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Letters
October 1
Write in Steve Johnson for Idaho Senate: We need a man like Steve Johnson to represent us in the Idaho Senate. I have met Steve. I find him to be a respectful listener and sensible man. He is a locally raised and educated Idahoan. He spent 42 years as a teacher and principal in our local schools. As a farmer and landowner, he believes in preserving our rural lifestyle with common sense development as well as keeping our public lands public. By Margie Corcoran
The differences between the two candidates for Idaho Senate District 1: On property taxes, Steve Johnson recognizes the problems caused by recent huge increases in property values and wants to help us by increasing the Homeowners exemption. Scott Herndon doesn’t care. On preserving out rural lifestyle, Steve Johnson wants to preserve access to our public lands and encourage growth that preserves open space. Scott Herndon wants to sell off our public lands to the highest bidder. By Ken Thacker
September 30
Beware smear tactics in the midterm election: I am concerned over the smear tactics and big lies used in the last Republican Primary — and concerned that we might see a repeat in the upcoming midterm election. For instance, Jim Woodward has been our State Senator in Boise for the last two terms, doing an outstanding job representing Boundary County and part of Bonner County as Idaho Senator, Legislative District One. But I was dismayed to see such an excellent Senator defeated in the recent Republican Primary by what I considered a smear campaign by his opponent, Scott Herndon. By Jo Len Everhart
Drumroll, please: Bob Vickaryous writes that we should follow "Idaho state law" and “start having free and open and fair elections" for the library board. Allow me to refresh his memory. According to Idaho Code, Library district trustee terms are for six years. If a trustee was elected in 2015 their term ended in 2021. The term of a trustee elected in 2017 will end in 2023 and the term of a trustee elected in 2019 will end in 2025. By Mary Ollie
We are entitled to our opinions, but not our facts: "I have noticed the 'write in Tim Bertling' signs all over the county," a Boundary County Republican Central Committeeman wrote today on the Boundary County Politics Facebook page. "One thing that I noticed, is that most of the signs are placed on the properties of people who are members of the corrupt families that have been running this county, for years. These families are petrified that they are going to lose control of this county." By Mike Weland
Free and open elections solution to library crisis: If you don't like the library start your own reads the headline of last week's guest opinion in the Herald. I've got a better idea. Since we the taxpayers are Boundary County already have a library that we bought and paid for why not just start running it the way Idaho state law says it should be run? By Bob Vickaryous
CRT part of coordinated national effort to damage public schools: This is the story of how one man and an obscure analytical tool came to threaten our public schools. We should have learned our lesson with private prisons, but these profiteers don’t give up, and now they’re after our children. Their hot new weapon is Critical Race Theory. By Terry Gilbert
September 29
Wives are always right: It all started in a joking way ... I carried two glasses of ice tea outside to a table, then my husband came up a minute later and asked, “Which one is mine?” (I add a little sugar to mine, he likes his tea plain.) I flippantly replied, "Wives are always right — so my tea is on the right.” Now I often jokingly add this expression as we are ending a “discussion.” But this is what happened one late August morning as we were finishing an early breakfast. He looked out the glass door and exclaimed, “There's a bloom on that Clematis vine by the deck!” By Jo Len Everhart
September 28
Fulcher does not deserve my vote: I have written to and called Congressman Russ Fulcher many times during his time in Congress. His replies have shown me that he is not, as his ad claims, a "conservative voice in Congress." Conservative is an ideology that strives for fiscal responsibility; instead of voting responsibly, he voted to give the ultra-rich tax breaks that punished our economy and citizens like me. By Clarice McKenney
To get things done, write in Tim Bertling: We all know that the general election will be on Tuesday, November 8. We also know that if we want to update our Boundary County Road and Bridge equipment and maintain and improve our county roads, continue to have a place for our older residents at the Community Restorium, purchase an additional ambulance, restore fishing and other activities at our lakes, facilitate forest restoration (e.g.: timber sales), make improvements at the Fairgrounds, and more, we need to write in current District 2 County Commissioner Tim Bertling. By Linda Alt
No 'dark money' in Idaho politics: Thanks to Republicans there is no such thing as "dark money" in Idaho's political campaigns. Dark money refers to money being spent to influence your vote for which the source of the donations remains hidden or unknown. Idaho's Republicans have implemented excellent campaign finance laws called the Sunshine laws. By Scott Herndon
September 27
