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Will stimulus put us back on the gravy train? Inside:

• 50 years laterMemories of the ‘59 quake • The Father’s a Monsignor now • Is Herdon raising false hopes for POW/Mia families? • Hikers, horsemen and bikers get comprehensive on trails

March 2009

When vehicle meets wildlife, it’s generally the wildlife that wins


Harry Weerheim

Michael White, Realtor

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LARGE UNDER GROUND CEMENT HOUSE ON 130 ACRES BoRDERED BY TWo BIG CREEKS & TIMBER CoMPANY LAND! Features include well, electric plus solar and generator backups, two good log cabins, shop & greenhouse too. New interior road system & county maintained road access just off the pavement. Awesome views. Priced as vacant land, only $649,500!

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March 2009

Call him Tim or TJ or Malachy, but first call him Monsignor.

See Marianne Love’s “Love Notes” on page 23

Community works to build network of trails. See story by Mark Savarese on page 4

THE RIVER JOURNAL A News Magazine Worth Wading Through ~just going with the flow~ P.O. Box 151•Clark Fork, ID 83811 www.RiverJournal.com•208.255.6957

SALES Call 208.255.6957 or email trish@riverjournal.com

PRESS RELEASES (Email only) to editorial@riverjournal.com

STAFF Calm Center of Tranquility 50 years ago Hope’s Irene Dunn experienced a night she’ll never forget.

Trish Gannon-trish@riverjournal.com

Also...

Jody Forest dgree666@sandpoint.net

See story by Dianna Winget on page 5

Buddy reading at Athol Elementary, promulgating falsehoods about POWs, the unfaltering falcoln and poor enough to sell dirt.

Departments Editorial 6..........Staccato Notes 9..........Veterans 12-16.....Outdoors 18-19.....Sports 20.........Education 21.........Technology 24-25.....Food 26.........Faith 28-29.....Wellness 31.........Other Worlds 32-33.....Politics 38-39.....Obituaries 44-46.....Humor

Cover

7 Trish Gannon Politically Incorrect 11 Sandy Compton The Scenic Route 23 Marianne Love Love Notes 27 Ernie Hawks The Hawk’s Nest 35 Paul Rechnitzer Say What? 37 Lou Springer Currents 44 Boots Reynolds From the Mouth of the River

Is $8 trillion to put the economy back on track? See stories on page 2 and 3. Cover by Trish Gannon

Ministry of Truth and Propoganda Cartoonists Scott Clawson, Matt Davidson, Jim Tibbs

Regular Contributors

Desire Aguirre; Jinx Beshears; Laura Bry; Scott Clawson; Sandy Compton; Marylyn Cork; Dick Cvitanich; Duke Diercks; Mont. Sen. Jim Elliott; Idaho Rep. George Eskridge; Lawrence Fury; Dustin Gannon; Shaina Gustafson; Matt Haag; Ernie Hawks; Hanna Hurt; Herb Huseland; Emily Levine; Marianne Love; Thomas McMahon; Clint Nicholson; Kathy Osborne; Gary Payton; Angela Potts; Paul Rechnitzer; Boots Reynolds; Sandpoint Wellness Council; Rhoda Sanford; Lou Springer; Mike Turnlund; Tess Vogel; Michael White; Pat Williams; and Kate Wilson

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.” Aristotle Proudly printed at Griffin Publishing in Spokane, Wash. 509.534.3625 Contents of the River Journal are copyright 2009. Reproduction of any material, including original artwork and advertising, is prohibited. The River Journal is published the first of each month and approximately 8,000 copies are distributed in Sanders County, Montana, and Bonner, Boundary and Kootenai counties in Idaho. The River Journal is printed on 40 percent recycled paper with soy-based ink. We appreciate your efforts to recycle.


S T I M U LU S What it will do, how it will work, and how you can learn more The feds are gonna help us... Otter’s not gonna take it... Of course he’ll take it... No, I don’t think he’s gonna do it... Doesn’t matter if he doesn’t, the legislature can take it... But JFAC has concerns... No, Otter finally said he’ll take it... But maybe not all of it. While Montana’s Legislature is busy doling out federal stimulus dollars, Idaho’s Legislature is left waiting for reports from a specially appointed “stimulus executive committee,� plus the Joint Finance and Appropriation Committee’s legislative analyst’s review of the implications of accepting any money. Montana’s Governor Brian Schweitzer said the Legislature can’t wait until the end to process federal stimulus money because construction projects need to start before the end of April, noting Montana’s short construction season. “I want them to get a bill drafted and give the authority to start moving forward

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sooner rather than later,â&#x20AC;? Schweitzer said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;We have a short construction season, a short outdoor construction season. We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t want to lose any days.â&#x20AC;? Although Idahoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s construction season is just as short, and Governor Otter is so supportive of new transportation projects he has proposed increasing various taxes and fees by $174 million to fund them, heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not so sure that accepting the almost $1 billion available is such a good thing for Idaho. He told the Idaho Statesman â&#x20AC;&#x153;I think thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s parts of the stimulus package that are going to do exactly what was intended as far as putting people back to work or saving jobs,â&#x20AC;? but added heâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s â&#x20AC;&#x153;suspiciousâ&#x20AC;? of the entire plan and, like a few other Republican governors, is leery of any monies for ongoing items that might create a drain on Idahoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s budget when the federal funding is gone. In particular, Otter has suggested he might not accept money to provide expanded unemployment benefits. Governor Schweitzer, whose state stands to receive a little more than $620 million in stimulus money, is less concerned. â&#x20AC;&#x153;People call this a stimulus bill. This is a jobs bill,â&#x20AC;? he said. â&#x20AC;&#x153;Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s going to put people to work.â&#x20AC;? Schweitzer estimates the money will create or save as many as 11,000 Montana jobs. In order to ensure one-time stimulus money doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t fund ongoing programs, Montanaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s legislature has separated the stimulus money from their regular budget into House Bill 2a. At question in Montana is who will keep track of the money, with Democrats suggesting the legislatureâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s

by Trish Gannon

finance committee is more than capable, while Republicans want to take a page out of Otterâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s playbook and appoint a special committee to spend the funds. The Speaker of the House, Dan Bergen, a Democrat from Havre, suggested to reporter Dan Testa of the Flathead Beacon that setting a stimulus budget is not really rocket science; â&#x20AC;&#x153;Having federal money come to our state is not a new and novel concept,â&#x20AC;? pointing out that over half of the stateâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s regular budget is federal dollars. All monies, he says, should be spent by elected officials who have been â&#x20AC;&#x153;charged with a dutyâ&#x20AC;? to spend taxpayer dollars, not appointed officials. Mayors have already taken steps to help state legislatures determine how best to spend that money, with a list of proposals in the 2008 U.S. Conference of Mayors report. Visit http://tinyurl.com/b94n3a to see what Idahoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mayors have proposed, and http:// tinyurl.com/d22sfx to see what Montanaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s mayors would like to accomplish. So whatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s in the stimulus bill that will help you personally? That depends on who you are, where you live and the status of your personal financial situation. UNEMPLOYMENT For example, consider the unemployed. The stimulus bill provides $7 billion for states to help their unemployed workersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;currently, more than five million people are collecting unemployment. But a controversial part of the legislation provides additional benefits if states extend unemployment benefits to parttime workersâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s something Continued on page 

From the Horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mouth

After reading through the 407 pages of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (the stimulus bill), I have to agree with New West Boise reporter Jill Kuratis: scrubbing livestock would be more fun. And I love to read! Just not paragraphs like this (from the appropriation for the Department of Labor): (1) $500,000,000 for grants to the States for adult employment and training activities, including supportive services and needs-related payments described in section 134(e)(2) and (3) of the WIA: Provided, That a priority use of these funds shall be services to individuals described in 134(d)(4)(E) of the WIA. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not hard to understand why more than half of our federal legislators (306 of them) admitted they didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t read the bill before voting on it, including Idahoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Jim Risch, who told the editorial board of the Idaho Statesman â&#x20AC;&#x153;Thereâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no human being thatâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s read that bill.â&#x20AC;? Of course, it does make one wonder just what we elected these people to do if itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s not to read and understand the legislation they vote on. You can do your legislators one better by reading the bill yourself. Check it out online at www.readthestimulus.org, or just click on â&#x20AC;&#x153;From the Horseâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Mouthâ&#x20AC;? at the River Journal website (www.RiverJournal.com) and download your very own copy.

Page  | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Putting it in Perspective

The United States has currently spent about $8 trillion in various bailout/stimulus packages. A million seconds is 12 days. A billion seconds is 31 years. A trillion seconds is 31,688 years.

Stimulus - Continued from page 

some state governors, like Idaho’s Otter, are disinclined to do. Their concern is in setting a precedent that will be expensive for states to pay for once federal funding runs out. Two-thirds of the unemployment dollars available to states are tied to this provision. The other third is available to states if the time period for determining eligibility includes recent earnings. The stimulus bill gives all those collecting unemployment benefits on or before December 31 of this year a $25 a week raise, plus will protect the first $2,400 in benefits received from federal income tax. In addition, laid off employees who meet certain income guidelines can continue their health insurance under the COBRA law by paying only 35 percent of the cost of the plan—the federal government will reimburse the remaining 65 percent for a period of nine months. For those hoping to get back to work, the bill provides $4 billion for job training programs. FIRST-TIME HOME BUYERS Buy a house by November 30 this year and get a one-time tax credit up to $8,000 (or ten percent of the purchase price). If you sell that house in three years, however, or if it ceases to be your primary residence, you’ll have to pay that money back. The credit phases out for first-time home buyers who make more than $75,000 a year, $150,000 for couples. ENERGY EFFICIENCY Make purchases to improve your home’s energy efficiency and get a tax credit of up to 30 percent of the cost, for a maximum of $1,500. A list of improvements that qualify can be found online at www.energystar. gov. CAR BUYERS If you purchase a new vehicle between February 16 and December 31 this year, you can deduct the sales and excise Continued on page 17

BUSINESS OWNERS: Call in the Experts to Understand Much of the Stimulus Bill So what will $298 billion in tax relief mean to you? Confusion that’s what! It’s time to talk to your insurance agent, CPA and financial planner NOW! Here is a partial list of items that may impact your business, the backbone of our economy: Nine-month COBRA extension and subsidy: Employees involuntarily terminated between September 1, 2008 and December 31, 2009 are eligible to receive a 65 percent government subsidy on their COBRA premiums for up to nine months. The subsidy does not include individual filers with incomes of more than $125,000 and joint filers making more than $250,000. Remember, COBRA applies to employers who had 20 or more full time or full-time-equivalent employees in two of the past four quarters. These dollars will be paid by employers and reimbursed by the federal government. Retirement Accounts: Most people realize that 2008 was a horrible year for the stock market. It was, in fact, the worst year’s performance for the Dow Jones Industrial Average in more than 75 years. The downturn had broad implications for everything from college endowment funds to community and non-profit foundations, but one of the biggest impacts was on retirement accounts. Retirement accounts created a vexing tax inequality last year. Accounts including IRAs, 403(b)s and 401(k)s (if the accountholder is no longer working) must

by Angela Potts-Bopp

take a required minimum distribution or face penalties. The account holder must take the RMD in the year they turn 70.5, although they have until April 1 of the following year to actually take it. After that first year, they must take the RMD by December 31 of each year. If they fail to take the RMD, the amount not taken will be taxed at 50 percent. One problem is the time frame given for valuing the account for the purposes of calculating the RMD. For any given year, the RMD is determined by dividing the prior year’s retirement account balances as of December 31 by a life expectancy factor. For example, a single, 75-year-old taxpayer would find on the IRS’s Uniform Lifetime Table a life expectancy factor of 22.9. If the taxpayer had $100,000 in a retirement account as of December 31, 2007, the 2008 RMD would be $4,367 ($100,000 / 22.9 = $4,367). The problem with the RMD rules stems from the fact that required distributions in 2008 are based on plan balances from December 31, 2007, while the stock market saw large declines in October and November of 2008. In other words, since the stock market declined so much in 2008, retirees would be forced to take a higher RMD on a balance that had declined substantially. However, the reality is that many retirees in their 70s have the majority of their IRA account in CDs, fixed account products paying a stated interest rate and Continued on page 17

So what about those troubled mortgages? Having a hard time making your house payment each month? Are you one of the estimated 27 percent of homeowners paying on a mortgage that costs more than your house is now worth? Still waiting on your bailout? Say hello to the $75 billion Homeowner Stability Initiative, which would provide a set of incentives to mortgage lenders in an effort to convince them to help up to 4 million borrowers on the verge of foreclosure. The plan, funded through the first $700B bailout provided last year, seeks to restructure mortgages so that payments are no more than 38 percent of a homeowner’s income. And it doesn’t require you to be delinquent on your payments to qualify for help. For those with less than 20 percent equity in their homes, the plan allows for refinancing of loans insured or

guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac (approximately half of all loans). In other scenarios, incentives will be provided to banks to encourage them to help troubled homeowners. In return for lowering interest rates, lenders will receive money from the government. The plan is to give servicers an up-front fee of $1,000 for each eligible modification. As long as the borrower stays current, they will continue to receive $1,000 per year for three years. The incentive is deemed necessary because banks, in order to meet the 38 percent of income guideline, may need to lower interest rates below the current standard. There are incentives for borrowers too. If a borrower stays current they will receive $1,000 per year for five years. That money will go directly to their principal. -Trish Gannon

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 


Getting off the Road

Group works on comprehensive trails plan Groups of citizen volunteers are hard at work around Bonner County in 2009, working to create a comprehensive trails plan, which will become the basis for nonroad travel in the county. Connectivity of existing trails and development of a system to suit all types of users are the key principles of the plan. The idea for a comprehensive trails plan is not new. North Idaho Bikeways has been working to develop bike paths since the 1990s. Groups around Priest Lake have been developing networks of trails for summer and winter use for years. What is new is the idea of a comprehensive plan for the entire county. In 2006, a group of concerned citizens led by former planner Marty Taylor and developer Robert Myers began to look at how other successful communities had developed trail networks. At about the same time, Bonner County Planning officials Erik Brubaker and Lori Burchett started working on a plan for the county. The two groups’ efforts combined to create a trails plan, which was submitted as a part of the 2008 Comprehensive Plan revision. The Comp Plan was adopted, and the county commissioners directed that a

Trails Advisory Committee be formed and tasked to develop the plan. The committee began work last year with organizational meetings and outreach projects. A technical committee was established to grapple with complicated issues such as rights of way, variances, and tax benefits for landowners. The county was divided into six regions: Binarch, Bee Top, Grouse, Baldy, Blacktail, and Hoodoo. The Baldy area includes the county land around the cities of Sandpoint, Ponderay, and Kootenai. The Baldy group held their first organizational meeting on January 7, with 12 of its 22 volunteers. The group plans to meet monthly in the spring before commencing GPS navigation of its existing trails this summer. Hikers, horsemen, and bicyclists comprise the volunteer membership. Some are landowners who have trails on their property. Some have experience with GPS mapping; many do not. There are a few members who have years of volunteer experience with other groups, but for most, this is the first time working on such a project. Using GPS technology, the volunteers plan to create a “virtual overlay” to county maps. As instructed by the county, the objective of each group will be to first gather the information on existing

by Mark Savarese

resources. Then the goal will become to establish needs and barriers. “Needs” include such issues as access points, connectivity between existing trails, and routes to destinations of importance. “Barriers” include both physical barriers and political barriers, such as conflicts between motorized and non-motorized users, and restricted properties. Leaders of the project have not issued a timeline for completion of the project, although all of the regional groups have plans to be working by this summer. The planning department hopes to have a staff member liaison with each of the regional groups. For the area around Sandpoint, the Baldy subgroup plans to hold its next meeting the first week in April. Experienced GPS users will begin to teach volunteers how to use GPS to create trail maps. Anyone interested in becoming a volunteer is welcome to join the group. Details can be obtained by contacting Dan Spinoza at the Bonner County planning office, 208-265-1458. In the meantime, the group is collecting trail data in graphic and electronic form. Trail information can be dropped off at the office of Jon Sayler, at 534 Pine Street, or e-mailed to saylerjr@verizon.net.

Trail crew photo courtesy Pend Oreille Pedalars Bicycle Club. Hiking boot photo by Stefan Vogt. Page  | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Catalyst of Change A Survivor’s Recollection of the 1959 Yellowstone-Montana Earthquake by Dianna Winget On August 15, 1959, the Purley and Irene Bennett family of Dalton Gardens, Idaho, faced an important decision. Should their vacation be spent in Canada or Yellowstone Park? This wasn’t to be a run-of-the-mill vacation, but a special one, likely the last time all six family members would vacation together. Irene realized that soon the two oldest children, Phil, sixteen, and Carole, seventeen, would venture out into the world on their own, with more important agendas than spending time with parents and younger siblings. The final destination still hadn’t been chosen by the time the family piled into their green Ford station wagon and headed north the next morning. Finally, Purley Bennett insisted on an answer. “Where to? Will it be Yellowstone Park or Canada?” “Animals, animals,” shouted five-yeaold Susan. “I want to see the bears.” “I’d like to see the animals in Yellowstone too,” said eleven-year-old Tom. “Okay, then if everyone’s agreeable, Yellowstone it will be.” Each year, millions of tourists are drawn to the pristine wonder that is Yellowstone National Park. Who can resist the intrigue of bubbling, hissing, Technicolor mud, the fiery heat of Grand Prismatic Spring, or the searing heat of the Growler Steam Vent— not to mention the majestic scenery and wildlife? Few visitors are aware that the park is constantly transforming itself. Most of the changes are subtle and gradual, an absorbing delight. Others are sudden, fierce ragings that bring death and destruction. Such was the transformation that took place on August 17, 1959, when one of the most violent earthquakes in the history of the United States rocked Yellowstone Park. After spending the first night of their vacation with relatives in Hope, Idaho, the Bennetts made their way through Madison Valley into Ennis, Montana, and toward West Yellowstone. Most of August 17, was spent touring Virginia City, Montana’s

reconstructed 1865 gold camp, as the family visited the museum and shops and rode the stage coach. After a fun but tiring day they drove into Yellowstone to the Rock Creek campground, a peaceful site nestled along the bank of the Madison River, across from a towering mountain ridge with an elevation of 7,600 feet. “We had an evening snack,” says Irene. “Other campers close by passed our camp going for water at the river. With the moon and bright stars we spread our tent on the ground with our sleeping bags on top to enjoy the beauty around us. We all liked sleeping under the stars, and everyone settled in for the night.” The Madison River begins in Yellowstone and cuts a narrow gorge only a few miles west of the border of the park, near the point where Montana, Wyoming and Idaho meet. During the summer months thousands of tourists enjoy camping along the Madison, fishing its cold water for trout or roaming the nearby mountains. But since August 17, 1959, fell on a Monday, fewer than 200 people were camped along the river. Most were in Rock Creek campground near the Bennett family. The others were in two other campgrounds in the gorge and in scattered sites along the eight-mile stretch of river. It had been more than three decades since the last strong tremor struck the park. Surely the possibility wasn’t troubling the mind of any of the vacationers that night. But at 11:37 pm an incredible rumbling sound woke Purley and Irene. As they lay there listening, a second roar, louder than the first, crashed through the trees. The roaring roused Phillip as well, who sat up in his sleeping bag and stared in disbelief as the top of the mountain ridge across the river broke loose and cascaded down toward him. A hurricane strength blast of wind lifted him into the air, ripping away his sleeping bag and most of his clothing, and then hurled him into the wildly swirling Madison River. Irene didn’t see the mountain collapse but she did feel the blast of air as it blew her to the ground. Helplessly she watched Continued on page 10

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March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 


