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2 / R / September 21, 2023

The week in random review

it’s ghoul time

The fall equinox on Saturday, Sept. 23 marks the official start of Halloween — don’t argue with me. I’m right. In honor of this spooky time, on a recent weekend my family and I dredged up ghostly tales to tell in the safety of my childhood home. Is it really safe, though? My father reminded us that, for several months while I was a toddler, I repeatedly terrified him by pointing to the “woman” who I claimed lived in the corner of the living room. I would apparently talk about, and to, this ghostly apparition quite frequently. My parents resolved the situation by calling in a spiritualist to do some “good, old-fashioned ghost busting,” as she calls it. This is all to say that, if you’re looking for a reason not to procreate, seek no further. Leave the kids and their ghosts to Bruce Willis.

an identity crisis in the making

I named both of my dogs — Bucky Barnes and Peggy Carter — after characters from Marvel Comics. (I was going through a phase.) Regardless of what their collars say, my family and I call them all manner of nicknames that range from the absurd to the nonsensical. Peggy, a long-haired dachshund mutt, goes by: Muppet, Peggameister Meisterpegga, Peggamasaurus and most importantly “Mer.” I derived this last one from the noise that she makes when she’s especially happy or irritated — her two favorite moods. Bucky, on the other hand, goes by: James, Bobalow, Pretty Boy and Bobo Fett (one letter off from the Star Wars character). In total, they have 60 nicknames between them, and Bucky’s are the least like his proper name. Keeping them straight in his head requires all his brain power and leaves precious little energy for things like thinking.

don’t worry, she’s fine

Speaking of my dog, Peggy recently perfected the art of rolling down my car’s windows. This ordinarily wouldn’t be a problem, except my darling girl is a shaggy tube filled with ire and jealousy. The car is her territory, and there are two things that aren’t allowed anywhere near it: other dogs and bicyclists. Imagine her rage as we passed two cyclists and their labrador on a public road, enjoying one of the last days of summer. Peggy rolled down the window to voice her anger, but as she sat yelling she somehow managed to pull the window’s switch and roll it back up again — right on her nose. She jumped back and for a brief moment hung in the air with her nose pinched in the window like something out of a Tom and Jerry cartoon. Cyclist: 1. Peggy: 0. She’s absolutely fine, though I’m not sure her ego will ever fully recover.


Saturday, Sept. 23 marks the first day of autumn, which means it’s official: Summer is over.

I love the lead up to this time of year, when you feel the cool night wind blowing in from an open bedroom window and consider shutting it for the first time in months. Leaves begin to fall sporadically as the colors shift from green to yellow, orange and red. Shorts and flip-flops give way to flannel shirts and beanies. It’s a glorious time to be alive in the Northwest, and I’m here for it.

It’s been a lot of fun walking around the downtown sidewalks and recognizing more familiar faces than usual. Sometimes I feel as if we all emerge from our summer hibernation phase in late September, free from the usual chaos of summertime Sandpoint and ready to reconnect with our friends once again.

Soak it in, dear readers, because you’ll be shoveling snow before you know it. I know that’s a cruel remark during the first days of fall, but that’s life in North Idaho.

Happy fall to everyone and so long, dear summer.

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About the Cover

This week’s cover features a photo of the Utah Repertory Dance Theatre by Sharon Kain. RDT will perform Sept. 27 at the Panida Theater.

September 21, 2023 / R / 3

BoCo Republican Central Committee declines to censure commissioners

Steve Bradshaw, Luke Omodt cleared of alleged Constitution, party platform violations

The Bonner County Republican Central Committee gathered Sept. 19 to tackle a lengthy agenda, but the item that drew the greater number of about 100 attendees to the Ponderay Events Center dealt with the possible censure of Bonner County Commission Chair Steve Bradshaw and Vice-Chair Luke Omodt.

In a petition signed by at least 20% of the 33 members of the BCRCC, Bradshaw and Omodt were alleged to have violated the Idaho Constitution, as well as the Idaho Republican Party platform, by limiting or at times outright refusing to accept public comment at the commissioners’ Tuesday business meetings — an issue that has spurred consistent turmoil both in and outside the Administration Building since January.

Committee members voted 18-11 against censuring Bradshaw and 22-7 against censuring Omodt, but not before about an hour that included a presentation, public testimony, a statement by Omodt and deliberation by the body. Bradshaw did not attend.

“I am appreciative of not being censured for doing my job,” Omodt told the Reader in an email Sept. 20. “The allegations as presented demonstrate the dangers of faction that [George] Washington warned us of and seem an excellent example of, ‘Show me the man and I will find you the crime.’”

News of the potential disciplinary action under Article XX of the Idaho GOP’s rules — which the party adopted in June — came earlier this month and followed a vote of “no confidence” by the committee against Bradshaw and Omodt in May, citing similar displeasure with public comment policies.

Commissioner Asia Williams has put the issue front and center at a number of the business meet-

ings since she and Omodt both took office at the beginning of the year, and backed by a handful of regular attendees — several of whom, such as Grouse Creek Precinct Committeeman Dan Rose, who presented the petition, serve on the central committee.

Rose, as well as Spencer Hutchings, who the BCRCC voted to remove as treasurer after an executive session earlier in the Sept. 19 meeting, have been particularly vocal attendees at commissioner meetings. Bradshaw has threatened to trespass both Rose and Hutchings from the building on multiple occasions for disruptive comments.

For their parts, Bradshaw and Omodt have consistently argued that statute does not require that commissioner meetings include public testimony, and what testimony is allowed comes at the discretion of the chair.

Omodt further underscored that point at the Sept. 19 meeting, citing the 1990 decision White V.City of Norwalk in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals that a meeting of a government entity “is still just that, a governmental process with a governmental purpose. The Council has an agenda to be addressed and dealt with. Public forum or not, the usual First Amendment antipathy to content-oriented control of speech cannot be imported into the Council chambers intact.”

The decision goes on to state that a speaker in a governmental meeting may be stopped from testifying if their statements become irrelevant, repetitious or disruptive, such that the body “is prevented from accomplishing its business in a reasonably efficient manner. Indeed, such conduct may interfere with the rights of other speakers.”

“I respect the rights and the opportunity of Bonner County to come and be able to speak and to share their thoughts; however, I know from a simple mathematical

reality that the people that I see on my Tuesday morning episodes is a small segment of our great county,” Omodt said in his defense at the Sept. 19 meeting. “I do not understand why people can wake up in our county with so much rage, discontent and heartache.

“We are blessed but we are not blessed merely because of rage and discontentment, we are blessed because of sacrifice, our Constitution and an adherence to republican values,” he added. “That is the manner in which I have raised my hand, in which I will serve and which I hope to continue to serve.”

According to the petition to censure, which Rose read before the BCRCC, the violations related “specially to ensuring persons the ability of instructing representatives within Bonner County’s government.”

He went on to argue that based on the Idaho Constitution, “all political power is inherent in the people,” who have the right to “alter, reform or abolish” government when they feel it necessary, and have the right to “instruct their representatives.”

Related to that, the petition alleged that Bradshaw and Omodt ran afoul of Article 2 of the Idaho GOP platform, which states, “The

party encourages all citizens to engage in healthy debate on all issues that will increase citizen control of government … and to be full participants in the political process.”

In addition, the petition cited Bonner County ordinance, which states, “The purpose for the public comment segment of the board of county commissioners business meeting is to enable citizens with issues or concerns which they wish to bring to the board’s attention and afford an opportunity for consideration on a future agenda for possible board action.”

Rose argued that “calling the representatives to task” is part of those various rights, as well as the right of assembly to “consult for the common good, to instruct their representatives.”

“That’s the theme of this whole Article XX process against these two commissioners — the ability to instruct their representatives,” he said, later adding, “None of that can be done when public comment is suspended from the agenda and you’re not allowed to speak to them, to ask them [questions], to petition them, to do anything but sit there and be quiet.”

Multiple attendees at the Sept. 19 meeting — including members of the central committee — said

that they no longer attended the BOCC business meetings because of the frequent tension and acrimony, which has resulted in recesses, outbursts and squabbling over Robert’s Rules of Order sufficient to dominate the majority of the proceedings.

Speaking during the public comment period before deliberations on the censure, resident Susan Bowman recounted how members of the community had to press commissioners for the continuation of Zoom access to the Tuesday business meetings, then lobby for the time to offer testimony.

“I don’t see a lot of you guys there [at the business meetings] and I wish you would come because what you’re not witnessing is — I’m going to say it right now — communism in action,” she said, going on to refer to Bradshaw and Omodt voting “in lockstep” to limit public participation and even work to sideline their fellow Commissioner Williams.

“This is not what Republicans do,” she said.

Resident Jennifer Newberry disagreed, saying, “I feel you just can’t debate with stupid, and what < see CENSURE, Page 5 >

NEWS 4 / R / September 21, 2023
Photo by Zach Hagadone.

Sandpoint City Council hears presentation on establishing local housing authority

Members of the Sandpoint City Council took in a presentation Sept. 20 on the establishment of a local housing authority, which would leverage a combination of municipal, institutional, state and federal funding sources to assist in the development of residential projects geared toward area workers.

Meghan Conrad, of Boise law firm Elam & Burke P.A., guided councilors through the nuts and bolts of establishing such an authority, explored some of the possible funding sources and administrative structures, as well as highlighted a few examples of similar entities around the state, from the Boise area to McCall and Blaine County to Pocatello. She also discussed some of the hurdles to creating an effective housing authority.

“It is a bit challenging to advance the mission without a significant source of funds to acquire property or be able to contract with property owners in order to administer affordable units in a project,” Conrad said. “And with no history, revenue stream and no assets, financing is likely to be limited in the beginning.”

The creation of a Sandpoint housing authority has been discussed at least since 2019, when the city undertook a housing happens is these people will just regurgitate the same thing over and over and over again so that the commissioners get frustrated, and what’s the point? They’re just wasting everybody’s time. And that is the biggest issue in what is happening.”

Likewise, resident Mark Linscott testified that county business meetings do not constitute public hearings and speakers can by statute be trespassed for being disruptive or derogatory.

“I don’t know if anybody has ever been to a county commissioners meeting, but there are a few individuals — some that sit

assessment that looked at availability and found many residents were paying more than 30% of their income on housing — higher than the threshold for what’s considered “affordable.”

Meanwhile, Mayor Shelby Rognstad convened a workforce housing task force in 2019, which ran a survey through the Bonner County Economic Development Corporation.

“The No. 1 response when asked what was the biggest challenge that employers faced when hiring and retaining workforce, housing was No. 1 on the list,” Rognstad said.

Those findings were further underscored by the 2022 report commissioned by the city from Portland, Ore.-based Leland Consulting, which found that the rapid increase in population experienced in recent years had spurred a comparable spike in housing costs, resulting in several recommendations including the creation of a multi-jurisdictional housing authority.

In all the referenced studies, data suggested that while programs existed to assist residents making 80% or below of the area median income — which as of summer 2022 was pegged at about $60,000 — “there really is this gap and also gap of tools to provide housing for workers — especially between 60% to 120% [of AMI],” Conrad said.

in that oval right there — that do nothing but come there and just stir the shit up,” he said, referring to the central committee members. “Sorry for my language, but that’s it. …

“The two commissioners, I think it’s an error to try to censure them,” he added.

During deliberation, BCRCC State Committeeman Dan Vaniman said much of what had been said in favor of the censure had nothing to do with the actual allegations related to constitutional and party platform violations.

“Do I think it’s wise for them to suspend public comment? No.

“And when we talk about ‘workforce,’ it’s important to stress that these are service industry and manufacturing employees, but it’s also police and fire officers as well as educators — it’s the people that really run and generate our city centers,” she added. How a local housing authority would be established and function would depend on the goals set forth by the city and the area, or areas, it would seek to serve.

Like an urban renewal agency, a housing agency would be created by state statute. However, the latter would be unable to levy funds as a taxing entity, though could enter into long-term debt without voter approval. While urban renewal agencies can service their debt by using tax increment financing, housing authorities

Is it against the law? No,” he said. “Even if it is a violation of the law, we’re not called to judge the law,” Vaniman added. “Censuring a public official is a serious matter. I don’t believe that this is the appropriate forum. The solution to your issues is through the political process. We have a primary next year, we have candidates who are running, use this in a campaign and let the public — the voters — decide. I am not going to support this motion to censure.”

