Category Archives: Local News

Don’t Get Locked Out… Story By Alistair King

Don’t Get Locked Out

Tears, running, sweat, and the pings of gunfire… This year’s lock-in was a BLAST; with many fun activities such as Dodgeball, Midnight Yoga, Karaoke, and game rooms. With over 80 students attending and so many activities, there was fun for everyone.

The Student Council planned all these activities on a panel system, meaning that while Dodgeball was going on, Family Feud could happen on the other side of the school. But throughout this entire time there were activities for the less awake students. Movies such as Big Hero 6 and Forrest Gump were being played along with a Lord of the Rings marathon. And the game rooms… of course the game rooms. Three classrooms were dedicated to the activity of video gaming. In U2 a large group played League of Legends, Picasso was the home place of Dark Souls II. Finally in Ali was a game of Fibbage and the day one release of Fallout 4.

Picture-ception... This picture poses for another picture.
Picture-ception… This picture poses for another picture. Photo by Ellie Mearns

How can we forget the greatest of all the activities… Karaoke (before 3am). Brought to you by all the great students here at the school we saw many songs such as “I’m gonna be” by Ellie Mearns and Squad, and the Bee Gees with a large group of boys (See Video). Capture the Flag was a blast, even with both the teams staring each other down at the center line. With eyes locked and unmoving feet, Ellie Mearns had to impose a new rule that they could only do that for 5 seconds. That quickly ended the dispute.

The Dinner was prepared by the Catering Crew and consisted of Soda and Spaghetti. Students were allowed to bring their own snacks and this was thoroughly stated by Ian Mchonnahey who brought an entire carton full of candy in celebration of him becoming 18. After the fun was over and the clean-up had ended, Webber made his special pancakes and homemade syrup, complete with “crispy” bacon and your choice of juice. But this was not without a catch. In order to decide who got to eat first Webber held a “limbo for your meal” contest.

Let’s not forget the Vending Machine either, with a crowd of people struggling to stay awake the vending machine was their only hope. Several students bought upward of six drinks trying to stay awake.

There were also some really great prizes donated by local businesses and adults. Some of these prizes were gift certificates to Petal Talk, various hygiene supplies, and a brand new Kindle.

With so many activities and great fun to be had, is it any surprise when student council members stated, “This could be the best lock in we’ve had. Ever.”  With two great events already happening and so many more coming up in the following trimesters; how will student council surprise us next?

Check out this great video also by Ellie Mearns…

Halloween Dance: Drama and Blood Shed?… Story by Miranda Paddack

Halloween Dance: Drama and Blood Shed?


October 30th was filled with blood, sweat, and tears. Actually, it was only filled with sweat from a wonderful dance hosted by the Student Council. This dance had our one and only DJ Paul, a costume contest, and a surprise that was postponed.

“We had a great turn out,” Stated Orion Syth between songs, “We sold nearly 60 tickets!”  According to secretary, Deryk Harlan, the dance made approximately $300 in profit. “The money made from the dance, along with a bit more, are going towards the school Lock-In happening November 10th-11th.”  Along with the turn out number, there was no girl’s bathroom drama.  Not one ounce of drama or backstabbing was reported at this dance. However, buckets and buckets of sweat could have been collected.

The costume contest winners were announced November 2nd. For those who missed it, first place was Jason Snyder, second place went to Samantha Miller and Jacob Colegrove, and best group costume went to Ariel Miller and Sloan Warner. Maybe next year they will have two spots open for best group costume!

A wide variety of music was played, everything from Lip Gloss by Lil Mama to Santeria by Sublime. Ending the dance with the Time Warp from Rocky Horror Picture Show, the student council out-did themselves. Handing out candy and chips at the dance, rocking the decorations, and hosting a, from what I gather a drama free night. They put their best foot forward, but can they step it up for prom?

