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Coeur d'Alene Tribe of Idaho

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The tribal mill in Plummer will resume grinding up grass stubble to make particleboard material after a 2 1/2 month hiatus. Managers at Pacific Northwest Fiber said they will begin pressing the grass into boards even though prices remain poor. The mill, a $5 million venture of Seeds Inc. and the tribe, closed in August as board prices sank, its inventory failed to sell and equipment needed a $1 million retooling and upgrading. General manager David Bauermeister said the mill will focus on boards for furniture and shelving, not just flooring underlay. The mill went to work in 1999. Farmers had burned their fields until it was restricted in Washington state. Unable to rid the fields of stubble, the new straw board plant was viewed as a model to use the leftover material. Pacific just reimburses farmers the baling costs. Otherwise farmers have to bale, store, market and ship the straw at their own expense. In parts of eastern Washington and Idaho, farmers raise Kentucky bluegrass for seed. Burning was important in profitably growing bluegrass as fire removes the stubble after harvest and helps control plant disease. But it posed a health risk. Despite all of the straw, the Plummer plant still had to close this summer.

An Oregon man will spend another 21 days in jail after admitting he threatened people at the tribe's Julyamsh pow wow last summer. Kootenai County prosecutors charged Craig Gregerson, 34, with making drunken threats against Native Americans at the event. Gregerson allegedly told tribal members he would kill them and their family members on July 20. He said he was concerned about the whereabouts of his girlfriend. Gregerson pleaded guilty Nov. 8 after 1st District Magistrate Paul McCabe said the man could not be charged with malicious harassment. Gregerson was sentenced to 45 days, 24 of which he has already served. "I was very intoxicated and my actions were really, really wrong," he told tribal members in court on Wednesday. "I'm very, very sorry."