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A News MAGAZINE Worth Wading Through

Local News • Environment • Wildlife • Opinion • People • Entertainment • Humor • Politics

September 2013| FREE | www.RiverJournal.com


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Did you know that the proposed Rock Creek mine...

The new Peak Experience is out! With Jack Nisbet on “Imagining Lake Missoula,� Mindy Ferrel on “The River Otter,� a message from Monty the Scotchmans mountain goat, John Isacoff on birds of the Scotchmans and more!

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would discharge 3-million gallons of polluted water into the Clark Fork-Pend Oreille Watershed every day for hundreds of years? ‌. would be located in Montana, only 25 miles upstream of Lake Pend Oreille? ‌ would be the first hardrock mine ever permitted within the boundary of a federally protected wilderness area—the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness? ‌ has been successfully challenged for 17 years because the public has refused to allow our river and lake to be polluted? ‌ continues to be a threat in 2014?

THE BATTLE ISN’T OVER! YOU CAN HELP BY GETTING INVOLVED!

Join or volunteer with the one organization that has been protecting Lake Pend Oreille from the Rock Creek mine since 1996.

Contact us at info@rockcreekalliance. org or call 406-544-1494. For current information and background on the proposed project: www.RockCreekAlliance.org

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www.ScotchmanPeaks.org or look for it at a location near you!

All Seasons

Garden and Floral

31831 Hwy 200 Sandpoint Open Daily Monday-Saturday 9 to 6 Sunday 10 to 4 208.265.2944 Don’t pay $5 lb for Honeycrisp apples! Our fruits harvest fast! Blueberries, cherries, strawberries, grapes, peaches, pears, plums, apples, raspberries, apricots, huckeberries, kiwis and more!

THANK YOU for Voting All Seasons Best Nursery and Florist in Bonner County!

FALL CLEARANCE SALE! 30% TO 75% OFF SELECTED ITEMS! Garlic arrives mid-September!


DOWNTOWN SANDPOINT EVENTS SANDPOINT EVENTS

September

September 19-22

Idaho Draft Horse and Mule International at the Bonner County Fairgrounds!

Experience

Downtown Sandpoint!

Visit www.DowntownSandpoint.com for a complete calendar of events

12-14 Ain’t Them Bodies Saints, Global Cinema Cafe, Panida Theater, 7:30 pm. 263-9191 13 Gina Salá and Daniel Paul Northwest Kirtan Tour 7 pm, Gardenia Center. 406-293-1304 13-14 Quick Exit (Chris Herron play) Panida Little Theater, 7:30 pm 263-9191 14 Shoes for Love Zumbathon, 9-noon, Sandpoint High 208-5976014 14 Annual Injectors Car Show, 9-3, downtown Sandpoint 14 Idaho Conservation League 40th Anniversary Celebration at Trinity at City Beach, 6 pm. 14 Sandpoint Renaissance Rock Festival, 7 pm, Farmin Park Bandshell, FREE 15 Scenic Half marathon, begins City Beach. ScenicHalf.com 19 Chasing Mavericks, movie night at Monarch Mountain Coffee, 7 pm, 265-8864 19-21 Blue Jasmine, Global Cinema Cafe, Panida Theater, 7:30 pm 263-9191 19-22 Idaho Draft Horse and Mule International, Bonner County Fairgrounds, 263-8414 21 Panida Theater Autumn Fest Wine Tasting and Auction, Ponderay Events Center 263-9191 26-28 The Way Way Back, Global Cinema Cafe, Panida Theater, 2639191 27-28 The Counselor, Panida Little Theater, 7:30 pm 263-9191

PLUS:

• Trivia every Tuesday night at MickDuff’s, 7 to 10 pm. • Tuesdays with Ray, Trinity at City Beach, 6 to 8 pm. • Club Music, Wednesday 6-9 pm at La Rosa Club. • Monarch Movie Night, third Thursdays, 7 pm at Monarch Mountain Coffee. • Contra Dance, every 2nd Friday of the month at Community Hall, 7 pm • Winery Music - Live music every Friday night at Pend d’Oreille Winery • Saturday Jam at the La Rosa Club. Live music! 255-2100 • Saturday market at the Granary. 513 Oak, 9 am to 1 pm • Summer Sounds at Park Place, 46 pm on Saturdays, corner of First and Cedar.


THE RIVER JOURNAL A News Magazine Worth Wading Through

8

15

~just going with the flow~ P.O. Box 151•Clark Fork, ID 83811 www.RiverJournal. com•208.255.6957

STAFF Calm Center of Tranquility Trish Gannon-trish@riverjournal.com

Ministry of Truth and Propaganda Jody Forest-joe@riverjournal.com

“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

2. CALENDAR Check out what’s going on in downtown Sandpoint 4. SEASON OF THE BZZZZ Wasps and bees are everywhere! 6. INSURANCCE-A BET YOU DON’T WANT TO WIN When considering the upcoming insurance mandate, it’s worth remembering what insurance is all about. NANCY GERTH 7. IT’S NOT PARANOIA The revelations keep on coming regarding just how much of your private life really isn’t private. POLITCALLY INCORRECT 8. WATERFOWL HUNTING Concerns about preserving waterfowl led early conservation efforts. THE GAME TRAIL 9. THE SPRUCE GROUSE Living with altitude A BIRD IN HAND

11

The numbers are so promising, the next legislature might have to wear shades. A SEAT IN THE HOUSE 13. THE PLAYHOUSE A little bit of Dettwiler wood makes magic through the years.. THE SCENIC ROUTE 14. WHAT GOOD’S A COTTONWOOD? There’s a bright side to this prolific, unburnable weed. 15. MY LOST WORLD Jody reminisces about wandering through places where unknown creatures are now being found. SURREALIST RESEARCH BUREAU SHADOWS 16. SPICE UP YOUR LIFE If you’re consideirng fall planting, get wild about saffron. GET GROWING 17. REUNIONS & COMING HOME The years pass, even for vets. VETERANS NEWS

Contents of the River Journal are copyright 2013. Reproduction of any 18. CLIMATE CHANGE, JUSTICE, ACTION material, including original artwork and 10. ENDOWMENTS & PAINT OUTS “Do” is an action word on GARY’S advertising, is prohibited. The River Journal News briefs on some upcoming FAITH WALK. is published the first week of each month events of interest. 18. OBITUARIES and is distributed in over 16 communities in Sanders County, Montana, and Bonner, 11. LIFE’S PARADOXES 19. GOOD-BYE BOOTS Ernie walks with ghost dogs. THE Boundary and Kootenai counties in Idaho. One comic bids farewell to another, HAWK’S NEST The River Journal is printed on 40 who will be sorely missed. SCOTT percent recycled paper with soy- 12. IDAHO’S ECONOMY LOOKING BRIGHT CLAWSON based ink. We appreciate your efforts to recycle. Cover Photo by Richard Bartz, Munich aka Makro Freak via Wikimedia Commons

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Doors 5:30/Concert 7:30


Season of the Bzzz Wasps and Bees Fill the Air

The blue spruce, a housewarming gift when I first moved to Clark Fork, stands like a sentinel at the front of the house. Close to 80 feet tall (or 60 or 150—I don’t actually know, but it’s easily three times the height of the house), it’s a favored spot, summer and winter, for the cats, who sleep hidden beneath its deep branches and, despite the cats, for dozens upon dozens of birds, who generally also make of it a home. This summer, they’re sharing it with the wasps. Look closely on a sunny day, and between its branches is a thickly packed blanket of paper wasps, flying and buzzing and seemingly happy just at being alive. The wasps have taken over this summer, along with hornets, bees, yellow jackets and ants. Exterminators are booked, epi-pens are flying off the shelves, and local restaurants are closing their outdoor decks thanks to the voracious nature of these creatures of the order hymenoptera, who cluster in seconds over any food brought outdoors. Michael Bauer, extension educator for the University of Idaho Extension Service in Bonner County, says “a mild winter, some moisture in the spring and a warm summer have contributed to above average paper wasps, bald faced hornets and yellow jackets.” An extension publication on the critters tells us that “Cold, rainy weather during April and May reduces the likelihood” of large populations in the summer. Remember that when the next mud season rolls

around, and you’re longing for sunshine. So which of these critters are you dealing with? We’ll assume you already recognize the ant portion of this order, but the difference between bees and wasps generally calls for a closer look. For simple identification purposes, bees tend to have a ‘fuzzier’ look than wasps, whereas wasps can be identified when flying by the way their rear legs hang below their body. Another way to identify your particular summer visitors is by looking at their nests. “Paper wasps make nests that look like an upside down umbrella in protected spaces,” said Michael, “and are the most aggressive of the three. Hornets make the round nests found in trees and other places, while yellow jackets live in the ground or can be found inside a wall or other part of the structure.” Both bees and wasps might be found in the “Libertarian” corner of the political structure—if you leave them alone, they’ll generally leave you alone. The problem lies in determining just what “leave them alone” really means. Firing up the lawnmower, eating outside, brushing them away from your face... sometimes, it seems, simply disturbing the air currents by walking by violates the “leave them alone” ethos, and clan hymenoptera goes from being a respected and needed part of the local ecosystem to a frightening and painful nuisance that must be eliminated at all costs. If you’ve determined a nest needs to be removed, bear a few things in mind.