M

STACCATO NOTES Music

March 9 - Missoula Children’s Theater present “The Regina Travelogues.” Doors Auditions. The Pend Oreille Arts Council open at 6 pm Mountain time for the dinner announces auditions for the upcoming shows, with a special matinee performance on Live music at Three Glasses, 202½ First Ave., presentation of Pinocchio at the Panida Theater April 19, with doors opening at 2 pm. Dinner in Sandpoint, at 9 p.m. March 7, Buffalo Jones as part of the Missoula Children’s Theatre. All theater tickets are $20 and must be purchased on originals and covers you’ll love, March 13 local children are welcome to audition for the in advance by calling 877-328-7659 or call Equal Eyes, a favorite Inland Northwest dance play; only a small number will be chosen to Jo Lunnen at 406-847-2414. You may also band, March 27 the Pacific Northwest band perform. Auditions are free, and will be held purchase tickets at the Heron Store. Matinee The Growers. at the Sandpoint Charter School on Highway 2 tickets are $6 adults/$3 children and must be At Schweitzer Mountain: Bluegrass scramble, beginning at 3:30 pm. 208-263-6139 purchased at the door. All shows take place March 7, Equal Eyes on March 14, and Tennis March 12 & 13 - Frost/Nixon. The Panida at the Heron Community Center in beautiful on March 21, all at the St. Bernard. Theater hosts the Oscar-nominated film Frost/ downtown Heron, Mont. March 7 - Bar D Wranglers Western Show. Nixon, playing at 7:30 pm each night as part The Bar D Wranglers perform their famous of the Global Cinema Cafe film series. Directed stage show at 7 pm in the Panida Theater by Ron Howard, Frost/Nixon is the dramatic with songs of cowboys and the Old West, retelling of the post-Watergate television March 7 - Tom’s Ski Free Night. KREM-TV and lively instrumentals and comedy for the interviews between British talk-show host the Inland Northwest Ski Association sponsor entire family. General admission is $17. Visit David Frost and former president Richard Tom’s Ski Free Food Drive from 3 pm to 8 pm BarDChuckWagon.com. 208-263-9191 at Schweitzer Mountain Resort. Skiers who Nixon. 208-263-9191 March 20 - Bottom Line Duo. The Pend Oreille March 14 - Pinocchio. The Missoula Children’s donate a minimum of three cans of food will receive a free ski pass for the designated time. Arts Council presents the Bottom Line Duo, Theater production of Pinocchio plays at the Donated food goes to the local food bank. two talented and diverse chamber musicians, Panida Theater at 2 pm and 7 pm as part of Schweitzer.com. 208-263-9555 at 7:30 pm at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint. the Pend Oreille Arts Council Performing March 7 - SHS Grad Night Auction. Help Tickets are $20 adults ($16 for POAC members), Arts Series. The children in the community support the Sandpoint High School Class of ‘09 and $8 for youth. Tickets are $20 adults, $8 are the stars of this performance, guided by Grad Night event by attending the Grad Night youth. ArtinSandpoint.org. 208-263-6139 two professional actors trained to teach and Auction, held at 5 pm in the Sandpoint Business and Events Center. Dinner will be catered by March 22 - Hot Jazz from the 20s—an encore inspire. Tickets are $8 adults, $5 youth. 208- Ivano’s Ristorante. Tickets are $15 each, or $25 presentation with the Rocky Mountain Rhythm 263-6139 per couple; available at Jalapenos, Pine Street Kings of Kalispell. At Quinn’s Hot Springs Resort March 14 - StoryTelling Dinner Show. Di Luna’s Bakery or the Sandpoint West Athletic Club. in Paradise, Mont. from 2 to 4 pm. Tickets are Café, 207 Cedar St. in Sandpoint, hosts The March 8 - The Sandpoint Chapter of Wishing $8. Call 406-826-3150. StoryTelling Company Dinner Show. Seating Star will hold a Huckleberry Pancake Breakfast March 28 - Mason Jennings Concert. begins at 5:30 pm, and the show begins at 6 Feed at the Elks Club on Highway 200 from 8 am to noon. Huckleberry pancakes, sausage, Sandpoint’s Panida Theater hosts Mason pm. For reservations, call DiLuna’s at 208-263- eggs and drinks will be served; cost is $6 adults Jennings in concert at 7:30 pm. Opening act is 0846. and $4 children under age 12. This event is a The Shook Twins. Tickets are $21, available at March 19 - A Midsummer Night’s Dream. fundraiser for Wishing Star, and all proceeds The Loading Dock, Three Glasses and Hollie’s The Idaho Shakespeare Festival presents “A will go to help make an ill child’s wish come Coffee in Sandpoint, The Long Ear in Coeur Midsummer Night’s Dream,” a Shakespearience true. 208-263-4060 or 208-263-4019 d’Alene, and 4000 Holes in Spokane; and online performance, at 7:30 pm in the Panida Theater. March 8 - International Woman’s Day Celebration. Sandpoint Community Hall hosts at the Sandpoint Online General Store. Tickets are $10 adults, $7 students ages 14 to the International Woman’s Day Celebration March 28 - Eichardt’s, 212 Cedar St. in Sandpoint, 18, and $5 children ages 13 and under. from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm. Events include hosts live music with the Pacific Northwest March 26 & 27 - The Reader. The Panida Theater speakers, music, workshops, art, food and band The Growers. TheGrowersMusic.com. presents the film “The Reader,” playing at 7:30 sharing. Bring drums, rattles, scarves and a potluck lunch, plus fun items for the giveaway 208-263-4005 pm each night. The movie stars Kate Winslet, exchange. 208-255-7104 who won the Academy Award for Best Actress, March 27 - A Day for Heather. Schweitzer and Ralph Fiennes. Tickets to the film are $7 Mountain Resort hosts A Day for Heather - a adults, $6 senior citizens and students ages 18 day in remembrance of Heather Gibson which helps fundraise for local cancer efforts. Lift and under. 208-263-9191 March 8 & 9 - The Vigilante Players in their April 5 - StoryTelling Dinner Show. Ivano’s tickets are $10, and all proceeds go to the original musical comedy “Murder at the Lone Community Cancer Services in Sandpoint. Ristorante Italiano, 102 S. 1st Ave. in Sandpoint, Schweitzer.com. 208-255-4947 Wolf Ranch,” sponsored by Sanders County hosts The StoryTelling Company Dinner Show. April 4 - Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation Arts Council. The dinner theater takes place at Seating begins at 5 pm, and the show begins at Banquet. The Selkirk Crest Chapter of the Rocky Quinns Hot Springs in Paradise, Mont. Seating 5:30 pm. For reservations, call Ivano’s at 208- Mountain Elk Foundation hosts their annual starts at 6 pm, tickets are $35 and includes banquet at the Bonner County Fairgrounds. 263-0211. dinner and the show. Call 406-826-3150. April 10, 11, 17, 18 & 19 - The Heron Players Doors open at 4 pm. 208-263-3287 Page  | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009

Events

Theater


Politically Incorrect TRISH GANNON | www.riverjournal.com | trish@riverjournal.com

Would you like to buy some dirt? About all you hear these days is that it’s time to “tighten our belts.” The economy is in trouble and we’re in trouble right along with it so we all better get used to making do with less. Finally, my life experience will come in handy. I am used to being poor. The poorest part of my life, the time when I had the least amount of resources available to me, has to be when I found myself as both a new mother, and a divorced wife, back when Misty was about two months old. We lived in my car for a while, me, the baby, and a wild yellow cat. But I can’t remember anything especially funny about that time, which means there aren’t any good stories to tell, so instead I’m going to talk about the second-poorest time of my life, when I sold dirt. At this time, Misty was just a little over two years old, and I had gone to Arkansas to live with my brother Boyd, his wife, and his two kids. Shortly thereafter, my sister Faye and her daughter Katrina (Four years old? Five?), on the run from a man who had beat her many times pretty close to the edge of death, joined us, making for a household of eight. Eight was enough. I won’t go into detail about what my brother was going through at that time, because the surface is enough... he was going crazy. I mean, really crazy. He’s dead now, so he won’t mind my saying that, but even if he were alive he wouldn’t care because after a while, he admitted it himself. Boyd worked for the state as an electrician, keeping things powered up in the state parks. At least, until he decided that his fellow workers were trying to kill him by sabotaging electrical fixtures. So he quit. His wife, Sandy, didn’t work outside the house at all and my sister, Faye, was still trying to learn how to get through a day without looking over her shoulder for a killing blow every other minute. That left me as the sole provider of a family of eight. I wasn’t an especially good one. I got a job at a truck stop in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, a little place where road weary warriors would order gallons of black coffee and enough breakfast food to feed

a family of four. They were full of smiles, jokes, laughter and stories but not full of money, so most, when they left, would leave two or three shiny quarters to the side of their plate for their hard-working waitress. That was a good tip for the time and the place, but it didn’t do a lot to feed a family of eight. Before Boyd went completely off the rails, he did some sort of electrical job for a neighbor also poor in cash but rich in potatoes—so he paid with 20 or 30 five gallon buckets of big white spuds. Those potatoes saved us. Fried potatoes and homemade biscuits for breakfast every morning. Fried potatoes and beans for dinner every night. Once a week or so I would come up with enough money to buy a little bit of hamburger, and spaghetti was on the menu—obviously, this all happened long before the days of Top Ramen. We planted a garden and I spent an entire day tilling an area for potatoes—this Irish girl now had first hand experience in how important potatoes can be to a poor person. We planted an orchard, too, thinking beyond the next harvest, but Mable the F***ing goat (as I fondly called her) ate her way around the trunk of each of those trees in just two short days, killing every one of them. I don’t know why we had that stupid goat—she didn’t give milk and Boyd wouldn’t let me kill her after she killed the orchard. I guess she hung around for atmosphere. When not gardening or serving truck drivers I would sit with Boyd and listen to Simon and Garfunkle, or sit with Faye and talk about our dreams for ourselves and our daughters. A month or so into the Arkansas adventure, Boyd got a severance check from the state. It never saw a bank account as he cashed it and then immediately bought a business, and a new Ford Escort for running it. He was quite excited when he came home in the new car to tell us all what he had done, which was the first time we heard about it. Boyd was a little too old to read comic books so I’m not really sure where he found the ad for the business he bought, but you can imagine our surprise when we

learned we were now in the business of making air fresheners for cars. I continued to work at the truck stop and Boyd made the rounds of every small business in Arkadelphia and beyond, getting their agreement to sell our creations once we made them. And we waited for our new business materials to arrive. Oh, what a day when the UPS truck arrived with the basics of our new livlihood. We all gathered in the back family room to open the boxes and discover just what pattern our lives would now follow. Four large five-gallon restaurant buckets, just like the ones that held the potatoes we still lived on, were filled with eau de fragrances—each meant to be a perfect imitation of some famous perfume and each not coming within a country mile of actually smelling that way. The lighter boxes held small plastic bags, a heat seal machine, and a large collection of metal display racks. The largest, heaviest boxes contained 2-inch by 2-inch squares of... I’m not sure what it was. It looked a bit like particle board. Soak the blocks in the buckets of perfume, heat seal them into a bag, hang the bags on the metal racks and sell your way into riches. That, apparently, was the plan. Boyd was crazy, but he wasn’t that crazy. Even he realized that no one in the world was stupid enough to buy an ugly block of wood that smelled like something rancid to hang from their rear view mirror. Our new business was bust before we even finished unpacking all the boxes. That’s when we decided to sell dirt. Although you might not know it, Arkadelphia, and moreso nearby Hot Springs, are tourist towns. Tourists will buy just about anything, even if they won’t buy perfume-impregnated blocks of wood. And not far from Arkadelphia is Crater of Diamonds State Park, which got its name because it’s the only place in the world open to the public where a person can dig up diamonds. Continued on page 30

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 


Athol Elementary is Open to Volunteers

by Herb Huseland

appear to be dedicated, caring people that exceed community expectations. Recently, the school put on a “Culture Fair,” in which various booths were set up representing many countries. Some showed how to write in various languages, including Japanese and Chinese script. The reading program is headed up by a thirteen-year veteran of teaching, Kacy Williams, with the last eight being at Athol. Armed with volunteers from the community, special attention is given to those students that need extra practice in reading. The one-on-one attention is a bonus for a struggling reader and great personal relationships are developed. Kacy ensures students are in class during

Photo by Herb Huseland

Financial worries dominate the education scene these days, as taxes fall and budgets are being cut. There are, though, several things that we can be proud of in our school systems. Some schools seem to excel while others are mired down with personnel issues and poor community relations. Athol Elementary is not one of the latter. This award-winning school is tops with both students and teachers. With the perception that union discussions suggest a move away from dedication toward self serving goals, that doesn’t appear to be the case at Athol either. Two programs that stand out, are America Reads, and diversity training. The teaching staff

core subject area instruction and designs schedules that allow for extra reading time in the day with the volunteers. Every student is different and has different needs. It would appear though that the real winners are those who volunteer their time. Some volunteers are recruited from the Retired Senior Volunteer Program headed up by Cherie Saltness. America Reads isn’t the only program that has volunteers, though. Athol Elementary has about 60 volunteers that assist in class, run copies, and give personal tutoring and a myriad of other jobs. These volunteers are an integral part of the school climate which supports students. One such volunteer, Peggy Cutler, is in her 21st year of volunteering at the school. That’s longer than anyone else, volunteer or paid employee with the possible exception of Marlys Blagden, Administrative Assistant. Ms. Blagden tells us some of these volunteers come weekly while others come as their schedules allow. Their duties are varied and are not limited to any one area. One such successful incentive program is that of Accelerated Reader in which students read books that match their reading level and test for comprehension on the computer. These reading comprehension exercises provide practice opportunities for students at their appropriate skill level for all ages. While 60 volunteers sounds like a lot, more are needed. Those who are retired and have spare time and want to get more of a reward than the kids get, should call their closest school to find out how they can contribute.

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Large, hard-to-find acreage above Bayview with wonderful views over Scenic Bay, Lake Pend Oreille, and the surrounding mountains! 37 acre piece includes a beautiful forest with large trees and several potential building sites. Both power and phone are on adjacent properties. Easy access, less than ten minutes to the lake at Bayview.

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Page  | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Veterans’ News

Hendon taking advantage of POW/MIA Families?

208.255.2955

909 Hwy. 2 Sandpoint

by Jody Forest

In the February issue of the Veteran, magazine of the Vietnam Veterans of America, there was an article “Cold Case” by Bill Hendon accusing the DIA, former President Ronald Reagan, and former POW John McCain of covering up the discovery of live american POWs still being held in South Vietnam. A heated discussion of the article ensued at Sandpoint’s monthly V.V.A. meeting (second Tuesday of every month at 6 pm at VFW Hall, corner of Pine and Division) with most of the participants convinced by Hendon’s article. I took no part in the discussion preferring to research it first. What I found later disturbed me. Hendon himself tried to extort a million dollar payoff from the DIA claiming to have proof positive in a video shot of the POWs. The DIA refused to pay for a film they hadn’t seen and 13 years later he still refuses to produce his alleged film. I wrote the following letter to the editor of the V.V.A. Veteran and they plan on printing an edited version in their next issue. Here is the unedited version: To: V.V.A. Veteran A brief, disappointed note concerning the Vietnam Veterans of America’s recent Veteran excerpt of Bill Hendon’s book “An Enormous Crime.” He makes extravagant, exaggerated claims in the first few pages alone that various credible sources reported as fact that American POWs were still being held without naming a single case as having been found to be substantiated. He then claims the DIA (Defense Investigative Agency) was the agency whose task it was to “dismiss, manipulate, and assail, ultimately destroying the value of the (POW) intelligence,” again, without giving us a single bit of evidence. In the cases he mentioned, the first, case #1792, he first complains that it took four years to investigate, rather than congratulating DIA for their thoroughness. After exhaustively interviewing villagers in the locale (Hendon mentions only four) the DIA found the report to be unsubstantiated. In case #3055, a Greek merchant seaman reportedly sees ten caucasians hauling lumber in 1984; the DIA discovered it was a tale told by “a friend of a friend” yet still they laboriously tracked down the only Greek ship to have traveled close to the area and found the report to be a fabrication. In case #0558, the purported POW Camp at Dong Vai, Hendon claims the DIA did “nothing, ever” to investigate, yet in the very next paragraph we learn that the suspected

messages and numbers in the fields were determined by satellite and U-2 imagers to be nothing more than natural shadings in the field and naturally occurring shadows in the garden plot. The crude letters “USA” in another field were traced to be the handiwork of a young Laotian fan of America. Hendon is welcome to disagree with the DIA’s conclusions but to accuse them of a massive cover-up does a disservice not only to the hundreds of men and women working in the DIA honorably, but more importantly, to the families of the POWs and MIAs themselves by offering them a false hope. He accuses Former President Reagan of beginning the conspiracy and former POW John McCain himself of joining in the massive cover-up. Too many groups and individuals are exploiting the hope and fears of the POW/ MIA families. Operation Rescue, for example, has a boat anchored in the South China Sea, the Akuna, paid for with donations, yet for years now they’ve yet to produce a single prisoner and their “founder,” Jack Bailey has been found to have exaggerated his military record. Former Green Beret “Bo” Gritz has undertaken a number of highly publicized “rescue” missions into Vietnam in which he mostly hawks his commemorative POW-Rescue t-shirts. Scott Barnes, another “former intelligence operative” once claimed he’d seen live POWs in Cambodia but had been ordered by the CIA to kill them. The National League of POW Families accused him of exploiting the MIA issue for personal gain and at least one MIA wife has mortgaged her home to pay his expenses. The Senate Investigative Committee on POWs has found “the stories about live POWs that led to over a million dollars being contributed to the rescue groups was instead totally fabricated by the marketing firms and telemarketers hired by the POW Rescue Groups themselves!” Of all of the credible POW/MIA reports investigated by the DIA, fully one-third of them can be traced to just one person, former PFC Deserter Robert Garwood. The V.V.A. Veteran should not be a party to promulgating falsehoods and offering false hopes. Thank You; Jody Forest 173rd Airborne Brigade, Vietnam ‘67-’69

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March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 


Quake

- Continued from page 

her husband struggle against the force of the wind. He grabbed a small tree for support, but as his feet lifted from the ground, he lost his grip and disappeared into the darkness. “My next awareness,” says Irene, “was finding myself on a wet, sandy, river bank with a tree lying across my back.” Pinned against the pulsing earth her mind burst with anxiety over the fate of Purley and her children. Cold, wet, and naked, she began to dig. “I dug, rested, dug and rested, dug more and rested, ‘til at last I could pull myself free. Survival is one’s strongest desire.” Sheltered by nothing but tree branches, Irene endured constant aftershocks as she alternated between prayer and frantic, unanswered calls to her family. When daylight dawned at last, she crawled down toward the river and finally heard a wonderful sound—the voice of her son, Phil. They reached one another down in the empty river bed. “Seeing him made my heart almost cease beating,” she said. “His leg looked like a letter S dragging behind him. Blood flowed from cuts behind his ear and the top of his head, but the importance of the moment was we’d found each other.”

Searchers found the body of Purley Bennett shortly before Irene and Phil were transported by pickup truck to the Madison Valley Hospital in Ennis, Montana. A nurse provided the devastated mother and son with some early details about the earthquake. Later, geologists pieced together a fairly complete report of the tragedy that had struck the Madison River canyon that night. The mountain ridge standing across the river from the Rock Creek campground had a base of very hard but brittle rock. On this were several hundred feet of soft rock broken into flat layers like the pages of a book. These layers were all tilted toward the river. The ledge upon which the ridge rested broke cleanly with the initial shock. But it was the first aftershock seconds later that sent the broken layers of rock hurtling toward the river. The section of the ridge that broke away was 2,000 feet long, 1,300 feet wide, and contained 80 million tons of rock. A 3,000 ton boulder and another only slightly smaller were hurled across the river and up a mountain to come to a rest almost a mile away. The massive slide dammed the river and created a new body of water, Earthquake Lake. The tremor, registering 7.5 on the Richter scale, was felt in nine western states and parts of Canada.

At the little hospital in Ennis the doctors and staff struggled to care for the influx of earthquake victims. Phil’s head was wrapped due to a serious head and ear injury, and he was placed in traction for a broken collarbone and badly mangled leg. “My injuries weren’t as severe,” Irene recalls. “The only break was a bone in my lower leg . . . a deep, badly torn laceration in my thigh, and some chest and neck muscle damage.” Sorrow over the loss of Purley, coupled with overwhelming anxiety for her missing children, was harder to bear than the physical injuries. Irene coped by means of prayer, and by forcing her mind to focus on happier thoughts—the family’s home in North Idaho, swimming at Coeur d’Alene and Hayden Lake beaches, Carole’s upcoming high school graduation, and little Susan’s first day of school, now only a few weeks away. The second heartbreak came several days later. Carole’s body had been located. “Sadness overpowered me,” says Irene, “as I thought of never having my daughter to love and share joys with again. I cried for her never getting to finish high school and be loved and have children of her own.” Constant care and therapy kept the days full, but Irene describes time as being “nonContinued on page 36

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The Scenic Route Dr. Neu- Continued from page 42

be a little bit of extra help when I go out on cow calls. Somehow things never go as planned, and the fees are low, so time is of the essence). After a little (maybe a lot) of yelling

heifer was barely contained. We raced to the heifer in the chute, vaccinated, tattooed and ear-tagged her before she broke her neck. The chute then crashed onto its side and, after much sweating, we were able

report it. Nobody likes a tattletale, but most people don’t call unless there is truly a problem. I also don’t mind taking these calls because ICOMPTON can also help people on SANDY | www.sandycompton.com what direction to go. mrcomptonjr@hotmail.com How do you|deal with your personal emotions when you encounter animals and their owners suffering? I am usually able to detach myself a little from the pain (otherwise I would be crying endlessly long, euthanasia, long time ago, thendays wife there and Gag me with a spoon. atAevery andmysome I divorced and she got the television set. I Along with this sort of “news” on many can be up to four). have Inever replaced it. So, even though the internet pages I visit are often five or do believe I am truly relieving animal’s Academy Awards last night, I didn’t suffering, and I were also believe animals have six or many more opportunities to click find outand about it until this morning. I mustSo through: headlines, breaking news of the souls are headed straight to Heaven. not be paying attention. latest, greatest stock market disaster, the I have peace. I do not perform euthanasia Okay. I’m purposefully not paying car bomb that killed 30 (bonus points if it’s if it does not leave me feeling ethically attention. a woman or a child driving), the guy who and morallyI‘okay’ (for example, a healthy However, still know that the press disappeared his wife in some absolutely animal, thewhen owner is moving corps wentbut ga-ga cameras turnedortoan savage way, O.J. Simpson, and a weather owner doesn’t want to feed it for another Angelina Jolie while Jennifer Anniston was story about how completely dangerous it neither bad nor good. They are tools, winter, etc.). giving some sort of presentation. I know is to go outside in Chicago today. Once and in awhile I am that A-Rod Madonna areunable an item.toAndbe I confess. I’m attached to the internet and neutral. It depends on the person the strongest and herself I am into right for much of my work day. In my office, we putting them to use what will come of that Jessica Simpson isone, flinging there tearing with the owner and work across the world wide web as much relationship. But, you’d think, with such country music. I up know all sorts of things grabbing often about folks hankies. that I am That really notmost interested in we do by passing something physical on to grand tools available to our “information happens when I am a close friend of the knowing things about. Why? Because when someone else. When I finish this little rant, I suppliers,” that we would be getting a owner, the for owner big tough ‘man’s will bundle up a batch of carefully arranged better product. Much of it is shallow, I go on line workisora communication, Abused and/or neglected horses are a shameful problem for a man’they (andare, he isacting shedding tears), or the case free there like adolescents. electrons and siphon them into a wire sensationalist, alarmist to the point of irresponsibility and badly done. Chicken community. If you know of any abused or neglected just seemsme,” so very sad to (like anthem, owner“did who to be expelled onto “Excuse I want ask my believe publisher’syou hard Little has better communication skills than you ever outonly of eighth grade?”or drive so she can rearrange them into what haspeople the pet as get their close friend, animal, please call your local sheriff’s office.sometimes, and exactly the the internet Sure, tell byjust the died, shapeetc.). and size of their you are holding in your hand and reading. theirI can husband message — “The sky is falling!” bodies that theythe got older physically, but Thebolting internet has three been heifers and were will same What’s strangest/wackiest and of cattle, to Of loosen thelike rickety contraption set course, the electrons thisand drivel many of them are still stuck in Narcissism continue to be an important, efficient and situation you’ve ever encountered as a lined up in the alley, ready to go into their her free. We took care of the cow in the upon, it is free, though still worth 101. liberating my family work members chest. If were you arrives veterinarian? rusty old tool chute.inThe alleythan by we snubbing to a we post. Getting less pay forher it. And, don’t have MyI question the about fawning, alarmist, a writer using a computer andasgood do keep for notes some of the are cursing and hollering at each other they to everything done for a Bangs and vaccine this indulge in it, as compelling sexy as manipulative media that pays so much word-processing software, you know what strangest cases and experiences that I’ve let the first heifer into the chute. She saw itway is not as easy as itclick sounds. might seem. Don’t through. Just attention to these “What the from. hell freedom this electronic agefreedom presentsand to us. been through, so Ifolks haveis, a few to pick it as a chance to run for hit Now, we just had the free heifer to catch, are youthat thinking?” wrote and rewrote my first two books say no to Angelina and Brad, J Lo, Heather, One always makes me laugh is a story I the chute at 90 miles and hour. which was not as unreal easy asfolk it sounds. We Jessica and also all those who live Oh, that’s You’re not. And, if you on a manual typewriter. The ability — the about cows.right. Cow work is never predictable In slow motion the chute lifted from atallthe ran. Fences were jumped. Horses and other side of your computer screen. are, your’re thinking thingcows as opportunity — to write and revise without or safe. A family that the runssame a few beef itseraser rottedin base and teetered on of thepaper front Say ignorant dogs used...grain buckets,(or 4“forget it” were to Madoff, Blagovodich those you’re paying so much attention to: one hand and a ream needed Bangs vaccines on three heifers. anedge. For a moment I thought it might wheelers and tractors, etc. whatever his name is) and those who would “How we get protocol more attention?” the other led me to publication. If it This do vaccine’s is regulated by the near by and giving attention. A-Rod crash been back for intoa place. Unfortunately for profit Two a them half hours and aLetbig rain That “it pays the bills” seems to make hadn’t Mac Classic and Word state and must be done between 4 and 12 the cow, the chute continued its original stew in later, his own without you. ripping storm thejuices cow was last seen it okay to “report” in the manner that 3.0, Jason’s Passage might never have seen months ofisage. the time barbed you are wire wasting with that motion andday. planted thestill cowbeonstuck her head outPut a 4-strand fence headed reporting done these days—yelling the light of It might in a Of course, these heifers were 11 months crap to good use and go help a neighbor with the chute and her tail sticking straight into the back country. She knew better and screaming, “Look at him! Look at her! scribbled-on, dog-eared spiral notebook as and three weeks old,Don’t and big boot. Plan a garden is coming. in the air. first draft. The good I have split thanwood. to take any chances(Spring with that chute. Aren’t they beautiful? youto want to Two be a up hand-written Promise). Or better yet, spend time old farmers and a couple of other relatives In the meantime, the middle took I collected my $20 dollars for the with two just like them?” And then, you lower your derived from computing and theheifer internet kids explaining them world had and beenadd, rounded to help (I always try age herischance and raced out the opening made your vaccines and a little to more forthat the the ranch call voice “Guessup what? They’re ‘doing immeasurable. sideout. of the click-through isn’t sliding forward. The third feethe andother headed it!’to” make sure ahead of time that there will from But,the thechute internet and computers are on real.

