Advertise Here

Huckleberries Online

Archive for December 2009

GU 83 Oklahoma 69

Gonzaga’s Bol Kong (34) gets out of the way after a dunk by Oklahoma’s Tiny Gallon (24) shattered the backboard during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Spokane tonight. (AP Photo/Rajah Bose)

Husband has courtside seats right behind Ronald McDonald. Oklahoma dude just broke the backboard. Game delayed while they bring in a new backboard. Sigh.

New Year’s Eve Wild Card

While other Hucksters weren’t thrilled about gearing up for Christmas I gotta say New Year’s Eve doesn’t do it for me.
Could be too many disastrous New Year’s Eve dates when I was single. Could be that I don’t like change. Could be that it’s hard to decide how to celebrate when your kids range in age from 10 to almost 20.

Whatever it is, I just wasn’t feeling festive– until the last half hour of the Humanitarian Bowl. I’m not a U of I grad, but my oldest brother is and though he’s serving with the U.S. State Dept. in Tel Aviv, I could could feel his Vandal pride across the miles.

2010 is on the way with a blue moon to boot.

So I’ll raise my coffee mug to all you Hucksters and advise you to make the most of the last day of 2009! And do yourself a favor and give this a listen.

Best Celebrity Quotes of 2009

Carrie Prejean

“I don’t see anywhere in the Bible where it says you shouldn’t get breast implants.”Carrie Prejean

“I know lots of people that take cocaine three nights a week and get up and go to work every day, no problem. But we never hear that side of the story.” —Lily Allen

“Why do they call you beautiful?” —Victoria Beckham’s response to Naomi Campbell’s question: “Why do they call you Posh?”

“Another kid already?”Sean Penn to ex-wife Madonna about her new boyfriend Jesus Luz

I don’t really see the point in washing your hair. If you don’t care if your hair’s clean or not then why would you wash it? It’s like, I don’t clean my apartment ’cause I don’t care. I have my apartment for sleeping in and I have my hair for just, you know, hanging out on my head. I don’t care if it’s clean or not.” —Twilight’s Robert Pattinson

“I am not a fan of books. I would never want a book’s autograph. I am a proud non-reader of books.” Kanye West .

“I am God’s vessel. But my greatest pain in life is that I will never be able to see myself perform live.Kanye West .

“My temper is ridiculously bad. I’ve had to say to Brian, ‘You have to go and stop talking to me, because I’m going to kill you. I’m going to stab you with something, please leave,’ I’d never own a gun for that reason. I wouldn’t shoot to kill. But I would shoot him in the leg, for sure.”Megan Fox on her temper.

More here.



Polar Bear Plunge: Noon Tomorrow

COEUR d’ALENE — It’s a tradition that goes on each New Year’s Day and dates back to the late 1970s, no matter if it’s freezing, snowing, raining or a combination of all three.

Yes, it’s the polar bear plunge in the Lake City. The 31st annual charge into Lake Coeur d’Alene will be at noon Friday at Sanders Beach. An expected 500 or so — with about an equal crowd on hand to watch — will dash into the lake, dive under, and rush out with a scream. More.

Gosh. As much as I’d love to be there, I’ll have to take a pass this year. But since I’m blogsitting, there isn’t any reason DFO can’t join the fun, now is there? But maybe the blogmeister might be all tuckered out from running the Hangover Handicap?

I’ll await your reports.

Holiday Home Makeover

Leslie Nelson, left, gets a hug from Deb Farnsworth as they enter Nelson’s remodeled home.

When Leslie Nelson met Deb Farnsworth last year, she couldn’t have imagined their friendship would result in a community project that changed her entire house. Nelson just wanted to change her life.

Farnsworth leads a Celebrate Recovery group at Valley Real Life church. The ministry focuses on those “struggling with hurts, habits and hang-ups.” Farnsworth recalled their initial meeting. “Leslie had come out of a dysfunctional, abusive relationship and was a recovering meth addict. When she told me her story, crying, I asked her, ‘What do you want?’ ”

Farnsworth’s voice broke as she recalled Nelson’s answer. “She just looked at me and said, ‘I need prayer.’ ”

That reply touched Farnsworth.

“I was in,” she recalled. “This is all about showing her the love of Christ.” She agreed to mentor Nelson.

Later, when she visited Nelson at her home, she found the kitchen sink was broken, and Nelson had to wash dishes in a bucket or in the bathtub. No easy task for a single mom of eight, six of whom live with her. In addition, the bathroom floor was disintegrating. Farnsworth began looking for a way to help. Cindy Hval, SR More here.

Have you been more blessed by giving our receiving this holiday season?


New Year’s Eve: Party or Poop?

At the Spokane Convention Center, Christine Mebesius holds a First Night banner as New Year’s Eve revelers gather for the start of the STCU-Masquerade Parade.

So what are you doing this New Year’s Eve? Partying like it’s 2009/2010 or staying home with a good book? Or maybe something in between?

Banned Words

KANSAS CITY (Reuters) – If you recently tweeted about how you were chillaxin for the holiday, take note: Fifteen particularly over- or mis-used words and phrases have been declared “shovel-ready” to be “unfriended” by a U.S. university’s annual list of terms that deserve to be banned.

After thousands of nominations of words and phrases commonly used in marketing, media, technology and elsewhere, wordsmiths at Lake Superior State University on Thursday issued their 35th annual list of words that they believe should be banned.

Tops on the Michigan university’s list of useless phrases was “shovel-ready.” The term refers to infrastructure projects that are ready to break ground and was popularly used to describe road, bridge and other construction projects fueled by stimulus funds from the Obama administration.

And speaking of stimulus, that word — which was applied to government spending aimed at boosting the economy — made the over-used category as well, along with an odd assortment of Obama-related constructions such as Obamacare and Obamanomics.

“We say Obamanough already,” the LSSU committee said. More here.

Sexting, bromance, and teachable moment made the list. Any words you’d like to see included?


Cda Press: Young Gun

A barista in training perhaps?

You won’t find too many necklace holders like the one Josee Bassett has in her room.

It’s the antlers of the buck she shot not far from her Coeur d’Alene home.

“She’s got to accessorize,” her dad, Paige Bassett, said with a laugh.

Josee shot the 4-by-4 whitetail buck last month, the second day of hunting season. It was also just two days after her 12th birthday — when she was officially old enough for a hunting permit. Full story.

When I was 12 I discovered lip gloss and boys. My father would have probably preferred I took up hunting.

Fox May Pull Plug On Time-Warner

Item: Fox, Time-Warner at odds — again;  Channels could go dark if agreement is not reached/Alecia Warren, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: News Corp. is threatening to let several of its Fox channels go dark on Friday unless Time Warner Cable agrees to pay higher fees for the right to retransmit Fox programming. The companies have until the end of the year — when Time Warner’s contracts with Fox and several other networks expire — to reach an agreement.

Question: Have you switched from Time-Warner yet?

Russia may deploy defensive spacecraft

This image provided by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Tuesday Dec. 15, 2009 shows hundreds of brilliant blue stars wreathed by warm, glowing clouds.

MOSCOW – Russia’s space agency chief said Wednesday a spacecraft may be dispatched to knock a large asteroid off course and reduce the chances of Earth impact, even though U.S. scientists say such a scenario is unlikely.

Anatoly Perminov told Golos Rossii radio the space agency would hold a meeting soon to assess a mission to Apophis. He said his agency might eventually invite NASA, the European Space Agency, the Chinese space agency and others to join the project.

When the 885-foot asteroid was first discovered in 2004, astronomers estimated its chances of smashing into Earth in its first flyby, in 2029, at 1-in-37.

Should the Russians intervene?

Clarnak’s sure-pick predictions for 2010

Sit back and prepare to be amazed.

Clarnak the Magnanimous returns today in his sequined turban and bejeweled loincloth to mystify you with his guaranteed predictions for the coming New Year.

That’s right, I said guaranteed. Unlike other, less-gifted seers, Clarnak’s soothsaying comes with the following ironclad promise:

If even one of Clarnak’s prognostications fails to come to pass, you may dial up my editor and demand a full refund.

And now I will lapse into a trance even deeper than my normal newsroom work daze.

Ah, yessss … the spirits will begin to speak.

Prediction 1: Alcohol-disabled former Spokane cop Bradley Thoma will suffer a hernia while trying to blow-start his Dodge Ram.

Prediction 2: Republican Spokane County Commissioners Todd Mielke and Mark Richard will sell Spokane Raceway Park and invest all of the proceeds in “Star Trek” collector plates. The move will be hailed as a far more responsible use of public funds.

Prediction 3: Wildly popular KREM-TV news anchor Randy Shaw will finally get that mole taken care of.

Prediction 4: Bob Apple will abdicate his position on the Spokane City Council to become king of Hillyard.

Prediction 5: Three dimwitted North Idaho skinheads will suffocate when they attend a Klan rally wearing plastic sheets. More here.

Poll Results

The majority (77%) of Hucksters believe downtown Cda after 9 pm is safer than downtown Spokane. 133 folks participated in the poll.

Do you like the new positioning of the daily poll?

Cash for Maytags

Next year may be to appliance buyers what 2009 was to car buyers: time for government rebates.

Modeled after the popular Cash for Clunkers program, which was intended to get cars with low gas mileage off the road, a federal appliance rebate program is launching in early 2010. It offers a boost to people buying energy-efficient clothes washers, refrigerators and other appliances — those that qualify for the federal “Energy Star” designation — and to manufacturers, whose sales fell 10 percent in 2008 and another 12 percent through mid-December this year.

The program has only $300 million, one-tenth as much money as Cash for Clunkers, or about $1 per U.S resident, so it could run out fast. States are receiving roughly the same amount per capita, with California getting the most at $35.2 million, but what’s eligible varies by state. Read more.

Would you trade your Hotpoint for hard cash?

Gamblin’ Vandals set their own rules

Vandals receiver Preston Davis evades Bowling Green’s secondary during first-half play Wednesday at Bronco Stadium in Boise. Idaho Press-Tribune

BOISE – If it wasn’t completely true before, it became true Wednesday: Idaho football turned the corner.

And ran smack into 1998.

You know what this means, don’t you? Every Vandals football coach – caught in the klieg lights on the biggest of stages, weighing the merits of all-or-nothing against the safety of a tie or the conservative call – will have no real choice but to push all his chips into the pot.

Because now it’s tradition.

As the yearly bowlapalooza continues to expand like Tiger Woods’ little black book, the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl is one of those snarkily cited by college football’s snob elite as being, well, irrelevant and unnecessary and not worthy of their attention.

Folks, not if Idaho shows up. More game analysis here.

Still basking in the post-game glow?

Gov. Otter and 13 State AG’s Threaten Suit Over Health Care

COLUMBIA, S.C. – Republican attorneys general in 13 states say congressional leaders must remove Nebraska’s political deal from the federal health care reform bill or face legal action, according to a letter provided to The Associated Press Wednesday.

“We believe this provision is constitutionally flawed,” South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster and the 12 other attorneys general wrote in the letter to be sent Wednesday night to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

“As chief legal officers of our states we are contemplating a legal challenge to this provision and we ask you to take action to render this challenge unnecessary by striking that provision,” they wrote. Full story.

Locally, Butch Otter’s not too happy either:

BOISE – Idaho Gov. Butch Otter said he may sue to stop federal health care reform, calling U.S. House and Senate bills unconstitutional and too costly.

Otter sent letters Wednesday to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, telling them he’s considering legal action to keep the federal government from imposing “a crushing unfunded mandate” on state and local governments. More.


Idaho 43, Bowling Green 42

Get Adobe Flash player

APhotographer Matt Cilley captured several scenes of Idaho’s dramatic 43-42 victory over Bowling Green in the Humanitarian Bowl earlier today in Boise. Click the arrow on the rights side above to see the slide show. Then, hold your cursor over the photo to read the cutlines.

Max Komar made a sliding 16-yard touchdown catch with 4 seconds left and Nathan Enderle passed to Preston Davis for the 2-point conversion, lifting Idaho to a dramatic 43-42 victory over Bowling Green in Wednesday night’s Humanitarian Bowl. ESPN game story and boxscore.

New Years Eve Eve Wild Card

Two days remain in 2009. Three days until I start screwing up endless checks by writing the wrong year. Five days left on DFO’s vacation clock. Six days until my next big deadline. Ten days until my oldest son reaches his second decade.

Not that I’m counting. 

Honestly, I’m not a big fan of change. I still miss 2008— all those loops were fun to write. Heck I still miss September— that was a good month. But as this guy said, the times they are a changing.

Oh dear. I definitely shouldn’t wax philosophical before my second cup of coffee. But I just spelled definitely without spell check— twice. Thanks Cabbage Boy.

Post your own contemplations below.

Quote of the day


jt: “First, no plot was “foiled”. The idiot didn’t know how to properly detonate his crotch and when the passengers figured out he just tried to kill them all, well, they “controlled” the situation.” Full comment.

APhoto of the day

Los Angeles International Airport Police Officer Jerome Evans uses K-9 Alda to check baggage under increased security Monday.

#1. Alda was grateful for baggage duty since the alternative was sniffing crotches. Sisyphus

#2. The Government’s crackdown on Milkbone continues as the police us special trained dogs to track down the rogue treat at airports across the country. PatrickH

#3. Sherman lamplaster, aka “Gangsta Sherm”, questions his recent decision to stash his last dime bag of weed in his Christmas briefs tucked into his luggage. Smacky

What’s your sign say for 2010

From your career path to your amorous adventures to just life in general, takes a good, long look at what the stars have in store for you this year! Click on your Sun sign below to get started with your 2010 Yearly Overview, and then check out the stellar insights into Your Career in 2010 and Your Romantic Life in 2010. Here’s to a cosmic time in the coming year!

I know it’s bunk but I couldn’t resist reading. “Aquarius often gets pegged as being a little too cerebral for its own good. But the truth is, that’s where you do your best work. The next year is going to give you the opportunity to use those sharp mental powers to focus on what it is you really want out of life.”

What the heck? I’ve got “sharp mental powers?” Who knew? Maybe I could use those to figure out my romantic overview.

How about you? Do you like the way your stars are lining up?

How to talk your way out of a speeding ticket

Liberty Lake police Sgt. Ray Bourgeois writes a speeding ticket recently for a man he says was driving 43 mph in a school zone.

Please tell me if you have occasion to use this advice. I really need to know if it works, but I’m concerned about option two: “Drive around with something really weird in your car.”

It’s the holidays, we’re coming off a brutal recession, and the last thing any of us needs is a speeding ticket. And yet someone reading this — I hope not the person writing this — is going to get a speeding ticket in the next week or so. According to the National Motorists Association, between 25 million and 50 million speeding tickets are issued every year. So with that in mind, and since plenty of people get pulled over on their way to and from work, we’re offering some suggestions for talking your way out of a ticket.


Idaho Tribes Want Executive Post

BOISE — Idaho tribal leaders want Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to create a cabinet post dedicated to improving tribal relations.

That includes resolving disputes that erupt when non-tribal members are apprehended for reservation crimes, only to be released without arrest because no agreements — or trust — exists with sheriffs in neighboring counties.

Coeur d’Alene, Nez Perce, Shoshone-Bannock and Shoshone Paiute tribal leaders met with Otter, though the Republican governor made no commitments, especially during an economic downturn when he’s cutting state budgets.

Coeur d’Alene Tribe Chairman Chief Allan on Wednesday, “Tribal economies in Idaho generate at least a half billion dollars annually. It only seems fair for tribes to have place within Governor Otter’s administration.”

Otter aides called last week’s meeting a “listening session.”

Do you think it likely Otter will grant the tribes a place within his administration?

Most Shoplifted Book

A centuries-old Matthew-Tyndale Bible.

One nice thing about having my eldest son home for the holidays is that he’s a fount of quirky web site knowledge. He showed me this article where I learned that the Bible is the most frequently shoplifted book.

“…But perhaps the most intriguing bookworm of all is the bibliokleptomaniac, or what we like to call the kleptobrainiac. These people are book thieves, the nerdiest outlaws this side of Hogwarts…”

Also ranking high on the list of purloined books:The Virgin Suicides, The Naked Lunch and On the Road.

Who steals books? “It’s mostly younger men stealing the books,” he told Rabb, “They think it’s an existential rite of passage to steal their homeboy.”

Feel free to purge your conscience before the start of the of the New Year. Have you ever shoplifted anything? If so, what?

How well do you know your dog?

Do all beagles look alike to you? What about black labs?

ISSAQUAH, Wash. — Two black labs didn’t make it home for Christmas this year.

The two pooches swapped homes after a mix-up at an Eastside dog hotel led them to be released to the wrong owners this month.

Bella, who belongs to Stacey and Rob Peterson, of Maple Valley, ended up spending a few weeks in Issaquah with Anne Galasso.

Galasso’s dog, LaiLa, spent time in Canada near Stacey Peterson’s parents, and then in Maple Valley when the Petersons returned from a vacation in Europe.

PetSmart PetsHotel of Issaquah, where both dogs were boarded, is working to make amends, in part by refunding both families’ boarding fees.

Both families knew something was amiss, but never dreamed they had ended up with the wrong dogs. Full story.

How long would it take you to discover you’d taken the wrong pet home?

Sad News

Weston Withers stands on Dec. 22 in the bus that his late nephew Merle Coldwell was building before his death.

Merle Coldwell wanted to show his sweetheart the wonders of America last summer before she went blind – a grand gesture for a man of limited financial means and a weak heart.

Coldwell didn’t let those obstacles get in the way: He bought an old, yellow school bus, named it Gracie, and went to work in two metered parking spots outside the Dresden Apartments along North Monroe Street in Spokane. He painted it white and red, like a Valentine. Coldwell raised the roof and covered the sides with cedar shingles.

Every weld, every nail was guided by his singular purpose: to get on the road by summer with Neoma Smith, who had glaucoma and cataracts and whom he called his wife although they were never legally married. More.

Alas, no happy ending to this love story. What’s the most romantic gesture you’ve ever received or offered?

Update: Idaho barista fends off robber

It’s not just the after-hours scene. Apparently, getting your morning cup of joe can be dangerous in the Lake City, too.

A 17-year-old boy was arrested this morning following an attempted holdup of a coffee stand in Coeur d’Alene in which the barista pulled a gun on the would-be robber.

A plainclothes deputy sheriff for Kootenai County was in the area of the robbery serving civil papers when a radio broadcast went out alerting officers to the incident.

The robber had a gun in the attempt to take money from Sunshine Espresso at Ironwood Drive and Government Way, but left without getting any cash.

The barista, Michelle Cornelson, said the robber showed a handgun and demanded money, but when a vehicle pulled into the lot for an order, it caused the robber to lower his gun, according to Coeur d’Alene police.

She told police she used the distraction to grab her own weapon and point it at the robber, ordering him to leave. More here.

And the latest from KXLY here.

Boy howdy! Gun totin’ baristas. What next?

Bad News: “A systemic failure has occurred”

WASHINGTON – U.S. intelligence agencies had enough “bits and pieces” of information to thwart the attempted Christmas Day airplane bombing, a senior administration official said Tuesday, but they failed to properly analyze and share it.

Instead, what President Barack Obama called a potentially catastrophic “mix of human and systemic failures” allowed the 23-year-old Nigerian suspect to board a U.S.-bound airliner, allegedly with an explosive device that could have killed nearly 300 people.

“A systemic failure has occurred, and I consider that totally unacceptable,” Obama told reporters near his vacation retreat in Hawaii. Full story.

Perhaps we should stop referring to them as “intelligence agencies.” Just a thought.

Good News: Mother, child survive perilous birth

Tracy Hermanstorfer kisses her newborn son, Coltyn, Monday, at a hospital in Colorado Springs, Colo.

DENVER – Mike Hermanstorfer was clutching his pregnant wife’s hand in a Colorado hospital on Christmas Eve when she stopped breathing, her life apparently slipping away. Then he cradled his newborn son’s limp body seconds after a medical team delivered the baby by Cesarean section.

Minutes later he saw his son show signs of life in his arms under the feverish attention of doctors, and soon he learned his wife had inexplicably started breathing again.

“My legs went out from underneath me,” Hermanstorfer said Tuesday. “I had everything in the world taken from me, and in an hour and a half I had everything given to me.” More.

Nothing better than a happy ending, even if they had to mangle the spelling of the baby’s name. What’s the best news you’ve heard this week?

Do you have a license to turn that thing on?



Marmitetoasty says,”Everyone that owns a telly here in Britain, irrespective of if you have cable or sky, HAS to have a ‘telly license’ its about £140 ($280) a year and even if where you live just has a tiny portable telly or you have 4 or 5 big widescreens the price is the same…..its not on how many tellys you have…. you can have 1 or 10, you just have to have one license….. ” Full comment here.

In an earth-shattering HBO moment Larry Spencer and Spookelooneh are in complete agreement and advocate no TV at all. You know, I could watch “Lost” on my computer, so I’m kinda leaning to the no-TV camp.

How about you? If you had to pay for a TV license would you, or would you just say “no” to television?

Vandals Seek Fine Finish

Safety Shiloh Keo and UI teammates in the defensive backfield are charged with keeping Bowling Green star Charlie Barnes in check.

Game time: 1:30 p.m. | TV: ESPN | Radio: 1080-AM/700-AM

Big day for Idaho football. I happen to know someone who’ll be watching the game and offered to post live box scores. If you’re doing something crazy like DVR-ing the game, and are going to yell about spoilers, DON’T check back on this thread. Just saying.

BOISE – Deonte Jackson has been in the University of Idaho football program long enough to be able to put 2009 in context. He’s seen the damage caused by coaching upheaval. He’s been through seasons where any victory seemed like a minor miracle.

Up until this fall, it all looked so hopeless – which, of course, makes today’s appearance in the Humanitarian Bowl that much more satisfying for veterans like Jackson.

Clearly, though, just getting to Bronco Stadium’s blue turf isn’t enough.

“To make it is a great accomplishment, but to win it would just be like the exclamation point on the season,” said Jackson, a junior tailback. “It’s tremendous. It’s a real big thing for everyone involved in this program, this school.” More.

And be sure to follow all the stories here.

His Cheating Heart

In this Aug. 20, 2000 file photo, Tiger Woods points to his ball as it drops for birdie on the first hole of a three-hole playoff against Bob May at the PGA Championship at the Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville, Ky.

Like years past, this one has been a whopper for high-profile philanderers. Psychologists aren’t surprised, as guys are wired to want sex, a lot, and are more likely than gals to cheat. The behavior may be particularly likely for men with power, researchers say, though they point out that despite the genetic propensity to sleep around, cheating remains a choice, not a DNA-bound destiny.

The list of powerful individuals whose marital transgressions came out this year includes Tiger Woods, David Letterman, former senator John Edwards and South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford.

The obvious question, perhaps most perplexing when it comes to wealthy men who had beautiful wives and seemingly enviable lives: “What were they thinking?”

Turns out, they may not have been thinking consciously about the acts at all.

“I’m guessing these things don’t happen at the forefront of their brain,” said Scott Reynolds, assistant professor of business ethics at the University of Washington in Seattle. “They aren’t things he sits down and calculates out. It’s in the background.” Full story.

This has got to be the understatement of the year: “I’m guessing these things don’t happen at the forefront of their brain,” Still, the article is a good read even if the answer is pretty simple– cheating is a choice.

Of course, your thoughts may differ.


New Poll Style

I interrupt my Christmas vacation to bring you the following Huckleberries Online PSA (public service announcement). Blogmeister Ryan has provided a new spot for the weekdaily polls — in the upper corner of the left rail. I asked him to do so to make the polls more visible. They tend to settle to the bottom of the main thread in the afternoon. Now, they’ll be on top all day. Ryan tested the new poll by using the question from the last one I published before vacation: “Are you better off today than you were 10 years ago?” That attracted 20 more answers before I subbed in the new question for today. The final total was: 50% (74 of 147) voted that they are better off today. 41% of 147 voted that they’re worst off. And 8% (12 of 147) said that they are the same now as they were at the beginning of the decade. You’ll see that today’s question compares the late-night safety of the downtowns in Coeur d’Alene and Spokane.

