Keep what makes Boundary County dear, vote Bertling
November 7, 2022
My family moved to Boundary County in 1970 when I was just 11 years old. My dad was hired as a U.S. Customs Inspector at Eastport on the U.S./Canadian border. Although I wasn’t born in Boundary County, with the exception of college, I’ve lived in Boundary County most of my life. My family came from Wyoming by way of Montana and fell into the quiet life of the small town of Eastport.
My parents didn’t come with the idea of changing the culture of Eastport, but embraced the friendliness of this small town, where every kid under 18 was part of the Eastport “gang.” We hung out together at the swimming hole called Big Rock, floated down the Moyie on inner tubes together, played basketball down at the stockyards, sat on the end bridge at the edge of town and watched the tourists go by, played hide and go seek and kick the can, ice skated on the river in the winter, biked down to the dump to watch the bears scavenge for food, and rode our bikes to Sinclair Lake.
There were few secrets in Eastport, and one could be assured that if a kid in town made a poor decision, parents knew about it before their child walked in the door.
Two of my siblings and I attended Mt. Hall Elementary School and my older sister went to Bonners Ferry High School. Life was good for four kids, my parents and my grandmother, stuffed in one of the government houses with one bathroom, two bedrooms and a partially finished basement.
It was apparent to my parents that they raised active kids and would be very involved in high school activities, so they decided to move to Bonners Ferry in the spring of 1973, where my dad would be the only one on the road to and from Eastport.
Bonners Ferry was much larger than Eastport, but once again, my parents embraced the culture of community. My dad worked six days a week and when he could, he was active in Shriners. He found time to draw up plans for the Bonners Ferry Glass Shop and went in with several other families and bought the old Shamrock bar, renovating it into a much nicer establishment called Mr. C’s.
Mom was busy raising four children and attending most every activity and still she found time to give back to the community through her involvement with many of Trinity Lutheran Church’s activities and outreach: altar guild, the annual Smorgasbord, quilting, wedding receptions, washing hair at the Restorium and working the funeral dinners.
My parents always instilled in us the importance of education. All of my parents’ children -- products of public education -- went on to earn bachelor degrees. They instilled in us independence, hard work and the expectation that teachers, coaches, mentors and advisors were always given the utmost respect. We were taught to be respectful, but that we all had a voice and a right to speak up for ourselves, but in a respectful manner and above all, be educated with the facts.
Like many graduates of Bonners Ferry High School, I planned to find a job somewhere else, raise a family and make my mark on the world.
Little did I know that I would fall in love with a hometown boy, get married, raise a family, and teach at Bonners Ferry High School for 37 years and coach multiple sports.
In my 50 plus years as a Boundary County resident, I am proud of the small town atmosphere. A small town where people greet each other on the street, at the grocery store or while pumping gas. A small town where the market animal sale at the fair brings in thousands of dollars for 4-H kids. A small town where businesses continually donate to every school fundraiser.
A small town that supports a family who lost their house to a fire or a family who has incurred an exorbitant medical bill due to an accident or life threatening illness or disease. A small town where people attend funerals not because they know the deceased, but because they know the family and want to show their support. A small town where people pull over on the highway to help load a few hay bales that slide off a trailer or help change a flat tire. A small town where several calls results in a team of people with shovels in hand, set to clear off snow from the roof of a school or two.
I am not against change and in the 50 years I’ve lived here, I’ve seen many changes, but those changes came over a period of time, through much thought, many hours of debate and many hours of listening to understand.
What I fear most are the people who want to make changes that don’t fit the culture we hold so dear. People who want to change the very fabric that makes Boundary County so unique, so special, so endearing.
I would challenge this group of people to live here for a while and really look at what makes Boundary County so special. I would challenge this group to be involved, volunteer, ask questions, experience the culture and above all, listen!
Many people have taken the liberty to vote early. For those of you that haven’t, I encourage you to exercise your right to vote and when you cast your ballot, think of what is at stake for our nation, our state, but particularly our community.
One of the most important decisions I see is the vote for county commissioner.
Please vote for Tim Bertling. A candidate who understands the culture of Boundary County. A candidate who listens to all sides and makes educated decisions. A candidate who works for the benefit of the people.
Mike Weland, Publisher
6931 Main St.
P.O. Box 1625
Bonners Ferry, ID 83805
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