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Posts tagged: Bonner County

Bonner Commissioners Need Mediator

Bonner County commissioners are turning to mediation to resolve their differences. The unusual step on Tuesday to enter mediation to settle disputes among the board members following the removal of Commissioner Lewis Rich (pictured) as chairman. Commissioner Mike Nielsen moved to appoint Commissioner Cornel Rasor as chairman and Rasor seconded. The motion passed on a 2-0 vote. “I view this removal from chairmanship as punitive,” Rich said after the vote. Both Rasor and Nielsen insisted the removal was not punitive, but Rich seemed unconvinced by his colleagues’ declarations. “I’m not looking for punitive action. I’m looking for a change in direction,” said Nielsen/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: Izzit just me, or does it seem as though the Bonner County commissioners' office isn't a happy place?

Nielsen Shakes Up Bonner Courthouse

He rode into office on a wave of anti-government, anti-spending sentiment in the county and it’s not hard to see that Bonner County Commissioner Mike Nielsen sees himself mounted on a white steed, the appointed “savior” of the people from a government that would hold them down. “Friendship stops where the county business starts,” he thunders as he wields his sword against Blue Cross of Idaho, smokers, the county fair, popular local insurance agent Dan Taylor, fat people, longtime county clerk Marie Scott, the 4-H program, printing costs,  the Bonner County Historical Society and Museum, and his fellow commissioner Lewis Rich. Reminiscent of the “band of brothers” ethos, however, this Alaskan retiree who spent almost three decades in law enforcement has stayed the sword from the sheriff’s department/Trish Gannon, River Journal. More here. (SXC photo: Michal Zacharzewski)

Question: Impression of Nielsen?

Assault Case Has Extremist Elements

Court documents and police reports are painting a fuller picture in a peculiar Bonner County assault case. Little was known about the circumstances surrounding an incident in which a Vay landowner used a John Deere tractor to dismantle a home on his property with a woman and two children still inside. The episode resulted in three felony assault charges against Paul Fagerlie Finman, who faces trial in 1st District Court this fall. Court documents and other records, meanwhile, reveal that Finman, 56, was entangled in a dispute with an adherent of the sovereign citizen movement named Alexander Duncan Campbell. Finman inherited the entanglement with the property he purchased off Bandy Road in Vay. Campbell, his wife, son and daughter were living on a home on the ranch rent-free/Keith Kinnaird, Bee. More here.

Question: What do you make of this case?

Bonner Co Leads In Bear Complaints

Bonner County has a bear problem—or is it really a people problem? Last year, Bonner County had a record number of bear complaints—770 complaints, in fact. That's a whopping 740 more complaints than in any other county in Idaho. All those negative human-bear interactions amount to a lot of danger—for people and bears alike. The Upper Panhandle is bear country: We've got lots of black bears and two threatened populations of grizzly bears in the Cabinet and the Selkirk mountains. But when folks unintentionally or intentionally attract bears with bird feeders or dog food or even doughnuts, they're not helping them to survive. Instead, they may be sealing their fate/Susan Drumheller, Idaho Conservation League. More here. (Photo: Idaho Department of Fish & Game)

Question: Do you know people who shouldn't be feeding wildlife?

Obama Declares Idaho Flood Disaster

President Barack Obama has issued a major disaster declaration for Idaho and made federal funding available to counties with flooding damage. Earlier this month, Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter requested more than $5 million in federal money for six northern Idaho counties to pay for fixing roads that were damaged by flooding and landslides during the first several weeks of April. Obama signed off on the disaster declaration Friday, the White House said. Obama ordered federal money go toward repairs in Bonner, Clearwater, Idaho, Nez Perce, and Shoshone counties and the Nez Perce Tribe reservation/Associated Press. More here.

Bonner County man shot

John Bilsky, 58

A Bonner County man was airlifted to a Spokane hospital after being shot during a neighbor dispute Wednesday, officials said today.

Employees at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center said they could not release information on the condition of the victim, Richard Larson, 59.

Authorities say John Bilsky, 58, shot Larson in the 200 block of Makers Way. The Bonner County Sheriff’s Office responded about 4 p.m. Larson was taken to Bonner General Hospital, then flown to Spokane.

Bilsky was arrested on an aggravated battery charge.

Bilsky is a resident of Pennsylvania, according to a news release, but the altercation was described as “an ongoing neighborhood dispute.”

Does Clagstone Meadows Make Sense?

Developers will justifiably point out that a planned unit development (PUD) like Clagstone has a lot of advantages over development that occurs in bits and pieces over time. The area could instead randomly develop into small ranchettes, with little thought among them for open space, wetlands preservation, wildlife habitat, or water quality. A PUD, instead, clusters the housing on portions of the land while preserving a large amount of open space. Clagstone Meadows would have 1200 residential units on some 12,000 acres, but since the housing is focused in a small portion of the land, more than 10,000 acres of that would remain as open space and managed timberland/Cate Huisman, New West. More here. (KEA Blog file photo of opponents to Clagstone Meadows from late September meeting)

Question: Does it make more sense to have a planned unit development like proposed 1200-home Clagstone Meadows, in southern Bonner County (near Athol) than to allow the area to develop haphazardly?

Spencer Challenges Vote Handling

Huckleberries Online and a number of other local media just received a news release from Larry Spencer, challenging the way Bonner County certifies absentee ballot signatures. In bold letters to launch the release, Spencer writes: “County Clerk (Marie Scott) has ‘certified’ absentee ballot signatures using staff, not election judges in violation of Idaho Statute. Election poll challenger (Larry Spencer) arrives on designated day to find that certification of signatures has already been completed, and he is not allowed to compare the ballot envelope signatures to those on file.” You can read the entire release here. At least, now we know where Spencer has been hiding out.

Question: What do you make of the Spencer’s complaint in the news release — that Bonner County isn’t using proper procedure to certify absentee ballot signatures?

Bears Behaving Badly In Bonner County

We are having a record year for nuisance bear calls in Bonner County. Food sources were limited this spring and the bears are looking for anything they can find as hunger sets in. Common attractants include, garbage, bird feeders, and pet food. If they don’t find anything to eat at your house, they will move on. We can only hope this summer brings a bumper huckleberry crop to make the bears happy!!!!

Question: Have you ever come close to a bear in the wild?

Head-On Crash Kills BonnerCo Worker

A Bonner County employee (John Hanson, 61, of Colburn) was killed Friday morning in a head-on collision that also forced one woman (Jennifer Gibson, 26, of Priest River) to be airlifted to a Spokane hospital in serious condition. Idaho State Police received a call of a vehicle on fire at 7:50 a.m. on Highway 2 approximately five miles west of Sandpoint at milepost 23. The worker was driving a Bonner County Roads Department truck, which was carrying diesel fuel. The road was closed for more than 3 hours/KREM2. More here. ISP reporter (pdf) here.

Girl, 8, Faces Battery Charges

The parents of an 8-year-old girl with special needs say their daughter was handcuffed, arrested and charged with battery after a Friday incident at Kootenai Elementary School. The family is not being identified because of the girl’s age. The girl suffers from a neurobiological disorder called Asperger syndrome, which causes her to have “episodes” of disruptiveness, according to her parents. The girl’s father admits the episodes can be alarming, but said they are not violent. Without identifying the girl or her family, Lake Pend Oreille School District Superintendent Dick Cvitanich said law enforcement officers removed a student from school Friday for spitting on and inappropriately touching two staff members/Conor Christofferson, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: The parents of the girl is thinking about suing the district. Did the Pend Oreille School District act appropriately?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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