Sandpoint’s Small Town Mayor Race… Story by Charles Harrison

In the news recently there has been some buzz about the Sandpoint mayoral race. The only two candidates for mayor are Shelby Rognstad and Mose Dunkel. In a recent interview with the Sandpoint Reader, the candidates outlined their positions on issues such as the coal trains coming from Montana, legalized cannabis, and our local economy. For instance, Candidate Rognstad opposes the coal trains coming through the area. He cited worry about a spill or derailment, while Candidate Dunkel has stated that he would work with the railroads to keep the trains running smoothly and safely. Interestingly, despite their differences, they are both in favor of the legalization of marijuana. Rognstad called it a waste of police resources and Dunkel said that the ability to use marijuana was a liberty.

Business man... Shelby Rognstad stands in front of the Hive: a music venue that he helped to create.
Business man… Shelby Rognstad stands in front of the Hive: a music venue that he helped to create.

On Shelby’s website gave his political views on a number of issues. He wants to finish the fiber project that would bring ultra-high speed internet to Sandpoint. He also stated that he would improve our recycling program, fix our storm drainage system, and improve our wildfire response by collaborating with other fire regional services. He has also stated that he will improve police training involving subjects with mental health problems.

Ready to coach a new team... Mose Dunkel has been involved in student athletics, including little league baseball and football.
Ready to coach Sandpoint… Mose Dunkel has been involved in
student athletics, including little league baseball and football.

Mose Dunkel’s website outlined his platform through a FAQ and issues page. He stated that one of his goals was to bring government and the people together. He has also vowed to bring transparency to the city government. He also wishes to lower utility costs to low income residents and stimulate the local economy by creating a local business friendly environment. He has also stated that he would like a community college campus here because it would allow people to stay in Sandpoint and train for local jobs.

Both of these people are good, decent candidates. I have a favorite, but in the interest of fairness, I won’t divulge his name. While I disagree with some of their stances on a few issues, I would not be disappointed if either one won. I encourage you to go to their websites, look at the issues, and make the decision for yourselves. And if you are able to go out on November third, do it, because you will be helping to create the community that you want to live in. Bonner Taxi will also be providing free rides to the polls, so you have no reason not to go. Their number is 208-597-FINE.


The Loss of the Birds…Story By Sherman Peabody

Loving thoughts... Todd honoring the late Birds with flowers students gave.
Loving thoughts… Social Studies teacher Todd Claunch honors the late Birds with the students of Forrest M. Bird Charter School. Photo-by Mr. Webber

This year we lost both Dr. Forrest Bird and Dr. Pamela Bird, two amazing people who contributed greatly to our community. They supported the idea of the “Invention Convention,” a program that allowed kids from around the community to invent new ideas and contraptions with the great inventor, Dr. Forrest Bird. Forrest and Pamela Bird were both “excited to see kids, young inventors, trying new things and expanding their horizons,” according to Mary Jenson. Forrest would give advice to kids as they invented, allowing them to expand their inventing skills. He especially liked interacting with these young inventors, asking them why they did things to their inventions, probing them to think more about their inventions.

Dr. Forrest Bird invented the “Babybird” respirator, a respirator made for infants. He based this invention on a respirator he invented for fighter pilots, so that they could go higher into the atmosphere and still breathe. Because of the hundreds of thousands of lives he saved with the different sizes of respirators he invented and the kind of person he was, our school wanted to be named after him. When asked the first time, Bird declined the offer. The second time, a year later, he responded “I thought they only named schools after dead people!” according to Jenson. Eventually, he said yes, even though he still thought it was weird that we were naming our school after him while he was still alive.

He has been described as “a youth in an old man’s body.” Even when he was wheel-chair bound, ideas seemed to dance behind his eyes as he thought of new ways to look at things. When asked by the Sandpoint Magazine editor Billie Jean Plaster if he thought he was eccentric, he stated,

“Eccentricity. Well, I guess the definition of course is “out of the usual” or something by Webster. But no, I don’t think I’m really that. I have my own way of doing things, and I like my privacy. I like to remain alone. And I like certain friends. Certain people annoy me, others don’t. Same way with music, all the way through. I’m not anti-social, but I’m not a nightclubber either on that basis. And I think I’ve had the same friends just about all my life. As far as eccentricity goes, I think anybody that doesn’t probably conform to everything, every day might be called a little bit eccentric.”

