Idaho's population is becoming more diverse all the time, but often, the national perception of the state doesn't reflect that reality. The new Public Broadcasting Service series, “America by the Numbers,” recently aired an episode titled “Our Private Idaho,” which focuses on the “white” factor of Coeur d'Alene. It presents Coeur d'Alene as “a haven for white conservatives,” a city that is “still haunted by a history of extreme racism” and a “postcard picture of small-town America as it used to be — mostly white.” Coeur d'Alene resident and founder of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations Tony Stewart (pictured) shared his opinion Saturday about how the series portrays Idaho and how the demographic shifts that are presently occurring reflect the changing populous of the Gem State/Devin Heilman, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (SR file photo: Jesse Tinsley)
Question: Do you see more diversity in North Idaho now than there was 10 years ago?
Not long ago, the State Integrity Investigation rated Idaho's ethics in government safeguards the 41st weakest among the 50 states, with an overall grade just short of failing. But Idahoans could shrug it off. “There's no deep history of corruption here, no dingy statehouse corridors or smoke-filled rooms,” the Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell wrote in a companion piece to the study. No longer. That odor you smell is coming from Boise:
Question: Does being Republican in Idaho mandate that you ignore scandals and other matters that don't pass the smell test, if it involves a high-ranking Republican offical?
I am thankful Benjamin Franklin did not prevail in his attempt to name the turkey, instead of the bald eagle, the national bird. If turkeys were the national bird we would not be eating them at Thanksgiving. Instead we would be poring over our recipe books trying to figure out the best way to prepare bald eagle for dinner. Turkeys are bad enough. I guess we do it because of the pilgrim aspect, but why couldn't they have chosen something a little more palatable, like chicken nuggets to celebrate surviving in the New World? What's more American than that? There aren't many cooks who can fix a turkey dinner without the bird turning out so dry it triggers a gag reflex. That's why they invented gravy. Turkeys are just hard birds to cook/Kathy Hedberg, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: Is there anyone out there, besides Stickman and other vegetarians, who doesn't serve turkey on Thanksgiving?
Kootenai County commissioners and an application review committee met Friday to review 19 applications for a new airport manager. They also decided to re-open the application deadline to Dec. 12. Commissioner Todd Tondee said the commissioners were joined by three members of the airport advisory committee and interim Airport Manager Phil Cummings. The county's human resource director was on vacation, and the two incoming commissioners — David Stewart and Marc Eberlein — were invited but decided not to attend. “It's really not on my watch right now,” Eberlein said, explaining why he chose not to participate. Stewart said he didn't go because he had business in Spokane/Jeff Selle, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (Facebook photo, of Greg Delevan)
Question: I'd ask who in their right mind would want this job, given that the two new commissioners might rescind this hiring and give the job back to Greg Delavan. But 19 have applied for the job. Thoughts?
Wendell Wardell's time as chief operating officer of the Coeur d'Alene School District has come to an end. Superintendent Matt Handelman alerted district employees by email Friday that Wardell is no longer employed by the public school system. “As with any matter involving personnel, the district will afford Wendell the same level of privacy we would give to any other staff member going through a separation of employment,” wrote Handelman, in the message received by The Press from an anonymous source. “We will be working on posting for the position in the near future.” The message did not indicate whether Wardell's departure was voluntary. School officials declined to provide any other details, because it is a personnel matter/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Am I the only one bugged that you can't get a straight answer from elected officials when a high-profile individual leaves a government job under less than ideal circumstances?
Christina Hull, development director for Children’s Village, gets a high five from a resident at the facility in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday. Children’s Village houses abused, neglected and homeless children and will double its capacity to 24 with the opening of the Miller Home. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)
One by one the rooms are coming together with fresh paint, furniture and décor meant to comfort some of the most vulnerable children in the community. A girl’s bedroom is pretty in pink and white – a shabby-chic design with ruffles, a little chandelier, paper lanterns and “WISH” spelled in big letters atop a dresser. Down the hall a boy’s room pops in red, black and gray, punctuated with sports gear adorning the walls. Children’s Village, a shelter for children in crisis, is nearly ready to open the second house on its Coeur d’Alene campus, doubling its capacity to 24 and allowing the organization to help an additional 75 to 100 kids each year. “There is a great need. We’ve turned away over 60 kids this year so far,” said Christina Hull, development director for the nonprofit organization/Scott Maben, SR. More here.
Question: Have you been involved in Children's Village in any way?
State lawmakers are growing concerned about the broadband network that serves high schools across the state, after a judge Nov. 10 voided a $60 million contract for the Idaho Education Network, ruling it was issued illegally. “At the end of the day, this is an important thing,” said House Speaker Scott Bedke, R-Oakley. “We need to get a new contract as quickly as possible and keep the service up and going during the school year. You have school districts that are dependent on this service, they’re in the middle of a term, and … the less disruption the better here, on our way to a new contract that addresses the issues that have been raised.” The Otter administration is asking the judge to reconsider or clarify his decision/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.
Question: Is the governor capable of fixing this mess?