Grateful for firefighters' work, sacrifice: I want to thank all the fire personnel working on the Kootenai River Complex fire. I personally interacted with all levels of personnel working on the fire and they were all very knowledgeable, hard-working and professional. The contracted engine crew we had staying on our property extended for an extra week just to make sure we were safe. By Shannon K. Schaeffer
Steve Johnson a quality candidate: Character counts! When I go into the voting booth to select someone who will represent me, I want a person of character. Steve Johnson’s announcement to run as a District 1 Senate write-in candidate against Scott Herndon is welcome news as voters now have a choice between someone of character and someone who goes as low as possible to win. By Krista Eberle
If not putting out fires, contract firefighters need to go home: First off, I need to tell you that Russell mountain is right behind where we live. We have had a front row seat when it has come to this fire. Please stop regurgitating all the talking points that the government entities want to be put out there. Why don't you do some investigative reporting instead? Find out how much these contract fire men are making for doing little to nothing. By Brian Entz
September 26
Tim Bertling has county's best interest in mind: As the “middle child” of a proud, five generation Boundary County family, I write this letter to encourage the voters of Boundary County to research the history of all candidates in the running for office in November. Our vote counts and as responsible voters, we should consider the track records of the candidates and not be caught up in the rhetoric that seems to be running rampant in our county. By Ruth Ann Wilson
Vote 'yes' on SJR102: Our November 8 ballots will contain SJR102, an important amendment to the Idaho Constitution. After voters approve SJR102, the Idaho legislature will be able to convene itself in emergency legislative sessions without the governor’s call. Currently the Idaho legislature meets once a year for its regular annual session which typically lasts three months. It then adjourns and cannot reconvene until the following year unless the governor calls it back into special sessions. By Scott Herndon
September 25
Our founder saw today ... we must pay heed: Boundary County voters have a wonderful opportunity to heed our first president’s advice. George Washington warned us of political parties gaining too much power. He believed that political parties would divide and destroy the United States. He expressed his concerns in his 1796 Farewell Address. With the November 8 election just weeks away, this is an appropriate time to reflect on our first president’s words of warning. By Mary Ollie
September 20
Nice concept, but explain how: County Commissioner candidate Steve Fioravanti stated “We need address the fact that more than 60% of our state lands are controlled by the Feds ... we could better manage our own resources locally, raise significant revenue ...” He does not say how he is going to accomplish this. Is this a proposal to take over federal lands? Would that action open these lands to future private ownership? By Karen Pinkerton
September 19
Heather to lead charge to save Idaho kids from 'woke' mob: We’ve come a long way from “what you do in your bedroom is private” to publicly funding child drag shows and porn literacy training for elementary schools. But here we are. They want to indoctrinate your kids and take away your control as parent. In Idaho of all places! Thankfully, there is something you can do about it. By Idaho Representative Heather Scott
There is a choice for county commissioner: Why did Steve Fioravanti move here? Why does he think our “status quo” commissioners need his ideas of anti-government? Our history of county commissioners managing our county government has served us well in meeting the needs of our diverse community and resolving issues as they arise. And, yes, that means working with our state and federal governments. The funds of those state and federal levels governments are ours, too. By Elsie Hollenbeck
September 18
Herndon seeks to impose personal beliefs on constituents: A few years ago, we (including a child) drove out of the parking lot of Shakespeare-in-the-Park only to come face to face with large and graphic posters of aborted fetuses. The distress of that imposition still lingers in me, which I understand was the intent. Being the creator and host of the website AbolishAbortionID.com, Scott Herndon was instrumental in writing the current anti-abortion law. He calls all abortion murder and intends to outlaw all abortion from fertilization on, including some forms of contraception, without any exceptions. By Gabrielle Duebendorfer, NMD
Information divide is fueling nation's political divide: “The greatest cause of our growing partisan divide is our information divide. The left and right are getting different news so democrats and republicans are not on the same page.” Those statements were made by a republican senator during a recent interview, and I think most would agree. In fact, most of us are aware that, in general, media has become increasingly biased. By Georgia Earley
Write in Steve Johnson: District 1 voters ... It’s time to stop the extremists! We can do this by writing in Steve Johnson for District 1 Senate. Johnson is a long-time north Idaho resident who understands us and our way of life. By Jacinda Bokowy
September 16
Bertling needed for stability, reasonable actions: Great news for Boundary County! Tim Bertling is an official write-in candidate for County Commissioner district two. As an experienced county commissioner, Tim will continue to represent Boundary County without a self-serving agenda and radical ideas. He is honest, fair, broad-minded and free of conflicting interests. By Janis Kerby