Why drive to town when there’s better things to do?

by Trish Gannon

(1) You should have done this during the spring. Okay, that might not seem so helpful now, but the amount of stinging critters this year should be a reminder to you next April to get rid of nests as soon as you see the Queen building one. Paper wasps, in particular, love to nest in roofs, so nests located near doors should be dealt with immediately. If you’re only looking to relocate your critters, knocking nests down in the afternoon hours, when they’re out and about, might be safest. Even then, dress appropriately (long sleeves, long pants, safety goggles and gloves—reduce your exposure of bare skin) and be prepared to move out of the area quickly if remaining residents become agitated—and they will become agitated. The nest must be fully destroyed (fire is a good option, but please be careful), and the location monitored closely so that new nests can be destroyed as soon as building begins. (2) If death is your preference, wasp nests are best dealt with in the early morning or early-to-late evening, when the majority of the nest inhabitants have returned home. The same precautions should be taken as above. If you choose this route, leave the nest for a couple of days so that any wasps missed in the initial application have the opportunity to return and be poisoned. After two days, remove the nest and dispose of it carefully. According to U of I extension, there are only two products considered to pose no risk to humans: “the EcoEXEMPT

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September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 


product line and Victor Poison-Free Wasp & Hornet Killer.” (3) For a major infestation, you’re best off calling the professionals. At my daughter’s house in Sandpoint, wasps in the attic began breaking through the light fixtures in the kitchen, eventually knocking a large hole into the ceiling. The number of wasps in the attic numbered in the tens of thousands. Professional exterminators can use chemicals not believed to be toxic to humans or pets for eliminating infestations inside your home. (4) Despite all precautions, you may well be stung when removing/destroying nests. Be aware that allergies to stings can develop at any time during a person’s life. Just because you were not allergic to stings this morning does not mean you will not be allergic this afternoon. Because allergies trigger an over-reaction of the histamine response to venom, seek immediate medical attention if you develop any difficulty in breathing, break out in hives, have difficulty in swallowing, feel dizzy, or have an overly large swelling response to a sting. It should go without saying that children should be kept far away from any attempts to deal with a nest. If you do happen to be stung, wash the area with soap and apply cold/ice compresses to the area to reduce pain. Over the counter anti-histamines may also be helpful, as can topical anesthetics. Given it’s September, with a rainy pattern moving in as we go to press, wasp problems are currently self-limiting, though at this point nest occupants can number in the thousands; the wasps will not die out until the first frost arrives. As autumn begins, however, nests are busy reproducing new reproductive males and new queens. The queens will live through the winter to begin the cycle anew next spring. These queens will not take over existing nests, though other unwelcome pests might make them their home through the long months of winter. Once frost has killed off all the worker wasps it’s a good idea to knock down and destroy all nests you find. Although a nuisance in the numbers we’ve seen this summer, and a danger to those with a sensitivity to their venom, or a lack of sensitivity to nest locations, wasps are nonetheless beneficial neighbors to have. They are amazing

The nest of the paper wasp is said to resemble an upside down umbrella, and is distinguished by its visible cells. You’ll often find these nests hanging from the eaves of your roof, inside your mailbox, or hidden inside the bumper of your car. Photo by Downtowngal via Wikimedia Commons.

A hornet’s nest will always be found above ground. People often like to bring these nests inside as decoration. If you do, freeze it first to kill off any unwanted critters. Photo by Gary Peeples, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service via Wikimedia Commons pollinators, and can also dispose of an astounding amount of other nuisance— and potentially dangerous—critters, like mosquitoes and flies. And recently it was discovered that wasps, at least in some areas, play an important role in the production of yeast! So feel free to remove wasps that pose a danger, but otherwise think of them fondly as you slice a piece of sourdough

or raise a beer to them in toast. For more information, read the extension publication “The Homeowner’s Guide to Yellow Jackets, Bald-Faced Hornets and Paper Wasps,” available online at www.cals.uidaho. edu/edComm/pdf/BUL/BUL0852.pdf, or stop by your local extension office.

September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 


Insurance: a Bet You Don’t Want to Win

by Nancy Gerth

Even though our founding father Benjamin Franklin was the first to form a (fire) insurance company in Philadelphia, we Americans don’t know what insurance is. Here are two definitions: Concise encyclopedia: Contract that, by redistributing risk among a large number of people, reduces losses from accidents incurred by an individual. Wikipedia: Insurance involves pooling funds from many insured entities... to pay for the losses that some may incur. The insured entities are therefore protected from risk for a fee... Get it? In order to have insurance you need a large pool of people. It’s in the definition. You can’t have insurance without a large group of people, some of whom will not experience any loss. Why

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is that? Because one individual doesn’t have enough money to protect herself against catastrophic loss! You can’t have an insurance pool with only the people who experience loss. You’d go out of business. The people who don’t make any claims pay for the people who do. That’s why young people have to be in a health insurance pool. When you buy insurance, for example car insurance, you are protected from a risk, namely, the risk that you will have an accident and lose all your money and your house. You pay, say, $200 year, and if you have an accident and lose your left arm, you don’t have to sell your children for medical treatment. It doesn’t matter to anyone (but you) whether you are the guy that has the accident and gets the insurance money. In fact, it’s better for you if you don’t have the accident! You pay a little bit of money compared to what you would have to pay if you’re the unlucky one. The government, by the way, requires that you buy car insurance. The state government. When you buy fire insurance, you are protected against the risk of losing your house in a fire. It doesn’t matter to anyone (but you) whether you are the guy that has the fire and gets the insurance money. When I buy fire insurance I hope it isn’t me. I’m glad if somebody else has the fire! They can have my premium and welcome to it! When evaluating the health insurance provided under Obamacare, it makes no sense to argue that young people are paying for old people. It’s the same as every other kind of insurance: you pay a premium you can afford, and hope it’s not you who gets sick. The important thing to remember here is that you are not buying health care! When you buy car insurance, you are not buying a car; you are buying protection against the

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Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness

possibility of losing everything you have. Everybody has the possibility of getting sick or hurt, no matter how young or old, healthy or unhealthy we are. We have different amounts of risk, but we are all at risk. If your risk is less, you pay a smaller premium. For example, if you are young, your risk of getting sick is less, so you pay a smaller premium. (Obamacare puts a cap on how much less a young, healthy person must pay: it can’t be less than 1/3 of what an older person pays.) When you are old your risk is greater and you pay a higher premium. No one cares (except you) whether you are the guy who gets sick. In fact, I’m the lucky one if you get sick and it’s you who is getting the money I paid. I’d rather not get sick! On top of that, we all get old. When the young become old, they will be glad the young are still in the pool. I think of insurance as a bet that I can’t lose: if I don’t get sick, I win. If I do get sick, I’ve only laid out a fraction of the money it will cost to get me well. WINWIN! Still, you might say, people should have the right to choose their own bets. Fine. That works for fire insurance. If you own a house and don’t insure it and it burns down, tough luck. The problem is, that if someone has no health insurance and still gets sick, we can’t just let them lie there and suffer or perhaps even die. States understand this principle when it comes to car insurance. We all have to pay fees on our car insurance for “uninsured motorists” That’s so that if someone causes an accident and has not paid for insurance, the people who are hurt in the accident are still entitled to some financial protection. Well, guess what. Part of the cost of insurance premiums without Obamacare is because we are all paying higher premiums because the people who haven’t paid for insurance are still covered! Hospitals charge higher rates because they can’t turn away emergencies. We pay higher taxes so the people who haven’t paid for insurance can get Medicaid, or other types of state/ federal financial support for their care like state catastrophic funds. So, here’s an idea. Why don’t we just do away with health insurance all together? We’ll still be covered by Medicaid or the emergency room...( at least until the money runs out. That’ll take about six weeks.) The ones who get sick will just lose everything they have. So what. Sounds fair to me. But given the choice, I’d rather hedge my bet.

