Huckleberries continues through its abbreviated schedule, beginning at 9 o'clock instead of 8 o'clock. So far, no reports of serious injuries from early birds who are hitting the refresh button, hoping something'll pop up before 9. We'll be back on a regular schedule by Dec. 16 (earliest) or Dec. 18. Until then, you still get a lot of Huckleberries during slightly abbreviated hours. Now for today's Wild Card …
Skydivers, from all over the world, perform a group jump, the day after two skydivers were killed after colliding in midair during a jump from Skydive Arizona at Eloy Municipal Airport today in Eloy, Ariz. Participants said it was the best way to pay tribute to their friends in the tight-knit skydiving community who died. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
On her Facebook wall, Cindy posts: Okay. The reason I hate Happy Xmas so hard: Every time I hear this refrain “So this is Christmas and what have you done” I want to scream, “WHAT HAVE I DONE?? I have baked, cleaned, shopped, wrapped, mailed, cooked, cleaned, baked and shopped like a madwoman. THAT'S WHAT I'VE DONE.” But. I guess that's just me.
Question: Who does the heavy lifting for Christmas in your house?
Nic has renamed his blog. Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts has become The Faithful Geek. As The Faithful Geek, he pulls back the curtain on the dangerous church youth group games of his younger years:
“I am convinced that the 90s were a special time in youth groups. A time where the risk of life and limb were permissible as long as alcohol and foul language was not involved. A time when youth leaders were convinced that making kids fear for their actual safety was some sort of spiritual lesson we all needed to learn. A time when relay races were scientifically designed to risk either injury or humiliation. Those with no shame and no timidity prospered. I am also convinced that no youth group existing today would be able to do half of the stuff we did without a lawsuit.” Full post here.
Question: Are you a church youth group alum? Do you want to tell us about your youth group experiences?
“All aboard” exclaims Tyler Sells, 4, as the Burlington Northern Santa Fe Corp. Holliday Express train departs Tuesday. BNSF treated military personnel and their families to a vintage train ride. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Gabe Green)
Window washers descend the 36-story Centennial Tower downtown skyscraper this morning in Atlanta. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/David Goldman)
Tuesday Winner — FishinJay w/7 likes: After one too many hits to the head, Jimmy is confused about which sport he's playing and how a two point conversion is actually achieved. And runnerup — Flatlander, with 5 likes: Idaho Vandal football player seeing the 80 points on the score board, mistakenly thinks the game is basketball and slam dunks the pigskin. You can view Tuesday Photo & all Cutline Contest entries here.
On its Facebook wall, the city of Post Falls posts: “The cold weather has decided to hang around a little longer and we NEVER want anyone to freeze. So the St Vincent de Paul North Idaho Warming Center is going to remain open tonight (Wednesday) through Tuesday. Future nights will be extended as extreme cold persists. As the sub-25 degree temperatures continue, St Vincent’s shelter will always be open from 7 p.m. until 7 a.m. Transportation will be leaving from the St Vincent de Paul Community Dining Hall at 6:45 p.m. on the nights we are open, and will transport back the next morning. “The Warming Center in Post Falls is located at 202. W. 7th St., behind the Post Falls St. Vincent de Paul Thrift Store, in the Kamps Apartment basement. They can shelter 65 individuals at this location and have sleeping bags, blankets, gloves, stocking caps, coats, a full bathroom, warm food and drinks.”
DFO: Gotta agree with Nancy. Hard to begrudge temperatures when the sun is shining so brightly outside. Agree? Disagree?
In my short time here in China, I have been adjusting to being a minority for the first time in my life. I don’t speak, or read, the language so I am functionally illiterate, too. I don’t look like everyone else, not by a long shot. Days go by that I do not see another Westerner. The Chinese people who I do encounter on a regular basis, my Mandarin teacher and my Chiropractor, speak English; the street signs are in Chinese and English and hand signals and pantomime make communicating with our Ayi possible, if not exactly foolproof. Much of the time I don’t invite a second look; many of the Shanghainese are familiar with foreigners. Children, as children are wont to do, stare in fascination, parents encouraging their toddler with the gaping mouth to say “Ni Hao”/Thom George, Eye on Shanghai. More here. (Eye on Shanghai photo of Chinese construction workers)
Question: Have you ever experienced what it's like to be a minority?
Marianne Love/Slight Detour posts from her Bonner County hideaway: “It's cold. It's pretty. We're warm, thanks to the winter wood supply and cozy shelters. Life on the Lovestead farm is good on this 50th anniversary of the opening of Schweitzer Basin Ski Area aka Schweitzer Mountain Resort.” More photosof North Idaho winter scenes here.
HucksOnline numbers (for Tuesday, Dec. 3): 7303 page-views/3970 unique views
On a 4-3 vote, the City Council has voted to approve the 25-foot tall “Allium Spring Chorus,” for the Third Street entrance to McEuen Park. According to the artist, the inspiration of the design is the allium plant, a wild onion that is native to Idaho. The unique piece of art, resembling three lofty dandelions, was recommended by the city's arts selection committee. It was also the favorite of more than 100 people who voted on art for that location. The artwork will include thousands of star shapes that make up the flower heads, catching and reflecting light and bending slightly in a plant-like manner/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today.