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208.255.7010 March 2009| The River Journal - A-News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 1818 No.No. 3|1Page 11 47 January 2009| The River Journal A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. | Page


Unfaltering Falcon: The awesome flight of the Peregrine

Just the term “bird of prey” commands a certain sense of respect. The Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus) is no exception. Due to federal support in the 1970s, and the efforts of conservation groups and state management agencies, they have come back from the brink of extinction and are steadily increasing in number each year. Historically known as a “duck hawk” “Great-footed Hawk,” and “Wandering Falcon,” the Peregrine is a crow-sized falcon, adorned with a blue-gray back, barred white underparts, and a black head and mustache. This formidable bird has the ability to reach speeds over 200 miles per hour, making it the fastest animal in the world. Its hunting dive, “the stoop,” involves soaring to a great height and then diving steeply at high speeds, and hitting one wing of its prey so as not to harm itself on impact. No stranger to strange lands, the Peregrine’s breeding grounds range from the tundra to the tropics. It is the world’s most widespread bird of prey. The scientific name comes from the Latin words falco, meaning hook-shaped (falcate) and may refer to the shape of the beak or claws, and peregrinus, alluding to its ability to migrate far and wide. They live on every continent except Antarctica. There are three subspecies of the Peregrine found in North America; the American Peregrine falcon (Falco peregrinus anatum) is what we see in our region. The Peregrine nests are called “eyries,” and are hollow

indentations rather than actually constructed nests; they are usually found on cliff edges, or in more urban areas, tall buildings and other cityscapes. Sometimes Peregrines take the nests of other birds, but they do not build them. The Peregrine falcon made the Endangered Species List in 1970, when its population plummeted due to the use of pesticides and chlorinated hydrocarbons. By 1975, an estimated 324 nesting pairs were left in North America. In Idaho by 1974, Peregrines were essentially gone from the state. In Montana in the 1980s, not a single Peregrine eyrie was found. Things were not looking for the Peregrine. The pesticide DDT was banned after a correlation was made with usage and impacts on bird reproduction. DDT softens bird eggshells, resulting in widespread nest failure. Because Peregrines are at the top of their food chain, feeding on birds who feed on invertebrates, and because they live quite long, DDT was slowly concentrated in Peregrines. They did not die, but the poison altered their calcium metabolism, thinning the eggshells that sheltered their young. The weight of a nesting mother was enough to destroy the shell, so the chick was never born. After the banning of these high-risk pesticides in the 1970s, the Peregrines made an impressive recovery; they were removed from the Endangered List in 1999. In 2002, there were over 2000 known nesting pairs in the United States, and an additional 400 pairs in Canada. Their numbers continue to grow. “Since the reintroduction of the Peregrines through the captive breeding program, the species is doing very well— pretty much increasing every year,” reports Idaho Department of Fish & Game Senior Wildlife Research Biologist Colleen Moulton. “There are now 42 known Peregrine territories in Idaho, though they

by Kate Wilson

are still considered a Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the State.” This designation exists in Idaho for species of concern that may not necessarily be on the Endangered Species list, but have experienced dwindling numbers and need continued monitoring and protection. In Montana, thanks to the efforts of groups such as the Peregrine Fund, the Montana Peregrine Institute, Montana Fish, Wildlife and Parks, and Avista, as well as other partners throughout the State, the Peregrines are also experiencing an increase in population. Between the years of 2003-2005, there was an average of 51 active territories (general area where eyries are found); that number grew to 69 in 2006-2008. “While historic records showed that Peregrines had existed throughout lower Clark Fork River corridor, none had been observed in many years,” says Nate Hall, Avista’s Terrestrial Program Leader. “With this in mind, Avista worked with the Peregrine Fund and other partners throughout the 1990s to establish hacking sites [to release captive-bred birds] along the lower Clark Fork corridor in an effort to reestablish Peregrines in the area.” The Peregrine Fund, located in Boise, Idaho, has been integral in the successful recovery of the Peregrine falcon and other birds of prey internationally (www. peregrinefund.org). Over 6,000 Peregrines bred in captivity have been reintroduced by the Peregrine Fund, created in 1970— an integral time for the species. The World Center for Birds of Prey is also housed at the Peregrine Fund, which probably has something to do with the State of Idaho adopting the Peregrine as the official state raptor and designating the bird a special place on the Idaho quarter that came out in 2007. On a more local level, the Montana

Kate Wilson is a Project Journalist for Avista’s Clark Fork Project. Reach her at hunterolivemint@gmail.com. Page 12 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Peregrine Institute is a non-profit scientific research institute dedicated to the study of the Peregrine falcons and other cliff nesting raptors in Montana and the surrounding states. They have coordinated 10 years (1999-2008) of intensive surveys designed to monitor the status and health of the Montana Peregrine falcon population. They also post federal delisting and travel over 18,000 miles a year to assist in monitoring efforts (www.montanaperegrine.org). Avista and their stakeholders signed the Clark Fork Settlement Agreement for the continued operation of the two dams on the Lower Clark Fork River in 1999. Part of the protection, mitigation, and enhancement plan calls for monitoring and protection of Peregrine falcons, among other sensitive species. The goal of this monitoring plan is to maximize opportunities to locate Peregrine eyries and protect them from human-caused potential negative impacts. “The annual monitoring efforts were focused on areas where we knew Peregrines had nested historically,” Hall said. “While it was known that there were active eyries near Noxon and Cabinet reservoirs, it was not until 2007 that a pair of Peregrines were found to have successfully established an eyrie along Noxon reservoir, with another site identified in 2008.” Hall noted that these breeding territories are likely a direct result of the hacking efforts that occurred in the 1990s. The Peregrine mostly feeds on mediumsized birds, with its favorites being pigeons, doves, songbirds, and waterfowl, but it will also eat the occasional mammal, reptile, fish, or insect. They hunt at dusk and dawn primarily and require open space in order to hunt therefore often appearing over open water, marshes, valleys, fields and tundra. In North American, known Peregrine prey comprises over 420 bird species and 23 mammals, including 10 bats! The Peregrine searches for prey either from a high perch or from the air. Once prey is spotted, it begins its stoop, folding back the tail and wings, and tucking its feet. Prey is struck and captured in mid-air; the falcon strikes its prey with a clenched foot, stunning or killing it before turning to catch it in mid-air. A bit of a picky eater, the Peregrine plucks its prey completely before consuming. The Peregrine reaches sexual maturity at or around age one, and mates for life. The pair returns to the same nesting spot

annually. The courtship flight includes a mix of aerial acrobatics, precise spirals, steep dives, as well as ledge displays with the male and female bowing to each other. Ever the show-off, the male passes prey it has caught to the female in mid-air. To make this possible, the female actually flies upside-down to receive the food from the male’s talons. The Peregrine predominately lives along mountain ranges, river valleys, and coastlines, though increasingly, it can be found in cities. In mild climates, the Peregrine can be a permanent resident. “Most Peregrines migrate,” says IDFG’s Moulton. “But if their territory is in a place where they can get food, particularly in cities, they may stick around.” Once an eyrie is made or discovered, females lay one clutch per year, which usually is composed of three or four eggs. In our region, Peregrines lay their eggs in April and May. “Both adults incubate the eggs, so mom actually gets a break,” reports Moulton. “Survival rates are variable, depending on how good a prey year they have, how bad the weather is, and if both parents make it through the season. Up until the young are fledging (about 40 days old), they are completely reliant on the parents, so exposure or starvation is generally the cause if they don’t make it. After that, it could be anything.” As with many other birds of prey, the female is generally larger than the male, in fact, the female averages 30 percent greater mass than her male counterpart. Peregrines’ life span in the wild can reach 20 years. The Peregrine ranges in body length between 15 and 20 inches, with an average wing span of 3 and onehalf feet. Quite large, yet they only weigh 1 and a quarter to 2 and threequarter pounds. The adults have long, pointed wings, sometimes bluish black and sometimes slate gray, the same as

their backs. The underparts of the Peregrine are white to rust-colored, with thin bands of brown or black. The tails appear much like the backs of these birds, but have thin stripes and are narrow and rounded at the end with a black tip and white band at the very end. The cere (fleshy swelling found at the top of the beak), as well as the feet are yellow, but the claws and beak are black. The upper beak is notched, an adaptation from severing the spinal columns of its victims. The immature Peregrine is browner, and has streaks instead of clean, thin bars. “Thanks to the Peregrine Fund here in Idaho, the Peregrines are doing quite well,” Continued on page 30

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 13


The Northern Flicker In a perfect world, there is a place for everything and everything is in its place. Songbirds sing, falcons swoop, and diving ducks, well, dive. But just like every human family seems to have its black sheep, that one recalcitrant family member who just has to march to a different beat, so too does the bird

world. And this brings us to the Norther Flicker. A woodpecker that just doesn’t know, or care, what it means to be a good and proper woodpecker. Woodpeckers peck wood, whether stripping bark for insect grubs like the Three-toed Woodpecker or sinking sap wells like the Red-naped Sapsucker. No matter what they are specifically trying to eat, woodpeckers make their living

exploiting whatever it is mother nature has given them to find in the trees. But not the Northern Flicker. Oh no, this rebel has got to be different. The Flicker is the only woodpecker in the world that feeds on the ground. Even odder, it eats ants. And just about only ants. To the utter disgust (and I’ve heard privately, the shame) of other members of the Picidae family, this otherwise normal woodpecker digs in the ground like a rooting pig in its pursuit of ants. During summer hikes I have found on many dirt trails scores of ant colonies that had been excavated by flickers. I suppose a beak originally designed for attacking green wood can make short work of hard-packed soil. That is not to say that flickers don’t spend some time in trees. They raise their broods there, hollowing out cavities in dead standing timber. Near Travers Park in Sandpoint I found one mated pair that had started three nesting holes before finishing a fourth, in which they started a family. How do you identify a Flicker? In structure they are like most other woodpeckers: prominent chest, stiff tail feathers, sleek profile, and a serious stabber of a beak. Both males and females are tawny colored and have conspicuous black bibs. Their backs and wings are covered in a dark speckled ladder design and that stiff tail—which is used a prop to sit on—is black. Under the wings and tail you’ll notice a reddish coloring on the inner feathers. This is because the local specie is the Red-shafted Flicker, which is the western variety of the Northern Flicker. Areas east of the Rockies all the way to the Atlantic is the domain of the Yellowshafted Flicker, the eastern form of this specie. Lastly, males can be distinguished from females by their bright red mustaches that sweep over the cheeks. Quite dashing if not a bit ostentatious. In flight, flickers fly that characteristic wave pattern typical of woodpeckers —undulating up and down, up and down. The Northern Flickers in our area are residents, and though they might come down off the higher elevations in the winter, they do not really migrate. Still, the Northern Flickers farther up north may come south and are one of the few known species of woodpeckers to regularly travel away from

by Mike Turnlund their summer grounds. But that raises the question: how do these birds survive the winter, especially in places such as ours that are covered for weeks on end with snow? Easy, anthills. This winter I’ve watched a solitary male rip apart an anthill that had the misfortune (for the ants, anyway) of being exposed in the snow. Everyday the bird would tear into the side, hollowing it out a little bit at a time. A few winters ago I saw three flickers simultaneously attack the same anthill, each assaulting a different section. Within a couple days the anthill was gone, completely annihilated. Another feature of the Northern Flicker that needs to be mentioned is its call. You have probably heard it dozens if not hundreds of times and never knew it was the Northern Flicker. Like the whistling notes of the American Robin or the Song Sparrow, the call of the Flicker is part and parcel of the outdoor experience in our area. I’ve included a link for you so you can listen to it via the Internet. I guarantee you, you’ve heard it countless times. (Hear it here: http:// tinyurl.com/arpx8s.) Yes, Northern Flickers are so common that it is easy to overlook them and not to marvel at their special nature. This bane of ant colonies everywhere is not your typical woodpecker. In fact, it is as atypical as they come. Just like this certain uncle I have...

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Mike Turnlund is a teacher at Clark Fork High School. Reach him at miketurnlund@gmail.com Page 14 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


The Game Trail by Matt Haag

For folks recently calling my state phone number, and Officer Hislop’s number in Sagle, you would have received a message stating the line has been disconnected. It’s not an error, they have been disconnected. Please bear with me and I’ll explain. The other day I got home from work and my state phone line was ringing. I answered the phone as my wife begrudgingly looked at me while she was plating up dinner. My 2-year-old daughter was jumping up and down yelling,” Daddy’s Home! Daddy’s Home!” The caller on the line was a woman that proceeded to give me an ear full about what an irresponsible officer I am and how in the world could no one return a call from her today regarding an aggressive moose in her yard. She was clearly upset, so I asked her who she called. She called the number in the phonebook for an Idaho Fish & Game Conservation Officer in Sandpoint/Clark Fork, the number that rings at my house. I apologized for missing her call and explained that I was in the field working all day while the phone at my house was taking her messages. There was a short pause and she blurted, “That’s the stupidest thing I’ve heard of! You have phones that ring at your house while you’re out working?” Well, she was spot-on; it is a stupid set-up, especially with today’s communication technology such as cells phones, smart phones, and pagers. While we’ve been mulling the idea of getting rid of our home lines in the past, that lady was the catalyst in changing how we do business. The officers in Region 1 have state landline phones to their house, the only region in the state to do so. These numbers are listed in the white pages of the phone book by our patrol districts, or closest town. While every officer in the Region prides themselves on public service and having an open door policy, there has to be some limitations to the amount of time an officer sits on his phone at home returning calls to the public. We have 40 hours a week to get the work done that sportsmen are paying us with their hard earned dollars to accomplish. I know I’ve stated in this column before that the Idaho Fish & Game enforcement team operates on license dollars only, but it’s worth repeating. The nonhunting public is not supporting us through the general tax fund, yet has the largest demand on our call base.

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There are days when I come home from a long patrol in the field and there are over 30 messages on my answering machine, and about 15 percent are enforcement related calls. Unfortunately I did not receive any of those calls while I was out working where I could have appropriately responded, as the case with the above mentioned woman. Additionally, I then call back 20-plus people about things that are not related to Fish & Game business. For instance, I receive calls about Christmas tree permits, boating violations, campground reservations, forest maps, etc. So what’s the big deal? I’m not complaining about having to handle the calls, I’m complaining about the efficiency of my job. I need to be in the field catching violators, educating youth, attending sportsman’s meetings, managing wildlife, and training to be a better wildlife officer... NOT sitting on the phone. We have begun to streamline our communications with the public, the sheriff’s office, and our regional office in Coeur d’Alene by canceling the phones lines to our homes. With the state of our budgets these days, the money savings from cancelling the phone lines to our homes is an added bonus. How does the public get a hold of a game warden now? For emergencies, or to report violations, please call the Sheriff’s office dispatch. Here’s where it becomes more streamlined. Instead of leaving a message on my answering machine, you’re talking to a live person in the business of dispatching calls. The dispatcher will try to reach me on the radio or cell phone where I will take the call in the field and have the opportunity to respond in a timely fashion. The take home message is when you see a violation or want to report a wildlife emergency please call the County dispatch center just like you would when you need other law enforcement help. You can also call The Citizen’s Against Poaching Hotline at 800-632-5999. Both dispatch centers will immediately contact the local officer with the violation information. As always, you can remain anonymous when calling either dispatch center, but we encourage you to leave a call back number so officers can get additional information. For general information requests you can contact the Regional Fish & Game Office in Coeur d’Alene at 208769-1414 during normal business hours. It’s that time of year to start thinking about getting that youngster, or adult new to hunting, enrolled in a hunter education class. Classes are starting to fill up so please sign up for the next available class. There are a couple of options; you can take the instructor led courses locally or participate in an on-line class, followed by a field test day with an existing local class. I really recommend taking the instructor lead class as there is more information covered in a more thorough fashion. To sign up please go to the Idaho Fish & Game website at http:// fishandgame.idaho.gov/ . Follow the links to the hunter education course sign-up. Pick a location nearest to you and pay right on-line with a credit card! I hope to see you in the next class! Leave No Child Inside

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600 Schweitzer Plaza Dr. behind Super 8 Motel in Ponderay Matt Haag is an Idaho Fish & Game Conservation Officer.Reach him at 265-8521 or mhaag@idfg.idaho.gov March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 15


Land Management I’ve been having this conversation for years but I never really get tired of it. I hadn’t had it in years but then, the other day… it came up again…clear cuts. You would expect there would not be much too say besides the normal… “clear cuts are bad and wrong,” countered by, “…stupid tree hugger environmentalists are lost and out of touch with reality,” then, “clear cutting is a visual blight and destroys wildlife habitat,” followed by “trees are a crop which need to be harvested and then they grow back again.” Well, now that I start arguing with myself I guess the conversation could go on awhile and in fact it has gone on this way for some time now. This latest conversation was with a friend who holds a MS in Geo-Chemistry. She is a geologist by trade but an artist and domestic engineer by choice. Now she is, of course, very intelligent and “wise to the ways of science” but her opinion is that “clear cuts are bad and wrong… they are ugly and destroy wildlife habitat,” which are not her exact words but my paraphrasing and is the main argument of most people I hear speaking negatively about clear cutting. So, where am I coming from then? you might ask. Do I think clear cutting is bad and wrong or do I think those opposed to it are “crack-pot environmentalist” and timber is simply a crop to be harvested? Why, neither and both of course. Clear cutting is just one of many silvicultural options when managing a forest and it can be done badly and is therefore wrong or it can be done wrong and is therefore bad but the thing to remember is that yes, there is a right time, right place and a right way to do clear cuts. Secondly, and you can quote me here, “society’s perception of and reaction to clear cuts has no rhyme of reason to it.” Consider if you will the feelings of loss, sadness and disgust many people tend to feel when passing a huge clear cut up on the side of beautiful majestic mountain cloaked in a verdant coat of velvet forest, teeming with wildlife. This huge gaping scar with its straight lines forming the fingerprints of man’s greed in squares or triangles of barren bomb scape, set in the middle of a

sea of gorgeous forest. This really bothers people, creates whole movements, and generally shapes the publics mind about clear cutting. That it is bad and wrong. But on the other hand consider your last plane flight across vast expanses of fertile farm lands. Looking down from on high, you see awesome geometric patterns in the fields, which are radiating variations of earthy colors creating a kaleidoscope of green, gold and brown... circles, squares and triangles. So wholesome and beautiful it looks from car or plane, those waving fields of grain. Compare that to the beauty of Schweitzer Mountain bathed in summer sun with its broad verdant tapestries of green, hemmed in by patches of alpine forest on all sides, forming gorgeous meadows in summer and big white slopes, twisting while turning a broad, beautiful and exciting paths from peak to bowl and ridge to rim. One gets a sense of peace and tranquility when viewing a golf course… so green, so open, little ponds here and there, such nice houses and well kept yards and usually even some very nice trees about here and there. Well, yes as you probably guessed some time ago where I am going with this… they are all clear cuts but the main difference is the reasons they are done, not the end effect and that much of society does not seem to understand that the entire midwestern USA is a giant, humongous clear cut which is not allowed to go back to its natural state. Nor could it because most of the species that were a part of the tall grass prairies are now extinct, and the streams and rivers tend to be dead because of the fertilizer and pesticide runoff and as much as 60 percent of this lost habitat, is used to grow feed for cattle. Now the cattle have contributed to the complete loss of ecosystems in entire other regions and the Midwest too, but that is another story. So, a farm field of waving grain looks beautiful to us when it is actually more of an environmental problem than clear cutting has ever come close to being. One of the oddest things to me is that the general public seems to think that clear cuts, which are done for “the fun of it” are beautiful but clear cuts which are done for necessity, for the timber products we ALL use and depend on and prefer, I might add, well… those clear-cuts are ugly and we imagine them to be very bad for the environment too. I suspect if you were to ask a moose, deer or elk, and if they had a decent understanding of ecosystem dynamics and forest management, they would say: The

by Michael White

truth is that if clear cuts were completely banned but given that fire will not run rampant and routinely as in the past, well then the great majority of the ungulates (deer, elk, moose) would starve because they eat brush and such, not trees, and the brush grows in the forest openings which come from forest management such as clear cuts these days. This is because the natural processes which caused openings in the forest in the past, namely wildfire and huge outbreaks of beetles, well these are costly in lost resources we all need, as well as, very dangerous when it comes to rampant wildfires. Okay, the ungulates probably don’t care about the lost resources for humans but they need openings for food. So, we really do need clear cuts to provide diversity of the forest ecotype as a whole, which creates more diverse habitat and more diverse forage. We also need them for proper land management or as one of several methods of timber harvest; such as in relatively small patches, when the trees are infested with disease or insects for example and these need to be done on moderate to mild slopes with irregular boundaries while leaving snags for wildlife trees. Then the clear cut must be replanted with a diverse timber stock, roads closed and seeded to prevent erosion. Clear-cuts are wrong and bad when they are done in excessive size, with excessive road building, on excessive slopes, with unstable soils, when done too close to major streams, when done in a drainage where clear-cuts are already the majority of forest type (is a newly planted clear-cut a forest?). At any rate, there are many instances of, places where and eras when clear-cutting was abused, it was excessive and it was not done with long term planning for wildlife habitat and stream protection. But clear-cuts are not bad or wrong because they are ugly, because that is a personal perception of the beholder... the deer, elk and moose think they are gorgeous. No, clear cuts are bad and therefore wrong when they are done improperly, or excessively which is mainly a problem because of erosion from the roads and into the streams which covers the gravel beds with silt and smothers the fish eggs. That is the main problem with clear cuts, not that they are ugly or destroy all wildlife habitat. Be against them if you are but just know when and why you should be against them.

