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Huckleberries Online

Archive for December 2007

Vacation Wild Card No. 12 — 12/31/07

Two more days, and we’ll fire up Huckleberries Online again. Dunno what the New Year will hold. But each year has its own brand of fun. For example, who would have guessed how 2007 would turn out for U.S. Sen. Larry Craig? Or how the prosecutor e-mail scandal would play out? As we begin the new year, we’re about 6 weeks away from HBO Blogfest 2008. We should see some new faces there. Some old ones will be gone. That’s the way it has always been at Huckleberries. Change is the only constant here. I hope all you HBOers celebrate a safe New Year’s Eve. I’ll ask you about resolutions Tuesday. Meanwhile, you can use this Wild Card for your own threads today …

Average Joe’s HBO Award Nominees

With only one more day of 2007, it’s time for much reflection on the past year. What better way to wrap things up than to take nominations for the Huckleberries Blog Awards.
Our categories and my nominees:

Soul Doubt

Synaptic Disunion

Here In Idaho

Notes On A Napkin

On Location North Idaho

Get Out! North Idaho

From A Simple Mind

Bay Views

Notes From The Kan, Perambulation, PDX Pup

Notes From The Kan, Perambulation, PDX Pup

Fort Boise

A Butterfly Moment


Here In Idaho

DFO: Feel free to list your own nominees.

Mother, Son Arrested In Athol “Grinch” Burglary

Item: Mother, son arrested in Athol burglary/Meghann M. Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

More Info: There, police found more than 40 items they say were purchased at a Spokane Fred Meyer using the stolen cards, along with drug paraphernalia and “a large quantity of methamphetamine,” according to a news release from the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department. The burglary occurred late Dec. 19 or early Dec. 20.

Be Careful Out There — I-90 Bridge Work

Travelers heading west on Interstate 90 near Coeur d’Alene this afternoon should prepare for delays as crews make emergency repairs to three bridges. Westbound traffic is limited to one lane, and the speed limit has been reduced to 55 mph from near milepost 12 to milepost 9, said Cpl. Ron Sutton of the Idaho State Police. The reduced speed limit is expected to remain in effect through April. At times today traffic has flowed at just a crawl, and vehicles have backed up as far as the interchange with Highway 95, he said/Parker Howell, Spokesman-Review. More here.

DFO: I posted this b/c I got snagged in the back-up traffic for quite awhile at the start of a trip to Spokane this p.m. You might want to use Seltice Way instead.

HBO’s Top 12 List For 2007 (Tentative)

From your suggestions, I’ve compiled a Top 12 list for HBO 2007:

12. Dirtgate
11. Alice’s Garden Tips
10. DFO cut loose to blog full time
9. Disgruntled HBOers exit stage left to start an anti-HBO blog at Coeur d’Alene Press
8. Stickman visits Vietnam Wall
7. Wild Goose Chase
6. HBO discovers Kendramama and vice versa
5. The Bomb & Uzi (prosecutor e-mails)
4. Ziggles
3. Marmitetoasty’s Chrismas card
2. SR layoffs
1. Larry “Wide Stance” Craig

Question: Did I miss anything that should be on this list?

Vacation Wild Card No. 9 — 12/28/07

I attended ad coordinator Jeanne Helstrom’s retirement celebration in the CDA office today. Jeanne has had a host of titles since she joined the SR a few days after I did in the fall 1984 — the last two being administrative assistant and ad coordinator. Six of us have worked together in the office for about 23 years: Jeanne, Donna Kelly and Bob Myklebust from advertising, Mike Mahon from circulation, and Greg Lee and Yours Truly from editorial. Mike has been in the CDA bureau the longest, followed by Greg and then me. There have been little to no harsh words among us — and a lot of shared history. We’ve watched one another’s families grow, marry, and suffer hardship. We’ve watched one another bury parents. We’ve probably spent more time together and had deeper conversations than many families have. Jeanne will be gone from the office when I return from vacation Jan. 2. Donna will follow fairly soon on her heels. I’ll miss them. And cherish the memories of our time together. Now, for your 9th of 13 Vacation Wild Cards …

Top HBO Moments Of 2007?

Every media organization is making Top 10 lists for 2007 to fill their news budgets until the 2008 year begins in earnest with the usual murder, mayhem and politics. I know we’ve had many good moments here over the last year. Do you think we could come up with a Top 10 list together. One of my finest moments here was the story and aftermath of the Wild Goose Chase when a group of CAVErs thought they’d caught developer Marshall Chesrown illegally diverting the Spokane River. They were dead wrong, of course. Then, there was all the fun and denials with U.S. Sen. Larry Craig.

Question: What fun and shenanigans should be part of the Best of Huckleberries Online 2007?

Eye On Boise: Sen. Craig Naughtiest Of ‘07 Naughty Americans

Believe it or not, there’s an organization that puts together a list called the “Naughty Nine,” honoring “the year’s naughtiest Americans.” And this year, Idaho’s senior senator, Larry Craig, topped the list at No. 1. Craig even beat out Britney Spears (No. 3). The list is posted at (Caution: Ads contain adult material), a self-described “mainstream news Web site” put up by, an adult entertainment company. The list’s editor, David Moye, said, “This year was a truly watershed year for naughtiness. Besides usual naughty suspects like Britney Spears or Barry Bonds, there were toe-tapping senators and diaper-wearing astronauts who practically demanded by their actions to be on the list”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Christmas Day Wild Card — 12/25/07

If we’re going to have a White Christmas, it won’t be until later today. The weatherman calls for a high of 31 with a chance of snow later on. That’s OK by me. We’re running studless now that our second car was taken to Honda heaven last Wednesday evening. (Cue Bob singing Allelujah chorus in background.) Now, I definitely prefer my streets to be ice-free. It really has been no problem around town. The North Idaho Family Oliveria kicked off Christmas tonight by going to Christmas Eve services at our two churches and then gathering at my house for finger foods and good conversation. We’ll continue tomorrow with lunch at Brother Ray’s house. One of the best things about Christmas over the last few years has been the family gatherings as Brother Ray, Sister Charlotte and my Mom migrated from Montana to North Idaho. I don’t take the gatherings for granted, after spending decades in the Northwest with family scattered too far away, as the snow flies, to enjoy the family gatherings. I hope this day is a blessing for you and yours, too. Now, for your Christmas Wild Card …

Vacation Wild Card No. 4 — 12/22/07

As I mentioned in the comments section Saturday, Mrs. O, Amy Dearest and I checked out Tim Burton’s “Sweeney Todd” at the Riverstone Cinemas Saturday. A lot of throat cutting. A lot of good songs. All in all, so macabre that I almost flinched when Mrs. O served home-made, chicken pot pie for dinner. “Sweeney Todd” is the successful Broadway play now made into a movie in which the anti-hero barber takes revenge on those who wronged his family and him by slitting their throats while shaving them. Surplus clients are baked into pies by his female accomplice downstairs. In other words, my kind of play/movie (as long as the music’s good — and it is with Sondheim handling those chores). So the vacation is off to an interesting start, with my ladies showing no ill effects from the Wednesday crash. A nice rental Toyota Corolla in the garage, and visions of throats being cut dancing in my head as I prepare for bed. I’ll read a few poems before I call it a night. And, of course, play the Wild Card …

OrangeTV’s Best of North Idaho 2007

Not to be too unkind, but a few of the juicier descriptive terms that pop into mind when pondering the gals who sling plates up at CdA’s northside breakfast mecca the Rockin’ Robin include fried, grizzled, sizzled, smoked out, coked out and choked out. The food is always incredibly dank, stick-to-your-ribs good and you have to love a place that refers to the pancakes as Pips (as in Gladys Night) and features an omelet called “The Supremes”. The waitresses are equally as retro, apparently suspended in a world where it’s okay to wear Christmas balls as earrings and eye makeup that would make even the late, great Tammy Faye blanch. Plus, their you’ll-get-your-maple=syrup-when-I-damn-well-feel-like-it attitude and sassy coffee-buzz wit with either leave you in stitches or leave them needing stitches after you lose your cool and attack them with your fork. You’ll love them anyway and they’ll keep you coming back/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here

Question: Do you have any “Best Ofs” to add to OrangeTV’s quirky list?

Vacation Wild Card No. 2/Friday — 12/21/07

Gotta hand it to our insurance company, Farmers. It has been on top of all the issues that were triggered by the car wreck Wednesday night: assessment, health care, rental cars, and reimbursement. Most importantly, my ladies seem to be doing OK today. For me, vacation will officially start when I pick up the check for the Honda (totaled) and select a rental car for the next few weeks. It’s time to hit the re-set button and concentrate on pretty lights and Christmas shopping rather than insurance forms and telephone calls. Still, I can’t help marveling how much better things are than they could have been. Meanwhile, I know that a Wild Card can’t hold a candle to the crazy things we do here daily. But I’m going to force myself to stay away from the blog as much as possible — and it provides some opportunity for you guys to interact while I’m blurking …

Parting Shot — 12/19/07

Mollie Brault-Binaghi/AP Photo
St. Michael’s College student Mollie Brault-Binaghi poses with a projection of the Minor Candidates web site in Colchester, Vt., Wednesday. Disturbed that mainstream media cover only the big names of aspiring White House occupants, a group of students at St. Michael’s College has established a web site devoted to the presidential candidates many voters have never heard of.

Question: Can you name a third-party presidential candidate? Have you ever voted for a third-party presidential candidate.

DonS: Hagadone Huffin’, Puffin’ Boosts Page-Views

Don Sausser: And as has been suggested, I am not a Mr. H. PR guy. I could care less whether he has any dock at all. But the huffing and puffing on this blog and in the public each time Mr. H. is mentioned seems rather infantile. But it does benefit DFO’s page count!

DFO ;-)

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 12/19/07

No, this isn’t the camel that the wise men rode during the original Christmas, but the delightful young lady in the picture will appear in Your Post Falls Voice a week from tomorrow, Dec. 27, promises Sweet & Sour Herb.

*Hauser Thoughts tells us a real-life Christmas miracle and a real-life love story re: her uncle, 88, and her aunt, 85, here.

*At The Skinny On North Idaho, Ralph Bartholdt of the St. Maries Gazette-Record treks in from Benewah County to discover there’s little left of the Rathdrum Prairie here.

*’Twas One Week Before Christmas and Silver Valley Girl decided to try her hand at the famous old rhyme, Kellogg style, here.

*Mrs. Mac Energetic has had her panties in a bind twice this Christmas season as a result of poor cuss-tomer service here.

*After tons of tests and attempts at cures, Slight Detour’s doctors concluded correctly that “some people get migraines, some get hives, and some trot a lot when stress gets too intense” here.

*Sparky’s Notes flashes back to 1984 when the song, “They’ll Know It’s Christmas,” was a hit on two continents — and she was forced to perform it 35 times, not including practices — here.

HBO Numbers (for Tuesday, Dec. 18): 7842 page-views and 4479 unique views.

Meanwhile, A Butterfly Moment is counting down the days until Christmas vacation here; CastMD looks at expanded patient liability here; S&S Herb grades NY teachers here; Notes On A Napkin sez home is sweet indeed here; Granati waits for his Fallujah-bound brother-in-law here; Perspectives obviously is smitten by his new dog here; Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts shares an interesting e-mail here;

I Tried My Hand @ Office Max’s Scrooge Yourself …

… using the town multi-millionaire as my model here

Powderhorn On KootCo P&Z Agenda

The public can comment Thursday night on a request to rezone 300 acres as part of future plans for a mega golf retreat and luxury housing development overlooking Lake Coeur d’Alene near Harrison. Powderhorn Ranch LLC is asking Kootenai County to change the classification of the northern portion of its nearly 2,000 acres from agricultural to rural, which would allow construction of one home per five acres. Eventually the Seattle-based company wants to build perhaps three golf courses and up to 1,300 homes and condos.

Phil: Why Is Everyone So Busy?

Why is everybody so busy? It’s what I hear the most from friends, family, even strangers. “We’ve been so busy lately” has become the standard answer to the question, “How are you?” The statement is often preceded by a heavy sigh. Nobody seems to like being so busy, but they’ve apparently given up trying to change the situation/Phil, A Family Runs Through It. More here.

DFO: Guilty, as charged.

Question: Anyone out there who isn’t busy?

“Three Score And Counting” — John Austin

Some sixty years of laughs and tears
Have come and gone it seems,
Like waterfalls and popcorn balls,
Fulfilling all our dreams.

Christmas Past

When all the carols have been sung
and all the big, red stockings hung,
he’ll think of Christmas long gone by,
“God bless us, every one”, he’ll sigh.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Cis: Who Do You Tip?

Who do you tip? I have heard of tipping the garbage man and the newspaper person. Also I have seen one that tipped the postman. Why? If any of this went to the extra bounds in their job, then maybe I could understand/Cis Gors, From A Simple Mind. More here

Question: Who do you tip during the holidays?

SR: E. Wash. Racist Nabbed Transporting Alien

Item: Eastern Washington skinhead charged with transporting illegal alien/Bill Morlin, Spokesman-Review

More Info: The founder of the Eastern Washington Skinheads – a racist, neo-Nazi organization – is to be arraigned Thursday in U.S. District Court in Spokane on a charge of smuggling an illegal alien into the United States. James Douglas Ross, 25, of Spokane, was indicted by a federal grand jury on Tuesday on a charge of transportation of an illegal alien.

Eagle Eye: Ugly people exist everywhere don’t they?

Question: Do you think there’s more/less/about same prejudice in Eastern Washington as there is in North Idaho?

HBO @ Noon: Have You Been Naughty Or Nice?

Kevin Harvison/McAlester News-Capital & Democrat, AP
This little girl points to herself Tuesday, Dec. 18, 2007 at the McAlester, Okla., Public Library, to let Santa Claus know that any presents labeled to Estella KirK are meant for her because she is “pretty sure” she has been good all year.

Question: How would you rate your 2007 performance in terms of the all-important Santa Claus question — naughty or nice?

KerriT: ‘Tis Harder To Receive Than Give Sometimes

In 1985 a single mother of three had returned home to Idaho after leaving an abusive marriage, hoping to start a new life. Their 10-year-old car was paid for and only required liability insurance. The rent on their four-plex apartment was $325 a month and the mother worked swing shift as a desk clerk, earning $4.50 per hour. The two oldest children were teenagers and took responsibility for themselves and their younger sister while their mother was at work. There were few extras but the family was dressed in clean, warm clothes with a roof over their heads, an abundance of love and hope for better times to come. They weren’t hungry, they weren’t homeless and they weren’t alone. But their under-$10,000-a-year annual income for a family of four was poverty level. A few days before Christmas a basket of food and small gifts appeared on the doorstep. The mother at first was embarrassed that despite her best efforts someone out there new their financial situation was dark. Pride brought resentment for the “handout” but the children thought it was marvelous that someone was thinking of them. It was a thoughtful gesture at a bleak time/Kerri Thoreson, Coeur d’Alene Press “Main Street.” More here

Question: Have you ever been on the receiving end of charity?

TomH: Scrooge Was Right About Xmas — Initially

Ebenezer Scrooge said every idiot who goes about with “Merry Christmas” on his lips should be boiled in his own pudding. I think he was onto something. At the risk of sacrilege, I sometimes find myself saying the same thing. Oh, that’s not true. I often find myself saying the same thing. The older I get, the more Christmas seems a thing to be endured rather than enjoyed. After 20 minutes of pushing through the holiday crowds at WalMart and listening to people’s inane babblings, the only thing I want for Christmas is a bird flu pandemic. I recently sat in the Palouse Mall and stared at a robotic Mickey Mouse dressed in a Santa suit. There was a time, I mused, that I would have found such a thing fun and festive. Now it just seems tacky and stupid. Take it back to the trailer park/Tom Henderson, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you enjoy Christmas as much today as you did was a kid?

Ah’m Your Huckleberry — Suspicious Package

This Huck will be part of my Handle Extra column Saturday:

With the help of two CPD Blues and three Spokane bomb squaders, I survived the arrival of Marmitetoasty’s Christmas card Tuesday. Marmitetoasty? She’s a delightful Brit who hangs out at Huckleberries Online. Her card arrived unexpectedly via air mail in an odd-shaped, brown envelope, sans address, taped close. It looked suspicious — so much so that I called Sgt. Christie Wood to see if I should open it. She sent the department bomb expert over to look at it. He stepped back when he saw it and called the bomb squad. You see, there were two suspicious prods nearly poking through the back of the envelope and something that looked like tiny wires. Two hours later, with the help of a robot and an X-ray machine, a bomb squadder declared the envelope safe, slit it open and handed me Marmitetoasty’s card, with a raised Christmas tree on the front and three tiny, diamond-shaped ornaments, which had almost poked through the envelope. Inside, Marmitetoast wrote collequially: “Fanks for letting me be apart of your Dingleberries.” On the back of the card, in small letters was the message: “Keep out of the reach of children due to small parts.” Hey, that’s better than “KABOOM!”

Bob: ‘Naughty List’ Story Well Written

Item: Grinch knocks Santa out cold: Thrown object hits firefighter on truck decorated as sleigh/Meghann M. Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Bob: Although I’m relentlessly critical and annoyingly dismissive of hackwork no matter which newspaper I find it, I must confess that Meghann Cuniff’s “Someone Just Made the Naughty List” besides having a funny title was a very cleverly written and humorous news article. I particularly enjoyed this rhyming line: Smith awoke in the back of the sleigh to his colleagues asking if he was OK. I think it’s great that the S-R let’s its reporters have a little fun. It makes it more enjoyable for many of the readers, particularly the readers who can fog a mirror with their breath and score full scale IQ scores in the triple digit range. It’s nice to see some creativity in the news and not the usual dull as dishwater “just the facts, ma’am” writing.

Frank Sennett/Hard 7: Someone needs to bust open a stocking full of whoop-ass on the idiot who attacked St. Nick. More here

DFO: It’s great to see Meghann’s byline back in The Spokesman-Review. Also, Jesse Tinsley, another SR CDA office alum, snapped the photo.

