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The week in random review By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff

into the breeks

About a year ago, I was actively planning for a three-week trip to England to spend Christmas with family there. That memory popped up for me this week when I was scrolling through some old emails that reminded me I bought a really nice pair of walking boots around this time, in anticipation of trekking over miles of muddy trails in the New Forest. That got me waxing nostalgic for English country walking; which, for those of us who live in a place like Sandpoint, sounds an awful lot like simply walking. However, in the U.K., “country walking” is its own quasi-sport, with its own equipment and traditional garb. Thanks to that reminder, I ended up doing about three hours of idle Googling on “English country walking clothes.” That, in turn, introduced me to “breeks,” “plus twos” and “plus fours.” It turns out “breeks” are an old Scottish word for “breeches,” and breeches are pants (or “trousers,” as they say across the pond) that end just below the knee. “Plus twos” are breeks that have an extra two inches of fabric that fold over the top of the thick, knee-high socks that you’re supposed to wear while walking, and “plus fours” are the same, only with four extra inches of material. That material is almost always sturdy tweed. I was amazed to encounter the amount of words that have been devoted to this topic over the years, and particularly that there’s even a rule about whether your breeks should be fastened over the tops of your socks or your socks rolled up over the bottom of your breeks. I’ve been informed that the former is proper. I’ll let you know sometime, after my pair of plus twos arrive from Walker and Hawkes.

race run

I don’t know about you — unless you’re a former candidate in the 2023 local elections — but I felt a great lessening of agitation on Nov. 8. That’s not necessarily related to the outcome(s), just that we had an outcome and it’s now in the past. Elections are stressful times (at least for those of us who actually pay attention), and this most recent cycle featured some feisty ideas and deep subtexts. Despite all that, the campaigns — and I’m referring to the races for Sandpoint mayor and council — were as cordial with their opponents as they were nuanced in their positions. People like to ask their reporter friends and family members who to vote for and why, and who they’re voting for and why. I’ll be perfectly honest that my mind wasn’t made up until I stood in the polling place with a ballot and pen in my hands. I’ll leave it at that, suffice it to say congratulations to all the candidates for their especially well-run races and, most of all, their willingness to serve.

fish on

As of this writing, it’s been a week since I landed (or boated) the biggest fish I’ve ever pulled from the waters of Lake Pend Oreille. On a recent November Sunday, my dad chartered a half-day outing with Cap’n Ken on the Seagull — a 34-foot Custom Dolphin that runs all year from Hope. Ken, my dad, my brother, a close friend of the family and I went out from 7 a.m. until about 1 p.m. and, sometime around 11-ish, I got a monster on the line that turned out to be a 30-inch, 15-pound bull Kamloops rainbow trout. It took about 15 or 20 minutes to get him in the net and he was gorgeous. We put him back, though, and I hope he’s still out there, getting even bigger.

We had rain this week, a bit of sun, some wind and even snow at the higher elevations. In other words, it was a totally normal November week in North Idaho. Schweitzer has tentatively scheduled their opening day for Nov. 24, and I’m pulling hard for snowfall in the mountains fso we can enjoy another stellar season. I’ve already pulled out all my ski gear from the closet and washed my underlayers in anticipation of the powder days ahead. Special thanks to all of the 500+ people who have donated to our fundraising drive. Our goal was to reach $50,000 by the end of the year and it looks like we’re going to get there, all thanks to you, our dear readers. I don’t say this lightly, but we truly could not do this without your continued support. Finally, don’t forget, the Reader will publish a day early next week for the Thanksgiving holiday, so look for us on the racks Wednesday, Nov. 22 starting at about 8 a.m.

– Ben Olson, publisher

READER 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) Advertising: Kelsey Kizer Contributing Artists: Jim Armbruster (cover), Ben Olson, Bill Borders Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Soncirey Mitchell, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Jen Jackson Quintano, Clark Corbin, Lauren Necochea, Luke Omodt, Mike Wagoner, Marcia Pilgeram Submit stories to: Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID Subscription Price: $165 per year Web Content: Keokee The Sandpoint Reader is a weekly publication owned and operated by Ben Olson and Keokee. It is devoted to the arts, entertainment, politics and lifestyle in and around Sandpoint, Idaho. We hope to provide a quality alternative by offering honest, in-depth reporting that reflects the intelligence and interests of our diverse and growing community. The Reader is printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink. Leftover copies are collected and recycled weekly, or burned in massive bonfires to appease the gods of journalism. Free to all, limit two copies per person.

Sandpoint Reader letter policy: The Sandpoint Reader welcomes letters to the editor on all topics. Requirements: –No more than 300 words –Letters may not contain excessive profanity or libelous material. Please elevate the discussion. Letters will be edited to comply with the above requirements. Opinions expressed in these pages are those of the writers, not necessarily the publishers. Email letters to: Check us out on the web at: About the Cover

This week’s cover photo was taken by Jim Armbruster on Oct. 18 from atop Scotchman Peak. Congratulations on the hike, Jim, and the excellent photo. November 16, 2023 / R / 3


BOCC battle of the public records requests

Marathon business meeting touches on the county’s major issues

By Soncirey Mitchell Reader Staff The Bonner County board of commissioners heard a full hour of public commentary, prior even to the consent agenda, at the regular business meeting on Nov. 14. The meeting lasted more than three and a half hours and seemingly covered every major issue that the county has faced in recent memory, as public comment spilled into commissioner reports and action items. The often fiery discussion was a precursor to a special meeting scheduled that day at 2:30 p.m., which was abruptly canceled that morning due to several mistakes in the public notice. They rescheduled the meeting for Thursday, Nov. 16 at 11 a.m. and will feature action items regarding public records requests for Commissioner Asia Williams’ emails, the civil protection order against Commissioner Steve Bradshaw by Williams and the unauthorized video surveillance of executive sessions, among others subjects. Public comment for the meeting opened with especially pointed testimony from Amy Lunsford and Dian Welle. Lunsford — who, along with a number of residents, regularly files public records requests about county proceedings — questioned the motives behind Sheriff Daryl Wheeler’s Individual Constitutional County Officers committee, which she dubbed a “secret society.” Wheeler formed the ICCO as an audit committee in May 2022 in an attempt to control $9 million given to the county by the American Rescue Plan Act during the COVID-19 pandemic. Lunsford said she was “only here for transparency,” while Welle testified that the ongoing Israel-Hamas War inspired her to fight against Commissioners Bradshaw and Luke Omodt on behalf of Williams. “We the people will join this war without hesitation. Before battle, one must put on their armor. I have selected the following pieces: 4 / R / November 16, 2023

the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the shoes of the gospel of peace, the shield of fate, the helmet of salvation and the sword of the spirit,” Welle said. The public consistently used information achieved through public records requests to level accusations at the commissioners. Kristina L. Nicholas Anderson testified that Williams filed her own PRR to learn the value of Bradshaw’s property shortly before alleging a verbal threat against her life and obtaining a protection order against him. “Why would someone check on someone’s financial worth before making an accusation or claim against someone, if not financially motivated?” asked Anderson. Williams spoke to her motivation during her District 2 commissioner’s report. “Commissioner Bradshaw had continually sent something called ‘Complaints of Public Corruption’ to the AG’s [attorney general’s] office at the beginning of my term,” she said, explaining that legal counsel instructed her to sue her fellow commissioner for libel. “I did not choose to do that. I did look at a records request to see if it was even worth it.” Public comment continued to focus on details from the commissioners’ pasts and personal lives, with resident Steve Wasylko questioning the board on whether or not they pay their taxes, have had other protection orders issued against them or have sued former employers. “I was terminated from Kootenai Health for reporting an abuse allegation without their permission,” said Williams, affirming that she had sued. Resident Darla Fletcher then submitted documents into the public record that she’d obtained to fact-check the commissioners’ answers. “Our ‘transparency champion’ [Williams] has three outstanding tax liens issued by the Lien Department for the Idaho State Tax Commission,” she said, contra-

dicting Williams’ statement that she had paid her taxes. According to records obtained from the Office of the Secretary of State, the liens against Williams amount to $4,218.27; $1,368.02; and $710.45 each. “Paying taxes is what I have done,” said Williams, defending her previous answer. “If you ever file your IRS taxes and you owe, you get a lien. It’s automatic, actually.” Fletcher continued to refute the commissioner’s testimony by submitting a “petition order for protection for harassment,” which she claimed an unnamed individual filed against Williams back in 2008 in Washington state. “I married a person who was divorced,” explained Williams. “My name was attached to an order of protection during their custody battle, which he prevailed on. It was removed in real time.” Williams said she could not understand why the order was still listed as “active” in Thurston County, Wash.

Patty Omodt, Chairman Omodt’s mother, addressed a number of the aforementioned concerns during her three minutes before stating that Sheriff Wheeler “has illegally spied on executive sessions through a deputy that is supposed to be on a detail to protect Asia Williams.” This accusation is one of the subjects of the forthcoming Nov. 16 meeting and was not discussed in detail on Tuesday. Patty Omodt additionally accused Williams of using Bonner County Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bauer as her personal paralegal — a claim that Chairman Omodt reiterated later in the meeting. “I will function as a paralegal to Louis [Marshall] gathering information and generating preliminary draft documents for Louis regarding any matter you want Louis to work on for you,” Bauer stated in an email to Williams, which Omodt referred to in an opinion piece submitted to the Reader on Nov. 15 (see Page 9). Bauer — Wheeler’s son-in-law —

Bonner County Commissioners Luke Omodt, left, Asia Williams, middle, and Steve Bradshaw, right. Photo by Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey. is currently suing the BOCC for $3.5 million due to events related to the fairgrounds financials, according to Omodt. “I don’t have a personal paralegal. Questions of the board from me don’t go to Scott Bauer,” said Williams. She explained that the email communications submitted into the public record by Omodt were her attempts to utilize a county employee who was otherwise not working while still on the payroll. Meanwhile, after addressing public opposition to a minor land division for an affordable housing RV park in Blanchard — which the board ruled on at a special meeting held Oct. 30 — the meeting moved swiftly to three action items proposed by Williams regarding complaints about public

< see BOCC, Page 6 >


City Council votes to accept final downtown waterfront design report By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff It’s been a long road to travel, but the downtown Sandpoint waterfront design competition reached a critical juncture Nov. 15, when members of the City Council voted to accept the final report from design team GGLO-Bernardo Wills. But that wasn’t before lengthy deliberation by the council and public testimony over what, exactly, the document represents and whether it was even necessary to accept it in order to have discussions related to design guidelines, historic preservation and code changes determining the future direction of the downtown core, Sand Creek and City Beach. “Our town looks the way it does and feels the way it does because we haven’t acted,” said Councilor Justin Dick. He ultimately made the motion to accept the report, which both City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton and Portland, Ore.-based architect Don Stastny — who the city contracted to manage the competition — said establishes a vision and framework for future conversation and planning. “Acceptance doesn’t mean that you’re implementing,” Stapleton said, going on to describe the report as, “a visionary document pulling together all of your existing master plans.” “It is not a plan; it is a framework for further discussion,” Stastny added. That came after more than a month of revisions — which began Oct. 10 when GGLO-Bernardo Wills went before the competition jury with its Stage III design — taking comments and suggestions, which were then incorporated into a final draft

presented Oct. 18 to the council. During the Oct. 18 meeting, Councilor Jason Welker focused on the timing of implementation for a number of projects contained in the plan — dubbed “The Blue Necklace” — with particular emphasis on identifying building height restrictions in the downtown core. GGLO-Bernardo Wills took that into consideration when coming up with its revised final draft, zeroing in a recommendation for a 55-foot height restriction with a 20-foot setback after 35 vertical feet. Councilor Deb Ruehele pointed out that no downtown building along First Avenue is currently higher than 40 feet, and asked design team representatives how the 55-foot recommendation came about, to which she was told by GGLO Principal Mark Sindell that it had to do with “complications with the soils” on the east side of First Avenue. “The more you have to put in the ground abnormally, the harder it gets to make it work above ground,” Sindell said, later adding, “If you reduce that [height] much more, it is going to be perhaps unlikely that anyone can make that work given the cost of developing those buildings with the soils you have.” Design team members said the 55foot limit is an attempt to strike a balance between maintaining consistency with the current downtown character and giving developers the flexibility to build structures that will be profitable enough to recoup the costs of their construction. Mayor Shelby Rognstad, who initially did not participate in the meeting either in person or remotely — apparently due to technical difficulties — did chime in later in the meeting over Zoom to say that the

City seeking applications for P&Z; Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation commissions By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Area residents have expressed an increasing amount of interest in becoming involved with local government over the past year, and the reestablishment of citizen committees in the city of Sandpoint featured front-and-center in the recent Nov. 7 election. The public has a chance to participate with City Hall, as it is currently soliciting applications to serve on the Planning and Zoning, and Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation commissions. An application form is available at, asking for basic personal information; a resume and any additional details; as well as a statement detailing applicable employment, education, volunteer history and the applicant’s reasons for wishing to serve. The application process is free and completely online. “Thank you for expressing interest in applying for one of our city commissions, committees or boards,” the city states on the application page. “We appreciate your willingness to serve your community and look forward to hearing from you.”

current code is that buildings are a 35-foot maximum but can go up to 65 feet if a developer will provide parking and residential above or behind commercial uses and it would be “a travesty” if the council didn’t accept the report. “This additional bonus of 30 feet was created as an incentive,” he said, intended to spur developers to integrate parking and residences into their plans. “We don’t want to lose these incentives,” Rognstad said, later adding, “I just want to make sure that that doesn’t get lost in the discussion here.” “I do not give two hoots about accommodating the economic feasibility for developers and I don’t think the City Council should either,” said lifelong Sandpoint resident, retired longtime city clerk and former council member Helen Newton, advocating for the council to hold off on accepting the report until Mayor-elect Jeremy Grimm and Councilors Pam Duquette, Deb Ruehle and Kyle Schreiber are sworn in after the new year. That was a consistent theme among those members of the public who testified — which included Duquette and Schreiber, as well as Tara Brady, who said, “There is a lot of distrust for the current council.” She also added that she felt it to be

“unethical” for Rognstad to have served on the design competition jury “all while managing an investment real estate company.” Brady’s comments apparently referred to Watershed Equity, managed by Rognstad, which seeks to offer real estate investment services in the downtown core and waterfront. “This seems to be a conflict of interest,” she said. Councilor Joel Aispuro contributed much to the deliberation over accepting or holding off on the report, but ultimately opted to vote for the former, saying, “We need a vision,” and the report’s recommendations will help put the city “in the driver’s seat.” “I don’t want to see developers define our downtown,” he said. Aisupro, Dick and McAlister all voted in favor of accepting the document, while Ruehle voted against. A number of workshops focused on height restrictions, design guidelines and code changes are expected to be scheduled in the coming weeks and months. Meanwhile, height restrictions are due to come up on the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission agenda at its regular Tuesday, Dec. 5 meeting at City Hall (1123 Lake St.).