September 13
The hypocrisy of Donna Capurso:  Donna Capurso, the woman trying to pocket your property taxes, is a Redoubt extremist. She writes articles in the online Redoubt News, identifying herself as a “patriot journalist.” She encourages her fellow extremists to “find your way to the American Redoubt,” meaning north Idaho. By Timothy Braatz
We must engage: For years now, I have been contemplating the situation of our library, all while attending story time with my children and enjoying the resources it has to offer my family. I am thankful to be acquainted with many people here in the county, and I have been listening and watching. Thoughts formed as I read reports, letters, and asked direct questions. As is often the case for me, the words came in the wee hours of the morning - a conveniently quiet time for a mama of young ones in a small home - so I started to write. By Stephanie Ross
September 11
Time for all who cherish equal rights to take the tiller: In these United States, we are each of us, as citizens, blessed with the right to believe, religiously, politically and philosophically, in the way of our choosing, even if our choice is foolish or inimical to the functioning of our society. The rights promised by our constitution extend even to the farthest limits of the lunatic fringe. But there are limits, for to ensure that all are endowed equally with these blessings, it becomes necessary to draw in the reins when any one faction or sect begins demanding that their particular mode of philosophy, religion or politics be forced on all others. Thoughts on the library, by Mike Weland
September 7
Casting my vote for write-in candidate Tim Bertling: As a 61 year resident of Boundary County, I have always been proud of my community. Recently I have been saddened by disruptive and even intimidating behavior that is hateful. This has no place in my community! We are a diverse community in many ways, neighbors contributing their various gifts and strengths. By Judy Dirks
September 6
Beware false neighbors, they aren't civilized: In my years covering news in Boundary County, one thing I've learned is that all who land here and want to be accepted as neighbors are. We can bicker, we can argue, we can fight. But when troubles come, as they always do in a rough and unforgiving land, we distinguish ourselves, born here or belated, by how we respond. Those who will be good neighbors ask "what can I do to help?" without hesitation. By Mike Weland
September 5
Joe Biden’s speech and America’s soul: Lincoln's second inaugural was given during the grinding Civil War. In it he said: “With malice toward none, with charity for all...” He did not disparage his opponents or his political enemies. Here is the "extreme" MAGA agenda Biden warns us about: secure borders, election integrity, energy independence, tough on crime, pro-life, ending child genital mutilation, parents first, school choice, follow the Constitution. By Dean Cannon
September 4
Is violence a Christian value? No! I can’t say it anymore plainly than this: Violence is not a Christian value! So why are there so many self-professed Christians speaking in violent terms or even acting out in aggressive, even violent ways? I really don’t understand it. Do you? Jesus never condoned violence for his disciples or other followers. Why would any current-day followers of Jesus even consider that Jesus’ ethic of love be associated with violence in action and/or word? Yet, there it is. By Pastor Paul Graves
September 3
In this trying time, we must all take action: We live in interesting times, and they are going to get far more interesting as MAGA Republican leaders, still led by former president Donald Trump, and their "conservative" propaganda press continue to lie blatantly to their constituents, vilify the left and Democrats and even moderate members of their own party, fomenting anger and divisiveness. President Joe Biden spake truth this week in Philadelphia. By Mike Weland
August 31
‘Building a New Society’ requires, well, building: Many new residents to our community speak ambitiously about “building a new society” or “creating a new community.” However, accomplishing these bold ideas requires far more than flamboyant bumper stickers, angry protests or threatening Facebook posts. Yelling “NO” is easy, but what are you for? By Alex Awbrey
August 30
Your library needs your support: This past week it came to my attention that the Boundary County Library, its board of trustees and its director have been the focus of protests and threats, culminating in the resignation of the director. Upon reading the resignation letter, I wondered, "what in the world is happening to my hometown?" By Jim Pace
Seeing Bertling run like Christmas in August: It was like Christmas in August to see that Tim Bertling is running a write-in campaign as county commissioner. Tim is a third generation Boundary County resident, owner of a contract timber cutting business, an avid bow hunter and fisherman who values time spent with his wife Wendy in their Moyie Springs garden. By Ken Homik
Stand up for our community's public library: The Boundary County Library has been an exceptional resource for this community since the formation of the Boundary County Free Library District in 1956. Outstanding leadership and amazing employees have served the library since its inception in its mission to serve our community. The excellence of our library has been recognized at the national level numerous times. By too many to list
