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2 / R / September 28, 2023

The week in random review


“A bore is someone who deprives you of solitude without providing you with company.”

Oscar Wilde, Irish poet and playwright

mind the (age) gap

It’s no revelation that elected officials are often far older than the population they serve. According to The Cultural Currents Institute, a political consulting agency based in Texas, one state leads the nation with the largest age gap between elected officials and their constituents: that’s right, it’s Idaho. The Gem State led the nation with a stunning 33-year gap between the average age of their politicians (70 years old) and the median age of Idahoans (37.2 years old). The next closest states are Maryland and Wyoming, each with a 27.3year age gap. Looking at our state leaders, the numbers aren’t too much of a surprise, with Sen. Jim Risch (79), Rep. Mike Simpson (72), Sen. Mike Crapo (71), Gov. Brad Little (69) and the veritable baby of the group Rep. Russ Fulcher (60). The rising age of U.S. politicians has worked its way into political conversations lately, with instances like Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell’s “freezing” episodes during press conferences, Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s persistent absence due to age-related impairments and the looming 2024 presidential election, which seems to be shaping up to be another fight between President Joe Biden and former-President Donald Trump, whose combined ages equal 157 years. I’m no ageist, but perhaps it’s time we start electing people who more accurately represent the age of the voters they represent.


Sometimes, while out recreating on the lake, I’ll come across a Canada goose who looks like he’s seen some things. They look a little ragged, with eyes that bulge out of their sockets, feathers askew on their backs and honks that sound hoarse and strained. These poor wild souls I have dubbed the “refugeese,” after hundreds of their brethren were rounded up and executed because we have a gutless city government that will literally kill wild animals just to placate tourists and complainers who can’t handle seeing a bit of goose poop on the City Beach lawn.

“Stay away from Sandpoint,” I caution these refugeese. “They’ll kill you there. They’ll gas you. Don’t go near that town, refugeese. It’s for your own good.”

It’s moments like those, as I sit lakeside conversing with a damn goose, that I realize how ridiculous this town has made me. Because, try as they might, killing a few hundred geese will never stop them from landing on a huge grassy lawn for a snack and a bit of respite. Wild creatures care not for our laws nor our desires, they just are, and it’s sad we have to kill some of them just to make ourselves a bit more comfortable while getting a suntan.


This week’s cover is all about Banned Books Week, which takes place Sunday, Oct. 1-Saturday, Oct. 7 (read more on Page 15). The cover features a unique piece of art titled “Read Before Burning,” created by Sandpoint artist Elana Westphal.

Those of you who know me will understand how I feel about banning or limiting access to books based on their subject matter. I’m a big advocate for the written word. I believe everyone should have equal access to written materials and leave it up to parents to decide what their children should or shouldn’t read. Sure, there is a time and a place for legitimate censorship, like when words incite violence, for example. After all, no rights are absolute. But to limit access to books because of one’s ideology is a step too far. This week’s review on Page 14 is my fourth review of banned books, and it happens to be a book that opened my eyes quite a bit when I first read it during freshman year of high school: Brave New World by Aldous Huxley. Have a great week, everyone. Read, think and be merry.


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About the Cover

This week’s cover is titled “Read Before Burning” and was created by Sandpoint artist Elana Westphal.

September 28, 2023 / R / 3

Council gives final greenlight for construction of James E. Russell Sports Center

After more than a year of planning — and rising community debate in recent months — Sandpoint City Council members voted Sept. 27 to give their final approval to the contracts that will open the way for the start of construction on the James E. Russell Sports Center at Travers Park.

The unanimous vote came during a special public hearing that drew a near-capacity crowd, with the majority of them expressing support for the project, though some from the tennis community with caveats related to sharing the facility equitably with pickleball players, and others flat out opposed to the facility based primarily on its location and the required removal of more than a dozen mature trees and the replacement of the playground.

Ultimately, though, the public comment and views from the council were in favor.

“This is going to be a gem for our community,” said Councilor Andy Groat, later adding in apparent reference to some of the pushback, “Sandpoint is an interesting community; it takes a bit for us to all understand and believe, and we’re here to believe.”

Bob Costanza, who splits his time between Hope and Arizona and said he’s built and owned two tennis clubs — as well as competed successfully nationally in the USA Pickleball Association — said the James E. Russell Sports Complex is a “beautiful facility for the community” supporting “one of the best lifetime sports.”

However, others like Sandpoint resident Ann Giantvalley, spoke of “deep concern for the plan” based on its location and scope of changes at Travers Park, questioning whether it could accurately be described as a “renovation,” which would imply the repair, renewal or restoration of the already wellused park.

“I don’t really feel like this is properly a renovation,” she said,

going on to suggest the project would “grossly modify what has been working well.”

The decision Sept. 27 kicks off the first phase of construction, including survey work, demolition, installation of the foundation and utilities. Phase 1 also requires the removal of the existing playground and reconstruction, relocation of the picnic shelter and the structure for the sports facility.

Paid for by a private donation of $7.5 million from the Russell family, the project will be undertaken by Minnesota-based Legacy Building Solutions, with construction management and general contractor services provided by Ginno Construction Company, Coeur d’Alene.

Following the change order approved Sept. 27, Legacy’s fee for building fabrication and installation comes to almost $2.74 million, anchor bolts for the structure will cost $22,119, the site improvement permit will run to more than $1.85 million, and Ginno Construction’s Phase 1 fee will be $235,056, bringing the new contract amount to more than $4.23 million.

According to city documents, a guaranteed maximum price for construction services will be set after the design development phase is concluded, which will require an amended agreement. The final Phase 1 project schedule hasn’t been established yet, but the timeline under the bid is 240 days to completion. Meanwhile, work on the site is expected to begin in October, though the precise date won’t be determined until the contract is signed and a notice to proceed has been issued.

Sandpoint Park Planning and Development Manager Maeve Nevins-Lavtar said groundbreaking had been planned for June, but a “very hostile construction market” got in the way — specifically related to the lack of available electrical and HVAC items and a shortage of subcontracts, especially locally.

“This is a very large project with lots of moving parts,” she said.

The structure will be of “tension fabric” design, constructed with a solid steel frame of welded columns and tapered rafters. Polyester fabric panels coated with PVC will be attached to the exterior framing and anchored tight to cover the roof and walls, with more anchored fabric panels attached to the interior. Insulation will be provided between the two layers of panels, with ventilation from the eaves to the ridge of the roof.

According to the city’s bid package, the structure’s fabric cladding has a warranty period of 25 years from the date of substantial completion, with the manufacturer agreeing to repair or replace the components of the building that leak “or otherwise fail to remain weathertight” within 20 years from substantial completion.

According to the resolution approved Sept. 27, the James E. Russell Sports Center aligns with the Parks and Recreation Master Plan, which was adopted in September 2020 and identified the desire for an indoor tennis facility at Travers Park. The city received the Russell family donation in March 2022, which was intended to fund the design and construction of a court sports facility and “gateway plaza” into the Travers-Centennial Great Northern Sports Complex, as well as the donation of two bronze sculptures to be installed at the entrance to Travers Park.

As planning proceeded in the following months, the sports cen-

ter concept grew from an indoor tennis facility into a multi-use complex designed with both tennis and pickleball at the forefront, as well as an expanded and updated playground, bicycle skills course and all-wheeled skatepark expansion.

While some have applauded the sports center and its associated park renovations as a historic opportunity for recreational improvements, others have been passionate in their opposition to the project as out of place for Travers Park and unnecessarily requiring the replacement of the heavily used playground area and the removal of more than a dozen mature trees.

According to the Nevins-Lavtar, 20 trees would be removed, which the bid packet indicates would cost more than $22,000. When combined with stump grinding and pruning and protection of existing trees and roots, the total tree-related services contract is $42,530. However, Nevins-Lavtar added, 60 trees would be replanted, sourced from a nursery in Bonners Ferry.

Longtime local resident Rebecca Holland has been among the most vocal and consistent opponents of the project, with special emphasis on the tree removal and disassembly, replacement and relocation of the playground. Holland has advocated for moving the sports center somewhere else to avoid those impacts on Travers Park.

“The whole thing has been about location,” she said, adding later, “Location, location, location. The building is beautiful, but I can’t help but imagine James Russell … would approve of killing these 20 big, gorgeous park trees.”

Holland said that encouraging more access to tennis and pickleball facilities is “all good, but this plan sucks. And it’s not good that it’s just moving along.”

Jim Russell — who along with his mother, Ginny Russell, donated the $7.5 million to the city in honor of his late-father — thanked City Hall and residents for the dialogue: “The whole intention of this was to bring the community together,” he said, though noted that while some aren’t in favor, “I think that’s valuable.

“If I’m going to have a say, I’m going to say I’m a big advocate of both the location and of the design,” he said.

With the final contracts approved, city officials said to stay tuned for an announcement related to groundbreaking soon. Nevins-Lavtar said a firm schedule would be established in the following two to three weeks after a preconstruction meeting this week.

After that, she said, the work will “move pretty swiftly.”

NEWS 4 / R / September 28, 2023
A rendering of the James E. Russell Sports Center, which was approved at the Sept. 27 Sandpoint City Council meeting. Courtesy image.

Durst will ‘seek amicable and fair exit’ from West Bonner Co. School District

For the first time in nearly a month after the Aug. 29 special election that resulted in the recall of former-West Bonner County School District Board of Trustees Chair Keith Rutledge and former-Vice-Chair Susan Brown, the district finally mustered a quorum for its Sept. 27 meeting.

Trustee Troy Reinbold attended via telephone after missing three consecutive meetings, allowing the board to officially recognize the vacancies from the two zones occupied by the recalled board members.

Along with trustees Margaret Hall and Carlyn Barton, who both attended in person, Reinbold approved a motion to officially declare vacancies in the zones formerly held by Rutledge and Brown, which would begin the process to fill those seats.

Applications for those seeking positions on the board for Zones 2 and 4 will be accepted no later than Friday, Oct. 13 at 5 p.m., and interviews could potentially be conducted on Wednesday, Oct. 18 at 4:30 p.m., prior to the regularly scheduled meeting. Applicants will be vetted for qualifications and asked to turn in a petition of candidacy with no less than five signatures from electors in their district.

Absent from the meeting was any discussion about the elephant in the room, a statement published by embattled WBCSD Superintendent Branden Durst to social media on Sept. 25, indicating he would be parting ways with the district after months of controversy surrounding his hiring.

Rutledge, Brown and Reinbold all voted in favor of hiring Durst, with Hall and Barton opposed, providing a major impetus for the successful recall

effort in August.

“Today, I am announcing my decision to seek an amicable and fair exit from my role as the Superintendent of the West Bonner County School District,” Durst wrote. “This decision has not been made lightly, and I am fully aware of the challenges and sentiments that have surrounded my brief tenure.”

Durst’s letter fell short of announcing his resignation, but instead focused on the “relentless obstacles thrown my way by those who wished to see me fail, including the Idaho State Board of Education and the Superintendent of Public Instruction.”

He continued, stating, “despite these challenges, I persevered and with the help of great staff achieved remarkable milestones that I hope will have a positive impact on the district long into the future.”

