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Archive for February 2007

Nic: Nothing Sez Codger Like A Lincoln Continental

No vehicle is more geriatric than a Lincoln Continental. I have never seen a Continental driven by any one under the age of sixty. Lincolns in general scream “look at me, I’m old.” (Dad, if you’re reading this, please don’t buy any vehicle made by Lincoln!) The only thing that could be more geriatric than a Lincoln Continental is a Lincoln Continental with a bumper sticker that reads: My other car is a bingo bus/Nic Casey, Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts.

Question: Can you think of a more geriatric vehicle than a Lincoln Continental?

Inside Huckleberries — 2/28/07

*At Hudson’s Hamburgers today, Councilman Ron Edinger introduced colleague Erica Curless to former Mayor For Life Ray Stone, who responded: “I hate The Spokesman-Review.” Erica smiled and then said: “In that case, Dave Oliveria says, “Hi.” To which Stone replied: “I hate Dave Oliveria worse that The Spokesman-Review.” Then, he asked her to publicize an upcoming concert featuring his band. Same old Stone. That’s why he’s missed.

*I knew the blog was hopping yesterday — with the great topics and banter. But I was surprised by the final page-view count — a record for a non-election day/week: 7188. Thanks for continuing to tune in!

*Remember that discussion we had about rigs the other day? Here’s Erica Curless’ definition: “A rig is not the fancy BMW, driven by a moron, that’s currently (9:24 a.m.) stuck on the offramp of I90 & NW Blvd and is causing traffic to back up onto the freeway.

*Colleague Taryn Brodwater called at 8:50 a.m. from Hayden to say: Conditions out here suck. She sez prairie roads are slick and near whiteout conditions prevail. She said she slid through a stoplight near Wal*Mart. And that a neighbor had slid into a fire hydrant. Sez Taryn: Tell people to stay home if they can.

*KeithinCDA writes: Since it is a snow day skip work this morning and come watch the video “The Secret” at NIC at 10AM. Great way to help influence your outlook on life, love, happiness, work, relatiosnhsips etc.. Bring a donation for Children’s Village or Post Falls Food Bank. This is not any type of sales pitch. My company is fronting all the costs, using it to benefit two great local causes while also using it is as training/motivation for our employees….worth 1.5 hours and the cause. … Schuler Aditorium at 10AM.

Church-State Group Warns CDA Over Kroc Center …

Full text of today’s threatening letter from Americans United for Church and State Separation here.

We have received several inquiries from Coeur d’Alene residents regarding the city’s partnership with the Salvation Army in securing a grant to build the Ray and Joan Kroc Corps Community Center. Specifically, questions have arisen regarding the constitutionality of the city’s plan to remediate and donate – via a land-swap deal with the Coeur d’Alene Parks Foundation – city-owned land on which the Salvation Army will build a community center and chapel. We understand that the city and the Parks Foundation plan to complete this trade in the next few days. We write to inform you that we are deeply concerned that the arrangement as currently structured, likely violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution/Ayesha Khan, legal director, Americans United for Church And State Separation.

DFO: So, DanG, Spencer, et al, can I ask you straight out if you had anything to do with sicking these (expletive deleted) on the city?

While Your Were Sleeping … Near CDA Golf Course

Two moose were seen and photographed late Tuesday night near the Coeur d’Alene golf course on Fairway Drive by Craig Paterson, Coeur d’Alene Mines corporate accounting services manager. Momma and calf appear to be doing fine munching on the shrubs.

Sheriff Rocky: He Was Delusional, Not Murderous

The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office has spent the morning investigating what appears to be a delusion from one person. At approximately 6:55 a.m. today, deputies responded to 13734 W. Winch Road, near Rathdrum to a call that a man had just walked into a home there, had blood on his hands and claimed to have just killed six people. Deputies arrived and found David E. Masten, 41 of Rathdrum (pictured) with a small cut on his forehead and a small amount of blood on his hands. Eventually, deputies were able to learn where the incident was alleged to have taken place. Deputies checked the location, and other nearby homes in the Winch Road area, but found no one who had been harmed or any other sign of a crime. Masten was arrested for illegal entry and will be booked at the Kootenai County Jail. Due to the nature of the incident, a psychological evaluation will be requested from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare for Masten.

Crime of the Day — Stiffing Denny’s For $61.02

CPD Blue is looking for six white males who stiffed Denny’s restaurant for meals yesterday afternoon. They’re all 6-0 to 6-2, 180 to 200 pounds, and may be part of the Spokane rap group, Holy Fam. One mebbe named “Cordell” (with white tattoo on his neck) and another “Jorey.” You can read all about the incident here.

Keith Erickson: It Snows In North Idaho, People

Keith Erickson: The talking head weather wizards (I use the term very loosely) really missed the boat on this one (again). I heard we should expect about an inch overnight. When I left my house on the northern edge of Cd’A this morning, I had well over 4 inches and it was still coming down hard. Meanwhile, I totally agree with Jane Q. It’s snowing. So what? It’s winter in North Idaho. Is there really that much to say about the snow? I’d rather be watching Matt and Meredith than the bubbleheads telling me to drive safe ‘cause it’s slick. No kidding?! Thanks for the heads-up, KHQ.

DFO: Keith’s brought up one of my pet peeves: Why do the talking heads hyperventilate whenever snow falls? During the five years I lived in Kalispell, Mont., the weather guys didn’t hyperventilate unless something big happened — like an avalanche knocking out the only bridge on the road skirting Glacier Park. I recall a 30-inch dump one night that forced me to knock snow off the roof of my house. Are we such wusses that an average or above-average snowfall requires excitement and TV screen scrawl?

Online Poll: Greenhouse Gases

Question: Do you think greenhouse gases should be regulated? — Great Falls Tribune


Question: Should NI Schools Observe Black History?

Issue: Lack of black history events starts dialogue: Lake City student’s letter gains principal’s attention/Meghann M. Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Treylon “Trey” Cain-Taylor is used to being a lone black face in a sea of white students. Ever since he moved out of Seattle as a young boy, he’s been one of just a handful of students of color at his schools. So the 16-year-old was accepting of the fact that he was part of a very small minority of students when he started at Lake City High School. But what he isn’t accepting of is the lack of attention Lake City and the other schools he’s attended have given Black History Month in February.

Question: Should North Idaho schools recognize/celebrate Black History Month in February?

Nic: A Coupla Inches Of Snow, But … It’s Slick

Jane Q. Citizen: A couple inches of snow in February and KHQ-6 preempts the Today show and regular programing to do live reporting on road conditions. Huh?

Nic: Yes, Jane. It is only a few inches, but driving conditions are horrible. There are dozens of accidents including a jack-knifed semi near Athol. I have seen traffic running smoother with twice as much snow. It might not look like much snow, but it is slick. The icy streets combined with limited visibility and poor driving habits are a recipe for disaster. Kudos to KHQ for valuing their viewer’s safety more than their regularly scheduled programming.

DanG: Yo, DFO, Do You Want Public Involved?

DanG: Oh, Dave! Such jocularity! Last night during the Kootenai County GOP Central Committee Meeting, the evil part after the public is dismissed, it was noted that I’m appearing in Huckleberries quite often these days. I admitted that it must be because I’m both naughty and interesting. Then we all laughed about how the county got ripped off for $3500 and, man, it was a good time. So the real question is, do you like the public getting involved? or do you like the public getting involved as long as they agree with and obey the government? How about some other harder questions: what is the mayor doing about the morale level at the police department? How about a police substation out on East Sherman where there are signs of gang activity? Or are these questions as illegitimate as a Hollywood couple’s first baby?

DFO: Above all, DanG, I enjoy crossing swords with worthy citizens like you. You and Spen-sah are fun. Dedicated. Well-spoken. Naughty and interesting, indeed. And wrong-headed, as often as you are correct. I’m glad you’re out there fighting your windmills. In a broken-clock-is-right-twice-a-day kind of a way, you’re doing good. You might be decent as an elected oaficial (although bomb throwers rarely make good oafishals, with Ron Rankin being an exception). (BTW, you’ve twice skirted a response to my question re: running for City Council.) You and Spencer have helped your causes by appearing often in HBO. You get bruised here. But your willingness to remain in the fray has gained you fans and grudging admiration from detractors here. However, it hasn’t gained you a free pass from me. If I think you’re off base, I’m going to say so. I’ve never been a shrinking violet.

AM Hucks: Make Day Care Rules Fit Century — HBOers

Rep. Tom Loertscher’s Keep-‘Em-Barefoot-And -Pregnant wing of the Idaho Republican Party hit a nerve at Huckleberries Online this week. Loertscher? He’s one of the two members of the House Health and Welfare Committee who voted in the 6-5 majority against tightening day-care regs because he believes a woman’s place is in the home. Quoth Iona’s Loertscher: “What can we do to keep mom at home?” (Disclaimer: I also believe that children benefit greatly when a parent remains at home with them. But I support well-regulated day cares for families who choose to work for a variety of reasons such as economics, divorce, self-fulfillment. Now, back to your regular programming.) Several HBOers answered Loertscher’s question by pointing out that we live in the 21st century, not the 1950s. Loertscher would do well to peruse the BrodH20 blog, where colleague Taryn Brodwater tells of the horrors of relying on unregulated, cheap day care before finding her current good one. Taryn recalls arriving early from work one day to find that one unlicensed operator had locked the older children in her basement and propped the younger ones in high chairs in front of the TV for hours. On another occasion, with another operator, she was asked to watch more than 20 kids while the business owner searched for a missing child who was discovered drinking out of the toilet. You can find a link to her blog and the rest of her story in HBO’s North Idaho Blogroll. Taryn wasn’t the only HBOer hostile to the inaction of Loertscher and other H&W Neanderthals:

Katrina/Notes on a Napkin: “Even though I am able and happy to stay home with my kids, that is not the reality for many families, and this attempt to ‘punish’ working moms by making day cares untenable is only hurting the children the legislators are claiming to care about.”

A Token D: As a single mom “I would love to stay at home, but then who would support me in the style to which I’m accustomed – you know, eating regularly, living in a home, all that stuff.”

Rockets Brain: “Gee, don’t we license barbers, nurses, doctors and dogs? Do our children deserve less?”

Wondering: “Women are … doctors, dentists, lawyers, police and firemen. We are CEOs of large corporations. We are ministers and rabbis. We teach your children and nurse your relatives. We are engineers and astronauts. We fight for our country. We nourish our families and we deserve the right to have safe child care for our children.”

Wild Card/Tuesday — 2/27/07

For some reason, we’re running those dang Google ads again in the thread below — and they’re blocking the ability of Mac/Safari users to access anything below them on this site. I’ve asked the SR powers that be to remove them, once and for all, unless they can figure out why their coding affects Mac users — mebbe 16-25% of the online traffic here. Anyway, pleaz be patient until our crew can sort this out, hopefully ASAP. Here’s your Wild Card …

Ah’m Your Huckleberry

The three Kootenai County Commissioners were looking quite dapper today at their 2 p.m. public meeting, all wearing ties. Piazza had on a green shirt and green tie. Currie had on a black shirt with a red tie. Tondee had on a maroon shirt with a maroon and white tie. During the public comment section Clerk Dan English commented on their “spiffy attire.” “You would compete well against the mayor of Coeur d’Alene,” English said. To that Chairman Currie said, “We don’t want to compete.” As everyone was filing out of the room, County Attorney Erika Grubbs quipped that they should start calling the commissioners the “babeishiners.”

Monster Hat Tip: Erica Curless

Wondering: Scam Victim Sends Shock Waves

Wondering (react to the story below about the woman’s savings being wiped out): This is scary. I have received 2 emails from paypay in my spam folder. I have no account through PP nor have I ever used them. The amount they claim was paid to someone at ebay through my account was under $50.00. No such amount has been removed from my account. They refuse to answer my emails. As the amount is small and not missing from my account, I have dropped the matter. I think now, I will notify my bank that no such agreement exists with PayPal and nothing ever paid to them. Perhaps someone was simply “trying it on” as it were.

DFO: You have to be very, very careful about providing information about Social Security, credit card, or check numbers online — even when you’re contacted by what looks like a legitimate source. Scam artists send out millions of e-mail spams that appear to be from legit companies like Paypal or even your bank. They’re “pfishing” for info to gain entry to your bank and credit accounts. And they’re extremely hard to catch. I’ve received several come-ons from Paypal, Capital One and even my bank. Be very careful online.

APhoto of the Day — 2/27/07

Eva Daniels, 7, turns her face as she braces herself for a snowball thrown by her brother, Nicholas, 10, during a snowball fight Monday in Beaver Dam, Wis. The wet snow made for ideal snowball fight and snowman building conditions/Cory Schaefer, AP Photo/Beaver Dam Daily Citizen.

Top Cutlines

1. Nicholas hurls an ice ball towards his sister Eva after learning she encouraged their parents to dump their entire savings for education in the stock market Tuesday. Both children will now sign letters of intent with McDonalds for future employment — SSands.

2. “Yes, Nicholas, you thought I wouldn’t see since I was way up at the North Pole, didn’t you? Funny thing is, I’ve been subscribing to the Beaver Dam Daily Citizen for years. Rudolph has family down there, so we like to keep up. And of course I clip photos like these out every year, and they provide clear proof of who’s been good and who’s been bad” — Brent Andrews.

3. (tie) Even as a young boy, Tom Loertscher loved taking aim at future working moms — Family Phil; and: One more reason why Daycare Safety Bill H163 should have moved forward — MamaJD.

Original Post: 10:38 a.m.

They Said, “No Swimming,” But Nothing About Hockey

Photographer Rick Miller snapped this shot at Sandpoint’s City Beach Jan. 20. In a cutline for Sandpoint In Pictures, he wrote: “There were two hockey games happening at City Beach. Because of the recent snow, there was much work to be done to clear the ‘rinks’ for skating. I thought the ‘No Swimming’ sign made a nice contrast to the winter scene in the background, and with the help of fill flash, the sign appeared to be glowing. The sign must have been working, because no one was swimming!” Taken Jan. 20.

Hat Tip: Sandpoint Online

BC Bee: Bonner County Is Way Cool

Bonner County already is a pretty special place to live — friendly people, beautiful spaces and enough items in the plus column to fill the paper 10 times over. Yet, recent news will only serve to make a great place even better. The chance to get a college education at home? A top-notch shelter to give pets a chance for a new, loving home? The ability to breathe smoke-free air year-round, not just on days when conditions aren’t headed straight for Bonner County? The future of Bonner County was already bright. Now it’s off the charts and it’s exciting to imagine all the possibilities for the future. Here’s to the future/Caroline Lobsinger, Bonner County Daily Bee. (For the rest of the editorial, click here.)

DFO: I see that Caroline didn’t mention the politics in Bonner County. P’haps an oversight. P’haps the politics isn’t cool?

Question: OK, Cis, Marianne, Arpie, Trish, et al, here’s your chance. Just how cool is Bonner County?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/27/07

A moose calf stands alongside a driveway in Indian Meadows in urban Coeur d’Alene waiting for his mother. The pair have been spotted around the northwest Coeur d’Alene neighborhood since mid-January/Kerri Thoreson,

Leaning Straight Up: Who is the real Al Gore? Statesman or politician, environmentalist or fraud here? Meanwhile, Michael Costello/Palousitics sez Dubya walks Gore’s talk here.

1. Four children from two families are dead and efforts are under way to revive a fifth who were trapped in a submerged card that slid of an southwest Idaho highway into an icy pond in northeast Oregon here.

2. Colfax teenager Robert Duckworth’s Sunday started with a ghost hunt. It ended with him stuck in a 77-foot-deep well, imagining scenes from a horror movie while he awaited his eventual rescue here.

3. A woman is asking North Idaho College to refund the money she paid for an English class, saying her instructor spent more time bashing Republicans than teaching English composition here.

4. A scarlet fever outbreak in Jerome could have been caused by mishandled or contaminated food, but it probably didn’t come from a dairy, Idaho Dairymen’s Association President Bob Naerebout told Jerome County commissioners Monday here.

5. The Montana House killed a bill Tuesday that would have allowed children who aren’t vaccinated for religious reasons to attend a state-funded preschool or day care center. Parents can currently get a medical exemption for immunizations and still send their children to such facilities, but can’t exempt them because of their religious beliefs here.

6. IMHO-NW: Frank McGovern/UI Argonaut (Celeb lifestyles are whack), Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Dunno much about poker), Chuck Pezeshki/Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Food, well-being and WSU), Idaho Statesman (Weak justification for English-only bill), and Jimmy Blue/WSU Evergreen (WSU fans major in bad sportsmanship).

Online Poll: 55% of 364 respondents to a Helena Independent poll say they favor comprehensive sex eduction in Montana schools.

*Members of the Idaho Science Teachers Association have approved an official position against teaching intelligent design in Idaho’s public schools here.

*Three Boise-based filmmakers will produce a documentary about the Boise State football team’s 2006 season for release as early as this fall here.

*Accused Chehalis underwear thief won’t face sex charge here.

*An American bald eagle found injured in Cheney Monday night has died here. Video here.

Orbusmax Special: Idaho’s tribes seek to eliminate S-word here.

Online Poll: Are Pit Bulls Too Dangerous To Be Pets?

Question: Are pit bulls too dangerous to be allowed as pets? — KREM2.

*Yes, pit bulls can cause harm whether they’re well trained or not.

*No, pit bulls are affectionate and safe to have as pets.

DFO: Absolutely.

Q: Should College Teachers Spout Views Ad Nauseum?

Issue: Republican student wants NIC refund: Complaints stem from instructor’s comments/Meghann M. Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Linda Cook, a former aide to the late Idaho Congressman Helen Chenoweth and a longtime GOP supporter, withdrew last week from an entry-level English class taught by part-time instructor Jessica Bryan. Cook sent a letter to NIC Vice President Barbara Hanson Monday asking that the college refund her $379 course fee. On Monday, Bryan said Cook is “making a mountain out of a molehill” and that she’s “surprised and disappointed” that Cook didn’t tell her about her concerns before making a formal complaint.

DFO: And here’s where true believers in the Dem camp look bad. Refund her money.

Question: Who’s right here?

Question: Does Idaho Need Minimum Day-Care Regs

Issue: Panel rejects day-care rules: House committee limits supporters; 2 members suggest mothers stay home/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review

Quote: “It’s gut-wrenching for me,” Rep. Tom Loertscher, R-Iona, said before the 6-5 vote against the bill. “What can we do to keep mom at home?” Loertscher said he “cannot imagine” ever taking a child to a day-care center and said, “There is no substitute, there is absolutely no substitute for families taking care of children.”

DFO: The parent-in-home approach to raising children was best for my family. But not all Idaho families can make it on one income. Nor to all Idaho families share my values. The action taken by this committee exposes many children to danger. The vote can be described no other way but foolish. (For the record, six of the eight Repubs on the committee voted against the regs; all three Demos voted for it.)

Question: What do you think of the action against minimum day-car regs taken by the Idaho Health and Welfare Committee?

Original Post: 8:35 a.m.

Spencer: Story Slanted Against Anti-Day Care Reg 6

Spencer: Did you read the bill (H163)? Or did you just take Betsy’s slantnotes as truth? If you read the bill and the testimony, you armchair quarterbacks will begin to understand that Betsy is a brilliant journalist, but about as left leaning as they come. They didn’t vote against the bill because of what she wrote about. I noticed that she picked Tom Loertscher to single out for scorn. Tom is going to find himself in her crosshairs again, and I think that it is her plan to throw all the mud at him she can, as he is a big target to the liberals. She will attack him again, likely before the end of the week. Anybody want to place bets?

Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel: Larry, what color is the sky in your world? Seriously. The article by Russell didn’t single out Loertscher at all, it was fair and balanced and identified R’s and D’s. I think this article will get picked up nationwide in newspapers and blogs and once again have the country alternating between shaking its head disappointedly at Idaho like a parent who stumbles upon a child who made a big mess out of his cookies and milk or laughing uncontrollably at Idaho like a big brother happening upon the exact messy scene. Larry, you have an amazing radar for being wrong. It’s like a strange gift…I don’t know about the financial empire you’re trying to build but it sounds like your reverse midas touch is well at play there, and anything gold you touch turns to stone. But bringing in an out of state group to kill the Kroc Center and rattling the cages of your pet gorillicans in Boise to stop a bill to keep predatory child rapists from watching the babies of Idaho mothers and fathers…well, dude, hear that giant sucking sound? Yes. That one. It’s your political future. Heading down the drain.

DFO: I could say that Betsy is the most respected political journalist in Idaho and that she carefully eschews whatever political leanings she has when she reports. But you can see for yourself by the link I provided above in Spencer’s rant.

AM Hucks: Her Leadership Style? “Serious Babage”

Mayor Sandi Bloem’s a – what? A hottie? A coupla guys from Huckleberries Online are impressed with the Coeur d’Alene’s sixtysomething mayor’s fashion sense and “serious babage.” It started Monday when I mentioned that Her Sandiness had summoned Dan Gookin for a heart-to-heart talk about Kroc Center. Gookin has posted some high-propane questions about the community center on the blog. Gookin reported back later in the day that he had a good discussion with the mayor and Councilman Mike Kennedy. Also, Gookin said he was impressed by the mayor’s fashion sense. Quoth: “The mayor was stunning. … Mike Kennedy and I sat at the same table with her, and we could have been her yard workers based on how we dressed in comparison. I cannot deny that Mayor Bloem is serious babage.” While I wondered whether “babage” should be spelled “B-A-B-E-A-G-E, commenter OrangeTV interjected on the blog: “Sandi Bloem is a hard-core fashionista.” OTV said his jaw dropped when he tuned into last Tuesday’s council meeting and saw Her Sandiness “squeezed delicately into a shiny plastic grey-and-black leopard print jacket and wearing her usual amount of bling. Her trademark salt-and-pepper upswept hairdo was 10x more vicious than usual.” OTV speculates that the mayor looked “extra fierce” because she was trying to charm the council into OK’ing a $3 million expenditure/land swap needed to build the new community center. Mebbe we can package this admiration of our mayor into a city motto: Our mayor’s more stylish than yours

Wild Card/Monday — 2/26/07

I’m back from Portland, where my wife and I enjoyed the Junior Parents Weekend with Amy Dearest, who was one of the organizers of the University of Portland event. Caught a girls’ basketball game (against U/San Diego). Schmoozed with the college prez, Father William Beauchamp, who sat at our table during Saturday lunch and asked about the latest in the Josh Heitvelt situation. Bought a mint-condition 1999 Toyota 4Runner from my brother-in-law in Tigard (and my wife has given me permission to use it exclusively). Amazed Amy’s male friends with my understanding of cyberspace and blogging. Enjoyed myself immensely. And I return refreshed to engage again with you HBOers. If nothing below has caught your fancy, you can start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Bumpersnicker …

… (On a Honda Element with Spud State plates in downtown Spokane): “Just say NO to negativity.”

Hat Tip: Taryn Brodwater

Huckleberries Best of the Local Blogs — 2/26/07

Pecky Cox writes: For 7 years Sharon Gordon has hosted a gathering of beautiful women to dine, drink and participate in the Academy Awards. Starting years ago in Portland, OR Sharon moved the party to Priest Lake and now her home has the spotlite on it for the Awards party. You can see dozens of photos of the event here.

*Melanie/Plaid Toaster begins: “So we went to Target yesterday to get the invitations, Tia and I. You can’t go to Target to just get what gotta get and leave, can you? No, we gotta do the loop. The loop is what we affectionately call the out skirts of the store…where the clearance is” here.

*Family Phil/A Family runs through it was shocked to discover that perfect mom and perfect mom’s sidekick were not as perfect as they first seemed when they were volunteers at his son’s school here.

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps sez I was wrong to post the city memo that gave department directors a heads up that activist Larry Spencer had contacted the Idaho State Police re: possible church-state problems involving the community center here.

*OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy announces that his first column (“Get Out”) for the SR’s Handle Extra will be published Saturday — and that it’s going to be a review of the Takara Japanese restaurant here. (For those keeping score at home, Jake gave Takara a thumbs down in Scurvy Jake’s Pirate Blog here.)

*Mrs. Mac Energetic/Whatever Happened To … wonders if the unclad middle-age Dove Girls would be as welcome to mag readers if they happened to be wrinkled old men here.

Meanwhile, Sue has a great line in a poem: “wrote that love is but a scar” here, Starr recalls Goldberg and a brush with the law here, Mari is warming to Cis’ idea of a Cafeteria Party here, Cis is catching a bug here, Silver Valley Girl sez she’d enjoy her fifth-grader’s basketball game more if parents didn’t attend here, the Loves meet with a tax consultant to discuss their new home purchase here, and Stebbijo has money on her mind here.

Washington Solons Take Aim @ Huckleberry Pickers

Washington state Rep. Joel Kretz, R-Wauconda, questioned the wisdom of Democrats on the House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee in passing the “Huckleberry Bill” out of committee last week. House Bill 1040 would allow the citation of local huckleberry pickers who possess or transport more than three gallons of huckleberries, either on their person or in their home, or both. The berries could be seized and given to the local Native American Tribe. “We’re now going to have huckleberry cops, huckleberry hounds and a wholesale round-up of little old ladies picking huckleberries used for pies they auction off for charity,” said Kretz. “What has this world come to that folks can’t pick more than three gallons of berries in their own backyard without a permit? This bill would make it illegal to do just that on both public and private land without a state-issued permit.”

DFO: Ya gotta be kidding me.

Question: What would you say to the Demos in the Washington House Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee who voted for this nonsense?

Hat Tip: Opinion Editor Doug Floyd

Muse You Can Use: Squirrel Soup Anyone?

OK, so you’ve sat down with paper and pen and worked out the numbers once and then twice and then you’ve snuggled up to your spouse and said in a soft, soft, voice, almost a whisper, almost a lilt, “Honey, I want to be a squirrel photographer.” Hey, don’t laugh, you know, because I’ve been there. I started out a real squirrel shooter. Not with a camera, but with a gun. Growing up I shot my fair share of squirrels — Chris Peterson/Muse You Can Use, Glacier Geographic.

Question: Did you ever hunt squirrels?

OrangeTV, DanG: Her Sandiness Knows How To Style

OrangeTV: One thing is for sure: Sandi Bloem is a hardcore fashionista. Did anybody catch her outfit at the 2/20 City Council meeting? I tuned into red-hot CDA Channel 19, and my jaw dropped when I saw her squeezed delicately into a shiny plastic grey-and-black leopard print jacket and wearing her usual amount of bling. Her trademark salt-and-pepper upswept hairdo was 10x more vicious than usual. She must have decided to go with an extra-fierce look for the evening since she had to charm everybody into helping her sneak that little $3 million Kroc doo-dad through the system.

DanG: Yes, the mayor was stunning this morning. Mike Kennedy and I sat at the same table with her and we could have been her yard workers based on how we dressed in comparision. I cannot deny that Mayor Bloem is serious babage (babe-age?) DanG goes on to explain the gist of his meeting with Her Sandiness and MikeK this a.m. here.

Question: Are you guys trying to say Her Sandiness is a hottie?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/26/07

Kindergartener Anthony Neff tries to name letters and sounds on cards held by teacher Jacque Dean in the all-day kindergarten class at Atlas Elementary in Hayden Friday. For kids who need reading and language help, the all-day kindergarten reinforces what half-day kindergarteners are learning/Jesse Tinsley, Spokesman-Review.

DFO: Like it or not, blogs are the future of news here.

1. Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz ($1.23M worth), other top execs of the 20 biggest publicly held companies in the Puget Sound raked in perks galore, including some who were given bonuses at employee training expense, here.

2. An emergency room doctor has filed a lawsuit seeking more than $16M against the company that provides emergency room care at Kalispell Regional Medical Center, alleging defamation, civil conspiracy, wrongful discharge and other illegal acts. The suit includes allegations that Silvertip’s physicians covered up another physician’s alcohol abuse, ignored Rundle’s concerns over patient-care quality and made referrals more for financial gain than for patient care here.