August 29
Idaho’s abortion laws must be rewritten: The Idaho Legislature must revamp its confusing abortion laws so that pregnant women and doctors know what medical care is permissible and what is not. The U.S. Supreme Court has turned the abortion issue over to lawmakers, so it is vitally important that our laws provide clarity. Otherwise, women could die or suffer grievous harm, and doctors could go to prison for providing life-saving care. By Tom Arkoosh
Steve Johnson will support schools: To pass his driver’s test was what kept Calvin in class; 15 years old and still unable to read. For 22 years I taught high school and Calvin was one of far too many young men we lost. How many more children does Scott Herndon want to fail by pulling money out of public education? By Carole Friedman
August 28
An inquiring mind: After reading the pros and cons on the subject of the library board, I have yet to hear the moral side of this subject. We have heard from one minister, but where is the Ministerial Association in this matter? Have they lost their voices or are afraid they may lose a deep pocketed member of their flock? By Elizabeth Sloot
We have a choice, write in Steve Johnson for Senate: This November we have many important choices to make. Do we want forward-looking representation that deals with reality? Or do we choose representatives who are trying to hold on to an imaginary past? We have candidates who want to control the content of our libraries and what teachers can talk about in the classroom. By Gil Beyer
August 23
We can't afford to wait on passing school bond: Here’s some bond perspective for today ... Boundary County School District is one of 12 school districts across Idaho that is running a bond or plant facilities levy Aug 30 with a total of $261.4 million worth of projects at stake across the state. When school districts in Idaho are faced with large capital improvement projects (in our case replacing an unsafe, 73-year-old elementary school in addition to some smaller projects), bonds and plant facilities levies are our only recourse in funding these projects – there is no other way. By Teresa Rae
August 22
Passing school bond won't be easy, but our kids are counting on us: On August 30, Boundary County voters will decide whether our community's five-year-olds will, in two years or so, bravely but tearfully wave goodbye to moms and dads and step forward into the same Valley View Elementary attended by the adults they look up to going back 70-some years, or will the clock be reset, and these kids be the first to step into a safe new school their forebears; parents and grandparents, neighbors ... people they don't and will not ever know, bequeathed them. By Mike Weland
The Idaho Freedom Foundation misinforms about the education initiative: The ill-named Idaho Freedom Foundation (IFF), which essentially owns and operates the extremist branch of today’s Republican Party, wants to destroy the Gem State’s public school system. As recent as August 8, IFF President Wayne Hoffman repeated his demand for the State to get out of the “education business.” That seems to be a tall order since the Idaho Constitution requires the Legislature to “maintain a general, uniform and thorough system of public, free common schools.” By Jim Jones
We are strong and we hold fast to hope: I love you. Library, I love you. BCSD#101, I love you. My first grade teacher’s hands, wrapped around my own hand, wrapped around a pencil, writing my own name for the first time at Naples School in first grade. Grandma, I love you. All my teachers, all the way through Bonners Ferry High School; I love you. By Christi Kramer
End of summer elections essential -- please vote August 30: The last thing school patrons may have on their minds as they squeeze in that last barbecue or vacation of the summer is exercising their responsibility as citizens to vote. That’s why it’s so important to remind patrons that some important elections are coming up soon. On August 30, 12 school districts will be seeking voter approval for $261.4 million for a variety of education investments. By Rod Gramer, Idaho Business for Education
August 19
Ban the books, sound the shofar: This crowd that now attends each library board meeting to assert its holy righteousness and call down the wrath of heaven upon the sinners and infidels who don't quite share the same righteous fervor have every right ... and I think they should be credited for taking part in the process. By Mike Weland
August 18
We've lost the ideal of being American: In response to Georgia Earley's letter, I agree 100%. It used to be that regardless of our party affiliation, we could still debate. Now, I see deep hatred for an opposing view. I believe part of the problem is that we have lost the ideal of being American. We have been divided into groups and pitted against each other. In the past, even when we disagreed, we all still had that underlining understanding that we were all part of a great country. By Phillip Bourassa
August 17
It’s all about kids: Our community has the opportunity to vote for our future on August 30. Voting “YES” is a vote for a fiscally responsible plan to build a new Valley View Elementary School, upgrade the high school and middle school shops to provide expanded Career Technical Education, replace the roof at Mt. Hall Elementary, and provide for new traffic revisions at Naples Elementary. By Ron Smith, David Sims, Kristie Campbell et al