The “milestones” Durst claimed included how he “successfully placed over 30 new staff members in key positions

across the district,” as well as “initiated a thorough forensic audit,” and began implementation of the district’s “five-year strategic plan, providing the district with a clear roadmap for the future.”

The Reader reached out to Durst for clarification on several points in his letter, including what he meant by “an amicable and fair exit.” The Reader also asked about his claim regarding “staff enhancements” after at least 38 resignations were counted from the district since June 21, as well as the fact that WBCSD is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with former employees who alleged they were not paid for their work before being terminated.

Durst did not respond to the Reader’s questions.

“The Board is aware of Mr. Durst’s intended exit, and plans to take the matter up at this week’s Board Special Meeting,” the trustees wrote on Facebook Sept. 25. However, no mention was made about Durst’s letter or

intended exit from the district at the Sept. 27 meeting.

Reinbold made a motion at the beginning of the meeting to amend the agenda, asking to strike several action items, as well as two executive sessions related to considering dismissal of an employee as well as the hiring of a new employee to fill a vacancy. The motion was approved and Reinbold left the meeting prior to the public comment period.

Being executive sessions, no details were provided related to the substance of the items pertaining to employee dismissal or hiring.

Meanwhile, Durst stated in his Sept. 25 post, “I believe it is necessary for me to step aside as Superintendent. It may not be entirely fair, but life rarely is. However, I am committed to facilitating a smooth transition for the district and supporting the new superintendent.”

The next board meeting for WBCSD has been scheduled for Wednesday, Oct. 18.

Sandpoint City Council votes to rezone portions of BoCo Fairgrounds

In a special public hearing Sept. 27, Sandpoint City Council members voted to approve two requests from the Bonner County commissioners to rezone portions of the Bonner County Fairgrounds and the adjacent Sheriff’s Office Readiness Center.

Commissioner Luke Omodt

gave testimony on behalf of the county, with Sheriff Daryl Wheeler providing the opposing arguments during the public comment portion.

The first application sought to rezone one parcel of approximately .3 acres in the southeast corner of the fairgrounds property from Rural Residential-1 to Mixed Use Residential. MUR is classified as a commercial zoning district and therefore allows

for the development of multiand single-family housing, as well as larger facilities such as grocery stores, schools, churches and community recreation centers.

The second — and more controversial — request was to rezone a 2.2-acre parcel west of the Sheriff’s Office facility from MUR to RR-1, which allows for single-family dwellings, fairground facilities and even police

and fire stations under certain conditions.

Despite the residential uses that could potentially be allowed under the new zones, Omodt underscored that the county’s priority would be toward economic development to benefit the fairgrounds and the community at large.

< see REZONE, Page 6 >

NEWS September 28, 2023 / R / 5
After a month of no quorum, trustees declare board vacancies in Zones 2 and 4
WBCSD Superintendent Branden Durst speaks with reporters. Photo by Ben Olson.

< REZONE, con’t from Page 6 >

“Bonner County is not in the business of building homes,” he said, adding that county government’s obligations run toward the highest and best use of taxpayer dollars, and “one of them is the maintenance of the fairgrounds. … I see no immediate future for Bonner County to go into property development.”

The Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission recommended in July that the city approve the rezoning, as the current and future uses for the property — as stipulated in the Comprehensive Plan submitted by the applicant — aligned with the MUR zoning requirements.

Sheriff Daryl Wheeler has long opposed any zone changes at the fairgrounds, arguing that the parcels under consideration are intended for future expansion of the justice services complex to house the court house, jail, and various related offices.

Wheeler’s has been one of several competing plans put forward for the property since 2009, and has been in competition with the county’s alternative proposal to expand the current RV campground facilities — a proposal that for at least the past year has resulted in what Councilor Andy Groat and Wheeler both described as a “turf war” between Commissioners Steve Bradshaw and Omodt and the Sheriff’s Office. Commissioner Asia Williams has consistently supported Wheeler’s side of the argument.

Bonner County did not list the RV proposal as the reason for the rezone, but Wheeler told the City Council that his opposition to the move was rooted in state statute.

“Per Idaho Code [Section] 22-204, Luke Omodt lacks statutory authority to be the exclusive applicant for the proposed land-use. I.C. [Section] 22-204 requires that the county fair board be part of the fairgrounds-related land-use planning activities. Therefore, the county fair board is a necessary party to this application,” Wheeler said, alleging that the commissioners “illegally usurped the authority of the Bonner County Fair Board” by fronting the application without the input of the Fair Board — which he added did not support the rezone.

Zachary Jones, the city’s legal council, clarified that the commissioners are in fact the legal owners of the property and are therefore able to act without the Fair Board.

“The ground that the fair operaties on is Bonner County property. The ground

that the Sheriff’s Office sits upon is Bonner County property,” said Omodt, referring to the Planning and Zoning Commission’s July 18 meeting, when it recommended denying the switch to RR-1 — a decision that Wheeler said was “because it did not fit the city’s Comprehensive Plan, may have unintended consequences and the County Fair Board should be consulted.”

Because RR-1 allows for lower density housing, reduced property value could be one such consequence, he argued.

Meanwhile, developers Little Sand Creek, LLC received an easement to construct a right-of-way west of the fairgrounds, eating up two acres on Samuelson Avenue previously used by the rodeo. Rezoning the 2.2 acres northwest of the justice center would help to mitigate that loss and ensure the Bonner County Fairgrounds’ year-round activities will be less affected, according to Omodt. He further emphasized that the commissioners’ priority is saving taxpayer money and boosting the county economy.

“For every dollar that is brought into our county, when people come and spend money in support of Sandpoint — whether they’re from Montana, whether they’re from Washington — that’s jobs, that is taxes, and that is what feeds families. One of [the proposed uses for the land] is an economic incubator and the other one is a field that lies fallow,” Omodt said.

Councilor Justin Dick moved to approve the rezone, explaining that it will benefit the current iteration of the fairgrounds. He deemed all future considerations irrelevant, as the parcel can be rezoned again if need be.

“Why not do the rezone now? It aligns the properties in which we’re looking at with the current occupants there, and I don’t find it to be any more or less restrictive 20 years down the road if these two groups [the fairgrounds and the readiness center] are not on this piece of property,” said Dick.

Groat seconded Dick’s motion to rezone, but voted nay.

“This is an old fashioned turf war and I would really appreciate that the city not be involved in this,” said Groat, alluding to the long-running tensions between the commissioners and the sheriff.

The motion carried, and the additional two motions to finalize the rezone passed unanimously.

Additional reporting by Zach Hagadone.

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:

U.S. Rep. Angie Craig, D-Minn., recently introduced a bill that would prevent members of Congress from being paid during a shutdown, Business Insider reported.

Facing incarceration, former-President Donald Trump has renewed calls for a government shutdown, calling it “the last chance to defund these political prosecutions against me and other patriots,” according to Vanity Fair, which also noted that the two state cases against Trump would not likely be affected by a federal shutdown.

MarketWatch reported the difference between a government shutdown due to failure to reach a debt limit and a shutdown due to failure to pass an annual budget.

According to The Hill, Senate Republicans are “increasingly alarmed” by “a small group of conservative rebels” in the House blocking spending legislation. Some House Republicans have chastised their rebel faction; one said, “We’ve got five clowns that don’t know what they want except attention.” The Washington Post reported that the hardliners aim to cut non-defense discretionary funds by $58 billion beyond May’s debt ceiling agreement. Cuts sought include 80% from low-income schools and at least $2 trillion from Social Security.

Analysis from the Congressional Budget Office shows that the 2018-’19 government shutdown cost the economy $3 billion.

During a potential government shutdown, CBS reported that post offices will stay open, though some federal employees will work but not be paid, including the military and federal law enforcement; IRS operations will continue; Veterans Affairs and Veterans Health Administration facilities will remain open, but related research will stop; food benefit funding is mandated, but could be impacted by a shutdown longer than 30 days; national parks may close or have limited services; and air travelers could experience delays.

President Joe Biden became the first president ever to join a picket line, when he recently stood in solidarity with striking members of the United Auto Workers. Various media have noted that UAW picketers are striking over a 350-1 wage gap ratio between CEOs and workers, compared to a 20-1 ratio in the 1950s.

The White House recently announced

the establishment of the National Office of Gun Violence Prevention, which will be overseen by Vice President Kamala Harris.

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., and his wife are facing allegations of receiving cash, guns and gold bars in exchange for favors linked to Arab and Egyptian officials, The Lever reported.

Rupert Murdoch announced he will step down from chairing his multi-billion dollar media empire, which includes Fox News.

Biden recently announced the American Climate Corps jobs training program. According to The Lever, the program could employ up to 20,000 young people for working on projects such as habitat restoration, climate adaptation projects and installation of clean energy infrastructure. Funding comes in part from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal and the 2022 Inflation Reduction Act. Ten states already have similar climate corps programs funded in part by AmeriCorps.

Blast from the past: The American Climate Corps has a role model in the Civilian Conservation Corps, a response by President Franklin D. Roosevelt to that era’s environmental disaster, the Dust Bowl and high unemployment amid the Great Depression. In the early 20th century, a government-driven call to bust the sod for growing wheat from Texas to Nebraska led to the loss of 1.2 billion tons of soil made loose by the loss of natural grasses. Choking soil and browned and blackened skies blew as far as New York City. Weather anomalies never before seen by scientists were witnessed. The environmental devastation killed some 7,000 people, and, compounded by bank failures, left at least 2 million homeless. FDR’s predecessor, President Herbert Hoover, a believer in letting the markets call the shots, had refused to provide food relief for the starving multitudes, even though there had previously been a wheat surplus before drought and the winds blew away the soil. When FDR took over, Hoover said there was nothing to be done about the financial and environmental calamities that unfolded during his time in office. But FDR used his first 100 days to create “turn-it-around” programs, including the CCC, which planted more than 3 billion trees and built dams, as well as trails and shelters in more than 800 parks. At a time when unemployment was as high as 25%, the CCC provided jobs and job experience for 3 million Americans.

6 / R / September 28, 2023

Emily Articulated

A column by and about Millennials

Hard conversations

As a lover of long-form content, especially when focused on conversations between interesting people, I frequently find myself listening to the Armchair Expert podcast with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman. So when my podcast app popped up with Queer Eye star Jonathan Van Ness (JVN) — another favorite of mine — as a guest on the show, with nothing but a rainy afternoon of chores stretched before me, all I could think was “Yes, Henny.”

At the top of the podcast, however, was a trigger warning. After an introduction of JVN as a TV star, beauty mogul, activist and fellow podcaster — who identifies as non-binary and uses he/him, she/ her and they/them pronouns interchangeably — was a declaration that the group got into a discussion on trans rights. And at about 30 minutes in, it became clear why that required a “heads up.”

One moment, I was a bouncing back and forth on Dax and Jonathan’s fun and lighthearted ping-pong match of banter, during which JVN’s fast-paced, bubbly, chattiness was on full display; and, the next moment, I descended with the host and his guest into a tense and seemingly forced debate that eventually ended in Jonathan’s exhausted tears.