Michael White is a Realtor with a BS in Forest Resources and Ecosystem Management. Visit NorthIdahoLandMan.com Page 16 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Help- Continued from page 

Stimulus- Continued from page 

bonds. So, in most cases, the decline in the stock market did not significantly alter their overall account value and, as a result, their RMD was not significantly altered. In addition, the actual provision of the law was signed by President George Bush on December 12, 2008, so the late-year change in the law added to the potential confusion. Since the change did not pertain to 2008 withdrawals, but rather to 2009, there is ongoing confusion for many retirees about what they have to do and in what year. The confusion is also being amplified as people focus on their 2008 tax return, due April 15. Yet the relief for the RMD is for 2009, not 2008. Now is the time to determine the best course of action. It is possible that some retirees will be confused about whether they needed to take a RMD in 2008 versus 2009 and risk the possibility of receiving a substantial excise tax for not taking their RMD by the end of 2008. Five-year net operating loss carryback extension: Small businesses (defined as businesses with less than $15 million in annual receipts) that experienced net operating losses in 2008 may apply their losses to the past five tax years (20032007). Under current law, businesses are allowed to carry back their losses for the past two years (2006-2007). Small businesses can use their NOLs to offset future taxes or as a refund of taxes paid from 2003-2007. One-year extension of bonus depreciation: Businesses may continue to write off 50 percent of depreciable property (e.g. business equipment and computers) purchased in 2009 for use in the United States. One-year extension of enhanced small business expensing: Small businesses may continue to write-off up to $250,000 of capital expenditures incurred in 2009 subject to a phase out once capital expenditures reach $800,000. S-corporation changes: The S corporation built-in gains holding period was reduced by three years (from 10 to seven years) for 2009 and 2010. Currently, when a taxable corporation converts into an S corporation, the S corporation must hold its assets for 10 years to avoid a tax on gains that existed at the time of the conversion. These are just some of the provisions in the stimulus bill that may impact you directly. Consult with your financial and business advisors in all areas to be aware of any other changes. Angela Potts-Bopp, CPCU, AAI, CPIW. Angela specializes in business insurance and employee benefits and cares about you! If you’ve got questions, Angela has solutions.

taxes you pay on the first $49,500 of the vehicles value, as long as you make less than $125,000 a year. Buy a plug-in hybrid vehicle, by the way, and get a tax credit of up to $7,500. EDUCATION K-12 education stands to get $53.6 billion for a State Fiscal Stabilization Fund—$40.6 billion to local school districts, which can be used for preventing cutbacks, preventing layoffs, school modernization, and other purposes; $5 billion as bonus grants for meeting key performance measures; and $8 billion for public safety and other services. In addition, TARP includes $1.1 billion for Early Head Start, $1 billion for Head Start, $2 billion for the Child Care Development Block Grant to provide child care services to an additional 300,000 children in lowincome families while their parents go to work, $13 billion for Title I grants to help disadvantaged kids reach high academic standards and $12.2 billion for special education grants. COLLEGE STUDENTS Planning to go to college? The Hope Scholarship credit has been replaced with a new credit up to $2,000 in eligible expenses, such as tuition, fees and books, and then 25 percent of the next $2,000 in eligible expenses for the next two years. The credit is 40 percent refundable, which means it can be claimed even if a person

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has little or no tax liability. In addition, the maximum Pell Grant for low-income students will rise by $500 to $5,350 for the 2009-10 academic year and to $5,500 the next. LOW INCOME WORKERS Are you part of the working poor? If you make at least $3,000 a year you can now qualify for the child tax credit. The earned income tax credit will rise for the next two years, with the maximum credit for a qualifying family with three or more children going to $5,657. Food stamp benefits will increase by 13.6 percent and individuals who receive Social Security benefits; railroad retirees; disabled veterans; and government retirees who aren’t eligible for Social Security will receive a one-time payment of $250. INCOME TAX CREDITS In 2009 and 2010, there is a tax credit by Patrick of up to $400 for individuals and Sande $800 for married couples filing their taxes jointly. You calculate your credit, subtracted from other federal taxes you owe, by taking 6.2 percent of your earned income. If you (and your employer) refigure your income tax withholding based on the new credit, you should see these dollars (approx. $40 per month for the remainder of the year) in your paycheck immediately. The Wall Street Journal has developed a chart showing the entire stimulus bill and what it funds. Read it online here: http:// tinyurl.com/dh559r.

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March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 17


Sportsmen Support Scotchmans Wilderness Montana hunting and angling groups are putting weight behind an effort to protect the Scotchman Peaks and West Cabinets, along the Idaho-Montana border. Four local and statewide Montana sportsmen groups are now backing a proposal to protect the high country of the Kootenai and Idaho Panhandle national forests. The hunters and anglers

Montana Highway 56, southwest of Bull Lake and north of Noxon. “The rugged, remote character of this area is well known to our members, as this area is literally in our front yard,” said Robert Weber, president of the Bull Lake Rod & Gun Club. “The decision to include this area in the national wilderness system is a ‘no-brainer’ due to the rugged, remote terrain, inherent beauty and pristine

and fishing isn’t just “...hunting what we do, it’s who we are. ” say protecting Scotchman Peaks and surrounding habitat will help protect access to the region’s world-class hunting and fishing. The Libby Rod & Gun Club, the Bull Lake Rod & Gun Club, the Montana Wildlife Federation and the Montana chapter of Backcountry Hunters & Anglers have all voiced support for the conservation proposal. “In Lincoln County, hunting and fishing isn’t just what we do, it’s who we are,” said Don Clark, retired Libby educator and longtime member of the Libby Rod & Gun Club. “We want to make sure our kids and grandkids always have the same access to world-class hunting and fishing we enjoy today.” The Scotchman Peaks-West Cabinets proposed wilderness area is west of

wildlife habitat.” Clark notes the proposal would protect big game habitat, including high country favored by mountain goats, trophy mule deer and big bull elk. High basin waters flow from the West Cabinets into the Bull River Valley, an area known for its scenic beauty and its camping and fishing opportunities. Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks biologist Gayle Joslin has pointed out that the West Cabinets are one of the last strongholds for mountain goats in the Kootenai National Forest. Besides hunting and fishing, the region is popular for hiking, cross-country skiing and other family outdoor recreation. For more information, visit www. scotchmanpeaks.org.

US Fish & Wildlife Service

March 10, 7 pm Cabinet-Yaak Grizzly Bear Citizen Committee

at the Venture Inn in Libby. To include: an update from Kim Annis, our new Bear Management Specialist; a presentation on grizzly bear public opinion survey; and an update on population augmentation.

CHaFE Moves to June Postcard scenery, lakeside riding, enthusiastic support teams—all the amazing elements that made up last year’s inaugural CHaFE 150 bicycle ride through Idaho and Montana return with this year’s second annual CHaFE 150, happening Saturday, June 13. The June date is a major change-up for the ride; the first CHaFE was staged as an autumn ride last September. Organizers say they moved the ride to June in order to avoid conflicts with some other events, as well as to place the ride earlier on the calendar of biking enthusiasts. The one-day ride kicks off from the quaint lake town of Sandpoint, and although the distance is challenging, the loop’s course avoids sustained climbs or passes, with barely 800 feet of elevation differential. New this year, in addition to the nearly 150-mile loop, riders can opt for the less challenging but equally beautiful “½ CHaFE” at 80 miles in distance. Both rides take bicyclists along scenic Lake Pend Oreille and through the gorgeous Bull River Valley that cleaves Montana’s Cabinet Mountains. The ½ CHaFE riders will be shuttled back to Sandpoint from Troy, Mont., while the full CHaFE 150 riders will continue along the loop back into North Idaho via bike. Participants in last year’s CHaFE – which stands for Cycle HArd for Education -- were impressed with the outstanding volunteer support on hand, and will find that same great enthusiasm, as well as an enhanced food menu and five well-equipped break stops, at this year’s event. And despite the date change and enhanced amenities, the ride remains true to its original cause to support early childhood education. Last year’s proceeds helped fund the first series of Ready! For Kindergarten classes, a birth-to-5 education program for families. Enrollment soared to nearly 200 attendees over the winter, and the effects of this great literacy initiative will be realized for years to come. All proceeds from the 2009 CHaFE 150 registration fees and rider pledges go directly to fund Ready! For Kindergarten in the Lake Pend Oreille School District of northern Idaho. “It’s a real partnership between the school district and the community,” said Events Coordinator Geraldine Lewis, in describing the ride’s role. “Everyone wants to be part of helping these children succeed!”

Page 18 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Spilled Milk & Skinned Knees

By Dustin Gannon

Got some? Get some? Either way the Steelers got what they wanted. Two Superbowl rings in four years and six rings all time now sets them alone at the top. That is not why I’m here today however. Something else is about to take place and it happens in the month of March. Something happens that magically finds a way to make alcoholic beverages disappear. Beer and whiskey are plentiful, however, they are not accompanied by Leprechauns, lucky charms or shamrocks. I am Irish but this event I am excited for is not St. Patrick’s Day. Here we have a hardwood court, a bracket and one goal, to win. I guess you could say there is some madness for this event in March. However this isn’t the college basketball tournament. It’s another outing that some of you might not know about, the Clark Fork Alumni Tournament. Throughout the years these games of basketball (and volleyball) have evolved from a simple weekend of mildly competitive old men, to a variety of players old and young who will do anything it takes to bring home that first place hat. Let me recall my first year of playing throughout this weekend. It was my senior year in high school. The tournament was created for the high school’s alumni to come and participate but since the seniors’ basketball season is just over, they are allowed to participate as well. There are paid referees there that keep the peace between teams but it’s fair to say that they relax with the ‘official’ part in their job title. I was unaware of this until the very first time I touched the ball. I received a pass as I made a cut toward the basket and I gracefully leaped into

ting a e tar Holing S l l A Co and

the air during my lay-up. As I reached the peak of my altitude, just before I began my descent I released the ball towards the round metal rim. I happened to send the ball on its own just before I was greeted by 250 pounds of man that was heavily shellacked in a fine coat of sweat. It was then that the oxygen masks dropped from the cabin ceiling and I careened towards the sturdy surface below me only to land flat on my back. I stood up and as I wiped the foreign sweat from my arms and face I noticed that I had scored, but I was not going to get a chance at a free throw, because there was no foul called. It was then in that moment that I realized that these ‘aged’ gentlemen have no remorse for the care of their more naïve and younger opponents. It was also in that moment that I had become excessively less concerned for their well being. For that is how the alumni tournament is: rough. After the basketball games for that evening there is a custom that virtually everybody takes part in, not just the players, but the families visiting and the families that live in the town as well, and that is drinking. A stranger to the area would feel as if he were in the heart of Dublin during the green parade if he were to stumble into one of the two bars that Clark Fork has to offer. Afterwards I have no idea what takes place but I will get to experience that this year being it is the first time I’ve been of age to enter the establishments. After everybody’s delightful night out, the next morning they wake up and the unfortunate few have basketball games starting at 8 am. I have been one of those

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few, and so has my good friend Joseph Heyne. I remember waking up Sunday morning at 8:40 and my game started at 9. I was still one of the first players on my team to arrive which meant only one thing, my team was more hung over than I was, which meant they drank a lot. At halftime I walked to the center of the court and just laid there for the length of the half, I was accompanied by Joey and we could hardly move. I remember attempting a lay-up in the first half and I could hardly see the scoreboard, let alone dribble. The affects of the night before were still upon me. However, that is what the Alumni Tournament is all about. Everybody has an extremely good time and it generates a lot of money for the school. So everybody who’s interested, if you’re not busy the weekend of March 13, come on out to Clark Fork, I promise you’ll have a good time watching the basketball games and the events afterwards. Also on Saturday the volleyball games start so if you’re a female and want to get involved then you can participate in that as well. It’s 30 dollars per player and you’ll be selected to a team. If you don’t want to play, it’s also a lot of fun to come out and watch. All the money goes to the Clark Fork High School and the participants are not confined to just Clark Fork graduates, anybody can play. You can pick up sign up forms from Hays Chevron in Clark Fork or you can call the school at 208-266-1131.

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 19


FOCUS ON EDUCATION

Face to Face Bill Litsinger • Bob Wynhausen 1400 AM KSPT • 1450 AM KBFI

School Funding: A Community Decision On February 24 voters went to the polls to determine the future of the students attending schools in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. From Clark Fork to Southside, and all places in between, debate surfaced over the merits of the $10,950,000 proposal crafted by a Board of Trustees that was forced to balance on a tightrope of student needs and the current economic reality. It was a difficult choice for many in our community. The difficulty of the choice was compounded by expected reduced state funding for public education, unclear funding patterns from the federal stimulus package, and ultimately, the negative effects that might occur should the levy fail. As your Superintendent I was heartened by parts of the debate that focused attention on the shortcomings of the state funding mechanism. To many it is clear the state funding formula is dramatically out of step with the demands of the public school system. Parents throughout the district expressed their frustration to me about public school systems that appear to be lacking resources to meet educational demands without asking local taxpayers for help. At one point in a discussion at Clark Fork High School I was rescued from a difficult moment when a brave gentleman stood up in the gym and said, “The problem isn’t the district. The problem is state funding.” I am not one to point fingers at our state leaders. I believe they have a difficult mission; sorting our budgetary needs from equally demanding groups cannot be an easy process. I simply know that Idaho funding levels for education are below the national average and that our children should have the same access to resources as other children across our country. Receiving a quality education should not be an accident of birthplace, and in response, our staff is making sure

that our community’s children receive their best effort every day. The successful levy will make this challenge and joy more doable. There is something to be learned in every election or campaign. Below are six ideas that you reinforced: Passion for Public Education—I have been an educator for 34 years. I felt more And they to—after don’t support for don’t publichave education fromall, a group ofwe individuals than any Iifhave witnessed. I Americans believe it’s ours, it’s ours am grateful fordoyour ending support and we can withnever it what we want? Or and assistance. is Passion Regarding Public and weEducation— want it, then I you havehave alsotolearned is ifanyou equally give it tothere us and don’t, passionate group who believe public then you sponsor terrorism and we’ll education has shortchanged their children,

themselves, or the community. They believe By the doesn’t way, China wantsand that oilare as the system work well they well. Remember China? The people who not anxious to support its continuation. loaned all that money? China’s oil PassionusRegarding Taxes—Few people desire increased taxes. 6.5 However, there consumption is around billion barrels are some and in the community feel every they a year, is growing at 7who percent should have toabout pay any our year. not It produces 3.6 more billionfor barrels schools. “WeDoes paid this ourmath taxeslook when our every year. good to kids were in school, now it isthan someone anyone? Can anyone other Sarah else’s turn,” is a common response I heard. Palin and George Bush believe we can Unfortunately, this notion runs contrary to drill ourI also way heard out of many this problem? Anyone a notion times about our who doesn’t think we better hit the ground responsibility as a community member. to figure fuel what we If running education reallyoutishow theto key to our want fueled than nation’s future with whatsomething should weother do about oil probablyour deserves go back to an transforming currentto practices? Misinformation is Prevalent—There was a tremendous amount of : Imisinformation could go on inforever, our community. Some would it but you’ll quit reading. Soargue one final came from both viewpoints. From my discussion for the American public. First, perspective, would like suggestions let’s have aI true, independent analysison of how we can more effectively communicate what happened on September 11, 2001. with our public. However, I also believe The official explanation simply doesn’t those who vocally oppose initiatives hold actively water. This one of those “who should seekisinformation either by knew what, when” questions that must be telephoning the source of the information people/institutions oranswered—and by attending meetings. The Boardmust of Trustees held nine public meetings prior to settling on a proposal. The meetings were Speaking of accountability, you might advertised on the district’s be surprised to learn that website I would and not insupport local newspapers. Still, there were very an effort to impeach President few in attendance. If you have a better idea Bush after the November elections. First, regarding communication, please share because that’s too late, and second, Continued page 30 because more than Bush on have been involved in crimes against the American By Lake Pend Oreille people. School What District Superintendent I would like to see are Dick Cvitanich |charges 208.263.2184 218of| treason) (at the least,ext charges brought against Bush, Cheney, et al. Bring dick.cvitanich@lposd.org the charges and let’s let the evidence of

Friday lunch at 12:15 They have ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ and ‘touch the face of God.’

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Page 20 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Thomas’

by Thomas’ McMahon

TECH TALES increase nutrients, such as nitrogen and

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septic pilot project is being big aThis company as Google is, they don’t have introduced in order to comply with water the resources to get all of these photos Gas • Convenience Store quality standards the themselves. By as thedetermined bottom ofby the Unofficial Historical Society Federal Clean Water Designated to screen you will seeAct. different company protect water quality,which the plan, known or as names showing company a “Total Maximum Load” for Lake Oil Changes companies tookDaily the current picture youOreille, are looking at. Pend addresses nutrient issues Tire Rotation Earlier this evening I took a drive While putting together the photos through downtown Auckland, New by appointment a big job; many the biggest hurdle In like addition, lakeshore Zealand, then I made my way over to sounds Google Earth cleared isinone the Seattle, checked out my hometown Hope, that homeowners participated a of survey that most people take for granted. and ended my night with a stroll through things in 2007 concerning a variety of water ability to zoom in, out, pan, and rotate downtown New York City. Okay ,so it didn’t The quality issues. As is turns out, their 208-266-1338 take me all evening, more like fifteen the earth all seamlessly on your computer. A fun fact to put this into perspective; it minutes. Say hello one Magazine of my favorite The River Journal - Ato News Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol 17 No. 18 | November 2008 | Page 5 time killers: Google Earth. If you haven’t would take a 56k dial-up connection 12,400 years to download a Have you got the small resolution picture DIGITAL CONVERSION BLUES? of the earth. To get I CAN HELP! past this Google uses Find out how you can get TV your computers disk cache in order to speed reception without satellite or up the process. Cache cable in high definition digital. space can be used to Information is free; minimal store information about cost for evaluating your property websites you have ON SITE with my mobile lab. previously visited so they load faster. Also, instead of downloading all of the small pictures at once, when you zoom in Google Earth only uses the parts that you need to see. So instead of loading the entire “earth” every time you heard of this amazing program then you only download what you are trying to look really need to see it in action. You can at, like the Sphinx in Egypt. explore literally any part of the world There are some surprising treats for from your computer. From the streets of those of you who haven’t used Google Toronto to the oceans of Hawaii; you have Earth in a while too. In the newer patches no limits… well except for some hushareas have been updated, you can take hush government property maybe. Contrary to what some people might street tours, go underneath the ocean’s think, what appears to be extremely high surface, fly a plane to your destination detail satellite photos are actually a blend (there is even a fighter jet), create tours, of many different photos. As you start in view the night sky, go back in time, set the space and start to zoom in, you go through sun’s position, and even check out Mars. different layers of photos that Google’s It’s not all just for fun either; by using the software has seamlessly woven together. tabs on the right you can get as detailed These pictures can be taken by satellites on your search as you want. Try looking or airplanes, and with the new ocean and up a specific kind of business by using street settings, sonar and cameras. Using the “Places of Interest” tab or check the photos taken from different days and then current weather at your favorite vacation putting them together gives the effect spot. There are literally thousands of that the entire world is having a cloudless combinations of search criteria to choose day in full sunlight; this unfortunately also from to keep you coming back to Google gives areas blocky, unnatural effects. As Earth for more.

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March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 21


Lite Lit

N e w Moon is the second book in the Twilight series. New Moon begins a while after Twilight leaves off, so you don’t miss much. This book starts off with Bella going to a birthday party given to her by the Cullen family. Everything is going good until Bella accidentally cuts herself and some of the family members have to be restrained and leave the house, so that they don’t kill her. Things start to get a little tense at this point. After the accident, Edward decides that he is way too dangerous to be around Bella and sees that the only way to resolve the issue is to leave with his family. After all of the Cullens leave Bella sinks into a great depression for months. After feeling horrible for months, she goes to see her friend Jacob Black down in La Push. While hanging out with Jacob, she begins to step out of her fog and into a brighter, happier self. Then Bella starts to think that she is hearing Edward’s voice when she does something dangerous, which leads to some bad accidents. To make matters worse, while the Cullens are away a vampire is out looking for Bella. These events lead to misunderstandings

Tessa’s book rating scale: 4= I should have never read this. 44= Um… It’s okay. with Tess Vogel 444= A decent read. 4444= I would read it again! 44444= I would so read this over and over again!!! Love it!!!

