One mission, many milestones

Photo courtesy of CHARLIE MILLER
The North Idaho Centennial Trail offers walkers and riders a safe and maintained trail through some of North Idaho’s most stunning scenery.

A review of the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation’s recent history and its director, Charlie Miller

By SHANE RICHARD BELL

Coeur d’Alene Press Staff Writer

Charlie Miller is like his very own physics equation. Concentrated mass with tons of energy headed in a big direction.

As foundation director of the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation, Miller can be glimpsed holding a mocha espresso while zooming around Coeur d’Alene in a 2013 Subaru sponsored by Parker Subaru for the inaugural Coeur d’Fondo event on Saturday, Sept. 29.

He is on the run, but beyond the coffee and the physics and all of the activity is something much deeper: Miller’s unflinching mission to develop quality athletic events and resources in Coeur d’Alene. Coeur d’Fondo, Miller’s most recent project, is a brand new event to Coeur d’Alene and incorporates free-spirited bike rides, or fondos, for all ages with the North Idaho Centennial Trail and the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.

Coeur d’Fondo is one of many endeavors backed by Miller in Coeur d’Alene. The Prairie Trail, a 16-foot wide commuting trail from Riverstone to the Kroc Center to Huetter Road in Post Falls, is a milestone in Coeur d’Alene’s growing list of biking and walking trails. It took three years to implement and nearly half a million dollars of fundraising dollars to execute. “The Prairie Trail invites all of western Coeur d’Alene to access the downtown corridor,” said Miller, noting the practicality of the trail during summer events.

The foundation commissioned a team this summer to apply a seal coat to the North Idaho Centennial Trail. Seemingly a minute detail, the improvement will ensure the pliability and integrity of the trail well into the future. Another addition to Coeur d’Alene’s trails, is the NIC Education Corridor Project, providing students a streamlined trail to access the college via the Spokane River’s shoreline.

Miller loves what he does, and what the North Idaho Centennial Trail Foundation is accomplishing. “I love talking about the trail. The bottom line is that we want to preserve what we have. We also want to expand and improve our trails, and we want to continue promoting it to the community,” Miller said. “It’s not pay to play. It’s open to everybody, and it’s here for them to use.”

Photo courtesy of CHARLIE MILLER

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When life ends too soon

In wake of woman’s suicide, friends hope to use her story as an example of how to help vulnerable people

On the corner of Sherman Ave. and 4th St., Java on Sherman owners Dave and Lindsay Patterson take a moment of silence with Shana Ward’s friends and coworkers and lift their candles to the sky.

By SHANE RICHARD BELL

Staff writer

In many ways, Shana Ward fit right in to Coeur d’Alene.

She worked full time at Java on Sherman as a barista, where she made solid friendships with the owners, her coworkers and the customers.

The 19-year-old went to church, read her Bible, and prayed.

She loved running, and finishing her day by sitting down to write with a hot cup of tea.

“Coeur d’Alene was her little heaven,” Andi Ward said.

It was a ‘little heaven’ that ended too soon when Shana Ward took her own life on Sept. 5 in Coeur d’Alene.

Her friends were shocked and saddened, her boyfriend and family crushed.

Four days after Ward’s death, her friends, customers, and co-workers gathered together to take a moment of silence as the sun set behind the lake and mountains. Each person held a candle heavenward, honoring the life of Shana Ward.

After the candlelight vigil, many shared something about Shana. They looked at her pictures, drank coffee, and ate lightly. People hugged, cried, and laughed. Each person had their moment to relive her life and to say goodbye.

“For the short time that she was there, they completely accepted her and loved her at Java,” said Andi Ward, Shana Ward’s mother. “She was family to them. I could not have asked for anybody else to have been with my baby.”

Ward, born and raised in Wyoming, moved to North Idaho with her boyfriend Charles White last spring from Arizona, where she briefly attended a massage therapy school.

In the months before her death, she had a tight circle of friends in Coeur d’Alene.

Many people were touched by her life. A cook remembers her hugging him when he was having a hard day. A barista recalls how she was too quiet, too meek, when calling out coffee orders. They were moved by how she smiled for every person, how she would willingly do a favor, how she could make someone feel so special in a single moment.

