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2 / R / March 28, 2024

The week in random review

people would describe me as...

Picture a 13-year-old me, sitting in English class behind a girl who would go on to become one of my best friends. She turns around, places her hands in mine, looks down and exclaims, “Wow! You’ve got grandma hands.” This is but one of several interesting descriptions thrown at me over the years with little to no explanation. A few years later, while shopping for a prom dress, the sales woman handed me a blue twopiece and said, “This will look good on you, pencil girl. It’ll fit your eraser boobs.” I’m still not certain what she meant. The most perplexing description, however, is the one I earned twice in two different states. First, a friend in high school jokingly accused me of being “a 50-year-old man in disguise.” Then, two years later, my college roommate ambushed me after class and yelled, “I’ve been trying to figure out who you remind me of — it’s Bryan Cranston!” I can’t say I see the resemblance, but I am hoping to sue for royalties from Breaking Bad.

the best part of waking up

On a recent visit to Evans Brothers Coffee I found myself transfixed by a print titled “Coffee Taster’s Flavor Wheel” by the Specialty Coffee Association of America, which hangs outside the bathroom. My friend and I spent nearly half an hour attempting to decipher it before coming to the realization that we were witnessing horrors beyond our comprehension and fleeing out the back door. Why? Well, among the expected flavors and aromas like “honey” and “coffee blossom” were less expected flavors like “cooked beef” and “wet cardboard.” If there are any professional coffee roasters, chemists or graduates of Miskatonic University reading this, please explain to me how you can roast a coffee bean so incorrectly that it tastes “skunky,” “soapy,” “leather-like” or has notes of “raw potato,” “garlic,” “garden peas,” “concrete,” “kerosene,” “iodine” or “wet wool.” Until then, I’ll keep scouring roasteries for a suitably bovine blend.

melody maniac

My name is Soncirey and I’m a Spotify addict. It’s been one week since I last made a playlist. I’m up to 43 — some take as long as 17.5 hours to listen to — and I organize and reorganize them by color. Every song has a particular vibe regardless of genre, and each vibe has a corresponding color in my mind. For instance, songs like “Good Old-Fashioned Lover Boy” by Queen, “Grace Kelly” by MIKA and “The Safety Dance” by Men Without Hats are all a rich, vibrant blue, which is indicative of their engaging, goofy mood. On the other hand, songs like “Who Is She?” by I Monster, “To Tango Tis Nefelis” by Haris Alexiou and “Movement” by Hozier are blood red because they all embody a sense of passion and danger that’s downright vampiric. My playlists run the spectrum from red to violet — plus gray and black — but Reader Editor Zach Hagadone stumped me when he requested brown. I’m open to suggestions.


As we approach the primary election on May 21, I’d like to share a few bits of information to help our readers get the best access they can to the slate of candidates.

We’ll publish our usual candidate questionnaire in the April 18 and April 25 editions. These questionnaires include candidates from contested races in the Bonner County Commissioner and Bonner County Sheriff races, as well as Idaho Legislative races from District 1, including Senate, House Seat A and House Seat B races., KRFY 88.5 FM and the Sandpoint Reader will host a candidate forum on Tuesday, April 30 at 5:30 p.m. at the Sandpoint High School auditorium, so be sure to mark your calendars.

Also, we have reduced the word limit for letters to the editor to 200 words per letter, instead of the usual 300-word limit. This is to ensure we allow as many people as possible to participate. We’ll revert back to 300 words following the election.

Now is the time to start taking notes and paying attention to the slate of candidates to see who best represents your interests in North Idaho.

Have a great weekend and we’ll see you again next Thursday.


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

Publisher: Ben Olson

Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor)

Soncirey Mitchell (Staff Writer)

Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey (emeritus) Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus)


Kelsey Kizer

Contributing Artists: Woods Wheatcroft (cover), Ben Olson, Barry Burgess, Bill Borders

Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Soncirey Mitchell, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Kyle Pfannensteil, Emily Erickson, Mark Sauter, Brad Smith, Hal Gates, Mike Wagoner

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About the Cover

This week’s cover by Woods Wheatcroft

March 28, 2024 / R / 3

Public hearing scheduled for Sagle bike park development

Panhandle Bike Ranch would offer shuttle service to trails, camping

A public hearing before the Bonner County Planning Department has been scheduled for Wednesday, April 17 at 1:30 p.m. to take comments from the community regarding a 170-acre mountain bike park proposed in Sagle.

The Panhandle Bike Ranch is envisioned on two contiguous 85.33-acre parcels located off Jumpline Landing in Sagle, currently zoned Rural 10. Access to the proposed facility is from East Dufort Road to Five Lakes Road, through the Five Lakes residential development approximately 3.5 miles east of Highway 95.

The project is the brainchild of Sagle resident Scott Kalbach and his family. Kalbach told the Reader he had “this crazy idea many years ago about creating a mountain bike park community where there is a trail system and maybe some places to camp.”

Kalbach said bike parks are trending now all over the country, the closest being the Legacy park, just outside of Whitefish, Mont.

“We’d heard from some of the locals that they heard from local trail organizations that people were driving all the way over from Sandpoint on the weekends to go to Legacy, which is about three-and-ahalf hours away,” Kalbach said. “My wife and I wanted to do something more for the local cycling community. Our boys raced mountain bikes cross country through high school and it was a hugely positive influence on our family.”

Kalbach and his family have contracted with British Columbia-based Gravity Logic Trail Builders, which specializes in site analysis and master planning for mountain bike parks at locations including Whistler, Trestle, Deer Valley and doz-

ens of others around the world.

The plan so far includes routes that will range from freeride flow trails to technical downhill course, with the lower half of trails slated to be built in 2024 and the remaining upper ones in 2025.

Kalbach said his goal is to open operations to the public by spring of 2025.

Along with trails, Panhandle Bike Park also plans to offer two shuttle trucks to take mountain bikers up to the top for their downhill runs, as well as a parking area with 10 tent camping sites, a small ticket booth, mobile wash site, portable restrooms and a rental barn for bike storage.

The permit application states there will be an estimated four employees and occasional visitors of “+/- 150 during race or similar events,” with the park open during daylight hours — the exception being overnight tent camping.

The project documents estimate an average of 25 vehicles per day, with the possibility of more for race events

and group ride gatherings.

“We saw this property come up for sale and took a look,” Kalbach said. “It seemed like the perfect place. It has the right terrain, the right acreage and it’s north-facing mostly.”

Located on the side of a mountain, the terrain is primarily suitable for downhill biking.

“There’s very little flat terrain on it,” he said. “It’s 1,200 vertical feet. Great for downhill.”

While they are still finalizing the details, the park would likely charge a nominal daily fee of around $40 to pay for the shuttle service up the mountain and would likely operate three days a week around the weekends.

“Our hope is that this will be a positive addition to the already developing mountain bike culture that’s here,” Kalbach said. “POP [Pend Oreille Pedalers] has been incredible developing that culture, and we definitely have a great relationship with POP. Overall it’s going to create a

pretty special place for mountain biking in this community.”

For members of the public interested in submitting comments on the conditional use permit meeting April 17, written statements are requested a week prior, though they will also be accepted at the public hearing. Statements can be mailed to the Bonner County Planning Department; 1500 Highway 2, Suite 208; Sandpoint, ID 83864, or they

can be emailed to planning@

The public will be given an opportunity to provide testimony or evidence regarding how the proposal does or does not comply with the applicable Bonner County Revised Code during the hearing.

Deadline approaching for property tax, disability reductions

The Bonner County Assessor’s Office is reminding the public that the deadline to apply for the property tax and 100% service-connected disability reductions will be Monday, April 15.

To qualify for the property tax reduction, the applicant must be 65 or older; a widow or widower; blind; a fatherless or motherless child under 18

years of age; or a veteran with 10% or more service-connected disability recognized by the Social Security Administration, the Railroad Retirement Board or federal civil service.

To qualify for the 100% disability reduction, the applicant must be 100% disabled and connected with a total and permanent service.

For more information, call the Bonner County Assessor’s Office at 208-265-1440.

NEWS 4 / R / March 28, 2024
A view from the Panhandle Bike Ranch property in Sagle. Courtesy photo.

Jason Welker announced as new Community Planning and Development director

The city of Sandpoint will have a new Community Planning and Development director as early as Monday, April 8, after Mayor Jeremy Grimm announced March 27 that City Council President Jason Welker would step down from elective office to take on the new position.

“In that role you will bring tremendous community knowledge, passion and energy to that department,” Grimm said during the announcement, which came at the tail end of a three-hour special meeting during which the council considered — and ultimately tabled until June 30, 2025 — a decision to dis-

engage from the Selkirk Fire joint powers agreement. Welker served a two-and-ahalf-year stint on the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission, including as chair, followed by election to a four-year term on the City Council in 2021, which he

has served as president since January. In addition, he is an active member of the nonprofit community, in particular the Pend Oreille Pedalers, which he has served as executive director.

“I’m sorry to be leaving you, but I’m certain Jeremy’s got a great replacement in mind, and this will be my last council meeting,” Welker told fellow councilors.

Grimm summarized the broad range of critical city functions to be managed by Welker in his new job, including overseeing all current and long-range planning, all building and building officials, the Parks and Recreation Department, and all commissions and the staff members who run those commissions.

In the performance of those duties, Welker will engage with the Comprehensive Plan, zoning, parks and recreation planning, the city’s various master plans and “all the slog of ongoing development,” as Grimm put it.

“It’s going to be great to have somebody with this capacity at City Hall,” the mayor said.

Councilor Joel Aispuro, who nominated Welker for council president, thanked him for his service and, though sometimes two disagreed, “you will be missed,” he said.

Councilor Deb Ruehle said that she wished Welker would remain on the council, and while she is confident he’s “going to do great” in his

new role, praised him for his attention to detail and analytical approach that “brings the discussion to a new level.”

“I will definitely miss his thoughts on the dais,” she said.

Grimm will announce Welker’s replacement at the next scheduled council meeting on Wednesday, April 17 — as the Wednesday, April 4 meeting has been canceled.

In addition to Welker’s hiring, Grimm said the city has brought on a new Parks and Recreation supervisor and a permit technician coordinator to assist with planning and development. More information will be provided on those positions in mid-April.

“We’re starting to fill out the team,” Grimm said.

ID House committee holds constitutional amendment to limit special legislative sessions

Move could kill the legislation for the year, as legislative leaders hope to wrap up 2024 session this week

A resolution that would have let Idaho voters decide whether special sessions of the Idaho Legislature should be limited to 20 days was halted in the Idaho Legislature.

The House State Affairs Committee on March 25 held Senate Joint Resolution 104 in committee at the call of the committee chair, which could kill the legislation for the year.

The resolution, if passed by Idaho voters and both chambers of the Idaho Legislature, would have limited special sessions of the Legislature to 20 days. Special sessions called by the Idaho governor are already limited to 20 days, per the Constitution.