September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 


Politically Incorrect Trish Gannon

It’s not Paranoia When They’re Really Watching You

Although speculation about what role the U.S. might play in the civil war in Syria has usurped its position in the news, it’s worth noting that it has only been a few months since Edward Snowden released information on the NSA’s collection of information on U.S. citizens (and others). While I wasn’t surprised at the revelation—if information is available, I assume the government is collecting it—I did find it surprising that there wasn’t a greater outcry demanding, at the very least, a public discussion on whether Americans should have a right to privacy and what that right would look like in practice. Note that there is no right to privacy in our Constitution. Back in 1965, the Supreme Court ruled, however (in Griswold vs Connecticut) that the first amendment carries within it a “penumbra where privacy is protected from government intrusion.” This, of course, is an interpretation of the Constitution, what some today call the actions of an “activist court.” And the liberal Warren Court of 1965, to those people, was one of the worst offenders. Current Justice Antonin Scalia, in fact, says the Court “was wrong” to declare there is an American right to privacy. Nonetheless, the American public seems to be in favor of one (see epic.org/ privacy/survey/), and I would certainly support a Constitutional amendment that provided for one.

That said, government intrusion into our privacy is only one of our worries. Let’s not forget, the information has to first exist for the government to obtain it; the information certainly not only

exists, but is in the hands of corporate entities. There are those who believe the ‘free market,’ epitomized by those very corporations, is always better than government, yet for all the lack of transparency in government, there is even less transparency in big business, something everyone should be aware of after the machinations of the bank bailouts. In a country where government appears more and more to be merely a puppet of those corporations—at least, a puppet of the big ones—we probably should spare some concern for how corporations plan to use all this data they have on you. Science fiction author David Brin argues that it’s too late to do anything about the collection of personal

Art in the Wild

Sept. 21 from 10 to 4 at Kootenai Wildlife Refuge Nature-themed sculpture, photography, paintings, drawings and baskets plus meet the artists. Traditional music with the Kootenai drummers and a cultural history presentation with Tribal Cultural Resource Specialist Josie Shottanana and more. Free admission.

information— ”No law or regulation could possibly put this genie back in the bottle,” he writes—and he makes a case for sousveillance, or what he calls “The Transparent Society.” Brin believes the best way to combat the technology driven lack of privacy is to “watch the watchers,” to ensure they cannot do their watching in secret and to ensure that our abilities to watch back are as great as theirs. I’m not ready to give up on attempting to limit intrusions on privacy, but Brin’s views on sousveillance are worth adopting as well. Either step, however, relies on the American public demanding the conversation be held, and so far at least, we seem to have devoted more time to a Miley Cyrus performance than we’re willing to devote to answering the pressing questions of our day. Maybe that will change with the news today that the DEA maintains its own massive database on Americans, or maybe it will wait until some whistleblower as yet unknown lets us in on what kind of information the IRS keeps on each and every one of us. (At this point, does anyone really doubt that they do?) Ray Allen is available for private parties, weddings, restaurants, and all corporate events. Ray Allen plays acoustic guitar and sings jazz standards, pop tunes, country, and originals from the 30s through the 70s. Music for all ages. Includes use of my PA system for announcements. Clean cut and well dressed for your event. PA rentals for events. Call for my low rates and information.

Call 208-610-8244

September 14 • 8 am to 1 pm End of Summer Tailgate Sale at Memorial Community Center in Hope Bake sale, Barbeque and Fun! September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 


The Game Trail Matt Haag

Waterfowl hunting season is soon upon us in North Idaho and it is largely overshadowed by big game hunting seasons. For the diehard waterfowler though, it is what they live for and big game season is an afterthought. Waterfowl hunting is a hugely popular sport and brings great enjoyment to those who participate, me included. It’s a highly regulated activity that has a rich history in North America that has changed through time in response to the need for conservation. Like all hunting in North America, it began with an over use of the resource; a lack of regulations and ignorance led to a huge decline in not only waterfowl numbers, but habitat as well. The Native Americans used abundant waterfowl populations as a food source prior to European settlements in North America. As more and more immigrants came to North America the need for food increased, subsequently birthing the market hunting of waterfowl, especially on the East Coast. In the early 19th century waterfowl hunting was completely unregulated and it was thought that ducks and geese were so abundant that it would be impossible to have a negative impact on their populations. Hunters used corn to bait waterfowl and used punt guns that were mounted on boats or platforms that shot over a half-pound of lead in one shot, killing a dozen ducks or more! The management of our resources in the late 18th into the 19th century was a dark time but the silver lining is that it gave rise to our modern day conservation ethic called the North American Wildlife Model. Waterfowl populations started to decline with the commercialization

Waterfowl Hunting and Early Conservation of waterfowl and the citizens started to realize we had a major problem on our hands. We created the game protector positions and hunting regulations to limit the over harvest on waterfowl. This was no easy task for my early counterparts. The commercialization of waterfowl created a black market for not only the meat but for feathers to use in decorative clothing. In the early 20th century some waterfowl feathers were more valuable than gold, and people were paying excessive amounts for feathers! In 1900 the federal government passed the Lacey Act, which made it illegal to transport illegally taken wildlife across state boarders. That law is still in effect across the United States and has been a huge tool in fighting the black market trade of wildlife parts. Fighting the illegal commercialization of wildlife is equivalent to fighting the drug wars of today; as a matter of fact, wildlife commercialization is second to the drug trade for black market activity worldwide. Subsequently, in 1918 the Migratory Bird Act was passed and prohibited people from possessing any migratory bird without a license and appropriate permits. Now we were getting somewhere on the conservation movement, and it’s amazing the people of the United States had the foresight to start implementing conservation ethics at the time they did. We as a nation were fighting a large drought and financial depression during this time! In 1934 conservationist J.N Darling urged the federal government to establish the Migratory Bird Hunting Stamp, better known to us as the Federal Duck Stamp. It cost $2 at the time and the funding was used to

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protect waterfowl habitat through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Refuge system. This program is considered one of the most successful conservation endeavors in our country. Hunters and anglers are the only group in the United States to tax themselves for future conservation efforts. In the late 1960s research showed that waterfowl were dying from lead poisoning and the major cause of that was shotgun ammunition. Lead had been used in shotguns since the 16th century so this was an alarming discovery. The lead pellets were collecting in waterfowl habitat in heavily hunted areas where ducks and geese often feed off the bottom of lakes and wetlands where lead shot collects. Lead shot was slowly phased out until it became illegal in 1991. Steel shot became the standard but any duck hunter would tell you that its properties were nowhere near those of lead. Steel is not as dense as lead so it has a significantly reduced effective range. As a response to hunter discontent, many companies have improved steel shot by increasing muzzle-velocity, by using fast burning powder such as rifle powder making more consistent pellet patterns. Steel shot now travels at 1,400 to 1,500 feet per second. Within recent years, several companies have created non-toxic shot out of tungsten, bismuth, or other elements with a density similar to or greater than lead. These shells have a more consistent pattern and greater range than steel shot. The increase in performance comes at a higher cost and sure makes you think before you pull the trigger! So that’s a little history on how we got to where we are now with duck hunting. The waterfowl regulations will be out in print or posted on our website sometime in the first week of September. I hope all you duckheads have a great waterfowl season out there. Remember to purchase your Migratory Bird Stamp along with your license, keep those gun plugs in so your gun can only hold three rounds, and use non-toxic shot. If you’re new to waterfowl hunting, don’t be afraid to call your local Conservation Officer with questions; that’s what we are here for! Leave No Child Inside

