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Huckleberries Online

Archive for January 2007

Hump Day Wild Card — 1/31/07

I’m typing this while listening to the sound track of “Phantom of the Opera.” Mebbe my all-time favorite. Colleague Erica Curless glared at me yesterday when I inadvertently left my cubby-hole door open while my new office speakers were blaring away. So, the door’s closed. And I’m being transported by the beautiful voices involved in the movie. My daughter turned me onto musicals, via her days as a Drama Queen at Lake City High. “Chicago.” “Cats.” “Rent.” “Wicked.” I’m a sucker for the sound tracks. So, now that you know one of my weaknesses, I’ll play the evening Wild Card …

Question: Which Grocery Tax Relief Plan Is Best?

Full post here

Lawmakers are considering four separate plans to reduce or eliminate the sales taxes Idaho residents pay on food. The bills, introduced at a hearing Wednesday, include one from Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to give $46 million in tax relief to the state’s working poor. Two others would cut in half or eliminate the 6 percent state surcharge on food for everyone. And the fourth would more than double the grocery-tax credit that all Idaho residents now receive on their state income-tax returns.

Question: Which grocery tax relief plan to you prefer?

APhoto of the Day — 1/31/07

This photo, supplied by Peter Thompson Associates, is a recent but undated photo of Daniel Radcliffe, the boy wizard from Harry Potter movies, who opens on the London stage in the Tony Award-winning drama “Equus” on Feb. 27, 2007. Previews begin on Feb. 16. The 17-year-old will perform nude in one scene. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Peter Thompson)

Top Cutlines

1. Early reviews: Radcliffe ought to keep The Sorcerer’s Stones covered up, at least until after he graduates from Hogwart’s — SFO.

2. A moment later Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel was no longer a twinkle in Bob’s eye — Keithincda.

3. The British press reports that Daniel’s co-star is a gelding so as not to emphasize Daniel’s shortcomings as an actor — John Austin.

HM: Thom George

Originally posted at 10:32 a.m.

Breaking! WSU Fan Facing Charge for Bottle Throw

A fan may be charged with reckless endangerment for allegedly throwing a water bottle at a Pac-10 official after the WSU men’s basketball game Saturday. Pullman Police Cmdr. Chris Tennant said the incident occurred after officials made a controversial call near the end of the game. A Beasley Coliseum staff member escorted the fan to police and reported that the individual had thrown a bottle at a specific official, Tennant said. Officers identified the individual, but did not arrest him or her, so a name was not released. “You can’t be throwing things at officials,” Tennant said. He also said the fan must have been fairly unlucky to get pulled out of the crowd by the coliseum staff. “You have to specifically say this person threw this object,” he said. Reckless endangerment is a misdemeanor, Tennant said. The department will forward charges to the Whitman County Prosecutor’s Office — WSU Daily Evergreen.

Inside Huckleberries — 1/31/07

*For you fans of Doug Clark’s music, he’s cut three more songs with the Trailer Park Girls, including “When I Die” (a song re: what to do when he checks out), “Anita” and “Monoxide Love” that you can hear at his MySpace page here.

*Raymond Pert: I got married the first time in Sept. of 1976 in Cd’A. Luckily, the wedding was at 7 p.m. The wedding eve rehearsal dinner and bar crawl left me very hungover in the morning. Cure for the hangover? Hudson’s Hamburgers. I’ve never been so grateful for a burgers in my life and I wish I could have survived the marriage as well as I did the wedding.

*Question (from Jane Q. Citizen): I’ve read a few comments in the past couple of days regarding DFO’s new mug shot. Yet on my computer it shows the mug shot that’s been there for the past few years. Where are people seeing this new HBO glamour portrait? Answer (from Thom George): Jane, Upper Right corner, black shirt, silver moustache, Jay leno hairstyle. Try deleting your history and temp folder.

Take 5 — Or Flu Bug? What Steekin’ Flu Bug

I just realized that this is the first winter in several years in which I haven’t fought with a sinus infection. It’s also the first winter in years in which I received a flu shot. While I looked for wood to know on, which condition do you resemble:

1. I’m with DFO — no flu or sinus infections to date and where’s some wood to knock on.

2. Sniff! Sniff! Honk!

3. Between bouts.

4. I’ve escaped so far, but my wife/kids are wheezing up a storm and it’s only a matter of time.

5. Already gone through hell and back with the flu this winter — and I’m hoping to make it to spring with a recurrence.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/31/07

Two coyotes fight over an animal carcass next to the Gardner River near Mammoth Hot Springs, Wyo., in Yellowstone National Park, Tuesday morning/Garrett Cheen, AP Photo/The Livingston Enterprise.

Stapilus: An evolution of sorts was behind the 9th Circuit’s decision to yank field burning from Idaho’s purview here.

1. A Kent, Wash., mother who police say let her two young children starve to death while she got drunk is no longer facing criminal charges here.

2. Growth on the Vancouver campus is bucking a couple of trends in the Washington State University system. When spring enrollment figures for the four-campus WSU system were announced Friday, Vancouver was the only site showing a gain, with 323 more students than a year ago here.

3. KING 5 News in Seattle has learned that three former foster children have just filed a $45 million claim against the State of Washington. The girls say their foster dad abused them for years while the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) ignored a slew of graphic complaints that should have put a stop to it here.

4. Gov. Butch Otter plans to meet with the billionaire founder of the Montana Meth Project about bringing an in-your-face advertising campaign on the perils of methamphetamine to Idaho here. (Online Poll: 88% of 720 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll favor Otter’s plan here.)

5. Oregon Sen. Gordon Smith is threatening to filibuster a must-pass spending bill if Congress does not extend payments to rural counties hurt by cutbacks in federal logging here.

6. IMHO-NW: John Blanchette/Spokesman-Review (Zags have to be as tough as schedule), Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune (Smaller capitol wings best for voters), Steve Crump/Twin Falls Times-News (Confronting dark hillbilly fears), Idaho Statesman (Table Otter’s talk about dams), and Art Thiel/Seattle PI (Best Mariners rotation in years).

Online Poll: 76% of 357 respondents to a Great Falls Tribune poll oppose four-day weeks for schools.

*No serious injuries after school bus with six students plunges into Snake River here.

*Jury favors WTO protesters who sued Seattle here.

*Another baby girl has been born on Seattle’s gridlocked streets this week here.

*Miss Montana 2003 claims she was a victim of battery and defamation by two pageant volunteer organizers here.

*Boise teens survive crash, cold swim, cut head, night alone here.

Orbusmax Special: Washington woman to pay court costs, serve probation for filling out daughter’s absentee ballot and signing it here.

Question: When Should PD Cut Cop Loose?

Issue: Officer’s $500,000 claim reveals disciplinary actions/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

More Info: An internal investigation into the conduct of a former Post Falls police officer reveals that his actions were called into question multiple times, leading to his May 2006 firing. Post Falls Police Lt. Scot Haug recommended Andersen’s termination after Post Falls resident Barbara Baker complained that Andersen threatened her with a taser during a traffic stop, according to a memo from Haug to Chief Cliff Hayes.

DFO: Does PFPD Blue have a three-strikes-and-you’re-out for the police force, too?

Question: When should a police department know it has a rogue cop on its hands?

Related: Erik Anderson’s tort claim and Bradley Platt’s tort claim, lawsuit and arrest report can be found here.

Hot Potatoes — 1/31/07

Eli Weston, cooking in place of co-owner Steve Hudson, holds up a hamburger before serving the customer Tuesday at Hudson’s Hamburgers in Coeur d’Alene. The century-old business still serves simple grilled hamburgers and slices of pie to locals who crowd into the tiny storefront and sit cheek-by-jowl with strangers on stools/Jesse Tinsley, Spokesman-Review.

*Lawmakers commend Hudson’s: Three generations of family attend ceremony in Boise/Parker Howell, Spokesman-Review — Todd Hudson was gracious in deflecting the honor: “It says a lot about our customers, because we wouldn’t have made it a year, let alone 100,” without them. But everyone else knows it says more about the Hudsons’ devotion to culinary excellence.

*Field burning ruled illegal: Court says it violates Clean Air Act, orders EPA to reconsider rules/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review — That bell you hear tolling, Mr. and Mrs. Grass Grower? It’s tolling for thee. (Cue: Pave paradise, put up a parking lot …)

*Woman jailed after rushing home to cook for her son/Dave Turner, Coeur d’Alene Press — Mebbe she shoulda told her son to eat at Hudson’s Hamburgers instead. Or make his own lunch.

*Addressing issues at home: Flooding tops agenda as governor visits Bonners Ferry/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — Good PR move. Wonder if the governor scouted out a good hunting spot to bag an endangered caribou or two to go with his hunting plans for a future delisted wolf?

*88 Idaho prisoners refuse parole: They’d rather serve out terms than comply to conditions/Betsy Russell/Eye on Boise — They’d rather do the time than receive treatment for the crime. So much for rehabilitation for these sitting time bombs.

Question: How often do you eat at Hudson’s Hamburgers?

Cutter: Who’s Going to Cash Biggest Public Check?

Cutter: Hey, you should have a contest. Who will get the most: Rick Baughman? Laura Bonneville? Erik Anderson? Bradley Platt? I think Sam Grubbs is leading the field …

DFO: My money’s on Baughman — if you count the money and bennies from his $74,000-per salary he’s been getting since November while he waits for the various internal investigations (re: inappropriate e-mails and alleged sexual harassment) to play out. Anderson and Platt already have limited themselves to a $500,000 settlement of which the lawyers will take about half.

WorldNetDaily Poll: Warming Up to Global Warming?

Question: Are you afraid of ‘global warming’ yet?

1. Yes, it’s a proven fact. We’re toast
2. Yes, the debate is over, it’s time for action to change our heat-causing behavior
3. Yes, Gore was right, we need to eliminate the combustion engine
4. Yes, our response needs to be the central organizing principle on Earth
5. The jury is still out, I think we need to wait longer
6. No, I don’t know what all the warming talk is, this seems to be a very cold winter
7. No, any warming is part of a naturally caused phenomenon
8. No, I’m confused, I thought scientists were touting the new Ice Age just a few years ago
9. No, it’s a complete farce being pushed by those seeking power
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 5, 7, 8

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

AM Hucks: Councilman Contributes to Urban Sprawl

Put your hands together for Mike and Kathleen Kennedy, who welcomed Baby No. 6, John Patrick Kennedy (pictured), to Coeur d’Alene around 5 p.m. Tuesday. John Patrick, or “Jack,” evens CdA Councilman Kennedy’s household at three boys and three girls: Will, 11; Nora, 9; Maggie, 7; Max, 4; Quinn, almost 2; and baby, who was about 90 minutes old when Mike called Huckleberries from Kootenai Medical Center. “This isn’t how I planned to manage growth in this city,” Mike chuckled, adding, “This is proof that the Catholic brand of birth control doesn’t work.” Also, Mike said, the latest birth confirms to the Kennedys that KMC is the “finest birthing hospital anywhere.” All six Kennedy children were born at KMC – four prior to the birthing room remodel. John Patrick is named after both grandfathers: John Patrick Duke and John Joseph Patrick Kennedy. Of course, the news prompted the obvious question from your Huckleberry Hound: “Is this it?” Replied Mike: “I sure hope so.” That sigh of relief in the background, I believe, came from Kathleen.

•Huckleberries hears that ex-Kootenai County commish Gus Johnson failed to land that county dogcatcher job he applied for.

•Bumpersnicker (on a blue rig on Spokane’s Trent by John Livingston): “Happiness is being knee-deep in elk guts.”

•Poet’s Corner: He’s just a half pint crocodile/and wears that same fake crockish smile,/but since his size is not so grand/he won’t eat much more than your hand” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“The Caiman”).

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1/30/07

You know the drill …

IdaBlue Poll: What Do You Carry in Your Pockets?

Full post here

At lunch today I tried to dig some change out of my pants pocket, and had to bend over at the waist to reach it; the pockets are that deep. That got me thinking about pockets, and I’m proposing a survey. Some pants makers have tried to include a “pocket” or slot or something for a cell phone, and occasionally a place for an MP3 player. Neither of these would help me much. Both are kind of heavy and bulky for pants pockets, even if they don’t spontaneously ignite and toast your nether regions. … I carry some bills in a money clip and a flat INOVA LED flashlight in my right front pocket. Any change I accumulate during the day goes in there, but I try to avoid carrying change as I don’t like to jingle when I walk. In my left front pocket, I carry a chapstick (I know, not manly), a half gig memory stick, and a Swiss Army pen knife. What do you carry? I’m guessing this is pretty much a man thing; women seem to prefer purses — blogger IdaBlue.

Question: What do you carry in your pants pockets on a regular basis?

APhoto of the Day — 1/30/07

Miss Oklahoma Lauren Nelson, left, is crowned Miss America 2007 by Miss America 2006 Jennifer Berry at the Miss America pageant at the Aladdin Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas on Monday. (AP Photo/Isaac Brekken)

Top Cutline

1. In a surprise to the show’s producers, Boise State football player Ian Johnson suddenly appeared on stage and proposed to the new Miss America, and: Miss Idaho was disqualified from the competition after she was seen having drinks with Dennis Erickson the night before — Side Note.

2. See, when I push here it automatically makes tears come down my cheeks — Cabbage Boy.

3. Ohmygod!” thought Miss Oklahoma, “Now I can afford implants and become a trophy wife!!” — Whippersnapper.

HM: A Token D

Originally posted at 10:26:17 a.m.

Inside Huckleberries — 1/30/07

*At 4:27 p.m., fire engines respond to Coeur d’Alene Oral Surgery, 1027 E. Sherman Ave., where employees reported the strong smell of electrical burning.

*Hmm. I see newby Gov. Butch Otter didn’t bother to call the SR for a chat when he came to town yesterday. But he got up close and personal with Brand X. Mebbe Cowboy Butch’s still stewing about our endorsement of Demo Jerry Brady? Big boys have big feelings.

*Scanner: at 11:20 a.m., patrols report that two moose are running in and out of traffic at Prairie & Fourth.

*Regional Editor Scott Maben, Taryn Brodwater, Meghann Cuniff and I met with CPD Blue Chief Wendy Carpenter and PRmistress Christie Wood to discuss our new 24/7 newsroom this a.m. I asked Christie to put me on the list for the police reports. I want to post more of the interesting ones here.

Question: What to Do About Teen Suicide?

Issue: Local students mourn suicides: Coeur d’Alene High student found Thursday, Lake City High student found Sunday/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

Superintendent Harry Amend: “The most important message is to, of course, hug your kids more than you already did. Watch for major changes in clothing, sleeping and eating patterns. Watch for changing tone in conversations and a lack of hope. They also could be extra moody.”

Question: Anyone have a word of wisdom re: these two tragic circumstances?

Update: 2 Men Survive Train-Pickup Crash

The driver of a truck that collided with a train walks with an Idaho State Police trooper by his damaged truck near the train tracks at Idaho Rd. and Prairie Ave/Jesse Tinsley, Spokesman-Review.

Police Scanner: at 10:44, report of car-train accident at Prairie Avenue and North Idaho Road. Helicopter en route. Update: Neither of the two men in the vehicle seems to be seriously injured in the crash with a small train consisting of an engine and one car. But there’s an odd-ball aspect to this accident. The driver had picked up the passenger after the passenger had run out of gas. They were talking to each other when they ran into the train. The rig was totaled. Meghann Cuniff story here.

Originally posted at 10:45 a.m.

UI Graduation Exercise Change Ires Seniors

Full column here; related UI Argonaut editorial here

It has recently been disclosed to students at the University of Idaho that graduation ceremonies in individual colleges are no longer permitted and will not be held. Instead, the UI administration has decreed that there will be one, and only one, ceremony. This will take place at the Kibbie Dome, and will include all students graduating from all colleges in the university. The individual colleges were given no choice nor permitted any input in this matter: it was decided upon in (evidently) private meetings, and the colleges and departments were notified only after the decision had been made. Once more, our esteemed administration has managed to make a decision that, while involving and affecting hundreds of university students, does not remotely address our needs, desires or best interests. This decision was made because far too many students were attending their college ceremonies and not the university ceremony, resulting in less-than-desired attendance at the latter. Naturally, this was and is unacceptable to the powers that be, for its unflattering appearance to the media, the state and the public — Genyce Hansen, UI Argonaut.

Question: Shouldn’t the University of Idaho administration find out what graduates want and then tailor commencement exercises to them?

Thom George: Idaho Not, Er, Now — for Sale

From HBO

“Today, speaking to the Idaho Chamber Alliance, Otter had this to say to chamber officials and business people from around the state: “I’m going to be your general sales office here in Boise. … If you hear of a business lead, tell us. … Just call the general sales office for Idaho, and that’s the governor’s number.”

Eye On Boise

Question: Are We Involved in Backdoor Draft?

Full editorial here

Almost from the beginning of the conflict in Iraq, there has been an irresistable temptation to find, or refute, similarities to the one 40 years earlier in Vietnam. There is one distinct difference, though. In the 1960s, as the fighting in Southeast Asia ramped up, conscription was clearly on the minds of American men of Selective Service age. Many accepted the “Greetings” when they came; many even enlisted. But others sought deferments as students or conscientious objectors. Some burned their draft cards, some went to prison and some just fled the country. Despite all the resistance, President Lyndon Johnson could keep replenishing and enlarging the U.S. troop presence in Vietnam, thanks to the draft. Today, there is no draft. Or is there? — Spokesman-Review.

Question: Do you think the Bush Administration is treating voluntary troops unfairly by forcing them to remain in the service after enlistment periods expire?

Hot Potatoes — 1/30/07

*Bus scare a mistake: “Call Police” alert shakes up early-morning Spokane commute/Amy Cannata, Spokesman-Review — Better safe than sorry, right? But the Spokane Transit System should be careful about its false alarms. (See: “Little Boy Who Cried Wolf”)

*Local students mourn suicides: Coeur d’Alene High student found Thursday, Lake City High student found Sunday/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press — With so much to live for …

*Man sues over dock request: Sanders Beach homeowner says city wrong to object, state wrong to reject/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — And Jerry Frank’s the guy who wants claimed he was open to some kind of settlement with the city. Seems he has money to burn. Kudos to the Idaho Department of Lands for slam-dunking his dangerous plan to put a boat dock in the middle of a swim area.

*Charter school grows up: Popularity brings new pressures on CdA academy/Meghann M. Cuniff, Spokesman-Review — All the Coeur d’Alene Charter School backers of yesteryear have the right to say: We told you so.

*Capitol Commission mulling underground “wings” compromise between Otter, legislative leaders this morning/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise — Do it right, and damn the costs. The Idaho Legislature and Cowboy Butch could be cramping future Legislatures by cutting too many corners. Dunno much about the plan. But I hope the legislators are looking down the road at future space needs.

AM Hucks: HBOers Not Gaga Over Baby Discussion

Please believe me when I tell you that I seldom read Miss Manners. Or Heloise. Or Annie’s Mailbox. Or anyone else peddling advice. However, the headline on Judith Martin’s Miss Manners column Monday caught my eye: ” ‘Trying to have a baby’ unsuitable for conversation.” “Gentle Reader” had asked what she should do when a husband, wife or both announce in a social situation that they’re trying to have a baby. I tend to agree with Gentle Reader that it’s difficult not to picture the commenter and her hubby naked, rockin’ and rollin’. However, Huckleberries Online commenters were divided about the appropriateness of the statement: “Dudes who say things like that are not the kind of dudes I want to be around,” said James Bond. “Seriously, this kind of talk sounds like dialogue in some kind of weird post-Gloria Steinem, apocalyptic male neuterization novel.” Mary Souza said: “Many years ago, when I worked as a nurse, I mentioned to one of my favorite doctors – a rumpled, older father-figure who had 10 kids – that I was taking my temperature each morning because we were trying to have a baby. He looked at me with a twinkle in his eye and said, ‘Mary, I hate to break this to you, but that’s not how you get pregnant!’ ” MamaJD: “A girlfriend of mine (also a colleague of my husband’s) is pregnant. She has had fertility issues. Sometimes we just want to have a private conversation without the men around. This is usually when I will ask, ‘How’s your uterus doing?’ Nothing clears out a room faster!” MamaJD’s right. I’m outtahere.

Wild Card/Monday — 1/29/07

We started our 24/7 newsroom this morning, with a reporter beginning online work at 6 a.m. That’s why we were able to break stories about the attack on the SR deliverer, the man exposing himself to baristas (not those just below), the snow weather report and other early stories before the TV/radio broadcasters. Check it out on our Spokesman-Review site today. It’ll be hard for any of the electronic media to beat this coverage. Now, for your daily Wild Card …

Question: When Will You Upgrade to Windows Vista?

Issue: With Vista, Microsoft overhauls look and feel of Windows/Todd Bishop, Seattle PI

To hear Jenny Lam talk about her line of work, a casual listener might think for a moment that she designs luxury automobiles, or maybe high-end furniture. “We’ve reduced it down to its simplest form, taken away until we couldn’t take away any more, and then crafted it and perfected it until it’s beautiful,” she said, referring to one element of Windows Vista’s on-screen interface. Longtime Windows users might be surprised, but that philosophy and attention to detail reflect a broader effort by Microsoft to improve the design of its operating system. Consumers will be able to judge the result starting Tuesday, when Windows Vista comes out.

Question: Do you plan to upgrade to Windows Vista within the next 6 months?

Inside Huckleberries — 1/29/07

*Looks as though Blogmeister Joe has posted that new photo that Kathy Plonka snapped of me last week. Now, if Joe could do something to remove a few years …

*Huckleberries hears from a realiable source that former commish Gus Johnson failed to land that county dogcatcher job he applied for

*Bumpersnicker (on a blue rig on Spokane’s Trent today by John Livingston): “Happiness is being knee-deep in elk guts.

Snow Crashes — Be Careful Out There

From Police Scanner:

4:33 p.m., Granati reports: “We left cd’a at about 3:45 this afternoon and it took us almost 45 minutes just to get home in pf. very slick and slow going.”

3:58 p.m., passenger car rear-ended school bus, with car ending up in ditch. (Dunno location, no passengers were on bus)

3:51 p.m., Subaru stuck in homeowners yard near Lancaster and Rimroad after sliding on road and narrowly missing group of schoolchildren exiting bus.

3:45 p.m., police working on big accident at Kathleen and Atlas.

3:21 p.m., 10-year-old girl injured in NW Blvd accident, complaining of neck and back injuries. Waiting for police in Coldwell Bank/Schneidmiller Realty parking lot.

3:11 p.m., Northwest Boulevard is a traffic jam.

3:08 p.m., Vehicle on roof on south side of I-90 between Pleasant View Road and McGuire/Post Falls. Officer sez: There’s a lot of dumb accidents out here.

Weather Columnist: “Global Warming” Is Junk Science

Full column here

Let’s take ‘global warming’ as a prime example of ‘junk science.’ Thousands of scientists and activists alike have ‘jumped on the bandwagon’ in the past few years. It’s THE THING, the trendy ‘fad,’ a ‘wave of ecological enthusiasm,’ to support this latest climatological ‘bunkum,’ much like what happened three decades ago in the chilly 1970s, when we were supposedly heading into a ‘NEW LITTLE ICE AGE’ that would result in worldwide crop failures. Global warming has even hit the big screen with Al Gore’s documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth.” He’s dedicated to a major campaign designed to ‘frighten the world’ into costly actions that have little chance of successfully curbing increasing man-made emissions of carbon dioxide in the near future or even 20 or 30 years down the climatological roadway — Cliff Harris/Coeur d’Alene Press.

Question: Will global warming go the way of the “new little ice age” of the 1970s, as Cliff Harris sez?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/29/07

Heath Frisby, from Caldwell, Idaho, kicks off to the side of his snowmobile as he performs a full back flip at the 11th Winter X Games at Buttermilk Ski Area near Aspen, Colo. on Sunday. (AP Photo/Nathan Bilow)

Hard 7: Idaho GOP’s welching Jayson Ronk more embarrassing than U.S. Rep. Bill Sali here.

1. For Sale — world’s most expensive home: Ten bedroom, 53,000-squre-foot stone-and-wood mansion at The Yellowstone Club. Amenities include heated driveway, wine cellar, indoor/outdoor pool and a ski lift that can be boarded inside the house. Spectacular views. Price: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. But if you’re curious, it’s going on the market at $155 million here.

2. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service proposed today to remove Rocky Mountain gray wolves from the Endangered Species list in Idaho and Montana and portions of Washington, Oregon and Utah here.

3. Field burning by Oregon’s farmers who grow 50 percent of the world’s seed grass for soccer fields, golf courses and lawns has put them at odds with neighbors here.

4. Microsoft has dominated the computing industry for years, and in an effoft to maintain it, the computer giant is set to launch its new Windows operating system. It’s called Vista. And the company says it will change the way you live here.