3. The region’s only mad cow testing facility, a part of the Washington Animal Disease Diagnostic Laboratory at WSU, will no longer test for mad cow disease as a contract with the U.S. Department of Agriculture comes to an end March 1. The facility began testing in June 2004, several months after a cow in the Yakima Valley tested positive for BSE, the first such case in the United States here.

4. A bill to require a parent’s permission for an unmarried minor to receive an abortion has passed the full Idaho Senate, 23-12.
The bill requires girls younger than 18 years old to get a parent or guardian’s permission before receiving an abortion, or to appeal to the judge for an exception for special cases, such as sexual abuse by a parent here.

5. Police investigators are interviewing an off-duty Spokane officer involved in a shooting this morning. According to police, 16-year-veteran officer James “Jay” Olsen shot and injured a man he believed was stealing his truck here.

6. IMHO-NW: John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Will Oscar committee ever get it right?), Bill Hall/Lewiston Tribune (Foolish Huckleberry Snickers mistakes), Cliff Harris/Coeur d’Alene Press (Throwing rocks at the greenhouse), Tecla Markosky/UI Argonaut (Fame doesn’t equal brilliance), and James Reavis/WSU Evergreen (Controversial women provide liberation).

Online Poll: 55% of 727 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll said they’d feel comfortable submitting to an airport X-ray machine that shows the body’s contours with blush-inducing clarity.

*Washington State drops to 13th in latest AP basketball poll here.

*Idaho natives Graham Watanabe and Pat and Nate Holland were shut out at the U.S. Snowboardcross Championships here.

*Bonners Ferry woman who stole police SUV sentenced to five years here.

*A retired race horse was euthanized after being attacked by two pitbulls in the Spokane Valley here.

Orbusmax Special: Controversial punishment at Oregon private school stirs debate here.

Brit Marmitetoasty Makes Blog Debut

If you haven’t read HBO’s favorite Brit poster Marmitetoasty, you’re in for a treat. She’ begun a blog from her vantage point on the south coast of England. She introduces herself on her Twaddle Everyday Rubbish blog with the following:

“Single Mum of 4 wonderful sons, live on the South Coast of England, I work me socks off, love to laff, love music and books, kids, animals, love my log fire and would NEVER buy a house without a chimney,I would like to think Im creative, I have a very sick sense of humour, I live in an organised MESS, I love with my soul, Im loyal and I make the most amazing friend, love holding hands and hugs, want to make love in the snow on a blanket naked with someone special ;), scared of snakes but not much else. … oh did I mention I LOVE marmite with a passion …” Marmitetoasty

You can read Twaddle Everyday Rubbish here.

USPO Wants 2 Cents More, Proposes “Forever Stamp”

For the rest of the story, click here

A postal regulatory commission recommended a 2-cent increase in the cost of mailing a letter Monday and urged the Post Office to introduce a “forever” stamp valid for first-class postage even when rates rise. The recommendation to increase postage to 41 cents was a penny less than the postal service had requested. The commission recommended a 26-cent rate for post cards, also a penny less than the Post Office had sought. The first ounce of a first-class mail would rise to 41 cents, but each additional ounce would cost 17 cents under the proposal. Currently, each additional ounce of first-class mail costs 24 cents/Associated Press.

DFO: The USPO has reached the point of no return, as far as I’m concerned. Every time I turn around, it’s asking for another penny or two for first-class mail. Now, I look for ways to avoid using stamps. The government system has gotten too. dang. expensive.

Question: How much do you still use the U.S. mail?

Question: What Do You Want In New NIC Prez?

Issue: Don’t let silence speak for you: A consultant heading up the search for North Idaho College’s next leader presided over two public forums earlier this week/Bonner County Daily Bee.

More Info: Several dozen campus employees showed up. Some of them spoke out. But from the community at large, there was deafening silence — except from Stan Hess, who lost his bid for a seat on the board of trustees last fall. Hess was literally the only participant in the forums from off campus.

DFO: Wanda Quinn called last week to ask about the qualities I’d like to see in a new NIC prez. Afterward, I told her that I’d provide a post, so you could comment, too. Here it is.

Question: What qualities and values would you like to see in a new North Idaho College president.

Dan of the County: No Problem w/Salvation Army Link

Side Note: No doubt membership in the Salvation Army church will skyrocket. Who wouldn’t want to go to a church that has an Olympic-sized swimming pool and athletic center attached?

Buckssome: I am pro Kroc Center but I wonder if I would be pron to support Mr. Spencer if the partner was ie: LDS, Catholic, Hamas etc.. Are we guilty of averting our Eyes to the truth while keeping them on such a grand goal?

Dan of the County: As someone on an earlier post said, it’s not freedom from religion it’s freedom of religion. There are lots of examples of where the government tries to also address people’s spiritual needs on a voluntary basis. I think of chapels and chaplains in prisons, public hospital chapels, and of course there must be tens of thousands of chaplains that have served in our armed forces over time. And of course the current administration (which I’m no fan of on other issues) has made partnerships of spiritual and temporal activities a matter of public policy and support through their office of faith based initiatives. As a CDA native I am very, very happy that a community center will finally become a reality and I for one am all the more happy that it may also provide spiritual resources and strengths for those who desire them as well as meeting physical and social needs.

DFO: Blogs Are Future of Newspapers

For DFO’s complete Sunday column, click here

I’m amused by media pundits and opinion makers who emerge from their ivory towers occasionally to condemn bloggers. They harrumph: They’re amateurs. They have no checks and balances. Their audience is small. They’ll go away as the fad fades. Many otherwise intelligent newspaper editors and commenters view blogs the same way as crusty Andy Rooney. In 2005, when asked about the CBS Public Eye blog and its policy of transparency, Rooney spouted: “I have never read the CBS Public Eye blog so I have no opinion. I’m trying to find out what blog means. It seems vastly overrated as a communications tool.” For Rooney and other cave dwellers, a blog is a World Wide Web log – you know, like the journal kept by Captain James Kirk aboard the starship Enterprise in the old “Star Trek” series. For some, a blog is a diary. For others, it’s a means to comment on politics, religion and the news. For me, it’s an opportunity to have my own publication online and build a community of regional bloggers, commenters and “blurkers” (blog term for individuals who read but don’t post) — D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review.

DFO: I received two calls about this column — one from an Old Fart who agreed, the other from an Old Fart who disagreed and was glad I was spending more time online so he didn’t have to read my nonsense in the paper.

Question: Your reaction?

Sunday/Wild Card — 2/25/07

Sorry to leave you alone for the last two days to feud among yourselves re: the Kroc Center. But I’ll make up for it Monday. Seems like everything’s been inbounds so far, although some egos may have been bruised. I’ll let you know what I was up to when I return to the office Monday. Meanwhile, you can continue to amuse yourselves with this Wild Card …

TGIF Wild Card — 2/23/07

You’re on your own today, HBOers. With the help of JimmyMAC, Greg Z. & Wells Fargo, I’m buying a car today. And I’m going sight-seeing with it. The HBO numbers have bounced back after that Mac trouble we had for a week or so, which prevented Mac/Safari users to see anything beyond the Google ad that was plopped in the middle of this thread two posts below. I was losing 500 to 1000 page-views per day as a result of frustrated Mac users tuning out. HBO’s back in the mid-6000s now, with newcomers tuning in all the time. My next challenge will be to find a sub of some sort to post a few items when I take a day off or when I’m on vacation. Until then, a Wild Card will have to do …

AM Hucks: Spen-sah Calls CDA/SA Deal A Kroc

So, self-appointed army-of-one Larry Spencer called the cops on the city of Coeur d’Alene for moving ahead with plans to swap land and remediate a 12-acre site for the $33 million Kroc Center? And the cops told him to pound sand? In an internal memo (which landed in an e-mail box for Huckleberries Online on Thursday), City Administrator Wendy Gabriel said Spencer, who claims with a straight face that he supports the Kroc Center project, tried to sic the Idaho State Police on Mayor Sandi Bloem & Co. Seems Spencer complained to ISP Capt. Clark Rollins about a possible church-state violation involving the Kroc Center. In the World According to Spencer, council members may have crossed the constitutional line when they agreed to spend up to $3 million reclaiming that gravel pit site for the community center on the southern edge of Ramsey Park. There’s also a land swap involved that’ll put the center into Salvation Army hands. Spencer sees that as a problem (and his wedge to stop the project or scare the Salvation Army off). City Attorney Mike Gridley doesn’t. Capt. Rollins didn’t see it as his problem. Quoth Gabriel (in her memo): “Captain Rollins was just providing a heads-up that in his return call to Larry Spencer, he would advise him that his complaint is civil in nature, and not criminal, and so no investigation would be conducted.” When HBO printed Gabriel’s memo online yesterday, Spencer commented, “Why do people insist that because I want the laws and constitution to be followed I am against the center?” Why indeed.

Parting Shot — 3/22/07

In this undated photo released by American Bird Conservancy, a man shows a rare bird named in its own genus, “Xenoglaux,” meaning “strange owl,” due to the long wispy feathers or whiskers that stream out from its reddish-orange eyes in Peru’s jungle, January, 2007.

For Those Keeping Score At Home …

… Mayor Sandi Bloem’s daughter, Erica, gave birth to two healthy little boys today. Congrats, Mom and Grandma.

Marmitetoasty: Explains Who The Heck Eric Is

re: Marmitetoasty (our own Brit) explains a typical day in her house below. You can find the rest of the post here.

Me today/this evening not 30 minutes ago on the phone to me plumber/central heating matie…..

me - Gordon, thank goodness your in…. can you come round its life or death…..

Gordon - Mel, calm down, whats happened to the boys….

me - deep breath, its not the boys Gorden its Eric… please please can you come round now…..

Gordon - calm down Mel and tell me whats happened, talk to me on me mobile whilst I come round… what on earths up and WHO THE HELL IS ERIC…

me - Eric is our 14 inch mean lean biting machine Bose Lizard….we saved him from a neglectful home about 3 weeks ago, he was real mean but he loves us now and dont bite that much, well he did bite Jacobs lip and I thought he would need stitches but he didnt…

Gordon - You named a Lizard Eric? … tut tut tut giggles …

DFO: Marmitetoasty, can you explain why you don’t have a blob? This is a hoot.

Secret Witness: PFPD Blue Seeks Local Woman

A $2,000 cash reward is being offered for information regarding the whereabouts of Missing Person Roxann Mary Tolson and the arrest of any possible suspect(s) involved in her disappearance. In January 2006, Post Falls Police Department was notified by William Tolson that he had left their home in Post Falls in August 2005 to complete some errands and when he returned she was gone. Since that time neither William Tolson, friends or family members have heard from her. Tolson was last seen at her Post Falls apartment wearing a pink and white pajama top with blue flannel pajama bottoms. Roxann or Roxi is described as 47 years old, 5’2 / 110 lbs with brown eyes and brown hair with blonde highlights. Anyone with information on the disappearance of Tolson is asked to call Secret Witness of Kootenai County 667-2111, toll free at 888-667-2111. Callers are asked to use a code name or number and do not have to use their own name to be eligible for a reward. A photo is attached to this press release.

Wild Card/Thursday — 2/22/07

It looks like Old Man Winter slipped in another sucker punch (as someone here on HBO predicted he would before shuffling off to Antarctica). But the blast wasn’t nearly as severe as the hyperventilating talking weather heads predicted. One to 3 inches, beginning at 4 a.m.? There isn’t even a dusting on the parking lot outside. Why do we listen to these guys? They’re wrong about as much as they’re right. While you ponder this question, I’ll play the Wild Card …

Huckleberries Hears That Spen-Sah …

… is trying to stir things up re: the Kroc Center. And I quote insider info passed along to department heads by City Administrator Wendy Gabriel:

“I received a call today from Captain Clark Rollins of the Idaho State Police. He advised that he received a call from a Larry Spencer asking that an investigation be conducted regarding the City’s ‘payment to the Salvation Army’ of $3 million. He mentioned separation of church and state. Captain Rollins was just providing a heads up that in his return call to Larry Spencer, he would advise him that his complaint is civil in nature, and not criminal, and so no investigation would be conducted. Mike Gridley’s earlier email to Jim Hollingsworth provides a very nice and easily understandable explanation of our agreements.”

Below: Exchange between City Attorney Mike Gridley and citizen Jim Hollingsworth:

Jim Hollingworth: Mike, In light of the fact that the City is donating 3,000,000 to the Salvation Army Kroc Center, a church, what legal precedent is there for doing so? I wonder why the ACLU has not stepped in to stop this. I see no problem with what you are doing, but it does seem like a double standard, to me.


Mike Gridley: Hi Jim: It’s not a donation to a church. The City has agreed to partner with the Parks Foundation (private 501-c-3 foundation) to provide funding to create a buildable site for the Kroc Community center. In return the City gets a 25 year agreement that its citizens will have access to a (world-class) recreational facility. The agreement specifically prohibits using any City funds for the promotion of religion and prohibits discrimination or religious indoctrination. A simplified example of what we are doing would be if we rented a church basement for a public meeting. We are paying money in exchange for the non-religious use of building space. This is clearly allowed by the Constitution. There is no Constitutional prohibition on government entering into secular, arms-length deals with religious organizations for the benefit of its citizens. I have talked with Jack Van Valkenburgh, Executive Director of the Idaho ACLU, and he has not expressed any concerns. We believe that our partnership with the Parks Foundation and the support of the Kroc Community center is legal and a great way to leverage public funds for the benefit of our citizens. Let me know if you have any other questions. Thanks for your support of this once in a lifetime project.

DFO: Frankly, I’m tired of Spencer and far-right end of the local Republican superstructure trying to stop something as beneficial as a Kroc Center, which is worth $60M (including endowment), for what amounts to an in-kind donation of a coupla million bucks. Talk about straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel. Don’t you guys have something better to do — like electing ultraconservative commissioners to tear down Bonner County? This city has needed a community center for 22 years. It has a chance to get an incredible facility. And you guys are stirring things up for what amounts to a pittance? Are you that anal? Go away.

Nic: I Don’t Agree w/Bob Either, But …

After all, I’m not a bob fan, so that means I am all bad in your book (re: Wednesday post that Unbearable Bob is ending his blog here) — goodriddance.

Get over yourself, goodriddance. I’m not a fan of bob either. In fact, I don’t think there is a single thing that Bob and I would agree on. But I’m not considered an enemy. Why?

1) I do not post anonymously
2) I believe Bob has just as much of a right to post here as anyone
3) if I don’t like what Bob has to say, I ignore him, rather than throw heartless insults at him
4) I do not make personal attacks against Thom George’s employment
5) I do not under mine someone else’s 1st amendment rights to flex my own freedom of speech
6) I find opposing viewpoints to be challenging, not inflammatory
7) I am not a chicken
8) I do not throw stones in glass houses
9) I understand the following concept: for every liberal nut that posts on HBO there are just as many (if not more) conservative nuts that post and blurk here
10) I do not find any personal satisfaction by insulting people with opposing ideas/thoughts/view points

The loss of a fellow blogger/writer is not some thing to celebrate, even if it is one whom I do not particularly enjoy. After all, every family has to have the crazy uncle that no one likes to talk about.

Nic/Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts

P.S., Bob, I am not a fan, but I wish you well.

DFO: I didn’t post this to dis the totally anonymously goodriddance, believe it or not. Rather, I believe, Nic has captured the essence of what this blog has become — people of all stripes, religions, politics, philosophies accepting one another and looking for common ground. I want the passionate debates to continue. I want people to photoshop politicians of all sorts, particularly local ones. At the end of the day, we can protect what we have here by embracing Nic’s approach.

For Those Keeping Score At Home …

… here’s my favorites among the names you suggested for the pending Editorial Page blog:

10. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Editorials — RSPA
9. Edit This — Toadman
8. The Imperial Guard — Inspector Gadget
7. He Said, She Said — Rhymo
6. Citizens Caned— John Austin
5. Raiders of the Lost Adverb — RSPA
4. Spokesman Unedited — Toadman
3. The Webbed Word — keithincda
2. Words Unlimited — A Token D
1. Soapboxes — Toadman

Nethercutt Sells Soul For Good Life He Once Blasted

Issue: “Revolving door” of D.C. money still paying off for Nethercutt/Alicia Mundy, Seattle Times

More Info: Since about 2001, the Spokane Republican had helped steer millions in federal contracts to the company, some through earmarks — projects slipped anonymously into the federal budget by individual lawmakers. Isothermal, meanwhile, donated thousands of dollars to Nethercutt’s campaigns. The company and its lobbyists were the second-largest contributors to Nethercutt’s Senate race, behind Microsoft. Nethercutt’s relationship with Isothermal is a classic case of what is known in D.C. as the “self-licking ice-cream cone”: A lawmaker helps a company win a contract, that company helps the lawmaker stay in office, and on and on it goes.

Lewiston Tribune: Nethercutt … entered the political scene as a reformer. He was going to go to Washington, help clean things up, and after six years return to Spokane. Today, 12 years later, he has become the target at which he took aim in a time that now appears more innocent, and more naive. (Editorial: System he rapped embraces, rewards Nethercutt)

Question: Are they all hypocrites?

Doug Clark: No More Poking Fun @ Avarice-sta

For the rest of the column, click here.

The top three dogs at Avista Corp. each raked in more than a million bucks last year, according to a story that appeared on the front page the other day. This then would be the moment where I would normally regale you with a string of smart-aleck jabs and one-liners about our rapacious power company. Sample: Q: Did you get your electricity bill the other day? A: Yep. Looks like light bulbs aren’t the only things getting screwed. My antics would be followed by: 1. A gigantic puckering sound from deep within the bowels of the Avista corporate offices. 2. An onslaught of Avista publicists who would dial The Spokesman-Review and demand that I be immediately dismembered or relocated to the Boise bureau — Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review.

DFO: Avarice-sta? I like it better than The Utility Company Formerly Known As Washington Water Power.

Question: How do you get one of these gigs where you’re overpaid as an executive and have a golden parachute in reserve when you get booted from the company?

Idaho Escapee: Mustaches Make You Look Older

Idaho Escapee: DFO, I think moustasches add age, whether gray or not. A long time ago, I had sort-of a Fu Manchu thing going on. Can’t do that now. … It would come in gray.

DFO: I’ve worn my mustache since I was 18. I’ve been tempted to shave it in the last few years, especially when the little hairs turned from black to gray. Then, I dunno. I’ve had this mustache longer than I’ve been in the news biz. It’s so much of the aging landscape that is my face that I’d have a hard time cutting it. Besides, occasionally, I and the stache come back into style. Think Adam Morrison.

Question: Anyone know what kind of facial hair is in style now?

AM Hucks: HBO Tells You Where You Left Your Bra

I’ve been trying to persuade you Huckleberries Print readers to check out my online blog. Yet some, like my dentist, Jim Robson, are reluctant to move online. So, I’ll play my hole card and tell you what you’re missing. If you had checked Huckleberries Online Wednesday, you’d be the first in your coffee klatch to know that Mayor Sandi Bloem is excited because her daughter will deliver twins this morning … That local attorney Starr Kelso’s rescue from Sasquatch and an elk hunting accident will be featured in an upcoming article of Outdoor Life by humor writer extraordinaire Patrick McManus … That Cruisers bar at Stateline is looking for the owners of sundry items left behind following the recent Pimp ‘n Ho party: a diamond studded earring, a pinky ring, a yellow bra and one unused, still-in-the-wrapper condom. (Owners must describe items to claim them) … That Cruisers has also sent out this all-patrons bulletin: “The cops have been sitting up by the water tower to get a full view of the world of Idaho. They will stop you for not stopping at the railroad tracks. Come to a full stop and put down your foot.” … That there’s at least one cat in the Northwest that isn’t afraid of the urban deer that have been terrorizing CdA Councilwoman Dixie Reid on Cherry Hill (with actual photo of cat chasing a deer) … That 77 percent of the respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll believe that a baby should always be locked in a car seat whenever the vehicle is moving. But an HBOer offers a valid exception to that rule. So, what will it take to get you onto my blog?

Ash Wednesday Wild Card — 2/21/07

I have another newby North Idaho Blogroll blogger to introduce to you (thanks to OrangeTV). Put your hands together for Plaid Toaster. OrangeTV describes blogmistress Melanie as: “She lives in CDA and her blog is mainly about her family of 7 (plus another on the way!) and all the assorted crazy things they do - she’s a very entertaining writer and she likes traffic.” The more the merrier. You can check her link out — and use this Wild Card to start your own thread today …

Silver Valley Girl: How Did Three Toots Get Name?

Silver Valley Girl/Silver Valley Stories): My brother, Raymond Pert, had/has a student at Lane Community College whose grandparents or great grandparents (some relative anyway) helped run a small gas station at the bottom of Page, a small town between Pinehurst and Smelterville. The name of the station was Three Toots. When it was operating, it was located on then Idaho Highway #10. Now we just call it “the old road.”

Question: Does anyone know the real story of how this gas station was named?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 2/21/07

OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy designed the poster above to introduce Open Mic Mondays at Mic ‘n Macs and describes his love for egg salad sandwiches here.

I’ve been waiting for this one: Cis/From A Simple Mind reacts to Huckleberries Online Blogfest 2007 here.

*Put your hands together for Katrina/Notes on a Napkin, who has the courage to provide an update on her New Year’s Resolutions two months later here.

*Trish Gannon/Wading With The River Journal has a timely message for government officials: “Grow up and quit (your) caterwauling about lack of interest/involvement. If you truly want public involvement, it’s really not that hard to get” here.

*Raymond Pert/Kellogg Bloggin’ has taken his final bow as part of the live theater production of “Othello” — and that empty feeling he has reminds him of life in general here.

Marianne Love/Slight Detour reports that the guiding lights behind controversial, long-time neighbor America’s Promise Church are selling their property for $2.8M here.

*Stebbijo Unzipped has the perfect remedy for HBOers who drank a little too much pop at Blogfest ‘07 Saturday — Havidol. But watch out for the side effects here.

*What do litterbugs, computers and cats have in common? They all mystify Family Phil/A Family Runs Through It here.

Meanwhile, BrodH20 shares a powerful remembrance here, Mari reacts to the deplorable conditions at the Walter Reed center here, Silver Valley Girl tells of the coming of the Black Robes here, Scurvy Jake has some nifty artist renderings of the new federal courthouse here, Tom Palousitics offers a cool ‘08 prez straw poll here, Granati helps at the Union Gospel Mission again here, JeanC offers spring colors here, and, tongue firmly cheeked, Go Figure continues to relate his Big Mountain climbing adventure here,

HBO Offers Fix To Dixie’s Deer Problem

Issue: The buck stops here: State, City Council hope to reduce area’s growing deer population/Tom Greene, Coeur d’Alene Press

Quoth: “People think they’re cute Bambis. They don’t think they’re wild animals and can be aggressive,” said (Coeur d’Alene Councilwoman Dixie) Reid, whose husband was challenged by a snorting and stamping buck in their front yard two falls ago.

Photo Story (from cat owner Bob Hokanson/Bonners Ferry): The cat was my wife’s pet Chinchilla Persian named Charlie Chin. He was supposed to be an indoor cat but nobody told Charlie. The photo was taken by a neighbor in front of our house in Gresham, Oregon the summer of 2001 before we moved to Bonners Ferry to retire. Charlie was about a year old then. Two deer had wandered through our yard and the neighbor had come out to take a picture of them. Suddenly, they bolted and Charlie took off after them just as the neighbor snapped the photo. After we moved to Idaho in 2002, I did see Charlie playing with our local deer on a couple of occasions but never had a camera handy. He would stalk them and when they caught sight of him, they would stamp and snort and then he would chase them. One day, he was kicked in the head and received a nasty wound, but recovered with only a scar. He always wanted to be outside and we knew the danger but just couldn’t keep him confined. In September, 2005 he disappeared.

Hat Tip: Taryn Brodwater

Noah Kroese: The View From HBO Central

Political cartoon/Noah Kroese

Evergreen Columnist: Give Heyvelt, Davis A Break

For the rest of the WSU Evergreen commentary, click here

A day in the life of the student-athlete, or is it the athlete-student? It seems that in our celebrity-obsessed lives, the fact that Britney Spears shaved her head and where Anna Nicole Smith’s daughter is going to end up is the most important news. It is no wonder that it took only a few hours for the news that two Gonzaga University basketball players who were allegedly caught with drugs to be front-page, headline news across the nation. Our culture is a part of the reason for the incredible amount of attention paid to these celebrities. As Americans, we love football, and we love basketball. Professional athletes are revered and paid a lot of money to do what they do. But this idol worship is not appropriate for the non-professionals – the college athletes playing their sports, while at the same time attending classes. The shame, embarrassment and humiliation the Gonzaga players are going through is far worse than any criminal punishment they could receive. They know that they let their teammates and their school down. Having everyone in America know about it adds insult to injury. Paying for the consequences of your actions should not include more public exposure and humiliation than a nonathlete would receive — Haley Paul, WSU Daily Evergreen.

Question: Should collegiate student athletes be treated like any other student when they get in trouble?

Bob’s Done Bloggin’? Say It Ain’t So

Notice on The Unbearable Bobness of Being blog, titled, “Dry”: “I’m through. Three years is enough. Thanks for all of your reading and commenting. You have no idea. You never will. Read the ones on the blogroll, some wonderful ones. Enjoy and take care.”

DFO: If this truly is the end, my friend, you’ve had a long, good ride. Monster hat tip.

Cruisers, Part 2: Don’t Play Tug-of-War w/Dog

Cruiser E-mail, 2nd Graf: “Cruiser our dog had to have 2 teeth pulled that were fractured from his favorite game of tug of war. Soooo.please make him drop his ball or Frisbee before throwing it for him. If you see someone playing tug of war with him please tell them of his situation. THANK YOU!!!!”

James Bond: What’s Nonini Doing?

James Bond: Bob Nonini — a great guy — is dabbling in the anti-abortion legislation area, according to Betsy’s Blog. It makes me nervous, because Bob is no Bill Sali or, for that matter, a single-interest-type politician. At least, the Bob Nonini I know is not that way. Anyway, this makes me wonder: Is Bob trying to expand his name I.D. and build up some goodwill with the more socially conservative voters in western Ada County, Canyon County, and environs? Put bluntly, is Bob Nonini laying the groundwork for a primary challenge in 2008 against Bill Sali?

DFO: I was wondering the same thing, 007. Nonini didn’t strike me as a social conservative, prior to this legislation. Obviously, to take out Sali in the 1st District, you have to burnish your credentials with social conservatives. Nonini will always have that scrape with drug laws in the 1980s to live down. But this bill and the one from 2006 targetting the Lake City High gay club should go a long ways toward helping conservatives forget and forgive the past.

Editor Smith Weighs In On Sam The Reporter

We have one of the best intern programs in the country. Last summer we had 12 interns, this summer we’ll have eight.

We have had the last three editors of the Oregon Daily Emerald at the University of Oregon. We’ll have the last two editors of the Daily Evergreen at WSU and Sam was 2005-2006 editor of the Argonaut at the U of I.

We are getting the top students in the region and many of the top students from places like Northwestern, the University of Missouri and Kansas, among others. We even have had interns from the smaller local schools, though their programs are relatively tiny.

Frankly, I’d like to hire all of them. But hiring is a tricky business. It depends on openings, desired experience levels, etc. And, to be honest, there are a lot of reporters out there for very few positions. Copy editors and designers have a better chance of being hired.

Sam and Jared Paben, two of the best interns I’ve ever had, both went to Bellingham because we had no available openings at the end of their 2006 internships. They will get some valuable seasoning working for two of the best small-paper editors in the business. Then they’ll move on, maybe back to us, maybe somewhere else.

I am very proud of both and of all the interns we’ve had the last several years.


Kroc Center: Getting ‘Er Done

Issue: CdA council approves Kroc center deal: Land swap gives city a building site/Hope Brumbach, Spokesman-Review

More Info: The land, valued at about $1 million, will be transferred to the Salvation Army through an agreement with the Coeur d’Alene Parks Foundation, an independent nonprofit organization. In exchange, the city will receive about 9 acres of nearly equal value off of Prairie Avenue that is owned by the foundation. City officials say the arrangement escapes church-state conflicts, an issue that has raised concern with other projects across the country.

