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Wolf Hunts Morally Corrupt

The resumption of wolf-hunts in Idaho, Montana and Wyoming illustrates why citizens must continue to oppose such unnecessary and senseless slaughters. The wolf-hunts are predicated upon morally corrupt and inaccurate assumptions about wolf behavior and impacts that is not supported by recent scientific research. State wildlife agencies pander to the lowest common denominator in the hunting community—men who need to booster their own self esteem and release misdirected anger by killing.

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Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act Misses on Weeds and Wilderness

The Coalition to Protect the Front supports the Rocky Mountain Front Heritage Act as a means of “protecting the Front”. It justifies the legislation by the “threat” noxious weeds make to the native plant communities of this magnificent landscape. Weeds, by displacing native plants, reduce the carrying capacity of the Front for native wildlife—which everyone agrees is one of the special attributes of the Front. Unfortunately, the Heritage Act only proposes a paltry 67,000 acres as wilderness. While any new wilderness on the Front is welcome, the Heritage Act misses an important opportunity to protect the bulk of the wildlands that exist here, including the Badger Two Medicine and other important roadless lands. Indeed, on their web page, the Coalition sees the threat of more wilderness as one of the reasons for supporting their plan. So to prevent the “threat” of wilderness, locals want to designate the majority of land along the Front as “Conservation Management Areas.” What a misnomer that name is.

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Goodbye, Missoula

After finishing up my Master’s degree in education this summer, the job prospects were bleak. I applied for several teaching jobs in Missoula, but it was discouraging when every person I talked to commented on how difficult it is to earn such a position without experience. I talked to a career counselor, who advised me to quit applying for these jobs in Missoula and focus on finishing my professional paper. I took her advice.

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It’s the End of the Festival–But the Garbage Keeps on Going

School doesn’t start until September 6th, and fall isn’t supposed to officially arrive until September 23rd this year. But everything after the end of Sandpoint’s summer music festival seems like the denouement of the season in Sandpoint. We even had a spot of rain yesterday. The iconic big tent is already down, rolled up and stored until next August. Smaller tents remain, along with huge collections of chairs, boxes, hoses, cables, coolers, dollies, tables, and garbage cans. But no garbage. The festival’s impressive and activist all-volunteer Green Team has seen to that.

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Working to Do Farm Work

When we set out to start our farm, that laundry list of challenges facing beginning farmers we'd been hearing so much about became our reality. After years of studying and planning this life in theory, we got to live it. Access to land was our first hurdle. But we found a landowner willing to give us an affordable lease and we leapt.

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The Great Sandpoint Fish Flop Flap

The family I grew up in was very particular about how a slice of a round cake was to lie on a plate. It was supposed to be positioned so that you could eat it from the inside out and from the bottom up. For all of us right-handers, this meant the frosting had to be to the left. A piece of cake with the frosting on the right was said to be “flopped wrong.” This attention to direction has come to mind recently, as the citizens of Sandpoint have debated about whether the fish on their newly installed Sand Creek arch are flopped correctly. I thought the shiny metal back sides of the signs would all be on one side of the arch, so we would have shiny metal fish on one side and colorful fish on the other. Instead, the fish appear to have been more randomly flopped.

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Clark Fork Officially Turns 100

It’s evident that a lot happened around here 100 years ago. We celebrated the centennial of Sandpoint’s founding a few years back, and shortly after that we celebrated the centennial of the long bridge that crosses Lake Pend Oreille to reach us. Kootenai and Bayview both celebrated centennials last year, as did the East Bonner County Library, and we also remembered—although we could hardly be said to have celebrated—the centennial of the great fires of 1910. On the weekend of July 4, we reached the centennial of the incorporation of Clark Fork, a village of some five or six hundred souls clinging to the upper inner edge of Idaho, just a few miles short of the Montana line.

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City Chickens in Sandpoint

Sandpoint’s inaugural “Coop Crawl” revealed a significant interest in urban poultry among sophisticated city dwellers. Organized by three chicken aficionados in the south end of town, and arranged as a fundraiser for the healing garden at the hospital, it drew a quite a crowd of chardonnay-sipping backyard coop viewers. The Coop Crawl was instigated by a Sandpoint chicken keeper after she attended a similar event in Moscow, at which a much larger number of coops were up for touring. At this year’s event, several chicken fancying residents wondered when it had become allowable to keep chickens in the city, and they learned that it has, in fact, always been okay, as long as the chickens were of the sort that supplied eggs rather than wake-up calls.

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Finding Friends on the Fourth

Panhandle persons pondering their options for Independence Day have a plethora of possibilities. But no matter what they choose, they needn’t fear missing out on an interaction with the Friends of Scotchman Peaks Wilderness. The Scotchmans have friends everywhere. FSPW will be represented in five Fourth of July parades, working their way east along the Highway 200 corridor from Sandpoint through Clark Fork in Idaho and on to Noxon and Heron in Montana, with a hop up to Troy, Montana as well. Lest one wonder how the FSPW folks could be in so many places at once, one need only note that the Scotchman Peaks evidently have a lot of friends. This is hardly surprising; they’re very attractive, close by, and always available for a weekend outing.

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Bonner County Youngsters Lose a Friend

Kids in trouble in Bonner County lost a friend last week, and the rest of us lost a sprightly and occasionally feisty example of how the range of human potential could be bundled into one small, unconventional woman. Arlis Harvey, for long the driving force behind the county’s Youth Accountability Board (YAB)—died at her home on Rapid Lightning Creek at the age of 84. Arlis had a soft spot in her heart for teenagers stemming from her years teaching high-school math, a time she remembered with particular fondness. With no money for college, she went to work right out of high school—as a mathematician. She contributed significantly to the work of the Institute of Paper Chemistry in her hometown of Appleton, Wisconsin, but she really wanted to be a teacher, and eventually, she earned the money she needed to get a college degree so she could become one.

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