouflage and/or natural colors work best. Also come with full gas tanks, lunch, water, snacks, cameras, binoculars, spotting scopes, field guides and a good sense of humor. Registration is required, limited to 10 participants. No dogs or pets.
To register, email b_baxter53@ yahoo.com or call 406-291-2154.
7pm @ Connie’s Lounge
Registration deadline for Lou Domanski Chess Festival
The date of the chess tournament is April 8 at Sandpoint Community Hall. Divisions include grades 1-6 for $5, middle/high school for $7 and open division for $10. Register at sandpointidaho.gov
18 / R / March 23, 2023
An American robin. Courtesy photo.
By Reader Staff
STAGE & SCREEN Keep The Bike Moving to premiere at the Panida BY THE NUMBERS
Keep The Bike Moving, a locally-produced adventure film about the North Idaho Racers taking on the 2023 Baja 1000, will premiere at Sandpoint’s Panida Theater on Sunday, March 26.
Doors open at 6 p.m. with a social hour, and the film will show at 7 p.m. with a question-and-answer session to follow. Tickets are $10 and available in advance at panida.org or at the door the night of the show.
This is the second year Hyphen Productions has brought a motorsport film to the big screen, which follows the complex rigors of trying to move two teams, their riders and support units to the finish of the famous Baja 1000, which takes place annually in the Baja California Peninsula of Mexico.
Keep The Bike Moving chronicles the journey of the North Idaho Racers, who committed themselves to race an event more than 1,000 miles away from the Northwest. The NIR team are all privateers that raised the funds themselves to race alongside professional teams that are backed by tens of thousands of dollars.
Keep the Bike Moving premiere
Sunday, March 26; doors at 6 p.m., film at 7 p.m.; $10. Panida Theater, 300 N.First Ave., 208-2639191. Get tickets at the door or at panida.org.
Riders from both teams, along with the bikes used in the race, will be on hand at the theater for the event, which is presented by Mountain Fever Productions.
The filmmaker, Nick Harper-Johnston, of Hyphen Productions, produced his first movie about Baja in 2022, titled Baja 1000, La Paz or Bust, which also premiered at the Panida Theater. Harper-Johnston lives in the Sandpoint area and works for Schweitzer Ski Patrol, in addition to working as a wildland firefighter in the summer months. He received cinematography support from fellow local Maddie Albertson on Keep the Bike Moving.
The prestigious Baja 1000 first ran in the mid 1960s and has captured the imag-
ination of riders from all over the world who wanted to see if they were strong enough to put up with the Baja California Peninsula. Sanctioned now by SCORE International, it attracts competitors from six continents and is considered one of the premier off-road races in the world.
Competitors who have competed in the Baja 1000 include Steve McQueen, Glen Plake, Paul Newman and James Garner.
Human Rights Task Force scholarship now available
By Reader Staff
The Bonner County Human Rights Task Force is accepting applications for the Darby and Amber Campbell and Erik Robin Bruhjell Memorial scholarships. The scholarships are available to seniors graduating from any Bonner County public or private high school or home school.
The mission of the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force is to promote
and secure mutual understanding and respect among all people. The task force recognizes that it is the social and cultural diversity of our people that makes Bonner County a rich and worthwhile place to live.
The amount of the scholarships varies from $500 to $2,500, depending on the number of scholarships awarded. Applicants with secondary education goals with an emphasis in community building, environmental issues and human rights
advocacy are encouraged to apply. Previous recipients have included students from Sandpoint High School, Clark Fork High School, Lake Pend Oreille High School, Priest River Lamanna High, and Forrest Bird Charter School.
Applicants are asked to submit the common application form, as well as the individual scholarship applications. The applications ask the student to write a paragraph on the meaning of human rights as well as an essay in response to one of the questions on the application.
The application is available on the BCHRTF website at bchrtf.org. It is also available on the SHS and Priest River Lamanna High School websites, as well as on some of the other school websites. The deadline for applications is 9 a.m., Monday, April 10 at the Sandpoint High School Counseling/Career Center or at the student’s high school. Applications may also be submitted by April 10 to the Task Force at: BCHRTF Scholarship, P.O. Box 1463, Sandpoint, ID 83864.
