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Wild Card/Thursday — 10.23.14

A.J. Balukoff, Democratic candidate for governor, will visit HucksOnline HQ at 1:30 p.m. today, for a 5Q interview. I'm compiling questions to ask him in a brief interview that aren't a rehash of all the words and video focused on the gubernatorial campaign to date. I have three questions so far. Can you suggest another? You can post it here or start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 10.23.14

Tree branches are silhouetted against the sun during a partial eclipse as seen from Paynes Prairie this evening in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/The Gainesville Sun, Matt Stamey)

Idaho ACLU: Hitching Post Exempt

The American Civil Liberties Union of Idaho says it will not challenge a northern Idaho wedding chapel's refusal to conduct gay marriages because the chapel falls under a religious exemption. Interim Executive Director Leo Morales said in a news conference Thursday that the Hitching Post became a religious corporation in Idaho nearly a month ago. Morales says the ACLU believes that under that exemption, the chapel does not have to comply with the city of Coeur d'Alene's ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation because the chapel only provides religious services/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Does this mean this hubbub is finished but for some lingering shouting?

Top Comments — 10.23.14

Top Comment of the Day: Fort Boise (RE: Huckleberries interviews A.J. Balukoff) — “The only thing wrong with being a liberal is that narrow-minded political hacks have done such a great job of demonizing the label. Take your pick of which of 150 achievements of liberalism that your're not in favor of, from the 40-hour work week to modern civilization. It's been such a smashing success, in fact, that self-serving plutocrats have been able to convince people to vote against their own self-interest, baiting the hook with lower taxes and let the devil take the hindmost who doesn't recognize how we built all that we have and enjoy.”

Most Commented Stories: A word of advice (34 comments), and: Burials become impractical (23 comments), and: I didn't get the memo (23 comments), and: Huckleberries interviews A.J. Balukoff (20 comments), and: New room at the cemetery (17 comments).

Cutline Contest — 10.23.14

Time 2 Vote …

Facts: Japanese film director Takashi Yamazaki, right, and actors, from left, Eri Fukatsu, Shota Sometani and Ai Hashimoto, pose for photo with the parasitic character Migi, left, in their latest film “Parasyte” in Tokyo today. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

Tuesday Winner — SLFisher, with 4 likes: “Romantic honeymoon in Sierra Leone! New lower prices!” You can see Wednesday Photo and all Cutline Contest entries here.

PM Scanner Traffic — 10.23.14

  • 4:58 p.m. Green Chrysler is disabled @ e/b I-90/MP 6 (Seltice Way/Post Falls).
  • 4:51 p.m. Physical domestic dispute @ 12400 block of N Kensington/Hayden.
  • 4:49 p.m. KFD EMTs are handling 51YO male who walked into station w/breathing problems.
  • 4:30 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Oct. 22-23 here.
  • 4:17 p.m. ISP is looking for stolen, red Dodge van, with Wisconsin plates, that's on I-90 in CdA area now.
  • 4:13 p.m. KCSDeputy is on scene of overdose, unknown location.
  • 3:47 p.m. Pickup & vehicle have crashed on I-90, east of Pleasantview/Post Falls.
  • 3:41 p.m. Driver of black Honda ran into Chinook Building & then sped off @ e/b 900 block of Ironwood/CdA.
  • 2:46 p.m. Someone has been injured in a fall @ 600 block of W. Harrison/CdA.
  • AM Scanner Traffic

Denney’s Bottom 10?

Holli Woodings' campaign for Secretary of State has come up with a survey inviting people to rank “The Denney Bottom 10” missteps of her opponent and his time in the Idaho Legislature. Not a bad idea to highlight the lowlights, but I found the forced ranking difficult. There are so many bad acts to choose from! One of them, at least was easy to sort out: “[becoming] Idaho’s first ousted House Speaker in three decades” was more of a positive step—by Denney's peers—than a misstep by him. Let's select out the top class of disqualifiers instead/Fort Boise. Check out Fort Boise's attempt at a Denney Bottom 10 here.

Question: Is there anything missing on Fort Boise's list?

HucksOnline Blogos — 10.23.14

Former legislator Bert Marley, the Democratic candidate for lieutenant governor, responds to a question from the audience during an education forum at the old Harding School Wednesday night. Marley is running on the ticket with gubernatorial candidate A.J. Balukoff, with arms folded to the left. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, Oct. 22): 7901 page-views/4915 unique views

Bond: An R Voting Straight-Ticket D

At the Wallace Street Journal, chief ranter David Bond, a second-generation Republican, tells why he's voting straight-ticket Democrat this year in Idaho elections, beginning:

“Being a second-generation Republican – Dad served the 6th District of Washington State as an “R” in the House for many terms, and was deemed a “troglodyte” by that state's (also Republican) governor for his obstinance over raising taxes and his opposition to motorcycle helmet laws (“If the fools want to kill themselves, why is that our business?”) — this is a tough thing to say: We are pulling a straight Democrat lever come next month's county and state elections. Apologies to Butch and Lori Otter, who we respect and admire: If we thought our vote would matter we would throw it Butch's way. But the reality is that loonies are running the asylum, and it's time to kick the (expletive deleted) out. Never in Idaho politics has extremism so suffused Idaho's governance.” Full rant here.