August 16
Flawed as it is, our democracy worth saving: Having had many years of conversations with both Republicans and Democrats, it’s clear that the increasingly inaccurate generalizations and labeling that I’ve heard, in the past five years especially, has succeeded in demonizing people who think differently and only encourages tribalism. However, in my personal conversations, I’ve found that most people of both parties have a lot of common ground; they actually agree on more than on what they disagree. By Georgia Earley
If this was about book bans, wouldn’t the library need to have the books? This cannot be stressed strongly enough ... there are no sexually explicit materials in the children’s area of the library! There is no pornography in the library. The library does not carry a single title being circulated to generate fear and hate. This narrative has been crafted and executed to incite a group of people to act against their own experience and judgment, or worse to act within narrow self-interest. By Kimber Glidden, Director, Boundary County Library
August 15
Concerned about 'Ursa Rio' inconsistencies: Boundary County Commissioners and planning and zoning staff: This may all turn out okay, with everyone living happily ever after, but before you let Owen Benjamin’s Ursa Rio “improved” campsites (his lawyer’s words) proceed without a permit, consider the following information provided to county P&Z staff and commissioners ... By Elaine Duncan
August 10
Are Republicans a threat to ‘Democracy?' Yes and no. First, it depends on what you mean by ‘Democracy’. Second, it depends on what you mean by ‘Republican’.
For Democrats the word democracy is a euphemism for what they really mean: Democratic Socialism. The official name of communist North Korea is the Democratic People's Republic of Korea ... The real question is: are real Republicans, Conservatives or the MAGA movement a threat to Democratic Socialism? The answer to that is absolutely yes. By Dean Cannon
August 6
AR-15s meet intent behind second amendment: Muskets were the assault weapons of their day, and yes, you have the right to own them. Illinois governor JB Pritzker recently insinuated that the second amendment is obsolete because the founding fathers owned muskets. This is an insult to the intelligence of every American. In the 18th Century the citizen and the state were equally matched on the battlefield. Both fought with the same weapons. It was just a matter of who had more muskets and soldiers. By Dean Cannon
August 4
Strengthening a kind and respectful community: Community can be defined as a group of people with diverse interests, beliefs and characteristics linked together with common bonds. Successful communities are those where people live and work together in a civil manner and respectfully embrace differences. Through the democratic process citizens have the opportunity to choose community leaders and make decisions for the common good. By the Boundary County Human Rights Task Force
August 3
We must rally to save Trump's helpless gullible: In legal proceedings and congressional hearings, Donald J. Trump's big lie is clearly starting to unravel, but believers of the lie are clearly not hearing the truth, preferring instead to get their "news" from outlets that pander to a liar. By Mike Weland
County can't ignore Ursa Rio: Now that Owen Benjamin Smith has unilaterally claimed through his attorney that his activities at Ursa Rio are not subject to county zoning rules, construction activity is up. Neighbors report that, since the end of July, a backhoe has come and gone, port-o-potties are back, and traffic has increased. The county regulations may be vague and poorly written, but this is no excuse for the county to allow an applicant to push them around this way. By Elaine Duncan
DOJ abortion lawsuit predictable: One could have predicted the federal lawsuit against Idaho challenging the abortion statute that would make criminals of health care professionals who respond to the needs of pregnant women in dire health care circumstances. The federal law requires health care facilities that receive federal funding to care for the health and safety of such women. By Tom Arkoosh
July 25
Good things happening for real conservative Republicans: It has been a full 2 months since my last correspondence, before the Idaho Primary Election. It was then that Idahoans had the opportunity to replace the majority of the Republican executive branch with elected officials who were not globalists. Sadly, many of the globalists were elected. By Idaho Representative Heather Scott
July 22
We the people are owed the truth: "Whatever your politics, whatever you think about the outcome of the election, we as Americans must all agree on this. Donald Trump's conduct on January 6 was a supreme violation of his oath of office and a complete dereliction of his duty to our nation. It is a stain on our history. It is a dishonor to all those who have sacrificed and died in service of our democracy." By Mike Weland
July 20
Library staff grateful for community's show of support: There are not words to describe the feelings that filled our hearts on Tuesday morning when we arrived at the library. Love, support, encouragement, happiness, joy, thankfulness, relief and resolve just don't seem enough. Thank you so very much for this grand act of kindness, you are greatly appreciated!