For more info or questions call 208-290-2732 or email bchrtaskforce@ gmail.com.
By Ben Olson Reader Staff
The number of times the Fed has raised its short-term borrowing rate over the past year. Fed Chairman Jerome Powell announced the latest 0.25% hike March 22, with the hopes that the increased borrowing rate will help curb inflation, which currently remains triple the Fed’s target rate of 2%.
The amount of money the Biden administration is sending from the 2021 bipartisan infrastructure law to help communities prepare for wildfires this summer, according to Vice President Kamala Harris. The funding represents the first round of the $1 billion Community Wildfire Defense Grant program authorized under the infrastructure bill that President Biden signed in November 2021. Idaho will see $690,000 for implementation of 53 miles of rightof-way fuel breaks in Clark County and $193,844 to Idaho Firewise, Inc. to provide outreach and education to communities in Idaho.
The percentage of Americans who think that taxpayers should not have to pay to resolve problems caused by irresponsible bank management. Only 49% of Americans favor government bailouts of financial institutions.
The total snowfall at Schweitzer this season, which is just under its average of 300 inches per year. For contrast, Donner Pass in California has had one heck of a season, charting 572 inches of snowfall this season, which is more than 47 feet. Closing day at Schweitzer’s 2022-2023 ski season is slated for Sunday, April 9.
March 23, 2023 / R / 19
By Marcia Pilgeram Reader Columnist
Last week, sporting a newly gifted Irish apron, I delivered a cookie tray to some neighborhood children when a neighbor couple out for a walk spotted me and assumed I was delivering bakery orders. So they inquired, “Can we get some shamrock cookies from you?” I’d baked plenty of extras and told them to drop by my house on their way home. There was only a brief, awkward exchange when they realized I was baking for fun, not money, and the cookies were a gift (that they had a hard time accepting).
I’ve cooked for fun, money and love throughout my life. Nowadays, I mostly cook for love. Since I live alone, well-meaning people often remark, “It must be so hard to cook for one.” I’m sure it must be, but I wouldn’t know. I’ve spent a lifetime in the kitchen, from feeding a dozen ranch hands three times daily to years of catering events for hundreds. But, honestly, I wouldn’t know how to cook a single serving.
Lately, I’ve been testing oodles of recipes and have scaled most of them down to four servings. While I’m cooking, even four servings seems like a paltry number of portions (except when it’s time to purchase the ingredients).
Usually, when I finish testing a recipe, if it’s something I can freeze, I wrap it up and toss it in the freezer until I can pass it along to a friend or family member. However, when the grandbabes started referring to my culinary offerings as “Mimi’s mystery meals,” I learned to do a better job of dating and labeling the packages. As a result, you’ll find a half-dozen meals marked and ready to go at any given time.
Last week, I cooked for a
The Sandpoint Eater For the love of food!
small gathering in my home for the first time in a long time. From planning the menu to shopping, cooking and finally serving my guests, I can’t think of anything that makes me much happier than feeding my friends and family. I was especially pleased with my shopping self for this little get-together, as I managed to bring home some favorite ingredients from Ireland:
• West Cork cheeses from Gubbeen Farm in Skull;
•Organic smoked salmon from the Old Millbank Smokehouse in the medieval market town of Buttevant;
•Guinness bread from an artisan baker in Dublin.
There was barely time to clean up the leftovers of my St. Patrick’s Day gathering before I
started thinking about Easter. Of course, now that my kids have their kids and assorted extended families, we aren’t as likely to spend all the holidays together. As a result, we’re pretty fluid regarding holiday time and have never done the every-other-yearis-my-turn-type celebrating. But, truth be known, I’m always happy to forgo the Christmas and Thanksgiving rotations for my beloved Easter.
There’s nothing I don’t love about Easter (except the rain on my Easter parade). Maybe because I’m not a fan of winter — especially the last one — Easter with her blooming crocus, fluffy baby chicks and adorably dressed children fills me with every hopeful sign of springtime. And, of course, one of my favorite meals to prepare: Easter brunch!
The vegetarians in my family
will soon outnumber the carnivores and pescatarians, so I continue changing the menu a bit (but never giving up on bacon, ham or chicken livers), with more salads, fruit and cheese offerings and an abundance of bread and pastries.