5. Pedro G. Salom, a reporter for the Twin Falls Times-News, wanted to spend 24 hours in the Blaine County (Hailey, Idaho) Jail to see if the county really needed a new hoosegow. He lasted 21 hours, leaving early because he was bored, here.

6. IMHO-NW: Jamie Tobias Neely/Spokesman-Review (Ideas for U.S. Rep Rodgers’ maternity), David Horsey/Seattle PI (The Credit Card game), Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune (Scrape rust off Detroit iron, I’ll look), Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Words of wisdom for Spokane mayor), Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Wasting time pushing paper towels).

Online Poll: 39% of 153 respondents to a Lewiston Tribune poll say they plan to file their income tax returns “as soon as I can.”

*A customer at an Airway Heights Starbucks coffee store said exposing himself to a barista was a joke. But no one laughed here.

*UI fire destroys women’s lockerroom sauna here.

*BSU football player Tristan Patin arrested for DUI here.

*Missing 3-year-old boy from Kalispell, Mont., found dead in septic system here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon is the No. 2 destination for people moving from other states here.

Hot Potatoes — 1/29/07

*Hand in hand: City, skate event partnership ends in a glorious whirl/Jeff Bunch, Spokesman-Review — Key paragraph: “Spokane is now the only city simultaneously to hold the ticket sales record for Skate America and nationals (154,893 tickets sold).” I know you Coeur d’Alene Firsters hate to admit it, But Spokaloo pulled off a heckuva feat by bringing the national figure skating championships to the region — and the region responded. Saaalute.

*It’s “Idaho Film Day” in the Capitol: “Gilligan Island’s” MaryAnn (Dawn Wells) on hand to push for incentives/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise — I always liked MaryAnn better than Ginger. Mebbe it was a harbinger of future things. We both ended up Idahoans.

*Spokesman-Review carrier’s friend beaten, seriously injured, while delivering newspaper this morning/Spokesman-Review — The creatures of the night add danger to those who put your daily newspaper on your door step.

*Senator tries to stuff tax loophole: Brad Little wants Cabela’s to pay its 6 percent, too/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review — So, Cabela’s honeymoon is over already?

*An open letter and aching heart: Our loss is North Bend’s gain/Coeur d’Alene Press editorial — The editorial is a bit schmaltzy. But the sentiment is good. The Kraliceks will be missed.

Obit: Kentucky Derby Winner Barbaro Euthanized

Barbaro is held by jockey Edgar Prado and a track worker after injuring his leg at the start of the 131st running of the Preakness Stakes, in this May 20, 2006, file photo, at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore. Barbaro was euthanized earlier today after complications from his breakdown at the Preakness last May/AP File Photo/Matthew S. Gunby.

Q: “Trying to Have A Baby” Unsuitable Talking Point?

Miss Manners response here

How exactly does one respond politely to a couple (usually the wife) who earnestly inform you that they’re trying to start a family? Normally, I assume that intimate activities should not be featured as a topic of conversation in party settings, particularly if one’s acquaintance with the couple is fairly recent. I’d like to discourage further comments on the issue. A disinterested and vague “hmmm!” seems appropriate, but perhaps not supportive enough. However, coming right out and stating, “Why are you encouraging me to consider you and your husband naked?!” seems a bit much, although more suitable to my frame of mind. Should I call attention to the fact that this is not an appropriate or comfortable topic? Should I pleasantly encourage this enthusiastic and slightly desperate wishful future parent? Should I simply and delicately change the subject?

DFO: I thought I was the only one who thought this comment was strange. Indeed, I tend to look at the guy in this pairing to determine if he’s drooling re: the “trying.”

Question: Does it bother you when a husband or wife or both tell you that they’re “trying to have a baby”?

DFO: Activist Sure to Make News on NIC Paper Staff

Issue: Hess’ new job sure to make news: European-American activist joins NIC Sentinel staff/D.F. Oliveria, Spokesman-Review

More Info: (NIC Sentinel) Managing Editor Alison Atwell and News Editor Holly Bowen shouldn’t be intimidated by (European-American activist Stan) Hess’s age or philosophy. When asked for advice to give Sentinel editors, Spokesman-Review Editor Steve Smith responded: “They are in charge of workplaces, just as we (professional editors) are. They’re the ones who set the ground rules. They can address attitude, interpersonal behavior, respectful communication, et cetera. They can also assign stories, spike stories and keep out of the paper anything they find inappropriate or offensive. That’s not censorship. That is news judgment. It’s censorship only if Hess can’t find a tree somewhere to post his rants.” And if Hess objects and causes a disruption? Smith said the editors should fire him on the spot and call campus security.

Question: Will Hess be a team player and learn to set aside his political views? Or will he cause problems and be asked to leave the staff?

Man Claims PF Police Brutality (w/Video)

Full story here, video here, (short version) and here (longer version, recommended)

A Post Falls man filed a half-million-dollar lawsuit against the Post Falls Police Department this week for injuries he sustained during a January 2005 arrest. Bradley Platt, 37, (pictured) filed the police brutality suit in Kootenai County’s 1st District Court this week, alleging he was “tackled and struck repeatedly in the face and head” by Officer Erik K. Andersen, causing injuries and physical disfigurement. Some of Platt’s teeth were knocked out by the force of his face hitting the asphalt. Though court records don’t specify the nature of Platt’s injuries, photocopied pictures in the court file show a black eye, lacerations to his chin and upper lip and missing teeth. Andersen pulled Platt over just after midnight on Jan. 23, 2005, for failing to yield at a red light – a misdemeanor offense. Platt was charged with DUI, driving without privileges, obstructing an officer and eluding an officer. All charges were dropped after Platt’s public defender filed a motion to dismiss the case based on Andersen’s alleged “outrageous conduct.” Post Falls City Prosecutor Joel Ryan, who dismissed the charges, did not return calls Friday — Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review.

Question: After viewing the clip, do you believe Post Falls police officers treated the driver too roughly?

Originally posted at 9:19 p.m. Friday

AM Hucks: OrangeTV Reviews Served w/Snark

OrangeTV is one of the many treasures who hang out at Huckleberries Online. He’s the twentysomething who posts superb reviews of music, the Coeur d’Alene night scene and eateries on his Making Flippy Floppy blog. His local restaurant reviews are my personal faves. Of the Sherman IGA Deli last week, he raved about the Chester Fried chicken, barbecue spareribs and jo-jos, while recalling when he was about 12 that he and his mother “hid shivering behind a mayonnaise display as the store was being robbed.” What separates OrangeTV from other reviewers are observations like this: “Evening and night at the store is a whole different vibe – it turns into a edgy hotspot for welfare moms on meth, drunk college boys on meth, and extremely munchie-afflicted emo kids. Oh, and Hagadone honcho Jerry Jaeger. I’ve seen him shopping there a dozen times, late into the night, and I just know he can afford to upgrade to at least Super 1 or something. Maybe he does it to show us wee villagers that really, he’s just a regular guy after all – just one of the folks.” In another post, he praised the new Breakfast Nook as a decent addition to Midtown, but he wasn’t crazy about the hostess who waited on him: “The hostess coldly wrote our names on a list and still offered no clue as to when we might be seated. She was too young to be so frowny-faced and bitter.” Fiesta Mexicana. Panda Express. Paul Bunyan Famous Hamburgers. OrangeTV reviews places where most North Idahoans can afford to eat. You can find a link to the Making Flippy Floppy reviews on my blog

Wild Card/Sunday — 1/28/07

Tonight, I finished reading “Wicked,” the life and times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire. I enjoyed the Oz books as a kid. So, I wanted to see how a modern would handle the old story, especially with a clever play now based on the “Wicked” book. I made a mistake. It reminded me of Bedford Falls sans Jimmy Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life” — dark, unhappy, peopled with fallen characters. Toss in boring and crude, and you have a poor substitute for a decent idea. I read it all the way through to see what semblance it has to the play. In this case, the play definitely was better than the book. So much for the detour into fantasy. I’ll be back at the history of the Reformation by Will Durant tomorrow. What are you reading? You can tell me with this Wild Card — or you can start your own thread …

HBO Blogfest 2007 — Let’s Get Er Done

We have an issue to discuss, HBOers — Blogfest 2007. I think I can get the boss to pop for cold cuts and pop. And our conference room can hold 20 to 25 people. I’d like to do something to coincide with the third anniversary of Huckleberries Online, which is Friday, Feb. 16. We don’t have to get together on Friday, however. I’d like Blogfest ‘07 to be a get-together, not some seminar thing — although we could have a roundtable discussion re: how things are going with local bloggers. I’d like someone to host it, so I can kick back and enjoy meeting some of you guys. Also, we should discuss what to do re: the anonymous posters who might want to attend. Any suggestions?

TGIF Wild Card — 1/26/07

I’d don’t know whether you’ve noticed that I’ve been tweaking things a bit this week at HBO. Inside Huckleberries has become a regular feature. There’s more of Betsy Russell’s Eye On Boise. I’ve moved the “APhoto of the Day” cutline winners up at the end of the day rather than duplicate it. More Noah Kroese ‘toons. Hot Potatoes are moving toward a daily run. Most of these are a result of suggestions made by you last weekend. Also, I’m looking for more things from Bonner/Boundary county and you’ll see more breaking stories here. I’m still studying your suggestions. Stay tuned and used this Wild Card for your own threads …

Columnist Boling: Akey Isn’t Anyone’s Door Mat

Full column here (courtesy of Jim Meehan/Idaho Vandals)

The T-shirts, bearing a huge likeness of Dennis Erickson’s smiling face, cropped up all over town about a year ago. These days, some University of Idaho football players have found creative uses for the shirts. The most popular is to slip them over their apartment doormats, with Erickson’s face staring upward, so they can regularly wipe their shoes on him. True story. Robb Akey now faces some obvious challenges as new coach of the Idaho Vandals, like keeping them from being Western Athletic Conference doormats, while opening the season against a potentially devastating opponent – USC. His new job as head coach at Idaho marks Robb Akey’s fourth coaching stop over two decades. Even more to the heart of what Akey has to achieve is the challenge of convincing his players a head coach doesn’t have to be a man whose commitment is temporary, whose word is without meaning, and whose image is worthy only of scraping off shoe grime — Dave Boling/Tacoma News-Tribune.

Two Questions: What affect will the shameless lying of ex-UI football coach Dennis Erickson (and too many others like him) have on young men playing college football? And … what idiot agreed to open next season against USC?

Inside Huckleberries — 1/26/07

*Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns sends along a poignant YouTube video, “Children See, Children Do,” here.

*Jerry Jaeger’s secretary just called with details of the memorial service for shoeshiner Kenny Young. The memorial is Wednesday (Jan. 31) at 11 a.m. in Bays 1 and 2 of the Coeur d’Alene Resort. The public is welcome to attend.

*A Berry Picker forwarded this mass e-mailing circulated by attorney Duane Rasmussen: “I thought you might be interested in this legislation being promoted by Idaho State Representative Clark and Idaho State Senator Jorgenson in an attempt to deal with Urban Renewal Districts and Urban Renewal Agencies. Rasmussen then provided links (H0047, to elect the URA board) here and (H0048, to restrict modification of URDs) here.

*Put your hands together for political cartoonist Noah Kroese (Cruz-ah), an HBO regular, who published his first ‘toon today on the SR editorial page — of Spokane Mayor Dennis Hession skating around transparency.

*Vote for Nate: Colleague Meghann Cuniff has a former UOregon friend in the running for a Jay Leno contest. Meghann e-mails: “A guy I know from college was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last Friday. The show is doing some ‘Who Wants to Be A Tonight Show Correspondent? You DO!’ contest-thing where they asked viewers to send in their best correspondent video. Nate Jackson, a guy who was at the UO Journalism School the same time as me, made it as one of the top picks. Voting is going on right now. Maybe you can tell your bloggers to check the clip and vote for Nate. He’s the last video on the list, Nate Jackson from Venice Beach. Vote for Nate by clicking here.

*Q&A: Question (from Mike): Is Rick Baughman still on paid leave and have your heard anything in regard to the investigation? Answer: Yes, Baughman’s still on paid leave, collecting his $74,000-plus per year salary and bennies. And there’s nothing new as of Thursday when our Dynamic Duo, Taryn and Erica, last checked.

Vandal Sense: Brand X Story Ignited Race Issue

Full post here

Two days ago there was a story in The Coeur d’Alene Press (read it right here) about the first black fire fighter in the city. It was a story that sort of semi ignited the issue of racism in North Idaho. Well, actually, it mainly inflamed people and had them questioning why a black man working as a fire fighter in Coeur d’Alene was even news. My newsroom discussed it, and I commented about it right here, in public. The sad fact is that this is news in North Idaho. There has never been a black man on the roster of the fire department - and we are nearly a decade into the new millennium. Does that strike anyone else as odd? Why is it that there never has been? To some - this answer is obvious. It is to me. I grew up in Coeur d’Alene, where everyone from outside the area poked fun at us for being potato-loving racist hicks who had no couth or culture and needed to be laughed at. The story in the press did nothing to fix that situation and everything to promulgate only more innuendo and stereotyping of our fine city/area — Sam The Reporter/Vandal Sense goes on to discuss a phone conversation he had with the Coeur d’Alene Press reporter who wrote the story.

Question: Should North Idaho cities and counties be aggressive in seeking minorities to fill their workplaces?

Ivins “Very Sick” in Battle with Breast Cancer

Molly Ivins speaks at the University of Texas in Austin, Texas, Nov. 15, 2006. Ivins, a liberal Texas columnist, has been hospitalized in her ongoing battle with breast cancer, her assistant said earlier today. Ivins may be able to go home Monday, Betsy Moon said. “That’s the day the doctors said,” Moon said. “We’re not sure what’s going to happen, but she’s very sick”/Ralph Berrera, AP Photo/Austin American Statesman.

Argonaut: Another Year Of Nothing from Legislature?

Full UI Argonaut editorial here

It’s hard not to be cynical this time of year. After all, this is when University of Idaho President Tim White and his peers stand in front of the Idaho Legislature’s joint finance committee and present their idealized budget requests, which rarely get full funding. This year could be better than most, thanks to positive signals emanating from our new governor, Butch Otter. But it’s hard to feel optimistic that everything will be funded. That didn’t keep White from reaching for the stars, however, and rightly so. Among the laundry list of items White requested Tuesday:

• $11.8 million for salaries on top of a $9 million, 3.5 percent across-the-board raise.
• A chunk of Otter’s proposed $51 million for deferred maintenance.
• Approval of Otter’s $38 million proposal to create a needs-based endowment for Idaho students.

Those top two items may be the most important. We’re not saying students don’t deserve more assistance, but making sure we get the most for our money is just as valuable.

UI Argonaut editorial

DFO: ‘Tis interesting that UI students already are cynical about receiving decent funding to keep and attract quality educators — and to keep school costs down for students.

Question: What does the Legislature need to do to make Idaho colleges competitive with others in the Northwest?

Q&A — Is Bush Going to Tax Company Insurance?

Cis: Last night my daughter and I had a discussion about Bush speech … one small part … and I haven’t see it mention anywhere. So did I dream it? That is the taxing of the employee’s insurance. If I understood it right, what ever your employer pays for your insurance at work will be considered an income now … and so it will be taxable. did I understand it right and why aren’t the people upset about it?

DFO: Cis, I heard the president’s State of the Union speech, too. But I didn’t hear him say anything remotely like the rumor raised by your daughter (although I’ve heard the rumor, too). I published the full copy of his speech earlier this week. And you can read it yourself here. I see tax breaks re: health insurance in that speech. No tax increases. Am I missing something?

Question: Should Schools Ban Al Gore’s Film?

Issue: Ban on global-warming film sparks heated debate: School board opts for ‘balance’ of viewpoints/Blaine Harden, Associated Press

More Info: The e-mail also pressured the school board to impose a ban on screenings of the film for the district’s 22,500 students. The ban, which the school board says was merely a “moratorium,” was lifted Tuesday night, subject to rigorous conditions. Still, the action has appalled the film’s producers and triggered a ferocious national backlash.

Question: Would you be upset if your local school board banned the showing of Gore’s film?

Noah Kroese: Breaking Down Melting Witch

Political Cartoon/Noah Kroese

Today’s Poll: Hairy Men, Hairy Women

Every year the McCall Winter Carnival has the Beard, Hairy and Sexy Leg Contest. Starting in November, contestants can’t shave their beards (men) or their legs (women). Would you participate? — Idaho Statesman.


DFO: How about a best white mustache contest?

AM Hucks — You Say Sho-Shone, I Say Shoshonee

Remember the fun we had with the pronunciation of Kootenai (Koot-NEE) County? Well, Art Anderson/Mullan asks whaddabout us over here in Shoshone County? How can anyone mispronounce Shoshone? “I think we can all agree it’s Sho-shone,” Art e-mails, “but I have heard people who should know better say it as Shoshonee.” That’s nothing, however, compared to the two Panhandle towns of Clarkia and Kooskia. Art points out the obvious: They both end in “KIA.” What’s not so obvious is that they’re not pronounced alike. Kooskia is pronounced Koos-kee. Clarkia is as it seems, Clark-ee-a. Art hails from Allentown, Penn. – yes, the Allentown celebrated in song – which is near Schuylkill. The consensus among the locals for the pronunciation of that town’s name is Sky-Kill. Sez Art: “I won’t even attempt to spell some of the other choices!” IMHO, you can tell a local from a wannabe by asking him to pronounce the name of the Palouse town where the University of Idaho is located. Or to spell Prichard.

• Poet’s Corner: “This novel idea/is rather intriguing:/to get out of a hole/you keep right on digging” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“The Latest Iraq Plan”).

• Bumpersnicker (spotted in Boise by online commenter Cameraman): “Oklahoma is a musical, Boise State is a champion.”

• OK, I know it’s only a high school newspaper, but the CHS Viking Voice should settle on a spelling for the surname of Idaho Sen. John Goedde, R- Coeur d’Alene. The VV choices for a feature story in the January issue include “Getty” and “Goeddy

Wild Card/Thursday — 1/25/07

Coming Tomorrow in the SR: Idaho has set its price to shoot a wolf: $26.50. That’s how much the Fish and Game Commission decided a resident wolf tag should cost once wolves are off the endangered species list and can be hunted in the state. A few steps remain before that could happen, but an F&G spokesman says it could happen this year, and “it would be embarrassing if it did and we weren’t ready.” The commission also set aside 10 wolf tags it could donate to fundraising auctions and the like. For now, you can use this Wild Card for your own threads …

Bob: Age Is Sneaking Up on Me

In a post that segues into a comment about his son’s birthday Wednesday, Bob writes:

I’m watching Imus in the morning on MSNBC right now. They run a promo with a shot of John Mellencamp. God, he’s grown old. Apparently I’ve not seen Johnny Cougar in forever and the pic was jarring. He was frozen in my mind as the young guitar slinging wannabe Springsteen/Dylan/Seger, maybe from the days of music vids with his robo-nordic-supermodel wife. Remember him then? Age. I think about it a lot these days as my countdown counts down. (Rest of the post here)

DFO: This struck a nerve because photog Kathy Plonka snapped a coupla shots of me yesterday, one for a new column mug and the other for some kind of circulation promo. I’m looking older. The mustache is almost completely white. The flesh in the neck is loosening somewhat despite my best efforts to stay in shape. Then, I saw a photo of a man that I once went to church with. He’s really aged. I wouldn’t have recognized him if I didn’t know who he was. I guess the best you can do is to try to stay in the best shape possible for your age group and mebbe get hit by a car when it’s your time to go?

Question: How do you know that time’s slipping by?

APhoto of the Day — 1/25/07

Wearing traditional dress for a symbolic wedding two-years-old Nikos, center, as groom, kisses his bride Katja, right, while the kids celebrate the story of so-called “Bird’s Marriage” in Panschwitz, eastern Germany, earlier today. Benno, left, looks on. You write the cutline/AP Photo.

Top Cutlines

1. The devestated best man’s under-the-influence toast, delivered moments after this picture was taken, confirmed the long-held suspicions of many that he had his own feelings for the bride. He held them in for a good 2 1/2 years, but everything just came spilling once he’d had too much to drink… that darn apple juice will get you every time — Transplanted Texan.

2., the sister group to, is taking a stand against elaborate child weddings. Says one parent, “These days, it just goes too far and enough is enough” — MamaJD.

3. With a sad look on his face, John Beutler watches Duane and Sandi pretend to kiss and make up knowing full well it just aint for real — Keithincda.

HM: Brent Andrews

Originally posted at 10:37 a.m.

Fan E-Mail: Black Firefighter Story Bombs

Original story along with comments here

Just thought I’d let you know that the black firefighter story has reached our newsroom. And I wasn’t the one who brought it up, either. Mainly it seems that what people are discussing isn’t the fact that it’s a stupid story (why does it matter if he’s black? some on the press thread ask) but that the coverage was sort of poor. The story is a big deal, for obvious reasons. There still are very few minorities - especially blacks - in North Idaho. The story didn’t address it. It didn’t even mention why it mattered that there was a black firefighter at the fire department now. It didn’t look into how many other minorities work for the city of Coeur d’Alene. The reporter didn’t even speak with the firefighter about the issue. He didn’t ask him how he heard about the job or why he came here. Didn’t ask him if he was concerned about racism in the area or if he thought he might be mistreated by some members of the community.

Racism is still alive in North Idaho. It may not be prevalent, but it’s there. Some there see it when they drive by that billboard in … Post Falls is it? It can’t be ignored, and for people to clamor on about why it is a big deal that there is a black man in the Coeur d’Alene Fire Department is a travesty. They’re ignoring the problem. Good journalism would point that problem out and explain it. Try to get at the problem - and have people in the community discussing it. That’s the real reason why this was a bad story.

Sam The Reporter/Vandal Sense

Eye On Boise: Teachers Lobby, Educate Solons

Full post here

Three teachers from each legislative district in the state are at the capitol today, to educate lawmakers and state officials about what they do and to press for “adequate, stable funding” for public schools. Playing on the words of the No Child Left Behind Act, which requires students to pass tests to prove schools are making “A.Y.P” or “Adequate Yearly Progress,” the teachers with the Idaho Education Association are distributing quizzes and a study guide to lawmakers about education in Idaho. IEA President Sherri Wood said at a gathering on the Statehouse steps just now that it’s the Legislative Study Guide to Help Meet A.S.F. (Adequate Stable Funding.) “Legislators are much like our students,” she said. “This is a body of knowledge that they need to master before they can make informed decisions” — Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise.

Question: Without resorting to partisan rhetoric (i.e., smaller classroom sizes), what can the Legislature do, given money restraints, to improve education in Idaho?

Other Eye On Boise posts today: “Ripe for Investigation”, On same page, not same paragraph, Luna has the answers, That $25 million, still sitting there? and Kane letter warns Otter is risking millions.

HBO’s Best of the INorthwest — 1/25/07

Miss Montana, Christie Hageman, fixes her hair in her hotel room as she gets ready for an evening event at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas on Tuesday/Jae C. Hong, Associated Press.

Doug Clark: Anti-gay protesters at national figure skate championships in Spokane whip up hatred — toward themselves here.

1. Contrary to the interpretation of federal prosecutors, Seattle investigators maintain that statements Joseph Edward Duncan III made about the deaths of two little girls a decade ago do not constitute a confession, and they are not ready to seek charges here.

2. The Catholic Diocese of Spokane appears to be a week away from taking a significant, formal step to get out of bankruptcy and settle its clergy sex abuse scandal here.

3. Look around you, writes Shea Andersen/Boise Weekly, and they are everywhere: former newspaper and television reporters, refugees from the deadline-driven life, happily ensconced in Boise. A working journalist can reasonably expect to encounter a former member of the Fourth Estate on the phone, or in meetings, perhaps. But in Boise, you can’t swing a laptop without hitting a former newsperson here.

4. The Federal Way School Board has lifted its two-week moratorium on the global-warming documentary “An Inconvenient Truth” and members of a Yakima high school after-school club await a decision from school officials on whether they can show the film here.

5. Tom Forbes/Palousitics raises questions about the unequal treatment given by WSU administrators and student press to two recent rallies on campus — a young Demos rally in support of abortion and a young Repubs rally against illegal immigration here.

6. IMHO-NW: Ted S. McGregor Jr./Inlander (Barack star), Trish Gannon/River Journal (Not loaded properly), Tim Eyman/Spokesman-Review (Initiative bill targets free speech), Eric Devericks/Seattle Times (State of the union), and Ed Symkus/Inlander (Review: “Smoking Aces”).

Online Poll: 87% of 855 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll oppose a California legislator’s attempt to criminalize spanking children 4 years and younger.

*Rich Roesler/Eye On Olympia points out that 58 of the 62 House Democrats in the Washington Legislature are in leadership positions here.

*Naked man leads police to double murder here.

