Monday, February 26, 2024

Community helps 'Tots' shine bright

Staff Writer | December 3, 2023 1:00 AM

When you look at the night sky, do you hear music?

Some look up and marvel at the stars shining brightly from millions of light years away.

Some marvel at the beauty of the northern lights dancing across the universe.

Some look at the Milky Way and hear music, according to a story on the Good News Network website.

That's what happened when NASA and a group of musicians teamed up, matching wavelengths of light to those of sound.

Astronomers at the Chandra X-Ray Observatory were struck by the notion that the photo wasn't really a true representation of what was there. After all, they were imaging X-rays that couldn't be seen by the naked eye.

It is, the story notes, common to match colors to wavelengths of light. Why not try the same thing with sound?

Enter Kimberly Arcand, an expert in astronomy visualization at the Center for Astrophysics, Harvard & Smithsonian.

Enter Matt Russo, an astrophysicist and musician; and Andrew Santaguida, who run a project called SYSTEM Sounds that turns astronomical data into sound.

The piece, just over a minute long, uses a piano to give sound to the infrared light, according to the story. While in reality there would be no sound in space, the GNN story noted the sounds are auditory matches of the wavelengths picked up by the observatory.

With the community's help, the Lions' Toys for Tots drive provides free new toys for children in need who live in the Lake Pend Oreille School District, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in-between. In addition, gift cards to get the fixings for a Christmas dinner is also given to families.

To date, $9,230 has been raised. The goal for this year’s Toys for Tots campaign is $75,000, an increase over past years due to the number of people needing help.

The Lions make the most of the money by bargain shopping and with the assistance of generous local businesses. 

Funds raised during the annual campaign go to purchase new toys for area children — or gift cards for older youth — who live in the Lake Pend Oreille School District. Every Christmas, the Lions help almost 1,000 area children, from Sandpoint to Clark Fork and all points in between.

In addition, the Lions give a gift card to a local grocery store so that families can get supplies for their Christmas dinner.

The Lions started taking applications earlier this month, and demand for the program is already well above last year's total, with 100 more applications submitted during the first week than in 2022.

The club is accepting Toys for Tots applications until Dec. 15. Applications are available on the Lions' website, and printed copies are available on the door of the Lions Club, 609 S. Ella Ave.

Donations for Toys for Tots can be dropped off at the front desk at the Bonner County Daily Bee, 310 Church St., from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. You can also drop off donations (checks and cashier's checks) at Umpqua Bank’s Sandpoint branch, 414 Church St., or at the Ponderay branch, 300 Bonner Mall Way; and at the Ponderay Starbucks. 

Donations may be mailed to the Sandpoint Lions Club, Box 414, Sandpoint, ID 83864.

Donations made by check are preferred. Be sure to include a note with your check indicating that it is a Toys for Tots donation. If you wish to make an anonymous donation, please mention that in your note.

If the donation is being made in someone’s name, be sure to also include a note.

Information: Sandpoint Lions Club, 208-263-4118, or online at

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