And egg prices be damned! Regardless of the cost, I’ll still have at least three kinds of eggs prepared for brunch (scrambled, deviled and quiche).
I always make a salmon torte for Easter, and since I’d brought some salmon back from Ireland, I also made one for my St. Patrick’s Day menu. It was a huge hit, with lots of requests for the recipe.
I usually make favorite recipes from memory, but, now and then, I like to fact-check if I plan on sharing. Unfortunately, a not-sogreat filing system I use is the search bar in the sent files of my
Gmail account. So I searched for this recipe and found some fun-related correspondences. One was a rail client (2008) who I served onboard the California Zephyr en route from Chicago to Emeryville, Calif. in her private rail car. She must have liked it because she requested I make it again on her trip the following month.
Another unusual request was from a friend having a Champagne party to celebrate the wedding of Prince William and Kate (2011). She wanted to include a recipe featuring smoked Scottish salmon. I was happy to oblige.
To make this delicious and pretty offering, your salmon need not come from faraway shores or smokehouses — any wet-type smoked salmon, such as gravlax, will do nicely. Don’t forget the Champagne!
Atlantic smoked salmon torte
This is a great addition to an appetizer bar or holiday brunch buffet. The cheese mixture is mild in taste, and doesn’t take away from the delicate flavor of the smoked salmon.
•½ cup mascarpone
•¼ cup crème fraîche
•1 lb. cream cheese, softened
•½ cup unsalted butter, softened
•½ cup sour cream
•8 oz. very thinly sliced Norwegian, Scottish or Irish smoked salmon
Blend cheeses and sour cream in a food processor until thoroughly mixed. Lightly press dampened cheesecloth into a 6-7-inch cake pan.
Press bits of dill, thyme and lemon zest decoratively onto the cloth. Pat one third of the cheese mixture over cheesecloth. Press into place with wet fingers. Tap on counter to remove air pockets. Top with salmon. Cover with another layer of cheese mixture. Tap again. Add another layer of salmon.
Fold the edges of the cheesecloth over the top layer and cover with cling wrap. Give it a couple more good taps on the counter to remove any more air pockets. Chill for 8 hours.
Carefully unmold by removing springform rim, loosen cheesecloth, invert onto serving platter and remove cheesecloth. Garnish with finely chopped onion, salmon roe and finely chopped chives before serving with crackers, crudites or brown bread. For 6 individual servings, follow the recipe above, but press dampened cheesecloth into individual ramekins. On a small plate, place a piece of Bibb lettuce, and carefully unmold torte. Garnish with capers and lemon wedge, crudites and bread. Store leftovers in the fridge for no more than 2-3 days.
20 / R / March 23, 2023 FOOD
Tammy Zinke selected as Festival at Sandpoint’s 2023 poster artist contest winner(s)
By Reader Staff
The Festival at Sandpoint’s Fine Arts Poster tradition dates back to the start of the organization in 1983. What started as advertisement and fundraising for the Festival at Sandpoint has now become a way to showcase some of the community’s many talented artists to celebrate and publicize their work.
In October 2022, the Festival at Sandpoint altered the selection process to an open competition and began accepting submissions for its first Fine Arts Poster Contest.
The Festival at Sandpoint was overwhelmed by the number of submissions they received in the first year of the contest. Submissions were evaluated on multiple criteria: originality, creativity, execution, quality, demonstrated skill, and how well the art embodied the spirit of the Festival community in a creative or innovative way.
This year, Festival officials stated, it was especially difficult to select just one winner. As a result, two winners were announced: one Fine Arts poster and one Series Lineup Poster.
Tammy Zinke, a self-taught acrylic artist, was selected as the Festival at Sandpoint’s 2023 Fine Arts Poster Artist. Zinke started her career 32 years ago in Sandpoint, not as a painter but as an upholstery artist opening her business Artisan 2 Upholstery. Having grown up on the Oregon Coast, Zinke’s realistic and impression-
istic-style paintings are often inspired by the beauty of the natural world and the Pacific Northwest.
