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PEOPLE compiled by

Susan Drinkard


“Regional hospitals are 97% full of unvaccinated COVID-19 patients. If you have a malignant cancer you cannot have a surgery at this time. Do you have compassion for these patients who chose not to be vaccinated and who have edged out others with serious surgical needs?” “It is what it is. It’s hard to weigh one disease over another. I’m not vaccinated because I think it’s an experimental vaccine that is untested and unapproved by the FDA.” Greg Hunsucker Cashier Sandpoint

“They have a life-threatening illness, so they need care.” Jade Scott Sophomore at Forrest Bird Charter School Sagle

“I’m vaccinated and I wear a mask. I think I have compassion for them, but I don’t understand their bad choices. God has given us incredible insights into his handiwork; I don’t understand why we don’t pay attention to it.” Mike Williams Retired Sandpoint

“It’s unfortunate we’re in this dynamic. And you would hope there would be alternative resources for those who need the critical care.” Brenda Hertel CFO for health care system— part-time in Sandpoint, parttime in Tucson Ariz. “The hospitals don’t have enough facilities to accommodate the needs of everyone. Hospitals were warned during the election there would be a pandemic and they knew what was coming. They were given incentives for opening up their beds and for buying ventilators when Z-Pacs were readily available and used all over the world for COVID patients. There’s a lot of different information out there and it’s hard to believe everything you hear because it is coming from all sides.” Giles Tyler Delivery driver Living in his car while looking for an affordable rental


It was 20 years ago on Saturday when our world changed. On that awful, fateful day, almost 3,000 American citizens lost their lives when four hijacked airplanes crashed into the World Trade Center towers, the Pentagon and a field in Pennsylvania. In the decades since that day, our world has certainly changed. It continues to change to this day. Today, we’re more divided than we’ve been in a long time, but one thing everyone should be able to get behind is recognizing Sept. 11 as a day to honor those who lost their lives to a terrorist attack, as well as the first responders who ran into the burning buildings to save as many people as they could. Today’s big world-changing event is the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, which is lasting a lot longer than we all had hoped it would. One way to help end this strange era and get back to normal is to get vaccinated. I just don’t understand how so many people in this state are deliberately turning their back on science, relying on politicians, YouTubers and conspiracy theorists to direct them. Be a human. Get the damn shot and let’s get on with our lives.

– Ben Olson, publisher

READER 111 Cedar Street, Suite 9 Sandpoint, ID 83864 (208)265-9724 Publisher: Ben Olson Editorial: Zach Hagadone (Editor) Lyndsie Kiebert (News Editor) Cameron Rasmusson (emeritus) John Reuter (emeritus) Advertising: Jodi Berge Contributing Artists: Ben Olson, Susan Drinkard, Bill Borders, Cadie Archer, Jeremy Johnson, Marcia Pilgeram. Contributing Writers: Zach Hagadone, Ben Olson, Lyndsie Kiebert, Lorraine H. Marie, Brenden Bobby, Jodi Rawson, Marcia Pilgeram. Submit stories to: Printed weekly at: Tribune Publishing Co. Lewiston, ID Subscription Price: $155 per year Web Content: Keokee The Sandpoint Reader is a weekly publication owned and operated by Ben Olson and Keokee. It is devoted to the arts, entertainment, politics and lifestyle in and around Sandpoint, Idaho. We hope to provide a quality alternative by offering honest, in-depth reporting that reflects the intelligence and interests of our diverse and growing community. The Reader is printed on recycled paper using soy-based ink. Leftover copies are collected and recycled weekly, or burned in massive bonfires to appease the gods of journalism. Free to all, limit two copies per person.

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

This week’s cover photo was taken prior to Sept. 11, 2001, looking at New York City from behind the Statue of Liberty. September 9, 2021 /


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Council greenlights local option tax for Nov. ballot

Measure intended to make non-residents pay their share, but public feedback is mixed

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff In a special meeting Sept. 8, the Sandpoint City Council voted 4-1 to approve a resort city local option tax of 1% for inclusion on the Tuesday, Nov. 2 ballot. The LOT is a funding mechanism available to cities with fewer than 10,000 population — a measure under which Sandpoint barely slipped in the 2020 census — and is applied to sales tax in order to capture a portion of dollars spent by visitors in order to defray their impacts on local infrastructure. A recent example of the LOT was funding for redevelopment at War Memorial Field — approved, as the new local option tax must be — by a supermajority of voters at the ballot in November. Mayor Shelby Rognstad opened the meeting with a strong statement about COVID-19, admonishing residents to get vaccinated, and connected the issue with the LOT. “This is all preventable,” he said of resurgent case numbers and fatalities from the pandemic that has dominated daily life around the world for nearly a year and a half. “Ninety-seven percent of patients admitted to the hospital are unvaccinated. … Vaccines aren’t killing people; COVID is killing people.” What also kills people, Rognstad said, are preventable diseases stemming from lifestyle choices — various cancers, heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes and suicide, he said. These fatal conditions, he added, can be mitigated with 4 /


/ September 9, 2021

greater access to the outdoors — which could be achieved by passing a 1% LOT to fund a number of projects approved by the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plan. “The more we can encourage our kids to be outdoors … the healthier that we’ll be,” he said. “I think this is very relevant to what’s going on right now and very relevant to the health of our community.” Council members Joel Aispuro and Deb Ruehle took issue with Rognstad’s connection between COVID-19 and taxing authority. Aispuro said that while the community struggles with depression, anxiety and addiction (Idaho ranks among the highest in the nation for a variety of mental health problems, including suicide), he’s never heard anyone speak from the dais on that topic — until Sept. 8, which he charac-

terized as “tugging on heartstrings to approve a 1% tax.” Ruehle, who has provided regular COVID-19 updates at City Council meetings for months, also objected to “tugging at heartstrings” and broadened her concerns about the LOT vote to the perceived need for speed in a decision. “What’s the rush? Why are we in such a hurry?” she said. “I am struggling that we have to process this so rapidly; that we have to get this on this voting cycle.” In a phone interview before the meeting, Sandpoint City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton told the Reader that time is of the essence, when it comes to the confluence of the parks plan and available funding. One major funding opportunity will occur in January 2022, as tranches of money for COVID-19 relief from the

federal government are funnelling into public infrastructure projects, many of which align with the Parks and Rec Master Plan. If the LOT fails in the November vote, it will be another year before the city can again bring the measure before constituents. “In order for us to be competitive [for grants] we need shovel-ready designs,” Stapleton told the Reader. “We should and do expect that there will be a requirement for match money — they want significant, local commitment to these projects and that’s where a local option tax is so critical.” That is, funds raised by a LOT can be used to leverage even more funding, far beyond what local taxpayers can, or could, bear. Stapleton said that despite the current building and population boom, Sandpoint

Photo by Ben Olson. remains a small community in relation to the number of people who enjoy its amenities. “It’s not just tourist dollars,” she said, “it’s a way to leverage dollars from individuals who are part of our greater community who are not property taxpayers in Sandpoint.” Put simply, she said, “Our residents cannot afford to appropriately maintain and upgrade the amenities they have with the impact imposed on them by tourists and other visitors.” Whether or not residents even want these amenities is a mixed question. Based on 785 overall responses to a city-led survey on the LOT — which

< see LOT, Page 5 >

NEWS < LOT, con’t from Page 4 > would be allocated to parks projects, as outlined in the master plan — the result was 48% in favor, 37% against and 15% unsure. Whether those results were broken among respondents residing within Sandpoint city limits or simply registered voters, the proportions remained essentially the same. According to projections, which city staff based on conservative estimates, if a LOT was enacted amid the current burst of growth, the municipal coffer could grow by more than $12 million over a seven-year period. Council members, led by President Shannon Sherman, voted in favor of putting the LOT on the November ballot (with Ruehle voting “nay”), though asked that its scope be broadened so as not to bind the city into a specific menu of projects. Based on that input, the language of the measure now directs LOT funding to City Beach, the downtown waterfront (a.k.a. “Farmin’s Landing”), Travers and Centennial parks (a.k.a. the “sports complex”), sidewalk and infrastructure work and the purchase of additional open space. The additional space referred to at the meeting focused on the Baldy property currently used as a disc golf course, though polling was about 50/50 on whether it should be transferred to recreational use. The city purchased the Baldy property using sewer funds. If it is to become a recreational area, the city would need to purchase it for between $1 million and $2 million (its assessed value, according to officials) in general fund monies. Final ballot language will be drafted in advance of the November election, and noticed when it is completed.

First round of candidates file for Nov. ballot By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff The filing period for candidates to area city positions closed Sept. 3, and the slates of prospective office holders are starting to fill out. Bonner County elections officials said the deadline for write-in candidates is Friday, Sept. 10 at 5 p.m., delivered in-person only to the county administration building at 1500 U.S. 2 in Sandpoint. In the meantime, clerks from around the county told the Reader that there are a large number of candidates vying for office in various local communities. In Sandpoint, three seats on the City Council are contested, with incumbents Joel Aispuro and John Darling seeking reelection. Others seeking office include Wayne Benner, Arthur Bistline, Justin Dick, Mary-Claude Margairaz, Frytz Mor, Luke Omodt and Jason Welker, the latter who currently serves as chairman of the Sandpoint Planning and Zoning Commission. All are for four-year terms. In Ponderay, incumbent and

City Council President Phil McNearney and Rick Larkin are seeking office. Priest River has a mayoral race, with Council member Kevin Wylie seeking the top job against Tim Simpkins. Three council races are open, with Billy Mullaley, incumbent Candace Turner and incumbent Sean Schneider competing for four-year terms. A two-year council seat is also open, though has drawn no candidates. If no one declares as a write-in, the seat will be filled by appointment from the mayor. In Dover, former Idaho Rep. George Eskridge is running for mayor versus Ryan Wells. For four-year council seats are Kim Bledsoe, Merlin Glass, Amy Lizotte, Marianne Ocsch and Mark Sauter, who served as president of the Bonner County Fire Chiefs Association. Kootenai has three candidates for two four-year council terms, with Robert Rutan and David Sudquist in a contested race for Council Seat 1. Council Seat 3 is being sought, with no contest, by

Joseph Rafferty. Hope’s election will feature Finley Foster and Katherine Gorup in so-far uncontested races for two four-year council seats. In nearby East Hope, incumbent Council member Don Wells will seek reelection to a two-year term. Incumbent Council member Joyce Butler will also run for a four-year term, as will Michael Wilcox. Finally, in Clark Fork, incumbent Mayor Russell Schneck is seeking reelection without oppo-

Voters cast their ballots in a past election. Photo by Ben Olson. sition, as are incumbent Council members Shari Jones and Jay White. Candidacies for other jurisdictions, including fire and school districts, will be announced the week of Monday, Sept. 13. For all county election information, visit elections.

