I beat most of the rain drops this morning as I biked to work. Some sprinkles. But the skies really opened up after I got to work. Now, I'm dry and happy at my usual post in the shotgun seat of the wild ride that we call Huckleberries Online. I had fun last night using the cooler to dispatch 2 or 3 drive-by trolls last night. I love how they squeal and gnash their teeth when the cooler door slams on them. Now for today's Wild Card …
Cleo Whiting of Delta, Colo., clips lavender blossoms on Saturday at the Martha Lane Lavender farm near Sequim, Wash. A dozen lavender farms across eastern Clallam County opened their grounds to visitors during the annual three-day Lavender Weekend, a celebration of all things lavender. (AP Photo/The Peninsula Daily News, Keith Thorpe)
Question: Are you a forest person or a tree person?
Walkabout: I was shocked last night when I went to pick huckleberries. Coming down the trail was a lady with a gigantic bouquet of cut huckleberry bushes with the berries still attached. I don't know how I contained myself but I went on to explain that what she did was illegal. It will take many years before those bushes produce again, if ever. The punishment is up to 6 months in jail and $5,000 fine. I still don't understand how people can be that stupid. If everyone did what she did there would be no bushes left for anyone to enjoy.
Question: Picking huckleberry bushes? Are. You. Kidding. Me?
Yep, this original oil painting by Chrsitina Oss LaBang is about our favorite Stickman. Christina, who's Stickman's sister, photographed him walking along Tubbs Hill some time back. It became a postcard that Stickman sent to me with a kind note this week. And, best of all, it will be a painting on one of the city's utility box some day soon. Cool, hunh?
A beaver and her baby are shown in a grocery store in Eagle on Monday. Betsy Russell/Eye on Boise explains what's going on here. (AP Photo/Ada County Sheriff’s Office)
“Two local kids decided to help two other local kids in need using cardboard, junk, and lots of creativity. $810 raised. Makes you wonder what else our community's students can do when they put their mind to it? Way to go, Henry Depew and Owen Harro!”— Chairman Christa Hazel of the Coeur d'Alene School Board (via Facebook).
Question: Sorta puts us grownups to shame, hunh?
Taxpayers will have to dole out more than $220,000 to defense attorneys and expert witnesses who helped Gail Gerlach (pictured in SR file photo) beat a manslaughter charge in an April trial. A jury acquitted Gerlach of criminal wrongdoing after he fired a single shot that struck Brendon Kaluza-Graham in the back of the head. Kaluza-Graham had stolen Gerlach’s work van and was driving away when Gerlach, a self-employed plumber, fired his handgun. He claimed self-defense, telling jurors that he believed Kaluza-Graham had a gun. Judge Annette Plese signed an order authorizing payment of $221,574.42 to attorneys Richard Lee and Dave Stevens, as well as expert witnesses Gaylan Warren and Robert Smith. Under Washington state law, the jury’s finding of self-defense allows civil damages to be awarded to Gerlach to cover “reasonable” court costs/Kip Hill, SR. More here.
Question: Was the Spokane County prosecutor's office correct in pursuing this case?
A report released today shows Idaho is among the worst states in the country in enrolling children in preschool programs, while Washington fares slightly better than the national average. According to the 2014 Kids Count Data Book, 35 percent of 3- and 4-year-old children in Idaho attended preschool from 2010 to 2012. Only three states enrolled a lower percentage. Although an improvement from the 31 percent enrolled in 2007, roughly 31,000 young children are not enrolled in preschool programs in Idaho. In Washington, 41 percent of the state's children were enrolled while 103,000 were not. Nationally, slightly more than 4 million children, or 54 percent, were not enrolled in preschool programs from 2010 to 2012.New study on state education shows Idaho and Washington students healthier but poorer/Samantha Malott & Shanon Quinn, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.
A Montana judge who gave a rapist a 30-day sentence and said the victim shared responsibility for the crime was publicly reprimanded by the Montana Supreme Court July 22, the Associated Press reports. District Judge G. Todd Baugh, of Billings, Mont., appeared before the highest court in Montana, where Chief Justice Mike McGrath read a prepared statement of censure—a rare move used to publicly indicate that a judge is guilty of misconduct. But censure is more than a slap on the wrist: Baugh will also be suspended from his bench for 31 days, beginning in December. “We have determined that, through your inappropriate comments, you have eroded public confidence in the judiciary and created an appearance of impropriety in violation of the Montana Code of Judicial Conduct,” McGrath said/Harrison Berry, Boise Weekly. More here. (AP photo: Judge G. Todd Baugh listens as Montana Chief Justice Mike McGrath begins censure proceedings against him in Helena, Mont., today)
Question: An appropriate discipline for this sorry jurist?
