Moving to North Idaho to Live Among "Adamic White Aryans"
In the fall of 1995, following six months of travel, the
duo settled in Sandpoint, Idaho. "We crossed the bridge into Sandpoint
and said, 'Voila, this is it!'" Bertollini told a reporter from
the Spokane Spokesman-Review.
Why did Story and Bertollini choose Sandpoint? "North Idaho was
selected for its clean air, beautiful scenery, quiet life style,
recreation, lack of crowds, low cost of living, low violent crime,"
they write, "but above all, more than 98 percent of North
Idaho's population is of the Adamic White Aryan people."
With a population shy of 6,000, Sandpoint rests at the tip of
the Idaho panhandle, just south of the Canadian border. Agriculture,
the arts, timber and tourism flourish there. Sandpoint is also in
an area that many white supremacists have hoped would become an "Aryan" homeland.
Extremists associated with the Aryan Nations paramilitary Identity
group are particularly fond of this scenario. Sandpoint is roughly
40 miles from the Aryan Nations compound in Hayden Lake, Idaho.
The late Robert Miles, once the Midwest coordinator for that group,
urged white supremacists to move to the Pacific Northwest to form
a whites-only nation in the states of Washington, Idaho, Montana,
Wyoming and Oregon. In 1989, Miles sold his Michigan farm and moved
to Oregon. The leader of Aryan Nations, Richard G. Butler, moved
from Southern California to Northern Idaho in 1973 and has encouraged
whites to build a "national racist state" in the region. Many violent
extremist criminals have affiliated themselves with Aryan Nations,
including Buford Furrow, who attacked a Jewish daycare center in
Los Angeles in the summer of 1999, and members of the murderous
white supremacist terrorist gang, The Order.
The Identity group America's Promise Ministries, led by Dave Barley,
is located in Sandpoint. In 1996, three of Barley's supremacist congregants
went on a terror spree in nearby Washington State, bombing a newspaper
plant and a Planned Parenthood clinic and twice robbing the same
bank. Each was convicted on eight counts of robbery and bomb making.
During their first few years in Sandpoint, Story and Bertollini
did not draw public attention to their beliefs, though they reportedly
were known around town for riding motorcycles and leaving big tips
at restaurants. In December 1996, Joyce Riley, a regular lecturer
at the numerous Preparedness Expos that cater to anti-government
"patriots," gave two lectures in Sandpoint promoted by America's
Promise Ministries. Her speeches were described at length in two
major extremist publications, The Jubilee and The Spotlight.
Bertollini later admitted that he and Story bankrolled the Riley
presentations, but did so covertly. It was not until two years later
that they stepped into the public spotlight.