Protect the Frank

Idaho’s Frank Church-River of No Return Wilderness is special. For 40 years, I traveled the area’s trails while working for the U.S. Forest Service. It was the Idaho Primitive Area when I started.

With the perspective gained during those years, I’ve started to fear for our wilderness legacy. A shocking example of this threat is our Idaho Department of Fish and Game’s recent action to develop airstrips on agency owned wilderness properties and, teaming with the Division of Aeronautics, trying to strong-arm the Forest Service into opening and improving additional wilderness airstrips.

Sen. Church clearly intended a level of aircraft access to the wilderness be maintained. However, adding airstrips will facilitate change from the limited airstrip use intended for hunting access that outdoor writer Ted Trueblood and others recognized in their support for wilderness designation, opening the door to more overhead noise, with more landings and take-offs.

Idaho is growing and changing. The demands upon the wild country of the Frank Church Wilderness can likewise be expected to change and grow. It is important for the Forest Service to keep one goal paramount: protection and preservation of the area’s wilderness character.

Idaho needs to be a full, voluntary partner in this effort. State agencies, such as Fish and Game, with narrow agendas championing special interests, must learn to appreciate the wilderness character of this wild land and support efforts to protect this character.

Idaho will never have another wilderness this wild, this expansive or this fragile.

Clem Pope


Christmas angel

Being a local Santa’s helper can be a very demanding job. We may have to put up with frigid cold temperatures, a very abused lap and may even catch a cold.

I experienced this event once a year at the Harpster Community Christmas Show when I lived there years ago. ...

When the Christmas program was about three-quarters over, ... I would get dressed in the storage room next to the kitchen. I would go out the back door of the building, down the icy, snow-covered questionable steps and make my way through the weeds around to the front door. ...

With bells in hand and a “Ho Ho Ho,” I made my grand entrance. ...

I talked to a lot of children when I noticed this little handicapped girl who was always with two other lovely young ladies who had been in the program. ...

I thought I was all done with the children when she jumped on my lap. I asked her if she had been good, helping Mom with the dishes and cleaning the house. ...

Then I asked what she wanted most for Christmas.

She looked up at me with her wide starlit eyes and said, “ I want to be beautiful like my sisters. ... ”

I lost my voice for a few seconds. ...

She did not realize she was as beautiful as her sisters, just in a different way.

This is the closest I will ever come to a little Christmas angel. ...

Christopher Hertel


What Lewiston needs

What downtown Lewiston needs is something that will bring people downtown on a daily basis.

Lewiston was the leading wine growing area before Prohibition, yet Lewiston has allowed Walla Walla to steal its thunder regarding the wine industry.

Walla Walla and Lewiston were two very similar towns centered around agriculture and timber with no interstate highway.

But look at Walla Walla. Thousands of people flock there every year to taste and buy wines that could certainly be grown here.

The problem is convincing growers that it would be economical for them to establish a tasting room downtown. Currently, people drive out of town to taste wines. If there were tasting establishments downtown, people would come and other businesses would spring up to take advantage of the foot traffic.

The problem is the cost to renovate the old buildings that downtown Lewiston consists of.

We have spent millions of urban renewal dollars on everything but urban renewal. Why not get together with some of the local vineyard owners and property owners and try to figure out what it would take for them to open a tasting room downtown.

If a few would start, others would soon follow. And before you know it, our downtown could once again be vibrant.

Mark Edelblute


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