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Huckleberries Online

Archive for June 2007

No Zags: Endorsements, Editorials Are Relics from the Past

No Zags: Candidate endorsement is one of the most antiquated and soon-to-be-extinct functions of the newspaper industry. In a world where anybody can publish any opinion they want and anyone can read it, it seems pretty silly that the “wise old minds” of an editorial board still feel the need to put a newspaper’s stamp of approval on a political position. Endorsements are relics of the old-journalism past, as are editorials.

Question: I’m curious about the last sentence of No Zags’ comment. Are editorials, indeed, relics. Or are the still important contributions to the public dialogue — and help form community opinion?

Question: Should 4th of July Gun Noise Be Banned?

A military command vehicle with a mock machine gun mounted on the passenger side will be allowed in Coeur d’Alene’s Fourth of July parade Wednesday. But the loud prop gun, which thrilled and startled parade watchers last year, is to remain silent. A close replica of U.S. Army Gen. George Patton’s command vehicle in World War II, the entry appeared in last year’s parade firing thunderous bursts from the theatrical 50-caliber M-4. The owner, retired Army Reserve Brig. Gen. Bob Brooke, of Hayden, stood stiffly in the Jeep dressed as Old Blood and Guts himself, accompanied by state Sen. Mike Jorgenson, R-Hayden Lake, and two other friends.

Ron G. Johnson/Rathdrum: “This is the Fourth of July, and freedom was won with guns that made noise, and I don’t see any reason why we can’t do that in the parade.”

DFO: Mayor Sandi Bloem and the chamber made a good call. There’s no reason for a parade entry to spoil this celebration b/c a coupla middle-agers want to shoot off their own version of fireworks along the route.

Question: Do you support the chamber’s decision to allow the Patton command vehicle replica but not the noise from the 50-calibre gun?

My 2 Cents — Taking Stock Again

Blogmeister Jeff Bunch and I had an hour-long discussion about the Spokesman-Review blogosphere Friday afternoon. Jeff traveled to Coeur d’Alene to pick my brain re: the things we’ve done to make HBO a success during its nearly 3 1/2 years in North Idaho. I gave him a brief history re: how I was able to survive the first year simply because I pledged to keep at it at least that long. Often, I was convinced that I would quit when I reached the end of the year because blogging was so difficult at first. It’s hard to keep going if you’re not growing the blog. It’s also time-consuming. Many times I asked myself if the effort was worth the small amount of page-views in those early days. Cis Gors, as you may know by now, goaded me into staying the course every time I felt like quitting.

I believe this blog has grown to the point it is now by offering regular topics throughout the day, by interacting with other bloggers and commenters, by interacting between the blog and my newspaper work, and by trying new things and discarding ones that don’t work. I’m thrilled that so many of you in the North Idaho blogosphere check in regularly here and have celebrated blogiversaries. I don’t know if there are too many other blogging communities like the one we’ve built here.

Ryan Pitts and Gina Boysun of our online team are receiving training as we speak to build a new and improved online system for bloggers. I asked Blogmeister Jeff to make sure that the new software has a coupla things you’ve been scuh-reaming about: a preview button and a search engine. Also, Jeff announced his intention to arm me with a video software and equipment, so I can do some live blogging with video during the City Council elections this fall — and, who knows, mebbe from the North Idaho Fair. It might be a hoot to spend a full day out there, blogging and interacting. I’ve become a bit to office bound again.

On Friday, Betsy Russell and I talked on the phone about working closer together to promote each other’s blogs. She doesn’t want to add a comment feature to her blog b/c it triggers more interaction, as well as headaches. So we decided that I would post more of her material out front and she would point her readers to visit Huckleberries if they wanted to comment on a story. I also told her that I would like to interact more with bloggers in other parts of the state and incorporate that into what we have here. We’ll be test-driving this approach for the rest of the summer.

Your suggestions are always welcome re: how we can improve Huckleberries Online. Anyone involved in blogging knows that you can’t stay static. We’ve come a long ways. We have many challenges ahead. That’s why the blogosphere remains interesting and my job challenging. Thanks for being part of the adventure.

Smart Bombs: Merchants Should Separate Sales, Marketing

At what point will it be so ridiculously convoluted to hand merchants money that consumers will revolt? I can remember taking a product to a cashier, handing over some method of payment and leaving. Those were the days. Now, we’re asked a growing number of questions as clerks punch in dozens of data points. “Do you have our preferred card? Can I have your phone number? Is there another number that might work? Do you want our card? What’s your ZIP code? Debit or credit? You can swipe your card now. No, the other way. No, the other way. I’ll just punch it in over here. Do you have another card? My computer screen is frozen, can you wait? I need to start over. What’s your phone number? What’s your ZIP code?” Then after you’ve run the gantlet of questions, they tell you how much money you’ve saved. Of course, they don’t add back the time you’ve spent being debriefed or watching them fumble around because they weren’t properly trained or their computers were outdated or upgraded. None of this is the fault of clerks. They’re just doing their jobs. The fault lies with managers who’ve decided to do inventory and marketing on your time — Gary Crooks/Smart Bombs.

Full column here

Question: What annoys you most about running your purchases through a checkout stand?

HBOer Angel Survives 3-Car Crash, Suffers Whiplash

Angel: I was in this accident. It involved a nissan, a ford explorer, a geo tracker and a mini-van. The tracker flipped and hit the van (which we were riding in). The driver of the tracker (which rolled over) crawled out the passenger side window and walked to the opposite side of the road, he was taken to the hospital for evaluation. The driver of the explorer was very depressed about the accident, the driver of the nissan and her passengers (two teen girls and a teen boy) were upset as well. No idea who caused the accident due to the fact that everyone was hitting their brakes pretty hard. The passengers of the mini van 7 in all (myself included) have whiplash and minor cuts and bruises.

DFO: Huckleberries Online first reported this accident, off the police scanner, at 11:32 a.m. Thursday here. I appreciate Angel’s update — and that she’s all right. Indeed, online community journalism adds a dimension that the dead-tree media rarely ever does: eyewitness reports from survivors of what would be dismissed as “minor” accidents. When you’re involved, there are no minor accidents.

Parting Shot — 6/29/07

M. Spencer Green/AP Photo

People stand outside the Apple Store on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue today, waiting to get in to purchase the company’s new iPhone during the official launch day. After six months of hype people were finally going to get their hands on the gadget that combines the functions of a cell phone, iPod media player and wireless Web browser.

Question: Do you plan to purchase an Apple iPhone in the next week?

TGIF PM Storm …

… scanner traffic is reporting that trees are down all over town as a result of the hailstorm that we’re experiencing. Stay tuned.

6:06 p.m., two people involved in a non-injury accident on Highway 95 are fighting in the parking lot of Petco.

5:56 p.m., traffic lights at 54 and 95 aren’t working.

5:55 p.m., Shoshone County reports that the storm has missed it.

5:53 p.m., downed power line has female trapped in car (possibly on Hauser Lake Road). Update: Northern Lights Fire Department reports it has gotten female out of female.

5:50 p.m., Bonner County hard hit by storm, too. Dispatchers say they’re overwhelmed by emergency calls.

5:46 p.m., Bayview Herb reports that no one was hit by a tree at Thimbleberry Campground. He drove by there on the way home from Bayview. Also, he said, power is out in Bayview.

5:45 p.m., large tree in the middle of the road blocking approach to the Fernan Boat Launch.

5:39 p.m., tree on fire in back yard at 4775 N. Troy St. (cross street Marguerite)

5:35 p.m., tree down on house and on fire at 4995 Ezy St.

5:29 p.m., sailboat in distress on Lake Pend Oreille — white boat with orange-and-yellow sale. Update: Sheriff sez it’ll be an hour before units can get to the boat launch.

5:21 p.m., downed trees, power lines and transformers have closed off East Hayden Lake Road.

Elk Rancher V. Risch for Craig Seat in ‘08?

Controversial eastern Idaho elk rancher Rex Rammell says he’ll announce on Tuesday that he’s going to run for the U.S. Senate – Larry Craig’s seat, to be exact. “Guess who is my likely opponent? Jim Risch,” he chortled over the phone. “We’re gonna go head-to-head in the primary.” Risch, a Republican, has said he’ll run for the seat if Craig decides not to seek re-election. Democrat Larry LaRocco – who faced off with Risch in this year’s lieutenant governor race – also is running — Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise.

Complete post here

Question: Why is Craig taking so long to announce his re-election intentions?

Ex-North Idaho Gal Swings Budget Ax in Alaska

Al Grillo/AP Photo

Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin signs one of the three budget bills into law in Anchorage today. Palin cut more than a quarter billion dollars from the $1.8 billion capital budget the Legislature sent to her. Palin was born in Sandpoint and later attended North Idaho College and University of Idaho.

Question: Do you wish Idaho governors spent more time swinging a budget ax rather than simply talking about doing so?

Q: What Would You Say to A Naked Person?

Remember that old movie, “What Would You Say to a Naked Lady”? Well, intern Melissa Pamer (who has a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Southern California) will be traveling to the Worley area Monday to check out a new nudist camp, Sun Meadow Resort. As a good journalist, Melissa is preparing a list of questions now. Mebbe you can help here:

Question: If you were a reporter, what would be the first question you would ask a Sun Meadow Resort camper?

Eye On Boise: LaRocco Works Rehab Shift

Larry LaRocco, Democratic candidate for the U.S. Senate, started a shift at Pocatello’s Beacon Hospital and Rehabilitation this morning at 6, as part of his “Working for Senate” campaign. It’s the second job he’s putting in a stint at as part of his unusual campaign this year; his first was two weeks ago, when he worked a shift hauling garbage in Orofino. Here’s LaRocco’s explanation: “I believe it’s important as a candidate for the U.S. Senate to listen and learn from working Idahoans who are under tremendous pressure to educate their children, plan for retirement, pay for health care, and cope with rising property taxes. I will continue to work throughout Idaho in the next 16 months of this campaign. You will see me in your community working side-by-side with your neighbors” — Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise.

Question: Which job should LaRocco due when he gets to your community?

Federal Way Dog Registers to Vote

Thomas James Hurst/AP Photo, Seattle Times

Jane Balogh is shown this week in Federal Way, Wash., with her dog Duncan. Balogh signed up the dog to vote in protest of a 2005 state voter-registration law she thinks makes it too easy for noncitizens to vote. She used a paw print to mark ballots on Duncan’s behalf.

Editorial by Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune here

DFO: In most parts of North Idaho, Republicans could run a dog like Duncan for political office and win. Not all parts. Sharon Culbreth proved that when she tried to unseat Demo incumbent George Sayler in a Coeur d’Alene House race last fall. So, here’ my question:

Question: If Duncan ran as a Republican in the Bright Red Post Falls or Hayden areas, what percentage of the vote would he pull down?

Editor Smith: Murdock/WSJ Merger Concerns SR

Item: Wall Street Journal reporters skip work to protest possible sale to Murdoch/Seattle P-I

The Murdoch saga is hotter news in the East where his profile – and growing political influence – is greatest. But it’s also a good example of the integrated media landscape in which we all operate. At The Spokesman-Review, we purchase a special Sunday-only package from the Journal. It runs in the Business section and really gives us some depth on an important day. If the editorial integrity of the Journal is called into question because of Murdoch’s impact, we would have to reconsider that content. Dropping the WSJ package wouldn’t hurt Murdoch or amount to much of a protest. Igt would hurt our newspaper and our readers who have come to appreciate the Journal’s Sunday content. I don’t know what will happen, but promise we’ll keep a close eye on developments. Meanwhile, Wall Street Journal reporters and editors refused to come to work this morning to protest the pending sale. They were to be back on the job this afternoon — Steve Smith/News Is A Conversation.

Full post here

Question: What do you think of Murdoch and the possible sale? Do these East Coast media tizzies have any impact on you at all?

BrodH20: House-keeping for Slackers

But the very best thing about (Mary Ellen’s Guide to Good Enough Housekeeping) is she has tips for slacker-ass housekeepers like me who are spent by the time they get home from work at night and have absolutely no energy or interest in cleaning anything at all. She has tips for cleaning up the entire house in minutes flat when company arrives unexpectedly. I was surprised, though, to discover that most of my “cleaning” secrets weren’t in Mary Ellen’s book. So I’m putting them down here. Maybe Mary Ellen will see this and put my tips in her next book and she’ll give me a share of Mary Ellen stock and I’ll get rich and retire young — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20.

Question: Are you a decent house-keeper? Or do you have your own secrets for making things look cleaner than they are?

Online Poll: What Is Prominent in Your Garden?

What is prominent in your garden? — Idaho Statesman.

*Don’t have garden

DFO: My garden majors in flowers, minors in vegetables.

Thilo: UI Sandpoint Branch “Going to Happen”

Item: UI Sandpoint site is ‘going to happen’: State approval is final hurdle before construction begins/Meghann M. Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

Sue Thilo/Idaho Board of Education: “It’s going to happen.”

DFO: I wish the board was as enthusiastic with an equally exciting North Idaho project, the education corridor.

Question: What will a UIdaho branch campus mean for Sandpoint?

Hat Tip — Midge Smock

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Midge Smock, shown above in her Windermere/CDA office, has led fund-raising efforts to build a house for murder/kidnap survivor Shasta Groene and her father, Steve. Work crews are putting the finishing touches on the house this week. The house is being built entirely by local volunteers and donations. The keys will be handed over to the Groenes next week. You can read where things stand here. Meanwhile, you can join Huckleberries Online in giving Midge an acknowledge she richly deserves: Saaalute.

BrodH20: Not Sure What 10th Reunion Will Bring

Taryn Brodwater: Lakeland High’s Class of 97 is coming up July 28-29. We’re at Curley’s on Saturday and then Rathdrum City Park for a family BBQ the next day. The Otis ran into a friend of his some time ago who ended up marrying one of my Lakeland classmates. She was still irked (10 years later) about an article I wrote for the school paper and won’t let her husband hang out with Otis anymore. Hopefully the rest of the class has forgotten my antics as a high school journalist … I guess we’ll find out.

DFO: I was reading through my old yearbooks a few months back. I was struck by several comments that basically said: “Why were you always causing trouble in the school newspaper?” I guess some of us were born with ink in our veins, Taryn. If your classmate — or any other classmate — gives you trouble at the reunion as a result of something your wrote 10 years ago … burn ‘em on your blog.

Gone Wi-Fi Interviews Vet Leader Rohrscheib

DFO: Did you ever meet Pappy Boyington?
BR: I never had the pleasure.

DFO: But you did talk to the actor, Robert Conrad, who played him in a 1970s TV series?
BR: Yes. He had some good stories to tell about Pappy.

DFO: How important is it to remember military heroes like Boyington in this manner?
BR: I don’t think remembering heroes is a problem for veterans, but I do think it is a problem for the general population and especially the younger generation.

DFO: Why?
BR: They need to be reminded of the sacrifices that have been made so they can live the type of life we live today.

More here

Question: Do you think the field at the county airport should be named after local World War II hero Pappy Boyington?

P.S.: Colorado (Hearts) CDA — 6/28/07

“I spotted some interesting Colorado license plates, attached to a VW Touareg, driving down Northwest Boulevard the other day,” writes photographer Family Phil.

Question: Are Class Reunions Worth the Trouble?

It’s the eve of my 10-year high school reunion. I feel an anxious excitement about the approaching functions. It’s hard to believe ten years have gone by since I’ve seen most of these people. At first I wasn’t sure about attending the reunion. We went to DD’s last year and the organization was a disaster. There was a low turn out and there ended up being very few people we actually hung out with in school. We ended up with the opinion that we are already in contact with the people we want to be from DD’s class. My reunion is a different story. For one thing, the organization has been great. The organizer started contacting classmates almost a year ago. She sent out frequent reminders and set the dates early. It also helped that she only tackled the Lake City class instead of creating a joint reunion with Coeur d’Alene — Shinie/This Is Growing Up.

Full post here

DFO: I was wondering if my class would have a reunion this summer, which is the 40th since I graduated from Gridley High in northern California. But I haven’t heard anything about one. Then, my class wasn’t all that great about cohesiveness. Also, the class president who should have been organizing these things was killed decades ago in Vietnam. At this point, I guess, we’ve all moved on with our lives and there’s probably no point in reuniting.

Question: What’s the last reunion you attended?

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 6/28/07

Mary Altaffer/AP

Cowboy Joel Holly, of Utica, N.Y. watches over 35 American cattle touring the Statue of Liberty during a promotional event today in New York. The barge of bovines helped kick off A&W Restaurants’ Moove to American campaign with a tour of the New York harbor. The campaign calls for Americans to support 100% U.S. beef You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Personally, Joel thought Lady Liberty’s to-go order was a little extreme — A Token D.

2. The aroma of manure from a floating cattle feedlot was a pleasant change from the usual smell of New York harbor — Jesse Tinsley.

3. Just be happy your not pork. Then you would have to hang out in D.C. with a bunch of monkeys — Cabbage Boy.

HM: Bayview Herb

Preview: Schroeder, Trout Disenfranchise Voters

re: the lead to an editorial I’m writing for this weekend or Monday:

It’s likely fewer than one voter in 10 knows anything about the Boise attorney selected for the Idaho Supreme Court this week: Warren Jones – other than the quirky fact that he won’t be the only justice named Jones. Yet, Gov. Butch Otter contends that fellow Idahoans will support his choice of Jones – Warren, not current Justice Jim Jones – once they get to know him. After introducing Jones in Coeur d’Alene Tuesday, Otter said: “I have every confidence that if the electorate studies Warren Jones as I have, they will see it’s a wise choice the Judicial Council made.” And there’s the rub. There’s no way for the electorate to decide if the Judicial Council made a wise choice until the primary election of 2008 when Jones will run as an incumbent, probably unopposed. In a maneuver that allows insiders on the Judicial Council and in Idaho bar circles, Justices Gerald Schroeder (pictured) and Linda Copple Trout are retiring this year to give fellow attorneys and judges, with Otter’s blessing, the privilege of picking their replacement. Like many justices before them, Schroeder and Trout don’t want to take the chance that the voters may elect someone they don’t want — DFO.

Item: New judge named to state high court: Otter taps Boise trial lawyer to replace retiring Schroeder/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

Extra! Micron Expects to Downsize

Item: Micron posts quarterly loss of $225M; expect ‘lower levels of employment’/Gregory Hahn, Idaho Statesman

James Bond: Micron CEO Steve Appleton has reliquished the title “President” to Mark Durcan, another executive. He also announced “downsizing.” Details forthcoming …

/Stay tuned

Guv Tells Herb He Has No Authority in Kendra’s Case

Dear Herb,

Thank you for contacting me about Kendra Goodrick. I appreciate the opportunity to respond. A member of my staff has been in contact with Olivia Craven, executive director of the Commission of Pardons and Parole, and Kevin Kempf, Community Corrections chief at the Idaho Department of Correction. about this case. Unfortunately, Ms. Goodrick’s case is under the jurisdiction of the court. As governor, it would be inappropriate for me to get involved in individual court cases. I encourage Ms. Goodrick to seek qualified legal representation as she goes through this process. Once again, thank you for voicing your concerns. Please don’t hesitate to contact my office with any other questions pertaining to state government issues. As always_- Idaho, “Esto Perpetua”

C.L. “Butch Otter
Governor of Idaho

Bayview Herb’s comment: I received this letter today. Either the Gov is confused, or I am. I thought that the issue was that the courts no longer have jurisdiction. Now the Governor is saying he can’t or won’t act while the issue is in thre courts. Can anyone tell me what is real here?

DFO: Another North Idaho blogger received a similar, if not identical response from Otter’s office. Sounds like he’s pulling a Pontius Pilate here. Rather than running around the state appointing Supreme Court justices that no one in the Panhandle has heard of, mebbe he should champion individuals like Kendra who are trying to turn their lives around from the devastation of meth.

Breaking! U.S. Senate Kills Immigration Bill

Item: Immigration bill dead in Senate: Procedural vote effectively kills Bush’s attempt to enact reform/WorldNetDaily

Yes: Craig, Cantwell, Murray
No: Crapo

How other senators voted here

Question: Which side were you on?

2nd BrodH20 Karaoke Idol Fest Set

The Otis and I are celebrating our 7th anniversary (and my 28th birthday) with our 2nd annual Karaoke Idol competition. Last year’s was a blast. And I was truly honored that I wasn’t one of the Bottom Three. (Though I thought I was deserving). My song is “Fancy.” I’ve Athol-fied the lyrics, which should help me get in the judges good graces. Because I can tell you right now that my vocal stylings definitely won’t help me win that shiny 1st place trophy. (Yes, folks, we are doing trophies this year). And I’m thinking of dressing the part. Maybe some Wranglers and a Stetson? — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20.

Mommy Dearest’s Quandry: We have an awesome panel of judges: The Paula-licious Leenda the Ball, Megs Cowell and newbie Orange TV. Based on last year’s judging, I haven’t decided whether it’s better to perform early when the judges are still stone-cold sober, or if it’s better to wait until they’ve got that warm and fuzzy feeling in their veins.

Full post here

Question: Which song would you sing if you mustered the courage to participate in a karaoke fest? (BrodH20 offers an extensive list of possibilities in the link above.

Q&A — Where’s Brand X Kroc Center Coverage?

Berry Picker: Was there anything in the Press about the groundbreaking of the Kroc Center?

DFO: Nope. Brand X photog Jason Hunt attended the ground-breaking to shoot pictures. But there isn’t a word or photo about the historic ground-breaking in today’s edition. However, there are some cute team photos of fast-pitch girls’ teams and young girls on roller blades — as well as Mary Souza’s column ripping the LCDC for ripping off the schools and applauding her handlers for staging the gabfest with Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna earlier this week. Mebbe the Kroc Center ground-breaking didn’t meet Brand X’s news threshold?

Inside Huckleberries — 6/28/07

*In case you were wondering what became of the B (local) section of Brand X the last coupla days … it’s tucked into the back of the C section. No explanation. No nothing. ‘Tis probably cheaper to combine the sections during lean advertising times. But you’d think the C should be folded into the B. Right?

*Has David Keyes/Bonner County Bee promised to endorse Sandpoint Mayor Ray Miller’s re-election bid this summer after winning a barbecue in a raffle drawing? Or did his attempt at humor fall flat in his column this week here? Inquiring minds from Bonner County who contacted HBO would like to know.

TUBOB: How Angels Really Get Their Wings

Is it better to be lucky than good? How do you know which one determines your fate - the effect after the cause, the wingbeats of angels scattering the pages of notes from a college course on probability statistics, the third law of thermodynamics? God or dice? My friend Kim dodged the big one Friday night. The big sleep, the expresslane to St Peter’s Truck and Soul Stop. She was driving her Toyota 4Runner on I-90 near Ellensburg, on her way to a long weekend on the San Juans with a friend, when something terrible happened. She heard a loud metallic breaking noise under the Toyota’s front end followed by airbag deployment at 75 mph. Kim instantly lost control of her vehicle; it hit the soft shoulder and spun around and around until it launched itself off the road, through the air and down a hillside — Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel/The Unbearable Bobness of Being.

Bald Eagle: No Longer Endangered

Brian Wallace/AP Photo, The Juneau Empire

A bald eagle soars past a U.S. flag, Wednesday in Juneau, Alaska. Earlier today, the U.S. dropped the bald eagle from the “threatened” category after three decades on the endangered species list here.

Question: Is Tribe’s Decision to Burn Hypocritical?

Item: Tribe plans to burn grass fields: Coeur d’Alenes extend practice while seeking alternatives/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

More Info: The Coeur d’Alene Tribe plans to burn bluegrass fields on the reservation this summer, even though burning remains illegal on nontribal lands in Idaho. The tribal council voted Wednesday to continue agricultural burning one more year while it continues to seek economical alternatives to burning. In 1996, the tribe vowed to phase out field burning on the reservation within 10 years.

Question: Is the tribe’s decision to burn and threaten neighbors’ health hypocritical when placed alongside its commitment to Lake Coeur d’Alene water quality?

Hat Tip — to 3 Who Made Kroc Center Possible

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Retired executive Art Brown, left, and Dr. Jack Riggs, right, flank Mayor Sandi Bloem as they listen to speeches at the official groundbreaking of the Kroc Center Wednesday in Coeur d’Alene. Riggs and Brown are the co-chairmen of the Kroc Center fund-raising effort here.

Daug Gone: Where Did SA Get VW Bug?

Daug Gone: Can anyone help me out here? I saw a brand new Volkswagon Bug the other day all painted up with Salvation Army logos. Where did that come from…a donor, KROC money, extra money? Anyone?

DFO: That’s a VW bug that was given to Major John Chamness by a car dealership that supported the Salvation Army efforts in the Seattle area, I believe. When I interviewed Major Chamness for a Huckleberries Gone Wireless feature earlier this spring, he said he wouldn’t mind if a local Humvee dealer saw fit to do likewise. (For the anal retentive among you blurkers, Major Chamness was joking at the time. I think.)

Hot Potatoes (Final Version): Save Kendra

Dunno who deserves a Rotten Potato most in the judicial two-step that will land scared-straight Kendra Goodrick of Hayden back in prison. 1st District Judge John Mitchell for overstepping his authority? The Kootenai County prosecutor’s office for appealing her case? The Idaho AG’s office for joining the prosecutor’s appeal? Kendra is the 29-year-old mother of a newborn who embraced Mitchell’s second chance to turn her life around. A recovering meth addict, Kendra cleaned up her life after Mitchell granted her probation in January 2006. Not only did she land a job, marry her boyfriend and give birth to her first child (April 10), but she’s stayed clean, continues to seek help to fight her addiction, and volunteers to walk dogs at the Kootenai Humane Society. She’s a model of success. But none of this matters now. Kendra’s waiting for the gendarmes to break up her family and haul her off in handcuffs, now that the prosecutor’s office has successfully argued on appeal that Mitchell acted outside his jurisdiction when he granted Kendra’s probation. I don’t have room to go into the specifics here, except to say that Kendra might remain in prison for six months before she gets a Commission of Pardons and Parole hearing. Someone here deserves a psych-illogical exam. And it ain’t Kendra.

Complete Hot Potatoes column here

DFO: If you ever get an idea for a Hot Potatoes quip, don’t hesitate to send it along to me. I’m always looking for ideas — sometimes desperately on a Wednesday afternoon.

