Views aplenty in Bayview

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  • Courtesy photo Norma Jean Knowles has published the Bayview Bylines newsletter from her home for the Bayview Chamber of Commerce for the past five years.

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    Courtesy photo Sheryl Puckett, right, started the Shore Lines newsletter in 2015. Here she gets the word out about the publication with friend Margaret Nelson during a parade in Bayview.

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    Herb Huseland started his “Bay Views … Are Breathless ” blog in 2005. (Courtesy photo)

  • Courtesy photo Norma Jean Knowles has published the Bayview Bylines newsletter from her home for the Bayview Chamber of Commerce for the past five years.

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    Courtesy photo Sheryl Puckett, right, started the Shore Lines newsletter in 2015. Here she gets the word out about the publication with friend Margaret Nelson during a parade in Bayview.

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    Herb Huseland started his “Bay Views … Are Breathless ” blog in 2005. (Courtesy photo)

By BRIAN WALKER

Staff Writer

BAYVIEW — The written word is alive and well in Bayview.

Residents of the small marina-dominated town on Lake Pend Oreille are offered two free monthly newsletters, not to mention a blog written by a former journalist.

It may be only fitting Bayview has that many outlets because of the diverse views — and outspoken residents — on the environment, growth and other topics.

There’s the Bayview Bylines produced by the Bayview Chamber of Commerce and editor Norma Jean Knowles; the Shore Lines sponsored by the nonprofit Bayview Community Council and edited by Sheryl Puckett; and Herb Huseland’s blog called "Bay Views … Are Breathless."

All have carved their own niches in the community and drawn their lines in the sand, thank you.

Puckett started Shore Lines in October 2015.

"It was formed because the Community Council had a lot of news and we weren’t being represented in the Bylines," she said. "We needed a full page but were limited to one little corner."

The original Shorelines was Bayview’s first newsletter, running from 2000 to 2008 before giving way to the Bylines. Puckett said she "resurrected" the original newsletter out of the shadows of the past.

"Only partisan toward Bayview," Puckett said, referring to the tone of the newsletter. "We try to mix hard news with local interest and provide an open platform for local political candidates. However, it always features both candidates and lets the public make up their mind which to support."

Shore Lines has covered topics such as the need for a cell tower in the community, the Crossroads development in Athol and a logging operation in Farragut State Park with an environmental bent.

"I’ve been involved in community advocacy starting with the rifle range that Fish and Game was wanting to expand," said Puckett, a retired elementary teacher. "I’m a volunteer for the Bayview Community Council and this is their platform. Every issue is approved by the council chairperson before being sent out. When an editorial is published that is controversial, I usually write, ‘the views do not represent the council.’"

Knowles has edited the Bylines for the past five years. It has a different focus, publishing a community calendar, veterinarian column, information on fundraisers and a "Look Up — Keep a Happy Heart" article by Marsha Ritzheimer. It also has advertising, unlike Shore Lines.

"Cute things — I don’t deal with controversy," Knowles said, describing the newsletter. "It’s the way the chamber wants to run it. There’s enough controversy in Bayview to go around without us digging up dirt."

The editors admit they are on different pages when it comes to presenting information, but respect that both newsletters play a role in the community.

"I don’t compare notes," Puckett said. "I don’t look at it as competition at all. We serve a different function. We have very different editorial perspectives and standards. I respect the fact that the Bylines provides a feel-good format and advertises for local businesses."

Knowles added: "We’re actually probably so much alike that we can’t get along."

Ritzheimer said she also reads Shore Lines because it offers a different perspective than Bylines.

"It’s not like they duplicate anything," she said of the varied viewpoints of Bayview. "It’s just like having Democrats, Republicans and liberals. I’m all about trying to keep things happy. Issues can be solved if you stick to the facts, not emotion."

Both newsletters are distributed online and printed copies are left at area businesses. Editors of both say the goal is to break even.

Huseland has made about 1,700 posts on topics near and far in his blog since 2005.

"I’m scatter-brained," he said with a laugh. "If something pisses me off, that’s motivation to write about something right there. I’ve gone in so many different directions, but, of all the people in Bayview and Athol, I’ve only made three or four enemies. The rest have either kept their mouths shut or like me."

Living in a singlewide 1974 Fleetwood trailer, Huseland, who turns 80 in March, considers himself "elite trailer trash."

"Panoramic views of Scenic Bay is where the ‘elite’ comes in," he said.

Huseland said his blog is a labor of love.

"I've grown old, but I've never grown up," he said.

This week he weighed in on the controversial proposed exploratory drilling of silica on nearby Green Mountain.

"Silica is about the cleanest element in nature," he wrote, adding that it’s just sand. "There is a lot of prejudice from the far left that doesn’t want any mines of any kind and horrors if you cut down a tree."

Bayview has been known as a retirement fishing village with the resorts and marinas.

"Happy hour is very active," Huseland said.

But recent years have brought a younger crowd, creating an interesting mix, Knowles said.

"We can all be pretty opinionated, and sometimes people have become angry," she said. "But it’s not like the days when (developer) Bob Holland came in wanting to change things."

Even Knowles, editor of the don’t-rile-them-up Bylines, recently entered the spotlight, but not in her newsletter, of course. She and a friend were accused of trespassing onto the sewer and water district’s property to investigate a sewage spill she wondered if the district was sweeping under the carpet.

Knowles said the district’s steadfast desire to pursue charges over what she believed was a piddly offense made her suspicious, but the case in Bonner County was ultimately dropped. She said residents helped pay her attorney fees in the case after she admittedly walked onto the district’s marked property.

While the sparks often fly in Bayview — and not just during its booming-popular fireworks show over the Fourth — there’s also common ground. Protecting its natural resources is something all residents fight for.

"Bayview is one of those last best places," resident Mike Lee said. "Bayview has a history of defending our quality of life. This just may be one issue we can all agree on."

Sacred ground in which opinions are left outside is a luncheon every Wednesday at the community lunch, Knowles said.

"People are very opinionated, but most of us get along well," she said. "It’s turned into a fantastic meeting of all different people who have different opinions. During lunch, we don’t talk politics. It’s a time to laugh and enjoy each other’s company. That’s Bayview to me."

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