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Huckleberries Best of the Northwest — 3/23/06

After years of drought, the mountain pine beetle, among other pests, is tearing up Northwest forests here.

Eye On Boise: 75-75 homeowner exemption bill passes Senate 28-7 here, minimum-wage bill falls 12-5 in committee here.

1. Eric Devericks/Seattle Times doodles re: Dubya's plan to get out of Iraq here.

2. Lake City High School in Coeur d’Alene is closed today and Friday as federal and local officials clean up traces of mercury that a student brought to school as early as Monday. Students and staff risked exposed to the mercury for at least three days before officials decided to close the school here.

3. Spokane has returned to the Big Screen as filming for "Home of the Brave" has begun, starring Curtis Jackson (aka 50 Cent), Samuel L. Jackson, Jessica Biel, Brian Presley and Christina Ricci. Scenes will be produced in Spokane through the end of April here.

4. The nation's largest professional association of wildlife scientists and its chapters in Montana, Wyoming and Idaho have endorsed a proposal to remove Yellowstone grizzly bears from the endangered species list here.

5. Depending on where you look, Washington State University head baseball coach Donnie Marbut claims to have a master's degree, a teaching certificate or both. In reality, he has neither here and here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/SR (Keep South Hill Rapist locked up), D.F. Oliveria/SR (Keep law-making in the open), Tim Woodward/Idaho Statesman (Patrick McManus: Mystery writer), Missoulian (Save GOP's fiscal conservatives), and Dave Boling/Tacoma News-Tribune (Groupies appreciate Morrison's approach to life, free subscription required).

Online Poll: 61.7% of 193 respondents to a Great Falls Tribune poll say they don't believe in psychics.

*Tidy thief swipes $3,562 in soccer gear from Sammamish high school here.

*National Guard general sez Idaho was model here.

*Olympia bar fined $500 after "Girls Gone Wild" show here.

*Missing Oregon survivalist and family puzzled investigators here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon disputes dirty air ranking here.

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Huckleberries Online

D.F. Oliveria started Huckleberries Online on Feb. 16, 2004. Oliveria's Sunday print Huckleberries is a past winner of the national Herb Caen Memorial Column contest.