Heller: Lady Liberty Needs Help

Joe Heller/Hellertoon

Parting Shot — 6/27/07

Meghann Cuniff’s story re: the Kroc Center ground breaking this p.m. follows:

Dick Haugen cell phone photo

An old gravel pit near a busy Coeur d’Alene road will be transformed over the next 18 months into a world class community center – the first of its kind in the region and one of a number of major public projects civic leaders say bring unprecedented opportunities to the area. City officials gathered with other supporters of The Salvation Army Kroc Community Center Wednesday for a groundbreaking ceremony at the site, near the corner of Ramsey and Golf Course roads. The ceremony culminated more than a year of fundraising that brought in more than $6 million. Coupled with a $64 million endowment, the money will build a 116,000-square-foot community center, complete with swimming pools, a gymnasium, indoor track, meeting and event space, a rock-climbing pinnacle, an outdoor amphitheater, an indoor playground and 400-seat chapel and performing arts center. Half of the endowment goes to keeping the center open after it’s built. Construction is expected to begin within a week.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 6/27/07

Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho spotted this sign at the Hauser Lake Resort here.

*Katrina/Notes on a Napkin lists her top 5 favorite local eateries — Hudsons, Takara, Tomato Street, Mongolian Grill and Costco — here.

*Nic/Rants, Raves and Random Thoughts theorizes that God made a baby’s cry so annoying that grownups would be forced to do something about it here.

*A Butterfly Moment provides 10 good reasons to go to the movies by herself, including “I don’t have to clean up any spilled snacks,” and 10 good reasons to see films with friend Cathy here.

*Melanie/Plaid Toaster thinks anyone who wants a set of twins is nuts for not considering the extra hassle involved in having two babies sick at the same time or needing attention, as her own celebrate another birthday, here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour and the Love family are trying to get back to normal today after the recent loss of their beloved Arabian stallion, Casey, here.

Meanwhile, Dr. J explains the dangers of “say cheese” heroin here, Family Phil notices that none of the stars in the area attended his son’s birthday here, Cis shares her theories on grocery cart pushers here, F-Words talks about herself here, Psychobabbles is thankful that she’s not truly alone up here, and Un-Muted Mumblings posts the Top 10 signs that you’re obsessed with biblical prophecy here.

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 6/27/07

J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

A watermelon explodes in a dramatic demonstration of the power of holiday fireworks, staged by the Consumer Products Safety Commission near the National Mall in Washington this morning. The CPSC estimates that in 2006 about 9,200 people were treated in hospital emergency rooms for fireworks-related injuries. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Jessee Tinsley records Larry Spencer’s reaction to the Kroc Center groundbreaking. As Mayor Bloem pointed out,”That’s Larry. *nd that’s Larry. And that’s Larry” — Thom George.

2. Food scientists are depressed when their attempt to combine cauliflower and watermelon fails. In fact, they’re looks of melon-cauli was hard to hide — John Austin.

3. Joe Smith’s attempt at growing a record size watermelon ended in disaster when the melon exploded yesterday. Record temperatures caused by global warming are to blame, says Smith, who plans to try again next year — Pia.

HM: Digger and Toadman

Ex-MLBer Ramsay Beats Cancer, Coaches CHS

Seven years have passed since Vancouver native Rob Ramsay pitched in the major leagues, but life goes on — thankfully. “I feel great; no problems,” Ramsay said over lunch at a restaurant near his Coeur d’Alene home. There was a time when no one knew if Ramsay’s next meal might be his last. In January 2002, a cancerous, baseball-sized tumor was carved out of his skull. zzzz’I did have the doctor take a picture when everything was opened up,” Ramsay said with a smile. “It was pretty bizarre” — Howie Stalwick/The Columbian.

More here

JeanneH Gasoline Report …

… Regular gas at Exxon (Appleway & Government Way) at $2.73.9 per gallon and falling. Stay tuned.

A Matter of Opinion: The “Avoid DC” Tour Continues

Despite the memory lapses evident in his congressional testimony, Attorney General Alberto Gonzales remembered to show up in Spokane today to tout an anti-gang initiative. You can read about the story here.

Question: If you were in charge of an important project, would you want Gonzales speaking on its behalf?

New Huetter Billboard to Announce Amber Alerts

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Idaho Governor C.L. “Butch” Otter and representatives of police agencies and Lamar Outdoor Advertising stand on a stage Wednesday, today at the site of a new digital billboard on Seltice Way at Huetter Rd. at a press conference where Lamar representatives announced that they would immediately broadcast future Amber Alerts on all seven of their digital billboards in Idaho.

Hot Potatoes Sneak Preview: Free Kendra

Here’s the lead to Thursday’s Hot Potatoes column …

Dunno who deserves the biggest Hot Potato in the judicial two-step that will land scared-straight Kendra Goodrick of Hayden back in prison – 1st District Judge John Mitchell for overstepping his authority. The Kootenai County Prosecutor’s Office for appealing her case. The Idaho AG’s office for joining the prosecutor’s appeal. Kendra is the 29-year-old mother of a newborn who embraced Mitchell’s second chance and turned her life around. A recovering meth addict, Kendra has cleaned up her life since Mitchell put her on probation in January 2006. Not only did she land a job with a call center, marry her boyfriend and give birth to her first child April 10, but she’s stayed clean, continues to seek help with her addiction, and even volunteers to walk dogs at the Kootenai Humane Society. She’s considered a model of success. The prosecutor’s office rewarded Kendra’s turnaround by winning an appeal that Mitchell acted outside his jurisdiction when he granted her probation. I don’t have room to go into the specifics here. Now, Kendra’s waiting for the gendarmes to break up her family and lead her back to prison, where she’ll wait for at least six months for a hearing before the Commission of Pardons and Parole. Someone here needs a psych-illogical exam. And it ain’t Kendra.

WorldNetDaily Poll: Does Rowling Promote Witchcraft?

Item: Author: ‘Pottermania’ spells trouble: Warns real occultism permeates popular children’s books/WorldNetDaily

Question: What do you think of claims Harry Potter is hooking young people into witchcraft?

1. I agree, and it’s a good thing since it’s the best life philosophy
2. Nonsense, stories like ‘Narnia’ and ‘Lord of the Rings’ also include witchcraft
3. It doesn’t matter, as long as Harry is prompting kids to read
4. Evidence is undeniable, the Wicca movement itself credits Potter for increasing interest in witchcraft
5. Of course there’ll be some interest, but there’s no reason to blame the books and the movies
6. I doubt it, since shows like ‘Bewitched’ and ‘I Dream of Jeannie’ didn’t seem to increase witchcraft interest
7. It’s true and sadly, it’s leading millions of youth into spiritual darkness
8. I agree, and therefore Harry Potter should be avoided at all costs
9. I wish to respond to this poll, but unfortunately I’ve been turned into a newt
10. Other

DFO: Nos. 5 & 6

You can read the WorldNetDaily news report here.

Lewiston Trib: “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” Hurts Free Expression

Joseph Frederick should be proud of himself. He wanted attention. He wanted to be outrageous. Mission accomplished. He also wanted to take his First Amendment crusade all the way to the United States Supreme Court. And so he did. On behalf of every American who rises and sets under the protection of the First Amendment, thanks a lot you little jerk. Rather than use the freedom of speech bequeathed him by James Madison and other founding fathers to express something that actually means something, the Juneau, Alaska, high school student decided he had an inalienable right to be stupid and nonsensical. He unfurled a banner that read “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” across the street from a school-sponsored event in 2002. Wonderful. It’s bad enough to have First Amendment rights whittled away, but to be whittled away for “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”? — Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune.

More here

Sam Taylor interviewed this “little jerk” when both attended UIdaho here.

Question: Has this silly lawsuit hurt this country’s Freedom of Speech rights, as editorialist Tom Henderson contends?

SR Edit: NIC on the Right Path

Item: Our View: NIC on right path: College, business community working together/Spokesman-Review editorial

More Info: The tension between the school and the business people is unhealthy, but there’s encouraging news. About 20 key business people, plus the mayors of Post Falls and Coeur d’Alene, have formed Partners in Education and are helping Interim President Priscilla Bell and other NIC leaders map out a plan for the school’s future. That’s a good step, but caution is in order on both sides.

Question: How far should North Idaho College go to appease the business community?

MamaJD v. RSPA: Why So Cranky, Pony?

MamaJD (to Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel): I would like to say as your friend for the past handful of months, I am noticing some crankiness. Whether you are all rainbows one day or sparkles the next, the Pony that lashes out simply to pick a fight just isn’t all that nice. Without the trolls around, you have been chronically picking on a few with exasperated sighs. What’s going on, Pony? Have the three major life events brought ya down? You have been treating me like the Dairy Queen girl who screwed up your order of Blizzards and banana splits. Get over it, Holmes. Let’s move on.

RSPA (to MamaJD): I never could hide anything from you, MamaJD … those piercing green, blue or brown or whatever color eyes you have could pierce through my curmudgeonly crust and peer straight into my lumpy bavarian cream filling, but, like eclairs left too long on the minivan dash, well it all just sort of melts into a big glob after awhile. Thank you for pointing out my crankiness, I hadn’t noticed.

/stares at feet, whistles softly

AM Hucks: Voice of North Idaho Returning

In the You Can’t Keep A Good Man Down Department, Dick Haugen will make his official return to North Idaho on Monday, July 9. Dick, the “Voice of North Idaho” for years with KVNI-AM radio, will begin an interview show from Coeur d’Alene each weekday for KGA-AM (1510), from 11 a.m. until noon. His show will be called “On The Road With Dick Haugen.” As he explained it to me Tuesday during a visit to the S-R’s Coeur d’Alene office, Dick plans to interview elected officials and other newsmakers as he did during his decade and a half with KVNI, which unceremoniously dumped him a few weeks before last Christmas, shortly after his father died. Dick plans to set up shop each week at a different local business to conduct the interviews. Great Floors will serve as his first backdrop for his daily interviews. As you know, Dick landed on his feet shortly after KVNI/KXLY booted him, teaming with EWU announcer Larry Weir for a KGA morning show from 5 a.m. to 8 a.m. that leads into ex-LAPD Detective Mark Fuhrman’s talk show. Early on, I’ll join Dick on the air to discuss blogging in the Inland Northwest.

Wild Card/Tuesday — 6/26/07

I’m off to see my niece, Hannah, at a family get together in Post Falls. Hannah (above) was stationed in Afghanistan as part of the Army National Guard for the last year. I bet she has stories to tell. It’ll be interesting to see how the experience has changed her. In a week, she plans to travel to Europe for a month by herself. She’s an adventurous sort like her cousin, Amy Dearest. While I’m enjoying Hannah’s company, you can use this Wild Card to share your own threads …

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 6/26/07

AP Photo

Paris Hilton escorted by Los Angeles County Sheriff deputies reacts as she walks out of the Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, Calif. in Lynwood, Calif., with her lawyer lawyer, Richard Hutton, left, earlier today. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. Shortly after this pic was snapped, Paris was overheard muttering to her bodyguard, Sergio, “I said get me a freakin’ PITCHER of mojitos, an eight ball of crack, a dozen percodans, a pack of marlboro REDS dammit, and keys to that sweet new Maserati that mumsy bought me” — RSPA.

2. “Like, OMG, don’t look at me. I am, like, so fat. I had to, like, eat carbs! That’s like so not fair” — A Token D.

3. Good grief, 21 days without deoderant and I have to walk by the side of this good looking man! I sure hope he does not tell the sheriff that I smell this bad! Oh well, it could be worse, I could have been in her for another 3 weeks — Thomas Beasley.

HM: Lesley Presley

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 6/26/07

Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographics, Muse You Can Use

“Every once in awhile I find it relaxing to hang out with something that’s bigger and furrier than myself and the big furry things I hung out with this week were bighorn sheep,” writes Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographics. “The sheep were perched high above the Sun Highway and I got the bright idea that I’d climb up there and see how they were doing” here.

*TUBOB is celebrating the good fortune of a friend who escaped death in an accident near Ellensburg, Wash., in which she rolled eight times in her 4Runner down a hill here. (BTW, TUBOB will discuss this further in his HBO online column Wednesday).

*The Southwark Lad/Perambulation was surprised to discover he no longer was a heartless bastard who didn’t care when people entered or left his life as he said goodbye to an eventful year and people he met in London here.

*Marmitetoasty/Twaddle sez her heart stopped when she saw her cat Ambrose sprawled out as thought he was dead. He wasn’t. But that launched Marmitetoasty on a tale about the time she performed online surgery on the feline here.

*Put your hands together for JBelle/Notes from The ‘Kan EWA, who celebrated her second blogiversary on Monday, but the first one at home in The ‘Kan here.

*Mrs. T/Meet The Taylors points out how Sam The Reporter could use some tips when it comes to romancing, particularly the part where he introduces her to others as “My first wife, Kat” here.

*Toadman/Synaptic Disunion has confronted the fact that he’s too heavy, about 59 pounds by some accounts, and he plans to do something about it because he doesn’t want to die young here.

Meanwhile, Idaho Escapee celebrates post No. 600 in living color here, Inland Empire Girl recalls a camping experience here, Raymond Pert and Snug provide a pictoral review of the ‘hood here, and Spokompton provides his analysis of the Demo prez race here.

OrangeTV: You Tube Previews CdA-Based Film

Looks like the film “Teenage Dirtbag”, which was directed by one-time Coeur d’Alene resident Rebecca Crosby and was filmed right here in town several summers ago, is finally about ready to see some kind of release, although I was unable to locate much info on the web. The trailer was posted last week on You Tube, and it looks like my kinda flick: a depressingly noir drama involving some awkward precocious teens and an abusive parent. The tagline goes like this: “A popular high school girl is harassed by a delinquent boy until they are placed in creative writing class together. Through written words, they create a bond, but tragically a bond that cannot withstand her social pressures or his brutal home life.” It’s based on a true story, something that apparently stuck with Crosby since she attended Coeur d’Alene High in the ‘80s, and it looks like most of the movie was filmed there — OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy.

You Tube video here

Dennis Mansfield: Paris Hides Jail Behind Smile

The frenzy of international media today will tell the world that Paris Hilton left jail “with a smile”…in fact, MSN even has a beaming photo of her as she departed. And many of the consumers of this media will believe that somehow Paris Hilton had great delight in her PR opportunity (enhancing her Monopoly on the media)- thus the smiles. Not me. It’s been my experience with many ex-inmates that something profound happens to most of them when the doors to the jail or prison close hard. Something “clicks” in the center of who we are when we realize that we are no longer in control of even our daily lives. (Even for Paris’ mere handful of weeks? Yep) — Dennis Mansfield.

More here

Question: Have you ever been in jail?

Priest Lake Sightem: Endangered Fur Spiders?

One of the locals sent this photo to Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns. Pecky sez that the sign (which reads “Critical Habitat for Endangered Fur Spiders”) is in a field near the Priest Lake Airport. Anyone ever seen an endangered “fur spider”? Or is that something like snipe?

CPD Blue Looking for Distraught Woman

A 49-year-old Coeur d’Alene woman is missing after making comments that she might hang herself on Tubbs Hill or swim into the lake and drown. Catherine Jeannine Gunn (pictured) was reported missing Monday night by her boyfriend, Richard Snell. He said that Gunn had attempted suicide a few weeks ago. Coeur d’Alene Police detectives and volunteers have started a search in the area of her home and on Tubbs Hill. Gunn has an unspecified medial condition that makes it unlikely that she could have walked from her home at Oak Crest Trailer Park to Tubbs Hill, according to a Coeur d’Alene Police Department press release. Gunn doesn’t own a vehicle.
Snell told police he last saw Gunn in her bed about 3:45 p.m. when he left for a doctor’s appointment. He returned home about 8:25 p.m. and realized Gunn wasn’t in the house. He called Gunn’s friend, who confirmed that Gunn had made recent comments about hanging herself on Tubbs Hill or drowning in the lake. Gunn was last seen wearing a long red dress with a matching jacket and black boots. She carries a brown leather purse with fringe. Gunn has long brown hair, brown eyes and if 5 feet 4 and 130 pounds. Anyone with information should call the Coeur d’Alene Police Department at (208) 769-2320.

Update (CPD Blue news release): On this date at 1:05 pm Coeur d’Alene Police and paramedics were dispatched to Motel 6 on Appleway in room 109 for an unconscious female. Detectives that were searching Tubbs Hill for Catherine Gunn were notified the female at Motel 6 was Catherine. Detectives arrived on scene as Catherine was being transported to Kootenai Medical Center. She was semi-conscious and possibly under the influence of medication she had taken herself

“Die Hard”: Are You A Bruce Willis Fan?

Item: “Die Hard” franchise is alive and well/Ted Fry, Seattle Times

Question: The best role Bruce Willis has played so far in his career is:

1. John McClane in “Die Hard” series
2. Demi Moore’s husband
3. David Addison Jr. in TV series “Moonlighting”
4. “The Return of Bruno” album singer
5. Dr. Malcolm Crowe in “The Sixth Sense”
6. I’m still waiting

Online Poll: Do You Own A Gun?

Do you own a gun? — Idaho Statesman

*Yes, one
*Yes, more than one
*No opinion

Official Arrested After Hayden Days Fracas

Item: Hayden official arrested at festival: Public Works director argued with vendor in Young Marines uniform/Lucy Dukes, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: Witnesses gave conflicting accounts of what happened. Some said (Hayden Public Works Director Kevin) Clement poked his finger in Jeff Ball’s face during an argument over Ball wearing his Young Marines uniform while selling merchandise at his Charm Depot booth, while others said Clement did no such thing.

Question: What should become of Clement?

Alice’s Garden Spot: The Delightful Summer Garden

Summer has finally arrived in the Northwest. Now begins our idyllic season of splendor amidst the glorious mountains, forests and lakes of this lovely spot on earth. Those of us who have chosen to live here for decades, or were most fortunate to have been born here, have held this area close to our hearts. Now, because of great events, such as our weekend Ironman Coeur d’Alene Triathalon, other people, even celebrities, are discovering us. Through our gardens, we still enjoy the tranquility and will continue our quality of life, we may hope, for many more years to come. The weather remains somewhat unsettled, however, a walk in the garden delights the senses with the beauty and fragrance of our State Flower, the Syringa — Alice Rankin/Alice’s Garden Spot.

You can read Alice’s column from last week here and her June 12 column plus links to all her columns here.

Ex-BC Sheriff Lauds Dave Turner’s Work Ethic

Chip Roos (former Bonner County sheriff): I worked and fought with Dave for many years as Bonner County Sheriff, After he settled his cub phase and really started to write, he was, by far, Hagadone’s best when working at the PR Times, then with the Bee. A true work horse and, unlike so many reporters, his word was solid. I could give him way more information than he could print at the time to help him grasp a story or use as details when they could be released and he would never violate that. I’ve never seen a reporter work harder or verify his accuracy so carefully. Haga-Corp’s loss will be a gain for some reputable news company. Dave worked hard and was very loyal. He’s way too good to be idle long.

DFO: Unfortunately, the Brand X brain trust doesn’t appreciate its worker bees as much as their sources and the community. Then, that’s the way it has always been in journalism’s version of Mordor.

Sgt. Wood: We Don’t Always Write Citations

re: crash involving two Ironman competitors here

I talked to the officer who wrote the report this morning. He read the newspaper account and thought the reporter did a good job of telling the story. He was surprised by the “story comments” in the CDA Press which were pretty negative. He said it appeared to him that people felt he was catering to the rich. He has no idea where that mind set comes from. He said the two bicyclist are just regular people like you and me. To answer your question there is not set policy on whether an officer writes a ticket or not. Officers are trained and entrusted to use their best judgement while responding to any incident. He looked at the totality of the situation and determined a report would suffice. The police report is public information and available to who ever would like to look at it. Officers are not required to write a ticket at every accident scene. Citations are a tool used by law enforcement to curb or prevent future behavior such as speeding, fail to stop etc. In this case the two people involved went to the hospital with injuries ( I am told they will never likely be able to perform Ironman again),it cost them thousands of dollars in the loss of their bikes, and the event they trained for for a year they were not able to compete in. It is not likely they will repeat the same behavior again. The $48.00 citation does not have any bearing on whether they will have to compensate the driver of the vehicle. The accident was clearly their fault and they will need to work through the expense of it with their insurance companies. I do not think anyone wants a police department that writes a citation everytime someone “breaks the law”. Many citizens have been the recipient of a warning which leads people to change their behavior.

Sgt. Christie Wood
CPD Blue

Signe: Who Needs Birds When You Can Have Progress?

Signe Wilkinson/Washington Post Group

Blogging Can Be Idiocy, A Little More — Granati

In a post last week, Granati/Orange Frog 76 mentions that he was celebrating his second blogiversary (Saturday). In terms of dog years, he figured his blog was now 14 years old. He went on to wonder what that sez about his blog and his blogging — complete idiocy? Random acts of foolishness? Or maybe something a little more? Quoth Granati: “I know that there have been some pretty stupid words typed out for the world to see and when I re-read them I furl my eyebrows, roll my eyes and think to myself: ‘Why am I such an idiot?’ But then there were the times that it kept others in the loop (such as our trip to India last november) to let those that supported us to be apart of the things going on and the life changing experiences.”

DFO: I’d say that blog years are greater than dog years b/c few bloggers last longer than a year. A blog year is equivalent to at least 10 human years. Right?

2 questions: How long is a blog year? Do you consider blogging worth it?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 6/25/07

Kerri Thoreson/

Ironman Coeur d’Alene was the main event over the recent weekend. But it wasn’t the only event. Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho turned her camera to the 3rd Annual Dukes of Hauser Freeride Wakeboard Contest, which drew novice, intermediate and expert boarders to the shores of Hauser Lake here.

*The launch of the USS Nauti-Yacht by The Otis prompted Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 to compose “The Ballad of Popcorn Island” for a three-hour tour on Killarney Lake here.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour didn’t have time to celebrate her 60th birthday this morning b/c she was tending to a sick horse here.

*Nic Casey/Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts joins the chorus of individuals who are appealing to Gov. Butch Otter to show clemency and resolve the weird Kendra Goodrick case here.

*Starr Kelso/Go Figure sez he’s never had the structure to write a book. But he decided to launch into one he’s titled, “The Neighborhood,” and invites anyone who’s interested in a collaborative project to join in here.

*Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts tells what happened when a neighbor thought he was fertilizing his lawn only to discover that he’d used Roundup instead — and his wife isn’t happy — here.

Meanwhile, OrangeTV has a little fun at Coeur d’Alene Press expense here, A Butterfly Moment has a host of blog topics for this week here, Family Phil’s son wins the Ironboy competition here, As The Lake Churns sez 2008 Priest Lake calendars are ready here, Un-Muted Mumblings has a hard time concentrating on the Mass here, Shinie enjoys Hayden Days here, Silver Valley Girl tells of a summer camp experience here, JeanC gets in target practice here, and Live Love Laugh Hope explores the woods behind Twin Lakes here.

Supreme Court Rules Against “Bong Hits 4 Jesus”

AP Photo

Douglas Mertz a attorney for former Juneau-Douglas High School student Joe Frederick, stands next to his client “Bong Hits 4 Jesus” banner Monday in Juneau, Alaska. The banner got slapped down by the Supreme Court in a decision Monday that restricts student speech rights when the message seems to advocate illegal drug use here.

Wild Card/Monday — 6/25/07

I’m still wobbly from my weekend in bed fighting off an energy-sapping head cold. I tried Air Borne (sp?) for the first time, along with vitamin C, and sinus tablets. The combination seemed to have done the trick in that I’m 80-85% today. Basically, the weekend illness blocked plans to see Ironman finishes yesterday. I envy those who did. My wife and daughter had an extremely difficult time getting to church in Hayden Sunday morning, as a result of all the detours along the Ironman course. They tried going up 15th and had to backtrack all the way to Coeur d’Alene to take Highway 95 to Miles Avenue. Still, the wunnerful event is worth the inconvenience once a summer. That’s my 2 cents. Now, your Wild Card …

Lindberg, Iwo Jima Flag Raiser, 86, R.I.P.

Charles Lindberg, the last surviving Marine who raised the initial U.S. flag at Iwo Jima, acknowledges a standing ovation from the Senate gallery following a floor session in St. Paul, Minn., Thursday, March 2, 2006. Lindberg died Sunday at age 86 here.

HBO Book Club Balloting Ends @ 5 P.M.

Sara Anderson/F-Words selected these three books as the finalists to begin our Huckleberries Online Book Club. Now, it’s up to you to choose which book is read first. The selection will be announced tomorrow morning. And we can begin our reading.

Life of Pi by Yann Martel
Omnivore’s Dilemma by Michael Pollan
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Someone You Don’t Want to Meet in a Dark Alley …

Scott G. Winterton/AP Photo, Deseret Morning News

Curtis Allgier is loaded into a police car after he escaped from and killed a corrections officer today in Salt Lake City. After shooting the officer, Allgier, 27, fled the University of Utah medical center on foot, carjacked a Ford Explorer and was captured miles away at an Arby’s restaurant after a high-speed chase here.

Rural Rambles: Waverly, Wash.

Originally posted on A Matter of Opinion here

This summer I’m continuing a project I began last summer to swim in municipal rural pools within 90 minutes of Spokane. It’s for a Web site data base project of all regional municipal pools that will eventually be “published” on our Web site.

One of the side benefits is that I’ll get to know some of the issues in the smaller towns in our circulation area. And some of that information shall show up here every week or so under the Rural Rambles headline.

The town of Waverly, population 121, is located about a half hour south of Spokane. It doesn’t have a municipal pool, but it’s the first town on my Rural Rambles summer tour because one of the town’s major meeting places — the Hangman Creek Bar and Grill — has been closed since Februrary. I wrote my column Sunday about it.

Time is running out for the Hangman Creek Bar and Grill in Waverly, a town of 121 in southeast Spokane County. The bar and grill has been closed since February because of major health problems suffered by owner Dennis Peters. His wife, Cheryl, couldn’t keep it going alone. The Peters are hoping to borrow enough money to reopen, but they acknowledge it will take an “It’s a Wonderful Life” kind of miracle.
Gone will be the only restaurant for miles around. Gone will be Dennis’ famous fresh-grilled oyster dinners. Gone will be the monthly meeting place for the ladies’ groups and space for civic meetings. And gone will be the customers who traveled to Waverly from urban Spokane, customers like Jim Merriman, one of Dennis’ relatives, who called me to tell me about the Peters’ plight – and their hope.

Rebecca Nappi/A Matter of Opinion: If you know of a town within 90 minutes drive of Spokane that has a municipal pool and some interesting issues, please let me know. I’ll ramble by.

(Tony Wadden photo)

Huckleberries Hears …

… that Brand X gave veteran police reporter Dave Turner the boot today, as he returned from his vacation. He’s packing his desk as I type this. Dunno why he got the old Brand X heave ho. He was loyal to the company without a fault. He was a decent cop beat reporter before those duties were handed over to Marc Stewart in the last year. He could have used closer editting, as all of us could. Then, that’s the editor’s problem. Not his. Dave didn’t deserve this treatment after 15 years of good service. Then, worker bees are always disposable at Hagadone Newspapers, especially those who have been there too long and inched up a little on the pay scale. F’shame.