*Cigarette sales to Washington kids have fallen since Y2K here.

*12-year-old boy charged with attempted murder in attack on 5-year-old Nampa girl here.

Orbusmax Special: Librarians reject call for Bush impeachment at Seattle confab here.

Hot Potatoes — 1/25/07

*Spokane called a great place for kids/Spokesman-Review — Anyone see how the Idaho towns did? Even if Coeur d’Alene/Post Falls isn’t ranked, I’d still prefer to live out here.

*This is just what we don’t need: another classification/Greg Lee, Spokesman-Review — Greg’s right. Send this one back to the drawing board.

*Staying calm helped 2 North Idaho snowmobilers stay alive/Rich Landers, Spokesman-Review — And you thought you were cold when the temperature dropped below zero earlier this month?

*Getting their fill: Kroc Center on-site material better than expected; geotechnicians still examining how much work needs to be done to fill hole/Tom Greene, Coeur d’Alene Press — Another example of how your local urban renewal district is making things happen in this community. ;-)

*Show honors missing man: Moscow city councilman loved the Sirius Idaho Theatre/Shawn Vestal, Spokesman-Review — I feel sorry for the friends and loved ones who have to deal with the uncertainty surrounding the councilman’s disappearance. But this is a very nice gesture.

*Firefighter has record of deadly driving: Man now involved in triple-fatal crash/Jody Lawrence-Turner, Spokesman-Review — Seems the three strikes policy applies to this guy. Three crashes involving fatalities … and he’s kicked off the fire department for good. Still one to go.

Statesman Poll — Outlawing Spanking?

A state lawmaker in California is seeking to make spanking, hitting and slapping a child under 4 years a misdemeanor. Adults could face up to a year in jail and $1,000 fine. Do you agree or disagree? — Idaho Statesman.

*No opinion

DFO: Not only no, but hell no, as Butch Otter would say. This country already is full of pampered brats who learned that bad behavior has little consequence other than having an adult send them to a run or wag his/her finger at them.

Question: How Is CDA Urban Renewal District Doing?

Issue: Bill targets renewal districts: Lawmakers seek limits, shift in control/Parker Howell, Spokesman-Review

Pro Bill: “You have tax burden or taxation without representation, and that’s a concern,” (state Sen. Mike) Jorgenson told members of the House Revenue and Taxation Committee Wednesday.

Con Bill: “I just think it’s misguided legislation,” said Tony Berns, executive director of Lake City Development Corp., Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency. “The system is working very well. It’s a very strong economic development tool for Idaho.”

Question: How would you rate the work the Lake City Development Corp. has accomplished with urban renewal under the current rules & regs?

Hump Day Wild Card — 1/24/07

Coming Tomorrow in the SR: Two North Idaho reps are launching an attack on how urban renewal districts operate in Idaho, contending in part that they do taxation without representation. Sen. Mike Jorgenson and Rep. Jim Clark (in absentia) introduced two bills this morning to change the districts’ structure and sharply limit them. This is related to a brouhaha over the Lake City Development Corp., which has just hired a lobbyist in Boise. Also in the SR Thursday: Anti-gay protesters from Kansas show up for the skating championship. Now, for your evening Wild Card …

Parting Shot: 1st Sign of ‘07 That Spring’s on the Way

Seattle Mariners pitcher Felix Hernandez talks to reporters earlier today in Seattle. Mariners officials praised Hernandez’ work in the MLB baseball off-season, saying he will arrive at Spring Training in better shape than he was last year. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Cis Has An Idea for A New Reality Series

I have got it … an great idea of a show on television. It would combine the best of two boring shows. Or exciting depending on how you look at them. It would be showed for 6 months, every 4 years. It would be a combo of the Presidential debates between all of the people who throw their hats in to the ring to be president. And the American Idol show. All the parties would put their people who throw in their name to be President. Then we would have them do try outs. We would have judges like Molly Ivins and Rush Limbaugh and a guest judge. They would run them thru each week. Then we would vote on them by text message and online. Until they get down to just 2 on each party. And those are the ones we vote for. None of this boring stuff … Oh, sure … go ahead and criticize my idea…you got a better idea? — Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind.

DFO: Sounds good by me.

Inside Huckleberries — 1/24/07

*The city of Post Falls has a super-cool Web site showing the work that’s taking place at the future site of Cabela’s here.

*Christie Wood, PRmistress of CPD Blue, sez the individual who discovered Kenny Young’s body floating off Tubbs Hill is embarrassed that the Coeur d’Alene Press said he was threatened by a police officer with arrest. The Press reported that Richard Ulrick, 19 was threatened with arrest for battery for throwing snowballs at the body. In an interview with Police Chief Wendy Carpenter, Ulrick denied the threat took place, according to Wood. Stay tuned.

*From Bonner County cop log (via Cameraman): “Back on Oct. 4, Sandpoint Police responded to a report of a black bear in a residence. According to the report, ‘damage was done to the blinds over several windows when the bear tried to exit through closed doors. Bear left scat and piddled on the floor.’ The incident occurred in Apt. 204 of (drum roll, puhleez) … the Black Bear Condominiums.

*Speaking of bears, Tom Remington/Black Bear Blog has been chiming in re: the elk farming debate in Idaho. And he got some feedback from Idaho Sen. David Langhorst, who wanted to set the record straight, here.

*In a news release, U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s office introduces a new student intern, 2000 Lake City High grad Steve Stokes: “A senior at Brigham Young University –- Idaho, Stokes will soon graduate with a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science with a minor in Spanish. Stokes is an Eagle Scout and has previously worked as a chef, earning a silver medal as a member of the Chefs de Cuisine of the Inland Northwest culinary team.”

*OK, I know it’s only a high school newspaper, but the Viking Voice should settle on a spelling for Idaho State Sen. John Goedde’s surname. The VV choices for a feature story in the January issue: “Getty” (once) and “Goeddy” (twice). Hat Tip: Meghann Cuniff

*Newby Mary Lincoln comments: “That first black firefighter story has the commenters on the site fired up. Ridiculous headline in 2007. Click here.

*Bumpersnicker (sighted by Cameraman in Boise): “Oklahoma is a musical, Boise State is a champion.”

Coming … Local Fire District Ticked @ GOP …

… wants ‘em to pay up for the overtime incurred during Veep Dick Cheney’s political visit last fall. No kidding. Get your photoshops ready, Thom George …

The Latest Iraq Plan

This novel idea
is rather intriguing:
to get out of a hole
you keep right on digging.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

As The Lake Churns: Tan, Anyone?

Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns snapped this photo this morning in Priest River.

John Blanchette’s definitions for skating terms

*Axels – Pawn shop where Spokane skating fans took their stereos, silverware and first-born sons for the cash to afford a season ticket to the championships.

*Double Axel – Return trip to hock the plasma screen for a second season ticket when your wife refuses to go to the Arena without you.

*Salchow – What a farmer has to do to afford tickets.

*Lutz – How much tickets cost, if you haven’t already figured that out.

*Camel – Tonya Harding’s brand.

*Compulsory dance – What seventh-grade boys hate about P.E.

And so much more in John’s column today here.

Re: That Femme Who Glommed Onto Dubya …

Full story here (click on play for video)

Photoshop: Thom George

Early Wednesday morning, 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS showed video of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s exchange with President Bush Tuesday night. The video shows Bachmann grabbing onto and holding the president for almost 30 seconds. Within hours, that video was blasted all over the Internet and viewed almost 250,000 times by the lunch hour. It was linked on national news Web sites and blogs across the country a New York Times blogger even wrote about the story — 5 Eyewitness News/St. Paul-Minneapolis.

Question (from 5 Eyewitness News): So what do you think? Was the newly-elected sixth-district congresswoman out of line? Is this no big deal?

Hat Tip: Meghann Cuniff

If You Have An Extra $5.6M Lying Around …

At $1,000 per square foot, The Terraces in Coeur d’Alene will be among the Inland Northwest’s most expensive condos. The units, advertised for $5.6 million, include retractable glass walls in the living room and master bedrooms. Each condo also comes with a covered boat slip and two memberships to the Coeur d’Alene Resort Golf Course, according to advertisements. The 3-bedroom, 3 1/2-bath units are more than 5,200 square feet. Officials at the Hagadone Corp., which is developing The Terraces, declined to comment on the project, saying a tour is planned in late spring when the condos are closer to completion.

Hot Potatoes — 1/24/07

*Duncan confessed, feds say: Three other killings were in 1996, 1997/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review — Can’t we cut out the middlemen — the courts, prosecutor and public defender — and hand him over to the Iraqis. I hear they did a good, quick job with Saddam Hussein.

*Chateau planners begin anew: Developer to resubmit golf retreat proposal to county/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review — Does anyone really think that these guys won’t get their way in the end. Too much money at stake for the county to turn them down forever.

*Coeur d’Alene Fire Department hires its first black firefighter: Hoston a leader among rookie class/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press — Welcome.

*Idaho police seek full pay for officers hurt on job/Alicia P.Q. Wittmeyer, Associated Press — Go for it. And a monster hat tip to CPD Blue for and the city of Coeur d’Alene for stepping in to make up the difference when Mike Kralicek was severely wounded in the line of duty.

*Drowned man worked at resort/Spokesman-Review: CPD Blue needs help tracking down Kenny Young’s next of kin. Does anyone out there know something?

*Bonner County eyeing Federal building to meet courthouse space needs/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Daily Bee: Key sentence here? Commission Chairman Louie Rich “is also not entirely sure if the Federal Building’s purchase would be the silver bullet solution to the county’s space needs.” Don’t you think someone should find out before they begin moving desks and file cabinets?

Question: Should Dogs Be Allowed in Bars?

Issue: So, this dog walks into a bar … Bill would let masters take pooches in pubs/Rachel La Corte, Associated Press

Washington Sen. Ken Jacobsen, D-Seattle (who doesn’t own a dog): “I was sitting at the Fish Bowl looking at all the dogs outside sitting in the cold and the rain, while all the owners were warm inside. There’s all sorts of places you can bring animals now. You can take dogs into hotels. My God, some people are carrying dogs in their purses. Why can’t we have them in the bars?”

DFO: I own a dog, but I don’t go in bars much, if at all. However, I don’t think dogs should be allowed in most public places, including events like Fourth of July parades. Too much room for problems with other dogs and people.

Question: Should dogs be allowed in bars?

WorldNetDaily Poll: State of the Union, Dubya Style

Issue: The president’s address: Entire text of Bush speech to America/WorldNetDaily; and: The Democrats’ response: Delivered by newly elected Sen. Jim Webb/WSLS-TV, Roanoke, Virginia

Question: What do you think of Bush’s address to America?

1. Fantastic, Bush said precisely what the country needed to hear
2. Very strong, it should help his approval rating
3. I liked Bush’s emphasis on energy and health-care issues
4. It was OK, but the president has had better days
5. The words sounded nice, but let’s face it, they’re empty words and nothing positive will get done as usual
6. Was that George Bush? I could have sworn it was Al Gore or one of the Clintons
7. It exemplified the reason why Bush approval ratings are at Nixon levels
8. The wife of the jailed Border Patrol agent is right, Bush is a liar and he’s selling us out to Mexico
9. I am totally disgusted, I can’t believe I once believed in and voted for that clown
10. Other

DFO: No. 5

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Parting Shot — 1/23/07

Ben Agosto, second left, and skating partner Tanith Belbin, second right, wave from the Kiss and Cry area as they sit with coaches Marina Zoueva, left, and Igor Shpilbrand following their performance in the compulsory dance event, Tuesday at the US figure skating championships in Spokane. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

HBO’s Best of the Friends Blogs — 1/23/07

Idaho Escapee provides the confessions of an Egg McMuffin Maniac and the above photoshop of an HBO APhoto of the Day here.

*”Mr. Gore presented a witty and very informative mulit-hour information and education monologue. And quite frankly, it was great. His passion and growing stature as a statesman was unusual to watch. His handling of his side of the debate was, as expected, very refined. He knew what he was doing. What I found especially interesting was his handle on his opposition’s comments. He knew his enemy.” Believe it or not, that was written by religious conservative Dennis Mansfield here. (Hat Tap: Red State Rebel)

*Sam The Reporter is growing up into — Betsy Russell. In his latest post, he tells HBOers that he’s become a regular TV interviewer here.

*JBelle/The ‘Kan EWA has been spending a lot of time at the office, which has her chows unhappy; then, she doesn’t mind because she has the best view in Spokane here.

*Leaning Straight Up’s birthday falls on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade, which is particularly thrilling for a pro-lifer. In a long post, he explains why it’s difficult for him to talk about abortion here.

*Transplanted Texan/Wayward Episcopalian provides before and after photos of New Orleans here and here, after working on recovery efforts in Louisiana. And laments that New Orleans won’t be playing in the Super Bowl here.

Meanwhile, Fort Boise didn’t like Larry Craig’s jab at Al Gore here, Bubblehead gets a little too tight with the hair clippers here, Bob does one of those great riffs of his here, F-Words wishes us all a “Happy Pie Day” here, and Chronic Discontent review Harrison Salisbury’s Tiananmen Square diary here.

APhoto of the Day — 1/23/07

Miss Pennsylvania, Emily Wills, left, rides in a gondola along with Miss New Mexico, Christina Hall, second from right, and Miss West Virginia, Tiffany Lawrence, right, at the Venetian hotel-casino in Las Vegas Monday. Miss America Pageant will be held at the Aladdin hotel-casino in Las Vegas next Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Top Cutlines

1. (tie) Blonde: “This boat guy is not very nice. All I asked was if we could go to the Sixteen Chapels, ‘cause I wanted to see, like, that Mikey-guy’s ceiling, you know. He just laughed. Then, he laughed again when I said I was hungry and wanted to go to that, like, leaning tower thingy, you know, of pizza. So, just now, I asked him if we could at least go see that holy guy with the, you know, like the long dress and the beanie? I thought he was gonna fall out of the boat on that one…” — John Austin.


Miss America Contestant Vital Stats
Collective IQ: 178
# of Untreated Yeast Infections: 3
# of unreleased porno tapes starring Miss New Mexico and the visiting University of Idaho Vandals Football Practice Squad: 6
Average Breast Size (unenhanced) 36 C
Miss West Virginia’s genetic separation from her first cousin: 99.999% shared chromosomes
2008 Drug/Alcohol Rehab bill: Priceless

3. It’s the poor woman’s JBelle Vacation: Visits to The Venetian, Caesar’s Palace, Bellagio, and Paris Las Vegas. A fraction of the price, and no passport needed! — Family Phil.

HM: Side Note

Originally posted: 10:36:54 a.m.

UI, Prosecutor Struggle w/Dropped Rape Charges

Item: Rape charges against former University of Idaho student David Barkdull were dropped Friday after Latah County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Michelle Evans filed a motion for dismissal, stating that there was not sufficient evidence to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that Barkdull was guilty. Barkdull, 23, was charged with the alleged rape of an 18-year-old female UI student at the Kappa Sigma fraternity house in the early morning of Sept. 9. He entered a plea of not guilty at an arraignment in October, and his trial was set to begin Monday. Barkdull is a Kappa Sigma alumnus and a former Argonaut employee.

More Info: “In Idaho, lack of consent is not sufficient enough to prove a charge of rape,” Latah County Prosecutor Bill Thompson added. “Idaho law is a hindrance in prosecuting rape cases, especially those that occur in a university social environment.”

Related: Drawing the line: An examination of Idaho’s rape law/Caitlin Rice, UI Argonaut; and: Code isn’t sufficient for trying rape cases/UI Argonaut editorial

CPD Blue: No Foul Play in Young’s Death

“The body located in CDA Lake on 01/22/07 has now been identified as Kenneth Young a 78 year old male. The preliminary findings by the Spokane County Medical Examiners Office were that Young died by drowning. There is no evidence of foul play. The next of kin has not been located to notify. Anyone with any information regarding Young’s next of kin, please notify the Coeur d’Alene Police Department.”

Sergeant Jason Ayers
Investigation Division
Coeur d’Alene Police Department

Thoreson: Winter Falls on Avista Dam

Photo: Kerri Thoreson/

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/23/07

Diane Lynn Gonzales, second from right, speaks at a news conference in Indio, Calif., regarding the Riverside County District Attorney’s office announcement that murder charges will be filed against Joseph Edward Duncan III in the 1997 kidnapping and slaying of her 10-year-old son Anthony Martinez, of Beaumont. Duncan has confessed to three children in California and Washington. See Item No. 1/AP Photo.

Dennis Mansfield: Right to Life of Idaho is dead; long live the Idaho pro-life movement here. (Hat Tip: Randy Stapilus)

1. Joseph Duncan has confessed to killing three children in Washington and California in 1996 and ‘97, according to federal court documents filed this morning. The documents also reveal that Shasta Groene of Coeur d’Alene saw Duncan abuse and murder her 9-year-old brother, Dylan, in 2005. Federal prosecutors today filed the notice of intent to seek the death penalty for Dylan’s murder here.

2. Two Spokane County sheriff’s deputies will face animal cruelty charges in connection with the Taser death of a black Angus calf last spring here.

3. In the language of Watergate, plumbers try to find leakers – and that’s what happened in Spokane last week as top City Hall officials wrangled over who leaked a $260,000 efficiency report to the newspaper here.

4. The Rev. Jesse Jackson’s remarks to a Boise State University audience Friday that black football players weren’t welcome in the 1950s and 1960s prompted a flurry of questioning by local historians here.

5. Former Boise Mayor Brent Coles’ felony record was wiped clean Monday, three years after he pleaded guilty in a City Hall travel and spending scandal that led to his resignation and the collapse of his administration here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Columnists will stay the course), David Horsey/Seattle PI (State of the Union), Jimmy Blue/WSU Evergreen (U.S. attraction to “Idol” Shameful), Idaho Argonaut (Idaho should change “rape” definition), and Seattle Times (Plugging Internet sales-tax loophole).

Online Poll: 57% of 690 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say they don’t have passports, which now are necessary for air travelers to enter Mexico and Canada, among other countries.

*Woman reports rape after WSU frat party here.

*Washington, Idaho, Montana among states in $8M settlement with Bayer Corp. here.

*Ex-VP Al Gore charms, daunts crowd of 10,000 in Boise here. Red State Rebels: Gore coverage roundup here.

Orbusmax Special: Shooting of 5 patrons at Kent Denny’s may be case of mistaken identity here.

Where A Community College Education Can Lead …

Asked about community colleges, University of Idaho President Tim White said he started his own higher education at one, which at that time was called a junior college. “I am a personal testimony to the power of that level of education,” he said — Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise.

DFO: And I’m another. Without Butte Junior College in the late 1960s, I wouldn’t have gotten a college education. At the last minute in fall 1968, I signed up for the community college, which began the year before in an old high school near Chico, Calif., figuring I’d get as many credits as I could while waiting to be drafted. I hadn’t gone to school after graduating the year before, so I thought there was no way to avoid the draft and Vietnam. I’d even taking the test for the Air Force. However, I earned straight A’s my first semester and received student 2S status after the dean of students wrote a letter to my draft board. Dunno what would have happened to me, if it hadn’t been for community college. But I doubt that I would be a journalist.

Question: Has a community college made a difference in your life?

Also from Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise: Lawmakers praise NIC prez Burke, 3 weeks and no press conference for Butch, From Idaho to Louisiana and back, 7 miles away, 20 percent more pay, Pointing out a few key alumni, and UI attracting first generation students.

Statesman Poll: Do You Have A Passport?

New government regulations take effect today requiring all incoming air travelers – including U.S. citizens – to have a passport. Do you have a passport? — Idaho Statesman online poll.

*Not Sure

Citizen Threatened with Battery of Drowning Victim

Issue: Body recovered from Lake Cd’A: Man, in his 60s, found floating near Third Street docks/Marc Stewart, Coeur d’Alene Press

In the “No Good Deed Goes Unpunished” Dept., the Good Citizen who reported the floating body off Tubbs Hill almost got cited by an alpha CPD Blue for battery. Check out the end to Marc Stewart’s story in the CDA Press: “When police arrived, (Richard) Ulrick and his friends told their story to a patrolman. The unidentified officer allegedly threatened to charge Ulrick with battery for intentionally throwing snowballs at the man, Ulrick said. ‘I wasn’t doing that,’ Ulrick said. ‘He made an assumption that we were up to no good. It really pisses me off that he thought we were trying to hit a dead man with a snowball.’”

DFO: Welcome to Coeur d’Alene, Richard.

DOTC: Votes Aren’t As Lazy As Some Think

Digger: I’m opposed to the Vote By Mail system - mainly because if you are too lazy to either go vote or call go through the absentee process, then I don’t want you voting - espically if you are uninformed. Everyone has the right to vote, I just don’t think that the gummit should be catering to lazy people.

Dan of the County: Well Digger, I have to strongly disagree with your conclusion that those who don’t vote, either though they have a chance under the current system, are likely to be lazy and/or uniformed. The public comments (and I’ve had more than just about any other issue I can think of in my 20+ years on school board, city council, and county clerk) I’m hearing are from many informed and well intentioned people are that they want to vote, they intend to vote, but life ends up getting in the way on election day and they end up realizing they didn’t vote. These may be single moms, elderly, and politically active people. I think you can see evidence of this situation happening in many elections, but especially in low turnout primaries where there have been “upsets.” Often the losing candidate will say I don’t see how I could lose when I had so many people tell me they voted for me. But upon checking the actual voting records for those individuals what they often find is that Harry or Sally or whoever actually didn’t vote, but were just too embarrassed to admit it when asked. “Lazy.” “Uninformed.” “Uninterested.” Sorry, but after many years in public service on both sides of the voting booth, I give the voters more credit than that.

AM Hucks: Fan Put Off When Boo Just Won’t Do

The testosterone-driven inmates of Christianson Gym at North Idaho College are driving off at least one longtime fan. Huckleberries Online commenter Disgusted Fan has had it with the boorish comments and behavior afflicting the home of the basketball Cardinals. Seems Disgusted Fan sits in the C section of the gym’s upper level above the student section. Disgusted Fan said Monday on the blog that the crudeness of students has escalated in recent years, particularly during the current season. Take it away, Disgusted Fan: “Aside from the standard booing and jeering that is somewhat normal with college kids, the comments towards the referees and the opponents have crossed the line of decency.” Included among the rude remarks tossed off at opposing players, Disgusted Fan said, was this gem: “Hey, No. 3, I gave your mother herpes.” Continued Disgusted Fan: “The students seem bent on the standard one-upmanship, trying to outdo each other with more obscene or vulgar comments.” Meanwhile, Disgusted Fan said, college reps have ignored the rocket scientists letting fly from the root-toot-tooting section. “I watched the lame duck (NIC Prez Michael) Burke, who for a while was sitting in the first row at center court, work the room by glad-handing and schmoozing what I presume were friends of his. I also watched the AD (Athletic Director Al Williams) do the same thing for the most part – all the while, ignoring rude and crude comments from the student section.” Now I recall why I haven’t attended an NIC basketball game in a while

Wild Card/Monday — 1/22/07

As I parked my car in the office lot today, the guy on the radio said that an expert sez that January 22 is the most depressing day of the year. Seems the weather, unpaid Christmas bills, failure to keep New Year’s resolutions and other psychological effects (Monday?) conspire to provide an extra dose of cabin fever today. Indeed, it looks bleak outside. But is it any worse than any other day of the winter? You can discuss this question or start your own thread with today’s Wild Card …

Breaking! Some ID of Body

This just in from Taryn. The drowning victim is a black male in his 60s from Coeur d’Alene.

Huckleberries Best of the Local Blogs — 1/22/07

Orange TV/Making Flippy Floppy labeled this photo: “A Picture of Q Taking A Picture of Me Taking a Picture of Q.” Good stuff. Patrick also provided a follow-up on that fund-raiser at Mic-and-Macs for seriously injured Kim Hagen here.

*Family Phil/A Family Runs Through It takes us behind the scenes at the pinewood derby and provides a photo of his son’s superb entry, the Black Pearl, here.

*Dr. Jim/CastMD ventures beyond medical lines to challenge what he sees as AG Alberto Gonzales’ “illogical and confounding premise” re: habeas corpus here.

*MamaJD’s kids were invited to the Mother of All Birthday Parties recently — complete with “Star Wars” costumes and a light saber that the kids could take home — and now she’s feeling guilty b/c she wants to join a new parent group, Birthdays Without Pressure, here.

*Yes, Virginia, you can spend a whole day — 24 hours — at a Wal*Mart supercenter, but you should have your list of activities mapped out and a good excuse when security checks you our, according to Katrina/Notes on a Napkin, here.

Meanwhile, Pecky’s As The Lake Churns blog has a nice new look here, The Otis celebrates birthday 33 at BrodH20 here, Dogwalk Musings tackles acupuncture for an ailing back here, Cis sees little difference between the Mafia and Payday Loan stores here, the wall behind Slight Detour’s computer is cluttering up again here, Wambooli Lunch introduces us to Line Rider here.