Page  | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9|September 2013


A Bird in Hand Michael Turnlund

The Spruce Grouse

Living life with altitude The Spruce Grouse is a bird that many birders will never be able to add to their life list, even though it is a very common species. Why? Because it is not exactly the most accessible bird to find. Sort of like the Clark’s Nutcracker or the Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch, the avid birder will have to work to earn this one— though that might only amount to a Jeep ride far up a Forest Service road and a bit of tramping on a hiking trail. Of the three common species of forest grouses in our area—the Ruffed Grouse, the Dusky Grouse, and the Spruce Grouse—the Spruce lives at the highest altitudes. Yes, I know, the White-tailed Ptarmigan likes to hang out at and above the tree line—even further up than the Spruce Grouse—but modern population records of these birds for our area are pretty sparse. So humor me…. The Spruce Grouse ranges across the most northerly latitudes of North America, just barely dipping down into a half-dozen northern states. There are two subspecies, the one in our region being the more handsome of the two: the Franklin Grouse. In the not too distant past the Franklin Grouse was considered its own species and when one considers the differences between the two subspecies in breeding habits, coloration, and a few other points, one wonders why the powers-that-be didn’t leave well enough alone. I wouldn’t be surprised if the two subspecies are again separated. But the two subspecies do tend to interbreed where their populations overlap. The chicken-sized Franklin Grouse, “our” Spruce Grouse, is a handsome bird. The female actually might be confused with the Ruffed Grouse, minus the ruff. She is mostly covert grays or rusty earth tones. But the male is another story altogether; he is a dandy. Overall he appears to be slate-gray or dark brown, with a broad patch of black from his chin down to his lower chest. The breast flanks and belly are covered with a bright-white checkered pattern. The back of the bird might also have some checkering, though it is much finer in appearance. The tail is black and when he fans it (which I have been lucky to witness) there is a ring of distinctive white spots. Above each eye is a bright red comb, thought this might look more like eyeliner. But, hey, whatever it takes to catch the fancy of the ladies. Like deer, the Spruce Grouse will freeze in place when approached by predators. This might work fine against bobcats, foxes, and most of the other predators the Spruce Grouse encounters, as these animals lack the pattern recognition of humans. But this behavior has earned the bird the moniker of “fool hen,” as early settlers and Native Americans were often able to dispatch the birds with a whack of a stick. Personally, I’ve been able to approach a Franklin Grouse to within six feet before it slowly and hesitantly walked off. Very tame birds. Spruce Grouse spend their summers on the ground eating berries, insects, grass seeds, and fresh green sprouts. The little ones eat almost exclusively insects, evidently needing the protein for their growing bodies. Come winter the birds will live in the trees, consuming spruce and other conifer needles. As this is not a particularly nutritious food source—quantity is needed to compensate for the lack of quality—the bird’s gizzard will more than double in size. The Spruce Grouse’s crop can store the equivalent of 10 percent of the bird’s body weight, which is then digested over the course of the night. Sweet dreams.

These birds also grow little fleshy “hairs” on their toes for the winter called pectinations that give the birds a larger footprint, serving as sort of snowshoes. These little hairs then fall off for the summer. This is similar to other grouse. The birds might also migrate in elevation, descending to a wintering ground and ascending to their summer ground. Otherwise they are year-round residents. The birds are not very vocal, though there will be some hooting during breeding season. The male also stakes out a breeding territory and any females wandering into his territory are liable to be the objects of his intense interest. He will attempt to beguile her with breathtaking swoops from the treetops, distinctive wing snaps that can be quite loud, and generalized strutting. If she succumbs to his amorous ambitions, she’ll soon be digging a shallow nest in the leaf litter at the foot of a dense shrub, its overhanging boughs offering protection from both the weather and predators. And she’ll be a single mother, as father will be busy trying to seduce every other hen passing his way. But the babies (typically seven) will be born precocious (meaning they’re born running) and will spend the summer growing up as quickly as possible and getting ready for the upcoming winter. And the cycle continues. I like Spruce Grouse, typically roasted. And they’re pretty to look at, too. Thus they can be enjoyed twice, once with the binoculars and once with the shotgun. Have you marked the Spruce Grouse off of your life list yet? No? Better find someone with a Jeep, a willingness to drive high into the mountains, tramp a few hiking paths and, since you’ve gone that far and are probably in the right place, help with picking some huckleberries. I’m sure there is a recipe out there that can combine the berries with the birds. Happy birding!

September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 


Main Street to Mountain Top The Purpose of Endowment Lands

On Saturday September 28th, the Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society presentation, co-sponsored by the City of Sandpoint Parks and Recreation, will feature Ed Robinson, Area Manager of the Idaho Department of Lands Pend Oreille Supervisory Area Office. Ed will speak about “The Idaho Department of Lands– From Main Street to Mountain Top.” This event begins at 9:45 am at Sandpoint Community Hall, 204 First Avenue and is open to the public, free of charge. In his presentation, Ed will talk about the purpose and history of state endowment lands. He will explain land management activities aimed at producing revenues as well as wild land fire control responsibilities. Ed has worked for IDL for over 33 years, starting as a forester, then as a resource supervisor, and, for the past

12 years, as an area manager. Among his many outside interests, Ed is a fly fisherman, an avid amateur watercolor artist and a kayaker. Come join us to celebrate National Public Lands Day! The Mission of the Kinnikinnick Native Plant Society is to foster an understanding and appreciation of native flora and its habitats in the panhandle area of North Idaho; to advocate the conservation of this rich natural heritage for future generations; to encourage the responsible use of native plants in landscaping and restoration; to educate and all, the don’t And they don’t have youth to—after general public in the value of the native we Americans believe if it’s ours, it’s ours flora habitats. andand we their can do with it what we want? Or For more information, visit our website is at NativePlantSociety.org, or on Facebook and we want it, then (NativePlant Society). you have to give it to us and if you don’t, then you sponsor terrorism and we’ll

The Sixth Annual

By the way, China wants that oil as well. Remember China? The people who loaned us all that money? China’s oil consumption is around 6.5 billion barrels a year, and is growing at 7 percent every look through the Folio, an3.6 inspirational year. It produces about billion barrels creation by Marilyn at last year’s every year. Does this math lookshow. good to Each artist generously donated anyone? Can anyone other than Sarah a painting a favored Palin andwith George Bushquotation believe we can that assembled together have created drill our way out of this problem? Anyone an unique book that beautifully and who doesn’t think we better hit the ground eloquently shows their passion for running figure out how to fuel what nature andtoour treasured wilderness. Onwe want offueled with something than behalf the artists, Marilyn willother donate oil probably deserves to go back to an the completed Folio to the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness at 1:30 pm : I prizes could and go on prior to the awarding of the forever, butof you’ll reading. oneit!final the opening the quit show – don’tSo miss discussion for the American public. First, let’s have a true, independent analysis of what happened on September 11, 2001. The official explanation simply doesn’t hold water. This is one of those “who knew what, when” questions that must be answered—and people/institutions must

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They have ‘slipped the surly bonds of earth’ and ‘touch the face of God.’

Scotchman Peaks Plein Air Paintout October 4, 5 and 6

The 6th Annual Scotchmans Plein Air Paint Out comes to Hope, Idaho, the first weekend of October (4th-6th). Two dozen artists will fan out in and around the Wilderness on Friday and Saturday, returning with fresh oil and watercolor creations to be framed, hung, viewed, judged, and sold on Sunday afternoon from 1-4PM at the Hope Marketplace. Marilyn McIntyre, who won the first place prize last year, will judge this year’s event, and the artists will also choose their favorite painting. In addition, it is well worth the drive to Hope this year to

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with your Terry and Speaking of hosts accountability, you might be surprised to Chowning learn that I would not Carole

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Page 10 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9|September 2013


The Hawk’s Nest

Ghost Dogs

Ernie Hawks

Yesterday I called the dogs and said it was time to get the mail, a two mile round trip trek which is nearly always about the trek and not the mail. Each jumped up and came running from where they were lying and showed excitement to be included in an adventure. There are several routes to the mailbox; the shortest and quickest is down the road but shorter and quicker isn’t always best so we head north rather than west—the direction of our destination. Callie is the smallest; she looks just like Benji (of movie fame) but is twice the size. Her method is to stay close and in sight but with forays away to follow a smell for a few seconds then right back—until the next smell attracts her. She may be the smallest but is the most aggressive if a bone or some other tasty morsel is found. Glacier, the white German Shepherd, runs parallel to us almost out of sight. His white coat is easy to see in the forest but is far enough away to only get a glimpse every minute or so. It’s easy to track him because he is terrorizing squirrels who chatter back, exposing his presence. However, with a call or whistle he is beside me. Nikki, the biggest at about 90 pounds, stays close, stopping to sniff the weeds and grass at the edge of track we are on. Nikki looks like a Rhodesian Ridgeback mixed with everything else in the woods that night. She is rarely out of sight and often under foot but is as much a joy to be with as the others. I enjoy each personality as they do their “wild thing” while being obedient to my instructions. I never worry about

them disappearing or going on a chase; they all want to be with me but under their terms. I concur with those terms which makes the journey fun for us all. The last hundred yards to the mailboxes is always on the road. Glacier will explore a circle several feet wide around the boxes, Callie will check for new smells on the posts and trees close by while Nikki will stop before we get there and wait. “Why go all the way and back,”she seems to say. As I walk, the joy and companionship of these pets fills my thoughts with thankfulness for them. Each one is part of the group while still being themselves. Nikki, in continual molt because she will not tolerate being brushed, wants to be close but still explore. Callie, with her long hair full of seed heads and long ears flopping with each step, is checking out as much as possible without letting me out of her sight. Glacier is a hot dog. He runs full tilt jumping logs, even off low cliffs. Running down steep hills he charges so fast he needs to take an occasional long leap for his feet to catch up with him. Glacier and Callie lived together for only about two years, Nikki and Glacier only lived together about one year, Callie and Nikki were together for about four years. While they were together they complemented each other and had fun. I usually take the short way home and as I approach our place each dog goes to its respective grave and lies down again. I wonder who else they had been running with while they were running with me. The memory of my relationship with each and all of these four-legged friends is fresh in my mind. Glacier died in 2003,