“I focus on the way the atmosphere enhances, moment by moment, the changing mood as light and shadow bring, right before her eyes, a vision of the next painting — another beautiful portrait of Mother Earth,” Zinke said.
“It all begins with kiln-dried wood and cotton canvas. I build all of my canvases from scratch, so they are sturdy and tight,” she added.
The winning art piece, entitled “Harmonies in Nature,” will be revealed on July 11, following the Festival’s Sponsor Appreciation event.
“This piece [‘Harmonies in Nature’] was inspired by the outdoor setting of the Festival at Sandpoint and William Shakespeare’s quote, ‘The Earth has music for those who listen,’” Zinke said. “I strove to combine the musical spirit of nature with the musical spirit of the instruments played by humans. The Festival brings young and old the inspiration of music combined with the love of nature.”
The artist’s donation of this original piece is not only a tradition but a fundraiser for the nonprofit organization’s mission. The original art is auctioned, with bidding beginning on July 11 and concluding at the Grand Finale performance on Aug. 6.
Zinke can be found painting in her studio, T Zinke Art Studio,
at 31827 Hwy. 200 in Kootenai, Tuesday through Saturday. She encourages the public to browse her gallery of paintings and watch her work.
Zinke’s online art portfolio can be found at tzinkeartstudio.com or on Facebook at T Zinke Art Studio.
In addition to the 2023 Fine Arts Poster Art Contest winner, Maximillian Bazler, a college student pursuing a degree in graphic and web design from North Idaho College, was selected as the 2023 Series Lineup Poster Artist.
Bazler’s passion for graphic design began at a young age, when he found he could combine his love for creativity with critical thinking.
“At the age of 12, I started playing around with making photo edits on our family computer, and I have been hooked ever since,” Bazler said.
Bazler enjoys spending his
free time running, paddleboarding or hiking outdoors, and he often draws inspiration for his designs from the nature of Coeur d’Alene and its surrounding area.
“As an artist and nature enthusiast, I have always been drawn to the natural beauty of Sandpoint and the surrounding area,” Bazler said of the inspiration behind his submission.
“The breathtaking scenery inspired me to create a poster that captures the essence of the area,” he added.
Bazler’s graphic and web design portfolio can be found at maxbazler.design.
To learn more about the Festival at Sandpoint’s Poster Artist Contest, or browse posters from throughout the Festival’s 40-year history, visit festivalatsandpoint. com/posters.
A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint
BTP, Pend d’Oreille Winery, March 24
Talk about energy, and you’re talking about BTP. The eponymous acronym for Baker Thomas Packwood, this Sandpoint supergroup stands for three people: Ben Baker, Ali Thomas and Sheldon Packwood.
The trio of well-known local musicians kicks out the rock ’n’ roll classics, favorite oldies and iconic numbers from across the American songbook — providing
Alyssa Nunke of Fern Spores, Bluebird Bakery, March 26
This week’s RLW by Lyndsie
Our societal obsession with alternative dystopian realities has hit an all-time high during the coronavirus pandemic (which somehow started three years ago?), so it feels fitting to recognize the only dystopian creation that ever truly captured my imagination: The Hunger Games book trilogy by Suzanne Collins. Released in annual succession starting in 2008, the stories focus on a post-rebellion country that quells unrest with a reality TV show in which teenagers from different districts must fight to the death. Far-fetched? Sure, but the larger themes feel eerily current.
An album I return to every spring is Nathaniel Rateliff’s In Memory of Loss. Most people are more familiar with Rateliff’s band, the Night Sweats — especially after they rocked the Festival at Sandpoint stage in 2019 with one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever enjoyed. Rateliff’s solo work is in an entirely different vein: understated, slow, a little somber and deeply thoughtful — perfect for those first few sunny days when the seasonal shift is both exciting and sad. “Early Spring Till” remains a favorite every March.
something for everyone and routinely packing the house. Get a hold of something good to sip and snack on at the Pend d’Oreille Winery, and get ready for a rocking Friday night on the town.
5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 208-265-8545, powine. com.
With influences like Janis Joplin, Shakey Graves, Tom Waits and Lake Street Dive, you know Northwest Americana band Fern Spores is bound to put on a great show. Songwriter, vocalist and guitarist Alyssa Nunke will be playing a couple of solo shows in Sandpoint that aren’t to be missed.
