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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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James Hagengruber

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News >  Spokane

Forest Service wants off-roaders to stay on trails

Dirt bikes, four-wheelers and other off-road vehicles will soon be required to stay on the trails, according to a proposal announced Wednesday by the U.S. Forest Service. Restricting motorized vehicles to designated trails nationwide will help protect streams and lakes, wildlife habitat and solitude for those who don't rely on gasoline to visit national forests, according to Forest Service officials. Snowmobiles are not covered by the proposal.
News >  Idaho

Parties in dispute over rescue effort

PINEHURST, Idaho – A dispute continues over the efforts made to rescue a man who suffered a heart attack in a remote mountain meadow last month. Ground crews were not sent to the meadow until more than two hours had passed because helicopter help was expected, said Shoshone County Sheriff Chuck Reynalds in an interview last week. The air ambulance provider has angrily denied Reynalds' statement.
News >  Idaho

Priest Lake to see limits on cabins

PRIEST LAKE, Idaho — With $50, a crosscut saw and gallons of sweat, M.N. Garlinghouse was able to build a piece of paradise on the shores of this grand, unspoiled lake. The cabin didn't have electricity or running water back in 1947. The gravel road to the lake popped countless tires and left passengers covered in dust. And Garlinghouse didn't even own the land – the U.S. Forest Service was his landlord. But the little cabin was the perfect place to escape from Spokane's summer heat.

News >  Idaho

Widow questions rescue effort

When Larry Rollins suffered a massive heart attack during a family picnic in a remote Idaho mountain meadow last month, one of his nephews climbed to the top of a ridge and called 911 with his mobile phone. The meadow was 27 miles from the trailhead, but the call made it through to Shoshone County dispatchers. The family tried to keep the 55-year-old electrician alive with chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth breathing. They were told a helicopter was being sent. But that didn't happen for hours. "It wouldn't have made any difference, but at that time no one knew," Jeanne Rollins said. "The situation wasn't treated as an emergency."
News >  Idaho

Firing site now out of range

A free-for-all firing range near Coeur d'Alene has been shut down because of growing concerns over safety and litter. The site along Fernan Lake Road, about five miles east of Coeur d'Alene, was easily accessible from Interstate 90 and heavily used by gunslingers from across the region. Most people picked up their targets and spent ammunition, but enough litter was being left behind to blacken the reputation of all responsible gun owners, said Bob Smith, director of the Fernan Rod and Gun Club, which is now managing the site.
News >  Spokane

Idaho orders boat slip filled in, river restored

A section of illegally excavated Spokane River near Post Falls must be returned to its natural state, according to a recent order by the Idaho Department of Lands. Spokane businessman Thomas Hamilton has until July 23 to submit a plan for refilling the 150-foot channel he had dug for a boat slip at his riverfront home, according to a letter sent to Hamilton last week.
News >  Idaho

Time for athletes to take the stage

First-time Ironman hopeful Neil Tregilgas won't be taking any Gu today. "I didn't train with that," the 34-year-old Dallas resident said as he made final race preparations Saturday afternoon.
News >  Idaho

Proposal would preserve prairie

Outgoing Kootenai County Commission Chairman Dick Panabaker has a dream – a vast, green dream. Without much financial pain, the county could protect the aquifer under the Rathdrum Prairie, decrease field burning, secure large amounts of open space and ensure the region is able to meet its growing wastewater treatment needs well into the future, according to Panabaker.
News >  Idaho

Cool, cloudy forecast for CdA’s Ironman triathletes

There might never be a good time to travel 140 miles on muscle power alone, but conditions for Sunday's Ironman triathlon are looking pretty ideal. Temperatures should top out in the mid-70s, with a gentle southwest wind and a 30 percent chance of rain, according to National Weather Service Meteorologist Paul Bos of Spokane. The chance of showers rises after midday, during the cycling and running segments of the race. Clouds should be present during the entire race.
News >  Idaho

New homes waiting on sewer

Deborah Lusk and her husband were in the process of building their dream home near the shore of Lake Pend Oreille when their plans were backed up by an overworked sewer system. "We had a builder lined up, plans drawn up," Lusk said, speaking from her current home in Riverside, Calif.
News >  Spokane