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Pend Oreille, addresses nutrient issues

Callie in 2005. Just last Friday, Dr. Mike and Maggie came out and, while Nikki lay on her bed, she received her last shot. They even helped take her to the grave I had dug near her friends for her final rest. Their offer to lend a hand with the closing of the grave was turned down. Linda and I needed to do that alone. On Saturday we were hiking one of our favorite trails. There is a log next to a small stream where we often sit and rest. Nikki liked the place as well; she would wade in and take a few laps of water then stand in the cool mud and rest her feet. As we sat the air was filled with smells of the cycles of life. Dead vegetation was decomposing into nourishment for new life. The day after we found out Nikki was terminal and in pain, two close friends got married in our back yard. It was wonderful a celebration about a new beginning while we anticipated our loss. The day after the wedding we Skyped with Ana and Noah. It was fun to see the energy of our two-year-old granddaughter Alice Lindy. We also could see just how pregnant Ana is with Lucy Claire—another new life and new beginning. We are looking forward to being with them and to celebrate the arrival of Lucy in a few weeks. All these events tell us of the complexities of our humanity. We can be excitedly happy while at the same time feel deep sadness. It is those pluralities of life that cannot be ignored and are not really individual. Rather they are nearly always “both and.” Well, it’s about time to get the mail again. One of these days Lucy and Alice will also do the trek with me. I wonder if they well see the ghost dogs that accompany us. Council website at tristatecouncil.org.

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A Seat in the House

Rep. George Eskridge

I have been asked by several people over the course of the summer how Idaho is doing financially. I am happy to report that we are doing well! Idaho’s fiscal year 2013 (FY 2013) ended June 30. The Idaho Division of Financial Management’s General Fund Revenue Report for July stated that “Idaho’s General Fund ended FY 2013 on a positive note. Total receipts for June 2013 were $278.9 million, which is $17.0 million (6.5 percent) more than the forecast.” June was the fifth month since December of last year that General Fund receipts exceeded the forecasts. The June $17 million surplus was a significant factor in helping the total FY2013 General Fund revenues exceed the FY2013 forecast. Total receipts for FY 2013 were $2,750.3 million, $92.3 million (3.5 percent) more than the $2,658.0 million that was projected in January. This is a 6.3 percent increase over fiscal year 2012! All of the General Fund categories contributed to the higher than forecasted amounts. Individual income taxes provided $1,284.4 million, which was $40.9 million over the estimate representing an increase of 3.5 percent. Corporate income tax revenue receipts were estimated at $183.8 million but receipts in this category reached $198.7 million, an increase over projections of $14.9 million or 8.1 percent. Actual sales tax revenues of $1,109.8 million exceeded the estimated $1,082.5 by $27.3 million, an increase of 2.5 percent over the forecasted amount. Product taxes exceeded the forecast by 2.2 percent. Receipts in this category

Idaho’s Economy is Looking Bright reached $49.9 million; an increase of $1.1 million over the forecasted $48.8 million. Even the revenue from the miscellaneous category exceeded its estimated amount. The revenues from this category reached $107.6 million, which was 8.2 percent over the forecast, an increase of $8.1 million. Because the General Fund revenue receipts have resulted in a substantial surplus, Idaho has been able to begin replenishing its savings accounts or “rainy day” funds. House Bill 345 (HB345) passed last session provided that any excess in revenues over $79,952,900 on June 30, 2013 would be transferred to the Budget Stabilization Account. This is in excess of transfers already required by existing statute to the Budget Stabilization fund. The end result is that for FY 2013 HB 345 required a transfer of $85,392,200 to the Budget Stabilization fund in addition to the required Statutory Transfer of $25,877,100 for a total transfer to the fund of $111,269,300. The Idaho legislature has authorized six reserve funds to assist in meeting unanticipated funding needs resulting from negative impacts of a downturn in the economy or other fiscal emergencies. The current balances for these reserve funds are: • Budget Stabilization Fund $135,138,343.02 • Public Education Stabilization Fund $49,049,314.68 • Economic Recovery Reserve $56,537.27 • Millennium Fund $15,562,500.18

• Higher Education Stabilization Fund $942,474.80 • Emergency Funds $3,424,223.57 • Total Reserve Funds $204,173,393.52 There will probably be some discussion in the upcoming legislative session to reduce the balance in the budget stabilization fund and possibly some of the other funds in order to meet increased spending requests or to allow tax rate reductions or exemptions, but recent economic history has proved the value of Idaho having sufficient funds in reserve. Our “rainy day” accounts significantly assisted the state from having to make drastic cuts in some major programs in order to weather through the recent recession. Our economic situation continues to be positive. The General Fund performance for FY2013 has resulted in an increase in the revenue forecast for fiscal year 2014 (FY 2014). The revised General Fund forecast for FY2014 is $2,808.8 million. This is a 2.1 percent increase above the FY 2013 forecast of $2,799.1 million. The State of Idaho’s economic situation is strong and although the state of the economy is not improving as fast as we would like, Idaho’s conservative nature continues to serve our citizens well. Thanks for reading. As always feel free to contact me with questions or concerns of importance to you. I can be reached by email at geskridge(at)coldreams.com or by phone at 208-265-0123 or by mail at P.O. Box 112, Dover 83825. George

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A FREE concert in Farmin Park Saturday, Sept. 14 • 7 pm Presented by DSBA and Sandpoint Parks and Rec Page 12 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9|September 2013


The Scenic Route Sandy Compton

My dad and his dad, with questionable assistance from my brothers and I (ages five, four and one-and-half), 50-some years ago built a stout little building we have called ever since “The Playhouse”— not to be confused with the Clark Fork bar that burned down years ago. I know it’s stout because it’s still standing, and it’s in my possession. It has a door, three windows and hidey-hole shelves under the overhung gables accessed by small ladders worn smooth by small feet. The Playhouse is ten by six feet, counting gables and eaves. It is of scrap lumber sawmilled by the Dettwilers, maybe. Or John Harker, Roy Justice or Cecil Groff, who all sawed lumber for their neighbors in those years. Dettwiler advertised, at one time, the world’s longest wedges. I need one now to finish the new floor. The Playhouse isn’t the squarest building on the planet. This doesn’t surprise me. I’ve torn down or rebuilt a number of buildings put together by my dad and his dad and my mom’s dad and others who have traversed this place on the green Clark Fork. Not many were square. Stout? Some of the time. Level? Much of the time. Square? Not. Grandpa Earl Clayton, Mom’s dad, and his son-in-law were “jackknife carpenters.” If something didn’t quite fit, they whittled on it until it did. Grandpa and Dad built during their lives in Montana many buildings: houses, barns, sheds, shops, chicken houses and outhouses, many of which were a unique combination of logs, poles, hand-split cedar shakes—Grandpa’s interior finish of choice—and Dettwiler-style lumber and finished with “store-bought” windows,

The Playhouse doors, linoleum and wallpaper. A few are still standing, but none were square. One transient builder was Louie Withers, an itinerant pulp logger married to Dad’s sister Muriel. Uncle Louie was a study in the vagary of life. He worked as hard as any man I ever knew, and worked Muriel’s kids just as hard, but only had to show for it a series of one-ton trucks with hand-operated winches to load 8-foot sections of pulpwood and another series of run-down trailer houses stuck on lots that belonged to someone else. When Louie and Muriel lived on this land that belonged to someone else, he built a storage shed against their trailer with Dettwiler-style two-by-fours for walls and rafters and aluminum roofing. The inside was lined with tar paper, cardboard, black plastic and more aluminum roofing. You might think this was for insulation, or to keep mice out, but one wall was mostly windows made of clear plastic and chicken wire and the door might hold out something as large as a small, undetermined dog. This building, too, is in my possession, and I’m tearing it down—before it falls down. I’m somewhat amazed that it hasn’t, but it has the two requisites for building survival, a roof that sheds water and a durable foundation. The foundation is the sledge my dad put it on when he moved it years ago to be a garden and storage shed in the back yard of the house he and Mom built of logs, poles, Dettwilerstyle lumber, hand-split cedar shakes and store-bought windows. The back wall of Uncle Louie’s shed was of one-inch yellow pine planks, 12 and a quarter inches wide. Why the odd width, I will never know. They were