Who needs a library? Let's just close it: Interesting the stance some have taken against the already regulated contents of the library, the staff and the board. Let’s just close it. "Oh no Mr. Bill! Don’t do that! It serves the community and sooo many people rely on it and enjoy it." By Rosanne Smith
The greatest theft of taxpayer dollars in history: Unemployment fraud during the pandemic has been the greatest theft of taxpayer dollars in American history. The U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) estimates unemployment fraud has left taxpayers on the hook for $163 billion, or more, and only around $4 billion has been recovered. Compounding the offense, transnational organized criminal networks, including cartels based in China, Ghana, Nigeria, Romania and Russia, appear to have carried out much of this fraud, exploiting the pandemic to steal American taxpayers’ money. By U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
July 18
Say no to modern day prohibitionists: In 1919, the United States passed the 18th Amendment. Prohibition became the law of the land. It lasted just 14 years. It wasn’t popular and it did not work. Many people felt that if you didn’t want to drink, no one was forcing you to do so. However, you did not have the right to restrict what others can do. I cite this example because there are many elements in common with the Boundary County Library Board recall that is underway. By Mary Ollie
July 17
Library board recall an inept and shameless ploy: "Our Mission is to protect children from explicit materials and grooming," say those seeking the recall of four of five members of the Boundary County Free Library Board, sparing the only member who voted "their way." Their arguments appear plausible to some, but they are wrong. It is time for those in our community who recognize their aim and don't buy the rhetoric to stand firm and deliver to these usurpers a loud and unequivocal, "no." By Mike Weland
July 14
We let them get away with it: Before 2016, I would never have imagined seeing so many people in our communities, our region, clinging so firmly to such clear lies and false assertions as the Make America Great Again rhetoric of Donald John Trump and his merry band of misfits. I thought we were more logical, more intelligent. We aren't and it tears my heart, because it so clearly shows the ignorance and fears so many of our neighbors cling to. By Mike Weland
July 11
Solutions to mass shootings: Idahoans deserve to live without fearing for their life, whether at the supermarket, school or home. Incidents of gun violence around the country have rightly focused efforts to protect communities, especially our children. Effective and implementable solutions require addressing the driving factors behind heinous acts of gun violence, such as strengthening shortcomings in our mental health system, hardening the protection of our schools and enforcing existing laws against known violent criminals and those adjudicated to be an imminent threat of violence. By U.S. Senator Mike Crapo
July 9
A warning to others: Owen Benjamin Smith committed fraud and is a compulsive liar for his own gain. I have been advised to sue him for slander and defamation and for cyberfraud, but up until now have been hesitant as I live in Australia. He has called me a crazy criminal and spent 20 minutes on one of his livestreams trying to humiliate me and lying about me over 40 times to his audience for the sake of making an example of me so that no more of his followers would ask for a refund of the $400 plus they sent him for the promised campgrounds. By Elizabeth Moldovan
July 8
A liar by his own words asking trust: It's the neighborly thing to do, to take a man at his word. To give benefit of the doubt. To trust. It's damned foolish, though, to trust the contentions of a man whose own words, deliberately posted and published, prove him a liar. Self-described Hollywood A-list comedian Owen Benjamin testified plainly at public hearing June 23 that his proposed use on 10-acres on the Moyie River  was in no way associated with his earlier commercial plans that concerned his neighbors. By Mike Weland ... Update: New video added July 13.
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