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Wild Card/Thursday — 7.31.14

Goodness! Betsy Russell is on vacation. And Dan Popkey has jumped ship. Who is minding the store while the mischievous Idaho politicians plot in their back rooms? We're at the mercy of the dysfunctional politicians who couldn't even conduct a convention properly. Woe is us. Here's today's Wild Card …

Soaking Up Rays

People sunbathe on the jetty of the Nice harbour, southeastern France today. Temperatures in the area rose to 32 degrees Celsius (90 Fahrenheit).(AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau)

Question: With all the cautions related to skin cancer, do you spend much time soaking up rays in the summer sun?

IFF: Idaho’s In An Awkward Spot Edit

A federal appeals court ruling issued last week puts Idaho in a bit of an awkward spot when it comes to the state insurance exchange that the Legislature and Gov. Butch Otter opted to create in 2013. If the ruling stands on appeal at the U.S. Supreme Court, Idaho’s insurance exchange will become the catalyst for enforcing the Obamacare individual and employer mandates and related taxes. The exchange will also be the vehicle for running a fairly new entitlement program costing millions of dollars. In other words, had lawmakers not enacted an insurance exchange, the best guard against Obamacare would have been refusal to go along with Obamacare/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: Do you still think the Idaho health exchange was a good idea?

City Launches Online Poll

Tell us what you think! A new online service encourages city residents to take a simple poll on important city issues, events, services and programs in the community. It will launch Friday, August 1. CityPoll will provide leaders at City Hall with important information on how citizens feel about a wide range of topics. Residents can respond to a monthly poll question by visiting One vote per household per month will be recorded. Notification of the program will be included in monthly municipal utility billing statements. City officials will monitor responses and use the results as a strategic planning tool to assure the city is providing optimum service to its citizens. CityPoll supplements existing opportunities for the public to engage with the city/Coeur d'Alene Today. More below.

  • Poll goes live Friday.

Question: What are your thoughts re: the city of Coeur d'Alene polling citizens re: a variety of topics?

AM Scanner Traffic — 7.31.14

  • 11:56 a.m. Female @ assisted living place @ 52 N. Ceder (& Seltice Way) unconscious, not breathing.
  • 11:46 a.m. PFPD officer locates possible stolen Washington vehicle @ Qemiln Park boat launch.
  • 11:31 a.m. Yellow lab is locked in Pontiac Grand Am at Trading Company/Post Falls lot.
  • 11:19 a.m. F150 Ford pickup & larger truck w/trailer crashed @ Greensferry/Hayden, Rathdrum Prairie.
  • 11:14 a.m. Suspicious suitcase lying on sidewalk outside DMV courthouse office, 451 Govt Way/CdA.
  • 11:13 a.m. Super 1/Hayden employees are holding large, loose dog that entered store.
  • 11:10 a.m. Someone left a bicycle by side of e/b I-90/MP 14 (15th Street/CdA).
  • 11:01 a.m. Male stole doughnuts & Gatorade from Peterson's grocery & headed n/b on 10th Street/CdA.
  • 10:51 a.m. Undisclosed theft reported @ 940 W. Ironwood Drive/CdA.
  • 10:48 a.m. A white car is parked along w/b I-90/MP 19 (Yellowstone Trail).
  • 10:39 a.m. 19YO tells PFPD officer that the traffic stop for speeding was his 2nd in 3 days.
  • 10:37 a.m. A&D Mini Mart, 356 Appleway, reports refusing service to drunk male in green Mercedes.
  • 10:21 a.m. Undisclosed suspicious circumstance reported @ H95/Marina Court/Post Falls.
  • 10:20 a.m. CPD
  • 10:03 a.m. Male w/briefcase stole doughnuts, other items from Ironwood Square biz, walking toward hospital.
  • 9:55 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ 400 block of E15th Avenue/Post Falls.
  • 9:25 a.m. A baby is in seizure @ 14500 block of Treehouse Court/Rathdrum.
  • 9:02 a.m. Male is unconscious/breathing, lying on back on sidewalk near Mini Mart/3rd & Frederick, Post Falls.
  • 8:16 a.m. Officer orders that old Caddie be tagged as abandoned after owner has turned himself into jail.
  • 8:11 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ 2200 block of W. Canyon Drive/CdA.

