Helping Works

Do you have photos from FDR’s only visit to Boise in 1937?

When the city of Boise announced the recipients of the most recent round of Neighborhood Reinvestment grants, David Klinger and Andy Brunelle learned that their neighborhood associations in the North and East Ends were among the recipients. The groups will share a $15,000 “Arts and History/Placemaking” grant. Their project, set for completion in 2017, will commemorate the 80th anniversary of Pres. Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s visit to Boise in 1937. The plan is to create one or more markers or displays in Downtown Boise or in the neighborhoods FDR toured on that notable day eight decades ago.

Klinger and Brunelle have secured three photographs taken during the visit from Roosevelt’s Presidential Library and Archives in Hyde Park, New York. But finding more photos from the visit has been challenging, said Klinger. He and Brunelle are turning to the public for help. They’re hoping that someone has photos from the visit tucked into their family photo albums and collections that they would be willing to let Klinger and Brunelle copy for the project.

“We still believe there may be a significant number of snapshots out there,” said Klinger. “Having access to as much of that material as possible will help us design a much better commemorative exhibit when we celebrate in 2017.”

So, if you have photos or other keepsakes or memorabilia from the visit, email Klinger at

Roosevelt, Klinger said, did not have a political agenda in the City of Trees (though Sen. William Borah introduced the president before his speech from the back seat of his roadster at 7th and Bannock streets). Rather, Roosevelt, accompanied by his wife, Eleanor, spent the morning taking in Boise’s neighborhoods, its trees, its streets, and the estimated 15,000 residents who crowded the motorcade route to see him.

The president’s brief speech, which Klinger believes was entirely extemporaneous, was a “love letter” to the city, Klinger said.

After touring Boise, Roosevelt’s motorcade continued on to agricultural areas outside the city, then on to Oregon where Roosevelt dedicated the Bonneville Dam and Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood.

For anyone who wants to delve more deeply into the history of FDR, Klinger recommends “Rightful Heritage,” a new biography by Douglas Brinkley. Brinkley recently spoke in Twin Falls at an event hosted by the Idaho Humanities Council.

Pine Street School upgrade is an accidental memorial for a beloved teacher

The Meridian Rural High School District built the one-room Pine Street Schoolhouse in 1920. The district used it as a classroom, first for high schoolers, then elementary students, until 1959. Today, the historic building, located on N. Meridian Road and W. Pine Avenue, is the site for heritage field trips for students in the West Ada District.

The building was in need of a paint job, so the Meridian Rotary Club recently stepped up and enlisted volunteers to scrape and paint the 96-year-old schoolhouse’s exterior. The group did the work on a recent Saturday, coincidentally, the very day Elizabeth “Betty” Kusler, died at her home in Meridian at the age of 97. Kusler, who moved to Meridian from the Midwest in 1945, taught at the Pine Street Schoolhouse for a decade. Later in life, after amassing numerous teaching awards, she helped establish the Pine Street Schoolhouse Museum. Kusler spent years leading tours of the old building and working with students long after her retirement, said Doug Rutan, a longtime Meridian resident and a friend of Kusler.

“She was always worried about the building. I assured her it would be taken care of,” said Rutan.

Rutan led the restoration of the old schoolhouse as a Lasting Legacy Project for the Meridian Centennial in 1993. A number of Boy Scouts have earned their Eagle badges doing projects at the schoolhouse, said Rutan. The community, including the West Ada School District, the Meridian Historical Society and the City of Meridian, as well as Rotary, will continue to care for the building. Donations are also welcome through the West Ada School District at

Once again, South Idaho Correctional Institution is giving back

For the sixth year in a row, inmates at South Idaho Correctional Institution will plant a garden to produce fresh produce for the Idaho Foodbank. Here’s a quick Q&A about the project, courtesy of the Idaho Foodbank:

How long has the prison farm/garden been operating? Since 2010, The Idaho Foodbank and SICI, as well as volunteer farmers and seed donors, have worked together to grow fresh produce at the farm located at SICI.

How big is the prison farm/garden? The size of the ground with fresh produce growing has grown in recent years to 10 acres.

How many pounds of food have been produced by the farm/garden in recent years? Three years ago, the farm produced about 180,000 pounds of produce. That increased to 320,000 two years ago. Last year’s total is 388,000 lbs.

Who are the donors of product/seed? The seed potatoes come from Shawn Walters of Walters Produce. The squash seed is from Dorsing Seed. Roundup is donated by Monsanto and the fertilizer is donated by Simplot. Giant Produce donated all of the packaging and Greens/Thermo King donates the refrigerated trailers used to store and haul the harvest.

How many people work on the farm/garden? At any time, about 10 inmates are helping work on the farm.

Who are the volunteer farmers? Lamar Thorton, Boyd Anderson and Jerry Thiel.

Nonprofits take note: Learn to tell your story for maximum impact

Boise Public Library and the Idaho Nonprofit Center again team up for Nonprofit Resource Thursdays at the library. It’s a great, and free (!) monthly opportunity for nonprofit leaders, staff members and volunteers to gain expertise in the field thanks to a variety of experts who are available to talk about nonprofit bylaws, the start-up process, fundraising resources, managing volunteers, learning to use a database of over 150,000 grant opportunities and more.

This month’s program is from 4 to 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 19, at the Boise Public Library’s main branch, 715 S. Capitol Blvd. in Boise.

Each session includes an optional roundtable discussion on a specific topic led by a local expert. On May 19, the topic is “Telling the Story of Your Organization for Maximum Impact” with Nancy Buffington, owner of Boise SpeakWell. Buffington, whose many credits include helping speakers get ready for the big night during Boise’s recent TEDx event.

BBQ Bash for Books at the Garden City Library

The fundraiser will take place from 6 to 9 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, at the library, 6015 Glenwood St. Proceeds will benefit a variety of library programs, including the beloved Bells for Books mobile literacy program that brings books to underserved neighborhoods in Garden City. The program, begun by Garden City residents Kate McMillian and Ruth Wright, started in 1994 in a small red wagon. It got its name from McMillian’s and Wright’s habit of ringing a cowbell to let kids know the books were nearby. A donation in 2003 made it possible for the library to buy the program’s current home, a big blue bus. Learn more about the library online at

‘A Night in Monte Carlo’ will benefit Leukemia Lymphoma Society

The fundraiser, hosted by Indepth Solutions, Inc. in partnership with the Idaho Bureau of Homeland Security, will take place at 7 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 at the Boise Centre. The evening will begin with a registration/social, complete with booths, live music and a no-host bar at 5:30 p.m.

The event will feature live music from The Rat Pack Tribute, a prime rib dinner, dancing and Monte Carlo-style casino games. Guests will also have the opportunity to bid on live auction items, including a “For A Day” experiences. The “For A Day” experiences are one-day experiences for Idaho students in grades K-Higher Education12. Find more information, tickets online at