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February 2022
News
February 28
Let’s talk grocery sales tax: Sales tax on groceries is an issue that comes up every legislative session. I believe most folks agree that we shouldn’t tax food. We require it for our subsistence. Why would we tax something that is a staple of life? There are two methods of not taxing food. The first is simply to not collect the tax when selling food. By Idaho Senator Jim Woodward Comment added
Boundary County First Judicial District Court dispositions
Timber harvest to begin on Highway 95 at McArthur Lake: A bit of change is on the horizon for McArthur Lake WMA in Boundary County. A multi-benefit forest management harvest is planned to begin on March 1 and will be completed as quickly as possible. If you are traveling in the area or planning to visit McArthur Lake WMA during the harvest, please expect big machinery and slowed traffic.
U.S. doesn't discount Putin's nuclear escalation: U.S. officials don't doubt reports that Russian President Vladimir Putin has placed Russia's nuclear deterrence forces on high alert, a senior defense official said at a press briefing Sunday. This is an unnecessary step for Putin to take because Russia has never been under threat from NATO and certainly not from Ukraine, the official said.
Avalanche warning issued for North Idaho, northwest Montana: The Idaho Panhandle Avalanche Center has issued an avalanche warning for the mountains of the Idaho Panhandle and northwest Montana, including Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai and Shoshone Counties in Idaho and Lincoln, Sanders and Mineral Counties in Montana.
Power outage affecting Northern Lights customers: A widespread power outage is affecting Boundary, Bonner and Lincoln Counties in the Northern Lights service area, with 3,956 customers without power as of 7 a.m. There is an issue with a Bonneville Power line near the Idaho/Montana border and crews are working to reroute power.
Flood watch issued for North Idaho: The National Weather Service, Spokane, has issued a flood watch for North Idaho from this morning through Wednesday morning. The area includes Boundary, Bonner, Kootenai, Shoshone, Benewah and Latah Counties. Moderate to heavy rain and snowmelt will result in increased runoff that could cause minor flooding on creeks, streams and rivers as well as in low-lying areas and in urban areas with poor drainage.
February 27
Birrell's 'Walking with Fay' set for Mother's Day release: In 2012, Carolyn (Testa) Birrell, Bonners Ferry, flew to Georgia to kidnap her mother. Fay had been living by herself since her husband’s death in 2000 and clung fiercely to her independence. She went to church on Sundays, paid her bills on time and volunteered at Vacation Bible School every summer. Now Carolyn is celebrating the publication of her debut memoir, "Walking With Fay – My Mother’s Uncharted Path into Dementia."
February 26
Boundary County at 'medium' for COVID, per CDC: Under new CDC COVID prevention and masking metrics that look at conditions at the county level, Boundary County is listed as medium, meaning those at high risk for COVID should talk to their health care provider about whether you need to wear a mask or take other preventive measures. The new recommendations come as pandemic statistics in the nation improve.
Ukrainian resistance holding: Ukrainian resistance to invading forces is stiffer than Russia expected, as the U.S. and NATO continue to supply security assistance to Ukraine, a senior defense official said. The Russian invasion of Ukraine over the last 24 hours has been observed to occur over three main axes: from the south, including an amphibious assault from the Sea of Azov, from the north central and from the northeast, a senior defense official said.
Snow expected Sunday night into Monday: The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm watch for snow in North Idaho above 3,000 feet and a winter weather advisory for snow in the Kootenai/Cabinet Region. In Boundary and Bonner Counties, heavy snow is forecast at elevations above 3,000 feet Sunday evening through Monday afternoon, with 10 to 15 inches possible.
Sandpoint woman sentenced in Hurst murder: Cantrip Velite Gatens, a Sandpoint woman born in 1992, will serve at least seven years in prison for her role in the November 21, 2020, murder Brandon Hurst, 38, a good-hearted man from Bonners Ferry who didn't always make the best of decisions but who forever put friends ahead of himself. He died expecting to help the woman whom he thought once loved him.