Trestle Creek Complex now 60% contained By Reader Staff The 6,600-acre Trestle Creek Complex fire, located about four miles north of Hope, is 60% contained thanks to efforts from firefighters on the ground as well as a continued aerial attack. More than 200 personnel are still working on the fire, caused by a lightning strike on July 7. Two helicopters are deploying bucket drops to stamp out hot spots, and area closures in the vicinity of the fire are slowly being lifted. Open areas currently include Idaho Panhandle National Forest lands north of Lunch Peak, east of Lightning Creek Road (No. 419) and south of Wellington Road (No. 489). Trail 444 is open to access from Wellington Road. “If you enter these areas, please drive slowly with lights

on and be prepared to yield to oncoming fire vehicles, especially at corners,” U.S. Forest Service officials stated in a Sept. 4 fire advisory. Road 1091, near Lunch Peak, is still closed. Lightning Creek Road is closed north of the Wellington Road junction. Trout Creek Road, Trestle Creek Road and the adjoining area closures remain unchanged for now. IPNF lands east of Highway 200 and south of Flume and Spring creeks are also closed to the public. Media releases about the Trestle Creek Complex have been changed from daily to “published as conditions on the fire warrant.” Visit inciweb. for regular updates on the fire’s acreage and containment percentage. There are no evacuation notices in place for residences near

the fire as of Sept. 8. Text your ZIP code to 888-777 to receive updates from local authorities. While North Idaho fire restrictions were lifted at the end of August, the threat of fire remains high throughout the panhandle. A campfire sparked a blaze Sept. 2 just north of Hope and south of the Trestle Creek

The Trestle Creek Complex fire map as of Sept. 5. Courtesy USDA Forest Service.

Complex, dubbed the Lost Dog Fire. Thanks to collaboration between the crews assigned to the complex and those working in the Sandpoint Ranger District, firefighters were able to contain the burn quickly to only 2.5 acres. September 9, 2021 /


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Lake drawdown to start Sept. 19

By Reader Staff

Lake Pend Oreille will begin dropping to its winter operating level starting Sunday, Sept. 19, marking the start of a long drawdown period culminating in mid-November, when the lake will sit 11 feet lower than it does during the summer months. The Lakes Commission shared the news in a public announcement Sept. 3, noting that under current agreements with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, which manages operations at Albeni Falls Dam, the lake “will begin its winter drawdown the third Sunday in September or Sept. 18, whichever is later.” “That means this year Lake Pend Oreille will begin its winter drawdown on Sept. 19,” Lakes Commission officials stated. Elevation targets are to remain at summer pool — between 2,062 and

Albeni Falls Dam located downriver from Lake Pend Oreille. Photo courtesy US Army Corps of Engineers.

2,062.5 feet — through the drawdown date, then above 2,061 through Sunday, Sept. 26. The Corps will have Lake Pend Oreille down to between 2,0602,061 feet by Thursday, Sept. 30, then in the weeks leading up to Monday, Nov. 15, the lake will be lowered to its minimum winter level: 2,051 feet, or about 11 feet below where it sits now. Those with questions about these operations can contact the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Representatives from the Corps will also give a presentation on dam operations and the lake level as part of the virtual Lakes Commission meeting on Monday, Sept. 13. To access the Zoom link and participate in the meeting, contact Lakes Commission Executive Director Molly McCahon at

VA outreach planned for Priest River By Reader Staff

A representative from the Bonner County Veterans Service Office will be in Priest River on Tuesday, Sept. 21 to answer questions about current veteran’s benefits, assist with ongoing claims and take new claims for benefits for eligible veterans and their dependents. Bonner County Veteran Service Officer Bryan Hult will be at VFW Post No. 2909, located at 113 Larch St., Priest 6 /


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River, between the hours of noon-5 p.m. Hult will be seeing veterans by appointment only to ensure they are given quality time. Appointments must be scheduled by calling Lyndsie Halcro at 208-2555291. If there are no appointments scheduled for this outreach, or weather conditions prohibit travel, the outreach will be canceled.

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: Unvaccinated teens are now almost 10 times as likely to be hospitalized as those vaccinated for COVID-19, according to the CDC. August was a record-breaking month for youth hospitalized with COVID-19 Forbes reported. The CDC data looked at July stats for 99 counties from 14 states. In August youth hospitalization was close to four times higher in states with low vaccine rates. The COVID-19 increase is linked to in-person schooling starting up. The American Academy of Pediatrics says death among children with COVID-19 is currently rare, but more data is required to determine if there are long-term health impacts on children who’ve had COVID-19. Over a recent 10-day period, 15 staffers and educators in the Miami-Dade County school system died from COVID-19, according to The Florida governor had attempted to ban masks in schools, even where communities wanted them, but a judge ruled that the governor cannot take that action. The U.S. now has in the vicinity of 10,000 COVID-19 deaths every week, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, exceeding records from March 2020. In August, 14 million people got their first COVID-19 vaccination, as compared to 10 million in July, NPR reported. The uptick was likely due in part to vaccination mandates in order to retain some jobs. A Vietnamese court jailed a man for five years after he deliberately did not follow COVID-19 safety precautions and infected eight people, one of whom died, the BBC reported. While some have said federal pandemic unemployment insurance has discouraged seeking employment, the Economic Policy Institute points out that July’s State Jobs Day release found states that kept the UI benefits had greater jobs growth as compared to states that cut the benefits. Hurricane Ida did $50 billion in damages, extending from Cuba into the U.S. Gulf States, along the upper Atlantic Coast and ending with heavy rain in Canada. At least 68 people died, and the rainfall in Central Park, N.Y., broke a 94year record. One pipeline was shut down, as was Gulf oil production. The Project on Government Oversight

By Lorraine H. Marie Reader Columnist

recently pointed out that there is no code of ethics for the U.S. Supreme Court. The call for a code has been triggered by Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s refusal to recuse herself from hearing a case about a dark-money group that spent $1 million to get her on the Supreme Court, according to the Huffington Post. Barrett has also so far refused to recuse herself from a case involving Royal Dutch Shell, despite her own recusal list for the Court of Appeals that listed Shell seven times (her family has financially benefited from the company and her father could be called as a witness). This last June a Gallup poll found 58% of respondents oppose overturning the 1973 Roe vs. Wade Supreme Court decision allowing first-trimester abortion, with 32% in favor. Just prior to abortion legalization, Gallup found 64% saying abortion decisions should be between a woman and her doctor. Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., recently stated at a meeting of Republicans that elections are “rigged” and there will be “bloodshed” if the nation’s electoral system continues on its current path. He asserted that those arrested for the Jan. 6 insurrection, at which he was a speaker, are “political prisoners.” When asked “when are you going to call us to Washington again?” Cawthorn said, “we have a few plans in motion that I can’t make public now,” The Washington Post reported. Blast from the past: Cawthorn, at age 26, is the first congressman to be born in the 1990s. At age 18 he was in a BMW SUV when the driver fell asleep and it crashed. He said he was declared dead, but reports said he was incapacitated. Insurance paid him $3 million and he uses a wheelchair (he’s seeking another $30 million). He went to college in 2016 but dropped out, stating that his low grades were due to heartbreak and that his injuries interfered with his ability to learn. In a deposition he stated that the car crash slowed his brain and made him “less intelligent.” He decided to pursue a congressional seat in 2020 and won against a Trump-endorsed opponent. That summer he claimed, sans evidence, that cartels were kidnapping American children for a sex slave market. On Jan. 23 Cawthorn admitted on CNN that there was no voter fraud in 2020. He has also blamed Democratic “agitators” for causing trouble at the Jan. 6 insurrection.


P&Z delays waterfront code amendment

Public involvement and water quality enhancement, plus overdevelopment, dominated meeting

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Sandpoint Planning and Zoning commissioners voted Sept. 7 to delay action on a proposed amendment to zoning code that would clear the way for structures to be built within 25 feet of the high water mark on Sand Creek. The code change has been in the works for several weeks. Introduced at the commission’s July 20 meeting, senior leaders including City Administrator Jennifer Stapleton, Director of Infrastructure and Development Amanda Wilson and interim Planner Daren Fluke — joined by newly-hired Senior Planner Tess Cooper and Parks Planning and Development Maeve Nevins-Lauter — framed the code change as necessary to provide the city with needed flexibility both to put in place stormwater treatment features, as well as realize the redevelopment vision put forward in the Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Master Plan. Commissioners had been scheduled to sit for a public hearing on the code amendment at their regular Aug. 17 meeting; but, citing community feedback, City Hall opted to tweak the amendment to limit its scope and reset the hearing for Sept. 7. Cooper and Nevins-Lauter presented the revised amendment to commissioners, zeroing in on the definition of “buildings” versus “structures” allowed within the currently established 25-foot vegetative buffer along the creek and — critically — how that buffer is to be established based on the ordinary (natural) high water mark and the “artificial high water mark” established by the raising and lower of the water level by area dams. Full summertime pool is 2,062 feet above sea level, which marks the artificial high water mark, as it is established by the operation of the dams. Ordinary high water mark, however, can be described as “winter pool,” when waterways such as Sand Creek recede into narrow channels flanked by mud flats. Currently no structures

are allowed within 25 feet of that ordinary high water mark. However, as written, the amended code would have allowed structures such as “bridges, boardwalks, stormwater systems, plazas, walkways, stairways and features, moorage facilities, stream stabilization, art features and other functionally dependent water uses” below whatever high water mark is applicable — either ordinary or artificial — per state and federal rules. As Fluke said, “ The take-home for the commission in this case is that buildings are allowed within 25 feet [of the water] … full stop. What can exist in the water is those water-dependent uses.” That worried Commissioner Cate Huisman, who asked whether the code change would open the way for intensive development close to the water’s edge not only in the so-called “downtown waterfront” between the U.S. 95 byway overpass and Cedar Street Bridge, but all the way up to Popsicle Bridge to the north — the area that would be affected by the ordinance change, as defined by planners in their Sept. 7 presentation. “What if someone finds an environmentally friendly way to put a hot rod track up there? Do we have no say?” she asked. Commission Chairman Jason Welker agreed, requesting that a conditional use permit be required for any structure — regardless of type — built anywhere within 25 feet of either high water mark, thereby triggering a public process. “You need a conditional use permit to sell barbecue ribs from a food truck on Cedar Street,” he said, underscoring that any waterside development needs to make its case before the city first. “We would not have approved the amendment as it was proposed last night,” Welker told the Reader after the meeting. “We’re giving city staff time to rework it to a level that satisfies the P&Z Commission. … “The citizens need to be given the opportunity to provide their input into what’s being built in that 25-foot setback,” he added.

