Routine day turns tragic for teens

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A routine Tuesday morning — on deadline for Main Street so I make the big trip down the hall to my home office to write. My husband left for work in Rathdrum at 5:30 a.m. and at 6 a.m. I check emails and respond as needed while I listen to the news and wait for the sun to come up outside my window.

A remnant habit from my early days in newspaper newsrooms is a police scanner on the edge of my desk. I don’t monitor the scanner; it’s in the background with the volume audible but not competing with the morning news on the TV — except for those times when the familiar voices of the Post Falls Police Department patrol officers and dispatchers utter phrases that cause me to lean in and pay attention, including a location several blocks from where I sit in the comfort of my own home. Car versus train is one of those phrases I’ve come to dread. Rarely does the car prevail.

It’s just a few minutes after 6 a.m. and I’m sure Bert is already working in the shop at the Lakeland School District, safely arrived from his commute across the Rathdrum Prairie. I continue to listen and within minutes have come to the realization that this accident will change the lives of at least one family forever.

I listen to the calm professionalism of the first responders, most of whom I know personally. I hear the plate return to a woman I know, a mother of a teen. I hear ISP called to the scene, which in traffic accidents within the city limits often means there will be an investigation of a traffic fatality. The roads are blocked off and an officer cautions to other officers positioned around the area that people need to be kept back from the scene, wanting to ensure family or friends did not come too close to the accident.

I’m frozen in place, saying silent prayers for all involved. The sun comes up. I realize it will come up again tomorrow and the next day but life for these families will be changed. I’m heartbroken for those who will hear from a police chaplain just as the day is starting. I’m heartbroken for law enforcement and the EMTs and paramedics who are doing their job and trying not to think of their own families while they witness the tragedy unfolding for another family in the community they serve.

I think of our community as word comes via social media that the occupants of the car are two Post Falls High School students and how all of the school staff and students are arriving for school and will in just moments be processing the news.

By some standards in this area a population of 30,000 is a bigger city. But what I know is that we’re still a small town in all the ways that matter. In the coming days we will rally around each other and these two families. We will mourn with them and do whatever we can to ease their burden. We will hug our family and vow never to take a single moment for granted. It’s really all we can do.

• • •

Rest up for the weekend which will feature a plethora of Valentine's events including the annual Coeur d’Alene Downtown Association’s “A Chocolate Affair” on Friday. Start the culinary adventure at The Plaza Shoppes at 5 p.m.

On Saturday the Post Falls Community Volunteers’ Annual Sweetheart Ball at the Greyhound Park and Event Center, featuring music by Tuxedo Junction at 6:30 p.m.

On Valentine's Day, American Legion Post 143 in Post Falls is holding a dinner dance starting at 5 p.m., with live music by Chris Ellenberger. Open to the public, reservations 773-9054.

• • •

Two new members of the Main Street Birthday Club arrived on Monday at Kootenai Health. Quinn Marie Widmyer arrived on her grandmother Marie Widmyer’s birthday. Her parents are Ben and Lindsey Widmyer and her grandpa is Mayor Steve Widmyer. Quinn is the first child for her parents and the first grandchild for her paternal grandparents. Maternal grandparents are Garry and Julie Stark. I’m thinking the odds that this little girl is going to be spoiled with love are pretty good.

New parents Annette and Jordan Nolting welcomed a bundle of joy wrapped in blue on Monday, too. Samuel Bradley weighed in at 9 pounds, 2 ounces, and 23 inches tall. Needless to say, Samuel’s mommy and daddy are over the moon.

• • •

Happy birthday today to Barb Bradley, Linda Davis, Natalie Forsyth, Pamela Thoms, Lynn Hayes, Henry Hildreth, Rocky Brockhoff and Larry O’Leary.

Tomorrow’s birthdays belong to Linda Wilhelm, Marc Eberlein, Brandie Shofner (40!), Buddy Le, Marian Crumb, Greg Smith and Alta Steele.

On Friday Kiki Miller, Julia Pierce, Melanie Lambrecht, Judy Riba Nelson and Tate Merry will celebrate.

Carole Tabakman, Trevor Smith, Eleanora Capaul, David Clark, James Shepperd, Jarryn Siebers, Jeff Carlson, Sharon Link, Gordon Leigh, Chad Salsbury and Heather Frayer take another trip around the sun on Saturday.

Faith Valente, Bonnie Guindon, Kim Edmondson, Rochenda Crane, Elizabeth Glidden and Laura Wilson blow out the candles on their birthday cakes come Sunday.

On Monday Elmer Currie celebrates his 97th, sharing the date with Rachel Fehling, Sam Crawford, Ron Vieselmeyer, Jim Prussack, Sherry Adkins, Ken Martin and Toby Flood.

Valentine's Day birthdays will be celebrated by Don James, Jason Hayes, Tripp Rogers, Jan McDaniels, Joe Doellefeld, Susan DuBois (60!), Sarah Hansen (40!), David Lunceford, Jean Bledsoe, Mike Shepperd, Kaelyn Bingham, Sarah Schell and LaDonna Beaumont.

• • •

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.

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