Q: Should TV Video Games Have Own Category?

A leading council of the nation’s largest doctors’ group wants to have video game addiction officially classified as a psychiatric disorder. Do you think excessive video-game playing is a psychiatric disorder? — Idaho Statesman.

*No opinion

Statesman: Silver Valley on the Rebound

Item: After years of hard times, Silver Valley shines again: Thanks to record metal prices, mining is booming, and so are recreation, real estate and retail ‘Where we sit now … we’ve certainly turned the corner’/Ken Dey, Idaho Statesman

More Info: But today the Silver Valley is booming again. Silver prices are up and mines are rising from the dead. At the same time, efforts of local leaders to erase the scars of mining are paying off. Developers are pouring millions into new homes, condominiums and resort properties, taking advantage of the valley’s recreation opportunities. In Wallace, old homes that housed generations of miners are hot properties for out-of-staters looking to escape the big city. Downtown is peppered with art galleries, antique stores and coffee shops.

Question: Don’t you wish you’d snapped up some Silver Valley properties when homes were selling for $40,000 and under during the 1980s and 1990s?

2007 Ironman: 2200 Triathletes Vye for Prize

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Former councilman Chris Copstead of Coeur d’Alene pedals up a hill on Hayden Lake Rd. during the bike portion of the 2007 Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene Sunday. More than 2200 athletes started the grueling triathlon with the swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene at 7 a.m.

MamaJD encounters an Ironman in a Speedo, snaps a photo of Lance Armstrong dining at the Beacon, and comments about her triathlete here, here and here.

Kendra: Are They Going to Bust Down my Door?

… The suspense is killing me wondering what the immediate outcome will be-will they come busting down my door now anytime to arrest me, or will Governor Otter intervene by a recommendation to the Commission of Pardons and Parole for a commutation of sentence? or an eventual outcome- they lock me up, and I end up winning my appeal for post-conviction relief due to ineffective counsel; or finally make it in front of an understaffed, overbooked parole board six months or so down the road from the time I hit the prison (although again, I’d be eligible for parole immediately upon arrest) and they take one look at my case and tell me to get the hell out of their prison and go back to being a productive member of society.

Kendra Goodrick

You can contact the governor’s office on behalf of Kendra by using this e-mail address here.

AM Hucks: Stars Are Out All Night Every Night in CdA

It’s getting so you can’t go shopping in the Coeur d’Alene area without stumbling upon a celebrity. Patty Duke (Coeur d’Alene), Dennis Franz (Lake Coeur d’Alene) and Viggo Mortensen (Sandpoint), of course, have been hanging around North Idaho for a while. But we’re getting invaded by newby celebs now. Last week, name-droppers were buzzing that Tour de France champion Lance Armstrong, ex-Olympic skater Scott Hamilton and acting heartthrob Mark (Marky Mark) Wahlberg were checking out property at Gozzer Ranch. Ex-Denver QB Jake “The Snake” Plummer was spotted at that shabby chic sale at the Mica Flats Grange earlier this month. Plummer is buds with ex-Super Bowl MVP QB John Elway, who has property on Lake Coeur d’Alene. Other sightings reported to Huckleberries (and mentioned last week on the blog version of this column) are: Jake “I Wish I Knew How to Quit You” Gyllenhaal, George “Oceans” Clooney, Matthew “Sahara” McConaughey and Bruce “Die Hard” Willis. Willis, of course, has a Sun Valley residence. Several eligible bachelors on this list, huh? But female stars visit, too. Bent, a regular Huckleberries Online commenter, swears Julia Roberts has been seen in local restaurants and walking through Coeur d’Alene’s City Park. Sez he: “I keep hoping to run into her, (because) if she fell for Lyle Lovett. … I surely have a chance there.” Seems Bent forgets how quickly Roberts broomed Lovett.

Zyemtsev Wins 2007 Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Winner Viktor Zyemtsev comes down the chute to the finish line of the 2007 Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene today. More than 2200 athletes started the grueling triathlon with the swim in Lake Coeur d’Alene at 7 a.m. Top results here. Photos here. Early story here.

Question: Did you enjoy 2007 Ironman Coeur d’Alene?

Open Letter: Bayview Herb Appeals to Governor for Kendra

My son, many years ago was hooked on Meth. He finally beat the addiction when he realized that if he didn’t quit, he would lose his Son. Kendra Goodrick, like many others, didn’t succeed in her first attempt. She apparently achieved victory after getting what appears to be a third chance from Judge Mitchell,here in Kootenai County. In what appears to be either a legal technicality, or a problem between the Prosecutors office and the judge, a straight Kendra is heading for prison. With all of the coddled criminals that seem to be using the penal system for a swinging gate as repeat offenders, I’m appalled that in this case, a person that has exhibited recovery is still going to what is a vastly overcrowded prison system. I urge you to commute her sentence to probation, as recommended by Judge Mitchell. It is time for you to decide the direction of our criminal justice system. Are we imprisoning people for punishment? Or are we sending them up for rehabilitation? In my mind, rehab has already taken place. I feel this is wrong, and that further, the discredited County Prosecutor should be taken to task for this and many other missteps — Bayview Herb/Bay Views.

Governor’s E-mail Address: Bayview Herb sez the e-mail address provided in the Kendra Goodrick post below doesn’t work. So, you can try this one (for an electronic form to the governor’s office): .

Question: Wikipedia of Conservapedia?

Andy Schlafly was appalled. He was teaching a history class to home-schooled teens and one student had turned in an assignment that dated events as “BCE” — before the common era — rather than “B.C.,” before Christ. “Where did that come from?” he asked. Her answer: “Wikipedia.” Schlafly knew he had to act. In his mind, the popular online encyclopedia — written and edited by self-appointed experts worldwide — was riddled with liberal bias. Dating events without referring to the New Testament was only one example. How about Wikipedia’s entry on golfer Zach Johnson, winner of the 2007 Masters? Nothing about how Johnson gave credit for his victory to Jesus Christ. Thus was born, touted as “a conservative encyclopedia you can trust.”

More here

Question: Which would you trust as an online info source: Wikipedia or Conservapedia?

Wild Card/Saturday — 6/23/07

You have plenty to keep you busy this weekend, HBOers. If nothing else, you can trek downtown Sunday afternoon and see the finish of the annual Ironman contest. I plan to be down there to witness the action. The Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre’s last production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” takes place tonight, I believe. But I suspect that it’ll be sold out as a result of word of mouth. “The Full Monty” takes over next week. That should be interesting. I’ll probably interview someone from the Pappy Boyington Marine vet crew for Huckleberries Gone Wireless next week. Someone in the media needs to light a fire under the county commissioners who are dragging their heels in approving the vets’ reasonable request to rename the Coeur d’Alene Airport field after the WWII hero. Meanwhile, you always have this Wild Card to start your own threads …

APhoto of the Weekend — 6/23/07

Ben Margot/AP Photo

The Chinese Crested dog “Elwood” appears at the 2007 World’s Ugliest Dog Contest Friday in Petaluma, Calif. Elwood, who weighs in at just 6 lbs and was rescued as the result of a New Jersey SPCA investigation, has won the title of World’s ugliest dog of 2007.

Question: What Authors Would You Take w/You on Long Flight?

DeePee: The Wall Street Journal used to (perhaps they still do) publish a Friday column: “The 5 best books on ––––-” (fill in the blank) which was always a delightful read. How about this? The 5 best authors to get you through a 12-hour plane flight?

DFO: On my last two flights to Portland (one hour), I read a magazine of reviews of all “Seinfeld” shows and started to read “The Phantom of the Opera” by Gaston Leroux. If I had to take a 12-hour flight, I’d opt for Stephen King, John Steinbeck, Sports Illustrated, an in-flight movie, and something by a journalist (H.L. Mencken, Herb Caen, Walter Winchell).

Question: What authors would you need to get through a 12-hour flight?

TomT: Colin, Clint & Rosie (Grier) Stopped Here, Too

Tom Torgerson: I worked with Brosnan and Linda Hamilton when they were filming Dante’s Peak…and you can add Colin Powell and Clint Eastwood (eons ago when I was a valet at the Resort) to the list of folks I bumped into here. Rosey Grier used to show up here once in awhile…what a classic! We have a pretty famous MLB pitcher living here as well (Don Larsen), Anna Pierce (Patty Duke), Ellen Travolta and her husband Jack Bannon (Mary Tyler Moore Show and others) also live here full time. Our own John Friesz lives in Hayden Lake and Elway summers on Kidd Island Bay across from Dennis and Joanie Franz. Oh yeah…and that pulitzer prize guy……….. Dave Oliveria!!!

DFO: Tom, you got ‘em all right but that last bum you mentioned. Still, I’m blushing. Thanks for adding to the list of stars who stop by CdA occasionally. As an S.F. Giants fan since they moved to the Bay Area in 1958, I followed Larson when he pitched for the Giants, a coupla years after his perfect game in the World Series (1956 against the Dodgers, 2-0?). I wonder how many newbies know Larson lives here — a man who did what no other Major League Baseball player has ever done?

TGIF Wild Card — 6/22/07

We’re going to launch the HBO Book Club next week, HBOers. As I mention below, Librarian Bette Ammon has agreed to lead the discussion. I’ll forward the list of suggested books (which we will collect through Monday) to Sara to either pick one. Or pick three finalists to run by you Tuesday. Not sure which way to go on this. We’ll work out the kinks and launch this thing next Wednesday. At that point, we’ll have a month to read the book and then begin the discussion. That’s how these things work, right? I’ve never been part of a Book Club before. Until then, I plan to see some of the Ironman this week and take my Sweetie to an anniversary dinner tonight with brother Ray and his wife, Lisa. Of course, I’ll leave this Wild Card behind…

Napkin Notes: Running Race in High Heels

I hope nobody saw my knees knocking together. It’s funny; I have no fear of speaking up in class when I’m sitting safely in the crowd, but something about standing up in front of all those eyes requires a Herculean effort. Did you know that, in surveys, the majority of Americans list “public speaking” as their greatest fear? It ranks at number one, just above “death”. Why is that, I wonder? It’s not as if you’re in physical danger (well, unless you’re Ann Coulter speaking at the University of Arizona, in which case you have to watch out for airborne pies.) Most people don’t bite, and, in fact, want to see the speaker do well — Katrina/Notes on a Napkin.

More here

Question: Do you dread speaking in public?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 6/22/07

This viewtiful sunset that closed the longest day of the year and welcomed in summer was brought to you by Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns here.

*Silver Valley Girl/Silver Valley Stories visited the grave of Iraq war hero Brad Conner (killed May 9) at Arlington National Cemetery during her recent trip to Washington (w/photos) here.

*Al Turtle/Relationship Wisdom has advice for singles who are looking for Mr. Right or Ms. Right here.

*Family Phil/A Family Runs Through It is thrilled that Gov. Butch Otter is a solid supporter of Idaho’s home-school movement, but not surprised that the teacher’s union is against it here.

*Belatedly, Angela/Psychobabbles watches the last show of “The Price Is Right” with sadness b/c she has grown up watching Bob Barker handing out prizes and money. But there’s a bright side — reruns. Click here.

*KaleJ/Un-Muted Mumblings suggests to his 7-year-old son that he boxes a friend that has bullied him. But the son prefers wrestling here.

Meanwhile, A Butterfly Moment is glad she couldn’t shake her shadow here, CastMD recalls close encounter w/mother squirrel here, Dogwalk Musings explains why she has a sinking feeling here, Cis wonders why are we there here, Frum Helen Back shares thoughts on being a landlord here, JeanC has words for a religious sort who wants her in hell here, Granati will celebrate the second anniversary of his Orange Frog76 blog tomorrow here, Plaid Toaster suffers her worst sun burn ever here, Slight Detour shows what you can do with styrofoam cups and it ain’t pretty here, and Tumblewords sees a whale where others see octopuses mating here.

Baughman E-mail Release At Least Month Away

Don’t look now, but Judge Stegner sez this p.m. that he won’t hold a hearing on the Rick Baughman e-mails until July 19. Or July 26. Or July 27. So much for two weeks from the time that Kalani dropped her appeal. Stay tuned.

Mea Culpa: I thought this was the Kalani-Douglas e-mails.

ISP Releases 2006 Crime Reports for Towns, Counties

The Idaho State Police Bureau of Criminal Identification released their annual “Crime in Idaho” report for 2006 today (6/22/07). The report is a synopsis of statewide crime statistics gathered from law enforcement agencies across Idaho and includes such things as the Statewide Crime Profile, Crimes against Persons, Property, Society, the Arrest Profile, Hate Crime in Idaho, Law Enforcement Officers Killed or Assaulted, as well as crimes categorized by jurisdiction and many other statistics. Full report here.

Murphy: Akey Rebuilding UI By Booting 17 Bad Apples

Next month, Idaho football coach Robb Akey will head to Wallowa Lake in Joseph, Ore., for an annual fly-fishing getaway with friends. If anyone deserves such a vacation, it’s Akey. Hired in December to rebuild the Vandals — and provide stability to a program that has had four head coaches since 2003 — Akey has instead spent more time handing out punishment than scheming Xs and Os. Seventeen players have been removed from the roster in Akey’s short tenure for a variety of reasons — family obligations, academics, stealing textbooks, dealing drugs, violation of team rules and just plain quitting. Some Vandals have a longer rap sheet than Pacman Jones and Lindsay Lohan. Combined — Brian Murphy/Idaho Statesman.

More here

Question: Is Akey taking the right approach to rebuilding UI football team?

OTV Review: Rock Joint Reviving Local Rock ‘n Roll

The staff of the Rock Joint must have been trained to treat the clientele like rock royalty. We were truly spoiled with a constant flow of drinks and menu items to sample. Our waiter Curt, with his excellent Cruella-de-Vil-goes-punk hairstyle, brought us tasty little Cosmopolitans and Green Appletinis and Chocolatinis, each time he returned we grew more and more fond. The place has a full bar and a selection of 20 different beers on tap, so you’re guaranteed to find your favorite mood-altering beverage. In a twist of innovation, they’ve placed on each table a little sign that you can flip to say either “On Stage”, which means you are ready for another drink, or “On Tour”, which tells your server that you are fine for the moment and don’t need a thing — OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy.

Full of OrangeTV’s Saturday Get Out! Review here

Question: Where do you go to dance and/or hang out in North Idaho?

Noon Q: Which Celeb Sighted in NI Excites You?

In recent weeks, several celebs reportedly have been spotted in the Coeur d’Alene area, including George Clooney (above) and several who are purchasing property at Goozer Ranch. Huckleberries Online wants to new which of these celebrities would you like to meet most?

*Jake Gyllenhaal
*George Clooney
*Mark (Marky Mark) Wahlberg
*Matthew McConaughey
*Scott Hamilton
*Lance Armstrong
*Bruce Willis
*Jake “The Snake” Plummer

Inside Huckleberries — 6/22/07

*Editor Steve Smith explains SR decision to drop New York Times columnist Randy Cohen before we began running his ethicist column as a result of his contributions to here.

*Huckleberries hears … that Hagadone execs are beating the bushes for candidates to run against the incumbent trio of Ron Edinger, Al Hassell and Dixie Reid this fall. They want a ticket to take on the veterans. And they have cooled a bit on the Gookin/Souza possibility b/c that tandem has alienated too many this spring. Mebbe this is why the Brand X Brain Trust published the editorial this a.m., asking for wannabes to come out of the wood work.

Q: Should KHQ Have Withheld Hospital Sale Info?

Item: Story on hospital sale delayed: KHQ knew about sale weeks before/Jonel Aleccia, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Empire Health Services officials cooperated with a Spokane TV station on stories about the proposed sale of two hospitals and other holdings weeks before the information was released to employees, doctors and the public. An Empire Health spokeswoman acknowledged this week that crews from KHQ-TV agreed to delay reporting about the potential sale to Community Health Systems Inc. of Tennessee in exchange for access to proprietary information and corporate officials before the June 14 public announcement that Empire had signed an intent-to-sell agreement with CHS.

SR Rule of Thumb: We present the news when we know it.

Question: Did KHQ violate journalistic ethics by withholding news of the hospital sale?

Q: What Would You Do If This Dog Was Yours?

Item: Lab sends car into river, makes owner retrieve it/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

Sherman Ewing

This is the dog, belonging to the Ewing family, that accidentally put their 2006 Chevrolet Caprice in gear, allowing the car to drive into the lake.

Charlie is in the doghouse. The sweet-looking black Lab from Sagle, Idaho, totaled his owners’ car Wednesday after knocking it out of gear and into the Pend Oreille River. Coupled with the dog’s habit of chewing the family’s furniture, Wednesday’s incident brought Charlie’s damage toll into the thousands.

Question: What would you do with Charlie?

Noah: Math Brain Challengers

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Houston Blurker: Does Rathskeller’s Still Exist?

Dear Mr. Oliveria:

37 years ago last Wednesday, my wife and I celebrated heading out of Spokane after being married with a double pepperoni and black olive pizza and a pitcher of dark beer at Rathskeller’s after scoring the last motel room in Coeur d’Alene as evidenced by a couple coming in from the east side right after we took the “suite” who said they had no luck in finding one all the way in. I went searching for Rathskeller’s on the ‘net and your blog came up. Do you know if it still exists? We toy with the notion of driving up there sometime from Houston to have another pizza and beer to see if the magic is still there or if it’s just the memory of being young.

Paul S. Ziegler
Houston, Texas.

Question: Can someone provide a rundown re: what happened to the Rathskeller?

RSPA V. OfCoffee: North Idaho Prejudice

re: Protest against Larry Craig’s support of immigration amnesty here

Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel: She’s a typical North Idaho hater - and probably as hypocritical as the rest of them. I bet she pounds down bags full of greasy burgers she buys at her local fast food hole, prepared by illegals from ingredients picked by illegals and I bet she complains, chunks of lettuce and tomato flying out of her snarling mouth, when the frozen food prices at her favorite Wal Mart are raised too high. Idahoans are so incredibly scared of brown skinned people, it amazes me. What continental migration and selective breeding (or inbreeding) created a state swarming with such skin color cowards (SCCx)? The worst part is it seems to be a magnet for other SCC’s who leap into their RV’s the moment their homes in Cali sell and their California pensions commence and head for the great white Idaho homeland of SCC’s. Fortunately most are too old to breed but still, there seems to be enough slack jawed hater yokels in Idaho to keep cranking out ignorant children with the SCC gene. Accents and espanol - Booga Booga!

OfCoffee (to RSPA): Have you ever noticed that when you apply an overall characteristic to a certain group of people e.g. “all Mexican are illegal” - that such an action is considered stereotyping and, in this example, racist. But when you do the same thing with the group of people called “Idahoans”, somehow that’s ok? I guess that makes RSPA a “state-ist” instead of a racist, but to me the dark place in someone’s heart is the same either way.

Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi w/Wendy Carpenter

Originally posted at 1:20 p.m. Thursday

Kathy Plonka/Spokesman-Review

Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Wendy Carpenter, center, attended the groundbreaking of the new federal courthouse on Mineral Drive in Coeur d’Alene on Feb. 13, 2007.

DFO: Can you give us a brief rundown on your professional career?
Coeur d’Alene Police Chief Wendy Carpenter: I was a field training officer and I’ve worked every aspect of patrol/investigations. I was the first female sergeant, lieutenant, captain and chief of police for the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. My career has lasted 30 years.
DFO: Is it hard for a woman to be a police officer? Police chief?
WC: No. The biggest difference is at the end of the day I go in the women’s lockerroom and the men go in the men’s lockerroom. I’ve never been treated differently by the public or others in the department.
DFO: Have you picked a retirement date?
WC: It’s a floating date. However, I intend to be done by the end of September. It depends on when the next chief can start.

Complete interview here. Or you can read the rest in the extended entry section below.

Tammy Faye Bakker Messner, Evangelist, 65, R.I.P.

AP Photo

Top (from YouTube): Tammy Faye Messner speaks to host Larry King, by satellite link, during a taping of “Larry King Live,” on Thursday. Messner, who as Tammy Faye Bakker helped her husband, Jim, build a multimillion-dollar evangelism empire and then saw it collapse in disgrace, died Friday, said her booking agent, Joe Spotts. She was 65. Bottom photo: Tammy Faye Bakker and her then-husband, television evangelist Jim Bakker, talk to their TV audience iat their PTL ministry near Fort Mill, S.C., in this Aug. 20, 1986 file photo.

This video is not for the faint of heart. It’s extremely disheartening to see someone in Tammy Faye’s condition. For me, this goes beyong politics or religion or anything like that and directly to the human condition. I’ve posted previously about my thoughts on mortality so you may understand that it’s definitely hard for me to see this, but I think it’s important to understand how the world works — Sam The Reporter/Vandal Sense.

Breaking! NIC Finalist Accepts Arizona CC Job …

… Leah Bornstein will become president of Coconino Community College in Flagstaff, Ariz./Summit Daily News

Question: Should North Idaho College offer the job to interim president Priscilla Bell or begin its search again?

Wild Card/Thursday — 6/21/07

Amy Dearest and I are going to the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre production of “Thoroughly Modern Millie” tonight while BOO recuperates from the summer crud. Not a spectacular way to spend a 32nd wedding anniversary. But BOO suggested it. She’s already seen the play and wants to get better for a night out Friday. Meanwhile, there’s plenty going on here: Lance Armstrong sightings, Bertollini going to prison, and an appeal to the governor for clemency in the Kendra Goodrick case. You can comment on any of the above or start your own thread with this Wild Card …

Editor Smith: SR Boots Ethicist Columnist Cohen

Bill Dedman, investigative reporter for MSNBC, is making big waves in the news industry today with an online report that more than 140 journalists – at the least – have contributed to political campaigns or organizations in recent years, often in violation of their news organization’s ethics policies and certainly in violation of commonly accepted journalistic standards. His story includes some pretty big names. Fortunately, no one from The Spokesman-Review is on the list. This newspaper long ago adopted very strict rules against any political involvement on the part of any news staffer, including such actions as signing petitions, displaying campaign signs or bumper stickers and contributing to political causes. There wasn’t much debate. Journalists here understand why such a ban is important. Dedman’s report is having an impact on this paper, however. After months of discussion, we were prepared to start this Saturday publishing Randy Cohen’s “The Ethicist” column from The New York Times. But, jeepers, turns out Cohen gave money to in 2004 — Steve Smith/News Is A Conversation.

More here

DFO: Editor Steve Smith is transforming the former News Is A Conversation blog into his own personal SR blog with a comments feature for reader input.

Question: Did the SR make the right call here by booting Ethicist columnist Randy Cohen?

HBO’s Best of the Idaho Political Blogs — 6/21/07

Boise business executive Walter C. Minnick has at least two people making phone calls to Democratic party opinion leaders, exploring support for a possible run against Congressman Bill Sali (above), in Idaho’s First Congressional District. Several people who have received the calls confirmed this information with NewWest.Net/Boise. Click hereJill Kuraitis/New West Boise.

*After 1826 posts and 100,000 unique views, Tom Forbes and the conservative Palousitics blog is celebrating its second anniversary here.

*Growing up, Bubblehead/The Stupid Shall Be Punished enjoyed summer and outdoors. But now summer means warm rooms and higher A/C bills. He prefers fall and football here.

*Julie Fanselow/Red State Rebels didn’t think much of the column by Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman in which he laid much of the blame for Larry Grant’s loss to Bill Sali in the 2006 congressional race — at Grant’s door step here. IdahoBlue shares his thoughts about Popkey’s article here.

*Opinion Editor Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman sez the National Arbor Day Foundation could save many trees by cutting down on its mailing list to the country’s journalists here.

Meanwhile, A Seattleite in Idaho is moving to Vegas here, Dennis Mansfield’s getting national attention with his ministry to ex-inmates here, and The Mountain Goat Report looks at recent Bill Sali votes here,

Extra! Idaho Gas 20 Cents Above US Average …

(But not in CdA where gas at Exxon on Appleway is selling for $2.88.9)

AAA Idaho said Idaho pump prices are the seventh highest in the country. Based on AAA’s Daily Fuel Gauge Report, Idaho’s average price for self-service gasoline is $3.197, down 8.5 cents from a record high of $3.28 set May 28. Meanwhile, the average U.S. price is $2.996, down 23 cents from a record high of $3.227 set May 24.

More here

Question: How much did you pay for gas during your last visit to the pumps?

Inside Huckleberries — 6/21/07

*A commenter asked recently what had happened to that case involving an SR online marketing guy who faces child pornography charges. He pleaded innocent to 21 counts of possessing child porngraphy. Click here.

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 has some big news about The Otis. He’s leaving his job with the city of Post Falls. You can find out about his new job here.

*Bayview Herb seems to be adjusting well to his new role as a community print journalist. For today’s edition of The Voice, he penned two stories: Bayview united against developer here and Women fought fires, stereotypes here.

*I’m trying to get my mind around the concept of a Huckleberries Online book club, suggested by Sara Anderson/F-Words. We’re working out what it’ll look like in an early-morning thread below. I might coax Coeur d’Alene Librarian Bette Ammon to be part of this. Stay tuned.

Question: Where Is Best Place to Watch Ironman?

Item: Ironman debuts new course/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

More: A new Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene course will give spectators more opportunity to watch Sunday’s grueling world-class triathlon, yet drivers should plan ahead, expect delays and watch for road closures. This is the fifth year the event is being held in North Idaho, but the first time the 112-mile bike course will loop through Hayden and into the Rimrock area, removing the race from Post Falls. The 2.4-mile swim and 26.2-mile run mostly will remain the same, starting in downtown Coeur d’Alene and following the Lake Coeur d’Alene shoreline. As in past years, the finish line is on Sherman Avenue.

Question: Where (and when) is the best place to watch Ironman action?

OrangeTV V. Eagle Eye: Are CdA Rents Affordable?

OrangeTV: Affordable housing? I’m still a lowly renter and here’s my report. When I rented my current home nearly five years ago I had a roommate at the time and we found a two bedroom house that seemed a little spendy at the time ($575/mo). Since then, my landlord has been kind enough to only raised the rent a small amount. Nowadays I live alone and recently my lease was running out, so I decided to look for a smaller place. I don’t even really use the spare room. What I discovered was that it was cheaper to stay put than to find a one bedroom place, which are going for around $700/mo currently. Most 2 bedrooms are currently in the $800-900/mo range. I’m referring to the downtown CDA area, which is my preferred home location. So, it seems there are very few rental homes that your average CDA working person who only gets paid around $6-7/hr, can possibly afford. The homeless problem in CDA is just going to keep increasing if this trend keeps up.

