ADVERTISEMENT
Advertise Here

Huckleberries Online

Archive for December 2011

Gonzaga 72, Xavier 65

Xavier guard Tu Holloway (52) works against Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday in Cincinnati. Gonzaga beat formerly No. 8-ranked Xavier 72-65. SR game story here. And: ESPN boxscore here. (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

APhoto Of The Weekend — 12.31-1.2.12

“Celebrant” Lindsay O’Brien reads from the Book of Donny Osmond  as the dogs Bailey, left, and Daisy, right, are married at the Pop-Up Wedding Chapel in the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas, Friday, while tourists look-on through the floor to ceiling glass walls that surround the new chapel. The Pop-Up Wedding Chapel at the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas offers a new twist on the classic marriage, vow renewal, commitment ceremony, faux-wedding or Pet Wedding, like Bailey and Daisy. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Las Vegas News Bureau, Glenn Pinkerton)

What Do You Say To A Nudist?

On her Twitter account, Jamie Lynn Morgan, the Coeur d'Alene social-media wunderkind, tweets: “Just scheduled a meeting at the Sun Meadows Nudist Resort near Worley ID next week. There will be no photos and I will be wearing clothes.”

Question: What question would you ask one of the Worley nudists, if you were in Jamie's shoes next week?

Stickman: Still Enjoying HBO Ride

Stickman: I haven’t been here from the beginning like Digger, but pretty close. Maybe 7 years now. I have and will always enjoy this ride, it’s been great. DFO has allowed us to vent, to express, to get mad, to fly off the handle, to say our peace, to pretend, all of that. It’s a New Year coming, so let’s reflect on that fact and maybe be a little more kinder, more compassionate, less grinding on each other, and remember that we are all a family here and sometimes we don’t like each other, but at least we can put up with whomever at times and smile at that fact. I will try to do that more this year. (Courtesy photo: Kerri Thoreson)

Question: Who was your favorite HucksOnline commenter in 2011?

Ex-Trojan Hill Shoots Way Onto Vandals

Idaho basketball coach Don Verlin will readily admit he made a mistake when it came to his handling of Connor Hill. No, not when he signed the 6-foot-2, 180-pound guard out of Post Falls to play with the Vandals, but his decision prior to the start of the season to redshirt the reigning Idaho 5A high school player of the year. “I probably shouldn't have even tried to redshirt him, looking back on it,” Verlin said. “… He can really shoot, and we knew that all along.” To give Verlin credit, it only took him three games to realize his error. In the 10 games since, Hill has established himself as one the Vandals' top pure shooters and a reliable sharp shooter off the bench, hitting on 45.7 percent of his attempts from 3-point range and averaging 5.7 points and 9.2 minutes per game/Devin Rokyta, Moscow-Pullman Daily News. More here. (Daily News photo: Dean Hare)

Question: Did you play high school basketball? Were you good?

INW Business Watch: Ciao Mambo Shuts

Here's the latest Inland Northwest Business Watch bits from Matthew Behringer:

  • Ciao Mambo Restaurant in the Hayden Creek shopping center near the intersection of Prairie Ave and Government Way has unfortunately closed but to make up for the closure of Ciao Mambo the owning party Montana based Glacier Resturant Group will expand their Mackenzie River Pizza Co. restaurant in Coeur d’Alene in 2012,adding a pub and grill to the existing gourmet pizza resturant.
  • While the owner boasts many years experience selling Satellite TV via Dish Network his business in Post Falls is new,Full Circle Satellite opened recently in Post Falls at 606 E. Seltice Way near Walgreens .
  • The El Chiludo Taco Truck has a new home in Coeur d’Alene in the parking lot of the Appleway Car Wash along Appleway and across from Lowe's.
  • Dave Clark Realty in Coeur d’Alene has gone out of business.
  • Also: latest re: Black Sheep Sporting Goods/Timberline and more here.

Anderson: Puss And Boots

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

TGIF Wild Card — 12.30.11

Here's a PSA for you snowboarders & skiers out there. Lookout Pass — and I suspect other North Idaho ski resorts — are experiencing snow, snow, snow, despite the heavy rain down here in the valley. Lookout reports 5 inches of snow overnight and expects another 5 to 9 inches today, according marketing director Bill Jennings. I don't usually run resort ski reports. But the resorts need all they help they can get after our early mild winter — and you're probably chomping to hit the slopes. Now for your last TGIF Wild Card of the year …

Parting Shot — 12.30.11

Spokane's 44th mayor David Condon celebrates with his daughter, Hattie, 1 1/2 years old, on the Looff Carrousel after a swearing in ceremony this afternoon in Riverfront Park. Hattie waves to a table where the Condon family members gathered for the reception. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

About New Year’s Kisses …

From Paul Turner's The Slice blog re: New Year's stroke-of-midnight kisses: “Of course, circumstances vary. But it seems as if these smooches should be three things. 1. Firm. 2. Close-mouthed. 3. Not a five-minute performance.

Question: Did you being 2011 by kissing someone? Who? Do you plan to start 2012 by kissing the same person?

Sis: 2011 Was A Very Good Year

As I turned 71, it was a very good year. While some think of it as the winter of their lives, I found it to be a second breath of life. This year of 2011, found a winter that was taking its time leaving us. And as April came around to add that extra year. It also brought some extra money. So the year started, with demolition derby. As we tore apart walls and took out drawers and cabinets and sink. Out went the old door, hello French doors. Then it was time to put it together. May came and went, and I finally had a sink again. No more washing dishes on the back deck or in the shower. In went insulation, and a new dish washer.. Up went beautiful wood cabinets and out with the old orange metal ones/Sis, From A Simple Mind. More here. (AP photo, of Times Square at stroke of midnight on New Year's Day 2011)

Question: Can you describe a high and a low from your 2011?

PM: Condon Becomes Spokane Mayor

In the shadow of the Riverfront Park Clock Tower , David Condon is sworn in as the Spokane's 44th mayor by Judge Mary Logan this afternoon. Condon's wife, Kristin, right, holds the bible for the Oath of Office ceremony.  Story here. (SR photo: Dan Pelle)

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.30.11

  • 5:27 p.m. Possible DUI just pulled into Rathdrum Super 1 & now sitting in pickup w/green toolbox.
  • 5:11 p.m. 2 callers reported near crashes w/weaving white Chevy pickup on H95 in Garwood area.
  • 4:59 p.m. Caller reports possible DUI in smaller blue car e/b on Best from 15th/CdA.\
  • 4:53 p.m. Caller wants to speak to a sheriff's deputy re: possible stolen firearm.
  • 4:46 p.m. Driver en route from Tamarack RV Park/CdA to liquor store has been drinking all day.
  • 4:25 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 29-30 here.
  • 19 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

Defined By An Editorial Page?

In a blog posting for The Slice Thursday, Paul Turner tells of someone asking him how he can stand working for The Spokesman-Review. Seems the questioner was upset re: the day's editorial on “Complete Streets.” Posts Paul: “I'm asked that question every now and then, often in response to an S-R editorial or political endorsement.” On Thursday, Paul's correspondent found the editorial to be “uninformed and utterly lacking vision. I did not try to talk him out of that reaction. I, too, am tired of the suggestion that cyclists don't pay taxes. But here's the thing about editorial pages. They exist in an orbit all their own. Maybe it requires denial or rationalization, but people who start working for newspapers either figure that out or they don't.” You can read the full post here.

Question: Do you define a newspaper by its editorial page?

APhoto Of The Day — 12.29.11

Zach Pederson, 10 months, wears a home-made Ron Paul T-shirt at a campaign stop for Republican presidential candidate Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, earlier today in Le Mars, Iowa. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)

Top Cutlines:

  • 1. I’m bored, lets do lunch mom — Charlie.
  • 2. Later the little tyke provided editorial commentary when he exploded his diapers after someone explained what was written on his shirt — Sisyphus.
  • 3. In this rare photograph, we see the birth of a birther — Nic.
  • HM: Duane

CdA Gas Drops 22 Cents In Week

Item: How low can they go? Cd'A gas price average drops 22 cents in past week, but expiring tax credit may slow trend/Brian Walker, Coeur d'Alene Press

More Info: Coeur d'Alene's 22-cent drop in the average price in just the past week to $3.08 per gallon on Thursday is “very unusual,” especially in the middle of the holidays, said Dave Carlson, AAA Idaho spokesman. “The rapid price drop for Coeur d'Alene appears to be a local phenomenon,” Carlson said, adding that declines haven't been as significant in other areas, including Post Falls, where the average was $3.19. “Some magnanimous retailers shared some holiday spirit in a tangible way.

DFO: I bought gas in Coeur d'Alene for $2.99 earlier this week. In August, I bought gas near the western entrance of Yosemite State Park in California for more than $5 per gallon.

Question: What's the most expensive gasoline that you bought in 2011?

End Notes: Co-Workers Say Goodbye

We had a dozen early retirements in the newsroom and co-workers last days have been staggered throughout the month. Today is the final day for Jeff Jordan, “Jordy” to all of us here. You know the scene in the Wizard of Oz when Dorothy says she'll miss the Scarecrow the most? I think everyone here feels that about Jordy. (We liked everyone else who left, too). Jordy will do a part-time gig on the sports desk, so he'll still be among us a couple of times a week, but his leaving got me thinking of the legacies we leave behind in our workplaces. They can be almost as important as the legacies we leave behind in families/Becky Nappi, End Notes. More here.

Question: What kind of legacy would you like to leave behind to your co-workers when you retire or move on?

Dick Clark To Ring In Another Year

Dick Clark’s countdown to the New Year used to begin before dawn on New Year’s Eve, when he would appear on “Good Morning America” and then, by satellite, on dozens of local newscasts and talk shows. He’d head home, eat something and hurry back to Times Square for “Dick Clark’s New Year’s Rockin’ Eve. ” These days, he says, he just reports to the studio in Times Square at 9 p.m. A stroke in 2004 profoundly changed Mr. Clark’s life, as well as his role on “Rockin’ Eve,” which is by far the country’s most popular televised countdown at the tail end of each year. He appears for a few segments around midnight while his protégé Ryan Seacrest runs the show/Brian Stelter, New York Times. More here. (AP/ABC photo, of Ryan Seacrest, left, and Dick Clark)

Question: Should I feel guilty re: wincing when I watch old “American Bandstand” host Dick Clark ringing in another year with increasing speech difficulties?

Who Will Win Kootenai GOP Struggle?

In this courtesy photo from the Pacific Northwest Inlander, Pam Stout, a founder of the Sandpoint Tea Party, appears on the Late Show with David Letterman in 2010. Inlander reporter Chris Stein breaks down the various splinter Republican factions in Kootenai County for an article this week that observes: “Among a proliferation of conservative groups, some Kootenai County Republicans fear their greatest enemy may by themselves.” More here.

December has seen the emergence of two new conservative groups: the United Conservatives of North Idaho and the North Idaho Political Action Committee. Both profess to be Republican, but they couldn’t be further apart in approach. The United Conservatives group characterizes itself as a “very conservative” work-in-progress, while the North Idaho PAC pledges to support “reasonable Republicans” who can steer a more moderate course.

Question: Which GOP group in Kootenai County will emerge as kingmakers in the spring primaries?

2012 HucksOnline Awards, Anyone?

As you can see by the post below, 'tis time to consider tongue-in-cheek awards for individual or corporate performances in 2011. It should be know different here at HucksOnline. I'm slammed this morning. So I need your help in proposing awards re: stories, commenters, bloggers, etc., who frequented this corner of Idaho cyberspace.

Question: Who would you nominate for HucksOnline awards for 2011? What category? And why?

Rhoades’ Execution Price Tag: $53K

The Nov. 18 execution of Paul Ezra Rhoades cost the Idaho Department of Correction $53,411, the department said. Of the total, $25,583 went to employee overtime and $27,828 went to operating costs. IDOC Director Brent Reinke says when his department began preparing for the execution, it made a commitment to carry out the assignment with professionalism, respect and dignity for all involved. “We believe we met those standards while at the same time being careful stewards of taxpayer dollars,” Reinke said. Operating expenses included medical supplies, equipment rentals and meals/Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Worth the cost?

Post Falls Boys, CdA Girls Win Titles

Rational Universe: I know you are slammed today DFO, but am kind of disappointed that there is no mention of the Trojans boys beating the number one ranked WA team last night at the Coeur d’Alene Tournment. Nor any mention that the Viking girls were tournament champions too.

In a tug of war between arguably two of the top boys basketball teams in the Pacific Northwest, Post Falls had just enough to knock off the Davis Pirates. A 3-pointer by Marcus Colbert, followed moments later by a Colbert free throw, allowed Post Falls to escape with a 59-57 win in the fourth annual Coeur d’Alene Inn-vitational championship game Thursday at North Idaho College’s Christianson Gym. In the girls title game, Coeur d’Alene routed Federal Way 80-36/Greg Lee, SR. More here.

DFO: My bad.

High Noon: Gone With The Wind

Valerie Wanberg dismantles a family trampoline after a wind storm carried it 100 yards down Briarwood Blvd, in Billings, Mont., on Thursday. (AP Photo/The Billings Gazette, Bob Zellar)

Question: I've had a fence blow down & a patio umbrella blown into the next yard as a result of gusts of wind in the Coeur d'Alene area. What is the worst wind damage you've experienced at your home?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.30.11

  • 11:59 a.m. EMTs are responding to report of allergic reaction @ Kelly Ray & Pine Tree/Hayden.
  • 11:57 a.m. Jennifer on Rimrock/Garwood reports a friendly German shepherd bothering her kids.
  • 11:53 a.m. Caller reports 5 people were smoking pot in Hayden Zip's lot, 9416 Government Way.
  • 11:21 a.m. Man is looking into parked cars at a pizza shop & then the Trading Co on Seltice Way/PF.
  • 11:04 a.m. Deputy stopping to remove tree in road from road west of Idaho/PF.
  • 11 more items below

Richert Names 2011 “Award” Winners

Opinionator Kevin Richert of the Idaho Statesman has posted his list of “award winners” for 2011 on his newspaper blog. “Winners” include Idaho GOP Chairman Norm Semanko, who wins the “Political Thud of the Year Award.” Reasoning? “A City Council incumbent and state GOP chairman runs for mayor of Eagle. He secures some prominent local endorsements. Then he goes out and gets 22 percent of the vote. The word 'ouch' somehow rings inadequate.” You can read the rest of Kevin's list  here.

Question: Who do you believe will experience the greatest pratfall in local/county/state politics in 2012?

Quotable Quote — Sisyphus

“Toilet paper rolls should be equipped with a blinky red light to let you know when they're almost empty” — posted by Sisyphus from his iPhone on his Facebook wall. To which Cindy respondes: “Still doesn't mean a person of the male persuasion would replace it. At least not in our house.”

Question: Who changes toilet paper rolls in your house?

Say No To Baby Bump, Man Cave, Etc.

Before passing comment on someone's “baby bump,” take a pregnant pause. Likewise, give up promoting “shared sacrifice.” And if you're tempted to proclaim your desire to “win the future,” you've lost it here in the present. Michigan's Lake Superior State University is featuring those phrases in its annual List of Words Banished from the Queen's English for Misuse, Overuse and General Uselessness. The 2012 list, released Friday, was compiled by the university from nominations submitted from across the globe. What else do the syntactical Scrooges want to cast out with the good cheer in the new year? The list also includes “occupy,” “ginormous,” “man cave” and “the new normal”/Jeff Karoub, AP. More here.

Question: Which of these over-used terms do you use?

AM Headlines — 12.30.11

Jon Cody, 10, of Coeur d'Alene donned a party hat during the Specialized Needs Recreation Camp All-Stars pre New Years Eve celebration on Thursday. Specialized Needs Recreation is a non-profit organization that provides recreational opportunities for youth and adults who have developmental disabilities. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Poll: Just Say No To Fewer Precincts

  • Thursday Poll: Hucks Nation doesn't support Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes' proposal to cut Election Department costs by reducing the number of county precincts from 71 to 44. 71 of 120 respondents (59.17%) opposed the plan, which will be discussed by county commissioners next week. 38 of 120 respondents (31.67%) support the plan. 11 (9.17%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Do you shop at Sears or Kmart?

Resort Part Of Oregon Travel Cost

Prior to Christmas, Harry Esteve of The Oregonian wrote of spending on travel by Oregon officials that stayed “remarkably steady,” despite one of the worst recessions ever. Writes Esteve: “State agencies, boards and commissions spent roughly $42 million on travel in 2009, $39 million in 2010 and $40 million in 2011, according the review. Those numbers include everything from use of state cars to meals, mileage, plane tickets and hotel stays.” Kicking off his article, Esteve targets a trip to Coeur d'Alene taken by Debra McHugh, executive director of the Oregon Board of Psychologist Examiners: “She and a board member stayed three nights at the swanky lakefront Coeur d'Alene Golf and Spa Resort. Among the conference perks was a dinner cruise on the lake.” At least free-spending Oregon officials have good taste re: where they stay. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: When did you last spend a night at the Coeur d'Alene Resort?

Lewiston Sears Among Closures

The Sears store at Lewiston Center Mall is on a list of 79 Sears and Kmart stores that will be closed in 2012. Store officials weren't authorized to comment regarding the number of employees affected or the closing date. Inquiries were referred to corporate media representatives, who did not return calls. A company spokeswoman told The Associated Press each store typically employs 40 to 80 peoplle. The Sears store in Walla Walla was also on the list. Florida was the hardest-hit state, with 11 store closures. Ohio, Michigan and Georgia each had six stores on the list. Additional closings are expected. Sears Holdings announced Tuesday that a total of 100 to 120 under-performing Sears and Kmart stores will be shuttered/William L. Spence, Lewiston Tribune. More here. (Lewiston Tribune photo: Steve Hanks)

Question: How often do you shop at the local Sears and/or Kmart?

Denney Gets Parting 2011 Jeer

JEERS … to Idaho House Speaker Lawerence Denney, R-Midvale. The ethically challenged speaker had a banner year. Here's a sample:

  • He single-handedly blocked the House Revenue and Taxation Committee from even exploring the idea of joining a multi-state consortium pledged to help states collect the millions in sales tax due on Internet and catalog transactions.
  • After all but looking the other way at tax scofflaw and timber thief Rep. Phil Hart's transgressions, Denney pushed through new rules to keep preliminary investigations of legislator ethics violations out of the public view.
  • Which was convenient, considering the next blow-up involved Denney's colleague, State Affairs Committee Chairman Tom Loertscher, R-Iona. A bill that might have hampered Loertscher's side of a road abandonment dispute in Bonneville County went from the House Transportation Committee, where it belonged, to Loertscher's desk drawer, where it disappeared. Denney arranged the re-routing.

Read all of Marty Trillhaase's year-end Cheers & Jeers column here.

Question: Which Idaho political leader would you Cheer or Jeer for his/her performance in 2011?

Almost Out With The Old

Children of migrant workers lie on the snow to form the number “2012” while celebrating the coming new year in front in front of a snow sculpture in Harbin, in northeastern China's Heilongjiang province earlier today. (AP Photo)

Question: How do you plan to ring in the New Year Saturday night?

Mr. Gookin Goes To City Hall

On his Facebook wall Thursday, City Councilman-elect Dan Gookin posted this business card with the note: “The email address won't work until next week, but until then … TA-DA!”

DFO: Did I just hear Phaedrus' head explode out there?

Amazon Best Xmas Seller? Levis

The top clothing product sold on Amazon.com in December — hands down — was Levi jeans. In a $Money article, reporter David Goldman writes: “Levi's jeans were the most-purchased clothing items. In fact, Amazon customers bought enough jeans that, when folded and stacked, would make 2,500 Statue-of-Liberty-sized piles.” More about Amazon's top sales here.

Question: I'm currently wearing a pair of Levis. In fact, I have 5 other pairs at home. Love the comfort and the look. How about you? How often do you wear Levi jeans?

Press: Just Say No To Negative Ads

The local strategy has been simple, effective and underhanded. Work hard on campaigning and then, just before an election, saturate the market with a negative ad ripping an opponent more than building up the supported candidate. Sad thing is, that approach works. Even if most Americans hate it. An interesting poll published in the December AARP Bulletin broke down responses by age of the 1,027 adults participating in the poll. The two age groups, 18 to 49 and 50-plus, were in essentially complete agreement on only one of eight questions: Do you think discouraging negative advertising would improve the campaign process? On that one, 76 percent of the younger group said yes, and 77 percent of the older group said yes/Mike Patrick, Coeur d'Alene Press editorial. More here.

Question: If we all say we hate negative campaigning so much, why is it so effective?

Santa Delivers, Gets $400 Ticket

It was the afternoon of Christmas Eve. Mike “Finn” Finocchiaro was dressed as Santa. His two daughters – ages 2 and 6 – were done up as elves, as were his wife and sister. In the back of the truck were boxes full of presents for the children at St. Margaret’s Shelter, a safe space for families wrestling with homelessness, domestic violence and other chaos. At first, Finn pulled up in front of the shelter on Hartson, but was told it would be better to leave that spot – the closest to the front door – open. He pulled into the empty parking lot – and into one of three open handicapped spots. “I never, ever park in handicapped spots,” Finn said. “Never, ever, ever.” Except this time. A shelter worker had told him to park wherever he needed to, he had a bunch of presents to unload, and he figured he’d be in and out in a short enough time that no one would be hurt, he said/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: How often do you see abled people parking in a handicap spot?

Heller: Your 2012 Calendar

Joe Heller/Hellertoons

Wild Card/Thursday — 12.29.11

Amy Dearest ends her 10-day run as the guest of Mrs. O and me today. A lot of wedding planning and hair-pulling occurred during the Christmas holidays. You'd think weddings would be simple by now, after all these years of couples walking the aisle and the advent of “Say Yes to the Dress.” But they're not. Good thing there's still time to handle dozens of little things before Amy Dearest & Okie Doke exchange nuptials. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.29.11

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has his picture taken with Amy Bleyle, of Ames, Iowa, during a campaign stop at Kinzler Construction in Ames, Iowa, earlier today. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Wa-Post Picks Up CdA Pot Story

H/T to David Cole /Coeur d'Alene Press for that gift-wrapped pot story that now has gone national. Here's the first two graphs from Washington Post online story: “A Washington state man faces felony marijuana trafficking charges after an officer found 3.3 pounds of marijuana wrapped up as Christmas gifts during a traffic stop in northern Idaho. Jason D. Palmer, 36, of Springdale, Wash., was arrested Dec. 22 as he returned from a trip to Montana, where he had been visiting family, the Coeur d’Alene Press. Kootenai County sheriff’s officials said Palmer was stopped east of Coeur d’Alene because his vehicle was repeatedly changing lanes and following other drivers too closely. The officer said he smelled marijuana as he approached the vehicle.” More here.