A zoning map of Sandpoint presented at the Planning and Zoning meeting Sept. 7. Courtesy image. “It’s our waterfront.” Commissioner John Hastings also requested that staff return with a further amended ordinance that requires Sand Creek development within the 25-foot setback not only protect but enhance water quality via stormwater treatment features. While the detail and data presented at the almost-three-hour meeting Sept. 7 could feel “dizzying,” as resident Clay Hutchinson rightly put it during public testimony, city officials say the change is intended to bring simplicity to the zoning code along the waterfront and, as important, bring the code into step with the myriad other agencies and organizations that have jurisdiction over the waterways. Under the current rules, for instance, the Cedar Street Bridge itself would not be allowed. More to the immediate point, none of the stormwater or recreational features — including public gathering places such as a plaza and various other creekside amenities envisioned in the Parks and Rec Master Plan — would be possible without the code change. “Yes, we need to have the code change in order for us to move forward with the downtown waterfront designs and we have budgeted

engineering and design and some construction work in this fiscal year’s budget [for it],” Stapleton told the Reader after the meeting. Nevins-Lauter, who recently took a position with the city from previous planning and parks development work in Alaska, told commissioners Sept. 7 that, “without this code revision we would not be able to realize what we’re looking at” with the Parks and Rec Master Plan. “I have fresh eyes,” she said. “When I look at your waterfront and greenbelt … I see this as your front door. … I’m seeing endless opportunity for public access.” However, Nevins-Lauter said, the downtown creek area has already been substantially altered, and not necessarily to its benefit. “When we talk about the Sand Creek area, none of that is natural and all of that has been disturbed in the past,” she said, stressing that opening more areas along the waterfront available for redevelopment would make “that man-destroyed area just so much better from a sustainability perspective.” The city purchased the creekside property between Bridge Street and the backside of the Panida Theater — vari-

ously described as the downtown waterfront, Gunning’s Alley and “Farmin’s Landing” — in 2016 with the express purpose of improving stormwater management. As officials have repeatedly stated, downtown essentially drains into Sand Creek. “The primary purpose of the purchase was stormwater management,” Stapleton said, though also cited 20 years of conversation about how to accomplish both economic vitality and water quality improvements. “That’s what the code change is really about,” she said. Public testimony at the P&Z hearing Sept. 7 was sparse, though did draw some voices. Steve Holt, executive director of the Lake Pend Oreille Waterkeeper, said his office on the Cedar Street Bridge has been “inundated” with calls related to violations of vegetative buffers on development sites throughout the county. He applauded the commission’s push for more public oversight of building within the 25-foot setback via the CUP process. Longtime area resident Rebecca Holland also testified, reminding commissioners that when the city purchased the Farmin’s Landing property it also intended to incorporate a bicycle route, which she said has been ignored in subsequent planning. “The concept of the whole area being turned into a commercial zone — I’ve been here almost 50 years, and I’ll tell you there’s not a whole lot of people who want to see that happen,” she said. “We don’t want to be another Aspen, we don’t want to be another Jackson Hole; we don’t want to be priced out of our homes — taxed out of our homes — but that’s what’s being built up here,” she added. “It’s just belaboring things that don’t need to be labored.” The code amendment will return to the Planning and Zoning Commission on Tuesday, Sept. 21 at 5:30 p.m. in the City Hall chambers (1123 Lake St.). Participate remotely by going to and click on “Meetings” on the home page. September 9, 2021 /


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We need homes, not vanity projects...

Bouquets: GUEST SUBMISSION: • Thank you to all of the volunteer heroes involved with Reclaim Idaho. You have done such brilliant work for the health of our state. And when an initiative was brought up to prevent future grassroots uprisings, you beat them in court. A Bouquet goes to the courts for supporting you and a Bouquet to democracy for allowing this victorious work. — By Jodi Rawson • I’m continually humbled by the support so many of our readers show us on a regular basis. After announcing Ting’s donation matching promise a couple weeks ago, we’ve been inundated with contributions from community members ranging anywhere from $5 to $500 — all of them matched 100% by Ting until the end of November. I say this a lot, but I really mean it: We couldn’t do this weekly paper without your continued support. Thank you!

Barbs: • The city of Sandpoint is exploring another local option tax. Traditionally I’ve been a supporter of this tax, but lately I’m a little tired of Sandpoint using the funds for vanity projects that don’t directly benefit us locals. Again, they are looking to direct these potential funds to the parks when I believe there are so many other projects that will benefit the people who live here, instead of ones who they are enticing to move here. We don’t need to gut this town and rebuild it into a sterile resort town devoid of character. Have you driven down residential streets lately? They are filled with potholes and cracks, making it so you have to drive like a drunk just to avoid damaging your vehicle. There’s also the stormwater project on Sand Creek, or how about city-subsidized housing possibilities for our strained workers who can’t afford to live here? The majority of people who live here want Sandpoint to stay the town they love. For the first time, I may not vote for the LOT now that it has been added to the ballot, if only to put a brief pause on this rampant development that the city is undertaking. I’d rather we just leave everything alone for a while and let people live in peace. 8 /


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Dear editor, A feeble high-five to our mayor for having the audacity to pitch yet more nickel-and-diming non-essential taxes upon us during a time when a noticeable number of our working-class residents find themselves desperately challenged to afford and secure the most basic of human needs: shelter. Maybe the mayor’s cleverly-named SWFHTF think-tank will find it in their hearts to earmark a portion of the tax revenue for services in their new dream park for a homeless tent city and urban campervan parking lot. Or even better, incentivize the transfer of the Hive/Dive building downtown — currently listed for a hot $3.25 million, and sitting empty and unused for over a year — to the city itself to convert into affordable housing for local workers. There’s an idea that would actually make a positive difference. We don’t need an over-endowed music venue that already failed once: We need homes for our people. The greed taking place in our community is insatiable. Wondering why our local restaurants and shops are ceasing operations or running reduced hours? Keep throwing millions of dollars into vanity projects to attract more big money development; and, in the end, there’s going to be nobody left to mind the stores or sweep the floors. What’s next? Upgrading our $4,000 solar trash cans with rainbow color wraps? A recent quote made in the Daily Bee was correct: “Sandpoint will get what it deserves.” Evan Brown Sandpoint

There are a LOT of things to spend tax money on, other than parks… Dear editor, I like the local option sales tax (LOT). It’s a wonderful tool for small tourist towns (under 10,000 population) to address inadequate funding for services. However, I strongly object to the city running the LOT for the benefit of the parks program again. Parks got the first go around with the Memorial Field LOT. We as a city have other expensive needs that the LOT could help with. There are no restrictions in the state code on what you can use the funds for. My preference would be to write the ballot language so that the stormwater feature on Sand Creek could be installed. Additionally I would direct funds to

our backlog of street repairs and the installation of sidewalks throughout the city. If they run it for five years you are looking at plus or minus $5 million — that would go a long way on repairing streets and installing sidewalks. Carrie Logan Former mayor Sandpoint

Biden was right on Afghanistan withdrawal… Dear editor, Despite critics’ attacks, President Biden did the right thing in directing the U.S. military to successfully extract more than 120,000 Americans, Afghans and other allies to end America’s longest war. After the departure of the last C-17 cargo plane from Kabul, Biden said, “I was not going to extend this forever war, and I was not going to extend a forever exit.” It was certain that the final departure from two decades of war would be difficult, with inevitable violence no matter when it was conducted. Former President Trump had set the stage for this event by his “peace deal” with the Taliban and his drawdown of American troops, with the final withdrawal scheduled in May. As a prominent foreign policy scholar points out, “Biden deserves praise, not scorn, for taking a calculated risk to extract the United States from a failing effort in a misguided mission.” Biden, whose son Beau served in the military in Iraq, pointed out that the less than 1% of Americans who are in uniform must carry the burden of defending this nation against threats throughout the world, and said, “to those asking for a third decade of war in Afghanistan, I ask what is the vital national interest?” As a veteran who risked his life for our country, I agree with Biden and don’t believe that the safety and security of America is enhanced by continuing to deploy thousands of American troops and spending billions of dollars in Afghanistan. Jim Ramsey Sandpoint

Mask up or shut up... Dear editor, OK. I give up. I really try to honor everyone’s right to freely express their opinion. But, in response to Melinda Rossman’s letter [published in the Bonner County Daily Bee], I must take issue. She states that if you are wearing a mask, you are living in fear. Darn right! This virus is serious and it is killing those people who refuse the vaccine in astounding numbers. Wearing a mask is easy. The ben-

efits are numerous. Protecting those most vulnerable is why we do it. Melinda says I should be enraged. I am enraged. Enraged at the people who endanger others and who fill hospital beds that are essential for patients who need surgeries or other life-saving procedures — and all for reasons that are not science-based or even common sense-based. Yes, I am enraged at the false “information” being spouted as truth. Enraged that our health care workers are being pushed to the brink, senselessly. I am enraged that there is a solution to beating this dangerous disease and that so many of our friends and neighbors will not get accurate information from respected medical personnel. Get the vaccine. Wear a mask. Protect yourself and those you love. And please, stop the B.S. Ranel Hanson Sandpoint

Special legislative session would cost lives… Dear editor, As an Idaho taxpayer, I object to a special session of the Legislature designed to hamstring efforts to combat the current COVID surge. Idaho hospitals have virtually no beds available for anyone needing intensive care, yet many of our legislators want a special session to make safety measures illegal. Of course, these self-dealing legislators make extra bucks for this death-inducing action, while endangering the lives of all the rest of us. Might you have a heart attack, stroke or car accident? Sorry, no room for you to get treated. Go home. Good luck. Recently, the Inlander (Aug. 26) asked area politicians if they had been vaccinated. Sage Dixon refused to answer the question. Heather Scott provided a snarky non-answer. Her anti-vaccination stance is obvious from her many previous comments. If she is committed to what she shouts and spouts, she should have said definitively, “No!” Instead, she took the coward’s route. I suspect she may be fully vaccinated, but won’t admit it. I’m sick and tired of politicians’ interference in medical matters, because, you know, freedom. These politicians proclaim themselves to be “pro-life” while enthusiastically promoting a death cult. The biggest threat to Idahoans today (other than our representatives) is COVID, especially the Delta variant, yet our politicians discourage their constituents from taking sensible actions. No masks, no vaccinations. The only rational person representing North Idaho is Sen. Jim Woodward, who forthrightly answered the Inlander’s question, saying he had received the vaccine. Even Cathy

McMorris-Rodgers, who represents right-wing Washingtonians, admits she has been vaccinated. Say “no” to a special session. Save the tax dollars. The regular session was spent on hysterical, time-wasting attempts to alter our nation’s history, hamper health care and other items that have not helped one single Idahoan. Ann Warwick Sandpoint

Sandpoint’s favorite cat… Dear editor, In these times of all the negative/bad news, both here and around the world, it was truly a pleasure to read about Wentworth and his ongoing “recovery” of lost flip-flops, tennis shoes, socks, etc. [Feature, “Wentworth the cat burglar strikes again,” Sept. 2, 2021]. Thank you for sharing his ongoing saga, it brought a smile to our faces. Happily, Gail and Michael Harmelin Sandpoint

More creative solutions needed to provide real affordable housing… Dear editor, It’s unfortunate that affordable “workforce” housing is now considered to be $400,000-$500,000 by developers from out of town [News, “‘Whose workforce?’ P&Z recommends approval for ‘Boyer Meadows’ subdivision despite concerns,” Sept. 2, 2021]. In reviewing the latest Planning and Zoning Commission’s approved application for a development on Boyer, it seems that there is a missed opportunity with “Little Post Falls” showing up now with its future white vinyl walls, cul-de-sacs cutting off neighborhoods, and restricting both auto and traffic for people on foot. If providing housing is the goal of the city, we can start by using the tools available to us and be a bit more creative than status-quo suburbia, an inefficient and banal approach to housing for people. A couple creative options for this property are a mix of cottage housing to truly create a smaller, more affordable unit; typical three-bedroom, two-bath units; and even a potential for a planned unit development, which could go beyond the single-use zoning with apartments or townhomes. Creating housing for the town that the city truly needs, that’s a challenge for today. Reid Weber Bonner County


North Idaho operating under crisis standards of care ‘Unprecedented times’ strain resources in area hospitals, including BGH

By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff Idaho made an unprecedented move in its fight against the novel coronavirus on Sept. 7, as the Department of Health and Welfare announced that North Idaho would be activating crisis standards of care — a means of operating under conditions of extreme demand with limited resources to deliver care. The extreme demand is due to an influx of COVID-19 patients, the vast majority of them unvaccinated against the virus. “Crisis standards of care is a last resort. It means we have exhausted our resources to the point that our health care systems are unable to provide the treatment and care we expect,” said IDHW Director Dave Jeppesen in a media release. “This is a decision I was fervently hoping to avoid.” Hospitals in the Panhandle and North Central Health Districts are now operating under crisis standards, including Bonner General Health. “We have reached the point where many aspects of medical care are being affected,” Erin Binnall, a spokesperson with BGH, told the Reader on Sept. 8.

