In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune jeers Mike Gwartney, former Idaho Department of Administration director — and Otter BFF. Writes Marty: “Five years ago, he so screwed up the $60 million Idaho Education Network contract by changing the specs, steering it toward one bidder and triggering a lawsuit from the losing side - that you are still paying the bills.In March of 2013, the Federal Communication Commission - which covers 75 percent of the Idaho broadband project's costs - shut off funding. Ever since, Gwartney's successor, Teresa Luna, has issued one assurance after another that the FCC would relent. But the bills are piling up. It could get as high as $21 million by next year. Meanwhile, the FCC Office of the Inspector General just subpoenaed the state for documents related to the IEN. Full Cheers & Jeers column here.
Jennifer McNulty stands next to the 22 crosses she placed in her yard to bring awareness to soldier suicide in honor of her husband, Wyatt McNulty, who committed suicide in 2012 after 11 years as a Sergeant in the United States Army. (Coeur d'Alene Press photo: Tess Freeman)
The small American flags flying over the white crosses in Jennifer McNulty's front yard Thursday accompanied photos of 22 servicemen and women who have taken their own lives. She pointed to the picture of a handsome man in a green Army jacket in the front row. “This is my husband,” she said. “He died Oct. 31, 2012.” Jennifer's husband, Sgt. Wyatt McNulty, suffered from severe post-traumatic stress disorder and a traumatic brain injury. He was in the military for 11 years, serving in Kosovo and suffering the brain injury during training before being deployed to Iraq. He was out for seven years before his death. “Ever since he came home from Iraq he wasn't the same,” Jennifer said/Devin Heilman, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.
Question: Do you know someone suffering PTSD?
A Coeur d’Alene man was arrested Thursday night after he allegedly fired a gun at a reckless driver. No one was injured. Daniel Montgomery was booked into the Kootenai County jail on suspicion of aggravated assault and unlawful discharge of a firearm, a news release from the Coeur d’Alene Police Department said. Coeur d’Alene police went to the 1300 block of North Kaleigh Court around 8 p.m. Thursday. They learned that Montgomery had attempted to stop a reckless driver in the neighborhood by pointing a gun at the vehicle, the release said. Montgomery fired multiple rounds at the vehicle as the driver attempted to flee, the release said/SR. CPD news release here.
City of Hayden building official Robert Wuest has more than ruffled the feathers of neighbors of a home he owns in Dalton Gardens. Wuest, who also happens to be the Dalton Gardens Irrigation District water master, might be abusing his power for financial gain, neighbors are complaining. He didn't return messages seeking comment for this story. For example, the neighbors cite a pole building he is having constructed. The building was being constructed taller than the 25-foot height limit allowed for accessory structures in Dalton Gardens. The building, which is still being finished, had to be lowered. But not without incident. It only dropped below the limit after being “red-tagged” by Kootenai County Fire and Rescue, which performs the duty of building inspections for the city of Dalton Gardens/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (CdA Press photo by Tess Freeman: neighbor Carlyn Dickerson believes Wuest has abuse of power)
Question: Do you see a problem here?
And so another work day dawns in “dangerous” Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, my home town, where the politicians are conservative, the waterfront is viewtiful, and dogs cower under cars when police are nearby. The weekend is rushing toward us. Here's today's Wild Card …
Susan Cuff (RE: Espy: Why was I pulled over?): Full disclosure for those who don’t know me: I’m married to a retired law enforcement officer. You might think that makes my opinion biased and no longer relevant. What it actually has been for me is an opportunity to know the human side of law enforcement officers. To know how they struggle with their choices, agonize over decisions, and bear the brunt of what is often - literally - a spat-upon job. They are not perfect but I believe in my heart that the majority of them are in it for the right reasons and do the right thing. I have never worked in a job in which every day that I go to work is a day that someone could potentially look down the barrel of a gun and take a shot at me. It would be hard to do that job for self-centered reasons.
Coeur d’Alene Fire Chief Kenny Gabriel said last weekend’s open house at Fire Station No. 3 was by far the best attended event the department has ever sponsored. The theme this year was “Working Smoke Alarms Save Lives.” Kids especially liked the fire extinguisher demonstration and exploring the fire engines. It was all part of the department’s 125-year anniversary celebration. (Coeur d'Alene Today photo: Keith Erickson)
Time 2 Vote …
Facts: Yamaha rider Valentino Rossi, of Italy, crashes during practice for Sunday's San Marino Moto GOP grand prix in Misano Adriatico, Italy earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Antonio Calanni)
Wednesday Winner — Psalm 37, with 10 likes: “You're right Steve, your hair conditioner does make your beard softer and silkier than the brand I use.” You can see Wednesday photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.