February 25
Commissioners to oppose Northern Rockies Ecosystem Protection Act: After receiving an email from U.S. Representative Russ Fulcher alerting them of a proposal introduced in the House last year by New York Democrat Carolyn Maloney that would designate huge tracts of land in the Northern Rockies, including Boundary County, as wilderness, Boundary County Commissioners on February 7 agreed to draft a letter in opposition.
Bonners Ferry City Council meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday, March 1
Boundary County Commissioners' agenda, week of February 28
Boundary County School District 101 board meeting, 6 p.m. Monday, February 28, District Office, 7188 Oak Street, Bonners Ferry.
Boundary County Commission minutes, week of February 7
Russians facing stronger opposition than expected: Ukrainian service members are fighting bravely — and effectively — for their country against the massive Russian onslaught, a senior defense official said at the Pentagon today. The official, speaking on background, said Russian forces attacking toward the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv are going slower than they anticipated. "They are meeting more resistance than they expected," the official said. The invasion, launched by Russian President Vladimir Putin on February 23, is designed to "decapitate" the Ukrainian government.
Bridges Home returning to the Pearl Theater: Bridges Home will return to the Pearl Theater at 7 p.m. Saturday, March 19, and tickets are on sale now! This show will most certainly sell out, so don't wait -- get your tickets now. Bridges Home is Tami Belzer Gunter and Dave Gunter - two talented vocalists and multi-instrumentalists whose passion for music shines through like no other.
February 24
U.S. Treasury announces unprecedented sanctions against Russia: The United States took significant and unprecedented action to respond to Russia’s further invasion of Ukraine by imposing severe economic costs that will have both immediate and long-term effects on the Russian economy and financial system.
U of I offering principal program for North Idaho educators: A principal training program for educators in Boundary, Benewah, Bonner, Kootenai and Shoshone counties will run from Fall 2022 through Spring 2024, facilitated by University of Idaho’s College of Education, Health and Human Sciences.
February 23
Library board meets in executive session to discuss whistleblowers: The Boundary County Library Board met in special session today via Zoom to hold executive session to "consider the evaluation, dismissal or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual agent, or public school student" as regards four employees who have been on paid administrative leave since July, 2021.
"All Things Bond" events slated: Boundary County School District officials and board members are hosting an “All Things Bond” discussion and tour at Valley View Elementary School from 5 to 7 p.m., Thursday, February 24. As people arrive, they will be met at the front door and given a brief overview of the bond and its impact to maintenance needs across the district, and then take a walk through and discussion of issues at Valley View and why the facility needs replaced.
Special commissioners meeting set: Boundary County Commissioners will meet in special session in commission chamber in the Boundary County Courthouse at 2:30 p.m. Friday, February 25 to discuss matters pertaining to legal public defense.
Three more Oregon Counties to vote on joining Idaho: Josephine County, Oregon, voters will have their chance to vote on the Greater Idaho idea this May. The Board of Commissioners of that county voted unanimously today to refer a non-binding advisory question regarding Greater Idaho to the county’s May ballot. The question reads “In your opinion, should Josephine County, along with other rural counties, separate from Oregon and become part of Idaho?”
House send inane "anti-discrimination" bill to Senate: The Idaho House on Monday declared an emergency and passed HB 581, called the Employee Medical Information Protection Act though it applies solely to the majority of the state's employers and only addresses measures specifically designed to slow the spread of coronavirus. The legislation, headed now for the Senate, comes as the pandemic shows signs of easing and COVID-19 becomes just one more viral illness to afflict man.
February 22
Lincoln County kids can get free books from Dolly Parton's Imagination Library: Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library is a book gifting program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth to age five, no matter their family’s income, in participating communities. Today, Zero to Five Lincoln County and the Lincoln County Library announced that Lincoln County, Montana, has been approved, and parents can now sign up to receive free books each month for their children ages birth to five years old.
February 21
Boundary County First Judicial District Court dispositions
Chilly temperatures ahead: The National Weather Service, Spokane, has issued a wind chill advisory for North Idaho and northeast Washington in effect from 9 p.m. today through 10 a.m. Wednesday. Bitterly cold temperatures are forecast for tonight in Bonners Ferry, with overnight lows of five to nine degrees expected, accompanied by sustained north northeast winds of 10 to 20 miles per hour, gusting to 40 miles per hour and driving wind chill values from, zero to 15 below.