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secured to the shed with high-quality 12-penny nails, the kind you can’t buy any more. More than half pulled out straight enough to be used again. Those nails, five yellow pine planks and a long wedge cut from a sixth, will comprise a new floor for The Playhouse. The Playhouse is being saved. It has a new foundation. The roof has another winter in it—maybe—but I’ve another for it when I get time to put it on, which shouldn’t take long—knock on Dettwilerstyle wood. In moments of frustration with an unsquare building built 50-some years ago on four bricks for a foundation, I’ve asked myself why I’m bothering—though I can’t help but know. Two generations of Comptons, cousins and friends thereof have navigated The Playhouse around the world multiple times, under sail, steam and nuclear power. It may have even been flown to Mars. The old floor, being covered with Uncle Louie’s yellow pine planks, is stained with the imaginary blood of villains and heroes alike. High tea has been served there to the Queen of Sheba and the King of Siam. Pretend husbands have come home from pretend jobs to pretend wives and pretend children myriad times. There is another generation of Comptons, cousins and friends out there in need of places to exercise their imagination. The Playhouse is being saved for them, and Uncle Louie’s nails, Dettwiler-style lumber and jackknife carpentry are parts of the salvation.

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September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 13


What Good’s a Cottonwood? My David has never met a tree he didn’t love. It probably goes back to his first job here in North Idaho. Hanging out in front of the old Pasttime on First Ave., on what was not only his first day in town, but his 21st birthday, he was hired by a guy to help plant trees in the forest. His love for trees is so pure, it’s like he’s a one-man, tree-rescue band. A young tree broken in half? He’s saved it by scotch-taping the tree back together. (This is a true thing.) Broken or simply growing in the wrong place, any tree is safe once David learns of its plight. I, on the other hand... Well, I like trees just as much as almost anyone here in North Idaho, but Cottonwoods are the bane of my existence. They grow like weeds in my yard and I spend much of the summer trying to mow down all the little new Cottonwoods that are trying to take over, just like those shown to the right in this picture. Don’t tell David, okay? As is also shown in this picture, I haven’t always been diligent in my Cottonwood removal, so several enormous specimens are growing in on my property, including one that’s now forcing me to learn about how to repair foundations. Damn trees. If that’s not bad enough, Cottonwoods bite as firewood, given their low BTU content, and they’re not even worth anything as timber. So what’s good about a Cottonwood, anyway, and why are they considered to be one of the most important wildlife trees around? Well, Cottonwoods (the western Cottonwood like what is growing at my place), love a high water content in the soil. If you see Cottonwoods growing, you can be pretty sure there’s readily available water close by. So the first benefit of a Cottonwood is simply what it tells you about your property. Cottonwoods are also speedy growers—they can, in fact, grow as much as 7 feet in a single year’s time— the teenage boys of the tree world, if you will. If you’re looking for trees that will look well established in a short period of time, a Cottonwood is not a bad way to go. Primarily, however, Cottonwoods are the Granny’s Buffet of the wildlife

world. Elk, deer, rabbits, beaver, ruffed grouse... a plethora of wildlife find the Cottonwood to be a favored dinner food. In fact, with terminal buds that survive throughout the winter, some birds can survive the season thanks simply to one tree, which provides both bed and board. But it’s not just for eating: many varieties of birds find the Cottonwood makes a lovely home. Eagles, osprey, owls, turkeys and hawks perceive the Cottonwood to be a felicitous nesting place. Cottonwoods, which can live over 100 years, provide wonderful southern shade during the summer, while dropping copious leaves to feed your compost pile in fall, and leaving that precious winter sunshine full room to brighten your days. Closely related to Aspens, their leaves make a wonderful noise in wind, though they do tend to easily drop branches in even the mildest of storms. And each spring, as they seek to reproduce, you’re gifted with the delightful sight of Cottonwood “snow” floating through the air. (If you happen to sneeze a lot when the Cottonwoods are snowing, don’t blame the tree. Cottonwood seedlings are too big to cause allergies via the nose, and they are not pollen. Your sneezing likely indicates an allergy to grass pollens.) If you’re looking for a deciduous tree that grows easily, quickly, and serves as first-rate wildlife habitat, it’s hard to go wrong with the prolific Cottonwood. Don’t plant them close to buildings, as they have an extensive root system that (I swear), seems to have an affinity for destroying man-made structures like foundations and septic systems. And besides, there’s that ‘dropping branches’ issue to consider. But on the outskirts of your property, a 100-plus foot tall Cottonwood or two may be just the ticket for your summertime shade. But stay on top of the seedlings; they’ll be tree-sized before you know it. -Trish Gannon

September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 14


FROM THE FILES OF THE RIVER JOURNAL’S

Surrealist Research Bureau Jody Forest

My Lost World

In the fall of 1967 I entered unaware into a magical land. I was in a paratroop unit which was sustaining heavy casualties in Vietnam near Dak To, a tiny Montagnard hamlet nestled in mountainous, heavily forested, triple canopy jungle abutting the Laotian border. The widely scattered Montagnard tribes there were true primitives, wearing loincloths, living in thatched huts and hunting game with spears and crude crossbows, smoking opium and wild tobacco out of 4-footlong pipes. But the main thing I recall of those first few months was the rain—the constant, ever-present, monsoon rains. After picking up a new Lt. at the small Dak To airstrip in a tank to take back to our company HQ, he jumped off the tank before we could warn him and sank up to his neck in mud. It took us an hour to dig him out. Our fatigues were slowly rotting away on our bodies, our swollen feet covered in jungle rot sores, and we stopped hourly to burn or rip the leeches off our bodies... and still, the ever-present rain poured down. Now, I bring up those first few months to point out the vast differences in the rainless six months I spent there over a year later in the spring of 1969. My unit was once more sent to the area, this time to investigate a rumored POW camp. (You can find an account of that mission in the book Code Name Arclight; The Untold Stories of the Search for POW’s in Vietnam). Instead of the ever-present rain we were in a constant state of thirst. Helicopter resupplies were unreliable and streams hard to locate, but the jungle was now mesmerizing, filled with the roar of tigers, chattering monkeys, and colorful

twittering birds. We scaled emerald mountains whose peaks were wreathed in fog, cut through bamboo grass with machetes ‘til our tired arms mutinied and refused to raise themselves, at times lucky to make 200 or 300 yards in a single day. I knew even then I was in a wondrous, magical land; the jungle was greener, the air cleaner (if hotter), and for six long weeks we marched, apparently directionless and zig-zagging through the thick, steaming jungle and mountains, enthralled at each new dawn with the strange worlds we awoke to. (I awoke one morn to find a foot long, day-glo orange centipede crawling lazily over my boot.) Flash forward to the year 2000, when I began hearing scattered media reports of new and previously unknown animals being found in the region, as well as ones long thought extinct, including the Java Rhino, and a new half goat/half ox, plus a new species of deer that barks like a dog, and even a new type of tube worm. And still the reports kept coming in, leading taxonomist Colin Groves to state, “This region represents more than the find of the year, it could be the find of the century!” And so it was: a new goldenheaded langur, a new civet, sarus cranes, a kouprey, the annam flying frog, a rare soala, new turtles... scarcely a month went by without some new and startling find. To me, the most interesting by far were those of the Nguoi Rung, or Forest Man, also known as Vietnam’s Bigfoot. There were so many reports of the Nguoi Rung near the Vietnam/Laotian border that the North Vietnamese themselves, in the midst of war, sent a wildlife team to investigate.

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Sad Prospects for Kontum The Dak To/Kontum region of Vietnam’s Central Highlands, along with other nearby scattered enclaves, is home to a bewildering array of both new and almost extinct animals and plants. Poaching by collectors and others, however, is rapidly diminishing their numbers. As this issue of TRJ goes to press, for example, Fortean Times reports the Java Rhinoceros may have gone extinct, with the last town known found slaughtered, their horns removed for sale on the black market where they can fetch as much as $250,000 apiece, ground up for use as an aphrodisiac. Speaking of a particularly endangered tortoise, renowned conservationist Paul Calle stated, “There’s only four left in the world and only one of them is female; you can’t get any more endangered than that without it being hopeless.” An excellent book available now at the Sandpoint Library, Gold Rush in the Jungle by Dan Drollette (Crown Pub., 2013) details attempts by many of the world’s top ecologists to protect and save these awesome sanctuaries.

