A salute to Denny Burt and all his friends

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You ask what makes Coeur d’Alene so darned special.

The lake? Sure. Four seasons? Yep. Floating green? Par! Solid city government? You bet.

And Denny Burt.

And others, so many others, like him.

On Monday, writer Ric Clarke’s fabulous twice-monthly North Idaho Revisited article featured Denny. These insightful, delightful reflections on how life used to be around here are Clarke’s collaborations with neat North Idahoans. They tell the community’s story through the tales of people who grew up here.

By design, these profiles are simply one-on-one interviews. But invariably, others in the community chime in with their stories about that particular story teller.

Such was the case when a longtime local music teacher and musician weighed in on Denny Burt. This fellow said some of the things that Denny would never say about himself.

Things like: Ask any music teacher over the years what kind of impact Denny had on them and their young musicians, and the answer would be “profound.” No matter the late hour, the special favor, the desperate need, the lack of finances; when it came to keeping working musical instruments in kids’ hands, Denny Burt rose to superhero status and, for nearly 45 years, has stayed there. Many, many, many times without ever charging a dime.

For more than a year now, Clarke has been putting sterling longtimers in the spotlight. The list of interviewees includes Sandy Emerson, Ron Hotchkiss, Eve Knudtsen, Terry Lee, Ralph Capaul, Dave Walker, Bill and Judy Drake, Katie Brodie, Dexter Yates, Rocky Watson, Tom Richards Jr., Pat Acuff, Ron Edinger, Fred Finney, Dan Clark, Mel Schmidt, Kathy Sims, Steve McCrea, Sue Myers, TW Fisher, Kathy LaTourrette, Gary MacDonald, Dan Herby, Gary Everson, Joe Roope, Mitch Alexander and Dorothy Dahlgren. Dahlgren, by the way, runs the North Idaho Museum, another good place to learn about the area’s history.

Please join us in thanking these many stalwart citizens (and any we may have inadvertently left out) for sharing their stories and, even more, for creating a place the rest of us now lovingly call “home.”

If you know of someone who grew up here and has great yarns to tell, please contact Ric Clarke at ricclarkepress@gmail.com or Mike Patrick at mpatrick@cdapress.com, 208-664-0227.

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