 Forrest M. Bird was a thinker, and he had a great heart.

Where Forrest was a great thinker, Pamela was the heart. She was dynamic, founding many foundations including Innovative Product Technologies Incorporated, Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center, and was the president of the Inventors Association of Idaho. She had a strong personality, taking an air of authority wherever she went. Yet she was also approachable, as Jenson describes. “For me, she also offered things to me like ‘Hey Mary, call me when you want some advice,’ and ‘if you need some help on something, just let me know.’ She was always very open, and that was awesome.”

Walk of Memories... Students were taken out of class to participate in a school parade in honor of the late Birds.
Walk of Memories… Students given an opportunity to pay their respects for Dr. Pamela Bird in a silent, reflective school march in honor of the late Birds and surviving family members.  Photo-by Mr. Webber

Some people think that the Birds were giving money to the school, which is false. What they did do was the area around the flag, and the school sign in front of the High School. He was a great patriot, and believed in America and how fortunate we are to live here. He served our country in several wars, and wanted to make sure that we remembered to honor our country. They came to speak at graduations and gave a scholarship every year, but that was everything that they did monetarily for this school. According to Jenson, naming the school after Forrest Bird was about honoring these two amazing people, not about the money.

Third Trimester: The End of the World?… Story by Miranda Paddack

Everyone is talking about the end of the world: CERN, climate change, the blood moon, etc.; however, no one is talking about Third Trimester at FBCHS. Who would be talking about Third Trimester anyway? Christmas break is still 32 school days away!

Magnificent Art... Innovation at work. Photo-by Miranda Paddack
Magnificent Art… Innovation at work. Photo-by Miranda Paddack

After collaborating with the High School staff, Mary Jenson has put project-based learning in motion for third-trimester, “We want to make third-trimester fun,” stated Mary. No midterm or final just one project, with a catch nonetheless. Innovation, this theme has been the idea since the baby stages. This theme was originated to honor our schools namesake, Dr. Bird.  The recent death of Mr. and Mrs. Bird makes this a wonderful tribute to their lives.

What is project-based learning? Project based learning is a type of teaching method in which students spend an extended period researching one topic. The focus of our final trimester will be innovation; the project we decide to create will be worked on in nearly all classes, the classes also be focused on this topic. For example, the history class could be about the history of innovation and science classes about innovating something. Group or single, you can pick your “team” in study lab. The project will count for a part of all your grades, completion of this project is your key to passing.

Forrest M. Bird Charter... Can we live up to our name? Photo-by Miranda Paddack
Forrest M. Bird Charter… Can we live up to our name? Photo-by Miranda Paddack

The students and staff are being challenged third-trimester to innovate the world in which we live. To look at the problems of this world and to solve them with real life answers in our projects.  This could be the most innovative form of education our world has ever seen.

Polar shift: The End of the World?… Story by Sherman Peabody

The End is Near! Could everything be ended by a massive polar shift?
The End is Near!… Could everything be ended by a massive polar shift? Photo by

There are many theories on when the world will end, and nearly all of them describe the cataclysmic circumstances that cause it. Some theories are based on the destructive nature of man, such as a nuclear war or global warming. These theories are preventable, as it is possible to destroy nuclear weapons before they detonate or reduce our carbon footprint. But what can we do when the very core of our earth is going to change patterns?

The polar shift theory describes an event just like that. Imagine all migratory animals going North during fall instead of South, GPS satellites not knowing where they are, and navigation systems all pointing the wrong way. These are just some of the things that could happen if the polarity of our North and South poles switched, and some think that this could happen soon.