What started with Dax and JVN differing on whether The New York Times is left-leaning, escalated into Dax parroting popular trans rights-critical talking points for what felt like no other reason than his perpetual love of playing devil’s advocate. This put JVN on the reluctant defensive, forcing them to take up the mantle of activist, eloquently and informatively sharing about the past, present and

future of the trans rights movement and its positions — growing more weary every time Dax mulishly swerved around an opportunity to exit the conversation.

Jonathan explained this weariness, sharing, “I think if you aren’t personally impacted by an issue, for people who are, it just is a bit exhausting,” later expressing through tears that they had really hoped to come on the show to talk about their own podcast, Getting Curious.

The whole exchange and the herculean emotional effort required by JVN to return, post-confrontation, to the show’s initial lightheartedness, left me a bit queasy. It made me sit — sponge in hand — with the idea that if the path through our ever-growing cultural division is (as I suspect it is) hinged on hard conversations and honest debate, then the “how” and “why” of it has never been more essential.

Although there was very little I agreed with in Dax’s dialogue, I do concur with his sentiment that, “To even question [anything] makes you an enemy. I don’t think that’s the way forward.” Context, however, matters.

We have to consider how, when and with whom we instigate

hard or sensitive conversations — whether it’s on an internationally distributed podcast, or with the person on the barstool next to us.

Before diving head-first into a heated discussion, grabbing hold of whomever we can find to be our conversational sparring partner, we need to consider: Are the stakes as high for me on this topic as they are for the person with whom I’m trying to engage? When someone is personally connected to a topic or issue, debating or discussing it can be a heavier task for them to bear. Being sensitive to the weight that different issues have on different people is a respectful starting point in productive debate.

Next, we should ask ourselves if the cards are stacked disproportionately in our favor heading into a sensitive conversation (here’s looking at you, guy bringing his Rolodex of memorized and obscure political statistics to the bar). Before engaging in debate, we should take a personal inventory of our actual intentions. Are we hoping to steamroll another person with our hot takes, or do we have an honest intention to learn or grow our perspectives?

Most importantly, we need to discern if the person with whom we’re trying to engage is also willing and interested in having a hard conversation.

Whether it’s a discussion of hot-button issues, human rights, politics, race, gender, sexuality or a general exploration of another person’s views, asking permission to engage in sensitive topics, and actively looking for signs of discomfort throughout the conversation, ensures we’re talking with a willing party. Because being genuinely curious, ready to learn and interested in listening as much as sharing — even in the most well-intentioned of circumstances — isn’t always an open invitation.

Instead of forcing conversations, we can aim to educate our-

selves on topics in ways that don’t tax the people disproportionately tasked with doing the teaching. We can seek opportunities to engage with experts on the subjects in which we’re interested in discussing, who are prepared (and often compensated) for the labor of debate. And, of course, whenever an equally interested, mutually excited debater crosses our path, we can engage, listen, share and actively seek that mutual middle

ground on which our way forward is etched — respectfully, together.

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

September 28, 2023 / R / 7
Retroactive By BO
Emily Erickson.


• • I recently experienced a random act of kindness. While attempting to push my motorcycle up and over a curb to a covered porch out of the rain, a car stopped on the side of the road and this smiling guy came running over and lent a hand. With his help, it was a cinch and we got the motorcycle safely under cover. Before I had a chance to ask his name, he just accepted a fist bump thank-you from me, ran back to his car and drove away. Thank you, friend. You probably saved my back from a few days of pain.


•It’s election season, which means it’s time for my usual reminder to people about how to act during a political campaign. We’ve already heard reports that several campaign signs have been stolen from supporters’ yards. This is not only costly and annoying for the candidate, but also illegal. When someone displays a campaign sign on their private property or private business, you have no right to go onto that property and take down or otherwise damage the sign. Election time often brings out the worst in people, unfortunately. Be better and don’t let the election season chaos take hold.

•I’ve noticed a weird trend lately: a lot of people have been turning into the Sandpoint Post Office from Church Street, which is the exit. The entrance is off of Fourth Avenue, as it has been for almost 60 years. Most anyone who has spent more than a day here knows this, but oddly, the offenders are more often 7B license plate holders. I tried to head off a car that took the wrong entrance last week, but they just smiled at me and continued barging past the two cars waiting to exit, made a five-point turn to park and got out of their car like it was the most normal thing in the world. Perhaps it’s time the post office put up a “do not enter” sign on the Church Street egress. It’s kind of silly, like when products have to put “do not eat” on their plastic packaging, but the world is filled with people who are a few beers short of a six pack.

Don’t listen to the ‘disinformation’ campaign against open primaries…

Dear editor,

In its first month, the Idahoans for Open Primaries ballot initiative has unprecedented support from registered voters. The grassroots coalition measure is designed both to increase freedom of choice and also to elect responsive officials. A disinformation campaign exists to attempt to defeat the initiative.

One false claim is that voting will be too confusing for Idahoans. Actually, voting for your candidate will be less confusing. Primary elections will be open for choice, including for more than 250,000 registered unaffiliated voters who now receive mostly blank primary ballots. In open primaries, voters can choose any candidate, all on the same ballot.

Voting will also be simple in the general election. For each office, the top four winners from the primary will be on the general election ballot. As always, voters choose the candidate they want most to win. They may then optionally rank three other candidates by preference. So if the voter’s top candidate doesn’t win, they continue to have a voice.

They can vote their conscience and effectively have safety votes. And they can demote their least-preferred candidate or cast “no” vote for that one. After the county clerks tabulate votes, the winner will have received a majority.

Unlike what the disinformation campaign says, in the varied places where this type of system has been adopted, voters like it. It gives people choice, and it elects people who respond to them. Maybe best of all, campaigns become more civil.

Sign a petition at Vanderford’s.

Get out the vote in November…

Dear editor,

I would like to thank all the patrons in Zones 2 and 4 of the West Bonner County School District for voting during the recall election. It is so very important to do so regardless of your beliefs and views.There are more elections coming up in November. These are also important so get out and vote again. The huge voter turnout was awesome but the numbers indicate that a lot of patrons still didn’t vote. Let’s do better in November. If it’s to be, it’s up to me.

Commissioners support Providence developer over rights of citizens...

Dear editor,

As usual, our commissioners and Planning and Zoning Commission sided with the developer over our citizens in approving the 116- unit Providence subdivision.

Similar to other actions, they disregarded the rights of those already living in the area now faced with increasingly dense traffic on Highway 200 and no emergency exit out of Providence Road. How can an additional 200 trips a day off Providence Road help the situation?

Why would the Planning Commission not require multiple outlets to diffuse traffic and allow safe exit for residents of the new development and of those living on Providence Road?

Even now a traffic light is badly needed at the intersection of Hwy. 200 and Kootenai Bay Road. The Idaho Transportation Department says it “will put some cameras there.” (Will that study take another two years?)

Once again our commissioners have supported the developer, who bears no responsibility to the community it is adversely impacting, over the rights of our citizens.

Many questions regarding Providence subdivision…

Dear editor,

I have read in the Bee and the Reader all the letters about the Providence addition.

It is mind boggling to see all the reasons why it should never get off the ground. I have no doubt these people know the rules they are stating are true. Why are these commissions ignoring them?

I smiled when I saw the contractor did not want to join Kootenai.

About 15 or 20 years ago, when my husband was on the Kootenai Council, there was a contractor who was going to develop the Providence area. There were heavy discussions about the proposed street sizes, of which the council told the contractor, if they did not match the same that is in Kootenai, and other things, the council had no desire to have them annexed in.

The contractor at the time (don’t know if it is the same one) said he was not going to change his plans. There was concern about fire trucks being able to turn. Anway, so the long and short of it, it was dropped, until now.

It surprises me that Sandpoint is OKing the water, because Kooteni and Floyd McGhee had a problem with the development of Humbird Street and water rights to the point where a well was installed on a lot next to the homebuyer’s house to service that house and another. Is that still there? Or did Sandpoint finally give service to that house?

Kootenai School still has modulars for classes, don’t they?

How can the commission have a blind eye to that?


Dear editor,

The Providence Road 116-unit development off Highway 200 at Kootenai has so many issues that are out of order that it seems impossible that our commissioners and the Planning and Zoning Commission have approved it.

They have ignored their many constituents who have voiced concerns and given in to the developer who seems to have made no promised concessions.

Is this our future?

Dear editor,

It sounds as if the demise of the existing play area at Travers Park is near, with reports of demolition as soon as Monday, Oct. 2. The line item for tree demolition alone is a whopping $27,000.

I am livid that the city would spend tax dollars and generous donation dollars killing healthy trees and digging up a big open play area for kids that is so valuable to our community. Why spend the entire $500,000 park improvement budget replacing what you don’t need to remove?

I fully object to this frivolous spending and want to see those dollars spread across all our city parks.

I have been asking the city since the day I learned of this ill-advised plan (January 2023), to find a better, more suitable area within the park complex for the new indoor pickleball courts, rather than in the exact same spot as the truly unique and very busy play area. I have pleaded with our elected officials in writing and in person and received no response, no solution.

The fact that members of this tight-knit community are fighting with each other over indoor pickleball/tennis vs. a much-loved children’s play area and shade trees, is incredibly sad and was entirely preventable. They are both important. They are both achievable.

Not addressing this conflict immediately when community concerns first emerged is causing harm. And while this is much more difficult to address now, it is the city’s responsibility to resolve this conflict, or it will forever be a black eye in our community.

Please write council and show your support for a unified plan for both indoor pickleball/tennis and keeping the large open space play area at Travers Park.

8 / R / September 28, 2023
out the vote in November…
‘Travers Park for all’...

To submit a photo for a future edition, please send to

Top right: “This is why I like living here,” noted photographer Susan Drinkard.

Top far right: A photograph taken on Sept. 19 called “Morning has Broken.” Photo by Brent Sisson.

Bottom left: Young mycologist Wilder Cannon locates a humongous fungus, probably a chicken of the woods. Photo by proud dad Will Cannon.

Bottom right: Family friends Isla and Julian, formerly of Sandpoint, pose with “The Sandpoint Eater” columnist Marcia Pilgeram while she recently visited Spain.

September 28, 2023 / R / 9

Science: Mad about

kalambo falls building site

Science: just when you think you’ve got everything figured out, new evidence comes to light that says: “You don’t know squat!”

This happened recently at the Kalambo Falls prehistoric site. British archaeologist John Desmond Clark first excavated the site on the border of Zambia and Tanzania in East Africa in 1956. The location became a national monument in 1964, which led to its preservation and protection. More recently, researchers discovered a wooden building structure estimated to be at least 476,000 years old. This is pretty remarkable for a number of reasons.

Wood is an organic material that decays relatively quickly on a geological timescale. Fossilization of wood requires very specific conditions, which don’t often occur in places where humans settle. It is also one of the most plentiful and useful resources that humankind has ever used. This has created a massive gap in the fossil record, which has left archaeologists to assume things based on a lack of evidence.

In the case of the Kalambo Falls building site, it’s believed that a high water table and fine sediment worked to inhibit decomposition processes, preserving these artifacts for hundreds of thousands of years.