APhoto of the Day — 1/22/07

Benito, a 5-year-old Chihuahua, drinks beer from a bottle in the southern town of Hulst, Netherlands Sunday. Terrie Berenden, a pet shop owner in the town of Zelhem created a non-alcoholic beer for her Weimaraner dog made from beef extract and malt, and consigned a local brewery to make and bottle the beer, called Kwispelbier, after the word ‘kwispel’, which is Dutch for wagging a tail. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Albert Seghers)

Top Cutlines

1. Benito, the animal actress in the new Mel Gibson movie ” The Passion of Dutchmen and their Pets”; parties with Mel just prior to her outburst accusing cats of starting all the world’s wars. She later admitted herself to re-hab — Paul L. Ferguson.

2. Lucky, the logger’s blue ribbon pooch is a trained malt licker, and is bigger than Glenn Miller in the small burg called Heidel. Arthritic sister Hiney can sometimes be near beer but she has a limp, pee a little or not. Brother Henry predicts the weather. Henry whines hard when rain is near — Side Note.

3. In her new memoir, “Miss Lacy” the Tijuana Chihuahua recalls being fed booze before her naughty nightly performances. “I drank to forget,” says the former starlet in her tell-all book — Brent Andrews.

HM: Whippersnapper

Originally posted 9:45:53

Mispronouncing Hard Names — Part 2

I’ve been thinking about that AP story that focuses on the difficult pronunciation of Idaho House Minority Leader Wendy Jaquet’s last name. (BTW, it’s JAY-quit). Which prominent people in your neck of the woods have the hardest names to pronounce?

Question: Can Pronounce Wendy Jaquet’s Surname?

Issue: In homogenous Idaho Legislature, names still get butchered: House Miniority Leader Jaquet tired of having surname mispronounced/John Miller, Associated Press

Neil Colwell, Avista Corp. lobbyist: If you can’t pronounce somebody’s name, how far do you think you are going to get in a conversation to persuade them? It’s a common courtesy.”

Question: What do you do if you don’t know how to pronounce a person’s name?

Total’s Lucky HBO Number: 549

… Or the total number of corrections published by the SR in 2006, or 30 more corrections were published in 2006 than 2005, or Managing Editor Gary Graham ain’t happy here

If it’s January, it must be time to report back to our readers about our record on accuracy for the year just completed. The short explanation is that we published 549 corrections and clarifications in 2006, 30 more than we published in 2005. Despite our renewed efforts to be more accurate and thorough, the numbers increased slightly last year. We’re not happy about that, but let me offer some context. The Spokesman-Review in recent years has been much more committed to correcting errors, a trend that is consistent with the rest of the newspaper industry. Setting the record straight is an important part of what we do and we’ve learned over time that we actually can improve our credibility with readers by being honest about our mistakes. As one reader put it last summer in a conversation with newsroom staffers, there’s a reward for getting the story first, but there is a greater reward for getting it right — Managing Editor Gary Graham, Spokesman-Review.

Question: Does it hurt or help a newspaper’s credibility by publishing corrections wholesale like we do?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/22/07

Senior Ice Dancers Morgan Matthews and Maxim Zavozin work on their program Sunday for the US Figure Skating Championships at the Spokane Arena here/Dan Pelle, Spokesman-Review.

Eye On Boise: Boise State prez predicts Boise will grow to 1 million residents by 2030 here.

1. Beginning Tuesday, all U.S. citizens need a passport if they travel outside the country by air. That includes travel to Canada, Mexico, the Bahamas, Bermuda and the Caribbean. And that prospect had people lining up at the Missoula, Mont., post office all last week here.

2. Les Skramstad, a Libby, Mont. activist who became a public face for victims of absestos-related disease tied to the closed W.R. Grace and Co. vermiculite mine, died Sunday morning at age 70 here.

3. Capturing Montana visually has always been easy: Its powwows, mountains, wildlife and Wild West heritage are there to see. Capturing its song takes some more dedicated digging. Composer Barney Jones hopes to distill all those images into a piece that will represent Montana on one of the biggest stages in the world, the Beijing Olympics here.

4. *Ex-VP Al Gore will speak to a sold-out crowd at the Taco Bell Arena in Boise tonight here. Meanwhile, his documentary, “An Inconvenient Truth,” is fueling controversy in Federal Way, Wash., schools here.

5. Boise State star running back Ian Johnson, who scored the winning two-point conversion in the Fiesta Bowl victory over Oklahoma, and his fiance are featured in the ESPN mag here.

6. IMHO-NW: Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune (McMorris helps Idaho, not Washington), Jim Kershner/Spokesman-Review (NW popular for hobos), Leaning Straight Up (Hillary’s announcement for prez, with funny SNL video clip), WSU Daily Evergreen (Welcome to WSU, Mr. Floyd), and Jill Kuraitis/New West Boise (Global Warming: Tawk Amongst Y’Selves).

Online Poll: 43% of 794 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll believe Indianapolis will beat Chicago in the Super Bowl.

*Missoula’s skatepark hasn’t been open long, but already it’s clear that the helmet law just isn’t working there here.

*Boise strip club owner sez sex-for-sale charges are retaliation for making officials, cops look bad here.

*Letters on Idaho Gov. Frank Steuenberg’s assassination made public here.

Orbusmax Special: Oregon U.S. Rep. Peter DeFazio drops an F-bomb during Lars Larson radio show interview here (audio).

John Rook: Shock Jock Era Is Over?

Full post here (third item)

It may take a total format and name change for Entercom’s 107.9 - “The End” to recover from a shock jock contest gone wrong. Licensed to Sacramento as KDND, the station’s morning show invited listeners to “Hold your wee for a Wii” drinking contest that challenged contestants to drink as much water as possible to see who could hold it for the longest period of time. The winner would receive a Nintendo Wii gaming console worth about $250, which is just a fraction of what it will cost Entercom to answer the anticipated legal action from not only the young mother who died attempting to win the contest, but also from a reported dozen other contestants who suffered adverse reaction from competing. Once the news hit the national media, Entercom terminated not only the lead three members of the “Morning Rave,” but seven others who worked on the daily program. Again, the entire industry suffers still another black eye for this. Management surely must realize the “shock jock” era has ended — John Rook/

Question: Who’s to blame for the tragedy in Sacramento in which a young woman died drinking water in order to win a Nintendo — the station, the shock jocks, the dead woman?

Quotable Quote — 1/22/07

“For those of you who don’t have a blog yet, think of one as a large yellow Labrador: friendly, fun, not all that bright, but constantly demanding your attention.”

David Carr/New York Times

Hat Tip/Family Phil

Eye On Boise: Idaho’s Leading Export — Students

Full post here

Laird Stone, head of the Idaho State Board of Education, told legislative budget writers just now, “We have too few students going on to higher education, and too many of them are leaving the state. In fact, Idaho’s best export at this time is its students.” The state ranks 46th of 50 states in the percentage of graduating high school seniors who go on to some form of higher education, Stone said. And “too many of our best and brightest” who do go to college do so out of state — Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise.

DFO: Stone’s right. My children barely glanced at Idaho schools when they were looking for a four-year college. Amy had a passing interest in Boise State. But BSU couldn’t offer the type of scholarships and other incentives that made it less expensive to go to a private school in Portland did. As a result, the kids are attending college in Denver (medical school) and Portland, respectively. And I doubt they will move back to this area when they’re done. They are an example of Idaho’s exports of quality students. There are many, many others.

Question: How can Idaho staunch the export of its college students to other states?

AM Hucks: Butch Has to Work Up Sweat Somewhere

This & That: On her Red State Rebel blog, Julie Fanselow tells of a close encounter with Gov. Butch Otter at Boise’s Downtown Y. She was at the snack bar when Butch walked by. Julie thought it was “cool” that our libertarian governor works out at the Y, which has been dubbed by an Idaho Statesman writer as the “the most democratic – small d – unpretentious gym in town.” Writes Julie: “I’m surprised the Idaho Capitol doesn’t have a little executive gym tucked away somewhere, but, hey, Otter fancies himself a man of the people – and in this way, at least, he is” … Under “Classroom Enhancement Package” in Idaho Schools Super Tom Luna’s budget presentation: “Remediation – $6 million (Seperate from Technology).” P’haps Luna should add spell-check to his technology package … Ex-Kootenai County Planning Director Rand Wichman, who left in June to start his own private planning consultant business, applied in November to be on the county’s P&Z commission. But his former bosses, the county commissioners, said no way. Seems they thought it was too soon after his reign as planning director … A Bonner County resident fielded a call Thursday from a man “who sounded Asian or Middle Eastern” asking for his account numbers. For $1.99, the caller said, he would send him $1,000. No dummy he, the sheriff’s log reported, the local told his caller in redneckese “to scram” … Poet’s Corner: “As the mercury plunged/and the snow filled the air/I saw a brass monkey/put on long underwear” – The Bard of Sherman Avenue (“How Cold Was It?”).

Wild Card/Sunday — 1/21/07

I have two birthdays to help celebrate today: my brother’s in the afternoon and my brother-in-law’s in the evening. Baby Brother Ray turns 48 today. My brother-in-law Tom turns 56 tomorrow. All of which means I’ll watch the Bears-Saints game with my brother and play Aggravation with my in-laws. Should be a full fun day. We’ve already celebrated the birthdays of my True Love, Amy Dearest, my twin brothers-in-law and a niece this week. Quite a cluster of birthdays there. The Birthday Week celebration is a nice hedge against the snow. I hope you’re enduring the rough part of winter, too. You can tell us about your close encounter with winter or anything else you want with this Wild Card …

Wild Card/Saturday — 1/20/07

I’m on the hook to write another full-length column for next weekend’s editorial pages. Preliminary thoughts include: the Time Warner/KAYU standoff, reflections on all the race baiters who’ve come and gone during my 23 years here (the latest of which is Stan Hess), or mebbe about the people you encounter in blog world. Who knows? I’ll settle on something fairly soon. Meanwhile, you’re free to use this Wild Card to start your own threads today …

TGIF Wild Card — 1/19/07

The Editorial Board will be producing its own blog in the near future. That’s one of the top goals emerging from the Editorial Board retreat at Rebecca Nappi’s home yesterday. The biggest sticking point was anonymity. Opinion Editor Doug Floyd wondered how we can require letter writers to sign their names and not individuals who will comment on Editorial Board blog posts. (I know that’s a theme near and dear to some of your hearts.) I simply said that online is a far different world than the dead-tree media. If you try to impose the same requirements, the blog will be dead before it gets off the ground. The argument carried the day. Stay tuned. And enjoy today’s Wild Card …

Question: Who Was Your Best Coach Ever?

Item: Legendary CHS basketball coach Elmer Jordan was buried today

Ex-CHS basketballer Don Haynes: “He saved me as a kid. I wasn’t a very stable young kid. He was always doing something for kids. He never told anybody what he did for kids. Over the years I’ve talked to a number of people who would say ‘you know what he did for me? He did a lot for me.’ ”

DFO: I had a series of bad coaches in baseball, in high school and community college. Some were simply incompetent, coaching a secondary sport they didn’t understand. My best coach, I guess, was my Little League coach, Leonard Reynolds — mebbe the only one who took time to show me the game and liked me as a person.

Question: Who was your best coach?

Inside Huckleberries — 1/19/07

*PR Person Wanted: The NIC College Relations Office is looking for a part-time, temporary writer/photographer to fill in for our staff person who will soon be going on maternity leave. This professional-level position is responsible for writing press releases, writing employee newsletter content, uploading press releases to the website, taking various photographs, and managing the messages on the college’s electronic readerboard. We’re hoping to get someone on board for 15-20 hours per week by approximately mid-February for an assignment that will last approximately 3 months. Pay will depend on experience.

*Former Kootenai County Planning Director Rand Wichman, who left in June to start his own private planning consultant business, applied in November to be on the county’s Planning and Zoning Commission. But his former bosses, the county commissioners, said no way. Seems they thought it was too soon after his reign as planning director.

*If you check under the “local photography” blogroll to the right, you’ll find a newby: Annie Love/All You Need Is Love. Who is, of course, one of the prize offspring of Marianne Love/Slight Detour. Great photos. Check it out.

*From Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna’s power point budget presentation, under “Classroom Enhancement Package”: “Remediation — $6 million (Seperate from Technology)”. P’haps Tom should add spellcheck to his technology package.

*A Bonner County resident reported to the sheriff’s office yesterday that he fielded a call from a man “who sounded Asian or Middle Eastern requesting his account numbers to (send him) $1000.” The caller said it would cost the man only $1.99. In typical North Idaho fashion, the Bonner County sheriff’s log reported: “He told him them to scram.”

*James Bond Tip: “Boise State University is set to announce a major financial donation that will, I understand, amount to approximately 12 million dollars and be for the contstruction of a new College of Business and Economics building on the corner of University Drive and Capitol Blvd, becomming a new gateway entrance to the state’s largest university. The announcement will occur at 10:30 a.m., Pacific Time, Friday morning.”

Top Cutlines/Thursday — 1/19/07

A young Highland cow covered in snow at Carronbridge, Scotland, earlier today after heavy snow fell overnight. Ferocious storms continue to to hit Britain, Thursday with heavy rain, snow and high winds causing rail companies to operate reduced services. You write the cutline/AP Photo.

Top Cutlines

1. Another Baughman email attachment accidentally released to the Spokesman entitled: “Heffers Slipping Tongue” — MamaJD.

2. “Can some nody unsnick dis ting from me nodes, pleads? It’s a wee code out here” — John Austin.

3. After ridding herself of the last nose hair with a good licking, Harriet the Heiffer thought that tomorrow maybe she would make a start on those stray ear hairs — Marmitetoasty.

HM: JBelle

Sorry, I didn’t get back to Coeur d’Alene in time yesterday to judge the Thursday cutline contest. Above, you’ll find the winners. And you can find the rest of the cutline entries here.

OfCoffee: Remembering Coach Elmer Jordan

I went to Elmer Jordan’s funeral today. It was an upbeat service appropriate for a man who added life and wisdom to countless CdA’ians since the 1940’s. Speakers included Mayor Sandi, Charlie Nipp, Denny Hague, and Don Monson; the latter three played ball for Elmer. Elmer was truly an extraordinarily respected man.

A couple of things struck me. First, I hope that when I pass away, people will remember me a fraction as fondly as they did Elmer. And that hope made me realize, once again, that I have a lot of work to do to stop thinking so much of myself and more about my community.

Second, the many tales of Elmer’s unique ability to instill sportsmanship, integrity, and discipline and WIN at the same time seems to be a lost art today. Today the “winning” seems to overcome the sportsmenship. I recently sat next to a basketball coach from one of the CdA highschools while our 3rd-graders were playing AAU basketball. At halftime, he called his son over to tell him to only foul the other kids in front of “the ref with the glasses. He doesn’t call it as much.” The the coach’s dad commented to me about how the opposition player who had to leave due to an injury must have “received a little payback.” I told him that our coach didn’t teach “payback.” He was pretty smirky about that.

I know there are some coaches (Shawn Amos at CdA High comes to mind) that still believe in developing young men to be good citizens as well as teaching them to win, but it seems that like is becoming the exception. The age of Dennis Erikson seems to be the norm. I hope I am wrong about that, but I believe we need more Elmer Jordans.


Update: Vandal Caught on Video ID’d

We now have the name of the clueless vandal who was caught doing his thing on Confidential Investigations video: Darren Thiesen, 23, who is shown above in his Sunset Motors shirt. He was charged with two felonies: malicious injury to property and burglary. He’s being held without bail at the current time.

Orbusmax: Demos Target Political Bloggers

Full story here

A bill that Senate Democrats have touted as a means to curb corruption in Washington could instead target some political bloggers with new regulations and even criminal penalties. The legislation, which began as an attempt to rewrite federal lobbying laws in the aftermath of the Jack Abramoff scandal, has ballooned to more than 9,000 words and a thicket of complicated rules. It was the subject of a failed attempt by Senate Democrats on Wednesday to defeat a Republican filibuster over a line-item veto, and debate is continuing Thursday afternoon. Much of the bill’s wording is obtuse. But one section says that certain political bloggers who make or spend $25,000 per quarter and who encourage readers to contact their elected representatives would be forced to register as lobbyists—or face up to 10 years in prison.

DFO: OK, Bob, Thom, GreenL and the rest of HBO’s stable of Demo defenders, pleaz explain to the rest of us why this Demo attack on the First Amendment is acceptable.

Breaking! Investigator Fingers Vandal Caught on Video

Confidential Investigations received tons of phone calls after it released a video of the vandal caught in the act and his picture was published. One tip on Thursday advised them to go to a local car dealership, according to owner/investigator Erin Jenkins. Jenkins, wearing a hidden mic, went inside the dealership, identified the suspect and got his confession on tape. He then had the vandal make a copy of his driver’s license. The tape-recorded confession and copy of the young man’s ID were turned over to detectives. An arrest has yet to be made. Jenkins said the man had seen the newspaper article on the vandalism and his picture in the paper. “He panicked,” Jenkins said. “He saw that in the paper and he knew it wasn’t going to be long before he was answering for it” — Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review.

Related: Meanwhile, a man was caught on video at a Twin Falls quick stop stealing donations for the Magic Valley Boys and Girls Club here.

Hot Potatoes (HBO’s Take on Local News) 1/19/07

*Another snow storm on the way this evening, overnight/Spokesman-Review — OK, where’s that clown who was singing a month ago: “Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow”?’

*Idahoans advance on ‘American Idol’/Heather Lalley, Spokesman-Review — Will those of you who can get Fox 28 (no thanks to Time Warner and KAYU-TV) let the rest of us know how this turns out?

*Make Idaho ‘English only’ state, poll says: Residents also cite health insurance, growth as important/Betsy Russell, Spokesman-Review — Much ado about nothing.

*French criticizes Hession’s use of PR firm: Relationship ‘doesn’t pass the sniff test’/Mike Prager, Spokesman-Review — French’s right here. But he has a lot of room to talk. He was involved in that flap three years ago in which got-rocks homeowner Tom Hamilton unilaterally dredged the Spokane River to provide a bigger docking space for his boat.

*Housing 2006: Sales down, prices up: North Idaho real estate market continues to ‘adjust’/Bill Buley, Coeur d’Alene Press — The good news is that you’re house is worth more. The bad news? You can’t sell it.

Question: How Will Wal*Mart Affect Silver Valley?

Issue: Wal-Mart opens on new turf: Silver Valley stores hope customers are loyal/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review

More Info: When J.C. Penney closed its Kellogg store eight years ago, residents of Idaho’s Silver Valley were left without a department store. Buying basics such as socks, jeans and underwear required a 100-mile round trip into Coeur d’Alene or Post Falls. Starting today, the valley’s 13,000 residents will be able to spend their money closer to home. Wal-Mart is opening a 99,000-square-foot supercenter in Smelterville. The store will stock about 100,000 items, some of which previously required a trip over the Fourth of July Pass.

Question: What impact will Wal*Mart have in Silver Valley?

MamaJD: If You Have Little Kids, Beware of Target

MamaJD: My biggest peeve is with Target. AND I LOVE TARGET. Sometimes I think I hear angels sing when the automatic doors open. HOWEVER, the store has risk management nazis. My children are good children (the threat of a shock collar helps ensure this). They are not wild and crazy. They are still children though. They like to stand on the cart, hanging on to the front of the basket. They will not always sit in the huge two-seater with seat belts on (which means they will carefully get on and off the two-seater). This is when a Target employee will start to hover and put us on surveillance. Usually, Target Employee will approach and then speak directly to my three and four year old and reprimand them. YES — the Target employee will tell my child what to do with me standing there right in front of them. This sends me into orbit. This approach is utilized with every mom I know that shops at Target. I understand the policy to enforce safe shopping and limit liability risk. I do not disagree with the policy. I disagree with the delivery of the message. When a parent is there, you should speak directly with the parent, not the child.

DFO: This is one of several good posts from yesterday re: poor cuss-tomer service at local stores. OrangeTV had a great take on Hastings problems while others pinpointed things about Lowe’s, Home Depot, Taco Bell and even a upscale hair-cutting place in Spokane. You can read this terrific thread here.

Ex-Solon Crafts New Life w/Feats of Clay

Arizona Daily Star article here, Wally Wright’s Claywrights Web site here

In the “Where Are They Now” Dept., ex-Idaho legislator Wally Wright is hanging out in the Tucson, Ariz., area – making clay teapots. Sounds as though he’s making good ones, too. Wright, as old-timers recall, gained local fame as owner of the Scenic Bay Marina/Bayview during the 1980s-‘90s. When Kootenai County tried to impose a $10 boater fee on out-of-county residents, Wright successfully fought it on behalf of his customers from Spokane and other places. Later, the Democrat served two terms in the Idaho Legislature (1990-94). Djamila Grossman of the Arizona Daily Star caught up with the 68-year-old ex-Navy pilot at his Green Valley home. Seems his wife, Velva, signed Wally up for a basic class at a local clay studio two years ago. And he hasn’t looked back. Reports Grossman: “Late at night, when everyone is sound asleep, Wally Wright’s teapots might start moving. With twisted handles, sharp edges and soft details, some of those clay objects tower two feet toward the ceiling and look nothing like a teapot. People see knights, horses, houses and flowers when they look at them – and the list goes on.” Wally’s work has made waves in his area’s clay community. “Nobody has done this kind of work,” clay artist Dick Lagasca told the Daily Star. Wally has found such a niche that his work will be featured in a gallery show. Of the show, Wright said: “Wherever it leads us, it’s a nice ride and another adventure. It may even make me an artist someday.”

Wild Card/Thursday — 1/18/07

I’m gonna be outta here in 20 minutes or so, Spokane bound for the annual SR Editorial Board retreat. We’re circling the wagons at Rebecca Nappi’s home in northwest Spokane. Publisher Stacey Cowles, Editor Steve Smith and Opinion Editor Doug Floyd will hold court. ‘Tis usually a fun time. As you can see below, I’ve hurried this morning to provide you with some fodder to read and comment on. I’ll post a coupla more things. Then, I’m gone till tomorrow morning. Enjoy yourselves with this Wild Card …

JeanC: What Kinda Sicko Buries An Animal Alive?

For as long as I have been alive and seen things on the news, I still can’t believe there are people out there who do things like this. What kind of sicko buries animals alive like that to die a slow, terrifying death. What kind of person just throws out a perfectly wonderful pet to slowly starve to death or get killed by other animals. We live just outside of town and people are always throwing away their cats out near us. Look people, we have all the pets we can handle and kitty cats just left out near our place may not survive for too long as we have coyotes looking for an easy dinner, and kitties who were not raised wild don’t stand a very good chance if they don’t have a home to stay safe in. I hate people who think abandoning critters out near a farm and think they will get good homes. I dearly would love to haul their asses out and do the same to them and see how they like it. I would dearly love to find the slime who buried that poor puppy and bury them for several days and see how they like it. This is why I could never be an animal control officer, there would be two many people ending up in the hopsital emergency room or morgue after I got done with them. And don’t even get me started on people who abuse children.

JeanC/JeanC’s Cat House and Shooting Society.

Question: What’s the worst case of animal abuse that you’ve encountered?

Quotable Quote — 1/18/07

The Evening News is where they start out wishing you a “good evening” then tell you why it isn’t — Davis Donut readerboard at Fourth & Best.

NIC Odd Couple Hess, Williams Sign Up for Sentinel

Full story here

Failed North Idaho College Board of Trustees candidate Stan Hess is back on campus, this time as a staff member for the college’s student paper, the Sentinel. A self-proclaimed European American civil rights activist, Hess said he hopes to give Sentinel readers a different perspective on campus issues. “I joined the Sentinel just to be involved and, hopefully, be able to write stories that are of interest to European American students,” said Hess, the former leader of the California faction of ex-Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke’s European-American Unity and Rights Organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks white supremacists, considers Hess to be a white supremacist of national prominence. Hess will be joined by another Sentinel newcomer, NIC Athletic Director Al Williams. Williams, who’s African American, said he didn’t join because Hess did; rather, he wanted to learn about journalism and the decisions that drive news coverage — Meghann Cuniff, Spokesman-Review.

Question: You be the editor. What would be the first assignment that you would give European-American activist Stan Hess?

Columnist Art Buchwald, 81, R.I.P.

