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Latest from The Spokesman-Review

Sunset Snow Drift

On her Idaho Scenic Images Facebook wall, talented Linda Lantzy provides this view of snow drifts on the Rathdrum Prairie from Thursday evening.

Field Burning Back, Greatly Reduced

Item: Field burning is back, greatly reduced/Mike Prager, SR

More Info: A dramatically reduced level of field burning got started on the Rathdrum Prairie in North Idaho on Wednesday but was shut down when the smoke failed to rise above ground level, Idaho officials said today. At least 50 acres of bluegrass were burned before officials ordered the fires extinguished, said Ralph Paul, air shed coordinator for the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality in Coeur d’Alene.

Question: Do you even notice that the grass farmers were burning their fields this year?

Christa: Will CdA Back Prairie School?

Christa Hazel: I completely agree a technical program would be beneficial. But I keep looking at this in the same light as I would my own home: why add on a room to my house when the water heater needs to be fixed? That’s essentially what is happening here in the CdA school district. I understand why the business community is supportive but I wonder if they have an accurate assessment of our district needs. If they were told upfront that there are millions of dollars in improvements needed for health & safety related issues but instead the district decided to add a program in a building outside the #271 boundaries, would they be as supportive

Question: Christa raises an interesting side issue here. Will voters in the Coeur d’Alene School District back a pro-tech campus on the Rathdrum Prairie?

Tickets Snapped Up For Free Train Ride

Free train ride tickets across the Rathdrum Prairie on June 22 were grabbed up in 20 minutes this morning as a line of people showed up to get in on the fun. Tickets for the rides were handed out on a first-come basis starting at 10 a.m. at the Idaho State Police office at 615 W. Wilbur Ave. in Coeur d’Alene. People were knocking on the door before the office even opened, a staff member reported. Three trips with departures at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and noon are planned along tracks near Greensferry Road between Hayden and Prairie avenues, north of Post Falls/Spokesman-Review. More here.

Question: I’ve ridden a train from Whitefish, Mont., to central California and back — at Christmas. Can you beat that?

ICL Blog: R.I.P. Rathdrum Prairie

Can you say “sprawl?” As if there isn’t enough of this unsightly and wasteful use of land, the Kootenai County Commissioners just assured everyone that sprawl and leap-frog development will continue as usual. Rest in peace, Rathdrum Prairie. So long, rural character. After nearly a year of deliberations on the county’s draft comprehensive land use plan—the blueprint for growth in the county—commissioners Rick Currie and Rich Piazza voted last week to throw out all density guidelines in the plan. Essentially, this means the plan gives no guidance whatsoever for how many homes per acre (or minimum lot size) should be allowed in rural areas versus urban or suburban areas. This is where the rubber usually meets the road in a land-use plan/Susan Drumheller (pictured), Idaho Conservation League. More here.

Question: How much longer will it be before the Rathdrum Prairie is covered w/houses?

Tech School Levy Election In Works

Item: Tech school levy in works: School boards expected to mull plan in May; vote would be in August/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: A tentative levy proposal by three local school districts to fund a professional-technical school on the Rathdrum Prairie has surfaced after months of talks. The Post Falls, Lakeland and Coeur d’Alene school boards are expected next month to consider authorizing a two-year plant facility levy for a 50,000-square-foot building estimated to cost $9.5 million. The school would expand professional-technical opportunities for area students. If the school boards decide to move forward with a levy, the three districts would hold separate elections in August. Fifty-five percent voter approval would be needed in each district for the measures to pass.