He’s tuckered out

President Barack Obama speaks to the media Monday about the airliner bombing attempt on Christmas Day.

It’s not just me. Our president is looking worn out.

WASHINGTON — After a sleepless, overnight flight to Oslo to accept the Nobel Peace Prize earlier this month, President Barack Obama made a not altogether surprising admission. He was tired.

Who could blame him? The president was on his ninth foreign trip to his 21st country; he added a 10th trip the following week. The year had been bookended by the two most intense periods of his young presidency - the early decisions to bail out the nation’s banks and automobile industry, steps the president deemed unpopular but necessary, and his December orders to deploy 30,000 additional U.S. troops to fight the war in Afghanistan. More here.

Would you want his job?

Tuesday Wild Card

Rarely a dull moment in HBO-land. You know, when DFO returns I think I’ll need a vacation to recover from his vacation. Just saying.
But it’s a new day. I skipped my Wii workout because I’m thinking 62’s not a bad age and I’d hate to find out I’ve reached my seventies overnight. There’s still so much on my “Things to do before I turn 45 list.” Things like karaoke, starting a fire without a match, and learning to spell definitely without spellcheck. I’m going to the gym instead. Maybe I’ll ask for the senior discount.

Use this Wild Card to discuss what kind of discounts you deserve or anything else that comes to mind.

APhoto of the Day

Actress Jenny McCarthy works out with the fitness program, “Your Shape.”

#1. One day she woke up and started her Wii fitness machine up and in a weird stroke of luck it told CindyH she was 29 again. keithincda

#2. Elin Woods demonstrates her new technique to ready Tiger’s balls for play. JohnA

#3. I see the timer on the TV shows the amount of time left on Jenny McCarthy’s 15 minutes. Cabbage Boy

I want my free TV!

NEW YORK – For more than 60 years, TV stations have broadcast news, sports and entertainment for free and made their money by showing commercials. That might not work much longer.

The business model is unraveling at ABC, CBS, NBC and Fox and the local stations that carry the networks’ programming. Cable TV and the Web have fractured the audience for free TV and siphoned its ad dollars. The recession has squeezed advertising further, forcing broadcasters to accelerate their push for new revenue to pay for programming.

That will play out in living rooms across the country. The changes could mean higher cable or satellite TV bills, as the networks and local stations squeeze more fees from pay-TV providers such as Comcast and DirecTV for the right to show broadcast TV channels in their lineups. The networks might even ditch free broadcast signals in the next few years. Instead, they could operate as cable channels — a move that could spell the end of free TV as Americans have known it since the 1940s.

Is this Rupert Murdoch’s fault?

Quiz of the year

How closely were you paying attention to world events in the news this year?

Test yourself with the BBC World News website end of year 2009 quiz to find out. There is one question per month.

I scored 8 out of 12 (on my second try). Bleh!

John Blanchette: Win or lose Idaho gains

BOISE – Among the cottage industries spawned by college football, the manufacture of hoary bromides is likely the busiest – or surely no worse than second behind the office pool.

A particular golden oldie posits that “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters.” Author credit should go to Coach Epictetus of the Fightin’ Stoics, but since he couldn’t silk-screen it on a T-shirt in his day, it has been passed off as original thought by every Knute Rockne trying to will his team back from a two-touchdown deficit.

So fixated are the character-builders on trying to shinny up Mount Adversity that they forget the same truism applies during the rosy times. Which brings us to the University of Idaho and the Humanitarian Bowl. More here.

Please tell me I’m not the only one who had to look up “hoary bromides.”

Partick H: More things every geek needs to do before 2010


1) Prepare for David Tennant’s last episode as the Doctor by watching every Doctor Who episode
2) Make bets on who Donna Noble really is
3) Mock someone who likes Windows 7
4) Continue to ponder if JJ Abrams is on LSD when he writes episodes of Lost
5) Watch Caprica on Hulu
6) Complain about the delay in Barnes and Noble shipping your preordered Nook
7) Watch Something, Something, Darkside

Care to add to his list?

Idaho Dad: Do you feel safer?



“A friend of mine is flying from NYC to Edmonton and reports the following: “I’m disheartened though not surprised at new regulations that require we spend the entire flight from NYC to Toronto, and the last hour from Toronto to Edmonton, in our seats, without anything in our laps, not even a book; nor of being allowed to the bathroom only with escort; and to have our one carry-on bag each in the overhead compartment unavailable to us.”

Wow, not even a book? And now flight attendants will be spending the entire flight escorting people to the bathroom?

Do you feel safer?”

So, maybe I’ll take the train to Portland. How’s train travel these days?

Pacquiao and Mayweather must submit to urine tests

Manny Pacquiao celebrates  after defeating Miguel Cotto.

8 Things Every Geek Needs to do Before 2010

Here’s some great advice for all of us:

1. Edit your privacy settings and friendships. Facebook’s maelstrom-causing privacy changes have given quite a few of us a head-scratching good time trying to figure out just how much of our private lives are to be made public. Before the new year begins, take a look at your settings on sites such as Facebook, Flickr, YouTube, LiveJournal and any other places you might be sharing personal content to make sure what you display is consistent with the public image you want to project.

2. Change your passwords. Safety first, friends. Social web security threats in 2009 were sweeping and surprised more than a few users with spam DMs, hacked accounts and malware of all kinds.

3. Own your name. I’ve conducted many a web search on many a professional geek this year, and I’ve been disappointed by how few of us have staked a meaningful claim to our online identities.

4. Prune your feeds. When going through your RSS feeds, do you find yourself impatiently scrolling more than you’re intently skimming? Is your list of unread items becoming unmanagable? The end of the year is a perfect time to get rid of the content you’re not reading and group the stuff you are.

Complete story here.

Explosive Cda Couple

The Press reports on a local couple whose business is booming:

COEUR d’ALENE — Eric and Lisa Kelly love to blow things up, and their passion has landed them a spot on national television.

The owners of Advanced Explosions Demolition, based in Coeur d’Alene, will be featured in a six-part series, “The Imploders,” that premiers at 10 p.m. Wednesday on The Learning Channel.

“It follows the life of blasters,” Lisa said. “They follow us from job to job, country to country. Each episode ends with some kind of demolition.” Read More.

Is is just me or does this sound like a really fun job? Have you ever blown anything up accidentally or intentionally?

Eagle Watchers Could Get Ticketed

Idaho State Police are cautioning eagle watchers at Lake Coeur d’Alene not to stop in the middle of the roadway on state Highway 97, or they risk getting a ticket.

Some motorists have been stopping in the travel lanes along the two-lane highway that runs from Wolf Lodge Bay down the east side of the lake to Harrison. It creates a safety hazard for other motorists.

As a result, police have increased patrols in the area and are writing tickets for the violations. Highway 97 has a limited number of pull offs for stopping. Read More.

Really? People stop in the middle of the highway to watch eagles? Gosh, please use some common sense out there.

What would you stop in the middle of a highway to gawk at?

Key security agencies without leadership

President Barack Obama speaks to the media Monday about the airliner bombing attempt on Christmas Day.

WASHINGTON – Two federal agencies charged with keeping potential terrorists off airplanes and out of the country have been without their top leaders for nearly a year.

It took the Obama administration more than eight months to nominate anyone to lead the Transportation Security Administration and the Customs and Border Protection agency.

President Barack Obama has ordered a review of U.S. security policies following the failed Christmas Day attack on a Detroit-bound flight from Amsterdam. He vowed Monday to “do everything that we can to keep America safe.”

The acting heads of the TSA and CBP — both created in response to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — will be at the forefront of these efforts. More here.


Yeah, but he can’t talk to them

President Barack Obama and his daughters Sasha and Malia watch dolphins at Sea Life Park.

Ready to communicate with dolphins? Take a spin in your flying car? Unfortunately, the future doesn’t always turn out as predicted. Here’s a list of things we thought we’d accomplish by 2010.

I can live without “construction nukes,” but dang, that 3-day work week sure sounded nice.

Anything you’d hoped to see by 2010?

Bears Beat Vikings

Associated Press Bears WR Devin Aromashodu is mobbed after his game-winning TD.

Most have been a sad day in the KageMann household as the Bears rallied for a TD in overtime play.

CHICAGO – Brett Favre cranked up and made one more impossible throw, zinging a touchdown pass in the fading seconds. Too bad for the Minnesota Vikings, that merely put them into overtime.

The Vikings lost again Monday night, beaten by the Chicago Bears 36-30 when Jay Cutler tossed a 39-yard strike to Devin Aromashodu. Minnesota fell for the third time in four games, and the defeat gave the New Orleans Saints homefield advantage throughout the NFC playoffs.

What two teams do you envision in the Super Bowl this year?

Downtown CDA shooting concerns business owners

Young people partying and drinking in downtown Coeur d’Alene is nothing new; it’s been going on for years.

However, one thing that might have changed, several downtown business owners said Monday, is seeing young people bring guns along for the night. An early Sunday shooting outside a downtown bar left two young men hospitalized, one fighting for his life. In May, a young man was shot and killed outside a downtown bar after arguing with another patron.

Some business owners were surprised to discover they knew the suspected shooter in Sunday’s incident. Adam Johnson, 25, owns a telecommunications company and belongs to the same civic organizations they do. Full story.

Are downtown business owners right to be concerned? Do you feel safe after hours in the downtown area?

Let it snow!

Lewis Smith, age 13, shovels snow as he builds an igloo in front of his home in Overland Park, Kan. Friday, Dec. 25, 2009.

The Inland Northwest may have missed out on a white Christmas this year, but forecasters are promising to make up for it this week.

National Weather Service meteorologists on Monday were eyeing a pair of Pacific storm systems moving toward the Inland Northwest.

They are expected to drop an inch or so of snow Tuesday night and Wednesday and again on Thursday night and Friday.

Already coming down in Spokane this morning. Good news or bad news?

Johnson Claims Self Defense

A young businessman facing attempted murder charges after a chaotic confrontation in downtown Coeur d’Alene told police he felt threatened when he opened fire on a group of men looking for a fight.

“I did what I was trained,” Adam M. Johnson told police, according to court documents filed Monday. “I felt threatened and I didn’t feel that there was any other way out of it.” But authorities investigating the early Sunday shooting in the 200 block of Sherman Avenue that left two Moses Lake men with gunshot wounds are skeptical. Full Story.

Monday Wild Card

My goodness, what a weekend! What with HBO figuring promimently in breaking news and all. OTV witnessed the aftermath of the Sherman Avenue shooting.  Bpoole played a role in connecting Meghann Cuniff to the Facebook sources. And all Sunday evening the blog buzzed as Hucksters uncovered additional bits and pieces of background information.

‘Tis armchair detective work to be sure, but we’ll all be watching this closely as the CDA PD completes their investigation.  Victim Brandon Burgess is doing better.Meghann offers the latest here.

Whew! DFO’s off for another week, so fasten your seatbelts Hucksters, it could be an interesting ride into the new year.

While I gather my thoughts, feel free to post your own below.

Joker: Reporters are like VCR’s


Joker says: “Are reporters even necessary? This story proves we have lots of little news gatherers out there in cyberspace and they work for FREE.

Sure they have unconventional names and they mix in their opinion with what happened, but news is a conversation (shameless stolen from the departed Steve Smith). The Spokesman-Review should terminate every single reporter and let the bloggers tell us what’s going on the world.

Reporters, like the VCR, are no longer useful or necessary.”

I’m hoping this was written in that special invisible sarcasm font, but maybe not. What do you think— are reporters no longer useful or necessary?

Spoke: Anyone notice a broken window at Tito’s?

The CDA press offers a few additional details.

Spokelooneh says “The witness also said Johnson was thrown through a window at Tito Macaroni’s. Anybody notice if that window was broken or boarded up, or notice it getting replaced?” Full comment.


How does your income stack up?

Where do you rank as a taxpayer? You may not feel rich earning $35,000 a year, but you’re in the top half of taxpayers. Make $70,000, and you earn more than 75 percent of fellow taxpayers.

….More than 40 million Americans are officially living in poverty. And you might be surprised at how little income it takes to not be considered poor by the federal government. For 2008, the poverty threshold for a single person under age 65 was an income of $11,201, or less than $1,000 a month. For a family of four, the threshold was $21,834. For a family of six, $28,769. Full story.


Fewer law enforcement officers died on the job in 2009

Lakewood police  officers listen during a Nov. 30 news conference about the shooting of four of their colleagues in nearby Parkland,  Wash.

WASHINGTON – Law enforcement deaths this year dropped to their lowest level since 1959, while the decade of the 2000s was among the safest for officers — despite the deadliest single day for police on Sept. 11, 2001.

The drop in deaths, cited in a police group’s report Monday, was tempered by an increase in firearm deaths. In one horrific November shooting, four officers were executed as they discussed their upcoming shift in a Lakewood, Wash., coffee shop. More.

Anyone else surprised by this finding?

Controversial JFK photo discovered

TMZ has obtained a never-before published photograph which appears to show John F. Kennedy on a boat filled with naked women — it’s a photo that could have altered world events. Story here.

I’m not a fan of TMZ’s breathless hyperbole. What do you think the odds are that this photo is legitimate?

Vandals Go Bowling on the Smurf Turf

Idaho coach Robb Akey cheers his team against Hawaii during their game at the Kibbie Dome in October.

I have a feeling that this is the Bowl game that most Hucksters are interested in. Tonight Rocky Bleier will give the keynote address at the US Bank Humanitarian Awards Dinner at Boise Center. More here.

Anyone want to venture a guess on the game’s outcome?

Christmas Tree: Up or Down?

If you’ve got an artificial tree perhaps it doesn’t matter so much, but today’s the day many of us with real trees start to ponder just how long to leave the tree up. Is it losing needles or in the way?

Some folks don’t take their tree down until New Year’s Day, and some take it down the day after Christmas.

When do you take your tree down?

Don’t be burning your Christmas Tree

Because outdoor burning has been banned in North Idaho until Wednesday.

Of course, I guess you could burn them inside, but It’s probably not a good idea.

We Four Kings of Capitol Hill

Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., talks with reporters.

Princeton, New Jersey (CNN) — Last month, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio, a strong defender of the public option for health care, warned: “I don’t want four Democratic senators dictating to the other 56 of us and to the country, when the public option has this much support, that it is not going to be in it.”

But in the end, those senators won the battle over the public option, as well as several other provisions in the health care bill.

They have emerged as the powerhouses of the Senate.

Before 2009, most Americans never heard of Sens. Ben Nelson, Max Baucus or Kent Conrad. More have heard of the Independent Sen. Joe Lieberman as a result of his Democratic vice presidential bid in 2000.

Yet now they are the movers and shakers in the Senate.

Agree or disagree.

Who needs Wii Fit?

Especially when late last night I decided to recheck my fitness age and the stupid game said I was 62! I aged 13 years over the weekend. That’s what happens when all your kids are home for Christmas break and you have to sample everything bake, and DFO goes on vacation.

But there’s cheaper and less painful ways to get healthy. In fact, here’s 20 ways to get healthier for free.

OTV: Posting Facebook Links

OTV raises an interesting point:

“Certainly these guys should have taken advantage of Facebook’s privacy settings, but to me, picking on them because they didn’t is no better than the OpenCDA creeps picking on Christie for a couple of grammar errors.

Yes, these pages were freely accessible via Google, but was it really necessary to post direct links to them here on a newspaper blog? It’s not about privacy issues or freedom issues to me, it’s about respect. One of Kellen’s friends is involved in a horrid tragedy and he didn’t really need the additional stress of realizing his FB page had been linked to on a public forum.” Full comment.

Do you agree with OTV that this is a respect issue? Or do you feel that people who don’t use the privacy settings on Facebook get what they deserve?

APhoto of the Day

This photo shows Associated Press photo editor Liz Schultz trying on a pair of 2010 glasses in New York. Associated Press photos.

You write the cutline.

OTV Reviews 4th Street Pantry

“I spent many hours at 24-hour diners in my late teens and early twenties, drinking oceans of coffee, chain smoking and filling notebooks with pretentious poetry. At the time, they were pretty much the only places for the under-21 crowd to meet and socialize without pesky parental units leering over their shoulders.

Our circle of friends started out at Perkins, where we regularly annoyed the waitresses by acting like it was our living room and never buying anything more than a bottomless cup of joe and a large order of fries with a side of ranch dressing. When the management finally got fed up and threw us out for good, we relocated to Denny’s, where they seemed much more receptive to our chaos and where we would see a preview of our future selves; hungry post-bar drunks not quite ready to let the night come to a graceful end.” More here.

When is the last time you tried to find a place to eat after 9 p.m.? Where did you end up?

New Arrest on Northwest Airlines Flight

Zan Jafry, left, helps his father Syed Jafry with his coat after arriving on a Northwest Flight from Amsterdam at Detroit Metropolitan Airport in Romulus, Mich. on  Friday, Dec. 25, 2009. A Northwest Airlines passenger from Nigeria, who said he was acting on al-Qaida’s instructions, tried to blow up the plane Friday as it was landing in Detroit, law enforcement and national security officials said.


WASHINGTON – A Nigerian passenger onboard the same Northwest Airlines route that was attacked on Christmas Day was taken into custody in Detroit on Sunday after locking himself in the bathroom for an hour and becoming verbally disruptive upon landing, officials said.

The latest disturbance aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 came as the U.S. system for checking suspicious travelers and airport security came under new scrutiny, prompted by an alleged terrorist bent on destroying a jetliner who was thwarted only by a malfunctioning detonator and some quick-thinking passengers. More.

All I want to do is fly to Portland next month without being strip-searched. Is that too much to ask?

HBO comes through for Reporter

Adam M. Johnson, 25, was arrested early Sunday, accused of shooting in downtown Coeur d’Alene that left one person in critical condition.

Information provided by Huckster bpoole was instrumental in helping Meghann Cuniff break the story of last night’s shooting in downtown Cda. Says Cuniff: “It was huge, huge help. I was able to find the suspect’s name on the page, then confirm through the jail that the guy is the same guy arrested downtown this morning.” Full comment.

Read her story here.

I find it interesting that a commenter at OpenCDA criticized a reporter for asking for and following up tips posted on this blog. Because, uh…that’s exactly what a reporter is supposed to do. You know– work sources, follow leads. Maybe some folks aren’t aware of the role social media plays in reporting the news.

Weekend Wild Card 12.27.09

Headed out early to take advantage of the post-Christmas sales. I always find great buys for the winter birthday folks in my family.
I’m saddened to report that according to the Wii Fit, I’m 49. Since that birthday is still five years away, I’m either go to have to work out out a lot more with Sven (my Wii personal trainer) or take the lying piece of garbage back to the store. I did find out that I’m not at all bad at rhythm Kung Fu, but I can’t head a soccer ball to save my life.

Enjoy the weekend and be sure to stop in and give us a post-Christmas rundown.

Update: OTV Witnesses Shooting Aftermath


Color me freaked out. Watched two people get shot in what appeared to be a random drive by on Sherman Ave. tonight in front of Titos, half a block from where I was standing. No details, sorry.  Story here.

Meghann Cuniiff’s story here.

Hat tip MKS.



Update: Seattle at Green Bay Final Score: 48-10

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers leads the sixth-ranked offense in the NFL.

It has been a chorus of this Seahawks’ season, but even by Seattle’s standards Sunday’s loss was enormous and that’s saying something given the number of double-digit whuppings Seattle has been subjected to this season.

Seattle lost 48-10 at Green Bay, which was not only the largest loss this season but tied for second-largest margin of defeat in franchise history.

And as bad as that was, it was almost worse. Tight end John Carlson’s 16-yard touchdown catch with 4:15 left saved a little bit of face in a game when it was tough to find anything to salvage.

Spokane Man Sues Idaho

A Spokane man has filed a $500,000 lawsuit against the state of Idaho for injuries he says resulted from a crash caused by potholes on Interstate 90 in North Idaho.

Kasey Crick, 22, filed the lawsuit Dec. 18 after the state denied any wrongdoing in response to a tort claim he had filed following the Dec. 28, 2007, accident.

According to court files obtained by the Coeur d’Alene Press, Crick was a passenger in a vehicle pulling a trailer when the trailer came dislodged after running over potholes in the westbound lane just west of Coeur d’Alene. Read more.

Where the Deals Are

Forbes reports retailers aren’t slashing prices as much as last year, but there’s still good deals to be found.

By Tom Van Riper,

Major retailers won’t be panicked into slashing post-Christmas prices as severely as they did last year, when they were caught off-guard by the credit crisis. But there should still be plenty of great deals out there.


Chargers Rout Titans

Chargers cornerback Antonio Cromartie hangs onto Titans receiver Kenny Britt in the second quarter.


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The San Diego Chargers have their first-round bye, and Philip Rivers is still perfect in December.

Tennessee’s bid for NFL history? The Titans lost that along with their postseason dream, looking like a throwback to the team that started the season 0-6.

Rivers threw two touchdowns passes, LaDainian Tomlinson ran for two scores and the Chargers beat the Titans 42-17 on Friday night to grab the AFC’s No. 2 seed and that first-round bye in the playoffs. More.


They play football on Christmas Day? Who knew?

Taliban Video Shows Idaho Soldier

This frame from the video released Friday purportedly shows Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl, 23.

KABUL, Afghanistan – The Taliban released a video Friday of an American soldier captured in Afghanistan, showing him apparently healthy but spouting criticism about the U.S. military operation.

In Idaho, Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl’s family pleaded on Christmas Day for his release and urged him to “stay strong.”

Bergdahl disappeared June 30 while based in eastern Afghanistan and is the only known American serviceman in captivity. Full Story.

Christmas Day Wild Card

Merry Christmas Hucksters!

I’ve survived another festival of Strange Norwegian Meat and am ready to bask in a day filled with family, food and maybe a present or two (I’ve been good, and all are reports to the contrary are flat out lies!).

As I write this I’m reminded of the Christmas morning a small boy prodded me awake. “Mommy!” he whispered. “Santa came! He came!” He eagerly dumped his stocking on my stomach. I blearily squinted at the clock. It was 3 a.m. “Alex,” I hissed. “Santa, hasn’t even reached Idaho yet. If you don’t get back to bed and go to sleep right now, he’s going to come take this stocking back!”

That little boy is 17, now. and STILL sleeping. I may have to wake him up!

Whether you’ve been naughty or nice, whether you believe or don’t believe, my Christmas wish for you is still the same… peace, goodwill, great food and maybe just a moment or two Christmas magic.

Bent’s Clever Christmas Greetings

Here’s some HBO Christmas Fun.

You’ll shoot yer eye out Cabbage Boy.

It’s a Wonderful HBO Life.

And it’s an HBO Christmas Carol.

Thanks, Bent! Merry Christmas Hucksters!


Christmas Eve Wild Card

I had the worst dreams last night! I dreamed I couldn’t find my kids’ Christmas gifts, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon broke up, a couple Hucksters had a bloody duel and were buried in seagull crap. And the huge head of Bradley Thoma hovered above me saying– “It’s not my fault. I’ve got a disability…”

It was bad. No more eggnog for lunch.

Today, after all, is Christmas Eve, better known around our house as the Festival of Strange Norwegian Meats. We spend Christmas Eve with my Norwegian in-laws. Each year they make a pilgrimage to Ballard, Washington, and stock up on…meat. For example, Pinnekjøtt (literally “stick meat”) or dried mutton ribs, a traditional Christmas dish in the western parts of Norway. Pinnekjøtt is salted, dried and sometimes smoked lamb’s ribs.
Then there’s ribbe (pork belly) and Medisterkaker (ground pork and veal sausage). I tend to eat a LOT of mashed rutabega and cabbage, and wash it down with a fair amont of Glögg.

