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Archive for May 2007

Wild Card/Thursday — 5/31/07

The longer days (in terms of daylight) are certainly welcome, but here’s a sobering thought: The days will start getting shorter again three weeks from now. The summer solstice (June 21) will give us a good 16 hours of daylight, then we begin the gradual tilt back to darkness. On the other hand, we can look forward to six weeks of days “longer” than today, and that’s plenty for me. Here’s your Thursday wild card….

County Commissioners: Real Life Expansion is Limited – For Now

The Kootenai County Commission today clarified its approval of a mega-church’s proposal to put an extensive campus on the Rathdrum Prairie, saying it can only build a 3,500-seat worship center and public ball fields until sewer becomes available. Commissioner Todd Tondee said the commission was too vague when it gave initial approval to Real Life Ministries’ new campus, leaving the false impression the church could start construction on all nine proposed buildings, including retail space, before sewer is available.

Full story here

Noah: In the News

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Racist Message in Playground? Nope, a Supportive Family

Dave Wilkinson sent us this photo, which appears to be a donor’s tribute at the Fort Sherman playground in City Park. Dave writes, “We were at the big park in Coeur d’ Alene on Sunday with our Hawaiian friend who was visiting from Oahu. We were playing in the big play structure with our kids and my friend was looking at all the names on the slats when he stops and says, ‘What’s this?’ I walked over and there it was a slat with ‘Mein Kids J.K.K.K’ on it! We were shocked that something so blatantly racist was displayed in a playground for children. Only in North Idaho!”

UPDATE: We determined the origin of “Mein Kids J.K.K.K.” Learn more in the comments….

War Casualty: Cataldo Soldier Killed in Iraq

A 23-year-old Cataldo man was killed Saturday in Iraq by a roadside bomb. Pfc. Charles B. Hester died in Baghdad after being wounded when the vehicle he was riding in was hit by an improvised explosive device. Hester was in Baghdad with Fort Lewis’s 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade, Stryker Brigade Combat Team. Read more

Related: Fort Lewis, which this month has suffered its worst losses of the war, will no longer conduct individual memorial ceremonies for soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. Full story

Bayview Herb Rides Out Storm w/News Cap On

Item: North Idaho storm knocks out power, wreaks damage in Kootenai, Bonner counties/Spokesman-Review

Bayview Herb: Power back on in Bayview at about 8:00 pm. I was in Athol at the American Legion when the storm hit.I phoned Dave to tell him that several of us had seen a funnel cloud, going from West to east paralleling Hwy 54. I pulled my car around back of the legion to avoid what I saw as a small funnel cloud picking up debris and still paralleling the highway. When the brunt of the storm passed, I left, primarily to check out the report of an injury at Farregut State Park. Thankfully, it was a false alarm. When I reached Bayview, realizing that the back end of the storm was aproaching. It passed just south of us drenching us with heavey rain. When It was all over, the local kids went out onto the docks to fish. One six year old fished a street sign out of the waterway between JD’s and the Captain’s Wheel. His Mom brought it up to the yard. It had been picked up by the twister, carried 300 feet and left a perfect 4x4 hole behind. The young man’s picture will be featured in “Your Voice” in the near future.

DFO: Here’s another example of how the online world has an advantage over the print world and even the “film-at-11” types. The storm hit when Herb was in Athol. He saw the funnel spout drop down nearby. Then, on the way back to Bayview, he checked out the rumor that a tree had hit a woman in the Thimbleberry Campground at Farragut. Finally, he returns to Bayview and lets us know about the power being restored and the interesting little incident of the twister and the street sign. In the blogosphere, everyone can become a reporter.

Question: Did you suffer any damage from the storm? Or observe any damage?

Noah: Summer and Sanders Beach

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Military Intelligence, or Censorship?

From David Carr/The New York Times: Since last year, the military’s embedding rules require that journalists obtain a signed consent from a wounded soldier before the image can be published. Images that put a face on the dead, that make them identifiable, are simply prohibited. If Joseph Heller were still around, he might appreciate the bureaucratic elegance of paragraph 11(a) of IAW Change 3, DoD Directive 5122.5: “Names, video, identifiable written/oral descriptions or identifiable photographs of wounded service members will not be released without the service member’s prior written consent. Complete story.

Appeals Court: We’re Not Blowing Smoke

Will there or won’t there be smoke-filled skies above the Rathdrum Prairie this summer? The answer had been obscured by state and federal officials recently, but now the 9th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals has cleared the air. Today the court clarified its earlier decision to more clearly state that field burning is now illegal in Idaho under federal law. Good news for clean air advocates, bad news for the farmers who traditionally burn crop residue at season’s end.

Read more at Betsy Russell’s EYE ON BOISE blog.

A matter of respect

Digger has some interesting observations about funeral etiquette, in light of the large crowd attending Officer Lee Newbill’s funeral Friday. Worth some discussion perhaps:

I attended the funeral for fallen Moscow Police Officer Lee Newbill on Friday. I’ve now just been able to think of that service without tearing up. From the bagpipes at the beginning to the Battle Hymn at the end, it was a truly masterful service. The part that brought me to tears was his final service call over the radio by the Whitcom 911 dispatcher.

Angie: Two Thumbs Up for Pirates 3; DFO: One Thumb Up

Angie: I just saw Pirates last night, and it was awesome! I absolutely loved it. Spidey 3 was just all right. Ocean’s Thirteen looks a LOT better than Ocean’s Twelve. And you just can’t miss the Damon in the Bourne movies. I’m always entertained by them. And I’m sorry, but Transformers is going to be awesome, too - thank you LeBoeuf!! And I’m a sucker for the Simpsons, too. However, just thinking about another Fantastic Four movie makes me want to vomit. Ehhh.

DFO: As I mentioned in the “comments” section, I saw “Pirates of the Caribbean 3” yesterday afternoon. I enjoyed it. But I enjoy special effects and fantasy and pirates and stuff like that. My wife didn’t like the ending. My daughter-in-law thought it was way too long. It’s growing on my son. Bottom line? If you didn’t like 2, you won’t like three. It can be confusing. If you’re a Pirates fan, it’s worth the $7.50 or so at the Riverstone cinemas. If you’re not, wait for the video. Or pass.

Wild Card/Saturday — 5/26/07

Judging by the swell in Kootenai County traffic yesterday afternoon, I’m not sure anyone’s still aound to post today. This is supposed to be the nicest day of the extended weekend, so you should at least step outside and take a deep breath, maybe go for a walk along a lake or hike up Tubbs Hill. That’s on my to-do list today. Meanwhile, here’s a little preview of what we’re working on this weekend for the Idaho edition of The Spokesman-Review:
* SUNDAY - What’s all this fuss over Coeur d’Alene’s urban renewal agency? Biz reporter Becky Kramer takes a deeper look, and we’ll show you (both in print and online) what these development projects look like.
* MONDAY - Some of the remaining World War II veterans in our region are telling their stories for a permanent record of their service and sacrifice. Reporter James Hagengruber will tell you more.
* TUESDAY - An intriguing transportation idea for
Coeur d’Alene this summer…. Reporter Erica Curless has the story.

Welcome to North Idaho

From Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho: To live in a place other people dream of visiting is incredible. On any given day I see bald eagles, herds of elk, moose in marshes, osprey, marmots, Canada geese … just minutes from my front door. Recreational opportunities are limitless in North Idaho, too. OnLocation North Idaho will bring you a slice of life as we know it in the Idaho panhandle. Enjoy!

A long time ago, in a theater not so far away…

“Star Wars” blasted into our consciousness 30 years ago today. Perfect timing for a bored 9-year-old in a small town in Eastern Oregon. I recall my parents weren’t too sure about letting me see this movie, which sounded strange and violent to them. But I eventually got in to see it that summer, then saw it again at our local drive-in. That opening shot of the giant star cruiser passing overhead was unlike anything we’d ever seen. We knew this was something truly special.

Did you see “Star Wars” when it first came out? What was your reaction?

ALSO: Check out the new “Star Wars” stamps that go on sale today.

Wild Card/Thursday — 5/24/07

I’m leaving you in Regional Editor Scott Maben’s capable hands today. However, I know he’s tied up with Leadership Coeur d’Alene. So, this Wild Card might represent most of the postings. Who knows? Mebbe we should turn Mommy Dearest loose on this blog. I’ll be an MIA for the next 3 or 4 days. Behave yourselves. And remember: Don’t feed the trolls. Here’s your Thursday Wild Card …

Local pastor in coma

KXLY is reporting that Coeur d’Alene pastor Dave Miller and father of three is in a coma after he was kicked in the head during a soccer match.

Trout to hang up her robe

Linda Copple Trout has had enough. The Idaho Supreme Court justice, who is the high court’s only woman, is stepping down. In an exclusive interview, she tells our Boise-based staff writer Betsy Russell there are a number of reasons why she’s quitting, but a major one is the increasingly nasty, contentious campaigns judges face in the state.

Read more here.

Miners Come Out Into the Open

Ladies, here they are: The Men of Hecla Mining Company — an entire year’s worth, in fact. Business reporter Becky Kramer reports that the new Men of Hecla calendar features some familiar faces, including former Chairman Art Brown; Lucky Friday Mine manager Mike Dexter; and the company’s mine rescue team. But a few bare legs and chests are all you’ll get in this calendar. The company save its full disclosure for the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, which regulates accounting practices at public companies. The 2007 calendar was a fund-raiser for the Susan B. Komen Breast Cancern Foundation. It’s also a good source of Hecla trivia. Example: The company’s stock price shot to $53.50 per ounce in January of 1980, after the Hunt Brothers made their famous move to corner the market on silver.

TUBOB: The Zen of Hillbilly …

Or How I Learned to Quit Raggin’ on North Idaho and Love Me Some Chipmunk Chili

Think of North Idaho and you think of many things – gleaming “Cigarette” style rocket boats thundering across emerald ringed lakes of nearly unspeakable sapphire beauty, rows of cottonwood trees standing like silent, ageless sentinels along the muddy banks of the shadowy St. Joe river, vibrant artistic communities with smiling, tanned residents astride mountain bikes and river sandals while pleasantly engaged in wonderful collaborative civic activities, and sometimes, well, sometimes we see smoldering fiberglass singlewide trailers brought to a conflagrated and coagulated end by explosive meth labs left unattended by Spirit Lake trailer trolls too busy wandering the woods, higher than airport weather balloons, looking for morel mushrooms to sell to restaurants or toss into a nice big pot of chipmunk chili — TUBOB/The Unbearable Bobness of Being (see extended entry for remainder of column).

Previous TUBOB columns:

Of Wet Suits And Second Chances here
Hi, Bob; Hi, Bob; Welcome here

Another Community College on the Horizon

Proponents of a community college district in Canyon and Ada counties won a narrow victory in Tuesday’s election, buoyed by a strong absentee vote, The Idaho Statesman reports today. “It’s now time to put the college together and serve the community,” said Mike Reynoldson, Micron Technology Inc.’s government relations manager. He predicted generous support from the private sector to help get the planned Nampa community college off the ground. “Stay tuned,” he said.

Full report here

Moscow Gunman Belonged to Aryan Nations

The man responsible for last weekend’s assault-rifle shooting in Moscow, Idaho, that left four people dead was a member of the Aryan Nations, law enforcement authorities confirmed this afternoon. Jason Hamilton’s ties to the Aryan Nations, a white supremacy group formerly based in North Idaho, were found when FBI agents and Latah County sheriff’s deputies searched his home in Moscow, sources told The Spokesman-Review.

Full story here

Online Poll: Favorite Hotdog Condiment?

What is your favorite hot dog condiment? — Lewiston Tribune.

*Mustard + ketchup
*Mustard + relish
*Chili + cheese

Les Schwab, tire king, was the real deal

About a week ago a colleague and I were discussing Les Schwab and how we’d cover his death. I didn’t know then that the Oregon tire tycoon was in failing health. A few days later he died. This other editor and I had the same reaction: call the newsroom and lobby to get the story on Page 1. It was the right call.

Schwab was truly a ubiquitous icon of retail in the West. He’s up there with Meier & Frank, Fred Meyer and Nordstrom – all Northwest retailers who built their stores into empires. But with more than 410 outlets and 7,700 employees today, Schwab stood atop the tire heap.

AM Hucks: Love Will Outlive Biker’s Memorial

Motorcyclist Branden Benoy was fatally injured almost six years ago when his motorcycle crashed into a pickup at the intersection of Third Street and Locust Avenue (by French’s Cleaners). At the time, Benoy, 24, was giving Krystal Ketterling a ride to work on his 1980 Suzuki. Ketterling was tossed over the pickup and not injured. Benoy took the full impact, suffering severe head trauma. He later died at Kootenai Medical Center, surrounded by loved ones, including his young wife, Amber. Branden’s brother Shane, who was 12 at the time, reportedly grabbed his dying sibling’s hand and said, “I love you. Why did this have to happen? I just want to give you my brain.” Why am I telling you this? In my regular walks around town, I’ve passed the makeshift memorial to Branden dozens of times. I’ve read the brief notes left there by his wife, mother, brother, friends and loved ones. I’ve watched as the sign has faded. On Wednesday evening, I noticed that a fairly new photo of Branden was attached to the wooden memorial. Fake flowers were discarded in the tall grass beneath. Nearby, work crews were filling in what used to be the crawl spaces of two scraped homes for the future site of the Syringa Center. I wondered how much longer Branden’s memorial would last. On Thursday evening, I had my answer. It was gone. The Syringa Center site was almost ready for construction. I’m sure it’ll be a nice building. However, I’m glad bulldozers can’t scrape away the memory of a young man who was the focus of so much love.

What we have to fear the most

From Spokesman-Review columnist Cheryl-Anne Millsap, on the weekend tragedy in Moscow:

… When I read the headlines early Sunday morning that the night before there had been a shooting in Moscow, Idaho, and that two men had been killed and two others injured before the shooter shot himself, what occurred to me was the same thought that worked its way into my brain as I watched and read about the tragedy at Virginia Tech and so many other recent violent acts: In this modern bullet-riddled world, I decided, what we have to fear the most is the person in the room or the cubicle or house beside us. Read her full column here.

Quick! Hillary needs a theme song

Sen. Hillary Clinton is looking for a campaign theme song, and her nine choices include “I’m a Believer” by Smash Mouth and “Ready to Run” by the Dixie Chicks. And the Democratic presidential hopeful wants her adoring fans to help her pick just the right tune. You can check out the options and vote here. As quips, “Sadly, Mitch Ryder’s “Devil With a Blue Dress” is not on the list.” A hat tip to MamaJD for this find.

What other songs should represent Hillary’s campaign?

Online Question: Memorial Day Weekend Plans?

What are your plans for the Memorial Day weekend? — Idaho Statesman

*Staying home

CdA/PF Samaritan Wounded in Moscow Spree

Pete Husmann, a 20-year-old University of Idaho student, heard the gunshots Saturday night in Moscow, Idaho, and went to help, his mother said. The Good Samaritan was shot three times and is now in stable condition, his mother, Janice Husmann, said this morning. He is scheduled for surgery about 12:30 p.m. on his shoulder. Janice Husmann said her son saw bullets hitting the pavement, making sparks, before he was hit in the back. “He told me he didn’t want his mom to find him all shot up in pieces,” said Janice Husmann, who was vacationing in Mesa, Ariz., when she received a call from medics.

Complete story here

Noah: Remembering Moscow’s finest

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Wild Card/Sunday — 5/20/07

It’s official, HBOers; I’m on V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N for the next two weeks. But that doesn’t mean that you’ll be totally without Huckleberries Online. Regional Editor Scott Maben will take over posting somewhat to keep things here for you to comment on. He’s at the master control of Huckleberries Central. He’ll post breaking news, some commentary and Wild Cards so you’ll have some fodder for the next two weeks. I’ll have the laptop to check in occasionally, as I’m doing now. Your Wild Card …

Don Sausser: Lucky to Know Ace Walden for 35 Years

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

I have been lucky enough to know Ace for about 35 years and we now live in the apartment below him in the Lake Tower Aps. I take him to NIC Booster Club luncheons at the Resort each Tuesday noon while Bob Bemis (of Diamond Match fame, and Gpa of the famous Bemis twins) takes him to Rotary each Friday. While he uses a walker to get around the best thing is that he has no pain and his mind is keen. We should all be so lucky. It has been our pleasure to have known him so long. Unfortunately, we used poor trip planning and missed his party.

Don Sausser
(from Mt. Shasta, CA)

DFO: Hey, Don, can you set up a Huckleberries Gone Wireless interview for me with Ace Walden in a coupla weeks. If/when I return from vacation, I’d love to interview him. Okay?

Sgt. Christie: Why I Joined the Air Force. Or Rocky Was Right

Green Libertarian: You were in the military, TOO, Sgt. Christie? No wonder Goose chase Gookin can’t stand you, he never had the stones to serve himself, and CLEARLY has problem with strong career-oriented women, especially those in public service.

Christie Wood: I was in the Air Force. Long story…but Sheriff Watson and his lovely wife Mary are like second parents to me. I worked for them in the early 80’s and I was spoiled beyond any one’s tolerance(their doing!) so one day Rocky told me he had a new plan for me. He decided I should join the Air Force. He did the research and referred me to a recruiter. Their plan was for the military to knock the spoiled out of me. I thought Rocky was the smartest most honorable person I had ever met (and he is)so I did what he told me to do and joined the military. I arrived at bootcamp in a very similar fashion of Private Benajamin. It is funny now but it was’nt at the time. A drill instructor immediatley made my life miserable and my first thought was “What was Rocky thinking?” “This is not fun”. After a few months their mission was accomplished. I returned home on leave with the spoiled knocked out of me. It was an honorable experience to be in the Air Force. There were some interesting challenging times but I do not regret any of it. Good call on Rocky’s part. As for Mr. Gookin…he is only focused on me for a short moment in time. I predict he and I will be able to discuss our difference of opinion in the future. We have a different style of communicating so if he continues to call me names I will most likely ignore him until he feels he can talk civily to me. Time will tell…

Kerri Thoreson: Fallen Hero Should Be Recognized


I was at the plaza this morning with my oldest daughter and two grandsons to visit “Grandpa Rankin’s” eagle while they’re in town. Dan English came out and mentioned his thoughts about adding Sgt. Major Bradley Conner’s name to the Killed in Action monument. As the duly appointed curator of the Ronald D. Rankin Veterans Memorial Plaza, I share Dan’s opinion of giving recognition to those who’ve paid the ultimate price in Iraq. The challenge is the Killed in Action monument is an 8-ton black marble slab that is engraved with the local servicemen killed from the Spanish American War through Vietnam. At the time it was placed in the plaza, the start of the Iraq war was at least four years away. There is no space to now engrave Iraq K.I.A.s. We added the Iraq marble mural at the time of the dedication Memorial Day 2005. Last July I arranged a ceremony at the veterans plaza for the 116th Idaho Army National Guard to honor those in their ranks who had received commendations, including Purple Hearts, in Iraq and to recognize Sgt. Timothy Kiser, a member of the 116th who was killed in action. The 116th, based out of Post Falls, provided a plaque that is displayed in the Hall of Heroes just inside the foyer.

Digger: I’m Gay, And I’m Welcome @ HBO

Digger (re: Don Imus “award”): DFO has never attacked me, and I’m gay. In fact, he welcomed me to the table at Blogfest 07. Hmmm… something smells funny.

DFO: You’re not the only gay who checks in here regularly, Digger. Not only are you all welcome, but you add to the interesting mix that Huckleberries Online has become. When I started HBO in mid-February 2004, I envisioned it becoming a regional online center for conservative commentary and discussion. But the flame wars and intense, personal discussions I’ve had with such a wide variety of people here has fundamentally changed my outlook. I realize that most of us agree on most important things — what we want out of life, what we want for our kids, what we want for our communities. Most of us are pretty decent people. Basically likable. We simply approach life from different filters. HBO has freed me to simply enjoy people, even when we disagree online. I also notice that some of you have learned to like and respect others here that you wouldn’t have before. The online columns by liberal TUBOB and conservative Alice Rankin here are the ultimate expression of what HBO has become. The ride keeps getting better. And there’s room for more.

Parting Shot — 5/18/07

The Otis/BrodH20 spotted this on McGuire Road during his travels in Post Falls today. Seem the contractor has had trouble with stray vehicles using the road, even though it’s closed.