As you know, actor John Travolta told The Spokesman-Review that he plans to visit Coeur d’Alene soon to see two of his sisters in a show based on their family’s holidays: “I Remember Christmas.” Coeur d’Alene theatergoers are used to Travolta dropping by performances involving his sisters, Ellen (of “Grease” fame), Ann and Margaret. In fact, I had a brush with him during a 2010 Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater production of “Cinderella” involving his three sisters. After the lights went down, the director announced there was a delay because of an accident on the freeway that blocked some Spokane ticketholders. Then, there was a commotion as a whole row of individuals arrived late. I thought they were some of the aforementioned Spokane residents. Only later did I learn that John Travolta was sitting right behind me. I was the only one in my row who didn’t know. And that is my one brush with fame/DFO, Sunday Huckleberries. More here.
Question: Have you ever had a close encounter with a famous person?
Not much on the agenda this weekend. A little wood chopping, to replace the extra amount we used during the cold snap. A little Fantasy Football playing. An official birthday party w/family and friends to celebrate No. 65 past. A little checking around the house and yard to see if anything has been left undone as winter approaches. And a lot of looking forward to Thanksgiving Thursday and a visit from one of my kids. Life's good. I hope you're living it to the fullest. Here's your Weekend Wild Card …
At about 6 p.m. Friday, Coeur d’Alene police responded to multiple alarm trips at the Idaho Liquor Store, 1201 Sherman Ave. Officers arrived found the front glass door had been smashed. Believing the suspect may be inside, officers established a perimeter around the building. Officer A.J. Winstead and K9 Pecco arrived and spoke with a witness who stated a suspect was hiding inside. Officers could not see the suspect. Officer A.J. Winstead gave verbal commands ordering the suspect to surrender. After a brief stand-off, the suspect asked officers not to send the dog and surrendered. Kyle E. Moore, 23, of Coeur d’Alene, was taken into custody, charged with burglary, and booked into the Kootenai County.
A Syrian Kurd holds his hand on to the barbed wire fence that marks the Turkey-Syria border on the outskirts of Kobani, seen from the Turkish side of the border outside the village of Yumurtalik. Kobani, also known as Ayn Arab, and its surrounding areas, has been under assault by extremists of the Islamic State group since mid-September and is being defended by Kurdish fighters. More than two months into its assault on Kobani, the Islamic State group still pours fighters and resources into trying to take the besieged Kurdish town, but the drive has been blunted. Aided by 270 U.S. airstrikes, the town’s determined Kurdish defenders appear to be gaining momentum, a potentially bruising reversal for the militants who only few weeks ago seemed unstoppable in their march to victory. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda, File)
When I heard that a 65YO male w/severe back pain needed medical attention this AM, I thought to myself: “I hope the Old Guy is OK.” Then, I realized that I'm officially an Old Guy, too. For my birthday yesterday, good friends bought me one of those “Old Guy Rules” T-shirts that also included the message: “If you don't know who I am, you must not be from around here.” It's a nice T-shirt. But I don't know if I'd dare wear it. Folks would think I have a big head. So do you want to start any threads this TGIF AM? Here's your Wild Card …
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees. Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria/Associated Press. More here.
Question: Now what are the conspiracy theorists going to do?
Top Comment — ForineD (RE: St. Vinny's Soupfest attracts nearly 1000): My fellow-soup-cooker Doug and I were the first ones to set up and had our Moroccan lentil soup hot and ready to go when the tasters started poring through the doors. What a great event. And many kudos to the organizers at St Vinny's for the massive effort that made things go smoothly.
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An osprey tears apart a snake near the side of a highway Thursday in Orange Beach, Ala. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson)
Thursday Winner — DFO, with 8 likes: “DFO and another Old Goat enjoy a birthday lunch of roughage, while checking out real estate for possible future purchase.” You can see Thursday Photo & all Cutline Contest entries here.
In this July 15, 1998, SR file photo: Yantan Gonpo, left, a Buddist priest from Spokane, Gretchen Albrecht-Hellar, center, and Skip Kuck with the Kootenai County Human Rights Task Force displayed the banners they were going to use to protest an Aryan Nations march in Coeur d'Alene.
Huckleberries has learned … that Gretchen Albrecht Hellar, former Sandpoint mayor and human-rights supporter, died today in Sandpoint. A brief announcement about the former mayor's death is available at the Lakeview Funeral Home Web site. Hellar was born March 11, 1943. Her mother was the flamboyant former Coeur d'Alene councilwoman Lois Land-Albrecht. In my Huckleberries column of Nov. 17, 1998, I wrote of Gretchen: “Lois Land-Albrecht must be smiling somewhere up there. Her daughter, Gretchen, is a chip off the ol' block. Gretchen Albrecht-Hellar of Sandpoint was looking racist Richard Butler in the eye Thursday, when she told a Bonner County Human Rights Task Force gathering: Everyone should be able to live in a racism-free community. Gretchen's mother, of course, mother, of course, was famous for tweaking the noses of Coeur d'Alene muckety-mucks. Now mother and daughter are together again.