If only this homestead could talk

PRICHARD, Idaho — A crane and a bulldozer would be much easier methods of disassembling the three old cabins. But that would be such a waste of imagination, said Cliff Kunze, the energetic 24-year-old leading the cabin removal effort. More than 100 teenagers from all over the country have traveled to a remote homestead site along the upper North Fork Coeur d'Alene River to help in the process. "They've got their hearts into this place," Kunze said while taking a lunch break. "If we wanted to do this as quickly as possible, I'd hire a crane and a crew of six guys. But the objective isn't to take it down as quickly as possible." As the cabin walls come down, the teenagers are growing, Kunze said. Skittish young women have overcome their fear of heights while tearing off the roof. The heavy lifting demands teamwork, which has bred unlikely friendships between teenagers from big cities and small towns. The sweat, dust and hard labor have erased much of the image-consciousness: no one looks particularly pretty at the end of the day. "This is the ultimate challenge course," Kunze said. The two-story cabin and barns were built by hand 80-some years ago by Frank "Mac" McPherson, a bachelor trapper who lived a life straight out of a Jack London novel. After his death in the winter of 1980 – McPherson's body had to be hauled back to civilization on a sled – the cabins began to be reclaimed by nature. Vandals smashed the windows. Mice chewed through the furniture. Heavy snows began taking their toll on the roofs. Bob Baker, the executive director of the Coeur d'Alene-based Lutherhaven Ministries, spotted the cabins a couple of years ago and knew right away they had to be saved. Baker previously worked for the National Park Service, where part of his job was renovating old cabins. "They were going to disappear," Baker said. "We hated to see them auger into the ground." Baker thought the restored cabins would be perfect for his organization's Shoshone Base Camp, a summer camp about 20 miles downstream the homestead. He contacted the new owner of the land, Coeur d'Alene businessman Ray Grannis, who agreed to donate the cabins to the group. Within two or three years, Baker hopes to have the cabins completely reassembled atop new foundations at the Shoshone Base Camp. The public will be welcome to view the structures. Apart from providing the camp with historical, hand-built cabins, Baker thought the project would be ideal for young people. About 80 volunteers from six states are spending this week working on the project. Last week, 45 teenagers worked on the project. "There's a lot of horsepower there," Baker said. Many of the teenagers are doing the work as part of a summer service project. Mixed in with the effort is time for quiet contemplation, hiking, swimming and Bible study. The foreman of the group, Clint Kunze, said the experience is difficult, but is designed in such a way that the young people come away energized. Some of the energy also is rubbing off on Kunze. Each day, as the cabin walls become shorter, his spirits are hoisted, he said. "I'm just getting more and more revved." The teenagers are eager to discuss their work. Many say the experience has been transforming. Jennifer Burcham, a 15-year-old from Indiana, could barely control her enthusiasm. A simple greeting from a reporter prompted a gushing narrative of her time at the homestead. "I've never done any of this before," she said. "We flew to get here. I've never flown before. I really like the scenery. I even got to help on the roof. I especially like the power tools. This is really cool." Burcham then paused and asked a question on many of the young campers' minds: "How did he do this all by himself? It's taking ten of us to move one log." McPherson's life story has been the focus of many campfire discussions this week. The teenagers learned that he attended Gonzaga Prep Academy in Spokane at the same time as Bing Crosby. They learned that McPherson had to snowshoe 28 miles one-way to Prichard twice each winter to buy supplies and sell mink, beaver, weasel and lynx pelts. When he wasn't running his 70-mile trapline, McPherson would spend long winter nights studying psychology, poetry or learning foreign languages from a record player. According to some accounts, he was fluent in French, German and Spanish. "He was pretty eloquent," Baker said. "When people would invite him over to Christmas dinner, the evening entertainment was often him reciting classic works of poetry." McPherson's story was well-known to locals. It was chronicled in a 1975 edition of The Kellogg Evening News and in Bert Russell's collection of oral histories, "North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River." McPherson was briefly married but had no children, according to Russell's book. "He kept a piano in his log house in later years and enticed women to stay up there over the winter. But it was a lonely place for a woman through the snowbound months and Mac was gone days at a time on trapline. In each case, when spring came, his woman flew." Ax marks are still clearly visible on the old logs, many of which were from trees burned in the great fires of 1910. Small souvenirs of McPherson's life have remained hidden in the cabin for the young people to discover. On Tuesday, a 1968 copy of The Saturday Evening Post was found. Last week, a young man found McPherson's famed German Luger pistol. He was often spotted wearing the pistol, Baker explained. After his death, locals searched the cabin in vain for the handgun. The teenager found it behind a cabinet — with a live round in the chamber. The colorful stories about McPherson have made the hard work interesting and the Old West feel fresh, said 15-year-old Indiana resident Josh Ilgenfritz. "This is quite a scene," he said. "It's been a lot more fun than I thought." But with each heavy log lifted from the homestead, thoughts return to one central question. "How'd he do this by himself?" asked Nikki Larson, 14, from Wisconsin.
News >  Idaho