Question: Do you have a problem with this deal?

Ash Wednesday: Lenten Season Is Upon Us

A woman receives the distribution of ashes during Ash Wednesday mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York, earlier today. Ash Wednesday marks the beginning of Lent when many observant Catholics fast in preparation for the upcoming Easter festival/AP Photo.

Question: What are you giving up for Lent?

Truly: We Want Our Sam The Reporter Back

Truly: DFO, can’t there be something done about bring back this kind of reporter (Sam Taylor) for the SR - Sam is one of a kind and a go getter- surely Steve Smith can see his talenants? I suppose there is a money issue here? but a reporter with this kind of go out and get em is sooo needed.

DFO: In my 37 years in the news biz, I’ve met few individuals like Sam who were born to be reporters. It’s in his DNA. I hated to see him go out the door when his internship was over. On the other hand, he’s better off for it. Sam was born and raised here. He needs to see how things are done at other papers. And to live elsewhere. I feel fortunate that I lived in three different states and worked for five different newspapers before coming to the SR. Some lousy. Two really good. The SR is in the second category. Sam will be Sam The Editor someday. I hope we grab him back before the big Puget Sound papers come calling.

Moscow Minidoka: Zag Doofs Didn’t Hurt Anyone

Moscow Minidoka: I have nothing but hostility for college athletics (in general), but the press is acting as though they killed someone. The biggest folly in the “drug war” is the assertion that all drugs are equally bad. This shouldn’t be the big deal it is. They didn’t hurt anyone, and college athletes get far less punishment for worse things (BSU’s Cam Hall was involved in a drag racing incident in which an entire FAMILY was killed - and he was back on the team the next season).

DFO: Heytvelt should be booted from the team for the season (and that’s what seems to have happened). And he should be allowed to play next year, if he keeps his nose clean. Many in my g-g-g-generation tried ‘shrooms and grass w/o lasting effect. That doesn’t make the individuals evil. However, to be doing grass and/or ‘shrooms during the season — and on the eve of a big game — indicates this kid cares little for his team. He needs to grow up. Mebbe he will as a result of the flap he finds himself in. MM makes a good point re: Cam Hall. Heytvelt and Theo Davis aren’t evil. Simply stupid.

Parting Shot — 2/20/07

Photo of evidence in the arrest of Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis released by the Cheney Police. Photo courtesy The Cheney Police Department.

Question: What should become of Josh Heytvelt?

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 2/20/07

Bubblehead/The Stupid Shall Be Punished (foreground) is enjoying himself in southern California, where he visited the San Diego Wild Animal Park and Disneyland here and here.

*Sam The Reporter/Vandal Sense is hanging out with the creme de l’creme of the Washington newspaper world and he’s not all that impressed about it here.

*On the Oregon Coast, Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations is living large b/c he enjoys the ocean, socializes on his own terms and doesn’t know anyone well enough to worry that someone might drop by unexpectedly here.

*Southwark Lad/Perambulator celebrated a birthday weekend recently by visiting Dublin. He has photos and a new beard to prove it here.

*Green Libertarian tells about the big solar hot water system that he and his biz partner Bruce installed in Walla Walla last week here.

*JBelle/The ‘Kan EWA can’t explain why she loves botannical prints — and she has some from the 18th and 19th centuries — but she does here.

Meanwhile, Nathan’s still arguing that we should help New Orleans further here, Inland Empire Girl enjoys the treasure hunt in her yard now that the snow’s melting here, Mrs. T is excited about that her new mac laptop here, Toad sez you’re never too old to rock here, Bob’s tired of the dying and the Iraq war here, and Idawa wonders if stupidity is a sufficient reason to recall Congressman Bill Sali here.

Sammy’s Shakin’ Things Up In Washington

From: Sam The Reporter/Bellingham Herald.

Hey Dave, well it looks like I’ve started the ball rolling on something that is apparently a big deal. After writing an article on a bill in the Washington state Legislature that would exempt some oil and gas pipeline data from public disclosure, I requested the records myself. Now, nine different companies have sued the state to keep the information from me. Seem simple enough? Well now it appears that the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association is rounding up support for an old-fashioned court fight over the information and has confirmed that the Seattle Post-Intelligencer will be taking my records request and filing an identical version. As you can probably tell, Bellingham is just fine with me, I’m having a great time here. I cranked out a breaking news story on this issue just a bit ago: Gas companies fight release of pipeline info/Sam Taylor, Bellingham Herald.

DFO: You have no idea how thrilled I get when the HBO kids do well. Noah. OrangeTV. Sam. The button’s are poppin’ in my office overlooking NW Boulevard.

Don’t Tell Larry Spencer, But …

… 80% of 180 respondents to the new Lewiston Tribune online poll want the chance to vote by mail here.

BrodH20: When Flipping The Bird Goes Bad

When I first started driving, I was quick to flip the bird. I was living in Spokane and there were enough people that it just wasn’t likely that the one person (OK, several persons) I flipped off on any given day would turn out to be someone I knew or someone who knew my parents. And then I returned to Smalltown, Idaho. Since I’d had the misfortune of ramming my little blue Subaru into a tree and a fetish for bumperstickers, my car was easily recognizable. But I was dumb enough to keep flipping the bird, ignorant of the fact that just about everyone in town knew my grandparents and, by association, knew me. One day a guy in a motorhome, towing a boat, pulled in front of me on Highway 95. He cut me off and I had to slam on my brakes so I wouldn’t hit him. Pissed, I honked my horn to get his attention and then drove past with my middle finger extended. I didn’t give the incident a second thought until my grandparents’ phone rang that evening. Their good friend Louie wanted to let them know about this girl in a blue Subaru — Mommie Dearest/BrodH20.

Question: I know you’ve never flipped anyone off, HBOer; so, I’ll phrase this question carefully: Has someone ever flipped you off in traffic (and how did you respond)?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/20/07

In this photo released by Dove Lewis Animal Society, Velvet, a 4-year-old German Shepherd mix, is tended to Monday at DoveLewis animal hospital in Portland, Ore., after spending the night on Mount Hood helping three stranded climbers survive. X-rays show she has no internal injuries but does have some minor cuts and abrasions on her back feet and legs caused by prolonged exposure to the elements here. The rescue here.

WSU Daily Evergreen: WSU loses the face behind its famous icon here. Opinion: Randall Johnson should be honored here.

1. Members of a controversial Midwestern church say they plan to protest the memorial service of Marine Corps Sgt. Travis Pfister of Richland, who was killed in Iraq two weeks ago. The Westboro Baptist Church of Kansas has announced its plans to protest the March 4 memorial for Pfister at the TRAC facility in Pasco here.

2. Spokane County Deputy Prosecutor John Grasso officially charged Gonzaga University basketball player Josh Heytvelt today with felony possession of a controlled substance. However, Grasso sent the marijuana possession case against fellow player Theo Davis back to the Cheney Police Department here. KHQ slideshow about Heytvelt’s arrest here.

3. The Idaho Senate unanimously OK’d a wolf-hunt season, for as early as fall 2008, and put the price of wolf tags for Idahoans at only $9.75 here.

4. Twelve-year-old Jed Oyler is a duck whisperer. Well, maybe whisperer isn’t the right word. Squealer? Shrieker? Screecher? Squawker? However you describe what the Filer sixth-grader does to lure ducks, one thing’s for sure: It’s loud. Jed is an up-and-coming star on the national duck-calling circuit here.

5. Schumacher Furs & Outerwear is closing for good, saying anti-fur activists have thwarted its attempts to move out of downtown Portland by intimidating suburban mall managers. Rather than stay in Portland, the 112-year-old fur business will close when its lease runs out this spring, owner Gregg Schumacher said Monday here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Indigenous species missed by bird watchers), Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press (Nampa urban blues?), Julie Fanselow/Red State Rebels (Fear of “the other”), Hindu/Sagebrush (Chicken Little launches into space), and Brian Murphy/Idaho Statesman (Sports as bad as celeb gossip).

Online Poll: 72% of 864 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say that police officers who are injured in the line of duty should receive their full salary until they are either able to return to work or they are deemed permanently disabled.

*It’s big, but this slug won’t squish if you step on it here.

*Montana Demos want to expand hate crime law to protect gays, women and disabled here.

*84-year-old Great Falls woman dies of hypothermia while snow-shoeing here.

*A Whitman County, Wash., woman was flown to Spokane by helicopter after running over herself here.

Orbusmax Special: Woman wins 2 cars in 2 separate casino contests here.

Hey, Didn’t You Used To Be …

… Gonzaga basketballers Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis?

See: Heytvelt charged with felony/Thomas Clouse, Spokesman-Review

Question: Is the Spokane County prosecutor blowing this drug arrest of a Gonzaga player out of proportion by charging him with a felony?

Hot Potatoes — 2/20/07

*14-year-old commits to WSU: Recent success attracts 6-7 Ephrata youngster/Glenn Kasses, Spokesman-Review — Poor kid doesn’t realize that Tony Bennett, the uber-talented first-year coach of the Cougars, will be long gone to a bigger, better-paying school before he graduates.

*Bonner County toughens boating rules: Penalty increasing for speed, noise violations/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Daily Bee — Owners of monster boats and trophy wives now will face a misdemeanor and possible jail by speeding, roaring their engines. I know some folks at Priest Lake who will be happy with this decision.

*Ban smoking in bowling alleys, unanimous committee says/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise — Wonder how long it’ll be before this country bans tobacco altogether?

*Idaho soldiers back from Afghanistan: More Guard members heading home soon/Associated Press — Can’t wait for my niece to put Afghanistan in her rear-view mirror.

*Contentious Foxtail request back: 280-acre plan calls for 649 single-family lots, 245 multi-family units in PF/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press — Now that the 9th Circuit Court has dealt the grass-seed industry a death blow with its field burning decision, owners of the Rathdrum Prairie will switch to the next best grow crop: houses.

Statesman: Should Wounded Cops Get Full Pay?

Should police officers who are injured in the line of duty receive their full salary until they are either able to return to work or they are deemed permanently disabled?

*No opinion

Wondering: Fat Robins Mean Spring On Its Way

Wondering: Could it be? Dare I hope? Is spring lurking in the wings just waiting to spring? As a harbinger, at least 50 roly poly robins descended into my garden on Sunday. Come out, come out wherever you are spring. We await with open arms.

DFO: Wondering brings up a point I’ve been mulling for a few weeks. What are the signs of spring? I look for the first crocus. She looks for robins. The arrival of pitchers and catchers for spring training is another indicator.

Question: What indicates to you that spring is on the way?

AM Hucks: Blogfest ‘07 Leaves Some Rundown

Oh, the indignity of it all. A beautiful Saturday. A wonderful event. And a dead car battery. But first things first. Huckleberries Blogfest ‘07 is in the books, celebrating the third blogiversary of Huckleberries Online. The Spokesman-Review picked up the tab for pizzas and pop. The Who’s Who of the region’s bloggers, commenters and blurkers provided the fellowship: Dogwalk Musings, From A Simple Mind, Bayview Herb, BrodH20, Family Phil, CastMD, Frum Helen Back, Councilman MikeK, Stebbijo, and Tumblewords. Chronic Discontent flew in from Tennessee. Vandal Sense and The Lovely Kathryn journeyed back home from Bellingham. Attendees included three elected officials, a county planner and emergency room doc who’d given a recent physical to another guest (but didn’t recognize him with his clothes on). S-R Editor Steven A. Smith made an appearance. Ditto for three S-R colleagues. About 50 people visited Capone’s during the two-hour blogfest, including several who spotted my car outside with its lights on. My car. But they forgot to mention it when they entered the sports bar and got caught up in the excitement. So you can imagine my surprise afterward when I turned the key and nothing happened. Luckily, Rocket’s Brain Trust and Larry Spencer came running with jumper cables. Unluckily, fellow blogger/S-R mate Taryn Brodwater whipped out cell phone, snapped photos, and posted them online that night. I look hapless. Live by the blog. Die by the blog.

Wild Card/Monday — 2/19/07

I received a requests from about a dozen people over the weekend, asking to be added to Huckleberries Online’s private e-mail list. I plan to use the list to contact regular bloggers, commenters and blurkers directly if I have something to say that I don’t want to put on the blog for general view. Some of the e-mails that I have now are outdated. If you want to be on the list and didn’t receive my Friday test mailing, please contact me via private e-mail. Now, for your first Wild Card of the week …

P.S., I’m going to be late for work Tuesday morning b/c I have a dental appointment at 8, in Hayden.

Otis G Experience: Overregulating Myself

OtisG Experience: This is an interesting topic to come up today. When I was making the blogfest video, I actually edited out the word “damn” from Brent’s karaoke performance at the end. I was thinking that might be offensive to some people. But, after I did it, I thought to myself “It’s Bad, Bad, Leroy Brown! A classic song! Who could be offended by that?” So, I wanted to put that back in, but I can’t edit a video that’s already uploaded. I guess my point is, I feel like I’m over-regulating MYSELF.

DFO: Otis, you’re experiencing what journalists run into all the time — when to be cautious and when to throw caution to the wind. I’ve learned long ago to publish it all, unless that still small voice inside, which keeps me out of trouble, is shouting at the top of its lungs.

Inside Huckleberries — 2/19/07

*Family Phil has sent along a link to a Hayden blogger that looks promising. I think the blog’s titled, “What Ever Happened To …” But it could be Scented Geraniums. Check it out here.

*The Orb checks in from west of the Cascades: “Dave, was reading about the blogfest you all had this weekend. Sounds like it was fun. I hooked up with my buddy Sagebrusher this weekend, and we were saying it would be fun to attend one sometime.” (DFO: Now, that would be beyond cool.)

*The Lovely Kathryn Joins Blogosphere: Note from Sam The Reporter this morning: “You should know that this weekend’s Blogfest has inspired a new blogger to hop into the foray. The Lovely Kathryn has begun posting at Meet The Taylors. It should be a good time.” (DFO: Sam, you’re a lucky man. And so is TLK. I was delighted to see the two of you — and to see that you’re so in love. Protect that. Always.)

*Speaking of new blogs, Raymond Pert’s two sisters are now part of our regional blogosphere: Silver Valley Girl enjoys the people, places and things about the Silver Valley happening yesterday and today. And Inland Empire Girl/Gathering Around The Table “enjoys the peaceful, natural beauty of Lake Roosevelt. This blog will reflect on the daily happenings of life in the country.” In introducing the two new family bloggers Saturday, Raymond asks: “Will Mom be next?”

*E-mail Policy: Proposed change in Coeur d’Alene School District e-mail police: “E-mail may be viewed by others. There is no guarantee of confidentiality.” Wonder why they thought of that? ;-) (Hat Tip Meghann Cuniff.)

Injury Accident Near Kidd Island Bay …

Rescue crews are rushing to the scene of a head-on collision reported a few minutes ago. The accident took place on Highway 95, near milepost 420 (Kidd Island Bay). Injuries are reported. Stay tuned.

North Idaho Blogroll Changes

If you check out HBO’s Blogrolls to the right, you’ll find a number of wholesale changes in the upper four sub-blogrolls. Blogmeister Ryan taught me how to make my own changes, so I don’t need to wait for anyone to do them for me. I spent the last half hour weeding through the blogs, eliminating the inactive ones, and moving around the bloggers. For example, I moved F-Words, Palousitics and Right Mind, all with Moscow ties, into the North Idaho Blogroll. Ditto for Betsy Russell’s Eye On Boise. I moved others that had been in “Idaho Politics” into “Friends of Huckleberries” and deleted the IP blogroll and the blogs, including 43rd State Blues, that never gave Huckleberries took the opportunity to interact with the North Idaho Blogosphere. Their loss. Also, I added Raymond Pert’s two sister bloggers — Christy Woolum’s Silver Valley Stories and Carol Roberts’ Gather Around The Table — to my blogrolls, as well as Meet The Taylors by The Lovely Kathryn. “Friend” bloggers include those who interact regularly here but don’t live in North Idaho (Orb, Bob, JBelle, Brent, GreenL, etc.) and those who link to my blog (Sound Politics, Brodie Specter, Leaning Straight Up, etc.) My blogrolls are important to me. As are my blog friends.

BTW, if you know someone from North Idaho who posts regularly and should be part of our blogosphere, please let me know.

North Dakota Sets Snow Angel Guinness Record?

Thousands of people flap their arms and legs in unison, creating angel imprints, during a world record attempt for the most snow angels, in Bismarck, N.D., Saturday. Organizers said they believe almost nine thousand people took part in the event. The previous world record was 3,784/Will Kincaid, AP Photo.

Question: Have you ever been part of an attempt to break a Guinness record?

OrangeTV: Target Offers Penny Candy Alternative

For the rest of OrangeTV’s post, click here

I could probably come up with a whole new blog just about trying new kinds of candy. I was depressed for months when the Penny Candy store in downtown CDA sold it’s last buttery mint and shut down last summer. On gorgeous sunny days like today, I would walk downtown for some fresh air and exercise and stop into the Ramblin’ Rose for some Nag Champa incense, browse the towering shelves at George Nolan books, and always the Penny Candy store. Of course, the candy there was never actually sold for a penny, and a trip through the variety of baskets with even a small bag would set you back at least five bucks. They had candy there from all over the globe, and there was always something new to try. Since then, I’ve been looking for a place with a reasonable selection of oddball and foreign candies and chocolate, and it was under my nose the whole time - Target. It’s nowhere near as quaint, and they don’t carry the small, individually wrapped candies, but they do have quite an intriguing selection of yummy things/OrangeTV, Making Flippy Floppy.

DFO: Watch for OrangeTV to begin reviewing the local restaurant/music/nightlife scene at a Handle Extra coming soon to a doorstep near you.

Question: Where have you turned to satisfy your sweet tooth after Penny Candy is closed?

Question: How Long Do You Keep Love One’s Cards?

For MamaJD’s complete post, click here

My husband and I were out of town over Valentine’s Day. We planned ahead and I received a card from Darling, Love Of My Life (DLOML). We sarcastically refer to each other this way often. It is an homage to the Kubrick version of the movie The Shining, when Jack Nickolson goes on a possessed rampage against his wife. We impersonate Nickolson as we call each other this term of endearment. I love my DLOML — he has a good sense of humor. Mentioning Jack Nickolson in The Shining may provide some insight on how we feel about Hallmark card storage and whether or not there is an expiration date. I mentioned to DLOML as we got home, that I really liked my Valentine card AND I brought mine home. I knew this would get him and he rose to the challenge. DLOML needs a ruling. If someone could help us out. How long do you keep cards? — MamaJD.

DFO: I feel guilty when I throw out cards from loved ones. That’s one of the reasons why my wife and I don’t buy each other cards. I wrote Brenda a love letter for Valentine’s Day this year instead.

Question: So … what is appropriate? Keep the cards? Throw away the cards after an extended period of time? If so, for how long? What about only keeping the cards that, as a receiver, mean the most? What if I am caught throwing out a card? Doesn’t this say, “Thanks for the card but it just wasn’t as meaningful as Valentines Day 2003?” If I just had a rule, then we could get on with it guilt free. We need a ruling, please!

Lewiston Trib: Batt Was Right About Prison Crowding

For the rest of the story, click here

Idaho should have listened to Phil Batt. When he was governor in the late ‘90s, Batt appointed himself “a committee of one” to look into prison overcrowding. He talked to professionals at every level of the justice system. They said over and over that mandatory minimum sentences are overloading Idaho’s prisons. When Batt relayed this to legislators, they responded immediately — with more mandatory sentences. Now Idaho faces a 34 percent increase in its prison population over the next five years — Tom Henderson, Lewiston Tribune.

Question: Should Idaho and Washington steer away from mandatory sentences for lesser crimes?

Question: Are You Working Today?

Schools and banks will be closed today in honor of President’s Day. Many, but not all, government offices will close. Residents throughout the Spokane and Coeur d’Alene area can expect regular garbage pickup. The city of Spokane considers today a parking meter holiday. Here is a rundown of services on President’s Day:

Coeur d’Alene City Hall – closed.
Post Falls City Hall – closed.
Kootenai County offices – closed.
Idaho state offices – closed.
Postal service – closed, no delivery.
Federal government – closed.

Question: Should we jettison Presidents Day and return to a federal birthday holiday for either Lincoln (Feb. 12) or Washington (Feb. 22) or both?

Idaho Statesman: Who Should Regulate Violent TV?

A draft report by the FCC suggests Congress craft a law that would let the agency regulate violent programming on television. Do you think it’s the government or the parents’ responsibility to monitor television violence?


Councilman MikeK: A Good Time Was Had By All

That was a roomful of very smart, funny, and thoughtful people at Capone’s yesterday. I think everyone has been named already, so I won’t belabor that but I am very glad to have met so many people I’ve ‘met’ and corresponded with over the last three years. (A special honorable mention to RBT whose tinfoil hat totally cracked me up). Everybody seemed to be in great spirits and totally engaged. My kids were treated like royalty and Capone’s crew were terrific as always. Thanks to DFO for providing this place to connect with the community and thanks to Steve Smith for letting DFO follow this muse (and for footing the pizza bill!). I found Steve to have a good sense of humor and he seems totally into the brave and uncertain new media world growing here — Councilman MikeK/Idaho Kennedys.

DFO: I deeply appreciated that Councilman MikeK and Woody McEvers, county planner Cheri Howell, and Dan of the County took time on a sunny Saturday in February to join us at blogfest. I know Al, Deanna and Her Sandiness blurk here. The beauty of the North Idaho blogosphere is that everyone’s welcome — big people, little people and everything in between — and everyone knows your pseudonym. (BTW, I thoroughly agree with MikeK’s analysis re: the setting and swell service provided by waitress Gina, supervisor Justin and the Capone’s crew.)

AM Hucks: Local Pols Hit Senior Center, Then Road

In their own spheres of influence, the elected officials from Coeur d’Alene and Kootenai County are accustomed to respect. They speak. People jump. As hungry visitors to the Lake City Senior Center Friday morning, however, they were the ones hopping. Seems city and county officials decided to move their irregular breakfast gabfest from Dockside at the Coeur d’Alene Resort to the senior center this month. All appeared well, at first. The staff and volunteers at the center set a scrumptious breakfast table with eggs, bacon, sausage and spuds. But things soured when the LOLs (Little Old Ladies) noticed two reporters from the local newspapers sitting at a table by themselves, not eating. Who the heck are they? a volunteer demanded of Councilman Mike Kennedy. As Mike explained who Erica Curless/S-R and Tom Green/Coeur d’Alene Press were, the LOL cut him short to complain. In her eyes, the scribes were messing up a table that had been prepared for lunch and would have to be cleaned up after them. In way of explanation, she mentioned the obvious: “We seniors are fussy.” The elected officials themselves learned just how fussy when they dallied for a half-hour longer than the promised 8:30 parting time. Huckleberries is paraphrasing now, but the basic message the seniors said to Her Sandiness, Chairman Rikky Tikky and their entourages was: Git. Then, the Seasoned Citizens stood with their arms folded until the schmoozing pols did. Betcha Her Sandiness, Commish Currie and their entourages return to Dockside next time.

Wild Card — HBO Gang, Capones Survive Blogfest ‘07

Photos: Stebbijo

I want to thank all of you who made Blogfest ‘07 special by attending Saturday afternoon. For a guy who works with words, I don’t quite know what to say. Capone’s lived up to each reputation for dyne-oh!-mite pizza and a great place to stage this kind of event. I’m humbled that so many would come, including Brent Andrews all the way from Tennessee and Sam The Reporter and The Lovely Kathryn from Bellingham. I can kick myself for not opening the gift from Noah Kroese sooner and sharing it with you — a ‘toon about my life as the HBO Blogmeister. If he can send it online, I’ll post it Monday. Stickman’s huckleberry cake was in a league of its own, too. I was blown away by it all. So was SR Editor Steve Smith. Above all, it was nice to chat with so many of you face to face. That old ‘60s song comes to mind: Something’s happening here … what it is ain’t exactly clear. ‘Twas a wonderful way to start Huckleberries fourth year. I’ve said it many times. But it’s worth repeating many more. Something good is going on in our tiny part of the blogosphere. Thanx for being part of it. (Now, I’m going to brace for that cell-phone shot that Mommy Dearest took of Rocket and Larry Spencer jumping my mother-in-law’s car so I could get back home. You’re never safe when there’s a blogger with a cell phone around.) I’ll leave behind this Wild Card as I shuttle off to bed with the wonderful memories I took home from Blogfest ‘07 …

It’s My 2 Cents: 3 Years And Counting

Bossman Steve Smith e-mailed that he might snap some video of me introducing people at HBO Blogfest ‘07 this afternoon. I responded that I didn’t think there was going to be any formal program — just bloggers, commenters and blurkers getting together for pizza and pop on our dime — mebbe a beer or two on theirs. If I do say a few words, it’ll be short and simple.

I’m not sure how we got here. I’ve never thought a lot about what we’ve done here. But I know intuitively it’s unique. Yeah, I’m a part of it. I was the one who raised my hand at the December 2003 annual SR newsroom editors gabfest and said the paper needed a blog written by a conservative to balance the media’s perception as a liberal bastion. But you’re the ones who nursed me through that first year (especially Cis) when almost daily I considered quitting the blog b/c it added so much to my work load and, as every blogger knows, it’s not easy to sit alone at a computer computer and post away — unsure if anyone’s reading your prose.

Cis’s encouragement and my promise to myself to last at least a year got me to the second Feb. 16. It got a bit easier after that, although the flame wars took a toll. Somewhere along the line, I realized what we are doing here is bigger than me. And it changed my view of what I do. It also changed me as I read and digested the passion and thoughtful discussion that occurs here regularly. Idaho Escapee likens the HBO Crowd to a “dysfunctional family.” Indeed, we have some quirky members, some enfant terribles, a lot of talented people. What we do here on a daily basis, from the Huckleberries cover to the blogrolls to the comment section is unmatched at the nonprofessional level anywhere else in the Inland Northwest. Mebbe the entire Northwest. Noah Kroese and OrangeTV, who are being incorporated into the SR, were discovered here. I learn more daily about the culture and behind-the-scenes news of North Idaho in my blogrolls than I do in area media.

This weekend, after the blogfest, I’ll begin learning about my new Mac book; so, I can take this show on the road to the local coffeeshops, restaurants and mebbe an occasional evening meeting. I also have a camera for video. In other words, I am just beginning to explore the possibilities re: what I can do here. All this has been made possible because I have an editor who had the vision to allow me to try something different. And kept allowing me to push farther away from the safety of the conventional newsroom as the months passed by. If you like HBO and you attend today’s blogfest, please expressed your thanks to Steve Smith. He truly is the founder of this Huckleberries feast.

Now, as I said three years ago, fasten your seatbelts because we’re not through yet.

The Bard To Pass on HBO Blogfest ‘07

I wondered Friday who has been with me here at HBO the longest. Cis came to mind. Ditto for John Austin. Then, it hit me. The Bard of Sherman Avenue, of course. The Bard has been with me here, before the beginning. S/he transferred over here with me from print Huckleberries and has continued to contribute his priceless rhymes. I asked him/her this afternoon if s/he planned on attending Blogfest ‘07 undercover, as a blurker in the shadows. The Bard answered no. Family obligations, as come of the rest of the HBO crew. Also, s/he didn’t want to take the chance of being identified by someone who might put two and two together. But s/he did say one thing that caught my attention. The Bard gave me permission to reveal his/her identity after s/he leaves this mortal coil. Until then, the mystery continues, and I remained thankful that Huckleberries is the beneficiary of his fine poetic wit. And you are, too.

James Bond: Ban Cell Phoning While Driving

James Bond: I’m beginning to lean towards a ban. I was not at first. However, as a bike rider, I see a lot of people talking on these phones and oblivious to things around them. Today, I was driving behind a woman who appeared to be drunk driving, swerving across the center line and well over into a bike lane. She was also going about 7 mph under the speed limit. When I got up next to her at the light, she was talking away on her cell phone, very animated and laughing and expressive with her hands. It was crazy. At that moment, I began leaning very heavily towards a ban. I’ve had it. Too many otherwise responsible adults are ABUSING cell phone usage in their cars, seriously endangering the lives of other people. I think we should treat them just like DUIs.