Now that I’ve whet your appetites, use this thread to share your own Christmas Eve traditions, or start a new topic.

Sorry Virginia…

Editor’s note: The following op-ed article is for grown-ups only. Children are warned that if they read it, they will not receive any gifts from Santa Claus this year!

Parents should stop teaching their kids to believe in Santa Claus. Reading stories about Santa is fine, and encouraging generosity and imagination is great. But tricking children into believing that an omniscient fat man, with a red suit and rosy cheeks, will slide down the chimney bestowing presents on Dec. 24 is just flat-out immoral.

First of all, it’s lying. It’s one thing to lie to save someone’s life, but stop kidding yourself. “It’s fun to watch the kids get excited” is hardly a noble cause. Nor is it harmless. I’ve amassed recollections of “finding out the truth about Santa,” and many were stories of genuine embarrassment and resentment. Read more.

I’d hate to be this guy’s kids. Just saying.

A Baby Changes Everything

In the midst of unearthing Christmas decorations, I surveyed the downstairs family room. Actually, “wreck” room is a more apt description. Green and red bins burgeoning with tinsel and ornaments perched precariously on tabletops. Blue bins overflowing with winter garb towered with ominous instability in opposite corners. And stacks of paper on the floor revealed last year’s resolution to stay current with filing has been a dismal failure.

Overwhelmed, I looked for a place to sit. And then I saw it – my rocking chair. Banished to the basement when my youngest grew too big to cuddle comfortably with me in its confines.

I removed the mountain of snow pants and ski gloves that had buried it and sat down and began to rock. As I swayed, I remembered the first time I saw this chair, on a Christmas morning 20 years ago. Cindy Hval, SR. More here.

Has a baby changed your life?

The Best Christmas Movie Ever

For our family, Christmas isn’t complete until we sit down and watch “A Christmas Story.” We’re not the only ones. Here are Top Ten Reasons why A Christmas Story is the Best Christmas Movie Ever.

Reasons include The Scut Farcus Affair, The Bunny Outfit, and I Triple Dog Dare Ya.

What’s your favorite holiday movie?

CDA Press: New Company to Offer Loop Tackle

Fly fishermen work the waters of the Missouri River near Wolf Creek, Mont., a stretch popular for trout fishing.

COEUR d’ALENE — Joe Roope, owner of Castaway Fly Fishing Shop of Coeur d’Alene and a small group of Northwest investors have created a new company, Nordic Fly Fishers, USA, LLC, the United States distributorship of Loop Tackle Design AB of Sweden.

Loop Tackle, located in Akersberga, near Stockholm, was founded more than 30 years ago by current owner and CEO Christer Sjoberg. The company designs and manufactures fly fishing equipment, clothing and accessories. More here.

Any dedicated fly fishers out there excited about this news?

Gift Wrap or Gift Bags

I’m all thumbs when it comes to wrapping presents. For years I told everyone my toddlers wrapped the gifts, but actually toddlers with blunt scissors do a better job than I do. That’s why I’m so thankful for the advent of gift bags. I stuff ‘em with lots of tissue so it feels like unwrapping is happening :-)

How about you? Gift Wrap or Gift Bags?

Vet Receives Van

Wes Hixon gets pushed into his new retrofitted van by his sister-in-law, Rachael Guberlet, on Sunday. The 24-year-old Iraq war veteran was presented with an early Christmas gift by the Wheels for Warriors organization recently.

Christmas shopping just got a lot easier for Wes Hixon.

On Dec. 5, the 24-year-old disabled veteran received a retrofitted Chevy Uplander courtesy of Wheels for Warriors. Since 2005, this national program, an offshoot of Operation Support Our Troops, has given 17 vans to veterans who’ve been wounded while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan.However, Dec. 5 marked the first time a recipient has been from the West Coast.

Program chairman Steve Middleton said the modified vans give paralyzed vets the freedom to do simple things, like go to the grocery store. He was part of the crowd that gathered at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center to present the vehicle to Hixon. “It was very emotional,” Middleton said. Cindy Hval, SR. Full Story.

 Do you know someone who has preservered in the face of tragedy?


APhoto of the Day

Members of the Amalgamated Order of Real Bearded Santas gather in New York.

You write the cutline.

Historic Health Care Bill Passes

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nev., center, answers questions outside of the Senate chambers on Capitol Hill in Washington, Thursday, Dec. 24, 2009, after the Senate passed the health care reform bill. From left are, Senate Finance Finance Committee Chairman Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Reid, Senate Majority Whip Richard Durbin of Ill., and Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, D-Conn..
(AP Photo/Mannul Balce Ceneta)

WASHINGTON — Senate Democrats passed a landmark health care bill in a climactic Christmas Eve vote that could define President Barack Obama’s legacy and usher in near-universal medical coverage for the first time in the country’s history.

“We are now finally poised to deliver on the promise of real, meaningful health insurance reform that will bring additional security and stability to the American people,” Obama said shortly after the Senate acted.

“This will be the most important piece of social legislation since Social Security passed in the 1930s,” said Obama, standing with Vice President Joe Biden in the State Room of the White House.

The 60-39 vote on a cold winter morning capped months of arduous negotiations and 24 days of floor debate. It also followed a succession of failures by past congresses to get to this point. Biden presided as 58 Democrats and two independents voted “yes.” Republicans unanimously voted “no.” More.

Anyone surprised?

Kootenai County Magistrate Named District Court Judge

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter today announced the appointment of Kootenai County Magistrate Benjamin Simpson to succeed 1st District Judge Charles Hosack, who is retiring at the end of the year.

Simpson, 60, is a Colorado native and U.S. Navy veteran who received his bachelor’s degree from California State University in Chico and his law degree from Gonzaga University School of Law in Spokane. Read More.

Obama: Disappointment at Copenhagen Justified

U.S. President Barack Obama, 4th left, is joined by other leaders in a multilateral meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark Friday, Dec. 18, 2009.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama said on Wednesday that disappointment over the outcome of the Copenhagen climate change summit was justified, hardening a widespread verdict that the conference had been a failure.

“I think that people are justified in being disappointed about the outcome in Copenhagen,” he said in an interview with PBS Newshour.

“What I said was essentially that rather than see a complete collapse in Copenhagen, in which nothing at all got done and would have been a huge backward step, at least we kind of held ground and there wasn’t too much backsliding from where we were.” Story here.


They Died Too Young

Kurt Cobain: Nirvana lead singer lived fast and died young, committing suicide at his Seattle home in April 1994. Associated Press photos

15 Music Legends who died in their prime. The list includes Cobain, Hendrix, Holly and Cline. Any others you’d include?

Guantanamo Prison May Stay Open ‘till 2011

A guard talks to a Guantanamo detainee in the open yard in Camp 4 detention center on the U.S. Naval Base in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, in January.

WASHINGTON – President Barack Obama‘s commitment to close the U.S. detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, by next month may be delayed until 2011 because it will take months for the government to buy an Illinois prison and upgrade it to hold suspected terrorists. Full story.


Sarah Palin Wild Card

So, I got the bulk of my Christmas shopping done early this year, and instead of sipping cocoa and smiling serenely, I’m super stressed.


Because when you live in a houseful of snoopy kids you have to get very creative about where to hide their gifts. This year I must have been inspired. I was so creative that I can’t remember where I stashed most of the loot. Seriously.

I tore my bedroom apart last night and came up empty handed (unless you count a box of candy canes I found under the bed that I’m pretty sure are from last year— or the year before).  If you know where I hid my kid’s Christmas presents please let me know.

Use this Wild Card to speculate on likely hiding places or anything else that needs speculating.

PM: I’ve learned a couple useful things today: #1 Write down where you hid the Christmas presents. #2 Holding down the control button and scrolling back and forth is way more fun than it sounds. #3 Maybe eggnog for lunch wasn’t the best choice.

APhoto of the Day

This Tuesday, Dec. 22, 2009 image made from video released by the Metropolitan Nashville Police Department shows a man dressed as Santa robbing the Sun Trust Bank in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Metropolitan Nashville Police Department)

Top cutlines:

#1 On the way out of the bank, the robber Santa could be heard singing “Fleeced Navidad”. JohnA.

#2 “Times are tuff lady! Do you know the cost of reindeer food has gone up two-fold and with the economy this year there wont be enough milk and cookies to feed all my elves through till next Christmas.. Now, NO dye packs dammit!” coeurgenx

#3 Sorry, miss. That Brodwater kid wants another Star Wars Legos set. Taryn Hecker

Christmas Traditions We Could do Without

Does anyone really enjoy Secret Santa? Is mistletoe just an excuse to grope the unsuspecting?

Here’s some Christmas traditions some could do without:

Secret Santa: Here’s the way Secret Santa should work: everyone in the office brings a $20, puts it in a hat, the hat gets shuffled up, and everyone takes out a $20. And then you say “Hey, $20! I can really use that! Thanks, Secret Santa!” and you go back to online shopping at your desk.

Leaving Anything Other than Cookies for Santa: Okay, you can get away with a carrot for the reindeer, but beyond that? Things are out of hand. The elves want midget porn, Ms. Claus wants some Midol, Frosty the Snowman’s looking for something from one of the local dispensaries to fill that corncob pipe. Everyone’s got their hands out nowadays.

More here.

(Though I totally disagree with the one about no stockings for your pets. Like Santa would forget Milo!)

Fired Cop Sues City

Bradley Thoma sends his Christmas greetings to the city of Spokane by filing a $4 million damage claim.

“The claim, filed earlier today, contends the city illegally failed to accommodate Thoma’s disability - alcoholism.” More here.

Really? A drunk cop is involved in a hit-and-run, and it’s the city’s fault. Really?

Looking for a date? Susan and Tim are available…

People magazine reports: “One of Hollywood’s most enduring relationships has ended – Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins have broken up after more than two decades together…”
Full Story

Anyone suprised? Anyone really care?

Michael Jackson’s FBI Files

The movie poster for the Michael Jackson film  “This is It.”

Rolling Stone reports Jackson’s FBI dossier includes extortion attempts and terrorists threats. Story here. The files were released as part of the Freedom of Information Act.

Are these files something the public really needs to read?

Obama’s Winter White House

Barack Obama sits on Kailua Beach in Kailua, Hawaii, last summer with his daughter Sasha.

For President Obama a white Christmas means sandy, white beaches. Click here for a guided tour of the first family’s vacation retreat.

Question: White snow or white sand for Christmas?


Everyday Foods that can Kill You Horribly

Rhubarb is a tasty treat and a hardy garden dweller.

In my unflagging efforts to spread warmth and holiday cheer, I give you this list of everyday foods that can cause much misery and death.

You know deadly things like, rhubarb, potatoes and water. So before you take another helping of deep-fried butter with a side of Namibian Bullfrog, please read the above.

Merry Christmas!


Eggnog: Yes or No?

This Low-fat Cooked Eggnog made with a carefully re-worked recipe is “simply amazing _ and amazingly easy.”

Eggnog ranks right up there with Fruitcake when it comes to having both ardent enthusiasts and passionate loathers. Here the SR Food Panel weighs in.

Are you and eggnog lover or loather?

Balloon boy’s parents get jail time

Richard Heene is photographed by a television crew as he leaves his house with his family in Fort Collins, Colo., on Monday, Oct. 19, 2009. AP Photo.

The parents who carried out the balloon boy hoax were sentenced to jail Wednesday and given strict probation conditions that forbid them from earning any money from the spectacle for four years.

Richard Heene was sentenced to 90 days in jail, including 60 days of work release that will let him pursue his job as a construction contractor while serving his time. His wife, Mayumi, was sentenced to 20 days in jail. More.

Does the punishment fit the crime?

CDA Press Declares 72-hour Moratorium on Negativity.

Here’s a warm fuzzy hug from the CDA Press:

“Seriously. From now through Christmas Day, keep your crankiness to yourself.
That this is the most joyful time of the year is debatable, especially with so many people out of work and the rest worried about what the new year might really bring. It’s peace we want; it’s stress we get.
So let’s make a pact. Let’s all agree to a cease-fire of bad karma. Let’s pledge togetherness. Let’s endeavor to make each other feel better, raising the tide of goodness all around us.”
More here.

Coeurgenx: Faking it


“I hate getting something I will never use and have to act excited to have recieved.” Full comment.

Coeurgenx comment reminded me of sweater shavers. Remember those? Like we all needed to sit around and shave our sweaters!

What’s the most useless gift you’ve ever received?

Missing Moderates

“Many have bemoaned the near-extinction of the political species known as the moderate Republican. Once thriving in cold habitats, particularly New England, socially liberal but fiscally conservative Republicans were gradually displaced by Democrats. The loss of these bridge-builders has left the Republican Party largely in the hands of the bridge-burners, and to the detriment of America.

I’ve missed the moderate Republicans, but the recent gang warfare over health care reform has aroused second thoughts. Maine’s Sen. Olympia Snowe is supposed to be one of the last of the breed, but exactly what was the point of her?” More here.

Do you agree with Froma Harrop? Are true GOP moderates MIA?

I have always disliked Christmas…



Cis says, “I have always disliked Christmas…. I had to really fight it around my kids when they were young.(they said they never knew) It was is so commericalized. Maybe not having a lot of money, and hating my kids go back to school and hear of the great things that their classmates got for Christmas that they would never have.” Full comment here.

Is there any holiday you dislike?

Arbor Crest Mansion Damaged in Fire: Update

The Spokane Valley Fire Department responded to an early morning fire that burned portions of the landmark Cliff House mansion on the grounds of the Arbor Crest Wine Cellars overlooking the Spokane Valley.

Update: Tasting Room and GIft Shop still open.

“An early morning fire burned portions of the landmark Cliff House mansion on the grounds of Arbor Crest Wine Cellars.

Firefighters were called at 3:50 a.m. and found the building burning on all three floors. A second alarm was called a short time later, bringing 24 firefighters and six fire rigs to the scene. As they arrived, windows already had been blown out by the fire’s heat.” Read more.

Sad news regarding one of Spokane’s most beautiful historic homes. Have you ever been to Arbor Crest?

Poolman: What’s a KageMan?


“A long lost brother, your future best friend, maybe an unknown soul mate. Actually I’m not quite sure. I know he is a big Minnesota Viking fan, was a professional huckleberry picker for a short time and has been involved in the logging industry off and on for many years. He has written letters to the editor to the CDA Press and had them published under the name KageMan. I’ll use his name in a sentence. Do you believe in KageMan? Go ahead and Wikipedia that…”

Poolman’s on a roll. This reminds me of the good old days when the word Gookin could be used as any part of speech. Feel free to use Kageman in a sentence. I’ll go first: “I was at Burger King yesterday, and this dude went all Kageman over a lady breastfeeding her baby in public.”

Poolman: A troll is…


   “You see, a troll is one who never provides any intelligent thought provoking or humorous comments and only focuses on criticizing others. It really requires very little effort or skill to be a troll.” Full comment here.


Poolman’s definition works for me, how about you?

Harry Up and Wait?

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, center, accompanied by Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Christopher Dodd, left, and others, speaks during a Democratic health care rally Tuesday on Capitol Hill in Washington. Associated Press photos

WASHINGTON – Americans will feel the pain before the gain from the health care overhaul Democrats are close to pushing through Congress.

Proposed taxes and fees on upper-income earners, insurers, even tanning parlors, take effect quickly. So would Medicare cuts.

Benefits, such as subsidies for lower middle-income households, consumer protections for all, eliminating the prescription coverage gap for seniors, come gradually. More here.

Hmm…taxes and fees take effect quickly. Coverage for the uninsured not likely ‘till 2013. See anything wrong with this picture?

Update: Exultant Senate Democrats pushed President Barack Obama‘s landmark health care overhaul past a final procedural hurdle Wednesday, setting up a Christmas Eve vote to pass the legislation extending coverage to 30 million Americans.

Top Ten Most Annoying People at the Mall

A pair of shoppers, who did not want to be identified, sit on a bench Monday at the CambridgeSide Galleria mall in Cambridge, Mass. Associated Press photos

As someone who doesn’t like shopping or shopping malls, I concur with most of this list which includes:

The retail employee who cheerfully wants to know, as you’re being rung up, if you have all your Christmas shopping done now?

The local news

Unescorted men in Victoria’s Secret

Though Costco isn’t the mall I would add Costco shoppers who push their loaded carts down the middle of the parking lot. Nothing says Merry Christmas like putting along at .5 mph behind some Bozo and his big screen TV, case of Heineken, and drum of industrial strength cleanser.

Have you encountered any of the folks on this top ten list?  Anyone you’d care to add?



Priest: OK For Poor To Shoplift

For a priest in northern England, the commandment that dictates “thou shalt not steal” isn’t exactly written in stone. The Rev. Tim Jones caused an uproar by telling his congregation that it is sometimes acceptable for desperate people to shoplift _ as long as they do it at large national chain stores, rather than small, family businesses. Jones’ Robin Hood-like sermon drew rebukes Tuesday from fellow clergy, shop owners and police. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Rev. Tim Jones that it’s okay for the poor to shoplift sometimes, as long as they do it at alarge national chain store and not mom-and-pop businesses?

Parting Shot: Airport Surprise

Robyn Moore with her fiancee, William Acosta, right, exchange vows at the Corpus Christi, Texas International Airport on Monday after his arrival from Toledo, Ohio. Robyn Moore was at the airport waiting for him in her wedding dress with Justice of the Peace, Robert “Bobby” Balderas, below left, who married them on the spot. Story here. (AP Photo/Corpus Christi Caller-Times, George Gongora)

Question: Where did you get married?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12.22.09

CindyH’s going to take over the helm of Huckleberries Online, beginning Wednesday morning until Monday, Jan. 4. She’ll post Wednesday and some Thursday and then again next Monday through Wednesday, with some posts on New Year’ Eve days. You’ll have to get by with Wild Cards on the holidays and weekends. I appreciate the year we’ve had together as we rebuilt Huckleberries Online into the blog it is today. The first order of business in the new year will to begin planning for Blogfest 2010 in mid-February when HBO turns 6 (which is like 60 in blog years). Now, I’ll post this Wild Card and depart with this: It’s all yours, Cindy …

JeanieS: Bad Santa

My one regret as a parent (Oh, ok, I have a gazillion regrets, but this one particular one wasn’t my fault!), and that is that my two sons never got their picture taken with Santa. We tried but failed miserably. It happened that my first son was born on the 10th of December – a little too young for a picture with Santa, mainly because as a new mother, I was NOT going to let just anyone hold my brand new baby. Not even a jolly old saint of a man, wearing red pajamas and ho-hoing loudly, giggling his large belly. No way. We settled for dressing the baby in a Santa outfit and placing him under the tree for endless adorable pictures/JeanieS, Nuts & Nonsense. More here.

Question: Did you drag your kids to the mall to get their picture taken w/Santa? Anything happen worth mentioning here at Huckleberries Online?

15YO Dies In Schweitzer Accident

A 15-year-old skier died today in an accident at Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort in Sandpoint. Shortly after noon, a group of snowboarders reported that they came across a skier who had fallen into a tree well, an area of loose snow frequently hidden by low-lying branches, according to a Schweitzer news release. The ski patrol found the boy about 15 minutes later. He was unresponsive and ski patrol members began performing CPR. He was taken to the resort’s first aid area, where a doctor from Bonner General Hospital determined the victim had died/SR. More here.

APhoto Of The Day — 12.22.09

Country music singer Carrie Underwood shows her new engagement ring as she watches her fiance, Mike Fisher of the Ottawa Senators, and his teammates take on Boston Bruins during the first period of an NHL hockey game in Ottawa on Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Sean Kilpatrick)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. Mike decided if she is to be a proper Fisher on Canada’s forested river banks, his bride will need to carry under wood her own tackle — JohnA.
  • 2. If Mr Fisher has to buy that big of a ring to marry her, I can’t wait to see the size of the one he is going to have to buy her when he gets caught cheating on her — CoeurGenX.
  • 3. I’m gonna be Carrie Fisher now!!!! — Liz.
  • HM: Charles Dixon

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.22.09

  • 5:39 p.m. Registered sex offender inadvertently received some of his pornography back from local authorities and wants to turn it back in before he gets in more trouble.
  • 5:37 p.m. Shoplifter caught at state Liquor Store, Government Way & Appleway.
  • 4:36 p.m. Possible house fire on Bogie/Post Falls turned out to be a barbecue.
  • 4:29 p.m. 2 deer have been hit on 4th Street, south of the roundabout. Officer warns dispatch that she may get calls because he plans to dispatch the injured deer.
  • 4:24 p.m. A small, red vehicle is driving across yards and racing @ Rude & Hanley.
  • 4:12 p.m. Adults reportedly are smoking pot outside an Alderbrook residence.
  • 3:55 p.m. A maroon subaru w/Bonner County plates is weaving on H95 @ Garwood. There are little children in the car.
  • 3:45 p.m. Skyler on Echo Drive reports stolen mail.
  • More below

HBO Blogosphere — 12.22.09

Am I going to become one of those bitter people? This is the second Christmas without my Mom. My Dad is gone, and my Sister Angie is gone. I heard a song (Silver Bells) from my childhood the other day that brought me down - I burst into tears with longing of that time - the last Christmas we had as an intact family…… Oh it was so sad and I had such regret!!! I’m not into Christmas and just want it to be over/Me, It’s Just Me. More here.

Question: Does the Christmas holiday make you sad?

Risch: ‘Where’s The Outrage?’

A video clip of U.S. Senator Jim Risch speaking today on the floor of the Senate has been posted on his Web site and can be found under the video tab. Risch spoke in opposition to the current health care reform bill citing numerous polls showing a majority of Americans do not support the legislation.

Question: What do you make of Risch’s speech?

P/M: No Double Shots In Mormonville

Poolman: Actually I’m just having a flashback to a few nights ago sitting in a bar in SLC after a miserably long day of travel. I ordered a double Crown and Coke. This geeky bartender comes back, “we can only serve one once of alcohol at a time”, what about a shot and a beer?, “that is OK”, is it normal beer?, “What do you consider normal?”, well, for starters normal beer would contain 3.5-5% alcohol, “No, it’s low alcohol beer”, So I can have a shot and a low alcohol beer but not a double cocktail? “Yes”, can I have another Crown and Coke? Are you done with the first one”, almost, “I’ll need to take the glass before I can serve you a second”, you people are WEIRD, beam me up Scotty!

Question: Have you ever had trouble ordering a drink in Utah?

DFO: It Was A Very Good Year

Despite the continuing struggles of the newspaper business to stay afloat, I’d have to put 2009 into the win column here at Huckleberries Online. It didn’t start that way, of course. As a result of the switch to a new system for S-R blogs, Huckleberries lost about 40 percent of its traffic, for a variety of reasons. The blog spent much of the early part of the year catching up to the big daily numbers that it had in 2007 and 2008. HBO topped 2 million page-views last week and is ending the fourth quarter on a pace for 2.5M. More than ever, Huckleberries today resembles the kind of cyber place that I envisioned when I started this experiment almost 6 years ago. On a coupla occasions during the second half of the year, I divided comments among conservatives, liberals, and neutrals, and took polls to calculate the political balance of the blog. It couldn’t be more balanced. Huckleberries has become a place where almost everyone is accepted and respected despite a wide range of political, religious, and philosophical views. Things can still get rough in the comments section. But nothing like the old days. We’ve come a long ways, Berry Pickers. But we have a ways to go yet. Merry Christmas and Happy New Year/DFO.

Question: Any well wishes you want to give other Berry Pickers here?

The Bard’s Christmas Message

I’m grateful that you oftentimes
are patient with these silly rhymes,
so Season’s Greetings I convey
in this brief couplet penned today:

As warm as August at the Isthmus
are my wishes for your Christmas!

