Tuesday, June 25, 2024

MY TURN: Heart and soul of Kootenai County?

by DAVID GROTH/Guest Opinion
| March 23, 2023 1:00 AM

Like thousands of us who live in Coeur d’Alene, I LOVE living here and am determined to do my part to keep it a vibrant, welcoming place in which to live and raise a family.

On the website of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee, it says: “The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee is the heart and soul of North Idaho.”

The website continues: “Comprised of 73 members, and representing every inch of Kootenai County, the KCRCC is here to fight to preserve Freedom and Liberty in North Idaho.”


Coeur d’Alene was founded in 1887 — 136 years ago! The Kootenai County Republican Central Committee has been around for 10-15 years.

Can you imagine being a NEWCOMER in a community and declaring that YOU are “the heart and soul of the community?”

KCRCC, you are NOT the heart and soul of Coeur d’Alene! Not in any way!

Who ARE, and have been, the heart and soul of Coeur d’Alene?

Scott Reed and Art Manley were the major players whose work gifted us Tubbs Hill.

Duane Hagadone was a visionary and took great risks to set new standards for quality in the hospitality industry and as a newspaper publisher.

Moritz Brakemeyer was the proponent of the idea of a community college and was backed by the support of community members and organizations to establish North Idaho Junior College in 1933.

Doug Eastwood, as the decades long director of the Coeur d’Alene Parks Department, had the vision and tenacity to develop the vast and beautiful parks in Coeur d’Alene.

Jon Mueller and Eastwood had the vision for the Centennial Trail and its offshoots, and both Jon and Doug continue to be involved in the trail maintenance and expansion.

Sue and Pat Flammia, Donna and Roger Young, Mary Lou and Scott Reed and others started Art on the Green over 50 years ago, and the event continues to entertain 50,000 August visitors while inspiring dozens of subsequent arts events and organizations.

Wanda Quinn and Nancy Sue Wallace and friends started the EXCEL Foundation over 40 years ago and it has generated hundreds of thousands of dollars to support innovation in the Coeur d’Alene School District.

Sue Thilo and Sandi Bloem led the successful application to receive a $72 million grant to build and endow the Kroc Center.

Terry Jones and Max Mendez at North Idaho College, Tim Sandford at Lake City High School and Jim Phillips at Coeur d’Alene High School have inspired hundreds of musicians.

Jim Winger, Shawn Amos and Van Troxel were long-tenured, successful high school coaches who, for decades, helped student-athletes appreciate the results of team-focused hard work.

Steve Gibbs opened the Art Spirit Gallery on East Sherman Avenue and for the next three decades inspired myriad artistic innovations in Coeur d’Alene.

Judge John Mitchell started the firm and compassionate Drug Court; Judge Gene Marano ruled strictly with heart and soul.

Bloem led Coeur d’Alene as its mayor for 12 years, during the time that McEuen Park was transformed.

Joe Morris, as CEO of Kootenai Medical Center, guided its financially responsible, pay-as-we-go, exponential growth for 30 years.

The Kootenai Environmental Alliance has monitored the water quality of Lake Coeur d’Alene and pushed for standards and policies that preserve its clarity.

The Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association, formed in 1990, supports our attractive downtown gathering place.

I have left off hundreds, if not thousands, of people who have contributed to the heart and soul of our community. None of them tried to destroy it first.

The children of Kootenai County have entrusted their parents and teachers and physicians and coaches to help them as they take the necessary risks to grow and learn. They are the future heart and soul of Kootenai County.

Let’s give them a loving model to follow.

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David Groth is a Coeur d'Alene resident.