BCRCC Chair Scott Herndon, who also represents District 1 in the Idaho Senate, stepped down from running the meeting in order

would have to rely on the rental payments and municipal dollars — at least initially — as well as monies from state and federal entities.

Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton told the councilors that Rognstad included $25,000 in his Fiscal 2024 budget to be put toward strategic initiatives as seed money for a housing authority, intended to support costs associated with its initial establishment.

Beyond that, “What you tend to see happening more and more on a regional basis is some of the regional foundations, employer groups, starting to come in and support some of these organizations in order to kind of kick start the planning and development of housing in the local community,”

to join the deliberations, reminding the committee members that, “You cannot go onto the Senate floor and instruct your representatives.”

“I just want to point that out — that it’s not an absolute right that you can go anywhere you want to instruct your representatives,” he added. “... [Y]our ability to instruct your representatives has parameters and limits that are enforced in the court and we all recognize this.”

Kristen Dodd, who represents the West Priest River Precinct, said that rather than censure, the next steps toward holding the

she added.

Though councilors did not make a decision Sept. 20, Rognstad said the discussion will be ongoing and indicated that a strategy is in place to implement a housing authority in the future.

“I would love to see a joint-powers board that governed a regional housing authority that serviced all of Bonner County or North Idaho,” he said, though added that it would be wiser to focus first on Sandpoint and, “with our success, we could bring other partners along.”

“There’s not only a lot of recognition of this problem in our community but there’s a lot of motivation from our employers to do what they can to be part of the solution,” Rognstad added.

commissioners accountable should be at the ballot box.

“I don’t think there is a true violation there. I do not agree with the behavior of Luke Omodt or Steve Bradshaw in the commissioner meetings. … I’m not justifying their behavior whatsoever, but I think it’s a slippery slope to go down this road if we don’t have clear violations,” she said.

Rather, Dodd suggested that voters either recall the commissioners or unseat them at the next election.

“I don’t see this as a solution,” she added.

NEWS September 21, 2023 / R / 5
< CENSURE, con’t from Page 4 > Photo by Ben Olson.

Slate of candidates for local elections finalized

The filing period for candidates in the Tuesday, Nov. 7 election has closed, drawing dozens of incumbents and would-be office holders to local races for everything from mayoral and city council contests to fire, recreation and cemetery districts to school boards.

In Sandpoint, six candidates are running for three seats on the City Council: Amelia Boyd, Pam Duquette, Deb Ruehle (incumbent), Kyle Schreiber, Grant Simmons and Elle Susnis. Meanwhile, three candidates are vying for Sandpoint mayor: Jeremy Grimm, current City Council President Kate McAlister and Frytz Mor.

In the Lake Pend Oreille School District, three candidates are running for one open seat in Zone 1: Rebecca Holland, Jenn McKnight and Scott Wood, while incumbent Trustee Chair Geraldine Lewis is running unopposed for reelection in Zone 4.

Elsewhere in the county, candidates are running mostly unopposed or as incumbents for commissioner positions in the Coolin Cavanaugh Bay, East Priest Lake, Northside, Sagle, Sam Owen Fire, Spirit Lake Timberlake, West Pend Oreille, West Priest Lake and Westside fire districts, as well as the Bay Drive Recreation District Board and West Bonner Cemetery Maintenance District.

The Lakeland School District Board of Trustees has one position open per zone, with contested races in two zones: Randi Bain (incumbent) and Kyle Olmstead in Zone 1 and Thomas “T.J.” Barnhart, Ramona Grissom (incumbent) and Cherish Hansen in Zone 2.

In the hotly contested West Bonner County School District Board of Trustees, three seats are up for grabs, with Zone 1 candidates

Alan Galloway and Margaret Hall (incumbent), Elizabeth Glazier and Troy Reinbold (incumbent) in Zone 3 and Carlyn Barton (incumbent) and Kathy Nash in Zone 5.

Below are the candidates for municipal offices:

Clark Fork City Council (two positions): Sharon Banning (incumbent), Tanya Becker (incumbent), Tel Thompson

Dover City Council (two positions): Keith Congleton, Steven Haynes, Dan Parkin (incumbent)

East Hope mayor: Deborah Field

East Hope City Council (two positions): Pam Brockus, David Rost, Don Wells (incumbent), Scott Wieman

Kootenai mayor: Nancy Lewis (incumbent)

Kootenai City Council (one position open for each seat): Seat 2 — Stephen Ferris, Seat 4 — Daniel Schock (incumbent)

Oldtown City Council (three positions): Susan Jones (incumbent)

Ponderay mayor: Steve Geiger (incumbent)

Ponderay City Council (two positions): Brad Mitton (incumbent), Brenda Thompson (incumbent)

Priest River mayor: Jeff Connolly (incumbent)

Priest River City Council (two positions): Sandy Brower, Douglas Wagner (incumbent), Ann Yount (incumbent)

For more information about all things election related, visit or

Bits ’n’ Pieces

From east, west and beyond

East, west or beyond, sooner or later events elsewhere may have a local impact. A recent sampling:

The bizarre side of climate events: typhoon rains in China resulted in a water overflow at a crocodile farm, with 70 of the animals escaping, The Washington Post reported.

About 12 million tons of the organic carbon in Iowa soil is lost each year, the Des Moines Register reported, due to soil erosion on bare-sloped soil surfaces, tillage, monoculture and lack of cover crops.

China has improved air quality by 42% over the past two years, which CNN reported will add an estimated 2.2 years to the lives of its citizens. The nation’s reputation for severely compromised air quality prompted a multi-billion dollar war against pollution. The University of Chicago called it a “staggering success” that was fueled by political will and resources — but noted that more remains to be done.

There have been 23 extreme weather events in the U.S. so far this year, with each costing at least $1 billion, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported. There were 22 in 2020.

The recent March to End Fossil Fuels in New York attracted an estimated 75,000 people, who aimed to catch the attention of world leaders gathering in the city for Climate Week. Protestors urged the declaration of a climate emergency and phasing out and ending oil and gas projects. NBC noted in its coverage that the U.S. has been responsible for more heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than any other country — although China now emits more carbon pollution annually.

According to The Hill, House Republicans have agreed to avoid a shutdown on Sunday, Oct. 1 by funding the government through Tuesday, Oct. 31. In exchange, they want Defense Department and Veterans Affairs spending kept at current levels and discretionary funding cut by 8%. Numerous sources say the Senate is not likely to pass that.

Politico previewed the Republicans’ budget proposal and reported that it doesn’t directly cut Social Security and Medicare, but creates a closed-door commission for making such cuts. Other media reported that the House Republicans’ proposal has no funding for Ukraine or disaster assistance.

Republican efforts to impeach President Joe Biden may run into a roadblock, since a Trump-era Justice Department

opinion calls into question the ability to go forward with an impeachment inquiry without a House vote. Republican House Speaker Kevin McCarthy has started an inquiry without that vote.

ABC reported that the Trump-era impeachment opinion is considered binding unless the Attorney General’s Office of Legal Counsel provides a new opinion Republicans want to prove their claim that Biden profited from his son’s business dealings when vice president.

Historian Heather C. Richardson noted that witness accounts before the Oversight Committee have not unearthed evidence of misconduct by Biden. Appearing on Fox News, Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, who is assisting the inquiry, admitted there was no evidence for an impeachment, “but we may find it later.”

The Justice Department has begun its case against Google, alleging the tech company has stifled competition by illegally abusing its power over online search. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich said most households pay more than $5,000 a year because large “corporations can raise prices without fear that competitors will draw away consumers.”

In a recent appearance on Meet the Press, moderator Kristen Welker asked Former-President Donald Trump if during the 2020 election he listened to certain people “because they were telling you what you wanted to hear?” His response: “You know who I listen to? Myself. I saw what happened. I watched that election, and I thought the election was over at 10 o’clock that evening. … It was my decision [to challenge the results].”

Some of the reasons United Auto Worker are pro-strike: The Big Three automakers made $250 billion in the past decade, but car-making costs were “relatively low.”

Meanwhile, CEO pay rose 40% in the past four years while workers’ wages rose 6%. Stats are from former Labor Secretary Robert Reich, who also noted that CEO pay in 1965 was 20 times that of the average worker, but today the ratio is 398-1.

Blast from the past: If current political drama has your head spinning, that’s because it’s been designed to do so: “The Democrats don’t matter. The real opposition is the media. And the way to deal with them is to flood the zone with shit,” said Trump’s former-chief strategist, Steve Bannon, in a 2018 interview. He also said, “This is not about persuasion. This is about disorientation.”

6 / R / September 21, 2023

West Bonner Co. School District cancels board meeting due to lack of quorum

More than 120 residents showed up to the Priest River Lamanna High School for a packed agenda before the West Bonner County School District Board of Trustees on Sept. 20, but the meeting was canceled as soon as it began due to lack of quorum.

The meeting would have been the first since former-Chair Keith Rutledge and former-Vice-Chair Susan Brown were recalled in a special election Aug. 29. Trustees Margaret Hall and Carlyn Barton both attended, but Trustee Troy Reinbold was absent.

Along with Rutledge and Brown, Reinbold was the third trustee who originally voted to hire former-Idaho Freedom Foundation senior education policy analyst Branden Durst as superintendent. The IFF has stated on multiple occasions its desire to see public education eliminated in Ida-

ho, and Durst’s hiring — despite lacking a critical certification from the Idaho State Board of Education — has caused widespread opposition in the district and was a major contributing factor to the successful recall election in August.

The agenda published before the meeting contained several action items, including an executive session that would, “consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of … a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent,” followed by another that would, “consider hiring a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent … in order to fill a particular vacancy.”

The latter item was followed by a “Possible Action Item to temporarily retain a Certified Professional Employee.”

Durst was asked by reporters after the meeting about the recent Idaho Education News story reporting on the Idaho State Board

of Education’s inability to approve emergency certificates for administrators — including for Durst.

“They didn’t deny it, I think that’s important,” Durst said. “They said they didn’t have the authority to offer it, so it was never actually rejected on its merits. I think that’s an important distinction to make. I came here to do the right thing for the students of this district and will continue to do that.”

At that point, audience members looking on replied with a chorus of statements, including, “No, no you didn’t.”

West Bonner County resident Roy Fisher told the Reader that he was disappointed another meeting had been canceled.

“You have to have three members to have a quorum, so all they have to do is keep their guy staying home and we can’t accomplish anything anymore,” Fisher said. “To say it was an accident he wasn’t here for three meetings

Fall drawdowns planned for Pend Oreille, Priest Lake

Resource managers will begin the fall drawdown of Lake Pend Oreille on Tuesday, Sept. 19, in keeping with the typical schedule of holding the lake at its normal pool of 2,062.5 feet until the third Sunday in September or Sept. 18 — whichever is later.

According to the Lakes Commission, “Reasonable efforts will be made to be above 2,061 feet through the fourth Sunday or Sept. 25. At that point, there will then be a gradual draft until Nov. 15, when the lake needs to be at winter pool for kokanee. Please keep in mind that during drawdown, elevations on the Pend Oreille River, especially as you get closer to the dam, can be feet lower than the lake elevation measured in Hope.”

Reaching the winter pool elevation by Nov. 15 is necessary so shoreline kokanee have the necessary depth to spawn. Though not required, winter pool of 2,051

feet has been the norm for many years. That equates to the full 11.5 feet of stored water and is lowered to this maximum level for flexible winter pool operations by the Bonneville Power Administration, which generates power in the winter by raising the lake and then releasing that water again.

For questions regarding outlet dam operations, contact Leon Basdekas at Leon.Basdekas@usace.

Elsewhere in the panhandle, the Idaho Department of Water Resources plans to begin the fall drawdown of Priest Lake on Sunday, Oct. 1, which is about a week early, in order to accommodate planned construction on the dam scheduled to resume on Nov. 1.

The Lakes Commission advises those who need to winterize waterfront infrastructure to be aware of the early drawdown and plan accordingly.

Drawdown info, including daily release rates, should be announced

in a row, no, it’s on purpose so we can have no vote. But he can only miss so many meetings, so it’s just going to take some time.”

Fisher continued, saying the real victims were, “The kids and the schools of West Bonner County, because all the people who have moved in and are doing this, they’re all making bunches of money and they’re all giving themselves big fat contracts at the kids’ expense.”