But NASA has thoroughly debunked this theory in an article they wrote[1], explaining that in the last pole shift “no drastic changes in plant life or animal life” occurred. So, if we trust NASA with this (which I do), we shouldn’t worry about global chaos caused by the shifting poles. But what about the lights in the sky? And I’m not talking about aliens…

What are those strange lights?... The aurora borealis makes its grand appearance in Sandpoint, Idaho several times these past few years. This is a photo of Priest Lake and the northern lights. Photo By Craig Goodwin
What are those strange lights?… The aurora borealis makes its grand appearance in Sandpoint, Idaho several times this year. This is a picture of Priest Lake and the Northern Lights. Photo By Craig Goodwin

The aurora borealis, or the northern lights, is caused by space weather (solar radiation) and our magnetic field colliding. This is actually indirectly associated with the polar shift, as the gradual moving of these poles makes the magnetic fields vary in strength. These beautiful sights can actually be seen by us here in Sandpoint. Amelia Goldworm describes these lights as “whiteish with a tint of brown” and “cloud like.”

Though it is rare, it does happen, so if you don’t want to miss out on the next one throw Soft Serve News ( onto your bookmarks bar and check it out, it predicts where the northern lights will be seen and when.

[1] Please see this article for more indepth information on pole shifts:

Deaths on Black Friday?…..Story by Jack Meier


Yes, it’s official.  People care so much about their new Xbox or PlayStation that they will kill to get it.  What have we come to as a nation?

Black Friday does get heated; sure, that one guy who took the last copy of the new movie or game got you pretty ticked, but bringing pepper spray and spraying them in the face and then taking their items is crossing the line.

One of our own students witnessed someone get mugged over a Wii a few years back.  Mario Bushell watched a fellow shopper hit a person over the head with a frying pan.  This incident was the result of the past Black Friday, all over a simple Wii system.

Black Friday is the day after Thanksgiving, and it is the largest retail shopping day in the world.  It has historically been the day when large companies have certain items largely discounted. It has a history of violence and even death.  It is the start of the official Christmas shopping season.

It was up until a few years ago an American holiday, but many countries around the world have recently taken up the trend too.

Many people use Black Friday for their Christmas shopping, and it gets very, very crowded.  People often begin to line up hours before the shopping equivalent of Shanghai rush hour.

Why is this day so violent?  What drives people over the edge?  After all, if people are shooting each other over toys, imagine what we’ll do to the guy that bumps into us!

Many people are struggling in the present-day economy.  Black Friday offers great deals on things that their kids want.  Parents want to give their kids the best they can for a cheaper price.

Many parents resort to violence to get their kids the things they want.  One woman cut in front of 300+ people in a Black Friday line.  Her items were taken, and later she said that she just wanted to get her son the newest toy, and that it probably wouldn’t be there anymore.  “Everyone was doing it” she said.

“I was trying to get a videogame, and some dude picked me up, and threw me across the aisle, and threw a bunch of clothes at me.” Mario Bushell, FBCS student.


Black Friday is getting more and more violent as the years pass by.

Wal-Mart has announced that it will be moving the start of Black Friday up two hours from last year.  This will start the rush earlier, essentially turning it into Black Thursday Night.

Many people think that Black Friday is a great day to get good deals on items you like.  Others think that it should be removed from the calendar.

Some people who have never been to Black Friday don’t understand the hype.  I mean $150 off a flat screen television is pretty sweet, but would you really risk your life for it?

Black Friday, (or Black Thursday Night now), is a shopping event that offers big savings on popular items.  Whether or not you want to risk your life for a new TV is your choice.  But if you’re going to go to Black Thursday Night this year, you might want to come prepared.

Drinking Water: Dangerous?

Story by Patrick Feyen

Do you live in town?  If so, you may be wondering why your water tastes so strange.

Believe it or not, the city of Sandpoint now gets their water from lake Pend Oreille, and some of the pipes that the water now flows through are made of wood. This wood is stuck to the other pipes with animal fat and have been coated with tar on the inside, this is the reason your water tastes so strange.

