Uniqueness and the American identity

At the Nez Perce National Historical Park museum, I met park ranger Beth Erdey,  IMG_0581
who happens to be getting her PhD in history from Washington State University.

She believes Americans latched onto the idea of the "Indian" early, exaggerating aspects of it, in part, because it was unique and we could claim it as "ours."

"American identity, even while it is so nebulous and complex, is constantly struggling to develop this uniqueness,"
she says.

The Lewiston Tribune


The Lewiston Tribune is a daily a.m. paper with 25,000 print subscribers. A news desk of 10 reporters and editors covers eight counties in northcentral Idaho and southeastern Washington.

City Editor Craig Clohessy says the paper has lost about 300 subscribers during the past couple years, but some of that may be due to less aggressive subscription sales.

The paper is family owned and plans to remain that way, says Clohessy. That's enough to set it apart.

It's also got some cool history, including a gargoyle mascot of sorts and a small museum that is open to visitors.

"We believe both mediums will move forward," Clohessy says of print and Internet.

Two years ago, the paper's owners purchased a new press for $8 million, which Clohessy showed me on Thursday.


A week ago, The Tribune launched the new face of its website.

About the same time, a video that accompanied a crime story received 20,000 unique views — nearly as many as the paper has print subscribers.

‘A Palouse Horse’

The Appaloosa Museum and Heritage Center in Moscow, Idaho is a little gem for horse lovers. It's got lots of regalia and history of the Nez Perce tribe, primarily responsible for cultivating the breed. It also has a whole wing dedicated to the Appaloosa Horse Club, which has helped preserve that history.

I had forgotten these amazing horses were named for the Palouse region of Washington and Idaho.


The museum has an older mare living on the property, which is kind of cool.

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Just a l’il update

I haven't had access to Internet or phone service since Wednesday!
I've been taking tons of pictures and talking to lots of folks, but I need to keep things concise in order to catch you all up.

Just a note about my personal feelings on being American: I've found that as I progress east (and southeast), I gain a deeper appreciation of modern day America.

It's not really the flags and signs everywhere (though there are tons and I've added new categories for those), but more the vast, rugged beauty that lays open before me to explore.

I've also found the further I get from Seattle, the more social and legal tolerance there is for travelers with crazy dogs and RVs. (Though, ironically, that tolerance has been paired with a decreasing awareness of web terms, such as "blog".)

‘This is probably as scary as they get’

At 91, Spokane Valley, Wash. resident Jean Nellavene Repp,IMG_0397 has experienced an array of dips and peaks in the American economy, including the Great Depressing of the 1930s.
She was born in 1917, the youngest of nine children and has spent much of her life — first as a child and then as a mother of four — on wheat farms in eastern Washington.
"I can remember when I came home from school and my mother told me the bank had closed," she recalls of the Great Depression of the 1930s.
"The banks closed and the stock market went caput and people who had been living pretty comfortably found themselves broke."
Repp continues: "Men worked for a $1 a day. Women – if  you could get a job for 50 cents a day, you were doing good."
"Sometimes you were lucky to have 2 cents to mail a letter."
Today the circumstances are different, but "This is probably as scary as they get. We went into World War II to make the rich guys rich again," she says. "We're already in a war; I don't know what were' going to do to get out of this."

Coeur d’Alene Press


The city's daily newspaper, also owned by Hagadone, employs a staff of seven full-time reporters. Its primary coverage area is Kootenai County, where its print-based circulation is between 18,000 and 20,000 readers.

Education reporter Maureen Dolan took a few minutes to chat with me, Monday. IMG_0431
She's been at the paper three years and made it past a small round of layoffs, recently.

"We were doing pretty well (before the recession),"
she says. "I really think the economy just accelerated what was happening with newspapers."

The paper is slowly increasing its web presence, Dolan says, "But there's no big rush, at this point."

She adds: "I feel pretty confident that papers that are committed to community will ride this out in some format… and I don't think the print edition will ever completely go away."

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

With an estimated population of just over 40,000 residents (up from 17,000 in 1973), Coeur d'Alene has a disproportionately busy downtown.
Its entire strip of shops and bistros is easily walkable, with free parking for up to two hours.

Hagadone Corp.'s resort towers over the long, jagged lake, attracting national and international tourists.


The resort's setting in conservative, rugged Idaho helps prevent things from feeling too commercialized.

On the northeast edge of the lake, next to the resort, the city boasts the longest boardwalk in the nation — a pleasant promenade that takes you over a small twisting stairwell and bridge and past a marina of colorful, well-kept boats.

I may post pics of the lake later, though that would be soo predictable.

'Till then, enjoy some shots of art, cars and buildings found downtown, along with a "who's that girl?" shot just for fun.