After the cancellation, Trustee Hall apologized to all those who attended and said, “We’re looking at postponing it until Wednesday, Sept. 27.”


season fizzles out

Autumn weather has officially set in to the relief of firefighters across the state. The Idaho Department of Lands released its final statewide fire update Sept. 15, marking the end of the season.

debris back on exposed surfaces to minimize erosion,” officials stated on the InciWeb update.

on the IDWR website in the coming week: For questions regarding outlet dam operations, contact Michelle Richman with IDWR at 208-7622800 or Michelle.Richman@idwr.

Meanwhile, the Lakes Commission will be meeting on Thursday, Sept. 21 from 1-4 p.m. at the West Bonner Library in Priest River (118 Main St., Priest River), where attendees will hear from U.S. Sen. Jim Risch’s office on the Columbia River Treaty, get an overview of Albeni Falls Dam operations, an update on the Priest River fishery, rural wastewater info from the Panhandle Health District, a presentation by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game on current Pack River Delta restoration work and more.

Lakes Commission meetings are open to the public. For those who wish to participate via Zoom, register at

Overall a total of 84,278 acres burned across Idaho this year, 62,377 of which were under U.S. Forest Service management. The IDL extinguished all major fires within its jurisdiction by the time of the report, and there are no fire restrictions currently in place.

Area residents watched the Ridge Creek Fire north of Hayden Lake closely, as it was the largest blaze this far north. As of Sept. 19, the fire continued to smolder at 80% containment, according to status updates released by the Forest Service through the InciWeb fire map. The cause of the fire is listed simply as “human.”

The Ridge Creek Fire affected approximately 4,474 acres, and though some brush continues to burn, officials said there’s little risk of it spreading further.

“Suppression repair work is nearing completion, which includes removing hazard trees along roadways, installing water bars, grading road surfaces, and using excavators and hand crews to place

Managing the yearly wildfires comes at a steep financial cost: IDL spent approximately $16.86 million on fire-related expenses this year, according to the final update. Officials estimate that the IDL will be reimbursed $2.3 million, which the department spent helping other agencies fight fires outside of its jurisdiction.

Idaho did not have the resources it needed to combat the flames this year. Among other expenses, the IDL had to contract additional aircraft and fire engines to support its firefighters.

The Boise-based Idaho Capital Sun reported Sept. 20 that the Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners approved the IDL’s $90.3 million budget request for 2025 — a 4.7% increase due to the cost of the statewide fires. The request will go before the Idaho House of Representatives and Senate for approval.

If accepted, the IDL will purchase additional engines and tech equipment — like laptops and software — as well as increase employee compensation by 1% for current and future positions. The larger budget includes an additional $250,000 to cover operating costs, which have grown more expensive with inflation.

September 21, 2023 / R / 7 NEWS
Branden Durst speaks with reporters after the canceled meeting. Photo by Ben Olson.


•Not trying to beat a dead horse, but I can’t let another week go by without thanking all the generous donors who have contributed to our newspaper over the past week. We are so grateful for your support and remain dedicated to our function of sharing the news, opinions and bluster of this community in the best way we know how. Thank you.

•I eat a lot of lunches from togo containers at my desk. Much to my surprise, I recently learned that I had been closing them incorrectly all of my life. Thanks to a helpful Winter Ridge cashier, I now know the best way to close these containers is not to fold the flap over the slit, but rather, go under the slit and twist the end.

Idaho Club development is not in the best interest of the community…

Dear editor,

I’ve lived in Sandpoint now for six years, a transplant of Western North Carolina (Black Mountain, outside of Asheville). I run a bar in town, so I know the benefits, financially, of summer and the lake. I’m only 39, but I have a voice.

Fortunately, the reason my wife and I moved to Sandpoint was not for financial benefits. We moved from a town that has reached its max in many ways and the pressure that has been put on the local ecosystem was (and is) huge.

We made the choice to move to Sandpoint for the nature, the connection to the environment, the four seasons, the clear water, the snow, etc., etc. We are so privileged to call Sandpoint our home now. But with that privilege also comes the other privilege that is protecting the land and waters that we live on.

What is “in the best interest of the community” is not a private marina to house 105 boats, or five mega-million-dollar homes. That is in the best interest of the shareholders/management of the Idaho Club, which has a gated community, pesticide runoff from their golf course on the Pack River Delta and now the want (not need) to butcher more land and our lake — the community’s lake.

to natural hazards and disasters. Bonner County Code Title 12-111 is a restatement of this statute.

We all know that the lands around the city of Kootenai hold a potentially damaging amount of water during spring runoff and yet this commission ignores the city’s desire to annex this development so that city standards can be met and stormwater managed in conjunction with the surrounding development.

There are city streets built to this development but the Zoning Commission thinks it is appropriate to leave these streets inaccessible to the new lots, instead funneling all the traffic from 116 homes onto rural roads, leaving this asset underutilized while creating hazards in other areas. Who is this commission looking out for?

When you hear comments from commissioners about the land they own and how they would rather develop in the county, you can draw the conclusion that they are representing their own interests and not the health, safety and general welfare of the people.

Kootenai should govern the standard of development for adjacent properties within the area of city impact.

The reasonable thing for Bonner County to do in this situation is to require a development that would account for ⅓ of the population of the city of Kootenai to annex into the city!

Ponder Point, we can hold your comments in our thoughts: “Luke says that it could be so much worse!”

Do we really need to wait until someone (or several people) is killed trying to navigate those all-too-congested areas to subdivisions?

“That’s progress” was a comment heard when the meeting was over. Call it poor stewardship, poor planning, breach of fiduciary responsibility and even malfeasance, but don’t call such rubber-stamping of sub-standard subdivisions “progress.”

We will be watching you commissioners very closely. We will see who you are really working for.


Dear editor,

I recently attended a meeting of the Bonner County Zoning Commission regarding the Providence Road subdivision. This meeting, run by Luke Webster, vice chairman, was well attended by concerned members of the surrounding community. Three-minute presentations covered traffic problems, taxing the water sewage plant, safety of the neighborhood children, emergency egress, building in wetlands, outdated studies used to make decisions. Their reports were obviously researched and well thought out.

the procedure or action.”

A number of the Zoning Commission members are realtors or developers. Doesn’t that constitute a conflict of interest? Instead of considering what’s good for the people who will live in the Providence subdivision and their neighbors, this Zoning Commission is most interested in how they can best serve the realtors and developers who have a stake in this game.

Dear editor,

Over the past couple of years we’ve all seen a tremendous uptick in growth in our formerly charming small town. Times certainly are a’changin’. But where’s the planning? I don’t see the infrastructure, water, sewage treatment, schools, etc., growing to meet the coming hordes.

Where’s the planning?

Now Kootenai has been targeted for a 116-unit neighborhood off Providence Road. This one-lane gravel track built to serve a few farm families will likely see a few hundred cars daily coming and going. Wait time is already ridiculous at certain times and dangerous as well.

Where’s the planning?

No longer do I have to worry about the top opening and spilling my food while walking back to the office. Try it and you’ll never go back to the old way.


• This weekly column is harder to complete than one would think. Have you ever heard the theory that people are more likely to leave a negative review than a positive one? The same goes for this little space in each edition of the Reader. I’ve received critical emails in the past claiming I was mean-spirited or harping on pedantic details in the “Barbs” portion of this column. Fair point. The truth is, even a curmudgeon like myself has a hard time being pissed off each and every week. Sometimes there just isn’t enough material to fill this column, so I do my best to fill the space. Yes, ahem, that’s exactly what I’ve done here.

The right decision was made last year to deny the permits to this project. The proposal of the Idaho Club is not in the best interest of the community (unless you’re in a gated community). It does not benefit the lake/land/water. It does not align with a privilege, only the so-called “right” to have a dock by a few.

Please do what is best for the community as a whole


Mark Terry Sandpoint

County should require Kootenai to annex Providence Road development…

Dear editor, Bonner County Zoning Commission shows contempt for state statute, public interest and common sense.

Idaho Statutes Title 67 Chapter 65 has a clearly stated purpose to promote the health, safety and general welfare of the people of the state of Idaho as follows: To encourage urban and urban-type development within incorporated cities. To avoid undue concentration of population and overcrowding of land. To protect life and property in areas subject


Dear editor,

At the Planning and Zoning hearing, which approved the 116-unit Providence subdivision, Commissioner Luke Webster’s comment regarding the complaints of the already dangerous traffic congestion was that Seattle’s 405 is an example of real traffic congestion, implying the current situation before adding 1,079 trips a day is all relative. Are you kidding me? How flippant and so unbecoming of a commissioner who is supposed to work for his constituents.

Well Luke, the reason Seattle has such nightmarish congestion is its notorious lack of planning for its growth. Something your commission is right in step with following! It’s not only lack of planning but so short-sighted. It makes me wonder who you are working for. The land investors? The soon-to-be building contractors?

Now when we experience a crash in the turn lane to Seven Sisters or

The response of the commissioners in no way reflected their efforts. After the presentations, Webster announced a 10-minute break, at which time the commissioners and developers, who were also at the meeting, went into the hall. On their return, a brief one-sided discussion and vote resulted in total acceptance of the developer’s plans. The worries expressed by the citizens went totally unacknowledged.

This reprehensible treatment makes me question the whole process. Who does the Zoning Commission serve? After attending this meeting, the only answer to that question would be: Not the citizens of this community.

It is obvious there is a conflict of interest here. Idaho State Code 67-6506 states that, “A member or employee of a governing board, commission or joint commission shall not participate in any proceeding or action when the member or employee or his employer, business partner, business associate, or any person related to him by affinity or consanguinity within the second degree has an economic interest in

And that’s just the road issue. Maybe change Planning to $ Department, ‘cuz I don’t see the planning.


Dear editor,

I currently live in the Seven Sisters development in Kootenai. Along with many others, I am disturbed by the proposed Providence development. Attending two zoning meetings and hearing the concerns about traffic, egress roads for escape in case of fire, safety for our children, water and sewage lacking capabilities to handle the extra housing, and the Kootenai school having room for only four more students… Still the Zoning Commission wants to go ahead with the development? This makes no sense.

The developer said he refuses to work with the Kootenai City Council, and the fire district is noncommittal on the issue.

Methinks there is something fishy going on under the table. The concerns voiced by the citizens were all in regards to safety, traffic and the above issues. We are sup-

8 / R / September 21, 2023
the 405?’… fishy’… does the Zoning Commission serve?’…
the planning?’…
< see LTE, Page 9 >

By Rep. Mark Sauter, R-Sandpoint Reader Contributor

Some history and current information follows:

The nomination of candidates in Idaho is the responsibility of the political party. Whether a party chooses to use a voting process or a caucus is their decision. In 2011, the Legislature passed House Bill 351 creating a closed primary system. Persons who are not members of the party are not allowed to participate unless the party opens their process to unaffiliated voters.

In 2012, the Republican Party held a presidential primary caucus in March. The process worked but participation was low. In 2015, then-Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter proposed legislation for a statewide primary date for presidential primaries in March. School levies and bonds were allowed to be on the ballot as well. In 2016, the state held elections in March and

< LTE, con’t from Page 8 > posed to live in a democracy. Why are the citizens’ concerns being heard by the zoning board?


Rev. Barbara P. Rolph Kootenai

What’s happening with Idaho’s primary elections schedule

ever, one element of it was the further consolidation of elections.

HB 292 limited the number of elections for school levy and bond issues to three (May, August and November). The rationale provided for the change to the elections schedule was voter participation, costs and voter fatigue.

I also supported this bill because I believed our district would benefit from the property tax savings and voters would not want to give up those savings to keep other election dates.

Rep. Mark Sauter. File photo.

May for primaries and a general election in November.

Earlier this year, the 67th Legislature ran two bills. House Bill 138 consolidated the presidential primary with the state primary elections in May. The rationale behind this bill was the cost savings ($2.7 million per election), voter turnout and efficiency (only one springtime election). I supported this bill.

House Bill 292 was primarily a property tax reform bill. How-

After HB 138 had been signed into law and before the end of the 67th session, a problem was found in the language of the bill that required an amendment be passed to clarify the consolidation of the presidential primary. Without the amendment — Senate Bill 1186 — the state would not be holding a presidential primary at all in 2024.

The Senate passed the amendment that clarified the issue — establishing that the state would hold a presidential primary in May — and SB 1186 was heard by the House State Affairs committee, but no action was taken.

The legislative session closed

without further action. Since the end of the session there has been dialogue among the Legislature about the “fix.” The Idaho GOP passed a resolution in July to hold a statewide caucus in March 2024, absent the action of any legislative fix prior to Oct. 1 (a deadline for the Republican National Committee).

In late August, Senate Pro Tem Winder circulated a petition to call back the Legislature, requiring a 60% vote, and proposed the presidential primary be reinstated as per SB 1186, reinstating the traditional primary held in May. The petition garnered enough Senate signatures to call back the Legislature, but still needs 60% of House members to satisfy the requirements of gavelling into session. However, the Idaho GOP has weighed in with its position that the primary must be in March.

The conflicting dates have led to an alternative House petition written by Rep. Lance Clow, R-Twin Falls. His proposal reinstates the presidential primary to March, but not the option for school levy and bond elections in March.

There are many active conver-

sations about this issue among the many parties involved.

We know the following:

There is a GOP presidential primary caucus scheduled for March 2, 2024, paid for by the GOP, for GOP voters.

A traditional primary, with state funding, will be offered in May for local elections, statewide representatives, and for school bonds and levies for all voters.

There is no agreement or uniform petition (between the Senate and the House) to reconvene a special session of the 67th Legislature currently. If a special session is called, the estimated cost is approximately $30,000 per day, plus travel and other expenses.

The GOP timeline for our state to support a presidential primary is Oct. 1.

Have thoughts or questions?

Please email me at msauter@

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

Dear editor,

Issues concerning the proposed Providence subdivision remain unresolved as the application sails through the approval process, in spite of relevant input of the surrounding community.

•The applicant’s traffic study needs to be revised. It fails to reveal the deteriorating traffic conditions at the Kootenai Bay Road/Seven Sisters Drive/Highway 200 intersection, ¼ mile west of Providence Road. A potential commercial business being planned at the corner of

•Does the city of Sandpoint’s Water Department “will-serve” letter violate the city’s own Comprehensive Plan? Can it adequately provide water for the development and at acceptable pressure? The current mayor is on record that they cannot.

•Kootenai Ponderay Sewer District gave a will-serve letter, but can they add 116 more sewer hookups while they are under scrutiny for potential violations for discharge into the lake with their current hookups? Has the applicant already paid or financially capable of paying a fee to the KPSD, estimated near $1 million?

•The county requires two ingress/egress roads from each new subdivision. The applicant has provided only one, and hasn’t reached

an agreement with the city of Kootenai regarding use of its streets. Is it because they don’t want to pay impact fees, or the improvements needed to safely use them as emergency exits only?

Seven Sisters HOA requests the application be denied until these issues are resolved legally within local, county and state ordinances. Review this Mission Statement:

“The Bonner County Planning Department is committed to protecting property rights and enhancing property values through conscientious landuse planning … [and] ... include both those rights of the property owners in the surrounding communities as well as those of the applicant.”

Robert Rutan HOApresident,representingavotingmajorityoftheSevenSistersHOA Sandpoint


Dear editor, Bonner county’s broken planning and zoning system is tearing our community apart! The proposed Providence subdivision is an example of this conflict, with developers wanting to do as little as possible yet asking for access to our public services while the surrounding neighbors expect protection from flood, fire and traffic congestion. It seems that our state statutes and comprehensive plans should guide a process aimed at reasonable compromise but they are being ignored! This project would not be allowed if Sandpoint followed its Comprehensive Plan directive to “deny extension of urban service in ACI for low-density development.” State statute advises “encourage development within incorporated cities.” In prior proposals Sandpoint agreed to provide water conditioned

This doesn’t pass the smell test, yet no commission has called foul. Communities will be negatively impacted by this dereliction of duty. Is this how our commissioners protect the public welfare?

Sandpoint needs to follow its Comprehensive Plan and require this development be annexed into Kootenai before providing water. The resulting integrated community would benefit all. Higher sale prices for the developer and a better quality of life for those who live in it. A better development would have people dying to get into it. As such, they’ll be dying trying to get out.

Our commissioners should be looking out for the health and safety of the people, not the profit of the developer!

Jeanelle Shields Sandpoint

September 21, 2023 / R / 9 OPINION
HOA requests Providence application be denied… out for the people, not developers’ profits…

Science: Mad about

medical experimentation

This one’s pretty heavy, dear reader — if you don’t want to feel bummed out, skip this page.

Humanity’s history with medical experimentation dates to our earliest days as a species. For as long as humans have walked the Earth, we’ve performed various forms of experiments on ourselves in an attempt to prolong our own lives, sometimes at the expense of others.

This becomes politically murky territory, and everyone is allowed to have their own opinion on the matter. As it stands now, researchers test the effects of new drugs on animals for months and even years before moving on to human trials, where humans opt in to the experiment. As tragic as it is, the sacrifices made by the research animals frequently save the lives of the humans in the trials that follow them.

As ethically troublesome as this seems, a look through the historical record illuminates why humans perform medical experiments in the manner we do today.

Medicine throughout the bulk of human history has been messy business. Germ theory had its earliest origins with the thinking of Islamic scholars as early as the 11th century C.E. and was proposed in more or less its modern form in 1546 by Italian physician Girolamo Fracastoro, but the concept wasn’t taken seriously for more than three centuries — primarily because scientists had no way to see bacteria until microscope technology developed.

That means virtually every major surgery conducted until nearly 1900 was performed by individuals who either neglected to wash their hands, or did so with water that had not been sterilized, leading to rampant infection and high mortality rates.

A surge of nonconsensual medical experimentation occurred

during World War II. Infamously, much of our modern understanding of human physiology comes from the atrocious work performed by Nazi Dr. Josef Mengele, dubbed Todesengel, or Angel of Death by the very people he experimented on: Jewish prisoners at the Auschwitz-Birkenau extermination camp complex in occupied Poland.

Mengele’s experiments were horrific and inhumane, and his victims had absolutely no say in them. After the Red Army liberated the camps in 1945, Mengele evaded capture by traveling to South America, where he eventually suffered a stroke while swimming. Ironically, his body was exhumed by Brazilian authorities and has been used as a subject for forensic medical studies ever since.

Mengele wasn’t the only one to experiment on humans during World War II. Shiro Ishii of the Imperial Japanese Army committed some of the most unspeakable atrocities in history while pursuing weapons development at the installation Unit 731 in the city of Harbin in northeast China (formerly known as Manchuria).

The acts performed in this installation were too horrific for me to share in this article, and if you wish to know more about what happened at Unit 731, there are books about this period of history at the library, as well as online. Ishii, unlike Mengele, did not escape capture, yet Ishii was granted immunity by the U.S. tribunal in exchange for his research — at the expense of as many as 500,000 human lives.

After the second World War, human medical research continued in a different manner. Research windows were considerably shorter than they are today, while humans would opt in to experiments that could benefit their health. The basis of much of this pharmaceutical research originated from the documents taken from Mengele and Ishii, which provided a baseline understanding of human tolerances

for certain chemicals, temperatures and atmospheric pressures.

As horrific as it was, the horrors inflicted on so many hundreds of thousands of people allowed for the development of pharmaceuticals that would help untold millions. However, while this may have leapfrogged decades of research, it still presented myriad dangers, such as was the case with thalidomide.

West German pharmaceutical company Chemie Grünenthal GmbH developed the drug in the 1950s, intended as a sedative or tranquilizer and (notably) to treat nausea experienced by pregnant women.

First tested on animals, it was discovered that overdose was virtually impossible. Due to this, experimentation on humans was hastened due to its perceived harmlessness. In addition to its original applications, thalidomide came to be used to treat myriad conditions, including the cold and flu.

What no one realized, until it was tragically too late and the drug had been adopted by dozens of pharmaceutical companies across the globe, was that it caused nerve damage in the extremities and was absorbed through the placenta of pregnant women and into the fetuses they carried. Many of these fetuses were born limbless or stillborn — a trend that went on for five years before a connection was made to thalidomide.

Chemie Grünenthal GmbH settled without admitting fault, and the drug was phased out, yet the damage was already done.

Today’s medical experimentation is influenced heavily by the actions of doctors like Mengele — but not in the way that it sounds. Established in the wake of WWII, the Nuremberg Code set up a framework for experimentation moving forward. After witnessing the atrocities performed by the Nazis and Imperial Japan, many of the countries involved in the war agreed that everyone needed to

follow a better path toward medical research. This paved the way for informed consent, which means that test subjects need to be made aware of all risks and potential side-effects before they partake in medical experimentation.

Today’s clinical trials are carefully curated. Very specific criteria needs to be met with each trial to ensure minimal contamination of the results. This means that if a drug is being developed with the potential for curing skin cancer, the trial must occur only within special parameters, such as a certain stage of skin cancer.

In these cases, groups are divided, with some given a placebo treatment and others given the full dose of the drug to measure the psychosomatic effect of being given treatment. The results of the treatment are carefully monitored by regulatory agencies before the drug can move on to the next stage of testing.

This article was kind of a bummer, but it’s important to know where our medicine comes from. Next week, I’ll write about something more cheerful.

Stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner

•Antarctica is the only continent with no permanent residents or citizens. People living there, like scientists, only stay for three to six months for research purposes.

•Antarctica was part of Gondwana, a supercontinent that formed between 800 million and 530 million years ago, preceding Pangea by about 200 million years. The supercontinent covered an estimated 39 million square miles and included present-day South America, Africa, Madagascar, the Arabian Peninsula, India and Australia.

•The Antarctic desert is the largest in the world, double the size of the Sahara. The frigid environment is considered a polar desert since it rarely rains or snows there.

•There’s a part of Antarctica that looks like a five-story-tall cascade of blood. Aptly named “Blood Falls,” the landscape feature flows from the Taylor Glacier, which contains a lake of iron-rich saltwater that turns red when it reacts with oxygen.

•There were 11 babies intentionally born in Antarctica because

of competing territorial claims made by Argentina and Chile. The countries tried to outcompete each other by sending pregnant women to their respective research stations. Of course, their efforts went to waste due to the Antarctic Treaty.

•The Antarctic Treaty was signed in 1959 by 12 countries in Washington, D.C., establishing an agreement that the continent should only be used for peaceful purposes and forbidding the construction of military bases and testing military weapons — unless military equipment will be used for scientific research.

•Antarctic penguin guano — the fancy word for “poop” — contains high amounts of nitrous oxide, famously known as “laughing gas” due to its ability to create a euphoric effect when inhaled.

•Doctors staying in Australian Antarctic research stations during winter are required to remove their appendixes because there’s only one doctor per station, and they can’t afford to be in life-threatening situations where evacuation is unlikely.

10 / R / September 21, 2023
Brought to you by:
Don’t know much about Antarctica? We can help!

Far right: “I’m helping friends move a power boat from Hartford CT to Baltimore MD. I thought you’d enjoy the picture as we pass through New York City in the rain.” Photo featuring Bruce Robertson.

Bottom left: “We spent the weekend at Beth Pederson’s cabin. We really read the Reader with our morning coffee.” Back row (left to right): Gail Fendley, Beth Pederson. Front row (left to right): Syd Stern, Gail Lyster, Perky Smith-Hagadone.

Bottom far right: “Super fun kayak day with my paddling buddies! So fine being 6 inches above the water on a stellar fall day. Thanks for taking our photo Frank Wakeley!” Submitted by Karen Hempstead.

September 21, 2023 / R / 11
To submit a photo for a future edition, please send to Right: Donna Foth and Darryl O’Sickey visited Rainbow Street in downtown Reykjavik, Iceland. Darryl poses here with a copy of the Reader. Photo by Donna Foth.

Idaho needs more Pride, less prejudice

Every Idahoan deserves to feel safe and welcome in our state. It is inspiring to watch the growing movement for our freedom to live authentically and choose who we love. Over the past few months, Pride celebrations across our state have brought communities together to celebrate this freedom. Even towns as small as Wallace, with 800 residents, joined in with its inaugural Silver Valley Pride.

Across our state, everyday people and businesses are standing up in greater numbers to support our freedoms and fight back against hate.

