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North Idaho counties report increase of sexual assault
May 7, 2024 1:05 a.m.

North Idaho counties report increase of sexual assault

As reports of sexual assault increase throughout North Idaho, advocates, law enforcement and prosecutors are working to keep up.

Under new management
March 19, 2024 1 a.m.

Under new management

While Inland Forest Management sold, little will change

It was 40 or so years ago that Dick Bradetich and Mike Wolcott walked into Bill Love's office at the Idaho Department of Lands in Sandpoint. The pair, Love recounts, wanted to let him know about their new forestry consultation business. Now, Inland Forest Management officials are letting the community know about a new change in the company with the sale of IFM to Georgia-based F&W Forestry Services.

Historic mystery
March 10, 2024 1:06 a.m.

Historic mystery

Divers, museum team up to identify, protect old wreck

It's likely she was deliberately sunk; the rocks piled in the front of the bow attest to that. But her name? Her story? When she operated in the community? Those are among the mysteries the Bonner County Museum hopes to solve, starting that journey with a dive into a recently discovered historic wreck.

Body found near where monk reported missing
January 5, 2024 1 a.m.

Body found near where monk reported missing

A body was found floating in a pond near where a Newport area monk was reported missing. Pend Oreille County Sheriff's Office dispatch said the agency received a call from Sravasti Abbey, saying a resident had seen a body floating in a nearby pond.

Fire academy heads north to train firefighters
December 21, 2023 1 a.m.

Fire academy heads north to train firefighters

While the fire academy has been a staple at North Idaho College's Workforce Training Center for 13 years, the Dec. 12 fire academy graduation marked the first time the course had been held in Bonner County. Firefighters from both Boundary and Bonner County took part, including those volunteering at South Boundary Fire Department.

Festival announces record-breaking year
December 13, 2023 1 a.m.

Festival announces record-breaking year

For the third straight year, the Festival at Sandpoint broke records. Partly due to a capacity increase and partly due to three sold-out performances, Festival officials announced Monday that the annual summer music series broke multiple organizational records. The news was announced as part of the Festival's annual report, which highlighted Festival programs programs from October 2022 to September 2023.

Spacepoint set to launch new observatory
October 30, 2023 1:08 a.m.

Spacepoint set to launch new observatory

Looking up at the night sky, stars are everywhere — seemingly unlimited in their scope. And, just like those stars, the opportunities in the space industry are as unlimited and full of potential, Spacepoint's Kyle Averill said. That, he said, is part of the reason he launched Spacepoint, a new observatory that is located at the University of Idaho's Sandpoint Organic Agriculture Center. Launched in March, Spacepoint — a deliberate play on the new nonprofit's home base — aims to create both interest in, and a pipeline to, all aspects of the space industry.

Compassion: 'The Cure for Hate'
October 24, 2023 1 a.m.

Compassion: 'The Cure for Hate'

It was the face of his newborn daughter, scrunched together, staring up at him in the delivery room, the first thing she saw. That was the catalyst. However, his journey away from extremist ideology and hate groups such as the Aryan Nations evolved over time, Tony McAleer told a crowd of roughly 100 area residents who attended Sunday's screening of "The Cure for Hate".

'The Cure for Hate'
October 23, 2023 1:09 a.m.

'The Cure for Hate'

Former Hayden Lake Aryan Nations member goes on journey of atonement

Among the stops of the documentary, "The Cure For Hate", is a showing today in Sandpoint. The film will be shown today, Oct. 22, at First Presbyterian Church, 417 N. Fourth Ave., Sandpoint. Doors open at 5:30 p.m., and the film begins at 6 p.m. A question-and-answer session will follow, led by moderator Jim Healey. All are welcome to attend this free event.

West Bonner OKs vacancies in truncated meeting
September 28, 2023 1 a.m.

West Bonner OKs vacancies in truncated meeting

Shortly before it was scheduled to start, the West Bonner school board meeting was paused for a phone call. Superintendent Branden Durst and trustees Margy Hall and Carlyn Barton then broke from a huddle near the front of the almost-full room and left the cafeteria.

Durst stepping down as West Bonner superintendent
September 26, 2023 1 a.m.