Question: Izzit just me, or does this guy resemble the actor in those Geico Caveman commercials?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.29.11

  • 5:47 p.m. Possible restraining order violation reported @ Seltice Way & Corbin/PF.
  • 5:43 p.m. A loose dog is creating a traffic hazard @ 9th & Harrison/CdA.
  • 5:18 p.m. A possible illegal burn is reported @ Seasons & Clagstone/Athol.
  • 5:09 p.m. Caller reports 2 suspicious males in a white van in area of Anne & Hoffman/CdA.
  • 5:03 p.m. Caller sees sparks coming from back duelies of pickup @ I-90 & H95/CdA.
  • 5:02 p.m. Woman in lot of El Patio, 6710 Seltice Way/PF, wants to be taken into protective custody after self-medicating & wants to be taken into protective custody.
  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 28-29 here.
  • 4:34 p.m. PFPD Blue reports he's en route to county jail w/”semi-cooperative male.”
  • 4:26 p.m. Woman w/male associate trying to return item she didn't buy @ Mullan WalMart/PF.
  • 4:17 p.m. Deputy is stopping to check out 10 juveniles gathered @ Wyoming & Govt Way/Hayden.
  • 4:10 p.m. A male slapped a female & pushed her into building in 3200 block of Parkridge/PF.
  • 4:06 p.m. Drivers arguing after noninjury crash of Mercury Cougar & Jeep @ H95 & Appleway/CdA.
  • 4:03 p.m. Out-of-state owner @ Govt Way & Lacey/Hayden report someone is smoking on property.
  • 13 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link

PM: Vet Warns Of Huffing Addiction

Aaron Draper relays his story of becoming addicted to huffing aerosol cans while incarcerated at the Ada County Jail in Boise Dec. 19. Draper was an Army flight medic when he was injured in an IED attack in Iraq and subsequently suffered from PTSD and migraine headaches. A fellow soldier introduced Draper to huffing aerosol aerosol to relieve those headaches. He became addicted, and ended up being arrested having passing out in a field in Boise after stealing 42 cans. Story here. (AP Photo/The Idaho Statesman, Joe Jaszewski)

SR Weekly News Quiz

There's still time to enter the weekly Spokesman-Review news quiz, prepared by colleague Jim Camden, to win prizes. The News Quiz is tough. But you can still qualify for a prize simply by entering. You can find the rules here. And: you can enter the contest by clicking on the “News Quiz” button in the right rail or by clicking here. Entry deadline is 6 a.m. Friday

Question: How did you do?

Cindy: Hanging Onto Holiday Tradition

When Tevye and the cast belt out “Tradition” in “Fiddler on the Roof,’ they’re singing my song.I, especially, love the ritual, familiarity and comfort of holiday traditions. For me, it begins on the day after Thanksgiving. While many folks shop til they drop on Black Friday, I decorate til I drop.My sons unearth the red and green plastic tubs bulging with garlands, angels, Santas and candles, and lug them to the living room. Then I pop a Christmas CD in the stereo and spend the day awash in memories of Christmas past/Cindy Hval, SR. More here.

Question: Is it hard for you to let go of old traditions?

Verizon To Charge $2 Online Bill Fee

Verizon Wireless will soon make some customers pay for the privilege of paying their bills. The nation's largest wireless company is instituting a $2 “convenience charge” for those customers who make one-time bill payments using a debit or credit card, either online or by telephone. The fee will go into effect on Jan. 15. There are three ways for customers to avoid the charge: Customers can make a one-time payment using an electronic check, they can pay their bill using their home banking accounts, such as Citibank (C, Fortune 500) Online, or they can use a Verizon gift card or rebate card. Otherwise, single telephone and online payments will incur a $2 fee/MoneyCNN. More here.

Reaction?

NIdaho Blogs — 12.29.11

On her Idaho Scenic Images Facebook wall, Linda Lantzy posts this photo of fog on the Pend Oreille at Usk, Wash.

HucksOnline numbers (for Wednesday, Dec. 28): 6581/4281

3 More Idaho Solons Pledge Sobriety

On Tuesday, I wrote about the effort of ex-DUI offender Scott Andrus to secure promises of sobriety from all 105 lawmakers for the upcoming session. As of then, Andrus had 17 responses, with
13 vowing temperance and four offering equivocal answers. Andrus says he's received four more responses, three in the affirmative and one — Sen. Patti Anne Lodge, R-Huston (pictured) — saying she won't refrain from taking the Sacrament of Communion at Mass. That puts his record at 16-1-4. Andrus emailed lawmakers last week, saying, “I humbly ask that you pledge that no beverage alcohol will pass your lips during the 2012 legislative session. Please remain sober as you conduct the affairs of state”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you more/less likely to vote for an Idaho legislator who took a sobriety oath?

DFO’s Critters: Klepto Croc

Elvis, a giant saltwater crocodile swims next to a lawnmower in his pool at the Australian Reptile Park at Gosford, Australia, Wednesday. The 16-foot (5-meter), 1,100-pound crocodile lunged out of its lagoon at a park worker tending to the lawn before stealing his lawn mower. (AP Photo/Libby Bain)

Statesman: Nullification Wastes Time

Health care could be the defining issue of the 2012 legislative session. But how will lawmakers choose to define the issue? They should not fixate on revisiting one of the most tiresome and pointless arguments of the 2011 session - making another wrongheaded run at “nullification,” pursuing the thoroughly disproven legal notion that states can ignore federal health care law. There are rumblings that lawmakers will introduce a nullification bill again in 2012. As long as lawmakers are talking about repeating this folly, it's worth repeating that the nullification concept has been rejected by federal courts since the Civil War era. In the 1950s, in deciding on a public school desegregation, the U.S. Supreme Court said, all but verbatim, that states cannot nullify federal law, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said/Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you support nullification legislation?

Out, Out, Damn Birkenstocks

In the comments section, Scootermom said she realized she “was tragically uncool when my shoe rack had more Birkenstocks than stilettos. Eh. My feet are happier.” Which conjured my shoe purge earlier this week. I have shoes I haven't worn for years. Yet, they were piled in shoe racks and other places in the closet. So I put the unwanted shoes in a box and took them to the garage. Some still have many miles on them, particularly a pair of tennis shoes that I wore for a few weeks before deciding they were too tight. I doubt that anyone wants to wear used shoes. But I can't quite dump them in the trash. What would you do? (Wikipedia photo)

Question: When do you know that a pair of your shoes have run their course?

Newt’s Stepford Wife?

One of my Facebook Friends posted a poster making the rounds on the Internet comparing presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's wife, Callista, to a Stepford Wife. What do you think? (AP file photo of Callista Gingrich)

Question: Do you see a resemblance?

Obama, Clinton Most Admired In ‘11

Pres. Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton top the list once again of the most admired men and women.Pres. Obama has topped the USA Today/Gallup poll for the last four years, and he is followed by Presidents Bush and Clinton in the second and third spots, respectively. Rev. Billy Graham and Warren Buffet round out the top five. Hillary Clinton is number one in the poll for the sixteenth time in the last 18 years. Oprah, First Lady Michelle Obama, Sarah Palin, and Condoleezza Rice finish the top five/KREM & USA Today. More here. (Dec. 2 AP file photo: Myanmar's Aung San Suu Kyi, right, and U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton react after speaking to the press at Suu Kyi's residence in Yangon, Myanmar)

Question: Which national figures would top your most admired man/woman lists?

IFF Declares Fund-raising Victory

In November, I couldn’t resist blogging about the Idaho Freedom Foundation, after a fund-raising pitch from the limited-government lobbying group wound up in my inbox. At the time, foundation honcho Wayne Hoffman told supporters that the group $30,000 short on its 2011 fund-raising goals. While Hoffman is steadfastly unwilling to talk details about who funds his group, he made it a point this morning to send his fundraising followup to my inbox. I’ll leave it to you readers to either sigh with relief or groan in resignation. Either way, this seems to fall just a tad short of the tear-jerker finish in “It's a Wonderful Life”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Are you glad to know Idaho Freedom Foundation is financially stable for another year?

The Slice: Life Is Not Fair

Each December, as the new year approaches, I'm reminded of the time I attended the Tournament of Roses Parade in California. This was for work. It was in the late '90s. That, in itself, is not remarkable. But here's the thing. There are people — female people — in my extended family who are really, really into that particular extravaganza. And yet they have never gotten to witness it in person. On the other hand, it would be fair to say I am less excited about it/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here. (AP photo: Kathy Phillips decorates a float called “Wonderful Indonesia” in Irwindale, Calif., Wednesday, for the 123rd Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, Calif., Monday)

Question: What occasion last prompted you to say: “Life is not fair”?

High Noon: No Longer Cool To Be Me

On his Facebook wall, SR colleague Shawn Vestal writes: “You have reached a certain milestone in your life, regarding self-acceptance and the loss of possible coolness, when you eagerly embrace a product that promises the following: “Opens Your Nose More Completely.”

Question: Have you seen evidence along life's journey that you may not be as cool as you think?

‘Elly May’ Settles w/Barbie Doll Maker

Donna Douglas, who starred in the television series “The Beverly Hillbillies” poses with a photo from the show in Baton Rouge, La. The actress who played Elly May Clampett on the show, toymaker Mattel Inc. and CBS Consumer Products Inc. have settled a lawsuit in which Douglas claimed the companies didn't get her approval to use her name and likeness for a Barbie doll. A one-sentence order Tuesday in U.S. District Court in Baton Rouge said only that a settlement had been reached. Story here. (2009 AP file photo/Bill Haber)

Question: Do you remember the “Beverly Hillbillies” TV show?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.29.11

  • Noonish: Mother in 6800 block of Windy Pines/CdA reports runaway 17YO boy.
  • 11:59 a.m. 11YO boy is @ Paul's Country Store on Prairie to report father being abusive.
  • 11:57 a.m. 2 men are outside a silver SUV w/hood up @ w/b I-90 @ M/P 30.5 (4th of July Pass).
  • 11:47 a.m. Resident in 14800 block of Syringa/Worley said man in green van said neighbor gave him OK to cut trees. Stranger cut trees for short while and then left.
  • 11:46 a.m. Driver of hatchback going wrong way on H41/Rathdrum @ Hayden Avenue.
  • 11:01 a.m. Vandals stole gas & removed caps (to let in rain) on rock crusher on Chilco Road.
  • 12 more items below

Meet Your 8 Burglary Suspects

On her Sirens & Gavels Web site, Meghann Cuniff has posted a collage of the 8 suspects from the alleged burglary ring that is believed to have committed dozens of burglaries in Kootenai & Spokane counties. Top row, left to right:  Joseph A. Lynch, 29; Adam C. Ramirez III, 29; Jesse A. Williamson, 27; Susan N. Burke and alias Susan Church, 50. Bottom row: Kasie D. Gordon, 25; Emily A. Lynch, 28; Kathleen E. Kelly, 29; and Heather D. Yao, alias Heather Perry, 31. Story here.

Question: Which one of the suspects above took the best/worst photos?

Lewiston, Walla Walla Sears To Shut

Sears has posted the first 79 of 100 to 120 proposed Sears & Kmart store closures nationwide, with only two mentioned in the Inland Northwest so far — the Sears stores at Lewiston and Walla Walla, Wash. The Kmart store in Lacey, Wash., is also scheduled for closure. Apparently, the Coeur d'Alene Sears & Kmart stores have made the cut so far. You can see the complete list here. And: Sears news release here. Here's the announcement from Lewiston Tribune Web site: Lewiston’s Sears is among more than 100 Sears and Kmart locations around the nation slated for closure. The store at the Lewiston Center Mall was on a list of closures released by Sears Holdings this morning. The Lewiston Kmart and the Moscow Sears are not among the stores slated for closure. Only 79 of the 100 to 120 closures were announced today. More here.

Big Zag Win Has Down Side

On her Facebook wall, Christa Hazel reports a down side to that ha-huge Gonzaga Bulldogs win over visiting Portland Wednesday night: “Zag Night Mystery: how did I end up with Bengay or IcyHot on my coat? It stunk up the car ride home and rubbed through to my clothing on my shoulder, arm and transferred to my eye. Kids behind me were little and appeared too young for pranks.”

Question: When did you last use Ben Gay or IcyHot?

Top 40 HBO/SR 2011 Commenters

  1. misjustice: 4510 (3.054%) comments
  2. greenlibertarian: 3886 (2.631%) comments
  3. Phaedrus: 2903 (1.966%) comments
  4. Idahogie: 142 (1.253%) comments
  5. Sisyphus: 2611 (1.768%) comments
  6. DFO: 2090 (1.415%) comments
  7. Rhodetrip: 1599 (1.083%) comments
  8. Stickman: 1584 (1.073%) comments
  9. hmoffsuite: 1579 (1.069%) comments
  10. nic: 1358 (0.920%) comments

You can read the rest of HucksOnline's Top 40 commenters for 2011 here

Hucks Poll: 2011 Was Decent Year

  • Wednesday Poll: Overall, 2011 was a fair to middlin' year for most of Hucks Nation. 66 of 145 respondents (45.52%) voted that 2011 was a good year. 42 of 145 respondents (28.97%) said 2011 was a “so-so” year, while 37 of 145 (25.52%) said it wasn't a good year.
  • Today's Poll: Do you support Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes' proposal to reduce number of voting precincts from 71 to 44?

AM: Thompson Learning NBA Ropes

Former Washington State star Klay Thompson is getting minutes in a reserve role with the Golden State Warriors. Last night, Thompson guarded New York Knicks' Amar'e Stoudemire during the first half of an NBA game in Oakland, Calif. Golden State won. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)

Pot-Filled Gifts Lead To Jail

Maybe it's a case of high for the holidays. Maybe it's a case of the smelly “sweaters.” A Dec. 22 traffic stop for erratic driving on Interstate 90 turned into a marijuana bust in which Kootenai County sheriff's deputies found 3.3 pounds of the pungent drug plant packaged in Christmas presents. Arrested was Jason D. Palmer, 36, of Springdale, Wash., which is northwest of Spokane. Palmer has been charged with felony trafficking in marijuana. Also charged were two of Palmer's four kids, age 12 and 14, who were in the vehicle with him when he was pulled over and the pot was discovered. The boys were charged with frequenting/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (AP file photo of marijuana for illustrative purposes)

Thoughts?

Kralicek Shooting Anniversary Passes

I didn't realize another anniversary of the near-fatal shooting of former Coeur d'Alene police officer Mike Kralicek had almost passed until I read this Facebook post from Mike's wife, Carrie, last night: “It has been 7 years today since K57 was “down”. Our lives changed for what “appeared” to be the worst. Things are not always as they appear to be and what appears to be is not always what it seems. We have found peace and joy through the suffering, and an understanding you cannot have one without the other. I love you K57 you are more than a number. I love the new Mike and what you can do for others through honestly and openly speaking to agencies about officer involved shootings, overcoming adversity, and disability etc. You are still a HERO and one of a kind.” (2006 SR file photo: Mike Kralicek and then state senator Mike Jorgenson)

Question: Any shoutouts for Mike, Carrie, & their family?

Otter: Gingrich Lobbied Me In 2003

Idaho Gov. Butch Otter is among three GOP members of Congress in 2003 who say Newt Gingrich lobbied them to vote for a $400 billion Medicare prescription drug benefit. Otter told the Des Moines Register that Gingrich was “full of crap” in making a case for the bill. Still, Otter ultimately voted for the measure. Gingrich has repeatedly denied any lobbying and told reporters in Mason City, Iowa, on Wednesday that Otter and other accusers were wrong: “I'm allowed as a citizen to say I'd like to see this passed and that's not lobbying. I wasn't paid by anybody to say that. It was a public position I had taken for a practical reason…That was a public position taken publicly and is literally by definition not lobbying”/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here. (AP photo)

Question: Who do you believe?

Arrests Made In Alleged Burglary Ring

Police on Wednesday arrested the last of eight people suspected in a months long residential burglary spree that traumatized victims stretching from Spokane to North Idaho. Beginning in August, authorities across the region received dozens of reports of burglaries that followed a common theme. People would knock on the door and offer services, such as firewood sales or dog-walking. Some witnesses reported people saying they were looking for a friend, police reports show. When no one answered, police say, the door would be kicked in and valuables stolen. Stolen items ranged from guns and knives to a model sailboat, Tiffany jewelry, flat-screen televisions and furniture. Reports came from victims in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls, Rathdrum, Hayden, unincorporated Kootenai County, Sandpoint and Spokane/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (Top, from left, Kathleen Kelly, Emily Lynch and Heather Yao; bottom, from left, Adam Ramirez and Kasie Gordon)

Calling All Polar Bears

'Tis the day for defunct newspapers. Above, from the KVNI Facebook site, David Candia holds up the front page of the old Spokane Chronicle from way back in the early 1980s. Candia was one of the first in the area to jump in the lake on New Years Day for what has become the Polar Bear Plunge at Sanders Beach. The plunge, of course, will happen again Sunday.

Question: Have you ever participated in the local Polar Bear Plunge?

Trish: A Smell Straight From Heaven

On her Facebook page, Trish Gannon of the River Journal writes: “Onions frying in butter is a smell straight from heaven.”

Question: What would you say is a smell “straight from heaven”?

UCNI Opposes Precinct Reduction

On its Facebook site, United Conservatives of North Idaho issued this call to political arms Wednesday: “Last week December 20th the Kootenai County Commissioners had a meeting to vote on a reduction on the precincts from 71 to 44. Many citizens and precinct committeemen were there voicing the complaints of voter disenfranchisement. The Commissioners decided to take 2 weeks to look at some other ideas. Please come and help us keep our precincts the way they are so we can represent the people. The next meeting will be on January 3rd, 2:00 p.m. at the Kootenai County Administrative Building, 451 N. Government Way, CDA, Idaho. Which room? Follow the crowd.”

Question: Do you support the proposal by Kootenai County Clerk Cliff Hayes to shrink the number of county precincts from 71 to 44?

Rathdrum Star Closes Doors

Tom Burnett lived up to a dare to start a weekly newspaper in Rathdrum more than seven years ago. “I wanted to start a newspaper, so I did,” said Burnett, who was dabbling in selling real estate at the time. “I borrowed $5,000 to buy computers and programs and I ran the newspaper out of my bedroom for the first couple months because I didn't have an office.” Wednesday marked the final publication of the Rathdrum Star, a free newspaper mailed to about 10,100 homes in Rathdrum, Hauser, Spirit Lake, Twin Lakes Village and Blanchard. The newspaper published a front-page photo of the Star's office window painting of a cigar-smoking reporter tapping away at a typewriter with “Sorry; We're closed” written over the picture. Burnett, who turns 70 in January, said the publication has ended due to his retirement/David Cole, Coeur d'Alene Press. More here. (2004 SR file photo of Tom Burnett)

Question: Does your old hometown newspaper still exist?

Dr. Paul

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Gonzaga 90, Portland 51

Kevin Pangos of Gonzaga flies between Portland players Tim Douglas, left, and Thomas van der Mars to score during their game at The Kennel Wednesday night. Gonzaga opened defense of another WCC title by drubbing Portland 90-51. SR story here. And: ESPN boxscore here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Hump Day Wild Card — 12.28.11

For those keeping score at home, the extended Coeur d'Alene Family Oliveria has come to this consensus — the second Sherlock Holmes movie with Robert Downey Jr. & Jude Law is better than the first, darker one. And the first was very good (unless you're a by-the-book fan of author Arthur Conan Doyle, of course). Now back to your regular programming. And today's Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.27.11

Peyton Duffield, 5, laughs while swinging on a warm afternoon at Coeur d'Alene City Park on Wednesday in Coeur d'Alene. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

‘Hunger Games’ Trumping ‘Twilight’

Is “The Twilight Saga” beginning to lose its grip on movie fans? The latest installment of the vampire romance finished second to “Harry Potter” in a best of the year poll for MTV's Nextmovie.com, and trailed “The Hunger Games” as the most anticipated movie of 2012. What's more, “Twilight” stars Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson — whose characters Bella and Edward finally wed in “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn-Part 1” — lost out as best on-screen couple to Emma Watson and Rupert Grint, who played Hermione Granger and Ron Weasley in “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows-Part  2”/Reuters. More here.

Question: “Hunger Games” and “Twilight” are both multi-book series. I've read them both. Ditto for C.S. Lewis' “Narnia,” Stephen King's “Gunslinger,” Larry McMurtry's “Lonesome Dove,” and, of course, Tolkien's “The Lord of the Rings.” Which is your favorite book series?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.28.11

 

1:45 p.m. The North Idaho Violent Crimes Task Force located and arrested fugitive Susan N. Burke aka Susan Church at 1:30 p.m. today without incident. Burke was arrested in the 100 block of E. Indiana. All suspects in the home invasion style residential burglaries occurring in Kootenai County and Spokane are currently in custody/Coeur d'Alene police news release. Full SR story here.

  • 4:45 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 27-28 here.
  • 4:26 p.m. Alcoholic resident left Hayden Assisted Living at 3:10, possibly in search of booze.
  • 4:23 p.m. Possible restraining order violation reported @ Joanna & Courcelles/CdA.
  • 4:22 p.m. Debra reports her car was taken while she was out of town; keys were in it.
  • 12 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM: Spokane Rower Eyes Olympics

Jamie Redman, of Spokane, is surprised to see her image on a U.S. Women's Rowing Team calendar that a friend put up in the Selkirk Lodge at Mount Spokane. Redman was cross-training during a holiday break. Her goal is to make the 2012 Olympics. Story here. (SR photo: Rich Landers)

Target Stores Upset Nursing Moms

Nursing moms upset with breastfeeding preferences at Target stores staged a “nurse-in” Wednesday at locations in Chicago and across the country. Local moms say the demonstration is meant to raise awareness about controversies over nursing in public. This latest outcry, they say, stems from a recent incident in Texas. Michelle Hickman, a Houston mother of four, apparently was nursing in a remote area of a Target store when staffers told her to move into a fitting room. There were so many employees confronting her, she said, that it was time to speak up/Natalie Martinez, 5 NBC Chicago. More here. (AP file photo) H/T: Sisyphus

Question: Do you support this protest?

Otter To Propose State-Backed Plan

Gov. C.L “Butch” Otter will unveil to legislators a state-backed investment fund for startups, part of a package meant to bolster the contribution of new technology and research to Idaho's economy. One of Otter's central missions of the 2012 Legislature will be selling the program to conservative Idaho lawmakers who are leery of inserting taxpayer money into areas where they believe the private sector should take the reins. The Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission, or iGem, as the proposal is called, includes a strategy of luring talented researchers to Idaho universities and the Center for Advanced Energy Studies in Idaho Falls. Once they arrive, they'll research energy, materials science and manufacturing, computer science and bio- and agricultural technology — areas where Idaho has a foundation — to develop products and spin off companies/John Miller, AP. More here.

Question: Do you support Otter's plans for a state-backed investment fund for startups?

Zags Host Portland In WCC Opener

Portland's Ryan Nicholas, left, reaches for a ball as it goes out of bounds as Saint Louis' Brian Conklin looks on during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 3, in St. Louis, Mo. Nicholas, a former Gonzaga Prep star, has emerged as a top scorer and rebounder for the Pilots. Gonzaga will tipoff another defense of a WCC title tonight when they host Portland. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)

Question: Is this the year that Gonzaga's consecutive WCC titles comes to an end?

