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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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. Read More »

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. Read More »

Sandpoint’s Streets Go Green

First we had green trees, then we had “green” buildings, and now, Sandpoint is about to have the first green streets in Idaho. Green streets are engineered to deal with storm water at its source instead of letting it run off to pollute our lake. There are several approaches to this: We can reduce the amount of area that creates runoff, filter contaminants out of the water on site, and/or plant trees along our streets, explains Public Works Director Kody Van Dyk. Narrowing the street reduces runoff, and swales along the side of the road help filter runoff—although Sandpoint’s high water table and highly impermeable soil make this a particular challenge. The trees help by absorbing water through their roots as well as by catching some rainwater on their leaves, from which it evaporates without ever hitting the ground. Read More »

Loneliness and Laughter: Daniel Orozco’s ‘Orientation”

Idaho-based writer Daniel Orozco's first book, Orientation and Other Stories (Faber and Faber, 162 pages, $23), journeys to so many different places—from life among the perpetual painters of the Golden Gate Bridge, to Paraguay, where the deposed president of a Latin-American country lives in sumptuous exile, to white-collar and blue-collar American workplaces in Washington, California, and elsewhere—that it's hard to believe it's less than two hundred pages long. The years of care Orozco has put into this book—which was more than fifteen years in the making—are evident in every honed sentence. You can tell Orozco was having fun, challenging himself to try every possible narrative technique—first-person, second-person, third-person, perspectives that are limited to one character and some that are omniscient (including one that ventures briefly into the perspective of a pack of dogs), stories composed of several distinct episodes, and one comprised of entries from a police officer's log that build into a hilarious love story. Daniel Orozco will kick off his book tour in Moscow, Idaho with a reading from his pickup truck in front of BookPeople on Main Street on June 10 (7 p.m.). He'll read in Portland on June 23 at Powell's Books on Hawthorne (7:30 p.m.). Read More »