AM: Flagpole Painter Recuperates

Flagpole painter Warren Hinrichs, 73, holds his dog Stitch and rests up at home in Spokane on Wednesday. He started climbing and painting flagpoles and water towers more than 50 years ago with his dad, Bill Hinrichs, seen in many photos in his home office. He was rescued after passing out on a Yakima flag pole Monday. Story here. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Poll: Labrador’s Gain, Idaho’s Loss

  • Wednesday Poll: A plurality of Hucks Nation said decision by Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman to become Congressman Raul Labrador's spokesman was: “Labrador's gain, Idaho's loss.” 40 of 141 respondents (28.37%) voted that way. 31 of 141 (21.99%) said Popkey joined Labrador's staff because he saw no future in newspapering. 28 (19.86%) said Popkey made the jump for financial reasons; 25 (17.73%) said he “sold out”; 14 (9.93%) said Popkey's politics don't mesh with Labrador's Tea Party politics; and 3 (2.13%) marked “other.”
  • Today's Poll: Do you think Congressman Raul Labrador is “going places,” that he will become major player on national political scene?

Adler: Why Did Popkey Jump?

Talk about role reversal. For the past 30 years, Dan Popkey, the widely admired, prize-winning political reporter for the Idaho Statesman, who often led coverage of some of the state's biggest political stories, suddenly found himself the subject of one when he announced his resignation from the Statesman to become press secretary for Rep. Raul Labrador, R-Idaho. The news caught so many by surprise that, for a least a moment, it overshadowed the story of who would lead the Idaho Republican Party, the GOP's version of “Who's on First?” Popkey is not the first reporter who has exchanged a press pass and the job of asking questions for the job of answering questions. Career changes are often the function of complex reasons, but readers will be left to wonder at his reasoning/David Adler, director, BSU Andrus Center for Public Policy. More here. (Photo: Andrus Cener for Public Policy)

Question: Are you surprised that this story has overshadowed the leadership struggle of the Idaho GOP?

‘Huckleberry Road’

Tweet from Linda Lantzy/Idaho Scenic Images: “Today I deliver this piece, 'Huckleberry Road,' to the juried show at #ArtontheGreen here in Coeur d'Alene. This is one of two pieces I submitted and had selected for the show. Come by the #NorthIdahoCollege lawn this weekend and check out all the art.

Poll: Hydros? Good Riddance

Readers on were asked how they feel about the death of the Diamond Cup hydroplane races that were supposed to take place over Labor Day Weekend. More than 1,000 voters weighed in, and here's how it came out:

  • Glad: 51 percent (686 votes)
  • Sad: 16 percent (207 votes)
  • Mad: 11 percent (150 votes)
  • None of the above: 22 percent (294 votes)

Question: It appears to me that there remains strong sentiment against hydroplane racing in Coeur d'Alene? Am I reading the tea leaves correctly?

Edit: Idaho GOP Broken … So What?

In a memorable “Saturday Night Live” parody of the 1988 presidential debate, Dana Carvey portrayed Republican George H.W. Bush as too tongue-tied to say more than: “Stay the course. Stay the course.” At which point Jon Lovitz, the actor playing Democrat Michael Dukakis, sighed: “I can't believe I'm losing to this guy.” Anything sound familiar? Here we have the Idaho Republican Party. Once known as the epitome of organizational discipline and brand loyalty, it has squandered both/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Marty goes on to make a terrific point. The Idaho GOP is broken & dysfunctional … yet it continues to win at all levels. So what does it matter?

Post Falls To Upgrade Spokane Street

Let the revitalization of Spokane Street begin. Contractor Cameron-Reilly has started work on a $1.8 million urban renewal project in the busy Post Falls corridor from Interstate 90 to the Spokane River bridge. The project, intended to ease traffic and create a long-awaited city center, will include landscaped medians, lighting, on-street parking in some areas on the east side of Spokane and new sidewalks and curbs. “It will take 60 working days to compete the project,” said Tom Lien, urban renewal agency executive director, referring to the completion in late September. There will be intermittent lane closures throughout the construction period. Work will start on the south end of the corridor. New sidewalks will be constructed on one side of the street at a time, leaving access to the other side/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Do you consider this a good step in growing, evolving Post Falls?

Reagan Repubs Air Endorsements

The Kootenai County Reagan Republicans officially announced endorsements today for candidates in the November 4th General Elections.  The organization’s President Jeff Ward said “Reagan Republicans unanimously endorse the winners of the May Republican Primary and urge all Republicans and conservatives to show unity and rally behind the nominees selected by Republican voters.” For the past five years Kootenai County Reagan Republicans has actively promoted conservatism and Republican candidates in Kootenai County. As an open membership ecumenical organization, KCRR welcomes all Republicans and seeks to advance unity and emulate the grand Republican coalition advanced by President Ronald Reagan, to achieve solid conservative majorities on all levels of government/Reagan Republicans news release. More here (along with complete list of Reagan Republican endorsements.