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

Surveillance Photo Of Bank Robber

Surveillance photo of the man who robbed Mountain West Bank this morning (courtesy Coeur d’Alene Police Department/Coeur d’Alene Today)

KXLY: Tri-Cities Gets ex-Shock Coach

Sources close to KXLY have confirmed that former Spokane Shock head coach Adam Shackleford has agreed to be the head coach for the Tri-Cities Fever for the 2010 season. The Fever will play in the Indoor Football League after dropping out of the Arena Football 1 league because of the economics involved.  The Fever had previously named Pat O’Hara as their head coach, but our sources tell us that he has accepted a job elsewhere/Keith Osso, KXLY. More here.

Jailbirds Get Christmas Reprieve

Two inmates at the Asotin County Jail were scratched off the naughty list Monday and granted an early release for the holidays. This is an annual event known as the Barabbas release and is orchestrated by Superior Court Judge William Acey, Prosecutor Benjamin Nichols and jail staff. Kable L. Gunter, 35, and Shannon D. Tuschoff, 45, had their sentences commuted after they were selected by Capt. Jon Singleton, jail commander, and their cases were reviewed by Nichols and submitted to Acey for final approval/Brandon Macz, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Dunno if Kootenai County still has the same policy that it once did (under Judge Gene Marano?) But do you agree with allowing an inmate or two out of jail for Christmas?

Rammell Sets LDS Males-Only Confab

Idaho gubernatorial candidate Rex Rammell will be mixing what he calls doctrines from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints into his gubernatorial campaign in a series of meetings slated for LDS elders only. In January, Rammell will kick off a series of special meetings targeted specifically at “faithful priesthood-holders of the LDS Church” to discuss the so-called “White Horse” prophecy. “There is nothing secret about the meeting — it’s just the sacred nature of the things we will be talking about,” said Rammell. “We are going to talk about (LDS Church founder) Joseph Smith’s prophecy that the Constitution will be hanging by a thread and that the Latter-day Saint elders will step forward and save it”/Rexburg Standard Journal. More here.

Question: Anyone out there still insist that Rammell is a legitimate contender for governor?

HBO’s Inland Northwest — 12.22.09

Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor gives a briefing today, near the home where two Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies were shot Monday night in rural Pierce County near Eatonville, Wash. Seattle Times stories here and here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

High Noon: Chief Fires DUI Sergeant

Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick has fired one of her sergeants for his involvement in a DUI hit-and-run this last September. Washington State Patrol troopers say Sergeant Brad Thoma was legally intoxicated when he rear ended another driver in September then drove away from the crash without exchanging information about the fender bender. Because it was the veteran sergeant’s first offense he was able to enter a deferred prosecution program. Under that agreement Thoma can only drive vehicles with a special device that would test Thoma’s breath for the presence of alcohol. The car wouldn’t start if the ignition interlock detected alcohol. However Chief Kirkpatrick wasn’t willing to equip Thoma’s patrol car and other police vehicles he might drive with the devices/Jeff Humphrey, KXLY. More here.

Question: Did Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick make the right move in firing Sgt. Brad Thoma?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.22.09

7:38 a.m. Mountain West Bank @ Ironwood & Government Way was robbed this morning. A man approached an employee of the bank when she arrived for work and entered the building with here. She called police from her cell phone @ 6:53 a.m. KREM2 has more information here.

  • 11:19 a.m. Alan accidentally set off business alarm at his brother’s Dodge Construction on Coeur d’Alene Avenue. He doesn’t know how to turn alarm off.
  • 10:58 a.m. Female on Ezy Street left in a blue pickup after reportedly hitting a male w/a telephone. They were fighting over a child.
  • 10:56 a.m. Roberta at Hauser Mini Storage reports an abandoned trailer w/o plates.
  • 10:54 a.m. Female in KCSD lobby reports her ex-husband stole her vehicle.
  • 10:22 a.m. A female is suffering chest pains in Costco pharmacy.
  • 10:19 a.m. Tammy reports that a black Lab has been hanging out for a week on her Benewah Road/Harrison property.
  • 9:45 a.m. Residential burglary reported on 2300 block of 9th/CdA.
  • 9:32 a.m. 2 Huskies are running into traffic @ Highways 41 & 53, near Super 1/Rathdrum.
  • 9:28 a.m. Resident near Mellick & Euclid/Post Falls reports a stolen tree.
  • 9:21 a.m. 2 Huskies are chasing horses on Trails End/Rathdrum.
  • 8:23 a.m. A female not dressed for the weather is locked out of her house near the scene of this morning’s bank robbery.
  • 8:22 a.m. A CPD Blue has spotted a man crouched down in bushes near Auto Zone on Government Way. The officer reports he matches the description of this morning’s bank robber.

Alabama Demo Switches Parties

The Office of Alabama Rep. Parker Griffith is seen on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday. Griffith of Alabama, a freshman is switching to the Republican Party, his office said Tuesday, another blow to Democrats facing a potentially tough midterm election. (AP Photo/Harry Hamburg)

Question: Should Idaho Blue Dog Demo Walt Minnick switch parties?

Free In Idaho: Fraud That Is Wikipedia

A short while back I watched a commenter on a post at Huckleberries make a rather snide and juvenile argument to the effect that man-caused global warming is true and the fact that there is such total scientific “concensus” among “real” scientists proves it’s true.  He used a wikipedia article as support.  Some of the other Huckleberry commenters can be quite, er, critical about the links people use to support their points, but in this case the wiki link sailed through.  A wiki link?  You’ve got to be kidding me…  Wikipedia, that bastion of knowledge and untainted truth, with articles written by the smartest people on earth?  Wikipedia, that liberal slimepit of lies and fabrication, where articles are written and edited by hacks?  Which is it?/BillH, Free In Idaho! More here.

Question: Do you trust the information in Wikipedia?

Fort Boise: Mix And Match Religion

It was the “eastern” and “new age” beliefs that made it newsworthy, though. Well over half of those surveyed find something “other” to believe in, whether it’s reincarnation, yoga as a spiritual practice, astrology, spiritual energy in mountains, trees or crystals, or that old-time favorite, the “evil eye.” In a different direction, and on a different continent, the tiny seed of liberal religion has found some fertile soil; mostly as a result of Africans having contact with Unitarians in the US, but also by “Google-powered spiritual journeys”/Fort Boise. More here

Question: Do you mix-and-match your religious beliefs, either by attending churches of other denomations occasionally or by sprinkling in some “eastern” and “new age” spirituality?

Downtown CdA Gets 24-7 Restaurant

Michael Hanes believes he has finally found the formula for success for a downtown restaurant that has not lived up to its full potential. He spent seven months in planning and remodeling and countless hours of hard work with one goal in mind. “The basis of this restaurant is consistent and affordable food,” Hanes said. Last week he opened 4th St. Pantry at 206 N. Fourth St., and gave downtown something it has not had in many years — a 24/7 diner/Rick Thomas, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: Can a 24/7 restaurant succeed in downtown Coeur d’Alene?

Naughties: Top Movie

In this 2007 publicity photo released by Walt Disney Pictures, actor Johnny Depp appears in a scene from “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest.” (AP Photo/Walt Disney Pictures, Peter Mountain)

Question: Which movie of the “Naughties” was your favorite?

HBO Poll: Better Off Today?

  • Monday Poll: 70 of 95 (74 percent) voted that Coach Mark Few is doing a good job in his 11th year as Gonzaga men’s basketball coach.
  • 2nd Monday Poll: 122 of 159 (77 percent) of the respondents said Shopko did not do the right thing when it fired a pharmacist for running down a robber recently.

Poll: Obama Ends Year On Down Note

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Tuesday shows that 25% of the nation’s voters Strongly Approve of the way that Barack Obama is performing his role as President. Forty-six percent (46%) Strongly Disapprove giving Obama a Presidential Approval Index rating of -21 That’s the lowest Approval Index rating yet recorded for this President (see trends)/Rasmussen Reports. More here.

Question: What does Obama have to do to bounce back from his current disapproval rating?

2 More Sea-Tac Officers Shot

Two Pierce County Sheriff’s deputies were “basically ambushed” Monday night when responding to a domestic violence call near Eatonville, a spokesman said. The shooting was the third within two months in which police officers in the Seattle-Tacoma metroplitan area were targeted by gunmen. The suspected shooter, identified as David Edward Crable, 35, (pictured) was shot and killed during the incident, which happened shortly after 9 p.m. in the 34300 block of Tanwax Court East. One deputy was flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and was in critical condition Tuesday morning. The other, a sergeant, was rushed to Madigan Army Medical Center and was upgraded to serious condition early Tuesday/Seattle P-I. More here.

Question: Would you sleep well if a loved one of yours was involved in law enforcement?

AM Headlines — 12.22.09

Hot lunch director Remie Burnes was in the Christmas spirit at Holy Family Catholic School as she served up the last of the lunches before Christmas break in Coeur d’Alene on Friday. (Kathy Plonka/SR)

Mountain West Robbed

At about 7 am this morning, the Coeur d’Alene Police Department, along with the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department, responded to a robbery that occurred at 125 Ironwood Drive, Mountain West Bank. An employee coming to work was approached by a male, walking inside the business in an attempt to acquire money from the bank. The male got a small amount of money from the victim then fled the scene. The male was possibly picked up by an awaiting vehicle. The vehicle is described as a white Cadillac with Montana plates. The male is described as being about 6’00”, medium build, wearing a well kept brown coat, camouflage gloves, dark colored hoodie style sweatshirt, and his face was covered. A weapon was not displayed, but was presumed he had possession of one/Coeur d’Alene Today. More here.

Liz: Scanner Traffic 2X In 2 Months

Liz: Don’t you dare laugh. But I’m that 1:50pm gal who fell down the steps. See if I EVER bake stuff to pass around the neighborhood again!!!! Have I EVER had a rough couple of months. The irony is I’m far more injured than I was in my rollover car accident. Just put my foot down the wrong way, did a face plant on the concrete and my glasses went into my face. Let’s hear it for klutziness. I freaked out and called the EMTs because I could stick my finger into my face and that was a little bit unnerving. As was the copious amount of blood. My poor son freaked out and thought I was going to die. Full post below.

Question: Have you ever been involved in an incident that was mentioned on Scanner Traffic?

Phaedrus: The Faceless Among Us

Phaedrus: (Monday) at 6 PM, seventy people, many homeless, many young, gathered together around a burn barrel, in the rain, to remember Wayne and others who live without a roof over their heads. Four of their friends died this week, one pulled from his car, another found hanging from a bridge, unable , or unwilling, to live one more day out on the street. People came to look into the faces of those who live faceless among us and to offer a light to those existing in the dark.

Question: Do you know someone who is homeless?

UI V. Bowling Green Splits DeMullings

Rick and Danielle DeMulling have been married for roughly seven months and a belated wedding gift came along in the form of Idaho’s and Bowling Green’s 7-5 football seasons. Those records have landed the Vandals and Falcons in the Humanitarian Bowl on Dec. 30, and that’s made for some interesting conversations in the couple’s home on wheels, a 37-foot, 4-inch RV. The Vandals haven’t been bowling since 1998, when DeMulling and his teammates went from a preseason No. 112 ranking (last in Division I-A) to a Big West title and a 42-35 HumBowl victory over heavily favored Southern Mississippi. As luck would have it, Danielle graduated from Bowling Green/Jim Meehan, SR. More here.

Question: What advice would you give to keep the peace in the DeMulling household during the Humanitarian matchup between their alma maters?

Heller: Glad Tidings?

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Cis: Thank You Notes?

When you are given a gift, do you write a thank you note? Do you call instead? Or do you sit down and write out a thank you note and mail it? Or being we are more into internet, do you sent an email? Or is just saying thank you, at the time the gift is given to you, enough? The Emily Post correctness is you write a note of thanks. Not just a card, but to actually write a note of thanks andhow much you appreciate it. She would never go for the email thank you note. I know I was required, even as a small child, to write a note of thanks. I also trained my children to write a note of thanks when it was a gift sent to them. If they were hand given, then I let them off with just saying thank you. Which they usually did on their own/Cis, From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: How do you say thanks for a gift?

Parting Shot — 12.21.09

In this July 23, 2009, file photo, Kim Peek stands on the steps at the Salt Lake City Library in Salt Lake City. Peek, the man who inspired the title character in the Oscar-winning movie “Rain Man” has died. Peek was 58. His father says Peek had a major heart attack Saturday morning and was pronounced dead at a hospital in the Salt Lake City suburb of Murray. Story here. (AP Photo/Deseret News, Barton Glasser)

Question: Are you a fan of the movie, “Rain Man”?

Winter Solstice Wild Card — 12.21.09

Kerri Sandaine, a reporter-blogger for the Lewiston Tribune, called today to ask about a story that Father Andrew Schumacher told her about me during an interview. He told her of the interview I did with him in 1988 after he replaced the late Bill Wassmuth at St. Pius X Catholic Church in Coeur d’Alene. I told her about an even better tale that came from that interview — one that I wrote about for print Huckleberries this fall. You can read Kerri’s post today about Father Andy and me here. And you can continue to use this Wild Card for your own threads …

Whitopia: CdA’s ‘One-Acre-Lot’ Rule?

Coeur D’Alene “has developed in such a way that the working class white folks who grew up there aren’t going to be able to raise their kids in the very community they grew up in,” Benjamin says. The culprit is not necessarily individual discrimination, but structural and institutional momentum, with zoning and real estate policies often implemented by wealthy newcomers. “It’s not just a natural fact of life, how resources are mobilized on behalf of the rich,” Benjamin says. “The real estate industry has lobbied the (Coeur D’Alene) local government in such a way that you can only zone property on a one-acre lot. “The stated reason of one-acre lot rules is to control ‘congestion’ and to keep ‘low density.’ In reality, by requiring a one acre lot, the locality ensures only wealthy people move in — how many poor people/renters do we know who can afford a one-acre lot?/Rob Baedecker, Special to SF Gate. More here.

Question: I’d like to think Richard Benjamin was misquoted here. I’ve lived in Coeur d’Alene for most of my 25 years in town. The only one-acre requirement placed by a municipal government is in Dalton Gardens. Wonder where Benjamin and/or the writer here came up with that idea?

PM Headlines — 12.21.09

A lighted dove and wreath hang on the side of Sacred Heart Medical Center above heavy Spokane traffic headed south on Browne to I-90 on the “getaway day” of the Christmas Holiday: Friday. (Christopher Anderson/SR)

APhoto Of The Day — 12.21.09

Seattle Seahawk fans wear bags over their heads in the final minutes of Seattle’s 24-7 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in an NFL football game Sunday in Seattle. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/John Froschauer)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. DFO unviels the dresscode for Blogfest — Nic.
  • 2. Asked what he thought of his team’s execution, Coach Mora replied: “I think it’s a good idea” — JohnA.
  • 3. Your teams jersey $100. Tickets to the game $75. A paper bag, some scissors and a felt pen? Oh to be a kid again! — CoeurGenX.
  • HM: Soaf.

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.21.09

  • 4:33 p.m. Rose Lake Conoco reports that an unauthorized person used a credit card to pay for gas.
  • 4:31 p.m. Motorist reports that a man standing by a tan SUV near tracks on Garwood is holding a sign he couldn’t read. He was too afraid to stop and see what the man wanted.
  • 4:27 p.m. Fred Meyer reports a shoplifter.
  • 3:54 p.m. Tara is concerned that a neighbor is feeding her dog.
  • 3:42 p.m. Resident @ Ramsey & Diagonal/Rathdrum is concerned re: 15 shots being fired near houses in the area.
  • 3:06 p.m. A male, wearing a baseball cap and dark clothes, knocked down a woman and stole her purse in the parking lot of Rite Aid/Ironwood. He ran off toward Albertsons. Police are searching KMC, Shopko, Wild Waters and other nearby areas for him.
  • More below

ID: The Year Without A Christmas

It’s going to be hard to muster up the usual festive Christmas spirit this year. On Thursday, we took our cat Milo to the vet after he started showing signs of weight loss and weakness. The diagnosis was kidney failure. The vet told us the end was coming fast and that we should consider having him put to sleep. This was all too sudden for us, and I held out some hope that the vet might be wrong/Idaho Dad, A Family Runs Through It. More here.

Factchecker: Too Much Spam

Factchecker: The last few weeks the spam to my e-mail has been outrageous. About 40-50 per day. A lot of them are these types of scams. Why does anyone open these? Haven’t we all been warned about these over and over?

Question: What steps should Factchecker take to cut down on spam?

Uh-Oh, Tea-Partiers Preferred To R’s

If the conservative Tea Party rebellion should move from the soapbox to the ballot box, it might well beat the Republican Party, according to a recent Rasmussen Reports survey. In what the pollsters called a “three-way Generic Ballot test,” voters were asked in a national telephone survey to assume the Tea Party movement had become a political party and then to say whether they would be likely to support a Democratic, Republican, or Tea Party candidate for Congress in their districts. Democrats drew 36 percent of all respondents, while 23 percent said the Tea Party would be their choice. Only 18 percent said they would be inclined to support a Republican candidate/Jack Kenny, New American. More here.

Question: What can Republicans do to woo Tea Partiers into their fold?

DFO’s Animals — Waterlogged Dog

Firefighters rescue a German Shepherd after it fell through thin ice at Prairie Creek Reservoir in Muncie, Ind., today. According to rescue workers, the dog was in the water for over one hour. Firefighters were able to break the ice and the dog swam to shore. (AP Photo/ The Star Press, Chris Bergin)

Nigerian Scam Targets Local Woman

The Nigerian scammers have gotten more sophisticated. A week ago, I received this message purportedly from a well-known woman in the community: “I’m sending you this e-mail in a hurry because I only have 30 minutes,  I traveled to United Kingdom to see my ill Cousin, I got a call to come over that her illness was getting worse, so I had no time to inform anyone of my trip. Unfortunately, I  was mugged in a Taxi and they made away with all my money and other valuable things. I’m facing a hard time here, I need to help her and also get back home.” The e-mail went on to say that the woman needed a loan of “2700 USD or whatever you can afford” and ended with a promise to repay as soon as she returned home. I smelled a rat right away. That was confirmed when I received this follow-up note from the woman in question: “My email directory was hacked into and there is a SCAM using my email contacts. If you received a message from me asking you to send money to help me while I am stuck in England, please delete it. I am fine and living in Hauser.” Be careful out there.

Question: When did you last receive a so-called Nigerian scam e-mail? Are some other online scam trying to bilk you of money?

Jackson Hole Planners Seek Caps

Future residential and commercial development in Jackson town limits should be capped at what’s allowed today, planning commissioners decided last week. During the weekly review of the draft Jackson/Teton County Comprehensive Plan on Thursday, Jackson and Teton County planning commissioners voted to recommend that new residential development in town not exceed 1,780 units. Commissioners also voted to recommend that new commercial development should not exceed 3.6 million square feet. The Jackson Town Council and Teton County Board of Commissioners will make the decision on whether the recommendations make it into the final plan/Cara Rank, Jackson Hole Daily. More here.

Question: Would you like to see the residential and commercial development in your Inland Northwest community capped?

Herb: Captain’s Wheel To Close

Today, we mourn one more stake in the heart of Bayview. Losing hundreds of dollars per month trying to stay open during the slow months, the Captain’s Wheel is throwing in the towel for, at least the next two months. The last days of this drama will play out after January 3, when the lights will dim over the most stable full service restaurant & bar that has existed since 1996. The possibly last hurrah of the ‘Wheel will be New Years Eve, with the ever popular, “The Keep” playing for your listening pleasure/Herb Huseland, Bay Views. More here.

Soldier’s Family’s Belongings Stolen

Sharon and Dewey Brown stand behind their daughter Cami next to the wanted poster she made to try and get her favorite doll “Jenna” returned today. The family was staying overnight in the Spokane valley when their truck and attached U-Haul trailer were stolen and they lost all their possessions. (Christopher Anderson/SR)

A family traveling from North Dakota to Western Washington awoke this morning to find their pickup and rented moving trailer stolen from a Spokane Valley motel parking lot. Dewey and Sharon Brown and their 7-year-old daughter were headed to McChord Air Force Base, where he’s scheduled to fly to Korea for a year-long military assignment after the family gets settled. The Browns were due in Tacoma today but are staying in town in hopes of finding the pickup and rented U-Haul trailer missing this morning from La Quinta Suites, 3800 N. Sullivan Road/Meghann M. Cuniff, SR. More here.

Question: Has a Scrooge ever ruined Christmas for you, a loved one, or friend?

Nail Salon Burglary Suspect Caught

A man was caught sleeping on the couch of a Spokane nail salon early Saturday in an alleged burglary detectives think may have been sexually motivated, according to the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office. The owners of Perfect Nails, 9311 N. Division St., arrived at the business about 9 a.m. Saturday and found the front door smashed out and a man police identified as Matthew S. Kelso, 21, sleeping on a couch. Kelso was still asleep when police arrived and was “physically taken into custody” after deputies said he refused to show his hands, according to a news release/Meghann M. Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here. And: Deputies arrest sleeping Hayden Lake burglar/KHQ

3 CdA Brothers Face Hate Crime

Three brothers accused of harassing a Coeur d’Alene man because of his ethnicity say they simply asked to buy electrical equipment from the man and were stunned when he pulled a gun on them. Ira Gino Tankovich, 47, Frank James Tankovich, 46, and William Michael Tankovich Jr., 49, were indicted by a grand jury under Idaho’s hate crime law. In court Friday, their lawyers characterized the Aug. 16 incident as a misunderstanding blown out of proportion after Aryan literature was distributed in Coeur d’Alene. “I can’t see this case surviving a trial,” said Daniel Cooper, public defender for Frank Tankovich. “I just can’t fathom a jury returning a conviction”/Meghann M. Cuniff, SR. More here.

Question: The public defender ‘can’t fathom a jury returning a conviction.” Can you?

HBO’s Inland Northwest — 12.21.09

Bernice Ende of Trego, Mont., takes a break with Claire Dog and her horses Essie Pearl and Honor during a visit to Roswell, New Mexico, last week while on a cross country walking trek carrying on the tradition of the Long Rider. Ende left Montana March 20th for Portland, Oregon and since has traveled east, with a destination of San Antonio, Texas after her Roswell stop. (AP Photo/Roswell Daily Record Mark Wilson) 

Noon: Xmas Divides Mice & Men

Among the male gender, there are men and there are mice when it comes to Christmas shopping. The mice bought their gifts, after thoughtful consideration, by Nov. 15. The men wait until Dec. 24 — or if possible, until the small hours of Christmas Day itself. Ladies, think of it as male power shopping — but with an adrenaline rush. Starting time, as ever, will be 10 p.m. on Dec. 24. At that moment, you haven’t bought a single present — and more ominously, you haven’t purchased a single gift for your wife. By 10 o’clock on Christmas Eve, your options are something less than limited. Walmart and Target close at 6 p.m., Kmart, Sears and Home Depot at 7, J.C. Penney at 8. By 10 p.m., only convenience stories will be happy to see you — well, they’re not happy to see you, but they’re open/Steve Crump, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question (for men): Are you a mouse or a man when it comes to Christmas shopping?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.21.09

  • Noonish: Bystander reports that a pedestrian who was hit by a vehicle @ Greensferry & Seltice got on an e/b Citylink bus.
  • 11:30 a.m. Left-turn traffic into the Silverlake Mall, off H95 & Hanley, is backed up b/c the green light is recycling to quickly.
  • 11:22 a.m. A passing motorist took a 25YO female to an apartment after he spotted her muddy and shaking @Riverbend & Greensferry/Post Falls. She was helping her boyfriend cut wood when he reportedly beat her up.
  • 11:17 a.m. Residential burglary reported at Howard & Walking Horse/Athol.
  • 10:44 a.m. Police are looking for a white, extended-cab pickup that reportedly hit another vehicle in the Athol post office lot and drove off.
  • 10:41 a.m. A 38YO female who has been suffering from the flu reportedly passes out each time she tries to stand up, in 5200 block of Steamboat Bend/Post Falls.
  • 10:39 a.m. Drugs have been found @ Atlas & Abbey/CdA.
  • 10:32 a.m. A man in front of the VA center on Ironwood Center Drive is concerned that his girlfriend who suffers from a bipolar disorder hadn’t returned to pick him up.
  • 10:16 a.m. Scott has questions re: his vehicle being impounded from Fairway Forest Apartments.
  • 9:09 a.m. A 2YO boy who was choking in 500 block of East Prairie is now breathing. But he’s wheezing and coughing up debris.
  • 8:48 a.m. 360 Fitness reports that an 80YO female is lightheaded and dizzy.
  • 8:25 a.m. Susan reports that some juveniles urinated in her yard before continuing n/b on 5th.

Poll 2: Shopko Fires Hero Pharmacist

Coeur d’Alene pharmacist Jerry Gunderson was fired after he chased down a robber, the the Chicago Tribune reports. Gunderson apparently broke Shopko company policy of resisting a robbery and the Wisconsin company ignored the pleadings of his immediate boss and the fact the community gave him an award. Hey I know that Wisconsinites would be just as ready to go after scofflaws as Idahoans so the company policy, aimed at protecting its employees is probably hurting its image/Rocky Barker, Idaho Statesman. Weekend HBO thread here.

Hoffman: Cut Arts, Public TV Funding

If Idaho lawmakers greatly reduce or eliminate funding for the arts or government-funded television, I’ll be convinced that they’re serious about not only getting state spending under control but also rebalancing the proper role of government/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here. Opposing: What does Wayne Hoffman have against Big Bird?/Sharon Fisher, New West Boise.

Question: Should Idaho cut funding for the arts and public television to help balance its budget?

Fire Destroys Chef In The Forest

Police tape surrounded The Chef in the Forest restaurant early this morning after a fire destroyed the building at Hauser Lake late Sunday night. (Kathy Plonka/SR)

Hauser Lake fire officials are looking into the cause of a fire at the restaurant Chef in the Forest. The fire broke out early Monday morning. KHQ was able to talk with Hauser Lake Fire Chief Larry Simms, who says the restaurant is a complete loss. Chef in the Forest is located in the 12,000 block of North Woodland Beach Dr. in Hauser Lake. We’re told the fire broke out Monday morning around midnight. At around 2 a.m. morning KHQ talked with Chief Simms who said at that time the fire was mostly contained, but there were still hot spots/KHQ. More here.

Question: When did you last eat at Chef in the Forest/Hauser Lake?

HBO Poll: Zag Coach Mark Few

JohnA’s analysis of Gonzaga coach Mark Few: Never uses first half timeouts to regain momentum: See Michigan State, Wake Forest, Duke, all losses. Sits idly and calmly by as the refs kill his team. My God, man, do a Bob Knight and throw a chair or something. Refuses to give ‘King’ Kong his minutes. Must not have liked “The King and I”, RE: exceptional guys from the Sudan. Satisfied that if he can win 80% of his games, make a mil a year and go flyfishing in north Idaho, life is good and who needs a Final Four, anyway?

  • Weekend Poll: 98 of 155 (63%) who responded said they had smoked marijuana. Another 7 (5 percent) said they’d smoked marijuana but didn’t inhale. 49 (32%) said they haven’t smoked marijuana.

Skookum: Death On The Sidelines

He had one of those lives that you read about in a paperback novel that someone left at the laundromat. The pages are dog-eared, the covers are crumpled and the dryer with your clothes is going kalump-kalump as you watch the clock above the detergent dispenser tick. He died the same way. When he came to North Idaho, Wayne Christensen joined the cadre of the faceless and rumpled in the greater Coeur d’Alene area whose past, to those without one, is scattered like cigarette butts and fast-food wrappers along the Interstate/Ralph Bartholdt, Skookum Photography. More here.

Question: Have you had any hands-on encounters with the area’s homeless population?

Airlines To Be Fined For Tarmac Waits

Item: U.S. to fine airlines for tarmac delays, impose 3 hour wait limit/Wall Street Journal

More Info: The Obama administration said Monday it would begin routinely penalizing U.S. air carriers for lengthy tarmac delays, the latest step to address airline consumers’ complaints after a series of high-profile incidents. The new rules released by the Transportation Department would prohibit airlines from leaving passengers stuck on a runway for more than three hours, and would require that passengers be provided snacks and water during such delays. Airlines would be fined $27,500 per passenger for violations. Currently the Transportation Department issues fines for tarmac delays on case-by-case basis.

Question: Have you ever been stuck in an airline on the tarmac for any length of time? If not, how long has your longest wait been for a scheduled flight?

David: Saturday AM News … Oh Dear

O Lord, please spare me new news reporters at KHQ-TV! It seems like every two weeks (somewhat exaggerated, but not by much) news reporters and anchors at KHQ change, which means just as you were getting used to their brand of news on Saturday mornings, since they offer the only news available in lieu of kiddee cartoons, what you see is what you get. The latest import, Jennifer Rohrar, seems to follow the logic that apparently rules how personnel are chosen at the station. They must not know anything about Spokane issues and news and they must have TEETH. Extra points are given if they can correctly pronounce the word Spokane. Oh, my word. There is hardly a sentence that goes by but what Mz. Rohrar doesn’t exhibit a set of whitened monster chompers that would do an angry wolverine justice/David Laird, Community Comment. More here.

Question: Which of the broadcasting teams for the three Spokane TV stations knows the area best?

AM Headlines — 12.21.09

Drew Reinke, of the Inland Northwest Land Trust, walks along the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes in Harrison near O’Gara Bay on Thursday. The Maucieri family put a conservation easement on 500 acres south of Harrison. The parcel includes 1.5 miles of waterfront along the trail. More here.

Special Mass For Ex-CdA Priest

The Rev. Andy Schumacher’s journey to the priesthood began more than a half-century ago on a train bound for Oregon. “I used to stammer and stutter,” he recalled. “I left Lewiston on the train and the car transferred at Riperia. I was sitting there in the middle of nowhere, in the middle of the night. It was the first time I’d left home.” There in the cold rail car, Schumacher said a prayer. “Lord, if you want me to be a priest, please don’t let anyone at Mt. Angel Seminary ever know I stammer. I stopped overnight. By the grace of God, no one ever knew.” At college, he took a speech course and even won a speech contest with a soliloquy from “MacBeth,” “much to the surprise of my family”/Kerri Sandaine, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Has a minister had a big impact on your life?

OTV: Gifts W/A Touch Of North Idaho

Filmed several years ago in and around Coeur d’Alene, the film “Teenage Dirtbag” was released on DVD in October, and can be found online and at some local video outlets. The plot will appeal to the angst-ridden teen lurking inside everyone on your shopping list. It’s an enjoyably dark drama that tells a tale of unrequited love between a Coeur d’Alene High cheerleader and an antagonistic stoner dude. Writer-Director Regina Crosby, it’s based the story on her own experiences at CHS in the late 80s, and it’s a slow-burner of a flick that will get under your skin and provoke an emotional response much deeper than you might originally suspect. Plus, it’s fun to check out all the familiar local landmarks that pop up in the background of many shots/OrangeTV, Get Out! North Idaho. More here.

Question: A DVD of “Teenage Dirtbag” is one of OTV’s gift possibilities ‘with a bit of North Idaho flair.” Also, he has listed others. What would you suggest as a gift possibility this Christmas that has roots in the Inland Northwest?

Heller: Real Life ‘Avatars’

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Sunday — 12.20.09

We get a two-fer this week — the winter solstice (which means the days will begin gaining length from Tuesday on) and, of course, Christmas. The extended family will be getting together for the holidays per usual. Three of the six Oliveria siblings live in North Idaho. Plus my mother, 84YO Grandma Mo. Amy Dearest will be home for the holidays, too. My family has been blessed again this year with health and employment. In these times, that’s enough to raise a glass in celebration. Now, for your Wild Card …

Duke 76, Gonzaga 41

Dukes’ Ryan Kelly, top, fouls Gonzagas’ Robert Sacre (00), who was attempting to go for a layup, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game in the Aeropostale Basketball Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York this afternoon. (AP Photo/Paul J. Bereswill) … ESPN running boxscore here. AND: Jim Meehan’s Sportslink story here.

Shopko Fires Pharmacy Robbery Hero

Item: Hero praised — and fired: Employee who tackled Shopko robbery suspect dismissed by company/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: What happened next is why Gunderson lost his job at the Shopko pharmacy, a position he had held for nearly two years: Gunderson tackled the gunman. He was put on suspended leave right after, then was notified around a week later by the store’s corporate office in Green Bay, Wis., that he was fired. When Gunderson asked why, the office sent him an explanation letter. What got Gunderson fired also earned him a hero’s praise.

Question: What do you make of this situation?

Zags-V-Duke Wild Card — 12.19.09

We’ll get another idea what the 2009-10 Gonzaga Bulldogs (8-2) are made of this afternoon when they take on No. 7 Duke (8-1) at Madison Square Garden in the Aeropostale Classic at 1 p.m. on KREM2. Matt Bouldin will return to the starting lineup for the No. 15 Zags after missing a game with a concussion he suffered in the home game against Augustana. KREM has a whole lineup of stories about the big matchup here. Meanwhile, Portland State plays at Washington State, Houston Baptist plays at Boise State, and Eastern Washington travels to BYU. Idaho doesn’t have a game. You can play this Wild Card while waiting for your favorite game …

APhoto Of The Weekend — 12.19.09

Montana’s Brody McKnight (83) misses the ball after holder Jeff Larson (7) lost control of it on a field goal attempt during the first quarter of the NCAA Division I FCS college football championship game against Villanova Friday in Chattanooga, Tenn. Villanova won 23-21. (AP Photo/Wade Payne)

Opinion: Obama Now A Changed Man

Item: Once the ‘change’ candidate, Obama now a changed man/Steven Thomma, McClatchy Newspapers

More Info: The image of Obama as an idealistic, post-partisan leader who’d transform politics at home and abroad has given way to a more pragmatic, partisan politician, one who’s abandoned or broken promises in pursuit of deals such as health care, who no longer invites Republicans to the White House for drinks, who’s seen his outreach to rogue nations such as Iran and North Korea met with defiance.

Question: President Obama recently game himself a B+ for his performance during his first year in office. What grade would you give him? Why?

HBO Poll: Legalizing Pot

Seattle Mayor-elect Mike McGinn said during a radio interview Friday that he supports efforts to make it legal to use marijuana in Washington state. Rep. Mary Lou Dickerson, D-Seattle, has introduced a bill that would allow people 21 and older to use pot. Speaking to KUOW, McGinn noted that city voters in 2003 approved a measure making enforcement of marijuana laws the lowest priority for Seattle police/Seattle P-I. More here.

  • Friday Poll: 33 of 86 (38 percent) of you Merry Hucksters said you were 7 or older before you learned that Santa Claus wasn’t real. 24 (or 28 percent) were between 4 and 6. 23 (26 percent) still believe in Santa Claus. And 3 (3 percent) poor souls have never believed in him.

Big, Bigger, Biggest Boats On Lake CdA

You read it here first … Duane Hagadone’s “Sizzler” is the largest sailboat on Lake Coeur d’Alene and Fred Finney’s “Lady of the Lake” is the largest lake yacht, but there’s a new vessel being custom constructed right now in California that will be the biggest of them all. How spectacular is it? There’s even an elevator!/Councilwoman KerriT/Main Street. More here.

Question: Should there be a size limit for boats on North Idaho lakes?

DOTC: Hard To Be Dem In Red Country

Dan Of The County: I was very impressed with (Keith Allred, who spoke at Kootenai County Demo Club lunch Friday) and his approach. More than many folks, I know what it means to run as well as win with a “Blue D” after your name in very red places. You certainly can’t win by only appealing to (or being appealing to) just Democrats. You have to be able to work with Republicans and Independents. They must trust you and experience that you treat them with respect and treat their viewpoints as just as legitimate as yours even when you have mutual disagreements. That’s the approach he appears to be taking and yet he drew some clear, even sharp, distinctions about how his approach to governance would differ from current practice.

Question: Which politician, at any level or any party, best typifies what a politician should be? Why?

J-Mac: ‘Avatar’ Overloads Senses

JimmyMAC: Got back from Avatar about an hour ago. As weird as this sounds, immediately following the movie, I didn’t even know if I liked it or if I didn’t like it. My wife was kinda the same way. There were some cheesey lines. No one is going to win any Oscars for acting. Those two things I knew for sure. And being someone that is typically hyper critical of those two specifics when it comes to rating movies, I was bewildered that I couldn’t decide whether I liked it or not. After getting home, my wife and I agreed that we were both a little “sensory overloaded.” Continued below.

Question: Judging from Jimmy’s description, does “Avatar” sound like a movie you want to see?

Anderson: Lost In Translation

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Gerard Butler In ‘The Hobbit’?

If I were casting, and casting famous names, here’s who I’d pick: Bilbo Baggins: Michael Sheen. I’ve always thought there was something a tad elven about Sheen (and doesn’t Tolkien note somewhere that the hobbits are very distant relatives of the elves?). Next best: James McAvoy would be great. David Tennant would be superb. Simon Pegg might make me keel over in fangirl ecstasy and die a happy death (though not till after I’d seen the movie, obviously). Gandalf: Ian McKellen, obviously, since he’s already played the role in three films. And director Guillermo Del Toro has also already confirmed that the actor will be back/Maryann Johanson, More here.

Question: Who would you cast in the leading roles of Peter Jackson’s ‘Hobbit’?

Parting Shot — 12.18.09

In this photo provided by ABC, anchor Charles Gibson is is surrounded by friends and colleagues at ABC News headquarters in New York tonight, during his final broadcast of “World News with Charles Gibson.” Gibson is retiring after 35 years with ABC News. (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik) (AP Photo/ABC, Donna Svennevik)

Question: Which current network anchor is your favorite? Why?

TGIF Wild Card — 12.18.09

Huckleberries hears … that challenger Jim Brannon’s troops didn’t return phone calls — and, therefore, there was no meeting w/City Attorney Mike Gridley Thursday to try to reach a compromise in the 2009 city election court challenge. Dunno when they’ll try to re-set a meeting. If ever. Now, for your Wild Card …

Joker’s 2010 Calendar

In this 2005 SR file photo, Sergeants Christie Wood and Bill Tilson of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department try to make friends with a wary young boy at the annual foster family Christmas party Saturday. Sgt. Christie is the May girl for Joker’s 2010 Calendar.

  • January — Mary Souza: Cold as ice.
  • February — KageMann: Keeps Ground Hog Day in his heart year round.
  • March — Jim Brannon: Never give up, never give in. Even though, the courts says he can’t win.
  • April — Digger: Do tips really count as income? Nah.
  • May — Christie Wood: Blonde, armed and dangerous.
  • June — Stickman: Time to talk a walk on Tubbs Hill.
  • July — Larry Spencer: Don’t tread on me or my mullet.
  • August — CindyH: Just saying, hot weather brings out the firefighters.
  • September — Bent: Brings the beer for one last summer BBQ.
  • October — TarynH: Time to go hunting and fishing.
  • November — Phaedrus: The Charlie Brown of Huckleberries. The Republicans keep pulling the football away from him.
  • December — MikeK: He’s a jolly old elf … the Chicago kind.

Question: Would you make any changes to Joker’s nominations?

PM Headlines — 12.18.09

An carjacking suspect is taken into custody after a police dog dicovered him hiding in a dog house in a backyard of a house on the 2500 N. block of Normandie. SR story here. (Colin Mulvany/SR)

APhoto Of The Day — 12.18.09

A meerkat tries to eat meal worms stuffed inside a Christmas cracker at London Zoo, Thursday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. After their planned fireworks special did not go according to plan, Animal Planet’s hit show Meerkat Manor suffered an unfortunate reduction in meerkat population — Nic.
  • 2. The City of CDA presents a special Christmas gift to Larry Spencer and Wayne Hoffman — Moscow Minidoka.
  • 3. Garfield, a mere cat, was saved because he quit whle he was a head — JohnA.
  • HM: Phaedrus

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.18.09

  • 5:12 p.m. A 20ish woman is semi-conscious but not bleeding after hitting her head on a table in a fall in 2800 block of Julia.
  • 4:45 p.m. A male walking n/b @ H95 & M/P 411 (Ness Road) is hard to see.
  • 4:42 p.m. A 39YO female has dislocated her knee in a fall in the beauty aisle of Kmart.
  • 4:07 p.m. Patrol officer has stopped a male on a large unicycle in front of the Beer Hunter @ H95 & Hayden.
  • 4:04 p.m. A woman on Riverview is getting threatening texts from father’s ex-galpal.
  • 3:43 p.m. A cow is on the side of a hill @ H41 & Par 3 Road/Twin Lakes in open range.
  • More below

Hayden Boater Free After BUI Fatality

A man accused of causing a fatal accident on the Spokane River in Coeur d’Alene left jail last week after pleading guilty to boating under the influence. John F. Klinefelter, 45, Hayden, will be on probation for two years and received credit for 112 days spend in Kootneai County Jail. He was arrested Aug. 22 after his boat hit a boat from  where Jack A. Miller, 30, of Stites, Idaho, was fishing. Klinefelter’s blood-alcohol level was 0.12, according to the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department/Meghann M. Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels. More here.

Question: Is 112 days of jail and two years of probation sufficient punishment for a boating-while-intoxicated crash that killed another Idahoan?

The Boy Who Felt Lakewood’s Pain

The woman told me that her son, AJ, had seen the stories on tv about our 4 slain officers. She said that they had driven to our station all the way from Kingston because her son was so intent on helping the children of these officers. I opened the gate and the boy handed me the plastic baggy containing all the money from his piggybank and a note on which he had written “AJ….From me to Pleec. I Love You.” And then, with tears in his eyes, he handed me his stuffed dinosaur. AJ’s mom explained that he wanted to give the children of the slain officers the most precious thing that he owned, and that was his dinosaur, Bruno/KHQ. More here.

Iraq Forces Face Jail For Pregnancy

The Army general of U.S. forces in Northern Iraq has banned pregnancy among military personnel in his command, NBC News reported on Friday. Anyone who becomes pregnant or impregnates another servicemember, including married couples assigned to the same unit, could face a court-martial and jail time, according to an order issued by Maj. Gen. Anthony Cucolo. The order, which went into effect on Nov. 4, was first reported by the military publication Stars and Stripes/NBC News. More here. H/T: Dan of the County

Question: Is this fair?

HBO Blogosphere — 12.18.09

“I spend a lot of time on location with the eagles on Lake Coeur d’Alene this time of year,” posts Councilwoman KerriT. “As I watched several swoop and soar and dive for fish I wondered what the view was like from their vantage point … kokanee salmon in post-spawning death throes and people with cameras.”

HBO Numbers (for Thursday, Dec. 18): 9259/5288

Sandpoint Defeats Hands-Free Rule

A proposed rule requiring motorists to use a hands-free device while driving and talking on their cell phones within the city limits was narrowly defeated Wednesday. The City Council knotted 3-3 on the proposed legislation and Mayor Gretchen Hellar cast the deciding vote against the measure. But that doesn’t mean unsafe drivers who are distracted by phone conversations are off the hook. Sandpoint Police Chief Mark Lockwood said existing inattentive or reckless driving statutes can be used to hold distracted drivers accountable. “I have a tool to deal with it,” said Lockwood, referring to existing laws/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: Good call?

Eagles Return To Lake Coeur d’Alene

Get Adobe Flash player

Every December, migrating eagles put on a show of aerobatics that draws bird watchers and photographers to the eastern arm of Lake Coeur d’Alene. The mighty predators scoop fish after fish from the waters as people marvel from the shoreline. The two best places to watch are at the end of Lake Coeur d’Alene Drive at Higgens Point on the north side and on the Mineral Ridge side of the bay to the south. (Jesse Tinsley/SR video)

Question: Have you viewed the eagles this year yet?

Women Of Huckleberries Online

On Thursday, Huckleberries Online asked you Merry Hucksters to compile a calendar featuring the Men of Huckleberries. After several suggestions, Cabbage Boy offered one, filling in the various months with some of the regulars. (Joker was miffed that he wasn’t included.) Now, it’s time for the Women of Huckleberries Online. I’d devote January on any Women of Huckleberries calendar to Cis because she has been with me from the start. MamaJD, Taryn, Marmitetoasty, CindyH, and JeanieS, of course, would need their own months, too. Dunno which months for which gal. Mebbe you can help.

Question: Which of our HBO women would you feature in a calendar? Which months?

Would You Want To Know?

I just returned from a farewell lunch for ad manager Bob Myklebust of the Coeur d’Alene office. Bob is retiring from his job after almost 25 years here. He and his upbeat nature will be missed. Among those at the potluck banquet in the SR basement were Erica Curless and Taryn Hecker, the Butch and Sundance of the old newsroom who broke several stories together including the sex tape misadventures at Coeur d’Alene High and the spicy e-mails at the prosecutor’s office. As many of you know, Erica is due to have her first baby. Her expecting date is the same as this blog’s anniversary, Feb. 16. I pointed that out to her, of course. Then, she told me that she didn’t know whether she was having a boy or girl. She was the only one in her birthing class that doesn’t know.

Question: How about you. Would you want to know the sex of the baby that you or your wife is carrying? Why? Why not?

Mariners Make Another Deal

These are 2009 file photos showing Carlos Silva and Milton Bradley. A baseball official with knowledge of the trade says the Mariners have acquired mercurial outfielder Milton Bradley from the Chicago Cubs for expensive and underperforming pitcher Carlos Silva. The one-for-one deal was struck this morning, the official said, speaking on condition anonymity because the trade had not been announced. Just South of North explains significance of trade here. (AP Photo/File)

Escapee Offers Shopping Safety Tips

  • 10. Take Boxing Gloves with you when going to a big-box store. You never know when you’ll need ‘em.
  • 9. Earplugs are a necessity in every store whose intercom blares out “Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer”.
  • 8. Medicate yourself when embarking upon holiday shopping, that way you won’t gag when you hear “The Twelve Days Of Christmas”.
  • 7. Try not to splurge on Holiday Candy, as I did today. Chocolate-covered orange bars await me. MMMmmmmm.
  • 6. When planning to drive to a big-box-store’s parking lot, reinforce your car with a thick wall of hi-density impact plastic since Parking Lots Have No Rules.
  • More of Escapee’s Shopping Safety Tips below (See Sgt. Christie Wood’s original list here)

Question: Do you have something to add to the list?

On Frozen Pond

At Live, Love, Laugh, Hope, the blogmistress offers a number of “Scenes of the Season,” including this one of a couple of kids she snapped playing hockey on a Spokane pond. She also had one of grown men playing hockey on the same pond.

Question: Have you ever ice skated? When? Where?

Ugly Sweater Day @ Sandpoint High

I’ve fed the horses, cleaned the stalls, read the paper and am speeding along the keyboard to get something done on this blog. Just a second ago, Willie piped up, after his initial shock that Mom would be going to school, and asked, “Do you have an ugly sweater?” Seems it’s “ugly sweater” day today at Sandpoint High School. Actually, my sweater looks okay. I’ll opt for an ugly old goat showing up in a nice sweater. Howz that? After all, substitutes can be ugly old goats or pushovers. I’ll take the former/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: Describe the ugliest sweater that you have?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.18.09

  • 11:41 a.m. A vehicle has broken down in the turn lane @ H95 & Neider, blocking traffic.
  • 11:40 a.m. Walmart reports a shoplifter.
  • 11:25 a.m. A piece of equipment has fallen on an employee @ Conmat, H95 & Government Way, possibly breaking his leg. Worker is still on the ground in the yard.
  • 11:02 a.m. Twin Lakes Elementary reports a juvenile problem involving drugs.
  • 10:48 a.m. Resident @ Colfax & Hanley/Dalton Gardens reports checks & mail stolen.
  • 10:37 a.m. 5 Herefords are roaming loose along Bunco Trail & Good Hope/Athol.
  • 10:06 a.m. Driver tells 911 she has neck pain from crash @ 4th & Linden.
  • 10:05 a.m. Sharon has general questions re: trespassing.
  • 10:02 a.m. A utility pole is on fire @ H95 & Rockford Bay Road.
  • 9:39 a.m. Coeur d’Alene firefighters are responding to a “popcorn incident” at a local business. (I didn’t get business name)
  • 9:36 a.m. Resident @ Honeysuckle & Tumblestone reports that a hit-and-run driver left behind a license plate after driving through his fence.
  • 8:45 a.m. ISP is worried that flooding in an adjacent field will cover H95 @ Bunco/Athol.
  • 8:32 a.m. An 87YO female has slipped on ice outside 107 Hazlewood.
  • 8:22 a.m. An unattended death is reported in the Chateau Mobile Home Park on H41.
  • 8:20 a.m. Yates Funeral Home/Hayden reports a dog loose on the property.
  • 8:17 a.m. PFPD Blue is looking for a male and 2 females who drove off from a Post Falls gas station on Spokane Street w/o paying.

BSU: ACL Tear Recovery A ‘Grind’

Boise State offensive lineman Cory Yriarte dealt with the pain and fear just fine. It was the sense of loss that took its toll the day he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in one of his knees. It was fall camp of this year and he was competing for playing time on what would become a Top 10 team. “I was OK until I got back in the locker room and saw all the guys, saw all the coaches,” said Yriarte, a sophomore. “It kind of started setting in on me that I would not be playing the rest of the season. It was kind of a surreal feeling.” Yriarte is one of six Broncos who has torn an ACL this year - one of the most serious of the common football injuries. The rehab takes eight to nine months and often costs players an entire season/Chadd Cripe, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Have you suffered an ACL tear or other bad knee injury? How did you do it? How long did it take you to recover from it?

Dem Spokeswoman Fanselow Leaves

I am leaving the Idaho Democratic Party effective today to return to my independent writing business. I’ve enjoyed working with all of you these past 15 months. Starting today, please direct any questions regarding party communications to or (208) 336-1815. Party chairman Keith Roark is available at

Question: Anyone know anything more about this?

Obama Attends Climate Confab

President Barack Obama, 4th left, is joined by other leaders in a multilateral meeting at the United Nations Climate Change Conference at the Bella Center in Copenhagen, Denmark, today. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

Question: Should President Obama have boycotted the Copenhagen conference, as Sarah Palin suggested in a controversial column in the Washington Post?

HBO Poll: Santa Claus

Santa Claus won’t leave the White House empty-handed when he drops by this year because President Barack Obama and his family plan to leave out milk and cookies and even some reindeer snacks. In an interview with Spanish-language television station Univision Thursday, Obama said the White House was expecting Santa to come through the Yellow Room chimney in the middle of the presidential residence/AFP. More here.

  • Thursday Poll: HBO Hucksters disagreed w/AP voters re: the Athlete of the Decade. A plurality of 46 of 100 (46%) voted for Lance Armstrong. AP’s pick, Tiger Woods, finished second w/25 votes, followed by Roger Federer and Michael Phelps w/10 apiece.

Huckleberries Hears …

… that the well-attended funeral service for the late Lee Shellman ended with the University of Idaho fight song Thursday. Two Berry Pickers, one with a UI insignia on his clothing, were overheard talking about the unusual ending to the service. Responded the one w/the UI insignia: “It won’t be the last time it’s played at a funeral service.”

Question: Do you still know the words to your school fight song?

KR: A Few Of My Favorite Typos

I generally despise typos. I certainly contribute my share to the global supply, but I don’t like typos anyway. Especially when they make it into print. But some select few typos make me laugh out loud — partly because we catch them while editing. Like the one from the Statesman letter writer describing then-presidential candidate Hillary Clinton wearing “high hells.” Or the writer warning against the “potentially deadline” West Nile virus. I’ve come to count on our letter writers to engage in free-wheeling debate on issues large and small. But sometimes, in the rush to have a point of view, a mistake sneaks in that is even beyond the reach of spellcheck/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Can you recall any typos that made it into print that gave you a belly laugh?

HBO Coverage Bugs Brannon Camp

“I was disappointed that my cover letter would appear in the media, almost before the ink was dry. I certainly have no problem with the contents of the letter being provided to the media, because I stand behind everything that was stated in it. … It is my belief that an open and candid discussion between counsel could be of value. I offered this meeting, not out of a concern for any weakness, or as a show of strength, of the complaint. It was offered because I thought that such a meeting might be viewed as productive for all. Perhaps it was a novel, or naive, thought that counsel might discuss a mtter before running off to the media and formal court proceedings. … Mr. Gridley advised that he was unaware how my letter came to be released to the Spokesman-Review’s Huckleberries blog”/Starr Kelso (pictured), attorney for Jim Brannon’s attempt to overthrow the 2009 Coeur d’Alene city elections. Entire letter here.

Question: Would you prefer that I respect the sensitivity of the attorneys involved in this case? Or give you the developing news as it crosses my desk at Huckleberries Online?

AM: Demo Allred In CdA Today

Keith Allred announces that he will be running for the Democratic nomination for governor Thursday at Twin Falls High School in Twin Falls. Allred will address the Kootenai County Democratic Club luncheon at the Iron Horse at noon today. (AP Photo/Times-News, Ashley Smith)

Idaho Tax Burden 6th Lowest

Idaho’s overall tax burden, per capita, is the sixth-lowest in the country and the lowest among western states, the Idaho Tax Commission says. That’s the result of its latest tax burden study, which showed significant impact from the 2006 legislation that lowered Idaho’s property tax, although it also increased the state’s sales tax. The study showed that Idaho’s tax burden is 29.5 percent below the national average, the lowest it’s been compared to the national average since similar studies started 22 years ago/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Who deserves credit for Idaho’s low tax burden?

Letter: Chicago Politics In Lake City

Saw a letter in the CDA Press this morning in the Brannon v whomever by Jerry Weaver. Seems Mr. Weaver now wants to attack Mike Kennedy for “Chicago style politics” that I highly doubt were ever employed. So, since Obama from Illinois became president, EVERYTHING becomes Chicago style politics IF we disagree with something or with the outcome of the last election? CDA isn’t Chicago but, for anyone who has lived here long enough could also make the argument that CDA politics can carry a special brand of dirty.

Question: Does anyone but Brannon followers and readers of — both of ‘em — believe that Chicago style politics hold sway in the Lake City?

Ramirez: Demo Election Prospects

Michael Ramirez/Investor’s Business Daily

Cis: Christmas Bonuses

I know some get bonuses..ranging from $25 to maybe up to a thousand or so. Some of us … got a turkey. For 10 years we use to get a turkey. We referred to it as a glove box turkey, as they were so small. About 10 pounds or less. The last couple of years that I worked we had a new owner, and we got a $25 gift card for Wal-Mart. Which was listed on our payroll statement as a gift and then the taxes were deducted for it. Meaning we got $22. Most of us where ok with the turkey or the gift card, until we found out that our boss got $500 or more/Cis, From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: What kind of Christmas bonus do you get?

Parting Shot — 12.17.09

Fencing at Spokane Fencers Unlimited - Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, fencers meet at the Spokane Fencers Unlimited building on the north side and practice their chosen pasttime. This is Nate Balasz. In Washington Voices today, CindyH writes: “A visit to the Spokane Fencers Unlimited facility in north Spokane can feel like a trip back in time. A journey to an era of swashbuckling pirates before Johnny Depp, and Musketeers before the candy bar.” (Jesse Tinsley/SR)

Question: CindyH tells Huckleberries: “I happen to know one regular commenter was a high school fencer. But if I reveal this person’s name I’ll be run through with a saber!” What kind of fencer do you think you’d make?

Vernon Baker Wild Card — 12.17.09

Gov. Butch Otter has proclaimed today in Idaho to be Vernon Baker Day, to honor the World War II hero from Benewah County who turned 90 today. You can read the SR editorial about Vernon Baker here. Also, Huckleberries topped the 2 million page-view mark for the year around 10 o’clock last night. The blog did so in good fashion, registering 9,729 page-views and 5,443 unique views for the day, for a total for the year of 2,001,096. All of us — bloggers, blurkers, and commenters — have a role in the success of this forum. But there’s always room for more. Please tell your family and friends about HBO. Now, for today’s Wild Card …

ML: Ready Or Not, Here Comes Xmas

I’m getting there. “There” this week is the point where I can answer “yes” when the umpteenth person asks me, “Are ya all ready for Christmas?” I think everybody asks with the same intent that goes along with the perennial automatic question, “How are you?” Half the time, we don’t really care how the other person is; it’s just something to say, and usually the answer is “fine.” Occasionally, I catch myself halfway between “fi” and “ne,” flog myself for lying and spout out a much more truthful, ” No, I’m not fine. I’m sick and I have too much work to do and my pet mouse died this morning”/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: What do you have to do to finish getting ready for Christmas?

PM Headlines — 12.17.09

This undated image provided by the Monterey Bay Aquarium, shows the endangered Kootenai River white sturgeon. As efforts falter to save this largest freshwater fish _ a toothless beast left over from the days of dinosaurs _ officials hope to stave off extinction by sending more water hurtling down a river so the fish can spawn in the wild. AP story here. (AP Photo/Monterey Bay Aquarium, Randy Wilder)

APhoto Of The Day — 12.17.09

In this June 11, 2009, file photo, Elin Nordegren talks to her husband, Tiger Woods during the first quarter of Game 4 of the NBA basketball finals in Orlando, Fla. Despite recent multiple allegations of marital infidelity, Woods has been selected by the AP as the athlete of the decade. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip, File)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. You are worth a billion dollars, why do you wanna stop at Denny’s? — Cabbage Boy.
  • 2. Elin says: “Oh, you’re such a lying cheater, Tiger.” Tiger hears: “Oh, you’re such a lion cheetah, Tiger” — Nic.
  • 3. Tiger agrees to go clubbin’ after the game, unaware that his wife had another version in mind — JohnA.
  • HM: Duffer, Laughing & Pecky

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.17.09

  • 4:30 p.m. Motorist provided ISP w/the Kootenai County license number of a road rager that chipped his window by throwing something out of an e/b pickup entering Idaho.
  • 3:42 p.m. Sky has lost her shepherd Husky mix.
  • 3:35 p.m. 3 males were seen pushing there hands through a screen at a home along 3rd Street/CdA.
  • 3:34 p.m. Burglary reported at Coeur d’Alene Boardwalk marina.
  • 3:25 p.m. A resident on Tiara Lane/Athol reports his garage door was open when he returned home. He wants police to accompany him into residence.
  • More below

Cabbage Boy’s Men Of Hucklberries

  • Bent - January: Global warming my frozen arse.
  • MikeK -February: think short.
  • Stickman -March: Every march needs a good walking stick
  • Sisyphus - April: Like April fools, only not just because of his pseudonym.
  • DFO - May: DFO, may I get a front page for this?
  • Cabbage Boy - June: best month for salad greens
  • DFO - July: Kinda like Caesar around here. And he deserves a month or two.
  • Phaedrus - August: See Bent, hottest month ever, Think AGW.
  • Arpie - September: Back to school.
  • OtisG - October: Next time, just go trick or treating as a skater dude.
  • DOTC - November: Don’t forget to vote. Early and often.
  • Nic - December: Jolly, not old but Nic nonetheless.

Tomorrow: The Women of Huckleberries Online

Girl Can’t Sing ‘Christmas’, Dad Mad

A Treasure Valley man is upset because he says his daughter’s charter school has banned her from using the word “Christmas” in the school talent show. Michael Worth says his daughter attends the Garden City Community School, which is a public charter school. Worth says his daughter wanted to sing Alvin and the Chipmunks’ “Christmas Don’t Be Late” in Wednesday’s talent show. But he says the school asked her to substitute “Christmas” with “Holiday”. “I think it’s a First Amendment right to sing that song, it’s not offensive, it’s not inappropriate, it’s a Christmas song,” Worth said. Cindy Hoovel, the school’s director, says charter schools are having to be cautious about the separation of church and state laws following issues with the Nampa Classical Academy/KBCI. More here.

Question: Does the father in this situation have a legitimate beef?

Cocoa Butter Back From Near Death

Cocoa Butter, a Shih Tzu, was snatched out of her owner Tom Tuffin’s car and slammed against the outside wall of Spokane City Hall by man who chose to beat the dog instead of his girlfriend. The 5-pound dog suffered extensive injuries during the June attack, but she’s still alive and recovering. Meghann Cuniff/Sirens & Gavels reports here that Michael Jones, 20, pleaded guilty to first-degree animal cruelty Wednesday and will be released from jail next week after serving four months for the crime. (Colin Mulvany/SR)

Question: Is a jail sentence of 4 months punishment enough for this crime?

M&M: ‘Avatar’ Leads Weekend Fare

First of all, mainstream viewers are going to have a fairly easy choice between James Cameron’s “Avatar” and the romantic comedy “Did You Hear About the Morgans”? So, CGI sci-fi adventure or lame middle-age comedy featuring “Sex in the City” leftovers and a more-stuttering-than-usual Hugh Grant. Oh joy. Fans of the more challenging independent scene may have the opportunity to see more quality work, but little of it will offer anything remotely light. “Precious” and “The Road” open at AMC’s River Park Square Theatres. “Precious” follows the story of a high-school girl who, aside from being a virtual slave to her mother (Mo’Nique), has been impregnated twice (!) by her stepfather. And “The Road” is an adaptation of Cormac McCarthy’s post-holocaust study, which pretty much guarantees that it will be one of the bleakest films of the year/Dan Webster, Movies & More. More here.

Question: Which movie do you most want to see during the Christmas holidays/vacation?

Repub Noh Explains Allred Support

His answer has to do with the work Noh has done with Allred at The Common Interest, a citizen advocacy group the two founded together in Idaho; Noh was a founding board member. “It is not often enough that we find someone of such uncommon ability, objectivity and energy who is willing to devote their scarce hours in this land to political public service and leadership,” Noh writes of Allred. “I believe that once you become acquainted with Keith, regardless of partisan affiliation or the lack thereof, you, too, will not want to let this opportunity slip away.” He adds, “These are not ordinary times for Idaho or the nation. We must come together”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here. Laird Noh letter here.

Question: What do you think Butch Otter and the Republicans think re: a Republican w/credentials like Noh’s backing a Democrat?

UI Reworking Contract w/Robb Akey

University of Idaho athletic director Rob Spear says he and football coach Robb Akey have met three times about reworking Akey’s contract and progress is being made toward a new deal. No official announcement will be made, Spear said, until the Idaho State Board of Education approves the extension. The SBE meets next on Feb 17-18 in Boise. Akey’s contract discussion would have to put on the agenda by Jan. 19. “When it’s appropriate we’ll get that on the agenda,” Spear said. Akey is in the third year of a five-year deal that pays him $258,187 annually, among the lowest in the nation/Josh Wright, Sportslink. More here.

Question: How much longer will Robb Akey stay at UIdaho?

Raspberries: Top Ramen To Rescue

“Daughter Misty is always looking out for her starving-college-student-sister Amy, and passed along the following link to 50 amazing recipes for that college student staple, Ramen Noodles,” posts Trish Gannon/Raspberries. “Includes such creations as Chicken Diablo, Tex Mex Ramen, and Shiitake chicken ramen soup.” For Misty’s long list of Top Ramen recipes, click here.

HBO Numbers (for Wednesday, Dec. 16): 9729/5443

Question: I lived on Top Ramen through college and into my bachelorhood. Occasionally, I still pine for a bowl of Top Ramen soup. I didn’t know there were a bunch of ways to serve it. What does Top Ramen mean to you? And how do you best like it served?

Sandpoint Kills City Beach Fee Plan

A controversial proposal to charge non-residents a fee to park their vehicles at City Beach during the summer sank on a split vote on Wednesday. The City Council voted 4-2 not to put the matter up for a public hearing, effectively killing the proposal. The council deadlocked on whether to table the fee question, but council procedures prevented from Mayor Gretchen Hellar casting a tie-breaking vote on a motion to table. Councilwoman Helen Newton proposed a $1 or $2 parking fee for beach users who do not reside within the city limits as a response to a standing challenge at City Hall to identify new streams of revenue/Keith Kinnaird, Bonner County Bee. More here.

Question: Did the Sandpoint City Council make the right decision?

DM: Trying 2009 Ending Sweetly

Regular readers of this blog may be aware that this year brought pain with it to my family - deep pain. Today, however, a great measure of joy was delivered to our mailbox, postmarked December 11th, 2009. My son, Colin, is a Senior in High School and long ago set his sights on attending the United States Military Academy at West Point - I think he began his planning when he was 7 years old. He attended my 20th class reunion with me, visited the Academy on a few family vacations and - on his own - spent a week at West Point last Summer - with the Student Leadership Seminar program. Well, today he received a letter from U.S. Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, nominating him to West Point/Dennis Mansfield. More here.

Question: As many of you know, Dennis lost a son earlier this year. The news he and the rest of the family received today is a nice ending to a bittersweet year. How has your year gone? Sweet? Sour? Bittersweet?

Sgt. Christie’s Shopping Safety Tips

  • Don’t overload yourself with packages. Drive home if possible in between destinations and unload your gifts.
  • If you must shop in the evening, shop with a friend.
  • Park in well-lighted areas, as close as possible to store entrances. Be particularly aware of persons in the parking lot, especially near your car.
  • Lock your car and make sure the windows are closed.
  • Carry only the charge cards you will need. Don’t carry or flash large sums of cash.
  • More of Sgt. Christie Wood’s shopping safety tips here.

Question: Do you have anything to add to the list, tongue firmly cheeked or otherwise?

HBO’s Inland Northwest — 12.17.09

“There were several inches of snow on the ground on Dec. 17, 2008 as a storm moved in overnight,” recalls Councilwoman KerriT/More Main Street. “By the time morning dawned, North Idaho had received about two feet of snow in less than 24 hours! By the time winter turned to spring we would see record-breaking snowfall for the second winter in a row.” More here.

High Noon: Hair Down To Here

In this image made from video, 4-year-old Taylor Pugh is seen in Balch Springs, Texas. The parents of Pugh, a pre-kindergarten student nicknamed Tater Tot, are battling a suburban Dallas school’s decision to segregate their son because his long locks violate the district dress code. At left is Taylor’s father Delton Pugh. (AP Photo/Rich Matthews)

Question: Does a school district have the right to enforce a dress code that prohibits long locks like those that Tater Tot wears? Or should long hair be fairly passe in 2009?

If HBO Published A Calendar …

… who’d be on it? We do a lot of joking at Huckleberries Online re: the fund-raising calendars offered by firefighters (Sandpoint and Idaho) and the annual one offered by those naughty former Mormon fellas. What if Huckleberries Online published a calendar?

Question: Which of the Huckleberries macho macho men would you like to be featured, at least bare-chested, on said calendar and what months should they represent? Explain reasoning?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.17.09

  • Noon: A 40ish male is unconscious after a fall @ Olive Garden/Canfield.
  • 11:51 a.m. Teresa on Tanager/Hayden reports that a neighbor’s dog breaks into subdivision yards, barks incessantly, and growls at her when she tries to shoo it.
  • 11:48 a.m. A shoplifter is being cooperative after being caught at Shopko.
  • 11:45 a.m. Landlord reports that tenant is stealing appliances.
  • 11:32 a.m. Minnesotan who plans to visit Kootenai County in a few days wants to know if his weapons permit is recognized here.
  • 11:16 a.m. Grandmother is concerned that her daughter in the Ironwood area is on drugs and that her four children have worms coming out of their heads.
  •  11 a.m. Victoria on Emma reports that someone is stealing her prescription drugs.
  • 10:44 a.m. The stoplights are out @ H95 & Dalton and barely visible @ H95 & Hanley.
  • 10:20 a.m. Pet owner @ Grelie & Hinds/St. Maries reports a neighbor’s dog attacked his.
  • 9:59 a.m. A 6YO boy at Betty Kiefer Elementary/Rathdrum has regained consciousness in the cafeteria after knocking himself out in a fall from playground equipment.
  • 9:06 a.m. Pet owner wants to see an officer re: his dog chasing the neighbor’s horse.
  • 8:54 a.m. A green sedan abandoned at Prairie & Loch Marie/Hayden is creating a hazard by making the road nearly impassable.
  • 8:51 a.m. Motorists reports that a back tire is flat and shredded on a moving Jack Buell Truck on H95 in the Chilco area.
  • 8:31 a.m. A 46YO male was found dead in his shower this morning in Rathdrum.

KR: So Much For Nonpartisanship

It’s a strange fight for the GOP to pick here. Maybe it’s the political equivalent of a brush-back pitch — an attempt to put Allred on the defensive as he formally announces his campaign today and Friday. Maybe it’s also a way to undermine Allred’s appeal to his Common Interest membership — the group that, until last week, constituted his political base. But at least some of those 1,500 members are Republicans or Republican-leaning voters. By turning The Common Interest into a partisan talking point, the GOP risks alienating these politically active folks. The Common Interest’s response was disappointing as well/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Had you heard of Common Interest before Allred announced his intention to run for guv?

Repub Noh Backs Allred For Guv

Keith Allred is seen with his wife Christine answering questions during an interview with the Associate Press in Boise. (AP Photo/Charlie Litchfield)

Keith Allred formally announced his candidacy for governor as a Democrat this morning, at a rally in the Twin Falls High School gym, the same place he gave his first speech as a sixth-grader and where he spoke often when he was the school’s student body president. Allred had a surprise announcement: Joining former four-term Democratic Idaho Gov. Cecil Andrus as honorary co-chairman of his campaign will be former state Sen. Laird Noh, R-Kimberly, the longtime Republican chairman of the Senate Resources Committee. Noh also served on the board of Allred’s nonpartisan citizen advocacy group, The Common Interest/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: What do you make of respected former legislator Laird Noh co-chairing Keith Allred’s campaign?

007: Golfers Aren’t Athletes

I don’t believe golfers are athletes anymore than I believe Monopoly players are athletesJames Bond.

Question: What do you think? Are golfers athletes? Or not?

HBO Poll: Athlete Of Decade

  • Wednesday Poll: You Merry Hucksters were almost evenly divided when asked if you play the lottery. Of 91 who responded, 46 (51%) play he lottery, 45 (49%) don’t.

15% Of Teens Get ‘Sext’ Messages

Nearly one-sixth of teens who own cell phones have received nude or nearly nude images via text message from someone they know, according to a new survey on “sexting” from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. The national telephone survey confirms parent and teacher worries that young people are using cell phones to send out and receive sexually explicit images of themselves and of romantic partners/CNN. More here.

Question: Have you had any discussions with your teens or other youths re: the dangers of ‘sexting’?

Idaho Parks Face Budget Ax

While state recreational facilities are seeing a 14 percent increase in visitors - to more than 4.2 million a year - the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation has reduced its workers by 10 percent and grappled with double-digit budget cuts. Soon the agency will turn over one of its parks to Clearwater County, and it is preparing to close two more of the state’s 30 parks if the governor orders more immediate cuts from the budget year that ends June 30, Director Nancy Merrill said Wednesday as guest speaker at the Idaho Environmental Forum. But these cuts pale in comparison to what the department may face in the coming year - as her agency and every other one in the state anticipate deeper budget cuts down the road/Cynthia Sewell, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: How often do you use Idaho state parks? Which ones? For what reason?