The Senate on Thursday easily approved a $1 trillion government-funding bill that gives President Obama new authority to battle the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Lawmakers voted 78-22 in favor of the bill, with 9 Democrats and 12 Republicans voting “no,” along with one independent. The “no” votes included several senators seen as prospective presidential candidates in both parties, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). The legislation, which has now been approved by both chambers of Congress, now heads to the White House for Obama’s signature/The Hill. More here.
Question: Idaho U.S. Sens. Crapo & Risch said they opposed this legislation because President Obama hasn't laid out a clear plan to fight the ISIS threat. Do you agree/disagree with their thinking/vote?
At her Allergy Reporter Web site, Taryn Thompson provides tips for anxious people with food allergies who are considering eating meals at a restaurant. She begins: “For those with a life-threatening food allergy, eating outside the home isn’t just dangerous, it can also be extremely stressful. A little pre-planning and research can ease some of the anxiety people with food allergies might experience when dining out.” You can read Taryn's tips here.
Question: I don't think I'm allergic to any food. And I'm grateful for that. Do you have food allergies?
There is a new question on CityPoll: “Have you hiked Tubbs Hill in the past year?” Each month, a CityPoll question is posed on the city’s website so the city can learn how the community feels about a particular issue. Responses will be reviewed by city staff and changes will be used in leadership strategic planning as guidance to assure we are offering the best possible services to our citizens.
North Idaho College Trustees Todd Banducci, right, and Ken Howard (checking cell phone) talk during Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce business lunch at Hagadone Events Center at the Coeur d'Alene Resort Golf Course Wednesday. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
From the Public Comments roundup in City Clerk Renata McLeod's draft minutes of the City Council meeting Tuesday: “Jim Player, Coeur d’Alene, said he is a very new resident of the community, a Vietnam veteran, and currently living in transitional housing. He received a parking ticket while trying to change his driver’s license and registration, because it took 2 ½ to 3 hours for him to be helped. He filed an appeal with the Parking Commission and it was ignored. He thinks that decency should prevail and that it was because of extenuating circumstances that he received the ticket. He can’t afford $10.00 for a ticket and hopes that someone will contact him. His address is 1516 E. Sherman Avenue, Apt. 9.”
Question: If you were the city parking czar, would you forgive this ticket?
The legislators behind stoking the embers of Idaho's perennial Sagebrush Rebellion have made a startling admission: They were wrong. Their idea of suing Uncle Sam into submission and acquiring 20 million acres of national forests and 15 million acres of federal range land? Ain't going to happen. “We're already pretty confident that from a legal perspective, we don't stand on very firm ground if it were a matter of litigating,” state Sen. Chuck Winder, R-Boise, told the Spokesman-Review's Betsy Russell last month. Winder and state Rep. (and GOP nominee for secretary of state) Lawerence (Boss) Denney are the co-chairmen of an interim committee created on just such a premise/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.
Question: And yet Winder and Lawerence Denney continue to take their dog-and-pony interim committee on the road …
Also from the Public Comments period of City Clerk Renata McLeod's draft minutes of the City Council meeting Tuesday: “Roy Wargi, 2022 E. Coeur d’Alene Ave., said that he thinks that bicycles should be licensed the same as other vehicles in the city. Mr. Tymesen said that the city has not had bicycle registration for probably the last 15 years, but he would suggest moving the request to the Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee for further study. Council member Adams said that he is on that committee and bicycle licensing has actually already been studied and they have come to the conclusion that the licensing of bicycles restricts the use of bicycles when their objective is to promote more use of bicycles in the city. Mr. Wargi commented that he has a bicycle that is equipped with turn signals and a brake light, but a lot of bicycles are running around going all directions into late in the evening and it is not right. Without a license, there is no way to identify who is riding the bicycles.” (SR file photo, of bicyclist in Midtown)
Question: I can't believe I'm saying this, but Councilman Adams is right. This time. Licensing would discourage bike use. However, I empathize with resident Wargi. I would guess that few bicyclists know the rules of the road, including which side to ride on. Thoughts?
Idaho Gov. Butch Otter serves as an auctioneer for an old gun that was auctioned at the North Idaho Political Action Committee luncheon in mid-April. The event raised about $32,000 for the NIPAC and was held in competition with the Lincoln Day Dinner that evening, sponsored by the county GOP Central Committee. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)
And now a word from the NRA: “On behalf of our five million members across the country, the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is proud to endorse Butch Otter for reelection as Governor of Idaho. Based on his support of and commitment to the Second Amendment, Otter has earned an “A” rating from the NRA-PVF in the 2014 general election. An “A” rating is reserved for a pro-gun elected official who has consistently supported the NRA’s position on votes of importance to gun owners and sportsmen. “In the past four years, Butch Otter has done more than almost any other governor in the country to expand Second Amendment freedoms,” said Chris W. Cox, chairman of the NRA-PVF. “He is a champion of our Second Amendment rights.”