Sarah, play on

City gives girl permit for violin fundraiser at park

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COEUR d'ALENE - This time, she has the paperwork, so let her play.

Sarah Hoatson plans to be back at City Park today, playing her violin, to raise money for the Kootenai Humane Society.

"Sarah is really excited," said her mom, Karen. "She's been practicing more."

The 11-year-old was playing at City Park on July 4, with a small display board explaining she needed $110 for the KHS Adopt a Cage program, when a city employee told her to stop.

According to the city, a permit is required for such activities as playing music to raise money. The permit is free, but folks need to go to City Hall and fill out the application.

Friday, that's what Karen and Sarah did.

They received a conditional permit that allows her to hold a fundraiser at City Park for one day, today.

Karen said city staff had no problem with the request. She's happy her daughter can complete her dog project that provides funds for homeless cats and dogs. She had $42.88 before she was told to stop on Wednesday.

Her daughter will find a shady spot at City Park and expects to begin playing around 3 p.m., with plans to wrap up around 4.

"It's great," Karen Hoatson said.

Turns out, Sarah doesn't need to play another note to get that cash.

Several people called The Press Friday offering to donate to Sarah. One, Peter Biamonte, pledged to give all $110 for the cause.

"It's just the right thing to do," he said. "The little girl's got a heart."

The Hayden man was upset the city would tell a girl she couldn't play a violin in the park to raise money for the shelter.

"I think that's ludicrous," he said Friday. "C'mon, what's the matter with these people?"

Biamonte said he is tired of too many regulations and too many politicians passing laws "taking our rights away from us."

The U.S., he said, is a free country, and something is wrong when you're told to stop playing music for a nonprofit.

"I don't even recognize my country anymore," he said.

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