New Moon/Eclipse/ Breaking Dawn

between Bella and Edward and lead to Bella leaving the town of Forks on a quest to find Edward.

444 Eclipse starts off with Edward and Bella back together, which does not make Jacob Black happy because he wants to be with Bella. Bella, of course, is head-over-heels for Edward—which disgusts Jacob. Edward refuses Bella’s wish to become a vampire unless she marries him first. She isn’t totally up to this idea because of what happened between her parents. While all of this is going on, Victoria (James’ mate from Twilight) is out on the loose with new vampires that she has created. Victoria and her coven of newborn vampires are out looking for Bella and are going on killing sprees in Seattle. Jacob and his pack are getting ready to protect their home from the vampires that accompany Victoria. As Victoria gets closer to Bella, the vampires and the werewolves have to join together to protect Bella and stop the newborn vampires before the Volturi (vampire royalty) has to intervene.

4444 Breaking Dawn is the fourth book in the Twilight series. It starts off with Bella still not wanting to get married, but she and

Edward tie the knot in a beautiful wedding with their close friends and family. As a wedding present to Bella, Edward asks Jacob to come to the wedding. Bella is so happy to see him and the same for him -- that is until he realizes that, even though Edward is a vampire, Bella wants them to be truly “man and wife.” Jacob is so outraged that he leaves the wedding, so that he doesn’t have to be in as much pain. When Bella and Edward leave for their honeymoon they end up on a little island that Carlisle had bought Esme.The honeymoon ends with Bella becoming pregnant and she and Edward rushing home. As the baby grows inside of Bella, it starts to kill her slowly. After the baby is born everyone fears for the worst if the Volturi find out that Bella and Edward have a half-human half-vampire child.

4444 As I said before in my last column, I don’t think that there should be an age limit on any book—you just need to be able to understand the content of the book. There are some violent scenes in all three of these books and some mild sex scenes in Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. Just as a note to parents, if you are going to let your younger children read these books be sure that they understand the content. I have read the entire Twilight series and I loved them all!!! Some I liked better than others, but in my own personal opinion I think that this is a series worth reading!!! Just like the first book, you won’t be able to put these books down!

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Rent a table for $10.00 to sell crafts and treasures (To reserve a table call Jean Organ 263-3793 before April 15th)

This is a once a year in-door garage sale. Come to sell the unwanted stuff in your house or those craft items you enjoyed creating this past long winter. Have a cup of coffee and a sweet treat while you shop or an All-American hot dog with the fixin’s.

PROCEEDS FROM THIS FUND RAISER WILL GO TO THE 4-H LEADERSHIP PROGRAM Page 22 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Love Notes MARIANNE LOVE | www.slightdetour. blogspot.com | billmar@dishmail.net

Monsignor Tim

I’m hardly alone in the profound joy I feel for a much-beloved local priest, Fr. Timothy John O’Donovan. Catholics throughout North Idaho are rejoicing at the recent good news in his behalf coming the Vatican. Having answered to several names during his long tenure in the area (Fr. O’Donovan, Fr. John, Fr. Malachy John O’Donovan, Fr. Tim, T.J., etc.), the 86-yearold gentle Irish priest, who never forgets a name, now goes by a new title of honor. On March 1, a Mass at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sandpoint honored his investiture to “Monsignor Timothy John O’Donovan.” From Pope Benedict XVI comes the declaration: “It is with a willing and kind spirit that we hear the entreaty made to us that we indeed publicly demonstrate toward you our singular benevolence which you well deserve for your contributions to the progress and growth of Catholic faith.” Msgr. O’Donovan, along with eight other Idaho priests, received word of the distinction in November. The other priests (one posthumously) were conferred their Papal honors February 2 at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist in Boise. As for Msgr. O’Donovan, his parishioners, colleagues among clergy and friends from all faiths are both thrilled and filled with pride for the soft-spoken, loving man who has meant so much to their lives over the years. More than 700 from several states and parishes gathered at St. Joseph’s as Bishop of the Boise Diocese Most Rev. Michael P. Driscoll read the Pope’s declaration. In his homily, Bishop Driscoll spoke of Lent and its reminder that “we need to serve God in prayer, charity and love. “I think Timothy John reflects this with his love, charity and concern for others,” he added. “We can walk in the footsteps of Tim... we can say he served God well, he loved us well, he has prayed for us and served as a light to us.” The Bishop’s words are echoed by those who have worshipped in the parishes served by Monsignor O’Donovan. Bob Lange has known Msgr. Tim since the early 1970s. “We first met Fr. Tim when we started coming to Sandpoint to visit Judy’s parents

after they retired here... ,” Lange recalls. “We remembered him as the small, softspoken, joke-telling priest who made Mass a real celebration. When we moved here in 2003, we were pleasantly surprised to find him still here... and he remembered us. Imagine that! “What an honor for Fr. Tim and what a blessing for us to have him appointed by the Pope... and, to have him become a Monsignor during his 60th year as a priest makes it all that much more special. Yes, he was ordained December 27, 1949.” Originally choosing the monastic life of the Franciscan Order in California, Fr. O’Donovan became an assistant pastor, serving in Arizona, California and Washington before moving to North Idaho where he has resided as pastor in parishes at Rathdrum, Post Falls, Spirit Lake, Priest River and the Silver Valley. Since retiring, he has served Sacred Heart Church in Clark Fork and helped out at Sandpoint, Priest River and Bonners Ferry parishes. Nowadays, even in frail health and with limited eyesight, he says Mass every fourth Saturday at Clark Fork, assists with Penitential rites at Christmas and Easter at St. Joseph’s and often substitutes for Fr. Carlos Perez at St. Ann’s in Bonners Ferry. In his usual humble manner, Msgr. Tim (as he now prefers to be called) thrusts the pride associated with his new title right back toward his parishioners. “I felt very unworthy, but I’m proud for St. Joseph’s and for Sacred Heart Parish,” he says. “These parishes have never had a monsignor.” In the Roman Catholic Church, the title of “monsignor” is an honor designated to priests who have served the church in exemplary fashion. Ironically, the only other priest ever named monsignor while serving in North Idaho once resided at St. Joseph’s in Sandpoint. Msgr. Patrick Ahern (at St. Joseph’s in the 1940s) was named monsignor while serving St. Alphonsus Parish in Wallace in 1960. At the Mass of Thanksgiving and Investiture, which included a Knights of Columbus honor guard and the St. Joseph’s Pipe and Drum Corps, Msgr. Tim spoke nostalgically of his Irish parents, reflected upon his years as a priest, especially once

he crossed the border into beautiful Idaho. He also told jokes, two at the conclusion of Mass and three during a festive luncheon prepared by Ivano’s Ristorante and St. Joseph’s Altar Society. Msgr. Tim was first asked if he would be interested in being considered for the title on May 14 when Bishop Driscoll came to St. Joseph’s for Confirmation. It was also the anniversary of his mother’s death. In a private conference, the Bishop said he had something to say. “What did I do now?” was Fr. Tim’s first thought. “I was taken aback. He asked me to let him know within a week... I called the chancery office and said ‘yes.’” In November, Fr. Tim received a call from the Bishop, who was in Baltimore for the National Bishops Conference. “Congratulations, you’re a monsignor,” Bishop Driscoll told him. As official word of his new title spread, admirers of Msgr. Tim, across the age spectrum and from throughout the region, had no problem supplying words to acknowledge what he has meant to them. Writing from Missoula, Peggy Miller remembers when her parents, Justin E. and Marj Miller, lived next door to Msgr. Tim in Hope. She often attended Mass in Clark Fork while visiting her parents. “He would shake everyone’s hand during Mass,” she recalls. “Fr. Tim, as we called him, except for Dad, who often just called him Malachy... ‘Hey, Malachy, got any words today?’ “Fr. Tim would stop and chide Dad about always liking to sit near the pretty women,” Peggy adds. “Fr. Tim has been there for so many for so long. His memories are the memories of the entire valley and shores around Lake Pend Oreille.” St. Joseph’s parishioner Dawn Kelly, a former Lutheran, appreciates his ability to preach with passion and purpose. “He always was speaking to me, or at least that is how he made me feel,” she explains. “The joke at the end was always a treat. I feel blessed to have Fr. Tim placed in my path and fortunate that I did not just walk by and not notice. He deserves every kind word that is ever said about him.” Continued on page 40

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 23


Local Food of the

Inland Northwest

The power of local food is no longer a secret. Now that the good word is out, there is only one thing left to do: produce and distribute enough food locally to fill all these hungry mouths (and root cellars)! There is no one answer to this challenge; in fact, the beauty of small food production is that the solutions in and of themselves must be as diverse and individually nourishing as the food itself. We must support existing producers by providing outlets for their products, tax cuts for their land, and information networks for their use. We must foster the emergence of new producers, and of businesses aiding in the processing of local goods. We must preserve our regional farmlands before we lose them all to development. All of these steps require participation of the people, and endorsement from the government. This month, we have the opportunity to create a tangible canvas in which all of these seeds can begin to take root. The newly formed Sandpoint Transition Initiative (STI) is an international movement to optimistically and creatively prepare communities for peak oil. One of its sub-groups, the Local Food Work Group, is working with the City of Sandpoint to integrate some of these sustainable ideals into the city’s infrastructure, and it appears that the city is supportive. The group will come before the city council on March 18th with a proposal, sponsored by Mayor Gretchen Hellar and Councilman John Reuter, requesting that a community garden be approved within the city. THe proposed site is”Dub’s Field” the city-owned park

Emily LeVine is a soon-to-be farmer living in the Selle Valley. If you have ideas, questions, or comments, or topics you’d like to read about regarding local food, please contact her at localfoodchallenge@ gmail.com

Community Garden Anyone?

by Emily LeVine

next to Dub’s bordered by Highway 200 and Lake Street. The garden would comprise 1/3 of an acre of the park, split into two sections. One section would host garden rows available for rent by individuals in the community to grow whatever they choose. The other portion of the proposed space would be managed by community members, and its produce would be available for consumption by volunteers, or for donation to the food bank or local soup kitchens. This space would be the site of regular volunteer-days, where anyone could come for the afternoon to learn, work, and reap the benefits of community gardening. One idea is that volunteers would be rewarded with coupons to local restaurants, who would turn the coupons back in to the garden and receive fresh produce in exchange. The proposed garden would be developed in collaboration with the Ponderay Garden Center. Last year, Sandpoint resident Jeff Burns spearheaded a volunteer-run community garden next to the K-2 Inn, which proved to be a prolific and widely celebrated addition to downtown. With that space in jeopardy this year, Jeff and the Transition Initiative hope to expand

(not the community garden site)

to a larger, more visible location to provide more hands-on education and opportunities for the public. In addition to the garden, the group is discussing with Sandpoint Parks and Recreation Director Kim Woodruff the possibility of managing the entirety of Dub’s Field chemical-free this summer. The methods used would be trialed this summer as an experiment for a model that all Sandpoint city parks could one day adopt. With successful models across the country gaining national momentum, the city council would be on track to the kind of sustainable growth the STI believes necessary to thrive through current and future economic crises. For more information about community gardening or other Transition Initiative projects in Sandpoint, visit SandpointTransititionInitiative.org.

Local Food of the Month: Carrots Carrots stored in a root cellar, cool room, or even unwashed in the fridge can still be bright and fresh this month. Try this carrot soup one of the last of the cold nights this month, from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone. 2 Tb butter 1 onion, diced 1 pound carrots, sliced 1 bay leaf 2 Tb parsley 1 tsp. paprika, 1 tsp. cumin 1/2 tsp. coriander salt and pepper to taste 7 cups water or broth

In a soup pot, melt the butter over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, bay leaf, and parsley; cook to soften the onion, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the spices, salt, and pepper, and cook 5 minutes longer. Add liquid and bring to a boil, then lower heat and simmer, partially covered, 25 minutes. Puree, season to taste, and serve hot.

Page 24 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Duke’s

FOOD OBSESSION by Duke Diercks Another Use for Your Blindfold

Yes, this is still a family magazine, so I will thank you to get your mind out of the gutter. That is not the kind of blindfolding I am talking about. But, more on that later. As a veteran of the restaurant industry for more years than I’d like to admit, I have seen many parents practically do hand stands in order to get their kids to eat. Here comes the choo-choo! Or they humiliate themselves into making propeller airplane noises. And, heaven forbid the food in question is not perfectly square and golden brown and crusted with some corn based product. This is not to say that kids are the only ones that fickle (read: damn picky) when it comes to their food. I have seen grown adults flinch and make faces when the suggestion is floated to order something a bit different. Instead of suggesting duck breast, you would think the offering was a cyanide tablet. Now, you could look at my girth and say, “my, it’s clear you have no food phobias.” And, you would be right. Not only have I rarely met food that I don’t like, except maybe beets, raw mushrooms, and tofu, I was fortunate growing up to have a father who was an adventurous eater. In addition to being adventurous, my father was very well traveled due to his career, so I was encouraged to try many things. No airplane noises for him, but there was gung ho encouragement. So, it should be no surprise that I do

not suffer children who flat out refuse to try any new foodstuff. I am not a complete jerk though, although some of you would beg to differ. My kids are only required to try, the food. If they don’t like it, they don’t have to eat it. But herein lies the problem, some food is downright scary—either from descriptions, or to look at. Just imagine if instead of being sold a “hot dog” you were told what was in it. What is the old saying? Two things you should never watch being made are sausage and legislation? So, finally, back to the blindfold. My kids, being somewhat normal, do not readily dive into certain food items. So, in an attempt not to make multiple dinner items, I have instituted a weekly “blindfold dinner.” The rules are simple: one by one my sons are blindfolded by my wife and led into the kitchen. There, they try what is on the menu for the blindfold dinner. Just one bite. If they do not like it, they can have something else. For them, at their age, it is a lot of fun—a game. And, I must say there is also a bit of peer pressure to like the food. What has been the outcome? Well, so far my kids have devoured minestrone with pesto, lamb curry with channa masala, and, here it comes: split pea soup in all of its green splendor. Of course, there have been hiccups: escargot did not go over. But, I take the blame for this one as I tried a new preparation rather than the requisite escargot bourgignon, replete with its ratio of about 82 parts butter to one part snails. So, if your kids are like mine, or even your spouse, go find your blindfold-I will not tell you where to look, and try your own blindfold night!

Don’t miss Duke’s new barbeque blog! You can find it at www.bbqrecipes-for-foodies.com.

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Gary Payton’s

Faith Walk

Chance or Opportunity?

In pre-dawn Siberian darkness I stood incredulous by my host’s simple question: “Do you know where Clark Fork is?” Tim asked. In a split second I knew exactly where the conversation was headed, but his asking put me in a daze of disorientation lasting for hours. But I get ahead of myself. On an early February morning, I’d just landed in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, a regional capitol in south central Siberia. Our little group looked like we’d been dressed by the Michelin Man—puffy down parkas, lined boots, facemasks and stocking caps. The weather forecast when I’d departed Sandpoint less than three days earlier called for lows of at least minus-52 F. So in a strange way the temperature of minus 7 was a bit of a disappointment! The journey had been months in planning. One objective was to have conversation with Igor, a new Christian, who works among the Buryat people, a Mongolian people group living around the Russian city of Ulan Ude. Another objective was to meet with Tim, an American, and his Swiss wife, Iris, who are part of the leadership team for “Gospel Recordings.” In recent years the organization has produced and distributed thousands of CDs in seven native languages. With story and music, the CDs share the gospel message with people who largely live in an oral culture. Waiting to check into a hotel room to rest a bit from the 15 times zones I had just crossed, we struck up a conversation. Tim asked, “And, where are you from?” “North Idaho,” I replied. And, then came his lightening bolt, “Do you know where Clark Fork is?” Finding Russian language speakers in Bonner County for conversation and study has been a challenge for me across the last decade. A few years ago my teacher was Mycah from Clark Fork. We’d meet in the winter at the Hope Market Café and talk next to the wood stove. In the summer we’d sit and talk at the picnic table under the trees across from the café next to Hope’s historical markers. Mycah lived in Siberia for much of the 1990s with her folks, David and June; her brother, Justus;

and two younger siblings. Feeling called by God to minister in rural Russia, the family planted churches and cared for those around them. Unfortunately, over time the language lessons in Hope proved to be “ne ydobna” or inconvenient with rising gas prices and other demands on schedules. I hadn’t spoken with Mycah in recent years. So you can imagine my surprise, even shock, when Tim told me his partner was Justus, Mycah’s brother, and that he and his fiancé, Rebecca, were in Krasnoyarsk that day. Far more than halfway around the world, on a sub-zero winter day in Siberia, I meet people from Bonner County who share a piece of the same mission spirit! Consider the mathematical odds? Ponder the chances? In its own way, I felt like old Sarah in the Old Testament story when she overheard angels tell her husband Abraham she was going to have a child. She laughed out loud at the improbability of it all! My faith walk has regularly been illuminated by improbable events. Whether in the muck of post-Katrina Mississippi or the winter’s cold of Siberia, God has shown a way forward. In this episode my first inclination was to focus on the astronomical odds of such an encounter so far from home. Yet as days passed, the more important question hasn’t been about chance, but rather opportunity. Will this event mark a path for something new, something not imagined before? Are possibilities opening which might not have been were it not for a February day on the opposite side of the globe? I have much to ponder in the days ahead, but first I need to meet some folks in Clark Fork!

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Page 26 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


The Hawk’s Nest ERNIE HAWKS | www.photosbyhawks.com | ernie@photosbyhawks.com

Being Responsible

“I’ll buy a raffle ticket but I never win anything.” I used to say that but for the last few years only bought tickets to raffles that are supporting something I’m willing to make a donation to. So when I heard my wife say into the phone “He what? He has won a trip to Catalina?” I had to think when I had purchased a raffle ticket to the Island of Romance. I remembered doing it—sort of—but from whom? Part of the fun of living is getting surprises and this was a big one. The tickets for the flight and accommodations should arrive tomorrow, so I still don’t know where on the island we are staying, but I understand it’s a studio suite. I’m guessing the flight will leave at o’dark-30 since it has also been donated, and that’s fine; I’ll sleep on the plane. I finally figured out the raffle had been a

. . . y u B

Sell ...

Trade ...

Rent ...

Connect

fundraiser for the Soaring program in Coeur d’Alene. By using flying as a metaphor, kids examine how positive actions and reactions influence their relationships, and how they are responsible for all their actions. I’ve seen encouraging results in the teens that I know who’ve participated in this unique program supported by licensed pilots. Upon completion of attaining goals and meeting established criteria, the youth get their big moment, to fly a real plane. This naturally raised a question for me: “Is a thirteenyear-old going to fly us to Catalina?” The answer is “I don’t think so,” since I had to give names for commercial tickets—I’ll know more when the mail comes. In the midst of all the trip plans, I had another, somewhat less romantic, surprise, also around responsibility. Linda had to have a wisdom tooth pulled. Please, no jokes about loss of wisdom, I’ve tried several and they don’t seem to be funny; in fact I always got “the look.” However, what came out of this procedure was a lot of ice cream in the house for a couple days and a carte blanche budget to get more every time I went to the store. A feed to the ego came when she told me she needed a “RESPONSIBLE ADULT” to drive her home after the extraction, and she asked me to be that person. After jumping up and down yipping and yahooing about being recognized as a responsible adult, I realized the operative word was not adult but responsible. I started to see how this could be a life changing moment for me. But was it going to be better? Or not? One thing I figured out

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had to do with all that ice cream I talked about; I was going to have to share it with her. That is part of what being responsible means—I have to share ice cream. When the day came for getting all the ice cream, I mean, Linda’s tooth removal, I had to get up early (that’s part of that responsible thing) and take her to the dentist. Once we were there and she was taken back I thought about what the reliable thing to do should be. I decided waiting for her was a good idea; it made me feel so responsible. Eight in the morning is probably too early to look for a bar anyway. Looking through the stack of magazines and wondering what a responsible guy would read I finally settled on a periodical about backpacking; it had a lot of pictures, which makes reading easier for me. After a couple more magazines, Linda came out to the counter. They started giving instructions. That was when I realized they were talking to me. I was going to carry out the instructions, so I paid attention, the best I could. After all was taken care of, I started to get the car so Linda wouldn’t have to walk too far in the snow, I thought that seemed real conscientious. As I turned, the lady behind the counter said “At our age the tooth fairy doesn’t bring money.” Boy, that was a relief for me. I hadn’t even thought about needing to find a tooth fairy. Then she continued. “HE brings pearls and diamonds.” That seemed to be directed at me since I was the only HE in sight. That takes this responsibility thing to a different level, one slightly higher then sharing ice cream. Linda is home and feeling fine, her mouth has healed and we are looking forward to our trip to Catalina Island. So when you are reading this we will be “twenty-six miles across the sea on the island of romance.” Don’t call and ask how things are going, I’ll write about it next month... well, some of it. I’m still trying to be responsible, though, I have a piece of coal pressing under some firewood hoping to make it into a diamond and when are beach combing on Santa Catalina I plan to open some oysters, looking for pearls.

