We begin our second week of slightly abbreviated hours here at Huckleberries Central — 9 to 5:30 p.m. I appreciate your patience while I tend to some personal obligations over the course of these two weeks. It might extend into next Monday. Beyond that, we'll be back where we usually are, creating mischief and bringing you the latest news and opinion, beginning at 8 a.m. Now for the first Wild Card of the work week …
Dressed as Christmas elves, Bobby Valentine, top, athletic director at Sacred Hearth University, and Brian Cashman, general manager of the New York Yankees, rappel down Landmark Tower during the Heights and Lights holiday event in downtown Stamford, Conn., on Sunday. (AP Photo/The Advocate, Jason Rearick)
Paul Turner/The Slice blog posts re: a funny thing that happened to a favorite sister-in-law at a holiday office party:
She went to take a drink from her glass and forgot that there was a straw. The straw went right up one of her nostrils. Not a pleasant sensation and certainly a bit embarrassing. But it gets worse. When my sister-in-law moved the glass away from her face, the straw remained stuck in her nose. And since both her hands were full, it took a moment of juggling to extract the offending drinking tube. You can read the whole post here.
Question: I haven't been to an office party in about a decade. How about you? When did you last attend an office party? Did anything memorable happen at it?
I arose earlier than usual this morning to begin the first stage of burying a cat. Off and on, throughout the night, I had strategized the best method, especially in this frigid weather which appeared to be too much for one of our cats late yesterday afternoon. First, I planned to take the cat in the carrier, where I'd wrapped her almost lifeless body with a warm towel and set a heater directly in front of the carrier. Next, I would find a box big enough for her to fit inside. Then, wait until the temperature warms up. Get the tractor and scoop up some of the berm north of the barn for her ultimate burial. Other thoughts came to mind, but the steps above seemed the wisest. After all, when the weather gets this cold, burying animals is challenging/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.
Question: How would you go about disposing the body of a pet in this cold, cold weather?
“A friend made it for me,” said Larry Krumpelman of Post Falls about his hat, as he photographed eagles at Higgens Point in Coeur d'Alene on Monday. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
Whitley Huelskamp exits the portable toilet before running in the fourth annual Santa Run on Saturday in Flint, Mich. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Flint Journal, Jake May)
Weekend Winner (tie, with 4 likes apiece) — Kim Knerl: “The AP photo soon to appear on Mahina Haina’s Facebook page, because that’s what friends are for,” and — Sibulsky: “Ball, Meet Mahina…Mahina, meet ball!” You can see Weekend Photo and all the Cutline Contest entries here.
Local Republicans have a new contender for the Idaho State Senate with Danielle Ahrens’ recent declaration of candidacy. A Bonner County resident who ascribes strongly to conservative values and positions, Ahrens aims to give North Idaho Republicans a clear choice when it comes to the biggest issues in the state. She will be running against Sen. Shawn Keough, pictured, for the Republican nomination in the May 20 primary election. “I am running because I don’t feel we are being represented well or listened to,” she said. “My opponent has been in nine terms — or 18 years — and is running for her 10th term. We need fresh, new leadership that isn’t a career politician and doesn’t owe any favors”/Cameron Rasmusson, Bonner County Bee. More here.
Question: Do you consider Shawn Keough to be a “career politician,” as Danielle Ahrens claims?
If a $15-per-hour minimum wage is such a good idea, then shouldn't a $25-per-hour minimum wage be even better? Or perhaps Washington should enact a $50-per-hour minimum wage. And just think of how wealthy Washington could become if everyone earned at least $100 per hour. The citizenry of SeaTac recently imposed a minimum wage hike to $15 per hour for airport employees. And now Seattle's looney left thinks that their city should enact a similar minimum wage. Barack Obama wants a $10 minimum wage. This continues a leftist tradition that believes its agenda is exempt from the laws of economics. Any minimum wage at all guarantees that entry-level jobs will be overpriced and thereby forces them out of the marketplace. Regardless of what they say or how they vote, Americans do not support overpaying for low-skilled jobs/Michael Costello, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: What do you consider to be a proper federal minimum wage?
