By K.S. Brooks / Silverado Express Newspaper

Misty Wegner and Charlie Aebi love on one of their amazing SAR canines. Photo by K.S. Brooks

I’ve said for years that the two best icebreakers are dogs and cars — total strangers have come up to me to talk about both. So it was no surprise to me that Misty Wegner and Charlie Aebi met because of dogs.

Both Misty and Charlie have worked in K9 Search and Rescue (SAR), in completely different states, but both ended up in Chewelah and on each other’s radar. Talking with them is always uplifting; their enthusiasm and passion for SAR is effervescent. And then there’s the finishing of each other’s sentences that…


Story by K.S. Brooks / Silverado Express Newspaper

Sasquatch the movie’s opening scene concept, Official artwork by Justin Hatcher

They say that Sasquatch activity tends to pick up in the warmer months, but I don’t think anyone was anticipating what’s about to happen in Chewelah. Sasquatch is going to make an appearance in a major way — major motion picture way, that is.

Driven by a team that has garnered awards and extensive credits in the film industry, the movie Sasquatch is going to be a slick production. And, it’s going to be filmed in and around Chewelah.

“We asked ourselves, ‘What is a story that we could tell that highlights…


By K.S. Brooks / Silverado Express Newspaper

Farming at Night. Photograph by K.S. Brooks

This is a difficult topic. But if writing and talking about it can save one life, then it’s worth it. Facts are facts: Farmers in the United States die by suicide 1.5 times more often than the national average, according to a study by the CDC (Center for Disease Control). This number may be low, in fact, because it is believed that some of the deaths are staged to look like equipment accidents, and not all self-employed farmers were included in the survey.

I don’t know about you, but to think the people…


K.S. Brooks / Silverado Express Newspaper

Will Ulmer, investigating. Photo by K.S. Brooks

What do Sasquatch researchers talk about around the fire? Stories of finding footprints, hearing screams, and other mysterious encounters. I get a feeling that there is a little bit of competition in some cases, but for the most part, they all want the same thing: to know if Sasquatch is, in fact, real.

Of course there are the groups that already believe it is real and want to see it with their own eyes. There are others who are skeptical and want to prove — either way — whether it is real or not…


By K. S. Brooks / Silverado Express Newspaper

My rescuer, Carmella of Columbia Basin Search Dogs. Photo by K.S. Brooks

It’s white, but it’s dark. Your arms are pinned. You can’t move your legs. Are you up or down? You can’t tell. Muffled voices filter down through the packed snow, at least you think that. Do they know you’re there? You want to scream, but you don’t want to waste precious air. Terror overrules logic, so you scream bloody murder. Your heart is pounding in your ears so loudly that you’re not sure you’ll be able to hear anyone answer you. Tears pour down your face.

You jerk when something pokes you…


Melissa Silvio, Jesse Klemish, and Don Shaw talk at the Schoolhouse’s new location. Photo by K.S. Brooks

Back in the olden days when I lived in the Boston area, we’d see historic houses going down the road from time to time. It wasn’t anything shocking since it happened fairly often. The narrow, congested, hilly, and windy roads made it a bit of a challenge for movers and an inconvenience for the rest of us. It was easy to be patient, though, knowing that a piece of 200- or 300-year-old history was being relocated for whatever reason. We all grinned and beared it and then went on with our days, never giving it a second thought.

Fast forward…


Image courtesy of Pixabay ivanovgood

Compared to other types of people, I guess you could consider artists to be meek, in many cases. Of course, there are artists from all walks of life — some are serial killers, too — but for the most part, I think it’s fair to say that creative people tend to be gentle.

Of course, people who are gentle — and different — are easy targets for bullies. So, writers, painters, dancers, filmmakers, photographers, musicians — anyone who is creative — are often ostracized and ridiculed because they’re special or have a passion. I won’t go into the list of…


Judy Cressey. Photo by K.S. Brooks

I’m pretty sure the person who came up with the idea for the Energizer Bunny was inspired by Judy Cressey of Colville. If there’s an event related to 4-H, the Fair, education, or just something that needs a volunteer, odds are you’ll see Judy and her husband Larry there. You might have encountered her serving dinner on New Year’s Eve at the Fairgrounds; helping out at the Fishing Derby; teaching CPR, first aid, or disaster relief; substitute teaching for 11 different school systems in our region; taking tickets at the Colville Rodeo; or judging for the National Christian Forensics and…


Brandon sits with some of his work. Photo by K.S. Brooks

“What normal person decides ‘I think I want to live in Hawaii’ and then ends up dancing on cruise ships?” I was asked — by Brandon Finley of Cusick. Now, keep in mind, he’s not talking about going cruising and doing line dancing or something. Brandon’s talking about being a professional hula dancer, paid to dance on cruise ships as part of the entertainment crew.

That gig is just one of many things that makes Brandon interesting. For a time, he was also a bill collector. Now, before you “boo” him — you need to know that he was a…


Valley’s Little White Schoolhouse was moved from its original location to its new resting place in the Valley Fairgrounds to become a cultural center for the town. (KS Brooks photo)

(KS BROOKS/Chewelah Independent)

PRESERVING HISTORY: Little White Schoolhouse moves to new location in Valley Fairgrounds…

July 15, over the course of history, doesn’t seem to be known for much. But in 2020, something major happened in the town of Valley, Washington that will be remembered for years to come. The Little White Schoolhouse, a building designated a Most Endangered Historic Place by the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation, was relocated from its perch atop a hill amongst the Valley School District facilities offices and the Valley Early Learning Center to its new home at the Valley Fairgrounds.

The effort to save the Little White Schoolhouse began in 2009 when Jackie Franks formed…

KS Brooks

Award-winning novelist and photographer. Fearless leader of IndiesUnlimited. Wilderness hermit, intrepid road warrior. Gluten-free guru. Slightly opinionated.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store