The tumultuous year of 2020, looking back

Staff Writer | December 31, 2020 1:00 AM

Jan. 2

Support sought for additional district judge

The Boundary County Board of Commissioners met in a special session on Monday, Dec. 30, with District Court Judge Barbara Buchanan and Administrative District Judge Rich Christensen, to discuss the proposal of asking the legislature to fund a new district judge.

Jan. 9

Rockslide causes derailment

A rockslide caused the derailment of a mile-long BNSF Railway train that was en route from Minneapolis, Minn. to Pasco, Wash., on Wednesday night, Jan. 1, sending an engine with its two-person crew plunging into the Kootenai River.

Jan. 16

No more leakage

According to a press release from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Jan. 9, contracted divers from BNSF Railway attempted to empty the fuel tank and oil from the crankcase of the locomotive in the Kootenai River, that had derailed on Jan. 1 due to a landslide.

Jan. 23

Train derailment rescuers honored

The first responders who played an integral part in the rescue of the two trapped BNSF Railway employees after the train derailed into the Kootenai River, were recognized last Thursday afternoon at the Waterways building.

Jan. 30

Bear necessities

Bears that do bear things often die as a result of relocation efforts or by euthanasia on behalf of wildlife authorities. Luckily, there are prevention measures residents can take to live safely and peacefully with the bear population.

Feb. 6

Fatal crash closes U.S. 95

A 55-year old man from Naples died following a two-vehicle crash Tuesday afternoon on U.S. 95 near McArthur Lake.

Feb. 13

Standing up to honor Garner

For more than 30 years, Conrad Garner has touched the lives of so many students and parents, and the evidence of that came on Friday, Feb. 7, when a surprise retirement recognition event was held in his honor.

Feb. 20

Community helps Charlie’s wish take flight

Charlie Meeker flew a plane. There are a few folks around here who don’t know who Charlie is, but there are many who have met him and understand the significance of this aeronautical event.

Feb. 27

Bear alert system in planning stages

A meeting of the minds occurred at the Kootenai Tribal office this past Thursday, Feb. 20, to continue a discussion about the creation of a community alert system for bears.

March 5

Preparing for coronavirus

With the coronavirus, COVID-19, continuing to spread and nine deaths reported in the U.S. as of Tuesday, Boundary Ambulance has taken action to prepare for the possibility of cases in Boundary County.

March 12

First responders use rope rig to rescue driver

A single-vehicle accident occurred at 3:50 p.m. on Tuesday, when a truck left the roadway at the junction of Highway 95 and Highway 1.

March 19

Manly men vie for ‘Mr. BFHS’ title

Ben Tompkins proved how manly he was by taking the title of Mr. BFHS last Friday, March 13.

March 26

Friend saves woman from fire on Cedar Street

Adrianne Louviers said she may not be alive if her friend had not kicked down the door of her apartment when the building caught fire early Monday morning.

April 2

Fear, stress and how to cope

While the outward effects of the COVID-19 pandemic are obvious, like barren shelves at the grocery store and closed businesses, some of the worst symptoms go unseen.

April 9

Church continues services despite stay-home order

Since Idaho Gov. Brad Little’s March 25 issuing of the statewide stay-home order that prohibits all non-essential gatherings of any number of individuals, the churches in Bonners Ferry have complied, moving to alternative services, such as online attendance.

April 16

County emergency declaration extended

On Monday, county commissioners extended Boundary County’s declaration of a local state of emergency through June 1.

April 23

Second Harvest delivers despite pandemic

Second Harvest Inland Empire has a mission. The non-profit organization works hard to fight hunger by bringing community resources together. The organization has been helping communities with hunger relief efforts since 1971.

April 30


According to a recent city public service announcement, there is a common question circulating among the community: “What kinds of animals can I have on my lot?”

May 7

City backs gradual reopening

Modifications to Boundary County’s services and operations will remain in place through May 18 — and both city and county officials are reminding residents it is important to follow the steps outlined in the governor’s Rebound Idaho plan.

May 14

Landscape Initiative announces first projects to conserve essential lands

Critical wildlife habitat in the Kootenai Valley is being conserved as part of the Pacific Northwest Resilient Landscapes Initiative.

May 21

‘We are family’

The staff at Bonners Ferry High School misses “their kids.”And if dancin’ around and getting their boogie on as they lip-synced their way through a trio of disco-era songs made them laugh and forget about the novel coronavirus pandemic for a few minutes then so be it.

May 28

Scott: Governor’s actions threaten Constitutional rights

Heather Scott was in Bonners Ferry this past Thursday, May 21, to speak to a standing-room-only crowd inside the Bonners Ferry Providence Presbyterian Church.

June 4

Search and dive teams rescue stranded hikers

Early on Sunday morning, May 31, members of the Boundary Search and Dive Rescue Team responded to an SOS alert from a personal Garmin inReach device in the area of the McCormick Creek in the Pack River drainage.

June 11

Honoring those who serve

During the early evening hours of June 5, in a light, steady rain, varied law enforcement and fire protection agencies, along with a number of community members, met on the lawn of the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office to pay tribute and honor those fallen in the line of duty.

June 18

Brave little camper

When Jason Poole heard about a little boy with cystic fibrosis who loved camping and wanted an RV, he knew what to do.

June 25:

Stolen vehicle driven into river

Mikael Merrifield, a Moyie Springs resident, was spotted by Boundary County Sheriff deputies in a stolen vehicle on Cow Creek Road, which resulted in the truck becoming lost in the Kootenai River.