TGIF Wild Card — 5/18/07

I’m still not sure if I’ll be on vacation for the next two weeks. I’d say they’re better than 50-50 that I will be. If so, Regional Editor Scott Maben will be at the controls to post the Wild Cards, breaking news and some regional news and blog fodder. I’ll let you know when I find out this weekend. If Scott’s running things, treat him gently (as you do me ;-). I have to do a few things to clean off my desk (in case I go on vacation). So I don’t have time for the Best of the Local Blogs. Sorry. Here’s your Wild Card …

A Butterfly Moment: Adam @ 6

In this wonderful post, Jen/A Butterfly Moment tells us about her wonderful son, Adam, on his sixth birthday today:

*He loves bugs and one little ant can keep him from getting in the car even when I’m already five minutes late.

*But he’s afraid of spiders (I think it’s genetic) and they can easily make him squeal like a girl.

*He will only drink strawberry flavored milk and informed me just this morning that I don’t need to ask him what kind of milk he wants because he always wants strawberry.

*His favorite flavor of ice cream is vanilla and he will order it even at Baskin Robbins.

*He can play outside for hours with just a stick and be perfectly content.

Full post here

DFO’s Imus Certificate

Reproduction/Jesse Tinsley

In North Idaho, Wildlife Sometimes Comes to You

Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho

“Sometimes the best of times are “on location” right in our own backyard,” writes Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho. “Living in town doesn’t preclude the enjoyment of wildlife and the beauty of nature in late spring. A family of quail have called our backyard home for the past few years. They travel the neighborhood during the day but as the sun dips down the “king” quail finds a lofty perch and begins calling his family home to roost, up to three dozen arriving from all points up and down the block. From the top of our backyard swing he surveys his kingdom while patiently awaiting the rest of the flock.”

DFO Gets Imus Award from Anonymous Demo

The Coalition for a New Democratic Majority has awarded me the Don Imus Award for “doing (my) part to create the new Democratic majority. I got a wonderful three-color certificate in the mail (with color photo of Imus wearing a black hat and frowning) in the mail. From an anonymous sender from Spokane, of course. The wording on the certificate said:

By attacking other religious beliefs and nonbeliefs D.F. Oliveria has driven those people into the Democratic Party. By attacking environmentalists, D.F. Oliveria has driven Republican environmentalists into the Democratic Party. By atacking gays, D.F. Oliveria has driven Log Cabin Republicans into the Democratic Party. By attacking women’s reproductive rights, D.F. Oliveria has driven women into the Democratic Party. By attacking science, D.F. Oliveria has driven scientists into the Democratic Party. David F. Oliveria is fully deserving of the Don Imus Award because his writings typify the Don Imus approach.

DFO: I, I … I … I’m so choked up … I can hardly speak. But I will say this: I love living rent free in someone’s alleged mind.

OrangeTV Reviews Paul Bunyan Restaurant

Paul Bunyan must be the second oldest burger joint in town, having been in the same spot since sometime in the fifties. My mother worked there during its glory years when she was a teenager. For years it was the teenybop hot spot, a place for car cruisers to gather. By the time I was a kid, the place was pretty run down, and they demolished and rebuilt about ten years ago. It seems like the place lost a bit of charm after the rebuild – I can remember sitting outside the place at grungy carved-up picnic tables and having corn dogs and vanilla coke in the shade of some kind of dilapidated multicolored fifties plastic canopy structure that would cast odd pink and orange shadows onto the ground. Now the place is rather plain – grey brick, crisp white interior - exactly like the two newer locations in Post Falls and Hayden. However, the giant original iconic sign of Paul himself still stands out front, winking at passersby — OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy.

Full Get Out! column for SR Handle Extra here

Question: What is the last thing you ordered from Paul Bunyan?

Huckleberries Hears …

… that Real Life Ministries is trying to set up a face-to-face meeting with the mayors of the three prairie towns who are opposed to their 116-acre (to begin with) mega-campus above the Rathdrum Prairie: Clay Larkin of Post Falls, Ron McIntire of Hayden and Brian Steele of Rathdrum. Pastor Jim Putman’s secretary is trying to set up the meeting which might include cities’ attorney Jerry Mason and other technical advisers. Stay tuned.

Inside Huckleberries — 5/18/07

11:29 a.m., Construction work at the new Cabela’s building at the stateline is going so well, Huckleberries hears that the store might open in late October instead of the current target date of Nov. 10.


10:35 a.m., Dan of the County called to say that local veterans should check into adding Sgt. Major Bradley Conner’s name to the veteran’s memorial at the county courthouse since he may be the first local warrior killed in action since the Vietnam War. DOTC wasn’t certain of Conner’s connection to Coeur d’Alene, although the dead soldier has been mentioned in news reports as hailing from the Lake City. He’s a 1984 graduate of Kellogg High.

9:08 a.m., Rocket’s Brain Trust e-mails: “Sheriff Knezovich is scheduled to be on the Fuhrman Show this morning (around 9 AM) reportedly to discuss recent Spokane Valley death case of Yoho. Regardless of the outcome Sheriff Knezovich is reaching out to the community to explain things he can discuss at this point. This is a total change in the climate re the closed lip administrations of the past.”

Sweet Potatoes — to Bill Proser, Charter Academy

A national education policy group honored the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy this week in Washington, D.C. The eight-year-old school was one of 53 charter schools nationwide selected as the top schools in the nation by the Center for Education Reform. All of the approximately 4,000 U.S charter schools were eligible. School founder and English teacher Bill Proser traveled to Washington to accept the award. “It’s great that we’re being recognized as part of a reform movement, because we try to always remember that that’s truly what we’re about,” said Dan Nicklay, the school’s principal. The 500-student school was noted for its graduation rate, high test scores and well-qualified teachers.

Question: Can we all finally agree that the Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy is a wonderful alternative to local public schooling?

WorldNetDaily Poll: Compromise Immigration Deal

Item: Senate, White House OK quick status for illegals: Republican lawmakers decry compromise immigration deal as ‘amnesty’/WorldNetDaily

Question: What’s your reaction to immigration agreement worked out between president, Senate?

1. It’s the right thing to do
2. It demonstrates America is still a land of compassion
3. It’s the best of many bad alternatives
4. It’s evidence Washington never had any intention to solve the immigration problem
5. America will never be the same if this proposal is adopted
6. With borders still open, millions more will be flooding in to get in on the amnesty
7. It rewards lawbreakers with the blessing of U.S. citizenship
8. It’s a surrender of America’s sovereignty by globalists
9. It’s a betrayal of the Constitution and the will of the people
10. Other

Complete Gone Wi-Fi Interview w/Marianne Love

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Books by Marianne Love: “Pocket Girdles,” 1994; “Postcards from Potatoe Land, 1997; and “Lessons with Love,” 2007 (available at for $16 and at Coeur d’Alene’s Hastings; University of Idaho Bookstore; and Vanderford’s, Corner Book Shop and Bonner County Museum in Sandpoint.

DFO: Do you miss teaching?
ML: I don’t miss getting up at 2:30 in the morning every morning. I don’t miss the politics. I don’t miss the paperwork. But I miss my relationship with kids. All of a sudden, I find that I don’t know the kids in my hometown. I do accept almost every offer to volunteer in the schools.

DFO: Were you a good student?
ML: I was above average; just like the kids in Lake Wobegon. But I was also busy all the time. I would have been a better student if I hadn’t socialized so much.

DFO: What was Erica Curless like as a student?
ML: Three-letter word in all caps: IMP. I recognized right off that she had a God-given talent for the written word and for telling stories. She needed a little help with her grammar and her spelling. But she’s a genius when it comes to drawing information out of people and telling a story.

You can read the complete interview here.

Originally posted at 3:26 p.m. Wednesday, May 16

Stantis: Heavenly Welcome Wagon?

Scott Stantis/Birmingham News

Now, Blurkers Have Own Hate-Blog Rap Anthem

I hate your blog. You own a dog, and you feed it.
You post about it. I get to read it.
Plus: five paragraphs on the socks you bought
and your thoughts on whether Nicole Ritchie’s hot or not.
You got no reason to be typing, yet you persist.

Full “I Hate Your Blog” rap by MC Frontalot here.

Hat Tip: Bubblehead

Reasonable Force? Of Course — 29 Words

Brian Plonka

Deputies Bonney, Wall, Criswell, and Cook,
Apprehended Trent Yohe the crook,
Now the Sheriff commends,
And their technique defends,
— Guess they kicked him to death by the book!

Andy Michaels/29 Words Or Less

HBO’s Best of the Friends Blogs — 5/17/07

JBelle’s younguns posed for those photo for Mother’s Day. Southwark Lad is on the right. PDX Pup in the middle. But I don’t know the name of the other sibling. Also, PDX Pup sounds as though she’s recuperating from wrist surgery from an old injury originally sustained at Skate Plaza here.

*Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations analyzes the wannabes that MSNBC is using to try to fill the 3-hour-5-days-a-week chair of dearly departed Don Imus here.

*Green Libertarian responds to MamaJD’s tag and reveals 7 interesting things about himself including the fact that he joined a junior high band because he was sweet on another member here.

*Marmitetoasty/Twaddle also responded to a tag (from Cis) and you won’t be surprised to discover she has a 9-foot cactus in her kitchen, she once played women’s football, and her dad broke to of her fingers when she was little so she wouldn’t use her natural left hand here.

*TUBOB’s on the road until late this weekend but he left a little surprise behind for those who’ve been missing his political rants here.

*More tags: Mrs. T here, Peanut is interviewed by the Rev. Pinks here, Toadman here, and JBelle here.

Meanwhile, *The lure of owning his own home might be pulling Sam The Reporter toward Dixie where property is more affordable here, Bubblehead provides the rap lyrics to the song, “I hate your blog,” here, Chronic Discontent goes on a hot date with Sunday girl here and spends a “Clockwork Orange” weekend here, Inland Empire Girl perfects some not-so-perfect pesto here, and Word Forge ends his first year at law school here.

Injured Sandpoint Soldier’s Sis Sez Thanks, HBOers

I am Brandon’s sister. I want to say thank you for all your support. I just want to let you all know that Brandon is recieveing the best care in the country. He is doing remarkablly well and as we all know he will get what he is entitled from the goverment. This fund that was set up is to help the family with travels and expenses and whatever isnt used will be set into a financial future for Brandon. We all greatly appreciate you and your values.

Trish Small

You can read a message from Brandon’s father re: his recuperation and find out how to send him a message here.

Item: Idaho Funeral Picketing Law Too Late To Stop …

… protest by Kansas group of dead soldier’s funeral in Pocatello/Associated Press

DFO: The law might not go into effect on time. But that shouldn’t stop honorable Idahoans from blocking the goofy Westboro Baptist Church from spreading their hate message at a patriot’s funeral.

Bayview Developer Holland Fined $2,500

Item: Bob Holland fined for killing salmon beds/Jim Hagengruber, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Developer Bob Holland has been fined $2,500 for destroying one of Lake Pend Oreille’s last healthy kokanee salmon spawning beds, according to a statement issued today by the Idaho Department of Lands. The spawning beds were destroyed last month during an expansion project at a marina owned by Holland’s company, Waterford Park Homes.

Resident Dennis Damon: “It’s a joke It’s just an absolute joke.”

Question: Can this fine be anything but a joke?

Craig Moore: A Nesting Eagle @ Glacier Park

Craig Moore of Glacier Stock snapped this photo of a nesting eagle at Glacier Park Wednesday.

Inside The Numbers — Christie Wood vs. Stan Hess

There’s an interesting set of numbers from the recent Coeur d’Alene School District Zone 3 trustee race between incumbent Christie Wood and challenger Stan Hess: at the Ramsey School precinct, 471 voted in the smaller of the two levy elections and 459 voted in the trustee race. Why? Human-rights activists, campaigning door-to-door for Christie on Tuesday, told voters to cast ballots at Ramsey School to avoid confusion at other precincts.

As you know, school patrons can vote at any of the district schools, including those outside your zone. Unfortunately, most voters don’t know what zone they live in and have a hard time finding their streets on maps with small type. Some decide not to vote in trustee races because they’re unsure if they’re eligible to do so. Human-rights activists targeted voters in the heart of the zone to inform them about Christie’s solid qualifications and to make them aware of Hess’s background in white supremacy. In a telephone conversation with Huckleberries Online this morning, Tony Stewart of the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations said he was satisfied with the result. Tony said he has ammunition again to tell New York Times reporters when they call that “the people have spoken again, and they have said no to racism and prejudice.” He said the same thing when the city of Hayden turned out overwhelmingly to reject the late Aryan Nations founder Richard Butler’s bid to become mayor.

Christie Wood defeated Hess 1243 to 159. As for Hess’s ability to attract 159 votes, Stewart said: “Even Donald Duck could pull 10 percent of the vote.”

Online Poll: What Do You Do w/An Off Day?

What do you do on your day off? — Idaho Statesman.

*Run errands
*Clean house

Q: Should County Delay Real Life Construction?

Item: Mayors seek delay in Real Life ruling: Cities oppose septic, want sewer master plan finished first/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

More Info: The mayors of Post Falls, Rathdrum and Hayden want the Kootenai County Commission to delay its final decision to allow a septic system above the aquifer and reopen the public hearing on Real Life Ministries’ proposal to build a new campus on the Rathdrum prairie. In a letter signed Tuesday, the mayors urge the commission not to “unilaterally bypass” a 2005 agreement between the cities and county not to approve large projects until a sewer master plan on the prairie is complete.

Question: Should Commissioners Todd Tondee and Rich Piazza heed the mayors’ call and join Commissioner Rick Currie in delaying the construction of the Real Life campus?

DOTC: Deedie’s Milestone Shows County Good Side

We had a very nice event today recognizing Deedie Beard’s 30th anniversary of being with Kootenai County, most of that time in the elections department. It was attended by both Blues and Reds (including former Representative Gary Ingram), several current elected officials, city clerks, and many county staff including retirees and former Clerk Tom Taggart. I appreciate the coverage we had in both papers about Deedie’s milestone. It was good to have a story that was about Kootenai County employees that had nothing to do with naughty e-mails or anything else negative. Of course, that is in fact the real story about most of our employees most of the time. There are many long serving people who just do a great job day in and out, year after year, and in many cases decade after decade. I actually have several deputy clerks in different departments that are 25+ year people. … I just wish I could still get more of them.

Dan of the County

Hot Potatoes: Peeing on the Constitution?

re: An excerpt from this morning’s Hot Potatoes:

Headliner: “25 Kootenai County public officials line up, pass drug tests.” DFO: I refuse to process the image of these fine individuals lining up to pee for drug-free work places. Or the hit the constitutional amendment against illegal search and seizure takes when they do. … I have nothing against Real Life Ministries. In fact, my now college-age daughter has attended youth groups at the mammoth Post Falls church since she was 16. However, Kootenai County Commissioners Todd Tondee and Rich Piazza earn Rotten Potatoes by approving RLM’s request to build a monster campus on the Rathdrum Prairie sans sewer hookup. It’s the aquifer, stupids. … French Fries (or “How to deal with interstate construction while traveling through Spokane”): 1. Valium. 2. Bike. 3. Walk. 4. Stay home. Or 5. Road rage, birds and citations.

You can read the full Hot Potatoes column here

Nick Anderson: Teaching Moments?

Nick Anderson cartoon

Hump Day Wild Card — 5/16/07

OK, HBOers, I’m finished with the interactive part of Marianne Love’s interview. And now I need a break. I’m heading off with other staffers to enjoy lunch on the boss at the White House in Post Falls. It’s a celebration for the recent e-mail decision by the Idaho Supreme Court and the awards won by the Idaho staff in the Idaho Press Club competition. I’ll see you back here a little after one. You can entertain yourselves, meanwhile, with this Wild Card …

Marianne Answers Spencer Q Gone Wifi Didn’t Ask

On her Slight Detour blog today, Marianne Love (my Huckleberries Gone Wireless subject) answered that question from RSPA that I forgot to ask in the interview: “What did you and/or your fellow teachers do to Larry Spencer when he was your student to turn him into such a rabid, foaming anti-public school attack pomeranian?”

Now, what’s a person to say? Larry was, indeed, my student for a time, and Larry’s now known as the constituent with deep pockets who has sent out several mass mailings to convince voters to vote “no” on issues he felt would spell doom for taxpayers. Now, I get along with Larry just fine, but I unequivocally and categorically (isn’t that nice politician lingo?) inflicted no Pavlovian tactics on him — ever. Those must’ve come later in his academic journey. When Larry sat in my English class as a sophomore in high school, we worried more about Word Clues sentences, stabbings of Roman dictators and turning in assignments. Besides, I thought of him as more of a contented Lab back in those days.

You can read her response to extra questions (Brokeback Mountain, the “moldy cheese layer” of Sandpoint here.

APhoto of the Day w/Top Cutlines — 5/16/07

AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez

A duckling tries to jump out of a swimming pool as it follows its mother in the pool of an apartment complex in Santa Clara, Calif., Tuesday. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. Idaho, man, that’s where its at.
A happenin and cool place for the kind of ducks we be.
The land of lakes, rivers and streams…even a golf course pond or two.
C’mon follow me, lets’ go there, nobody else knows about it.
We’ll start a migration trend! — KeithinCDA.

2. “Last one out of the pool is a rotten egg!” — Family Phil.

3. “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!” — A Token D.

HM: Cabbage Boy

The Otis: “Beer Run” Video Half Editted

The Otis, with the help of Mommie Dearest, and a friend has been driving around the area, handing shocked friends and strangers 40 ounces of beer and filming their reaction. He writes in BrodH20: “Okay friends, we actually finished filming for “Beer Run” today. I’ve got it about halfway edited. And I think it’s pretty awesome - Mommy Dearest has a great cameo spot in it. I’m 90% sure I’ll have the full version posted Wednesday night (LATE Wednesday night!) Thanks for hangin’ in there, homies.” If he gets it done tonight, you’ll see it on HBO.

Question: What would you do if someone handed you 40 ounces of beer?

A Matter of Opinion: Swimming Upstream

In 2003, President Bush got a tour of the fish ladder at Ice Harbor Dam on the Lower Snake River. (AP photo)

We’ve never advocated knocking down the four Lower Snake River dams, but the alternative methods of saving salmon do look awfully expensive without much to show for them.

In Our View, emotions should not eliminate any option. That’s the job of facts. So let’s collect them.

Question: Any downside to this approach?

You can see comments on this matter at A Matter of Opinion, the SR editorial page blog, here.

A Butterfly Moment: Top 10 Inventions (for Moms)

1. Disposable Diapers — I know all about the environmental aspect, but since my boys were in diapers at the same time (even the same size for a while), without Pampers they would have probably ended up lying naked on a plastic sheet for most of their infanthood. There’s no way I could have kept up with the laundry.

2. Pacifiers — This was a lifesaver sometimes when the thought of a crying child stressed me out. To get rid of it when it was time, I cut the nipple off and told Josh that it was broken. He looked at it, threw it away and never asked for it again. (Adam was a little older and smarter. He knew there was more than one so I had to “break” several.)

3. Sippy Cups — These wonderful inventions saved many carpets, pieces of furniture, and articles of clothing during toddlerhood.

4. M&M’s — Packages of these miracle candies should come with instructions for parents. Kids will do almost anything for three M&Ms.

5. Juice Pouches — They are so handy to grab on the way out the door or pack in a lunch box or cooler. And now you can get 100% juice which makes them even better.

You can read Jen’s full list here

Jen/A Butterfly Moment

Question: Can you think of an offbeat invention that has made your life easier?

On Wet Suits And Second Chances — TUBOB

My son, Shane, and I went to the lake last Saturday. We’d worked around the yard and made a dump run and afternoon arrived, warm and sunny, one of those early May days that sings musically like a beckoning Angel of Summer, announcing what is to come. I told him “let’s go to the lake, dude, we can kayak and fish.” He seemed to dig the idea too, my fisher boy, my dump run co-pilot. The late afternoon was just gorgeous - sunny, calm, the water unusually warm for early May, the fish waiting our offerings – my big yellow spinnerbait and his big floppy nightcrawlers purchased from the little Twin Lakes Village store. I casted from the kayak after paddling across the lake and Shane worked his from the dock. Upper Twin Lakes was quiet, a few bass boats out, most weekenders were still weekending in their Spokane and Coeur D’Alene yards. Lawnmowers and weedeaters. Mulch and fertilizer — TUBOB/The Unbearable Bobness of Being.

Complete column here

Q: Did You Ever Encounter Overbearing Teacher?