City Hall reminder on final draft Comp Plan workshops By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff The city of Sandpoint is reminding residents that it will host two town hallstyle workshops on the final draft of the Comprehensive Plan — the first scheduled for Wednesday, Nov. 29 and the second on Thursday, Dec. 7. Both will take place from 5-7 p.m. at the City Council chambers in City Hall (1123 Lake St.). “The Comprehensive Plan is the city’s guiding document that will help shape future codes, policies and programs over the next 20 years,” the city stated. The updated Comp Plan has been in the works for four years, though experienced a delay during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. The final draft went before council members Oct. 4, but they determined it should undergo more rounds of public input. Attendees are invited to drop in at their

convenience during the specified dates and times to engage with members of the Sandpoint City Council, Planning and Zoning Commission and city staff. Meanwhile, the full plan is available online for review and comment until Friday, Dec. 8 at Click anywhere on the document and submit your comment, or respond to others’, which will be indicated by a yellow text bubble bearing an exclamation point. In addition to the link, the digital copy of the plan can be accessed by scanning a QR code with your smartphone. The city will accept comments on the online document until Friday, Dec. 8. The city noted that the draft plan available online includes comments and suggested changes or edits received on the final draft, but which have not been incorporated yet. November 16, 2023 / R / 5

NEWS < BOCC, con’t from Page 4 > records requests. “My motion is to remove the individual commissioner email addresses and have just one centralized email for all commissioners,” said Williams, whose proposal was met with a mixed response. Officials and members of the public argued that, as Williams suggested, it could improve transparency; however, Omodt maintained that it would make their duties more time consuming and introduce unnecessary redundancies. “I know that I’ve only gone through 3,000 emails so far so, I mean, if we multiply that that’d be like 27,000 emails. We’d get even less work done,” said Omodt. Bradshaw agreed and added that, technically, the commissioners already have a shared email address for the office. Williams specified that her proposal is meant to address the backlog of public records requests that the county has been facing, though Clerk Mike Rosedale — whose department handles records requests — expressed his doubts about this proposed solution. “The hold up isn’t where the email is, I think it’s where it’s being proofed or legal’s efficiency,” said Rosedale, explaining that his office releases records to legal counsel fairly quickly. All such records must be reviewed for confidential information prior to being made public. Omodt moved to table the proposal “until the entire board hears from our legal counsel.” His motion passed, though Williams voted “no.” Williams’ second action item was “to allocate a full-time employee to address public records requests” — though, as Omodt pointed out, Administrative Legal Assistant and Deputy Clerk Veronica Dixon already has that duty. Though she clarified that she did not blame Dixon, Williams insisted that the current staff are unable to accommodate the number of PRRs being issued by residents and other officials — including Omodt. “Legal has come before this board and said, ‘We need assistance with the public records requests,” she said. Williams did not specify whether the suggested employee would work under Rosedale or the Legal Department. Neither Bradshaw nor Omodt seconded her proposal and the motion died. For the final item on the agenda, the commissioners returned to the events of the Oct. 25 meeting where they approved an external audit of the fairgrounds finances — a motion initially brought forward by Williams. In an additional meeting on Nov. 6 / R / November 16, 2023

2, the board acted on Rosedale’s suggestion and voted to form an audit committee to oversee the proceedings. In the Nov. 14 meeting, Williams moved to disband the committee on the advice of legal counsel because “it delegates powers of the board and individual commissioners.” Bradshaw, Omodt and Rosedale all disagreed with this claim. “There was no delegation of authority ever mentioned — spoken, implied, inferred — other than after the fact,” said Omodt, maintaining that the commissioners still had complete control over the audit. Rosedale echoed this statement, and emphasized that the committee was only meant to protect the external auditor from public harassment. “There has been an unbelievable slam against my office, against my comptroller and against our external auditor, and it’s based on completely erroneous information and Commissioner Williams knows this,” said Rosedale, visibly upset. The alleged “slander,” as Rosedale described it, centered on the decision, made by prosecutor Bill Wilson on Feb. 14, not to audit the Fair Board. “Why would I want somebody [Williams] that has ignored that — and not come to the public — to defend my office?” Rosedale said, later clarifying that Williams herself has not “slandered” the clerk’s office. Part of the clerk’s anger towards Williams stemmed from an email that he offered to read, in which she suggested White Pine Wealth in Hayden as a potential auditing firm for the fairgrounds. “They’re not even CPAs,” said Rosedale, explaining that White Pine Wealth is a financial management firm and does not specialize in audits. White Pine Wealth is one of an unknown number of firms that Williams reached out to — as she said she would during the Oct. 25 meeting — in an attempt to find an auditor who would put in the work to sort out the alleged fairgrounds fraud. Because Williams was acting as an individual commissioner, rather than in conjunction with the board, Omodt alleged that her communications were “ex parte.” “County commissioners cannot go out and solicit people for proposals,” said Bradshaw, agreeing with Omodt. “If I go out and solicit for an auditor and speak to different companies, when they submit proposals I would have to recuse myself from that selection process to avoid the accusation of quid-pro-quo.” Williams’ motion to disband the auditing committee died without a second.

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: Election Day offered wins for the homeless in three cities, Bloomberg reported. Boulder, Colo. voted to renew an existing tax to address homeless issues; Santa Fe, N.M. voted in a tax on homes sold for more than $1 million; and Seattle voted to raise a local real estate tax. According to the World Health Organization, 67% of those killed in Gaza have been women and children, with a child killed every 10 minutes. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netayahu has spurned calls for a ceasefire against Gaza — even in exchange for 237 Israeli hostages held by Hamas. Meanwhile, various media report that 67% of his own citizens say he should resign. The White House recently announced Israel has agreed to four-hour daily pauses in fighting to allow citizens to leave the war zone, The Lever reported, but Israeli leaders indicate there will not be a total ceasefire. In a letter to President Joe Biden, former campaign officials urged a ceasefire in Israel. The letter, reported by Vox, calls for financial and diplomatic leverage for a ceasefire, along with “concrete steps” to address root causes of the conflict: apartheid, occupation of Gaza and ethnic cleansing. According to CNN, there is also disagreement about Biden’s tactics regarding Israel within his administration and at the State Department. In TIME magazine, historian Yuval N. Harari noted that Hamas is different from other Palestinian organizations and should not be equated with the Palestinian people. Hamas refuses to recognize Israel’s right to exist and has blocked Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. With both sides traumatized by the war Hamas began Oct. 7, Harari believes “outsiders” need to “help maintain a space for peace.” Finally, the American Friends Service Committee held a “NO Tax Dollars for War Crimes” day of action regarding Israel and Gaza, with participants visiting local offices of U.S. Congress members to call for an immediate ceasefire and an end to military funding for Israel. According to The Wall Street Journal, there’s no obvious link between Federal Reserve action and slowing inflation. As Vox pointed out, polls show people think the economy is getting worse, but many also admit their “personal financial situations are just fine.” Compounding eco-

By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist

nomic problems: housing affordability is at a 39-year low. From the Labor Department: 150,000 jobs were added to the economy in October. Also, courtesy of remote work, there has been a significant rise in people with disabilities joining the workforce. The Student Debt Crisis Center recently invited feedback from student borrowers, asking how student debt has affected their lives. A common thread in the feedback: “I’ve been paying, and yet my balance continues to increase.” The SDCC says millions of borrowers have loan balances that are up to five times what they initially borrowed, hence SDCC’s efforts to address predatory loans. House and Senate leaders from both parties have signaled they would support a “stopgap” spending bill to avert a government shutdown that is anticipated as early as Friday, Nov. 17. The Republican-majority House passed such a temporary measure Nov. 14 by a “wide bipartisan margin,” Reuters reported. Democratic and Republican senators echoed their willingness to pass the legislation on Nov. 15, with Sens. Chuck Shumer, D-N.Y., and John Thune, R-S.D., both indicating that passage should — and could — be swift. To honor veterans, Donald Trump recently said he would “root out” leftists — calling them “thugs” and “vermin” — if elected in 2024, various media reported. Historian Heather C. Richardson noted that the language too closely mirrors that of Nazis who marked people for genocide. If you test positive for COVID-19 during the post-pandemic era, how long do you isolate? According to TIME’s health correspondent, first you need to isolate from everyone, including household members. If the latter is impossible, wear an N-95 or KN-95 mask. After five days of isolation, wear a mask when indoors around other people, since contagion can last longer than five days. To determine if you are still contagious, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advises that two negative COVID-19 tests 48 hours apart indicate mask removal is OK. Blast from the past: This month marks the 60th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s assassination on Nov. 22, 1963. Details in the book JFK and the Unspeakable connect the dots between JFK’s Christian attitude about befriending his “enemies” to promote peace — in particular Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro — to likely causes for his assassination by pro-war factions.


MAGA flags flapped atop their twin flagpoles as we chatted amicably with our clients. They showed us to their riverfront beach, provided chairs, invited us to return with our daughter to swim during the warm season. They’d love to have a little one playing in the sand and shallows, they said. They miss their grandchildren. Every time I drive by, I think we should take them up on the offer. Despite the flags. Or perhaps because of them. While the beach is a sweet proposition, the connection beneath the opposing army’s banner is a more fascinating one. Those flags have always felt like a battle ensign. Turns out, they’re simply decor. This is a good reminder as we barrel headlong toward Election Day 2024. I’ve dreaded this year since the last presidential melee, when our community felt to be on the brink of something ugly. That year, I was perpetually on edge, flags and banners and bumper stickers screaming from all spaces, asserting one team’s superiority and the other’s need to eff off into the sun. And die there. Forever and ever. Amen. That year, my commute along Highway 95 felt like traversing a war zone. However, the concept has since been redefined because of the recent and very real aggressions in Gaza and Ukraine. We do not live in a war zone. We live in a banner-festooned idyll. It turns out that a flag is not a mortal threat. And the standard bearers are not our mortal foes. We are simply neighbors with strongly worded political opinions. We may not always agree, but beneath all the slogans, we might just be able to enjoy a small Pack River beach together.

Jen Jackson Quintano. Over our years of tree work here, we’ve been gifted honey and garlic and praise while Fox News blares. In garages full of Gadsden flags and Second Amendment slogans, we’ve shared beers and stories. It’s only when conversation veers toward the political that discomfort ensues. When we stay free of that trap, we connect with our clients as human beings. Which we all, incredibly, are. In a land that is not, actually, at war. In the past year, though, I’ve become more outspoken. My identity is more tied up in the political. To some, I am “The Lumberjill.” To others, I am “The Pro-Voice Project” (my all-consuming side-hustle for reproductive rights and health care). I’ve wondered when hostility will ensue. It’s felt but a matter of time. A friend recently told me, “Yours are the only events at which I worry about my personal safety.” Another person mentioned wanting to attend one of my abor-

tion-story stage productions, but worried that she’d “get shot” if she showed up. She stayed home. An acquaintance, upon hearing of my upstart organization, shared stories of harassment and intimidation as experienced by an outspoken friend. She suggested that I reconsider the entire enterprise. I’ve been told to purchase a home security system, to find someone to monitor online threats to myself and my family, to be more careful who I trust and where I walk alone. It’s dangerous to have my address online. It’s dangerous to respond to unsolicited texts. It’s dangerous to be so outspoken. It is also dangerous to run a chainsaw 75 feet in the air, to feed a massive wood chipper. And it is now more dangerous to be pregnant in Bonner County, what with a total lack of obstetricians. Hence the need for my seemingly dangerous side project. It is a dangerous world, yet, we navigate it in our search for meaning and sustenance. We have to. Or the dangerous world becomes an all-too-small one. At a recent gathering of area progressives, two themes emerged from the audience. One was the sense that each of us is the only liberal/Democratic/sane person in our neighborhoods. One dot of blue surrounded by a churning cauldron of red. The second pervasive idea was that speaking out in said cauldron would leave one shot and bleeding. Not metaphorically. Really. Many Bonner County progressives believe themselves entirely alone and in mortal danger for holding certain beliefs. They — we — believe this to be a war zone. What a terrifying space to inhabit.