Idaho voters understand the harms of discrimination at a gut level. They know that it’s wrong to fire someone or

deny them housing based on their identity. This is why a majority of Idahoans support adding the words “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” to the Idaho Humans Rights Act. Idaho Democrats sponsor a bill to do just that every year, but we are blocked from getting a hearing by the Republican supermajority.

The Idaho business community recognizes that being inclusive is both the right thing to do and smart for their bottom line. Businesses large and small support Pride celebrations to build the welcoming communities that attract and retain talented employees in Idaho. These companies are also sending an

important message to their prospective customers about their values.

The trend toward accepting and celebrating our friends and neighbors is positive for all Idahoans — except for the politicians who seek to gain power by making us fear each other. While progress is often met with backlash, it’s extremely troubling that hateful rhetoric is coming from leaders we ought to be able to trust. Combined with the onslaught of Republican-backed bills attacking our LGBTQ+ community, this posturing can make Idaho a hostile place.

Earlier this month, the top Idaho Republican Party official wrote that community celebrations of our fellow Idahoans comprise “deviant debauchery,” among other hurtful statements. The words are not just painful, they are dangerous. The demonization of our fellow Idahoans fuels senseless — and even deadly — violence, as recent events show.

Just last year, 31 members of a white

supremacist group packed up riot gear, loaded themselves into a U-Haul and set out to terrorize the Coeur d’Alene Pride celebration. Thankfully, their plans were thwarted by the quick actions of local law enforcement.

The ending of another story is heartbreakingly tragic. In 2017, Steven Nelson was murdered in Canyon County simply for being gay.

Idahoans all deserve dignity, respect, and a life free from discrimination and violence. We must elect leaders who will fight for this ideal and reject those who use hate and fear manufactured for political gain.

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.

12 / R / September 21, 2023 PERSPECTIVES
Rep. Lauren Necochea. File photo
September 21, 2023 / R / 13

Schweitzer unveils winter plans and updates

New high-speed quad and new phase of Schweitzer Creek Village in works

Schweitzer will debut an array of new features this winter, including a high-speed quad and revamped guest arrival experience.

“Every winter at Schweitzer is an opportunity to create cherished memories,” stated Schweitzer President and CEO Tom Chasse in a news release. “With improved access via the new Creekside Express and chances to chill at Cambium, we are setting the stage for unforgettable experiences this season.”

Schweitzer will open the Creekside Express chairlift, a high-speed detachable quad that replaces the Musical Chairs fixed-grip double. The new lift is catered to guests of all ages and abilities, with the detachable design making it easier for beginner skiers and riders to load and unload. The Creekside Express will provide access to the mountain from the base area with an increase in capacity to 2,400 riders per hour — double the previous capacity. The design also allows for foot passengers without skis

or snowboards to be transported to and from the village, even in the summer.

The Creekside Express is the third new lift at Schweitzer in the past five years, and marks the completion of the first phase of the new Schweitzer Creek Village project.

Designed to reimagine the guest arrival experience for day-guests, Schweitzer Creek Village will be unveiled in phases, with subsequent parts of the project to include a new 1,400-space parking lot, a new day lodge, improved access to the mountain, and expanded beginner and intermediate terrain.

Schweitzer’s Cambium Spa will also be open for its first full winter season. Cambium is located in the Schweitzer village, adjacent to Humbird, a 31-room boutique hotel that opened in 2022.

Construction is nearing completion at the new $22 million employee housing project, Schralpenhaus in Ponderay.

The first phase of the project, which includes 84 apartments, is expected to open in advance of the 2023-’24 winter season. Schralpenhaus includes one-, two- and

three-bedroom units all with full kitchens, washers and dryers, and access to ski and bike storage. Schweitzer employees will have first access to the new housing, with unleased units made available to other community members.

Future plans for the development include additional housing units, covered pic-

nic areas, outdoor play areas, walking paths, workout facilities and a full-service day care facility aimed at serving Schweitzer employees with young children in need of quality, affordable child care.

For more information, including season pass sales, visit

14 / R / September 21, 2023 OUTDOOR
Upper terminal pieces and a lift shack were added to the top of the new Creekside Express quad chairlift. Photo courtesy Schweitzer.

Sandpoint Library hosts second installment of monthly ‘Natural Connections’ program Presentations to include Ayurveda and diet, seed-saving and putting your garden to bed

Despite its 5,000-year history and continued prevalence in India and Tibet, Ayurveda is still relatively obscure to many in the global West. Ayurvedic wellness counselor Yvonne Heitz hopes to introduce The Science of Life to area residents with a presentation Saturday, Sept. 23 at the Sandpoint Branch of the East Bonner County Library.

Part of the “Natural Connections” program, which kicked off in August, Heitz’s free presentation is open to the public and begins at 10 a.m., when she’ll provide attendees with an overview of Ayurveda and explain how the ancient practice informs daily rhythms and diet that can have positive effects on mental and physical health.

“Ayurveda is a reflection of nature itself; it’s kind of an analogy that helps us understand how nature works,” Heitz told the Reader. “We’re all a part of nature, so we all follow these same rules that we see in nature around us.”

An example, according to Heitz, is simply being attuned to the seasonal changes and how they affect the body.

“If we look at the seasons, they’re cyclical as well; they correspond with different energies in nature,” she said, noting that during the

early spring when rains fall and ice melts, “it kind of turns into mud and that mud is stagnating. You can feel kind of sluggish.”

Likewise, in the fall, things are dying or preparing for winter sleep — the weather is often windy and variable, leading many people to feel scattered and more dried out.

“Those ideas apply to many different cycles — they apply to our food, they apply to our environment around us, they apply to our digestion,” Heitz said.

To counteract these seasonal effects, Ayurvedic practices counsel to consume foods with the opposite qualities: during the sluggish transition from winter to spring, avoid heavy, dense food and drink; with the mercurial nature of fall, the diet should be heavier, more grounding and with heating qualities, incorporating more oils and spices.

For her Sept. 23 presentation, Heitz will specifically focus on digestion — what many might take for granted, she said Ayurveda teaches is one of the essential elements of finding balance in both mind and body.

“Ayurveda gives you the tools to start recognizing imbalance at the digestive level before it goes to these other systems,” she said.

Heitz came to Ayurveda through her own health challenges, beginning in her early 20s when she suffered from osteoarthritis in both

knees. Unhappy with the drugs she was being offered, Heitz explored alternatives and found Ayurveda, which “resonated with me at such a deep level.”

In 2002, she enrolled in the California College of Ayurveda and continued her studies under teachers and practitioners from both India and the U.S. As the years went on, and her kids grew up, she deepened her education with further studies at the Kerala Ayurveda Academy. She ran a practice in Sandpoint for a few years, but took a break to do some teaching. Finding that she was continually repeating the same rudimentary principles, Heitz decided she’d best serve her community by making her knowledge available by participating in the Natural Connections program at the library.

“I want to get the understanding out there that it’s another system,” she said. “I would just love to see people get healthier and happier. When we feel better, we tend to be happier people.”

In addition to her general lecture — which will include the “three stages of digestion” — Heitz will also provide attendees with a range of recipes designed using Ayurvedic principles.

“Even if you don’t have money, you can learn how to use the stuff in your kitchen to help yourself,” she said.

Finally, the first 25 participants will be invited to experience the digestive effects of the “six tastes” with a lunch provided by Sandpoint Curry.

Following Heitz’s presentation will be a hands-on exploration of various seed-saving and cleaning techniques with Library Seed and Garden Coordinator Anna Hebard at 1 p.m. — in which participants will be given seeds to take home for next year’s garden — and at 2 p.m. a library garden cleaning session during which attendees will learn how to prepare their gardens for winter, maintain garden tools and see how their own garden cleanup can be used for composting.

Joyce Jowdy, who runs community engagement and adult programming for the EBCL District, said she has a slate of presentations planned for October, but is still looking for ideas for programming in November.

“I want people who have areas of expertise to come to me and say, ‘Hey, is there a way we can bring this to the community and collaborate on these things?” she said. “It can be intellectual, academic, or physical, historical — whatever.”

For more information, visit and click on Saturday, Sept. 23 in the calendar.

September 21, 2023 / R / 15 COMMUNITY

More than a dozen local students receive scholarships from Innovia

The Spokane-based Innovia Foundation has awarded more than $393,000 in scholarships to regional students, including 18 from Clark Fork, Priest River and Sandpoint.

“As a community foundation, we believe that educational opportunities open the door to success,” stated Innovia Foundation CEO Shelly O’Quinn in a news release. “We are incredibly honored to partner with so many generous donors in helping students strive toward their full potential.”

The foundation manages more than 30 scholarship programs on behalf of donors who have established funds to help students achieve their higher education goals.

Below are the local students who received $1,000 each through the foundation for the 2023-’24 school year — as well as their college choice — with funds from the Doris L.Kenney Memorial Scholarship:

Clark Fork Jr./Sr. High School

•Henry Barnett, University of Montana

•Sara Hathaway, Lewis-Clark State College

•Emily Myers, University of Idaho

Priest River Lamanna High School

•Luke Butler, Pacific Lutheran University

•Zach Engelson, Whitworth University

•William Stockton, Montana State University

•Jace Yount, University of Idaho

Sandpoint High School

•Darren Bailey, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

• Ara Clark, The University of California Santa Barbara

•Maren Davidson, Southern Utah University

•Lance Hendricks, Northeastern University

• Annaby Kanning, Pepperdine University

•Haleigh Knowles, University of Idaho

Inaugural SOLE gala aims to reach and teach 1,000 youth

Selkirk Outdoor Leadership and Education’s inaugural Harvest Moon

Gala is set for Saturday, Sept. 23, raising awareness and essential funds for 1,000 local area youth to participate in SOLE’s award-winning and nationally recognized outdoor education programs during the 2023-’24 season.

The fall-themed soiree will take place on the shores of Lake Pend Oreille at Beyond Hope Resort and Pearl’s on the Lake in Hope. Attendees will be treated to food and craft cocktails from Pearl’s on the Lake, original live music from Portland-based Cedar Teeth, a silent auction, photo booth and celebratory bonfire to cap off the event.

Early bird tickets are available now, and all proceeds will be earmarked for SOLE’s Youth Scholarship Fund, providing area schools, families and groups with affordable access to the outdoor education programs offered by the organization.

SOLE is a Sandpoint-based 501(c) (3)nonprofit, which, since 2012, has designed and facilitated various experien-

Students offered free outdoor education field trips at Trestle Creek

•Elliott Lowman, Wake Forest University

•Katherine Mellander, Gonzaga University

•Sage Saccomanno, Bard College

•Stephanie Sfeir, Whitworth University

•Shelby Smith, University of Montana

The Innovia Foundation granted a total of 159 scholarships to students at more than 50 other regional schools, including Bonners Ferry High School, where Thomas Mooney-Rivkin was awarded $1,000 to attend the University of Montana and Greta Callison was awarded $2,000 to attend the University of Idaho (both funded by the Lenhart Scholarship), and Kaylee McCabe received $2,000 from the Mark and Kay Burkett Scholarship to attend Boise State University.

Each year, the Innovia Foundation awards almost $10 million in grants and scholarships throughout eastern Washington and North Idaho. To learn more, visit

Date set for 26th annual BGH Community Hospice Rose Event

Just in time for kokanee spawning season, the Selkirk Conservation Alliance and Trout Unlimited are running a number of outdoor environmental education events at Trestle Creek with free field trips Thursday-Friday, Sept. 21-22 and Thursday, Sept. 28.

Students from the Kalispel Tribal Language and Survival School, Clark Fork Homeschool Co-op, Forrest Bird Charter Schools, as well as Farmin-Stidwell, Sagle, Southside and Sagle elementary schools, participate in the “living classroom,” learning about native fisheries, water quality, aquatic macroinvertebrates, woodland plant identification, fire science, nature poetry and wetlands.

Students learn to identify species, collect real-time water quality data, collect biodiversity observations, observe living creatures and more.

Participants also have the opportunity to learn from local agency professionals, including hydrologists, wildlife biologists, conservation biologists, fire science managers, environmental attorneys, rangeland ecologists, wetland scientists, conservation officers and fisheries biologists from the Idaho Department of Fish and Game, U.S. Forest Service, Lakes Commission, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Kalispel Tribe, Master Naturalists, Trout Unlimited and the Center for Biological Diversity.

tial and outdoor education programs for local area youth to learn and develop in outdoor settings.

