by Pia K. Hansen and Cara Gardner

Water Fights and Rights -- Athol, Idaho -- Silverwood Theme Park, located in Athol, has reached a settlement with local environmental groups over the park's use of water.

Silverwood added a huge water feature called Boulder Beach to its attractions this season. As part of this development, the park had applied for the right to withdraw 1 million gallons of water a day from the aquifer.

Local environmental groups challenged the park's application for more water, but have now reached a settlement with Silverwood. The park's owner, Gary Norton, is praising the Sierra Club, Friends of the Aquifer, the Lands Council and the Kootenai Environmental Alliance for their help and support in developing a water conservation program for the amusement park.

The aquifer -- the source of drinking water for about a half-million people -- flows across the Washington-Idaho border. Washington has stopped granting new water permits, but the state of Idaho continues to do so.

"This settlement is an inspiring example of what can be achieved when interested parties work together to achieve a common goal -- protecting our sole source of drinking water," says Buell Hollister of Friends of the Aquifer.

Silverwood has, among other things, agreed to retain a water conservation specialist and to measure as well as make public its use of water. Old toilets and other fixtures will be replaced with water-saving ones, and the park will plant landscaping that requires little irrigation.

The Sierra Club and Friends of the Aquifer continue to challenge the water rights applications filed by the city of Post Falls. That city has filed applications with the Idaho Department of Water Resources totaling almost 19 million gallons per day, in anticipation of its growth over the next decade.

The environmental groups allege that Post Falls, which does not have a water conservation plan, is applying for much more water than it will need.

Carnival de Garland -- SPOKANE -- If you're interested in an old-school, street fair-style, family-loving, music-blasting carnival, then simply head up to the Garland District this Saturday, August 16, for the first-ever Garland Village Arts and Music Festival.

"The Garland Village Merchants Association has been around for a while, but this year they've gotten new merchants and want to help promote the new businesses," explains Nate Bradley of Tinman Art Works. "The other reason [we're having this festival] is to help out the Spokane Guilds' School. They've had big budget cuts."

All the proceeds from the festival will go to the Spokane Guilds' School. Garland Avenue will be closed to cars between Monroe and Post streets to make room for the art and food vendors and musicians, who will play blues, jazz and classical tunes from noon to 8 pm.

"We have a carnival midway for kids, too," says Bradley. "It's a whole gaming area where we have booths set up. There's water-gun tag, a jump castle, a ring toss and a dunk tank."

"We're trying to create a culture for the neighborhood," Bradley says. "We're just so different from a lot of the urban strip mall [areas]."

For more information, call 325-1500

Kempthorne Stays -- BOISE -- Months of speculation over whether Idaho Gov. Dirk Kempthorne would become the new top administrator for the EPA ended Monday when President Bush instead nominated Utah Governor Michael Leavitt for the job.

Kempthorne released a statement supporting the president's decision:

"I congratulate Governor Leavitt and wish him well. He's a fellow Western Governor who believes, like I do, in states' rights. Now the speculation is over, and I'm continuing my focus on what I consider to be the best job in politics: Governor of Idaho."

Kempthorne will become Chairman of the National Governors Association (NGA), starting by heading the NGA's annual meeting this coming week in Indianapolis.

Kempthorne says his new position as Chairman of the NGA will present "some exciting challenges ahead and opportunities for Idaho."

Leavitt is a three-term Republican whom environmentalists may use as another example of the Bush Administration's poor environmental record. Locally, some environmental groups are already waving the red flag.

"Anytime the Bush administration appoints a close friend or buddy from previous industry interests, that's always been a concern," says Rein Attemann of the Lands Council.

Publication date: 08/14/03

Festival of Fair Trade @ Community Building

Sun., Nov. 27, 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m.
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