There are means of escape. One? Sit beneath a MAGA flag and find that your perceived assassin is actually a doting grandfather with arthritis and a love of model trains. Two? Make yourself and your values visible within our community so that your tribe might find you. By emerging from your bubble — and living to see another day — you bolster your courage and the courage of those around you. The antidote to fear is community. A visiting Idaho legislator recently shared that, during her first run for office, she dreaded door-knocking in her deeply red neighborhood, but campaigning required it. At the first door, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that the resident was, in fact, a Democrat; he was just afraid to put up yard signs announcing it on such a conservative street. At the next door, this neighbor, too, was a Democrat concerned with riling up the neighbors. And so it went at the next and the next and the next door. It turns out, her neighborhood was full of progressives hiding from perceived militant conservatism. It turns out the boogeyman, though it might sprout from seeds of reality, flourishes to epic heights in our imaginations. This is not to say that there isn’t a real threat of political violence in our region. A woman in our community commits herself to tracking those threats every day, and it often leaves her queasy. Extremism in North Idaho is real. Yet, those of us brandishing the powerful armor of white, cishet privilege tend to overemphasize the potential consequences of our speaking out. We tend to see the boogeyman everywhere when, mostly, we’re just jumping

at the shadows of our neighbors. People with hearts and lives that look like ours. I believe there are ways to be cautious about militancy while also remaining open to the vast majority of people calling this place home. I truly believe that we live among more humans than villains. The villains simply sound more numerous due to their volume. At the end of the day, most of us can be found cooking dinner, chatting with our families and not scheming to shoot our dissident neighbors. At the end of the day, most of us are worth knowing and understanding. Most of us want to be known — beyond what our flags say. The flags are the dragons at the gate. Our community is as big as you’re willing to make it. This is not a war zone. Expand your bubble. Make an apple pie for the neighbor you never speak to. Then speak to him. Or be boldly passionate about an issue of importance in this community — schools, reproductive health care, human rights, affordable housing — and witness how your boldness helps your sprawling tribe to find you. Witness how your boldness empowers others to be bold. Witness how the boogeyman withers and our community widens and thrives, forming a bulwark against future boogeymen — both real and imagined. Jen Jackson Quintano writes and runs an arborist business with her husband in Sandpoint. Find their website at See more of Quintano’s writing at

November 16, 2023 / R / 7

Politeness is the local custom…

Barbs: • I have to address the Nov. 15 Sandpoint City Council meeting. This was the most inappropriate meeting I’ve ever witnessed — and likely anyone has in this city’s history. Three separate callers who claimed to be Sandpoint residents testified remotely via Zoom and promoted Holocaust denial, antisemitism and vile racism unchecked for way too long. With Council President Kate McAlister presiding because of yet another absence by our lame duck Mayor Shelby Rognstad, councilors and city staff sat idly by as these callers shared URLs that can be quickly and easily linked to white supremacist and racist websites. They also promoted antisemitic conspiracies and asked for support for a currently jailed neo-Nazi Holocaust denier. When an unknown voice finally broke in to yell at the dais for allowing such hate speech, the callers again flooded the meeting with racist epithets for more than a minute before Zoom was finally shut down. We at the Reader knew by the second caller what was going on and texted those in attendance that the testimony was clearly out of order. McAlister told the Reader in a text that a city staffer was handling the Zoom meeting and, “She couldn’t mute it for some reason. She had to shut down the entire Zoom session and restart it.” In a phone call after the meeting, McAlister said, “There was uproar in the room. We were beside ourselves trying to get it shut down. … It was shocking to everybody.” Be that as it may, but isn’t this what the Sandpoint City Council passed a decorum ordinance for? The ordinance claims to promote a “safe and non-threatening environment for visitors, customers and other members of the public,” yet here we all sat listening for minutes on end as these callers continued spewing racist vitriol that has no place in society, let alone during a public meeting. I find it disgusting that Rognstad quickly shut down the testimony of someone like former City Clerk and longtime community member Helen Newton last month when she began testifying about the Travers Park issue, yet this hate speech on Nov. 15 was allowed to continue unchecked for far too long (or continue at all). This community deserves better. 8 / R / November 16, 2023

Dear editor, In a past edition of the Reader, Publisher Ben Olson said the place in town to find old-fashioned Sandpoint courtesy in action is the post office, where fellow customers routinely open the door for one another, smile and say “hi” [Back of the Book, “Opening doors,” Aug. 19, 2023]. That’s unfair to local custom. I find that everyone from little old ladies to strapping young gentlemen open the door for me whenever I visit not only the post office but the liquor store, the bank, the liquor store, Super Drug, the liquor store, Larson’s, the liquor store, Baxter’s, the liquor store, DiLuna’s, the liquor store, Winter Ridge, the liquor store, Petco, the liquor store, Image Maker, the liquor store, etc. Sometimes door-openers see me struggling from my Ford and just stand and wait. It’s true that I’m 92 and carry a cane around to inspire sympathy. But the smiles of the door-openers are so authentic I think they’d hold doors open even if I were 29, leaped from an exotic new Lamborghini and sprinted in from the parking lot. Well, maybe not an exotic new Lamborghini. A used Kia? Tim H. Henney Sandpoint

Another plea for time and deliberation…

Dear editor, I just read Ben Olson’s Perspectives article, “A Plea for Time and Deliberation” [Nov. 9, 2023], and completely agree. Sometimes the changes that those in authority decide Sandpoint needs are beneficial and enhance our environment. Most often these benefits only come with years upon years of seeking the input of those who will be most affected. Fifty-plus years ago the bypass was just a thought. Now it’s a most necessary and beneficial addition to Sandpoint and surrounding communities. That’s right 50 — 5-0 — years the powers that be thought out every detail of this new construction, asking the residents for opinions and comments. Newly elected officials, please follow suit and take note of how successful and necessary our bypass is and ask residents for their input before making sweeping changes that will affect us all. Sometimes without our community’s contributions, things really get messed up! If you haven’t read Olson’s article yet, it’s worth the read. Thank you Ben for your

well-written articles and for your informative newspaper, the Reader. We loved this week’s cover, but last week’s was the best ever. Anna Schramm Sagle

‘The Glass River’... Dear editor, It is autumn in North Idaho. The skies are heavy with moisture that falls steadily. “The clouds are falling down,” my daughter would say. There is a short break in the downpour. I pull on my Bogs and reach for a raincoat — just in case — heading to the receded banks of the Clark Fork River. As I navigate the rocky banks of the river my chest swells with emotion. I am overwhelmed by the beauty of the Clark Fork Valley. Tall pines intermingle with the stunning fall colors of the deciduous cottonwood, birch, maple and tamarack. A bald eagle dips and soars, laboring against the damp air, unable to catch a ride on an air current. I can hear his wings overhead — whoosh, whoosh. Suddenly he dives, plunging into the cold waters, claws first. A successful hunt; he passes overhead — fish wriggling in his unyielding claws. To avoid tripping on the uneven and rocky terrain I am forced to glance down. Sadly, several large shards of clear glass glare back. In just a few more steps I am greeted by green, then brown glass. My heart sinks. I think of other lakes and waterways that have been compelled to implement regulation that prohibits the use of glass products while on the lake. Is that what it has come to? Does Lake Pend Oreille and the Clark Fork River need to impose this regulation to protect our waterways from abuse? What is the Walt Kelly quote? “We have met the enemy and he is us.” Regulations ugh — we do it to ourselves. Tami Heather Clark Fork

‘That Long Bridge magic’… Dear editor, One day last week I was a little late on the way to work in Sandpoint. As I crossed the Long Bridge I was concerned about missing an appointment and preoccupied with the things I needed to do when I got to work. After I got off the Long Bridge and rounded the corner by the Community Hall, I realized I had left my cell phone at home. I knew I needed it for work. I was already late, but I turned around and went back home to get the phone. Now instead of being 15 minutes late it would be closer to an hour. I was really upset

Confessions of a fool

Consider ‘joyful use per square foot of public land’ when judging change

By Foster Cline Reader Contributor OK, I admit, I’ve been a fool; but, in my defense, I have to say that I’m simply a victim of the foolish human condition. We hate change. Especially if it is an innovative change and it wasn’t our own idea. Eiffel’s new tower in Paris, as it was planned and constructed, was greeted with howls throughout the city. “This is the ugliest structure ever built on the face of God’s Earth.” Now it is their pride and joy and the symbol of Paris. In Sydney, their beloved, iconic white opera house was greeted by the same howls of protest: “Ugly, ugly, ugly.” No one howled louder than me about the damn plan to put a byway down past Sand Creek. I would sit up on the patio at Spuds, look at the buoys showing how much the waterway would be narrowed and comment on how stupid the byway plan was. Another thing to ruin our town! Now, along with the whole town, I love and use that beautiful walking/bike path beneath the roses that are planted along the Sand Creek Byway wall. Earlier, a few kayakers enjoyed Sand Creek. Now hundreds of hikers and bikers enjoy that area every month. Later, I pontificated about the ridiculous idea to rebuild a perfectly good bleacher at Memorial Field and put in damn artificial turf. “What the hell are the planners thinking?!” There may be downsides to artificial turf that will make themselves known years down the line. But, for now, I love the color, the lack of weeds and dirt spots and the lack of

with myself as I approached the south end of the Long Bridge. But then something amazing happened. The lake was extremely quiet, the mountains were dusted with some of the first snow, my little hometown of Sandpoint was calm and safe and welcoming. There wasn’t much traffic on the Long Bridge and I was able to slow down and take it all in. I told myself that from now on, at least once every week or two, I would deliberately forget my phone at home. That would give me a good excuse to come across the Long Bridge a second time, and truly appreciate that Long Bridge Magic.

the need to water or use weed killer or nitrogen-rich fertilizer, which end up in the river. I even came near to decrying the takedown of the never used basketball courts at Memorial Field. Now, dozens of pickleball players use the converted courts every summer day. This brings me to my consideration of the changes at Travers Park. I have enjoyed riding my bike through Travers many times over the years. During my rides there have been a few bikes and walkers on the path, but the park was generally empty. As for kids using the playground? There must be some who use it, but I never saw one child on my hundred rides. If there are 16 pickleball courts that could serve 64 people per hour in open time slots, many dozens of people are going to use the James E. Russell Sports Center just for pickleball. Their kids and grandkids will be happy in the updated play area with all its new equipment. Other groups will use the large indoor common area. People enjoying the 50 new trees that will be planted may wonder why people had chained themselves to the old ones. Sandpoint is best served by considering the hours of joyful use per square foot of public land. As a lover of open space and wild areas, I suspect that the updates to Travers Park will, like the updates of the byway and Memorial Field, allow far more people to experience far more joy per square foot of public land than was ever possible before. In my dotage I have come to believe that the experts we pay to make planned changes to our town may actually love this place just as the rest of us do.

Steve Johnson Sagle

Keep the lights on…

Dear editor, It’s that time of year again when rainy, dark days can cause more accidents by people who do not have their lights on. There are numerous statistics for keeping your lights on and indicates it can save lives. Modern cars have an auto light feature that will adjust lights for night; but, more importantly, it’ll keep the lights on for safe driving during winter dark and dreary days. Sue Koller Cocolalla


Idahoans voted for a brighter future By Rep. Lauren Necochea, D-Boise Reader Contributor As Georgia Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock says, “A vote is a prayer about the kind of world we want to live in.” Indeed, every election allows citizens to act on their hope for our shared future. With far-right extremists getting louder, more numerous, and more brazen in Idaho and Congress, many are deeply worried about the future. Today’s Republican Party seeks to divide us based on our differences, put profits over people, erode our public institutions and take away our freedoms. Nevertheless, The Nov. 7 election filled me with hope, as voters shifted toward leaders who will build communities where we take care of each other.