Old dugout found in lake isn’t so old

Scuba divers might have discovered the old dugout canoe, but the sunken boat and its story might never be pulled from the depths of Lake Pend Oreille. Wood samples from the canoe are too young to yield a precise age through carbon dating, meaning the boat is less than 380 years old but probably at least 100 years old, said Mary Anne Davis, associate state archaeologist with the Idaho State Historical Society.
News >  Spokane

A fire’s line of legacies

WALLACE – No markers or monuments grace the mine shaft. Not even crosses for the men who died inside the tunnel of rock on that terrible, fiery night 94 summers ago. Until recently, the steep trail leading to the Nicholson Adit up Placer Creek's west fork was tangled by brush and deadfalls. The U.S. Forest Service had given up trying to maintain the path, even though it led to a place considered sacred by many within the agency and the larger firefighting community.
News >  Idaho

Tiny weevils weeding

A tiny weevil from the other side of the world could help control a plant that is overrunning much of the West. About 300 of the creatures were dumped out of a cardboard container near the Coeur d'Alene Airport Monday afternoon. Although scientists and government officials have high hopes for the bugs, their release into the weedy wilds of North Idaho came with little ceremony or television cameras.
News >  Idaho

Fernan Lake Road revamp moves forward

After years of delay and dispute, a proposal to reconstruct Fernan Lake Road continues to move forward. Nearly 11 miles of the narrow, curving road will be rebuilt beginning in 2007, according to a proposal by the Federal Highway Administration.
News >  Idaho

It may be vacation, but not exactly summer

Nearly three times the normal amount of rain fell on Spokane last month. More's on the way. Farmers and firefighters are especially happy to see the relief, especially after a bone-dry early spring and six years of drought.
News >  Idaho

Trainees get wildfire basics at camp

Jessica Christensen barely had a chance to celebrate her high school graduation last weekend. Early Monday morning, while many of her former classmates were still snoozing, Christensen returned to the classroom. The 18-year-old from St. Maries, Idaho, is spending the week camping in a tent and attending Guard School – wildland firefighting's equivalent of boot camp.
News >  Idaho

Heart program alive and ticking

Kootenai Medical Center's new heart program appears to be off the ground. Actually, the program is three stories tall and has nearly 100 successful open-heart surgeries to its name.
News >  Idaho

Program alive and ticking

Kootenai Medical Center's new heart program appears to be off the ground. Actually, the program is three stories tall and has nearly 100 successful open-heart surgeries to its name.
News >  Idaho

Ceremony recognizes area vets

The crowd stood silent for nearly an hour Monday as the name of every veteran buried in Coeur d'Alene Memorial Gardens was read aloud. A few raindrops fell, and some of the estimated 500 spectators wandered back to their cars. But most stayed.
News >  Spokane

The resurrection of Harrison

HARRISON, Idaho – Economic salvation has begun rolling quietly into this tiny town on the tail of Lake Coeur d'Alene. Locals began noticing the changes last year shortly after the last stretch of asphalt had been steamed onto the new bike trail.
News >  Spokane

Law ensures posthumous votes count

It took more than blindness and having a leg amputated to prevent 84-year-old Carl Johnson from voting. Not even death could keep the Coeur d'Alene resident and World War II veteran from participating in democracy.
News >  Spokane

Lewis and Clark bicentennial may bring unwanted guests

An invasion of exotic zebra mussels was fended off earlier this month at – of all places – an interstate weigh station. A sharp-eyed commercial vehicle inspector spotted the tiny mollusks clinging to a 38-foot yacht being hauled into Washington behind a semi truck, said Capt. Mike Whorton, regional enforcement supervisor for the Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.