February 18
Vote "Yes" for the BCSD bond March 8: The past few years have been tough for journalists, especially those who dedicate theselves to covering the small towns in which they live. Once listened to, heard if not trusted. We've been effaced by the politics of the day, our stock-in-trade, trust, disparaged.
Winter storm expected in Kootenai/Cabinet: The National Weather Service, Missoula, has issued a winter storm watch for heavy snow in the Kootenai/Cabinet Region, Flathead/Mission Valleys, the Butte/Blackfoot Region and the Potomac/Seeley Lake Region, in effect Saturday afternoon through Monday morning.
Winter isn't over yet ...
The National Weather Service, Spokane, says it probably isn't the best idea to pack away your winter clothes quite yet ... it looks very likely the entire Inland Northwest will be faced with the coldest temperatures since the beginning of the new year. This wintery visit includes bitter wind chills and possible record cool high temperatures for Tuesday. The cold is expected to stick around through much of the week, with moderating temperatures after that.
SH3 to be closed north of St. Maries: The Idaho Transportation Department will partially close State Highway 3 north of St. Maries to prepare for spring construction. Unless winter weather causes a delay, the closure will start on Monday, February 28, and continue for two weeks. The plan is to close at least one lane of the highway from milepost 89.9 to milepost 92.5, with traffic detoured onto Goosehaven Road. During the closure, crews will remove vegetation along three miles of highway to make room for widening this spring.
February 17
Books, STEAM, chicks and more at Mt. Hall Elementary: Here we are - three weeks into February! The time has flown and our students at Mt. Hall are flying through their year! We have some exciting events coming up this spring! One of the events to look forward to is our Scholastic Book Fair! By Principal Kylie Guthrie
U.S. Senate Republicans continue to kowtow: U.S. Senators Mike Crapo and Jim Risch joined 44 Republican colleagues in continued party pandering to former president Donald J. Trump today, sending a letter to Attorney General Merrick Garland seeking assurances "that the U.S. Department of Justice will continue to respect the prosecutorial independence of Special Counsel John Durham and his staff, while also ensuring he is provided all resources necessary to fully, thoroughly and completely pursue the investigation for which he was appointed" regarding the 2016 presidential election.
What a new Valley View Elementary might look like: If voters approve the $16.4-million bond being requested by Boundary County School District 101 March 8, needed upgrades will be made at each of the district's schools, but work will begin so that in 2024, kids attending elementary school in Bonners Ferry will enter a safer and much more efficient new building to replace the several that have served the community well for over 70-years but are now doddering along on last legs, the clay pipe and galvanized steel plumbing gurgling and dripping toward imminent failure, the lath and plaster walls tinder in buildings with no fire suppression systems.
BCSD answers questions on the proposed bond: Boundary County School District continues to make presentations and provide additional information concerning the upcoming bond election on March 8. As we have made presentations and heard concerns, we want to answer some of the questions that have been asked and provide additional opportunities for you to ask us questions.
Bundy blasts GOP, will continue bid for governor as an independent: Idaho gubernatorial candidate Ammon Bundy issued a statement this morning announcing his withdrawal from the May primary, saying he is changing his party affiliation to independent to enable him to continue his bid in the November general election.
February 16
NIC seeks Woman of the Year nominations: Nominations are now being accepted for the Women of the Year Awards presented annually at the North Idaho College Day of Dialogue, which is taking place April 13 at noon via Zoom. The Zoom meeting link and other Day of Dialogue details will be announced closer to the event date. In its ninth year at NIC, the Day of Dialogue celebrates women of leadership.
February 15
Boundary County First Judicial District Court dispositions
February 14
ISP accepting applications: The Idaho State Police is looking for exceptional candidates to join a team of professionals dedicated to protecting and serving the people of this great state. ISP is Idaho's only statewide full-service law enforcement agency with commissioned positions specializing in criminal investigations, highway safety and traffic enforcement, commercial vehicle safety, and alcohol beverage control.