Durst stepping down as West Bonner superintendent

In announcing his resignation Monday, West Bonner Superintendent Branden Durst said he is seeking an "amicable and fair exit." In a letter posted to his account on X, formerly known as Twitter, Durst said he made the decision to resign from the post he's held for just under three months after much thought.

West Bonner trustee skips meeting
September 21, 2023 1 a.m.

West Bonner trustee skips meeting

As the clock ticked closer to 6 p.m., the murmuring started as West Bonner County School Board trustee Troy Reinbold's seat remained empty. "Is he here?" someone whispered at a table near the middle of the room? "Is he coming?" asked another. Without Reinhold's presence, the remaining board members of Hall and Carlyn Barton did not constitute a quorum and were forced to cancel the meeting.

WBCSD special meeting prompts concern
September 6, 2023 1 a.m.

WBCSD special meeting prompts concern

A special West Bonner school board meeting set for Wednesday is drawing community concerns as well as that of an attorney representing two Bonner County voters granted a restraining order prohibiting the board from making any decisions that bind the board financially or contractually.

Canceled by court order
September 2, 2023 1:07 a.m.

Canceled by court order

Injunction prohibits WBCSD from making changes until recall is official

A controversial special West Bonner County School District board meeting was canceled Friday afternoon after a judge granted a restraining order sought by two Bonner County voters. The order prohibits the district from making any changes to the school board or authority granted to Superintendent Branden Durst until the recall of board chair Keith Rutledge and vice chair Susan Brown takes place on Thursday, Sept. 7.

West Bonner forensic audit delayed, nonprofit filing draws concern
August 27, 2023 1 a.m.

West Bonner forensic audit delayed, nonprofit filing draws concern

Initial results from a forensic audit of the West Bonner County School District have been postponed as the auditing firm waits for additional documentation. To prepare the preliminary report, Waldren said the firm needed all data for the audit period of 2018 to 2023 by Aug. 1. However, as of Aug. 25 — the date Eide Bailly planned to deliver the report — some of the data needed had yet to be given to the firm. Also, a Secretary of State filing listing the district as a non-profit has raised concern that some on the WBCSD board are attempting to convert at least part of the district into a charter school. District officials said that is not the case and is merely an effort to move the audit forward.

Durst: Application requires adoption of minutes
July 22, 2023 1 a.m.

Durst: Application requires adoption of minutes

ISDE: State just needs date of declaration of emergency, hire

New West Bonner County School District Superintendent Branden Durst said the delay in submitting his application for provisional certification to lead the school district stems from one thing: he's following Idaho law. "At this time, my application has not been submitted because board minutes have not yet been approved reflecting the board's approval of the emergency declaration," Durst told the Daily Bee in an email. However, Idaho State Department of Education officials said they just need the date the declaration of emergency was approved and the date of Durst's hire.

Embattled trustees say recall about politics, not kids
July 15, 2023 1:08 a.m.

Embattled trustees say recall about politics, not kids

An upcoming recall is a partisan attempt to oust conservative politicians from office, according to a pair of West Bonner County School District board trustees. The comments are part of written rebuttals submitted to the county clerk's office by WBCSD board chairman Keith Rutledge and vice chair Susan Brown as they prepare for an Aug. 29 recall election. Residents in western Bonner County launched the recall drive in mid-June, following increasingly contentious board meetings after the board mulled selling Priest River Middle School and Branden Durst, a former policy analyst with the Idaho Freedom Foundation, was announced as a superintendent finalist.

Effort to fight Herndon social media ban
July 6, 2023 1 a.m.

Effort to fight Herndon social media ban

Funds being raised to support legal challenge by those blocked by state senator

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched to cover a upcoming legal challenge by those being blocked on social media accounts by District 1 Sen. Scott Herndon. The challenge is expected to be filed in late August, said Alicia Abbott, among those who were blocked by Herndon.

West Bonner trustee recall moves forward
July 3, 2023 1:06 a.m.

West Bonner trustee recall moves forward

A campaign to recall a pair of West Bonner County School District board trustees will move forward. Enough valid signatures were collected by campaign organizers to get a recall on a ballot Aug. 29.

Sandpoint geese rounded up, euthanized
July 1, 2023 1 a.m.

