A Wednesday ritual for most Wood River Valley residents, the Idaho Mountain Express provides it’s readers with the area’s newsworthy topics of the week. For 89 year old Elkhorn resident Gwen Dietrich, it’s no different. However, on March 11, she was surprised to receive a letter from the Mountain Express stating that her weekly Miscellany II submissions would no longer be accepted.
According to Mountain Express Classifieds Editor David Zimmerman, “Ms. Dietrich took it too far and we are no longer publishing anything she submits to Miscellany II or to the Mountain Express for that matter. In fact, she is officially banned.”
A longtime contributor to Miscellany II, Ms. Dietrich’s submittals began seemingly innocent, ranging from lowering Elkhorn’s speed limit to suggestions of trapping foxes on the golf course. Zimmerman became concerned about her weekly contributions 2 months ago when complaints surfaced over a January 14th post stating, " the Holocaust never happened."
A shocked Zimmerman admitted, “We seriously fucked up. Truth be told.....we've never read a single Miscellany II submission prior to publishing. Company policy says that we should but, I'm sorry to say, we just don't. Deadlines and numerous other pressures take priority and we pretty much just scan and print whatever we're given." Zimmerman continued, "It wasn't until we received hundreds of complaints from our readers and advertisers that we became aware of this issue.”
Valley resident Horace Gooding was one of the first readers to report the despicable comment. "We all know and trust the Miscellany II forum as one of the last bastions of free speech in our community. Area residents rely on this public platform to call out some asshole who drives a red Lexus SUV for not using a turn signal, express interest in joining a gang bang or accuse a random stranger of farting while in line at the post office." Gooding continued, "We're better than this, people."
With Mountain Express’ consent, The Marten Stuffer was given access to the Miscellany II archives in the basement of it’s Ketchum office. It was discovered that Ms. Dietrich had logged 163 published contributions over the years, a handful of which being of a highly bigoted nature.
In April 2010 she responded to a missing dog posting, “Better check the Wonderful House for little FiFi.” Another example was during the height of the Idaho gay marriage debate in June 2012 where Ms. Dietrich posted, “It's Adam and Eve not Adam and Steve!”
When reached for comment, a noticeably shaken Ms. Dietrich stated, “I’m not sure what the excitement is all about. Miscellany II is my favorite section of the paper, I had no intention to offend anyone or any foreigners.” Asked if she could expand on the 'foreigner' comment, Ms. Dietrich shouted “Speak English!!”.