When All Else Fails, Get The Yaks

I've often wondered how much time would be saved if I'd read directions or learn about a product by studying its manual. In this morning's case, I bypassed doing the smart thing before going to the barn.  Slipped and slid a couple of times and thought about those Yaks hanging on a door knob back in the garage.  Still, I left them behind and picked out a route in the darkness to the barn. Old Lady Still Standing — good reality show title and the results of some lucky navigating through water, bare ground and bone-breaking ice/Marianne Love, Slight Detour. More here.

Question: When did you last have a bad fall on ice?

Spudbob: A HucksOnline Resolution?

Spudbob: So Dave, when do we get to make New Year’s Resolutions for everyone else? Mine are that no one posts comments on Huckleberries that are based on gross assumptions about other people, that are lacking in fact, or that are taunting or demeaning. In 2012 no one will bleat a political party’s talking points endlessly. Instead everyone will think for themselves and have their own opinions. Oh yeah, people will admit it when they have said something that turns out to be wrong instead of just digging in deeper or disappearing until it blows over. Well, those are my New Year’s resolutions for everyone else. Chances that they will all come true? …. Uhhh not likely.

Question: Anyone offer other possible New Year's resolutions for HucksOnline or HBO commenters?

Stickman: Eagles Out In Full Glory

Stickman: Such a spectacular day to watch the bald eagles. The snow is all gone so they are easier to see and the high winds made for some beautiful soaring. I have gone quite a lot, but today was extra special as they were all out in their full glory. We probably saw at least 50 to 75 in the time we were out there. Many more were way up high just enjoying riding the winds. Check them out before they leave soon. (Kerri Thoreson photo of eagle she spotted by the road today off Lake Coeur d'Alene)

Question: Have you gone to see the eagles this year?

Romney Edges Paul In Iowa Poll

Supporters listen to Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney as he speaks during a campaign stop at Homer's Deli and Bakery in Clinton, Iowa, today. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

Mitt Romney edged out Ron Paul for first place in a new poll of likely Iowa Republican caucus-goers, but it was Rick Santorum who made a huge jump, coming in third. Romney earned 25 percent while Paul took 22 percent in the poll, which was conducted by ORC International for CNN and Time magazine, released Wednesday.  In an unexpected shake-up, Santorum jumped ahead of Newt Gingrich to third place, taking 16 percent. Gingrich came in fourth with 14 percent, followed by Rick Perry with 11 percent, Michele Bachmann with 9 percent and Jon Huntsman with 1 percent/Alicia M. Cohen, The Hill. More here.

Question: Who would have a better chance at beating President Obama next fall — Mitt Romney or Ron Paul.

County Cuts School Recycling Program

The Kootenai County Board of Commissioners has decided not to renew the county's recycling contracts with the Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and Lakeland school districts. The current contracts expire on June 1. The county's Solid Waste Department now subsidizes the school recycling program at an approximate cost of $170,000 per year. Also, the launching of single stream recycling in Coeur d’Alene, Post Falls and surrounding areas has dramatically cut the amount of recycling material dropped off at the school sites. Recycling will continued to be offered at Hayden Meadows, Dalton Elementary and Hayden Kindergarten/Kootenai County commissioners news release. More here.

Question: Do you support this move by the county to dump the school recycling program?

Movie Crowds Dip To 16-Year Low

Hollywood has more tricks in its bag than ever with digital 3-D and other new film tools. Yet as the images on screen get bigger and better, movie crowds keep shrinking - down to a 16-year low as 2011's film lineup fell well short of studios' record expectations. … Just what has put the movie business in the dumps is anyone's guess - though safe bets include the tight economy, rising ticket prices, backlash against parades of sequels or remakes, and an almost-limitless inventory of portable and at-home gadgetry to occupy people's time/Associated Press. More here. (AP photo/Dishney: Viola Davis is shown in a scene from “The Help.”)

Question: How often do you see a movie at a theater?

Pair Propose Idaho Sales Tax Reform

Rep. Shirley Ringo and former gubernatorial nominee Robert Huntley are reviving a plan to cut the sales tax rate from 6 percent to 5 percent, while eliminating exemptions and expanding the tax to many services. They say new revenue — an estimated $371 million on top of current collections of just over $1 billion — should be directed to restoring funding to education, Medicaid and other programs subject to deep cuts in the past three years. … Their plan would retain the production exemption on sales of goods and equipment used by agriculture and other businesses and continue to exempt health care. But it would lift 21 exemptions and exceptions/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: What do you think of the sales tax reform proposed by Robert Huntley & Shirley Ringo?

Online INW Business Watch Debuts

Matt Behringer has launched the Inland Northwest Business Watch to keep readers up to date with openings, closings, and other happenings of local businesses. Example post:

  • Coeur d’Alene will get a Marriott Spring Hill Suites in 2013 as a sister property of and next to the Holiday Inn Express on Seltice Way near NW Blvd.
  • Curve's has closed their fitness facility at 410 E. Holland in North Spokane.
  • Landers Insurance in Coeur d’Alene has moved to 816 E Sherman Ave.
  • Babes and Beaus is a new salon open in Spokane located at 1229 W. Northwest Blvd.
  • Davinci Teeth Whitening has opened recently in Coeur d’Alene's Silver Lake Mall. More here.
  • Also: Riverstone West Family Apartments near completion.

Question: Are you interested in Matt's blog?

High Noon: Jerky, Anyone?

Jon Sebastiani holds an assortment of his Krave Jerky in Sonoma, Calif. As football heads toward the season-ending showdowns, gourmet jerky lovers have more choices. High-end jerky is available in everything from the traditional beef to turkey, lamb, and even fish. (AP Photo/Eric Risberg)

Question: What is your favorite kind of jerky meat?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.28.11

11:59 a.m. CPD issues release re: Coeur d'Alene fugitive Nathanial R. Howell, 32, (5-10, 175 lbs, hazel eyes & blond hair) who was last seen running from officers into woods in 1500 block of Sagle Road/Sagle. Howell is wanted on 4 counts of L&L with a Child and 5 counts sexual exploitation.

  • 11:57 a.m. Tonya reports to PFPD that fuel was stolen from a U-Haul trailer off her property
  • 11:49 a.m. Assault with knife reported in 200 block of Acorn Avenue/CdA.
  • 11:47 a.m. CPD Blue news release: “Fugitive Jesse A. Williamson, 27, of Post Falls, turned himself in to authorities at 2:30 p.m. Monday. Story here.
  • 11:45 a.m. Jennifer reports to KCSD theft of a cell phone by her son's father.
  • 11:38 a.m. Hauser Lake Road resident reports a caller may be trying to scam her.
  • 11:20 a.m. Bonner County liquor store clerk made shoplifter return booze to shelf after theft attempt.
  • 11:16 a.m. Landlord reports theft from rental @ 33205 Walking Horse Lane/Athol.
  • 10 more items below

Congress: Not The People’s Choice

Has there even been a time when the United States Congress ranked lower with the American public or when dysfunction more profoundly gripped the institution? Hardly. University of Tennessee historian Daniel Feller says we need to go all the way back to before the Civil War to find a Congress quite so much at war with itself as today’s bunch. Feller is among a group of historians that NPR surveyed to determine if the current Congress is just bad or among the worst in the nation’s history. Historically bad is, according to the historian, the correct answer/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Idaho Blog roundup:

Question: Do you have a low view of Congress, too?

‘Bambi’, ‘Gump’ To Be Preserved

This undated handout image provided by the Library of Congress shows a Danish poster for Walt Disney’s 1942 animated film “Bambi.” Bambi, Forrest Gump and Hannibal Lecter have at least one thing in common: Their cinematic adventures were chosen by the Library of Congress to be preserved in the world's largest archive of film, TV and sound recordings. (AP Photo/Library of Congress)

Question: Which classic film is your favorite?

Cox: How Are Your Kids’ Manners?

On her Facebook wall, Pecky Cox/As The Lake Churns writes: “Just got back from my trip to Mexico.. all fun. ONCE again impressed by all my nephews, nieces, friends & neighbor's kids' good manners. May I ask you … how are your kids' manners?”

Question: Do your kids have better manners than those of your nieces & nephews?

Poll: Shopped Local For Christmas

  • Tuesday Poll: Almost 2/3s of Hucks Nation shopped in their local communities for Christmas gifts this year. 66 of 103 respondents (64.08%) said they shopped locally. Another 23 of 103 respondents (22.33%) said they did most of their Christmas shopping online. Of the remainder, 7 (6.8%) said they shopped in Spokane/Spokane Valley; 4 (3.88%) picked “other” among the poll offerings; and 3 (2.91%) said they made their Christmas gifts.
  • Today's Poll: Was 2011 a good year for you?

AM: P-I’s Horsey Moves To LATimes

Former SR editorial cartoonist Milt Priggee penned this 'toon after David Horsey announced he was leaving the online Seattle Post-Intelligencer to join the Los Angeles Times staff. In a Facebook message to HucksOnline, Priggee points out that he's the only political cartoonist left in the state of Washington.

Idaho Reps Among Richest, Poorest

The Washington Post is running a photo gallery of the 25 members of Congress with the lowest net worth in 2010 and Idaho GOP Rep. Raul Labrador is No. 25 on the low list. Labrador's net worth is between a negative $130,993 and a maximum of $66,997, averaging out at minus $31,998 according to the Center For Responsive Politics, which tracks personal financial disclosure statements filed by members of Congress and offers a free, searchable database. Idaho GOP Sen. Jim Risch is at the other end of the spectrum, ranking as the 16th wealthiest member of Congress, with his average at $54 million. The Post also has a photo gallery on the rich bunch/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Would you rather have your congressional representatives be rich (like Jim Risch) or relatively poor (like Raul Labrador)?

Hart, Barbieri, Adams Back Ron Paul

Bonner County Commissioner Cornel Rasor is leading the effort to line up endorsements from GOPlegislators in advance of Idaho's first-ever Republican presidential caucus on March 6. So far, four lawmakers are in the Paul camp: Sen. Shirley McKague, R-Meridian, Rep. Pete Nielsen, R-Mountain Home, Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, and Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. That quartet is featured in a four-page e-flier from Rasor dated Monday, along with Coeur d'Alene City Councilman Steve Adams (pictured, in Adams' Facebook photo). Many Paul supporters hold precinct committee posts that give him substantial influence on the Idaho Republican Central Committee/Dan Popkey, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Are you surprised that Rasor, Hart, Barbieri, & Adams are bucking the Idaho GOP establishment and supporting Ron Paul for president?

Friends Remember Murder Victim

“The Three Stephanies” are down to two after one was shot Christmas Day. Stefanie Comack was one of three St. Maries girls in the class of 2011 named Stephanie. Stephanie Mills, Stephani Brede and Ms. Comack adopted the moniker when they became friends in middle school. Ms. Comack was shot Dec. 25. She was airlifted to Kootenai Medical Center where she later died. Her boyfriend, Joe Herrera, was arrested and charged with second-degree murder. … Her friends described her as the “life of the party” and a “tomboy.” … One of the Stephanie Trio, Ms. Mills, met Ms. Comack in the sixth grade. “We called her “Bugs” because she used to put bugs in her pockets and bring them inside when she was little,” Ms. Mills said. “She was upbeat, all smiles and when she did get mad, she was over it in a second”/Mary Orr, St. Maries Gazette Record. (Gazette Record photo)

Thoughts?

Today Is ‘Good Riddance Day’

It's out with the old, and in with the new a few days ahead of the new year for those who just can't wait to put the past behind them. Wednesday is “Good Riddance Day,” a day where you're encouraged to say goodbye to whatever troubled you in 2011, and start 2012 with a clean slate. New York City has been celebrating Good Riddance Day since 2007 by allowing folks in Times Square to destroy their bad memories of the old year with a giant paper shredder/13News. More here. (Wikipedia photo of Times Square New Year's Eve ball and fireworks)

Question: What happened in 2011 that you want to say “Good Riddance” to?

Cheetah, 80, RIP

Johnny Weissmuller, right, as Tarzan, Maureen O'Sullivan as Jane, and Cheetah the chimpanzee, in a scene from the 1932 movie Tarzan the Ape Man. A Florida animal sanctuary says Cheetah the chimpanzee from the Tarzan movies of the 1930s died Saturday of kidney failure at age 80. Story here. (AP Photo/ho, File)

Question: Would you like to see a modern, action-hero, movie version of Tarzan, Jane, & Cheetah?

Collingwood: Once Knew Suspect

Item: Suspected St. Maries killer says fatal gunshot was accidental/Meghann Cuniff, SR

CollingwoodCDA: I actually went to St. Maries in third, fourth and fifth grade and the dude charged with the murder was a childhood friend. Haven’t seen the kid or the heard his name since I lived in that lil’ ol’ town. That’s now the second kid from my diminutive St. Maries class — Melissa Bates being the first — charged with a murder this year. There’s some great people in SM — I think I’m related to 1/8 the county, even — but that town’s always been its own little world, IMHO. You could say the same about any town, really, but I put an asterisk near SM.

Question: Did you ever go to school with someone convicted of murder?

Long-Term Insurance Rates Go Up

John Thielbahr got an unpleasant holiday surprise this year: an enormous increase in the “level” premiums for his long-term care insurance policy. Within a couple of weeks, he and his wife – and everyone else in Washington who holds the same kind of policy through Met Life – will be paying 41 percent more a month for coverage of the various steep costs that come with long illnesses or health care needs late in life. The Thielbahrs face a difficult choice: Pay a lot more, get a lot less, or risk the life-crushing debt that can come with long-term health care. “We’re stunned right now,” said Thielbahr, a 68-year-old retiree living in Pullman. “I’m not sure what we’re going to do.” Thielbahr and his wife are caught in the vice that is the modern American health care system: The cost simply goes up, up, up/Shawn Vestal, SR. More here.

Question: Have you had to change insurance companies or settle for a lot less coverage from your company as a result of rising rates?

Program Helps NI Woman Buy Home

A 49-year-old Rathdrum woman is enjoying her first holiday season in a home she owns thanks to an Idaho Housing and Finance Association program that helps people bridge the gaps to homeownership. Lauri Moore is the first graduate of the HOPES program – Homeownership Promotes Economic Stability – offered by IHFA’s Home Partnership Foundation. The foundation offers a 200 percent match on people’s savings of up to $2,000, giving them a total of $6,000 for down payments or, in Moore’s case, paying down the principal to make the mortgage more affordable. “It’s a dream come true,” Moore said. “Owning a home was when you made it. Now I feel a little more equal”/Alison Boggs, SR. More here.

Question: How special was the first home that you purchased?

Anderson: Hair Apparent

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Wild Card/Tuesday — 12.27.11

I'm tweaking the lineup today to free up the lunch hour. I combined the AM & INW headline roundups into one roundup that I began posted at about 10 — rather than usual pre-9 o'clock & noon time slots. I'll publish another headline roundup at the end of the day per usual (although it might be slightly earlier). Now, onward. Here's your daily Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.27.11

Filipino police raise their pistols after being taped on the nozzle by officers at police headquarters in Camp Crame, suburban Quezon city, north of Manila, Philippines today. The Philippine National Police is working to thwart the traditional celebratory gunfire during New Year's revelry that injures or kills several Filipinos each year (AP Photo/Aaron Favila)

Simple Mind: Following Instructions

Why is it those of who love more power don't seem to like to pay attention to directions much? I am just as guilty as others. For Christmas, the King got me the MORE POWER, BIGGER THAN A LOT, KITCHEN AID PROFESSIONAL 500 MIXER. I use capitals not to shout, but so you understand … this is MORE POWER. I love machinery of MORE POWER, be it appliances or cars… MORE POWER, LOUDER MUFFLERS. That is just the way I roll. So there I was with my MORE POWER MIXER, in my kitchen. … I had the booklet in my hand. So I sat down with a cup of coffee and skimmed the booklet/Cis, From A Simple Mind. More here.

Question: Are you good at following manufacturer's instructions re: how to put products together?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.27.11

  • 5:14 p.m. Man has questions re: his nephew having no-contact order against him.
  • 4:43 p.m. Resident in 1700 block of Morleau/CdA reports hit-and-run accident.
  • 4:41 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 26-27 here.
  • 4:25 p.m. Caller in 5400 block of Grayeagle/Rathdrum reports dog brought home suspicious bone.
  • 4:19 p.m. Passenger who suffers PTSD sustains possible broken jaw when red, older pickup hits tree along Lewellen Road b/n H54 & Parks/Athol.
  • 4:16 p.m. Caller reports driver e/b on Appleway from I-90 has no taillights & one brake light out.
  • 15 more items & AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM: A-Rod Creates Boise Buzz

New York Yankees' Alex Rodriguez swings a bat in the on-deck circle during a rehab assignment at a minor league baseball game against the Dunedin Blue Jays Aug. 12 in Dunedin, Fla. Rodriguez, who had right knee surgery July 14, was seen working out in a Boise gym during the Christmas holidays. More from Kevin Richert/Statesman here. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

Christmas Killing Brings Murder Count

Joseph Herrera was charged with 2nd Degree Murder Tuesday for the Christmas Day killing of Stefanie Comack of St. Maries. Herrera made his first appearance in court Tuesday where his bond was set at $200,000. Herrera claims that he was unloading his gun when it accidentally discharged. Benewah County Prosecutor Doug Payne says, however, that the evidence shows that when the gun discharged it was very close to Comack's head. Friends and family members close to Stefanie claimed Monday that Herrera had a history of abusive behavior and threatened to shoot her a week before she was killed/KXLY. More here.

Thoughts?

Idaho Teen Dies After Birthing Son

In this Dec. 6 photo, Jenni Lake's son, Chad Michael Lake Wittman, drinks from a bottle at the family's home in Pocatello. Jenni Lake, who decided against treatment for tumors on her brain and spine so she could carry the baby, died of cancer on Nov. 21, 12 days after giving birth to Chad. (AP Photo/James B. Hale)

Jenni Lake gave birth to a baby boy the month before her 18th birthday, though she was not destined to become just another teenage mother. That much, she knew. While being admitted to the hospital, she pulled her nurse down to her at bed level and whispered into her ear. The nurse would later repeat the girl's words to comfort her family, as their worst fears were realized a day after Jenni's baby was born. “She told the nurse, 'I'm done, I did what I was supposed to. My baby is going to get here safe,'” said Diana Phillips, Jenni's mother/Jessie L. Bonner, AP. More here. (AP photo)

Thoughts?

Johnson: Pols Run From Their Words

Earl Long, the one-time governor of Louisiana, was once asked by an aide what his supporters should be told about his failure to keep a campaign promise. “Tell 'em I lied,” Long said. Today, as their old positions are re-litigated, pols from Ron Paul to Newt Gingrich admit to nothing except “I didn't write it … and I never believed it.” Don't buy it/Marc Johnson, The Johnson Report. More here.

Question: Which attempt by a political candidate to distance him/herself from an earlier statement bugs you most?

Washington Minimum Wage To Hit $9

Washington state’s minimum wage increases by 37 cents to $9.04 an hour starting on New Year’s Day. While the state’s current rate of $8.67 an hour is already the highest state minimum wage in the nation, a few cities, like San Francisco, have their own laws and have higher rates. San Francisco’s current rate of $9.92 jumps to $10.24 on Sunday, making it the first city in the nation to top a $10 minimum wage. The federal minimum wage is $7.25. Idaho’s minimum wage matches the federal wage, although employees who earn tips can be paid a wage as little as $3.35 per hour in Idaho. Washington is among a handful of states where the minimum wage will increase Sunday/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Is Washington's minimum wage going to be too high? Or Idaho's too low?

NIdaho Blogs — 12.27.11

I am so excited to have a New Year unfolding! writes Jeanie Spokane, Nuts & Nonsense.

  • I didn't do anything extraordinary to even warrant a Christmas letter (Hi, I did dialysis 1,068 times (oops, 1,069 because one day it didn't work and I had to come back the next day) and went to about 4,000 yard sales);
  • I avoided being filmed by “Hoarders” (note sentence just above) only because I kept my curtains closed;
  • Thanksgiving sucked because for the first time in my sons' lives (37 & 38 years), neither one of them were here (sob). More here.

HucksOnline numbers (for week of 12/18-24): 34,777/21,799

Question: Will you look back fondly on 2011? Or be glad to put it in the rear-view mirror?

Comfy In New Bunny Slippers

On her Facebook wall, Cindy posts this shot of her new, pink bunny slippers propped on her desk. I received a new pair of slippers from my daughter last Christmas. But didn't throw out my old slippers under last night (during a purge of shoes & clothes in my closet). I hated to see those things go. I also tossed a pair of green gardening jeans which Amy Dearest abhors. In fact, I handed them to her — and she delighted in ripping through some worn spots to shred those jeans.

Question: Do you wear slippers?

Another Bumpersnicker

En route to a Red Box kiosk, I spotted this strange bumpersnicker on a red vehicle in the Coeur d'Alene Albertson's parking lot Monday night: “I'm only speeding because I have to poop.

Question: Who would put such a bumpersnicker on his/her vehicle?

Zach Didn’t Shoot His Eye Out

On her Facebook wall, Cindy writes: “Irony alert: Santa neglected to include BB's in Zach's official Red Ryder BB gun. So, Zach drove down to the General Store to buy some and was informed you have to be 18 to buy BB's! The gun says it's suitable for ages 10 and up.” Zach, apparently, got his BBs. And, unlike Ralphie, he didn't shoot his eye out.

Question: Did you own a BB gun as a kid?

Collingwood: Icon Worth Avoiding

CollingwoodCDA: The Moose, Beacon, Moon Time and Eagles are legit, though, not that they’re immune from idiots getting out of line. The Icon is such a dive and is almost solely responsible for the ever-growing stigma of downtown CDA and drama that goes down (nothing good happens after midnight, right?). I love the downtown CDA scene, but The Icon is ghetto fabulous but still not as bad as the artist formerly known as The Torch.

Question: Which night spot in downtown Coeur d'Alene do you avoid?

High Noon: 13YO Deals w/Hair Loss

A 13-year-old girl from Boise was on the Today Show Monday morning, and she was talking about something pretty personal and emotional:  A health condition she's had for two years that's caused her to lose all of the hair on her body. For plenty of junior high girls what you look like can be pretty important, but Caitlin Bishop and her friends say they've learned from experience that it's what's on the inside that really matters.  Bishop wants other kids to understand that too. Bishop showed KTVB old photos and videos of herself before she lost all of her hair when she was 11 years old.  She had no idea she would ever lose all of it/Jamie Grey, KTVB. More here. (Wikipedia photo for illustrative purposes, of 33-year-old man suffering from Alopecia Universal)

Question: How have you dealt with loss of hair?