In 2022, voters approved an amendment to the Idaho Constitution that allows the Idaho Legislature to call itself back into session upon a written request of 60% of the members of the Idaho House of Representatives and Idaho Senate. Previously, only Idaho’s governor had the power

to call a special session of the Idaho Legislature. It’s not clear if the bill would advance this legislative session, which legislative leaders have said they hope to wrap up on Friday, March 29.

“There were a lot of questions in committee today,” House State Affairs Committee Chairman Brent Crane, R-Nampa, told the Idaho Capital Sun. “So, we’ll see. We’re still in session, so anything can move as long as we’re here.”

The Idaho House State Affairs Committee held the bill on a voice vote March 25. The Idaho Senate approved the resolution on a 25-10 vote in February.

20-day limit was intended to be in original amendment, Idaho senator says In a Senate State Affairs meeting earlier this year, Sen. Mark Harris, R-Soda Springs, said the amendment voters approved in 2022 should have included language limiting a special session called by the

Idaho Legislature to 20 days, but it was overlooked by legislative drafters at the time, the Idaho Capital Sun previously reported.

If two-thirds of the members of both the Idaho Senate and Idaho House had voted to approve the proposed amendment, it would have been put on November’s election for voters to decide. It would take a simple majority of Idaho voters to approve the amendment if it makes it to the November ballot.

Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, said she didn’t see why “we would give away any more of our authority.”

Rep. John Gannon, D-Boise, said in a House committee hearing on March 25 that constitutional amendments ought to be really important, and he doesn’t see it as important enough.

“I can’t imagine legislators wanting to stay more than 20 days anyway, in our part-time Legislature,” Gannon said.

“It seems like we continually limit ourselves and how we can help the people,” Scott said. “The House and Senate are supposed to be the closest to the people. God forbid something crazy happen and we may need to be here — I don’t know. And then especially when I saw what happened during COVID, with one person taking con-

trol of the state because we weren’t in session.”

Scott added that it would already be difficult to get 60% of lawmakers to call for a special session.

The committee didn’t vote on a motion by Scott to hold the bill in committee until April 15.

NEWS March 28, 2024 / R / 5
Idaho Gov. Brad Little gives his State of the State speech in the House chambers of the State Capitol building on Jan. 8, 2024. Photo courtesy of Otto Kitsinger for Idaho Capital Sun. Jason Welker. Courtesy photo.

PSNI begins planning for future expansion

Panhandle Special Needs, Inc. has been given notice by the city that its lease will not be renewed when it expires 2033, and will then be required to move from its current location at 1424 N. Boyer Ave. in Sandpoint.

That might seem like a long ways out, but PSNI (pronounced PIZ-knee) has been at that site since 1975 — renting from a private individual who holds the lease with the city — and PSNI Executive Director Trinity Nicholson said it will take between five and seven years to relocate the numerous parts and pieces of the nonprofit. PSNI serves more than 200 people with disabilities in Bonner and Boundary counties each year through The Cottage thrift store; PSNI greenhouse; and classrooms, workshops, business services and day health facilities for adults with developmentally delayed challenges.

“The city let us know last year that the lease on this property would not be renewed to allow us time to relocate,” Nicholson told the Reader in an email. “Sadly we can’t take our building with us so it will likely be demolished.”

Nicholson told the Reader that the city has “other plans for this property, which seems to include putting a road through this area so that traffic does not get stuck between the tracks,” as well as extending Baldy Mountain Road to connect to Highway 2 to the east. The entire property measures 11.7 acres and includes a number of other structures, many of them dating back to its former site as a lumber mill.

Sandpoint Mayor Jeremy Grimm confirmed that the city provided notice to PSNI last year that its lease would terminate in 2033, and provided the Reader with a concept from the adopted Multimodal Transportation Plan that envisions a two-way road extension from the signal at North Boyer and Baldy Mt. Road running southeast

through the property to an undercrossing beneath the Union Pacific railroad line and ending with a new “high-T” intersection on Highway 2 north of the Chamber of Commerce building.

“I expect that the future development of the site will involve a robust public discussion including the possibility of relocating the City Street’s shop to this area,” Grimm told the Reader in an email.

Assuming PSNI is able to relocate within the preferred five- to seven-year timeframe, it could rent the existing building for a time to help with costs, which are substantial.

To get a jump on those expenses and help ensure PSNI continues into the future, the estate of recently deceased Phyllis Thurlow and other supporters pitched in to raise the funds necessary to purchase the property across the street at 1407 N. Boyer Ave.

“At this point, it is primarily undeveloped land,” Nicholson stated in a news release. “But, once completed, it will allow us to address our waiting list, expand our services and create a better environment for not only our clients and staff, but also for our community.”

Even with the Thurlow estate’s donation of $100,000 toward PSNI’s capital campaign, close to $6 million remains to be raised, which the organization plans to secure through a five-year fundraising campaign.

“First of all, we need to raise the money to build the new service complex that will be so important for our clients and hard-working staff,” Nicholson stated. “Soon we’ll launch a massive fundraising drive. We will reach out to the community for support during this transition.”

For more information about their programs or to make a donation, visit their website at

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:

The Biden administration recently announced a “strike force” for addressing “unfair and illegal” prices, The Guardian reported. Analysts said some prices are down, but corporations are not passing their savings to consumers, while others attach extra fees and some “even break the law.”

Monopoly concerns sparked a large government antitrust case against Apple, which includes allegations of illegally preventing competition. Regarding food, investigators say just a handful of powerful companies control close to 80% of grocery items, and farmers get just 15% of every dollar spent on food purchases.

An FBI analysis of 2023 data showed a 13% drop in murders and drops in reported violent crimes, The Guardian reported, though only 79% of law enforcement provided data.

Alaska Sen. Lisa Murkowski may leave the Republicans, saying she regrets that “our party is becoming the party of Donald Trump.” Former-Rep. George Santos plans to run as an Independent in New York since the GOP is “embarrassing,” according to Axios. Meanwhile, Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wisc., said he will leave Congress this month (his seat goes unfilled until November), and Rep. Ken Buck, R-Colo., left recently.

The Republican exits have been described as a rebuke of the “chaos-and-cannibalism caucus of Matt Gaetz and Marjorie Taylor Greene,” as Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Mass., put it, and leaves House Republicans with 217 seats and Democrats with 213.

President Joe Biden avoided a government shutdown and signed a $1.2 trillion budget plan last weekend, which is good through the end of September. More than half of House Republicans voted against the bipartisan bill. The Senate passed the bill 74-24. Upset that her party did not dominate, and that so many Democrats supported the bill, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, R-Ga., has warned she may initiate a process to replace the House speaker.

Former-Vice Presidents Dick Cheney and Mike Pence have both refused to endorse Donald Trump for president. Cheney, who served under President George W. Bush, said in a video that no individual has been a “greater threat to our republic than

Donald Trump.” Pence served under Trump during his one term in the White House.

Seven suspects are being held after a terrorist attack at a concert hall in Russia that killed at least 137 people and injured more. The Islamic State claimed credit, and released footage of the attack. Russia’s president is blaming Ukraine. CNN reported that the U.S. had warned Russia of possible attacks on large groups, though the Russian embassy denied receiving that warning. Experts say the Islamic State has a “longstanding animosity” against Russia and President Vladimir Putin.

A 62-year-old German man took 217 COVID vaccinations over 29 months and, according to the Lancet medical journal, showed no vaccine-related side effects.

After a two-week trial, a New York jury convicted former-Honduran President Juan Orlando Hernandez of conspiring to traffic drugs and using his military and national police force to allow tons of cocaine to make it easily into the U.S., according to U.S. News. He faces a 40-year minimum sentence. Trial witnesses included traffickers who claimed responsibility for “dozens of murders.”

The U.N. Security Council has approved an immediate ceasefire in Gaza, though Israel plans to defy it. The U.S. abstained from the vote, allowing it to pass, and drawing the ire of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

As Israel’s largest supplier of military aid, the U.S. could change Israel’s Gaza assault plans by cutting off the flow of weapons, according to former-U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich. That would force Israel to find alternatives to its current trajectory.

After meeting with Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, U.S. Secretary of State Lloyd Austin said alternatives do exist. Reich said Biden can honor his February memorandum that outlines compliance standards for countries receiving U.S. weapons, which Israel has not honored.

Blast from the past: “If we are to have another contest in the near future of our national existence, I predict that the dividing line will not be Mason and Dixon’s but between patriotism and intelligence on the one side, and superstition, ambition and ignorance on the other.” — President Ulysses S. Grant (1822-1885), the military commander who fought for the Union to prevail in the nation’s Civil War.

6 / R / March 28, 2024
An overhead view of the future expansion connecting Baldy Road from North Boyer Ave. to Highway 2. Courtesy photo.

Emily Articulated

A column by and about Millennials

Peak millennial

When I started this column, I was intrigued by other generations’ perceptions of the Millennials. We were the butt of jokes, reduced to and generalized as “young people” who grew up on participation trophies and too much screen time, stymied at every turn of our adult lives due to poor planning, bad attitudes and too many orders of avocado toast.

I personally never felt like I fit the Millennial bill, forging my own unique and circuitous path through adolescence and into adulthood, deciding to reject the conventional path before it could crumble underfoot (taking my hopes and dreams with it).

But when I started to think about the construct of the Millennial, it occurred to me that I could conjure very few convincing and real-life examples of the cultural caricature within my peer group or the people my age whom I encountered. Instead, I knew a lot of people like me.

We were 20- (now 30- and very early 40-) somethings with a large appetite for the experiences our parents waited their whole lives to enjoy, an entrepreneurial (if a bit scattered) approach to making money, a loose tie to our expensive college degrees and a deep wariness of the systems we were told would work for us if only we bought into them entirely.

It turns out that this shared mentality — and my journey to feeling connected to my peers instead of being an anomaly among them —

Emily Erickson.

wasn’t just happenstance. It was earned.

New York Times writer and economist (and fellow Millennial) Jeanna Smialek, coined the term “Peak Millennial” in her article, “It’s Me, I’m the Problem. I’m 33.”

She explained, “If demographics are destiny, the demographic born in 1990 and 1991 was destined to compete for housing, jobs and other resources. Those two birth years, the people set to turn 33 and 34 in 2024, make up the peak of America’s population.”

Being born in 1991, I’m officially as Millennial as they come. This, coupled with having the name Emily (one of the top five names for girls born in the United States in the 1990s, according to the Social Security Administration), crushes any perceived claim on originality I thought I had.

Smialek described the implications of being a part of the peak of America’s population, with an emphasis on the economic impact, writing, “As the biggest part of the biggest generation, this hyper-specific age group has moved through the economy like a person squeezing into a too-small

sweater. At every life stage, it has stretched a system that was often too small to accommodate it, leaving it somewhat flabby and misshapen in its wake. My cohort has an outsized amount of economic power, but that has sometimes made life harder for us.”

She describes this stretching effect starting in our college years, forcing even the institutions built on accepting anybody to turn away a record-high number of applicants. This influx of enrollment effectively opened the doors to climbing tuition rates and a diminishing ratio between student debt burdens and starting salaries.

The Peak Millennial disruption also applied when we entered the workforce.