We have a very clear record of stone tools being used as far back as 2.6 million years ago. There is secondary evidence of wooden spears being used 500,000 years ago, but it wasn’t

believed that hominins were using wooden tools for building until much more recently — sometime within the past 20,000 years. Recent findings at the Kalambo Falls prehistoric site completely uproots that assumption.

Based on the remains of the structure, it is apparent that wooden tools were used to shape the wood; most notably cutting a notch in the structure to secure portions of the building together. At 476,000 years old, this structure predates Homo sapiens by at least 170,000 years. Whether this was the work of Neaderthals or another group of early hominins has yet to be determined, as none of their physical remains have yet been excavated from the site.

It had been believed that hominins of this period were almost exclusively nomadic, packing up their structures and transporting them wherever the groups went. The presence of what appears to be an intentionally permanent structure completely upends established beliefs about social organization at this time, as well as the technological capabilities present in the Pleistocene epoch.

The original intent of this structure has yet to be theorized. It’s likely that it was used as a platform over a stream or river, either for structures or for the people of this settlement to perform their daily chores near the water more safely.

Throughout human history, running water has been an intersection of necessary survival and lethal danger. Tropical climates in particular have especially dangerous waterways

that are filled with large predators and year-round heat that fosters the growth of bacteria and disease. The historic danger of water has led to the formation of a number of cautionary mythologies around the world, including the Kelpie of Gaelic origin and the Kappa of Japanese folklore — creatures that are said to inhabit waterways and are eager to drag unsuspecting people to their doom.

The timeline of this structure seems to coincide with a period of warmth in the Kalambo Falls area. This trend led to more abundant tree growth and frequency of flooding, which seems to be backed up by the discovery of this support structure and its Stone Age creators’ intention to build elevated structures off the floodplains. This abundance of woody material also likely contributed to the use of wooden tools, which is supported by the number of digging and carving implements that have been recovered from the site.

Though it’s difficult to say exactly when the wooden and stone tools were paired with the discovery of hafting — or fusing a stone cutting implement with a wooden handle or haft — the discoveries here work to narrow the timeline. Hafting would eventually lay the groundwork for construction of more advanced tools and weapons, particularly axes, which remain one of our most useful tools — just ask anyone around with a wood stove.

These discoveries present more interesting food for thought, in that they redefine our understanding of how our early ancestors viewed the

world around them and solved problems. It shows a dramatic similarity to how we approach and solve problems today, and underscores the vast gulf of time during which humans and proto-humans could imagine something such as a platform or a building while it was still a pile of stones or a thicket of trees.

Ingenuity and imagination are perhaps our oldest and most

valuable tools, and these finds support that.

The Kalambo Falls artifacts are also an incredible display of how science and our perception of history can change based on the emergence of new evidence. Something as simple as notched logs can reorient our entire scope of thinking and alter our preconceived notions.

Stay curious, 7B.


•The United States’ first steam locomotive lost a race to a horse. In 1830, a steam engine dubbed “Tom Thumb” by its owner Peter Cooper was undergoing testing on the Baltimore and Ohio (or B&O) tracks near Baltimore, when a horse-drawn train pulled up alongside it and challenged Cooper to a race. The steam engine quickly took a lead, but a belt broke loose and it was forced to retire. The horse crossed the finish line first.

•Speaking of horses, the term “horsepower” originated as a marketing tool by James Watt, who created the first modern steam engine based on the original design by Thomas Newcomen. A savvy salesman, Watt needed to market his product and calculated how much power a single horse working in a mill could produce over a period of time — a figure he dubbed “horsepower.” Using this measurement, Watt came up with a number that indicated how many horses one of his steam engines could replace.

•Standardized time zones were first used because of the railroads.

Before time zones, the U.S. still ran on local time, which could vary from town to town, making scheduling arrivals and departures difficult. After years of lobbying, railway representatives met in 1883 for what became known as the General Time Convention, in which they adopted a proposal that would establish five time zones spanning the country. It wasn’t until 1918 when Congress passed legislation recognizing the time zone system we still use today.

•Freight railroads haul about 1.6 billion tons each year. Together with the transportation network of trucks, air and barge, this system delivers about 61 tons of goods per American each year.

•Railroads often use drones that fly over rail yards and around bridges, allowing ground-penetrating radar and wayside sensors to identify possible defects in the tracks.

•One locomotive weighs 432,000 pounds which is the same as 108 hippos.

10 / R / September 28, 2023
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Don’t know much about railroads? We can help!
An ancient tool found at the site. Photo courtesy Professor Larry Barham/University of Liverpool.

I saw a movie at the old drive-in theater in my hometown when I was in high school… sittin’ in my tired ’54 Chevy… speaker in the window, a warm summer night with a pretty, young, probably nervous girl sittin’ beside me. I can remember trying to get enough courage up to kiss her when a funny thing happened… I started to become interested in the movie. I think it was called Colossus: The Forbin Project

The gist of it was that the U.S. had a big supercomputer housed in a highly secured complex that was tied into the country’s weapon systems. The main guy in charge of the thing that took up a whole wall was named Forbin. He would talk to it and it would respond by way of a large screen.

Things were fine until late one night

The illusion of control

when Forbin entered the place to do something… no one was around, he walked into the control room to find the computer on… communicating with another computer… it was in Russia. It wasn’t supposed to be doin’ that, and Forbin told it to stop. The machine went silent. But it wasn’t long until it started to do it again, even with people around. It began to make demands of its own. When Forbin challenged it, it began to arm different weapon systems and threaten to launch them.

It got to the point where the screen began presenting all kinds of mathematical formulas at a tremendous rate, and the Russian machine began following suit until they became in sync. The security cameras in the facility became the eyes and ears of

the machines, whereby nobody could do anything to try and turn it off.

I checked with the library here in town and found that they have it. I looked at the date on it… 1970. I got to thinkin’, man, talk about bein’ ahead of its time… with all the stuff that has “come online” since those days… artificial intelligence… even some of the people who are developing it are sounding warnings about the possible nightmare scenarios it could create.

When you think about some of the scary stuff the net has already begun to spawn… I’m thinkin’… we ain’t seen nothin’ yet.

I don’t remember if I ever kissed the girl, but I remember that movie. I won’t ruin the end for ya, in case ya wanna check it out.

Idaho’s U.S. senators put self-interest over service

Idahoans deserve elected officials who do what is best for Idaho and prioritize the people they are elected to represent. Unfortunately, the track records of our longtime Republican Sens. Jim Risch and Mike Crapo indicate a different set of priorities, as recent headlines have shown.

Earlier this month, Risch made the news for his attempts to reroute flight paths at the Boise Airport. Unhappy with the occasional sound of planes taking on and off near his 44-acre ranch, he used his position to ask the Federal Aviation Administration to change the flight traffic patterns.

Despite being told by an administrator that this would threaten safety and reduce efficiency, he convinced Sen.Ted Cruz to add a clause to must-pass legislation.

This isn’t the first time Risch has misused his influence. In 2018, he nearly caused a government shutdown over a provision to rename The Boulder-White Clouds Wilderness after his former

political rival, Cecil Andrus. Such pettiness in the face of important legislation is deeply troubling.

Meanwhile, Crapo has spent his decades-long political career catering to his corporate donors, at the expense of regular Idahoans. He has accepted substantial contributions from payday lending companies, which use deceptive practices to charge Idahoans a shocking average annual interest rate of 652%. In 2021, he opposed a resolution to overturn a “true lender” rule, which let non-bank lenders avoid state interest rate caps through partnerships with lenders.

In this way, even if Idaho passed a state interest rate cap, Crapo wanted to ensure his friends who make predatory loans could get around it.

Further concerning is his recent hostility to a pilot program that would allow taxpayers to save time and money by filing their returns directly to the IRS — rather than having to pay a corporation for filing assistance. Crapo is happy forcing Idahoans to pay these fees, which go right into the coffers of the financial

services corporations that heavily fund his campaign.

Their recent votes also tell a story.

Last year, Risch and Crapo were among the 11 senators who voted against the PACT Act, a bill to enhance benefits for veterans exposed to toxic chemicals.

Crapo and Risch’s opposition to capping insulin at $35 a month highlights their eagerness to side with price-gouging corporations over people needing life-saving medication.

And they have voted against enshrining same-sex and interracial marriage rights, paid sick leave for rail workers and codifying Roe v. Wade protections.

These two senators have collectively amassed more than 80 years in public office, solidifying their status as career politicians. It’s finally time to hold them accountable at the ballot box and usher in change that prioritizes the interests of the people of Idaho over personal 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.

September 28, 2023 / R / 11 PERSPECTIVES

October Parks and Rec. programming

Sandpoint Parks, Recreation, and Open Spaces will be offering the following programming in October 2023:

• City of Sandpoint historic walking tours. The city of Sandpoint’s Arts, Culture and Historic Preservation Commission, in collaboration with the Bonner County History Museum and Lake Pend Oreille Repertory Theatre, hosts “A Walk Through History ” — a free walking tour Friday, Sept. 29, through Sandpoint’s historic downtown. This is the last tour of the season. Meet at 10 a.m. in front of the Panida Theater (300 N. First Ave.). Tours are roughly one hour. Pre-register with Sandpoint Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces. Pop-ins are also welcomed.

• Introduction to (skate park) skateboarding. Beginners and intermediates, ages 7 and older. Participants will learn skate park skateboarding basics, including etiquette. Skateboard and helmet required. Knee, elbow pads and wrist guards recommended. Class meets at the Concrete Lake skate park (2100 Pine St., in Sandpoint) on Sundays, Oct. 8 and Oct. 15, from 8:309:30 a.m. Register by Wednesday, Oct. 4. Fee: $35 ($3 non-resident fee).

• Contra dance. Parks and Rec. partners with Emily Faulkner to bring this series, which runs the second Friday of each month. The Friday, Oct. 13 dance at Sandpoint Community Hall (204 S. First Ave.) will take place 7-10 p.m. No experience necessary, all ages are welcome and no partner needed. Beginners are encouraged

to attend introductory dancing at 7 p.m. Wear comfortable, breathable clothing and bring non-marking shoes to change into for dancing. No outdoor shoes on the dance floor. A $5 donation is suggested for each dance.

• Game night with the Lions Club. A FREE family game night at Community Hall (204 S. First Ave.) on Friday, Oct. 20.Event runs every third Friday of the month, through December, from 6-8 p.m. Both card games and board games will be available, or bring your own to share.

Players will show up for two hours on Saturday to get their practice and scrimmage/games in. The focus is on “fun and fundamentals.” Pending gym availability, the season will begin with a volleyball clinic Friday, Nov. 3 and play will begin Saturday, Nov. 4, running through Saturday, Dec. 16. There will be no play during Thanksgiving week. Times are to be determined.

A red-and-white nylon mesh reversible sports jersey is required and may be purchased online or at the Parks and Recreation Department if players do not already have one. Jerseys cost $15. To purchase online, open the catalog tab titled “Merchandise” and add a jersey to your cart prior to check out. Parks and Rec. also allows red-and-white reversible jerseys from other organizations to be used in its leagues.