High Noon: Sharing Toys

Scott Wood, 5, empties a huge tub of his own toys to give away at the annual Thousand Oaks Community Dinner, hosted by Temple Adat Alohim at Thousand Oaks High School on Sunday. Wood wanted the joy his toys have brought him to be shared with less fortunate children gathered for a free meal the school. (AP Photo/The Ventura County Star, Karen Quincy Loberg)

Question: Do you encourage your children to share their old toys with others?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.27.11

  • 11:59 a.m. Person at Coeur d'Alene Library reports theft of unknown property on Lakeside/CdA.
  • 11:56 a.m. John reports theft of tires, boat trolling motor & copper wire from Burma/Harrison home.
  • 11:34 a.m. Stalled chip truck blocking both lanes @ Seltice Way & Cedar/PF.
  • 11:33 p.m. Neighbor sees lots of smoke coming from chimney @ 316 W. 20th/PF.
  • 11:31 p.m. Disabled vehicle causing hazard on Ironwood Drive in front of KMC/CdA.
  • 10 more items below

Bar Report: Hard Head, Broken Hand

It has been awhile since HucksOnline has offered a Downtown Coeur d'Alene Bar Report. This one occurred before the holidays were in full swing: “Officers responded to a battery call reference an incident that had occurred the previous evening (2200 hours) at the Icon. According to the victim, a 53 year old male from Spokane, he and his lady friend had been dancing at the Icon when an unknown male pushed him aside and began dancing with his date. The “victim” tried several times to get his lady back, but the male kept getting
in between the two. Fearing for her safety, the “victim” punched the male in the face; however, the next morning he received medical attention for his hand (which was broken), and now he wanted to file a police report. A report was taken/Downtown Coeur d'Alene Bar Report. More here.

Question: Have you ever broken your hand or wrist?

Idaho Judges Defend Lavish Pensions

Debate over whether Idaho state judges should keep retirement benefits that are about twice as generous as those of other state workers, a situation that’s helped open a funding gap, has kept legislators and court officials at the negotiating table since January. Judges say robust packages for Idaho Supreme Court justices, appellate court and district court judges are essential because experienced lawyers with high-paying private practices would be less likely to consider switching to public service if they were offered less-lucrative benefits like those most other state employees get as part of the Public Retirement System of Idaho, or PERSI. But with the Judges Retirement Fund showing an unfunded liability of $14 million, or $1.3 million annually shy of covering payouts over 25 years, legislators say changes are a must/John Miller, AP. More here.

Question: Do you have a pension plan at your workplace?

Non Sequitur

Question: Do you recognize yourself in Wiley Miller's cartoon above?

Bumpersnicker

  • On a green pickup stopped for a sign at 4th & Walnut in Midtown over the Christmas holidays: “Honk if you voted for Obama so I can give you the finger.”

Poll: Most Have Gambled At Casino

  • Christmas Holiday Poll: A majority of Hucks Nation has gambled at the Coeur d'Alene Casino. 151 of 283 respondents (53.36%) said they have gambled at the Worley area casino. 132 of 283 respondents (46.64%) say they have not.
  • Today's Poll: Where did you buy your Christmas gifts this year?

Williams: I Was Dressed In Love

Had my mom's clientele been different, she might have been known as something glamorous like a clothing designer or a stylist. As it was, she sewed almost exclusively for her two daughters. I so under-appreciated her talent that I wouldn't have described her with a word like seamstress. In my childhood, she was the person I could turn to after a bad day, a devout Christian Scientist, a cook, a chauffeur and even a journalist, a job she left to marry and raise three children. My perception changed this holiday season as my sister, brother and I sat on the couch in my parents' basement in Omaha, Neb., looking at family photographs, the most complete record of my mom's body of work/Elaine Williams, Lewiston Tribune. More here.

Question: Is there someone in your family who makes their own clothes?

Crusader Wants Solon Sobriety Oath

A former Las Vegas TV reporter turned anti-drinking crusader received pledges from 13 Idaho lawmakers over the Christmas weekend that they will abstain from drinking during the 2012 session. Scott Andrus, 50, of Twin Falls, sent the solicitation to all 105 lawmakers on Dec. 23, receiving 17 responses. Four lawmakers replied with equivocal answers. Wrote Andrus: “I humbly ask that you pledge that no beverage alcohol will pass your lips during the 2012 legislative session. Please remain sober as you conduct the affairs of state.” Most of the pledges were quite brief, such as that from Senate Majority Leader Bart Davis, R-Idaho Falls: “I promise.” Senate President Pro Tem Brent Hill, R-Rexburg: “No problem”/Dan Popkey, Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you want Idaho legislators to take a sobriety oath?

2nd Luna Recall Ready To Launch

Organizers of this year’s failed attempt to oust Idaho’s public schools chief from office say their second try to recall Tom Luna will be better organized. The initial attempt to put a recall question on Idaho ballots during an August special election fell woefully short of the mark. The Committee to Recall Tom Luna needed to collect nearly 160,000 verifiable signatures of Idaho voters to get the recall question on the ballot, but organizers said they’d collected only 50,000 signatures by their June deadline. Pete Peterson, campaign manager for the 2012 Luna Recall Committee, said last week that the effort to put the recall question to Idaho voters in November 2012 will be better organized. Peterson said the group is organizing sooner than it did last year, and has learned from a host of mistakes made last year/Eric Larsen, Twin Falls Times-News. More here.

Question: Did you sign a recall petition for Idaho Superintendent Tom Luna earlier this year? Do you plan to sign a petition for the reorganized attempt to recall him?

AM: Ganesha Gets Christmas Touch

Don Sausser, Eye on Downtown CdA for HucksOnline, spotted this addition to the controversial statue of Ganesha at Sixth & Sherman over the Christmas Day weekend. Emails Don: “Feeling in an ecumenical way on Christmas day the Hindu Ganesha sculpture on Sherman Ave was garnished with a Christian touch. Its Coeur d’Alene detractors should be pleased.” Seems the battle isn't over.

APhoto of The Day — 12.27.11

Elephants play an exhibition soccer match during the elephant festival in Sauraha, Chitwan 170 kilometers (106 miles) south of Katmandu, Nepal, Monday. The three-day elephant festival where elephants take part in race, soccer game, and a beauty pageant began Monday. You write the cutline. (AP Photo/Niranjan Shrestha)

WSU Cougs Makes Worst Uniform List

It’s not a surprise that the Oregon Ducks have ended up on a new list of the best and worst football uniforms. With multiple styles and colors of helmets, jerseys and pants, the Ducks’ fashion sense has been the talk of college football for a few years now, whether you like them or not. What may be surprising to some is the Washington State Cougars uniforms were named one of the nation’s worst by an expert panel put together by the Wall Street Journal. The main reason the Cougs' uniforms made the list was because of the font used for their numbers. “It's strange because the uniform has a classic design, but the font is trying to be modern,” said graphic artist Josh Vanover “It clashes”/AP via KREM. More here. (SR file photo: Marquess Wilson tries to outleap UW's Desmond Trufant in the 2011 Apple Cup but is unable to stop an interception.)

Question: Which athletic team (any sport) has the worst uniforms?

Rosdahl: Maurice’s Leaving Mall

One column-related item this week was my mixing with holiday shoppers. Downtown stores and Silver Lake Mall were both busy. It was pleasing to visit the mall and see the excitement. All the shops and center-aisle kiosks were busy, which was nice to see because several weeks ago the place was practically deserted. Changes are happening there. Two new stores are either there or coming in — but two larger stores are leaving. Maurice's is moving north. Although mall mainstay Maurice's is leaving the mall, it's not leaving town. The store and its seven employees are moving to the large space vacated by Corral West beside Target on Canfield Avenue at the end of January/Nils Rosdahl, SR. More here.

Question: Did you do much Christmas shopping at the Silver Lake Mall?

‘One-Armed Wonder’ Amazes Others

So who comes away the most dumbfounded after an encounter with Josh Konkler? Is it the baseball coach who waves his outfielders in close, assuming the batter who swings with just his left arm can’t go deep, and then watches him smack one over the center fielder’s head for a double? Is it the defensive back, matched up across from a receiver with no right hand, who gives up on a long pass he just knows is uncatchable – only to see it go for a touchdown? Is it the basketball opponent who knows the player he’s guarding can only go to his left, yet still falls for even the suggestion of a crossover dribble that doesn’t exist and gets beat anyway? Or is it the stranger who discovers in the course of conversation that Josh Konkler is not just a three-sport pony?/John Blanchette, SR. More here. (SR photo: Christopher Anderson)

Question: Do you know someone who has overcome a handicap to excel in activities?

Aylward Sets Targets Ironman Again

When readers of The Spokesman-Review last heard from Tom Aylward, the Spirit Lake man who lost 80 pounds while training for his first Ironman, he had fallen short of completing the 2011 Coeur d’Alene race. He made the 2.4-mile swim and 112-mile bike ride just fine, but had nothing left for the marathon – a 26.2-mile run. He was at peace with his performance and didn’t plan to attempt the grueling endurance race again. Three days later, he woke up and signed up for the 2012 race. “I gotta do it again,” said the 63-year-old. “I was so close. I had to finish it because it’s something I haven’t finished. I don’t want to give up again. This time I’ve got to finish it”/Alison Boggs, SR. More here. (SR photo: Kathy Plonka)

Question: What is one thing you want to accomplish in 2012?

Up A Pole

An car rests on its front end after a high speed collision with a tree in Gurgaon, India, Sunday. The driver sustained minor injuries, according to a local newspaper report. (AP Photo)

Question: When were you last involved in a vehicle crash?

You Can Trust Oatmeal Eaters

I have this theory. You can count on people who eat oatmeal every morning. And if they have it with raisins and a little brown sugar, even better. This applies mostly to those who eat oatmeal for breakfast all year, but people who have it only during winter can also be trusted. Let’s move on/Paul Turner, The Slice. More here.

Question: I had a PBJ sandwich with apricot jelly and a glass of milk to begin the day today. What did you have?

Sears To Shut 100-120 Kmart Stores

Sears Holdings Corp. plans to close between 100 and 120 Sears and Kmart stores after poor sales during the holidays, the most crucial time of year for retailers. The closings are the latest and most visible in a long series of moves to try to fix a retailer that has struggled with falling sales and shabby stores. In an internal memo Tuesday to employees, CEO and President Lou D’Ambrosio said that the retailer had not “generated the results we were seeking during the holiday.” Sears Holdings Corp. said it has yet to determine which stores will close but said it will post on www.searsmedia.com when a final list is compiled. Sears would not discuss how many, if any, jobs would be cut/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Do you shop at Kmart?

Briggs: ‘I Told You I’d Be Back’

The dust of Iraq still clung to the items crammed inside Spc. Blythe Briggs’ rucksack when she landed thousands of miles away in chilly Spokane. “I feel bad for her,” her brother, Austin Briggs, 20, said before she deplaned at Spokane International Airport late Friday. “She’s going to have climate shock.” Briggs, a 25-year-old Army medic with the 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 1st Cavalry Division, of Fort Hood, Texas, was among the last American soldiers to leave Iraq as the nearly 9-year-old war came to a close. When she arrived in Spokane, she exchanged a tight embrace with her mother, Ruth Briggs. “I’m back,” she told her mother as the two hugged. “I told you I’d make it”/Chelsea Bannach, SR. More here. (SR photo)

DFO: My niece “Hannah Banana” (family nickname) is staying in Post Falls for a couple of weeks with her parents after finishing her second tour of duty in the Mideast (Afghanistan & Iraq). Army Reserve Capt. Hannah Banana gave her parents, grandmother, & brother flags that had flown on Blackhawk helicopters in those war zones for Christmas. It was great to watch them open those wonderful gifts. It was greater still to have her back and in one piece. Best. Christmas. Present. Of all.

Question: Have you had a friend of loved one who recently returned from a tour of duty in either Iraq or Afghanistan?

Christmas Weekend Wild Card 12.24-12.26

My favorite Christmas quotes in no particular order:

Ralphie:   I want an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle!
Santa: You'll shoot your eye out, kid.

And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled ’till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn’t before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. - Dr. Seuss

And the angel said unto them, “Fear not! For, behold,
I bring you tidings of great joy, Which shall be to all people. “For unto you is born this day in the city of David A Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. – St. Luke

 DFO will be back on Tuesday and you'll just have to get used to a blog without cute cat photos. Sorry. Meanwhile use this thread for breaking news or Christmas wishes.

Merry Christmas Huckleberries!

Parting Shot: Christmas party

Indian children dressed in festive clothing sit on a bench during a Christmas party at a kindergarten on the last day before school holidays in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 23, 2011.

Do you have any favorite Christmas traditions?

My Two Cents: You people

A couple of times in the past 24 hours, commenters have used the phrase “you people,” in the comments section.. Whenever I read a sentence that addresses “you people,” I roll my eyes and rarely finish reading.

The phrase smacks of superiority and condescension. I realize left is left and right is right and rarely the twain shall meet. That doesn't bother me a bit. Despite what naysayers think, this blog is home to people of all political, religious and social backgrounds. Many more people read here than actually post comments, so  please think twice before addressing “you people.”

We are all Huckleberries, after all :-)

And that's my two cents.

Friday Wild Card 12.23

It's Christmas Eve Eve and I'm getting ready for a three day weekend. There's  presents to wrap and fudge to make, sons to corral, cats to herd and a house to clean.

And at some point I'm going to relax.

Here's your Wild Card. Are you ready for Christmas?

Update: Teen missing in N. Idaho

Kootenai County authorities are continuing their search today for a 16-year-old boy who ran away Thursday night from a residential facility on Dodd Road.

Jacob Lee left the Innercept treatment facility about 11 p.m. wearing only pajama bottoms and a flannel shirt, Kootenai County sheriff’s deputies said.

Officers were joined by 15 members of the Kootenai County Sheriff’s Volunteer Search and Rescue and a helicopter from the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office.

Lee, whose parents live in Santa Clara, Calif., is considered at extreme risk because of his lack of clothing and cold temperatures.

If anyone has seen the boy, they are asked to call the Kootenai County sheriff at (208) 446-1300 or their local law enforcement agency.

Update: Missing teen found, cold but safe.

Apron Strings

I got this pink-checked gingham apron as a bridal shower gift from my aunt 26 years ago. I wear it when I commence serious baking. No, I do not wear heels with it, but sometimes I may be wearing pearls.

Apparently, I missed all the fuss about aprons being a sympol of repression, but accordning to this article they are making a comeback in a big way. I just wear one to keep my clothes clean and because it's part of my baking ritual.

But aprons aren't just for women, anyway. I believe I've seen Bent wear a BBQ apron.

Do you own an apron? Do you ever wear it?

The power of prayer?

More and more Americans are praying about health issues, but does it actually work?

The number of Americans who pray for their own health has more than tripled, from 13 percent of US adults in 1999 to 49 percent in 2007, according to a new study published in Psychology of Religion and Spirituality. The researchers also reported that those whose health had changed—either for the worse or better—prayed more often, and that women were more likely to pray about health matters than men.

What about praying for the health of others? More here.

Do you believe in the power of prayer?

Christmas Trivia Quiz

Spin Control offers this Christmas Trivia Quiz.

This one is easy., except for the Hanukah stamp question.

How did you do? Did you learn anything?

Thompson attorneys allege misconduct

Defense attorneys for convicted Spokane Police Officer Karl F. Thompson Jr. filed a motion today claiming everything from judicial error to juror misconduct in their attempt to persuade a federal judge to grant a new trial stemming from the fatal 2006 confrontation with Otto Zehm.

The first allegation is one that has been presented twice – and twice rejected by U.S. District Court Judge Fred Van Sickle – that the government did not present sufficient evidence to show Thompson acted willfully, or with a bad or evil purpose, to deprive Zehm of his Constitutional right to be free of unreasonable force. More here. Thomas Clouse, SR

Reaction?

Just say NO

This may surprise some of you, but I have a hard time saying NO. The consequences of  my over-committment are not lovely, so in the New Year I'm going to be working on gracious ways to say “no”.

A google search turned up this helpful list: 100 easy ways to say no

Some options include:

  • I'm enrolled in aerobic scream therapy
  • I'm teaching my ferret to yodel
  • I want to spend more time with my blender
  • I'm attending the opening of my garage door

Do you find it easy to say no? Care to add to the list?

Police pepper spray Seattle shoe shoppers

SEATTLE — The release of Nike’s new Air Jordan basketball shoes caused a frenzy at stores across the nation early today, with police using pepper spray on a group of rowdy customers near Seattle and officers arresting some shoppers after a crowd broke down a door in suburban Atlanta.

A group of about 20 people were sprayed after getting into fights at the Westfield Southcenter mall in suburban Seattle, Tukwila Officer Mike Murphy said.

The crowd started gathering around midnight at four stores in the mall and had grown to more than 1,000 by 4 a.m., when the stores opened, Murphy said.

“Around 3 (a.m.) there started to be some fighting and pushing among the customers,” he said. “Around 4, it started to get pretty unruly and officers sprayed pepper spray on a few people who were fighting, and that seemed to do the trick to break them up.”

Where were the biggest crowds you encountered this holiday season?

Idaho gender wage gap widens

BOISE — The gap between how much men and women earn in the Gem State widened in 2010.

The salary disparity between men and women increased by 2.2 percent during the previous year, according to data from the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. The survey showed the full-time wages of Idaho women were 77.6 percent of what men earned. Idaho was ranked 36 among states for the ratio of salaries between the sexes.

State lawmakers previously passed a resolution to bring attention to the disparity and established Equal Pay Day on April 28. The date is recognized nationwide to mark how far the average woman would have to work into the year to catch up to what the average man earned in the previous year.

What should be done to narrow the wage gap?

High Noon: The stockings were hung

My cat Milo is 2 and pretty nonchalant about about the Christmas excitement at our house. But Thor is still a baby and beside himself over having a tree in the house. He spends a lot of time trying to slurp down the tree water and undecorating the lower limbs. Milo is to dignified to go to the trouble of knocking down ornaments but he will play with the ones Thor knocks down.
Thor may get a lump of coal in his stocking.

Do you buy Christmas gifts for your pets?

Brewing Beer

Keithincda sent this pic to Huckleberry Central. He, Bent and Stickman whipped up another batch of Keith's BentStick Beer yesterday.

A tasting may be in the works for February.

Have you ever brewed your own beer? What's your favorite kind of beer?

Frozen Fare

COEUR d'ALENE - When the cab driver and newspaper editor found Damon Rowe's unconscious body around 3 a.m. Thursday, it was nearly frozen and bleeding in the snow.

Emergency responders would tell Eugene Adkison, the Scott's Taxi driver who spotted Rowe on Lakeside Avenue near Ninth Street, that Rowe couldn't have survived much longer had it not been for the cab driver's action.

“I about (soiled) myself,” Adkison said Thursday, on when he first touched Rowe's slumped body, on which the clothes were soaking wet except the parts that were beginning to crystallize. “I thought he was dead.”

Rowe, 27, is recovering. Read more. Tom Hasslinger, Cda Press

Thoughts?

10 good books to end the year

On his blog, The Johnson Post, Marc offers some bookish gift ideas:
  

Still looking for a last minute gift idea? How about a book? It has been a good year for good books.

In no particular order, here are ten that I found memorable during 2011.

1. Train Dreams by Dennis Johnson. This thin, but deeply satisfying little novella is set in northern Idaho and truly captures the mood of the landscape as it must have been in 1920. Johnson’s writing is haunting, spare and beautiful. This is a book that will stick with you.

2. Jack Kennedy by Chris Matthews. The MSNBC host hasn’t written the great biography of the martyred president, but he has written a warm and insightful book about politics and the impact one man can have on the country. A must read for a political junkie. More here. Marc Johnson

What's the best book you read this year? Any books on your Christmas wish list?

LTE: McEuen plans snubs history

In today's S-R, Frank Orzell writes:

Coeur d’Alene Mayor Bloem has stated that the recent election has changed nothing about her plan for McEuen Park. She is convinced that she, the City Council, and a select group of developers should make all the decisions for the rest of us, in spite of us. We are expected to sit back, be quiet and respectful, and pay our taxes!

So much of what Coeur d’Alene is today can be traced back to its roots in life as previous generations lived it, from early indigenous peoples to those who relied on trades in lumber, mining, railroads, lake and river steamers, etc. Plan McEuen ignores this rich heritage, sanitizes and smothers it with stuff borrowed from other cities and park environments around the country (second-hand thoughts, “pass-me-downs”). Imagine how it would feel if developers were campaigning to replace the Statue of Liberty with nondescript high-rise buildings supported by taxpayer dollars. More here.

Agree or disagree?

Hotel home for the holidays

Two-year-old Sythia Bowen plays in the lobby at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites in Coeur d’Alene on Thursday. Kathy Plonka, SR

A 2-year-old girl’s grin, as she frolicked in the lobby of a Coeur d’Alene hotel Thursday morning, gave no hint that her family has no place to call home.

And that was precisely the goal of the staff at Holiday Inn Express Hotel & Suites as they worked to deliver Christmas joy to two homeless families they’re hosting for the week. Alison Boggs, SR Read more.

Christmas can be a hard time of year for many. Have you ever experienced a blue Christmas?

Iran, Taliban, al-Qaida liable for 9/11

NEW YORK – A federal judge has signed a default judgment finding Iran, the Taliban and al-Qaida liable in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

Judge George Daniels in Manhattan signed the judgment Thursday, a week after hearing testimony in the 10-year-old case. The signed ruling, which he promised last week, came in a $100 billion lawsuit brought by family members of victims of the attacks. He directed a magistrate judge to preside over remaining issues, including fixing compensatory and punitive damages.

The story goes on to say it will be nearly impossible to collect damages. So what do you think is the purpose of this ruling?

Autistic student stuffed in bag

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – A 9-year-old autistic boy who misbehaved at school was stuffed into a duffel bag and the drawstring pulled tight, according to his mother, who said she found him wiggling inside as a teacher’s aide stood by.

The mother of fourth-grader Christopher Baker said her son called out to her when she walked up to him in the bag Dec. 14. The case has spurred an online petition calling for the firing of school employees responsible.

“He was treated like trash and thrown in the hallway,” Chris’ mother, Sandra Baker, said Thursday. Full story.

Reaction?

Cda Blue Bust Burglary Ring

COEUR d'ALENE - Coeur d'Alene police have four suspects in custody and are seeking four more after cracking a massive burglary ring.

Detectives obtained warrants Thursday for eight suspects believed to be responsible for a rash of daytime burglaries in North Idaho and Spokane in the past few months, according to a press release.

Victims reported doors were kicked in, houses ransacked, and valuable items stolen in Coeur d'Alene, Post Falls, Rathdrum, Hayden, Sandpoint and Spokane.

Four suspects were served warrants while in custody in the Kootenai County jail on various other charges. All warrants have a $100,000 bond. Four other suspects remain at large. Cda Press

Early Christmas gift for Cda residents=peace of mind?

 

CPD Seeks Stolen 1967 Ford Mustang

Missing: One 1967 Ford Mustang. The classic car was stolen from a Coeur d'Alene auto shop this month, and police are asking for help finding those responsible. Read more here. Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels.

Reward Offered In Goodwill Attack

Crime Stoppers is offering a reward for information that leads to the arrest of a man who tried to rob a Goodwill employee in Coeur d'Alene last month but was thwarted by a witness with a gun. The man attacked the woman with a knife after she left the store at 1212 N. 4th St. Nov. 28 about 1:55 p.m. to make a bank deposit. Read more here./Meghann Cuniff, Sirens & Gavels.

Gonzaga 70, Air Force 60

Chasing a rebound, Gonzaga center Robert Sacre (00) parts the way between Air Force guard Taylor Stewart (15) and center Taylor Broekhuis (34) during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game Thursday in the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. Jim Meehan's SR story here. And: ESPN boxscore here. (SR photo: Colin Mulvany)

Thursday Wild Card

I am SOOOOOOO happy  that this is the shortest day of the year, because yesterday felt like the longest!

I didn't get home until 6:30 and was so tired I couldn't even untie my shoes. But my husband had dinner ready and poured me a glass of wine, my son unlaced my shoes, my kitties gave me kisses  and by the time I'd plugged in the Christmas tree lights, the world already felt brighter.

Here's your Wild Card. How are you celebrating Winter Solstice?

Parting Shot: Season’s Greetings from the White House

White House Christmas card for 2011 features Bo the dog.

Did you send out Christmas cards this year?

Ferries’ capacities shrink as waistlines expand

SEATTLE – The Washington state ferry service isn’t going to start turning away hefty passengers, but it has had to reduce the capacity of the nation’s largest ferry system because people have been packing on the pounds.

Coast Guard vessel stability rules that took effect nationwide Dec. 1 raised the estimated weight of the average adult passenger to 185 pounds from the previous 160 pounds, based on population information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the past 20 years, there has been a dramatic increase in obesity in the United States and about one-third of American adults are now considered obese, the CDC says on its website. More here.

My favorite quote from this story: “We do serve light beer,” said Peggy Wilkes. Do you usually put on a few pounds over the holidays?

House GOP caves

WASHINGTON — Their isolation complete, House Republican leaders abruptly caved and agreed to demands by President Barack Obama, congressional Democrats and fellow Republicans for a two-month extension of tax cuts for all workers.

The agreement, struck after some of the staunchest House conservatives began to retreat, also would renew jobless benefits for almost two million people and spare doctors from a big cut in Medicare payments.

The decision came after an intense day of maneuvering in which the Senate’s top Republican leader, Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, urged the House to accept the Senate’s short-term fix and negotiate later on a year-long extension. Obama, too, chided Republicans for blocking something all parties agreed upon.

Reaction?

Nightmares before Christmas

There are several books available at Auntie’s Bookstore to explain the belief that the world will end in 2012, at least according to the ancient Mayans.

You are held captive in the airplane seat and so the seatback magazines beckon.

Page through SkyMall, or any catalog featuring gifts, and soon you notice all the “scary world” products for sale.These are designed to protect us against the threats out there.

What frightens us this holiday season?  Full story. Becky Nappi, SR

What are you afraid of?

Double the Kitty cuteness

Milo and Thor peek over the edge of our bed.

You didn't think I'd forget to post a cat pic, did you?

Do you let your pets sleep on your bed?

Disparity in black achievement

SEATTLE – A new look at test scores by Seattle Public Schools shows American-born black students lag behind black immigrants in academic achievement.

African-American students, whose primary language is English, perform significantly worse in math and reading than black students who speak another language at home, the Seattle Times reported Monday. Full story.

What do you make of this study?

Ring recovered after 36 years

Thirty-six years after Donna Claver lost her engagement ring, Terry Claver recovered it from a broken toilet.

STANFORD, Mont. – Terry and Donna Claver have the type of marriage that newlyweds imagine for themselves one day. After nearly four decades together, the Clavers’ love and affection for each other still shines through.

This Thanksgiving, a lost symbol of the Clavers’ love returned unexpectedly. After missing for more than 36 years, Terry found the engagement ring he bought Donna – back when he was a 19-year-old farm kid and she was the new girl in Stanford.

Have you ever lost something valuable?

CdA Blue reports Botox thief

  Coeur d'Alene police are trying to identify a woman suspected of stealing Botox treatments from a dermatology office.

The woman had $1,705 worth of Botox and Juvederm procedures done on Dec. 6 at North Idaho Dermatology, 2288 North Merrit Creek Loop. She began writing a check to pay but said her checkbook wouldn't work and she needed to get another one, but she never returned, police say.

More at Sirens & Gavels.

Have you ever considered plastic surgery?

Love in War and Peace

World War II veterans Wilson and Connie Conaway celebrate their return from a recent Inland Northwest Honor Flight. Their 64th wedding anniversary is near.

Wilson Conaway didn’t care for high school in Youngstown, Ohio. “It was 1942,” he recalled. “The war was on. There were a lot of flags waving, and I wanted to be a pilot.”

One thing he did like about school was a pretty girl named Connie. “She was running around with my best friend, and he introduced us,” Wilson said. They went out a few times, but the lure of flying proved stronger than his affection for Connie, and triumphed over the drudgery of schoolwork.

So he hitchhiked to Cleveland and enrolled in the Army Air Corps. His eyes lit up when he recalled the first aircraft he flew. “I learned to fly in a Stearman. It’s a beautiful plane and great for acrobatics!” Read more. Cindy Hval, SR

Do you know any WWII veterans?

TSA body scanners badly flawed

A passenger walks past a sign informing travelers about the use of full-body scanners for TSA security screening.

It was the end of a four-hour congressional hearing, and Florida Rep. John Mica was fuming at Transportation Security Administration officials.

The TSA had begun deploying hundreds of body scanners to prevent suicide bombers from smuggling explosives onto planes. But Mica, the Republican chairman of the House Transportation Committee, had asked the Government Accountability Office to test the machines. The results, he said, showed the equipment is “badly flawed” and “can be subverted.”

“I’ve had it tested, and to me it’s not acceptable,” Mica said at the hearing earlier this year. “If we could reveal the failure rate, the American public would be outraged.” Read more.

Are you outraged that the scanners that are supposed to keep us safe in the friendly skies are so flawed?

High Noon: Corporate Jargon

If you are just proactive and think outside the box, we can run this mission-critical project, bringing to the table the high-level learnings and actionable items we plucked like low hanging fruit after the elevator pitch that dictated our next steps.

OK, that hurt to write. I'm sure it hurt to read. But I bet you've heard several of those phrases in the past few days. (And if you haven't, I'm guessing you don't work in corporate America.) Read more.

On the list:

  • Incentivize
  •  Mission-critical

And one I particularly loathe: Bring to the table

What corporate jargon are you tired of?

H/t Christa Hazel

Holiday displays for all

A Nativity Scene erected by Hunter Abell of Bothell, Wash., sits on the Washington State Capitol Campus about a half block from a sign put up by atheists. Both are scheduled to be up through Christmas.

OLYMPIA – Washington state officials granted permits for three groups to put up holiday displays this year – two religious, one atheist – at or near the Capitol Campus, and all are set up apart from each other.

The Chabad Jewish Discovery Center received a permit to place its nine-foot-tall lighted menorah at Sylvester Park in downtown Olympia. The group held a community menorah lighting event Wednesday evening.

Meanwhile, a permit for a nativity set similar to what was placed there last year was granted to Hunter M. Abell of Bothell and Ron Wesselius of Thurston County.

The depiction of the birth of Jesus goes on the west campus lawn near the Winged Victory statue.

A couple hundred feet away from the Christian scene is an atheists’ exhibit. Its permit was issued to the Freedom from Religion Foundation based in Madison, Wis., which has put up a placard near Tivoli Fountain and Capitol Way on the west campus lawn.

The message on the placard declares the season of the winter solstice and asks: “Let Reason Prevail.” It goes on to say there are “no gods, no devils, no angels, no heaven or hell.”

Everybody happy, now?

Lucky Friday to build new tunnel

Officials at Hecla Mining Co. say they will tunnel a 750-foot bypass at the Lucky Friday Mine to route workers away from a portion of the mile-long corridor where a rock burst injured seven miners last week.

Another rock burst had occurred in the same area on Nov. 16, but it occurred during blasting when no one was in the mine. Residents as far away as Wallace felt that rock burst, which registered as a 2.8-magnitude quake on seismographs. More here. Becky Kramer, SR

Such a dangerous industry. Do you think mining companies do enough to ensure the safety of their workers?

Bayviews: Koot Co studies sell out

On his Bayviews blog Herb writes: For the last several years, and timed with Dan English as County Clerk. the precincts have been much more convenient. In the case of Bayview, Idaho, we had to drive nine miles to vote. Our polling place was the Athol City Hall.

It is widely known that the further you have to go to vote, the less likely Joe and Jill Six-pack are likely to participate. In some cases the Commissioners do this deliberately, since many borderline voters stay home. Full post here.
 
What do you think about the proposed redistricting?
 

 

Bullying allegedly led to soldiers death

NEW YORK – Even before the Army sent him to Afghanistan, supporters say, Pvt. Daniel Chen was fighting a personal war.

Fellow soldiers at a base in Georgia teased him about his Chinese name, crying out “Chen!” in an exaggerated Asian accent. They called him “Jackie Chen,” a reference to the Hollywood action star Jackie Chan. People would ask him repeatedly if he was Chinese, even though he was a native New Yorker.

At one point Chen wrote in his diary that he was running out of  jokes to respond with.

Then he was sent overseas, and the hazing began: Soldiers dragged him across a floor, pelted him with stones and forced him to hold liquid in his mouth while hanging upside down, according to diary entries and other accounts cited by a community activist. Full story.

This story sickens and saddens me. Do you think it likely the soldiers charged will be convicted?

Morse seeks 2b seat

Relying on his conservative views and nearly four decades in real estate, Ed Morse is confident he can bring North Idaho more jobs and hold lawmakers more accountable.

The Hayden Republican and real estate appraiser is running for seat 2b in the newly created second district, now held by Rep. Phil Hart. “I know the second district,” Morse said of the area including northern Kootenai and southern Bonner counties. “I've been from one end to another end of it. I'm familiar with the demographic and geographic aspects of that district, and I think I'm qualified and capable.”  Read more. Alecia Warren, Cda Press

A berry picker told me he thinks Hart is unbeatable.  Agree or disagree?

A lifetime of pictures

Ted Wiley has been honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Spokane Camera Club.

Long before computers and Photoshop, and decades before digital technology, Ted Wiley took pictures. He developed the film in his own darkroom, creating birth announcements and fun family Christmas cards. Over the years, his artistic photos have won multiple awards and blue ribbons.

On Oct. 19, his 90th birthday, the Spokane Camera Club honored Wiley with a Lifetime Achievement Award.

“I started taking pictures in 1939 when I was still in high school in Coulee City,” Wiley said.

He took his camera with him when he joined the Army. In 1945 he was sent to Germany with the 97th Infantry Division. “I’ll never forget the sound of machine gun bullets zinging from off the tombstones,” he said of one fierce skirmish. Full story. Cindy Hval, SR

Do you have a lifelong hobby?

DNA shows shot went through grizzly

LIBBY, Mont. – Officials in northwestern Montana say a shot fired at a grizzly bear as it attacked a Nevada hunter passed through the bear before striking and killing the hunter.

The Western News reported Wednesday that tests requested by the Department of the Interior found grizzly bear DNA on the bullet that killed 39-year-old Steve Stevenson, of Winnemucca, Nev., on Sept. 16.

Stevenson and 20-year-old Ty Bell, also of Winnemucca, were hunting near the Montana-Idaho border when Bell shot what he thought was a black bear.

The men tracked the bear into heavy cover, where the 400-pound animal attacked Stevenson. Bell fired several shots trying to kill the bear.

Do you or any of your family members hunt?

Women share the first kiss

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, left, kisses her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell, at Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story in Virginia Beach, Va.

VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. – A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule on Wednesday when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted “first kiss” on the pier after one of them returned from 80 days at sea.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss in the rain with her partner,Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles. More.

Reaction?

Butler dines at Cedars

Gonzaga center Robert Sacre, left, strips the ball from Butler guard Jackson Aldridge as guard David Stockton (11) moves in during the second half of Tuesday night’s game in Spokane.

So yeah, GU stomped Butler Tuesday night. But the real story is where the Butler team dined Monday night. Butler's team dinner was at Cedars Floating Restaurant in Coeur d'Alene.

What? They couldn't find a decent restaurant in Spokane? I ran into John Elway outside Calypso's. At least that's who my husband said it was. Have you ever seen a celeb or sports star while dining in Cda?

Parting Shot: Toys to the World

Stephanie Marl, 30, of Spokane, had a hard time deciding which teddy bears to choose for her four children. Marl made her way through the Christmas Bureau’s toy room on Tuesday, the final day of operation at the Spokane County Fair and Expo Center. Dan Pelle, SR

I never would have thought I would miss making a Toys R Us run over the holidays, but I do. My youngest is 12 and the “toys” he wants now are more likely to be found at Best Buy. Did you buy any toys this holiday season?

Wednesday Wild Card 12.21

So, yesterday I had to run to Fred Meyer for a few last minute baking items. (They were out of mint extract. Who runs out of peppermint flavoring right before Christmas?) Anyway, I grabbed my items and got in the Express Lane. The tall, dark and handsome man in front of me (I'm a reporter— a trained observer!) had only one item: a super size box of Kotex Maxi Pads.

I tried not to make eye contact with him, but he smiled nicely at me, not at all embarrassed, paid for his item and left. I wish I would have told him what I was thinking: “You, sir, are totally awesome and a Real Man.”

Here's your wild card. Have you ever made a purchase that embarrassed you?

Citizen Kane Oscar nets big bucks

LOS ANGELES – The Academy Award statuette that Orson Welles won for the original screenplay of “Citizen Kane” was auctioned for more than $861,000 Tuesday in Los Angeles.

Nate D. Sanders Auctions spokesman Sam Heller said bidders from around the world, including David Copperfield, vied for the Oscar.

The 1942 Oscar was thought to be lost for decades. It surfaced in 1994 when cinematographer Gary Graver tried to sell it. The sale was stopped by Beatrice Welles, Orson’s youngest daughter and sole heir. More.

I don't remember a whole lot about  my college classes, but I do remember watching Citizen Kane and Das Boot in Film Appreciation. What is your favorite classic movie?

The end of 9 to 5

The traditional eight-hour workday may soon be the exception rather than the rule. New evidence shows that we're reaching a tipping point in terms of workplace flexibility, with businesses seeing the wisdom of allowing employees — young employees especially — to work odd hours, telecommute, and otherwise tweak the usual 9-to-5 grind.

One of the top 12 trends for 2012 as named by the communications firm Euro RSCG Worldwide is that employees in the Gen-Y or “millennial” demographic — those born between roughly 1982 and 1993 — are overturning the traditional workday.

How many hours a day do you work?

Obsolete Jobs

“This is a swell day,” smiled retiring mail carrier Ernie Turner, as he worked his last Monday, Mar. 1, 2010.

The tech-savvy, newest generation of workers grew up hearing that the jobs they would hold as adults hadn't even been invented yet. No one mentioned that the jobs they had come to think of as permanent might become a thing of the past.

This year has been a rough one for many industries. In fact, many fields were plagued with layoffs and budget cuts severe enough to threaten the continued existence of specific jobs within them. In time, we may look back and say that 2011 was the year that the following jobs began to die. Story here.

Among those listed: mail carrier, real estate agent, stock broker…. Are you worried that your job might become extinct?

Party for 3?

Anyone for a third party?

No, not on top of Christmas and New Year's. A third-party candidacy for president - and this one comes with a warning: It won't be easy, at least not for three top-mentioned possibilities, Ron Paul, Donald Trump and New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

The latest ABC News/Washington Post poll finds that each would have significant challenges were he to undertake the task of mounting a third-party candidacy. Among them:

Americans divide evenly in basic favorable versus unfavorable views of Paul, unchanged from last month, and Paul faces serious questions even in his own party both on his personal qualifications and the policies he'd pursue if elected. Read more.

Do you think it's possible for a 3rd party candidate to win the presidency?

Winning and wrecking

SANTAQUIN, Utah (AP) — A Utah man who won a $380,000 Lamborghini in a convenience store chain's contest crashed the sports car six hours after he got it.

The lime green Murcielago Roadster was set to leave for a Las Vegas body shop Wednesday for repairs, just days after Santaquin resident David Dopp won it in Maverik stores' “Joe Schmo to Lambo” contest.

“Yeah, I got it on Saturday and I wrecked it on Saturday,” Dopp told KSL-TV.

He said he was taking friends and family on joy rides that evening on the outskirts of town. He said he took a curve at 40 or 50 mph when the vehicle hit ice or loose gravel and started spinning. More here.

When were you last in a car accident?

Immigrants founded half of top start ups

Immigrants founded or cofounded almost half of 50 top venture-backed companies in the United States, a new study shows, underscoring some of the high stakes in potential immigration reform.

The venture capital community argues the study, completed by research group National Foundation for American Policy, proves the need to overhaul rules governing how entrepreneurs can immigrate to the United States to spur job development.

“It's a gamble whether an entrepreneur should stay or leave right now, and that's not how the immigration system should work,” said Mark Heesen, president of the National Venture Capital Association, on a call with reporters. “What we need is legislation that helps these entrepreneurs from outside the United States.” Read more.

Should the U.S. overhaul rules re: how entrepreneurs can immigrate?



  

Gray wolves rebound

This February 2008 file photo shows a gray wolf in an exhibit area at the International Wolf Center in Ely, Minn.

ATLANTA, Mich. — After devoting four decades and tens of millions of dollars to saving the gray wolf, the federal government wants to get out of the wolf-protection business, leaving it to individual states — and the wolves themselves — to determine the future of the legendary predator.

The Obama administration today declared more than 4,000 wolves in Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin have recovered from widespread extermination and will be removed from the endangered species list.

Coupled with an earlier move that lifted protections in five western states, the decision puts the gray wolf at a historical crossroads — one that could test both its reputation for resilience and the tolerance of ranchers and hunters who bemoan its attacks on livestock and big game.

Thoughts?

Now that’s a good pen

A 76-year-old British woman recently had a pen removed from her stomach, and doctors were shocked to discover that after 25 years of gestation the pen still works.

The British Medical Journal Case Reports chronicled the medical case of the woman, who has not been identified, was sent to a GI specialist after various symptoms, including weight loss. When doctors scanned the woman's intestinal tract, they discovered, “A linear foreign body in the stomach.” After the discovery, the woman said she remembered accidentally swallowing a black felt-tip pen, more than a quarter century ago. More.

I am trying to come up with way someone can “accidentally” swallow a black felt-tip pen. Not having much luck. Any ideas?

High Noon: Take the Quiz

Want to win lunch for two at the Davenport Hotel? Take the weekly news quiz and you just may be dining amid  Christmas elegance. The weekly winner will be drawn on Friday.

This week's quiz was tough for me. Or maybe I just took it too early in the morning. Do you how what kind of sports team Mikhail Prokhorov owns?

Take the quiz and let us know how you did.

Obligatory cat photo

How could you not adore Thor?

Do you kiss your pets?

Back to school

Jamie Lynn Haralson barely has time to celebrate earning her bachelor's degree from Lewis-Clark State College on Friday.

She's already gearing up for her next challenge: a new job teaching sixth-graders at River City Middle School in Post Falls.

“I feel very fortunate,” Haralson said. “It's a little surreal. It hasn't really sunk in yet.”

It has been a whirlwind nine months for Haralson, who completed her teaching internship at Ponderosa Elementary School this week. She credits LCSC's Pathways for Accelerated Certification and Endorsement program as one of the keys to her success.

“There's a lot of interaction with the students during the learning process,” Haralson said. “You put what you've learned into practice. Then you go back into the classroom and reflect on it and how to improve upon it. When the light goes on - it's huge for both the teacher and the student.”

Haralson, a nontraditional student, balanced getting her education while raising her children with her husband in Post Falls. Read More. Marc Stewart, special to the Cda Press

Would you consider returning to school as an adult?

Happy Holidays from coeurgenx

Your cat is using you.
your dog misses you
Your wife hates you
your husband bores you
Your neighbors are jealous of you
your kid’s don’t listen to you
Your fridge is empty of beer
your friends talk ^#%@ about you
Your FB page is boring
your Twitter account is empty
Your New Years Resolutions don’t stand a chance
your Smart phone is as stupid as you are
Your addicted to HBO if you HAVE to log in here everyday
whewww, done.. thanks for the vent session
Happy Holidays everyone :)

Nothing like a burst of Christmas cheer! Are you addicted to Huck's Online?

Koot Co commissioners deny contract

COEUR d'ALENE - More concerns of conflict, or at least perceived conflict, have arisen over a criminal case involving a Post Falls couple indicted for abusing their foster child.

The Kootenai County commissioners voted unanimously on Tuesday to not approve a separate contract for attorney Sean Walsh to act as public defender for Jeremy and Amber Clark, whose foster daughter, Karina Moore, died of head injuries following injuries they allegedly inflicted.

The commissioners' decision was based on the recent discovery that Walsh's wife, Mayli Walsh, is an attorney with the county public defender's office. Walsh's partner, Daniel Sheckler, is also married to Lisa Sheckler, a civil deputy prosecuting attorney in the county prosecutor's office. Story here. Alecia Warren, Cda Press

Thoughts?

Are you scientifically literate?

Fishinjay posted this on the Wild Card.

Are you scientifically literate?
You may have an opinion on climate change, evolution education, stem-cell research, and science funding. But do you have the facts to back up your opinion? This quiz will test your basic scientific literacy.

Fishinjay got 41 out of 50. I will take this when I've had a lot more coffee. A lot more.

Well. Are you scientifically literate?

Two Earth-size planets discovered

NEW YORK – Scientists have found two Earth-size planets orbiting a star outside the solar system, an encouraging sign for prospects of finding life elsewhere.

The discovery shows that such planets exist and that they can be detected by the Kepler spacecraft, said Francois Fressin of the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics in Cambridge, Mass. They’re the smallest planets found so far that orbit a star resembling our sun.

Do you believe some kind of life exists  outside our solar system?

Caribou protection worries officials

About 46 caribou are believed to remain in the southern Selkirk herd, whose territory includes parts of North Idaho and northeast Washington.

Protecting habitat for woodland caribou will create economic hardships in Bonner County’s rural communities, its board of commissioners said Tuesday, predicting that the designation would create new restrictions on logging, snowmobiling and forest access.

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating more than 375,500 acres in the Selkirk Mountains as critical habitat for woodland caribou, an endangered member of the deer family. Nearly 80 percent of the proposed habitat is on federal land in Idaho’s Bonner and Boundary counties and Washington’s Pend Oreille County. Full story. Becky Kramer, SR

Do you agree that protecting the habitat of woodland caribou will create economic hardship in Bonner County? Have you ever seen a caribou?

DOTC recaps commissioners’ meeting

Says Dan: Went to share my two cents at the commissioner’s meeting this afternoon about reducing the number of precincts in KC.

There was over an hour of testimony, which was a fair number of people because they limited each person to 3 minutes. And I found myself on the same side as Spencer on this one (or he was on mine) expressing concerns about how having that many precincts will make for overcrowding on a big election day. Spencer also provided some relevant and interesting research on the correlation between distance traveled by voters and likelihood they will (or won’t) end up voting.