DFO: I started believing in a ban last spring when I rode my bike to work. You can be doing everything right on a bike — and still get knocked into Forest Cemetery by some ninny who’s not paying attention on a cell phone. Whenever you see someone make a wide turn from one street onto another, in slow motion, you know they’re on their cell. Or drunk. Ban ‘em.

3rd Anniversary Wild Card — 2/16/07

Comments Jane Q. Citizen: “So, any anonymous regulars attending? LOL! Who other than DFO would know if we/they did?” Good question. What are we going to do about anonymous commenters? And am I suppose to call you guys by your right names or your pseudonyms? So many loose ends to think about. I’d better play this Wild Card while I do …

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 2/16/07

Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts is ready to party Saturday afternoon at the HBO Blogfest ‘07. She’ll be the one wearing the Feminazi T-shirt. She might be able to see you, though, according to a recent post, here.

*After years of losing three weeks of summer to field smoke, Sweet Herb/Bay Views, exults in the news that the state of Idaho won’t issue permits for further field burning here.

*OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy was depressed for months after the Penny Store downtown closed last summer, but he’s found a yummy replacement right under his nose, sans the environment, in — Target here.

*Katrina/Notes on a Napkin watched “Pay It Forward” on TV this week, knowing full well that she’d be blubbering into a couch pillow, with a heart ache in her chest, when it was over here.

*Nic/Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts tells of an odd experiment in his workplace in which various departments have been given the freedom to decorate their space in colors of their favorite holidays here.

*Succinct Kristin Hoppe/Not So Fast lists U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens affiliation as “Idiot-Alaska” for his proposal to ban Wikipedia among other interactive sites in schools and libraries here.

Meanwhile, Mari welcomes the sun here, Cis realizes spam is nothing more than junk mail by an electronic name here, Councilman MikeK recommends an IPTV special on Idaho’s working poor here, JeanC’s rarin’ to enjoy her three-day weekend here, Trish provides a preview of the latest issue of The River Journal here, Marianne’s true love is going to a monastery here,

Three Idaho Soldiers

Fog hangs in the valley
the cloud hangs on the hill;
the last sweet note of Taps
hangs in the winter chill.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

A Rough Way To Start The Morning

Rescue workers examine the wreckage of an SUV that landed in Snake River Falls in Idaho Falls earlier today. The driver of the vehicle, a 28-year-old women, and her 4-year-old daughter went through a break in the curb, down an embankment, across the frozen river, and then over the falls. Neither the driver nor the child were seriously injured in the accident/Monte LaOrange, AP Photo/Post Register.

Q: Should Cell Phones Be Banned While Driving?

For the rest of KING5 news story, click here

A new push is underway in Olympia to make motorists put down their distracting devices. But some wonder whether a new law is really necessary. The state legislature now debating four different bills that would restrict cell phone use on the road, including bans on everything from text messaging and e-mailing to prohibiting cell phone use by anyone with just a learner’s permit or intermediate license. Sen. Tracey Eide is sponsoring a bill that would allow only hands-free use of cell phones punishable by a fine of up to $538.

Question: Should motorists face a fine of up to $538 for using a cell phone while driving?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/16/07

Model Megan Hauserman, left, and Helena (Mont.) native and Harvard graduate Alan ”Scooter” Zackheim, are seen during during final talent showcase and final vote for the winner on “Beauty and the Geek.” Zackheim and Hauserman won the $250,000 prize in the third season of the CW Network show. Helena Independent Record: Showing geekness is cool here/AP Photo.

Eye On Boise: Trouble brewing for vote-by-mail bill here?

1. A Sunday morning incident in which Pullman police officers used a TASER to subdue a black athlete from the University of Idaho has renewed controversy over the Pullman Police Department’s methods here. UI Argonaut story here.

2. The autographed football that arrived at the offices of the Salish Kootenai College Foundation last fall was one of a few items donated by professional sports teams for the school’s annual scholarship auction. But as the National Football League season went on, the ball became more and more valuable. By Feb. 4 the ball, signed by the Super Bowl Champion Indianapolis Colts, became the centerpiece of this spring’s auction for the college on the Flathead Indian Reservation here.

3, The presence of wolves in and around Yellowstone National Park has led to changes in elk breeding patterns, likely a significant factor in the decline in elk populations, a study published Friday concludes here. Related: Wolves kill hunting dogs in North Idaho here. And: Photos of wolf pack chasing moose are from Michigan, not Idaho, here.

4. Simon Cowell told the world that Seattle has the shallowest talent pool “American Idol” has ever waded through — but five singers who auditioned here made it to the talent competition’s semifinals here.

5. Idaho football coach Robb Akey lived up to his billing as a coach committed to the Vandals.
Akey has agreed to a five-year contract with the Vandals that includes a $1 million buyout if he leaves on or before Jan. 1, 2009 here. Also: UI Vandals want to spend $1.6 million on plans for new athletic/events center here. And: BSU coach Chris Peterson agrees to 5-year, $4.25M contract here.

6. IMHO-NW: Frank McGovern/UI Argonaut (Die, robot, and the Snickers kiss), David Johnson/Lewiston Tribune (A zookeeper on the Clearwater River), Dan Hammes/St. Maries Gazette Record (Don’t believe your calendars), Ginny McConnell/Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Love, love, crazy love), and Idaho Statesman (Open Meeting bill is good government).

Online Poll: 92% of 796 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll said the media coverage of Anna Nicole Smith’s death was “too much.”

*Idahoan sez Nissan cars overstate miles driven to shorten warranty period here.

*BYU-Idaho students charged with stealing textbooks here.

*Ex-Eddie Bauer CEO gets $4.5M golden parachute here.

Orbusmax Special: Smoker who orders cigarettes online gets $8000 comeuppance from state of Washington here.

They Prayed And, Voila, Conjured Up The Thieves

For the rest of the story, click here

Coeur d’Alene police may have gotten a divine lead if the culprits in a weekend theft of thousands of dollars of music equipment turn out to be named Mark, Michael, Nathan and Elliot. The names came to a member of Gateway Christian Fellowship “through prayer,” according to a Coeur d’Alene Police report. The church was having a conference at the Best Western Coeur d’Alene Inn when the equipment went missing overnight Tuesday. Natalie West, a civilian report taker for the Police Department, didn’t have any luck dusting for prints. But as West was investigating, a member of the church approached her and handed over a piece of paper with the four names and the words “Budget Rental Truck.” “These are the people who did it,” the woman told West, according to the police report. When West questioned the woman, she said another member of the church had the names “come to him through prayer” — Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review.

CPD Blue PRmistress: Christie Wood: “What do you do with it? We have to have something kind of tangible.”

DFO: I believe in the power of prayer, but … this church should keep its members away from the spirits — the liquor cabinet, that is. On second thought, we have a Mark, Mike and Nathan who hang out at HBO. Now, all we need is an Elliot (with one T) and we could solve this case.

Take 5 — Or What Should Rathdrum Prairie Farmers …

… do now that the state has shut them down as a result of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has ruled they can’t field burn?

1. Sell to the developer with the highest bid
2. Subdivide the land themselves to make more profit.
3. Start growing marijuana like many of the other “farmers” in North Idaho
4. Pray (until 9th Circuit Court rules that illegal, too)
5. Move to the Coeur d’Alene Indian Reservation where field-burning is still legal
6. Burn their fields anyway and dare the gummint to stop them.
7. Ask state House Republicans leaders, who are versed in pursuing lost legal causes, to appeal for them to the U.S. Supreme Court.
8. Apply at the Coeur d’Alene Resort for a minimum-wage job bussing tables.
9. Cry.
10. Other?

HBO @ 3: The Post That Got All This Started

re: Following is my first post ever on HBO (which was then called “No Holds Barred” and later became “Hot Potatoes,” before I settle on Huckleberries Online):

Fasten Your Seatbelts: (first headline)
For those who have developed a taste for Huckleberries, Hot Potatoes and other basic food groups in North Idaho, I’m taking it to the next level today … by moving on up to blogging. If you don’t know what that means, sound it out: blog, bah-log, Web log. In other words, a blog is a combination Web diary/column/train-of-consciousness thing.

Here’s what I hope to accomplish with my blog:

1. Let folks in North Idaho know what’s going on behind the scenes in political races and North Idaho governments.
2. Comment on the stories of the day.
3. Bring important Web stories to your attention.
4. Use the blog to test drive new words for my Hot Potatoes columns on Sundays and Wednesdays — words such as ap-hollow-gize and institution-all-lies, which speak for themselves.

I view life through an offbeat conservative filter but that doesn’t mean I’m conservative through and through. I may lean to the right on social issues but I voted for more Democrats than Republicans in Idaho’s last legislative elections. In other words, I don’t put much stock in either party’s politics.

One of my favorite sayings comes from the old Chicago Times: “It’s a newspaper’s duty to print the news and raise hell.” So, fasten your seatbelts. I hope you have as much fun reading this as I’m going to have writing it.

AM Hucks: SR Gets Fickled Finger of Fate

1970 was a good year. The first episode of “All My Children” was broadcast Jan. 5. The first Earth Day was celebrated on April 22 of that year. President Nixon signed a bill lowering the voting age to 18. And, for those keeping score at home, I began work as a journalist for the Chico (Calif.) Enterprise-Record while attending Chico State College (later University) full-time. But 1970 isn’t a good date to have on a check that you might want to cash 37 years later. Ask biz tidbits writer Nils Rosdahl and the other contract columnists and reporters who help fill our Handle Extra edition and other Spokesman-Review spots with their good work. (Yeah, I’m Hucking ourselves today.) Seems we played an inadvertent April Fools’ joke on our correspondents this week. Instead of pocketing extra moolah for their Valentine, some of them ran into banks that wouldn’t cash their checks. Nah, Cowles Publishing hasn’t filed for bankruptcy. An Accounting Department typo caused the correspondents’ checks to be issued with a 1970 date. A Spokane Valley correspondent was the first to encounter the bank roadblock. But not to worry. New checks were issued for those who couldn’t cash the originals.

•A recent story from BYU-Idaho (Rexburg) re: the capture of a panty thief brought back painful memories for a colleague who will remain nameless. E-mails she: “Horrible flashback. Boston laundromat. Me walking in. Guy taking panties – my panties – out of the dryer. Me too shocked to do anything. That was me at 21, though. At 35, I’d kick the guy’s (butt).”

Wild Card/Thursday — 2/15/07

Dogwalk Musings tells Huckleberries Online that she’s still having trouble accessing this site via Safari — three days, and counting. Luckily, she sez, she can do so via Mozilla. I appreciate her feedback. And yours, too, when you encounter problems. Recently, I’ve been able to determine that some of you are getting blocked because you have rotating IPs that are similar or exactly the same as ones used by problem posters that have been blocked by other SR bloggers. Alice Rankin, Jane Q. Citizen and others have suffered this intermittent block, as a result. (Note: I haven’t banned a legit poster since I tossed Dave Tolle in the cooler for a weekend some time back. A ban is an absolute last resort to calm someone down.) Bottom line? Your interaction is crucial when you’re having problems accessing HBO or commenting here. You should realize that it’s almost always some kind of computer problem — and that you’re not being blocked. With that, let’s go to today’s Wild Card …

Spencer: Vote By Mail Introduces Security Risk

If Vote By Mail and party registration become law, a huge security issue at rural mailboxes will be the downside, as the completed ballots are being sent back to the Clerk.

In Oregon, 29% of the completed ballots were received back on a single day (Oregon primary May 16, 2006). This means that a person armed with a list of people who voted for a specific party (D or R) could steal the completed ballots of the opposing party members from the rural or otherwise vulnerable mailboxes, and there would be up to a 29% chance that those ballots would be there waiting to be picked up by the carrier or anybody who wanted to steal them.

Unless they were caught in the act, if they destroyed those ballots nobody would realize there was a problem. People who have never had a problem with stolen mail would not think about this vulnerability, and they would never realize that their completed ballot had been stolen and their vote had not been counted. There is no fix to this gap in security.

Larry Spencer

DFO: Larry ran this by me this afternoon in a phone call. I believe the risk is minimal. I don’t think that states who have adopted a vote-by-mail approach are having trouble with this sort of fraud. Also, I’d hate to be the party operative fool who got caught raiding mailboxes to steal ballots. However, he does raise an interesting point.

HBO Blogfest ‘07 — Minus 2

I talked to Justin from Capone’s earlier this afternoon, and he’s ready for the 2007 Huckleberries Online Blogfest. He said he’d set up a buffet table with pizzas for us — 5 to start around 2 p.m. Saturday: the usual assortment of favorites (i.e., pepperoni, everything, cheese and veggie). I couldn’t tell him how many to expect.

Inside Huckleberries — 2/15/07

*Cabbage Boy: Just an FYI, the Sacred Cow Burgers link has not be alive for quite some time. Sadly it looks like he let his domain expire and has moved on to better things. DFO: Thanks, Cabbage Boy, I need to remove dead wood from the blog fairly soon.

*Moscow Minidoka: DFO; you keep referring to the “Handle Extra.” Why isn’t the Handle Extra available to subscribers in Moscow? Don’t we count? Answer: Why do you need Handle Extra when you already have access and a welcome matt placed for you — at Huckleberries Online (where everyone knows your pseudonym). Basically, it’s a staffing issue as well as recognition that Post Falls is a burgeoning community without adequate media coverage. Moscow is fortunate to have a Butch Alford publication.

*Sad note from NIDCop: “Just to let you know a Walla Walla County Deputy died last night after succumbing to injuries from an crash. He was in the crash on the 6th while responding to a call. Just so everyone knows, traffic crashes are are the number on killer of police officers.”

*Should I tell on ourselves? (Angel on right shoulder: “Thou shalt not embarrass thy newspaper while gainfully employeed.” Devil on left shoulder: Go for it.) Seems our contract employees who write columns and stories for Handle Extra and sometimes the main paper couldn’t cash their checks this month. Nah, the Cowles haven’t run out of dough. The accounting department inadvertently set the date issue for the check as “1970” instead of 2007 — and the banks aren’t keen on cashing 37-year-old checks. On the other hand, 1970 was a good year. (Hat Tip: Nils Rosdahl)

*My new Mac laptop arrived at the office today, complete with a cheat sheet. I’ll probably spend a week or two giving it a shakedown cruise before I start popping up at local coffee shops and restaurants to blog live. Fun.

*Capt. Ben informs the SR this morning that the faux KCSD Web site has been taken offline — you know, the one that included the “recent news” story about crime being eliminated in Kootenai County. Seems the county Information Systems dept. had inadvertently put the site on the air.

NIC Interim Prez To Be Ex-Highline CC Prez Bell

The North Idaho College Board of Trustees recently selected Priscilla Bell, Ph.D., to serve as interim college president while the board works to replace NIC President Michael Burke, who resigned in January after accepting a position as president of San Jose City College in California. Bell served as president of Highline Community College in Des Moines, Wash., from 2000 to 2006. With an annual budget of approximately $60 million and a faculty and staff base of about 1,000, Highline Community College serves a student body of about 18,000 annually. Full news release here.

Question: Best Local TV News Show

Which Spokane station provides the best local news show?

1. KREM2
3. KHQ

Q: Is Hart Anti-Driver’s License Resolution Paranoid?

For the rest of Parker Howell’s SR story, click here.

A House committee unanimously passed a North Idaho legislator’s resolution Wednesday prohibiting Idaho from implementing new federal driver’s license standards. The joint resolution by Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, would also ask the state’s congressional delegation to advocate repealing the Real ID Act of 2005 – legislation requiring states to issue new IDs that opponents say severely threaten Americans’ personal privacy. The act passed without a hearing and is a “backdoor approach” to making a national ID card, Hart said. Required by spring 2008, the new IDs would be tied to a national database and be needed to board airplanes and enter some federal buildings.

Question: Is Phil Hart being paranoid by introducing his resolution against the federal driver’s license standards?

Hot Potatoes — 2/15/07

*She said … Yes! Proposal in Press advertisement works out just fine for local couple/Lynn Berk, Coeur d’Alene Press — Key line: “But it turned out to be one of the rare days when the paper didn’t make it to the Gagner home in Post Falls.” Yeah. Aha. Sure.

Vote-by-mail bill advances: House committee passes legislation giving counties the choice/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review — Spen-sah huffed and he puffed, but he couldn’t swing two more members of the House State Affairs Committee.

Shoshone County weighing moratorium on subdivisions: Timeout would give planner chance to update ordinances/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review — Shoshone County? It wasn’t long ago when you could pick up property in the Silver Valley for a quarter on the dollar. This is good news, I suppose.

Avista sees steady sales this year: Profits rose in 2006 despite slow end to year/John Stucke, Spokesman-Review — And yet they keep going back to the regulatory powers that be asking for higher rates. F’shame.

Randy Smith confirmed for 9th Circuit/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise — Finally, an Idaho judge passes muster. Smith should push the 9th Circuit a tad back toward the middle from the far-left end of the spectrum that it seems stuck at now.

Seven interchanges planned for U.S. 95/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Daily Bee — Thumbs up for anything that improves traffic flow between Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.

Bob: Fun To Read About Country Cousins In CDA

Bearable Bob: Before discovering this blog and entering the blogopia you’re creating, I didn’t know that much about CD’A except the basics - beach, lake, wannabe destination resort, sprawl, Hagadone … nice town for a first date with a hefty racked bleached blonde divorcee and to kill a hot summer day when you just gotta be around crowds and idiot teenage boys on eardrum rupturing 750cc rice rockets but not much more … I remember when it was a sleepy little nothing dirt town by a big lake…but HBO has exposed me to so much more of the area - URD’s, Education Corridors, Tinfoilery, Larry Spencer, the Legend of Ron Rankin, Hagadone as Mr. Burns, Vote by Mail, Bill Sali, the relentless Thom George, bad brownies, etc. … I have to admit, that even though I poke fun at your little Mayberry I’ve grown quite fascinated by the insights and opinions and fluidly dynamic issues of your area and that’s entirely due to this amalgamation of news, gossip, opinion, mindray receptors delivered via the catalytic conversion of dead trees to the sparking interwebs. It’s a kick. I have no interest in living over there, you folks are still a little too The Flintstones meet the Beverly Hillbillies, but it’s fun as heck to read.

DFO: ‘Tis hard to believe that we’ve been doing this for 3 years (as of Friday). In dog years, Hucks would be 21. But, I believe, blog years are longer than dog years. Mebbe 10 years for every one year of ours. I’m proud of you other bloggers as you keep on keeping on — and pile up your own anniversaries. Bay Views, F-Words and CastMD all celebrated blogiversaries in recent days. Hat Tip to them — and all of you guys involved in making this brave new cyber world possible.

WorldNetDaily Poll — Buy A Car From China

Issue: Cars ‘Made in China’ coming to U.S.? Taxes play role in driving Daimler-Chrysler to Beijing/WorldNetDaily

Question: Would you buy a car made in China?

1. Yes, if the quality was good and the price was right
2. Yes, China is our friend – engagement is good for both countries
3. Yes, everything else I buy seems to be made in China
4. Yes
5. I may have to – I’m boycotting Ford and other U.S. companies for supporting the ‘gay’ agenda
6. No, I won’t reward totalitarianism and slave labor
7. No, we’re just buying the rope we’ll use to hang ourselves
8. No, the U.S. auto industry is too important to our manufacturing sector
9. No, I won’t put my money or my family in Chinese junk
10. No

DFO: No. 3

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here

Parting Shot — 2/14/07

Savannah Armas, 5, licks the chocolate from her upper lip after eating chocolate-dipped strawberry and banana pieces in Beth Kleinman’s kindergarten class at Hollywood Academy of Arts and Science Wednesday in Hollywood, Fla. The class was working on their fractions through fondue/J. Albert Diaz, AP Photo/Miami Herald.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 2/14/07

Pecky Cox entitles this photo simply, “It Won’t Be Long,” as she observes the first anniversary of her As The Lake Churns blog today here. (Dr. Jim/CastMD also is celebrating his first blogiversary today here.)

*Of Valentine’s Day, Cis/From A Simple Mind writes, “To me, it is just my guy and myself. God was good to me, to bless me with this man. Makes every day Valentine’s day, day of love. This man gives me so much. I get the deep inside love.” Sounds like The King is a lucky man, too here.

*SOS, from Amyrebba/That’s Life, Life Goes On: “I have been searching for a group of stay or work at home moms and dads in this area. There are many groups out there that have formed, but I can’t find any here in the Post Falls, Coeur d’Alene, ID area. If any one knows of a group already in existence then please let me know” here.

*Katrina/Notes on a Napkin has researched the history of — drum roll, puh-leez — toilet paper and, sure enough, users once tore pages from the Farmers Almanac to meet their intimate demands here.

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 remembers snatches of Merle Haggard’s songs from her childhood, but she couldn’t place more than a piece here and a line there until she saw him in concert this week here.

*Sara Anderson/F-Words rolled her eyes when she heard of Rep. Bob Nonini’s legislation to outlaw the use of threats by males to force women to have abortions here (BTW, Liberally Drinking in Moscow, of which Sara is a part, celebrated its first anniversary Tuesday night.)

Meanwhile, Bayview Herb is getting ready for Dog Biscuit Appreciation Day at Bayview Thursday here, Mari provides an update on her acupuncture treatment here, MikeK posts a Cd’A house affordability chart here, Raymond Pert’s “beautiful things” focuses on foreign students here, JeanC offers photos of her cat and her new shotgun here, and Granati wonders why older people drive bigger, slower cars here.

Extra! Otter Vetoes First Bill

Gov. Butch Otter used his veto power for the first time today, refusing a bill that he feared could harm some property owners. Otter vetoed House Bill 8, which had been proposed by the Idaho Tax Commission and passed easily and quickly through both the House and the Senate. The commission now sends notices via certified mail to people whose property is seized because they own back taxes. The bill would have let them simply use first-class mail, which could have saved the agency $25,000 a year. Otter said he didn’t think the change would afford the same protections and notification to property owners. Story here.

DFO: Too bad Butch couldn’t teach Dubya how to veto bills. Dubya’s veto stamp has been as missing as the WMDs.

Freak Dancin’ Draws Gig Harbor High Ban

Issue: ‘Hokey Pokey’ or hanky panky?: Gig Harbor dances suspended after administrators unable to control freak dancin’/Brent Champaco, Tacoma News Tribune

More Info: Gig Harbor High School administrators cut short a campus dance when they couldn’t control freak dancing last weekend and have suspended dances for the rest of the year, at least temporarily. The promiscuous behavior came to a boiling point Saturday at Gig Harbor High’s tolo dance, which the school estimates drew about 700 students. Principal Greg Schellenberg said the sexually suggestive moves started with a few teens, then quickly spread even after administrators warned they would send everybody home. With a sense that he was losing control of the crowd, Schellenberg stopped the tolo about 10 p.m., with more than an hour left.

Question: Did the administration take the appropriate action?

Lynch Remains Mum Despite Report Release

Issue: More Lynch-related papers released: 9 more pages deal with possible sighting of deputy mayor’s car in area known for criminal activities/Bill Morlin, Spokesman-Review

Whippersnapper: The reports from the IA division of Spokane Police are very interesting. There is definitely not a smoking gun there, just more inferences as the Spokesman has made in the past. It seems like Nicks may be covering up something, but without more, it doesn’t sound like a story. It makes you wonder who are the officers who leaked the story of a male prostitute. And even if its true, is it news?

Related: Confidential report (6 pages) here, supplementary info (9 pages) here, and KXLY video here.

Question: Is this a story? Or not?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/14/07

Tiffany Noreuil, an animal care technician at the Oregon Humane Society, holds temporarily lost “Hercules” on Jan. 10 in Portland, Ore. Not only is Hercules, a 20-pound stray whose girth got him stuck in a pet door while trying to plunder some dog food, back with his owner, but now he’s scheduled to appear on Martha Stewart’s mag here/AP Photo.

Leaning Straight Up: Global warming hearing canceled due to ice storm here.

1. The Quote That Ticked Off Brit Media: “Yeah, he is a hero and it’s a damn good thing we have heroes like him in the United States to do the fighting we’ve got to do to against terrorists around the world and you guys better get on board and that whole country of yours along with the rest of Europe, you’re going to go merrily sucking your thumb like you did in World War II” — Boisean Eldon Anderson defending neighbor who was involved in friendly fire attack that claimed a British soldier in 2003 here.

2. Pullman Police officers early on Sunday used Tasers for the first time while on patrol. Officers Tasered and arrested 23-year-old Miles Hubbard and 22-year-old Jaron Williams when they allegedly obstructed police officers in separate incidents on College Hill here. However, an eyewitness wonders if one of the men was Tasered simply because he was black here.

3. Eye On Boise: The House State Affairs Committee has voted 11-7 (today) in favor of HB 94, the bill sponsored by county clerks to allow counties the option of going to an all-mail election, after a debate stretching for nearly two hours and lots of testimony both for and against. Debate here.

4. Rescuers found a Boise teen-ager dead east of Idaho City and another man injured after a third person walked out of the snow-covered area in search of help here.

5. The Spokane Police Department today released nine additional pages of a 15-page investigation dealing with reported sightings last summer of the Deputy Mayor Jack Lynch’s car in High Bridge Park – an area known for criminal activity here. Confidential report (6 pages) here, supplementary info (9 pages) here, and KXLY video here.

6. IMHO-NW: Steve Kelley/Seattle Times (Pitchers and catchers report), David Horsey/Seattle PI (‘Toon: Who Said This?), Missoulian (Inappropriate to clear House gallery), Frank Mieli/Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Bordering on insanity), and Tri-City Herald (Give kids chance, place to call home).

Online Poll: 66% of 573 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say 4-year-olds should be allowed to enroll in voluntary pre-school classes.

*Nine of the 10 top U.S. states for prisoner growth from the West, Idaho third here.

*Oregon celebrates birthday No. 148 here.

*A radio-collared Canada lynx has been found shot to death in NW Montana here.

*Montana Repub wants apology from superintendent who called state’s schools “second-class” here.

Orbusmax Special: $1M lawsuit filed by Spokane man against citizen’s review commissioner who called him an “ass” here.

Take 5: Sad Valentine’s Story — 2/14/07

Valentine’s Day wasn’t a happy one for Phillip Backer and his missus. Seems Phillip bought a string of pearls from Clark’s Jewelers to surprise his Valentine. And things went south from there. The pearls were purchased and gift-wrapped by 2 p.m. Monday. But they were gone from the floor on the passenger side of Phillip’s rig when he arrived home an hour later. Phillip believes they were swiped while he stopped at the Safeway Store on Fourth. All he has to show for his chivalry is a receipt and a police report. So, here’s the question:

*Does it count with his wife that he tried?
*Should he put the police report and receipt in a nice, big card to his wife — and call it good?
*Should he move heaven and hell trying to get those pearls back?
*Should he take out a second mortgage to buy another string of pearls.
*Should he return to Clark’s and see if the biz has a deal for a string of pearls at half price, if you buy one at full price?

The Ronmother: Hubby Preferred Closed Primaries

Don’t roll your eyes, but my husband was quoted in a story in the CDA Press by Keith Erickson, on December 17, 1996. He gave his reasons why he supported a resolution that stipulated that voters must register by party before voting in a Primary Election. Since Ron ran a number of campaigns in his day, he felt that candidates have to spend far too much money on elections because thousands of dollars are wasted soliciting votes from opposing party members. Requiring party registration would allow both Democrats and Republicans to run a more focused campaign by better targeting the electorate. Independent candidates can’t run in the primary, so independents must choose between the two major parties anyway. Having party registration would be an incentive for less mischief. Primary elections are intended to give each party a chance to promote their strongest candidate. Sounds fair to me.

Alice Rankin

DFO: Indeed, there’d be less mischief. On the other hand, it’d be fun to know that Thom George, Dan of the County and Mike Kennedy occasionally had to hold their noses and claim to be Republicans to vote in primaries where the Demos don’t have contested races.

Hot Potatoes — 2/14/07

Gonzaga University athletic director Mike Roth expresses his disappointed, at a recent press conference at GU, over the the arrest and suspension of sophomore forward Josh Heytvelt and freshman forward Theo Davis/Dan Pelle, Spokesman-Review.

*GU players’ release investigated: Jail commander says pair left via restricted area/Thomas Clouse, Spokesman-Review — Oh, what a difference a broken tail light can make to an up-and-coming basketball star’s life. Seems the star treatment is ending for Schroomer Heytvelt.

*Missing 4-year-old recovered: Tribal court ruling prompts father to take girl from early childhood center/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press — The Amber Alert worked, even though the little girl was in no apparent danger. That’s good.

*Sandpoint could get UI branch: Foundation offers funding/Shawn Vestal, Spokesman-Review — So, now we find out that Coldwater Creek is behind the push for a UI/Sandpoint campus. Hmm. Is there anything wrong with that?

*Courthouse ceremony stays tidy: New federal building to solve space crunch/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review — Wonder if some of the movers and shakers are looking at the downtown lot were the courthouse now sits as a possible future condo site?

*Blackwell soil tests to be shared: Meeting planned on dredging bid/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — His Duaneness must really want this project; otherwise, he’d already have taken his ball and gone home, frustrated by the delays. Seems like only yesterday that Hagadone attack dog John Barlow was telling us that nothing was wrong with the soil.

*Online Poll: 71.2% of 1727 now oppose Copper Basin project that would add 700 homes to the Rathdrum Prairie/Coeur d’Alene Press — If Copper Basin sends out more letters trying to rally the troops, the opposition might top 75%.

Question: Should Public Vote on Sonic Tax Request?

Issue: Sonics: Renton, here we come: But first, team wants $400 million from taxpayers/Chris McGann & Craig Harris, Seattle PI

Question (from Seattle PI): Should the public get to vote on whether to build a new, taxpayer-financed arena for the Sonics and Storm?

*Not sure

AM Hucks: Polishing Copper Basin’s Image

Your mischievous Huckleberry Hound launched a long Huckleberries Online thread Tuesday p.m. by posting the contents of an e-mail circulated by a Copper Basin Construction rep. In a note to “dear family and friends,” Linda Davis/Copper Basin tries to drum up support for the controversial plan that will allow “750 families to have lovely homes at a reduced price” on 290 acres of Rathdrum Prairie farmland, near Hauser. In Linda’s view, everyone’s for the project – “the (Coeur d’Alene Press), the chambers, the college, the school districts, and 5,500 members of the manufacturing community” – except the opposition “from people who don’t want to share.” Some of those opponents weighed in immediately, wondering what Linda and Copper Basin consider “affordable housing.” Commented TC: “I am against this project because of the location, not who is doing it. Affordable housing is a buzz word that can mean lots of things to different people. But the fact is the area they are proposing to build on would eventually harm the aquifer and the overall ecosystem.” The, ahem, overwhelming support for the project may be a figment of Copper Basin’s imagination. By 4 p.m. Tuesday, a Coeur d’Alene Press online poll of 1,413 respondents revealed the project was opposed 69 percent to 29 percent. In political terms, that’s a landslide. So, Linda asked “family and friends” to vote in the poll to change the numbers. Nothing wrong with that. But her signoff line made me pause: “Keep your stick on the ice. … We’re all in this together!” We are?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 2/13/07

As Huckleberries moves toward HBO Blogfest ‘07, we have encountered some nasty exchanges and personal pot shots in the “comments” section. Dunno what’s in the air or the water, but I must admit that I think the personal shots are so 2005. Spectators still enjoy seeing a coupla guys go at it. But I just roll my eyes. If there’s a time when I was fascinated with that stuff, and there was, I’m not now. This blog has replaced flame wars, by and large, with passionate but friendly conversation. I want it to stay that way. I killed 4 items yesterday in which the poster made unsubstantiated cracks about someone in the community. Bad form. I hope this recent outbreak is nothing more than a blip. If you really want to be nasty, and slander someone, I hear the Coeur d’Alene Press blog site is still welcoming one and all, without adult supervision. Now, for your Wild Card …

Nic: What If We Lived By The Rule of “If”?

Picture yourself in the morning drive-through at McDonalds. A pleasant voiced McD’s employee takes your order. Once ordered, she asks, “Is that everything?” … She then prefaces your grand total with an interesting disclaimer: “If you order is correct, your total is …” IF?! What do you mean IF? There should be no if in fast food. Now I’m sure she was innocently trying to direct my attention to the large electronic readout of my order where I could verify the accuracy of my order, but too many people have had too many orders turn out wrong for any fast food employee to say the words “If your order is correct.” After a statement like that, I almost expect the person at the second window to say, “Here’s your bag of food. If your order is not correct, don’t complain; you had your chance to make sure it was accurate.” Hmm. What would happen if we all lived by that rule of “IF?” — Nic/Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts.”

DFO: That would be a nice cop-out in the news biz. We could say: Here’s what happened “if” the cop report is accurate. Or our source was shooting straight. Then, if you believe everything you read in the newspaper, we’d all be satisfied.

Question: If we lived by the rule of “if,” what would your world be like?

APhoto of the Day — 2/13/07

A woman stands amid Valentine’s Day decorations in a shop in central Baghdad, Iraq, Tuesday. Despite raging sectarian violence and harsh circumstances, some Iraqis are gearing up for Valentine’s day tomorrow. You write the cutline/Samir Mizban, AP Photo.

Top Cutlines

1. “Well, we have the Valentine Day chintz. Now all we need is a few little touches. You know, peace, democracy, electricity…..” — A Token D.

2. (tie) Roses are red,/violets are blue/my love goes bang!/like a suicide bomber or two — Bob; and: A suicide bomber cleverly waits to attract a crowd before staging an Iraqi version of “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre” — JohnA.

3. Red is the color of my true love’s blood — Not Right.

Originally posted at 10:23:25 a.m.

Extra! Hudson Hamburgers Rolls Back Prices to 1907

Until 4 p.m., Hudson Hamburgers is celebrating its 100th anniversary today by selling — hamburgers for 10 cents; double burgers to 20 cents; soda, coffee and pie, for 5 cents. Colleague Erica Curless just returned from the Sherman Avenue mainstay to report the news. Everyone’s having a fun time down there, she sez. The Hudsons didn’t advertise their decision to scale back the prices to 1907 levels. Otherwise, they’d be overwhelmed. You now have 49 minutes.

The One That Didn’t Get Away

Darren Horness of Howards Grove, (who provided this photo to the Associated Press), lays on the ice next to the 72-inch, 102-pound sturgeon he speared Sunday on Lake Winnebago in Wisconsin. The fish came up within 6 inches of the surface inside his ice shack.

UI Columnist: Racism Is Reality in Most of N Idaho

For the rest of the column, click here

I moved from southern California to North Idaho when I was in high school. Looking back on my time there some four years later, I can’t help but wonder if the Aryan Nations leaving the area even made a difference. I can remember hearing about the parade protests and the people angry that they were getting hate-literature in their mailboxes. I can remember being shocked when we got our first piece of hate mail. I also remember going to school and not seeing a single African American person for over a year. I remember my high school history teacher being shocked to hear that, where I grew up, whites were the racial minority. He was shocked so much, in fact, that he questioned the validity of a paper I wrote on that very subject. I remember coming out to some of my peers up there too, and losing what I thought was the closest knit group of friends I had ever had based on a sexual preference. I remember hearing the words “n——r” and “f——t” used in every other sentence by male and female students (and some staff in passing, too). I remember my younger siblings wondering why mom and dad said it was okay for their big brother to be gay when their peers and people out on the streets didn’t — Ryan West/UI Argonaut guest columnist.

Question: Is it fair to slap North Idaho with a racism tag simply because it has a white monoculture?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/13/07

Santa Clara’s Danny Pariseau (center) tosses the ball up for a basket past Gonzaga’s Pierre Marie Altidor-Cespedes (right) and Matt Bouldin (right) during the second half of their college basketball victory at McCarthey Center in Spokane Monday. Pariseau, a Spokane native, discusses the thrill of snapping Gonzaga’s 50-game home winning streak in Item No. 2 below/Amanda Smith, AP Photo.

Stapilus: Mebbe Idaho governor, Legislature is trapped in the ‘50s here.

1. Long-time “European-American” activist Stan Hess has quit the North Idaho College student newspaper staff after he disagreed with an AP stylebook change that changes a reference from “illegal aliens” to “illegal immigrants.” You can find the Spokesman-Review story (as well as an e-mail exchange between Hess and the Sentinel news editor at the Huckleberries Online blog today) here.

2. Gon-Zig-Zag-a Update: Prosecutors said Monday they have up to three years to file felony drug charges against Gonzaga basketball players Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis. The 72-hour rule applied only if police would have kept the pair jailed here (KHQ also provides a link to an interview with Danny Pariseau, a Spokane native who helped Santa Clara end Gonzaga’s 50-game home winning streak Monday night). Related: SR columnist John Blanchette sez Santa Clara’s 84-73 victory was no fluke here.

3. NFL QB Joey Harrington, a former Oregon Duck, has rallied support for a Oklahoma family who lost everything when a thief made away with their U-Haul ban from a Portland area motel here.
4. University of Idaho students are confronted with free-speech issues as they encounter posters advertising an organization meeting for a club for straights-only, called DangerZone, here.

5. A tanning salon owner in Pullman, Wash., has fired his entire staff — all Washington State students — citing sales irregularities, poor maintenance and inadequate work performance. The former staffers of Tiki Tanning, however, took to the streets in protest Monday to hand out fliers in front of the salon here.

6. IMHO-NW: Brian Murphy/Idaho Statesman (Famous racing dad takes back seat to son), Tecla Markosky/UI Argonaut (Houston, we have a problem), Jimmy Blue/WSU Evergreen (iPod bans take away basic rights), Chuck Pezeshki/Moscow-Pullman Daily News (Why is Butch afraid of big, bad wolf?), and Jim Moore/Seattle PI (Bennett, Cougs looking good).

Online Poll: 84% of 692 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll oppose a Republican bill that would require Idahoans to designate a party affiliation to vote in spring primaries.

*Indicted fire crew boss fails to appear for arraignment on pot charge here.

*Idaho County commissioners defend actions during recovery efforts for drowning victim here.

*11-year-old comedian, banned from Boise nightclub, to open for J.J. Walker in Nampa here.

*Anchorage residents learn to live with large numbers of urban moose here.

*North Dakotan gets two-year deferred sentence over dispute about a prized bull here.

Orbusmax Special: Sea-Tac luggage handlers busted for stealing everything from credit cards, high-end electronics to cigarettes here.

Take 5 — Or Who’d You Like To Toss From A Room?

I was thinking about that confrontation between Commissioner Rick Currie and activist Larry Spencer at the Association of Idaho Counties meeting last week — you know, when Rick challenged Larry about being at a semi-private meeting only to learn that he was with House Speaker Lawerence Denney. Rather than get on Rick for bad manners, mebbe we should follow his example. If you were in charge of the guest list, who would you like to toss from a public gathering?

1. Rick Currie
2. Larry Spencer
3. Anyone representing the Hagadone Co.
4. Anyone representing the Cowles Co.
5. DFO (sorry for the redundancy with No. 4)
6. Josh Heytvelt & Theo Davis
7. Jayson Ronk
8. Stan Hess
9. Any developer who wants to build more than 100 more homes in North Idaho
10. Other

Clark: GU One Toke Over The Line, Sweet Jesus

For the rest of Doug Clark’s column today, click here

Clark: I urge all of you to NOT believe the clever yet unfounded shroomers I have heard, such as …

*The remainder of the Gonzaga men’s season is up in smoke.
*The GU team will be changing its nickname to the “Zig Zags.”
*Last year was all about “the ‘stache.” This year is more about “the stash.”
*That the school’s superstar alum, Bong Crosby, had something wacky in that pipe.
*And as long as we’re debunking myths, let me say this about that: Those mystery fumes that closed down Spokane’s NorthTown Mall Sunday? They have absolutely no relation to the telltale weedy odor that propelled Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis into the national news spotlight.

Question: What do local sports fans do now that “the streak” is over?

Online Poll: Should Voters Declare Party Affiliation

A bill to require Idahoans to declare a party affiliation in primaries made it through its first hurdle Monday. Do you think voters should be required to declare a party affiliation in primaries? — Idaho Statesman

*No opinion

DFO: Not only no, but hell no, as Butch Otter used to say.

Sgt. Wood: Aryans Not Brightest Bulbs In Pack

I spent many hours upclose and personal with the zero based intelligence Aryans when they chose to march year after year in downtown Cda. They were a bunch of misfits who could not even agree on what piece of crap vehicle they were all going to ride in. Seriously they were very intellectually challenged. It was sad to see small children being used to lead their parades. One time when there car broke down we (police) had to spend an additional hour with them in the 200 block of 4th St while they waited for the Reverend to find them a ride. I spent the time asking them a few questions. The majority of them (I think there were about 8 of them in total) were from out of the area. One mowed lawns to make enough money to travel here. Another one was an apartment mng. in Pasco Wa. They were not organized at all and each one of them wore whatever kind of uniform they could piece together. They also did not seem to know each other very well. They just came together for a common cause of hate. We did our job in keeping the peace and we would do so again if nescessary but it was such a sad, embarassing occasion. I hope our community stays vigilant not tolerating their message of hate.

Sgt. Christie Wood

AM Hucks: Brain Thaws in Time for Valentine’s Day

For one of the few Februaries in my 31-plus years of marriage, I’m approaching St. Valentine’s Day without fear and trembling. Usually, I suffer brain freeze when a day that requires a gift for my sweetheart rolls around. The kids help me survive Christmas by suggesting gifts, if they’re visiting from Denver and/or Portland. I’m lousy on me own. The gift this year isn’t pricey. But she’ll like it. Meanwhile, the Huckleberries Online (HBO) gang offered several suggestions re: what you men can get your Valentine. Blogger Cis/From A Simple Mind sez she’d be furious if her husband brought home flowers to fulfill his obligation on a “commercial” day (although she enjoys flowers on other occasions). The best gift her hubby can give? Himself. Comments Cis: “I consider him the best gift that God has given me 365 days a year.” CDA P&Zer Mary Souza and husband, Rick, swap homemade cards with personal messages. And this: “We also write a love letter to each of our children, telling them why we are so proud of them. Some years, these notes include the struggles they’ve had as well as their successes.” I’m not going to tell you which commenter plans to surprise his wife by adding a four-piece singing telegram to his usual romantic night out on the town and long-stem red roses. He didn’t worry about telling HBO about his plans because his Valentine doesn’t read my blog. For $40, our Don Juan sez, you get two songs by the North Idaho Harmonizers, chocolates, a card and a balloon. And he gets a get-out-of-doghouse-free pass for the next time they squabble.

Parting Shot — 2/12/07

A great blue heron does its part for the Southwest Florida ecosystem, reducing the invasive population of the exotic suckermouth catfish in Port Charlotte, Fla. The fish can grow to 30 inches and are sometimes left on the shore after fruitless attempts by birds to swallow the spiny creature. The heron was successful in its endeavor/Sarah Coward, Charlotte Sun.

JBelle: What If … Huckleberries Made Wikipedia?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Huckleberries Online is that journalistic phenomenon in North Idaho/Eastern Washington that single handedly puts Cowles’ Publishing products under the noses of more than one million international readers each year. Created and maintained by Dave Oliveria of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, HBO as it’s referred to locally, hosts discussion and opinion on local, regional, national and international current affairs and items of popular interest. Sadly, it’s most loathsome feature is public school commenters from the Spokane Valley; fortunately, most of the other commenters are of sufficient education and experience to compensate for the homely ignorance and acrid hostility for which the Spokane Valley is famous. The whole of the North Idaho posters along with the other commenters who have degrees from Jesuit universities remain congenial with sense of humors intact. HBO is a bullwark of new age journalism and Mr. Oliveria maintains a rock star personna of sorts in the region.

DFO: JBelle, thanks for the ha-huge chuckle. I only wished …

Inside Huckleberries — 2/12/07

*Blogmeister Emeritus KenS sends an alert that the SR has developed a Gonzaga forum here. (Besides the big controversy involving Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis, the monster jam by Jeremy Pargo at the end of the game with St. Marys is drawing the most comment at the moment.)

*Steve Badraun e-mails: “I have accepted a job with a large Tulsa garden center this week. Also, on that same day, I bought a house! That means that I have a mortgage payment and I guess I will be staying here for a while :-) It is starting to feel good to be picking out furniture and finally getting close to unpacking the boxes of my life after 9 years living in apartments and being on the road.”

*New SR political cartoonist Noah Kroese has indicated he’ll drop by HBO Blogfest ‘07 Saturday.

*Bayview Herb picked up this on the Drudge Report, written by Tim Rutten of the LA “The late Murray Kempton once described editorial writers as ‘the people who come down from the hill after the battle to shoot the wounded.’ Nowadays, media analysts are the guys who follow behind them, going through the pockets of the dead looking for loose change.” (So, we editorial writers aren’t the worst of the worst re: media scavengers?)

*Scanner Traffic (9:24 a.m.): A woman bending over to tie her shoes reports serious back trouble; in fact, she sez that the pain is worse than child birth. (Hat Tip: Kathy Plonka)

Fugeddabout Gonzaga, WSU Cracks Top 10 …

… only five places behind UCLA. Florida, Ohio State, Wisconsin and North Carolina top both Associated Press and ESPN/USA Today polls here

Re: Seattle Times sports columnist Bud Withers deems the WSU men’s basketball team to be the feel-good story of the 2006-07 regular season. See below. Full story here.

Fact: Elson Floyd, the incoming president of Washington State University, is a member of the Knight Foundation Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, which advocates a curb on spending in sports. Fact: Tony Bennett, in his first year as the head basketball coach at WSU, is thought to be the lowest-paid head man in his sport in the Pac-10. Opinion: Hang the high-minded dogma and pay the man what he wants! Well, something like that, anyway. It’s always the elephant in the room when WSU has some major-sport success, and success doesn’t come much more robust than what Bennett’s Cougars are bringing in 2007. Just when WSU gets good, its partisans have to worry about how long they can hang onto a coach, because it can’t run with Alabama and throw $32 million at a new football coach. What Bennett’s team has done in his first season has not only stretched the bounds of credulity, it demands creative thought on how such a meteoric advance should be rewarded/Bud Withers, Seattle Times sports columnist.

Question: Should WSU pay through the nose to keep basketball coach Tony Bennett for as long as possible?

NYTimes: Otter’s Tryin’, But Can’t Stop Bureaucracy

For the rest of the N.Y. Times story, click here

When Gov. C. L. Otter took office last month and immediately halted construction work on the state Capitol his objections went beyond the $130 million price tag for the renovation and addition. “My concern is also about the expansion of government,” said Mr. Otter, a Republican. “When you have more space, bureaucracy doesn’t like an empty office. It creates a vacuum. It sucks people into it, and all of a sudden you’ve got to have more people.” The governor has since reached a deal with the Republican-controlled Legislature to cut the project in half, allowing construction to go forward, although not until the new individual offices for legislators are removed from the blueprints. Yet if Mr. Otter won this round, he might well savor the moment because Idaho’s government is growing whether or not government buildings grow with it/Chad Case, The New York Times.

Question: Are you concerned about the growth of Idaho’s bureaucracy?

Bonner County Foundation Wants Sandpoint College

A foundation has proposed spending at least $20 million to build a University of Idaho and North Idaho College campus in this northern Idaho town. The Wild Rose Foundation, based in Bonner County, is also offering to donate land from the same parcel for the college campus to the Lake Pend Oreille School District for a new high school here/Associated Press.

DFO: I personally believe the state should move the University of Idaho to Coeur d’Alene, where there’s a greater population base to boost school enrollment. I can’t see, however, that the state could properly fund a new campus in Sandpoint.

Question: Should Sandpoint have its own campus for a combined UI/NIC college?

WSU Columnist: Heytvelt, Davis “Just Plain Dumb”

For the rest of the story, click here

Say go, say … ’shrooms. It’s Monday, and everyone knows about the ill-fated traffic stop for a burned-out tail light Friday night that resulted in the arresting of two Gonzaga basketball players. Sophomore Josh Heytvelt and redshirt freshman Theo Davis were arrested for alleged possession of marijuana and psychedelic mushrooms, found after a search of Heytvelt’s SUV. The two were immediately suspended from the team, and sat out Saturday night at Gonzaga’s game against Saint Mary’s University. Gonzaga won, by the way. Already, many of us have been invited to join a Facebook group with some variation of “Heytvelt and Davis tried to sell me ’shrooms” in the title. After looking for more information, I entered the terms “Gonzaga” and “mushrooms” into the ever-trustworthy Google news search engine. Seattle had the story. So did city papers across Pennsylvania, Arizona, California, New York, North Carolina and Canada, among many others. College basketball bloggers across the nation were eating it up, and spitting it out with increasingly creative jokes on prison life and drugs in the Pacific Northwest., a sports news blog, displayed Saturday, “If Gonzaga Bulldogs Josh Heytvelt and Theo Davis are playing basketball today, they’re playing not for position in the WCC standings, but for cigarettes and the protection of their anal cavities.” Regardless of opinions on marijuana or mushrooms as illegal drugs, and regardless of the fact that many students, both at WSU and Gonzaga, do “experiment” with drugs in college, these two athletes, if the allegations are true, are like many other student-athletes across the country who get involved with drugs: just plain dumb — Amelia Veneziano/WSU Evergreen.

Related: Gonzaga Syndrome is sweeping West Coast Conference as men’s basketball teams try to keep up with the Zags, according to San Jose News columnist Jon Wilner, here.

BrodH20: No PMS for MVP

For the rest of the story, click here

The tampon and maxi pad manufacturers have gone a little Dr. Phil and begun packaging their feminine wares in wrappers printed with inspirational sayings. They’re like little ass-backwards fortune cookies with no treat inside. My personal favorite is “Have a happy period,” a phrase my mom found on a maxi pad wrapper. A “happy period?” That’s like wishing someone a “happy funeral” or a “pleasant death.” I was intrigued by Mom’s discovery. So much so that I just went to my bathroom cabinets to survey my own stockpile of feminine products. Sorry, guys. I probably just killed all of my male readership with talk of tampons and maxi pads. But if you have a wife or mother or sister or female colleague, you probably know that it’s just one of those facts of life. And just be glad you don’t have to suffer through a “happy period” every month — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20.

DFO: I sure hope they don’t start putting Bible verses on those wares and shopping them around at Christian bookstores.

Question (I’m trying to think of a question that won’t get F-Words mad at me): Ah, is this appropriate?

/duck, run

Update! 7-Month-Old Boy Drowns in Bathtub

2:31 p.m., An autopsy will be performed on a 7-month-old boy who drown in a bathtub of a rural Cataldo home this morning. Story here.

11:38 a.m., Shoshone County Sheriff Chuck Reynalds wasn’t available for comment this morning and a woman answering the phone at the sheriff’s office said there was no press release at this time. Sketchy SR story here.

10:08 a.m., EMS crews are continuing to provide CPR to a 7-month-old baby who isn’t showing a pulse.

9:35 a.m., emergency crews are rushing to CCC Road, near M/P 40 on Interstate 90 (Cataldo) in response to a report of a possible drowning.

Online Poll: Best Gift for Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day is Wednesday. What do you think is the best gift to give a loved one for Valentine’s Day? — Idaho Statesman.


DFO: For one of the few times, I approach Valentine’s Day with confidence. I know what I’m going to get my Sweetie. Whew! (It would be classified under “other.”

OrangeTV: How About “The Huckys” for Blogfest ‘07

Grammys, Oscars, Razzies. Awards season is in the air, so I thought it would be fun this week to have our own: The “Hucky” Awards. I thought of a few possible categories, but I’m sure you all can come up with some more …

*Most Tiresome Recurring Subject:
*Best Pearl-Clutching, High-Heel Stomping, Door-Slamming Exit:
*The Any Mouse Memorial Cut and Paste Award:
*Relentless Name Dropper Award:
*Rainbowiest, Sparkliest Pony Angel:
*Most Forgetful About Closing HTML Tags:

(Bob added following)

*Best bad Elvis impersonation on a podcast from a HBO listed blog
*Best Friends of Huckleberries blog
*The Rami Amaro Mind Ray Reflector Award for best tinfoil comment
*The Green Libertarian Rehabilitation Award for most rehabilitated flamer
*The My 74 Marlette Singlewide Roof is Collapsing from the Weight of the Snow award for best use of HBO for naked self interests (Subcategories: Meeting chicks, Making money, Running for office)
*Punniest Cutline Caption of the Year

Maybe we could have an ongoing thread all week and tabulate the votes in time for Blogfest …

OrangeTV (w/help from Bob)

Dogwalk Musings: Which One Is Mrs. O?

Dogwalk Musings: My thoughts for what their worth. Leave cameras at home and have respect for anyone who requests their names not be used - real or psuedo. Any blog about the fest would only use the psuedonym if thats what’s wanted. But DFO, you’ve got to “out” your wife!! Inquiring minds would love to know!

DFO: Brenda has never posted here. So, she’s safe. However, Junior does occasionally from Denver, under SFO. Sis, I believe, posted once from Rome last fall. As far as the rest of you go, I know 90 percent of those who post here. Mebbe more. But I don’t necessarily know what everyone looks like. Should be interesting.

James Bond: Time For Zags’ Few to Clean House

James Bond: I’ve been saying for months that there are serious chemistry problems on this team, although I did not necessarily use the term “chemistry” to be coy about something I knew. I think Gonzaga’s hoops program is a bit sick right now, so to speak, and I think this is perhaps the beginning of a long, but necessary, recovery. I think there is more to come before it settles back into being a dominant program again. Since the media must know what I am talking about, but they have chosen to not report it, I will also decline to go any further into this matter. However, I am, as a fan, getting very tired of seeing a massively talented team so severly underperform. Now this. I hope Mark Few cleans house.

DFO: I haven’t been able to figure this team out. They can knock of Stanford and North Carolina; yet, fall to Loyola Marymont and St. Marys. It was interesting that Gonzaga, sans Heytvelt, beat St. Marys Saturday night with blue-collar performances by Pendergraft, Kuso and Mallon. That lineup at the Kennel Saturday won’t scare anyone in the postseason unfortunately. On the other hand, how about the Cougars. I guess we should start counting down now until the time that Coach Tony Bennet is wooed away to a bigger program. But it’s nice while it’s lasting.

Oldman: We’ve All Been There, Done That

Oldman: Those of you who never made a mistake (regardless of whether you got caught) continue bashing. The rest of us should think twice. These yesterday’s heros need help, and support, not trashing.

DFO: I was going to argue that I never did something this stupid while playing on a school sports team. But a certain night before a double-header during my college baseball days came to mind. I and half the idiots on the team drank until well after curfew and then got clobbered 22-4 in the first game before bouncing back (sobering up) to win the second one. It was in my B.C. days. I can’t imagine why we didn’t get caught. The coaches were staying at the same motel. Mebbe they were up celebrating, too?

Wild Card/Saturday — 2/10/07

I consider weekends at Huckleberries Central to be family time w/the regulars. If you’re blurking, you’re welcome to read. But this is for the bloggers and commenters who hang out here. I want to make sure we all are on the same page re: HBO Blogfest ‘07. All I want to do is to hang out at Capone’s for a coupla hours, chew the fat with whoever shows up, and let the SR pick up the tab for the pizza and pop. No agenda. No speeches. No prepared discussions re: how to blog. Does that sound good to you? BTW, anyone have an idea re: what we should do to protect those who want to remain anonymous? BTW2, I’m trying to talk my wife into coming. We’ll see. You can discuss Blogfest ‘07 or start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Sam: Shooting A Neighbor’s Dog Isn’t News

Sam The Reporter (re: story of man killing neighbor’s trespassing dog in his yard): Despite the fact that this sells newspapers, or people stare at their television screens intently when they hear about something like this - this specific issue is not news. It’s just not. I can’t understand it. Maybe it’s news in a community of 250 people where there’s not much happening except for perhaps a feud between neighbors that culminates in an admitted retribution of a dog killing - and the neighbor admits it, and they’re arrested or some such. But this? This is not news.

DFO: Actually, Sammy, it is. First, you have all those pet lovers out there who empathize with the owner and the pup that was dispatched out-of-hand by the cold-hearted neighbor. Then, there’s the brutality of the act against an animal that you know is a neighbor’s — the taking the law into your own hands aspect. Also, the neighbor shot a gun around people and had shot another dog before. There’s an element of violence here that doesn’t sit well. In this day when kids can’t even take a 2-inch plastic GI Joe toy rifle to school without getting in trouble, it’s news when a neighbor goes off rather than call animal control. This guy’s in a heap o’ trouble.

R-v-W: Been There, Didn’t Have Much Choice

I think this topic is very important. I am a semi-regular poster here, but I am posting under a different name because some of you may know who I am and being a woman who has had an abortion is still looked upon with disdain.

I think it is important that a woman who has had an abortion has a voice in this debate. Contrary to what some of the posters here have indicated, I have felt NO emotional damage from the abortion. Was there trauma because the pregnancy was due to rape? Of course. Was there sadness because my first pregnancy would not come to term and was unwanted? Yes. Was there a conflict with my religious beliefs – very much so. But the rape I endured or my pregnancy was not a topic that I believed I could handle nor was it a topic that I could discuss with my family. Those issues traumatized me. It is true that I have thought about the pregnancy and periodically wish that life would have been different for me – but it wasn’t. I know I did the best I could with the information and knowledge that I had at the time — that is all anyone can really ask for.

People like to think that abortion does not carry with it a stigma – but it does. I do not believe that there is a substantial amount of women that undergo an abortion because they affirmatively wanted to undergo an abortion. It is the only option that women believe is available to them. Once rape and pregnancy is no longer looked upon with disdain, and the discussion can occur without judgment, MAYBE then you can have an honest discussion about abortion.


DFO: Thank you for sharing this perspective. This took guts — even under another pseudonym. I hope no one uses your trial as a springboard for the same-o rhetoric that occurs whenever abortion is brought to the fore here. If you eliminated the extremes, the ones who fear they’ll lose everything if they give an inch, mebbe we could have an honest discussion about abortion. It’ll be awhile I’m afraid.

Spencer Tells What Happened in Boise, Apologizes

I would like to explain what happened at the Counties/ Legislators reception Wednesday in Boise. Two members of the House invited me to go to a event that evening with the counties officials and the legislators. Not aware of any significant agenda or exclusivity of the reception I agreed to attend. Upon my arrival, I was greeted by Lawerence Denney (the Speaker of the House), and escorted in with him and his lovely wife. As we were approaching the back of the line at the buffet tables, Rick Currie quickly approached us. He stopped in front of Lawerence and began to question my attendance, and demanded to know who had let me in, as he felt I should not be there. I was so shocked I may not have replied, but Lawerence told him that he had invited me and was his guest. Rick then apologized and went back to his table. Someone told later that a couple of other people had questioned my attendance, so I have decided that it would be appropriate to apologize for my presence and any distraction it caused, as I would not want be a cause ill will between the Legislature and our county leaders. I have begun calling each of the local delegation to ask if they felt offended or if they felt my presence was out of line, and if any are found who felt slighted they will receive an apology. While it seemed to me that Rick could have used a more discreet method to convey his concern, I believe that he was trying to act in the interest of the Association of Counties, as the event was paid for by them for the purpose of getting to know the members of the legislature, and he may have thought my presence would be a distraction to the process. Regrettably, the incident didn’t fare very well for the image of Kootenai county with the Speaker. I did my best to fix it at my meeting Lawerence the following morning, but he told me to forget about it as it had made his evening. Rick Currie will be receiving an apology from me, and a promise that I will be more careful to be sure that my attendance to events don’t cause this type of friction. Again, if my presence have offended anyone, I offer my sincere apology.

Larry Spencer

Parting Shot — 2/9/07

Capt. John Vogt answers questions Friday in Boise from reporters about three Idaho soldiers from the 321st Engineer Battalion who were killed on Thursday in Iraq by a roadside bomb. A fourth soldier from the battalion was seriously injured in the attack and a fifth injured in a separate incident/Kerry Maloney, AP Photo/Idaho Statesman.

Breaking! CDA Animal Shelter to Close Immediately

The animal shelter population of Post Falls is about to increase. Dogs from the Coeur d’Alene Animal Shelter are to be temporarily housed in the neighboring city after Coeur d’Alene city officials unexpectedly ended their animal control contract Friday with the Watson Agency. For the next few months, Post Falls will handle Coeur d’Alene’s animal control needs, including the capture of animals at large or dangerous dogs. Officials did not say Friday when the Coeur d’Alene shelter would be closing, or what would happen to the cats at the shelter. Post Falls will be reimbursed for the services according to a contract that has yet to be drawn up, said Post Falls Police Leuitenant Scot Haug. The Post Falls shelter has 42 indoor and 7 outdoor kennels, which should be enough to handle both city’s dogs, he said. Haug said it appears the city is trying to find a solution to the shelter problem in Coeur d’Alene within six months. The Coeur d’Alene Animal Shelter was hit with heavy criticism by state Department of Agriculture officials in January when the state found 10 various violations at the shelter, including poor ventilation and drainage that left sewage on the floor and its smell lingering in the air — Chris Rodkey, Spokesman-Review.

APhoto of the Day — 2/9/07

This copy photo of an x-ray shows a ring-shaped foreign object inside the belly of Missy, a pit bull. When Raisinville Township, Mich., resident Tina Burlett’s diamond-laden wedding ring disappeared last week, she was sure it had been stolen—until her grandmother suggested that Missy may have made a small meal out of the precious piece of jewelry. You write the cutline. Story here/AP Photo.

Top Cutlines

1. Missy the Pit Bull learns the meaning of “Till Death Do You Part”. Services are pending — Thom George.

2. (tie) “Diamonds are Forever.” Dog? About 12 years — Jesse Tinsley. And: I suppose this means no more finger-food of Missy, right Doc? — Lesley Presley.

3. After Tina explains the situation, Missy digests the facts and realizes her prospects as a ring bearer at weddings is over — Paul Ferguson.

Originally posted at 10:12:56 a.m.

KREM 2: Man Who Shot Pup Could Face Charges

For the rest of the story, click here

Kootenai County Animal control officers tell KREM 2 News they have recommended animal cruelty charges against a Hayden man they say admits shooting a 10-month-old Golden Retriever puppy earlier this week.

Huckleberries Blogfest ‘07 — 8 Days & Counting

Stebbijo put this together as a reminder for Huckleberries Blogfest ‘07, which is scheduled for 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Capone’s in Midtown. The SR provides the pizza and pop. You’ll have to buy your own suds. (You think my paper is cuh-razy enuf to offer an open bar to this gang?

Question: Do you plan to attend?

Question: Have You Caught Flu Yet This Year?

The annual flu season is already rolling through North Idaho and it’s not taking any prisoners. Dr. Thomas Neal said there have been about a dozen patients this week at the Ironwood Family Practice with flu-like symptoms and he expects to see more people coming down with influenza virus. “It’s been in Post Falls a week or two,” Neal said Thursday. “It’s contagious and it spreads in schools and workplaces. It spreads enough and reaches a critical mass where everybody gets it.” Priest Lake Elementary School will close today because 19 of the 56 students and two of the three teachers are ill with the flu — Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press.

DFO: I had a touch of illness last Thursday through Saturday. But nothing that even threatened to knock me out of work. I’m still crediting my flu shot last fall for getting me through until now without a sick day.

Question: Have you had the flu or been ill enough to miss work/school this winter?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/9/07

Arp Elementary kindergartner Malakie Judd, 5, attempts to keep eight hula hoops going during a carnival in the gymnasium Thursday morning, Feb. 8, 2007, in Cheyenne, Wyo. Malakie and other students were rewarded with the carnival for good behavior over the previous quarter/Michael Smith, AP Photo/Wyoming Tribune Eagle.

Stapilus: Prez wannabe Mitt Romney wooing Idaho Republicans into camp here.

1. Three soldiers of the 321st Engineer Battalion (Corps)(Combat)(Mechanized), headquartered in Boise, were killed in an improvised explosive device attack on their vehicle in Karmah, Al Anbar province, Iraq, Thursday. Two were injured here.

2. Antique gambling equipment, including a roulette wheel dating to the 1880s, was seized from an antique store in Whitefish, Mont., by state agents under a state law prohibiting the possession of unlicensed gambling equipment here.

3. A 53-year-old NW Montana woman who became disoriented in heavy fog spent 29 hours in the woods and was approached by wolves before she was rescued Thursday morning. Elizabeth Dacus was wearing only a T-shirt, pants and tennis shoes when she stepped outside her home at about 2 a.m. Wednesday to check on brawling cats — and got lost here.

4. When the St. Anthony sand dunes were voted the number one recreational dunes in the country by an all-terrain vehicle magazine last year, city officials didn’t want the records to stop there. Now the Idaho city is trying for the world’s biggest ATV parade here.

5. After having the highest ever university-wide enrollment at WSU last spring, figures for this spring showed a hefty enrollment decrease. The head count on the Pullman campus from spring 2006 to 2007 decreased by 406 students. From spring 2005 to 2006, the student body in Pullman shrunk by just 19 here.

6. IMHO-NW: Frank McGovern/UI Argonaut (Liability waivers contrary to high-ed goals), Frank Sennett/7 (Beating the red light cam), Idaho Statesman (Land selloff puts squeeze on Congress), Tyler Wilson/Coeur d’Alene Press (From Dr. Phil to Carbon Leaf contest winner), and Leaning Straight Up (Anna Nicole Smith).

Online Poll: 62% of 379 respondents to a Great Falls Tribune poll say that a seatbelt violation shouldn’t be a primary cause for a traffic stop here.

*The man accused in Kootenai County’s largest child pornography bust waived his preliminary hearing here.

*Oregon man shoots snorkler in the head after mistaking him for a rodent here.

*Federal jury acquits 3 Pullman, Wash., officers of using excessive force here.

*Serial women’s panty thief nabbed at BYU-Idaho (Rexburg) campus here.

Orbusmax Special: Drunk bicyclist struck by DUI driver in Portland here.

Online Poll: Which Hannibal Lecter Movie/Book Best?

‘Hannibal Rising’ opens in theaters today. Which Hannibal Lecter movie or book is your favorite? — Idaho Statesman.

*Silence of the Lambs
*Red Dragon

KAYU Winning Battle Against T-W on Palouse

For the rest of the story, click here

Here’s the dish: new satellite TV orders in Moscow and Pullman are through the roof. Dish Network dealers in the two cities reported big gains since Spokane Fox affiliate KAYU demanded its removal from local cable carrier Time Warner on Dec. 14 over a pricing dispute. And people have been turning to satellite, which carries KAYU, since. New to the satellite TV business, Moscow’s First Step Internet had sold about 20 Dish Network packages through Dec. 13, said area sales manager Mike Hall. In the last seven weeks, he’s sold almost 150 systems. “We’ve seen massive uptake,” Hall said. “We’re overwhelmed. We’re booked solid through February.” Hall said First Step has hired three new employees to try to keep up with all the new orders.

DFO: It’s a shame either side has to win. Each house deserves a pox — and a razzberry. Pfffttt.

Hot Potatoes — 2/9/07

In the latest Video Journal, SR photog extraordinaire Brian Plonka chronicles: “Libby: A Town Struggling to Breathe.” Above, Dan Freebury inhales medicine to ease his bout with asbestos related diseases Wednesday in Libby, Montana. Like so many others Freebury was contaminated by his daily exposure growing up in Libby playing atop vermiculite piles and playing baseball atop asbestos laden soil. “That company owes me a life,” he says. Click here.

*Freezing fog and slick roads: Semi crash east of Coeur d’Alene this morning closes I-90 for three hours/Spokesman-Review — When are people going to understand this simple formula: fog + freezing temperatures = slick roads? Slow. The. Heck. Down.

*Cougars’ web chokes Stanford Cardinals: WSU reaches 20 wins for first time in 12 years/John Blanchette, Spokesman-Review — Gonzaga who?

*In-flight magazines will feature Coeur d’Alene: Horizon, Alaska features are second straight for Inland Northwest/Paula Davenport, Spokesman-Review — Remember how giddy we used to get when some national magazine wrote a feature about us? Now, I want to strangle the Hagadroids who are running travel writers through their $10M spa for the publicity that continues to attract newcomers.

*Seven weeks into job, Akey still on the move/ Mark Nelke, Coeur d’Alene Press — Yikes! He’s on the move! Already? Oh, wait a minute. We’re talking about Rob Akey here. Not Dennis Erickson. Carry on.

*Church vandalized third time in 3 months: Extensive damage threatens fundraiser for youth group/John Craig, Spokesman-Review — I doubt that Garland Alliance considers the third time charming. Wonder what excuse the responsible Sad Sack is going to give when they catch him — My mommy didn’t hold me enough when I was little?

Nonini Proposes Abortion Coercion Bill

A North Idaho lawmaker wants to make it a crime to attempt to coerce a woman or girl into having an abortion, according to S-R reporter Parker Howell, who covered the House Health & Welfare Committee meeting today where the bill was introduced. Rep. Bob Nonini, R-Coeur d’Alene, persuaded the committee to introduce his bill to outlaw the use of threats or physical force to dissuade a pregnant woman from giving birth. The measure also prohibits threatening to do “anything that the person does not have the legal right to do against the pregnant woman.” That could include employers threatening to withhold a job or promotion or “a school counselor maybe describing to a young person that by having this baby you have no future, those kinds of acts,” Nonini told the panel, Howell reported. Under the measure, it does not matter if the woman has the abortion. Nonini is working on the bill with Boise-based anti-abortion activist David Ripley. “It’s something that I feel strongly about,” Nonini told The Spokesman-Review — Parker Howell, Spokesman-Review.

Question: Do you support this legislation (and can you discuss it without resorting to name-calling)?

AM Hucks: Putting The Omission in Commission

The Huckleberries Online crowd didn’t react well to Kootenai County’s refusal to hand over more records involving the never-ending soap opera at the prosecutor’s office. The S-R is suing for the records from the investigation that prompted Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rick Baughman to resign. In a clever shell game, commissioner, er, counselor Erika Grubbs sez she can’t hand over the records because the county doesn’t have a written copy. An online post Wednesday attracted 33 comments, including:

• “Secrecy all the way. We will have to pry those public records, e-mails, recordings from their (Grubby) little hands until we the people vote in honest, open, ethical individuals with some backbone into office” – Mike.

• “We didn’t elect Erika Grubbs or ICRMP (county insurance company). We elected Currie, Piazza and Tondee. They are accountable. They can all be unelected if this idiocy continues” – Buck.

• Borrowing from John Adams (the ex-prez, not the county public defender), Thom George writes, “In my many years, I have come to a conclusion that one useless man is a shame, two is a law firm, and three or more is a County Commission.”

A Travel Pointer from NASA

If you have many miles
before your journey ends,
take a tip from the pros
and wear your Depends.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Parting Shot — 2/8/07

Colleague Jesse Tinsley was digging through some old files when he happened upon this one. Writes JT: “Here’s a picture of me at the Aryan Nations compound in the mid-90s. Although it ays “whites only”, they let this part anglo, part Hawaiian, part Chinese guy come in and take photos.”

Inside Huckleberries — 2/8/07

*”I guess we all have/Secret thoughts./It even happens/To astronauts” — Idaho Escapee.

*Blogmeister Emeritus Ken Sands asked if you Safari browser users are still having trouble seeing the entire cover page of Huckleberries Online. Anyone?

*Chances are real good that you’re going to be seeing OrangeTV’s reviews of restaurants, after-hours entertainment, music, etc., in an SR Handle edition coming soon to a doorstep near you. We’re ready to sign our favorite HBO reviewers, if I can locate him.

*BTW, we located the problem that caused some HBOers to lose yesterday’s content below the Google ads that run under the second item on the cover thread. Seems the Safari browser weren’t interacting well. Noah Kroese and Michelle Rafferty reported the problem. Don’t hesitate to let me know when you see something amiss here.

*Thom George: “Nothing on the blog about Matt Roetter’s bride being named to head-up Crapo’s staff in NI? Does this mean Crapo supports the Idaho Republican’s Party refusal to acknowledge its debt to Kootenai County? After all, his chief staffer believes we should “Go Red or Go Home!” (Thom, ya gotta let it go.)

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH20: “I hope you realize that Blogfest ‘07 is the same day as Cruiser’s annual Pimp and Ho theme party. I hope that’s not a conflict for your loyal bloggers and blurkers.” (DFO: We just lost the Spokane Valley contingent.)

*Janis Meyer, 54, owner of the former Bookseller in downtown Coeur d’Alene: a public memorial is planned for at the Harding Center gym on 15th Street from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the Lucile Packard Foundation for Children’s Health or Hospice of North Idaho. Hat Tip: Thom George

APhoto of the Day — 2/8/07

Madame Tussauds sculptor Roger McKay puts the finishing touches to a snow statue of model Elle Macpherson in Regents Park, central London, today. You write the cutline/AP Photo.

Top Cutlines

1. “Hillary, when Bill said you were a cold-hearted bioch, I had no idea he was being literal!” — Thom George.

2. ‘Girls Gone Wild: Siberia’ did not turn out the way producers had imagined — Nic.

3. The photo shoot went terribly wrong when the director kept asking for just one more shot after the model announced she was freezing cold — A Token D.

HM: Jesse Tinsley

Originally posted at 10:21 a.m.

Extra! Wal-Mart Settles w/Harrassed Black Worker

Issue: Wal-Mart settles harassment suit: Idaho store fired black worker for complaining about racial slurs, agency says/Spokesman-Review

More Info: Some of the racial graffiti included the phrases “white supremacy,” “whites only” and “no niggers in Idaho,” legal documents in the case show. The graffiti was in bathrooms and other areas. Woods said that at one point he had just finished cleaning a bathroom when a white associate tracked dirt into the bathroom and said something about getting the area dirty then making his “black ass” clean it up again.

Question: Are we North Idahoans fooling ourselves when we say — as Reps. Bob Nonini, Phil Hart and Dick Harwood did recent debate about a human rights resolution — that racism in the region ended with the closure of the Aryan Nations compound?

Another Super Bowl Commercial Under Attack

Earlier this week, gays were up in arms about that Snickers commercial during the Super Bowl in which two mechanics accidentally kissed. The ad was benched as homophobic. Now, suicide preventionists are angry. In a framegrab photo provided by General Motors, a GM robot is seen from the automaker’s Super Bowl ad. The ad which also shows the quality-obsessed robot jumping off a bridge in a dream sequence after screwing up on the job is drawing criticism from a suicide prevention group/AP Photo.

Question: Are the criticisms of these ads legit? Or over-the-top from groups seeking publicity?

Eye On Boise: House OKs Higher Grocery Tax Credit

The House has just voted 62-7 to pass HB 81, Rep. Cliff Bayer’s bill to raise the grocery tax credit from $20 to $50 for everyone, and from $35 to $70 for seniors. The vote came after nearly an hour of debate, including sharp warnings from some lawmakers about the bill’s cost, $47.5 million a year. The measure now moves to the Senate. The House Revenue & Taxation Committee chose HB 81 over Gov. Butch Otter’s plan for a targeted, means-tested credit that would have given up to $90 a year in grocery tax credits to the lowest-income Idahoans, $105 for seniors, but little or none to the higher-income; the price tag on the governor’s bill was less than half as much, at $22 million a year. Ten North Idaho lawmakers co-sponsored Bayer’s bill — Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise.

More Eye On Boise: Richardson: Try toll roads; Budget writers have lots of GARVEE questions; Growth not paying for transportation needs, new ITD director says; and Senator with gumption proposes disclosure bill.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/8/07

Frost covers the winter coat of a horse standing in a pasture near Great Falls, Mont., Wednesday/Robin Loznak, AP Photo/Great Falls Tribune.

Red State Rebels: Emmett Republican Steve Thayne replaces Bill Sali as most extreme Idaho legislator here?

1. Reporters from several British media outlets spent the day in Boise today trying to get more information on two local pilots involved in a deadly friendly-fire incident four years ago. Newly released cockpit video recordings show the accidental killing of a British soldier during combat in Iraq. The tapes are creating international controversy here.

2. Richland, Wash., Mayor Rob Welch has accused State Reps. Shirley Hankins and Larry Haler of trying to strong-arm him and other city officials because the city has shut down a Richland business here.

3. Vacations, tickets to a Rolling Stones concert, season tickets to University of Montana football games - these are just some of the things Mineral County officials believe former St. Regis school district clerk Julie Downing purchased with taxpayer money over a seven-year period. The amount of money embezzled, they say: more than half a million dollars here.

4. A group of Boise State University students wants school officials to bring in more conservatives speakers to balance liberal speakers here.

5. Butte-Silver Bow Sheriff John Walsh wants it to be illegal to carry an open container of alcohol on the streets of Butte, Mont., an old mining town, while opponents say events such as St. Patrick’s Day wouldn’t be the same. Walsh has drafted a proposed city ordinance that would call for a $500 fine for violators here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Wearing fluorescent orange — to pee?), Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune (Idaho minimum wage should match Washington’s), Rich Landers/Spokesman-Review (Nurture farmers, conservation), Leaning Straight Up (Huck Finn, racism and my daughter), and Brian Murphy/Idaho Statesman (Tough times at UI).

Online Poll: 66% of 6225 respondents to a Seattle Times poll say Lt. Ehren Watada is not a hero for refusing to go to Iraq.

*Benewah County man pleads guilty to beating, tying, killing, burning woman who refused to loan car here.

*Barn fire near Lewiston, Idaho, kills 5 horses here.

*3 dead ID’d in Montana medical plane crash here.

*Spokane Police are investigating a 2 vehicle crash that sent one truck into a tavern and a car into a mobile home here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon governor set to fire state climatologist over global warming here.

Hot Potatoes — 2/8/07

Pepper’s better half is helping to organize the effort to have a house built for Shasta Groene. See item below/Jesse Tinsley, Spokesman-Review.

*Cd’A Police chief search expanded: Carpenter intends to retire this year, but hasn’t set a date/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press — I’ve known four police chiefs during my 23 years in Coeur d’Alene: the late Frank Premo, Dave Scates, Tom Cronin and Wendy Carpenter. Premo was hard-nosed and a casualty of the Ray Stone purge of the ‘80s. Cronin was a tad odd. The best were the two promoted from within: Scates and Carpenter. Any questions?

*‘Home for Shasta’ gains momentum: Labor, materials, money donated/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review — Nothing will replace the loss suffered by Shasta Groene and her father, Steve, but this is a nice way to let them know that the community will always think of them.

*Could Idaho’s car registration fees go up 75 percent?/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise — State Transportation Director Pamela Lowe and the ITD board seem to think that there’s something wrong that Idaho has one of the lowest vehicle registration fees in the nation. I don’t.

*Cop fired for lying after crash: Man also accused of using now-banned donkey kick/Jody Lawrence-Turner, Spokesman-Review — Hmm. A Spokane Deputy Dawg can give a barista a peep show of his privates and be protected by the civil review board. But a rookie cop gets dumped for lying about not wearing a seatbelt. He must feel as though he got donkey-kicked.

*Dual enrollment students lift NIC to record spring numbers/Linda Ball, Coeur d’Alene Press — The record number is even more impressive when you consider that College of Southern Idaho, the only other official community college in the state, dropped 6 percent this spring. Hat Tip to outgoing prexy Michael Burke and his NIC work hands.

Here We Go Again — County Won’t Release Report

Issue: S-R seeks Baughman investigation records/Thomas Clouse, Spokesman-Review

More Info: According to the suit, Kootenai County Attorney Erika Grubbs refused to turn over a report of the investigation by Kandy Weaver, who was hired by the county’s insurer. Grubbs claimed that Weaver only verbally relayed her findings and recommendations to Kootenai County officials and did not turn in a written report.

DFO: Who died and made Erika Grubbs and ICRMP county commissioners. It’d be nice if — just once — the Fiddlers Three would tell their insurance handlers and civil prosecutors who’s boss and turn over public material. So far, I haven’t seen much difference between the new Fiddlers and the old ones.

Question: Is the SR being paranoid/pushy, etc., or has the Kootenai County Courthouse embraced a climate of secrecy?

BrianT: Making A Splash at the Capitol?

BrianT: What is it with you up north and your goofy commissioners? You used to send that arrogant jerk from Kootenai County (I forget his name, but he was representing you last year) and now the Kootenai County Chairman follows in his shoes in a moronic attempt to alienate the Legislature. Story making it’s way around the house members is that as your present chairman sees a constituent of his entering the Association of Counties reception deep in conversation with a couple, he blustered up to his constituent and demanded to know why this man was here, and who had let him in, as this was a private party. There was a moment of stunned silence that was broken by a gentle deep voice as the man who had ushered in the constituent said “He is with me” and a your now mortified commissioner turned too see that the Speaker of the House was the man who he had so rudely interrupted. He then stumbled all over himself as he tried to apologize and slink away. It was too funny! I didn’t catch the name of the constituent, but I heard he is down here working on some legislation and is active up north. I will try to find his name and post it.

Question: Anyone know anything about this post?

AM Hucks: Mock Now, But GOP Will Rise Again

I’ve barely come to grips with the reality of “Congressman Bill Sali” – and now Bruce Reed wants me to consider the prospect of “President Bill Sali.” Tongue firmly cheeked, Reed contends in his Slate column Wednesday that the R’s best hope for revival is to go back to the future. Writes Reed: “Most conservatives agree that the key moment in the history of their movement was Barry Goldwater’s landslide loss in 1964. In defeat, conservatives found the courage to be ultra: ‘Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice. Moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue.’ ” Rather than settle for free-spending Repub congressmen and presidents in Bush’s mold, says Reed, red-meat conservatives should embrace a new standard bearer who’d have no chance of winning but would make them feel good – zany Sali. Reed, of course, was a top adviser for Bill Clinton and remains the son of Scott and Mary Lou Reed of Fernan. He also considers Idaho’s 1st Congressional District to be the “nuttiest” one. So, his, ahem, concern for the health of the Grand Old Party is suspect. Again, Bruce: “Instead of trying to decide which Republican can win the chance to disappoint them again as president, conservatives should remember 1964 and rally behind the candidate who can lose the biggest landslide.” Then: “In order to rise from the ashes, you must first throw yourself upon the flames.” Admittedly, Reed and other D’s are enjoying this winter of the conservatives’ discontent. So, a reminder may be in order. Ronald Reagan arose from the ashes of Goldwater’s defeat.

Hump Day Wild Card — 2/7/07

Local athletes are among those who have signed letters of intent to play sports at Division I schools next year. Greg Lee/Idaho Preps covered the signings of Coeur d’Alene players on his blog here. Meanwhile, the SR online is all over the other area signings here. After you finish reading all about the signings, you can use this Wild Card to comment on them — or to start your own thread …

The King of the Nuttiest CD in America?

Illustration: Thom George

Scanner: Don’t Try This At Home …

… The gendarmes are responding to a report from a Hayden woman (in the Wyoming Avenue area) that she’s locked out of her apartment … while her kids — 16 months and 3 years — are locked in.

Hat Tip: Taryn Brodwater

Huckleberries Best of the Local Blogs — 2/7/07

My stomach’s growlin’ and then I opened JeanC’s Web site and saw this mouth-watering photo. Writes JeanC: “The pork came out wonderfully and the BBQ sandwiches I made last night were yummy. We picked up some real cheeses on the way home, the sliced American processed cheese stuff didn’t sound like it would do the pork justice, so we picked up some crumbled blue cheese, provalone and co-jack.”

*Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings begins: ” What a sad day indeed for Lisa Nowak and the entire NASA program. How tragic that such a bright and able woman should lose her emotional stability in such a public and humiliating way” here.

*MamaJD has gone from being a Warcraft Widow to creating her own character for online games and officially embracing World of Warcraft — and Geekdom — here.

*Trish Gannon/Wading in the River Journal is counting down the days until the Mardi Gras Follies in Sandpoint in which she and Ernie Hawks perform a Saturday Night Live-type skit here.

*Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise notes that lawmakers enjoy using the terms “slippery slope” and the “camel’s nose is under the tent” here.

Meanwhile, Hauser Thoughts reports that her Feminazi shirt has arrived here, Kellogg Bloggin’ provides a self-portrait here, Notes on a Napkin shares her song here, Tumblewords presents “Nobody There” here, and Sara approves of Washington’s approach to the HPV vaccine here.

WSP Trooper Seriously Injured in WW County Wreck

Washington State Patrol troopers discuss an accident involving a Walla Walla County sheriff’s deputy Tuesday in Burbank, Wash. A Walla Walla County sheriff’s deputy apparently responding to a report of a 911 hangup call was seriously injured Tuesday afternoon in a collision with a commercial flat-bed truck at a Highway 12 intersection well known for its accidents/Robert Dickin, AP Photo/Tri-City Herald.

Breaking! Judge Declares Mistrial in Watada Case

The judge overseeing the court martial of an Army lieutenant who refused to deploy to Iraq has declared a mistrial — Seattle Times.

Inside Huckleberries — 2/7/07

*Scanner (at 4:36 p.m.): The gendarmes are looking for a coupla punks in a pickup who tossed a pop can at a bicyclist riding northbound of 15th. The duo turned east on Hanley.

*Parker Howell, the SR intern in our Boise office, is working on a weekend piece about Dan of the County’s vote-by-mail initiative. We’re looking for individuals who have a strong opinion about this legislation, for or against. Contact Huckleberries via this blog or private e-mail if you do. Please include way we can contact you.

*Blogspotter Frank Sennett plans to mention HBO Blogfest ‘07 in his Monday column.

*Stebbijo’s working on an online graphic that I can use for updates about HBO Blogfest ‘07, now scheduled from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 17, at Capone’s in Midtown.

Just In: Idaho D’s Organize for Obama — Both of ‘Em

Today, voters in Idaho announced the official launch of the Idaho chapter, sending the strong message that a grassroots army of Idahoans exists to encourage and help Illinois Senator Barack Obama run for and become the next President of the United States. Idaho is the latest state to officially join the national movement by formally organizing a state group. Idaho organizers - encouraged by the overwhelming success of the national movement in dozens of states across the country - have kicked off an all-volunteer effort to gather thousands of signatures from like-minded citizens urging Senator Obama to run. (Contacts: Contact: Reggie Holmquist, (208)284-5684 or Kris Schultz, (202) 427-6165)

DFO: Anyone giving odds on the chances of a Demo prez candidate beating the Republican in Idaho in ‘08?

Bush Pushing Public Lands Sales Again

For the rest of the story, click here

The latest plan tries to address earlier criticisms. Officials removed some 27,000 acres in 242 different parcels of National Forest land from the auction block in states like Arizona and Montana after determining they had qualities that had been overlooked. In addition to the $400 million intended to be generated for rural schools, and equal amount would be dedicated to buy desirable lands and protect habitat. That money would be divided based on the income generated from the sales, in response to criticism that states were losing public lands only to see that money flow to other states. The proposal also calls for a national advisory committee to review each parcel — David Frey/New West.

DFO: Sometimes, I wonder how closely this administration — or any administration — is tied to the people. A plan to sell off public lands to finance various good-sounding schemes, from hurricane relief to payment-in-lieu-of-taxes expenditures, is diametrically opposed to the public will. Even hard-headed Butch Otter realized that when he co-sponsored legislation to sell of public lands for disaster relief last year. Whoever’s advising Dubya on this one should resign before s/he’s tarred and feathered. (Cue up boo-bird track)

Question: Do you see any merit in this plan?

We’re No. 2, We’re No. 2 — for Repubs, That Is

For rest of story, click here, for survey, click here

How do the numbers stack in the Northwest? In Washington, which the poll again suggests is the most Democratic of the three, the Democrats accounted for 54%, Republican 36% and independents 10%. If that’s an accurate measure, Republicans in Washington have some serious work cut out, with an 18% gap to make up. In Oregon, things are closer but not really close: Democrats 49%, Republicans 41%, independents 12%. (Oregon has one of the higher independent percentages in the country.) In Idaho, as you might expect, things are reversed - very much so. Washington is the 12th most Democratic state (in this survey) among the 50, and Oregon ranks 24th - smack in the middle. But Idaho is the second most Republican state in the union, behind only Utah. In the Gem State, 54% call themselves Republicans, 35% Democrats and 11% independent - an almost perfect mirror image of Washington — Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press.

Question: If Blue Washington and Red Idaho are almost the same in turns of dominance by one party, why do people make a big deal about Idaho’s Republican dominance?

Question: What Should Idaho’s Minimum Wage Be?

Issue: Study: Few Idaho jobs pay living wage: Experts say low wages force people to live ‘on the edge,’ where they’re more vulnerable to economic downturns/Joe Estrella, Idaho Statesman

More Info: Ironically, the report was released shortly after legislation that would have increased Idaho’s minimum wage to $7.25 an hour died in a House committee. Instead, lawmakers endorsed a proposal committing Idaho to adopt a new federal minimum wage if passed by Congress.

DFO: Sorry, I’m no longer buying what the Idaho Legislature and its handlers are selling. A $5.15 per hour minimum wage is absurd — and borderline criminal. Yeah, yeah, many local employers have been forced by supply-and-demand to up the ante to $6 or so. Big deal. The Powers That Be should try living on that.

Question: What should Idaho’s minimum wage be?

Noah Kroese: What’s Next for War Funeral Protesters?

DFO: I’m delighted that Noah Kroese (Cruise-ah), the former UIdaho Argonaut cartoonist from Moscow, is beginning to make his way on the pages of the SR editorial page. His cartoon about the latest Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office e-mail scandal was published today. Please join me in tipping a cap to our young cartoonist.

John Duh: Passing of Legends Makes Me Feel Mortal

John Duh (re: death of baseball legend Lew Burdette): First it was Mickey Mantle, now it seems like those who were players and the idols of my youth are passing on an almost daily basis. You start to realize how quickly time goes by and how it will only be a blink of the eye until it is your turn.

DFO: I’ll feel my age when Willie Mays or Willie McCovey passes. I grew up watching and listening to them play baseball in old Candlestick Park in San Francisco. I once watched in person as the two sluggers hit back-to-back home runs in the first inning against the Houston Colt 45s. In fact, I recall listening to McCovey’s first game as a Giant when he hit two singles and two triples off Philadelphia’s Robin Roberts. Now, he’s in his 70s and can barely walk. Where have you gone Joe DiMaggio, our nation turns its lonely eyes to you …

AM Hucks: “Cab Tales” Spotlights CDA Night Life

Before his current reign as potato-salad maker extraordinaire at the Captain’s Wheel/Bayview, Herb Huseland drove a cab. My Huckleberries Online crowd calls him Sweet Herb. In January, Herb regaled us with tales about his days as a Coeur d’Alene cabbie. In one “Cab Tale,” he told about a fare who wanted to commit “suicide by taxi.” In case you’re not acquainted with this form of suicide, it involves vodka, frigid winter weather and a woman who done you wrong. Herb was surprised when the guy asked to be driven to Fernan Saddle. But not as surprised as he was moments later when his customer informed him of his plans – drink the bottle, sit down in a snowbank and freeze to death. He’d caught his wife cheating on him. Herb talked the man out of the rash action – and didn’t even charge for the ride when they got back to town. In another episode chronicled in his Bay Views blog, Herb recalls the time the blues band at the old Chelsea’s was busted for drugs on break – and all the underemployed musicians hanging out at the night spot climbed on stage and finished the show. Then, there was the time that “the Photographer Son of a prominent Innkeeper” saved him from a ticket for driving the wrong way on a downtown alley by exiting the cab to use an ATM machine. The gendarmes recognized Junior and pocketed their citation books. Ultimately, Herb was forced out of the biz when a rookie cop on emphasis patrol busted him twice after 2:30 a.m. for driving a few miles over the 35 mph limit at Highway 95. He couldn’t afford the higher insurance rates.

Wild Card/Tuesday — 2/6/07

Stebbijo brought up a good point last night re: the occasional porn spam that slithers through SR filters and lands in the comments section occasionally. We’ve done everything possible this side of registration to stop this stuff. I don’t want to go to registration because that’ll kill some of the spontaneity of the comments section. So, we’ll keep doing what we do to stop it — and killing the crap that gets through. If I miss something, you can help by drawing my attention to it via private e-mail or a phone call. Sorry for the inconvenience. And exposure to the spam merda that finds its way into too many e-mailboxes. Now, your Wild Card …

Obit: Country Western Singer Frankie Laine, 93

Singer Frankie Laine is seen in this Aug. 16, 1956 file photo. Laine, the big-voiced singer whose string of hits made him one of the most popular entertainers of the 1950s, died Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2007. He was 93.

HBO’s Best of the Friends Blogs — 2/6/07

Dunno what JBelle/The ‘Kan EWA was shooting here. Pine cones? But it’s pretty — and, therefore, heads the parade of today’s Best of the Friends Blogs.

*In “Existentialist Crisis,” Toad/Synaptic Disunion begins: “He wakes at 5am, and washes his face and hands in a ritualistic manner. Donning his work clothes, and walking out of the house every day as he does, and down to the little shop on the corner has become his daily religion. People aren’t surprised at his punctuality, or his regularity, and everybody knows his shaggy gray head, his mackintosh , and mud sodden wellies, when he walks down the foggy, early morning treeless village. He is as regular as the spring rain, as dependable as the winter winds, and as ever present as the moist sea air” here.

*Tom Forbes & Co. at Palousitics debated which state has the better business climate: Washington or Idaho. One’s in the top 10 among the United States. The other is in the bottom 10. You can see which is which here.

*Bearable Bob has hit a lull in blog traffic and wonders if he’s gotten too self-indulgent and melancholy in recent posts, as he considers jamming Pilot G2 Gel pens (my favorites) into his eyes here.

*’Tis the season for job hunting for law students, and Idawa/Word Forge is approaching the prospect with fear and trembling here.

*Nathan Empsall/The Wayward Episcopalian reports “The Truth About John Edwards and New Orleans” here.

*Looks like Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations is fighting Google, and Google’s winning here.

APhoto of the Day — 2/6/07

This file photo originally supplied by Warner Bros., shows Tyra Banks, addressing the unflattering bathing suit photos that were recently plastered in every tabloid and gossip websites, as she talks about the media’s obsession with weight and weighs in on the skinny model controversy during taping of her ‘Tyra Banks Show,’ in Los Angeles on Jan. 9. With Fashion Week currently in full swing in New York, the industry is engrossed in a ‘skinny model’ debate that stretches across the globe. You write the cutline/Chris Polk, AP/Warner Brothers photo.

Top Cutlines

1. Talk show host and paparazzi critic, Tyra Banks, unveils the new “Celeb-a-coy” celebrity photo decoy. The custom made decoys, deployed to trick annoying photo takers, are under scrutiny after callers inundated Los Angeles’ 911 system mistakenly identifying a Rosie O’Donnell decoy as Sasquatch in an Old Country Buffet Monday evening — SSands.

2. “Call me fat again, sweetie, and I’ll hit you over the head with my wallet” — A Token D.

3. Another victim falls prey to the George photoshop scam-o-rama. When will the madness end? — Lesley Presley.

HM: Cis

Originally posted at 10:48 a.m.

Statesman Op-Ed Richert Sends This Heads Up

Senate Bill 1085, printed in the Senate Monday, would considerably tighten the Idaho Open Meetings Law’s language on executive sessions. The bill, co-sponsored by Sen. Kate Kelly, D-Boise, and Rep. Jim Clark, R-Hayden Lake, would require public agencies to have an attorney present for an executive session on legal issues. This, as you may recall, is the subject of an Open Meetings Law violation involving Ada County commissioners, a case pending before the Idaho Supreme Court. The bill also strikes the vague existing language in the law, allowing executive sessions to discuss issues “where there is a general public awareness of probable litigation.” Executive sessions instead would be allowed for discussions of “pending litigation, or controversies not yet being litigated but imminently likely to be litigated.” The bill also clarifies public agencies’ requirements for providing minutes from executive sessions. The bill is the result of negotiations involving local government groups, Idaho Allied Dailies and the Idaho Press Club. The Press Club supports this bill and would encourage your editorial support.

Kevin Richert
Vice president, Idaho Press Club
Idaho Statesman Editorial Page editor

Question: Should Idaho Primaries Be Closed?

Issue: Partisan fur flies over rejected leadership bill/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise

More Info: The bill in question was a proposal to require party registration and closed primaries in Idaho, something the Idaho Republican Party voted at its convention this year to support. But the House State Affairs Committee voted 9-8 on Monday against introducing the bill, with members saying Idaho has an independent streak that forced party registration would violate. Surveys show a third of Idahoans say they’re independents – and under the bill, independents couldn’t vote in primaries at all.

DFO: Again, we see the arrogance of Republican leadership in a state that’s overwhelmingly Repub/Independent Conservative. In this instance, however, the R’s are taking care of themselves rather than Idahoans who, I believe, prefer to remain independent re: party affiliation. This is no more than a paranoid move to stop Democrats from crossing over in tight races to vote for the lesser of two Republicans. There’s nothing about current party leaders that inspires.

Question: Would you prefer closed Idaho primaries?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/6/07

U.S Marines carry the casket of Cpl. Darrel Morris to a hearse after his funeral at Ferris High School Saturday in Spokane. Morris was killed while serving in Iraq. In a Spokesman-Review editorial today, Jamie Tobias Neely says: “Part of our deep respect for the men and women of the military must include our firm determination to spare them from fighting aimless wars.” See IMHO-NW below/Dan Pelle, Spokesman-Review.

Eye On Boise: Legislative GOP leaders were furiour after Idaho House State Affairs Committee rejected a their bill calling for closed primaries here.

1. The United States has agreed to release a classified cockpit video showing the reaction of two U.S. pilots from Idaho after they killed a British soldier during a friendly-fire incident in Iraq, a spokesman for the coroner said Tuesday. Story and KREM-2/KTVB video here.

2. Washington State climbed four spots in the Associated Press poll to No. 14 Monday, equaling its highest ranking ever, and nobody surrounding the program seemed terribly excited here. Related: Cougs impressive rise continues here.

3. Anti-war Drums: Martin Luther King III, the first son of Martin Luther King Jr., told a crowd of 2000 at the UIdaho Monday night that America should abandon its violent ways in Iraq and tend to its own troubled democracy here. Meanwhile, a Demo state senator from Butte, Mont., will ask the Montana Legislature to go on record against the president’s proposed increase of U.S. troops in Iraq here.

4. A Stevens County, Wash., woman charged with the starvation death of her adoptive son was arrested this morning as she arrived at court for a pre-trial hearing. Carole DeLeon was arrested on charges she violated the conditions of her release by contacting her other children here.

5. Several customers of Snake River Spa and Pools/Twin Falls won rebates to recently purchased spas, pools and saunas because Chicago returned the opening kickoff in the Super Bowl for a TD here.

6. IMHO-NW: Jamie Tobias Neely/Spokesman-Review (War death and debate), Tecla Markosky/UIdaho Argonaut (Racism not issue in gangsta parties), Leaning Straight Up (Gay marriage opponents strike back), Idaho Statesman (Idaho has best grocery tax relief plan), and Brandon Scheller/WSU Evergreen (Why can’t Seattle team reach top?).

Online Poll: 79% of 290 respondents to a Helena (Mont.) Independent Record poll say the Legislature shouldn’t pass a bill outlawing the death penalty.

*Twin Falls man dies of accidental gunshot while carving hole in ice for fishing here.

*Proposed Idaho wolf kill bill sets bounty below $10 here.

*Owners bring animals a long ways from home for special treatment at WSU vet department here.

*Living wage jobs hard to find in Idaho here.

*Authorities wonder if crime committed after woman sees body fall out of truck here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon online charter school has attracted 1,200 students so far, faces legislative hurdle here.

Hot Potatoes — 2/6/07

*House kills Otter’s grocery tax bill/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review — Good call. Rep. Dick Harwood of St. Maries was even right on this one. You know what they say about broken clocks …

*Bonner County crews rescue injured Coolin snowmobiler/Caroline Lobsinger, Bonner County Daily Bee — Our search & rescue crews deserve all the kudos they get for their incredible work saving lives and finding lost people. Saaalute.

*Thieves pilfering donations from Post Falls senior thrift store/Annie Bishop, — How long can you go?

*A WCC stunner: Lions claw out 67-61 upset of Zags/Steve Bergum, Spokesman-Review — If Heytvelt, Raivio & Co. don’t win the WCC tourney, they could find themselves watching March Madness on the sidelines with the rest of us this year.

*Fire district snuffs long-standing debt/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Daily Bee — The Sagle Fire District — and the three firefighters who agreed to a pay cut during its financial struggles — deserve credit for seeing this thing through and repaying its debt.

Nonini, Hart, Harwood Vote Against Human Rights Bill

Issue: House backs human rights: 3 N. Idaho legislators oppose resolution/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review

Bob Nonini: “I just think there’s a group of people … that like to keep sore wounds opened up.” Nonini said after the vote. “Those people (the Aryan Nations) have gone away – we don’t talk about it in North Idaho.”

Dick Harwood: “I thought it was a crummy bill – we already got all that stuff in there,” Harwood said. “It was just a feel-good, fuzzy thing.”

Phil Hart: “I don’t think in general we have a problem here. I think it’s just a few isolated groups. … I think if we just ignored it, it would go away, in my opinion, in time.”

Question: What do you think of the vote by these three illustrious North Idaho representatives?

Question: Did Trustees Get It Right re: Sorensen Call?

Issue: Sorensen gets a reprieve: Board approves plan turning it into magnet school/Meghann Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

More Info: The plan calls for the school to boost enrollment by 100 students within two years. Supporters must raise $100,000 by August, then $200,000 for the 2007-08 school year. That, plus the additional state money that would come from increasing enrollment, would cover the estimated $411,000 that district officials hoped to save annually when they proposed shutting down the school.

Question: Good call? Bad call?

AM Hucks: Eatery Wants Us to Think Outside Bun

I suffered two indignities as a boy: I couldn’t whistle and I couldn’t make that flatulent sound by cupping my hand under my armpit. My cousin mastered the various sounds that can be produced by flapping your arms. He was ambidextrous. He used the back of his knee as an instrument, too. He tormented me with his symphony. I couldn’t carry a note. Why am I telling you this? McDonald’s is offering a toy from the Nickelodeon “Catscratch” lineup that emits two varieties of flatulent noise and an ah-ooga sound. Colleague Taryn Brodwater wondered why her two kids were fascinated with flapping their arms until she spied the toys that came with their Happy Meals. She wrote about the toys on her BrodH20 blog. And I copied the post on Huckleberries Online Monday. That launched a debate re: appropriateness. MamaJD: “It is hard to complain when my kids laugh so hard that the elusive ‘funny’ dimple (the one that shows only when my son belly-laughs and is truly tickled) appears.” Bree said she wouldn’t want to encourage her little cousin who “thinks it’s OK to fart on everyone and make fart noises and talk about poop while people are eating.” Katrina said she’s going to zip over to Mickey D’s to get one because she’s been trying to teach her daughter how to make armpit sounds. Cis chimed in with the obvious: “There isn’t any male … who hasn’t done this at one time or another.” Finally, The Onset added proper perspective to the debate: “These look like appropriate toys for the Idaho S-R newsroom staff.” At least for the Huckleberries section

Sorensen Saved — Trustees OK Magnet School Plan

The Coeur d’Alene School Board unanimously approved the Sorensen magnet school proposal at its meeting tonight. Some Sorensen supporters are headed to the Parkside Bistro and Pub right now to celebrate. Read the full report on the meeting in tomorrow’s Spokesman-Review — Meghann Cuniff/Spokesman-Review.

Parting Shot — 2/5/07

A street theater act called the “Tacoma Puppetistas” performs a mock court proceeding where puppeteers representing: President George Bush, former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, Secretary of State Condolezza Rice, and Vice President Dick Cheney are charged with war crimes during a rally for supporters of 1st Lt. Ehren Watada near the gates of Fort Lewis Army Base, DuPont, Wash., Monday. Watada announced last June that he would refuse to go to Iraq with his unit, the 3rd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division. Now the 28-year-old Watada faces four years in prison if convicted on one count of missing movement and two counts of conduct unbecoming an officer/AP Photo.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 2/5/07

Stebbijo and Mari were willing to risk stray bullets to taste Sweet Herb’s potato salad at the Captain’s Wheel in Bayview here.

*”Lasean Driggs takes Holy Communion to my mother–and to a lot of other folks who are housebound in rural settings’” writes Marianne Love/Slight Detour. “I truly believe that Lasean comes close to sainthood because she believes in her faith one hundred percent and lives it out doing good works for others.” Lasean has one other love — the Zags. Click here.

*Sara Anderson/F-Words weighs in about the new requirement in Texas that girls are to be vaccinated against cervical cancer from an STD virus here. And KaleJ/Unmuted Mumblings has thoughts about the STD virus vaccinations in Texas here

*Bayview Herb remembers his days as a cabby in which he transported a blonde from Beta’s bar to a Wolf Lodge Bay address that later became the scene of the Groene murders here.

*Dr. Jim/CastMD sez domestic violence and alcohol abuse happen on non-Super Bowl Sundays, too — and he provides a test so you can see if you get too worked up about the big game here.

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps believes that serial meetings, in which elected officials are broken down into smaller groups to avoid Idaho’s Open Meeting Law, are a serious enough problem for the prosecutor to check out. But he’s not holding out hope here.

Meanwhile, Family Phil Jr. enjoyed the robot Super Bowl ad best here, Notes on a Napkin defends the cat here, OrangeFrog76 tries his hand at puzzle solving here, and Wading with the River Journal tells us what she didn’t do on vacation here.

APhoto of the Day — 2/5/07

A camera crews clean the lens on the overhead cable camera from the sideline during heavy rain in the third quarter of the Super Bowl XLI football game at Dolphin Stadium in Miami on Sunday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)

Top Cutlines

1. Chicago Bear’s offense coordinators give thumbs up of encouragement to Cable Cam after it was named to replace starting Quarterback Rex Grossman for the Bear’s 2007 season — SSands.

2. A CBS director positions the on-field camera higher during the halftime show to avoid the phallic-guitar sequence of an artist formally known as a symbol — John Austin.

3. The CBS camera crew asks, “why is it raining?” They are told it rains because God is crying. “Why is God crying?” They ask. God is crying because of the Chicago Bears — Nic.

HM: Keithincda

Originally posted at 10:21 a.m.

Important Sorensen Vote Tonight

The school board will vote on a proposal to turn downtown Sorensen Elementary into a magnet school for the arts and humanities. A magnet school is one that draws students from all over the district and even the region because of its focus. If it’s approved, the school will stay open. If it’s rejected, however, the school won’t necessarily close. That would require a separate vote of the board. I’ll post the vote results on the blog when I get back from the meeting — Meghann Cuniff/Spokesman-Review.

No Good Moves for Bobby Fischer Wannabe

Venec Miller, 6, looks at his moves during his chess game during a tournament held at Cynthia Mann Elementary School on Saturday in Boise. About 250 kids participated in the event. (AP Photo/Idaho Statesman, Kerry Maloney)

From A Simple Mind Breaks Down Super Bowl

The Super Bowl is over for another year. and this one started out exciting. But
ended up predictable. I don’t know what happen to the Bears, but they seem to lose heart and the game mostly by the 2nd Quarter. I had no favorite team this time, so just appreciated both teams. I know that Manning got the MVP or what ever it is. Kind of sad in a way as there were no award to the young man who made his first touch down since he started. Or for the young man name Addai who did so well. But they won and they won fairly. I don’t think there was any body who thought the calls were unfair. The other nice thing about this year is the two coaches. Both black men… the part that was hard to believe, is they were the first black coaches, in the Super Bowl. There should have been others, sooner. The other nice part was neither one was shy about being men of God. They said both coaches are quiet men, even in the locker room and on the field. Maybe they can be a beginning of how football can be played without the killer mentality as in the past. Maybe, football players will follow and not be in trouble and in the headlines. I tip my hat to both coaches, they deserve it in many ways — Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind.

DFO: I really enjoy this break-down of the Super Bowl by Cis, who admits she didn’t have a horse in this race. I appreciate the things that Cis found important — things that would be overlooked by hyperactive play-by-play and color commentators. I enjoyed the fumbles and big plays of the first half. And that Coach Tony Dungy and QB Peyton Manning finally won the big one.

Question: What did you like most about the Super Bowl?

BrodH20: Mickey D’s Arm-Pit Farters Model Behavior

There is one reason my kids love McDonald’s: Happy Meal toys. Here are the toys Boo and Goo scored last weekend on a trip to ‘Donalds with The Otis. I have no idea what kind of character this is or what cartoon it’s from. But the sound effects are unmistakeably recognizable. I hadn’t seen the toys until days after the kids got them and I was cleaning out their overnight bag from a stay at Gramma’s. But as soon as I saw these toys, I understood why The Urchins had developed a sudden fascination with using their armpits to make fart noises. I’m not sure what other Happy Meal prizes are in this series, but I can’t wait to see what sort of bodily function is involved — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20.

Question: Did McDonalds suffer a brain cramp when it offered the arm-pit farters as toys to kics? Or is this all in good fun?

KCSO Seeks Missing Hayden Woman

The Kootenai County Sheriff’ Office is asking for your help in locating Kathleen Ellen Durkin, 51 of Hayden (pictured). Durkin was recently reported as a missing person by her daughter, Robyn Ott, of Coeur d’Alene. Ott, who had been out of the area for an extended period of time, told Sheriff’s investigators that she has not heard from her mother in approximately two years. Investigators have checked all available data bases but have not found any activity for Durkin since December 2004. Kathleen E. Durkin is described as 5 feet, 8 inches tall and weighs about 180 pounds. She has Blond/Red hair and Brown eyes. She has a tattoo on her left shoulder that says “JULIAN”. Durkin is a known methamphetamine user and also suffers from the chronic medical condition, Lupus. Anyone with information regarding the possible location of Durkin is asked to call the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office at (208) 446-1300, attention to Detective Austin.

Paulos: Too Bad Sandi & Co. Blew Garden Offer

For Bob Paulos’ complete Sunday column, click here

It’s a genuine pleasure to drive through downtown Coeur d’Alene, as I did last week, for a business meeting (read: income tax return) and see the sharp new look in the store fronts, building remodeling and upgrading. The whole area has a “new” look to it. Drive a few blocks farther north out toward the freeway and get a good look at what John Stone has visualized for Riverstone. It’s beginning to take form. It’s a testimony to the lack of vision shown by a group of our elected officials that they failed to accept the gift of a world class botanical garden for downtown. Coeur d’Alene and a massive clean-up of the southern entrance to the city. Maybe — just maybe — the next good idea that comes along that has the potential to waken our esteemed decision-makers will be accepted before the end of the century — Bob Paulos/Coeur d’Alene Press.

DFO: Talk about beating a dead horse.

Question: How would you rate downtown/waterfront redevelopment?

Idaho Escapee: Whatta Lousy Halftime Show

Idaho Escapee: The commercials this year were okay, but what really grabbed me was how LOUSY Prince’s halftime show was. There was no real flow, no real rhyme or reason for the cover songs he did, and his guitar was either not loud enough or way too loud, covering everything. This is one halftime show that coulda used a wardrobe malfunction.

DFO: I didn’t watch a second of the halftime show. I figured the Powers That Be were scraping barrel’s bottom to come up with another weird has-been from the ‘80s. Obviously, Prince made some sort of splash because people are wondering about a possible phallic moment. Whatever happened to old-fashioned wholesome? I haven’t watched the halftime shows since Janet malfunctioned (I’m talking about her music, not her wardrobe.)

WorldNetDaily Poll — Is Conservatism Dead?