A youth volleyball coordinator, referees and volunteer coaches are needed. There is a coaches meeting scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 19. Parents will hear from coaches the week following the meeting with specific schedules. Register by Sunday, Oct. 15.

Sandpoint Parks and Rec. also acts as a clearinghouse to connect the public with other recreational opportunities in the community. Visit the online activity catalog to view listings. Outside organizations and individuals wishing to list their activities are encouraged to contact the department with their program information at

Register for any Parks and Rec. program at, visit the office at City Hall (1123 Lake St.) or call 208-263-3613.

12 / R / September 28, 2023

Pence pledges $10,000 donation match for Reader

Donations received after Sept. 28 will be matched up to $10K by Dennis Pence

Sandpoint philanthropist Dennis Pence, who co-founded Coldwater Creek and worked as its CEO until 2014, has pledged to match up to $10,000 in donations “dollar for dollar” to the Sandpoint Reader as part of our ongoing fundraising efforts.

All donations to the Reader received after Thursday, Sept. 28 will be eligible for Pence’s matching pledge up to $10,000.

The Reader announced a fundraising campaign to raise $50,000 by Jan. 1, 2024 to help cover the ever-rising costs it takes to sustain a weekly newspaper. Since the

To Donate:

campaign began on Sept. 7, almost $17,000 has been raised from more than 300 individual donors.

For a full list of donors since the last update, as well as information about where to donate, please see the ad on the bottom half of this page and in subsequent editions of the Reader.

Send checks to: Sandpoint Reader 111 Cedar St. Suite #9 Sandpoint, ID 83864

To donate online:

“We are so grateful for Dennis Pence’s generous gift,” said Reader Publisher Ben Olson. “The amount of support the community shows for this newspaper is incredibly humbling. To all those who have contributed to the Reader during this drive, or over the years, we want to thank you all for your continued support. We couldn’t do this without you.”

September 28, 2023 / R / 13

Banned Books in Review: Brave New World

Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World has been a topic of censorship ever since it was first published in 1932. The dystopian speculative novel explores societal and political structures where a distinct hierarchy exists. Huxley explores both utopia and dystopia in Brave New World

The author

Huxley’s writings have intrigued critics and fans alike for his entire career. Born into a prominent family in England, he graduated from the prestigious Balliol College in Oxford with a degree in English literature and found some success with the publication of short stories, poetry, travel writing, satires and screenplays. A self-proclaimed pacifist, Huxley was interested in philosophical mysticism and universalism — themes he included in many of his writings. Huxley was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature nine times and has been lauded as a seminal writer and thinker by generations of readers.


The book

In Brave New World, children are born through artificial wombs and placed into pre-determined caste systems, with each class of people having certain things they can and can’t do, as well as other classes they can and can’t associate with.

Alphas are world leaders while Epsilons are bred to be menial laborers, with those classes in the middle filling out the rest of society. Sex no longer exists in its former state and the population regularly ingests a drug called soma that tunes them out from reality, which, coupled with the dependence on televised “stories,” helps keep the population from thinking or doing too much (sound familiar?).

Henry Ford is worshiped, since the World State views the efficiency of the assembly line as akin to god-like. Science and efficiency are what make the World State hum; emotions and individuality are conditioned out of children at a young age, making it so “every one belongs to every one else.”

When an Alpha named Bernard travels to the “savage reservation,” where people can view others who live outside the caste system in squalor, he meets a woman and her son (referred to as “the Savage”) who he assumes to be the lost family mentioned by his boss, the Director, who had recently threatened to send Bernard away for his antisocial behavior.

Bernard schemes to bring the woman and her son home with him, setting off a chain of events that follows the young wild boy as he is introduced to the dystopian society, with which he becomes more and more angry. After his mom dies an ignoble death, he tries to no avail to live in isolation to evade the tourists and reporters who have become infatuated with him.

Ultimately, the young boy decides his own fate and the book ends with a powerful statement of the difficult choices a person must make when their society has eradicated individualism.

Why it was banned

Brave New World has been banned in numerous countries for a variety of reasons, most notably because its themes clashed with familial and religious values, as well as addressing sexual promiscuity and drug use.

In Brave New World, children are encouraged to welcome sexual advances through erotic play with other children, and societal leaders promote polygamous relations instead of single partners. The use of the drug soma, which is often used as an escape for those experiencing the smallest amount of discomfort or unhappiness, was also a reason for many to encourage banning the book.

Others who requested Brave New World be banned cited offensive or derogatory language when referring to the “savages” on reservations.

Final thoughts

Usually falling in the top three on the lists of most banned books of all time, Brave New World is one of those novels you should read whether or not you consider yourself a fan of science fiction. Along with George Orwell’s 1984 and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Brave New World shows a vision of what might happen when individual thought and expression are bred out of the human race, leaving only compliant drones who rarely concern themselves with issues larger than themselves. But, more critically, each book in this trifecta includes a glimmer of hope. Without these books, perhaps people might not understand how good it is to use their minds without fear of retribution from the government.

The themes that Huxley explores are complicated and sometimes a bit much to handle for a delicate person, but so, too, is life.

Banning books that have the ability to make people think critically and independently might seem the easy answer, but, like trying to force the young “Savage” to live within the dystopian framework of the World Society, it will only work up to a certain point. Individualism and freedom of thought will always prevail, no matter how much muck and mire they have to slog through to be free.

More than 1,600 book titles across 32 states were banned from public schools during the 2021-’22 school year alone, which nearly doubled the amount of challenged books from the year prior. This is the fourth installment of the “Banned Books in Review” series for the Reader. Read the previous reviews on

14 / R / September 28, 2023 LITERATURE
Huxley, right, and his most famous novel Brave New World. Courtesy photos.

Let freedom read!

2023 Banned Books Week: Oct. 1 - 7

By now our community is far too familiar with the words “banned books.” North Idaho’s libraries are battlegrounds where a few attempt to limit the personal freedom of the many by controlling what they can read. Attacks like these are the reason Banned Books Week was founded.

The awareness campaign began in 1982 in response to a slew of bans and challenges leveled against books in stores, libraries and schools. The American Library Association Office for Intellectual Freedom continues to promote Banned Books Week each year to defend the free exchange of information

and ideas in the U.S. Librarians, teachers and the media report banned or challenged books to the organization, which compiles them into a publicly available list to show what ideas are under threat of censure.

This year’s theme is “Let Freedom Read!,” which draws from both Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech and the former de facto national anthem, “My Country, ’Tis of Thee.” That dream of freedom remains unachieved and under threat. In unconcealed displays of racism, homophobia and ignorance, most bans suppress books featuring people of color or LGBTQIA+ characters.

Actor and outspoken reading advocate LeVar Burton leads the upcoming Banned

Laughing Dog hosts Ales for ALS fundraiser, plans release of it seasonal fresh hop beer

states and six countries participating.

Books Week and hosts a discussion on censorship and advocacy Wednesday, Oct. 4 at 5 p.m. A hero to many for his roles on Roots and Star Trek: The Next Generation, Burton inspired an entire generation’s love of reading through his work on the PBS program Reading Rainbow.

Because of advocates like Burton and librarians across the U.S., the number of booklovers continues to grow, united in the belief that everyone has the right to choose what they read.

For more info, visit and advocacy/bbooks/book-bandata.

Ponderay’s own Laughing

Dog Brewing is gearing up to release its new Pick of the Litter Version 2 hazy IPA at a special event Thursday, Sept. 28 and — even better — it will benefit research aimed at ending ALS and raise awareness about the disease, which affects the nervous system.

The party starts at 3-4 p.m. and ends around 9 p.m.

Ales for ALS is a national program that has raised more than $5 million for research at the ALS Therapy Development Institute since it started in 2013, with hundreds of brewers from more than 47

Brewers who take part in the program create beers using a unique hop blend given to them by Ales for ALS, with $1 per pint brewed and/or $2 per fourpack donated to the cause. The program is sponsored by Yakima Chief Hops and is the official nonprofit partner of craft beer social networking app Untapped.

Concurrent with the Ales for ALS fundraising event, Laughing Dog will also release its seasonal fresh hop beer.

Laughing Dog Brewing is located at 805 Schweitzer Plaza Drive, in Ponderay.

September 28, 2023 / R / 15 LITERATURE

Blue Creek Press celebrates 20th anniversary

Local publisher marks two decades with latest release, Her Name is Lillian

Since its founding in 2003, independent publishing house Blue Creek Press has supported authors, promoted creativity and provided readers with a diverse catalog spanning genres from fiction to poetry, non-fiction and more.

Over the course of its two decades in business, Blue Creek Press has established a broad Northwest audience, with 40-plus books and multiple other publications reaching readers throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Among the Blue Creek Press authors with whom readers have consistently engaged is founder Sandy Compton, whose 13th book, Her Name is Lillian, will be published Sunday, Oct. 1 — just in time for National Book Month.

To celebrate both the 20th anniversary of Blue Creek Press and the publication of his latest book, Compton will be on hand Saturday, Oct. 7 for a reading and signing from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Vanderford’s Books (201 Cedar St.).

“Our 20th anniversary is actually sort of a surprise to me,” Compton stated in an announcement of the anniversary. “Time flies when you’re having fun, they say. But, from Day 1, our mission has been to provide a platform for people to share stories and thoughts with the world.”

Readers, as well as writers, keep coming back to Blue Creek Press, which features both emerging voices and established authors, encouraging fresh talent to flourish while furthering the careers of more seasoned writers.

Local author Dick Sonnichsen has published six books with Blue Creek Press — the most recent being the page-turner crime novel Whipsawed — with a seventh on the way. Meanwhile, poet Sam Olson has published Any River, which Compton said he suspects will be the first of many more books.

“Blue Creek Press books include a big variety of experiences and thought,” Compton added, noting that one of his favorites is Tiger Hunting (and Other Adventures) on Christ’s Mission in Old India, a memoir about the experiences of missionaries Herman and Mildred Reynolds in 1930s India.

Blue Creek Press also helped Garth Fisher put together Five Years On The Inside, the story of his time as a recreation therapist in a maximum-security prison, and author Pat Seiler recently published an illustrated children’s book entitled, My Grandma Has a Boyfriend, a fun and helpful guide to a modern phenomenon.

Compton’s latest book, Her Name is Lillian, is the poignant third installment of a trilogy featuring Dr. Mary Magdalene Miller — a no-nonsense, incredibly human psychiatrist.

In this latest riveting and sometimes heart-wrenching edition, Miller finds herself falling in love with two people at a time. One is “the smart dog,” an architect who may or may not be wooing her — sometimes it’s hard to tell. The other is Lillian, a beautiful 15-year-old anorexic girl intent on “becoming invisible” by starving herself.

Lillian’s parents have charged Miller with saving their daughter’s life, and the doctor

has concluded that maybe the only way that can be accomplished is to get her away from them. Miller isn’t sure psychiatrists are supposed to pray, but she sometimes finds herself doing so — for a miracle.

With lyrical prose and empathy, Compton delves deep into the human condition through the eyes and ears of Miller, as he also did in the preceding books in the trilogy, The Friction of Desire and Scars on Top of Scars.