Rep. Lauren Necochea. File photo. In Virginia, Democrats exceeded expectations, retaining control of the Senate and flipping the House. This victory thwarted Republican Gov. Glenn Youngkin’s plans to pass an abortion ban. In Ohio, voters amended the state constitution to guarantee the right to make personal decisions about reproductive health care, including abortion. Even in deep-red Ken-

tucky, voters re-elected Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear. Here in Idaho, Democratic values prevailed in encouraging ways. In Boise, Mayor Lauren McLean, who focused on home affordability, secured another term. Hayden Paulsen, a 29-yearold newly elected to Pocatello City Council, returned to his hometown, believing that Idahoans shouldn’t have to leave their community to find economic opportunity. Education champions triumphed in school board elections in Caldwell, McCall-Donnelly, Blaine County, Teton County and Moscow over far-right ideologues who seek to ban books, police curriculum and privatize our public schools. In the 45 races where local Democrats endorsed nonpartisan

candidates based on shared values — not necessarily party affiliation — 73% won. Meanwhile, voters are starting to realize that Republican endorsements often signal the most extreme, far-right candidate in a race. Coeur d’Alene City Council incumbents beat back far-right challengers endorsed by the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee. A Twin Falls City Council incumbent beat out a Twin Falls Republican Party official. We can take a moment to celebrate, then turn to the work ahead. In 2024, all 105 seats in the Idaho Legislature will be up for election. Idaho Democrats are committed to having a Democrat on the ballot in every legislative district and will continue to work hard to deliver leaders who better represent the

people of Idaho. You can join us. Together, we can deliver on the issues that matter most to Idahoans — safeguarding our freedoms, ensuring quality education and fostering opportunity in every corner of our state. It won’t happen magically, but through the grit of candidates and volunteers who meet voters at their doors to show that Idahoans deserve better and that doing better is possible. Let’s carry this momentum forward and continue building a brighter future for Idaho. Rep. Lauren Necochea is the House assistant Democratic leader, representing District 19 in Boise on the Commerce and Human Resources; Environment, Energy and Technology; Revenue and Taxation; and Ways and Means committees.

November surprise — Part I

Seeking transparency

By Luke Omodt, County Commissioner Dist. 3 Reader Contributor On Oct. 30, 2023, Deputy Prosecutor Scott Bauer submitted a notice of tort claim asserting defamation against Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale and Bonner County seeking $500,000 in damages. Mr. Bauer is already suing the Bonner County board of commissioners, (BOCC) and Bonner County for similar reasons for $3 million. Bauer, who used to represent the BOCC, works for Prosecutor Louis Marshall and currently provides legal counsel for his father-in-law, Sheriff Daryl Wheeler. According to the Idaho Rules of Professional Conduct Rule 1.7 Conflict of Interest Current Clients: “Loyalty and independent judgment are essential elements in the lawyer’s relationship to a client … The Lawyer’s own interests should not be permitted to have an adverse effect on representation of a client.” The only way in which an

be represented by Bauer because of his current tort claim — lawsuit — against the Bonner County taxpayers. On March 2, 2023, Bauer wrote to Commissioner Asia Williams:

Commissioner Luke Omodt. File photo. attorney can represent a client with whom there exists a conflict of interest is, “each affected client gives informed consent, confirmed in writing.” I have 3.5 million reasons why I have not given informed consent to Bonner County being represented by an attorney who is suing Bonner County providing the BOCC legal advice. Early in my first term as a county commissioner, the BOCC discussed with Marshall in executive session our apprehension and unwillingness to

Please call me to discuss and send me any information regarding matters you want Louis Marshall to assist you on. I will function as a paralegal to Louis gathering information and generating preliminary draft documents for Louis regarding any matters you want Louis to work on for you. Louis Marshall will provide you with legal recommendations and other legal work-product, but I will first interface with you on these matters for efficiency’s sake. At all times I will endeavour to ensure that any substantive opinions, recommendations, or actions coming for the legal department are those of Louis Marshal’s and not my own. Nevertheless, I will provide substantial preliminary assistance to Louis on these matters for efficiency’s sake. It is my understanding that you

have been fully advised of my litigation against Bonner County and give your informed consent to use me only in a paralegal capacity as an individual commissioner on matters that Louis Marshal approves are appropriate such as the EMS matter previously discussed. I will be acting in a paralegal capacity to Louis on your matters as you function in the role of an individual county commissioner entitled to preliminary legal advice in your individual county commissioner capacity. Thank you, D. Scott Bauer Civil Deputy Prosecutor [sic] The BOCC had no knowledge of this attorney-client relationship. This is unfortunately very similar to the BOCC having no knowledge of the unauthorized surveillance of our offices and executive sessions by Bonner County sheriff’s deputies assigned in a first-ofits-kind protection detail funded by taxpayers — which is unfortunately similar to local government officials who talk of transparency while paywalling and stonewalling public record requests regarding

the expenditure of taxpayer funds. Idaho Code 31-802 charges county commissioners: “To supervise the official conduct of all county officers, and appointed boards or commissions of the county charged with assessing, collecting, safekeeping, management or disbursement of the public moneys and revenues; see that they faithfully perform their duties; direct prosecution for delinquencies; approve the official bonds of county officers, and when necessary, require them to make reports, and to present their books and accounts for inspection.” I am committed to safeguarding taxpayer dollars and will not stop in my efforts seeking transparency and fiscal sanity. If you have questions, send them my way at luke.omodt@bonnercountyid. gov. Bonner County is home. Luke Omodt represents District 3 on the Bonner County board of commissioners, comprising the areas immediately north of Sandpoint and the eastern portion of the county. November 16, 2023 / R / 9

Mad about Science:

Brought to you by:

vanilla By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist It has always interested me that the term “vanilla” refers to something as being plain, common or boring. Indeed, vanilla-flavored food is often considered a baseline, such as vanilla and plain yogurt being virtually indistinguishable when purchasing discount brands, but did you know that vanilla is extremely rare, incredibly labor intensive to produce and also the cornerstone of most cuisine? Vanilla flavoring comes from the vanilla bean, which is a seed pod produced by the vanilla orchid, which only exists in hot, humid climates within 10-20 degrees of the Earth’s equator. It is an extremely delicate vining plant with extremely low tolerances for water and heat outside of its preferred climate. Not only will too much — or not enough — water or sunlight damage the plant, but it will also dramatically alter the taste of the finished bean. Clones of the vanilla orchid grown in different climates around the world will actually produce vastly different flavors. The flower must be hand pollinated, as many of the regions where the plant has been introduced completely lack a natural pollinator that favors its pollen. The ability to hand-pollinate vanilla orchids for mass production was discovered by Edmond Albius, a 12-year-old slave from Réunion, an island east of Madagascar. Albius would eventually go on to become a horticulturist, but he unfortunately received virtually no financial reward from his discovery, and only gained recognition well after his death in 1880. The hand pollination of vanilla orchids is a calculated task. 10 / R / November 16, 2023

The orchid is hermaphroditic, which allows for self-pollination when using a small wooden skewer to press the pollen-producing anther against the stigma. This must be completed within 12 hours of the flower blooming, or the flower will wilt and die without bearing fruit. You would think that due to the scarcity and fragility of the flowers that caretakers would want to pollinate as many as possible, but they will often only pollinate as many as six flowers per vine to avoid stressing the plant while also maximizing the size and flavor in the finished beans. Vanilla orchid vines can grow to be more than 30 feet long. These vines are dependent on their environment to maintain a structure, such as other trees or trellises built on plantations. It’s not uncommon for plantations to utilize standing trees rather than building new structures. In some cases, this can create a symbiotic relationship between the tree and vine, while also helping the local environment by maintaining flora rather than clearing it for development. You’ve probably heard of artificial vanilla extract. This synthetic flavoring is created during the paper pulping process to produce a compound called vanillin, which results when the lignin of the pulped wood is broken down using sulfates. This compound is also found in vanilla beans, though the flavor produced by the synthetic vanillin is largely a chemical trick on our brains. Another alternative exists and is often touted as being a natural source of vanilla flavoring. It’s an exudate — a mass of cells and fluid that have been excreted from the castor sac of beavers, which is called castoreum. Often, it will have notes of vanilla and raspberry, and is commonly used

when flavoring food. It’s been approved as a food additive by the FDA, so don’t worry about that 32-ounce raspberry vanilla slushie you pounded at lunch. It’s just beaver excretion! Vanilla is indigenous to Mexico, and it was one of the most lauded treasures looted by Hernán Cortés. Cortés brought beans back to Europe, though due to long travel times and a vastly different climate, growing the plants themselves in Europe was impossible. Throughout the 1600s and 1700s, with European colonization of Africa and the Indo-Pacific islands, the vanilla orchid set down roots in numerous places where it is still commercially farmed, including Madagascar and Indonesia. France was one of the biggest importers of vanilla in the world, eclipsed only by the United States in the 20th century; however, Thomas Jefferson is known to have indulged in spicing his food with vanilla beans in the 1700s. Vanilla beans are as American as apple pie, which has actually been traced back to England during the late 1300s and was based on recipes from France, the Netherlands and the Ottoman Empire. America’s penchant for taking things and making them popular has applied to vanilla. We are the largest consumer of vanilla in the world by a wide margin, having imported 34.7% of all vanilla produced in 2021, coming to a value of around $338 million. This might seem small compared to some of the multi-billion dollar deals that have been flying around the headlines lately, but that’s a staggeringly huge amount of vanilla beans. A quick trip around the internet informed me that the average

cost per pound of organic Grade A gourmet vanilla beans was about $180 USD. Grade B Extract beans, which likely represent a much larger share of that $338 million, are considerably cheaper, at around a quarter of the cost of the higher quality beans. When you think of vanilla, you probably think of sweet things like yogurt and ice cream, but vanilla can be effectively applied to virtually any food group

to enhance the depth of flavor. Many dishes will actually call for adding vanilla to fish or steak, and vanilla is a mainstay in many dark alcohols like bourbon and whiskey. The next time you see something mundane and feel the urge to call it “vanilla,” maybe rethink your insult — you could be unintentionally complimenting it on how complex it actually is. Stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner s? We can help!

Don’t know much about piano • Bartolomeo Cristofori (16551731), a citizen of the Republic of Venice, constructed and invented the first piano. Before he constructed the piano, he made harpsichords, organs and many other instruments. Prince Ferdinando de’ Medici, the grand duke of Tuscany (then an independent state) was passing through Venice when he met Cristofori and historians claim the duke was instrumental — so to speak — in funding the invention.

in ancient history. Going back to ancient Greece and Rome, the organ (which often used water to push air through the pipes) was played during games and races, and eventually became a religious instrument, though it transitioned back into a secular instrument during the Byzantine period. After the organ, the harpsichord and clavichords followed until the 17th century, when Cristofori invented the modern piano.

• The instrument was actually first named clavicembalo col piano e forte, which means, literally, a harpsichord that can play soft and loud noises. From the time it was invented until the early 19th century, the piano was mostly called a pianoforte. Most pioneering composers of the Classical era used and wrote music on pianofortes, including Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven and the lesser-known Johann Nepomuk Hummel (a student of Mozart’s and an acquaintance of Beethoven’s). This was eventually shortened to “piano,” a word which originally meant “soft volume.”

• There are 13 different types of pianos. Grands come in the following sizes: petite, baby, medium, professional, parlor, semi-concert and concert. Uprights are classified as spinet, console or studios. Finally, electric or digital pianos are divided between standard, upright and stage models.

• Before the piano, there were organs, which stretch far back

• A piano is actually both a string and percussion instrument, because the chord sounds come from a hammer striking a string inside the piano. • A grand piano has more than 12,000 individual parts inside its framework.

By Mike Wagoner Reader Contributor

quite the scandal Archaeologists keep finding cool things out about us… our early history as a species… Homo Sapiens, baby… that’s who we are. Evidently an early prototype of us appeared in Europe around 130,000 years ago… the Neanderthals. I love sayin’ that: “The Neanderthals.” Fossil evidence indicates they were badasses. Compared with ourselves, they were powerfully built, short and stocky. Their skulls were massive, with protruding faces and heavy, bony ridges over the brows. They were what was happening in both Europe and Asia up to about 70,000 years ago. They had some tools. But not long after that somebody else showed up on the scene… someone a little different… us… modern humans. Findings go on to suggest they disappeared for some reason and that’s where the theories kick in. What happened? Did we outcompete

them for food… bring a disease that they had no resistance to, or just decided we hated them and killed them off? Guess what has been discovered in the amazing world of genetic science: Neanderthal DNA has been recovered from fossil material and as it turns out… some remnants of their genes have turned up in present-day people mainly living in that part of the world. I can imagine an early-modern human girl revealing to her parents that she has secretly been seeing a Neanderthal and has become pregnant… oh my God… quite the scandal. Whatever the type of vocal communication had evolved up to that point might have equated to something like, “Get in the cave young lady… I need to go huntin’ right now; but, when I get back, we’re gonna talk about this.”