They admired at her cowboy boots and sundress outfits, her quirky humor, her black coffee, and her admiration of goats and her dreams of going to South America, having a family and buying her first car.

White sees how Shana’s own life is an example of how to help vulnerable people.

“Her words always had an impact on people, and her words made a great impact on the people at Java,” White said. “So when someone is telling you about their day, shut up and listen. You may give them the five minutes that save their life.

“Dig deeper. The smallest words have the greatest impact.”

For Java owners Dave and Lindsay Patterson, Shana Ward was “bright, beautiful, fun, and witty,” and they loved her.

A friend leaves a hand-written note to Shana Ward at her memorial service at Java on Sherman.

“She has brightened and saddened our lives, but more brightened our life with who she was. We are all better people for knowing her,” Dave said.

Kate Nichols, a friend and coworker of Ward’s, shares the same age as Shana, 19.

Nichols remembers a young woman who never complained, worked six days a week, and did everything “with her whole heart and energy.”

“Her spirit will always be with us here,” said Nichols.

Java was a family to Shana, and continues to be a family to many others. Chanda Gingerich, 24, a coworker and friend of Shana’s, considers Java to be the place where she has spent her best days in life.

“I’m really happy she spent her last days here,” Gingerich said, “because I think she really enjoyed those days.”

In the months preceding her death, Shana was working on a book of her poetry. The poems are about her life, her relationships, her dreams, and her darkest days. Friends said her prose was a work of art.

She finished it the day she died.

Charles White wants to publish the poems to help people.

“I knew her long enough to know how beautiful her soul was and how beautiful her heart was,” he said.

 

Heart of a Champion

Teacher Nancy Mueller, pictured right, led Winton Elementary School students as they danced and stretched to Gloria Gaynor’s 1970s disco hit, “I Will Survive,” Sunday on the North Idaho College campus. Mueller and the students led participants in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure through a lively warm-up session before the 5K run and 1-mile walk. Pictured left, Nathan Spellman, 8.

By SHANE RICHARD BELL

Staff writer

Nancy Mueller is undergoing cancer treatments right now.

But she’s not giving up, not when she’s this close. In fact, she will finish her last cancer treatments three days before the 13th annual Coeur d’Alene Race for the Cure. Mueller plans on participating as a volunteer and a cancer survivor at the event, taking place on Sept. 23 at NIC.

Like many years prior, Mueller will lead a group of her students from Winton Elementary in a warm-up before the race. “I look forward to being able to do this again with whatever energy I can muster,” said Mueller.

Last January, not even a year ago, Mueller found a tender spot on her left breast. When the spot had not healed by February, she knew, as a volunteer of Race for the Cure and as an educator, she had to schedule a mammogram right away. The same day they performed a mammogram, they scheduled her for an ultrasound.

Less than a month later, she was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma and was preparing for her first cancer surgery. For the kind of cancer she was diagnosed with, chemotherapy and radiation would be the best forms of treatment to combat the cancer, according to her doctor.

Succumbing to a negative mindset was never an option for Mueller. “From the onset of this journey I told my family this was not going to make me depressed and feel sorry for myself. I have never once asked, ‘Why me?’ Instead I have wondered the reason for being picked for this journey and how I can use it to help others,” Mueller said.

For Mueller, the best form of medicine came in prescriptions of “positive energy, humor and laughter.” “I’ve always believed those things can help a person through anything,” Mueller said.

Telling her students at Winton Elementary about the cancer, where she teaches physical education and music, was a great challenge, especially with the many student age groups.

A book on educating children about cancer called “The Hope Tree” gave her the answer she had been looking for. “I love to garden and this child drew pictures of a beautiful flower garden and a flower garden that had been taken over with weeds. He explained that cancer was like the weed and it needed to be cut out or sprayed with something so it would go away and the beautiful flowers could grow again,” Mueller said.

The analogy worked, for her students and for herself. “Cancer is like a weed. If you leave it alone, it will take over and destroy, but if you do the right things to treat it, you can blossom again and lead a long life,” Mueller said.