Each of the books reveal insights into the human psyche and Dr. Miller’s relationships with her patients and others. “I like books with happy endings so

From pain to poetry

Poets are students of humanity. It’s the poet’s job to witness the horrifying, gorgeous, nonsensical world and condense it, wrap it in metaphor and deliver it to those willing to listen. Though a single voice may go unheard, picture 100,000 of them speaking as one.

100 Thousand Poets for Change is a global nonprofit that, once a year, unites people around the world under a common cause: to fight for social, political and environmental change.

For the past decade, the Bonner County Human Rights Task Force and Lost Horse Press have hosted an annual 100TPC reading in Sandpoint. Participating communities choose to focus on a specific global issue

— be it human rights, war, racism or gender inequality — and then hold their events simultaneously.

The 2023 event in Sandpoint will take place Saturday, Sept. 30 from 1-3 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church Garden (417 N. Fourth Ave.), when local poets and passersby will present original or found poems, songs or other artistic media inspired by a snippet from the Ukrainian poet Serhiy Zhadan’s collection A New Orthography: “Let’s be brave this summer. Let’s be patient, let’s be generous.”

The community is invited to attend the free event, whether to speak or to listen.

With the Greatest Generation gone, fullscale military conflict in Europe seemed consigned to the history books until the invasion of Ukraine in 2022. The Russo-Ukrainian war feels to many like a regression to the

that’s what I write,” Compton said. “Sometimes they don’t turn out exactly like a reader might think they will or even wish them to, but they still are satisfying in the way I believe stories should be.”

Her Name is Lillian and other Blue Creek Press offerings will be available beginning Monday, Oct. 2 at Vanderford’s and the Corner Bookstore (405 N. Fourth Ave.), as well as online at and

As for the anniversary, Compton added, “We’re grateful for the journey so far and look forward to the times ahead.”

The global 100 Thousand Poets for Change event returns to Sandpoint

hatred and violence of the past.

“When we stand in solidarity with Ukraine, I feel we are all standing up to say a hard no to authoritarianism, tyranny, injustice, and brutality all over the world,” said publisher and founder of Lost Horse Press, Christine Holbert.

A New Orthography is one of many collections in the Lost Horse Press Contemporary Ukrainian Poetry Series, founded in 2017 in honor of Holbert’s Ukrainian heritage.

“I wanted to do something to help Ukrainians, and I felt guilty living in a relatively safe country, not being bombed or shot at or raped while my Ukrainian family suffered through no fault of their own other than being unfortunate to share a long border with russia,” said Holbert.

She further explained that Ukrainians do not capitalize “russia” as a way to signify their continued fight against the country’s violence and oppression.

Poets will stand up to champion the future of peace and kindness that they one day hope to achieve. Whether inspired directly by the violence in Ukraine or pain closer to home, performers and listeners will unite to comfort, inspire and spread kindness in a divided world.

“Poetry tends to come directly from the heart and is felt on a very deep level with very few words,” said BCHRTF Board Member Sharon McCahon, who spearheads the event. “I feel that it cuts through the noise and highlights how our basic concerns are shared by all of us. Therefore, poetry encourages connection rather than division.”

16 / R / September 28, 2023
Author Sandy Compton, above, and his latest release, Her Name is Lillian Courtesy images.


Despite their prevalence in science fiction, black holes have until fairly recently existed only in theory. That all changed eight years ago, thanks to a little known observatory in Hanford, Wash., working in collaboration with a colleague in Louisiana. The team in 2015 detected gravitational waves, which led to the discovery of the first confirmed black hole.

To explore this groundbreaking advance in cosmic understanding, Spacepoint will host its final Sci-Fest event of the year Saturday, Sept. 30, hosting a presentation from University of Idaho Dr. Zachariah Etienne at the Panida Theater, followed by a screening of the film Interstellar, which imagines what it might be like to use a black hole to travel through space and time.

The event begins at 6 p.m., with doors open an hour before. Student ticket prices range from $5 to $10, adults are $15 and it’s $30 for a family of four or more. Get tickets at or at the door (300 N. First Ave.).

Etienne is an associate professor special-

izing in numerical relativity and gravitational waveastrophysics — both critical fields of inquiry to understanding black holes.

Celestial bodies emanate gravitational waves as they move through space, creating ripples in space time. Often compared to a rock thrown into a body of water, the larger the rock the larger the ripples. While Albert Einstein conceded that these waves could exist, he suspected they were so infinitely small we could never detect them or measure them, much less see them.

That’s where the observatories in Washington and Louisiana came in. Referred to as Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatories, these sites were able to move black holes from a theory to fact, and since 2019 we now even have photographic evidence of black holes, courtesy of the Event Horizon Telescope.

“Black holes and gravitational waves are a whole new area of science, exploration and discovery,” Sci-Fest organizers wrote. “ The discovery is so unique that three scientists were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2017.”

One of those scientists was Dr. Kip S. Thorne, a professor of theoretical physics

and CalTech and also the scientific adviser to Interstellar director Christopher Nolan.

Etienne’s presentation will focus on describing what are black holes, how many there are and where they’re located, and consider the space-time travel concept depicted in Interstellar

Spacepoint is a local nonprofit dedicated to science and aerospace education, which has hosted a series of presentations from scientific experts alongside screenings of iconic science fiction films.

Since its launch in the spring of 2023, the organization has also been working toward the establishment of a small observatory at the University of Idaho Sandpoint Organic Agricultural Center at the base of Schweitzer Mountain on North Boyer Avenue, and put on competitions for local kids with the chance to win tickets to the

Kennedy Space Camp.

Spacepoint hosts final Sci-Fest event of the year, featuring a talk on black holes and screening of Interstellar ‘Adult Homecoming’

As a regular member of several local theater productions and director of The Follies variety show, Dorothy Prophet knows something about having a good time. Prophet’s theater production company, Cade Prophet Memorial Productions, will host a PTA Dance from 7-10 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 30 at the Ponderay Events Center.

“Since last weekend was homecoming and all about the kids, I thought it would be nice to have an adult homecoming-type dance,” Prophet told the Reader. “Or maybe home-leaving dance, as we are celebrating kids back in school! The PTA Dance is ‘Party Time Again.’”

The dance is labeled as “semi-formal, semi-normal.”

“[I]f people want to dress up a bit, that is fantastic, but if they want to just come as they are, that is fine too. All are welcome,” she said.

Prophet said the time slot from 7-10 p.m. will hopefully attract adults from 4070 years old who like to dance, “but don’t like the bars or late hours.”

Ivano’s Catering will be on hand with snacks available, as well as running the bar

selling beer and wine.

Soundcreek Sound will offer a smattering of music from the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s. Sandpoint locals might recognize Soundcreek Sound’s Kim Owens from her role as KT Rain, broadcasting on 102.3 FM from Blue Sky Broadcasting.

Prophet said Owens and her husband Terry “bring a fun, lighthearted vibe to any event they deejay. She’s prepared with music from the ’60s to the ’80s, but it’s not just the hits. Some songs they may have forgotten they loved from those decades as well. Of course people are welcome to request whatever songs they want, for a small donation. After all, this is a fundraiser for the Better Together Animal Alliance.”

Prophet said proceeds will support BTAA, which was a favorite cause of her son and the company’s namesake, Cade Prophet, who passed away unexpectedly.

“When my son Cade died in 2017, I needed something ‘to do,’ something positive to focus on and be busy,” Prophet said. “Cade loved the shelter … so to honor him, we support them.”

CPMP has produced a handful of plays in the past, usually quirky, offbeat comedies, but Prophet said that the lack of “reasonably priced venues” has led to this dance, with the

The Sept. 30 event — timed with the fall equinox — will feature another challenge for Space Camp tickets, and will also feature the inaugural sci-fi costume contest.

“This year has been quite the run for Spacepoint: Dragonfly, Europa Clipper, annual solar eclipse and now black holes,” Spacepoint organizer Kyle Averill told the Reader in an email, referring to previous presentations, including NASA space exploration missions, “and, coming soon, our very own observatory — stay tuned.”

With school back in session, the PTA Dance is all about the adults

hopes that more events will follow, including a potential murder mystery dinner.

“If anyone has a venue with a stage to rent to a nonprofit for a play, please reach out to me,” she said. “We want to focus on

giving grown folk fun things to do.”

The Festival at Sandpoint now accepting 2024 Festival Street vendor applications

Vendors interested in participating in the 2024 Festival at Sandpoint Summer Series are now invited to apply, putting their food and drink offerings front-andcenter for thousands of guests from across the United States.

The annual concert series “offers an incredible opportunity for vendors to gain exposure, increase their customer base, showcase their culinary talents and participate in the community,” the Festival stated in an announcement.

The Festival encourages vendors to get creative with their menus, offering a wide range of items that cater to various tastes and dietary preferences. In 2023, 11 unique vendors offered a selection ranging from burgers and barbecue to baked potatoes and

To learn more about Cade Prophet Memorial Productions, or to donate, visit bánh mì.

“We know how important delicious food is to the overall Festival experience, and we’re looking for the most innovative and delectable options to cater to our diverse audience,” FAS Executive Director Ali Baranski stated.

Due to space constraints, the Festival will only be considering applications from food and beverage vendors.

The Festival at Sandpoint’s 41st annual Summer Series will take place from July 25 through Aug. 4, 2024.

To learn more and apply to become a Festival Street vendor for the 2024 Summer Series, visit All applications must be submitted by Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2024, at 5 p.m.

September 28, 2023 / R / 17
Courtesy image.


Send event listings to

Bart Budwig and Graham Farrow Knibb

7pm @ Panida Little Theater

From Moscow, Budwig’s groovy cosmic country and Americana is top notch. This is a dancing show. $13.50 limited tix avail

Live Music w/ Justin Lantrip

7-9pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Sandpoint singer-songwriter

Live Music w/ Ben Vogel

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Join Ben Vogel for blues and rock

Paint and Sip w/ Matt Lome

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

Paint pastels w/ Matt’s free spirited instruction

September 28 - October 5, 2023

THURSDAY, september 28

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

Bingo Night at IPA

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

FriDAY, september 29

Live Music w/ John Daffron

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

Live Music w/ BTP

6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Classic rock from this Sandpoint trio

Hope MCC Date Night Dance Workshops

7-8:30pm @ Hope Memorial Comm. Center

Beginning rumba Sept. 29

Panhandle Overland Rally (Sept. 29-Oct 1)

Learn more:

SATURDAY, september 30

Live Music w/ Molly Starlite

6-8pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall Rock/alternative

City of Sandpoint Historic Walking Tour

10am @ Panida Theater (meet in front)

A free walking tour of Sandpoint’s historic downtown. This is the last tour of the season. Tour takes 1 hour. All are welcome

Harvest Foods Free Food Distribution

11am-1pm @ First Lutheran Church

Drive in and get loaded up with a variety of free food. Annual event. Please don’t arrive early. 526 S. Olive (across from YMCA)

Live Music w/ Corn Mash

9pm-midnight @ 219 Lounge

Funk-infused soul rock

Live Music w/ Matt Lome and Friends

6-9pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

Sandpoint folk and then some

Live Music w/ Cole McAvoy

5:30-8:30pm @ Barrel 33

A little bit of rockin’, a little bit of rollin’ Cole’s expertise on the guitar is unreal

Spacepoint: Black Holes, Interstellar

6pm @ Panida Theater

Join Dr. Zach Etienne as he presents about the science behind black holes. Plus, a screening of Interstellar. Read more Page 17

100,000 Poets for Change

1-3pm @ Presbyterian Church Peace Garden

See Page 16 for more information

Sandpoint Chess Club

9am @ Evans Brothers Coffee

Meets every Sunday at 9am

Old-Time Fiddlers’ Assoc. jam session

3-5pm @ Sandpoint Senior Center

Join the Dist. 1A chapter for an acoustic jam session. Musicians and listeners welcome

Panhandle Craft Crawl

10:30am-5pm @ Various

Participants given a passport to travel to 4 locally owned craft stores. Stores are Sand Creek Quilting, Selkirk Quilts, The Yarn Table and Twilight Fibers and Yarn

Live Music w/ Tom Catmull

5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Missoula-based musician

PTA: Party Time Again dance

7-10pm @ Ponderay Events Center

Dance to music from 1960s-1980s. Dress up or not. Fun competitions. $25

SunDAY, october 1

Magic with Star Alexander

5-8pm @ Jalepeño’s

Up close magic shows at the table

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi

7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Weekly Trivia Night

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

With rotating hosts

Kaniksu Folk School — Mushroom Foraging

8am-12pm @ Sled Barn, 11735 W. Pine

Learn to safely forage and identify edible and medicinal mushrooms. $35.