November 16, 2023 / R / 11


The Idaho Open Primaries initiative explained Citizen-led initiative aims to end closed primaries and utilize ranked choice voting

By Ben Olson Reader Staff As its opening salvo in Idaho politics, Reclaim Idaho successfully gathered enough signatures to place a Medicaid expansion initiative onto the 2018 ballot, which reportedly allowed for more than 78,000 Idahoans who fell in a coverage gap to receive Medicaid coverage. The citizen-led initiative blew away many critics’ expectations, winning with almost 61% of the votes statewide. The grassroots organization’s next effort, the Quality Education Act, was also on track for success, but ultimately pulled from the 2022 ballot by Reclaim Idaho because of a law passed in a special legislative session that would have doomed the initiative’s chance at passing just a month before the Nov. 8 vote. Organizers still credit this effort as a “win,” because Idaho legislators passed a law in its place that included more than $410 million earmarked to fund K-12 public education and career training. Now, Reclaim Idaho has teamed up with a coalition of other state organizations to tackle one of the most contentious issues facing Idaho politics during the past dozen years: the closed Republican primary elections approved in 2011 and which critics claim put more power and influence in the hands of Idaho’s political parties and less in the hands of the voters. The Reader sat down with District 1 volunteers Hal Gates and Judy Labrie to ask about the process, as well as clarify some commonly misunderstood details of the Open Primaries Initiative. Open primaries vs. ranked choice While these terms go hand in hand to form the initiative, it’s important to recognize what each means. An open primary is just that: opening voting in any political party’s primary to all eligible registered voters, including those who are unaffiliated — a category that totals about 270,000 people in Idaho. “In primaries, everyone gets the same ballot and you vote for one candidate,” said Labrie, who, along with Gates, has volunteered to collect signatures to help place the initiative on the November 2024 ballot. If successful, it will be implemented in 2026 to allow county clerks to train staff on the new protocols. “The top four of the vote getters go onto the general election, where ranked-choice happens,” Labrie said. “Everybody gets the same ballot again, and this time you 12 / R / November 16, 2023

pick your first choice and have the option of a runner-up, as well as a third and fourth choice. You also will have the opportunity to write in a candidate.” The candidate coming in last is removed from the race and the second choice picks are distributed from that losing ballot to the remaining ballots in an “instant runoff.” The process repeats itself until whichever of the two candidates left reaches a plurality of votes — over 50% — and is announced as the winner. “Ultimately, we still just have one vote, but our one vote has more information in it with ranked choice voting,” Gates told the Reader. “The voter can say, ‘I want this person, but if this person doesn’t get a majority of votes, I’d be amenable to this person.’ … You can actually vote your conscience but still also vote for a candidate who can win and can represent you.” “When I read about this, the districts and states that have used the system have found the candidates who are running lead a much cleaner, more civil campaign and they’re more sensitive to the voters, instead of just party affiliation,” Labrie said. Gates pointed to the most recent state election, in which District 1 Sen. Scott Herndon beat incumbent Jim Woodward in the Republican primary and faced write-in candidate Steve Johnson in the general — the latter gathering a large portion of votes, but ultimately falling short of winning. “If you look at who is pushing against this initiative, you should look at people who have won in low-turnout primaries to general elections, with races that aren’t representative of making a choice between two candidates,” Gates said. “Scott Herndon won with 19% of Bonner County’s registered voters. … That’s not the citizens picking their candidate, that’s him navigating this complicated system successfully.” Herndon opposes the initiative, claiming that it would eliminate political parties in Idaho. “The initiative does not ‘open the Republican primary,’” Herndon told the Reader in an email. “The initiative abolishes the Republican primary.” Herndon claims that under the initiative, “party affiliation will no longer be relevant because the election is no longer a party nomination election. This initiative is bypassing the tradition and right of parties to choose nominees, standard bearers, to run in general elections. This tradition goes right back to the first years of the union after establishment of the United States.” Herndon also opposes the ranked choice

voting and open primaries to accomplish the same goal of giving people the option to fairly choose among candidates, without those holding extreme views having an advantage during primaries. “San Francisco went this route because of extreme people on the left,” Labrie said. “It was a push to bring everything back toward the center.”

portion of the initiative, writing, “Because some voters won’t rank all candidates, they will lack participation in automatic subsequent rounds of voting. Therefore, ultimately, their voice will count less than another voter who is willing to compromise on other candidates.” He also called ranked choice voting, “confusing,” claimed it would “create legal challenges” and would eliminate “people’s ability to include new information in their decision making before the next round of voting.” Labrie pushed back on that idea. “I think with open primaries, we’ll see a more diverse field of candidates,” she said. “Then, by ranking them, it also lets the voters have much more say in who is going to be representing them.” One fear Labrie said she occasionally hears from critics is that it will “turn the state Democrat,” which she argues isn’t a serious complaint. “This is a red state,” she said. “It’s not going to all of a sudden become Democrat-majority.” Rather, Gates added, the initiative will likely make it harder for candidates who express more extreme views — whether on the right or left — to game the system in their favor by playing to their base during primaries and coasting through the general election in the fall. “What you see is some of the candidates who are pushing more extreme views on the left or right start having more trouble getting over the top and getting elected because they have to build a coalition,” Gates said. “They can’t rely on primaries to weed out the viable competition for them.” Labrie brought up some more progressive-leaning municipalities like San Francisco, which have embraced ranked choice

Support from high places and the uptick of RINOs The Idahoans for Open Primaries coalition is made up of numerous community groups and civic organizations throughout the state who support the effort. The coalition includes Veterans for Idaho Voters, Idaho Chapter of Mormon Women for Ethical Government, North Idaho Women, the Hope Coalition, Republicans for Open Primaries as well as Reclaim Idaho. “The initiative has the support of over 100 noted Republicans in Idaho, including former Gov. Butch Otter,” Gates said. Otter issued a statement that read, “The right to vote is one of the most precious rights that Americans have. Every registered voter should have the right to weigh in on choosing our leaders. Independents, including a lot of military veterans, have been excluded from having their say because of the closed GOP primary.” Gates argued that because of Idaho’s large population of active duty military and veterans, hundreds of thousands of voters are not allowed to vote unless affiliated with a particular party. “They have to align with the Republican Party if they want to participate in Idaho politics,” he said, adding that it’s common practice for many service members in Idaho to choose not to affiliate with one party or another. Gates said the decision by the Idaho GOP to close primaries led to many registering as Republicans just to vote in the races that mattered, since unaffiliated ballots are often sparse or devoid of choices. The term “RINO,” or “Republican In Name Only,” has been used as a pejorative by the more extreme wing of the Republican Party, with members of the far-right Idaho Freedom Caucus claiming it’s not fair for voters to identify with a political party just because they want to vote. “They made a rule that you had to be a Republican to participate in the process, so a lot of us did that,” Gates said. “You can’t have it both ways.” “I don’t personally call people RINOs,” Herndon wrote. “The 270,000 people who are independent of a political party are free

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to affiliate with any one of the multiple political parties … or they can create new political parties with better platforms, or they can remain independent of any political party. … There is no reason Idaho has to be a uni-party state.” Last summer, the Idaho GOP adopted a party platform filled with exclusionary rules that many prominent Republicans in Idaho claimed had further divided the party. Among other actions, the Idaho GOP led by newly-elected Chairwoman Dorothy Moon, passed a rule that would make voters who switch their party affiliation to Republican wait up to two years or more before they are allowed to vote in a Republican primary election in Idaho. Many on both sides of the debate likened the adoption of the new party platform — including replacing former Chairman Tom Luna at their meeting in Challis — as a sort of “purge.” For Tracey Wasden, the president of the Idaho Federation of Republican Women, the move signaled an attack on the “big tent” idea of the Republican Party that aims to include multiple conservative viewpoints, not just a singular ideology. “This is the party of the big tent; we need all voices there,” Wasden told the Idaho Capital Sun in August. “But in this party right now, they don’t want all voices heard. They only want to hear their voice. They only want the voices that believe the same as they believe. They do not want any voice that is not with them. This is about power. They want exclusive power here.” Critics like Herndon and Moon have disagreed with that argument. Moon wrote in a statement, “The Idaho GOP has had division for decades. However, right now, I feel that the party is the least divided it has been in years.” “Arguably, changing to a top-four primary eliminates the need for a primary election altogether,” Herndon wrote in a statement this summer. “Since no political party nominees are chosen, the political parties become irrelevant, and the right of affiliation in the First Amendment is nullified.” The coalition volunteers rejected those claims. “Parties can still endorse their favorite candidates,” Labrie explained. “They won’t lose that ability.” “It’s a constitutional right to have a party affiliation,” Gates said, but said actions like the Citizens United case allows people to, “pour as much money into any candidate they want. … We want to put the Idaho political power back in the hands of Idaho voters where it belongs. … If the far right had the majority of support, then under that system they would still succeed and the system would work as it was designed.” Labrie emphasized the importance of opening primaries recounting a story she recently heard from a schoolteacher. “One of the teacher’s students turned 18 and went to vote, but they got a ballot that

didn’t have anything on it,” Labrie said. “The student didn’t want to join a political party, but he asked where all the candidates were on the ballot because he wanted to vote. He was told, ‘You’re unaffiliated and this is the ballot you get.’ Sadly, he never bothered to vote again. We’ve got a lot of people in that category and that gives us hope.” “Most Idaho voters aren’t far-right or far-left, they’re concerned with cost of living, protecting public lands, making sure we have good public schools and health care, that we drive on safe roads,” Gates added. “They’re regular voters. We want a political system that brings them into the process and elects candidates who speak to the vast middle of the political spectrum where most people reside.” Signature gathering continues The coalition needs to gather a total of 6% of the eligible registered voters in Idaho, which amounts to around 63,000, as well as 6% of registered voters in 18 of Idaho’s voting districts to make the general election ballot. Currently, 1,477 signatures have been approved from Bonner County with another 250 yet to be turned in from Boundary County. The threshold to reach in District 1 is just shy of 2,000 signatures, which is rapidly approaching. “We’re close to qualifying, but we’re not going to quit getting more signatures,” Labrie said. “Our efforts are not going to stop the moment we qualify. This is an arduous process and it’s a popular initiative. It’s so popular, over 1,000 people have volunteered around the state to gather signatures.” The coalition has until April 30, 2024 to turn in petitions, with the expectation that some signatures will be denied for various reasons. “The signature gathering process is continual,” Gates said. “You’ll see people with clipboards at a lot of different events. With the holidays ramping up, you’ll see them more often, for example when people line up for the Panida events.” The only requirement to sign the petition is for the signer to be a registered voter in Idaho. With petitions reaching their quotas around the state, the Idaho Open Primaries coalition is far from celebrating yet. Volunteers like Gates and Labrie continue to put their heads down and work to garner support for the initiative, which, if successful, could potentially affect Idaho politics more than any other move since 2011. “We don’t do politics just to have arguments,” Gates said. “We do these kinds of things because we can implement change that will benefit everybody.” Vanderford’s Books and Stationary has an Idaho Open Primaries petition available for signers during normal business hours. To learn more about the initiative, visit

WEIRD NEWS By Ben Olson Reader Staff

FIGHT CLUB CONGRESS It was a rough and rowdy day in Congress on Nov. 14. In one day, a Republican congressman almost got into a physical fight in a Senate hearing, the former speaker of the House delivered an elbow-shot to the kidney of a fellow representative who voted to oust him and the leader of the impeachment effort against President Joe Biden called a Democratic senator a “Smurf” after a contentious argument. In the first round of what has resembled more of a Fight Club than a functioning government body, Sen. Markwayne Mullin, R-Okla., almost came to physical blows with Teamster boss Sean O’Brien during a Senate committee hearing to discuss economics. Mullin, a former MMA fighter turned senator, read aloud a June social media post by O’Brien taunting Mullin: “Quit the tough guy act in these Senate hearings. You know where to find me. Any place, anytime, cowboy.’” Mullin then locked eyes with O’Brien, who was testifying before the committee, and said, “This is a time, this is a place. We can be two consenting adults. We can finish it here.” “OK, that’s fine, perfect,” O’Brien replied. “You wanna do it now?” Mullin said. “Would love to do it right now,” O’Brien said. “Well, stand your butt up then,” Mullin challenged the Teamster boss. “You stand your butt up,” O’Brien shot back. Mullin then stood up, moved away from his seat and began to remove his wedding band before Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., intervened, yelling, “No, no, sit down! You’re a United States senator, act like it.” In the next round, Rep. Tim Burchett, R-Tenn., was participating in an interview with NPR reporter Claudia Grisales when former Speaker of the House Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., walked by with his entourage and elbowed his colleague in

the kidney. Grisales made multiple posts on X (formerly Twitter) throughout the confrontation, which included Burchett chasing McCarthy down the hall and yelling at him for elbowing him. McCarthy denied the incident, claiming that if he did, perhaps it was because the “hallway was too narrow.” Burchett is one of eight Republicans who voted to oust McCarthy as speaker in October. When interviewed later about the encounter, Burchett said of McCarthy, “First he said it didn’t happen, then he said he just brushed up to me, then he said the hall was crowded and the last [thing] he said [is] if he would have hit me I’d have known it. It just shows exactly why he doesn’t need to be speaker ... It’s just a sad asterisk on his career.” An ethics complaint was filed against McCarthy by — wait for it — Rep. Matt Gaetz, R-Fla., because if any congressman knows something about ethics, it’s surely Matt Gaetz. Finally, in the third round of schoolyard congressional antics, Rep. James Comer, R-Ky., who has led the impeachment effort against Biden, was called out by Rep. Jared Moskowitz, D-Fla., over hypocrisies involving Comer’s impeachment effort. As part of a probe into the Biden family’s finances, Comer’s committee has repeatedly referred to a $200,000 loan that the president made to his brother. Moskowitz told Comer, “It has come out in the public that you also do business with your brother with potential loans,” referencing $200,000 that Comer has reportedly funneled to his brother through an alleged shell company. Comer grew heated at the testimony, telling Moskowitz, “That is bullshit … You look like a Smurf, here, just going around and all this stuff,” referring to Moskowitz’s blue suit and tie. “Gargamel was very angry today,” Moskowitz later quipped on X. Grand Old Party, indeed. November 16, 2023 / R / 13

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KNPS hosts ‘Down the Rabbit Hole’ presentation on native plants By Reader Staff If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about native plants, the Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society has your back. KNPS will host a presentation called “Down the Rabbit Hole: Native Plants are Important, but What is a Native Plant?” at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Sandpoint Community Hall (204 S. First Ave.). The program will be led by an expert panel of KNPS members, including Bob Wilson, John Hastings, Gail Bolin and Preston Andrews. Coffee, tea and snacks will be available starting at 9:30 a.m., and the program is co-sponsored by Sandpoint

Parks and Recreation and the East Bonner County Library District. It is free to attend and open to the public. Native plants are the foundation of our ecosystems. They support wildlife and provide us with ecosystem services for our well-being. Panel members will explore what the differences are between species, varieties, cultivars and hybrids. They’ll also speak about how climate change affects native, exotic plants and why and how we should use native plants in our gardens. For questions about this program, contact Preston Andrews at com.

