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Pete's Path: A journey to inspiring potential

On July 24, 2013, Pete and Dane Goers were born into this world. What came with this delivery would not only change the lives of the Goers family, but little did anyone know it would also inspire the community of Emmett.

Pete Goers was born with Rhombencephalitis (RES), a rare fused cerebellum that didn’t develop properly. At 23-hours-old, Pete had his first brain surgery. Along with RES, Pete was also diagnosed with a global developmental delay of autism and Hydrocephalus, a common build up of fluid on the brain.

Although Pete’s diagnoses may seem bleak, his mother, Lara, said he has by far surpassed all expectations. Pete is nonverbal but that doesn’t mean that he can’t communicate. With actions similar to a child’s, Pete can show you what he likes. When he doesn’t like something he can show you, by throwing it across the room.

Pete began attending Carberry Elementary last year and is in first grade now. While Pete goes to school, his siblings, Brig: 12, Livia: 9, and Dane: 7, are being homeschooled by Lara Goer.

Lara said, “Brig would be in the middle school normally if it wasn’t for weird COVID. Livia and Dane would be at Shadow Butte.”

Pete’s already compromised health, naturally puts him at a greater risk. So the family needed a plan to keep him safe and give him what he needs most, the services he receives at school.

“We decided that with COVID and the crazy world that we live in right now, that we’re going to keep the other kids home from school.”

While some may think it is counterintuitive to send Pete to school, and keep the others home, Lara said Pete needs the physical movement, changes in scenery, therapies, and interactions that the school has to offer him.

“We were very comfortable sending him because he’s in a tier three plus classroom with Ivy Snow and his aide is Donna Hauser. They are so careful with wiping everything down and keeping everything sanitary.”

And then there’s Pete. Though he doesn’t do it on purpose, the 7-year-old by nature, socially distances himself from others.

“He doesn’t like touch or when people are in his bubble too much,” Lara said, explaining that Pete, unlike other students, wouldn’t think his day would be ruined because “he can’t eat lunch with his best buddies.”

Normally, Lara would not be homeschooling the other children.

“But we are trying to be intelligent and balancing our risks with our rewards. We are choosing our exposures … When you have an immune compromised kid you have to be extra careful. It’s not like we’re living in fear, we are just not being reckless with someone else’s health and if we have the option to err on the side of safety, we do that.”

Students who need movement work really well when they can use the swings on the playground. However, because Pete is in a wheelchair, easy access to the swings has been difficult. His education team would get Pete to use a walker which made it slightly easier, but getting through the gravel and wet grass was still a problem.

This is why the Carberry walking path was so important.

Principal Greg Alexander noticed Pete’s problem and expedited a plan that was already in the works.

Pete could have his life just like a normal boy. Lara and her husband, Bill, are grateful for this.

Lara constantly advocates for Pete. For once, she didn’t have to. The community and school saw the need and helped her son. The path has provided a way for Pete to interact with other students and socialize with his friends at school.

Earlier this month, the request to name the Carberry walking path “Pete’s Path,” was brought before the Emmett School Board.

Getting a path was no small task for Carberry to take on. It came with a lot of work from staff and the community. Emmett Mayor Gordon Petrie and previous school administration raised funds through Jump Rope for Heart, and the Mayor’s Walking Challenge. The Challenge is a statewide program that gives Idaho mayors the opportunity to get active and earn funds for their community — all while setting a great example of being physically active.

Mayor Petrie is a champion of walking and has earned prize money for the path.

In Alexander’s first year as principal he was made aware of the community’s desire to have a walking path. He was prepared to accept the challenge but knew it wouldn’t happen overnight. After all, this was a project that cost $32,300 just to pave.

While staff helped with fundraising, the PTO led by Miranda Wright, raised several thousand dollars; there were so many others that also came to Carberry’s aid.

● Blue Cross of Idaho Foundation donated over $17,000 and when funds were still short, Blue Cross stepped up again.

● Gem County Foundation purchased the decorative rock naming the path.

● Parker Meyers and Meyers Lawn Service and Landscape repaired all the sprinklers.

● An anonymous donor purchased a “buddy” bench for those in need of a friend.

The path was marked in April, and by August Pete and a few others were able to make their first laps around the ¼ mile path. Pete was the inspiration for the path’s completion. It is for that reason that the school board approved naming it “Pete’s Path” with the caption “Inspiring Potential.”

- Autumn Hutchison is a public information officer intern working with the Emmett School District. She is a senior graduating in December At BYU-Idaho.

New Emmett venue redefines “Road House”

Sometime in the next few weeks a new aspect of the multi-use event complex at the Mitchell Industrial Park (MIP) will get a test run. Stoney’s Road House will open its mobile doors to provide food and beverages for a county music concert that will usher in a new opportunity for entertainment and local employment.

Contrary to what has been portrayed in some local on-line click bait teasers, Stoney’s Road House in Emmett is not going to be a strip club. It’s not a brick and mortar bar and dance club. It is an attempt to provide reliable and sustainable food and beverage services at the old mill complex for all of its special events – throughout the year.

The “Road House” at the western end of the 900-foot long Timber Pavilion is actually a creation that can be directly related to COVID-19 and its impact on entertainment venues across the country.

Stoney’s currently operates traditional entertainment venues in Las Vegas, Reno and the Spokane area. Chris Lowden and his family have been engaged in the entertainment business for decades. Stoney’s has a Sirius country music presence nationwide. That country music connection has also allowed Stoney’s to build a loyal following of not only listeners, but performing artists as well.