“When peak millennials graduated from high school in and around 2009, they were a flood of potential workers pouring into a labor market rocked by recession,” Smialek wrote. “The unemployment rate hovered at a near-record 16% for 18- and 19-year-olds that year. The labor market remained weak even when those who went to college began to graduate, and employers had their pick of hires for years on end.”

Cue the “Bartenders-with-Bachelor’s Degrees Era” (please hold while I raise my hand, again).

Throughout the article, Smialek details this Peak Millennial effect stretching everything from the housing market to wedding venues and forecasts a future with an upside-down pyramid of social resources — dooming us to a lifelong competition for resources and an inheritance of too few nursing home beds and even fewer reserves of Social

Security funds. This will be thanks, in large part, to our delayed (or lack) of procreation — “Kids? In this economy?”

I’m self-aware enough to understand that writing about how important Millennials are, and specifically “Peak Millennials,” is indulgent enough to stoke the flames of the self-absorption of which my peers and I are often accused. But I’m bolstered by the fact that we now have

data to back up the bulk of our complaints — however whiny (even if that same data seems to also support the claim that we do, in fact, ruin everything we touch).

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

Retroactive By

March 28, 2024 / R / 7 PERSPECTIVES


• A Bouquet to James Johnson of Clark Fork, who has helped distribute the Reader to the east part of Bonner County along with the Sandpoint and Clark Fork branch staff of the East Bonner County Library District for their assistance. We appreciate our readers helping others access our paper.


• “I want to send out a big thank you to whoever cleared the hip high weeds in the empty parking lot next to the U.S. post office. You are appreciated.”



• “To whoever walks their dog in south Sandpoint, picks up their dog’s poop in the cute pink bag... and then thinks it’s OK to toss it into one of the blue recycling bins at a random house: Stick it in your pocket and take it home with you. Or deposit it in the public garbage can 100 feet away at Memorial Field.

I doubt that the staff at the recycling center appreciate your backward attempt at composting. Do better.”

• I’m fairly convinced that we, as a nation, have become unable to handle any sort of national tragedy, thanks to the army of idiots who parade conspiracy theories out at the first breaking news. We saw it with COVID, we saw it with numerous school shootings like Sandy Hook and we saw it again last week after a containership struck a bridge in Maryland that caused it to collapse. If you traffick in these dumb conspiracies, make better choices.

City should spend money where it’s most useful…

Dear editor,

Regarding Michael Lorden’s letter in the March 21 edition of the Reader saying the city should have built an ice skating rink instead of pickleball courts [“City needs to consider the entire community — not just retirees…”]: neither should be built. I’m getting up there in years and as a senior I have no interest or ability to play pickleball.

As for a skating rink, years ago the voters said no by an 80%+ margin against building a rink out east of Lignetics because one of the people pushing it owned land where they wanted to put it and then write it off on their taxes. Both were from Minnesota and acted insulted that being so close to Canada we didn’t have an ice rink.

If the city wants to do the most with what money they take from all of us, put it where it would do the most good for the most people: repairing the horrible condition of the city streets.

Lawrence Fury Sandpoint

‘Elect Jim Woodward — don’t be fooled’…

Dear editor,

There’s an old saying: “You can fool all people some of the time, and fool some people all the time. But you can’t fool all people all the time!” We are all deceived occasionally — the problem is if we fall for the scam a second time.

Here’s what I know, and do not know. I do not know Scott Herndon personally. I have known Jim Woodward 30+ years. When Woodward was unseated in the 2022 Republican primary (Dist. 1), I do know that many of the glossy postcards distributed by his opponent were filled with deceptive advertising. I do not know if many intelligent voters were misled by these half-truths and name-calling — but I think that’s what happened.

Woodward graduated U of I, served over 20 years in the Navy and four productive years as senator, owns a Sandpoint construction company and serves on the Northern Lights Co-op Board. Woodward is trustworthy, intelligent, honest, hard-working, with management skills, integrity and strong moral values.

Talk to people who know Jim — his customers, neighbors, respected Republicans like Shawn Keough, teachers and librarians.

Then vote in the May 21 Repub-

lican primary to return Woodward to Boise as Dist. 1 senator. Don’t be fooled.

Jo Len Everhart

Bonners Ferry

‘Join the proud RINO ranks’…

Dear editor,

I’m an Independent voter who registers as a Republican to get decent people into state government. Jim Woodward is one of those people, and his opponent — Scott Herndon — is not.

While Herndon has sponsored one good bill since landing a seat in the Idaho Senate, his overall record is appalling. Herndon is the guy who used to parade his kids with him at the schools toting posters of bloody fetuses — a scare tactic targeting my child and fellow students. Now he’s terrorizing the entire state, demonizing women and doctors, and chasing many of them from Idaho by criminalizing abortions.

He’s the guy who tried to carry a gun into the Festival at Sandpoint and wasted taxpayer dollars suing the city. He lost at the state Supreme Court, so sponsored a grudge bill to force the Festival to allow guns if it leases public property. His actions threaten a beloved community event and our local economy.

Fellow Independents, join the proud RINO ranks who reject party “purity” and register Republican (you can do it at the polls) to have a voice in the closed GOP primary election. Then, please vote for decency and vote Jim Woodward on May 21.

Susan Drumheller



to support Jim Woodward for the Idaho Senate’…

Dear editor,

I urge you to vote in the May 21 Republican primary if you want to have a say in which Republican will be on the November ballot. Under our current closed Republican primary system, you must be registered as a Republican in order to participate in their primary. If you are unaffiliated, you can do this at any time up until the election (more info at As always, you can vote for anyone from any party on the November ballot.

Jim Woodward, who is running to represent Dist. 1 in the Senate, is a strong supporter of public education. His opponent and the incumbent, Scott Herndon, is a member of the Idaho Freedom Foundation, an ultraconservative lobbying group

that supports diverting public funds from public to private schooling, among other issues on their national agenda.

Woodward works hard to represent the best interests of his constituents. He is responsive to local questions and concerns. He is honest, intelligent, hardworking and a genuine nice guy who really cares about North Idaho. We are lucky that he is willing to serve as our senator. Please consider registering as a Republican in order to vote in the May 21 Republican primary.

Retired UI Extension Educator Bonners Ferry

Get registered and vote Woodward and Sauter in May GOP primary…

Dear editor, Friends, neighbors and fellow voters in Dist. 1 of all political persuasions: The deadline for candidate filing and voter affiliation change passed on March 15, but you can still register to vote until April 26 online at Hover over “VOTING,” drop down and select “REGISTERING TO VOTE.” Everything you need to know is easily found there.

If you’re already registered, It is always a good plan to select “CHECK YOUR REGISTRATION” and revise if necessary on the same site. Proper current address and all other information is important. You may also register to vote in person on Election Day with a picture ID or driver’s license, and proof of current residence (it must match your ID).

Being an unapologetic RINO, I’m voting on the Republican ballot so we can re-elect Jim Woodward and Mark Sauter. These are both men of character, knowledge and proven performance in supporting the citizens of this district. I will attend meet-andgreets, debates, candidate forums and do everything I can to find the best candidate for every office.

Please join me in doing the same, because “May Matters” So get involved, pay attention and vote in May!


isn’t as Red as anyone thinks’...

Dear editor,

The Idaho Freedom Foundation provides proof: 15 of Idaho’s 35 house districts rate C to F on the IFF’s Freedom Index for 2021; the House average is D+; and 17 senators scored F, while two scored D.

Count ’em up, that’s a majority of senators. What? A majority of

senators are RINOs (Republicans In Name Only)?

But RINOS are mythical animals. Actual people have opinions on issues that are nuanced and on which they disagree and compromise. That’s why IFF has an A-F scorecard, not just pass/fail. Even our current senator does not have a perfect scorecard. What? Herndon’s a RINO?

I don’t always agree with Jim Woodward. But he is kind and compromises reasonably in a world where a few politicians (in both parties) rely mostly on myths. He loves Dist. 1. He listens. He has thoughtful reasons for what he does. Some Republicans think their pure and mythical positions are actually realizable in a democracy. They are not — but only when we vote.

Unaffiliated voters can register as Republican before April 25 or at the primary polls May 21. Vote for Woodward — it will not change who you are or what you believe, just change the Legislature.

Nancy Gerth


‘Time to “recall” Herndon’...

Dear editor,

Similar to the situation that recently occurred in the West Bonner School District, we need to “recall” Sen. Scott Herndon for thinking he knows best how to “engineer” our society. We, too, were fooled by low voter turnout and a vicious smear campaign to put the wrong person in office. However, a remedy is available. While there is no move to actually recall Sen. Herndon, we can accomplish the equivalent of a “recall” during the Republican primary on May 21.

Please join me in voting for Jim Woodward in May to “recall” Sen. Herndon and reclaim representation that will get the important work done (transportation, education and health care to name a few) in Boise as opposed to, for example, wasting time working on the regulation of knives. Fool me once...

The word limit for a letter to the editor has been changed to 200 words or less until after the May 21 primary.

Please send letters to:

8 / R / March 28, 2024

Legislative update

Late-session rush to introduce bills doesn’t guarantee good legislation

We have entered our twelfth week of the 2024 legislative session. The leaders in the House and Senate originally forecasted March 22 as our last day. However, the introduction of bills hasn’t stopped. Ten bills were introduced on March 25 in the House Ways and Means Committee.

These bills could be heard on the House floor with little notice during a regular meeting. Some could be sent to various committees for a full hearing. Still others could be printed and left as “introduced” for the record and as a start for the next session.

At the beginning of the session, House leadership advised representatives that the last day to introduce a new bill in a committee was Feb. 12. Obviously that deadline was extended.

Many of the bills started (and approved) by the Senate are now being heard in the House. However, not all Senate bills will get a House vote. Some bills will be held by the House speaker and stopped; others will be held by the House committee chairman. A few other bills will be heard after a negotiation between the House and the Senate.

This recent volume of bills and their content brings challenges — kind of like drinking out of a fire hose. During our daily House floor session there are numerous new bills read into the calendar for the next day. To be ready for the next day, representatives must buckle down each evening and spend some time reading and re-reading the bills (some amended from their original version) to be prepared for the next day.

Contacting affected parties at home is also wise but must be done quickly. Writing good legislation often takes time.

Several successful bills each year have been presented in past sessions but were found to need tweaks and edits before they were deemed ready to become state law. Rushing things doesn’t necessarily lead to the best outcomes.

The rush to run bills also interrupts some important parts of the Idaho lawmaking process. Ideally a new bill is introduced in a print hearing with

no more than a five-minute introduction by the bill carrier. Sometimes this process results in edits or amendments to the bill. Other times the bill is held by the chairman of the committee until such time as edits are made or more support for the bill is built up.

Once a bill passes the first hearing, gets a bill number and is printed, more legislators and involved parties are able to read the bill and consider its merits. The committee chairman is then in charge of the decision to hold a full bill hearing with a complete explanation of the bill, public testimony and committee discussion. There are sometimes motions to send a bill through an amendment process as well. Occasionally a bill carrier will force a vote with a “take it or leave it” proposal, accepting no edits or amend-

ments. Sometimes this slow, deliberate process takes a month or more.