Pulitzer Price-winning columnist Art Buchwald is seen at a hospice in Washington in this May 24, 2006 file photo. Buchwald, whose wry political and social satire made him a pillar of the nation’s capital for more than four decades and earned him a Pulitzer Prize, has died, his son said today. Click here. (AP Photo)

Clark: With Hession, Secrecy Is Job 1

Full column here

In the bygone days of Spokane government, the public’s business was conducted behind closed doors by cigar-chomping politicians who didn’t trust the common folks a lick. But things are different now. Mayor Dennis Hession doesn’t smoke. Other than that, alas, City Hall remains as lock-lipped as ever. We may think we live in the Information Age. But as far as our buttoned-down mayor is concerned, the nitty-gritty matters of the city are none of our beeswax. Not until Mayor Hession says it’s time to spill. Whether the issue is the curious deportment and disappearances of the deputy mayor or the release of a $260,000 taxpayer-paid efficiency study of Spokane government, well … mum’s the word — Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review.

Question: Why do elected oafishals spend so much time trying to hide public business?

AM Hucks: Sandi, Duane Hug, Don’t Make Up

Huckleberries hears that … local Realtor John Beutler tried to get Mayor Sandi Bloem and CdA/Palm Desert magnate Duane Hagadone to kiss and make up during the Christmas holidays. Seems Beutler set up a meeting between the two Lake City heavyweights, away from Hagadone HQ, on about Dec. 28. Beutler served as referee. Hagadone, of course, berated the mayor for a laundry list of wrongs, real and imagined, from her lack of support for his defunct downtown memorial garden scheme to the city height ordinance. Her Sandiness, reportedly, responded politely to questions from The Duane and explained a few points. She kept her wits and her temper. The odd couple didn’t part on better terms or with any more understanding. However, Her Sandiness and Hagadone hugged before they parted. A long, friendly hug. Dunno what can be read into that. Or why Beutler was serving as a mediator. Stay tuned.

•Bumpersnicker (on a Ford rig spotted by Steve Granat/Post Falls): “Don’t support logging? Try using plastic toilet paper.”

•A woman in a wheelchair shook up Hayden Vision Center on Gummint Way on Jan. 10. Seems a Berry Picker found the office atwitter when she arrived moments after the wheelchair blew a tire. The blast was as loud as a gunshot, prompting the receptionist to dive behind the counter. As the Berry Picker waited to get her glasses adjusted, a man arrived to wheel the woman out in her lopsided wheelchair. At that point, optometrist Bob Sorensen’s staffers exhaled.

Hump Day Wild Card — 1/17/07

I’ll be here tomorrow morning — and then off to the annual retreat of The Spokesman-Review Editorial Board. Starting tomorrow, my run of vacation and four-day weeks’ll be over for quite awhile. And we can get down to some serious blogging. Thanks for being patient. Now, for your evening Wild Card …

Question: Shouldn’t Governor Be Highest Paid

Issue: Gov. Otter’s salary is $15,000 less than his chief of staff/Associated Press

More Info: Jeff Malmen, Otter’s chief of staff and former top congressional aide, makes $120,000 annually. That’s $15,000 more than Otter’s $105,000 salary. The past two chief of staffs made just over $97,000. Malmen, who also was chief of staff while Otter was a U.S. House member in Washington, D.C., actually took a pay cut to work in the state Capitol: He made $153,000 there.

Question: Shouldn’t Gov. Otter be the highest paid state employee — except for the Boise State football coach, of course.

He says, “I don’t know what’s more painful: Taking a pay cut, or taking

Inside Huckleberries — 1/17/07

*Huckleberries hears that … three prominent North Idaho men are in the running to replace John McHugh as the regional representative on the Idaho Transportation Board: Bonners Ferry Mayor Darrell Kerby, former state senator Dick Compton and former legislator Dean Haagenson.

*For those Time Warner/KAYU sufferers who still haven’t seen the hook-and-ladder TD, OT TD, and statue-of-liberty play that enabled Boise State to beat Oklahoma in the Fiesta Bowl, click here.

*MamaJD: “I used to try really hard to listen to the 6:00 am broadcast of KVNI. Once the local news was read, I would then get up. I would time getting children situated in front of the television with juice and cereal and then run back and jump into bed to listen to Dick Haugen. Now — I don’t care. The break between Dick and Brett (Bowers) was too long. Brett just doesn’t keep me interested and I end up comparing instead of listening. I really was willing to give the new format a try but I am don’t care anymore.”

*Sightem: “I ran into Dick Haugen, who spent more than a decade reporting for work in the wee hours of the morning. Now that he’s exploring other opportunities, there’s no need for getting up at the crack of dark-thirty. I asked if he’s staying up later now. In fact, Monday night he claimed he was up until the wild and crazy hour of 10 p.m. It’s all relative to this night owl” — Kerri Thoreson/Coeur d’Alene Press (“Main Street” column).

*Huckleberries hears that … Dave Walker, a former Coeur d’Alene councilman and downtown Coeur d’Alene booster, is also interested in that Post Falls chamber exec job — along with former KVNI-AM news director Dick Haugen. Former CDA/Post Falls Press reporter Jeff Selle’s name is also in the mix.

Hot Potatoes (A View of Local News) — 1/17/07

*17-year-old girl rescue from ledge at Falls Park: Friend follows tracks after family argument/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman Review — If you’re going to stomp off in the middle of the night in January in North Idaho, you should make sure you’re wearing Sorrels.

*Larkin foresees big population jump: Sees Post Falls population at 68,000 by 2028/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review — Any guesses re: how much open space will be left on the Rathdrum Prairie?

*Construction worker dies in drilling accident: Victim’s identity not released/Keith Kinnaird, Hagadone News Network — Add to this story one from the Seattle accident re: a worker being killed in an industrial shredder, and you realize how dangerous construction/industrial work can be.

*Post Falls OKs new city hall: Higher costs force cutback in planned energy efficiency/Meghann Cuniff, Spokesman-Review — Post Falls’d better break ground before spiraling costs make the new City Hall too prohibitive to build.

*Idaho says no to Sanders dock: Ruling cites potential danger to swimmers/James Hagengruber, Spokesman-Review — Good call.

Question: Should Local Gummint Hire PR Firms?

Issue: Council approves money for PR firm/Mike Prager, Spokesman-Review

More Info: When Spokane Deputy Mayor Jack Lynch took a controversial sick leave last September, his boss, Mayor Dennis Hession, hired a public relations firm to help explain Lynch’s absence to the public. On Tuesday, the Spokane City Council unanimously approved a $1,400 bill to pay for the services of the Gallatin Group, a Pacific Northwest-based firm with an office in Spokane.

Question: Should cities and counties hire public relations firms to help them survive controversies and lobby people?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/17/07

Ducks were walking on a layer of ice on Hayden Lake on Tuesday. Due to recent icy weather Hayden Lake is now capped with ice. Many of the region’s smaller lakes are ice-bound most years, but the big lakes haven’t seen ice in nearly a decade here/Kathy Plonka, Spokesman-Review.

Leaning Straight Up: More than half of U.S. women living without spouse at home and other N.Y. Times lies here.

1. Police have been trying to catch a serial peeping Tom who has managed to sneak his way into the women’s showers at a University of Washington dormitory at least three times in the past few months here.

2. Two new mothers have Tualatin search and rescue crews to thank for delivering their babies after they went into labor and couldn’t get to a hospital due to the unexpected snow around Portland, Ore., here.

3. Jack Thornburrow, a champion of Idaho’s farmers and ranchers, died a second and final time during the last year — and this time no one was able to bring him back here.

4. A University of Montana dean’s professional odyssey has helped unearth what is believed to be a previously unknown work of the great British poet, Samuel Taylor Coleridge. Even more tantalizing, the work is a substantial partial verse translation of Goethe’s landmark tragic play, “Faust,” written in 1808. For 19th Century Romantic scholars, the discovery is equivalent to finding the Dead Sea Scrolls here.

5. A new animal ordinance approved by the Great Falls (Mont.) City Commission requires households with more than two dogs or two cats to apply for a multiple-animal permit here.

6. IMHO-NW: Jane Opyr/New West North Idaho (Saddam’s hanging and the Fiesta Bowl), Tecla Murkosky/UI Argonaut (A Southern Belle’s take on frozen north), Carol Mell/New West Boise (When chickens fall from the sky), Steve Crump/Twin Falls Times-News (Getting dirty jobbed by Discovery Channel), and Brandon Macz/UI Argonaut (Stay the course in education).

Online Poll: 76% of 772 respondents to a Seattle PI poll believe that climate change poses a major threat to the world.

*Idaho National Guardsman, based in Post Falls, killed in Iraq by roadside bomb here. Seattle Times obit here.

*Deer freed from entangled rope by getting Tazered here.

*Cal Groen of Lewiston picked to head Idaho F&G Dept. here.

*3 WSU football players in academic jeopardy here.

*Driver rear-ended by Spokane deputy cited for driving without insurance here.

Orbusmax Special: 9-year-old boy sneaks past Sea-Tac security, boards flight here. (BTW, Orbusmax, situated in the Seattle area has topped 10 million page-views since The Orb decided to provide a Drudge-type report NW several years ago. Click here and join me in congratulating The Orb.

HBO By The Numbers — 1/17/07

Item: Sales of figure skating tickets may break record: Spokane on track to surpass L.A. numbers/Jim Camden, Spokesman-Review

118,000 — the number of tickets sold to various events for the State Farm U.S. Figure Skating Championships in Spokane

18,000 — Number of tickets sold in last week and a half

125,345 — Record number of tickets sold to the figure skating championships in Los Angeles in 2002

0 — Number of tickets remaining for Championship Ladies Finals Jan. 27 (although some seats remain as part of a $298 four-event package).

Question: Do you plan to attend any of the events during the figure skating championships?

Californians Moving to NIdaho in Greater Numbers

Full Coeur d’Alene Press story here

California bashers beware. They’re still coming, in even greater numbers than in the past. As recently as last summer, the perception that the Golden State was the top source of growth in North Idaho’s population was a fallacy, according to Jim Stravens. This year’s annual Inland Northwest Demographics report by J.P. Stravens Planning Associates, Inc. again puts Californians at the top of the list, with 35 percent of region’s growth in population coming from that state. “That’s a surprise to me,” Stravens said. “We haven’t seen that trend for quite a while.” Last year, Stravens said a third came from Washington State, a third from other Idaho counties and Montana and another third were “made right here,” as the result of local population growth — Rick Thomas/Coeur d’Alene Press.

Question: Do you bash Californians?

Noah Kroese: Lesser Moments in American History

Political ‘Toon: Noah Kroese

Video Vixen: PF Mayor Rips KVNI No-Show

Video Vixen: Did anyone tune into Channel 13 for Post Falls council meet tonight? The mayor got a real dig in at KVNI for being a no show after promising to broadcast his state of the city address at the chamber breakfast this morning. He said the new girl called afterwards and said she was running late and then there was fog in the parking lot so she couldn’t get a signal so she just went back to the station. Larkin pointed out that Dick Haugen was there at the meeting and too bad he wasn’t broadcasting for KVNI anymore. It was a funny on the record comment by the mayor. I hope Brett Bowers and Dick Haugen were both watching Channel 13 tonight.

DFO: You regular listeners should keep HBO posted re: the new format at KVNI. I don’t tune in because I’m at work during the station’s morning show.

AM Hucks: Judge Should Eye Vowels More Closely

Gene Marano had The Spokesman-Review on his mind last week as he plowed through his 1st District Court cases. Or at least one of our reporters. Seems the local magistrate mixed up his “Taryns” of Athol. Teryn (with an “e”) Ann Sizemore was in court for sentencing. In August, Sizemore was arrested for allegedly being high on meth after her 4-year-old set the family’s home on fire while playing with a lighter. SR reporter Taryn Anna Brodwater, who also is from Athol, was on a different assignment and wasn’t in court per usual. So, another reporter took her place. When the Sizemore case came up, Judge Marano looked around the room and asked for “Taryn.” He received no response. Then, he intoned: “Brodwater. Where’s Brodwater? She was supposed to be here at 4 p.m.” The attorneys all looked confused. Finally, a public defender spoke up and asked if he meant Teryn Sizemore. Marano got a funny look on his face and said, “Oh yeah, Sizemore.” Whatta difference a vowel makes.

• Huckleberries hears that … Stan Hess – yes, the “European-American” activist who ran unsuccessfully for North Idaho College trustee in November, is one of the new staff members of the NIC Sentinel newspaper. Stay tuned.

Jim Valentine, the redneck operator of Design Services on Pleasantview Road/Post Falls, is at it again. His readerboard message on Martin Luther King Jr. Day Monday was: “Happy Negro Day.” A Berry Picker gasped when she saw the message and was glad her young son didn’t.

Wild Card/Tuesday — 1/16/07

I can officially say today that I have two grown children. Amy Dearest turns 21 today. She is an enormous Kellogg Bloggin’-type blessing, as have her brother and my daughter-in-law. Someday, when AD finds her help-mate, the circle will be complete. I look forward to that day. Meanwhile, I also extend my best wishes to my twin brothers-in-law, Christian and William, who share Amy’s birthday. My family has quite a cluster of birthday’s this week. Brother Ray. My wife Brenda. My brother-in-law Tom. And, I believe, I’m missing someone. I remember some of the rest of you have family birthday clusters, too. You can share that info or anything else you want with today’s Wild Card …

Idaho Escapee: How’s KVNI’s New Format?

Full post here

I am wondering how the local radio station sounds now, with its new transfusion of semi-eminently qualified talking heads sitting around the mike in the mornings. And, I’ve heard that the afternoon shift up there has been taken over by a long-time employee who has all the personality of a small soap dish (I borrowed that term from a National Lampoon record)…I had long thought that doo-woppin’ oldies format is illogical, stupid and bumbling. “Oh, give me an example”, you say. Okay…that station regularly plays “Liar, Liar” by the Castaways, which is NOT a doo-wop song! Game, set, match. (I almost sound like I know what I’m talking about here) — Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations.

DFO: I haven’t paid attention. SR sports writer Greg Lee sez he and his Brand X counterpart are now regulars on a KVNI sports show Friday mornings. Which would be a good thing. Other than that, I can’t answer Idaho Escapee’s question.

Question: How’s the new KVNI format going?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 1/16/07

OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy is circulating the poster above via his blog to promote a fund-raiser next Sunday to raise money for Kim Hagen, a well-liked member of the local music and arts community here.

*Raymond Pert/Kellogg Bloggin’ is trying to remember if there’s ever been another place like the Sunshine Inn, which “was, in part, a motel, but I was more familiar with the other part of the business that was divided between a family/truck stop/too-drunk-to-drive restaurant that was open twenty four hours and a bar/lounge/dance floor” here.

*Bayview Herb/Bayviews has been on a roll with his series recalling his days as a Coeur d’Alene cabbie. You can read some of the latest of his series here and here.

*Family Phil/A Family Runs Through It shows parents a new way of dealing with their kids’ messy rooms — pack ‘em up and move ‘em out here.

*An episode as a 17-year-old northerner visiting her grandfather in Florida ingrained in Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind the need for civil rights here.

*DanG/Wambooli Lunch isn’t impressed by “things” — items to wear, drive, etc., but that doesn’t apply to his new omelette pan here.

*Frum Helen Back and her hubby haven’t discussed politics much since Dave accused the Demos of being responsible for the Watergate break-in (to frame Nixon). But that doesn’t mean there isn’t an occasional outbreak of politics in the household, according to FHB here (first item).

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour realizes the difference that education made in her life and, therefore, hopes local movers and shakers make a community college at Sandpoint a reality here.

Meanwhile, Katrina/Notes on a Napkin admits that poop makes her smile here, Granati/Orangefrog76 understands the MLKJr speech now here, Nic/Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts is suffering frost-bite — at work here, Stebbijo/Stebbijo’s Place provides the secret for making rice soup interesting here, and Bill/Whitecaps is amazed at AARP’s persistence here.

Top Cutlines — 1/16/07

Zoo staff members show the teeth of a Tiger named Lily which bit a four-year-old boy who posed with her for photos at a zoo in Kunming, in southwestern China’s Yunnan province Monday. Both tiger and the boy survived the bite. The tiger trainer alleged that Lily’s been trained for three years and had been tame enough to pose with tourists previously. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/EyePress)

Top Cutlines

1. After decades of eating frosted flakes every day for breakfast, Tony the Tiger has to endure a trip to the dentist — Idawa.

2. Resolute in her life-long dream of someday attaining the exalted title of “Man-Eating Tiger” Lily begins her quest by taking her first bite of Chinese *cuisine — Lesley Presley.

3. In spite of the tiger trainers repeated statements that Lily was a well-behaved animal, his missing thumbs were a stark reminder otherwise — Side Note.

HM: Keithincda

For all of today’s cutline entries, click here.

Wondering: Shouldn’t We Ignore Redneck Valentine?

Wondering: Regarding this Valentine person, wouldn’t it be best to simply ignore him and his signs? By noting in the press and discussing this unpleasant behavior, we are giving him the attention he craves. When I see waste matter on the street, I don’t step in it.

DFO: Excellent question, Wondering. I opt for the philosophy that the late Bill Wassmuth had toward Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler and other like-minded cockroaches: Keep shining a light on ‘em. They multiply when good people fail to pay attention. Of course, this situation is a bit different. Here, we have one man with a chip on his shoulder trying to stir things up, not a racist organization trying to gain a foothold.

Question: Should Valentine and his bigoted messages be ignored?

Winter Beauty Along North Idaho’s Roadways

“This is on Hwy. 200 just east of Clark Fork, the area we call ‘the cliffs.’ Even though the temps have not gotten above freezing yet, the ice fall on the cliffs has begun to melt in a small way. This has resulted in ice hitting the roadway, and not only beginning new ice columns rising back up, but across and over the highway. by the time I got over there to take pictures, the highway dept. was already out taking ice off the roadway and cutting up what’s falling. Still, it’s pretty, isn’t it?” — Trish Gannon/Wading in the River Journal.

Question: Are Bloggers, Posters Sharper Than Norm

Trish Gannon: Are bloggers smarter than the average Joe? As I’ve ‘burked’ on Huckleberries, I’ve got to tell ya, I’m impressed with your regular posters. I think I’m pretty smart (no ego problems here :) but out of your regular bloggers, there might be ONE that I think I could beat in a test of intelligence … and that’s not for sure. I notice that passion can get in the way of intelligence, but we all have those issues where our brains turn off. Still, for the most part, your bloggers seems better educated than most, and able to frame their comments and rhetoric in terms I find impressive. Is that true for all bloggers, or is it just a fact of life for this part of the Pacific Northwest where the most obviously intelligent of people on Earth happen to live?

DFO: I don’t know if the bloggers/posters at HBO are sharper. But I know they’re sharp. They have to be to match wits with the likes of DanG, Bob, Mari, Sara, Spencer, etc. You need a decent understanding of politics, religion, history, local government, etc., to pop off here.

Question: What do the rest of you think?

Huckleberries Hears That …

Local Realtor John Beutler approached Mayor Sandi Bloem to try to get her to make amends with Duane Hagadone. He set up a meeting between the two, away from Hagadone HQ, about Dec. 28. Seems Beutler was there to mediate. Hagadone, of course, spent the time berating the mayor for a checklist of things that she’s done wrong, real and imagined, from the gardens to the height ordinance. I understand that Her Sandiness, politely, tried to answer his questions and explain a few points but kept her wits and temper. The odd thing is, when they went to leave — not really on any better terms or with any more understanding — the two hugged. A longer, friendly hug. Seems as if neither side knows what the hug means. … And the other big question is why is Beutler playing mediator?

APhoto of the Day — 1/16/07

Zoo staff members show the teeth of a Tiger named Lily which bit a four-year-old boy who posed with her for photos at a zoo in Kunming, in southwestern China’s Yunnan province Monday. Both tiger and the boy survived the bite. The tiger trainer alleged that Lily’s been trained for three years and had been tame enough to pose with tourists previously. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/EyePress)

Dogwalk Musings: No-Kill Policy Is Wave of Future

Full post here

A recent Coeur d’Alene Press editorial almost got it right. The County does indeed need an animal center to combine the efforts and resources of all the rag tag rescue efforts in the area that are underfunded and understaffed. Where they go wrong is to say the Kootenai Humane Society made a mistake going to a no-kill policy. It is suggested that mistakes had been made. That is not reason enough to abandon the policy. Fix it. We live in a time when “killing” seems the norm. Shoot the elk that escaped from the elk farm. Kill the wolves. Kill your parents because they don’t let you have your way. Kill your kids because they don’t listen. Hardly a week passes without headlines to this effect appearing in our local papers or blareing out of the television new casts. No-kill policy is the wave of the future. Major cities are adopting such policies and making them work. If Los Angeles can Kootenai County certainly can — Mari/Dogwalk Musings.

Question: Did Kootenai Humane Society make a mistake when it adopted a no-kill policy?

DFO: Downtown Parking A Playgoer’s Peeve

Full column here

I was stunned that parking for the play was $10. Alarm replaced sticker shock when I realized I had to buy a $10 ticket to place on my dashboard from an automated machine adjacent to the regular orange collection box – and the machine didn’t provide change. I thought about driving the car several blocks to River Park Square garage. I resisted the urge to curse the Spokane Parking God who had frustrated me on other occasions. Then, I, in turn, jammed a credit card and my debit card into an available slot and punched buttons. I almost didn’t get my plastic back. Finally, when other theater-goers in line appeared equally confused, I folded a $20 bill and squeezed it into the slot for No. 110 in the regular collection box, crossed my fingers and joined my family for “Hairspray” — D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review.

Question: Have you had a bad experience involving parking?

St. Mary’s 80, Gonzaga 75 … The Streak Is Over

Full story here

The streak is over. Though it didn’t end without a curse or two. In a game in which Saint Mary’s freshman center was seen on national television shouting obscenities at the Gonzaga bench, the Bulldogs lost to a West Coast Conference team for the first time in 31 games, 80-75, to the Gaels before a sellout crowd at McKeon Pavilion. That same freshman, Omar Samhan, had a career-high 20 points, but it was sophomore Diamon Simpson who shined brightest for Saint Mary’s — Spokesman-Review

Question: What’s wrong with the Zags?

Wild Card/Sunday — 1/14/07

I finished my quick over-and-back to Portland a coupla hours behind schedule when PDX assigned our Spokane-bound plane this afternoon to a San Diego flight. Seems the plane for the San Diego flight broke down, and, well, there were more passengers on that one than ours. So, we were told to cool our heels for 90 more minutes. No big deal. The playoff game between Indianapolis and Baltimore was on the boob tube. And there was a small Powell’s book store in the airport. Still, it was the first flight I’ve ever taken that was delayed somewhat. I’ve been lucky. Now, it’s time to hit ths sack early. So, I’ll leave this Wild Card for you to use Sunday …

TGIF Wild Card — 1/12/07

I have to take care of some personal business today, HBOers. So, I’m leaving you on your own with this Wild Card. Sorry. You can start your own threads. You can play off of threads from yesterday. Or you can chat with each other in the comments section. Your choice.

Parting Shot — 1/11/07

Supporters of a state-managed wolf population cheer Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter during a rally Thursday in Boise. Otter said Thursday he will support public hunts to kill all but 100 gray wolves in the state once the federal government removes the animal from Endangered Species Act protections, and that he hopes to shoot a wolf himself. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski)

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 1/11/07

Southwark Lad/Perambulation posts a boat load of photos re: the adventures of the family (Joe Montana, Portland Pup and JBelle) in London, Rome (The Lad and Joe Montana in front of the Trevi Fountain above), Florence, etc., here. And JBelle admits she’s a newspaper junkie here.

*Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense finally has posted his reaction re: returning to western Washington to find his car burglarized, vandalized, and most of his Beatles CD collection missing here.

*Toad/Synaptic Disunion didn’t have to think twice about stopping at Dolly’s for coffee this morning, and he was rewarded with a waitress calling him “sweetie” for doing so here.

*Oops, Bob turned 49 yesterday and HBO missed it. He shares thoughts on the 40s zipping past and his son breaking his wrist horsing around Tuesday night here.

*Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations hasn’t been living on the Oregon Coast for more than a few weeks, and he’s already making fun of the local weatherman here.

*Brent Andrews/Chronic Discontent thinks the cowboy boots that Gov. Butch Otter wears are too tight and “faggy” — and he’s less impressed with Butch’s comment about shooting coyotes here.

Meanwhile, Red State Rebels wished she could trust Dubya here and offers contempt for Congressman Sali here, Green Libertarian wonders why women hang onto idiot boyfriends here, and Leaning Straight Up reacts to snow in Seattle here.

Top Cutlines — 1/11/07

Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso looks at Bulgarian sumo wrestlers during the opening ceremony of a donation to Bulgarian Sumo Federaton, in the Bulgarian capital Sofia earlier today. Aso arrived on a two day official visit to Bulgaria. (AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)

Top Cutlines

1. When the Japanese Foreign Minister introduced himself as “Taro Aso” the Bulgarians, thinking he was testing his English out on them, stripped off their clothes and replied, “Yes, we also have short ones, and fat ones, and skinny ones….” — Family Phil.