Sandpoint geese rounded up, euthanized

City officials said move one of last remaining options

Fans of Canada geese that make their home at City Beach say the waterfowl should have been allowed to live in peace. Others say the geese are a nuisance, harassing community members and tourists alike who head to the beach for rest and recreation.

Recall underway to oust West Bonner school trustees
June 29, 2023 1 a.m.

Recall underway to oust West Bonner school trustees

Recall petitions were submitted Tuesday seeking to oust a West Bonner County School District board chairman Keith Rutledge and board vice chairman Susan Brown. Bonner County Clerk Michael Rosedale said an effort to count the number of valid signatures on each petition has begun. The county clerk expects to complete the count by Friday afternoon.

Scott escorted out of 'volatile’ board meeting
June 16, 2023 1:05 a.m.

Scott escorted out of 'volatile’ board meeting

A state legislator was escorted from a contentious West Bonner County School Board meeting to defuse tensions, according to Priest River Police. Held at a packed Priest River Junior High School auditorium, the meeting was scheduled to discuss a contract with Branden Durst, a senior policy analyst with the Idaho Freedom Foundation who was hired June 7 to lead the district.

Durst's selection draws mixed reaction
June 9, 2023 1 a.m.

Durst's selection draws mixed reaction

The selection of Branden Durst as the new West Bonner County School District is drawing mixed reactions — at best. Some applauded the move, saying change is vital to improve the schools and rebuild trust between the community and the district. Others criticized the move, calling it an inherently political vote that makes pawns of the community's children.

Faire brings Renaissance to life
June 9, 2023 1 a.m.

Faire brings Renaissance to life

Annual event taking place this weekend

The Sandpoint Renaissance Faire features everything from music, magic, dancing and comedy to combat, feasting, and aerial arts. Held from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, the sixth annual event is being held at the Bonner County Fairgrounds, 4203 N. Boyer Road. A jousting tournament, featuring the Epona Equestrian Team, will take place at 11 a.m. and 5 p.m., both days. In addition, faire organizers said there will be performances by mar=gicians, comedy and more.

Durst selected as new WBCSD superintendent
June 8, 2023 1:07 a.m.

Durst selected as new WBCSD superintendent

Saying change was needed to steer a troubled district, the West Bonner County School District voted 3-2 to hire an Idaho Freedom Foundation policy analyst as its new superintendent. The position would be the first school district administrative position for Branden Durst, who was selected over longtime Priest River educator and administrator Susie Luckey.

Duo reigns on last day with a little horsepower
June 3, 2023 1:06 a.m.

Duo reigns on last day with a little horsepower

This is one horse tale that will go down in school lore. After all, it isn't every day that students forgo driving their car or taking the bus for a different kind of horsepower — one that comes with four hooves and a tail. But that is exactly what seniors Kelly Whitney and Taylor Peck did, opting to take advantage of an archaic Idaho law that allows students to ride to school.

Schweitzer sale announced Thursday
June 3, 2023 1:05 a.m.

Schweitzer sale announced Thursday

It was the right opportunity at the right time, Schweitzer officials said in announcing the sale of resort operations assets to Alterra Mountain Company. "With room for growth and plans for future expansion and development, MKM’s decision to exit the mountain resort business puts Schweitzer in a favorable position to begin a new chapter with Alterra at the helm," said Tom Chasse, who will be staying on as Schweitzer's president and CEO. "I’m personally very excited to join a family of world-class destinations with passionate industry leaders who can help guide Schweitzer in becoming the best version of itself."

DNA technology solves 41-year-old mystery
April 2, 2023 1:09 a.m.

DNA technology solves 41-year-old mystery

Montana woman identified

Mildred Hubertz was 59 when she went missing in 1968 from St. Ignatius, Mont., a small town 40 miles from Missoula. In November 1982, hunters near Newport, Wash. — just across the North Idaho border and an almost four-hour drive from St. Ignatius — found a partial human skull in a remote wooded area north of the small Pend Oreille County community.

Bonner General Health shutters labor, delivery services
March 18, 2023 1:30 p.m.

Bonner General Health shutters labor, delivery services

Hospital cites legal and political climate a factor for doctors leaving the state

Soon, women about to give birth in Bonner County will need to drive to Coeur d'Alene or Spokane to have their baby. Friday, Bonner General Health announced the hospital would no longer be offering labor and delivery service at the 25-bed hospital. While it will attempt to provide service through May 19, that will depend on staffing.