This time of year, the process can take as little as a day or two with little to no edits or amendments accepted. Some will use votes on these time sensitive bills as a test.

If you vote against a bill, you could be labeled as someone who doesn’t support an issue (family values, parental rights, etc.), when the truth is the non-supporting legislator has found a problem with an identified consequence — constitutionality, for example — that overrides the benefits of the original bill.

These are layers that are exposed to legislators but not always brought to the attention of the general public during the various hearings. Bills in their entirety are available to the public for reading and researching, if you are interested and have time to delve in.

[Editor’s note: Find the Idaho Legislature’s bill-tracking page at legislature.]

We should be finished with this session in a week or two. I’m looking forward to going home and beginning my campaign and visiting with you. If you like, please send me your insights and provide some feedback. You can email me at or call at 208-332-1035.

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

March 28, 2024 / R / 9
Rep. Mark Sauter. File photo.

Science: Mad about

big ships

Earlier this week, tragedy struck in Baltimore when the container ship the MV Dali collided with the supports of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, which brought the entire bridge down into the harbor. At the time of the writing of this article (March 26), there had been one confirmed death and six lives presumed to be lost.

Immediately, the internet was abuzz with chatter about how such a thing could possibly happen or how anyone could be so irresponsible as to crash a container ship into a bridge. The details are still unfolding, but it’s important to know that these ships are huge. The MV Dali is 299.92 meters long (almost 984 feet) and has a gross weight of about 95,000 tons. A Mack truck loaded to about 25 tons takes roughly 10.5 seconds to brake to a full stop at highway speeds and even more if conditions are wet.

As huge as it is, the MV Dali doesn’t even come close to being the largest ship on the ocean. One ship that’s almost 50% bigger than the MV Dali is even designed to carry people for leisure.

The Allure of the Seas is an Oasis-class cruise ship that came with a price tag of $1.2 billion. Owned and operated by Royal Caribbean International, this ship is 360 meters long (1,181 feet), 72 meters high (236 feet) and has a gross tonnage of more than 225,000 tons.

This behemoth is designed to carry as many as 6,780 passengers at maximum

Brought to you by:

capacity, as well as a crew of 2,200 people. The Allure of the Seas is basically Sandpoint at sea.

As you can imagine, this cruise ship isn’t designed to go very fast. Something that heavy isn’t capable of breakneck speeds; however, with three engines putting out 27,000 horsepower, this brute is fully capable of outpacing Usain Bolt with a top speed of about 26.5 miles per hour. (In case you’re curious, Usain Bolt topped out at 23.35 mph on dry land.)

It’s hard to put the hugeness of this vessel into perspective. The most infamous ocean liner that served a similar purpose was the RMS Titanic. Huge for its time, spanning 269 meters in length (882.5 feet) and with a gross tonnage of 46,329, this doomed vessel was a minnow sitting next to The Allure of the Seas. Despite being smaller even than the MV Dali — which crashed into the Francis Scott Key Bridge — the Titanic sported some serious power under the proverbial hood, with boilers feeding two steam engines with an output of 46,000 horsepower. Unfortunately for the Titanic, that level oomph likely exacerbated the dire effects of slamming into a giant block of ice.

The Allure of the Seas doesn’t have to worry about icebergs, as it primarily sails half-week trips to the Bahamas. However, hurricanes and intense wind on a structure that huge are very likely to be a concern.

The largest vessel we know of in U.S. military service

is the USS Gerald R. Ford, a 333-meter-long (1,092.5foot) aircraft carrier that cost more than 10 times as much as The Allure of the Seas — in excess of $13 billion.

Powered by two A1B pressurized water nuclear reactors, this ship only needs to be refueled once every 25 years. It comes equipped with four surface-to-air missile launchers, three automated Phalanx CIWS automated weapon systems, four 25mm machine gun systems and four 50-caliber machine guns for good measure.

If this doesn’t sound like a tremendous amount of firepower for a warship of such size, that’s because the USS Gerald R. Ford is a carrier and the entire span of its deck is for launching aircraft. The weapons onboard are essentially a last-ditch effort in case small-arms combatants somehow get close enough to nearly board the ship.

Fitting of a war vessel, this ship can easily outpace the cruise liners by topping out around 35 mph. And it’s tough. Before the ship was even brought into service, the Navy detonated large explosives in very close proximity to the ship as a part of its final shock trials. This ensures the ship will withstand direct fire and won’t join the Titanic in Davy Jones’ locker. These blasts aren’t like anything you’ve seen on the Fourth of July. For such trials, the Navy detonates a 40,000-pound explosive, which carries the equivalent force of a 3.9-magnitude earthquake.

The final ship we’ll look at was the largest ship ever

built in human history. It was an older ship with a slew of names, but was originally built as the TT Seawise Giant from Yokosuka, Kanagawa, Japan. It spanned 458 meters (1,502.6 feet) and was capable of carrying 4.1 million barrels of oil. It had the greatest displacement of any ship in the world at 657,019 tons.

A ship this size was not built to go fast, and it capped out around 19 mph.

When you consider some-

thing that was nearly the length of Travers, Centennial and Great Northern Parks combined moving at 19 miles per hour, that’s an engineering marvel if you’ve ever seen one.

The ship was in service from 1979 until 2010 when it was finally scrapped. During its service it was actually struck by bombs and lit on fire during the Iran-Iraq War in 1988. Now that one’s one tough boat.

Stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner

Don’t know much about depression?

•Clinical depression, also known as major depressive disorder, is characterized by a persistently depressed mood that affects quality of life. It’s an umbrella term that covers multiple diagnoses, including bipolar disorder, premenstrual dysphoric disorder, perinatal depression and seasonal affective disorder.

•The National Institute of Mental Health estimates that 21 million adults, or 8.3% of all adults in the U.S. had at least one episode of major depression in 2021. Major depression episodes are more common among females (10.3% compared to 6.2% in males).

•Family history and genes play a significant role in depression. The odds of developing depression go up if a person has a mother or father who has experienced depression.

•Depression can lead to physical changes in the brain. Studies have shown the quality and volume of white matter that connects neurons and transports information

was reduced in people who reported symptoms indicative of depression. The good news is, these numbers can return to normal levels once the patient responds favorably to treatment with an antidepressant.

•Prescriptions to antidepressants increased by 35% in the last six years, rising roughly 5% per year from 61.9 million prescribed antidepressants in 2015-’16 to 83.4 million prescriptions in 2021-’22.

•Symptoms of depression include poor concentration, feelings of excessive guilt or low self-worth, hopelessness about the future, thoughts about dying or suicide, disrupted sleep, changes in appetite or weight, and feeling very tired or low in energy.

•Depression can be treated.

If you or someone you know is suffering from suicidal thoughts, please dial 988, which will connect you to Idaho’s Suicide and Crisis Hotline.

10 / R / March 28, 2024
We can help!
The USS Gerald R. Ford. File photo.

What will Alterra’s acquisition of Schweitzer mean for the resort’s environmental practices and future?

Like many other local skiers and riders, I was curious to see what the acquisition of Schweitzer by Alterra Mountain Company (AMC) would mean for lift tickets and season passess. Last year I bought an adult unlimited season pass for $800. The same pass jumped to $909 for the 2024-2025 season.

I worry about the future of snow sports and the ability of low income and even middle-class families to be able to continue to participate. Hopefully, increases in pass prices are at least serving to lift wages for workers at the resort, who are challenged to make ends meet and find affordable housing.

I’m also interested to see what AMC’s ownership of Schweitzer will mean for the resort’s environmental policies and practices. If climate change isn’t currently at the forefront of AMC’s executive leadership, then it should be. I have been skiing at Schweitzer since I was 6 years old. I can’t remember a season quite this bad. It was alarming to see streams running through the middle of Sundance, Lower Stiles, Gypsy and other runs in late December and January. I also observed

skiers and riders using mountain bike trail features for jumps and tricks, which should be buried under snow during the skiing and boarding season.

It’s encouraging that Alterra’s website lists goals to reduce carbon emissions by 50% at all of its destinations no later than 2030. AMC has also set goals to procure 100% renewable energy and achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Unless meaningful action is taken to reduce carbon emissions, the long-term prognosis for Schweitzer isn’t good. At 3,900 feet base elevation, the Stella Chairlift will be the first to go, followed by the new Creekside Express, Sunnyside, Cedar Park Express, Great Escape, Basin Express, Lakeview Triple, Colburn Triple and Idyle Hour T-bar. Alterra should consider developing a climate action plan specifically for Schweitzer.

AMC can also demonstrate its commitment to the environment in other ways. The development of the mountain and the village aren’t great examples of environmental stewardship and sustainability. For one, the installation of heated streets isn’t exactly in alignment with the need to reduce carbon emissions, but other develop-

ments have caused environmental impacts on the ground.

The soils on Schweitzer Mountain are prone to erosion, and Schweitzer Creek is designated as impaired with too much sediment, as is Sand Creek, into which Schweitzer Creek flows. Special care must be taken to avoid causing landslides or sediment from running off into streams whenever new ground is broken for trails, roads, condos, lodges and parking lots. Very little was done to prevent soils from washing into Schweitzer Creek last year when the new parking lot at the bottom of the Creekside Express was underway.

What’s more, whenever development occurs at the rate we are seeing at Schweitzer, it’s important that sewer management improvements happen at the speed and scale necessary to keep pace with the growth. Until now, Schweitzer has disposed of its sewer wastewater by applying it to the land in several

places near the resort, including directly adjacent to Schweitzer Creek. While the size of the application areas have expanded in recent years, it is time for the resort to consider building a sewer treatment facility that filters out pollution. The land can only absorb so much before water quality is impacted.

Limiting the potential for negative or even deadly interactions between humans and wildlife also deserves AMC’s attention. The village has no trash collection service. Instead, residents and guests transport their garbage to a set of dumpsters next to the fire station. This site is notoriously problematic because the dumpsters are often overflowing, with trash blowing around, but also because the dumpsters are frequently raided by black bears. This situation puts people (and bears) at risk for attacks, injury or even death.

Although there have yet to be any confirmed sightings of grizzlies at the dumpsters, it’s

only a matter of time — unless Alterra and Waste Management find a solution to bear-proof the dumpsters.

Locals are always curious to know what changes are in store when the ownership of Schweitzer changes hands. One of the reasons that I live in Sandpoint is because of the opportunity that the mountain provides for recreation with my family and friends. I am also a conscious environmental steward, and I look for ways to balance my use and enjoyment of the outdoors with the impact on the environment.

Alterra is new to the community, but its website suggests that AMC is dedicated to environmental values and practices.

I am hopeful that Schweitzer will do more for the environment under its new owners, but only time will tell.

Brad Smith is the conservation director for the Idaho Conservation League.

March 28, 2024 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES

Women in the Woods returns with workshop, field day

Women in the Woods classes are returning with a workshop hosted Friday, April 5 and a field day on May 10.