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 27


A Holistic Approach to

Bruxism by the Sandpoint Wellness Council

The Sandpoint Wellness Council received a request to discuss bruxism, a condition better known as “grinding of the teeth.” Bruxism generally occurs most often while sleeping and can be caused from stress or from the effects of certain drugs, according to Wikipedia. The Colgate toothpaste web site reports that as many as 30 to 40 million adults and children in the United States suffer from some form of bruxism. We can imagine this number may be growing due to the financial challenges occurring for many of us today. Teeth grinding can be a problem for people of all ages. Many times the body has to work out excessive stress in some form. Grinding of the teeth is one of its favorites! If the problem becomes chronic, without proper treatment the tops of the teeth can be ground down and the jaw (specifically the temporal mandible joints) suffers from constant soreness and pain. But there is hope! Dentists can offer bite guards for clients to wear at night. They can protect the teeth from further

damage. This is a wonderful benefit, but does not address the physical problems that arise as a result of this condition. The following are comments from some of the Sandpoint Wellness Council members who help those people with bruxism to have more treatment choices. Ilani Kopiecki, BA & CMT, CranioSacral Therapist, 208/610-2005 In the more advanced practices of CranioSacral Therapy, practitioners are trained to work in, on, and around the mouth. Using a light touch technique, therapists release the tight, sore tissues around the jaw, maxilla, teeth, and temporal bones, thus giving relief and realignment to that delicate region. Some clients release their stress-filled tissues to the point where they no longer need to wear their mouth guards. Others claim that their teeth grinding habits are reduced or no longer present. Owen Marcus, Rolfer 208/290-8440 The 40 million Americans suffering from bruxism

(teeth grinding) know that tension and stress play a role in their condition. But often, they don’t know how to address the cause of their problem so that it really heals–and doesn’t return. While operating my clinic and stress reduction programs in Arizona, I treated many referrals from dentists, orthodontists and oral surgeons. In every case, these clients suffered from a self-perpetuating situation: physical tension from stress and trauma causing misalignment in their upper backs, necks and heads which, in turn, set up their jaw problems. In articles and presentations I did for these dentists—and occasionally for their patients—I addressed the stress response and how, over time, it creates tension, and eventually scar tissue in the soft tissue. Holding your shoulders up from stress makes your shoulders and neck tight, right? Well, clenching your jaw all the time makes your jaw and head tense. After years of a bad habit, the structural/soft tissue pattern becomes automatic. The first thing to do is to address any stressors. If your body is tensing up, ask it why. Tensing up in response to something is your body’s way of talking to you–and that’s good. It’s telling you what is not good for you. For instance, if someone is irritating you, maybe you need to speak with them—or not associate with them. Relaxing is your body’s way of telling you when you did the right thing. Think of your skin, muscles, and tendons as a hood around your whole head and neck. With bruxism, the hood shrinks and twists. Rolfing’s goal is to release and align this soft tissue hood so everything is balanced and working as designed. In the process, your body straightens and relaxes, and you learn how NOT to Continued on next page

Members of the Sandpoint Wellness Council include: Owen Marcus, Penny Waters, Robin and Layman Mize, Ilani Kopiecki, Krystle Shapiro and Mario Roxas. Not pictured are Kristine Battey, Mary Boyd, Tess Hahn, Julie Hutslar and Toni Tessier. To learn more, visit www.SandpointWellnessCouncil.com. Page 28 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


revert to the structural and stress patterns that created the problem. Releasing the soft tissue of the upper body is key to healing bruxism. Without exception, it is not just your jaw muscles

balance to relieve this condition. Stress, allergies and nutrient deficiencies are often the cause of toothgrinding. Blood sugar levels are often involved. Certainly, there is tension and

promote a return to health. • Herbs would be recommended as needed. Borage, for example, is excellent for adrenal glands. Herbs also have many minerals as well as other nutrients if

that are tight. To permanently heal the problem, all your upper body needs to relax. Most bruxism patients’ misalignment of the jaw (the Temporal Mandibular Joint) is a reflection of a misalignment of the head, neck and upper back. Beyond the bones that a chiropractor might treat, the soft tissue is strained. Rolfing releases and realigns this soft tissue, relieving the pain and discomfort from teeth grinding. Penny Waters, Reflexologist, Herbalist, 208/597-4343 The principles of natural healing apply to bruxism as much as they do to any other condition or complaint. The body, mind, heart, and spirit need to be brought into

anxiety being released through tooth grinding, sometimes anger. I would make the following recommendations: • Eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables, plus legumes, raw nuts and seeds, white turkey or chicken, broiled fish and whole grains. Keep starch/carbs and sweets to a minimum. Hypoglycemia, related to low adrenal function, is often the cause of bruxism. Avoid alcohol. • Enjoy reflexology on a weekly basis to reduce stress and bring about full body/mind/spirit relaxation and renewal. Also, reflexology will reveal imbalances in various organs, such as adrenals, and help

there are other deficiencies at play in this condition. Dandelion is an excellent support to kidneys and liver (affected by fear, anger, stress) and also replenishes potassium- often low in people with bruxism. • Relieving tension in the jaw and face will often help, too. I use various reflex/acupressure points on the face to release tension and discomfort. It’s important to recognize that bruxism indicates more physical, mental and emotional imbalances than you might expect. Finding answers to bruxism will find you leading a much healthier, relaxed, and joyful life.

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 29


Dirt—Continued from page  Arkansas dirt (clay, actually) is bright red, but the dirt at Crater of Diamonds is a deep, soft green, the eroded remains of a volcanic pipe that almost 100 million years ago sent these gems to the surface where they can be found today lying loose in the soil. The most perfect diamond the American Gem Society has ever certified was found here in 1990, and the 40.23 carat “Uncle Sam,” the largest diamond ever found in America, in 1924. A trip to a print shop was made to create labels for our little bags that read “Genuine Arkansas Diamond Dirt,” followed by a trip to the park to collect dirt to sell in the little bags. Just weeks before, however, the Park Service decided that visitors could no longer take dirt with them when they left; at least, not without paying. Seems park officials had decided right about the time we did that tourists would be willing to pay for dirt. And paying for the dirt we had planned to sell just didn’t fit into our bare bones business plan. But that didn’t stop our entrepreneurial efforts, not at all. Another trip to the print shop for a stamp that read “imitation” (the labels would now say “genuine imitation Arkansas diamond dirt”) and then for the next few weeks my sister Faye and I sat in the back yard with big mixing bowls of red clay and green food coloring, creating imitation diamond dirt to sell. When you spend hours trying to recolor dirt, it’s hard to avoid evaluating where your life is at and where it’s going. Not long after Boyd delivered the first round of packaged dirt to stores to sell, Faye and I packed up our cars and moved on down the road to my parent’s house in Tennessee, at that time sitting empty and in need of some tender lovin’ care from a pair of sisters ready to start building new lives that didn’t have anything to do with selling dirt. That was over a quarter century ago now, and Faye, Boyd and I went on to do many things in our lives. Boyd would leave Arkansas, and his wife, not long after we did. Eventually he would find himself back in Houston, the town where he was born. An unfortunate accident with a match and an uncapped gas line would lead him on a ten-year journey into disability, during which time he had a hand in helping to write the Americans with Disabilities Act. A quadruple bypass ensured his contiued decline, and he died December 29, 1996. I can’t say for sure whether he ever got sane again. Faye ended up in California, where she helped the daughter she escaped

Levy-Continued from page 20

with grow into a beautiful young woman. Faye worked in security, and became a high mucky-muck for the union, traveling around the country before an unattended cyst on her ovary burst. She lived through that, though most of her intestines did not; she also lived through her son’s twoyear battle with a failed heart and grew to the point where she could finally tell him it was okay for him to go—and he did. A month after he died, she collapsed and was diagnosed with the kidney cancer that would eat her life in just seven short months. Faye died on September 6, 2005. I, of course, the last of the dirt sellers, found my way to North Idaho where, another failed marriage and two more children to my name, I put together this magazine you hold in your hands and continue to develop my experience with living in poverty. I still love potatoes and still hate goats, and still eat beans and biscuits. Every now and then I think back to those crazy Arkansas days and I pull Boyd’s ashes down from the shelf, set him by the computer speakers and play him a little Simon and Garfunkle. And I talk to Faye about how well her daughters are doing, about how beautiful her grandchildren are, and about how those dreams we dreamed while coloring dirt turned out. I tell her that times are tough and that I’m tightening my belt... but I’m planning on selling any dirt.

it with us. We want citizens to have all of the information they need to make an informed choice. Blogs Have Potential—Blogs could certainly prove helpful in spreading accurate information. I was disappointed in some of the content. As a public official I am comfortable with people questioning my decision-making or ideas. That is an expected part of my job. However, reading how other people were attacked for sharing an idea left me thinking our community has some work to do in terms of civility. A good start would be asking people to be courageous enough to share their names as well as their ideas. Anonymity allows people to engage in a base form of communication that is divisive and ultimately hurts all of us. Improvement is Necessary—Although I am extremely proud of our school system, I know improvements can be made. We will continue to focus on making our district the most effective in the state in terms of student achievement and financial accountability. I urge you to share your ideas with us. However, please understand that your idea may not be the “magic bullet” you perceive it to be. Thank You—Finally, thank you to everyone who participated in the vote. Our democracy depends upon an informed and active electorate. We will do our very best to uphold your confidence.

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says Moulton. “Banning DDT was the long-term solution. The captive breeding program is what got them back out there. The combination of the two is what saved the Peregrines.” The public can get involved in continuing to monitor and protect Peregrines by learning to identify the species, as well as reporting active eyries to the Montana Peregrine Institute or IDFG. As budgets and dollars get tighter and tighter, public participation and volunteer efforts will help sustain management efforts to conserve and safeguard our exceptional native species—especially ones as notorious as the fastest animal in the world, harbored right here in our sleepy valleys and snowy mountain ranges.

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Falcon- Continued from page 13

Page 30 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


From ThE

Files

Of The River Journal’s

SurrealisT Research BureaU Really Big Birds

by Jody Forest Last month’s “Miracle on the Hudson,” just glided, it didn’t fly, it was no higher lines, flapped their wings once more, very the mid-air collision of a passenger plane than the telephone line. Its wings were gracefully, and disappeared into the north.” with a flock of geese, rightfully took the huge, but they were very peculiar, a bony Another score of similar reports from the page one spot on the news, but other structure like if you were to hold a bat by area followed; in one a mail carrier stated news of a similar nature took place during the wing tips.” A dozen other witnesses he watched two massive birds in the sky. the same month, chief among them the in the area observed a similar flying One swooped down towards a nearby farm sightings in Alaska of a large bird “bigger creature. and grabbed what appeared to be a 40 than a piper cub.” Such reports go way or 50 pound baby pig, then passed back. in front of his car and rejoined its In January of 1976 along the companion, disappearing into the Texas Rio Grande Valley a number distance with the struggling pig. of remarkable sightings took place. Interestingly, bones and fossils of Two witnesses observed a “horrible “teratonis” a rather common, if large looking” black bird standing in a field. bird of the last Ice Age (average wing It was over five feet tall and had large span of 12 feet) have been found in red eyes attached to a “gorilla-like” conjunction with human habitations, face with a beak at least six inches long. suggesting they were regularly hunted The next day more witnesses searched by native Americans. An Argentine the area and found 3-toed tracks eight type of teratonis (merrimai) had a inches across pressed an inch and a wingspread of 24 feet! half into the hard ground. A week later Since the “Miracle on the Hudson” in nearby Brownsville, a witness heard incident there’s been heated something loud thumping on the roof discussions on the website www. of his house trailer and went outside cryptomundo.com as to whether the and trained his car’s spotlight on the November 1962 crash of a United object. It had been lying on the roof Airlines passenger plane outside of when the spotlight hit it but rose Washington, D.C. was, in fact, caused quickly, 4 feet tall with black feathers, by a single large bird or not. From the a long beak, and red eyes. Similar final C.A.B. Report; “Both halves of reports flooded the area’s police Point Pleasant, West Virginia “remembers” their visit the 35 foot all metal stabilizer were departments for the next month. found one-half mile behind the crash from the Mothman with this statue downtown. I’ll only briefly mention the site. On both halves were found the “Mothman” of West Virginia since blood, feathers, and flesh of a large, One of the most famous sightings it’s been the subject of its own book and occurred in 1977 in Lawnsdale, Illinois. unidentified bird.” movie (The Mothman Prophecies). Out of Three young boys were playing in their For further information on these large the scores of credible Mothman witnesses, back yard when two large birds swooped identified birds please check out either I’ll quote only one, a woman who had to down out of the sky. The boys screamed the www.cryptomundo.com website or slam on her brakes to avoid hitting it on and two of them managed to jump into a the books Cryptozoology A to Z by Loren the highway. “It was much larger than a nearby swimming pool to escape but the Coleman or Unexplained by Jerome Clark man. A big gray figure that stood in the third boy, 10-year-old Marlon Lowe, was (both available at Sandpoint Library). middle of the road, then a pair of wings grabbed by his shirt and lifted two feet off Support Olympic Hero Michael Phelps unfolded from its back and they practically the ground. As he screamed his parents by joining in the Kelloggs Boycott! Call their filled the whole road. It looked almost like and neighbors ran outside of the house and 1-800-962-1413 hotline and register your a small airplane as it took off straight up, witnessed the strange sight of their boy disapproval now! Millions for Bongs—Not disappearing in seconds.” held in the talons of a giant bird. Marlon One Cent for Tribute! You can also sign an Later still in Texas, in 1976, three was beating at it with his fists until the online petition at www.norml.org schoolteachers driving to work saw a creature finally dropped him after carrying From Manifesto #3: The language of the shadow cast over the whole road; it was him for 40 feet. Then, according to Mrs. birds will not be forgotten in our lifetimes. an enormous bird with a 15- to 20-foot Lowe, “the birds just cleared the top of Surrealism will burst the fetters of the wingspan. According to one witness, “it the house, went below some telephone mind, if need be with real hammers! March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 31


A Seat in the House by George Eskridge

The legislature is in the sixth week of the session and counting. The Joint Finance and Appropriations Committee was scheduled to begin its budget setting process on February 23 but the Federal Stimulus legislation just passed by Congress has had an impact on the schedule. The stimulus package supposedly provides about 1 billion dollars in potential benefits for Idaho but there is a lack of specific information on how the money will be provided that has caused concern for Idaho’s Governor and legislature. We are not sure relative to 1) how much money Idaho will receive, 2) when the funding will become available and 3) what strings (requirements) are going to accompany the funding. Governor Otter by executive order established a “stimulus executive committee” to recommend how much of the funding should be requested by Idaho and secondly, how to spend the money that Idaho does receive. The Governor has also stated that “the stimulus money must comply with the state’s constitutional requirement for a balanced budget, and said agencies must plan for when the federal spending ends.” This means that any spending of stimulus money should not create a continuing obligation for funding after the stimulus money is gone. The Governor has requested the Committee to provide its recommendations by March 19. Paralleling the Governor’s action, the co-chairs of JFAC delayed the budget setting process and asked JFAC’s legislative analysts to review the 750 plus pages of the legislation to determine the implications of the complex legislation. This action is not in opposition or competition with the Governor’s actions, but is a parallel process insuring that the legislature and the Governor are working together to ensure that “the requirements of this stimulus package and state law are observed, and that there is a clarity, certainty and

transparency in the process.” Before the stimulus legislation was passed it was anticipated that the legislature would be able to finish its work by March 27; however the need to assess the ramifications of the stimulus package will probably delay adjournment. Prior to the stimulus package being passed JFAC, based on the latest revenue estimate, was looking at a total general funds appropriation target at about 12 percent under the original Fiscal Year 2009 budget. This is a significant decrease and in order to achieve this amount of reduction it may be necessary to reduce state employee salaries by as much as 5 percent in addition to other program cuts. Depending upon the amount of stimulus money that may be available for use by Idaho this reduction in spending may be lessened; however it is still expected that we will have a final appropriation bill that will still require less spending then the current FY ’09 budget. Second to the budget issue is that of increasing funding for maintenance of our state’s roads and bridges. Governor Otter has submitted proposed legislation that would raise approximately $174 million in additional revenue for the Department of Transportation over the next five years. Including the Governor’s proposal, the House Transportation Committee has about 15 different legislative proposals that it is considering. These include increasing the gasoline tax by a one time increase of 2 or 5 cents per gallon, an increase in specialty license plate fees, elimination of the ethanol fuel tax exemption, increases in automobile and truck registration fees, an increase in the tax on rental cars and transferring the funding for Idaho State Police from the transportation dedicated funds account to state general funds. One other unique proposal that would help raise revenue is legislation that

Continued on next page

George Eskridge is a Representative from District 1B to Idaho’s legislature. Reach him by email at idaholeginfo@lso.idaho. gov, by phone at 800-626-0471 or by mail at PO Box 83720, Boise, ID 83720 Page 32 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


House- Continued from page 33 would authorize production of a specialty truck trailer license plate that would be accepted nation-wide. Oklahoma is already doing this as a revenue enhancement. (Obviously Idaho would have to design a plate that is more appealing than the one offered by Oklahoma or other states to have a successful program!) Action on new legislation is below normal primarily because of the current economic situation resulting in lower state revenues expected next year. In a normal legislative session we would expect as many as 900 or more pieces of proposed legislation. As of February 20, the House has had only 200 bills, concurrent resolutions and memorials that have been printed and moved to committees for consideration. The Senate has had 128 bills, concurrent resolutions and memorials that have been printed and moved to committees. Of these 328 pieces of legislation, some have been “killed” in committee and others are moving through the legislative process. Many of these, but not all, will pass both houses and be signed by the Governor into law. Hopefully the next issue of the Journal will see us close to the end or the end of the legislative session, but until then please feel free to contact me with issues of concern. I can be contacted in Boise by phone at 1-800-626-0471 or email at: idleginfo@lso.idaho.gov. I can also be reached by regular mail at: State Capitol Building P.O. Box 83720, Boise, Idaho 83720-0038. Thanks for reading! George

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In Montana by Pat Williams

During President Franklin Roosevelt’s first term he and his economic policy assistants were busily developing “economic stimulus” efforts to cope with the devastating effects of The Great Depression. Then too, as now, the public had varying opinions about the president’s proposals. Those differences echoed not only across the nation but even within the Oval Office. A former assistant to FDR, the late Tommy Corchran, told me the story of a late night meeting between the President, Tommy, and a few other advisors. There was heated disagreement about one of the job proposals Roosevelt was considering sending to the Congress. One of the assistants blurted out: “Mr. President, with respect sir, this proposal is flawed because it will work only in the short run.” Corchran proceeded to tell me that FDR, who always held his temper in check, slapped the palm of his hand upon his desk top and said, “Damit, people eat in the short run.” Today our nation and the world face the most perilous economic times since those devastating 1930s. And just as Americans did during those times we must regain the wisdom to believe in and once again trust American government. Our current crisis requires the boldness necessary to create solutions that are every bit as big as our problems, but to do so will require citizen support and some measure of bipartisanship in the Congress and among governors and state legislatures. The current Economic Stimulus package, formally named The American Recovery and Investment Act, is a start... but barely. It is, frankly, too limited to shock our economy out of its irregular heartbeat. A full 35 percent of the cost of the package are in tax cuts which are not focused to create additional consumer spending in anywhere near the amount we need. On the spending side, the stimulus package is not nearly as aggressive as our difficulties require. Three million-sixhundred-thousand people have lost their jobs during the recession and the economy

is now hemorrhaging 20,000 lost jobs a day. We need to do more, lots more. With this legislation President Obama and the Congress had the opportunity to create a “Green New Deal.” We need massive restoration of the public’s land. There can be many thousands of jobs in appropriate restorative timber harvest, in removing the old and often dangerous scars of the West’s industrial past, in the restoration of our city’s brownfields, and the capture and sequestration of fossil fuel carbon. Alternative energy, an essential if we are to lose our dependence on foreign oil, is waiting for public initiatives to jumpstart its development and research. Wind, solar, geothermal, perhaps nuclear and cleaner coal all mean jobs by the many thousands. Recovering our old valued industrial base when American workers made everything from our steel to our clothes, assisting our nation’s automobile manufacturing base, saving our financial sector with dollars accompanied with payback plans and strict regulations, and stemming the flood of home foreclosures – all of this and more are necessary not only this year but for several years in the future. But to achieve it will require attention, application, auditing strategies, and many more old-fashioned Yankee dollars. This current anemic stimulus package should and likely will be followed by additional jobs bills in the several years ahead. If not, we will have needlessly wasted this initial package of $ 789 billion taxpayer dollars. Without the boldness of a continuing multi-year assault against this widening black hole of economic collapse, America will falter as the world’s leader with others in the wings to take our place. We Americans must set aside the timidity that has plagued us since the 1980s and return to those times from the 30s to the 1970s when we really understood that government was a partner that could and did make a positive difference in our lives.

Former Montana Congressman Pat Williams is the Northern States Director of Western Progress, and Senior Fellow at the University of Montana

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 33


The Cheap Seats by Hanna Hurt

The supplemental levy was hanging over the delicate balance that we’ve struck in Clark Fork like a big drooling Jabberwocky.

Wow, the levy passed and everyone can breathe again— I’m talking to you, teachers. Your jobs continue to be secure (somewhat). It’s nice to have the community on your side, huh? The thing is why did we question that the levy wouldn’t pass in the first place? Speaking from the perspective of my school, Clark Fork High School—we were indeed in a jam. We always seem to be swinging somewhere between a sum of money and the threat of permanent closure. I have been at this school for six years. I have seen it go through some really intense transitions, the least of which being the blue and yellow ‘fun-house tiles’. I have seen a turnover of teaching staff, better rules and regulations, and as a result, better academics. This is the second year in a row that Clark Fork High School has been selected by ‘U.S News and World Report’ as one of the best high schools in the nation. All of this and still we find ourselves in trouble year after year for some obscure reason like attendance and asbestos and well, the inevitable dollar. Ah, money. In times like these, you can’t help but wonder… anyways, as over half of Clark Fork’s student population qualifies for Free and Reduced Lunch and much of this town is struggling at the poverty level, that high school is quite literally the center of town (more so than the bars and the churches, even). It brings everyone together for a common purpose; to support the kids. Maybe it’s to get them out of this place, or maybe just to ensure a good time. Whether it’s a sporting event or the odd fundraiser, you can always expect a sizable turnout from the community. Just come down for a football game or the Alumni Tournament and you’ll see what I mean. Of course the levy was going to pass, especially if Clark Fork had anything to do with it. The athletic programs alone were enough to ignite the voting hand of Clark Fork residents. The rumor has it that if the levy didn’t pass, most, if not all, the funding would be cut from the athletic programs in our district—a gasp may be necessary here, especially in conjunction with the education funding cuts proposed by the state; some $75 thousand dollars. For

some students, sports are what they live and breathe. Also, athletics keep a large number of my peers and classmates out of trouble and on task. They help a lot of these kids out of this town and into a future. As I said before, they bring the community and students together. Even if the athletic departments aren’t cut all together, they would still require students to pay a hefty ransom in order to play. You might as well get rid of the programs all together because I can assure you, the money would be an issue. While that, in my opinion, is why many people marked ‘yes’ on their ballots, there was still a more pressing matter that maybe wasn’t publicized enough. The supplemental levy was hanging over the delicate balance that we’ve struck in Clark Fork like a big drooling Jabberwocky. It was simply sinister for lack of a better word. I think the saddest thing about the levy was the teachers who were on the chopping block if it didn’t pass. If you really think about it, we could live without the athletics (hold your gasps for this one), but good teachers are hard to come by. In my experience, new teachers are impassioned about their work and put much more effort towards what they do as opposed to those who are nearing retirement and have been playing the game for ages (the bored, textbook type you all know—the Charlie Brown stereotype). Of course there is some generalization in that statement, but it rings true in my experiences as a student. Over the past five years Clark Fork High School has made it their business to find teachers who are ready and willing to teach—and I mean actually TEACH—none of that worksheet and book reading nonsense. These teachers get the kids engaged in the lessons and I wouldn’t go so far as to say excited about school, but it’s not a terrible experience for us. Nine teachers on staff in Clark Fork High School have

had five years or less of teaching experience, just enough to have their craft newly whittled down to an art. These are the teachers generally found on ‘favorite’ lists, the ones encouraging students to succeed. These are also the teachers who were at risk of losing their jobs if the levy didn’t pass. With a little bit of red tape and fine print, the unions made their mark in the levy race rather deep. Only the teachers with a fair amount of seniority and been in the field for years; a high-school-style tenure, are the only ones who would’ve been keeping their jobs, which according to my theory, is messed up… Of course, I have no say in matters of union practice, at least, not at 17. But maybe, as we talk about funding for schools, it’s time to talk about using seniority when laying teachers off. Then again, much of this is old news and perhaps I am just preaching away to the choir; it’s all just a moot point, now— however you’d like to say it or see it, it’s no longer ‘new news’. I suppose all I am saying is a great big community thank you from all of us kids at Clark Fork it would’ve really been sad if they trucked us off to Sandpoint.

