Friday, May 07, 2021

Light at the end of pandemic tunnel

| February 24, 2021 1:00 AM

Back in November, during the height of the divisive and polarizing mask mandate debate in the cities in Kootenai County, I made the following public comment in reference to Post Falls … “When we’re able to fully return to our lives, I can only hope and pray that the very special community that I love and where I’ve lived for 35 years, will be intact and recognizable.”

I sincerely was concerned that the sense of community we enjoy in Post Falls and neighboring cities would become collateral damage of the pandemic. Last week I had an indication that we’re going to come through this ordeal not just in one piece but perhaps stronger.

Thursday I attended the Post Falls Chamber’s annual recognition banquet, an abbreviated and much smaller celebration than has been held for the past three decades. About 45 honorees and invitees were socially distanced and seated throughout three bays in Red Lion Templin’s conference center for the presentation of community awards.

The event had been canceled once before in January and the scaled back February version was broadcast live on Facebook with the three dozen plus in-person attendees taking on almost a studio audience role. But it was fun to get dressed up and actually see people in person and feel the collective optimism of community while celebrating the doers who did remarkable things during 2020.

There is light at the end of this long ordeal, with normal just over the horizon.

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I've heard some incredible stories from my Realtor sister, Janna, of how buyers are having great offers upended by cash buyers offering $50-100,000 OVER asking price. Homes that sold a few years ago in the $300,000 range are now selling for twice that, if you can even find a home for sale.

But over the weekend one of the most stunning bits of trivia is a boat slip at the 11th Street Marina at Sanders Beach pending sale for a quarter MILLION dollars. That's for a parking space for a regular size boat, and doesn't include the boat!

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Monday evening a workshop was held with the Post Falls City Council, Post Falls Planning and Zoning Commission and the Urban Renewal Agency to review updates to the City’s 2005 comprehensive plan.

The topic of the city center that has been somewhat in flux with the huge parcel of land once the Louisiana Pacific mill site, then owned by developer Harry Green, that’s now the property of Liberty Mutual still awaiting development drew many comments.

Engineer Matt Gillis, senior project manager with Welch-Comer, and Ross Schlotthauer, Planning and Zoning Commissioner, added their insight and observations about the future of that development. It occurred to me just how long this conversation has been going on … both Matt and Ross as well as city councilor Joe Malloy were just out of high school and I was the age they are now when the LP Mill closed operations in the 1990s.

It’s encouraging to see the multi-generational representation occupying seats at the table of planning for the future.

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Happy birthday today to Ingrid Allen, Sheila Wooley, Betty Leonard, Tamara Booth, and Barb Koerner. Tomorrow Ella Allred (Sweet 16!), Nathan McLeod, Peter Braunlich, Barb Dietrick, Rosalie True and Jimmy Conrow mark their special day. Friday Brad Medlock, Tina Hough (60!), Lauren McShea, Jeremy McComb, Carolyn Peterson, Peter Braunlich, Clara Hester, Sherry Wallis, Sunny Day and Ron Gonzales blow out the candles.

On Saturday John Darlas, Karen Cocoran, David Sheridan (80!), Tawny Brown, Camille Hutchison, Steve Lux, Eddie Jerome, Hailey Pierce and Mary Herrick are celebrating. On the last day of February Don Pischner, Bridgette Lowry, Dave Brubaker, Gary Dagastine, Bob Flowers, Bill Reese, Al Telles, Maurie Bruce, Dean Walsmith, Allison Gerzina and Robin Gerzina take another trip around the sun.

There’s no 29th day of February this year but cheers to Leap Year babies Boston Smock, Kris Helstrom, Dean Walsmith, Dr. Jim Anderson, Lana Johnson Fensky, Nancy DiGiammarco and Charlet Hannon. Celebrating March 1 birthdays are June Goecke, Faye Griffiths, Preston Hill, Marina Otter, Lisa Tucker, Connie Chalich, Bud Kobs, Megan Aker, Karen Welts and John Billetz (70!). On Tuesday LeeAnn Cheeley, Conrad Nelsen, Sharon Menti (80!), Rhonda Shippey, Ginny Easterly, Alexander Endo, Randy Hurt and Nickolas Aker put on their party hats.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.