Former Idaho Sen. Larry Craig, the newly named finance chairman for the Idaho Republican Party, has filed a notice of appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals D.C. Circuit in Washington, D.C. of a September federal judge’s order that he pay $242,535 to the U.S. Treasury to make up for improper use of campaign funds to cover legal expenses incurred after his 2007 arrest in an airport bathroom sex sting. U.S. District Judge Amy Berman Jackson on Sept. 30 ordered Craig to pay the “amount he was unjustly enriched” by tapping the campaign funds, $197,535, plus a court-imposed $45,000 penalty, “which the Court finds necessary and appropriate to punish defendants’ misconduct and to deter future misconduct by others”/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Doesn't Craig ever know when to give up?
I never know at the start of a week where this blog will take us. We're in the dog days of fall — if there is such a thing — when the strange animal that is Idaho politics is simmering on the back burner. Ambitious politicians are working behind the scenes to enhance their clout in the Legislature or county courthouses. While they plot, the rest of us innocently go about our lives hoping that the anti-government types in control of the local & state GOP and their slightly more moderate brethren & sistern don't mandate any more paranoia or silliness on us. Here's your first Wild Card of the work week …
People gather to take photos from the bridge in front of Multnomah Falls near Bridal Veil, Ore. The United States' second-tallest year-round waterfall is a huge tourist draw. (AP file photo: Rick Bowmer)
No matter how spectacular the 620-foot double tied waterfall might be, or how fascinating the historic lodge is to visit, the place is so consistently crowded I’ve never been able to view it as anything but a tourist trap. The problem was my parents had seen pictures of Multnomah Falls during their flight into Portland and, once that happens, it’s almost impossible to suppress the urge to view the United States’ second-tallest year-round waterfall in person. Like the Sistine Chapel in Vatican City, Multnomah Falls is worth jostling through the camera-wielding multitudes to see with your own eyes/Zach Urness, Associated Press. More here.
Question: Have you ever climbed up to the bridge in front of Multnomah Falls?
A North Idaho man will spend at least 20 years behind bars for beating, raping and tying up a 13-year-old female relative last year. Michael David Nixon spent most of today’s hour-long sentencing hunched forward with his head down, shaking. His lawyer and a sister described how Nixon and his siblings were severely abused as children. “This is a family that saw horrendous, horrendous things together,” Kootenai County Deputy Public Defender Mayli Walsh said. She asked 1st District Judge Fred M. Gibler to give Nixon a minimum of two years in prison, arguing that with treatment he would pose a low risk to society/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
How much do you know about plans to renovate Tubbs Hill, Gonzaga men's basketball and other news of note? Find out in weekly News Quiz of The Spokesman, where you could win a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel or two movie tickets. You can take the News Quiz here.
As someone already angry in the late 1980s and early ’90s, I used to drive around Portland and Vancouver listening to Rush Limbaugh explain to me what was wrong with this country. I did that for, oh, maybe six months. Then I realized that Limbaugh was limited in his themes and style. He had no solutions, only ways of making me stay irrationally mad. A few years ago, jawing about angry racial minorities he had this to say: “They believe they’ve been cheated; they’ve been discriminated against. They’re taught this country is unfair, unethical and discriminatory. They’re taught that this country is immoral and unjust.” Yep, for years old Limbaugh has worked over his own angry minority: gullible white men/Arthur Ruger, letter to the editor, SR. More here. (AP file photo)
Question: Do you listen to talk radio?
On his Facebook page, SR photog bud Jesse Tinsley posts: “A 60-something homeless guy asked me for a dollar to buy coffee. I gave him one of the two dollars I had and we chatted. He said he lived at Truth Ministries, a downtown shelter. He gets a shower and a meal there. He doesn't go to Union Gospel Mission because he would have to be drug tested and he's always positive for THC from smoking weed, which helps with his PTSD and depression. I asked him if he was in the military and he said he was in Vietnam but had PTSD long before because his dad sexually abused him until he was 12 when he ran away and lived on the streets. He said Jesus was his friend now and he wanted to start his own ministry for the homeless. He said he had a dream and God showed him Heaven and the streets of gold. We said goodbye and he wandered off. Later, he came back and we chatted again. He said “I just bought a beer. Sorry I conned you.” I gave him my other dollar, in case he still wanted coffee.
Question: Do you give money to panhandlers often?
Gonzaga men’s basketball climbed to No. 10 in the Associated Press poll this week after dismantling SMU and St. Joseph to secure a 4-0 start. Meanwhile, top-ranked Kentucky consolidated its standing atop the list after routing Boston and Montana State, earning all but three votes from the 65-member media panel. Those three went to Wisconsin, which was tied for second with Arizona. Duke and North Carolina round out the top five. Louisville, Texas, Virginia and Wichita State join Gonzaga in rounding out the rest of the top 10. Gonzaga was at No. 13 a week ago/Associated Press. More here. (SR file photo: Gonzaga's Kyle Wiltjer, left, chases a ball in 94-42 win over St. Joseph's last Wednesday at the McCarthey Center)
Question: How long do you think it'll take Gonzaga to reach the Top 5? And/or: Will Gonzaga reach No. 1 again, as it did 2 years ago?