Priest River man sentenced for setting wildfires
February 27, 2023 1:08 a.m.

Priest River man sentenced for setting wildfires

A Priest River man has been sentenced to 10 years in prison each in connection to a half-dozen wildfires set in western Bonner County in the summer of 2022. Ryan Nathanial Greene, 23, was sentenced earlier this month in connection to the Priest River area wildfires after a plea deal was reached in the case. In the plea deal, Greene entered Alford pleas to six counts of third-degree felony arson. In exchange, the state agreed to dismiss a persistence violator enhancement connected to each of the charges.

'Karma Bums' takes a road trip to Idaho
February 1, 2023 1 a.m.

'Karma Bums' takes a road trip to Idaho

Portion of new adventure, thriller shot in Porthill

When the pandemic hit, Keon Hedayati had been shopping around a few scripts. But COVID shut everything down and money to shoot films was nowhere to be seen. It was then, the multi-hyphenate director, actor, and writer decided to go on a road trip — one that ended up in Porthill near the Canadian border.

Sandpoint man charged in father's death
January 31, 2023 1:07 a.m.

Sandpoint man charged in father's death

A Sandpoint man has been arrested on second-degree murder charges after his elderly father was found deceased at his home in the city on Sunday. Evan John Owens, 26, was charged in connection with the death of his father John Owens, 80, who was discovered by police after family members were unable to reach the man.

Russell sentenced to life for murder
January 31, 2023 1 a.m.

Russell sentenced to life for murder

James D. Russell was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the brutal slaying of the caretaker of his family's property in Clark Fork. In her ruling, First District Judge Barbara Buchanan said the sentence was the only one possible to protect society — and James D. Russell himself — following the September 2021 murder of David M. Flaget, who worked as a caretaker of the Russell family's property in Clark Fork in September 2021.

IDFG: Familiarity likely behind coyotes' behavior
January 28, 2023 1 a.m.

IDFG: Familiarity likely behind coyotes' behavior

Unusual coyote behavior in the greater Sandpoint area is likely tied to the animals becoming too comfortable around people, Idaho Fish & Game officials said. In addition to multiple reports of coyote activity as recently as Thursday at Schweitzer, two young coyotes have been seen in the Sandpoint downtown business district during daylight hours.

Coyote makes way into 219
January 27, 2023 1 a.m.

Coyote makes way into 219

Did you hear the one about the coyote that ran into a Sandpoint bar? No, it's not the opening bit to the latest joke. Instead, it is actually what happened at the 219 Lounge shortly after 3 p.m. on Wednesday.

Smartwatches lead to flurry of 911 calls on the slopes
January 25, 2023 1:06 a.m.

Smartwatches lead to flurry of 911 calls on the slopes

Fall detection feature increased number of accidental calls at Sandpoint resort

If you crash on the slopes, did you know your smartwatch may be calling 911? Since a new feature was added to some smartwatches, the Bonner County Sheriff's Office has seen a dramatic increase in 911 calls from folks enjoying the day on the mountain at Schweitzer resort in Sandpoint.

Department of Lands buys 18,000 acres in North Idaho
January 23, 2023 1:09 a.m.

Department of Lands buys 18,000 acres in North Idaho

New endowment land benefits public schools, supports Idaho’s economy and preserves recreation

It was a deal that the Idaho Department of Lands couldn't refuse. When the state had a chance to bid on almost 18,050 acres of timberland spread across the five northern counties, officials didn't hesitate. “Adding an additional 18,000 acres of timberland to the endowment portfolio increases future revenue for the beneficiaries while also supporting Idaho’s broader economy,” IDL director Dustin Miller said. The land included in the bid package was offered as a package deal and offers good quality timberland, Sharla Arledge, IDL public information officer, said. Proceeds from the sale of endowment cottage sites and commercial real estate were used to pay for the properties.

Abandoned dogs prompt investigation
January 19, 2023 1:08 a.m.

Abandoned dogs prompt investigation

Three taken to Kootenai Humane Society

At least 18 husky-type dogs found abandoned at several locations over the past several weeks have prompted an animal neglect investigation, Bonner County Sheriff's Office officials said Tuesday. BCSO public information officer Capt. Tim Hemphill said the dogs have been found in at least three locations — Spirit Lake, Blanchard and Athol. "Many of them appear to be in very poor condition," he said.