The Harvest Moon Gala is sponsored by local corporations and businesses, including: P1FCU, Washington Trust Bank, Swinerton, Mattox Farm Productions, North Idaho Fire and Flood, and others.

For more info or to get tickets, visit and search for “SOLE Harvest Moon Gala.” For more on SOLE, visit

For the 26th year in a row, Bonner General Health Community Hospice has brought a little bit of sunshine in people’s lives with its Rose Event. This year, BGH announced, the event will take place on Wednesday, Nov. 1, with pickups available at the BGH Health Services Building, 423 N. Third Ave., from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. A dozen roses will be available for $25 each, with delivery and discounts available for bulk orders.

Proceeds will provide direct client support to families in the community. Pre-order by visiting services/hospice.

For more information, contact Amy Anderson — who serves as executive director of the Selkirk Conservation Alliance and bull trout education coordinator for the Panhandle Chapter of Trout Unlimited — at or

16 / R / September 21, 2023 COMMUNITY
Courtesy photo.

Go, dog. Go!

Pepper, a boxer with an adorable underbite, has perhaps the best job in the world: she’s a trained therapy and reading dog. On the last Wednesday of the month, Pepper hangs out in Karen’s Kids Room at the Sandpoint branch of the East Bonner County Library, where children come to cuddle and to read to her.

The Read to a Dog program began years ago with adoptable pups from the Panhandle Animal Shelter — now called the Better Together Animal Alliance — as a way to help kids learn to read and find homes for the dogs. Brenden Bobby, the library’s exploration coordinator and a Reader columnist, even found his pup Tilly through the program. Unfortunately, the shelter’s dogs weren’t the best listeners, and eventually the program faded.

The new version of Read to a Dog debuted in December 2022 under the leadership of Youth Services Librarian Suzanne Davis and with the help of Ellen Wassif, Pepper’s owner and the associate administrator for Farmin-Stidwell Elementary. Pep-

Pepper the therapy dog helps kids learn to read at the Sandpoint Library

per is the only service dog in the program at this time, but the library is on the lookout for other certified dogs — or rabbits — to join in the storytime.

“Learning to read is hard work. In order to become a skilled reader, children have to learn phonics — sounding out words — and recognize sight words, learn new vocabulary, use their background information, practice comprehension, practice fluency and spend time reading,” said Davis. Reading is no easy feat, but kids improve immensely when they consistently read out loud. Davis said reading to Pepper is easy for kids because she’s comforting and non-judgmental.

“A struggling reader often has an adult constantly interrupting his reading with a correction in pronunciation or [by] supplying a word he is struggling with. This is tough on confidence,” said Davis.

This can make kids shy and hinder their learning, as even mispronouncing a word helps improve fluency, according to Davis.

Dogs don’t have that problem; Pepper will listen quietly and attentively no matter what. Pepper’s support provides positive re-

Pend Oreille Harvest Festival in Oldtown offers good times for a good cause

The Pend Oreille Harvest Festival returns to the Oldtown Rotary Park from Saturday, Sept. 23 to Sunday, Sept. 24, this year benefiting the Innovia Foundation’s Wildfire Emergency Response Fund.

The festivities kick off with the annual Pass-the-Pumpkin Relay Race, consisting of three-person teams with a 50/50 pot split between the race winners and the Wildfire Emergency Response Fund. Afterward, attendees are invited to enjoy live music in the Jammin’ Outdoors Exposure event, where unsigned talent gets free stage time to showcase their music, vocals or performance art talents.

Various vendors will also be on hand offering products and gifts for the coming holidays, including jams, candles, jewelry and more.

Sponsored in part by the Pend Oreille

Region Tourism Alliance, all donations to the 501(c)(3) nonprofit at the Harvest Festival will go directly to the Wildfire Emergency Response Fund to support local nonprofit organizations and other community based groups meeting the immediate and long-term needs of those affected by regional wildfires.

This event is sponsored by PORTA, the city of Oldtown, the Pend Oreille County Hotel Motel Tax Board, the Kalispel Tribe, Petroglyph, Chicas Abroad and Made in the Selkirks.

In addition to the Pend Oreille Harvest Festival, PORTA organizes events such as National Trail Days, Metaline Falls Bigfoot Festival and more. PORTA also sponsors local community events with advertising and volunteerism. Donations are tax deductible where permitted by law.

For more information, go to or contact

inforcement that motivates kids to continue learning and helps them to actually enjoy reading. Children can get similar reinforcement by reading to the important people in their lives or by being read to.

“Feeling listened to is an empowering experience, no matter the context. For children, [Read to a Dog] gives them a safe and secure way to feel listened to while they are still building their vocabulary,” said Bobby.

Dogs additionally reduce stress, helping kids relax and focus on reading. The program aims to provide a safe, comforting and

fun space for young readers to practice their skills. Children can visit Pepper Wednesday, Sept. 27 from 3:30-4:30 p.m. and sign up for a 10-minute reading session.

“It is even OK to just come in for a little cuddle time, if you are having a rough day,” added Davis.

Read to a Dog is free and takes place on the last Wednesday of each month. Upcoming dates are Sept. 27, Oct. 25 and Nov. 29. For more information, visit ebonnerlibrary. org.

The Festival’s Instrument Library now open

The Festival at Sandpoint’s Instrument Library is now open for the school year.

In alignment with its nonprofit mission to provide affordable and accessible music to the community, the Festival at Sandpoint offers a no-cost instrument library in an attempt to help keep music an affordable option for local families.

The Festival’s instrument library is available for anyone looking to play an instrument during the school year or summer. The school year check-out period begins in September and ends in June, while the summer check-out period begins in June and ends in August.

A refundable deposit will be required to check out an instrument or accessory from the library. The deposit will be refunded upon the instrument being returned in good

condition. Instrument check-outs are on a first-come, first-served basis.

Thanks to several generous donors, the Festival has an extensive instrument library, including violins, basses, cellos, electric guitars, bass guitars, trumpets, horns and more. The library also includes a variety of music accessories, including an assortment of amplifiers, stands, strings and cases.

The Festival at Sandpoint is always accepting instrument and accessory donations to add to its library.

Students who are interested in checking out an instrument should contact the Festival at Sandpoint’s office to see if any are in stock.

To learn more about the Festival at Sandpoint’s Instrument Library program, visit or contact the office at or 208-265-4554.

Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness hosting trail work project, pint night fundraiser

In honor of National Public Lands Day, the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness are hosting a trail work project Saturday, Sept. 23 at Morris and Regal creeks.

Participants are invited to meet at the Clark Fork High School (502 N. Main St.) at 8 a.m., then drive to the trailhead together with organizers. Work on the trail will continue until 2 p.m., followed by a barbecue.

Volunteers are asked to come wearing sturdy boots and carry lots of water, pack a lunch with lots of snacks, dress in long pants and a long shirt, wear a hat and sunblock, and bring their own work gloves. FSPW will take care of the rest.

“This is a big day for wilderness advocates like FSPW,” the organization stated in

a news release. “We chose this location due to its easy accessibility, moderate elevation gain and the work that needs to be accomplished on these two trails. Join us for the trail work and get rewarded with a barbecue afterwards. It’s a win/win situation.”

FSPW also extends an invitation to a fundraiser pint night Thursday, Sept. 28 at Matchwood Brewery (513 Oak St.). Featuring music from John Hastings and Sandy Compton, Matchwood will donate $1 from every pint purchased at the event from 5-8 p.m. to FSPW.

For more info, contact FSPW Executive Director Phil Hough at Find a signup form for the Morris and Regal Creek trail project

September 21, 2023 / R / 17 COMMUNITY
Pepper is ready to serve. Courtesy photo.

September 21 - 28, 2023


Bingo Night at IPA

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Live Music w/ Matt Lome

6-8pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

THURSDAY, september 21

Takumi Kato performs ancient Japanese music on Taiko drums

6pm @ Music Conservatory of Sandpoint

Very special event, with donations suggested and all gifts going to Takumi Kato. Doors open in Little Carnegie if weather permits

Spill the Wine fundraiser: “The Women Who Shaped Bonner County” • 4pm @ Bonner Co. History Museum

Come down to the Museum to celebrate “The Women Who Shaped Bonner County” for this special fundraiser, with proceeds going to replace the Museum’s flooring, which is located at 611 S. Ella Ave. in Sandpoint

FriDAY, september 22

Live Music w/ Little Wolf, Blird

7-9pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Little Wolf (Josh Hedlund and Justin Landis) will play a show with Blird (shoegaze side project from Harold’s IGA) for this listening show at IPA. No cover

Live Music w/ Frytz Mor

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

Indie and blues vibes

Live Jazz w/ Bright Moments

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Live Music w/ Ben Murray

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

Sandpoint Farmers’ Market

9am-1pm @ Farmin Park

Produce, crafts, food and more

Live Music w/ Zoramena

9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Spokane prog rock trio

The Waiting in concert

8:30pm @ The Hive

Tom Petty tribute band, with doors at 7, opener Benny Baker at 7:30.

Tickets $25/$30

Live Music w/ Brian Jacobs

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Rock, indie, pop and more

Live Jazz w/ Headwaters

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Peace Pole Unveiling

5:30-7pm @ Matchwood Brewing

Ponderay Rotary will unveil their peace pole at Matchwood on the International Day of Peace.

Play: Murder on the Orient Express (Sept. 22-23)

7pm @ Panida Theater

Join your friends at Lake Pend Oreille Repertory Theatre for a night of murder, intrigue and a plethora of amazing accents. This Agatha Christie book is a popular adaptation to the stage. Support local theater. $25

MCS Concert: Rachel Geier

7pm @ Little Carnegie Hall MCS

Welcome flutist Rachel Taylor Geierback to Sandpoint for this special concert. $30/adult, $15/kids

SATURDAY, september 23

Live Music w/ KOSH

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery Rock and pop favorites

SOLE Harvest Moon Gala

5-11pm @ Beyond Hope / Pearl’s Fundraiser for SOLE, with dinner, drinks, music, dancing, silent auction and more

Date Night Dance Workshops

7-8:30pm @ Hope Memorial CC

Beginning rumba

Spill the Wine Fundraiser: Raise your glass for a good cause

BoCo History Museum raises money for new flooring

Murder on the Orient Express

7pm @ Panida Theater

Closing night! $25

‘Welcome Back to Dancing’

7-10pm @ Sandpoint Comm. Hall

One hour of foxtrot lessons starting at 7pm, followed by general dancing until 10pm. $8/person

Find Your Strength Family Fun Run 5k and 1k

10am @ Sandpoint City Beach

5k starts at 10, 1k starts at 11. Live music from 11-2 with kids’ face painting and activities like bouncy house, magic show and more

Laddie Ray Melvin and the Blue Ribbon Tea Company • 7pm @ CREATE Arts Center, Newport, Wash.

Talented regional performers presenting original folk, blues and country music. $12/advance, $15/day of show

Pend Oreille Harvest Festival (Sept. 23-24) • 10am-4pm @ Oldtown Rotary Park, 68 Diamond Mill Road, Oldtown

This year’s concert will benefit the Wildlife Emergency Response Fund at the Innovia Foundation. Harvest Festival includes pass-the-pumpkin relay race, live music, vendors and more. Learn more at

SunDAY, september 24

Sandpoint Chess Club • 9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee Meets every Sunday at 9am

Magic with Star Alexander • 5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s Up close magic shows at the table

monDAY, september 25

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Weekly Trivia Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

With rotating hosts

Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s Restaurant

“Incarnation: Divinely Human”

Outdoor Experience Group Run

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

3-5 miles, all levels welcome

Pend Oreille Harvest Festival

See listing above

Courageous and Kind talks and meditations

6:30-8pm @ CREATE Arts Center, Newport, Wash. Talk and meditation by the monastics from Sravasti Abbey. Free

tuesDAY, september 26

Collage Night at Woods Wheatcroft Studio • 5-8pm @ Woods Wheatcroft Studio, 104 S. Second Ave. Dive into the creative process. Instruction starts at 5:15. Some supplies provided. Own supplies encouraged. Hang with friends and make art. Great group vibe. BYOB. $20-25 sliding scale

wednesDAY, september 27

POAC presents: Utah’s Repertory Dance Theatre

7:30pm @ Panida Theater

A performance of brilliant dancers showcasing great athleticism, beauty and innovation. $30/adults, $10/ students. Tickets at More info at

Pre-order deadline for BGH Hospice Rose Event @ BGH Health Services Building (423 N. 3rd Ave.)