Page 34 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Say What? PAUL RECHNITZER| pushhard@nctv.com As the current economic crisis worsens it is past time to take a good look at what is really going on. We are essentially dealing with a reappraisal of what things are worth, including your labor. In a nutshell value (or your real need) has been going south (no reflection on Southerners). To put it another way the things we formerly considered worth acquiring are costing more than we are willing to pay. You start holding on to your cash when (1) it seems limited or (2) when you may get a better deal by waiting. But wait, there is another argument worth making. We have people running businesses who can only sell ice cream in the summer. We have managers, big and small, who are hitting the ceiling as in the Peter Principle. We have both men and women trying to make a go of something when they can’t spell “bottom line,” much less figure it out for themselves. Now I am not talking about just the little guys. We seem to have folks in high places who considered last year’s bonus as some sort of stamp of approval when in reality they are more lucky than brilliant. A case in point is the way newspapers are moaning and groaning about the loss of readership. Apparently it has never dawned on the publishers that there are alternatives that we consider more worth our time. The publisher that starts cutting down on the number of pages in his paper is in a death spiral. Look at it this way. By reducing the size of the paper you are making it less worthwhile reading. Carried to the extreme the paper will eventually be only one page, at which point the bird cage liner will have to be a grocery sack. The solution is to make any publication more worthwhile reading. Instead of firing a few reporters, hire some really good ones (with or without a resume) who will generate stories not to be found elsewhere.

Rather than can them just cut their pay to better reflect what they are worth in terms of readership. If Starbucks is going to close a bunch of stores it has apparently never occurred to the brains that a cup of coffee is no longer worth $3.50 or more. You figure out a way to make your customers able to come back, not go somewhere else or learn to do without. The airlines are doing the same kind of a job. Instead of making flying a great experience between the Transportation Security Administration (government) and the plane owners (free enterprise) they have made flying a real hassle. Cutting expenses by doing away with the snacks and substituting a bag of peanuts (hopefully uncontaminated) is one sure way to get an F. Then start charging for baggage and you have another couple of demerits. If the big boys play their cards right they can start using smaller planes and eventually may not have to bother with passengers at all. The railroads proved that works and that was 40 years ago. In the days when I had to inspire my salesman I came up with this metaphor about hours, that they could use to encourage gasoline dealers to stay open longer. A dentist graduates from the dental college and establishes his objectives including income. He surely but steadily achieves his goals. He then thinks it is time to join the country club so he can play golf with the other dentists, doctors and lawyers. The game is fun and in order to improve his handicap he has to play more and to do that he has to reduce the number of days his office is open. He also has to increase his fees to make up for the reduced income. In time, the club really became important and his handicap went down. Eventually

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the dental practice was reduced to a few old timers on whom the doctor became so dependent that a life insurance policy on them wasn’t such a bad idea. In other words, you can finesse yourself right out of business or work. The Boeing workers who struck last year should be having second thoughts, if they are capable. Can it be possible that the head of the local convinced his members that if the company got in trouble they had no ownership? Try that one out on the GM line workers. In 1935 when I started earning a living they didn’t lay people off, they just adjusted the salaries to reflect what the market would support. When what you make won’t sell the value of the labor involved just went down. And lastly... if you don’t like looking at your books it is past time to start liking them. If you don’t know how to cost the product you are making you had better look for a crash course in cost accounting. If you don’t have an intimate relationship with your checkbook take the time to do so. The name of the game has to be making the system work not pumping in government funding. If you are waiting for the government to make you whole, move to Sweden! No matter what the Messiah says there is no free lunch and that includes yours and mine. Getting better acquainted with the basics can be refreshing. This is the real world!

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March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 35


Quake- Continued from page 10

existent” for her. With unrelenting ferocity more news came: another body had been discovered, that of eleven-year-old Tom. With deep grief and tears Irene thought back on the life of her young son—his curiosity and the way he loved to tear things apart to see how they worked, his fondness for fig bar cookies, his fantastic imagination. “I cried for this child who would never become a man, never further his dreams.” Heartfelt condolence letters flowed in from all over the United States, and those letters, along with the healing care of hospital staff provided a spark of comfort in a world of despair. Irene tried to concern herself with Phil’s recovery as she clung to hope that by some miracle her youngest child might be found alive. But at last, Susan’s little body was also found. “I sobbed for her missing her first exciting days of school,” says Irene. “And for her not having the opportunity to grow up and become a lovely young lady.” She recalled Susan’s many tea-parties, how she would kiss the television screen when her beloved Tennessee Ernie Ford signed off his program, and the way the little girl could eat a bowl of chili and leave all the beans neatly cleaned off in the bottom of the bowl. “With Susan, all bodies of our loved ones had been found,” says Irene. “I had only Phil, and thoughts of life without the others seemed impossible to comprehend.” But the healing continued and by mid September the doctor released Irene from the hospital. She stayed with her sister in Hamilton, Montana, until Phil was released in early October. Finally, mother and son

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made it home to Coeur d’Alene, to a home that would never be the same again. “I had difficulty entering the house, “ admits Irene. “The memories bounced off the

walls. I fell apart and cried… Phil and I had a hard task ahead, but needed to settle in, bear these trying times and move on.” Carrying a staggering burden that would have broken many people, Irene knew she had to carry on for Phil as well as herself, and despite the ever-present pain of each day, the physical and mental healing progressed. As the following summer approached, Irene decided to pursue her dream of becoming a teacher. She enrolled in North Idaho Junior College 22 years after finishing high school. Then on New Years Eve, 1961, Irene’s life took an unexpected, uplifting turn. Friends convinced her to attend a dance where she came back into contact with friends from the past, including a former classmate, Jack Dunn, whom she’d dated when a senior in high school. Irene admits she spent a lot of time with Jack that evening catching up on his life as a dairy farmer in Hope, Idaho. The two of them began a steady correspondence, and in

June 1962 the couple married—a new start at happiness. “One of my best gifts,” Irene said, “was someone to love and someone to love me.” In the summer of 1962, Irene was hired by the Bonner County School District and began her teaching career. She taught third and fourth grade and sometimes fifth and sixth at Clark Fork Elementary for 15 years and later did substitute teaching at both Clark Fork and Hope Elementary. Irene always had a desire to write a book about the earthquake, her family, and continuing life after catastrophic loss. She joined the Idaho Writers League to aid in improving her writing skills. Thirty-six years after the earthquake, Irene and Jack, along with Phil and his wife Robin, returned to the Madison Valley. Near the Yellowstone interpretive center stands a huge slab of rock—part of the massive land slide resulting from the quake—with a plaque bearing the names of the 28 victims. Four of those names are Purley, Carole, Tom and Susan Bennett. “Feeling this had been a successful trip brought me pride and confidence that I’d attained my goal and could now finish my book,” Irene says. The completed memoir, Out of the Night, was published by Plaudit Press in 1998—a true story of tragedy, hope and the triumph of the human spirit. Photos: Page 34, road damage after the ‘59 quake. Photo courtesy National Parks Service. Photos this page: Rock Creek Campground (photo by Jan Dammer) and Irene Dunn, author photo from her book.

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Page 36 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


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Currents LOU SPRINGER | nox5594@blackfoot.net A nearly full moon, riding high over the valley, bounced light off the snow. Hayfields sparkled and inky shadows cast. Coyotes yodeled. Snow lay two feet deep with a breakable rind. Since January’s rain created this thin skin, whitetail deer have lived precariously. Coyotes can run on top of the crust, deer cannot. Dusk, dawn and moonlight are bright enough for deer to feed and dark enough to give them some protection. I believe deer are more or less orientated to lunar cycles and expect deer to be active during the full-bellied moon. Looking out over the moonlit snow, I didn’t see any deer, but had an idea where they might be. Confined to packed trails, plowed roads and running water, whitetail movements around our place have been fairly evident. The creeks are a boulevard, keeping deer fast on their feet and providing bank side dogwood and service berry buds. Grasses are nibbled to the frozen ground. A muddy trough marks a short path to the spring. A deep deer trail lays between the creek and the closest timber about 60 yards uphill. This trail has been made and used by the whitetail every winter since at least 1973. A thick conifer forest transforms heavy snowfall. As December’s record snowfall slid and dripped from branches it congealed like cement and created deep icy wells around larger trees. The whitetail bed down in this hillside stripe of forest and nip the tips of every cedar frond within reach. In constant perambulations to eat, deer go into our upper pasture and cross our ski hill to reach more forest. Any winter field is a barren and dangerous desert, but in the timber beyond whitetail will find wind fall larch branches, deformed by mistletoe and covered with deer moss. Deer found the small aspen at the edge of the pasture. Until last fall, these six-foot tall whips were hidden in the arms of a young white pine. The conifer died, every bud and tender aspen branch has become bone and muscle. From this stand of hillside trees, whitetail cautiously cross a neighbor’s narrow field and get into the other creek. More dogwood and willow is nosed out. Heavy snow has pulled branches down within their reach. At the creek junction the whitetail have a choice to make the circle again. This winter we have seen five whitetail travelling together. A couple of does, their last year fawns and a two-year old are often in the creek by the flowing spring.

After a wind storm, five were in the yard to feast on buds of a broken cherry branch and tender tips of weeping willow. Across the hayfield, five worked over a pit cherry tree dropped by wet snow. The crystal night of the nearly full moon was the last for one of the yearlings. It was not only the crispy snow that set the stage for danger; the shadows played a sinister role. At the lip of our ski hill is a 30-foot tall grand fir. Years ago, when cutting young trees out of the field, we decided to leave the knee-high fir. Visible from the house, it was hung with Christmas lights until 1995. The packed deer trail crosses 30 feet downhill from the fir. On the uphill side of the fir, lower branches are caught in the snow. On the downhill, drooping branches conceal a deep tree well. Out of these inky depths leapt a cougar and in two bounds had the young whitetail down in the bright snow. A 30-yard bloody streak slashes across the ski hill. A stomach and intestines punctuate the crimson path. The little whitetail with twisted neck and opened gut lay further along about 40 feet away from tree cover. At first light, a raven scout caught sight of the nearly intact carcass. It returned leading a gang of four and trailed by a bald eagle. During the second night, the lioness returned to feed and drug her deer closer to the trees. In the morning, when I came out the back door, the lookout, sitting atop the fir, raised the alarm and a dozen ravens rose from the corpse. Snowshoeing, I crunched up to the deer. Several sets of faint rounded tracks, one large, and others smaller, lead to and from the gnawed carcass. The beginning of the bloody drag mark and pounce punches in the snow showed the cougar taking full command of the terrain and the bright night. She sprung downhill from a black hole onto her prey whose eyes were full of moonshine. The second day two bald eagles perched above the kill. Relinquishing the carcass to the eagles, a black string of thirty-some ravens lined out along the blood-soaked path, relishing raven snow cones. By the third night the local coyote pack fell upon the remains, dismembering and dragging chunks of deer around the field. Tracks show lots of exuberant snow-rolling. As night falls, I ponder how apples, roses, willow buds, and cedar tips are now becoming eagles, ravens, coyotes and cougars.

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 37


Coffelt Funeral Home, Sandpoint, Idaho.

Get complete obituaries online at

www.CoffeltFuneralHome.com

Menser

Elizabeth Colvin “Betty” Menser passed peacefully into the arms of our Lord Jesus and Savior early on Tuesday, February 17 at Bonner General Hospital. Her beloved Harry, husband, lover and friend of 48 years, was at her side when she passed away. Betty fought courageously against the cancers and heart disease that challenged her throughout the latter half of her life, but could not prevail. She is now in a better place and free of pain and suffering. Betty was born on March 12, 1933 in Pittsburgh Penn., the younger daughter of John and Edna Colvin. She had a happy childhood growing up in Glenshaw, a nearby Pittsburgh suburb. Following completion of high school, Betty graduated from Allegheny College in Meadville Pennsylvania with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in English. After a year of teaching at the high school level in her hometown, she attended the University of Pittsburgh, where she obtained a Masters Degree in Speech Communication. An adventurous person, Betty decided she would like to pursue teaching at the college level, and in 1958 was appointed to a position in the Speech Department at the University of Maryland. On an October evening that year, she met Harry when each were substitute bowlers for the Maryland Speech and Agronomy departmental teams. Harry was overwhelmed when Betty singled Harry out in the crowd, sat down beside him, and said “Hi, what’s your name?” – thus beginning a love affair that lasted nearly a half-century. Even today Harry believes it was their destiny to be together! After a romantic courtship in Maryland where they hiked the mountains, enjoyed many wonderful outings at the ocean shore, and then spent the most memorable summer of 1959 together at Estes Park, Colo., where Harry was beginning work on his Doctorate degree. By the end of summer the die was cast—Harry proposed and, following Betty’s acceptance, they returned together to College Park Maryland, where Harry completed his Doctorate. On June 18, 1960 they were married at the Glenshaw Presbyterian Church. In the early 1960s, while residing in College Park, Harry and Betty owned a rustic cabin on a pristine lake in western Pennsylvania, where many enjoyable weekends were had during this carefree time. Betty could often be seen on this small lake, water skiing as the sun rose. Born in March under the sign of Pisces the Fish, Betty was a life-long water person. She learned to swim as a toddler in Pennsylvania and water ski in Colorado. Those loves would follow her throughout life in all the places she lived.

Destiny again entered their lives when their beloved son Daniel John came into their life on the day when man first set foot on the moon. That was a most blessed time. Then, on October 10, 1972, they were blessed again when God made possible a little sister, Molly Jean, thus completing their family. During this time, the Menser Family remained in College Park where Betty continued teaching and Harry launched a career in agricultural research at the United States Department of Agriculture in Beltsville, Maryland. Betty loved teaching, but loved the idea of being a mom focused on her children even more. After a few years, Harry became restless with living in the Washington D.C. atmosphere, and sought a more appealing place to raise a family. The family then moved to Morgantown, West Virginia, in 1974, where they remained for the next six years. Betty was often found enjoying her beloved water skiing on nearby Cheat Lake, which also provided a wonderful opportunity for midnight boat rides up the canyon, another favorite outdoor activity. Despite these more rural hometown surroundings, Harry and Betty could not shake the long-term desire to “Go West” and follow their hearts’ desire to find the outdoor paradise that is Sandpoint. The family was ecstatic when Harry accepted an appointment as Superintendent at the Sandpoint Research and Extension Center, which fulfilled their dream of living in a wonderful community and working closer to the Earth. In 1980, the family arrived in Sandpoint with the boat in tow after a 2500 mile journey across the country. The family felt fortunate to find a lakefront community in Oden Bay, eventually building their current home along the shores of Lake Pend O’Reille so that Betty could engage nearly continuously in water sports. Throughout her life, Betty’s interest in teaching others continued by offering classes as varied as public speaking, group dynamics, and parliamentary law. While some classes were offered by the North Idaho College Extension program, Betty very much enjoyed working with a small group of students at her home and at a small classroom in her church. It was reported that everyone enjoyed her classes, where much laughter was heard during the instruction. In fact, some of her students returned for the same class time after time. They family has always been involved in church life. Over the years, Betty had served as a Deacon and as the President of the First Presbyterian Church Women’s organization. She always enjoyed the many deep friendships that were rooted in the church community. Betty had a deep faith and loved her Creator and Savior Jesus Christ. She took great comfort in knowing that the Holy Spirit was present in her life. Her love of her family and her country were deep and abiding. Always there was skiing. For Betty, the water ski season stretched from May through late October, when she was often seen skiing in Halloween witches costume, thus becoming known as the “Witch of Pend O’Reille” by the local Daily Bee. Prior to her final illness and after a three-month recovery from open-heart surgery in June 2008, Betty enjoyed September days water-skiing in her beloved lake. She will always be remembered at a person who loved life, lived it fully, and now has gone to a better place. Betty is survived by her husband Harry of Sandpoint; son Dan and daughter-in-law Maria; daughter Molly and son-in-law Curtis; and grandchildren Madeline, Mason, and Daniella and Alexis, Matthew, and Sara. A Celebration of Life service was held at the First Presbyterian Church. In lieu of flowers,

donations may be made to a special scholarship fund being established, the Betty C. Menser Memorial Scholarship, c/o the First Presbyterian Church, 417 North Fourth, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Yerkes

Russell M. Yerkes was born January 15, 1921 in Denver, Colo. He passed away Wednesday, February 18, 2009 at his home in Sandpoint, Idaho where he has lived since 1969. During World War II, he worked in Ireland for Lockheed as well as serving in the US Navy. He was an instructor to pilots and air crewmen in the ground school radio laboratory. The Marine Corp. Reserve was part of his military history as well. Russ met Fern Jean Savage (Dottie) at the St. Joe Hunting Lodge in 1962. They were married Valentine’s Day the following year. In 1969, when they chose to relocate from Downey, Calif., Russ found what would become their perfect place. After many, many hours of very hard work it was turned into their little piece of paradise. While living in Downey, he had real estate and insurance offices. He was active in the Chamber of Commerce as well as being on the Real Estate Board, serving in the capacity of president for both. After coming to Idaho he continued his real estate career. He is survived by his wife, Dottie; daughters: Gayla and Susan; 4 grandchildren, and 5 great grandchildren. He also has one cousin, Betty. He was preceded in death by his son Kenneth, mother Ora, father Clarence, and grandmother Minnie. Memorial services were conducted at Coffelt Funeral Chapel. A private graveside will be held at the Evergreen Cemetery in Priest River. The family suggests memorials be given to the Bonner Community Hospice or the Healing Garden, both at P.O. Box 1448, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Ginter

On February 21 Sandpoint lost a wonderful woman in the community. Annie Ginter died peacefully in her sleep. She was loved by many. Annie Ginter was born October 21, 1929 in Oleen, Penn. She is survived by her husband Harold Ginter; son: Joe Ginter; son: Dan Ginter; and their daughter: Linda McGill, along with many grandchildren and great grandchildren. Annie worked over 30 years at Connie’s as a waitress. She loved the great outdoors, picking huckleberries, gardening, walking, and going for long drives. She loved her dog Sammy. The Ginter family will be having a Memorial Services for Annie at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Sandpoint at a later time. The service is open to all friends, family and anyone who knew Annie.

Page 38 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


Fontaine

Lakeview Funeral Home, Sandpoint, Idaho. Get complete obituaries online at

www.LakeviewFuneral.com

Fears

Thomas Alan Fears, 53, was swept away by Angels. on Sunday, February 1. Born March 4, 1955 in Honolulu, Hawaii, Tom is preceded in death by his mother, Norma Frances Fears. He is survived by his loving wife, Barbara, daughters Allison and Hannah Fears, step-son Brent Schimek and daughter-in-law Jasmine Schimek, and father Lynn Fears and step-mother Pat Fears. A graduate of Capuchino High School in California, Tom Started working as an apprentice plumber and was soon hired by the City of San Francisco. He retired as a Supervisor in the Water Department’s Gate Room in June, 2005 to beautiful Sandpoint, Idaho where he pursued his passions of music and film. Tom was on the board of directors of Sandpoint Films and participated in the making of a number of local movies including The Pick Up, Sole Food, Return to Sender, and In the Rough (his first director of photography role). Tom’s love of music could be heard for miles as he cranked up his Bose system in our backyard for many celebrations (and sometimes just for fun; sorry neighbors). He was an extraordinary percussionist and in addition to various recording studio projects, he was a member of a number of great bands. In San Francisco he played with the Freeze, Wishbone Tug, Leafhog, and the Dan Greenleaf Project. In Sandpoint, he was a member of Bone Orchard and Lost Marbles, plus had the privilege to play on occasion with a number of talented musicians including John Kelley when they opened for the Delgado Brothers at the Panida Theater. In his spare time, Tom loved to ski Schweitzer with good friends and entertain family and friends on his boat, giving his version of guided tours of Lake Pend Oreille. He was constantly in awe of Sandpoint’s sunsets and the beauty of the mountains surrounding us. Tom’s sense of humor, commitment to the community, willingness to help and his zest for living every day to it’s fullest will be remembered by all. He truly slid into heaven sideways saying, “Wow what a ride!” A funeral service was held at Christ Our Redeemer Lutheran Church followed by a bonfire at his home. Tom’s idea of an “Irish Wake” was held at Stage Right Cellars.

