It has been nearly three years since Debbie Love took over as the executive director of the Bonner Community Food Bank, and in that time, she has witnessed firsthand how the needs of the community have continued to grow.
“We have families who are employed but continue to struggle to make ends meet,” said Debbie. “Also, since expanding our Priest River site, we have seen an increase in need with our older population who live on fixed incomes, averaging $750 to $800 per month.”
The good news is that Bonner Community Food Bank has been distributing an increasing amount of fresh produce over the last few years. This past year alone they have given out more than 100,000 pounds of produce. Debbie said this is made possible in large part due to the generosity of the Sandpoint Farmers Market, Sandpoint Community Garden, St. Catherine’s in Priest River, The Grocery Rescue Program, local growers and various community gardens.
“We are also fortunate to have raised garden beds on site at the food bank for the last two seasons. I remember sitting in a meeting with Michelle Murphy (who was starting with Bonner County Coalition of Health at the time and had grant funding for community gardens), and she asked me what my vision was for the food bank. I was unaware of her connection to our local school gardens and told her I would love to see a community garden here at the food bank.”
What began over a shared cup of coffee has become an instrumental part of hundreds of young musicians’ lives over the past decade. Co-founded by Karin Wedemeyer, a German-born opera singer, and Ruth Klinginsmith, a violinist trained through the Toronto Conservatory, these two women launched a music hub unlike any in North Idaho.
The Music Conservatory of Sandpoint opened its doors to musician hopefuls in September of 2009 and over the past decade has fulfilled its mission by expanding opportunities for arts accessibility, teaching music with a consistent curriculum 365 days a year and successfully training aspiring young performers.
“Our vision is to become a leading school of performing arts in the Northwest, the ‘Julliard of the Wild West,’ we like to kid. But we are not kidding,” says Kathi Samuels, Board of Directors chair.
Kathi’s first interaction with MCS involved her interest to teach her son, who was 6 years old at the time, how to read music. She enrolled him in a group recorder class in 2010. “The environment of music was a draw for me as a parent, a place where my kids could be immersed in ‘the language of music,’” she says. “After one visit, it was obviously a place I wanted to visit again.”
For over 90 years, The Panida Theater in Downtown Sandpoint has hosted many amazing performances. Who would have anticipated way back in 1927 when the Panida first opened that nearly a century later the iconic theater would continue its mission of showcasing great performers and performances for audiences in the Panhandle of Idaho—hence, its name the Panida.
But the past century has not been all glory for this historic structure. In the mid-1980s, the theater had fallen into disrepair. But thanks to the generosity of people and businesses in the community, the fundraising efforts put forth by many resulted in the restoration of the Panida, which today is on the National Register of Historic Places and has received numerous accolades from the governor of Idaho, the Idaho Commission of the Arts, the Idaho Centennial Commission and the U.S. Depart of the Interior.
In 2015 the theater underwent a ceiling restoration which required closure of the historic landmark during several weeks over the summer.
But when all was complete, a new fire alarm and sprinkler system was installed, and with the restoration of the plaster ceiling this beautiful landmark was closer to all the repairs and code requirements needed to carry on business as usual, which delighted locals and tourists alike.