Posts tagged: Bonner County
A proposal to arm school employees in this North Idaho resort community (Sandpoint) brought about 300 residents before the school board Tuesday night. And after 90 minutes of public testimony, it was clear the debate here is just beginning. About three dozen parents, teachers, students and others weighed in on the board chairman’s idea to beef up school security by giving certain staff members access to guns. A little over half said they were in favor of that, or at least serious study of the idea. “Gun-free zones are a target for criminals. It’s a red flag … that there will be no return fire,” Maureen Paterson told the Lake Pend Oreille School Board/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: If you don't support arming teachers, do you have a proposal to make our schools safer?
A handful of ravens may nevermore plague Bonner County’s garbage collection site in Colburn. The county is securing a permit from the Idaho Department of Fish & Game to shoot some of the crafty corvids to discourage them from raiding the site and strewing trash about. A couple of the luckless birds may be put on display as a warning to the survivors, a message that apparently is not lost on ravens, which are renowned for their intelligence. Dead ravens brought in for disposal have been displayed in the past, which has deterred other ravens from stalking the site, said Solid Waste Director Leslie Marshall. “When we hang one up in the trees they don’t come around. It’s like they get it, that it’s not somewhere to go,” Marshall said/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here. (Wikipedia photo)
Question: Is this a good solution for pesky ravens?
Local Republicans had the opportunity for celebration and soul-searching in equal measure at the annual Lincoln Day dinner Friday night. Party leaders and members alike gathered at the Bonner County Fairgrounds to socialize and get a sense of where the party is at and where it is headed. Speaking was Idaho Republican Party Chairman Barry Peterson, who traveled from Boise to Sandpoint for the occasion. Inspired by the conservative ideals expressed by Barry Goldwater during the 1964 presidential campaign, Peterson said he felt the GOP was the party that best advocated personal liberty and a reverence for God. “It makes my heart hurt that we have turned aside from the deity that gave us the opportunity to pursue liberty,” he said. He also encouraged attendees to maintain their efforts in promoting the conservative agenda and North Idaho values/Cameron Rassmusson, Bonner County Daily Bee. More here.
Bonner County is already well-known among folks around the country as a prime spot to rest after a hard life’s work. Now that reputation has spread even further. “Where To Retire,” a nationwide magazine that assists individuals in selecting a retirement location, will feature Sandpoint in its upcoming June 19 issue. In a feature entitled “Laid-back Lakeside Living,” the magazine staff list out the many qualities that make Sandpoint a popular destination for retirees seeking an exciting location to spend their twilight years. In addition to Sandpoint, the magazine also examines seven other towns known for their great lakeside locations — Traverse City, Mich., Lake of the Ozarks, Mo., Murray, Ky., Gainesville, Ga., Granbury, Texas, Lake Tahoe, Calif. and Nev. and Lake Havasu City, Ariz./Cameron Rasmusson, Bonner County Bee. More here. (Rich Landers SR photo of hikers on Gold Hill overlooking Sandpoint)
Question (for those considering it): Do you plan to retire in a North Idaho town?
A white power activist campaigning to be the next Bonner County sheriff hosted a cross burning last week with fellow Ku Klux Klan members and is defending the ceremony as a historic Christian ritual.
Shaun Winkler, 33, said mainstream society misses the point about cross-lighting rituals, seeing them only as a symbol of hate and racial intolerance.
“We look at it more as a religious symbol,” Winkler told the Bonner County Daily Bee. Full Story.
“Most people don’t know that we don’t just oppose the Jews and the Negroes,” Winkler said, according to the newspaper. “We also oppose sexual predators and drugs of any kind.”
Oh…it was purely a historic Christian ritual! What can be done to combat the hate and ignorance of Winkler and his ilk?
The 33-year-old is running for sheriff in Bonner County, Idaho, despite his affiliation with the Aryan Nation and the Church of Jesus Christ-Christian. He calls himself a “concerned citizen,” and believes law enforcement isn’t doing enough to combat drugs and sex offenders. He also claims he won’t discriminate on the job. Whether or not voters will believe Shaun Winkler remains to be seen, but some question whether he should even be able to run for office. He’s an admitted white supremacist running for a law enforcement position. That’s got to be illegal, right? Wrong. There’s nothing illegal about a white supremacist sheriff candidate/Stephanie Rabiner, Reuters. More here. (SR file photo: Bonner County GOP sheriff's candidate Shaun Winkler, left, at a neo-Nazi march on Sherman Avenue)
Question: Isn't it nice to know that the Bonner County sheriff's race has gotten the attention of international media organization Reuters?