Mitchell Pledges To Serve Just 1 Term Edit

Democrat Nels Mitchell said he will only serve one six-year term as a U.S. senator for Idaho if elected over his opponent, Sen. Jim Risch. “In six years, I can accomplish a lot,” he told the Daily News during a meeting Wednesday. “I can do a good job, and I won't be worried about running for reelection again.” Mitchell, who is in the middle of an eight-day campaign trip in northern Idaho, said there are too many career politicians in Washington who place too much focus on being reelected rather than the pressing legislative issues at hand. They are also vulnerable to the pressures of special interest groups, which Mitchell believes have too much influence on legislation/Anthony Kuipers, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here.

Factoid: Nels Mitchell's full name is James Nelson Mitchell, but he's always been called Nels (from family surname in middle) by his family.

Question: What happened to all that political talk from a few years ago about term limits?

Swimmer Tries To Swim Pend Oreille

Randy Hixon, top, provides kayak support as Elaine Howley, a Boston-based marathon swimmer, begins her solo swim, of more than 30 miles, of the full length of Lake Pend OreilleÕs Buttonhook Bay Wednesday near Farragut State Park. Howley is scheduled to finish the open water swim at the city beach in Sandpoint on Thursday afternoon. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Shawn Gust)

Elaine Howley hopes that later today she will be able to say she is the first person to swim the entire length of scenic Lake Pend Oreille. Howley, a 36-year-old marathon swimmer from the Boston area, began her journey across the lake early Wednesday night, from Buttonhook Bay in Athol. She plans to end sometime between noon and 4 p.m. today on the white sands of Sandpoint City Beach. Howley was under the assumption that the swim was 34 miles, as pitched to her by Sandpoint swimming enthusiast and Long Bridge Swim creator Eric Ridgway, who is no stranger to adventure swims in the crystalline waters of Lake Pend Oreille. Then Howley saw the Wikipedia page for Lake Pend Oreille, with a statistic that differs from Google Earth's calculation of the lake's length. “I had a minor panic attack about six weeks ago when I saw the lake listed as being 43 miles long,” said Howley, a former Division 1 college swimmer and one of the top marathon swimmers in the U.S./Eric Plummer, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Is there some physical sports challenge that you've been considering?

Adam: Labrador’s Going Places

Adam Graham (RE: Popkey's financial future better): I doubt money had much to do with it particularly in the short term. It's probably more the fact that Raul Labrador is going places. I could see him as a VP candidate for the right nominee in 2016. To be in the midst of that would be a very unique experience. At this point in Popkey's Idaho Journalism, all he really had to look forward to was a gold watch. His influence was tied inexorably to that of the Idaho Statesman which is in decline.

Question: I think Adam's right. Labrador is going place. Why do we under-estimate him?

New Spokane Hotel Will Be Grand

What has Harry Sladich been smoking? I felt compelled to ask after digesting his recent oddly timed and snarky remarks about the Grand Hotel Spokane that Walt Worthy is constructing in the heart of downtown’s convention district. Sladich doesn’t think the hotel’s brand affiliation – the Marriott’s Autograph Collection – has the right sort of pizzazz that Spokane needs to lure gatherings of (harrumph, harrumph) consequence. “The bottom line is we needed a ‘demand generator’ and we simply did not get one,” noted Sladich in our news coverage. “Meeting planners are simply unaware of what the Autograph Collection is.” “Eeeeeeeeeee …” That’s the sound a gnat makes when it gets all whiny and bothered. Sladich is a wheel with Red Lion Hotels/Doug Clark, SR. More here.

Question: Have you spent much time in Walt Worthy's other major downtown renovation, The Davenport Hotel?

Front Porch: Grateful For Vet’s Story

The fading late afternoon sun, blurred by the haze of wildfires, fell softly across the foot of his bed. A smoke-tinged breeze wafted through the open French doors. His once-commanding frame seemed frail against the stark whiteness of crisp sheets and rumpled pillows. I stood quietly beside him, a writer at a loss for words. Nick Gaynos was dying. The World War II veteran and Pearl Harbor survivor had endured many things, but the loss of his beloved wife, Tex, was proving too much for his heart to bear. After more than 70 years with her, he doesn’t want to be here without her. I met Nick and Tex in 2010 when I shared their Love Story with newspaper readers. His regal military bearing and her gorgeous red hair and sense of style made them one of the most elegant couples I’ve interviewed/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.

Question: Have you ever sat vigil with a dying relative or someone else you care about?

Human Shields

Michael Ramirez/Investor's Business Daily

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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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