Fair board seeking bids to raise the roof: NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN that the Boundary County Fair Board of Boundary County, Idaho will be accepting bids for the replacement of the GOAT BARN ROOF, SIDING & DOOR at the Boundary County Fair Grounds located at 6567 Recreation Park Road, Bonners Ferry.
Counterfeit fentanyl rips apart more local lives: A brother concerned for his sister's welfare called Boundary County dispatch for help at about 12:15 p.m. Thursday, reporting that her boyfriend, not welcome, was in her home at the Jenny Lane Apartments and refusing to leave. He'd been inside to clean out drugs and paraphernalia she may have had, he told officers who responded, when he heard someone trying to force open the front door, which he'd locked. His sister, he said, had a terrible drug habit she was fighting to overcome, fed by the man he suspected was now in her apartment.
February 8
Boundary County First Judicial District Court dispositions
Little signs teacher health insurance bill: Governor Brad Little signed House Bill 443 into law at a teacher appreciation rally at Melba Elementary School this morning. His “Leading Idaho” teacher health insurance bill seeks to extend better health insurance benefits to teachers across Idaho.
License plate brings help to Hope House: Sheriff Dave Kramer on Monday presented a check for $640 to Amy Christopherson and the non-profit Hope House in Moyie Springs to help meet the needs of some local youth. The funds came from a portion the America's Promise license plates. In 2000, Idaho became the first state in the nation to create America’s Promise Youth license plates. For every America’s Promise license plate sold, $25 of the $35 fee goes directly to the fund.
February 7
Trew Lammers wins state!
The Boundary County Farm Bureau extends congratulations to Trew Lammers for winning the 2022 Farm Bureau state high school discussion meet in today in Boise! Trew competed in the Idaho capitol building and was able to meet with our lawmakers Sage Dixon and Jim Woodward. Idaho Farm Bureau president Bryan Searle presented her the grand prize check for $1,400.
February 5
Ft. Carson soldier dies in Syria: The Department of Defense announced on Friday the death of a soldier who was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve. Specialist Alex J. Ram, 20, Rancho Cucamonga, California, died February 1, 2022, at Tell Beydar, Syria, as a result of a non-combat related incident. The incident is under investigation.
Making progress on the plan: A few weeks ago, I provided an outline of the Governor’s budget and policy proposals for the 2022 legislative session. We are now one month into the session and making great progress. In the last two weeks, significant tax relief and a major investment in our public school system have passed through both bodies of the Idaho legislature. By Idaho First District Senator Jim Woodward
February 4
We have to work together to break cycle of substance abuse: We have a lot of people who come into our jail for different reasons. It is unfortunate that we currently have a separate combination of a mother and daughter and a father and son, all being held in our jail. They are being held on unrelated charges and were arrested at different times. I think everyone would agree that this is not quality family time. Their names are not important, but what is important is trying to break the cycle. By Sheriff Dave Kramer

Comment added
February 3
UPDATED -- A challenge to make the Museum Portrait Hall a living monument: I must issue an apology, make a retraction of sorts and say thank you; I issued this challenge of my own volition, but without thinking it through. In so doing I blindsided the Boundary County Historical Society members and board, for which I apologize, and I give thanks for the gracious way president Cal Russell let me know that while the concept is appreciated, there are considerations that must be addressed by the board and museum staff to see if the idea is viable and, if so, how it might be set up and administered. The historical society board has asked that those interested in donating (some of whom already have) please wait and allow them time to consider these ideas, and Cal has offered me the opportunity to be included in the discussions to be held. ~ Mike Weland, Publisher
Congratulations, Trew!
Trew Lammers is the winner of the 2022 Farm Bureau District 5 high school discussion meet in Moscow! She will represent Bonners Ferry and North Idaho at the state level in Boise on Monday, February 7.
February 1
Alleged Vazquez-Estrada drug circle shrinking: Jessica Hart, 26, Bonners Ferry, told Bonners Ferry Police Officer Brandon Johnson last month that she knew her boyfriend was an abusive and violent man, that she couldn't leave her young son alone with him. She stays with him, she said, in part because he supplies her the fentanyl Mexi pills to which she's addicted. She is now in jail, not far from boyfriend Miguel Vazquez-Estrada, facing up to seven years in prison and/or a fine up to $15,000 on each of two counts of possession. Two others are also facing possession charges.