“The ability to transfer patients in need of specialty care is unlikely. A car accident resulting in a trauma surgeon, a stroke requiring a neurosurgeon or a heart attack in need of cardiac intervention could be patients sitting and waiting in the Emergency Department for a specialist or bed to become available.” With transfers unlikely and resources limited by demands, Binnall said there’s an increased “burden on staff, supplies and providers.” As a result, she said the hospital’s incident command team is meeting daily to make emergency plans for “additional space, supplies, testing, staffing issues and other logistical considerations with the volume and acuity we are experiencing.” “We are in unprecedented times; this situation is ever-changing,” she said. While rumors swirl on social media that the situation in North Idaho hospitals is not as dire as officials are making it sound, Binnall said it is important to remember that capacity at BGH “can change on a minute-to-minute basis.” “Therefore, we encourage the community to treat our local

health care workers with compassion and respect during this time of crisis, regardless of your beliefs,” she said. Health authorities at all levels are encouraging people to take actions to contain the spread — particularly, getting vaccinated against the virus. “Please choose to get vaccinated as soon as possible — it is your very best protection against being hospitalized from COVID-19,” Jeppesen said. BGH officials are echoing the same message. “The doctors, nurses and health care professionals who have cared for your families in sickness and health ask for your help in this time of need,” Binnall said. “We strongly encourage every person who is eligible to get the COVID-19 vaccine as soon as possible. Even if you choose not to get the vaccine, there are other ways you can help decrease the spread of COVID-19 in our community.” Those measures include wearing a mask indoors, physically distancing, hand washing, staying home when sick and reducing travel. Binnall also recommended that while North Idaho operates

‘Back to the drawing board’ By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff

Bonner County commissioners voted down a lengthy resolution brought by Commissioner Steve Bradshaw after two weeks of debate about the purpose — and legality — of the document, instead promising to workshop the resolution and reintroduce it at a future business meeting. The resolution, meant to declare Bonner County a “Constitutional County” in a symbolic act of to protect citizens’ “God-given and constitutionally protected rights,” was tabled during the board’s Aug. 31 meeting after Bradshaw and Commissioner Jeff Connolly — the only two commissioners in attendance — ended discussion in a stalemate, with

Connolly voting in opposition. Discussion on the resolution started up again at the board’s Sept. 7 meeting, with the third commissioner — Dan McDonald — present to cast the deciding vote. “I don’t know that I need a piece of paper that is talking about what my job is,” Connolly said, noting that he believed that Bradshaw’s resolution only repeats what he’s already committed to under his oath of office. “I understand what my job is,” Connolly said. Further, he called the resolution a “conflict” for Bradshaw, who is currently running for Idaho governor. The resolution points to actions taken by Gov. Brad Little during the coronavirus pandemic as alleged overreaches of power. “I still think that this is some-

what politically motivated,” Connolly said. “I know Steve said it’s not really politically motivated, but it sure comes at a funny time.” Bradshaw said his gubernatorial run had nothing to do with the resolution. “This would have come up regardless of whether I was running or not,” he said. “This is simply something that I think commissioners around the state need to do, because the state … we’ve seen that they kind of just do what they wanna do without going through appropriations, without going through legislation [sic].” The resolution expressly states that Bonner County “will not assist in the enforcement of any civil action or any criminal charge against any person for trespass which is based on that person’s failure

The COVID-19 testing area at Bonner General Health, which spills over into Alder Street again, as it did for much of 2020. Courtesy photo. under crisis standards of care, people “avoid activities with a high risk of injury.” Visit to view the latest COVID-19 data in Idaho, including case counts, vaccination rates and more. Those seeking a vaccination locally can

get one at Family Health Center, Kaniksu Community Health, Sandpoint Super Drug, Walmart Pharmacy, White Cross Pharmacy or Yokes Pharmacy. Appointments are also available through the Panhandle Health District by signing up online at

BoCo commissioners scrap ‘Constitutional County’ resolution after McDonald argues ‘overreach’ to comply with unconstitutional mandates or orders” — those orders listed as mandates that might impose on people’s rights to assemble, have guns, express religious beliefs, “wear or not wear any medical device they may choose” and more. While Connolly said he believed issues of constitutionality should be left up to the courts to decide, Bradshaw said: “The Constitution’s not a real difficult piece of paper to read and understand.” When discussion opened up to the public in attendance at the meeting, many supported the resolution, expressing anti-mask and anti-vaccine viewpoints. While McDonald said he agreed with people’s opposition to mandates, he also voiced concerns about the legality of the resolution. “While I agree with the content,

I start thinking about my oath to follow the Constitution of the U.S. and the Constitution of the State of Idaho; there are some real rubs in here that give me some pause,” McDonald said, adding later: “While I think it’s great and it’s a nice emotional moment, we have to be careful not to step on our own foot and try to overreach, because that’s really what this is. This is an attempt for us to overreach outside the bounds of what we’re constitutionally allowed to do under the state of Idaho’s constitution.” Commissioners voted unanimously against the resolution, instead favoring going “back to the drawing board” and drafting a new one. Bradshaw said he was “totally on board” with the rewrite, “as long as it doesn’t come back too warm and fuzzy.” September 9, 2021 /


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Mad about Science:

Brought to you by:

grapes By Brenden Bobby Reader Columnist You may have heard that the banana is the highest grossing item in most superstores throughout the United States; so, logically, you would imagine that America’s favorite berry must be the banana, right? Not even close. Bananas might sell in huge quantities, but they lack in a sector that America’s favorite berry has dominated for more than 8,000 years: the production of wine. After all, outside of the Caribbean, how often have you seen a bottle of banana wine sitting on a shelf? Grapes and humans have a long-shared history, with historical evidence of grape cultivation predating civilization around 6000 BCE. The ancestral seeds of the modern-day grape likely originated from somewhere in Central Asia before humans brought them into the Mediterranean, where they would bolster trade, spark wars, and ease the pain of living in a time during which your parents could sell you for a few chickens and a goat. Not so surprising, in this period grapes were used almost exclusively for wine production. Alcohol production, and of course alcohol consumption, dates back considerably further than the cultivation of grapes. Scientists believe that primates have understood how to eat rotten fruit with the intention of getting turnt for at least 80 million years, though the production of alcohol for trade likely began somewhere around 9,000 years ago, or 7000 BCE. Humans creating wine was 10 /


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about more than just getting crunk. Alcohol was a matter of practicality in an age when refrigeration wasn’t even an idea. Once removed from the vine, we only have a few days to safely eat grapes that are unrefrigerated. Their high sugar content makes them susceptible to bacteria, which will rot the grapes from the inside out. If we were to simply let the local bacteria rot the grapes, we would be left with a nasty, smelly sludge that would not be safe for human consumption. This is where yeast comes into play. Yeast is a collection of single-celled eukaryotic fungi that will eat sugar and poop out ethanol, so to speak. Ethanol is alcohol — something familiar to adults, but hopefully foreign to our younger readers. Ethanol is the stuff that makes mouthwash burn or smell pungent (though it’s not used in all mouthwashes), and it’s also used as a disinfectant in some cleaning products, or things like paint thinners with a strong and dizzying fume Ethanol is a solvent, and it’s very useful for destroying bacteria that comes in contact with it by shredding the cell membrane and turning its bacterial innards into organic confetti. These antimicrobial properties make alcohol a practical storage device for organic things you want to keep from rotting — including the wine itself. This feature allows wine to remain relatively safe for human consumption for very long periods of time, especially when sealed up. This was important thousands of years ago, as long storage times meant relatively little waste. As refrigerators have become a regular addition to the home throughout most devel-

oped nations of the world, the role of grapes has evolved beyond alcohol production. Table grapes can be stored in a fridge for well over a week, or frozen to be kept for even longer. This has created a demand for larger grapes that are bursting with juice, which is mostly water. Higher water content is not desired when making wine, as wine grapes are often much smaller but very sugary, giving the yeast a leg up when converting the grape into alcohol. A third, and very popular, grape product is the stroke of marketing genius: raisins. Raisins are literally grape jerky — you’re paying extra money to eat less grapes in a slightly more convenient way, without even consciously realizing that you’re eating a shriveled grape. Grapes, like many other berry cultivars, come in a huge variety of flavors, colors and purposes. While North America was once overrun with grapes when European explorers stumbled upon it, leading to its original name of “Vineland,” these grapes were very acidic and not very palatable to the wine-loving Europeans. Many of these cultivars have been crossbred with French grape varieties to create more sugary grapes for wine production. It probably won’t surprise you that most grapes in the United States are produced in California. Love it or hate it, the facts side with California’s superiority in the art of grape production. California alone is responsible for 95% of the US’s wine exports, and generates around $1.4 billion a year in revenue exclusively from wine. This is because of the favorable climate for grapes, particularly in

areas like Napa Valley, where the terrain is hilly, well-drained and winter is vanquished by a sleeveless puffy vest and a balloon ride. Wine grapes need upward of 200 days of agreeable weather to reach peak ripeness, which is like two of our summers. I’d better wrap this article up before people chase me out of town with pitchforks and torches. Before I go, my wife led me on to a neat and delicious treat you should try. Toss some seed-

less grapes into a gallon freezer bag with a sugar-free Jell-O powder mix of your choosing. Shake it up really well and toss it in the freezer for a few hours. While sucralose from the Jell-O is not particularly healthy, the consumption of grapes has been linked to lowering the risk of colon cancer, as well as providing a multitude of vitamins, minerals and fiber to your diet. Stay curious, 7B.

Random Corner 11 attacks?

Don’t know much about the 9/ • On Sept. 11, 2001, 19 men hijacked four fuel-loaded U.S. commercial airplanes bound for west coast destinations. A total of 2,977 people were killed in New York City, Washington, D.C. and outside of Shanksville, Penn. The attacks resulted in the largest loss of life by a foreign attack on American soil. • At the World Trade Center site in lower Manhattan, 2,753 people were killed when two hijacked planes crashed into the north and south towers, or as a result of the crashes. Of those who perished during the initial attacks and subsequent collapses of the towers, 343 were New York firefighters, 23 were New York police officers and 37 were officers at the port authority. • 18 people were rescued alive from the rubble of the World Trade Center site. • 9/11 was not the first terrorist attack on the World Trade

We can help!

Center. A bombing in February 1993 killed six people. • It cost an estimated $500,000 to plan and execute the 9/11 attacks. The estimated economic loss during the first two-four weeks after the World Trade Centers collapses was $123 billion, which includes a worldwide decline in airline travel over the next few years. • Cleanup at Ground Zero concluded on May 30, 2002. It took an estimated 3.1 million hours of labor to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris. The total cost of the cleanup was $750 million. • In 2019, the U.S. Senate passed a bill ensuring that a fund to compensate the victims of the Sept. 11 attacks never runs out of money ­­— and that first responders won’t have to return to Congress to plead for more funding.

