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Huckleberries Online

Weekend Wild Card — 12.20-21.14

Cindy will be running Huckleberries Online on Monday as I take my customary Christmas holiday vacay. I still have some vacation days to use up before we say goodbye to 2014. Use them or lose them. Huckleberries Online has a good chance to reach 2.6 million page-views for only the second time in its almost 11 years of existence. The blog is running several hundred thousand page-views ahead of last year. Yet some keep predicting the demise of this long-lived blog. Mebbe they're indulging in wishful thinking. Who knows? I'll post this Wild Card and prepare to kick back for awhile …

Christmas Card From The Bard

At this most festive time of year
I'm pleased as punch that you are here,
for writers must have readers so
their words will have some place to go,
and not just drift around their brain
like suds above a clogged up drain.
Therefore to you I'm grateful, very,
and may your Christmas be quite Merry!

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

7YO Critical After Near Drowning

A 7YO boy from Missoula, Mont., is in critical condition after a near drowning in the pool at Spring Hill Suites, 2250 Seltice Way in Coeur d'Alene. The 7YO and his 12YO brother were swimming in the deep end of the hotel pool at about 6:30 p.m. Friday when the accident occurred. Their father was in a nearby hot tub. The 7YO had been diving to the bottom of the pool, where his older brother spotted him and contacted their father. The man pulled his son from the pool and began CPR with a hotel guest that is EMT-trained. They continued life-saving measures until Coeur d'Alene officer Eric Paull and fire EMTs arrived to take over. The child had a heart beat but remained unresponsive. He was transported by helicopter to Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane, where he remains in critical condition/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department.

Parting Shot — 11.19.14

A man lights a cigar in a cigar club shop in Havana, Cuba, earlier today. The coveted Cuban cigar is set to make its first legal appearance in the U.S. in years, with relaxed guidelines allowing American travelers to return with a few of the once-forbidden items in their suitcases. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

CDAindie: Just Say No To Fanatics

CDAindependent (RE: Obama: Sony made a mistake): “I'm not sure why we let these fanatic communists in North Korea have any influence on anything in this country, and certainly not what we chose to watch in movie theaters.”

Question: Which movies do you plan to see over the Christmas/New Year's holiday?

TGIF Wild Card — 12.19.14

Cindy will be at the helm of this three-ring cyber circus for the next two weeks as I take a Christmas/New Year's holiday break. We'll see if she can get the Huckleberries turn stiles over 2,605,000 page-views for the year. Which would be a record. We're about 20,000 page-views away from that number now. So tune in and click often. Also, the new year will bring a new look to the SR blogs, including this one. So there will be a shake-down tour when I get back. I suspect it'll be turbulent for a week or two. But I like some of the new things headed our way. The new Huckleberries — and other SR blogs — will look somewhat similar to Rich Landers' Outdoors blog here. We'll have to wait until the new year to test-drive the thing. I made doubly sure that it will include a “recent comments” button. Now to re-play the Wild Card and get out of here. Merry Christmas & Happy New Year to all of you. And thanks for making Huckleberries a success for another year …

Top Comments — 12.19.14

Top Comment — LibertyPole1 (RE: Idaho Falls opens Coeur d'Alene's mental health center): In the immortal words of Bill the Cat … “Thhpptpt!”

Most Commented Stories — Idaho jobless rate below 4% (23 comments), and: Obama: Sony made a mistake (15 comments), Handelman discussed $1.8M shortfall (13 comments), and: IEA chief: Career ladder plan flawed (11 comments), and: So very, very tired of eagles (10 comments).

Cutline Contest — 12.19.14

Time 2 Vote …

Stanford's Brittany Howard is hit in the face as she dives for the ball during an NCAA women's volleyball tournament semifinal against Stanford in Oklahoma City Thursday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki)

Thursday Winner — ThomG with 20 like: “Paula models the latest in Coeur d' Alene Parade-wear.” You can see Thursday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.19.14

  • 5:25 p.m. Drunk male trying to start fight @ St. Pius Church soup kitchen, 6th/Haycraft, CdA.
  • 5:14 p.m. Pickup driving without lights on Prairie Ave @ Howell Road/Post Falls.
  • 4:55 p.m. Vehicle hits female bicyclist @ 221 W. Appleway/CdA, in front of Tomato Street, non-injury.
  • 4:38 p.m. Undisclosed theft reported in 3900 block of Nicklaus Drive/CdA.
  • 4:23 p.m. Driver of Dodge Dakota almost hit several vehicles head-on near n/b H41/MP 16 (Spirit Lake).
  • 4:20 p.m. Manager trespasses troublesome male from branch @ Appleway/Govt Way, CdA.
  • 4:15 p.m. Male & female hitting each other in gray metallic vehicle @ 4500 block of Fairway, near golf course.
  • 3:54 p.m. Female complaining of neck injury after being rear-ended @ 15th St/Best Ave, CdA.
  • 3:41 p.m. Loose dog digging through scraps behind Bed, Bath & Beyond, off H95, CdA.
  • 3:38 p.m. Upset female reports possible unattended death of mother @ 9700 block of Kirkpatrick St/Hayden.
  • 20 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

2 Juveniles Caught in Burglary Spree

Coeur d'Alene police have charged two juveniles with involvement in at least two dozen burglaries/thefts during the past few months. A parent of one of the juveniles called police Thusday after he discovered his child in possession of stolen property. The areas most victimized in this burglary/theft spree are Rockwood Lodge Apartments, Park Place Apartments, Coeur d’Alene Place, and neighborhoods near Fairway Gas Station, Oak Crest Park and Indian Meadows. Detectives have recovered cash, knives, IPods, ammunition, jewelry, sporting goods, sunglasses, backpacks, cameras and more. Detectives are attempting to locate the owners of the property recovered and photos of this property will be available for viewing on the Coeur d'Alene Police Department’s Facebook page. Coeur d'Alene police suspect more juveniles were involved in the crime spree/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene Police Department. News release here.

PM Headlines — 12.19.14

My SR photog friend Kathy Plonka picked out her favorite 2014 photographs for our enjoyment. Here: Kaylynn McSmith, 6, of Nevada show off her “Nub Buddy” during camp No Limits at Camp Cross in Coeur d'Alene on Tuesday, July 22. Kaylynn's limb loss is due to congenital amputation. Camp No Limits is designed for children with limb loss and their families. You can see the rest of Kathy's favorite 2014 photos here.

So Very, Very Tired Of Eagles

So, I'm probably going to get unfriended, unfollowed and possibly deported but … I'm already tired of bald eagle pictures — Cindy.

Question: Do you get tired of things published in the local newspapers or ballyhooed by the local networks this time of the year? Which ones?

HucksOnline Blogos — 12.19.14

“Like all the annual aspects of the Christmas season, many of our Lovestead tree ornaments have special significance, while others have been in the collection for the past 30 years, and I'm not sure how they got added,” posts Marianne Love/Slight Detour. “Still closer looks, once the tree is decorated and the lights are shining, elicit smiles and remembrance.” More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for Thursday, Dec. 18): 9,873 page-views/7007 unique views

Library Offers Millennials Open Mike

Does it sometimes seem like every program at the library is designed to appeal to youth younger than 18 and adults over 40? The Coeur d’Alene Public Library has heard you. Thursday, Jan. 8, 6-7:30 p.m., the library will host its debut event for Millennial Meetups, focusing on people in their 20s and 30s. Sign-ups will begin at 5:45 p.m. for Open Mic Night in the library Community Room at 702 E. Front Ave. Share a song, a poem, your writing, your stand-up routine, etc. The library will provide microphones, an audio hookup (standard 1/8th inch stereo plug), coffee and other refreshments. You just need to bring your talent/Keith Erickson, Coeur d'Alene Today. More here.

Question: This sounds like a pretty, dang good idea. Thoughts?