9B.News
Mike Weland, Publisher
mike@9b.news  

6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
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Business
February 22
An Elmira landmark enters an eclectic new phase: Once renowned for the best burgers in North Idaho, the grill at the Elmira Store on Highway 95 just south of the Bonner/Boundary County line was turned off in January, 2017, after the death of proprietor Ed Cook Jr. The grill remains cold, the post office closed, but that unprepossessing old building is open once again, now as Mountain Traders, and with a vibrancy that is sure to grow both the legacy and the legend of the way station between Bonners Ferry and Sandpoint.
Social
February 28
Family of Carol Pluid extends thanks: The family of Carol Pluid wish to acknowledge and express our deepest appreciation to the doctors and nursing staff of Boundary Community Hospital that attended her during a recent hospitalization. Doctors Diehl and Botkin, the nursing staff as well as the many others on the team that cared for and assisted her recovery from serious illness provided exceptional treatment and service that afforded her the opportunity to return home to continue her recovery.
February 24
Four local student earn degrees at U 0f I: A total of 637 degrees were awarded to 583 students December 11 in Moscow during the University of Idaho's Winter 2021 Commencement. Five of the degrees went to four Boundary County students, including one doctorate.
February 22
Seven county students earn spots on NIC dean's list: North Idaho College recently announced its Dean’s List for the fall 2021 semester. Students eligible for the NIC Dean’s List must be enrolled in a minimum of 12 credits and obtain a grade point average of 3.75 or above.
February 15
Glenda Poston honored for 25 years on fair board: During its February 7 meeting, the Boundary County Fair Board honored one of its own, helping member Glenda Poston, who joined the board in January, 1997, celebrate 25 years of volunteer service. She was honored with an engraved mantle clock in recognition of her valued service.
February 14
14 county students earn U of I dean's list honors: A total of 2,585 students, 14 from Boundary County, qualified for the University of Idaho Dean’s List for the Fall 2021 semester, which ended December 17. To qualify for the Dean’s List, U of I students maintained at least a 3.5 GPA on a minimum of 12 graded credits during the semester.
February 8
BCMS honor roll students named: Boundary County Middle School has issued its first semester honor roll, with 31 students maintaining grade point averages of 4.0. In the eight grade, Tory Baisden, Alyssa Gardner, Madeline Hart, Hallie Hartman, Samantha Koehn, Rylann Lewis, Stryder Liermann, Marvin Michaels, Jane Moellmer, Paige Sartell, Albert Schultz and Micah Thomson earned 4.0 GPAs.
Sports/Outdoors
February 24
Another good week for the Blue Bells: Kathy Konek, Carolyn McNeill and Dolores Sweet, the Blue Bells, took high scratch game 434, second high scratch series 1,159, high handicap game 674 and second high handicap series 1,870 in week 22 of Tuesday's Trouble women's league bowling at AJ's Lanes.
February 15
Blue Bells reign in week 21: The Blue Bells; Kathy Konek, Caroline McNeil and Dolores Sweet, took high scratch game 408, high handicap game 645 and second high scratch series 1,082, in week 21 of Tuesday's Trouble women's league bowling at AJ's Lanes, led by Kathy's high scratch game 165 and third high handicap game 231.
February 4
Petesch signs to play volleyball with the Bucs: Dawson Community College, Glendive, Montana, is excited to announce the signing of Siera Petesch, Bonners Ferry, to their volleyball program. Petesch is a 5’9” middle All-League volleyball player and captain for the Badgers. She is a three sport athlete who has had success not only in athletics, but in the classroom, earning honor roll recognition and being a part of National Honors Society.
February 1
Love spread around in week 19: Denise Crichton got high scratch game 171, third high scratch series 423 and third high handicap game 238 in week 19 of Tuesday's Trouble women's league bowling .at AJ's Lanes. Kim Haworth got second high scratch game 170, high scratch series 455, high handicap game 255 and high handicap series 710, Carolyn McNeill got third high scratch game 169, second high scratch series 453 and tied for third high handicap series 657.