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My 9/11 By Jodi Rawson Reader Contributor Most of us didn’t have cell phones, but those who did had them flipped open against their ears, while their feet involuntarily walked in tight circles. It was a little after 6 a.m. in Seattle and my flight just got canceled without explanation. I called my mom on a pay phone and her assurance was cryptic. “This is a major event. All flights are canceled. Be safe. I am praying for you,” she said. Emergency landings made the Seattle airport swell with stressed travelers. I breathed in and out, slithering through hysteria — my eyes little focused slits, my tongue clicking, seeking the scent of calm. After being crammed into small quarters on a barge for months, fulfilling a grueling contract in Alaska, I was desperate for alone space. Also, I had been sleepless at Seatac since my flight got in from Unalaska,

the night of Sept. 10. The idea of having a chaotic retreat, with thousands of freaked out people and no clear ending, seemed like hell. While the buildings smouldered and our country sat stunned, I surfed the anxious crowd right out the front doors. Looking up at the blue sky and feeling the breeze on my face, I took the first deep breath of the day. There was an eerie desolation beginning to settle into the roads surrounding Seatac, which was why the shuttle bus stuck out so starkly. I had no conscious plans of going outside and getting on the first bus out of the chaos, but in my receptive relaxation, this is where I was. This short bus was unavoidably lonely, miraculously parked there just for me — or so it felt. “Are you going to the Greyhound station?” I asked the shuttle driver. “Sure, it’s on the route,” he replied. Then he said the fare was $11 cash and that he would be driving off in another minute, so I had better make up my mind. I wanted to go, but my ticket would depend on the contents of my wallet. To my astonished eyes I held a royal flush: Exactly $11 dollars! As it turned out, I was on the last shuttle

bus allowed out of Seatac for days. When I got to the Greyhound station I purchased a ticket to Spokane on my card. A few hours later, the Greyhound stations around the country were quarantined for days also, so I caught the last wave. On the bus to Spokane I was mostly alone, aside from the driver. I realized how lucky and strange I was — a refugee from stress. Though I was grateful for quiet space and the warm provisions awaiting me, I felt guilty also. Like so many well-meaning Americans, I couldn’t stop thinking about the screaming and burning people, the rescuers risking their lives and health, and the overall threat of emergency. So I dropped my college plans and trained to be a firefighter. After failing the difficult Spokane and Coeur d’Alene tests, I finally passed an easier version in northern California. As a firefighter, I helped drown out abandoned car fires and fires that sprang up on the saw dust at the mill, but mostly I tended to medical calls from local addicts. Unfortunately, despite the humble lessons, firefighting couldn’t ease my mind’s guilt over the rare luck I had that fateful day.

Local PEO Chapter supports young women with scholarships By Reader Staff

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Sandpoint has two active chapters of Philanthropic Educational Organizations (Chapter CA and Chapter V), which have been encouraging and supporting young women in the community for more than half a century. P.E.O. Chapter CA recently awarded scholarships to four area seniors who personify the organization’s ideals of, “faith, love, justice, truth, and purity in heart and spirit.” Founded in 1869 with the motto, “Women helping women reach for the stars,” P.E.O. is a worldwide philanthropic educational organization by which women celebrate the advancement of women; educate women through scholarships, grants, awards and loans; act as stewards of Cottey College; and motivate women to achieve their highest aspirations. P.E.O Chapter CA is made up of more than 40 local women of diverse ages and backgrounds dedicated to helping young women continue their education in myriad ways, to improve their lives so they can in turn give back to the world and their communities in their own unique ways. Funds for local scholarships are raised in part through proceeds from annual fundraising events, most of which were postponed or cancelled this past year due to the pandemic. But, just as the dreams of these students were not quashed by COVID-19, the members of PEO Chapter CA remained committed to awarding the scholarships as planned and wish to congratulate and / September 9, 2021

celebrate the following young women — all Sandpoint High School students — for their accomplishments and their future plans they are embarking on this fall: Isabella Phillips is attending Boise State University this fall majoring in psychology. She plans to open her own practice one day with a goal to help others in the community. Libby McLaughlin will major in organizational leadership at Northwest University, in Kirkland, Wash., with future plans to work with a church or other nonprofit organization involved in community outreach and “watch people’s lives get changed.” Katherine Mellander is attending Gonzaga University as a civil engineering major and dance performance minor. Her goal is to dance professionally for several years before transitioning to a career as a civil engineer. Taylor Sadewic is attending the University of Montana where she will major in communicative sciences and disorders. She then plans to earn her M.A. in speech pathology with a concentration in autism. She would love to work in a school setting one day, helping children with autism through speech therapy. The sisters of P.E.O. Chapter CA salute these fine young community women as they head out into the world to make a positive difference.

From top to bottom: Isabella Phillips, Libby McLaughlin, Katherine Mellander and Taylor Sadewic. Courtesy photos.


Friends of the Panida to hold yard sale fundraiser By Reader Staff

The Friends of the Panida will host a community and neighborhood yard sale Saturday, Sept. 11 from 8 a.m.-2 p.m., which will benefit the Panida Theater. The yard sale will be held at 534 Marion Ave., on the corner of Marion Avenue and Ontario Street across from Lakeview Park.

There will be donated goods from numerous community members for sale, including houseware, furniture, stereo equipment, kitchenware and utensils, books, dishes/China, gardening tools and materials, and so much more. Contact Steve Garvan at 303-809-1676 for more information.

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‘Sink or swim’ Sand Creek Regatta returns for second year of DIY boat race

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff

The second annual Sand Creek Regatta boat race is on for Saturday, Sept. 18, and calling all homemade watercraft — seaworthy or, most likely, not. The theme this year: “Sink or Swim.” Organizer Jon Knepper said the goal of the fun-loving competition is to bring together friends, businesses and community members to celebrate the end of a busy summer season. “This event is a chance to celebrate locals with a race for bragging rights,” he said. “Businesses can advertise, politicians can campaign and others can just have fun.” The emphasis is definitely on fun. Boats — though they be called so only academically — absolutely must be made by hand, which precludes any preexisting watercraft (that is, no repur-

posed rafts, float toys, canoes, kayaks, paddleboards, surfboards, waterskis, jet skis, skidoos, yachts or anything of the like) and completely human powered. No motors of any kind will be allowed. Creativity is every bit as prized as speed. There are no age or personnel capacity restrictions, as long as a responsible adult 18 or older is on board, and life jackets or personal flotation devices must be worn by participants at all times. Participation is at your own risk. No trace is to be left behind, either on water or land. Boats are to gather at the parking lot of the east side of Sand Creek off Bridge Street at 10 a.m. (for old-timers, that’s the former Lakeside Inn location). Start time is set for 11 a.m. or noon, “depending on laggers that have notified their intent,” organizers said. The course runs from Bridge Street

CHAFE 150 hits the road Sept. 11 By Reader Staff

Back for its 14th year, the CHAFE 150 Gran Fondo bike ride has been hailed as one of the top charity rides in the United States. The annual event will take place Saturday, Sept. 11 and consists of five different lengths, depending on the riders’ level of commitment. The traditional 150-mile route is recommended for experienced riders, with 18% and 8% grades out of Bonners Ferry and Troy, Mont., that will certainly bring up the sweat index. The 100- and 80-mile options offer similar terrain with a more manageable distance and maximum grade of 8%. Buses will transport riders to Troy for the start of the 100- and 80-mile routes, with masks required for all riders while on the bus. The 40- and 25-mile routes are a perfect ride for anyone who wants to enjoy a scenic two- to three-hour ride through the Selle Valley northeast of Sandpoint, with views of the surrounding mountains, forests and open spaces. 14 /


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Packet pick-up and orientation will take place Friday, Sept. 10 from 3-7 p.m. on the lawn at Sandpoint City Beach. The $50 minimum donation will also be collected while picking up orientation packets. Late packet pickup and registration will open at City Beach at 5 a.m. on race day, and a complimentary breakfast will be offered from 5:30-6:15 a.m. A rolling start will begin at 6 a.m. and stagger accordingly for each distance option. The course closes at 7 p.m. and an after-ride party will take place from 2-8 p.m., with each rider receiving a meal and two drink coupons. Organized by Rotary Sandpoint and presented by Litehouse, proceeds raised by the CHAFE 150 help fund the Lake Pend Oreille School District to help students improve their reading skills through after school and literacy programs, among other efforts. For more information about the CHAFE 150 visit

to Cedar Street Bridge and back. Cost to participate is $50 per raft and goes toward the cost of the event and money carried over to pay for after-party drinks. Winners in a variety of categories will be announced and presented with equally creatively constructed trophies at an after-party, location and time to be announced. As Knepper said: “Thanks and get building!”

Artwork by Jeremy Johnson.

Women Honoring Women Gala canceled By Reader Staff The Women Honoring Women Gala luncheon scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 11 has been canceled, following a recommendation from the Panhandle Health Department. WHW is committed to honor the five 2020

Women of Wisdom, Carol Warren, Debra Heise, Diane Green, Judy Dabrowski and Nancy Lewis. “Thank you for your contribution to our community, you are appreciated,” the group wrote in a statement.


‘Tyranny of the minority’

For loving the Constitution so much, Idaho Republicans sure do violate it a lot in the name of their agenda By Ben Olson Reader Staff It seems rarer and rarer that good news comes out of Idaho’s increasingly batty political sphere, but Aug. 23 was undoubtedly a good day for all Idahoans. That’s when the Idaho Supreme Court deemed SB 1110, the so-called “anti-initiative” bill which increased signature gathering requirements from 6% of at least 18 legislative districts to 6% of all 35 districts, unconstitutional. The bill was passed by the Senate and House, and later signed into law by Gov. Brad Little, despite critics claiming it was unconstitutional from the beginning. Idaho Supreme Court Justice Gregory W. Moeller wrote a majority opinion for the court, claiming the law violates the Idaho Constitution “because the initiative and referendum powers are fundamental rights, reserved to the people of Idaho, to which strict scrutiny applies.” Justice Robyn M. Brody drove home a finer point, stating that “SB 1110 is not reasonable and workable. … I agree wholeheartedly with the court’s conclusion that SB 1110 gives every legislative district in the state veto power and turns a perceived fear of ‘tyranny of the majority’ into an actual ‘tyranny of the minority.’ I would invalidate SB 1110 on that ground.” That phrase — ‘tyranny of the minority’ — is the most apt way to describe what Idaho politics has turned into over the past decade. What started as a conservative movement in the mid-1990s has culminated in a state dominated by the whims and fear mongering of one political party, which seems hellbent on holding its supermajority power no matter how blatantly it violates the Constitution. The new law would have likely remained unchallenged if not for Reclaim Idaho, the volunteer-driven political group behind the 2018 Medicaid expansion effort in Idaho, which took the case to court and won. The Idaho Supreme Court even awarded attorneys fees

to Reclaim Idaho, making this a clear-cut victory for the group. “Thousands of Idahoans are breathing a sigh of relief today,” Reclaim Idaho co-founder Luke Mayville wrote in a statement after the ruling. “In the face of an assault on the initiative process by the Idaho Legislature, our Supreme Court has fulfilled its obligation to protect the rights of every Idahoan.” There lies the rub; the rights of every Idahoan. Fringe firebrands like Lt. Gov. Janice McGeachin, Rep. Priscilla Giddings, R-White Bird and Rep. Heather Scott, R-Blanchard, like to boast to their constituents that they are in office to “protect freedoms,” yet after this landmark ruling which very much protected Idahoans’ rights codified in the Constitution, only a spiteful silence has come from these loudmouths. It’s yet another example of partisan hypocrisy taking over Idaho politics. Are these constitutional rights any less important than others? I’d like to think the overturning of this law by the Idaho Supreme Court would serve as a lesson for the Republican-led legislature which voted for this bill, but that’s probably wishful thinking. With a few exceptions – including Sen. Jim Woodward, R-Sagle, who voted against SB 1110 – Idaho Republicans in the Legislature continue to think they represent the will of the entire state when promoting causes and issues that hype up their base. The fact is, there are a lot more Republicans (and Democrats) in the moderate middle than on the fringes of their party. The problem is they are browbeaten and intimidated by groups like the Idaho Freedom Foundation into supporting candidates who may not

