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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Floating Sponges May Clear Up Hayden Lake

 A Hayden Lake homeowners association installed a floating wetland next to its community dock Thursday, with the goal of improving water quality in one of the lake’s murky bays. Water sedges, monkey flowers and nutrient-loving grasses sprouted from two rafts constructed from spongy, plastic membranes. As the plants grow, their roots will form a thick mat that sucks phosphorus out of the bay. “They’re basically growing like hydroponics,” said Karen Hayes, who is part of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance’s Hayden Lake Project./Becky Kramer, SR. More here

Huckleberries: No Gas, No Problem

Another week, another lake rescue story from North Idaho, although not as dramatic as the one in which a father and a son capsized their sailboat in high winds on chilly Lake Pend Oreille. In fact, Shirley Thagard could think of no better place to be stranded on her pontoon boat on a sunny day than Hayden Lake. At 10:30 a.m. Wednesday, Shirley was on a final tour of the lake when she discovered the gas gauge wasn’t accurate – empty happens before the needle gets to “E.” So Shirley did a lemons-to-lemonade thing and “had a wonderful time sitting in the middle of the lake in the sun, perfectly still water, looking at the brilliant colors spotting the surrounding mountains, waiting for someone to tow me to the dock.” That someone was Hayden Lake Yacht Club member Steve Boots. There’s probably a moral to this story. But let’s enjoy the afterglow of our wonderful fall/DFO, SR Huckleberries. More here.

Question: How do you react when you car or boat breaks down or runs out of gas?

Bears Hanging Out Near Hayden Lake

A black bear sow and her cub have been frequenting the English Point recreation trail near Hayden Lake, Forest Services officials say. No reports of aggressive behavior from the bears have been received at the Panhandle National Forests headquarters in Coeur d'Alene, “but it remains important for the public to exercise caution and give the bears plenty of space to ensure future bear encounters are uneventful,” said Jason Kirchner, forest public affairs officer. “Bear sightings are not unusual but due to the unpredictable nature of bears the public needs to understand that some caution should be taken whenever they are in bear country,” said Coeur d’Alene River District Ranger Chad Hudson/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors blog. More here.

Question: Would you know what to do if you encountered a bear sow and cubs in the wild?

Black bears hanging out at English Point near Hayden Lake

WILDLIFE ENCOUNTERS — A black bear sow and her cub have been frequenting the English Point recreation trail near Hayden Lake, Forest Services officials say.

No reports of aggressive behavior from the bears have been received at the Panhandle National Forests headquarters in Coeur d'Alene, “but it remains important for the public to exercise caution and give the bears plenty of space to ensure future bear encounters are uneventful,” said Jason Kirchner, forest public affairs officer.

“Bear sightings are not unusual but due to the unpredictable nature of bears the public needs to understand that some caution should be taken whenever they are in bear country,” said Coeur d’Alene River District Ranger Chad Hudson.

BEAR ENCOUNTER GUIDELINES

Should you encounter a bear:

  • Stay calm. Group together, pick up small children and assess the situation. Prepare to use your bear spray.
  • Do not run or make sudden movements, it may instinctively cause the bear to charge you.
  • Give bears a chance to identify you as human, and not a threat. If the bear stands up, it is trying to see, hear and smell you better.
  • Talk firmly in a low-pitched voice while backing away. Avoid direct eye contact as bears may perceive this as a challenge or threat.
  • Continue to back away slowly and cautiously, retreating to a place of safety. Monitor the animal’s response, and adjust your actions accordingly.

More info: Center for Wildlife Information or your local Forest Service office.

Renovated Sportsman Park boat launch reopens at Hayden Lake

BOATING — Sportsman Park boat ramp at Hayden Lake has reopened for public use following a $250,000 renovation, Idaho Department of Fish and Game officials said today. Some touch-up work is still underway.

Expanded facilities include more than 40 parking spaces and the access road is wide enough for two vehicles.  An ADA approved disabled parking site is available adjacent to the ramp.

All surfaces have been paved and overhead lighting has been installed. The new boat ramp has been extended 20 feet longer than it was before, and has an expanded radius to back vehicles with trailers down the ramp for faster, safer launching.

A boat preparation area enables boaters to get boats ready to launch without blocking the ramp for others in the process of launching or loading. 

Read on for more details.