In a post titled, “To help take your mind off the H-Bomb,” Paul Turner/The Slice posts (via www.usvsa.com): “I would almost consider watching this to see what sort of character Carl Reiner plays.”
HucksOnline numbers (for Monday, July 21): 8278 page-views/5139 unique views
When it meets at the Kootenai County administration building this evening, the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee will discuss a resolution that will pressure Republican candidates to support the state Republican platform. Currently, each Republican candidate for office is asked to sign a statement that says s/he supports the state platform completely or with some reservations. The resolution concludes that the chairman of the local Republican Party will submit a press release, no later than 30 days prior to an election, identifying candidates who refused to submit the disclosure statement and therefore cannot be endorsed by the local Republican Central Committee. You can read the resolution here. The local GOP will also discuss a resolution by Bjorn Handeen to protect dogs, in wake of a recent police shooting of a dog, and one that fosters greater transparency through the local media. You can see other resolutions and GOP meeting documents below:
Research on customer satisfaction has revealed something rather peculiar: social media, the thing that has increasingly come to define our lives, isn’t especially well-liked by its users. That is according to the annual American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI) survey, released today. The annual report on social media breaks things down by several popular outlets, like Facebook, Twitter, and Google Plus. To the surprise of perhaps nobody, LinkedIn comes in at dead last among the measured social media channels. More surprising is that Facebook ties LinkedIn at the bottom of the barrel for customer satisfaction/Jacob Long, Geek-Sided. More here.
Question: Are you satisfied with social media?
The state Land Board, which consists of the state's top five elected officials and is chaired by the governor, has sent out an opinion piece to Idaho news media hailing the endowment's record earnings in the past year, from the record 18.8 percent return on investments in the endowment fund to a 14-year high of $102 million from state endowment lands. That included the take from a record 347 million board feet of timber that was logged from the endowment lands, part of it consisting of trees that had been damaged by wildfire or insects, and from a hotly bid-for $1 million lease to use state lands to recreate Evel Knievel’s 1974 attempt to jump the Snake River Canyon near Twin Falls/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
A health advisory was issued on July 8 for Fernan Lake by the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality and Panhandle Health District. The advisory was issued due to the presence of high concentrations of blue-green algae that can produce toxins harmful to humans and animals. Officials from Idaho Department of Environmental Quality have been monitoring the lake since the advisory was issued and they now confirm the concentration of the blue-green algae in Fernan Lake is no longer a concern for the presence of harmful toxins produced by the algae. The health advisory has been lifted. Swimming and other water activities can safely be resumed in Fernan Lake. There are no longer restrictions on domestic water supply use with the appropriate water treatment technology/Panhandle Health District.
JohnA: After spending some time cruising the St. Joe River, I have these observations to share: we are blessed with abundant waterfowl like eagles, osprey and herons, but cursed by idiot boaters, wake boarders and jet skiers. While observing the former we were very nearly hit by each of the latter. The biggest offenders are those jerks who are so involved in towing someone that they pay no attention whatsoever to anything else. The topper was yesterday when we encountered not only a boat surf-gating its wake boarder (creating the four-foot wake that we all love and enjoy so much) but also a boat right next to them filming the whole spectacle. Now, I may be a bit old-fashioned but it seems to me that out of the two drivers, two so-called 'observers' and several other passengers (not to mention the towee) that SOMEONE might have looked up to see that …
Question: What is the dumbest thing you've seen on our waterways?
A “For Sale” sign is seen Tuesday in front of what's billed as the “World's Largest Bottle of Catsup” that once served as a water tower in the city of Collinsville, Ill. The landmark replicates a bottle of Brooks Old Original Rich and Tangy Catsup, which was produced in the buildings beneath the tower. The 100,000-gallon tower held water _ never ketchup _ and hasn't been used since Brooks moved out in the early 1960s. (AP Photo/Belleville News-Democrat, Derik Holtmann)
Question: Catsup is my favorite condiment. Hands down. How about you?
Steve Anderson's face may soon appear on Samuel Adams beer bottles across the nation, bottles containing his very own “70% Wheat” home-brewed creation. Anderson, of Coeur d'Alene, found out the evening of July 4 that he is one of the top nine contenders in the Samuel Adams 2014 Longshot American Homebrew Contest, which challenges homebrewers to send samples of their best beer to Boston and put their brewing skills to the taste test. “It's like the appeal for any hobby that you do when you're making things,” he said. “It's just knowing that you can do at home what they're doing on a factory level.” Anderson's 70% Wheat traditional German-style beer, created through the all-grain homebrew process, has beat thousands of entries and may win him an all-expense-paid trip to the Great American Beer Festival in Denver this October if he places in the top three/Devin Heilman, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Have you ever made home-made beer?