Hazel Rita (Hughes) Fontaine, 85, passed away on Friday, February 20, in Sandpoint, Idaho. Memorial Services were held at the Lakeview Funeral Home Chapel. Hazel was born on August 28, 1923 in Miller, South Dakota to David Lambert Hughes and Mary Elizabeth (Wade) Hughes. Following the death of her father, Hazel’s mother married Henry Calsbeck. Hazel grew up in Miller, South Dakota, parts of Nebraska, Sioux City, Iowa and Portland, Oregon. As a teenager she was a figure skater, skating at the arena where Olympic skater Sonia Heine practiced skating. Hazel spent her summers on her aunt’s farm. She studied nursing while in Sioux City prior to moving to Portland. She married Jack Fontaine on July 26, 1941 and moved to California; living in Whittier, South Gate, Victorville and Oxnard. Her husband, Jack, passed away on January 3, 1975. Hazel moved to Sandpoint in 1993. During World War II, she worked for Boeing as ‘Rosie the Riveter’ and endured hard times raising her three children while her husband was serving in the U. S. Navy. She also lived in Gresham and Milwaukee, Ore. for a while, returning to Oxnard, Calif., where she and Jack worked for Karl’s shoes; Jack as manager and Hazel as bookkeeper. A few years after the war, Hazel, Jack and her children moved to Vanport, close to the Columbia River, in a small community outside of Portland. One afternoon they decided to take a drive; our mother loved to go for rides in the country. They had not been gone but a short time when the dike broke and flooded the whole community, and train yard. Our grandparents heard it on the radio and rushed to the area to find us. After they saw the devastation they feared the worse. Grandma and Grandpa returned home, and a few minutes later Hazel and family drove up in the driveway of her parent’s home. Although they had lost everything in the flood except the clothes they had on, by God’s grace, and our mother’s relief, Hazel, Jack, and her three small children; Jeane, Yvonne and 5 month old baby Yvette, survived. During the Big Band Music Era, Hazel loved to dance with her husband and friends. She remembered as a young girl going next door to Lawrence Welk’s mother’s home. She enjoyed listening to this musical family as Welk’s mother was Hazel’s mother’s neighbor and best friend. She enjoyed seeing the big bands and dancing the nights away. Jack and Hazel taught ballroom dancing during her years in Iowa. Hazel later worked for Raytheon as an assembler and Oxnard Dry Cleaners, retiring due to an injury. Hazel loved cooking, flowers, bingo, dancing and especially her grandchildren and family. She volunteered many years for the Jerry Lewis Telethon in California. This was her favorite project fundraiser dear to her heart. She always praised this project for the many volunteers including Hollywood

stars that she became great friends with. She loved to go to Laughlin and Las Vegas, NV with her senior friends. Hazel’s life was full, and she passed away peacefully in the arms of Jesus. She is survived by one son, Jeane B. Fontaine; two daughters, Yvonne M. Fontaine and Yvette (Harold) Rainey; six grandchildren, Rick Pyle Rainey, John Rainey, Glen Rainey, David Nabors, Ed Fontaine, and Marianne Palmer; 15 great grandchildren, and several nieces and nephews also survive. She was preceded in death by her parents, two brothers, sisters Vonda Van Meter , Lena Holce and a grandson, James Duncan.

Augustine

Dorothy Ann Augustine, 82, has peacefully drifted into the arms of the Lord on Monday, February 23, at home in Sagle, Idaho. At Dorothy’s request, formal services will be held in Ellis, Kansas at a later date. Locally, private family services have been

held. Dorothy was born on May 31, 1926 in Hays, Kansas to Henry J. and Lydia Arnold. She spent her childhood in Hays and eventually graduated from the Girls Catholic High School on May 23, 1944. Soon after, she wed Pius Augustine on November 1, 1944. Dorothy worked full-time as a toll investigator for Mountain Bell while raising her family, and retired after 35 years of service. At which point she could spend more time doing activities she loved like traveling, caring for her “pugs” and gardening. She was a member of St. Joseph’s Catholic Church. Dorothy was involved with a variety of clubs. The Alumni for Girls Catholic High School, Disabled American Veterans Auxiliary, and she was a Telecom Pioneer. Survivors include daughters, Sharon (Tom) Walton; Joyce (Tony) Ungry; and Arwin Mandeville; grandchildren, David (Stacey), Julia (Rick), Tom (Rachel), May (Mike), Tami (Joe), and Amy (Larry); great grandchildren, Curtis, Austin, Rebecca, Trenton, Christine, Sean and McKenna. She was preceded in death by her parents, Henry and Lydia Arnold, sister, Corrine, brothers, Hank and Elmer. Memorials may be made to Bonner

March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 39


Monsignor- Cont’d from page 23

Anyone who’s ever attended Mass with Msgr. Tim can offer universal observations: the master storyteller providing a straightforward message in his sermon, the joke or two at the end of Mass, his uncanny ability to remember first and even second names of anyone he’s met, even if only once and if years before. Sue Brooks and her husband Dave met Msgr. Tim six years ago. “He not only remembered our names, but he always asked about family members and how they were doing,” she says. “He has an amazing memory and gift. There is a sense of grace when you are with this very dear man.” For some parishioners, Msgr. Tim often boasts more than a lifetime of familiarity. “I’ve known you since you were in your mother’s womb,” he once told Erin McGovern Roos with a twinkle in his eye. The 34-year-old Sandpoint mother of three young boys sees him as a great influence throughout her life. “He is a gentle and kind man... a great listener,” she says. “Spending time with Fr. Tim has taught me the importance of slowing down and sharing stories and meals with friends and family. All that really matters in life is how well we’ve loved others, and Fr. Tim has loved us all.”

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On a personal note, I’m happy to say that Msgr. Tim has presided over several meaningful events for our family. He performed Bill and my wedding ceremony 35 years ago at St. Joseph’s. Twentyseven years later, again at St. Joseph’s, he teamed up with Presbyterian minister Rev. Dr. Nancy Copeland Payton for our son Willie’s marriage to his wife Debbie. He also baptized our two children, only after bumping into me at the Post Office parking lot one day, when Willie and Annie were approaching adolescence, asking, “When are you going to get those pagan babies baptized?” Well, I got the message, and they received the sacrament of Baptism about a week later. Msgr. Tim has meant so much to us and

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to countless others. More than anything, he has demonstrated his love through continued kind words, genuine interest and well wishes. When I asked him recently how he’d like to be remembered, his answer was simple but poignant. “As a friend of everybody, whether they are Catholic or whatever religion,” he said. Well, Msgr. “Tim,” “John,” “Malachy” or whatever your name is, I’d say you’ve certainly achieved that wish. You’ve been a friend, indeed, and we are proud of you. Photos: Top: Msgr. Timothy John O’Donovan with Arlene Howell from Careywood and Becky Jensen of Heron, Mont. Approximately 700 parishioners, colleagues and friends honored the newly-named monsignor at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Sandpoint, Sunday, March 1. Bottom:: Monsignor Timothy John O’Donovan, Most Reverend Michael P. Driscoll, Bishop of the Boise Diocese; and servers Katelyn and Kimberly Scholes during Mass on March 1, honoring the Papal declaration of the title “monsignor” to O’Donovan, a beloved parish priest in North Idaho since the late 1950s. Photos by Marianne Love.

Page 40 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


March Madness

by Scott Clawson

It’s nigh unto springtime and it’s all lookin’ good I may have even calculated the required firewood to get on through to summertime when the threat of snow is lesser well on past that time of year when you might have to burn yer dresser. I sure am gonna miss the snow, the way it drifts and blows about as much as I’d like to show the bunions on me toes. The sunk’s a hangin’ later and I appreciate its heat; after three long months of winter, it’s feelin’ pretty sweet. But don’t forget the sunblock, it’s an all-year-round concern, for constant overexposure beats the occasionally profound sunburn. There was an ol’ coot from Sagle, who got burned as he sat at his table. Without hair on his head, under a skylight he read, and now he’s part of this fable. So, put on yer nose cote, sunblock and a thick coat, UV gloves and glasses, a big floppy hat, what could be better’n that to protect our silly asses? If you go out in the sun, to work of have fun or to escape yer winter cocoon, remember in yer head what gramma always said, “Wear a hat or you’ll look like a prune.” The sun can be harsh, from mountain to marsh, no matter what yer doin.’ If you burn up your skin, it’ll grow back again, but it surely won’t be a new one. Because deep down inside yer tortured ol’ hide, the damage has already been done, from yer littlest pinkie all the way to yer winkie; from belly and booby to bun. I surely do miss that ol’ childish bliss of soakin’ up the rays; swimmin’ the river for hours, takin’ naps in the flowers and watchin’ nature as she plays. It takes the fun out of summer, dwellin’ on the bummer of solar radiation and epidermal degradation, whether seasoned or newcomer. (INTERMISSION) Well, that’s enough on the sun, my mood’s on the run, I’ll move on to something sublime. The garden’s still hard while the road’s turned to lard; mud and tundra at the same time! One good thing about livin’ up here is learnin’ how to live with seasonal fears of false springs and blossoms, there aren’t any nostrums to ward off impending tears. So try to keep it simple before even a dimple you make in yer garden budget. Play in Cancun until June, plant accordin’ to the moon, but if that fails don’t begrudge it. If you try to live like a florist in a boreal forest with mountains too numerous to mention, growing certain crops can require lots of props, adding to yer surface tension. Seek out local wisdom, I guarantee there is some, to get answers to all yer questions. To insure proper returns from yer blisters, nicks and burns, here’s a couple suggestions. Keep it simple and keep it watered, protect it or watch it get slaughtered. The fence must be high ‘cause deer actually fly and higher than you ever thoughtered! Corn takes too much time, space, water and lime and success means overproduction. Avacadoes are too expensive, artichokes too pensive and asparagus needs a long introduction. Soon after things germinate, a frost settles to terminate yer efforts and yer duties. We have too short a season for adequate appeakin’ of the “Gods of Garden Booties.” Let Mother Nature be provider so you can be the hider, like squirrels do their nuts. Get the kids up to help but they’ll probably yelp when required to get off their butts. There’s lots of things edible and some are quite dreadable while others inspire grand schemes to fill up the woods with alien hoods for the demand of huckleberry dreams. I feel sorry for the critters, from bears to twitters, for the reduction in their food supplies. When overgrazing occurs by skins, feathers or furs, wild things meet their demise. When we go lookin’ fer food, don’t be oblivious that it’s rude to harvest another’s lunch. Make sure there’s plenty left, so others aren’t bereft when it comes to something to munch. March is pretty early, I seem to find, that the butt end of winter’s got a grip on my hind. The ferns have yet to unfurl, snows are still gonna swirl; so chill out, let those undies unwind. Sit back and relax, contemplate yer income tax, maybe go out and forage for work. Don’t swet the details when everything derails and pray you don’t turn into a jerk. March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 41


JINXED

by Jinx Beshears

My friend Sherry decided that it’s time for me to start dating again. My friend Sherry finds this easy to tell me because she already has a boyfriend. I, on the other hand, have not dated in a really long time. In fact, I am not sure I ever really dated. Most of the time it went from “hi there, how are ya doing?” to “the left side of the closet is mine.” (Either that or, “I DO,” which is a whole other story in itself!) My kids think I need to get out and meet people too, but where exactly are you supposed to do this? Of course, the first thing my parents tell me is: CHURCH. However, that’s where I met my first husband and I just don’t see me taking that chance again. I don’t really want to meet someone at a bar, it’s dark there and if I think that I look good in diminished lighting, then does the MAN look better too? After a few beers, I guess its true that they all start looking better. I am just not willing to chance that anymore either. So, where does that leave a single girl? Again, my friend Sherry says, “go online.” I remind her that we already did this with disasterous results. My friend Sherry says that it was a long time ago, they have better ways of screening people now and it really won’t hurt to try. My friend Sherry says that I might as well try, it’s not like I actually have to meet any of them if I don’t want to. Then she called me a chicken. I told her that I was not going to play that childish game with her, and then I googled “free dating sites,” because I wasn’t about to pay to be humiliated online. Things really have changed in the online dating world. Did you know that they have online dating now not just for regular single people, but there is a site strictly for people looking for sex? I think to myself, that’s pretty good, because that means the men out just looking for sex will be on the sex site and not on the site where people just want to date or meet people. So, I carefully chose the site I wanted, read all the information that they tell you to write about. I read all the lectures about being perfectly honest and making yourself sound interesting, then I began to apply. Yeah, you have to apply to the site, then they screen your profile to make sure that there isn’t anything “unseemly” in it. As if there is somebody that they are going to look at and say, ‘oh, my... we cannot

accept them!” Most of the questions are pretty simple: your hair color, eye color, even what hair and eye color you prefer. When did hair and eye color become an issue when you are desperate... er, wanting to meet new friends? Then they settle into the deep essay questions. Only because my friend Sherry was behind me did I answer those questions without being too much of a smart alecl. Sometimes I just can’t help myself though. Before being accepted onto the first site I chose, they emailed me to tell me that I needed to add a picture, because I wouldn’t get results unless people could see what I looked like. I went back to be sure I had checked the box that said friends and maybe dating. They had already asked me every question I thought they could legally, they practically knew the shape and size of my nose and complete dimentions of my ears. My friend Sherry said, “oh, add a picture, it’s not like you’re hiding anything, is it?” I know, at this point you are wondering, if Sherry said to jump off a bridge would I? The answer to that is, Sherry’s not the kind of friend that would ask me to jump off a bridge. She is the kind of friend that would say, ”Don’t walk on that bridge, you know you’ll fall in!” (then she would affectionately call me Grace). So, I added a picture to my profile. Then they emailed me back to say that I needed a sassy headline to catch people’s eyes. Now that takes some thought. With my friend Sherry standing behind me, literally pushing me for a catch phrase, I typed in: broke down woman seeks insecure, self-centered man with little or no personality. I laughed. Sherry didn’t think it was so funny though and made me erase it. Sherry was distracted momentarily, so I quickly typed in: Free to good home, AS IS. I clicked enter before she could stop me and went on to the next essay. Hey, they said be honest... “as is” is about as honest as it gets. Now the essay part you have to write about yourself, it’s incredibly hard. You have to write what you want and what you don’t want. I found the don’t wants much easier. If I knew what I wanted, would I really be on a dating site? Much to my friend Sherry’s satisfaction, I did it. Then I received an email saying that it would take 48 hours for them to review

my profile before adding me to their site. What? All that work and I couldn’t even look at potential victims…er... dates? Two days later, my friend Sherry logged us back in to see if my profile was there. Then she smacked the back of my head when she saw my catchy little headline. They accepted it, how bad could it be? Well, it was bad. I had 32 responses already. People really like free. I searched the database for men who had similarities to me and guess what I discovered? All the men on this site were faithful, sincere, honest, hardworking men who liked long walks on the beach in the moonlight, candlelight dinners, long body massages and opening doors for the woman they were with. Jeez, these men really were from Mars! I can’t tell you when was the last time I saw a man open the car door for a woman. I thought I must have really hit the jackpot though. Just look at all these honest and sincere men who were single and willing to give me a massage! Most of the responses I received were just telling me they liked my opening line, but one or two suggested that I place myself on the corner for local pickup at noon. Some reponses I could barely understand and had to ask my son to decipher them. Instead of “you”, they typed “u,” the word ‘are” became “r” and so on. Who could know that “lol” meant “laughing out loud?” I thought they were propositioning me in code. Because I am sarcastic some of the time, in a quirky way, I did have to write back to the man who told me I had beautiful eyes and asked me what color they were. Even online they just look at the pictures.Another man wrote me to tell me I had nice boobs. I found that a little bit forward and considering my personal history pretty amusing. So, naturally I had to write him back to tell him I really only had one nice boob and she was still in mourning for her gal pal. He didn’t reply back though. I haven’t found a friend or a date yet, but my friend Sherry promised that I will, then she asked me if I wanted to go grab a bite to eat. What? A date? Of course, with my friend Sherry.

Page 42 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


The three big domestic automakers are now saying they are working jointly on a new hybrid car. It runs on a combination of state and federal bailout money

flies with a podcasting iPod. Newsboys tossing flat-screen monitors on to your porch will damage the wicker furniture. And a dog that’s trained to piddle on your highspeed internet connection can cause a dangerous electrical short-circuit and burn down your house.

Why newspapers should get bailout money (by P.J. O’Rourke): Remember, America, you can’t wrap a fish in satellite radio or line the I went to buy a toaster, bottom of your birdcage and it came with a bank. with MSNBC (however appropriate that would Don’t you love watching be). It’s expensive to swat congressmen lecture auto

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is returned stamped ‘insufficient funds’. I won’t know whether that refers to mine or the bank’s. Plagued by late fees, high interest rates, and harassing creditors, the U.S. took out a debt-consolidation loan Monday, combining the nation’s debt into a single, easy monthly payment.

So you’re the bill What worries me most collector? Well, just take about the credit crunch is that pile on the desk. that if one of my cheques

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March 2009| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3| Page 43


From the Mouth of the River

My wife Lovie was standing in the dining room, looking out at her garden. Two feet of hard packed snow covers everything in sight. Her arms are full of garden catalogs that started coming long before Christmas. She’s been drooling on them so much half the pages are stuck together. But I recall how good those vine-ripe tomatoes tasted last summer and her homemade catsup and salsa that we’ve been enjoying all winter and I don’t want to disillusion her by reminding her that it’s still three months until she can plant her garden. If it wasn’t for that oneeyed ground hog seeing his shadow along with Valentines Day, February would be a wasted winter month. Well, okay, it’s at least that time of year when a young man’s fancy turns to love and a young girl’s fancy turns his head. Of course, older womens’ fancy turns to flowers and gardening and older mens’ fancy turns to walleye fishing. Which reminds me, I just got back from Troy, Montana last night where I was ice fishing and tonight we’re having red band rainbow trout for dinner. I went fishing with Clifford Dare and some of his cronies who were out on work release. We went up north of town to a secret lake that every one knows about, where we had 16 to 19 inches of ice and fish to match. What made the day, off course, was the camaraderie among friends and all the lies that were told, one of which was about there being fish in this lake. “I know they were there because I saw someone catch one,” Cliff said. However, our party of five was just torturing small worms by water boarding them in ice water. It was obviously the best day I’ve spent on a lake this

year. Not a breath of air blowing and the sun was shining bright and warm. Many gallons of coffee were consumed as well as dozens of sweet rolls, after which it was decided maybe we should fish. After several motorized ice augers were fired up the lake looked like a Chinese checkerboard. Holes were everywhere. Everyone set two poles and then sat back taking turns telling lies and waiting on the fish to come see what all the laughter was about. One self-proclaimed professional ice fisherman, who’s alias was Billy, raised his bait from the icy water and gave it specific instructions to catch only the nicest, plumpest rainbows or he would continue water boarding it throughout the day. “I just received these gourmet worms in the mail yesterday,” he said. “Twelve dozen. A gross of the best red worms known to man. These are not your everyday night crawlers, no sir. These are gourmet garden worms. I’ll sell you one for a dollar,” he offered, holding up one to show us how well they wiggled. “‘at’s a lively little bugger,” I said, “but I think I’ll stick to these night crawlers. I wouldn’t want to spoil these fish by offering them something they’re not used to. Next thing ya know they’d be wanting everyone to use them gourmet worms.” It was just before noon when this stranger showed up in an SUV, with outof-state license plates. He unloaded an ice fishing sled and filled it with all the latest in ice fishing gear from Cabelas. Dressed in the latest fashion from a Michigan ice fishing catalog, he approached us. “Good afternoon, gents,” he said. “Where would you recommend I start to fish?” What he got was five different answers with everyone pointing in different directions while simultaneously saying, “Over there.” Looking a bit bewildered he moved off up the lake a couple hundred feet or so. From his sled he pulled a new Yo-MamaHonda ice auger. It was a deluxe, self-starting, stand-byits-own-self drilling machine. Dirt, by far the biggest man in our fishing group, who was built like a whisky barrel with the same odor about him, pointed out to Hey you (the new guy) that he was drilling too close to the shore. The ice was 19 inches deep and the shore tapered off very shallow. Of course, Hey you didn’t hear Dirt yelling at him over the sound of the screaming ice auger until it hit solid rock bottom, at which time Hey you gave his best impression

Boots Reynolds

of a helicopter lifting off. The latest safety switch for the new auger would have worked great if it hadn’t still been in the box with the instructions. When Hey you hit the end of his arms his gloves slipped off, releasing him like a sling shot. The long skid marks on the ice later stepped off to be over a hundred feet. “Hey, you, all right?” Dirt shouted. The new guy nodded as he got to his feet and stretched his back. “He seems taller to me,” said Cliff. “Well, one thing’s for sure. He won’t have to bend over to tie his shoes any more. Look at how long his arms are!” I exclaimed. The new guy proceeded to load up all his fishing gear and haul it farther out onto the lake, all the while talking to himself and looking warily over his shoulder at us. After hooking the safety lanyard to his auger, he drilled two more holes. “Why would he fish clear over there?” Dirt asked. “If that was such a good place to fish we’d be fishing there.” While the new guy was baiting his second line the first one he set went off. The rod was churning wildly when he pulled a huge trout up through the ice. “I was told by Fish and Game there was fish that big in this lake,” I said. “But who would believe those guys? That’s a nice fish!” “Well, it’s obvious to me he’s using gourmet worms,” said Billy, “so the price is going up. If you want some for two bucks this is your last chance.“ “It’s not his bait,” I said, “it’s the location. Maybe we should go over and introduce ourselves. You know, welcome him to the neighborhood.” About that time his other pole tripped and he had caught his second fish which was even bigger than the first. The sight of that fish triggered a stampede that looked like a herd of oversized penguins dressed in Carhart overalls charging towards him. Open coats were waving like capes, and fishing poles were flailing about popping frozen worms off the ends of the lines. Since none of us were used to moving, let alone running, very fast, our faces became reddened and contorted with pain. Strange animal-like sounds erupted from winded lungs as we tried to communicate our surprise and joy for our new friend’s good fortune. I don’t think he quite got the message. “Hey, you,” Dirt gasped, as the newcomer skittered across the lake towards his SUV, screaming and scattering his fishing gear en route. “Well ain’t that the most unsociable guy you ever seen? I wonder what got into him?” Billy asked. “Maybe he just ain’t use ta’ people being all this friendly where he came from,” said Dirt.

Page 44 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 18 No. 3 | March 2009


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The River Journal March 2009  

March 2009 issue of the River Journal, a news magazine worth wading through

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