2. Former Idaho Gov. Butch Otter, center, competes in a leg contest after coming out of the closet and getting a sex change following his brief post-political career as a professional wrestler. “I’m able to let go of a lot of my bloodlust this way,” he said — Brent Andrews.

3. The Bulgarian wrestlers got their panties in a knot when the foreign minister referred to his country’s wrestlers as “Sofia’s Choice” — John Austin.

HM: Keithincda

Fan Mail: You Say Sho-shone, I Say Shoshonee

As a long-time Idahoan, Koot-nee is right on. But how about my county? I think we can all agree it’s Sho-shone; but I have heard people who should know better say it as “Shoshonee.” A real puzzle is between two Idaho towns, Clarkia and Kooskia. Both have the same last letters, KIA. When you go to Kooskia, you better call it Kooskee, but when you go to Clarkia, you call it Clarkia. Figure that one out. Sometimes even the natives aren’t sure just what to call a local place name. I lived for awhile in Allentown, Pa. (yes, that Allentown celebrated in song.) A nearby place name is Schuylkill. The locals aren’t in full agreement on how to pronounce it. The consensus seems to be Sky-Kill. I won’t even attempt to spell some of the other choices!

Art Anderson

P.S. I think this is supposed to go by something called a “Blog” but I don’t know how to do that.

Extra! Bus Driver Charged In LCHS Crash

The driver of a charter bus that tipped over while 41 Lake City High School students were on board Wednesday has been cited for driving too fast for conditions, Idaho State Police Capt. Wayne Longo said Thursday. Ronald G. Long, 67, a driver with Silver Eagle Charters of Spokane, was returning the students to Coeur d’Alene following a class field trip to Schweitzer Mountain when he lost control on the slick highway around 5:23 p.m. More here.

Columnist: Where Are the Brave Democrats?

Full comment here.

Where are the Gordon Smith’s in the Democratic Party? Where are the conviction politicians willing to spend political capital to lead a citizenry which has decided overwhelmingly that this war is crazy? Where are the institutions of media power with the courage to say the emperor has no cowboy boots, no jeans, no garments at all — just a hideous, stubborn smirk that is literally making this country ill and squandering our reputation around the globe? I long for a principled politician like my ex-boss Paul Simon, who would have had the courage and the moral authority to take the Senate floor and demand an end to this madness. Instead, the only place I can find truth speaking to power is on a cable TV comedy channel, not in the chambers of what used to be called the greatest deliberative body in the world. Is anybody out there willing to lead? — Terry Michael/Washington Center for Politics and Journalism.

Question: Are you satisfied with the Democratic response to President Bush’s escalation of the Iraq war effort?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/11/07

Samantha Hurst, 11, exposes the grass under the snow as she rolls a base for her snowman at the Creswell Middle School playground today in Creswell, Ore. (AP Photo/The Register-Guard, Chris Pietsch)

Crews prepare to right a car involved in a rollover accident on Interstate 84 just west of The Dalles, Ore., Thursday morning, Jan. 11, 2007. Snow Wednesday night and Thursday morning made driving hazardous throughout the Columbia River Gorge. (AP Photo/The Dalles Chronicle, Mark Gibson)

Doug Clark: A parody about the Spokane deputy who flashed his wares to a stunned barista here and (song) here. Hard 7: More fallout over the Free Willy deputy here.

1. Gov. Butch Otter told a crowd of more than 300 hunters he can’t wait for a chance to hunt wolves in Idaho. “I’m going to bid for the first ticket to shoot a wolf,” Otter said to a cheering crowd here.

2. The barren, wind-swept buttes surrounding the small Montana ranching town of Baker will offer scant places for coyotes to hide this weekend, as some 180 hunters from across the country converge for a “calling” contest to see who can shoot the most coyotes over three days — and some folks don’t like it here.

3. James “Dyke” Nally, the head of the Idaho Liquor Dispensary, is trying to get lawmakers to repeal a 1939 law that forbids his staff from engaging in partisan politics, including joining a political party, making campaign contributions or even sticking candidate bumper stickers on their cars here.

4. The “donkey kick,” a controversial maneuver used in the fatal confrontation between inmate Benites Sichiro and several jailers, has been banned from use in the Spokane County Jail here.

5. Prison life might be dangerous, but getting out can be deadly, too. Newly released inmates were almost 13 times more likely than the general public to die during their first two weeks of freedom, a study in Washington state found here.

6. IMHO-NW: Dean Ferguson/Lewiston Tribune (Idaho ready for Katrina-type disaster), Luke Baumgarten/Inlander (Super-intense New Year’s resolution weight-loss miracle), Bill Schneider/New West Boise (2007 Outdoor News predictions), Bert Caldwell/Spokesman-Review (Hybrid cars offer hope), and Hindu/Sagebrush (Bush goes for the win).

Online Poll: 66% of 1447 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say that beefing up U.S. troops in Iraq by 21,500 isn’t an effective strategy.

*Daily News: Still no sign of missing Moscow city councilman here.

*J.R. Simplot moved from Arizona to Boise rehab here.

*Boise strip clubs’ owner held in prostitution case here.

*Man’s body found in heating vent of Missoula business here.

Orbusmax Special: Notorious Idaho criminal takes out personal ad here.

Hey, Did You Used To Be …

… A driver for Silver Eagle charter buses?

Question: Do You Support An Education Corridor?

Issue: CdA ed corridor supporters furious: State ed board rejects concept without notice vote was planned/Meghann Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

North Idaho College Trustee Mic Armon: “I’m furious that the state board would do something this clandestine. This is a great example of how inept the state Board of Education is.”

Question: Do you support an education corridor for Coeur d’Alene?

SSands: We Need Radio to Cover Our Bad Roads

Complete HBO comment here

Newby commenter SSands: Why do the brochures from the CVB’s around here fail to show the real winters? Glossy photos of people frolicking in the snow are a lie. Spending 40 minutes last night combating grumpy, impatient drivers on I-90 armed with cell phones is more of the photo op. The adventure home was not a long haul commute, just a normal jaunt from Ross Point/ Hwy. 41 to Highway 95, east bound. The traffic woe led to the thought of why there are not local radio stations that provide traffic updates for these wintry driving situations in North Idaho.Stuck in traffic, not moving, on I-90 is not fun. It would be nice to know what is going on while sitting on a road that normally travels at 75MPH. Flipping through the FM dial between 5:20 and 6:00, one would find nothing. Any traffic advisory was for Spokane and the West Plains. That would be great if heading west.

Bottom Line: Local radio stations are failing the public on what they were granted licenses by the FCC for, to inform the public. A local group should pool some resources and apply for a Low Power AM License with the FCC for the Post Falls, Rathdrum, and Coeur d’ Alene area. Funding is available and technology is making equipment within a communities’ budget.

What You’re Saying … And Taryn Does A Dance

So, cold that Taryn Brodwater ad-libbed her own version of the trying-to-keep-warm-while covering-an-accident dance at the scene of the Lake City High charter bus crash. And KXLY’s cameras were there to record it. Taryn blogs about her experience here. You can see video of her dance in the first part of this on-the-scene clip featuring KXLY reporter Janet O. Taryn’s the one turning in circles and jumping up and down in front of the bus here. (You have to put up with a video commercial first.)

John Austin: I just got back to Medimont after a meeting in CDA. In twenty years of traveling the 4th of July Pass, I’ve never seen it worse. Not a snowplow to be seen, or any other vehicles for that matter. It was like something out of the Twilight Zone, a complete and total whiteout. On my way to the meeting I passed the bus on its side at Hayden and US95. I was waved past the wreck, which by my count included no fewer that a dozen responders, with several more enroute after I passed. The thing I like about our emergency response folks is that they operate under mutual assistance agreements. I saw many different agencies dispatched to this serious accident, and truly within minutes they had the situation under control. Thank God no one was hurt bad. Now, if we can only get a snowplow or two on I-90 …

Spencer: The roads alternated between wet and black ice, and the only way you could find out what you were on was by stepping on the brakes. I saw about ten wreaks last night, and the roads were the worst I have seen in years.

CDA Mom: I drove through that same interesection shortly before the accident and I can tell you that the roadway was too slick no matter the speed. I ended up downshifting to 1st gear long before the interseciton and then hoping I could stop or that no one else would be there. If I didn’t have to drive tonight, I wouldn’t have. Conditions were hazardous tonight — at ANY speed.

Frank Church: We Loved Him, We Loved Him Not

John Austin: Frank Church was a four-term Senator, who as Chairman of the Armed Services Committee was one of the most powerful men in Congress. He was an early contender for the 1976 Presidential nomination. Indeed, it was his leadership to get the Panama Canal back into that nation’s possession that cost him in his 1980 re-election campaign against Steve Symms. The wags pitifully called it the year we separated Church from state, but the result is that in the quarter century since, we’ve had no one rise to that level of national prominence.

Gary Ingram: John Austin, your history is not quite correct. It was, in fact, the Anybody But Church, (ABC) group’s work in exposing Senator Church’s extreme liberalism and damage to our intellence community with his hearings which compromised our national security. Former CDA resident, Don Todd, the KCRCC chairman following me,headed up the ABC committee out of Boise.

John Austin: Gary; I don’t recall the ABC group as clearly as I do the national media treating us as laughingstock, amazed they were that the Panama Canal could actually have been a factor in the race. Sure, Church was a liberal and the state was clearly going to the right, but Symms victory was a big upset at the time, only ensured because of Reagan’s landslide.

Dan of the County: Down But Not Out

Dan of the County: Well I’ll have a pretty swollen head today … but it’s from natural causes, not an inflated ego … a couple of inches of light snow on top of rock frozen sloping driveway … didn’t even feel my feet go out from under me before it happened … I thought the back of my head would be more sore today … it must have helped that I had ice on it right away … as I lay there counting stars …

DFO: It’s been awhile since I had one of those feet-out-from-under-me free-falls. Knock on wood. Glad you answered the bell today.

Hump Day Wild Card — 1/10/07

Long-time buddy Doug Clark has written another of his parodies about zany events in the Inland Northwest (think: Enumclaw and horse love). This time, the exhibitionist Spokane Deputy Dawg who flashed his junk at a barrista is the subject of his parody, “Barista,” sung to the tune of “Maria” from “West Side Story.” You can tell Huckleberries Online what you think of Clark’s latest tune. Or use this Wild Card to start your own thread …

Parting Shot — 1/10/07

Firefighters lower an adult down the hillside from an SUV that slid off Upriver Dr. just south of Coeur d’Alene Wednesday afternoon during the brief, but intense, snowstorm that quickly turned area roads icy.It was one of many crashes that happened between about 2 p.m. and 5 p.m., when heavy snow caused some drivers to pull off and wait it out/Jesse Tinsley, Spokesman-Review.

Inside Huckleberries — 1/10/07

*Drive-by Wheelchairing: SReporter Taryn Brodwater sez the staff at her opthamologist was atwitter when she arrived this afternoon (with vision going downhill b/c she’s stuck in front of a computer screen all day). Seems “a woman’s wheelchair tire had popped. It was apparently as loud as a gunshot and the receptionist dove behind the counter for cover. As I was waiting to get my glasses adjusted, a man showed up to wheel the woman out in her lopsided wheelchair.”

*Bonners Ferry Mayor Darrell Kerby called Huckleberries Online to point out that there’s no Kootenai in Kootenai County and no Bonner in Bonner County. He was reacting to today’s print Huckleberries item about the pronunciation of Kootenai. Seems much of North Idaho was Kootenai County in the beginning (after the tribe) and then split into two, with the northern half becoming Bonner County. Later, it split again with the northern half becoming Boundary. That’s your local history lesson for the day.

*The Spokesman-Review has been named as recipient of “Abolitionist of the Year” award from the Washington Association for the Abolition of the Death Penalty. Seattle attorney Jeff Ellis contacted Opinion Page Editor Doug Floyd to say that the paper will be recognized at a dinner March 5. Seems our decision to reverse our stand on the death penalty was noticed. I changed my position b/c the death penalty has become an ineffective sham.

*Julie Fanselow/Red State Rebels posts the names of those honored at the 9th annual United Vision for Idaho Progressive Celebration and Awards Dinner — yes, there are progressives in Idaho, Virginia — here.

*From Mary Dorsey of the Northwest Power and Conservation Council/Spokane: “I just read your column on how to pronounce Kootenai, etc. Well, then there are the native Washingtonians who pronounce Washington - Warshington. Never could figure out where that ‘r’ comes from. Oh, they also warsh their clothes!”

*Factoid (from Family Phil): “Did you know that Idaho is the 4th leading producer of milk in the US? This new UI Dairy Research Center is a pretty big deal for the state. … I’m surprised it’s not getting more press.”

PM Question: Was Jesus Christ “Greatest Socialist”

Issue: Starting New Term, Chávez Defends Recent Moves/Simon Romero, New York Times

More Info: President Hugo Chávez was sworn in to a new six-year term at a ceremony here today (in Caracas, Venezuela), calling Jesus Christ “the greatest socialist in history” and pledging to speed Venezuela’s metamorphosis into a socialist state.

Question: Is Chavez right? Was Jesus Christ “the greatest socialist in history”?

Hat Tip: Ken Paulman

Judge Landy Surprises Sandpointer in L&L Case

Full Bonner County Bee story here

A Sandpoint man accused of molesting a young girl is reconsidering a plea agreement after a district judge advised him he would not bind himself to proposed sentencing recommendations. David John Collodi asked the court for more time to consider his options after Judge Lansing Haynes declined to guarantee he would adopt the sentencing recommendations, which include a suspended prison sentence and withheld judgment. When judgment is withheld, a criminal charge can be expunged from a defendant’s criminal record upon successful completion of probation. The alleged victim’s mother tearfully denounced the plea agreement during a hearing in late last year. She said the agreement and proposed punishment would undermine the seriousness of the offenses, which have deeply harmed her daughter and family.

DFO: Good for Landy.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 1/10/07

In this 2002 photo by Christopher Anderson/SR, the last four Washington State head football coaches (prior to Bill Doba) are shown (from left): Mike Price, Jim Sweeney, Dennis Erickson and Jim Walden. Walden, now a color commentator for WSU games, is getting attention for being the only one in the Harris Interactive Poll to vote Florida as No. 1 at the end of the regular season here.

Stapilus: Al Gore sellout proves Boise moving to left while Idaho veers further right here. Jennifer Gelband/New West Boise: Gore sells out Taco Bell Arena here.

1. Boise State Coach Chris Peterson is delighted with the No. 5 ranking of his 2006 football squad here. Also: *Boise State admissions inquiries jump 135% since Fiesta Bowl win here, and: Idaho will honor Broncos with parade Jan. 20 here.)

2. Idaho lawmakers still haven’t decided what to do with 26 Depression-era murals, including ones depicting the lynching of an American Indian, in the building slated to house the state Legislature in 2008 and 2009 here.

3. A judge has dismissed a lawsuit by a woman who climbed about 50 feet up a Bitterroot National Forest tree and stayed there for a month, protesting plans for the tree’s removal here.

4. A former U.S. Forest Service crew boss was cited for possession of marijuana hours after he appeared in federal court in Spokane on involuntary manslaughter charges in the deaths of four firefighters here.

5. The decision to reverse the firing of a detective who exposed himself at a coffee stand may hurt at least one member of the Spokane County Civil Service Commission’s chances for a second six-year term here. Hard 7 reacts here.

6. IMHO-NW: Pia K. Hansen/Spokesman-Review (Burglary shakes feeling of security), Dick Cvitanich/The River Journal (Shedding “family payroll”), Lee Flinn & Matt Bullard/Idaho Statesman (Risch did a lot for lands, water), David Morris/New West Boise (What Al Gore hasn’t told you about global warming), and Art Thiel/Seattle PI (Scale tipped against Hawks).

Online Poll: 54% of 283 respondents to Great Falls Tribune poll oppose U.S. involvement in Somalia.

*Eastern Washington congresswoman expecting baby here.

*Montana U.S. Sen. Max Baucus: I would not have voted for war here.

*Father: Media flights hindered rescue effort here.

*Hard-to-see comet flashes through Spokane sky at twilight here.

*Little League treasurer who stole $30,000 gets probation here.

Orbusmax Special: Seattle ranks 4th in U.S. for bank robberies here, and: Teen mayor takes over in Oregon town here.

Hey, Didn’t You Use To Be A …

… Post Falls Little League treasurer?

APhoto of the Day — 1/10/07

South Korean Army soldiers exercise on the snow during a winter exercise in Pyeongchang, east of Seoul, Wednesday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon)

SR Letter: Media Doomed the War

It’s a no-win situation in Iraq because of you, the biased news media. The editorial page for the Sunday edition of The Spokesman-Review sub-headline reads, “Our view: Bush should begin to withdraw troops from Iraq.” Sounds like cut and run to me. Front page headline Monday: “Bush plan skepticism surges.” The anti-war drums have started drumming and the Democrats haven’t been in control of Congress a week. I recently saw on one of the C-SPANs a program that featured the Iraq Study Group made upp of James Baker, Lee Hamilton, Sandra Day O’Connor, Leon Panetta and others. Leon Panett spoke, saying that the United States would never win in Iraq because this nation is so divided. Sandra Day O’Connor was quick to add shortly thereafter that the divisiveness existed because of you, the news media, and she was looking at the audience.

Tony Myers

Question: Has news media coverage undercut the Iraq war effort?

Smart-Aleck Spellcheckers: It’s J.K. Not J.R.

Toadman: Correction: J.R. Rowling should read J.K. Rowling. Sorry Dave… I’m a spell checker today.

Bob: Didn’t J.R. Rowling write a series of books about a young Texan oil wizard who was very cutthroat and …

DFO: Thanks, guys; when you’re blogging at the speed of light, those things happen. And I really appreciate when someone out there points out a mistake. I wonder why J.K. Rowling doesn’t use her full name. People who go by their initials instead of their given names are hiding something.

WorldNetDaily Poll: Why Are Birds Dying?

Issue: ‘Catastrophic’: Thousands of birds now fall from sky: Wildlife officers baffled by event, autopsies shed no light on mystery/WorldNetDaily

Question: Why do you think birds across the world are suddenly dropping dead?

1. Disease
2. Severe pollution
3. Global warming
4. Some secret action by the government or military
5. Contact with extra-terrestrials
6. Just coincidence
7. Sign of the End Times
8. Terrorists doing trial run for biological warfare
9. I have no absolutely no clue
10. Other

DFO: No. 4 or 10

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Wild Card — 1/9/07

You may have noticed that I’ve focused on local blogs and comments for my end-of-day wrapup this week. This includes looking for good material from the North Idaho/Friends blogs for wrapup commentary and possible questions (like Katrina’s mention of bad days and Frum Helen Back’s list of dealing with winter below). I figure that the hard-core regulars are the ones who follow Huckleberries into the after hours and into weekends. Why not focus on you? I’ll continue to tweak for weeks to come, yet. Bear with me. Now, for your Wild Card …

FHB: 10 Good Things That Happen When Its Cold

“A cold front is on the way. This is my 30th Hauser winter, including the winter of 78-79 when it was below zero for 6 weeks. This year I decided to change my thinking. Instead of planning where I’m going to move, I made a list of good things that happen when it’s burry cold out” — Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts.

10. Dog poop doesn’t stick to your shoes.
9. No need to lock the back door because it’s frozen shut.
8. The dogs don’t get on the sheets with muddy paws.
7. No need to worry about driving the car because it probably won’t start.
6. You don’t have to bathe the kids because the water pipes are frozen.
5. The house will get warm without electricity because it caught fire when you tried to thaw out the pipes. (Ask Gary Mobbs about the time the Globe had an article about him if you don’t believe me.)
4. If it gets below zero you can entertain yourself by throwing water in the air and watching it freeze before it hits the ground.
3. Your nose doesn’t run when you go outside. (Warning: It runs like a faucet when come inside.)
2. You get to buy new furniture because you use the old stuff for fuel in the wood stove when you run out of wood.


1. You can walk on water.

DFO: I’ve conquered the Wet Dog Fur Days of winter by declaring that it’s over on Feb. 2, Groundhog’s Day and my late father’s birthday. After that, I figure I can put up with a tantrum or two from Old Man Winter. But he’s on his way out. It definitely changed my thinking about the cold of winter and hassle of icy roads.

Question: What would you add to Helen’s list?

Inside Huckleberries — 1/9/07

*Trish Gannon/Wading in the River Journal alerts Huckleberries Online that the new issue of the RJournal (Bonner/Boundary counties and northwestern Montana) is now online here and that she has written her first “Behind the Scenes at the River Journal” post here.

*Huckleberries hears … that the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce is taking a long look at our old friend Dick Haugen as its possible next exec. Stay tuned.

*S.O.S. from Christine/Cinnamon Spice: “With basketball season in full swing, I am having a heck of a time finding gym space to hold a national level soccer coaches clinic. Any school or church gym would be great! The clinic would run Friday evening and all day Saturday and Sunday. Anybody who may know of a place or have a connection, this HBOer would certainly appreciated it. The facility would be compensated for the time/space and we already have insurance to cover liability issues. We are hoping to hold the clinic in late February or early March. Anyone?” (Contact Huckleberries)

*BTW, Christine has been unable to post on her Cinnamon Spice blog for some time b/c a virus fried her laptop.

Top Cutlines — 1/9/07

An unidentified Ohio State band member shows his spirit with his hair cut in the shape of an “O” at the BCS national championship football game in which Florida upset his Buckeyes 41-14 Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Top Cutlines

1. Either the percussion is giving me a concussion,/Or our offensive game is so lame,/This character of our school worn with Pride,/Is now a digit that shows our team lay down and died — Cabbage Boy.

2. Not the sharpest tool in the shed, Earl thought his ‘do’ would help him get through security faster at O’Hair International Airport in Chicago — John Austin.

3. The world today is not only faced with the possibility of widespread influenza pandemics, SARS (severe acute respiratory syndrome) and H5N1 (avian- or bird-flu) another highly contagious disease, first appeared in Ohio, the anti-ringworm fungus has officially been documented and recorded — Lesley Presley.

HM: Everyone else (terrific stuff today).

For the rest of today’s cutline entries, click here.

Duncan’s Sentence Phase Not Set for Boise, Yet …

… contrary to what you may have read in Brand X this morning. Quoth: “There is no indictment and there have been no charges brought,” said Jean McNeil, spokeswoman for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Idaho. “A decision can’t be made about where the trial is going to be held because there isn’t a case yet.” (Full story here)

You Say Koo-tun-ee, I Say Koo-tun-ay … Let’s Get Along

SRegional Editor Scott Maben, an Oregon transplant: Kootenai is pronounced KOO-tun-ee or KOO-tun-ay (as in hay), according to the Idaho Press Club pronounciation guide. But I’ve often heard it pronounced KOOT-NEE — two syllables. Is the latter just my lazy ear, or has the pronounciation been streamlined over time?

Question: Can anyone in Huck Nation help Scott out?

Rathdrum Mountain Elk in Late Winter

These Rathdrum Mountain elk wandered into Kerri Thoreson’s ( viewfinder. You can see more of Kerri’s local wildlife photos here.

AM Hucks: It’s Time for Superhero: Blunder Woman

Katrina Swaim has discovered she’s a superhero: Blunder Woman. Among the superpowers the young CdA mother lists on her Notes on a Napkin blog are: “the ability to fill two shopping carts in one trip and push them both out to the car without denting anyone’s fender or losing that slippery pack of toilet paper precariously balanced on the top of the heap” and “the uncanny knack of knowing when the kids have been quiet for a little too long.” There’s more. Other special abilities include: “a super-enhanced sense of smell for detecting about-to-go-bad produce (and the closely related skill of instantly concocting a meal that uses up said produce before it’s too late”; “the power to contain and neutralize any biological fluid known to man without vomiting”; and “multi-dimensional time-bending ability that allows the Huckleberries Online regular to attend a parent-teacher conference, pick up a prescription, turn in library books, meet her husband for lunch, and take a sick child to the doctor’s office within a time frame of roughly 45 minutes.” Blunder Woman’s Arch Enemy, according to Katrina, is Surly Customer Service Girl. A child’s whining is the equivalent of deadly Kryptonite to her. And you can forget “faster than a speeding bullet,” et cetera. Blunder Woman’s catch phrase is: “Because I said so.” Katrina’s post resonated with Napkin Notes reader Jennifer, who coveted her powers. With hubby out of town, Jennifer exhaled: “My kiddos are about to do me in.” Methinks Blunder Woman’s powers are more remarkable than Superman’s.

Question: What kind of superhero would you be?

Scooby Doo Creator Takamoto, 81, R.I.P.

The Scooby-Doo balloon floats down Broadway in the rain during the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade in New York in this Nov. 23 file photo. Iwao Takamoto, who created Scooby-Doo, died Monday of heart failure at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Warner Bros. spokesman Gary Miereanu said. He was 81/AP Photo.