Eagle Eye: Come on Orange TV. You are going to have to do your homework a little better. I just went over and looked at the CDA Press clasified for rentals.They have 1 bedroom apts for 475-495. 2 bedroom apts for 525-575. A 2bed 2 bath house for 675. Another 2 bedroom house for $695. All of these said near downtown. And tell me where the average CdA worker is making $6-7 per hour? I can tell you that the job market in CdA is so tight that anyone that has a work ethic can make a good wage. I do think we can do better. I think we can recruit better jobs. But for someone that wants to work for it, a quality life here is possible. I dont have alot of sympathy for anyone that wants to sit around and complain about it

Journalists Dole Out Cash to Pols (Quietly)

A CNN reporter gave $500 to John Kerry’s campaign the same month he was embedded with the U.S. Army in Iraq. An assistant managing editor at Forbes magazine not only sent $2,000 to Republicans, but also volunteers as a director of an ExxonMobil-funded group that questions global warming. A junior editor at Dow Jones Newswires gave $1,036 to the liberal group and keeps a blog listing “people I don’t like,” starting with George Bush, Pat Robertson, the Christian Coalition, the NRA and corporate America (“these are the people who are really in charge”). Whether you sample your news feed from ABC or CBS (or, yes, even NBC and MSNBC), whether you prefer Fox News Channel or National Public Radio, The Wall Street Journal or The New Yorker, some of the journalists feeding you are also feeding cash to politicians, parties or political action committees — Bill Dedman/MSNBC.

More here. A list of journalists who wrote political checks here.

Question: Would you trust a journalist who made political contributions — even if the donations were to parties or candidates you support?

Hat Tip: Meghann Cuniff, Ken Paulman

Mary Souza: CdA Affordable Housing Going, Going …

The City Council has been a strong defender of LCDC and their focus on promoting high-end luxury living units rather than career-level job creation like many other urban renewal agencies in our state. Councilman Mike Kennedy was recently quoted in the Press saying of the affordable housing problem, “It’s an issue people are talking about all over the community, and the city also has a disadvantage. Our growth has been so colossal, so quick we feel we’re behind the 8-ball on it right now.” Mr. Kennedy and the rest of the City Council finally took action on the issue of affordable housing in our community last Friday… They had yet another panel discussion on the subject — Mary Souza/City Pulse, Coeur d’Alene Press.

More here

DFO: Mary Souza makes a good point here. We’ve given a lot of lip service to “affordable housing.” But nothing has happened. Meanwhile, lower- and middle-income families are looking for truly affordable housing farther and farther from he waterfront.

Question: What can Coeur d’Alene do to provide affordable housing for the non-got-rocks crowd?

Kris: Arson Story Ain’t Funny, She’s My Sister

Item: 2 charged in Adventist school fire: 2 more arrested, $30,000 damage/Taryn Brodwater, Amy Cannata

Just so all of you know this girl you are having so much fun picking on is my little sitter she is also 16 years old and she doesn’t know the diffrence between her head and a hole in the wall. She has had a crappy life and her loser of a boyfriend (the wanna be satan worshiper) has her all confused she does not practis wicca. She thinks just because she has read one witchcraft book she knows every thing . She is a tipical 16yr. She has made a mistake by setting this fire and she is looking at 10-15 years in jail so you guys can stop picking on a little girl unless you think that is what you have to do to make your self feel better and that is pretty sad.


AM Hucks: Wiccan Teen on Karmic Crash Course

This ‘n’ That: Moscow blogger JeanC, a self-described “witch with a gun,” has no use for the 16-year-old Wicca follower who allegedly was involved in the attempt to burn down the CdA Seventh-day Adventist school. Noting the Wiccan code, “An ye harm none, do what thou wilt,” JeanC said Wednesday: “In plain English, do what you want as long as it doesn’t bring harm to others. Burning someone’s building down brings great harm to a great many others. What you do, positive or negative, comes back to you threefold. Her wannabe butt is in for some serious karmic kicking.” … Blogger Marianne Love/Slight Detour has a challenge for Sandpoint bypass opponents: “I’ve often said that all (Sandpoint) byway opponents ought to publicly demonstrate the true passion of their convictions by willingly taking a trip from the south end of the (Long) Bridge to Kootenai every single summer day from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Once they’ve done this for a complete summer, if they still feel the byway is a stupid idea, then the rest of us will take them seriously.” … Police chiefs aren’t immune from Coeur d’Alene’s version of gridlock during peak hours. Ask Wendy Carpenter. On Wednesday, she idled for four light changes before she was able to drive through a busy U.S. Highway 95 intersection. … Chief Carpenter, by the way, will be my guest for my weekly Huckleberries Gone Wireless interview today. You can join us online at 1:30 p.m

Poet’s Corner

move with
morning breeze
sling pollen and seed
rouse membranes to spasm’d sneezing

Sue Turner/Tumblewords

Hump Day Wild Card — 6/20/07

Coming Tomorrow (from reporter Jessica Meyers): “Like the unwavering resolve of its participants, the annual Ford Ironman Coeur d’Alene competition will persist for at least another five years. The city and Coeur d’Alene Area Chamber of Commerce extended their contract Wednesday, four days before this year’s triathlon will take place. North America Sports Inc., a Boulder, Colo., company that runs the competition, also agreed to donate $50,000 to the Kroc Center, the community center to be built starting this year in Coeur d’Alene.”

Now, your Wild Card …

CastMD: I Unhooked Her Bra While Driving

Q: What have you done while driving here?

The funniest thing was, believe this or not … unhooking my VERY pregnant wife’s bra because some wire was killing her digging in. Just about then, I see the classic “Blue Lights” flashing in my rear-view mirror. Oh, no! Then as the Officer said, “How are you doing today?” I thought, “You’re kidding aren’t you?” I am here trying to drive back to MPLS (Minneapolis) in this God forsaken heat and humidity, with my VERY pregant wife dying next to me with some wire in her body … possibly poking my child in utero! So, I asked “Why did you stop me?” He said, “You were swerving,” and I said, “Well this is what I was doing … .” He said, “I have never heard THAT before!” Yup … TRUE CONFESSSIONS. No ticket though! — Dr. J/CastMD.

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 6/20/07

Alastair Grant/AP Photo

Sophie, Countess of Wessex, wife of Britain’s Prince Edward, reacts as she watches a big television screen that shows the Royal procession up the race course, as Camilla Duchess of Cornwall almost loses her hat, on the second day of the Royal Ascot horse racing meet at Ascot, England, today. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Nearly losing her hat explains why Camilla had such a long face at the conclusion of the race. In fact, it was related that one unfortunate bloke mistook her for her mount, and was last seen being exhiled to the British consulate in the Sudan — John Austin.

2. Countess Sophie has to hide her smile as she is listening to BBC’s podcasts of Benny Hill reruns by use of her cleverly disguised “hat-tenna” — Northerner.

3. Tired of paying for cable? Get the dish! — Jesse Tinsley.

HM: Side Note

Inside Huckleberries — 6/20/07

*Taryn Brodwater reports she’s received a number of calls from readers wanting to help Kendra Goodrick, the young mother who’s facing a return to prison after an appeals court overturned the probation that Judge John Mitchell gave her.

*Hmm. The flyer circulated online by the anti-LCDC crowd (Goodkin, Culbreth and Sims, in this instance) here seems to indicate that Idaho Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna will be the featured speaker at the urban renewal bashfest at the Coeur d’Alene Inn Monday. But Luna’s office tells us that the boss’ll be there only to listen. Was the wording intentionally misleading to give the impression that Luna was on board the U.S.S. CAVE?

*Inside The SR Blogs: Editor Steve Smith plans to make News Is A Conversation into his personal blog later this week. He explains why here.

*Shawn Murphy/Coeur d’Alene Brewing Co. writes: “I have made your blog one of my daily stops and really enjoy reading it. I just wanted to drop a quick note to let you know that CDA Brewing Co is a Wi-Fi access point and invite you down to enjoy one of our award winning micro-brews while you work on Huckleberries. Thanks and keep up the great work.”

*Huckleberries hears … that Maxim mag has named former Zag Adam Morrison one of the 15 biggest “Nancies” (read: girly men) in sports for his crying 2006 crying jag at the end of the NCAA basketball tournament loss to UCLA. But I can’t see that for myself b/c our office filter won’t let me access Maxim. Is it that naughty of a site?

*Dan of the County e-mailed a wonderful photo that his wife took a coupla days ago of a moose in the middle channel of Twin Lakes. It’ll be this evening’s parting shot, if I wait that long to post it.

*An Office Wag e-mails: “At the North Idaho Democratic Party rally scheduled for this Saturday in Post Falls: Elvis impersonator Doug Spence of St. Maries and his band will entertain. Seems appropriate. … Elvis is dead and so are the Idaho Dems.”

As The Lake Churns: Mama, Babies Visit Casa Cox

Tom Holman/As The Lake Churns

This viewtiful shot by Tom Holman was taken just outside the home of Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns.

Tribune: Feds Shy Away from Another Ruby Ridge

Today’s lesson comes from Proverbs 14:7: “Leave the presence of a fool, for there you do not meet words of knowledge.” In other words, don’t waste time arguing with a jackass. Federal authorities finally learned that lesson. Unfortunately, a lot of people had to die before it sunk in. Ed Brown won’t be adding to the body count - much to his chagrin. Brown, a New Hampshire resident who refuses to pay his income taxes, seems almost giddy at the prospect of being the victim of another Ruby Ridge. That was the 1992 tragedy in northern Idaho when Brown’s fellow zealot, Randy Weaver, took a stand against federal agents - with deadly results. … So far, federal authorities have responded with the patience of Job — Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune.

More here

DFO: I still remember the shocked look on the faces of Tony Stewart and other local human-rights activists when they learned during a news conference during the Ruby Ridge siege that Sammy Weaver had been killed. A weird time for all.

Question: Have you ever figured out who was chiefly to blame for the Ruby Ridge shootout?

Lunch Question: Last Book You Read?

Occasionally, I like to see whether you’re spending all your time online. Or if you’re exercising your mind with a good book. (Not that HBO discussions aren’t mind enhancing, mind you.) Last week, I read Donald Miller’s “Blue Like Jazz.” I consider it a Christian version of J.D. Salinger’s “Catcher in the Rye.” Miller’s quirky as all get out and will probably be ruined now that he’s on a speaker’s circuit (as far as innovative ideas go). But he sez things about Christianity and religion out loud that I’ve often pondered quietly. I’d recommend it to anyone who’s tired of his/her church mold with the one reservation that Miller has/had some significant personal issues. Now, for you …

Question: What is the last book you read? Or the current book you’re reading?

Online Poll: What Have You Done While Driving?

Question: What have you done while driving? — Idaho Statesman

*Talk on cellphone
*Change CDs
*All of the above
*None of the above

DFO: Eat, change CDs

Question: Should NIC Employees Get 6% Raises

Item: NIC board considers 6 percent salary increase: Pay about 20 percent below market for faculty/Meghann Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

More Info: The Legislature gave the college enough to cover 40 percent of a state-suggested 5 percent increase; the rest will come from the college’s general fund, which the administration hopes to fatten by increasing NIC’s share of property taxes by 3 percent, the maximum allowed by state law, Propst said.

Question: Too much? Not enough? Just right?

Poll: Demo Congress Rated Below GOP One

Item: Congressional Job Approval Dips Again This Month: Democrats, Republicans now almost equally likely to disapprove of Congress/Joseph Carroll, The Gallup Poll

More: According to the June 11-14, 2007, survey, 24% of Americans approve and 71% disapprove of the way Congress is handling its job. Congressional approval is down five points since last month and more than 10 points from the higher support levels in January and February following the Democratic takeover. The current 24% rating is similar to the poor ratings Congress received last year, with Americans essentially voting to take control of Congress away from the Republicans in November.

Question: How do you rate Congress?

Question: Should This Woman Go Back to Prison?

Item: Mom faces prison: Woman given probation had baby, then appeals court overruled judge/Taryn Brodwater, Spokesman-Review

Kathy Plonka, Spokesman-Review

“I’m going to miss so many firsts, ” said Kendra Goodrick as she held her 9-week-old son Jameson at her home in Hayden Monday.

Goodrick, 29, said she never thought she’d be headed back to prison after 1st District Judge John Mitchell placed her on probation in January 2006. The Court of Appeals decision was a devastating blow, she said. Goodrick is a model of success, according to the attorneys and counselors who have worked with her. She married her longtime boyfriend on March 31 and gave birth to her first child April 10. “I’ve come so far, and I’ve done everything they’ve requested me to do,” she said. “And then some.”

Question: Should Goodrick go back to prison?

OrangeTV, Keep Giving Us Candid Reviews — Arpie

OrangeTV: Hmmm … I just got (a) grumpy comment on my blog (doesn’t matter from who) and now I’m curious: should I only write nice reviews from now on? Is it not okay to highlight bad service in the hopes that the owners may catch a clue and make improvements in that area? Discuss.

Arpie: OTV I, too, am a fan of your reviews. I went out of my way to eat at the Mexican place on Government, or Apple, Way (I still get your roads mixed up)after a review of yours last fall. It was as good as you reported. You are well on your way to developing a gift. Good clear and enjoyable writing mixes well with your honest and forthright view of things. Keep going.

DFO: OrangeTV offers refreshing advice b/c he provides honest reviews. The price for honest reviews is negative feedback. If he becomes pollyanna, as is the temptation, he will lose his audience. Keep going for it, OrangeTV, and set your spam filter to reject negative comments.

AM Hucks: Weight Loss Begins w/First Step

I’m reluctant to tell you that I’ve lost 31 pounds since Jan. 1, 2006, for a variety of reasons. I’m worried I can’t keep it off. I don’t want you to think I’m bragging. I don’t want to become another journalist who obsesses in print about his/her diet and exercise plan. Also, I don’t have a clue re: how much more weight I want to lose. I’m caught in an in-between phase in which my nice old clothes (which my wife piled in front of our bedroom closet) don’t fit. And I don’t want to commit to another size for fear those clothes will be outdated soon, too. I don’t want to be a bore. But I want to suggest a way to lose weight and trim up that’s gradual and as good as any fast fix out there. I began by walking. I wanted to see if a mid-50something could lose weight without dieting after gradually ballooning to 250 pounds. No matter what the scale said or what the weather was like outside, I set a goal to walk 730 miles last year – or an average of two miles per day. I walked 750 miles. Usually, I walk three miles five times a week. The weight came off slo-o-o-wly. But it came off. Sixteen pounds in 15 months. A pound a month doesn’t seem like much. But it is, given enough months. The discipline of walking also prepared me to change my diet after a doctor visit this spring. And – voila – 15 more pounds came off. Now, at 219 and dropping, I weigh less than I have in at least 15 years. I’m telling you this simply to encourage you to take that first step.

Wild Card/Tuesday — 6/19/07

As I mentioned earlier today, I’m celebrating three anniversaries in the next coupla weeks — my 32nd wedding anniversary on Thursday (which’ll tie me with my mother and my late father), my 37th year as a professional journalist (this week), and my 30th year in the Inland Northwest (July 1-4). All those numbers represent many adventures — as a husband, a journalist and a Northwesterner. And I still have time to make something of myself. Now, for your Wild Card …

IEG: 10 Reasons Students Think I’m Eccentric

10. I never watch six hours of television a day.
9. I don’t wear flip flops to school and when I wear sandals I wear socks because my feet get cold and I don’t want to hurt my toes.
8. I can’t ever pronounce Beyonce or déjà vu and I always call Steve-O Jacko which gets much quick correction.
7. I hate scary movies with a passion, but they still try to tell me the plot line every time they see one.
6. I watch the news, read a newspaper, and check out the news online.
5. I love to play classical music in the classroom.
4. When it is cold outside I wear a coat, gloves, and a hat.
3. I have yet to seen Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, or Lord of the Rings.
2. I have never played an X-Box game, gone paintballing, done Laser Quest, and didn’t know what a Wii was until last week.
1. And the number one reason my students think I am eccentric: I don’t own an I Pod ( yet!)

Inland Empire Girl
Gathering Around the Table

Question: Is there a reason anyone would think you’re eccentric?

Best of Friends’ Blogs — 6/19/07

Idaho Escapee Illustration
Looks like Idaho Escapee is up to his old tricks with the photoshop software.

*”I believe the good blogging doesn’t really start until you’ve truly found your ‘blogging’ identity and gone through various cycles to determine what works best for you,” posts Southwark Lad/Bronx Boy shortly after the first anniversary of his Perambulation blog. “I think I have finally reached that stage. All I have to say is stay tuned: I’m gonna give some really good blog in the coming months” here.

*In his Idaho Statesman blog, Opinion Editor Kevin Richert disagrees with Yours Truly re: the peregrine that former Gov. Dirk Kempthorne choose to represent us on the Idaho quarter here.

*”Blumming it” might not mean something to you, but it does to Raymond Pert/Kellogg Bloggin’ and other members of his old Kellogg High teammates who enjoyed taunting the star of the Wallace team here.

*Green Libertarian does a slow burn when he notices a young girl buying a cup of noodles while the dogs on “Animal Planet” are eating better here.

*In a poignant Father’s Day post, Marmitetoasty/Twaddle explains why she wishes she hated her less-than-sterling father but doesn’t here.

Meanwhile, Global warming is bringing uranium miners back to Idaho, sez Rocky Barker here, TUBOB follows an old man skipping stones for awhile here, Toad sez he learned to be a good father from his dad here, JBelle shows off Chow Nation’s lion cuts here, and Indiana Jones meets Smith & Wesson in this Dennis Mansfield post here.

Mitchell Oversteps Bounds, New Mom Faces Prison

The mother of a 9-week-old baby is pleading to stay out of prison following an Idaho Court of Appeals ruling that the judge who placed her on probation was out of bounds. After 18 months on probation and two years of sobriety, recovering meth addict Kendra Goodrick is faced with returning to prison to finish her sentence for felony drug charges. “I’m going to miss out on so many firsts,” the Hayden woman said Monday, cradling her son Jameson in her arms. “His first words. His first steps. Everything.” Goodrick, 29, said she never thought she’d be headed back to prison after 1st District Judge John Mitchell placed her on probation in January 2006. The Court of Appeals decision was a devestating blow to Goodrick, who’s been described as a “model probationer” by the attorneys and counselors who worked with her. She married her longtime boyfriend on March 31 and gave birth to her first child on April 10.

More to come

DFO: Wonder what former 1st District Judge opponent Rami Amaro and her supporters would say about this one?

Look, Up In The Sky, It’s A Bird…

Eric Francis/AP Photo

North Carolina center fielder Seth Williams attempts a leaping catch, but drops the ball, hit by Louisville’s Chris Cates in the third inning of a College World Series baseball elimination game in Omaha, Neb., today.

Extra! CdA Firm Sued for Racial Harassment

The foreman at a Coeur d’Alene company used racial slurs and told racial jokes in the presence of two African-American employees, according to a lawsuit filed today by the U.S. Equal Opportunity Commission. The suit was filed on behalf of Shawn Fletcher and his nephew, Richard Fletcher, who worked at Coeur d’Alene Paving Inc. during the 2005 construction season. According to the lawsuit, the two men reported the foreman’s harassing behavior to the company’s owners, but no action was taken.

More here

MamaJD: “Steps” As Important As Real Father

My biological father is a sperm donor and that is all. I have met him over the phone. I have visited with my biological grandfather in person and we correspond sometimes. They are not around for the day-to-day give-and-take of a familial relationship. They are not “fathers” to me even though “technically” they are fathers. My sperm donor did not raise me. He is not on my list of people to call when I want to share good news or need some advice, which are key ingredients to filling the fatherly shoes — MamaJD.

More here

Question: How would you describe your immediate family: 1. traditional and functioning well, 2. tradition but dysfunctional, 3. blended, 4. estranged, or 5. other?

JimmyMAC: Better Place Than Downtown for Homeless

JimmyMAC: Downtown CDA has overcome a lot to be where it is today. It wasn’t long ago that downtown was regarded as a financial sinkhole when attracting solid tenants. I don’t think it is unsympathetic to protect what has taken years to build. From what I have read, this will not be a “homeless shelter”. However, I have not heard any of the people from St. Vinnies discounting the fact that it will inevitably attract homeless loiterers. Perhaps downtown is resilient enough and could coexist with this. However, we can learn alot from other communites and that history teaches us that what so many of the leaders and risktakers of this community have worked so hard for could be deeply jeopardized. I hope that St. Vinnies ends up getting a great facility and I would personally help in any fundraising cause that would benefit them. We have to remember that not every business owner in the CDA downtown district is making money hand over fist. Many of them are hardworking people that are just getting by who employ other hard working people who are just getting by. They all add to the charm of downtown and unfortunately the reality of this is that this move could put some of those people out of their jobs.

DFO: I might be considered a snob but I agree with JimmyMAC. Coeur d’Alene leaders have worked too hard to upgrade the central business district. A center for the homeless only blocks away would introduce an element that would drive potential shoppers off. Sorry, but that’s the facts. St. Vinny’s needs to look elsewhere. Now, if we could only do something about the average drunks spilling out of the Iron Horse and the rich drunks spilling out of the Beacon on Sherman Avenue …

Breaking! Benewah County Killer Blames Boozing

Lawrence Banderob will spend at least 35 years in prison for murdering 76-year-old Miriam Waltch in February 2006. Banderob, 39, was sentenced this morning in a Benewah County courtroom. First District Court Judge Fred Gibler ordered Banderob to serve 35 years to life under a plea agreement. Banderob will not be eligible for parole until 2042. Before he received his sentence, Banderob addressed the court, speaking through sobs: “I think it’s awful: Because of my drinking, I caused another person’s life to end. … I don’t remember killing her at home, but I guess I did. I sit in jail every day and think about her and her family.”

More here

Black Bear Kills 11-year-old on Utah Camping Trip

Douglas C. Pizac/AP Photo

Sharn Ives holds a portrait of her grandson, Samuel Ives, as her husband, Eldon, right, answers questions during a news conference Tuesday in American Fork, Utah. The 11-year-old was dragged from his family’s tent and killed by a black bear on a camping trip Monday.

Richert: Sali May Be Tougher to Beat Next Time

Some of Sali’s detractors have assumed — rather wishfully — that Sali is a one-term political accident who could be dispatched either in a one-on-one GOP primary or in the 2008 general election. I’m skeptical. Still no sign, although it’s early, of a primary challenger. Grant and Democratic bloggers are dutifully chronicling Sali’s tendency for contrarian no votes (such as votes against federal cockfighting laws and funding for a program for torture victims), but have they found an issue that will catch fire in a conservative 1st District. We heard many times last fall that a vote for Larry Grant was a vote for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Wouldn’t it be ironic if Sali wound up staying in Congress for many more years than Pelosi serves as speaker? — Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman Opinion Blog.

More here

Question: Can Congressman Sali be beaten in 2008?

Councilman Wannabe Toad: Open Beaches for All

Does one actually have to live IN Cour d’Alene to be elected to City Council? If not, then count me in. I’ll do whatever it takes to do the following: Open the beaches to all (especially me). Open the resort to all (mostly me). Open the bars to all (only me). Sound like a good platform? — Toadman/Synaptic Disunion.

DFO: I’d vote for you, Toad. But you have to live in the Coeur d’Alene city limits.

Question: What would be your platform, if you ran for the council in your town?

BrodH20: Boob Job Gets Noticed in the ‘Hood

Thanks to the warming summer days, we’ve seen neighbors we haven’t seen in months. We now know who’s pregnant again (or at least showing since last fall) and we know who got their boobs done. It didn’t take the men in the ‘hood long at all to notice the “subtle” changes. (Subtle as in an A-cup to whatever size you’d call watermelons.) In all fairness, I noticed right away, too. There was no way I couldn’t. The Otis and I were chatting with said neighbor the other day and later talked about how we had to physically force ourselves to look at her face when she spoke. Because those things are just out there — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20.

More here

Question: What changes have your neighbors made during the cold months?

Heller: Make Mine Vintage Milk

Joe Heller/Hellertoon

Scurvy Jake: Volunteerism w/A Sunburn Aftertaste

The company I work for has instituted a new policy which allows us to do volunteer work in the community one day per year, and get paid as if you actually worked that day. While this sounds great, keep in mind that that day used to be a regular vacation day. Anyway, it’s still a good thing to do. I used my day last Friday to volunteed at Camp Easton during the Cub Scout Day Camp. I spent the whole day outside in the sun, which means I was miserable. I got sunburned and had just about the worst allergy episode in 20 years. That ought to teach me to volunteer…— Scurvy Jake Pirate Blog.

Question: Where would you volunteer, if your company allowed you one day of vacation to do so?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 6/18/07

Tom Holman shoots a scene from the recent Priest Lake Fishing Derby for Pecky Cox’s As The Lake Churns. You can find more Holman photos of the derby here.

Check it out: Doug Fredericks, the Hayden photographer extraordinaire, has updated his web site, which offers terrific photos of viewtiful North Idaho here.

*David Bond/Wallace Street Journal focuses his latest column on “The Newest Great Penny Stock” involving an Idaho company that has no Idaho holdings (you’ll have to guess which one) here.

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 surprised The Otis on Father’s Day with a dream-come-true … his own boat. Sorta. It’s a porta-boat. The Otis has already christened it the S.S. Nautiyacht here.

*OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy admits he holds his breath when he gets e-mail as a result of his SR Get Out! reviews b/c he’s afraid an angry eatery owner might be responding here.

*Silver Valley Girl/Silver Valley Stories was surprised to learn that the major tourist attractions in Washington, D.C., are free. Also, she returned home from the nation’s capitol with a renewed appreciation for art here.

*”I don’t know about you, but I’m wild about gadgets,” writes Sue Turner/Tumblewords. “I love robots. I prefer the kind that work. I’m crazy about possibility and not so fond of reality” here.

Meanwhile, A Butterfly Moment wonders, “Who needs the Mayflag man?” here, Bayview Herb is already getting ready for Bayview Daze here, Freedom of Expression had a happy Father’s Day here, Cis insists that Jamestown, R.I., rules household regattas here, Go Figure offers his wolf reduction plan here, Family Phil explains why Father’s Day didn’t excite him here, JeanC reports that hubby survived his gall stone procedure here, Live, Love, Laugh, Hope offers cool photos of the coast here, OnLocation North Idaho has a getaway plan for those who want to preserve gas this summer here, Scurvy Jake spends his volunteer day at Camp Easton here, Slight Detour celebrates a quiet Monday with miscellany here, and This Is Growing Up shares her recipe for chicken parmesan here.

Inside Huckleberries — 6/18/07

*Question: Where is that Commie Priggie when you need him … is this the new guy (Noah Kroese)? — Bad Daug. DFO: Priggee’s cartooning in western Washington. UI grad Noah Kroese has been political cartooning at HBO for awhile now and also sells a ‘toon or two to the SR each week for the editorial page.