Could I-90 Deaths Been Prevented?

The SUV barreled across the grassy median and into oncoming traffic just west of the Seltice overpass. At that spot there is no barrier to keep cars from driving into oncoming traffic. If the crash had happened just six miles to the west in Washington, a cable median divides east and west bound lanes and would have helped prevent the SUV from crossing the centerline. … The cable barriers were installed on a seven mile stretch of Interstate 90 from Sullivan Road to the Idaho state line back in 2004. In the 4 years before installation there were six crossover crashes on that stretch of freeway. In the years since there have been none though on 93 separate occasions vehicles have been stopped from crossing over by the cable barrier/Sally Showman, KXLY. More here.

Question: Is it time to install some sort of median to prevent out-of-control vehicles from crashing head-on into others on the opposite side of the freeway through Post Falls?

AM: 3 More Die In I-90 Crash

Eagle education specialist Beth Paragamian of the Bureau of Land Management at the Third Street boat launch in Coeur d’Alene on Friday. (Kathy Plonka/SR)

In The News: Surviving In Nebraska

Two pug dogs named Harry, right, and Sally, are pictured at the Nebraska Humane Society in Omaha, Neb., Wednesday. Police in the Omaha suburb of Papillion say the dogs fed on the body of their owner after he had killed himself. A Humane Society spokesman would not verify that the dogs had fed on the body, but said it would be normal behavior for dogs left without food or water for two weeks. The dogs, who are up for adoption, they will be carefully matched with new owners.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Question: Should these dogs be adopted out? Or put down after eating human flesh?

Locals Observe Boston Tea Party

Item: Tea-ing off again: Conservatives gather to mark 236th anniversary of Boston Tea Party/Alecia Warren, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: On Wednesday evening, the 236th anniversary of the Boston Tea Party, a throng of conservatives gathered again to air complaints of proposed health care legislation and government overspending at the Tea Party Anniversary and Patriot Rally put on by the Tea Party Patriots of North Idaho. Although only a few protest signs made appearances, there were still 1,411 conservatives who found a seat in the facility, many dutifully waving little American flags.

Question: Still think the Tea Party movement is going to go away?

Bible OK In CdA Charter School

Item: Bibles OK in Cd’A public classrooms: Administrators defend religious texts/Maureen Dolan, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: The Associated Press reported Wednesday that Bob Moffett, chairman of the board of Nampa Classical Academy, said he doesn’t understand why his charter school is barred from the practice but another charter school in Coeur d’Alene is not. … Dan Nicklay, principal of Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy, said teachers at his school have been using the Bible and other religious texts like the Koran in literature classes for years. “The Bible is an important part of our literary tradition,” Nicklay said. “You can’t do a full and complete job of teaching ‘The Scarlet Letter’ or ‘Fahrenheit 451’ without referring to it.”

Question: Do you see anything wrong with the way Coeur d’Alene Charter Academy applies the Bible in the classroom?

Ramirez: 2 Different Models

Michael Ramirez/Investor’s Business Daily

Citibank Gets Massive Tax Breaks

Item: US granted Citibank ‘massive tax exemptions’/AFP

More Info: The US federal government has exempted Citibank and a number of other financial institutions that received bailout funds from paying billions of dollars in taxes, the Washington Post reported. The Post said Wednesday that tax exemptions were offered to several companies partially owned by the government, including Citibank, which “will be allowed to retain billions of dollars worth of tax breaks that otherwise would decline in value when the government sells its stake to private investors.”

Question: Do you support the move to give Citibank and other financial institutions that received bailout money ’massive tax exemptions’?

Parting Shot — 12.16.09

University of Idaho Cheerleading Squad performs during a recent basketball game with Sacramento State in Memorial Gym. (Kate Kucharzyk/Argonaut)

Question: Were you ever a cheerleader? Or did you date a cheerleader? Or were you ever snubbed by a cheerleader?

Hump Day Wild Card — 12.16.09

Huckleberries Online should reach 2M page-views sometime tonight. The blog enters the day with 1,991,872 page-views and 1,113,937 unique views. As of 6 o’clock tonight, the blog was 1,669 page-views away from the goal. As you know, I didn’t think HBO would reach this plateau this year after the rough start at the beginning of the year, caused by a switch to a new software system. However, except for the inability to use HTML in the comments section, the new software has proven superior to the old system. So it’s all good. As always, thanks for being part of this long, wacky ride. Now, for your Wild Card …

Stateline Or Bust For Cheaper Gas

“Normally, I’d never drive out of my way to buy cheap gas because you pretty much burn what you save just to get there,” posts Staci Lehman/Kootenai MPO. “It’s only about 5 minutes out of my way to go to the gas station at Stateline though, where they were selling gas for $2.29 a gallon. That’s right folks! It’s a Monday Night Football promotion so don’t think you can go there and get that price today. But you could try next Monday.”

Question:  Would you be willing to drive to Stateline for some $2.29-per-gallon gas as part of a “Monday Night Football” promotion? Or are you happy with the $2.39 gas in Coeur d’Alene? Do you find yourself driving more now that the price has gone down so low again?


The front of Zaney’s Coffee House is seen covered in posters and ribbons in support of captured soldier Pfc. Bowe Bergdahl today in Hailey, more than five months after his disappearance in Afghanistan. Bergdahl worked at the Hailey coffee shop before his departure for Afghanistan. The Taliban announced they will release a new video of a U.S. soldier captured in Afghanistan, a U.S.-based terrorism monitoring group said Wednesday. The video is said to be titled, “One of Their People Testified.” The Taliban did not name the American, but the only U.S. soldier known to be in captivity is Bergdahl. Story here. (AP Photo/Dev Khalsa)

APhoto Of The Day — 12.16.09

The helmets of Danish riot police fog up as they push back demonstrators outside the Bella Center, the venue of the U.N. Climate Conference in Copenhagen earlier today. The largest climate change conference is underway in Copenhagen, aiming to secure an agreement on how to protect the world from calamitous global warming. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. As everyone tries out their all-climate headgear, most experience a normal British foggy day, while Bridgett, in the back, breaks out in song, “On a clear day”/JeanieS.
  • 2. A group of Scrubbing Bubbles became lost on their way to the bathtub drain — Smacky.
  • 3. Unable to define global warming causeds a delegate pointed out the fog gathering under the face guards of police as proof positive that global warming is human caused. The conference is now calling for a ban on excessive breathing — Herb Huseland.
  • HM: Pecky Cox

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.16.09

  • 5:04 p.m. 10 to 20 vehicles are parked in front of the Kootenai County fire station on Golf Course Road, across from the Kroc Center, creating a safety hazard.
  • 4:42 p.m. A male driver appears to be disoriented after crashing into a snowbank in front of Appleby’s/CdA.
  • 4:45 p.m. Woman reports hearing what sounded like a .38-calibre shot and then seeing a car with two men leave the residential area near Skyway Elementary.
  • 4:10 p.m. Resident reports arriving home to find doors to his garage and house open on Campfire Court.
  • 3:56 p.m. A huge tarp is lying in the fast lane of I-90 & Spokane/Post Falls.
  • 3:54 p.m. Dispatcher tells officer to tell reporting party that his “911 line is open.”
  • More below

Risch Rips Obama For $1B Jungle Gift

“The President’s announcement to commit one billion dollars so other countries can manage their forests is offensive. First, America does not have an ‘extra billion dollars.’ We would need to borrow it from the Chinese. Second, the President cannot make an appropriation commitment, only the Congress can appropriate. Third, our public forests here at home are in desperate need of restorative work and maintenance. That work includes watershed maintenance, fuel-load reductions and the eradication of a beetle infestation that plagues much of the West. We simply cannot send money to other countries so they can manage their forests when we lack the funding to take care of our own”/U.S. Sen. Jim Risch re: Obama’s pledge at the Copenhagen Climate Conference of $1B over the next three years go to preserve rainforests in other countries.

Question: Do you agree w/Risch or President Obama re: the pledge of $1B to help rainforests?

A Request For A Non-Existent Permit

Sometimes, though, a seemingly small proposal with a tiny environmental impact can set a horrendous precedent, and we recently came across one of those projects, which comes up for a hearing later this week. A developer on Hayden Lake is proposing a “variance” to the County’s site disturbance ordinance to construct a walkway and landing in the 25-foot shoreline buffer zone. But when we looked at the County ordinance (pdf here), there’s no such thing as a site disturbance variance. Now, the County does have a variance procedure (Sections 9-23-2 and 9-23-3 here) for the zoning and building codes, as required by state law.  And maybe the County is supposed to have a variance procedure for the site disturbance ordinance, but it just forgot to write one into the law/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here

DFO: Here’s an example why I’m delighted that Terry Harris started a blog at KEA. I’m delighted that a respected watchdog like KEA has a venue to air its concerns despite the holes in media coverage of local government. The courthouse is relatively free of media scrutiny. But this show that commissioners have to continue to pay attention to planning decisions.

Idaho R’s To File Complaint V. Allred

The Idaho Republican Party has put out a news release saying it plans to file a complaint with the IRS against Keith Allred for the Dec. 10 letter he emailed out to members of his citizen advocacy group, The Common Interest, informing them that he was going to run for governor as a Democrat. Jonathan Parker, party executive director, said the letter was partisan campaign activity inappropriate for a nonprofit, and accused Allred of trying to “exploit the non-profit tax-exempt status of The Common Interest to further his own personal and partisan agenda”/Betsy Russell, Eye On Boise. More here.

Question: Izzit just me, or is this a petty reaction to a marginal misstep?

CdA Ped/Bike Panel Launches Blog

At her Cat House & Shooting Gallery, JeanC posts: Picked up a knock-off snuggie at Rite Aid on Saturday, they had them for $8 as opposed to the $14 for the real thing. So I had to get the zebra stripped one, I now match the throw pillows on the couch LOL.” More here.

The Coeur d’Alene Pedestrian and Bicycle Advisory Committee has a new BLOG! Follow the link to see discussions and articles on everything ped/bike. The committee will post information on bicycle safety, Safe Routes to School, Rules of the Road, pedestrian access for the disabled, public transportation, the future of pedestrians and bicycles in Coeur d’Alene, and upcoming issues. The site also has links to many sites related to ped/bike issues/Amy Ferguson, Coeur d’Alene Today. More here.

Question: Anyone else test-driving a snuggie? What do you think of the latest clothing fad?

Idaho Students Lose Basic Protection

What is a basic protection? It is a minimum standard of treatment. We have the minimum wage, which may not be adequate, but we can rely on it. Governments have a constitution as outline of behavior. We even have a bill of rights, a promise of protection on certain issues. And we HAD a tuition cap in Idaho. A minimum promise that the State Board of Education gave us about *even the possibility* of tuition increases remaining below 10% in one year. They have revoked their promise this week in Twin Falls. Asking to remove the 10% tuition cap, even if it is just for 1 year, is asking us to give up our right of basic protection from excessive budget increases/DianaMarie, 43rd State Blues. More here.

Thursday Is Vernon Baker Day

Get Adobe Flash player

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has proclaimed Thursday will be “Vernon J. Baker Day,” in honor of the St. Maries resident who is the only living African-American Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. Read more.


A frosted moon
on icy nights,
a dust of snow,
and Christmas lights.

The Bard of Sherman Avenue

K-Mama: A Satisfied HBO Customer

Kendramama: Hey Hucksters, just wanted to let you know that after meeting an awesome blurker via the front-page DFO was kind enuff to put out yesterday re: my financial aid stress, I am now past that hurdle, having filled out the necessary evil paperwork with wise eyes looking on. Not only that, but through Sara and her super-nice colleagues at the Alumni Office at NIC (who normally do not deal with greenie frosh like me!) I’ve learned that I may not have to relocate to Boise to attend BSU after all… I can get double bachelors and even MASTERS up here thru LCSC and satellite branches of U of I, BSU and even a couple others! All brand new news to me. Comment continues below.

Question: Have you been helped personally as a result of being part of the menagerie in this online circus?

New West: Keeping Sandpoint Safe

So for a pedestrian in Sandpoint, it’s easy to tell where passing cars are registered, and there has been a noticeable change in drivers of 7B vehicles since a second pedestrian was killed in town a few weeks ago. On the whole, 7B cars and local pedestrians have both become quite cautious, and now when their paths cross, an Alphonse-and-Gaston-like “you first, no you first” kind of interplay occurs. Cautious pedestrians step timidly off curbs and then back on, while the 7B drivers that see them slow way down and just wait. This dance is exaggerated at night; it was nighttime when both pedestrians were killed (the other occurred in 2006)/Cate Huisman, New West. More here.

Question: Have you ever had a close encounter with a vehicle while crossing a street on foot or walking along a road?

HBO’s Inland Northwest — 12.16.09

A juvenile eagle, which doesn’t yet have the coloration of a mature bald eagle, throws its wings back and its talons forward preparing to snatch a kokanee salmon from the surface of Lake Coeur d’Alene Saturday. The gathering of migrating eagles peaks in mid-December as the birds gather to gorge on spawned out kokanee that are plentiful in the lake’s Wolf Lodge Bay. Most of the migrating birds are gone by early January, heading to wintering ranges in southern states and even as far as Mexico. (Jesse Tinsley/SR)

Update: Brannon Suit Hearing March 2

City Attorney Mike Gridley has confirmed for Huckleberries Online that the city has asked the courts to dismiss challenger Jim Brannon’s lawsuit to overturn the 2009 Coeur d’Alene city elections. Judge Chuck Hosack has setting a hearing date of the dismissal motion for 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, March 2. You can read the city’s request for dismissal here. (BTW, the city attorney’s office is suppose to sit down w/Brannon attorney Starr Kelso for a private negotiation to hammer out possible compromises Thursday.)

Question: Is it beginning to seem to you that the lawsuit filed by losing challenger Jim Brannon is going to drag out a long time?

High Noon: Suds For The Blogmeister

FlorineD: I’m happy to hear that another blogfest is planned. But the Hoffman/Gookin theory of economics would suggest to the SR that “recognition” is not a legitimate business expense. Yea, yea, I hear them howling that there’s a difference between private industry finance and tax funds. But I say that the “city” is a business, not a clutch of volunteers. And recognition is a time-honored way to foster morale. So, I’ll attempt to be humble and gracious as I accept my pizza; and I’ll spring for some suds for the blogmeister.

Question: Have you ever been recognized for something by your employee?

Gookin Blasts ‘Recognition’ Spending

Still, former city council candidate Dan Gookin thinks spending $4,500 on city employee recognition shows the mayor and council are out of touch with their constituents.  “I don’t think anyone on the Coeur d’Alene city council stands up for the taxpayer.  No one has ever said ‘The folks out there are hurting, and what can we do?  They’ve had to cut back, they’ve had to deal with less, what can we do to deal with less?’  Now granted, their (city employees) unions took a zero percent, they didn’t give anyone a COLA (cost of living adjustment).  But yet they’re still wasting money.  The stuff they pay for that they don’t have to is just ridiculous”/Jay Howell, Idaho Family Forum. More here.

Question: Does you business or company spend much money in efforts to recognize good work by employees?

Schumer Uses B-Word On Airplane

Sen. Chuck Schumer apparently doesn’t like when people tell him to stop talking. The senator was flying from New York to Washington with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand on Sunday when he muttered a curse word under his breath after a flight attendant asked him to hang up his phone before take-off, according to Politico’s Shenanigans blog. An announcement was made telling passengers to turn off their cell phones, but Schumer and Gillibrand, who was reportedly sitting beside him, kept jabbering away, a House GOP aide who was seated nearby told Shenanigans. A flight attendant then came up to the veteran New York Democrat and asked him to turn off his phone, after which point he muttered “bitch,” the source said/Jennifer Millman, New York. More here.

Question: Increasingly, the B-word is used on television by actresses describing themselves and others. Is it becoming an acceptable term for females that someone dislikes? Is it acceptable for a U.S. senator to use to describe a flight attendant?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.16.09

  • 11:43 a.m. Davenport/Dalton Gardens resident reports mailboxes knocked down last night.
  • 11:21 a.m. A late-50s resident is lying in his front yard suffering chest pains after flagging down a passing motorist @ 23rd & Pennsylvania/CdA.
  • 11:12 a.m. Local man reports someone is using his credit card to buy items online.
  • 11:07 a.m. A Highlander has crashed into a tree @ Lakeview Heights & Fairmont/CdA.
  • 10:21 a.m. A 51YO male is having trouble standing at Group Health/Ironwood.
  • 10:09 a.m. Medics are checking out a driver of a red pickup that hit her head in one of two separate accidents @ H95 & Mica Creek (M/P 421) that left one vehicle hanging from a guardrail, another over an embankment and a third 150 feet into a field.
  • 9:27 a.m. A 65YO woman feels she’s about to go into seizure in U.S. Bank, 413 Seltice Way.
  • 8:52 a.m. Michael has lost his basset hound.
  • 8:42 a.m. Neighbor who works graveyard complains that a nearby school crossing guard has two dogs that wake him up by barking.
  • 8:34 a.m. A motorist reports that her vehicle is hanging over the edge of Fernan Lake after sliding @ Fernan Lake Road & Fernan Lake Court. She’s afraid to leave the car.
  • 8:17 a.m. Rosemary has questions about raccoon traps.

Look, Up In The Sky …

This image provided by NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope Tuesday shows hundreds of brilliant blue stars wreathed by warm, glowing clouds. The festive portrait is the most detailed view of the largest stellar nursery in our local galactic neighborhood. The massive, young stellar grouping, called R136, is only a few million years old and resides in the 30 Doradus Nebula, a turbulent star-birth region in the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC), a satellite galaxy of our Milky Way. There is no known star-forming region in our galaxy as large or as prolific as 30 Doradus. (AP Photo/NASA)

IFF: CdA ‘Recognition’ Costs $4500

The Coeur d’Alene city government spends thousands of taxpayer dollars every year to show city employees they are appreciated.  In fact, according to public records obtained by the Idaho Freedom Foundation, expenses under the heading of “Employee Recognition” totaled $4,489.42 in FY2009. “Employee Recognition” line items are listed under the Human Resources department’s expenditures.  Included in the total are $914.20 in expenses related to a chili cook-off, $448.53 spent on an employee barbecue, $849.27 for various “celebrations”, and $2,096.25 for awards and gifts. According to the records, items purchased included engraved retirement coins, peer awards, gift cards and lots of “celebration” odds and ends/Jay Howell, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here. H/T: Treasured Valley

Question: Is this a good use of taxpayer money?

MT: Allred Is Antithesis Of Otter

Voters now have a choice. Perhaps they agree with Otter that government must live within its means. Possibly they share the House GOP leadership’s view that taxes are too high and that programs from schools and higher education to transportation or social are a burden. That’s the conventional wisdom in this reliably Republican state. Or just maybe Idahoans have entered their 15th year of single-party rule wondering if the GOP is so busy fighting itself that it has lost track of them. It’s possible they’re fatigued with a governing philosophy that says investments in their education system must be slashed while tax breaks for big business retain their priority. If anyone can bring that message home, it’s Allred. Almost the antithesis of Otter, Allred likes to get his mind around complex, policy questions/Marty Trillhaase, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Do you believe one-party rule — whether its in Washington, D.C., or Idaho — is a good thing?

Loud Stereo Ends On Sour Note

In a Lewiston Tribune story this morning, reporter Brad W. Gary tells of a confrontation between neighbors over a loud car stereo. A 21YO woman confronted her neighbor when he pulled into their apartment complex with his car stereo blaring. A few minutes later, she was allegedly was looking down the wrong end of a .380-caliber semiautomatic pistol. After Loud Stereo Guy was charged w/aggravated assault and arrested, Lewiston police Sgt. Ted Piche warned: “If you have a problem with people playing loud music sometimes, be careful how you approach them.” More here.

Question: Have you had trouble with neighbors playing loud music in your ‘hood?

AM Headlines — 12.16.09

The Really BIG Raffle house is currently under construction by North Idaho College carpentry students at 2880 Marceille Drive in the Greenstone Coeur d’Alene Place neighborhood. Tickets are on sale now. NIC Press Room story here.

Question: Have you ever bought a ticket in NIC Foundation’s Really Big Raffle?

HBO Poll: Playing The Lottery

What started out as a very difficult week for a St. Maries woman, now has a silver lining. Frankie Masterson recently learned her grandson had been seriously wounded while serving in Afghanistan. In an unusual twist of luck, Frankie learned Sunday that she was holding a Powerball ticket worth $200,000.  Her ticket matched five numbers, but not the Powerball. Frankie’s grandson, a U.S. marine, stepped on a roadside bomb last week and is recovering from his wounds stateside in an East Coast medical facility/KTVB. More here.

  • Tuesday Poll: 64 of 104 (61.5%) of the respondents said they are either very concerned or somewhat concerned that 23% of high school seniors in Coeur d’Alene smoke pot. 13 of 104 (13%) said “more power to them.”

Letter: Police Got The Wrong Guy

I am writing about the Cd’A Dutch Bros. robbery. I am the girlfriend of Charles Spencer and the mother of his child. Charles Spencer is accused of being involved in the Dutch Bros. robbery. I would like to be the first to say he did not do it or have anything to do with this and I am 100 percent disgusted with the work of the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. They did not do any investigation and arrested him for no reason. Now our 22-month-old son gets to spend Christmas without his father, pat yourself on the back for that one, Cd’A Police/Nicole Ator, letter to the editor, Coeur d’Alene Press. More here.

Question: Did Charles Spencer’s girlfriend help his cause by writing this letter to the editor?

M&M: ‘Princess & Frog’ Starts Slowly

Why, I often wondered, wasn’t life more like a Disney movie? In recent years, Disney and all it stands for has changed, mainly because other companies have traipsed into its territory. Pixar offers us much of the same traditional Disney view, but it adds just a bit of irony and slightly edgy humor. DreamWorks thrives on irony and lets its humor pass by so quickly most viewers never understand just how edgy it really is. Twentieth Century Fox is a gag-happy combination of both. Which is why “The Princess and the Frog” is such a surprise. At its heart, this is Disney tradition at its most basic. The story itself, though a variation on the traditional Grimm Brothers tale “The Frog Prince,” mixes a little “Wizard of Oz” with “Beauty and the Beast” and more than a bit of “Song of the South”/Dan Webster, Movies & More. More here.

Question: Which Disney movie is your favorite?

Stantis: End Of Debate

Scott Stantis/Birmingham News

KHQ: 16YO Killed In I-90 Wreck

Eastbound I-90 is reopened at mile marker six in Post Falls following a multiple car collision that happened at 6:15 p.m Tuesday. There were multiple injuries reported and at least one fatality has been confirmed in the crash. Police say an SUV from Great Falls was traveling westbound on I-90 headed for Seattle when it crossed the median and hit a car and a pickup head-on in the eastbound lane. A teenage girl who was a passenger in the SUV was killed in the crash. She was traveling to Seattle to receive her regular dialysis treatment. Initially Idaho State police said there were three people in the SUV, and the driver and another passenger sustained life-threatening injuries. ISP is now saying there were a total four people in the SUV/KHQ. More here.

HMO: Watching A Beloved Pet Die

HMOffsuite: I have been weeping for 5 days. Last Friday morning, my constant companion and best friend, Yogi (golden retreiver/pyrenees mix) couldn’t get up off the floor. We rushed him to the Vet and they did sonograms and xrays to determine he had a tumor on his spleen. They operated and removed the spleen and a tumor the size of a cantalope. Pathology report won’t be back until tomorrow. Then we will learn if the tumor was benign or malignant. (Only about 24% are benign). But, on Saturday, they detected a blood problem and said he might not make it through the night. Transfusions, plasma etc etc. We decided to bring him home to be with us if he were to die. Continued below.

Question: Have you ever loved a pet as much a person?