Rich Costello pauses during a hike into Rock Lake, near Noxon, Mont. (SR Outdoors photo: Rich Landers)
Hiking the 4-mile trail into Rock Lake from the Noxon, Montana, area weighed heavy on Jim Costello, especially after he met a budding family from Spokane. The couple were packing their toddler along the soothing rumble of Rock Creek for his first wilderness experience. He asked Jim and JoJo Lindenfelser if they’d heard of the Rock Creek Mine. They said no. He suggested they check into it. “Have a good day,” said Costello, who with his wife, Mary Crowe Costello, form the foundation of the Rock Creek Alliance and SaveOurCabinets.org. “This is the most popular route into the Cabinet Mountains Wilderness,” he said later. “Yet most people have no idea they could soon be driving past a huge mining operation to get here. They don’t know about the noise, or that the creek could be dry and the lake could be much lower”/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors.
Question: Are planned mining operations in the Cabinet Mountains on your environmental radar?
An op-ed column penned by a far-right member of the Idaho House, and reprinted in several Idaho newspapers, has triggered quite a bit of conversation. In her guest editorial, titled “Is Idaho As Corrupt as DC?” Midvale Republican Rep. Judy Boyle, who was recently re-elected to her fourth term in the Idaho House, has particular ire for Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter. his staff, and a culture of what she calls “crony capitalism.” Boyle points to what she calls “a rigged contract” between the Idaho Education Networks of America and Qwest/CenturyLink to manage the state's education broadband network. Fourth District Court Judge Patrick Owen ruled that the Idaho Department of Administration broke the state's procurement law when it struck the deal, voiding the contract in spite of the fact that Idaho has paid ENA millions of dollars since 2009. “When it becomes illegal and corrupt, I must speak out,” wrote Boyle/George Prentice, Boise Weekly. More here.
Question: Too little, too late?
Voters are very supportive of President Obama’s executive order on immigration, according to a new poll from an organization aligned with Democrats. Sixty-seven percent of voters said that they had a favorable opinion of the plan when it was described to them, and 28 percent had an unfavorable view in the poll conducted by Hart Research Associates for Americans United for Change, a liberal group. The results of the poll vary by party affiliation. An overwhelming 91 percent of Democrats favored the plan as it was described to them, as did 67 percent of independent voters. Fifty-one percent of Republicans did not favor the plan/The Hill. More here.
Question: Are you surprised by the margin of support nationwide for President Obama's executive order action on immigration?
Cleaning up historic mining waste is paying dividends for water quality in the Coeur d’Alene River Basin, according to a new report published by the U.S. Geological Survey. The report looked at two decades of water quality data for the Coeur d’Alene River and its tributaries. Since the early 1990s, concentrations of lead, cadmium and zinc have dropped by 65 percent in the South Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River near Pinehurst. Other streams also showed improvements in water quality, though most streams continued to exceed standards for heavy metals, which are designed to protect fish and other aquatic creatures from toxic exposure/Becky Kramer, SR. More here.
Question (for skeptics): Now do you think of cleanup was worthwhile?
We might have identified the least intimidating sports mascot in American scholastic history. Spokane’s Barbara Hooper said her husband, Hal, graduated from Idaho Falls High School in the 1950s. The teams were known as the Tigers. But Hal still has his letter sweater from a junior high that was a feeder school for IFHS. The teams at that junior high were the Kittens. Yes, Kittens. “Our children wore this sweater to many a dress-up day with much amusement,” said Barbara/Paul Turner, The Slice. Complete Slice column here.
Question: In the course of my education, I was a Bulldog (high school), a Roadrunner (community college) and a Wildcat (Chico State University). How about you? Can you name the various mascots from your schools? And/or: Can you think of a mascot that's wimpier than Kittens?
Closed in early October, Skippers Seafood & Chowder House reopened with new owners in the southwest corner of the Silver Lake Mall parking lot. Marcie and Darrell Oyler and daughters Ally, Rachel and Emily have recharged the place. With 12 years of Skippers experience, Marcie serves wild-caught Alaskan fish and clam chowder 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 9 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, but the store is closed Sundays. The Skippers chain started in Bellevue, Wash., in 1969, went through several stages and now has 58 outlets in the Northwest. Check Facebook and Instagram for daily specials. Phone 762-3445/Nils Rosdahl, Business Bits, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: I can't recall the last time I've eaten at a Skippers restaurant. I don't know why I haven't. I ♥ fish & chips. How about you? What do you order when you eat at Skippers?
Yesterday morning I ventured to the Coeur d’Alene Fred Meyer. It was pretty miserable outside, the cold wind howling and big drops of rain splashed against me as I moved toward the entrance. I saw a pair of seasoned citizens pushing a cart toward me. Then a big SUV slowly pulled out of its space, blocking their path. The SUV was being very careful to not hit anybody in the crowed parking lot. Then I heard the old guys “Say come on, [profanity].” I was thinking about how this nice looking couple wasn't so nice after all when the woman let loose with a profanity blast of her own that would make New Jersey resident blush – “MOVE YOUR MOTHER [BLANKING CAR] NOW! … Later when I checked out, I mentioned the meltdown to the clerk. He shook his head and said, “Doesn’t surprise me. We get people who start fist fights in the parking lot every day, sometimes they're ramming each other with their cars. You think it's crazy now, it actually gets worse once the church crowd arrives.” Full comment here.
Question: Generally speaking, do you find Seasoned Citizens to be naughty or nice?
Brenna, an 11-month-old Irish Wolfhound, licks 4-year-old Ava Angle’s face at the ‘Howlidays’ dog parade and costume contest on Saturday. Downtown Coeur d'Alene is preparing for the holidays. Story here. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Tess Freeman)