Children’s Village To Reopen House

When no one else can answer the call, the Children's Village in Coeur d'Alene opens its arms to the community's most vulnerable children. Over the past two and a half decades, two residential houses on a quiet cul-de-sac on the northern edge of the Lake City have welcomed more than 2,000 abused, neglected, homeless or crisis-affected children. Right now, the 31-year-old nonprofit is in the midst of preparations to reopen one of those two facilities, the Miller House, which was forced to close its doors in 2010 when it lost most of its state funding. Development Director Christina Hull says the community banded together to help raise $650,000 to reopen the Miller House early next year and keep it operating for at least the next two years/Chey Scott, Inlander. More here. (Inlander photo by Young Kwak: Christina Hull in one of the Children's Village's newly decorated rooms)

Question: Have you ever visited a Children's Village house?

Idaho: Going To Hell In Handbasket?

At Ridenbaugh Press, Barrett Rainey uses these six headlines from a report by the Idaho Center for Fiscal Policy to underscore his premise that Idaho is going to hell in a handbasket:

  • “Idaho collects less in taxes than all but two other states.”
  • “Support for Idaho’s schools has been steadily decreasing and is unequal across school districts.”
  • “Idaho’s support for higher education has dropped sharply, leading to big increases in tuition and fees.”
  • “Idaho has steadily cut revenues since the late 1990’s.”
  • “Idaho’s low and moderate income residents pay a larger share of their income in taxes than the highest earners”
  • “Idaho’s per capita income is lower than all but one state – Mississippi.”
  • More here.

Question: I don't know if the state is going to hell in a handbasket. But I'd say that we have become the 21st Century Mississippi during the two terms of Idaho Gov. Butch Otter. And I don't see any change coming in the next four years. Thoughts?

Cuban Cigars On US Horizon

a worker selects cigars at the H. Upmann cigar factory, where people can take tours in Havana, Cuba. Among those eager for access to a Cuban market cut off by an economic embargo are U.S. farmers, travel companies, energy producers and importers of rum and cigars. (AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa, File)

The coveted Cuban cigar is set to make its first legal appearance in the U.S. in years, with relaxed guidelines allowing American travelers to return with a few of the once-forbidden items in their suitcases. But the cigars won't roll into stores just yet, and owners say they aren't worried about any dip in business. “I don't think they'll be able to afford it. It's not for the average customer,” said Erik Otero, who left Cuba when he was 3 and has been rolling cigars since age 11/ABC News. More here.

Question: Would you pay $5 to $8 for a good cigar?

More National, International News?

As most of you know, Huckleberries Online focuses on local/state comment almost exclusively. However, there are times that I sprinkle in national/international content. Which seems to draw interest from some commenters. Please advise, as we go forward together into 2015. Would you like to see a little more national/international content on these pages?

Dike Road Levee Work Continues

Maintenance work on Coeur d'Alene's Rosenberry Drive flood levee has been underway for more than a week, with city crews focusing on tree removal and slope restoration. Coeur d'Alene City Engineer Gordon Dobler said the work done this winter is the first step in an estimated year-long process to get the levee certified by the Federal Emergency Management Agency. With the exception of a few large trees that will need to be removed by an outside contractor, Dobler said the maintenance work is going “well” and he doesn't foresee the need for any additional labor. “We wanted it to be a pilot project to see if it was something our city crews could really even handle, and it turns out we can,” Dobler said/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Have you seen the extensive removal of trees and brush along the Spokane River stretch of Dike Road? Thoughts?

Harvard Cons Taking Over Senate?

From Taegan Goddard's Political Wire blog: “Mocking the arrogance of ‘liberals from Harvard’ is a foolproof applause line for any Republican looking to rev up a conservative audience. But when the 114th Congress gavels into session in January, GOP speechwriters are going to need some new material,” the Daily Beast reports. “That’s because many of fastest rising stars in the Republican Party, including Senators-elect Tom Cotton (Ark.), Ben Sasse (Neb.), Dan Sullivan (Ak.) and Rep.-elect Elise Stefanik, all graduated from Harvard. Along with Sens. Ted Cruz (Tex.), Pat Toomey (Penn.), David Vitter (La.) and Mike Crapo (Wyo.), pictured, the Republican Harvard contingent will outnumber Harvard Democrats in the U.S. Senate for the first time in recent memory.” More here. H/T: Bjorn Handeen

DFO: Mike Crapo's from Wyoming?

Question: Did you ever think Harvard would be considered a hot bed for political conservatism?

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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