Bonner County is contracting with the Pacific Legal Foundation to petition the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to remove the southern Selkirk Mountain woodland caribou from the federal endangered species list. County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to contribute up to $10,000 toward the effort. “Getting into contractual agreements with a not-to-exceed amount always makes the most sense,” said Commissioner Lewie Rich. A memorandum of understanding approved by the board also allows the public to contribute financially to the de-listing move/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here. (AP/British Columbia Forest Service file photo: A South Selkirk caribou moving with its herd north through the Selkirk Mountains about three miles north of the U.S.border)
Question: Should woodland caribou be de-listed?
As Bonner County Property Rights Council member Tom Cleveland explained, the whole idea behind drinking water protection in Bonner County was “with the blessing of the EPA” which he called a “Gestapo agency” and “out of control.” He followed with an ominous non-sequitur, warning that “people should start thinking about where their food is coming from.” And when his tirade was completed, the PRC unanimously* voted down the proposed watershed protection ordinance on Monday evening. Even setting aside Cleveland’s obscene Gestapo comment, and setting aside the fact that the EPA really has nothing to do with this proposed ordinance, logic and legal acumen was not exactly on display at the PRC Monday night/KEA Blog. More here.
Question: Do you envision the possibility of a Property Rights Council for Kootenai County someday?
The bizarre Bonner County Property Rights Council (PRC) has issued its first draft “decision” in which they conclude that a simple common sense watershed protection ordinance is “unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary.” How do they come to this conclusion? They simply presume ALL proposed ordinances are “unreasonable, unnecessary, and arbitrary.” Furthermore, as made clear from the eight pages of rambling nonsense in their decision document, no amount of evidence or reason is going to change their minds. In January, the PRC began its review of a “Watershed Overlay Protection District” approved by the Bonner County Planning and Zoning Commission in August of last year. The overlay is designed to protect public drinking water supplies that pull from surface waters. The new districts would allow a public water supply to identify potential upstream risks and establish best management practices in order to avoid contamination of public’s drinking water supplies/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here.
Three Bonner County residents have been charged with the murder of Michael Wyatt Smith, 19, (below) who was last seen walking along Peninsula Road in Hope, Idaho, at 11 p.m. Sept. 13, according to the Bonner County Sheriff's Office. Austin Thrasher, 19, (upper left) Thrasher's wife, Jennifer, 22, (middle) and Christopher Garlin, 19, (upper right) of the Cocalalla and Hope areas were arrested after several vehicles and firearms were seized by the authorities. The sheriff's department was tipped off to the possible murder of Smith on Jan. 6. His body has since been found in a shallow grave off Wellington Road in the Rapid Lightening area. Next of kin were notified in California last week. Allegedly the three suspects picked Smith up under the pretense of attending a party. Later, he was reportedly taken into a treed area near Cocalalla and shot twice. His body was transported for burial. Thrasher has been charged with first-degree murder; his wife and Garlin with accessory to murder. More here.
You may think the Property Rights Council birthed by Chairman Cornel Rasor and fellow commissioners is simply a strange extension of Bonner County government. But Right Side News online considers the council to be a “major new weapon in the fight against the UN.” Yeah, U.N., as in United Nations. (Remember that line from “For What It’s Worth” by Buffalo Springfield? “Paranoia strikes deep, into your life it will creep.”) Right Side News explains the purpose of the council: “The mission of the PRC is to review county government activities and inter-governmental activities to determine whether the activities may cause adverse impact to private property rights. The PRC then is charged with supplying to county officials an opinion on that impact.” With tea party queenpin Pam Stout on the county payroll to oversee the council, you can bet those opinions come from the extreme right precincts of North Idaho’s political rabbit hole/DFO, SR Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
Question: Does Kootenai County need a Property Rights Council?
The paranoid silliness of the Bonner County Property Rights Council has evidently gone national. A far-right website (in their Homeland Security section, of course) has picked up on the establishment of the Property Rights Council and is promoting it as a heroic development in a battle against the forces of the United Nations and their monstrous “Agenda 21.” The headline calls the Bonner County Property Rights Council a “Major New Weapon in the Fight Against the UN”/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here.
Courtesy of Pecky Cox and As the Lake Churns, Rod Stafford provides this “Caribou Bob” 'toon, revealing the feelings of some North Idaho residents toward the region's protected caribou. You can see the rest of the cartoon here.
Question: Do you think Selkirk Caribou are overprotected in northernmost Idaho?
Two bodies found in a home near Blanchard, following a fire early this morning are believed to be those of the homeowner’s wife and daughter. When Bonner County Sheriff’s deputies arrived, homeowner Robert Sands, 66, said he believed his wife, Mary, 52, and daughter, Angela Sands, 23, may have been trapped in the home, a news release from the sheriff’s office said. The fire began early this morning at 320 McDonald Creek Road and fully engulfed the home, the release said/SR. More here.
