July 6, 2008 in Idaho

Food project hopes to grow awareness

The Spokesman-Review
 
Kathy Plonka photo

Jeff Burns, manager of the community garden in Sandpoint, talks about the project June 17.
(Full-size photo)

SANDPOINT – A patch of ground wedged between a downtown Sandpoint motel, a carwash and a home is producing food this summer for soup kitchens.

The community garden is the brainchild of a group of people who want to build upon the idea in coming years to grow more food at gardens scattered around town.

Across the street is the first garden in the new Sandpoint-based Gardens Not Graveyards project, designed to promote peace by caring for the planet.

And for those wanting to partake in Sandpoint-area foodstuffs, a Web site will direct them to local growers and eventually serve as a one-stop shopping site for such goods.

All are part of a community effort to get more people to eat locally grown and raised produce, eggs and meat.

“The idea is to get awareness up of local food supplies,” said Jeff Burns, who manages the organic community garden.

The time is right, say those involved in the effort.

Rising gas prices mean higher transportation costs and more expensive food.

More people are looking closer to home to fill their pantries, said Meadow Summers, who is heading up the Six Rivers Community Market Web site.

The idea behind the site is to build a place where people can eventually order locally grown and raised food online from a variety of growers and then pick it all up at a specified location once a week. Meadows said Six Rivers Community Market group hopes to launch a trial run in the fall.

For more information visit www.sixriversmarket.org and www.positivelysandpoint.com

Amy Cannata

CVSD cuts hours, jobs

The numbers have been tallied in Central Valley School District. The district has cut a total of 97 classified staff hours per day, but the number of people who have lost their jobs is in the single digits. There’s some hope that some of those hours might come back if enrollment increases enough.

The cuts affected employees such as media assistants, supervision assistants and secretaries.

“As enrollment comes, then we’re going to start adding those class hours back in depending on who is coming in the fall,” district spokeswoman Melanie Rose said.

The district gave layoff notices to 27 people on June 10; since then, 23 have returned, one resigned and three decided to stay in layoff status, said Jeff Cross, Central Valley Public School Employees president.

Nina Culver

Up for sale … again

SPIRIT LAKE – A Spirit Lake landmark is for sale, but it’s going to take more than prayers to restore to the glory of the century-old church with a tall steeple.

Real estate agent Doug Setters estimates it’ll take more than $100,000 to bring the former St. Joseph’s Catholic Church to “usable condition.”

The 6,000-square-foot building at the corner of Highway 41 and Jefferson is little more than a shell, Setters said, with a small living quarters off the back. The asking price is $145,000 – nearly $40,000 less than the county’s assessed value.

Joy Porter, a board member of Spirit Lake’s Historical Society, grew up attending the church.

“The acoustics in it are beautiful,” Porter said. The church became too small, especially for the summertime crowds, she said. St. Joseph’s built a new church on the south side of town and moved out in 1966, she said.

Over the years, the church has had several owners, Porter said.

“People buy it,” she said, “and they find out it costs entirely too much to do anything with it.”

Taryn Hecker

Little Spokane trails

A decade-old vision for building pedestrian trails northward from the Little Spokane River is becoming a miles-long reality this summer with construction of key trail segments along Little Spokane Drive, Midway Road and Hatch Road.

When completed in coming weeks, the work will link streamside paths along Little Spokane Drive with Spokane County’s North Side aquatics center on Hatch Road.

“I see the trail system as a linear park,” said Tina Wynecoop, a member of the Friends of the Little Spokane River Valley and one of the volunteers who has been working on trail development.

Early portions of the trail along the river were built almost solely through volunteer efforts.

The five miles of trails that will be put down this summer are just a fraction of the envisioned 25-mile trail system along and north of Little Spokane River. The idea is to link parks, open spaces, homes, churches, planned shopping areas and public facilities such as schools.

Mike Prager

Brouhaha in Bayview

BAYVIEW – Despite an Idaho moratorium on new float houses, two could be built on Lake Pend Oreille and moored in marinas belonging to Bayview developer Bob Holland.

While a group of Holland’s critics are crying foul, state officials say – though they’ve seen nothing like it – it’s perfectly legal.

The moratorium prohibits new float homes, but state law allows rebuilding float homes as long as the existing footprint is used, said Jim Brady, senior resource specialist for the Idaho Department of Lands. That “footprint” can be moved from one Idaho lake to another.

Keith Shannon, of Harrison Dock Builders, bought two float homes from Lake Coeur d’Alene’s O’Gara Bay and the footprints from those homes are being used to build two new homes on the water in Bayview, on Lake Pend Oreille.

Members of Bayview’s grass-roots Development Analysis Committee – which keeps tabs on Holland’s every move – believe Holland and his associates are buying up fishing shacks and moving their footprints to Lake Pend Oreille.

While the Department of Lands doesn’t have a problem with moving float homes from one lake to another, the agency and the Development Analysis Committee have concerns about another floating abode, called Water Lodges. Waterford Park recently had one of the 12-by-36-foot vessels moored in Bayview. They look similar to a float home, but have been certified by the Coast Guard as vessels — and those aren’t regulated by the Department of Lands.

Bayview Chamber of Commerce President Jim MacDonald said in a June 26 letter to George Bacon, director of the Idaho Department of Lands, that he believes Water Lodges “are an attempt to circumvent” the moratorium on new float homes.

Waterford’s Scott said Holland removed his Water Lodge from the lake after the Department of Lands raised concerns, but once the issue is settled, Waterford could bring more floating lodges onto the lake.

Taryn Hecker

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