The workshop will take place at the Idaho Department of Lands office in Coeur d’Alene (3284 Industrial Loop) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and consist of a classroom day that focuses on supportive resources and funding opportunities for forest landowners.

Offered by the IDL and University of Idaho Extension, the events “give women landowners the opportunity to interact with a lineup of all-women forestry experts, creating an atmosphere where forest management training is tailored to female land managers,” according to organizers.

Participants will have the opportunity to bring in photos of their forest and industry experts will help assess the conditions of their land and set goals. Cost is $10 to attend, which includes lunch, snacks and a T-shirt. Registration deadline is Friday, March 29.

While the workshop is geared toward women, anyone is welcome to attend. There are no prerequisites, and no level of baseline knowledge is required.

The field day on May 10 will take participants to the woods, rotating through exercises covering forest assessment, ecology and forest management. That event will take place at Pine Street Woods in Sandpoint from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Participation in the classroom session is not a prerequisite requirement for signing up.

Working in small groups, participants will rotate through stations learning how to find bark beetles, how to mark trees for removal for different management goals, how to prune trees to protect them from white pine blister rust and more.

Attendance at the field day costs $10, with lunch and T-shirts provided. Registration deadline is May 3.

To register for the workshop and/ or field day, go to BIT.LY/clearwater_events.

dumb of the week

Idaho made national news again last week. As usual, it wasn’t for anything good.

The University of Utah’s women’s basketball team was in the Inland Northwest to play in the NCAA tournament’s first and second rounds at Gonzaga University in Spokane.

However, the team’s accommodations were located at a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, 35 miles across the border in Idaho.

According to a joint statement released by University of Utah Athletics Director Mark Harlan, Deputy Athletics Director Charmelle Green and coach Lynne Roberts, as the team was walking to dinner from their hotel, “a vehicle drove by and occupants shouted racial epithets at the group,” including the use of the N-word.

In a second incident as the group walked back to their hotel, a truck revved its engine loudly, “with its occupants again shouting racially disparaging words and threats,” according to the statement.

The students, staff and other members of the traveling party stated they “were deeply disturbed and fearful after the incidents, in what should be a safe and enjoyable experience.”

Out of concern for the team’s wellbeing and safety, the party ultimately moved to alternate accommodations in Spokane.

“Now, several days later, we are continuing to provide support and resources to all of those impacted by the events in Idaho last Thursday,” the joint statement read.

Gov. Brad Little weighed in on the issue on X, stating, “There is no place for racism, hate or bigotry in the great State of Idaho,” just days after signing a ban on diversity statements across the state government. “I will continue the tradition of past Idaho governors in supporting our local leaders in their efforts to eradicate hate and bigotry from our communities.”

OK, Brad.

What the governor and, frankly, many Republican politicians in the state don’t understand, is that while they claim to oppose “hate or bigotry” in Idaho, their relentless effort to transform the state into a conservative fever dream continues to drag Idaho down, making it more appealing to the type of person who drives by people of color, rev their engines and bellow racial slurs out the window.

Sure, there are “bad apples” in

every bunch, but it seems like North Idaho’s basket of apples has been rotting for years. This incident is in no way acceptable. It actually sounds like a poorly written scene for a B-movie set in the 1950s Deep South.

The uncomfortable truth is that we have been cultivating a culture of xenophobia and intolerance in North Idaho for decades, and it remains unchecked because we continue to elect leaders who aren’t worthy of representing the good people who remain in Idaho. Yet, they keep running for office and we keep electing them.

Scott Herndon used to parade around public spaces with giant placards of fetuses, protesting abortion. Then he attempted to thwart the Festival at Sandpoint because of its weapons ban, but ultimately lost. Now he’s our state senator.

We currently have another candidate running to represent Legislative District 1 who once railed about “military-aged Chinese males” in a public meeting.

Former-Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin leaned into extremism during her time in office, posing for photos with two men linked to the 3 Percenters militia group and participating in a conference hosted by a notorious white nationalist.

The list goes on and on.

Take a look at some of the legislation introduced during the past few sessions. There have been transphobic sports bans, bills that accelerate and encourage book banning, an ongoing effort to make it increasingly more difficult for citizen-led initiatives to reach the ballot. There have been bills introduced by domestic terrorists making it more difficult for people to label them as domestic terrorists. The so-called “school choice” voucher bill was essentially a scheme to use taxpayer money to subsidize private schooling, including religious and home schools. And let’s not forget about the fact that Idaho eliminated a constitutional right to abortion that women held for almost 50 years, causing health providers to flee the state in fear of being arrested for providing medical attention.

Idaho politicians seem to spend a lot of time talking about the importance of freedom, but only for certain people.The rest of us are stuck living in the hellscape that our “paradise” has become.

For another take on this topic, read Editor Zach Hagadone’s “Back of the Book” on Page 22.

12 / R / March 28, 2024 COMMUNITY

Idaho Open Primaries holds signature event

Volunteers for Idahoans for Open Primaries held an event for local volunteers at the Sandpoint branch of the East Bonner County Library over the weekend of March 23-24, providing an opportunity to notarize signed petitions, hear an update for volunteers in Legislative District 1 on statewide progress and announce a “walkathon” to collect signatures leading up to the statewide submission deadline.

Despite cold and rainy weather, volunteers turned out to the library’s community room and appeared upbeat and encouraged.

“It was a fun and energizing event,” said organizer Christine Moon. “Nearly 200 new signatures were turned in”

Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville, and a driving force behind the Idahoans for Open Primaries initiative, spoke briefly to the volunteers to give an update on the statewide status of the initiative.

To date, 18 of Idaho’s legislative

districts have individually qualified the initiative for the ballot in November.

Idahoans for Open Primaries has also collected more than 76,000 signatures statewide, and aims to collect between 90,000 and 100,000 total signatures. The initiative effort plans to actively collect signatures until Saturday, April 27 — slightly before the submission deadline, to allow volunteers time to properly verify and notarize signature pages.

Dist. 1 volunteers intend to finish the signature collection phase with a door-knocking push. The upcoming

“walkathon” is intended to reach as many voters as possible before the deadline. Though Dist. 1 has qualified, local volunteers hope to contribute to the statewide total.

At the end of his comments on Zoom, Mayville reminded the crowd of the goal of the initiative: “This is not about giving power to one party or another, this is about giving power to voters.”

Leadership Sandpoint upcoming Cinco de Mayo event supports mental health

Leadership Sandpoint is hosting a “Flamingo Flocking” effort to raise awareness and encourage fundraising for the Sand Creek Clubhouse — a project of the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness, intended to offer a safe place for those living with serious mental illness to reestablish relationships, community connections and a sense of purpose.

Sandpoint residents and businesses are invited to donate $50 and take turns hosting a flock of pink plastic flamingos around town, prompting friends, neighbors and customers to donate to the Sand Creek Clubhouse effort from Monday, April 1-Tuesday, April 30 — culminating with the annual Cinco de Mayo Block Party hosted on Main Street by Leadership Sandpoint, which is a program of the Greater Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce.

All proceeds will go directly to NAMI Far North.

“People in recovery from serious mental illness deserve our collec-

tive support to reignite their sense of purpose and reintegrate back into our community,” said NAMI-Far North president Dr. Dawn Mehra. “We extend our heartfelt appreciation to Leadership Sandpoint for their commendable efforts in shedding light on and fundraising for this often overlooked segment of our counties.”

About 5-6% of the U.S. population — or one in 20 people — experiences serious mental illness each year, while approximately 4,000 community members suffer from serious mental illness in Bonner and Boundary counties, including schizophrenia, bipolar disease and severe PTSD, among others.

The Sand Creek Clubhouse will

be an extension of an international group called “Clubhouse International,” which has created more than 300 successful clubhouses in 30 countries as out-patient care facilities that help those with serious mental illness.

NAMI Far North is seeking a total of $125,000 in donations and grants and has secured a site for the Sand Creek Clubhouse.

More information on the clubhouse concept can be found at Donations to help the Sand Creek Clubhouse Project can be made through the Sandpoint Chamber at cinco-de-mayo.

Want to take your own adventure with a Florida Man? It’s simple: just type in “Florida Man” and your birthday into a search engine and prepare to be entertained by the results. For this new column, we will plug in the date of the edition and share with our readers what follows.

Police cite Florida man for eating pancakes in the middle of a major road

One Florida man liked pancakes so much, he literally would walk through traffic to eat them.

Kiaron Thomas set up a TV tray in the middle of a six-lane road in 2017 and enjoyed a pancake breakfast as vehicles whizzed by.

The stunt was most likely a YouTube prank from Thomas, who packed up his pancakes and left before the cops arrived. However, the video was posted online and local police found Thomas, charging him with “placing an obstruction in the roadway and disrupting the free flow of traffic.”

It’s unclear whether Thomas finished his pancake breakfast, but perhaps next time he’ll sit at a table like the rest of us.

March 28, 2024 / R / 13 COMMUNITY
Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville speaks to Idahoans for Open Primaries volunteers at the Sandpoint branch of the East Bonner Co. Library March 23. Courtesy photo. Courtesy photo. Courtesy photo.

Schweitzer announces closing date, Community Day and new pass prices

Whether we like it or not, winter is coming to a close. Schweitzer announced that its last day of skiing for the 2023’24 season will be Sunday, April 14.

For those seeking an economical day on the mountain, Schweitzer’s annual Community Day fundraiser offers lift tickets for just $20, with proceeds going to local nonprofit organization Community Cancer Services.

“Even if you don’t ski, or are a season passholder, please consider purchasing a lift ticket as a donation,” Schweitzer stated on its website, adding that, “100% of the money goes to this local cause.”

Community Cancer Services was founded in 2002 by a group of local citizens, providing information and direct support services to cancer patients and their families residing in Bonner and Boundary counties.

Meanwhile, Schweitzer released season pass prices for the 2024-’25 season, which have increased about 12% since last season:

• Adult Unlimited — $909 with a renewal code emailed to 2023-’24 passholders or $949 without the code if purchased May 31 or before. The regular price with renewal code is $1,059 or $1,099 without the code if purchased Oct. 31 or before, and the late price is $1,399.

• Sunday-Friday — $759

with a renewal code emailed to 2023-’24 passholders, or early bird price at $799 without a code if purchased May 31 or before. The regular price with a renewal code is $909, or $949 without the code if purchased Oct. 31 or before. The late price after Nov. 1 is $1,249.

• Junior Unlimited — $259 early bird with renewal code, $299 without code if purchased May 31 or before. The regular price with code is $359 or without code for $399 if purchased Oct. 31 or before. The late price is $549 if purchased after Nov. 1.

• Ikon Pass — $1,249 for

Author Becca Renk to speak about humanitarian work in Nicaragua

Born and raised in Sandpoint, Becca Renk has spent the past 25 years working in sustainable community development in Nicaragua with the Center for Development in Central America, focused on health care, sustainable agriculture, sustainable economic development and education.

unlimited access to 17 destinations and up to seven days each at 40 destinations with no blackout dates, or $869 for unlimited access to 14 destinations and up to five days each at 36 destinations with limited blackout dates.

Visit for more information.