Parting Shot — 12.15.09

This drawing, released by Chester Johnson, of Taunton, shows a sketch of Jesus on the cross created by his son as part of school work, in Taunton, Mass. on today. The 8-year-old boy was sent home from school and ordered to undergo a psychological evaluation after he was asked to make a Christmas drawing and came up with what appeared to be a stick figure of Jesus on a cross, the child’s father said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)

Question: Did school officials handle this situation properly?

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12.15.09

If my calculations are correct, Huckleberries Online will reach 2 million page-views sometime late Wednesday. The blog was about 17,000 page-views short of 2 million entering today. We’re sitting on 1.1 million unique views as of the minute. I wasn’t sure the blog would reach the mark as a result of the changes at the beginning of the year that deflated numbers for the first three months. Thanks for being a part of another successful year. Now, for your Wild Card …

Teens Average 2000 Texts Per Month

Americans punched out more than 110 billion text messages in December 2008, double the number in the last month of 2007, as the shorthand communication becomes a popular alternative to cell phone calls. The nation’s 270 million cell phone subscribers each sent out an average of 407 text messages in December 2008, according to government statistics released Tuesday by the Census Bureau. That’s more than double the 188 messages sent by the average cell subscriber during the same period in 2007/Associated Press. More here.

Question: How often do you text?

PM Headlines — 12.15.09

Frankie Masterson of St. Maries was holding a $200,000 Powerball ticket when she learned that her grandson was seriously injured in the fighting in Afghanistan. KTVB story here. (Idaho Lottery photo)

APhoto Of The Day — 12.15.09

Dylan Gosewehr, 2, from Indiana chases shore birds at the Indialantic beach as his family visits relatives in Melbourne, Fla., Monday. They said they were enjoying the nice winter weather here where it was to reach the mid 80s while Indiana was in the low 40s. (AP Photo/Florida Today, Michael R. Brown)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. “Livingston, Johathan Livigston and yours?” — Pecky Cox.
  • 2. “Excuse me son, but you don’t look like you’re from around here” — Charles Dixon.
  • 3. You almost have it, just raise your wings a little higher…and flap — Laughing.

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.15.09

  • 5:21 p.m. Kids are throwing snowballs at vehicles from behind trees @ the corner of Ponderosa and Pinewood/Post Falls.
  • 4:31 p.m. Resident near Honeysuckle & Best reports that vehicle is driving the wrong way and doing brodies past his house.
  • 3:56 p.m. A Chevy Tahoe that was cutoff & bashed by a blue Ford Ranger pickup @ H95 & Cougar Gulch followed the run vehicle into Coeur d’Alene.
  • 3:46 p.m. Two Lakes Motel/Coeur d’Alene Lake Drive manager reports finding a tenant disoriented in his room.
  • 3:40 p.m. Motorist in a blue Honda is spinning brodies @ Syringa & Poleline/Post Falls.
  • More below

Dogwalk: Hobnobbing w/Local Demos

I did take time, however, to attend a coffee hosted by the Kootenai County Democratic Chair. Not being a Democrat I’m not sure why I was invited other than being on a lot of local Facebook friends lists and having been a strong supporter of Obama during the campaign. Plus we’re acquainted through the local blogging crowd. The reason for the gathering was to hear an explanation of the challenge of the recent city council and mayoral election by one of the challengers. I was interested to hear if what I understood from the papers was on track/Dogwalk Musings. More here. And: What a concept

HBO Numbers (for Monday, Dec. 14): 8950/5209

Help Tiger Escape Wife

Cis/From A Simple Mind just sent a new online game in which players are asked to help Tiger Woods escape his golf club-wielding wife. You can try and see what happens if you fall short here. (BTW, I scored 129)

Spencer: CPD Blue Needs ‘Tude Job

Spencer: Wow, do the CDA police need an attitude ajustment or what! My sister in law slid her car off the road, and the officer in charge was beyond a jerk. The only damage to the car was a dent in the door where it had bumped a post. The officer refused to let the car be driven away and called a wrecker. His attitude when he found that the car was not high centered on the curb as he claimed was one of sheer indignation that someone would point out that he was mistaken. Talk about a watching someone become a jerk in less than three seconds. It was like watching Dr. (Jekyll) become Mr. Hyde in supersonic speed!

Question: Have you had encounters with local police that are similar to Spencer’s sister-in-law’s?

Idaho To Honor WWII Vet Baker

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter has proclaimed that Thursday will be “Vernon J. Baker Day,” in honor of the St. Maries resident who is the only living African-American Medal of Honor recipient from World War II. “I encourage Idahoans to honor this courageous citizen who is the embodiment of the true American hero and who ensures and reminds us of all that is wonderful about Idaho and this great country,” Otter wrote in the official proclamation, signed Dec. 8. Baker turns 90 on Thursday. He was awarded the Medal of Honor in 1997 and also served for eight years on the state’s Human Rights Commission. When he learned of the proclamation Tuesday, Baker said, “Oh my lord, thank you. I appreciate that very, very much. The only thing I can do about it is sit here and cry”/Alison Boggs, SR. Continued below.

Question: Has anyone in your extended family been decorated for war service?

M&M: ‘Invictus’ Rugby Movie Scores

I wasn’t sure about going to see the new rugby film. For one thing, it’s about … rugby. Also, I still think that they should have come up with another title than “Invictus,” which - no matter how justifiable it is - simply doesn’t tumble easily off the tongue. I have problems with the way that director/producer Clint Eastwood oversaw the editing (as in “Gran Torino,” he has problems here with back-and-forth conversation). Finally, there’s the genre that “Invictus” belongs to: the cheesy sports film, which obligates it to, among other things, to underscore the emotions with some at-times corny music. All that said, “Invictus” is one of the most entertaining films I’ve seen in a long time/Dan Webster, Movies & More. More here.

Question: Which sports movie is your favorite?

Evangelist Oral Roberts, 91, RIP

In this June 2003 file photo, TV evangelists, from left: Billy Joe Daugherty; Gloria Copeland; Kenneth Copeland; Charles Green; Richard Roberts; and Lindsay Roberts lay hands on Oral Roberts, 85, during the International Charismatic Bible Ministries conference in the Mabee Center at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Okla. Evangelist Oral Roberts, who rose from tent revivals to found a multimillion-dollar organization and an Oklahoma university bearing his name, died today. He was 91. (AP Photo/Tulsa World, Kelly Kerr, file)

Question: What will be evangelist Oral Roberts’ legacy?

Grant Flap Reveals Minnick Weakness

Erstwhile congressional wannabe Larry Grant (pictured) caused a hubbub when he told Rocky Barker that he could win the 1st District nomination as a Republican by cobbling together a coalition of moderate Republicans and disenchanted Democrats. Grant quickly backtracked and said he was joking when the observation caught fire in Idaho blogs and brought the Congressional Quarterly calling. At that point, he said all the right things re: party unity and that he had no intention of running for Walt Minnick’s seat. However, some damage remains from his comment that he’s approached weekly by unhappy Democrats about the possibility of taking Blue Dog Minnick on in the Demo primary. Several prominent bloggers have written about this flap, including Kevin Richert/Idaho Statesman, Randy Stapilus/Ridenbaugh Press, and, of course, the Congressional Quarterly.

Question: Could Larry Grant win the 1st Congressional District nomination as a Republican, if he tried?

OpenCDA Sees Threat In Letter

In case you were wondering what nonsense had the crowd’s shorts in a knot this week, Bill McCrory provides the answers. Seems they’re all huffing about David Larsen’s letter in the Coeur d’Alene Press. The money lines that has the conspiracy theorists gnashing their teeth are these from Larsen (pictured): ” … I fear your continued efforts at overturning the election may result in making it more difficult for you to find meaningful employment in the future. You might be perceived as being a disgruntled individual thereby making future employers more cautious about hiring you.” McCrory sees the comment as a “conditional indirect threat” (whatever that is). In other words, he seems to think that Larsen meant to intimidate Brannon and other office seekers. Conversely, I read it as practical advice. Brannon lost by 5 votes. He refused to seek a recount, as almost any other candidate would, and sued instead to overturn the entire election. Some folks might view him as troublesome. Not the OpenCDA crowd, of course. But some.

Question: Do you see a “conditional indirect threat” in Larsen’s letter?

High Noon: A Culture Of Storage

We traveled to Coeur d’Alene to do some business and Christmas shopping. As I predicted it was hideous, with that awful music being played everywhere and shoppers apparently oblivious to each other, shoving and pushing, grabbing and lining up like a bunch of idiots to buy mostly Chinese junk. I was struck again on the way by just how much storage has become big business in the U.S. There are huge storage facilities being built everywhere, as if there is no end to the demand. I guess everyone has to have a place to stash the junk they buy at Christmas. As I have observed previously, there is something very wrong with a culture that requires so much storage/Morialekafa. More here.

Question: Do you agree with Morialekafa of Boundary County that we all own too much junk?

HBO’s Inland Northwest — 12.15.09

A chase plane flies beside a Boeing Co. 787 airplane as the 787 takes off on its first flight this morning at Paine Field in Everett, Wash. Pilots Michael Carriker and Randall Neville lifted off in the big blue and white jet at about 10 a.m. PST from Everett’s Paine Field on a four-hour flight over Washington state, beginning the extensive flight test program needed to obtain the plane’s Federal Aviation Administration certification. Seattle Times story here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.15.09

  • Noon: Officer reports all the Ramsey intersections from Golf Course Road northward are “sheets of ice.”
  • 11:59 a.m. A vehicle has crashed through a fence off Ramsey, hitting a shed and the back of a house @ 5601 Pacific/CdA. The house’s air conditioning unit is leaking.
  • 11:38 a.m. A staff member is suffering chest pains in the cafeteria of Lakeland Junior High.
  • 11:11 a.m. A female and her dog are creating a road hazard by walking along H95 @ Cougar Gulch.
  • 11:05 a.m. An unattended death is reported on Megan/Post Falls.
  • 10:40 a.m. Cow is headed back toward Ramsey.
  • 10:37 a.m. A domestic dispute @ 9th & Woolsey/CdA was punctuated when the female kneed the male in the groin.
  • 10:27 a.m. A large cow is in front of the Hayden Pet Medical Center @ Hayden & Eileen.
  • 9:59 a.m. Jana reports from Church & H53 that two blue heelers attacked and injured her horse. She fired a shotgun blast to chase them off.
  • 9:58 a.m. A large cow is e/b on Boyles from Ramsey.
  • 8:55 a.m. A tree is hanging at eye level @ McGuire & Empire/Post Falls.
  • 8:41 a.m. Traffic lights @ H41 & Prairie are all showing red, causing traffic to back up.
  • 8:22 a.m. Snowplow driver reports that a pickup is parked in the middle of the Squaw Bay boat launch, preventing him from plowing the area. Also, he believes that individuals from the pickup are hunting too close to nearby homes.
  • 8:17 a.m. A clerk from Handy Mart on Spokane/Post Falls reports that a man in a vehicle registered to a Coeur d’Alene address was so drunk he could hardly walk.

Fort Boise: That First VW Van

The stolen bus, recovered 35 years later From long ago and far away, up pops the “beloved hippy van” that was stolen 35 years ago. Allstate is the current title holder, having paid off the Insured way back when. She can’t remember what she (or they) paid for it, maybe $600? I’m thinking it must have been more because this thing is totally cherry, not quite 77-thou on the clock, original bumpers, seats, engine clean as a whistle, whitewalls, the moon hubcaps, everything. Current bid is $17,900 with Allstate sending the proceeds to charity. You’re looking at the imaginary version of the first automobile I owned, purchased the same year this baby was stolen/Tom Von Alten, Fort Boise. More here.

Question: Did you own a VW bug or hippy van back in your glory days?

Cy Young Winner Lee To Seattle?

Philadelphia Phillies’ Cliff Lee pitches to the New York Yankees during the fifth inning of Game 1 of the Major League Baseball World Series on Oct. 28 in New York. Lee, a Cy Young Award winner, reportedly will be traded to the Seattle Mariners shortly which would give the Mariners a dominate one-two punch at the top of their pitching rotation with Felix Hernandez and Lee. ESPN story here. And: Seattle P-I story here. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

Question: Are you a fan of the Seattle Mariners and excited about this likely trade?

HBO Poll: CdA Teen Pot Use

Of the Coeur d’Alene 12th-graders surveyed in 2008, nearly 23 percent had smoked pot within the past month – up 6 percentage points from the previous survey in 2006. Ninth-graders’ use also increased/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR. More here.

  • Monday Poll: 45 of 79 (57 percent) of the respondents said college professors and instructors shouldn’t foist their personal political opinions on students. 15 of 79 (19 percent) each said they should be able to do so or to do so “only a little.”

Sho-Con: Butch Disappointing, But …

Shoshone Conservative: As disappointing as Otter has been in some respects, I think the only way he’ll leave office before he retires is if he’s caught with a dead girl or a live boy. He’s ruffled a few feathers, irritated a few people, but hasn’t really screwed up majorly, either. The main disappointment is that the “maverick” (to use a political cliche) firebrand Legislator and Congressman has turned out to be pretty much a run of the mill “establishment” Governor. The voters who re-elected Kempthorne, the consummate slick, egotistical, professional politician, over an arguably strong Dem challenger, will have no problem voting for “Good Ol’ Butch,” who can at least play the part of the “cowboy populist” when he wants to.

Question: Are there any unabashed fans of Gov. Butch Otter out there?

23% Of CdA 12th-Graders Smoke Pot

Item: Student pot use rises in CdA, falls in Spokane/Jody Lawrence-Turner, SR 

More Info: Coeur d’Alene teens smoked more marijuana last year than they did in 2006, a contrast to a trend revealed in statistics released Monday in a federal survey about the drug and alcohol use among U.S. high school students. In Spokane County, however, students’ marijuana use decreased, according to the Spokane County Regional Health District. Of the Coeur d’Alene 12th-graders surveyed in 2008, nearly 23 percent had smoked pot within the past month – up 6 percentage points from the previous survey in 2006. Ninth-graders’ use also increased.

Question: Are you concerned re: the increase in pot smoking by Coeur d’Alene teens?

KR: Higher Ed Choices Worsen Things

What is the last thing Idaho’s colleges should do during a recession? How about pricing students out of the market? Or driving away quality faculty or staff? If university presidents aren’t careful, they run the risk of doing both. It depends on how they handle the current cash crunch - and how much help they get from the Statehouse. Last week, the State Board of Education said it will allow universities to seek tuition or fee increases exceeding 10 percent. The board also moved a step closer to giving presidents greater leeway to cut personnel costs; a final decision could come in February. There is an air of desperation here; with tax collections still sputtering, the State Board seems to be pulling out all the stops and allowing university presidents to weather the storm by whatever means necessary. Even if the “solutions” make a bad situation worse/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What would you suggest the state do, to help Idaho’s colleges survive the current economic storm?

AM Headlines — 12.15.09

“A fisherman checks his frozen fishing hole on Fernan Lake Monday afternoon,” posts Councilwoman KerriT/OnLocation North Idaho. “A light snow was falling and the ice is several inches thick on the small lake at the east end of Coeur d’Alene.”

Arpie: Obama Doing A Good Job

Arpie: Count me as one that is still excited about our pres and the job he is doing. I am impressed by the way he takes on challenges head-on. An example is his speech in Norway talking about war while receiving the Peace Prize. Another example is inviting the gays to the White House to explain why he has not delivered on his pledge to end don’t ask don’t tell. He seems to have down the proper amount of pressure to give congress to keep things moving foreword.

Question: Do you consider President Obama decisive?

Few Bad Wrecks So Far Today

Item: Drivers doing OK, officers say: Few bad wrecks in icy morning commute/Mike Prager, SR

More Info: Motorists this morning appeared to be negotiating the moderate snow accumulations and slippery conditions without a large number of accidents. Slideoffs and stuck vehicles were reported, but only six damaging collisions were reported to law enforcement in Spokane County between 4 and 7:45 a.m., but additional collisions were occurring as the morning commute continued. A dispatcher in Kootenai County said no accidents were reported there.

Question: Do you change you driving habits very much when the first snow hits?

Brannon Lawsuit On Hold — For Now

Item: Lawsuit on hold — for now: Lawyers for Brannon, city plan to meet/Tom Hasslinger, Coeur d’Alene Press

More Info: Before the lawsuit goes any further, attorney Starr Kelso wants to talk. City Attorney Mike Gridley agreed, but where the two might find common ground in the disputed Coeur d’Alene City Council election is hard to say. Both sides said they may meet Thursday to determine where they stand on the political suit before heading to court, should it go that far. Kelso represents Jim Brannon, who lost to incumbent Mike Kennedy by 5 votes on Nov. 3.

Question: Can Brannon claim the fact that the city will meet w/his attorney as a mini-victory in his battle to overthrow the Coeur d’Alene city elections?

Signe: Reaching For The Stars?

Signe Wilkinson/Philadelphia Inquirer

Daily News: ‘Tis Season To Buy Local

Anyone seeking a gift that truly keeps on giving need not look far this holiday season. Every dollar spent locally goes back into the pockets of another Palouse-area resident in one form or another, and buoys businesses that can use every bit of help they can get in today’s economic climate. With that in mind, we’d like to commend a pair of grass-roots business-support groups that are helping spread a message that has more importance this year than others. Think Local First highlights the great businesses in Pullman, and Buy Local Moscow serves the same purpose on the other side of the border. Both have helped organize events that showcased the various local businesses in their communities and raised awareness about the need to give where you live, so to speak/Doug Bauer, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. Full post below.

Question: Do you buy local? Do you feel guilty when you don’t?

Parting Shot — 12.14.09

Ahron McArney, 13, of Middleton, Idaho reads to therapy dog Skye, a 6-year-old Sheltie during the “Reading Tails” program at the Nampa Library in Nampa on Saturday. (AP Photo/The Idaho Press-Tribune, Mike Vogt)

Wild Card/Monday — 12.14.09

Hurricane Sarah has come and gone, although she leaves behind a fairly funny video from her appearance with William Shatner on the “Tonight Show” Friday night here (link fixed). Meanwhile, we’re waiting for the latest development on Jim Brannon’s lawsuit against Mayor Sandi Bloem, Mike Kennedy and the other incumbents who had the audacity to win their races in Coeur d’Alene’s municipal elections last month. You can always play this Wild Card while we wait for fun to break out here …

Kendra: What To Do w/Student Loan?

Kendramama: I’m in a whirl of emotion and confusion right now, scared to death that I’m going to pick the wrong lender, put down the wrong date or amount (like, for instance, when they say, “search for available loans, do it put the exact amount listed on my award letter? both sub and unsub, or both combined?) Arggh! And I have the feeling, once I quote unquote, sign on the dotted line, there’s no turning back and what’s done is done. Plus, there’s greed poking its ugly little green head up too, especially once I saw during my first look-see at the website that I was entitled to up to nine grand per school year. Full post below.

Question: Can someone help K-Mama decide what to do with the student loan that she’s considering?

PM: 5 Inches Of Snow Expected

“I really wasn’t going to do this this year,” said Julie Kress of Coeur d’Alene after she changed her mind and decided to put lights around her home today. Winter weather advisories have been posted for what’s shaping up to be the biggest snowfall of the season in the Inland Northwest starting this evening and continuing into Tuesday before rain arrives in lower elevations. The National Weather Service is forecasting 5.5 inches of snow in Spokane and 5.3 inches in Coeur d’Alene through Tuesday. Mike Prager/SR story here. (Kathy Plonka/SR)

APhoto Of The Day — 12.14.09

Santa looks for a little help during a photo as Cameron Dirr, center right, 11 months, of Green Township, starts to cry as his older bother Jaycob, right, 11, attempts to calm him on Saturday in Delhi, Ohio. Cousin Timothy Kemplin, 9 months, of Green Township, looks on. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/The Enquirer, Ernest Coleman)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. “Yeah, I know, kid. You stood outside all night with your folks and all you got was a lousy signature” — John Austin.
  • 2. (tie) Little Larry Spencer cries, “You people are either stupid or gullible! This guy Claus is just making stuff up. Don’t believe it! Don’t believe it!” — Idaho Dad, and: Digger bursts into tears after Santa asks a stupid technical question — Taryn.
  • 3. Bent, spokelooneh… Santa doesn’t care about global warming. So please stop arguing about it — Nic.
  • HM: Phaedrus

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.14.09

  • 5:08 p.m. 3 males in the parking lot of Lowe’s pointed what appeared to be a handgun at a passing motorist on Appleway.
  • 4:58 p.m. A truck pulling 3 trailers on I-90 & M/P 24 (Big Cedar Creek) is so covered with snow and mud that it’s hard to see its headlights and taillights.
  • 4:36 p.m. Female reports that a male is throwing things and brandishing a knife at a female as the walk toward Safeway in the Neider/Government Way area. Update: Male told police that he threw his hat at the female and denied having a knife.
  • 3:17 p.m. Ace Hardware/Hayden reports that two males may be camping behind the store.
  • 3:16 p.m. A stop sign has been knocked down @ Prairie & Vantage/Hayden.
  • More below

CPD Blue Seeks Robbery Suspect

Coeur d’Alene police are looking for a male of about 5-feet-10, 180 pounds, who robbed the Rite Aid (208 Ironwood Drive) store Sunday night. The male was wearing a black baseball cap, black ski mask, white hooded sweatshirt, dark colored pants, black tennis shoes w/white trim. The man handed the pharmacist a note demanding drugs and stated he had a gun.  The pharmacist complied with the demands, and the suspect fled the store with an undisclosed amount of prescription drugs. The weapon was not displayed. Kootenai County Sheriff’s Department assisted in the search for the suspect with a K-9, but met with negative results/Coeur d’Alene Police Department.

Kennedy Outraised Brannon 3.5 To 1

Councilman Mike Kennedy raised $23,900 and spent $22,276 to be left with $1624 in his campaign kitty after winning a paper-thin victory over Seat No. 2 challenger Jim Brannon, who now is challenging the election. (You can see his final election report here.) Brannon, meanwhile, raised $6738 and spent $6734 to be left with $4 and change. (Report here.) The final campaign finance numbers were filed recently as part of the 30-day post-election report.

  • Mayor: Incumbent Sandi Bloem raised $9684 and spent $7633 to have $2051 left over. (report here). Challengers Joe Kunka raised $275, spent $261 for $14 left over (report here), and write-in candidate Alison Stam raised and spent $49 (report here).
  • Seat No. 4: Incumbent Deanna Goodlander raised $14,235 and spent $14,136 to end the campaign with $99 (report here). And challenger Dan Gookin raised $10,257 and spent $9753 to have $504 left over (report here).
  • Seat No. 6: Incumbent Woody McEvers raised and spent $2423 (report here), and challenger Steve Adams raised and spent $6443 (report here).

Question: Do you see any surprises?

DFO: Finally Meeting Mudgy & Millie

OK, I’m a bit late to this party. But I finally understand the Mudgy & Millie thing — you know the five moose-mice statues that grace our downtown in locations ranging from Tubbs Hill to the library to Sherman Avenue and City Park — and finally to Independence Point. Yeah, yeah, I know that Mudgy & Millie is a children’s book creation of gifted local talent Susan Nipp. But I couldn’t figure out why the trail of statues began at Tubbs Hill and then wandered around to the library/downtown/City Park and Independence Point. Why not start at City Park, for example. Then, there was the little song that was sung at the annual Hagadone Hospitality tree lighting about Mudgy looking for Millie all over town. I spotted Susan’s children’s book while hanging out at Hastings last week. And, shazam, I read it in one sitting. Great children’s story. Great art work featuring the Coeur d’Alene waterfront. And, of course, great statues. I wonder how many visitors have taken a photo with the one at Independence Point? BTW, you’ll have to read Mudgy & Millie for yourself if you want to learn why the statues are situated where they are/DFO.

Question: Which children’s book did you enjoy most while growing up?