Sandpoint Junction Connector opens to rail traffic
November 23, 2022 1 a.m.

Sandpoint Junction Connector opens to rail traffic

Completed nearly a year ahead of schedule, the Sandpoint Junction Connector bridge across Lake Pend Oreille began seeing traffic on Sunday, railroad officials said in a Monday.

Schweitzer unveils new spa, improvements
October 10, 2022 1:08 a.m.

Schweitzer unveils new spa, improvements

Cambium, a 3,600-square-foot spa, headlines more than $5 million in improvements at the resort for the 2022-2023 season.

Crews battle to bring fires under control
September 6, 2022 1:05 a.m.

Crews battle to bring fires under control

Despite helicopters making water drops, which helped slow the spread on Kootenai River Complex, associated fires have burned almost 11,000 acres. All planned containment lines have built on the east, west and south sides of the Diamond Watch Fire, located on Diamond Peak in Pend Oreille County, Wash.

Drawdowns set for Pend Oreille, Priest lakes
September 6, 2022 1 a.m.

Drawdowns set for Pend Oreille, Priest lakes

Bonner County's two main lakes — Pend Oreille and Priest — are is set to begin their move to their winter pool levels.

Crews battling area wildfires
August 24, 2022 1 a.m.

Crews battling area wildfires

Air support is helping firefighters as they battle a number of wildfires in the region, U.S. Forest Service officials said Tuesday.

Area fires see growth
August 20, 2022 1 a.m.

Area fires see growth

An infrared flight over the Eneas Peak Fire show it at 323 acres while the nearby Diamond Watch Fire has grown to 701 acres.

Fire crews make strides against Lions Roar Fire
August 13, 2022 1 a.m.

Fire crews make strides against Lions Roar Fire

Fire crews have been successful in holding the Lions Roar Fire within its approximate 55-acre perimeter, Idaho Department of Lands officials said Friday. The fire, which was reported Aug. 8, is burning in an active logging job with a timber and logging slash fuel source.

Grizzly euthanized after recent livestock attacks
August 5, 2022 1 a.m.

Grizzly euthanized after recent livestock attacks

Idaho Fish and Game officials, in cooperation with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, euthanized the large adult male grizzly bear in Boundary County near the town of Porthill. The bear is thought to be behind a series of attacks in Bonner and Boundary counties.

Lonnie's 'Big Spin' leads to $75K prize
August 4, 2022 1:05 a.m.

Lonnie's 'Big Spin' leads to $75K prize

While he plays the occasional scratch ticket, Lonnie Dahl of Priest River said he saw the Big Spin game and decided to buy a few tickets because it looked fun. That chance purchase led to Dahl making a trip to Boise to be the first jackpot winner of the Idaho Lottery's newest game, the Big Spin. And by the time the 6-foot-plus wheel stopping spinning, Dahl had won $75,000. Dahl's winning ticket, purchased from Whitley Oil Exxon in Priest River, earned him a trip to Boise to spin the Lottery’s Big Spin Wheel during a public event at Boise Towne Square.

Rebuilding bridges
July 31, 2022 1:08 a.m.

Rebuilding bridges

Crossings throughout North Idaho could receive funds for improvements

Work on an area bridges and several child pedestrian paths could be funded as part of Gov. Brad Little's "Leading Idaho" plan. Projects in Kootenai County range from a bridge over the Coeur d'Alene River in the East Side Highway District to a number of child pedestrian safety projects in Rathdrum, Coeur d'Alene, Dalton Gardens and Hayden Lake. Improvements to local bridges and child pedestrian paths across Idaho were announced after the state approved prioritization for two parts of the plan this past week. The Local Highway Technical Assistance Council and the Idaho Transportation Board approved the rankings this week for Leading Idaho local bridge funding as well as child pedestrian crossing funding.

Behind the battlement walls on Lake Pend Oreille
July 12, 2022 1 a.m.

Behind the battlement walls on Lake Pend Oreille

Authentic castle placed for sale

Authentic castle placed for sale

Boating accident victims identified
July 2, 2022 1:05 a.m.

Boating accident victims identified

Quartet are from Sandpoint, Laclede