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."