This realization arose in the middle of her journey, at a time when her hair was beginning to fall out and her doctors were worried her skin was going to start burning and peeling due to the chemotherapy. Her students wanted to know if her hair would be pink or rainbow when it grew back. Again, humor and lightheartedness carried her forward, day after day.

After shaving his head with his roommate, Will Mueller supports his mother, Nancy Mueller, during her battle with breast cancer.

In April, she underwent a lumpectomy to determine if her cancer had spread. Fortunately it had not, but she would have to endure four chemotherapy treatments every three weeks throughout the summer, and then 33 radiation treatments.

These phases of many surgeries and treatments felt “like a dark tunnel,” a tunnel she had no choice but to walk through. “I knew it might be black in that tunnel for a while but that before I knew it I would begin to see the light on the other side,” Mueller said.

Mueller’s life has been changed forever. “I will embrace each day and its beauty. Life is full of mystery and magic and I will look to and celebrate that each and every day,” Mueller said. Without the support of family and friends, of community and faith, her recovery would have been impossible. “I was constantly wrapped in love and support by so many family and friends,” Mueller said.

The Race for the Cure is a manifold of meaning to Mueller now. “This year is especially important to me personally as I will have finished my own journey through breast cancer,” Mueller said. “It is an inspiring day… The atmosphere is charged with hope, support, laughter, tears, encouragement, fun, and smiles,” Mueller said.

Volunteering again at Race for the Cure was the first goal she made after hearing she had cancer. Now she can make that first goal. Now she can line up on the starting line with all of those who made it and the memories of those who didn’t, as a woman in pink, and as a woman whose story was never just about herself anyway.

Melissa Mueller, left, shave her mother, Nancy Mueller’s hair, right, on the Fourth of July.

‘One Day House’ made history, plans to celebrate

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By SHANE RICHARD BELL 

Staff writer 

It was an event so momentous people are still celebrating its impact on North Idaho’s people and economy 30 years later. It reached the world, touched a nation, and landed in our backyard.

More than three decades ago, on July 7, 1982, in Post Falls, Idaho, local contractors banded together to achieve the impossible.  An entire home, from the foundation to the roof, including the installation of a landline phone, was built in six hours, 55 minutes and 23 seconds for the “one-day house” project sponsored by the North Idaho Building Contractors Association.

The Guinness Book of World Records, according to a Coeur d’Alene Press article on July 8, 1982, recognized the unprecedented achievement at the time as the Fastest Home Built.

At the end of the night, first-time homebuyers Richard and Melinda Galbraith enjoyed their first meal with a bottle of champagne by a lit fireplace. For $39,500, they had their own home. Before this moment, though, things were not nearly so peaceful.

Flanked by grandstands packed with spectators and media, the building site was a spectacle. Paul Harvey, a former broadcaster of ABC Radio Networks, addressed the volunteers on his national program, bringing the bustling machine of people to an utter silence.  “That’s Incredible,” a national TV show, featured the project. 

Almost 300 volunteers, divided into zones assigned to jobs and distinguished by different colored T-shirts, blanketed the grounds in bright colors. One job followed another, step by step, until a three-bedroom home was systematically built. “The whole thing was so incredible because everybody came together to accomplish something we thought would take a whole day,” said Art Trenkle, owner of Fairway Floor, who helped install the carpet in the house.

The North Idaho Building Contractors Association, a non-profit trade association of almost 150 members, sponsored the project. The NIBCA is alive and active today, dedicating itself to “promoting the building industry in a socially responsible manner for the benefit of the community.”

In a July 1982 letter to all the workers for the “one-day house” project, NIBCA wrote, “Our goal of informing the American public that the industry is alive and ready to serve was met. By working together and sharing our knowledge, we can and will overcome any obstacle that stands in our way. Remember that for a moment in history, we made history.”  

History was made that day in many ways. The housing and building industry had plummeted due to 18 percent interest rates. People weren’t buying; and people weren’t building.

“In 1982, ‘The One Day House’ project was a model for us to emulate for the next 30 years going forward. In today’s market, as difficult as it has been, that event was a perfect example of what we, as an association, can accomplish if we put our minds to it,” said Executive Director of NIBCA Larry Jeffres.

Maynard Lyson, founder of Lyson Cement Contracting, remembers working on the house with his son.

“You’re doing your work and all of a sudden you look up, and the building is just going up and up and up. Everything was going so fast. I enjoyed that so immensely. It’s been in my mind so many times since in my life,” said Lyson.

For former NIBCA Executive Director Evalyn Adams, “it was without a doubt the most exciting project that I’ve ever been involved with.”

“Some said it was impossible. And they did it because they believed. It happened because the guys really worked together and supported each other,” said Adams. “It was magic that this house was built.”

Adams and her colleagues believe in the legacy of this project, and aim to promote similar projects in the future. “We want to get together and celebrate something that was so exciting, that is bubbling over with enthusiasm, and that shows there is always hope when things are down and depressed,” Adams said.

To celebrate the 30-year anniversary of the “one-day house” project and its impact on North Idaho, NIBCA is hosting a celebration dinner on Wednesday, September 19th at the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course Event Center. Guests will enjoy a presentation and a dinner. To make reservations or to sponsor a table, call Kris of NIBCA at (208)-765-5518.

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The Happiest Day of my Life

Kory and Kylie Mylan enjoy their first dance as a married couple. –photo courtesy of Rayla Kay Photography

Mr. Kory and Kylie Mylan kiss after their wedding ceremony while riding down Sherman Ave. in a horse-drawn carriage in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. –photo courtesy of Rayla Kay Photography

 

By Shane Richard Bell

Staff writer

It was the “best day of his life” for the groom, and “a dream come true” for the bride. For everyone involved, it was a ceremony of tender moments, eternal memories and unbreakable commitments.

Kory, 24, and Kylie Mylan, 21, married each other on July 7, 2012 at the White House in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Around 150 guests filled the aisles for the bride and groom during the sunset service in the gardens behind the White House Event Center on Sherman Ave. “It was very emotional and romantic,” said mother of the bride Myrna Smith. “She wanted a princess wedding and that’s what it was. She was a princess,” said Smith.

Kylie Mylan wears a Casablanca 1866 “Cinderella” style wedding gown made out of netting with hand-embroidered design and crystals from Celestial. –photo courtesy of Rayla Kay Photography

Seeing his bride for the first time is something Kory Mylan will never forget. At first all he heard were the hooves of the draft horses rising and falling on the stone pathway, then the horses’ manes bobbing and tossing right above the cast-iron fence. And then, there, she was, his bride. The horses came to a stop and Kylie Lundgren, soon to be Mrs. Mylan, gracefully stepped out of the white carriage festooned with pink and white flowers.

Kylie’s mom also remembers the moment. “I look up at Kory and you could tell that he could hear and see her coming and that’s when the tears started rolling,” said Smith. Later quite a few people told the family how that scene had brought them to tears. “Think of all the best words and put them into one sentence and that’s what it was,” said Kory Mylan. “She looked absolutely stunning.”

The bride was equally as moved. “Getting married to Kory James was a dream come true for a girl who had been waiting for him since 4th grade,” said Kylie Mylan. “It was the happiest day of my life.”

Following the ceremony guests enjoyed DJ Scott Hough for a dance party and a wedding cake by Patty Biss. The Magic Stem designed the floral arrangements and the Rocking K Ranch provided the draft horses and carriage. Rayla Kay Photography and associates shot still photography of the wedding and videographer Rob Crain recorded the event. All the wedding apparel for the wedding party came from the Tuxedo Gallery, David’s Bridal, Celestial Selections, Storybook and Bridal Collections.

At the end of the night everyone huddled around in small groups to light sky lanterns.  Bright red, orange and yellow lanterns floated away until they became dots in the summer sky, marking the end of a day that will never be forgotten and the beginning of a life of many dreams to come.

The bride receives kisses from her flower girls Chloe, 8, left, Keilani, 7, center, and Lenna, 6, right. –photo courtesy of Rayla Kay Photography