*In an ongoing weird situation, CPD Blue has filed “lewd conduct with a minor charges” against 21-year-old Lindsey Kay Vogt of Coeur d’Alene, alleging she had sex with a minor (14- and 15-year-old) at least 20 times between April 2006 and 2007. So, why am I mentioning it here? Vogt is the young woman who showed up bloody and seeking help at colleague Meghann Cuniff’s door early New Year’s Eve. She’d gotten into a fight with another female over her under-aged boyfriend. I referred to her as “Bloody Woman” in Huckleberries print and here. In a follow-up HBO post in which she got into a shouting match with the boy’s mother and sister, I predicted she was headed for trouble if she didn’t break things off with her boy toy. Now, she’s facing a serious offense. In a discovery motion, the prosecutor’s office furnished the defense with my Huckleberries print and online articles. Dunno why. Stay tuned.

*I’ve finished my blogroll adjustments for now. I deleted my national blogs that had been at the bottom under my old “Quick Fix Six” logo. I also moved good friend Raymond Pert down to “Friends of Huckleberries” since he posts from Eugene, Ore., but he remains one of my favorites. I decided to keep most people who link to me.

*I’ve almost completed an overhaul of my blogrolls along the right rail. Several inactive blogs have been deleted. I need to make a decision about a handful of blogs under “Friends of Huckleberries” that provide reciprocal links to this blog but have no other interaction. I’m inclined to delete those. Importantly, I’ve added an “Idaho Politics” blogroll again, so you can follow political events from around Idaho from bloggers’ perspective. Dennis Mansfield is a conservative voice in Boise. 43rd State Blues is a compilation of Idaho Falls provides a compilation of state Demo blogs. BTW, I’ve incorporated the “Local Photography” blog into the other blogrolls.

Question: Cold Stone Creamery Or Baskin-Robbins

We started our sleepover Friday night by going for ice cream at Cold Stone Creamery in Coeur d’Alene. From now on the five of us have agreed to give Basking Robbins our business. Dave enjoyed his cone but the rest of us, all kids including myself, like our ice cream made in a factory best — Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts.

DFO: I have to go with B&R because my sister-in-law’s family owns one in Central California. That, and I haven’t tried Cold Stone yet.

A Matter of Opinion: I Vant To Drive Alone

Spokesman-Review/File Photo

Despite high gas prices, global warming — oops, I mean “climate change” — and the higher cost of parking coming soon to downtown Spokane, people still drive to work da sola. See today’s story. When I worked in Washington D.C. for two years in the 1980s, I always took the Metro to work. It was clean, fast and relaxing in its own way. Now, even though I feel guilty about it somtimes, I drive to work, despite the fact the the bus is fairly convenient.

Question: What would it take for you to commute to work by public transportation, bicycle, or on foot?

Dogwalk: Press Needed to Sort Out Subjectivity

A case in point: a local activist pens a column for the home town newspaper. Her column is opinion. That’s what columnists do. She takes on the city often. As a citizen that is her right but are her assumptions accurate? The same paper prints a guest opinion from the mayor and entire city council taking her to task for being “loose with facts”. Should their word be taken as gospel? The issues are major. I would be much more comfortable in forming my opinion if an objective reporter would dig into the criticisms and the rebuttal then lay out the facts. I’m not saying this never happens; I am saying it doesn’t happen often enough. Without the press where is one to go? We need them to provide the neutral center. Broadcast doesn’t have the time allotment and bloggers don’t have the credibility. That leaves us with opinion. That leaves us uninformed. And that is dangerous — Mari/Dogwalk Musings.

More here

Question: Will online blogs and journalism supplant the traditional press?

My 2 Cents: Ron And Dixie And Al, My Oh My

In the Coeur d’Alene Press this morning, Brand Xer Dave Turner wrote a front-page story re: the re-election plans for veteran council members Ron Edinger, Al Hassell and Dixie Reid. Basically, Ron and Al are leaning toward re-election. Dixie is noncommital. No surprises. That’s the way it has been for some time now. I’d like to see all three run again because I like the way the city is going. I like the progress downtown and along the riverfront. I like the vision for Midtown and the education corridor. I like the way the mayor and this council have tackled major problems — even if they’ve struck a dry hole (Sanders Beach) at times. Ron and Al are shoe-ins, unless something unforeseeable happens between now and November. The only thing that would fit that description, as I write this in mid-June, is the property tax situation. During the weekend, I posted an >Idaho Statesman story in which property owners in Boise and McCall reacted strongly against their new valuations. We got our new valuations in the mail a week or so ago. It’ll be interesting to see how that affects the tax bills that will be coming soon to a mailbox near us.

Online Poll: Who Should Replace Run-Down Schools?

Who should pay to repair and replace deteriorating schools in low-incomes districts in Idaho? — Lewiston Tribune.

*State taxpayers through legislative appropriation
*Residents of the districts themselves
*Some combination of state and local money

DFO: Some combination of state and local money.

Millsap: Obits Make You Glad You’re Alive

Home Planet: Chronicling death makes you appreciate life/Cheryl-Anne Millsap, Spokesman-Review

Cheryl-Anne Millsap: “What are you reading?” she asked. “The obituaries.” “Why?” she asked, her voice muffled because she was deep in the cabinet. “Did someone you know die?” “No.” I said without looking up. “I’m just reading.” “I don’t like that page,” she said with a shudder. “It makes you think about being dead.”

Question: Why do/don’t you read the newspaper obituaries?

Noah Kroese: For-Profit Means Cuts Must Be Made

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Alice Rankin: Kidd Island Bay Home Valuation Soars

Too bad my husband isn’t still here to lead the rebellion. He would certainly have something to say about how the value of our land has been going up at Kidd Island Bay. It almost matches McCall’s.

2004 -$ 40,000.00
2005 - 55,000.00
2006 - 102,000.00
2007 - 183,798.00

That’s up $143,798 in four years. Yikes!

Alice Rankin

AM Hucks: Way to San Jose Smooth So Far For Burke

Michael Burke was headed for California with a pack of business hounds on his tail when Huckleberries Online last saw him early this year. After a lengthy stint as North Idaho College president (1998 to 2007), Burke jumped at the chance to become president of San Jose City College. The hounds had been circling Burke since summer 2006 when business leaders who were concerned about the direction of NIC’s vo-tech offerings signed a letter of no-confidence in him. He also was a finalist for the presidency of a New Jersey community college. That was then. Now, Burke’s “perfect.” In fact, the headline for a story about him in the latest edition of the City College Times reads: “Michael Burke: The perfect President.” Gushes reporter Azania Baker: “Besides a charisma that makes him immediately likable by staff and students alike, his values of honesty, integrity and impartiality make him a man to admire.” (If I ever wrote something like that about someone other than a family member, Editor Steve Smith would hand me a pink slip.) Now, Burke was a decent NIC president. In January, Trustee Rolly Williams called him “outstanding” after learning of Burke’s resignation. But perfect? Student journalist Baker continues: “With snowy white hair, a great smile and a handsome face that most likely betrays his age, Burke exudes confidence and competence.” You can pour prose like that over your pancakes

Property Taxes Soar in Boise, McCall Areas

You think your property assessment just went up?
Check out these numbers on Valley County land:

• Around Smith’s Ferry and Round Valley: Assessments just rose about 65 percent.

• West side of Cascade Lake, not including Tamarack Resort: Up 70 percent.

• Donnelly west to Royal Scot: Up about 80 percent.

And get ready for this one:

• McCall: Up about 135 percent — and that doesn’t include any lakefront property.

Prime lakefront went up from $13,442 per foot to $23,000 per foot.

“That’s it in a nutshell,” Valley County Assessor Karen Campbell said. “Please be kind.”

More from Idaho Statesman here

Question Will this trigger another property tax rebellion, as James Bond suggests in the Comments section?

I’d Rather Be …

Jason Whong, AP Photo/The Star-Gazette

The crew of the Duff Diver IV, a cardboard boat that resembles a six-pack of the fictional product from The Simpsons television show, approaches the finish line during the 14th Annual Cardboard Boat Regatta, Saturday, June 16, 2007, at Seneca Harbor in Watkins Glen, N.Y. Boats in the competition could be constructed only out of cardboard, duct tape, glue and paint.

Question: As the Inland Northwest endures another dreary weekend, people, like the crew of the Duff Diver IV, are enjoying themselves. What would you rather be doing today?

Question: How Important Are Father’s in Today’s Families?

Item: Bashing fathers isn’t funny/Kathleen Parker, Washington Post

More Info: A week before Father’s Day, cartoonist Berkeley Breathed did a very cartoonist thing and caused a controversy to be stirred over a comic strip that seemed to slight fathers while celebrating lesbian moms. Reaction has been swift and predictable: outrage on the right; smug contempt for the right on the left. In the middle is one happy cartoonist, who got a rise from a jaded nation. Though the message of the strip may be interpreted more than one way, outrage is not necessarily misplaced.

Question: How important are fathers in modern American society?

Wild Card/Saturday — 6/15/07

“I’m watching the movie version of “Rent” while waiting for Amy Dearest to return home to chat about her night at work at the restaurant. I don’t feel very creative tonight. Mebbe I’ll write a “My 2
Cents” piece about something or other in the morning. I’ve been flirting with the idea of breaking out a separate blogroll again for Idaho political bloggers. With Kevin Richert and Rocky Barker of the Idaho Statesman, along with Betsy Russell’s Eye On Boise, it would have some high-calibre blogs in it. I quietly cut out a coupla inactive blogs last week. I don’t like deadwood in my blogrolls. You don’t have to worry if you post at least once every couple of weeks or you’re a regular commenter here. I’m proud of the quality of the blogroll. Enuf of my prattle. Here’s your Wild Card …

RSPA: St. Peter Isn’t Going to Welcome Car d’Laners

re: Car d’Lane

I only went once to this sadly evil event and it’s naked celebration of global warming and raw, unabated thirst for gasoline and, by the looks of most of the old, annoying baby boomers driving the rods, celebrating their viagra and rogaine, but did find the exhaust flameouts both visually stimulating and somewhat prescient for the rocket ride to hell most of these carbon monoxide spewing creeps are booking themselves for when they have to stand at the Pearly Gates with their wizened old fingers stained black from 10-40 Pennzoil and explain to St. Peter why such hideous stewards of nature should be allowed in to stink up the clouds and scare the baby angels with their unmuffled exhalations.

Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel

007: UI Should Do A Legal University Place … in CDA

James Bond: I agree with everything you said, DFO. However, I believe your energy as an editorial writer would be better directed at convincing the policy makers that the University of Idaho itself should begin shifting massive resources to Coeur d’Alene. Basically, I’m saying they should do the University Place thing in Coeur d’Alene, except do it legally. Northern Idaho would welcome the Vandals. Boise did not and will not. We do not need the functional equivalent of ANOTHER four year school in northern Idaho. We need the University of Idaho to actually serve people in the new mileneum, which means leaving the farm and going where the people are located. The University of Idaho is situated to serving northern Idaho. It should do so.

DFO: You provided a lot of food for thought here, 007. You’re right. UIdaho has quite an offer from Dennis Pence/Coldwater Creek in Sandpoint. Pence has offered to construct buildings and help fund a UI center in Sandpoint. A Coeur d’Alene education corridor would be a larger equivalent in the Lake City. Dunno if UIdaho, the Idaho Board of Education, and the Idaho Legislature can think that big.

Drummergrrrl: What Happened to Protest Smoker?

Whatever happened to the chain-smoking city watchdogs who make sure that Hagadone et al aren’t violating long-time agreements with the city? Do you remember Peggy? Penny? What was her name? She’d park her old car in the little circular lot by the clock tower on the Resort grounds to press the point that it’s a public lot. And smoke. I was down near Independence Point Thursday afternoon - only planned to stay an hour and hoped to take advantage of the hour-long free parking in the little circular lot. But it was blocked by Resort-issued white ropes - with no sign. It was empty. Being saved from some VIP or special event? When I parked in the neighboring Independence Point lot, and paid my dollar, I asked the friendly CdA Blue cops on bikes about the lot and why it was blocked off. The officer told me he thought it was the Resort’s private lot. I tried to correct him. He looked doubtful and told me he’d look into it, when I pressed my point. Somehow I didn’t feel a lot of confidence that he’d watch out for the public parking good. There was a void - something lost. And I realized I was missing that old station wagon with the chain-smoking driver. … Can you recall her name???


Tumblewords Haiku

gone mad, spins a web
no retreat

Richert: Reluctant Thumbs Down on “State Legislature”

I’ve only made it through about 90 minutes of “State Legislature,” the 3 1/2-hour epic on the Idaho Legislature which appeared on Public Television Wednesday night. The rest sits patiently on my DVR, embedded amidst some “Forensic Files” and the kids’ “Simpsons.” I gotta say — with no disrespect to our Dan Popkey, who wrote glowingly about the film Sunday — I didn’t get hooked. I found it plodding at times, and I’m a card-carrying policy wonk. I suspect it was really confusing to anyone who wasn’t there. You can fit what I know about cinema verite into a shot glass, with ample room for the booze, but without any kind of subtitles, I feel sorry for any outsider trying to tell the players without a scorecard — Opinion Editor Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman.

More here

Dan Popkey’s “Viewers’ Guide to ‘State Legislature” here

Question: Do you plan to see “State Legislature,” a 3 1/2-hour documentary by Frederick Wiseman on the 2004 Idaho Legislature?

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 6/15/07

Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., center, meets with wounded soldiers who served in Iraq and Afghanistan after speaking at the National Hispanic Prayer Breakfast in Washington this morning. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Soldiers take a “ransom” photo of Hillary. Their demand: Withdraw NOW! or we’re all voting for Hillary! — Thom George.

2. Everyone was again reminded of Spc. Gurzinski’s speech impediment when he returned to the barracks and exclaimed “Kilroy was here” — Side Note.

3. (tie) And the soldiers asked: “When do get paid for this photo op for her?” — Dr. J; and: I supported the troops before I stopped supporting the troops, just take the picture — keithincda.

A Matter of Opinion: Future Watch, Take 1

In the mid-1980s, I interviewed Jonathan Peck, a futurist with the Institute for Alternative Futures.

We were talking about the then changing telephone technology and he mentioned that someday people would carry their phone numbers with them everywhere. He wasn’t sure how it would work. Maybe our phone numbers would be on a sort of credit card that we’d plug into hotel phones.

Cell phones turned out to tbe the universal phone number carriers that Peck imagined. And the ability to carry my phone number with me everywhere, which seemed so sci-fi in the late 1980s, is now a 2007 reality.

I wished I had recorded the exact date and time of the prediction by Peck (and I can’t find the story I wrote back then.) But this blog allows me to track some of the future watch stuff more easily.

And here’s the first. Yesterday, the editorial board met with the Northwest Power and Conservation Council folks. They talked about future stresses on the power grid, especially during peak-load times. They then, almost casually, mentioned the peak load demands that might happen with people get home from work and plug in their cars to recharge them for the next day. They are already talking about ways to meet that potential demand.

Wouldn’t that be a great problem for society to solve. Can’t wait! Will it take 20 years? Longer, shorter? Your predictions are welcome.

Photo from

Question: Are You Planning to See “Transformers”

Mel Evans/AP Photo

Benson Yee, 31, holds Grand Maximus, left, at his home in Elizabeth, N.J., Saturday, June 9, 2007. At two feet tall, Grand Maximus is the largest in his collection of Transformers, “robots in disguise” that change into vehicles or other objects. After more than two decades of collecting, Yee has 3,000 pieces in his Transformers collection and is among the many men in their 20s and 30s anticipating the release of the “Transformers” live-action movie July 4.

DFO: OK, I’ve seen the Big 3 of this summer’s trilogies so far this summer: “Shrek,” “Spiderman” and “Pirates.” I enjoyed them all — “Spiderman” most of all. I’m a sucker for big screen special effects involving sci-fi, fantasy, comic book characters come to live. I’ll see “Transformers” at the Riverstone Cinema.

Question: Will you?

Breaking! More E-mail Release Delay

E-mails exchanged between Kootenai County Prosecutor Bill Douglas and former employee Marina Kalani likely won’t be released this month. The clerk’s office for the Idaho Supreme Court said today that the justices will not take any action in the public records case until after June 25. The Idaho Supreme Court ruled May 4 that e-mails Douglas exchanged with Kalani were public records. The Spokesman-Review sued in 2005 to obtain e-mails Kalani, former coordinator of the county’s juvenile drug court, exchanged with Douglas following the program’s demise under financial scrutiny. Kalani filed a motion for rehearing on the day the Supreme Court’s decision was to become final. She withdrew the motion on Monday. According to the clerk’s office, the case is being delayed for 14 days in case anyone objects to Kalani withdrawing the motion.

Taryn Brodwater

Lewiston Trib: Why Wasn’t CAMBR’s Maki Sent Home?

Gary Maki directs the University of Idaho’s Center for Advanced Microelectronics and Biomolecular Research. Just one little question: Why? Shouldn’t he be cooling his heels at home - at least for the time being - while university officials investigate whether or not he’s guilty of dirty pool? Pool doesn’t get much dirtier than what Maki is accused of doing. He allegedly sent a letter to a colleague at NASA with instructions to send it back to the University of Idaho. That way, it would look like NASA was ripping into Kenneth Hass, who works at the center. The letter reportedly suggests Hass may have provided sensitive information to “unauthorized sources,” including “foreign agents.” If that’s true, why would Maki resort to all the subterfuge? One possible answer might be that Maki didn’t care about information getting into the wrong hands. This was purely revenge of the nerds — Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune.

More here

HBO Poll: Car d’Lane

Question: What do you enjoy most about Car d’Lane, which begins tonight?

1. The Friday evening cruise featuring up to 1200 cars
2. Best Pipes Contest
3. Reminiscing about your first car
4. Car show on Sherman Avenue on Saturday and Sunday
5. Potential for riot Davenport Hotel 6th Best in World

Those who have been around Spokane long enough can remember the Davenport Hotel’s reputation for washing the coins that changed hands there each day. Old-timers will recall the grand times of proms and banquets, visiting dignitaries, casual chats in the lobby over beverages and a background of chirping parakeets. They may even remember the time in 1984, the year before the fabled hotel shut its doors, when a Hereford heifer arrived by limousine for the “Ladies of the Lobby” stock show. But no one should forget the years of civic anxiety when the unthinkable was thought – that the once-world-class Davenport might be torn down. That worrisome era is over. Confirmation, not that it’s needed, came this week in news that the Davenport has been named again to online travel site’s list of the best hotels in the United States – up from 10th to third this year – and sixth best in the world — Spokesman-Review editorial.

More here

Question: Have you visited the Davenport Hotel yet?

Bayview Herb: I Still (Heart) Silverwood

I used to operate both Timber Terror and Tremors when I worked at Silverwood. I had a great time scaring the folks that were waiting in line for their ride. Along with my experience as a ride operator, I also was a cashier at the gate, a supervisor, and the entertainer on the Silverwood Train. Alas, when I caught two unruly rule beakers in a row, while on he train, I was fired due to the friends of those malefactors writing complaints. I still love Silverwood, and those great friends that I worked with. It was a great experience. Alas, I’m getting too old to do the 12 hour days that were required. Silverwood, I love you …

Bayview Herb

Huckleberries Gone Wireless w/Ace Walden

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

DFO: Any secret for living so long?
AW: Just lucky.
DFO: When was the golden age of Coeur d’Alene?
AW: Today. All of the development that’s going on. All the businesses that are coming here. All the buildings that are being built. When I came here (by boxcar in 1911), there were only 4,000 people. Government Way was the western limits for the city. Harrison (Avenue) was the northern city limits. The eastern city limits was between 10th and 11th street.
DFO: Who would you consider to be the top Coeur d’Alene mayor during your lifetime?
AW: You can’t beat the present mayor. Sandi Bloem does a gorgeous job.

More here

Complete interview here

Flag Day Wild Card — 6/14/07

I’ve just finished the Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi interview with Ace Walden (accompanied by Don Sausser). I’ve hidden the interview for now because I need to edit it and then will post it in a form that doesn’t take a lot of space. You can expect to see the entire interview after lunch. Meanwhile, I’ll post a few new things before lunch. And, of course, you always have this Wild Card to start your own thread …

Ruth Graham, Wife of Evangelist, 87, R.I.P.

AP File Photo

Evangelist Billy Graham, left, and his wife Ruth Graham sit for an interview in their Montreat, N.C., mountaintop home in this Aug. 11, 2003, file photo. Ruth Graham, who surrendered dreams of missionary work in Tibet to marry a suitor who became the world’s most renowned evangelist, died today. She was 87. Story here.

Question: How Big of a House Is Too Big

Item: Megahomes multiplying, but how big is too big?/Sharon Pian Chan and Ashley Bach, Seattle Times staff reporters

More Info: Seattle is considering new laws to limit the size of houses replacing those torn down on single-family lots. In Bellevue, residents came to a meeting with city staff Wednesday night to complain of huge homes that block out the sun and “overpower” the neighborhoods. Those advocating restrictions say megahouses hurt the character and scale of single-family neighborhoods.

Question: How big is too big?

APhoto of the Day — 6/14/07

Fernando Vergara/AP Photo

A participant lies in smashed tomatoes during the third annual tomato fight called ” tomatina” in Sutamarchan, 71 miles northeast of Bogota, Sunday. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines:

1. Customers have not been satisfied with the decision to replace the plastic balls in McDonalds Playland with tomatoes — Nic.

2. Fernando misunderstood when the teacher told him he’d need “one year of catch up” to move on to the next grade — Family Phil.

3. BLTs, BLTs, BLTs. I can’t believe all the sandwiches I’ll get from this! — Joan Harman.

HM: John Austin

HBO Poll: How Long Do You Want to Live

After I interviewed Ace Walden this morning, I wondered about living to be 100. Dunno if I’d want to do it, if I couldn’t get around. Or my mind had gone soft. (Shaddup!) Ace’s so sharp he can remember what the office space of the bank’s employment officer looked like the day he was hired 70-plus years ago. I can’t remember when I had for breakfast this morning. So, here’s the Huckleberries Online question for today:

Question: How long do you want to live?

*Onward and upward

Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi w/Ace Walden

Amidee ” Ace” Walden of Coeur d’Alene is seen as a high school junior in the 1924 Coeur d’Alene High yearbook.

In Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi today, DFO interviewed centenarian Ace Walden, the retired banker for whom the Walden House is named. An editted version of the interview will be published in The Spokesman-Review Friday.

DFO: How many Hudson Hamburgers have you eaten in your lifetime?
Ace Walden: I’m no stranger to Hudson Hamburgers. I knew Harley Hudson when he met the trains at the electric line with his push cart. I send for them now. My caretaker gets three of them for me — so I can have one and he can have two.

DFO: Any secret for living so long?
AW: Just lucky.

DFO: What amazes you most about Coeur d’Alene today?
AW: The major developments that are taking place from he resort golf course to programs (on Northwest Boulevard on) the river. Everything is built up.

DFO: Do you consider that good?
AW: Sure.

Full interview here

Former Idaho Dirk Tater Now A Puleleiite

Fili Sagapolutele/AP Photo

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne, center sitting, accepts a cup of ava from a Samoan man, during a brief blessing ceremony, in which he was bestowed the Samoan chiefly title of Puleleiite on Wednesday in Pago Pago, American Samoa. Paramount Chief Mauga T. Asuega, center left, places his hand on Kempthornes head for the bestowment service.

Napkin Notes: Let’s Hear It for Silverwood’s Tremors

I love rollercoasters. Love them with the mad, passionate intensity of a runaway mine train. Love them like Beauty loves the Beast. Love them more than Superman loves the citizens of Metropolis. For the true rollercoaster aficionado, Ohio is the place to be, boasting not one, but two of the world’s best amusement parks: Cedar Point and King’s Island. However, Ohio being a few thousand miles away, our local Silverwood Theme Park was more than sufficient for a sweet, lazy Saturday of rollercoaster fun with my sister this past weekend — Katrina/Notes on a Napkin.

More here

DFO: I steer clear of roller coasters because I get motion sickness easily. In fact, I can’t remember the last time I’ve been on a carnival ride that involved something more thrilling than a merry-go-round. I have a rough enough time riding in the back seat of a car. Yeah, I’m a wuss when it comes to motion.

Question: Do you enjoy wild carnival rides?

Letter Writer: SR Articles Slanted Toward Gays

Seeing a pro-gay Army colonel in her Class A uniform marching in Spokane’s gay parade demonstrates the gay community can bully others any way they want with impunity (“Pride parade, festival celebrate city’s diversity,” June 10). In my 20 years of active military service, it was strictly forbidden to use the nation’s uniform to make individual political statements. But when you say you are gay, you can increasingly do anything sexually (or otherwise) in our country without prohibition.

Jerry Malone

More here

Question: Do you think coverage of issues involving gays is balanced in The Spokesman-Review?

San Jose CC Paper Celebrates Burke’s Arrival

Item: Michael Burke: The Perfect President/Azania Baker, San Jose City College Times

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

“If you had to vote for President—regardless of the race or gender—you’d probably want the candidate to embody the qualities that San Jose City College’s President, Michael Burke, exhibits. Besides a charisma that makes him immediately likable by staff and students alike, his values of honesty, integrity and impartiality make him a man to admire. Luckily he plans to stick around SJCC for the long haul (and overhaul). Thus, ladies and gentleman, I introduce to you the big man on campus—no more interim Presidents for this JC—President Michael Burke!” — Azania Baker.

More here

Question: Is that how you remember former North Idaho College prez Michael Burke — perfect?

Hat Tip: Meghann Cuniff

Dalton Dandy: Happy Retirement, Chief Carpenter

Wendy’s is an interesting story of a local girl doing well for herself and her community.
She started out wanting to be a jockey and trained race horses right out of Coeur d’Alene HS. She shortly thereafter at a very young age began as a dispatcher for the CPD, attended NIC and a served as a reserve officer. She did a stint as Meter Monitor, training under Mrs. Cronquist. She was I believe the first female officer in Cd’A. Hiring on under the wary eyes of fellow officers, who naturally wondered if a female could do the job. She proved she could be counted on, she could hold her own and used good judgement. She had needless to say…SPUNK! She soon won the respect of her fellow officer’s and went on to move up the ranks and serve in the drug task force as well. Wendy is an excellent example of what integrity, hard work and good sense can accomplish. The community is proud of her and grateful for her lifetime career serving our community and a job well done at that. Chief Carpenter deserves our respect and appreciation. Happy retirement Chief!!!

Dalton Dandy

AM Hucks: Was That “The Snake” at Grange?

