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Throwing my hat in the ring ... unless

November 16, 2012
By Mike Weland

I know this is unfair; I own "ink," albeit digital. Therefore I have to give background and disclaimers.

I was sitting at the back of Sater's Auction a few weeks ago when David Brinkman, towing exuberant kid's Logan and Liliana, stopped by and mentioned that, after 11 years, Tim Bertling had asked to resign from the Boundary County School District 101 Board of Trustees and they were going to be seeking someone to step in to fill a huge pair of shoes.

"Do you know anyone from Moyie Springs who might be interested?" he asked.

"I hardly know anyone from Moyie Springs," I said. "I just moved here."

His wife, Melinda, was bidding on something, and David walked away.

He came back moments later.

"Did you say you live in Moyie?"

"Uh huh," I said. "But I'm not going to volunteer."

We laughed and chatted while our wives were busy, Melinda came over with her haul and said, "time to go,"

I volunteered and they left.

Moments later, my wife, Debbie came to the table and laid her purchases down.

"Guess what?" I said. " I think I may have volunteered for the school board."

"You did what?!"

I hadn't, really. I had inside information. The board hadn't yet even accepted 11-year member Tim Bertling's resignation. They did that at the November board meeting a few days later and said they'd be accepting letters of interest until January 23.

I was off the hook. But I'm not. So I've written, but haven't submitted, a "letter of interest."

It's long, and for that I apologize, but I felt duty-bound to live up to my word.

But having written it, I think of the big shoes; especially those of Leonard Kucera Jr., who took so much flack but served the district and the community well for more years than I was old when I met him, and I have second thoughts. Tim wears some tremendously big shoes, too, and there has to be someone out there more capable than me to fill them.

I wrote it with the intention of submitting, and of serving if selected. But the students of this county, and the Boosters and the alumni, deserve the very best, and I think there has to be many better, if they'll only step forward.

Instead of submitting my letter of interest, I am publishing  it, in hope that someone better than I steps forward.

The kids in public schools in this county need and deserve nothing less.

Mike Weland

PO Box 834

57 Walnut Street

Moyie Springs, ID 83845

(208) 267-5885


Board of Trustees

Boundary County School District 101

Bonners Ferry


November 15, 2012


Letter of Interest


I hereby express my interest in being appointed to the vacant Zone 2 position on the Boundary School District 101 Board of Trustees and my willingness to work hard to learn the many duties and responsibilities entailed that I may serve well.


In requesting consideration to be permitted to serve, I bring with me no bias or preconception, just a willingness to serve to the best of my ability. I have been and am a local news reporter for more than 20 years, and I served as county zoning administrator and public information officer for more than 12 years.


I’ve consistently been impressed with the achievements of our school administrators, teachers, staff, students and alumni, and would dedicate myself, if selected, to see to the continuation of excellence this district is known for.


I have also seen the difficulties faced by the school board and administration in retaining funding and support, both local and legislative, which are essential in maintaining such a level of excellence in a small and rural district.


Instead of being detriments, as many might suspect when considering for “hire” a reporter, my experience in journalism, media and public relations would be beneficial to the district. In fact, I see my initial contributions in those areas as I learn the intricacies of the position that will enable my reasoned contributions in those areas more traditional, especially in the face of the upcoming M&O.


As a journalist, I will not slant my coverage. I will present the facts in my journal in the best light possible, even while giving voice to those who disagree.


I would advise the district on how to best get word out to the general public through other media … something I’ve learned through experience that most educators find difficult.


I have but a high school education, that in 1976 from Fletcher High School, Fletcher, Oklahoma, a school much smaller than BFHS and just as rural. I was one of 40 graduates that year, up to that time the biggest class in Wildcat history.


 Looking back, I wish I’d have been able to attend a school like BFHS. I don’t know if I’d have taken advantage of all the opportunities offered here, I do know, having been offered, I could never fault the school for my own indifference.


Fletcher didn’t offer a lot; ours weren’t the tales of kids going to MIT, Yale or Harvard, but to work on the farm, in the military or in the trades. A few went to college, but not many.


I’m still remiss; I could and should have learned more from my school before I joined the Army than I did, I just couldn’t be bothered. Work was, for me at the time, more important. I’ve never since been availed the opportunity to learn what I might have, and I regret it.


I still wonder what I might have been.


I am now somewhat limited physically due to a stroke I experienced in April, which is why I had to retire my position with the county, but these limitations, which I’m adapting to, should not impair my ability to carry out the duties or responsibilities inherent in serving


My stroke, unlike most, was caused by a collapsed capillary in the right motor cortex of my brain rather than a ruptured blood vessel or a clot; doctors told me the cause was likely genetic and that there’s little risk of recurrence. It did not impair my ability think, talk or write, just my ability to walk and use two hands.


I am learning the sound of one hand clapping. It’s quiet, but no less heartfelt.


I am aware that, if selected, I will be expected to have your selection ratified by voters in the spring.


I assure you that while I can’t run for election, I will throw my hat in the ring when the filing period opens and then commence hobbling just as fast as I can. I will give coverage to every candidate who asks equally, and I will also be in the courthouse on election night, reporting the results, fairly and without bias.


I appreciate the difficult work done by school board trustees, and I know that it’s an often thankless task and very poor in pay. But I have had the privilege to know quite a number of you, and I’ve come to know how great the rewards.


I would be honored to serve with each of you.


Mike Weland

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