Things that put the small in small town

Probably three decades ago, I learned a valuable tip for maintaining the community in a community newspaper from the publisher of the award-winning weekly St. Maries Gazette: Always make room for the bowling scores, said Don Hammes.

So in keeping with that advice, I’ll mention that on Monday night at River City Lanes James Steffensen of Post Falls rolled his 14th perfect 300 game.

Another news item, this one tipped by my good and longtime newspaper friend, Jeannie Peugh: Ed Santos, former owner of Center Target Sports and recent retiree, received second place honors in Country Magazine’s 2021 Great American Road Trip photo contest. Ed’s photo of a lynx retreating out of a tree during a road trip to Glacier National Park is featured in the current February/March edition of the magazine.

Dr. Don Schmitt retired from his family practice a year or two ago and is enjoying life. Over the weekend, he celebrated his wedding anniversary with his beautiful bride, Sharmon, at Beverly’s. Their server, Nicole Olson, recognized the good doctor as her family’s doctor from years ago. In 1981, she told Don he “pulled her out” to which Don corrected, no, your mom pushed you out. Either way, Don’s was the first face Nicole saw when she came into the world 40 years ago. Only in a small town.

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After graduating from the Post Falls Chamber’s River City Leadership Academy in 2010, I continue with the alumni program of hosting one of the monthly Discovery Days each year. Last week was Government Day, which included a field trip to the Kootenai County jail. While I’ve been along on one of those tours in years past, I’ve never gone when the inmate population was over 400.

Our “tour guides” are committed and dedicated to the unique challenge of jail duty. Capt. Andy Deak and Lts. Nancy Ellis, Kyle Hutchison and Jarred Peterson impressed me with their professionalism, compassion and training.

There’s a sea of humanity serving time behind bars and it’s a well-oiled machine to keep order, minute-to-minute and day-to-day. There are definitely inmates whose criminal actions strike fear in the heart of the public, but there are also inmates who’ve made costly errors in good judgement. Balancing the humanity of working in that environment with keeping our community safe takes a special person.

I’m grateful that those Sheriff’s Office staffers we met choose to do that work. They would be grateful if more people were interested in doing that work. There are at least a dozen openings for jail staff which has made for some long hours for existing staff.

If this career is of interest to you, go to and select Recruitment page. Thank you in advance.

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Happy birthday today to Corinna Hunter, Sydney Knox, Janet Curry, Shawn Telford, Diane Mort, Louise Robeson, Bill Kaufman, Holly McNee (50!), Denise Wilbanks and Marion Brendis. Tomorrow Ingrid Allen, Sheila Wooley, Betty Leonard, Tamara Booth, and Barb Koerner sing the birthday song. On Friday Ella Allred , Nathan McLeod, Peter Braunlich, Barb Dietrick, Rosalie True and Jimmy Conrow mark their special day. Brad Medlock, Tina Hough, Lauren McShea, Jeremy McComb, Carolyn Peterson, Peter Braunlich, Clara Hester, Sherry Wallis, Sunny Day and Ron Gonzales blow out the candles on Saturday. John Darlas, Karen Cocoran (70!), David Sheridan, Tawny Brown, Camille Hutchison, Steve Lux, Eddie Jerome, Hailey Pierce and Mary Herrick are celebrating on Sunday. On the last day of February Don Pischner, Bridgette Lowry, Dave Brubaker, Gary Dagastine, Bob Flowers, Bill Reese, Al Telles, Maurie Bruce, Dean Walsmith, Allison Gerzina and Robin Gerzina take another trip around the sun. There’s no 29th day of February this year, but cheers to Leap Year babies Boston Smock, Kris Helstrom, Dean Walsmith, Dr. Jim Anderson, Lana Johnson Fensky, Nancy DiGiammarco and Charlet Hannon. Celebrating March 1 birthdays are Faye Griffiths, Preston Hill, Marina Otter, June Goecke, Lisa Tucker, Connie Chalich, Bud Kobs, Megan Aker, Karen Welts and John Billetz.

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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson.