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Wild Card/Tuesday — 9.16.14 Edit

I forgot to cover my veggies in the garden Thursday night/Friday morning — and so I'm moving forward without squash, basil or peppers. The tomatoes are hanging on by a thread. I feel mocked by the warm fall days that came on the heels of the two frosts last week. Oh well, the roses and most of the flowers are still blooming. So I'm still enjoying a good garden season. How about you? Now for today's Wild Card …

AM Scanner Traffic — 9.16.14

  • 10:14 a.m. CPD officer is stopping to check 2 suspicious males b/n Rite Aid & Staples/Ironwood Square.
  • 9:51 a.m. Female complaining of general illness on Sargents Drive/Hayden.
  • 9:36 a.m. ISP officer stopping for barrel that's lying on freeway @ I-90/MP 46.9 (Pinehurst area).
  • 9:18 a.m. Undisclosed medical emergency @ 8181 Cornerstone Drive/Hayden.
  • 9:10 a.m. 2 small dogs are running in traffic @ Cecil/Poleline, Post Falls.
  • 9:08 a.m. CPD officer plans to patrol traffic @ Ramsey Elementary, Ramsey/Kathleen, CdA.
  • 8:39 a.m. Small fire reported @ Huetter/Lancaster Road, Rathdrum Prairie (extinguished within half hour).

AM Headlines — 9.16.14 Edit

Animal control officer Kimberly Mink holds a boa constrictor that went missing and was found in Nampa. The 9-foot Columbian boa constrictor named Trinity that escaped its southwest Idaho cage was found after two days on the loose. Trinity didn't appear to have traveled far after being spotted Sunday in the garage that holds the snake's cage. Jittery neighbors with small pets and children went on alert after the owner reported to Nampa police on Saturday that the snake disappeared Friday afternoon and hadn't eaten for three weeks. (AP Photo/Nampa Police Dept.)

Luna Cash Bonanza Embarrassing

It’s raining cash in the office of the Idaho Superintendent of Public Instruction! Office holder Tom Luna has just a few months left in his term, and he has spared no expense this year in showing his top staffers just how much he appreciates them! If money talks, it’s shouting out a whole lot of appreciation, folks. Just how much? Consider:

  • His former deputy chief of staff got a raise from $44.40 per hour to $65.23 per hour — that’s a 47 percent raise.
  • His former communications director was making $36 per hour, but that was bumped up to $49.54 an hour — a 37 percent raise.

This in a year that Gov. Butch Otter recommended no funding at all for state employee raises, but lawmakers graciously decided to give them a 2 percent raise in the 2014 session earlier this year — 1 percent permanent, the other 1 percent one-time. But wait, there’s more! A whole lot more!/Idaho Press Tribune Editorial Board. More here.

Question: I consider Luna to be among the 4 Republican executive office holders or candidates who should be considered an embarrassment to the Idaho Republican Party. The other three? Supt candidate Sherri Ybarra, Secretary of State candidate Lawerence Denney  and Treasurer Ron Crane. Thoughts?

Cutline Contest — 9.16.14 Edit

Facts: Protester from activist group CodePink appears at Senate Armed Services Committee hearing today to discuss strategy against ISIS.  Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, left, and Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, are in the foreground. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)

Monday Winner (tie, w/4 likes apiece): “Beauty pageant contestants show their vicious side as they attempt to rip apart Miss Massachusetts” — NoComment, and: “When Miss Mass. missed Mass she was forgiven by the Abbott Costello, making Lauren hardy” — JohnA. You can see Monday photo and read all Cutline Contest entries here.

Otter To Speak To CdA Chamber

Join me at noon Wednesday at the Hagadone Event Center for my speech to the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce — Gov. Butch Otter tweet.

Question: Izzit just me, or has Butch visited Coeur d'Alene more than usual this year?

Edit: Biting Hand That Feeds Idaho Edit

Delaware is a rich state. So are New Jersey, Massachusetts and California. People there pay for their own schools, highways and people — and they pay some more. Half of Delaware's federal taxes never return home. New Jersey leaves behind about $1 of every $8 in federal taxes it pays. People in California and Massachusetts forfeit about $1 of every $16 in federal taxes they pay. And where does that money go? To keep struggling states from falling into Third World status. States such as Idaho - which gets $1.40 back for every $1 in federal taxes its people pay. John Bujak thinks that should stop/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Are you wary of Libertarian candidates?

Call Center Brings Jobs To Lake City

One of the largest companies in the U.S. is bringing hundreds of jobs to the Lake City. The company is bringing more than just jobs to Coeur d'Alene. The new Alliance Data Retail Service call center will eventually employ 400 people in it's Idaho office. They are starting off a bit smaller, planning to double their hundred person staff by the end of this year. “We just got really lucky to land here in Coeur d'Alene. We really wanted to expand our footprint in the Pacific time zone,” said Derrek Thomas, Director of operations. The company handles all customer service operations for major retailer credit cards like Ann Taylor, Abercrombie & Fitch and Buckle/Alyssa Donovan, KXLY. More here.

Question: Do you know someone who plans to apply for work at the Alliance call center?

Jeanne Buell’s Last Ride

Few Idahoans know Jeanne Buell.  She lives outside Worley, just off of Highway 95 as one heads south towards Plummer.  She is the vice chair of the Idaho Democratic Party, has long labored in the trenches working hard to advance the principles that guide Democrats. She tells-it-like-it-is mincing no words, thereby endearing herself because of candor. She has decided its time to hang up the bridle and put the saddle on a saw horse. She wants to spend more time with her grandchildren.  As she exits, though, she is taking one last shot at the idiocy of Idaho Republicans who are being led down the path to mediocrity by a governor and a legislature unbelievably out-of-touch with the real world. She conceived and is the driving force behind four “generic” ads demonstrating how bad things are in Idaho/Chris Carlson, Carlson Chronicles. More here.

Thoughts?

Trout Protection Plan Worries Boaters

Dennis Hall spent Saturday afternoon on Lake Pend Oreille, launching his 28-foot cabin cruiser from Sandpoint and ferrying friends across the lake to dinner. With blue skies and temperatures in the 70s, it was an ideal day to be on the water. “I even got a little sunburn,” said Hall, a Coeur d’Alene resident. For the past dozen years, local residents have worked with the Army Corps of Engineers to keep Lake Pend Oreille’s water levels high through September, extending the boating season on Idaho’s largest lake. But a proposal to draft the lake in late summer, providing water releases for federally protected bull trout downstream, has Hall and other boaters worried. Even a 1-foot drop in lake levels affects the ability of property owners in shallow bays to use their docks, said Ford Elsaesser, chairman of the Pend Oreille Basin Commission, which represents local stakeholders’ interests/Becky Kramer, SR. More here. (SR photo by Kathy Plonka: “I care more about what's good for the fish,” said Kelly Mount of Sandpoint as she spent the day at Lake Pend Oreille Monday)

Question: Do you think Lake Pend Oreille should be lowered to protect bull trout?

Sims Launches Re-election Bid

State Rep. Kathy Sims, R-Coeur d'Alene, addresses supporters at her fall re-election kickoff at the Blackwell Housel on Sherman Avenue. across the street from the Java on Sherman last week. Sims is running against Democrat Anne Nesse. (Photo: Duane Rasmussen)

Question: Has Sims accomplished something in the Legislature that stands out to you?

Baldness Tied To Prostate Cancer?

A new study has found an association between male-pattern baldness and aggressive prostate cancer, Newsmax Health reported. However, study authors noted that their findings do not prove a cause and effect. It is conceivable that, in the future, male pattern baldness may play a small role in estimating risk of prostate cancer and may contribute to discussions between doctors and patients about prostate cancer screening,” said study co-author Michael Cook, an investigator with the division of cancer epidemiology and genetics at the National Cancer Institute/Fox News. More here.

Question: Are there any other down sides to male baldness?

Last Chance To Run As Write-in

The deadline to run for election as a write-in candidate in one of the Nov. 4 taxing district races is fast approaching. Kootenai County Chief Deputy Clerk Pat Raffee sent out a press release Monday reminding that Friday is the last day both for write-in candidates to file, and for candidates who have already filed to withdraw. All filings must be done by 5 p.m. Friday with the taxing district office - either North Idaho College or Kootenai-Shoshone Soil and Water Conservation District - both of which are in Coeur d'Alene. To date, only incumbents have filed for NIC Trustee seats, and only two candidates have filed for three Supervisor seats in the Kootenai-Shoshone Soil and Water Conservation district/Kootenai County Clerk's Office.

Question: Have you ever voted for a write-in?

Silver Demands Release Of Info

Deborah Silver, the Twin Falls accountant who’s challenging four-term Idaho state Treasurer Ron Crane, is calling on Crane to release a full review of questioned investment transactions to state auditors. “What else does he have to hide?” Silver asked. “Idaho taxpayers deserve the truth from their state treasurer.” Crane maintains he’s released all the information he can, but Idaho’s state auditor’s office, in an audit report released at the end of June, said it still hadn’t received documentation showing that Crane’s office has reviewed all potentially problematic transactions, after news of one surfaced in which a state investment pool lost millions when Crane’s office reallocated assets between it and a local government investment pool/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise. More here.

Question: Silver's request sounds reasonable to me. What's Crane trying to hide? Thoughts?

In The News

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Monday — 9.15.14

I appreciate the fine job (per usual) that Cindy did while filling in for me on Thursday & Friday. I wasn't kicking back with my tootsies in Lake Coeur d'Alene. I was undergoing my every-five-years colonoscopy, prepping on Thursday and then heading for Kootenai Clinic for the procedure Friday morning. I'm not going to go into details here, other than to encourage all of you of a certain age to make sure you get this done, especially you men who shy away from medical exams. The prep work isn't fun. The procedure itself is a piece of cake. Bottom line? You can chuckle all you want about colonoscopies. But the possible alternative — colon cancer — isn't funny. Now for today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 9.15.14

At Slight Detour, Marianne Love took her camera on a walk on the Sandpoint bike path along the waterfront. You'll find several more of her photos from that Saturday journey besides the one above here.

Most Commented Stories — 9.15.14

The stories that received the most comments today are: Otter fatigue could be a factor (18 comments), and: Wild Card discussion of colonoscopies (17 comments).

Top Comment Today — Centered Edit

Centered (RE: Miss Idaho displays insulin pump): Sierra Sandison is a tremendous role model for young girls in addition to be a strong voice for Type 1 Diabetes. I've lost 2 high school friends to T1D (they were in their 30's….way too young) and my heart breaks to read the FB posts of a friend whose young son's life revolves around dealing with T1D. I think it's great that she has a platform to speak about this disease.

Question: Do you have a role model?

Survey: Idaho Has Rudest Drivers

They honk, they're impatient, they make rude gestures, they gun their engines. They are the rude drivers, and the highest concentration of them is Idaho, a new poll suggests. Drivers in Idaho, followed by those in Washington, D.C.; and New York make the top three, based on the survey of 2,000 drivers nationwide by a website, Insure.com. Of course, Washington and New York have dense urban environments that make them breeding grounds for rudeness. But Idaho is a fairly laid-back state, home to wide open spaces. Relatively speaking, there aren't many people to be rude to/USA Today. More here.

Question: I'm not sure this survey is correct. I haven't seen many rude drivers in Idaho. Have you?

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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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