Cities pack 2018 with changes

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From drones and city ordinances, to crimes and carousels, 2018 was packed with news.

This is the twelfth in a series looking back at the top stories of the year, continuing with the last part of November and into December. Stories are listed in no particular order.

• As part of the D.A. Davidson Economic Forum, experts explained “Impact Philanthropy: Investing in Sandpoint’s Non-Profit Sector.”

• Donavon Cleon “Gunner” Maupin pleaded guilty to amended felony assault charge during his arraignment in 1st District Court on Nov. 19. Maupin, 37, was charged with aggravated battery and misdemeanor battery after allegedly sucker punching one woman and throwing a beer in the face of another outside the The Jammer Bar in Priest River on July 27.

• A $40,000 arrest warrant was issued for a Bonner County man linked to vehicle burglaries in Priest River. Jacob Charles Bocook failed to appear at his arraignment Nov. 19 on two counts of burglary and counts of misdemeanor and felony theft. Bocook, 24, was arrested by Priest River Police after they received a report that vehicles were being prowled near the intersection of Fifth Street and Jackson Avenue last March.

• LPOSD officials proposed a $25 million amount for the next two-year supplemental levy to increase staff salaries, in addition to the regular maintenance and operations cost funded by the levy.

• Priest River Elementary teacher Chris Naccarato added to his annual flight events with a drone presentation, due to a “Ready, Set, Drones!” grant of $2,575 from the Idaho STEM Action Center.

• The Vital Ground Foundation completed a conservation acquisition of 455 acres of grizzly bear and wildlife habitat at Bismark Meadows. The acreage, located on the west side of Priest Lake, will provide spring range for the Selkirk Mountains’ recovering grizzly population, which typically numbers around 30 bruins south of the Canadian border, according to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service.

• Priest River teen Kayetlin Alexander outlined her passion for philanthropy, and how she raised thousands of dollars and spent countless hours volunteering her time to help out charities across the globe by the time she was 17.

• Kinderhaven named longtime volunteer Julie Eddy as its Angel of the Year for 2018.

• A Bonner County Jail inmate accumulated felony battery charges for attacks on two fellow inmates that left them hospitalized. Michael Rudolph Gillock is accused of attacking the two inmates in an indoor recreation area during a Narcotics Anonymous meeting on Nov. 9.

• Sandpoint City Council approved a new snow removal policy that requires residents to park only on the side of the street with even numbered addresses between the months of November and March.

• The Idaho Supreme Court affirmed a Bonner County district court ruling on a motion to suppress an eyewitness identification in a 2016 road rage case near Oldtown. Steven Michael Moore was accused of following a 12-year-old boy who was riding an all-terrain vehicle to his Meadowlark Lane home and using his vehicle to ram the ATV while the boy was still seated on it. Moore allegedly cursed at the boy and warned that he would shoot him to death if he caught driving fast on the road.

• The Sandpoint Lions Club kicked off their annual Toys for Tots campaign, with a goal of $50,000

• The new Human Rights Club at Priest River Lamanna High School fell under scrutiny by community members as the club’s focus outlined for December was “Men and LGBTQA.”

Several community members took their concerns to West Bonner County School District officials during the Nov. 21 meeting.

• Selkirk Fire Rescue & EMS is in the home stretch of long-standing goal to improve response times and coverage in southern Bonner County. Selkirk completed an interior remodel of the Careywood station in July, which converted two of the pole building’s four vehicle bays into living space for fire-fighting emergency medical technicians. The department has also secured a $770,000 Federal Emergency Management Agency to hire three new firefighters.

• Leniency was shown to Brandon Guy Bowman, of Elmira, who accidentally shot a teen in the face while target shooting. Bowman, 44, was charged with unlawful possession of a firearm and injuring another via discharged firearm in connection with the May 2017 incident. Bowman entered into a plea agreement which dismissed the misdemeanor wounding charge in exchange for a plea to the felony firearm possession charge. A plea agreement in the case recommended a suspended two- to four-year prison term, 30 days of local incarceration and two years of unsupervised probation.

• Due to a “generous” contribution of an undisclosed amount by Litehouse Foods, Inc., officials from Sandpoint’s new YMCA announced it would be named after the company — Litehouse YMCA.

• After consulting with private developer Ralph Sletager on the University of Idaho Boyer Avenue property, to no avail, Sandpoint City officials were left with no choice but to hope for a voice when the 77-acre property goes through a public bidding process. A year ago, the city had high hopes it could buy the property, pursuing public involvement to create a vision for the land. That vision included open space, trail connectivity and a recreation center among other aspects.

• Idaho Hill Principal Susie Luckey detailed her time in Washington, D.C., where she was honored as Idaho’s National Distinguished Principal in October.

• A small-time shoplifting bust morphed into a big-time heroin trafficking arrest in Priest River on Dec. 3. Joshua Gordon Swanson was charged with heroin trafficking and possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Swanson, 31, was further charged with resisting arrest and misdemeanor theft, according to a criminal complaint.

• The Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office, representing Bonner County, contends Commissioner Dan McDonald did not run afoul of Idaho’s Public Integrity in Elections Act by filming campaign videos in his office and the board’s conference room. Bill Harp, the county’s former director of information technology, alleged that McDonald violated the state elections law by using the office space and conference room as performance stages during his campaign in the 2018 election cycle.

• Bonner County announced plans to close the 11-mile solid waste site on Highway 57, effective Jan. 1. Solid waste officials said they are closing the site because it is located on U.S. Forest Service property and lacks commercial power service, which they contend creates “a multitude of safety and liability concerns.”