Question: Can you be an Idaho Republican and vote straight-ticket Democrat?

Balukoff Addresses Ed Forum

A.J. Balukoff, Democratic candidate for Idaho governor, and Coeur d'Alene Councilman Dan Gookin are shown at an education forum featuring Balukoff and his running mate Bert Marley at an education forum at the Harding Center on 15th Street Wednesday night. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

UI BB Picked To Finish 7th In Big Sky

Despite missing the postseason the last two years, the Eastern Washington men’s basketball team is has been picked to finish second by Big Sky Conference coaches and third by the media, the conference announced Thursday. Big Sky newcomer Idaho is picked seventh by the coaches and eighth by the media. Defending champion Weber State is picked to repeat at the top. The coaches selected Eastern Washington second, followed by Northern Arizona and Sacramento State/Jim Allen, SR. More here.

Question: 7th? I thought UI would dominate in a lesser division. What's happening here?

$$$ Flies In Last-Minute Ad Buys

It’s that time, the period shortly before the election when things happen quickly. Campaign contributions or independent expenditures of $1,000 or more now have to be disclosed within 48 hours. There are three independent expenditure notices thus far: The “American Comeback Committee Idaho PAC,” which is affiliated with the Republican Governors Association, has reported spending $33,645 on Monday for literature/printing in support of Butch Otter and against A.J. Balukoff, all paid to Paces Direct LLC in Atlanta, Ga.; the RGA already has run two TV ads in Idaho attacking Balukoff/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Other Eye on Boise stories today:

Goedde: Why I’m Backing Otter

In an op-ed piece at Coeur d'Alene Press Online, state Sen. John Goedde, R-Coeur d'Alene, writes:

As a former local school board member and Chairman of the Idaho Senate Education Committee, I have worked to improve education for all of Idaho's kids. And, I have always measured that improvement against results. Recent results tell us that Idaho students are not only doing better, but on a national comparison are doing quite well. Idaho's eighth graders tied for eighth in math and tied for 15th in reading. The number of high school students taking college courses doubled in just one year. Idaho's “go on” rate has improved as well as the number of Idahoans attaining a post-high school degree or certificate. So I was surprised and disappointed that in light of all this good news, A.J. Balukoff chose to run such a negative campaign about Idaho and specifically our schools. More here.

Question: Balukoff told Huckleberries this PM that his goal in running for governor was to bring public awareness to the state of education in Idaho. Do you think he's done that? Or was Otter addressing problem before Balukoff entered race?

Huckleberries Interviews AJ Balukoff

Democrat AJ Balukoff is shown during gubernatorial debate earlier this fall at the Coeur d'Alene Library. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

  • Huckleberries: What's the A.J. stand for?
  • A.J.: Anthony Joseph. My father's name was Anthony, my mother's name was Josephine. When I was born, my father was in the Navy, so they would write letters to one another. They didn't want to call me Tony because that's what my father was called. They didn't want to call me Joe because that's what my mom was called. So they called me A.J. And it stuck.
  • Huckleberries: Win or lose, what long-term impact will your candidacy have on the state of Idaho?
  • A.J. One of my main goals in getting into the race was to elevate discussion & attention of public education, to where constitution said it would be. I've done that. Even Butch & (Lt. Gov. Brad Little) are talking education now.
  • Huckleberries: What is something you know about North Idaho now that you didn't know when campaign began?
  • A.J. I know a lot of people that I didn't know before. That's what has been fun on this campaign — meeting people from all over Idaho. As I've attended different kinds of events, like the Human Rights dinner here in Coeur d'Alene, I've enjoyed the great folks. I also know you can get a great ice cream cone at the Elmira Store.
  • Huckleberries: How can you be effective as a Democratic governor when GOP legislators will be working against you?
  • A.J. How effective has Gov. Otter been? Your question presumes that we're going to have trouble working together. I don't believe that's necessarily true. I've been going to the Legislature for 17 years that I've been on the school board, and I know a lot of legislators. We've been talking about the need to work together to solve problems to help people of Idaho. I'm not going to be elected to further a partisan agenda.
  • Huckleberries: Are you the type of guy that the Average Joe or Jane be comfortable having a beer with you?
  • A.J. Yeah, except being a Mormon, I don't drink beer. I'll buy them the beer & drink a root beer.
  • Huckleberries: Republicans try to paint you as an Obama acolyte. How do you differ philosophically from the president?
  • A.J. There's a big difference between an Idaho Democrat and a Washington, D.C., Democrat. Idaho Democrats are not liberal. I know in the ads they accuse me of being a liberal. I doubt there is enough evidence to convict me. I'm pretty moderate. A centrist. Funny when I read those (Republican Governors Association) ads that try to tie me to Obama. I gave money to Mitt Romney during the last election.
  • Huckleberries: What's with the bow tie?
  • A.J. I like bow ties. They're more festive. I know how to tie them. And I don't have to worry about the tie getting in my soup.