Serving as director of the Nueva Vida Health Clinic and coordinator of education projects at the Casa Ben Linder in Managua, Renk will speak to a hometown audience about her work on Wednesday, April 3 at 7 p.m. at the Quaker Meeting House (1025 Alder St., in Sandpoint).

The talk is free and open to the public, and will address how the future of Nicaragua is changing and how the CDCA is committed to working in harmony with the Nicaraguan people.

14 / R / March 28, 2024
Courtesy photo.

Fundraiser to benefit Schweitzer avalanche rescue dogs

Abby, Annie, Maisie and Murphy will be available from 5:30-7:30 p.m., and the team’s newest member, Reba, might even show up. All donations and proceeds from the raffle will go to supporting further training and educational opportunities for the Schweitzer Avalanche Rescue Dog Program. Get more info at

Avalanche dogs above are Annie, Abbey, Murphy and Maisie (new pup Reba not in photo).

So, I’m grocery shoppin’ and I get to talkin’ with this woman in the produce section... no ring... seemin’ like she’s interested... “so what’s ya doin’ later, wanna go out for a couple cocktails?” She says, “not a good time for me, I’m in a program, trying to quit.” She and her cart drifts off, I’m standin’ there starin’ at the potatoes thinkin’... “please, quittin’ drinkin’ is not that hard, I’ve done it plenty a times and I didn’t need a program.”

I was checkin’ out one of those dating sites the other day and had a promising back and forth goin’ on with this one lady... when she

women these days

offers up the question... “what do you think would make a nice first date?” Well, I can be pretty good on the stump... I came up with three:

1.An organized pitbull fight where you can bet.

2.Tractor pull.

3.Crusin’ down a country road, windows down with a sixer and a .22 rifle shootin’ at road signs...

I get nothin’... she just signs off. Women these days ... what do they want? They’re so independent and picky.

March 28, 2024 / R / 15 COMMUNITY
The Friends of Schweitzer Ski Patrol is hosting a fundraiser for the mountain’s Avalanche Rescue Dog Program on Tuesday, April 2 at the Sandpoint location of Powderhound Pizza (201 E. Superior St.), where attendees can not only mingle with Schweitzer’s four-footed heroes but enter a raffle.

Getting down to brassica tax

A guide to indoor seed starting

Don’t be fooled by the smattering of snow on March 24 — the first day of spring came and went, signaling the start of gardening season whether the weather cooperates or not.

If you’re just getting into gardening and are looking to save some money growing starts from seed, here’s a guide to turning any space into a miniature nursery.

Know before you grow

Depending on specific geographical features, the U.S. Department of Agriculture designates Bonner County as “Zones 6b-6a” on the plant hardiness scale, meaning the average extreme minimum temperature falls between -23.3 and -15 degrees. By comparison, California’s San Joaquin Valley, dubbed the “breadbasket of the world” for its food production, is designated as “Zones 9b-10a.”

Given our cold climate and short growing season, which extends from the last frost in mid-May to the first frost in late-September, anyone looking to grow their own produce needs to buy or grow starts to get a proper harvest from most vegetables.

Cold-weather crops like brassicas (think broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage) and alliums (onion and leeks) can be sown as early as March 5, but gardeners should wait until April to plant summer crops like tomatoes and squash. Not everything can or should be started indoors; root vegetables, leafy greens and peas grow directly in the garden.

Becoming a closet gardener

There are eight key ingredients to growing and sustaining starts: seeds; seed starting mix; fertilizer; pots; containers; and an LED light, space heater and fan.

Seed packets from any local gardening store will do the job, but if you’re interested in high-quality, diverse produce suited for our climate, look at websites like Snake River Seed Cooperative, Adaptive Seeds or Deep Harvest Farm. A packet of 30 Snake River tomato seeds costs $4 and can

last several seasons if stored properly. Seed packets labeled “heirloom” or “open pollinated” are best for wouldbe seed savers, as it’s more likely that the next generation of plants will be “true-to-type,” with the advantageous characteristics of their parents.

Seed packets in hand, find a closet or other small room to convert into a mini hothouse, making sure anything inside can withstand heat and humidity for at least three months.

Starts need lots of water, heat and light, but don’t waste money on expensive grow lights. When setting up my closet garden, I wandered the lighting aisle at Home Depot until I stumbled upon a three-foot LED shop light for approximately $18, which I plugged into a waterproof surge protector and hung from a wire shelving unit. Grow lights are only necessary if you intend to take your tomatoes from seed to fruit indoors, otherwise LED lights will satisfy the plants until it’s time to move them outside.

Finally, change into some classy Bermuda shorts, plug in the space heater and crank the temperature to 70.

Trashy tomatoes

To keep the nursery from becoming a desert, gardeners can give their starts consistent moisture by encasing them in pseudo-terrariums — and that requires a bit of dumpster diving. Clear plastic boxes from takeout, snack mixes or salad greens can be reused year after year to create a humid microclimate that keeps the seeds or seedlings from drying out overnight or during business hours.

Begin by washing the containers in hot water and diluted bleach to kill off any harmful diseases. Rinse well, then fill them up with nursery pots, cutting the tops off if necessary. If you’re having difficulty finding nursery pots in the right size, substitute by cutting large holes in the bottoms of plastic cups. Plants with sensitive roots (like leeks) should be sown in a biodegradable pot made from peat or cardboard to minimize the risk of injury when eventually transplanting them outside.

Fill the pots with seed starting mix — this is different from potting soil — and plant your seeds as specified on the packet. To water, fill the plastic container rather than displacing the seeds by drowning them from above. Bottom watering keeps the mix stable and ensures an even distribution of water.

Seal the seeds inside their recycled terrariums and tuck them away, checking the moisture level twice daily. When seedlings emerge, begin switching the LED lights on during daylight hours. Starts can stay under the plastic for as long as they’ll fit; but, after germination, gardeners should crack the lids or leave them open during the day to ensure proper airflow and keep the plants from rotting.

Seeds contain all the nutrients

needed to sustain a plant until they outgrow their first leaves (or cotyledons), but once the second set of leaves sprout, it’s time to incorporate small amounts of fertilizer into their water. Always follow the instructions on the label to avoid burning the plants. At this stage the starts will need a gentle jiggle every so often — or better yet, a breeze from a nearby fan — to encourage them to strengthen their stems.

If you follow these instructions, your plants will spend their infancy under perfect conditions and therefore be totally unprepared for the cold, bitter reality of the outdoors. Shoving them in the dirt without acclimating them to the harsh sun or shifting temperature will kill them. Therefore, when they’ve outgrown their terrariums begin bringing them outside.

Start with one hour in indirect sunlight, and add an hour every day for one to two weeks, increasing the intensity of the sunlight until they can survive a full day under the conditions in your garden.

Plant the starts outside and voilá — the real work begins.

16 / R / March 28, 2024 GARDENING
Above: Clear plastic containers make perfect seedling terrariums. Photo by Soncirey Mitchell. Right: A handy chart outlining planting timelines, with information courtesy of Idaho Master Gardeners.

Woods Wheatcroft art show highlights collage work

Live music by Blird to follow show at Idaho Pour Authority

For Sandpoint photographer Woods Wheatcroft, art is just an excuse to find something you love and make it a career. A prolific seeker of anything that blows back his hair, Wheatcroft will hold an art show highlighting his collage work 5:30 p.m. on Friday, March 29 at Idaho Pour Authority (203 Cedar St.), with live music by Blird starting at 6:30 p.m.

Collage is an art style developed in France and characterized by the assemblage of different forms, thus creating a new whole. Wheatcroft said his love for collage work began after his hard drives crashed a decade ago.

“I did a show after that called Reconfigure, because I lost two or three years of work,” he said. “I went on sort of a digital ‘fuck you’ and started cutting up all my photos I already had. That jump-started me back in collage.”

Wheatcroft holds collage nights about once a month at his studio on Second Avenue, where patrons can

attend for a few bucks and assemble collages of their own with provided materials. Pieces from this show come from past collage nights, as well as independent time in his studio.

When asked why collage appeals to him so much, Wheatcroft told the Reader it’s a way for him to take charge of what is often a chaotic life.

“I can’t say I’ve ever been the most organized guy,” he said. “It kinda feels like a chance for me to create some sort of order with all the disorder and chaos. It helps me. The garbage I’ve collected is more organized than my actual garage. Collage is the same way. Somehow, when I’m able to spread everything out and make an arrangement that I’m happy with, it’s appealing.”

Collage is a way to “embrace the process instead of the conclusion” of art, he added.

Wheatcroft will fill Idaho Pour Authority with art, with some focusing on the theme “Zoom In, Zoom Out,” in which he takes a closer look at a small piece and expands it to a huge size.

POAC adds a cartoon class to adult art classes lineup

Local artist, writer and retired architect Barry Burgess will teach a class on cartooning as part of the Pend Oreille Arts Council’s Joyce Dillon Studio Adult Art Classes series.

Sessions with Burgess are scheduled for Tuesdays, April 9, 16 and 23 from 6-7:30 p.m. at the Joyce Dillon Studio (313 N. Second Ave., in Sandpoint). The registration deadline is Wednesday, April 3 and the cost is $45. Go to for more information and to register.

“Cartooning and comics are an expressive medium an artist uses to deliver a message,” Burgess stated. “The messages are more than just superheroes and funny animals. Cartooning today is an art form of major popularity and unlimited range.”

No special supplies are needed for this class. Attendees will be asked to bring an ordinary pencil, pens and colorful felt-tips and some paper.

Also coming up in the Joyce Dillon Studio later in April are classes on watercolor landscapes with Robilyn Robbins, kimekomi taught by Jenny Barry and Dan Carpenter is offering his acrylic

painting class in the evenings.

Sponsored by POAC but held in his workshop are two metal classes taught by Dave Gonzo. Students will make copper and steel ladles in class, and copper bracelets in the other. Carol Kovalchuk will be instructing on how to make Dorset buttons and later in the month will teach a class on how to make personal totems.

Info on all the Joyce Dillon Studio Adult Art Classes, as well as POAC’s other offerings, can be found at

“The original pieces might be fourby-five inches, but the finished pieces might be three-by-four feet,” he said.

There is no charge to attend the show, but there will be a collage table set up in the back where participants can pay $5 to use materials on hand to create their own single collage, or $20 for unlimited collages.

The art show is slated to begin at 5:30 p.m., and live music will start at 6:30 p.m. featuring Blird, the side project of Ben Olson, Cadie Archer and Josh Vitalie of local band Harold’s IGA (disclosure: Olson is the publisher of this newspaper). Instead of their usual indie rock style with Harold’s IGA, Blird plays shoegaze, alternative electronic style of music accentuated by a bass with synthesizer pad, drums and an electric guitar plugged into effects pedals.