Wooden pipes have been common since at least the 1500s, and have been found in several big cities and most are still in operable conditions, but what are the health risk that the tar water brings? Is your throat feeling a little flemmy? The tar might have something to do with it, although it may not be the same tar as in cigarettes, but you can be sure there will be similar health problems after drinking this contaminated water for extended periods of time, but hopefully the city will fix this issue as soon as their attention is brought to it.

An anonymous source who works with water pipes was quoted as saying “We are aware of the problems with how our water moves about through the city limits, and will be working to correct this error within the coming year.”

Big cities such as New York, have been experiencing these similar problems, but their city has also been trying to fix the issue whereas Sandpoint has not done much, or even addressed or publicized that we are using these outdated ways of transporting our water that we are being contaminated by how our water is being moved. You would think more people would know about this issue, but when you have a local paper that does not present the facts in most instances and even when argued with will not even address factual errors, why would they publicize something that may not be beneficial to their business.

The way wooden pipes work, at least back in the days when they were first introduced, they were coated on the inside with tar, and stuck together with animal fat.

Many people who when asked whether they though the pipes would turn out to be dangerous immediately said they would be switching to bottled water and drink as little city water as they could possibly at a time.

Although this new development in our small town may be alarming to most, the water is also being treated to remove the nasty things that would usually come from a lake, and everyone who has been interviewed has said that the water, at least once it leaves the treatment plant should be exceptionally safe for human consumption, there should be no ill effects to this extent, but can the same be said for the same water once it has traveled through our complex water system? That’s for everyone to decide for themselves, at your own risk.

The Byway or The Highway

Story by Hali Aller

Imagine you’re on the verge of making a big time business deal for your company; this deal will hopefully impress your boss, making you big bucks and perhaps a big promotion. You’re driving down highway 95 towards the meeting all the way across The Long Bridge, your running just behind schedule due to traffic; you can’t afford to lose this opportunity. Traffic is still jammed, if only there was a faster way. All of a sudden, BAM!! A new byway is created, allowing you to cut through traffic and slide on through Sandpoint to your

meeting. What a life saver. You reach your destination, only to look at the clock and notice you are 20 minutes late, the deal is lost, they’re not going to waste their time on someone who’s late. If only the byway was created sooner, only then would you have made it on time and strike on that big time deal.

The Sand Creek Byway began construction in 2008, with many struggles along the way, construction ended in 2012; allowing us to get through town quicker and avoid traffic. Many have been saying the byway has improved our town greatly.

Mala Saied, a senior from Forrest Bird Charter school comments, “I like how it separates the big hauling trucks from those who drive little town vehicles. It allows us to enjoy going to through town for a drive about, without dealing with big trucks blocking our view.”

“It’s convenient for the town, I haven’t been here that long, but it’s sure a nice way to get through town without actually going through town,” says teacher Mrs. Logan from FBCS.

“I like it because it allows me to get to practice on time, which is out at Cocolalla, being a coach I have to be there before the kids, and before the byway I was always minutes late, which leaves me little time to get prepared

Photo by Hali Aller: Heading home on South Bus.

and ready,” addresses Rae Aller mother of student at FBCS.

The byway has improved our town greatly, but it took a little longer than planned. This project was supposed to end two months before schedule, which was in 2010, but with many construction problems and weather conditions, it wasn’t finished until 2012.

This year the Idaho Transportation Department nominated the byway for America’s Transportation Award.

“We had a number of major factors in completing it and still we were able to complete it ahead of schedule,” said Mel Coulter, a spokesman at ITD’s Office of Communications in Boise.

Others are shocked.

“Really?” said Mark Webber, teacher at Forrest Bird Charter School, “They’ve nominated our byway, even after all the problems they had with it?”

Yes, and now it’s been named best project in the highway/bridges category by the Engineering News-Record Mountain States.

Even though there were many benefits that came with the new road, after the problems that cost us more money to fix, do you really think the byway should be called the best project?

“Best project? Well, I wouldn’t call it the best, for there have been other ideas put out and even taken into action that may have or has improved our town far greater than the byway, but really after all the problems that took place while under construction with the byway, I don’t think it should be even nominated for best project,” says student at FBCS.