Jake “The Snake” Plummer was one of the visitors to that shabby chic sale last weekend at the Mica Flats Grange. Or at least I think so. For you non-football fans, Boise native Plummer is/was a veteran QB of the National Football League who retired in March rather than accept a trade from the Denver Broncos to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. During his career, Plummer completed 2,484 of 4,350 passes for a 57.1 percentage and 161 TDs. Plummer told columnist Brian Murphy/Idaho Statesman earlier this month that he plans to buy a place in northern Idaho. Now, onward. I was blogging on a portable laptop Saturday and didn’t see Plummer and a fashionable female companion enter the grange building. But Marty Goold did. Marty is the husband of CdA photographer/ shabby chic vendor Christina Goold. Marty arrived shortly before closing time Saturday to help his wife pack off her wares. That’s when he spotted Plummer or a dead-on lookalike in shorts. Sez Marty to Plummer: “Has anyone ever told you that you look like Jake Plummer?” “Yeah,” responded the browser abruptly, “I get that all the time.” No chitchat for the fan. No offer for an autograph. No sale. Later, Marty poked his head out the door as the couple drove off in a car with Colorado plates. Such are our unexpected brushes with fame.

Hump Day Wild Card — 6/13/07

Opinion Page Editor Doug Floyd & Co. met with Sue Thilo and PRmeister Mark Browning of the Idaho Board of Education this morning. Good frank discussion. But Sue and Mark made me nervous b/c they couldn’t provide guarantees that the new Treasure Valley community college wouldn’t cut into higher-ed revenue now channeled toward NIC and College of Southern Idaho. I’ll probably editorialize on this subject in the next day or so. Meanwhile, I’ll be interviewing centenarian Ace Walden for my Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi feature live, beginning at 10 Thursday morning … and you can play this Wild Card tonight for your own thread …

Sara: Things I Don’t Get About Religion

How do people tell the difference between God’s plan and their God-granted free will? If using birth control is a sin because you’re neglecting to bring a child into the world that God wanted you to, why isn’t abstaining from sex just as bad? — Sara Anderson/F-Words.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 6/13/07

Kerri Thoreson/

The Chatcolet Bridge in Heyburn State Park and the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes is featured in the latest post by Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho here.

*OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy offers an awesome pictoral display to go along with his downtown Coeur d’Alene Museum Visitor Center on a FAM (Familiarization) Tour of Sandpoint, Coeur d’Alene and surrounding areas here.

*”I took a little ride on my Harley last week from Coeur d’Alene down US95 to Donnelly, 309 miles due south out of my driveway,” writes Road King. “I left at 11am and, like most of my rides, once the destination is locked and loaded in my brain cells, I am eager to get going and experience the ride. This time it was wet though.” Click here.

*Sam Woodbury/ submitted his reminiscences of camping on Priest Lake for the new Priest Lake Blog. You’ll have to read through to the end to see why Sam’s post is especially poignant for his family here.

*In the “lowest common denominator” category, Mari/Dogwalk Musings wonders how a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College with a degree in English, like Barbara Walters, could hang out with Paris Hilton, a socialite with a GED who seems to have found God overnight, here.

Meanwhile, BrodH20 has been diagnosed with asthma here, As The Lake Churns offers an explicit video of what Eurasian Milfoil has been doing in North Idaho lakes here, A Butterfly Moment suffers thru son’s dentist appointment here, Whitecaps posts the State of the Nation’s Housing here, Un-Muted Mumblings shares thoughts on Rudy Giuliani’s candidacy here, Silver Valley Girl reflects on Washington’s monuments here, John Rook updates totals in the Hit Parade Hall of Fame voting here, JeanC experiences a mouth gasm here, Cis compares road trips in Montana and California here, and Family Phil (hearts) lady bugs here.

Extra! Idaho School Districts Sue Justices

Item: Idaho school districts sue justices/Betsy Z. Russell, Spokesman-Review

More Info: A group of school districts took the unprecedented step today of suing Idaho’s Supreme Court justices in federal court for ruling in favor of the districts in a school funding lawsuit but not providing any fix. “I hope that my clients will get a remedy phase of their trial, to which they’re entitled under both the federal and Idaho constitutions,” said attorney Robert Huntley.

Question: Can you blame the school districts with being fed up with all the foot dragging by the courts and the Idaho Legislature?

Bayview Chamber Sicks Craig on Developer

re: part of the letter sent to U.S. Sen. Larry Craig

The Idaho Department of Lands has fined Waterford Park Homes LLC $2500 which is the maximum allowed by statute. Negotiations are under way with the Idaho Department of Fish & Game Designed to restore the spawning bed to its original condition. However, the loss of the fry that would have emerged in June of 2007 is not compensated for in those negotiations. That loss of 8% of lake wild spawning production will be felt every four years into the future. That means the loss compounds into the future. We believe a stern enforcement action is merited, which could include a substantial fine.

We respectfully request your office conduct a review of the Corps actions and an explanation of why they are not proceeding with stringent enforcement actions.

Hobart Jenkins
Bayview Chamber of Commerce
Department Analysis Committee

Annual Flag Day Observance Is Thursday

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Army National Guardsmen Nichole Malone, left, Adrian Menard, center, and Jason Rzepa help carry a giant U.S. flag at the beginning of the Post Falls Days parade Saturday, June 2, in Post Falls, Idaho. The three and their fellow soldiers are members of the Army National Guard stationed in Post Falls. HBO is publishing this photo as a reminder that the nation observes Flag Day on Thursday.

Question: Do you do anything to observe Flag Day?

Popkey: Council Not Voters Should Choose Justices

Retiring Supreme Court Justices Gerald Schroeder and Linda Copple Trout are among Idaho’s most experienced and thoughtful jurists. They’re also class acts. Their early resignations help ensure the most vital aspect of our courts — independence. Schroeder, 67, and Trout, 55, are stepping aside to spare us a repeat of the ugly, partisan and expensive judicial campaigns of 2000 and 2002. Those kinds of battles erode confidence in judges as even-handed arbiters of fact and law. Their stepping down triggered a process that favors the qualities that make a fine judge — intellect, integrity, experience, guts. Those characteristics should come first, not the ability to raise campaign cash, speak in soundbites and politicize a job that demands impartiality — Dan Popkey/Idaho Statesman.

More here

Question: Who should choose Idaho’s Supreme Court justices — the Judicial Council or voters?

Look Back: CPD Blue Wannabe Longo Is Marathon Man

Captain Wayne Longo of the ISP will run his 23rd Coeur d’Alene Marathon on Sunday (May 27). His daughter Megan is finishing her junior year at Albertson College of Idaho where she’s an Academic All American on the ACI cross country team. While her proud papa takes some credit for her running genes, he deflects his due over the fact that he and Ginny’s double major daughter (physics and chemistry) is excelling in scientific endeavors. The talented Miss Longo, a Coeur d’Alene grad, was selected for a coveted paid physics internship at the Idaho National Lab this summer in Idaho Falls, the only one offered. She selected the INL offer over a research internship at the National Observatory in New Mexico for astronomy. Kudos, Megan! — Kerri Thoreson/Main Street column, Coeur d’Alene Press (5/23/07)

Question: Anyone have a trivia note on the third candidate, Capt. Steve Childers?

My 2 Cents: Bust Owners of Unleashed Dogs … Now

Item: Leashless dogs can fetch fines: As more pets are brought to parks, officials want people to know the rules/Elida Perez, Spokesman-Review

Owners who allow their dogs to run free in a public park or street, on Tubbs Hill, on the Centennial Trail, etc., are high on my list of annoyances. They seem to think the sun rises and sets on their mutts. They don’t understand it when others don’t and get irritated if someone points to signs that say “no dogs allowed” or “only dogs on leashes allowed.” I rarely see such owners pick up their dog’s crap, leaving it like a tiny land mind for someone to step in. Mebbe I’m hypersensitive to dogs running loose because I was bitten by a Rottweiler while walking my dog on a public sidewalk a coupla years ago. I also was buzzed by two pitbulls near the Assembly of God church on 7th several weeks ago. I wished I had $10 for every time an owner said to me after a close encounter with his/her pet: Spot has never done that before. I applaud the local gendarmes for saying they’re going to crack down on dogs running loose in public places. Now, they need to follow through so clueless dog owners finally get the message.

Lewiston Trib: Smoochy E-mails Not Worth Fighting For

Marina Kalani did something intelligent. Finally. It was one of the few intelligent things the former Kootenai County employee has done since her kissy-kissy e-mails with county prosecutor Bill Douglas came to light two years ago. She dropped the case. The Idaho Supreme Court decided that the nearly 900 e-mails Kalani and Douglas exchanged - many of them of a sexual nature - were public records. Kalani worked with the county’s Juvenile Education and Training drug court. Douglas was her boss. Exchanging sexually suggestive banter with a boss or subordinate? Not a good idea. This is especially true if you work for the government. Every government employee knows - or bloody well should - that communications between public employees using public resources are subject to public scrutiny unless formally classified. On the surface, the Idaho Supreme Court didn’t do anything remarkable. It just reaffirmed the painfully obvious — Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune.

More here

Question: Do you think public employees and office workers have finally gotten the message that it’s not a good idea to exchange suggestive e-mails or send illicit items from the office?

TUBOB Online: My Kids Eat Crap

My kids eat crap. Well, not literally. But as a divorced full custody father with two teenaged boys still at home and one daughter on her own – trying to do her best in a world where she strides assertively through the frozen foods section of her local Safeway and is instantly seized by paroxyms of PTTPSD (Post Traumatic Tony’s Pizza Stress Disorder) – well, I lack a few (ok nearly every single one) of the healthy food acquisition and preparation skills. It’s not just a stupid guy kind of deal because I can iron knife-edged creases on my Dockers and I can call at least three carpet cleaners and argue over stairway cleaning rates, no, it’s more accurately described as a general attitude of sloth that hits me the moment I get home from a long day at work as though I had a Big Beautiful Woman (BBW) girlfriend or wife grabbing me in a warm embrace the second I cross the threshold into my domicile and hugging me so hard I almost lose consciousness while she pours White Russians down my throat to pretty much ensure I do. Well, not exactly. But you see my point — TUBOB/The Unbearable Bobness of Being.

Full online column here (You can also read remainder of column in the extended entry below.

Noah Kroese: How Younger Gen Interacts

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Idaho Escapee: Crystal-Balling Kalani/Douglas Emails

Idaho Escapee: What’s in the Kalani-Douglas e-mails? Oh, who knows; perhaps excerpts of Penthouse Forum Letters combined with ruminations of “Desperate Housewives”, with a little bit of not-so-subtle innuendo mixed in. And by accident, some official business probably crept in too, somewhere in there.

DFO: Methinks there might be some pointed criticism at sitting judges, too. That may be as embarrassing as any innuendo. If this is the case, and we’ll know shortly, it’ll be fun, fun, fun for the next deputy prosecutor who has to appear before a dissed judge. Stay tuned.

AM Hucks: Police Chief Wannabe Knows Regis

You may have heard that Wayne Longo and Steve Childers are finalists to replace retiring Wendy Carpenter as the next Coeur d’Alene Police Department chief. And that they are captains, respectively, for the Idaho State Police and CPD Blue. But did you know that the only nonlocal finalist won $250,000 on ABC’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” in 2000 when he was a narcotics officer? Eric Buske, now the deputy chief of the Omaha (Neb.) Police Department, won the money by correctly answering Regis Philbin’s question re: which U.S. president was the first target of an assassination attempt: Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln? Buske had narrowed the choices down to two. Then, he nailed the answer: Jackson. This, according to the Daily Nebraskan. Buske was 90 percent sure of the answer for the $500,000 question: “Murdered in 1995, zoologist Dian Fossey was buried with more than a dozen of her gorillas in what country?” The choices? A. Tanzania. B. Burundi. C. Uganda. D. Rwanda. He thought – correctly – that the answer was Rwanda. But walked away. “When you’re watching the show on TV, it’s easy to say, ‘Go for it,’ ” he told the Daily Nebraskan. “The question on my mind was, ‘Am I $218,000 sure?’ That’s an easy decision to make when there’s real money on the line.” Buske will answer more questions July 2 when Coeur d’Alene officials conduct a second round of interviews.

Parting Shot — 6/12/07

Jae C. Hong/AP Photo

Former FBI agent Joe Navarro, right, an expert on nonverbal behavior, tells a female poker player not to rub her hands, a behavior that gives off ” tells,” during the recent World Series of Poker Academy at the Caesars Palace in Las Vegas.

Question: Can you keep a good “poker face” while playing games of chance?

Psychobabbles: Allergies or Virus?

I hate this time of year. I wake up with an itchy, sore throat, congested head, plugged and runny nose, and itchy eyes. Some of those go away throughout the day, and others are sticking around - like the sore throat. Is this allergies or a virus? It’s pretty hard to tell, and thankfully I have a prescription of Allegra to fill. This is not a good time to get sick, so I’m just ignoring all said symptoms and trucking along. If I can make it through the month of June, I’ll be good. 15 graduate credits in 1 month is intense. Very intense. Bottom line? No sleep, vulnerable immune system, little quality time with husband = grouchy, irritable, exhausted Angie — Angela/Psychobabbles.

DFO: Amy Dearest has been simply miserable since moving back home from Portland for the summer. Her allergies are killing her. She didn’t have problems before last summer when she worked as a waitress for Tomato Street. Now, her nose and eyes run all the time. I feel bad for allergy sufferers. I don’t have any allergies.

Question: Have your allergies been acting up this year?

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 6/12/07

Craig Moore/Glacier Life

“Shot (Monday) night’s sunset at Whitefish Lake’” writes Craig Moore/Glacier Life. “I was hoping for as much color in the sky as there was on Sunday night, but not today. I did see this sea kayaker as the light was getting nice.”

S.O.S.: Marmitetoasty needs a bottle of Spice Classics Crushed Red Pepper to feed her addiction here.

*Mrs. T/Meet The Taylors offers photos of her first visit to Safeco Field here and has learned that the toughest thing about being married to a reporter is that you can’t defend hubby from criticism here.

*Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations is suffering a Mac attack and loving it — Paul McCartney, that is. He’s thrilled to have the latest album, “Memory Almost Full,” from one of the two surviving Beatles here.

*”People whine about the rain, the sodden skies and the cold water on the Washington coast but if we’re being perfectly honest, outside of British Columbia, the Washington coast is the only place in the universe where you can walk your dog on the beach and watch the ospreys’ nest in the old growth timber 100 yards off the surf as eagles soar overhead,” writes JBelle/The ‘Kan EWA Notes here.

*Julie Fanselow/Red State Rebels offers video of U.S. Senate candidate Larry LaRocco working as part of an Orofino sanitation crew in his attempt to identify with ordinary taxpayers here.

*”It has been put to me that some men with long hair are, well, wusses,” writes Toadman/Synaptic Disunion. “I’ve been told that we can’t hack the long hair’d life. … I put it back to you that it is not the hair that we are upset about, it is us being inconvenienced” here.

Meanwhile, TUBOB is facing three huge life events this month here, Inland Empire Girl reflects on a room from childhood here, Leaning Straight Up reflects on Paris Hilton’s life-changing ordeal here, and Idawa shares a recipe for mandarin beef medallions here.

For Those Keeping Score @ Home …

… Eric Buske, the third candidate for the CPD Blue police chief job, won $250,000 in October 2000 on ABC’s “Who Wants to be a Millionaire?” with Regis Philbin. He did so after decisively answering questions about Volkswagens, the Bible and global warming. The $250,000 question? Which U.S. president was the first target of an assassination attempt: Andrew Jackson or Abraham Lincoln? (Answer: Jackson) Two other choices were eliminated by lifelines. A narcotics officer at the time, he then stopped before answering the $500,000 question, according to the Daily Nebraskan: “Murdered in 1995, zoologist Dian Fossey was buried with more than a dozen of her gorillas in what country? A. Tanzania, B. Burundi, C. Uganda, or D. Rwanda. Anyone (without looking).

Hat Tip: Taryn Brodwater

Online Poll: How Will You Spend Father’s Day?

Who will you spend time with on Father’s Day? — Idaho Statesman

*Your dad
*Your children
*Other dads
*Your family

DFO: Ah, is Father’s Day this Sunday?

Question: Where Can You Get Good Fountain Soda?

Colleague Meghann Cuniff is up against it. She needs a good fountain Coke. But the inside part of Jack In The Box, where she usually gets her afternoon fix, is shut for construction. She’s been reduced to cruising gas stations looking for the right quality of fountain Coke. In a pinch, Pepsi also will do.

Question: Where in this town can you get a good fountain soda?

Stapilus: 102 Vie for 5 Position on New CC Board

True, the numbers of appointive applicants for elective-type jobs are almost always higher than the number of candidates for election. But this still sounds like a good indicator of useful interest: There are 102 applicants for the five positions on the new College of Western Idaho governing board (to be appointed first, later elected). Of those, 82 come from Ada County, 20 from Canyon (which is about right, since Ada passed the ballot issue and Canyon didn’t.)

Question: Why so much interest?

AM Headlines — 6/12/07

Kathy Plonka/Spokesman-Review

A firefighter battles a house fire at 2575 W. Timberlake Loop in Coeur d’Alene on Monday. The fire apparently started in the garage here.

*Sandpoint named among top 10 bargain retirement spots/Idaho Statesman — Watch for another jump in property valuations.

*Teen deaths alarm authorities: 15-year-old the latest in a spate of traffic fatalities/Amy Cannata, Spokesman-Review — “One dead. The seventeen year old driver at fault and facing life long consequences. Not only from the legal penalties he will have to pay but having to live with the consequences of his actions” — Dogwalk Musings here.

*Convention center idea grows at fairgrounds: Commissioner Currie says project sounds good, questions possible funding/Tom Greene, Coeur d’Alene Press — Now that we have the Kroc Center — despite the best efforts of the CAVEmen to torpedo it — a convention center may be all that’s left to build to make this community fully self-contained and independent of Spokane. Oh, and an international airport.

*Court backs decision on Mastel: Commission within rights to force flasher cop to retire rather than fire him/Spokesman-Review — Sheriff Ozzie Knezovich was right to fire this clown. The commission acted shamefully in overturning that firing, sending a message to the community that this type of behavior among cops isn’t all that bad.

*Ex-Spangle resident killed in Iraq/Spokesman-Review — And there’s no end in sight of this blood shed for our troops, this side of the 2008 election.

Dumb Things Tourists Ask in Banff

Here are some of the “All Time Dumbest Questions Asked by Banff Park Tourists,” as heard at the information kiosks manned by Parks Canada staff.

*At what elevation does an elk become a moose?
*Is it okay to keep an open bag of bacon on the picnic table, or should I store it in my tent?
*I saw an animal on the way to Banff today. Could you tell me what it was?
*What’s the best way to see Canada in a day?
*Where can I buy a raccoon hat? All Canadians own one don’t they?
*Where can I get my husband really lost?
*Is that 2 kilometers by foot or by car?

Question: Have you heard anything comparable re: North Idaho/Inland Northwest tourists?

Hat Tip: Jeanne Helstrom

Inside Huckleberries — 6/12/07

*Colleague Erica Curless just noticed the rubber band around her Kalani/Douglas files has disintegrated. That’s how long this open-and-shut case has been going on.

*Regional Editor Scott Maben asked me a few moments ago if I’d be available to help the Idaho staff sift through the 889 Douglas/Kalani e-mails in question when they are released in the next few days. Some of the original 1,060 have already been released. I told Scott: Of course (while grinning ear to ear).

*Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi will be interviewing 100-year-old Ace Walden at 10 a.m. Thursday for the regular Friday print feature. HBO’s Don Sausser will handle chauffeur duties. Stay tuned.

Quotable Quote — Marina Kalani

“We knew we weren’t going to change th court’s opinion. My fight wasn’t about protecting the content. I’ve been frustrated by the loss of the message and that was about privacy rights for government employees” — Marina Kalani (in today’s Coeur d’Alene Press re: her lost court right to keep 1000-plus e-mails between her and Prosecutor Bill Douglas private.

Noah Kroese: Invasion of the Space Snatchers

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Anyone Seen Today’s Issue of Smaller Brand X?

Huckleberries hears … that the first edition of Tuesday’s Coeur d’Alene Press has just been delivered. Seems the brand-new press had more than enough bugs to make the shake-down cruise less than satisfactory in Duane’s world. Think: Titanic. As of a few minutes ago, the circulation department wasn’t fielding calls. However, the SR’s phones have been slammed by people calling us to ask where their Press was. Might be a good time to sign them up for the Better Paper?

Update: We just received our copy of the new, “improved” Coeur d’Alene Press (9:30 a.m.) — and immediately noticed that it’s (drum roll, puh-LEEZ) … smaller. For the second time, the Brand X brain trust has reduced the size of its newspaper. I can envision the new Press motto now: A Small Newspaper to Cover A Small Idaho Town.

AM Hucks: Swimsuit Season Time for Reflections

For the first time in years, I’m looking forward to donning a swimsuit and jumping in the lake. Yeah, yeah, I know a few – OK, a lot – of you have hoped I’d go jump in a lake some day. I’m more apt to do so this year because I’m 30 pounds lighter than last tourist season, er, summer. However, I have nothing on the other gender when it comes to wearing a bathing suit in public. In a recent post, blogger Katrina/Notes on a Napkin described the horrors of standing nekkid in front of “the relentless 3-way mirror” as you consider your choice of a new suit: “Every mole, every pocket of cellulite, every clandestine slice of forbidden cheesecake is illuminated in the harsh glare of the unforgiving fluorescent lights. The illusory mental image you keep of yourself (and protect at all costs by refusing to allow people to take photos of you and squinting your eyes when you look in the mirror after getting out of the shower) is, in one unguarded moment, shattered. Truth sculpted in lime green nylon. And to add insult to injury, you notice with embarrassment that your bikini line needs some serious attention.” Males, “with their smug little way of walking into the store and buying the first bathing suit they see off the rack, don’t have a clue” about the horrors of the swimsuit season, Katrina adds. You can read how Katrina did with her 2007 swimsuit search and Alice Rankin’s garden tips by clicking on Huckleberries Online today.

Full Notes on a Napkin post by Katrina here

Wild Card/Monday — 6/11/07

The first day in the rest of my life is in the books, workwise, and I’m headed home early. I’m trying to line up Ace Walden this week for my Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi interview. But I haven’t heard back from my go-between contact yet. We’ll see what happens. It’s nice to be focused on Huckleberries Online and my newspaper work again, without outside distractions. Today was fun. I did something a little different today — checked through the blogs early to see what was happened in the North Idaho blogosphere. As a result, I found good postable material, like Family Phil’s close encounter with the Doty brothers. I need to keep doing that. I’ll see you tomorrow. Tonight, you can use this Wild Card for your own threads …

Sennett: I Loved “Sopranos” Finale

If you saw it, you might still be talking about it. It disappointed some and left others deeply satisfied. I count myself in the latter camp. My wife’s in the former. When we noted that we thought our TV might have gone out at the end, she added, “Now that’s the mark of a good episode—making you think your TV broke.” We’ll have to agree to disagree on this one. I loved it — Frank Sennett/Hard 7.

Question: How would you rate “The Sopranos” finale?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 6/11/07

“Sandra’s (Turtle) hand next to a rear footprint. A front print is lower to the right. We saw the bear. Early spring bears can be kind of growly, so we kept our distance” — Al Turtle/Al Turtle’s Wisdom.

*Mari/Dogwalk Musings, who escaped serious injury in an accident earlier this year, reflects on the fatal accident in Spokane that claimed the life of one teen and leaves a 17-year-old to face a lifetime of regret here.

*Bayview Herb, a self-proclaimed hick who considers 3 or 4 cars on the same road to be gridlock, mustered the courage to travel to Spokane, sans Interstate 90, and lived to tell about it here.

*Seems PapaJD was put in charge of the FamilyJD’s social calendar for a brief period this spring before being relieved of his duties, and MamaJD’s still dealing with the consequences here. Also, she’s looking forward to the premiere of the “Flight of the Conchords” here.

*Raymond Pert/Kellogg Bloggin’ introduces his family (w/family photo), who he considers “spicey,” in one of his latest posts: Inland Empire Girl, Silver Valley Girl, his mother, and himself here.

*”I dyed my hair,” posts Melanie/Plaid Toaster. “Remember the Grown Up Melanie? Well, she has been trompled by the new Punk Purple Haired Melanie. On accident. But now I feel an urge to get my nose pierced. And a tattoo.” Click here.

*”As homeowners we all have to pay property taxes,” writes Bill McCrory/Whitecaps. “That’s a fact of life. However, the assessed valuation of our properties should be based on honest data. If the values of our homes and the homes that influence our property’s value have been artificially inflated, we are all paying too much in property taxes. Worse, our investment’s true value has been reduced” here.

Meanwhile, John Rook gives radio a gold star here, Cis is fumin’ about the yearly gridlock in Sandpoint here, F-Words looks at the latest stem cell news here, Frum Helen Back provides the latest Hauser news here, Idaho Native celebrates $2.94 gas at Costco here, JeanC wonders about the uneven treatment in a case involving oral sex here, Live, Love, Laugh, Hope provides the latest on injured soldier Brandon Adam here, Psychobabbles applauds her husband the alarm clock here, and Slight Detour spent the weekend cruisin’ with the cuz’ns (w/photos) here.

Family Phil: Hanging Out w/Doty Boys @ Fernan

Family Phil Photo

We hung out with the Doty Boys today. Well, actually, my wife and I took the kids to a fishing derby at Fernan Lake and ended up sharing dock space with a local homeschooling family that has been in the news recently. The Doty Boys have started carrying guns with them everywhere they go. Not because they’re violent or fearful, but to prove a point about the Second Amendment, I suppose. Zach, 18, carries a loaded handgun, while his brother Stephen, 15, carries a .22-caliber rifle slung over his back. That’s Stephen and a younger brother in the picture above. See the blue chair behind them? That’s mine. Were we nervous to have a pimply-faced teenager carrying a loaded weapon ten feet away from us? Not really. I was more scared of his sister, who kept trying to clumsily cast a fishing pole right next to me. I kept waiting for a hook to slash through my jugular — Family Phil/A Family Runs Through It.

More here

Question: Do you think the gun-toting Doty brothers reflect poorly on home-schoolers?

Quotable Quote — Where’s mine?

“The marketing department had a meeting a little while ago, just down from my office. They had pizza delivered. I worked through lunch, and don’t have anything to eat except a snack bag of Fritos. I hate days like this … I just stole some of their root beer, though. Not that it matters, their meeting is over and they left it out” — Scurvy Jake’s Pirate Blog.

Question: Does it bother you when other departments in your office get pizza, cake or some other treat to celebrate a success or an event — and your department is left out?

Inside Huckleberries — 6/11/07

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 has quite a tale to tell tonight — or The Otis might tell it instead — re: a tick that found his way into a sensitive spot on The Otis’s anatomy and what her hubby did about it (after he stopped jumping and crying). Make sure you check out this afternoon’s Best of the Local Blogs.

*Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns has spun off another blog for Priest Lakers who want to reminisce, tell stories, tell tales, publish poems or songs. She calls it simply Priest Lake Blog. You can find it here. BTW, As The Lake Churns now is getting around 2500 hits per week. Hat Tip to Pecky.

*I’ve added a North Idaho Blogroll link to Connie’s Live, Love, Laugh, Hope blog that, among other things, provides regular updates to the recovery of severely wounded Sandpoint soldier Brandon Adam.

*Attention Bloggers: I’m going to be gleaning through my blogrolls. If you haven’t posted in a month, you’ll probably find your link missing. You’ve been warned.

*I will feature Katrina’s delightful Notes on a Napkin post about trying on bathing suits in tomorrow’s Huckleberries print column.

AM Headlines — 6/11/07

*Judicial council selects four Idaho Supreme Court nominees/Idaho Statesman — What? Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis didn’t make the finals? Mebbe this selection isn’t all about politics, after all.

*Handcuffed woman rescued on Kidd Island Bay Road: Alert motorist spots kidnap victim/Spokesman-Review — Thank God for Good Samaritans.

*“Wife Swap” with Idaho family on TV tonight/Idaho Statesman — I’ve watched the beginning of this show a time or two. But I’ve never had the interest/nerve to watch it all the way through. For some reason, I’m weirded out by the Xtreme reality show.

*Senior cyclist struck, killed by Hayden motorist in Oregon/KHQ — Simply another reason why I don’t take my bike out regularly any more.

*Souza loose with facts, needs better research/Mayor Sandi Bloem, all six City Council members, Coeur d’Alene Press — It’ll be interesting to see if Mary Souza’s column returns to the Coeur d’Alene Press this week. Rumor has it that the column has been pulled. But Mary simply could be on a vacation, as one anonymous commenter posted here last week. Stay tuned.

Computer SOS from MamaJD

HELP! I believe my children were on the computer and now we have problems. My computer programs are extremely magnified. I am not able to get it to return to my normal view. I have gone through the display settings and appearances stuff all to no avail. When I restarted my computer, all I did was save these d*** settings. If I change the magnification in my lower right corner it just shrinks the text and not the jumbotron theme that seems to be occurring. Any ideas of what to do or in the alternative, who to call?


DFO: Can any of you computer whizzes help MamaJD?

BrodH20: California Car Crash Breaks My Heart

CdA grad killed, wife hurt in California collision/Spokesman-Review

Gretchen (left) and Carlene, friends of Mommy Dearest at karoake sing

I checked the mail this morning and found an invitation to my good friend Gretchen’s wedding reception. Gretchen had left a message on my myspace page late last month telling me about her Vegas-themed invites. She wanted to know if I, the writer, could come up with some cute and quirky saying to go on the invites. I didn’t. But she found the perfect one: “Wise men say only fools rush in, but I can’t help falling in love with you!” … After I opened Gretchen’s invite, I checked the messages on the answering machine. One of our good friends from high school was calling to tell me Gretchen’s husband had been killed in a car accident last weekend. My heart was breaking for Gretchen. I couldn’t even imagine how devastating it would be to lose the love of your life. And so soon after finding him — Mommy Dearest/BrodH20. (full post here)

Update on Gretchen Lederer Spann’s condition here

Question: How Much Did Your Valuation Increase?

Item: County value increases 13 percent: Overall assessed net taxable worth of Kootenai County is now about $16.4 billion/Tom Green, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: The county mailed 81,468 assessment notices Wednesday. Market adjustments are based on analysis of 2006 real estate sales activity. About 3,200 sales were reviewed in developing the new assessments.

Question: How much do your property value go up?

Originally posted 1:24:46 p.m. Saturday, June 9

CastMD to Marmots — This Means War!

Wikipedia Photo

We live up on a hill. It has always been peaceful. Then one day, while playing my guitar sitting on the deck…I see what?? This big flowered plant in my wife’s garden area is shaking back and forth. What?? Did my eyes deceive me?? Looking around the lawn and into the aspen trees, no wind was noted. Then suddenly, like someone had yelled, “TIMBER” in my ears, the plant fell over..crashing into the lawn. Now one might think I was crazy. But, I carefully placed my guitar on the stool…walked over to the now fallen beautiful comrade. Yup…eaten flat across…sharp dissection as with a scalpel blade…less bloody in vision, but more bloody in revengeful feelings. Let the war begin!

Dr. J/CastMD

More on this story here

Pony v. JimmyMAC: Was Morrison Worth It?

Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel: Yes, like a bedraggled Pomeranian/Elkhound mix left at some dreadful I-5 reststop near Redding or some other hideous Northern Cali town to wander nearly a thousand miles through rainstorms, the beating sun, gangsta gunfights, and gatorade bottles full of caramelizing trucker urine flung from Peterbilts and the late, lamented, Freightliners, to finally end up, our poor pooch, nearly dead or certainly a bit worse for the wear, at his owner’s doorstep in, shall we say, the Spokane Valley - and just like that plucky mutt I’m going back to my early (and wickedly prescient) assessment of local crybaby and Glendive MT native (there’s a hotbed for hoops) Adam “Ammo” Morrison and his NBA potential. (Full post here)

JimmyMAC: MJ isn’t letting Morrison go anywhere oh sparkly one. It was a difficult season I will give you that but I seriously hope to prove you wrong int the future.

Sunday Wild Card — 6/10/07

My wife and I survived the Shabby Sweethearts sale, muttering more than one “never-again.” A lot of work and finger crossing went into the event. The unexpected became expected. I don’t know how event organizers do what they do. Most people involved in the show had a good time. And the vendors I talked to toward the end of the show say they made good money for the two days. I had a good time meeting HBOers, print column readers (including Kate Dolan of the Fort Grounds area who followed through on my suggestion and posted a comment online today), and the various Grange members who checked in. I get so office bound sometimes that I can go weeks without venturing beyond my corner cubby hole. I enjoy pressing the flesh. I’m too pooped to blog much more. So, this Wild Card will have to take care of you until we open up again Monday. Here’s your Wild Card …

Idaho Statesman: What Makes You Uncomfortable

What makes you the most uncomfortable? — Idaho Statesman.

*Public speaking
*Going to the dentist
*Doing taxes
*Wearing swimsuit in public

PDX Pup: So Many Better Subjects Than Paris

PDX Pup: with the wide variety of topics presented here yesterday to comment on(war, developers’ philanthropy/not-philanthropy, granny v. college ball player, etc.), many opted to comment on the celebutard thread. And I’m not saying it wasn’t an interesting thread, because many of those comments were articulate and thoughtfully presented, and I agreed with many of the opinions; I’m saying it was interesting and a bit sad that it was the hot-topic du jour.

DFO: I’m occasionally amazed re: what topics take off here. Generally, I know when a post will attack the attention of HBOers. However, sometimes a good topic is ignored and an inconsequential one takes off. That’s why I try to post a variety. Different strokes for different folks. If anyone has a formula for attracting and keeping the attention of Joe and Jane Average HBOer, please send it to me. I’m still trying to figure it out. Then, I have a short attention span, too.

Tumblewords: Fireworks Dingbats Overdo It

Tumblewords: My family, in early years, went to the City Park for the firework display and the loudest noise came from the speaker system: ‘Do Not Shoot Fireworks in the Park’. Thousands of firecrackers and cherry bombs provided a wild popping background. Now dingbats shoot big rockets into my yard, trees and onto my roof. I dream flames. Scary. And it does last for more than a night.

DFO: The thing that bugs me worse about fireworks are the fools who set them off for weeks before and weeks after the Fourth of July. They add a festive feel on the Fourth. They do nothing but scare animals and annoy neighbors when launched weeks later.

TT: Moscow Shooting Victim Tired of Publicity

Transplanted Texan: I hung out with Pete (Moscow shooting victim Husmann) for a while this afternoon, visiting old teachers at Charter. He’s getting pretty tired of telling his story over and over again. I don’t think he wanted to be a hero, per se, but felt it was the right thing to do. On that front, he and I disagree. I think this little saga shows he’s got the heart of a Christian and the brain/maturity of a 20 year old. He says he’s done with the media interviews, not out of hatred for the media or anything (he liked the S-R story, said the Press was good but not as good), he’s just tired.

DFO: Tell Pete not to worry. His 15 minutes of fame will pass quickly enough. It won’t be long until people will quit asking. Then, he might miss the attention. He’ll have an interesting tale to tell in the future, however, when fewer and fewer people will remember his role in the shootings.

TGIF Wild Card — 6/7/07

I won’t be working for free coffee tonight as a security guard at the Mica Flats Grange for Brenda’s Shabby Sweethearts Shabby Chic & Open Market Show. Her partner handles that. But I will be blogging live from start to finish Saturday — 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Say, hi, if you see me at the folding table, just to the left of the entrance. Until then, here’s your first weekend Wild Card …

Best of the Local Blogs — 6/8/07

Granati chased the flashes and thunder a few days ago to capture the lightning storm. You can read more about his troubles here.

*Not only has Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 lost her voice, but she’s lost control of her house, as her urchins are using her laryngitis to ignore her commands here.

*”When I see a seriously wounded soldier, my first prayer goes for their strength to overcome,” writes Bill/Freedom of Expression. “My second prayer goes for the same for their families. My third goes for the citizens who sent this young man to war to assuage our own blood guilt” here.

*Nic/Rants, Raves & Random Thoughts sez that lightning from that big storm a few days back struck his office building but didn’t do much damage, other than knock out the elevator. Afterward, he got shocked every time he punched the elevator button here.

*”Eternity’s flimsy veil/blurs the stairs of likely/and Chessie cat kicks ash/over dulling bones.” You can read the rest of Tumblewords’ latest poem, “Mobius Chamber,” here. And you can get “A Near Year of Tumblewords’ Blog” and “North of Summer” here.

*KaleJ/un-Muted Mumblings sez Washington will drive out tourists and/or fill its coffers at local tourist traps with that new law that could keep kids in booster seats until their 16 here.

Meanwhile, Cis tells of The King’s retirement here, F-Words decision to keep her maiden name comes back to haunt her here, A Butterfly Moment concedes that her kids are “stallers” here, Bayview Herb brags, “Scooped ‘em again,” here, Dogwalk Musings discusses the Spokane granny busted for pot dealing here, Kellogg Bloggin’ provides a double dose of “beautiful things” here, Napkin Notes applauds a church marriage-help ministry here, Psychobabbles has an emotional connection with “Breathe Me” here, Silver Valley Girl bids a tearful farewell to Sunnyside Elementary here, Slight Detour plans to laugh this weekend here, and Mrs. Mac Energetic’s little one pulls down several school awards here,

Snake-Bit Montana Trooper Returns to Work

Item: Snakebit patrolman back at work: Trooper kills 1 rattler as others flee scene near Columbus/Ed Kimmick, Billings Gazette

Paul Ruhter/Billings Gazette

Montana Highway Patrolman Steve Wisniewski poses for a photo Wednesday near his home in Boyd, Mont.

He was supposed to get a photograph of the load, so he walked with his camera up a slope to the right-of-way fence. Just before he got to the fence he heard a hissing sound, looked down and saw a rattlesnake making a lunge for his leg. Wisniewski, 40, jumped back, dodging that strike, but landed on another snake. That rattler, and another one right next to it, both struck at Wisniewski’s left leg. One hit his boot and the other struck flesh just above the boot. Wisniewski was making tracks toward the highway when he saw yet another rattlesnake directly in front of him. His first thought was to jump over that snake. That’s when he pulled his .357 automatic pistol and squeezed off two shots. The first shot killed the snake and the second one missed.

Question: Have you ever been bitten by something poisonous (other than a blog troll)?

CDACanuck: Ripped Off By Tickets West

I ordered some tickets through Tickets West this morning. The advertised face price of the tickets was $37.50. Come to find out the price doesn’t include a “convenience fee” of $7,50 per ticket. I asked the person placing the order for me what the “convenience fee” covered and she said to keep them (Tickets West) in business and to pay the promoter. Shouldn’t this be included in the stated price of the ticket? What a huge rip off Tickets West is perpetrating on the public. It’s almost as bad as the 20% tip we’re now expected to leave in restaurants. At least in most restaurants tipping is still up to the customers discretion. There is nothing discretionary about the Tickets West “convenience fee”.

Question from CDA Canuck: Is anyone besides me ticked about this?

Psychobabbles: Ralph Wiggum Lifts My Spirits

I may have written about Ralph (Wiggum of “The Simpsons) before, but he truly deserves his own post every week. He rocks. Go Banana! It doesn’t matter how bad a day I’ve had, or how pissy I am, a good dose of Ralph Wiggum will always cheer me up. If you don’t know who Ralph Wiggum is, you should glue your head to your shoulder, eat a red crayon, and wet your bed. So if Ralphie can cheer me up when I’m down - imagine what he can for me when I’m already feeling good. Tyler and I enjoyed some more Ralph Wiggum tonight. Pretty much the same old thing, but we love it - and we laugh until we get the laugh-coughs — Angela/Psychobabbles.

See Ralph Wiggum video here

Question: Is there a cartoon character or TV series character who lifts your spirits whenever you tune in.

Breaking! Latah Tries To Prevent Another Shooting

Officials in northern Idaho’s Latah County are considering starting a mental health court and supervised misdemeanor probation in hopes of preventing another deadly shooting like the one last month where four people died and three others were wounded. “I think it’s really something we need to implement as soon as we can,” Tom Stroschein, chairman of the county Board of Commissioners, told The Lewiston Tribune. On May 19 in Moscow, Jason Hamilton killed his wife at their home before driving to the county Courthouse and firing some 200 gunshots into a sheriff’s dispatch center. There he killed one law enforcement officer and wounded two others, as well as a good Samaritan who ran to help/Spokesman-Review.

More here

DFO: Why does it always take a tragic situation like the one that happened in Moscow to prompt people to look at shortcomings in the system?

Question: Should Kootenai and Bonner counties do the same thing?

Breaking! Priscilla Bell Back in Running for NIC Prez

Seems interim NIC prez Priscilla Bell is back in the running as one of two finalist to fill the college vacancy created by the recent resignation of Michael Burke, according to Taryn Brodwater, who’s home nursing her croaky throat. The other candidate is Leah Bornstein, chief executive officer at Colorado Mountain College’s Summit campus. Originally, the selection panel picked as its finalists Bornstein and Ronald Kraft, former president and chief executive officer of the Washington State Community and Technical Colleges Alliance for Corporate Education. Kraft pulled out of the running in late May. Stay tuned.

Like Son, Like Father? Russell Dad Faces Rape Count

Item: Father of former fugitive Russell accused of rape: Ex-WSU professor quits Arkansas post

DFO: Seems that tree didn’t grow far from his acorn.

DFO’s Weird Animals — Snake-Necked Turtle

AP Photo/Zoological Society of San Diego, Ken Bohn

This photo provided by the San Diego Zoo shows a recently-hatched endangered Roti Island snake-necked turtle Thursday in San Diego. The snake-necked turtle is the most geographically restricted of any turtle species, only inhabiting the southern part of Roti Island, a small Indonesian island. The San Diego Zoo is part of conservation and breeding efforts of this Asian species that is now almost extinct in the wild.

Pat: Vets Get Due @ Our 4th of July Parade

Marshall Chesrown and all former sponsors of this festival should be praised and not criticized for being willing to use their resources to ensure the continuation of these events on the 4th of July holiday.Witnessing the thousands of people and the mile wide smiles on childrens faces during the parade and fireworks display illustrates the value of these people contributions.Will you who complain step up?I doubt it!I’m disturbed by the Marines that find fault in this generosity.It’s your day and NOBODY is trying to steal your thunder.When the band plays and the military units march by hearts swell and tears flow freely remembering the sacrifices that allow us to enjoy this day.Get over it,enjoy it and thank these sponsors.Imagine Coeur d’Alene without it.Let freedom ring!!

Pat Wheeler

AM Hucks: Trucker Got Load of Trouble

All Kevin Sperber, of St. Maries (not Spearbear, as reported in the Bonner County sheriff’s dispatch record and repeated here), wanted Tuesday morning was a full tank of diesel for his log truck and a pop for his morning caffeine fix. He went into Blanchard E-Z Stop to pay for both with a credit card. The next thing he knew, he was wanted by the Bonner County law and spotlighted in Huckleberries on Thursday as a trucker who’d stiffed the station for $172 worth of fuel. Indeed, Kevin drove off without officially paying for the diesel. As a result, he landed on the blotter as a possible grand theft suspect. However, he did try to pay for it. Alas, a glitch happened somewhere between the tanks outside and the register inside because the credit card slip he signed without scrutinizing it charged him only for the soda. A half hour later, he received an S.O.S. call from his wife, Shirley, via cell phone, asking if he’d forgotten anything at the quick stop. He said he hadn’t. When he learned about the problem, he immediately returned to Blanchard to pay for the fuel with his credit card. In the interim, someone had sicced the cops on him. An E-Z Stop clerk told Huckleberries on Thursday that the episode that landed Kevin’s name on the blotter was “simply a big mix-up.” Case dismissed.

• I’ll be blogging live from my wife’s Shabby Sweethearts Shabby Chic and Open Market Sale from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. today and Saturday at the Mica Flats Grange, Highway 95 and Kidd Island Bay Road, south of Coeur d’Alene. Stop by and say hello.

Wild Card/Thursday — 6/7/07

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring re: the Shabby Sweethearts Shabby Chic Sale & Open Market Friday and Saturday, featuring my wife and 15 other vendors. I may start the day in the office, posting the usual morning fare and then grab the office Dell laptop and head for the Mica Flats Grange (6 miles south of Coeur d’Alene at Highway 95 and Kidd Island Bay Road). I can blog from there for much of the day. Dunno if I can post photos. We’ll see. One thing I’ve discovered from ferrying my wife’s shabby chic fare around the Inland Northwest this spring … I like driving big rigs and trucks. Then, my father and my two brothers were in the trucking business. Mebbe it’s a latent gene. Now, for your Wild Card …

Psychobabbles Reclaims Controversial C-Word

I don’t know how to frame the post at the top of Angela’s Psychobabbles thread. But it’s an interesting one that some of you are discussing already in the comments section. She sez that women should reclaim the “wonderful” C-Word (slang for vagina). Sez Angela: “There are too many women out there who are simply disgusted, uninformed, or afraid of their vaginas.” She goes on. But I’d better not go any further. You can read Angela’s post here.

Question: Do you agree or disagree with the premise in the Psychobabbles post?

HBO’s Best of the Friends Blogs — 6/7/07

“A black-backed woodpecker feeds its young at a nest last week,” writes Chris Peterson/Glacier Blog. “I used a pocket wizard to fire a remote camera to get this shot. The setup is very non-invasive.” More here.

*Frank Sennett/Blogspotter has been following the trials and tribulations of the “world’s most hated blogger,” a young California real estate flipper, here.

*Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations is upset about the USPS’s “forever stamps,” which can be used no matter how high the cost of future increases. But he can’t figure out why. He tries to work through his anger here.

*”I believe there is an island in purgatory’” writes TUBOB. “It’s not a bad island, sandy beaches, not tropical but wooded with tall dark firs and peppered with manzanita and madrone.” More here.

*Idawa/Word Forge is dragging a bit after making a whirlwind trip from Seattle to Spokane and back as a result of an injury suffered by his mother-in-law’s mother here.

Meanwhile, Bubblehead discusses Congressman Sali’s public relations, or lack thereof, here, Inland Empire Girl offers a poem about journaling here, and Craig/Glacier Life snapped two dyne-oh!-mite photos of a 9-day-old baby here.

WND Poll: Increasing TV Foul Language

What do you think about increasing foul language on TV?

1. Fantastic, it’s about time TV grew up
2. It’s an accurate reflection of today’s culture
3. For those that don’t like it, tough. This is the price of freedom
4. One man’s cuss word is another man’s colorful adjective
5. TV producers are just giving the public what it wants
6. My family is hardly watching TV anymore, since even cartoons and commercials are coarse and vulgar
7. I’m disgusted. Don’t these producers have kids of their own?
8. The American public will eventually revolt in favor of decency
9. TV is no longer a barren wasteland, it’s a toxic-waste dump from hell
10. Other

DFO: I usually don’t watch programming that uses foul language routinely. I gave live with an occasional cuss word in my TV fare. I figure program writers aren’t very good if they toss in too many vulgarities. So why watch their program?

For the World Net Daily news report, click here.

Colleges Look for Ways to Reduce Book Costs

Item: Textbook rentals solution to price hikes: Colleges looking for options to expensive books as criticism mounts to do something/Shawn Vestal, Spokesman-Review

Quote: “It’s a very expensive textbook,” she said. “It costs $151 to buy the textbook new, $120 to buy the textbook used, and $51 to rent it for a quarter.”

DFO: I view the cost of college textbooks in terms of a racket. I wouldn’t pay a fifth of the cost of a textbook for a hard-bound bestseller. Yet, colleges and profs have been shaking students down for years with this mounting expense. I’m glad to see the colleges are finally listening to criticism from students and parents.

Question: What else can colleges do to reduce costs?

I’m Back …

… It took a little longer than expected to move my wife’s shabby chic wares to the Mica Flats Grange for her show tomorrow and Saturday. We had to rearrange a few things inside and, of course, I had to shoot the breeze with groundskeeper Bill Turner, other Mica Flats Grangers, and some of the early vendors. Now, I’m back on the blog. Stay tuned.

Inside Huckleberries — 6/7/07

*In his latest column for “Your Voice” this morning, Bayview Herb provides a rundown on real estate news in his Lake Pend Oreille town involving the Scenic Motel and the View of the Bay Mobile Home and RV Park here.

*Where’s Mary? Mary Souza’s column didn’ appear in the Coeur d’Alene Press today, for the first time since she began her anti-LCDC/Kroc Center/etc. City Pulse column months ago. Newspaper execs aren’t talking. But insiders say The Duane may have had something to do with the disappearance. Stay tuned.

Dr. J Models New Paris Hilton Ankle Bracelet Look

Dr. J/CastMD was the first at the Immediate Care Center to break out the new ankle bling that’ll be the rage in this country, thanks to the conversion of Paris Hilton’s sentence today to house arrest for the next 44 or so days. As you can see, the Hilton ankle bracelet look can be worn with tennis shoes, medical scrubs and almost anywhere. And it looks relatively inexpensive.

Live Out Loud: Support Troops in Practical Ways

I have a cousin fighting in Iraq, there are kids who went through our youth program, like Brandon and Terry Dunn, who have sacrificed part of themselves for this country. My close friend has a brother in Baghdad and he has been shot several times, received a purple heart, yet continues to serve over there. She fears for him and prays for him continually. Other friends of ours have their brother heading to Iraq in September. We know of several over there serving, and though I thought of them and prayed for them before Terry and Brandon were injured, I think of them and pray for them throughout the day now, and pray that they will be brought home safely to their loved ones. It really doesn’t matter what you personally think of the war, I don’t think anyone likes war, do they? Show support to our troops. Mail them packages, letters, cards, send them emails and let them know you are on their side.

Live Out Loud

Side Note: Paris Hilton Released from Jail

Side Note: This just in! It was announced on the Today Show this morning that Paris Hilton has been released from jail. A live press conference is scheduled for later in the broadcast.

DFO: Those with the gold are allowed to break all the rules.

AM Hucks: Ex-Treasurer Battles Big C Again

Huckleberries hears … that competent ex-Kootenai County Treasurer Jeannine Ashcraft is fighting a recurrence of cancer after beating breast cancer a decade or so ago. She’s facing an uphill battle – and is checking out experimental treatment in Seattle. She’ll find out in a week or two if she’s a viable candidate for the treatment. Jeannine and husband, Hale, have lived in northwest Montana for some years now. Good friend Lori Isenberg tells Huckleberries that Jeannine is taking her latest bout with the Big C “as much in stride as anyone possibly could.” Lori and her husband, Larry, are trying to arrange an open house here for the Ashcrafts to give old friends a chance to say hello and extend well wishes. … If you’re going to stiff the Blanchard E-Z Stop for $172 in fuel, you shouldn’t be driving a recognizable logging truck. Someone from Kevin Spearbear Logging of St. Maries is in a heap of trouble after doing that Tuesday. … Bumpersnicker (on a dirty, brown, older-model van with Bonner County plates at Gummint Way and Ironwood on Tuesday): “For a small town, this one sure has a lot of (derrieres).” What do they say? It takes one to know one? … On Wednesday, Huckleberries Online (HBO) featured a photo of wounded Sandpoint soldier Brandon Adam on his first wheelchair trip from his hospital room. HBO also linked to other photos of Brandon from the new Live, Laugh, Love, Hope blog. You’ll understand the cost of war better when you see them. I’ll move Brandon’s photo to the top of HBO this morning so you can find it easily.

Brandon Adam: The Reality of War

After receiving the pictures of Brandon (Adam of Sandpoint) last night, that is all I’ve been able to think about. I cried as I saw those pictures. I’ve known Brandon since he was 11 years old. I think of all the men and woman who have lost their limbs, and their lives as they fight for this country. Then, I think of people like Rosie O’Donnell who say our own troops are the real problem, not the true terrorists — Connie/Live, Love, Laugh, Hope.

Full post and more photos of wounded Sandpoint soldier Brandon Adam here

Originally posted at 1:48:10 p.m. Wednesday, June 6.

Hump Day Wild Card — 6/6/07

I’m currently on the phone for our weekly SR Editorial Board conference call. I mentioned to my Opinion Page colleagues that the new Editorial Page blog, A Matter of Opinion, has broken into the Top 10 of the SR blogs, in terms of unique views (No. 10) and page-views (No. 7). The numbers are still modest. But I predict that A Matter of Opinion will be a Top 5 SR blog by years end. Some of you have checked it out and commented, including Joan Harman. If you want to say something directly to Opinion Page Editor Doug Floyd and/or editorialists Gary Crooks, Rebecca Nappi and Jamie Tobias Neely, you can do so by posting under the Wild Card equivalent at the AMOO blog. Now, for your HBO Wild Card …

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 6/6/07

“It’s spring and nature abounds with new beginnings. A beautiful sight are the dozens of goslings on the Spokane River adjacent to North Idaho College. The Centennial Trail runs alongside the one-way dike road making it easy to view the gaggle of goslings and their protective parents” — Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho here.

*Bayview Herb reminds Huckleberries Online of the first “blogfest” staged by the SR for budding bloggers and a comment I made re: what would happen when the ants inevitably crawled out of the anthole here.

*Sara Anderson/F-Words is a liberal who doesn’t peruse the conservative Townhall site that much, but she couldn’t resist breaking down an anti-feminist rant that made some sense here.

*Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts was surprised to learn that the “Cozy Cabins, Canoe Rides, Hauser Lake” advertised by redneck Dixie Services on Pleasantview Road were referring to her Westside Resort as the DS owner was taking liberties in an attempt to attract Hauser Lake cusstomers here.

*Newby Psychobabbles explains why she decided to go into school psychology in response to rough treatment by an HBO commenter yesterday here. (If anyone chases this talented blogger off, s/he’s going to have to answer to me. Just saying.)

Meanwhile, Silver Valley Girl explains why she loves living in Kellogg here, Family Phil explains why his family life seems perfect here, Slight Detour explains why a friend has had two birthdays this year here, Dr. J explains why he thinks AARP missed the boat here, Newby Freedom of Expression sez Fred Thompson looks like a president here, Cis is baffled by her property valuation here, OrangeTV reviews records here, and Plaid Toaster provides random thoughts for your reading pleasure here.

Idaho Group Wants to Permanently Jail Paris Hilton …

… sorta.

In our opinion, Paris Hilton is an inexplicable American celebrity and socialite, both of which rely solely on her status as heiress to the Hilton Hotel fortune. She provides hope to underachievers all over the world who believe a GED and alleged herpes is a solid foundation atop which to build their dreams.

Full story and petition available here

Question: How long do you think Paris Hilton should stay in jail for her crimes against American society and good taste?

Hat Tip: MamaJD

For Those Keeping Score @ Home …

… the Idaho Travel Council has just issued a press release announcing that J.J. Jaegar of the Coeur d’Alene Resort has been selected to replace Nancy DiGiammarco of Silverwood as its North Idaho region rep. Stay tuned.

Last Day of School

Laughing and yelling
and making a fuss,
summer rode home on
the big yellow bus.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Breaking! Hayden Woman Lauds Rapist’s Conviction …

An Oregon jury deliberated for just over an hour Tuesday before convicting a man who abducted and raped Michealle Dierich two decades ago. The 39-year-old Hayden woman traveled to Hillsboro, Ore., last week to testify against Vance Roberts, who was convicted Tuesday for kidnapping Dierich and another former prostitute off the streets of Portland in the late 1980s. Both young women were held captive by Roberts and his brother, Paul Jackson, and sexually tortured. “I feel like a new woman,” said Dierich, who spent years living in fear of her attackers.

Full story here

TUBOB: What If Mary Wrote About Milfoil Instead?

What if Mary Souza’s Coeur d’Alene Press columns were about milfoil invasions instead of the LCDC and Kroc Center? wonders TUBOB in his online HBO column this week.

The Weedy’s Pulse
By Mary Souza

When David slew Goliath it was with a rock in a sling not a lake weed in a hammock. As summer arrives in our beautiful city by the
lake, we need to remember that biblical heroes can’t save us from the unrepentant growth of an invasive species of aquatic plant. Where were Mike Kennedy and the city council when this weed arrived in our almost entirely Republican lake? Exactly. They weren’t carrying the 10 commandments and Round Up herbicide down from Canfield Mountain were they? Weed increment financing is no way to defer our children’s future plant abatement thingies that Dan Gookin wrote for me on a napkin one time at Denny’s and I couldn’t read it very well because it was kind of in a scrawl because Dan was yelling about something and trying to put new batteries in his digital camera but the sun always rises over Goliath’s right shoulder if the current city council doesn’t pick some roots.

Full column in extended section and here

A Matter of Opinion: Is Grandma A Drug Dealer?

Christopher Anderson/Spokesman-Review

An ailing great-grandmother in Spokane who uses marijuana for medical purposes has been charged as a drug dealer. Read about Christine Rose Baggett in Thomas Clouse’s story: Surprise side effect Sounds to me like Baggett made the wrong decision in tipping her dealer with a small amount of marijuana. But a felony charge strikes me as over the top.

Question: What do you think of the charges against Christine Rose Baggett?

Online Poll: What Do You Think of Libby Sentence?

I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby was sentenced to 2 1/2 years in prison Tuesday for lying and obstructing the CIA leak investigation. What do you think of his sentence? — Idaho Statesman.

*Too harsh
*Just right
*Too lenient
*No opinion

DFO: Too harsh in terms of the sentence former Clinton security adviser Sandy Berger received for destroying classified info from the National Archives. Berger was hit with a $50,000 fine. A good argument can be made that Libby’s sentence is appropriate. And Berger deserved prison time.

Brand X: Parade Sponsor A Hero, Not A Heel

Sometimes, issues are so important and sides so far apart, unpopular or painful stands have to be taken. The Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce’s annual American Heroes Parade is not one of those issues. A group of veterans and veterans’ supporters has rallied to protest developer Marshall Chesrown’s sponsorship of the parade and what they perceive as the chamber suddenly selling out a patriotic holiday. On both counts, and we say this with the utmost respect, they’re wrong — Coeur d’Alene Press.

Full editorial here

Question: Do you think local military veterans overreacted to Black Rock’s sponsorship of the annual Fourth of July celebration?

Sausser: Hagadone Shouldn’t Be Criticized As Stingy

Item: Dogwalk Musings’ “Parallel Worlds: A Reality Show

Don Sausser: Mari gets it right one time and flubs the next. after his generousity is flamed I don’t blame Mr. Chesrown for bailing out next year. But next she finds fault with Mr. H opening his lake home & funding boat access to it for a charitable fund raiser. Since none of us know his charitable giving level how can we criticize his generosity? I guess it happens to most wealthy persons, especially on this blog.

Eagle Eye: A fund raiser for the Humane Society fits Mr H very well. He has spent decades treating employees below the executive level like dogs!

DFO: I appreciate the Hagadones’ gesture, Don (and the one they made last year in helping fund-raise to upgrade the sound system at the Coeur d’Alene Summer Theatre.) Indeed, Hagadone was also generous in donating $250,000 to the Kroc Center (although he cooled on the fund-raiser after the City Council denied his request for a downtown memorial garden). I also agree that the Hagadones contribute far more than anyone knows. But he has stepped on too many people here and gotten his way too many times to ever be an endearing character who inspires trust. At 74, he should be using his many millions to construct a public legacy that will outlive him. Eventually, his waterfront empire will be sold to an outside interest — and nothing in town will bear his name, other than whatever mausoleum his survivors erect in Forest Cemetery (if a grave lot is still available).

Alice’s Garden Spot — Time to Plant Seeds Outdoors

DFO: Due to technical difficulties, Alice couldn’t access her computer to interact much with you yesterday. That’s why I’m rerunning her online column today.

“If you want to be happy for an hour, drink wine.
If you want to be happy for a day, run away.
If you want to be happy for a year, get married.
If you want to be happy forever, be a gardener” — ancient Greek saying.

Now that you are properly inspired, let us go forth and plant! Up to this time, we have been talking primarily about starting plants indoors, purchasing plants and transplanting started plants outdoors. Let us talk today about planting seeds outdoors. Planting seeds in the ground and observing them germinate and break through the soil and come “alive”, fills me with awe. I was born with that soul of a gardener. As a very young child growing up in California, playing in the back yard, I would fill up coffee cans with soil, and water them. A miracle happened. Green, living things would grow. True, they were mostly weeds, but occasionally a wild California Poppy or Sweet Alyssum would grow in my “potted” garden. I don’t get quite the same thrill starting seeds indoors for transplanting (full column in extended entry portion) — Alice Rankin/Alice’s Garden Spot.

Alice’s previous online columns:
The Perfect Tomato (May 29)
Don’t Risk Tomato Plants Yet (May 22)
Planting Green Beans, Corn (May 15)
Mulching (May 8)
Starting Seeds Indoors (May 1)

Originally published 10:57 a.m. Tuesday, June 5

Wild Card/Tuesday — 6/5/07

I’ve finally shaken off much of my vacation rust and am starting to get back into my journalist/blog mode. It ain’t easy obtaining that perfect balance of intensity, passion and stress that keeps a journalist/blogger at the top of his game. Much coffee is needed — along with an angry phone call or troll blast or two. It’s going to be another short week for me because I plan to help my wife with her Shabby Sweethearts shabby chic sale and open market at the Mica Grange (10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday and Saturday). Yeah, yeah, I know — I interrupt the flow of things with my vacation days. But that time off also keeps me sharp. (Shaddup!) Enough of my babbling for today. Here’s your Wild Card …

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 6/5/07

“Today (Saturday, June 2) was another beautiful day in the Flathead Valley (of northwest Montana),” writes Craig Moore/Glacier Life. “Here is a shot of a couple that was married Saturday. Their dogs were the ring bearers - super cool to watch pups run down the isle with rings around their necks.”

*It’s hard to decide which of Marmitetoasty’s posts to feature — one re: a new house guest in the form of a half-chewed field mouse or another posted while I was on vacation in which she considers riding around her village nekkid to commemorate Lady Godiva’s ride. Let’s go with the latter, which begins with a poignant discussion of her mother’s death on the same date as Godiva’s ride, here.

*Idaho Escapee can’t believe he’s already approaching the six-month anniversary of his departure from North Idaho. It feels more like half of a year has gone by, sez he, here.

*”Country is where I live,” writes Inland Empire Girl. “I have never lived in a big city. When I visit cities I love to try different restaurants, go to Starbucks, browse book stores, and visit interesting sites. I only want to visit cities, then I want to go home” here.

*Chris Peterson/Muse You Can Use is planning to write a book that will be entitled either “Holes, And How to Dig Them” or “How to Get Your Money from a One-Armed Man” here.

*Wayward Episcopalian has mixed emotions about the indictment handed down on Louisiana Rep. William Jefferson. He’s glad a bad guy is getting his due. But he’s sad that rebuilding Louisiana will lose much-needed seniority here.

Meanwhile, Chronic Discontent claims “Lonesome Dove” might be the best American novel here, Joe Montana and JBelle are treating Bronx Boy to a home shopping spree and PDX Pup has taken over his blog again here, Toadman is immersed in fatherhood here, TUBOB has some new wheels here, and Sam The Reporter has been busy here.

Why Did Wolf Cross Road w/Orange Highway Cone?

From Idaho Fish & Game Web site: “While (Fish and Game wolf biologist Michael) Lucid and his crew of helpers were trying to capture and collar a wolf in the Timberline pack (Selway Bitterroot Wilderness) recently, they saw a wolf run across the road carrying a blaze orange highway cone. They did not speculate why the wolf might have been carrying the cone.”

Hat Tip: Jim Hagengruber

Dogwalk Musings: Welcome to This Parallel Universe

Mari/Dogwalk Musings has a Tucson friend who’s written a book about a parallel universe. Mari sez her friend should feel at home in Kootenai County. Here’s her examples of how we locals live in a parallel universe:

“Where else will she find teen age boys wandering around town with pistols and rifles slung on hip and shoulder to educate us about our second amendment rights? Where else will she find the mayor of the town involved giving their actions a pass?

“Where can a developer willing to step up to the plate with $10,000 to sponsor the 4th of July celebration get tarred and feathered for his generosity because he’s a “developer”?

“Where else will she find nearly a full page of coverage in the local paper decrying the explosion in the cat population with “Kitten Season” not yet at it’s peak? And the fact the the local megabucks man is opening his lake home for a Humane Society fund raising event when he could well build an entire facility for our unwanted and misplaced furry friends with his pocket change?”

Full post here

Question: can you add to Mari’s list?

Item: UK Channel to Show Diana Crash Photos …

… Princes William and Henry say it shows “gross disrespect to their mother’s memory”/Associated Press

DFO: I’m with the princes on this one. I remember seeing a photo of my father’s crushed pickup after he was killed in an October 1976 wreck. No body. Just the cab. I looked at it once. I still have it. Mebbe I’ll look at it again sometime. I understand, of course, why journalists snap shots of such breaking news. But I also know firsthand how those photos impact the surviving family. The UK station that plans to air Diana’s death scene are a discredit to the profession.

Huckleberries Hears …

… that the local tourism community is concerned that the Idaho Tourism Council is about to appoint two Hagadone Corp individuals (Bill Reagan and JJ Jaegar) to help supervise the distribution of tourism funds in North Idaho. This, sez a Berry Picker, “even after countless letters were sent to the governor from area chambers and major businesses in opposition and/or requesting another option from another company.” HBO’s source adds: “There is a general feeling in the tourism community … that the funds will quickly be directed toward Coeur d’Alene from surrounding communities during the June/July rewarding of grant request presentations. these two will then have the ability to decide on the items the (Hagadone Corp) has the most interest in and none other once the funds are directed to Coeur d’Alene where they also have control of the CVB marketing committee with more (Hagadone) employees. In essence they have a pipeline of taxpayer dollars funding the promotion of their business interests with little to no checks and balances to keep from unfairly fleecing deserving businesses of needed marketing.” Stay tuned.

Inside Huckleberries — 6/5/07

*Alice Rankin/Alice’s Garden Spot called to say that she’s having technical difficulties today. She can’t hook up to her Verizon server. So, she can’t respond to any comments or questions posted for her weekly online column. Be patient.

*Huckleberries has received word that former Kootenai County treasurer Jeannine Ashcraft, who now lives in Bigfork, Mont., with her husband, Hale, is fighting a recurrence of cancer — and is trying to gain entry for an experimental treatment in Seattle. Jeannine, a courageous woman and quality elected official, beat cancer 11 years ago. Lori Isenberg tells HBO: “Jeannine is a practical person and is taking this as much in stride as anyone possibly could.”

Coming After Lunch …

Introduction of 2 new blogs, including one by a Coeur d’Alene woman who is pursuing a degree in counseling and who is very critical of counselors who hit on their patients. Also, Stickman provides a photo of another classroom of satisfied stick customers. Stay tuned.

Online Poll: Did Warm Weather Arrive Too Late?

Do you feel cheated by near record temperatures arriving this weekend, instead of Memorial Day weekend? — KREM2 Poll.

*Yes, I wanted it warm for the extended weekend!

*No, I’m just pleased whenever warm weather arrives!

*Yes, and I’m complaining to the weather forecasters!

Fisher: Sali Has Right Argument, But Wrong War

People paying attention in Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, who aren’t necessarily all people voting in the district, already knew their new congressman’s scientific knowledge is faith-based. Bill Sali (pictured) continues, for example, to reject reputable studies showing no link between abortion and breast cancer, preferring assurances from the anti-abortion Concerned Women for America that the former causes the latter. But who knew that Sali’s understanding of world events is equally dependent on what he divines to be true, as opposed to what is really true? A case in point is the reason for continuing to support President Bush’s conduct of the Iraq War that Sali cited in Lewiston last week. Arguing against timelines for withdrawing troops from a country torn by civil war, Sali said if Iraqis were left without an occupying army, they would somehow come after the United States. “Every life that’s sacrificed over there, I believe saves a lot of lives in this country,” he said. That’s the right argument for the wrong war — Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune.

Complete editorial here

Question: Is it time to pull U.S. troops and allow the Iraqis to kill themselves until they’re so tired of the bloodshed that they settle their differences?

Enough: Need to Plan Street Closures Better

If you live in or around Hayden, and wish to avoid the bumper -to bumper on US 95 in the morning or evening rush hours several alternatives are normally available - Ramsey (closed all summer) Government Way (effectively closed) and Atlas. Atlas seems to be ok now that the speeding earth-movers have abated their runs, until you get to the construction on Northwest Blvd. just shy of the main drag. Who gives the developers of Riverstone the right to back up traffic just so their huge trucks can get turn onto the road? Why can’t they wait like anyone else? Or work at night? And how damn long does it take to put in some utilities and pave the damn street? It seems like every summer for the last few years someone will block off a main north-south arterial, spend the entire season messing around with it, only to do the same the next year. This year they’ve got them all blocked, except for the 5 mph stop and go on US95. Can’t they take ONE at a time, fix it for the next 20 years, and stop fooling around? Sorry for the rant.


Harman: Dems Can’t Deliver w/Razor Thin Majority

Joan Harman: Let’s inform you, Cabbage Boy, while you and others are ranting about the “spinelessness” of the Democrats. A reality check. The GOP found themselves facing some real live scandals in 2006 and way too close to election time for people to forget. Scandal city may have done a lot to change the vote. CNN discussed much about the Democrats and how they had yet to have a “message that worked” when it came to the American voters. For the American INDEPENDENT voter to vote for more Democrats instead of the GOP in 2006, undoubtedly had as much to do with the wallet as finally seeing that GW’s Pollyanna approach to Iraq wasn’t going over very well. However, the Democrats do not have solid (veto proof) majorities whereby they could simply discard the GOP minorities and ram through their own agendas. Seems all of you guys had greater expectations for these razor thin Democratic majorities than in reality is possible. Now, were there promises such as earmark reform that the Democrats could have kept? Yes. You can harp on that and I’ll agree with you.

DFO: I’d hate to see either side gain a veto-proof majority. Idaho Republicans have grown arrogant since they gained theirs. (Think: closed primaries) States with veto-proof Dem supermajorities are just as bad. Viva our balance of powers, divided government, and razor-thin majorities.

Anderson: Every Day Is Now Memorial Day

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Coming Tuesday …

… Spokesman-Review columnist Doug Clark takes aim at the Doty brothers of Post Falls, who insist on their right to bear arms — even inside the Post Falls Public Library.

TUBOB: On Blue Cowards

I don’t blame Cindy Sheehan. I’d also abandon the spineless Dems who caved into The Idiot King and tossed him another purse full of gold to spill into the rivers of blood. To wash it all away. When 70% of the nation wants it over and they voted you in and you still lack the political courage to do the right thing, to support your mandate, to go toe to toe with those evil death cultists in the White House and back those bastards down, well, good bye. Who needs cowards. To you Dems that deny your mandate and choose to function as smooth cobblestone speed bumps for The Idiot King’s chariots of mire drawn by thundering dark hell horses spewing flames from flaring nostrils, well, you’re worse than Republicans. I’d rather take a knife from the front anytime. At least you can see it coming and get out of the way. Vote the cowards out next time.

TUBOB/The Unbearable Bobness of Being

DFO: Does either side fulfill its campaign promises? The clock has been ticking on the D’s for some time — to do something about the war, to do something about gas prices, to do something … It’s 1994-95 all over again. ‘Cept this time, the shoes on the other foot. Sadly, we’re stuck with the two major, self-serving parties. If anything, third-party choices are even worse. Alas.

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 6/4/07

Associated Press

This video image released today by TMZ.Com shows hotel heiress Paris Hilton, second left, accompanied by her mother Kathy, left, sitting in the back of an SUV vehicle late Sunday, arriving at the Men’s Central Jail in downtown Los Angeles to turn herself in. Later, she checked into the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood, Calif. Hilton is expected to serve three weeks for probation violation. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Fox brings back Paris Hilton and she’s all alone for a fifth season: The Simple Life: Scared Straight! — Raymond Pert.

2. Paris gets ready to enter the jail for her stint of 23 days. But full of confidence, she’s fully prepared because she spent her last free night at a Holiday Inn Express — keithincda.

3. In a related report, inmates at the Men’s Central Jail were disappointed that Ms. Hilton won’t be serving her time there. They had hoped for the lead role in their version of the classic film, “An American in Paris” — John Austin.

HM: Thom George

Stewart: Cops Should Treat Rape Victims Better

I cringed during the sentencing of serial rapist Paul Hawkins last Friday when one of his victims testified in open court about how poorly she had been treated by law enforcement on the night of the attack more than four years ago. She said a Spirit Lake police officer gave her no comfort and didn’t believe that she’d been raped. His apparent reasoning was that Hawkins wasn’t able to penetrate her during the attack. The officer using his Captain Crunch cereal police handbook reportedly told her to take a shower and then left — Marc Stewart/Coeur d’Alene Press.

Full post here

Inside Huckleberries — 6/4/07

3:26 p.m.: Buddy D.P. Bond recommends a delightful blog from a Bozeman area writer who produces Letters from Gramps for the Outside Bozeman journal. It’s worth a look-see here.

1:06 p.m.: “Word around the courthouse is that Mr. Douglas is unhappy about all the negative publicity he has received from your paper. Apparently he doesn’t want the e-mails scandal(s) to be his legacy, so he has decided to run again. He probably won’t announce it officially until its very close to the time of the next primary” — Courthouse Berry Picker.

11:11 a.m.: CPD Blue has fielded a report that there’s a dog locked in a car with the windows up in the KMC ER parking lot. (Good thing that the temperatures have dropped considerably since the weekend.)

11:06 a.m.: Izzit just me or was Mountain West Bank (Ironwood and Lincoln Way) using the wrong “peak” on its readerboard to “pique” motorists’ interests in opening a checking account? At least, the bank was doing so last night.

10:45 a.m.: I just received news from Barb Friend that her husband, Paul, died of a heart attack at Sacred Heart Hospital in Spokane Friday, May 25. She tried to call earlier but missed me because I was on vacation. Paul, as you may recall, was the feisty editor of the weekly Idaho Observer, headquartered in Wallace. He wasn’t afraid to take on the power structure, including former mining magnate Harry Magnuson and the telephone company. He’ll be missed.

Question: Which Denver Trail Town Appeals to You?

I’ve lived two other places since moving to the Inland Northwest 30 years ago this month — Kalispell, Mont., and Lewiston, Idaho. (And for those keeping score at home, I’ve worked for the three media “tycoons” of the INW: Duane Hagadone, Butch Alford of Lewiston Trib/Moscow Daily News, and Stacey Cowles.) I enjoyed living in Kalispell and Lewiston tremendously, although the I didn’t like the relative isolation of those places. I have traveled to Denver by car twice — along I90/I25 and the southern route that goes through Pocatello/Idaho Falls, Ogden and then east to Cheyenne. Northeastern Utah is beautiful. As I’ve traveled, I’ve wondered what other place along the Denver route would be good to live in. You can help me choose:

1. Missoula
2. Bozeman
3. Billings
4. Casper
5. Idaho Falls/Pocatello
6. Cheyenne
7. Fort Collins
8. Billings
9. Butte (for the miners among us)
10. Other

Secret Witness Seeks Culprit(s) in Trail Attacks

Secret Witness of Kootenai County is offering a cash reward for information leading to the arrest of the suspect(s) involved in stringing a cord across a popular riding, walking trail in Rathdrum. At 10:17 a.m. Wednesday, May 2, a male motorcyclist was riding on the Burlington Northern access road behind Lakeland Jr. High School. He was injured when he struck the cord and crashed. At 5 p.m. Tuesday, May 8, the same motorcyclist suffered serious injury on the same trail when he hit a low-lying, barbed-wire fence that had been strung across the trail. Officers examined the scene of the crash and determined someone deliberately strung the barb wire across the trail in order to cause an accident. Anyone with information on these two incidents is asked to call Secret Witness of Kootenai County at 667-2111. Callers are asked to provide a code name or number and do not have to provide their own name to be eligible for a cash reward.

Q: Are Some Books Wrong for Public Schoolers?

Item: Coeur d’Alene parents raise book concerns: Panel reviews five titles for possible restrictions/Meghann M. Cuniff, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Now “Fallen Angels” and “The Chocolate War” are under review again – this time to determine if they should be restricted for high school students. Also under review are “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” by Maya Angelou, “Snow Falling on Cedars” by David Guterson and “Beloved” by Toni Morrison. All five have been challenged repeatedly in school districts across the country and are available in Coeur d’Alene’s high school libraries. None is required reading, said Jim Facciano, the district’s curriculum director.

DFO: The key for me here is the phrase “none is required reading.” When my kids were in school, my wife and I asked his literature instructor to allow him to switch books for an assignment because we considered the first book to be age inappropriate. The teacher readily complied. I consider that approach to be a better one than trying to censor the books for other children.

Question: Are there times when books are simply too age inappropriate for public schoolers and should be censored?

Teen Home Schooler Exercising Arms Right?

From A Berry Picker: “I snapped this picture of one of the Doty boys over the weekend. He came to Post Falls Days bearing arms. I was wondering if they made him take his gun off to ride the Tilt-a-Whirl. Who knows. Makes me a little nervous to have a young man with a gun running around a park full of little kids and teens.”

Story: Gun-toting teens alarm residents: Doty brothers say weapons are part protection, part political statement/Hope Brumbach, Spokesman-Review

Question: Do you support the rights of the Doty brothers to bear arms — even when they go to the library and public events like the Post Falls parade?

OrangeTV: 5 Local Rock Bands Make Things Hop

Traditionally, in certain local night establishments it works like this: coupled with a few fruity cocktails, cover bands make the ladies happy by putting them in the mood to dance. And as they say, if the ladies are happy then everyone’s happy. Whether it’s a pop tune by Neil Diamond or by No Doubt, many people in North Idaho just want to go out and dance to the songs they’re familiar with. Then there are those of us who are far more impressed by the idea of the live act actually writing the music they’re performing. For nightclub owners, it can be a risky proposition to book original acts in an area where it seems like not a lot of bar-goers are eager to step outside of their comfort zone and forgo the slickness and familiarity that a cover band provides. If the music turns out to be too out-there, monotonous or just plain rotten, customers will start running for the exit. But if the music is good, and the act starts to develop a following of fans, a crowd of customers is nearly guaranteed. Fortunately, more and more local venues have opened up to the idea of hosting original Northwest musicians on their stages — OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy.

Full post here

Question: Do you follow any of the local bands?

DOTC: Dominant Idaho Repubs Seek New Advantage

Dan of the County: I read the article where the Republican Party decided to close our primary election system. Frankly, I can’t think of any strategy or action that the D’s could employ that would be half as effective for the growth of the Democrat Party as having the Republicans close the primaries. But obviously, they think it will help their election efforts because they are “down” to — what about a 6 or 7 to one advantage? — or they wouldn’t be igniting the “nuclear” option.

DFO: Idaho Republicans are lucky they have the 6 or 7 to 1 advantage. They are attempting to take something precious away from Independent and third-party voters — the privilege to cast ballots in primary elections in which only Republicans are running in a winner-take-all competition. A closed primary also means that far-right ideologues will have a better chance to win primary races and get elected because there’s no moderating influence from middle-of-the-road voters.

Pipe Down or I’ll Page an Usher

A major theater group is offering a way to tattle on rude or chatty moviegoers. Regal Entertainment Group is testing hand-held devices called “Guest Response Systems.” Selected patrons can use them anonymously to page management when there’s a problem. The wireless devices have buttons: picture, sounds, piracy and “other disturbance.” Company spokesman Dick Westerling says they have been used to report audio or video problems or to tell on someone who is illegally taping the movie. But he says most complaints have to do with loud talking and cell phone use.

What would use use your GRS for?

Breaking News: Serial Rapist Sentenced to Life

The women who were attacked by serial rapist Paul Earl Hawkins said he deserves the same sentence they received: a lifetime to think about his crimes. “These crimes, inescapably, are as horrific as any conduct that can come before the court,” 1st District Judge John P. Luster said today as he sentenced Hawkins to five consecutive life sentences in prison.

Full story

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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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