Fern Spores has played alongside some of Sandpoint’s darlings, including Shook Twins, John
Craigie and more, and will put on a free show at 5 p.m. at Bluebird Bakery on Sunday, March 26. She’ll also participate in the singer-songwriter spotlight at 7 p.m. Sunday, April 2 at the Heartwood Center.
5 p.m., FREE. Bluebird Bakery, 329 N. First Ave, 208-265-8730. Listen at fernspores.com.
As I’ve stated time and time again, time travel is the way to my narrative-hungry heart. I’ve been putting off watching The Adam Project, the 2022 Netflix original film featuring Ryan Reynolds, because, well, Ryan Reynolds. The man plays one smartass character over and over. But I took a chance last weekend in the name of time-hopping love, and I wasn’t disappointed. Reynolds still puts on the same schtick, but the cool science, enthralling action scenes and timeless Mark Ruffalo/Jennifer Garner pairing save it.
March 23, 2023 / R / 21
Tammy Zinke, left; and Maximillian Bazler, right. Courtesy photos.
From Pend d’Oreille Review, March 23, 1923
DARING BOOTLEGGER WORKS CLEVER RUSE
The daring of a bootlegger or liquor runner, unparalleled in local history, cheated the law out of confiscation of approximately eight cases of whiskey Wednesday morning. The liquor had been cached at the elevator of the Farmers’ General Supply company on a Spokane International spur track near Alder street, where it was found by employees. The sheriff’s office was notified at once but before the arrival of officers, a car driven by a single runner pulled up at the elevator. The elevator employee, not knowing the sheriff’s deputies by person and supposing the car was from the sheriff’s office, aided the runner in putting the contraband aboard. When Sheriff Kirkpatrick arrived at the scene a short time later, he and elevator employee were dumbfounded to discover the error made in release of the liquor.
The discovery of the liquor was made Wednesday morning by C. Sturmer, who states it was cached between some shingles in one of the rooms of the first floor of the elevator. He told H.A. Glasson of the find and the latter called the sheriff’s office.
“I didn’t want to say it right out what we had found,” said Mr. Glasson told a Review reporter, “but told the sheriff’s office that i had something for them and they should come at once.
“Several minutes after that a car drove up to the door and the driver, who wore a leater jerkin and was dark complexioned, asked if there was some liquor here. I asked him if he was from the sheriff’s office, as none of us are acquainted with the deputies and when he said he was, we let him have the liquor. We didn’t discover our mistake until some time later, probably a half hour, when the sheriff showed up to answer our all.”
On natural bodily functions
The Idaho Legislature treats women’s bodies as taboo, and that’s everyone’s problem
By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey Reader Staff
I started my period at 15 years old.
If your first thought after reading that last sentence was that it seemed too personal or too intimate to share with an audience of mostly strangers, I disagree.
If your first thought was, “Wow, Lyndsie was a late bloomer,” then you’re right — and you’re probably a woman.
Anyway, I started my period at 15 years old. I was mostly unaffected by the event, albeit a little relieved. I’d thought the day would never come, after all of my friends had already checked “first menstrual cycle” off their womanhood list. I didn’t grow up in a family that celebrated the milestone outright, but it also wasn’t taboo. In a house full of sisters, monthly bleeding was a fact of life.
Based on a recent vote in the Idaho Legislature, you’d think monthly bleeding was a secret burden belonging to the monolith of shameful inconveniences afforded exclusively to the female of the species.
On March 20, the Idaho House killed a bill that would have funded free menstrual products in public school girls’ bathrooms. House Bill 313, sponsored by two Republicans, would have put pads and tampons on the same state-funded level as toilet paper, paper towels and soap, costing $435,000 for dispenser installs and just more than $300,000 for annual hygiene product restocking, according to the Idaho Statesman. The Statesman also reported that Idaho is expected to see a $1.4 billion tax revenue surplus this fiscal year.
Advocates for the bill said students without access to period products are often left to ask school administrators and friends for help. A recent survey conducted in eastern Idaho found that 75% of female students have missed a class or day of school
because they didn’t have access to pads or tampons, and a national survey found that almost a quarter of female students can’t afford to buy their own.