• Sandpoint City Council members adopted several changes to the city’s off-street parking ordinance. The biggest changes included expansion of the deregulation zone outside of the downtown core, and adjustments to the residential minimum and maximum parking space requirements.

• The Lake Pend Oreille School District is one of 373 school districts in the United States and Canada honored by the College Board with placement on the 9th annual AP District Honor Roll. To be included on the honor roll, high schools had to increase the number of students participating in Advanced Placement, while also increasing or maintaining the percentage of students earning AP Exam scores of 3 or higher since 2016.

• Solar Roadways owners detailed the temporary shut down of the pilot project at Jeff Jones Town Square. The existing panels will be replaced with the newest model this coming spring. The two years since the panels were installed at Jeff Jones Town Square saw a number of challenges and delivered a lot of data — all of which went into making the panels production ready. The biggest challenge they faced was in the manufacturing process.

• Bonner County commissioners called on federal regulators to excise Bonner County and the state of Idaho from a Kalispel Tribe proposal to re-designate a Class I air quality zone on its reservation in Washington state. Commissioners said they did not oppose the tribe’s re-designation, which is meant to preserve current air quality conditions, but did oppose the designation from crossing state lines.

• Nearly 400 absentee ballots from November’s general election inadvertently went uncounted, and were later discovered in one of the drawers in filing cabinets used to stow the ballots in the elections office. The ballots did not change the outcome of the election.

• Bonner County, which has operated Bonner County EMS for the past 15 years, is migrating toward turning over the system to a nonprofit called North Valley EMS, which will eventually oversee EMS operations for Bonner and Boundary counties.

• After months of discussion, Priest River City Council members adopted a recreational vehicle ordinance, limiting the occupation of RVs on property within city limits to one week, among other restrictions.

• The Carousel of Smiles showcased the progress made on restoration of the historic ponies and art panels during an open house in December.

• A Bonner County jury convicted a man of concealing evidence in a shooting which injured a 13-year-old angler who was fly fishing the Priest River. The jury found Leo Michael Inwood guilty of the felony following a two-day jury trial in 1st District Court that concluded on Dec. 13. Inwood, a 43-year-old Priest River-area resident, faces up to five years in prison when he’s sentenced on Feb. 25.

• Bonner County commissioners halted a proposal to extend snow plowing on Eastshore Road from Canoe Point to the Lions Head unit of Priest Lake State Park. Stephanie Kline of the Sandpiper Shores homeowners association said the lack of plowing between Canoe Point and the state park would be costly to the development’s winter residents. But Commissioner Dan McDonald said the proposal could set an uneasy precedent for using county resources to plow public roads which are privately maintained because they were not built or improved to county road standards.

• A cold-case murder trial of a former Bonner County man is being pushed back six months. Bonner County Prosecutor Louis Marshall and Public Defender Janet Whitney moved jointly to postpone the proceedings against Stephen Mathew Lott due to the number of law enforcement agencies involved in the investigation into Christine Lott’s killing and the duration of the investigation, which has spanned 14 years.

• The Lake Pend Oreille School District approved ballot language for a $25 million supplemental levy, which will go before voters in March.

• Northwest Autobody and Towing donated $50 for every wild animal collision repair done throughout the month of November to the Bonner Community Food Bank, for a total of $1,450.

• Among a trend of growth at Lake Pend Oreille High School, several students outlined their stories of how they found success and family at the alternative school during a December board meeting of the Lake Pend Oreille School District.

• Cody James Sorenson was a no-show at his pretrial hearing on Dec. 21, prompting a $40,000 arrest warrant. Sorenson, 18, was implicated in the theft of a pricey John Deere skidder northeast of Priest River.

• Snipers claimed the life of a Washington state man who engaged in a standoff with Bonner County sheriff’s deputies, according to counsel for the man’s widow. Craig Johnson, 50, was shot to death outside his Coolin cabin after allegedly pointing gun at deputies on Sept. 26, 2017. Deputies were attempting to serve an arrest warrant on Johnson after he had pointed a gun at a deputy during a welfare check that was conduct a day earlier.

• Erik Edward Winters, of Spirit Lake, was accused of firing on simulated wildlife during an Idaho Department of Fish & Game sting operation. Winters was charged with attempting to harvest simulated wildlife, attempting to harvest a big game animal with artificial light and shooting from a public roadway, all of which are misdemeanors. The charges stem from an Idaho Fish & Game operation on Hoodoo Mountain on Nov. 15.

• Sandpoint city staff initiated a master planning process to address challenges in the city’s sidewalk and pathway infrastructure, in accordance with council’s 2018-2020 strategic plan.

PRLHS students showcased their senior projects during an exhibition night in December. Projects included wooden benches for the elementary, a new gateway for the high school field, and a time capsule, among many others.

• Residents are appealing the Bonner County Planning & Zoning Commission’s permit approval to allow an asphalt batch plant at an existing gravel pit on the west side of U.S. Highway 95. The planning commission conditionally approved the batch plant at Frank Linscott’s surface mine in November, which aims to bring permanency to an industrial use that has been temporarily allowed over the years. Neighboring landowners and residents have doggedly opposed batch-plant operations at the gravel pit due to noxious emissions and noise pollution. The plant is also seen as a threat to well and aquifer water quality.

• Sandpoint High School senior Tara Rawlings received the news that she was awarded a full-ride scholarship to Grinnell College in Iowa, courtesy of the QuestBridge scholarship program.

• The Lions Club surpassed its Toys for Tots goal of $50,000 due to generous donations from the community. Anything over the goal is put to use by purchasing toys in after-Christmas sales, helping the Lions with the 2019 Toys for Tots campaign.

Mary Malone can be reached by email at and follow her on Twitter @MaryDailyBee.

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