Bearable Bob: CDA, Spokane Not All That Purty

Bearable Bob: Spokane occupies a barely visually acceptable transition zone of sparsely wooded ponderosa pine forests and an average river between the shockingly dull channelled scablands of Central Wa and the clearcut meadows of the weak Rocky Mt foothills of North Idaho. The entire area (Spokane to Coeur D’Alene megatropolis) is the scenic equivalent of a 92 Subaru Outback Wagon. Not ugly. Not sporty. Functional. Forgettable. And please … Coeur D’Alene is spectacularly overrated for beauty…it’s a lowland lake surrounded primarily by dry forests carpeted with astringent, crunchy pine needles. Go north, young man, for real beauty.

Keithincda: Try again, Bob; Subaru did not make the Outback model until 2000. How about the ‘92 Hyundai Sonata instead … :)

Question: On a scale of 1 to 10 (with 10 being absolutely viewtiful), how would you rate Coeur d’Alene and/or Spokane? (HBOers living elsewhere in North Idaho can rate your town against either Coeur d’Alene or Spokane.)

Take 5 — Or How Will New County Commission Fare?

1. Rich and Todd still won’t know where the courthouse restrooms are six months from now.

2. Fort Apache, The Bronx

3. Follow the leader

4. Same-o, same-o

5. Breath of fresh air

Spokesman-Review: Too Many Guns

Full editorial here

In Washington and Idaho, gun laws contain way too many loopholes. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence gives Washington’s gun laws a D+, Idaho’s an F+. And Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels has joined the call for tighter gun restrictions, such as the bill before the Washington Legislature. It wouldn’t prevent legitimate hunters from pursuing their sport. But it would be a good law with the potential to help keep victims like (Tacoma high school shooting victim) Sam Kok alive. At the same time, all of us should deeply consider the wisdom of keeping guns and ammunition in our homes without properly securing them. Too often they wind up associated not with hunting or self-defense, but with tragedy. Certainly that was the case when a student brought a gun to Lewis and Clark High School in Spokane in 2003 — Jamie Tobias Neely/Spokesman-Review.

Question: Are our gun laws too lenient?

Commission: Exhibitionist Deputy Can’t Be Fired

His family and attorney flank Spokane Deputy Joseph Mastel, top center, Monday, to hear his fate from a Civil Service Commission regarding his lewd behavior while on duty/Brian Plonka, Spokesman-Review.

Issue: Deputy’s firing overruled: Spokane detective who exposed self to woman wins appeal, unpaid leave/Jonathan Brunt, Spokesman-Review

More Info: A sheriff’s detective can’t be fired solely for exposing himself at a coffee stand, Spokane County’s Civil Service Commission ruled Monday. Instead, Detective Joseph Mastel will be on unpaid leave until he’s forced to retire in July – a decision that will allow him to look for other law enforcement work in Washington. The ruling reversed Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich’s June 22 decision to terminate Mastel after he exposed himself to a barista in Airway Heights earlier that month.

Question: Would you want this exhibitionist to continue to work in law enforcement?

Doug Clark: Spokane Too Ugly for Trader Joes

Cis: I can hardly wait to see what HBO today will do with the remark in Doug Clark’s column about the Seattle clerk’s remark about why Trader Joe’s isn’t coming to CDA … Off to work, will check back to see what DFO and the gang do with that one.

DFO: Cis, I think that remark was aimed at Spokane, not Coeur d’Alene. Here it is:

Tina has returned from Seattle with shocking news on why Trader Joe’s won’t be opening a Spokane outlet. Learning Tina and her husband were from Coeur d’Alene, a checker at the popular neighborhood market told them that “Spokane was marked OFF the list to get a Trader Joe’s because … ‘it is not visually appealing.’ ”

Online Poll — Favorite Post-WWII Prez

Since World War II, who is your favorite ex-president? — Lewiston Tribune

*Franklin Roosevelt
*Harry Truman
*Dwight Eisenhower
*John Kennedy
*Lyndon Johnson
*Richard Nixon
*Gerald Ford
*Jimmy Carter
*Ronald Reagan
*George H.W. Bush
*Bill Clinton

DFO: Reagan

Wild Card/Monday — 1/8/07

I had a close encounter with a downtown Spokane parking machine this weekend. It cost me $20 for 3 1/2 hours of parking — and counting. Seems I didn’t follow protocol when I put a $20 in the orange box to cover the $10 charge for parking in front of the Opera House for the traveling Broadway production of “Hairspray.” Seems you’re suppose to get a ticket from a nearby machine and put it on your dash. I tried to figure out the machine and almost lost a credit card and then a debit card while clogging up a line of equally confused patrons trying to use the machine — a machine that didn’t provide change. So, I figured I’d drop a $20 in the slot for my parking space in the conventional box and call it good. I was rewarded with a parking ticket for $25. I’m not even mad about it. I figured it was worth it because I can write a column about the high cost of parking when you patronize downtown Spokane businesses. Then, I’m not sure Coeur d’Alene should have paid parking either. Now, for your Wild Card …

Update: I explained my situation to a Diamond Parking customer service clerk via telephone today — and she voided the ticket. There goes a good column.

MamaJD: Am I Missing Out on Simpler Life?

Full post here

My parents don’t know how to send attachments, use fax machines, and still will call for advice on how to operate the office photocopier. And yet, they still lead useful, productive lives. To me, this is completely perplexing. My parents are fine with the idea that if they need to use these things, they will call me to “walk” them thru the process. And the process never is done just once. And yet, they still lead useful, productive lives. So — I am scared that one day, I will not care if I am missing out on a mainstream gadget . This would be a sign I am getting older and that I would be missing out on something. On the other hand, maybe being this connected through gadgets and technology is a sign I am currently missing out on something. Maybe a more simplistic life? Does it then boil down to a choice of missing out now for a more simplistic life OR missing out later on the latest technology — MamaJD

Question: Are you too connected to technological gadgets?

Inside Huckleberries — 1/8/07

*E-mail from Bent re: Sunday Brand X editorial re: CEO Andrea Alexander’s resignation from the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce: “Looks like the Duane may be marking his territory, and ensuring that the PF Chamber doesn’t out pace the Cd’A Chamber in the future. Granted PF Chamber is still relatively small, but the community is facing a major expansion with Cabelas at a stateline, and the development on the old LP site by the river.”

*JimmyMAC (neener-neenering): “I switched to Direct TV on Saturday. So far so good. I have to get the hang of what channels are what but so far I am happy and will be tuning into the National Championship in a half hour. I’ve got a Time Warner subscribed friend coming over to watch as well. Haven’t disconnected my internet subscription yet however.”

*DanG (fomenting paranoia among local gummint oafishals): “We outta do one of those ‘Internet Happening’ things like they do in NYC. You know: get 200 people to show up to, say, a Highway Commission meeting. Just pack the place. No one says a word. No one testifies. Then just leave. That would Freak Them Out.”

*Priest Lake blogger Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns has a coupla front row tickets to this month’s ice-skating nationals in Spokane for sale for $600 (for both).

*From DogwalkMusings: CODA Dave is up and running - here.

*A Berry Picker reports: “Commissioners met today and elected (Rick) Currie chairman. Besides the folly of having Currie leading the pack … not sure they can do that in a non-public meeting. Their first scheduled public meeting is tomorrow, and if they had a quorum today to elect a chairman … that sounds a lot like what should be a public meeting. And you thought there’d be less juicy material when Gus left … ”

Update (from DanG): “I counted FOUR HBO regulars, including myself, at the meeting where Currie was nominated and accepted the chair. It was NOT done in secret.”

*Sam Taylor/Vandal Sense e-mailed the following after returning to western Washington this morning: “It was a wonderful trip full of fantastic fun. And then we got back to Washington, where our car was broken into — the driver’s-side window shattered and the ignition popped with, most likely, a screwdriver. They got some CDs, our emergency kit from the trunk and Kathryn’s coat. Oddly, they left my $200 Columbia jacket in the parking lot after having lit some of it on fire. So now I’m spending my first day back from vacation not doing a story on City Council, but on trying to get a window fixed so we can avoid a rainy catastrophe.”

Wait A Minute, Is That Pig Flying?

Oh my goodness, who’da thunk it,
guys with fast hands who can dunk it
and beat the big boys — yes it’s true,
it’s basketball at old Wazzoo.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Lewiston Trib: KAYU Not TW to Blame for Fiesta Snafu

Full post here

If the general manager of Spokane’s Fox television outlet thinks Time Warner cable customers deserve to know why Fox programming no longer appears on their cable system, as Jon Rand says he does, he should stop hiding behind confidentiality. KAYU/Fox 28 last month required Time Warner to stop carrying its signal without paying for it after Time Warner bought the system serving the Palouse from the bankrupt Adelphia. That left Palouse television viewers without a channel carrying Fox programming, like Boise State University’s Jan. 1 football victory in the Fiesta Bowl. Some incensed Time Warner customers, including those in the Coeur d’Alene area, are responding by swapping their cable service for satellite systems. If any party in this dispute deserves to suffer economically, however, it isn’t Time Warner — Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune.

Kellogg Bloggin’: Is Kellogg Better Off Today?

Full post here

In the comments section of Huckleberries Online a conflict flared up that involved Kellogg. It’s an old conflict and I doubt it will ever be settled. On the one hand, Kellogg is a contaminated town. The years of mining and smelting didn’t end when the Bunker Hill mine and the Lead Smelter and the Zinc Plant closed. The toxic particulates that fell to the ground and the waste that befouled the river and the toxins that invaded houses and other physical structures remain. … So, on the one side of the conflict are those who don’t see the EPA’s efforts as sufficient and who cite studies demonstrating that Kellogg is not clean. … On the other side of the conflict are those who see the recovering environment, the cleaner Cd’A River, the trees greening Kellogg’s hillsides, the gardens thriving in yards, the clean air, and are proud of the progress Kellogg has made toward becoming a place of beauty — Raymond Pert/Kellogg Bloggin’.

DFO: Do you have a half-full or half-empty view of Kellogg?

APhoto of the Day — 1/8/07

Ana Julia Torres kisses Jupiter, an African lion she rescued malnourished from a circus six years ago, at her Villa Lorena animal shelter, in Cali, Colombia, Friday. You write the cutline.(AP Photo/Inaldo Perez)

IMPEACH! Pelosi ‘Hood Wants to Dump Dubya

This photo provided by Beach Impeach Project, peace activists lay in the sand to spell out ‘IMPEACH!’ in 100-foot tall letters on San Francisco’s Ocean Beach Saturday. (AP Photo/Beach Impeach Project, John Montgomery)

Issue: ‘IMPEACH!’ is message at Nancy Pelosi beach: More than 1,000 in San Francisco spell out desire to new speaker/WorldNetDaily

Question: How would Americans react if majority Democrats in Congress tried to impeach President George Bush?

Animal Weird: Getting On w/2 Faces in Bovine World

A calf with two faces is photographed last week at Kirk Heldreth’s dairy farm in Rural Retreat, Va. The calf, which was born Dec. 27, 2006, breathes out of two noses and has two tongues, which move independently, according to Heldreth. There appears to be a single socket containing two eyes where the heads split. (AP Photo/Wytheville Enterprise Via Bristol Herald Courier, Jean Farley)

Sausser: Why Do HBOers Hide Behind Pseudonyms?

Don Sausser: Ya, DFO, quite an animal you have developed here. But I still don’t understand the need for kiddie club games of using cutesy alias’s rather than what one should be proud of - a real name. Anyway, the club has grown tremendously but with little advertising, how does the SR make a buck on this (versus newsprint) in order to pay your over-the-top salary?

JBelle: I would remind you of the very strong precedent set in American journalism by none other than Benjamin Franklin, who wrote under a series of aliases. In literature, women have taken to the comfort of pen names to ensure their family life is not rearranged negatively at the hand of their literary success. The author of Mary Poppins come to mind immediately. The graffiti on the wall so Pompei still stands today in anonymous political comment, comment that wouldn’t have otherwise been made if a slave, plebian or a women was making the comment. Finally, don’t forget one of journalism’s most shining hours was at the hand of an anonymous person, using an alias. Deep Throat bring up any memories for you? The conversation is richer, more substantive and edgier and takes away preconceptions that come with a certain name of notoriey. The conversation becomes the Main Event, rather than the people who are making the conversation.

Cis: Don, I use my real name … but if I were to comment on some of the things that happen up here in Bonner County, I have to watch what I say as it could make it rough for my husband in his job. This came to fact and luckily it wasn’t something I said close to his job … which someone asked me … aren’t you the Cis in the Huckleberry Online. Even on my blog I am held accountable for what could reflex on my husband. If I was still working, a lot of what I have said here … could have been made it very uncomfortable at my job. And I am not even close to any government type job. So if one is on the side lines of an important job, they can’t be as free with their opinion.

Online Poll: What Is Your Most Important Issue?

What issue will you be following this legislative session? — Idaho Statesman

*Water rights
*Health care
*Air quality

Wild Card/Sunday — 1/7/07

I had a great time viewing “Hairspray” in Spokane this afternoon with my wife and Amy Dearest at the Spokane Opera House. (Note to Self — make sure you get the sound track to that one.) Amy has instilled in me a love for theater with her involvement in drama at the high school and college levels and her continuing involvement in theater. I’ve seen all the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theater plays for the last 3-4 years. The Summer Theater got a little racy this year with “A Chorus Line” and “Pippin.” And it’ll continue that string with “The Full Monty” next year. I may have to skip that one. Somehow, I’m not enthused about a play that has middle-age guys flashing their wares. (Do I have the gist of the play right?). Anyway, ‘twas nice to break up winter with a Broadway touring company production. The wins by the ‘Hawks and Washington State made the day even brighter. If we stick together, we can all make it through winter. Now, for your Wild Card …

2007 Ladies of Huckleberries Online Calendar

That “great women of the blog” two items below made me wonder what a Huckleberries Online calendar might look like. All would be shot in good taste, of course. (BTW, I know I’ve forgotten key people, so my apologizes beforehand.

January — Sarah Anderson/F-Words (one of our youngest would be featured with her latest culinary concoction or at a meeting of Drinking Liberally)

February — Kristin Hoppe/Not So Fast (the shortest month deserves someone who posts are short and to the point)

March — MamaJD, Katrina, Mommy Dearest, Idaho Native, Amyrebba and their children (a tempermental month deserves supermoms who can handle anything)

April — Stebbijo (The weather in April can change on a dime, and no one has changed her blog content and appearance more than this blog favorite.)

May — JBelle (May means it’s time to prepare to recreate and nobody does that better on the blog than our Spokane globetrotter who was raised in Coeur d’Alene.)

June — Jane Q. Citizen (One of the best months of the year. One of the best femme posters of the blog)

July — Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns (North Idaho fun in July almost always has to do with the water. Pecky’s the gal holding down the blog front on Priest Lake.

August — A Token D, Toni/Calico Girls, JeanC and Christine/Cinnamon Spice (with each of these fine ladies taking a week, we should be able to get through the dog days of summer)

September — Marianne Love/Slight Detour (School start’s in September and we have a former teacher to carry the month.)

October — Trish Gannon (who can forget the condom dress that the publisher of Wading in The River Journal wore to that Halloween Party?), with a cameo appearance by Marmitetoasty (another HBO free spirit who’d get a kick outta wearing a condom dress)

November — Mari/Dogwalk Musings (Mari learned late in life that you can teach a middle-aged pup a few tricks, and she’s made a name for herself in blog world since.)

December — Cis Gors/From A Simple Mind and Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts (The grand dames of Huckleberries Online deserve the holiday season for bringing cheer and encouragement to Your Huckleberry Hound year round.)

DOTC: All In Place for Orderly Power Transition

Dan of the County: Well, lots and lots of excitement and electricity around here (Kootenai County Courthouse) with all the final preparations for the inauguration on Monday morning. There are many people on the grounds that I don’t recognize, in suits and with earpieces —- I assume Secret Service and other security people sweeping the place ahead of time. I hear here will be the traditional farewell tea with the sitting commissioners and their spouses and the incoming office holders before the 10:00 a.m. ceremony. The tea will be held in the elegant and historic Beige Room (also known as the 3rd floor employee break and copy machine room). So, after all of the sweat and toil of the candidates, billboards, robocalls, enough tinfoil used to circle the earth three times, and frenzied blog activities on the Internet it all comes down to this, an orderly and peaceful transition for the most powerful county on earth. And yes I do admit it; I still get choked up and a little misty eyed every time I hear the Official Courthouse Marine Corps Band practicing “Hail to the Clerk.” God, I do love this place!

DFO: Then, will Rich and Todd allow Spen-sah to see their county commissioner offices?

Truthseeker: Leave Hayden As It Is

Truthseeker: Why do we need to “create” something? Seems to me that there are already merchants downtown. Do we really need cobblestones and phoney gas lanterns? Do we need a Sherman Ave North? While Sherman draws elite out of state tourists and a smattering of upscale locals in the summer, the merchants groan and moan about no business in the winter. Why would an engineered little village in Hayden fare any better? Look at midtown CDA. It is emerging all on it’s own as a hub, an area of growth and vibrancy. It hasn’t been manufactured, it has evolved because enterprising merchants have made it so, without any “plan” from a city council. Someone mentioned sales tax revenue, well let WalMart do their thing and Hayden will be swimming in sales tax revenue, but I forgot — Wal*Mart isn’t all earthtone and quaint. We need to take my property tax dollars and make a quaint little place to double-park our Hummer and grab a latte, maybe have a little botox to go. … Leave Hayden as it is. Go engineer your little creation elsewhere. Not everyone in Hayden is fixated on property values and “being seen” in their designer duds.

DFO: Dunno if I agree with you, Truthseeker, but I applaud your terrific argument.

Take 5 — Or Dave Checks In w/Bits O’ Wisdom

1. “First ladies? I’ve never thought about them all that much. What makes a good first lady or President, for that matter? Perhaps they’re just all average people who find themselves thrust into extraordinary circumstances.”

2. “OOOH! OOOH! What kind of Books would be featured in the Dubya Bush Prezzidential library? I kinda think there’d be lotsa Dr. Seuss books in there.”

3. “My parents contributed for YEARS to the Bible Book Nook sign. Nothing wrong with signs like that. Especially when TV programs, political candidates and society in general can be so consistently patently offensive.”

4. “Coe guilty? And here I thought all these years that he sold tons of real estate and didn’t have time to get into trouble. All kidding aside, he is STILL dangerous.”

5. “Saddam is gone, irretrievably gone. Probably good. I think people on death row in this country should thank their lucky stars they’re not incarcerated in Iraq. Old Joke: A hanging was postponed. The guy who was gonna be hanged thot to himself, ‘no noose is good noose!’”

Parting Shot — 1/5/07

Belarusian Leonid Kulakov feeds sparrows with seeds from his tongue in Minsk, Belarus earlier today. (AP Photo/Sergei Grits)

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 1/5/07

Tom Von Alten/Fort Boise isn’t too happy with the practices of UPS/Fed-Ex of simply dropping packages at his door steps and taking off (above) — nor with big raises that Boise State coaches are about to pocket here.

*Oh no, Idawa/Word Forge has hit the blogging wall; he sez he’s going on a blog diet this year (read: posting longer piece mebbe once or twice a month) here. Ed Note: HBO’ll allow this, Idawa, as long as you continue to comment here.

*Brent Andrews/Synaptic Disunion has two words for his readers who are sick and tired of picking up dog poop: BARF (Bones And Raw Food) Diet here.

*Frank Sennett/Hard 7 opines that “Spokane’s proposed red-light cameras are a terrible idea and the City Council needs to put the brakes on before picking the pockets of drivers with this backdoor tax of dubious merit” here.

*Bearable Bob explains how he comes up with his creative ideas that leave his commenters/blurkers begging for more here.

*In an eloquent post, Toad/Synaptic Disunion explains why he doesn’t want to live in a world where men have to brave razor wire to stay alive here.

*Karl/Leaning Straight Up isn’t surprised that anti-gun activists are using the Tacoma high school shooting to lobby for gun control. He expected it, as he targets the “Gun Show Loophole Myth” here.

*Hindu/Sagebrush believes the “hanging video” will help Iraqis put Saddam behind them and get on with their struggle for sovereignty here.

Inside Huckleberries — 1/5/07

Photo/Annie Love

*Trish Gannon, the chief cook and bottle washer of The River Journal, wonders if she’s running fast enough on her media treadmill. Translation: She’s flirting with the idea of publishing The River Journal weekly rather than every other week. And she wants your input about it here.

*Ex-CDA planner Steve Badraun is staying in Tulsa Okla., for the winter with his son and daughter in law for the winter. He told Huckleberries today: “I am looking at being a management consultant in a large garden center for several years. … just time to put down a few roots again. I finished 8 months in the twin cities area running a garden center there. My work was completed in the consulting contract.”

*Posts Cis: “Annie Love is to pictures. … what her mother is to words. … Anyone who has gone to her blog of pictures leaves in awe … I think they should do a book together.” You can view Annie’s blog, All You Need Is Love, here. (Note to Self: See if Annie Love wants to become part of North Idaho/Friends blogrolls.)

*Huckleberries hears … that Gozzer Ranch decided to change its license plates rather than ordering its drivers to change their ways. Translation: the Gozzer fleet has shed those GOZZER 1-9 license plates in favor of generic Kootenai County ones.

*From Daily Briefing Thursday: “A woman called to say thank you - She found blood on her house and learned what happened through Wednesday’s Huckleberries entry.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour is popping buttons this morning because her daughter, Annie Love/All You Need Is Love, won the month’s Sandpoint in Pictures competition, sponsored by Sandpoint Online. Annie’s shot (above) featured Marianne’s horse, Miss Lilly. Brags Marianne: “Whenever the Spokesman-Review wants to call her up to take cute kid and purty scenery pictures, I’ll tell her to give you a call.”

*Debra Weland is trying to revive hubby Mike’s Kootenai Valley Press online news site in Boundary County. In announcing the revival online, she writes: “I would like anyone to email me information on gardening, recipes, anything that interests us all. I will do my best to keep you updated with breaking news, road conditions, school closures. Check it out here.

*Stefany Bales is leaving U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo’s CDA office to run Idaho branch of Pac/West Communications (a PR/govt affairs firm based in Wilsonville, Ore.) She tells Huckleberries that she’ll be operating out of her home until she finds office space.

Spen-Sah: What’s So Private re: An Empty Office?

Spen-Sah: I was at the county administration building this afternoon, and I decided to stop by the third floor offices of the now moved out commissioners offices, just to see what they looked like, as I had never been in them. Rick Currie came out and told me I could not see the empty offices, because even though they were now empty, they were “private”. I thought it odd that he was “protecting” Gus and Katie’s empty offices from being seen by a member of the public.

DFO: Yo, Spen-sah, if you’ve seen one empty commish office, you’ve seen ‘em all. On the other hand, you’re right. What’s to be protected here? Seems Rick hasn’t seen all your mass mailings around election time. Or he mighta treated you with more respect.

Craig: Hussein Hanging Justified, Not Iraq Status Quo

Full Larry Craig column here

Associated Press

History will prove that the removal, trial, and execution of Saddam Hussein was justified, and I believe it has helped lay more of the ground work for a stable and democratic Iraq. Will Saddam’s passing be a magic bullet that will quell the violence in Iraq? No, of course not. It may even be used as an excuse for extremists to commit more violence in the days and weeks to come. But it obviously removes any hope his loyalists may have had of restoring the man to power — U.S. Sen. Larry Craig, R-Idaho.

Also: Craig tells President Bush today that Idahoans are fed up with the status quo in Iraq

And: Prior to Hussein’s execution, the SR did a bit of handwringing re: how to handle unsettling photos of the event like the one above here.

Question: Do you think the coverage of Hussein’s hanging was handled tactfully by this newspaper and other media?

Online Poll: Which Sequel Worth Seeing?

This year will be the year of the sequel. Which movie are you looking forward to watching? — Idaho Statesman

*Spider-Man 3
*Shrek 3
*Oceans Thirteen
*Harry Potter

MamaJD: Prosecutor Hiring Step In Right Direction

Item: Prosecutor hires new senior deputy (second item) here

MamaJD: I think some mention should be made of Bill Douglas’ new hire of Denise Rosen. It would appear that Bill is bringing in outside, seasoned and credible talent to help minimize the disasters. This is a smart move on Bill’s part and he should be commended for making this decision. I would bet that he is making inroads to demote (or fire) Rick Baughman and promote Denise Rosen. An experienced prosecutor like Denise Rosen as a #2 will be helpful to the office and to the office image. A step in the right direction, Bill!

Joel Hazel: I agree with MamaJD on the kudos to Bill for the Denise Rosen hiring. Rosen is a very competent and experienced prosecutor. I worked for her when she was the elected prosecutor for Nez Perce County and she was a good boss and mentor. Hopefully Bill will make her Chief Deputy shortly. She will not put up with the antics that been recently reported.