Child Porn Brings 8-Year Sentence

A registered sex offender was sentenced to eight years in prison today for distributing child pornography. John Patrick McClaren, 46, of Hayden Lake, is to be on probation for 15 years after his release. The Idaho Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force began investigating McClaren in December 2009 after a Shoshone County sheriff's deputy learned his Internet Protocol address was involved in the distribution of child pornography online. Investigators seized a laptop computer and two hard drives from his home in the 3100 block of East Cambridge Drive on Jan. 27, 2010, that contained at least 160 sexually explicit images of minors/Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

Hayden Blaze Levels Guest House

Firefighters Phil Foley and Byron Smith shown at the scene of a fire that leveled a guest house on Hayden Lake. (Photo courtesy Northern Lakes Fire District)

Northern Lakes Fire District responded to fire at 4300 Deep Water in Hayden at approximately 4:10 p.m. Tuesday. Reporting person reported seeing smoke and hearing an explosion in a guest house near the main home.  The guest home was not occupied at time. A gas line had been ruptured due to the fire and was then feeding the fire.  AVISTA crews responded and determined a leak under the ground.  AVISTA crews dug out the line and capped it off. At the time a 16-year-old male was in the main home and heard the explosion from next door. No injuries were reported. First crews on scene found the house fully involved and a small outbuilding on fire. Crews left the scene at approximately 9:30 p.m.

Hayden Lake: What’s in the water?

Richard Trudell cruises Tuesday on Hayden Lake on the solar-powered pontoon boat he designed and built. SR file photo.

HAYDEN LAKE - The waters of Hayden Lake this summer have been clouded with mysterious black particles floating on the surface, clinging to swimmers and washing up on beaches.

Some have thought it resembles an oil spill on the lake, accumulating wherever the winds and wave action send it. Boaters have spotted it in large bands on the middle of the lake. It grows darkest in shallow areas and near docks. David Cole, Cda Press Full story.

See? This is why I don't like to swim in anything without a concrete bottom and chlorine. Where's your favorite place to swim?

Propeller Slices Mivoden Staffer’s Head

At about 9:45 AM, deputies from the Kootenai County Sheriff's Department and Northern Lakes Fire personnel responded to an injury boat accident on Hayden Lake, near Camp Mivoden. Several staff members from Camp Mivoden were on a pontoon boat in front of the Camp, putting on a skit for new campers when one of the actors, 19-year-old Joshua Gaskill (photo from Camp Mivoden website) from Yakima, Wash., jumped off the bow of the moving boat. Initial investigation indicates that Gaskill's head struck the outdrive and propeller of the boat, causing lacerations to his scalp. Gaskill was transported to Kootenai Medical Center for his injuries/Stu Miller, Kootenai County Sheriff's Department. More here.

Hayden Lake In The Twilight

“After a near torturous day of editing a weekend assignment,” writes Linda Lantzy of Idaho Scenic Images, “I had to get out of the office last night. This is from the dike road of Hayden Lake. Sadly, I have little photography of this lake, because there is very limited shoreline access.” See more of Linda's photography here.

Question: Do you spend much time on Hayden Lake?

Army Corps To Protect Hayden Dike

High water levels have Kootenai County officials asking for help in protecting the dam on the southwest portion of Hayden Lake. Concerned about water lapping at the earthen dam, county officials have contacted the Army Corps of Engineers.  The Corps is planning to take some protective measures that might involve reinforcing the structure to ensure its integrity.  Officials have closed the top of the dam to public access, and commissioners will pass a resolution that creates a temporary no-wake zone in the area of Honeysuckle Bay near the dam/KREM. More here.

‘64 Hayden Lake Tragedy Lingers On

But it was worse than a missing boat. Much worse, as Peterson would soon find out. By breakfast, everyone at the lake thought they knew the story: Pete Peterson (pictured), out screwing around in his fancy boat, had killed two girls. “The next morning, Dad walks into the room and said, ‘Well, it looks like you killed two girls,’ ” Peterson said. “That was the hardest thing. I don’t think he meant it like that, but that’s what he said.” Two 16-year-old girls were missing: Barbara Horne and Carol Thornton. They were visiting the lake with their families from College Place, near Walla Walla. Wreckage of their boat, a simple 13-foot fiberglass outboard, was found floating on the lake. The mystery combined with Peterson’s reputation as a hellion to lead people to one conclusion – which would hang over his head for nearly two decades, making him feel guilty and ashamed, a persona non grata at clubby, well-to-do Hayden Lake/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Do you remember this tragedy?

AM: Hayden Lake Buy To Help Water

Hayden Lake resident Karen Hayes talks Tuesday about the sale of 203 acres near her home. The Bonneville Power Administration is making the purchase for mitigation for habitat lost during the construction of the Albeni Falls Dam. Becky Kramer SR story here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Gone With The Wind

Me, of It’s Just Me blogging fame, posted this photo on Facebook and noted: “Here is what happened to my friend’s house last night in that wind.” The house is the one in Hayden Lake that Fred LeClair III was leasing from John Parry. Tom Hasslinger has CdA Press story here.