Vu Ngoc Thanh, a curator at Hanoi University, has casts of the footprints of the creature, and a copy of the (U.S.) Army Reporter (widely available on the Internet) has a report of U.S. soldiers firing on such a beast near Da Nang. Bao Dinh, a former Viet Cong soldier whose memoir, “Sorrow of War,” is still wildly popular there, has a section in it describing his unit’s encounters with the beast. Research is still ongoing; however, keep in mind that between 1997 and 2007, over a thousand new and unknown species have been discovered there. In my last TRJ report on Bigfoot (Matilda’s DNA) some six months ago, I was really surprised to find that so many TRJ readers, in their Internet comments, were even more up-to-date and knowledgeable than I on the convoluted science involved in such things as DNA research on mystery hominids; at least on this small occasion I can at least state I’ve actually walked those same jungle trails where the Nguoi Rung may lurk. ‘til next time, keep spreading the word: Soylent Green is People! All homage to Xena.

September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 15


Get Growing!

Nancy Hastings

This long stretch of summer heat has popped out lots of the late August flowering perennials early, leaving our landscape color a bit spent. The unknown and under-utilized FALL flowering crocus and colchicums are beauties for perking up your landscape when all else needs to be cut back and the saffron crocus is a treat for the home chef, planted now and coming back year after year, blooming in early September to mid fall. Both of these beauties are corms that naturalize and spread nicely in time, doubling and tripling in areas as new bulbs are formed underground. Colchicums are the giants of the fall flowers, with one Waterlilly Colchicum bulb throwing off several 3 to 6 inch wide double bright double pink flowers that are even deer-resistant. Both colchicums and saffron crocus should be planted at the front of your garden to optimize their impact and not let them be buried or shaded out by other overgrown August perennials. Colchicums reach up and stand strong on a 6 inch stem, but crocus are delicate small flowers that are most impressive if clustered in circles of 10 or so. Both plants are hardy to Zones 5 and prefer a full six hours of sun with a protected planting site close to a building or mulch for winter protection. Bulbs require very well-drained soil, especially in winter, preferably sandy loam and planted

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Spice Up Your Life! with bulb food high in phosphorus and micorhyzza. Wet soil causes the bulbs to rot, so if your garden is poorly drained or heavy clay, amend with gypsum and greensand to nourish the bulbs and break up the clay. Add 2 to 3 inches of compost in your soil and work it into the upper 4 to 6 inches of soil. Saffron Crocus and sells for around $1,500 dollars a pound on the open market, because it only grows in certain climates and it must be harvested by hand with tweezers to retain the wondrous flavors and aromas. It is used in breads, desserts and rice dishes, especially authentic Spanish paella and Indian curry. Instead of importing it from Iran, if you have rich well drained soil and a full sun area that is NOT regularly irrigated in summer, saffron will thrive. We planted these in the front bed where a lot of snow falls off the roof for great insulation and they were happy. Mulching your planting in November can also help to prevent the bulbs from freezing out, however you will want to pull the mulch away in spring for the first stage of growth which is when the little grassy tops emerge. The bulbs go dormant and not much shows through the summer months, so mark your area. Only three bright, red-orange threads or stigmas inside the purple blossoms will be harvested for cooking and must be

properly dried on mesh at 40-60 degrees and then stored in an airtight tin for up to two years of freshness. The smaller yellow stamens have no culinary value at all. During your first year about 60 percent of the corms planted will produce one flower each about 6-8 weeks after planting, although sometimes if planted late, the bulbs wait ‘til the second fall to appear. The next year each corm will produce two flowers and every five years you should dig up and divide your corms 4 inches apart. Start with one to two dozen of these rare and versatile bulbs and you could be starting a new export business! Nancy Hastings grew up on a 300+-acre farm and now is co-owner of All Seasons Garden and Floral in Sandpoint. She and her husband John have been cultivating community gardens and growing for 16 years in North Idaho. You can reach them with garden questions or sign up for classes at allseasonsgardena ndfloral(at)gmail.com.

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Page 16 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9|September 2013


Veterans’ News

Gil Beyer

Here we are. The Dog Days of Summer are coming to a close and we start to look forward to getting a little cooler weather. With Congress out of Washington for their ‘Summer Recess,’ I’ve got little to write about on the national front. Supposedly, our elected representatives are communing with their constituents and feeling the pulse of the voters—at least in theory. In reality what they are doing is to trying to convince the voters that by blocking everything, compromising on nothing and passing bills that will accomplish nothing, they are doing good things for the country. Good things my butt! The 113th Congress is the least productive Congress in our history. The 113th Congress makes the 80th of the Truman Era look positively dynamic! They have wasted a great deal of our money by voting 40 times to overturn the Affordable Care Act and their latest ploy is to threaten to shut down the government if ‘Obamacare’ isn’t defunded. This is another non-starter to make their Right Wing base happy. I keep waiting for the American voter to wake up but see no signs of that happening yet. Onward and upward. I would like to give a great big “Well Done” to all the people who attended and bought at the ‘Veterans Helping Veterans in Need’ yard sale in early August this year. The monies raised— $5,715.38 total —will be divided equally between the Marine Corps League Detachment 1110, Disabled American Veterans Audie Murphy Chapter 15, and Vietnam Veterans of America Chapter 890. These monies will be used to help needy veterans throughout the area. The sponsors of this event also deserve recognition. They are Steve’s Import Auto Service, Sandpoint Storage and the Bonner County Daily Bee. Thanks to all who made this worthwhile event a success! On the topic of “We leave no one behind,” I’m proud to say that the remains of USMC Pfc Manley F. Winkley have been identified and brought home and were buried with full military honors on August 24, 2013. Pfc Winkley was reported KIA on Tarawa on November 20, 1943 and buried in one of many battlefield cemeteries, along with approximately 1,000 other Marines. In the aftermath of the battles for Tarawa, Navy ‘SeaBees’ did significant restructuring of the atoll for use by U.S.

Reunions and Coming Home forces and after the war and many of the cemeteries could not be found. In 2012 the Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command conducted excavation activities and discovered the remains and equipment that appeared to be those of American servicemen from WWII. One of those remains has been identified by JPAC and the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory using circumstantial evidence, radiographs and dental records and made a match with Winkley’s records. Of the more than 16 million Americans who served during WWII, over 400,000 died and there are still more than 73,000 to be recovered. The people at JPAC have been charged with continuing the search until all our fallen come home. New paragraph – new topic. Early in September my bride and I will start a cross country trek that I hope will accomplish many things. We are headed to two reunions: one in Florida and one in South Carolina, Florida for our 55th high school reunion. Yes, my bride and I graduated from the same high school in 1958. While we graduated together I did not see her again for over 50 years until September 2008, when I attended my 50th reunion in Ft Lauderdale. The South Carolina reunion is of even more personal significance. In October of 1960, as a newly minted ETRSN [Electronics Technician (RADAR) Seaman] I reported onboard the USS FISKE (DDR 842) homeported in Mayport, Florida. I didn’t know it at the time but the FISKE was to be the start of my Navy career. At that time I really believed that I would only do one enlistment. I was just barely 20 years old and fresh out Great Lakes Boot Camp and ‘A’ School when I first saw the FISKE tied to Delta Pier in Mayport, Florida. The first ET I met onboard was ETN3 Lou ‘Ski’ Schmeiske. He had the ‘duty’ that Friday and his first words were, “Find a bunk below and we’ll see you Monday morning.” That was my introduction to the Atlantic Fleet Destroyer Navy. I found a bunk, top rack adjacent to the After Steering Room, and stowed my seabag in the only empty footlocker near my bunk. That was to be the beginning of almost three years onboard the Fiske during which we made two Mediterranean Cruises of six months each; numerous trips to the sunny Caribbean, including

