Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Sheriff's Log

I have just returned from spending Easter South of 49. It's always fun to go down to visit my parents, and one of the things I look forward to is catching up on all the news from the place I grew up, which is in northern Idaho. To be more specific it is in sparsely populated Benewah County. Benewah County is just under 800 square miles in area, yet has fewer than 10,000 residents. This works out to roughly 12 people per square mile.

This might explain why, as much as I love visiting Asia, I know I could never live there. The population density of Korea is 1261 people per square mile, which pales in comparison to Hong Kong's 16,444. Benewah county might come close to 1261 residents per square mile if you include the wildlife. The only way it would hit the 16,444 mark is if you also added in the trees.

There are many things that are unique to small communities, things that would be impossible to replicate in large, urban areas. I would like to share just one of those "small town" experiences with you. The county seat is in a small town called St. Maries, and this community of just under 2700 people is succeeding in an area where many big cities are failing. They are still publishing a newspaper. In fact, the Gazette Record has quite an avid readership.

Even though my parents no longer live on the farm they still get the St. Maries Gazette Record delivered through their mail. My favourite part of the paper is something called the Sheriff's Log. It records the calls the Sheriff's department has received in the previous week. Here is a sampling.

Thursday, April 7
12:09 a.m. - An unknown Plummer resident called to advise there were dogs on his roof.. The caller said the people that live above him let their dogs go up there to use the bathroom and that he thinks something should be done about it. When dispatch asked the man for his name he gave a woman's name and the dispatcher could hear the woman yell in the background and say not to bring her into it. The caller then hung up.

5:04 p.m. - Lifeline advised of a female in Plummer needing assistance for a possible heart attack after being electrocuted by her dryer.

Friday, April 8
12:20 p.m. - A cow was reportedly alongside Highway 95 near Plummer.

Saturday, April 9
12:38 a.m. - A St. Maries resident called to advise that he picked up a man who was crawling down the road near Fernwood. The caller said it appeared the man's leg was broken in two places.

12:52 a.m. - A Fernwood resident called to advise that she saw her neighbor skinning an elk out of season. The suspect turned out to be an employee of the Department of Lands who retrieved the elk.

9:53 a.m. - A Plummer resident called to advise that she receives calls from a telemarketer at all hours of the day and night. During one call, the reporter said the man on the other end threatened her niece and said he was going to kidnap and kill her.

Monday, April 11
8:10 p.m. - A Hayden resident called to advise that her son was scared because his father, a Plummer resident, just chased him down the street with a wooden spoon threatening to beat him with it. Officers made contact with the father, who said his son had exaggerated the story. Both parents reported that sometimes the boy acts out of control.

I feel like Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz. There's truly "no place like home."


  1. I was born and grew up in a little town of 7,000 people in north Texas called Graham - the newspaper was the Graham Leader. The best part about the Leader was, of course, the Police Blotter. Regular entries were so much like the ones you posted, including "Cow seen wandering in the alley behind Plum Street."

  2. Hahaha, those are great entries. I also miss reading those type of stories from the small town paper I read back on Island. However, I don't remember them being quite as entertaining as yours.

  3. The log reminds a little of Mayberry. I always thought I'd enjoy living there.

    The Canucks really made the first round exciting. I was rooting for them--in hopes of the Final match-up I mentioned previously.

    RYC: I'd be surprised if we really surpassed your family's stories--you have shared some great ones! I just over-share at times. LOL It would be fun to meet. You'd really like my wife--she has a story about a relative either shooting someone or getting shot over a chicken. I think it was during the Depression.

  4. @lori - I think this is why small town papers are succeeding when the big city papers are failing. You can read about famine, wars and politics on the internet, but if you want to know about cows on the loose there is only one place to find that news!

    @Anonymous - I wonder if you went back and read them now if they might seem more entertaining than when you lived there. Sometimes time and distance give us a better appreciation for the entertainment factor.

    @Ric - Actually, I would say it is a cross between Mayberry and Appalachia.

    As for the hockey, that first round might have been a bit more excitement than Canucks fans were hoping for. When I crossed the border back into BC on Tuesday you could almost feel the tension in the air. I think the whole province was holding its collective breath. Last night when Chicago scored with just a couple minutes left in the third to tie the game it felt like the Olympic gold medal game from last year all over again.

    You need to have your wife do a guest post on your blog about the shooting!

  5. That's what I love about rural areas! Nice to know you passed by me on your way to see the family!

  6. OK, that police blotter leaves me speechless.

    As to the Canucks, I was a wreck Tuesday night. A wreck! My son was so exhausted from the game he fell asleep in about 5 minutes (very unusual for him, even though it was late). It was one of the most brilliant games of goaltending I've ever seen - at both ends. Now to start all over again tonight!

  7. @Tana - Absolutely! The Sheriff's Log just wouldn't go over in a big city where they actually have crime.

    @kate - I think the whole province was holding its collective breath until the Canucks scored in overtime. And I agree. The goaltending was outstanding. I have decided not to watch tonight. I can't take it. I will wait until game 2.