Pre-order roses and pick them up Nov. 1. Delivery and discounts available for bulk orders. Proceeds support Hospice.

ThursDAY, september 28

Bart Budwig and Graham Farrow Knibb in concert

7pm @ Panida Little Theater

From Moscow, Budwig’s groovy Americana is top notch. Dancing show

MCC Art Classes (Hope)

1-3pm @ Mem. Comm. Ctr 208-264-0415 for more info

Sandpoint Farmers’ Market

3-5:30pm @ Farmin Park

Produce, crafts, food and more

Cherokee flute w/ Brother Music

5-7pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Pint Night for FSPW • 5-8pm @ Matchwood Brewing $1 from every pint purchased is donated to the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. Live music from John Hastings and Sandy Compton

The Bonner County History Museum invites patrons to “spill the wine” at a fundraising party Thursday, Sept. 21. Don’t worry — it’s on the house. Enjoy wine, appetizers, games and raffles and enter for a chance to win a 20-year-old double magnum bottle of cabernet sauvignon. All donations and proceeds will go toward removing the museum’s tattered carpet and refinishing the concrete underneath.

“We are calling the event ‘Spill the Wine!’ because we don’t really care about people spilling their drinks, since we’re going to tear up the carpet anyway,” said Hannah Combs, executive director for the museum.

The event is also a farewell to the museum’s exhibit “The Women Who Shaped Bonner County,” which has been on display since 2019. Sandpoint Arts and Historic Preservation Officer Heather Upton, who curated the exhibit, will take patrons on the final guided tour before the new display opens in November.

“People tend to think of turn-of-the-century women as delicate or decorative, but this exhibit shows just how gritty, funny, hardworking, independent and ingenious our women have always been,” said Combs.

The new exhibit — titled “Come What May, We Will Play’ — will feature games and activities that brought joy to those living through national crises like the Great Depression.

The fundraiser runs from 4-7 p.m. at the Bonner County History Museum, 611 S. Ella Ave., on Thursday, Sept. 21. Admittance is FREE. For more information visit

18 / R / September 21, 2023

POAC kicks off Performing Arts Season with Repertory Dance Theatre



The number of Americans disenrolled from Medicaid since the continuous enrollment requirement implemented during the COVID-19 public health emergency ended in March.


The percentage of respondents — both Democrats and Republicans — to a new Pew Research survey who expressed concern that that government regulation of generative AI will not go far enough. Also, 39% of Republicans and a quarter of Democrats thought government regulation of artificial intelligence will go too far.


The Pend Oreille Arts Council begins its 2023-’24 season with an evening of dance performed by the one of the most respected companies in the country, Repertory Dance Theatre, at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 27 at the Panida Theater.

Founded in 1966 in Salt Lake City, Repertory Dance Theatre is a professional troupe dedicated to the creation, performance, perpetuation and appreciation of modern dance.

“Celebrating 57 years of excellence in the arts, RDT has pushed the boundaries of modern dance, while preserving and celebrating its legacy,” according to a news release from POAC.

favorites, featuring a variety of performances filled with high energy, drama and humor.

“RDT is the nation’s oldest and most successful repertory dance company and we are honored to host them for a week of performances and educational outreach,” stated POAC Executive Director Tone Lund. “Join us at the Panida Theater on Wednesday night as we literally kick off this season with a stellar evening of dance performance.

“This company represents the finest caliber of performing arts, and, in addition to their public performance, the dancers will be involved in extensive educational outreach in our community throughout the week,” she added.

POAC presents Repertory Dance Theatre

RDT offers a performance showcasing athleticism, beauty and innovation. With their commitment to “build bridges of understanding that de-mystify the art of dance,” the dancers will present a mix of audience

Wednesday, Sept. 27; $30 adults, $10 youth; $7:30 p.m., Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208-263-9191; panida. org for tickets. To learn more about RDT, visit To learn more about POAC, visit

The residency was made possible by a grant from the Idaho Community Foundation’s Bonner County Fund for Arts Enhancement, with POAC offering special thanks to Marilyn Sabella for her support.

Fulfilling POAC’s educational mission, RDT’s residency

in Sandpoint brings multifaceted, multigenerational educational offerings to the community during their extended stay, including movement classes at the Senior Center and for high school athletes; a lecture and demonstration for area dance studio students and teachers; and a performance experience for 450 elementary students from five schools in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, who will be bussed to the Panida for a school performance of Journey, chronicling the history of dance in America.

Tickets to RDT’s public performance on Wednesday, Sept. 27 are $30 for adults and $10 for youth, available online at or by calling POAC at 208-263-6139. Doors will open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7:30 p.m. A limited number of season passes are still available, offering discounted admission to all seven POAC shows through April 2024, for $199 (plus tax) and fully transferable.

Sponsorship opportunities are also available for POAC’s Performing Arts Season. Call the POAC office for details.

The percentage of teachers at one of the schools in the Clark County, Nev., school district that called out sick on the same day, in what school officials believe is a coordinated union campaign of teacher absences in response to a bitter contract debate. Since Sept. 1, unexpected staff shortages have forced seven schools to cancel classes for the day and two others to combine classes. District officials have sought an emergency court order to end the absences.


The median age in the U.S. Senate is more than 27 years older than the U.S. median age of 38.9 in 2022. The current Congress is one of the oldest in a century, and President Joe Biden is the oldest president in history.


The percentage increase approved by the Idaho State Board of Land Commissioners for the Idaho Department of Land’s fiscal year 2025 budget. The increased budget will largely go toward helping to fight wildfires in Idaho, which are increasing in frequency as well as cost due to effects of climate change and inflation, respectively. See Page 7 for more on that.

September 21, 2023 / R / 19
Photo courtesy RDT.

It’s my second week in Spain, and I’m averaging five to seven miles a day on foot (I don’t even want to think about what I might be averaging a day in weight gain). I’ve yet to have a bad meal here. Tapas, Iberico pork, oxtail and the bread of Catalonia have kept me well-satisfied. The food is reasonably priced, and it’s not uncommon to find house wines cheaper than the water.

On this trip, one of my favorite dinners was in Barcelona, and it was about much more than the food. I had a chance to meet up with former, across-the-street Ponder Point neighbors who relocated here last year, taking a pair of my favorite little entrepreneurs (think snack-shack stands and snow shoveling) with them.

I took a few trinkets from Sandpoint with me and discovered their favorite item in the goodie bag was the Sandpoint Reader. While we adults shared wine and conversation, young Isla and Julian divided the paper in half and devoured every page of “Home.”

It’s easy to see why this family loves it here so much. La familia is everything and present everywhere. I love seeing all the young family units strolling in parks, shopping and dining out, often accompanied by one or more sets of grandparents.

It’s not a sight just for Barcelona, either. Throughout this trip, in Málaga, Ronda and Sevilla, a favorite pastime of

The Sandpoint Eater Much to gain in Spain!

mine is taking a seat in a plaza to watch animated families interact with one another while overseeing gaggles of young children racing one another on miniature scooters or kicking soccer balls as they imitate their favorite hero-players.

There are plenty of expats here, and if I didn’t have my hoard of treasured grandchildren, I could almost see myself living (and eating) my best life here.

Whether it’s an ingredient in paella or a tapas offering, the seafood in the coastal towns of Barcelona and Málaga is delicious and plentiful. I had more than my fill of fresh fish, mussels, calamari and shrimp. There are no “previ-

ously frozen” signs in the food markets here.

Not surprisingly, beef is plentiful in Ronda — home of the oldest bullfighting ring in Spain, currently celebrating 450 years — and there is no dish finer than rabo de toro. The local stew, literally named after and prepared from the bull’s tail, is seasoned and braised for hours with onions, garlic, tomatoes and red wine before the melt-in-your-mouth meat is usually offered with crispy potatoes. The stew dates back to Roman times, when a bull was killed in the ring, and the oxtail soup served to celebrate the bullfighter. Another culinary favorite for carnivores is Iberian

pork. The black Iberian pig is typically raised on acorns and chestnuts in the southwestern region of Spain, though this delicacy is offered throughout Spain (and Portugal).

Fresh Iberian pork is usually slow-braised or grilled. The legs are saved for serrano ham, or jamón ibérico, cured for months before it is offered by the leg or sliced paper-thin and served on a round platter. Meat shops dedicated entirely to this delicacy are omnipresent. You’ll find these prized, cured ham legs on the hoof, hanging from ceilings in meat shops, restaurants and supermarkets. From there, the ham is placed in a holder, which locks the ham firmly into place before it

is expertly carved.

While we might be hardpressed to find oxtails and Iberian hams in Sandpoint, we have plenty of regional items to help us whip up another favorite dish of mine — the traditional Spanish tortilla, which you’ll also find all over Spain.

Día de la Tortilla (“Tortilla Day”) is devoted to this essential side of Spanish cuisine.

Simple ingredients of potatoes, onions and eggs are all you need to whip up this typical Spanish staple. Finding a couple of lovely neighborhood kids (like Julian and Isla) to share it with — an added bonus!

Spanish tortilla (Tortilla de Patatas)

This easy and authentic Spanish omelet recipe combines eggs, potatoes, onion, olive oil and salt for the best tortilla ever. Practice makes perfect (flipping). Save the leftover oil in the fridge. Cut wedged for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Makes a wonderful tapas, too, when cut into small cubes. Serve 6-10 people.


•2 lbs Yukon Gold potatoes salt to taste

•8 large eggs at room temperature

•1 large Walla Walla sweet onion

•Best quality extra virgin olive oil

Peel the potatoes and rinse them under cold water. Slice as thin as possible, using a sharp knife or preferably, a mandoline.

Pat the potato slices dry with paper towels and put them into a large bowl, sprinkle generously with salt and mix well.

Heat ½ inch of best quality extra virgin olive oil in a large frying pan over medium low heat. When the oil is hot, add the potatoes and add more oil if needed, so the potatoes are completely covered in oil.

Cook the potatoes on low heat for about 20 minutes, when nearly tender, add the onions.

While the potatoes are cooking, whisk the eggs in a large bowl, season with salt and set aside.

Remove the potatoes and onions from oil with a slotted spoon or spider/skimmer, into a colander and allow them to cool and drain for at least 5 minutes.

Once the potatoes are cooled, add the potatoes and onions to the egg mixture and toss until well mixed, let mixture rest for about 15 minutes.

Pour out most of the frying oil from the potatoes (saving for another use). Place the pan over medium-low heat and pour in the egg mixture.

Cook over medium-low heat for about 6-8 minutes. Cook low and slow, running a rubber spatula along the edges to

make sure the tortilla doesn’t stick.

To flip the tortilla, take a large plate and put it over the pan and flip quickly. Slide the tortilla back into the pan to cook the other side, and cook for another 6-8 minutes.

Slide the tortilla out of the pan onto a serving plate, garnish with a bit of green herbs, and let cool a little before slicing and serving. Store leftovers covered in fridge for 2 or 3 days.

20 / R / September 21, 2023 FOOD

Renowned flutist comes home to play MCS Little Carnegie Hall

The Music Conservatory of Sandpoint will host flutist Dr. Rachel Taylor Geier to the Little Carnegie Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 22, as part of the MCS Conservatory Concert Series.

Audience members can expect a repertoire that bookends classical masterpieces with modern compositions, showcasing Geier’s virtuosity and unique ability to connect with listeners on an emotional level.

Titled “Bookends: Watercolor Dreams to Vibrant Fantasies,” Geier’s show is inspired by the juxtaposition of pieces ranging from dreamy impressionist offerings by Claude Debussy to vibrant

French works. Pieces between the bookends feature a triplet note structure, which, in essence, is also a miniature note-based bookend.