a little fun trip known to the world as “The Cuban Missile Crisis” and a stint in Charleston, SC that probably cost our Commanding Officer any chance for future promotion. ‘Ski’ and the rest of the crew onboard at that time became my family. We worked together, drank together, fought over trivial things and would do anything for each other. We drilled and trained on responses to simulated fires, nuclear attack, fuel spills, chemical warfare et al until we did everything that needed to be done without thinking. Lou Schmeiske died late last year and I regret never having had the opportunity to have a beer with him after I last saw him in late 1962. He returned to upstate New York when he got out and I never saw him again. Lou was my mentor and role model. He was extremely, creatively profane, smoked and was probably the best communications technician I ever worked with. His commitment to ‘His Transmitters’ knew no bounds and he had the scars to prove it. In his off-hours ‘Ski’ played drums for the ship’s band. The USS Fiske lives on in the memories of all who served on her between 1945 and 1980. She was designed and built to win a war and managed to serve our nation for far longer than intended. Back in the ‘80s, a few former Fiske sailors got together and formed an Association. They have been holding a biannual reunion on the last full weekend of September ever since. That is my reason for heading to Charleston, SC. As the current President of that Association it is mandatory that I attend. As someone who came to love that ship and all those that served on her it is necessary for my soul to attend. I intend to have several beers with those who come to Charleston. The last Fiske sailor served on her until June 1980 when Fiske was transferred to the Turkish Navy and became the Piyale Pasa. That was over 30 years ago. We are all getting older and it may not be much longer that we are able to gather in camaraderie and to share memories of what we have come to call the “Best Damned Tin Can in the Atlantic Fleet”. Until next month, take care of yourself and be kind to each other. I wish all fair winds and following seas.

September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 17


Gary’s Faith Walk

Climate Change, Justice, Action

Gary Payton Time and again my faith walk circles back to a straightforward question and answer. “…O Mortal, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?’ (Micah 6:8) With each return to this ancient text, I’m reminded that “do” is an action verb. Using this translation, the prophet suggests it’s not enough just to care about justice, or wish for justice, or to complain when it is absent. I’ve complained and asserted a lot lately. Repeatedly I’ve stated in private conversations and public forums that climate change is the greatest threat to humankind and creation faced by the world today. I base my belief on the science that human activities such as burning fossil fuels and deforestation have increased greenhouse gases to dangerous and still growing levels. The impacts are clear: Arctic and glacial melting, rising sea levels, ocean acidification, extreme weather events such as torrential rains and flooding, droughts, reduced farm output (especially in poor countries), and more. My task then is to move from my assertion about climate change to “doing” or acting on

PASSAGES

my belief. In her recent book, “The Green Boat: Reviving Ourselves in Our Capsized Culture,” author and clinical psychologist Mary Pipher holds my hand as I try to move forward with my climate change concerns. Dr. Pipher outlines a process of awareness, engagement, passion, and balance. Faced with the prospect of the Keystone XL pipeline moving Canadian tar sands oil through her Nebraska, she tells her story of shifting from a sense of personal trauma and inaction to widespread action opposing the pipeline and a growing sense of community among her fellow advocates. At this stage of my life, I have the freedom to invest energy in the “do” part of justice as I see it and feel Spirit led. So, I invest in action with two vectors. One is addressing the anticipated impacts of expanded coal train shipments from the Powder River Basin through Bonner County and Sandpoint to proposed ports in Washington and Oregon with its further damage to the environment from coal fired power plants in China. The second is ongoing work to urge the Presbyterian Church at the national level to divest its substantial holdings in fossil fuel company stock and reinvest in

Kathleen Ardel “Kathy” Cox BEST June 10, 1954 - July 26, 2013 www.LakeviewFuneral.com

Kyle Lee GARRETT December 22, 1964 - August 25, 2013 www.LakeviewFuneral.com

Douglas Dwight COOPER January 26, 1954 - July 28, 2013 www.LakeviewFuneral.com

Ruth McBee DICKERSON November 8, 1914 - July 28, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Anker M RASMUSSEN October 29, 1940 - August 3, 2013 Veteran - U.S. Navy www.LakeviewFuneral.com

John “Spoons” SANBORN January 31, 1955- August 3, 2013 Veteran - U.S. Army www.CoffeltFuneral.com

William Arthur “Bill” SMYTH June 27, 1948 - August 4, 2013 Veteran - U.S. Army www.LakeviewFuneral.com

Michael Dale MALLET June 7, 1961 - August 5, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Mary Klugh WILSON May 19, 1939 - August 6, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Celia WASYLKIW July 20, 1919 - August 8, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Bradley Michael CUNNINGHAM June 23, 1986 - August 11, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Raymond J WALSH November 30, 1931 - August 16, 2013

• • •

Charlene Marie Carnegie BENNETT October 22, 1949 - August 5, 2013 www.LakeviewFuneral.com Marcos BENAVIDES May 12, 1956 - August 14, 2013 www.LakeviewFuneral.com Gerald Dean “Jerry” BAKER November 20, 1934 - August 14, 2013 Veteran - U.S. National Guard www.LakeviewFuneral.com

sustainable energy sources. Mary Pipher inspires me. She reminds her readers of the psychological trauma associated with addressing seemingly insurmountable issues. For me the justice issue is climate change, for others it may be domestic violence, hunger, human trafficking, gun violence, discrimination in its many forms, etc. She offers balm by sharing “balance means that the pain of facing reality is not more than the joy of connecting to the beauty of the world.” For me balance comes from building community with so many individuals locally and across the region who raise their voices and choose to oppose expanded coal shipments. For me balance comes from living and being in this place of mountains and rivers and the critters with which we share this planet. Balance keeps me going even as I contemplate the accelerating changes to our environment resulting for global warming. The prophet Micah lived his faith walk over 2,700 years ago. Across the millennia his wisdom still inspires today. The charge is direct—“love kindness,” “walk humbly” with God, and remember always that “do” is an action verb in issues of justice.

Veteran - U.S. Army www.CoffeltFuneral.com •

Barbara Havlicek September 15, 1924 - August 20, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Major John Joseph REED (ret) February 12, 1934 - August 23, 2013 Veteran - U.S. Marine Corps www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Ruth Evelyn Blackstone HAMILTON February 15, 1933 - August 23, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Barbara Frances YOUNG March 30, 1929 - August 27, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Rodney “Rod” CASSWELL February 24, 1952 - August 28, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Reiko Noda HOLLSTEIN January 4, 1931 - August 28, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Skip SPENCER December 4, 1955 - August 30, 2013 www.CoffeltFuneral.com

Page 18 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9|September 2013


River Journal columnist Mike Turnlund spent part of his summer in Uganda, taking with him his bird books, binoculars... and the River Journal. This photo was taken at Lake Albert (on the Nile) on the Uganda-Congo border. “Although you may not make them out in the photo,” he writes, “there are two pink-backed pelicans and an African darter (standing on a hippo) over my right shoulder.

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September 2013| The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9| Page 19


Scott Clawson

acresnpains@dishmail.net

Here I sit, so deeply grieved By the passing of a man I’ve always believed The best illustrator and funny bone baiter Of our lives and experiences weaved His cards I’ve gotten, more often bought To commemorate times with a funny thought He solicited laughs through life’s little gaffes And for that, I thank him a lot Whether a fence line fallen when least expected Or changing a tire when a griz is detected Or the silly commotion of hunters in motion In ways we are truly reflected He painted on canvas his scenes out of mind His life and ours, luckily entwined Through human traits and common fates In ways our butts tend to get in a bind His stage always nature, mostly human Where the backdrop showed us some trouble loomin’ His rewards were guffaws as we clucked at our flaws Especially when wing nuts were bloomin’ He harvested smiles wherever he went Delivered in person or even in print He was always on par with his jocular char His mind being some kind of flint I caught him one day on Good Mornin’ Northwest Where they had him on board as a special guest

And he proceeded to roast his naive young host For at roastin’ he was nigh on the best I’ll always miss him, this man of mirth For his soul is truly of this earth He put us in color, one way or another And for that, I am grateful his birth And I’ll miss the new cards not coming our way To make us giggle after a long hard day What could’ve come makes my mind go numb With the loss of his cowboy way I’ll miss his stories of Chipmunk Falls Of life in the country, the way that it crawls Like a human prospectus, it was used to reflect us From mountain to paddock and stalls I’ll miss most of all, his offer of fishin’ A chance to go back is what I am wishin’ And relish this friend, lend both ears to bend With his wisdom, guidance and vision If the mark of a man be his epitaph Let his read that he made us all laugh Through the blood and the beer, he held up a mirror Knowing full well how we loved a good gaffe If I had to give measure To this western treasure Then let it be said it never went to his head And he’s always been our distinct pleasure

Page 20 | The River Journal - A News Magazine Worth Wading Through | www.RiverJournal.com | Vol. 22 No. 9|September 2013


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