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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

No culprits in case of charred kiosk

By Kathy Hedberg Lewiston Tribune

Idaho County sheriff’s investigators are continuing to search for clues about a fire that destroyed the advertising kiosk along U.S. Highway 95 at the entrance to the city of White Bird.

Sheriff Doug Ulmer said Tuesday detectives are working on the case but so far have not identified culprits.

The advertising kiosk burned to the ground Nov. 28 between 11:30 p.m. and midnight.

Alex Cawley, who lives in White Bird, said a woman noticed the glow of the fire from her home and alerted the fire department. By the time firefighters arrived, however, the structure had burned to the ground. A state fire marshal has ruled that the fire was set intentionally. Cawley said the smell of gasoline was detected at the site shortly after the blaze began.

Homer Brown, mayor of White Bird, said the kiosk was built in the 1980s by community volunteers and was the only way the town was able to advertise its businesses from the highway.

“Monetarily it was worth probably under $10,000,” Brown said. “But it was more about the community value of it. It’s been there since the early 1980s and it was built with centennial funds. It was a pretty valuable thing in White Bird.”

The kiosk had been maintained by the White Bird chamber of commerce and the library. The chamber dismantled about five years ago, Brown said, and since then there’s been some talk of the kiosk being taken over by the Salmon River chamber of commerce, located in Riggins.

Most people in White Bird are opposed to that idea, Brown said. Some money has been set aside from the former chamber for the kiosk’s upkeep, even though it was not owned by the city or any community organization.

Brown said townspeople are “pretty upset” about the loss and plan to meet to discuss cleaning up the site and possibly rebuilding the kiosk.

“I really hope that whoever did this gets caught,” the mayor said.