Item: Judge rules in “that’s so gay” case: Teen not entitled to damages despite being disciplined by school, teased by peers/Associated Press

Quote: “All of us have probably felt at some time that we were unfairly punished by a callous teacher, or picked on and teased by boorish and uncaring bullies,” the judge wrote in a 20-page ruling. “Unfortunately, this is part of what teenagers endure in becoming adults.”

Question: Did you ever have a bad experience with an overbearing teacher or your peers while in high school?

Online Poll: Dialing Up Computer Still?

How often do you connect to the Internet via dial-up modem? — Seattle PI.

*All the time
*Most of the time
*Almost never

DFO: Almost never

Sali: I’m Proud of My Many No Votes

During the last five months, I have had the honor of representing Idahoans in Congress. In those few short months, much to my chagrin, the 110th Congress has already approved some $60 billion in new spending and a contingent of new programs on which that money was spent, thus making big government even bigger. As Idaho Statesman editorial writer Kevin Richert points out in his column from last week, yes, I have cast many “no” votes. Kevin says that’s a bad thing. I respectfully disagree. I’m proud of every one of those no votes, because they are votes against bigger government, higher taxes and wasteful spending. I think the people of Idaho elected me precisely because I promised to vote that way when I got to Washington, D.C. I was not elected to vote with the new Democratic majority. I was not elected to vote unthinkingly with my party — or even my president. I was elected to Congress to cast votes that represent the views of Idaho’s 1st Congressional District, not Nancy Pelosi’s California 8th. I was elected to Congress to do what’s right, not what’s easy — U.S. Rep. Bill Sali/Idaho Statesman.

Full guest opinion in Idaho Statesman here

Question: As your representative, do you want Sali to simply cast no votes?

RSPA: Playing Cat-And-Mouse w/Meth Tweakers

Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel: Spokane rates high for stupid drivers. Seriously. But the morons and moronettes are less interesting to me than the meth tweakers. They are fun to pull next to at a stoplight (they invariably drive old oil smoke belching Caravans or Firebirds) and sneak a stare at them and when they look back, look away, then when they look away, sneak a stare again … playing cat and mouse with them makes them crazy because they are so paranoid anyway. Then when you drive off stare in your side mirror at them, they’ll see that and really get squirrelly. I’ve also done this in convenience stores with tweakers and the only risk there is they might be packing and shoot you. But they’re usually so broke they’ve long pawned all the guns they’ve stolen and too jumpy and hungry for popsicles that they won’t do anything. Teach the kids too! They can have tons of fun tormenting local tweakheads.

DFO: How can you tell when someone’s a “tweaker”?

AM Hucks: Some Earn The Bird, Others Get It Unfairly

It’s not fun being attacked by a big bird. I know. I was. I deserved it. Seems I was 1 or 2 years old when I decided to stomp some baby chicks at our dairy. I don’t know if I injured any. They’re pretty quick, after all. But I did incur their mother’s wrath. In Portuguese, a mother hen is called, phonetically speaking, a “ga-leen-a shocka.” Before you could say, Kentucky Fried Chicken, that ga-leen-a shocka was all over me. Mom fondly recalls the image of me on my belly pounding my fists on the ground and crying, with the mother hen on my back, pecking my head. Why am I telling you this? The tiny North Idaho town of Coolin on Priest Lake has a big bird problem. Seems a turkey with a ‘tude is driving off little kids and their parents from a new playground area. Blogger Pecky Cox/As the Lake Churns describes the turkey as “big, ugly and aggressive. The turkey chases, irritates and endangers the youngsters who would like to enjoy the facilities.” Reportedly, the turkey chased a grandmother and her granddaughter back into their car moments after they arrived at the park. Also, the turkey is the prime suspect in a hit-and-flap bicycle crash on East Side Road that resulted in a Coolin resident landing in the hospital with significant injuries to his head and face. Pecky’s solution to the problem? “If the animal rights proponents and husbandry folks who enjoy the cuteness of this short-lived nuisance really love it,” warns Pecky, “they might want to keep it out of the playground, or (we) may do a big dinner with all the trimmings.” Drumstick, anyone?

Update: Newby, Wood, CdA Levies Winning Handily

Both Coeur d’Alene School District incumbents are coasting to victory tonight, according to SR colleague Meghann Cuniff, who just reported in from Election Central. With one of two precincts in his zone reporting, Trustee Vern Newby is pulling about 80% of the vote in his race with Brad St. John, 285 to 73. With 4 of 5 precincts reporting in the other race, Christie Wood is clobbering Stan Hess, 954 to 115. Wood told supporter Tony Stewart a few minutes ago: “Everyone needs a white supremacist as an opponent.” Meanwhile, with 16 of 20 precincts reporting in the levy elections, the two levies are passing with supermajorities of 73.9% and 69.8%.

School Election Wild Card — 5/15/07

I need to run a personal errand this evening. So I don’t have time to post an HBO Best of the Friends blog. If you haven’t voted, you still have two hours to do so, at any neighborhood school. Also, remember that Marianne Love will be in here tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. for a Huckleberries Gone Wireless interview. I’ll try to post the school levy election results tonight, too — if I can get them. Now, for your evening Wild Card …

Father’s Update: Wounded Sandpoint Soldier

Today Brandon’s wound has been closed! If no infection happens he’ll be on his way.I took a tour of the New physical fitness building for the injuried soldiers. He will be taken care of in the most state of the art complex we the people have to offer to a wounded soldier. I even was able to watch limbs made for his fellow countryman. I have met with others who have been wounded in a like manner as Brandon. If I may say these men make it look easy! Many left their homes as young men and came as great men. They are the pinnicale of courage, honor, patriotism. Something that becomes infectious as you are honored to walk among our military men and women. I am humbled to be in the presence of such sacrifice. The men and women that still are in the war zone need their countries support. Always prayer, then for us to send a clear message to congress that no matter our personal feelings that we stand in support of these men and women our military! — Doug Adam (father of Brandon Adam, a Sandpoint soldier who lost both legs recently in a roadside bombing in Iraq).

You can contribute to a fund set up for Brandon Adam here.

Oopsy: HBO Jumped the Gun on E-mails …

I hate to admit that I goofed this morning re: the interpretation of the letter from Kootenai County civil deputy Darrin Murphey to SR attorney Joel Hazel. But ‘tis true. Hazel tells us that Murphey simply was saying that the county is going to allow former chief deputy prosecutor Rick Baughman decide whether to release all of his e-mails now or wait until Judge Stegner releases them May 25 or shortly thereafter, when the Idaho Supreme Court order on the Kalani e-mails becomes official. Stegner deferred action on the Baughman case until the Supreme Court ruled on the Kalani-Douglas one. Dang, I hate when I’m wrong.

Huckleberries Hears …

… that Bayview developer Bob Holland’s engineering firm is now pushing for Holland to be allowed to go forward with his marina expansion plans and restore the kokanee beds when the work is completed. This is basically what Holland wanted in the first place: violate, pay the measly fine ($2,500) then have his Bayview empire bigger and richer. The quote below is taken from a May 11 letter from Meckel Engineering to the Pend Oreille Lakes Commission. The commission is appointed by the governor and is asking state agencies to put a complete stop to Holland’s work until the beds are restored and he can demonstrate future construction will be fish friendly. Writes Meckel Engineering: “I am not suggesting that Waterford Park Homes should get off ‘Scott Free’ but I am suggesting that whatever is done should not prevent them from replacing the docks until such time that restoration of hte spawning beds is complete and the Fish and Game people are totally satisfied.”

School Elections: Have You Voted Today?

I voted on my way to work this morning — yes on both Coeur d’Alene School District levy questions. No trouble getting in and out of the Borah School polls. No line. But people were arriving regularly. I’m going to move this thread up throughout the day. Let me know if you see anything of note at the polls.

3:37 p.m., Dan of the County update: “Our office handles voter registration for all voters in the county. We did get a request to supply more voter registration cards for the school district as they were running low. That may be one indication of a good turnout as they would be being used for Election Day registration.”

3:18 p.m., “Our county elections office has had a very high number of phone calls and even people coming in to see where to vote or ask other questions. However, school elections are run totally by the school districts so you need to contact them directly as the county does not have any authority or responsibility over them” — Dan of the County.

12:31 p.m., “I would like to give Kudos to the School District’s strategery in planning Kindergarten registration to coincide with the levy vote,” sez MamaJD. “According to those I spoke with, the registration date is always in May but was specifically set on May 15 election date. At Bryan Elementary, all the parents in line made sure to go vote.”

10:06 a.m., My brother Ray called to say that the turnout at Dalton Garden Elementary is pretty good. He was the 11th one in line, not including those voting, and more were coming in. He also said that trustee candidate Brad St. John was ordered by the school district to remove his signs from the entrance to the school.

10:01 a.m., Thom George reported that he voted at Canfield Middle School after taking his children to their respective schools. Thom: “There was one other person voting at that time, but I was dismayed by the number of parents dropping off their children at school and driving away without bothering to go in and vote.”

It’s College Finals Time And Do You Know Who …

… your son or daughter is flirting with on the campus lawn?

AP Photo/Idaho Press-Tribune, Mike Vogt

Albertson College of Idaho students Emily Matlock plays with Chris Bengtson during a break in studying as they catch up on work on campus in Caldwell Monday before finals in a couple of weeks.

The Lead to My Thursday Hot Potatoes Column …

As much as this Common Tater loves controversy, I see a simple solution to Coeur d’Alene Fourth of July parade flap involving Kootenai County veterans, the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce and developer Marshall Chesrown. The Pappy Boyington Detachment 966 of the Marine Corps League saw red when it learned the name of the annual Independence Day event: Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce’s Black Rock Fourth of July Festival. I would object because the name’s too long. But the local vets were angry that Chesrown bought naming rights for the festival for a contribution of $10,000. Said Dusty Rhoads, president of Vietnam Veterans Chapter 673: “Independence Day is not for sale.” Actually, Chesrown deserves a helping of Sweet Potatoes for stepping up with his checkbook when previous sponsor First Bank declined to underwrite the event again this year. Yes, last year’s parade was called in part: First Bank Fourth of July Festival. Seems some – many? – of the veterans didn’t know about past sponsors, including Tom Addis Dodge and D.A. Davidson. They have a legitimate beef about protecting the independence of this country’s most hallowed day. But here’s one time when negotiations woulda been better than a unilateral attack against a relative newcomer trying to be a good corporate citizen. The solution proposed by KGA morning man Dick Haugen in my Huckleberries Online blog this week? Simply rename the event, “The American Heroes Independence Day Festival sponsored by Black Rock.” Can’t we all just get along?

Update: Dad Tells of Wounded Sandpoint Soldier

Related: Injured Sandpoint soldier gets help from home/Jim Camden, Spokesman-Review

The following is an update on the condition of severely injured Sandpoint soldier Brandon Adam by his father, Doug: “Brandon is doing well.Trying to get thru surgeries. His SGT MAJOR came and visited! Really enjoyed the time spent with him. Brandon had his Purple Heart pinned on him by the SGT MAJOR. It was a great moment for these two soldiers. Soon I will have pictures to post. Brandon’s SSGT Maddox is here also. They were both in the attack. Brandon was the gunner and Madddox was driving when they were attacked. SSGT Maddox suffered a broken back during the attack. When we found out that SSGT Maddox was here at the same hospital I was ordered by SGT Adam to find his fellow soldier and friend. It was awesome to walk into the room with someone so close to Brandon. I showed him Brandon’s pictures when he received his purple heart. His heart came out in the form of tears. Please send (email) me letters of appreciation that I can forward to these soldiers (his unit). They need to know that you’re behind them. Our media is trying so hard to ruin this country of ours and these soldiers don’t bend a knee to them! United States of America, hence the word united. Let it be the truth that we stand as Americans United! Our troops believe in America and what the stars and stripes stand for. These men are my sons legs! Join them.

Alice’s Garden Spot: Planting Green Beans, Corn

Congratulations to all the fortunate mothers who received flowering plants and hanging baskets from their darling children for Mother’s Day. How sweet life is - along with a week of warm temperatures and sunshine, with a little rain sprinkled in, for good measure. As you prepare your garden spot, remember that a small area well cared for will yield more that a large plot that is neglected. Locate an area that has six hours, at least, of sun for above ground producing plants, saving the shady spots to plant your root crops — Alice Rankin/Alice Rankin’s Garden Spot.

DFO: You can find the complete text of Alice’s Garden Spot in the extended entry below. Also, you should feel free to ask Alice questions in the comments feature. She’ll check those out throughout the day and respond to them.

Previous HBO columns by Alice Rankin:
May 8 — Composting here.
May 1 — Starting seeds indoors here.

Online Poll: Bush, Endangered Species Protection

How well does the Bush administration protect endangered species? — Seattle PI

*Very well
*Very poorly
*Other or don’t know

County Stonewalls on Baughman E-mails

re: letter sent to SR attorney Joel P. Hazel by Kootenai County civil deputy Darrin L. Murphey on Friday, May 11

In follow up to our conversation regarding your proposed Order in the above referenced manner (Cowles Publishing v. Kootenai County, Kootenai County Case No. CV 07-968), as we discussed, Kootenai County will defer to Rick Baughman as to whether the decision announced in Cowles Publishing Company v. Marina P. Kalani, et al, Supreme Court Case Nos. 32206 and 32195, is determinative as to whether all of Mr. Baughman’s e-mail should be released.

DFO: Seems Kootenai County fears the ICRMP (Idaho County insurer) more than the Idaho Supreme Court. Who died and made unelected ICRMP boss in the county commissioners office?

SR Edit: We Need to Conserve Water Now

At a recent regional summit about the Spokane Valley/Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, it became obvious that mandatory water-use restrictions will be part of the future in the Inland Northwest. The $3.5 million aquifer study offered hope that the irreplaceable water resource – which supplies fresh drinking water to nearly 500,000 people in North Idaho and Eastern Washington – still has adequate water to meet demand. But that likely will change. “Kootenai County is growing like crazy,” said Barry Rosenberg, executive director of the Kootenai Environmental Alliance. “We have a grace period right now, but if we want to have water in the future, we need to start conserving it now” — Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review

Full SR editorial here

Question: Do you do anything to conserve water?

Moscow Minidoka: Just Say No to Drug Testing

Moscow Minidoka: No one should be forced to take drug tests for work unless they are involved in keeping other people from harm (bus drivers, airplane pilots, etc). I don’t care about “rule of law,” since when has it been the HR department’s job to determine that employees aren’t breaking the law on their off hours? If someone goes home and drinks a six-pack of beer, smokes a joint, or engages in other “high risk” behaviors like bonking loose women (or men), driving above the speed limit, or eating cheeseburgers, and I am that person’s boss, should I care as long as their performance at work is top-notch? The answer is - no. At least, not unless we want to turn this country into a fascist wonderland where we all snitch on each other and the prevailing philosophy is “you have nothing to fear if you’re not breaking the law.”

DFO: Well said, MM. I’m bothered on so many levels by the urine solidarity performed yesterday by community leaders. Yeah, they believed they were doing the right thing. But it amounts to an endorsement of what I consider illegal search and seizure. I also can’t help thinking that unscrupulous employers could use the urine test to determine other things about workers or prospective workers. Could a job applicant who’s pregnant but not showing be eliminated from consideration as the result of a urine test, for example. We’re headed down a slippery slope, HBOers.

AM Hucks: They Rattle But They Rarely Bite

Christie Wood is many things: a sergeant and spokeswoman for CPD Blue. A Coeur d’Alene school trustee. A North Idaho College trustee. Last week, she was proclaimed something else, by Lake City Development Corp. opponent Dan Gookin. In a post under a comment by ex-Coeur d’Alene superintendent David Rawls endorsing Wood’s re-election bid, Gookin called Wood a “snake.” Her offense? She backs plans by the LCDC to donate revenue collected within the city’s urban renewal district to improve the handicap accessibility at out-of-district Sorensen School. Gookin doesn’t think it’s right to do so. After Wood posted a comment thanking Rawls for his kind words, Gookin pounced with a few lines of his own: “So it’s okay to break the law when it’s for handicapped children, eh Christy (sic)? You’re being a snake, madam. The law is the law. Break it and suffer the consequences.” That prompted Councilman Mike Kennedy to demand an apology from Gookin. At Huckleberries Online, Sgt. Wood described her reaction to being called a snake by Gookin: “It is frustrating sometimes to try to answer a patron’s questions and then get that kind of response.” Gookin’s comment didn’t last long online. It’s hard to say whether someone pulled it. Or whether the “snake” response was the victim of a general malfunction that wiped out online story comments that day at Brand X. Heaven knows there’s enough venom on the Press blogs to melt any computer system. I’ve been called worse there. Christie should be glad to settle for “snake.”

Wild Card/Monday — 5/14/07

You might want to tune back in around 9 tonight for an interesting post re: a flap occurring in the community. Erica Curless is covering the issue. It has us all scratching our heads trying to figure out why individuals are up in arms. More at 9. Meanwhile, you can use this Wild Card to start your own threads …

A Butterfly Moment Reflects on her Motherhood

They say that Mother’s Day is a day to honor mothers. And that’s true. I honored my mother and felt honored by my sons and husband. But more than that for me, it’s a day to reflect on myself as a mother. I have this idea of the kind of mother I want to be: godly, gentle, fun, disciplined… And this day each year gives me the chance to do that. This year I feel closer to who I want to be than ever before. Through a very difficult past year, I have had times when I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be to my sons. Physical injuries and emotional distress took away a lot of time and energy from my family. It was the day that I realized that I couldn’t take care of my boys that I made my first counseling appointment. It was when feeding and bathing my children became nearly impossible that I fully realized the seriousness of my illness. Thanks to God and some very good doctors, I am now able to not only care for my children the way they need to be cared for, but enjoy doing it as well. I am so grateful for my sons. They are my greatest gifts from above. (And their dad isn’t too bad either) — Jen/A Butterfly Moment.

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 5/14/07

Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho provides “signs of summer” here.

For those keeping score at home, mi amiga Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns is about to reveal a new blog in which she provides tips to tourists about to visit her native Mexico — you know, how to have fun and stay out of trouble.

*With The King getting closer to retirement, Cis/From A Simple Mind is in a down-sizing mode, and she’s looking forward to jettisoning things here.

*Sara Anderson/F-Words is embracing pescetarianism this spring and summer — the avoidance of eating anything with legs — but it’s not for the reason you might believe here.

*Who needs nun-chucks, wonders Katrina/Notes on a Napkin, when you can grow your hair long, braid it and then use the braid to clobber anyone who provokes you here.

*Melanie/Plaid Toaster describes the down side of being in a mosh pit listening to Hell’s Belles when there’s an “amazon crack whore” behind you here.

Meanwhile, Bayview Herb takes us to the site of the kokanee massacre here, you can see why Family Phil is giddy here, Mommy Dearest buys her last pair of $100 jeans here, JeanC provides a before and after video of her haircut here, Raymond Pert writes a tribute to his mother for Mother’s Day here, and Nic presents 7 random facts about himself here.

Post Falls Hires Community Development Director

Alexander Ikefuna has been hired by Post Falls as the community development director. “Alex has a tremendous background in land uses and has managed growth and development for many years,” said Mayor Clay Larkin in making the announcement. “His knowledge will keep us on the cutting edge of handling growth/land use issue that come before us on a regular basis. He is very familiar with creating communities/neighborhoods and making them work for the betterment of all.” The appointment will be confirmed Tuesday at the City Council meeting. Ikefuna has over 20 years of public/private sector experience as a planner. He has most recently served as Principal with ACI International and prior to that as director of Planning & Zoning Division with Salt Lake City. Ikefuna is scheduled to begin work at the City on June 18.

Today’s Unlucky Number: $3.07

Item: Gasoline prices hit record high $3.07: Prices up 50 cents in just 60 days/Reuters

DFO: Woe is me. That new-old 4Runner of mine is beginning to look a little less like a great deal. But I’m sure going to enjoy it on a road trip to Denver later this spring no matter what the cost.

In The News — New York Top D’s Endorse Hillary

AP Photo/Mike Groll

Democratic presidential hopeful Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., greets supporters following a rally at the Capitol in Albany, N.Y., earlier today. New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, right, endorsed Clinton’s presidential campaign with other top state Democrats.

A YouTube message by Bill re: Hillary here

Question: Is there any Demo, including Barack Obama, capable of derailing Hillary Express to the presidential nomination?