3rd annual First Responders Benefit

12pm @ SMS Auto & Marine

Live music, raffles, giveaways, beer, brats and a car show. 1217 Washington Ave.

Sandpoint Farmers’ Market

9am-1pm @ Farmin Park

Live music by Folk Remedy

Winter Ridge annual Neighborhood Fair

11am-4pm @ Winter Ridge Natural Foods

This annual event features live music, local vendors, creators and organizations, plus delicious local food and swag. 703 W. Lake St.

Kaniksu Folk School — Mushroom Foraging

8am-12pm @ Sled Barn, 11735 W. Pine

Learn about edible and medicinal mushrooms. $35.

monDAY, october 2

Outdoor Experience Group Run

6pm @ Outdoor Experience

3-5 miles, all levels welcome

Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s Restaurant “Prayer: Intimacy with God”

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, october 3

Pro-Voice Project Sip ’n’ Bitch • 4-6pm @ Bluebird Bakery

Join the Pro-Voice Project and Bonner County Democrats for this monthly presentation. This month, BGH’s admin team will speak

ThursDAY, october 5

Bingo Night at IPA

6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Pottery Class w/ Angela Drew

• 5-8pm @ Barrel 33

Make a spooky styled mug or something to use everyday for coffee of other beverags

18 / R
September 28,

A message of peace from 1937

The 86th anniversary of The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Since J.R.R. Tolkien published his novel The Hobbit on Sept. 21, 1937, the thrilling tale has shaped the hearts and minds of readers across the globe and inspired several adaptations — most recently Peter Jackson’s trilogy. Though the newest adaptations are fun action movies, they fail to capture the enduring messages of empathy and peace at the heart of the book, which are just as resonant today as they were 86 years ago.

In Tolkien’s work, a hero is not a warrior, but a good person who values peace above all else.

Tolkien’s life was heavily influenced by battle — fictional and otherwise. He fought in World War I in his early 20s, and spent much of his life as an academic steeped in medieval texts that centered on bold and victorious warriors.

Bilbo Baggins is no Beowulf, nor is he a Hollywood action hero. Within the world of the story, Bilbo only joins the dwarves on their adventure because the wizard Gandalf couldn’t find a real “Warrior” or “Hero.” Such men are said to be too busy fighting one another to help. The stereotypical heroes are ultimately useless, and so the quest falls to a small, peaceful hobbit who loves gardens more than gold.

Bilbo is a successful protagonist because he consistently choses empathy despite the violence inherent to his journey. When faced with the emaciated, vicious creature Gollum — who attempts to eat the hobbit — Bilbo is understandably both terrified and disgusted. Instead of acting on his hatred, “[a] sudden understanding, a pity mixed with horror, welled up in Bilbo’s heart: a glimpse of endless unmarked days

without light or hope of betterment,” as Tolkien wrote.

It would have been easy for Bilbo to kill Gollum; otherworldly creatures often die at the hands of conventional fantasy protagonists. Instead, the hobbit chooses compassion over the sword.

Even while the dwarves are consumed by greed in the final chapters of the book, Bilbo risks his life and offers up all his gold to save his friends and avert a war. Not even enchanted treasure could convince him to fight for selfishness or glory.

The filmmakers of The Hobbit: Battle of the Five Armies — the final installment of the most recent adaptation, which came out in three parts between 2012 and 2014 — did not understand the importance of a hero who isn’t a warrior. The dwarves are rewritten as skilled fighters whose shortcomings are redeemed through intense CGI battles and gruesome deaths.

There is no redemption through war in the original text. Tolkien wrote explicitly that the dwarves are “not heroes,” and greed motivated them to the end. Only when Thorin Oakenshield, leader of the dwarves, fell in battle did he realize that spreading joy is more important than hoarding gold.

The battle of the five armies only takes up nine of the novel’s 374 pages, and most of the events are told in summary after the fact. More words are dedicated to descriptions of gardens and forests than to the penultimate battle.

Moreover, Bilbo never actually fights in the war: he slips on his invisibility ring and is rendered unconscious until well after the army is defeated. Tolkien put little to no emphasis on the critical conflict that Hollywood dedicated a two-and-a-half-hour movie to. Why?

Because peace is far more important than war. The men, elves, dwarves and

eagles must fight the goblins to defend themselves, but their pain and suffering aren’t something to be glorified.

Tolkien saw first-hand the destruction that war brings, and that taught him to value peace and joy all the more. In a society inundated by violent media, The Hobbit

remains relevant because it prioritizes empathy over might. Tolkien knew that war should never be celebrated — only the peace it can bring.

September 28, 2023 / R / 19 STAGE & SCREEN
Photo by Douglas Bagg.

Bonner Homeless Transitions celebrates partnership with Kinderhaven

Open house will showcase Spruce Street location

Bonner Homeless Transitions has marked a milestone in its longtime efforts to support the local homeless population, celebrating one year of providing essential housing solutions in partnership with the Kinderhaven Foundation.

BHT will host a community open house at 900 Spruce St., in Sandpoint, on Tuesday, Oct. 10, where staff and board members will be available to answer questions about the organization and provide a tour of the home. Light refreshments will also be served.

One of two BHT homes, the Spruce Street location provides shelter and support to single women and children.

Since its inception in 1994 as the Bonner County Homeless Task Force, Bonner Homeless Transitions has offered transitional housing programs, providing approximately 10,000 bed nights per year — 65% of which for children. Meanwhile, as many as 85% of BHT residents successfully tran-

sition to permanent housing.

The Kinderhaven Foundation (formerly Kinderhaven) was forced by federal legislation to stop operating its home and is now leasing its facility and partnering with BHT.

“The one-year anniversary of the partnership between Bonner Homeless Transitions and Kinderhaven is a testament to the impact that strategic collaborations can have in addressing homelessness and improving the lives of those affected,” stated BHT Executive Director Rebekah Little in a news release. “Through this partnership, both organizations have demonstrated their dedication to supporting the most vulnerable members of the community.”

BHT offers fully furnished housing and provides support services such as case management, crisis intervention and assistance with transportation.

Residents have access to educational and support programs that help them learn life skills, including budgeting, parenting and employment opportunities. The organization also connects individuals and families

88.5 KRFY announces

dates for annual online auction

Sandpoint’s own 88.5 KRFY community radio is hosting its annual online auction Sunday, Oct. 1-Sunday, Oct. 8, offering the chance for listeners to bid on a range of items and experiences and raise funds for the station.

in need with resources like food, clothing and medical services.

BHT actively collaborates with other agencies in the community and relies on tax-deductible donations, community collaborations and grant funding to continue providing services to children and families facing crisis situations.

For more information about Bonner Homeless Transition, to get involved, or donate, please visit

Among the offerings are a Lake Pend Oreille sailboat adventure, collector wines, ski weekends and tickets at Schweitzer, concert tickets, exotic vacation destinations, two Seahawks regular season game tickets with two nights stay at the Seattle Sheraton Deluxe hotel, local holiday wreaths and more.

“Check out the KRFY auction and help support your community radio station, and acquire something wonderful in return,” station organizers stated.

Access the auction site at or on the station’s website at Call the station at 208-2652992 for more information.

Fall birding class focuses on migrating raptors

Raptors are now heading south from their breeding grounds — using thermals and updrafts to help them travel along traditional migratory routes — which is the perfect time to learn more about these birds of prey with a raptor search and fall birding class offered Saturday, Sept. 30 in Libby, Mont.

Participants in the educational outdoor class will search for raptors, waterfowl, woodpeckers, shorebirds and songbirds, meeting at the Venture Inn (1015 West U.S. Hwy. 2 in Libby) at 9 a.m. Mountain Time to review some birding tips, then head to the field at 9:30 a.m. to visit at least three habitat types to search for avian species.

Attendees must register to attend. The class is for adults and no pets are allowed. All levels of birders are welcome.

Organizers ask that participants come prepared with full gas tanks, proper clothing in natural colors or camouflage, and footwear appropriate for short hikes on private lands less than ¾-mile round trip. Also bring lunch, water, binoculars, spotting

grounds. Courtesy photo.

scopes, field guide books and a good sense of humor.

The class will proceed rain or shine until approximately 3 p.m. (MST), and will be conducted in a small group, so that instructors can give personal attention to each participant.

Reservations should be canceled no later than 24 hours in advance. This is not an eBird instruction class, but rather focuses on utilizing birders’ own powers of observation and proven I.D. methods.

For more info and to register, call 406291-2154 or email

20 / R / September 28, 2023 COMMUNITY
The Blue Haven on Michigan Street is one of two Bonner Homeless Transitions homes in Sandpoint. Courtesy photo. Hawks and other raptors are now heading south from their breeding


Bart Budwig brings cosmic country vibe to Little Panida Theater Show kicks off month-long tour around the West

In that delicate space somewhere between outlaw country, folk, modern Northwest soul and Jupiter lies Bart Budwig. Armed with a guitar, trumpet and pockets full of lyrics about love, loss and everything in between, Budwig has cut his musical teeth playing shows throughout the West with some of the region’s more prolific performers.

Budwig will bring his carnival of sound to the Little Panida Theater on Thursday, Sept. 28 for a special show to kick off his month-long tour around the West. Playing with Budwig will be Graham Farrow Knibb, of the Grass Valley, Calif.-based band Farrow and the Peach Leaves. Also making a special appearance will be Budwig’s 12-year-old niece Solana Brooklyn playing one of her first shows.

Meanwhile, Budwig is no stranger to Sandpoint music venues.