To see more of Wheatcroft’s work or find out when his next collage nights are scheduled, visit

March 28, 2024 / R / 17
A collage piece by Woods Wheatcroft which will be displayed at his show Friday, March 29 at Idaho Pour Authority. Cartoon by Barry Burgess


Send event listings to

Bingo Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority Cribbage League

Registration deadline: Lou Domanski Chess Festival Register at

THURSDAY, march 28

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan Tavern

Woods Wheatcroft collage night art show and live music w/ Blird

5:30pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Join Sandpoint photographer and artist Woods Wheatcroft for a unique art show you can participate in! $5 gets you all the materials for making your own collage. Live music w/ Blird

Live Music w/ Ian Newbill

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

Country and classic rock

Live Music w/ The Sevens

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

With Samantha and TJ

Live Music w/ Ben & the Buds

9pm @ 219 Lounge

5-piece world eclectic boogie up grooves

$5 movie: The Big Lebowski

2 & 7pm @ Panida Theater

Costume contest, White Russian deals.

The Dude abides

Sandpoint Chess Club

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

March 28 - April 4, 2024

Wild Idaho Rising Tide 13th Annual Celebration • 7pm @ Gardenia Center Anniversary benefit supporting climate activism with community open mic, music by Desiree Aguirre, potluck, slide show, updates — all free with donations. More info at and facebook. com/wildidahorisingtide

FriDAY, march 29

Live Comedy w/ Ben Burke and friends

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge (free show)

Join host Ben Burke, Keith Harmon, Beth Brese, Anthony Singleton and Noah Crow for a night of live comedy

Live Music w/ Pamela Benton

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Energetic electric violin

SATURDAY, march 30

Live Music w/ Daft Pretty Girl and Nicole St. Marie

6pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Duo from Bonners and Post Falls

Live Music w/ Sam Leyde

8pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Live Music w/ Tom Catmull

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Live Music w/ Kevin Dorin

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

SunDAY, march 31

Magic with Star Alexander

5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

Up close magic shows at the table

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Schweitzer Community Appreciation Day @ Schweitzer

Lift tickets $20 all day. 100% of proceeds to Community Cancer Services

Live Music w/ Ponderay Paradox (blues) 6-8pm @ Smokesmith BBQ

Live music, BBQ and beer

Live Music w/ Tim G. 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Sandpoint Lions Club Egg Hunt

9am @ 609 S. Ella St. (Lakeview Park)

Annual Easter Egg Hunt

Drum with Rhythm Boomers

10am @ Pearl Theater (Bonners Ferry)

Free drumming circle open to all

Kids Day at the Rusty Trunk

9am-12pm @ The Rustry Trunk, Ponderay Activities, prizes, free books

Easter Jam

4pm @ Cedar Hills Church Games, prizes, raffle, the Easter Story, egg hunt big enough for the whole fam

Parkside Church Egg Hunt

11:30am @ 423 N. Lincoln Ave.

16,000 eggs hidden, petting zoo

monDAY, april 1

Outdoor Experience Group Run

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

3-5 miles, all levels welcome

tuesDAY, april 2

Live Piano w/ Sean Bostrom • 5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Fundraising show for Bostrom’s upcoming participation at the Int’l Music Festival of the Adriatic, Italy

Tapas Tuesday

4-6pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Piano w/ Annie Welle

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Lively, professional jazz piano

Bingo Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Trivia Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Hosted by a revolving cast of characters

Patagonia Pint Night for Pend Oreille Pedalers

5-7pm @ Outdoor Experience

Join us to kick off bike season with cold beverages from Matchwood Brewing Co., raffle prizes and more. Bring your Patagonia gear that needs repairs and we’ll organize a send to their facility. All proceeds go toward mountain bike trail group Pend Oreille Pedalers

wednesDAY, april 3

Presentation about humanitarian work in Nicaragua

7pm @ Quaker Meeting House, 1025 Alder St., Sandpoint

Author Becca Renk will talk about the last 25 years she’s spent working in sustainable community development in Nicaragua

ThursDAY, april 4

Cribbage League

7pm @ Connie’s Lounge Game Night

6:30pm @ Tervan Tavern

Live Music w/ The Cafe Gas Boys

5pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Bluegrass from the local boys

18 / R / March 28, 2024

The Dude abides

It might just be my opinion, man, but The Big Lebowski could, quite possibly, be the perfect movie. If not, it is certainly among the most quotable.

The Panida Theater will screen the Coen brothers’ cult classic for just $5 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., Saturday, March 30.Not into it? You’re in for a world of pain.

If you haven’t seen The Big Lebowski, you’re being very unDude, Dude. Put down this newspaper, roll it up tightly and whack yourself a few times upside the head with it. Now, you’re ready to take a flying leap into the complex, yet ingenious humor perfected by the Coen brothers.

Known for such iconic films as Fargo, No Country For Old Men, O Brother, Where Art Thou? and True Grit, the Coen brothers are good men... and thorough. Their filmmaking transcends mere mortals and lives in a realm occupied by people who get it. Unlike Donny, who’s out of his element.

The Big Lebowski (R)

Saturday, March 30; 2 p.m. and 7 p.m.; $5. Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208263-9191,

The Big Lebowski follows Jeff “The Dude” Lebowski, who is the man for his time and place. He fits right in there. The Dude, or His Dudeness, or uh, Duder, or El Duderino if you’re not into the whole brevity thing, is played to slovenly perfection by Jeff Bridges. When two hired thugs break into The Dude’s Los Angeles apartment, rough him up and piss on his rug — which really ties the room together — The Dude seeks restitution.

The Big Lebowski rolls onto the Panida big screen

It turns out the thugs mistook his identity for “The Big Lebowski,” a man also named Jeffrey Lebowski but who is a wheelchair-bound wannabe business magnate whose young trophy wife Bunny was purportedly kidnapped and held for ransom.

It’s a complicated story. There’s a lot of ins, a lot of outs, lotta what-have-yous. Along the way to trying to get his rug back, The Dude and his two loser buddies (histrionic Vietnam vet Walter Sobchak, played by John Goodman, and Donny the master of good-natured confusion, played by Steve Buscemi) take a job from The Big Lebowski to track down his wife, bumble their way through a harebrained effort to solve the kidnapping, get the rug back, eat at the In-and-Out Burger near Radford, then go bowling. But not on Saturday, because Sobchak doesn’t roll

on Shabbos. Shomer Shabbos!

The 1998 film is filled to the brim with quotable lines that live rent free in your head for years afterward, unless you’re a human paraquat. With quirky characters that show up swinging for the fences scene after scene, The Big Lebowski is what happens when great writing and exceptional acting and casting meet head on.

The screening will hit a bit different than most movies at the Panida. There will

be a costume contest, with the winner receiving a pair of tickets to an upcoming MarchFourth concert, as well as White Russian specials, because there’s a beverage here!

The whole shebang is only $5 thanks to a sponsorship by Ting Internet. Now I’ve just got to go find a cash machine.

Note: If you just finished reading this article and have no idea what I’ve been talking about, obviously you’re not a golfer.

Believe the hype: FX’s new Shōgun series is a triumphant historical epic

Take a quick look at the reviews surrounding the new 10-episode FX/Hulu series Shōgun and you’ll be shocked at how over-the-top they can be.

The Washington Post called it “riveting,” “gorgeous” and “the TV equivalent of a page-turner.” USA Today wrote that the show “is the TV epic you’ve been waiting for.” Variety called Shōgun “transportive,” while The Guardian added “mesmerizing” to “epic” and Time went so far as to describe it as “a revelation.”

Why all the fuss? For one thing, the story has already been popular for about 50 years. Based on the 1975 novel of the same name by James Clavell, Shōgun is the historical-fiction tale of English mariner John Blackthorne who is shipwrecked amid the brutal conflicts and complex politics of 17th-century Japan and must acclimate to survive.

Loosely based on the diaries of real-life navigator William Adams, who is regarded as the first Englishman to enter Japan, it takes in the sweep of the feudal society on the cusp of the Tokugawa Shogunate, which ruled the island from the beginning of the 1600s until the late-1860s.

Not long after publication of the novel, a Shōgun adaptation aired as an NBC miniseries in 1980, winning a Primetime Emmy, the Golden Globe for best TV drama series and a Peabody Award. Since then, there has been a Broadway musical and a handful of both PC and board games based on the work.

The acclaim wasn’t universal, however, with some critics blasting both novel and series for lapses of historical accuracy, and the latter in particular for exoticizing and essentializing its Japanese characters in order to elevate its sole white character — call it Dances with Wolves syndrome.

That final criticism has only grown in volume with the years, which may account for why the 2024 iteration of Shōgun is being heaped with so much unreserved praise.

In the FX/Hulu series, from showrunners Rachel Kondo and Justin Marks, the Blackthorne character (played with magnetic gusto by Cosmo Jarvis) is but only one star of the show.

Rather, viewers are treated to jaw-dropping performances of subtly, ferocity and profound depth by Hiroyuki Sanada as Lord Yoshii Toranaga (the sly-as-a-fox leader who historically went on to found the Tokugawa Shogunate); Anna Sawai as Toda Marika (a woman with a complicated personal and political past who serves as translator); Tadanobu Asano as Kashigi Yabushige (who turns in one of the most enjoyable performances as the dubiously loyal lieutenant of Toranaga) and Takehiro Hira as Ishido

Kazunari (the main opponent of Toranaga and who serves as the closest thing to a “villain” in the series).

It’s difficult to overstate how well the members of this ensemble — as well as the secondary and tertiary characters — are able to inhabit their respective roles so fully to create such a dense thicket of believable relationships and stakes, which grow higher and higher and more riveting with every episode.

Not to be outshone by the performances, the cinematography, art direction and sound exceeds any recent historical epic that comes to mind, making the landscape itself perhaps the most central

character and all but daring the viewer not to be immersed in the spectacle.

Rather than a well-intentioned Dances with Wolves in feudal Japan or a retread of the egregious 2003 Tom Cruise-led white savior/white salvation flick The Last Samurai, Shōgun is a historical epic drama that knows exactly what beats to hit in the service of authenticity — and hits them every time. In other words: In this case, the critics are right. This series really is that special.

Stream new episodes Tuesdays on Hulu.

March 28, 2024 / R / 19 STAGE & SCREEN
Courtesy photo. Courtesy photo.
20 / R / March 28, 2024


‘The best song is still to come’ The Sevens play IPA

Local genre-bending duo

The Sevens are set to perform at Idaho Pour Authority on Saturday, March 30, in a show that will bring the sunshine back to rainy Sandpoint. Singer and ukulele player Samantha Carston and singer and guitarist TJ Kelly will be familiar to local music lovers due to their vibrant careers, though they’ve only recently united to craft a new and unforgettable musical experience.

Carston, Sandpoint’s singing sweetheart, entered the music scene when she was just 15, following in the rhythmic wake of her musical family — and blues musician Bonnie Raitt.

“I only sang Bonnie Raitt songs. I would listen to her while doing chores, so I knew all the words,” Carston told the Reader.

Raitt’s music was a steady presence in Carston’s life as she grew into a today’s confident lead singer, well versed in blues, jazz, americana and country — in her words, a “hodgepodge.”

As a lifelong singer, Carston finds herself drawn first and foremost to artists’ lyrics, regardless of genre, when listening on her own time. Because of this, her own

musical experimentation can’t be defined by a single genre or style.

