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Huckleberries Online

Eubanks: Education Foundational

In an op-ed column in the Coeur d'Alene Press, Trustee Dave Eubanks of the Coeur d'Alene School Board writes:

“In Idaho today we are in the midst of a great crisis in our public school system, a crisis which, if left untended, will have dire consequences not only for our children, but for our cherished liberty, and for our posterity. Depending which critical category you look at, Idaho's public schools rank either 48th, 49th, or 50th nationally, and the primary cause is inadequate funding from our legislature. In a state so rich in so many resources, how can this be? 50th out of 50. Heck, we even make Mississippi look good! Investing in improving our kids' education is a much wiser use of state revenue than spending millions to lure out-of-state companies here offering Idaho's under-educated cheap labor as bait, as if Idaho were a third-world country. Some folks in Boise have really dropped the ball on this one.More here.

Question: Idahoans say that education is important. And yet we continue to elect individuals who have nothing good to say or do about public education. Why the disconnect?

Cutline Contest — 10.24.14

Facts: Visitors sit inside a sculpture titled “We're Frying Out Here” created by artist Andrew Hankin at Sculpture By The Sea, in Sydney, Australia, earlier today. You write the cutline. (AP photo)

Thursday Winner — Psalm 37, with 8 likes: “After further plastic surgery Renee Zellweger is again unrecognizable on the Red Carpet,” and Runnerup — Randy Myers, with 6 likes: “Migi thrilled the crowd on the red carpet with a classic deLorenta sporting a plunging waistline.” You can see Thursday Photo & all Cutline Contest entries here.

Quotable Quote

“What's happening under Butch Otter should happen in every state” — Mitt Romney. More here.

The Hill: Idaho 3rd Most Conservative

Idaho isn't the most conservative state in the union, but it's close — and it rubs shoulders with the most liberal state in the union: Washington. This, according to new rankings from The Hill. The Hill looked at voting trends and history in all 50 states to find the most secure Republican and Democratic strongholds, and which states appear to be up for grabs. Alabama is most conservative, followed by Alaska, Idaho, Kansas and Mississippi. On the liberal end, Washington is followed by Minnesota, Oregon, California and Rhode Island. You can see the entire list from The Hill here.

Question: Are you surprised by the ranking of either Idaho or Washington?

PFPD: Educator Texted Nude Photo

A female former employee of the Post Falls School District has been issued a misdemeanor citation for allegedly sending nude photos of herself to the cellphone of a male Post Falls High student. Bobbi Deitz, 40, who was Title 1 paraprofessional employee at Seltice Elementary, is no longer employed at the district as of last Friday, school Superintendent Jerry Keane said. “The bottom line is that she's no longer employed at the district; that's all I can say about the matter,” said Keane, adding that it's a personnel issue and only limited information can be released. Paraprofessional employees perform a variety of duties such as tutoring, monitoring recess and working with students with special needs/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.


Andrus Ready For One Last Crusade

In his Carlson Chronicles, Chris Carlson talks of his old boss, former governor Cecil Andrus, preparing for one last crusade — the preservation of the Boulder/White Clouds area. Carlson noted that Andrus was feistier than ever this past week when he received The Frank and Bethine Church Public Service Award in honor of a lifetime of work on behalf of protecting the “crown jewels” of Idaho’s outdoors – the Sawtooth National Recreation Area, the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, the Selway/Bitterroot Wilderness, the Frank Church River of No Return Wilderness, the Owyhee Canyon Lands, and the Birds of Prey. … He served notice that there is one last charge on his steed he is going to make before riding off into the sunset: the Boulder/White Clouds will receive the recognition it merits by President Barack Obama invoking his authority under the Antiquities Act to declare the area a National Monument. More here.

Question: Do you think the Boulder/White Clouds area should be preserved?

When In Doubt, Blame Democrats

In his weekly Cheers & Jeers column, Opinion Editor Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribunes offers jeers to Idaho County Republicans: “What's their answer to low wages? Underfunded schools? Stagnated economy? Blame the Democrats. In a recent ad replete with a red, white and blue elephant, the Idaho County GOP says: 'Voting democrat (sic) will assure redistribution of your money, veterans and all military abandoned, unknown illnesses crossing our unsecured borders. Vote & Keep Our Religious Freedom.'Signing it are county Commissioner Skip Brandt, Clerk Kathy Ackerman, Assessor James Zehner, county commission candidate Mark Frei, Reps. Paul Shepherd, R-Riggins, and Shannon McMillan, R-Silverton, and Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll, R-Cottonwood. Just one question: Who's been running the state of Idaho for the past two decades, anyway? Full Cheers & Jeers column here.


Next Generation 911 Nearly Ready

Communications Officer Julie Oppedyk works at the Post Falls Police Department on Oct. 13. She soon will be using a next-generation 911 system. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

You just snapped a picture of a car fleeing a collision with a bicyclist. Or maybe you’re watching a brush fire race up a hill toward some houses. With all the technology packed into smartphones today, the temptation may be to send photos or video directly to 911, have a video chat with an emergency dispatcher, or at least send a text message. Not yet, here in the Inland Northwest, but the day is coming. Emergency dispatch centers are gearing up to handle communications beyond simple phone calls. Known as next-generation 911, it will roll out in some places as early as next year and is expected to be widespread within about three years/Scott Maben, SR. More here.


Homeless Evicted From Target Camp

For nine years, a makeshift encampment in the wooded area behind Target in Coeur d'Alene has been the place a number of the area's homeless have called home. But in less than a week, the camp will no longer exist. Jeff Conroy, executive director of St. Vincent de Paul of North Idaho, told The Press Thursday that Spokane developer Harlan Douglass plans to sell the land and wants all the homeless residents trespassed from the property by Wednesday. Outreach workers at Heritage Health, collaborating with St. Vincent de Paul, are now scrambling to get people to leave the forested area by the deadline, he said. Efforts to relocate the homeless people are already underway. Conroy said outreach workers told him half the camp's 50 to 60 residents have left/Keith Cousins, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here.

Question: Where do you suppose these transients are going to go?

Truth Trampeled In Chapel Stampede

In The Spokesman-Review, columnist Shawn Vestal writes: “The gay marriage debate has always been marked by a tension between the constant insistence that marriage is sacred and the undeniable reality that for many people it is anything but. The Knapps are ordained ministers and doubtlessly hold sincere religious beliefs. But the Hitching Post has seemed to serve mostly that second kind of marriage – the quickie union, the light-hearted ceremony, the time-is-of-the-essence nuptials. It has more in common with a Vegas drive-through chapel than First Pres.” More here.

Question: With the Idaho ACLU deciding not to enter this fray, have we seen the beginning of the end of another community controversy?

A New Look?

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

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?

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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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