Quite a bit of the testimony had to do with concerns about reducing the number of precinct committee people which therefore means each elected precinct committee person has to represent more people.

Anyone else want to weigh in?

Layaway angels in the Inland NW

“We’ve got a whole stack of layaway angels,” said Gail Wyronski, right, at Kmart in Coeur d’Alene on Tuesday. Kathy Plonka, SR

At Kmart stores across the country, “layaway angels” are bringing a bit of holiday cheer by paying off the layaway accounts of strangers. Now they’ve hit the Inland Northwest.

Coeur d’Alene Kmart manager Lauren Larson said between 20 and 30 angels have visited the store there, including one who paid $1,000.

“I’m not entirely sure why, other than they want to do something nice for other people,” Larson said. More here.  Kaitlin Gillespie, SR

Such a great thing to do! Have you ever been the recipient of random generosity?

Spokane County adds 1,100 jobs

About 1,100 jobs were created in Spokane County during November — a bright spot in an otherwise difficult year for those seeking work.

Doug Tweedy, the regional labor economist who tracks employment data for Spokane, said the county’s jobless rate remained stuck, however, at 8.1 percent. That’s the same as October.

Across Washington state the unemployment rate was 8.3 percent. More here.  John Stucke, SR

In related news: Unemployment fell in 43 states.

Do you feel more hopeful about the economy than you did six months ago, or less hopeful?

Parting Shot: Thor’s Halloween

What? Like you don't dress your pets up and take them trick-or-treating? I'd better hear from some kitten lovers or I'll have to double the cat photos tomorrow.

Happy last day of autumn and Happy Hanukkah!

Tuesday Wildcard 12.20

Five days 'til Christmas! How goes the shopping?

I think I'm mostly done, but I have a terrible habit of hiding gifts so well, I forget I've purchased them. Last year, I found a really cool Jimi Hendrix poster behind my bookcase.

Oh well, my son was even more thrilled because of the surprise factor.

Speaking of surprises, for those of you wondering when I'm going to commence posting hot firefighter photos, I'm afraid you'll be disappointed. I've moved on to adorable cat photos.

Hope you like cats. A lot.

Rogue Santa Rebels

BELLEVUE, Wash. — With his cheerful greeting he gives to each customer, you'd never guess this Santa is staging a rebellion.

“Kinda going rogue,” says postal carrier Bob McLean. “Might get in trouble.”

For the last ten years, right around Christmas time, McLean grows out his beard and slips into his red suit before delivering the mail along his route.

“I see children walking up and down the street, going 'Look Mom! Santa Claus, Santa Claus,'” says Chapa Hernandez, a long time jeweler on Bellevue's Main Street.

But this year, a co-worker complained, saying he wasn't in compliance with the dress code. So the postmaster ordered him to stop wearing it.

Do you agree with the the postmaster's decision to forbid McLean from wearing his Santa suit?

Student shoots dead deer: Teacher dismissed

BOISE — A hunter education instructor in eastern Idaho was dismissed after a loaded handgun brought to class for a demonstration was discharged by a student.

The Idaho Department of Fish and Game says no one was injured when the weapon was accidentally fired during the class late Monday in Soda Springs. Read more.

The AP story continues: After the demonstration, police reported a student who was unaware the gun was loaded discharged the weapon and hit the head of a mounted mule deer.

The instructor was dismissed and counseling made available to the students.

This could have been a lot worse, but I'm wondering why they thought the students might need counseling? Weren't they there to learn how to shoot things?

Phoning in the Super Bowl

NEW YORK — The biggest draw in television is going mobile.

The Super Bowl will be streamed online and to phones in the U.S. for the first time, the NFL said Tuesday. NBC’s broadcasts of wild card Saturday, the Pro Bowl and the Super Bowl will be available on the league’s and network’s websites and through Verizon’s NFL Mobile app.

The service will include additional camera angles, in-game highlights and live stats — and replays of those always popular Super Bowl ads. Full story.

Seriously? I can barely read facebook updates on my phone. Who watches an entire football game on a phone?

Do you use your phone for things other than texting, emailing and phone calls?

Lewiston’s Dan Johnson newest Idaho Senator

Dan Johnson is to become Idaho's newest state senator after this morning's appointment by Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter to replace outgoing Sen. Joe Stegner, who resigned to become the University of Idaho's Statehouse-based lobbyist. Johnson will represent Nez Perce County's District 7 in the Idaho Senate.

The 51-year-old Johnson is a solid waste manager for the City of Lewiston and a commissioner for the Port of Lewiston.

Johnson announced that he intends to seek election to the District 7 Senate seat in 2012.

“I understand there are a lot of people who play a part, starting with the precinct folks on the legislative district committee who nominated me for this,” said Johnson. “I look forward to being part of the process.”

Bad News for Duck fans

On campus, a successful football team is a cause for celebration.

So much celebration, in fact, that three economists have found a link between a winning season at one big-time football program and lower grades for male students.

In a new paper, the economists at the University of Oregon chart the grade point averages of students there alongside the fortunes of the football team between 1999 and 2007. Their findings could give ammo to critics of big-time college sports. More here.
  

Do you think college students can be good fans AND good students?

National Guard at border cut to fewer than 300

A Mexican soldier walks near a U.S.-Mexico border crossing in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico.

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration will keep a reduced contingent of National Guard troops working along the Mexican border for the next year, the Defense Department said today.

Starting in January, the force of 1,200 National Guard troops at the border will be reduced to fewer than 300 at a cost of about $60 million, said Paul Stockton, assistant secretary of defense for homeland defense.

The remaining troops will shift their focus from patrolling the border on the ground looking for illegal immigrants and smugglers to aerial surveillance missions using military helicopters and airplanes equipped with high-tech radar and other gear. Exactly where those troops will fly or how many aircraft will be used has not been decided, he said. More here.

Troop reduction at the border: good idea or bad idea?

Post Falls developer files Chapter 11

POST FALLS, Idaho — The developer of a multi-use project planned along the Spokane River in downtown Post Falls has filed for bankruptcy in federal court.

The Coeur d'Alene Press reports ( http://bit.ly/9WpCD5) that developer Harry Green's company Point at Post Falls, LLC, filed Chapter 11 papers Monday.

The decision forced the cancellation of an auction sale and foreclosure process.

Green unveiled plans for the development about 10 years ago, and at the time it was seen by some officials as a new hub for the city's downtown.

The plan called for a mix of condos with retail shops, a hotel and amphitheater. But only two condo buildings have been built.

The Post Falls Urban Renewal Agency also reimbursed developers about $1.9 million for streets and other infrastructure in hopes of sparking more growth.

H/t powderfarmer Thoughts?

Couples avoid marriage for fear of divorce

Many committed couples aren't marrying because they fear divorce, a new study indicates, though many other reasons for and against marriage abound in young adults from different social classes.

Social pressures and thoughts of deeper commitment may promote wedding vows in middle-class young adults, while fears of extra responsibilities and the costs of exiting the relationship make working-class women more fearful of marriage. More here.

Isn't that like being afraid of walking because you might fall down? Are you afraid of marriage?

Meet & Seat

You can link your various social networking accounts to just about every kind of service these days. Online retailers encourage you to brag about recent purchases using your Twitter handle, and some restaurants even offer discounts if you're willing to check-in at their eatery. So it should be no surprise that when Dutch airline KLM wanted to let people pick their ideal anonymous seatmates, they turned to Facebook.

Using a new feature called “Meet & Seat,” KLM allows passengers to browse the Facebook profiles of other passengers in hopes of making each flight a bit more intimate. The romantic angle of the new option isn't explicitly stated — and you could just as easily pick a potential seat neighbor based on their favorite TV show or other interest — but singles could definitely take advantage by turning a plane ride into a bite-sized date. More here.

Good idea or bad idea?

Harpham sentenced

A man has been sentenced to 32 years in prison after pleading guilty to planting a bomb intended to shower poison-laced shrapnel onto Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade marchers in Washington.

Kevin Harpham unsuccessfully tried to withdraw his plea hours before he was sentenced Tuesday. His defense questioned whether the explosive device in question met the legal definition of a bomb. Full story.

Do believe this is a fitting sentence for the MLK parade bomber?

High Noon: The 12 Cats of Christmas

So, a berrypicker challenged me to post the 12 Cats of Christmas in the next 5 days. He may have been joking, but I think that's a WONDERFUL idea! Of course I only have 2 cats, but I'm sure I have a picture or 2,000,000 of them.

Meet Thor, our youngest kitty. He's grown a lot and he's not much use as an intern, but by golly he is CUTE!

Do you prefer

  • Cats
  • Dogs
  • Other

PS: Don't believe the rumor that cat haters get tossed in the cooler.

Yummy Yogurt

A few juicy arils give just the right burst of flavor to a bowl of Greek yogurt.

TWIN FALLS • Greek yogurt maker Chobani formally broke ground on its Twin Falls plant on Monday in a celebratory event, but its work had begun much sooner.

Construction crews started excavation work earlier this month at the site along Kimberly Road. Before that, city and Twin Falls Urban Renewal Agency officials signed off in November on an agreement to lure Chobani’s New York-based parent company, Agro Farma, to the region.

So, the audience of more than 100 at Monday’s groundbreaking didn’t hear any major surprises. But company leaders and government officials made it clear that there’s plenty to look forward to when the plant opens in 2012 with up to 400 employees. Full story.

How often do you eat yogurt?

  

‘Tis the season for suspicious packages

KXLY reports East bound Riverside Ave. is closed at Monroe with police investigate a suspiscious package near the downtown Post Office, northbound Lincoln is also shutdown at Riverside.

Have you ever received a suspicious package?

Saab goes bust

Saab Automobile President and Chairman Victor Muller speaks to media Monday in Trollhattan, Sweden, after the company filed for bankruptcy.

STOCKHOLM – After six decades of building cars renowned for their teardrop designs and quirky features, cash-strapped Saab Automobile gave up its desperate struggle for a lifeline Monday and filed for bankruptcy.

Saab CEO Victor Muller said “the last nail in the coffin” was previous owner General Motors Co.’s rejection of a Chinese company’s attempts to gain control of the ailing Swedish brand. Muller personally handed over the bankruptcy petition to a Swedish court, which approved it late Monday.

 My dad was a Chevy guy, I married a Ford man but I've never been able to tell a Honda from a Hyundai. Have you ever owned a Saab?

Merry Christmas from the NBA

So the NBA is back in business on Sunday – not just any Sunday, but Christmas, baby! – with a Santa- busting slate of five TV games. There will be NBA games coming down your chimney, NBA games under your tree, even NBA games spinning on the coffee table like dreidel tops.

Nothing says Christmas Day like LeBron James’ crab dribble.

Nothing says Christmas Day like Craig Sager in purple-and-plaid.

Nothing says Christmas Day like Stan Van Gundy pleading for a call in your living room. Full story.

So, the NBA is back. Are you excited?

Lynne: Tipped Off

On the Wild Card Lynne notes:

A post on KREM’s FB page: “This weekend our morning paper included an unsigned Christmas card and an envelope with the carrier’s name and address. Is this ok or am I overreacting?”

Almost every response was “We got the same thing”

I don’t “do” Christmas. How presumptuous. That would tick me off royally!

P.S. We did tip the carrier seasonally when we had the paper delivered. But this “in your face” solicitation of an expected gratuity is over the top.

We got one of those, too. I don't mind because the self-addressed envelope makes it easier to leave a tip. How about you? Do you think is proper or presumptuous?

Bad Christmas Movies

Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis star in the holiday comedy “Christmas with the Kranks.”

LOS ANGELES— What’s the worst Christmas movie of all time?

Fandango, the online movie ticket seller, polled its customers and – this was a shock for us, too — the winner wasn’t “Santa With Muscles,” a 1996 Hulk Hogan vehicle. (But it did make the Top 10.) No, Fandango said that voters by a wide margin picked “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians,” a 1964 fantasy that cost $20,000 and was originally released on about 100 screens. More here.

Also making the top 10 list:

  • Ernest Saves Christmas
  • Christmas with the Kranks
  • Jingle All the Way

I happen to own the above three. Have you seen any of the movies on this list? Do you have another pick for worst Christmas movie?

Teen burglary suspect shot by homeowner

A 13-year-old boy is in stable condition after being shot by a homeowner during an early morning burglary in Medical Lake.

No one has been arrested, and the investigation is ongoing. Spokane County prosecutors will decide whether to file charges.

The boy, who sheriff’s officials previously said was 14, and a 14-year-old boy were carrying baseball bats when the homeowner confronted him after an alarm alerted him to a break-in in an enclosed room beneath his deck.

Homeowners with loaded guns and kids with baseball bats do not mix. Other lessons to be learned from this story?

Sacred Encounters

Coeur d’Alene Second Chief Peter Wildshoe commissioned a tribal member to craft three dolls for the Smithsonian in 1901. The dolls are now part of a new exhibit at the Cataldo Mission. Kathy Plonka, SR

A whitewashed Catholic chapel, the Mission of the Sacred Heart, crowns a grassy knoll overlooking a broad, slow bend in the North Fork of the Coeur d’Alene River in Idaho’s panhandle.

The chapel is graceful and small with wooden columns across the front and a domed ceiling within. It is the oldest standing building in all of Idaho, completed in 1853 after several years of construction by Jesuit missionaries and people of the Schitsu’umsh (the present day Coeur d’Alene, “Those Who Are Found Here”) working together. The foot-thick walls are plastered with mud, wattle-and-daub style, and in places the handprints of the builders remain visible—a grace note of brown hands and white hands, two cultures, two faiths joined. And while the tribe appreciated the many spiritual teachings brought by the missionaries, a more recent Coeur d’Alene elder, Millie Nicodemus, said, “We didn’t think they’d stay!” Full storyKevin Taylor, Indian Country Today

Have you seen this exhibit, yet? Are you planning to?



 

Fisher and Morse to announce candidacies

Huckleberries has learned that Mark Fisher and Ed Morse will officially kick off their respective campaigns today at 4:30 at Daanen's Deli in Hayden.

Fisher, owner of Advanced Benefits, will seek a Representative seat in Idaho Legislature in 2nd District. In a press release he said, “The future of our state relies on our willingness to bring American values back to education: freedom, accountability and commitment to excellence.”

Morse, a real estate appraiser and consultant, and Board Member of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans, is challenging Phil Hart for a seat in the new 2nd District. Morse said, “I am running because we must have government of laws, not of men. I will propose stronger ethics disclosures for legislators, requiring financial disclosures and specific disclosure when a member has an interest in pending rules or legislation.”

Reaction?

Good News: Retired priest recovering

RATHDRUM - A retired priest and Rathdrum-area property owner injured during a fire that destroyed his home last week was listed in good condition at Kootenai Medical Center on Sunday.

Michael Scarcello was outside the home at 3427 Scarcello Road when firefighters arrived on Wednesday, but later transported to Kootenai Medical Center. Cda Press.

Have you ever experienced a house fire?

Lawmaker says House members got VIP loans

WASHINGTON – Four current members of the House of Representatives received special VIP loans from Countrywide Financial Corp., according to the head of a congressional committee, raising new questions about the extent of the company’s attempts to win favor with Washington policymakers as it built its subprime mortgage business.

The disclosure came in a letter last week from Rep. Darrell Issa, R-Calif., who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, informing leaders of the House Ethics Committee about “possible wrongdoing” by lawmakers. More here.

Doubt that more news of unethical pols will surprise anyone. Is this just business as usual in the capitol?

Parting Shot: I-90

Construction of I-90 overlooking downtown Spokane in July 1964.

How often do you drive on I-90?

Monday Wildcard 12.19

Must be nice to take the week before Christmas off and have your daughter do your Christmas shopping for you. DFO's a lucky man.

Meanwhile, I'll do the best I can here. Did I mention I do the Christmas shopping for our family? And all the  baking, and I churn out a couple newspaper stories each week. Oh yeah, and I'm writing a book.

Vacation? I'm not sure I understand the concept.

Here's your wildcard. When do you last take a week off?

Lil’ Kim or Kim Jong Il?

Gotta love Twitter. Apprarently, the death of North Korea's Kim Jong Il caused a bit of confusion in the Twitterverse when some folks thought someone IMPORTANT like rapper Lil' Kim had died.

Read it and weep.

Bad News: 1/3 of young adults have been arrested

NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Close to one in three American teens and young adults get arrested by age 23, according to a new study that finds more of them are being booked now than in the 1960s.

Those arrests are for everything from underage drinking and petty theft to violent crime, researchers said. They added that the increase might not necessarily reflect more criminal behavior in youth, but rather a police force that's more apt to arrest young people than in the past. More here.

Feel free to share your arrest story here or any other thoughts you might have on this new study.

Dole endorses Romney; Palin not ready

In a pair of related stories, Bob Dole officially endorsed Mitt Romney to be the Republican presidential nominee, but Palin said that she would not endorse anyone “with the field as it stands.”

How valuable do you think political endorsements are? Do you take them into consideration when you go to the polls?

Bard of Sherman Avenue: The Little Angel

The Little Angel On Our Tree

Each Christmas more wrinkled
and faded is she,
and slightly more timeworn –
a good bit like me.

What do you put on top your Christmas tree?

Huckleberries Hears…

Local R's are encouraging everyone to attend the County Commissioners meeting tomorrow at 2 PM. The meeting will be held in  the Board of County Commissioners Boardroom on the 3rd floor.

At issue: the proposed reduction in precincts from 71 to 44. Many want the commissioners to open up the map for input and commentary.

Thoughts?

Mmm…Reindeer…

Outcries over canned reindeer meat have actually led to a surge in its popularity.

Despite its status as perhaps the least seasonal Christmas dining fare imaginable, canned reindeer meat is a hit. In fact, it seems that a protest over the expensive pâté had the unintended effect of increasing its popularity. Read more.

What's the most exotic Christmas treat you're looking forward to nibbling?

Hucks Poll: Spencer Named Top ‘RINO’

  • Weekend Poll: In a weekend poll that attracted 252 votes, conservative activist Larry Spencer was selected as the top RINO (Republican In Name Only) among Kootenai County partisans who identify themselves as Republicans. Earlier this year, Spencer quit the Reagan Republicans because he thought they were too liberal. Spencer led all vote-getters for top “RINO” with 62 votes (24.6%), followed by the new United Conservatives of North Idaho with 60 votes (23.81%), the Ron Paulers of the Kootenai County Republican Central Committee w/48 votes (19.05%), Reagan Republicans w/33 votes (13.1%), “Reasonable Republicans” w/29 votes (11.51%), and Pachyderm Clubbers w/20 votes (7.94%)
  • Christmas Movie: In a secondary poll, “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” was picked as movie most likely to be seen by Hucks Nation this yuletide with 48 of 119 votes (40.34%). “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” was in second place with 35 votes (29.41%), followed by “Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol with 21 votes (17.65%); “The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn” with 9 votes (7.56%), and “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked” with 6 votes (5.04%).
  • Today's Poll: Have you ever gambled at the Coeur d'Alene Casino?

Tasteful wastewater treatment art?

COEUR d'ALENE - Won't even go there.

You won't hear those jokes here.  Art, of course, is subjective, but Coeur d'Alene's newest piece, Frolicking Creatures, is exactly that, art.

What kind of creatures will the 6- to 10-feet-tall statues depict?

Microorganisms.

The kind that treat wastewater, which is why the $35,000 piece will go up in May in front of the city's wastewater treatment plant off Hubbard Avenue. Full story. Tom Hasslinger, Cda Press

How do you feel about the 6- to 10-feet-tall statues of protozoa, metazoa etc. soon to be placed in front of the city's wastewater treatment plant?

UI ends subsidies

MOSCOW, Idaho – University of Idaho officials say they are ending a nearly free tuition program for employees and spouses of other state schools due to a sharp reduction in state funding.

“We’ve got fee-paying and tuition-paying students subsidizing the education of spouses and faculty at the other colleges, which didn’t sit well with the provost,” said Ron Smith, vice president for Finance and Administration.

He said Provost Doug Baker also said the policy was unfair.

The program allowed those eligible to pay a $25 fee and then $5 per credit to take traditional or online courses at the University of Idaho. Read more.

Right move on UI's part?

High Noon: Whatever

 NEW YORK (Reuters) - Do you want to kill a conversation? Try saying “whatever.”

Words like “you know” and “like” might be irritating to hear, but for the third year in a row, it's “whatever” that holds the most power to annoy, according to an annual survey by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

Agree? Or is there a word or phrase, besides like, “whatever,” that you find totally, like, more annoying?

House: No tax cut deal

WASHINGTON – The fate of the two-month Social Security tax break extension suddenly became uncertain Sunday as House Speaker John Boehner said he and most Republicans were opposed to the plan.

“It’s pretty clear that I and our members oppose the Senate bill,” Boehner, R-Ohio, said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Republicans, he said, want a longer-term fix.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, said: “This is the latest example of the tea-party Republicans sacrificing the good of the country on the altar of extreme ideology.”

Agree or disagree with Van Hollen?

A.M. Roundup

“Cold Cackle,” an image by wildlife photographer Tim Christie of Coeur d'Alene, captures a rooster pheasant as it crows in the chill of early morning

Huckleberries: The Big One got away from birthday tracker

Lewiston: Elk foundation reverses land swap in North Idaho

Powell, Idaho: Nordic Skiing in Bitterroots

Spokane: Rubin shares yoga knowlege

Rich Landers: Coeur d’Alene’s Tim Christie gets great shots close to home

Are you a good photographer?

Say Cheese

WSU Creamery worker and cheese supervisor Johnny Parkins stirs 1,500 pounds of Cougar Gold cheese on the finishing table last week.

The packages in a Washington State University warehouse are addressed to distant cities in Texas, Florida, Pennsylvania and Missouri. They’re consumer testimonials to the far-flung appeal of Cougar Gold.

The WSU Creamery will ship about 50,000 boxes of the crumbly, white cheddar – which comes in an iconic gold-striped can – and other Cougar-brand cheeses this holiday season. Becky Kramer, SR

I'm a big fan of Cougar Gold. Have you tried it?

Gingrich blasts judicial supremacy

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich gestures during a debate in Manchester, N.H., last week.

WASHINGTON – Newt Gingrich says as president he would ignore Supreme Court decisions that conflict with his powers as commander in chief, and he would press for impeaching judges or even abolishing certain courts if he disagreed with their rulings.

“I’m fed up with elitist judges” who seek to impose their “radically un-American” views, Gingrich said Saturday during a conference call with reporters.  Read more.  David Savage, Tribune Washington bureau

Thoughts?

CdA cabbies crabby about unlicensed drivers

COEUR d'ALENE - The city is considering tighter licensing requirements for taxi drivers to better police unlicensed cabs from stealing customers from companies who play by the rules.

“We've had a lot of abuses,” said Kathy Lewis, deputy city clerk, on the taxi war problem that came to the city's attention during the summer.

Coeur d'Alene is proposing to require cabs to hang an annual decal to assist officers and patrons to determine whether it's a legal operator. The city wants to make them install a company name on the side of the vehicle. It also wants to be notified should cabbies cancel their commercial insurance. Read more. Tom Hasslinger, Cda Press

When/where did you last take a cab?