Geier, a graduate of Sandpoint High School, is not only an accomplished flutist, but an influential figure in the world of music education. She began her flute studies in Sandpoint and went on to receive degrees in flute performance from DePauw University, San Francisco State University and a Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

Today she lives in Davis, Calif., where she teaches, performs and writes at racheltaylorgeier. org. Geier was selected as the

guest judge for the upcoming Northern Idaho Flute Festival, scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23 at MCS, where aspiring flutists will have the opportunity to learn from and be inspired by her expertise during this festival. Advanced tickets are available for Geier’s performance. Follow the link on the MCS website to purchase advance tickets online for $30 adult, $15 student. Remaining tickets will be available for sale at the door on the night of the


For more info, visit

Little Wolf and Blird, Idaho Pour Authority, Sept. 22

Two of Sandpoint’s most unique band are teaming up for a Friday, Sept. 22 double-header at Idaho Pour Authority — uniting the indie singer-songwriter sound of Josh Hedlund and Justin Landis as Little Wolf, and the downtempo, shoegaze-inspired vibe of Cadie Archer, Ben Olson and Josh Vitalie as Blird, which is a side project of Harold’s IGA.

Longtime listeners in the local music scene should be well familiar with the cast of characters in Little Wolf and Blird, all having performed for years at damn near

every venue around — from the most intimate spaces to no less than the Festival at Sandpoint.

The IPA performances will be presented as a listening show, asking audience members to let the music take precedence for an up-close-and-personal experience not to be missed.

7-9 p.m., FREE, 21+. Idaho Pour Authority, 203 Cedar St., 208-597-7096,

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

KOSH, Pend d’Oreille Winery, Sept. 23

Singer and guitarist KOSH has an impressive resume: he’s played alongside Metallica, Billy Squier, Cheap Trick and many more classic bands. He got his start in San Francisco as a member of the heavy metal band TSUNAMI, and has been touring across the country since 1983.

“From private, intimate settings to stadium arenas, my contemporary and classic sounds can suit any situation,” writes KOSH

Zoramena, 219 Lounge, Sept. 23

on his website. Rock ballad or pop hit — KOSH plays it all with a timeless style that will have listeners dancing in their seats. Stop by the Pend d’Oreille Winery for a night of chart-topping favorites and delicious food.

5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., 208-2658545, Listen at

With a band name that literally translates to “madness” in Basque, you know this trio hailing from Spokane is going to be good. Dubbed as “the Inland Northwest’s only full-tilt rock-and-roll blues prog R&B band,” Zoramena features original music by Ben Vogel.

Formerly known as Ben Vogel & the Contraband, Zoramena has performed on many of Spokane’s most notable stages, including The Knitting Factory and the Pig Out

in the Park festival.

Expect a refreshing fusion of classic rock roots with high-energy experimental dollops of jazz fusion jams and prog rock vibes, all accompanied nicely by Vogel’s tenor voice.

9 p.m.-midnight, FREE, 21+. 219 Lounge, 219 N. First Ave., Listen at

My partner is discovering Kurt Vonnegut’s writings right now, and I’m a bit jealous, because I’d like to step back in time and enjoy his work again for the first time. There just aren’t many writers like Vonnegut. Reading one of his books is more like sitting around and listening to an eccentric old uncle tell stories of yesteryear, which you might believe or not. His sharp wit and unsparing satire will forever be held in the highest regard by those who enjoy good writing. * * *

Before shoegaze and dream pop took off in the last decade, bands like Slowdive pioneered the sound back in the 1990s. After 22 years away, Slowdive returned to the music world on Sept. 1 to release their fifth studio album, everything is alive. The British band formed in 1989 and disbanded in 1995, only to reform in 2014 thanks to a steady drumbeat of followers who refused to abandon their work. everything is alive is everything Slowdive fans wanted in a return album, with perhaps a bit more maturity under the ambient belt.


It’s rare that a TV show surprises me, but with Amazon’s Jury Duty, color me impressed. Imagine showing up for jury duty, sitting through a wacky trial, meeting fellow jurors who all appear to be nuts and rendering a decision only to find out the whole thing was fake, everyone was an actor and you were the only person not in on it. While the critics didn’t all love this one, I found it hilarious. After watching a bit, you’ll recognize the hands of the producers who also worked on The Office (U.S.) and inject similar workplace comedy into the mix. It’s a 10/10 for me.

September 21, 2023 / R / 21
This week’s RLW by Ben Olson
Dr. Rachel Taylor Geier. Courtesy photo. Ben Olson, Cadie Archer and Josh Vitalie are Blird, left, and Josh Hedlund and Justin Landis are Little Wolf. Courtesy photos.

From Northern Idaho News, Sept. 19, 1922


Mrs. Lena C. White, wife of W. H. white, a rancher residing a mile and a half up Trestle Creek, off the main road to Hope, died Sunday forenoon of strychnine poisoning, the dose having been administered by her own hand. Mrs. White had been mentally unbalanced for a long time. A year ago she became so bad that she was taken to the hospital for the insane at Orofino. There she soon improved and was sent home. She had not been right since, however. She frequently made threats to suicide, and only a short time ago left home and wandered in the woods for several days, the neighbors turning out to hunt for her. It was Saturday night that she obtained some squirrel poison, and between that time and the hour of her death she suffered much.

Mrs. White was born in Pennsylvania, and was 35 years old. Besides her husand she is survived by one son, aged about 14 years. Her funeral was held in the Methodist church at Hope at 11 o’clock this morning, under the auspices of Echo lodge of Rebekas of that village, Rev. Brugger officiating.


The origins of that nostalgic sound

I grew up 10 miles south of Sandpoint, in a log cabin beside Highway 95 near Westmond. To this day, if I hear the faraway hush of cars driving down a highway, it makes me think of home. The summer before middle school started, we moved from this country home to Sandpoint and I officially became a “townie.”

No longer could I hop on my dirtbike and whiz across the highway to hang with friends down Loop Road, or disappear out back to walk between cottonwoods in the magic meadow with a creek running through it. Now there was the City Beach and Third Street Pier, the city parks and baseball fields, each with their own cliques and histories.

One of the biggest changes was getting used to the night sounds. In the country, you’re accustomed to hearing animals, rain, wind and the aforementioned lonesome hush of the highway a half mile away. In the city, there were brakes squealing at the stop sign by our house in south Sandpoint.

There were noises coming from drunks walking off their night’s reverie. There were heavy engines from delivery trucks getting an early start in the morning, the loud 1990s hiphop coming from the Second Avenue Pizza delivery van and the collective noises of kids bouncing basketballs, conducting water fights and generally doing the dumb things kids do.

There was one sound, however, that instantly captivated me. It came every day, usually at night after the neighbors turned off their porch lights. Gently, from somewhere across town, there was a “duh-duhduh-duh” sound that was from a train passing over some gap in the tracks, perhaps at the bridge over Sand Creek.

It always reminded me of a drummer rapping at his snare, four quick hits, a rest, then four more until the train passed and the town settled back to its slumber.

This sound has stuck with me over the

years, from those awkward pre-teen years, through high school, past my time in college all the way up to today. If you lean out your window at night, you can still hear the sound, that ephemeral “duh-duh-duh-duh” that haunts my dreams.

It wasn’t until just last week when I finally found the precise origins of this nostalgic sound. I always knew it came from the train, but I could never tell precisely what was behind that staccato beat.

My revelation came while watching a video from a YouTuber called Hobo Shoestring, who caused me to sit straight up in my chair as he randomly answered this question that has batted around in the recesses of my brain for more than 30 years. The sound comes from what is known as a diamond railroad crossing.

Shoestring is a bit of a legend in the hobo world. Speaking with a slow, deliberate cadence — sporting a long gray beard and two fingers missing from one hand — Shoestring lives his life as a “professional hobo” and has been hopping trains since 1989 with nothing but his pack, trusty bucket and keen desire to keep this ancient part of U.S. culture alive.

Being somewhat of a hobo myself in my 20s, I found one of Shoestring’s videos a few years ago on YouTube and have been following him ever since. Much to my surprise, a video he posted a few weeks ago carried the title “Sandpoint Idahobo tracks, trains, camps and yards.” In it, Shoestring stood north of town filming as a train moved over the diamond connector, making that familiar “duh-duh-duh-duh” sound as the tires crashed over the tracks. It was as if

Sudoku Solution STR8TS Solution

someone had finally solved a riddle that has plagued me my entire life.

Diamond connectors are rough spots when it comes to maintaining the tracks. This particular one is located where the northbound Union Pacific intersects with the eastbound BNSF, and every time those tons of metal roll overhead at 20 miles per hour, the wheels hit against the perpendicular rails, producing that four-part sound, which are two sets of wheels followed by a gap of the car before the next wheels pass overhead.

An expert on everything involving trains, Shoestring talked about how often train companies have to replace those sections of tracks because of the sheer force at work.

So next time that faint “duh-duh-duhduh” comes from across town, you can thank Hobo Shoestring for solving the mystery once and for all. I, for one, am grateful his kind are still out there riding the rails.

In my next life, I hope I come back as a parrot, because I already know quite a few words.

22 / R / September 21, 2023
Crossword Solution
The “diamond connector” north of Sandpoint. Photo courtesy Hobo Shoestring YouTube.


Laughing Matter

eggcorn /EG-kawrn/

Word Week of the

1. a word or phrase that is a seemingly logical alteration of another word or phrase that sounds similar and has been misheard or misinterpreted.

“As a linguistics enthusiast, he found joy in discovering eggcorns that had permeated everyday language, such as ‘old wise tale’ instead of ‘old wives’ tale.’”

Corrections: Embrace the emptiness.

September 21, 2023 / R / 23
1.Motif 6.Chip dip 11.Cut of beef 12.Sent an electronic letter 15.Devoid of vegetation 16.Elusive 17.Lip 18.Marks of distinction 20.Was victorious 21.Dwarf buffalo 23.Delicate 24.Tarry 25.Cravings 26.Typeface 27.Out of harm’s way 28.Exude 29.Picnic insect 30.In shape 31.Contrived 34.Weighing machine 36.Golf ball support 37.Swine 41.Tattled 42.Birthed 43.River in Spain 44.Boor 45.Prostitute 46.Wicked 47.Unit of energy 48.Deny 51.East northeast 52.Harbors 54.Whiskers 56.Medical needle 1.Rookie 2.Endocrine secretion 3.Hearing organ 4.Millisecond 5.European volcano DOWN ACROSS Copyright
mouthful 10.Shad-like fish 13.Worn away 14.Physics unit 15.Donkey sounds 16.Slums 19.Duplicate 22.Paving material 24.Wailer 26.Not real 27.Mayday 30.Adolescent 32.Not new 33.Geeks 34.Floor 35.Mountain lions 38.Opposite or counterpart 39.Emery wheel 40.Undersides 42.Teased 44.Not more 45.Flatboat 48.Disappeared 49.Capable 50.Affirmative votes 53.Depression 55.Appropriate 57.Oversight 58.Horse 59.Aromatic compound
Solution on page
8.Circuits 9.Small
Solution on page 22 Solution on page 22

Yafay Wellness, located on the corner of Second Ave. and Church Street in the heart of downtown Sandpoint is a must visit. Owner Jen Dillon has done a fantastic job of bringing together wellness products, services and amazing healthy cuisine all under one roof!

Yafay Bistro can be accessed from the Church Street entrance and serves lunch Tuesday through Saturday. Some local favorites include the bison burger, Greek falafel, tofu or organic chicken Thai noodle salad and Szechuan chicken lettuce wraps. Gluten free, vegan and options for kids are available They also offer homemade soups, organic mocktails, cold press juices, juice cleanses and herbal loose teas they infuse

Off the Second Avenue entrance of the building, you will find the Wellness Services, which includes The Oxygen Bar. Get high on 02! The #1 post workout muscle therapy is oxygen!

No Drug Interactions or Side Effects

It also helps with anxiety, digestion, insomnia, stress and more! Drop-in's welcome! Only $24 for so many benefits!

Be sure to visit our new holistic pharmacy opening October 1st. We have brought in over 300 homeopathic remedies! Come in and check out our homeopathic prescription manual. There are no drug interactions or side effects with homeopathy. Book an appointment with our new integrative practitioner, Shawn Nieman. Hespecializes in nutrition, fitness and natural remedies. We are excited to bring the first holistic pharmacy of this kind to Sandpoint.

To learn more or donate, visit:

VafayWellnessnowoffering HolisticPharmacy YAFAY BISTRO OFFERS Organic Meat & Vegan Dishes Gluten-Free Options Available YAFAY WELLNESS OFFERS The Oxygen Bar HOLISTIC PHARMACY Over 300 Natural Remedies 1st Of Its Kind in Sandpoint Juice Cleanses
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