BrodH20: The Otis Answers Call of the Meme

When I graduated high school, I had no idea what I was supposed to do with myself. I really had no interest in going to college, but I also didn’t really want to work crap jobs the rest of my life. One day the Marine Corps recruiter called me. Being the submissive wimp that I was, I pretty much signed up just because I was too chicken to say no. Besides, what the hell else was I going to do? Going back to fact number 1, when I went to boot camp I was 6’4” and weighed just over 140 pounds (a few pounds under the minimum). They classified me as a “double rat”, which meant I had to eat twice as much as everyone else. I always kinda felt bad for the fat kids, cause all they got to eat was cottage cheese. Somehow I made it through , especially considering the fact that I had pneumonia for most of the field training. It was one of the best things I ever did, and upon graduating boot camp I realized I had a set of balls — The Otis/BrodH20.

Full post here

DFO: Above, The Otis/BrodH20 responds to a “tag” that’s been circulating among HBO blog rollers in which the individual “tagged” reveals 7 things about himself/herself. The Otis got tagged by MamaJD, who also tagged me. I declined to participate. As public as I am, there’s things I simply don’t want to share with an audience that includes blurkers who might not have my best interests at heart.

Question: Would you be willing to respond to such a tag to reveal things about yourself in cyberspace?

Christie Explains $270K for Vice Principals

Eagle Eye: Can anyone in the know explain the 270K for two part time vice principals? Christy Wood? Amend? I am trying to be an informed voter.

Christie Wood: Eagle Eye thank you for an opportunity to address this. I am on my lunch hour so I can address this right now but any follow up will need to be tonight when I am home. The 270k is for 2 years. That breaks down to 67k per year and approx 22k of that is for benefits, leaving approx 40to45k for salary depending upon where the person will fall on the salary schedule based on years of experience.VPs have to have Masters Degrees and certifications as administrators. We currently have a part time Vice Principal at Hayden Meadows and Skyway. Those buildings have reached 600 students in population. Atlas and Ramsey have also reached that status. We need to add additonal VP’s when our population is that large. The VP is the primary person who handles student discipline, student safety,teacher evaluations, curriculum scheduling ,and many other duties assigned to them by the building principal. Adding additional administrators, secretaries, janitorial staff etc. becomes nescessary as the population increases. We put every dollar possible into classroom instruction, but some dollars have to be used for administrators. Our buildings cannot function without administrators. I hope I have answered your questions to your satisfaction and you will support the levy by voting yes twice.

DFO: A small correction, Christie: vote twice for the levies and once each (for those who can) for Christie Wood and Vern Newby.

Be Careful Out There …

… The Coeur d’Alene Police CARE team (traffic team) will be working a “zero tolerance” traffic emphasis on US95 from Appleway to Prairie Ave. on Wednesday. This will be a joint effort with Idaho State Police. Officers will be working aggressive driving to include, but not limited to speeding, following too close, improper turns, failure to signal, red lights etc. This is a one day emphasis.

DFO: I wonder what they mean by “zero tolerance”? Ticket first, listen to excuses later? Christie?

Trib: Random Drug Tests Becoming Way of Life

Try getting a job these days without peeing in a cup. Hate to break this to you, kids, but your urine is no longer sacred. If you want a job, odds are you’re going to have to let your employer check for illegal drugs. Is this right? Is this fair? Probably not. Under the Fifth Amendment, you should be secure in your person and property unless authorities have reason to believe you’ve been up to some sort of devious shenanigans. This just in: Life is not fair. (And it only gets worse as you get older.) Court case after court case affirms the right of employers to check their workers for drugs. So student athletes in Washington state get a little bit of sympathy for being upset about random drug testing. But not much — Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune.

Full post here

DFO: I oppose random drug testing on constitutional grounds. On a practical level, however, I understand why they’re probably necessary, to protect employers from hiring drug users. However, I wonder if unscrupulous employers could use random tests to search for a whole laundry list of conditions before hiring someone?

Question: Do you support random drug tests for high school athletes and office employees?

Huckleberries Hears …

… that Coeur d’Alene School District trustee wannabe Brad St. John has irritated parents/educators by posting his campaign signs at the entrance to Dalton Gardens Elementary School. They’re now checking on the legality of posting signs in a public right of way that close to the entrance of a school. St. John is running against multi-term incumbent Vern Newby. In the other district race, incumbent Christie Wood is facing supremacist Stan Hess.

You can read about the two School District races here.

Question: Hess did surprisingly well in his run for the North Idaho College Board of Trustees by pulling 3252 votes despite finishing fifth of five candidates. How many votes do you believe he’ll attract in tomorrow’s election against Christie Wood?

In The News: Tony’s Farewell Tour Includes Tennis

Stefan Rosseau

Britain’s Prime Minister Tony Blair joins in a tennis lesson at Windsor High School in Halesowen, England, earlier today. The school was one of five on the Prime Minister’s whistle-stop farewell cross-country tour marking his decade in Downing Street. Britain’s Labour party will announce its new leader June 24 at a conference in northern England to replace Blair.

Question: How will history view Blair: As a faithful ally in time of world terror? Or as Dubya’s poodle in Europe?

Hat Tip — to Those Who Made Kroc Center Possible

Item: $1 million gift puts center on target: Albertson Foundation donates to Kroc project/Amy Cannata, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Supporters have the money they need to break ground next month on the $70 million Salvation Army Kroc Community Center in Coeur d’Alene, after the J.A. and Kathryn Albertson Foundation announced Saturday it will donate $1 million to meet a final fundraising goal. The announcement comes just three weeks before a deadline to raise $6 million in order to start building the community center this year.

DFO: Yeah, I know this was announced Saturday and was published in Sunday morning’s newspaper. But the weekends are slow around here. I wanted to give you an opportunity to tip your caps to Mayor Sandi Bloem, Major John Chamness, co-chair Jack Riggs (who’s the other co-chair), the Coeur d’Alene Indian Tribe, the Albertson foundation, and the hundreds of other contributors who made this facility possible. Saaaalute.

AM Hucks: Parsley Recalls Rankin Fight Differently

Merle Parsley, an ex-state senator from Sandpoint, recalls his scrape with the late Ron Rankin differently. Last week, Huckleberries told of the 1966 fight at the old North Shore resort parking lot between Parsley and Rankin. Rankin’s wife, Alice, and eyewitness Gary Ingram confirmed the account. Also, Rankin told me a similar story more than once. Parsley told Huckleberries his version from his Boise home. He said he caught Rankin and Ingram at the state Demo convention putting “garbage literature” against Parsley’s gubernatorial candidate (Lloyd Walker) under car wiper blades at 2 in the morning. Parsley’s account: “Ingram ran like a gut-shot coyote. Rankin tried to run, but he was too fat. Rankin was about 300 lbs. and 6 feet in height. I was about 150 lbs. and 5 foot, 6 inches in height. I got a hold of Rankin, but he easily threw me to the ground. I got up quickly and started to circle him. I feigned that I was going to put a left hook into the right side of his gut. He doubled over trying to protect himself as I thought he would. I then leveled the most beautiful straight right hand on his nose, and the nose exploded like a smashed tomato. His knees buckled, and he turned to run as the blood spurted from his face. As he tried to run, he said: “You broke my nose, and I’m going to sue you!” Parsley goes on to say that Rankin filed charges against him for assault and that he was found innocent by a jury that deliberated only one hour.

You can read Merle Parsley’s complete account of the fight here.

You can read the account of the fight as told to me and/or HBO by Ron and Alice Rankin and Gary Ingram here.

Wild Card/Sunday — 5/13/07

I forgot to mention that I talked to Merle Parsley by phone Friday evening. Merle? He’s the other combatant in the 1966 thrilla with the late Ron Rankin. I posted Merle’s version of the fight last week. But he followed up with a phone call just before I left work Friday. He’s retired now, after serving several stints as state Insurance Fund manager for Cecil Andrus and John Evans. He got the boot in 1994 when Republican Phil Batt became governor. Merle relished retelling the story of the fight at the Demo state convention at the old North Shore. He told me that his first teaching stint was in Calder, where he and his wife had taken a summer job as fire lookouts on Huckleberry Mountain, and he was curious about that shooting Thursday night. More later. Here’s your Sunday Wild Card …

Wild Card/Saturday — 5/12/07

Well, Major John Chamness and Mayor Sandi Bloem were pretty excited albeit secretive Thursday and today re: a major announcement later this morning re: the Kroc Center. I’d guess they’re going to say that the $6M local match has been reached to wrap up the $64M Kroc Center grant for the state-of-the-art community center south of the Ramsey Park softball fields. Mebbe I’m misreading the tea leaves. But the Salvation Army rep sounded pretty confident to me Thursday. So, we’ll all wait and see together. I plan to sleep in. But that shouldn’t stop you from using this Wild Card to launch your own threads this weekend …

Online Poll: Favorite Indulgence?

What is your favorite indulgence? — Idaho Statesman.

*Fried food
*Red meat

Sam: Y’all Think You Have Problems?

This was the price of gas at our Costco here in Bellingham the other day. It’s basically the cheapest place in town to get gas. I found one other station that was basically as cheap. Not sure how they can mark down so much. The gas station on the street by our house is at $3.59. And y’all think you have problems? There’s a refinery not 10 miles north of our city — Sam The Reporter/Vandal Sense.

LDII: What Vision? What Infrastructure?

Last Democrat In Idaho: What? What was that DFO? “… visionary community leaders expanding infrastructure to prepare us for inevitable growth???” Can you give me some solid examples of this greatly expanded infrastructure, other than the second high school? In my senile stupidity, I guess I thought infrastructure included adequate roads and highways, bridges, water and sewer systems, fire stations. Never thought of schools as infrastructure.

DFO: I’ll give you a perfect example of vision that you, as an occasional fan of the environment should appreciate, Last Demo — the expanded sewer plant and extension of sewer lines. In the late 1980s, Coeur d’Alene had the political courage to embrace the Panhandle Health District’s septic tank abatement program. As a result, all residents were hooked to the sewer system, enabling growth north of town, and protecting the aquifer. Now, the Bloem administration is trying to expand public access to the waterfront and high-ed opportunities in the face of diehard opposition by the town’s Hard Right. Ah, you can toss in the Kroc Center, too. New library, too. Ah, Jobs Plus, too (although that was generated by Duane Hagadone and private industry but supported by local government).

Silver Valley Girl: Impact of Iraq War Finally Hits Home

Item: Green Beret raised in Coeur d’Alene killed in Iraq/KXLY

Brad graduated from Kellogg High School in 1984. He was a great kid, and was best friends with my husband’s brother. Here is what was told us about his death.

Early this Wednesday morning, May 9th, Cyndi Conner, wife of Sgt. Maj. Bradley D. Conner, received a visit from the Army Chaplain that her husband of 18 yrs and father of their three beautiful children had been killed in the line of duty in Iraq. This was his fifth tour in Iraq where he served in the Army Special Forces, Green Beret, as a 20 year veteran. The vehicle that he and others were riding in was blown up when it ran over a mine. The others sustained serious injury, leaving Brad as the lone fatality.

This is the first death from the war of someone I know. My prayers and with his family, and the others who are still there serving our country.

Silver Valley Girl

Fibonacci of Pend O’Reille

spins out
planes the indigo
waking waves from sleeping water

Sue Turner/Tumblewords

TGIF Wild Card — 5/11/07

Another week’s in the books, HBOers. I’m enjoying the new vibes from the new direction this blog has taken. We had a little nastiness re: Real Life Ministries. Other than that, it’s been all good — and the introduction of Alice Rankin’s Garden Spot and Pony’s Wednesday column has only made it better. I plan to start featuring a guest columnist every week, too. Mebbe a dentist to talk about root canals. Mebbe Librarian Bette Ammon to discuss books. One shot things that could occur once a month on a given day. Who knows? The sky’s the limit here. I even had Blogmeister Joe trying to show me how to use the video function on the Mac Book. So, short video clips might be in the near future, too. I’ll post some things later tonight. Until then, here’s your TGIF PM Wild Card …

OTV’s Review: Shore Lounge Karaoke

Sunday nights in downtown Coeur d’Alene can be a little eerie. Most of the week, the area is full of nightlife, revelers hopping from bar to bar, live music pouring out onto the streets. However, on Sunday evenings the place turns into a virtual ghost town. Most of the pubs and cocktail lounges are closed, and the ones that do open close their doors early. Nevertheless, you’re bored and surely you can’t be the only one in town with a wild hair to go have some fun on a sleepy Sunday. Where is everyone at? Well, dear reader, I know the answer. They’re tucked away deep inside the Coeur d’Alene Resort at the Shore Lounge for Karaoke Night. On a typical Sunday after 9 p.m., this dimly-lit, touristy lounge with the vaguely nautical theme transforms into a packed showcase for local singers and non-singers alike. Despite it’s location inside the stuffy confines of the resort, this Karaoke night has been known to get a bit weird and wild — OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy.

Full post of OrangeTV’s Handle Extra review for Saturday here

Question: Have you ever performed a Karaoke number?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs (Abbreviated) — 5/11/07

Marianne Love/Slight Detour included this photo among the “faces of 2007 Idaho State Forestry Contest: 25 years at the home of Ray and Fairy Delay in Careywood.” If you look closely, you’ll recognize SR photographer Jesse Tinsley (left) and SReporter Jim Hagengruber (center) on assignment. More photos here.

*Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns reports that the historic Kaniksu resort is going to be scraped to make way for 30 condominiums on Priest Lake here.

*Mommy Dearest/BrodH20 and MamaJD are among those who have been tagged to share tidbits about themselves here and here.

*KaleJ/UnMuted Mumblings sez media moguls are out of touch with polls that reveal 83% of the nation’s parents want their children to avoid sex until marriage and the schools to reinforce that message here.

Meanwhile, A Butterly Moment was surprised to discover her son thinks she’s rich here, Mrs. Mac Energetic explains why she’s stewing here, Family Phil Jr. scores his first soccer goal here, Bayview Herb declares The Goo innocent of cake overeating here, and Notes on a Napkin is holding out for a hero here.

Inside Huckleberries — 5/11/07

*Sightem (at Coeur d’Alene Tribe powwow at NIC), a T-shirt message that said: “I’m part white, but I can’t prove it.”

*Huckleberries hears … that our old friend Spencer has been hanging out at the Coeur d’Alene Press for the last two days, trying to sell Editor Mike Patrick on another guest opinion of some sort. But got turned down. Mebbe the Press is finally wising up?

*Speaking of Marianne Love, “Lessons With Love: Tales of teaching and learning in a small-town hjigh school,” I just received a copy from publisher Keokee Books in Sandpoint. Colleague Erica Curless already found a coupla references to herself in the book, including one in which she TP’d Marianne’s house as a Sandpoint High journalism student.

*Marianne Love/Slight Detour will be the next Huckleberries Gone Wireless guest. We’ll begin the interview at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday for the Handle edition Friday. You can follow it online. I’ve received several suggestions for other Gone Wi-Fi interviews, including deputy coroner Jody DeLuca. It might be interesting to do a high school graduate in the coming weeks, too.

*On my way to work this morning, I noticed two more scraped houses (at Third and Locust, next to the Seventh Day Adventist Church, across from those new storage sheds). Only the foundations and crawl spaces remained today. Anyone know what’s going in there?

Coeur d’Alene Soldier Dies in Iraq IED Blast

A Coeur d’Alene soldier based out of Fort Lewis, Wash., was killed Wednesday by a roadside bomb in Iraq. Sgt. Maj. Bradly D. Conner, 41, died near Al-Hillah, Iraq when an improvised explosive device went-off near his vehicle, according to the U.S. Department of Defense. Conner was assigned to Fort Lewis’s 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group.

A Calf w/A Nose for Photo Ops

Photo provided by YAOW/WYOW Television Inc., AP

This undated image from provided by WAOW/WYOW Television, Inc., shows Lucy, a calf born May 4, with two noses on Mark Krombholz’s hobby farm in Lincoln County Wis. The second, smaller nose sits on top of the first. Breeder Scott Grund said Lucy’s noses seem to be working fine.

Quotable Quote: $3 Gas Beginning of the End — Cis

For those who earn less than $35,000 … this ($3 gas prices and higher) is just the beginning of the end and there are a LOT of families out there with $35,000. Or less. With $800 rent and now $200 for gas … where will these people go? How will they manage? How many make just $1000 a month? What about food, utilities, health care, and all the rest … Just in February of this year, we were paying $2.09 for gas. That is a $1 a gallon raise in 3 months. Between the rising gas and housing, this is insane — Cis/From A Simple Mind.

Full post here

Question: Have higher gas prices affected you yet?

Update: North Idaho Gunfight Claims 3 Lives

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Bartender Daina Oliver talks about her former neighbors Rick and Rose Turner at the bar in the Calder Store today. The Turners were found at the scene of what appears to be a domestic gunfight in which Rick and Rose’ parents were found dead and Rose clinging to life with a gunshot wound to the head.

A woman apparently shot her estranged husband to death Thursday in a Calder, Idaho, gunfight that also claimed the lives of her parents and put her in the hospital with a gunshot wound in her head. Rose Turner had confided to coworkers in recent days that she worried her husband, Rick Turner, would kill her. It appears her concerns were realized when he came to the home Thursday and a gunfight ensued. Rose Turner, 43, was seriously injured when she was shot in the eye area. She is in serious condition at Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane. Her parents, who lived with her, were killed.

Full story here

Coming Soon …

… HBO’s latest weird animal shot. Remember the one-eyed cat? Check back in after lunch …

Q & A: When Are We Going to Get Douglas’ E-mails?

Question (from Curious): Speaking of the prosecutor’s emails, how long before we’ll have a chance to read them?

DFO: The clock began running when the Idaho Supreme Court rendered its decision. That decision doesn’t become official for 21 days afterward. When those 21 days are over, all eyes should turn to District Judge Stegner, who is responsible for looking through them to ensure that no sensitive information re: juveniles is aired. The clock began running May 4. The order becomes official May 25.

Values Alliance Battles BSU Transgender Bathroom

Item: Conservative group criticizes BSU for unisex restroom for ‘transgender’ people/John Miller, Idaho Statesman

More Info: A conservative group has criticized an Idaho university administrator for saying a planned new unisex restroom in her school’s student center will accommodate transgender people. Boise State University, with more than 12,000 students in the state capital, is adding 66,000 square feet in a $35 million student union building revamp beginning this month. It will add one unisex restroom that anyone can use; the restroom will afford users more privacy than traditional restrooms labeled “Men” and “Women.”

See Idaho Values Alliance press release in extended entry

Question: Much ado about nothing? Or an important battle in culture war?

SR Letter: Don’t Bring Back Old Days

Recently Dave Oliveria has been writing about people’s different memories from some of the towns in North Idaho. We too have some memories about the Coeur d’Alene School District. We remember double shifting, 30-year-old textbooks, a lack of extracurricular activities, classrooms with 35 or more students and an insufficient number of desks for these students. We remember losing good teachers and administrators. There was no updating of the technology that is so very important in today’s society. There were the buildings and other facilities that did not receive even the most fundamental care. All of this began to change in the mid-1990s when the community really began to support the schools again. That continued until last year’s levy failure, which is what prompted us to write this letter. We do not want to see a repeat of those days in any form. Please look at the information regarding this levy and the needs that it addresses and join us in voting yes twice on May 15.

Dave and Cheryl Scates
Coeur d’Alene

DFO: Dave Scates, the excellent former police chief of Coeur d’Alene, and his wife make an excellent point here. The old days — as they applied to the late 1970s and through the 1980s — left something to be desired. Visionary community leaders expanded infrastructure to prepare the town for inevitable growth. But patrons in the school district didn’t shake off their anti-property tax stupor until they finally passed the bond for Lake City High School in the early ‘90s. Afterward, they OK’d every levy until last year.

Pony: Politician Drug Test Is Publicity Stunt

re: Lawmakers agree to test to back Drug Free Day Monday

Rainbow Sparkle Pony Angel: Basic drug screen urinalysis is dirt cheap. Cost is irrelevant. I think it’s a ridiculous publicity stunt and I’m guessing none of them are signing full disclosure releases. They’ll pee in bottles, get a photo op (hopefully not peeing) and bloviate for the press and that’s that. Besides, according to the lead sentence: “The following elected and civic leaders have agreed to pee in a bottle at KMC Monday” it would be hard to analyze the results anyway with all of them peeing in one bottle ;)

Thom George: Nothing like 96+ hours advance notice! ;)

DFO: Now, if they were going to break out the breathalyzers …

Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi w/Priscilla Bell

DFO: Did you feel roughed up in any way when you spoke to the Pachyderm Club earlier this spring?