“I can’t say I have a specific sound because that just wouldn’t be true,” she said. “I’ve always been a singer, so I just tune into the lyrics.”

Recently, Carston’s been “dabbling in the world of writing,” finding her own lyrical voice rooted in personal stories and experiences. IPA concertgoers may be lucky enough to catch some of her original work among fan-favorite covers and plenty of originals written by Kelly, an accomplished songwriter.

The duo play to each other’s strengths with such

impeccable harmonies that you’d guess Kelly and Carston had shared a stage from the get go. That’s not the case.

“I was kind of a late bloomer,” said Kelly. “I didn’t play any music or think about music until college. I remember trying to think of what to do for a major and my dad asked me, ‘What do you want to do for the rest of your life?’ and I said, ‘Well, I want to be a rockstar.’ He said, ‘No, seriously.’”

Kelly began writing songs in college, drawing inspiration from ’90s alternative bands like Matchbox 20 before returning to “the stuff that really stuck to my bones” — classic country

from the likes of Willie Nelson and Dwight Yoakam, which he’d grown up on. Audiences will still feel the alternative influence in Kelly’s originals, as well as a new, experimental twist taken from rap music.

“Rap has a unique lyricism. I never grew up listening to it, but now it’s expanded my mind and expanded how I write lyrics,” said Kelly.

Carston and Kelly perform for the joy of it, prioritizing freedom and creativity rather than commodifying their art. Kelly believes that by not taking themselves too seriously and fostering a positive, fun-loving atmosphere, they ultimately produce better music.

“When I stopped playing for a while, it took away something that I didn’t know I needed — not ‘wanted,’ needed. Playing with Sam brought me back to that joy,” he said, adding, “She has a great passion for music, and we feed off each other.”

Experience that joy and passion first-hand for free at IPA (203 Cedar St.) starting at 6 p.m. If you’re a fan of well-written, original music, there’s no better place to be this Saturday.

Be on the lookout for future performances from this talented duo as they further refine their sound. As Kelly said, “The best song is still to come.”

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

Ben & The Buds, 219 Lounge, March 30

Habitués of the St. Bernard on Schweitzer will already be well familiar with Ben & The Buds, which plays at the pub on the regular during the snow season. That makes perfect sense, considering frontman Ben Murray and the titular buds describe themselves as “skiers that like to play music.”

Though the five-piece might put the “skiing” part before “music” in that descriptor, if

they ski as good as they play they must be hella fine skiers. The sound is a tight, sax-andbass inflected groovy rock with hints of funk and psychedelia that will be every bit as much at home at the Niner as it is on the mountain.

9 p.m.-midnight, FREE, 21+. 219 Lounge, 219 N. First Ave., 208263-5673, Listen on the band’s Facebook page.

Sean Bostrom, Pend d’Oreille Winery, April 2

Sean Bostrom is an accomplished pianist and music educator from Bonners Ferry who teaches all over North Idaho. Bostrom began studying piano at age 8 and, in 2011, began performing in chamber ensembles with string instruments and studied with music pros from all over the world. Now, he’ll be playing his favorites on the grand piano at the Pend d’Oreille Winery.

This week’s RLW by Ben Olson


I sink into a post-apocalyptic dystopian rut every once in a while, gobbling up everything I can find to fill that void. Edan Lepucki’s California is a novel that follows Frida and Cal, who flee Los Angeles to live in the wilderness of Golden State after society collapses. The novel follows their time alone before hooking up with a community that isn’t quite what it seems.


Bostrom currently owns Sandpoint Piano and is raising funds for his participation at the International Music Festival of the Adriatic in Italy. He’s also accepting new piano students.

5-7 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., 208-2658545, For new piano students interested in instruction, visit

It’s always a good time to listen to Cat Power. Born Chan Marshall and ultimately taking the name of her first band as her solo name, Cat Power has a haunting voice that hits just right on those days when you need her most. Her 2003 album You Are Free is my favorite, with the song “Werewolf” always eliciting a howl when it comes on my playlist.


Those looking for a lighthearted mystery romp will be interested in Confess, Fletch, the third installment of the Fletch film franchise, which started in the late 1980s with Chevy Chase in the titular role and has since gained cult status. This time, Jon Hamm takes on the role of the goofy investigative journalist who gets deep into a criminal art theft/kidnapping situation and bumbles his way through it all. Hamm fills out the role nicely, and the film has some moments of comedic brilliance.

March 28, 2024 / R / 21
Tj Kelly and Samantha Carston are The Sevens. Courtesy photo.


Mystery surrounds and may ever surround the cold-blooded murder of Howard Shipley and James Welch, the two old-time prospectors found shot to death last Friday morning in their cabin home, three miles along the shore line from the Green Monarch mine and about that distance above the mouth of the south fork of the Clarksfork river.

The discovery of the murder was made about 9 o’clock Friday morning when J.J. Myers of Mamaloose Island, alarmed by the report to him the night before of a party from Hope who had visited the cabin and felt that all was not right, went to the cabin retreat of the two old prospectors. He took in his boat with him Al Leeman, a mill worker. When the two went up from the shore they found blood in front of the cabin and went to the Green Monarch mine and got Edward Higgins and his son William and upon the return of the party Leeman pulled the staple to the door and the horrible sight of the two murdered men stretched on the floor of the little cabin met their gaze.

Upon arrival of the sheriff’s party at the cabin the bodies had been removed under the coroner’s orders from the inside of the cabin to the front of the little home in the woods which for 20 years had sheltered the two old prospectors.

It was evident from the positions in which the bodies lay that Shipley had been sitting in a chair by the stove and Welch upon his bed to Shipley’s left. Blood on the floor indicated that Shipley had fallen face downward from his chair. The bodies of the two men evidently had been drawn a foot or two from where they fell and their heads placed alongside each other, their feet in opposite directions.


Sundown state

If you want a master class is hypocrisy and cynicism — and ever need a handy example for what irony truly is — look at what happened in a series of events in Coeur d’Alene and Boise over the past week or so,

First, on March 21, female basketball players from the Utah Utes had the great misfortune of being lodged in Coeur d’Alene for their NCAA faceoff with Gonzaga because there weren’t enough hotel rooms in Spokane.

As they were walking to dinner, the driver of a pickup truck displaying a Confederate flag shouted racist slurs at the athletes and reportedly aggressively revved their engine. After dinner, as the players exited the restaurant, the same truck reappeared and was joined by another, and they repeated the same aggressive behavior while actually following them to their hotel.

Outrage over the incident went nationwide, as both Utah and the UC-Irvine team (which was also staying in Coeur d’Alene) fled the state while shaking their heads in astonishment that they even thought to hazard spending the night in sundown Idaho.

“We should not have been there,” Utah Athletic Director Mark Harlan told

Meanwhile, on March 25, Gov. Brad Little proudly proclaimed in Boise that, “It’s official — Idaho has banned ‘diversity statements’ ACROSS STATE GOVERNMENT!,” as he posted on X, deploying the caps lock in an apparent expression of relief and excitement. (Because apparently asking job or college applicants how they approach diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace or classroom somehow doesn’t demonstrate “merit and hard work.”)

But wait — he had to jump back

Hypocrisy, cynicism and irony from the Statehouse to the sidewalks of Coeur d’Alene

on X the next morning after the city of Coeur d’Alene tried to wipe some of the egg white off its white hood with a press conference addressing the harassment endured by the Utes, only to have the proceedings interrupted by no less than Dave Reilly, who shouted questions at the mayor and claimed to be a reporter, but refused to identify for what source.

Yes, that Dave Reilly — the antisemitic troll who the Idaho Freedom Foundation and Kootenai County Republicans tried to bring into the sheets, but turned out to be too odious even for the political cankers they presume to speak for. Also the same Reilly whose wife Branden Durst hired to work for the West Bonner County School District during his brief, absurd and humiliating tenure as superintendent.

So, in response to Coeur d’Alene’s apparent inability to keep extremists out of its own mea culpa, Little dusted off the italics on March 26 to issue a message that Coeur d’Alene “is a welcoming, safe place.” Unless you’re one of the best college athletes in the country and happen to be a female and/or person of color out after dusk — or an LGBTQ+ person (or ally) gathering to celebrate Pride in a public park that’s been targeted by a U-Haul full of racist terrorists, or someone who doesn’t feel comfortable with masses of unaccountable militia members and assorted armed loons prowling the streets looking for imaginary Antifa infiltrators.

Yes, one day after banning “diversity statements,” Little wrote that Idaho, “fully reject[s] racism in all its forms. There is no place for racism, hate or bigotry in the great State of Idaho.”

Sure. Growing up here in the ’90s, I saw Aryan Nations thugs at the Sagle Flea Market and Richard Butler on local TV. I saw the fields along U.S. 95 south of the Long Bridge full of heli-

Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

copters and other support vehicles for the Ruby Ridge Standoff. I remember in high school when Vincent Bertollini’s 11th Hour Remnant Messenger littered the parking lot with a load of racist propaganda.

That was all just in the first 20 or so years of my life. I’m 43 now and can say without hesitation that things have not only failed to improve politically or culturally during the interim, but degraded in terrifying ways.

While it’s true that we don’t have people like Butler and Bertollini running around getting in trouble with the law, it’s because people like them went mainstream more than a decade ago and are running the asylum as elected officials, party apparatchiks, fake news purveyors, serial meeting disruptors and armed sidewalk bullies.

Rather than saying “there is no place for racism, hate or bigotry in the great State of Idaho,” we should say, “there is no one place for racism, hate or bigotry in the great State of Idaho.”

For another take on this topic, read publisher Ben Olson’s “Dumb of the Week” on Page 12.

With every new sunrise, there is a new chance. But with every sunset, you blew it.
From Pend Oreille Review, June 26, 1914
22 / R / March 28, 2024
Crossword Solution

Solution on page 22 Solution on page 22


Laughing Matter

Word Week of the Corrections: oblique /oh-BLEEK/ [adjective]

1. indirectly stated or expressed; not straightforward.

“The author used oblique language to weave a complex web of hidden meanings in her novel.”





14.Female demon

15.Sea eagle

16.Dull pain





22.Farm building


24.Stacked beds

25.Wife of Zeus



33.Protection (Br. sp.)



39.British soldier (18th century)


42.Easily heard



48.Lower part of the abdomen



56.At the peak of

57.Horse feed

58.Ice or steam

59.They’re used in fishing

60.Curved molding

61.Lacquer ingredient

62.Tall woody plant

63.A group of cattle

64.Evil spirit


2.Stinging remark





7.Son of a king

8.As a substitute

9.Earl Grey and orange pekoe

10.Air-intake device



13.Sea swallows



25.Whiskers or locks


27.Rip apart

28.Cataclysmic event

30.Not strict

32.Type of freshwater fish

34.Anagram of “Tine”

35.Open to all


40.Cultivated land

41.Feeling extreme happiness

43.Straw hat



47.Wear away


51.Winnie the ____

52.Rattling breath

53.Any thing

54.Captain of the Nautilus


March 28, 2024 / R / 23
Solution on page
By Bill Borders
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