All welcome at Hollyrock Bar and Grill

Robin Tuttle, center, of the Hollyrock Bar and Grill, is seen here with Jason Johnson, left, also known as drag queen Nova Kaine, and Freedom Rights, right. J. Bart Rayniak photo

A new bar in Spokane Valley is open, both literally and figuratively. Hollyrock Bar and Grill opened Nov. 1 across from U-City in the building formerly occupied by Hotteez. Its mission is to become a dining and drinking destination that epitomizes inclusion and tolerance for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgenders and straight customers alike.

“The bar is all about the community, where intolerance is not tolerated. That’s my theme for forever,” said Robin Tuttle, a transgender woman who is financing the bar through another of her businesses, Bake Tech Pros LLC. While she expects the bar to eventually break even, Tuttle said she doesn’t care if Hollyrock ever turns a profit. Jill Barville, SR Voices

 

 Do you think Hollyrock will be successful as bar that “epitomizes inclusion and tolerance”?

Ex-Portland Cop: Stress led to sex crimes

KENNEWICK — A former Portland, Ore., police officer says stress from an on-duty shooting prompted him to start committing sex crimes.

Ryan Graichen served as a Portland Officer from 1998 to 2006. In 2000, a 71-year-old lawyer suffering from dementia pointed a shotgun at him, and his partner shot the man dead.

The Tri-City Herald reports that in a 49-page, handwritten letter to the Washington state Department of Corrections, Graichen said he couldn’t get the shooting out of his mind, and he became addicted to pornography as he tried to deal with the stress. He wrote that the shooting was the “root cause” of his legal problems. More here.

How do you deal with stress?

Tribe opens books for S-R

Betty Squires, of Moscow, tries her luck at the Coeur d’Alene Casino on Wednesday, Kathy Plonka SR

When the Coeur d’Alene Tribe first signed a gaming compact with the state of Idaho in 1992, tribal leaders insisted on donating 5 percent of net casino gaming proceeds to education on or near their reservation – a gesture that has added up to $16.8 million in donations since 1994, including $1.5 million this year and $1.8 million last year.

“The tribe originated the idea,” said David High, the now-retired deputy Idaho attorney general who for years oversaw negotiations with the state’s Indian tribes over gaming. “They didn’t have to do it.”  Full story. Betsy Russell, SR

Why do you suppose the Tribe initially refused to disclose this information? Will this story be enough to quiet the their critics?

Seahawks win again

Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright brings down Bears running back Kahlil Bell during the first half.

CHICAGO – Red Bryant ran away from the Bears after his third-quarter interception.

The same could be said for the rest of the Seahawks, who scored 31 consecutive points in the second half, coming back to beat the Bears 38-14 on Sunday afternoon at Soldier Field in a game that not only sustained, but improved Seattle’s playoff chances.

Best moment of the game? Seeing Bryant lumber across the goal line. Are you still watching the Seahawks?

Kim Jong Il Dead

Aug. 24, 2011: Kim listens to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev, right, during a summit meeting at a military garrison in eastern Siberia.

PYONGYANG, North Korea – Even as the world changed around him, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il remained firmly in control, ruling absolutely at home and keeping the rest of the world on edge through a nuclear weapons program.

Inheriting power from his father, he led his country through a devastating famine while frustrating the U.S. and other global powers with an on-again, off-again approach to talks on giving up nuclear weapons in return for food and other assistance. Kim was one of the last remnants of a Cold War era that ended years earlier in most other parts of the world. Full story. Reaction in North Korea.

Reaction?

Gonzaga 71, Arizona 60

Arizona's Jesse Perry, left, and Nick Johnson, right, rebound as Gonzaga's Robert Sacre, center, loses control of the ball during first half of an NCAA college basketball game in Seattle today. Gonzaga built a 20-point lead in the second half before winning 71-60. ESPN/AP game story/boxscore here. (AP Photo/Kevin P. Casey)

Weekend Wild Card — 12.17-18.11

The Idaho Famous Potato Bowl is upon us today. If you are bouncing for joy, HucksOnline will understand. Utah State vs. Ohio? (DFO stifles yawn.) Still Idaho will get some national sports TV attention while ESPN types run through a shake-down cruise for bigger bowls down the line. At least it gives the Potatoheads down south a chance to parade Russets before the cameras for 3 1/2 hours. Meanwhile, I'm kicking back this weekend, anticipating the arrival of Amy Dearest and Okie Doke — and 10 days of vacay. That noise you hear in the background is Cindy warming up in the bullpen for fill-in duty. Now for your Wild Card …

Movies To Get Us Thru The Holidays

In this image released by 20th Century Fox, the character Alvin, voiced by Justin Long, and Jason Lee are shown in a scene from “Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chip-wrecked!.” The movie will be one of several available for viewing this holiday season, including Sherlock Holmes and Alvin in the Chipmunks films. (AP Photo/20th Century Fox)

Don’t Send A Man To Do A Woman’s Job

On her Facebook wall, Cindy writes: “Sent my husband to Costco with my 12-year-old to get the kid's glasses fixed. They came home with a home theater audio system. GOSH!”

Question: Has anything like that ever happened to you — sent your significant other out for a small everyday thing and s/he came back $100s of dollars later?

CdA Chamber Sees Economic Uptick

When the recession hit Kootenai County, the county lost hundreds of employers over the last several years, but now it seems things are shifting.The Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce is seeing more people join and believes it reflects a larger trend at the county level.Jamms Frozen Yogurt is relatively new to downtown Coeur d'Alene. It's a prime location for that kind of business and despite a shaky economy, the family owned store is positive about their business.”We have not seen the type of growth yet that we would ultimately like to but we are positive that going into this next summer that things will improve gradually,” manager Andrew Campbell said.It's that positive outlook and a push to rejuvenate business that has led more people to join the Coeur d'Alene Chamber of Commerce/Anusha Roy, KXLY. More here. (KXLY photo)

Question: Have you seen any signs of an economic uptick in the Inland Northwest? Can you tell us about them?

The Blight Before Christmas

‘Twas the week before Christmas when all through the land
all the creatures were scurrying like a one man band.
With the days getting shorter and the ‘big one’ close at hand,
the average consumer was in debt ten grand.


“But all was okay for it’s well understood
that salvation only comes when the economy’s good.
And to prove that ‘Trickle-Down’ works as well as it should
they were all asked to spend what they possibly could.”

More of “The Blight Before Christmas” by Scott Clawson/River Journal here

Question: Have you ever written your version of “The Night Before Christmas”?

‘Christmas Pawty’ Coming To Lake City

Animals in three shelters in Northern Idaho passed over for adoption time and time again, some for as many as five years, are receiving help from a dedicated and committed team of celebrities and shelter friends.  They’re heading up a local “Christmas Pawty” Tuesday and rolling out all the stops to find homes by Christmas for the shelters’ most adoption-challenged pets. That includes a lot of national social media plugging by Dr. Marty Becker, the veterinarian from Bonners Ferry, who’s most recognized as “America’s Veterinarian” appearing on ABC’s  “Good Morning America” and the “Dr. Oz Show.”  He has teamed with his daughter, pet trainer and author Mikkel Becker, and various shelter board members and volunteers to organize the “Christmas Pawty.”  The public is invited to help find the harder-to-adopt animals forever homes. The locations and times Tuesday are: Kootenai Humane Society at 11650 Ramsey Road, Hayden, noon to 2 p.m.; Pandhandle Animal Shelter, 870 Kootenai Cut-off Road, Ponderay, ID from 3 to 4:30 p.m.; and, Second Chance Animal Adoption Shelter at 6647 Lincoln St., Bonners Ferry, ID from 5:30 – 7 p.m.  More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Have you ever adopted a dog or cat from an animal shelter?

Bald Eagles Mob Lake Coeur d’Alene

Bald eagles are mobbing Lake Coeur d’Alene in record numbers this week. On Thursday, U.S. Bureau of Land Management wildlife biologist Carrie Hugo returned from an eagle cruise boat tour and reported that eagles were “all over the place” compared to just the week before, when her weekly survey counted 136 bald eagles in Wolf Lodge Bay. She confirmed her notion today with the fourth official survey of the season, tallying a record 259 eagles congregating to feast on spawning kokanee. That's an increase of 123 in just one week. Friday’s congregation breaks the record of 254 eagles counted in the bay on Dec. 21, 2010/Rich Landers, SR Outdoors blog. More here.

Anderson: Arson

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

TGIF Wild Card — 12.16.11

Super Sub Cindy will be at the controls next week as I take a week of vacation to host Amy Dearest & her beau, Okie Doke. Would be nice to get Junior & Sweet Steph home for Christmas from Florida, too. But half the kids is better than none for the holidays. If my calculations are correct, Amy Dearest will have all my gifts bought. And I'll be off the hook when I pick her up from the airport Monday. I'll be back for final week of the year. Until closing time today, I still have work to do. So here's your TGIF Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.16.11

Big time H/T to Tom Torgerson who spotted this sight today on Scarcello Road in the Rathdrum/Twin Lakes area. As the son of a dairyman who grew up cutting/raking/hauling hay for 500 head of daily cows, I know that the rancher here has it right. This is exactly what cows want for Christmas.

Facebook Timeline Going Live Soon

Yesterday, Facebook rolled out its new Timeline feature to the masses. This ultra-illustrative, chronological listing of posts, photos, shared links, check-ins, and more is a radically different arrangement than the Facebook profile you’ve been used to. And now that your life can be exposed for everyone to see — and scrutinize — you may be interested in curating the new interface. Once you’ve activated Facebook Timeline (go here to do so), you’ve got seven days to tweak it to make sure it’s just how you like before it goes live for everyone to see\Christina Bonnington, Wired Gadget Lab. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Do you consider the new timeline to be a bother or worth the effort?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.16.11

  • 5:52 p.m. Woman reports she's asked stubborn 3 men in her E3rd/PF driveway to leave nicely.
  • 5:24 p.m. James wants to see F&G officer re: a moose bothering his chickens.
  • 5:21 p.m. Louis reports his damaged car was hit by a thrown rock @ Govt Way & Lancaster/Hayden.
  • 5:08 p.m. Caller reports a boat motor was stolen from him @ Pauline & Hoyt/Rathdrum.
  • 5:06 p.m. Juveniles in dark clothes running in & out of traffic @ Wyoming & Ramsey/Hayden.
  • 4:57 p.m. Injury crash b/n gold SUV & bike @ 1500 E. Seltice Way/PF. Bicyclist has leg scrapes.
  • 4:56 p.m. Government Way Tire & Battery, 2420 Govt Way/CdA, reports dispute w/customer.
  • 4:54 p.m. Chimney fire reported @ Meadowview & Crystal Springs lanes/Rathdrum.
  • 4:52 p.m. A child exchange at the Coeur d'Alene Casino has resulted in verbal altercation.
  • 4:21 p.m. Female being aggressive in domestic dispute w/man @ Tracey & Buckles/Hayden.
  • 4:03 p.m. Caller reports strange gray vehicle followed neighbor's daughter to Kyler/Hayden home.
  • 22 more items below + AM Scanner Traffic link w/17 more items below

PM Headlines — 12.16.11

A worker from Emmert International prepares a transformer to be moved from a rail car to a platform trailer west of Moscow on Thursday. The 402,000 pound transformer will be moved to an Avista Utilities substation east of Moscow. (AP Photo/Moscow-Pullman Daily News, Geoff Crimmins)

Bonds Given 30 Days Of House Arrest

Former baseball player Barry Bonds leaves federal court after being sentenced for obstructing justice in a government steroids investigation on Friday in San Francisco. A federal judge handed Bonds a sentence of 30 days of house arrest, two years of probation and 250 hours of community service, but delayed the sentence pending an appeal likely to take a year or more. Story here. (AP Photo/Noah Berger)

Question: Has Barry Bonds home run records been tarnished/enhanced by the relative slap on the wrist he received after years of being pursued by government investigators & prosecutors?

Rumorama

Huckleberries hears … that appraiser Ed Morse of the Kootenai County Reagan Republicans board is planning to run against state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol, in the House District 3 (or whatever the district will be called then) GOPrimaries. Also, there's a potential opponent who has a bellyful of nullification nonsense warming up in the bullpen for state Rep. Vito Barbieri, R-Dalton Gardens. Stay tuned.

Post Falls Man Wanted In Hit-&-Run

The Coeur d’Alene Police Department’s CARE Division (Community Accident Reduction through Education and Enforcement) followed up a hit and run accident that occurred on December 11th at approximately 1:00am at 2nd St. and Lakeside Ave. Victim Jessica White was struck by a maroon Toyota pickup and left lying in the roadway. Jessica sustained a broken back and was hospitalized at KMC. Officer Nick Knoll received information during the course of the investigation that led to a suspect by the name of Thomas James Lang, 21, of Post Falls. Suspect Lang is friends with the Jessica White. Jessica and several of her friends in common with Lang knew who struck her with the vehicle and failed to tell the police who was responsible/Sgt. Christie Wood, Coeur d'Alene police. More here.

ICB: Taliban Still Has Idaho Soldier

This Christmas will be the 3rd Bowe Bergdahl has missed with his family since being held captive in Afghanistan by the Taliban. Recently reports came out that Bowe was recaptured after a short three-day escape in August or early September and appeared to be in good health. A well-read national publication called the Daily Beast, an affiliate of Newsweek Magazine, says the soldier tried to escape. Quoting a Taliban source, the Daily Beast reported that Bergdahl told his captors that he wanted to find civilianvillagers who would help him and notify the U.S. I can’t help but wonder Why if the Daily Beast reporter can get close enough to his captors to get this information, why can’t the U.S. military? We want Bowe home.  What is being done?/Idaho Conservative Blogger. More here. H/T: iSightOnline. (AP/IntelCenter photo of captured Bowe Bergdahl on Dec. 8, 2010)

Question: Has the American government done enough to get Idaho soldier Bowe Bergdahl home from Afghanistan?

Guilty, Shackled, No Longer Barefoot

The shackled and sandal-clad feet of Colton Harris-Moore are shown as Harris-Moore, who is also known as the “Barefoot Bandit,” walks into an Island County Superior Courtroom on today in Coupeville, Wash. Harris-Moore pleaded guilty Friday to burglary and theft charges in the Barefoot Bandit case. The 20-year-old softly answered affirmatively when the judge asked if he understood his rights. He said guilty when the judge asked how he wanted to plead. Story here. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

Question: Anyone consider Colton Harris-Moore (aka “Barefoot Bandit”) to be a sort of anti-hero? And/or: Who will play Harris-Moore in the movie?

Hayes Wants Fewer Voting Precincts

County Clerk Cliff Hayes announced that he will be recommending precinct changes to the Board of County Commissioners next week. “We’re proposing 44 precincts, with each one containing between 799 and 2,397 registered voters”, Hayes said.  The County has been using 71 precincts for the last few years. The new Legislative District boundaries (L87) began the revised recommendation process.  “The Commissioners gave our staff some specific guidelines”, said Hayes.  “They wanted a voter’s potential drive time to the polling place to be no more than 30 minutes, and suggested about 40 overall precincts to save costs for taxpayers.  Elections staff wanted precincts aligned with newly revised school district trustee zones to ensure ballot integrity.  I’m pleased that the recommendations we’ll be making accommodate all these factors”/Kootenai County Clerk's press release. More here.

Question: Is this a good move?

ISO: Will Adults Control Legislature?

The Idaho Republican Party is coming up on a legislative session and subsequent election that could determine their direction for years to come. The battle, as it is elsewhere in the country, is between the more Libertarian/State’s Rights wing of the party and the establishment (hereafter referred to, in the preferred language of the insurgents, as “RINOs” – Republicans in Name Only). Were one to only look at theIdaho GOP platform adopted in 2010, an outside observer might think that the extremists had already won; the platform calls for, among other interesting ideas, the repeal of the 17th Amendment and returning to the gold standard. It’s one thing for party activists to adopt a bold party platform, but another for the more reasonable members of said party to actually vote for it when their actions may be noticed by the wider public/Joel Kennedy, iSightOnline. More here.

Question: Is this the year that the Idaho Senate joins the House in passing crazy stuff like Vito Barbieri's nullification bill? Or will the adults prevail again overall?

Parent-Kid Kiss Prank Brings Apology

A Minnesota high school principal is apologizing for a pep rally prank in which the captains of the school’s sports teams were tricked into locking lips with their own parents. The athletes were blindfolded at the winter pep fest and told they would be kissed by a special someone, presumably a fellow student. Instead, they were kissed by their own parents, who were not blindfolded. The prank was filmed and uploaded to YouTube, where various versions of the video had over 33,000 hits as of Friday morning. Some of the kisses in the video lasted for several seconds; the footage shows one pair kissing and rolling around on the ground/ABC News. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes)

Question: Anyone out there think this is anything but creepy? And/or: When did you stop kissing your parents on the lips?

High Noon: Curses, Foiled Again

Overhead by Paul Turner & The Slice blog: An elderly woman in the waiting room late this afternoon reacted to her appointment being delayed. “That's the story of my life,” she told the woman sitting next to her. “Nothing goes right.” Let heaven and nature sing.

Question: Do you know someone who always complains?

INW Headlines — 12.16.11

Gonzaga guard David Stockton (11) heads to the basket as Oral Robert's guard Roderick Pearson Jr. tries to block during the second half of their NCAA college basketball game Thursday in the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. Jim Meehan/SR story of Zags 67-61 win here. And: more SR game photos here. (AP Photo/Spokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany)

Question: Who's your favorite 2011-12 Gonzaga Bulldog?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.16.11

  • 11:42 p.m. Man in Honda Accord @ Independence Point reports being slapped by his ex-wife in front of a child. The woman is standing outside the car.
  • 11:36 a.m. Neighbor reports 2 females used credit card to get into Lahiana Road/Harrison home.
  • 11:26 a.m. Man w/protection order against him is pestering woman at Post Falls Denneys.
  • 11:01 a.m. A large, green truck is parked in front of mailboxes on Reeves & Huetter/CdA.
  • 13 more items below

25 Years Ago: No. 1 Song

On The Slice blog, Paul Turner features the No. 1 hit from 25 years ago — The Bangles “Walk Like An Egyptian.” Source: www.filetraffic.eu

Question: Which 1980s band/singer was your favorite?

IFF To Govt: Stop Economic Plotting

I have an amazing job that lets me travel the state to talk about free markets. During these travels, I get to hear from and talk to numerous local elected officials who truly care about their communities. Unfortunately, many of these officials think they have a supernatural understanding of their local marketplaces and the ability to manipulate these markets to be whatever they want them to be. It really doesn’t matter where I go: Nampa, Boise, Pocatello, Ketchum, Post Falls or Sandpoint. Every town has self-proclaimed economic gurus who are making judgments about how to use taxpayer dollars to achieve unparalleled levels of economic prosperity/Wayne Hoffman, Idaho Freedom Foundation. More here.

Question: What role should local government play in economic planning?

Hucks Poll: 3rd Otter Term? Hell No!

  • Thursday Poll: Gov. Butch Otter should think long & hard before he goes ahead w/plans for a third term. Not only is 72% of Hucks Nation against the idea, but also 69% of a current Idaho Statesman poll is, too. 69 of 143 respondents (48.25%) voted “hell no!” when asked if they'd support a third Otter term, while 35 of 143 (24.48%) said simply, “no.” Only 36 of 143 (25.17%) backed a 3rd Otter term. 3 were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Who are the real RINOs (Republicans In Name Only) in Kootenai County — GOP CC Ron Paulers, Pachyderm Clubbers, Reagan Republicans, 'Reasonable Republicans', Spencer (Larry), and United Conservatives (Rally Right).

Bad Hair Day

woman's hair is blown by the wind in downtown Frankfurt, Germany, on a rainy and stormy Friday. (AP Photo/Michael Probst)

Question: When did you last have a bad hair day? Why did you consider it to be a bad hair day?

Merry Xmas, I’m Running For Office

Some candidates love to have a crowd when they make their campaign announcements. There’s Gov. Butch Otter; on Wednesday (only 29 months before the 2014 GOP primary), he told an audience of about 200 that he plans to seek a third term. Then there’s Hy Kloc. On the second page of the Kloc family holiday letter — tucked past a mention of the passing of a beloved family dog, and a recap of his first few months on the Greater Boise Auditorium District board — Kloc signals his plans to run for the Legislature/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Have you ever made a big announcement in a Christmas newsletter?

Luna Claim: I Discussed Ed Reforms

Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Luna came under fire during the debate over his education reform package because some critics of the plan say he didn’t mention it during his run for re-election just months prior. Luna says he has been talking about reforms for years and that his record shows as much. The Republican superintendent also talked about his plans to fight three referenda that could overturn the laws in his reform packages. Over the course of the hearings dedicated to Luna’s legislation, several critics and detractors expressed dismay that the superintendent didn’t talk about his plan to reshape Idaho’s public school system in his 2010 re-election run/Dustin Hurst, Idaho Reporter. More here.

Question: Can anyone out there recall Superintendent Tom Luna mentioned his radical education reforms prior to the 2010 general election? Anyone?

Trib: Jeers To Hart For Wolf Claim

In his TGIF Cheers & Jeers column this week (full version here), Marty Trillhaase/Lewiston Tribune jeers state Rep. Phil Hart, R-Athol. “Not only is he a tax scofflaw and a timber bandit, he's now a certified blowhard. It will be a cold day in Athol before Hart's political grandstanding makes a difference in Boise, much less Washington, D.C. But that hasn't stopped him from trying. Hart claims Congress knuckled under and pulled wolves in Idaho and Montana from the federal Endangered Species Act protection because of his bill declaring a state emergency and authorizing the killing of wolves.

  • Rule No. 1 - Idaho can pass all the bills it wants. It can't trump a federal law.
  • Rule No. 2 - Get your facts straight, Phil. Two months earlier U.S. Rep Mike Simpson, R-Idaho, engineered a rider - and an alliance with Democratic Sen. Jon Tester of Montana - to end federal wolf protection. ”

Question: Who would be a good candidate to challenge Rep. Phil Hart in the 2012 GOP primary?

Op-Ed: Hagadone Preserves Dream

I have often laughed as I said, “Duane Hagadone believes in the vision of Coeur d’Alene, just as long as it is his vision.” My 10 years away, now only visiting our city, has given me time and distance to see more clearly about the transformation of Coeur d’Alene. I am now convinced that Duane Hagadone has done more than anyone to protect and enhance the foundation of this community that we love so much. This 50-year marriage between Duane and the people of Coeur d’Alene has been so rocky at times. Often, we both would fight tooth and nail, exchanging body blows, red faces of anger, arms swinging, hurling screaming insults. We were woven tightly, chained to one another and many did not like it at all. We wanted that divorce but there was no way out/Steve Badraun, Coeur d'Alene Press guest editorial. More here. (SR file photo)

DFO: I believe two people have transformed Coeur d'Alene into the viewtiful community it is today — Duane Hagadone, from the private sector, and Mayor Sandi Bloem, from the public sector.