FWP forming elk management advisory group: As elk populations continue to be a concern across the state, Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks is convening a citizens advisory group to address the future of elk management. The 12-member group will be tasked with developing new and creative ideas and recommendations and helping build new relationships among stakeholders passionate about elk management in Montana.
Letters
February 23
Idaho legislators follow agendas rather than constitution: Sometimes you wonder if certain members of the Idaho Legislature have even read the Idaho Constitution. For all their pronouncements about honoring and faithfully following the U.S. and Idaho Constitutions, they pay precious little regard to them when passing legislation that fits their agenda. Legislators have ignored their duty under the Constitution to adequately fund public education, while proposing to divert public funds to private and parochial schools. By Jim Jones and Rod Gramer
February 16
American ideals remain ours to uphold: For more than a century, the U.S. Senate has carried out the annual tradition of reading George Washington’s Farewell Address in recognition of the birthday of our country’s first president, who led our country during the American Revolutionary War and helped form our government as a Founding Father. By U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
Six-week abortion ban is dangerous and unconstitutional: Members of Idaho's Reproductive Justice Coalition, Freeing Idaho, expressed dismay at this morning's passage of SB1309 out of Idaho’s Senate State Affairs Committee. Their highlighted concerns are for the safety of community members and medical providers. SB1309 is a bill which copycats SB8 from Texas—a bill that eradicates a pregnant person in Idaho from having access to abortion after just six weeks of pregnancy. Additionally, it encourages everyday Idahoans to act as vigilantes. By Freeing Idaho
February 6
Thanking city council for serving the public interest: I am writing to thank the Bonners Ferry City Council for using the ARPA funds to purchase a much-needed snow blower for the city of Bonners Ferry. ARPA funds are tax dollars that we, the taxpayers of Bonners Ferry, sent to Washington D.C. I for one am happy to have my money back to be used for the safety of our community. By Craig Kelson
February 5
Acceptance of ARPA funds shortsighted: The recent decision made by the Bonners Ferry City counsel, to accept ARPA funds to purchase a snowblower, was shortsighted. It has been said that the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that Executive Orders cannot apply to agreements made before that EO was issued. I can't help but think of the scores (yes, there are many), of Supreme Court decisions that have been reversed when the political climate of the court changed. By Patrick Murphy
February 3
Seeing the scourge and standing up to it: Many of us who live in this small corner of heaven buy fully into the travelogue idea expressed on signs welcoming all to this place; that Bonners Ferry is Idaho's friendliest city. By inference a place free from the big city travails of crime and abuse. Nice thought, but wrong ... and dangerous. By Mike Weland
Obituaries
February 25
Charles Robert Johnson, 92, passed away peacefully at home in Bonners Ferry on February 19, 2022. Charles was born on February 16, 1930, the son of Charles and Irma Ohm Johnson in Cocolalla. Memorial services will be announced at a later date.
February 24
Lila Kaye Cox, 64, passed away peacefully at her Bonners Ferry home on February 14, 2022. Lila was born in Streator, Illinois, on July 20, 1957, the daughter of James and Ruth Majeski Cox. Lila was very family oriented and loved spending time with her children and grandchildren.
February 23
Billy Charles "Bill" Tompkins passed away as he wanted to, peacefully in his home surrounded by his loved ones. He was born to Florence Elizabeth and James Anthony Tompkins on August 11, 1926, in Healdon, Oklahoma. He completed their family of 13 children. His youth was spent in the south, in Oklahoma and Texas.
February 22
Cathy Pease-Briggs, 64, passed away suddenly on February 15, 2022, in Bonners Ferry from natural causes. The second of five children, Cathy was born April 11, 1957, to Lonny and Jo Chapel. There will be a Funeral Service at 1 p.m. Mountain Time Saturday, February 26, at Troy Community Baptist Church, 725 East Missoula Avenue. A potluck reception will follow.
February 11
Bernadean Fern Barrett, 89, of Centralia, Washington, passed away peacefully at St. Peter Hospital in Olympia, Washington, on January 25, 2022, surrounded by her family. She was born in Bonners Ferry October 15, 1932, to William “Bill” and Ruth (Thompson) McLaughlin, the middle of three children.