In this Jesse Tinsley SR file photo, Jeff, Alisa and Colin, 3, Brummer of Marysville, Pennsylvania stop to see the wooden sculpture called “Tolerance” at the Bonner County Courthouse in Sandpoint.
It has survived controversy, complaints and at least one arson attempt, but the Tolerance sculpture at the Bonner County Courthouse is not enduring the elements too well. “The legs are rotting off,” Commission Chairman Cornel Rasor said of the sculpture’s timbers. Commissioners began deliberations Tuesday on what to do with the sculpture, but put off a decision until they had a chance to discuss the matter with those who donated the piece to the county 11 years ago/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here.
Question: Do those upright logs say “Tolerance” to you?
Today Sheriff Daryl Wheeler and the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department launched a new sex offender registration and public notification website called OffenderWatch®. Bonner County will now be part of a nationwide network of over 5,000 law enforcement agencies, including 9 in Idaho. The new service is a citizen-friendly, easy to use website that enables citizens to search for potentially dangerous sex offenders and predators which may be in close proximity to their homes, places of work, schools, churches and day care centers. The information is available 24 hours a day 7 days a week and is updated in real time by the Bonner County Sheriff’s Office as offender information changes and is reported/Bonner County Sheriff's Department news release. More here.
Holidays are not slowing the rightward march of the Bonner County Property Rights Council. Monday night, the controversial Property Rights Council is sponsoring a “public seminar” on “The Theoretical Basis for a Property Rights Council.” The featured speaker is Sandpoint-based James L. Payne. Mr. Payne is a frequent contributor to the polluter-friendly and Koch-connected Independent Institute and the Foundation for Economic Education. It is unclear how this seminar got officially scheduled — the PRC meeting scheduled for last week was cancelled and prior meetings made no mention of the seminar. Mr. Payne’s anti-government views are not exactly mainstream. For example, he is critical of government spending, sure. But he’s even opposed to FEMA and government-supported disaster aid/Terry J. Harris, KEA Blog. More here.
Question: Do you expect Kootenai County to follow the leader and adopt a conservative watchdog group like the Bonner County Property Rights Council?
Political life in Bonner County is a curious, and sometimes dysfunctional process. Like permissive yet negligent parents, residents mostly ignore whatever their government is getting up to until they just can’t ignore it anymore, at which time they tend to come down hard on the miscreants. That may—or may not—be what’s happening now, as a suggestion to remove tax funding for some popular programs has served to spotlight other actions that are also causing some dismay, as residents are asking “What is this Property Rights Council, and why does the local tea party seem to be running it?”/Trish Gannon, River Journal. More here. (Pam Stout of the Property Rights Council)
Question: Do you support the purpose of the Bonner County Property Rights Council?
Phil Hough could smell the mountain goats before he saw them. Shrugging off his pack, he looked around the summit. “It sure smells like goats up here.” And sure enough, there they were: four of them, white dots in two pairs, lounging on jutting outcroppings of rock across a dizzying ravine. The goats — hulking, horned and shaggy, with sad-looking old-man faces — are a major attraction at Scotchman’s Peak. They even serve as its unofficial mascot. At 7,009 feet, the peak is the highest point in North Idaho’s Bonner County and gives its name to the rugged 88,000 acres surrounding it. Vegetation is sparse, and the clammy October clouds run ragged across the summit. The goats, though seemingly fearless in their surefootedness, live a precarious existence amid the shattered high mountain rocks. … “Their mortality rate is 50 to 70 percent in early childhood — from falling,” Hough says. The future of the Scotchman Peaks area is similarly precarious. A proposal to designate it as federally protected wilderness has been stymied for years by opposing interests, ideologies and jurisdictions/Zach Hagadone, Inlander. More here. (Zach Hagadone Inlander photo: Scotchman's Peak is the highest point in Bonner County)
Question: Have you ever hiked Scotchman's Peak?
Pam Stout's first brush with fame came in the spring of 2010 when, after appearing in a New York Times story about the rise of the Tea Party, David Letterman invited her on his show to explain the movement. “I know nothing about the Tea Party,” he said at the outset of the interview. Stout went on to explain — in a calm, mild manner, to the dismay of some liberals — that she and fellow activists were out to combat wasteful spending. To do that in her hometown of Sandpoint, she said, “We're trying locally to take over the Republican party.” She added, “In Sandpoint, it's not so much of an issue — it's fairly conservative”/Cally Carswell, High Country News. More here. (SR file photo)
Question: Is Kootenai County as susceptible to Tea Party control as Bonner County?