MCS teachers to take the stage at the Fall Serenade By Ben Olson Reader Staff The faculty at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint is responsible for instructing the next generation of local students and starting them out on what will hopefully be a lifelong relationship with music. Once a year, however, the teachers get to show off their own chops at a special concert called the Fall Serenade, in which they play the great classics. This year, the show will take place from 5-6:30 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 19 at the Little Carnegie Hall inside MCS (110 Main St., in Sandpoint).

This annual event will showcase the talent of MCS faculty members, with all proceeds benefiting young community members who wish to learn to sing or play an instrument. The scholarship fundraiser will also include a raffle with locally donated items and featured desserts for auction, as well as a no-host wine bar. Concertgoers are welcome to mingle after the show and enjoy a light reception. Ticket prices are $25 for adults, $10 for students. Tickets are available online at

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Dragons love tacos — but hold the hot sauce

Celebrating Family Reading Week at the library

By Soncirey Mitchell Reader Staff The East Bonner County Library Sandpoint Branch will go all out on Saturday, Nov. 18 to celebrate Family Reading Week with a party inspired by the childrens’ book Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin — and one of the dragons will even make an appearance. The taco-loving serpent, played by teen Zella Lopez, will ride in with the Fire Department to meet the kids and give them the opportunity to tour one of Sandpoint’s fire trucks. “We’re taking over the entire library,” said Youth Services Librarian Suzanne Davis, who organized the event. “Idaho Family Reading Week is a statewide celebration to encourage families to read together and, for those with young children, to encourage them to engage in the five early literacy practices — reading, writing, singing, playing and talking.” Though there won’t be any singing, the library’s party will help kids in preschool through second grade develop the other four literacy practices through a series of activities: a scavenger hunt, maze, story-

walk, writing challenge, building project, beanbag toss and a game of pin the taco on the dragon. There will also be dragon-themed crafts and a photo station with wings for the kids to pose in. Children will pick up a “passport” at the start of the party and receive a stamp for every activity in which they participate. Seven stamps earn them a free book as part of the My First Book Program, which brings librarians to local preschools, Head Start and Kids Castle, every month with a new book. “[The] books are ones I’ve gotten from the Idaho Commission for Libraries. We have 70 copies of The Dot by Peter Reynolds, as well as a large number of donated books. We also have giveaway notebooks and bookmarks,” said Davis. With so many dragon-themed stories and activities, organizers hope to show kids the magic of reading and inspire the next generation of book-lovers. The Dragons Love Tacos Party is FREE from 2-3:30 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 18 at the EBCL Sandpoint Library, 1407 Cedar St., 208-263-6930. For more information, visit

Have a holly, jolly craft fair By Soncirey Mitchell Reader Staff The Bonner County Fairgrounds hosts its two-day Christmas Craft Fair, plus the fifth annual Gingerbread House Contest, Saturday, Nov. 18 through Sunday, Nov. 19. Nearly 100 vendors will sell food, clothing and everything in between so that shoppers can check off their holiday gift lists early. “Our vendors truly put their heart into their work and make a lasting impression on our visitors. At the fair office, we have people calling year round, wondering what the dates are for the next Christmas Fair,” said Maranda Montgomery, the Bonner County Fair office administrative assistant. Families will enjoy live music by The Four Saxes while visiting Santa, who takes the stage from noon-2 p.m. each day. Kids can have their picture taken with old Saint Nick by Selkirk Ridge Photography before getting creative in the craft area. With the fair’s large event space filled to the brim,

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there will be hours of entertainment for the whole family. The Sandpoint Rodeo Committee will have a booth to raise funds for the Lions Club’s Toys for Tots drive, which provides toys for local children ages 10 and under and gift certificates for ages 11-18. The fair also requires that anyone entering the Gingerbread House Contest bring a canned food item to benefit the Bonner Community Food Bank in order to compete for the chance to win prizes donated by local businesses. “This show has a way of bringing everyone together with one thing in mind — the joy and love that Christmas brings to families,” said Montgomery. Submissions for the Gingerbread House Contest are due by Friday, Nov. 17 between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. For more information, or the contest application, visit

‘Fresh’ wine pop-up to feature natural wines and tasty snacks By Ben Olson Reader Staff It was a sad day when Brandon Brock closed The Longshot in Sandpoint. “We loved the wines we poured, and thought it was important for our community to have access to unique offerings such as natural wine,” Brock told the Reader. “We also loved building a relationship with the folks who loved what we did and for the people we were lucky enough to partner with and call friends.” To dip a toe back into that world, Brock and his partner Jacey Lawson will host a natural wine pop-up event called “Fresh” from 7-11 p.m., Friday, Nov. 17 at Bluebird Bakery (329 N. First Ave., in Sandpoint). The event is not ticketed and guests are asked to show up if they’d like to sample natural wines and tasty snacks. For the event, Brock will again draw on the expertise of Ryan McReynolds — a former wine partner with The Longshot who Brock calls a friend and “wine sensei.” “They collect and distribute this beautiful wine. We’re extremely happy to be working with them again,” he said. While traveling through southern France and northern Spain by car with Lawson this past summer, Brock said they spent a lot of time seeking out natural wine bars and shops from one town to the next. “As we were sitting in a bar in Toulouse … we were overwhelmed with inspiration by the service we were having,” Brock said. “Everything was very casual and fresh, but so well done. We began brainstorming this pop-up concept right there on those barstools in Toulouse.” Brock said the concept of “Fresh” is a wine and food program that aligns with an ethos of fun, care, sustainability and intention.

“Each event will be approachable, never asking for a large ticket fee,” he said. “We will partner with local businesses that share these same values, and we’re incredibly honored and thrilled to be partnering with Jill [Severson] and Bluebird Bakery as the host for this first pop-up. Jill embodies all of the elements that we love in a small business owner: a deep care for the customer through providing a warm environment with a focus on quality and artistry.” “Fresh” will offer natural wine in the same style Brock used to buy and sell at The Longshot. “Natural wine is made with minimal intervention, both in the vineyard and the cellar,” Brock said. “It emphasizes organic or biodynamic farming practices, avoiding synthetic additives and pesticides.” The goal of natural wine, according to Brock, is to showcase the true expression of the grapes and the terroir — or natural environment in which a wine is produced — resulting in unique and often more nuanced flavors. Brock and Lawson will serve flights of natural wine, including a Petillant Natural from Germany, followed by a 100% Chardonnay from Les Lunes out of Northern California. The final wine of the flight will be a chilled light red blend from New Zealand wine producer Kindeli. Flights will cost $8 per person. Along with flights, they will offer unique wines for $12 per glass and will also have a small allotment of wines by the bottle for $45 each. Snacks will include a complimentary charcuterie experience designed by Lawson with quality local products intended to compliment the wines served. “We’re thrilled to bring ‘Fresh’ to Sandpoint and make it a monthly tradition,” Brock said.


Idaho Conservation League volunteers recognized for protecting Lake Pend Oreille By Reader Staff Volunteers with the Idaho Conservation League’s Water Quality Monitoring Program received multiple awards from the Idaho Nonprofit Center and Serve Idaho — the Governor’s Commission on Service and Volunteerism — as part of Idaho Philanthropy Day, which coincided with National Philanthropy Day on Nov. 15, honoring organizations and volunteers across the state for their work. ICL’s water quality stewards act as citizen scientists, each spring receiving training on properly collecting water quality data and samples. Each month from May through September, they collect data and water samples from 15 stations across Lake Pend Oreille and the Pend Oreille River. The information they collect illustrates the overall health of those waterways, as well as informs projects and policy recommendations. The group as a whole earned the 2023 Timeless Adult Volunteer Award, which is typically given to an adult individual who

has contributed a significant amount of service to their community. This marks the first time a collective group of volunteers has earned the award. “The title of Timeless Volunteer is more than fitting for our stewards, as their efforts have a long-lasting impact,” stated Karissa Huntsman, North Idaho community engagement assistant with ICL. “The data they collect helps us to tell a story of Lake Pend Oreille for years to come and is used by agencies like the Department of Environmental Quality to make management decisions.” In addition to the Timeless Adult Volunteer Award, the water quality stewards have been selected as the honorees for the Governor Cecil D. Andrus Volunteer of the Year Award. The award is jointly presented by the Andrus family, the Idaho Nonprofit Center and Serve Idaho. “We are thrilled for our stewards to be honored with an award named after Gov. Andrus,” Huntsman stated. “He diligently advocated for the protection of Idaho’s special places and natural heritage, and these

stewards strive to do the same.” Volunteers offer their time, energy and resources to protecting local waterways, making repeat visits to specific stations looking for potential threats such as pollution and poor land use management, while also bringing awareness to the issues. “We do this because we feel it’s important,” stated steward Preston Andrews, “We don’t expect any awards for it, but we’re grateful to be recognized.” A physical award will be presented to the stewards in March 2024 at the Idaho Nonprofit Center’s regional conference in Coeur d’Alene. Idaho Philanthropy Day is being celebrated virtually throughout November at, where you can also read about other award winners. To learn more about ICL’s Water Quality Monitoring Program, and to see results from this year’s monitoring, visit idahocl. org/WQMP. Those interested in becoming a steward in summer 2024 should email

November 16, 2023 / R / 17


November 16 - 23, 2023

Send event listings to THURSDAY, november 16

Get Plowed fundraiser for PSW 5-8pm @ Matchwood Brewing Co. Bring pocket change to contribute to help keep Pine Street Woods plowed for the winter! Thursday Night Football 5:15pm @ The Hive Doors open at 4:45pm. BYOF. 21+

Sip ’n’ Shop Fundraiser 4-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Proceeds benefit Rock Creek Alliance. Live music by Alysoun Johnston and Kristi Wilkerson from 5-7:30 Live Music w/ Cafe Gas Boys 7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge Bluegrass and Americana

West Coast Swing Dance Lessons 4:30-5:30pm @ Yellow Room Head to 102 Euclid Ave for this weekly class. $5-$10 fee

FriDAY, november 17

Sandpoint Teen Center pizza party 2:30-5:30pm @ First Lutheran Church Pizza and fun activities party to celebrate the Teen Center’s new location at First Lutheran Church, 526 S. Olive Ave. Cribbage League 7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge Bingo Night at IPA 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Stories and S’Mores 7pm @ Hickory Park Local authors will tell a story Live Music w/ Terrapin Flyer about local history while kiddos 7pm @ The Hive Enjoy a live performance of music enjoy s’mores around a fire. Free Game night with Lions Club of the Grateful Dead with this and Turkey Bingo band that has been touring for 6-8pm @ Sandpoint Comm. Hall 25 years. $25/$30 at door. Doors Supports Toys for Tots open at 7pm. 21+ Live Music w/ General Mojo’s • 7-10pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Seattle-based psych-pop band. Unique, fun sound Live Music w/ Jason Perry / Justyn Priest / Ben Vogel 9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Toasty Mobile Sauna sessions Celebrating Sheryl Rickard 4-8pm @ 4-7pm @ The Heartwood Center BGH CEO Rickard is retiring after Each guest received a complimentary gratitude gift bag. 90 min 37 years of service to the commusessions. $30/person nity. Come wish her well! Live Music w/ Mike and Shanna Thompson 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Live Music w/ Little Wolf & Blird • 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority Double show! Little Wolf is Josh Hedlund and Justin Landis and Blird is the shoegazey side project from Harold’s IGA. Free to attend Live Music w/ Ian Newbill Live Music w/ Devon Wade 5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Pamela Benton 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Blues, indie, folk on elec. violin 6th annual Jack Frost Fest 11:30am-7pm @ Sandpoint Granary Arts District (near Evans Bros.) Great music, food, beer, family and friends. Free admission thanks to Ting. See Page 21 for more information Live Music w/ TimG 6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