Ybarra Gets National Attention

Sherri Ybarra's campaign troubles are getting national attention. At RawStory, Travis Gettys writes: “The Republican candidate for the top education job in Idaho has been caught lying about her education, endorsements, and marital history – but she’s still leading in the polls. Sherri Ybarra has claimed throughout her campaign that she expected to earn a doctorate in education in August, but she instead received an education specialist degree from the University of Idaho, reported The Spokesman-Review.” More here.

Question: So is Democrat Jana Jones doing a good job telling Idahoans why she's the better candidate? Or are Ybarra miscues obscuring her campaign, too?

Burials Becoming Impractical

Red Cedar (RE: No room at the cemetery): Perhaps, but it seems to be a difficult selling job on the part of the funereal industry to convince people they should “inurn” their loved one's “cremains” in a paid spot somewhere, when it's much cheaper, equally convenient, and sometimes more romantic to scatter their ashes in some beloved spot, or just keep grandpa in a jar on the mantle. I think the phasing out of burial is partly due to our generation's general lack of a sense of place. People move around so much that they don't feel any tie to any particular part of the country, and a “family plot” is completely impractical when the family is scattered to the four winds.

Question: Burial or cremation?

SR News Quiz — Oct.19-24.2014

Did you know you could win movie tickets or a $50 gift card to the Davenport Hotel simply by entering the Spokesman-Review Weekly News quiz? Test your knowledge of current events and put yourself in the running for Friday's drawings. You can take the News Quiz here.

  • Answer to Question No. 1: A tunnel for wildlife.
  • Leaderboard: RaynTim, Sibulsky, TLPoelstra & SFredrickson are among the 23 current finalists for $50 Davenport Hotel gift certificate this week. Contest ends at 5 p.m. Friday.

JJ: Don’t Put Fork In SR Yet

JJanovich (RE: I didn't get the memo): As a retired newspaperman myself, though having gravitated to the trades, instead of the more “glamorous” front end of the operations, it breaks my heart every time I hear of another layoff at any newspaper. As much criticism as the S-R attracts, it would surprise the majority of those critics to compare the S-R to most larger newspapers in the country in terms of breadth of content, amount of “news hole” and just the good read of the paper. I traveled extensively for many years, working for a west side newspaper, visiting scores of newspapers and reading every one I could get my hands on in airports and stops in between. Even when employed by others, I always was amazed to come back to Spokane and see how well the S-R compared. Yes, the cuts have significantly diminished the number and depth of stories, great staff and reporting, but it still is a pretty lively read, if thin.

Question: We usually refer to our hometown papers with a pejorative. Right-wingers, for example, call us the Socialist Review. When I worked in Kalispell, the Daily Inter Lake was referred to as The Daily Mistake. What nickname did you have for your hometown paper?

A Word Of Advice?

Gov. Butch Otter and superintendent of schools candidate Sherri Ybarra engage in an intense conversation at the stop in Athol during the GOP North Idaho candidates bus tour Friday. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Question: What do you think Butch is telling Sherri?

AM Scanner Traffic — 10.23.14

  • 12:29 p.m. Officer has located stolen CdA vehicle that has been stripped, including tires.
  • 12:27 p.m. Domestic dispute reported on Upper Black Lake Road/St. Maries.
  • 12:19 p.m. Undisclosed parking problem reported @ 19th/Jenny Lane/Post Falls
  • 12:05 p.m. Security @ undisclosed store sees male steal fishing pole, give it to female, who tries to return it for cash.
  • 11:42 a.m. Someone @ 1000 block of Harrison/CdA needs helping getting up after fall.
  • 11:33 a.m. Possible fire burning in trees @ Mallory/Trail's End, Rathdrum.
  • 11:20 a.m. Male, now walking on Appleway, stole golf umbrella from Big 5, replacing it w/one he entered store with.
  • 11:10 a.m. 2-vehicle crash @ s/b H95/Prairie Avenue, Hayden, is blocking highway.
  • 11:05 a.m. Lights @ McGuire Road/Seltice Way, Post Falls, are completely out.
  • 10:59 a.m. Ex-employee of Hayden security firm on Govt Way is in parking lot honking horn.
  • 10:57 a.m. Driver of blue van driving recklessly on s/b NW Blvd, before turning onto River Avenue toward NIC.
  • 10:41 a.m. Resident wants to speak to KCSDeputy re: recent assault.
  • 9:28 a.m. A trucker is looked out of his semi @ Flying J Truck Stop/Post Falls.
  • 8:56 a.m. 53YO person is suffering seizure @ Coeur d'Alene, 120 Anton Ave/CdA.
  • 8:25 a.m. ISP officer stopping to check on possible wreck @ e/b I-90/MP 16, east of Sherman/CdA.

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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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