Republican state Sen. Russ Fulcher could be the best friend Democratic gubernatorial hopeful A.J. Balukoff has right now. A veteran Boise School Board chairman and businessman, Balukoff Tuesday kicked off his campaign to oust Gov. C.L. (Butch) Otter. In doing so, Balukoff rebuffed those who urged him to set his sights on the state superintendent of public instruction office now held by Republican Tom Luna, whose political career may no longer be salvageable. For Balukoff, taking on Otter is far more difficult and the Fulcher factor may be what keeps it from being impossible. … If nothing else, Fulcher's challenge ensures that Otter's eighth legislative session will be as unproductive as the seven that preceded it/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you agree with opinionator Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune that Gov. Otter's first seven legislative sessions have been unproductive?
A report from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration says the Idaho Department of Agriculture spotted moldy yogurt during a routine inspection at a Chobani facility in Twin Falls two months before the company issued a voluntary recall. The Times-News (http://bit.ly/IFRbGB ) obtained the report under a Freedom of Information Act request. More than 300 people reportedly got sick after consuming the moldy Greek yogurt. The state denies the FDA's claim. ISDA spokeswoman Pamela Juker says state regulators never took note of mold during the July inspection/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (Jack Dempsey/Invision for Chobani/AP Images photo: Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter, left, congratulates Chobani founder/CEO Hamdi Ulukaya during the grand opening celebration of the world's largest yogurt manufacturing plant Dec. 17, 2012, in Twin Falls)
Question: Your state tax dollars at work?
The National Weather Service has posted a wind chill watch for brutally cold temperatures aggravated by winds gusting to 20 mph in Spokane on Friday and Friday night. Today’s high temperature of 20 degrees will feel comfortable compared to what is in store when the arctic air flow intensifies on Friday, forecasters said. Forecasters said a low pressure area forming off the Oregon coast will create an air pressure difference that will trigger the winds and allow severely frigid arctic air to flow into the region from the north. The National Weather Service early today issued a wind chill watch for the Inland Northwest from Friday evening through Saturday morning. But that is only for the most intense period of wind and cold/Mike Prager, SR. More here.
Question: The coldest temperature that I've experienced was 29 below in Kalispell, Mont. (circa 1977-82). How about you?
First lady Michelle Obama reacts as Ashtyn Gardner, 2, from Mobile, Ala., loses her balance when she was greeting Sunny, one of the presidential dogs, as children of military families participate in a holiday arts and crafts event in the State Dining Room at the White House in Washington on Wednesday. Story here. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Question: Has your dog ever embarrassed you in a public setting?
Fishwife (RE: Game hobby entangles local judge): Perhaps DFO;s Today's Poll question should have been: Has Judge Peterson's recent bankruptcy, extensive use of the county computer during the work day at the expense of the litigants, and apparent compulsive attraction to video games and characters, adversely reflect on his maturity and commitment to judge the important cases before him?
Question: Did Fishwife sum up the situation re: Magistrate Clark Peterson well?
Kootenai County Sheriff Ben Wolfinger backs a proposal for a privately built and owned jail that would be leased and operated by the county. Rocky Mountain Corrections, based in Ketchum, Idaho, pitched the proposal to build the jail to suit the county's needs. Moving to a new jail is at least two years out, if it happens at all, Wolfinger said. “I do like the proposal,” Wolfinger said after a meeting Wednesday with the county commissioners. “More importantly, the jail staff likes the proposal. They're the ones who will have to work in (the jail) and make it work.” Wolfinger said a jail with 625 beds would meet the county's needs. He said the beds would cost the county $23.50 each per day to lease. The current jail on Government Way has 327 beds/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: What do you think of this proposal?
Long before podcasts, live-streaming video and even before television, families used to gather around the radio and listen to radio theater. Shows like “Amos and Andy” and “Flash Gordon” provided hours of entertainment. Radio relies on a magical collaboration between the imagination of the listener and the vocal performances of actors, to make performances come alive. That magic still happens locally, thanks to the Seasoned Players and Spokane Radio Theatre. Twice a month Seasoned Players present short plays during the Spokane Radio Theatre show on KYRS, Thin Air Community Radio. Recently, the group gathered at director Allen Eickemeyer’s home to rehearse and record “Bingo Ladies Gone Bad,” for this Sunday’s show/Cindy Hval, SR. More here. (Tyler Tjomsland SR photo: Allen Eickemeyer, seated at center, directs the Seasoned Players before a rehearsal and recording of “Bingo Ladies Gone Bad”)
Question: Do you listen to the radio much? Which station (generally)?
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.