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Staying in school garners new car

Sun., June 28, 2009

Not many recent high school graduates have new cars sitting in their driveways, but West Valley High School’s Tim Nikkola does, thanks to a year of perfect attendance and a program run by Hallmark Hyundai.

Every year the dealership gives a new car to a local high school graduate with perfect attendance his or her senior year. This year Nikkola’s name was thrown in with 38 others.

But Nikkola’s feat actually began before his senior year.

“I’ve had perfect attendance all 13 years of school,” he said. “My mom was kind of the driving force behind it. I guess I can thank her for that now. I won a car.”

Nikkola admits that there were days when he begged to skip school to go skiing with buddies, but his mother held firm. Over the years she also made it a point to schedule dentist and doctor appointments before or after school.

The new Hyundai Accent will come in handy when he drives to work and commutes to Eastern Washington University in the fall. He plans to study art education.

Nina Culver

A gift to the future

It’s a gift that three Fernan Lake residents hope will keep on giving. The best part is, it’s for everyone to enjoy.

Pat Acuff, Doug Potter and Fernan Lake Mayor Jim Elder recently donated 47 acres of land to the city of Coeur d’Alene to be preserved just as it is.

The property, which features about 3,000 linear feet of waterfront with steep hillsides that overlook a popular boat launch and fishing area on the lake’s south side, was a gift to the people of North Idaho so that it could be enjoyed by generations to come, Elder said.

“We’ve been working on this two, three years, and our effort is to preserve it forever for the public and for our kids and families to enjoy,” he said. “Doug (Potter) and, especially, (Coeur d’Alene Mayor) Sandi Bloem were really on the forefront of preserving it.”

Despite Interstate 90’s proximity and a host of large homes that straddle the rim of the hillside, the area is known for its tranquility, steep terrain and stunning panoramas that cradle a bountiful fishing hole.

The land, within Coeur d’Alene city boundaries, almost became a subdivision several years ago before plans fell through. At that point, Acuff, Potter and Elder decided to buy and deed it to the city, except for five acres on top of the hill set aside for a possible subdivision.

The dock jutting out opposite the donated land has attracted anglers and nature watchers, many of whom said they are glad to hear the hillside will be untouched by residential development.

“My kids come here a lot to fish,” said William Fortier as he sat in a fold-out chair with his line cast off the dock.

“I think it’s excellent. I wish more people would do stuff like that, reserve it for our kids.”

Coeur d’Alene Parks Director Doug Eastwood said the city has yet to decide what, if any, additions will be made to the land. One idea is to build hiking trails that would blend into the environment, although the city will ask for public input before any decisions are made, Eastwood said.

Bloem said the donated land will serve North Idahoans for generations.

“It’s from three families that have been here and understand the importance of the hillsides and vistas and views in the area. It’s a wonderful example of gifting and giving back to the communities,” she said. “I think it will be wonderful and a gift that will be cherished for years to come, just like Tubbs Hill.”

As for any long-term plans, Bloem continued, “It will probably have a very passive use, maybe some hiking and scenic trails going through. The idea is to keep it as natural as possible.”

Jacob Livingston


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