PB: No. There were some pointed questions. There were people who made long statements that didn’t require a response. Meeting with groups that have concerns are part of the job. I see folks in the Pachyderm Club in a lot of other settings.

DFO: Does the Republican dominance in Kootenai County bother a person like you who is from Democratic western Washington?

PB: It sounds like you’re assuming I’m a registered Democrat. I come from a family of Republicans, I grew up in Texas. I’ve lived in upstate New York that’s predominantly Republican. I’m flexible. People are good. I don’t think politics defines the person or value and worth of community.

DFO: How far is too far re: academic freedom and political speech?

PB: The faculty enjoys right of academic freedom in classroom. Sometimes, it’s appropriate to inject political expression in classroom. No litmus test re: how much is too much.

DFO: Do you think it was appropriate for the college to refund Linda Cook’s money?

PB: In the circumstances, I think it was appropriate. I would not say it set a precedent.

Complete interview here

Wild Card/Thursday — 5/10/07

I’ve been busy this week, cramming 5 days worth of work into 4 days. So, I haven’t had time to go wi-fi’ing at the coffee shops. I’ve missed that. On the other hand, I’m settling into the new routine with the Back-to-the-Future Hot Potatoes column for the Thursday editorial page and the Q-and-A interviews with local personalities. I’d like to do an offbeat interview in the next week or so. Someone who’s not a celeb but interesting. Someone who isn’t from Coeur d’Alene. Any suggestions? Now, for your evening Wild Card …

MamaJD: Looking for Blogaholic Support Group

My good friend, TUBOB, published his first weekly column with Huckleberries Online yesterday that presented a question that got me thinking. The question was regarding blogging on Huckleberries as an addiction. After much thought, I have decided that Bloggerism is a very real condition and should be taken seriously. It was not until I started thinking about Bloggers Anonymous that I found I wasn’t alone. So how would one know whether or not you might be symptomatic of what I would term as “bloggerism”? — MamaJD.

Full post here

Question: Are you a blogaholic?

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 5/10/07

One of two photos by Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns in which she photographed an eager hummingbird with one hand while holding the bird’s sweet nectar with the other. The other photograph is today’s Parting Shot.

*Brent Andrews/Chronic Discontent and his missus have been married almost 14 years — and they’ll soon move into their 10th residence in that time. HBO’s southern gentleman recounts the move here.

*Marmitetoasty/Twaddle declares: “Stuff me like a trout and slap me with a kipper, I’ve had enough of bloody fish” here.

*To cook good fried chicken, opines JBelle/The ‘Kan EWA, you only need to things: a good pan and a home-grown chicken, corn fed. If you had to do without one of the two, you should get a different pan. Click here.

*TUBOB presents his self diagnosis of serious mental health disorders helpful tips for the week here.

*Sam The Reporter/Vandal Sense wonders if he’s catching something serious, like the Big C, after being sick six times in seven months since moving from Coeur d’Alene to western Washington here.

Meanwhile, things are blooming nicely at Toadmaison here, Bubblehead urges a yes vote for a Boise community college here, Inland Empire Girl provides photos of her greenhouse and yard here, Rocket’s Brain Trust discusses the achilles heel of the Iranian regime here,

Lawmakers Agree to Test to Back Drug Free Monday

The following elected and civic leaders have agreed to pee in a bottle at KMC Monday in recognition of Drug Free Day Monday: Sen. Jim Hammond, Sen. John Goedde, Sen. Mike Jorgenson, Rep. Frank Henderson, Rep. Bob Nonini, Rep. Marge Chadderdon, Rep. George Sayler, Rep. Phil Hart, Rep. Jim Clark, Post Falls Mayor Clay Larkin, Coeur d’Alene Mayor Sandi Bloem, Hayden Mayor Ron McIntire, Rathdrum Mayor Brian Steele, Commissioner Todd Tondee, Commissioner Rick Currie, Commissioner Rich Piazza, Superintendent Harry Amend, Superintendent Jerry Keane, Superintendent Chuck Kinsey, Sheriff Rocky Watson, Undersheriff Tad Leach, Police Chief Wendy Carpenter, Police Chief Cliff Hayes, Police Chief Kevin Fuhr, Fire Chief Ron Sampert, Fire Chief Ken Gabriel, Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Chief Allen, and Ron Nilson of Ground Force. Salute.

Body of Mother of 4 Found in Spokane River

Divers pulled the body of a 28-year-old mother of four from the Spokane River near Post Falls on Thursday afternoon. The woman’s husband reported her missing Monday night after she called him and said she was going to commit suicide, Kootenai County Sheriff’s Capt. Ben Wolfinger said. Her vehicle was later found at Falls Park in Post Falls and clothing and other items belonging to the woman were found at the Avista Bridge downstream from the Post Falls dam.
Divers searched the river on Tuesday and resumed the search around noon Thursday. Avista Utilities closed the north channel of the dam Thursday so divers could enter the water, Wolfinger said.

Inside Huckleberries — 5/10/07

*Roving reporter Meghann Cuniff called at 4:28 p.m. to say that there appears to be a pedestrian-vehicle accident investigation going on at Third and Harrison. CPD Blue is interviewing a little girl. About an hour ago, there was a two-vehicle accident just south of there in front of the Youth Ranch on Fourth. Be careful out there.

*Question (from Arpie): I’m glad you found Rocky’s Blog. He is one of the best environmental reporters in the country. His blog needs some work though. I have high hopes for the future. Maybe you can take him under your wing. BTW whatever happened to Hagengruber’s proposed blog: “The Back 40”? Answer (from DFO): Yeah, Rocky’s hard to beat as an environmental reporter. His blog needs work. But the info is good. Jim’s blog has fallen through the cracks for now. An editor somewhere up the line exercised a pocket veto, I believe.

*Frum Helen Back: “Thanks so much for the story in the paper. I called Princess Abby’s mother so she would be sure to cut it out of the paper for her baby book. Abby is the only little girl I’ve known who loves dressing up in princess clothes and she just loves me to call her Princess Abby. BTW. She called me the next day to see when we are going back to the ice cream parlor. The princess loves the finer things in life so we are going again tonight after McD’s.”

Deaf In Downtown’s Worse Nightmare

Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho

Last Saturday morning,” writes Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho, “more than 100 motorcyclists received a police escort up Sherman Avenue in downtown Coeur d’Alene, fitting as Coeur d’Alene’s finest now includes motorcycle patrols. The escort through town was to increase awareness to the public that there are now quite a few more motorcycles sharing the local roads and highways. Be careful out there!”

Merle Parsley Tells His Version of ‘66 Rankin Fight

re: HBO has just received this fax from Merle Parsley of Boise, a former Demo legislator who was the late Ron Rankin’s foe in a parking lot fight at the 1966 state Demo convention at the old North Shore resort.

“…Ingram ran like a gut-shot coyote. Rankin tried to run but he was too fat. Rankin was about 300 lbs. and six feet in height. I was about 150 lbs. and five foot, six inches inheight. I got ahold of Rankin, but he easily threw me to the ground. I got up quickly and started to circle him. I feigned that I was going to put a left hook into the right side ofhis gut. He doubled over trying to protect himself as I thought he would. I then leveled the most beautiful straight right hand on his nose and the nose exploded like a smashed tomato. His knees buckles and he turned to run as the blood spurted from his face. As he tried to run, he said, ‘You broke my nose and I’m going to sue you!’”

Full fax message here

File This Under “There He Goes Again” Dept.

Item: Bayview project again affects Lake Pend Oreille: Sewer line break latest problem/Erica Curless.

More Info: Developer Bob Holland neglected to report the break to state and federal officials who are now investigating to determine the amount of sewage that entered the lake, whether the pipe was fixed properly and if there are adequate policies in place to deal with any future sewer or water line problems.

DFO: Holland’s becoming the poster child for environmentally clueless developers. Wonder if North Idaho legislators are paying attention to this story? Wonder if they care?

Ghost of Gas Prices Yet to Come …

The gas station by my house has regular for 3.55/gl. My wives care takes premium and that’s running 3.85/gl. I betting we’ll see 4.00 by the end o’ summer — Idawa.

Online Poll: Using Yellow Pages?

Bill Gates predicts that almost no one will be using the printed Yellow Pages within five years. When was the last time you used them? — Seattle PI.

*This month
*Earlier this year
*Last year
*So long ago I can’t remember

Trib: Don’t Vote for Judge Who Answers This Survey

Lord knows the conservative Christians of the Idaho Values Alliance have taken their lumps on this page before, but they deserve a couple of hallelujahs for their latest effort. They sent questionnaires to the 19 candidates itching to replace Idaho Supreme Court Justice Gerald Schroeder if he follows expectations and retires this summer. The group wants to make sure a moral conservative fills the seat, so they asked candidates for positions on everything from polygamy to gun control (because we all know Jesus supports your right to own an assault rifle). Candidates’ answers to these questions should come in very handy when making decisions come Election Day. If a candidate responds to the questionnaire, don’t vote for him. He has no business serving on the bench. Only a fool or blind ideologue would provide you a detailed outline of his feelings on political and philosophical matters that could come before the court — Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune.

Full editorial here

Question: Would you vote for a judge who filled out the Idaho Family Values poll?

MikeK: Alice, TUBOB Sharing Cyberspace? Excellent

MikeK: TUBOB a columnist. What’s next? John Austin doing HBO poetry readings at Little Seattle? Thom George selling artwork at a consignment store? OrangeTV and Ruth Reichl reviewing potato bars around Kellogg? This place just keeps evolving. The idea that Alice Rankin and TUBOB are contributing to the same publication is just way too perfect for those of us who’ve watched this blog evolve. To quote Montgomery Burns: “Excellent.”

DFO: You have as much idea as I do re: where we’re going from here. Every time I think I have a handle on the organism called Huckleberries Online, it goes in a different direction. I’m always looking for talent, however. BTW, I’d attend a poetry reading by John Austin at Little Seattle.

Hot Potatoes: Filling Up w/Anxiety

I flew to Portland on Monday for the chance to pay $3.33.9 for a gallon of regular gas. Actually, I took the 6:45 a.m. flight to the Rose City to help Amy Dearest pack her car and drive her back home, following her junior year at University of Portland. My close encounter with the Ghost of Gas Prices Yet to Come at a Portland gas station was a bonus. As an attendant tossed his cigarette aside and shuffled over from a coupla other smokers seemingly guarding the station’s air compressor, I wondered how much of the gas price resulted from Oregon’s loopy law that prevents you from pumping your own gas. Whatever the amount, it doesn’t include the cost of an interpreter. The attendant couldn’t speak English, and I couldn’t find the lever inside the car to open the hinge for the gas cap. Luckily, the attendant and I both spoke broken sign language and the tank was already half full. So I got off for under $30, and Amy and I made it back to Coeur d’Alene with only one stop in the Tri-Cities to top off the tank for $24 at $3.19.9 per gallon. Upon returning from my 12-hour, three-state venture, I was greeted by a sight that I found surprisingly welcome as I pulled off Interstate 90 at the Fourth Street exit – the Exxon gas sign advertising regular unleaded for $3.00.9. Sometimes, I don’t mind when Idaho’s behind the times.

Parting Shot — 5/9/07

Chris Peterson, Glacier Geographics, Muse You Can Use

“Occasionally,” writes Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographics, Muse You Can Use, “it’s good to take good hard look at your life and assess: A) Where you’ve been. B) Where you’re going. C) And when the last time you really got down close and personal to a toad or a frog, or, in my case, both here.

Napkin Notes: Our Handbags, Ourselves

In the movie “How To Lose a Guy In Ten Days,” Benjamin Barry tells his friends that a woman’s purse is her “secret source of power.” How right he is. Whether she carries a tiny clutch or a tote bag equal to half her body size, a woman’s purse can reflect a lot about where she is in life, what roles she plays, and what’s important to her. Or, it could just be a catchall for her junk — Katrina/Notes on a Napkin.

DFO: Katrina and Mommy Dearest each wrote posts about the contents of their purses here and here. Frankly, I’m intimidated by a woman’s purse. Too much stuff in there. The only time I venture near my wife’s purse is on the weekends when I balance the checkbook that she’s carrying around Sometimes, I can find the checkbook within 5 minutes. Sometimes, I need her help to find it. Strangely, she knows right where it’s at.

Question (for women, of course): What’s the strangest thing in your purse?

HBO’s Best of the Local Blogs — 5/9/07

The Goo has her cake and eats it, too, during a camping trip on the Lochsa. Then, she was busted for eating too much cake, resulting in the meltdown above here.

*”I’m moving a little slowly this morning,” posts Marianne Love/Slight Detour. “Stayed up too late, got up too early. Last night’s book launching party at the Seasons at Sandpoint turned out to be nothing less than spectacular. Mother Nature played a big hand in creating a beautiful spring night, and the folks at the Seasons outdid themselves to create a special atmosphere for a festive event here.”

*Bayview Herb isn’t impressed by the free-market system as it is applied by the state Land Board to float homes nor with developer Bob Holland’s tendency to dispatch worker bees when he’s caught red-handed doing something untoward here.

*Cis/From A Simple Mind doesn’t care if she’s politically incorrect when she prays before driving off somewhere. Those prayers were answered in a big way last week — and she has a photo to prove it here.

*Kerri Thoreson/OnLocation North Idaho provides a view from Canfield Mountain, stating that Dalton Gardens below is the area where the 4H kids lived when she was going to Coeur d’Alene High here.

*Melanie/Plaid Toaster not only walked through her graduation ceremony at North Idaho College barefooted but she celebrated her birthday, too, here.

*Several bloggers have posted interesting random facts/habits about themselves, including Silver Valley Girl here, Kellogg Bloggin’ here, and Notes on a Napkin here.

Meanwhile, Tumblewords presents “Paradox” here, the Post Falls Police Department has Amyrebba steaming here, Shinie is a Bzz agent here, Family Phil tells why he’s not a hovercraft here, Mrs. Mac Energetic wonders if dandelions are weeds or flowers here, As The Lake Churns has photos of the Priest River Junior Miss contest here and prom night here, Dr. J discovers the 55-plus crowd is computer savvy here, Nic and his equally busy wife have found a way to connect here, and KaleJ discusses the GOP debate here.

Inside Huckleberries — 5/9/07

*Jeanne Helstrom offers more ways you can tell you’re from Coeur d’Alene: “I saw movies at the WILMA theatre; my kids were born at the old brick hospital BEHIND the big blue hospital (Kootenai Memorial Hosp); I had my tonsils out (at age 7) at the Lake City GENERAL hospital that was next to where the 1254 Club was on Lakeside; I knew the Cd’A Resort when it was the North Shore; I went to first grade at Sherman School, which is now a U of I building - I think; I remember the FIRST presentation ever of the Red Hot Mamas in the 4th of July parade; I remember when my dad drove his ‘54 Chevy woody station wagon down off the dike road and we parked by the river and watched the lighted boat parades on 4th of July, before the fireworks; and I know who the Shadows were!!!!!”

*Jack Riggs called Huckleberries this afternoon to slightly change the number he provided in the morning re: level of fund-raising to date. After a review, he said, the number is about $4.8M, not $4.97M. There were some soft pledges in the mix that aren’t going to materialize.

*Architect Bill Dahlberg’s death as a result of a fall brings back memories of my early years with the Coeur d’Alene office. He was part of the Gordon Longwell team that shared an office with the SR at 4th and Garden. He always had a smile on his face. Commissioner Rick Currie’s right about the heavy toll that accidents have taken in the last few days: Spirit Lake Councilman Steve Gaddum (train crash), developer Tom Johnson (motorcycle accident), and now Bill Dahlberg.

*Editor Gary Graham e-mails: “The Huck we published today reminds me of a story from last week. Over a week ago, Steve, Carla and I sat down with five new local police officers and deputies as part of their orientation to Spokane. I made a small joke about doughnuts, to which one of the new guys smiled and said, ‘we call them energy rings.’ I loved it.”

*Cis e-mails: “As you can tell this is from Krem tv … This is the baby that was missing and they just found with meth people in a van … It tears your heart out … Wonder what will happen to him … I surely hope they don’t return him to the parents …” Click here.

Boise Station Pulls Plug on Racy Billboards

Item: Racy radio billboards advertising Boise station will come down over the next few days/Kathleen Kreller, Idaho Statesman

More Info: Racy billboards that raised the hackles of some Treasure Valley residents are coming down over the next few days. Between 10 and 20 billboards across the Valley advertised rock station 96.9 The Eagle with the caption, “Two Boobs in the Morning.” An ample woman’s chest, somewhat covered by a blue T-shirt, displays pictures of Bob Kevoian and Tom Griswold, syndicated radio hosts based in Indianapolis.

Question: Which side of this flap would you have been on?

29 Words: WSP Winks @ Tit for Tat DUI Swap

WSP credibility bleeds,
As state troopers trade tickets for deeds,
That - bribe or coersion -
Still smack of perversion,
Let’s just issue them Mardi Gras beads!

Andy Michaels/29 Words Or Less

Item: Haas angst no jigglin’ or gigglin’ matter/Doug Clark, Spokesman-Review

OrangeTV: A Glorious Road Trip to Libby

Back on the road, our thirst and cottonmouth became a primary issue, so we decided to cruise over to Libby for a bite. A big ‘70s sign that said “Antlers Restaurant” caught our attention. the menu was huge and colorful, varied and vivid, like Denny’s. Is “Antlers” a chain or do they just have a really well-designed menu? We begged the waitress for a pitcher of water, and it was the best water we’d ever tasted in our entire lives. I was so parched, I couldn’t get enough. I ordered a burger with swiss cheese and tomato on sourdough bread, and it was absolutely one of the most perfect creations I’d ever had the pleasure of enjoying. Seriously, I’d drive all the way to Libby again just for one of these. The fries were crisp and plentiful, hell, even the dill pickle spear was exceedingly green and crisp. Q agreed his Bacon Burger was worth getting moisty-eyed about. Maybe Montana cows just taste better, I don’t know — OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy.

Question: What’s your idea of a perfect Inland Northwest day trip?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 5/9/07

Gary Lyon/AP Photo

In this photo provided by Gary Lyon, a grizzly bear looks over the carcass of a moose it killed Sunday, near Homer, Alaska. Lyon and his wife Terri watched as a nearly 500-pound grizzly killed an adult moose in their driveway here.

1. Best of the Political ‘Toons: David Horsey/Seattle PI (Local housing market).

2. Best of the Online Polls: 40% of 514 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say they plan to spend Mother’s Day with family this year. Fourteen percent say they plan to spend it alone.

3. Best of Sports: Police were called to the Seattle residence of Mariners pitcher Julio Mateo a week before he was charged with assaulting his wife in New York here. Geoff Baker’s Mariners’ blog here.

4. Best of the Blogs: Randy Stapilus (River Park Square newspaper audit), Dogwalk Musings (Poor little rich girl), Making Flippy Floppy (Glorious road trip to Libby, Montana), Leaning Straight Up (Fort Dix terror plot thwarted), and 29 Words Or Less (R. Kelly raps on 5 years later).

5. Best of the News: Orbusmax Special: 5 grocery workers fired for trying to stop shoplifters here, North Idaho students face expulsion for genitalia hazing here, Otter trade mission to Cuba cost $13,443 here, Another Spokane area hog-tied suspect in critical condition here, Climber praised for saving partner after fall kills UI student here, Court: Newspaper can see student punishment records here, and Wanted: Pikeminnow that preys on salmon, steelhead here.

6. IMHO-NW: Spokesman-Review (Automakers out of gas), Steve Crump/Twin Falls Times News (Michelangelo didn’t have to clean up), George Wuerthner/New West Bozeman (Montana an accomplice to grayling extinction), Chuck Pezeshki/Moscow-Pullman Daily News (WSU grads as turtles on fence posts), and Tim Trainor/St. Maries Gazette-Record (Best day of the year).

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

How do you want to spend Mother’s Day this year? — Idaho Statesman.

*With children
*With your mom
*With family
*With other moms

HBO Interviews Jack Riggs re: Kroc Center Fund-raising

DFO: How much more is needed to be raised?
Jack Riggs: As of today, we are at $4.8M (of $6M needed).

DFO: Do you really need $6M to break ground?
JR: As co-chair of capital campaign committee, there’s no question about it. The Salvation Army has made it clear that if we don’t cross $6M number, they would delay the project until we did.

DFO: What would happen if you didn’t make it until end of July?
JR: We’re concerned we’ll lose the building window to get footings in the ground. Swings in the economy, fuel prices and steel prices can hurt big projects. Some projects that were once a go have been canceled altogether. We could lose the Kroc Center project with a delay.

DFO: Do you have indications that you’re going to be successful in raising the last $1M in three weeks.
JR: I’m very optimistic; we have numerous good rumors about significant pledges. Pledges can be over 5 years. In the past, we had significant pledges fall through. We need to get the pledges in writing (to be accepted by the Salvation Army auditors). Important for us to confirm verbal pledges and be audit proof that first week of June.

Coming Today — Jack, Priscilla, TUBOB

I have a busy schedule this morning:

9 a.m., interview with Jack Riggs re: Kroc Center fund-raising that I’ll be conducting live online here.

10 a.m., Huckleberries Gone Wireless interview with interim North Idaho College prez Priscilla Bell. Anyone have any quirky questions?

Later in the morning: first online HBO column by TUBOB. Great stuff. It’ll be worth the wait.

Deaf In Downtown: Where’s Cops to Stop Bike Noise?

Deaf In Downtown: Great! Everybody is sitting around eating donuts and Sherman Avenue, at 7:30 pm, sounds like the main straight at Indianapolis. I counted seven Harleys without mufflers and one with a muffler parked on the side of the street in front of various eating and drinking emporiums. I also had to run out to East Sherman and saw two Japanese supetbikes turn south on to CDA Lake Drive where they proceeded to light it up in a race up the grade past Hagedone’s new condos. One did a wheelie for at least 100 yards. These things will go through the quarter mile in just over 10 seconds and reach speeds of 130 mph in that same distance. What will happen when two of them wreck and take a family taking their dog out for a quiet (yeah, right!) evening walk along the lake. Is there ANY law enforcement around here or are they all back at the office doing paperwork? Here’s a clue: This stuff starts really perking about 3 pm on any warm day and lasts until 8 or so.

DFO: Gotta admit that a Harley without mufflers is about as annoying as a barking dog when you’re trying to have a conversation. My wife and I were walking this weekend when a cycle passed us and turned onto a parallel street. We couldn’t resume our conversation for 15 or 20 seconds because the dang thing was so loud. At that moment, I thought of Deaf In Downtown. His peeve here isn’t petty. Where’s the gendarmes to enforce the noise ordinance?

AM Hucks: The Siren Song of Free Doughnuts

At Huckleberries Online Tuesday, CPD Blue Sgt. Christie Wood got baited into commenting about doughnuts. Doughnut jokes and cops are part of American culture, Christie conceded. She’s not offended by them. Then, she added: “Our younger troops have adopted a healthy lifestyle. Not many of them will indulge in donuts. My generation still likes them. So drop some off if you’re so inclined.” Well, Frum Helen Back, an HBO regular from Hauser Lake, did just that later in the day, treating the local gendarmes to fresh doughnuts from Davis Donuts. Which prompted Christie to use the word “awesome,” when she found out about them, and to elaborate: “We’re all over them.” Actually, the CPD Bluers were all over them. Christie was stuck in Spokane when Chief Wendy Carpenter told her about Frum Helen Back’s terrific gesture. In a phone call to HBO Central, Christie worried that the doughnuts’d be gone by the time she returned to the office. But not to worry. Dick Haugen, KVNI’s erstwhile “voice of North Idaho” who’s handling the 5 to 8 KGA morning shift with Larry Weir, chimed in online that Christie could count on him for apple fritters and a double iced mocha. Then, Dick asked Christie mischievously, “Which generation do you consider yourself to be in?” Somewhere between the Pepsi one and us aging Flower Children, I suspect. Is it proper to ask a woman about her g-g-generation?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 5/8/07

I’ve almost recovered from awakening at 4:30 in the morning for my 6:45 a.m. flight to Portland yesterday and drive back from Portland. Yeah, yeah, I know that 4:30 is no big deal for you early birds. But it’s fairly rough for an individual that rarely gets to bed before 12:30 - 1 a.m. I loaded up Amy Dearest at UPortland and drove her most of the way back home on a Starbucks and Mountain Dew. I was pooped enough afterward to hit the sack at 11 — and wake up at 6:30 a.m. today, without the alarm. Thought for today: If you go to bed earlier, you wake up earlier. Strange. Now, for your Wild Card …

Butterfly Moment: Things That Made Me Happy …

… this weekend:

*painting with children
*my sister
*remembering why I love my husband
*new bikes
*pictures of my boys when they were babies
*Mexican food for Cinco de Mayo
*feeling healthy
*blessings from above
*book fair set up

DFO: Can you add to the list?

Another Motorcycle Crash @ 3rd & Poplar

CPD Blue is responding to a car-motorcyle crash at 3rd and Poplar. Motorcyclist is bleedig and possibly going into seizures. Stay tuned …

Breaking! Possible Accident East of CDA …

… ISP is investigating the report of a motorcycle accident on the interstate, east of Coeur d’Alene. Motorcycle is alongside the roadway at mile post 26 … body in the road. A trucker reportedly has used his rig to prevent anyone from running over the body. Stay tuned.

Huckleberries Gone Wireless to Meet Priscilla Bell

North Idaho College interim prez Priscilla Bell will be the guest for this week’s Huckleberries Gone Wireless. I’ll be interviewing her Wednesday morning at 10. Anyone have a good question for her (preferably quirky)?

She’s Drug Free, Smart, Despite Paper Typo

It was only a little typo. (I’ve seen worse daily in Brand X.) But Coeur d’Alene High brainiac was transformed from prez of the Idaho Drug Free Youth to proxy for “Idaho Drug for Youth” in the latest issue of The Viking Voice of Coeur d’Alene High. Not to worry, however. Laura is a good kid. No, make that great kid. She’s the school valedictorian for the graduating class of 2007, with a cumulative GPA of 4.31. (For those keeping score at home, Ben Carlton is the salutatorian.) Best of all, Laura’s planning to attend UPortland, where Amy Dearest will be a senior next year.

Tubbs Hill: Private Beaches, Sunshine, Lake & Thou

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Colleague Jesse Tinsley writes: “This photo reminds me of what makes Tubbs Hill special. You can get away to your own little beach and marvel at the scenery, the clean water and the fresh air.”

Slight Detour: Bittersweet National Teachers Day

This morning I picked up the Spokesman-Review ( saw a familiar face, on the front page above the fold. There was Brandon Adam’s mug shot, and there answered the question I had while reading Connie Lloyd’s blog yesterday: who was that soldier from Sandpoint who lost his legs in Iraq this past Saturday? Connie mentioned meeting his parents who had moved from Sandpoint to Post Falls. I wondered if they were someone I knew. I did not know the parents, but I did know Brandon. A very likable, wiry young man with blond hair, he sat over by the wall in fifth period. Brandon always joined in on the fun but always respectfully so. After all, we had established a family atmosphere in that class, and everyone loved taking part in the learning and the crazy antics that went along with it. I have not seen Brandon since I left Sandpoint High School–-until this morning of National Teacher Day. Once more, I feel devastated for a young man. In this case, he was serving his second hitch in Iraq. He believed in the mission, and he even emailed his father just before the bombing, which also took the life of a Spokane soldier — Marianne Love/Slight Detour.

Question: Do you know someone who has been injured or killed in Middle East fighting?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 5/8/07

Kathy Plonka

Olivia Guilliams (cq) 5, of Ione, Washington enjoyed an afternoon of swinging at a friend’s house in Coeur d’Alene on Monday.

1. Best of the Political ‘Toons: Eric Devericks/Seattle Times (The “surge” — in U.S. death toll).

2. Best of the Online Polls: 55% of 732 respondents to a Coeur d’Alene Press poll say they have no problem with wolves being in North Idaho and the predators should be left alone.

3. Best of the Sports: In Mariners Blog, Geoff Baker writes today, “Just arrived here in the Motor City and already I’m tired of it. Not my favorite town. Some folks like it here but I prefer cities that don’t turn into ghost towns when the clock strikes 5 p.m.. Actually, “ghost town” is a little too complimentary. Post-apocalyptic wasteland is more like it.” More here.

4. Best of the Blogs: Slight Detour (Bittersweet National Teacher Day), Dogwalk Musings (Dealing w/A Friend’s Doctor-Assisted Suicide), Palousitics (My beef w/Mitt Romney), Eye On Boise (Idaho delegation wants field burning), and Blogspotter (Cooking vlogs whip up viewing treats).

5. Best of the News: Orbusmax Special: Oregon House unanimous for squelching cyberbullies here, 4.6 quake shakes SW Montana here, Sex offender charged w/molesting boy in cafe restroom here, Kempthorne dines with Queen Elizabeth here, UW basketballer arrested in hit-and-run accident here, and UW study: 40% of babies watch TV here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/SR (Post-Traumatic Breast Syndrome), Spokesman-Review (Indian gambling limits), North Idaho College Sentinel (Hey, you, wake up!), Frank Mieli/Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Turn channel? Are you kidding?), and Bob Wire/New West Missoula (Summer camps for dummies).

Alice Rankin’s Garden Spot

re: Master gardener Alice Rankin’s online column appears Tuesday morning here at HBO. Also, Alice will be available off and on throughout the day to answer your specific gardening questions in the comments section of this thread.

Resist the temptation to rush out and plant ALL your garden right now. With the temperature in the 70’s yesterday, and expected to be 80 degrees today - the urge will be strong. Remember we are waiting for a constant 50 to 55 degree temperature at night, to plant our summer garden. Usually, the first week in June. You still have work enough to do to prepare your soil, and plant your cool season, early garden - both seeds and plants - plus hunt for spoiled hay for mulch. (See last week’s column). It is a good time to concentrate on your raspberry patch. Plant your raspberry starts, or transplant runners, ASAP. Maybe, throw a handful of coarse bone meal (with pieces of bone) in each planting hole. Bone meal is my absolute favorite organic fertilizer. “Coarse”, for long term plantings, and “steamed” (like flour) for annual plants like tomatoes — Alice Rankin.

Stapilus: Questionnaires Put Words in Wannabe’s Mouths

We’ve suggested in the past that candidates who receive questionnaires from ideological groups probably are not well served in answering the questions on them: The questions are usually designed to frame ideas and issues according to the thought processes of the group, while the candidates may think of those issues differently. An answer, yes or no, from a candidate can amount to putting words in the candidate’s mouth. So, a candidate who does answer can be assumed to look at these questions much as the organization does. So we’ll be interested to know who winds up responding to the new Idaho Values Alliance questionnaire for applicants for the Idaho Supreme Court. Here are the questionsRandy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press.

Question: Which questionnaires should political/judicial candidates answer?

Hat Tip: State Sen. Shawn Keough (for sending this link along.

R.I.P. Cpl Groethe — A Matter of Opinion

So sad to hear that a Spokane soldier has died in Iraq. Cpl. Kelly Grothe, 21, was killed by an improvised exploding device. Three years ago he was getting ready to graduate from Central Valley High School.

Grothe’s job — and that of his unit — was to clear roadside bombs and protect convoys. You’d be hard-pressed to find a more dangerous job over there. He is the 10th military victim of IEDs this month, according to this unofficial count.

When I was 21, I had such a benign job. I worked at a cousin’s trailer park/campground, cleaning bathrooms, collecting rent, guiding people to their camp sites. And that was just a summertime gig to help pay for college. Can’t imagine having such a perilous job like Grothe’s at such a young age.

Related: War takes heavy toll on region: 8 killed; Sandpoint soldier loses legs/Jim Camden, Spokesman-Review

(Photo from his MySpace site)

Nic, RSPA: DFO Left Us Orphaned Yesterday

Nic (on Monday when I was retrieving Amy Dearest from Portland): Wow, it’s kinda slow and boring around here with out DFO around.

RSPA: It will take us weeks to get our grooves back. I’ve been thru this before, Nic. DFO takes a day or two off and it disrupts the flow and knocks us off our game. Even Sam winning a GINORMOUS journalism award, setting the bar way way up in the very rarified air of the professional stratosphere for young turk journalists, in a staggering and vulgar display of sheer Sam power, isn’t enough without the Blogfather here to keep things rolling. We’re wild carded out. We need CONTENT.

DFO: How should I break it to ‘em that I have a week’s vacation coming at the end of the month?

Christie: My Cop G-g-g-eneration Still Likes Doughnuts

Donut jokes about cops are part of the American culture. No big deal. But it is nice for someone to defend us don’t you think? Just so you know … our younger troops have adopted a healthy lifestyle. Not many of them will indulge in donuts. My generation still likes them. So drop some off if your so inclined.

Sgt. Christie Wood

Jesse: Many Lessons Learned @ Cirque Show

I took my family and in-laws to see “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy” show at Northern Quest.
It was an energetic music/acrobats/light show that went non-stop for about a little over an hour. My kids were entertained and my in-laws thought it was nice. The costumes were elaborate and the soundtrack was broadway/dance hybrid that kept the action moving. One complaint is that the auditorium has a flat floor and sightlines deteriorated quickly from the front row on back. Luckily, it wasn’t sold out and we could move around with the kids until we found seats where they could stand on the chairs without blocking anyone else’s way.
I would probably do it again, for the kids especially. If you go, don’t use Ticketswest. For my six tickets, it was $22 in fees. If you call the Northern Quest box office, no fees at all. I’ve learned my lesson.

Jesse Tinsley

Joe Heller: Sometimes, Momma’s Too Wild

Joe Heller/

Wild Card/Sunday — 5/6/07

I finished what I consider to be the end of the beginning of my annual garden routine today: I dumped all the pruned limbs, weeds and other yard discards into the back of a pickup for a trip to the dump tomorrow. My gardening and back yard season officially begins when the first round of yard waste is hauled off and things begin to shape up. I received my first compliments of the year for the yard from friends who dropped by tonight to share a barbecue and to watch Wallace and Gromit’s “Curse of the Were Rabbit” with us tonight. I’ll make the dump run and then hit the sack early Sunday b/c I’ve got a long day planned Monday. I’ll fly to Portland Monday morning to help Amy Dearest pack and then drive with her back to Coeur d’Alene in the afternoon. So, I won’t be doing much more than posting a Wild Card for Monday. But we’ll catch up with each other again Tuesday. Now, for your Sunday Wild Card …

GreenL & Digger: 2 Views of RPS Audit Report

Green Libertarian: read all of it, including Smith’s take, and Stacey’s take. This report is more whitewash, than not. The bottom line is that the State of WA has very strict prohibitions against government entities enriching private parties. The Cowles folks managed to illegally (for a time, and with the blessing and cover-up/promotion and of their wholly owned home-town newspaper) circumvent such laws and legislative intent. Did it end up being an economic godsend to DT Spokane? Yes, in many ways. Did it end up benefiting already wealthy players like the Cowles, DT landowners, and Nordstroms? Definitely. Did it bring further disrepute to the concept of public/private partnerships? Yes. Did it point out the corruption in City politics. Oh my yes. Has it negatively affected federal funds that were supposed to flow to economically impoverished neighborhoods? Yes. It will be a very long time before the S/R and the Cowles Gang live down this debacle.

Digger: You can’t change things as they happened in the past. The Cowles family is certainly powerful, owning both the SR and KHQ TV, with a substantial interest in the news/weather programming at KQNT-AM through KHQ. I have always looked to the SR as a reliable source of news, I find the stories to be informative and, while I don’t take them as gospel, your operation is far superior to anything else in the region. That said, I wasn’t old enough to fully grasp the RPS issue so I can’t speak to that, but both Steve Smith and W. Stacey Cowles have my kudos for opening the doors to this type of scrutiny. The SR is now, and will always be, my choice for news while living in this region.

Question: What Do People Think of CDA, North Idaho?

I admit, though, that I knew very little about North Idaho before I moved here. I had gone to school in Pullman and briefly visited Coeur d’Alene several times, but still had no feel for the area. It wasn’t until becoming a resident that I learned about the Aryan Nations or heard stories about the goings on in the shacks along dirt roads in areas such as Athol. I had to wonder, was Athol a real name? Were there really clans of toothless, inbreeding hillbillies out there? Then I began to wonder what people from the outside might be thinking. Certainly any of the rich and famous who frequent the Coeur d’Alene Resort see the better side of North Idaho, but what does the rest of the country think? — Stephen LindseySpokesman-Review.

Complete column here

Question: Well, what do your friends and relatives from out-of-state think about Coeur d’Alene and North Idaho?

All You Wanted to Know About the SR, RPS, Etc. …

… And were afraid to ask (or mebbe you weren’t) can be found here.

DFO: I give Editor Steve Smith props for having the guts and persistance to get the OK from on high to submit the newspaper to this scrutiny. I’ve never met an editor so committed to openness. End of advertisement.

Your take?

Wild Card/Saturday — 5/5/07

We’ve arrived at the Cinco de Mayo. But I haven’t put the Quatro de Mayo to rest yet. I’m still pecking away at the Mac Book at 2 in the morning. I have to be up in 6 hours for a church meeting. Then, it’s out to the garden again, if I can find some hay to begin my mulching a la Alice Rankin’s recommendation. I’m really jazzed to have Alice on board for a weekly column of gardening tips. I talked briefly to Librarian Bette Ammon to do something similar re: books. Dunno exactly how that’d look. A discussion of one book? Or many books? Any suggestions? I’m also going to have a young dentist online to discuss his specialty and provide tips. I’d love to do such features a coupla times a week. Finally, I’ve swapped e-mails with TUBOB to produce a weekly feature column. I’m not sure what that would look like either. Obviously, few can touch him for humor. So, there’s much afoot at Huckleberries Online. But all that will have to wait. Now, you need this Wild Card to start your own threads …

Family Phil: How to Catch A Cold in 4 Easy Steps:

1. Burn 4 chicken pot pies in the oven, filling your house with smoke. Breathe deeply.

2. Rototill your garden, stirring up a cloud of dust and organic material. Breathe deeply.

3. Wear shorts and a t-shirt to daughter’s soccer game, then watch the temperature drop 20 degrees in 20 minutes. Shiver vigorously for an hour.

4. Listen to children bicker all afternoon, thus increasing your blood pressure and lowering your immune system.

Perform these steps in any order over the course of one day, then let sit over night, and by morning you will have one nasty little head cold. Spend the next two weeks trying to get over it.

Family Phil

DFO: OK, the winter’s over (even though it hasn’t warmed up that much), and it’s time to compare notes re: how we did healthwise this winter. I escape the winter without any lost workdays due to sickness. In fact, I felt poorly a day or two, as though I was coming down with something, but got over it. The difference? I had a flu shot at the beginning of November. Usually, I get sick once or twice a winter, a sickness that takes weeks to get totally over. So, you can bet I’ll be getting flu shots from now on.

Question: Did you get sick this winter?

SR Gains Access to Victims’ Names in Catholic Scandal

Item: Computer snafu reveals victims’ names/John Stucke, Spokesman-Review

More Info: Extraordinary measures ordered to protect the identity of victims in the Catholic Diocese of Spokane bankruptcy have been undermined because of a technical gaffe that allows people to easily view victims’ names in records online. The names of more than 50 victims appear in court records filed on the electronic docket of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court of Eastern Washington. SR Position: The Spokesman-Review will not publish the names of victims based on the information it discovered online, said Spokesman-Review Managing Editor Gary Graham. The newspaper has protected the information it was able to gather due to the technical failure.

Question: How important is it to you that the SR is pretty aggressive in trying to gain access to public records?

World Net Daily Poll: Pulling Plug on HipHop Star

Verizon ends tie with ‘rape rapper’: Admits partnership with Akon ‘mistake’ after furor sparked by attack on girl, 14

What do you think of Verizon pulling its sponsorship of hip-hop superstar Akon?

1. That’s Verizon’s loss – Akon’s good, another company will step in and sponsor him
2. It was wrong – Verizon is practicing censorship against an artist
3. I hope Akon’s fans boycott Verizon
4. Verizon is only trying to avoid bad publicity
5. It was responsible corporate behavior – a mistake was made and corrected
6. I sure hope someone at Verizon reconsiders any kind of association with rap and hip hop artists – most of their lyrics encourage the behavior Akon did
7. Akon’s an ex-con and a self-professed polygamist – wasn’t that enough to keep Verizon from sponsoring him in the first place?
8. It’s not enough – Verizon should apologize to stockholders for sponsoring him
9. It’s a great victory for the new media which exposed this creep and forced a big corporation to back down
10. Other

For the WorldNetDaily news report, click here.