“Most recently I’ve played at Idaho Pour Authority for a Monday night show,” Budwig told the Reader. “It was super fun and quite a few people came out.

I used to play at Eichardt’s and 219.

who lives in Sandpoint.”

Music fans might also recognize Budwig as the trumpet player who occasionally adds his unique accompaniment to Sandpoint’s own Shook Twins during their annual Thanksgiving concerts at the Panida.

Budwig currently lives across the border in Enterprise, Ore. but he was born in Moscow and raised in Genesee, Idaho.

“My dad worked at U of I and I lived there for 28 years of my life,” Budwig said. “My family did lots of outdoor stuff, and I played the trumpet a lot growing up. I didn’t start writing songs until I was 18 and graduated from high school.”

Across his four studio albums, Budwig’s songs fluctuate through his cosmic country vibe, which drops into folky folds before bringing people back up to stamping their feet.

“I think a lot of my writing is pretty personal,” Budwig said. “A lot of my earlier writings were more in the love and loss vein, or growing up in the church and trying to process that upbringing, as well as the new experiences felt in college — finding who you are.”

Bart Budgwig in concert

Thursday, Sept. 28; doors at 6:30 p.m., show at 7 p.m.; $13.50. Little Panida Theater, 300 N. First Ave., 208-263-9191. Buy tickets at and listen to Budwig’s music at

I think I played at Di Luna’s and I’ve done quite a few house shows at my sister’s house,

Through it all, Budwig’s songs are a nod to the environment in which he surrounds himself.

“I’m a mountain and river person, and I feel like a lot of that comes out in my music,” he said.

“There’s something about just playing an acoustic guitar and singing while you’re in a beautiful place. A lot of times I’ll be sitting outside with the mountains and trees and it’s like, for me, the environment is maybe the grounding part of that music. I’m not super angsty, because I’ve lived in beautiful places and I feel lucky about that.”

Budwig also attended sound engineering school in Arizona when he was 21, adding live and studio recording to his musical bandolier.

With a full beard that almost counts as another member of his band, perma-Cheshire grin and an eagerness to get into whatever mischief is afoot, Budwig’s stage persona is always entertaining.

Playing alongside Budwig at the Little Panida Theater will be Knibb on guitar, as well as Zach

Peach on drums and Portland-based Adria Ivan on bass. Each cohort plays in their own bands around the West, but forming up with Budwig for his fall tour means his live shows will feature a bit of everything, with plenty of surprises tossed in the mix.

“Some people call my music sacrilegious gospel … With this full band, I feel like I veer more into things that are ’60s Americana-inspired, like more fun outlaw country or soul vibe,” Budwig said. “My show is dynamic and fun, but has some sensitive edges. I always end up singing about some personal sad shit at some point as well. People will laugh and cry. Well, maybe you’ll laugh three times and just cry once.”

A snapshot of notable live music coming up in Sandpoint

Tom Catmull, Pend d’Oreille Winery, Sept. 30 Corn Mash, 219 Lounge, Sept. 30

What do you get when you cross poetry with a harmonica and an acoustic guitar? Americana and soft-rock musician Tom Catmull, for a start. Catmull is a dedicated lyricist who uses captivating melodies to tell his stories to audiences throughout his home state of Montana. He’ll make an exception for Sandpoint, though.

Returning for one night at the Pend d’Oreille Winery, Catmull brings classic, comforting vibes through a mix of covers and

original songs from his seven albums. With a resume that includes hundreds of performances in theaters, at festivals and even on TV, Catmull’s smooth sound is certain to charm crowds. Enjoy a relaxing night sipping wine and getting lost in his thought-provoking lyrics.

5-8 p.m., FREE. Pend d’Oreille Winery, 301 Cedar St., 208-265-8545, Listen at

Founded 20 years ago in Seattle, formerly of Missoula and now based in Moscow, Corn Mash can lay a true claim to its Northwest bona fides. But don’t make the mistake of thinking singer-songwriter Bill LaVoie trafficks in the standard issue plaid-and-flannel, beardy-banjo “Americana” sound of so many PNW outfits.

Corn Mash delivers an all original brand of high energy funksoul infused blues-rock with a little countryified punk (or punkified country?) thrown into the mix.

This week’s RLW by Soncirey

Sandpointians at the 219 on Saturday, Sept. 30 will learn that when the electric organ gets humming, the guitar riffs are shredding and the horns start wailing, Corn Mash lives up to its self-description as “diverse music for the brain and the booty, with live shows heavily geared towards the booty.”

9 p.m.-midnight, FREE, 21+. 219 Lounge, 219 N. First Ave., 208-263-5673, Listen at

With a style reminiscent of Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams, Brandon Sanderson’s Tress of the Emerald Sea is a science fantasy novel that oozes charm and whimsy. Tress, a young woman with a fondness for cups, must voyage across deadly seas to reclaim her lost love from the clutches of a fearsome sorceress. Easy — if only the seas weren’t made of deadly celestial spores and crawling with pirates. What can I say? It’s just plain good.


I’ve listened to AURORA’s song “Runaway” off the album All My Demons Greeting Me as a Friend no less than 400 times.

The Norwegian singer has the voice of a siren — or some other ancient fae — and never fails to give me goosebumps with her haunting melodies. This album is the perfect moody soundtrack for fall and will make you feel like the protagonist in a dramatic fantasy film.


Best friends believer Ryan Bergara and skeptic Shane Madej are famous for their hilarious antics as so-called ghost hunters. Their comedy show Too Many Spirits follows the pair as they drink ghost-theme cocktails and attempt to read supernatural and extraterrestrial tales submitted by fans (hint: they’re ridiculous). They film the entire season in one night so the hosts get progressively more drunk, and more fun, with each episode. Stream it on YouTube.

September 28, 2023 / R / 21
Bart Budwig in Joshua Tree, Calif. Photo by Jac Patorke.

From Northern Idaho News, Sept. 29, 1908


On 58 visits to Nespelem

this tiny reservation town in north central Washington.



Fruit and vegetables of all kinds, fancy work, burnt work, home made articles of furniture, picture, cut flowers, ores, grains and grasses, canned fruit, bread and butter; all were in evidence at the first annual Sandpoint Fair and Market Day Exposition.

The fair proved a success far beyond the wildest hopes of its most optimistic well-wishers. The farmers of the county took, considering the short time devoted to preparation, a great interest in the eent as was evidenced by the number and variety of entries, there being in the neighborhood of 250 in all.

The rooms of the Sandpoint Commercial club, where the fair was held Friday and Saturday, presented a scene of unwonted activity throughout the two days. Visitors came to view the exhibits from all over the county and from outside points and much surprise was expressed at the high class nature of the majority of the exhibits. The exposition demonstrated beyond a shadow of a doubt that the soil and climate of Bonner county are well adapted to the raising of fruits, vegetbles, grains and grasses and that the people have arrived at some measure of artistic development.

The exhibits were arranged neatly and artistically on tables and benches scattered over the rooms and presented a pleasing appearance. The committee in charge of the fair performed its work methodically and everything went off without a hitch and without a suspicion of friction.

The fair committee should have no difficulty in selecting from among the prize-winning exhibits a list of articles such as should show up well at the Spokane Interstate fair and prove a valuable advertsiing aid to this county

Life is full right now. Time seems compressed, but on Saturday, I will take a day to travel to the Colville Reservation to visit a dried-up cemetery. I have written about this place and those buried here often, including this piece — slightly modified — for The River Journal, telling of my 40th visit to the grave of Joseph of the Nez Perce. I would apologize for repeating myself, but the message here bears repeating.

Nespelem, Wash., Oct. 25, 2014.

There are few new buildings in Nespelem. Or newish, at least. Of note within the village limits are the Nespelem Senior Center, the fire station, and the Chief Joseph Rest Area. The rest of the town is in varying states of decay, with many buildings tottering on the edge of collapse, some abandoned and some not yet. I only have a superficial impression, having never made any sort of social penetration of this place. I am merely a casual observer.

In the parking lot at the Chief Joseph Rest Area is an incredible metal sculpture of Joseph, full of symbols; from the tiny horse decorating the pipe in his hands, to the lightning bolt strips of steel striking down his imaginary robe, but perhaps the most striking symbolism of all is that when you look at the sculpture face on, it has no face, just what appears to be a flat oval of metal with no features at all. It is only as one begins to look at it in profile that the portrait appears.

It’s difficult to get a profile of life in Nespelem. What I know from an outsider’s perspective is that things never seem to get better, but only get worse. And I am truly an outsider, a white guy from Heron, Mont. But I have also been here 40 times, counting this trip, and over those two score visits, I have noted interesting things about

There are two stores here, one that sells gas and one that doesn’t. They both have heavy-duty cage fronts to secure against unauthorized late-night entry. They are both about the same color of gray. They both face on the same highway on opposite sides of a side street that doesn’t go much of anywhere. It’s not an intersection of importance.

The turnoff to Keller, across Cache Creek Pass on the Sanpoil River, is a block north, and even it is an indirect route to anywhere. Two 90-degree turns, one left and one right, are required to get on the way to Keller. If you miss the right turn, you end up on a knoll with a southwest exposure overlooking sad houses; and a view of the Chief Joseph Rest Area, the highway to Omak and the Nespelem River valley. You are also at the Nez Perce Cemetery.

The cemetery is where Joseph of the Nez Perce is buried. That Joseph, the man made famous by saying — some purport — “From where the sun now stands, I will fight no more forever.” If he did say that, he was the single man in a small gathering in Snake Creek on the north slope of the Bear Paw Mountains of central Montana in October, 1877 who managed to keep his word.

The cemetery seems always to be the same, excepting new graves that appear between my visits, graves often extravagantly decorated with everything from plastic pinwheels to elaborate metal sculptures. In contrast, surrounding Joseph’s obelisk are dozens of small and large graves with no more designation than mounds of dirt and rocks kept up by someone I have never seen. They rise through sparse grass and knapweed, marking places where people known and unknown, often very young and not often very old, have been laid to rest. Tiny graves abound. Wooden crosses rotted off at

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the ground are laid on some of the mounds, but most are bereft of even that symbol. But, in this place of many symbols, some in great conflict with others, the mounds themselves are symbols of life and death on the reservation.

The ancient elm guarding Joseph’s grave continues to amaze me. It stretches east as if in protection over Joseph’s grave and monument, with a long counterweight hanging to the west. I don’t know how it survives with scant water and no care excepting the occasional pruning away of dead branches by I know not who.

Maybe I need to come live here for a year and come every day to this place and learn who these shadow figures are that keep the mounds built and trim the old elm and bury the freshly dead. Maybe then, I would find that profile. And understand better why I come back.

Sandy Compton completed his 58th visit to Nespelem last Saturday and Blue Creek Press has just published his 13th book, Her Name Is Lillian, which will be released Sunday, Oct. 1 in honor of National Book Month.

Crossword Solution

22 / R / September 28, 2023
I wouldn’t mind if animals ate my body after I’m dead. And before I’m dead, they could lick me.


Laughing Matter



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“In the first selcouth days of the pandemic, the empty streets and storefronts were quite a sight to behold.”

September 28, 2023 / R / 23
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