Issue: Conservative Age died with Reagan: Exclusive: Joseph Farah believes fatal flaw was taking defensive stance in culture war/WorldNetDaily

Question: Do you think conservatism is dead?

1. No, it’s alive and well
2. No, it’s liberalism that’s dead. Air America is bankrupt and Rush Limbaugh rules
3. No, the media want people to think it’s dead, but Americans are still Reagan-style conservatives
4. No, it’s alive but struggling because few in America promote its principles
5. It’s not dead yet, but is about to die unless drastic measures are taken
6. It is dying because Americans keep turning away from the ways of God
7. Yes, because Americans prefer liberal ideas
8. Yes, because it was always on defense, never on offense
9. Yes, it’s time for Reagan types to reinvent themselves and go on offense
10. Other

DFO: Few people are truly all liberal or all conservative. Ronald Reagan-type conservatism is going, going …

For WorldNetDaily news report, click here

Wild Card/Sunday — 2/4/07

Dunno what you have planned for Super Bowl Sunday, but I’m joining many in our church at a member’s large home for food, chat and commercials, er, football. There’s a chick flick for the gals. And a hot tub for the kids. A good time should be had by all, if church members don’t end in the ditch en route to the game. (I see Old Man Winter plans to toss another tantrum late in the morning, to let us know that he’s still around.) Enjoy yourselves. Stay warm. Stay safe. And use this Wild Card if you want to share some thoughts or start a thread …

Wild Card/Saturday — 2/3/07

Mary Souza mentioned twice last week that I should zero in on local stories and issues for the biggest impact on this blog. That’s good advice. I’ve tweaked things to add even more local, by adding “Hot Potatoes,” breaking news alerts, and “Inside Huckleberries.” But there’s always a need for a smattering of national/international items and photos of interest, to keep blurkers from outside North Idaho interested. It’s an interesting balancing act. On Monday, the SR will begin posting Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest on its Web front. I’ve also asked Blogmeister Ryan to add the AP state wire to the site, to go with the national/international wire. I’d like to redesign the site. But we’re going to overhaul our entire online publication and blogs in about six months. So, we’ll have to wait for that. (BTW, I’ll continue to push for that preview feature that many of you want when we redesign.) As you can see, I continue to tweak. And the increasing numbers indicate that the tweaks are being noticed. Now, for your Wild Card …

Moscow Minidoka: A Stripper for Blogfest 2007?

Moscow Minidoka: What about the stripper (for Blogfest 2007)? I’m bringing my digital camera so I can email out photos of DFO with a naked lady on his lap.

DFO: That would be the end of this blog as we know it because my wife would kill me. It’s hard to blog when you’re dead. Speaking of Blogfest 2007, I need someone or some-two to check out possible meeting places in Coeur d’Alene to stage the event — a place that can provide pizza and pop (courtesy of the SR) and mebbe beer and wine (for those willing to pay for it). Let’s do it on Saturday, Feb. 17 — so some of the out-of-towners can drop by. Mebbe from 5 to 7. Or from 6 to 8. As a fall back, we can always do it at the SR. But I’d rather do it someplace else where I don’t have to worry about cleanup. Any volunteers?

Moscow Minidoka: Worse Than 2-Headed Calves

Moscow Minidoka: Good god, DFO, go back to the two-headed cow pictures! They’re less disgusting than this guy!

DFO: I love those two-headed calf shots. But nothing beats that kitty cyclops of last year. Sigh. (BTW, MM, why did you choose Minidoka for the back half of your pseudonym.)

Mike: Raap Shoulda Replaced Douglas

Mike: I would feel a whole lot better if Marty was taking Bill Douglas’s place. Marty seems to do what Marty says he will do. The problem is Bill still controls the office. I am still waiting to see if any of the Judges are going to step up to the plate and show some back bone now that the investigation is over. What has been allowed to go on down at the court house does not reflect well on the Judges at all. We know it and they know it. We thought the Amaro/Mitchell race was fun. Wait until next election. I hope Amaro runs again as well as some new blood from out of state for the Judges positions.

DFO: If Douglas decides to run again in two years, he’ll lose. Between his military pension and his county pension, he should be set up well enough not to have to do so — and be embarrassed. Judge Lansing Haynes, on the other hand, could face an aggressive challenge from someone who might make an issue of someone who was chief deputy in an Office Gone Wild. What did Lansing know and when did he know it? Meanwhile, Mike’s right. The ongoing juvenile court fiascos and e-mail scandals involving Douglas and Baughman has smeared county law enforcement and the judicial system.

TGIF Wild Card — 2/2/07

I’m listening to the latest album by buddy Doug Clark/Trailer Park Girls, “Monoxide Love.” Great ballads about the life he’s led and the people he’s met — some of whom I know. I ripped a copy for my office computer and plan to do the same at home. Let’s see what’s on tap for tomorrow in the SR: Our Dynamic Duo, Taryn and Erica, have interviewed the prosecutor’s new chief deputy, Marty Raap. Sorensen School advocates tell Meghann Cuniff why they think they have a good chance to save the old school. Betsy Russell will tell about the abortive legislative attempt to hog-tie Idaho’s urban renewal districts. Meanwhile, you can start your own threads with this Wild Card …

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 2/2/07

Rocket’s Brain Trust snapped this shot of the Nine Mile Falls Dam recently.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour pens a requiem to the latest Sandpoint landmark to close its doors, Connie’s, and hopes that it isn’t permanent here.

*Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind caught heck here recently for referred to Molly Ivins as an Old Broad. Now that syndicated columnist Kathleen Parker has used the same term, Cis feels vindicated here.

*OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy shares the words to a song about Bernice, a woman who ran the counter of a small downtown convenience store/gas station when he lived in the neighborhood years ago here.

*Amyrebba/That’s Life, Life Goes On sez she has taught her children that the simple expression, “thank you,” can bring a smile — and wonders when was the last time others have used the expression here.

*Now, we know why Mari Meehan/Dogwalk Musings hasn’t been posting much of late — cataract surgery. She tells us all about it today here.

Meanwhile, A Family Runs Through It has a somewhat new look here, JeanC’s winter brightens with rumors of a new BBQ joint soon to open nearby here, Kellogg Bloggin’ admits it’s been a full week, empty blog here,

DFO: Not A Flaming Defeat, But It Should Have Been

DanG: 10 to 8 is not a “flaming” defeat. It’s close. This is merely a battle. Urban Renewal went 10 yards. They got a first down. But the game isn’t over. Urban Renewal reform is needed in Idaho. Hell, when the Rep from Salmon is telling me tales of abuse, you know that we have a big problem on our hands. I’m disappointed that the City, via the LCDC, had to spend tens of thousands of Kootenai Co. taxpayer dollars to fight the will of the people, in essence to prefer appointments over elections. I’m really disappointed in George Sayler, who voted to continue corporate welfare for big developers while robbing money from the schools. Good job, George! Remember: Economic development is all about rewarding developers with taxpayer dollars. (That’s not my quote, either.)

DFO: DanG, you aren’t representing the “will of the people” in your myopic battle against the urban renewal district. You’re representing yourself, a few dead-end Pachyderms, and mebbe the brain trust of the Coeur d’Alene Press, which is itchin’ to embarrass Sandi Bloem as part of The Duane’s vendetta against her. The urban renewal district is transforming this town into something pretty spectacular. Washington state would kill to have our ability to support developers who are taking the risks to build quality projects, transforming old mill sites into top-notch business/commercial developments. I haven’t said a bunch about urban renewal while you and a few others were rattling your sabers and, in some cases bad-mouthing some very good people who are making a difference in this community. But I applaud George Sayler for taking his stand. And I would urge Mike Jorgenson, Jim Clark and Phil Hart to wake up and smell the coffee that’s brewing in revigorated downtown Coeur d’Alene.

Pro Eater Defends Wing Bowl Championship

Doug Les Petocle of Valley Forge, Pa. pauses for a moment during the WIP Wing Bowl 15 eating contest in Philadelphia earlier today. Professional competitive eater Joey Chestnut devoured a record 182 chicken wings to win his second consecutive Wing Bowl/AP Photo.

Question: 1st Amendment Rights for Student Papers

Issue: First Amendment rights at issue for Washington college and high school newspapers/James Joyce III, Yakima Herald-Republic

More Info: Lawmakers considering legislation to ensure the First Amendment rights of student journalists are hearing from both sides of the issue in Central Washington. House Bill 1307, which would protect high school and college students from administrative censorship and prior review, passed the House Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and awaits a full House vote. The bill has been endorsed by the state Attorney General’s Office.

Question: Should student journalists in college and high school be allowed autonomy from administrators, as long as their work doesn’t violate libel standards?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/2/07

After clearing snow off the spring count-down sign, Josh Clarke, an employee at Plant Land in Evergreen, Mont., changes the days from 49 to 48 on Thursday. The first day of spring is March 21/Craig Moore, AP Photo/Daily Inter Lake.

Eye On Olympia: State Capitol could get a souvenir shop — finally here.

1. Racing to get a new law in place a day before threatened protests at military memorial services in Yakima and Spokane, Gov. Chris Gregoire this morning signed into law “the Washington Rest in Peace Act.” The bill bans “tumultuous conduct” and other disruptions within 500 feet of funerals here. Meanwhile, a Kansas group has called off plans to picket a soldier’s funeral in Yakima this weekend here.

2. A Senate committee unanimously endorsed legislation Thursday that would allow the hunting of wolves and grizzly bears in Montana once the animals are removed from federal protections. The bill by Sen. Joe Balyeat, R-Bozeman, drew no opposition in a Senate Fish and Game Committee hearing, and is backed by the Montana Department of Fish, Wildlife and Parks here.

3. Four Northwest senators say they will support a bipartisan resolution that criticizes President Bush’s plan to increase U.S. troop presence in Iraq: Republican Sen. Gordon Smith of Oregon and Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden of Oregon and Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell of Washington state here.

4. A House committee passed a measure today that would protect journalists from facing prison for not revealing confidential sources. The bill now heads to a vote on the House floor. The House Judiciary Committee passed the measure on a 10-1 vote with no debate here.

5. E-mails Gone Wild: Kootenai County Deputy Prosecutor Rick Baughman quit in the wake of a scandal involving office e-mails here. Meanwhile, Spokane police are investigating a Spokesman-Review online employee for possibly downloading child porn after he was fired by the newspaper here.

6. IMHO-NW: Rich Landers/Spokesman-Review (Beware when computers are involved), Tecla Markosky/UI Argonaut (Politics of starving), Milt Priggee/political cartoon (Iraq reality), Idaho Statesman (Fill positions in public safety), G. George Ostrom/Bigfork (Mont.) Eagle (A wolf not shot).

Online Poll: 54% of 962 respondents to a Seattle PI poll say it’s “a great idea” that the UIowa has installed high-tech washing machines in its dorms that e-mail students when the laundry cycle is finished. 27% said, “it’s the stupidest thing I’ve ever heard of.”

*Ex-Coeur d’Alene bingo casino CEO Dave Matheson wants tribal members paid $1,000 per month from gaming profits here.

*UIdaho student enrollment drops again here.

*A construction worker is in critical condition after being buried under 3 feet of dirt near Caldwell, Idaho, here.

*Indians’ heritage, eagles collide in court here.

Orbusmax Special: Man who left Alaska on a lawnmower in 2005 is now in Utah here.

Breaking! Raap Promoted to Replace Baughman

Raap resume here

Senior Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Marty Raap has been selected as Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecuting Attorney for Kootenai County. Marty has prosecuted some of society’s worst offenders and has a passion for justice. His breadth of experience has included serving as Shoshone County Public Defender and as an Assistant Coeur d’Alene City Attorney. He has also practiced civil law. Mr. Raap is a respected and effective prosecutor who understands that the prosecutor’s role is not merely to win convictions, but to be a minister of justice for our citizens — Prosecutor Bill Douglas.

Hot Potatoes — 2/2/07

*S-R worker may have downloaded child porn: Web employee fired after images found on two company computers/John Craig, Spokesman-Review — Obviously, private enterprise deals more harshly with office computer shenanigans than the public sector does.

*Leader of the packs: Otter needs measured approach to wolf control/D.F. Oliveria, Spokesman-Review editorial — Am I the only one who’s already tired of the governor’s swashbuckling?

*Vote-by-mail plans advance: Panel discusses two proposals/Spokesman-Review — Go, Dan of the County, go.

*PF students charged with robbery: Boy allegedly pointed pellet pistol at student’s face/Brian Walker, Coeur d’Alene Press — An early start on a life of crime?

*Should cars go slower, trucks faster on Idaho highways?/Betsy Russell, Eye on Boise — In a word … no.

Tribune: Anti-Bigotry Resolution Worth Effort

Full editorial here

A student from Idaho reportedly had a hard time finding a roommate at a Wisconsin university. “I will not have anything to do with a student from Idaho because the Aryan Nations permeates the state with their beliefs,” said one potential roomie. Bigotry, it seems, comes in many forms. This story is awful if true. State Rep. Tom Trail, R-Moscow, heard it from a friend. True or not, however, it points to Idaho’s continuing public relations problem. Many people in the rest of the country think Idaho is overrun by the other three R’s: racists, rednecks and reactionaries. You can certainly find those people easily enough if you look for them. There are always too many of them. Of course, it’s bigoted to generalize about any state, including Idaho. Trail wants to fight bigotry against Idaho by renouncing bigotry against everyone else. His resolution before the Legislature would reaffirm the state’s commitment to human rights — Tom Henderson, Lewiston Tribune.

DFO: The story sounds like an urban legend. I’d check it out thoroughly until I shopped around a resolution.

Question: With the closure of the Aryan Nations compound, is Idaho shedding its image — warranted or otherwise — as a haven for racists?

MamaJD: Is Prosecutor’s Office Safe Place to Work?

Related: Official quits in e-mail scandal: Touching, remarks also part of probe/Taryn Brodwater & Erica Curless

MamaJD: What I don’t understand is why Bill Douglas does not incorporate the county sexual harassment policy into his office? What does he not like about the county policy? Essentially, Mr. Douglas is announcing that women in his office will not be afforded the same protections as the would be if they worked in any other office in the same building. By refusing to comment on what policies he has instituted to correct this measure, he continues to leave the impression that working in his office could leave you the victim of sexual harassment. The fact that Mr. Douglas will not review the completed investigation is outrageous. In my opinion, this is a calculated legal tactic by the County Civil Department and Mr. Douglas to keep the document out of their hands and therefore not subject to public records requests. By stating that the investigation is closed/Baughman resigned/no need to review the report/crisis over, only ignores any opportunities to make the Prosecutor’s office a safe place to work. I cannot believe that Mr. Douglas is not capitalizing on the PR possibilities Baughman’s resignation offers him.

DFO: I agree. This is all about calculating what will best serve the county prosecutor’s interests. So much sleaze has been allowed to go on in Bill Douglas’s office that the county insurance company is now setting county policy — and assisting legal officials in keeping important information from the public. Anyone seen the handle of the public commode, so we can flush this thing?

WorldNetDaily Poll: Anti-War Graffiti Vandals

Issue: Protesters at U.S. Capitol facing arrest: Anti-war radicals spray-painted slogans on steps/WorldNetDaily

Question: What should be done to protestors who painted slogans on U.S. Capitol at anti-war rally?

1. Nothing, they were exercising their constitutionally protected free-speech rights
2. Nothing, their graffiti was easily removed – no harm, no foul
3. Nothing, they broke the law but their message was an important corrective to the pro-war rhetoric of the Bush administration
4. Nothing, Bush is the one who has defaced the Constitution
5. They should be charged with simple vandalism
6. They should pay a fine and restitution for the clean-up
7. They should spend time in jail
8. The organizers of the anti-war rally should be fined for failing to maintain order
9. They should be drafted and sent to Iraq
10. Other

DFO: No. 5, 6

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Parting Shot — 2/1/07

Firefighters respond to a blaze at Middleton High School Thursday morning in Middleton, Idaho. Fire swept through this small city’s high school Thursday, sending smoke hundreds of feet into the air and closing school for more than a thousand students and teachers. School officials estimated damages in the millions of dollars here/Greg Kreller, AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune.

Extra! Baughman Resigns!

Full story here

Rick Baughman and Prosecutor Bill Douglas during proceedings for killer Joseph Edward Duncan/Jesse Tinsley, SR

More Info: Rick Baughman, the embattled chief deputy prosecutor for Kootenai County, resigned effective today, Prosecutor Bill Douglas told The Spokesman-Review at 3:45 p.m. The news comes after completion of an independent investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Baughman. County Attorney Erika Grubbs and Commissioner Rick Currie confirmed today that the investigation is finished. As the elected official in charge of the prosecutor’s office, Douglas was the one who could decide whether Baughman remained the county’s No. 2 prosecutor. Baughman, who has been on paid leave since Nov. 6, declined to comment when reached at home Wednesday evening. His attorney, John Redal, also declined comment Wednesday — Taryn Brodwater and Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review.


Originally posted at 4:22 p.m.

APhoto of the Day — 2/1/07

Mason Smith, left, and Bailey Smith watch Twiggy, the water-skiing squirrel, during a demonstration at the Tulsa Boat, Sport and Travel Show in Tulsa, Okla., Wednesday. The squirrel is owned and trained by Lou Ann and Chuck Best of Florida. You write the cutline/Stephen Pingrey, Associated Press.

Top Cutlines

1. Squirrel remembered the time those old boys smoked some of that Canadian stuff with him then took him skiing on Lake Coeur d’Alene and he started looking around and feeling like he really was a squirrel, and all the people were huge, and he was stuck behind the boat looking at those huge people for what seemed like hours — Brent Andrews.

2. Twiggy braces and prepares to jump the Tidy-Bowl boat wake — Paul L. Ferguson, and: The crowd scatters moments later when Rocky’s beer-toting friend Bullwinkle joins the action. He was later heard to call his drink a ‘moose ski brewski’ — John Austin.

3. Jayson Ronk: Sure we’ll pay up…when squirrels go waterskiing! — Whippersnapper.

HM: MamaJD

Original post at 10:26:19 a.m.

Wondering: Why No Coverage of Young Memorial?

Wondering: I was rather disappointed that absolutely nothing was printed in the SR today about Kenny Youngs memorial service yesterday. It was amazing. Standing room only in a huge banquet room. It was a wonderful mixture of memories and laughter and an insight into who Kenny was. The gathering consisted of everyone from Hagadone Sr. and Jr, Jerry Jaeger, chefs in their toques, maids in uniform, and the entire spectrum of those who were touched by Kenny. Kenny did have family and 2 brothers and a cousin were in attendance. His younger brother spoke and his stories of Kenny brought down the house. I wonder if Kenny really knew what a beloved man he was. I suspect that nobody reading this post wil have that many mourners when they go. Later, I was able to meet and speak with Kennys brothers and cousin. They were so touched by the memorial and knowing how loved Kenny was brought them great consolation. I think it quite remiss that the SR completely ignored this occasion.

DFO: We didn’t cover the memorial service for two reasons: First, Kenny Young’s death was an apparent suicide. We don’t report on suicides at all, unless there is a compelling reason to do so (i.e., a body was found in the water or in some other public place). Secondly, Young was arrested by Coeur d’Alene Police for indecent exposure on Jan. 10. He was convicted for the same crime in May 2003. We didn’t think it was appropriate to do anything else with this story.

BrodH20: My Hubby Doesn’t Mind Watching Kids

I’ve heard it from a lot of my lady friends when we’re chatting about trying to set up a night out on the town or even a coffee date: “I gotta see if my husband can babysit.” I think to myself, do you pay your husband to babysit? Do you have to be home by 10 because husband has to work the next day? Do you leave a list of emergency numbers? To hear women say they have to ask their husbands to babysit just doesn’t make sense to me. Or to The Otis. We’ve never considered spending time with our children to be babysitting. And when Otis is with the kids and someone asks him if he’s babysitting his kids, he is highly offended. I feel a little sad for some of my friends, who sit home while their husbands go to poker nights or the bar and then, when they want to do something fun themselves, have to ask if their guy is willing to watch his own kids — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20.

Question (for wives): Do you have to force your husband to “baby-sit” your kids? Or (for husbands): Does your wife have to force you to “baby-sit” your kids?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 2/1/07

Dog trainer Lisa Lucas demonstrates to a gathering of federal inmates at Geiger Correction Center how to make a black lab mix from SCRAPS sit. Inmates will train dogs passed over for adoption at the animal shelter to make them more appealing to potential owners here/Dan Pelle, Spokesman-Review.

Eye On Boise: At least 2 Idahoans would pay $6K for 50-year-old bottle of scotch here.

1. Jason McElwain, or “J-Mac,” the autistic teen-ager who thrilled the nation by coming off his high school’s bench to sink six, three-point shots at the end of a game, is in Spokane as part of a fund-raiser — but he can’t say much about that because he’s under strict orders by his agent not to say anything to the electronic media. Story here. Video of his game performance here.

2. State wildlife officials released 42 bighorn sheep from Montana in the Laramie Peak Wildlife Habitat Management Area in an effort to boost the region’s herd and add genetic diversity here.

3. Nearly 11 months after he stepped down as head coach of the WSU Cougar basketball team, and recovering from hip replacement surgery, 63-year-old Dick Bennett admits the Cougars have responded better to his son, Tony, and he’s loving every minute of it here.

4. Three Army Rangers based at Fort Lewis have been charged with malicious harassment for allegedly assaulting an African-American man and using a racial slur outside a Lacey bar early Friday morning here.

5. Update: A five-alarm fire this morning destroyed 70 percent of Middleton (Idaho) High School, which has a student enrollment of 750, here.

6. IMHO-NW: Gary Crooks/Spokesman-Review (Clear the air), David Horsey/Seattle PI (Taking a position on Iraq), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (WSU programs yanks poverty out by grassroots), WSU Daily Evergreen (Who should use N-word?), and Helena Independent-Record (Ole party switcheroo).

Online Poll? 60% of 694 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say a New Jersey school district is violating privacy rights by insisting that students submit to a urine test to determine if they’ve been drinking in the last 80 hours.

*Street racing in Bellingham ends in fiery flames, death here.

*Coeur d’Alene family seeks help caring for twin babies with rare birth defects here.

*A pedestrian loses while playing a game of chicken with a train at a North Idaho crossing here.

*State frog bill leaps ahead in Washington Legislature here.

Orbusmax Special: One in 6 Oregon public school students is Latino here.

Lastdemoinidaho: Straight-and-narrow DFO?

Lastdemoinidaho: Wow, DFO, you really are straight and narrow! After a lengthy post was drafted by me, including one “inappropriate” word (b-ch), used in the sense of complaining, not in reference to anyone, my entire comment was dropped. Ill be d–ed if I will rewrite this. Youall will just have to wonder what great and wonderful thoughts have been lost forever. For the sake of us newcomers, can you give us a rundown on what words are banned?

DFO: Actually, LDII, I’m fairly flexible re: language and free thought here. But our spam filters aren’t. I empathize with you re: your lost comment, however. I’ve lost long posts in the comments section, too. It’s irritating as h***. So, here’s a suggestion for you and everyone else out there. Whenever you have a post that’s longer than usual, copy it (as you would any cut-and-paste item). If our software suffers a brain cramp, you won’t lose your deathless prose. You simply paste it into the next comments box. Comprende?

Item: NIC Names Presidential Search Team

The North Idaho College Board of Trustees announced the 22 members of the committee that will search for someone to replace NIC President Michael Burke, who leaves at the end of the month. Eleven members of the NIC community and eleven others from Kootenai County will serve.

Question: Who would you like the next North Idaho College president to be most like:

*Michael Burke
*Bob Bennett
*Barry Schuler

Hot Potatoes — 2/1/07

*Man killed by train in Athol: Highway 54 crossing claims second victim in 7 years/Spokesman-Review — If you play chicken with a thundering locomotive, you can hope for a draw, at best — a closed casket at worst.

*Connie’s closes doors as lease expires/Betsy Dalessio, Bonner County Daily Bee — And another piece of Bonner County history bites the dust.

*NIC president search team named/Spokesman-Review — A very respectable search team, indeed, led by Wanda Quinn, Dick Compton and Sandy Patano. But won’t the local Elephants be upset when they discover that — ohmigosh — Demo Mike Kennedy is on the list?! Local R’s have been tossin’ and turnin’ since Mike won a council seat 15 months ago. (BTW, check out that bear hug outgoing NIC prez Michael Burke and Trustee Christie Wood are giving each other in this Brand X photo here.)

*Resort spa recognized as world’s best/Rick Thomas, Coeur d’Alene Press — Gracious, one writer gives a thumbs up to the new resort spa, and the paper crows about it on the front page? On the other hand, writer Maryann Hammers gets around. Among her other articles: Top 10: Romantic Spas, Sweatique 101: 5 Top Rules of Gym Etiquette, and Desert Spa Adventures: Queer, Lesbian, Gay Travel.

*Jorgenson: Human life worth more than moose: Bill would revoke hunting privileges for life of those who shoot another, convicted/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise — Nice thought. But it doesn’t bring the deceased back to life. How many reckless hunters shoot two others while hunting in a lifetime?

Cameraman: Shame on Paper for Using B.S.

Cameraman: I’m appalled right now at the Sandpoint Brand X. I am reading the story about Connie’s closing yesterday and as I am reading the story, I read they will sit you and and bull**** with you. Granted this was a quote they got from someone that they interviewed. Ever since I have been in newspaper, I have at least had some sort of a thing called standards and I would NEVER, I mean NEVER print anything, even a quote containing vulgarity in something that a 10 year old could be reading. Thank goodness that the SR doesn’t print anything like that (now DFO, I know that you posted a PFPD report that contained profane language but the report was not printed in it’s entirety in the SR. I did read that and was not taken back because of a warning before hand and also that it wasn’t in print in the daily newspaper that a 10 year old kid could have been reading. Since when does anyone (editor, reporter, or publisher) in a so-called professional newspaper even allow such language to be published in a newspaper that goes into our schools, and is read by thousands daily. I hope that Sandpoint brand X lost some subscribers because of that.

DFO: Occasionally, the Spokesman-Review will use stronger language in a story if it’s part of a quote AND pertinent to the story. For example, if an official sez something vulgar at a public meeting that is the focus of follow-up controversy, the s/he might be quoted. There has to be a good case for using the language. I don’t think Brand X/Sandpoint made it. As far as Huckleberries goes, I wouldn’t allow strong language up front for the sake of strong language. But I will occasionally as part of a police reported, quoted in toto, if it adds to the understanding of the situation. After all, I don’t think many 10-year-olds read this blog.

MamaJD: Femmes Should Pass on Some Chances

MamaJD’s entire comment here

MamaJD (arguing why women shouldn’t take every chance they’re given in the work world): I will give an example - Since the Superbowl is coming up, I dislike female sideline reporters. I think that women sideline reporters are hired either for 1) so the networks can prove they are not sexist or 2) to capitalize on the side line reporters sex appeal for a predominantly male viewership. Since female sideline reporters have never played football at that level, I don’t give them the same credibility that I would give to the commentators who actually have played football. I will say that a female side line reporter will give thoughtful and well researched game stats, etc. But why is the female sideline reporter always on the sideline for player interviews? Because she is female. So 1) she isn’t good enough to be in the booth or 2) she can elicit better responses from the male player because she is an attractive female. I don’t see how this benefits women. I don’t see how this benefits men other than a prettier face to look at while men watch football. If that is the case, I believe we should call off the charade and the female sideline reporter should not wear turtlenecks. This is why I say, just because women have had the opportunity to report from the sidelines, we shouldn’t have taken the opportunity. Something that was viewed as a breakthru is something I view as demeaning. If you are going to use a person’s gender for persuasive purposes, at least be open and honest about it. The coffee stand owner and Hooters are upfront about this. This includes hiring a woman for the sake of fulfilling a quota (“We have to hire a woman because we have too many men”).

DFO: Dunno about MamaJD’s overall premise. (I want to think about it.) But I share her distain from viewtiful women doing sideline interviews with coaches as the coach hurries off to the halftime lockerroom. If they’re good, and not just viewtiful, they should be in the booth.

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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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