necessarily have all of Idahoans’ best interests at heart. When Reclaim Idaho succeeded in getting the Medicaid Expansion initiative on the ballot in 2018, it came after years of the Republican supermajority failing to act on the issue. Fed up by being shut out of what they perceived was a bipartisan issue, Reclaim Idaho hit the road and gathered enough signatures, ultimately leading to Idaho voters approving the expansion with a 61% majority. Unable to stomach Idaho voters actually having a voice, Idaho Republican lawmakers began an ongoing assault to move the goalposts out of pure spite that what they viewed as a “leftist” bill actually gained the support

of almost two-thirds of Idaho voters. The initiative passed with majority support even in some rural districts. A year later, Rep. Sage Dixon, R-Ponderay, introduced a series of bills increasing signature-gathering requirements, which were met with overwhelming public opposition. After several rewrites that took some bite out of the original proposed bill, Dixon’s efforts were rewarded when the Idaho Senate and House passed the bill, sending it to Little’s desk to sign into law. But Little vetoed the bill in 2019, though claiming that he agreed “with the goals and the vision of S 1159 and H 296. … Idaho cannot become like California and other states that have adopted liberal initiative rules that

result in excessive regulation and often conflicting laws.” The Republican lawmakers were undeterred, returning each subsequent legislative session to attempt another go at limiting the powers of the people. When SB 1110 passed the House and Senate in 2021, Little expressed concerns about its constitutionality, but signed it into law anyway. Now that the Idaho Supreme Court confirmed the bill was in fact unconstitutional, Little’s tune waffled a bit. “In considering future legislation,” Little wrote Aug. 23, “I encourage the Idaho Legislature to ensure that the rights secured by the constitution remain accessible to the people while also securing that each initiative and referendum have an appropriate level of statewide support.” In other words: stop sending unconstitutional bills to my desk! But, er, freedom and all that. This merrygo-round will continue to spin out of control as long as Idahoans persist in electing legislators who only value constitutional protections so long as they align with their fringe voter base. There are numerous examples of laws overturned as unconstitutional in recent years. The dubiously named “Fairness in Women’s Sports Act” — dubbed the “anti-transgender bill” by critics — was signed into law by Gov. Little in March 2020, but was overturned five months later by a federal court. In 2014, a federal judge overturned Idaho’s ban on same-sex marriage because it violated a couple’s equal protection under the 14th Amendment. It’s notable that this decision came a full year ahead of the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in 2015 which made same-sex marriage

legal in all 50 states. More recently, the Idaho GOP flat-out rejected a resolution from the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee that declared support for the John Birch Society, a far-right group that experienced its heyday in the 1950s and ’60s after claiming it would save the nation from a “global conspiracy of leftists and communists.” John Birchers are commonly regarded as conspiracy theorists, believing in such outlandish ideas as a worldwide communist plot to achieve mind-control through water fluoridation or that black helicopters under command of the United Nations covertly patrol the U.S. to accomplish everything from enforcing endangered species laws to establishing a New World Order. It’s likely that these unconstitutional bills and nonsensical resolutions will continue to plague the Legislature in the future, costing millions of dollars in legal fees when most of the time they should have never been passed in the first place. Sen. Janie Ward-Engelking, D-Boise, told reporters on Aug. 24 that, “Idaho has spent close to $5 million since the 1990s fighting these unconstitutional bills, and we have yet to win one of these cases. It is time to carefully evaluate our legislation before pushing forward.” The “tyranny of the minority” is real in Idaho. We are held hostage by the whims of fringe lawmakers who use fear, identity politics and an underlying restiveness that continues to hold Idaho back. The fact that these bills are continually shot down by the judiciary and nonsensical resolutions rejected by state party leaders is a sign that perhaps the line of rationality is holding in Idaho — barely. When Republican voters begin to realize that the fringe elements of their party are destructive to the very republic they claim so loudly to protect, perhaps they can begin voting for a candidate who best represents the people, instead of whoever has an “R” next to their name. September 9, 2021 /


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Remembering 9/11: 20 years later The Reader editorial staff shares their memories of that fateful day 20 years ago

Apocalyptic literature My college roommates and I lived together — all 20 or, like me, nearing 21 years old — in a nice house a few blocks from then-Albertson College of Idaho, in Caldwell. It seems strange to think about now, but back in 2001 we had one phone number and four phones. Mine was a heavy black rotary from the ’50s — the kind you could slam on the cradle — and it had a god-awful piercing ring, which woke me up on the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001. A close relative of one of my roommates was a high-ranking military officer and the phone call was for him. Something about an apparent attack on the East Coast. By stages we all got out of our beds and started turning on televisions and firing up our desktop computers. This was early in the day — probably around 7 a.m., Mountain 16 /


/ September 9, 2021

By Zach Hagadone

Time — and so the first thing I saw were the flames and smoke pouring from a gaping hole in the north tower of the World Trade Center. The word “awesome” is overused and thereby its meaning obscured. Awe is not a positive emotion. It is a form of fear — fear so profound that it doubles back on itself and switches into wonder, which is a curious reaction to something inexplicable that I suspect is an evolutionary safeguard against insanity. Anyway, what I saw that morning inspired one of the only moments in my life that I would consider “awesome” in its true meaning. I do not want to feel that again. I don’t remember exactly how I got to campus (or why I went there), but my next memory is of standing in the student union building with a few dozen other students and faculty members as we watched CNN coverage from

New York on an enormous “big screen” TV. Together with one of my politics professors, who specialized in Central and East Asia, we were speculating whether this was a terrorist attack, who might be behind it and why. Looking back 20 years later, he was right on every count. Mid-conversation — and watching live footage of the burning north tower — a jetliner cruised into the frame and plowed into the south tower. There was a brief silence in the room, followed by gasps and screams. I looked at my professor and he stared back at me, saying something like, “This is it. We’re going to be at war forever.” My next memory is of standing outside in front of the humanities building in an anxious cluster of fellow politics-economics and history folks, chain smoking

for the first time in my life. I don’t remember if we were talking or not, but I do remember glancing across the quad to see one of my friends bopping over the grass with a huge grin on his face. It was a glorious fall day, after all, and he’d apparently slept in. When he reached our worried knot his smile fell. We told him what had happened and he practically collapsed (and later fully collapsed under the weight of a fifth of MacNaughton whiskey and a phone call with his mother… America writ large). Things are blurry from there, but sometime in the mid-afternoon I remember sitting in the basement of our house — classes had been canceled — and drinking off the MacNaughtons. A bunch of us were in our bunker-like “rumpus room” watching CNN and, past the initial shock, now making hardnosed predictions about what

it all meant. Even then it was obvious we were in a forever war with everyone and no one. Mostly, we were going to war with ourselves and, while the disasters in Afghanistan and Iraq are officially “over,” the civil war that started on Sept. 11, 2001 is only intensifying. Hunter S. Thompson called it the “new dumb.” It’s 20 years old now and only getting dumber. Americans’ brains by and large fell out of their heads that day, and precious few have been scraped up and put back in their skulls. The next day I showed up to my English class, “Apocalyptic Literature,” and the professor told us she was throwing out most of our previously assigned texts and dropped a pile of newspapers on the seminar table. “This is apocalyptic literature,” she said. And so it remains.

< see 9/11, Page 17 >

< 9/11, con’t from Page 16>

Life in the after It is a long-standing habit of mine to make the people around me feel old by asking them where they were when a major world event happened, then revealing that I was either too young to remember or simply not yet alive. This is a frequent occurrence living in Bonner County, where a quick Google search reveals the median age of the population close to 50 years old. I, a young millennial, often find myself the youngest person in the room in professional settings, and among the youngest in the grocery checkout line while out on the town. My point? I have not been alive very long and have memories of only a handful of major world events — a fact often lost on the people around me. I’ll never forget the first time we discussed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in

By Lyndsie Kiebert

the Reader office. Ben and Zach began discussing where they were, how they found out, etc., while I sat quiet. When their attention turned to me, looking for input, the reality of my short life made an appearance. “I was in Kindergarten,” I said. “I remember the TV being on, and I remember people being sad.” My memories of 9/11 are more feelings than concrete remembrances. I can picture the news playing on the TV in my family’s living room, and the frantic effort to tear ourselves away and get to the school bus stop on time. I vaguely remember arriving at my classroom; the demeanor of the adults that day being sad and bewildered. The dichotomy of the school day seems poignant to me now: While I learned the very basics of letter sounds

A memorial made of steel recovered from Ground Zero in New York City. Courtesy photo.

and counting past 10, the adults around me grappled with paralyzing shock and fear on a worldwide scale. All of this is to say that while I sit here, writing for this newspaper and taking on a role in society that is, by all accounts, very adult, I lack

The day everything stopped

I dropped out of college in 2001 to pursue a career in the film industry in Los Angeles, but was working at Hidden Lakes Golf Resort as a golf pro for a final summer before making the big move to California. I loved my job at the golf course. Starting as a cart boy when I was 15, I had slowly moved into the pro shop and started giving golf lessons under the tutelage of pros Ken Parker, Mike Deprez and Jamie Packer — all of them teaching me valuable lessons about life, as well as golf. On the morning of Sept. 11, I was in bed with my then-girlfriend. We had tied one on the night before and both had brutal hangovers. A phone call woke us up at some ungodly hour, but she didn’t answer the first volley of rings. When the ringing

started again, we finally dragged ourselves out of bed and answered the phone. It was her dad, telling her to turn on the television, there was something happening in New York City. I found the remote and turned on the TV. The first image I saw was an aerial shot from a helicopter looking at a plume of smoke coming from one of the World Trade Center towers. Within seconds of turning on the set, we watched in horror as a jetliner came flying in at speed and smashed into the other tower, erupting in a huge fireball. I was 20 years old at the time, filled with my own self-importance, but I immediately understood that something was happening that would change our world forever. “We’re going to be at war for the rest of our lives,” I

something that almost every other adult around me has: memories of the before. Before 9/11. Before the war. Before terrorism. Before life and politics and travel and diplomatic policy as it operates today. I have always lived in

the after. This is my normal. How that might inform my worldview and understanding of international events — I’m not sure, but it feels worth reminding those of you who can firmly remember life before and after the attacks.

soul on the golf course. I was told to hang out as long as I could, in case golfers showed up, but not to worry about normal operations. Instead of manning the pro shop desk checking in foursomes like usual, I gathered in the bar with a handful of other employees and we watched the news with grim faces. Everyone was in tears. About noon, someone suggested we start drinking and we didn’t stop until nightfall. We drank to numb the reality of what was happening before our eyes. We drank because we weren’t strong enough to fathom what this actually meant for our country, our world. We drank because it was the only thing to counter the immediate shock of watching the world we knew transform instantly into the

world we know now. Somewhere around early evening, too drunk to drive home, I called my girlfriend and she came out to pick me up. Her eyes were bloodshot from crying all day. We drove in silence, all words meaningless at that point. After she dropped me off at my place, I went inside, collapsed on the couch and tried to sleep, but sleep never came. The image of that second plane hitting the tower played over and over in my mind in a constant loop. I rummaged through the pantry and found a half-empty bottle of whiskey, wrapped myself in a blanket and watched the sunrise from the back porch just to see something beautiful amid all the ugliness. It was the first sunrise in a new world I wasn’t sure I understood anymore. September 9, 2021 / R / 17

By Ben Olson

told her. Soon I was getting calls from friends and family members as they each found out what was happening. Some were crying, others were angry. I remember my emotions being a mix between confusion, anger and despair. It dawned on me that there were probably thousands of people in those buildings. I’ve never been a religious man, but then and there I prayed that all of them made it out safely. As it turned out, that was nowhere near the case. I was scheduled to work the pro shop that morning, so I tore myself away from the TV, showered and put on my uniform, only to arrive at the golf course to find everything was shut down for the day. It was a beautiful September day, crisp but warm, yet there wasn’t a

events January 7-14, 2021


CCC donation event at Papa Murphy’s Papa Murphy’s donating a portion of in-store sales to Community Cancer Services today

Live Music w/ Truck Mills 6-9pm @ 41 South

Live Music w/ Benny & Sheldon 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall


Live Music w/ Bright Moments Jazz 6-8:30pm @ Matchwood Brewing Co. Live Music w/ BareGrass 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority Sandpoint Farmers’ Market 9am-1pm @ Farmin Park Live music w/ Live Music w/ Truck Mills 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery

Live Music w/ Pamela Jean 6:30-9:30pm @ MickDuff’s Beer Hall

CHAFE 150 Gran Fondo bike ride @ Sandpoint City Beach Visit for more info about this charity ride benefiting LPOSD’s Literacy Initiative and after-school reading programs Friends of the Panida yard sale 8am-2pm@ 534 Marion Ave. Shop goods donated by community members, with funds benefiting the Panida Bonner Co. History Museum yard sale 8:30am-2pm@ Lakeview Park Find treasures and help support the museum!