MCT King Arthur’s Quest (play) 1 & 4pm @ Panida Theater Missoula Children’s Theatre includes over 60 local students in this original musical adaptation of the classic tale. $20/adults, $5/ youth. Tickets at Popeye Rose Social Club show 6pm @ Create (Newport, Wash.) Classic rock, country and blues Live Music w/ BTP 9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Holiday Cottage Market 10am-2pm @ Sandpoint Senior Ctr. Held every Saturday until Dec. 16. Meet Santa in December. Vendors and crafts. Benefits SASi Lions Club Turkey Bingo 2-6pm @ Sandpoint Comm. Hall Win a turkey, support Toys for Tots Live Music w/ Kerry Leigh 7-9pm @ Connie’s Lounge

Sandpoint Chess Club 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Magic with Star Alexander 5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

MCS Fall Serenade • 5pm @ Little Carnegie Hall (MCS) Watch the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint musicians perform the classics by the great masters. Proceeds support student scholarships. $25/$10

Live Music w/ Matt Lome 7-9pm @ The Back Door

SATURDAY, november 18

SunDAY, november 19

monDAY, november 20

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

5th annual Burger Dock Giving Thanks 4-6pm @ The Burger Dock Come down to the Burger Dock for this community feast and enjoy free harvest burgers, sweet potato fries and pumpkin pie shakes. This is their fifth year! Bingo Night at IPA 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Piano w/ Bob Beadling 5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Wine, food and the grand piano. Perfect Line Dancing Lessons 6:30-8:30pm @ The Hive Lessons are $10 and there are usually three. Open dancing from 8:30-9:30pm. 21+

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Bonner Co. Christmas Craft Fair 9am-3pm @ BoCo Fairgrounds Local vendors, crafts, cookeries and other delights

Bonner Co. Christmas Craft Fair 9am-3pm @ BoCo Fairgrounds Local vendors, crafts, cookeries and other delights

Pool Tournament Mondays • 6pm @ Connie’s Lounge $12 entry, with $10 going to prize pool Weekly Trivia Night • 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority With rotating hosts

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeños “Getting Genesis Wrong”

tuesDAY, november 21 wednesDAY, november 22

ThursDAY, november 23


KNPS program on native plants 10am @ Sandpoint Comm. Hall Panel discussion called “Down the Rabbit Hole: Native Plants are Important, but What is a Native Plant?” with coffee, snacks and socializing starting at 9:30am

Sandpoint Reader will be out today As usual, the Sandpoint Reader will be distributed on Wed., Nov. 22 so the staff can spend time with their families on Thanksgiving. Thanks!

Live Music w/ John Firshi 7-10pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Annual Turkey Trot 9am @ Travers Park Low key 5K, 10K event which is also a food drive for the food bank. Registration free with food donation


By Ben Olson Reader Staff


The percentage that pickups, SUVs and vans with hood heights greater than 40 inches are more likely to cause fatalities in pedestrian crashes than cars and other vehicles with a hood height of 30 inches or less and a sloping profile. Car-related fatalities involving pedestrians and cyclists have increased 60% between 2011 and 2022.

9 to 7

Votes in favor versus against in the Senate Committee on Rules and Administration to approve a resolution meant to bypass Alabama Republican Sen. Tommy Tuberville’s blockade of hundreds of U.S. military nominees. The rule change would temporarily alter a Senate floor process to allow votes on large groups of military nominees rather than having to approve them one by one with unanimous consent, which hasn’t been possible because of Tuberville’s ongoing opposition to a policy granting armed services members time off and travel reimbursement when seeking an abortion in states where it remains unrestricted. The change would allow “swift confirmation” of military nominees stuck in limbo for several months, according to Democrat Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, of New York.

1 in 3

The number of women in the U.S. who have reported experiencing intimate partner violence.

7 in 10

The percentage of Americans who support the legalization of marijuana in the U.S., the highest rate of support that Gallup has registered for the drug. The rate of legalization support had held at 68% for the past three years. There are currently 24 states that have legalized the recreational use of cannabis.


Something to be grateful for: The Shook Twins Giving Thanks Show By Soncirey Mitchell Reader Staff

raphy — which includes four albums and two EPs. Katelyn emphasized that, above all, she’s grateful for her family and musiThe community will come cians like these who have helped together Saturday, Nov. 25 at the twins make their musical the annual Shook Twins Giving dreams a reality. Thanks Show to celebrate the “I have the best parents ever, joy and power of music. Inand I’m happy that we get to die-folk stars Katelyn and Laurie be a family on stage. Plus, our Shook have toured coast to coast bandmates are amazing. We get and even earned the admiration closer and closer every year,” of famed English author Neil she said. Gaiman, but they’re especially The Shook Twins will treat loved by North Idaho locals — concert-goers to an additional many of whom have followed performance with their side their musical careers for more project, SideBoob. This glitterthan 16 years. ing, all-female cover band will Katelyn feels that this year’s belt out energizing pop hits from show will be especially meanthe ’90s that will have everyone ingful, given the times. in the audience jumping up to “The show is about being dance. They’ll also double down grateful right now. With the on their love of indie-folk music world and everything horrible by sharing the stage with their going on, it’s nice to take a longtime friend, Spokane artist moment and appreciate all that and musician Karli Fairbanks. we do have. I’m always just so “We really grateful that I got put in this healthy Shook Twins Giving love and appreciate each other’s body in this Thanks Show music and we’ve safe part of the Saturday, Nov. 25; doors at been fans of hers world,” she told 6:30 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.; forever,” said the Reader. $30. Panida Theater, 300 Katelyn. For the first N. First Ave., 208-263-9191. Fairbanks and time in SandTickets will sell out fast — get the twins played point, the twins yours online at the same local will collaborate circuit and met with talented at the Empyrean — a popular horn players to add new flare to coffee shop and music venue in fan favorites from their discog-

Spokane that has since closed. With the lineup of familiar local and regional artists, this concert should feel like a party with 500 of your closest friends. “We like to create an environment that makes you feel like you’re in our living room. It helps that they call the Panida, ‘Sandpoint’s living room,’” said Katelyn. In the past, the band has even brought couches and lamps from their own homes to create a more intimate atmosphere. “We want you to feel like

you didn’t just witness a performance, you were a part of it,” she continued. One key element of that experience is dressing up. Fans usually try to emulate the twins’ costumes — which, in the past, meant a lot of sequins — but this year, to feel like a member of the band, Katelyn recommends wearing lots of blue. Tickets cost $30, available in advance at, and will sell out fast. As always, the twins will give back to the Panida by donating a portion of their ticket

Katelyn and Laurie Shook will perform their annual Giving Thanks Show at the Panida Saturday, Nov. 25. Courtesy photo.

sales and hosting a traditional “pass-the-hat” fundraiser at intermission. Shake off the cold by spending an evening listening to the Shook Twins’ spunky tunes before their tour takes them back to Oregon. “Our performances are about letting your joy out. We like to leave people feeling more like themselves,” said Katelyn.

November 16, 2023, 2023 / R / 19


The Sandpoint Eater Stocking up By Marcia Pilgeram Reader Columnist

I’m getting ready for a couple of trips, and though I didn’t have a lot of time to spare, I spent the weekend prepping and cooking all the food I over-bought the past couple of weeks. If there’s anything I can’t stand, it’s wasting food. Though it was time consuming, it was not nearly as daunting as all the years I canned food in the fall for winter’s larder. I was never crazy about most of the chores that came with a ranch kitchen. Canning was only done after tending to two toddlers and feeding a dozen hungry ranch hands, all under the sharp eye of my mother-in-law. Instead of canning, I recently cooked and froze the assortment of produce that filled both vegetable drawers in my fridge. I love fall vegetables, and couldn’t resist all the varieties of squash, colorful peppers, eggplants found in local markets, the garden-fresh root vegetables provided by neighbors and picture-perfect tomatoes given to me by a recent dinner guest. I roasted the tomatoes with lots of garlic and fresh herbs and sautéed lots of the veggies. My efforts reaped a gallon of hearty minestrone, two pans of ratatouille and a generous amount of tangy caponata. As long as I was spending the day in the kitchen, I slow-roasted a pan of beef ragout to complement the ratatouille. Right in the middle of the cooking marathon, a friend who knows me well dropped by with a weekly grocery ad. Yoke’s was holding a three-day, 50% off cheese sale (and I’d already missed Day 1). Faster than you can say cheese, I turned off the oven and stove top for what was 20 / R / November 16, 2023

to be a quick trip to the store. Turned out it was not only all the fancy cheese on sale, but, to add to my best day ever, I learned that the cured meats and gourmet crackers were included in the price cuts. I was soon surrounded by other cheese aficionados ready to lend unsolicited advice to anyone within earshot. “Check the expiration dates,” they counseled. I stocked up on all the Kerrygold cheeses, good through April 2024, sure to be a hit at my St. Patrick’s Day party. Checking dates, I noted that the Beecher’s Handmade Cheese (one of my favorites) would hold its own until next June, so I added several chunks to my cart, along with Beecher’s Original Crackers (crispy and delicious).

Some cheeses do well in the freezer, so I loaded up on those, too: mozzarella balls and logs, and grated and shaved Parmesan. Halfway through the cheesea-thon, I realized that with a few ice packs, I could also load up on snack cheeses for our long plane ride (Alaska Airlines won’t be selling any Tillamook cheese to the Pilgerams on our Thanksgiving getaway), so I added all the varieties of Laughing Cow and Babybel cheese to my dairy-laden cart. Once home, I fired up the oven and stove top again, and began reorganizing my still-toofull fridge to make room for my heavenly horde, sorted by genre and shelf life. Once my project was nearly complete, I realized that Pacific


Northwest cheese and crackers would make perfect additions to the temiyage (a Japanese word for small gifts of greeting to friends, akin to aloha) that I was taking to our Japanese-Hawaiian hosts. So off went the heat, and back to Yoke’s I went, perusing the cold cases for PNW products. Now, everybody has cheese! I’m nearly all packed for Saturday’s departure, and hopefully, my TSA clearance will help me explain the dozen snack packs I’ll have in my carry-on to feed a lot of hungry teenagers. Speaking of hungry (and hunger), don’t forget the needs of the Bonner Community Food Bank. My friend, Executive Director Debbie Love, does an extraordinary job organizing

fundraising efforts, logistics and volunteers to ensure every family in need has the dinner they deserve for Thanksgiving (they’re still looking for protein-packed turkeys). Thinking beyond packaged staples, I’ll be hitting up the supermarket sales before I leave, picking up side-dish items Debbie recommended: fresh potatoes and butter (I think I’ll add some cheese to that delivery, too). I won’t be cooking a turkey this year — for the first time in 40-plus years — but if I were, you’d find a colorful side of ratatouille at my table. It’s easy to prepare and partners well with poultry. It’s a great main dish if you have vegetarians at the table. Happy Thanksgiving. Be well. Eat well. And share well.

Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove the foil and bake an additional 15 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Chilled leftovers

will keep for two or three days. Freezes well (after baked). *If you have leftover vegetables, roast for stock.

A delicious and pretty side dish for your holiday table! It’s also a great main dish for vegetarians, served over creamy polenta. When choosing vegetables, try to use uniform diameters and slice them all to the same thickness (I recommend using a sharp knife or a mandoline slicer, if you have one). Serves 6.



(Feel free to vary vegetables for taste and color preference.)* • 2 zucchini • 2 yellow squash • 2 small eggplants • 5 small, round tomatoes • 2 small round onions • 1 tbs olive oil • 1 yellow or red bell pepper, finely diced • 26 ounces of Italian tomato puree • 2 sprigs of fresh thyme leaves • Small handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped fine • 2 tbs fresh Italian parsley, minced • 2 cloves garlic, minced • Sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper, to taste • 4 tbs of olive oil

Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Slice each of the vegetables into thin slices of even thickness and set aside separately. In a skillet, sauté diced bell pepper in one tbs olive oil over medium heat. Once soft, add the sauce and reduce heat to low. Take off stove, and pour into the bottom of a 10-12 inch round or oval oven-proof dish (cast iron works well). Next, layer the vegetable coins in an alternating color-spiral pattern around the skillet, working from the outside in. Prepare the topping drizzle by combining the minced garlic, chopped thyme, basil and parsley with 4 tbs of olive oil and salt and pepper. Mix well and evenly pour over the top of the vegetables.