Frank the Parrot and Bob the Baker: A Cautionary Tale

Frank the Parrot was one mean bird,
the loudest mouth you ever heard.
He lived with Bob the baker man,
whose butt’s the size of Pakistan.

“Ya big fat slob!” Frank used to scream,
“Ya oughta cut out all ice cream!
And drop the cakes and quit the beer!
Why fatten up your massive rear?”

“Ya need more veggies and more grains!
Just what the hell ya use for brains?
Don’t stuff your face – get out and walk!
Drag all that lard around the block!”

Poor Bob began to feel duress
but kept on eating under stress,
until one day a point was passed
and he had reached the end at last.

Now Bob’s serene as you or I,
since he baked up a parrot pie.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Eye On Boise: Butch Bows to Nat’l Grid Title Game

For years, the governor’s State of the State speech was given around mid-day, not long after the Legislature’s official convening of its session at noon. But the last few years former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne moved the big speech to an evening time slot, smack in the middle of prime time. That’s changing this year – Gov. Otter has scheduled his address to a joint session of the Legislature for 1 p.m. on Monday. His communications director, Mark Warbis, said, “I don’t know that this is entirely the reason, but I think one of the main reasons is that is the night of the national championship game for college football – and there’s much less likelihood of people watching it if we’re up against that” — Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise.

DFO: It won’t matter in North Idaho if the game’s on KAYU-TV.

Question: Good call by the new guv?

Q: Do Religious Road Side Messages Bug You?

Issue: A sermon at 65 mph: Evangelism by signs shares church message and inspires some drivers, but makes others/Bill Buley, Coeur d’Alene Press

Pro: “We want to put up text that challenges or meets the needs of the traveling public. It’s not just willy-nilly out of the Bible” — Ron Vieselmeyer/Highway Evangelism

Con: Joel Bezaire started the blog, which offers “critical analysis of critically bad church signs,” according to the Web site. He says a lot of the signs are meant to be funny but aren’t — and end up making Christianity look silly and irrelevant.

Question: The Highway Evangelism sign, of course, replaces the old Bible Book Nook one with changing messages and missing letters. Are you in favor of such religious signs along our highways and byways?

WorldNetDaily Poll: — Whattabout Pelosi?

Question: What are your thoughts on Nancy Pelosi’s election as speaker of the House?

1. She’ll make a great speaker of the House
2. Pelosi said it best – ‘It takes a woman to clean House’
3. It’s irrelevant – Democrats won the election and it’s their right to name whomever they want
4. It’s too soon to tell how she’ll do, but I wish her well
5. She will possibly be the most annoying speaker in our lifetime
6. She’s a 2-faced, manipulative ultra-liberal who could do great harm to the nation
7. I’m not worried – the Democrats will thwart her excesses and politics-as-usual will triumph
8. It terrifies me that she’s just two heartbeats away from the presidency
9. Maybe, now, President Bush will use his veto pen
10. Other

DFO: No. 7

For the complete WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

Parting Shot — 1/4/07

Declan Plummer, 5, shoots baskets on a sunny Sunday by Memorial Field in Sandpoint. (AP Photo/Bonner County Daily, Eric Plummer)

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — Name That Band

The Otis has posted his newest soon-to-be-a-hit single “Beer Run” on his myspace page. Check it out. And then come back here and suggest a new name for the band comprised of two out of three original members of Coeur d’Alene’s pop-punk original, Yer-A-Nation. If your band name is selected, The Otis is offering a role in the upcoming music video and a free copy of the finished CD — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 here.

And now a word from The Blogger Formerly Known As CodaDave (who soon’ll be online again): “I jammed with people until 1am this morning, and we played all the songs we could think of. I stepped down from the stage for a while to get something to drink; someone else got up and played my guitar, and another guitar player, and a drummer joined him. They began a long jazz-fusion type of jam. So what did I do? I picked up the Bass, and began playing that, and I’m not a bass player! But it was fun, gave me a chance to be creative in another way. I’m meeting some really nice people down here.”

*Bill McCrory/Whitecaps takes the SR to task for ignoring alleged Open Meeting law violations by the City Council and Lake City Development Corp. in naming Her Sandiness as its government “citizen of the year” here.

*Katrina/Notes on a Napkin confesses that she — unlike any of the rest of us — has always suffered from Foot-In-Mouth Disease here.

*Cis/From A Simple Mind isn’t worried about the preview she got of Retirement Husband (when he was off four days in a row for the holidays) because she has a years-worth of honey-dos waiting for him here.

*”I started to do some New Year cleaning and housekeeping yesterday. Part of that job is to “clean out the crap,” or go through a much of my stuff as possible and throw out the stuff I no longer need. This is not as easy as it sounds” — Dan Gookin/Wambooli Lunch here.

*Stebbijo has completed 5 days of the Beyonce fast, and only cheated once as she ates some cashews and a mouthful of pizza here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour, a UI Vandal through and through, reports that she got vandalized for posting a comment applauding Boise State’s wunnerful Fiesta Bowl win here.

Meanwhile, “Sweet Herb” recalls the opening of Highway 54 access to Bayview here, Raymond Pert revels in the beauty of Eastern Washington here, Family Phil reviews 2006 here, Amyrebba’s provides her 2007 resolutions here, Trish is doing 150 ab-busters per day here, JeanC’s about to take the Xmas tree down here, and Dr. Jim has flu on his mind here.

UI Reacts to Cheerleader’s Death in AM Crash

The following statements from the University of Idaho express our sadness at the death of University of Idaho student Angelina Cabrera, who died in a car accident this morning:

“The loss of a young life profoundly affects us all. I and the university community extend our deepest sympathies to Angelina Cabrera’s family and friends. Our community is diminished by her death” — UI President Timothy White.


“We are so saddened by the loss of Angelina Cabrera today. Our deepest sympathies are with her family at this time. Angelina’s spirit and outlook and her very active participation in the university’s community life, including her work on the Spirit Squad cheerleading team, make her loss widely and deeply felt. Our thoughts are also with Katelyn Dillon and her family as she recovers from the accident. The University of Idaho has notified staff in the university residence halls with this sad news. We are also making grief counseling available to students, including residence hall mates and the Spirit Squad team” — Dean of Students Bruce Pitman, Dean of Students.


“We are profoundly saddened by Angelina’s death. Her energy and enthusiasm made her a vital member of the spirit squad. She will be missed tremendously” — Ashley Coker, Spirit Squad Coordinator

Faces of the Nation …

… Be Afraid Republicans, Be Very Afraid

Newly elected Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, is sworn in surrounded by the children and grandchildren of members of Congress, in the U.S. Capitol in Washington today. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

… Mitt Launches 2008 Prez Race

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks to reporters as he arrives to officially open the new headquarters of his presidential exploratory committee in Boston’s North End today. (AP Photo/Josh Reynolds)

… Swearing on a stack of Quran

Rep. Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress, places his hand on the Quran once owned by Thomas Jefferson as his wife Kim Ellison holds the two-volume book during his swearing in ceremony today at the U.S. Capitol in Washington. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

Breaking! Spokane Diocese settlement reached

Issue: Diocese settlement reached/John Stucke & Virginia de Leon, Spokesman-Review

More Info: A $48 million settlement to end the Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy has been filed. The plan - which calls on parishes to raise $10 million - is a major breakthrough in a case now in its third year. A federal mediator announced the settlement, calling it a fair resolution for more than 100 people who were sexually abused by priests in Eastern Washington. It’s also designed to ensure that the diocese can continue its ministry.

Question: Has the struggles of the Catholic Church in dealing with sex-predator priests affected your view of that particular faith?

Extra! UI Cheerleader Killed, 2nd Hurt in I-84 Crash

Two Vandal cheerleaders were involved in a deadly crash on I-84 in Payette County this morning. Angelina Cabrera (back row, 2nd from left) died in the accident. Katelyn Dillon (just to the right of Joe Vandal) was hospitalized after the crash here/University of Idaho photo.

Hat Tip: Family Phil

SR Digs Out More Info on Baughman Case

Item: Baughman investigator revealed: Former Garden City councilwoman conducting sexual harassment probe/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

DFO: Seems Kootenai County’s default position is to cover up, refuse to reveal public information, and go to court to fight disclosures. All this, and county officials will look you in the eye and claim they’re public servants. You simply couldn’t get away with this kind of behavior in the private sector. Baughman would be long gone. Ditto Prosecutor Bill Douglas. And probably a whole lot more of our courthouse “public servants.”

Online Poll: Bible Only? Other Sources?

Rep.-elect Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to Congress, will take his oath of office using the Quran. Critics have argued that only a Bible should be used for swearing-in. What do you think should be used? — Idaho Statesman

*Bible only
*Other sources
*No opinion

APhoto of the Day — 1/4/07

Some of the best sound bites of 2006 came from these mouths. Clockwise from upper left: Katie Couric, White House Press Secretary Tony Snow, House Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. John Bolton. You write the cutline. (AP Photo Illustration/Hillary Rhodes)

Quotable Quote

SR story re: Time Warner subscribers switching to satellite en masse here

We were lucky enough to have gone to the Time Warner studio to pick up the switch and rabbit ears so that we could watch the Boise State game. … The overall experience was so pitiful, however, that my husband is more than considering dropping Time Warner and switching to whatever service out there that will actually give us some service. We are sports fanatics and refuse to go to all the hassle anytime we want to watch a (now fuzzy) broadcast on Fox

Gay Glasson

Wondering: That Ain’t Art in this Beholder’s Eye

Wondering: Oh good grief, I’m no artist and I could make that thing from trash refuse. And what would the taxpayers be shelling out for that? P.T. Barnum was right. This reminds me of the Emperors New Clothes. Not art, a joke. But nobody wants to say that for fear of being considered an artistic philistine.

DFO: Wondering’s commenting about one of the five finalist pieces being considered for the interior art of the new Coeur d’Alene Library. HBO published it yesterday here. Another finalist, “Enchanted Readers” by Kendra Fleischman, is shown above.

Ryan Hill: Fox Sports to Show Fiesta Bowl Tonight?

Ryan Hill: For those of you who missed the BSU-OU game, FSN (which I believe is available on your cable system) is replaying it tomorrow at 9:30 pacific. The game will also be available via the Internet on several leading digital download sites. Fans can access the downloads by visiting FOX Sports on MSN (, Fox Interactive Media’s Direct2Drive (, Apple’s iTunes, Amazon’s Unbox, AOL Video, CinemaNow and Instant Media.

DFO: I haven’t verified if the game can be seen on Fox Sports in North Idaho tonight. But I do know that you can see it on the Internet for $2.99 here.

Parting Shot — 1/3/07

Dozens of Canada geese gather for a long winters’ nap at the point on NIC beach/Kerri Thoreson,

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 1/3/07

This trio of sparrows enjoy their own version of the Polar Bear Plunge in a backyard birdbath/Kerri Thoreson,

*Pickaxe Pete/The Bodie Specter provides video of Saddam Hussein’s hanging (which includes “the drop” and a blurred shot of the ex-dictator’s face afterward) here.

*”Nothing is more forced sounding than ruminating about the new year. At least, it sounds that way to me sometimes. Still, I suppose it must be done in order to wipe away the foggy old, so that the clarity of the new can glisten on our newly bought souls” — Toadman/Synaptic Disunion here.

*TUBOB/Unbearable Bobness of Being talks about the swell novel by Cormac McCarthy, “The Road,” and his pending career change here.

*Sara Anderson/F-Words had never eaten spaghetti and meatballs until a year ago — and now she’s prepared her first S&M dish (with photos to prove it) here.

*While racism no longer is tolerated in 21st century USA, sez Tom Forbes/Palousitics, classicism is alive and well here.

*Julie Fanselow/Red State Rebels sez another “rock star” is coming to campus to join the Boise State Broncos — Al Gore — and the tickets are going fast here. And she introduces a new blog dedicated to documenting conditions on the Boise bus transit system here.

Meanwhile, Bubblehead makes his 2007 predictions here, Hindu opines that Hillary needs a southerner rather than “lightweight Obama” to win the presidency in 2008 here, Brent is reading nonstop about China here and here, Karl isn’t surprised that celebs are vain and worthless here, Southwark Lad tells of his tour of London, Rome and Positano with JBelle and Portland Pup here.

Possible Interior Art Design for New CDA Library

Five proposals for interior art for the main entrance of the new Coeur d’Alene Public Library (including “Kinetic Sculpture” by Tim Prentice above) are on display at the current library, 201 E. Harrison Ave. The public is invited to comment on the proposals. The exterior art was approved by the City Council Tuesday: a stone fountain titled “Horizon” artist Mark Stasz of Bellview, Idaho. The five interior proposals are “Enchanted Readers” by Kendra Fleischman, “Four Seasons” by Markian Olynyk, “Kinetic Sculpture” by Tim Prentice, “On Wings of Books” by Howard Kalish, and “Quaking Leaves” by Koryn Rolstad. Ranks ‘07 Fiesta Bowl …

… as 4th greatest bowl game ever here. (Only 2006 Rose Bowl, 2003 Fiesta Bowl and 1984 Orange Bowl better)

Bronco RB Johnson, New Fiance Tour Big Apple

Boise State’s star running back Ian Johnson and his fiance, Broncos cheerleader Chrissy Popadics, pose for photos in New York’s Robert Wagner Park with the Statue of Liberty as a backdrop earlier today. Moments after the sophomore running back raced to the end zone for the game-winning, 2-point conversion in Monday’s Fiesta Bowl, Johnson popped the question to his girlfriend on the field. They appeared on Good Morning America today here./AP Photo (Related: Chrissy waited a month for Ian’s proposal)

Brand X: Burke’s Tenure Full of Accomplishments

Story here, full post here

Michael Burke announced Tuesday that he’s resigning from North Idaho College, where he has served as president since June 1998. We think he can look in the mirror and say, “I’m leaving this place better than it was when I first came here.” And that’s about the best any of us can hope to say when it’s our time to move on. Dr. Burke is leaving to become president of San Jose City College in northern California, an institution with more than twice NIC’s full-time student population. Officials there obviously saw a diligent, resourceful leader whose strengths matched their needs. We’ve been critical of some aspects of Burke’s tenure here, but we would be seriously remiss if we did not also recognize his assets. And they’re substantial/Coeur d’Alene Press.

Question: Agree with editorial? Disagree?

Extra! Tacoma Student Killed in Shooting

A student was shot to death at his high school as classes about to start this morning, and police were searching for the gunman, officials said. The student’s age and details of the 7:30 a.m. shooting at Foss High School were not immediately released, but police spokesman Mark Fulghum said no one else was believed to be injured. He said police were trying to determine what prompted the attack. The suspect was believed to be another student, and school district spokeswoman Peggy Holmgren said there were witnesses to the attack. (Full report here)

Cis: Another child killed, at school in Tacoma this morning … When does it end? Even after a 12 day cool off of vacation this person felt they had to come to school and kill … I still think my idea of starting in 2 or 3 grade of classes of anger management and how to compromise and kept it going every other year until they graduate from high school. … What causes this? It wasn’t going on when I was in high school.. (no this isn’t one of those when I was young, everything was perfect) … what is it about the times that has brought killing in schools?

Pro/Con: The Execution of Saddam Hussein

Warning: You can find a cell phone photo of the execution in Comments section.

Pro: Saddam’s Just Deserts/Cal Thomas, RealClearPolitics

One of Saddam’s lawyers, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, appeared on the BBC shortly after Saddam’s hanging was confirmed, complaining the trial was a “travesty.” No, the travesty would have been in not trying and executing Saddam. Saddam mocked the innocent lives he took, showing disrespect to the relatives of the dead who had a valid claim to see justice done.

Con: A regrettable rush to execution/Peter W. Galbraith/Boston Globe

Saddam’s execution meant there would be no accounting for his other crimes: the destruction of the marshes and the Marsh Arabs in the 1990s, the murder of tens of thousands of Shi’ites in the aftermath of the 1991 uprising, the killing of 8,000 members of the Barzani clan in 1983, the 1990 invasion of Kuwait, and the murder of tens of thousands in various purges over his decades in power.

Question: Did Iraq carry out Saddam Hussein’s execution too quickly?

Wondering: Flu Bug Comes Home to Roost

Wondering: About that flu bug … no fun. I feel like death and sound worse. Don’t even want to mention how I look. What a New Year … whoopeee … cough, snort, sneeze, croak.

DFO: My nephews and son brought the bug into my house, and my wife caught it. I spent New Year’s Eve looking for Sudafed. (Found it behind the counter at Albertson’s.) However, I’ve escaped the bug so far and am wondering if that shot I received this year, around Halloween, had anything to do with my current state of good health? I don’t believe it’s a coincidence because I’ve caught everything that’s come around for the previous 2-3 years.

Question: Have you been sick this fall/winter?

Online Poll: What Annoys You Most: Spam, Junk Mail?

Which annoys you more? — Seattle P-I

*E-mail spam
*Paper-based junk mail
*Both equally annoying
*Not annoyed by either

DFO: E-mail spam, hands down

Parting Shot — 1/2/07

Boise State football coach Chris Petersen uses a bullhorn to address fans after arriving with his team at the university in downtown Boise, Idaho, Tuesday afternoon. Petersen also holds a plaque with a key to the city given to him by Boise Mayor Dave Beiter. Boise State defeated Oklahoma Monday in the Fiesta Bowl. (AP Photo/Troy Maben)

For those keeping score at home, AP photographer Troy Maben is the cousin of SRegional Editor Scott Maben.

Question: Will Coach Chris Peterson get a job-he-can’t-refuse off this offseason?

Huckleberries Best of the Local Blogs — 1/2/07

Ailing, Family Phil rang in the New Year by taking his kids to Spokane for Kids Night Out here.

*HBO thoroughly approves of the New Year’s resolution embraced by OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy - “to keep this blog updated on a more regular basis and at least put something up everyday, whether it’s a random photo, a pointless story, a music or restaurant review, an oddball mp3, etc.” here.

*Katrina/Notes on a Napkin resolves, among other things, “to stop overusing parentheses (but I’m not promising anything. I’m only human, after all)” here.

*Mari/Dogwalk Musings muses that the death of former President Gerald Ford will have served a higher purpose if it pulls this divided country together here.

*Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns warns that a winter storm warning will be in effect at Priest River and the northernmost panhandle until midnight today here and provides a Hill’s Resort web cam here.

*Bayview Herb is trying to come to grips with being called “Sweet Herb” by an anonymous Huckleberries Online poster and explains how he got his first name here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour is crowing for all of Idaho, including those who became part of Bronco Nation as a result of that Statue of Liberty play to decide the Fiesta Bowl here.

Wow, Backwoods Bob has redesigned Stebbijo’s Place, and it looks terrific. Check it out here.

Meanwhile, Cis doesn’t think much of pay raises for congressmen and federal judges here, Frum Helen Back suffers a tropical heat wave here, JeanC tries out a new rifle here, Raymond Pert provides a photographic tour of Kellogg here, and DanG provides Dan’s Computer Predictions for 2007 here.

Baby New Year Welcomes KMC Newcomer

Kahlei Brown poses for a photograph with her mother Cassandra Brown (cq)of Coeur d’Alene at Kootenai Medical Center in Coeur d’Alene on Monday. She is the first baby of the New Year born at KMC/Kathy Plonka, Spokesman-Review.

Breaking! NIC’s Burke Accepts California Post

Michael L. Burke, the president of North Idaho College since June 1998, is resigning to become president of San Jose City College (a community college with an enrollment of approximately 10,000 students). He will begin work in San Jose, Calif., in March. The NIC Board of Trustees and Burke have begun development of a transition plan. Burke will remain at NIC for several weeks before departing. Developing …

Question: How would you rate Michael Burke’s performance as the NIC prez?

Gerald Ford, 93, 38th President, RIP

President Bush escorts former first lady Betty Ford from the Washington National Cathedral in Washington today during a State Funeral service for her husband, former President Gerrald R. Ford here. (APPhoto/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

Digger: Ford was a great man who restored honor and dignity to the United States Presidency and helped heal a nation after Watergate and Vietnam. He deserves no less than our respect, espically during his time of mourning for his funeral and burial.

James Bond: I love Democrat revisionist history. I don’t recall any Democrats supporting Ford in 1976, when he lost to Jimmy Carter. Democrats love to deify single-term Republican presidents. Back then, they vilified him for pardoning Nixon and being a part of the Nixon Administration. Now, they give him Profiles in Courage Awards and shower him with their crocodile tears. What vicious, bloodthirsty bastards Democrats are! So predictable.

Question: What do you think of President Gerald Ford?

Question: Do You Want A Hayden Wal*Mart?

Issue: Wal-Mart revives plans: Action resumes on seeking Hayden supercenter/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

More Info: In the first official movement in nearly three years, Wal-Mart has asked the state for permits to start work on improvements to U.S. Highway 95 and Honeysuckle Avenue for a supercenter in Hayden. Yet the city is still waiting for the world’s largest retailer to provide a revised site plan and building permit application for the proposed 195,000-square-foot store, which has sparked controversy among residents.

Related (via Orbusmax): Judge tosses Wal*Mart building permit in Chelan.

Question: Would you like to see a Hayden Wal*Mart?

SR Picks Bloem As Government Official of Year

Full editorial here

When Sandi Bloem ran for mayor of Coeur d’Alene in 2001, she collected three out of every four votes. Four years later, she duplicated that feat in winning re-election. The Lake City obviously likes a leader who follows through on campaign rhetoric. As a candidate five years ago, she said: “My strength is building consensus and seeing things get done. That drives me.” So what’s gotten done? Well, downtown has snapped out its slump with a modern skyline of condominiums and businesses. Exciting, mixed-used developments have sprung up along former mill sites on the Spokane River. North Idaho College, the University of Idaho and Lewis-Clark State College have teamed up to form a higher education corridor that will help plant the seeds for an even healthier future in the region. In 2006, a city that has long been trolling for a community center landed a whopper in the Kroc Community Center, which will be built near Ramsey Park. And a $15 million upgrade to the wastewater plant was completed. Bloem didn’t single-handedly produce these stunning developments, but she took the lead in bringing people together to work toward common goals. Bloem’s lack of ego has made her the perfect mayor for Coeur d’Alene during a time of rapid changes.

Question: Do you agree/disagree with our selection?

Nappi: I Resolve Not to Worry About Certain Things

Full post here

When young people tell me they want to be reporters when they grow up, I ask: “Do you worry a lot?” If they answer yes, it’s a good sign. To worry is to care. And journalists must care about the communities they cover. Tomorrow, many of you will make New Year’s resolutions. Behind every resolution is a worry. This year, I’m making a list of “inverse resolutions.” In other words, a list of the things I will no longer worry about, including: Finding a job, dying from a sensationalized illness, not hanging out at MySpace or YouTube, etc./Rebecca Nappi, Spokesman Review.

Question: Becky has resolved not to worry about certain things. Did you make a New Year’s resolution?

Question re: A Day Off to Honor President Ford

Issue: Seems a whole bunch of government offices will be closed today to, ahem, “honor” former President Gerald Ford. These include: Spokane Regional Health District offices,Spokane Valley City Hall, most federal government offices and courts will be closed. Also, there will be no regular mail delivery or retail services at post offices.

DFO: C’mon, government workers get a day off to “honor” a fill-in president who served 30 years ago? Sounds like a nice gig if you can get it.

Question: Should federal workers get a day off to honor President Ford?

Jesse Tinsley: A Good Way to Welcome New Year

Jesse Tinsley: My family had a great time at First Night in Spokane. For the second year in a row we got a hotel room in town so we could hit the sack right after midnight fireworks. We had our two small children so the highlights for us are what fascinated them, including the medieval knights whacking each other with sticks, Kung Fu demonstrations, eating out, ice carvings (which they lit on fire with various flammable liquids) and participating in contra dancing.

DFO: I rang in the New Year quietly, by running to the store for Sudafed to help relieve the horrible head cold my son gave my wife over the holidays. She was in bed by midnight. I was on the computer. My daughter was watching a video. When I noticed it was midnight, I kissed Amy Dearest and wished her a Happy New York.

Question: How did you welcome in the New Year?

Marianne Love: We’re All Bronco Fans Today

Gutsy Broncos dip into bag of tricks to pull off a stunner/Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman

Marianne Love: I’m sure virtually every potatohead in Idaho has turned into a Bronco this morning. What a wonderful happening for our state! (Full post here)

DFO: We’ll have to check with our good friend Family Phil to see if we’re all Boise State fans today. But I’d guess that 99% of Idaho is. Go Broncos.

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About this blog

D.F. Oliveria is a columnist and blogger for The Spokesman-Review. Print Huckleberries is a past winner of the Herb Caen Memorial Column contest by the National Association of Newspaper Columnists. The Readership Institute of Northwestern University cited this blog as a good example of online community journalism.

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