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

Ponderay Outdoor Market 10am-3pm@ 401 Bonner Mall Way Featuing live music, food vendors and more! Held second Sunday of each month


Outdoor Experience Monday Night Group Run – All levels welcome 6pm @ Outdoor Experience Lifetree Cafe • 2pm @ Jalapeño’s Restaurant Betrayed: A short film of a man dealing with his wife’s extramarital affairs

Monday Night Blues Jam w/ John Firshi 7pm @ Eichardt’s Pub

Blind Beer Tasting of German lagers, hefeweizens and bocks 6pm @ Idaho Pour Authority


Live Music w/ John Firshi 6-8pm @ Idaho Pour Authority

Sandpoint Farmers’ Market 3-5:30pm @ Farmin Park


18 /


/ September 9, 2021

Museum yard sale slated for Sept. 11 Sale serves as Bonner County History Museum’s largest annual fundraiser

By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff


Live Music w/ Son of Brad 5-8pm @ Pend d’Oreille Winery


When it comes to the Bonner County History Museum’s annual yard sale, it is important to remember this slogan: “It’s not from the museum — it’s for the museum.” While the fine wares for purchase at the sale are actually just household treasures of the (mostly) modern age, all money raised will be used to further the museum’s goal to preserve items of the past and share Bonner County’s history far and wide. The museum is accepting donations until 4 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 9, then gearing up for the sale, happening Saturday, Sept. 11 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Lakeview Park, 611 S. Ella Ave. The museum is unable to accept upholstered furniture, entertainment systems, clothing (except vintage and/or designer pieces), mattresses, televisions or stereo systems. What’s one person’s

donation is sure to be someone else’s amazing find, at what organizers are calling the “biggest and best yard sale of the year.” Museum Administrator Hannah Combs told the Reader that in the hour the museum had been open on the morning of Sept. 7, the donations hadn’t stopped pouring in — boding well for the variety available during the weekend’s yard sale. Combs said money raised will go toward the museum’s educational efforts, including class tours and collaborations with local teachers, as well as upkeep of the museum’s elaborate exhibits, created by Director and Curator Heather Upton. “As anyone who has visited the museum knows, Heather does an amazing job curating those and they’re really an engaging way to learn about our local history,” Combs said. Learn more at or call the museum at 208-263-2344.


POAC announces 2021-’22 Performing Arts season By Reader Staff

The Pend Oreille Arts Council announced its first full season of live performances since the COVID-19 pandemic cut short the 2019-’20 season. POAC’s 2021-’22 season will include eclectic performances ranging from flamenco fusion and classic jazz to live theater and local dance, all taking place onstage at the Historic Panida Theater. The season kicks off this fall and continues through the spring. Ticket prices range from $5-27 and went on sale Sept. 1. Tickets to all performances are available at the POAC Office, 110 Main St., Ste. 101 in downtown Sandpoint, online at or by calling 208263-6139. Friday, Oct. 29: Okaidja Afroso — Afro pop singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist from Ghana, West Africa. All tickets $22. Friday, Nov. 19: Barrio Manouche — Flamenco fusion Gypsy jazz from Spain to San Francisco. All tickets $22.

Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 29 and 30: This Winter Night — POAC partners with Allegro Dance Studio and Suzuki String Academy for a special evening of music and dance pairings inspired by winter themes. Tickets $25-35. Friday, Feb. 18: Living Voices — The popular theatrical partnership with Living Voices is back with a production of “Through the Eyes of a Friend,” the enduring, inspiring story of Anne Frank told from a unique perspective. All tickets $16. Friday, March 18: Paul Beaubrun — Haitian singer and multi-instrumentalist, son of Lolo and Manze Beaubrun, of the Grammy-nominated band Boukman Ekperyans, weaving together Haitian roots music with reggae and rock ’n’ roll in his own “roots blues” style. All tickets $22. Saturday, April 23: Missoula Children’s Theater presents Rumpelstiltskin — Casting a host of local children of all ages for a local production of the fairytale classic. Tickets $5-15.

Thursday, May 19: Brubeck Brothers Quartet — An exciting jazz quartet featuring the gifted sons of legendary jazz musician Dave Brubeck. Dan Brubeck (drums) and Chris Brubeck (bass and trombone) carry on the family name of one of America’s most accomplished musical families, joined by guitarist Mike DeMicco and pianist Chuck Lamb. All tickets $27. Visiting performers also participate in POAC’s Ovations program, a free K-12 outreach that provides quality educational experiences in the performing arts for students who would otherwise not have these opportunities. In addition to all public performances at the Panida, workshops,

Barrio Manouche will play at the Panida Theater Friday, Nov. 19. Courtesy photo. performances and outreach programs are planned throughout the year in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. “From the classics, to culturally diverse contemporary musicians, dancers, actors and spoken-word artists, POAC has a long tradition of presenting performances geared for audiences of all ages at affordable prices,” said POAC Executive Director Tone Lund. “We are excited to be able to get back to bringing exceptional artistic quality, theatrical excitement and inspiration to the Sandpoint community through the performing arts.”

September 9, 2021 /


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The Sandpoint Eater Claiming my steak By Marcia Pilgeram Reader Columnist

I’m home. Feels good to be back, and it feels like fall’s found her way back here, too. I’ve gleaned the garden and, let me tell you, that didn’t take very damn long. It’s too bad none of the grandbabes are here because my harvest was the perfect size for a small dinner party set in a dollhouse. Out of 72 Jif pots and an assortment of starts from the Farmer’s Market (including my second set of tomato plants, after the first set shivered to death in the May frost), my paltry yield was an embarrassment. Even though the tomato plants were huge, I was hardpressed to find more than a couple of tomatoes per plant. So that’s it. Pulling up (tomato) stakes and taking my gardening loss(es). My 15-monthold granddaughter, Runa, has command of a new word, which she uses liberally: “done!” Me, too, Runa. I’m so done growing vegetables. Done! I spent last week in Spokane on standby for myriad grandbabe duties, while the parents settled into new jobs, day care and preschool intros, and all the other overwhelming tasks that come with a cross-country move. Before I left, I rewarded my tired self with a fabulous dinner at Churchill’s Steakhouse. I hadn’t been there since pre-COVID days and wasn’t sure what to expect, and it was even more extraordinary than I remembered. I love a good steak and I especially love the atmosphere of an old Chicago-style steakhouse. Even though Churchill’s hasn’t been around that long (since 2009), it feels decidedly older, like the ones I favored 20 /


/ September 9, 2021

from my past travel (and expense account) days. I love the atmosphere of dimmed lights, rich mahogany paneling and deep banquettes swathed in red velvet. Per past preference, I sat at the bar and, between bites of an expertly prepared, rare-cooked ribeye, I bantered with Zach, the well-practiced bartender. In the heyday of my private-train career, I was often on the road up to 100 nights a year. I avoided chain restaurants whenever possible, and my most pleasurable activity was seeking out the oldest local, independent steakhouse. I was rarely disappointed. Still among my favorite steakhouses are Durant’s in Phoenix, where you gain entry through the large, busy kitchen; Gallagher’s

in Manhattan, with their oversized glass-encased meat locker entrance; and Hugo’s Cellar in Las Vegas, where ladies are presented with a long-stemmed red rose before being seated. I used to spend multiple days at a time on train layovers (with a generous per diem) in Chicago, so I’ve got more than a few favorites there. Gene & Georgetti, where the longtime waiters are as well-seasoned as the steaks, and the Chicago Chop House, just off the Magnificent Mile, rank at the top of my list. When I long ago began to seek out these iconic restaurants, the steaks were usually accompanied by a crisp salad and a side or two that included a potato offering, which, more often than not, was the proverbial Idaho


• 2 pounds russet potatoes, rinsed and peeled • 1/2 cup grated gruyere cheese • 3 tbs butter • 1 tsp salt • 1 tsp white pepper • 2 tbs cream

baked potato. Occasionally, you’d find a more upscale spud, such as the Lyonnaise potatoes offered at Gallagher’s in New York. I spent three (long) nights in Rhinelander, Wis., in 1995 to inspect a galley/dining railcar for a long-term lease. I can’t remember the car or its configuration, but I can still remember the Swiss-style steakhouse — The White Stag Inn — with its open hearth and the melt-in-yourmouth potato offering, called rösti (now a favorite side on my steak platter). In the past year and a half, I’ve rarely stepped out for a meal and, when I have, it’s mostly been outdoors. I don’t consider myself a food snob and love my favorite hometown haunts. Still, after dining at Churchill’s, I’ve

come to realize how much I miss those fine-dining experiences, where bustling waiters push linen-covered carts to prepare tableside Caesar salads and steak Diane. I also miss the people watching part of the experience, like observing a haughtily dressed sommelier upselling a bottle of Opus One to an elegantly dressed gentleman and his bejeweled date. I’m not sure when my schedule (and budget) will allow me to return to Churchill’s, but with my two youngest adorables residing in Spokane, I suspect it won’t be long. I might even recommend that Churchill’s add rösti to its menu of sides. Of course, I also recommend you add it to yours.

This is a delicious and fairly simple Swiss side dish that can be served with any meal. Boil the potatoes a day ahead. Once the ingredients are in the pan, be sure not to stir or it won’t form its signature crust. For variety, add crumbled, crisp-cooked bacon, cooled sautéed onions, or peeled and grated apples (delicious with pork). Makes six servings.


Place the potatoes in a large pot. Cover the potatoes with water. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat. Cook the potatoes until just tender, about 15 minutes; drain and refrigerate potatoes overnight. Peel and grate the chilled potatoes into a large bowl. Grate cheese in another small bowl. Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat; add half the grated potatoes (mixed with the bacon, onions or apple), half the cheese, season with salt and white pepper, repeat with remaining potatoes and cheese. With a spatula, press the potatoes into a compacted round disc. Sprinkle the cream over everything. Cover the skillet with a lid. When the potatoes begin to sizzle and a brown crust has formed on the bottom, cover the skillet with a large plate (I use the bottom of a springform pan) and flip the rösti, then slide back into the frying pan to crisp that side. When done, slide onto a serving platter and garnish with chives and cut into wedges.