TGIF Wild Card — 5/4/07

We’re nearing the end of another fine week, where the hits kept coming (8186 to 8511 page-views and over 5000 unique views per day twice). Beyond that, I had the pleasure to visit delightful Librarian Bette Ammon and meet the two Ukranian journalists. (BTW, as I showed them some of your blogs, they were fascinated that Family Phil home-schooled. When I explained home-schooling to one of them, he said through the interpreter: “I want to move to Idaho and do that.”) Thanks for another interesting ride. Now, for your TGIF Wild Card …

Prosecutor Douglas Responds to E-mail Ruling

I accept the court’s decision which was an important one to determine privacy rights in e mails between government employees. This appeal was not brought on frivilously, but, rather, to determine whether government employees and supervisors have a constitutional privacy interest in protecting from public disclosure e mails which are intended to be private. The Court has now given us a bright line rule: there is no privacy right in private e mails between government employees. I feel that is unfortunate. Today’s decision, while accepted by me, will have a chilling effect on e mail communication about matters employees wish to remain private, but do not otherwise violate any law. A government employee can no longer complain about a co-worker, adverse work conditions, a superivisor, or act as a “whistleblower” without fear of reprisal or that the complaint will become the public’s domain. There never has been a county or state policy prohibiting use of e mail for private communication but those policies now ring hollow in light of today’s decision. The e mails in this case will be released in an orderly fashion as directed by the court. Unfortunately, these e mails have been the subject of unfair speculation about their nature. These e mails contain nothing obscene or unlawful. They constitute nothing more than innocent sarcasm, bantering, and joking between myself and a subordinate and the type of informal communications that occurs daily in every workplace in America. Unfortunately, some will place unfair speculation on their intent, regardless of content. They contain no distasteful attachments. I would only hope that these are reviewed in proper context and I would be glad to answer any questions about any individual e mail when they are released.

Prosecutor Bill Douglas

APhoto of the Day (w/Top Cutlines) — 5/4/07

AP Photo/Rob Carr

Kentucky Derby hopeful Teuflesberg walks through the mud on the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, Ky., Thursday. The 133rd Kentucky Derby will be held on Saturday. You write the cutline.

Top Cutlines

1. The horse was be-hooved to think “Oh, sure, they invite the Queen and she brings her weather with her” — John Austin.

2. Teuflesberg walks away in disgust after being shown the new “cures all your aches” mud bath at Trotters Spa — A Token D.

3. “I want to race too,” said Eeyore as he plodded toward the track — Brent Andrews.

HM: Deena

“The Sunshine Mine Disaster” — The Bard

First fire, and then smoke
thick as tar in a cup,
and half of those guys
didn’t ever come up.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Noah: Field Smoke Gets in Your Eyes, Nose, Etc.

Noah Kroese/Spokesman-Review

Cafe Carambola: Not Typical Mexican Food Fare

I have a friend who cracked me up one time when we went to lunch at another “fresh-mex” restaurant a while back in Coeur d’Alene and after we got our food he sat down said, with all seriousness: “This isn’t a real Mexican place – there aren’t any tater tots on the menu!” Poor kid needs to get out more often, I think. With that in mind, I wouldn’t suggest that he should bother with Café Carambola either, where nothing is murdered in hot oil, and everything is served fresh, fresh, fresh in an intriguing variety of Latin dishes. In fact, they claim that many of the veggies are plucked daily from the owner’s home garden, at least in the warmer months. The location is a bit off the beaten track, tucked away there in Harbor Center next to the Lewis-Clark State Student Lounge (they offer a discount to LCSC students, by the way.) I’ve driven by the place a zillion times, but it never really registered to actually dine there until a few days ago. A friend and I were hungry but couldn’t decide where to eat - we were sick of all the usual spots and were craving something new. Bing! I remembered Café Carambola and we headed out the door — OrangeTV/Making Flippy Floppy.

Complete post of OrangeTV’s Saturday “Get Out” column for Saturday’s SR Handle Extra page here

Question: Where’s your favorite Mexican food place?

Question: Wi-Fi in Hayden & Beyond?

Does anyone know any wi-fi outlets along Highway 95 between Appleway and Sandpoint. Didn’t we establish that the Garwood Tavern has wi-fi?

Dr. J: Vietnam Wall Transforms You

Dr. J: My brother who survived the Vietnam War as a field medic (later a CPA) saw the (Vietnam) wall before he died of probable agent orange contamination and cancer. One of our family’s friend is on that wall. Everyone should go to D.C. to see all the celebration of life, memories, and future in that city. You return a different species.

DFO: I saw a replica of the wall a coupla summers ago at the Coeur d’Alene Bingo Casino near Worley. The setting obviously wasn’t as melancholy as a parking lot alongside busy Highway 95. But it still had quite an impact. I found the names of two high school classmates: Larry Patterson and Danny Prock. Larry and I formed the double play combination for our high school baseball team. He was killed by a land mine while driving a truck. Danny was killed by a sniper with a week to go in his stint. My wife found the name of her cousin Wayne. Seeing the wall authenticated their deaths. Indeed, it was moving.

Question: Have you seen the Vietnam Wall?

JimmyMAC: Orlando’s Mexican Drive Up Closing

My favorite landmark in Hayden is closing tomorrow. Orlando’s Mexican Drive Up is shutting it’s doors on Saturday afternoon. Apparently they plan on finding a new location and offering more of a formal, sit down atmosphere and the dynamics will certainly change. Anyway, I wanted to post this because if anyone from HBO has ever eaten at Orlando’s, they would surely be disappointed if they missed out on their last opportunity for a carne asada arizona burrito!


Enviros Want Independent Blackwell Island Study

Item: Corps waiting on Blackwell soil tests: Hagadone missed agency’s target date/Erica Curless, Spokesman-Review

More Info: The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is still waiting for the report that is expected to show whether the soil contains toxic heavy metals, such as lead. The corps asked Hagadone to do additional soil tests before it decides whether to issue a dredging permit for the controversial project. Hagadone wants to deepen the channel to allow for larger boats as part of an upgrade to the marina.d

Problem: Representatives from Kootenai Environmental Alliance and the Center for Justice are concerned the public can’t access the full report and use independent professionals to confirm the findings.

Question: Should the Corps of Engineers require an independent study rather than relying on results from the Hagadone Corp?

Thom: Wild, Innocent & Mullan Avenue Shuffle

Thom George illustration

“The Wild, The Innocent and the Mullan Avenue Shuffle” — Thom George

DOTC: Noisy Minority Can’t Understand Resistance

I’ve observed a certain dynamic over the years serving in different public positions that I think may apply in this case. It usually involves a person or a small group of people who are absolutely convinced they are right and all the other thoughtful and responsible people they disagree with are wrong. Not just wrong, but dead wrong. In fact, the “truth” is so clear to the person or small group that those who disagree obviously must not be listening. So like some trying to communicate to an elderly person or someone they think is slow or can’t understand English, they keep trying different variations of the same theme but usually a bit louder each time. What they seem to be unable to grasp is that the other people hear them just fine, but they just don’t agree with them. Certainly the minority opinion can be right but often it’s not and with good and logical reasons. But sometimes folks like this just can’t accept they don’t have a corner on the objective truth. My wife and I used to joke this dynamic is the same one often used by our kids to try and wear us down when they ask for something and we don’t give it too them. They keep trying and trying because they just can’t believe we are so “dense” that we just can’t “get it” from their point of view. Oh, we get it just fine, we hear them just fine, but we just don’t agree with them and that is our right.

Dan of the County

Parting Shot — 5/3/07

AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais

Ann Pruett, from Sherman, Texas, reaches up to touch the freshly engraved name of her late husband, Richard M. Pruett, Thursday on the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington.

A Butterfly Moment: Remembering “Lasts”

I remember the firsts. The first smile. The first word. The first tooth. The first step. The first day of school. The first time riding a two wheeler. Those are what you are supposed to remember. And it’s easy to know when the firsts happen because they’ve never happened before. But what about the lasts. Will I know when it’s the last time they sit on my lap? Or the last time I read them a book? Will I remember the last time they ask for a song at bedtime or for me to lay with them until they fall asleep? Will I wake up and realize the last time one of them crawls in bed with us because he had a bad dream? Last week I think I had a last — Jen/A Butterfly Moment.

DFO: I remember the last words my 89-year-old, bed-ridden Godfather said to my mother, a brother and me: “I love you all very much.” I walked away because I knew he was going to die soon. And I wanted those to be the last words I heard him say. A good man whose life counted very much.

Question: Do you remember a “last”?

HBO’s Best of the Friends’ Blogs — 5/3/07

Inland Empire Girl/Gathering Around the Table shares her thoughts and photos re: the Sunshine Mine Disaster of 35 years ago here.

*TUBOB writes: “I had my annual physical last week. All good. My chest x-ray was clear and normal which is always reassuring to an ex-smoker. I eat like a wild hog rooting around in a deep forest of fried foods, yet my total cholesterol is 173. I’m lucky. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good. Ahem” here.

*Idaho Escapee/Atmospheric Ruminations makes a keen observation re: sports drinks. If you’re really thirsty, they taste great. If you’re not, they taste weak. More here.

*Yesterday, Marmitetoasty/Twaddle observed the sixth anniversary of her divorce and opined (w/photos as proof) that brothers and hair clippers are a big no-no here. (Warning: language)

*Nathan Empsall, the Wayward Episcopalian, registered his first few seconds in his 15 minutes of fame by landing on C-Span with prez wannabe Bill Richardson as part of a discussion re: rebuilding New Orleans (w/video) here.

Meanwhile, in Idaho, writes Bubblehead, both the stupid and the nonstupid get punished here, Chronic Discontent adds F-Words and Whitecaps to his favorite blogs list here, in “Hijacked: Day 2,” PDX Pup goes Muppet on the Perambulator here, and Red State Rebel is ready to back Larry LaRocco’s Senate campaign here, and Synaptic Disunion’s thinking about anthropomorphologistics here.

Dogwalk Musings: Gere Fosters “Ugly American” Image

Hollywood actor Richard Gere, left, hugs and kisses Bollywood actor Shilpa Shetty during an event for HIV-AIDS awareness in New Delhi, India, in this March 15 AP file photo.

During my years of international travel with my husband, we were constantly reminded of the reason the term “Ugly American” came into the world’s vocabulary. We were rude, poorly dressed and generally obnoxious. Then the sentiment moved on to arrogant Germans and pushy Japanese. It would seem it has come full circle. Actor Richard Gere, another actor who I guess expects a pass for bad behavior, nearly got himself jail time and also put a popular young Bollywood actress at risk. “The Kiss”, at a public AIDS awareness event in India, has been all over the news. His attitude, when asked about the episode on the Daily Show, was no big deal. No one ever goes to jail for these things hereMari/Dogwalk Musings.

Question: Do you still think Americans have a bad image when they travel overseas?

Q: Is There A Silver Lining to Bayview Enviro Disaster?

The tensions between those who wish Bayview to develop slowly and carefully and those in a hurry for it to become a hot tourist destination had been simmering beneath the surface. Not anymore. Illegal construction at Lake Pend Oreille changed all that. On April 17, while expanding a marina, developer Bob Holland had steel beams pounded into the bay where fragile kokanee salmon spawn, destroying the spawning beds. The kokanee were the foundation of the lake’s sport fishery initiative, worth $17 million to the local economy. Holland did not have the necessary state permit. Bayview residents are aghast. “We’re not opposed to development, but we want it done according to the rules,” said Hobart Jenkins, chairman of the development analysis committee for the Bayview Chamber of Commerce. … In Bayview, angry residents are sounding the alarm about the possible destruction of their rock-mountain-water uniqueness. Idaho leaders need to listen and act now — Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review.

Complete editorial here

Question: Will the damage done to the Bayview spawning beds by developer Bob Holland lead to significant change in the way Idaho approaches lakeshore development?

Huckleberries Gone Wi-Fi & Bette Ammon @ 1 p.m.

Huckleberries Gone Wireless will interview CdA Librarian Bette Ammon live today, beginning at 1 p.m. I have a list of questions for her. But I’m looking for more. Do you have any questions, including quirky ones, for the city’s librarian?

Online Poll: Which Aerobic Equipment Most Needed?

Question: What’s the one piece of aerobic equipment you couldn’t live without?

*Stationary bike
*Stair climber

DFO: Other (tennis shoes & one of Stickman’s sticks, to fend off dogs)

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 5/3/07

Jesse Tinsley/Spokesman-Review

Slip owner Chad Dodson stands at the 11th St. Marina, a privately held dock system managed condominium-style, on Lake Coeur d’Alene. New rules proposed by the state would mandate that marina developments must be at least partly available to the public. Does this put “dock-ominium” marinas into legal limbo here?

1. Best of the Political ‘Toons: David Horsey/Seattle PI (Vets with STDs).

2. Best of the Online Polls: A plurality of 18% said the piece of aerobic equipment they need most is a treadmill. Fifty percent answered “none.”

3. Best of Sports: He’s an author of a new book, and on Wednesday Miguel Batista helped close out a good Mariners homestand with a sparkling start/Jim Moore (Go 2 Guy), Seattle PI, here.

4. Best of NW Blogs: Rocky Barker (Firestorm @ forest service), Eye On Boise (Change in marina rules in works), Leaning Straight Up (The religion of Al Gore), F-Words (Sali ranks caretakers under chop liver), and Jim Miller on Politics (An inconvenient demonstration).

5. Best of the NW news: Orbusmax Special: (Cops crack down on Washingtonians with Oregon plates), Idaho 5th in U.S. for new jobs in ‘07 here, $29 worth of pot plants found in Idaho forest here, Idaho inmate gets 37 months for Bush threats here, Canoeists who found body won’t be ticketed here, and Authorities arrest “America’s Most Wanted” suspect in Idaho here.

6. IMHO-NW: Rebecca Nappi/Spokesman-Review (Protecting habitat means protecting ourselves), Idaho Statesman (Otter shouldn’t be California dreamin’), D.F. Oliveria/Spokesman-Review (Hot Potatoes), Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune (Burners, breathers have no reason not to talk), Murf Racquet/Moscow-Pullman Daily News (OK for schools to get tough on cheaters), and Doug Clark/Spokesman-Review (Readers’ Windbag).

Hot Potatoes Returns After 3-Year Hiatus

It seems like three years since you and I got together for a chat in this corner of the editorial page. What’s that, you say? It was three years and change? I don’t keep track of those things. But I know it wasn’t yesterday. My fans – both of ‘em – have been clamoring for the return of Hot Potatoes. In its previous incarnation, Hot Potatoes was a predictably conservative compilation of short opinions, separated by dots (…). In the time I’ve been away establishing the Huckleberries Online blog, I’ve learned that conservatives aren’t always right, and liberals definitely aren’t either, politically speaking. In other words, I still bleed black and white and red all over, but I may not be as predictably conservative as before.

Starr: Unimpressed by Otter Skipping Mine Memorial

Starr Kelso: I was unimpressed by Gov Otter sending an envoy to the (Sunshine Mine Disaster) Memorial (this week), to read a letter, for the stated reason that the Gov was busy in south idaho. I pondered that, because even the do nothing legislature was not still in session. I wondered what was so important that he would choose to miss this Memorial. After checking the Gov’s schedule for today, on the internet under media advisory, I learned that the Gov was speaking at the lunch meeting of the Garden Valley Chamber of Commerce. Just one of those “priority, can’t miss things”, I guess.

DFO: If Jim Risch was governor, he’d have been there. Jim was in North Idaho so often you’d have thought he was applying for honorary resident status. Alas.

AM Hucks: Mine Disaster Still Shapes Community

You can find D.P. Bond’s Wallace Street Journal column, “To The 91,” here and Huckleberries Online comments about the disaster here.

In a reminder of the Sunshine Mine Disaster that killed 91 miners 35 years ago (May 2, 1972), David Bond wrote: “Some 88 more guys got out and lived to tell about the disaster, although not all of them regained their health. Not a small handful of the victims were fellows who, having escaped the early-morning horror, went back into the mine to grab their partners and then themselves perished as the flames and the fumes intensified. But as an old friend of ours, long-deceased himself said, “What else are you gonna do?” Bond’s Wallace Street News online column triggered memories at Huckleberries Online Wednesday. Silver Valley Girl: “I was a junior in high school in Kellogg and many classmates lost fathers, uncles, and grandfathers. Every time a name was called over the loudspeaker during class to come to the office, we knew they had found another miner.” … Bayview Herb: “I was the finance manager for Knudson Chevrolet then. One couple came in, bought a car, insured it for death. He went into the mine the next shift and was gone.” … John Austin: “I was friends with many of those whose fathers, uncles or brothers perished in the fire. … Gene Johnson (a friend’s father) died when he went back in, after initially escaping. As a shifter, he felt it was his duty to rescue his crew.” … Raymond Pert: “This day in the history of the Silver Valley has lived in me as darkness and has shaped how I see my hometown, my friends in the Valley, and labor. I keep trying to articulate it, but fall short again and again. May 2, 1972, haunts me.” (You can read Bond’s column and the rest of the comments at Huckleberries Online.)

HBO to Begin After 9 A.M. Today

I have an appointment with my dental hygienist this morning, so I’ll begin our usual conversation together a little after 9. Stay tuned.

Final Vacation Wild Card/Sunday — 6/3/07

All good things come to an end. And my vacation of the last couple of weeks has been very good. I’ve been able to get things done around the house that needed doing. Also, as I’ve mentioned here, I spent five days with my son and daughter-in-law in Denver. It’s hard to choose which activity at the Mile High City that I enjoyed most: a Rockies ballgame, the botanic gardens, UColorado’s magnificent health science center, or the street performer who stuffed himself in a box measuring 20 cubic inches. Denver’s a pretty cool place. But I wouldn’t swap it for the one I’ve called home for the last 23 years. Nothing I saw between here and Denver touches Coeur d’Alene for beauty. I return from vacation with a deeper appreciation for this area — and the work that I’ve been allowed to do. I can’t wait to get started blogging again Monday. Until then, here’s your last vacation Wild Card …

Hump Day Wild Card — 5/2/07

Some days, I post the Wild Card, with the feeling that I’m flailing — everything below is hodge-podge and not that interesting. Today, I feel that we started the morning solidly. Good stuff below. Now, it’s your turn to join the fun and light up the comments section. Or not. Huckleberries Online is sorta like a Web version of “The Grateful Dead.” HBO riffs on things as they come and feeds off the loyal audience. Sometimes, the result is clanky, and blurkers don’t understand what’s going on. Sometimes, we’re so in tune that even those without a sense of beat understand what’s going on. As always, I’m grateful that you’ve been part of this ride. Now, for your daily Wild Card …

Hospitals Send Mixed Message w/Smoking Area

re: The following is a post at the new Opinion Page blog, A Matter of Opinion. Check out the blog and participate in the conversation here.

The following is part of Dr. George Bagby’s response to Robyn Blumner’s article on cigarette-butt litter:

It is worthy of note that we lose just over 1,000 American soldiers in Iraq each year; 300,000 lives are lost approximately, directly or indirectly, from smoking tobacco. In the three years of World War II we lost 500,000 Americans.

I see various reasons that our American citizens do not see the importance of each relative to these losses of life. One is that it came on insidiously (in spite of the wake-up call of Pearl Harbor, for example). The bombing of 9/11/01 again was acute and not gradual and insidious. The other things that allow tobacco smoking to continue to be legal in the United States is that the manufacturers of such make a tremendous amount of money and hire a lot of workers to also have decent salaries.

The most obvious thing to me, however, is the fact that with the law allowing it and our hospitals hiring workers to be tobacco smokers, and providing an outside place on the hospital properties for smokers or people to smoke, is an obvious endorsement of smoking tobacco in spite of the fact that hospitals primarily are for treating and preventing medical problems.

I’ve had similar thoughts entering and exiting hospitals. Is the designated smoking area an inexcusable condoning of dangerous behavior or a concession to reality — or something else?

(AP file photo)

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

“Last weekend, the UI unveiled an artistic representation of what the Kibbie Dome will look like in a couple of years,” writes Family Phil. “The end walls will be replaced with translucent panels. The field will be dug down 12 feet to add more seating and better sight lines. And the racquetball courts will be replaced with a “Vandal Village” where people can eat and drink while watching football games. This picture has not been officially released yet. I snapped a photo of it at the spring game, where it was on display.” More here.