That’s where Emmett comes into play. For years Lowden has been looking at the Boise area as an ideal place to locate a new venue that could become part of the music tours they sponsor – not only at their permanent locations but also at The Gorge in Washington and sometimes in Salt Lake City. A rodeo and car racing enthusiast, participant and sponsor, Lowden found the MIP multiple use concept intriguing.

With the total shutdown of most of Stoney’s operations in Nevada due to coronavirus restrictions, Lowden found he had no place to take his performers, or his entourage of support trailers and staff. That is until some creative thinking was put to work to find a place where physical distancing would not be a problem and where those mobile units could be put back into operation.

Physical space is one thing that the MIP property does offer. Evolving plans at the complex range from a Blue Valor dirt-track racing oval, that should be completed by spring, to a full service RV Park. That is in addition to an already operating outdoor movie theater feature, space for local exhibits and festivals, and a number of light industrial firms working within the mix.

The Road House terminology may conjure up visions of Patrick Swayze and other theatrical interpretations but in this case its more of houses ready for the road. The semi-trailer size food and beverage vehicles are totally portable and can be moved to any location on the property to service whatever event may be going on. Currently the trailers are parked in the west end of the Timber Pavilion as a central location for events planned in the coming weeks.

An additional benefit to MIP and community organizations is that Stoney’s has erected a small concert stage complete with a 2,000 square foot dance floor. That portion of the space can be utilized year-round for not only concerts but community playhouse presentations and a wide variety of other activities – with or without the concession trailers.

In true Las Vegas style, Lowden sees even this mobile venue as one that should provide a wide variety of entertainment options. A mechanical bull with inflatable floor pad is part of the dining area that has been constructed in a totally mobile fashion. He plans to hire a local manager and desires to have all of his part-time event personnel from this area as well. While the trailers may be mobile, he prefers his staff to have roots here.

In reality, Stoney’s Road House in Emmett could be packed up and on the road within 24 hours. That is if there is a place to go. Long term – perhaps in three to four years – if the event schedule at the Emmett complex builds a reputation and consistency there might be a place for a more permanent Stoney’s presence in town. At this point, the special use permit covering the complex does not include an on-going day to day restaurant and bar operation - just as a support to the events like any other food truck would provide.

In conversations with the Messenger Index over the past ten months Lowden has consistently talked about being a part of what could develop into something special over time. How that will eventually materialize is still to be seen. Just as the coronavirus impact on the entertainment industry was not foreseen a year ago, what additional adjustments will be required are mostly unknown. 

For now, Stoney’s Road House – Emmett appears to be a very mobile opportunity in an environment where the deepest COVID concerns are perhaps mitigated to a certain extent. Watch for more details in the coming weeks as the Road House finds a home - at least for now - in Emmett. 

$1.8 million savings for City of Emmett

Idaho State Treasurer Julie Ellsworth has announced an overall $9.3 million savings for Idaho Taxpayers as the Idaho Bond Bank Authority (IBBA) finalizes refinancing efforts. This includes $1,836,000 for the City of Emmett alone.

The IBBA successfully closed a bond issue comprised of $20,900,000 of tax-exempt bonds and $23,265,000 of taxable bonds to refinance outstanding loans on behalf of IBBA’s current taxpayer borrowers in order to lower future debt service costs. The IBBA bonds again received an Aa1 rating from Moody’s this year.

IBBA, a statewide bonding authority, works to bring Idaho municipalities together in order to go to the market and leverage benefits with economies of scale and a strong credit quality.

Treasurer Ellsworth said, “I am pleased with the overall results of the IBBA work. Interest rates were near historical lows and investor demand was high for such a strong credit quality, resulting in Present Value Savings of approximately $9.3 million or an 18.5% reduction in the refunded debt.”

Ellsworth continued, “The IBBA creates a more cost-effective borrowing and is helpful to our local communities. I look forward to continued efforts at saving Idaho taxpayers dollars.”

This significant savings was spread across Benewah County, Caribou County, City of Emmett, City of Grangeville, Jerome County and Lemhi County as shown in the Savings by Borrower table.

Benewah County Commissioner, Jack Buell, said “Years back, we had to decide whether to rebuild the hospital or close it. We’re a small county that is quite isolated. It’s important to have good medical facilities nearby.”

“Taxpayers passed a bond to rebuild a state-of-the-art hospital with high quality facilities,” Buell said. “When the option came up to refinance, we jumped at the chance. Over the next twenty years we’ll save almost five million dollars. We are just trying to do the right thing for Benewah County.”

Caribou County Commissioner, Bryce Somsen, said “Caribou County had about 12 more years on a bond for our county jail that was built 20 years ago. When we found out we could save property taxpayers over $430,000 dollars by refinancing, we were thrilled.”

Emmett City Mayor, Gordon Petrie stated, “The Emmett City Clerk and our department heads are always scouting ways to liquidate debt sooner than later. The IBBA gave Emmett that opportunity. We very much appreciate the entire team who helped us, but especially State Treasurer Ellsworth, our Bond Attorney, Stephanie J. Bonney of MSBT Law, Eric Heringer of Piper Sandler & Co., who made presentations to the council and kept us informed about current rates during a roller coaster of a year, and finally, Anna McCully of Zions Bank. These outstanding and knowledgeable professionals performed a great service to our utility customers”.