Heller: Naughty List Overtaxing Santa

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Parting Shot — 12/18/07

Brian Plonka/Spokesman-Review

In the case of the bald eagle photo from Sunday, the process broke down. The production folks are trying to find out how and why. The result was that the snowy, gray background behind the eagle was made bright blue making it look as if the eagle was flying in a cloudless blue sky. Dramatic, but not at all accurate. If a photographer deliberately manipulated a photo in that way, our ethics policy would require severe discipline, perhaps even dismissal. But circumstances in the production department are different and it may really have been a technical error/Steve Smith, News Is A Conversation. More here

JBelle Also Says Goodbye To A Beloved Dog

Bob Barker, The Venerated Elder of The Chow Nation, is going to go live with Santa. While I am deeply sad about the separation, I know he will have a good life with Santa as his life here has detriorated to joyless interims of wakeful unrest. He can’t see, he can’t hear, his rear legs don’t work anymore and he is rail thin, probably with very brittle bones. Bob has welcomed me home for over 20 years, barking when my car hit the bottom of the driveway saying, Hey! I missed you! You’re back! He was there when I came through the door from my mother’s funeral and from the hospital where my dad died in my arms. He was there for the pool parties, birthdays, graduations, Thanksgivings, Christmases, Easters and Halloweens/JBelle, Notes From The ‘Kan EWA. More here

APhoto of the Day — 12/18/07

Susan Walsh/AP Photo
Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, center, and Sen. Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., look at photos of a young man who used performance-enhancing drugs, as they announces legislation on a set of proposals that would cut access to performance-enhancing drugs Tuesday during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. You write the cutline.

Top Cutline:

1. Sens. Schumer and Grassley examine sample photos of previous “Extreme Makeover: Government Edition” clients. Schumer decided to opt out of participation in the reality show, but Grassley still says he has “not taken the option off the table” — LynnS.

2. No thong can hide one’s loss of pride,
He could have used a tunic.
His steroid deal cannot conceal
The fact he’s now a eunuch — JohnA.

3. The senators say they oppose gay marriage “because it would take beefcakes like this right off the market, and that’s bad for America” — Brent Andrews.

HM: James Bond

In The News: Strengthening Cyber Stalking Laws

Kelley McCall/AP Photo
Tina Meier, left, describes weaknesses in Missouri law before the Internet Harassment Task Force today in Jefferson City, Mo. Meier’s 13-year-old daughter, Megan, committed suicide in October 2006 after receiving a cruel Internet message from someone pretending to be a 16-year-old boy. The adult woman believed responsible for the message could not be charged as the law is now writtn.

Question: Should Idaho’s Internet laws be strengthen to prevent cyber stalking/harassment?

Question: How Has Otter Performed As Governor?

Bob Moore, pollster for Idaho Gov. Butch Otter’s campaign and head of Portland-based Moore Information, says his firm ran a recent poll just on its own, tacking questions about Otter’s job approval onto another survey his company was conducting in Idaho in late November. The result: 65 percent of respondents said they approved of the job Otter is doing as governor, while 19 percent disapproved and 17 percent had no opinion. “Those numbers are very impressive,” Moore said. “If you stack ‘em up against other governors around the country, he would be certainly in the upper levels.” Otter was elected in 2006 with 53 percent of the vote/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here

Question: Has Butch Otter performed well as Idaho governor?

Clark: 10 Reasons Why Hagadone Needs Helipad

Full Doug Clark column here

10. Can’t use floating golf green after last landing turned slow-putting pair into foursome.
9. Nothing says roughing it at the ol’ lake cabin like a copter run for Huddy Burgers.
8. Poor guy needs something to cheer him up after the city officials poured weedkiller on his plan to turn downtown Coeur d’Alene into a giant memorial garden.
7. Never know when you might have to fly off in the middle of the night to dump an environmentalist in the lake.
6. Wants Casco Bay neighbors to call him Lord Whirlybird.
5. Soothing “fwap-fwap-fwap” of helicopter blades drowns out annoying nature sounds from nearby wildlife refuge.
4. Able to shave 7.2 seconds off arduous two-minute commute from Casco Bay to Coeur d’Alene Resort Hotel.
3. Controversy over floating helicopter pad and Guam-size boat dock will divert public attention from real plan to build Vegas-style casino on Tubbs Hill.
2. Dang it all, Duane. It’s about time you spent some of that hard-earned money on yourself for a change.
1. Wants to put “Ha, ha. I have a floating helipad and you don’t!” in Hagadone Christmas newsletter.

Question: What Is Censorship?

You may recall my difficulties with the misuse of the word “travesty” a few months ago. Well, today’s word is “censorship.” I mostly hear this word from writers whose letters we didn’t print or have requested revisions on. In my understanding, censorship would be gagging someone in the street; forcibly shutting down someone else’s presses and delivery systems; maliciously sending a virus to shut down their server. I don’t think we as a newspaper could censor anyone even if we wanted to. Censorship, by definition, is carried out by the government — or at least an entity bigger than the S-R. I just got off the phone with another “censored” individual. There are many who interpret “free press” as “major newspaper space to do as I please with at no charge”/Lynn Swanbom, A Matter Of Opinion.

Question: What do you think constitutes censorship?

PFPD Blue: Violent Dispute Leads To Suicide

A North Idaho man shot himself Monday evening after breaking into his ex-wife’s Post Falls apartment and attempting to kill himself in front of her, her friend and four children. The incident began about 4:30 p.m. when the 35-year-old man called his ex-wife threatening to kill himself at her home at the Ross Point Apartments off Second Avenue. Post Falls Police were unable to locate him at that time, said Lt. Pat Knight. Less than two hours later, the man made good on his promise, shooting himself in the head inside the apartment after phoning his ex-wife about 30 times in seven minutes, Knight said/Amy Cannata, Spokesman-Review. More here

Poll: Does Your ‘Hood Have H/O Association?

A Boise resident is pushing to change state law to make homeowners associations comply with the same open meetings rules local governments must obey. Does your neighborhood have a homeowners association? — Idaho Statesman.


Clark: Rich Get Richer, Hagadone Gets Helipad

Well, well. So Duane Hagadone wants a floating helicopter pad for Christmas. To be specific, the Coeur d’Alene hospitality/media tycoon wants the helipad PLUS a 200-foot dock just in case the Queen Mary ever stops by his new Taj Ma-Duane lake manse at Casco Bay. Ho, ho, ho! As usual, however, there are always jealous whiners who view Hagadone as naughty and not nice. “He’s forgotten about his neighbors who own the lake surface,” complained one of them in a newspaper story the other day. … Neighbors? Awareness? Public trust? Oh, what quaint, silly notions/Doug Clark, Spokesman-Review. More here

Question: Do you support Duane Hagadone’s request for a 200-foot dock and floating helipad?

Our Lady of the Perpetually Wagging Finger

OrangeTV Illustration

Thanks Dixie (Reid) for all of your service to this town. Some will always be against you and some will love you forever, but you gave your best and how can we argue that/Stickman.

Bob: Fogelberg No Match For Dylan, Lennon, Cobain

Never could get into Fogelberg. Seemed like a poor man’s James Taylor who was nothing to write home about anyway. After Dylan all the rest were pale shadows of greatness. Even Neil Young, who I really dig, is a lightweight compared to the man. Lennon and Cobain were the only ones that could stand with Dylan. The rest were mere sentimentalists. Sorry he’s dead but I won’t miss him really/Bob.

Wild Card/Monday — 12/17/07

It’s going to be a short week for me, HBOers. I’ll be off from Thursday until Jan. 2, enjoying the Christmas holidays at home with my wife and daughter. Before then, however, I need to write two more columns for Post Falls Voice and Handle Extra by noon Wednesday. I’ll begin mining the Huckleberries Online threads for your nuggets in a few minutes. Thanks for being a part of the Huckleberries online/print experiment via your blog posts and comments — and for keeping the page hits coming. Now, for your Monday Wild Card …

Eye On Boise: They’re Due To Do What They Do

I couldn’t help but wonder if a double meaning was intended in this opening line from an ITD press release: “Keep your holiday season merry, just don’t overdue it.” Was it urging people to renew their car registrations, perhaps? Or their driver’s licenses? Return their library books? Alas, it was announcing stepped-up patrols for drunken drivers. No word on whether the crackdown was overdue.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 12/17/07

Courtesy/OnLocation North Idaho
“In a humble cottage at the base of a beautiful hill lives a modern day Johnny Appleseed,” writes Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho. “Or maybe he’s a combination of Johnny and Gepeto, who brought Pinnocio to life.” More here

*Big John Rook posts links to Dan Fogelberg songs, “Same Old Lang Syne” and “Longer Than” here.

*Shinie took seriously her instructions to have fun spending the $50 prize money she received from a Halloween contest sponsored by JBelle. She took the cash and family to Seattle for a final before-winter trip to the House of Hong here.

*Notes On A Napkin has always been a reader who appreciates well-written words — and enjoys being smitten by a book within its first 10 pages here.

*In her travels, Dogwalk Musings was always fascinated by the seamier side of Europe towns, including Amsterdam, where she gawked at the prostitutes with the best of them, here.

*F-Words points out that Idaho Democrats are worried about the down-ticket impact that a Hillary Clinton ticket will have on western candidates here.

*OrangeTV reviews the Christmas For All Concert w/Bent Penny and Cameron Bameron at The Grail/Huetter here.

HBO Numbers (for week of Dec. 9-15): 46,193 page-views and 27,034 unique views.

Meanwhile, Slight Detour wonders why she hasn’t been getting her Monday paper here; Silver Valley Girl discusses the ministry of reconciliation here; Arch Druid sees indications that the R’s are getting desperate here; Eye On Boise wonders what’s “overdue” at ITD here; Christmas ain’t what it used to be, sez From A Simple Mind, here; Here In Idaho posts things she likes to do at Christmas parties here; JeanC spends 2 days finding a tree no one else wants here; Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts discusses the real reason for the season here; and Un-Muted Mumblings answers 7 questions about himself here.

In The News: Paul Raises $6M On Internet

Dan Dalstra/Brazosport Facts, AP
Vic Wade gives a thumbs up to supporters of Republican presidential hopeful Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, during a reenactment of the Boston Tea Party Sunday, Dec. 16, 2007 on the Old Brazos River in Freeport, Texas. More than 500 people gathered for the rally afterward to support Paul and raise money for his presidential bid. Paul’s supporters raised $6M on the Internet in 24 hours. Story here.

NIChokecherries: Not As Susceptible To Cold?

My boyfriend and I walked from campus to Sherman Avenue for the Downtown Light Show Parade a few weeks ago. Absolutely freezing, we stood in front of Tito Macaroni’s in the Plaza Shops and paid the $2 for a very small cup of cocoa. The sidewalks were packed full; parade watchers were standing shoulder to shoulder. People with dogs were trying to maneuver through the crowd. My boyfriend heard a nearby mother console her children, “Kids, pretend you’re from Idaho; then you won’t be cold. This is normal for Idaho”/Kelsey Husky (pictured), North Idaho College Sentinel. More Chokecherries here

Question: How susceptible to the cold are you?

Berry Picker: City Should Update PR Photo

Doubt you take the press or read it but in my Saturday edition there was an insert about the “City” had a message form the mayor, pictures of new employees and a couple of articles about city govt related things. 1 page front and back. At the top of the cover was an aerial view of downtown take from out over the lake looking back to the resort. The picture used was an old one, there was no library, and no towers, just a “blighted” looking area east of the resort around the park. Odd, don’t you think?/A Berry Picker.

S&S Herb: Sorry To See Kershner’s Column Go

Kershner’s last humor column is in today’s paper. In it, he writes, “This is by rough estimate, my 1351 column. It is also my last.” I have personally thoroughly enjoy the subtle,(and sometimes not so subtle) humor that has entertained me, inspired me and kept me chuckling for many years. It isn’t quite as bad as it sounds. After all, with all up to date information available, Kershner is not dead, and this is not an obituary, at least not for him, but it is for his award winning column. He, gasp, will be an objective humorless general assignment guy. Hopefully, they will let him off his leash once in a while/Sweet & Sour Herb/Bay Views. More here

Dixie’s Open House Today

The city of Coeur d’Alene will be sending long-time Councilwoman Dixie Reid out in style today. A farewell open house is scheduled in council chambers from noon to 3 p.m. Hey, it beats the farewell that the CAVErs wanted to give Dixie.

Eye On Boise: Railroaders Endorse Grant

Idaho congressional candidate Larry Grant was endorsed today by the United Transportation Union, the largest railroad operating union in North America. Grant is in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for the congressional seat now held by Republican Bill Sali/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here

IVA: Moscow Domestic Partnership Move Illegal

Pushed by the city’s mayor, the Moscow city council is making plans to violate the Idaho state constitution tonight. Idaho voters amended the state constitution in 2006 to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman, and to prohibit the legal recognition of all marriage counterfeits, such as domestic partnerships. … Yet the Moscow city council, either out of ignorance or defiance, is prepared tonight to offer health insurance not just to spouses but to “domestic partners,” a move which is flatly unconstitutional. According to the Moscow-Pullman Daily News, the city’s insurance agent says, “All the rules that apply to spouses currently as far as it goes will apply to domestic partners” if the city adopts the plan. The push for the plan is coming from Mayor Nancy Chaney, who is apparently unaware of the state constitution or intends to ignore it/Idaho Values Alliance press release. More here

Question: Obviously, Moscow should be prepared for an uphill legal battle in conservative Idaho, if it grants health insurance to domestic partners. Is this principle important enough for a small town to pay for a costly court fight that it’s likely to lose?

Lewiston Trib: How Is Your Living Room Decorated?

How is your living room decorated this Christmas season? — Lewiston Tribune.

*With a real Christmas tree
*With a fake Christmas tree
*No holiday decorations

KootCo, Bonner Want Home Sale-Price Disclosures

Item: Property buyers may have to disclose prices: Kootenai, Bonner counties say data needed to calculate taxes/Erica F. Curless, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Kootenai and Bonner counties may become the first in Idaho to require property buyers to disclose sale prices since Multiple Listing Services are no longer providing the information. Passing a similar statewide law is a priority for the Idaho Association of County Assessors because it’s the only way to avoid a guessing game and more accurately calculate the fair market value of each parcel in a county.

Question: Should Kootenai and Bonner counties require sale-price disclosures to calculate taxes?

WorldNetDaily Poll: One-Issue Prez Vote

Question: If your vote for president were based on one issue, what would it be?

1. Abortion stance
2. American sovereignty
3. Border security/immigration
4. Candidate’s honesty, trustworthiness
5. Economy/taxes
6. Global warming/environment
7. Gun rights
8. Health care
9. Iraq war
10. Other

JesseT: ‘Golden Compass’ Not For Everyone

I took my nine-year-old son to see “Golden Compass” today. It’s pretty action-packed but the story is confusing and set in an alternate universe, sort of a cross between Dickensian England and Narnia. There were lots of violent battles, but not much different from the latest Harry Potter. It’s rated PG-13. I’d recommend it as an escapist fantasy, but not for everyone.

Jesse Tinsley

Ramirez: No More Personal Attacks?

Michael Ramirez/Investor’s Business Daily

SteveS: Dark Chapter In Coach Life Helped Form Him

I hope you all had a chance to read the two-story package on new WSU football coach Paul Wulff this morning. I think even non-sports fans will appreciate the Cougar coach’s incredible life story. It reads like a Court TV real-life drama or a Lifetime movie of the week. Vince Grippi’s main story is maybe his best piece of writing since he took over the Cougar beat on an interim basis earlier this year. Here’s a link. Bill Morlin, with a rare byline in Sports, writes about a little-known by inarguably dark chapter in Wulff’s life — the apparent murder of his mother, probably by his father, when Wulff was 12 years old. Here’s the link. Initially, we were all worried that the murder story might cast an inappropriate pall over the Wulff life story. But as Morlin taked with the coach’s uncle, who raised him, and with other members of the family, it became apparent that the murder helped forge the man of faith and integrity that Wulff has become?Steve Smith, News Is A Conversation. More here

Question: How has a tragic event or tough circumstance in life helped mold you into the person you are today?

Wild Card/Sunday — 12/16/07

I finished reading “The Bourne Ultimatum” and watching the movie of the same title. The title is the only similarity between the two. Thumbs up for the book. The movie was OK. I picked up another book at the library tonight, “The Beautiful Cigar Girl” by Daniel Stashower. It’s the true story of the murder of beautiful Mary Rogers in 1941, which riveted New York City for almost a year and brought Edgar Allan Poe into the case, shortly after he wrote “The Murders in the Rue Morgue.” I read a couple of chapters tonight. Good stuff. What are you reading this yuletide? You can answer that question or start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Kendramama: ‘Beowulf’ Review Makes 3D Movie Must-See

Read a review in “7” by a seasoned film critic who claimed to be nonplussed about the whole 3D deal… until he went and saw Beowolf, that is. He >filled the whole column singing the praises of the 3D experience, talking about how people were ducking when the spear tip appeared to jut fifteen rows out into the audience, how he recoiled when realistic-looking spittle seemed to drip out into the crowd- it was a great review. Sold me. Plus, I’m curious to see how they translated the dusty old epic to the big screen. So that’s gonna be our weekend splurge (although, tightwad that I am, I intend to smuggle in our own candy, which we’ll purchase at REASONABLE rates down the street!)/Kendramama.

Question: Have you ever snuck candy or soda into a movie theater to avoid paying exorbitant refreshment stand prices?

Ding Dong: How About A Hagadone Property Review

Orange, considering the downsizing of late with the SR I’m surprised you try to “slip stuff” into your column that you know your editor will have to remove. Could come a time when it becomes more trouble than it’s worth for him to babysit your prose. And then there’s that old and very true saying about not burning bridges. Hagadone Hospitality happens to operate some very good restaurants in the area and an unbiased reviewer would be remiss in not acknowledging that occasionally. It’s not about Duane, it’s about food/Ding Dong.

Question: Which Hagadone eatery serves the best food?

Tom Davenport’s Kootenai Canvas

Tom Davenport/SR Handle Extra

Twice a month in Handle Extra, photojournalist Tom Davenport offers a new look at a place famiiar to Kootenai County residents. We’d like you to guess where the photograph was taken, and write a few words about the place. Tell us why this place is special to you, how it makes you feel or what is notable about it that helped you to recognize it. A prize will be awarded to the person who writes the best essay correctly identifying the photo location. Please keep essays to 300 words or ess. Entries are due one week from Monday to Sherry Adkins at, or fax to 765-7149, or mail to 608 Northwest Boulevard, Suite 200, Coeur d’Alee, ID 83814.

Clue: This waterfall gushing from a faux ridge in the forest is nonetheless an attractive scene.

LCDC Exec Berns: LCDC In Wait-See Mode

Item: LCDC plays the waiting game: Executive director thinks developers want to see results of current projects/Lucy Dukes, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: The Lake City Development Corp. has had only one application for partnership funding since this fiscal year began in October — though the pace could quicken as the months wear on. Whether it does depends on the market. LCDC executive director Tony Berns thinks developers want to see what happens with other projects, like Riverstone and Parkside, before they commit to new ones.

Question: Speaking of future projects, the Lake City Development Corp. will play a key role in the purchase and construction of the Education Corridor, adjacent to North Idaho College. Do you support this project?

Wild Card/Saturday — 12/15/07

I plan to sleep in. Mebbe hit the library and do a little Christmas shopping today as I begin to focus on Christmas a some days off, beginning Thursday. I’m at that point where I need a break. My second column of the week will be in today’s Handle Extra. You can find a cyber copy of it below in this main thread. You’ll probably recognize some of the items b/c everything in the column has appeared on HBO in some form. I coulda written a third column this week with the material I had left over. Mebbe we should start a third North Idaho weekly to handle a third Huckleberries. Remember: You can still pick up the Thursday column in the Post Falls Voice at a number of locations along Appleway and throughout Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene. Now, for your Saturday Wild Card …

APhoto of the Weekend — 12/15-16/07

Steve Nehl/Oregonian, AP
Prisoners at the Oregon State Correctional Facility meet in the recreation room and crochet. They make blankets for the homeless, socks for sick kids and hats for people undergoing chemotherapy. The Crochet Club in the Oregon State Correctional Institution has 25 members plus a waiting list. You write the cutline.

Handle X Huckleberries: Hanoi Mike?

Coeur d’Alene city attorney Gridley knows right-wing conspiracy theorists will cluck their tongues when they discover he ison his way to Vietnam to ride bikes from Saigon to Hanoi. “They already think I’m a commie,” said Gridley, an affable public servant who’ll never be forgiven by the far right for running for the Legislature as a Demo a few years ago. As a kid, Gridley missed an all-expenses-paid trip to Vietnam, courtesy of Uncle Sam, because he graduated from high school in 1974. But he heard the country is beautiful. And the natives are friendly. Now. In 2001, he rode a bike across the nation, from Gig Harbor, Wash., to Bar Harbor, Maine. He’ll return to pursue the Sims/Macy matter Jan. 4/D.F. Oliveria, Spokesman-Review Handle Extra. More here.

Online Question: Mailing Holiday Packages

The lines are getting longer at local post offices. When do you plan to ship your holiday packages?/Idaho Statesman.

*Already done
*Today or tomorrow
*This week, hopefully
*Dec. 24

ThomG: Steroids, HGHs Aren’t Whole Story

I’m torn. I love baseball and I was initially angered by the steroid accusations and the entire specter of cheating within my beloved sport. But I wonder how different is this than corked bats and spitballs? Babe Ruth hit all his home runs with dead balls and hangovers, Barry Bonds had year-round trainers and juiced balls- he’d have hit a ton whether he was juiced, or not. And then I look at some of the names on the list, for every Barry Bond and Roger Clemens there is a Cody McKay and Jack Cust. If steroids made an athlete great why aren’t McKay and Cust Hall of Fame names? No steroids didn’t hit 762 home runs or win 354 games and strikeout 4672 batters, individual, talented athletes did those things. Did steroids help? Maybe, I don’t know, but steroids alone are not the measurer of the accomplishment/ThomG.

Good College Sports Team Key To Attracting Students

Except for the Ivies, no school has anymore important brand tool than their athletic prowess at the undergrad recruiting level. For instance, take your beloved Gonzaga. A fine regional University (in full disclosure my father in law and his brothers are all GU grads, so I’ll be careful what I say), but never a national Academic power. You have a couple of seasons on the national stages and applications go through the roof, non of which had anything to do with a change in academics. So, the market of applicants clearly values sports and therefore, so will schools/Idawa.

Parting Shot — 12/14/07

Matt Rourke/AP Photo
Joseph Vento, owner of Geno’s Steaks in Philadelphia, displays a sign during a recess of a Commission on Human Relations hearing in Philadelphia today. The hearing was over alleged violations of the Philadelphia Fair Practices Ordinance by Geno’s Steaks for posting signs asking patrons to speak English when ordering.

Question: Would you buy a cheesesteak from this man?

JulieD: Hagadone Wants Ginormous Dock

Item: Hagadone wants 200-foot dock for new home/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

More Info: oeur d’Alene resident Julie Dalsaso, who paid $75 to request the meeting, said Hagadone touted that his next-door neighbors support the proposal and that nobody has ever complained about his garden parties. “He’s forgotten about his neighbors who own the lake surface,” she said. “The public, we are his neighbors. This is about awareness of public trust.”

DFO: OK, you probably knew most of this from following Huckleberries Online. But this story by Erica pulls things together into one place and shows that we’re moving back into our watchdog role.

Malicious Harassment On Sherman Avenue?

Minority employees at an East Sherman Avenue deli may have been targetted for malicious harassment. CPD Blue reports that a racist flyer was left in the front door of Piggies Deli around 3 a.m. Thursday. The flyer contains racist remarks and photos, concluding with the phrase, “Join the White Revolution.” A woman from India and a man with an Hispanic surname work at the deli. Surveillance cameras show a driver in an older white passenger car pull up to the front doors at 2:57 a.m. Thursday, slip the flier between the doors, and then drive off in a hurry. The subject and vehicle were difficult to see in the video.

Huckleberries Best of the Local Blogs — 12/14/07

Silver Valley Stories Photo
Silver Valley Girl and her daughter travel to Boise to meet Idaho astronaut Barbara Morgan here.

*As an atheist, Arch Druid sez she gives gifts during the Christmas season as “an act of blessing and generosity. She gives food gifts, tailored to any dietary needs of her family here.

*At The Skinny On North Idaho, Taryn Hecker writes re: her rehire at the SR: “It’s a relief to know I’ll have a paycheck coming still and that I’ll still be a reporter. Reporting the news is the only career I’ve known next to grocery bagging” here.

*From A Simple Mind knows that unions performed a valuable service in the beginning. But she explains why she doesn’t have much use for them now here.

*Here In Idaho answers her own question (“Is it funny when a wife beater dies”) by saying, “a little bit,” re: the recent death of rocker Ike Turner here.

HBO Numbers: 7588 page-views and 4384 unique views.

Meanwhile, Perspectives goes through with a tough decision here and here; Bay Views corrects a copy error here; F-Words has reached 100,000 viewers here; JeanC discovers the tinsel didn’t do well in storage here; Live, Love, Laugh, Hope has a Christmas tree full of memories here; and Soul Doubt bemoans hubby’s disinterest in his own birthday here.

WorldNetDaily Poll: Wickedest Man Alive

Item: Gunman boasted of following ‘wickedest man in the world’: E-mail to ministry: ‘I have studied, practiced teachings’ of occultists/WorldNetDaily

Question: Who do you think is the ‘wickedest man on Earth’ today?

1. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
2. Osama bin Laden
3. George W. Bush
4. Hillary Clinton
5. Kim Jong-il
6. Charles Manson
7. Robert Mugabe
8. George Soros
9. Dr. George Tiller
10. Other

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

HBO @ Noon: In Praise of Good Samaritans

Then he showed up: my hero. He was a middle-aged man, dressed for working in some downtown office building, smiling warmly and surrounded by a faint corona of angelic light as he asked, “Can I give you a hand with those?” The heavenly gleam was joined by the clear sound of an otherworldly hallelujah choir as I eagerly accepted his offer of help. I carried a box under one arm and steered Caleb to the post office doors while my benefactor hoisted the other two packages. We landed them in a stack on the countertop inside, and with a heartfelt “Have a great day!” he was gone, probably on his way to rescue a trapped child from a burning building or thwart Lex Luthor’s latest evil plot/Katrina, Notes On A Napkin. More here

Question: Can you tell other HBOers of a Good Samaritan who has helped you this holiday season?

This Just In …

Julie Dalsaso reports that Duane Hagadone showed up at that Department of Lands meeting last night, to argue in favor of his dock/helipad request for his Casco Bay home. Julie was a bit ticked that Hagadone and his lieutenant, John Barlow, received 15 minutes apiece to present their side of the case, while she only received 5 minutes after plunking down $75 for the hearing. Eight people showed up on a snowy night to speak against the proposal, including Julie, Wes Hanson, Maj StormGipson, and Barry Rosenburg of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance. Hagadone’s Casco Bay neighbors Skip Murphy and John Powell supported the proposal. The hearing examiner will render his recommendation on the proposal in 30 days.

Hat Tip: Erica Curless

Digger: There’s Room For Another Mortuary

re: Funeral home moves in near senior center

Eli Yates is strongly mistaken if he does not believe that Coeur d’ Alene can handle a new funeral home. Looking at the market the area has long been overdue for a third facility. CDA supported the old Restlawn before Larrabee ran it into the ground (no pun intended) so theres no reason why Aspen Funeral Home won’t absorb a decent portion of the market-share/Digger. More here

DFO: Digger spent a coupla years as a funeral assistant in Moscow. Hence, the pseudonym “Digger.”

Online Poll: Mitchell Report

Sen. George Mitchell on Thursday released his report about the use of steroids in Major League Baseball. Will the findings affect your enthusiasm about the sport?/Idaho Statesman.

*Yes, a lot
*Yes, a little
*Not a baseball fan

Statesman: Wilder Went Too Far w/Sex Ed

Idaho high school teachers should educate teens on the consequences of having sex, but stop short of helping them obtain birth control. Teens have sex. One survey reports more than half of the teens in our country admit to being sexually active while in high school. These kids deserve and need health care information about pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. … Which brings us to Wilder. Wilder School District officials are wisely concerned about what they call an epidemic of teen pregnancies. But a School District nurse went too far, taking at least four female students to the Southwest District Health Department to receive a contraceptive shot called Depo-Provera, which provides about three months of protection against pregnancy/Idaho Statesman. More here

Question: How far should a public school go in providing sex education/birth control to students?

Noah: Nearer My God To Thee

re: Funeral home moves near Lake City Senior Center

Noah Kroese/Special to Huckleberries Online

I think it’s great. Imagine having a wake at the Senior Center, then moving the casket with a slight shove toward the funeral home. Of course, you’d have to have something on hand at the funeral home, like Robitusin, so you could stop that coughin’, I mean coffin. I loved that the crematorium has an afterburner. An afterburner to send us off to the afterlife. Doesn’t seem like such a grave undertaking after all.

John Austin

PatrickW: Deny Hagadone Dock, Helipad Request

Patrick Wheeler: While I have personally been a continual supporter of Hagadone Development projects (with the exception of the Terraces) I find absolutely no reason to justify the encroachment permit, ie 200’ dock permit request, dual slip enlargement,and groth of Helipad.This venture appears to have NO commercial connection whatsoever, rather an expansion of personal property at the publics’ expense. DENY this permit request at ALL costs.

DFO: Anyone attend last night’s hearing at the Idaho Department of Lands regional HQ? If so, tell us what happened.

Parting Shot: To Catch A Thief — 12/13/07

Clarkston Police/Lewiston Tribune
A surveillance camera captures the image of Michael Millhouse at the counter of the Zip trip store on Bridge Street Tuesday in Clarkston, Wash. A women’s wallet can be seen on the counter in front of Millhouse. The camera videotaped Millhouse later picking up the wallet and putting it inside his coat and walking out of the store. This is a follow-up to the earlier Huckleberries Online post here.

OrangeTV: Chicken Basket To Open Soon

New greasy food shack alert: Opening soon on Northwest Boulevard across from the Spokesman Review building in Coeur d’Alene is the Chicken Basket. The signs read “Fish and Chicken” and”Broasted Foods” but otherwise, it’s a bit of a mystery. I can’t imagine that Paul Bunyan, also located directly across the street is too thrilled about this development since they also sell chicken and fish, although “broasted” certainly doesn’t describe their brand of deep-fryer abuse. Hopefully they’ll come up with something unique and wonderful - I fear that building is cursed, having been home to the ill-fated Pasty Depot several years back along with several failed skate shops. Expect some form of a review here as soon as they open for biz/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More Bread Crumbs here.

Question: Where do you buy your take-home chicken?

Best Thread: SR Rehires Taryn, Meghann, Paula

Taryn Hecker becomes our new natural resources beat reporter. She will report to Addy Hatch and the City Desk and work out of the downtown Spokane office. Meghann Cuniff will be our new night general assignment reporter and MoJo (mobile journalist). She will report to Carla Savalli as a member of our new Innovation team. These rehires were made in accordance with our SES contract and are based solely on seniority. Taryn and Meghann were the most senior reporters to apply for those two jobs. In addition to Meghann and Taryn, Paula Davenport will rejoin the staff in late January or early February as the newsroom receptionist, a non-SES position/Editor Steve Smith, News Is A Conversation. More here

DFO: You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to make a post like this one.

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 12/13/07

Jerry Larson/Waco Tribune-Herald, AP
Hugh DeLaRosa, 3, looks over his shoulder earlier this month as he drives his motorized toy stock car across a downtown street in Waco, Texas, while his parents, not pictured, walk just ahead of him. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Further proof that inattentive driving starts early, little Hugh rubbernecks a wreck between a Big Wheel and Radio Flyer — KeithinCDA.

2. You know what they say about men who drive red, convertible sport cars - they’re compensating for the fact that they are toddlers — Idawa.

3. As the price of gasoline continues to soar, the industry tries to accommodate with alternative modes of transportation. This little beauty, designed for those “small in stature”, is both cost effective and ecologically friendly! — Kendramama.

HM: Whippersnapper

Huckleberries Hears …

… that Coeur d’Alene Press Publisher Jim Thompson has been relieved of his corporate newspaper duties and busted back to a mere publisher in a Hagadone Newspaper shake-up. Seems newspaper chain owner Duane Hagadone is hosed that Brand X isn’t living up to his profit standards. Thompson, as you may recall, won a power struggle with Tom Kurdy, a Coeur d’Alene native and Kalispell Daily Inter Lake publisher, a few years ago to oversee the Hagadone newspaper operations. Stay tuned …

Blogger Keen: Web Fare Threatens Media, Culture

Item: Fighting the Cult of the Amateur: A Web 2.0 Critic Takes on the Confederacy of E-Dunces/The Futurist.

Internet entrepreneur Andrew Keen: The alternative to mainstream media, which is the Internet, is by definition untrustworthy because it doesn’t have gatekeepers. It lends itself not to imagined corruption, but to real corruption. Ironically, the continual distrust of our supposedly unreliable mainstream media has given us a new media that is, by its very definition, unreliable.

Question: Which do you trust more: Mainstream Media? Or New Media?

Letter Writer Opposes Hagadone Plans

re: letter sent by David B. Larsen to Idaho Department of Lands, opposing Hagadone dock/helipad proposal:

“While I commend the Hagadone family for hosting charitable events at their Casco Bay residence, the expansion of dockage and major incursion into the public waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene should be disallowed. It appears in the application that the need for expansion is due in part to the loss of road access to the waterfront area of the property. Road access has always been private and any continuation of road access will continue to be private. Its elimination to the beach area is the homeowner’s decision”/David B. Larsen, Coeur d’Alene. More here

Meeting: 6 tonight at regional HQ of Idaho Department of Lands in Coeur d’Alene Industrial Park

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest Online — 12/13/07

Spokesman-Review Photo
Cody Castagna pauses during a press conference at his lawyer, David Partovi’s, law office in Spokane Oct. 30. The 26-year-old waiter porn star has been charged with extortion in connection with a sexual encounter he had with then, Washington state Rep. Richard Curtis. See Item No. 2.

1. Top Idaho Story: The Idaho Transportation Board has voted unanimously to authorize up to $250 million in bonds for work on six major highway corridors here/KTVB.

2. Top Spokane Story: Spokane County prosecutors charged a 26-year-old waiter and part-time porn model with extortion Wednesday in connection with a sexual encounter in October that ended the career of a Washington state representative here/Spokesman-Review.

3. Top Cartoon: Oprah’s running mate/Eric Devericks, Seattle Times.

4. Online Poll: 64% of 713 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll disagree with Gov. Butch Otter’s position that “Idaho’s public pension fund managers should keep investments in companies that do business in Sudan, even though critics say those companies might be supporting genocide in the African country.”

5. News Roundup: PETA ranks Idaho prisons best for veggie food/Eye On Boise; Chlorine leak kills 200,000 young rainbow trout/Idaho Statesman; Duncan death penalty hearing set April 14/Spokesman-Review; Delaware man bags massive elk in Idaho/Delaware Online; and Fantasizing teacher still gets paid 13 months later/Spokesman-Review; and Evel Knievel: an original American idol/Inlander.

6. IMHO: They work hard for reputation, so tip right/Doug Clark, Spokesman-Review; Does Idaho want med school or more docs?/Jim Fisher, Lewiston Tribune; Another paper cut/Randy Stapilus, Ridenbaugh Press; When the moderator becomes the story/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman; and Come, let’s us spray/G. George Ostrom, Hungry Horse News.

Orbusmax Special: Many doctors could miss sign of breast cancer here.

Rumorama — CDA Federal Courthouse

Rumor: I heard there has been initial converstions into a land swap with St Vincent for the Federal Building.

LCDC exec Tony Berns: I know folks are talking about possibilities, but I do not know what type of latitude is available on this issue. The LCDC has not had any conversations with St. Vincent re. the courthouse. However, we have invited the St. Vincent Ex. Director to come and talk about St. Vincent’s community plans/goals at the next LCDC Board meeting (12/19).

In The News — Clemens, Pettitte Named

Chris O’Meara/AP Photo
New York Yankees pitchers Roger Clemens, left, and Andy Pettitte watch during a baseball game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays in St. Petersburg, Fla., in this July 15 file photo. Clemens and Pettitte were the first names to emerge from the release of the Mitchell Report today as baseball players who used performance-enhancing drugs. More here.

Questions: Which of the following describes your attitude toward baseball players who used performance-enhancing drugs: Who cares? They all do it. Or ban them all from baseball.

Duncan Death Penalty Hearing Set April 14

U.S. District Judge Edward Lodge has set Joseph Duncan’s death penalty sentencing hearings to begin on April 14 – one week later than federal prosecutors had requested, but five months earlier than defense attorneys wanted/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review. More here

Statesman: UI Admits Errors, Begins Healing

One change at the Moscow campus has little to do with numbers and more to do with mindset. There is a refreshingly and brutally candid recognition of the university’s recent problems - and the challenges ahead. “I don’t think I, or anybody else, knew the depth and the breadth of the crisis of the University of Idaho. It was a crisis of leadership, no doubt. It was a crisis of vision - not having one. It was a crisis of financial mismanagement, of low integrity and loss of trust with our public, with our faculty on and off campus, the Legislature, the governor, the (state) board. The university was at her knees.” A crisis? Low integrity? A university at her knees? These tough words come not from a Vandal-basher - but from the head Vandal. It’s how Tim White describes the situation he inherited in 2004, when he became the university’s president/Idaho Statesman editorial. More here

Related: UI prez White: Best days are ahead

LDII: How About Floating Parking Lots?

re: 5 Q’s w/Julie Delsaso re: Hagadone dock proposal

Last Demo In Idaho: All thus discussion reminds me of a tongue-in-cheek comment made a few years ago regarding the fate of the lakeshore in the downtown area. One wag raised the spectre of Hagadone or the City requesting a permit from the State for a “floating parking lot” to alleviate the parking congestion downtown. Considering the mentality of some city boosters, I would not bet against it! If helipads are OK, why not Lexuspads?

DFO: Don’t forget the Idaho Department of Lands hearing for Duane Hagadone’s proposed commercial dock and ha-huge helipad at Casco Bay. It starts at 6 tonight at the Lands Department HQ in the Coeur d’Alene Industrial Park.

Best PM Thread: Putting A Beloved Pet Down

Originally posted at 5:46 p.m. Wednesday

I’m going to put my dog down. It’s time. I have been avoiding it, now, for quite some time. But it is time. She can’t see, but she can still smell her food and water. She no longer cares where she relieves herself, so she isn’t permitted to live in the house anymore. She has a covered kennel filled with blankets, pillows and a bed, outside of our bedroom door, on the covered patio, but it is getting too cold for a twenty year old, 9 lb poodle to live outside. It is time. So why can’t I do it?/ThomG, Perspectives. More here.

Question: Anyone have a similar experience when a pet comes to the end of its life?

Stantis: Oprah, Er, Obama in ‘08

Scott Stantis/Birmingham News

Parting Shot — 12/12/07

Pablo Martinez Monsivais
President Bush, left, kisses Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes, right, during a farewell reception for her at the State Dept., in Washington Wednesday.

Get Out! How To Crash Christmas Parties

Feeling left out because your employer is too cheap to spring for a lavish company Christmas party? No worries, tis the season for convention crashing. Just wear your finest get-up, slap on a “Hello! My Name Is…” name badge and sneak into one of the many holiday functions happening on a nightly basis down at the CDA Resort! It’s easier if you go down there earlier in the day and read the list of functions for that night. The bigger party the better, and preferably one thrown by a Spokane company. Maybe you might Google the company so you won’t be totally lost at sea if someone tries to strike up a conversation about work/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here.

Question: Have you ever crashed a business Christmas Party?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 12/12/07

Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho
“North Idaho lakes are beginning to freeze over, especially further north in the Panhandle,” posts Kerri Thoreson, OnLocation North Idaho. “Smaller lakes, like Upper Twin pictured here on December 8, have about an inch of ice depth. Until there’s been sustained freezing temperatures, both day and night, be cautious when out on the ice this early in the season.”

*Betcha didn’t know that Big John Rook and Alvin and the Chipmunks go way back here.

*In the category of “Are You Smarter Than A 4th-Grade Home-schooler,” A Family Runs Through It poses some tough Geography Bee questions that’d stump most adults here.

*Here In Idaho isn’t cuh-razy about romantic comedies involving Drew Barrymore, Jennifer Aniston or Diane Keaton. But that doesn’t mean she doesn’t like sexytime flicks here.

*First, you like about Santa Claus. Then, you lie about the Coeur d’Alene Resort North Pole and urban deer. Next thing you know, you’re lying to your kids all the time about Christmas, sez MamaJD, here.

HBO Numbers: 7819 page-views and 4703 unique views.

Meanwhile, Inland Empire Girl compares her writing life to playing pinball here; Slight Detour is one of the lucky few who’s blessed with good teeth here; Arch Druid checks out SR editors here; From A Simple Mind has a word for Goody Two Shoes who are criticizing our military: War is hell here; F-Words is infuriated by a senseless murder in Missoula here; Frum Helen Back offers “The Man Song” here; JeanC’s making snickerdoodles for the staff party Thursday here; Live, Love, Laugh, Hope finally sees the eagles here; and Mrs. Mac Energetic revisits the ghosts of Christmas past here.

5 Q’s w/Julie Dalsaso re: Hagadone Dock Proposal

In this Jesse Tinsley photo from July 24, the pilot of Duane Hagadone’s Bell 430 helicopter is picked up by speedboat at its landing pad on Casco Bay.

At Julie Dalsaso’s request, a public hearing on Duane Hagadone’s request for a commercial dock and expanded helipad in front of his Casco Bay residence will be conducted at 6 p.m. Thursday at the Idaho Department of Lands office, 3780 Industrial Ave., Coeur d’Alene. Huckleberries Online asked Julie 5 questions about her decision to spend $75 to request the hearing.

DFO: Why are you concerned about Duane Hagadone’s request for a commercial dock and helipad at Casco Bay?
Julie Dalsaso: First, I was drawn in by the fact that the closing date for public comment on the application was Thanksgiving Day. I think that was by design. Secondly, the types of permits he’s requesting tend to have a commercial, for-profit claim. The lake belongs to the people. We should be receiving something in return.

PETA Ranks Idaho Prison Food Best For Vegans

PETA, the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals, has given a surprising first-place ranking to Idaho, a state that few would consider an animal-rights state given its distinction as one of just two where dog fighting still isn’t a felony. But in this case, it’s vegetarian food behind bars that’s winning Idaho praise. “PETA researched which states are doing the best job meeting their prison inmates’ hunger for meatless meals, and the results are in,” the group announced today. In naming Idaho tops in the nation, PETA said the state had the most “vegetarian-friendly state prison system.” Not that Idaho’s prison system has been getting lots of rave reviews for its cuisine. “I haven’t heard any compliments, and I would think there’s probably not a lot of compliments going around about prison food,” said Idaho prisons spokesman Jeff Ray. “When the meals cost 90 cents each, you can’t do much with that”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise, Spokesman-Review. More here. Newsweek story by Daniel Stone here.

Question: Surprised?

Hat Tip: Arpie

2008 Word of the Year: ‘w00t’

Item: “w00t” crowned word of year by U.S. dictionary/Reuters

More Info: “w00t,” an expression of joy coined by online gamers, was crowned word of the year on Tuesday by the publisher of a leading U.S. dictionary. Massachusetts-based Merriam-Webster Inc. said “w00t” — typically spelled with two zeros — reflects a new direction in the American language led by a generation raised on video games and cell phone text-messaging. It’s like saying “yay,” the dictionary said.

Question: What new word has crept into your vocabulary?

Hat Tip: Gary Crooks/A Matter of Opinion

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 12/12/07

Tongue firmly cheeked, The Daily Kos is having fun promoting this scene under the heading: “Season’s Greetings, from Idaho.” Thanks, Sen. Craig. Hat Tip: IdaBlue.

1. Before he faced the boosters, before he faced the press, before he faced anyone else at Washington State University, new football coach Paul Wulff had to face a key group. He had to meet the Cougars. On their turf/Vince Grippi, Spokesman Review. Click here. Related: Mixed reactions follow Wulff’s EWU departure/Steve Bergum, SR. John Blanchette column: Gamble on Wulff feels right.

2. The man accused by Spokane Police of extorting money from a disgraced former Washington State lawmaker Richard Curtis could turn himself in to authorities as soon as this afternoon/Thomas Clouse & Amy Cannata, Spokesman-Review. Click here.

3. Online Poll: 50% of 720 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say they oppose proposed federal fees for use of trailheads and boat launches. 31% support the plan.

4. News Roundup: Idaho 40th in nation in funding to stop kids from smoking/Idaho Statesman; White House Christmas video features ex-Idaho governor/Idaho Statesman; Idaho inmates could be charged with attack/Spokesman-Review; Boise State RB Johnson will test NFL waters/Idaho Statesman; 3 Idahoans die in Utah crash/KTVB; and Ex-Seahawk pulls woman from ditch/Seattle PI.

5. Blogosphere: Inner worlds of Baby Boomer cranks/The Unbearable Bobness of Being; Board of Education makes big news in private/Eye On Boise; Vigilanteeism, cyber style/Dogwalk Musings; The anti-human movement/Adam’s Blog; and Idaho’s holiday gift to national media/Kevin Richert.

6. IMHO: Where were Democrats when torture occurred/Jim Fisher, Lewiston Tribune; God’s endorsement/David Horsey, Seattle PI; Behind closed doors/Spokesman-Review; and Evangelicals shouldn’t discount Romney simply because he’s Mormon/Heath Haussamen, New West.

Orbusmax Special: Wo/Man cuts off testicles in prison, sues state of Oregon here.

SR Files Complaint Against Idaho Ed Board

A complaint filed this morning asks the Idaho Attorney General’s office to investigate whether the state Board of Education violated the law by having a closed meeting to decide to stop standardized tests this spring for Idaho ninth-graders/Erica F. Curless, Spokesman-Review. More here.

Attorney Reed: Correcting McEuen Misconceptions

This letter to the Coeur d’Alene Press editor provides a short history of McEuen Field:

Allow me to correct a repeated misunderstanding about McEuen Field. All of the property of Tubbs Hill and south of Front Street was purchased by the city of Coeur d’Alene in 1937 for $19,000 “for use as a public park and a building site for municipal water and electric plants.” The plan for a power plant failed. In the 1960s the city began development of the athletic fields. Mae McEuen was chair of the City Park and Recreation Committee. Mae contracted cancer and died. At the suggestion of Park Director Red Halpern, the City Council voted to name the only developed softball field after Mae McEuen.

Blanchette: Gamble On Wulff Feels Right

It seemed a shame on the day of Wulff’s ordination to spend so much energy on the doubts rather than on a devoted soldier getting something he deserves, but such is the current culture of athletics in which not only does everybody have opinions but they’re also instant, widely broadcast, loud and uncompromising. But then, even WSU athletic director Jim Sterk admitted it. “Going in,” Sterk said of Wulff, “he was the dark horse”/John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review. More here.

Related: A dream, a chance, a deal: Initially a dark horse, Wulff was unanimous choice to be WSU coach/Vince Grippi, Spokesman-Review; provides complete coverage of the Wulff hiring here.

Question: On a scale of 1 (lowest) to 10, how interested are you in WSU sports? Should Huckleberries Online bring you updates on important WSU sports news via in-house sources?

Eye On Boise: ISAT Decision Made In Private

Does it matter if the State Board of Education violated the Idaho Open Meeting Law when it decided to end ISAT testing for thousands of 9th graders all across the state? Of course it does. The open meeting law is one of the most important protections Idahoans have to guarantee an honest and open government, and it ensures that the people of our state have a role to play in our government, from listening to and understanding the debate on important issues to making informed choices when they select their government representatives. Plus, many people have differing views on ISAT testing in the state’s public schools. People care, and it matters. Why would something like that be handled behind closed doors?/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Does it matter to you that the Idaho Board of Educaton decided in private to end ISAT testing for ninth-graders?

MamaJD: I Loved Working @ HHospitality

Granted, I was in college and did not have to support a family when I worked for Hagadone Hospitality. My minimum wage was adjusted to reflect the tips I made as a waitress and as a caddie. I loved working for Hagadone Hospitality. There were some grumpy grumps as there are with any job that hated the place but those people kept showing up for work anyway. I might have become a grumpy grump myself had I not used the opportunities those part time jobs provided while I got my degree.

Bob & Sam: It’s Cold, Metaphorically Speaking, Too

Bob: The ice is like a metaphor. For something cold and frozen. Like a thought paralyzed in a old trapper’s refrigerator crisper. Thawing. Soon to be mixed with squirrel gravy and hope. Hope for spring. When the ice is no longer a metaphor but rivulets like aircraft carriers plying the Gulf. Not Mexico. Persia. Ice like plutonium enrichment. Cold, man, cold.

Sam: No, Bob, colder than cold. Cold not just like ice, but the frosty, burny, dangerous dry kind. Dry ice, that is. A winter like a 7-up two-liter bottle stuffed with the craggy, cracked chunks of dry ice that only Albertson employees are allowed to touch with thick rubber gloves, with a touch of water inside thrown into a deep freezer until it explodes, blasting sound waves to the middle-aged mother of three purchasing Hungry Man salsbury steak dinners in the freezer aisles, who hears it and wonders, “Where’s Jimmy?” That kind of winter.

Coming Tomorrow … in the Post Falls Voice

*The story about Fred Lambert’s Light Show Extravaganza on West Hayden Avenue will be the centerpiece for the Post Falls Voice Thursday morning.

*Those of you in western Kootenai County will see the return of the full-length Huckleberries print column in the Voice, too. A second full-length column will run in the Handle Extra Saturday. Don’t despair. I’ll provide links to the columns here at Huckleberries Online.

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12/13/07

After a day without my regular computer, bouncing back and forth between a backup and my Mac Book, while writing a print column for Thursday, things are finally getting back to normal at Huckleberries Online. The computer repair and our annual noon Christmas lunch knocked out Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest feature this morning. It’ll return Wednesday. Meanwhile, you can start your own threads with this Wild Card …

Overheard @ Sandpoint HS By Cedar Post Staffers …

*Imagine life without SpongeBob
*I love my graphing calculator more than my cell phone!
*I did, like, a volleyball roll into the bathroom
*(from teacher) We don’t want the kids to know they get second chances
*Sandpoint’s whiter than a KKK conference
*The good girls have boyfriends, so I just wait to be the rebound

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 12/13/07

Mary Altaffer/AP Photo
North Korea’s U.N. Ambassador Pak Gil Yon speaks to reporters during a news conference at Avery Fisher Hall Tuesday in New York. Pak discussed plans for the New York Philharmonic to perform in Pyongyang in February 2008. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. North Korean defector Wok Mak Yuk thinks of the torture his loved ones face for his leaving, especially his mother in law, while the reflection of his dear leader comes to him in the mirror — In The Know.

2. A prickly Pak patiently peeks at a packed but partially-pickled press party, predictably but not practically picked to procede the Philharmonic’s peak performance — John Austin.

3. In exchange for performing in Pyongyang, Gil Yon offers a mini-Pak of musical goblets for each musician and support staff member — Lynn S.

HM: Joan E. Harman

Setting Bob Paulos Straight

From the minutes of the Nov. 21 meeting of the Lake City Development Corp:

Bob Paulos Visit “(Executive Director) Berns shared that he and LCDC Commissioner Reid visited Mr. Paulos the morning of the Board meeting (November 21st ) to discuss the LCDC issues raised in Mr. Paulos’ November 18th Coeur d’Alene Press newspaper column. The meeting with Mr. Paulos was very pleasant and productive. Mr. Paulos received a thorough overview of the LCDC business model and all of his questions were addressed. Mr. Paulos thanked Commissioner Reid and Ex. Director Berns for visiting with him re. the LCDC efforts, and encouraged us to continue our outreach efforts to better communicate the LCDC’s public benefit accomplishments for the Coeur d’Alene community.”

LMT’s Fisher: Risch Borrows Page From Craig

Jim Risch is running to replace Larry Craig in the U.S. Senate, but he probably isn’t welcoming comparisons of him to the disgraced Craig. It is therefore strange to see Lt. Gov. Risch mail a fundraising letter that could have come straight out of one of Craig’s campaigns. The letter warns recipients that if they don’t send Risch plenty of cash right now, “this battleground U.S. Senate seat could easily be lost” - and lost to a Democrat yet. How could that be in such a conservative state? The letter explains that “for the last several months the national Democrat Party has been targeting Idaho’s U.S. Senate race. They think that because Senator Larry Craig is retiring in 2008, they can funnel enough money from left-wing donors in Democrat bastions like New York City and Hollywood to steal this U.S. Senate seat from the GOP”/Jim Fisher, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: How would you rate Demo Larry LaRocco’s chance to beat Repub Lt. Gov. Jim Risch in next fall’s election: Slim and none, snowball in hell, long-shot, none, anything can happen if you show up and run.

Huckleberries Hears …

… that City Attorney Mike Gridley and his teen daughter, Kathryn, will be traveling to Vietnam this week, to bike from Saigon to Hanoi. The trip will last from Thursday until Jan. 4. Nah, Mike didn’t serve in Vietnam. He graduated from high school in 1974 and was signed up for the draft when he war ended. For those keeping score at home, Mike biked across country in 2001, from Gig Harbor, Wash., to Bar Harbor, Maine. His daughter joined him for the trip in Coeur d’Alene.

Letter’s In The Mail

Pamphleteers Kathy Sims and Tom Macy (pictured) shouldn’t breathe easier re: the threat by the city of Coeur d’Alene to pursue legal remedies against them. Remember? The pair reportedly failed to submit the proper paperwork, pre- and post-election, for a last-minute flier in the city elections, castigating incumbents Ron Edinger, Al Hassell and Dixie Reid for their roles in supporting urban renewal. Only Sims and Macy apparently didn’t appoint a campaign treasurer until after the election. Nor did they file the proper paperwork with the city clerk’s office. In other words, they didn’t go through the necessary steps to collect money. They could be liable for civil penalties running into the thousands of dollars. City Attorney Mike Gridley was preparing paperwork to notify Sims and Macy of their possible violations when I called a few minutes ago. The clock is running at $50 per day in one case and $250 per day, up to $2,500, in another. Stay tuned.

JoanH: Bring Back Huckleberries Print

Joan Harman: Huckleberries, bring it back. Don’t even read the others.

DFO: Joan, thanks for the kind thought. Huckleberries will return as full-length, 18-inch columns this week. I’ll write different Huckleberries column for the Post Falls Voice Thursday and the Handle Extra Saturday. Much of the material will be pulled from Huckleberries Online. So you guys need to be on your toes more than ever, with brilliant comments and insight. The Post Falls Voice circulates only to the western half of Kootenai County. But I’ll repost that column and the one from Handle Extra here, in case you missed it in print.

Editor Smith: Gore Or Evel?

I took a call this morning from a loyal reader quite upset that we put Al Gore’s Nobel prize ceremony inside the A section while giving Evel Knievel’s funeral big display on the Northwest cover. She challenged our sense of priorities and pleaded that we do more with global warming/Steve Smith, News Is A Conversation. More here

Question: In general, are we underplaying the global warming debate? Did we overplay Knievel, not just today but since his death?

Question: First Hunting Kill

Item: Boy’s first buck more special because of rare coloring: Experts say the four-point buck may have had a genetic trait known as melanism that caused its fur and tongue to be black/Eric Barker, Lewiston Tribune.

More Info: Van Tassel said family members had reported seeing a black doe in the area but not a black buck. Although Pearson and his father are proud of the deer, both are a little sheepish about taking such a rare individual. But they are also pragmatic about it. “It’s so rare he hates to shoot something like that,” Van Tassel said.

Question: Do you remember your first hunting kill?

Proposed Hagadone Casco Bay Expansion Deadline Today

I don’t know if you are aware of the big request Hagadone has for a rather extensive, perhaps massive enlargement, would be a better description of the dock permit requests for his Casco Bay property. He wants to move the existing dock and boat slips next to Murphy and put in a new bigger and better dock system on the north side.( install a commercial dock with a 30’x3’ ramp, 200’x10’ approach, and 38’x36’ 2 slip dock with 8 pilings) This would allow space for 2 tour boats to tie up there + 2 boat slips, covered I imagine. A 2nd application would convert the existing 12x30 swimming dock/heliport to a new 30x35’ + 4 pilings for a new swimming dock/heliport. A public hearing is scheduled for Dec 13th, 6 pm at the Dept of Lands office, 3780 Industrial Ave South, CdA, 83815. Deadline for written comments is 6pm Wed 12/13. Speakers must sign in by 6pm as well/A Berry Picker.

Question: For some reason, this one seems to have slipped beneath the radar. Why?

A Berry Picker

Business Review: Sims Still Targets LCDC

Item: Too much renewal, not enough blight: Legislative committee studies urban renewal agency reform/Lara Volkert, Idaho Business Review

More re: Kathy Sims: LCDC is growing fat on the tax increment from those wealthy districts, she said. It gets the entire taxable value of anything new built in those districts, she said, and it receives a hefty chunk of taxes from older businesses that were built in those areas before the districts were created, based on property value appreciation since the district’s creation. Sims’ business, Coeur d’Alene Honda, is one of those older businesses. She said she pays $15,000 in property taxes, and $9,000 of that goes to LCDC.

Question: You thought the anti-LCDCers were going to quit after their defeat in the Coeur d’Alene city elections?

Survey: CDA Among 20 Safest Smaller Towns

Item: Cd’A in top 20 safest small cities: Farmers Insurance Group survey rates weather, environment, employment/Sean Garmire, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: A survey funded by a major insurance group finds Coeur d’Alene is the 18th most secure small city in the U.S. According to the survey contracted by Farmers Insurance Group of Companies, Coeur d’Alene is among the 20 safest American cities with a population less than 150,000.

Question: Do you feel safe in your small North Idaho town?

Idawa: Unions Have Little Purpose In Idaho Economy

Anyway, I tend to agree, that Unions have little place in most jobs in Idaho. There are very few Idaho jobs left where the employer has disproportionate market power over employees. I tend to subscribe to the model that Union are only beneficial when the employer is akin to a monopoly employer, ie. there is no alternate market for a persons labor, such as in Timber/Mining towns and Government service jobs. As it is, the economy of Idaho appears to be mostly service, agriculture, and construction based which don’t have economies such that union are a help to workers. In fact, they probably are a hindrance in those types of jobs.


Mother of the Bride: When Speed-Dating Works

Mother of the Bride: Our daughter met our son-in-law in line waiting to go into a speed dating get together. They went through the process, exchanged phone numbers and he called her for a date two days later. Neither went out with anyone else they’d met that night. They became engaged several months later and have just celebrated their third wedding anniversary. It worked for them but I think because they were both in their late 20s, professionals and had been in the dating scene long enough to know what kind of person they were looking for.

Question: Do you believe in love at first sight?

Michael Vick Going To Prison Wild Card — 12/10/07

It’s been an odd Monday today. My office computer is in Spokane for repairs. So I’ve been operating between a second computer and my Mac Book in the Coeur d’Alene news room. Compounding the problem, we’ve switched the process around a little. So I can’t post photos with my Mac Book until I learn the new posting formula. Which I didn’t have time to do today. That’s why the blog roundup doesn’t have a photo. Additionally, I wrote my first column today for the Post Falls Voice. I’ll write my first full-length column tomorrow for Handle Extra. In other words, I’ve been a bit distracted. Can’t wait for my new, improved computer to get back around 9:30 a.m. Tuesday. But that shouldn’t stop you from using this Wild Card to post your own threads …

Kapower: New Adjective Day

I was checking out the online comic “A Large Panda” today, and I was delighted to discover a fake adjective I’ve never come across before. Because of the way the site is set up, I can’t link you directly to the comic, but in the eighth comic in the series, it uses the word “ASS-KICKULAR” to describe a Sigmund Freud doll with karate-chop action. So your assignment for the day is to use the word “ass-kickular” in a coversation so it gets assimilated into the vernacular/Shadra, Kapower.

Question: Christmas Cards

If you are like me, you will make a list after Christmas of those who sent out cards to you. That way, maybe cutting the list down some. But that isn’t always true, as some one stops sending cards, but then there are others who will start sending cards to you. So there you are, armed with the list. You start at the top and head down … sending to family, of course. That is a given, for the most part. But then there are the ones who you have not seen in 23 years or so. Do you send out a card or not? Do you think about how they are probably sitting there, wondering if you are going to send a card. Ready to cross you off their list, if only you wouldn’t send a card to them/From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: When do you remove someone from your Christmas card list? When do you add someone?

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 12/10/07

Associated Press Photo

Van Miguel Hartless of Fair Haven, Vt., looks at the Burger King sandwich he claims contained an unwrapped condom in it. A man who says he bit into a Burger King sandwich and found an unwrapped condom inside is suing the owner of the restaurant. You write the cutline.

1. “What’s his beef?” asked the manager. “He said he wanted condom mints on his Whopper” — John Austin.

2. Everyone knows the Burger King puts a condom on his Whopper. It is the only reason the Dairy Queen has agreed to date him — ThomG.

3. Consumers are having mixed reactions to the Extra Value Options that Burger King offers. As the Fast Food Chain Wars heat up, Van Miguel now worries what McDonald’s Super Size meals contain — MamaJD.

HM: Joan Harman

Duncan’s Attorneys Want Delay Despite Harm To Shasta

oseph Duncan’s attorneys, in court papers, are now agreeing that further proceedings in the convicted killer’s case will have “collateral impact” on the lone surviving victim, young Shasta Groene. But they say Duncan’s sentencing proceedings must be delayed anyway. The defense wants the sentencing hearings, which will determine whether Duncan gets the death penalty on three federal charges, delayed until September. Federal prosecutors have only backed a delay to April, and Shasta’s court-appointed advocate told the court last week that all proceedings should be concluded by June so the young girl can have the summer to grieve, heal, and move on to middle school in the fall. Last week, the two sides reached a deal to spare Shasta from having to testify against Duncan, in exchange for delaying the sentencing hearing at least until April/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Napkin Notes: 10 Ways To Get Out Of Jury Duty

Item: Jury Duty, Redux/Katrina, Notes On A Napkin

10. Show up wearing a Charles Manson tee shirt and carrying a dog-eared copy of “Helter Skelter”. Every so often, giggle for no reason.
9. As the judge reads the list of charges, count them down on your fingers, loudly saying “check” after each one.
8. Fake narcolepsy.
7. Bring your kids with you. Be sure to feed them a hearty breakfast of Nerds and Twinkies first.
6. Wait until the judge asks you a routine jury polling question, then stand up and shout, “You can’t handle the truth!”
5. Ask to see the breastfeeding facilities.
4. Start booing and hissing whenever the defense attorney gets up to make a statement.
3. When you’re asked to take the juror’s oath, insist on translating it into Klingon.
2. Whisper loudly to the potential juror beside you: “This show was so much better when Jerry Orbach was on it!”
1. Wear this.

Katrina/Notes On A Napkin

Question: When did you last serve on a jury? What kind of case did you hear? Innocent or guilty?

Twentysomethings Rule In Huetter

Item: Twentysomethings seek area growth, want to spiff up Huetter, create city identity/Hope Brumback, Spokesman-Review correspondent

Kathy Plonka/Spokesman-Review
Huetter mayor-elect Brad Keene, left, and Huetter City Council members Luke Gibler and Jeni Brown stand at the intersection of Seely and Seltice Road near Huetter.

Question: Is early to mid-20s to young to serve in elected office? What can a twentysomething bring to office to compensate for his/her lack of experience?

Butch Raise Beaucoup $$$ w/North Idaho Ball

In case you were wondering about the “North Idaho Governor’s Ball” that took place at the Coeur d’Alene Resort last week, it was not a state event, but instead was a fundraiser for Gov. Butch Otter’s campaign fund, modeled after similar events he held when he was serving in Congress (then called “North Idaho Congressional Ball”). According to Jason Lehosit of Otter’s campaign, the event drew more than 300 people at $50 a head, and featured country music and dancing to the Kelly Hughes Band along with speeches from Otter and Lt. Gov. Jim Risch. “Everybody had a great time,” Lehosit said. “It was black tie optional, so there some people in tuxedos, and people in suits.” Risch, when he was governor, also held a similar North Idaho event shortly after he took office/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Did any of you HBOers attend the Governor’s fund-raising ball?

Question: Centennial Trail

Item: Grade A trail: Study will focus on benefits, advantages of Centennial Trail to Cd’A/Bill Buley, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: Question: What can improve your health year round, benefit your community economically and aesthetically and attract vacationers to visit and even settle in North Idaho? Here’s what Hugo Lecomte says the answer is: The Centennial Trail. And the University of Idaho student aims to prove all the advantages of the 24-mile trail that stretches from Higgens Point and Lake Coeur d’Alene to the Idaho-Washington border in his master’s thesis in sports and recreation management.

Question: Which part of the Centennial Trail do you use most?

Online Poll: Which Repub Do You Support?

Results of the latest presidential poll conducted McClatchy newspapers and MSNBC were published in Sunday’s paper. Who do you support for the Republican nomination? — Idaho Statesman.


DFO: Giuliani or Huckabee, at this point

Handle Extra Columnist: Pineapple Express Hits Hard

Item: Pineapple Express hits with a fury/Michelle Boss, Spokesman-Review correspondent

More Info: It is known as the Pineapple Express, and this particular one hit the Northwest with a fury earlier this week. Strong winds, heavy rains and record high temperatures in the middle 50s made their way into the Idaho Panhandle. This snow eating monster of a storm melted away piles of the white stuff just as quickly as it had fallen.

Question: We’re a week and a half into what I call “hard winter” (December/January). The weathermen have made their guesses about winter ‘07-08. Do you have any predictions re: how the rest of winter will play out?

It’s Monday

A Cavalier King Charles Spaniel rests on her water bowl Saturday, during the Bay Colony Dog Show in Boston/Lisa Poole, AP Photo.

Question: Does this photo capture your feelings toward Mondays — resigned? Or are you rarin’ to tackle the week ahead?

Top Weekend Thread: Idaho Viewed Differently Now

Originally posted at 1:42 a.m. Saturday
Item: Tourism chief sees world of potential: ‘Seismic shift’ in perception of Idaho/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review

Question: How do you view Idaho?

1. Potatoes
2. Aryans
3. Iowa?
4. Hicksville
5. Reddest red state
6. Evel Knievel jumped there
7. Duaneatopia
8. Sagebrush Rebellion
9. Paradise: Build a fence around it
10. Other

DFO: No. 9

Heller: Still Not Christmas

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Online Poll: Your TV Service

What sort of television service to you have in your home? — Lewiston Tribune.

*Satellite dish
*Premium cable
*Basic cable
*Nothing I have to pay extra for
*I don’t own a TV.

DFO: Basic Cable

IEG: Will New Huckleberries Columns Run Outside KootCo?

Inland Empire Girl: DFO: Will the Handle Extra with your columns be there one Kellogg readers get? Mom will be asking if I call her this week-end.

DFO: Alas, no. The Handle Extra circulates throughout Kootenai County. The Post Falls Voice circulates in western Kootenai County. However, I’ll publish both columns here at Huckleberries Online.

Bob: Need Wall Around Idaho To Keep Idahoans In

I half agree with DFO. Build a fence around Idaho. Not to keep Californians and others from moving there but to keep Idahoans from moving out and infiltrating its progressive neighbors to its west. We don’t need your more dangerous values - white supremacy, Christianism, unquestioning and blind obedience to GOP thuggery, radical frontierism*, third world economic treatment of labor, rape and run natural resource extraction, refusal to provide your most vulnerable citizens, like babies and children, basic health and safety protections, and firearm and weapon fetishism. Leave us alone, please. Occasionally tune up your smoke belching beater trucks crawling along our interstates too. Thanks.


*radical frontierism is a term I coined to describe a belief system in which the deeply disturbed proponents push past the fundamental and loosely held precepts of the Sagebrush Rebellion into a near feverish wish to return to the 19th century where government was nearly nonexistent and justice was delivered at the end of knotted ropes and the smoking barrels of rifles and psychopaths like Claude Dallas and Randy Weaver are heroic. Pervasive and perverse, radical frontierism is probably the dominant weltanshauung of much of the male populace of rural Idaho and cuts, like a shaving sharp Bowie knife, through all socio-economic classes of Idaho.

Elaine: I still attach Idaho’s Name w/Aryan Nations

Elaine: To be honest, I still attach Idaho’s name in my mind with Aryans. I can’t get the images from the parades out of my head. I can’t forget. Although, the average American who knows of Idaho probably won’t say the same. I lived it, so I think Aryan.

Sweet & Sour Herb: I’m starting to believe those damn fools in the Aryan Nations had a purpose after all. They kept people out. Now that we are rid of these idiots, we have absolutely no defense against outlanders invading us. What were we thinking?

DFO: I witnessed the second of three Aryan Nations parades — the one in which authorities turned the neo-Nazis onto 4th Street and a getaway along Front Avenue to City Park when protesters formed a chain across Sherman Avenue. I also walked through Bill Wassmuth’s house in 1986 only hours after supremacists had bombed it. I also remember walking through the vacated Aryan Nations compound with Tony Stewart a short time before it was razed. Good riddance.

Question: What do you remember most about the Aryan Nations?

OrangeTV Review: Mexican Food Factory

The first thing I noticed when I made my snowy entrance into the warm, welcoming atmosphere of the Mexican Food Factory in midtown Coeur d’Alene the other evening was a dense, hungry-making aroma that I can only describe as deep-fried enchantment. It’s a dank hot oil fragrance that some restaurants might do everything to try and mask. Here, it hangs heavy in the air in proud memoriam of every golden-brown delicacy that ever emerged vaingloriously from the sizzling vat. It’s the kind of smell that gets your tongue juices flowing and your tummy quaking and lets you know you’re in for the good stuff. Like the classic cartoon image of the wispy aroma cloud making the come-hither motion with its finger and pulling someone by the nose into the kitchen, you’ll find yourself adrift with sudden fits of appetite/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here

Question: Where was the last commercial place that you ate Mexican food? What did you order?

Question: Kroc Center

Item: Kroc on track: Center expected to be finished in spring 2009/Lucy Dukes, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: When finished, the $35 million building will be 123,000 square feet, with a competition pool and leisure pool, gymnasium, fitness center, rock climbing pinnacle, indoor playground, chapel, indoor track, recording studio, meeting and event space and more. The Kroc Center is expected to be completed in spring of 2009, six months later than initially expected.

Question: How will you use the Kroc Center?

Go Figure: Career Pols Don’t Want Others To Fill Their Shoes

I am sure that Shawn does a fine job for her constituents. However, the comment that the “average citizen, should do some time in the position and understand the service and the perspective of public office” is pretty hysterical. Since I argued the case, on rehearing, before the Id S Ct it is my opinion that was what “Term Limits” tried, in reality, to allow. It was the career politicians who overrode the election decision of the “average citizens”, within days of the start of the next legislative session. It was the career politicians who said no “average citizen” you need years of experience to know how to do the stuff we do/Go Figure.

DOTC: KootCo Mortgage Industry In The Tank

very month I get a report of activity in our Recorders Office including income from recording fees. At least as an indirect measure, it tends to be a pretty good gauge of the mortgage business. That’s because everyone who buys or refinances a home needs to record the deeds and or other documents in the Recorders Office to establish ownership via the official public record for the county. Our recording volumes for the month of November are the lowest they have been since the year 2000. Ouch/Dan of the County.

Pearl Harbor Day Wild Card — 12/7/07

I heard from higher-ups earlier today that we’re moving ahead with plans to return Huckleberries to print twice a week — full-length, 18-inch columns, like the old days. There’s a catch, however. They’ll appear in the Handle Extra and Post Falls Voice sections. So no one outside Kootenai County will see them unless s/he tunes in here. The Handle Extra is circulated throughout Kootenai County. The Voice in western Kootenai County. Never fear, however … you’ll see all the column material, if you tune in here regularly b/c I’ll reprint the columns here. Now, I’m beat and headed home. I’ll leave behind this Wild Card …

Phil: Watching TV Less, Worrying Less

What do you worry about? Are most of your worries based on perception rather than reality? I’ve found that since I no longer watch TV news, my list of fears has decreased dramatically. I used to dwell on things that had very little chance of actually happening to me, just because the talking heads on the TV news told me I should be afraid. But then I’d forget about the slippery bathtub in my house or the artery-clogging hamburger I was eating/Phil, A Family Runs Through It. More here

Question: What do you worry about most?

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 12/7/07

Marcio Jose Sanchez/AP Photo
PETA supporters Christina Cho, right, and Nicole Mathews offer up vegan sandwiches outside of the federal courthouse as media wait for Giants slugger Barry Bonds to arrive in San Francisco today. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. One fake hunk of meat offers another fake hunk of meat while awaiting a third fake hunk of meat — Cabbage Boy.

2. PETA scrapped its semi-nude campaign against meat consumption shortly after this demonstration, saying that exit polling indicates that “meat” is the first word that comes to mind in a majority of men who were approached by the models — Bent.

3. “Well, I’m against meat, you know, because it has, like, drugs in it and stuff and it’s, like, really bad for you and not healthy. I mean, like I totally am all for veggies and stuff. So, don’t you totally like my outfit. It’s all green, you know, like veggies and stuff” — A Token D.


‘Mary Got Run Over By A Duane-Deer’

(sung to the tune of Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer)

Mary got run over by a Duane-Deer
Walking home from her last P&Z.
You can say there’s no such thing as payback,
But as for me and Dixie, we believe.

She’d been conspirin’ with Dan Gookin,
And we’d begged her not to go.
But she’d heard Spencer was nearby,
So she rushed outside into the snow.

Post Falls Finds Coliform In Water Samples

Routine water samples taken Wednesday revealed the presence of coliform bacteria in five of seven water samples throughout Post Falls, according to Public Works Director Terry Werner. “This is not an emergency,” Werner said. “The Water Division is currently resampling the system and has turned on the chlorination equipment. City residents do not need to boil their water. People with severely compromised immune systems, families with infants, and some elderly may be at increased risk and may want to contact their health care provider for additional guidance.

Bay Views: Waterford Park Fixes Spawning Beds

The state has withdrawn the cease and desist order from Waterford Park Homes, L.L.C., stating that the corporation has fixed the damage to spawning beds caused by construction work. The Idaho Department of Lands and the Idaho Fish & Game approved the move. The agencies said that not only did Waterford mitigate the area damaged by negligence but also the adjoining areas that were trashed by years of debris being dumped into the water. No further actions would be taken by the State. You can read Sweet & Sour Herb’s report here.

My 2 Cents — Mary Souza

I haven’t heard the particulars re: the Coeur d’Alene Press pulling former P&Zer Mary Souza’s column. I’ve heard that she was planning to use her Friday column, today or soon, to blast the proposed Education Corridor, another pet peeve of the anti-LCDC group, headed by former council wannabe Dan Gookin. As a long-time Hagadoneologist, I’d guess that Mary had become a liability, her cause and her associates had become a liability, once he failed to use them to wrestle council seats away from urban renewal supporters. Now, as he ages, he understands that he needs to good will of city elected officials to move his various projects ahead, including the propose big-boat shop and enlarged marina on Blackwell Island. After the election defeat of the anti-LCDC ticket and Mary lost her seat on the P&Z commission, Hagadone had no further use for her column-writing. He dropped her as fast as he dropped Ray Stone’s jazz combo from its Coeur d’Alene Resort venue, following Stone’s election loss to Al Hassell. So what becomes of Mary and the anti-LCDCers? They’ll probably be back next spring, attempting to influence the commissioner and legislative races. They’ll have money and be capable of another last-minute, direct-mail attack on incumbents. But they won’t have a weekly voice in the hometown newspaper. Their road to power just got that much steeper.

HBO @ Noon — Decorated Christmas Yards

I saw the best Christmas yard display ever last night at 415 Glenwood Drive. The homeowner, Mike Cole (I believe) has fashioned a display that’s synchronized with 10 to 15 minutes of music. You tune into the short-range station (90.5 FM) and listen to the music from your car while the lights of various colors, covering everything from the roof top to the trees to the bushes to the front yard and door ways, flash on and off to the beat. The Spokesman-Review is compiling a Christmas Lights database of the best displays this holiday season. I’m going to nominate this one. But there are many other light displays.

Question: Do you have any nominees for the best neighborhood light displays? (If you can provide a street or block number and a brief description, I’ll forward it to the SR database.)

For Those Keeping Score At Home …

… did you know that Huckleberries Online had published the three local front-page stories in this morning’s Coeur d’Alene Press 18 hours before they hit your door step:

Fire guts fourplex, no injuries: Cause under investigation, believed to have started in area of chimney/Lucy Dukes, Coeur d’Alene Press
*Commissioners deny Chateau: Developer contemplating lawsuits against county/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press
*Shasta won’t have to testify/Associated Press (no online link)

Of course, HBO beat SR print by that amount of time, too (although these stories appeared about the same time at the online SR). That’s why you should keep tuning in here and tell your friends and family to do so, too.

EOB: Wrap Up Duncan Case ASAP — Shasta Attorney

Even if she doesn’t have to testify, the court-appointed advocate for Shasta Groene says in court papers today that it’s in the young girl’s best interest to have all the proceedings in Joseph Duncan’s case wrapped up as soon as possible, so Shasta can grieve, heal, and move on to middle school in the fall. “The sooner this matter is concluded, the sooner she and her family can truly begin the process of grieving and healing that has been postponed now for two and one-half years,” wrote Coeur d’Alene attorney John Sahlin, guardian ad litem for Shasta. You can read his filing here, and my full story here in today’s Spokesman-Review on the deal that spares Shasta from testifying against Duncan in federal court/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise.

Question: Would You Call Brand X “Infamous”

Item: Commissioners deny Chateau: Developer contemplating lawsuits against county/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

Curious Paragraph: Moments after the ruling, Geraldine Kirk-Hughes, the Las Vegas developer behind the project, confronted Commissioner Todd Tondee to complain about the fairness of the process. The brief conversation ended and she then strongly criticized the county and called The Press “infamous” when approached to be interviewed.

Question: Is “infamous” (Webster’s: “having a very bad reputation; notorious; in disgrace or dishonor”) the word you’d use for the Coeur d’Alene Press? Or would you use something else?

Pearl Harbor Plus 66 Years

Item: How vets remember Pearl Harbor: Japanese attacked Hawaiian Naval base 66 years ago today/Lynn Berk, Coeur d’Alene Press

Bill Griffith: “I remember it very well. I was a sophomore in college and I was living in a fraternity house and we were all gathered in the living room waiting for the time to have breakfast. The radio was on, and we heard, ‘Pearl Harbor had been bombed.’ I don’t think none of us had the slightest idea where it was … prior to that time, I was a firm pacifist. I very quickly changed. When I graduated from high school, I gave the salutatorian’s talk, very pacifistic. I said we’re delighted to graduate and go on and do some noble work.”

Question: Will 9/11 be remembered as passionately 66 years from now as Pearl Harbor is today?

Big Mac: My Neighbor, The Cat Killer

Our last neighbor across the street ran a kitty Auschwitz. He kept bringing home cats for his three young (under 7) daughters. He wanted to teach them responsibility. It was their job to take care of the cats. Of course, they didn’t. They never let the cats inside or fed them. The cats slowly starved, until they died or got picked off by neighborhood dogs. We saved four of the cats, but we lost two that were too far gone to help. All are sweet cats. As for teaching the girls responsibility, I know that the girls purposely killed one of the cats by holding hum under the garage door then using the remote to close it on him. He too was a sweet cat. We used to let him stay with us on cold nights.

WorldNetDaily Poll: Romney’s Speech

Item: Most Mormons applaud Romney’s speech, delivery: ‘I was absolutely thrilled. Mitt distinguished himself’/Salt Lake Tribune; and: Romney ‘hasn’t been Mormon enough’ on public policy: Social-conservative activists concerned about socially liberal background, not creed/London Guardian

Question: What did you think of Mitt Romney’s faith speech?

1. It was a political home run – a real tour de force
2. He went above and beyond all reasonable expectations to explain his commitment to the Constitution
3. He articulated the proper role of faith in the public square as well as anyone
4. He’s got my vote
5. It was scary – it made me envision a theocracy
6. All it proved was he has good, well-paid speech writers
7. Romney’s no Jack Kennedy
8. It was a nice try but it won’t help win Iowa
9. It was a nice speech but I doubt it answered evangelicals’ concerns
10. Other

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Parting Shot — 12/6/07

Bob Pennell/Mail Tribune, AP Photo
A herd of elk wanders in a semi rural area just outside the urban limits of Medford, Oregon Oct. 10. 2007. Efforts to move the herd to a better location have been unsuccessful.

TUBOB: Why My Old Neighbors Sucked

I don’t even remember their names anymore and it’s only been six or seven years since they moved. The woman was pretty nice, friendly and took care of the yard and her little kids. The dude was a puffed up wannabe alpha neighbor man who once bellowed at my young sons who were unscrewing Christmas lights (the big bulbs) from a spare string they found in the garage and throwing them onto the street in front of our driveways to watch and hear the bulbs explode. It was no big deal really but he was coming unglued. I told the boys to stop scaring the stupid man across the street with their “Santa light bombs” and go back in the house and I didn’t mind if they wanted to make the finger bird fly at the stupid neighbor man. Christmas bulbs. Please/TUBOB. More here

Question: Did you ever have a lousy neighbor?

Huckleberries Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 12/6/07

Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographics
“Recently spent several hours photographing whitetail deer in the rut,” writes Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographics. “The idea was to get both the buck and doe in the same frame. The doe wanted little to do with him and kept her distance. But the buck got close a few times. Problem was then, who to focus on? Not enough light to really stop down for more depth of field, so I did a little of both.” More here

*Colleague Rebecca Nappi announced today that she’s giving up her Journey to Vatican II blog for two reasons here.

*Marmitetoasty has become a bit of a hermit crab of late but she jumped at the chance, before all the poop hit the fan with her knee, to join her matey at a wholesale shop 14 miles away that always gives her a good laugh here.

*Seems there’s a big blue heart art piece on the Washington State campus (artist Jim Dine’s “Technicolor Heart”) that is the source of ongoing discontent, according to Palousitics, here.

*So was America’s manifest destiny ideology evil or not? Synaptic Disunion picks up the discussion here.

*TUBOB wonders why inhabitants of Pugetopia freak out when the rare snow appears. They should enjoy the beauty, he sez, here.

HBO Blog Numbers (for Wednesday, Dec. 5): 9013 page-views and 5044 unique views.

Meanwhile, Taste of the Town has compiled a Hard 7 blog roundup here; Atmospheric Ruminations reports on weather conditions from the Oregon Coast here; The Stupid Shall Be Punished offers a sure-fire money-making scheme here; Chronic Discontent offers a Bourbon Street tip here; and Rob’s Idaho Perspective takes note of dangerous Boise traffic here.

TUBOB’s Random Thoughts

A bad day at work is still better than a good day of fishing if, let’s say, after catching a livewell full of largemouth bass you are gunning it across the lake in your bass boat and your obscenely overpowered outboard engine throws a rod and I mean “throws a rod” and piston and rod parts explode through the engine cover and miss you, which is cool, but decapitates your best fishing buddy Jumbo “Tiny” Baker Jr./TUBOB

Capt. Ben’s Honor Roll Features …

… warrants for missing scofflaws (from left) Stephen Staniszewski, Justin Brown and Willis Mouton. You can read the complete Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department warrant roundup list here.

Q: Were You A Successful Hunter This Fall?

Jim Mann/Daily Inter Lake, AP
Cheyenne Moore is dwarfed by the huge elk rack, with antlers that scored under Safari Club International guidelines, coming up with a whopping 401, without deductions. The scoring formula accounts for combined antler dimensions, including 51-inch main beams, a 47-inch inside width and combined tine lengths. Cheyenne Moore shot the elk Nov. 23 while hunting with her father, Mike Moore, in northwest Montana.

Question: Did you bag your game animal this year?

New GOP U.S. Senate A Team

Susan Walsh/Spokesman-Review
Newly named Republican Conference Chairman Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., second from right, speaks during a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington Thursday, accompanied by, from left, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, and newly named Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl of Ariz, right, following the Republican leadership vote.

Extra! Shasta Won’t Have To Testify

Item: Shasta won’t have to testify against Duncan: Prosecution, defense reach agreement/Betsy Z. Russell/Eye On Boise

More Info: Young victim Shasta Groene won’t have to testify in federal court against Joseph Duncan, under an agreement reached by both sides in the case. “The parties will stipulate that S.G. will not be called as a witness at the capital sentencing hearing,” federal prosecutors wrote in a motion filed with the court today. “Her testimony will be presented by statements she made to law enforcement officers in July 2005.”

DFO: This is the best news re: this horrible case in a long, long time.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest Online — 11/6/07

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review
Members of the Kennel Club vie for attention when the ESPNU cameras go live for the pregame show Wednesday before the Gonzaga/Washington State game at Gonzaga University. Jim Meehan blogs about the game in Sportslink here.

Spotlight: U.S. Sen. Larry Craig sends a guest opinion to New West re: global warming and catches heck in the comments section. (Hat Tip: Fort Boise)

1. Wendell Sinn pleaded not guilty to murder charges in Pend Oreille County district court on Thursday. Sinn has been accused of killing an Eastern Washington University student by tying him to the back of a truck and prompting the driver to take off/ More here

3. Eye On Boise: Young victim Shasta Groene won’t have to testify in federal court against Joseph Duncan, under an agreement reached by both sides in the case. More here

3. Serial Montana poacher Philip Mark Payton received only probation despite illegally harvesting animals for more than 15 years/Missoulilan. More here

4. News Roundup: North Idaho mom facing vehicular homicide charge for daughter’s death/KXLY; Butte doctor fired for bringing gun into hospital/Missoulian; Deputy, suspect injured in shooting near Kooskia/KXLY; Shoppers crossing Canada border for better deals/Spokesman-Review; Boise State plans to replace blue turf — with more blue turf/Idaho Statesman; and UI plans to revamp Kibbie Dome/Idaho Statesman.

5. Blogosphere: Cougs slow game down to beat Zags/ex-Zag Brian Michaelson (Gonzaga Blog); Seattle Times writer sticks to salmon story/Rocky Barker; Why my old neighbors suck/The Unbearable Bobness of Being; Supremes: No right to court-appointed divorce lawyer/Eye On Olympia; and SR publisher named to transition team, not told/Pendulum.

6. IMHO: Cougs real deal in unreal week/John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review; Indian fuel tax deal will save time, money, headaches/Spokesman-Review; Didn’t take long for Verner to break promises/Doug Clark, Spokesman-Review; Sen. Craig detached from practical solutions/Larry LaRocco, New West Boise; and Rebecca Mack makes city council play/Frank Sennett, Hard 7.

Orbusmax Special: Yakima council boots anti-tax activist Eyman from meeting here.

Cat Rescued From Burning CDA Complex

Coeur d’Alene firefighters rescued a cat from a burning fourplex Wednesday night in a fire that damaged all four of the building’s units. The fire was reported shortly before 9 p.m. at the complex near Kathleen and Crown avenues. When firefighters arrived, they found one of the complex’s many fourplexes burning, said Coeur d’Alene Fire Department Deputy Chief Jim Washko. No one was injured in the blaze, and firefighters rescued a cat from one of the burning units/Amy Cannata. More here

SR Posts 4 Job Openings

On Wednesday, The Spokesman-Review posted the following job openings:

*Night breaking news/enterprise reporter
*Natural resources reporter
*Copy editor for night news desk
*Online multimedia producer

Movie Stars Wild About Larry

George Clooney congratulates Julia Roberts.

Hat Tip: KeithinCDA

Romney: Mormon Faith Won’t Dictate Decisions

Text of Romney’s speech here

Item: Romney says religious liberty, tolerance vital to/Idaho Statesman

Mitt Romney: If I am fortunate to become your president, I will serve no one religion, no one group, no one cause and no one interest. A president must serve only the common cause of the people of the United States. Let me assure you that no authorities of my church or of any other church for that matter, will ever assert influence on presidential decisions. Their authority is theirs within the province of church affairs and it ends where the affairs of the nation begins.

Question: We’ve been having this discussion about Romney’s faith for a coupla days now. It strikes me a bit as deja vu. John Kennedy was questioned about his Catholic faith when he ran against Nixon. Are you assured by Romney’s statement today that his religious beliefs won’t intrude on his conduct if he wins office?

Bob: Spend The Dough

Oh the traffic outside is frightful,
but the sales are so delightful,
and since we’ve got three days to go,
spend the dough, spend the dough, spend the dough

The prices are quickly dropping,
and my credit card is popping
my checking account is low,
spend the dough, spend the dough, spend the dough

If the food budget is too tight,
how we’ll hate eating ramen and corn,
but if this card balance is right,
we’ll burn bills to keep us warm

My good sense is slowly dying,
And, my dear, we’re still gift buying,
But, as long as you share the woe,
spend the dough, spend the dough, spend the dough


MamaJD: Appreciate Editor Smith’s Candor

Thank you for your candor, Mr. Smith. I can appreciate your position in these matters and I recognize that this situation is difficult for everyone involved, including those currently employed. When you work with people, their humanity becomes known (such as divorce, loss of a paycheck, death, etc) and this can add even more stress to an already stressful situation. I also understand that we do not know the full details in every situation, but that has never prevented us frequent bloggers from stating our opinions. That being said, it is always difficult when your are in a position that has an affect on not just those you employ but their families that depend on that job. I think many of us pay attention because we, as readers, care about “our” newspaper and that is a good thing. Good luck in the upcoming weeks/MamaJD.

Parting Shot — 12/5/07

Kiley Cruse/AP Photo, The World-Herald
Shoppers file out of the Von Maur store with their hands up after a shooting at Westroad Mall Wednesday, Dec. 5, 2007. A man opened fire with a rifle at a busy department store Wednesday, killing eight people before taking his own life in an attack that made holiday shoppers run screaming through a mall and barricade themselves in dressing rooms. More here.

Hump Day Wild Card — 12/5/07

I’m currently on a conference call listening to discussion by Editor Steve Smith and the Spokane newsroom re: the new assignments announced Tuesday. Interesting stuff. Pretty civil so far. Now, they’re talking about the push to online journalism. Editor Smith is sold on the idea that the future of the newsroom is online. More later. I’ll play this Wild Card now while I continue to listen in.

Sparky: Nickname Woes

Do you have a nickname? I do (duh), I have been called Sparky off and on for a couple of decades by old friends who should be old enough to forget something once in a while. I use to grumble about being called Sparky. Once, I was having lunch with an old, old, old friend. She called me Sparky in front of a waitress then proceeded to go into this long story how I got the name and why it is perfect for me in so many ways. I was annoyed and felt embarrassed. The sad tale follows and you can let me know if you think I was aptly marked/Sparky, Sparky’s Notes. More here.

Question: Do you have a nickname that has stuck with you since youth?

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 12/5/07

AP Photo
This photo provided by the Smithsonian’s National Zoo, taken last week shows four baby Solomon Island leaf frogs. born Nov. 20 at the zoo in Washington. They skipped the tadpole phase emerging from their eggs as fully-formed frogs known as froglets. The Solomon Island leaf frog is one of the few species in the world to do this.

Top Cutlines

1. Mr. H prepares to crush his political toadies after their embarrassing defeat in the recent election — ThomG.

2. Oui, Oui, es called esfrog-o. Tasty with buttair and gahlique! — KeithinCDA.

3. The deaf person’s equivalent of “I’ve got a frog in my throat” — Average Joe.

HM: Lynn S

Study: Divorcers Cluttering Up Planet

Item: Divorce bad for planet, study says: Break-ups result in more land, material use/Dallas Morning News

More Info: An analysis of data on domestic relations and resource use in the U.S. and 11 other countries shows that divorce leads to more households – so more land gets built up and more building materials are used. They concluded that in the U.S. circa 2000, there were about 6 million “extra” households due to divorce.

Dogwalk Musings: Oh, please!

Question: Are you doing your part for Mother Earth by hanging in there with your partner?

Phil’s 10 Worst Household Chores

10. Dusting
9. Clearing clutter
8. Folding laundry
7. Cleaning bathtubs and showers
6. Clearing out fridge
5. Cat barf
4. Pots & pans
3. Bleaching underwear
2. Cat litter box

To find out Phil’s #1 worst household chore and to read his full post, click here.

Question: What do you consider to be the worst household chore?

Otter Backs Higher Car License To Pay For Roads

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter sat down for an interview with AP reporter John Miller yesterday, and said he’s ready to ask for higher fees for car owners to fund needed road improvements, now that the ITD has supplied him with detail on how it can also save millions through efficiencies; he still wants grocery tax relief that focuses on the needy, a concept lawmakers rejected last year; and he’s ready to ask for a change in the Idaho constitution to prevent homeowners’ taxable values for property taxes from rising with the real estate market. Click below to read the full AP article/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Would you be willing to pay higher fees to license vehicles to support road work?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest Online — 12/5/07

Kathy Plonka/Spokesman-Review
Former tug boat captain Forrest Schmeling is seen through the condensation on a window of the Florence Lee tug boat while docked at North Idaho Maritime in Coeur d’Alene on Wednesday. He retired on November 8 after working at the job since 1975. Story here. Slide show here.

1. Men’s Health ranks Spokane 11th nationally among the drunkest cities, based on statistics that include binge drinking, DUI arrests and fatal accidents involving intoxication/The Falls. More here.

2. U.S. Sen. Larry Craig’s bathroom sexcapades have been with us for some time now. Last night, Craig’s misadventure in the Minnesota airport restroom provided the plot line for “Boston Legal”/Hard 7. More here.

3. Online Poll: By 27% to 26%, a plurality of 453 respondents to a Lewiston Tribune poll believe Eastern Washington football coach Paul Wulff will be the next Washington State football coach over former Cougar and five other choices.

4. News Roundup: I-5 to reopen Friday at earliest/Seattle Times; 5 WSU frat men arrested for October fight/WSU Evergreen; Craig files 45 changes for global warming bill/Idaho Statesman; Rains dampen Schweitzer’s proposed opening/Bonner County Bee; and Pet owners says improperly euthanized/Coeur d’Alene Press.

5. Blogosphere: Joseph Pulitzer, then & now/Bay Views; It’s time to change cyberstalking law/Dogwalk Musings; Really, Hillary!/Morialekafa; Payette cabin rents frozen for year/Eye On Boise; and What’s in a letter/MountainGoat Report; and Mary Verner’s secretive group/NW Republican.

6. IMHO: Is Muhammad less deserving than U.S. flag/Jim Fisher, Lewiston Tribune; Celebrating the end of Prohibition/Dominick Bonny, WSU Evergreen; It’s time to resume something that’s right/John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review; Excessive spending is not right/U.S. Rep. Bill Sali, Idaho Statesman; and Supporters should re-examine Ron Paul’s record/Graham Dart, WSU Evergreen.

Orbusmax Special: S.L.U.T. T-shirt makers announce party for streetcar’s opening day here.

Editor Smith Addresses North Idaho Readers

Consumers decide if the product provides enough value to justify that price. No one is compelled to buy a newspaper that doesn’t meet their needs. Because we’re a mass market product, each individual brings a different calculation to the price/value equation. We provide a vastly superior international and national report than our competition. Is that worth a few cents per day? Our Sports section is award-winning, deep and will continue to provide Idaho coverage. What is that worth? Our editorial page has a deeper stable of op-ed columnists. We print thousands of letters to the editor annually. What is the value of those elements? And advertising is part of the package, too. North Idaho is booming, but Spokane remains the retail center for the region. Spokane advertising has value to some. And we’re still running about two pages daily of Idaho specific advertising. Is there value there?/Steve Smith, News Is A Conversation. More here.

Hard 7: In Praise Of Jim Kershner’s Column

The S-R’s post-layoff newsroom reorganization was announced last night. The sad revelation from where I sit is that Jim Kershner no longer will be writing his weekly column. Quite often, Jim’s column is the flat-out funniest piece in the paper all week. I believe he’s forged a strong bond with Spokane readers over the years and the loss of this column will leave a significant void—even though he’ll still be writing tons of features. In tight times, resource deployment realities can be harsh and I’m guessing this was a difficult call. But I wish there was some way that Jim’s once-a-week opportunity to showcase his wit could be restored/Frank Sennett, Hard 7. More here.

DFO: Editor Steve Smith and the upper management team will discuss the realignment in discussions with the newsroom late the afternoon and late tomorrow morning. The Coeur d’Alene staff will be involved via conference call in the Thursday meeting. It should be fascinating. Also, I believe, Editor Smith will post the 4 additional openings in the newsroom sometime today. Stay tuned.

Q: Should Crosses Be Part Of Chaplain Badges?

Item: Crosses to be removed from police chaplain badges/Karen Dorn Steele, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Crosses will be removed from badges worn by Spokane Police chaplains under terms of an out-of-court settlement between the city and a former Lutheran pastor-turned-atheist who sued over the government agency’s use of the insignias and Christian prayers.

Frank Sennett/Hard 7: This isn’t about disrespecting anyone’s religion. In fact, it’s about respecting everyone’s faith—and respecting the appropriate separation of church and state. More here.

Question: What do you think of this settlement?

In The News: Hillary Clinton Hostage Taker

Jim Cole/AP Photo
Leeland Eisenberg talks about strapping a fake bomb to himself and taking people hostage at the Rochester, N.H. campaign office of Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, during an interview from the Strafford County Jail in Dover, N.H., Tuesday.

Idaho Escapee: Peddlin’ Religion Door to Door

Idaho Escapee: I’m not saying these two religions are wrong. This country advocates freedom of religion, and I don’t care what someone believes. But, when either Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses come to my door, trying to recruit me into their religion, I just tell them, “thanks, but I don’t want to talk about religion”. And I don’t think I want to indulge in door-to-door religion. I’ve always wondered, do the Mormons and Jehovah’s, when they go from door-to-door, actually care about who they are talking to, or are they trying to get to a higher level of heaven, or just doing what their religion dictates they do?

DFO: I didn’t post this to pick on the Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. But they’re the two main religions in this country who proselytize door to door. I get irritated when a proselytizer knocks on my door on a weekend when I’m trying to decompress from a busy week here, wishin/hopin/prayin to convert me. Sometimes, I almost have to chase them away with a broom to persuade them that they have no chance in the world of converting me. Am I the only one who pets this particular peeve. Is there a place you can call with religious groups to opt out of the door-to-door drive-bys — like Idaho’s Do Not Call service. Just askin’.

DennisH: What About The Gang Of Four

Dennis Hinrichsen: I have Googled the ‘Gang of Four’ with little success. Were you ridinghigh as a Press reporter at that time? I wonder what Sander’s beach bathers think of Fromm’s Save Our Shoreline ticket. I did locate two sites of interest, thought I admit the first is totally DRY and the second unreadable for the moment: Take a moment for your fans and document the achievement of Mayor Fromm and disclose who the three Councilors were that cowtowed to him. What the Citizens of Coeur d’Alene must ask themselves: Are longterm residents who are dependent on gainful employment better off or worse off than they were in the mid-80’s.

DFO: First, I’ve never worked for the CDA Press; however, I was managing editor of Duane Hagadone’s Kalispell Daily Inter Lake for four years. Briefly, the Gang of Four (Fromm, Steve McCrea, Bob Brown and Judge Jim Michaud) ended the firefighters’ strike, ended the building moratorium, required public access to the boardwalk when it approved the PUD for the Coeur d’Alene Resort, stopped the return of hydroplane races, adopted the city’s shoreline ordinances and much else. It had little to do with Sanders Beach. It had little to do with the economic doldrums that hit this area in the mid to late ‘80s. It was hated by the movers and shakers of this community. But it was effective in protecting the shoreline and getting the community moving again.

Teen Crashes Into Card Shop While Looking For Cell Phone

Shortly before 4 p.m. Tuesday, a car went through the front window of the (50% Off Card Shop near Hastings on the 100 block of (Appleway) after a teen driver forgot to put the vehicle in park. Police say the driver pulled into a parking spot in front of the building and became confused while looking for his cell phone. He then exited the vehicle without putting the car into park. The vehicle rolled forward and the teen attempted to get back in and stop it. He was unable to stop the vehicle and it crashed through the window. Police say the vehicle entered the store where the clerk would have been standing, however, the clerk was not present/

Parting Shot — 12/4/07

Karen Pulfer Focht/AP, Commercial Appeal
Wild Oats, a cat who lives outside is seen recently in Bartlett, Tenn. Tabitha Cain has fed Wild Oats for several years, but now she’s thinking of changing the feline’s name to Survivor. She says the cat survived for 19 days with a peanut butter jar stuck on its head.

A Matter Of Opinion: No Bombs For Iran

Looks like this intelligence estimate ruins the plans of hawks itching to fight to have others fight a war in Iran.

Question: Is this good news or bad news? Are you surprised that the president would green-light this report?

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 12/4/07

: Bela Szandelszky/AP Photo
USA’s Teresa Seknickova from New York, NY poses in front of a mirror after winning the World Top Model 2007 contest in Budapest, Hungary, Saturday. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. “I don’t get it, everyone is asking me ‘Is Bud a pest’ and am I ‘Hungary’, when actually I don’t, like, know anyone named Bud - and of course I’m, you know, always hungry - one can’t be, like, a top model if they eat! It’s like, well, duh!” — John Austin.

Senator Craig after his new super max hollywood makeover — In The Know.

3. Ms. Seknickova comes to the conclusion that she has never met a mirror she didnt like — Eagle Eye.

HM: Digger

Separated @ Birth: Councilman Al & Oak Ridge Boy?

CDA Councilman Al Hassell and Oak Ridge Boy Duane Allen?

Hat Tip: Erica Curless

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 12/4/07

Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographics
“If you hang around long enough,” writes Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographics, Muse You Can Use, “every once in a awhile you’ll catch one of those cool moments. Makes all the crappy days, hours and minutes worth it.” He snapped this lamb and ewe at Many Glacier in Glacier National Park, Mont.

*Chronic Discontent discovered the beautiful cedars in front of his property are also in the way of progress and struck the best compromise he could here.

*TUBOB retraces his steps to a home in Bellevue with a wonderful forest nearby that evoked memories of “Arthurian swordfights and D-Day Invasion machine gun battles surrounded by the heavy and layered smells of rot and ferns and shrubs and cedars.” Click here.

*Free In Idaho supports the two nuclear industry companies, with good ideas, that want to locate an N-energy power plan in the Gem State here.

*Inland Empire Girl and Raymond Pert respond to the latest Silver Valley siblings assignment: What does your writing life consist of? What works for you? What advice would you share with other writers? Click here and here.

*Red State Rebels is rallying her troops to respectfully oppose an appearance of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corp leader at Boise State tonight here and sez Congressman Bill Sali’s stand on the mining law proves his ineffectiveness here.

HBO Blog Numbers (for Monday, Dec. 3): 8114 page-views and 4600 unique views.

Meanwhile, Idaho Escapee discovers storms can be rough on Oregon Coast here; Fort Boise offers the Cassini Favorite Image Contest 2007 here; Marmitetoasty admits women can be fickle but that it’s the boys problem not hers here; MountainGoat Report wonders why anyone would waste money on the latest divorce study here; Palousitics isn’t impressed with WSU prez Elson Floyd’s new blog here; and Idawa watches the snow fly from his law school in Seattle here.

Toys For Tots: Bigger And Bigger

Kathy Plonka/Spokesman-Review
“This just keeps on getting bigger and bigger,” said Mike Kostur of Coeur d’Alene as he sorted through huge amounts of items for Toys for Tots at the Post Falls National Guard Armory on Monday. He is a volunteer from the Pappy Boyington Detachment of the Marine Corps League.

Rocky Left His Barn Door Open … At Least Unlocked

Sheriff Rocky Watson didn’t lock up the tools in his barn, and it didn’t take thieves long to take advantage. They pilfered his stuff for the second time. I figured Watson would have an elaborate security system with lasers, chainsaws and machine guns guarding his property. “That’s in the house, I thought barns were sacred,” Watson said. “I guess it’s good for the sheriff to be a victim”/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press. Full Blog Fodder column here.

In The ‘Beating A Dead Horse’ Dept …

Huckleberries hears … that one of the Brand X bloggers/anti-LCDCers (sorry for the redundancy) will ask the City Council tonight to give long-time Councilwoman Dixie Reid the boot. Dennis Hinrichsen’ll claim that she shouldn’t have worked as an interior designer for the Mill River project because it received Lake City Development Corp money. The blogger plans to ask for Dixie’s ouster now although she will leave the council in January, after 25 years of service. Sources say he wants to send some sort of message by cutting Dixie’s tail off on the way out the door.

Online Poll: N-Power Plant For Idaho?

A newly formed nuclear energy company is considering building a nuclear power plant in northern Payette County. Should Idaho accept new nuclear plants?/Idaho Statesman.

*No opinion

SR Video: Gonzaga Fans Camp Out For WSU Game

Jim Meehan/Sportslink brings you lots of Zags stuff here.

Get the Flash Player to see this video.

Several dozen die-hard Gonzaga fans started camping in front of McCarthey Athletic Center more than a week before the Bulldogs’ basketball game versus Washington State on Wednesday. The Spokesman-Review talked to these students Monday. More here.

Question: Have you ever camped out to get tickets or good seating for a big event?

Jury To Decide Punishment For Perv Killer Duncan

Here’s a link to my full story today on suspected serial killer Joseph Duncan’s guilty plea to the 10 federal charges against him, and what’s next. Instead of facing a federal trial on the 10 felony counts on Jan. 28, that date now will mark the start of a penalty proceeding, in which a federal jury will be impaneled and hold hearings on whether or not Duncan should get the death penalty. Three of the federal crimes to which he admitted carry a possible death sentence. In some ways, that proceeding will be like a trial – just shorter, likely taking weeks rather than months. There’ll be witnesses, exhibits and so forth. Duncan’s lone surviving victim, young Shasta Groene, may have to testify against him/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. Full post here.

Question: Can one of you attorney blurkers explain to this Huckleberry Hound why Duncan wasn’t allowed to admit his guilt from the start, as he said he wanted to do?

WorldNetDaily Poll: ‘Golden Compass’

Item: Christian groups slam ‘Golden Compass’ movie: Nicole Kidman film based on story by avowed atheist/

Question: Would you see ‘The Golden Compass’ movie?

1. Yes, it’s the family-friendly fare we’ve been begging Hollywood to produce
2. Yes, it’s by the same outfit that did ‘Lord of the Rings,’ it has to be great
3. Yes, the trailers and publicity all look exciting
4. Yes, but not with the kids
5. Yes, I don’t wish to prejudge, I’d like to talk intelligently about it
6. No, I’ll wait for the DVD
7. No, it sounds like it would be offensive to me
8. No, any movie where the good guys are called ‘daemons’ is troubling
9. No, I’m not interested in brainwashing kids and financing atheism
10. Other

For the complete WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Editor Smith To Announce 4 SR Newsroom Openings Tuesday

Tomorrow, we’ll be posting four additional positions, including two reporter jobs, one online multimedia producer position and one copy desk position. Furthermore, we were already planning to fill an online programmer job, we filled a deputy news editor job last week and we will replace JoNel Aleccia, one of our top reporters, who resigned today to take a position as national health reporter with MSN. I’ll let you all know how those postings and rehires go as we work through that process. It will take a week or so as we are doing our best to rehire in accordance with our union contract. Meanwhile, there are a number of significant staff changes to be announced as we reposition ourselves to work with a smaller newsroom. We’ll be talking to editors and staffers in the next two days and I hope to post a new organization chart in this space by the middle to end of the week. We’re on track. And while I am devastated by our staff losses, I know we’ve reconfigured the newsroom in the best way possible to maintain our core functions and maybe even improve in a few areas/Editor Steve Smith, News Is A Conversation. Full post here.

Sue: Am I Bigoted For Being Wary Of Mormons?

Please tell me if I am being a bigot. I’ll reflect on that, and change if necessary. My experience with mormons is this: When a police chief is hired who happens to be a Mormon, suddenly there are more Mormon police officers. I don’t think a person’s religion should affect the hiring process. We’re Americans, and have the right to think and worship however we want to, on a personal level. But my direct personal experience says, that Mormons tend to promote other Mormons more than others. I happen to believe also that the Mormon religion is based on odd tenets and superstitions. I find myself wondering about the intellectual capabilities of those who adhere so strongly to this belief. What if it were Scientology? Another odd belief, and I don’t think I could vote for anyone who was a strong believer of that religion. I like many people who are of the Mormon faith, and I feel that I am displaying a prejudice by even saying these things. Please set me straight/Sue.

Heller: Hard To Understand

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Parting Shot — 12/3/07

Steve Ringman/Seattle Times, AP Photo
Firefighter Justin Ralph rescues a dog who was trying to reach dry land today in Woodinville, Wash. (The Seattle PI has latest on western Washington floods here).

‘Cocktails for Three’ — Tumblewords

From Tumblewords

She brays with unfelt laughter
cold facets of glass gleam
ice cubes crash and splinter
the glass he holds is not so brittle
his face pre-marked by patient caring
and between them sits the dog
a small black balance beam.

Sue Turner/Tumblewords

Holiday Treats

Other than snow, what could make the holiday season any better? The treats. Now, I know that this is a rough time of year for dieters and health food fanatics - but what would Christmas be with out the goodies? My all time favorite Christmas treat is something my mom called reindeer fodder. Mmmm. Yummy stuff. Reindeer fodder consists of a mixture of Capt’n Crunch, peanuts, and marshmallows blended into melted white chocolate (or almond bark). The whole glob of goo is spread out onto cookie sheets, hardened in the fridge and then broken into little pieces. Of course, I don’t like peanuts so my mom always made two batches: one with nuts and one minus nuts for me. A bowl full of reindeer fodder and a glass of eggnog - and I’m a happy man/Nic, Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts. Full post here.

Question: What’s your favorite Christmas holiday treat?

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 12/3/07

Robin Loznak/Great Falls Tribune, AP Photo
Great Falls, Mont. police officers, from left, Jack Allen, Crystal Carrow and Morgan Kasuske react after leaping into a pool of water during the Polar Bear Plunge in Great Falls, Mont., on Saturday. At the time of the plunge the water temperature was about 38 degrees and the air temperature was about 2 degrees. The Polar Bear Plunge is a fundraiser for the Special Olympics. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Sgt. Christie Wood and Capt. Ben Wolfinger are initiated into the world of Hucks Online — Digger.

2. Eligibilty for Special Olympics is requred for participation the Polar Bear Plunge in Great Falls, Mont — BC.

3. Officers renew their vows as the sheriff’s dive team stands by — In The Know.

HM: Joan Harman

HBO’s Best of the North Idaho Blogs — 12/3/07

Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns
Pecky Cox shows how deep the snow has fallen around Priest Lake.

Spotlight: Live, Love, Laugh Hope goes Christmas tree hunting and spots a moose in deep snow here.

*At Bay Views, Sweet & Sour Herb learned a valuable lesson about sharing an impromptu interview session with fellow journalists here — and he single-handedly covered an impromptu Bayview Christmas parade here and reported on a weekend accident here.

*Bad Guy Bob is causing problems for the little ones by shutting down their computer in the middle of online games at A Family Runs Through It here.

*In response to Editor Steve Smith’s recent posts about his dying father, Perspectives tells of being with his ailing father when he died here.

*Of the Teddy Bear ruckus in Sudan, Dogwalk Musings asks: “Isn’t it time we take stock of these Islamic nations that seize upon any opportunity to scare the living daylights out of civilized nations? Isn’t it time we get smarter in our dealings with them?” Click here.

*Silver Valley Girl had more adventure than she bargained for during the ride home from the state drama competition in Coeur d’Alene when she slid past Exit 17 and hit a barrier 3 or 4 times here.

HBO Blog Numbers (for November): 242,367 page-views and 138,317 unique views; for year, 2,086,725 page-views and 1,222,009 unique views.

Meanwhile, From A Simple Mind focuses on Baby Boomer hypocrisy here; Arch Druid discusses Joseph Duncan, Iraq surge here; at Cat House and Shooting Society, JeanC speaks of writer’s block, illness and leftovers here; Slight Detour covers Boots Reynolds’ book signing with camera here; and Un-Muted Mumblings looks at Ron Paul’s stands on issues here.

Here In Idaho: ‘I’ll Take My 40 Lashes Please’

Here In Idaho lists several violations of religious dogmas that could earn her 40 lashes a la Sudan justice (full post here):

1. I have a pet name for each of my appendages. My left leg is named ‘Muhammed.’ My bad.
2. In 1997 I made a offhand remark about the Heaven’s Gate Cult, I mean religion. Wanna hear it? Q: Why did all the Heaven’s Gate people kill themselves? A: So they could keep up with the Jones’! Hopefully those guys don’t come knocking down my door. Oh wait…they can’t.
3. I’m not a Catholic. Don’t tell the new Pope. He looks hardcore.
4. During my annual holy pilgrimage to the Ganges River, it occurred to me, briefly of course, that bathing in the water with thousands of other dirty people, might not be the fastest way to salvation. It also occurred to me that I’d rather be sitting in air conditioning than the bathing waters of India.
5. One time, during Bacchanalia, I didn’t drink any wine. I drank water instead, but pretended to be drunk. May Zeus strike me down.

Question: Have you done anything worthy of 40 lashes?

Scanner Traffic — 12/3/07

2:37 p.m., complaint of two people firing guns near the Spirit Lake boat launch. Reporting party believes the two are duck hunters.

2:03 p.m., injury accident at 4th and Whispering Pines (Coeur d’Alene)

11:53 a.m., Older male complaining of chest and arm pain after an accident at 413 E. Seltice Way.

11:37 a.m., Request to contact Burlington Northern b/c a train has been blocking the tracks for 10 minutes at Ramsey Road and Diagonal (in Rathdrum area).

‘Ghost Whisperer’ Star Urges Women To Wear Bikinis

Item: Hewitt strikes back over bikini shots/Associated Press

Jennifer Love Hewitt: “I’ve sat by in silence for a long time now about the way women’s bodies are constantly scrutinized. … To all girls with butts, boobs, hips and a waist, put on a bikini - put it on and stay strong.”

Question: Wouldn’t better advice be for everyone to cover up more rather than less?

Get Out! Visits Boulevard Club (circa 1947)

One of the hottest spots around at the time seems to have been the Boulevard Club, which was another spot legally licensed to get patrons liquored up on hi-balls. It was located in the newly annexed Robins District area, near where old Highway 10 used to cross Northwest Boulevard. Advertisements touted the place as the “most beautiful theater-café in the Northwest.” Although I was unable to track down a photo, I’d like to imagine the interior as plush and gorgeous, with elegant chrome and glass fixtures, velvety fabrics and art deco touches. Totally swank. Owner Dave Sobol must have had some powerful connections in the music biz and was able to bring in some pretty big names like the Ink Spots, the Delta Rhythm Boys, and Billy Eckstine. Most notoriously, the Boulevard Club stage was frequented by the legendary Billy Tipton, a popular Spokane jazz pianist who, after his death in 1989, was revealed to have actually been a woman secretly living as a man for the last 50 years of her life. Slot machines were in use here and at quite a few other night spots, much to the chagrin of local police who seemed to barely tolerate such activity, raiding a different place every month for gambling-related crimes/OrangeTV, Get Out! Full post here.

DonS: What’s With Neo?

Don Sausser: I checked dictionaries on line for the word “neo” that gets attached to other words, i.e., “neo-con”, and above as (Joan Harman) used it, “neo-socialism” but I am yet to know what it means. One definition indicated it meant “new”. But as used so often on the blog, neo-con is used as a negative adjective for republican. As a high school graduate, I need help!

Question: Can anyone answer Don’s question? BTW, I know that Neo was the name of the main character in the “Matrix” trilogy. So let’s stick to “neo-” as it applies to labeling in politics and blogs.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest Online — 12/3/07

1. Joseph Duncan this morning pleaded guilty to all 10 counts in the federal indictiment against him for kidnapping and molesting two North Idaho children and killing one in 2005/Spokesman-Review. Click here. Federal indictment against Duncan (graphic content) here.

2. Mountain Goat: This side of Larry Craig finally admitting he’s gay, it’s hard to get worked up about new revelations of men having sex with him. Click here.

3. Boise State football coach Chris Petersen said Monday that he has not been contacted by UCLA, and has no interest in the Pac-10 coaching position. The Los Angeles Times reported Sunday that UCLA was firing coach Karl Dorrell, and that Petersen was at the top of athletic director Dan Guerrero’s wish list/Idaho Statesman. Click here. Related: Boise State to play East Carolina in Hawaii Bowl.

4. News Roundup: Workers evacuated from Idaho capital building after substance found/Idaho Statesman; Escaped wolf shot by authorities/Idaho Statesman; Sali fought mining reform/Spokesman-Review; Pact extends Idaho gas tax to reservations/Associated Press; and Searchers go high-tech to find old plane wreck/KTVB.

5. Blogosphere: Holiday picks to click for your favorite blogger/Blogspotter; Does character no longer matter?/Dogwalk Musings; Reporter leaves town, news breaks/Eye On Boise; Still more Craig/Randy Stapilus; and Thank GOP establishment for Huckabee/Adam’s Blog.

6. IMHO: Remembering Evel, Twin Falls’ 15 minutes of fame/Kevin Richert; Somebody needs to get a grip/David Horsey, Seattle PI; What would Teddy do?/Frank Mieli/Kalispell Daily Inter Lake; Some House members still talk to enemy/Jim Fisher, Lewiston Tribune; and Disorder in the court/Spokesman-Review.

Orbusmax Special: WSU prez becomes a blogger here.

JoanH: GOP Fueling Dem Rebound

Between Craig and the neo-Socialism of the GOP in Idaho in trying to close the primaries so that only the most party faithful have the chance to vote, I quite frankly think that the GOP are going to face some stiff Dem challenges come 08. People are going to get mighty tired of getting jerked around by a party that can only field nutcases and closet gays. At least they know where the Dems stand, even if their message is tired and old. Patano may only be the tip of the iceberg, the GOP have only been associated with Craig/Joan Harman.

Question: What more will it take to make Independents and borderline Republicans to turn on the Idaho Republican Party at this point?

My 2 Cents — A Big Fat Lip

I can’t recall the last time I got smacked in the mouth hard enough to split my lip. I busted my nose as a high schooler when I caught a knee in the face that busted my nose while grappling with a high school buddy. I’ve had my share of blown knees and busted ankles. But I hadn’t been tagged in the mouth until Sunday afternoon. I was splitting kindling for a fire when a piece shot up and nailed me in the middle of my lower lip. Hard. I felt through the blood to check the damage — and was grateful that I didn’t have to wish for two front teeth for Christmas. I was also grateful that the inside of my lip was gashed and not the outside. It hurt like the dickens but I’d rather have that than go to waste a Sunday afternoon in the emergency room. The accident, of course, fueled my wife’s phobia about my fall passion for wood splitting. She immediately recalled the time that a piece of tamarack that I was splitting bounced across the lawn and nailed our 6-year-old son in the leg. He’s now 28. I’m sure she thinks that I’ll chop off a limb one of these days. Until then, or until the air regulators shut us down, I’ll continue to enjoy wood heat and the exercise that goes with starting a fire. And I’ll stay out of your view until my fat lip recedes.

Question: Have you ever been injured working around the house?

Eye On Boise Details 10 Charges Against Duncan

Item: Duncan may plead guilty today/Spokesman-Review

Here are the 10 charges in the federal indictment against Joseph Duncan for kidnapping young Dylan and Shasta Groene and killing Dylan; three of the charges carry the death penalty (from Eye On Boise):

1 – Kidnapping resulting in death (capital offense)
2 – Kidnapping
3 – Aggravated sexual abuse of a minor
4 – Aggravated sexual abuse of a minor
5 – Sexual exploitation of a child resulting in death (capital offense)
6 – Felon in possession of a firearm
7 – Using a firearm during and in relation to a crime of violence resulting in death (capital offense)
8 – Transportation of a stolen firearm
9 – Possession of an unregistered firearm
10 – Transportation of a stolen vehicle

007: Power Brokers Kept Larry Craig’s Little Secret

Contrary to the sycophants that work in Senator Craig’s office, the fact of the matter is that almost none of the men Craig sexed up in bathrooms and other spur-of-the-moment places want the world to know it happened. That’s the power and M.O. of Larry’s sexual life—he knows, intuitively, that these dudes are also by and large leading a secret life. These rumors have been around forever and they’ve always been accepted by many people in political circles. It was a dirty little secret, and since Larry seemed to have the backing of powerful lobbies and political kingmakers around Idaho, no one really wanted to come out publicly. That’s over now. It’s sad how so many politicians with shaky characters are propped up in our government/James Bond Story here..

In The News: Imus Returns To Radio

Richard Drew, AP Photo
Don Imus, left, acknowledges audience applause and that of producer Bernard McGuirkat New York’s Town Hall during his return to radio this morning. Imus returned to the airwaves Monday eight months after he was fired for a racially charged remark about the Rutgers women’s basketball team.

I used to watch on MSNBC Imus while I did my hour on the eliptical machine each morning. Sadly, the day he made his comments I wasn’t watching as I was out of town. After he left, I missed him for the first little bit. Now I simply watch Dave & Shelley on KHQ mornings — Digger.

Weekend Thread: Latest On NI SR Operations

RE: Editor Smith addresses future of SR Idaho bureau

Sam’s Question: I don’t at all understand how people can get laid off and then rehired. That seems to not jibe with the fact that a budget had to be slashed, etc. etc.

Editor Steve Smith: To Sam’s question, the rehiring is part of the “reduction in force” process outlined in our contract with the Spokane Editorial Society. We originally laid off 16 people from the newsroom. That triggered a two-week window in which other newsroom staff could voluntarily resign and claim the same severance package owed those laid off. We lost another seven or eight employees during that period which ended Nov. 16. With that window closed, we can now hire back at least some of the employees who lost their jobs. As said before, I have a budget goal that is based on a dollar target, not a body count. We’ll announce the new staff lineups and any rehires next week and I’ll post the information here and on my own blog. I don’t want to mislead anyone. We will not be able to hire back everyone who was let go. And, as I said, our level of coverage in Idaho will decline. I think we’ll be here for the big stuff and for good regional stories and what we call enterprise reporting. We will be a leser presence on regular day-to-day routine reporting.

Stantis: Sudan Infidel

Scott Stantis/Birmingham News

APhoto of the Weekend — 12/1-2/07

John Raoux/AP Photo
Central Florida fans cheer and a student goes crowd surfing during the first half of the Conference USA championship football game against Tulsa in Orlando, Fla., Saturday. Central Florida won the game 44-25. You write the cutline.

DOTC: Things Better In Iraq But Far From Safe

re: Tigris River Bridge Repaired in Less Than Three Days/DVIDS

The day after Thanksgiving, a major bridge across the Tigris River was blown up. Actually there were several attacks on bridges and infrastructure around the country, but particularly in the North. Our son drives a supply vehicle across this bridge a couple of times a week. Thankfully it sounds like no one but maybe the bad guys were lost. However the bridge, which is a major supply route, was totally out of commission with a section missing. Our son is at a little combat outpost on the Eastern side of the river and there is a major outpost on the west. He said they got a call right away to see how long they could go without being resupplied. As it works out, our forces were able to repair it in just 72 hours. Here’s a link to a story and some pictures. It looks sturdy but you sure wouldn’t want to drift much to the left or right as you go across that temporary section. Things are better over there but far from safe/Dan of the County.

Gonzaga 85, UConn 82

Winslow Townson/AP Photo
Gonzaga’s Matt Bouldin tries to grab a loose ball in front of Connecticut’s Doug Wiggins (3) during the first half in a college basketball game in Boston Saturday. Jim Meehan’s story here. AP story and box score here.

Question: Who will you be rooting for when Washington State faces Gonzaga in The Kennel Wednesday?

Is Dennis Erickson Building A Home In Coeur d’Alene?

Watch, listen and decide for yourself.

Hat Tip: MeghannC

The Bard: “St. Peter At The Pearly Gates”

AP File Photo

A Harley’s roar
and loud upheaval –
oh my goodness
here comes Evel!

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Related: Locals remember Evel Knievel here.

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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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