Starr Kelso/Go Figure offers Joan Baez rendition of “Amazing Grace” in memory of the 91 miners who died 35 years ago yesterday in the Sunshine Mine Disaster here.

*Jen/A Butterfly Moment admits she enjoyed doing the 1980s thing last night by going to the same Pizza Hut she enjoyed as a 15-year-old and then watching Johnny and Baby dirty-dance here.

*Katrina/Notes on a Napkin is impressed by her daughter’s use of the idiom “get’s under my skin” in a discussion how Katie’s baby brother does just that here.

*A former year book adviser, Marianne Love/Slight Detour recalls how May was bittersweet at school, a time when she’d be saying goodbye to some students forever, and when yearbooks came out that day changed here.

*KaleJ/UnMuted Mumblings sez “peaceful activist” is an oxymoron b/c being an agent of change means the peace is going to be disturbed, as it was at Kent State 37 years ago here.

DFO: Cis sounds a bit down in the dumps after the loss of a dear aunt here. You might want to drop her a note and cheer her up.

Meanwhile, Frum Helen Back/Hauser Thoughts encounters a nurse who reads Huckleberries here, Dr. J/CastMD sez ERs are at the breaking point here, The Otis/BrodH20 tells of a harrowing trip down the Lochsaw here, Sara/F-Words talks about relationships here, John Rook has shocking before and after photos of Phil Spector here, and Granati/Orange Frog76 visits his Marine brother-in-law in San Diego here.

Inside Huckleberries — 5/2/07

*E.H. asks: “Why are the vast majority of the evergreen trees that line the highway between Coeur d’Alene and Wallace, in both directions, dying or dead?” Anyone?

*From the Brand X blog and “Bad Hagadroid” today: “DFO is STILL relying on conservatives to make Dingleberries interesting. He now has Conservative Grand Dame Alice Rankin as a gardening blogumist. What next, Sandy Patano’s entertaining tips? How about Bob Nonini’s favorite party treats or Phil Hart’s tax tips. Maybe Ron Vieselmeyer on Christian philosophical differences … I’d personally love to have Bob Nonini share his recipe for party treats.” Actually, I’m lining up a young dentist for a possible online column with a chitchat element. Don’t know his politics though. Does it matter?

*I was pleased to receive a “Thinking Bloggers Award” from Mari/Dogwalk Musings today. I’ve been noticing that honor crop up in your blogs of late. Seems individuals decide which bloggers make them think and deserve credit. It’s a nice way of saying you appreciate another blogger. Mari also gave TBAs to Cis, Herb, Bill McCrory and Joanne Stebbins.

*”I also knew that the paper I had rolled the doggie doo in wasn’t the Bee … it was the Spokesman-Review. For once, I was glad our competition had complete coverage of something” — David Keyes/Bonner County Bee publisher here. DFO: Keyes is under the wrong impression that covering the Sandpoint Chamber of Commerce intensively is the same thing as covering the news, like the less-than-stellar performance of the Bonner County Sheriff’s Department.

*From 11 to noon today, I’ll be hosting a coupla Ukrainian journalists and their interpreter in a local coffee house, to tell them about blogging live. They’re part of an exchange program involving the SR. Dunno what shop I’ll pick from these three: Java on Sherman, Doma or Coffeeville. But it should be fun.

Ex-ISPer Brownlee Involved in Spokane Shooting

Item: Officer involved in shooting named/Bill Morlin and Jody Lawrence-Turner, Spokesman-Review

The Spokane Police officer involved in a shooting in northeast Spokane early Tuesday is Todd W. Brownlee, who has been on the department since 1996, The Spokesman-Review just confirmed. Brownlee narrowly escaped being shot himself before firing his service revolver, sources have told the newspaper. He critically wounded 26-year-old Ryan Patterson outside a home at 1739 E. Wabash in northeast Spokane.

DFO: Another reminder how much we owe to the men and women who form the thin blue line between society and the criminal element.

Kellogg Bloggin’: Small Letters Make Me Trendy

I sign my emails with a lower case letters. It’s a habit I got into. One of my students wrote me about it today and said it seemed modern and trendy to her. It’s the first time in my life anyone has ever told me that anything I did seemed modern and trendy. I think I’ll go ahead and consider myself modern and trendy for a few days, just to see what it feels like — Raymond Pert/Kellogg Bloggin’.

DFO: I’m “modern and trendy” b/c I blog. Otherwise, I’m pretty much a fogey.

Question: Is there anything about you that’s modern and trendy?

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 5/2/07

Christopher Anderson/Spokesman-Review

Washington State Governor Christine Gregoire addresses a crowd of students and spectators at the MAC in Spokane Washington Tuesday. She is framed by ” Sue”, the T. Rex skeleton exhibit that she officially opened.

1. Best of the Political ‘Toons: David Horsey/Seattle PI (Nervous days inside the beltway).

2. Best of the Online Polls: 78% of 305 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say they volunteer one to five hours per week. Five percent volunteer 31 hours or more.

3. Best of Sports: Former University of Washington basketball standout Brandon Roy has been named NBA Rookie of the Year for the 2006-07 season, coming one vote shy of a unanimous decision here.

4. Best of the NW Blogs: Dogwalk Musings (The arrogance of incompetence), Leaning Straight Up (Rep. McDermott confesses? Yeah, right), Eye On Boise (Field-burning issue “fluid situation”), Palousitics (In praise of Pullman police), and 29 Words Or Less (Leonard Pitts: Racism OK for non-bullies?).

5. Best of NW Stories: Orbusmax Special: Oregon teacher charged w/trying to sell first-grader’s coat online here, U-Dub prez tops Washington state salary list here, Radio station agrees to remove racy billboards here, Report: Oil, gas drilling squeezes hunters here, King County home to 68,390 millionaires here, and Pastor tells Spokane police he led double life here.

6. IMHO-NW: Tom Henderson/Lewiston Tribune (Open letter to Alec Baldwin), Chris Peterson/Hungry Horse News (Cocoa puffs), Steve Crump/Twin Falls Times-News (God didn’t read instruction sheet), Michael O’Neil/Moscow-Pullman Daily News (When people are turned into objects), and Kisha Lewellyn Schlegel/New West Boise (Chickens in the City).

Question: Should Joan Baez Be Banned by Army?

AP Photo/CTK, Marta Myskova

Folk singer and anti-war activist Joan Baez (shown above performing in Prague in April) says she doesn’t know why she was not allowed to perform for recovering soldiers recently at Walter Reed Army Medical Center as she planned. In a letter to The Washington Post published Wednesday, she said rocker John Mellencamp had asked her to perform with him last Friday and that she accepted his invitation. “I have always been an advocate for nonviolence and I have stood as firmly against the Iraq war as I did the Vietnam War 40 years ago,” she wrote. “I realize now that I might have contributed to a better welcome home for those soldiers fresh from Vietnam. Maybe that’s why I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation to sing for those returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. In the end, four days before the concert, I was not ‘approved’ by the Army to take part. Strange irony” — Yahoo! News.

Full story here

DFO: I don’t agree with Joan Baez on many things politically … now. But I love her voice. It’s beautiful. It reminds me of my youth. And Walter Reed has bigger problems than an old war protester welcoming injured soldiers back to the states. I’d let her sing.

Question: Was the Army right in banning Joan Baez from singing at Walter Reed Army Medical Center?

Question: Is Hayden Chamber Beyond Repair?

Item: Who’s the boss? Hayden chamber debates leadership, rules of order, possible dissolution/Rick Thomas, Coeur d’Alene Press

More info: “The first order of business of Geri Delange at Tuesday’s meeting of the Hayden Chamber of Commerce was to bar The Press from the proceedings. When she was advised the newspaper had been invited by several board members, she agreed to take it to a vote. That never made it to the table, and neither did several other motions by board members during the course of a 90-minute session that included charges and countercharges, conspiracies and counterconspiracies, threats of suits and countersuits and borderline violence.”

DFO: I rarely pay attention to chamber of commerce news. But I love a train wreck, especially when community leaders act like 2-year-olds. Hence, this item.

Question: What can be done to save the Hayden Chamber of Commerce?

Traci Whelan: Erika Deserves Better Than Gossip

Traci Whelan: I am so glad Erika has left the county, because she deserves to get away from the gossip hordes and the criticism. I would like to see one of you put up with all that she has. You don’t even use your real names and I would like to know if County Worker Bee or Show me could deal with all the innuendo and out right attacks on their intgerity. I have known Erikda for over 10 years and without a doubt she is one of the most true and genuine people out there. Her advice to the county is top notch and the same regardless of what her own public interest may be. As to pay outs and all the rest of that….ICRIMP isn’t going to approve a payout if it isn’t warranted. Regardless, my point is this if you have a problem wit someone why not address them in public where they can reply instead of smearing them in a blog. I am using my name, even though I know it opens me up to your scorn and opinions b/c I think that is what should be done. Shame on you for all your speculative remarks and smears and hiding behind anonymity.

Traci: I applaud you for sticking by a friend in need. I don’t know Erika at all. But I do know the nature of the blogosphere. It can be brutal. I receive my share of slings and arrows, sometimes in this blog but more often in copycat ones. It goes with the territory. Erika will survive because she’s strong (from what little I know of her).

Parting Shot — 5/1/07

“So we drove into Glacier Park tonight (Monday), and these two sweet older folks were pulled over watching this critter eat its dinner,” posts Chris Peterson/Glacier Geographic. “Ahhh, isn’t that sweet. The red fox, for what it’s worth, is not a native.”

Yes, MamaJD, Erika Grubbs Has Resigned

MamaJD: My rumor mill says that Erika Grubbs resigned. I have been looking for independent verification but am not able to find any. I believe that Brand X reported the story in today’s print issue. Brand X still has not realized the value in posting stories in a timely fashion so it is not available online. Given the status of things, I doubt the Spokesman would have been on Erika’s priority call list to announce this.

DFO: I can’t believe the Press buried Marc Stewart’s skewp about this today and then didn’t provide a link. Good story. Deserved better play than Page A4. In a letter of resignation, Grubbs hinted that her staff has been unfairly criticized. And Commissioner Rick Currie added that the media had unfairly criticized her for the county’s handling of the case involving former Chief Deputy Prosecutor Rick Baughman and illicit e-mails.

I don’t know Dave. Grubbs won’t return our calls, the county HR folks are dodging us and Rick Currie apparently doesn’t think this is any of the public’s business, why a county official suddenly quits without explanation. Maybe burying it inside the paper is the right call. It really must be a terrible burden these public officials endure, having to answer to the public and explain their mistakes — Idaho Ed.

Wild Card/Friday — 06/01/07

Wanna get away? My wife pointed out an ad in today’s paper (A section) for $139 one-way airfare to Honolulu from Spokane. Of course, you have to travel between mid-October and mid-December. And you have to buy by tomorrow night. And I’m sure there’s lots of other small print. But I can take a hint. It’s certainly cheaper than driving to Hawaii. Here’s your Friday edition of wild card.

APhoto of the Day (w/Top Cutlines) — 5/1/07

M. Lakshman

Eunuchs pose for photographs before participating in Miss Koovagam, a beauty contests among the Eunuchs at Vilupuram, around 115 kilometers (72 miles) south of Chennai, India, earlier today. Eunuchs from all over India gathered at Koovagam, a small village to re-enact a story adopted from the Indian epic Mahabharata, in which they pretend to marry a warrior-god, Aravan.

Top Cutlines

1. Seeing his angry teammate was neuter the area, Dick decided to call a spayed a spayed, and told him “Eunuch-le-head, don’t get so testes, and whatever you do, don’t phallus now” — MamaJD.

2. The newly elected slate of officers for the ‘Society of Indian Fanjayas’ poses for their official portrait — MikeK.

3. The little American boy, new to India, did not have any idea of how horribly upset his eunuch friend would be when in a heated disagreement during a croquet game he blurted out “Well then just take your balls and run home!” — RSPA.

HM: Cabbage Boy

Q: What Would You Reserve Last N11 Number For?

Little 811 joined its telephone information line brethren today, in this case as a “Call before you dig” resource on utility lines. With only a handful of N11 numbers, though, isn’t it time to gather public input on which topics really warrant such treatment? Maybe locating the nearest open bar would help you more than accessing social services (211)? A cheap gasoline line could be more useful to some than highway information (511)? Of course 911 has real value, as long as people stop using it for things like reporting being locked out of their cars — Amy Cannata/Spokesman-Review.

More Info: Since 111 can’t be used because 1 is dialed to access long-distance service, that leaves just 611 open and available as another information line.

Full story here

Question: What would you reserve the last N11 number for?

Huckleberries Hears …

… that a local mover and shaker is trying to reignite a fire under the downtown memorial garden idea that Duane Hagadone was pushing some time back. Stay tuned …

Question: Is it possible to resurrect Hagadone’s downtown garden idea, given the opposition?

29 Words: Olympia: NIMBY

Olympia still thinks us handy,
For dumping offenders most randy,
The state project is nice,
-If we ignore the price-
How ‘bout it Spokane-want some candy?”

Andy Michaels/29 Words Or Less

Item: Spokane to be home, where perverts roam/Doug Clark, Spokesman-Review

Art Anderson: You Know You’re from Mullan, If …

1. You have been to Rocky Point at least once (at least if you are a guy) and hoped the rocks you rolled down the hill didn’t hit any passing cars.
2. You were there and watched the Morning Mine burn down.
3. You know that the exterior spaces created by the oddly-shaped old grade school were called the “dungeons.”
4. You remember it took at least ½ hour to drive the seven miles of pot-holey, winding, narrow, two lane road to Wallace. More time if you had to dodge moose.
5. You were surprised when you got a little older and discovered that “Finn Gulch” and “Knob Hill” weren’t real place names.
6. You remember when the Lucky Friday mine wasn’t much more than a dog hole.
7. You remember when Lookout ski hill had rope towlines.
8. You not only have been there, but you know that No. 5 refers to a mine tunnel exit above Mullan from the Star mine in Burke.
9. You could judge the temperature of the newly replaced water in the unheated Mullan pool by its degree of murkiness.
10. You know where “Old Baldy” is.

Huckleberries Best of the INorthwest — 5/1/07

AP Photo/The Olympian

In this image taken from video, Ross Kurtz, 14, examines a gray whale that washed ashore dead near Johnson Point in Olympia, Wash., Monday. Researchers planned to perform an autopsy on the five-ton, nearly 30-foot animal. The whale was too thin for its age, estimated at up to 2 years, said John Calambokidis, a research biologist for Olympia-based Cascadia Research here.

1. Best of the Political ‘Toons: David Horsey/Seattle PI (“Mistake accomplished”)

2. Best of the Online Polls: 49% of 560 respondents to an Idaho Statesman poll say Yellowstone grizzlies should be delisted.

3. Best of Sports: WSU Cougars sign playmaking guard away from Air Force Academy here.

4. Best of NW Blogs: Tom Forbes/Palousitics (Co-opted out of a living wage), Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise (Montel Williams speaks out in Boise), and Karl/Leaning Straight Up (Washington court protects free speech).

5. Best of the News: Orbusmax Special: Oregon ranks among top spending states per capita here, Canoeists who pulled body to shore ticketed here, Bison hazed back into Yellowstone or face slaughter here, Crash injures Montana teens returning from prom here, and Texas warden exits after complaints by Idaho here.

6. IMHO-NW: Doug Clark/SR (Horn blower looks to tap into talent), Idaho Statesman (Grizzly recovery depends on us), UI Argonaut (Be safe, don’t be paranoid), Tecla Markosky/UI Argonaut (Grammar error proves fatal), Frank Mieli/Kalispell Daily Inter Lake (Let’s create safe haven for terrorists), and Bob Wire/New West Missoula (Perfect spring day ruined by dog).

JohnA: Why Do Bad Things Happen to Good People?

Deena and I were discussing this last night, why good people should have to suffer such pain. She endured an eerily similar circumstance eight years ago, when she lost her teenage son, Miles, and then shortly thereafter her husband, Peter. Like the Johnsons, she and Peter were on vacation when he passed away suddenly. And, as will Mrs. Johnson, she had to come back alone to the dream home they had built together. Mothers aren’t supposed to bury their children at any age, and wives have an expectation that they’ll live into old age with their husbands. For Deena, her faith in a higher power helped her through, as I imagine Mrs. Johnson’s will. The good Lord only gives us as much as we can bear, although, for Mrs. Johnson, it must seem like an awful burden to endure right now. Our thoughts and prayers are with her and her daughters as they deal with this tragedy.

John Austin

RSPA: Whattamess; Blogmeister Ryan: We’re Tryin’

RSPA: DFO, your site’s a mess this am. I bet it’s the Group Health ad. Why does this site and the S-R’s main site suck up so much of the user’s processing power? Need server or software upgrades? Better coders? The big boys of the blogosphere, the real pros, don’t have balky crappy sites like this. I wonder how good your techs/programmers really are sometimes or if they’re just tasked with slapping racing stripes on an 87 Ford Escort wagon and pretending it’s a Maserati. Don’t take this as me just being cantankerous, you’re going to lose repeat visitors if your site remains unstable.

Blogmeister Ryan: I love it! “Slapping racing stripes on an 87 Ford Escort wagon and pretending it’s a Maserati …” We usually go with the duct-tape-and-baling-wire analogy, but this one fills the bill just fine too. Print me up a T-shirt. The technology of our site is ancient, by web standards. Incredibly frustrating for Gina and I, as we’ve tried to push the site into the future without the proper architecture to support it. We’ve needed server and software upgrades for a long time, and as it happens, yesterday we got final approval for exactly that. So by this fall (if all goes according to plan), we ought to be running on brand-new servers and software that is, actually, one of the Maseratis of development frameworks. … As it happens, most of the (problems with blogs) these days tend to be ad-related; this morning’s error was a simple glitch in the code provided to us by the ad agency.

Lewiston Trib: Otter’s Proposing Tax on Moving

Does Butch Otter ever bother talking to people who know about the property tax before he says, again, that he’s considering freezing property valuations for Idahoans who stay in the same house? The fact that California essentially did what Otter suggests doesn’t prevent it from being a crackpot idea. Thursday night on Idaho Public Television, Otter repeated the idea he broached in Lewiston last October during a debate with Democrat Jerry Brady. He said he is looking at proposing that property valuations be held at artificially low levels for as long as people own their homes. When a house sells, the valuation - and the property tax calculated from it - would jump up to market level. That means the new owner of the home would pay far higher taxes than the former one did. But it also means the former owner would pay far higher taxes for any new home purchased. What is now a tax on property would become a tax on moving — Jim Fisher/Lewiston Tribune.

Full editorial here

Question: Would you mind Idaho implementing this “tax on moving”?

Update: Blog Problems Linked to Ad Software

“The problem isn’t with the blog software — it’s with the ad code. Our ad-serving software (which we’ll soon be retiring in favor of a better solution) is … how shall I say … less than perfect” — Blogmeister Ryan.

Friends, Civic Leaders Remember Developer Johnson

Item: Developer dies in Mexico: Motorcycle crash kills Johnson, injures wife/Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review

Mayor Sandi Bloem: “The community has lost such an all-around great person. He had a vision for what was good for the community … and the can-do attitude to make it happen.”

Sandy Patano: “Tom was one of those unique individuals where the glass wasn’t half full, it was full and overflowing. He lived a dream life; he was smart and likable. And he went one step further to give back to the community.”

DFO: At times like this, the question comes to mind: Why do bad things happen to good people?

Jessi: Your Site Is Messing Up This Morning

Jessi: Your site is kind of screwy this morning, DFO.

DFO: As some of you have already noticed, the site is experiencing some technical difficulties this morning. (Read: the entire right rail w/recent comments and the blogrolls is missing, and the archives are missing.) We’re about 45 minutes from help at the moment. I can post. And you should be able to access individual posts to comment. Yeah, it’s balky. Choppy. But it’ll be fixed — and Alice Rankin should be onboard later this morning to answer your gardening questions. BTW, we’re a month or so away from a permanent fix. The overall problem, I think, is that the blog software was structured for smaller blogs. I don’t think anyone, including myself, thought a blog would grow to the size of Huckleberries Online. Mebbe we’ve pushed what we have as far as it can go?

Question: Is there anything beyond the missing material in the rails that’s messed up out there? (BTW, can someone post a test under this item to make sure that you can comment? Thanks.)

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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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