Question: What other individuals have had a major impact on 21st Century Coeur d'Alene?

AM Headlines — 12.16.11

Utah State running back Robert Turbin looks at the trophy that winner of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl will receive, before the start of a press conference Thursday in Boise. (AP Photo/The Herald Journal, Eli Lucero)

Gingrich Takes Fire From Rivals

Facing off against the rest of the Republican field in the final debate before Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, Newt Gingrich defended his work for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and didn’t back off from a number of his more contentious stances, including abolishing federal courts he finds too activist. He also proposed cutting off all federal funding for sanctuary cities who refuse to cooperate with federal immigration law enforcement, and said he would drop lawsuits against states that have passed their own immigration crackdown laws. But he took fire from the other candidates, Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota in particular, who questioned his pro-life record and said he was working for the two mortgage giants at a time when other conservatives were trying to close them down/Stephen Dinan, Washington Times. More here. (AP photo: Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul arriving at debate Thursday)

Question: Will it be Obama vs. Newt in 2012?

World’s Smallest Woman

Guinness World Records adjudicator Rob Molloy, center, and Dr. Manoj Pahukar of Wockhardt hospital, second right, measures Jyoti Amge, 18, as her mother Ranjana Amge, left, and father Kishanji Amge, right, look on in Nagpur, India, this morning. Amge, a high school student in central India, was recognized as the world's shortest woman by Guinness World Records on Friday as she turned 18 and said she hopes to earn a degree and make it in Bollywood. (AP Photo/ Manish Swarup)

Question: Do you consider yourself small?

Quotable Quote — Idaho Democrats

“Governor Otter for a third term? He isn't even present for his second term” — Idaho Democrats, via Twitter.

Question: Agree/disagree?

Yabetcha: No RINO IN Reasonable R’s

Yabetcha: Allow me to join in on the labeling. The so called “reasonable Republicans” in Kootenai County are not centrist. They are actually very conservative in the more traditional meaning, not Rinos, nor extremists.

DFO: I couldn't agree with Yabetcha more. Individuals like Sandy Patano, Brad Corkill, and Jim Pierce who have been marginalized by the Far Right of the local Republican Party as RINOs are solid conservatives. They were the conservative backbone of the local Republican Party while many of today's leaders were cutting their political teeth in the Constitutionalist & Libertarian parties. If someone is throwing the RINO label around, you can suspect they're probably a RINO from the right fringe.

Christopher Hitchens, 62, Writer, RIP

Christopher Hitchens, who has died at the age of 62 in the Houston hospital where he had been receiving treatment for cancer, was among the greatest polemicists of his generation. Many writers make the journey from a left wing youth to a right-leaning posture in later adulthood. And Hitchens' support for the military intervention in Iraq - along with his thoroughly disabused view of President Clinton - dismayed many of his erstwhile friends on the political left both in the United States and in Britain. But he was always too original a figure and too much his own man ever to be accommodated easily in the neat little pigeon holes of 'left' and 'right'/Hywel Williams, Mail Online. More here.

Question: Were you a fan of Christopher Hitchens?

Anderson: War Games

Nick Anderson/Houston Chronicle

Gonzaga 67, Oral Roberts 61

 Oral Robert's guard Roderick Pearson Jr.,left, defends against Gonzaga guard Kevin Pangos during the first half of their NCAA college basketball game tonight at the McCarthey Athletic Center in Spokane. Gonzaga won 67-61. AP/ESPN story & boxscore here. (AP Photo/The Spokesman-Review, Colin Mulvany)

Wild Card/Thursday

I have most of my Christmas shopping finished 10 days before show time, Sunday morning, Dec. 25. It wasn't always this way. I once was one of those frantic husbands who rushed into picked-over department stores to find something — anything! — to fill packages to shove under the tree. Then I turned my fretting over to Amy Dearest. I give her the money. She does the shopping. She loves shopping. I don't. She always finds great gifts for Mrs. O at great prices. Mrs. O chides me for not handling the shopping myself. But I don't think she really minds. I occasionally remind her of that dreadful gift I bought her in Lewiston when she was pregnant for Christmas 1983. That ends the conversation. BTW, wild horses couldn't drag out of me what that present was. Now for your Wild Card …

Parting Shot — 12.15.11

A man tries to persuade a small child not to get away from a person dressed as Santa Claus after the child receives a chocolate bar in an attempt to photograph them together at a shopping mall in Bucharest, Romania, today. (AP Photo/Vadim Ghirda)

Question: Did you ever take your kids to see a department store Santa Claus? Was it a good experience for them? Did they melt down? Or did they freeze up like Ralphie in “A Christmas Story”?

Kevin: Comes With The Territory

On his Facebook page, Statesman opinionator Kevin Richert posts: “I should never be surprised at what passes for civil dialogue in the Idaho Statesman comment queue. But the (anonymous) character who took a cheap shot at my son for landing an internship on Capitol Hill, saying it somehow flunked the smell test? Wow. All I can say is, welcome to public life, kid.” I responded that an anonymous troll who made an online crack about one of my kids in a HucksOnline thread would immediately be thrown in the cooler and forgotten about. Kevin must have thicker skin than I.

Question: How do you handle slights re: your kids?

PM Scanner Traffic — 12.15.11

  • 5:52 p.m. Traffic lights @ H41 & Hayden/Rathdrum are not recycling.
  • 5:26 p.m. Someone has suffered a trauma injury @ Timberlake High/Spirit Lake.
  • 5:15 p.m. Coeur d'Alene Police Department activities report for Dec. 14-15 here.
  • 4:57 p.m. A red passenger car is broken down on fog lane of I-90 @ Sherman/CdA exit.
  • 4:36 p.m. Caller sez new Chilco mill lights are so bright he can't see when trying to run off H95.
  • 4:31 p.m. Physical domestic b/n father & daughter reported @ Schoolhouse & Canyon/Cataldo.
  • 4:29 p.m. Security @ Super 1 @ H95 & Kathleen/CdA has caught a shoplifter.
  • 4:06 p.m. Caller reports Ford Explorer involved in hit-&-run crash @ 1051 C/CdA.
  • 3:51 p.m. Couple kicks H&W agents out of Promenade Loop/PF home when they go to pick up 3 kids. Woman says she won't open door unless officer appears w/warrant from Homeland Security.
  • 15 more items + AM Scanner Traffic link below

PM Headlines — 12.15.11

Brynn Jones, 6, who has Rett syndrome, listens as her mother, Makita Jones, left, plays her favorite song, “All The Pennies” by Mindy Glendhill, in Boise. Gledhill and the International Rett Syndrome Foundation are holding a benefit concert for Brynn at The Rose Room in downtown Boise Friday. (AP/Statesman photo: Darin Oswald)

Cis: How About Internet Candidate?

Cis/From A Simple Mind emails: “Have you and the group talked about American Select? The site that wants input from the public. Well, the computer connected public, anyway to find someone to run against the Republican and Democrat candidates. If they can find a good candidate, they will finance (I am sure they will be asking their list of people to help) the election for that candidate. So my question is … how does the HBO group feel about it.. I know the R's and D's will not like it, but what about the rest? And how about you? I know you are a heavy leaner on the R's side, but over the years, you have listen to the middle of the road. How do you feel about this group (who ever is the backer of them) … and the fact of finding some one thru the Internet?

Question: What do you think about the attempt by American Elect to bypass the two major political parties and promote a candidate that's in tune with what it thinks America wants?

Are You Up For SR News Quiz?

You guys always seem up to test your general knowledge of news & the world. Are you ready to test drive our weekly news challenge, prepared by Jim Camden. You actually can win prizes if you submit the test by the end of today. If you answer all the questions correctly, your ballot will be mixed in with other winners for a drawing. I've asked the online techs to provide a button in the righthand rail to give you access to the quiz at any time. Any week. You can also link here. Good luck. (BTW, once you're done, you're directed to a scoreboard that shows how you did. BTW2, there are only 8 perfect scores so far this week.)

Question: Anyone score a perfect 10?

I Can’t Believe I Ate The Whole Thing

At ilovecda.com, Maryellen Livingston Garasky tells of a co-worker, Jon Goodwin, who took the five-pound hamburger challenge offered by Scrud's Gourmet Grub, the new burger joint in downtown Coeur d'Alene (just north of 4th & Lakeside), on Dec. 8. This is the before photo of Jon. Follow the link above and you can see an after photo featuring Jon and an empty plate by following the link above.

Question: What was the featured entree the last time you ate too much?

Cindy: So Much PR, So Little Space

It’s that festive time of year.Holiday lights twinkle from the garland on our banister and glow on the Christmas tree. The Play-doh nativity set sits once again in the place of honor atop the piano. The delicious aroma of Christmas baking fills my kitchen – and emails from The International Parking Institute fill my inbox. You see, while others may receive holiday greetings and cookie recipes via email during the weeks leading up to Christmas, journalists receive press releases. Lots of them.Companies desperate to get their products or organizations featured in newspapers and magazines, send out mass emails, hoping to snare a story/Cindy Hval, SR Front Porch. More here.

Also by Cindy: Teachers say holiday stage event great for teens, 3rd graders/SR

Question: Have you ever written a news release to be published or broadcast in news media? Were you successful in getting material out to you audience?

Report: Most Papers Gone In 5 Years

“Most print newspapers will be gone in five years,” says a new report from the USC Annenberg Center for the Digital Future. The forecast by center director Jeffrey I. Cole, based on 10 years of studies, says, “America is at a major digital turning point … We believe that the only print newspapers that will survive will be at the extremes of the medium — the largest and the smallest.” The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, and The Wall Street Journal will likely survive, along with some local weeklies, Cole writes/Jeff Sonderman, L.A. Weekly. More here. (AP file photo for illustrative purposes: Final edition of the King County Journal rolls off the presses just after midnight in Kent, Wash. Sunday, Jan. 21, 2007)

Question: Are you among those who believe digital media will almost completely supplant print media in five to 10 years? How will that affect your life, if it comes to pass?

Skiing Santa At 3rd Street Dock

Spotted this on the Susan G. Komen-CdA Facebook page: “Join Susan G. Komen Coeur d'Alene and Air Junky's for the second annual SkySkiing Santa on December 24 from 12pm to 3pm at the Coeur d'Alene Docks (the 3rd street ramps). Some details about the event from Bill with AirJunky's: “This is something my brother & I started doing in Seattle in the late 90s. I've been living in Liberty Lake the last 7 years so now I do it here- and invite a bunch of our riding friends to join us. We ride a water toy called a SkySki….. you can see more about it on http://www.skyski.com/. The SkySki is a hydrofoil that you sit on & tow behind a boat. We do jumps & all kinds of tricks…. all while dressed up as Santa Claus. We'll have 6 or 7 riders who will take turns.” More here.

Trail Proposed For Cougar Bay

BLM is sponsoring a public meeting tonight on a proposed trail for Cougar Bay. The trail will be located in a portion of the public preserve known as the John C. Pointner Memorial Wildlife Sanctuary. The Nature Conservancy and BLM are co-managing Cougar Bay lands for hiking, recreation and wildlife habitat. There are a number of improvements in the works, but for this meeting, the BLM and The Nature Conservancy propose to construct a 0.7-mile trail that would follow the banks of Cougar Bay/Terry Harris, KEA Blog. More here. (Brian Plonka SR file photo: A redwing blackbird approaches a cattail in Cougar Bay)

Question: Are you interested in the proposed trail for Cougar Bay?

Review: (Sher)locked On

You've gotta wonder if people are thinking clearly when green lights are given to make sequels of successful movies. Like Caddyshack 2 or Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls or how about Speed 2: Cruise Control? But you need not worry about this follow-up to the 2009 megahit Sherlock Holmes. That dazzling reintroduction to Conan Doyle’s crafty detective had stylized, big-budget-worthy direction from British indie darling Guy Ritchie, and a career-high performance by Robert Downey Jr. (well, maybe it slips in right behind what he did in Tropic Thunder). This one opens the action in 1891, with a political bombing attributed to anarchists, followed quickly by a fast-paced four-on- Holmes fistfight, and then by a couple of mysteries involving a missing Gypsy terrorist and Holmes’ arch-enemy, Professor Moriarty (Jared Harris). The film takes everything that was done right in the first one and makes it wilder, darker, and funnier/Ed Symkus, Inlander. More here. (AP file photo: Robert Downey Jr., left, and Jude Law star in “Sherlock Holmes”)

Question: Which Arthur Conan Doyle story of Sherlock Holmes is your favorite?

Simpson Makes Earth Enemies List

Keeping company with some prominent national Republicans, Idaho 2nd Congressional District Rep. Mike Simpson made a dubious Top 10 list this week. Simpson was ranked No. 4 by the Los Angeles Times’ editorial board, in a year-in-review list of Congress’ Top 10 “enemies of the earth.” All 10 “enemies” are Republicans. Wrote the Times’ editorial board: “Simpson has stepped to the front lines of his party's war on Mother Nature by adding dozens of anti-environment riders to must-pass budget legislation. Among other things, Simpson aims to let mountaintop coal-mining operations continue to pollute streams, prevent the EPA from regulating coal-ash disposal, and exempt pesticide sprayers from complying with the Clean Water Act”/Kevin Richert, Idaho Statesman. More here.

Question: Do you see bias in that the L.A. Times' enviro “enemies” list has only Republicans in Top 10?

Noon: Do Dorks Really Get The Girl?

Here's an interesting equation: The less attractive a man is and the hotter a woman is, the more he is proportionately confident in his chances at hooking up with her. Let that one roll around in your head for a while. According to a study that will soon be published in Psychological Science, the less attractive and dorkier a man is, the more he is likely to think that women can't help themselves around him. The full study is laid out in a story on msnbc.com, but basically, 200 straight college students participated in the study in which they ranked their own physical attractiveness, then went through a speed-dating-like event, after which they ranked how attracted their counterpart was to them/Deanna Dare, Boise Weekly. More here. (Wikipedia photo: Mad magazine's Alfred E. Neuman

Question: Do you know any dorks? How are they different from nerds?

INW Headlines — 12.15.11

Martha Lu Butler admires a century-old Christmas cactus adorned with lights at Manito Park's Gaiser Conservatory on Wednesday. Every year since 1994, the Friends of Manito have funded the lighting of the jungle-like interior of the building, using 30,000 lights to decorate the plants and trees inside. The display is open most days 8:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. and is most popular after 4 p.m. It will remain up until Dec. 31. (SR photo: Jesse Tinsley)

Question: When did you last visit Manito Park in Spokane?

AM Scanner Traffic — 12.15.11

  • 11:44 p.m. Bonner County vehicle driven by elderly man s/b on n/b I-90 @ Kathleen/CdA.
  • 11:38 p.m. Wanted man known as “a runner” is at galpal's house on Twin Lakes Road.
  • 11:29 a.m. Austin @ Pawn 1 wants to speak to an officer re: shop's business alarms.
  • 11:26 a.m. Post Falls male texts friend he's going to kill ex-girl's current boyfriend & then himself.
  • 11:14 a.m. ISP officer stops & arrests 2 people in silver Nissan w/Washington plates on I-90 @ state line after they sped away from CPD Blue after apparent failure to yield on 15th Street/CdA.
  • 11:12 a.m. Man on Conifer Lane/Harrison wants to know if he can shoot stray llamas eating his hay.
  • 11:06 a.m. A possible chimney fire is reported @ 1952 E. 12th Ave/PF.
  • 11:05 a.m. Man @ 908 W. Wyoming/Hayden reports Chevy Blazer drove thru is circular driveway.
  • 10 more items below

Popkey: Don’t Fall For Butch 3rd Term

Dan Popkey of the Idaho Statesman gives 3 reasons why Gov. Butch Otter announced Wednesday that he's seeking re-election in 2014 — and why you should take that announcement with a grain of salt: 1. Otter's keen to avoid an prolonged lame-duckhood. Ever since he took office, his fellow Republicans in the Legislature have had the upper hand. 2. Otter's broke. His last campaign report, for the six months ending June 30, showed $206,000 in debt and $10,444 in cash. And 3. Otter's feeling blue about recent editorials that say he's “mailing it in” and leaving the heavy lifting to Lt. Gov. Brad Little, who insiders have long perceived as Otter's hand-picked successor. Read hold Popkey column here.

Question: Didn't Otter once support term limits?

JeanieS: Very Disappointed In CdA

JeanieSpokane (re: “Some trying to pull plug on “Rent”): This reaction by people in the community really bothers me on so many levels. I have always thought of Coeur d’Alene as a beautiful and eclectic area, with a high-quality style of entertainment, from fine dining, to bohemian eateries, and the excellent quality of plays and musicals. It has such diverse, first-rate offerings that defy the small lakeside village atmosphere. Coeur d’Alene survived the taint of bigotry from the white supremists that were a blight to humanity. Now, a play is going to do them in? The people of Coeur d’Alene gave proof that there was compassion, understanding, and integrity in their community. People come to Coeur d’Alene from all over the world. I would think that the high standard CDA has set in the entertainment field would embrace all the topics that Rent covers – be it a person’s lifestyle choice, or the struggles with addiction of any kind. Are you people in CDA better than the rest of us and above having any transgressions or bad behavior? I am very disappointed in you.

Question: Is Coeur d'Alene compassionate & understanding or intolerant?

Otter To Run Again In 2014

RE: Otter tells supporters he'll seek a third term as governor/Eye On Boise

Betsy Russell/Eye On Boise: Otter's decision, if he sticks with it, would depart from the example of one of his mentors, former Gov. Phil Batt. Batt, then 70, stunned supporters in 1997 when he announced that he wouldn't seek a second term as governor, noting, “If I were to serve out another term, I would be nearly 76.'' 
The successful onion farmer and longtime Idaho politician said he'd decided it was time to “step aside'' in favor of the next generation of Idaho leaders. Otter is 69, and turns 70 in May. If he served out a third term, by the end of it in 2018, he'd be 76. More here.

Question: Why would Otter want to be governor for a third term when he seems lukewarm about the job now?

Hucks Poll: Ban Driver Cellphones

  • Wednesday Poll: Nearly 2/3s of Hucks Nation would support a national ban on cellphones & other electronic devices now used by drivers. 95 of 145 respondents (65.52%) support a proposal by the National Traffic Safety Board to ban cellphones & electronic devices while driving. 47 of 145 respondents (32.41%) oppose such a ban. 3 (2.07%) were undecided.
  • Today's Poll: Would you support Gov. Butch Otter if he follows through with his plans for a third term?

Teeny Baby

14-week-old Melinda Star Guido holds her mother's little finger while lying in an incubator at the Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in Los Angeles Wednesday. At birth, Melinda Star Guido tipped the scales at only 9 1/2 ounces, a tad less than the weight of two iPhone 4S. Melinda is believed to be the second smallest baby to survive in the United States and the third smallest in the world. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong)

Question: I was 9 pounds, 6 ounces at birth. How big were you?

1 In 4 Women Face Domestic Abuse

It's a startling number: 1 in 4 women surveyed by the government say they were violently attacked by their husbands or boyfriends. Experts in domestic violence don't find it too surprising, although some aspects of the survey may have led to higher numbers than are sometimes reported. Even so, a government official who oversaw the research called the results “astounding.” “It's the first time we've had this kind of estimate” on the prevalence of intimate partner violence, said Linda Degutis of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The survey, released by the CDC Wednesday, marks the beginning of a new annual project to look at how many women say they've been abused/Associated Press. More here.

Question: Has anyone in your family been the victim of this kind of abuse?

Edit: GOP Counterattack In Lewiston

Kootenai County isn't the only place where Republican centrists are striking back against hardline conservatives who have taken over the Idaho GOP. In Lewiston, Republican state Rep. Jeff Nesset (pictured) has announced his candidacy for state Senate after being snubbed by 7th Legislative District Republicans who picked three others to succeed retired Sen. Joe Stegner. Apparently, Nesset sinned against the hardliners by opposing the constitutionally questionable nullification push by state Rep. Vito Barbieri and controversial education reforms proposed by Superintendent of Schools Tom Luna. Marty Trillhaase of the Lewiston Tribune talks about the “Reasonable Republican” movement of Kootenai County and pendulum swing against uberconservative zealots in today's Lewiston Tribune editorial. More here.

Question: Do you get a sense that centrist Republicans and Independents are waking up to the state's Far Right Republican push?

Some Trying To Pull Plug On “Rent”

Next month “Rent” is opening at the Lake City Playhouse in Coeur d'Alene, but some people think the plug should be pulled because of what they call immoral behavior in the musical.Rent has won a Pulitzer, a Tony and was made into a popular motion picture. According to Lake City Playhouse artistic director George Green, Rent is about “artists trying to make it in the world through their struggles, through their addictions, through their pain, through their sickness and overcome.”The musical takes place under the shadow of HIV/AIDS, and there are several characters that are homosexual, and not everyone in the community is OK with the play being performed in Coeur d'Alene/Anusha Roy, KXLY. More here.

Question: Does this controversy guarantee sellouts for Lake City Playhouse production of “Rent”?

7 Miners Survive Rock Burst

Three miners remained in North Idaho hospitals this morning after a rock burst at the Lucky Friday Mine in Mullan injured seven miners Wednesday night. It was the third accident at the mine this year. Two miners died in the other incidents. Seven miners Wednesday night were transported by air and ambulance to area hospitals, according to the Shoshone County Sheriff’s Office. Six were taken to Shoshone Medical Center, where two were held overnight for observation, a nursing supervisor said. Injuries were mostly cuts and bruises. A seventh miner was taken to Kootenai Medical Center and was listed in fair condition there this morning/Spokesman-Review. More here. (AP file photo)

Question: Izzit it just me … or does the Lucky Friday Mine seem like a dangerous place to work?

AM Headlines — 12.15.11

Photographer Don Sausser spotted more than 100 military personnel walking from the Coeur d'Alene Resort to Independence Point this morning and called the resort to see what's up. Seems there's a conference involving the U.S. Navy today.

Ceremony Ends Iraq War

Command Sgt. Major Joseph R. Allen, left, and Army Gen. Lloyd Austin, Commander of US Forces Iraq, encase the US Forces Iraq colors during a ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq, earlier today. The ceremonies mark the official end of the US military mission in Iraq. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Pool)

U.S. Shuts Down War In Iraq

After nearly nine years, 4,500 American dead, 32,000 wounded and more than $800 billion, U.S. officials formally shut down the war in Iraq — a conflict that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said was worth the price in blood and money, as it set Iraq on a path to democracy. Panetta stepped off his military plane in Baghdad Thursday as the leader of America’s war in Iraq, but will leave as one of many top U.S. and global officials who hope to work with the struggling nation as it tries to find its new place in the Middle East and the broader world. More than 100,000 Iraqis have been killed since the U.S. invasion in 2003, according to the Iraq Body Count website. Bombings and gun battles are still common. And experts are concerned about the Iraqi security force’s ability to defend the nation against foreign threats/AP. More here. (AP photo: rmy soldiers salute during ceremonies marking the end of US military mission in Baghdad, Iraq, earlier today)

Question: Was it worth it?