Instrumental improvement Musical practice for better living

By Zach Hagadone Reader Staff Parents, by and large, want their kids to be better than them in all the ways that they lack; and, already, mine are my betters in more areas than they should be at their ages. My daughter, 6, is funnier than me, dresses better, is a better artist and generally seems to “get it” more than I ever have. You can get nothing past my daughter. Meanwhile my son, 9, has more heart and wisdom than any 50 adults I can think of. Nothing gets past that kid, either. I mean nothing: He knows the bounty on walleyes and how black holes work. There were three things my wife and I wanted for our children: to have a sense of humor, to be kind and be able to play music (and a fourth thing, which I suppose overlaps with music, that is to understand a language other than English). With Things No. 1 and 2 handled, No. 3 started in earnest about a year ago, when we enrolled my son in violin lessons at the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint. His education from Ms. Claudia has been a bright spot in an otherwise dismal year. We have a piano at home and it is the quiet (though sometimes loud) center of our existence. We also have an accordion and a set of bagpipes, bongo drums, a musical saw, harmonicas and formerly a saxophone. Ours is a “musical household,” but until last year without stringed instruments — and, because I’ve been crushingly depressed for the past 18 or so months, not much piano, either. When my son started his instruction in violin it was the first time he’d embarked on something I hadn’t already done, and so I couldn’t coach him in any meaningful way. I could talk about the importance of regular practice, how to navigate the feelings of defeat that come with sounding like crap and keeping

This week’s RLW by Zach Hagadone


Stop being an internet expert on Middle East geopolitics and read The Great War for Civilization. Published in 2006 by Irish international reporter Robert Fisk (who died in 2020), the 2006 book lays brutally bare the meddling, bungling, stupidity, cupidity and frank bloody-mindedness that resulted in the world-historical disaster in which we’ve been living since the last decades of the 20th century. He was there for much — if not all — of it.


John Hagadone practicing his violin in style. Photo by Cadie Archer. your instrument in good order (meticulousness, in other words), but as for actually playing the thing, I didn’t have a clue. This skill is all his. He has progressed well. He can read music (something I didn’t truly achieve until middle school) and knows how to play the melody to Beethoven’s “Ode to Joy,” that is, his ninth symphony, by memory. I’m not saying my son is a prodigy — he grumbles and complains more often than not when it’s time for his daily practice, but he always does it and ultimately has something like love for his instrument. Anyone who plays knows what I’m talking about. It becomes a piece of you; the instrument itself takes on a personality, mostly a friend and sometimes a foe. It changes your brain, altering the cadence of your life. Hell, it gives cadence to your life, even and maybe especially when it’s frustrating. Having this relationship at the age of 9, my son is a better musician than me. I didn’t start any sustained musical practice until a run at piano lessons (which I gave up on too quickly) and playing saxophone in the sixth-grade band. I kept up the latter through my sophomore year of college but drifted away.

Meanwhile, I’ve returned to the piano in the past eight or so years, building on skills that really haven’t progressed much since I was 12 years old. Still, I’ve always been terrible at practicing; my son already has more discipline than me and, frankly, his instrument of choice is far above my pay grade. He also has an instrument that is far more beautiful than any I’ve ever owned — a violin given to him by his adopted auntie, local musician Samantha Carston, that she received from an employer who was parting with some possessions. “He came out with it and said, ‘Here. Do you know anyone who plays the violin?,’ and I said, ‘I do,’” Carston said. She took the instrument to Fiddlin’ Red for some restoration. He restrung it and tuned it, remarking that it had been created by someone who really knew what they were doing. We’re still trying to suss out just how old it is, though it bears some hallmarks that suggest 18th-century craftsmanship. During its apparently long life, the violin’s neck had to be repaired, and that, too, appears to have been accomplished by a highly skilled individual. Lacking much concrete ev-

idence of its provenance (other than that it belonged to Carston’s employer’s mother), I can tell you that it simply feels like an exquisite instrument. Something about the elegance of its lines, its feather-lightness and the resonance of its tone telegraphs that this is no ordinary violin — even the bow is a work of art, featuring real ebony and silver — and it smells really good. Though it’s a little too big for my son, who plays on a violin rented from the conservatory, it fits me just fine and I try my best to learn a little and play along with him. He teaches me, which makes him a better player and me a better human being. I suppose that’s the point of playing music in the first place — every aspect of the activity results in improvement. And I have to hand it to the Music Conservatory of Sandpoint, which itself is a real improvement to the community in general. Watching my son perform at recitals alongside other local students — all of them fantastically talented and obviously committed — gives me a good measure of much-needed hope and even inspiration. We could all use more of that.

This seems like a gross oversight, considering the fact that Luke Baumgarten got his start as a public intellectual at the Reader back in 2005, but here is our official recommendation to subscribe to his Spokane-based podcast Range. It’s an audio long-form journalism deep dive into any and every regional issue you would want to learn about. Are we biased? Yes. Luke is one of ours. Is he that good? Yes. Find Luke’s work at


A dark, satiric rumination on family, failure, love, loss, longing and superscience, The Venture Brothers was an Adult Swim animated series that cusped on mass appeal but somehow fizzled before its time. In its ways, VB is both warmer and more cynical than Rick and Morty (the closest comparison I can think of), and has aged like vintage Red Mocho Kooler. Meet Dr. Venture, his sons Hank and Dean, their bodyguard Brock Sampson and their multitude of friends and foes on HBO Max.

September 9, 2021 /


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Thank you, and you, and you

Writing thank-you notes is a great way to create more joy in the world

From Northern Idaho News, September 8, 1931

RANCHERS HAVE NARROW ESCAPES A fire, starting near the Northern Pacific tracks at Lignite Friday afternoon, swept up the side of the hill and down on the other side clear to the lake shore before being stopped. Several ranchers had narrow escapes with their buildings and some of the barns were burned. At the Jack McLean place the fire came within two feet of the house and it was only by heroic work that the place was saved. Buildings on the Adams ranch were destroyed and the Whitaker landing burned up. At the Smart ranch the fire came close to the buildings but it is said they were saved. It is reported that two of the ranchers lost their barns but verification could not be had. A peculiarity of the fire was that it swept down the hill at almost as fast a rate as it went up the hill, giving very little time to save anything in its path. Fortunately the wind shifted so the fire, instead of heading for Glengary and Bottle bay, was shifted to the north where there are not so many ranches. The fire started Friday afternoon about 1 o’clock near the tracks of the Northern Pacific railway at Lignite and the railway company called all the neighboring section crews to combat the flames, but so fast did the fire run that they called the United States forest service to put the fire out, it being in unorganized territory. 22 /


/ September 9, 2021

By Lyndsie Kiebert Reader Staff After my recent wedding, I took it upon myself to handwrite thank-you notes to everyone who attended or helped with the big event. This was not my original intention. I ordered small cards with a wedding photo printed on the front and inscribed with simple text reading: “With love and thanks, Alex and Lyndsie Carey.” Despite entering the endeavor with the thought that I would only write “Dear so-and-so, thanks!” on the back of each card, I inevitably got carried away, and started using the blank space to express very specific and heartfelt gratitudes. About three mornings — and only 30 cards — in, I texted my husband at work: “The next time we get married, you’re writing the thank-you’s.” I remained steadfast in my undertaking, and became reacquainted with the art of the handwritten thank-you note: a scientifically-proven vessel for boosting mental health. In the age of text and email, it is undoubtedly easier to shoot off a digital message of gratitude, complete with heart emojis. While I grew up hand-writing thank-you notes, I’ve fallen away from the practice in my adult life, opting instead to text friends a simple message of, “You’re great, thanks!,” along with a gif of two dogs hugging. Cute, but far from as genuine as it gets. Once our wedding passed and the warm fuzzies of everyone’s generosity remained palpable, I knew handwritten cards were the only way to go. Thus began my journey of hand cramps and smudged ink, as well as the challenge of figuring out what words, exactly, would do justice to my sincerest feelings. I thanked people for gifts, for being

STR8TS Solution

present to celebrate our big day, for being wonderful friends and hardworking family members. I meant every word, and it felt good. As research suggests, that good feeling doesn’t stop with me at the post office. That good continues, creates a cycle and just makes life a little better for a moment. “Saying thanks can improve somebody’s own happiness, and it can improve the well-being of another person as well — even more than we anticipate, in fact,” Amit Kumar, an assistant professor of marketing at the University of Texas, told TIME magazine in 2018 after she conducted a study that found people writing thank-you notes typically underestimate the joy felt in people who receive that note, as well as overestimate the awkward factor such an action could create. Feelings of well-being were boosted for both writers and receivers. “If both parties are benefiting from this, I think that’s the type of action we should be pursuing more often in our everyday lives,” she continued. The science is even more concrete than that, it turns out. According to a brain-scan study in NeuroImage, the positive effects of a simple gratitude exercise, such as writing a thank-you note, remain present in the brain months later. “The implication is that gratitude tasks

work, at least in part, because they have a self-perpetuating nature: The more you practice gratitude, the more attuned you are to it and the more you can enjoy its psychological benefits,” the study concluded, according to Forbes. It would appear that being grateful in writing is a little known secret to both create and share happiness. It seems obvious, yet, it seems to be a dying art. I won’t pretend it was the most fun I’ve had in my life; writing 100 thankyou’s was a slog. Am I happy I did it? Yes. A handwritten letter goes a long way to express exactly what you mean to convey, both with words and the action of writing, addressing, stamping and sending a physical token of gratitude. Thank-you notes speak louder than digital words, and as every human will agree, it’s simply fun to receive a joyful piece of mail between the bills. Add some genuine happiness to the world, both for yourself and for someone you care about. Send a thank-you note.

Crossword Solution

Sudoku Solution

What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. Except for bears. Bears will kill you.

Solution on page 22


Woorf tdhe Week



Laughing Matter

Solution on page 22

By Bill Borders


[noun] 1. a suspension of activity.

“The city passed a moratorium on fast food restaurants to avoid sprawl.” Corrections: Nothing to report this week. —BO

ACROSS 1. Round red root vegetables 6. Orbital point 11. Hello or goodbye 12. Pessimistic 15. Heretofore 16. Charisma 17. Russian fighter 18. Detaches 20. Needlefish 21. Radar signal 23. “Oh my!” 24. Fix 25. Along with 26. Electrical or crossword 27. Encircle 28. Rodents 56. Footstool 29. Record (abbrev.) 57. Platform 30. Bloated 58. Inscribed pillar 31. A despicable person 59. Picture element 34. Whipped or sour 36. Court 37. Every single one 41. Optimistic 42. Roll a ball 43. Pang DOWN 44. Fathers 45. Draw near 1. Glasswort 46. Sketch 2. Author of a 47. Biblical first woman mournful poem 48. A short novel 3. Many millennia 51. Before, poetically 4. You (archaic) 52. Dialect of Chinese 5. Wood that is cut 54. Away from the sea 6. Overseas

Solution on page 22 7. Glances 8. Back talk 9. Fury 10. Vocalists 13. Meager 14. Group of cattle 15. Hinder 16. Female constables 19. Seraglio 22. Have 24. Misinform 26. Gruesome 27. Woman 30. Jail (British) 32. Nonclerical 33. Intestine

34. Tie 35. Rats 38. Land 39. Sepulchral 40. Carved 42. Relating to cows 44. Audition tape 45. Reef material 48. What a person is called 49. Speech disorder 50. Against 53. Point 55. Lenient

September 9, 2021 /


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