Jack Frost Fest enters sixth year

Free outdoor show is one of last before winter sets in

By Ben Olson Reader Staff

ing dock and enclose the band and audience with more heaters. We’ll put out fire pits and things like that for people to stay warm. HopefulBack for its sixth year, the ly everyone is going to be dancing Jack Frost Fest marks the coming so that’ll keep them warm.” transition between cool fall days For Talbott, moving to the and winter in Sandpoint. FoundGranary District and embracing ed by Mattox Farm Productions’ the free nature of the event was a Robb Talbott, who is now getting game changer for Jack Frost Fest. his feet wet as the new executive “Being outdoors is nice,” he director for the Panida Theater, said. “For many, this is the last Jack Frost Fest is a community time to gather outside before it gathering focused on great music, tasty food and drink, and activities gets too nasty.” Local businesses and organifor kids of all ages. zations chip in to help pay for the The free festival takes place bands and other costs. between 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. on “It’s really inclusive this way,” Saturday, Nov. 18 at the Sandpoint Talbott said. “It allows more Granary District near Matchwood people to come in and experience Brewing Co. and Evans Brothers music and gather with the commuCoffee Roasters. nity without having to worry about The event began at the Panida, then moved over to the Heartwood prices.” Talbott offered a special thanks Center until three years ago, when Talbott changed the location to the to Ting Internet for contributing as a major sponsor. Granary District (located between “If it weren’t for Ting stepping Church and Oak streets). The up, we were debating whether to change meant Jack Frost Fest was do it this year,” Talbott said. “Ting no longer a ticketed event, instead made it possible to offering admittance Jack Frost Fest continue this, along for free. with North Root “We have two Saturday, Nov. 18; 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m.; FREE. Sandpoint Architecture and stages, one underGranary District (Matchwood Matchwood Brewneath the overhang Brewing Co. and Evans Bros. ing Co. to make this at Matchwood, parking lot between Church all possible.” which they enclose and Oak streets). Learn Local musician with heaters to more at Steven Wayne will keep the band and kick off the dayaudience warm,” long event at 11:30 a.m. with a set Talbott told the Reader. “Then we under the Matchwood overhang. put up a big tent over by the load-

Multi-instrumental Celtic roots duo Bridges Home will play next at 12:30 p.m. at the loading dock stage, followed by funky powerhouse trio Right Front Burner playing the first of two sets at 2 p.m. and again at 4:30 p.m. at the Matchwood stage. Internationally touring Sheridan, Wyo.-based band The Two Tracks will take the loading dock stage at 3 p.m., bringing their unique take on Americana. Led by husband and wife duo Julie and Dave Huebner, The Two Tracks have gained some fans based on their thoughtful, connective lyrics and intriguing song structures. “When Julie and Dave sing together, they almost dance together vocally,” Talbott said. After an interim set by Right Front Burner at 4:30 p.m., the Seattle-based General Mojo’s will finish out the day with a show from 5:30-7 p.m. “We had General Mojo’s play SummerFest this year and the headliners had to cancel because of COVID,” Talbott said. “These guys stepped into that spot and just killed it. It was so beautiful.” Playing a high-energy set of alt-psych, art-pop and rock, General Mojo’s specializes in ethereal jams and glossy sonic landscapes, all atop a driving rhythmic backbone. Along with the rotating stages of music, Jack Frost Fest will feature face painting, kids’ crafts

Jack Frost Fest Music Schedule 11:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Steven Wayne |Matchwood Stage 12:30-2 p.m.

Bridges Home | Loading Dock 2-3 p.m.

Right Front Burner | Matchwood Stage 3-4:30 p.m.

The Two Tracks | Loading Dock 4:30-5:30 p.m.

Right Front Burner | Matchwood Stage 5:30-7 p.m.

General Mojo’s | Loading Dock and more. Food and drinks will be offered by Matchwood Brewing Co. and Evans Brothers. Matchwood will also release the highly anticipated “Beer of the Century,” which is an amber ale specially brewed in coordination with the Panida’s Century Fund capital campaign aiming to raise $1.9 million before the theater’s centennial celebration in 2027. “The Panida will receive some proceeds from each beer sold,” Talbott said. Bundle up, bring the kiddos and prepare for a fun day in the Granary District with the sixth year of Jack Frost Fest.

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

Terrapin Flyer, The Hive, Nov. 17

General Mojo’s, Eichardt’s Pub, Nov. 17

What is it about the music of the Grateful Dead that makes you feel all’s right with the world? Starting as a house band playing Grateful Dead Sundays in Chicago, Terrapin Flyer quickly grew to be known as one of the nation’s best bands paying homage to the music of Jerry Garcia and company. From humble beginnings, Terrapin Flyer has risen to headlining festivals and sharing the stage with a network of former Dead

Seattle-based psych-pop band General Mojo’s has been described by critics as playing, “the type of music that you’d love to have soundtrack a sunny spring day, with sun flares hitting your eyes and a little bit of mushroom magic swirling in your head.” Members of this ensemble band found their voice playing house shows and embracing the DIY nature of today’s music scene, and now tours throughout the region sharing their soaring

musicians. Their take on Dead hits and B-sides has been heralded as some of the best around, and their shows are always magical to those who still break out their tie-dye shirts on occasion. — Ben Olson 8:30 p.m.; $25 advance, $30 door; 21+. The Hive, 207 N. First Ave., 208-920-9039, Listen at terrapinflyer. net.

vocal harmonies, multicolored synth lines and fuzz guitar wash into what amounts to a compelling musical journey. It’s unique and comfortable at the same time, perhaps adding a bit more color to the drab world when you hear them play live. — Ben Olson 7-10 p.m., FREE. Eichardt’s Pub, 212 Cedar St., 208-2634005, Listen at

This week’s RLW by Zach Hagadone


The Winter 2024 edition of Sandpoint Magazine just went out to more than 200 locations throughout the region, featuring more than 132 glossy pages running the gamut from new ownership at Schweitzer to Sandpoint’s unexpected connections to Antarctica, profiles on lifelong locals and newcomers alike, and a huge range of arts, culture, entertainment and history articles by a stable of stellar area writers. Go to to learn more.


Amid all the recent — often heated — local debates about growth, development, planning and community involvement, the figure of Robert Moses comes to mind. The iconic “power broker” of mid-century New York City, Moses was as influential as he was polarizing for tens of millions of Americans — from the nation’s No. 1 city to small towns of the West. Listen to the fascinating 30-minute “Robert Moses interview on Building New York City (1959)” on YouTube. What you’ll hear from him will sound eerily familiar.


There’s no way to know this yet, but Napoleon, starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular French general and emperor, will not only win at least one Oscar but deserve it (and more). With director Ridley Scott at the helm and Vanessa Kirby as the Empress Josephine, the trailer alone promises scenes of war, politics and romance befitting the epic nature of its subject. Napoleon won’t hit theaters until Wednesday, Nov. 22, but do yourself a favor and catch the trailers on YouTube.

November 16, 2023 / R / 21


Celebrity worship is peak cringe By Ben Olson Reader Staff

From Pend d’Oreille Review, Nov. 15, 1912

MEN PASS BOGUS CHECKS Bad check men have been giving the merchants and police of Sandpoint no little trouble during the past week. Yesterday morning a man, giving the name of George F. Fleming, claiming Lewiston, Idaho as his home, entered the store of the Spears Furniture company and sold them a watch for $3.50. Last evening Fleming went into the store and offered Mr. Spears a check drawn by himself on the First National Bank of this city, in payment for the watch. When Mr. Spears refused the check, Fleming offered another check drawn for $3.50 and while Mr. Spears was at the telephone calling the bank to ascertain whether or not there was any money in the bank to secure the check, Fleming left the store. Mr. Spears followed him to the Northern Pacific depot where, it was found, he had purchased a ticket to Spokane. The police were notified and Fleming was rounded up and taken to the police station where he confessed that he had drawn the check on a bank in which he had no funds. He was allowed to go with the warning that he leave the town at once. Tuesday afternoon, J.F. Pickering, who has been in the city for the past six weeks as agent for the D.J. McGlivery company in selling Canadian lad, was arrested on the charge of forging the name of M. Olson to a check for $10 and passing it on the post office newstand. When apprehended by police, Pickering maintained that he had not forged the check and he as allowed to send home for money to make the check good, after which he was released from custody. 22 / R / November 16, 2023

After college, I spent about five years living and working in Los Angeles. The plan was to break into writing and directing movies, but the highest level I achieved was working as a low-level grunt on TV commercials, documentaries and music videos. Living in L.A. meant running into celebrities from time to time. I drank a shot of tequila with Quentin Tarantino and he told me he was working on a “kung fu movie” (which turned out to be Kill Bill, Vol. 1). I sat next to Michael Keaton at a bar in West Hollywood and felt pained for him as I watched everyone come up, jostling him with claps on the back, saying, “Batman!” He was polite about it, but I could tell it was something he grew tired of decades ago. Usually, I made an effort not to react when encountering a celebrity in the wild. Even if it was someone I followed, it was not my style to go up to them and make a fool of myself. The one time I abandoned this tactic was one of the more embarrassing encounters, when Reader Editor Zach Hagadone and I attended a book signing for Hunter S. Thompson in Hollywood shortly before he took his own life. While waiting for the Doctor to show up, I saw Benicio Del Toro waiting for him. I deliberated and fretted, but finally walked up to him and interrupted a conversation he was having to say, “Hey man, I really love your, uh, work, Mr. Del Toro,” and he just looked over at me with annoyance and nodded his thanks, then returned to his conversation. I vowed then and there I’d never again react to a celebrity, only violating my rule when I saw the seminal author Howard Zinn about 20 years ago in Park City, Utah. I had a fairly normal conversation with him and thanked him for his work. He was gracious and surprised that someone in their 20s would recognize him.

Fast forward to today, I feel the same about celebrity worship as I did back then: It’s peak cringe for the human race. It’s natural to be excited when you see someone famous, especially when you grow up in a small town like Sandpoint where our resident “famous people” were dubious characters like Ben Stein and Mark Furhman, the latter famously moving to Sandpoint after the O.J. Simpson trial captivated the world. Today’s celebrity worship is out of control. Look at the Taylor Swift phenomenon, with her screaming fans attending football games in droves just to catch a glimpse of Swift and her new beau, Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce. I don’t dislike Taylor Swift for any particular reason other than the fact that I can’t stand having to read about her every single day when I’m scrolling headlines. I feel like living your life — personal relationships and all — in front of the entire world would be exhausting and I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemies. One would think the interest would die down over time, but it keeps ramping up. One outlet reported that interest in Kansas City Chiefs tickets has increased by 150% since the Swift/Kelce relationship became public. Social media went into a frenzy after Swift changed the lyrics to one of her songs to include her NFL boyfriend. It’s gotten so bad that USA Today/The Tennessean and their parent company Gannett announced last week that it had hired a reporter for the sole purpose of covering the “Swift beat” (and I thought it was bad covering county commissioner meetings). This 35-year-old “journalist” is solely tasked with writing about and reporting on Taylor Swift matters. USA Today also hired another reporter to exclusively cover Beyoncé. Perhaps this newly dedicated reporter will write about how Beyoncé was paid $24 million to perform a one-hour set in Dubai in January, meaning she earned more in one minute than many of us will likely earn in an entire decade.

STR8TS Solution

Sudoku Solution

Pre-teens screaming at pop stars is nothing new, but it’s reached a new low point. It’s made me wonder why we’re so infatuated with these stars of the stage and screen. What is it about entertainment that appeals so intensely to us right now? To find the answer, simply look at the “large world, the world that people know about,” as former-President Donald Trump said in one of his many recent head-scratching statements. The world is burning right now and rampant idolatry is spreading. Perhaps as a coping mechanism, people have turned in greater numbers to entertainment to soothe the feelings of disconnection many experience with our world today. As George Barnard Shaw said, “Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.” Amen. And so it goes. We have become inundated by a generation of people who are tuning out from the world at a record pace, instead focusing their efforts on banal TikTok dance crazes, memes on social media and worship of everything uber pop stars like Swift and Beyoncé do with their lives. What a time to be alive.

Crossword Solution

Instead of a trap door, what about a trap window? The guy looks out of it, and if he leans too far, he falls out. Wait. I guess that’s like a regular window.

Solution on page 22

Solution on page 22

By Bill Borders

dacker /DAK-er/

Woorf tdhe Week

[verb] 1. to totter or stagger

“As the hiker reached the summit, exhaustion took over, and they began to dacker down the steep slope.” Corrections: Nothing to see here. Move it along.



Laughing Matter

ACROSS 1. Puritan 6. Coarse file 10. Arrived 14. Kind of beam 15. Europe’s highest volcano 16. Frosts, as a cake 17. Sea 18. Put away 19. Decays 20. Flawlessness 22. Algonquian Indian 23. Jarring surprise 24. Provides the cash for 25. Quash 29. Armory 31. Lift 33. A shoulder muscle 37. Ancient ascetic 38. Grow older 39. A used automobile tire 41. Absolute quiet 42. Large tuna 44. Bargain 45. Esteem 48. Funnel shapes 50. Assert 51. Child 56. Burden 57. Religious ceremony 58. Desert watering holes 59. Workshop gripper

Solution on page 22 60. At any point 61. Inuit boat 62. Biblical garden 63. We are (contraction) 64. Rips

DOWN 1. Raindrop sound 2. Speed competition 3. Utiliser 4. Unable to hear 5. Sea eagles 6. Mend

7. Area under roofs 8. A form of pool 9. Stooge 10. Distributed 11. Fruit of the oak tree 12. Doled 13. S S S 21. French manor house 24. Deadly 25. Swerve 26. Apart from this 27. Exam 28. Load with excessive weight 30. Candidate 32. Bless with oil

34. Musical phrase 35. Whale 36. Bobbin 40. Mislead 41. Earnest 43. Encourage 45. Flow controller 46. Evade 47. Rent 49. Muzzle 51. Illustrated 52. Woman of rank 53. Largest continent 54. Close 55. Sounds of disapproval

November 16, 2023 / R / 23

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