Nurses and health care workers began a one-day strike in the bitter cold this morning against Deaconess and Valley hospitals (pictured here) after the sides failed to reach a new labor contract. The hospitals remain open today and are supplementing staff with replacement workers. It is believed to be the first strike involving registered nurses against a Spokane hospital. The 1,100 members of SEIU 1199NW have asked the hospitals to bolster staffing, saying cutbacks are putting patient care and comfort in jeopardy. The hospitals say staffing is appropriate. Story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)
Democratic women lawmakers on Wednesday said they are confident the Supreme Court would uphold an ObamaCare mandate that requires most employers to cover birth control in their insurance plans. “The healthcare decisions should be made by the employees, not by someone who is running a for-profit company that’s not a religious institution,” Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.) said. “I think that’s what the Supreme Court is going to decide.” The Supreme Court last week agreed to hear a challenge to the mandate brought by two private companies that argue the federal government couldn’t order businesses to pay for contraception coverage that goes against the owners’ religious beliefs/Jonathan Easley, The Hill. More here.
Question: Do you think the U.S. Supreme Court will uphold the birth control mandate that's part of Obamacare?
Frustrated separatists can agitate all they want to for a state of their own, but if we ever add a star to Old Glory, it's more likely to represent Puerto Rico, American Samoa or Washington, D.C., than North Colorado. Earlier this month, voters in 11 sparsely populated Colorado counties got a chance to express their distaste for their state government — which is not geographically distant, but culturally a world away in Denver. On their ballots was an option to secede from Colorado. “We simply want to be left alone to live our lives without a dictatorial central government forcing itself upon us,” zealots explained on their website, 51ststate.org. Nonetheless, voters in only five of the 11 counties chose to pursue independence from the Mile High City/Peter Laufer, Inlander. More here.
Question: Would you really, truly want North Idaho to secede from the Kingdom of Ada if it could?
And yet another Idaho reader has won one of the two prizes handed out each week as part of the Spokesman-Review News Quiz contest. Tamara Poelstra is this week's winner, either the fourth or fifth Idahoan in a row to win either the $50 gift certificate to the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane or two free movie tickets. Tammy won the gift certificate. Last week, Sharon Fisher won the movie tickets. Onward. This week's quiz asks questions re: the Centennial Trail, WSU football and other items in the news. Take News Quiz here. Top quizzers have a chance to win the $50 gift certificate. Everyone who enters has a chance to win the movie tickets.
The verdict is in. I haven’t done any scientific analysis, but I’m confident of what I am about to assert – the American attention span is shorter than the time it takes for Auburn to score a touchdown after a missed Alabama field goal. In other words – short. Very short. For a few moments earlier this fall we were consumed by the news of a humanitarian crisis and chemical weapons use in Syria. Then the Obamacare website didn’t work. Then Iran seemed to be coming to the international table to negotiate over its nuclear weapons program and then China started issuing orders about disputed airspace in the Far East. Oh, yes, throw in a train wreck, a few tornadoes and an NFL lineman who is a bully. So much news and so much noise that much of the media and most policy makers seem to consistently miss the truly great issues confronting the nation/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Post. More here.
Question: Why do you think America suffers from Attention Deficit Disorder when it comes to major issues at hand?
It’s official. “Allium Spring Chorus” will be the sculpture at the Third Street entrance to McEuen Park after the City Council voted in a classic 4-3 split to approve it Tuesday evening. Coeur d’Alene Arts Commission member Jennifer Drake, who chaired the selection committee, and Steve Anthony, recreation director for the city, presented the council with recommendations. The piece went through a rigorous selection process that eliminated 179 other proposals, Drake told the council. “Of the four finalists, this one did have the most No. 1 votes from all the public comments, and several pages worth of people just commenting,” Drake said. “And there were a number of negative comments as well.” Councilman Mike Kennedy said he hears two major criticisms from constituents about the public art selection. The first is, ‘why isn’t the city using local artists,’ and the other is ‘why aren’t the pieces themed to reflect our history and culture’/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)
Question: Do you think public art in Coeur d'Alene should use local artists and/or focus on the city's history?
A slew of Democrats tweeted “Happy Holidays” to the Republican National Committee and the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC) Wednesday in response to a recent debate over the holiday greeting. The Democratic National Committee encouraged supporters to tweet the phrase following controversy over products the NRCC has been selling for Christmas. More than 1,000 people tweeted it on Wednesday, according to social media analytics tool TOPSY. “The official organization charged with electing Republicans to the House — the national Republican Party! — thinks that telling people “Happy Holidays” is something that only liberals do,” DNC Communications Director Mo Elleithee wrote in a morning email to Democratic supporters/Rebecca Shabad, The Hill. More here. (AP file photo: A man in Sacramento, Calif., protests Walmart's use of the phrase “Happy Holidays” rather than “Merry Christmas”)
Question: 'Merry Christmas' or 'Happy Holidays'?