Despite the stats and GOP sponsorship, HB 313 died on a 35-35-0 vote. I’m proud to say that local Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint, voted in favor of the measure. Unfortunately, Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, did not.
Lawmakers criticized the proposal for being too “woke.” According to the Statesman, Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, led the bill’s opposition, calling it a “very liberal policy,” and asked “Why are our schools obsessed with the private parts of our children?”
That says more about her than it does about the bill, but I digress.
This is the kind of thinking that only perpetuates the idea that being born a woman comes with an unspoken code of “shutup-and-deal-with-it” responsibilities. This kind of thinking is the reason why purity and politeness are among the chief expectations of “respectable women.” This kind of thinking leads to the sudden closure of very basic, essential health care services in our local hospital. Without this kind of thinking, it would be impossible for Bonner General Health to close its obstetrics ward with no clear solutions for pregnant women and an overarching assumption that people can alter their entire lives to seek care for themselves and their unborn children in other cities.
“You’ll figure it out,” is the message we receive. “Ask your teacher for a pad. And in a few years, we really hope you can avoid giving birth in the car!”
Under the guise of avoiding “wokeness,” women’s needs are cast aside; but, rather than cause an uproar (we can’t risk being seen as unhinged, you know), we figure it out. Thanks to the Idaho Legisla-
Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution
ture, adolescent girls experiencing their first menstrual cycles will continue to get a crash course in figuring it out, often to the detriment of their education and self image.
Women’s bodies are crazy cool, and yet, the very functions that make them so powerful are branded by existing establishments as dirty and awkward — in other words, taboo. This is done intentionally, redefining women’s bodies as political battlegrounds and allowing for rampant virtue signaling. By minimizing understanding of women’s bodies, their personhood and agency is easier to deny, and current practices — the ones that make it so schoolchildren are forced to ask for tampons is a shameful whisper or make it so pregnant women have to call around to regional obstetricians in hopes that they can receive vital, timely care — are able to continue.
There must be a paradigm shift so that monthly bleeding is considered the natural bodily function that it is. I’m not sure where that paradigm shift begins, but it may help to remember where we all came from: women.
If you’re ever giving a speech, when you start out, act nervous and get mixed up a little bit. Then, as you go along, get better and better. Then, at the end, give off a white glowing light and have rays shoot out of you.
22 / R / March 23, 2023
OF THE BOOK
Solution on page 22
By Bill Borders
March 23, 2023 / R / 23
of large antelope 6.Pack to capacity 10.Once, long ago 14.Thespian 15.Hardly believable 16.Loathsome 17.At which location? 18.Assert 19.Distinctive flair 20.Controlling 22.Guns an engine 23.Car 24.French president’s residence 26.Bean curd 30.Gooey stuff 31.Black bird 32.Blackball 33.Acid related to gout 35.Rotating mechanism 39.Plane ticket price 41.Sticks to 43.Regal 44.Greek district 46.Raise a stink 47.Not bottom 49.Lair 50.Consumes food 51.Somewhat 54.Murres 56.Pertaining to flight 57.Campsite 63.Small amount 64.Froth 1.Prostitute 2.Reflected sound 3.Any thing 4.Fern clusters 5.Sporting venue 6.Rattled DOWN
on page 22 7.Pasta dish 8.Ends a prayer 9.Joined 10.In all places 11.Angers 12.Someone who is owned 13.On edge 21.Portend 25.Whip 26.Russian emperor 27.Buckeye State 28.Wrath 29.Not fully explored 34.Videographers 36.Environs 37.What we walk on 38.Sounds of disapproval 40.Balm ingredient 42.Jeans material 45.Train 48.A prefabricated structure 51.Radiolocation 52.Eagle’s home 53.Exchange 55.Spring month 58.Zero 59.Mother 60.French for “State” 61.Approaching 62.Foot digits 65.Relative magnitudes 66.Assistant 67.Anagram of “Neat” 68.Picture 69.Marsh plant 70.Existed 71.Wood strips
Week of the
bewray /bih-REY/ [verb] 1. to betray “Several senators bewrayed Caesar, bringing him to an untimely end.”
Thanks for playing.
Solution on page 22
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