July 2:

Lily Blackmore named 2020 Distinguished Young Woman

The 2020-21 Distinguished Young Woman of Bonners Ferry is given to Kily Blackmore; the title given at the annual program held Saturday, June 27, at Becker Auditorium.

July 9:

Boundary County confirms second case of COVID-19

Boundary County has its second confirmed novel coronavirus case — albeit the first of a county resident currently residing in the county.

July 16:

Deputy earns statewide honors

With two BNSF railroad employees trapped on a derailed locomotive in the river, Boundary County Sheriff’s Deputy Caleb Watts didn’t hesitate, jumping into action to help rescue the pair.

July 23:

New Sheriff’s K-9 unit is no buddy to drug traffickers

There’s a new officer in the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office: a Labrador named Buddy, partnered with Corporal Michael Valenzuela.

July 30:

Arson suspected in several wildfires along Highway 95

Boundary County firefighters responded to multiple wildfires along Highway 95 south of milepost 499 around 3:45 p.m. on Monday, July 27. The fires allegedly are due to arson.

Aug. 6:

Mine could have potential negative impact

British Columbia’s largest mining company, Teck Resources, has proposed a new coal mining venture upstream of Montana’s Kootenai River system.

Aug. 13:

Police issues flares up locally

Boundary County Sheriff’s Deputy Travis Stolley said he was refused service by a subway employee for being in law enforcement when he stopped for a bite to eat recently while on duty.

Aug. 20:

Police Chief involved in fatal shooting

Brian Zimmerman, Bonners Ferry Police Chief, allegedly shot a man after a verbal altercation near Tin Cup campground in Custer County.

Aug. 27:

County’s first COVID-19 death reported

Panhandle Health District is reporting the first death related to COVID-19 in the community. The Boundary County resident, who was in his 70s, had been hospitalized due to complications with COVID-19.

Sept. 3:

Bonners Ferry Man arrested in March shooting

Detectives with the Idaho State Police and Bonners Ferry Police Department arrested Daniel L. Moore in connection with the March 12 shooting death of Brian Drake.

Sept. 10:

Windstorm hammers region knocks out power

Like other areas in North Idaho, Boundary County was hard hit by Monday’s windstorm which wreaked havoc in the area, knocking out power to more than 60,000 people and toppling trees all over the region.

Sept. 17:

Two BFHS students test positive for COVID-19

A second Bonners Ferry High School student has tested positive for COVID-19 on Sept. 14; the student was in contact with staff and other students on Thursday.

Sept. 24:

School issue mask mandate

Boundary County School District will require all K-12 students to wear a face mask or shield; staff and visitors will be required as well.

Oct. 1:

Suspect competent to stand trial

Daniel L. Moore has been deemed competent to stand trial, and the prosecution claims a strong case due to an alleged confession and suicide attempt.

Oct. 8:

First BCSD staff member tests positive for COVID-19

A Boundary County School District employee has tested positive for COVID-19 according to a press release from BCSD. The individual is in self-isolation, and contract tracing has been conducted and completed.

Oct. 15:

Traffic stop turns into police pursuit; vehicle abandoned

A traffic stop turned into a police pursuit with the suspects evading police but abandoning the vehicle on Oct. 8, at approximately 8:30 p.m. according to a Boundary County Sheriff’s Office news release.

Oct. 22:

City edits vision statement

City council was split over an update to the city’s vision statement; Mayor Dick staples made the final decision by approving the motion presented by Councilman Ron Smith.

Oct. 29:

Big time drug bust

Local U.S. Border Patrol agents seized five duffel bags of narcotics valued at $2.16 million. According to U.S. Customs and Border Protection, it’s the largest amount of drugs seized in pounds and monetary value since 2009 in Boundary.

Nov. 5:

Strong support for local candidates; school levy fails to pass

According to Boundary County, election night reporting, voter turnout was at a record-breaking level of 87%. But county candidates had some of the highest voter totals in the county than any other regional, state or national candidates.

Nov. 12:

Moore pleads not guilty

During Daniel L. Moore’s Nov. 5 arraignment hearing, he pleaded not guilty to the felony charges of murder in the second degree of Brian Drake.

Nov. 19:

County fair board proposes increase in fairgrounds rental fees

The Boundary County Fair Board has proposed an increase in rental fees for the Boundary County Fairgrounds and its indoor facilities. If approved the new rats would go into effect on Jan. 1.

Nov. 25:

Man pleads guilty to drug, theft charges

Mikael C. Merrifield will face sentencing on Jan. 6, 2021, for charges relating to possession of a controlled substance, grand theft and eluding law enforcement after state prosecutors dropped charges of malicious injury to property and resisting arrest.

Dec. 3:

City OKs $106,000 technology upgrade

City Council and Mayor Dick Staples approved and signed a contract with Tyler Technologies to provide software products to streamline the city’s digital infrastructure at an initial cost of $106,250.

Dec. 10:

Community mourns loss of Rockey Burkholder

Residents are mourning the loss of a valued member of the community. Rockey Burkholder, 72, passed away Monday, Dec.7, at 7:27 p.m. at the Bonner General Hospital.

Dec. 17:

Community comes together to mourn the loss of Tony Navarro

Members of the community came out at 3 p.m. to pay their final respects to Tony Navarro, a dispatcher for the Boundary County Sheriff’s Office, who passed away on Dec. 6.

Dec. 24:

Woman dies in car crash near Eastport

Law enforcement reported a fatal car crash Monday morning on Highway 95 at milepost 532, just outside of Eastport. Shannon Taylor was pronounced dead at the scene.