Salvation Army Major Butch Soriano, 46 taking his five minute break to get off his feet and rest during his quest to ring the bell for donations and to set a world record for the longest bell ringing as he is in hour 30 of a goal of 100 hours in front of a Walmart in Colton, Calif. Soriano passed his goal at 1 p.m. Saturday, and kept going. Soriano plans to continue until 11:59 p.m. because the Salvation Army does not allow bell ringers to work on Sundays. Two other bell-ringers in Minnesota and Texas were also trying to reach the 100-hour mark this weekend but it wasn’t immediately clear if they had. (AP Photo/The Press-Enterprise, Terry Pierson)
When it comes to flying, we all probably prefer snakes on a plane to something even worse that is now being dangled before us. I speak of phones on a plane - cellphones. A couple of rattlesnakes and a cobra or two are a minor irritation by comparison with phones on a plane. The possibility of permitting passengers to use their phones up there in the sky tends to pit them against each other in deciding whether telephones are a socially practical idea. If permission is given, we may learn that all phones are not-so-smart phones when it comes to making a call from the middle seat while sitting between two people who dislike listening to an electronic loudmouth/Bill Hall, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Do you think it would be a good idea to allow plane passengers to talk on their cell phones during flights?
On his Facebook wall, Robin Loznak of Kellogg, Ore., posts: “A frosty twig pokes up through the ice in the shallows of the Umpqua River this morning.” You can see more of Robin's outdoor photography here.
HucksOnline numbers (for week of Dec. 1-7): 40,186 page-views/22,312 unique views.
More than half of states now have legislation permitting schools to keep epinephrine auto-injectors on hand to treat students or staff who have unexpected severe allergic reactions, and the Treasure Valley Food Allergy Network is working on proposed legislation for Idaho. Under current law, Idaho schools can’t keep Epi-Pens or other injectors on hand unless they’ve been prescribed for a specific person. Starla Higdon, a pharmacist and head of the allergy network, presented the proposed legislation to the Idaho Legislature’s Health Care Task Force today, but the senators and representatives on the panel took no action/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Isn't this proposed law a no-brainer?
On her Facebook wall, Kerri Thoreson posts: “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade. When winter hands you arctic temperatures, make colored ice balls! On a whim I made these by filling balloons with water and food coloring and set them out on the patio for 24 hours. The balloons peel right off and each ice ball has wonderful ice designs inside. I'll place them in my planters in the front yard for a spot of color in this winter landscape.”
Question: Have any of you done something like this? Pretty cool …
A North Idahoan has won one of the two prizes in the weekly SR News Quiz contest, for the sixth week in a row. This week, John Rolfe won the $50 gift certificate to the Davenport Hotel in downtown Spokane. You don't have to be an expert on current events to win our weekly news quiz, but it can't hurt. All entrants this week are eligible to win two movie tickets, and our overall champ will take home a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel. You're 10 interactive questions away from being in the running. You can take the quiz here.
When Gov. Butch Otter addressed the Associated General Contractors winter meeting on Friday, Idaho Statesman columnist Dan Popkey reports, he was clear about his biggest challenge in the coming year, and why it’s not increasing transportation funding or expanding Medicaid to 100,000 uninsured Idahoans. “Greatest challenge? Gettin’ me re-elected,” Otter told the group, joining in a big laugh. And, Popkey reports, that’s why Otter’s predicting a quick, relatively controversy-free legislative session, putting off the Medicaid debate for another year/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: I'm amazed that Otter wants to win re-election so badly, after sleeping his way through office for seven years. What gives?
Musing about what his “tea party” identification means, Idaho Congressman Raul Labrador said today, “I always used to joke around that I was tea party before tea party was cool.” But he noted that he never joined the Tea Party Caucus in the U.S. House. “I think any time you try to formalize a movement like that, you actually take away some of its legitimacy,” he told reporters. “The tea party is kind of an amorphous group that has a bunch of different definitions.” He said in his view, “It’s about being somebody who’s not necessarily beholden to the special interest groups. That’s why I sometimes identify with the tea party, sometimes identify with the libertarian side …”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Do you consider affiliation to the Tea Party as not being beholden to special interests, as Labrador does?
A woman is suing the city of Post Falls and police officials after her northern Idaho home was searched without a warrant. In a lawsuit filed in Coeur d'Alene's U.S. District Court last week, Melissa A. Miller contends she sustained physical injuries, emotional pain and other damages because of the search. According to the lawsuit, Miller and several others were at the home two years ago when police entered and said they were searching for a runaway juvenile. Miller objected to the search and was handcuffed. Police didn't find the juvenile, but did find marijuana in rooms that were rented to someone else/AP. More here.
Question: Does unexpected close encounters with spiders give you the willies?
Stephanie McDonald and James Franklin buy coffee at the Ground Floor on Wall Street while participating in an open carry demonstration Saturday. “We want to educate the public concerning our legal rights and help people become accustomed to the idea of responsible people carrying firearms,” said Franklin. (AP Photo/Midland Reporter-Telegram, James Durbin)
Question: Would you be comfortable in a business, supermarket, restaurant, etc., if another customer was opening displaying firearms?